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Simone Biles Quit Teams Final, Citing Mental Health; IMF: Vaccine Inequality Threatens Global Economic Recovery; Heat Wave Strengthening Wildfires in Southern Europe. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 28, 2021 - 01:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again, everyone. I'm John Vause.

Ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM:

Renewed focus on mental health issues in elite athletes after Simone Biles, widely considered the greatest gymnast ever, buckles under the pressures and stress at the COVID games.

Global economic recovery from the pandemic is now being driven by access to COVID vaccines. For the haves, there's a return for normalcy. For the have-nots, there's just more misery to come.

And the climate change multiplier affect. Soaring summer temperatures, extremely dry weather now fueling wildfires in southern Europe leaving behind disaster without precedence.


VAUSE: And so, on day five at the Olympics came a flurry of high- profile medals in the pool as well as the gut-wrenching decision by the world's best gymnast Simone Biles to withdraw from the team finals. There is still no word if Biles will actually return to competition for the rest of the games.

The 24-year-old had been under incredible pressure. She's the public face of Team USA, high expectations of winning gold, combined with the pandemic stress that has all weighed on her mental health.


SIMONE BILES, U.S. OLYMPIC GYMNAST: It's been really stressful this Olympic Games, I think, just as a whole not having an audience, there are a lot of different variables going into it. It's been a long week. It's been a long Olympic process. It's been a long year. So, just a lot of different variables and I think we're just a little bit too stressed out, but we should be out here having fun and sometimes, that's not the case.


VAUSE: To CNN World Sport Patrick Snell with more on this decision by Simone Biles. And good point there. This should be fun and clearly, it's anything but for many athletes right now.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Right, there's so much at stake here, John, no question. Let's remind our viewers, it's is worldwide as well.

Biles, one of the biggest names at the Summer Games, no question about that. The USA superstar gymnast Simone Biles, so much focus on her, at all times. And the build up to these games and during, the 24-year- old, just remember, a 4-time Olympic gold medalist. On Tuesday, withdrawing from the team final citing mental health concerns.

Biles had been competing in the event but withdrew after her lowest Olympics score in the vault. She did, though, later return to cheer on her teammates as they took the silver medal. Now, the Russian Olympic Committee taking gold in the end.

So, the big question is, as you said off the top, John, what is next for the American Biles who revealed she wasn't injured by the way, for now saying she's going to take one day at a time. She is currently scheduled to be next in action, that would be on Thursday if she competes in the women all around final.


BILES: I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a back seat, work on my mindfulness and I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job and I did want to risk the team a medal for kind of my screw-ups because they've worked too hard for that.

Yeah, I say put mental health first because if you don't, then you're not going to enjoy your sport and you won't succeed as much as you would want to. So, it's okay sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong of a competitor and person that you really are, rather than just battle through it.


SNELL: Wise words again, John, not going to enjoy your sport. That really resonates with me. Biles, of course, a 4-time Olympic gold medal from 5 years ago at Rio, 2016, when she really did hit global headlines there.

John, back to you.

VAUSE: Also, Patrick, on this day, we have the swimming. And all I can say is Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.

SNELL: I knew you would be gloating about this, and with good reason, John, to be fair. These games turning out to be rather special indeed for Australia's Ariarne Titmus, who proved too good once again for the U.S. superstar Katie Ledecky a little earlier. Ledecky having to settle for a 5th place finish on Wednesday. This in the 200 meter freestyle final and unemotional Titmus afterwards with a gold medal finish, clocking an Olympic record.

However, John, about an hour later, Ledecky back in the pool and finally getting her hands on a gold medal, winning the 1,500 meter freestyle for a sixth career Olympic gold and a first at these games, also the first time that the 1,500 meter is an event.

A day though that is certain to live long in the memory of the young Hungarian swimmer, remember the name, Kristof Milak.


He won the men's 200-meter butterfly final earlier. The 21-year-old from Budapest setting an Olympic record, surpassing the great Michael Phelps's mark in this event, an event that the Americans really dominated in his prime.

But Milak, this is a subplot, John. Milak after revealing that he might have swam even quicker if not for a mishap with his swimming trunks, would you believe. They actually ripped some 10 minutes before they enter the ball but he said he got his focus back and he knew he wasn't going to get the world record but he was very happy indeed with getting his hands on a gold medal.

John, back to you.

VAUSE: Good for him. He did well.

Patrick, thank you. Appreciate you being with us.

Well, baseball is back at the Olympics with the first game underway between Japan and the Dominican Republic.

CNN's Blake Essig is live in Fukushima with more on this.

I guess a pretty exciting day for people who like baseball.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. You know, John, very exciting. And that game is taking place right over my shoulder. Japan and the Dominican Republic, about the 7th inning right now. Baseball has had an on again off again relationship with the Summer Olympics since making its debut in 1904. Baseball has only been included 14 out of a possible 27 time including the games here in Japan.

The sport was last voted out in 2005 by the IOC, in part because the game's best players don't participate. But now, after 13 years away, baseball is back.


ESSIG (voice-over): There is something about baseball in Japan that's just different. Here, it's less about the games and all about the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Baseball's peoples life and passion, if there were no baseball, everyone would be depressed. ESSIG: Rooted in Japanese culture, the players on the field and the

fans in the stands, like Nabuchi Imura (ph), each play an important role.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Fans and spectators feel as if we are playing the games with the players together.

ESSIG: And that's the kind of connection that can help soothe a community in the wake of disaster. It's a roll the semi pro Fukushima Red Hopes have played since 2014.

One that continues today, although it looks a little different. The coronavirus has made things tricky as restrictions limit the number of fans and ultimately strain that connection.

The crack of the bat, beat of the drum and fans in the stands, this is baseball.

But when Japan and the Dominican Republic open up play in the Azuma Stadium, the atmosphere will look, feel and sound very different. That is because unless you're playing, this is about as close as you are going to get.

WATARU KOKUBUN, FUKUSHIMA RED HOPES PITCHER (through translator): There is a huge difference between having no spectators and one, if there is even one person watching it makes me want to play better.

ESSIG: With COVID-19 cases rising, the governor decided on no spectators at all Olympic events in the prefectures.

Red Hopes manager Akinori Iwamura says he understands but admits that it is disappointing. He says an opportunity has been lost.

AKINORI IWAMURA, FUKUSHIMA RED HOPES MANAGER (through translator): We genuinely wanted people from all over the world to come to Fukushima and see how great it is.

ESSIG: When the box scores for these games are log, you'll see nine innings. You'll have final scores, winners and losers. But the traditional way to tabulate a game won't be able to show what's missing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This makes me sad, the Olympics aren't only for the athletes, they're also for the citizens of the country where they are held.

ESSIG: So instead of filling the stands, the game's biggest supporters be huddled around a TV when the team takes the field, cheering from afar and as the games take place right here at home.


ESSIG (on camera): Another big top yesterday was tropical storm, Nepartak. The threat of that storm forced Olympic officials to postpone several events including rowing, sailing and archery. Now, while the storm did make a rainfall overnight, it changed course and came ashore in northern Japan and we could see some rain here over the next few hours in Fukushima as a result of that just in the past few minutes we've started to feel some of those raindrops fall.

But all things considered, the impact has been minimal, which is great news for Olympic organizers, athletes and John, not all they have to worry about is COVID-19 and Japan's heat and humidity. So, no big deal.

VAUSE: Yeah, walk in the park.

Okay, Blake, thank you. Blake Essig there live in Tokyo.


Well, new coronavirus infections are soaring worldwide driven by the highly contagious delta variant. Right now, Southeast Asia is one of the hardest hit areas. Thailand set a new record for daily infections. More than 16,000 on Wednesday, with demands for hospital beds in Bangkok three times higher than capacity according to government officials.

Meantime in Australia, Sydney has extended a lockdown for another month.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout live for us in Hong Kong with more on this.

We're looking at Southeast Asia now as being a global epicenter for the virus. How, I guess, did it get this bad and what's the very latest in these countries?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's bad and it's getting worse, you know, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant. COVID-19 is taking more and more lives across Southeast Asia, including Thailand, and Myanmar. Thailand on Wednesday reported a new record high in daily coronavirus cases. The number 16,533 new cases of the virus reported this day, and they're running out of beds in Bangkok.

Officials in the Thai capital say that the demand for beds is three times overcapacity, that has prompted health officials in the Thai capital to issue a statement saying that they are overwhelmed and under immense pressure.

We're bringing the statement for you. In it, the public health administrator director general in Thailand says this, quote, our doctors, nurses and other frontline medical staffs are working at their best, they're more than willing to take care of every patient but we have to ask for your kind understanding that the beds now really are overwhelmed, unquote.

Now to deal with the spike in infection, Thailand has now said that they are in the process of converting used train cars into a COVID-19 ward, in fact this is an idea that they want to take 15-old railway carriages and conferred them into a 240 bed isolation ward for patients who have lesser symptoms of the virus.

Now, we're also monitoring the situation in Myanmar. The COVID-19 crisis continues to deepen there. For months now, social welfare groups have been saying that the pandemic has gotten worse in Myanmar ever since the military coup that took place in February 1st, people who are suffering with symptoms of COVID-19 in Myanmar choosing to stay at home or to seek out private clinics or independent doctors because they simply do not trust the military.

And the military in Myanmar is now arresting doctors and medics who are independently caring for people who may be suffering from COVID- 19. This has prompted a UN expert to issue what he is calling a COVID cease-fire in Myanmar.

Let's bring in the statement from Thomas Robert. He is U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar. He says, the U.N. must act immediately to halt the military junta's attacks, harassment and detentions in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis, unquote.

And just adding to the misery in Myanmar, there is massive flooding underway, it's displaced hundreds of people in the country, thousands of people remain in the flood zones. We've been monitoring social media footage, showing medical workers, frontline staff holding bedridden patients still attached to oxygen tanks, holding them above murky waters.

Harrowing scenes coming out of the region -- John.

VAUSE: To say the least, and that COVID train seems like a plot from a dystopian movie.

STOUT: Yeah.

VAUSE: Kristie Lu Stout live for us in Hong Kong, thank you.

Well, rising COVID cases across the U.S. have public officials to revise guidance for where and for who should be wearing a face mask.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says everyone should be masking up indoors and public spaces in regions with substantial's and high coronavirus transmission. The CDC director says the update aims to remind even those vaccinated that they can still infect others.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: In rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others. This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations.


VAUSE: In the meantime, the sources the U.S. President Joe Biden could announced on Thursday that federal employees and contractors will be required to be vaccinated or face regular testing for COVID- 19.

Vaccine inequality is fueling a growing wealth gap around the world, according to a new report by the International Monetary Fund. Its later forecast shows developing countries which have struggled to get vaccines are falling further behind, while wealthy countries continue to prosper. Better access to vaccine allows them to open up faster. The IMF says the growing divide could ultimately spell trouble for the global economic recovery.


GITA GOPINATH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, IMF: Global growth is projected to be 6 percent this year, which is unchanged from our April forecasts. However, the composition has changed. We are upgrading growth for advanced economies and that's almost entirely upset by downgrade for emerging markets and developing economies.



VAUSE: CNN global economic analyst and associate editor at "The Financial Times", Rana Foroohar, joins us now from New York.

Good to see you again.


VAUSE: Okay, let's start by doing a little deeper dive into the revised numbers for economic growth coming out of the IMF. Listen to this.


KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: Well, for advanced economies, it is half a percentage up. For most developing countries and emerging markets, half a percentage point going down.

And the reason we are very concerned about it is because when the emerging economies and the vast economies are drifting apart that inevitably means that we are hoping the global recovery overall back.


VAUSE: And one of the big reasons is that high income countries have been able to roll out vaccines, open up their economies, begin to normalize, while lower income countries have not. But beyond, you know, inequitable access to vaccines, are there any other factors which you can see which could be responsible for this economic drift?

FOROOHAR: Well, I think that inequities are at the root of this. You see the state department head of the COVID effort coming out and now saying that the U.S. should spend money to build low cost factors, pharma factors abroad so that we can get cheaper vaccines out more quickly.

I think this reflects the fact that we really are in this all together now, and if you look at this crisis relative to say the great financial crisis or merging marshes crises from the eighties and nineties, the developing world was so much of a smaller part of the world economy at that stage, that, you know, rich countries could afford to turn their butt.

Now, they cannot. We're seeing that in the growth numbers, we're seeing that in the market right now, which has been very topsy-turvy over worries about the delta variant.

VAUSE: Yeah. When it comes to vaccine distribution and this gap between rich and poor countries, the IMF says that poor countries have 7 million doses a day, in contrast to 100,000 vaccine doses a day are being administered in low income countries. And earlier this year, the activist group, ONE Campaign found that five countries, Australia, Canada, Japan, U.K., and the U.S., plus the 27 countries in the E.U. could share close to a billion doses of COVID-19 countries with the rest of the world, still have enough to vaccinate their entire populations, the excess doses would be able to vaccinate the entire population of Africa.

OK. So, you know, if the global economic recovery now is ultimately dependent on vaccine equity, should rich countries look at sharing their surplus of vaccine not in terms of donation or giving something away but rather in terms of an investment, and the return of this investment would be pretty good.

FOROOHAR: A hundred percent. And you have to compare it with the cost of not doing anything. So, economically, we know that this would be the right move, but you also have to look at the politics. You know, it's quite interesting in the beginning of the pandemic, when the vaccines began rolling out, you had the Biden administration taking kind of a tough line and saying, all right, we're not going to lift patents. We're not going to allow developing countries to get this more cheaply.

And then you saw a 180 degree U-turn. So, you've got this balance between economic nationalism on one hand and the fact that, you know, if the global turns goes into another dip, if you start to see the stock market taking a dip because the emerging markets which now make up the largest chunk overall of global growth are down, but it is going to affect richer countries. No question.

VAUSE: OK. For now though, it's boom times for many of those rich countries. The U.K. is set to hit, what, 7 percent economic growth, the highest since the Second World War. The U.S. predicting to be around the same number, 6.5 percent.

But Australia which is not under lockdown because of the delta variant, the outlook has been revised down. Growth now forecast at 0.1 percent on quarter-on-quarter basis compared to 0.9 protected back in April. You know, annual economic growth was expected to be just shy of 5 percent, but that's now taken a hit as well.

So how tenuous are these growth forecasts? Could a lockdown see a major change?

FOROOHAR: Absolutely. I think what's interesting is that you're not going to see it happen all at once, they are going to be rolling lockdowns. I mean, even in the beginning wave of the pandemic, you saw a lot of variation between country by country forecasts, I think you're going to see more of that now. Not only because of differing vaccination rates but because the delta variant is so much more quick spreading, rapid spreading, and on the one hand it means that people are going to get sick faster and on the other hand it means that it may make its way through populations faster, and thus have a more compressed impact.

Bottom line, a lot of unknowns here, and this is happening at a time when you got supply change shortages that are coming to -- through the fore. You've got potential for food inflation coming up in the summer. You've also have an interesting global labor situation we're on the one hand, it seems like workers have more power because there have been shortages.


On the other hand, you're seeing a lot of job displacing technology, being rolled out by companies.

So, we really are in an unprecedented territory. I have to say, I've been covering global economy for 30 years, more than 30 years. I don't remember a period and which there were this many variables in play, and as many unknown unknowns as (INAUDIBLE).

VAUSE: You must have started at elementary school covering the global economy, Rana. But good to have you. Good to see you.

FOROOHAR: Love you. Love you, John.

VAUSE: Anytime. Thanks for being with us.

FOROOHAR: Thank you.

VAUSE: Still to come. Thousands of hectares in southern Europe destroyed by wildfires and the worst might still be to come, a live forecast when we come


VAUSE: An extreme heat wave and unusually dry weather did not cause the wildfires burning across southern Europe, but they are making them much worse, leaving behind unprecedented damage in some parts, called the climate change multiplier effect.

Here's CNN's Scott McLean.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Day turn tonight in Sardinia, dark plumes of wildfire smoke blot out the sun. Wildfires are raging across the Mediterranean Island. It's dangerous to stay in one place too long.

A disaster without precedent is what the president of the Sardinia region calls it. He declared a state of emergency on Sunday. Hundreds have been evacuated and the Italian government had to call help from France in Greece who said firefighting planes.

Sardinia is hardly the only European region struggling with wildfires. Catalonia has managed to stabilize most of the wildfire that burned nearly 2,000 hectares of land.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We felt helpless not being able to do anything. We were here watching the flames getting closer and closer, and we cannot do anything.

MCLEAN: Just over the Pyrenees in Southern France, it took 800 firefighters to bring a blaze under control. They say they're still worried about the parched earth that could be jet fuel for a new fire.

In Greece, too, dozens of firefighters are battling an inferno just north of Athens, warning residents to close their windows and doors.

It comes, of course, just weeks after devastating flooding in Germany and Belgium killed more than 200 people with more than 100 people still missing. Droughts are becoming more frequent and more severe in southern Europe, European environmental authorities say that this region is at greatest risk on the continent, as the impacts increase.

FRANS TIMMERMANS, EUROPEAN COMMISSION EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: The fact that erratic weather patterns are going to be the new normal means that we need to adapt to that and we need to prevent thinks getting worse.


And if we don't do something urgently, and urgently I mean now, the climate crisis is going to be completely out of control, and our citizens do understand that we need to act now.

MCLEAN: And as extreme weather and fires become the new normal for more and more of us, that action cannot come soon enough.

Scott McLean, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Let's go to Pedram Javaheri with the very latest on the conditions in Europe.

I guess the big concern is that this is the new normal now, right?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is the new normal. You know, so often we talk about Europe and heat waves almost every single summer. There's a massive heat wave that develops and, of course, causes tolls in region in question.

And right now, as you noted there in the previous story, we're talking about Italy, Greece, Spain across the southern tier of Europe, not only is there extensive amount of fire damage in place an active fires on the ground, you know, some 7,500 people that are battling flames across Sardinia alone, some 20 aircrafts battling and tackling the flames from above and Italy is already receiving support from neighboring France and also Greece because of how expensive the fires for their narrative nations have been.

And, you know, a massive dome of high pressure that's developing. We've talked about this for the western United States in the recent weeks, where you have essentially lid created on the atmosphere causes the air to sink. As the air sinks it compresses and warms up. I use the analogy of a pumping bicycle tire because you are feeling the air and the pump.

And this is what high pressure does in a broad area across Europe. It essentially cause that air to sink and warmed by compression and lead to a significant heat wave that's in place. And, of course, the drought has already been longstanding across some of these areas.

But notice these temperatures on Tuesday afternoon in places such as Albania, into Turkey, into Greece, running 10 to 12 degrees above average and in some areas, it should be 28 degrees at this time of year, and it's climbing up close to 41 for an afternoon high. And, again, when you look at how things can play out here, we do have cooler air kind of displacing what's happening to the south there, with areas to the north. But in the south where the fires are, that's where the excessive heat has really built, and it's going to be a long duration setup here.

Temps running about four to five degrees above average for places such as Athens, going into next week. You will notice that it doesn't get back to average for the foreseeable future and that's a concern. We talked about sweating, that's the most efficient way of your body to cool itself off, remove about 20-plus percent of your body heat. So, it's important to consume two liters of water on those excessive heat days.

And, John, a lot of people don't take in account the kind of food you eat and, also protecting your skin really plays a role in your body's ability to cool itself off. High protein foods, they really reduce your body's ability to cool itself off, you get a sunburn, but also reduces your ability's body.

So, those are things to keep in mind during this heat wave.

VAUSE: Good advice. Very timely. Thank you, Pedram.

Well, Ecuador has closed the door on fugitive WikiLeaks fonder Julian Assange, revoking his citizenship. Assange still holds a passport from his native Australia but became a nationalized citizen of Ecuador in 2017. He spent almost seven years in Ecuador's London embassy protected by asylum status, avoiding extradition to Sweden where he was accused to sexual misconduct.

He was also wanted in the U.S. on a conspiracy charge. Assange is now in prison in the U.K. for violating bail conditions. His lawyers say they plan to appeal the citizenship ruling by Ecuador's government.

The congressional investigation into the U.S. capital riot are underway with vivid and visceral testimonies from four police officers who are on the frontlines that day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room. But too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist, or that hell actually wasn't that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for staying with us. You're watching CNN newsroom. I'm John Vause. Months after the January 6 insurrection, the memories of the violence are fresh for the four police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol and gave graphic testimony before House Select Committee investigation into the attack. Manu Raju has bought now from Capitol Hill. A warning, some of the language in this report is offensive.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In chilling testimony, four police officers offering the most vivid accounts yet of their near death experiences on the frontlines of January 6, battling a Trump inspired mob determined to stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory.

OFC. HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: There was an attack carried out on January 6, and I hit man sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.

RAJU: D.C. Metro Police officers Daniel Hodges and Michael Fanone and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, all taking strong exception to the efforts by some Republicans and former President Donald Trump to whitewash the tragic events of that day.

OFC. MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room. But too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist, or that hell actually wasn't that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.

RAJU: Detailing the brutal injuries they suffered and the struggles they continue to deal with nearly seven months after the attack.

OFC. DANIEL HODGES, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Directly in front of me a man sees the opportunity of my vulnerability, grabbed the front of my gas mask and used to beat my head against the door. He switched to pulling it off my head the straps stretching against my skull and straining my neck. He never ever uttered any words I recognized but opted instead for guttural screams. I remember him foaming at the mouth.

RAJU: Mincing no words about who was responsible.

LIZ CHENEY, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: When you think about that and share with us the vivid memory of the cruelty and the violence of the assault that day. And then you hear former President Trump say, "It was a loving crowd." There was a lot of love in the crowd. How does that make you feel?

SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: It's upsetting, is a pathetic excuse for his behavior for something that he can self help to create this monstrosity. I'm still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day, that he claimed that so many rioters, terrorists were assaulting us that day, instead of sending the support or telling his people, he supporter to stop this nonsense, he egged them to continue fighting.

RAJU: Officer Fanone says he nearly died.

FANONE: They ripped off my badge. They grabbed and stripped me of my radio. They seized ammunition that was secured to my body. They began to beat me with their fists and with what felt like hard metal objects. At one point I came face to face with an attacker who repeatedly launched for me and attempted to remove my firearm. I heard chanting from some in the crowd, get his gun and kill him with his own gun. I was aware enough to recognize I was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm. I was electrocuted again and again and again with a taser. I'm sure I was screaming but I don't think I could even hear my own voice.

RAJU: And Officer Dunn testifying he has never been called the N word while in uniform. Until confronted by the mob.


DUNN: One woman in a pink "MAGA" shirt yelled, you hear that, guys, this nigger voted for Joe Biden. Then the crowd, perhaps around twenty people, joined in, screaming "Boo, fucking nigger. No one had ever, ever called me a "nigger" while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer.

RAJU: The testimony clearly moving the members of the committee.

ADAM KINZINGER, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: I never expected a date to be quite as emotional for me as it has been. You guys all talk about the effects you have to deal with and, you know, you talk about the impact of that day. But you guys won, you guys held.

Manu Raju, CNN Capitol Hill.


VAUSE: The gunmen who carried out a spree of deadly shootings at adult spas in the Atlanta area earlier this year spent the rest of his life in jail. Robert Aaron Long agreed to plead guilty to four counts of murder in return for a life sentence with no chance of parole. But there are still additional charges in Fulton County where two other spas were located and another four people were shot dead. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for hate crimes. Six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent. Long told authorities the attacks were not racially motivated instead, blaming a sex addiction.

In United States were coronavirus vaccines are free and widely available. Officials are still battling hesitancy to the shot even as cases surge. The Biden administration is taking action to try to contain the spread including an expected vaccine requirements for federal workers. But even the fully vaccinated are now being urged to wear masks indoors and in areas where COVID is searching. Here is CNN Athena Jones with details.


ATHENA JONES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With new coronavirus, infections rising and every state, the CDC is revising its mask guidance for vaccinated people in areas it says have high or substantial COVID transmission, now recommending to wear mask indoors and public spaces.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: In rare occasions some vaccinated people infected with a Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others. This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations.

JONES: Some 17% of the country lives in a county with substantial transmission, and nearly half the country lives in a county with high transmission, including every county in Arkansas and Louisiana, and nearly every county in Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER U.S. CDC DIRECTOR: We're heading into a rough time.

JONES: A former CDC director warning within another 46 weeks.

FRIEDEN: It's likely if our trajectory is similar to that in the United Kingdom, that we could see as many as 200,000 cases a day four times our current rate.

JONES: The last time there are more than 200,000 new use cases in one day was in January, according to Johns Hopkins University data before vaccines became available widely and before the more contagious Delta variant took hold. Now the U.S. seven day average of new cases is the highest in three months.

DR. STEPHEN HAHN, FORMER U.S. FDA COMMISSIONER: The key here is transmissibility.

JONES: The problem, a third of those eligible to get the vaccine have not gotten a shot. Something experts say must change if the nation is ever to emerge from the pandemic.

HAHN: What we want to do is stop the transmission. How do we get variants? We get variants because the virus gets into someone who is not protected. Make -- undergoes mutation, and then it spreads to a different, you know, additional people. JONES: Hospitalizations rising rapidly unless vaccinated states, Florida one of three states leading the nation in New COVID cases per capita now accounts for nearly a quarter of the country's new daily cases. The mayor of Orange County home to Disney World, saying the area is in crisis mode.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The virus is adapting. The state has not adapting.

JONES: Hospitals like AdventHealth in Orlando are being overwhelmed by COVID patients.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As of this morning, we have moved to level --

JONES: Meanwhile, more vaccine testing and mask mandates are coming, Savannah, Georgia requiring masks inside all city government facilities, public schools and early childhood centers.

(On Camera): And back to those vaccine mandates, President Biden said Tuesday requiring COVID vaccinations for all federal employees is under consideration. This comes a day after his administration mandated vaccinations for healthcare workers employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Athena Jones, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Dr. Leana Wen is a CNN Medical Analyst, the Former Health Commissioner for the city of Baltimore, and author of Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health.

Good to see, it's been a while. Welcome back.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Thank you very much, great to be with you.

VAUSE: OK, so now it's back to masking up indoors, pretty much for everyone, even the vaccinated. It's a significant reversal to that earlier guidance. And here's how you explained why we're back in this place. It's a piece you wrote in The Washington Post. The CDC's honor system did not work, the unvaccinated took off their masks too, not enough people were vaccinated to be a backstop against further surges; and infections began to soar.


That was a few days ago. So yeah, those who refuse to wear the masks have now graduated to be the anti-vaxxers. So it seems it was a pretty safe guess that this is exactly what's going to happen. What were the situation we're in now, so what essentially an own goal by the CDC and how much harm is this reversal done?

WEN: Yeah, and I think a lot of us think that the CDC aired in the first place that when they issued back in May their guidance for fully vaccinated people, because it didn't come with any type of proof of vaccination. We were dependent on the honor system. But we're at a time when a lot of people have not been behaving honorably and so the unvaccinated also took off their masks. And now we're seeing the consequences that there are surges among the unvaccinated. But the problem is, it's not just affecting them. It's also affecting, of course, unvaccinated children, immunocompromised people, and there are now spill over breakthrough infections, especially with the more contagious Delta variant into the vaccinated, and then the vaccinated are wondering, why do I have to be paying a price for the unvaccinated? Why do I also have to putting on a mask once again? Well, that's because we cannot depend on the honor system. And as long as the Biden administration is not getting behind vaccine mandates and proof of vaccination, we're going to be stuck in this position.

VAUSE: Well, the CDC is recommending masks for students when they return to the classroom. So cue the angry parents. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm here fighting with hundreds of other parents because we don't want our kids masked for seven hours a day. And I look around and I see all of you sitting here without masks seriously, what's the deal?


VAUSE: Yeah, look, it will be unpleasant wearing a mask for that long time. It's not the worst thing that could happen. Here's the former U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams on that.


DR. JEROME ADAMS, FORMER U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: I want your viewers to know closures will be coming soon if we can't get this pandemic under control. Our kids will be at risk of another year virtual school.


VAUSE: Or perhaps students could get infected at school, take the virus home and kill grandma. I mean, there are a lot of things out that are worse than wearing a mask, right?

WEN: Right. And in fact, we've seen that our young children actually adapt to mask wearing very easily. I have an almost four year old who wore masks for the first time, of course, during the pandemic, and I thought it would be really hard on him. But actually, he and his classmates all just started wearing a mask. And of course, we know that masks helped to protect the unvaccinated in particular. And we also know that children especially come respiratory virus season can easily be spreaders to one another with this extremely contagious Delta variant. They also have the potential to be super spreader, so could spread it at home. And now we know that even if you're fully vaccinated, especially if you're immunocompromised, you're still a risk. And so this really is the right thing for us to do wearing a mask actually helps to keep our schools open.

VAUSE: Well, the other sort of part of the equation here when it comes to the rising number of daily infections is the low vaccination rates. So when the unvaccinated fall ill, it can be terrifying.

Mark Valentine was not getting the vaccine. I want you to listen to him now. But then his brother became seriously ill with COVID. Here he is.


MARK VALENTINE, BROTHER IS IN HOSPITAL WITH COVID-19: We were terrified and petrified. It was as bad as it gets. I mean, there were very, very serious questions about whether or not he would survive. It could not have been any worse as far as I can tell. And, you know it, it certainly changed my position on this whole thing as it did is. I went directly to the Walmart and got the vaccine and said, you know, you pick the arm, I don't care, just do it.


VAUSE: Sometimes it takes something as serious as a close relative being seriously ill coming close to death to convince someone to get vaccinated. At least he went out and got vaccinated. There are many out there who regardless of what they told, regardless of their own experience, they can never be convinced. So what do you do with that group?

WEN: Well, first of all, I'm glad that this gentleman's brother is presumably doing better. I'm also glad that he got vaccinated. I think we need to hear a lot more stories like his because at this point, hearing the stories of people who converted, who were initially not going to get the vaccine, but now something prompted them to get it. I think those are really powerful stories. I also think that we as a society, at some point have to make a policy decision. And that is, is it really OK for an individual to decide that they have the freedom to infect other people with a potentially deadly disease? What about the right of our unvaccinated children or immunocompromised people to not become I'm infected. Look, I think we should be looking at what France and Italy and some other countries have been doing which is the same if you want to remain unvaccinated, that's your choice. But if you want to engage in public spaces, if you want to go into work, if you want to go to bars and restaurants then you either need to be vaccinated or get a negative test. At some point we need to think about what is the interest of the public's health?


VAUSE: Yeah, it's a bit like the whole, you know, public smoking, you know, you can't smoke in public because, you know, people get sick from your cigarette smoke. But anyway, I'm told we're out of time. Leana, thank you, Leana Wen, I appreciate you being with us. Good luck.

WEN: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, the shock decision by Simone Biles to withdraw from competition has the focus on elite athletes and then mental health. When we come back more on just how much greater the pressure is at these pandemic delayed Olympics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, day after U.S. gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from competition. The IOC has admitted more can be done to help and support elite athletes and their mental health. They also voiced support for Biles.


MARK ADAMS, SPOKEMAN, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: For us, yes as with everyone in all areas of life, it's incredibly important issue and one that's really finally come to the fore. Are we doing enough? I hope so. I think so. But like everyone in the world, we can do more on this issue. And we are and we're really supporting the athletes in this.


VAUSE: For now Biles has not said she will return to competition in Tokyo. The four time Olympic gold medalist has several more individual events scheduled and said we'll take it one day at a time.

Lennie Waite is a former Olympian turn sports psychologist and she is with us this hour from Houston, Texas. Thank you for being on the show.

LENNIE WAITE, FORMER OLYMPIC ATHLETE: Yeah, good evening. It's good to be here.

VAUSE: OK, well, the stress, the pressure, anxiety that most athletes feel at the Olympic level, it's huge, I guess, it's huge in the best of times. These are not the best of times. A headline in the Wall Street Journal put it quite succinctly. Biles and Osaka Lay Bare the strains of Tokyo's pandemic Olympics.

So pull all the threads together here. We've got the year long delay, the pandemic restrictions, the isolation, the high expectations. How much pressure are these athletes under and add to that Biles is the only survivor of sexual abuse by the Florentine coach who is competing in Tokyo must be off the charts.

WAITE: Off the charts. Yeah, you listed -- you rattled off all the major points. You know, normally it's four years between an Olympic Games so there's an extra year. Normally you have your friends and your family and your biggest support crew there to help you get through it. Now you don't. Now you have the added pressure of performing in isolation and also being the face of the games for an athlete like Simone and it is really difficult the mental pressures of just mounted for an athlete like her.

VAUSE: Just very quickly, what do you advise athletes to do, to deal with this sort of stuff?


WAITE: Yeah, so there's so much noise at Olympic Games. So my biggest advice having competed at one myself is first of all, enjoy the arena, take a deep breath. Remember that you belong, that you've put in all the work to be there. Also, take a moment to just reflect on the fact that you've done this 1000 times before all of these athletes are experts at executing these physical skills. The thing that gets in the way, are like their brain. They're over thinking. They're actually analyzing the pressure and the expectations so that they can just turn their brain off and really focus on those physical skills. They're going to be much more successful when that emotion comes in that it gets really challenging.

VAUSE: Yeah, there's been a lot of messages of support for Simone Biles, like this tweet from First Lady -- former First Lady Michelle Obama, we are proud of you. We are rooting for you. Congratulations on the silver medal, team USA. There has been abusive messages, like this one, which was a tweet from some guy with a podcast. He tweeted if Michael Phelps had stormed out of the Olympics because he lost a race and was embarrassed, not one person would have defended him. But Simone Biles does it and we're all supposed to celebrate it, absurd. You know, she didn't storm out. She stayed to cheat on her teammates. Embarrassment had nothing to do with it. She withdraws it because of mental health. And that's something Michael Phelps knows all too well. Here he is in 2018, listen to this.


MICHAEL PHELPS, ATHLETE: I was so down on myself. I didn't have any self love. And quite honestly, I just didn't want to be alive. It was a really, really, really crazy time for me. And I didn't want to see anybody because, you know, for me, like I saw myself as letting so many people down and me myself in particular.


VAUSE: And he received a ton of support when he went public. So that abusive tweet, which is wrong on every level, how much harm does that do? Not just to Biles, but in terms of continuing on is a false narrative?

WAITE: Yeah, it is a false narrative. And the whole message here that is an amazing message is the de-stigmatization of mental health issues and elite athletes. And Michael Phelps himself has invested a ton of his own resources in doing that, you know, through his documentary, the weight of gold, through really exposing how we need to treat these mental injuries as though they are physical injuries and get athlete the support and resources that they need. So that kind of tweet is not useful and continuing to fight this battle to really protect the mentality of athletes competing on a world stage.

VAUSE: And, you know, when it comes to responsibility, stepping up, not making excuses, here's how it's done. Listen to this.


SIMONE BILES, U.S. OLYMPIC GYMNAST: I didn't do my job. They came out and they stepped up and they did what they needed to do and more especially last minute. Suni didn't even get to warm up. Her floor passes until the 32nd touch. So this metal is all of them in the coaches, and it has nothing to do with me because they did it without me.


VAUSE: Yeah, at the end of the day, she's a class act.

WAITE: Absolutely. Yes.

VAUSE: I see. Lennie, thank you for being with us. We appreciate your time.

WAITE: Yeah, thank you. Have a good evening.

VAUSE: Still to come, pandemic be damned, how truly devoted Olympic fans are finding new and unique ways to cheer on their national teams far away.



VAUSE: Well for the most part, Olympic venues are empty, spectators have been banned but still devoted fans are finding ways to show their support. Here's Coy Wire with more now from the Tokyo Olympics.


COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Japanese softball fans cheering on their team from a local theater as the Olympic hosts compete against Team USA for the gold. Audiences are banned at most of the Olympic events due to coronavirus restrictions but that hasn't stopped the devotion to the fans who've waited years for this moment.

Olympic fever was also in the air at the women's triathlon Tuesday, although spectators weren't allowed along the route. People eager to watch braved the rain and lined up to cheer the athletes on.

TONY LIM, OLYMPIC SPECTATOR: People are keeping their distance, wearing masks, so we feel like it's like most other places around the city anyway.

WIRE: Japanese weightlifting legend Yoshinobu Miyazaki wasn't going to miss the chance to see his niece compete. Two time weightlifting gold medalist watch from a local training gym. Unfortunately, Romain (ph) Miyazaki will not take home a medal this year.

Outside of Tokyo, there's been just as much enthusiasm, 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby taking home gold in the women's 100 meter breaststroke, beating reigning champ Lilly King. Friends in Jacoby his hometown of Seward, Alaska went wild as she made history, becoming the first swimmer from the state to win Olympic gold.

Hundreds gathered at a shopping mall in Hong Kong to watch foil fencer Cheung Ka-long also make Olympic history, winning Hong Kong's first Olympic gold medal in this sport. Fans in Maidenhead, England were ecstatic watching Britain's Tom Dean win the gold in the 200 meter freestyle. It was also one for the record books, Britain's first one to finish in 113 years.

COVID restrictions and spectator bands have made this year Summer Olympics a bit more challenging, but it definitely hasn't stopped the enthusiasm. Where there's a will there's a way for these loyal fans to root for their home countries.

Coy Wire, CNN, Tokyo.


VAUSE: Well, for more on the Olympic Games, please stay with CNN. We'll have the very latest after a short break. But that's it for this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm John Vause. I'll see you tomorrow. You're watching CNN.