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U.S. Sees Summer Surge In COVID Cases As Vaccinations Stall; Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Appoints GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) To January 6 Committee; Some Conservatives Change Course, Suddenly Embrace Vaccines; Interview With Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) About COVID-19; Tokyo Reports More Than 1,700 New COVID-19 Cases; Memorial Concert Near Surfside Honors Collapse Victims. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired July 25, 2021 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are live in the CNN Newsroom. And we begin tonight with the study and disturbing march of COVID around the world and across the United States.
In America, the public's willingness to get a vaccine is waning, as the pandemic of the unvaccinated grows more ominous. Nearly every state is seeing more COVID-19 cases than the week before. So, fear and frustration are building.
Less than 50 percent of the country is fully vaccinated, meaning the game-changing herd immunity is well out of reach. And at this pace, a new model projects a worst-case scenario of 4,000 deaths daily in the U.S. Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's Chief Medical Adviser, tells CNN that mask guidelines for the vaccinated can't be ruled out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're going in the wrong direction.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think masks should be brought back for vaccinated Americans?
FAUCI: You know, Jake, this is under active consideration. If you're asking am I part of the discussion, yes, I am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The debate over ratcheting up governmental restrictions is politically charged and even weaponized. Tomorrow St. Louis County and City will reinstate the mask mandate for indoor public setting. But Missouri's attorney general vows an immediate lawsuit to block it. Republican Eric Schmitt says he want to, quote, stop this insanity to protect free people.
Joining me now to talk all things COVID, Dr. Saju Mathew, he's a Primary Care Physician and Public Health Specialist. Dr. Mathew, great to see you, thanks for joining us. We're going to get to our viewers questions in just a moment. But I want to just ask you about breakthrough cases.
We keep hearing about them particularly with the Olympics. Some athletes have tested positive even after being vaccinated. So if you were, just help us understand, put into context for those of us who are vaccinated, what this could mean for us.
DR. SAJU MATHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: Yes. Good evening Pamela. I'm excited about our show tonight. Listen, breakthrough infections are not unexpected. What that basically means is you got both doses of your vaccine, whether it was the Moderna or Pfizer or the one shot of the J&J. You waited two weeks.
You're fully immunized but you still either turn positive, have no symptoms, get tested and find out that you're positive, and that is considered a breakthrough infection. What does that really mean? Well, it means that, as a lot of people are unvaccinated, they're putting pressure on the vaccine, causing the vaccine to be tested. And because the delta variant now is so contagious, Pam, it is breaking through the vaccine. That's the best way to explain the breakthrough infections.
Now, most breakthrough infections are mild. Some people have pretty bad symptoms of the flu for a couple of weeks, like a few of my patients. But the good news is the breakthrough infection should remain a breakthrough infection and not a disease. You should not go into the hospital, get severely sick or die from it.
BROWN: So, bottom line is if you have been fully vaccinated and you get a breakthrough infection, essentially either you're probably not going to feel symptoms, or if you do, it would have been a lot worse, if you contracted COVID and not been vaccinated, right?
MATHEW: That's right.
MATHEW: That's exactly right. I mean all the more reason, people who are unvaccinated listening to our conversation should say I need to get vaccinated ASAP, because the delta variant is already even breaking through the vaccine. But if you get the vaccine and still get a breakthrough infection, you are protected close to 100 percent from being hospitalized, getting severely sick and dying. What more do you really want from a vaccine?
BROWN: That's key. All right, so let's go to our viewer questions. I have been getting so many questions from people. The first is, if more people don't become fully vaccinated, won't we just constantly chase the newest and increasingly worst variant?
MATHEW: That's exactly right. We're talking about the delta today. Tomorrow, it's going to be the lambda. We already had the delta plus in India. And, unfortunately, while a lot of these variants are becoming more and more dangerous, what's really sad is the unvaccinated people are not budging. They're still not getting vaccinated.
Technically speaking, ideally speaking, after listening to our show, Pam, if most Americans that are eligible will go tomorrow and get the shot, in a couple of weeks, two to four weeks, you're going to see the numbers drop and this entire country will be safe again.
BROWN: Is it equally as important for people who had and recovered from COVID to get the vaccine as it is to unvaccinated to get it? What do I say to convince my brother to get his shot when he thinks he is immune after he and his family, wife and infant got COVID during the Thanksgiving 2020? Are they safe? Am I safe to bring my infant around them? That's what another viewer is asking.
MATHEW: If that was my brother, I would tell my brother I don't feel comfortable bringing my kids and my family around you because of the following reason. Number one, I'm happy you got through COVID but just because you got through COVID doesn't protect you from these new variants. COVID 2020 is a lot different from COVID 2021.
And, secondly, we know that the immunity wanes, two to four weeks, six months after you get the shot. I've had patients, Pam, who had zero antibodies three months after recovering from COVID. So the bottom line is, even if you had COVID, get the vaccine. It is going to protect you much longer with a higher antibody response.
BROWN: Another viewer is asking tonight, how long is an asymptomatic breakthrough infection contagious? I am fully vaccinate with Pfizer and have grandchildren too young to get the vaccine. So If I were to get the virus but I am unaware of it, how long would such an infection be contagious?
MATHEW: Yes. So that's a really good question, because what this viewer is asking is my breakthrough infection going to any more or less contagious that if I didn't get the vaccine? This is what I think -- this should what I tell her.
If you have a breakthrough infection, treat it like you were not vaccinated, like you had a regular COVID infection. You're mostly contagious two days before, called the pre-symptomatic stage and for a week after you develop symptoms. So, to be on the safe side, ten days in isolation and you should be good to go back and hug your grandkids.
BROWN: Okay, and this viewer is asking us tonight, hey, I'm old, when can I get a booster vax? Post-transplant recipient 12-plus years running now, I want more Moderna. Please.
MATHEW: Listen, I get that question all the time. Just last week I had a tell telemedicine visit from three people 65 and older, who are immunocompromised. Immunocompromised Americans could be people with a lung transplant, liver transplant, people that have -- recovering from cancer, may have lupus.
If you have these compromising conditions, the first thing to do is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor should look at your risk factors. And even though we don't have any studies just yet, Pam, about getting that booster, I think in the next few weeks CDC is going to recommend a third shot. But for now, I would say, layer up that protection, make wise decisions as to where you're going and wait until we have that official recommendation of getting a third shot.
BROWN: Such useful information for all of us. Dr. Mathew, we have so many more questions. I'm going to ask you them offline. I'll post it on my twitter @pamelabrowncnn. Dr. Saju Mathew, thank you so much.
MATHEW: Thank you, Pam.
BROWN: Well, the COVID health crisis is igniting weekend protests across much of the world. In Paris, some of the demonstrations turned violent. Protesters are rejecting mandatory vaccinations for health care workers and a proposed extension of the country's health pass system.
Mandated vaccines for health care workers also fueling violent protests in Athens. Greek police unleashed tear gas and water cannons on the crowds there.
Australians took to the streets in Sydney to show their anger at the possible extension of a month-long lockdown.
It's due to expire Friday, but officials warn it may go longer.
And over in Brazil, protests rage against the embattled president and his handling of the pandemic. Demonstrators called for his impeachment and demanded more COVID-19 vaccines.
And new tonight, video of the moment a car hits a woman and her baby and the chaotic race to save them. We want to warn you first, it is disturbing to watch, but the mother and child, thankfully, did survive.
This happened Friday in Yonkers, New York. Surveillance video shows the car swerving into view, hitting another car and veering right into the woman and her daughter.
As disturbing as that moment was, it gets even worse. The car crashed into a barbershop, pinning the baby underneath. Here's the moment officers and bystanders lifted the car to get her out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grab the baby. Grab the baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got her. I got the baby. I got the baby. Hold up. Hold up. Okay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: I got the baby. Oh, my gosh, it gives you chills, right? Both the child and the mother were seriously injured but are expected to be okay thankfully and thank goodness for those first responders.
And heads up before the COVID conversation we have next hour, a doctor will tell us about the vaccine holdout who waited until it was just too late.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The regret and remorse on their face in fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Also ahead this hour, heartbreak for a Dutch cyclist in Tokyo who thought she clenched a gold medal but it was too good to be true.
But, first, bracing for blowback from his own party, Republican Trump critic Adam Kinzinger joins the investigation into the cause of the Capitol riot. We have former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent standing by to discuss that. And we'll be right back with more.
BROWN: Congressman Adam Kinzinger will sit on the House select committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riot. That was announced today. He's one of just ten House Republicans, including Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection. And now, both are on that committee, which holds its first hearing Tuesday. Chairman Bennie Thompson says, when it comes to witnesses, everything is on the table.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Let me say nothing is off limits. We will follow the facts. On the meetings we've had with the members of this committee, they have all said wherever the facts in our investigation lead us, that's where we'll go. So nothing is sacred. Again, this is our democracy at stake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And joining me is CNN Political Commentator and former GOP Congressman Charlie Dent. Great to see you. Thanks so much for joining us, Charlie.
So, last week, when there was this partisan showdown between Pelosi and McCarthy over which Republican should be on the committee, you said Pelosi had the chance to make some lemonade. Do you think she's done that by appointing Adam Kinzinger?
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I actually do. I think this is a very smart selection by the speaker to place Adam Kinzinger on that select committee. He's a very serious, thoughtful member. You know, he is -- he wants to get to the truth. He wants the facts. He wants accountability. He wants answers to questions why thousands of our fellow citizenships stormed the Capitol to try to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. It's a very good selection.
And If I were Nancy Pelosi, in addition to Liz Cheney, I would invite the three other Republican members that Kevin McCarthy had selected and invite them back. If they don't come back, well, then go down the list. There are plenty of others. But this is great selection and Kinzinger will bring a nice bipartisan, nonpartisan tone to the proceedings.
BROWN: Are there others that you think might actually agree to serve?
DENT: Well, I don't know who will agree to serve, but I tell you who I think will do a good job on this committee. John Katko of New York will be terrific. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Fred Upton of Michigan. You have a long list, Tom Rice of South Carolina. Some of the impeachment votes and there are plenty and there are a few dozen other Republican who is also voted to certify the election who would also be good, thoughtful members.
Obviously, they're taking great political risk by joining into this committee in their primaries. But as Kinzinger pointed out, he's doing this because he wants to serve, he's doing it for the good of the country. He's got an organization called Country First and he is speaking to a much broader Republican audience who feels and sees us (ph) and as I do.
BROWN: And then the case of some of them, like Katko, who helped negotiate the first bipartisan commission that Republicans voted against, if I recall correctly, he has made clear that he is not in favor of this select committee, but it will be interesting to see if Pelosi appoints more Republicans to seats on this committee. We'll have to wait and see.
But meantime, Kevin McCarthy says Republicans are going to hold their own hearings. What good would that do?
DENT: Not much. I mean, it seems that they want to try to pin the blame for what happened on January 6th on Speaker Pelosi and suggesting that she somehow failed in providing security. You know, as I -- I served in Congress shortly after 9/11, I came in a couple of years later. And we were -- have been deeply offended had the Democrats suggest that George W. Bush was responsible for 9/11.
Well, there were failures, to be sure, at 9/11 as of January 6th, but to pin this on the speaker's unfair. But there are plenty of reasons why Republicans might want to criticize Nancy Pelosi, but January 6th is not one of them. And I think they all know that. So I think they're going to try to come up with their own narrative about what happened. And I just don't think it will be -- that will be a very partisan effort, frankly.
BROWN: Do you see it as deflection from Donald Trump's role and everything, their role in it?
DENT: Well, I think that will be part of it. I mean, they're going to deflect from Donald Trump in the insurrectionists themselves to Speaker Pelosi. And they're going to try to say, why was the House -- why was the Capitol building not more properly secure?
And they can talk about the failures of the intelligence agencies, failure to share intelligence. I mean, they might speak to some of those issues, but I think they're going to try to avoid Donald Trump's role in this, who, frankly, incited the mob and sicced them on the Congress. Article One sicced the mob on -- or Article Two -- excuse me, sicced the mob on Article One, the Congress. And I think that's really what maybe they're trying to deflect from.
BROWN: What's interesting though, because Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans are saying this was massive security failure to try to blame Nancy Pelosi for, but on the others hand, other Republicans are saying, it was no big deal, they're trying to whitewash it, saying that it was like a tourist visit.
So which one is it, a massive security failure or just, you know, a no big deal tourist visit? Obviously, we know what it was, but their narratives aren't lining up in the Republican Party as a whole in the House side.
You heard earlier that Committee Chair Bennie Thompson said, nothing is off limits. Do you think he'd go as far as to call Donald Trump to testify?
DENT: Well, I think he would. You know, I served in the Homeland Security Committee back in the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 up to 2010 with Bennie Thompson. I thought he was very fair when I serve with him on the committee. He works very closely with John Katko, who is the ranking Republican. And I do think Bennie Thompson will go where the facts lead him in that committee. They are going to ask hard questions.
And you know I think, anything is on the table right now. So I wouldn't be surprised if some members of Congress could be asked to testify before this select committee in the event they had any role with some of the insurrectionists. I hope they didn't, but it's a real possibility. And I think Bennie Thompson will pull the trigger if he has to.
BROWN: Last question for you. Opinions seem to be so baked in on what happened on January 6th for so many Americans. Is there any way these hearings can break through that?
DENT: Well, we certainly hope so. But most important, I think this committee will have added credibility if the Democrats really defer in large part to Cheney and Kinzinger, who can set a proper tone for these proceedings and make these as nonpartisan as possible.
They should be about the facts, getting to the truth, try to cut down on the grandstanding. It is easy to do in circumstance like this. But I think to be very smart to let those two Republican members set the tone for the entire proceedings. That will add enormous credibility to this.
Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney are good, devoted Republicans, both of whom are pretty darn conservative. And, you know, they're not just the bunch of liberal squishes that some are trying to find. These are serious, thoughtful members with impeccable credentials. So I think if Democrats are smart, they'll defer to them on any of these questions and really highlight their role in the proceedings.
BROWN: And this is just remarkable, if you take the step back, that Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and Nancy Pelosi, they have such different voting records, but on this, they clearly are aligned when they get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th. All right, former Congressman Charlie Dent, thank you so much.
DENT: Thanks Pam.
BROWN: And be sure to join Wolf Blitzer for our special coverage of the January 6th select committee's first hearing that begins Tuesday morning at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
Well, growing number of Republican leaders are helping to get the word out about coronavirus vaccines, but some have been hesitant to promote them. I'll ask a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus about her efforts to get more people the life-saving shots, up next.
BROWN: As the highly contagious delta variant fuels a rise in hospitalizations and a 65 percent jump in new COVID cases, mostly among the unvaccinated, it's also fueling an about-face. Many GOP leaders are suddenly speaking up forcefully in support of the vaccine. The Republican governors of Alabama, Missouri, West Virginia and Florida are all stressing the need for more vaccinations but stopping short of stricter COVID protocols.
Well, one GOP lawmakers has been a vaccine chair leader all along. Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa joins me now. She is a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus and was Director of the Iowa state health department. So she is certainly an authority on this matter, a politician, also a doctor.
And let start Congresswoman, put your doctor hat on for a moment. Given the rise in cases and hospitalizations, would you support new mask mandates for vaccinated Americans or a vaccine mandate for federal employees?
REP. MARIANNETTE MILLER-MEEKS (R-IA): Well, I think, first and foremost, that people need to be aware there's vaccines available where they're available, how they can get them, and we need to make sure that they're just not in certain clinics but in all doctor's offices, hospitals, pharmacies and settings where they can be readily accessible and available. At this point in time there is a rise in cases but we're not to the level we were before. And if we can remember back, I may seem a long time that back to over to a little over a year ago when we started having people shelter at home and lockdowns and requirement for masks and social distancing, it was to reduce and prevent a surge and overwhelming our hospital capabilities. So we're not at that level yet. We certainly have learned how to better treat people with COVID-19, how to reduce hospitalizations, how to promote better health in our members.
And we've also learned risk factors which we did not have at the beginning of this pandemic. So at this point in time I would continue to encourage people to get vaccinated and I would be very honest and forthright with them about what risks are available, if there is information they have, answer their questions.
I think shaming people and blaming and denigrating them, ridiculing them for not having yet been vaccinated does little to help promote people to get vaccinated so you're right, I take off my congressperson hat and I put on my doctor's hat, which is why back in March I went to all 24 counties in my district attending vaccination clinics and administering vaccines to people.
BROWN: So -- and I see what you're saying that the numbers, although they have risen, they're not as bad as they were earlier in the pandemic when hospitals were just overwhelmed with patients. That is happening at certainly fewer hospitals in this country right now. But just to go back, do you support new mask mandates for vaccinated Americans or a vaccine mandate? Or do you believe it should still be optional?
MILLER-MEEKS: So you said do I support a mask mandate for vaccinated Americans, no. I think if people are fully vaccinated, so they have either both shots of Pfizer or Moderna, or a single shot of J&J, so if they're fully vaccinated, no, I do not think that there should be a mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals.
But I do think if people are concerned or if they have medical risk factors, that put them at greater risk of they have a weakened immune system, through their own personal health risk factors, medical risk factors, they may want to wear a mask.
There is some breakthrough. There are individuals who are vaccinated who have been double vaccinated who do contract COVID-19, the Delta variant. But the breakthrough is extremely small. So the last study I read was about 0.05 percent. So you could get COVID if you're fully vaccinated, but the risk is extremely low. So, no, I would not recommend or suggest a mask mandate for those people who are fully vaccinated.
BROWN: And same for vaccine mandate for federal employees? Just want to be clear on that.
MILLER-MEEKS: I'm not for vaccine mandates. And the reason is that this is an injectable substance. It's a medicine that we are putting into people's bodies. I think if you can be honest and forthright with people let them know to check with their doctor if they have concerns. Try to get information, you know, clear guidance and information from the CDC would be tremendously helpful.
And that includes adverse reactions and includes risks, which we still don't have a good risk-benefit analysis from the CDC regarding the vaccines, but overall highly effective, very safe, decades of research went into the making of these vaccines even if the vaccine came to the public very rapidly.
And I think those things are very important for people to know. Also when you look around the world at the numbers of people that have been vaccinated, the numbers of people that have been vaccinated in the United States, you can look at the very low risk of side effects, and compared to the risk of your side effects if you get COVID-19, and this includes long-term risks.
So I know young people who have contracted COVID-19 and for six to nine months have loss of smell, taste, have had low grade headaches, and some have had fatigue greater than their, you know, usual fatigue that they may have.
So there are long-term side effects from COVID-19. Side effects from the vaccine much less. So it's safe, it's effective, and I certainly would continue to encourage people if they have not been vaccinated to get vaccinated. But to talk with their doctor, talk to someone who they have a trusting relationship with in the medical field where they can have their questions answered about being vaccinated.
BROWN: I want to get to the CNN report from this past week that shows nearly half of House Republicans refused to share their vaccination status. Why do you think so many members of your party are not saying if they're vaccinated or vocally encouraging the vaccines?
MILLER-MEEKS: Well, I can't answer for my colleagues why they don't want to address their vaccine status. But what I can say is that when you look at who's more persuasive in getting people to get vaccinated, is it an elected official, regardless of what level or tier, or is it someone with medical experience? So people trust their doctor or nurse practitioner or P.A., someone in their family with medical experience, more than they would a legislator.
So I think what's even more important is that we in the medical community continue to make ourselves available, answer questions, you know, even if it's on a virtual format or if it's a radio talk show, that we make ourselves available to be able to answer questions to people, and let them know that certainly they can contact their provider to get any questions answered about if they have vaccine hesitancy, the risks, the side effects. There is some information that is erroneous, and those errors can be helped corrected, if they contact their provider.
So I think it's most important that we in the medical community make people aware that we're available to them. We want to be there for them. We're not going to shame them, we're not going to blame them, we're not going to denigrate them, but we want to be able to answer questions for them. If there are any misconceptions they may have and also reassure them about the safety of the vaccine.
There are people who are genuinely concerned that this is -- you know, it's medical, something medically drug that you would inject into your body and it only has Emergency Use Authorization. It doesn't have full authorization from the CDC.
And myself and other members of the Doc Caucus have actually sent letters asking in support of getting full authorization given the numbers of vaccines that have been given here in the United States and also around the world to use that real world evidence.
BROWN: And really quickly before we wrap up as we run out of time, I want to talk about the political polarization. The U.S. versus Canada. You're seeing much higher rates of conservatives in Canada getting vaccinated versus right here in the United States. Last night at a rally former president Trump told his supporters he recommended the vaccine, but then he said, quote, "I also believe in your freedoms." Would you like to see him do more?
MILLER-MEEKS: Well, you know, it's interesting you say that because early on when President Biden came into office, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked a question about, should President Trump get credit for the vaccine development coming to the market in nine months.
And she said no. This was a tremendous opportunity for bipartisanship and putting the nation above political differences for them to say yes, and we encourage President Trump to come help us to encourage people to get vaccinated.
BROWN: But why isn't he? And --
MILLER-MEEKS: So I'd like to see all of us --
BROWN: I mean, the Biden administration has --
MILLER-MEEKS: -- do more in order to get people vaccinated. We know that it's a way that we can go through this pandemic --
BROWN: Let me just jump in really quick.
MILLER-MEEKS: All of us have suffered through it.
BROWN: Biden himself has said -- has given Trump credit when he was getting vaccinated. Of course the criticism has been, you know, it wasn't enough, he hasn't said enough, he hasn't been forward enough. But what about Trump? Would you like to see him be out there more promoting the vaccine that he helped with under Operation Warp Speed?
MILLER-MEEKS: I think certainly any of us who are in a position to be able to influence people and to make a message that the vaccine is safe, that it's effective, there were no safety shortcuts in getting this vaccine to the public, that it was built upon decades of research and so far has a very good safety protocol, and that it's very effective and also effective against the Delta variant. I think that's a message that we can get out to people, continue to encourage people, and then be available to answer their questions.
BROWN: OK. Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks, thank you very much for joining us.
MILLER-MEEKS: Thank you so much and have a good evening, Pamela.
BROWN: You too.
Well, for the first time since 1972 Team USA didn't win a medal on day one of the Summer Olympics, but day two was a totally different story.
CNN's Will Ripley is in Tokyo with the latest up next.
BROWN: Day three of the Olympics is underway in Tokyo. The American swim team breaking the medal drought, winning Team USA's first gold and silver medals. But the games can't outrun the shadow of coronavirus. Two of the world's top golfers have dropped out after testing positive. World number one Jon Rahm of Spain and number six Bryson DeChambeau of the U.S. Organizers say at least 15 athletes have tested positive for the virus so far.
CNN's Will Ripley joins me from Tokyo.
Will, COVID cases are up again this weekend in Japan. How is it playing out at the games?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Jon Rahm, you know, this is the second time that he tested positive. He had to drop out of the Memorial tournament back in June. And he was quoted as saying, I've got the antibodies, I'm good.
I mean, and to -- you know, and to show that he has now tested positive again and that some of the athletes who have been vaccinated are testing positive, often it means they'll have a minor case, but it does show that people can still catch this very contagious Delta variant even if they're vaccinated, even if they have the antibodies, but probably will fare much better than those, you know, who might develop a more severe case weren't vaccinated.
But anyway, the Delta variant is becoming quickly the predominant variant here in Tokyo. And pardon the helicopter noise, because the triathlon is actually happening right around us as we speak. We can't show it to you because it appears on another network, but there is a lot of action. But the number of cases continues to rise. 1700, more than 1700 cases reported on Sunday in Tokyo. A week ago they reported a thousand daily cases.
So it's quite a jump over the past week when you're looking at the comparison of the daily numbers, Pamela. But the numbers among the athletes tied to the Olympics still considerably smaller because they're testing the athletes every single day. You have 137 total cases now tied to the games. And the athletes,
those who are testing positive, well, they're immediately isolated and kind of pulled out. So you're not seeing a major outbreak inside the Olympic bubble, which is why they're doing this really intensive testing.
BROWN: But you just think about this --
RIPLEY: But you do have people that are getting knocked out. Yes.
BROWN: Yes, I mean, like Jon Rahm, like you said, superstar golfer. He already missed out on one big tournament testing positive for COVID. Now he tests positive again at the Olympics. Wow. I just can't imagine what that must feel like to be him right now basically.
BROWN: And you know what, we were talking about yesterday, Will, we said, things can only get better from here because the U.S. team didn't win any medals on the first day. So things did get better, right?
RIPLEY: Yes. So they now have 10 medals total, just one under China's 11 medals. China has got six gold, Japan has five gold, and the U.S. has four gold medals right now for taekwondo, fencing, swimming and air rifle. And of course they're hoping to up the number of gold medals during events today. There's swimming that's on deck.
It's really interesting that USA won gold for taekwondo, by the way. This is a -- that was pretty cool. There's also -- there's going to be surfing, Team USA is going to be out surfing today. A little bit of drama out on the beach yesterday because you have the two male surfers for Team USA, John John Florence and Kolohe which means one of them is probably going to knock the other out. So there should be some interesting action happening. Right now it's starting up here and you'll be watching the U.S. tomorrow.
BROWN: All right. Will Ripley, thanks for bringing us the latest from Tokyo. Great to see you again.
RIPLEY: Thanks, Pam.
BROWN: Well, in South Florida tonight, a concert to honor victims of the collapsed condo building in Surfside. That story, ahead.
BROWN: A somber anniversary in South Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nicole Langesfeld, Miguel Pazos, Richard Rovirosa, Oresme "Gil" Guerra.
BROWN: They are reading the names of the victims of the collapse of the Champlain Tower South. It's been just more than a month since the tragedy, at least 97 people died there, a tragedy that will haunt Surfside, Florida, for years to come. Happening right now, a concert to honor the victims and help a shaken community begin to heal.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is live for us at that event near Surfside. So tell us about it, Boris.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Pam. It is a solemn evening here not far from Surfside, which is a few blocks away from the Champlain Tower South came crashing down right here on the beach. As you noted, it is perhaps the most emotional moment of the evening so far when the names of those 97 people, at least 97 people that were killed in this tragedy are being read out loud.
I'm going to pause for a moment just so you can get a full sense of what that is like for the crowd that has gathered here to honor those folks, as these names are being read. Listen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alexia Maria Pettengill Lopez Moreira, Ana Sophia Pettengill Lopez Moreira, Lisa Rosenberg.
SANCHEZ: Yes. Those were the names of loved ones, of neighbors, of members of this community that are no longer here. And though it has been a month since the unthinkable happened in Surfside, this wound is still very fresh. Not only because families have only recently been learning and hearing the news that they feared that their loved ones' remains had been recovered just a few days ago, but also because a lot of people are still displaced and there is still a debate in this community about what exactly to do on that property.
Some folks do not want any residents to ever live there again. They want it to become a memorial. Others disagree and feel that they want to move back into that area and that there would be a way to honor the victims, while also moving forward.
We are going to keep monitoring the situation here, Pamela. There are still hymns to be read and songs to be sung as this first step in healing for this community unfolds before our eyes -- Pam.
BROWN: I'm sure their sorrow was palpable for you, Boris. And just as they read the names there, you think about the children, the moms, the dads, the grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles killed in that Surfside collapse.
Boris Sanchez, thank you for bringing us the latest there.
Life-saving coronavirus vaccines have been widely available in the U.S. for months. But a lot of people in the U.S. are choosing not to get them. Coming up, we're speaking to a doctor in Arkansas. He says he wishes people could look into the eyes of a dying COVID patient and see their regret for not getting vaccinated.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:58:50]
BROWN: Well, tonight California's largest wildfire is exploding out of control. The Dixie Fire has scorched nearly 300 square miles of northern California, and now it's gaining steam after combining with a second fire. More than 5,000 firefighters are battling the blaze. But as of tonight, it is only 21 percent contained.
Meantime, more than 120,000 people are still without power in Michigan after storms and at least one tornado hammered the state this weekend. The storms knocked down trees. They damaged homes. At least one person was reported injured.
The climate crisis will impact every aspect of our lives. If you would like to learn more, go to CNN.com/climate for our full coverage.
And your next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: We're going in the wrong direction. Since we have 50 percent of the country is not vaccinated, that's a problem.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think masks should be brought back for vaccinated Americans?
FAUCI: You know, Jake, this is under active consideration.