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Interview With Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO); Georgia Pushes Vaccinations As Cases Spike To 200 Percent In Last Two Weeks; U.S. Hospitalizations Surge As Delta Variant Spreads; Federal Eviction Moratorium Due To Expire At Midnight Tonight; Health Experts: Breakthrough Infections May Be Contagious But Spread Is Driven By The Unvaccinated; GOP Governors Criticize New CDC Mask Guidance. Aired 1- 2p ET

Aired July 31, 2021 - 13:00   ET



JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST (on camera): Hi, everyone. And 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 across the country, vaccinations remain the key tool in preventing infections, hospitalizations, and death.

DEAN (voice-over): And those vaccinations clearly on the rise even in some of the least vaccinated states. A silver lining there.

But the vaccination numbers are not yet high enough to prevent that variant from spreading. Every state is now reporting more coronavirus cases over the previous week. And this as we're learning more about the Delta variant.

The CDC making what it calls a pivotal discovery. Saying a new study shows the variant produces similar amounts of virus in vaccinated and unvaccinated people if they get infected. That prompted new math guidelines this week even for the vaccinated. And President Biden says more restrictions are not off the table.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, can Americans expect more -- should Americans expect more guidelines coming out, more restrictions because of COVID?

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.


DEAN (on camera): And it's not just the spiking cases that has health experts worried.

DEAN (voice-over): Hospitalizations in the U.S. have skyrocketed in recent weeks as well. We're now at about 40,000 per day.

At this pace, the U.S. will reach record highs in about two months. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in the Tarzana neighborhood of Los Angeles.

DEAN (on camera): And Paul, California is one of only 20 states that have vaccinated at least 50 percent of their residents. How much is that helping?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, it's helping a lot, yet, in a populous county like Los Angeles, we are seeing this absolutely dramatic jump in the number of hospitalizations, Jessica. And right now, we've got more than 1,000 people hospitalized, Los Angeles County.

We also have 3,606 new cases at last count. Now at this hospital, Providence Tarzana. It's a midsize hospital. They have 20 patients who are in here for COVID-related reasons.

I'm going to bring in the director of the ICU. This is Dr. Tom Yadegar. And he has an amazing story to tell about something that happened just this morning. Come right in here, Doctor.

You've told us that you had a 49-year-old woman who -- does not believe the virus or somehow --


DEAN: All right, unfortunately, we're having audio issues there. We'll try to get back to Paul there in Tarzana with the doctor.

But in the meantime, with spiking cases, vaccinations are on the rise as well. They are up in several states, and the CDC says vaccinations have risen to the same point that they were at the beginning of the month.

So, let's go now to CNN's Natasha Chen outside of Atlanta, where there's a vaccination drive ahead of the start of school there next week. Natasha, what has people choosing to get the vaccine now? What's changing their mind?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Jessica, partly, it's the incentive to get a $50 gift card today. This is just wrapping up here in DeKalb County, Georgia. They vaccinated 230 people today, and that is better than they expected to do.

This is the third time the county has run such an event. Only the second time they've offered such an incentive, like a gift card giveaway. And each time over the past month, they've seen more people come in and that is a good thing.

Across the country, we know that vaccination rates are picking up. That's true in Georgia as well. The vaccination rate, 85 percent higher than it was three weeks ago. That's the seven-day average of new vaccine doses administered. Now, some of the people coming here have been teenagers who are getting ready to go to school this week. We talked to one 13-year-old who was a little bit skeptical, but in the last week decided it was best to do this before she goes back to class.


KAMIAH RUDISON, MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT: I don't want to go school and you know, catch the virus. At first, I thought if I got the vaccine, the virus should be going into my body. And I saw people getting sick and they didn't have the vaccine.

CHEN (voice-over): That's worse, right?



CHEN (on camera): The fear of actually getting COVID. Of course, that is a worse experience than perhaps feeling the effects of the vaccine for that first day or so. So, she was given the choice to make her own decision by the adults in her family. Though they told me that they did try to nudge the kids in the right direction by telling them the benefits of being vaccinated.

And not just incentives, like a gift cards and money that people are responding to. For example, those kids told their family they really want to go on a cruise vacation. And so, the adult said, OK, we'll fine.

On a cruise ship, there are much more privileges afforded to people who are vaccinated than those who are not.


CHEN: And right now, it is a difficult thing with parents sending kids back to school in person. Conversations being had at various school districts about whether to mandate masks, whether to mandate vaccination among the employees who are eligible.

So, a lot of that under consideration there, Jessica.

DEAN: Absolutely. Natasha Chen for us just outside Atlanta. Thanks so much. And we want to go back now to Los Angeles.

CNNs Paul Vercammen there, joined by the director of Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Centre doctor. Paul, to you.

VERCAMMEN: Well, as we were speaking, we were talking about a 49-year- old unvaccinated patient who was in the hospital and Dr. Thomas Yadegar was telling us that she just up and left this morning, and it speaks to the larger situation where people just don't believe that the virus is real.

YADEGAR: Yes, and that's what, you know, she told us she's like, this isn't a real virus, this isn't a real disease, there's really nothing wrong with her even though she was on oxygen. And she signed out against medical advice and left.

VERCAMMEN: This has to be frustrating for you. Are you seeing more of these unvaccinated patients for -- in here still doubting the virus?

YADEGAR: It's beyond frustrating. But everyone that we're seeing, the vast majority of patients are unvaccinated. And to a man and a woman, they all say that if I knew I was going to feel this bad, I would have gotten the vaccine.

VERCAMMEN: She's the exception. But talk to us about I think you've got a very small amount of so-called breakthrough cases here. But you hate that term breakthrough.

YADEGAR: I do. For 20 years, I'm taking care of patients that develop influenza after they've been vaccinated. We don't call those breakthrough cases, I would call them expected cases.

And for the past five, six months with the vaccines being available, my conversation with my patients has always been that yes, you could still get the infection, but the vaccine protects you in terms of developing severe COVID. The vaccine prevents the hospitalization and the death.

It's kind of, you know, seatbelt doesn't protect you from getting into a car accident, it protects you from dying, or, you know, becoming severely disabled from a car accident.

And that's what these vaccines are, they are -- they are, you know, the seatbelts or an airbag. They're not going to prevent you from getting into an accident. But if you get into an accident, if you get infected, they'll prevent you from requiring hospitalization, and potentially dying from this virus.

VERCAMMEN: And so, there's still rare for you. But in the cases where people are coming into your hospital, they have been vaccinated, what are their symptoms like?

YADEGAR: Their symptoms are much milder, and they usually don't progress to requiring Intensive Care Unit care. And they're usually in the hospital for much less time and they get better faster.

VERCAMMEN: And so, if you could talk to people out there who are again, debating about getting that vaccine, what do you tell them?

YADEGAR: I tell them there is nothing heroic or patriotic about wearing a mask or not wearing a mask or not getting the vaccine, the only thing that you're doing is you're helping this virus spread. You're helping this virus become stronger and kill more people and cause more death and misery.

VERCAMMEN: We super appreciate your insights, Dr. Yadegar. We hope that things go better for you to in terms of patient staying where they're supposed to be.

But, as you heard, Jessica, from the front lines, it is a battle here, and sometimes you have a patient who's unvaccinated and just ups and leaves.

DEAN: All right, quite a story there. Paul Vercammen for us in California. Thanks so much for that update.

And coming up, a Congresswoman takes a stand for struggling Americans by sleeping on the steps of Capitol Hill.

DEAN (voice-over): I'll talk to Representative Cori Bush about the expiring eviction moratorium.



DEAN: As of midnight tonight, more than 11 million Americans will lose their protection against eviction put in place during the pandemic. And with the House now out for recess, there isn't any hope that it will get fixed by tonight when it expires.

It remains unclear why this was left in 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 done through the CDC that they should be extending the moratorium. The White House legal team did not see that as a viable option though.

Last night, Democratic Congresswoman Cori Bush slept on the steps of the Capitol to call attention to the failure of Democratic leaders to get it passed. And last hour here on CNN, Congresswoman Maxine Waters gave her support to Bush's efforts. Take a listen.


REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Do everything you can, fight 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: Representative Cori Bush is a Democrat from Missouri. She joins me now live from the steps of Capitol Hill. Congresswoman, thanks so much for making time for talking with us.



DEAN: We know that you slept out there last night to get your message across. What makes you hopeful that, that will do anything to move the needle?

BUSH: Because speaking out, using our voices, being able to use whatever platform we have to get the message out. Our colleagues knowing that we are out here and that we are supposed to be one body. That is the hope that I have is because right now we still have time. You know, we still have, what? 11 hours or something like that. You know, we still have some time. As long as it's not midnight, we have time. So, that's where my hope is.

And Senator Warren, Senator Elizabeth Warren just left from the steps out here, saying, come on, let's keep going. Let's do everything that we can do. We have other Congress members that are talking about coming out here to be with us. We have Congresswoman Pressley and Congresswoman Omar out here with us on last night, spending the night.

And so, the hope is there because we know that we have to save lives. Our job should be to save lives, lives that we are supposed to be representing.

DEAN: And Congresswoman, the clock have been ticking on this expiring this. This moratorium expiring for some time and the White House knew this was coming. Speaker Pelosi I know said that she didn't know that the house was going to have to act on it. Why do you think this came down to the wire like this? What happened? Where was the disconnect?


BUSH: You know, our office, we reached out to the CDC back in May. May 2nd, we sent a letter to the CDC saying. Hey, we want to see the moratorium extended through the pandemic, but also strengthened.

We want to see that moratorium strengthened. We didn't want to be here right now. And even this past week, we made sure that we sent another letter saying, hey, we want to see this done, and we need it done now.

And so, we've been working, trying to make sure that the word was out, and that we were reaching those people in power to be able -- in the higher power, anyway, to be able to keep what's the -- what could possibly happen later on tonight from happening.

Now, we're here. So, whether it was the White House, I personally was hoping that the CDC and believe that the CDC and the president would go ahead and do that. But now, punting it back to the Congress a couple of days ago, you know, we were. We were running around trying to get this done and trying to see if the votes were there.

But you know, what, at the end of the day, Congress is that -- the House is at recess. People are on vacations. How are we on vacation when we have people -- millions of people who can be start to be evicted tonight?

There are people who are already receiving and have received pay or vacate notices that will have them out on tomorrow. So, people are already in a position where they need help, our most vulnerable our most -- our most marginalized, those who are in need.

How can we go vacation? No. We need to come back here. So, I'm asking for our colleagues to come back. I'm asking for House leadership to say, look, come back, let's reconvene, and let's get this done for our people. DEAN: And Congresswoman, have you talked with House leadership? Have you talked with Speaker Pelosi or her office? And have she given you any indication or assurances that they would come back or that they're open to coming back to deal with this?

BUSH: We haven't heard any assurances right now that, that can happen. But we're holding out hope. You know, our office has been in communication, they know very well.

We made sure that we sent the letter, and said how we feel and why we feel the way that we feel that we need to make sure that we had that vote on yesterday, which did not happen.

So, leadership is very well aware. Our offices will continue to talk. But no, we don't have any new information right now.

DEAN: And before I let you go, I also want to talk about your personal connection to this issue because your own story includes a period of time when you were forced to live in your car with your two small children.

So, you know what this feels like.

BUSH: Yes.

DEAN: What is your message to families facing possible homelessness?

BUSH: You know, I'm heartbroken. I'm heartbroken that this may be your possibility. But you know what, we won't stop fighting for you.

Chairwoman Maxine Waters won't stop fighting for you. I won't stop fighting for you. Congresswoman Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and so many others. We won't stop fighting for you. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, you know, Jamaal Bowman, we won't stop fighting for you. There are so many of us, we won't stop.

And so, let me say this. Hold on hope, because we're holding on right here on these steps. There are people sitting here who slept out here last night. And let me say this, when you sleep outside on the ground, you are open, and you are vulnerable to all the elements.

However -- whatever those elements are, was cold last night, and now it's super-hot, we still been here. That's what's going to happen to the people if we don't take care of this today. They will be subject to all the elements.

If we don't take care of this, just like right now. I still have the same clothes I had on last night. I'm dirty. I'm dirty. I'm sticky. I'm sweaty. I still have on what I had on last night. This is how people will have to live if we don't do something.

7 million people, 6 million, 11 million. How many every day they deserve their human dignity and they deserve for the people that are paid to represent them to show up and do the work to make sure that they have their basic needs met today.


DEAN: Yes, and quickly before I let you go, it sounds like you have some people there with you, Congresswoman. But quickly before I let you go, people in your own party.

BUSH: Yes.

DEAN: More moderate Democrats were saying they didn't want to deal with this, they were done. You know, you have -- you have dissent within your own party on this. They're not unified. What do you say to them?

BUSH: I say what is dissent? What is there to talk about and negotiate about or even have a disagreement about when we're talking about humans that will sleep on the street? That there is not -- no discussion. We're talking about saving lives. And you -- how can we not stand up for those folks, our most -- our most vulnerable in our communities?

Those that are looking to us because when we signed up to be in Congress, we said that we would serve and we will represent every single person in our district regardless of their socio-economic status, regardless of if they live in a home or not.

Let me say this too. At the end of the day, the job is to serve, and so, let's serve. And I don't care. It doesn't matter if we think who should have money and who shouldn't. The money is there, this $40 billion right now that's still on the table that has not been spent.


BUSH: So, you know what, we take care of our landlords that way. I care about our landlords. And you know what, there's money for you.


DEAN: Right.

BUSH: So, the states and the localities need to act and get that money through to make sure that the landlords get what they're supposed to have.

DEAN: Right. Congresswoman Cori Bush, you're talking there about the money that's already been set aside, but hasn't been distributed yet. We hear you. All right. Thank you so much for making time for us. We appreciate it.

BUSH: Thank you.

DEAN: And while Congress failed to extend the federal eviction moratorium, the Senate is working this weekend to try and put final touches on a bipartisan infrastructure bill. The details still need to be hammered out, the legislation still needs to be written. But things may be looking good for the Biden White House to score a big legislative win here.

Daniella Diaz is with us now live from Capitol Hill. How are things progressing, Daniella?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER (on camera): The short answer, Jessica, is that we are in a holding pattern. The long answer is that the legislative text for this bipartisan infrastructure proposal that was -- that is still being finalized, the text is not done.

And you know, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer actually said earlier today, he took to the Senate floor to say that it's still the same, we're still in the same situation that we were yesterday after they proceeded with the vote to advance this legislation.

So, right now, we're just waiting for this text to be done. Take a listen to what he said.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Look, I understand that writing the text of the bill of this size is a difficult project. I've been part of many such efforts in the past. But I urge the bipartisan group to finish their work. So, we can begin the amendment process here on the floor.

I have said for weeks that the Senate is going to move forward on both tracks of infrastructure before the beginning of the August recess. The longer it takes to finish, the longer we'll be here. But we're going to get the job done.


DIAZ: So, as you heard there from him, he is committing to the Senate passing this legislation before August recess, when all the senators go back to their home states.

He also is committing to this budget reconciliation bill. And this bill that would be passed with a simple majority in the Senate is $3.5 trillion package that is filled with democratic priorities.

So, lot to be done in the Senate on this. But I just want to talk a little bit about what's in this legislation for -- so, Americans know what will be going into this. So, over half of the bill, $550 billion is new federal funding. It would invest $73 billion to rebuild the electrical grid, $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access, $55 billion for water infrastructure.

So, a lot in this package that, of course, will affect -- directly affect Americans when it's passed.

But, bottom line here is the Senate is racing to finalize this text and proceed. That's why they're working this weekend. Jessica?

DEAN: All right, we'll see -- we'll see how much progress they make. Daniella Diaz on Capitol Hill for us today. Thanks so much.

The CDC explains the rationale behind their new masking guidelines, and then includes new data on how contagious the Delta variant actually is. We are going to talk to our experts about your top concerns. That's next.



DEAN: The U.S. is now averaging about 67,000 coronavirus cases every day. That's up more than 50 percent over the last seven days alone, and it is fueled by the Delta variant.

New CDC research shedding light on just how much more contagious this more transmissible strain is. And although the spread is being driven by people who have not been vaccinated, and that is the majority of the driver here. Vaccine to people infected with the Delta variant can be contagious as well.

The bottom line is vaccination save lives and mask could go a long way toward helping keep people safe.

We have a team of experts here to discuss this. Dr. Esther Choo is a professor of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. Jessica Malaty Rivera is the science communication lead for the COVID-19 Tracking Project.

And Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is an epidemiologist and the former health commissioner for the City of Detroit.

Thank you to all of you as we sort through all of this.

I want to talk first to Dr. El-Sayed. The CDC has released a lot of new information and some of this is different than what we knew before. Walk us through what this means, what stands out to you because there is a lot of nuance here.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. I want to give folks a framework to understand how this Delta variant is different than the garden variety coronavirus that we were dealing with at this time last year. And it really has to do with how sticky this particular variant is in our nasal pharynx. The space behind our nose and our bodies.

What we found is that our body stores more of this virus, it takes less of it to make somebody sick and it lasts longer. And what's important here to remember is that even vaccinated people are going to store enough of this virus in their nasal pharynx to be able to pass it on.

And that explains some of the big differences. How much more infectious it is, the fact that rather than one case infecting maybe two to three people, were looking at one case infecting five to even nine people.

It explains why vaccinated people are potentially passing it on in the CDC's recommendation for vaccinated people in high transmission areas to be wearing masks indoors, and explains potentially why we're seeing such serious outbreaks in communities where people are unvaccinated.


The key point I want folks to remember, even though vaccinated people may be passing on the virus, they're still heavily protected. We've seen the quote, unquote, "breakthrough infections" in only .08 percent of people vaccinated.

The most important thing you can do is get vaccinated. Make sure your friends and loved ones are, too.

DEAN: There's no doubt about that. It is a teeny, tiny percentage of people getting breakthrough cases.

Dr. Choo, one of the pieces of the new data, study from Provincetown that found 469 people were infected, and 75 percent were fully vaccinated, 79 percent reported symptoMs. But there were deaths.

It seems the takeaway is the vaccines worked as they were supposed to. How do you think the Americans should interpret these findings?

DR. ESTHER CHOO, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN, OREGAN HEALTH & SCIENCE UNIVERSITY: I think what we'll see, what we see in Provincetown, we'll see more breakthrough cases as we have more people vaccinated. Because just by sheer numbers, even with a small percentage of breakthrough infections, we'll see higher case counts.

But the key thing is, as you said, vaccine provided little hospitalization and no deaths reported. This is still illustration of the vaccine works.

But just a reminder that no vaccine is perfect. That we will continue to see breakthrough infections and breakthrough disease. And we, more than ever, need protections of vaccines as well as layered protection like masks.

The thing about Provincetown was there were a lot of people coming from out of town, so bringing with them different risk profiles. And they were close gatherings, indoor and outdoor gatherings where people were crunched together over a long period of time.

Even with vaccination, we need to be mindful, there are settings where masks and other layer protections are important.

DEAN: And, Jessica, right now, the CDC recommends masks in high-risk areas. That's more than 80 percent of the U.S.

Do you think the Biden administration lifted the original mask mandate too soon or changed guidance too soon, I guess it would be the CDC there?

Do you think it was too soon or is this a case of the virus is evolving, so the guidance has to evolve?

DR. JESSICA MALATY RIVERA, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EPIDEMIOLOGIST & SCIENCE COMMUNICATION LEAD, SAN FRANCISCO COVID-19 TRACKING PROJECT: I do think it was premature. And I think so because really what we were looking for were two major indicators to make policy changes. We were looking for high vaccination and low transmission.

We were seeing lower transmission but not we were not near thresholds for the population being sufficiently vaccinated to have that major change.

As expected, as viruses do, they evolve and more variants emerged and expect more variants to emerge as it continues to replicate in people's bodies. It seems like too early claim of victory.

And what it did, too, it created a false dichotomy that it is mask or vaccine when, instead, public health mitigation is additive. It has to be layered and nuanced.

People thought, if I get vaccinated, I can take the mask off, now that I have to put it back on, the vaccines must not work. That's simply not true.

I think that's where we are failing the American people in explaining it doesn't mean vaccines don't work. It means we are in a more acute situation with viral transmission.

DEAN: That's so important and an important take away for people to hear. It is not that they don't work, it is that the situation is acute. That's a great point.

Let's listen to how two Republican governors responded to the CDC's new mask guidance.


GOV. TATE REEVES (R-MS): Tuesday's change in the CDC mask guidance is foolish. It is horrible.

It wreaks of political panic so as to appear they are in control. It has nothing, let me say that again, it has nothing to do with rational science.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): There will be no restrictions and no mandates in the state of Florida.



DEAN: Ron DeSantis, in Florida, they do not want to allow schools to mandate masks.

Dr. El Sayed, how do you counter arguments from the two governors?

EL SAYED: Well, it is interesting to watch somebody with no training in science and with clear political motives try to interpret science for us.

At risk are people that cannot be vaccinated yet, young people, under the age of 12, and the immunocompromised. The reality that Governor DeSantis is highlighting is that, if we

don't do what we need to do to protect the most vulnerable people in the place where we systemically concentrate them most of the day and year, in their schools, we have to ask ourselves what our responsibilities are in society.


And what's sad to see is DeSantis is putting political motive and anti-science bent that's taking over the politics in his party ahead of well-being of our children.

I don't want to be in a situation where we're talking about a child who gets sick, potentially hospitalized or potentially passes, because somebody decided to make a political stand, rather than follow the science and do what was necessary to protect young people.

People in Florida need to be thinking about what it means to protect our kids. They need to stand up against this attempt to put politics over public health.

DEAN: I am going to ask a panel of experts to stick around.

Coming up, the Delta variant could have a big impact on our everyday lives. The question is, can you go on vacation? Should you send children back to school? How will all this work? The panel will address some of your biggest questions and concerns. That's coming up next.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delta is worse than anyone thought. It's worse than I thought, no question about it. It is much more contagious.

UNIDENTIFIED PHYSICIAN: The two lessons, if you're not vaccinated, get vaccinated. That keeps you out of the hospital.

If you're vaccinated or unvaccinated, when you get together with other people, put that mask right back on. It's really important.


DEAN: The war has changed. That's the headline from the new CDC data on the Delta variant.

My panel of experts joining us again.

Let's start with you, Dr. Choo.

As we learn more information on the Delta variant, what changes, if any, should vaccinated Americans be making to their daily lives? CHOO: Well, based on the new CDC guidance, the push is really for

vaccinated people to understand there are circumstances in which they need to go back to some of the layered security safety measures we had before.

Vaccinated people, in many places, need to wear masks indoors. That includes in places where there's high prevalence, where's there's substantial or high prevalence of COVID.

But it also includes if they have high-risk conditions, if they don't have a normal immune system, or if they have medically vulnerable people at home.

I think it is not to say vaccination doesn't work. We have good protections. But there will be times where we need to go back to layered protection, since it is not 100 percent, and cases are rising everywhere.

DEAN: And, Dr. El Sayed, the CDC says the Delta variant spreads as easily as chickenpox, putting unvaccinated people at severe risk.

Researchers thought the variant spread to two other people on average. Now they think it is closer to eight or nine others with the Delta variant.

Lollapalooza is happening this weekend in Chicago and that event requires proof of vaccination or a negative test.

Do you think that's enough, enough safety precautions?

EL SAYED: Well, I want to step back and highlight what it means, when you say eight to nine people versus two to three people that it spreads to.

If you think about three generations of spread, the difference is 27 people in the original calculation for the original SARS COV-2 virus to 614 with Delta. That's how much more infection, exponential growth, not minimal growth.

When you think about an event like Lollapalooza, yes, it is outside. And I think it is important that organizers sought to guarantee people are vaccinated or have a negative test.

For folks that are concerned, the additional layer of protection is a mask. It's a prudent thing to do, particularly, as Dr. Choo mentioned, if people are immunocompromised or unvaccinated in the home with whom you're coming into contact.

DEAN: Right.

Jessica, we are averaging about 67,000 new cases a day, similar to what we saw last year. This time, cases are rising rapidly.

We are still in summer vacation season. Do you think families should be cancelling plans, making changes to plans at this point? RIVERA: That's a really difficult question, honestly. I struggle with

it myself. My family have plans to travel, to see family for big events.

And I think risk tolerance is very individual because we all have different experiences with what we're doing with school now, if there are, you know, at-home situations or camps, et cetera. I don't think it is a one-size-fits-all answer.

But I think we need to be considering the fact that when we talk about the unvaccinated, our children are in that population.

And because I have two unvaccinated children who are not eligible to be vaccinated for a few more months, we're going to scale back some things we were enjoying a few months ago after we got vaccinated just out of abundance of caution.

DEAN: Dr. Choo, some students are going back to school in a matter of days. A charter school in Atlanta says nine students, five staff members tested positive for COVID. That means more than 100 students are quarantining.

What is your advice to parents who may be nervous about sending young children back for in-person learning, kids who are not eligible to be vaccinated yet?

CHOO: Yes. There's a lot of guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC about the importance of going back to in-person learning.

It won't be possible for some students, particularly those with medical conditions.

But on the whole, both AAP and CDC are emphasizing supporting schools in making it safe enough for students to return but providing all the layered protections that they need so they can feel that way.


While we are still waiting for vaccinations, students should continue to wear masks, distance as much as possible.

Make sure schools are well ventilated, that sanitary precautions are in place and they're monitoring for symptoms, that testing is readily accessible and screening is happening.

All those things should be in place in schools.

And parents should be in conversations with school administrators and community and public health officials to make sure what's right for that location is happening to the fullest extent so students of all backgrounds and needs can come back in-person whenever possible.

I think the priority should be addressing parents' concerns to make it feel as comfortable and safe as possible for most students to return to in-person learning this fall. DEAN: We're going to have more with the panel in just a moment.



DEAN: The CDC calls it a "pivotal discovery" on breakthrough infections. Vaccinated people with the Delta variant may be able to transmit the virus as easily as those who are unvaccinated.

But the vaccine is still the best way to protect yourself and will keep you, most likely, out of the hospital and prevents death.

All this new information has vaccinated people questioning what's safe and what's not.

Let's ask our panel for their advice on some practical things people are wondering about.

Jessica, one question is, would you go grocery shopping without a mask if you're vaccinated?

RIVERA: Without a mask, no. I think it's important to wear a mask indoors in public settings.

DEAN: Dr. El Sayed, would you visit family members that are older or immunocompromised at this point?

EL SAYED: I would, but I would definitely be wearing a mask. And I would, if possible, do it outdoors and take advantage of the weather.

Stepping back, one idea, if you have to ask, wear a mask.

DEAN: Oh, good one.

OK. Dr. Choo, would you take your family, including unvaccinated children, to an amusement park?

CHOO: I would. I would make some modifications from usual. We would all wear masks. We would stay outside as much as possible.

And we would certainly probably pack food or purchase food and eat it outside rather than anywhere indoors.

DEAN: Got it.

Jessica, what about an indoor wedding? What would you do about that right now?

We lost her.

Dr. El Sayed, we'll give that to you. An indoor wedding at this point?

EL SAYED: I would encourage folks to make sure folks who attend are vaccinated or wearing masks. But indoor, I would likely wear a mask and make sure that my family did, too. DEAN: Dr. Choo, what about a Broadway show? They're going to require

masks and vaccinations. Would you feel confident going to a Broadway show?

CHOO: I would. I would look for other things, like distance between seats and good hand sanitation and some screening going on about people with symptoms.

But if they're requiring vaccinations, all wearing masks, I would feel comfortable doing is that.

DEAN: Dr. El Sayed, what about a football game at a sold-out outdoor stadium? What do you think about that?

EL SAYED: I live in Ann Arbor and I love my Wolverines, so, yes, but again, I would probably wear a mask and make sure that I kept that on throughout the game.

DEAN: If you have to ask, wear a mask, was that it?

EL SAYED: That's right.


Dr. Choo, one last one for you. Would you send your children back to school in person if their teacher was unvaccinated?

CHOO: Oh, boy. Yes, you know, I think I would. I have four kids. I'm very eager for them to get back to school.

And I think it would be very important to me to have a conversation about what that classroom is doing to make sure that everyone is staying safe, including the teacher.

And I just wanted to add on one thing. There's been some conversation about this being a pandemic of the unvaccinated. I don't think that's an accurate statement.

I think all my panelists agree that we're all in this together and the Delta variant is really underscoring this, that these are conversations.

There is shared responsibility across the community to make sure that everyone is safe and that we're not basically allowing this pandemic to continue and to create more variants.

But everybody, vaccinated and unvaccinated, has a role to play in that.

DEAN: All right. Dr. Abdul El Sayed and Dr. Esther Choo -- we lost Jessica Rivera -- but we thank you for all of this great advice and insight. We appreciate it.

We'll be right back.

[13:54:07] Thank you, Doctors.


DEAN: President Biden has nominated Gold Star father, Khizr Khan, to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The commission is tasked with reviewing cases on infringement of religious rights.

You may remember Khizr Khan for his speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention where he delivered a blistering on attack on then- Candidate Donald Trump for making disparaging comments about Muslim- Americans.

Khan's son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, died in Bagdad in 2004.

For 58 hours, the world watch with bated breath. And tonight, CNN will recount the incredible rescue of Baby Jessica, the infant who fell into a well in her aunt's backyard in Texas. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little kid fell down a well. Well, everybody's first thought, well, four or five feet, six feet, we can reach down to get her out of there. But, you know, it turned out to be very different.

But that hole isn't that big around. I don't even think it's 12 inches. Would a dog fall down there? A chihuahua or a small terrier? Yes. But a baby? Last thing to come to your mind.



DEAN: "58 HOURS: THE BABY JESSICA STORY," a CNN short film, premieres tonight at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.