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Four Police Officers Die By Suicide After Defending Capitol; GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Suggests, Without Evidence, FBI Had Advance Knowledge Of January 6 Riot But Did Nothing; Emily Oster, Brown University Economics Professor, Discusses Data Showing Kids Should Be In School As Delta Races Through Unvaccinated Communities & DeSantis Not Allowing Mask Mandates In FL Schools; Simone Biles Wins Bronze On Balance Beam In Triumphant Comeback. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 3, 2021 - 14:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: And as the Delta variant races through unvaccinated communities, our next guest says that the data shows that kids should be in schools.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Nearly seven months after the capitol riot, the deadly human toll of that insurrection continues to mount.

BLACKWELL: CNN has learned that two more D.C. Metropolitan Police officers who responded to the capitol riot on January 6th have died by suicide.


Officer Gunther Hashida was found in his home last week. Officer Kyle DeFreytag was found deceased on July 10th.

Those deaths now make four known suicides by officers who responded to the capitol that day.

CNN's Whitney Wild is here.

So what do we know about these officers?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: We know that Kyle DeFreytag joined the police department in D.C. in 2016 and that he was assigned to the Fifth District.

We know that Officer Gunther Hashida joined the department in 2003. He was assigned to the Emergency Response Team, a division within the Special Operations Division.

Both men, according to the Metropolitan Police Department, responded to the capitol, both men took their own lives in the month of July. We can't know all of the conditions that would lead someone to such a

tragic decision. However, they now join this list of men who share this one terrible day in common, which was responding to the capitol.

The other officers who took their own lives following their response to that attack, Officer Jeffrey Smith, also a Metropolitan Police Department officer, and Officer Howard Liebengood, a U.S. Capitol Police officer.

This is tragic. And the news of this follows calls from their own colleagues who went to lawmakers in late July last week to tell them about the extensive trauma they underwent on the day of the insurrection.

And to call for more resources and to remind officers that, if they need help, they must seek it.

It is a reminder of the immense burden law enforcement takes on, takes on willingly when they run into an attack like what happened at the capitol that day.

It is also a reminder that mental health resources are a matter of life and death -- Victor, Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: It is just so horrible, Whitney.

I want to ask you a related question about misinformation. So Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is at it again. He has become a walking misinformation machine.

He is now suggesting, without evidence, that the FBI had advance knowledge of the January 6th riot but did nothing about it.

What is he trying to suggest and what was the context for where he made these comments?

WILD: So this is according to "The Washington Post."

This was a piece of video that they showed in a story in which he is caught on camera suggesting that, because the FBI deeply infiltrated a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and eventually brought those men to justice in October of last year, because they knew so much about that case, that surely they would have known so much about the people who attacked the capitol.

He was suggesting it is unlikely the FBI wouldn't have known a lot about the people who were planning an attack as immense as what happened at the capitol.

There's no evidence to suggest this. This is a conspiracy theory.

It is built on this idea from, you know, the right, who are suggesting that the FBI was somehow deeply involved and much more involved in the capitol riot than they've let on.

And, in fact, the criticism of the FBI, up until this point, is that they weren't involved enough, that they didn't take a lot of the threats seriously enough.

But, again, this is a conspiracy theory promulgated by some people on the right and, apparently, at least one Republican lawmaker.

BLACKWELL: It is just a bizarre line of accusation, another one from Ron Johnson.

Whitney Wild, thank you.

COVID cases and hospitalizations steadily tracking upward in Florida. But one of the state's largest school districts is reversing course and will not require masks for kids in schools. We will explain why, next.



CAMEROTA: Florida going in the wrong direction on COVID cases. COVID infections jumping 50 percent --


CAMEROTA: -- there in the last week.

The state also shattering its own record for hospitalizations with more than 10,000 people in the hospital right now.

BLACKWELL: But the state's second-largest school district, Broward County, is doing a 180. It will not require masks for kids in schools after Governor DeSantis threatened to pull funding from schools that mandated masks.

Our next guest says kids should be in school despite the risk posed by the pandemic.

She sent out this tweet out a few days ago, saying, "Bottom line, the risk of serious illness to kids from COVID-19 remains extremely low, far low than many other risks. And the other cost of isolation for kids are big. Vaccinate yourself and protect your kids."

CAMEROTA: So her opinions on COVID-19 and schools have made her a bit of a lightning rod.

A new article in "VOX" is headlines, "How Emily Oster Became One of the Most Respected and Reviled Voices of the Pandemic."

Emily Oster is a professor of economics at Brown University and the author of the new book, "The Family Firm, A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years."

Emily, thank you so much for being here. We have been looking forward to talking to you.

Explain --


CAMEROTA: You have done the deep dive into the data.

Do you still believe that all school kids under the age of 12 should be in school, in-person learning this year, meaning this -- in some places, this week and next month, even with the Delta variant, even in states that are banning mask mandates?

OSTER: So I think I am with the chorus at this point indicating the importance of in-person learning.


I think over the last year we have learned about the downsides of not having kids in person in terms of learning losses, in terms of mental health questions consequences.

And we have learned that schools will be operated safely and they're not typically locations of significant spread.

The CDC has focused very much on the need to get kids in person. And they need to do that safely.

I think it is unfortunate when individual states have made it difficult for school districts to do that.

I think Governor DeSantis is making the wrong choice is not allowing districts to make this call on their own about man dates.

BLACKWELL: You know, you started this during the last administration because you thought that the administration, the CDC there was not being clear enough about the guidance for families specifically.

We've seen some confusion over the last couple of weeks now returning to guidance on masks.

Do you think this administration is doing a better job of advising parents, especially on COVID and what to do?

OSTER: I certainly think they're doing a better job. I think we could always improve.

I think some of the guidance last week was broadly pretty confusing. I think there's widespread agreement maybe that messaging was not ideal.

I also think they haven't been very clear with parents. And they haven't done a good job differentiating between unvaccinated adults and unvaccinated kids.

With Biden making clear that unvaccinated kids are low risk, not that we shouldn't hope vaccines or we shouldn't vaccinate them when we have access to it.

But it is a somewhat different risk profile than, say, an unvaccinated 85-year-old.

I wish the CDC was doing more to help parents navigate the complicated tweets in this difficult time.

CAMEROTA: Emily, has the Delta variant changed your thinking at all?

The reason that I ask is because Louisiana is a mess right now. In fact, one of the doctors at, I believe, the largest hospital there is saying that they're just seeing more kids now.

I mean, we all, you know, a year ago believed that kids were pretty resistant to COVID. But I want to play for you what that doctor is saying he is seeing now in the hospital.


DR. TREY DUNBAR, PRESIDENT, OUR LADY OF THE LAKE CHILDREN'S HEALTH: We're seeing children as young as a few days that have COVID up to teenagers.

Some of them need breathing tubes and some of them, even just putting the breathing tubes in, is not enough.


CAMEROTA: I mean, he's gone on to say that we're seeing twice the amount of children hospitalized than we did during the original surge.

Does that change the equation?

OSTER: You know, I think that we have seen, still with Delta, in the U.K., in other locations, that kids are not getting more seriously ill.

Of course, when they have more cases you are going to see more kids. And some kids tragically do get very sick with COVID.

However, the best thing we can do to protect kids is to vaccinate adults.

There's a good thread this morning noting we are not seeing a lot of kids in Massachusetts, even though they're unvaccinated. And that's because the adults around them are vaccinated.

I think we cannot emphasize enough the best way to protect kids is for adults to get the vaccine.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you, before you go on the book, "The Family Firm," that the data is the way to go.

Although, a lot of these decisions, especially in COVID -- I don't have kids but I imagine families make decisions based on emotions.

You say data is the way to go. Tell us what is in the book.

OSTER: Yes, so the book is all about how to have structured decision processes. And I think it is particularly useful in this setting in which we don't always have all of the detailed data that we want. So the book has a bunch of data but it also has a way to approach

difficult decisions so you can be confident you made the decision the right way as a family.

Even though we have to understand, with this kind of uncertainty, it is hard to be really sure about all of our decisions. I think it is true in a lot of parenting, not just in the coronavirus.

CAMEROTA: I like to make decisions out of sheer panic. And so reading her book has changed some of my own thinking.

Because you just, you write it down. You know, you make a list. You look at the data. And that can really guide the decision.

Emily Oster, thank you very much for sharing your advice with us.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Emily.

OSTER: Thank you so much.


BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk about finding balance because Olympic gymnast, Simone Biles, appears to have done just that. She has now returned to competition and has earned a spot on a medal podium. We are live in Tokyo, next.


BLACKWELL: She did it. Simone Biles powered through her Olympic setbacks and won a bronze medal on the balance beam for Team USA.

CAMEROTA: This was Biles' last chance to medal in the Tokyo games.

And she said, quote, "I just wanted to go out and do it for me. And that's what I did."

With this win, Biles has tied Shannon Miller as the only USA gymnast to have won a record seven medals.

CNN international correspondent, Selina Wang, is in Tokyo with more on Simone Biles.

You were there, Selina, watching as Simone competed. What was the mood like?

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, it was surreal. The energy and the aura in the gymnastics stadium was intense. You could just feel the anxiety, the nerves from a pretty major group of journalists and delegates who were there.

I, myself, felt nervous knowing what the stakes were here, knowing this was the last chance to take home an individual medal.

That's exactly what she accomplished, winning the bronze with a performance that was an act of courage, of resilience. She had to push through mental health challenges, what she called the

weight of the world on her shoulders.

She's the only survival of Larry Nasser's abuse competing in Tokyo.

Not to mention, most recently, she's been dealing with this mental block called twisties. As of a few days ago, she said she was still struggling to orient herself in the air.

But despite all of that, she went on that four-inch balance beam and she executed her performance with confidence and grace. And she was received with a standing ovation in the crowd.

When she got off that balance beam, she was just smiling. She was beaming. She went up and hugged her teammates and other competitors.

And people there realized that this was about so much more than just winning that bronze.


And she said the only reason why she could come back for the beam is because it did not involve twisting.

Take a listen to what else she said afterwards.


SIMONE BILES, U.S. OLYMPIC GYMNAST: I'm pretty happy. I wasn't expecting to medal. I just came out here and just tried to do a good beam setup.

Just to have one more opportunity to compete at the Olympics meant the world to me.


WANG: But, Alisyn and Victor, before she even competed today, she had already accomplished something remarkable. She had transcended her sport in a way.

She had sparked this global conversation about mental health. She illuminated the challenges that elite athletes face.

And she told the world that it is OK to put your own well-being ahead of the expectations of others.

CAMEROTA: Selina Wang, just when you think her story can't get any more impressive, somehow it does.

Thank you very much for all of that reporting.


CAMEROTA: All right, out breaking news coverage continues. Calls for the resignation of Governor Andrew Cuomo after an investigation finds he sexually harassed multiple women. What's going to happen next?