Return to Transcripts main page


Chaos Erupts During MLB Game After Shots Fired Outside Stadium; At Least 448 Shot In 36 Separate Shootings In Chicago Since Friday; COVID-19 Cases Up By 50 Percent In 30 States. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 18, 2021 - 15:00   ET


SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER: That means a lot to me. Thank you.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: The winning film "Titane" was directed by Julia Ducournau. She is the only -- only, she is rather the second female director to take home the award in its more than 80-year history.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. I thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Right now, outside the Washington National Stadium in D.C., beefed up police patrols. This, after a shooting just outside the stadium during last night's game with the San Diego Padres.

It all took plays during the sixth inning when gunfire sent fans and players scrambling for the exits, some even rushing into the team dugouts in an effort to escape.

Earlier today, the manager of the Padres tearfully recounted how it all unfolded.


JAYCE TINGLER, SAN DIEGO PADRES MANAGER: I couldn't be any more proud to be a Padre, to be -- to be with the men in there. And obviously, they're going out, they are thinking of their loved ones and they are getting their families and then, it's just human nature. There are seeing fans and seeing people in panic that they just -- they did the right thing.


WHITFIELD: Scary moment. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has more.


ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. The action is outside of the stadium. At this time, we ask that you remain in the stadium. SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Gunfire, sending fans and players scrambling during a game at Nationals Park Stadium in Washington, D.C. A fan, one of the three wounded in a shooting near the park Saturday night according to D.C. Metro Police.

CNN journalists inside the stadium reported hearing multiple loud bangs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): It was the middle of the sixth inning and we -- there were some loud bangs, but I was sitting off to the third baseline and there were some loud bangs behind us. A bunch of sort of right in a row.

But they were supposed to do fireworks after the game tonight. So, I think most people didn't think anything of it. But then suddenly, a lot of people in left field started jumping out and trying to get out of the centerfield gates.

And then for the next about eight to 10 minutes, I think people -- no one knew what was happening. We saw people hiding by -- we were sort of crouched behind our seats down the third baseline and not a lot of information.

MALVEAUX (voice over): The Nationals were playing the San Diego Padres when the shooting began.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently the news report that was coming out through the security guards is that there was a -- there was a victim that was shot outside the stadium. She ran into the stadium covered in blood, which freaked out a lot of individuals, which caused a lot of chaos and panic and people rushing back into their seats because they didn't know what was happening.

MALVEAUX (voice over): Play was interrupted in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the game is suspended until this afternoon, the Nationals said on Twitter. A message on the scoreboard initially told fans to remain inside the baseball park, but it was updated later to say it is safe for fans to leave the stadium.

At a press conference Saturday night, officials tried to reassure the public.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we believe this was an isolated incident. Again, it had nothing to do with the game itself tonight, and that it is safe to come down here and folks can come down to tomorrow night's game. They'll actually get to catch the last part of the game from tonight, and they'll get to see the game tomorrow.

MALVEAUX (voice over): Police have recovered one of the vehicles, but the others remain at large. The two other people wounded in the shooting were associated with the recovered vehicle, and are now in the hospital being questioned by police.

It's unclear what their exact involvement was in the incident, and officials said those individuals were known to law enforcement.

The fan who was shot, a female is expected to recover.

San Diego Padres star, Fernando Tatis, Jr. thanked everyone that helped after the shooting outside Nationals Park. Tatis on Twitter, "Hope everyone is safe. Just keep the prayers up. Thank you everyone that helped on the frontline. God bless."

At a press conference this morning. Nationals' manager Dave Martinez became emotional as he reflected on last night's events.

DAVE MARTINEZ, NATIONALS TEAM MANAGER: I love this city. Yes, the city is my home.

It can get crazy, we all know that, and we all want to feel safe. I can tell you that inside this ballpark, I feel safer than ever.



MALVEAUX (on camera): And Fred, it was really emotional for a lot of people here, but I talked to folks here and they are enthusiastic and excited about moving on. The game just wrapped up moments ago, the Nationals lost, four to 10. But they've got a new game, another game going on right now. So, they still have a chance to make up for it.

The D.C. Police for their part, they say they have put additional officers on patrol. They are also releasing a surveillance picture of the vehicle that they are still looking for, and offering $10,000.00 reward leading to arrest in the shooting.

But for a lot of people out here, Fred, there's still a sense of family, of friends, of getting out, being excited to be together. They're not going to let this isolated incident get in the way -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Suzanne Malveaux on the day after quite the shakeup in today's doubleheader, hopefully putting a lot more folks at ease. Glad nobody was seriously injured. Thanks so much.

So last night's shooting at Nationals Park was just one of the more than 215 that have occurred in the U.S. since Friday alone. That's according to the gun violence archive. Also in D.C., a six-year-old girl was killed and five adults injured in a drive-by shooting just three miles away from the stadium on Friday night.

Police releasing this video showing several shots being fired from a moving vehicle. A $60,000.00 reward for information leading to an arrest has been announced.

Nylah Courtney was set to start the first grade in the fall. At least five people were killed and 43 others injured in 36 separate shootings reported in Chicago over the weekend. An eight-year-old was shot while riding in a car this morning. And a child and four teens were shot outside of a party on Friday night.

And then in Portland, Oregon, one person was killed, six others injured in a shooting early Saturday morning. Officials have not located any suspects or made any arrests.

President Biden has repeatedly labeled gun violence in America as an epidemic, and just last week, laid out plans to encourage cities to use COVID relief funds to help beef up public safety measures.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It includes cracking down on holding rogue gun dealers accountable for violating the Federal law. That includes the Justice Department creating five new Strike Forces to crack down on illegal gun trafficking in the corridors supplying weapons to cities of New York -- from New York to the Bay Area.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Joe John's joins me now from the White House. So Joe, you know, has this administration said anything new about how it is going to respond to this spike in violent crime?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what, that question, Fred, really hits the nail on the head, doesn't it? Because anytime you have a spike in crime here in the United States, that question comes up, what can you do that is new? And the answer is not much.

The fact of the matter is the United States has been down this road before. There was a 1994 crime bill, still controversial. Ronald Reagan back in 1984 had a crime bill. And the question is, what's new? So frankly, what the administration is pushing here is that, it is sort of a holistic approach, taking some of the greatest hits from previous attempts to deal with problems like this, everything from partnering with states and cities to summer jobs programs.

And then there's also this idea of getting more police out to the states and cities because, you know, we lost jobs during the pandemic. And Fred, as you said, that other piece that is very interesting, is using some of the COVID relief money that was passed earlier this year to get some of this stuff started. So, we'll just have to follow that and see where it goes, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Joe. Let's turn to something else that's become a rather tenuous issue, infrastructure bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to hold a procedural vote on a bill this Wednesday. But some Republicans are bristling at that. Where do things stand?

JOHNS: Well, yes, I mean, they are bristling at it because the bill isn't written yet. They are still working on that, it is another one of those things that is a work in progress as far as the White House and Capitol Hill is concerned.

Nonetheless, Chuck Schumer has indicated he would like to go ahead with a test vote, which some Republicans see as problematic, including one of the 22 or so bipartisan senators who have been trying to hash out a bill. Listen now to Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.


SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): People are used to legislative -- legislation being on the Republican side or the Democrat side, and this is a little confusing for people because it's actually 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats putting this together

Chuck Schumer, with all due respect is not writing the bill, nor is Mitch McConnell, by the way. So, that's why we shouldn't have an arbitrary deadline of Wednesday. We should bring the legislation forward when it's ready and it's incredibly important legislation.



JOHNS: Fact is, one of the biggest obstacles is getting all of the Democrats on the same page up on Capitol Hill, because as we all know, different factions of the Democratic Party have different opinions about what is infrastructure.

Fred, back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right, Joe Johns at the White House. Thanks so much for that.

All right, joining me right now, Juliette Kayyem. She is a CNN national security analyst and former Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. Juliette, so good to see you. Let's talk about what happened at the Nationals and Padres game last night with the shooting outside.

You actually tweeted and praising the Nationals' response, which was a transparent description of what they knew at the time. You called it important and responsible. Why?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, mostly because you have to judge things like this on: what didn't happen? So people like me who do mega event planning and sports planning for major leagues worry about your worst case scenario. In this instance, it would have been two things. One would have been just crowd control, that you would have a stampede, that people would not know what was going on, and react that way in ways that we would fear and people would get trampled.

The second would be that a gunman or gun -- multiple gun people got into the stadium, because remember, in real time, you have no idea what's going on. Neither of those things occurred. So, I'll be a half glass full person and think that is -- that is actually success.

The third thing that happened is what you just related is the communication. Communication will change over time as both the stadium and then later the D.C. Police who were following up on it learn more. But in that instance, it did the three important things that you want communication to do. It acknowledged something was going on, as a lot of times, places go quiet. It told people what to do, which is if you have to exit at that stage exit through a certain area.

And then third, here's what we're doing now to protect you. And so, you know, looking from here -- up here. It did -- it was a very important drill. I'm sure there's lots of complaints about what happened and we'll -- and there'll be an after action on that.

WHITFIELD: California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted: "A primetime game in our Nation's Capital has been brought to a halt by a shooting. This is what getting back to normal in America means after a pandemic."

Just this weekend, we've had -- we've seen 215 shootings. We talked about that at the top of the hour. And, you know, it is very troubling. And you are talking about a stadium that's in the middle of a city.


WHITFIELD: You know, but, nobody wants to get comfortable with the idea of anything like this happening.

KAYYEM: Right.

WHITFIELD: You know, how do you assess what getting back to normal has meant, and that getting back to normal -- I mean, we're still in the middle of a pandemic, but there have been, you know, some releases that I think people have collectively felt moving toward normal.

But what that means, we've also seen an incredible rise in violence in America since the beginning of the year.

KAYYEM: Right. That's exactly right. So, there's a couple things. First of all, it wasn't like violence or gun violence ended during the pandemic, we just weren't concentrating on it, because we were all so scared and inside, and they tended to not be of course, mass shootings, like we've seen in the last couple of months, four more killed, including -- that's how we define a mass shooting, not including the killer.

What we are seeing now is a combination of things. Yes, people are back together. We worry about mass shootings in what we call mega events, sport and concerts because people are back together. And we -- but we also have to worry about the handgun violence and other things that the Democratic nominee for the New York Mayor -- I keep calling him New York Mayor -- has been talking about that we do.

You know, we can't just focus on the big, you know, rifles and lots of people who are kind of killing people are, as you noted, being killed by handguns and individual events.

Look, we have -- we've had a gun problem. You and I have talked about this too much. There's too many guns, too many guns that kill people too quickly, and too many resolutions with guns. We also probably have a strong mental health issue now as people come out. And the politics of our time are anger filled, and we have a President who is trying to minimize that anger, at least bring the temperature down. But we have elements within various parties that bring it up. So, you begin to have -- it's not even political violence. It's just people resolve things through violence. And so, we have to watch out for that.

But for mega events and things like the stadium, we have an Olympics coming up. There is lots of training and planning and we saw some of that come into play yesterday.


WHITFIELD: All right, Juliette Kayyem, good to see you. Sorry, we've got to talk about that.

KAYYEM: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: But I'm glad we are having that conversation.

KAYYEM: Always. Me, too. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up: a warning for unvaccinated Americans from the former head of the Food and Drug Administration.

Plus, Don't Fauci My Florida? How a fundraising group is using anti- Fauci t-shirts and beer koozies to raise money for Governor Ron DeSantis.


WHITFIELD: The U.S. Surgeon General is blaming misinformation as a big reason for the lagging vaccination rates in the U.S. and insist that Big Tech companies still aren't doing enough to fight the lies online.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: There have been some positive steps taken by these technology companies. Some of them have worked to try to, you know, promote accurate sources like the C.D.C. and other medical sources, others have tried to reduce the prevalence of false sources in search results.

But what I've also said to them publicly and privately, is that it's not enough. That we are still seeing a proliferation of misinformation online. And we know that health misinformation harms people's health, it costs them their lives.



WHITFIELD: All 50 states and Washington, D.C. are now seeing rising cases as you can see from the red and the orange on this map. We have a team of correspondents covering the very latest for us.

Natasha Chen is in Fairfield, Alabama and Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles.

Paul, let's begin with you. A new indoor mask rule now back in effect for Los Angeles County because of rising COVID cases. How is that being embraced?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is that revamp rule, Fred. And this morning, we saw at a nearby restaurant, for example, someone walked into the Jersey Mike's, they did not have a mask, and one of the employees there was gracious and handed out a mask.

You might have heard, the Sheriff has said that he is not going to enforce this rule. He is going to ask for voluntary compliance.

Also on the COVID-19 front here in California, at UCLA, they are trying to address the breathing problems, some serious COVID-19 patients have had and they're doing so with opera therapy. That's right. Singing via a Zoom call to improve that lung capacity.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beautiful everybody. Big inhale -- I was once lost -- gorgeous -- but now, I'm found.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a wonderful thing. It's a very soulful thing. But the breathing situation is very important because any professional opera singer or even pop singers, some of the top ones, they always knew how to breathe. And breathing is so important to communicate the song, and the lyrics and everything.

So, for us to learn the mechanics of it, and how to practice and do it all the time and you get better. You know --


VERCAMMEN: Marcelo, with about four weeks in the ICU. And if you want to read more about this, you can go to Fred, I guess we could say that they all lived in learn to sing about it.

WHITFIELD: And I like that. I mean, that's very inventive, of course. I mean, you cannot sing unless you get some deep breathing on. So, what a great way to kind of get your lungs working again in that fashion. Thank you, Paul.

All right, Natasha Chen now in Alabama, where a church has set up a vaccination clinic. Natasha, tell us about this unique setup.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Fred, there are a lot of strong efforts happening in Alabama with one of the lowest vaccination rates across the country, unfortunately, also seeing a rise in cases.

So yesterday, we brought you to a clinic at a school; today, it is a church. These are organizations that are trusted in the community and hope that people feel comfortable coming in. At this one, unfortunately, this afternoon, we've seen fewer than 10 people come in, and that's just an example of the challenge that health providers are having across the state.

Here we have Pastor Cedric Hrabowski of the Galilee Baptist Church here. Pastor, you actually handed out flyers about this clinic all around the neighborhood. You've talked to people in barber shops. You said some of the pushback they've mentioned, the Tuskegee experiment. What are you telling them in response?

PASTOR CEDRIC HRABOWSKI, GALILEE BAPTIST CHURCH: Oh, no, how I do that. There's a distinct difference between that and the coronavirus and the vaccination. That actually at Tuskegee, they were not giving people disease, but they were not treating the disease.

Presently, with this virus, we are attempting to treat the disease and mitigate the spread of coronavirus. To that end, our congregation can be safe, and the community can be safe, and we can get back to some form of normalcy.

CHEN: Yes, and to be clear to everyone, this vaccine is not injecting live virus into anyone's bodies here, and that this is safe, and that's what you're trying to spread the message about in the community.

And I know you're also trying to bring people back to in-person services in early August. But with the rise in cases across the state, things looking worse, how does that affect your decision about how to bring people back?

HRABOWSKI: I have to keep a close watch on it to determine what we will do. Right now, we are going to move forward. We will keep watching the numbers in Alabama. But we want to keep our people safe.

So if it continues to rise exponentially, then we would have to change and make a different decision. But our intent now is to move forward and come back into service on the first Sunday in August.


CHEN: All right, thank you so much, Pastor and, you know to remind people about just the numbers here, if this is -- if the incentives and contests aren't convincing enough, out of the 500-plus deaths in Alabama due to COVID-19 since April 1, more than 96 percent of them have been unvaccinated people.

So, health officials really trying to urge folks to come out and get that shot -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, the messaging is still big, whether it be on vaccines or even on the effectiveness of wearing masks from coast to coast.

Natasha Chen and Paul Vercammen, thanks so much.

Let's talk more about all of this now. With me now, Dr. Jayne Morgan, live and in-person. She is the Executive Director of the Piedmont Healthcare COVID Task Force.

So, good to see you in-person.


WHITFIELD: You have been with us via computer for now 18 months, so I'm glad that we're able to be in each other's space now.

MORGAN: Yes, we have to remember how to have a conversation.

WHITFIELD: That's right, we do and we're going to do this. All right, so let's begin with what the former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is saying.

He is warning that the majority of unvaccinated Americans will likely get infected by the delta variant. This is -- this is the soundbite.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER F.D.A. COMMISSIONER: But if 25 percent of the population remain susceptible to the virus, in absolute terms, that's still a lot of people. And this virus is so contagious, this variant is so contagious that it is going to infect the majority, that most people will either get vaccinated or have been previously infected, or they will get this delta variant.

And for most people who get this delta variant, it's going to be the most serious virus that they get in their lifetime, in terms of the risk of putting them in the hospital.


WHITFIELD: Do you agree? I mean, we know that the delta variant is certainly more contagious, but he is also painting a very grim picture of those who would be infected by it.

MORGAN: Yes, I think you know, this is incredibly serious, and if people are going to choose to not wear masks, then those are the two options that are left, either you're going to get the vaccine, or you're going to end up being infected if you're unvaccinated.

So, we still want to push public health measures, completely wearing masks, washing our hands, social distancing, but we need to have these vaccines to really take ourselves to that top protection of herd immunity, because the delta variant is just the latest.

WHITFIELD: Because viruses mutate all the time.

MORGAN: They continue to mutate. They are incredibly successful. This is a very formidable foe. Humans versus viruses. Viruses change, survival goes to the fittest. In science, fittest means the most adaptable, not the strongest. And viruses are incredibly successful at being adaptable.

So, we need to take this seriously and move forward especially in protecting our children who are still unvaccinated. WHITFIELD: Misinformation is big right now. The Biden administration says that it is, you know, trying really hard to pressure social media outlets to do more, to do something about addressing at, but listen to people that we've been able to talk to about what's behind their reluctance.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't like anything that's mandated. I haven't seen the evidence to show that it protects you. The virus is so small, show me the science.


WHITFIELD: So, it's not just about, you know, defiance in in mask wearing, it's also defiance that we're seeing in elected officials as well. I mean, look, now, the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is fundraising by selling t-shirts that say, "Don't Fauci My Florida," and beer koozies that read, "How the hell am I going to be able to drink with a mask on?"

So, talk to me about the responsibility that elected officials have as well as these tech companies.

MORGAN: Yes, information is power.

WHITFIELD: Or social media outlets?

MORGAN: Absolutely. Information is power. And misinformation is disempowering. Imagine if you came to see me in my office as a patient, or any of my colleagues, and I didn't give you complete information, such that you couldn't really make a decision on whether or not you're going to have surgery, whether or not you're going to move forward with a CAT scan.

So you -- my decision, my information is skewing your perspective. We certainly would not allow that within a medical facility. And so here we have this misinformation going out and people are making decisions based on pieces of data that may or may not be factual.

One thing we have to think about is this subtle change in language. We now don't talk about mutations, we talk about variants. That's a scientific trigger word that people are not picking up on. Variants mean that multiple mutations have now clustered together to create this single variant.

That's a big difference and a subtle change that people are not picking up on. This is becoming increasingly more serious, and we need to really pay attention to what's going on.


WHITFIELD: And particularly, as we see hospitalizations up and the majority, if not all, that many hospitals are reporting are people who have been unvaccinated. So in your view, is it time for this country to get ready for masking mandates, coast to coast? MORGAN: So, I think when we think about masking mandates, certainly the C.D.C. and I certainly respect Dr. Rochelle Walensky, she came out to talk about what is the difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated people with a mask? And it was very clear, if you are vaccinated, you can unmask. If you're unvaccinated, you should continue to take it seriously and wear your mask.

And what happened, the vaccinated unmasked, and then the unvaccinated unmasked. So, this was not a misunderstanding. This was just a choice. This was just behavior. This was not a message that had gone awry.

Vaccinated unmask, unvaccinated should be masked. And so I think we need to continue to move forward with that, continue to follow the science because we are the host of this virus, and if we cannot remove ourselves from the lifecycle of this virus, it will only continue to become stronger and a more formidable foe for us to manage.

WHITFIELD: All valued warnings. Dr. Jayne Morgan, good to see you in person.

MORGAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much.

MORGAN: I appreciate it.

WHITFIELD: All right, NFL training camp is just around the corner, but only 13 out of 32 teams have a vaccination rate among players of at least 85 percent -- did you know that? It's pretty extraordinary. We'll talk about that, next.



WHITFIELD: All right, training camp for the National Football League kicks off in just a few weeks. But as teams return to the field, not all of them will be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The NFL says only 13 of the 32 teams have at least 85 percent of the players vaccinated and two of the teams are under 50 percent vaccinated.

Joining us right now, a former NFL wide receiver who spent 10 years in the league, Donte Stallworth. Donte, always good to see you.

So, this is a pretty exciting time, getting ready to, you know, get on the field and training. But, now with COVID, and with rising cases, how concerned would you be if you were an active, you know, player about the vaccination rate amongst the teams?

DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I think I would be pretty concerned as a player and I know just from talking to a number of guys, they are concerned. Because a lot of the information --

WHITFIELD: And what can they do? What would they do and what can they say to encourage, you know, fellow teammates to get vaccinated? STALLWORTH: Yes, so I think a lot of them have been speaking to teammates, personally, individually, and I think even some have posted towards social media. We're still in the middle of this pandemic. And obviously, with the delta variant, it has brought forth a lot of different changes that a lot of people weren't expecting, obviously, the experts were.

But I think the NFL in many ways, is a microcosm of American society at large. And the disparity in the team vaccination rates reflects the national trend of the vaccination hesitancy, and the larger concern that with herd immunity, and therefore the end of the pandemic cannot be achieved until an upwards of 75 percent of people are fully vaccinated.

So, the concern going into this season, which training camps are starting up very soon, that if these teams don't hurry up and get these guys vaccinated, and I know there's been a small push -- I don't want to say small push -- but there's been an effort from the NFL to kind of -- it is a soft coercion to kind of get guys to vaccinate by not really not allowing them to leave the hotel and not allowing them to really be with the team other than explicit functions that require them to do so, and you kind of feel left out.

So, if that doesn't work, honestly, I don't know what would.

WHITFIELD: So, if there's a soft coercion, does there need to be a hard coercion, which means, tell the teams, hey, players, this is a prerequisite. You can't play unless -- and coaches as well -- unless you are vaccinated. Would it ever come to that?

STALLWORTH: You know what, I don't know. Honestly, I think there's some legal issues in that from the players' union standpoint. So, they've just been trying to make a big effort, a big push for guys to go out and get vaccinated and try to get them to understand.

I mean, they've been bringing in -- the NFL has been bringing in a lot of experts to speak to these guys and have any questions afterwards that they could probably have answered. But you know, they're not there and they're not there at all and they need to get there before the season starts, and we're knocking at the door of that right now.

WHITFIELD: How about among the players? Is there a feeling that you know, they know the power of their person, the power and how influential they can be? Are many of them -- yes, are many of them that you've been talking to, are they feeling like they have some responsibility that they can help influence Americans as a whole, to get vaccinated to play it safer?

STALLWORTH: I mean, all the time when you saw the White House with their initiative. I believe they brought in a young popstar named Olivia Rodriguez, I believe or Rodrigo. She, you know, obviously has a huge following, right? And the targeted audience for her is, you know, young -- a lot of young people, and they're trying to get more people vaccinated.

But as far as the NFL players, you know, whenever there is an initiative that they try to bring on these cultural icons or celebrities or professional athletes or what have you, NFL players, I think they understand -- I'm sure they understand whether they like it or not that they're watched by tens of millions of fans and they also have this role model thing pushed on them.


STALLWORTH: So, whether they like it or not, people are watching what they do, and when they come out and make erroneous statements about COVID and not taking the vaccine, people follow that lead.

And so, I think they have to be more responsible and, you know, take part in some of these initiatives that that the NFL is trying to give them with these experts and having them come to the facilities and speak to these guys.

So, it's very important, and I think they know that, and, you know, unfortunately, we're not there in the NFL yet. There's still 50 percent -- two teams that are under 50 percent. And you know, as you mentioned earlier in the show, we're just not at all near where we need to be.

WHITFIELD: Yes, so many can be hugely influential in the right direction. Donte Stallworth, always good to see you. Thank you so much.

STALLWORTH: You, too. Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, and this sobering warning from Israel's Prime Minister about how dire the spread of COVID is. Why he says vaccines won't be enough to save lives.



WHITFIELD: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issuing a dire warning vaccines alone won't be enough to solve the country's COVID crisis.

CNN Hadas Gold joining us now from Jerusalem. So, Prime Minister Bennett has a larger message about the threat from COVID.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, on Friday for the first time in four months, Israel notched more than 1,100 positive cases, the highest number it's been in months. Now, there is a glimmer of good news in those numbers and that's the hospitalization rate for serious cases is lower than it has been in previous days, around 1.6 percent now versus four percent at a similar time period in previous waves.

But Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is warning that the vaccines are just not going to be enough to confront coronavirus and that they are showing to be significantly less effective against the delta variant that Israel is now considering offering a third dose of the vaccine to everyone. That's something that's already being offered here to people who are -- who have compromised immune systems like people who have received organ transplants.

Now, coronavirus experts here are trying to ascertain whether the decrease in effectiveness of the vaccine is because of time elapsed, which just support the idea of offering a third dose or whether it's because the delta variant is so different that it requires a different sort of updated vaccine.

Naftali Bennett though is saying that there's no new necessarily lockdown measures put into place. He wants to flood the country though with home testing kits. And what they're going to do now is do stricter enforcement of coronavirus restrictions, including potential criminal charges to people who test positive for coronavirus, but break the quarantine -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Oh my. All right, Hadas Gold in Jerusalem. Thank you so much for that.

We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: All right, the CNN Original Series "History of The Sitcom" is back tonight with an all-new episode this week. A look at the shift in sitcoms from family-centric comedies to the powerful role of "Friends" and how it shaped all of our lives.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What made you get rid of that joint?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Watching you last night. From now on, I'm going to stick to being high on me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, this shirt I wanted to find a way to pay homage to Norman Lear. "Facts of Life" was part of the norm and their family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's about four teenage girls trying to find their way with the guidance of this wise older woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Divorce, virginity --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Snake and I slept together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Class wars on the regular.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you are not prejudiced. He's just a snob.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Teach me to be common. Joe. Bring me down to your level.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The show "My Facts of Life" is the beginning of the very special episode.


WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh, "Facts of Life." I love that show. Joining me right now, executive editor for "Entertainment Weekly," Patrick Gomez. Patrick, so good to see you.

PATRICK GOMEZ, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": Thank you. Thank you for spending part of your Sunday with me.

WHITFIELD: Fantastic. So, in the 70s, network executives wanted to capture the younger audiences. So, they looked for these shows that centered instead around -- instead of around family, about friends. So "Facts of Life" was one. My executive producer and I were brainstorming a moment ago, taking us back to the 70s.

So, "Welcome back, Kotter." That was one. "Three's Company," another fav. "Mork and Mindy" "WKRP in Cincinnati," "Laverne and Shirley." Oh my gosh.

So in in big ways, all of these shows really changed the face of television and people were now looking at themselves in these shows, weren't they?

GOMEZ: Well, true. I mean, you look at the statistics of marriage in America, and it lines up with that as well. There had been so many nuclear families for so long, and that's what the sitcom reflected. You know, we saw "I Love, Lucy," eventually they moved to the suburbs. We see all these families and family sitcoms, and then all of a sudden we see divorce rates start to rise. We see families that you have to choose rather than are born into.

And so that was the rise of the friends sitcom. I mean, I think you see a great example in "Happy Days" that started out as about the Cunningham's. And then all of a sudden, they started to see the popularity of Fonzie and it turned into a friends sitcom instead.

WHITFIELD: And then "Laverne and Shirley" came from that as well. I talked to Cindy Williams, just a couple of weeks ago, and that was very fun walking down memory lane.

So teenagers, they're not the only ones that are central, you know, to these great sitcoms in the 80s. We saw, you know, "Living Single." We saw "Golden Girls" and that was kind of young adults and you know, older women, and these shows were great hits. Why did they touch a nerve also, in a good way?

GOMEZ: I mean, in addition to divorce and single parents becoming more and more common. You also saw people having kids a lot later in life. And so you have these friends that move to an urban center, move away from their parents, from their family, and they end up with again this chosen family or in the case of "The Golden Girls," it's later in life when they have their chosen family because their other families are off creating their own family, so much family going on.

But you really do you see these -- you are finding your people, finding your tribe when it can't be your blood relatives.


WHITFIELD: Wow. And just looking at all that video, too and seeing -- I mean, Kim Fields, "Go on, Girl" she was in "Facts of Life" and then of course "Living Single" and then just see her reflect -- ageless.

GOMEZ: Ageless.

WHITFIELD: Patrick Gomez, good to see you. Thank you so much.

GOMEZ: Thank you. We'll be watching. Don't miss an all new episode of "History of The Sitcom" tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.

Alright, thanks, everybody for joining me this entire weekend.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield, the CNN NEWSROOM continues with Jim Acosta in a moment.