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Remaining Parts of Condo to be Demolished as Soon as It's Safe; Fourth of July Celebrations underway Amid Delta Variant Concerns; Pope Francis Undergoes Scheduled Colon Surgery at Rome Hospital; Americans Celebrate Independence Day After a Year of Lockdowns; Supreme Court: Arizona Laws Do Not Violate Voting Rights Act; Boy Scout Survives Shark Attack Off Catalina Island; U.S. Track Star Suspended From Olympic Team After Positive Drug Test. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 4, 2021 - 14:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Fourth of July.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right. Right now demolition specialists are racing against time in Surfside, Florida, finalizing plans to bring down the remaining parts of the partially collapsed condo building before Tropical Storm Elsa approaches the state.

The mayor says there is no specific timetable for the controlled demolition, but the process will begin as soon as the site is secure. Independent contractors are working to contain the demolition and to ensure that search efforts are not compromised.

Demolition plans were moved up amid concerns that tropical force winds could bring the building down unsafely.

CNN's Natasha Chen joining me now from Surfside, Florida. Natasha, what more are you learning?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes Fred, there's a lot happening here right now. Some teams switching out actually. Some of the Florida task forces from around the state that were helping here, they are having to go home right now and prepare to help assist with Elsa, the storm coming through. And then you have now other teams from out of state and federal assistance swapping in to assist.

So a lot happening here in preparation for that storm that is now tracking like it's going to go a bit more west. So maybe not directly hitting Surfside, but there's still maybe some gusts of wind to worry about here.

And that's why officials are still really trying to get this demolition finished before Monday night when they think that that the weather might be coming through the area.

The way they're going to do that, engineers have been on site last night and this morning preparing. They're drilling into the concrete. They're using a technique that we're told is called "energetic felling" which is a strategic placement of detonation so that the collapse itself is going to happen right immediately on that spot.

The people in the nearby building, they don't have to evacuate, but they're being told that they will be given adequate notice to close up their doors and windows, cover any openings and stay indoors. And that's to try to avoid all this dust and debris that might be in the air at that time and they're going to secure a perimeter as well.

So a lot happening here.

Meanwhile, these families of 121 people unaccounted for, still really hoping for some kind of answers. The mayor of Miami-Dade County addressed that as she talked about how this July 4th is just different because typically family and friends are gathering to celebrate. A very different tone here this time in Surfside.


MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: This year the holiday looks very different as our thoughts are with the victims of the terrible tragedy. Those who have lost their lives, those who have lost their homes, and those who have lost people they love.

But through this grief and through this loss, the rain, the smoke, and all of the other obstacles that have been thrown our way, a clear picture emerges of what it means to be American.

The story of our nation is a story of every day men and women who summon great strength and resolve to face incredible challenges and to do things that have never been done before.


CHEN: She specifically called out the first responders who rushed to the scene of the collapse when it happened to pull people out and how this community has really supported each other. We now, of course, know of the 24 confirmed dead, still so many missing.

And we talk to some family members, one relative I spoke to, the family members of a seven-year-old girl, the daughter of a city of Miami firefighter who is found dead alongside her mother. Still three more people in that family missing.

Just one example of the heartache these families are going through on this holiday, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes, indeed. All right. Natasha Chen, keep us posted throughout the day, appreciate it.

So on this July 4th, millions of Americans are celebrating in a way that seemed unimaginable just a year ago. COVID lockdowns, restrictions have now been lifted largely across the country. And President Biden had set a goal for today to have 70 percent of American adults at least partially vaccinated. The U.S. will fall just short though, only reaching 67 percent.


WHITFIELD: Meanwhile, there are rising concerns over the highly contagious Delta variant becoming more widespread. It is now responsible for a quarter of all new cases in the U.S. That rise and the low vaccination rates seen in some states have health experts warning it may not be time to ditch your masks just yet.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The vaccines are not even as good as they are and highly effective, nothing is 100 percent. And if you put yourself in an environment in which you have a high level of viral dynamics and a very low level of vaccine, you might want to go the extra step and say when I'm in that area, where there's a considerable degree of viral circulation, I might want to go the extra mile to be cautious enough to make sure that I get the extra added level of protection even though the vaccines themselves are highly effective.


WHITFIELD: All right. CNN's Arlette Saenz is at the White House for us where the president is hosting a 4th of July celebration.

So Arlette, once again, lots of Americans are feeling there are mixed messages. On one hand a celebration of how far this nation has come. On the other hand, you know, a few steps back on repeating some of the precautions many of us had to make.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And Fred, the White House is certainly balancing both of those facets of this pandemic.

Today here at the White House, they will be hoping to celebrate all of the progress that has been made against the pandemic over the course of the last year. Hosting the largest celebration to date here at the White House since President Biden took office.

But even as we see these scenes of celebration play out across the country, there is very serious concerns within the halls of the White House, about that Delta variant taking hold in this country. Particularly in pockets of the country that have low vaccination rates.

As you mentioned, the White House is falling short of that Fourth of July goal they had set to have 70 percent of American adults with at least one shot in their arms. And the White House has acknowledged that they have more work to do.

But take a listen to the White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients talking to our colleague Dana Bash earlier this morning.


JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: Well, we've made a lot of progress. I think we're much further along than anyone would have anticipated at this point with two out of three Americans with at least one shot.

And if you have been fully vaccinated, you are protected. If you're not vaccinated, you are not protected. So we're going to double down on our efforts to vaccinate millions of more Americans across July and August. So people get that protection and can enjoy life returning to normal.


SAENZ: Now, in just a few hours, they will turn their attention to celebration. Hosting a Fourth of July barbecue over on the south lawn. In fact, I can already see some of the balloons set up for that celebration.

They've invited around a thousand first responders and also members of the military really to try and to pay tribute to so many sacrifices in service that was paid over the course of the last year.

Now, each of the attendees was asked to be tested for COVID-19 one to three days before the event. And while vaccinations are not required to attend, those who have been -- who have not been vaccinated have been asked to wear masks.

The White House still trying to take precautions as the coronavirus pandemic does continue in this country. But really President Biden tonight hoping to offer a moment of reflection over how much change has come to the country since this pandemic first took hold a little bit over a year ago, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. The picture of the event at the White House and the stories told from it are going to be very interesting later on.

Arlette Saenz, thank you so much.

All right. Joining me right now to discuss, Dr. Anand Swaminathan, an emergency medicine physician in New Jersey. So good to see you, Doctor. And happy holiday.

We -- as a country have made tremendous progress, but no one really is out of the woods just yet. Dr. Anthony Fauci says even vaccinated people may want to mask up in areas with high coronavirus transmission and low vaccination rates.

Local health officials in St. Louis and L.A. County are also encouraging residents to wear masks in indoor public spaces because of the Delta variant. So what are you telling your vaccinated patients to do?

DR. ANAND SWAMINATHAN, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: Well, I think that if you're in an area where cases are low, where vaccine rate is high and you're vaccinated, then you can go unmasked. I think that's a safe situation.

The problem is that we're not all in that situation together. There are lots of pockets in the country where vaccination rates are low, cases are spiking and they're already spiking pretty significantly.

And in those areas, even if you're vaccinated, it is safer to do that. Because if you're surrounded by the virus, it's more likely that you're going to pick it up and you can become infected even if you're vaccinated.


DR. SWAMINATHAN: Again, echoing what Dr. Fauci said, the vaccines are not 100 percent. We know they're about 90 percent for preventing any type of infection from Delta. They are really good at preventing hospitalizations and death. So that's fantastic.

But you don't even want to get any level of COVID. So I think it is safer if you're in those areas to continue to mask up. And it's to help yourself, but also as a signal to everybody else that, you know, we probably should be a little bit safer right now given the local situation that we're in.

WHITFIELD: So what are your concerns, if any, about say, the event on the White House grounds today? 1,000 people, if you're vaccinated, ok, go maskless. But if you're not vaccinated, we heard from our Arlette Saenz, people are being encouraged to wear a mask.

What kind of concerns if any do you have about the picture of what that will look like with so many people on the grounds, and like the rest of America, having to rely on kind of an honor system?

DR. SWAMINATHAN: Well, I'm concerned, one for the actual event itself. That's a lot of people to have in the same place. Given it is outdoors, that extra level of ventilation can obviously be helpful. The testing, the fact that hopefully most of those people are vaccinated. All of that will reduce the transmission at that place.

But you're right, there's an optics issue here that's concerning. It's a little bit of a signal that you can just go back to doing everything you were doing before, but that really has to be nuanced. A nuanced decision based on where you are.

I wouldn't do a large gathering outdoors in an area where vaccine rates are low where cases are already starting to spike. That doesn't seem like a good idea to me. I think in general, it's better to do small outdoor events, and honestly, the best thing to do, obviously, is to know that everyone is vaccinated. It would be great if we had that situation on the White House grounds if that was being used as an example of we've checked. Everybody who is here is vaccinated.

WHITFIELD: All right. And then there's this. I mean, this morning former FDA director Dr. Scott Gottlieb said he believes the use of masks is going to become more normal in the U.S. You know, even after this year or after the winter flu season. Do you agree? DR. SWAMINATHAN: This is an interesting question. I think some of this

will have to do with what happens with COVID even as vaccination rates increase. And we're just always going to live with a low level of COVID that's going to be in the background.

I do think masking is going to become more normalized as it is in other parts of the world. I'm hoping that people will kind of do it on their own and say, you know, I'm not feeling well and so I'm going to wear a mask when I go out to protect everybody around me.

I think that's what we would like to see. I'll tell you, Fred, I don't imagine that I will go to work again without wearing a mask when I'm in the emergency department. I think it's very unlikely that will ever happen for myself or my colleagues because what I found is not just that I've avoided COVID over the last 15 months.

I haven't gotten sick over the last 15 months. Not even a cold, not a sniffle, nothing. And I think that level of protection says something as well. I think you'll see that in a lot of health care settings, and I do think that there are going to be a lot of people who take it on themselves who say I'm not feeling well, so I'm going to wear a mask.

WHITFIELD: Yes. I feel the same way, especially when it comes down to being in public places like grocery stores, even after all of this, and then especially when traveling. Every time I'm on an airplane I feel like I've become so accustomed to what it is it wear a mask that it's harder to let it go quite frankly when in public places.

All right. Dr. Anand Swaminathan, thank you so much. Good to see you.


WHITFIELD: All right. And then we're following this breaking news out of the Vatican. Pope Francis having surgery just hours after appearing at St. Peter's Square. What we're learning about the planned medical procedure, and his recovery.

Plus what's next for voting rights in America after last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision? We'll talk about the political fallout straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: All right. This breaking news right now.

Pope Francis is undergoing surgery today for colon diverticulitis. It's an inflammatory condition caused by small sacks that develop in the walls of the colon. The Vatican says the surgical procedure on the 84-year-old pontiff was planned.

This video that you're watching was taken just hours before the Pope checked into the hospital as he conducted morning prayers in St. Peter's Square.

Dr. Anand Swaminathan is an emergency medicine physician, back with us. And CNN's Delia Gallagher is in Rome.

So Delia, you first. What do we know about the Pope's condition? What brought this on? What's happening?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well Fredricka, I'm here in front of Rome's Gemelli Hospital. We're waiting for a medical bulletin. We've been told we will have an update once the surgery is finished. And we are waiting for that.

So we assume that the surgery is either still going on or they're getting things together to give us that information.

What we do know is that five hours ago the Vatican announced that this surgery would be happening. So it came as a surprise to all of us. But importantly, as you note in their statement, they said this was scheduled surgery. And that's already an important piece of information which suggests, of course, that it wasn't an emergency.

The other important thing is that we saw the Pope at noon local time today from his window at St. Peter's Square. And he looked just fine.

Nonetheless, of course, this is a surgery under general anesthetic. The Pope is 84 years old. So it is not without its risks. But we are waiting to have the information from the doctors as to just how the surgery has gone, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Oh, fascinating. All right. Thank you, Delia.

Dr. Swaminathan, so how common is this condition? What's the recovery process after a surgery like this?

DR. SWAMINATHAN: Diverticulosis which is that kind of sacs that form, pretty common actually we get older. Many of us will develop them. The infection or the inflammation of diverticulitis is a little bit less common, but it's not unheard of. We see this pretty commonly in the emergency department.

And surgery for it again, isn't uncommon. Especially in the westernized country, this seems to be happening more and more. And this procedure is a major procedure. It is general anesthesia. It is a major abdominal surgery.


DR. SWAMINATHAN: Most of the time what they do is they're actually removing part of the colon where the problem is. So there's going to be considerable recovery here. And there is a danger based on age.

But at the same time, the fact that this is an emergency -- that it's not an emergency, that it's planned, is a good thing. That definitely reduces the risk.

But it's going to be a significant recovery. You know, how long is hard to say. In somebody who is older, it's going to be a little bit longer. That's kind of what we would expect with any major surgery.

WHITFIELD: Is this something that is detected during say a regular colonoscopy? How would someone be diagnosed?


DR. SWAMINATHAN: The diverticulosis or those sacs that form, that can be detected during a regular colonoscopy, absolutely.

Most of the time what we see, at least in the in the emergency department is patients come in with abdominal pain and we find this based on a cat scan. We find inflammation as the cause for that abdominal pain.

The little sacs that form, those can be completely asymptomatic in many people for years or even decades. And it's only found when they get their routine screening colonoscopies. And if they don't have inflammation, there's not much to do.

But when that inflammation happens, sometimes the surgeons will recommend to have a surgery performed so it doesn't create more problems down the line.

WHITFIELD: All right. We're hoping the best in his recovery.

All right. Dr. Anand Swaminathan, Delia Gallagher -- thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

All right. Straight ahead, an annual holiday tradition. We'll take you live to Coney Island and today's famous hot dog eating competition. Yes, it's back.

But first, a message from our troops.


CAPT. ERIC ANDUZE, COMMANDING OFFICER, USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT: I'm Captain Eric Anduze, commanding officer of USS Theodore Roosevelt. On behalf of the entire (INAUDIBLE) family, happy Fourth of July. We are --

CMDR. BENNETT CHRISTMAN, COMMANDING OFFICER, USS NEW HAMPSHIRE: Hi. I'm Commander Bennett Christman, commanding officer of USS New Hampshire located here in Norfolk, Virginia. My crew and I would like to wish everyone here in the United States and around the globe a safe and happy Fourth of July.

CROWD: Happy Independence Day.




WHITFIELD: All right. It's the Fourth of July. And that means fireworks, flags and frank's, hot dogs, that is.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Coney Island and also Evan McMorris-Santoro is in New York, he's in Brooklyn. Let's go to you, Evan first. Lots of excitement building.


Hi, I'm here in Greenpoint which is an old shipping terminal right across the East River from Manhattan as you can see.

This is a great metaphor for what this day means to New York. Last year this strip of concrete was turned into a drive in, the skyline drive in. During the height of COVID, people could come here, sit in their cars and watched a movie with other people without getting (INAUDIBLE) or getting near anybody.

Well, this year there are no cars. You are going to sit here, 2,000 tickets have sold. They're going to see -- they're going to watch, of course, the movie "Independence Day" later tonight. And after the movie is over, they're going to get a chance to see this amazing fireworks display right across the river in Manhattan.

It's just a sign of how much things have changed here. In fact, meeting with organizers all here at this spot in Greenpoint, they've been telling me it really feels like the pandemic is over here today. People are ready to get back out there and party like they did, you know, in the old days, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Oh my God, so many of us can't wait to see fireworks at least somewhat like what we have used to -- you know, become accustomed to experiencing over the years.

Polo, another big tradition, particularly Coney Island is that Nathan's famous hot dog eating contest. It happened today. And the winner is --

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joey Chestnut. You know, Fred, nothing says happy birthday America more than some of the world's best and biggest eaters descending on New York for what is this iconic competition and what is inarguably the best ten minutes in sports, right.

As I mentioned Chestnut holding on to that mustard belt with 76 hotdogs, Fred. Watching this play out, I should tell you about halfway through, he left the competition way behind. He was his only competition as he worked to shatter his record from last year of 75.

But today the very last second making it to 76 now, crowned as the world record holder. But look, let me tell you, talk about going back to the old days. The other big story that was playing out was in the crowd. You had a massive crowd in this baseball stadium coming together. Many of them maskless because they can.

You have a large percentage of New Yorkers now vaccinated. So as opposed to last year when this competition was held indoors without any spectators.

This year they basically filled up a large portion of that baseball field and had this -- had this massive moment in history. A clear indication that New York is has continued to come back and people continue to feel more comfortable actually making it on to the boardwalk and enjoying this Fourth of July because nothing says like I said, "Happy Birthday America" like a big hotdog here.

And if you'll allow me, I will set my own personal record, Fred, for most hotdogs devoured live on CNN by me, currently zero. We'll make it to at least 0.75 today.

We'll send it back to you.

WHITFIELD: 0.75? You're not going to eat the whole thing? Oh my God, too funny.

All right. Well, it's all -- ok, very good. Well, it's all about just the fabulous franks and fireworks. We got it all. I love that alliteration. Polo Sandoval, Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much.

And then tonight on CNN, join Don Lemon, Dana Bash, Victor Blackwell, Anna Cabrera for a star-studded evening of music and fireworks. In fact, here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, let's get ready. America is open. It's time to celebrate.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Full on fireworks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With coast to coast performances from Bebe Rexha, Billy Ray Cyrus, Black Eyed Peas, Blues Traveler, Brad Paisley, Chicago, Flo Rida, Foreigner, Neyo, Nelly, REO Speedwagon, Sammy Hagar and the Circle, Susanna Hoffs, The Beach Boys, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Trisha Yearwood and more.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: It's going to be amazing.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: Join Don Lemon, Dana Bash, Victor Blackwell and Anna Cabrera for the Fourth in America. Live tonight at 7, on CNN.

BASH: You don't want to miss it.



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: This Fourth of July as the nation celebrates Independence and explosion of concerns about the rights of voters and access especially on the heels of last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In a 63, the justices upheld two provisions of an Arizona law that restrict how ballots can be cast. In a statement, President Biden said he was quote, deeply disappointed with the ruling adding quoting now, the court has now done severe damage to two of the most important provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a law that took years of struggle and strife to secure.

[14:35:20] Ron Brownstein is a CNN senior political analyst and senior editor for the Atlantic, Ron so good to see you on this holiday. So is this ruling giving GOP lawmakers in states across the country the green light to continue passing new restrictive voting laws?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, Happy Fourth to you and everybody watching. I would say, this is not only a green light. This is a starter's bill for the Republicans in the state. And it really puts the onus now clearly on Democrats in Congress, you know, we have seen this proliferation of laws in red states, by the way, almost all passing on an entirely party line basis with every Republican voting yes and every Democrat voting no, together it is the broadest assault on voting rights is before the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

What's clear is that Democrats don't have the votes in the states to stop these laws. That's going to be clear again in Texas when they come back for a special session in a few days. What the Supreme Court made clear is that the courts, this six to three Republican majority on the Supreme Court is highly unlikely to constrain these laws in any meaningful way. And what that leaves, leaves one last lever for Democrats, their control of Congress allows them to set national, a national floor of voting rights.

And I think what the Court has said, and what Elena Kagan said in her dissent essentially was, we have done all we can here, now it is up to you whether you are going to push back against this and that will require a change in Senate rules to end the filibuster at least for voting rights legislation.

WHITFIELD: Right, putting the pressure on Congress saying it's your responsibility now. You wrote --


WHITFIELD: -- at least for "The Atlantic" after that ruling handed down. And you made the case that Democrats really only have one option left and I'm going to pull out a portion of it, the only way Democrats can reverse the wave of restrictive voting laws in GOP controlled states is to pass new federal voting rights by curtailing the Senate filibuster. That's at the core. I mean it's going to take ending the filibuster, which means Democratic Senators Manchin and Sinema have to be swayed. Can that realistically happen?

BROWNSTEIN: They now face the weight of history. I think everything points to the right. There is not -- there is no fig leaf for them to hide behind anymore. You know, they could have said let's see how this plays out in the courts. I think they now have a very good preview that the six Republican appointed justices who as President Biden noted back then it was five in 2013 eviscerated the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act, now have followed that by weakening the remaining legal provisions Section 2 that allowed you to sue after the fact.

So Manchin that Sinema really have no place to hide at this point. The choice in front of them is very stark. Do you protect minority rights in the Senate by, you know, enabling the filibuster? Or do you protect minority rights in the country by defending the right to vote? And I think they are very much in the eye of history in the choice that they make.

WHITFIELD: All right, let's now talk about the January 6th Select Committee still taking shape. Just two House Republicans crossed party lines this week to vote for a Select Committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection. Speaker Pelosi picked one of those GOP lawmakers, Liz Cheney, to be on the Committee. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said when he has some news on choosing five members, he will let everyone know. I mean, how did you interpret that? And what happens if he decides to pick no one?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, well, first, I mean, this is all, Fred, I think people understand, this is all part of the same continuum. What's happening in the States, what's happening on the January 6th commission, what happened on January 6th itself are all part of a challenge to the fundamental underpinnings of our democracy in a way that we have not seen. On July 4th, we are celebrating kind of our common heritage. But what we are seeing in practice around us is continuing evidence that those basic Democratic small principles of American government are really under the greatest threat they have been since the Civil War.

And Kevin McCarthy, you know, Republicans have done everything they can to avoid a full accounting of what happened on January 6th. We saw in the revelations last week from Arizona that Trump's efforts to undermine the election by pressuring local election officials went beyond Georgia included Maricopa County in Arizona. But there's a lot we don't know as Donald Rumsfeld who passed last week might have said, there are known unknowns about all the things that happened in the post-election period.

McCarthy in a party with three quarters of the voters said they believe Trump's claims of fraud were most House Republicans voted in effect to overturn the results. He is operating on a very short leash and he wants to avoid this reckoning, is looking at what Trump did. You can you can certainly make the case that especially because Trump is leaving open the possibility of trying to seek the power of the presidency again in 2024, Americans deserve a much more full accounting of what he did with presidential power when he had it. And this January 6th commission may be one step in that direction.


WHITFIELD: And who can forget that so often while Trump was in office, the questions was, or what does he have to hide? And now that very same question is being asked of Kevin McCarthy who would not want this January 6th commission, who would not, who seemingly doesn't want to be a party to making that Committee happen? Now the questions are, well, what does he or what do others on the Hill have to hide that they wouldn't wanted?

BROWNSTEIN: It's such a strange circumstance.

WHITFIELD: Yes. BROWNSTEIN: Yes. It's such a strange circumstance where the decision makers are also potential witnesses.

WHITFIELD: Right. All right, Ron Brownstein, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: Having holiday.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks Fred, happy holiday.

WHITFIELD: All right. And we'll have more news in a moment. But first, here's today's Off The Beaten Path.


BRAD NORMAND, RANGER, BRUNEAU DUNES STATE PARK: Welcome to Bruneau Dunes State Park. We are about an hour south of Boise. And behind me stands the single largest structured sand dune in North America and it stands 470 feet tall. Sand boarding and sand sledding has gained a lot of traction here recently. We wax up the boards and it just really helps them gain some speed on the sand there. I think people are just kind of discovering this new activity, and you can't do it anywhere else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This section of the Snake River, we have the best of both worlds. I'm sitting here in front of Blue Heart Springs. It's a hidden cove where the springs come up from the bottom. Because of the crystal clear water and the sunlight, it just transforms it into a blue jam.

The water comes up year round at a constant 58 degrees. So when you're swimming in it, you get really chill. Then on the other side of the river, we have natural hot spring Banbury Hot Springs, we've piped it into pools to get warmed back up.

WALLACE KECK, SUPERINTENDENT, CITY OF ROCKS NATIONAL RESERVE: We're in south central Idaho where granite has been uncovered to aeons of erosion to give us these giant monoliths on the surface of the earth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you play something?


KECK: City Rocks has become one of the more popular places to rock climb in the country, 23 square miles of granite outcrops towers, pinnacle's just spread out before you can just take in the vastness of it.




WHITFIELD: All right, a frightening shark attack off the coast of Catalina Island, a brave boy scout nearly lost his finger when the shark slammed into his troop's canoe. What happened next involve teamwork and strength mixed with lots of adrenaline. Here's Stacey Butler from our Los Angeles affiliate KCBS-KCAL.


EDDIE CAHILL, SHARK ATTACK SURVIVOR: Something slammed into the bottom of the boat and lifted the canoe up and then slammed us back down into the water.

STACEY BUTLER, ANCHOR KCBS-KCAL (voice-over): When Eddie Cahill and his dad, Daniel, were paddling their 11 person canoe filled with Boy Scouts Wednesday morning off Catalina. At first they thought they hit a rock but seconds later.

E. CAHILL: So the shark comes up and kind of hits the boat like this. My hand is maybe here, so I'm reaching down. The shark comes up. I saw it slides against the boat like that, and it's my hand is there and then it slides down and resubmerges. At that moment I was freaking out because I don't want to capsize and I didn't want any of the other scouts to get in the water.

BUTLER (voice-over): His dad in the back of the canoe started to panic.

DANIEL CAHILL, FATHER: Oh, it's a shark, row, row, you know, and we'll start rowing, digging. And it is like I lost my paddle. And then I hear, I think I lost my finger.

BUTLER (voice-over): Adrenaline kicked in. Eddie saw the blood but didn't feel the pain. His dad and assistant scoutmaster and nine members of Troop 176 from Riverside paddled back to shore like their lives depended on it.

E. CAHILL: It cut the ligaments in the hand that were holding the finger in place so my fingers kind of hang down.

BUTLER (voice-over): The star scout was taken by helicopter to Harbor- UCLA Medical Center where he underwent surgery. He and his dad are grateful for what didn't happen.

D. CAHILL: He kind of keep his hand and the ship, the boat didn't turnover and kids didn't end up in the water and I'm thankful for that.

E. CAHILL: I didn't even really lose a finger. I, you know, damaged my hand pretty badly, but I think I will make a almost full recovery. But I could have lost multiple fingers. I could have lost my entire hand. I could have lost my life.


WHITFIELD: All right, thanks to a Stacey Butler from KCBS-KCAL for that report, pretty close call.

All right, still to come, a firework show derailed hours before the big show. Why a Fourth of July celebration was cancelled at the last minute. But first, the pandemic has made telemedicine visits more popular than ever. Here's today's Mission Ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The use of telemedicine exploded during the pandemic and some startups are using that momentum to innovate.

DEDI GILAD, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, TYTOCARE: My youngest daughter suffered from a lot of ear and throat infection and I found myself doing a lot of unnecessary travel to the tuition to really take care of her. And then the thinking was, how can I make this entire interaction from home?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dedi Gilad co-founded the telemedicine tech company, Tytocare, which developed a home medical kit that allows doctors to see inside a patient's ears and throat, even listen to their heart and lungs remotely.



GILAD: With our kit, you can really give the physician a remote hand and ears and eyes at the patient home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gilad says during the peak of the pandemic, they saw a 400 percent increase in demand for their home diagnostic kits. Other telemedicine startups like Kiira Health are reaching new patients by specializing in virtual care for young women in college, especially women of color.

CRYSTAL ADESANYA, FOUNDER & CEO, KIIRA HEALTH: Black and Brown women historically have had a lot of barriers to healthcare. And a lot of times students don't feel comfortable going in because they do not see a provider who looks like them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The company finds physicians with diverse backgrounds to pair with the specific communities they serve. Kiira says it currently works with 3,000 students with plans to expand up to 22,000 students later this year. But despite significant growth, it's unclear whether these new approaches in virtual care will find success once the pandemic ends.

JOHN BATSIS, MD, UNC SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I think the big thing that we need to think about is, do these devices work? And we don't know. There needs to be a lot more research and a lot more validation. But I think we'll get there.




WHITFIELD: Frightening moments. All official firework shows now in Ocean City, Maryland, are being called off after that accidental explosion. Experts were setting up for Fourth of July show on the beach when the fireworks just went off unintentionally. Officials say the decision to call off the show was made out of an abundance of caution. Several employees in fact suffered from minor injuries because of that. It's unclear why the fireworks went off. But officials say the safety protocols in place kept anyone else from being hurt.

All right, and with her Olympic dreams likely dashed by a positive marijuana test. American sprinter, Sha'Carri Richardson, is vowing to continue her track career tweeting to her supporters, I'm sorry, I can't be you all Olympic champ this year but I promise I'll be your world champ next year. Richardson's Olympic trials results were automatically disqualified following the positive test. And she will not be allowed to participate in the 100 meter race at the Olympics later on this month. That was her specialty. Many thought she's probably going to be the gold medalist in that. She has since apologized saying, she consumes the marijuana after learning her biological mother passed away and that was her coping mechanism.

President Biden is now praising her handling of the controversy.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The rules are the rules. And everybody knows what the rules were going in whether they should remain that that should remain the rules a different issue. But the rules are rules. And I was really proud of her, the way she responded.


WHITFIELD: So it's still unclear whether Richardson will miss the games altogether, she may still be eligible to compete in another event such as the 4 by 100 meter relay, that decision will be largely up to the USA Track and Field.

All right, an Atlanta woman got a rude awakening when an exotic cat leapt into her bed. Kristine Frank says the cat known as a Serval. I hope I'm saying that right, which is native to Africa, got inside her home while she slept after her husband left a door open while walking the couple's dog.

Frank says the cat got within six inches of her face. She was able to scare the wild animal off and then snap these photos.


KRISTINE FRANK, WOKE UP TO A WILD CAT IN HER BED: This could have gone horribly different. I have an elderly dog. I'm lucky I don't have any small children anymore. I don't know what this cat, this is a wild animal. And they shouldn't be pets.


WHITFIELD: OK, so still unclear where this cat came from. Frank believes that it does belong to someone in the area. But wild cats like this one are illegal to own in the state of Georgia. The Department of Natural Resources is now trying to capture the feline home invader.

And now a few Fourth of July messages from our troops. Yes, this is back too.


CAPT. ERIC ANDUZE, COMMANDING OFFICER, USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT: I'm Captain Eric Anduze, Commanding Officer of USS Theodore Roosevelt. On behalf of the entire big stick family, Happy Fourth of July. We are Theodore.

BENNETT CHRISTMAN, COMMANDING OFFICER, USS NEW HAMPSHIRE: Hi. I'm Commander Bennett Christman, Commanding Officer of USS New Hampshire located here in Norfolk, Virginia. My crew and I would like to wish everyone here in the United States and around the globe, a safe and Happy Fourth of July.

CROWD: Happy Fourth of July.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Poznan, Poland in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the soldiers of the First Infantry Division and First Cavalry Division wish you Happy Fourth of July.

LT. COL. ANGELO FERNANDEZ, 16TH SPACE CONTROL SQUADRON: I'm Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Fernandez with the 16th Space Control Squadron.


FERNANDEZ: And on behalf of the United States Space Force.

CROWD: Happy Fourth of July.


CROWD: Happy Fourth of July.

CROWD: Happy Fourth of July.

CROWD: Happy Fourth of July.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy Fourth of July.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy Independence Day from our family to yours. God bless America.