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U.S. Gymnasts Go For All-Around Gold with Biles Out; Delta Variant May Make Booster Shot Necessary; Anti-Vaxxer Regret. Aired 1- 2a ET

Aired July 29, 2021 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:24]

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. I'm John Vause.

Coming up this hour, drugmaker Pfizer says a third 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.

Also ahead --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It never occurred to me that it was a choice between getting vaccinated and getting really sick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is not worth not taking the vaccine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: But at first, they didn't want the vaccine, but then they caught COVID, and now have a warning for anti-vaxxers.

And scorching, sweltering day 6 at the Olympics. We'll have the very latest on the medal tally from Tokyo.

(MUSIC)

VAUSE: It's 2:00 p.m. in Tokyo. Day 6 of the Summer Olympics, and the biggest event of the day will be without the sports biggest star.

The women's all around gymnastics final, just hours away. And once again, no Simone Biles, out of the competition citing mental health concerns.

Jade Carey will take her place on Team USA, with American Suni Lee considered a gold medal contender, along with a gymnast from Brazil and Russia.

And while we wait to find out if American star gymnast Simone Biles will compete in anymore Olympic events, her sponsors are making clear they have her back. Sponsorship from Visa, to United Airlines, to Nabisco offered messages of support after Biles pulled out of the second competition on Wednesday, again citing mental health concerns. The chief brand officer of the women's athletic wear company Athleta tells CNN: Being the best also means knowing how to take care of yourself. We're inspired by her leadership today and are behind her every step of the way. Other Olympians are also praising Biles for making this decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARISSA MOORE, U.S. GOLD MEDALIST SURFER: Simone, I can only imagine the immense amount of pressure she's under. She's like she's on every commercial and billboard and bag I see. She's like touted as she's going to win everything and it's like how crazy is that? That expectation, you know? I think she's handled that beautifully.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I totally understand what she's going through. Honestly, all the support and love to her way because at the end of the day, so many little people understand the struggles of an elite athlete let alone an athlete like Simone Biles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)(

VAUSE: CNN's Blake Essig is standing by live in Tokyo.

But we will start with World Sport anchor Patrick Snell.

Patrick, let's get the latest details from the pool? What's happening?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Yeah, a busy, busy Thursday already, John. Plenty to tell you about, concerning those causing a splash in the Aquatic Center.

Let's start with U.S. superstar Caeleb Dressel, because a little earlier today, he won the 100 meter freestyle final there, at a time, and this is highly significant, 47.02 seconds, an Olympic record now for the 24 year old, his first event individual Olympic gold medal. He previously earned 3 relay gold medals, including the men's 4x100 meter freestyle relay earlier in these games, but superb news for him. The Australian Kyle Chalmers taken the silver medal, while the Russian competitor Kliment Kolesnikov winning bronze.

By the way, Dressel got really, really emotional afterwards. And we are going to bring you more on history triumph in Thursday's edition of World Sport. So, you have to join us for those.

In the meantime, another golden moment for Team USA's Dressel's compatriot, there's another great story, Bobby Finke producing a superb performance to win gold. Just 21 years of age. He's still a senior at the University of Florida, here in the states in his very first Olympics powering his way to victory in the 800 meter freestyle.

A really impressive late surge as well, because it really did shock the Italian swimmer Gregorio Paltrinieri who would lead for much of that race. First, a bit of history here, first time for men's 800 meter freestyle at Olympics as well.

History as well, everywhere you look today, for Irish sport. As Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan winning the country's first Olympic gold medal in rowing. This during the men's lightweight double sculls event earlier. Ireland's victory, the first gold medal of the 2020 Tokyo Games and their second medal overall, John.

VAUSE: OK. So, let's talk about gymnastics now, though. We have heard from Simone Biles. So, what she's saying now?

SNELL: Yeah. We have -- there has been an update on the Biles situation, this Thursday. Of course, the big question, John, is, you know, will she compete again at these games? The way she's on to see if that happens. Remember, she withdrew from the individual all around competition scheduled for later on today to focus on her mental health, as athletes, this has been great to see athletes from all around being rallying to support the 24-year-old.

[01:05:00[

I think that's really resonating with her because, a short while ago today, she took to social media with this message of thanks. The outpouring of love and support I've received has merely made me realize and more than my accomplishments and gymnastics, which I never truly believed before.

Just to recap for our viewers internationally, John. On Wednesday, Biles appearing in person to shore support of Americas men's gymnastics team. Her withdrawal comes after the 4-time Olympic gold medalist stepped away from the team competition on Tuesday. At the time saying she wanted to protect with her body and her mind.

It goes without seeing, John, as I said earlier, that we really do wish her all the very best at this challenging time.

VAUSE: Absolutely. Patrick, thank you for that. Patrick Snell there with the very latest.

Now we go to Tokyo with the hot summer temperatures and the oppressive humidity taking a toll on some athletes.

CNN's Blake Essig with us once again.

Quite the toll with these temperatures and the humidity as well making conditions very unpleasant, even sort of unhealthy as well.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. You know, John, during the daytime here in Tokyo is unbearably hot with temperatures haven't recently reached a high of 34 degrees Celsius.

I can tell you, it feels so much hotter than that. That's, of course, because of the oppressive remediate those factors limit the body's ability to cool down, making the threat of heatstroke very real problem.

As a result of the extreme heat, tennis matches at these Olympic Games will start later in the day. This decision came after several tennis players, including world number one Novak Djokovic, spoke out. He said he's played tennis professionally for 20 years and never faced these kinds of conditions.

To help deal with the heat, Olympic organizers are providing athletes with special cooling tens. Ice bags and hoses blowing cool air there also keeping a constant supply of drinks and medical personnel on standby, just in case. It's not only Olympic athletes that are struggling with these high temperatures.

Just last week, according to Japan's fire 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 to be effective.

Now, since the beginning of July, 198 games related infections have been reported, while Olympic related cases remain relatively low. The same cannot be said for Tokyo.

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MASA TAKAYA, TOKYO 2020 SPOKESMAN: As the city resident myself, and as an organizer, my heart hurts that case numbers are raising.

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ESSIG: Just yesterday, nearly 3,200 cases were reported here in the capital that is the highest daily total for Tokyo since the pandemic began, a record that has now been set for a second day in a row.

Now, despite a state of emergency order being put in place, cases in Tokyo are surging increasing almost daily compared to the previous week for more than a month, and as the infection rate continues to climb, there are serious concern for the medical system that is already strain.

VAUSE: Blake, thank you. Blake Essig their live for us in Tokyo with the very latest.

Now, for more coverage and the very latest on the Tokyo Summer Games, you can always, always head over to CNN.com.

We'll take a short break.

When we come back, with Asia facing an alarming rise in COVID cases, we'll look at the new measures in place to contain the delta variant, rampaging across the region.

And England makes a change in COVID rules to entice tourists to come back, details ahead.

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[01:10:53] VELSHI: For a fifth straight week now, the world has seen rising numbers of new COVID infections. Up 8 percent, last week, according to the WHO, that's about 3.8 million new cases.

The spike is largely being attributed to the highly contagious delta variant which is now being reported in another eight countries. The recent uptick in global cases comes after 8 weeks of decline.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout following the story from Hong Kong.

And in one place where the numbers is going up fast is Southeast Asia.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, absolutely. COVID-19 is tightening its grip in Southeast Asia, all across the region, and especially in Thailand. Thailand reporting new record numbers of daily coronavirus cases, over 17,000 new cases of the coronavirus, also posted a new high in daily deaths caused by COVID-19.

It has gotten so bad that authorities there have resorted to turning old railway cars into COVID-19 isolation wards, even turning up cargo warehouse and an airport in Bangkok into a COVID 19 field hospital with 1,800 beds. This has become a COVID-19 horror story unfolding, not just in Thailand but across the region.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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 other ways, there has to be other ways.

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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT (on camera): Yeah, Bhutan is a glimmer of hope in the region, including in Vietnam, once a pandemic success story. Vietnam has been posting over 6,000 new cases of the virus for 7 consecutive days -- John.

VAUSE: So, clearly, a good vaccination rollout in Bhutan, but what about vaccination rates across the region?

STOUT: Woefully low. In Thailand, the vaccination rate is at 5.6 percent, in Vietnam, 4.6 percent.

[01:15:02]

In Myanmar, even lower. "Reuters" tracker has it at around 3 percent.

This has prompted one NGO Save the Children to issue an alert about Asia, in particular Southeast Asia's COVID-19 response. Let's bring up the alert to you.

Dr. Yasir Arafat of Save the Children writes this, quote: COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in Southeast Asia. The worst is still yet to come. Southeast Asia is one of the least vaccinated regions in the world. It also has an extremely low testing rate. So, it is likely that things are even worse than the data suggests.

So, John, a very grim picture of what is next here in the region. Back to you.

VAUSE: Yeah, Asia has been sort of a forecaster of what the rest of the world can expect in many ways. Kristie, thank you. Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong. England is relaxing entry restrictions at the border to revive

tourism. From Monday, fully vaccinated visitors from the E.U. and the U.S. will no longer be required to quarantine. Airlines have welcomed the move but say that it won't be enough to revive the travel industry.

More details now from CNN's Scott McLean, reporting from Heathrow Airport.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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.

(END VIDEOTAPE) 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.

ANNE RIMOIN, PROFESSOR, UCLA'S FIELDING SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Nice to be here.

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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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.

[01:20:03]

And the CDC director explained why, here she is again.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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 immuno-compromised, 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: U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to announce on Thursday of vaccine a mandate for all federal workers and contractors. Sources tell CNN that workers will be either vaccinated or face regular testing. President Biden is urging all Americans to get vaccinated to try to slow a surge in cases connected to the delta variant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We still have a lot of people not vaccinated, the pandemic we have now is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. So please, please, please, please if you're not vaccinated, protect yourself and the children out there. It's important.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: But a new survey has found the number of far-right Republicans refusing to be vaccinated has increased. 46 percent now up from 31 percent back in March.

Well, for some, determined refusal of the vaccine is now reason for deep great. CNN's Jake Tapper has their stories.

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[01:25:00]

LINDA EDWARDS, COVID-19 SURVIVOR: I just thought, if I lived through this, I want to go on a mission to try to help people to see that it is not worth not taking the vaccine.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Emotional pleas one after another.

CHRISTY CARPENTER, UNVACCINATED SON DIED OF COVID-19: If it can take a healthy person, you know, and do what that happened to my son and it takes his life, then, why wouldn't you want to take the vaccine.

TAPPER: Unvaccinated Americans who got sick and regret their decision, or relatives of unvaccinated Americans who died of COVID-19 now warning others to learn from their lost loved ones' mistakes.

AARON HARTLE, HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID-19: I didn't think I was going to get it.

TAPPER: Nurse Practitioner Aaron Hartle wanted to wait to learn more about the emergency vaccine before getting it.

HARTLE: Never occurred to me that it was a choice between getting vaccinated and getting really sick.

TAPPER: Now after a fight for his life, he worries about his patients who decided against to getting the shots.

HARTLE: I worry that my example to them was the wrong example.

TAPPER: Currently, 43 percent of all Americans have not been vaccinated, according to the CDC. Some don't believe medical experts. Some hate the news media. Some are worried because the vaccine is so new and nothing is without risk.

Thirty-four-year-old Stephen Harmon made fun of the vaccine, posted once, he has 99 problems, but a vax ain't one. Harmon died from the virus last week.

Or Linda Zuern, whom "The Cape Cod Times" reported was not vaccinated and protested against a mobile vaccination program in her state. She passed away from severe COVID complications, the Times said, citing Zuern's friends and family.

PHIL VALENTINE, RADIO HOST: How're you doing (ph)? TAPPER: Conservative radio host Phil Valentine not only openly dismissed the vaccine, he gave false advice to his listeners about it, even writing a parody song mocking it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Let's have the vax man.

TAPPER: But there's nothing funny about what happened to Valentine, who nearly died from COVID. His family now says while he, quote, has never been an anti-vaxxer he regrets not being more vehemently pro- vaccine.

His brother tells CNN he's determined to get that new message to his listeners.

MARK VALENTINE, UNVACCINATED BROWTHER BATTLING COVID-19: The very short assessment of this is he got it wrong and he wants to do everything he can to make sure that as many people get vaccinated as can. We want as many people as can hear my voice this morning to put politics aside and go get the vaccine.

TAPPER: Valentine may end up being one of the lucky ones. His family says his condition is improving. For other unvaccinated Americans, nurses and doctors say some of them are now begging for a shot when it may be too late.

TAMMY DANIEL, CHIEF NURSING OFFICER, BAPTIST HEALTH: They're getting ready to intubate the patient and I see which means putting them on a ventilator. And they said, if I get the vaccine now, could I not go on the ventilator? So, I mean, they're begging for it.

TAPPER: Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Well, it's real hot and real human in Tokyo and athletes are feeling the pain. When we come back, could a warming planet mean an end to the summer in summer Olympics.

Also, evacuations underway in northern California because of a major wildfire, but some are refusing to leave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is everything. This is all we have. This is what we fight for. I mean, if we don't have this, where we're going to go?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:30:55]

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everyone. you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause.

Day 6 and a swag of Olympic medals in swimming is shaking up the leaderboard in Tokyo. China, Japan and the U.S. all in contention for the most gold but Team U.S.A. has a big lead in total medals.

They could add to their haul in the next few hours with the women's all-around gymnastics finals. Simone Biles will not compete replaced by Jade Carey. American Suni Lee is among the favorites to take gold.

The heat wave in Tokyo proving too much for many athletes, temperatures have been north of 30 degrees Celsius with high humidity today raising questions about the future of the Summer Games on a warming planet.

Earlier I spoke with Ollie Jay, a professor of heat and health at the University of Sydney about what the athletes are experiencing and whether this could change the future for the Summer Games.

Here's part of what we spoke about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OLLIE JAY, PROFESSOR OF HEAT AND HEALTH, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY: Most athletes will be experiencing relatively mild forms of heat exhaustion but heatstroke is a very serious medical condition and can prove 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: You know, Tokyo hosted the 1964 Olympics during the much cooler month of October, but their bid for the 2020 Olympics promised many days of mild and sunny weather. This period provides an ideal climate for athletes to perform their best.

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 thermal physiological community which is the community of researchers that I work among, we've been talking about this for quite a few years now really expecting -- we know that it was going to be hot. We know that it was going to be humid. And what we were trying to do is trying to figure out ways in which we can help athletes to prepare for these conditions as best as they can 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 stipulate holding the games during July or August, but as 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 or summer Olympics just the Olympics held during cooler parts of the year? JAY: Yes, it is tempting to think that. I mean -- I think what we see

is that from the climate modeling data that we see in the peer- reviewed literature is quite clear that summers are getting progressively warmer. Heat waves are becoming longer. They're becoming more intense. And they are 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Let's go to CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with more on the latest conditions. It's hot but not exactly a heat wave, right?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, not exactly a heat wave. The definition of a heat wave is five consecutive days above 5 degrees that are above average and that certainly is not the case in Tokyo.

But this time of year late July it is plenty hot. We're talking about the lower thirties. It is plenty humid. That's the main factor here.

We've got so much moisture in the atmosphere. Of course, we had a tropical system in recent days cruised by this region additional moisture prevalent, thunderstorms scattered about this region.

So maybe 30 to 32 doesn't seem all that oppressive but when you factor in the humidity on your body that temperature feels closer to say 37 to 38 in spots.

And then you take a look at the pattern here, of course, this is the time of year you expect this. We've got plenty of moisture, so humidity even in the time of day where they are the lowest is generally around say 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. This is why a lot of these matches rescheduled to take place towards this hour.

But again, the highs should be right into the lower thirties. And by the overnight hours they do cool off and then by the afternoon hours of the next day, they drop back down as far as humidity is back to the upper sixties into about 70 percentile.

But when you look at the tennis court in particular, especially the ones that are used in the Olympics and really much of the courts around the world, you've got a lot of concrete, you've got a lot of asphalt that is built into the court.

[01:34:51]

JAVAHERI: That tends to radiate heat that last quite a bit of long time. It really performs well for the athletes as far as the balls bounce in trajectory. But temperatures at the court level could be as much as 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the ambient surrounding temperature.

So when I show you it's 33 or 34 in Tokyo, it could be closer to 40 degrees down at the level, that's why you see a lot of tennis players complaining in particular about the excessive heat because of the surface that they're playing on.

And again, you notice, these are the heat indices at the airport where the forecast guidance is provided into the lower and middle 30s. And then you expect that to be a little warmer down at the court level.

So that's the concern moving forward over the next couple of days. We talk about how your body performs really well in an arid environment where as much as 20 plus percent of your body's heat is removed via sweating because sweat evaporates off your skin, evaporative cooling takes place and your body cools down.

But when it's humid, you keep sweating, it doesn't evaporate much it alters the sodium and potassium level in your blood and that's when you start feeling very sick very quickly, and certainly cannot perform at an Olympic level when your body is close to these levels here with the heat, John.

VAUSE: Pedram, thank you. You got good advice there. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, the largest wildfire in California has scorched more than 89,000 hectares, less than a quarter of the Dixie fire is contained. Some locals though are determined to stand their ground.

More now from Camila Bernal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the flames from the Dixie fire burn out of control --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They picked up some heat signals here a few days ago.

BERNAL: -- authorities issue evacuation orders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why they evacuated 147.

BERNAL: But while many of the more than 16,000 under these orders have left --

JASON ACKLEY, RESIDENT: Fire it up.

BERNAL: -- others like Jason Ackley (ph) are choosing to stay.

ACKLEY: And we got sprinklers.

BERNAL: His wife and son have already evacuated. But instead, he and his brother are working on their own fire line.

ACKLEY: We're trying to take the fuel down so we can't get, you know, up into the crown of the trees in stuff.

BERNAL: The fire getting within about a quarter mile of the property.

ACKLEY: It was a big scare but this is everything. This is all we have. This is what we fight for. I mean if we don't have this, where are we going to go?

BERNAL: The almost 218,000 acre fire has already destroyed almost 40 structures and over 10,000 others are at risk.

SERENA BAKER, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, CENTRAL CALIFORNIA: No structure is ever worth a human life.

BERNAL (on camera): People here in Indian Falls had enough time to evacuate but when they come back in a week or so, this is what they are going to find.

If you look at this home here, the only thing left standing is the staircase. Two of the cars were left here in the driveway. Of course, they are completely destroyed. If you look here, it's just a piece of what used to be the rim of this car.

Firefighters telling me they were here until the very end, trying to save as many homes as possible but it just became too dangerous.

(voice over): The Dixie fire is California's largest wildfire this year and the 14th largest in state history.

With severe drought conditions continuing across the western U.S., wildfires becoming larger and more frequent.

BAKER: We are seeing that wild land fires in California are growing in size, complexity and frequency.

BERNAL: It's something that Ackley acknowledges. He knows he's putting his life on the line. But instead points to managing the forest, and says it's what he will do until the very end.

ACKLEY: When we see them red lights and them guys getting ready to go, I mean, we will turn the sprinklers on and we'll you know, make our last-minute prayer and we'll see what we can do.

But, at that point, I mean we're going to stand here together. We've already decided that from day one.

BERNAL (on camera): And these firefighters, brave men and women, are spending about 12 hours here at base camp in the tents that you see here behind me. and then they're spending another 12 hours in the middle of the smoke, in the middle of the flames doing everything they can to stop this fire.

The Dixie fire is being described to me as a sleepy, stubborn fire. But they're expecting it to essentially wake up as weather conditions change. It's making it more dangerous, not just for the firefighters, but of course, for the people who are under evacuation orders and are still choosing to stay.

Camila Bernal, CNN -- Quincy (ph), California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Well from political novelist to the ultimate halls (ph) of power. Up next a left-wing former schoolteacher now sworn in as president of Peru.

[01:39:19]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, with the death of a COVID-denying president in March, Tanzania is now embracing COVID vaccines.

CNN's Larry Madowo's has details reporting from Nairobi.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tanzanian authorities are learning that if you downplay and deny COVID-19 for so long it has long lasting effects because it seeds (ph) into the community and sows distrust in vaccines.

That is why the President Samia Suluhu Hassan had to be vaccinated on live television to reassure Tanzanians that vaccines are safe. And at 61, she has had other vaccines in her system and she's still alive. And that she has responsibilities that she would not put at risk because her predecessor, President John Pombe Magufuli was one of the most prominent deniers of COVID-19 in the African continent.

And even though he officially died of heart disease, there are people who believe that he died of COVID-19. And that is why this statement from his successor is so powerful.

SAMIA SULUHU HASSAN, TANZANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): A lot of people depend on me as a mother, wife, grandmother, president and commander in chief. So I'm doing this to show the public that as their president, I am a shepherd.

I wouldn't get vaccinated if it was dangerous, I'm doing this on my own free will.

MADOWO: Tanzania is only vaccinating frontline workers, anybody with a terminal illness and people aged over 50 at this time. It still needs enough shots for everybody in a population of over 60 million. And President Samia Suluhu Hassan said she had ordered more vaccine through the African Union.

The health ministry says the country is in the middle of a third wave. But it is difficult to tell how many people have had COVID, how many people have recovered, or how many people have died, because it is still not releasing regular data.

But Tanzania, at least, now has a vaccination program. Eritrea and Burundi still the outliers in Africa.

Larry Madowo, CNN -- Nairobi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Peru's fifth president in less than five years is now being sworn in. But Pedro Castillo is a left-leaning political novice who was elected with a razor thin majority.

We have more now from Stefano Pozzebon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 51-year-old and a former schoolteacher Pedro Castillo was sworn in as Peru's new president on Wednesday.

In a ceremony that was attended by the leaders of several Latin American countries who gathered in Lima to congratulate the new president. Castillo attended the ceremony wearing a traditional straw hat from his own region of Cajamarca, a reference to his popular rural roots.

"It's the first time our country will be governed by a farmer," he said. In his speech Castillo also said his government will continue its fight against COVID-19, and try to vaccinate 100 percent of the country's population against the virus.

Then announced his intention to draw (ph) reform to Peru's constitution. He stunned the attendees saying that he would not live in the presidential palace named after a Spanish Conquistador from the 16th century in Lima. This is a break with tradition.

But many challenges lie ahead of the new leader with little experience in government and a thin majority in Congress, Castillo is the fifth Peruvian president in less than five years. And the task to complete his mandate and pass all the ambitious reforms he set out to is daunting.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[01:45:00]

VAUSE: Bolivia and Nicaragua have now joined Mexico and Russia offering humanitarian assistance to Cuba, after the U.S. imposed new sanctions targeting an elite security unit.

The black berets are believed to have played a major role in repressing recent protest.

Our man in Havana is Patrick Oppmann.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When 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 part of the music video for "Patria y Vida" in Havana. Less than two weeks after the protest, 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 is this just when I haven't even seen a lawyer. And I am 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."

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, where protesters pelt 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, does not 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 to prevent (ph) for the protests from breaking.

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

(voice over): Odette Hernandez (ph) was arrested days after the protests, her relatives say, for posting this video of the demonstration to Facebook that have now been viewed over 100,000 times.

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

"They weren't violent. They did not throw rocks at anyone," he says. Then special troops came to get them at their home. The command unit with many police.

Many of Cuba's top artists have criticized the government crackdown and called for an amnesty for non violent 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 -- Havana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Still to come, German Olympians are taking a stand against their dress codes. Why sexism is still rampant at the most gender- balanced Olympics in history.

You're watching CNN. A lot more of the Olympics after a very quick break.

[01:48:36]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. We're now Day 6 of the Summer Olympics.

A live look there at Tokyo Bay. It's gone 2:50 in the afternoon.

One of the stories we are watching is about German women's gymnastics team which is taking a stand against their uniforms which they consider to be too revealing.

So they are wearing unitards at the Tokyo games, not the leotards. These unitards go all the way to the legs and to the ankles, instead of the traditional bikini cut.

According to the sports governing body, attire with leg coverings is allowed in competition. It also matches the rest of the leotard.

German gymnast Elizabeth Seitz says it's about what feels comfortable. We wanted to show that every woman, everybody should decide what to wear.

Meantime, pop star Pink has offered to pay the nearly $1,800 fine which was imposed on the Norwegian women's handball team after they refused to wear bikini bottoms while competing in a European championship. They wore shorts just like their male counterparts.

Pink tweeted that she is very proud of the Norwegians for protesting what she called very sexist rules and said the European Handball Federation, they should be fined.

Now to Briana Scurry. She was the starting goal keeper for the U.S. women's soccer team which won Olympic gold in 1996 and 2004. She was also on Team U.S.A. for that unforgettable win at the 1999 World Cup as well. So great to have you with us.

BRIANA SCURRY, FORMER SOCCER PLAYER: Hey John, thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

VAUSE: Ok. Well, it seems the women in sports is almost a damned if you do, damned if you don't. There is Norway's women's handball team which is fined for playing in shorts and not bikinis.

On the flip side, there is a double Paralympian world champion, Olivia Breen, who is competing at the English championships last week when she posted this on Twitter.

"Tonight, I feel quite disappointed, because just as I finished my long jump competition, one of the female officials found it necessary to inform me that my sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate. I was left speechless."

She posted the photo of said offending briefs, which she had been wearing at competition for years apparently. They are also the official briefs for 2021.

But there seems to be a lot more going on here. There seems to be a bigger story here than just the sexism which exists in the dress code for athletes, right?

SCURRY: It does seem that way. It's very disappointing, especially the beach handball situation. I mean seeing the women's uniforms, up against the men's uniforms, it really is clear to me that all the skin showing is what they wanted.

And it's really sad. It's unfortunate. And also it's confusing, like you said for the other athlete, who think that she was wearing exactly what she is supposed to be wearing. And yet she is getting, you know, criticized and reprimanded for wearing what she is supposed to wear.

So it just seems like it is very -- a very odd time, a very strange time and sometimes it just doesn't go your way. And it seems like a lot of officials need to just get everything straightened out, and let's move forward with it.

VAUSE: Yes. Well, in Tokyo, the German women's gymnastics team, they wore those full-length unitards, as opposed to the more revealing leotards. Male gymnasts compete in loose fitting shorts and pants most of the time.

A German official told the news Web site Axios that the new uniforms were made to push back against sexualization in gymnastics.

The Tokyo games are the most gender-balanced ever, almost half of all the athletes competing are women, but it seems parity does not equal equality.

SCURRY: No it doesn't. It does not seem that way at all. And I am really disappointed about this august uniform talk because it seems like these standards for different uniforms are really outdated.

You know, the volleyball as well, beach volleyball and the women's midriffs are showing. You know the tights are really, really very high up. And it just seems like it's not fair, it bothers me now obviously because it is more visible and all this attention is being put towards it.

But I really feel like it is a point now where an athlete is an athlete. And if they feel comfortable with their uniform, they should be judged not on their uniform or what they are wearing but on their performance.

And I really feel like this Olympics has brought that really to the surface. And hopefully, after these Olympic games, we can get past is.

VAUSE: Is there something unique about the Tokyo games that is making all that happen?

SCURRY: I don't think so. I think what is unique is the time we are in. A lot of women's rights, women's voices, women's equality is coming to the forefront now.

Myself, you know, I fight for women's equality with my national soccer team, here in the United States.

[01:54:51]

SCURRY: And a lot of women are deciding to let their voices be heard about how they feel about being sexualized and objectified, with what they are wearing.

And I think it's just the society that we're in now and the Tokyo Games just happened to be right in the middle of it.

VAUSE: You know, as you know, the women's soccer team here in the United States tried to sue the soccer federation back in 2018, over gender discrimination which was reflected to how much they are paid as well as working conditions.

The case was dismissed and their lawyers are now planning an appeal. So my question to you, is it always like this to try and get some progress? It's a slow, long, hard battle with incremental wins? Or has there been some real systemic changes that is making it at least a little easier?

SCURRY: That is a fantastic question. And you really nailed it on the head. It is a slow slog to get equality, whether you are getting equality for the right to vote, or whether you are, you know, someone who is gay, trying to get equality for what you want and the right to marry.

Or if you are an African-American, you're fighting for civil rights. It really does seem to be the situation where it is a long time. We are talking about decades of struggle.

Unfortunately, what I have found in all my decades of struggling for several of the things I just mentioned, you know, it takes a long time. You have to keep after it because the powers that holds the equality of the people -- that hold the keys to the gates, if you will, aren't willing to give it up.

And so you're going to have to take it. You have to be stuck in for the long haul. And it is just a symptom of the problem. And it just takes a long time.

And there is progress being made every year but we have to keep fighting for it, until it is equal.

VAUSE: Keep up the good fight. Briana Scurry, good to see you. Thank you for being here. SCURRY: Thank you, John. Appreciate it.

VAUSE: Well, over the last five years, it's estimated the U.S. women's soccer team has been paid tens of millions of dollars less than the men's team despite being a lot more successful.

So to try and balance up the ledger a little, the athletic apparel company, Title Nine is donating a millions dollars to the members of the U.S. Women's soccer team which is playing in Tokyo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MISSY PARK, FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, TITLE NINE: Maybe we can't fix it all, but we can do what we can. So we decided to put not just a million dollar bet, but really to do our part to tell the U.S. women's national team that we value them and we're so appreciative of what they are doing on the national and the global scale.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The U.S. women's national soccer team has won four world cups and four Olympic gold medals. That's the women's team. The men? None.

Stay with CNN for a lot more of the Olympics. I'm John Vause.

CNN NEWSROOM continues with Kim Brunhuber in just a moment.

See you tomorrow.

[01:57:32]

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