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CNN NEWSROOM

Future of DREAMers Is Endangered After Judge's Decision; At Least 61 COVID Cases Tied to Tokyo Olympics; CDC Upgrades U.K. COVID Risk Level as It Lifts Restrictions; U.S. Personnel in Vienna Report Mysterious Havana-Syndrome-Like Health Incidents; Jeff Bezos' Space Flight Launches in Less Than 24 Hours. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired July 19, 2021 - 13:30   ET

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


[13:30:00]

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: She works as a childcare provider in Tennessee with dreams of becoming a first-grade teacher. But her permit expires on Thursday.

Nancy, thank you for being with us. I know this is just an incredibly stressful time for you.

First, have you received any updates on your permit?

NANCY ISIDRO, DACA RECIPIENT: No, I haven't. I check every single day. And every day, it says the same thing. It's pending. It's pending. I have to wait. So there's not much we can do about it.

What people don't know is we're not given an extension to use. So we're just -- we're left waiting without being able to work and provide for our families. I really want people to understand that.

When our permits expire, and that employer is not able to work with us, then we can't work. We just have to wait.

CABRERA: So I understand that you sent in your application for renewal more than 100 days ago. What is going through your mind as you wait?

ISIDRO: A lot. Just because I've been at my job for four years. And everybody there's helpful. I appreciate that.

But it doesn't -- once my permit expires, they're able to let me go if they want. My director was wonderful enough to work with me.

I know of other cases, with other people I've spoken to, that's not the case. They're left waiting.

Like you said, it's been more than 100 days. That's not within the time frame we're able to ask about our case. So when we call, you have to wait. That's all we can do. It's sad because we need to provide for our families. I am the main provider in my family. It's something on the back of my mind. If I wasn't able to work, what am I going to do?

CABRERA: On Twitter, you talked about the mental toll this has taken on your mental health, about crying yourself to sleep at night. Can you share more with just that struggle you're experiencing?

ISIDRO: Yes. My depression has been really bad lately, and my anxiety due to the fact that I'm not getting any answers.

And I know it's the case with many other people I've spoken to.

We're left -- I personally don't know a lot of people here in Tennessee that have DACA. I don't have a lot of people to talk to.

For myself, I keep that. And at nighttime, I can't sleep. I cry because I'm not getting resolution.

I wish we were able to get an extension. It's something we wouldn't have to worry about every single time a renewal came.

CABRERA: It's been almost a decade since DACA provided a pathway for you and other DREAMers to live and work and be protected from deportation as long as you continued to do the right thing.

How has DACA changed your life since implementation?

ISIDRO: Another thing people don't know is, when we got talk DACA, we are able to get a driver's license. That expires the same day.

Before I would always get pulled over and get a ticket because I wasn't able to have a license.

Now I'm able to have a job that I love. I love working with kids. My job is a blessing. I'm able to travel without being scared. So it opens so many doors.

And I wish people would understand we just want to work. We want to be here to help contribute to this society, and just work. Be able to go to school, college.

Because we don't also -- what other people don't know is we can't get financial aid. We pay everything out of pocket. We're willing to. If we have our DACA. We want to make a difference.

CABRERA: If DACA goes away -- because, again, we had this ruling on Friday, there's no certainty that DACA will stick around.

Even -- or if you don't get your permit renewed in time, what does that mean for you, for your family?

ISIDRO: It's anxiety and depression. It's just -- honestly, I don't even know what I'm going to do. I haven't gotten to that part yet. I'm trying to be hopeful and hope that everything works out for the better. But if it were to just end, I honestly cannot tell you what I will do.

I'll find a way to be able to provide for my family.

But it's just not having DACA is a big obstacle in the way for me to be able to reach what I want to do.

CABRERA: Nancy Isidro, stay strong. Your resilience is admirable. And thank you for sharing your story with us.

ISIDRO: Thank you so much for helping me. I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

CABRERA: Good luck. Good luck to you. Keep in touch.

[13:34:35]

Well, the United Kingdom is lifting nearly all COVID restrictions today. Even as cases rise. And the CDC, moments ago, warning Americans to avoid traveling there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: As the aggressive Delta variant fuels a global COVID surge, international athletes are descending on Tokyo for the Olympics. And already, at least 61 COVID cases are tied to the Olympic games.

We've just learned one of the cases is an alternate on the U.S. women's' gymnastics team.

This, after U.S. tennis star, Coco Gauff, saw her Olympic dreams dashed yesterday. She tested positive prior to heading to Tokyo.

[13:40:04]

CNN's Sanjay Gupta has more from Japan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Last year, these stadiums sat empty as Tokyo 2020 was officially postponed. Many people assumed the games simply wouldn't happen.

GUPTA (on camera): But now they are happening. So I've made my way here to Tokyo to try to figure out exactly how they're going to pull this off.

BRIAN MCCLOSKEY, LEADING HEALTH ADVISER, OLYMPIC GAMES: He had no idea what was coming in terms of COVID.

GUPTA (voice-over): Postponing the Olympics again was no longer an option due to international sports schedule.

So it was up to Dr. Brian McCloskey, chair of an independent panel advising the International Olympic Committee on COVID-19 countermeasures, to figure out how to hold the games in 2021. GUPTA (on camera): Was it just going to be inevitable that the games would happen, you just have to figure out how to do it as safely as possible?

MCCLOSKEY: It was possible that it could be canceled completely. And that was always part of our thinking, that we can only do this if we are satisfied that we could do it safely and securely.

GUPTA (voice-over): While we have seen other sports make it through seasons or tournaments safely with little interruption, the Olympics bring a unique challenge.

More than 11,000 athletes representing 206 different countries and states and territories will descend on an island nation that is currently fighting to keep the virus at bay.

GUPTA (on camera): What is the risk of doing an event like this in the middle of a pandemic to the citizens of Japan, citizens that live in that area?

MCCLOSKEY: Since we first realized that coronavirus is going to be an issue for the games, we're trying to maximize the separation between the international visitors coming in and the athletes and team officials under local population.

GUPTA (voice-over): This is why all spectators, both local and from abroad, have already been banned in Tokyo. And athletes' movements will mostly be confined here to the Olympic Village.

Beyond that strategy, McCloskey says the rest comes down to the pillars of public health.

MCCLOSKEY: Social distancing, physical distancing, wearing your mask, and hand hygiene, they are always the fundamental core of what we knew would reduce the risk of COVID during the games.

And then we started to layer on top of that the testing strategy that we might have.

GUPTA: But that has not stopped the concern from both locals and other health experts, like epidemiologist, Michael Osterholm.

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: One of the things that has been a concern is that they really planned this Olympics around the concept of hygiene theater.

GUPTA: To him, the organizers are missing a fundamental point.

OSTERHOLM: Originally, the plans were set up counting on this being largely a respiratory droplet, i.e., it falls within three to six feet of the individual who might be infected.

When, in fact, as we know now, the primary means for transmission is actually through airborne transmission, aerosols, things that float in the air, like cigarette smoke.

GUPTA: So he thinks things like plexiglass completely missed the mark but makes masks even more important.

Right now, the IOC playbook states that a face mask must be worn at all times except when training, competing, eating, drinking, sleeping, or during interviews. But there is no specification for what type of mask should be worn.

OSTERHOLM: We already know the limit of protection that cloth mask play versus N-95s. They've provided no clear directions. They should be recommending the N-95 respirators.

GUPTA: Vaccines are also another crucial tool against COVID, but they are not required. Why? Well, requiring them could create an uneven playing field.

MCCLOSKEY: We were fairly confident that we would have a vaccine by now. But we also knew if we had one, it wouldn't be equally available around the world. It wouldn't necessarily be in good supply.

GUPTA: Still, the IOC estimates more than 80 percent of residents of the Olympic Village will be vaccinated.

But that has still not cleared the metaphorical cloud continuing to hang over the city as the world waits to see how this global event will fair in the face of a pandemic.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Tokyo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Meanwhile, a massive spike in COVID cases in the U.K. has prompted the CDC to urge Americans to avoid traveling to Great Britain, designating it with the highest level-four warning.

Despite the surge, today, England lifted all remaining COVID restrictions.

And CNN's Scott McLean is in London for us.

How are they able to lift restrictions when the Delta variant is still such a big threat, Scott?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, today is a day of a lot of contradictions for a lot of people.

Beginning today, there are no longer any limits on social gatherings. The pubs are back to normal. The nightclubs are open. And masks are no longer legally required indoors.

In spite of all of that, the prime minister continues to urge people to be cautious, to be careful.

[13:45:00]

On top of that, while today is being billed as England's Freedom Day, it probably doesn't feel all that free for the hundreds of thousands of people who the government has asked to self-isolate after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

That includes the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is in isolation right now after being in close contact of the health secretary, who tested positive over the weekend.

For everyone else, you might not notice that big of a difference. I came in on the London underground this morning where the vast majority of people are still wearing their masks.

I went to the barbershop, who was masked. But at the coffee shop next door, the employees were not wearing masks.

So the government has really left it up to employers and individuals to decide what's best for them.

All of this, though, Ana, is against the backdrop of a huge spike in cases. Really terrifyingly high numbers, 50,000 new cases per day. The numbers are only expected to grow by the time the summer is over.

Hospitalizations typically track, broadly speaking, the track of the case counts. But this time, well, the numbers are a fraction of what you would expect. Two-thirds of the adult population not fully vaccinated.

However, there's a big problem with high case counts. That's the risk of so many people being told to self-isolate.

But you don't have enough staff and hospitals for essential services so the government set aside special exceptions for those people.

The prime minister also, just today, Ana, warned that by the time everyone has a chance to get the vaccine by the end of September, you will be required to show proof of vaccination to get into a nightclub or large events. Negative tests will not be good enough.

That's bound to be controversial -- Ana?

CABRERA: OK. Yes. Those vaccine mandates or requirements are something more and more countries are talking about.

Thank you, Scott McLean.

And just in to CNN, Canada announcing that it will open the borders to foreigners. This will start with Americans on August 9th.

Here's the catch there. If you want to go, you have to be fully vaccinated. You have to be a permanent resident of the U.S.

Other international travelers will be able to enter in September. Nonessential travel into Canada has been banned since March of last

year.

In less than 24 hours from now, the world's richest man lifts off for a historic 11-minute joyride to the edge of space.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:52:29]

CABRERA: It is a growing mystery. The U.S. is investigating dozens of new reports of mysterious health incidents similar to the Havana Syndrome. This time, though, in Vienna.

We're learning reports there have been coming in since the beginning of the year. And this adds to reports of U.S. government workers round the world suffering similar incidents since 2016.

CNN's Kylie Atwood is at the State Department.

Kylie, any word on who or what is causing this?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No. And that's the bottom line here.

We are hearing that there are more of these cases. And as you said, Ana, these are concentrated in one place, on U.S. diplomats, on U.S. intelligence officials, and U.S. government officials who are working in Vienna.

But we still don't know who's behind this and what exactly is happening.

So just to go over some of what these symptoms are because this -- these symptoms, that are being reported by these folks serving in Vienna, are similar to those who experienced the Havana Syndrome. That was in 2016.

And what that included was sudden vertigo. Folks who were getting headaches, really, really bad headaches. They had some memory loss.

And there were also instances where they were hearing piercing noises in their ears. They didn't know where that was coming from.

That is the situation that we are looking at again here.

And I want to point out that these about two dozen cases have come to the fore in the last six months or so, since President Biden took office.

What that demonstrates is that these alleged attacks, these mysterious attacks aren't in the rearview mirror, right? These are something that are ongoing on U.S. personnel.

Now, the Biden administration has said that they are focused on this.

I want to read to you what the State Department spokesperson said when asked about these incidents.

Said, "In coordination with partners across the U.S. government, we're vigorously investigating reports of possible unexplained health incidents among U.S. embassy Vienna community."

Clearly, they're looking into this. But what more can be done to protect officials, that's the really question, here -- Ana?

CABRERA: OK, Kylie Atwood, thank you.

The richest man on the planet will be leaving it tomorrow, but only for 11 minutes. Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, is preparing for a rocket- powered 2,300 miles-per-hour trip to the edge of space.

Fellow billionaire and rocket company founder, Richard Branson, took his own flight last week. Tomorrow, though, will be the first crewed launch for Blue Origin, Bezos' private space company.

And here's Bezos to CNN just this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF BEZOS, FOUNDER, AMAZON & FOUNDER, BLUE ORIGIN: I'm so excited and curious. You know, everybody who has been to space, every astronaut comes back and they say that it changed them somehow.

They see the thin limb of the earth's atmosphere and realize how fragile the earth is. They see it's just one planet.

[13:55:05]

So I don't know how it's going to change me. But I know it's going to. And I'm excited to find out how.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Bezos will be joined by his brother, Mark, as well as one passenger who stands to become the oldest person to reach space, 82- year-old Wally Funk, and the youngest, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen.

Thank you all for joining us. We'll see you back here tomorrow at 1:00 eastern. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter, @Ana Cabrera.

The news continues next with Alisyn and Victor after a quick break.

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