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Heat Wave Intensifying European Wildfires; New COVID-19 Infections Soar Across Southeast Asia; Sardinia Fighting Back Devastating Wildfires. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 28, 2021 - 02:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome to all of you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM. Coming up just hours after failing to medal, Katie Ledecky wins the sixth Olympic gold of her career. We'll have all the highlights from the fifth day of competition.

Public health officials in the U.S. are reversing course urging Americans to mask up once again even those fully vaccinated, all due to the threat of the Delta variant.

And a major heatwave in Southeast Europe is creating challenging conditions where firefighters battling dozens of wildfires across the region.

So it's just past 3:00 p.m. in Tokyo, where day five of the Summer Olympics is in full swing, including a splash of high profile males in swimming. Plus, a stunning decision from the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history. Simone Biles to withdraw from the team final. Biles still hasn't said whether she'll compete in any more events in Tokyo. The 24-year-old told reporter she pulled out over mental health concerns and that she needed to protect her body and her mind.

CNN's Blake Essig is live this hour in Japan. And World Sport anchor Patrick Snell is right here in Atlanta with me with more on Simone Biles and today's medal winners. So Patrick, big day in the pool. What's been catching your eyes so far?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORT ANCHOR: Lots going on. And one great storylines, Kim, you know, this Olympic is just incredible what we're seeing. Another special day for the Australian star Ariarne Titmus who proved too good once again for the U.S. superstar Katie Ledecky would have to settle for a fifth place finish on Wednesday. This was in the 200-meter freestyle final and an emotional Titmus afterwards with a gold medal to her name.

She would actually clock in Olympic record as well. However, about an hour later Ledecky back in the pool and finally getting her hands on a gold medal winning the 1500-meter freestyle for her six career Olympic gold medal and first to add these Tokyo games. This the first time the women's 1500 meters by the way, is an Olympic event. And a great historic achievement for Team Great Britain today you've recorded their first Olympic gold medal in the men's four by 200-meter freestyle relay since 1908.

Would you believe, Kim, the British caught at powering home a head of the Russian Olympic Committee and Australia. Team G.B. missing out on a world record by literally point .03 of a second. And this is a great story as well. A day that will live long in the memory of the young Hungarian swimmer. Remember the name Kristof Milak, who won the men's 200-meter butterfly final. The 21-year-old from Budapest setting an Olympic mark surpassing the great Michael Phelps record in an event that the American ones dominate.

Well, Milak afterwards revealing -- here's the backstory here, that he might have swam even faster had it not been for a mishap with his swimming trunks, which apparently ripped 10 minutes before he entered the pool. But he recovered his composure and he went on to get his hands on gold medal there for him.

BRUNHUBER: Unbelievable. Well, maybe the rip is lucky. He'll be wearing them the same pair next time. So now to the big story that everyone's been talking about. Simone Biles, what can we expect next?

SNELL: Yes. Kim, we're watching this one very closely indeed. No question just for viewers worldwide. One of the biggest names at these games no question, the USA superstar gymnasts, Simone Biles, 24 years of age. She's a four-time Olympic gold medalist, four goals. Remember six years ago, five years ago, I should say Rio 2016 in Brazil but on Tuesday withdrawing from the women's gymnastics team final citing mental health concerns.

Now Biles have been competing in the event but withdrew after her lowest Olympic score in the vault. She did later return though to cheer on her teammates as they took the silver medal. The Russian Olympic Committee taking gold but you're quite right, Kim, the big question now is what is next for the American? Biles who revealed she wasn't injured by the way. For now saying she's just going to take it one day at a time.

She is currently scheduled to be next in action on Thursday. That in the women's all-around final. I do want to get two more reaction and fallout from this because the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee saying it applauded Biles' decision to prioritize her mental wellness over everything else. Offering her full support adding Simone, you've made us so proud, proud of who you are as a person, teammate and athlete.

While the International Olympic Committee earlier today had this to say on the subject of athletes and mental health.


MARK ADAMS, SPOKESPERSON, IOC: For us, yes. As with everyone in all areas, it's -- of life, it's incredibly important issue. One that's really finally come to the fore.

[02:05:03] ADAMS: 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 ready supporting the athletes in this.


SNELL: The line there from the International Olympic Committee, Kim, that is the latest on the swim bar situation or say we're watching closely, see how it all unfolds. Will she compete on Thursday? That's going to be key.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, I think the consensus is some good will come from this sad story.

SNELL: And we're certainly want to wish you all the very best --


BRUNHUBER: Absolutely. Thank you so much. And on that subject, in less than half an hour, I'll speak with a sports performance consultant, who used to actually train Simone Biles and we'll discuss her belief in herself and the kind of mental strain athletes encounter. So right now we want to take you live to Fukushima City, Japan where baseball is back in the Olympic. CNN's Blake Essig is there. So baseball is back which is great. Just a shame. There's no one there to see it.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. You know, I mean, speaking of baseball being back is taking place as we speak, right inside Azuma stadium behind me. Now baseball has long 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 times including the games here in Japan.

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


ESSIG: There's something about baseball in Japan, that's just different. Here, it's less about the game and all about the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Baseball is people's 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 Nobuyoshi Mora (ph) each play an important role.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: in what's your most fans and spectators feel as if we are playing the game with the players together.

ESSIG: And that's the kind of connection that can help sue the community in the wake of disaster. It's a role the Semi Pro Fukushima red hopes have played since 2014. When that continues today, although it looks a little different. The Coronavirus has made things tricky as restrictions limit the number of fans and ultimately stream that connection.

The crack of the bat, beat of the drum and fans in the stands. This is baseball. But when Japan in the Dominican Republic opened up play here at Azuma Stadium, the atmosphere will look feel and sound very different. That's because unless you're playing this is about as close as you're going to get.

WATARU KOKUBUN, FUKUSHIMA RED HOPES PITCHER (through translator): There's a huge difference between having no spectators and one. If there's 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 prefecture. Red Hopes manager Akinori Iwamura says he understands but admits it's disappointing. He says an opportunity has been lost.

AKINORI IWAMURA, FURUSHIMA RED HOPES MANAGER (through translator): Well then think I cannot we genuinely wanted people from all over the world to come to Fukushima and see how great it is.

ESSIG: When the buck scores for these games are logged you'll see nine Enix. 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.

This makes me sad, the Olympics aren't only for the athletes that also for the citizens of the country where they're held. So instead of filling the stands, the game's biggest supporters will be huddled around a TV when the team takes the field. Cheering from afar, even as the game takes place right here at home.

A softball also made its return to the Olympics after 13 years. Tournament play opened up here in Fukushima last week. And just last night, Japan took home the gold after beating the United States two- zero in the final held outside of Tokyo victory. And you can see, has made the front page of several local newspapers today. Unfortunately, both baseball and softball is returned to the Olympics will be short lived as neither will be included when Paris hosts the games in 2024.

But for fans there is reason to be optimistic as the two sports are likely to be back when Los Angeles hosts in 2028. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks so much, Blake Essig. Appreciate it. Much of Asia is struggling with a renewed outbreak of COVID-19. South Korea has just reported another pandemic record of new infections. Thailand also reported a new daily case high today as Bangkok authorities warned that demand for hospital beds is three times capacity.


BRUNHUBER: CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us now from Hong Kong. Kristie take us through the situation in the region for us. KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant. COVID-19 is taking more lives in causing more misery across Southeast Asia including Thailand and Myanmar. Thailand on Wednesday this day reported a new record high and daily Coronavirus cases 16,533 new cases of the virus and they're running out of beds. Officials in Bangkok, the Thai capital say that demand for hospital beds is three times over capacity.

It's prompted health officials there to issue statements saying that they are overwhelmed and under immense pressure including this statement for you from a director general. He reads this, "Our doctors, nurses and other frontline medical staff 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 the beds now really overwhelmed."

To deal with this surge in infection, authorities and Thailand are now converting old railway cars into COVID-19 wards. The idea is this. They plan to take over a dozen about 15 of disused railway carriages and turn them into a 240 bed isolation ward designed for COVID-19 patients of less severe symptoms. It is become so desperate. They've run out of beds, they're now turning two trains into COVID wards in Thailand.

Meanwhile, the situation is just misery upon misery in Myanmar. You know, for months now social welfare groups have been seeing that the pandemic there has gotten worse since the February 1 military coup. Patients with COVID-19 symptoms are choosing to stay at home or looking for independent or private doctors or medics because they simply don't trust military hospitals.

So the military is now arresting doctors in Myanmar for trading COVID- 19 patients independently. Because of this we have a U.N. expert who has issued what he calls a COVID-19 ceasefire. In his statement, he writes this Thomas Andrews, a U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar says the U.N. must act immediately to halt the military hunters attacks harassment detentions in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis."

And just adding to the misery in Myanmar, there is widespread flooding taking place. Hundreds of people have just been displaced, thousands of people are in the flood zone. And we've been monitoring social media imagery showing medical workers, frontline hospital staff, lifting bedridden COVID-19 patients still attached to their oxygen tanks above murky floodwaters in southeast Myanmar. Back to you, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thanks so much, Kristie. Rising COVID cases across the U.S. have prompted health officials to revise their mass guidance particularly for those fully vaccinated. The CDC is now urging masks be worn indoors in public spaces in areas with substantial or high coronavirus transmission. And that's being seen across the U.S. but especially in the southeast, where vaccination rates remain low.

And along with masks may come a vaccine mandate. The source says President Biden is expected to announce Thursday that federal employees and contractors will be required to be vaccinated or face regular testing. Now this all comes as official sound the alarm over the Delta variant.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Over the last several weeks, we've been seeing in real time how dangerous the Delta variant is. And how easily it can spread. But the new data that CDC gather, in recent days found that in unusual circumstances where vaccinated people get breakthrough infections with Delta. They seem more able to transmit than people who have breakthrough infections with other variants.

It's another example of how Delta is more dangerous. And that is why the CDC advised that in areas that have substantial or high degrees of transmission, that even people who are vaccinated should wear masks in indoor settings. This will help reduce transmission. But what's really important also is to say what has not changed. And what has not changed is that vaccines still work, they still save lives.

They still prevent hospitalizations that have remarkably high rate. And that's why 97 percent of people who are hospitalized with COVID right now are unvaccinated. And even those who have unusual breakthrough infections have mild or asymptomatic infections.


BRUNHUBER: Scientists often learn from past outbreaks and my next guest has been writing about what past variants can tell us about COVID's Delta variant. John Barry is the author of The Great influenza and joins me now. Thanks so much for being here with us. We just heard there from the Surgeon General saying how the fact that the Delta variant is so dangerous, spread so easily. It's forcing us to go back and impose more restrictions.

As you all know, this isn't, you know, we've been down the spot path that a deadly disease that mutates and produces an even more A virulent variant. We've been there before. Most experts predict this won't be the last variant.


BRUNHUBER: Do you have any idea whether this will end up being the worst?

JOHN BARRY, AUTHOR, THE GREAT INFLUENZA: Well, that's absolutely impossible to predict. I, we can hope that it's the worst. I hope that it's the worst. If you look, historically, through the last five pandemics going back to 1889, which are the only pandemics that we have really any detailed information about, every one of them, variants emerged, which made the disease more dangerous as time went on.

As the virus adjusted, adapted to humans, and it genuinely became better at transmitting, and in generally became somewhat more very human or dangerous, and then the human immune system adjusted to it. And the virus calmed down and became endemic and not very dangerous. BRUNHUBER: I want to get your reaction to the two opposing forces we're seeing in response to the coronavirus and the Delta variant. Specifically, on one hand, we have the CDC revising its mass mandate for vaccinated adults, for masks and schools, the plan vaccine mandate for federal workers. We have some states and cities enacting their own mandates. On the other hand then some states are banning those same actions that might help stop the spread.

What does that say to you about our ability to handle this pandemic in the medium and long term, the fact that any mitigation efforts face such stiff political headwinds?

BARRY: There's always going to be a debate and a balance between enforcing some public health measure and economic activity that's a, you know, a balance you really need to work out. But for a state to actually prohibit a private enterprise from enforcing measures to protect people's lives. You know, that's a little bit crazy. And, you know, particularly when the same people scream about, you know, individual rights, they're infringing on the rights of private businesses to protect themselves and their customers and their -- and their workers.

BRUNHUBER: If we live in this fractured, divided, polarized society, is this unprecedented in terms of the political conditions in which to fight a pandemic? Is there anything to learn from history on that front? Are the social circumstances so unique that we'll just have to kind of make it up as we go along here?

BARRY: No, I think it is pretty unique. You know, if you go back through other disease outbreaks, you know, politics is often entered, but kind of partisanship that we see now. You know, the Republicans tried to criticize Obama during the Ebola outbreak, you know, Trump criticized him for bringing Americans back the United States, which -- whenever there is an actual, you know, Gerald Ford probably loss of presidency in 1976 for what he did to prevent a pandemic which never developed.

There's always politics, but the kind of partisanship that we're seeing today is well beyond anything we've ever seen, in the past.

BRUNHUBER: A year ago, just before during the peak of the pandemic, depending on where you were, I guess you wrote that the most important lesson from 1918 was to tell the truth. You wrote, at its core society is based on trust. So a year later, are we closer to what we saw back then, when -- as you wrote, one scientists wrote that if things kept going civilization could easily disappear from the face of the earth or have you seen enough to give you hope that future generations won't be sort of pointing to us as the cautionary tale?

BARRY: Well, I mean, for us, you know, that quote, referred to the really the breakdown of society because of the very onset of the disease, I mean, tens of millions of people were dying in a -- in a period of a few weeks in 1918. You know, so, thank God, we're not facing that today. In terms of trust, obviously, there is probably less trust in American society, and in many of the countries around the world between the governments and their populace than certainly in the United States, perhaps at any time.

And I think that may be true in some other countries. You know, some countries have obviously done very, very well considering the enemy, the virus that they are facing and the countries that have done that have told the truth to their public and actually they've been rewarded politically for doing so. It turns out that in this case, truth is the best policy not only in terms of saving lives, but politically in the long term. It's the best policy.


BRUNHUBER: An excellent message to end on. John Barry, thank you so much for being with us. Really appreciate it.

BARRY: You're very welcome. Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: Firefighters across southern Europe are racing to tame wildfires. Now a major heatwave threatens to make conditions even worse, while the very latest, stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: Wildfires are raging across southern Europe. With a growing heatwave and little rain in the forecast. The flames look to keep on burning. CNN Scott McLean reports.

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. The hundreds have been evacuated and the Italian government had to call in help from France and Greece who sent firefighting planes. Sardinia is hard hit. The only European region struggling with wildfires. Catalonia has managed to stabilize most of wildfire that burned nearly 2000 hectares of land.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We felt very helpless not being able to do anything. We were here watching the flames. We're getting closer and closer and we can't 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. And 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 over 100 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 from climate change. FRANS TIMMERMANS VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION: T e 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 things getting worse. And if we don't do something urgently and urgently, I mean now, then, you know, climate crisis again is going to get completely natural and our citizens do understand we need to act now.

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


MCLEAN: Scott McLean CNN, London.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Let's bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. Pedram, what's the latest?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, Kim, when you're looking at what's happening here, of course, we've seen widespread coverage of excessive heat in recent days. And the concern is we're going to begin to see this really flourish over the next several days into this weekend and potentially get to all-time records in some areas. But you take a look fires raging from Spain through Italy into parts of Greece, we know the drought here has been expansive in recent weeks as well.

But notice this, with high pressure in place, essentially what you're getting is a dome of high pressure or a lid in the atmosphere. So the air is caused -- it's caused the air to sink. And as it sinks, it compresses and warms in, in a lot of these regions, we're seeing temperatures run 10 degrees above average. And keep in mind climatologically, we are at the hottest time of year, latter portion of July, across this part of the world is the warmest time of year.

So when you upped that by an additional 10 degrees. That's why this becomes a very dangerous scenario, especially when you consider the wildfire activity that is already in place. But from Albania to Turkey into Greece temperatures into the 40s. These are the warmest temperatures we found across Europe. Notice in some of these regions should be in the lower 30s and even Upper 20s in parts of Greece where 41, nearly 41 degrees observed on Tuesday afternoon.

Disparity with a cooler air, it's there, it's to the north but to the south is where all the hot air is bottled up and shifting a little farther towards the east. If you're tuned in and Athens you'll notice the temperature is running up into the upper 30s closing in on 40 degrees. Should be around 32 for this time of year and the World Meteorological Organization says a heatwave is when you have five consecutive days with temperatures at least five degrees Celsius above average, is a classic heatwave that continues into early next week with temps staying above that threshold for the foreseeable future.

Now we talk about climate change how, it is all kind of associated with what has happened here. And excessive heat and heat waves are actually the highest and strongest evidence there that could lead climate change to what's happening outside across parts of the world and coastal flooding, flooding in general and also droughts, again, have strong evidence to suggest that this is linked to climate change where hurricanes and tornadoes lesser evidence to prove that being a factor in coinciding with one another.

But here's what's happened in the past 24 hours. We've had some stronger storms into parts of central Europe, of course a lot of heat kind of fueling these storms. Notice this. Rainfall amounts pushing up to nearly 200 millimeters in a matter of hours in parts of Italy, with wind gusts into parts of Switzerland. Incredible wind gusts. These are related to strong I should say as a category one hurricane, getting to 129 kilometers per hour.

Again across parts of Switzerland with the severe weather that has been in place since yesterday. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thanks so much for the update, Pedram. Appreciate it. Still to come. We'll talk to a mental training expert who worked with Simone Biles on why she pulled out of the team competition and now we're just learning the individual competition. To more on that next and they feared for their lives. The vivid testimony from four police officers on the violence they faced during the U.S. Capitol riot.


MICHAEL FANONE, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: 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.




BRUNHUBER: This just in, superstar American Gymnast, Simone Biles, is withdrawing from the Olympic individual all around competition to focus on her mental health. USA Gymnastics tweeted out the news just minutes ago and applauded her bravery, calling her a role model for so many.

Earlier after she pulled out to team competition, the International Olympic Committee said it supports athletes' mental health issues. They also admit there's more that can be done.

Meanwhile, Biles' American teammates who earned a silver medal without her want the world to know she didn't let them down. They told NBC not everything should be dependent on Simone, and we didn't just get silver. We won silver.

Former teammate, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Aly Raisman, says it's difficult for many to understand what Biles was facing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALY RAISMAN, THREE-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I think that sometimes gymnasts make it look easy and that's a compliment to the gymnasts, but I don't think people realize just how dangerous it is. You're flipping in the air. The beam is only four inches wide. There is so much room for error. Like even breathing at the wrong time or running a little bit too fast, it's so easy to roll your ankle or to hyperextend your knee or get lost in the air when you're twisting, kind of doing a little bit too much, more twisting than you wanted or less.

It's just - it's also so mental in there, and the fear of gymnastics mentally is also such a big component of it that I don't think a lot of people understand. Having competed in two Olympics it is so much pressure, and I think coming from the U.S. where we are lucky to have so many incredible, successful athletes there's this pressure that we have to win and that if we don't win it's this fear of what if we disappoint people? What if people don't like us anymore?

There's so much pressure. And then, you know, thinking about the pressure I had on myself it's nothing compared to what Simone Biles has on her leading into the Games and right now. I really am proud of Simone for sharing with everyone. It's very hard to do that, especially when you're on such a big stage as the Olympics, and I can't imagine how hard that was for her to pull out today, but I'm proud of her.

And she knows her body better than anyone else, and she knows her mind better than anyone else.


BRUNHUBER: Let's bring in Robert Andrews. He's a sports performance consultant. Thanks so much for being with us. You've not just worked with medal-winning athletes in many sports, including gymnastics. You worked with Biles herself. You once said during the last Olympics of Simone, "Belief is powerful. Confidence can get shaken or rattled, but belief is a knowingness in your heart that no matter what, you are great. A wobble on beam might shake Simone's confidence but for a few seconds, but her belief in her ability will remain rock solid."

So what do you think happened here? Did she lose her belief?

ROBERT ANDREWS, THE INSTITUTE OF SPORTS PERFORMANCE: That's the simple answer, yes. I saw her vault tonight, and what I saw was that her brain didn't know where her body was in space, and that is a stress issue, so I looked at all the things that have been pushing in on her over the last few years, and there's been incredible levels of stress pushing in.

And at some point the brain says it's not safe to do what you can on a normal (ph) day. And so, it starts creating some problems to the point where I think Simone was very wise to shut it down because it was a safety issue now.

BRUNHUBER: But - so you talked about the different stressors then. I mean, years ago I understand her father had called you, asking you to work with her precisely because she had confidence issues. Obviously she's achieved incredible things since then, so is that - is this a recurrence of those old issues or are these new stresses that caused this do you think?

ANDREWS: I think they're newer. (inaudible) do that, and this is all public knowledge. It's not - I'm not sharing anything that's confidential or this is all out in the open. (inaudible) go over (ph) this is very significant.

BRUNHUBER: And what are those?


ANDREWS: One if we go back - well I think the first and foremost - or first - I won't say foremost - was the delay in the Olympic Games starting up in 2020. You know, I haven't talked to Simone Biles in over there years, but my gut was telling me she was going to be done after 2020, and have to gear up for that and then shut it down and then gear back up again takes a tremendous toll psychologically, mentally, and emotionally. So that's one factor.

The ongoing battle with USA Gymnastics over the Larry Nasser issues, publically calling them out on the gymnastics floor of a big competition, being a high-profile black athlete in a very volatile period of racist history, racism and that history in our country (ph), currently this goat, greatest of all time title that's been put upon her. Man, that's like putting a lead vest on her, a weighted vest on her.

And so, she has to live up to that expectation, manage all the stress and distractions, try to prepare for the Olympic Games. Her family couldn't be there. They're a huge part of her support system. The crowd isn't there for her to connect with and get energy from the crowds.

So it was basically a perfect storm. And when the stress levels get high enough the brain just goes there's too much interference. There's too much going on. I'm just going to shut it down here, and I saw it in Olympic Trials. I saw it in the beginnings of it. I saw it in team competitions. It was really bad. And then one vault and I saw her eyes, like a panic look on that vault, like where the heck am I.

And she landed and she looked very, very stunned. And that alarmed me and concerned me. So when I heard that she had dropped out of the competition due to fear and safety issues, you know, I was really proud of her for doing that because that's a courageous thing to do.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. That's exactly - were you surprised, though, that she was so honest? I mean, USA Gymnastics first said there was a medical issue, so you know, it would have been quite easy for her to say, oh, I tweaked my hamstring or something, but she chose to admit that it was a mental issue. Does that signal to you that athletes seem to be more comfortable talking about mental health issues? You know, this is coming in the context of Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the French Open for instance. You know, these mental health issues 5, 10 years ago, they were taboo. ANDREWS: Well Simone Manuel, the Olympic Champion Swimmer, said the same thing that she didn't meet her full Olympic Trials potential (ph) because of stress and other mental issues.

So as sad as it is what happened to Simone is going to be good for all athletes because she's the mark key (ph) name in sports on a global level now, and if she can bravely stand up and say I'm struggling and I'm suffering and I need help, that's going to give many, many more tens of thousands, hopefully maybe millions of athletes around the world permission to ask for that same kind of help.

BRUNHUBER: Let's hope so. Robert Andrews, really appreciate you insights on this important issue. Thanks so much for joining us.

ANDREWS: Pleasure. Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: Meanwhile, Tokyo's COVID crisis is worsening. The Olympic host city reported its biggest single-day jump in new COVID cases on Tuesday. More than 2,800, shattering the city's previous high from January. Olympic organizers say they've linked more than 170 cases to the Games so far.

Now the Japanese capital remains under a state of emergency until late next month. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked Japan's Minister in charge of vaccinations about the challenges facing the country. There he is (ph).


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The vaccination program here in Japan began in late February, and I'm curious about the timetable here. Was that what you anticipated? Was it late?

TARO KONO, JAPAN'S MINISTER IN CHARGE OF COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: It is very late. Well, it started out last July when Pfizer started the global clinical trial of their vaccine. We also wanted to be part of it, but then the COVID-19 in Japan was probably two-digit less than Europe or United States.

So the Pfizer people most of our (ph) even if they tried clinical trial in Japan it would have taken a long, long time to get the results. So they simply deselected Japan because of the very few number of COVID-19 patients. So we have to do the clinical trial on 160 Japanese people in October to make sure it is safe to have Pfizer vaccine on Japanese. So that delayed three month.


GUPTA: I'm curious just supply and demand right now as things stand now during this time in July, how would you characterize it? Is there enough supply? Is there enough demand?

KONO: Well in early in May the prime minister said, OK, we're going to go for a million doses a day. I sort of told them - I sort of told the prime minister, well, a million a day is a bit too much. Why don't we shoot for 700,000 to 800,000 a day? And he insisted one million a day.

Right now we are vaccinating 1.5 million people a day. There's a limit for Pfizer import, so I just kind of fill the demand domestically. So I've been asking Pfizer to frontload their commitment, and they've been able to do some but not enough to keep up the pace with domestic vaccination.


BRUNHUBER: Two French government officials are leading the vaccination effort by example. The country's Health Minister is a doctor, and he administered the shot to a Junior Economy Minister. Public health officials are warning France could face a fourth wave of the virus if people don't get vaccinated but 60 percent of people in France have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

In Tanzania, the government is launching a COVID vaccination campaign. Now it comes after the country's former president, a COVID skeptic, refused the vaccine, but his death in March ushered in a new government seeking to get a better handle on the virus.

CNN's Larry Madowo is in Nairobi, Kenya, and joins us now live. Larry, another example of how important politics can be in the fight against coronavirus. Take us through how that's playing out in Tanzania.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, Kim. Finally, President Samia Suluhu Hassan launching a vaccination drive for the whole nation and making the important step of getting vaccinated on live television to assure people that it is safe to get vaccinated.

Tanzania over the weekend got just over a million Johnson & Johnson shots from the United States through COVAX as the global initiative to get vaccines to low and middle income countries, but it is still not mandatory to get vaccinated in Tanzania even for frontline health workers, and there's still a lot of denialism. There's a lot of disinformation around vaccines in the country.

So while this is important her middle name (ph) Suluhu means solution (ph) this is hardly the solution to Tanzania's COVID crisis because, Kim, also we hardly ever get data about how many cases there are in Tanzania. There's very little testing even though the Health Minister says they're going through their third wave.

BRUNHUBER: Now you mentioned getting the vaccines through COVAX and so on. I mean, Tanzania isn't alone in the late arrival of vaccines, that they're only just doing this now. Other African countries are going through the same thing, so tell us a bit about that.

MADOWO: The fascinating thing is that these countries that are late arrivals to vaccinations and kind of COVID denialism are all in the Eastern Horn of Africa. The other two now that remain are Eritrea and Burundi, both of which have also seen leadership that are skeptics of COVID.

The president of Burundi is also rumored to have died of COVID-19. Officially, that's not the story there, but Burundi and Eritrea are also not members of COVAX and do not have vaccination drives, do not release regular data, and it's so - it's difficult to tell just how many people are affected by COVID in these countries because if there's no regular monitoring, no regular testing, and no regular announcements of how many people are getting cases, how many are getting vaccinated, or are recovering then it's really hard to tell. It's all anecdotal.

And as is the case with Tanzania you see cases on social media, people saying they lost family members or in some cases communities that are hit by a lot of deaths, but that's the only way to now how serious the pandemic is there.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, so never too late to start I suppose. Larry Madowo in Nairobi, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Well traumatic day is revisited at the U.S. Capitol. Coming up, four police officers testify to the violence they endured on January 6 and how the damage lingers. Stay with us.



Months after the January 6 insurrection the memories of the violence are fresh for police who defended the U.S. Capitol. Their graphic testimony kicked off a House Select Committee's investigation into the attack. Manu Raju has more from Capitol Hill, and I just want to warn you some of the language in this report is very offensive.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 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: It was an attack carried out on January 6, and a 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 white wash 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 day. 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 my a man seized the opportunity of my vulnerability and grabbed the front of my gas mask and used it to beat my head against the door. He switched to pulling it off of my head, the straps stretching against my skill and straining my neck. He never uttered any words I recognized but often instead of guttural screams. I remember him foaming at the mouth.

RAJU: Men saying (ph) 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, quote, "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. It's a pathetic excuse for his behavior for something that he himself helped to create this monstrosity. I'm still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day that he claimed that so many riders (ph), terrorists were assaulting us that day. Instead of sending the support or telling his people, his supporters to stop this nonsense he egged them to continue fighting.

RAJU: Officer Fanone says he nearly died.

FANONE: They ripped off my badge. My 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 lunged 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 20 people, joined in screaming, "Boo, fucking nigger." No one had ever, every 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 today to be quite as emotional for me as it has been. You guys all talked 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. RAJU: Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


BRUNHUBER: Day one of a landmark court case is wrapped up in the Vatican. A prominent cardinal and nine others are charged with fraud and embezzling millions of dollars. Senior Vatican Analyst, John Allen, has more from Rome.


JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: On day one of the Vatican's trial of the century today, Italian Cardinal, Angelo Becciu, the first cardinal ever to be indicted and tried by a Vatican criminal court in this case on charges of fraud and embezzlement, had his first chance essentially to push back against these charges that first came to public light in 2019.

The day was largely devoted to procedural issues in defense motions. There were motions from defense attorneys to dismiss charges on the grounds of a breakdown in the discovery process. There were also requests to dismiss the charges for lack of jurisdiction. The judges of the Vatican Tribunal took all of this under advisory.

At the end of the day, Becciu came out essentially reasserting his innocence as he had from the beginning of this process, saying he has great faith in the court to see through what he described as the false charges presented by Vatican prosecutors.

The judges announced that the trial will now be adjourned until the 5 of October. This is in part so that they can rule on the motions they received today also in part to allow the defense teams more time to prepare their case.

Reporting for CNN in Rome, this is John Allen.


BRUNHUBER: All right, still to come Olympic-sized enthusiasm, how some devoted fans are finding ways despite the pandemic to cheer on their home countries from around the world. Stay with us.



The joy of victory and the agony of defeat, the intensity of two weeks of competition is part of the draw for Olympic fans. Of course, spectators are banned this year but still devoted fans are finding ways to show support for their teams. Here's Coy Wire with more from the Tokyo Games.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR & 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 of the fans who've waited hears for this moment.

Olympic fever was also in the air at the Woman'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: As you can tell, people are keeping their distance, wearing masks. So we just feel like it's like most other places around the city I think (ph).

WIRE: Japanese weightlifting legend, Yoshinobu Miyake, wasn't going to miss the chance to see his niece compete. The two-time weightlifting gold medalist watched from a local training gym. Unfortunately, Hiromi Miyake will not take home a medal this year.

Outside of Tokyo there's been just as much enthusiasm. 17-year-old American, Lydia Jacoby, taking home gold in the women's 100 meter breast stroke, beating reigning champ, Lilly King. Friends in Jacoby's 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 the 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-two finish in 113 years.

COVID restrictions and spectator bans have made this year's 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.


BRUNHUBER: I'm Kim Brunhuber, and I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment. Please do stay with us.