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CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. And Europe Battling Life-Threatening Weather Conditions; Extreme Heat, Dry Conditions Fuel Wester U.S. Wildfires; Western Europe Begins Massive Clean-Up Effort After Flooding; Fox Corporate Quietly Implements Vaccine Passports While It's Top Personalities Attack Them; Arizona Police Investigate Shooting Rampage Across 3 Crimes Scenes; Dow Sinks Dramatically as Delta Variant Fears Hit Wall Street. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 19, 2021 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Right now both the U.S. and Europe are dealing with devastation triggered by extreme weather. In the U.S. Oregon officials are telling more families to get ready to evacuate because the Bootleg Fire has exploded to more than 300,000 acres. Look at this map. Severe heat, dry conditions are now fueling 80 large wildfires across 13 states.

CNN's Dan Simon joins us from just south of Lake Tahoe in California near the Tamarac Fire. What do we know about the containment there, if any -- Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well hi, Victor and Alisyn, this fire south of Lake Tahoe at this point it's is zero percent contained. But it's indicative of the fires that you're seeing all throughout the West. It's been driven by dry fuel, and lots of oppressive hear.

This is one of the homes that's been destroyed. Fortunately, not too many, just a handful. But this fire broke out on the Fourth of July. And it was basically being monitored by fire officials. But over the weekend it went from 500 acres to more than 23,000 acres after the winds really picked up. Again not too many homes have been destroyed.

[15:35:00]

But you do have about a half dozen communities that have been forced to evacuate. We did speak to a couple of evacuees what are camping out in the parking lot of a Walmart. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON: Every year seems like we're going through this.

HUGH BRATTON, FIRE EVACUEE: Yes, it's all round, you know it's coming sooner or later. It's going to get you. So you know, it's where you live so you got to accept it. If you don't, what are you going to do?

SIMON: Did you have any time to grab some belongings?

BILL BEIDLER, FIRE EVACUEE: I was told don't worry about it. Everything's going to be OK. And then that evening it was like you have ten minutes to get the heck out of here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON (on camera): Well as this fire continues to burn, California now has its first megafire of the season. The Sugar Fire now at more than 100,000 acres. Of course, you have the fire up in Oregon. The Bootleg Fire now at more than 300,000 acres. Climate experts say these megafires are here to stay. And again the Tamarac Fire, zero percent containment. Guys, we'll send it back to you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: I mean it just looks apocalyptic there with the video and the stuff behind you. Dan, thank you very much.

Now to Western Europe where questions are being asked about why an alert system failed to warn residents before flash flooding ripped through their towns washing away communities and killing nearly 200 people.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in one of Germany's most devastated areas. So Fred, what do we know about what happened?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Alisyn, well, that certainly is one of the big questions that are being asked is why this alert system didn't save more lives than it actually did? We have to keep in mind the place where I'm standing right now, where all the infrastructure was damaged, more than 100 people have now been confirmed dead in this little town alone.

And the real tragic thing for the Germans really about this is, is that the warnings were there. The German weather service did warn of severe weather. Warned of torrential rain. However, that didn't necessarily reach the people who were here on the ground.

What people are telling us is, yes, they were expecting a lot of rain to come down but they weren't expecting the kind of damage that you see right behind me right here, right now. There was no evacuation order. There was no order for people, perhaps, go on the second story of their buildings to bring themselves to safety.

And I was speaking to some residents today and they said in the span of about 15 minutes, this little river that you see behind me, which is normally a really calm river, it rose to above the first floor of the buildings around here. Obviously, destroying everything in its path and also killing scores of people. There was one person who told me that he saw one of his neighbors who was trying to clutch onto something and then had to let go and her body was later recovered.

So the early warning system certainly something where the Germans are now saying with the climate emergency the way it is right now, these weather warnings need to be taken more seriously. Warnings need to be taken more seriously. People need to be evacuated earlier.

And Alisyn, finally, one of the other things the Germans are saying right now is they are obviously going to have to rebuild all this. They need to rebuild the infrastructure in the way that it will not be damaged the way it was by the climate emergency. Because they certainly believe that freak weather incidents like the ones that we saw here in Germany that caused these floodings, they certainly believe those are going to become more frequent in future -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Just horrible, horrible reality that people there are facing and everywhere.

PLEITGEN: Yes.

BLACKWELL: And Fred Pleitgen, thanks so much.

CAMEROTA: OK, hypocrisy alert. While Fox Primetime hosts sow doubt about the vaccines, and rail against vaccine passports, wait until you hear what the Fox vaccination policy is for employees who've returned to the office.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:40:00]

CAMEROTA: OK, this just into CNN. Fox's Primetime hosts have been pedaling anti-vaccine rhetoric on air for months. They have relentlessly railed against the idea of vaccine passports or even asking if someone has been vaccinated.

But the Fox Corporation, which is the mother of The Fox News Channel is now quietly using its own version of a vaccine passport.

BLACKWELL: CNN obtained and e-mail to a Fox employee from the company's human resources department in early June that said Fox had quote, developed a secure, voluntary way for employees to self-attest their vaccination status.

CNN's Oliver Darcy is breaking this story. So vaccine passport or not?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, so this is more blatant hypocrisy, right, from Fox News. Tucker Carlson, the main star over at Fox, he's compared the idea of vaccine passports to Jim Crow laws. And other hosts have railed against the idea of vaccine passports showing that you have received a vaccine and the employer being able to verify that.

But Fox we learn has quietly back in June they rolled out a system where employees can input that they have received a vaccine, which dose of the vaccine they received, when they received it, and then they get special privileges. They don't have to do the normal health screening for instance when they walk into the office. And so you know, this is just more brazen hypocrisy from Fox.

CAMEROTA: See, here's one the interesting things, Fox -- some of the Fox hosts are vitriolic but they're not crazy. They have been vaccinated. Chances are they have been vaccinated. They don't want to die. But they don't want to tell their viewers they've been vaccinated, so they have to rail against any sort of having to disclose if you've been vaccinated, or even asked.

I mean Tucker has gone so far as to say it's vulgar to ask someone if they've been vaccinated whereas the answer helps people around you feel better, more confident being around you if they know that you have been vaccinated.

[15:45:00]

So has he -- will he ever disclose on the air if he's been vaccinated?

DARCY: I highly doubt that. He's actually been asked as you know whether he has been vaccinated by reporters and in both instances, they reported that he's compared asking about vaccination status to asking about one's favorite sex position and how often they engage in that and so on and so forth. He's called it vulgar and said it's deeply personal. And so there's no real chance I don't think we're going to about Tucker Carlson's vaccination status despite him, you know, going on his program night after night and trafficking anti- vaccine rhetoric.

BLACKWELL: Yes. More hypocrisy -- hypocrisy alert, is that what we're going to call it?

CAMEROTA: Hypocrisy alert, just that they're company is doing something they are railing against but they're not talking about it.

DARCY: In a lot of other businesses to be clear would love to be able to verify vaccine status so when their patrons come into a restaurant, they can see that they have vaccinated and Fox has prevented that and they're doing it themselves.

BLACKWELL: All right, Oliver Darcy, thank you.

All right, police in Arizona say a man set a house on fire and then went on a shooting rampage firing on ambulance workers who were responding to the fire he set. We have got details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:50:00]

BLACKWELL: We are coming out of another deadly weekend in America. According to the Gun Violence Archive, at least 150 people were killed, and over 380 injured in shootings across the country.

CAMEROTA: So in Tucson this one shooting rampage took place at three different crime scenes, and it left two people dead, an EMT in critical condition.

CNN security correspondent Josh Campbell is following that story for us. What happened, Josh?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good afternoon to you. A truly brazen and deadly act of violence yesterday in Tucson, Arizona. Police say that a 35-year-old murder suspect is in custody and in critical condition after a shootout with police.

Authorities believe the suspect set a fire at a residence and then went to a nearby park where he flagged down two EMTs. He began pointing in the direction of the fire, and without warning, brandished a firearm and shot at the medics, hitting one of them in the head, shooting another in the arm and the chest.

Now police say as that shooting was taking place at the nearby park, fire personnel were already responding to the fire at the residence. The suspect then went there and started shooting at firefighters. One neighbor was struck and killed. A firefighter and another bystander were shot and sustained non-life-threatening injuries authorities say.

Now as this was going down, firefighters radioed to the police that they were receiving gunfire. The suspect fled. This is how that ended according to the police chief, that encounter. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MAGNUS, TUCSON, ARIZONA POLICE CHIEF: He rams the vehicle, disabling the police car. The officer starts to get out, the suspect opens fire on the officer. The officer returns fire, striking the suspect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMPBELL (on camera): So authorities are now working three crime scenes. There's the shootout with the police, the chief just mentioned, the park where the EMTs were struck and the residence itself.

Where guys to add to this already gruesome incident, authorities say a badly burned body was found inside that house. No authorities, no update from authorities on the identity of the shooter, nor the motive. He remains in critical condition at the hospital as authorities try to work to investigate the series of heinous acts in Arizona this weekend.

CAMEROTA: Just horrible. Josh Campbell, thank you.

All right, we're down to the last minutes of trading on Wall Street. It has been a dramatic day down 800 points at the moment. So we'll explain what's happening, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:55:00]

CAMEROTA: Well, the Dow is on track to see its worst day since the start of the Biden administration.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's down more than 700 points. It had been down more than 900 at one point in the day. This is a result of investors concerned about the impact of rising COVID cases, the delta variant. CNN's Matt Egan is tracking the developments. So what's happening

here?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS LEAD WRITER: It has been a brutal day for the stock market. These rising infection numbers are reminding investors and all of us really that this pandemic is not over.

The big fear on Wall Street is that the delta variant could slow this economic recovery. And so that's why investors had been retreating from COVID-sensitive sectors in the stock market.

We've seen airline stocks drop about 5 percent, cruise operators like Carnival, Royal Caribbean down about 5 percent or more. Energy stocks, they are down as oil prices plunge. Everywhere you look, right now, there are yellow lights flashing in the stock market. I mean the VIX Volatility Index, that's way up. That's a sign of nervousness.

Investors are piling into the safety of government bonds, another sigh of worry, but we do have to put all this into context. I mean just a week ago the S&P 500 and the Dow were at record highs. The S&P is still up 13 percent on the year. The market cannot go straight up forever, and we're seeing that today.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean just another reason for people to get vaccinated. Matt, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Matt.

All right, THE LEAD with Jake Tapper starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Instead of a medal count we're already tracking the COVID count at the Tokyo Olympics. THE LEAD starts right now.

New concerns for kids still fully exposed and not yet allowed to get vaccinated as back-to-school day approaches. The new guidance parents need to hear as fears about the delta variant and un-vaccination rates infect Wall Street and the Dow.

END