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Interview With Carmel, Indiana, Mayor James Brainard; Belarus Building Dissident Prison?; Tragedy of Vaccine Hesitancy; Interview With Alexander Vindman; Interview with James Brainard; Interview with Dr. Adam Hampshire. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired August 5, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
LT. COL. ALEXANDER VINDMAN (RET.), FORMER DIRECTOR FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: My intent was to raise these concerns because
they had significant national security implications for our country.
GOLODRYGA: Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman shook the world when he testified against President Trump. We talk about that moment and his fears
for American democracy.
FRANCISCA, COVID PATIENT: I have shortness of breath. I feel sorry about not getting a vaccine.
GOLODRYGA: The tragic and horrifying consequences of vaccine hesitancy. A Republican mayor from Indiana tells me how he's convincing citizens to roll
up their sleeves.
DR. ADAM HAMPSHIRE, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON: Many people are reporting that they're having problems with things like concentration, brain fog.
GOLODRYGA: Dr. Adam Hampshire tells our Hari Sreenivasan how COVID can change our brains.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are a blessed, blessed nation.
GOLODRYGA: Jamaica's women to get the gold and the silver and the bronze - - the three fastest women in the world on their stunning Olympic victories.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, who will be back next week.
Voting rights groups are crying out that American democracy is in peril, citing new restrictive laws and calling on Democrats to pass new
For my first guest, a key part of protecting American democracy is accountability.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman rose to prominence when he testified to Congress in 2019 about the now infamous phone call between President
Donald Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky. It was a call Vindman, a former White House staffer, was listening to in real time.
During that conversation, Mr. Trump allegedly tried to coerce his Ukrainian counterpart into getting dirt on then-Democratic challenger Joe Biden and
his son. Women's words were at the heart of President Trump's first impeachment, and his emotive testimony had a major impact.
You may remember this moment, when he told his father not to worry about him. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VINDMAN: Dad, my sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol and talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to
leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family.
Do not worry. I will be fine for telling you the truth.
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Why do you have confidence that you can do that and tell your dad not to worry?
VINDMAN: Congressman, because this is America. This is the country I have served and defended, that all my brothers have served. And, here, right
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: I still get chills listening to that.
And "Here, Right Matters" the name of his new book, where he digs into that incredible period of his life.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman joins us now.
Lieutenant Colonel, welcome to the program. Great to have you on.
VINDMAN: Hi, Bianna. so happy to be on the show with you.
GOLODRYGA: So, you describe in this book that your life is broken into really two chapters now, pre-impeachment and post-impeachment.
How is post-impeachment life for you and your family?
VINDMAN: It's a sharp learning curve, all sorts of new experiences from the minute I left uniform, even before I left uniform, just trying to
figure out how to navigate this affair in which a serving Army officer was forced into a position of going up against the commander in chief of the
That's an unprecedented challenge. Unfortunately, I was on my own for dealing with that, meaning that I didn't have the Army or the Department of
Defense behind me. But I had my family, a core support of friends and a lot of support from around the country.
Sharp learning curve through there, sharp learning curve trying to figure out what I do with my life, leaving service, and then ever since, same
thing, just new experiences.
GOLODRYGA: I want to get to that lack of support, especially from the higher-ups in the chain of command, in just a moment.
But let's begin with that infamous phone call, because you reveal in the book that the transcript that was released was not fully accurate, the
transcript that was initially released that led ultimately to the impeachment investigation. Why was it not fully accurate? What was missing?
VINDMAN: So, there was no -- ever since Watergate, I guess phone calls don't get recorded and, therefore, there's not a completely accurate
transcript of the phone call.
Same thing in this case. There was a transcript of sorts, an imperfect transcript that's created after each one of these phone calls. And,
afterwards, they get sent around to the meeting participants, and they get to fill in if there was a kind of an oversight.
That happened in this case. There were some items left off. I tried to make the corrections to it, including some key substantive changes, the
reference to Burisma. And those didn't end up making it into the final version.
GOLODRYGA: You talk about your training in reporting to the higher-up in command, up the chain. That's what you had been trained throughout your
career in the military. And that's what you proceeded to do after listening to that phone call.
You were not the only person on that phone call. Your boss at the time, Tim Morrison, was on the phone call. He heard exactly what you did. And you
could see in his facial expression that that wasn't necessarily the way a phone call should be handled. He understood what took place.
You handled things differently, though. You went up to John Eisenberg, who's the deputy White House counsel at the time. You told him what you
heard. Tim Morrison knew. Your colleague Joe Wang knew as well.
And instead of responding along the lines of the way you did, the way you expected them to, they actually went out of their way to retaliate against
How did you come to the conclusion that that's what they were doing? And was that just a gut punch for you?
VINDMAN: People are who they are. I think, in the case of Tim Morrison, I knew who he was before he joined our team.
This was within a week of him coming on to the team is when this phone call occurred. But he had been on the NSC, and he had had a reputation as a very
difficult person to work with. It didn't surprise me that he would be kind of a key -- key in the retaliation against me.
But the level of kind of duplicity and kind -- and I was told it that I'd be joining the vipers then before I joined the NSC. It's the most perilous
environment. This is coming from an Army officer that had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it really kind of lived up to the billing.
In those key moments, when the stakes were really high, you could see where people kind of end up, who they are, whether they're ethical individuals,
or whether they're careerists, and folks that are looking to advance themselves.
And you also say in the book that Tim lied to Congress about saying that he didn't know that you had reported that call. I would argue that he also put
the best interests of the country at risk here, because he did not allow you to go on a trip to the countries, the area of the world that was under
your purview. And thus that trip was not as successful as it could have been.
But let's move on to the military itself. You explained that you understood, especially once the president had been acquitted, that you may
no longer have a job at the White House. That is the president's prerogative. But you had expected, at the age of 44, to continue your
military career within the Army.
You were expecting to be promoted soon. And yet you said you heard nothing from superiors. In fact, the Army chief of staff said something quite
puzzling to you. He said: "Do the right thing in the right way."
What does that even mean?
VINDMAN: Well, I had -- I puzzled over that one myself.
That was relatively early on. That was between the closed-door and public testimony. And I -- the best I can get gauge is that he was trying to
figure out who I was, whether I was somebody that was going to kind of live up to the institutional values, and -- but, at the same time, not really
offer that much in the way of encouragement or support.
And it ended up unfolding in much the way that conversation did, which was basically, is this officer going to fall on a sword, take the hand grenade
and sacrifice himself, which, in a way, I did, I guess, by recording the phone call and then testifying?
But maybe, in their view, as far as I can tell, they thought I could do more to protect the institution or something, or they thought I was
dispensable. I'm not, frankly, sure. Those are maybe the most harsh appraisals of them.
My -- because I love the institutions and I value the service members, maybe the kinder assessment, which I struggled with sometimes, because I
was -- I had to absorb the difficulties here, is that maybe they were just looking to protect the institution. And that's what I try to convince
myself, is that they were looking out for the good of the institution, and I was just a pawn or a sacrificial lamb or something.
GOLODRYGA: And the last time we spoke, you alluded to this and the lack of support from your superiors. And this was last year.
Now that you have written your book and you have been more forthcoming about this, especially since you have left the military. What do you say to
others within -- assuming your theory is correct that they were looking out for the good of the whole, and you were the sacrificial lamb who did
nothing wrong, except you did what you were trained to do, what message does this send to others who may be in your same position, who may be
experts at their field, who may be then deprived of their careers going forward for doing the right thing?
And they see what happened to you, and they say, I'm not going to do that.
VINDMAN: You know, it's interesting that we -- I served in an organization where sacrifice is an expectation.
Each one of us were -- especially those -- the folks that served in combat, were prepared to -- for the possibility that they could be a casualty. And
I think that's actually in a way something that I could live with. If it's for the good of the organization, that is something I can live with.
What I can't accept as if it was more careerist, if it was more about preserving their own positions. I alone can fix this, I'm the guardrail,
that kind of ego, because that is something that could be easily manipulated, I think the way that the Trump administration did to so many
individuals and to so many departments and agencies, kind of pandering to their egos.
And with that kind of careerist notion in mind, Trump has and Trump and his folks have the ability to get the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to march in
the suppression of a protest, him and the secretary of defense. If people are truly principled, then we don't have those kinds of situations occur.
It's a moment of introspection. And we should learn something from this, not just for me personally, but from the way the military responded to so
many challenges that were put in front of them by the previous administration.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, crickets from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Milley at the time, and even Defense Secretary Esper, until you had resigned, which
you said you were puzzled at how quickly you received all of your documents and paperwork, which typically takes weeks and months, and you got them
within a day or two.
But it goes back to something that your dad was arguing, which I don't think many people knew until you wrote it in the book. When you addressed
your dad in those opening remarks, you were addressing an ongoing argument that you actually did have with your father while you were driving in the
car, your father being a Soviet immigrant to the United States.
And the first thing he said to you when he knew about this impeachment and your role in it in the phone call is, he said: "Support the president. Do
whatever the president wants."
So, "here, right matters," when you said, that was not only a message to the American public. It was a message to your father.
VINDMAN: It was absolutely a message to my father. I wanted him to know that this country was different.
And living in the United States for 40 years, he certainly knew that. But at a visceral level, when the future of his children is on the line, he
channeled all that experience from an authoritarian regime and perceived a different kind of risk.
In certain ways, he was right. I did lose my job. I did have to start from scratch. But this country was different. I didn't have to worry from my
personal safety, at least not from the government, just the character assassinations and the government-driven attacks on me personally.
But the American people were still able to get their will. The president was removed. The president was fired, because he was -- he was corrupt and
he mismanaged a pandemic. And all these reasons enabled the American public to see the person for who he is. And he didn't stay -- stick around.
So I think that's here, right -- that's right mattering. And that's all of us making right matter.
GOLODRYGA: And that's something that--
VINDMAN: And I think I still stick -- yes. I still stick by this idea that right matters in America.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And -- right.
And it's something that never happened in the Soviet Union and I would argue in present-day Russia itself. And this argument you make on the
preservation of democracy in this country, as you know, the fight is not over. There are people who deny that this -- the president is the valid
president, President Biden. Many believe that the election was stolen. They believe in the big lie.
And there is a chance that former President Trump can run for president again.
You were deprived of many options, perhaps jobs. Everything was awaiting the election. And your life, as you lay out in this book, is at more peace
today. But are you concerned at all about what may happen if President Trump is reelected, not only to yourself, but to the country?
VINDMAN: No, I'm concerned about whether -- about the possibility of him being reelected. I don't think that's likely, frankly.
But I'm concerned about the kind of damage that he will continue to do for the next several years that he's given the ability to have a platform.
Unfortunately, that's in the news media, because he captures so much attention, but also by this ravenous base of support, that, despite
anything that he does, fails to hold him to account.
That's something that I just don't understand. He is not a man's man. He's not a typical kind of John Wayne figure. He is -- he's weak. He's
indecisive. He's cowardly in attacking those that can't defend themselves. There are so many things that don't make sense to me about why this man
still captures the attention of folks.
They -- my message to those people that still support him is, he is not who you think he is. He's absolutely not. And he would rather -- he would not
look at you, he would not notice you in the street if he didn't see something -- some gain for him.
And the sooner we come to that realization, the better. But he's not the only problem. The problem is his enablers are also. And we need to hold
those folks accountable. And that's in upcoming elections. That's in litigation, when FOX News attacks individuals, all these types of ways.
Accountability is from the top to the bottom.
GOLODRYGA: Lieutenant Colonel, you and I you got to know each other because of our common background, and that being immigrants from the former
But your family did what mine and many others did not. And that is, every single one of your brothers has served this country. What is it about the
immigrant experience that drove the Vindman brothers to defend and protect the United States of America?
VINDMAN: It's an interesting, important, I guess, chapter in the book talking about my immigrant background, and the fact that we came from a
different part of the world, where things are not like they are here.
It's hard to rationalize the difficulty that we're experiencing right now to the even more significant difficulties that people face in other parts
of the world. I think what we have is a perspective. We have the perspective of, yes, things are difficult here, we are not a perfect
country, we're still a -- an experiment in progress for the more perfect union, but we have it better than almost any other place in the world.
And if we want to keep this country progressing, moving forward, being more inclusive, it's on all of us to work together. It's on our immigrants that
come here that toil to be -- to take part in the American dream. It's on Americans that have generations of family background here committed to
preserving this union.
GOLODRYGA: Well, thank you so much for fighting for what matters in this country. Thank you for your service to this country. And best of luck to
you and your family, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. We appreciate the time.
VINDMAN: Thank you. Looking forward to next time.
GOLODRYGA: Thank you.
Well, the fight for democracy and freedom continues across the world. Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya landed in Poland today, after
refusing to return to our native Belarus during the Tokyo Olympics. She says Belarusian officials tried to force her to leave the Games after she
criticized her coaches on Instagram.
Today, she told Reuters that her family had warned her not to return to the authoritarian state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRYSTSINA TSIMANOUSKAYA, BELARUSIAN ATHLETE (through translator): My, parents looking at all this, concluded that, upon my return home, I'd
either face a psychiatric unit or prison.
We know that such situations do happen in our country. That's why my grandmother called me and told me: "Please, do not come back to Belarus.
It's not safe for you here. I think it would be safer for you if you seek some sort of political asylum and either stay in Tokyo or travel somewhere
in Europe, but not to Belarus."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Well, her grandmother's instincts appear to be right.
Back in Belarus, troubling evidence is emerging of what may be a prison camp for political dissidents.
Nick Paton Walsh has the details in this exclusive report.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): A chilling sight, not from the last century, but last month, a possible
prison camp built inside Belarus for political prisoners.
CNN obtained this footage of what witnesses said looked like a newly refurbished camp about an hour's drive from the capital, Minsk, a new sign
saying, "Forbidden border and entry," a three-layer fence, electrified, they said, new moving surveillance cameras, bars and reflective screens on
the windows of newly rebuilt barracks.
No prisoners yet, what looked like a soldier inside and regular military patrols who told our witnesses outside to leave. One local talked to them
"My friend Sasha, a builder, told me they refurbished this place," he says. "There are three levels of barbed wire and it's electrified. I was picking
mushrooms here when a military man came up to me and said I can't walk here."
The building sits on the vast site of a former Soviet missile storage facility surrounded by forests. The repairs came not long after defecting
police officers released secret recordings of senior police discussing the need for prison camps at several sites.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The assignment, to develop and build a camp, but not for prisoners of war or even the interned, but a camp
for especially sharp-hoofed for resettlement, and surround it with barbed wire along the perimeter.
WALSH (on camera): Not surprisingly, CNN hasn't gained access to the interior of site, so we can't definitively say that it is intended for use
as a prison camp.
But a Western intelligence official I spoke to said that use was -- quote - - "possible," although they didn't have direct evidence.
(voice-over): In the current climate, it's tough to imagine what else the camp could be for. Opposition leaders fear its possible use by President
Alexander Lukashenko's forces during future protests.
FRANAK VIACORKA, SENIOR ADVISER TO SVETLANA TIKHANOVSKAYA: Not surprising that he is trying to build something like a regular prison camp, because
the new wave of protests will come up anyway.
It can be triggered by his statement. It can be triggered by economic situation, but it will come. And he understands, but he also wants to be
prepared more than last year, in 2020. And this is why I will not be surprised if such camps are being built.
WALSH: Belarusian officials declined to comment and have called the recording about the camps fake news when it was released, saying that they
follow the law.
These images emerge after a weeks-long crackdown against remaining independent media inside Belarus and dozens of arrests. Inside Belarus, the
protest movement has been persecuted so hard, it now holds remote flash mob demonstrations like these filmed by drones. But some of it is finding ways
to hit back, CNN has learned.
These are railway saboteurs, apparently in action. They say their operations, the details of which we aren't disclosing, just trigger alarms
that stop trains on the tracks, risking nobody's safety and causing traffic to slow down, they say.
We spoke to one organizer.
"When our skies are blocked," he said, "we should block the land as well. The main goal is to cause economic damage to the regime, because all the
delays cause them to pay huge fines."
This action was carried out, they said, on a key route from Russia to the European Union. CNN can't independently confirm it was effective.
(on camera): If there is an impact on rail traffic, it could have great significance outside of Belarus and here, Lithuania, because so many goods
from the east rely on this network to get to Europe.
(voice-over): Signs both sides could be adopting new harsher tactics and what may await fresh protests as the screws tighten.
GOLODRYGA: Our thanks to Nick Paton Walsh for that exclusive report.
Well, now back to the U.S., where the Delta variant is surging, as vaccination rates slow to a crawl in some states. The price is tragically
Travis Campbell from Virginia thought that he was invincible. Now he's making videos from his hospital bed begging people to get vaccinated in
heartbreaking posts. He's talking about the tough conversations he's having with his family as his condition worsens.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRAVIS CAMPBELL, COVID-19 PATIENT: Last night, I have come to the realization that the chances of me not being able to give my daughter away
at her wedding is greater than walking out.
I had to make a phone call to my 14-year-old son. And I had to tell him what I thought my dream was of giving my daughter away at the altar. And I
had to ask for his permission, if I didn't come home, if he would give my daughter away on her day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: So painful to watch and avoidable.
Well, my next guest is doing everything he can to get his city vaccinated.
Jamie brain art is the mayor of Carmel in the Republican stronghold of Indiana. While the state is falling behind the rest of the U.S. for
vaccinations, the city of Carmel is way ahead with about 80 percent of residents fully vaccinated.
So, what's behind this success story?
Well, the mayor, James Brainard, joins me now.
Thank you so much for joining us, Mayor.
And let me start off with that. The United States, when you're looking at fully vaccinated citizens, less than 50 percent. Indiana has 44 percent.
You have 80 percent.
What are you doing right?
JAMES BRAINARD (R), MAYOR OF CARMEL, INDIANA: Well, I think part of it's our population.
We're fortunate. About 100,000 people live in Carmel. It's part of the Indianapolis metropolitan area. And we have a high level number of adults
that have had the good fortune to attend college. And I think almost 40 percent of our population has a graduate degree. So, far more than seeing
it as a Republican/Democratic divide, I see it -- I think people who have had, as I said, the good fortune to attend college and possibly graduate
school are spending the time and analyzing the science at a different level than perhaps others who haven't had that good fortune.
And I think it's a lot more about educational level than it is about politics.
GOLODRYGA: And that makes sense.
But, in terms of politics and education levels, you look at many state leaders, from Florida, to Kansas, to Texas, they're all educated. Many of
them went to Ivy League schools. And yet they're not having the same conversations that you're having with your community based on just science.
They are bringing politics into this.
And, as we know, it is costing lives and it is adding a lot of stress to local hospitals. So what is your message to some of those politicians, the
majority of which happen to be Republican?
BRAINARD: I think they need to pay attention to science. They need to really think about what's best for their community.
I understand that we live in a very partisan environment right now. But we need to move beyond that and do what's best for our neighbors, what's best
for our community. We need to take care of those who are more vulnerable to this terrible disease.
And if we all look out for each other, we can -- granted, a lot of my colleagues in the Republican Party do not want to see mask mandates and see
the government telling people what to do. Well, the way to accomplish that is to get herd immunity through higher levels of vaccination. And I would
encourage them to help people understand that.
I think part of the issue as well, there's a part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, we meet on a regular basis pre-pandemic. And it's always the joke
that there's no Republican or Democratic way to pick up trash or fill chuckholes.
And so I think that mayors in general tend to be less partisan than perhaps state officers, and certainly federal elected officials. We work -- once
you're elected mayor, you see everybody, regardless of party, in the grocery store and on the street on a regular basis.
And it's about making your community a good place to live for everyone. And that's what we're doing. We're asking people to take care of their
neighbors, to help us all emerge from this terrible pandemic together and healthy.
GOLODRYGA: And I'm sure it doesn't satisfy you just to see your community and your city getting vaccinated at a higher rate. You would like to see
others within your state and within the country as a whole.
What are you hearing from some of those who are hesitant? I know you talk a lot about education and people focusing on science. But what are some of
the examples you're hearing as to why people may be skeptical?
BRAINARD: I think there's a large segment of the population that seems to be waiting for permanent approval of the vaccine.
The emergency use authorization concerns them. And I always try to point out to those folks that the shot has now been given, this vaccine has been
administered to hundreds of millions of people around the globe. And the number of bad reactions is minuscule, far less than many other vaccines
that we're -- we take without thinking twice about, and that we do have a lot of data at this point, and to just pay attention to the science.
Pay attention to what we know. And be very careful about where you're getting your information. There's people out there who would, if they can
sell an ad, they will say anything. And I see a lot of that on the Internet and some media as well.
GOLODRYGA: Would it be helpful to hear more from former President Trump, in terms of speaking out and changing the minds of those Republicans in
particular who are hesitant about getting the vaccine?
Obviously, he said a few things, but many could argue that he could say more.
BRAINARD: I suppose he could.
I'm not sure that he is the best person to do that. I certainly think that other national and local, particularly local, Republican leaders can step
up and talk about why getting the vaccine is important.
I think that anything that the former president says is going to be viewed as political at this point. I just don't think that would be particularly
GOLODRYGA: Well, one of your constituents, one of your new constituents is a prominent name, and that was Vice President Pence. He is also encouraging
Americans to get vaccinated, and he spoke on this issue and a few others at a conference in Houston. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I want to encourage anyone here who hasn't got the shot, who is eligible, go get it. And if you're not sure
about it, go ask your doctor and get the very best advice that you can. As we do our part, each and every one of us, to put this pandemic in the past,
we need to also stand firm. On the principle that we can defeat this virus without lockdowns and mandates.
We can protect the vulnerable and get our kids back to school. And we can keep America open without forfeiting our freedoms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Now, remind you, this is the same man who back in July of 2020 said that the pandemic had been defeated and the virus had been defeated,
but nonetheless, here he is doing the right thing, telling Americans that they should get vaccinated.
But on the issue of mandates, I also notice that in Carmel, you are recommending masks at school. You're not mandating them. And given the
transmissibility, how highly transmissible delta is and given that many kids, especially those under the age of 12, cannot get a vaccine because
they haven't been approved to get a vaccine by the FDA, is that wise at this point as children return to school?
BRAINARD: Well, I think there's good arguments on both sides. It's important that children have full opportunity to learn, masks certainly
make that more difficult, I think. Everyone is feeling their way in this pandemic. We want our economy to be open. There's tremendous damage done
when people lose jobs and are unable to provide for their families, and of course, those have to be balanced against the public health initiatives.
These are tough questions.
And I think that good, solid people can differ on these issues. The key is, is to get everyone that can be vaccinated. I'm pleased we're 80 percent.
But yet, at the same time, I'm disappointed we're not at 98 percent. There's probably 1 percent or 2 percent of the population that for
legitimate medical reasons cannot take the COVID-19 vaccine. But everyone else should.
I'm told, also, by health officials and government officials in Washington that we should have full approval for ages six and above approved within a
few weeks. And I think that will help the issue in the schools as well.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. I mean, look, I've covered schools for the past year and I have to say everything I've observed, there wasn't much pushback from kids.
They had no problem wearing the masks. So, it just seems to be something that the parents have an issue with more than the kids themselves.
Before you leave, I do want to ask you about another issue that's important to you and dear to you, and that is climate change and following the
science as well. President Obama, in fact, appointed you to a climate task force in 2013. I know you've traveled the world talking about this, as if
you need another issue on your plate right now, aside from COVID, what are you doing to spread the message to those who are denying climate change and
man's role in it, especially among your constituents and your fellow Republicans?
BRAINARD: First of all, our city has done a lot to mitigate the impacts of climate change and try to resolve the issue as best we can. We believe, in
fact, when the former president announced he was taking the Unites States out of the Paris Agreement, the mayors of the Unites States came together
and said, we can do enough in our own cities to say make sure the Unites States meet our goals under that treaty.
We're doing all sorts of things in Carmel and (INAUDIBLE) displays, to better city designs so people don't have to spend hours a day in their car.
I could go on and on about things. LED lights, things that make a huge difference in the amount of carbon emissions locally.
Because mayors really do have a huge impact on it. I would be nice to -- it's always nice to have a strong federal partner, but cities can do an
awful lot. And I talked to other Republicans, though, I point out to them - - it was Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, who set aside most of our national parks. It was Eisenhower who set aside the arctic reserve. It was President
Nixon and later Ford who signed into law the legislation that created the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and half a dozen other important
It was Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who went to Montreal and convinced the rest of the world to sign the Montreal Protocols fixing the
ozone hole problem. It was George Bush Sr. who set up a system in the federal government to develop a baseline on climate change so that we have
And I also say to them and said, have you ever met a Republican or Democrat that wants their family to breathe dirty air or drink dirty water? The
environment is important to everybody on this earth, and it should not be a partisan issue. We should all want to leave the earth in a better place.
GOLODRYGA: Just like COVID and the pandemic as well, put politics aside and follow the science and the data. Mayor, thank you so much. We
appreciate your time.
BRAINARD: It's great to be with you.
GOLODRYGA: You, too.
Well, vaccinations continue to reduce infections. Hospitalizations and deaths. But some scientists are now concerned about the long-term impacts
of the virus on the brain. Dr. Adam Hampshire is one of them. He is a cognitive neuroscientist at Imperial College London.
Here he is breaking down his findings with our Hari Sreenivasan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, thanks. Dr. Adam Hampshire, thank you so much for joining us.
First kind of a top-level overview and then we'll kind of get into what your search was showing. But what did you find through surveys in the U.K.?
DR. ADAM HAMPSHIRE, READER, COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON: So, essentially, what we found was that people who had recovered
from COVID-19, they showed a degree of underperformance in terms of a variety of aspects of cognitive abilities. So, just to expand on that a
little bit, what I mean by that is they perform far less rather than we would expect from people just like them.
SREENIVASAN: And what kinds of underperformance? What kinds of cognitive impairment are we talking about?
HAMPSHIRE: Yes. So, the tool that we were using for cognitive assessment, it's designed to try and measure multiple different aspects of cognition.
For example, we have the executive functions like planning and reasoning, there's attention to how good you are at focusing on a particular task,
there's memory functions and working memory functions, also language.
Now, what we've observed is that some of those seem to be pretty much normal, but some of the higher sort of executive planning and language
functions, those are where people were underperforming.
SREENIVASAN: Let's get to how you came across this. It seems like there was also a little bit of a serendipity here, that you were already doing a
massive survey before the pandemic really took hold.
HAMPSHIRE: Yes, it was a massive coincidence, if truth be known. So, I had set up a collaboration with BBC Two - Horizon here in the U.K., where what
we were essentially trying to do is map different dimensions of human cognitive ability across the U.K. population. And that study, because it
was promoted through BBC, it was very, very successful in terms of numbers.
So, actually, in terms of throughout the whole of 2020, we tested about 390,000 people, primarily in the U.K. And, you know, just to explain, this
isn't a short assessment. You know, People volunteer, they're not paid and they'd put in 40 minutes of time into the cognitive assessment, plus a
detailed questionnaire afterwards. So, it's very coincidental, we had just set the study up. It was running for a couple of months and then the
pandemic took off in the U.K.
And what happened, essentially, at that point in time is the number of colleagues of mine from different universities wrote to me and they said,
you know, maybe this could be useful, we could try and work out what the impact of the pandemic is on people's mental health in general, but also
you should be able to capture some people who have been ill.
And I had been thinking along similar lines. So, we sort of grouped together and collaborated and put together some extended questionnaires
that looked at how people's daily lives had been affected, what was happening in terms of their mental health, but also, when they've been ill,
if they suspected that was COVID-19, if that had been confirmed with biological tests and also what happened, for example, did they end up in
the hospital, did they have breathing difficulties, did they end up on a ventilator. So, it's very rich data.
And we were -- I mean, if you consider how fast the pandemic took off, it would have been pretty much impossible to set up a study to do this in
advance. So, it was very, very lucky.
SREENIVASAN: So, what were the things that people were reporting and, more important, what were the correlations or associations that you could start
to make of people who had had COVID, who had been hospitalized or not? What were they falling short on? Is it a memory test? Is it about their
emotional IQ? How do you sort it?
HAMPSHIRE: So, people essentially appear to be underperforming in particular cognitive domains. The domains that we saw the largest
underperformance included some of the higher what we refer to as semantic functions. So, how good you are at dealing with complex reasoning based
around often difficult words. Like having logical reasoning, for example, metaphors. Other things people struggled with was spatial planning and
Now, these are -- these fall within the realms of what we'd often refer or generally as an executive function. Things that are important for us to
break down difficult problems and to make good decisions, essentially.
SREENIVASAN: One of the concerning things when you look into the details of your study is that we're not just talking about people who had to go to
the hospital. You're also looking at, maybe because you had such a large data set, people were quarantined, who stayed at home, who might have had a
very mild, if not even a non-noticeable form of COVID.
HAMPSHIRE: Frankly, this is what surprised me in our particular study. So, one extreme, you have people who ended up in the hospital or on a
ventilator, and we kind of expected that might have an impact on their cognition. We know that from past studies in other disorders, right? But
the fact that we see a cognitive underperformance in people who remained at home and had positive biological tests, but no medical assistance, you
know, that's kind of surprising.
But over that, in terms of their imaging literature, it's also the case there's some evidence accumulating in that same milder population. This is
actually a big interest in the U.K. at the moment. So, can we follow people up who had milder symptoms and see how they've been affected and what
happens in terms of the recovery.
So, one of the things that's being, I would say, most useful about my particular study is we validated, essentially, a set of cognitive
assessment tools that can be used and then, they're now being applied in studies where they're trying to track people who only (INAUDIBLE) have had
SREENIVASAN: So, you essentially say, OK, here is a woman who is 32, here is 100 women who are 32 years old and in good health, et cetera, this is
their baseline, this is kind of where we should be on this particular type of skill or test, and then here is somebody who is post-COVID, perhaps has
been hospitalized, and how did they do on the same score, is that right?
HAMPSHIRE: That pretty much captures it. So, we take all of those factors into account and we measure how someone's score deviates from what we would
expect from people just like them.
SREENIVASAN: How do you know, for example, that with such a large population that some of these people couldn't have had these effects
because of other underlying conditions, because of perhaps their own aging process, perhaps they were showing signs of early Alzheimer's? How do we
know it's COVID and not other factors?
HAMPSHIRE: Well, it's a great question. I mean, so, in the context of our study, what we've observed is an association, it's a strong association,
it's a worrying association and we need to investigate it further. But I would say, we haven't absolutely sort of nailed the cause-and-effect
relationship here, because we don't have the longitudinal data. What we can do is factor lots of things into our equation.
So, you mentioned age. Age is something that we specifically take account of. We take many things into account, including pre-existing conditions.
So, we survey people about whether they've had psychiatric conditions, neurological conditions, also biological conditions that we know predispose
people towards COVID-19 illness and its severity, such as diabetes, for example. All of that is in the model. And that's one of the powers of
having so much data. You can't normally do that, but we have data from like nearly 400,000 people from last year.
SREENIVASAN: You know, one of the things that is happening right now is that you've got patients who are coming in to different hospitals and
doctors all over the world with long COVID symptoms and, because of that, you also see different research institutions starting to study long COVID
and what are the possible reactions all over the world now.
You kind of starting to see some of those initial studies and research be published. And this is your field now. So, what are you intrigued by that
your colleagues in the profession are starting to look at?
HAMPSHIRE: There's a real convergence of evidence towards the possibility of there being cognitive consequences of COVID-19. And perhaps if I can
unpack that a little bit, on a categorical level, on one hand there's been quite a lot of work looking at people's self-perceptions of how they've
been affected. So, this is all quite subjective. It's what, you know, someone feels essentially has happened to them.
And many people are reporting that they're having problems with things like concentration, brain fog, problem solving and finding the words. So, what
we've done, and some other groups are starting to do, is looked at objectively measuring cognition. And so, there what we do, we don't just
ask people how they feel they've been affected, instead, we essentially challenge them and say, can you solve this difficult problem, can you, you
know, concentrate on this difficult task, and we objectively measure what they can cope with cognitively.
Now, what's interesting is on a sort of domain level, in terms of different aspects of cognition, the results we're seeing dovetail quite closely
between those data types of what people self-perceive and what we objectively measure.
In addition to that, there's an emerging body of evidence from the brain imaging literature and there, what they're trying to do is look at brain
imaging markers and pathology using different imaging methods and trying to quantify different types of pathology. And, again, there's quite a lot of
evidence beginning to emerge that there can be an impact on the brain.
SREENIVASAN: When you say that, let me break that down. So, you're talking about the COVID-19 is actually having an effect on the physical structure
of my brain?
HAMPSHIRE: There's evidence to suggest that this might be the case. Now, perhaps I can break that down a little bit more, because the way in which
people are affected is likely to differ, for example, based on the severity of their illness. Let's say, for example, at the far extreme, that you went
to hospital and you're put on a ventilator, there are people who have quite serious neurological complications under those conditions, and actually,
that's not specific to COVID-19.
HAMPSHIRE: That's (INAUDIBLE). Perhaps you have people with multiple organ failure, et cetera, right? So, that can have neurological impact. There's
other groups that are arguing there could be a direct impact of the virus on the brain. Now, there's a growing body of evidence gained to support
that that may be happening. And in addition to that, there's effects of things like hypoxia, so lack of oxygen, which can lead to death of some
neurons and it can impact the brain.
And, of course, there's also general inflammatory responses. So, this is broad spectrum of different ways in which an illness like this could affect
the brain. What we don't really understand yet is how the aspects of cognition that we seem to be seeing could be affected, how those correlates
with these different types of change in the brain.
SREENIVASAN: So, really, I guess, the first clue for that is when people lose their sense of smell. I mean, smell doesn't actually happen in my
nose, it happens in my brain, right? So, if there's something -- if the virus is able to get to the point of my brain that is telling my nose or
not telling my nose what the smell is around me, then what is in the neighborhood of the olfactory lobe? What else could it be affecting?
HAMPSHIRE: Well, you've sort of hit the nail on the head there in terms of all of the theories out there. And I should clarify, I'm not doing research
into that theory myself. But there's the idea that there could be an impact through the sort of gustatory and olfactory system into the brain and then
a kind of spread infecting other systems. And actually, some of the cognitive systems, they overlap with those systems in the brain. So,
they're in the neighborhood, as you say.
SREENIVASAN: If this work in pointing to you that the effects of COVID-19 are not like the things that we're already used to, what is the bigger
picture kind of impact on that? How does the health care system, how do policymakers need to think about long-term potential effects of COVID that,
again, we're only a year and a half into this, right, and researchers love to have the ability to have time where they can go and go back and forth to
patients? But what if there are other effects down the line?
HAMPSHIRE: Well, that's the big concern, isn't it? And at the moment, we just don't know. And that's why more research is needed. And, you know, we
need that longitudinal research, we need to be tracking people over time and we need the combination of different types of measures and information
so that we can get a better idea of the underlying biological mechanisms, essentially.
SREENIVASAN: Here is the other part. OK, so there are these changes from COVID. Are any of them improving if you've had a cognitive deficit? Have
you seen at all people say, well, it was pretty bad for a month or so, but I seem to be getting better now?
HAMPSHIRE: I would say at the moment there is some evidence beginning to emerge that there might be a sort of slow recovery trajectory post-COVID-
19, and I certainly hope that's the case. I've seen one, I think, study out of the U.S. where they've started to show some evidence that that's the
case. And there's another one I'm involved with where they've looked at people over longer periods of time who had mild symptoms and they seem to
be recovering over time.
It's important to note that it's likely to be more complicated than that, though, because whether people recover, the degree to which they recover is
going to relate to how ill they were, the impact that there's been on them and also things like their age.
SREENIVASAN: Here you are doing this research, here are your colleagues doing this research and you're finding things that, for you, are
concerning, for you that say require more research, and outside, you've got people who are still resistant to a vaccine, who don't think this is real,
who don't think this will have any long-term effects on them, who feel invincible, who think this is the flu. I mean, when you meet your friends
and family and they figure out what you do, what do you say to them?
HAMPSHIRE: Well, I always say the same thing essentially as it relates to our data, which is we see quite a clear relationship, whereby if a person
was more ill, then we tend to see a greater degree of cognitive underperformance. Now, if you have the vaccine, it is either going to stop
you getting ill or it's going to greatly reduce the severity of the illness.
SREENIVASAN: Dr. Adam Hampshire of the Imperial College London, thanks so much for joining us.
HAMPSHIRE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Yet another reason to get your vaccine if you haven't yet.
And finally, tonight, meet three of the fastest women in the world. This Jamaican trio sprinted their way to all three spots on the Olympic podium
and into viewers' hearts with 15 Olympic medals between them and now, a new 100-meter record, they're hoping to inspire the next generation of
athletes. Here is their conversation with Correspondent Coy Wire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH, 100M, 200M OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: It feels good knowing that we get one, two, three. I've seen that when I was not an elite
athlete, watching back home, 2009. '09 or '08?
SHELLY-ANN FRASER-PRYCE, HAS MEDALED IN FOUR STRAIGHT SUMMER GAMES: '08.
THOMPSON-HERAH: '08. So, for us to repeat that once more, it's a good feeling to be a part of that history and to be amongst these ladies. It's a
SHELLY-ANN FRASER-PRYCE, HAS MEDALED IN FOUR STRAIGHT SUMMER GAMES: I had the honor of being a part of both of those. And, you know, I'm just
expected for all of us and what it means for the young girls back home like us can know that Jamaica can indeed at the next Olympic Games, with Elaine
and Sherika again can get one, two, three. And I think it speaks to just the dominance and the legacy that we have in Jamaica. And I'm hoping that
it continues for years to come.
COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What is it? How? This island producing some of the most dominant Olympians we've ever seen, 13 over the last 15 medals
available for the past five games in the women's sprint. How? Why?
FRASER-PRYCE: I mean, it's awesome. I don't know. I think, boy, you know, God has been good to us. We are a blessed, blessed, nation. And, you know,
to be able to rise to the top of the world again, it's years of, you know, other athletes, Merlene Ottey, Dione Emins (ph) and all the other great
athletes that we have seen and we continue to, you know, emulate.
Like Elaine said, you know, she saw me when she was younger, you know, coming up. And then Sherika also decided to step down from the 400 and come
to the 100 and join us. So, you know, remarkable.
WIRE: Yes. You are those that youngsters are looking to. What's it going to be like? What kind of party is it going to be when you get back to the
THOMPSON-HERAH: I don't think there will be -- all right. Yes, probably, there will be a party.
FRASER-PRYCE: But nobody will know. It will be a surprise.
THOMPSON-HERAH: But nobody will know. It will be a surprise.
WIRE: When I played in the NFL, I was not happy when one of my teammates edged me out for a starting spot in the game that week. How difficult is
the dynamic of being teammates, yet you're also your biggest competitors? What is that like?
FRASER-PRYCE: I think it's normal to be competitors and understand that we all want to win and we want to go out and we want run our best race, and I
think it's also normal for athletes to have emotions, emotions of disappointment.
Not everybody is going to be readily excited, or some person, even when they win, they are not overly excited because I think for a lot of them,
they believe that, you know, they could have maybe done more, maybe something went wrong. But, you know, that's what makes sports unique and
each individual that comes to the sport, that is what makes us, you know, unique and makes the dynamic of the competition very different.
And I think it's OK that when you look back at the moment, you're still grateful because it could have been worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Some well-deserved bragging rights for Team Jamaica. Wow, congratulations to everyone. Well, Coy Wire was speaking to them. That was
a wonderful interview.
That is it for now. Thank you so much for watching and good-bye from New York.