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Biden Administration Says Pandemic has Entered Troubling New Phase among the Unvaccinated; Trump Discusses Rioters' Actions In Taped Interview With Authors Of "I Alone Can Fix It"; White House "Deeply Disappointed" In China's Decision Not To Cooperate With Next Phase Of WHO Study; Florida Mother Who Refused Vaccine Struck By Covid: "It Was Horrifying". Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 22, 2021 - 20:00   ET



WILLIAM BURNS, C.I.A. DIRECTOR: The National Academy of Sciences a year ago had a very extensive report that they did, suggested that the most plausible theory for what caused this was some form of directed energy and that sort of narrows, then, you know the number of potential suspects who could have used this, have used it historically and have the reach to do this in more than one part of the world.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Burns says Havana syndrome cases number in the hundreds here and overseas.

Thanks for joining us. It's time for Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. The Biden administration tonight striking an urgent new tone on COVID, now repeatedly calling it a pandemic of the unvaccinated and that is certainly true.

Now, most of the hospitalizations and deaths of people from COVID are people who have chosen not to be vaccinated and that choice not to get vaccinated does put millions of other Americans at risk. Those who can't get the vaccine because they are immunocompromised or because their children and the vaccine hasn't been approved for kids under the age of 12 yet.

So, while this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated, there are millions of children who can get sick because adults won't do something to protect them.

The delta variant, highly infectious, much easier to catch if you're unvaccinated is now the dominant strain in the country. Cases have doubled, tripled, and now nearly quadrupled over the last four weeks.

Listen to H.H.S. Secretary Xavier Becerra in Las Vegas with the state's positivity rate now approaching 15 percent, and only 39 percent of the county encompassing Las Vegas is fully vaccinated.


fiction. This is not some kind of disinformation campaign. This is just a fact. If you are dying today in America from COVID, it's because essentially you're unvaccinated.

Why would you want to die?


COOPER: And as we've been seeing all week, ICUs in Nevada and Arkansas and Louisiana and Florida are once again getting very busy.

That's not just a problem for the unvaccinated though. ER doctors, hospital staffers are once again forced to deal with the stress and strain of treating people who wouldn't be in the ICU if they had gotten the vaccine.

Already this week, we've seen the stock market dip on fears the delta variant will put a chill into what was starting to look like a post- COVID economy. Today, we saw jobless claims rise unexpectedly.

We've also seen tempers flare as localities across the country grapple over restrictions that people just a few weeks ago thought were behind us.


ANNIE PALUMBO, PARENT: I'm here fighting with hundreds of other parents because we don't want our kids masked for seven hours a day, and I look around and I see all of you sitting here without masks. Seriously. What's the deal?


COOPER: Lots of parents in Virginia Beach, Virginia at a local school board meeting over the question of whether kids should have to wear masks when school returns in September. This is in a state where nearly 65 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, which is significantly better than the country as a whole.

The truth is though, no matter where you live, it's clear that a lot of people are simply confused and frustrated over how to handle this new delta surge.

Emily Baker Hurley and her husband both got vaccinated, but they let up on mask wearing, then they got infected, and though she is asymptomatic, and he has only got minor symptoms, their two daughters are five years old and nine months old, too young to be vaccinated and both got infected and it hasn't been easy.


EMILY BAKER HURLEY, MOTHER OF INFECTED CHILDREN: The kids have been really, really sick -- 103 fevers, diarrhea, and vomiting. It's been especially scary with a baby.


COOPER: This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Those are the people getting hospitalized and dying, but until more Americans choose to take this vaccine, this miracle of medicine, this pandemic of the unvaccinated is going to continue to impact us all.

CNN's Kaitlin Collins is at the White House for us tonight. So, the administration is now acknowledging the pandemic has entered a new phase it seems.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a troubling new phase for them because, Anderson, while they insist they are not worried about vaccinated people, still, they still think that they are enjoying good protection from these vaccines. You're seeing stories like that woman's just there and also the concern about the half of America that is not yet vaccinated.

Fifty percent of Americans still have not gotten the vaccine and you are seeing the delta variant circulate, and the C.D.C. Director is warning it is nothing like what she has ever seen in her two decades in public health.

And I talked to another health official tonight who said this is something they've been warning about for a month and we're now seeing the consequences of it. But they said it is spreading faster and wider than they had anticipated when it comes to this delta variant.

And so, President Biden held a briefing today with his coronavirus team. They talked about the state of the pandemic, the state of vaccinations. He was even an hour late to an event that he had in the East Room because of that briefing, Anderson.

And he himself is acknowledging that they are putting the 25-person team to talk about what is going on right now in this phase of the pandemic given it is not at where they expect it to be six months in, several months into taking office, and now it's a new phase that they're having to deal with that looks very different than what it did on day one.

COOPER: Yes, more than half of Americans not fully vaccinated. It's extraordinary that that is the situation right now.


COOPER: What are you learning about the discussions between the White House and health officials about possibly revising a mask mandate?

COLLINS: So, this is where it comes to affect people who actually did get vaccinated because we are hearing from sources that inside the White House and the top Federal health officials, they are having conversations and maybe preliminary ones, but they are talking about whether or not they need to update the mask guidance for those of us who are fully vaccinated.

When you're in an indoor setting, when you're around other people who are not vaccinated, given we are seeing breakthrough cases happening to those people who are fully vaccinated, and they are still investigating what the spread of that is going to look like.

And so, the White House was insistent today. They wouldn't even confirm that these conversations were happening, though we know that they are from multiple sources. But they did say right, now the guidance still stands as it was from what the C.D.C. said a few months ago, if you're fully vaccinated, you don't need to wear a mask.

But the C.D.C. Director told me she believes it is really an individual choice, and if you feel like you need another layer of protection, you can wear that mask. But of course, the big question is, are they actually going to change this guidance, and will people follow it if they do?

COOPER: Yes, Kaitlan Collins, I appreciate it. Thank you.

All of it is certainly a lot to take in. We want to take some time to map out exactly where we are. To do that, we are joined by two people who have guided us for the past year and a half. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he is in Tokyo where COVID is certainly shaking up the Olympic Games. Also Dr. Leana Wen, CNN medical analyst and former Health Commissioner for the City of Baltimore.

Sanjay, as you wrote, just last week, we got very close, tantalizingly close in the race against COVID. Now, as I mentioned, we find ourselves in this unsettling confusing time. From a medical perspective, where are we in the course of the pandemic now?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, if the country came in for a checkup right now, Anderson, I think the doctors and nurses would tell them that they are concerned. I mean, you've got about a third of the country now that has high levels of viral transmission.

We're in July. This is supposed to be the best time of the year, as far as viral transmission being low, people are primarily outside, and the virus doesn't like to be outside. So, this could be as good as it gets at least for a period of time. And yet, a third of the country can take a look at the map, viral transmission is high. At the same time that the viral transmission is high, vaccination rates are low.

I mean, they are really remarkably low. I just have got to tell you, I'm here in Tokyo, we've been talking a lot about athletes around the world. There are people who are begging for these vaccines in countries where they only have one percent of the country vaccinated. And you know, we can't give them away, apparently, in the United States. So, those two things in particular, I think, you know, raise the level of concern.

As we go into the fall, the weather gets cooler and drier, the virus transmits more easily. That's a concern. And I just have got to say as well, you know, just based on what Kaitlan was talking about, and I've talked to Dr. Walensky as well about the masks. It's very interesting to me, at this point to say, are we going to get ahead of this or not? Have we learned lessons from just last year? Or are we going to be late on this again? I mean, this is really concerning. And, frankly, if this mask issue

wasn't so politicized, I think the answer would be very clear that indoors, especially when you're -- even if you're vaccinated, if you're around a lot of unvaccinated people, and you're in an area where the viral transmission is high, you should probably put -- probably put a mask on.

I'm not sure why this is still so challenging, a year and a half into this pandemic.

COOPER: Obviously, Sanjay, there is concern that if that message is sent to a lot of people, that some people are going to interpret it as well, if I still have to wear a mask and I'm vaccinated, what's the point of being vaccinated?

GUPTA: Well, I hear that and I also realize that it might be from a psyche standpoint, hard to absorb for the country. But people need to understand that that does not mean the vaccines aren't effective. Now, the vaccines are remarkably effective.

But you know, you've got to think about this not as a binary like, either I'm totally protected or I'm not. I mean, the vaccines may take what was otherwise would be a critical illness where you end up in the hospital, in an ICU and turn that into a mild illness, something that doesn't take you to the hospital.

But even that is something you don't want, and you don't want to have a fever of 103 and sick for two weeks even if it doesn't take you to the hospital. There are people who get vaccinated, that may still develop symptoms. That's the thing you've got to remember here.

If you're around all vaccinated people all the time, that's great. Unfortunately, in the United States, we haven't gotten to that point, 50 percent not even of the country is vaccinated. So, when you go out and about, you're likely going to be showered with viral particles. Your vaccinated body is going to do a much better job of protecting yourself, but it's not perfect. I mean, nothing is.

And the idea of just slipping on two ear loops and in protecting yourself like we've been again talking about for a year and a half, it just -- it confounds me that we were still having this conversation and we are finding all these loopholes and excuses not to do what we should obviously be doing.

COOPER: And Dr. Wen, to me, one of the arguments about -- that I respond to maybe because I'm a new parent of wearing a mask even though I've been vaccinated is the idea that we still don't know if you have been vaccinated, how much you can transmit a virus to your child? So, in your home, your kid -- and we still have this idea that kids don't -- you know, brush this off, and it doesn't affect kids, although we've now seen cases with delta where kids have been hospitalized.

So to you, what is the argument for wearing a mask if you've been vaccinated? DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, the biggest argument that I

can see is that we just don't know at this point about the delta variant, and if we don't know key questions, we should be using an abundance of caution.

The C.D.C. is still operating in the past. The data that they are basing their advice on saying that if you're vaccinated, you're protected. That was pre-delta. We actually don't know the data about if you're fully vaccinated, but you contract the delta variant, are you able to transmit it to others, including parents to unvaccinated children?

If we don't know what that risk is, then how are parents or anyone supposed to make a decision for themselves or their families? It makes a big difference that that risk is one in a hundred versus one in two. I mean, we literally don't know, because the C.D.C. is not collecting those data.

It's been said that the C.D.C. is a great institution in peacetime, but it is slow, and we are now in the middle of a war and we just can't wait.

And I'll just say one more thing about the Biden administration's message that is really off, they keep saying if you're vaccinated, you're protected, implying that it only matters to you if you're vaccinated. It doesn't matter if other people around you are vaccinated or not. But that's just not true.

As Sanjay was saying, if there are all kinds of virus around you, if you're in a community with a lot of virus, then because these vaccines are not a hundred percent, it is going to impact you. So, I mean, as to whether this will undermine confidence in the vaccines. Think about this like a seatbelt. We wear seatbelts, we don't expect that they'll save our life every single time.

If there are a ton of people around us driving recklessly, we might need more than a seatbelt. But that doesn't mean saying that doesn't mean it is undermining confidence with seatbelts, it is just saying that the choices that other people are making influenced us, too.

COOPER: Dr. Wen and Sanjay Gupta. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Next, sports anchor Rich Eisen talks about his breakthrough infection and why getting vaccinated is still a good idea. It's his first on- camera interview since his diagnosis and recovery. You'll only see it here.

Also, that tape we've all heard of the former President ranting about the election he lost. Given the tone and the content of it, we will ask a former friend of the First Family if she thinks he is losing it.

We will be right back.


COOPER: At today's White House COVID briefing, officials spent time discussing breakthrough infections in people who have already gotten the vaccine. It's certainly a hot topic. Question is, though, is it a growing problem? Here's what Dr. Anthony Fauci had to say.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Infections after vaccination are expected. No vaccine is 100 percent effective. However, even if a vaccine does not completely protect against infection, it usually, if it's successful, protects against serious disease.


COOPER: Which brings us to the NFL network's Rich Eisen. He was vaccinated, then came down with a case of COVID recently. Here is part of what he posted on social media last week, well, quote, "As someone sitting day four in quarantine, fighting off symptoms, I can personally attest, you still need to be careful and most importantly, get vaccinated. Why? Especially since mine didn't keep COVID from my body. So, there aren't any more variants that appears highly effective vaccines that would ordinarily get all of us back to normal life. But if you want an answer, maybe a bit more personal to you, get vaccinated so you won't go to the hospital or die."

Rich Eisen joins us now in his first television interview since being infected.

Rich, it is good to see you. First of all, how are you feeling?

RICH EISEN, HOST, NFL NETWORK: I'm feeling fine. Thanks. I got out of quarantine yesterday, and other than just being fatigued, the symptoms that I had, which were very difficult, are -- they are gone.

COOPER: So for people who say, well, I've been vaccinated, if I get this thing, you know, it's not going to -- you know, I'm not even going to notice it. What did it feel like for you?

EISEN: It started with just a tickle in my throat, and then a small cough the next day. I thought it was allergies, and it turned out to be COVID. And after my test was confirmed with another test, it really began to hit me. But in a weird way, to be honest, with chills and body aches, but no fever. I had -- I still have a sense of taste and smell, but no appetite.

It was just really weird, but very difficult at times to get through certainly because you just never knew how it could manifest itself in a way that could go in the wrong direction.

COOPER: To people who, you know, read what you said, hear your story and say well, why then get vaccinated if this thing -- if I'm still going to get sick from it?

EISEN: Well, I've seen that actually in response to my post that, why should I get vaccinated, Rich Eisen got COVID even when he was vaccinated, and the fact that I'm here to talk to you, Anderson, is a testament to my vaccine that I'm not ventilated right now. I'm not in a hospital. I never was in a hospital.

Also, my daughter got it. Nothing is more personal than your seven- year-old daughter getting it, and it's entirely possible. It's very feasible. I gave it to her.

She is okay right now, but that is harrowing. That is as white knuckle an experience as you possibly can get, plus, the fact that I attempted to have a normal summer. My wife and I were heading on vacation out of the country, which is why I tested. Otherwise, I would have thought maybe it's just some sort of an allergy and I could have spread it around even worse, but I was trying to be normal. That's what I've been told that we should live with it, and that life should get back to normal.


EISEN: But nothing is normal about a 52-year-old who is healthy staring out a window in quarantine for 10 days while his seven-year- old daughter has it after being so careful. My wife and I have been so careful for a year plus.

So, the fact that I am here to talk to you is because I was vaccinated, and the fact that I went through it is not enough people are vaccinated because the delta variant pierced my vaccine.

COOPER: I mean, that's what I don't understand about people who have chosen not to get vaccinated is that there are millions of children who can't be vaccinated at this point, because under the age of 12, you can't be, maybe that will change. But hopefully it will change.

But there's millions of kids running around, and there are people who have the delta variant because they haven't been vaccinated. They've chosen not to get vaccinated. And they say, well, if you're vaccinated, you shouldn't be concerned about what I'm doing to my own body. But there's a lot of people who these kids can't make a choice on it. They don't have the choice to make, and they are endangering kids.

EISEN: There's no question about the fact that my seven-year-old daughter after my wife and I were extremely careful for a year plus got it, most likely because I got it, I have no idea how I got it. All I know is I did take a blood test because my physicians thought let's take a look at why a 52-year-old relatively healthy and in shape individual got COVID despite being double vaxxed with Pfizer, by the way, I was fully vaccinated as of late February, and my antibodies that they could test prior to my getting sick showed that I had a full protection.

This delta variant is no joke. And if people are unvaccinated, who the heck knows what the next variant might be. It could actually be easier for all of us who are vaccinated to get it. So, that's why I'm urging everybody to get vaccinated, that my story should not be used in any way, shape, or form as proof that things don't work.

It does work. It did not keep me from getting infected. And the reason why is because there's too much of a part of our population in the world as well who are not vaccinated that's why there's a variant that put me in quarantine for 10 days.

COOPER: And why there may be other variants coming down the pike that we still don't know about at this point, because not enough people are vaccinated.

Now, there's certainly a lot of questions about the use of mask. We've seen in Los Angeles County, there's now a mask mandate for public indoor setting. To those who say this is punishing people who have been vaccinated or it's an inconvenience they shouldn't have to go through. What do you say?

EISEN: Well, I am you know, fed up, quite frankly, Anderson that the people who are vaccinated frequently need to take precautions and accede to those who are not vaccinated. It is part of our country where you think that there is something going on there and you should be responsible for your actions. That is true.

But all that said, despite how angry I am, I am going to mask up. It is just -- I heard Dr. Gupta, a fellow Wolverine say in the previous segment, you're just putting two loops around your ears. It is an inconvenience, but I'm always going to wear a mask the rest of my life in a grocery store, indoors, on planes.

It is just going to be a facet of life that is inconvenient, but if it protects me and then and in so doing, protects my children, my 83- year-old mother, my mother-in-law, my uncle-in-law, my aunt-in-law, people like that, if that's what I have to do and keep it from my children and protect others around me, that's what I will do.

COOPER: I just want to change gears and ask you about an announcement by the NFL today that any COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players or staff will automatically forfeit that week's game as a loss. Were you surprised the NFL did this? What do you think of it?

EISEN: Well, last year, Anderson when we did not have a vaccine to help out, the NFL held a game on every day of the week. Now, Thursdays Saturday, Sunday Monday, our scheduled game days throughout the year.

But Tuesdays and Wednesdays are not. There was a Friday game because it was a scheduled Christmas Day, which made it every single day of the week had an NFL game scheduled on it last year. There was a Thanksgiving night game on a partner, NBC that got pushed all the way to the following Wednesday.

I proffer to say the NFL does not want to do that again, nor should they do that again if there is science that can be relied on to make things potentially easier and safer.

And so I think the NFL has decided to make this maneuver. I will say that if the game can't be rescheduled throughout the year somehow, it's not going to be an automatic forfeiture on the spot on that week, they're going to try and get the game in.


EISEN: But last year, there were no cancellations. And there was a very low positivity rate in the NFL of 0.08. So, hopefully this year with vaccines, it can be even better. And I would just counsel all of the players who are unvaccinated right now to consult their team doctor who will tell them, I think what I just said.

COOPER: Yes, Rich Eisen, I'm so glad you are doing okay and I hope your daughter continues to do okay, and the rest of your family as well. And I appreciate you speaking out because everybody needs to talk about this stuff. And the more we're talking about it, hopefully more people get vaccinated.

Thank you very much.

EISEN: Thanks for having me on.

COOPER: Coming up next, the former President on tape continuing to rant about how he lost the election. We'll play you some of his words. The question is, is he kind of losing his grip on reality down in Mar- a-Lago just rambling about this stuff over and over and over every single day? A former friend of the family weighs in.


COOPER: Last night we were fortunate to have on our broadcast two "Washington Post" reporters who not only have authored a remarkable inside account in the final year of the former administration, but they brought with them exclusive excerpts of their interview with the former President for their book, "I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year."


I want to play a portion of one of those conversations that may have bearing on the House Select committee's investigation, the Capitol riot. It's a portion of a much longer conversation between the former president and The Washington Posts Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, the authors of the book about what he says he wanted his supporters to do on January 6.


CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST: But what did you hope they would do? And he said, go up there and stop the steal?

DONALD TRUMP, FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Well, I heard that people wanted to go down to -- you know, that wasn't my rally per se. That was -- there were a lot of people that spoke. They had rallies the night before. They had speakers all over the city. You had hundreds of thousands of people. I would venture to say. I think it was a largest crowd I've ever spoken before. It went from that point, which is almost at the White House to beyond the Washington Monument. It was and wide. And --

LEONNIG: But if you could have wave your wand --

TRUMP: And it was a loving gratitude by the way, there was a lot of love. I've heard that from everyone. And many, many people have told me that was a loving crowd. And, you know, it was too bad. It was too bad that got, you know, that they --

LEONNIG: There were just some --

TRUMP: -- from my statement.

LEONNIG: Mr. President, I apologize. What we're trying to understand is not blame, not castigate.

TRUMP: No, I understand that.

LEONNIG: We want to understand what did you want when you said, go up there? What would you have dreamed --

TRUMP: I would have said to them that you will show not to go in, although they were ushered in by the police. I mean, in all fairness, the Capitol Police were ushering people in, the Capitol Police were very friendly, you know, they were hugging and kissing. You don't see that. But there's plenty of tape on that, too. You know, because the Capitol Police were -- that's the way it is.

But I wanted, I mean, personally, what I wanted is what they want, they showed up just to show support, because I happen to believe the election was rigged at a level like nothing has ever been rigged before.


COOPER: The full thing goes on for about four or more minutes or so when she rambles all through the big lie. Just saying things which are just completely not true.

Perspective now from Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who was an advisor to the former First Lady, she's author of the book Melania And Me The Rise And Fall Of My Friendship With The First Lady. Also with us, John Dean, former White House counsel to President Nixon and a CNN contributor.

Stephanie, you've spent quite a bit of time with the former president over the years. I wonder just from what you heard in these recordings, the continued delusions and conspiracies. I mean, does that sound like the person you knew?

STEPHANIE WINSTON WOLKOFF, AUTHOR: It does Anderson. It sounds very much like Donald Trump is very, in very much in denial, and very convincing to his followers. This is something that happens behind closed doors. And if you weren't watching it and listening to it, you do, you believe him. I mean, that's why so many people still follow him.

COOPER: It's interesting. I mean, John, you know, last night when we first heard these recordings from Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker's interview with the former president. I mean, again, the longer one goes on and on, we played like five minutes of his show last night. I mean, my immediate reaction was the first time I had heard it was, it reminds me of some of those tapes of Nixon drunk rambling in his final days in the White House, I assumed he was drunk. Obviously, the former president says he doesn't drink. But it is just as rambling and, and lying in a way, maybe perhaps that Nixon wasn't even lying.

As someone who was part of the administration, how does -- what do you hear when you hear the former president?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's baffled me for a long time about Trump. And I've gone between thinking, the man is crazy. The man is crazy, like a fox. Where I really -- I've read about everything you can read about him. I've watched him, as we all have closely for four years, where I think he is Anderson, this is just another con, and he's just not going to let up on it. He's focused on it. As Stephanie said, he's very good at this. He's very convincing. He's a salesman, and this is, this is his start for his rebid to get back in the White House. He wants power, he wants attention. This is going to draw it for him. He thinks this is his ticket.

COOPER: You know, Stephanie when I heard this also, this tape, it just reminded me of what I kind of imagined his life in Mar-a-Lago to be which is, you know, just there all day, you know, people coming to have meetings with him to praise him, you know, eating, he sits in the lobby, he holds these meetings, according to Michael Wolfe, you know, he wants to be seen holding meetings with people. He's, you know, schmoozing at dinner, people come up the table.

He's sort of a kind of a maitre d at times going over to people's tables, go crashing people's weddings, making speeches. And I imagine him saying this over and over. I mean, it's talking about the big lie every single day. He wanted his I don't know if it's a genius or just a pathology, but his, I mean, when he has something he wants to make everybody believe he just repeats it so much that it exhausts you, and then repeats it even more.


WOLKOFF: Absolutely. I mean, Anderson, I personally witnessed, you know, and hadn't experienced with Mr. Trump and Melania at Trump Tower, where he convinced me so, you know, much. And I tell you speak about in my book about Rick Gates, that he didn't know who this person was, and he was his deputy chairman. So, there is this nature within him. And I think that his lies are so convincing that he actually believes that himself and his mates, all of his followers believe them as well.

COOPER: John, it is rare in life that one encounters a conman who, you know, I reaches the heights that this man did, and has. But I don't know that we as humans are sort of wired to -- we, I think, in general, from the research, I've read, people kind of believe in other people, people want to believe the best in other people. And that's why we're so susceptible to this kind of cons. He is certainly the master of this.

DEAD: He indeed is. The only parallel I can think, Anderson and I understand your reaction to hearing the tapes in the Nixonian reaction, which is well placed is the parallel with Nixon never admitting that he was guilty of any crime. Well, he was a sophisticated lawyer, he knew well. In fact, crimes that hadn't even surfaced while he was still alive. There were multitudes of them, but he'd never would admit to guilt. And that's a similar lie. He just couldn't let himself go there. And because he said he didn't feel like he had been committed a crime.

Trump doesn't feel like he should have loss. He watched those crowds and thinks he should have won. So therefore, he's going to say it was rigged, because he didn't win.

COOPER: Stephanie --

DEAN: It's bad.

COOPER: -- do you think, what a slap in the face to Capitol Hill police officers, you know, dozens of whom were injured, traumatized, you know, or will have things that they're dealing with for the rest of their lives, in some cases. For the former president to be saying, well, you know, the Capitol Police, there was so much love in that crowd and the Capitol Police just let them in. And they were hugging the protesters.

I -- you know, as somebody who, you know, you were intimate with the family, more so Melania and not really from a political realm, you were you were a friend of hers and working on the inauguration. I'm wondering what you saw on January 6, how did you see it?

WOLKOFF: Well, I saw it exactly as it was. I mean, this was a, you know, destruction of our democracy. And what happened to the police officers was, you know, it was a disgrace on everything that America stands for. And for him to say that they were open, armed and loving is really, I don't want to use the word but it is sick. Because it's anything but loving and caring.

COOPER: And John, you know, the other thing that really strikes me is that, and I think it was interesting, because that's what Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker were trying to do, which is, you know, you asked the president, well, what did you want them to do when you said go to the Capitol, and I'll be -- I'll walk with you, which of course he was never going to do that. Though many people thought he was. He can answer that question, because he doesn't have an answer to that question.

So when you hear in that tape, you know, he starts to say, well, you know, I wanted them to show. And then he goes off to say, well, they were welcomed in the Capitol Police left. I mean, he goes off on tangents. They tried to bring him back again and say, well, what did you want? And he ends up saying, well, I wanted what would they wanted. Well, we know what they wanted. They wanted to hang my pants. That's what the crowd, many in the crowd were chanting. We saw what they wanted and how they wanted to accomplish it by overcoming police lines and breaking into the Capitol.

DEAN: Anderson, if you look at that transcript of that conversation he had with Leonnig and Rucker, he stops just short of answering the questions. He obviously it knows what the answer is and blocks himself from revealing it. That's very telling to me. I think it says a lot.

COOPER: Yes. John Dean, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Just ahead, what China told the world today about the lab leak theory and whether it would help in the investigation into the origin the coronavirus, will have that, and where the investigation stands, when we come back.



COOPER: Standoff now between the U.S., China and the World Health Organization over the investigation to the origin of the coronavirus. The White House says it is quote, deeply disappointed, unquote. In China's decision today that it will not cooperate in the second phase of the studies.

CNN's David Culver is in Shanghai with details. So, I guess this shouldn't be too surprising. Where do things stand right now in the investigation? I mean has China shut the door permanently to allowing international scientists back into the country?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Shut the door, Anderson, probably locked it as well, several times over. I mean, we solid going this direction. You're right, it's not increasingly, it's not incredibly surprising to see them increasingly hesitant about letting anyone in here. But it is something that is disappointing for a lot of scientists, because they said that this is now become political manipulation rhetoric that we have heard before. They also say that this goes against common sense and science allowing this phase two investigation.

And you have to remember WHO was here already, they had a team on the ground. We were in Wuhan earlier this year. But think of the timing of when that team was here doing their field research 12 months after the initial outbreak. And so investigators that we spoke with who really are deeply tied into this initial field mission said that's like going to a crime scene. And 12 months later, after having it had been washed over multiple times, in fact when we were there initially after the outbreak, we saw them cleaning it, they had shut it down.

And so, doing any sort of field research seemed at that point to yield no positive results. And really no substantive data and getting access to even some of the Chinese data has been increasingly difficult for these scientists as well. So they had all been hoping a lot of these scientists I've been speaking with, that they were going to get another chance to come back in here that perhaps the politics would subside a little bit. And they'd be able to have that opportunity Anderson looking like it's not going to happen.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, unless, you know, some data has been captured somehow or through technological means. Or there's some, you know, human intelligence, somebody who was directly associated with the lab who comes forward. How can investigators really figure this out?

CULVER: Getting access is everything. And that's not going to happen to your point. And if there is somebody who has potentially been connected to that lab that would have knowledge, they're not going to have the comfort to speak out here. I mean, that that's something that we have worked at, quite diligently to try to get access to some of those individuals. And which you have to remember is the individuals that they had speaking at this health official press conference, where those who are head of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, that's the institute that holds the BSL 4, Biosafety 4 Lab which is suspected to potentially be one of the origins places. And the head of the WHO mission from China's representation side of things.


So they're the ones pushing for this narrative and determined in all times ahead of the Beijing 2022 Olympics. And as China is celebrating 100 years at the Communist Party to make sure that the narrative stays the way it is, and they're not going to allow this really scientific investigation to move past politics now.

COOPER: Yes, David Culver. I really appreciate it. Thank you, David.

Perspective now from Jamie Metzl, the former national security staff member during the Clinton administration. He's currently an adviser to the World Health Organization. He was the lead drafter of for open letter saying that China needs to be called out and to investigate the lab leak theory.

So Mr. Metzl, you've been a critic from the beginning of this joint investigation with the World Health Organization in China have been supposedly working together. Are you at all surprised by how this process has broken down because it doesn't seem like China, certainly really has a lot to gain by allowing any kind of investigation. I'm not sure why they would.

JAMIE METZL, WHO ADVISORY GROUP MEMBER: I'm not all that surprised. But basically, this process has been compromised from the very beginning, the agreement at the World Health Assembly last year, called for a joint study by an International Committee and their Chinese government counterparts. And that was what happened earlier this year. But it was really the leadership and incredible courage of Tedros, Dr. Tedros, the WHO Director General, they push things forward that said, we need a full investigation, we need transparency, we need access to the raw data, we need to audit the laboratories in Wuhan.

And once he and the WHO came forward calling for what needs to be done, the Chinese not surprisingly said forget it. Because it's been clear from day one, the Chinese have no interest in a full investigation into pandemic origins. And from day one, they've been doing everything possible to block that.

COOPER: And I guess that can be read two ways, either clearly, they're hiding something and they cause this, you know, either accidentally or intentionally, or this is a reflective mood by an authoritarian regime, which just doesn't have the same methods and standards as the international community does. We don't -- do you know which it is?

METZL: Yes, you can say that. But well, I mean, I really don't like that argument well that's just China being China. We have I mean pick your number, maybe 10 million people dead as a result of this totally avoidable pandemic. It's just not acceptable that China is destroying samples, hiding records, imprisoning Chinese citizen journalists, has a gag order preventing Chinese scientists from seeing or writing anything publicly about pandemic origins without prior government approval. It's just not acceptable.

If this happened in any other place in the world, everyone would be demanding a full investigation. Everyone on Earth, including everyone in China is at risk if we don't understand how this terrible crisis began to take steps to fix our greatest vulnerabilities.

COOPER: So what happens now? I mean, last week, the head of the World Health Organization did acknowledge it was premature to rule out a potential link between the pandemic and a leak from the coronavirus lab -- from the Chinese lab. You know, we're nearly a year and a half into this what, what happens now?

METZL: Yes, well, I have a piece as you may know, Anderson on, that just released moments ago with the strategy for moving forward. First, we need to fully support Dr. Tedros and the World Health Organization. But we need to be clear that China is going to block that process, we then need to set up an alternative mechanism for investigating to the full extent possible through some other mechanism that China can't block and whether that's the G7, the OECD, the quad countries or something else, then the United States needs to establish our own 9/11 style, bipartisan COVID Commission, other countries need to do the same. And then we need a comprehensive process for identifying and addressing our greatest vulnerabilities.

And if China wants to thumb its nose that the rest of the world, if China wants to disrespect the 10 million people who are dead as a result of this totally preventable pandemic and insult every one of their families that's on them. But we shouldn't give China a veto over whether or not we investigate the worst pandemic in a century.

COOPER: Yes. Jamie Metzl, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next --

METZL: Thank you.

COOPER: -- as new COVID cases in Florida rise what happened to a mother of eight there who decided not to get a COVID vaccination and got infected and fought to live. Her harrowing story when we come back.



COOPER: In Florida, the seven day average of new COVID cases is on the rise so much so in fact that right now it's the highest in the nation. This despite the state Republican governor urging people to get vaccinated.

Tonight, "360s" Randi Kaye has the story of a Florida mom who decided against getting the shot and found herself in the fight for her life.


GANEENE STARLING, UNVACCINATED MOM WHO GOT COVID: It was horrifying, I've never in my life felt like I was going to die until that day.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This mother of eight from Lake Butler, Florida is opening up about how close she came to dying from COVID-19. Ganeene Starling had chosen not to get the vaccine. Her husband wasn't vaccinated either or their children.

(on-camera): What was it about the vaccine that concerned you that made you not want to get it?

STARLING: Just that it had not been around long. And honestly, I think I listened I think I'll let people influence me. Like saying, oh, you know, this is the government just trying to fill our bodies with stuff. And, you know, and, you know, they're trying to push the shot on us.

KAYE (voice-over): But earlier this month, Ganeene's husband got COVID then it spread to Ganeene and their four kids living at home, including their youngest, who was just six. Soon Ganeene was struggling to breathe. So they rushed her to the hospital.

STARLING: I remember being very desperate, grabbing the mask and then filling, you know, the oxygen come in.

KAYE (voice-over): Ganeene spent nine days in the hospital, six of them in the ICU.

STARLING: And those moments when you can't breathe like that even with all the oxygen they were given me, it feels like you have a ziplock bag over your head and somebody is holding it. And I mean, I had oxygen when I was still feeling that way.

KAYE (on-camera): At 43, did you ever think that you would get that sick from COVID?

STARLING: Hundred percent I had conversations on my husband and said we probably already had it, just didn't even know it. And honestly, he agreed that we probably already had it. And there have been times I've been sick and I was like oh, it's probably COVID no big deal.

KAYE (voice-over): No big deal. Not exactly. Ganeene's oxygen had dropped to dangerously low levels, just 68%. She says she was told she had about a 20% chance of survival.

STARLING: My youngest baby is six years old. And so, when you're told that, and you have a six year old, you know, like, he's probably if I die, he's not going to remember me.

KAYE (voice-over): Ganeene is speaking out now because she wants people to know how much she regrets not getting vaccine. A decision that nearly cost her life.


STARLING: I was one of those people that was like, I can't believe people are just going to just inject their body with this medication, there's -- we don't know enough about it. Now I'm just like, is just a shot, just get the stupid shot. That vaccine could have stopped all of this just one little shot. And I feel foolish that I didn't get it. I wish to God I would have got it.

Could have said it's not just about what it could have prevented me from experiencing physically in my life right now. But it could have saved my family so much heartache. My children from seeing me go through that my husband and, you know, my siblings from seeing it.

KAYE (on-camera): So you're full of regret?

STARLING: So much regret.


COOPER: Randi joins us now from Jacksonville, Florida. Is she planning to get the vaccine now and what about the rest of her family?

KAYE: Yes, I understand. Ganeene is planning to get the vaccine as soon as she's strong enough to do so. She's also planning to get her whole family vaccinated including her six-year-old boy who's already had COVID but she wants to make sure that he's vaccinated as well. In fact, Anderson she thinks that vaccines for some professions should be mandatory for teachers included. She plans to home school her children she doesn't want anybody near her children now that is not vaccinated.

And she's still even though she's home from the hospital Anderson she's still dealing with a lot of pain and discomfort. You saw she's on an oxygen machine, so she's attached to that. She's having trouble breathing still. She can't even walk to the bathroom or walk to the mailbox without help her daughter her 19-year-old daughter is bathing her. So certainly not out of the woods Anderson even though she was lucky enough to survive it.

COOPER: Yes. And obviously no word yet on when children under the age of 12 maybe (INAUDIBLE) to get vaccinated. Randi Kaye, appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next, this breaking news in a shooting in the nation's capitol, plus more on the COVID concern for the pace of vaccinations slowing and the Delta variant surging.