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Mom of Three Faces Eviction at the Moment; New York City Mayor Recommends but Doesn't Require Indoor Masking; China Scrambling to Contain Spread of Delta Variant; Progressive Favorite Meets Establishment Candidate; Supreme Leader Confirming Ebrahim Raisi as President; U.S. Vows Collective Response to Tanker Attack; Simone Biles Returns in Balance Beam Final. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 3, 2021 - 04:30   ET




DASHA KELLY, FAMILY FACING EVICTION: It's like it's bringing all my emotions.


WATT (voice over): Kelly was a casino dealer here in Las Vegas, loved it.

KELLY: Well, I'm automatically come on please win, I'm rooting for you. Like as soon as they bust, I'm upset too.

WATT (voice over): She lost her jobs, now has no car and no money for childcare.

WATT: It's this tiny virus that has come along and just --

KELLY: Taken everything. I just had to donate a few days ago.

WATT (voice over): Kelly is now donating blood plasma, a hundred bucks a time to buy groceries.

WATT: So, you are managing to eat OK.

KELLY: Yes, exactly. Oh, yeah, they're -- well, they're eating OK. Let's put it that way. I'm like, there are days I don't want to roll out the bed, roll off the floor. You get what I mean.

WATT (voice-over): Kelly's pawned or sold nearly everything she had.

KELLY: I had a bed right here. There was a TV right here on top of this stand, so I have to pawn that.

WATT (voice-over): She thought about working online but --

WATT: You lost your laptop, as well.

KELLY: Oh, I had to pawn that trying to keep up with the bills. So --


WATT (voice-over): This is the girls' room.

KELLY: They used to have their bed right here. And they used to have a little chest there.

WATT (voice-over): Not anymore.

KELLY: I'll sacrifice my couch, as you can see it's a little beat up now, just so they don't have to lay on the floor because they're so tiny.

WATT (voice-over): More than 11 million Americans are reportedly behind on their rent. Congress approved $47 billion to help but very few of those billions have actually been handed out. Kelly applied hasn't heard back.

KELLY: Apparently, it's a process, like two or three months you have to wait or something.

WATT (voice-over): And that federal ban on evictions expired midnight Saturday.

WATT: Do they know what is going on?

KELLY: Not really. That's what I'm afraid of telling them. How do you explain that to your kids, you know what I mean? I don't have words. I think I'll break down crying and just hug them, I've got to say. Let them know everything will be all right and we're going to figure it out, I guess.

WATT: Dasha Kelly has also set up a GoFundMe trying to just cover her rent. It' microphone s a hail Mary, she is hoping, praying for a miracle. Another thing she is hoping for is that more people would just wear masks, that way she says we could all get back to work, back to life.

Nick Watt, CNN, Las Vegas.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the coronavirus is also rapidly spreading across the U.S. Heartland where vaccinations are low. Take a look at Arkansas, the state is fighting a surge in new cases and hospitals are filling up quickly. On Monday, Arkansas reported its highest increase in COVID hospitalizations ever in this pandemic. The state's Republican governor is urging people to do their part and get vaccinated.

And in Missouri, COVID cases are rising again after months of decline. CNN spoke to Kimberly Jones of St. Louis whose daughter Erica didn't trust the COVID vaccine and didn't want the shot. The 37-year-old died from the virus and now her mother is pleading with people to get vaccinated. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIMBERLE JONES, LOST DAUGHTER TO COVID-19: You don't want this. And you can avoid this. My message would be to people that, you know, that we have to trust the science and the medicine and if you want to protect yourself and your family, don't be selfish and only think about yourself. For those that think that, you know, you see all the pictures in the media and on TV and stuff, and you think that it can't happen to you. It can happen to you. It can happen. Because it happened to me and my family.

Right now, I do not have my daughter, she's gone, 37 years old with a bright future and my daughter fought, fought, fought hard for her life. This is something that, you know, you can avoid. And if we going to beat this virus, we got to get vaccinated.


CHURCH: A powerful message there.

And New York City has also seen a rise in COVID cases with substantial or high transmission reported in all five boroughs. But the mayor is not implementing an indoor mask policy. Instead, he is focusing on vaccinations. CNN's Jason Carroll has the details.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio is recommending that anyone who goes inside a public place mask up, but he stopped short of issuing a mask mandate. Some of his critics are questioning why especially when you consider that New York City is seeing an uptick in COVID cases. The mayor says that his recommendation is based on data and science and that the strategy going forward is focused to getting more people vaccinated. In fact, he said everything the city is doing is about, quote, getting vaccine centric.

When pressed, he said the city is offering the same guidance the CDC issued last week.


So, no mask mandate, but he is urging people no go inside public places like a restaurant or grocery store or a gym to mask up. In fact, Equinox and Sole Cycle taking a further step and now requiring that all of its members be vaccinated before entry, that goes into effect in September.

I spoke to a restaurant owner right here at Cafeteria restaurant, a popular place here in New York City, to ask them about how the mayor's recommendation might affect their policy going forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it is a great approach. Ultimately, you know, as we've all been saying, New York is a resilient city. I mean, I think it's important that everybody take part and do, you know, whatever is needed to try to, you know, eradicate as much as we can this virus. If it is just a short little step back in wearing a mask for a little bit longer indoors, or any part where there is a high level of amount of people, I think we should do it, it is important. We should try to do as much as we can to try to save our city and our businesses.

CARROLL: New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo also held a briefing on Monday where he also encouraged businesses to adopt a vaccine admission only policy.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: Across Asia, the battle to end the COVID-19 pandemic is facing even more challenges. Malaysia just reported its highest daily death toll from the virus with 219 new fatalities on Monday. Thailand has extended its lockdown until the end of the month to slow down rising coronavirus cases. And now China is struggling to contain a growing COVID outbreak caused by the delta variant.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us now from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Kristie. So, what is the latest on China's effort to contain this outbreak?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, China really is being tested right now by the rapid spread of the delta variant. On Tuesday it reported 61 new locally transmitted cases of the virus, it's higher than the day before. And yes, the case count is far lower than what we've seen in other places like the U.S. and the U.K., but let's bring up the math for you.

The fact that these viruses have been able to spread across 26 cities and 16 provinces across China in the last two weeks, that is sparking immense concern. As you can imagine China has rolled out sweeping pandemic restrictions in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus was first detected. The delta variant is there. Some 11 million people live there, all will be subjected to COVID-19 testing. And in Nanjing, a city of 9 million people, there have been three rounds of testing there over the last two weeks. Beijing is now banning any people coming from mid- to high-risk areas from entering the city. And yet experts outside China say these measures are not enough. Take a listen.


YANZHONG HUANG, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think it is time for the government to seriously consider shifting to mitigation-based strategy that focuses on taking care of, you know, those severe cases and reducing mortality. That could be done by developing, importing and distributing more effective vaccines.


STOUT (on camera): Now the delta outbreak in China is a test of the country's zero COVID, zero tolerance approach to infection with its mass testing and contact tracing and lockdown campaigns. But it's also a big test for China's massive vaccination rollout. So far China has administered 1.65 billion doses of the vaccine. Back to you -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, Kristie Lu Stout bringing us the latest from her vantage point there in Hong Kong, appreciate it.

Well, time for a short break now. When we come back, it's election day in Cleveland, Ohio with a hotly contested race between a vocal progressive and an establishment Democrat. We're back in just a moment.



CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, voters go to the polls today in Ohio's 11th congressional district in a risk that's exposing some dangerous divisions in the Democratic Party. And it's bringing out some big-name campaigners as well. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bernie Sanders is back on the campaign trail. This time, asking Ohio voters to send his friend Nina Turner to Washington.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): The next member of Congress, Nina Turner.

ZELENY (voice-over): James Clyburn spent the weekend here taking a different stance, saying President Biden needs a loyal partner.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): He needs somebody there who will work with him.

ZELENY (voice-over): Here in Cleveland, a contentious congressional primary contest is reviving old divisions between the Democratic establishment and the party's progressive wing. Turner and Brown are vying to fill the seat of Marcia Fudge, who stepped down to serve in Biden's cabinet.

Heavyweights from across the party are weighing in. Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Turner.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): This is where elections are won.

ZELENY (voice-over): And Hillary Clinton and leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus backing Brown.

REP. JOYCE BEATTY (D-OH): There is no contrast. It's all about Shontel Brown.

ZELENY (voice-over): Tuesday's election is a key test for the party's direction and the Biden agenda, with candidates and other groups flooding the airwaves, spending millions in an unusually nasty race.

POLITICAL AD: Shontel Brown, out for herself. SHONTEL BROWN (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Some just want to attack Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Frankly, I'm sick of it.

ZELENY (voice-over): She's talking about Turner using an explicit last year to describe the choice between Biden and Donald Trump, a comment that's been played again and again in attack ads.

NINA TURNER (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: You've got two bowls of shit in front of you, and you've got to pick one.

POLITICAL AD: Nina Turner said that.

ZELENY: We asked Turner if she regrets disparaging Biden after he beat Sanders and won the party's nomination.

TURNER: I will say that at that moment, we all know that primaries are very heated.

ZELENY (voice-over): She says she would work with the president but not bow to them.

TURNER: Congress is a coequal body. It has power too. My job is not to just parrot any administration, whether it's a Democratic administration or a Republican administration. My job is to represent the interests of the people who elect me.

ZELENY (voice-over): Sanders is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is a key player negotiating Biden's economic plan. He said criticism of Turner is unwarranted yet telling.

SANDERS: They are afraid of her. They are afraid because she's going to stand up and fight and take them on in the struggle for justice.

ZELENY (voice-over): The race has emerged as a proxy war, with Sanders and Clyburn leading the respective flanks of the party.

ZELENY: How important is Shontel Brown to President Biden's agenda?

CLYBURN: Very, very important.

ZELENY (voice-over): Brown, a member of the Cuyahoga County Council, talks often about helping the president's agenda. So much so that Turner has seized upon it.

TURNER: Being a partner is one thing, but being a puppet is another.

BROWN: I would consider a puppet someone that's has been on the national stage delivering catch phrases like, hello somebody.


I am a partner who knows what it takes to sit at the negotiating table to get things done.

ZELENY (voice-over): And that was a not-so-subtle crack at one of Turner's signature phrases. TURNER: Hello somebody. Hello somebody.

ZELENY (voice-over): The acrimony has intensified, but the rivals found themselves side by side Sunday at church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of you will be our congresswoman.

ZELENY (voice-over): Where Brown extended her hand to Turner as this battle is left to Ohio voters to settle.

ZELENY: What's being debated in Congress right now, those Biden infrastructure bills are precisely why the party establishment is so focused on races like this. The majorities are so small, every vote counts. Now of course, party leaders say they are simply worried about the "Squad" getting another member in Nina Turner. They say the president needs more allies and not antagonists. For Turner's part, of course, she says the White House could use a progressive push.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Cleveland.


CHURCH: Iran's supreme leader is done firming Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi today. Raisi will be sworn into office Thursday. He was elected in a largely noncompetitive vote after his serious rivals were barred from the race.

Meantime, the U.S. is promising a collective response to an attack on a commercial tanker of Oman. Britain, Israel in Romania have joined the U.S. in blaming Iran for the drone attack on this ship, the Mercer Street on Thursday. A Britain and a Romanian were killed. Iran is denying any involvement and vowing to respond to threats firmly and with seriousness. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Iran has been acting irresponsibly.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Iran's action is a direct threat to freedom of navigation and commerce. It took the lives of innocent sailors. We're currently coordinating with our partners and consulting with governments in the region.


CHURCH: And Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran with the latest. He joins us now. So, Fred, how might this tanker attack impact U.S./Iran relations as the new president prepares to get sworn in?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they certainly aren't going to improve those relations and it certainly is very interesting that as Ebrahim Raisi is set to take office there on Thursday, that there is already this heightened tension between not just the U.S. and Iran, but of course also, essentially between Britain as well, the Romanians which are part of the European Union and Iran. So generally, a time of heightened tensions between Iran and Western

nations. And that certainly is something where you can see that that will really occupy the first days of the administration of Ebrahim Raisi. And what we're set to see when Ebrahim Raisi takes office is going to be an Iran that will be a lot more assertive in international politics. That's something that Raisi said in his first press conference after he was elected. He said Iran internationally is going to be dynamic and very also active in foreign policy.

And of course, that first and foremost means this region here, the Middle East. Although the Iranians also say that they are going to act globally as well. The Iranians also saying that they don't intend to talk to the United States. It's also going to be one of those things where right now of course you have the in-direct negotiations going on to try to revive the Iran nuclear agreement, but at the same time Ebrahim Raisi has said he will not speak to President Biden. He will not speak directly to the U.S.

So, one of the things that we could already see happening potentially is more friction with between the U.S. and Iran, of course, first and foremost are here in this region. It's going to be very interesting to see how things move forward after this incident. As you said, Rosemary, the Iranians are continuing to deny any sort of involvement.

But at the same time are saying, if there is going to be any sort of retaliatory action, for instance on the part of the Israelis. Of course, that tanker was is Israeli owned -- or is Israeli owned -- then Iran is going to respond even more forcefully. The exact words of the spokesman of Iran's foreign minister, was those who sow wind will receive -- or will reap a whirlwind in return -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, Fred Pleitgen bringing us the very latest from Tehran. Many thanks.

It is Simone Biles' last chance for gold in the Tokyo Summer Olympics. The American superstar will compete in the balance beam final very soon. We are live outside the gymnasium after this short break.



CHURCH: Any moment now the women's balance beam final will begin in Tokyo with American gymnast Simone Biles among those aiming for gold. It's her first defense since she withdrew from competition last week citing mental health concerns. The balance beam will be Biles's last chance to win gold in Tokyo. And CNN's Blake Essig is live this hour in Tokyo, he is joining us now. Good to see you, Blake. I'm almost feeling nervous for her. The pressure is building of course for Simone Biles as she prepares to compete just moments from now. What is the latest on all of this?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Rosemary, as you said, any moment now the balance beam final will get underway inside Ariake gymnastics arena behind me. I'm jealous, I'm out here. I wish I was in there to see what was going on. But here we are, right. There's no question that the eyes of the world are focused on this event to see what happens when Simone Biles arguably the greatest gymnast of all time returns to the mat after admitting that she's been struggling with mental health issues.

Of course, these Olympic games haven't panned out how Biles or really anyone for that matter thought they would especially for someone who is considered by many to be the face of the USA Olympic Team. Now at the start of these games, Biles had a chance to take home six Olympic gold medals and while things could change here shortly, as of right now, she's only leave with a silver. And that's because more than a week ago Biles was competing in the women's team final when she unexpectedly withdrew herself after stumbling on the vault, citing mental health concern.

In the days that followed, Biles withdrew from an additional four competitions, the all-around vault, uneven bars and floor.


Biles said the reason she withdrew was because she's been struggling with the "twisties." A mental block in gymnastics where competitors lose track of their positioning midair. The "twisties" It might sound innocent enough, but for a gymnast, the disconnect between body and mind while twisting through the air at a high rate of speed and at great heights, is incredibly dangerous. Now Biles isn't the only U.S. gymnast taking part in tonight's balance beam. Final all-around champion and rising star Suni Lee will also be going for gold, her second gold of the Olympics. But who will it be that will claim the final women's gymnastics gold of Tokyo 2020? Biles, Lee or someone else. Rosemary, we're going to find out here in just about an hour.

CHURCH: All right, we certainly shall. Very exciting. Blake Essig bringing us the latest from Tokyo. Many thanks.

The Turkish government is under scrutiny as firefighters work to contain the wildfires burning on the country's southern coast. At least seven fires are still burning out of more than 100 that started last week. Villages in one resort town have been carrying buckets of water up a hill to fight the flames themselves saying the government has not sent enough resources to help. A government spokesman rejected the criticism and says people will be compensated for their losses.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter @rosemaryCNN. "EARLY START" is up next. You're watching CNN. Have a wonderful day.