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Tokyo Olympics 2020; Louisiana Leads In New U.S. COVID-19 Cases; Health Pass Drives Protests In France; Greece Protests Over Required Vaccinations; Japan's Underground Skateboarding Goes Mainstream; Nevada Business Owner Turns Shop Into Vaccination Site; Crews Battle 88 Fires Across The U.S.; Companies Hesitate To Partner With Olympics. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired July 25, 2021 - 05:00   ET




ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The United States strikes gold at the Olympics, even as COVID strikes again with another top name out of the competition. Details in a live report from Tokyo.

The pandemic of the unvaccinated: the Delta variant has U.S. leaders and health officials issuing a new call to action.

And firenado: we'll explain how a wildfire started its own tornado.

Live from CNN World Headquarters, here in New York, welcome to all of you watching here in the United States and around the world. I'm Alison Kosik and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


KOSIK: Here is a snapshot of Olympic medals awarded so far in Tokyo, China has the most medals at 9, the U.S. has 8. China leads the games with five gold medals followed by Japan with three and Team USA with two.



KOSIK: The Delta variant is fueling an alarming rise in COVID cases across the U.S., up nearly 60 percent from last week. Missouri, Texas and Florida are the states driving the surge, accounting for 40 percent of all new infections.

Florida alone accounts for one in five new cases nationally, with a stunning 73,000 reported in just the past week. And the increasing number of younger, unvaccinated people getting infected has local health officials worried.


DR. JASON WILSON, TAMPA GENERAL HOSPITAL: These are very concerning numbers. We've seen a rapid shift over the last two weeks at our hospital for hospitalizations. These hospitalizations are 9:1 unvaccinated people versus vaccinated patients.

For the most part, we see a case of a person who gets COVID and they're vaccinated, we're able to send that patient home or follow them by surveillance. But right now, our hospitals are filling with unvaccinated patients who are sick and much younger than the people we saw just a couple of months ago, in their 40s and younger.


KOSIK: The Delta variant is also behind a surge of coronavirus cases in California. On Friday, Los Angeles County reported over 3,000 new cases for the first time since February.

There's also a comparatively sharp rise in hospitalizations since mid- July. California has vaccinated more than half of its residents, although others are choosing to skip the shot. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles and spoke with the county public health director to find out why some people are hesitant to get the vaccine.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another disturbing amount of new COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the public health director, telling us, while the number of new cases has slightly dropped, there are 688 hospitalizations and 10 deaths, a dramatic rise.

Here in Los Angeles today, public health officials went out and they were trying to find out why some people were still vaccine reluctant and tried to get them in here to a gymnasium in Watts to get a shot in their arm. They had some successes. Dr. Ferrer herself was there and explained what some people said to her about why they were hesitant.


DR. BARBARA FERRER, DIR., LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: We also heard a lot of misinformation, people scared to get the vaccine. The most two dominant themes today were, we don't trust the government's numbers, we think they're not telling us the truth about the vaccine and how safe it is.

And we have heard of people that we think had a bad experience with the vaccine.


VERCAMMEN: As an example of that, right here, at this vaccine clinic today, a 45-year-old man walked in. He said he just did not want to get the vaccine before.

But he said he's a smoker, he realized he's vulnerable and it was only after weeks and weeks of pleading by a public health nurse and explaining to him the signs and the information, that he said he understood that the vaccine would protect him as the Delta variant rages through Los Angeles County.

Reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen. Back to you.


KOSIK: Meanwhile, Louisiana's spike in new cases is rising to levels not seen since the winter surge. The state now has the nation's highest rate of new infections per capita. And making matters worse, it's among the least vaccinated states in the U.S. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has the latest from Louisiana.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN U.S. CORRESPONDENT: It is a dire situation in the state of Louisiana as it leads in the number of new-COVID cases per capita. More than any, other state in the country, at this time.

There are pop-up vaccination sites trying to address this crisis situation. But if you just take a look at the numbers, alone, 208 percent increase in number of COVID cases over the last couple of weeks; 80 percent -- more than 80 percent -- coming from the Delta variant; 40 percent of those in Louisiana residents receiving one -- at least one out of two doses of the vaccine.

That is much too low, according to the governor, who says that Louisiana has a long way to go. Despite the fact that there are some- 1,400 vaccination sites, throughout the state, where folks can get it for free, there is, still, a sense of urgency here.

Take a look at these numbers. It is extreme here.


MALVEAUX: Of those people who are testing positive for COVID, 92 percent, not fully vaccinated; of those hospitalized, 90 percent, not fully vaccinated; of those who have recently died, 91 percent, not fully vaccinated.

Healthcare professionals, who are monitoring and who are running this vaccination site as well as the global outreach, say that these are the main factors. These are the things to be concerned about, what is driving this, now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look at vaccine and the barriers to vaccination, there are four, major factors that impact that. And the way that I categorize them is, number one, is the issue of mistrust. The second one is misinformation. The third is complacency. And that alludes to that fact. And the fourth is convenience.

MALVEAUX: Health officials are using a program called Faces in Spaces. That is going to where people are to reach them and try to convince them to get vaccinated, whether it's at a crawfish boil or a fish fry or the Laundromat or here, at the mall, to stress the sense of urgency in getting that vaccination -- Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.


KOSIK: Supporters say France's COVID health pass can prevent a lockdown but that's not stopping anti-pass protests. We'll explain in a live report from France, coming up.

And later this hour, see which countries lead the overall medal count at the Tokyo Olympics.






KOSIK (voice-over): This was the scene in Paris on Saturday. Across France, tens of thousands of people rallied against government COVID restrictions, protesting mandatory vaccinations for health care workers and a proposed extension of the country's health pass system.


KOSIK: For the latest on what's happening in France, let's get to Jim Bittermann, live outside of Paris.

Hi, Jim.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Alison. The fact is there's been a lot of protests here over the vaccination scheme that the government announced just about two weeks ago back on July 9th.

But in fact, that scheme has been pretty effective. Yesterday on the streets of France, there were about 160,000 people out, according to the interior ministry. And, of course, as always with demonstrations here, it was dramatic and the visuals look pretty impressive and there were some arrests, about nine people arrested.

But that number compares to the total population here, which is 66 million. And also something that we've just discovered the last few minutes and that is that, in fact, during the last two weeks, since president Macron made his announcement, about 5.9 million people have signed up for vaccinations.

So in fact, the anti-vax development seems to be in the minority here with a lot of people signing up for vaccinations, encouraged to do so by this law that is now going to be passed, perhaps by the end of the day today.

The law that provides, if you have to have a health pass to do all kinds of social activities, like go to a bar or restaurant and cafe, that sort of thing, and will also require vaccination for health care workers and people in old folks' homes, that sort of thing. In fact, the scheme of the government seems to be working in terms of

encouraging people to get vaccinated. About half of the country now has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 -- Alison.

KOSIK: And just a reminder, this effort by Macron to have these health passes and to get health care workers mandates to get vaccinated, that is to try to avoid a total lockdown, right?

BITTERMANN: Absolutely. The numbers, the COVID numbers have been rising day after day, week after week, in a very dramatic fashion. This last month particularly, a month ago, people were feeling pretty free and easy about COVID.

The fact is now, especially with the Delta variant, which accounts for about 85 percent of the cases that are being reported, with that going on and a widespread nature of this, I think this is seen as one way to try to avoid the lockdown -- Alison.

KOSIK: All right, CNN's Jim Bittermann in France, thanks so much.


KOSIK: And France isn't alone in moving forward with new COVID rules. Similar requirements are coming to other European countries as well. We're keeping an eye on developments all over Europe.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Barbie Nadeau in Rome and here in Italy the government has approved a green pass that will reward the vaccinated and hopefully inspire the hesitant to finally get inoculated.

NADEAU (voice-over): Cases have been steadily rising in this country due to the opening of tourism, the European soccer celebrations and the Delta variant. But to avoid further lockdowns, the green pass should allow the economy to stay open and keep the virus in check by forcing the unvaccinated to either stay home or finally get their shots.

From early August, the fully vaccinated are those who have a negative test or have recovered from COVID will be able to dine inside restaurants, go to gyms, night clubs, sporting events and concerts or anywhere people gather indoors.

NADEAU: The message the government is trying to send is clear, that vaccinations are the only way out of the pandemic.



SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott McLean in London where in just a single week 1 percent of the population of England and Wales was told by the government's contact tracing app to self-isolate. MCLEAN (voice-over): That's well over 600,000 people. Mass isolation has led to staff shortages in some industries and bare shelves in some grocery stores.

While the shelves are still well stocked in most parts of the country, the threat of disruption to the food supply was enough for the government to allow people working in hundreds of grocery store depots, meat packing plants and bread and dairy facilities to be exempt from quarantine.

The U.K. has the highest daily confirmed case count on earth as the Delta variant rips through younger, unvaccinated parts of the population. New data shows the vast majority of people ending up in hospital are under 50 and well over 90 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all.



KOSIK: Earlier I spoke to epidemiologist Dr. Peter Drobac and asked him if these new pressures were likely to make a difference in getting more people vaccinated.


DR. PETER DROBAC, DIRECTOR OF THE SKOLL CENTRE FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD: The percentage of people we need to get vaccinated to slow the spread through vaccinations rather than through restrictions is extraordinarily high, it may be as high as 85 percent.

What we're seeing now, it's sort of a new phase of the pandemic where it's really becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. I think we've seen, at least the early results in France, is that it did actually stimulate quite a number of people to get vaccinated over the last week, about 900,000 in one day.

But it's extremely difficult. I think what's important is that these kinds of measures, so-called vaccine passports, have to be in a setting where people do truly have access to the vaccine if they want it.

In most cases what we're seeing is that, instead of proof of vaccination, you can show proof of a negative test, which can allow for people who either have a medical reason not to get vaccinated or perhaps a strong personal belief not to, to still participate. So on balance, this is difficult. But I do favor these kinds of interventions.


KOSIK: That was Dr. Peter Drobac.

Protests erupted in cities across Brazil on Saturday.


KOSIK (voice-over): This was the scene in Sao Paulo. Demonstrators are livid with the president, demanding his impeachment, not just over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Journalist Anthony Wells with our affiliate CNN Brasil has more from Sao Paulo.


ANTHONY WELLS, CNN BRASIL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets for the fourth weekend this year, demanding the impeachment of president Jair Bolsonaro amid corruption accusations against the administration's handling of the pandemic.

In Sao Paulo, for example, the nation's biggest and richest state capital, protesters clashed with police as they marched toward the center of the city.

In Rio, in Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, residents displayed their frustration and anger toward the government.

Meanwhile, in Brasilia, the nation's capital, Bolsonaro greeted supporters while out on a motorcycle ride. Facing reelection next year, a recent poll shows Bolsonaro is losing to former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

He continues to argue, without evidence, that the current election system is fraudulent, a claim that the Brazilian government has denied. The South American nation continues to face a COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed over 540,000 Brazilian lives -- Anthony Wells, CNN Brasil, Sao Paulo.


KOSIK: In Hungary, an estimated 30,000 people took to the streets to drum up support for LGBTQ rights.


KOSIK (voice-over): They joined a pride march in Budapest Saturday, pushing back against a new law that's been widely blasted as homophobic. Opponents say the legislation is part of a standard political playbook by populist prime minister Viktor Orban.

But as Melissa Bell reports, they believe this time he may get more than what he signed up for.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The gay pride here in Budapest wasn't just the usual celebration this year but also a protest and for the LGBT community a show of force. The organizers say that tens of thousands turned out, despite an atmosphere, that they say, has become increasingly oppressive.

Now legislation that paused that came into effect earlier this month, it is the culmination of what has been a month long, several month long, campaign of demonization essentially, of the LGBT community.

So a lot of people coming out to try and show their support. So far, Viktor Orban, in power now for 11 years, has used what has been a fairly successful playbook of targeting minorities in order to galvanize his base. We see it with migrants, we've seen it with the homeless, we've seen it with transgender people.

This time, the question is really, if he isn't trying to take on minorities, they are simply not small enough to not possibly cancel next year's elections. What they are hoping for is a real show of support to say Hungarian society is not in favor of this referendum he has announced.

It is behind what Brussels has said it's now doing, which is taking on Viktor Orban over this very controversial legislation. In a meeting with a bunch of people these last few, days families, corporates who say that, this time, they're really standing up against the government and against Viktor Orban's populist streak, in order to make themselves heard.

The next big test will be the referendum, that we expect to be held before the end of the year -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Budapest.


KOSIK: Still to come on CNN, we'll take you back live to Tokyo for the latest for the Olympics. Find out why some people say the pandemic is not the only problem facing the games in Japan.


KOSIK: Plus, dozens of wildfires are raging in the western U.S., destroying everything in their path at breakneck speed. That's ahead.




KOSIK: Competitions at the 2021 Tokyo games are in full swing and China leads the overall medal count, right now at nine. China also has the most gold medals with five. The United States close behind with eight medals overall, getting a pair of golds in the second full day of competition.

Host Japan with three gold medals, including skateboarding as it makes its Olympic debut. Blake Essig joins us live from Tokyo.

Give me the details about the skateboarding competition since this was its debut.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: History was made for a number of reasons when the Olympic cauldron was lit by Naomi Osaka on Friday. The second official full day of competition, we get to talk about some Olympic firsts, including history made in the arena of skateboarding. Surfing and skateboarding made their Olympic debuts earlier today and

22-year-old Yuto Horigome won the first-ever gold medal in skateboarding, winning the men's street final in a huge moment for Japan and skateboarding.

The Tokyo born skater grew up skating in plazas and parks with his father, who is also a street skater. Other Olympic sports making their Olympic debuts in Tokyo include karate and speed climbing.


ESSIG: Baseball and softball are making their return to the Olympics after 13 years away.

Despite the history being made here in Tokyo, the legacy of these Olympic Games will be defined by the global health crisis. There is no question about that. But before COVID-19 turned the world on its head it was the weather that was supposed to be the thing dominating headlines around the Olympic Games.

While cases in Tokyo are surging and Olympic related cases continue to climb, the weather could cause problems for organizers in the coming days because a tropical storm is approaching Japan and could hit Tokyo on Tuesday.

The storm could bring heavy rain, strong winds and high waves with it. As a result, rowing events have been canceled on Tuesday and pushed back to Wednesday or Thursday, while the surfers have avoided the tropical storm for now.

Other athletes have had high temperatures to contend with, as the threat that will continue to be a problem throughout the games. Listen to what someone who lives here has to say about the summer heat.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Japan's summer is abnormal. There's humidity and the heat is ridiculous. There are many issues to be considered when holding the games, such as the pandemic. But frankly speaking, even without the virus, I don't think this weather is suitable for the Olympics.


ESSIG: According to Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, more than 50,000 are hospitalized and hundreds die each year in Japan as a result of the heat. In the past few days, I've personally seen several people on the side of the road being treated by medical personnel for heat- related issues.

And Alison, it is worth pointing out, when the Olympic Games were last held in Tokyo in 1964, they were pushed back several months to avoid high summer temperatures.

KOSIK: Blake Essig live in Tokyo, thanks. A South Korean TV network is apologizing for showing inappropriate

images and captions during its broadcast of the Olympic Games opening ceremony. The network calls it an inexcusable mistake. Will Ripley reports from Tokyo.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN 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 flag bearer, beaming athletes in the Parade of Nations.

And now, one Olympics broadcaster accused of raining on that parade.

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 and has damaged Korea's image abroad.

RIPLEY (voice-over): 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 will be offensive. It will be an insult. And people are asking how could this have happened?

RIPLEY (voice-over): 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, vowing no more Olympic blunders -- Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.


KOSIK: The state of Nevada is fast becoming one of America's newest COVID hot spots. The number of new cases is rising dramatically but public interest in getting vaccinated is not. CNN's Ed Lavandera shows us one Vegas area business that's working to turn that trend around.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The COVID-19 vaccine sparks passionate barbershop banter inside the North Las Vegas. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She got it before I did.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): In the last month, owner Robert Taylor says three of his barbers and his business partner were infected with COVID-19.

Taylor and another barber got the virus last year. None were vaccinated. It was a wakeup call. So Taylor decided to turn his barbershop into a vaccination site.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Taylor partnered with state health officials to offer vaccine shots to clients coming in for a haircut.

ROBERT TAYLOR, OWNER, FADE 'EM ALL BARBERSHOP: The barbershop is a place of transparency, truth, debates and brotherhood.

LAVANDERA: Taylor says he brings them over with trusted voices and easing their fears.

TAYLOR: Like, you have people who say, well it's not 100 percent. Nothing is 100 percent. It's not 100 percent, but I'll make it home when I leave this barbershop but I will put on my seatbelt.

LAVANDERA: The average number of newly daily coronavirus has jumped from 132 in early June to almost 700 and the average daily number of hospitalizations has shot up from 178 in mid-June to more than 900. Medical experts say this surge is driven almost entirely by unvaccinated people.


LAVANDERA: Dr. Shadaba Asad is the director of infectious diseases at University Medical Center in Las Vegas. Only 40 percent of the Nevada population is fully vaccinated and with that, Dr. Assad offers an ominous morning.

ASAD: It's just a matter of time before you going to come across a variant where your vaccines do not provide that degree of protection. So unvaccinated people pose a huge threat to the rest of us who are vaccinated because they are literally a breeding ground for new variants.

LAVANDERA: In Reno, where the vaccination rate is higher than the state average, the lines at the main vaccine site have dwindled. At the peak, they were administering 2,800 doses per day. It's under 150 now. Health officials say people spreading misinformation are hampering vaccination efforts.

KEVIN DICK, HEALTH OFFICIER, WASHOE COUNTY DISTRICT: Our country is not united. Battling COVID-19 is bad enough but having to battle one another to try to overcome the virus I think is terrible.

LAVANDERA: To motivate the unvaccinated, the state is holding weekly lottery drawings, they're literally paying people to get vaccinated and even those events have been interrupted by anti-vaccine hecklers.

TAYLOR: I'm going to sell you anything. You know, I want you to live and be healthy.

LAVANDERA: At the barbershop, vaccine skeptics like Darrius Voyeur who just recovered from COVID are quickly becoming vaccine believers.

DARRIUS VOYEUR, BARBER: Man, I (INAUDIBLE) nobody. That was some tough days.

LAVANDERA: He says that he's already received his first shot and Dillard Scott says sitting in Robert Taylor's barber chair after the coronavirus killed two of his cousins was the turning point for him to get vaccinated.

DILLARD SCOTT, BARBERSHOP CLIENT: I really struggle on whether or not to get vaccinated, so when you, you know, you have two people in your family that it takes out like that, you're forced to look at the options that you have both as a family and also as individuals to not only protect yourself but to protect others.

LAVANDERA: Last year, Taylor says the pandemic forced him to close his barbershop for almost four months. Now he worries about what might happen as the resurgence of the coronavirus spreads across the unvaccinated in Nevada.

To get the virus under control, officials in Clark County, where Las Vegas is, is requiring government agencies and business owners to require employees working in public spaces, whether they're vaccinated or not, to once again begin wearing masks.

And FEMA is sending dozens of its people to work in surge teams to increase the vaccination rates here in this state -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, Reno, Nevada.


KOSIK: Earlier I spoke with Dr. Reed Tuckson, the founding member of the Black Coalition against COVID-19, about the reluctance among some African Americans to get vaccinated.

He explains there's a long history of mistrust among the Black community and gives us more detail on how barber shops and beauty salons are helping in the fight against vaccine hesitancy.


DR. REED TUCKSON, FOUNDING MEMBER, BLACK COALITION AGAINST COVID: For African Americans, we have a tradition and a history, unfortunately, of our experience in this country of being mistreated by a variety of the major infrastructure elements of our society.

Clearly the outrage that so many people of color have, from the police departments and criminal justice systems issues, the disenfranchising of Black votes, all of these over a long period of history have led to a great deal of distrust between many members of the Black community and the institutions of our society.

And unfortunately, those seeds of distrust, which are long held, are being watered and nurtured even today. So that becomes a big challenge for many people.

We also see others, particularly evangelical Republicans in rural states, particularly in the South, are being given an extraordinary amount of misinformation and a lot of political pressure that encourages them to distrust the vaccine and not participate.

And so together, these are really frightening trends and we have a lot of work to do to overcome them.


TUCKSON: I think we all know the consequences of these decisions, of these behaviors, are dire, not only for the individuals and their communities but for the entire nation.

KOSIK: What specifically has to be done to counter the mistrust in these communities where you've got the vaccine hesitancy?

TUCKSON: Well, it's going to take multiple efforts. There's no one single bullet. Let's start with trusted voices.

We know that physicians and health professionals, particularly in the Black community, have a lot of weight and power. So we need to continue to use our position voices as a part of the conversations. Our ministers and pastors also reach a lot of people.

And we're doing an intriguing new thing now, working with barber shops and beauty salon owners because so much of Black culture is spent in those environments. The barbershop and the beauty salon are cultural icons for us.

So spending time getting factual information into those centers and even using them as vaccination sites will be important. And then there are some people who will be influenced by celebrities. And so we're going to continue to push forward, having our athletes and entertainers speaking as well.

It's going to take a variety of things. For the white evangelical and Republican folk, it's really going to take people like former president Trump and the people at FOX News. They are the ones who really are on the point. If they don't turn this around, those deaths will be on their hands.

KOSIK: OK, Dr. Reed Tuckson, thank you for joining us.

TUCKSON: Thank you very much.


KOSIK: Coming up, a fire so strong, it's creating its own weather. Next, more on the fight to get the Bootleg Fire and dozens of others under control. And why some Olympic sponsors fear a consumer backlash.





KOSIK (voice-over): You're looking at time lapse images of a wildfire in northern California.


KOSIK (voice-over): Watch as it overtakes and completely wipes out this ridge in the Plumas National Forest. It only took six minutes.

At least eight large fires are burning in California right now and dozens more are tearing through the western U.S. In Oregon, the Bootleg Fire has burned more than 400,000 acres. It's burning so hot, it's creating its own weather. Meteorologists confirm it spawned a tornado last weekend.

What you're seeing here is damage not just from the flames but also from that tornado, trees snapped and ripped apart and bark sheared off. Firefighters are still struggling to put the Bootleg Fire out. So far it's just 46 percent contained.


KOSIK: in the world of standup comedy, Jackie Mason was unique. But now we're learning he has died at the age of 93. Mason honed his befuddled, lightning fast delivery at the old Borscht Belt resorts of New York.

He made being Jewish his shtick with plenty of Yiddish zingers. No surprise he was actually an ordained rabbi. He became a TV variety show regular, had a one-man Broadway show and later voiced a character on "The Simpsons."

A friend tells CNN Jackie Mason died at a hospital in New York on Saturday with friends and family at his bedside.





KOSIK: Some Olympic sponsors are frustrated and worried about how their association with the Tokyo games will impact its bottom line. Not only do they risk losing a return on their investment, some companies fear consumer backlash for linking their brand to a controversial event during the pandemic. CNN's Selina Wang reports from Tokyo.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Olympics, normally a golden opportunity to boost corporate image. But this year, the fear is brand damage because of intense opposition to the games in Japan.

After Japanese sponsors spent a record of more than $3 billion to be associated with the 5 rings, COVID-19 cases are surging. Spectators largely banned while the Japanese public, just 20 percent of them fully vaccinated, are urged to stay at home during the games. Sponsor plans are falling flat.

WANG: I'm at the top of Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's tallest broadcasting tower. It's one of many Japanese Olympic sponsors that have had to cancel or scale promotional events tied to the games.

WANG (voice-over): "We were planning to hold events to boost the mood for the Olympics but, because of COVID-19, it is not the right time to hold a festival," he tells me.

"We've canceled events, a veiling site in tour trailing al veeling spot (ph)."

Toyota, a top Olympic sponsor, is not airing Olympic related TV commercials. The editorial board of another sponsor, Asahi Shimbun newspaper, called for a cancellation in May.

There is little Olympic spirit in the host city. Tokyo is in a state of emergency and alcohol is banned from restaurants. The CEO of Suntory (ph), one of Japan's biggest beverage makers, says the economic loss from no spectators will be enormous.

TAKESHI NINAMI, CEO, SUNTORY: I've expected that from a lot of spectators from abroad to visit you know, restaurants and bars, where they sell our products and they promote our brands.

So we had a plan to open more than a couple of the bars and restaurants only for products sponsored by us. But we canceled it.

WANG: Do you think that these games could still boost international businesses for Japanese countries?

NINAMI: More and more, I don't think so. I think the Olympics have been losing its value.

WANG: Do you think the game should have been postponed?


NINAMI: Considering the current rollout of vaccines in this country, two months from now should be the ideal timing.

WANG (voice-over): According to Robert Mayes (ph), a sports marketing executive in Japan, several local sponsors were pushing for the Olympics to be delayed. ROBERT MAYES (PH), SPORTS MARKETING EXECUTIVE: The sponsors were

paying a lot of money but basically the return is extremely limited. You have the five rings, then you have what used to be (INAUDIBLE) to the Olympics, which is the spirit of sport, the pleasure, the youth, the sparkling ideas of sport. But that has all gone now.

WANG (voice-over): But sponsor Asics is staying optimistic. It's the official outfitter for the Japanese Olympic team and volunteers. Opening this experience center in central Tokyo, showing us designs all the way back to the 1964 Tokyo games.

"There will be no spectators in the games, we are sure that many people will experience the atmosphere of the Olympics through media like TV," he says.

Some experts say it's too early to say how brands will be impacted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At some point not sugarcoating, you know, this is not an ideal situation.

Have sponsors been able to get their short term marketing gain?


Will they be able to get a long term marketing gain?

Still possible.

WANG (voice-over): And all that depends on whether the games are held safely without turning into a superspreader event -- Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.


KOSIK: Count on CNN. For instant coverage of the games on our website, head to

And thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Alison Kosik in New York. For viewers in North America, "NEW DAY" is next. For the rest of the world, it's the "LIVING GOLF" Olympic special. See you soon.