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Spread of Delta Variant of COVID-19 Causing Outbreaks across U.S., Especially in Low Vaccinated Areas; Missouri Health Administrator Discusses Rapid Increase in Hospitalizations and Ventilator Use Due to Spike in Coronavirus Cases; Confederate Statues of Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson Taken Down In Charlottesville, Virginia. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 10, 2021 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[10:00:23]

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the Newsroom.

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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER: The message is loud and clear. Come the fall, we want the children back in school, in person.

PAUL: The CDC updates its guidance on schools, prioritizing in-person learning, even if all COVID-19 safety measures are not in place. This amid new questions over whether vaccinated people will need booster shots.

Flight of the future. Billionaire Richard Branson is just hours away from flying to the edge of space.

RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER, VIRGIN GROUP: Never been more excited in my life.

PAUL: We've got all the details on how this decades-in-the-making mission is supposed to unfold.

Southwest sizzler.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got the pool ready for the weekend. So we're going to be taking it easy poolside.

PAUL: Parts of the country are baking under triple digit temperatures. The major cities that could see temperatures as high as 115 degrees today.

It will be an Olympic Games like no other.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In order to prevent the spread, this was the choice only available for us to take. I hope that you understand it.

PAUL: Just two weeks until the start of the games, organizers say spectators will not be allowed in. and that has some athletes pulling out. Newsroom starts right now.

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PAUL (on camera): We are grateful to have your company on this Saturday morning. It is Saturday, July 10th, in fact. I'm Christi Paul. Good morning, Boris.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez. You are live in the CNN Newsroom, and we're grateful to have you.

We start with a warning from health officials this morning. The spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is leading to many outbreaks across the country. Twenty-seven states reporting an uptick in COVID-19 cases over the last week. The Delta variant now the most prevalent strain in the United States, spreading in areas, not surprisingly, with low vaccination rates.

PAUL: Now, there are questions about how long vaccinated Americans will remain protected here. Pfizer says it plans to seek emergency use authorization for a booster shot, and to do so as early as next month, while the FDA says booster shots are not needed at this time. So a bit of confusion there. CDC is calling on schools to promote vaccinations, though. We know yesterday, health officials issued guidance, saying in-person schooling is a priority in the fall.

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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER: Obviously, depending upon the age of the children, some will be vaccinated, some not. Those who are not vaccinated should be wearing masks. The CDC says they'd like to maintain the three-foot distance, and if they can't, they're going to work around it, do other things, make sure there's good ventilation. The message is loud and clear. Come the fall, we want the children back in school, in person.

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PAUL: It's not just schools. States, and the federal government are working to get vaccination numbers up, as well. CNN's Polo Sandoval is live in Little Rock, Arkansas. And there is a reason for that, because Arkansas is one of the states where vaccination rates are low, the number of COVID cases are really on the rise there. These numbers are skyrocketing at this point, are they not, Polo?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Christi, a hospital official who you spoke to just a couple hours ago here on CNN I thought put it best here, and really describes how critical the situation here is. That hospital official, who you'll hear from again in just a few moments here, said that currently Arkansas is in the upward swing of a third coronavirus wave. So that certainly says a lot here.

And here's what we've seen play out. About a month ago, according to the Governor Asa Hutchinson, the numbers were looking good. Cases were on the way down. COVID vaccinations were on their way up. But then in the last few weeks, that vaccination rate, it seemed to have stalled at only about 40 percent. And when it comes to cases, those are on the rise, and many of those having to do with the dreaded Delta variant.

Now, back to Dr. Cam Patterson, I want you to hear directly from him how he describes what he is currently seeing right now in his hospital here in the state of Arkansas.

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DR. CAM PATTERSON, CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FOR MEDICAL SCIENCES: We're seeing almost a doubling on a weekly basis of the number of hospitalized patients. We cracked 300 last week. We'll break 500 today. We're seeing sicker patients. We're seeing younger patients. Here at UAMS, 20 percent of our admitted patients were pregnant moms. This is a serious, serious issue.

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SANDOVAL: So you've heard the situation characterized from one health professional here. But then you look at the maps also. And when you look at vaccine hesitancy, specifically here in the state of Arkansas, you can see that authorities, health officials here in this state are certainly swimming against the current here in their mission to try to convince the remainder of residents to get the vaccine.

[10:05:04]

And there have been many conversations taking place here, Boris and Christi, about possibly offering more incentives to residents. But we also heard from the governor just yesterday saying that incentives like offering lottery tickets or free hunting licenses only took them so far, and how he described it, how the governor described it, only provided limited success. So now, it's all about going down to the basics and having a heart to heart with many of the residents here that are still hesitant to take this vaccine, to get this vaccine, and, Christi and Boris, as the governor said, convince people that that is their main way of protecting not only themselves but their families. And if you don't want to hear the governor's message, then just look at the numbers. Over 90 percent of active COVID cases are those that are not currently fully protected by a vaccine. That says it all.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Polo, the experts have warned us, and we're seeing it in the numbers now, that there are going to be two Americas, the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Polo Sandoval reporting from Little Rock, thank you so much.

Another pocket of the country where the Delta variant is driving up COVID cases is Missouri. Less than half of all adults there are fully vaccinated. The daily case rate rising 60 percent over the last two weeks. Federal help has started to arrive. The first surge team member is now in Springfield where one hospital actually had to transfer some COVID patients because of a staffing shortage. I want you to listen to Missouri Governor Mike Parson talking about the state of things this week in Missouri.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. MIKE PARSON, (R) MISSOURI: We're all concerned about the spike in the Delta variant. But to try to mislead people like we're in a crisis is totally misleading. We're not in a crisis mode in this state.

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SANCHEZ: Joining us now is Erik Frederick. He's the chief administrative officer at Mercy Hospital in Springfield. Erik, thank you so much for spending time with us this morning. I'm curious as to how you would describe the state of COVID in Missouri. How close are you to crisis mode, as the governor described it?

ERIK FREDERICK, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER, MERCY HOSPITAL: Thank you, Boris. Appreciate the time this morning. We started off today with 133 COVID positive patients in our hospital, 149 when you look at our rural hospitals that surround the area. I would say, locally, in our facility, in our health care system in southwest Missouri, we are absolutely stretched further than we were last year. And I would say it's a managed crisis at this point for sure. We're seeing things that we didn't see last year at a pace that is almost unbelievable, you look at how quickly this accelerated.

SANCHEZ: And your hospital specifically had to ask for help last weekend because of high demand. You had to ask nearby cities and states for ventilators. Governor Parson called it a management problem, saying that the state does not have a ventilator shortage. Help us understand what happened and if you need more assistance right now.

FREDERICK: Sure. I'm sure the governor was responding based on the information that he was given. But basically what happened last weekend is we had an acceleration in the use of ventilators, faster than some of our more seasoned health care professionals had ever seen. We went from the 30s to almost 50 in about 48 to 72 hours.

Now, our plan allows us to reach out to our other Mercy hospitals and pull equipment in, and so what we saw was that escalation happened so quickly that we had to activate that plan a lot faster than last year. Just to put that in perspective, from June 1st, we had 26 patients in house. We hit 128 yesterday, as I said, 133 today. So in 39 days, we made that acceleration. Last year, it took us from September 1st to our peak on December 28th to go from 24 to 113. So 150 days. We eclipsed that this year in 39 days.

And so when that happens, you've got to move your plan a lot faster. I've said we were never in a point where we were in jeopardy of not having the equipment for patients, but we had to rally our resources must faster than we thought we would last year. And we used up all of our bedside ventilators but had some more on hand should we have needed them. So we were fine from an equipment standpoint, but we were definitely tested. I refer back to what Mike Tyson said, everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face. We got punched in the face, but really proud of how our team took that punch and recovered and adjusted our plan, and we move forward, and we're still caring for the community. SANCHEZ: Now, Erik, would you draw a straight line between the rates

of people who are vaccinated in parts of the country that aren't seeing these sorts of issues, and the low rates of vaccinated people in Missouri and the issues that you're facing now?

FREDERICK: It's impossible not to, Boris, if you ask me. And you look at what's happening around the country in areas where there are very low case numbers, very high vaccination rates. Ours is the inverse of that. We are seeing our numbers -- historical numbers of cases, and our local vaccination rate is still sitting around 38 percent.

[10:10:02]

A couple big hospitals here in Springfield that serve a very large, rural community, and some of the counties that we serve are still in the teens with their vaccination rates. And so when you look at that, and you couple it with the age of patients we're seeing, it's a much younger demographic than we saw last year. And we know that when we look at the acceptance rates of vaccines, younger folks are less likely to take the vaccine. And so what we're seeing is more younger patients, sicker patients, 91 percent of our ICU patients today are on ventilators, and that's shocking to us to have that kind of number. Last year during the peak, it was around 40 percent to 50 percent of ICU patients would be on ventilators. And these are young patients. We had them in their 20s, 30s, 40s. Again, it's alarming. So direct line to the vaccination rates.

SANCHEZ: And Erik, I want to ask you about something Governor Parson said. It seems that he is mischaracterizing a federal effort to get people vaccinated. He said, quote, "Sending government employees or agents door-to-door to compel vaccination would not be an effective or welcome strategy in Missouri." That's not actually what the White House is doing. They're not compelling people to get vaccinated. They're trying to educate people, explaining that the vaccine is safe, and, as we're seeing in the numbers, that it helps protect people.

FREDERICK: Yes. I think our message here locally with our health system and across our ministry throughout the Midwest has been educate people around the vaccine. That is absolutely what we're focused on. I know there's a lot of other things, and we still encourage people to, especially if they're not vaccinated, wear a mask, distance, stay out of large crowds, those kinds of things. But we know educating people on the vaccine, demystifying some of the things that are out there relative to what they think or what they're afraid of, is absolutely key.

And from my perspective, all the help we can get will be welcome. It's a large area, and if we can get people out there talking and listening to their doctors, that's one of the things that we've been saying is talk to your physicians. You know you trust them for your health. Talk to them. They will educate you and talk to you about the vaccine. So I think it's critical. And, again, from my perspective, given what we're seeing here in southwest Missouri and inside the walls of our hospitals, we'll take all the help we can get.

SANCHEZ: It is a critical time to cut through misinformation, and we appreciate you joining us this morning to do just that. Erik Frederick, thank you for the time, and we appreciate your work.

FREDERICK: Thank you, Boris.

PAUL: So let's go to Charlottesville, Virginia, because they have now taken down two Confederate statues this morning. This is after nearly four years of failed efforts to remove the controversial symbols. Both served as a flashpoint for the 2017 Unite the Right rally that left a protester dead. Heather Heyer was her name. CNN's Evan McMorris- Santoro is with us from Charlottesville. Evan, talk to us about what you saw this morning.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, you're right absolutely right. It took a very long time to get to today. The process of removing these statues began in 2016. But actually pulling them down hasn't taken that long. We're out here at 7:00 a.m. The statue of Robert E. Lee is already down. And now you can see behind me, the back of General Stonewall Jackson and the business end of the horse he's been sitting on for a century here in Charlottesville, Virginia. That was on a podium just a few minutes ago. That's not in the back of a truck to be driven away to a mutual facility. It will be held for a while until the city figures out who will take them.

I want the viewers at home to listen and watch this video of the statue coming down of Robert E. Lee earlier today. It gives a sense of what the feeling is like here in Charlottesville today.

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MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So we heard similar cheers when Stonewall Jackson came down, as well. The people in this town have been through a lot when it comes to these statues. It hasn't been controversial in Charlottesville taking them down for a long time. The controversy came from outside. That's where the legal battles came from. That's where the groups came from that came here to have the Unite the Right rally that led to the death of Heather Heyer. That wasn't Charlottesville stuff. This is what Charlottesville wanted, and now they've got it. Christi?

PAUL: Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you for helping us understand what was happening there today and painting the scene for us. Appreciate it.

So still to come, listen, it is another unrelenting heatwave threatening parts of the western U.S. this weekend. Scientists, in fact, are worried that extreme temperatures have become just part of the norm. We're talking to an expert regarding the long-term impact to that region.

SANCHEZ: Plus, billionaire Richard Branson trying to make history tomorrow 50 miles above the earth. We're going to preview what you can expect to see as a billionaire heads to space.

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SANCHEZ: We are just about 18 minutes past the hour, and the so-called billionaire space race may soon be over. In less than 24 hours, Richard Branson is set to head into space on a supersonic space plane made by his own company, Virgin Galactic.

PAUL: Now, if successful, he'll beat former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos by nine days. Here's what Branson had to say.

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RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER, VIRGIN GROUP: Yes, never been more excited in my life. And the wonderful team who are coming up with me are equally so.

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SANCHEZ: CNN's Rachel Crane is live in New Mexico this morning. Rachel, there's a big heatwave out west. Is there any indication that that weather might play a role in this launch?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Boris, I can tell you right now that it is pretty hot here at Space Port, America, in New Mexico. But luckily, the weather specifications for this flight don't really surround heat. It's more about wind. So the crosswinds, the headwinds, the tailwinds, this is actually, it takes off from a very large, like, aircraft. It's theoretically a rocket-powered space plane, for lack of a better description.

[10:20:00]

The spaceship, the SS Unity, has made into the mothership, Eve, and it travels around 40,000 feet in the air before the rocket-powered space plane is released. That's when the rocket engine will blast it off to the edge of the space, and the space flight participants, including Richard Branson and the two pilots, they will experience a few minutes of weightlessness before gliding back to earth.

So right now, all systems are a go here at Space Port, America. Yesterday, it was a bevy of activity. We were behind the gates here, and there were tents being erect erected, fences, buses. It was hundreds of people milling about, getting ready for the space flight itself, and also have the event surrounding the space flight. Because, of course, in typical Richard Branson fashion, he is making this a big spectacle. Lots of VIPs coming to the area. They'll be live musical performances. Stephen Colbert is hosting a webcast, simulcast of the launch.

But Boris and Christi, it's important to remember that this is still a test flight that Richard Branson is getting on. Virgin Galactic will not begin their commercial operations until 2022. And as a result, they're taking a few extra safety precautions for this flight. I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Moses, who is the president of safety for Virgin Galactic. Take a listen to what he had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE MOSES, PRESIDENT, VIRGIN GALACTIC SPACE MISSIONS AND SAFETY: So on this flight, everybody will be wearing a parachute. And it's there for a case that is pretty unrealistic and very low probability. We test on the ground. We verify that that doesn't happen. But it's also not zero, right, and so we want to give that extra level of control. We haven't determined exactly how long the safety measure is going to stay in place, but for this flight, we'll be taking some of those extra steps, extra oxygen and parachutes.

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CRANE: Now, Boris and Christi, today the crew, mission control, are on the ground. They'll be going through rehearsals before that take-off that the world is eager to watch tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. eastern, 7:00 a.m. local. Boris, Christi?

SANCHEZ: It will be a spectacle, that's for sure. Rachel Crane from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, thank you so much.

So if all goes according to plan, Branson will become the first founder of a space company to get there in a vehicle that he helped fund. The livestreamed event is being hosted by comedian Stephen Colbert and singer Khalid is going to be on hand debuting a new song at the landing site.

Here to discuss the race to space is CNN aerospace analyst Miles O'Brien. He is also a science correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. Miles, thanks so much for coming on with us. Branson, as Rachel alluded, has never shied away from stunts. He drove an amphibious car across the English Channel while wearing a tuxedo. There he is. He repelled from a building while drinking champagne. He also launched Virgin Cola by driving a tank through Times Square. He says he is not worried. Walk us through what this experience is going to be like for him.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AEROSPACE ANALYST: Well, he certainly does have a gift for attracting attention, doesn't he, Boris? He doesn't really need to buy advertising ever. He is a one-man P.R. operation.

When he says he's not worried and he feels like it's not that risky, it all depends on where you set the bar, right, Boris? This is a guy who is trying to circumnavigate the globe in hot air balloons unsuccessfully a couple of times, has had to be fished out of the Atlantic Ocean after capsizing a high-speed cigarette boat that he was trying to set a speed record across the ocean. He obviously likes to push the envelope.

So when he says, oh, this seems safe, for him, that's probably true. But I think many people in the audience might have a different level, might set the bar at a different place.

SANCHEZ: Some hits, some misses, understandable when you take risks like that. So the flight is set to last about an hour-and-a-half. Help us understand the new approach to reaching space. Rachel explained some of the dynamics in the way that this is going to work, but how feasible is this for space travel as a method to get folks into orbit, or close to into orbit?

O'BRIEN: Yes, it's actually tried and true. A company called Orbital has been doing this for years. It is basically a big carrier aircraft with the space rocket, the actual vehicle that will go to the edge of space beneath it. They fly to about 50,000 feet, they separate, you light the rocket, and off you go. And basically, what that does is it allows you to make the portion of this vehicle that is going to space much lighter because it doesn't have to get all the way up to 50,000 feet on its own. So it makes it a little more simple to design the craft. And it's a little different way to go. It's not the traditional space shuttle or, for that matter, Falcon 9 approach to getting to space. But it'll get you there, at least to the edge of it.

[10:25:05]

SANCHEZ: And how realistic, how feasible is it that this is going to be the beginning of space tourism?

O'BRIEN: Well, it depends on how things go, of course. And to have somebody like Richard Branson who attracts so much attention strap aboard a vehicle and take a ride is going to be a pivotal moment. If everything goes well, we could be on the cusp of a whole newer era. And of course, Jeff Bezos on July 20th is going to do the same with his vehicle. And so the combination of these two programs getting under way in a very public way could usher in an era where we're going to see a lot of rich people, frankly, going to space, at least for brief periods of time. And the hope is that, step by step, this leads to making it a little less expensive for larger numbers of people to experience this. And when that happens, suddenly, low-earth orbit, space becomes a place where there's real entrepreneurship and a viable economic enterprise.

SANCHEZ: Yes, someday, we will pop a bottle of champagne, you and I, up there in sub-orbital space. Miles O'Brien, thanks so much for the time.

O'BRIEN: Let's do it. Let's do it.

PAUL: Don't forget me. I want in on that one.

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Listen, coming up, there is a dangerous heatwave that is scorching the west. We're talking about places like Las Vegas and Death Valley could hit all-time highs. Temperatures could top 115 degrees, for instance. We're going to talk about it next.

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PAUL: So relentless, stifling heat is gripping a good chunk of the western U.S. right now. The threat of another record-breaking heatwave has more than 30 million of you on alert. And we know temperatures are expected to reach well into triple digits.

SANCHEZ: In California, residents are being asked to conserve power and water. And get this, temperatures could surpass 130 degrees in Death Valley. CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is live in the CNN weather center. Allison, these temperatures are surreal, 130 degrees.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. And that's rare, even for this area. Again, when you think about the hottest place in the U.S., this is typically the region that you think of. But even for them, this is well above where they normally would be this time of year. You have the heat advisories out that stretch from northern Washington state all the way down to the Arizona-Mexico border, and a lot of the area in between. So this is encompassing a pretty good portion of the country.

One thing to note, this is a day after some records were already broken. Needles, California, picking up at 120 yesterday, breaking that record there. Las Vegas topping out at 116, 109 in Sacramento. Grand Junction topping out at 107, that was their all-time record for that area, not just for that particular day.

And we talked about it, Death Valley hitting 130 degrees yesterday. They could hit that again today and maybe even again tomorrow. This is important because if that's the case, that would be the three-day stretch. That's never happened before. In fact, they've only ever hit at least 130 degrees two other years in historical records, one of them actually being last year. More records are anticipated not just today but also tomorrow and even Monday. And again, not just in Death Valley, but all these dots you see here are locations that could end up breaking some record highs. Again, we're not just talking a couple of degrees above normal. For some of these places, it's 10, even 15 degrees above normal, including Las Vegas and Phoenix. Take a look at Las Vegas. Boris and Christi, they could hit 117 today. If they do, that will break their all-time record high.

PAUL: All right, Allison Chinchar, thank you for the heads up. We certainly appreciate it.

And we cannot gloss over the fact that, look, 200 people died as a result of that record-setting heat wave in the pacific northwest late last month, 116 of those people who died were in Oregon. Officials there describing a loss of life as a mass casualty event, consistent with worst-case climate models.

Dr. Jennifer Vines is with us now. She's the lead health officer from Multnomah County in Portland, Oregon. Doctor, thank you so much for being with us. We certainly appreciate it. Can you give us a sense of what things are like right there now, please?

DR. JENNIFER VINES, MULTNOMAH COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER: Yes, so we mounted an enormous response in anticipation of the three days of triple-digit heat we experienced in late June. And we are still making sense of what happened here. So despite intensive outreach and 24/7 cooling centers, we are at 71 suspected heat deaths in my county, which is just under a million people, 46 of those confirmed and counting, I'm sorry to say. PAUL: What do we know about these people that have passed? There is an

assumption that they are living in vulnerable conditions. Would you say that that's accurate?

VINES: Yes. So we are completing an analysis right now. There's been enormous interest in this from a government perspective in terms of what we might do differently next time, but also, the public wants to know how this happened and who it happened to. So what we know so far is that it's majority men, predominantly white, and across the board, social isolation and a lack of air-conditioning are very consistent findings. And we'll be releasing our report early this week -- next week, I mean.

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PAUL: I understand that you have cooling centers at the Oregon Convention Center. How effective are they? And talk to us about who is showing up at these centers, and how long can they stay.

VINES: So we did open cooling centers starting during the heat advisory, which stretched from the Friday to the Monday, July 25th through the following Monday. These were 24/7 by design so that people would not have to go back and forth in the heat. They really welcomed everybody. And we also had several library branches opening with extended hours into the evening or the hottest part of the day. It was definitely clear that people, unfortunately living on our streets, did take advantage of them. We encouraged everyone to have a plan to stay cool, so we can't say how many deaths or hospitalizations we prevented, but we felt like we really brought the full public health response to this heat emergency.

PAUL: I know that you've predicted that we're going to see more casualties from heat-related incidents like this. So going through this, there's always a lesson to learn. How do you think you are better armed to deal with more of this in the future?

VINES: Well, I think we'll be learning more in the days and weeks to come as we finish combing through these deaths and other data that we have. I think we've learned a difficult lesson here in the temperate pacific northwest, that heat can be deadly and people need to take it very seriously. And we need to be checking on each other. So we as local governments certainly have an obligation to do all we can to get the word out to our population and protect them, but it's going to take all of us looking out for each other, making sure people get checked on and have a cooling plan in place next time this happens.

PAUL: Is there a place people can call if they are in trouble and they do need help, other than 911, or is that just your suggestion, to call 911 specifically?

VINES: So we actually connected people through 211, which is our local information clearing house, and that connected them to cooling center information, free transportation to cooling centers. And we had our help for when it's hot website on our county location where we directed people as well.

PAUL: Dr. Jennifer Vines, you're doing really important work there. Thank you for taking time to explain it to us. Best of luck to you.

VINES: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: This just in to CNN, we have got an update from Surfside, Florida -- 86 people have now been confirmed dead following the collapse of the Champlain Towers South. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava providing that update just a short time ago. Forty-three people remain unaccounted for as teams continue searching through the pile of rubble, now more than two weeks after the tragedy. Other buildings in that area now under intense scrutiny. The downtown Miami courthouse has temporarily been shut down because of safety concerns related to that building's structure.

Meantime, at this hour, crews in Washington are removing the remaining metal fencing around the U.S. capitol more than six months after the insurrection. There are still questions, though, about how to protect the building and lawmakers against new threats of violence. An update next.

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[10:42:52]

SANCHEZ: More than six months after the January 6th insurrection, the fencing put up around the U.S. Capitol is starting to come down.

PAUL: Crews working to remove the fencing in Capitol Square say the process is expected to take several days. It should be completed by Monday morning.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Still building access restrictions because of COVID-19 will remain in place, and Capitol police have made clear that, should conditions warrant it, the fencing and barbed wire could be reinstalled.

PAUL: Now, the Department of Justice has released a new body cam video of really one of the most horrifying assaults during the January 6th Capitol insurrection.

SANCHEZ: The video was only released after CNN and other media outlets sued the Department of Justice for access. CNN's Marshall Cohen is live for us in Washington this morning. Marshall, very disturbing images on this footage. What more can you tell us about it?

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, good morning, Boris. Good morning, Christi. It is disturbing. This was one of the craziest and scariest scenes from January 6th where police officers were dragged into the mob and beaten viciously.

So I will warn you, this is graphic, but let's take a look at this tape. You will see one of the officers. This is the body cam of the officer who is dragged into the crowd. He's fighting with the rioters now, but you can see this guy. It's his body cam. His back is to the ground. He's facing up. You can see the line between the police and the rioters. Sticks, batons, hockey sticks, crutches, flagpoles. You can see rioters using those weapons to attack police. This officer was stuck in the middle. There was a tug-of-war between the police trying to bring him to safety and the rioters trying to, one of them said, feed him to the mob for who knows what. It was a horrifying scene. We sued to get access to this tape and others from this criminal case because it's a critical part of the story, the truth of what happened on January 6th. It's ugly. It's violent. And here it is for everyone to see, Boris and Christi.

[10:45:01]

PAUL: You're right. This is some of, really, the most disturbing video I think we've seen thus far. And we have seen a lot. I know the Justice Department issued a warning about more potential violence. What do we know about what the expectation is there? What are they watching for? And what timeline?

COHEN: Yes, that's right. This was amazing to see from the Justice Department. When I was reading these filings, it jumped off the page. They're saying that some of the Capitol rioters could be incited to more violence and pose a danger to the public and pose a danger to our democracy in the coming weeks. And it's because, possibly, of former President Trump.

Let me read you this quote. This is what prosecutors said what might fuel more violence. Quote, "Former President Trump continues to make false claims about the election, insinuate that he may be reinstated in the near future as president without another election, and minimize the violent attack on the Capitol." They went on to say, "The television networks continue to carry and report on these claims, with some actually giving credence to the false reporting." Prosecutors there calling out the right-wing media that have been breathlessly covering these false claims about the 2020 election, and former President Trump. Prosecutors are saying in clear language that rioters who want to be released from jail, rioters who want to get off their house arrest and go out into the public, some of them, they say, are too dangerous to go because if they were inspired on January 6th, they could be again because Trump is just not letting up with these conspiracies and the incitement.

PAUL: Marshall Cohen, thank you so much for walking us through what's happening there right now. Thank you.

Straight ahead, the Olympic flame is in Tokyo now. Organizers are really feeling the heat for banning spectators from a majority of events there. We're taking you live to Tokyo next.

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[10:51:25]

SANCHEZ: Packed stadiums and the roar of the crowd is going to be missing at this year's Olympics in Tokyo.

PAUL: Do you believe this? So many people were ready to sit in those stands, but Olympic organizers announced no spectators at the games after Japan announced a state of emergency due, of course, to rising cases of COVID-19. CNN's Will Ripley is live in Tokyo. So Will, it is always good to see

you. I know the games open in two weeks. How are people feeling about it there?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people here in Japan don't want the Olympics to happen at all. This has been consistent in public opinion polls for months now because they're concerned about safety due to COVID-19 and the new variants that are emerging, including the Delta variant. And the government, according to some people, has seemingly plowed ahead with holding these games because, one, they spent a lot of money to postpone them for the first time ever. And also there is the thought that athletes have been training, they've been getting ready for this, and Japan feels an obligation to put the games on and give these athletes this experience, and to show the world that there is this victory, if you will, over the virus, even though the pandemic is very much raging here in Japan and other parts of the world.

And in fact, case numbers here have been rising steadily over the last three weeks, and that's why the government decided they had no choice but to declare a fourth state of emergency since the pandemic began. And that state of emergency makes it impossible, really, for the Olympics organizers to bring 50 percent capacity into these billion- dollar, multi-billion-dollar venues Japan has built. They wanted to showcase Japan. They thought that the Olympics would bring a tourism boom which would be revitalization to their economy. And the end result here is that we're going to see an Olympics like we've never seen before, where the stands are empty, essentially, except for a handful of VIPs, sponsors, organizers, committee members, and dignitaries who basically could hear their own echo when they're applauding for the athletes.

And for the athletes themselves, obviously, it's disappointing. They can't have their families or their friends come to see them. People who spent in some cases more than $1,000 U.S. dollars a ticket aren't going to be able to attend. Even people here in Japan, whose own taxpayer dollars built these venues, aren't going to be able to participate in the game.

But Japan says, nonetheless, it's the only choice to keep this competition safe. And that's why we've taken now five COVID tests, just to get here into the country, and filled out a lot of paperwork. And that's going to be procedure moving forward, because Japan says, in the end, numbers are one thing, but lives are another.

PAUL: Wow. Will Ripley, there was so much hope that this was going to be different than what we're seeing. Thank you so much for bringing it to us. We always appreciate you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, will.

PAUL: And thank you for being with us. We always love your company in the mornings.

SANCHEZ: A hundred percent. CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield is next. But first, a quick programming note. Don't forget to watch the brand new CNN original series "The History of the Sitcom," premiering with back-to-back episodes tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific only on CNN. We leave you with a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You come home, turn on that television. What do you want? You want comedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there you go, situation comedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bazinga.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Laughter opens you up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: you talking about, Willis?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We get to know these sitcom characters. They're your friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all share these experiences.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Laughter is a great way to deal with a very tricky world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Discussing race in a sitcom, you're able to kind of take in new ideas.

[10:5502:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, hi, neighbor.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You hope that you'll have those kinds of relationships in your life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was revolutionary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Laugh out loud funny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one of the great accomplishments of the modern age.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stories behind the moments we shared. "History of the Sitcom" premieres tomorrow night at 9:00.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm out.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.