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CNN NEWSROOM

U.K. Analysis Shows New Variants Could Beat Current Vaccines; CDC Data Show Rarity Of Breakthrough Cases; Israel Rolls Out Vaccine Boosters; China Scrambles To Contain Growing COVID-19 Outbreak; Australia's Battle With COVID-19; Expiring Eviction Ban Leaves Millions Of Americans In Limbo; Senate Races To Finalize Infrastructure Bill; What Republicans Knew Ahead Of Capitol Riot. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired August 1, 2021 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:00]

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ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi, welcome to all of our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Robyn Curnow, live in Atlanta.

Coming up, despite readily available vaccines, COVID is surging in the U.S. and it is expected to get worse.

Meanwhile, there are new fears that a variant could develop that is resistant to current vaccines.

Plus, Simone Biles withdraws from another Olympic event.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: Good to have you along this hour.

The World Health Organization says the highly contagious Delta variant is now found in at least 132 countries worldwide and is threatening to overwhelm many healthcare systems.

Hospitalizations across the U.S. have tripled in the last month, a sure sign of a deepening crisis. Even vaccinated Americans are now urged to wear face masks again in public places, especially where transmission is high, shown here in red.

We're also learning more about the likelihood of a fully vaccinated person becoming infected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk, though, is minuscule.

So far about 6,300 vaccinated Americans have become infected and needed medical treatment. That's out of more than 160 million total vaccinations. For the latest across the U.S., here's Polo Sandoval.

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POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New cases of the coronavirus are rising in every state across the nation by at least 10 percent over the past week but there are glimmers of hope.

Weekly vaccinations rates are up 26 percent from just three weeks ago. And 49.5 percent of the population is vaccinated. Still far short of where the White House hoped to be by now.

And in the South, in places like Alabama and Arkansas, states with poor vaccination progress now seeing the average number of shots double in the last two weeks but the South still has a long way to go.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: As bad as things are right now in the South, they're about to get worse if for lots of unvaccinated individuals.

SANDOVAL: New cases in Florida have jumped by more than 50 percent in the past week. In neighboring Georgia, the new case rate has tripled in the past two weeks. And in Louisiana, where they had the most cases per capita last week, daily vaccination rates jumped 111 percent from three weeks ago.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): The Delta variant is a game changer and at this point it's not whether we vaccinate or mask. We have to do both.

SANDOVAL: An internal documents from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the Delta variant, which is fueling much of the rise across the country right now, produces similar viral loads in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who are infected.

Vaccinated people may also spread the variant at the same rate as unvaccinated people but it's critical to know that breakthrough infections among vaccinated people are rare. And as the CDC now pushes for vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in many places across the country, President Biden says more restrictions could be coming.

QUESTION: Should Americans expect more guidelines coming out, more restrictions because of COVID?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In all probability.

SANDOVAL: And health experts agree, unless many more Americans get vaccinated things could get much worse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we can say is this virus is doing exactly what we predicted it will do. If we can't get extremely high rates of vaccination and those rates now need to be higher than they were with the original strain because of the increased infectivity, we're going to see more and more variants, some of which will be worse.

SANDOVAL: Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CURNOW: So despite current COVID vaccines being very effective against variants, experts fear that might not always be the case. New analysis by a group of British scientists indicate that eventually a COVID variant could evade current vaccines.

For more, I'm joined by Salma Abdelaziz in London.

This is hypothetical at the moment.

But what more can you tell us?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. So this was a paper that was published by a group of British scientists, the Sage Group, this is the group that advises the government on their COVID-19 policy. It is not peer reviewed, it is not published at this stage.

But what the paper did go through is a few scenarios, in which the virus could evade the vaccine.

[04:05:00]

ABDELAZIZ: And the paper says that it is likely that one of those scenarios will take place and there will be a variation of this virus that can ultimately evade the current vaccines we have.

Now here is the good news to that, this is something that scientists are already preparing for, because if you go through the recommendations, key is to research the possibility of more vaccines in the future.

These are like booster shots, which are already being administered in Israel. So scientists are prepared for the possibility that this may be more than one or two jabs, that this may be an annual or seasonal vaccine that we have to take.

And the other issue that scientists raised in this paper that is a matter of high concern is what they call the recombination of other variants. So that could create yet another variant and then that variant could potentially be able to evade the vaccine.

So scientists warning that government needs to have the restrictions in place to make sure that the variants aren't mixing.

And finally, the populations of highly vaccinated people, where there is still a unvaccinated group, that is a high breeding ground for variants to change into something that could potentially evade the vaccine.

Scientists warning to try to keep pushing the vaccination rates higher and higher. And I have to point out, we're talking about the vaccine privileged here, Western countries that have access to the vaccine and are able to vaccinate their populations.

In the developing world, very few vaccines out there, so the fear is, if a variant develops and we don't have a vaccine for it, it will spread to a country where there are very little vaccination rates, that's a worst-case scenario.

But again this is scientists laying the groundwork for the future because they say this is a virus not likely to be eradicated anytime soon. And we will have to live with it.

CURNOW: OK. Salma Abdelaziz in London.

Governments around the world are responding to this Delta surge with greater restrictions and lockdowns, as we've been reporting, sometimes provoking bitter backlashes. Here is Phil Black.

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PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Delta variant: three words repeated in almost every language in almost every country in the world. More than 1.5 years after the novel coronavirus was first detected in China, there's an alarming new outbreak in the country, spreading rapidly.

China's returning to its strict methods of containment, mass testing and locking down infected areas to try to extinguish the latest outbreak. This restrictive approach has been successful in China.

But in other places around the world, rumblings over coronavirus measures are spilling out into the streets, like in France, which is instituting mandatory vaccinations for health workers and health passes to enter bars and restaurants.

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

BLACK (voice-over): There have been similar protests across Europe, a bitter divide in the United States over getting vaccinated and growing resentment in parts of Australia over lockdowns.

But despite recent protests, the Australian government says restrictions will continue where required. Brisbane is the latest city, along with other areas in the state of Queensland, to undergo a snap lockdown. Some people are stocking up before staying home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very important, unfortunately, in this sort of situation but I guess, you know, we don't want to end up like New South Wales, so hit hard, fast now and hoping we don't see that happen here.

BLACK (voice-over): Emphasizing that vaccines are the best way out, the World Health Organization warns, the world is at risk of losing its hard-won gains against the virus, a backsliding that is evident in countries that were once relatively successful in curbing COVID-19.

Thailand and Malaysia are experiencing surges of disease and, on Saturday, reported record high daily infection numbers.

India was slowly recovering from being a previous epicenter of the virus. It's now imposing new lockdowns in some states, where cases are once again rising. And experts warn another wave could hit soon if vaccinations don't pick up pace.

The highly transmissible Delta variant has changed the world's understanding of the pandemic, leaving countries scrambling to adapt to this far more formidable version of the virus -- Phil Black, CNN, Essex, England.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Israel is entering a largely uncharted territory when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations. It is actually kicking off a campaign to give booster shots to some people over 60, who are already fully vaccinated. Few countries have started offering booster shots and this may affect decision makers elsewhere.

Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem and she has much more on the story.

What can you tell us?

Hi, Hadas.

[04:10:00]

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So starting actually on Friday, anyone in Israel over 60 and who has received both their doses more than five months ago is now eligible for a third booster shot. The prime minister made the announcement, saying their data is showing that there may be a decline in the vaccine efficacy over time.

Data released by the health ministry shows that for those who received their second dose by the end of January, vaccine effectiveness may be as down as 16 percent. Now they are still very well protected against severe illness.

But because of increasing concern over breakthrough infections, the government decided to launch this booster vaccine campaign. Their goal is to get more than 1.5 million people these booster shots within the next 10 days.

And already Israeli media is reporting that tens of thousands have signed up to get their shots. The prime minister Naftali Bennett, encourages people to get the first shot. The Israeli president and even the former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his wife received their booster shots as well.

Israel is well aware that it is essentially a test case because they are doing this ahead of any official recommendation from either the U.S. food and drug regulators or the World Health Organization.

Prime minister Naftali Bennett tweeting that he has been in touch with Dr. Anthony Fauci about the situation, saying that they will share their data about what happens with this population after they get the booster shot with the rest of the world.

CURNOW: OK, good to see you, Hadas Gold in Jerusalem, thank you.

In the last hour I spoke with Ran Balicer, who chairs Israel's national COVID experts advisory team. And I asked him why Israel had chosen this route while most other countries are still taking a wait and see approach. And this is what he told me.

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RAN BALICER, CHAIR, ISRAEL'S COVID-19 NATIONAL EXPERTS ADVISORY TEAM: In Israel we completed the vast majority of our vaccination back in January.

So right now we're in the position in which the vast majority of our elderly has been -- have been vaccinated five to six months ago. And this time that has elapsed is bringing to a peak the phenomenon of waning immunity to the level that it exists.

The second point that we have to take is, right now, Delta variant, alongside with this waning immunity, is causing a continuously escalating surge that occurs both in vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

The fact of the matter is that, for us at this point, breakthrough infections are not an exception but, actually, majority over daily infections actually take place among those vaccinated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: This week Pfizer said people who receive a booster shot have at least five times more antibodies that can fight the Delta variant. That report has not been peer reviewed. But we'll continue to monitor that.

Australia has avoided more protests against COVID-19 lockdowns in Sydney for now. Next, a police show of force dissuades demonstrators from hitting the streets.

Plus U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles is considering her next steps in the Olympics. And she's made a decision. That is next.

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CURNOW: Welcome back.

It is day nine of the Tokyo Olympics. We're learning that Simone Biles will sit out another event. And in today's competitions, tennis is wrapping up and we'll be seeing plenty of athletic field events.

All of this as Japan, of course, is seeing a spike in coronavirus cases. Saturday, the country recorded more than 12,000 new infections, its highest single day increase since the pandemic started. Joining me now Blake Essig in Tokyo and "CNN SPORT's" Andy Scholes here in Atlanta. Andy, give us the latest on Simone Biles.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Now we're just waiting to see if we'll see Biles competing again at the Olympic Games. She decided to not do the individual all-around and the vault and the bars and has now pulled out of the floor exercise final as well.

Biles says she is dealing with a case of the twisties, which is a mental block that they just can't shake, which causes them to get lost in the air while doing moves that they have done thousands and thousands of times.

U.S. Gymnastics said that Simone has withdrawn from the event final for floor and will make a decision on beam later this week. Either way, we're all behind you, Simone.

And Biles came into the Tokyo games as the face of Team USA with the hopes of winning six gold medals. The only event left for her now would be that beam final on Tuesday. And if the same timeline continues, it means that we should get a decision on whether she will compete in that sometime tomorrow.

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CURNOW: I want to go to Blake in Tokyo.

Obviously, all these amazing athletic feats going on, a lot of it overshadowed by the rising COVID rates.

What can you tell us about what is happening right now?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, lots of exciting stuff on the field but it is hard to overlook what is happening around the country. Cases are increasing and spreading faster than ever before.

And cases have been rising nationwide right here in Tokyo. Inside the Olympic bubble cases have remained relatively low and that is great news. Earlier today, to hammer home that point, Tokyo 2020 officials made it clear, that they came out and said that the Olympics is not behind the recent surge in cases, denying that the games have created a flow of people.

But as you walk on the streets here in Tokyo and at various Olympic events, it is clear that that is not completely true. Saturday, people lined the streets to watch the triathlon mixed relay, thousands of people shoulder to shoulder to catch a glimpse.

Outside of the national stadium, hundreds of people are constantly streaming in and out just for to take a picture next to the Olympic rings. Take a listen.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have been watching the Olympic competitions on TV from home because the events in Tokyo can't have spectators.

But I really wanted to get a feel for the Olympic spirit. So I came here. My friends were, also, posting photos on Instagram of themselves by the Olympic rings. So I wanted to take some, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ESSIG: Just today I attended the BMX freestyle. Inside it was fairly empty. But on the outside, during a hot part of the day, this is what it looked like, hundreds of fans lining the bridge just to catch a glimpse of some Olympic action.

So I do think that it is hard to make the case that the Olympics being held hasn't increased the flow of people. I see it daily. What impact that ends up having is yet to be seen.

CURNOW: Thanks so much, Blake Essig.

So ahead on CNN, a cluster of COVID cases linked to a Chinese airport has spread to at least 10 provinces in China. We'll have a live report.

Plus police in Sydney prevent more protests over COVID lockdowns by the sheer number of officers on the streets.

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CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow, 27 minutes past the hour.

China's battle against the pandemic faces even more challenges. Hundreds of new cases connected to the airport have been identified and spread to 10 provinces since the outbreak was reported nearly two weeks ago.

Officials say the cluster was caused by the Delta variant. The city are disinfecting the airport and performing mass testing on its 9 million residents. Steven Jiang is joining us with more on all of that.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: You know, the latest number we got from the official sources is that, on Saturday, they recorded 78 new locally transmitted sources.

That number obviously pales in comparison to what we are seeing in many parts of the world but here in China they hadn't seen this level of infection for months. So officials are alarmed as the spread of the new cluster shows no signs of abating.

So we're seeing local authorities take draconian measures we hadn't seen for a long time. For example here in Beijing, they have locked down more than 40,000 residents for just two confirmed cases.

And this is happening across the country as well. By all accounts we are talking about million of residents now being confined to their homes as the government has designated more than 80 so-called high- and medium-risk areas.

All of this, of course, is also happening in the middle of the peak summer travel season. That is why we're starting to see many popular tourist attractions as well as airports being closed down as well.

This obviously leads to potentially billions of dollars of loss in revenue. But so far there is little indication that a government here, central leadership here is going to change their current approach, which is zero tolerance toward locally transmitted cases. So expect to see more lockdowns and a sharp drop in domestic travel in the near future.

CURNOW: Thanks for that update there, Steven Jiang in Beijing.

[04:30:00]

CURNOW: Meanwhile, Australia has been hit hard by existing COVID-19 variants. Its most populous state, New South Wales, has reported 239 new cases, matching the daily record set on Thursday. The lockdown led to violent rallies in Sydney last week.

But as Michael Holmes reports, police have gotten ahead of the protesters this week.

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MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A perfect Saturday afternoon in Sydney, Australia. But no wedding at St. Mary's Cathedral, no children in the park. Instead, police and soldiers enforcing a strict lockdown, a lockdown that, after 5 weeks, is not stopping the spread of COVID-19.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It definitely is circulating in the younger community, I want to stress that of the 210 locally acquired cases, two thirds, 138 cases, were people under the age of 40 years old.

HOLMES (voice-over): All roads into the city center, cut off on Saturday. Police avoiding a repeat of the violence that broke out at an anti lockdown protest one week ago. Frustration boiling over as Sydney's lockdown stretches on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at the modeling at the current rate of growth, the number of daily cases this time next month, it's truly frightening. It's in the many thousands a day.

HOLMES (voice-over): As the highly transmissible Delta variant threatens a dangerously undervaccinated population, the city of Brisbane began another snap lockdown on Saturday. Across the country, more breakouts and more lockdowns are inevitable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only about 40 percent of the people under 70 in Sydney are fully vaccinated. Now we've really got to change that. That's a really frightening figure.

HOLMES (voice-over): That means strict social distancing measures will remain a fact of life, at least until the end of the year, when prime minister Scott Morrison hopes 70 percent of the eligible adult population will be fully vaccinated. The government pleading with Australians to get protected.

SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: So if you get vaccinated, there will be special rules that apply to you.

Why?

Because if you vaccinated you present less of a public health risk. You are less likely to get the virus. You're less likely to transmit it. You're less likely to get a serious illness and be hospitalized and you are less likely to die.

HOLMES (voice-over): Less than 15 percent of Australians over 16 are fully vaccinated, forcing Morrison to apologize for not getting the job done or even underway sooner. And meaning that living with COVID is not an option.

The authorities now left with little choice but to enforce harsh measures no longer necessary in some other parts of the world -- Michael Holmes, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Coming up, the U.S. Senate will reconvene in the coming hours after a rare Saturday session to finalize the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

But will it be passed before lawmakers leave for recess next week?

That story next.

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[04:35:00]

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CURNOW: Millions of American renters could soon be forced out of their homes after the federal eviction moratorium expired just a few hours ago. Congresswoman Cori Bush slept on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Friday night, calling attention to the failure of her colleagues to pass an extension.

And with House members on recess, there is little chance one will be passed anytime soon.

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REP. CORI BUSH (D): How are we on vacation when we have millions of people who could 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 marginalized, those who are in need.

How can we go vacation?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Meanwhile Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer says that he is giving lawmakers the time they need to finalize the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The bill is really a huge priority for President Joe Biden and includes money for crumbling roads and bridges and improving mass transit and auto systems.

The Senate is racing to pass a deal before leaving for that August recess, set to begin at the end of the next week.

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CURNOW: Thomas Gift is a director of the Center on U.S. politics at University College London and is joining me now from Oxford.

Good to see you, it has been a while since we've chatted. This infrastructure bill, is it one of his defining acts of his presidency?

THOMAS GIFT, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER ON U.S. POLITICS, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Great to see you. Absolutely, this is one of the big issues for Joe Biden. He made it a flagship part of his proposal right out of the gates. And it is really important for him to get this through.

The Senate was in session on Saturday and the predictions we're hearing out of Capitol Hill is that the infrastructure bill might in fact get done. Of course there is plenty that could still derail the legislation.

The new federal spending will irk Republican deficit hawks, especially given that the bill would be financed, predicated on optimistic economic growth projections. More progressive Democrats will insist that the bill is too watered down from Biden's original $2+ trillion dollar American Jobs Plan.

But in the end probably a telltale sign of compromise is that neither side is totally satisfied and I think that there is broad consensus, both inside the Beltway and across the country that action is needed on infrastructure.

So this kind of targeted bill that focuses on what most Americans consider infrastructure -- roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, et cetera -- it would be welcome and I think that it is more likely than not at this point to pass.

CURNOW: So roads, bridges, trains, as you say, will be improved, especially in some rural Republican areas, for example. We still drive on roads here that were built by FDR's New Deal.

So how significant will these individual pieces of infrastructure in changing people's lives have an impact on the political sphere?

What is the sort of long-term political impact of, say, a bridge coming up in a place that is -- where it is really needed?

GIFT: Certainly, this will help a lot of Americans. And many Americans for quite some time have been hoping that Washington would come together and get something done. And I believe any legislation that Biden can achieve on infrastructure, especially given the level of partisan divisions in Congress, has to be considered a success.

It is billions of dollars less than the White House originally proposed. But no one really thought that the blueprint the White House outlined earlier this year was anything more than kind of a Democratic wish list. So the bill does omit funding for certain things that Democrats wanted -- caregiving for the elderly, workforce development.

[04:40:00]

GIFT: But there is a lot of spending here on bread and butter capital infrastructure projects, that which will pay dividends in the long term, hopefully boost economic growth. And it's worth flagging, even it does get done, we're still likely to see a bruising battle in Congress over another spending proposal by Biden.

But right now this could be a huge help.

CURNOW: Yes, some rare bipartisanship that we're seeing. But yes, it is not over until it is over but it's looking positive, that is for sure.

Let's talk about the eviction moratorium ending. Many people are not going to just have to pay rent; they might have to pay back rent.

How are the effects going to be felt immediately on this?

GIFT: The end on the ban of evictions of tenants to owe back rent is really significant. There's no other way to say it. Estimates are that upwards of 3.6 million Americans could be put in a precarious situation, potentially lose their housing between August and September.

It is worth noting that certain states, such as California and Washington, are implementing their own protections for tenants, separate and apart from the federal government. And some state may use so far untapped emergency funds to assist those at risk of losing their homes.

But that would be very much on a case-by-case basis. And as we head into the fall, with new concerns about how the Delta variant will impact the labor market and with many still out of work as a result of the pandemic, this policy has far-reaching implications.

So Chuck Schumer and several Democratic colleagues have been trying to convince others in Congress that an extension of this moratorium is needed but I think that is very unlikely to happen at this point.

CURNOW: And let's talk about President Biden and COVID. He has suggested that there might be more restrictions coming.

How is he going to deal with that, how will it be received and how is his administration dealing with all this messaging this week, coming out about vaccinated, unvaccinated, Delta?

There's certainly been a lot, hasn't there.

GIFT: Absolutely. And I think everyone had a feeling that mask politics in particular would resurge with a vengeance to the extent that they ever subsided. And going into the fall with the rise of the Delta variant, masks and vaccines are certainly big wedge issues that both Democrats and Republicans are going to latch onto.

That is true on Capitol Hill. But a lot of where the action is here lies at the state and local level, predominantly between Republican governors in conservative states and Democratic mayors in more liberal urban areas.

In Georgia, where you are, governor Kemp scoffed at the idea of implementing statewide mask mandates. That drew a fiery response from the Democratic mayor of Atlanta.

But we've seen similar spats, including in Texas and Florida, with high infection rates. And the result is conflicting messaging, which confounds the already difficult task the CDC has to articulate clear guidance on COVID policy. So this will get more complicated going into the autumn.

CURNOW: And that certainly doesn't help these infection rates, either, in places like the South where we are. Thomas Gift there in London, thanks so much.

GIFT: Thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: So U.S. lawmakers are planning subpoenas as they investigate the Capitol insurrection. House Democrat Bennie Thompson chairs the Select Committee for the January 6 attack. He acknowledges there could be a fight getting people to cooperate but says no one is out of bounds.

He told CNN's Jeff Zeleny the committee will look at getting subpoenas requesting documents this month and he said some could be issued pretty soon. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D), CHAIR, U.S. HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON JANUARY 6 ATTACK: They could probably be issued before the end of August. I don't want to give you a date certain. We're in the process of making sure that we do it right. As you know, some of it will be contentious; some won't be. At this

point we'll just follow the facts. We have a plan put together. But there is nobody off limits in this investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Some of Donald Trump's biggest allies in Congress are facing major questions about what they did and what they knew, leading up to and during the Capitol riot. Sunlen Serfaty has more on that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Six months after the insurrection, as the January 6 committee is readying subpoenas, many top Republicans on Capitol Hill are under pressure about what they knew that day and who they talked to at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Did you talk to the former president that day?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I've talked to the former president umpteen times, thousands, I mean, I --

(CROSSTALK)

BAIER: I'm talking about January 6th, Congressman.

JORDAN: Yes, I mean, I've talked to the president -- I've talked to the president so many I can't remember all the days I've talked to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY (voice-over): Congressman Jim Jordan attempting some verbal gymnastics this week about his phone call with president Trump on January 6.

[04:45:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On January 6, did you speak with him before, during or after the Capitol was attacked?

JORDAN: I'd have to go -- I -- I -- I spoke with him that day after, I think after. I don't know if I spoke with him in the morning or not. I hadn't -- I just don't know. I'd have to go back and -- I mean, I don't -- I don't -- I don't know that -- when those conversations happened.

SERFATY (voice-over): Raising eyebrows on the committee.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D): Sounds like he has got something to hide and he is trying to threaten people so he would be won't be called. SERFATY (voice-over): As many Republicans are continuing to defend

their own narrative of what happened that day, Congress man Mo Brooks defending his decision to wear body armor to the rally near the White House before the riots.

Quote, "The only threats I was aware of that day were BLM and Antifa. I had no information of any threats by anybody but from socialists, generally Antifa and BLM in particular."

It is all part of an ongoing attempt to rewrite the history of what transpired that day, when top leaders expressed shock and stated just where the responsibility lay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters.

SERFATY (voice-over): In the immediate aftermath of the riots, many Republicans showed outrage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened at the Capitol on January 6th was as wrong as wrong can be. It's not what America is about. And we condemn this violence.

SERFATY (voice-over): And some resolve for accountability and truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's immediate action also deserves congressional action, which is why I think a fact-finding commission and a censure resolution would be prudent.

SERFATY (voice-over): But now many of those same Republicans are trying to shift blame.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why wasn't there is a proper security presence that day?

And frankly only the Speaker can answer that question. So let's see if the Democrats bring that up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we think it is too important that those two questions, why were we ill prepared.

SERFATY (voice-over): The January 6 committee is making it clear, subpoenas are coming and coming soon, likely to hit many Republicans on Capitol Hill.

THOMPSON: We'll be interviewing, subpoenaing and doing whatever is required to get to the truth.

SERFATY (voice-over): As they piece together every minute of the timeline before --

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.

SERFATY (voice-over): -- during and after the insurrection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has all the fingerprints of Antifa operation.

SERFATY (voice-over): Every meeting and every phone call made in and out of the White House as the riots unfolded will be under scrutiny -- Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: And coming up on CNN, Japan is ranking in the medals, including a special one in a newly added sport. We'll sit down with a silver medalist in surfing who tells us what it means for his nation.

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[04:50:00]

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CURNOW: So many people wanted Japan to cancel the Olympics but now that they are underway, the country's Olympians are lifting spirits with a gold rush. A record 17 medals, gold medals but a silver medal in surfing is also pretty special. "CNN SPORT's" Coy Wire sat down with its newly minted owner, Kanoa Igarashi.

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COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you see stuff like this --

KANOA IGARASHI, OLYMPIC SURFER: Oh, my god. Oh, my god.

WIRE: -- how does this make you feel?

IGARASHI: Oh, wow.

(Speaking Japanese)

(LAUGHTER)

IGARASHI: Wow.

WIRE: You know, you're in --

(CROSSTALK)

IGARASHI: Speechless.

WIRE: -- many ways, the face of these games. You're at the airport, I saw your Insta story, you're on the bags at the gift shop.

What kind of added weight did that bring.

And how did you manage it during these games?

IGARASHI: You have a whole country that's image depending -- not depending but I mean, expecting a medal. Obviously the pressure of wanting to do good for my parents and to be able to show the medal, being able to celebrate something after so much hype around it for so long, it would be the biggest nightmare if I, you know, if I came out of the Olympic Village with nothing in my hands.

I mean, it sounds so selfish but this is my life and I have a lot of passion for this. So being able to walk out with a medal and being able to walk out not just with a medal but being able to represent the people that are close to me, I felt like it was a mission accomplished.

WIRE: Japan is absolutely crushing it at these games.

IGARASHI: Yes.

WIRE: And you know this has been a very difficult time for the people of this beautiful place.

How does sport impact the society?

IGARASHI: Well, to be honest, I really didn't realize the impact sport has on a country until this week.

You know, from the opening ceremony to just social media and just seeing how much a sport can bring together not just the country but the whole world. I mean, seriously, I had a special moment just by myself in the Olympic Village the other day, just walking around.

And everyone just, you know -- everyone's so friendly. And so many different sports come up and countries.

Hey, what do you do?

How are you going?

How's training?

How do you on your event?

And then, hey, let's go have a coffee, let's go have lunch.

And sport just unifies and just brings everyone together. And like you said, in a time like this, with the pandemic that everyone's gone through, it isn't easy for anyone. And to celebrate sport and to bring everyone together through the sport, you know, given that close to each other (INAUDIBLE), we did this.

We've overcome one of the biggest challenges that we've ever gone through, not just as an athlete but as a human. You know, that's why I think this Olympic tradition has been so special. That's why I feel like, especially in Japan, the Japanese athletes are, in a way, we're kind of in the front line.

We're the first people in the ceremony, just leading the other countries.

[04:55:00] IGARASHI: Saying, hey, let's do this and let's represent our sports, let's represent our country, let's represent the world. And I think that was a really strong message that has happened and is going on in this Olympics.

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CURNOW: And that was Coy Wire with the Japanese silver surfer Kanoa Igarashi.

The feeling of winning an Olympic medal is, of course, priceless. Medals themselves have a price and we're breaking it down for you. Take a look at these numbers, the gold medal is made of gold plated silver, melted down it's worth about $800.

The silver is pure silver worth about $450 and the bronze is mostly copper and zinc worth around five bucks. But most athletes, of course, keep their medals so the opportunity to buy one is extremely rare. Many fetch tens of thousands of dollars. Back in 2013 in fact, one of sprinter Jesse Owens' 1936 gold medals sold for almost $1.5 million.

And a little bit news, the wife of U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson says she is pregnant with their second child due in December. She confirmed the news in an Instagram post Saturday.

She also revealed that she was heartbroken when she had a miscarriage earlier on this year. She hopes her story will help others going through a similar experience. The couple's first child, a son, was born in April of last year.

And that wraps up this hour of CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow @RobynCurnowCNN. Back with more CNN in a moment.