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CNN NEWSROOM

Florida Accounts For Nearly One In Five New Cases Nationwide; More Meetings, More Edits To 2,000-Page Infrastructure Bill; Celebrity Stylist Honors Frontline Nurses With Makeovers; Interview With Savannah, Georgia Mayor Van Johnson (D); Georgia Governor Vows No Lockdown Despite COVID Surge; Israeli Health Ministry Data Show Vaccine Effectiveness May Wane Over Time. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 1, 2021 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:00]

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST: He says it's a miracle he survived.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNY THOMPSON, COVID SURVIVOR: I just thought it was one of those things that might have been blown out of proportion and healthy people don't get sick. And I have proved that wrong. If I wouldn't have got sick, I would probably be, I don't know if I need it or not. But I did go through it. And it's -- it is as bad as they say it is for certain people.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Danny Thompson avoided the multiple organ transplant that doctors had at one point feared would be necessary. A nagging cough appears to be his only remaining symptom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overall for the country, vaccination rates are up. That's what desperately needs to happen if we're going to get this Delta variant put back in its place because right now it's having a pretty big party in the middle of the country.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: The vaccines are doing what they're supposed to do. They're protecting one from getting seriously ill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to give people hope. It's one arm, one shot, one life. And we've just got to keep pumping and grinding.

LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R), FLORIDA: For millions of folks there are just a couple of questions of being answered away from being vaccinated. And that's ultimately the answer to this pandemic, is getting as many people vaccinated as we possibly can.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: I'm Phil Mattingly in Washington, in for Pamela Brown tonight. And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

More pandemic wary Americans are getting the point. The vaccines work. The number new shots given is still rising. The CDC now reporting that more than 700,000 Americans got a dose of vaccine every day for the past five days. Still, just shy of half the country is now fully vaccinated. The tens of millions of people still unvaccinated are vulnerable to the more contagious Delta variant and new cases are rising.

Take a look at the map on your screen right now. All those states in dark red have new cases jumping at least 50 percent compared to the week prior. Hospitalizations and deaths, they are also surging. So health officials are stressing this number.

Listen to this number. More than 99.999 percent of people fully vaccinated will survive a breakthrough infection. Listen to that number.

Florida has become the epicenter of the surge. That state accounts for nearly one in five -- of all the new cases in the entire country.

CNN's Randi Kaye is in Riviera Beach, and Randi, public health officials are dealing with this. It seems like again. What are they telling the people of Florida? What are they doing right now?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're telling the people of Florida exactly what you just said. Get vaccinated. The vaccines work. They really desperately need the people here to be vaccinated. If you just look at the numbers from the last week. More than 110,000 Floridians tested positive for COVID. The daily average over the last week is 15,818 cases per day.

And just let me take you back to mid-July of last year. This is like deja vu because we were seeing cases about 15,000 cases a day in mid- July of last year as well. So here we are again. And we just set a record yesterday. The most cases, the most new cases in a single day since the pandemic started here in Florida. 21,683 new COVID cases just yesterday.

And if you look at how Florida is contributing to the numbers across the country, 19.2 percent of all COVID cases that are being reported across the country are right here in Florida. And mostly here in South Florida. Also, only about half of the people here in Florida are vaccinated. 49 percent. So just under half are vaccinated, fully vaccinated here in this state.

And those who are getting sick are the unvaccinated. That's why the message is to get vaccinated. They're ending up in the ERs, they're ending up in the hospitals, and the ICUs, on breathing machines. I met with some of them recently in Jacksonville at Baptist Medical Center. These patients were struggling to breathe, struggling to survive. They are unvaccinated. Listen to what one told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANCISCA, COVID-19 PATIENT: I am feeling bad. KAYE: Bad?

FRANCISCA: Yes. I cannot breathe good. I have shortness of breath. I feel sorry about not getting a vaccine.

KAYE: You're sorry you didn't get the vaccine. Do you think you would be here if you had gotten the vaccine?

FRANCISCA: No.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: And that woman told me that her entire family is unvaccinated, and they all got COVID. And now they all plan to get the vaccine. A little bit late but hopefully they will all survive and be able to get that vaccine.

Also, Phil, a lot of concern about children. We're going to be going back to school here in Florida in the next couple of weeks. And there has been 10,585 cases of COVID positive children under the age of 12 in the last week. The positivity rate for children in that age group right now is 18.1 percent.

[19:05:03]

The state positivity rate is 18.2 percent. So right in line with that. And still, Governor Ron DeSantis here in Florida is saying that there cannot be a mask mandate in schools. In fact, he issued an executive order saying so. Saying that it's up to the parents, it's their choice, it's freedom of choice.

And if they -- if the schools defy his executive order, then they said they can lose their funding and be subject to some type of reprimand as well, Phil. So certainly a tricky situation as kids go back to school here.

MATTINGLY: Yes. No question. Just as complicated as always for the parents and the kids.

Randi Kaye, thank so much for the great reporting.

Let's bring in former Biden senior adviser for COVID response, Andy Slavitt. He is the author of "Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response."

Andy, I'm really happy to get to talk to you. Mostly because I usually sit at the White House and have a lot of questions based on what's transpired over the course of the last several days. But I want to start with something that Dr. Fauci said today about the current surge. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: I don't think we're going to see lockdowns. I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country, not enough to crush the outbreak, but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter. But things are going to get worse.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: So it was the add-on in the end that kind of caught me. Because it sounds a little bit counterintuitive. But I also know that what Dr. Fauci was referring to there and also this kind of a delicate political process here, but if things are going to get worse, wouldn't more COVID restrictions in hotspots mitigate some of that concern?

ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER BIDEN WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER FOR COVID RESPONSE: I think the big difference between last year and this year is last year we didn't have any scientific tools. All we really had was our requirements that we stay away from one another. You know, today we all have the option to get vaccinated. And for those who choose to do that, I think we're now learning it makes sense to still wear a mask on top of that so we have the maximum amount of protection.

But for people who haven't been vaccinated, that really is what they need to do. So you locking down the whole society because people are refusing to get vaccinated is challenging both from an ethical and a policy standpoint. What we really need to do is make sure people get vaccinated and everyone else until they do has to protect themselves even more unfortunately.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And from an economic perspective as well. I want to dig in on this issue because I know you paid as close attention as anyone to the issue of hesitancy, to the issue of trying to get folks vaccinated while you were inside the administration. The tide right now seems to be turning in terms of corporations, mandating employees to be vaccinated.

When you were inside, were you getting a sense that this was coming? Were you working with folks trying to push them in this direction? And do you feel like the shift will have a tangible effect on vaccination rates?

SLAVITT: You know, I think Delta is adding a sense of urgency to the country, to the nation's employers. You know, I think employers, all things considered, would prefer not to have the friction with their employees by creating a requirement. So a perfectly fair approach is to say, look, we'd like you to get vaccinated.

We think it makes sense. If for whatever reason you don't want to get vaccinate, you still need to demonstrate that you're not infectious, and so you're going to need to take a regular test which gives you a negative result.

And I think that's a fair alternative to just purely requiring it. But, look, health care workers, corporate CEOs, I think everyone is getting the picture that we don't defeat Delta until we step up and do this. My sense now from employers is we're going to see a lot of action over the coming week or two. And I think that's a good thing.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And along those lines, you know, the president as well requiring federal employees to get vaccinated or get tested weekly. You know, when you were in, White House officials didn't want any part of mandates. And this isn't a mandate. I want to make that abundantly clear. But mandates, requirements, everybody -- you guys were pretty careful about how you discuss those things. Behind the scenes, was this something you guys were talking about? And if so, why wasn't it implemented before now?

SLAVITT: Well, look. I think, we were -- I think, look, first of all, I don't think that we would ever require someone to put something in their body that they don't want to put in their body. And people shouldn't feel like that that's a requirement. Now, we also shouldn't require that people who are immunocompromised or under 12 get exposed to being sick because people refuse to do that.

So we have to say to people, look, there's a consequence if you choose not to get vaccinated. And you can't participate in the public square quite the same you could otherwise. I think as we were going through the spring, the rush to get people who wanted to be vaccinated were vaccinated, and allowed people to have a dialogue was the first course and the first measure.

Now that we're here, and now that we're with Delta, and now that we have I think everyone realizing that a very safe vaccine and a very effective vaccine, employers are making the decision that, hey, if you're going to come in our workspace and potentially infect other people, there is a responsibility, (INAUDIBLE) that goes along with, and I think that's the right move.

[19:10:17]

So -- and I understand what you're saying. And particularly nobody saw Delta coming, although people knew new variants were a possibility to some degree several months ago. But, you know, when you -- when the mass vaccination started to wane a little bit, you were very candid this was going to be a grinded out period. This was going to be -- you know, we're trying to get one vaccination at a time. We're looking at the data, we know what we're dealing with here.

Do you wish that instead of -- you were so incentive based, you're so availability based that more sticks maybe would have been included in that process as you were kind of trying to figure out the formula that could work here?

SLAVITT: Well, look. I mean, these are questions that are great questions. I mean, I ask myself all the time. And I ask myself then, what more could we do? I think it's really important to respect people's intelligence by listening to them, by not making them feel like this is forced. I think it is appropriate for an employer to say to their employee that hey, you've got a responsibility here.

I don't think that's quite as appropriate from the federal government, it's also not legal from the federal government to put those kinds of sticks in place, but I think it was the right move for the president to do it for the federal workforce. I think it will be the right move when General Austin presumably make the same decision for the U.S. Military, and I think it will start to move in waves in that direction. So my hope is that we can continue to spring board this. And I was --

to answer your earlier question, I was calling corporations every day asking them how comfortable and how aggressive they felt, like, I was on the phone this morning with a number of large employers having the same conversation, and they've shifted. They've shifted a little bit from where they were in the spring when it felt like they really didn't feel the urgency.

To some degree, we were a victim of our own success because cases were dropping and we had a hard time conveying the urgency to people.

MATTINGLY: Yes. One more before I let you go. You know, we've seen an uptick over the course of the last five or six days. A significant uptick. The highest vaccination rates day by day since June I think at this point in time. It's anecdotal at this point in time. I don't think we have interviews with all of the 800,000 that were vaccinated yesterday. 500,000 brand new vaccinations.

But based on all the data you had access to, you've seen now as well, do you think this is because of Delta? Is that driving force here? Is it finally kind of sinking in or are there any number of different reasons?

SLAVITT: Right. No question. So I think about it this way. We drove cases from about 350,000 a day down to about 10,000 a day. When they were 10,000 a day, plenty of 25-year-olds, and I love the 25-year- olds. I've got a 23-year-old son so this is not a shot, were thinking, hey, what's the urgency? This thing is disappearing. And so we have to continue to try to message to people, hey, this has not gone away. This is serious. You still need to do this.

But at 10,000 cases a day, the urgency went away. So it's -- to some extent I think we were a victim of our ability to drive down case counts. And now that cases are going back up, I think people are realizing it ain't over and you really do have to do this in order to put it this behind us.

MATTINGLY: Yes. No question. Let's hope it continues and surges even more.

Andy Slavitt, appreciate your time as always. Invaluable perspective on things. Thanks.

All right, two of the top women's health groups say pregnant women should be getting the vaccine. But there are still a lot of questions. Fertility Dr. Natalie Crawford joins me ahead. Plus, the governor of Georgia very clearly does not want mask mandates. But the mayor of one of Georgia's biggest cities is now requiring them in all indoor Republican spaces. I'll talk to the mayor of Savannah.

Plus, a long weekend in the Senate could turn into a very late night for senators. Count on that actually as last-minute edit hold up that $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:18:20]

MATTINGLY: The devil is in the details especially with a 2,000-plus page, trillion-dollar bill at stake. CNN has learned the infrastructure bill bogged down at least temporarily as the bipartisan group of senators tries to negotiate the line edits I think on the side of certain pages and finalize that deal.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is on Capitol Hill, watching and waiting.

And Suzanne, I'm not going to ask you the question that always drove me insane when you and I were up there together, which is when is this going to be finalized and introduced? But I am going to ask you, what is going on? Like why -- explain to people why this takes a little bit longer than anyone would want it to.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Phil, it is a little bit maddening, as you know. And one of the senators who's presiding over the floor today said, well, you know, they've been saying the language is going to come over the next two hours for the last 24 hours.

And she said that potentially it could come late tonight or even early tomorrow morning. That is because every senator wants a little piece of this here, obviously, to add what they would like and the staffers have been working around the clock to do just.

It is more than 2,000 pages as you mentioned. A trillion dollars. Half of that is a new federal spending over the next five years and this is for traditional infrastructure roads, bridges, broadband, that time of thing. Once this final text is introduced as a substitute amendment, it becomes the base of the bill.

And as you know, that opens up this process where all the senators can introduce amendments if they like, Schumer and McConnell will negotiate which ones actually come up for a vote. It will be 60 votes for those amendments to pass, and then hours and hours of debate that will play out over the next couple of days or so with the hope of a final passage. And then it goes to the House side.

[19:20:02]

What makes this complicated, however, is that there is a critical parallel track, if you will. This is the Democrats, moderates as well as progressives who are fighting each other on a much bigger proposal, $3.5 trillion reconciliation package dealing with what they call human infrastructure, education, health care, Medicaid, things like that -- of that nature.

There are some in the party, the progressive who say look, this is conditional. We are not going to support the bipartisan infrastructure package without seeing this larger more ambitious one move forward. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): After the bipartisan infrastructure legislation passes this chamber, I will immediately move to the other track. Passing a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions and we must accomplish both.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): If there is not a reconciliation bill in the House, and if the Senate does not pass a reconciliation bill, we will uphold our end of the bargain and not pass the bipartisan bill until we get all of these investments in.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: So it could take some time, Phil. We will be here until this happens late into the night. Hopefully, we won't be seeing you as well but we don't know how long this is going to go. It could go for quite some time.

MATTINGLY: Hang if there. There's a good coffee machine right the --

MALVEAUX: Yes, it's OK.

MATTINGLY: Yes. There's -- yes, now you're down to like vending machine coffee and stay away from that and the rest of the side of things.

Suzanne Malveaux, greatly appreciate it as always. Thank you.

MALVEAUX: My pleasure.

MATTINGLY: All right. The governor of Georgia argues bringing back mask mandates will discourage vaccine holdouts from getting the shot. But the city of Savannah is bringing the requirement back to indoor public places. Are schools next?

The mayor of Savannah joins me live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:26:17]

MATTINGLY: The Delta variant is fueling a surge in new coronavirus cases across the country. Even states with relatively high vaccination rates are actually seeing a huge jump in people who need to be hospitalized. In California more than half the residents are fully vaccinated. Look at the number of hospitalizations. They are up more than 40 percent in just the last week.

CNN's Paul Vercammen joins me now from Los Angeles where we just got alarming new numbers about that latest surge.

Paul, what are you seeing?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, let's drill down on those Los Angeles County numbers. And indeed, as you're pointing out, hospitalizations on the rise. Now 1,071. Deaths often lag about three weeks behind those hospitalization numbers so while they're only at five, we need to watch those numbers carefully. And then the new cases exploding, 3045 in Los Angeles County. This is

putting a burden on the hospital system. And weary nurses need to get off their feet. And today in west Los Angeles they did just that. A salon offering a free makeover. One of these hero nurses has been fighting COVID for a year and a half. She also, while trying on a wedding gown, raced outside a shop and tended to a woman who had been struck by a car.

She got married this week. In that very same wedding gown. But she has been at this for a long time. We asked her, what about people who have unvaccinated relatives? What would you tell them? Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAHLIA MALDONADO, UCLA SANTA MONICA NURSE: I don't want to be the last thing that you see. I want you to be surrounded by your family and friends and their comfort. And as much as we try to build community around our patients, they need that love from their family. And we will provide that for them but I want them to have that with them in the hospital.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN: And so these hero nurses got the makeover. The Marco Pelusi Salon dedicating all of its free time and bringing in other stylists and a whole lot of other people. And there's a lot of people in Los Angeles County given what these nurses have done who would love to give them all the we're not worthy -- I just dated myself from "Wayne's World," but you know what I'm saying, Phil, they are very grateful for what these nurses and doctors and frontline workers have done during this pandemic.

Back to you.

MATTINGLY: Paul, not only do I know what you're saying but I share the sentiment. Good for the salon. More of that, please.

Paul Vercammen, thank you so much.

All right. Now to Georgia, with less than 39 percent of the state vaccinated, cases are staggering -- are a staggering 230 percent up in the last two weeks. And COVID hospitalizations are reaching levels not seen since February back when vaccine eligibility was significantly more limited. Now despite the rising numbers, Governor Brian Kemp has vowed no new mask mandates or lockdowns.

But mayors in Atlanta and Savannah are ignoring that stance at least when it comes to the mask. They've reinstituted mask mandates. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson joins me now.

Mr. Mayor, thanks for being with us. I think one of the interesting questions I've had for both federal officials and local officials over the course of the last several days, what was the tipping point for you? What were you seeing in the data that made you say, all right, we have to do something to slow this down. It's time to bring back masks? MAYOR VAN JOHNSON (D), SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: Well, thank you for the

opportunity. For us, we saw an increase in our community transmission index. We saw an increase in our hospitalizations. We saw an increase in our positivity tests. And Savannah is a beautiful city. People come from all over the country to come and see our city.

We recognize that Florida is very close to us and is now one of the hottest places in the country. And people are coming from all over the place. And so although we released our mask -- relaxed our mask mandate earlier on this year, in an abundance of caution, we thought it was best to go ahead and reinstitute that to try to slow the spread.

[19:30:02]

MATTINGLY: Have you have -- you know, one of the questions that we have here in D.C. is okay, for how long? What are your metrics? How do you know when it's time to take it -- to not have it in place anymore? To pull it back like he did last time?

JOHNSON: I think very clearly that the numbers are not going up. We also want people -- hospitalizations to go down. Our community transmission index by its own state standard of being less than 100. We are way past that. Our positivity rates to be able to go down.

And really most importantly for us, for our vaccination rates go up. Georgia has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. We're a little bit above that, maybe about 42 percent, which means most people in Savannah, Chatham County at this point are not vaccinated. We have to get our vaccination rates up.

MATTINGLY: So on that point, what's the -- you know, everybody is trying to figure out what the secret sauce is to change that dynamic. What have you seen and what are you doing -- what's the city doing to change what you're looking at right now in the vaccination rate?

JOHNSON: Well, fortunately, we're blessed with an outstanding Health District, which helps us to formulate policy. I'm willing to go hard with the pain and do whatever it takes to help make people recognize the need for vaccination.

We don't want someone dying as close to them to be the reason or the impetus for someone to get vaccinated. Certainly, we're looking also at being able to do some type of incentives, whatever it takes. If we have to knock on every single door in Savannah and ask people their vaccination status, school starts this week in the public system and we recognize that's a another trigger that we have to be very concerned about.

So as far as I'm concerned, and as far as my Council is concerned, it is all hands on deck over the next couple of days. We have to get ahead of this.

MATTINGLY: Can I ask you, I think you've tangled with Governor Kemp before on his specific issues? Do you get pushback when you decide to go in a different direction of where the Governor is? And have you tried to persuade him or his administration to keep mask mandates on the table?

JOHNSON: Well, I respect Governor Kemp. I recognize that he has a job and a responsibility to keep Georgia safe. Our responsibility is to keep Savannah safe. And so obviously, we're viewing the world through two different sets of lenses. And so in Savannah, we're going to do what it takes to keep Savannah safe. We know as being the first city in the state that instituted mask mandates, that masking does work. It is inconvenient, and it's uncomfortable. But we recognize that it does slow the spread.

And so we've instituted that again, hopefully, to slow the spread, and allow our vaccination rate to come up and increase past 50 percent and we'll see where it goes.

MATTINGLY: And one last one before I let you go. One of the things Governor Kemp has said, we've heard from a lot of folks on the Republican side is, you know, re-imposing masked mandates is going to give mixed messages about those who have been warry about getting vaccinate. They're going to say, look, if the vaccination exists, why are you re-imposing mask mandates?

Are you concerned at all about mixed messaging? Is that something that kind of enters the dynamic here?

JOHNSON: Well, I'm concerned about the messages being vaccinated. If you get vaccinated, we won't have to wear the mask. And so I think that, you know, for us, you need an intermediate step, and we send our kids to schools, we send them with a raincoat and umbrella if we think it's raining. So, we need to send our kids and our folks out with mask if there is a pandemic out there in which people are getting sick.

The data is clear, and I think you said it earlier in an earlier segment that if you are vaccinated, and you are -- you catch COVID through the delta variant, you might get sick, but you won't die. And that's where we're trying to stop people from dying, stop you from being hospitalized. And we know the majority of people, the vast majority of people in Savannah Chatham County Hospitals are not vaccinated.

MATTINGLY: Yes, that's a big concern across the country, not just in Savannah, but Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, thanks so much for your time, sir. I really appreciate it.

JOHNSON: Thank you so much.

MATTINGLY: All right, coming up, important coronavirus information for pregnant mothers. A fertility physician is here to walk us through the facts and bust the very prevalent myths about the COVID vaccines, which are now being recommended for all moms to be. Dr. Natalie Crawford joins us live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:38:53]

MATTINGLY: In Israel, officials have decided to offer a third dose of coronavirus vaccine to some of their older citizens. That's amid concerns from the Israeli Health Ministry that immunity might start wearing off over time. CNN's Hadas Gold has more details from Jerusalem.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Phil, Israel has officially kicked off its vaccine booster campaign. Anyone in Israel who is over the age of 60 and received their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine more than five months ago is now eligible to receive a third booster shot.

According to the Israeli Health Services, already more than 22,000 people have received that third dose and more than 181,000 have made appointments to do so. According to the Israeli government, the goal is to get more than 1.5 million people vaccinated within the next 10 days.

Now, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made the announcement about this campaign last week saying that they're doing so because of data from the Israeli Health Ministry showing the vaccine may be losing its effectiveness over time.

According to that data, for people who received their second dose of the vaccine by the end of January, the vaccine effectiveness of being able to fend off infection may drop to as low as 16 percent, although their ability to prevent severe illness is still pretty high at around 86 percent.

[19:40:16]

GOLD: But because of that data, the Israeli government decided to launch this vaccine booster campaign, but it's not being done without controversy because Israel is making this move before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or before the World Health Organization are recommending a booster shot and they are very well aware that it is essentially turning Israel into a test case for the rest of the world.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has already said that he has actually spoken with Dr. Anthony Fauci about this campaign and that they plan to share the data of what happens here as a result of this booster campaign with the rest of the world.

But their goal is essentially to keep the economy open, to keep the education system open, and they hope that this vaccination campaign, this booster campaign will help them achieve that goal -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Hadas Gold, thanks. Still ahead, having the guts to tackle race and representation is the secret sauce of some of the greatest sitcoms of all time. The executive editor of "Entertainment Weekly" is here to talk about how these shows helped change TV and the country, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:45:41]

MATTINGLY: For moms to be, pregnancy can be one of the most joyous yet absolutely anxiety ridden times of their lives. But now, I want to add a once in a century pandemic to that specifically the delta variant.

On Friday, two leading organizations came out to strongly recommend getting the vaccine if you're pregnant. That includes the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine. Joining me with more Dr. Natalie Crawford, a fertility specialist in Austin, Texas.

Welcome Dr. Crawford. I know this is such a significant issue right now. And I kind of want to just cut to the chase, and then we'll expand a little bit. Should pregnant women have any hesitation about getting vaccinated?

DR. NATALIE CRAWFORD, A FERTILITY SPECIALIST, AUSTIN, TEXAS: That is a great question, and the answer is no. Every leading organization that takes care of pregnant people, so you take some of them, and ASRM which is the American Society for Reproductive Medicine will say that not only should pregnant people be vaccinated, but they should be encouraged to do so by their physicians, because we in the risk of COVID-19 disease, especially with the delta variant is significant for mom and babies.

MATTINGLY: And I think that's really an interesting point because everybody, I think to some degree, when I talk to public health officials, you need to flip this on its head a little bit and think about what the alternative to not getting vaccinated. There is a recent study in the U.K. that showed the delta variant is causing much more severe disease in pregnant women, they were 50 percent more likely to need ventilation, be admitted to the ICU, or get pneumonia than other patients.

The C.D.C. agrees that the COVID-19 infections put pregnant women at an increased risk for severe complications. Is that kind of what you're seeing too when you kind of sit in the space here?

CRAWFORD: Yes, exactly. We know that pregnant women are more likely to get intubated and be on ECMO and die. And we think pregnancy complications like preeclampsia, like having a C-section or having preterm birth, and fetal death. And so we want to prevent negative outcomes, COVID-19 severe disease is a preventable disease by vaccination and tens of thousands of pregnant women have received the vaccine and there is no increase in stillbirth, miscarriage. We don't increase an adverse outcome from the vaccine, but a COVID infection has potential serious adverse outcomes.

MATTINGLY: This is just such important information particularly with all the misinformation out there as well. Dr. Natalie Crawford, greatly appreciative of your time and this information. Folks, listen to doctor saying what's going on here. Dr. Natalie Crawford, thanks so much for your time.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:53:18] MATTINGLY: The push to vaccinate as many Americans as possible from

COVID-19 has been massive. But making sure everyone has access, it has been one of the hardest parts.

Two CNN Heroes, Dr. Jim Withers and Dr. Wendy Ross are going the extra mile to make sure people they serve don't miss out on these life saving measures. CNN's Anderson Cooper has more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360 (voice over): In Pittsburgh, Dr. Jim Withers brings medical care and now vaccines to those experiencing homelessness.

DR. JIM WITHERS, CNN HERO: Can I take a listen?

We have to go to where someone is and cut down the barriers.

If I had a lollipop, I'd give it to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

WITHERS: We provide something that can save a life and the lives of people that they come in contact with. It's a really unique and powerful feeling.

DR. WENDY ROSS, CNN HERO: Anthony, I just want to say high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi.

COOPER (voice over): In Philadelphia, Dr. Wendy Ross's low-stress, sensory-friendly vaccination clinic for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities like autism is a game changer.

ROSS: There's less waiting online. And we provide tools like fidgets. All of our vaccinators are educated to be sensitive and to have strategies for vaccinating this population.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All done. All done.

(CHEERING)

ROSS: Good job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: High-five. High five.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Awesome, awesome.

ROSS: Getting the vaccine to this population absolutely is saving lives.

I just feel that everyone matters and has value, and that everyone should be included.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: To see Anderson Cooper's full story and nominate someone you know to be a CNN Hero, go to CNNheroes.com now.

This week on an all-new episode of the CNN series "History of The Sitcom," we take a look at how different sitcoms have tackled race and representation over the years.

[19:55:09]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must set higher goals. We must set higher goals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the 1970s, Stokely Carmichael was one of the Black Panthers and Stokely and some of his Panthers go storming into Norman Lear's office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My secretary said, there are three guys that want to see the garbage man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said you've got this poor black family on good times. You know, all black people aren't poor like that. This is a real misrepresentation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we had a black family next door on the family, and then we decided to move them on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Patrick Gomez is here with me now. He is the executive editor of "Entertainment Weekly." And Patrick, this issue is so dynamic. We just saw Norman Lear in that clip, he created the first sitcoms to really address racial issues in provocative ways.

I'm interested. How did shows like "All in the Family," "Good Time," "Sanford and Son," how did they change how sitcoms dealt with race on television?

PATRICK GOMEZ, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": Sitcoms have always been a place where we can tackle important issues and laugh at them and that kind of disarms you.

And so Norman Lear realized that this was a really important venue to speak about racial issues, and that it wasn't being done. And so he wanted to be at the forefront of that. We saw that on "All in the Family," all of the things that Archie Bunker would say, and then would be debunked.

And then even more so on "The Jeffersons," just representation became so important. And it's really interesting to watch the trajectory because we saw that really big explosion, and then through most of the 80s there wasn't as much.

And so the history of race in the sitcom is fascinating when you look at the moments in time that have been impacted by deciding to tell those stories.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And you mentioned what's interesting, you mentioned the progression, by the time you get to the 1990s, there is this explosion of black sitcoms, right, on networks like FOX and the WB. Why did we see such a rise in black-centered shows at that time, and I guess what happened to all of them,

GOMEZ: We have to look at the history of those networks. FOX was a fledgling network in the late 80s, into the early 90s, and they wanted to establish themselves with an audience. And so they went to a black audience that wasn't getting served on some of the other big networks and said, you know, let us serve that audience.

Now, unfortunately, once they became popular enough as a network, they decided, well, let's go for the wider audience, and that meant steering away from stories that highlighted black voices. So, we saw the WB say, well, we're going to take that same playbook UPN, as well. And then when the CW got more and more popular, we saw them steer away from that as well.

So you know, unfortunately, that's been the history on network television is that go after the niche market first, and then expand to a broader market? And unfortunately, that leaves the more minority voices on the outs again.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it's a really great kind of perspective on things because it's actually one I wanted to ask about, you know, over time, you see more and more black characters on sitcoms on TV, but you didn't necessarily see anywhere close to the same representation of other minority groups.

Why did it take so long for that, in particular, to change?

GOMEZ: Sure, I mean, the clip that we just saw with Norman Lear, who did so much in terms of representation, you know, this is a white man, and he had predominantly white writing staffs, and that meant that while we may have seen black faces on TV, those people telling those stories were predominantly white, and therefore weren't able to speak with authenticity about the black experience in America or any other minority experience.

And so as we started to see more and more people of color behind the scenes, the authenticity is really what we saw grow and it has exploded as of recent, which has been fantastic to see.

MATTINGLY: And this is kind of the second to the last question I wanted to get to, what shows out there right now, today that you see a really kind of pushing the boundaries on racial and cultural issues.

GOMEZ: I think that, you know, we look at "Ramy" on Hulu, telling the story of a Muslim-American man, and it is not about being Muslim. He just happens to be Muslim and a lot of his storytelling comes from the fact that that's his upbringing and that's his family history. But we all are able to enjoy that whether or not we're Muslim.

You look at what Kenya Barris has done with the "Blackish" universe at this point with all the different issues and he is doing some fascinating work there as well. And I think if you look beyond race, we see that because streaming platforms allow for so much storytelling, so many stories to be told that seemingly infinite that we end up also seeing the like people with autism represented on shows like special or atypical.

And I think that it's fantastic that we are finding on streaming platforms to give not only representation in front of the camera, but representation behind the camera as well. These people are telling their own stories, and that's been beautiful to see.

MATTINGLY: Now, there's no question about it. It's been game changing to some degree as well. Patrick Gomez, the insight invaluable. Thank you so much for your time.

The all-new episode of the CNN Original Series "History of The Sitcom," it airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.

Thank you for joining me in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Phil Mattingly in Washington.

Everybody, please have a wonderful Sunday night.

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