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Cases, Hospitalizations Surge As Delta Variant Fuels New Wave In The U.S.; California Mandates All Healthcare Workers Be Fully Vaccinated; Senate Moving Toward Final Vote On Infrastructure Bill. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired August 8, 2021 - 15:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on experience.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I just love that it's so untouched. It's really just beautiful and peaceful and a wonderful place to explore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are plenty of activities whether it be for the day or for a week-long experience. You can take a workshop, you can take out a rowboat. It really is a summer camp for people of all ages.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing is to relax in one of the rockers, so sit back, take it all in, right? It's a breath of fresh air. You're unplugged unwinding from the mainland.



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST: Good Sunday afternoon. I'm Phil Mattingly in Washington in this weekend for Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks so much for taking the time.

The COVID pandemic is surging once again in the U.S., and right now, it shows no signs of slowing down. To really get a sense of how bad it is, all you have to do is look at the numbers. The average number of daily cases has increased nine-fold since July. The deadly delta variant fueling the rapid rise in those cases and overwhelming hospitals in many states.

Now hospitalizations, they are currently the highest we've seen since February. Even more troubling just how this new variant is affecting children. Child and teen COVID cases have jumped 84 percent in just the last week.

Now, despite those numbers, only half of the country is fully vaccinated. Some health officials say it may soon be time to mandate vaccinations for healthcare workers.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It's an explicable to me, you are a healthcare worker, your profession, the thing you've devoted your life to is to protect people, to make them well, to protect them from disease.

I am very much in favor of mandating if you want to see patients and you want to participate in healthcare, you need to get vaccinated. Period.


MATTINGLY: Now, the White House is watching all these developments very closely, and as the number of cases have changed, so too has the strategy to combat that surge. CNN's Arlette Saenz is in Wilmington, Delaware where the President is spending his weekend.

And Arlette, it has really been kind of a fascinating last 10 days watching the White House, watching the President. You know, what steps is the administration preparing considering in the days or weeks ahead as this wave continues to grow?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, it is clear that the White House's strategy to combating this is constantly evolving. You have heard the President in recent days really tried to highlight how this is a different pandemic from when he first took office. One, that it is the pandemic of the unvaccinated as the delta variant continues to spread throughout the country.

And you've seen this change in the administration's approach. You know, early on in the early months of Biden's White House, they were kind of dangling these carrots trying to incentivize Americans to get vaccinated, and now, they are taking a bit more of the stick approach. That really started when the President required vaccinations for Federal workers. That is something that they have also been applauding as local and state officials have followed suit and many companies as well.

But you've also heard this very real frustration from the President, from top officials with governors in states who they believe are making decisions that fly in the face of public health.

And today, Dr. Anthony Fauci talks about how the pandemic of the unvaccinated really threatens and raises the possibility of a more virulent strain of COVID-19 coming to light and spreading and this is a bit of his message little bit earlier today.


FAUCI: But if you give the virus the chance to continue to change, you're leading to a vulnerability that we might get a worse variant and then that will impact not only the unvaccinated, that will impact the vaccinated because that variant could invade the protection of the vaccines.


SAENZ: Now, one of the things to watch in the coming days is whether the Biden administration decides to take a more hardline approach in trying to use Federal powers to spur vaccinations. We know that there are early ongoing discussions relating to that.

One of the issues that they have been considering is potentially withholding Federal funding for institutions like long-term care facilities, unless they require vaccinations for all their employees. That is just one thing that this White House is discussing, as they are trying to use a bit of a more tough approach to try to get more Americans vaccinated.

MATTINGLY: Arlette Saenz, it is going to be an interesting couple of weeks ahead, I think on the policy front. My stellar White House teammate holding it down for us in Wilmington, thanks so much.

All right, last week, California became the first state in the nation to mandate all healthcare workers be fully vaccinated. Now, the order gives roughly two million medical professionals until the end of September to get shots, and the decision, it comes amid the frightening rises of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and positivity rates in the state. All three metrics are currently at their highest levels since February.


MATTINGLY: And joining me now is the Surgeon General of California, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, and Doctor, it is great to have you, and I think, you just heard the report from Arlette talking about how the Federal level is trying to approach this, and governors over the course the last couple days how they're trying to approach this. What kind of drove you guys to the decision in terms of vaccinating healthcare workers or mandating that?

DR. NADINE BURKE HARRIS, CALIFORNIA SURGEON GENERAL: Well, in California, we are driven by the science, and as this virus evolves, so our responses have to evolve, to be able to keep our communities, Californians safe from this virus.

MATTINGLY: And in have you heard pushback from healthcare workers? I mean, the balance on the mandate front on the requirement front has always been something that I don't think anybody has totally found the sweet spot on. But what's been the response to this point?

HARRIS: Yes. Listen, our healthcare workers in California deserve to know that they are coming to a workplace that is safe, they have been on the frontlines, they have been giving their all, and they need to know that we are doing everything within our power to make sure that as they are putting themselves on the frontlines to care for our communities, that they are not being unnecessarily exposed.

And so, that is part of the reason for the requirement for healthcare workers, not only to keep patients safe, but also to keep their colleagues safe.

MATTINGLY: And one of the things, you know, as the Federal approach has started to shift a little bit over the course the last couple of days, the idea of mandates on the private sector has been big, but also conversations about whether that should be more widespread.

Dr. Anthony Fauci talked about the possibility of mandating vaccines this morning. Take a listen to how he framed things.


FAUCI: And I believe that some people on their own, once it gets approved as a full approval, will go ahead and get vaccinated. But for those who do not want, I believe mandates at the local level need to be done.


MATTINGLY: So he is talking local level. You know, are there conversations -- is it something you think is in the realm of possibility that California can impose a statewide vaccination mandate? How do you work with local leaders on maybe something similar?

HARRIS: Well, Phil, what we are driving for is to make sure that everyone gets vaccinated. And the -- you know, our hope is that it doesn't come to that. I think that what we can see is that if everyone gets vaccinated, then this issue of mandates doesn't have to be on the table.

But now that we are seeing that the Delta variant is so infectious, so contagious, we need to make sure that we're increasing our community level of vaccination to the point where we can drive to community immunity.

So hopefully, it doesn't take that. Hopefully, Californians step up and all of us across the nation step up to be able to protect our friends and our neighbors from this deadly pandemic.

MATTINGLY: And one thing I wanted to get into before I let you go, you've been a big proponent and talked a lot about mental health during this pandemic, right, before taking office -- before you took office, you were a pediatrician focused on mental health. The Federal Office of Minority Health says only about a third of black Americans who need mental health care will actually get it.

When you combine those dynamics with COVID right now, how concerned are you about the long-term mental health impacts this pandemic might be having?

HARRIS: It is a significant concern. Here in California in December, we released a report called Roadmap for Resilience, really outlining how we can increase across sectors our support and interventions for individuals to be able to respond to the trauma that all of us have been feeling as a result of this pandemic.

So, this is -- it's certainly an infectious disease pandemic, but also, it puts an unprecedented level of stress and adversity on our population, which impacts not only our mental health, but our physical health and wellbeing as well.

MATTINGLY: Yes, no question about it. The downstream effects of everything of the last 16 to 17 months, I think is concerning on every single level. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, thanks so much for your time and the work

you're doing. I appreciate it.

HARRIS: Thanks for having me.

MATTINGLY: All right, still ahead, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin calls the information frightening, shockwaves on Capitol Hill as former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen testifies about the final days of the Trump administration.

Plus, CNN goes inside a secret lab working to solve the nation's gun violence epidemic. See how technology is being used to save lives.



MATTINGLY: The U.S. Senate is back in session today as lawmakers move in a rather sloth-like fashion towards a final vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and make no mistake, it's not a matter of if right now, it's a matter of when, and clearing that hurdle would be a huge initial win for President Biden, both in terms on the legislative side of things, but also and perhaps more importantly from Biden's perspective, proving Washington can still work across party lines.

Now, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he and his Democratic colleagues are ready, they just need Republicans to get on board.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The Democrats are ready and willing to vote on additional amendments to the bill before moving to final passage. Once again, that will require the cooperation of our Republican colleagues.

I hope they will cooperate so we can move more quickly. Otherwise, we'll proceed by the book and finish the bill.


MATTINGLY: And for context, "by the book" means we're thinking like early Tuesday morning final vote. Again, it is not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. This is the Senate and this is an amendment process, but it is worth noting, this would only be the first step. Only one step in a long process ahead for the bill.

Keep in mind, the House still has to pass this and progressive House Democrats have already raised some concerns.


MATTINGLY: Now, separately, Jeffrey Rosen the former Acting Attorney General at the end of the Trump administration testified to lawmakers for seven hours this weekend.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman called what they learned frightening as they investigate the former President's interference with the Justice Department in the last days of his administration.

Katelyn Polantz joins us from Washington. And Katelyn, it's always interesting to hear what lawmakers say after these interviews. Sometimes they are very calm and staid and don't say much at all. This was different. Why? Walk us through what's going on here?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, in the words of the Senate Judiciary Chairman today, they learned a lot. And what was happening in these interviews over the past few days was the Senate Judiciary Committee was making very quick work of getting extremely key witnesses on the record before them to understand what happened at the Justice Department near the end of the Trump administration, when the President was apparently putting direct pressure on them and others to substantiate unfounded election fraud claims.

Now, we're talking about the number one and number two people at the Justice Department at the end of the administration, that's the ex- deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue. He was in for five hours on Friday with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yesterday, as you said, seven hours, that was the ex-acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen. And what Rosen specifically was talking about was a subordinate of both of these men, a man named Jeffrey Clark, who was sort of at the number three level at the Justice Department.

He was an environmental lawyer who was trying to get the Justice Department to substantiate these election fraud claims as well, trying to get the Justice Department to take steps publicly to support what Trump wanted.

Now, those five episodes, we know a little bit of the details of those, but we don't actually know any new information that may have been presented from Jeff Rosen or Richard Donoghue to the committee. That was something that Dick Durbin, who is the Senate Judiciary Chairman declined to expand on this morning in an interview with Dana Bash, but this is what he did say to Dana on CNN.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): Just how directly and personally involved the President was, the pressure he was putting on Jeffrey Rosen. It was real, very real. And it was very specific.

This President is not subtle when he wants a -- the former President is not subtle when he wants something, and I think it's a good thing for America that we had a person like Rosen in that position who stood -- withstood the pressure.


POLANTZ: And Durbin also said that the committee does want to speak with Jeffrey Clark about his interactions with the President, and what happened in those final days. And my sources told me this morning that Clark has been in discussions to speak with Capitol Hill -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Yes, Jeffrey Clark -- and Katelyn, I know you were doing great reporting on him months ago, but I know his name has been percolating around Washington for a couple of months. I think the entire country is going to be keenly aware of who he is and was in the days and weeks ahead.

Katelyn Polantz, great reporting, as always, my friend. Thanks so much.

All right, up next, shocking before and after photos of a shrinking reservoir in California. We'll take a look at how the drought is impacting farmers in the state.



MATTINGLY: Out west, the massive Dixie fire in Northern California has now grown to be the second largest in the state's history, scorching more than 463,000 acres. It is currently the largest fire burning anywhere in the U.S., and it is just 21 percent contained.

Now, it is one of 107 active large fires currently burning across 15 mostly western states. More than two million acres have already burned. CNN's Camila Bernal joins us now from Paradise, California.

And Camila, we always talk about numbers and scale and scope. Can you tell me, how are the firefighters? How are the communities nearby coping with this crisis?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Phil, the firefighters are working 24/7 and the people who are under evacuation orders, well, they are trying to stay calm, but it's so hard to do that when you see this fire growing and growing and when you step outside and you smell and you see the smoke.

If you take a look here behind me, you're supposed to see a canyon. Of course, it is filled with smoke. If you look from above, you can see that it's not only flooded with smoke here, but it also goes to show that the nearby communities are also seeing and feeling this smoke coming south from that Dixie fire. The fire has been burning for 25 days straight. We're only seeing it growing and we're not seeing containment going up.

We're also seeing that the number of structures destroyed is also going up. We're now at more than 400 structures that have been destroyed. Two people are still unaccounted for. They are believed to be from Greenville. We know and we have seen the loss from Greenville. It is similar to what we saw here in Paradise just three years ago.

We spoke to Francis Lamb and she lost her home to the Camp fire in 2018. She says she knows exactly what it's like for the people of Greenville.


FRANCIS LAMB, LOST HER HOME IN WILDFIRE IN 2018: I would take them in in a heartbeat, you know. They need a place to shower. They need a place to get some food. They need a place to sleep, and they need to be hugged. They need to be held and told them that it will get better, it will get better.

It did get better for us, but it took a long time, a long time.



BERNAL: And Governor Gavin Newsom also taking the time this weekend to visit Greenville. He says that this is an opportunity to look at climate change. He says the Dixie fire is a climate induced fire. He did point to forest management, but said the country can do better and can do things to just solve the issue of climate change -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Camila Bernal who has been doing great reporting for us out there. Thanks so much, Camila.

All right, the tender dry conditions in California are also creating a growing drought crisis in the state. Take a look.

Just look at this: How much water levels in Lake Oroville have shrunk in just the past 14 months. These are satellite photos showing how the lake levels have dropped to record lows in the past year. The low water levels of the lake forced the state to shut down a major hydroelectric power plant this week.

CNN's Dan Simon takes a closer look at the problems and concerns created by this drought.


JOE DEL BOSQUE, CALIFORNIA FARMER: When we're harvesting cantaloupes, what we're looking for is this golden color that you see right there.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It is harvest season at Joe del Bosque's farm in Central California. These organic cantaloupes picked from the fields at the peak of perfection.

DEL BOSQUE: Take that little piece and give it a taste.

SIMON (on camera): Delicious.

DEL BOSQUE: Isn't it?

SIMON: Really good.

DEL BOSQUE: This is -- this is what we grow here.

SIMON (voice over): But growing has become increasingly difficult as the California drought crisis intensifies, and water becomes even more scarce.

SIMON (on camera): You've been a farmer your entire life. Is this the worst you've ever seen it?

DEL BOSQUE: This is the worst. I have trouble sleeping sometimes, because I just don't know if we're going to have enough water to get to the end.

SIMON (voice over): Days with dwindling water, del Bosque already made the painful decision in the spring to destroy his asparagus fields, the moment captured on this video.

DEL BOSQUE: And so, it was a difficult decision to make and I decided to destroy the asparagus to save the melons.

SIMON (voice over): But now, there's a new and even bigger concern. His cash crop melons that aren't ready for harvest still need water and there is no assurance he'll have enough.

DEL BOSQUE: In the past, we had water reductions, but we knew how much water we were going to get, and this year we have water reductions, but we don't even know if we're going to get that.

SIMON (voice over): He is far from alone. Just this week, California regulators cut off thousands of farmers from their main irrigation channels of rivers and streams to ensure the state has ample drinking water and to protect endangered fish. It comes as nearly half of the state is in an exceptional drought, the most severe category.

From raging fires to depleted reservoirs, Lake Oroville, the State's second largest has seen its level fall to a historic low, causing its hydroelectric power plant to be knocked offline, the first time in history.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Reality at the end of the day is we need to approach things differently. We need to acknowledge that the hots are getting a lot hotter, the dries are getting drier.

DEL BOSQUE: Years ago, we should have seen this coming because we've been in terrible droughts now for 12 years.

SIMON (voice over): Del Bosque says, for too long, State leaders have failed to come up with better water solutions. He says the farming he started 36 years ago and hopes to pass along to his children suddenly feels vulnerable.

DEL BOSQUE: I was a farm worker myself. I worked in this field driving a tractor, pulling trailers. So, this is kind of like my American Dream right here, and I hate to see it lost like that when it's something out of my control.

SIMON (on camera): And with a lower crop yield this year, that could mean higher prices in the grocery store. Meantime, we are here at Lake Oroville and you can see just how far this water level has dropped.

Normally, the level would be up to where those rocks change color. This reservoir is only about a quarter full and that is what has knocked this power plant offline, not clear when it will come back, and that of course is adding to the State's already precarious power situation.

Back to you.


MATTINGLY: No question about it. Dan Simon at Lake Oroville, thanks.

And still to come, Chicago, in mourning after a violent night. Police officer killed, a second officer hospitalized. The latest on the investigation, coming up next.



MATTINGLY: In Chicago --


MATTINGLY: An emotional moment outside the Medical Examiner's Office as a musical procession, police officers honored a fallen officer who died in the line of duty. A deadly encounter happened during a traffic stop in the City of Southside on Saturday night when police say suspects in the car opened fire, killing a 29-year-old female officer and injuring another.


CHIEF DAVID BROWN, CHICAGO POLICE: Officers need this city to pray for their strength, to pray for peace. That they are comforted, that their families are confident.

I'm asking Chicago to wrap their arms around our police officers today and encourage them to continue their great work in protecting us all.


MATTINGLY: Now, police say three suspects have been arrested. The injured officer remains in critical condition at a Chicago hospital.

And the Biden administration is working to reverse a spike in homicides across the country. In at least five major American cities, Federal agents are now teaming up with local law enforcement to target repeat offenders of gun violence.

CNN's Josh Campbell got inside access to a new task force in Washington that is using cutting edge technology to identify and lock up shooters who are terrorizing America's streets.



JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Gunfire in broad daylight along a busy street in the nation's capital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guns are shooting like all over. You could see it hitting the ground. It was semi-automatic. You can hear -- it sounded like a war zone.

CAMPBELL (voice over): A shooting outside Nationals Park sending fans scrambling to safety.

Seemingly endless gun violence night after night in Washington, terrorizing countless innocent victims, including six-year-old Nyiah Courtney, who was shot and killed last month in a drive-by shooting while riding her scooter.

The Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department has had enough.

CHIEF ROBERT CONTEE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: And people are really mad as hell right now, and I don't blame them. I am, too.

CAMPBELL (voice over): Which is why D.C. Police have launched a new partnership with the A.T.F. with a goal of bringing the full weight of the Federal government to bear on solving a spate of recent shootings.

The nerve center for this new initiative is here at the A.T.F.'s Mobile Gun Crime Lab, where guns and shell casings recovered from shootings are brought for rapid analysis. The A.T.F. allowed CNN inside access to this state of the art intelligence facility where forensic examiners are already hard at work trying to reverse D.C.'s shooting epidemic.

CAMPBELL (on camera): Now, with this mobile command center, the goal is for an officer to be able to roll right up to this truck and get out with a firearm handed off to one of the examiners and the process will start. Now, that officer can stand here and look as the test fire is done. That gives the officer the ability to testify in court about every step of this process.

SAM WARD, A.T.F. SPECIAL AGENT: This is a room that is designed for test fires, it is ballistically lined.

CAMPBELL (voice over): Inside the mobile command center's test fire room, an examiner is about to collect sample shell casings from a pistol recovered from a crime scene.

DET. WAYNE GERRISH, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: This gun was recovered within the past couple of days here in the District of Columbia during a crime. Now, what I'm going to do is I'm going to have you step around to the side of me right here. The reason why I do that is if this is -- if something is wrong with this weapon and the slide happens to go, it's not going to hit us.

CAMPBELL (voice over): Once the weapon is fired, the shell casing is recovered for analysis to see if it's linked to other shootings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This machine will take high resolution 3D images of that hit stamp and extraction marks.

CAMPBELL (voice over): The mark that a gun's firing pen leaves on an ammunition cartridge is a vital piece of evidence, mapping all the places where a gun may have been used is key to eventually tracking down its owner.

WARD: Fire shell casings all have unique characteristics similar to a fingerprint, so they're all very unique. So, these images of the firing pin impression extraction marks can be compared side by side to other images.

ASHAN BENEDICT, MPD'S EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT CHIEF OF POLICE: Now, the partnership with A.T.F. really brings the intelligence piece to light right so the ballistic linking of shootings paints a picture for us.

CAMPBELL (voice over): Ashan Benedict is MPD's Executive Assistant Chief of Police.

CAMPBELL (on camera): Have you already seen success, leads generated from this partnership with A.T.F.?

BENEDICT: Absolutely, we have. Some of our best detectives in the agency are signed over to A.T.F. office, they have assigned some of their best agents.

CAMPBELL: Now after the team completes its work here, the information is sent electronically to the A.T.F. laboratory in Alabama where forensic examiners will try to connect the dots. Those Intelligence leads come back here to the team of investigators that work to try to identify the perpetrators of gun violence.

How will MPD and A.T.F. measure success with this new partnership?

CHARLIE PATTERSON, A.T.F. SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Really, by the number of homicides and shooting occurrences that we have in the city, we want to see a measurable decrease in that amount.

CAMPBELL (voice over): Josh Campbell, CNN, Washington.


MATTINGLY: Coming up next, coronavirus and children, important advice for parents as students head back to school.



MATTINGLY: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is urging politicians to stay out of the way. Health experts saying mixed messages about masks, vaccines, and other public health measures are actually making it hard to get the pandemic under control.


MIGUEL CARDONA, U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: To those who are making policies that are preventing this, don't be the reason why schools are interrupted while children can't go to extracurricular activities, why games are canceled.

We need to do our part as leaders. Like Governor Hutchinson is doing, to make sure that they have access to the decision that they need to make to get their students safely back in school.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTINGLY: Joining me now to discuss is Jody Baumstein, a licensed

therapist, a member of the Strong4Life Team at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. And Jody, I'm glad you're here. I've got three kids. My wife and I have about eight billion questions currently as they are all about to head back to school.

But I think, the biggest thing right now, like there is so much uncertainty, I think with the delta variant, there's a lot of fear as well, for both parents and kids. There's a new school year. How far can like clear guidance and effective leadership go to actually alleviate some of that?

JODY BAUMSTEIN, LICENSED THERAPIST AND MEMBER OF THE STRONG4LIFE TEAM AT CHILDREN'S HEALTHCARE OF ATLANTA: I think we just need to name it, we have got to name it and really talk openly about whatever the feelings are, because they are going to be changing so rapidly, regardless of what the guidelines that -- what they are today, they are going to change tomorrow.

So one of the biggest things I've heard from parents is, I'm excited for my kids to go back, and I'm also incredibly nervous because I don't know what that's going to mean. Are they going to be home again, a week from now? Am I going to get sick? Are they going to get sick? Can they cope with it? Can I cope with it?

So, we just kind of start by owning our feelings and starting to normalize that we all have them. We can hold more than one at a time and we need to talk about them because with kids, it's going to come out in their behavior.

We are going to see clinginess. There is definitely going to be some separation anxiety for younger ones, some irritability, tearfulness, maybe some aggression in terms of their behavior as well, and we have to remember those moments that they're not trying to give us a hard time, but they are having a hard time, and that's their way of communicating.


BAUMSTEIN: So, instead, we want to really take the opportunity to teach them the words that they don't yet have. And I always really think about it just like reading or other skills that they need to learn.

They're not born into the world, knowing how to do this. So, we really need to break it down, just like you would other things. So, with Reading, it's sounds to letters to words to sentences, but we've got to do the same with their emotional development. We wouldn't just throw a book at a toddler and expect them to read it and get frustrated when they don't, we would give them opportunities to practice.

So really, in your home, talking about feeling, so it is so normal and comfortable, they don't think twice about it.

MATTINGLY: One of the things that I think we've struggled with in my household is trying to explain that we're kind of back in this place again. You know, I think we had a kind of a celebratory atmosphere in the house, I think it probably bled over into the kids over the course of, you know, May, June, July, to some degree.

What do you say to parents who are struggling to kind of explain why we're back here, or why some of the things that we thought were going away are still going to be here when they go into school in the coming weeks?

BAUMSTEIN: Be open with them. Talk about what you know. Ground them in the facts of the evidence, because what's really hard to navigate is the uncertainty during a transition. We think that we're a little bit further ahead, and then we go back.

And part of what we know to be so true about anxiety is that our brain wants to make sense of things, and when it doesn't have the answers, it's going to try to find them.

So, giving kids this information and helping them even understand that thoughts are not facts, and that's really powerful for a child because when their mind starts racing. They get really worried about what this means. You know, "Mom and dad told me, everything was okay, but now we're wearing masks again." Talk to them about what you know today. Ground them in the present moment of what we know today and help them understand that this is -- it will keep evolving, but you're going to communicate about it.

MATTINGLY: This kind of drills in a little bit more on that point, and it is one of the things that a lot of people are wondering right now, what do you say to kids when they say, you know, my friends not wearing a mask? Or my friend doesn't think that we need to wear masks, but you want your kids to wear masks, if that's what you want. How do you explain that?

BAUMSTEIN: Well, I think, first, this is a really good chance to really teach tolerance. This is something that is very confusing and abstract for kids. So, help them understand that we can be open, accepting, and respectful of different ideas, beliefs, and behaviors without approving of them or necessarily agreeing with them.

But then you've got to model it. You have to be showing that yourself with your own behavior and your own actions, and then I think just explaining the facts, why is it important because they are going to be resistant if they don't get it, if they aren't being explained things and they're just being forced into it, they are going to be resistant, they're going to ask questions, and they might act out.

So, talk to them, tell them what you know, but then give them choice along the way. Any chance you can where you can empower them to make a decision, even if it's as simple as they get to pick their mask. If they're younger, they want to put stickers on it. Don't fight those battles. Just let them do it because it's going to give them a sense of autonomy, which makes them feel a little more in control and a little less stressed.

MATTINGLY: Yes, appreciate that. One thing, very clear, you talk to kids, they've learned and understand a lot more than maybe you think they do.

Jody Baumstein, that's great advice. Thanks so much for your time.

BAUMSTEIN: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: All right, just ahead, a sitcom star to the rescue. An actress from the hit show "Modern Family" helps a woman in need.


MATTINGLY: The American Dream, it plays such a central role in our culture, but sometimes it seems so beyond reach that the sitcom humor actually laugh at the struggles of getting ahead. This week on an all- new episode of thee CNN Original Series "History of The Sitcom," we take a look at how class divides us and the ways we try to bridge the gaps among us. Here is a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1970, CBS begins what is both affectionately and derogatorily known as the rural purge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But cancelled all those shows that had huge ratings on CBS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Norman Lear arrived to take their place with realistic shows about working class people and the big city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Father lost his jobs today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, there goes the old bald guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "All in the Family" was able to deal with some stuff that was going on in contemporary society through the lens of comedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the going gets tough, they said that's when a tough get going. And that's me, tough, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't watch the problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, what are you going to do, daddy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that's the problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Normal Lear is interested in class as a primary driver of storytelling in American life.


MATTINGLY: Joining me now is CNN media analyst, Bill Carter. He's also a former "New York Times" media reporter. Bill, thanks for coming by. Like, you know this better than anybody, class divisions, they've been highlighted in a number of sitcoms, you're talking "Beverly Hillbillies" to "Schitt's Creek", "Nowadays," yet another sensitive topic that sitcoms seems to be able to make more approachable through humor. Why is this such good fodder for sitcoms?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, you know, class, especially when you have two classes shown in a show, it brings in conflict and conflict can bring in humor, and I think people want to see that clash and also they want to see the representation of America in its different forms. And then when you did -- when you saw Jackie Gleason in "The Honeymooners," that was working class life in America in the 50s.

And you saw working class life among African-Americans in the early Norman Lear shows, and then some African leader --- African-American leaders went to him and said, "We have other black families, too." And they did "The Jeffersons" and they moved on up and moved on up in society, and that's kind of the American sort of dream as you move from, you know, a struggling working class family to maybe a middle class family and maybe an upper class family.

MATTINGLY: You know, there is a popular premise for sitcoms and we've seen it over and over again, like class reversal of circumstances -- class is a reversal circumstances, either rich people, or poor people finding themselves all the sudden in the opposite situation. Bill, I want you to watch or take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold it, Diane. We are the Jefferson.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're right, Louie. He is a great joker.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is not joking, Diane.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really aside from wardrobe and the places they live, they were still black. Because no matter how much money you have, no matter where you live, blackness is its own class.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can you afford to live in a place like this? You ain't tall enough to be no basketball player?



MATTINGLY: Bill, you kind of mentioned that the evolution of Norman Lear, which wasn't entirely of his own doing, if I recall correctly. But how groundbreaking was this storyline?

CARTER: Well, it was groundbreaking because, you know, you had formerly seen black families worked either maids or working class people like "Sanford and Son" in a junkyard. And now you have a guy who is sort of an entrepreneur. Jefferson was an entrepreneur. He had a string of dry cleaning stores. And that was what was happening with some people in the black middle class. They were moving on up.

But they still were represented as what would be their expectation in society, black people would think, well, maybe they are faking. They're not real. It's not real. And you could see that white expectation was you wouldn't have a black face like that.

By the show, that changed with "The Cosby Show." When "The Cosby Show" had a doctor and a lawyer, people were very willing to accept that.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it's amazing how much sitcoms have such a dramatic effect on how people view everything. You've also got a number of sitcoms that show just how hard the struggle is, to get a pie. You know, you've got "Good Times," "Alice," "Roseanne," what did those different types of sitcoms tell us? I guess, generally about the American Dream?

CARTER: You know, "Roseanne," for example, is a classic show. I mean, you have a real struggling, struggling family, and it mirrored what was going on in America because of recession and people losing their jobs.

And I think the realer those shows were, the funnier they were, because people would say, "Yes, I identify with this," as opposed to like a really broad show like "Arrested Development," where there is incredibly wealthy people, but they're sort of out there, cartoony, and they're being made fun of.

In general, the really rich people are portrayed as, you know, either pompous or full of themselves or cruel and not particularly appealing, whereas the working class people are living that dream, and we all are rooting for them and that's why they worked as successfully as they did.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it's "root" then is the right word. You're always rooting for them.

Bill Carter, thanks. As always, your perspective is fantastic. I appreciate your time here.

CARTER: Sure, thank you.

MATTINGLY: And be sure to tune in, an all-new episode of the CNN Original Series "History of the Sitcom" airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.

And speaking of sitcoms, a sitcom star is being credited with helping rescue a woman in Utah. Minnie Johns says she fainted and fell during a hike in the Arches National Park. When she came to, she was being helped by none other than "Modern Family" star, Julie Bowen. You see the picture right there.

Bowen's sister, Annie, and their guide. Now, Minnie says she is a diabetic and have low blood sugar and she actually broke her nose during the fall.

Julie and Annie helped get Minnie back on her feet. Luckily, Annie is a doctor and was able to attend to Minnie's needs. The newfound friends even snapped a few photos to remember their experience.

It's a good story -- sitcom star, there you go.

All right. Thanks for joining me today. I'm Phil Mattingly. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now, with Jim Acosta.