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More Than 11 Million Americans At Risk Of Being Evicted; CDC: Vaccinations Best Tool Against Delta Variant Surge; Official: Vaccine Mandate For Teachers "Needs To Be On The Table"; Federal Eviction Moratorium Due To Expire At Midnight Tonight; Trump Pressured Acting A.G. To Declare 2020 Election "Corrupt;" Protests In France Against Mandatory "Health Pass". Aired 12-1p ET

Aired July 31, 2021 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:00]

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And there are just plenty of them not just in Washington but Oregon, Idaho, and Montana 83 large wildfires out there. So yes, Jessica, they could certainly need any rain at this point would be beneficial for a lot of these areas.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: Yes, sure it looks like it. Allison Chinchar. Thanks so much. Thanks everyone. Thanks so much for joining me today. I'm Jessica Dean if for Fredricka Whitfield. And right now, the U.S. in a race to stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus Delta variant cases of that variant now account for 90 percent of the new cases that we're seeing.

The CDC says our best defense against infections, hospitalization and death remains the widely available vaccines. A little silver lining here vaccines clearly on the rise even in some of the least vaccinated States but vaccine hesitancy is still an issue for a lot of people out there.

The FDA says it's bringing in extra help to speed up the full approval process of the COVID vaccines, hoping that will encourage more people to get the shots. CNN's Natasha Chen is at a vaccination drive outside of Atlanta. Natasha, are you seeing a number of people looking to get vaccinated and what's bringing them out today? What's changing their minds?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, more than 200 people have actually come through to get vaccinated at this site into Cab County, Georgia today that is more than the county officials expected. That's a good thing.

There were still people sort of skeptical in line about the vaccine, but they said it was the money being given out the $50 gift cards that brought them here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN (voice over): America is waking up to a new day of increased COVID restrictions. And President Biden says we're likely to see more as cases of the highly contagious Delta variant continue to rise. JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In all probability by the way, we had a good day yesterday; almost a million people got vaccinated. So I'm hopeful that people are beginning to realize how essential it is.

CHEN (voice over): CDC data shows the rate of new vaccinations is the highest it's been in weeks, but just less than half the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. The FDA says it's pulling in extra help to get COVID-19 vaccines fully approved as quickly as possible to ease the minds of those worried about vaccine safety.

This comes as we're learning more from the CDC about just how dangerous the Delta variant really is? The agency now says 74 percent of COVID cases in one Massachusetts County came from fully vaccinated people though it is important to note that there were few hospitalizations there and no deaths.

The CDC maintains that vaccination and masking remain critical in the fight to slow the virus. And we're learning more about how far COVID can spread, with research showing that respiratory droplets in the air can carry the virus as easily as the smoke from a cigarette.

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH & POLICY UNIVERSITY OF MN: Just think of somebody smoking. If you can smell the smoke from their cigarette that's the very same as if you were breathing in the air that they exhale out that has the virus in it.

CHEN (voice over): Many medical experts now say the risk of transmission outdoors is much higher than previously thought. All of this as students are heading back to class for what they'd hoped would be a normal school year, but more than 100 students at one Atlanta school that does require masks are now being told to quarantine after at least nine students and five staff members tested positive for COVID only one of the staff members had been vaccinated.

And the schools eighth grade class is now back at home doing virtual school. One parent says he's not surprised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we had the Delta virus and then the numbers start going up and I felt really uncomfortable with I'm like I don't think it's a good idea because we've seen on the news a lot. It's just picking up so I'm not sure. It really didn't make sense right now we're not being vaccinated to go back to school and take that risk.

CHEN (voice over): Meanwhile, some parents are fighting hard to keep their children from having to mask up in class.

SHERI MITCHELL, PARENT: I feel like it's our right to be able to have a choice to either mask or unmask our children, just like you have a choice to vaccinate.

CHEN (voice over): Altogether eight U.S. States are taking steps to ban mask mandates in schools. But some areas of the country are taking the opposite tack as numbers rise. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has reinstituted a mask mandate in her city after cases more than doubled in one week.

MAYOR LATOYA CANTRELL (D-LA), NEW ORLEANS: The COVID pandemic is once again raging out of control.

CHEN (voice over): And medical experts warn that we are far from done with COVID.

WILLIAM HSELTINE, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: Virus we're seeing today as bad as it is, is not as bad as it can get.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: Some of the people who came through here today were parents with their teenagers as school is about to begin in this area next week. There's a lot of concern because the kids under 12 can't get their shots. Not all teachers may be vaccinated. And so now there are discussions in some school districts and some schools about whether that mandate can happen to get all employees vaccinated before they come back in person to class Jessica.

DEAN: Yes, so many of those kids about to head back to school, Natasha Chen, thanks so much for that and joining me now to discuss all of this is Dr. Richina Bicette a Medical Director at the Baylor College of Medicine Dr. Bicette great to have you. There's a lot of new information here.

[12:05:00]

DEAN: A lot of nuance, with this new information that's coming out from the CDC. Let's just start first, what stands out to you? What are the takeaways for someone who's watching now, and just beginning to digest all of this?

DR. RICHINA BICETTE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: You know, there's a lot of information to digest, as you said, Jessica, but I think the thing that we have to keep at the forefront of our minds is that the pandemic is not over.

Vaccines are still the best way that we have to win this war against COVID-19. So yes, while it may be true, that you could potentially still be susceptible to contracting COVID if you are vaccinated, that's not a reason not to get vaccinated.

We talked about the outbreak in Massachusetts and how 74 percent of those people were vaccinated, but of the 351 people that tested positive four of the vaccinated people had to be admitted to the hospital. That by itself is enough evidence that these vaccines are working and are helpful.

DEAN: Right. And no people died in that, which doesn't that just shows that vaccines are doing what they're supposed to be doing?

DR. BICETTE: It absolutely does show that if you look at the numbers 99.5 percent of people who are currently dying of COVID-19 are unvaccinated of those who are hospitalized 97 percent of those are unvaccinated. So again, you may have a little cough, you may get the sniffles, if

you can track COVID and you're vaccinated, but you're not going to wind up on oxygen, you're not going to wind up in a ventilator. And you're not going to wind up in the grade like the over 630,000 other Americans who have succumbed to this illness.

DEAN: Right. And so that's the really important thing to hold over here, right that if you're vaccinated, it dramatically lowers your chance of hospitalization or death, you're saying maybe you do get a breakthrough case, that's still rare, but you're having a cough or something like that, as opposed to going to the hospital or potentially dying, which is truly remarkable.

On the other hand, we are learning that the Delta variant can spread even amongst the vaccinated. That's what we're also learning. And we've talked a lot about viral load. We heard from the CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who did suggest say that this data suggests that fully vaccinated people can spread the Delta variant. So how does that change the game in your opinion?

DR. BICETTE: Well, think it tells people that we do still need to employ the non-pharmaceutical measures to combat COVID. It's not just the vaccine.

Now, while vaccines are our best chance, while we're working on getting everyone vaccinated and getting up to that level, we need to achieve herd immunity, people still should consider wearing masks, especially in high-risk situations high risk situations, meaning if you're indoors, if you're in a large crowd, or if you're in a city or a place where you know that there are high levels of viral spread.

DEAN: And we - you hear from people sometimes, especially now that we're getting all this new information, and look, they're tired; they don't want to wear the mask anymore. Maybe they even were happy to do it before, but they can't believe but now we're going back to this.

But does it underscore that this virus just continues to evolve as it evolves, and then everything else has to evolve with it, including the recommendations.

DR. BICETTE: You know, no one is tired of wearing a mask as me. I don't get to just wear a surgical mask when I am working in the emergency department, I have on a full N95 respirator, goggles of face shield the whole night for 12 plus hours continuously.

So, trust me, I understand the mask fatigue. But I am way more afraid of COVID than I am being tired of wearing masks.

DEAN: And let's talk about schools we just heard in Natasha's piece, there was a dad that's talking about his child who was in school. It's set to start next week in some places all around the country. And children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.

More than 100 students at Drew Charter School in Georgia are now in quarantine after nine students and five staff members tested positive just two days after school started. And the head of that school told CNN 75 percent of the staff is fully vaccinated, but he's open to a vaccine mandate for staff. Let's listen to him for a second.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER MCKNIGHT, HEAD OF SCHOOL, DREW CHARTER SCHOOL: So, I think it is a complicated issue. I don't think because of the cultural and historical context for it. I don't think is as straightforward as it may seem. But I recognize that it is an incredibly important tool that we have.

So, to my knowledge, we have not had public schools or public school systems that have mandated a vaccine yet. It's certainly something that needs to be on the table as we consider how to keep folks safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: Dr. Bicette, what do you make of all of that? I know there are so many parents out there, especially with kids under the age of 12 who are concerned about sending their kids back to school without knowing whether or not the teachers are vaccinated. What do you say to those parents?

DR. BECETTE: The parents deserve to be worried. You know, throughout the course of the pandemic, I don't think we've put enough importance on children and children COVID cases and how sick children can get?

[12:10:00]

DEAN: Their reports coming out of Louisiana from Our Lady of the Lake Hospital that they have seen half of the years' COVID cases in the month of July alone. The numbers of COVID cases they are seeing in children are twice what they were in terms of the initial surge last year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported over the last week that pediatric cases are up 2 percent. And for the week ending July 22nd, children made up almost 17 percent of COVID cases. They are not invulnerable to this disease.

Now, while the teachers being vaccinated may not be as much of a sticking point, what parents really need to ask the school systems is what else are you all doing to protect our children? Are you employing a mask mandate? Are you making sure that the children are socially distance?

Are there increased ventilation efforts? Are there ideas to potentially hold classes outdoors during the fall months when the weather is still warm? Those are the kinds of questions parents should be asking.

DEAN: Yes. All right, Dr. Richina Bicette, thank you so much for that information and insight. We sure do appreciate it.

DR. BICETTE: Thank you.

DEAN: As the cases spread, the White House is not taking the possibility of new COVID restrictions off the table. And it comes as the CDC issues, new mask guidance even for people who are fully vaccinated.

CNN's Joe Johns is live with the White House and Joe; President Biden said that in all probability, there will be further restrictions. What does he mean by this? What's he talking about?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's not really clear. And that is the exact question quite frankly, Jessica, what other measures will the White House take? It's not just that it's also what measures could the White House take in the future?

The president is well aware of how much of a highly charged issue this is he's also concerned about taking the wrong step. Could it be counterproductive, in fact, pushing people away from getting vaccinated instead of increasing the numbers of people in the country who have gotten the shot?

So the Deputy White House Press Secretary weighed in on this. And she says for now, there's no mandate under contemplation, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WH PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: So a national vaccine requirement is not under consideration at this time. That's where we are with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: So, it's also clear the president is frustrated with the direction all of this is taking. And there are concerns here that this issue is obscuring some of the presidents are other goals. Meanwhile, Jessica, as you know, there's a big deadline tonight of people who have been protected if you will, by the moratorium on evictions that expires at midnight something else for the White House to deal with back to you.

DEAN: All right, Joe John's at the White House. Thanks so much. And still ahead this hour, Joe just talked about it Congress running out of time to help millions of Americans facing evictions during this pandemic.

I'm going to talk to the Congresswoman leading the fight their Democrat Maxine Waters that's coming up. And later companies trying to navigate a tricky reentry with workers unwilling to return to the office will it come down to vaccine mandates?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:15:00]

DEAN: The House of Representatives left for their break on Friday without extending a federal ban on evictions put in place during the pandemic. Millions of Americans will lose their protections at midnight tonight as a result.

Now it remains unclear why this was left to the last minute? Some Democrats are blaming the White House. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she just learned of the need to act in the House, adding she thought it should be the CDC to extend the moratorium.

The White House legal team did not see that though as a viable option. But no matter who's responsible. The bottom line is the federal moratorium will end at midnight tonight. And that will leave more than 11 million Americans at risk of being evicted.

Last night Democratic Congresswoman Cori Bush slept on the steps of the Capitol telling CNN she wanted to send a message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): This is our way of saying hey, House leadership reconvene us like we're still here. Do something we can't take vacation right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: And joining me now is Congresswoman Maxine Waters. She's a Democrat from California and Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee. Congresswoman thanks so much for being with us I know you were ready to vote to extend the moratorium, you had a bill ready to go.

You met with House leadership, Democratic leadership with Speaker Pelosi; you guys were talking for a long time, what comes next? What did she tell you?

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Well, unfortunately, we were not able to get my bill up on the floor to be voted on. And that's the approach that I took. The leadership decided they were going to try and get the Republicans to give unanimous consent to take the bill up.

But of course, that failed. And now we're left without a resolution to this tremendous problem. As you just said, the eviction moratorium is over as of midnight. And so, we have families of probably 11 million families out there who stand to be evicted.

There's nothing left that we can do in this session. We may be called back into Congress in about a couple of weeks because we still have worked to do on the infrastructure bill. And I will attempt at that time to get the bill back up on the floor again.

So, my staff and I are going to work very hard to do everything that we can to get the bill back up on the floor that will extend the moratorium and pay the back rent. For many of our landlords, particularly the small landlords we are absolutely cognizant of the fact that these landlords are suffering many of them the small once.

The big wins can take care of themselves, but the small wins were 234 units. They have mortgages to pay.

[12:20:00]

WATERS: And they also have retirement income that's tied up. Many of them have retired, you know, basically depending on the rentals in order to, you know help them through their retirement days. And so we got, all we can do now is hope that we can get back in a reasonable amount of time, so that we can try again, to get the votes that we need to extend the moratorium.

We need the help from the White House; we were depending on the White House. We did not know that was going to be thrown to us at the last minute. But as the White House has said, no matter where the fault lies, this is an emergency; we should have been able to get that bill up on the floor, to protect the renters.

All we can do now is get back as fast as we can and work as hard as we can to try and get my bill passed.

DEAN: Did you get any assurances or commitment from the speaker that she would bring you all back to deal with this along with infrastructure?

WATERS: Well, the Rules Committee was prepared to pass the rule that it takes to put it on the floor. So, we had gone to the Rules Committee already. And they were waiting for a decision about whether or not they were going to agree to put the rule up on the floor.

That's when all the negotiations started. And I believe that our leadership believed that they could work something out with the Republicans. I never believed that. And so, they tried, and the Republicans refused to give us unanimous consent.

Now, I want to tell you, the leadership was worried that we didn't have all of the votes that we needed in our own Democratic Caucus, some people were resisting, some talked about the landlords they were concerned about them. Some said they just didn't understand.

Some said they needed more time, whatever the reasons were, we did not have an absolute count of success, even if we got up on the floor. But I believe that you had to put the fight on the floor and let people vote up or down.

Some of those people who were resistant, I think would have come around based on the arguments that we would have made on the floor. So, it's an unfortunate situation. But we have all of these families out there, families with children.

Children are not going to be able to go to school. And even if we had extended the moratorium for maybe one month, they still - the family still would have to look for places to live, children would have to change schools. This is a tragedy.

And I'm so sorry for it. And for those people who are resisting it, and I just heard about Representative Bush, sleeping on the steps of the Capitol, you know, do everything you can buy to the last breath for our renters and our most vulnerable people in our society, and see what we can do to eliminate them becoming homeless.

DEAN: And Congresswoman, the clock had been ticking on this for some time. You all knew this was coming. How did this get down to the wire like this? It is rare. I cover Congress. It is rare what happened yesterday with Speaker Pelosi trying to get something done and it wasn't happening. You guys didn't have the votes. That doesn't happen a lot. So, what happened here for it to come down to the wire like this?

WATERS: Well, the first place, we thought that the White House was in charge. And we know that Kevin - over at the Supreme Court had said that they did not think the president had the authority to use the executive power in order to extend the moratorium.

However, I think the president should not have taken an opinion from one of the members of the Supreme Court. He should have gone forward with an executive order to expand and to extend the moratorium and then led whatever and whomever wanted to file a lawsuit or whatever they want to do to come after and challenge that opinion.

But the president should have moved on it. And he should have used executive power and executive order in order to expand and extend the moratorium.

DEAN: All right, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, we have to leave it there. I want to thank you so much for joining us today.

WATERS: You're so welcome. Thank you very much for having me on. And I want all of our renters to know some of us are going to fight.

DEAN: Alright, Congresswoman, thank you. And we're going to speak to Representative Cori Bush next hour about her protest last night on Capitol Hill over this expiring moratorium. Coming up, new revelations on the pressure campaign by Former President Trump to overturn the 2020 election results telling his Justice Department to falsely declare it as corrupt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:25:00]

DEAN: Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me. That is what Former President Donald Trump told Justice Department officials last December according to newly public notes from the Acting Deputy Attorney General.

These new details just add to the upsetting list of examples we now have of Trump's efforts to overturn the election he lost. Katelyn Polantz is with us now in Washington. Katelyn, what do we know more about this apparent pressure campaign?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, what we're learning here this week is coming because notes from the Acting Deputy Attorney General at the end of the Trump Administration, Richard Donoghue, had turned over his record of a phone call that he had with Trump and the then Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen on December 27th of 2020.

[12:30:120]

He turned those records over to the House Oversight Committee that is looking into Trump and the handle -- and his handling of the election aftermath.

And now, we're seeing what Trump was saying in those days. As you said, the main quote from this was that, Donoghue, he wrote down, Trump had said, just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and Republicans in Congress. That came after Trump was clearly making a push with the Justice Department to investigate voter fraud or to try and say that there was some sort of possibility that the election was corrupt.

Donoghue at the time was pushing back against that very strongly and saying that they weren't able to go out and say that. And the Justice Department never did uncover any evidence of widespread voter fraud. But this piece of new information is really part of a larger constellation of what we have learned. Donald Trump was doing in the last days of his presidency after he had lost the election. We knew he was publicly wanting Mike Pence not to certify the results of the election that he had lost.

We knew out of other documents that Congress received previously that lawyers around him wanted court cases that cast doubt on the result of the election to go to the Supreme Court, they wanted the Justice Department to stand up and fight. Now, Trump responded to this today. He said his words are being misconstrued based on the Donahue call and other things he had been doing.

But the Committee Chairman of the House Oversight, Carolyn Maloney, said the Trump had directly instructed our nation's top law enforcement agency to take steps to overturn the election. And that's what this showed. So, again, we have a situation where there's Donald Trump and the Justice Department completely at odds and that lasted through the end of his presidency.

DEAN: Yes, it is. It is really remarkable. And we also have learned the Justice Department recently ordered the IRS to hand the former president's tax returns over at Congress. This is something that's been very drawn out. When can we anticipate seeing that happen, Katelyn?

POLANTZ: Well, I can't tell you it will be anytime soon, because it is in court. And as these things go, court doesn't wrap up very quickly, when there are fights between different branches of government. But in this particular case, the House Ways and Means Committee had gone to the Treasury Department and said, we would like to get access to Donald Trump's tax returns under a special provision where the IRS can give them to the House.

The Trump administration and his and the Justice Department under him said no. They didn't believe those should be turned over at the time. The Biden administration is now reversing that and saying that when requested in this fashion, the Treasury Department must turn those tax returns over.

But I'm saying that they're not happening anytime soon. We shouldn't expect to see them or in the House shouldn't expect to see them anytime soon because there's going to be a lot more arguments that take place in court. There's already a schedule being developed. There will be more filings next week that give us a little bit more inclination of timing. And there is also a hold placed on this by the court where the Treasury just can't hand them over. Jessica?

DEAN: Yes. It's been a long protracted thing anyway. All right, Katelyn Polantz, thanks so much for that reporting. We appreciate it.

[12:33:17]

Returning to work is only getting more complicated as the Delta variant spreads. Plus, it's prompting confrontations between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEAN: Employers want you to get back to the office but the Delta variant has up ended plans many companies had for a fall return. It's complicated and becoming a battle of the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated, CNN's Christine Romans reports.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The Delta variant is a potential setback for this fall's return to the office plans for so many companies. But the message is clear. They want you back at your desk and vaccinated.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PORTIA TWIDT, PROGRAM MANAGER: I'm producing more work. I can be held accountable virtually. I don't actually need to be physically in the office.

ROMANS (voice-over): Some workers aren't ready yet to give up the flexibility and safety of working from home. But from the employer perspective, it's time.

JAMES GORMAN, CEO, MORGAN STANLEY: You can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office. And we want you in the office.

ROMANS (voice-over): Offices for some Wall Street firms are already nearly full, other industries preparing to return around Labor Day.

JOHNNY C. TAYLOR, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCE MGMT.: At its core, we perform best from people who are in person being human.

ROMANS (voice-over): This exclusive work from home period may be coming to an end whether employees like it or not.

TAYLOR: Employers are saying the struggle with the narrative of this is good for me is that we pay you. So it has to be good for us. It must be mutually beneficial.

ROMANS (voice-over): This tricky reentry made more difficult by employees questioning the safety of the workplace amid surging cases of the Delta variant in the U.S. TAYLOR: We're creating this schism and within the organization between vaccinated employees and unvaccinated employees. We've literally had reports of employees confronting unvaccinated employees and literally almost getting into physical fights.

ROMANS (voice-over): A June survey showing 63 percent of workers support vaccine mandates at work.

KATHRYN WYLDE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, PARTNERSHIP FOR NEW YORK CITY: Many employers are hearing from their workers, from their employees, that they want to know that people are vaccinated.

[12:40:01]

ROMANS (voice-over): New York City employers are growing more confident workers will be in the office come September from 45 percent in March to 60 percent in May. Willingness to return to the office, though, is uneven.

WYLDE: The young tech employees, it seems to be much tougher to get them back.

ROMANS (voice-over): The Balancing Act also important for small businesses.

WYLDE: While there's concern about forcing people to come back or get vaccinated, there's also a lot of concern about the overall economy of the city. A big piece is the commuters working remotely, not patronizing the local stores.

ROMANS (voice-over): Childcare is still a problem until it's clear that schools can reopen in person for good, also a concern, the impact on careers of those who don't want to return to the office.

TAYLOR: Two, three, five years from now when they're making promotional decisions, we promote people who we know and between we built relationships.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: We're seeing a sea change in vaccine requirements. The Federal Government is requiring all its workers and contractors to be fully vaccinated, and more companies are doing the same. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.

DEAN: All right, Christine, thank you.

And let's talk more about the impact these rising cases have on businesses and their planned reopenings. Joining us now, Jonathan Wackrow, former Secret Service agent and CNN law enforcement analyst and, Jonathan, you also work with businesses as a risk management consultant, which is perfect for what we're talking about. What impact will the CDC's adjusted mask policy have on businesses do you think? And will it, is it going to slow down the return to the office?

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Jessica, good afternoon. And listen, just a few weeks ago, we thought that there was light at the end of the tunnel with this pandemic. Little did we realize that that light was actually this oncoming train from the Delta variant. The positive news that is that throughout this pandemic, businesses have actually learned how to take a real adaptive approach in mitigating the spread within their workplace environment.

And what I mean by that is now they can effectively implement control measures, such as quickly adjusting to the CDC mass guidance, social distancing, testing, and vaccinations. While we never actually thought we'd be at this point, these enhanced control measures are making businesses more prepared to return their workforce in the coming weeks.

Now, that's not going to be a quick return to the office, the Delta variant has implemented a challenge for businesses to recalibrate their safety protocols on returning the workforce. So you may see a little bit of a delay, but notionally businesses are prepared they have the right tools, we're in a much better position now than we ever were before on a returning workforce.

DEAN: And the Biden administration is requiring that all federal employees must be vaccinated or face these strict testing protocols. I know a lot of companies are looking at the administration to set the tone. Other companies are going ahead and doing it. Do you think that the White House is going far enough in what they're asking?

WACKROW: Listen, that I think that they are. And here's why. We know that the vaccines are a game changer in how we fight this virus. All morning long, every show, we've heard that the vaccines remain the best way to prevent serious illness and hospitalization death. You know, businesses are listening to that. They realize that the risk of COVID-19 the variants are not diminishing, they're not going away. So we -- this threat is still with us.

So there has been an increased awareness by businesses, and they're looking at mandating workers very similar to the government has on being vaccinated. Now, the EEOC has stated that employers can do this. They are allowed to mandate, you know, their employees be vaccinated as a condition to coming back to work. The question right now is should they because we do know that mandates are a polarizing issue and introducing that into the workplace brings forth a lot of complexities that can arise?

So what right now, what we're advising businesses to do is actually set a strategy within your organization to encourage workers to get vaccinated, communicate with them, the benefits of it, and in some cases actually incentivize them to get vaccinated prior to mandating some sort of process of vaccination.

At the end of the day businesses, you know, have responded, they understand that, and this is going to be a business decision. We saw that Walmart and Disney and Google have all taken the measures to make the decision to vaccinate some or all of their employees. The spread of this -- the virus moving forward is actually going to dictate whether or not businesses mandate or have a voluntary process.

DEAN: Yes, it'll be interesting to see how this develops. Jonathan Wackrow thanks so much for joining us.

WACKROW: Thanks a lot.

[12:44:52]

DEAN: Coming up, protests are escalating in France over a COVID-19 health pass requirement that will restrict where people can go in public. We're going to take you there live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEAN: A developing story out of France, crowds there taking to the streets across the country today for renewed protest against the government plans to mandate the so called a health pass. That pass shows proof of vaccination or a negative test for many public places. Jim Bittermann has the latest now from Paris. And Jim, tell us more about these protests.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in fact that that's the third week in a row for these protests. Here's the objective the House passed that people have its mind that I carry around. And in fact, there were thousands of demonstrators in the streets today as there have been in the last two weeks, although I don't think they have -- just -- we're waiting for the official numbers but it doesn't appear to me that they in fact there are -- as many as who were out last week.

[12:50:12]

There are 160,000 people out last week across France. One of the reasons might be because there are about 3,000 police on the streets of Paris today, just to keep things under control. There are four separate demonstrations. So the big question is, first, what are people complaining about? Why are they out of the streets? Here's what we heard from a few of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm sick of the freedom killing measures of this government. And for me, the health pass is one measure to many.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vaccination I think is OK because it's for to fight the disease. But I don't think (INAUDIBLE) is going to change anything for COVID. It's just to, sorry, it's to stop people from -- just for me, it's stopping you from having freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I came here because I'm being forced to get vaccinated to go to work, and I don't want it to. It is my choice. And today that choice is being taken away, and I'm against it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BITTERMANN: And Jessica, I think some of the wind has gone out of the sails of the demonstrations here. It's simply because not all the French support them according to one Ipsos public opinion poll, only 23 percent of the French support that what was going on in the streets today, 62 percent support the use of the health pass and 69 percent believe that vaccinations are necessary. So a rather high percentage that are behind the government's plan, Jessica.

DEAN: Yes, that's very telling, Jim. All right, Jim Bittermann for us thanks so much for that reporting.

In the midst of the Olympics, the city of Tokyo reports its highest ever number of daily COVID infections, more than 240 of those infections are tied to the games. Meanwhile, we've learned a resident of the Olympic Village had their credentials taken away after going on an unauthorized sightseeing trip. For the latest COVID headlines, let's check in now with our correspondents around the globe.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: This is Kristie Lu Stout from Hong Kong. The highly contagious Delta variant is spreading across China. On Wednesday, Beijing recorded its first COVID-19 case in six months and tens of thousands of residents there are on lockdowns. Authority scramble to control an outbreak linked to an airport in the eastern city of Nanjing. On Friday, Nanjing CDC confirmed that the origin is an Air China flight from Russia.

Now, the virus has been detected in a number of provinces including Guangdong in the south, Liaoning in the northeast. And concern is also growing over a possible secondary cluster connected to a popular live show in a national park in Hunan Province. Officials say the Beijing cases are linked to the Hunan cluster. The outbreak is a test of China's virus suppression tactics trying to take a zero tolerance approach with mass testing and tracing operations.

It's also a test of the efficacy of China's massive vaccination program. China has administered more than 1.5 billion doses so far.

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: I'm Hadas Gold in Jerusalem. Israel will begin administering a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine to anyone over the age of 60, who received their second dose more than five months ago. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made the announcement in a televised speech to the country on Thursday evening, saying that the evidence has shown that the vaccine efficacy may be waning over time, especially in light of the Delta variant.

Recent data released by the Israeli Health Ministry showed that for those people who received their second dose of the vaccine by the end of January, the vaccine effectiveness of being able to fend off infection dropped to 16 percent although those people were still very well protected against severe illness.

This decision is not being made without controversy, though, as Israel is making this move ahead of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendation which Israel normally follows essentially making Israel a test case for boosters that the rest of the world will be closely following.

DEAN: And our thanks to our correspondents around the globe for those updates there. And news just in to CNN, Carrie Johnson, the wife of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed she is pregnant again. And a post on Instagram today she wrote quote, hoping for our rainbow baby this Christmas. At the beginning of the year I had a miscarriage which left me heartbroken. I feel incredibly blessed to be pregnant again.

But I've also felt like a bag of nerves. She goes on to say quote, I found it a real comfort to hear from people who had also experienced loss. So I hope that in some very small way sharing this might help others too. You'll remember the pair of both contracted COVID in the spring of last year just before the birth of their first child. Congratulations to them.

[12:54:38]

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEAN: Police in Atlanta will be out in force today trying to solve a brutal murder at a popular park. Officers are canvassing neighborhoods in the Piedmont Park area of Atlanta's Midtown. They're hoping to find any witnesses to a stabbing that left a woman and her dog dead. The body of Katherine Janness was found early Wednesday morning. Her dog Bowie was also killed. So far police have no suspects and no motive. Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

[12:59:56]

Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me today. I'm Jessica Dean in for Fredricka Whitfield. And we begin this hour with the U.S. entering a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic, as the Delta variant spreads like wildfire.