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Athletes Suffer In Oppressive Heat And Humidity; Medal Events In Swimming, Rowing, Women's Gymnastics; WHO: Global Cases Rise For Fifth Consecutive Week; England Ends Quarantine For Vaccinated E.U., U.S. Visitors; Cuban Regime Takes Hardline Toward Recent Protests; Partisan Divide Deepens Over Masking Even As Cases Rise. Aired 12- 12:45a ET

Aired July 29, 2021 - 00:00   ET




Coming up this hour, the Tokyo Olympics might just take the gold medal for the hottest summer games of the modern era. Athletes facing heatstroke, dehydration and exhaustion because of the heat and humidity.

Drug maker Pfizer says a third booster shot of its COVID vaccine is highly effective against the Delta variant. Good news for wealthy nations, bad news for everyone else and we'll explain why.

Crackdown delayed, Cuba's communist regime is now targeting those who took part in those widespread antigovernment demonstrations.

The winning bid for the Tokyo Olympics promised days of mild and sunny weather, an ideal climate for athletes to perform their best, reality has been anything but, Tokyo is sweltering with sunny days above 30 degrees Celsius.

And because of high levels of humidity, the temperature can often feel closer to 40 degrees. And that is taking a toll on many athletes.

In tennis, a heat stroke (INAUDIBLE) Paula Badosa left the court in a wheelchair during her quarterfinal match, and the world number two in men's tennis Russian Daniil Medvedev received medical attention during his opening set and at one point fumed to the umpire, the heat was so bad, he could die.

Olympic organizers say they're now addressing athletes concerns.


KIT MCCONNELL, IOC SPORTING DIRECTOR: In terms of the tennis if we take a step back round, obviously a lot of the competition schedule has been built where possible depending on the -- on the sport to accommodate -- avoid the hottest parts of the day but that's not possible with every sport.


VAUSE: Let's go live to Tokyo now. CNN's Blake Essig is standing by. Yes, and Blake, they're kind of shuffling around with the schedule now. But it seems there's a lot of things they could have done before the Olympics began to avoid this heat problem and they just didn't do it.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, John, the extreme heat of Tokyo during the summer is no big secret. Organizers knew what was going to happen scheduling the games when they did, yet here we are.

Now, during the daytime here in Tokyo, it is truly unbearably hot with temperatures having recently reached a high of 34 degrees. But I can tell you, it feels so much hotter than that. And that's because of the humidity that has sometimes peeked at us as recently as a high of 84 percent. Those factors limit the body's ability to cool down making the threat of heatstroke, a very real problem.

And as you mentioned, as a result of this extreme heat, tennis matches at the Olympics will start later in the day. The decision came after several tennis players including world number one Novak Djokovic spoke out. He recently said that he's played tennis professionally for 20 years and never faced these kinds of conditions.

And just yesterday during his match, Daniil Medvedev said that to the judge, I can finish the match but if I die, who will take responsibility?

And as you mentioned, Paula Badosa withdrawing from her match and leaving the court in a wheelchair after suffering heatstroke.

Now, just this last week, according to Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency, more than 8,000 people in Japan were taken to the hospital for heatstroke and 19 people died. Of course, COVID-19 also remains a constant concern here in Tokyo as well.

Now, it's still early but at this point, daily testing, contact tracing and strict COVID-19 countermeasures put in place by Olympic organizers have proven effective.

Now, since the beginning of July, 198 games related infections have been reported, while Olympic related cases remain relatively low. The same can't be said for the -- for the capital here of Tokyo. Take a listen.


MASA TAKAYA, TOKYO 2020 SPOKESMAN (through translator): As a city resident myself and as an organizer, my heart hurts that case numbers are rising.


ESSIG: Just yesterday, nearly 3,200 cases were reported, that is the highest daily total for the capital since the pandemic began. A record that has now been set for a second day in a row, John. VAUSE: Great. It's getting hotter. Blake, thank you. Blake Essig there in Tokyo.

Well, plenty of other competitions are already underway for today, that includes the swimming. CNN "WORLD SPORT" anchor Patrick Snell is here. No heat problems in the pool, I would imagine.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: No, but plenty of names causing a splash and setting world records.

VAUSE: Setting the world records on fire.

SNELL: Yes. Anyway, let's get to the pool. To the aquatic center where U.S. superstars Caeleb Dressel has won the 100-meter freestyle final time, and it's a world record -- it's an Olympic record time of 47.02 seconds. Really special for the 24-year-old from Florida, his first individual Olympic gold medal too.


SNELL: He previously earned three relay gold medals, including the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay that was earlier in these games. Australia's Kyle Chalmers taking the silver medal while the Russian Kliment Kolesnikov winning bronze.

By the way, Dressel got really emotional afterwards and we are going to bring you more on his superb triumphant later Thursday editions of CNN's "WORLD SPORT".

Now, another golden moment for Team USA as Dressel is compared to Bobby Finke producing a super performance of his own to win gold. The 21-year-old, he's a senior at the University of Florida here in the United States in his very first Olympics, powering his way to victory.

This was in the 800-meter freestyle. A really impressive late surge from him shocking the Italian swimmer, Gregorio Paltrinieri, who'd lead from much of the race, so frustrations for him. This the first time for a men's 800 freestyle at an Olympics.

And also, history in the making earlier today for Irish sport is Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan winning the country's first Olympic gold medal. This was in rowing during the men's lightweight double skills event. Ireland, that for victory for them is the first gold medal of the 2020 Tokyo games and the second overall medal for them. That is the latest so far on a busy Thursday.

VAUSE: A lot happening. But we're also hearing from the the U.S. Gymnast Simone Biles and her decision to withdraw from all competitions.

SNELL: Yes, this is a -- this is one of the following very, very closely indeed. The weight -- the big picture here, John is the weight is still on indeed to see if Biles will return to competition at these games after withdrawing from the individual all-around.

That later today, to focus on their mental health as athletes and this has been great to see, John. Athletes coming around, rallying around in support for the 24-year-old. She has a short while ago, taking a social media this Thursday with a message of thanks really. Here it is, the outpouring of love and support I've received has made me realize I'm more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.

On Wednesday, Biles appearing in person as well to show her support for Americans men's gymnastics team. Her withdrawal comes after four- time Olympic gold medalist, actually, remember, she stepped away from a team competition on Tuesday saying she wants to protect both her body and her mind. And certainly, at this time, John, we wish her all the -- all the very best.

VAUSE: Yes, absolutely. Priorities are important. And you will be back about 40 something minutes with a lot more.

SNELL: 38.

VAUSE: 38, thank you for doing the math.

SNELL: My pleasure.

VAUSE: There's a lot more in the Olympics. Appreciate it. Thanks, Patrick.

For fifth straight week now, the number of new COVID infections has risen worldwide. The WHO says globally COVID cases were up eight percent last week. About 3.8 million new cases.

The spike in infections is largely being attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant, which is now being reported in eight additional countries.

The recent uptick in global cases comes after eight weeks of declining infections.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout following the story from Hong Kong. And you know, these cases just continue to rise in Southeast Asia and they're hitting new highs. So, what's the latest?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It's just getting grimmer and grimmer and scarier and scarier, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant. COVID-19 is just carving this deadly path throughout the Asia Pacific region, including Thailand.

Thailand this day has just reported a new daily record in the number of coronavirus cases. Over 17,000 new cases of COVID-19. It also posted a new daily record in the number of deaths as it grapples with the surge in infection.

Officials there are using a range of tactics in order to boost hospital beds, including the fact that they are converting a cargo warehouse in an airport in Thailand to turn it into a COVID-19 field hospital with 1,800 beds.

This is a COVID-19 horror story that's unfolding not just in Thailand, but across the region.


STOUT (voice over): He collapsed and died on the Bangkok back street. A 54-year-old motorcycle taxi driver suffering from COVID-19. He didn't know until it was too late. His niece tells CNN.

CHONLADA U-TARASAI, NICE OF COVID-19 VICTIM (through translator): I was speechless when I saw those photos. I was shocked. I was looking for the answer as to why my uncle had to die in such a way. Why did he have to die on the street like that? How did Thailand come to this point?

STOUT: Thailand's capital is known as a regional healthcare hub, a destination for high quality care. And now, makeshift COVID wards are necessary.

The government will repurpose train carriages to isolate positive patients. Nationwide cases climb still over 16,000 announced on Wednesday, and faith in the country's unelected leaders is faltering.


CHARN, BANGKOK RESIDENT (through translator): I'm not a hundred percent confident in this government. They're so slow, which has led to a lot of people dying. A lot of people have been infected now. I want them to do better.

STOUT: No faith at all in neighbor in Myanmar, where a COVID emergency has compounded a violent military coup, a bare bones healthcare system before the army stole power in February. Now, doctors in hiding as cases spike. Frightened of a junta that has arrested several doctors for treating COVID-19 patients independently and murdered close to 1,000 civilians. The United Nations says including 18 in health facilities.

The U.N. must act immediately to halt the military junta's attacks, harassment and detentions in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis, said Thomas Andrews, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar.

Neighboring China worried about its porous borders with countries like Myanmar, while it fights a new outbreak in the city of Nanjing.

Local authorities putting social distancing restrictions back in place, closing indoor venues like cinemas and gyms. Delta confounding countries used to seeing suppression tactics work.

Cases mount in Sydney, Australia, despite a lockdown in place for five weeks now. The measures are costing millions of dollars each day but must be extended for another month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's got to be otherwise, there has to be otherwise.

STOUT: Vaccination, the only real way out of the pandemic, a fact not lost on the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan, which is now vaccinated 90 percent of its population according to UNICEF, a beacon of hope in a hard-hit region.


STOUT: Bhutan is a very, very rare ray of light in a region that has been utterly ravaged by COVID-19 fueled by low vaccination rates as well as the Delta variant.

Vietnam, the cases just keep rising there. You know, once a pandemic success story, Vietnam is now seeing its daily coronavirus cases surpassed 6,000 for seven consecutive days and right now, it's major cities including Hanoi are looking to tighten pandemic restrictions, John.

A familiar story. Kristie, thank you. Kristie Lu Stout there in Hong Kong with the very latest from the region. Thank you.

Meantime, England is relaxing entry restrictions at its border to try and revive tourism. From Monday, fully vaccinated visitors from the E.U. and the U.S. will not be required to quarantine.

Airlines have welcomed the move and say much more is still needed to revive the travel industry. We get more details now from CNN's Scott McLean reporting from Heathrow Airport.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, for the last 16 months, it has been an absolute pain for foreigners to travel to the U.K. and so, for the most part, they've stayed away.

Heathrow Airport has seen a small fraction of its usual foot traffic and tourist hotspots have been sorely lacking in tourists. To get to the U.K. and back, an American today would have to take five tests quarantine for at least five days and spend easily north of $200 on tests alone, even if they're fully vaccinated.

By contrast, that same traveler could go to most European countries with relative ease. And as a result, tourist dollars have gone there.

The U.K. is trying to correct that imbalance. So, as of Monday, it's allowing fully vaccinated travelers from the E.U. and from the U.S. to enter without quarantining. Just a test before they fly and a test two days after they arrive.

The CEO of Heathrow Airport says this announcement will be a big boost for the travel industry and for his airport.


JOHN HOLLAND-KAYE, CEO, HEATHROW AIRPORT: Well, this has taken the numbers of markets that we serve. About 20 percent of our pre-pandemic levels to about 65 percent. So, this is transformational for us.

And so, we're all set up here to welcome passengers back. We've opened three of our four terminals, all of our colleagues are back and the shops are open. And we're just looking forward to welcoming Americans back here to United Kingdom.


MCLEAN: Now, Holland-Kaye says one of the hang ups with allowing Americans that there is no universal uniform way to show that you've been vaccinated. Many Americans will be presenting paper cards to show they've been vaccinated, others will show Q.R. codes on state run apps.

But don't expect the travel privileges to be reciprocal. The U.S. is still not allowing any foreigners to enter unless they're permanent residents. The White House insists that it's to keep the Delta variant out, though critics say it's too late. It's already the dominant strain. Scott McLean, CNN, London.

VAUSE: Anne Rimoin is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health. And she is with us this hour from Los Angeles.

So, Anne, thanks for being with us.


VAUSE: Can the most consequential new development from the past 24 hours on COVID vaccines seems to come from the CDC director here in the U.S., listen to this.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CDC: With prior variants, when people had these rare breakthrough infections, we didn't see the capacity of them to spread the virus to others.


WALENSKY: But with the Delta variant, we now see in our outbreak investigations that have been occurring over the last couple of weeks, in those outbreak investigations, we have been seeing that if you happen to have one of those breakthrough infections, that you can actually now pass it to somebody else.


VAUSE: So, what does this all now mean in terms of changing our behavior and our overall response to trying to control the pandemic?

RIMOIN: Well, what this means is what we've been suspecting for a while, which is that what we're seeing is a lot of breakthrough cases. And these breakthrough cases are these cases in fully vaccinated individuals. This is happening because we have so much virus spreading, and what it means is that whether or not you're vaccinated, you need to be more careful.

If you are vaccinated, it becomes very confusing. What can I do? What can't I do? Well, the bottom line is if you want to avoid getting COVID-19, and potentially spreading it to others, you need to take more precautions. You need to mask up, you need to be cautious in indoor settings. All the things that we were doing before you need to do now.

Early on, we were saying if you're vaccinated, go back and you live your life. But the science that we have now is really showing that you can still get it, you can still transmit it.

But if you are vaccinated, the difference is you're very unlikely to get very ill, you're not going to be very likely to be hospitalized or to die. So, there's a lot of benefit to vaccination, but it doesn't mean that you're free.

VAUSE: Somehow it seems with this pandemic we managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If you look at the numbers globally, infections are up, more people are wanting and dying every day. The Delta variant has been found in new countries all the time. And the CDC director explained why, here she is again.


WALENSKY: This is a situation that is created by more and more transmission of the Delta virus among people who are unvaccinated.


VAUSE: It's a pretty simple statement really. Is it time now to mandate vaccines? And if we can't do that, should there at least be a stay at home order for those who are unvaccinated?

RIMOIN: Well, you know, this is the -- this is the hot button issue right now. And here's the deal. We are seeing more cases because there's so many people who are still not vaccinated. It's the unvaccinated people that are truly driving this pandemic because they're so susceptible, and they have the ability to spread it so quickly.

So, yes, we need to get people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can. And if we have to do that through mandates, that may be our last resort. The problem is the mandates are very difficult to enforce unless you have real teeth in them. What we're going to likely see is a lot of businesses starting to mandate vaccinations and that's a great step forward.

The bottom line is you don't have to choose to get vaccinated, you have the freedom to choose not to get vaccinated, but you may not have the freedom from consequences from those choices.

VAUSE: And that's the point. It's a good point to make. The CEO of Pfizer though, he's been talking about vaccines booster shots, as well as the Delta variant, here he is.


ALBERT BOURLA, CEO, PFIZER: The vaccine is very well protecting with the second dose, until the first months, then in the six months we start seeing waning of the efficacy. We already have tested the third dose. And the results are so extraordinary and particularly for Delta.


VAUSE: And there is more detail during a call with reporters from Pfizer. "Receiving a third dose more than six months after vaccination, when protection may be beginning to wane was estimated to potentially boost the neutralizing antibody titers in participants in this study to up to 100 times higher post-dose three compared to pre- dose three." So, before the dose compared to after the dose, OK.

That seems to be good news and bad news in a way because if there is a sudden surge in demand for a third shot as a boost for -- in terms of a booster, that would certainly mean countries who've been waiting for the first round of shots, well, they'll be waiting even longer.

RIMOIN: Well, you're right, we're going to be walking a very fine line here. And to be clear, these are data that have just been presented. They are in -- they have not yet been peer reviewed. They haven't gone through very rigorous scientific review, independent reviews. So, we still have to really kind of wrap our arms around these data, have it vetted, and then be able to figure out how this all works for us.

But the bottom line is, is that there probably going to be need for boosters. Now, who is going to be prioritized for boosters? Probably people who are extremely vulnerable, people who are older, people who are immunocompromised, people who have a reason that they may not mount an immune response like other -- like other individuals.

Because we have to remember, these vaccines are still doing what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to keep you from getting really ill, being hospitalized and dying.

And what we see right now from the vaccines that we have, they're doing an excellent job. And if they're doing this, we really have to weigh the issue of vaccine equity globally. And whether we are able to give vaccines to the world first, which is going to stop us from having future mutations that are going to be more contagious is worth it. Or if we're going to vaccinate people at home.


RIMOIN: I think that we really have to balance these very important ethical issues and determine how we're going to move forward. I think that vaccinating the world is a much better bet against the long term, than just distributing vaccine here locally.

VAUSE: An investment in everyone's future, sharing that surplus supply of vaccines. That might be the best way of looking at this.

Anne, thank you. It's great to have you with us. We appreciate it.

RIMOIN: Nice to be here.

VAUSE: Well, still to come here, the battle lines are drawn again over masks in the United States. Once again, politics versus science and the fight is already playing out on Capitol Hill.

Also, Cuba's zero tolerance response to an unprecedented display of public discontent, even recording the protests meant being detained.


VAUSE: Well, Peru's new president was sworn in Wednesday. Pedro Castillo, a left leading former teacher has never held political office before. He won with a razor thin margin in a runoff election last month. His opponent Keiko Fujimori claimed voting irregularities which delayed the presidential inauguration.

Castillo wrote a wave of support mainly in rural areas promising no more poor people in a rich country.


PEDRO CASTILLO, PERUVIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This time, a government of the people has arrived to govern with the people and for the people.


VAUSE: And in a symbolic move, Castillo also says he will not govern from the presidential palace.

Recent public demonstrations against the Cuban regime have provoked a harsh crackdown on alleged dissidents. Among those detained, tried and even sentenced anyone who upload a video of the July 11th protest on social media.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is our man in Havana.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the largest protests since Fidel Castro's revolution swept Cuba, the Cuban Government quickly struck back carrying out mass arrests. Some protesters were forcibly detained as they chanted Patria y Vida or homeland and life. The song that has become the anthem of frustration with the communist state.

One of those arrested was photographer Anyelo Troya who filmed a part of the music video for Patria y Vida in Havana. Less than two weeks after the protests, Troya was tried, convicted and sentenced to a year in prison.

His mother says he told the court he did nothing wrong. He said how was this just when I haven't even seen a lawyer and I'm innocent he says. Immediately one of the police in civilian clothes came and handcuffed him. I said my love, be calm, you're not alone.


OPPMANN: The Cuban Government refuses to say how many people have been arrested or face trial for taking part in the unprecedented protests. An activist group put the number at almost 700.

The government maintains those arrested are detained for attacking police, like in this video, but protesters held cars with rocks and not just for challenging the rule of the Communist Party, the only political party allowed on the island.

Having different opinions including political ones doesn't constitute a crime, he says. Thinking differently, questioning what's going on. To demonstrate is not a crime, it's a right.

But on the streets of Cuba, Elite Special Forces Commandos, known as the black berets were recently placed on the sanctions list by the Biden administration for alleged acts of repression, prevent further protests from breaking out.

OPPMANN: Many of the relatives of the people who arrested would not talk to us on camera, they were too afraid. But some did tell us that their loved ones had done nothing other than peacefully demonstrate or simply record and upload videos of the historic protests as they took place.

Odet Hernandez (PH) was arrested days after the protests, her relative say for posting this video of the demonstrations to Facebook that have now been viewed over 100,000 times.

Among the charges she and her husband face is instigation of delinquency. Odet's cousin spoke to several people who around Odet during the protests and told us their accounts from his home in Paris.

They weren't violent, they didn't throw rocks at anyone he says. Then, special troops came to get them at their home, a commando unit with many police.

Many of Cuba's top artists have criticized the government crackdown and called for amnesty for nonviolent protesters.

Amidst the mass trial, some signs of leniency as a day after we visited his home, photographer Anyelo Troya was released on house arrest while awaiting appeal.

The government here though says it has only just begun to prosecute those who broke the law. As all of Cuba seemingly holds its breath and waits to see what comes next. Patrick Oppmann, CNN in Havana.


VAUSE: When we come back, more of the sweltering weather in the Tokyo games which is taking a toll on athletes. I'll speak with an expert about the potential health risks after break.


VAUSE: Welcome back everyone, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

The heatwave in Tokyo is proving too much for many athletes. Temperatures have been north of 30 degrees Celsius, with high humidity, for days. All this raising questions about the future of the Summer Games on a warming planet. [00:30:12]

Ollie Jay is a professor of heat and health at the University of Sydney, and he joins us now this hour.

Ollie, thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: I want to start off with the IOC spokesman. Now, it takes a skilled person to keep a straight face while saying that he in Tokyo is not a problem. Fortunately, the IOC spokesperson has skills. Here he is.


MARK ADAMS, SPOKESPERSON, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: Really, really a lot of ingenious solutions to this allowing the events to go ahead as they have done. And I think so far there's been a few small, minor issues. But so far, things seem to be going very well indeed.


VAUSE: Very well indeed, so well one competitor in the archery reportedly fell unconscious from heatstroke. The finish line at the triathlon looked like a battlefield with collapsed bodies, the winner puking for good measure.

And now a little bit more from the Russian tennis player, Daniil Medvedev. He said, "I'm a fighter. I will finish the match, but I can die. If I die, is the International Tennis Federation going to take -- take responsible [SIC]?" Responsibility.

And he raises a good question here. So what are the health risks here from competing in this sort of heat, and how seriously are the athletes' performance being impacted?

JAY: Well, John, the main reason that these athletes are really struggling, are not just because of the temperatures but because of the high levels of humidity.

So it's important to keep in mind that it's not just a production of sweat that keeps people cool. It's the evacuation. That's the problem.

In terms of things that can go wrong, most athletes will be experiencing relatively mild forms of heat exhaustion, but heatstroke is a very serious medical condition and can prove to be fatal.

Fortunately, a lot of these athletes will be well prepared for these types of conditions, so the risks of them experiencing heatstroke, per se, are relatively low.

VAUSE: Tokyo hosted the 1964 Olympics during the much cooler month of October, but their bid for the 2020 Olympics promised many days of mild summer weather. To be blunt, was that a straight-out lie? JAY: Well, John, I'm not a weather forecaster, but what I can say is

that the community of researchers that I work among, we've been talking about this for quite a few years now. We expect -- we know that it was going to be hot. We knew that it was going to be human. And what we are trying to do is try to figure out ways in which we can help athletes to prepare for these conditions as best as they can open, knowing that they're somewhat inevitable.

VAUSE: Yes. There was a study from NASA, I think, four years ago, which warned that, you know, the conditions here were going to be the toughest ever because of the heat.

We know that broadcast rights stipulates holding the games during July or August, but the summers everywhere are only getting hotter. And given the fact that almost no one wants to host the winter games, could you see a time when there will be no Winter, Summer Olympics, just the Olympics held during a cooler part of the year?

JAY: Yes. It is tempting to think that. I think what we see is that, from the climate modeling data that we see in the peer review literature is quite clear, that summers are getting progressively warmer. Heat waves are becoming longer. They're becoming more intense, and they're happening more frequently.

So the viability of having Summer Games during the summer months in certain parts of the world does seem to be becoming increasingly limited. But we'll have to see how things change over the next 10, 20 years. And I think probably one of the main ways in which they can really adapt is by scheduling games to be at the cooler part of the year, much like the FIFA World Cup in Doha will be doing next year.

VAUSE: I'm glad you mentioned that, because that gets me to my last question. We had this report from "Forbes," because Qatar was holding the 2022 at the end of the year, the World Cup at the end of the year.

Now, "Forbes" report, "Qatar's cooled stadia for the 2022 World Cup will probably give an insight into how outdoor sports events can be holed in hot weather, especially if its cooling technology is both ecologically friendly and effective."

Right now, though, is the jury still out on how effective the cooling technology is for both players and fans, and can it be carbon neutral to avoid doing further harm to the planet?

JAY: Yes, I can't necessarily comment on the carbon neutrality of the different interventions they're going to be using in Doha, because I'm not familiar with.

But what I can say is that, if you have open stadiums and we're trying to cool the air, with effectively air conditioning, that's going to have a pretty large energy requirement.

So, we'd have to have some quite significant advances in green energy to be able to make that carbon neutral. But maybe they're achieving that. I'm not familiar with the way in which they're going about that. VAUSE: Well, we'll wish them luck and hope that they have. Ollie,

thank you for being with us. Ollie Jay there at Sydney University. Thank you.

Let's go to Pedram Javaheri, our favorite CNN meteorologist, with the latest conditions -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, John, it's interesting, you noted there, when it comes to Doha, as well, really important to know, of course, you're talking about a dry landscape.

Although the temperatures may be well into the forties. That is higher ambient temperatures that we're experiencing in Tokyo. Of course, it will be drier. So, that dry aspect of it really plays a significant role in your body sweating.

That sweat evaporating off your skin, and that evaporative cooling taking place, which is the primary role your body has here in massively cooling your body down, which is almost impossible when temperatures are in the thirties and humidities are between 70 and 100 percent.

And that's the concern here. This is not far above average for this time of year in Tokyo. The humidities are what is really stressing these players, especially on the tennis court. Because we know, that's been very high.

And of course, when you look at tennis courts in general, they're generally five, 10, some cases even 15 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature in the environment, because of the asphalt and concrete there. It can kind of radiate additional heat.

So players and tennis players, in particular, complain more readily for about about excessive heat, because it does actually get warmer there at the surface on the courts for the ball to be able to bounce. and for them to be able to play at the levels they play at. The afternoon hours, humidity around 70 percent.

But again, here we go. Into the afternoon hours. Humidity is around 70 percent. This is just an hour after matches would be starting. So this is essentially what you're expecting to feel outside.

And then throughout the afternoon and evening hours, we do expect humidity to rise and eventually climbing close to 100 percent. But it is that time between 3 and 4 where we think the best potential exists for the temperatures to not be as excessive.

But look at what it feels like outside at 1:30 p.m. That's 34 degrees across Tokyo. Again, bump that up potentially another maybe 5, 10 degrees warmer at the surface where players are playing.

It makes it that much more dangerous when it comes to factoring in how hot it will feel outside across the street. So what are we looking at? Well, we know your body does a fantastic job cooling itself off.

Statistics show as much as 22 percent of your body's heat is released through sweating. Again, happen -- to have that happen in Doha and your body will actually cool you down 22 percent, as much as that amount.

But when you bring that in in a place such as Tokyo where humidities are so high, that sweats sits off -- on your skin. It essentially doesn't evaporate as readily. So your body doesn't cool down. You're still sweating. You're still losing a lot of fluids. And that essentially throws and alters the sodium levels and the potassium potassium levels in your blood often.

This is why players are talking about feeling very nauseous, very dizzy at times and having a hard time breathing, because you're losing fluids. You're altering your body's bloodstream there and the chemicals within your body. And then, of course, it doesn't help that your body can't combat it because of how humid it is outside, John.

VAUSE: And it's just gross. All the humidity, and the heat. It's gross.

Pedram, thank you. Pedram Javaheri there with some good advice information and some interesting information. Thank you.

Up next, somehow America once again divided over face masks. And in the House of Representatives, Republican lawmakers are making a point of defying new mask mandates.



VAUSE: Well, new mask guidance from the CDC in the United States has brought back the old partisan divide, with many Republicans choosing politics over science, even as the Delta variant feels a new surge of COVID cases.

CNN's Brian Todd has details from Washington.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He's such a moron.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying, quote, "He's such a moron," slamming the GOP minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, for his tweet against new calls for mask-wearing, saying it's, quote, "Not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state."

On the first day of that new mask requirement for the House, at least 24 Republicans seen openly defying it, including Congresswoman Lauren Boebert.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know science is real.

TODD: A witness tells CNN Boebert threw a mask back at a House staffer when she was offered one while heading for the House floor without a mask. Boebert's office says she simply slid the mask back across a table.

CARL HULSE, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": The Republicans see this as politically to their advantage. They want to fight back against these mask rules. They think it shows that Pelosi is being heavy-handed.

TODD: The new CDC and Biden administration guidelines asking Americans to wear masks indoors in areas of high COVID transmission were not even a day old when they became heavily embroiled in politics. Former president, Donald Trump issuing a statement against mask-wearing, saying quote, "Don't surrender to COVID. Don't go back."

ANNE RIMOIN, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, UCLA FIELDING SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: We're back into a situation where we're letting politics guide public health, as opposed to science guiding public health.

TODD: The political mask wars extend to Florida, where protesters burned masks outside a school board meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is time to cast off this symbol of tyranny.!

TODD: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who state is among the national leaders in new COVID cases, is opposing new CDC guidelines, saying all children in schools should wear masks.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We want kids to be able to be kids. For them to be able to breathe, it's terribly uncomfortable for them to do it.

TODD: One analyst says, while politicians like Lauren Boebert may not be household names across the country, their resistance to mask wearing can have a real impact.

HULSE: Seeing her saying no we're not going to do it, people look at that and say we don't have to either. They're mainly trying to appeal to this, the part of their constituencies who think this is all a conspiracy against them by the Democrats to impose their will on them.

And an epidemiologist has a warning tonight about America making mask- wearing political again.

TODD: And an epidemiologist has a warning tonight about America making mask-wearing political again.

RIMOIN: We're going to see the same thing happen that we saw last year, when politics got in the way of public health. We're going to see the virus win.

TODD (on camera): Anne Rimoin and other public health experts say part of the problem is that mask guidance is no longer all-encompassing for Americans.

It instead requires every American to look up whether they need a mask, depending on a map of how much transmission there is in their area.

Another problem, according to a top psychologist who spoke to CNN, it's asking a lot of everyone when you keep moving the finish line on the pandemic.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


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