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CNN NEWSROOM

Delta Variant as Deadly as Ebola Virus; Israel Taking Preemptive Measures; China Paranoid of New Infections Recorded; Japan's COVID-19 Cases Rising Daily; U.S. BMX Athlete Involved in an Accident; Great Britain's Tom Dean Thanked for His Second Life; Migrants Hoping to Have a New Life; Theodore McCarrick Facing His Charges. Aired 3-3:45a ET

Aired July 30, 2021 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): New details about how easily the Delta variant spreads. According to the Centers for Disease Control, its transmission is similar to chicken pox.

In Israel, drastic measures to protect the elderly from the variant, it will soon offer them a third dose of the vaccine.

And some scary moments at the Olympics as an American BMX racer takes a nasty fall during the competition.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I appreciate your company. I'm Michael Holmes. And this is CNN Newsroom.

New data on the Delta variant confirmed by CNN and set to be released by the CDC later today. It paints a grim picture of a strain of novel -- novel coronavirus as contagious as chicken pox or Ebola and capable of causing much more severe illness.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky confirmed she was part of a small group briefed on this chilling new data. It found that vaccinated people can carry and spread as much virus as unvaccinated people, which underscores why the CDC this week abruptly reversed course on masks.

Here's what the director told CNN, quote, "I think people need to understand that we are not crying wolf here. This is serious. It's one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chicken pox, this, they are all up there."

Now I asked earlier Dr. Jorge Rodriguez just how worried he is about this new data on the Delta variant.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JORGE RODRIGUEZ, BOARD CERTIFIED INTERNAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST & VIRAL RESEARCHER: There is no doubt that it is much more contagious, almost 110 times more contagious. And it creates a herd of thousand times where I saw more virus in an individual. So, am I worried about it? Absolutely, especially since I have

witnessed myself tens of friends that have been vaccinated that have come down with COVID. Not as severe as needed to go to the hospital, but still, they've lost their sense of smell, they've have had coughs, fevers, chills. So yes, I am very concerned about it.

HOLMES: Yes, it's extremely worrying. One of the doctors saying today there's not many diseases with a contagion rate like this one.

RODRIGUEZ: Right.

HOLMES: What are your thoughts then on the growing mask mandates? Also, this, you know, private corporations, even the federal government, requiring workers to be vaccinated or face restrictions? Good idea? Are they risking coercion versus persuasion?

RODRIGUEZ: I think it's a very good idea. And persuasion is always better than coercion, but there comes a point which I think we are at now, or perhaps we have already passed it, where we really need to stop pussyfooting about this virus. I think we have given the U.S. public and maybe the world public this false idea that this is something that is going to be contained and it's going to go away in a few months. It is not.

Therefore, I think first of all, every private corporation, every private entity has the right to require of their employees certain requirements. I, as a doctor, I'm required to be vaccinated against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, the hospital requires that I don't have tuberculosis.

So therefore, I think it is very, a very good policy for, definitely, private corporations to require this. And the government I think has gone and is actually very benevolent, because not only are they going to require it, but if you don't want to take it, they are giving you options as oppose to firing people.

HOLMES: I wanted to ask you, now the spotlight on this whole debate in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world, you know, individual freedom versus the collective good. You know, we do have laws on no smoking indoors, seatbelt laws and so on. Why this resistance on masks and vaccines with the health implications, you know, that not being vaccinated posed to all of us?

RODRIGUEZ: Michael, I don't know, but I think that freedom, as it is spoken now is very misinterpreted. There is no freedom without responsibility in a society. And we are all responsible for each other. That's why we have laws.

[03:05:00]

And if you read the Declaration of Independence of the United States, it gives us all life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And the most important of which is life, which means health. Without that, there is no freedom. And that's what people really need to focus on, that health is freedom. And without that, we have nothing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: All right, our thanks there to Dr. Jorge Rodriguez for his analysis.

Now, Israel will soon become one of the first countries in the world to offer a third shot of COVID vaccine. It will be offered in the coming says to people over 60 who are fully vaccinated.

For more, Elliott Gotkine joins me from Jerusalem. So, tell us what prompted the government to reach this decision and make this move.

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Michael, there are a number of reasons. I suppose first and foremost is the rocketing number of COVID cases here in Israel. If you cross your mind back a month or two, we were seeing fewer than 10 cases on some days, 10 new cases, and now over the last few days we have seen more than 2,000 cases, driven ever higher by the Delta variant.

So that's the main kind of reason. But of course, now there is data as well to back up this view. So, there is a research paper that came out that showed that out of dialysis patients, that received a third dose, more than two-thirds of them showed high levels of antibodies. We also had data from Pfizer itself, and it's the Pfizer/BioNTec vaccine that has been given to almost all Israelis who have been vaccinated.

Data from Pfizer showing that a third dose could, in its word, strongly boost protection. Among 18 to 55-year-olds, they showed more than five-fold increase in antibodies, among 65 to 85 year-olds, more than 11-fold increase in antibodies.

And I suppose the other thing is that Israel has already been given a third dose to those with suppressed immune systems, and hasn't seen any downside. So, in that respect, it wants to be more safe than sorry. And I should say that the first person to receive their first third dose, over the age of 60, received her -- who was vaccinated more than at least five months ago has already received it. And we'll see the president being receiving his third dose in the next half hour.

HOLMES: Yes, moving ahead. I mean, the thing is that things had almost gone back to pretty much normal in Israel because of how it had been handled. But you are seeing some restrictions being reintroduced there.

GOTKINE: That's right. As of this week, the so-called green passed then we have to prove that you have been vaccinated or show a negative PCR test, that is being brought back. It was shelved after a while because the caseload here had dropped so fast.

So now, for example, if you want to go to restaurants or gyms, or conferences, or houses of worship, you need to show that you've been vaccinated or that you have a negative PCR test. That said, compared with other countries, Israel is still in a very enviable situation, everything is still pretty much back to normal.

There are just some other things like mask mandates for indoors have come back into effect. And as I say, people again having to show that they are vaccinated or that they have a negative PCR test in order to gain access to certain events or places.

So, not in a bad situation but the government certainly doesn't want to see it getting any worse, and doesn't want to be forced to increase the restrictions or go back to where things were with lockdowns and things like that. Michael?

HOLMES: Yes. A lot of countries around the world will be watching what happens with the booster shot and the effectiveness of that. Elliott Gotkine, I appreciate the reporting. Thanks so much there in Jerusalem.

now we are following several COVID developments out of China. Authorities are scrambling to contain an outbreak in the city of Nanjing, and say they have figured out where it came from. Meanwhile, Beijing reporting its second new case in nearly six months and locking down a section of the city.

Kristie Lu Stout joins me now to talk more about this. This Nanjing cluster, tell us about that. What does it potentially pointing to?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's pointing to a nationwide spread of the highly contagious Delta variant across China. Earlier this week, on Wednesday, the Chinese capital Beijing reported its first case of COVID-19 in six months. And today, some 40,000 residents in the Chinese capital are on lockdown.

This as authorities are scrambling to contain the outbreak linked to the international airport in Nanjing. We did hear from Nanjing CDC officials earlier today who said that they have found the origin of the outbreak, they said that it came from an Air China flight from Russia.

Now, on Thursday, China recorded some 64 new cases of the virus of which 21 are local cases. Those numbers seem low. What's really concerning here is the fact that the Delta variant is being detected across eight different provinces in China.

Now this new infection it emerged last week, again, it was linked to the airport in Nanjing, a number of cleaning workers were infected there, travelers from the Nanjing airport, then flew on to a variety of other provinces including Szechuan province in the southwest, Guangdong province in the south, Liaoning province in the northeast. There were also been a secondary cluster in Hunan, that's where the cases in Beijing are linked to. Michael?

[03:10:03]

HOLMES: Yes. I also wanted to ask you about that, China sort of laying out its own proposal for the next phase of this COVID-19 origin study, what are they saying?

LU STOUT: Yes. Interesting development here. We know that the United States is asking for an additional investigation into the origins of the coronavirus and the pandemic. Wanting to probe further into the Wuhan lab leak theory, and China is pushing back.

You know, China, through the ministry of foreign affairs and its spokesperson who we heard from yesterday, is now offering a counter proposal for a second probe into the origins of the pandemic. Let's bring up the statement for you from Zhao Lijian, the spokesman of the ministry of foreign affairs.

He said this, quote, "the Chinese plan is science-based and professional solution that has been tested in practice." He goes on to say, "the second phase should not repeat what already being conducted during the first phase especially where conclusive findings were already reached," Unquote.

Zhao also added that, quote, "many countries have expressed concerns about a second phase study into the origins of the pandemic," but he didn't -- he didn't mention exactly which countries had expressed this. Back to you.

HOLMES: All right, Kristie, thanks. Kristie Lu Stout there live in Hong Kong for us.

Now, Thailand's hospitals are being overwhelmed by COVID outbreaks. The country's health minister warning that no matter how many beds are added that they won't be enough to handle the demand in the capital. On Friday, Thailand reporting more than 17,000 new cases, the health ministry says they are not even sure if the country has reached the peak yet.

Day seven of the Tokyo Olympics with athletes competing for gold in 29 sports. Now outside their bubble, Japan's largest doctor's association is warning the medical system will collapse if the spread of COVID-19 continues at the current rate. Tokyo reports nearly 4,000 new infections, the third day in a row of record cases.

That's just Tokyo. Japan as a whole topping 10,000 infections for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the host nation is among the gold medal leaders, so some good news there. The first day of qualifying underway in athletics, including track, discus, and hurdles.

CNN World Sport anchor Patrick Snell standing by with the latest on all the medal winners, but let's start with Blake Essig who joins me now live from Tokyo.

And let's talk more about this rate of infections that continue go up. I mean, states of emergency widening and so on as the Olympic sort of move on. What is your sense of where this is headed?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: yes, Michael, it's not great. COVID- 19 cases across Japan are soaring. Nationwide the case count top 10,000 for the first time since the pandemic began. Here in Tokyo more than 3,800 cases were reported on Thursday, that is the highest daily total for the capital ever recorded, a record that has now been set for three days in a row.

And according to the National Institute of Infectious Disease, the Delta variant is responsible for about 70 percent of the cases here. Now as the cases skyrocket, health care professionals say that there is real concern for the medical system which is already strained as the fifth wave of infection continues to swell across the country.

Public broadcaster NHK is reporting that several prefectures have asked the central government to declare a state of emergency in an effort to contain the spread of infection. Those requests are expected to be approved by Japan's prime minister this evening.

Although Olympic-related cases remain low, a public health expert tells CNN that the Olympic bubble has already been burst. And the more transmission outside of the bubble the more transmission we'll see inside it. Michael?

HOLMES: And to that point, I mean, you know, there were so much feeling against the Olympics early on, has the embrace of the games and the atmosphere by locals added to the rise in the feeling that the bubble has burst?

ESSIG: You know, Michael, health and safety remains a big concern here. But there is a shift in the support for these games, I noticed that in the hours leading up to the opening ceremony you could see people's curiosity start to peak. I watched these tens of thousands of people crowded around the stadium just to try to take a picture to experience the Olympics in any way that they possibly could.

And in the days that have followed, Japan's success at the games has only added to the excitement. IOC officials say 86 percent of the entire nation's 126 million people have watched the games at some point. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIYOKO OSHIMA, OLYMPICS FAN (through translator): The fact that these people are so young, and that they are prepared with all their strength and heart, and when we see their immense success on TV, we toasted and shed tears of immense joy.

[03:14:59]

RYOKO YOSHIOKA, OLYMPICS FAN (through translator): I'm moved, I cry every time when I see our athletes winning, it's as if it's my own kids out there doing their best.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ESSIG (on camera): As of this morning, Japan was tied with China for the most gold medals with 15. And we're not even at the halfway point of these games and they are one gold medal away from breaking the previous national record of 16 set back in 2004.

And Michael, while COVID numbers continue to explode around Tokyo, health and safety remain a huge concern, but at the same time the old adage that winning takes care of everything seems to be at least partially true as Japan's gold rush is generating a lot of excitement here in the country with about a week to go still -- HOLMES: Yes.

ESSIG: -- seems to not exist, as far as that excitement goes.

HOLMES: It's a psychological boost, if not a health boost. But yes, it's a great news for Japan. Remarkable performance. Blake Essig, thanks so much in Tokyo. Head off to event yourself, catch some of it.

All right. Now competitors are aiming for gold in more than a dozen sports on day seven. Patrick Snell here with the very latest. More pool news, I believe.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Yes, plenty going on this Friday. No change there, Michael, I can tell. Let's start with South African star Tatjana Schoenmaker who's had a day to remember, not only winning gold a little earlier on Friday in the women's 200-meter breaststroke, but also breaking the world record with the time of 2.18.95, really, impressive stuff, again from the 24-year-old from Johannesburg.

It was really overcome with emotion just realizing what she had accomplished. The USA's Lilly King, by the way, she was leading until the 150-meter turn, but that's when the South Africa just surge forward, powering her way to the famous victory, King with silver.

Meantime, the Russian Olympic Committee's Evgeny Rylov, the 24-year- old, now the first swimmer not representing the United States to win a gold medal in the men's 200 meters backstroke at the Olympics since the early 1990s. '92 in fact, his winning time 1.52.27, a new Olympic record for him.

And remember, only this week he won the 100-meter backstroke gold medal, the American Ryan Murphy taking silver.

And in the BMX bike race, we've got an update for you this hour. Defending gold medalist from the U.S. Connor Fields he was involved in a crash earlier on today, he failed to finish during a third round of the men's semis. Fields was actually taken away in an ambulance.

Now, we've learned the 28-year-old is thankfully awake and awaiting further medical evaluation. The final actually won by Niek Kimmann of the Netherlands despite the fact that he may have even suffered a fractured knee on route to his gold medal.

And there is also another crash, Michael, in BMX racing in the third run of the first women semifinal. The Australian Saya Sakakibara stretched off after being involved in the crash. She was leading at that time but didn't finish the run. According to team Australia she did initially show signs of a mild concussion in that one but had since been medically cleared.

And a great story for team Great Britain. Bethany Shriever, the 22- year-old who needed crowd funding to get to go to Japan holding off two-time Olympic gold medalist Mariana Pajon of Colombia to win gold by the finest of margins there, so really a special achievement for the Brit to take gold there. Michael, back to you.

HOLMES: Yes. I was watching the qualifying heat for the BMX earlier. It was quite -- it was quite rough out there on a view --

(CROSSTALK)

SNELL: You've got to made of stern stuff, I tell you.

HOLMES: Exactly. Yes, not my cup of tea.

SNELL: Not mine.

HOLMES: But the events are underway on the track at last. What do you got --

(CROSSTALK)

SNELL: Yes, they are. And it's going to be exciting, isn't it? The next sort of week and a half of these Olympics. I want to tap in though on pole vaulting. That actually gets underway, Michael, on Saturday in Japan. Much of the focus of course is going to be on the young Swede, the world record holder, Mondo Duplantis.

He's actually American born, 21 years of age. He is actually been reacting to news there on Thursday that the American athlete and indeed his rival, Sam Kendricks has now been ruled out of the games due to a positive COVID-19 test. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARMAND 'MONDO' DUPLANTIS, SWEDISH POLE VAULTER: It's hard to react to, because it still doesn't really feel real right now. Because I mean, as far as an hour ago, I was still preparing myself for a, you know, a big battle with Sam. Because I feel like coming to hear that, he is of course one of my -- one my main rivals and somebody that's definitely going to -- going to push me in the entire final and qualifying.

But, yes, it's -- it's hard to explain the feelings. I'm kind of shocked. I kind of still don't believe it, really. It still feels like somehow some way he's going to be able to compete, but you know, as far as right now, I guess it's not looking that good for him. So, I mean, I don't know, it's hard to say really. It still doesn't really feel -- feel like it's actually -- it's actually the way it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL (on camera): Mondo Duplantis there. We've got a World Sport coming your way, Michael, in about less than half an hour from right now. We have an update on Simone Biles as well, all the very latest on her. Back to you.

HOLMES: Yes. We'll be keeping an eye on that. Thank you so much, Patrick. I appreciate it. Good to see you, my friend.

[03:19:58]

And we still don't know if Simone Biles will compete in any more events in Tokyo, but the American gymnast did post and then delete some videos on Instagram, which might be a bit of a clue. You are looking at one of them right now. They show her practicing at a gym in Tokyo and struggling with dismount, saying that she still has the twisties (Ph). Biles withdrew from two events earlier this week.

Now there are always stories of incredible perseverance and achievement at the Olympic Games. And that is certainly true for Britain's Tom Dean who has won two gold medals for swimming. Six months ago, though, was a very different landscape for him. He was battling COVID-19, and for the second time.

CNN's Will Ripley spoke to him about his journey back to the pool.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROWD CHEERING)

TOM DEAN, BRITISH SWIMMER: I cannot stop watching that video. My flat mate showed me if I wanted to go enough to the race. And you know, they were welling up watching. I was welling up watching it. You know, I saw all my family and friends there which makes me so emotional, and that's the kind of support I've got behind me. It's a real honor. And hopefully, I don't know all the people who can be out here proud.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Did you think that this is going to happen? Like six months ago, or a year ago?

DEAN: Six months ago, definitely not. Six days ago, I would've been questioning it if you'd ask me this. I mean, what I deal with COVID and not, you know, I would've thought you were crazy if you told me that this was going to happen.

RIPLEY: What did COVID feel like the first time versus the second time?

DEAN: The first time wasn't terrible. I'm more frustrated about the isolation and the 10 days out of the pool, and the second time was really tough. The second time I was really off for quite a long period of time, coughing, wheezing, thinking how am I going to get back into training. My heart rate was high. You know, it was all the signs that an athlete doesn't want to be diagnosed with. It's an athlete's worst nightmare, especially during Olympic year. So, I'm glad I have come back from it.

RIPLEY: What tips could you offer others to just be able to focus, but also stay mentally fit as well.

DEAN: Yes, I think, it's kind of a perfect storm of awful things. Because I couldn't train, I couldn't leave my flat, and I was really ill. It's hard. And fortunately, enough, we've got psychologists help me (Inaudible), and Brits show me they provided a lot of support for us. And they know my poor mental health, my coach is very much aware of that. But I think just having faith in the work you've done in the past, and

knowing that you can come back from this, and you know, you may feel awful when you get back in the water initially, but you will be back into it. And you know, you've put in the hours in the past and that will be able to cut you through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES (on camera): Well, thousands of migrants hoping to reach the U.S. are stranded in a town in Colombia. But they still keep coming even as the mayor says the town can't handle any more. We'll have that story after the break.

Also, he was once of the most powerful Catholic leaders in the United States. Now Theodore McCarrick is facing criminal charges for sexual abuse. More on that when we come back.

[03:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES (on camera): Thousands of migrants in a desperate search for a better life stranded in Colombia. They are in a town of Necocli, which is northwest of Bogota. The migrants were hoping to reach the U.S. before the Panama border closed.

But as Stefano Pozzebon reports now, they have no place to go.

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: More than 10,000 migrants are currently stuck in the northern Colombia town Necocli, a situation that is closing a humanitarian crisis and a public health emergency. The local authorities have said that the group is formed mainly by Haitian and African migrants who are traveling north towards Panama and North America. But a border closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic has created a bottleneck on the northern Colombian coastline according to the Colombian migration agency.

Nicocli is known for being a mandatory transit point for migrants who approached the crossing of the Darien Gap, a wildest stretch of jungle that separates Colombia from Panama. According to Colombian authorities, up to 25,000 migrants have already crossed through the town in the year so far.

While the health system public and food services have collapsed in the small town of 20,000. The local authorities have warned and the Colombian government has called for an emergency roundtable to provide assistance and aid before the situation escalates even further.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.

HOLMES: Disgraced former cardinal, Theodore McCarrick is facing criminal charges in the U.S. The complaint accuses him of sexually assaulting a teenage boy multiple time nearly 50 years ago. McCarrick was once an influential Catholic Church leader in the U.S. defrocked by the Vatican in 2019 after a church trial found guilty of sexual abuse. CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen joins us now. So, John, I mean,

it's just incredible, these charges coming nearly half a century after the alleged offense. Tell us about the case and its significance.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Hi there, Michael. Well, McCarrick is sort of the iconic face of the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church in the United States. There are multiple individuals who have filed civil lawsuits against him for abuse and misconduct. However, in most cases they can't be prosecuted criminally because the statute of limitations has passed.

However, this incident in 1974 took place in Massachusetts, allegedly. And there is caducei of Massachusetts law that if you commit a crime there and then leave the state, the statute of limitations is frozen.

So, the allegation here is that McCarrick committed three different acts of groping and sexual abuse against the 16-year-old male during a wedding reception in 1974. A summons has been issued. His lawyer has indicated that they will comply. McCarrick himself has not address these specific charges, he's 91 years old now, but in the past, Michael, he has always said he has no memory of every -- of ever sexually abusing anyone.

HOLMES: All right, John Allen there in Rome, thanks, John. Good to see you.

We are going to take a quick break. When we come back on CNN Newsroom, health experts are trying to wrap their heads around a COVID trend in Britain. The mystery? Why did new infections decline after the country opened up?

And Greenland has lost trillions of tons of ice just this week. Why a new report on the meltdown is causing concern. We'll be right back.

[03:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. You are watching "CNN Newsroom."

Now, Portugal is lifting its nighttime curfew as COVID vaccinations gain more traction. It is set to be phased out on Sunday, along with a few other pandemic restrictions. Hours for shops and restaurants will also no longer be limited. Portugal says more than half of its population is now fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Italy is extending its ban on travellers from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Brazil until the end of August. British visitors will now be able to get around using U.K. vaccination and health certificates. However, they will still have to quarantine for five days after arriving in Italy.

The U.K. is reporting another increase in cases over the past two days, the rise breaking a weeklong street that saw cases dramatically going down, and left experts scratching their heads.

Phil Black explains.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the first week of England's hands off, mostly unrestricted policy of living with the coronavirus, something extraordinary has happened. The U.K.'s growing wave of cases has suddenly, unexpectedly, falling away. The drop has been quick and dramatic. Compared to the previous week, the total number of confirmed cases is down 36 percent. Scientists admit that no one saw this coming.

DEEPTI GURDASANI, RESEARCHER, QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: It is not something that I expected or predicted.

UNKNOWN: I think it is a surprise to a lot of people to see something that has come down this quickly, this much in synchrony (ph).

BLACK (voice-over): So they only have theories on why this is happening. The end of the European soccer championship means no more big emotional crowds. A recent stretch of good weather encouraged people to stay outside. Schools are out for summer, closing what some scientists believed is a significant environment for transmission. Awareness of surging cases may have inspired more cautious behavior.

And there is also the possibility vast numbers of people (INAUDIBLE) being infected, they are just not following up with tests, because they don't want to cancel plans and stay at home.

LAWRENCE YOUNG, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK: So the issue is, is what we are seeing in terms of a reduction in cases, a true reflection of the community levels of infection.

BLACK (voice-over): Scientists feel confident on one point. Vaccines are helping but it is too soon to attribute the drop to herd immunity.

GURDASANI: We need to remember that only 55 percent of our population are fully vaccinated. The rest are partially vaccinated or not vaccinated at all.

BLACK (voice-over): The delay between infection and symptomatic illness means (INAUDIBLE) don't yet reflect the consequences of England throwing away its pandemic rules on July 19th.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is very, very important that we do not allow ourselves to run away with a premature conclusion about this.

BLACK (voice-over): But the sudden changes are fueling hope that the U.K. will not experience the grim, difficult summer many predicted.

Phil Black, CNN, London.

(END VIDEO TAPE) HOLMES (on camera): Firefighters in Southern Turkey are battling 20 wildfires, which is down from nearly 60 a few days ago. Officials say the blazes have killed at least four people. More than 2,000 farm animals have also died. Dozens of villages have been ordered to evacuate along the Mediterranean coasts.

And overheating planet and surging temperatures are causing the biggest meltdown of the year for Greenland.

[03:35:00]

HOLMES: The amount of ice that liquefied on Tuesday alone would be enough to cover the whole state of Florida in more than five centimeters of water, to give you an idea of the volume we are talking about. And this is the third instance of extreme melting in Greenland in the last decade.

CNN meteorologist Gene Norman joins me now with the latest. I mean, as if the planet could have any good news for a change. What are seeing?

GENE NORMAN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Michael, good to join you. It is certainly a disturbing situation because of the trend. And you may think, all right, well, doesn't Greenland loose some ice then doesn't it get it back in the wintertime? Not exactly.

Take a look at this graph, which comes from climate.gov, a U.S. agency, going back all the way to 2002. You see each year, we lose some sea ice, we gain some back. We lose, we gain. But notice the overall trend is down. In fact, since 2002, we have lost five trillion metric tons of the ice -- of the ice sheet that covers Greenland. And that is substantial because that loss is going into our oceans and contributing to sea level rise.

Let's take you back to the end of May. This group called Polar Portal has been tracking the loss of sea ice in Greenland, indicated by the kind of dark shading around the outer edges. Look what happens since Sunday, 18.4 billion tons lost, and as you mentioned, on Tuesday, just one day, 8.6 billion. That was lost and that could, of course, cover the state of Florida in five centimeters of water.

So again, we do see this loss every year. Typically between June and August is when we see the peak of the loss, indicated by this black line here on this graph. But notice the blue line. That is showing what is going on in 2021. Way off the charts. So we don't want this trend to continue, but that is what happening.

Again, you lose the ice from Greenland. That bumps up the sea levels all across the globe. In fact, we have seen that approximately, three centimeters per decade lost, because the melt from the Greenland is the largest contributor to sea level rise, Michael, not a good situation.

HOLMES (on camera): Yeah, five trillion tons of ice. Gene, appreciate you bringing us the facts there. Gene Norman, thanks.

Now, a potentially dangerous situation in earth orbit when a Russian space module misfired its thruster during docking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN (voice-over): The (INAUDIBLE) is in the center. The crosshairs are aligned, copy.

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HOLMES (on camera): The mishap pushed the international space station out of position in a kind of tug of war. Communications went down for 11 minutes between the ground and the ISS. NASA declaring a spacecraft emergency and it took an hour apparently to get things under control. The U.S. and Russian space agencies are investigating, but NASA downplayed the incident, calling it a pretty exciting hour. No kidding.

Now, in a moment, CNN's Going Green series, a man makes his home zero- waste and basically organic. We will take a look inside when we come back.

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HOLMES (on camera): Now, imagine if a home could provide you everything you needed and still be good for the environment. Well, one man made that idea into a reality.

Our Isa Soares has details as part of CNN's Going Green series.

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ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the heart of Melbourne, a glimpse into the home of the future. This is the 'Greenhouse,' a self-sustaining living space and the brainchild of zero-waste advocate Joost Bakker.

JOOST BAKKER, ZERO-WASTE ADVOCATE: (INAUDIBLE) on this space is to generate waste. In nature, there is no waste. It's so practical, so logical, and so simple. There is nothing that has gone into this building that can't be recycled. It's biodegradable.

SOARES (voice-over): Run on renewable energy, the three-storey building is the realization of a complete closed-loop system.

BAKKER: The 'Greenhouse' is inspired by nature. It is an ecosystem where everything becomes a food source for something else. We are harvesting rainwater and using it for aquaponics systems and growing food. We are using waste to make fish food. The mushroom wall is designed to harness (INAUDIBLE) from the shower.

We have experimented with about 20 different varieties. This is an Australian native mushroom that a friend of mine found bush-walking. And 'snowflake' is what he has called it and it's delicious. From maybe aged 12, I started getting really obsessed with the idea of (INAUDIBLE) buildings, the potential of the buildings to grow food and to grow energy and to be so much more than what they are today.

You can't beat the smell of freshly harvested food. It's really about showing that we've got some incredible solutions where we live.

SOARES (voice-over): The 'Greenhouse' also works as a restaurant and making use of what is grown on the premises of the house's only residents, chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone.

MATT STONE, CHEF: To be able to grow and produce food on the 20 footprint (ph) in the middle of the city and turn it into exciting dishes is completely unique and there is nothing quite likes it.

JO BARRETT, CHEF: We just head out for the garden, really, and then take from there and start cooking.

STONE: We often get asked how you can live more sustainably. And it's a really simple answer. It's eat locally and eat seasonally (ph).

SOARES (voice-over): More than one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, according to recent U.N. study. Bacchus Vision (ph) provides a blueprint for a more a green home and a more sustainable food system.

BAKKER: Our food causes more harm to the earth than anything else. We don't need as much land to grow as much food as what we do, so we can return land into wilderness. We can start planting more trees. There is a lot of damage that we need to repair, but we can't do that without finding an alternative system for food production, and that's, I believe, sits right where we live.

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HOLMES (on camera): Great idea. It gets you some hope, doesn't it?

I'm Michael Holmes. Thank you for spending part of your day with me. Do stick around for "World Sport" with Patrick Snell.

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