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Coronavirus Pandemic; Tokyo Games; White House Shifts To Urgent Tone As Pandemic Enters Troubling New Phase; Climate Crisis' Impact On Extreme Weather Alarms Scientists; NFL Chief Medical Officer Doctor Allen Sills On COVID Rules. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 24, 2021 - 20:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: And your next hour CNN's NEWSROOM starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The new cases in COVID of the cause of unvaccinated votes (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're just watching this freight train coming that Delta is going to sweep across the south.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could all bring this to a close if everyone who were unvaccinated would just come in, get vaccinated tomorrow.

JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We are more than our jobs are our political parties. We are first and foremost to USA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tokyo Olympics now underway and a new controversies swirling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fire itself is faster than the firefighters can get control over it. No matter how many people were throwing at it. It outpaced us for several days.


BROWN: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in the CNN Newsroom on this Saturday.

And across much of America the masks have come off. COVID numbers have gone up and reality sets in. This nation is facing a pandemic of the unvaccinated. New cases are trending up in 49 states and with that spread more deaths more hospitalizations. The rise mainly caused by the highly contagious Delta variant and the highly politicized anti- vaccine crusade.

More leaders on the state and local level are now implementing or at least considering new restrictions and hopes of reining in the escalating numbers. Just under half of all Americans are fully vaccinated, pushing herd immunity for now out of reach. Meanwhile, the FDA and CDC are exploring a possible booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine. But as of now only four people considered immunocompromised.

And in some states like Texas, local officials may find themselves handcuffed by state laws. Earlier this year the heavily Republican Texas Legislature along with Governor Greg Abbott responded to the pandemic by limiting what officials can do in response to the pandemic.

They pass a law that prohibits mass mandates for all governmental entities in Texas, and that includes counties, cities, school districts and public health authorities.

Meantime, Texas is one of just three states accounting for 40 percent of all cases nationwide, along with Florida and Missouri again, mostly unvaccinated people.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler joins me now with more. Mayor, thanks for coming on. As cases rise in Austin, you are now recommending masks in public even for those already vaccinated. But that's about all you can do. How frustrating are these state laws in your view?

MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D), AUSTIN, TEXAS: You know, it's not only frustrating, but it has, I think, a real impact. It confuses the message. I don't think that people in our community understand the importance and the danger that we're in right now, in part because the messaging from the state is not in accord with that.

So, it's frustrating that the governor is tempting to limit our powers. It's even more frustrating with the message going to the community is mixed. We challenged the governor's ability to stop cities over New Year's Eve one of the district court level, we may have to do that again. But for right now, we're just focused on trying to get our folks to do the right thing.

BROWN: So I mean, the question is why isn't the reality sinking in more? I know, you say you pin some of the blame on the state officials. According to the State Department of Health, Texas has seen nearly 9,000 COVID-19 deaths since February, all but 43 of those victims were unvaccinated. Why do you think this message isn't sinking in with people there?

ADLER: You know, I think there probably lots of reasons for that. But again, that's frustrating. You know, 90 percent of the people in our hospitals right now are people that have not been vaccinated. The number of people in our ICUs one or 2 percent that are vaccinated people. So the science and the data is very clear.

I think some of the people are just caught in this partisan thing that, you know, President Trump started a year and a half ago. We also have some people in our community, I'm sure that that don't have access to internet that when they have the access, the message they're getting when they look at social media is conflicting.

So we're going door to door and trying to be as open and as transparent and get the real data out to as many people as we can. And trying to get as many of those folks that with information will make the right choice, trying to get them that information.

BROWN: And when you say door to door, you're just providing information, not vaccines, you know, so much of this is just gets politicized, right?


I mean, when Biden, President Biden said that you saw a lot of people misconstrue what he was saying on that, but information is important. It does make an impact. State Health Services are now doing 18 pop up events at Texas Walmart stores trying to get younger Texans vaccinated ahead of the school year. How much success do you predict?

ADLER: Well, I wish it was moving faster, and it's moving too slowly. And we are all but doing actual door to door to bring it to people trying to get vaccination clinics pop up clinics, closer and closer to the people, it is going to slow. We're reaching out to more trusted voices in communities.

You know, oftentimes it's not the government voice that is the most compelling to people that have issues with trust.

My hope is, is that the drumbeat, if people see the numbers that are in our hospitals, see how many people are there that are unvaccinated, that word will start to get out. I see that's beginning to happen on the national level with some Republican leaders. That's good to see. It, of course, is way too little. And it's awfully late, but I'm welcoming it now.

But it doesn't seem it's going to happen with our governor, who seems to be locked at a -- in a race with the governor of Florida to see who could be farther to the right. And that is sending a confused and conflicted message to our state.

BROWN: Do you think it would help at the CDC updated its guidance? Right now it still doesn't recommend if you're vaccinated to wear masks indoors except for, you know, that tells people look at where you're living and look at, you know, the case rates in your community. But do you think that would help? Do you think they should I update it?

ADLER: Me from where I sit? I think they should. I think the standard from the World Health Organization is more accurately reflecting what we're seeing on the ground here. I'm appreciative that the CDC specifically says that local areas are can go farther than their recommendation based on what's happening on the ground.

But the more I see, the more mayors I talked to from around the country, I don't think a lot of the city's going to be far behind us. This Delta variant is a lot more infectious. And I think it's going to hit everybody.

BROWN: All right, Mayor Steve Adler, thank you for joining us.

ADLER: Pamela, thank you.

BNROWN: Well, masking is also an important question for schools around the country. They will reopen while the Coronavirus is still very much with us, especially the aggressive Delta variant. So far five states are mandating masks for all K through 12 students when classes resume. Additionally, public school districts in some major cities are issuing their own mandates, some like Atlanta in opposition to their Republican governors.

Joining me now with more is Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez. She's a pediatrician and assistant professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Welcome to the show, Doctor.

DR. EDITH BRACHO-SANCHEZ, PEDIATRICIAN: It's great to be with you, Pamela.

BROWN: So the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that all students over two years old along with staff wear masks, regardless of whether they're vaccinated, and regardless of whether they're mandated. Do you agree?

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: I 100 percent agree, Pamela. I know that this has created some confusion because the CDC is not really going this far. But we have to remember the CDC made a recommendation based on the latest data about the vaccines and how well they work. And they left it open for schools to recommend masking.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, I believe, is stepping in and filling in that gap. And saying to make this practical, to make this actually enforceable, we're going to recommend them and that everyone in schools goes ahead and wears the mask. And that is truly the best way to stop this virus from spreading in schools and to get kids back in school safely.

BROWN: And the CDC does say that kids over two, right, should wear a mask if they're indoors. Earlier this month, the CDC issued new school guidance saying in-person learning is critical this year but only recommending masks for students who haven't been fully vaccinated. During CNN's Town Hall meeting with President Biden last week he hinted that was going to change.

Why do you think it hasn't changed yet with school opening right around the corner for many students in this country?

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: I think there's so many factors that go into making this decision to make an official recommendations, Pamela. I do believe however, that at this point, we have so much data and so much science to tell us that if we add masks to proper ventilation, the spacing of students and to actual, you know, testing and taking precautions in the community we can do this safely. So I really do believe masks are one more step and a really effective one. We know this at this point, Pamela, and it makes so much sense.

BROWN: The American Academy of Pediatrics says nearly 24,000 cases of COVID among children were reported and the week between July 8 and 15. That's more than 15 percent of total cases that week. [20:10:07]

Just tell us how concerning are those numbers and how is the Delta variant impacting children who weren't who aren't vaccinated?

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: It is extremely concerning, Pamela. The unfortunate thing about the Delta variant is that is spreading faster. And we know so many people have said in the past couple of weeks this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

That unvaccinated group includes all children who still don't qualify for a vaccine and about half of kids who do because we have to remember that according to the latest numbers that we have kids who are 12 and up and qualify for this vaccine, about half of them are not getting it, Pamela.

So it is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We're still learning how the Delta variant affects children, but we know it is more transmissible, it is more infectious. And by nature of being more transmissible, it's going to get the people who aren't vaccinated, and that includes children.

BROWN: When that concerns -- I mean, that concerns me as a parent of two young kids who are helpless, one to three years old, can't get vaccinated. You know, we say it's the epidemic of the unvaccinated but even if you're vaccinated, you know, you worry in this environment, what if you pick it up from someone unvaccinated transmitted to your child. With the Delta variant and everything going on so many kids on vaccinated, as you pointed out, our schools a safe environment, even if people are wearing masks.

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: I do believe they can be, Pamela. I don't think we got to say schools are safe everyone back to school and forget about this. I think we have to be really cautious here. I believe schools need to reopen, kids need to be in school in-person.

I have to tell you, I've seen so many children fall behind. I've seen rates of mental health conditions go up, food and security. So it is really concerning for kids to not be able to go back to school. We have to do absolutely everything that we can. And we know that it can be done safely.

But that includes everyone who can't get vaccinated actually going ahead and getting vaccinated and that includes the proper ventilation, the spacing that we talked about, and all of those measures that at this point should be so familiar to schools.

BROWN: All right. Thank you so much, Doctor. We appreciate it.


BROWN: And tomorrow night primary care doctor Saju Matthew joins us to take your questions, tweet or Instagram and to me at Pamela Brown, CNN.

And still to come, NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills on how players are being hit with hefty fines if they flout its COVID protocols.

Also brand (ph) new video into CNN, two people trapped on a truck as floodwaters swirled around them. Can you imagine the dramatic rescue just ahead.

And then a top scientist tells me why climate changes impact on extreme weather is even worse than we even thought.

But first the Olympics are in full swing and Team USA did something they haven't done in nearly 50 years. Will Ripley joins us next to explain.



BROWN: It is day two of the games in Tokyo and skateboarding is making its Olympic debut. So far, China leads the metal count. But sadly for the first time since 1972, the U.S. failed to win a single medal on the first day of the Summer Games. CNN's Will Ripley has the latest from Tokyo.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, a made for TV spectacle seen around the world. Big names like Naomi Osaka, bulging muscles like the Tongan flagbearer, beaming athletes in the Parade of Nations.

(on camera): And now one Olympics broadcaster accused of raining on that parade.

(voice-over): South Korea's MBC is triggering a storm of controversy online, apologizing for airing what they call inappropriate images and expressions.

Ukrainian athletes pictured alongside an image of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. A graphic describing how Haiti's political situation is fogged by the assassination of the President.

Another calling the Marshall Islands once a nuclear test site for the US.

When Italy walked on, they showed a pizza. For Norway, a salmon fillet. Team Romania, Dracula.

South Korean social media is blowing up says Seoul based journalist Raphael Rashid.

RAPHAEL RASHID, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Everyone is saying that this is extremely embarrassing that has damaged Korean's imageable.

RIPLEY: Rashid's tweet about the cringe worthy captions went viral.

RASHID: Had South Korea being referred to as say a former colony of Japan, it would be offensive, it will be an insult and people are asking how could this have happened.

MBC issued a formal apology. The problematic images and on screen texts were prepared with the intention to introduce each country's team in a short timeframe and make them easily understood. However, it greatly lacked respect.

The broadcaster promising a full review of its editorial process.

Now, no more Olympic blunders.


RIPLEY: Speaking of Olympic blunders, Team USA, no medals on the first day, first time in like since '72, like 50, 60 years, 50 years. I don't want to age 1972. But look, there's hope because I was born in 1981 and I just turned 40.

So look, there's hope for today though Pamela because there are 18 medals up for grabs, swimming events. And you mentioned skateboarding, making its Olympic debut. Surfing, we're about to head like literally after this live shot to the beach to check out Olympic surfing competition which is making --

BROWN: That seems pretty cool.

RIPLEY: -- its debut. And good news for the surfers, there's a typhoon coming. So we're actually thinking that this beach waves.

BROWN: Of course, with the giant wave, right?

RIPLEY: Yes, yes, the waves are supposed to be really good. Now if that South Korean channel was covering the surfing I wonder if they'd put like jaws in the graphic maybe when they're talking about the surfing competition and talk about the shark attacks in the area. Who knows?.


BROWN: Oh, lord, oh my gosh, see that and COVID. But you know what the other good news, Will, is that things can only go up from here, for the U.S. --

RIPLEY: Right.

BROWN: -- team since --

RIPLEY: Absolutely. Yes.

BROWN: -- we didn't' have any medal on the first day. So there we go.

RIPLEY: I know it really takes the pressure off, actually, because --


RIPLEY: -- all right, we got that out of the way.

BROWN: Yes, exactly.

RIPLEY: It's like a vacation. When everything goes wrong on the first day, you know, the rest of the trip is going to be good.

BROWN: Exactly. That's what we're hoping for at least. All right. Thanks so much. Will Ripley, appreciate you bringing us the latest there from Tokyo.

And moments ago, First Lady Jill Biden arrived back in the U.S. having led the American delegation to the Olympics.

CNN's Kate Bennett has more on her trip to Tokyo.


KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jill Biden is not the first First Lady to lead the American delegation to the Olympics, but she is the first to do so in the era of COVID-19.

Speaking virtually to a group of Team USA athletes at the US Embassy in Tokyo Friday, Biden acknowledged the challenges.

BIDEN: Becoming an Olympian is a rare accomplishment in a normal time, but you did it during a global pandemic.

BENNETT: It is also not normal for our first lady to be alone in the stands. As Biden was Saturday taking in a women's basketball game, swimming and part of the women's soccer game against New Zealand.

Cases of COVID are spiking in the host country of Japan. Tokyo is in a state of emergency, but Biden was not deterred from her first international solo trip as First Lady. Even as reports of athletes falling ill became more widespread.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president the First Lady felt it was important to have the delegation lead at the highest level, so she is looking forward to continuing her travel.

BENNETT: At opening ceremonies, Biden won a fewer than 100 VIP attendees. But her Olympic spirit not dimmed. On Saturday at a watch party at the embassy, Biden changed into a head to toe Team USA wardrobe.

BIDEN: I feel like a new kid, I mean a kid on the first day of school, you know, how you got -- you have all your new clothes, but you didn't wash them so like these jeans are so stiff, so note to sell.

BENNETT: Biden also did double duty, squeezing in several diplomatic events during her two and a half days in Tokyo telling embassy staff she knows what they're up against.

BIDEN: This job can be challenging in the best of times. And in the past few years, we've seen how fragile diplomacy can be.

BENNETT: Building relationships and audience (ph) with the Japanese Emperor at the Imperial Palace, taking an instance workshop as a guest of the wife of Japan's Prime Minister Suga.

BIDEN: I like the cherry blossoms.

BENNETT: Back home, President Joe Biden saying it was his wife who was asked to go to Japan and not he.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you turn on the Olympics and watch Team USA, you'll see Jill Biden stand there cheering with them.

The Japanese Prime Minister who was I invited in the first person to come to the White House Head of State, he made it real clear. He didn't want me. He wanted her to go. He is a man of incredible judgment.

BENNETT: But the First Lady's main mission was to be there to support America's athletes at a time when their own friends and families could not be. Biden doing it instead.

BIDEN: In these moments, we are more than our cities or states or backgrounds. We are more than our jobs or our political parties. We are uniting. We are first and foremost, Team USA.


BROWN: Thanks to our Kate Bennett. A testament to how quickly things can change with Coronavirus and an unvaccinated population. The Biden administration went from declaring independence on July 4th to a very different tone just a few weeks later.

David Swerdlick, CNN political commentator and assistant editor at the Washington Post joins us next.



BROWN: As the Delta variant tightens its grip on the country, cases are surging among the unvaccinated. Primarily, it's triggered a more urgent tone from the White House and a warning from the CDC director.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: We together are not out of the woods yet. And you will want to make thoughtful decisions to protect your health and the health of your family and your community. We are yet at another pivotal moment in this pandemic.

David Swerdlick is a CNN political commentator and assistant editor at the Washington Post.

David, given where we are now just in the last few weeks, do you think the White House was premature in sort of celebrating and saying on July 4th that America was nearly independent from COVID-19?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Pamela. Yes, I do think they were a little bit. If you go back to the March-April timeframe, the administration got the COVID Relief Package off the ground. They were rolling out the vaccines in a very efficient way.

And President Biden gave that speech where he said hey, let's aim for getting back to sort of semi normal by July 4th. Then came may with the CDC guidance that that rolled back mask wearing guidance and mask wearing required.


And I do think that was a little bit premature. Now, we see case counts going up. And in the interim, I think the administration has gotten a little sidetracked into different issues. They have a big agenda. But ultimately, they probably realize now that their fate in the 2022 midterms and looking way ahead to the 2024 presidential is all about getting checks in hands and shots in arms.

And they've gotten away from that a little bit in the last several weeks. And the case counts going up is certainly not helping their messaging, and they're going to have to really stay on this.

BROWN: Right. I mean, they've been pressed, the CDC has been pressed as well, from my colleague, Kaitlan Collins, about discussions to upgrade or update the mask guidance for vaccines to people indoors given what's going on.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, didn't answer questions from reporters about how many people in the White House are vaccinated, how many breakthrough cases there are. What do you make of that for an administration that has touted transparency from day one?

SWERDLICK: Yes. So, I'm not a doctor or anything but, you know, there's a -- there's a view that says follow the science. And I think you do have to follow the science in this situation. But the politicians, especially up to President Biden, have to also keep the public on guard about the potential for a relapse, back to these rising case counts, and back to a situation where just a few weeks ago, everyone was looking forward to smooth sailing this summer, school reopening, people are starting to go back to their physical workspaces.

And now, I think that's still on pace. But now it's going to take more of everyone in the country rowing together. And if the White House can't find a way to get that message across, and to get the vaccine skeptics, especially in red states, to start, you know, looking at maybe, hey, maybe I should get this vaccine, even if I'm not completely comfortable with it, they're going to have both a public health problem and a future political problem.

BROWN: And there's always the question, how much can the White House messaging even get to those vaccine skeptics? But we know that conservatives are leaders in the -- in the conservative, you know, Republicans, politicians, they really can -- they can reach out to these people. And we saw a sudden about-face by conservative leaders in House who were suddenly embracing vaccines.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): I've been vaccinated, many of my colleagues have been vaccinated, and the vaccine is safe, effective, and it's widely available all across the United States of America for anybody who wants to get it.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Please take COVID seriously. I can't say it enough. Enough people have died. We don't need any more deaths. Research like crazy. Talk to your doctor. I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): If there's anybody out there willing to listen, get vaccinated. These shots need to get in everybody's arm as rapidly as possible or we're going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don't yearn for that we went through last year.


BROWN: So, what do you think about that? And we should know that Sean Hannity then after he said that he went on a radio show and said that he wasn't telling people they should get vaccinated, kind of, backtracked on what he was saying there. But what is your reaction to more prominent conservative speaking out about this in favor of the vaccine?

SWERDLICK: Pamela, I think there's a couple of things going on. First of all, now that we're seeing these case counts rise, Republicans, broadly speaking, and Republican commentators, broadly speaking, will look bad if their COVID skepticism and their vaccines skepticism turns out to have been the wrong advice that they were giving to their constituencies -- its constituencies and their audiences.

People will eventually catch on, I assume, that they've been given bunk information. I think the other thing that startled people this week was that 700-point drop in the Dow on Monday. I haven't done any reporting on this.

But I would not be shocked, Pamela, if Republicans on the Hill, if Republican network executives got calls from people on Wall Street and elsewhere in the business community saying, hey, if we want to reopen, if you want to see the stock market keep going along, chugging along, then we've got to get some vaccine compliance, and we've got to tighten it up with protocols around the country, because you can't have the economy bounce back again and again, from the shocks from people having to mask up, stay home, et cetera because not enough people are vaccinated to tamp down the pandemic.

BROWN: Gosh. You know, you would just hope that the driving force would be, hey, it's important to spread important, you know, information that could save people's lives not just, hey, you know, just the economy really need your help. But it is certainly an open question as to what we were -- we've seen play out this past week and the conservative base there.

David SWERDLICK, thank you so much.

SWERDLICK: Thanks, Pamela.

BROWN: And up next, brand-new video with the CNN two people trapped on a truck as floodwaters swirled around them the dramatic rescue, coming up.


Plus, climate change is on full display with fires, floods, and extreme heat across the globe. My next guest says the models that scientists have been using are outdated and that climate change is far worse than we think. Stay with us.


BROWN: Severe weather and a dramatic rescue in Phoenix, Arizona. This video from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, shows deputies plucking two people from the top of a flooded delivery truck. Oh, my gosh look at this right now. The truck was swallowed by floodwaters after monsoon thunderstorms inundated much of the area. Wow, incredible.


In the past four weeks, floods in Europe have engulfed streets and swallowed homes. A Canadian town known more for its cool mountain air, burned to the ground in a wildfire. Right now, in the western United States, firefighters are trying to contain 88 fires burning out of control.

And Oregon alone, the skies are filled with smoke and ash from the monster bootleg fire, which has scorched more than 400,000 acres. The condition is so hellish and extreme that the fire spun off its own tornado, the force of that twister enough to strip trees and snap trucks.

Climate scientists have been warning us for decades that the climate crisis will cause more deadly extreme weather, but they're surprised that heat and rain records are being broken by such large margins right now.

Michael E. Mann is the professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University. He also wrote, "The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet."

Professor Mann says the climate change models we're using are outdated. And in his words, "Underestimating the magnitude of the impact of climate change on extreme weather events." Professor Mann joins me now. Thank you for being here with us. What's wrong with the current climate models?


The climate models are actually great. I mean, they really do an excellent job capturing many of the features and the dynamics of Earth's climate system. And they've come a long way over the past several decades. They've actually predicted the warming of the planet extremely well.

But some of the impacts of climate change do depend on details and processes that are often fairly difficult to resolve in these models. That's true when it comes to the impact of climate change on extreme weather events. They capture the fact that a warmer planet is going to have more intense and more frequent heat waves.

And that's going to dry out soil so you get worse drought. And you combine that -- those heat waves with that drought, you get the sorts of epic wildfires that we're seeing breakout, but at the same time, a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, so when it does rain, you get more of those extreme flooding events.

The models capture all that. What they don't capture very well is the way that climate change is actually changing the behavior of our jet stream. And it's slowing it down and causing some of those weather systems to grow in magnitude and become locked in place, so you get those deep, high pressure centers over the western U.S. that gives us that unprecedented heat and drought and wildfires, or a big low pressure that gets stuck over the East, and we get some of those flooding events that we've seen recently.

The models don't quite capture how climate change is increasing those sorts of conditions. And so the models are providing an underestimate of the profound impact that climate change is already having on these extreme weather events.

BROWN: And is that why climate scientists are surprised that heat and rain records are broken by such large margins? What are we supposed to make of that?

MANN: Yes. I mean, sometimes we become a little too enamored with our models. And we think that they describe the real world, but they don't capture all of the complexities of the real world. And so, climate modelers have been surprised by just the -- this, you know, this endless procession of extreme heat waves and droughts and wildfires and floods that we've seen in recent summers, because the models didn't quite predict that we would see this much this soon.

Part of the, you know, the challenge here, of course, is to run these climate models at higher resolutions, where we start to capture some of those features that are missing. And climate modelers are working on that and we need, of course, the resources to do that.

BROWN: Of course, but I mean, we're sitting here talking about this endless procession of weather events tied to climate change. And there are still so many people who are climate change deniers. What is your message to them?

MANN: Yes. Well, you know, look, the impacts of climate change are no longer subtle. We're seeing them now play out in our daily weather. So, we're beyond the point where there's even any question, not just about whether climate change is real and human caused, but there's really no question that it is leading to profound impacts on us now.

There's a little bit of good news. The climate models do tell us that if we do bring those global carbon emissions down dramatically over the next decade, which we can do with the right policies that decarbonize our economy, move as towards renewable energy, we can prevent the worst impacts from taking place but we have to act now.


BROWN: All right. Professor Michael Mann, thank you for joining us. That really is alarming though, even though there is a bit of good news on the horizon, perhaps, if people do what they're supposed to be doing to take care of the planet. Thank you so much, Professor.

Well, the NFL is warning its players the games may be forfeited if there was a coronavirus outbreak among the unvaccinated. But the NFL's Chief Medical Officer tells me it's not about punishing people, that interview, up next.

And when it comes to the sitcom, there's one thing we all could agree on, the workplace has some horrible bosses, right? from Michael Scott in "The Office" to Jack Donaghy of "30 Rock." Find out the inspiration to some of your favorite characters on the next new episode of "History of the Sitcom" tomorrow night at 9:00 only on CNN.



BROWN: It's an annual ritual the start of the NFL season, players are already starting to report to training camp. But this year, our second pandemic summer, the NFL has taken an aggressive approach to getting players vaccinated. We've learned that if a team experiences an outbreak among unvaccinated players, they may have to forfeit a game.

And tonight, according to Bleacher Report, unvaccinated players may even be fined for breaking COVID protocols. Earlier, I spoke to Dr. Allen Sills, Chief Medical Officer for the NFL.


ALLEN SILLS, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Well, I've spent a lot of time talking with our clubs, with individual players, with family members, obviously, with our team medical staffs and others. And again, our policies and protocols are not about punishing people, they're about trying to be as safe as we possibly can. And we believe, as do medical experts, that being vaccinated does put us in the position to be as safe as possible.

So, that's really our focus is, how do we maintain the safety of our club environments allow us to move forward through our season just like we did last year. And so, everything we can do to incentivize vaccination is something we want to do, but our protocols are built around that idea of let's be as safe as we can, not about punishment or disincentives.

BROWN: Right. I saw you talk to reporters yesterday, and you said, you know, we shouldn't be paying attention to Facebook and Instagram. And it raises the question, how much is social media to blame for vaccine skepticism for some of these people, players getting their information from social media on the vaccines rather than trusted scientific sources?

SILLS: Well, I think that's our focus, you hit the key word there, which is trusted scientific sources. And so, we all know that we look to influential people who we trust. And, again, that's what we do as patients, that's what we do as family members. And so, we just want to make sure that people have access to a reliable and accurate scientific information. That's what we and the Players Association together are trying to provide to our players, coaches and staff.

BROWN: But how were you able to get them to put more weight on these trusted scientific sources rather than, you know, what they're seeing online? Do you see any movement on that front? Do you see that your efforts are actually working and that you are getting more vaccine hesitant players to get vaccinated?

SILLS: We're seeing a daily uptick in the number of vaccinated players. As of yesterday, 80 percent of our NFL players have started the vaccination process. And so, we are seeing those numbers go up literally day by day. And so, I think the message is resonating. We still got more work to do, but we're off to a good start. And so, we'll continue to have those conversations.

I've often said, I don't believe you shout anyone into changing their opinion here. I think you just have to thoughtfully address concerns, share accurate information, and help people as they make these important decisions for themselves.


BROWN: And our thanks to Dr. Allen Sills.

Tomorrow night, we have something special in store for you, CNN's Don Lemon has been pulling double duty over the last few months on an intense investigation to answer this very important question. Where have all the TV theme songs gone?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hello, Don Lemon here. Have you ever asked yourself? What happened to T.V. theme songs? You don't really hear them anymore, do you? Yes, I'm talking about T.V. theme music. And I asked myself that very question just a few months back. And one of the fascinating things I realized is that there have been many different types of theme songs throughout the years, right? Here's a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's few and far between that throughout the '80s and '90s, and into the new century, we had many of those old-fashioned things, and when we saw them, they were retro homages to those old days.

Like the opening of the sopranos that song, of course, it already existed. But what accompanies that is the great American immigrant story. Those four scenes where each scene the houses get further apart, more greenery in between and bigger until Tony arrives at his palatial ex-urban thing.

There are a couple of them that have no words, completely instrumental.

Law and Order is an example where you simply have to have something playing while you show who's starring in this thing. That was important because they kept changing their cast.

Twilight Zone, the same thing. And also, for notes. Doo-doo-doo.


LEMON: Pamela, I'm hoping I'm going to hear some of your favorite T.V. theme songs in this show. And I know you will be singing along. You better record it too because I want to watch it. Thank you.

BROWN: I won't much of my husband's chagrin probably. Don Lemon, thanks so much. And be sure to watch, "Where Have All the Theme Songs Gone?" That's tomorrow at 8:00 p.m.


And thank you so much for joining me this evening. I'm Pamela Brown. I'll see you again tomorrow night starting at 6:00 pm. Eastern.

Up next, "History of the Sitcom" Just Friends.

And as we leave you tonight, take a look at the White House lit up in red, white, and blue in support of the American Olympic athletes competing in Tokyo. As Edward R. Murrow would say, good night and good luck.