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tv   Alex Witt Reports  MSNBC  August 1, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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i think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country, not enough to crush the outbreak, but i believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter, but things are going to get worse. >> meantime on capitol hill it's infrastructure weekend. the senate is back in session today finishing up text for the trillion dollar bipartisan package. some progressives are threatening to tank the plan unless a larger reconciliation bill is passed along with it while moderates are pushing back. >> i just believe that every bill should go up on its own merits. >> this is the deal and we have a tight margin in the senate. i respect that we have to get senator sinema and manchin's vote on reconciliation. they should respect there's a very tight house margin and that we have to be able to uphold our end of the bargain as well. and house progressives are also part of that majority. >> new reaction today from one of two republicans sitting on
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the house select committee investigating the january 6 insurrection. congressman adam kinzinger says he's open to the idea of subpoenaing some of his gop colleagues. >> would you support subpoenas to the republican leader in the house and jim jordan? >> i would support subpoenas to anybody that can shed light on that. if that's the leader, that's the leader. if it's anybody who talked to the president that can provide us that information, i want to know what the president was doing every moment of that day after he said, i'm going to walk with you to the capitol. >> we're going to get a lot more on that in a little bit. josh letterman joins us and vaughn hillyard from jacksonville, florida, covering the surge in covid-19 there in the sunshine state. guys, welcome to you both. josh, let's get to the latest message on the covid-19 sfront. what say you on this? >> reporter: the biden administration warning there are
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likely to be more restrictions coming down the pike that things are likely to get worse before they get better. president biden as he was heading this weekend to camp david telling reporters that in all likelihood that will mean more stricter guidelines and potentially restrictions on americans, although they are saying that's not going to look like the kinds of lockdown that is we saw last year. we heard from dr. fauci this morning who echoed the consistent message from the biden administration which has been this is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated. dr. fauci saying there are still about 100 million americans who are eligible for the vaccine. they're of the right age and other qualifications but they are not getting the vaccine, and that is why we have this issue requiring the return of mask usage recommendations from the cdc. again, not to protect people who are currently vaccinated, those those who are vaccinated are
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being asked to wear masks but to protect those who are not vaccinate who had could pick up an infection from someone who is infected with the delta variant despite having that vaccine that makes them unlikely themselves to get seriously sick or die from covid-19. but the administration, they're getting pushback perhaps unsurprisingly, alex, from republican governors across the country, arizona's governor and others, saying it's not time to bring back mask mandates and they do not plan to put those in place themselves. take a listen to what dr. fauci had to say about those republican governors. >> i disagree with them. i respectfully disagree with them. the fact is there are things that are individual responsibilities that one has, and there are things that have to do with you individually which also impact others. the spread of infection we're seeing now, the surge in cases, john, is impacting everyone in
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the country. >> reporter: it's worth noting this is not the approach the biden administration wanted to take or hoped they would have to take. they tried the encouraging of people to get vaccines, tried the cajoling. that has now not worked sufficiently and that's why we're seeing the administration up the ante creating these vaccine requirements for federal workers as well as putting in place this guidance to states encouraging them to pay $100 to anyone who gets newly vaccinated. alex? >> okay. a comprehensive report. thank you, josh, from the white house. let's go from there to vaughn hillyard joining us from jacksonville, florida. vaughn, you have the state of florida right now seeing a record level of new covid cases. i mean, here is the point. it is the worst daily case count since the start of the pandemic. we're talking 18, 19 months. how are officials responding to this? >> reporter: think about that
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again, alex. you just said that fact, that this weekend there are more individuals who have tested positive for covid than at any other point during this pandemic despite the vaccine being available for months. here in jacksonville there are more individuals hospitalized than at any other point during this pandemic, the same as down in orlando across florida here, so that is why this is a two-front effort. number one, you have these doctors and nurses frantically working to take care of the patients flooding into these hospitals, but then you have the other pronged attack, and that is to try to get these unvaccinated folks. 40% are still not fully vaccinated individuals that are 18 and older. 40% not fully vaccinated. that's where i want everybody to take a look at what we have been looking at here this week because there at least is a little bit of encouraging news. take a listen. the country's hottest infection spots this month are now also leading the country in new vaccinations. across the u.s. a 31% jump this
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week in first doses administered. some of the states most responsible, places like georgia, missouri and texas. those with the country's lowest vaccination rates. with the delta variant sweeping through doctors began pleading -- >> we really need your help to help us. >> reporter: and republican governors taking a louder stand. >> it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks. >> reporter: now data showing progress this weekend. in alabama vaccinations are up 159% compared to three weeks ago. and florida, up 78%. a local pharmacist in missouri encouraged by the new demand. >> i can comfortably say it's going to be 50% now from where it was end of june. >> reporter: but why now? what took you these many months to finally decide to get the shot? >> because i saw the cases are rising. i've seen more people, my family friends, are okay. >> reporter: one family decided
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to roll up their sleeves before school starts. >> i wanted to get the shot to protect myself and i also wanted to protect other people. >> we do know some that are closed that have passed. >> reporter: in some states offering $100 with the shot. >> the more i research about it, the pros outweigh the cons. so that's why i decided to get it. >> reporter: and an urgent push from the fda saying it's all hands on deck as it works to formally approve the pfizer vaccine elevating it from its current emergency use status. >> if that means that additional people feel comfortable getting vaccinated, that's a good outcome. >> reporter: alex, this is where folks here in these communities are dealing with the reality. once you're infected or in the hospital, it's too late. the shot can't you do you any good at that point. unvaccinated individuals need to get their shots now, and we have to take into account there's still ten states in which under 50% of adults are fully
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vaccinated here in this country, alex. >> it is extraordinary. okay, vaughn hillyard. and frightening. i appreciate your time. we're continuing the conversation as we go to dr. bernard ashby, cardiologist and florida state lead for the committee to protect health care. dr. ashby, it's good to see you again. i will be honest. we haven't seen you for a few months on this broadcast because things were going pretty well in florida. were you with us all the time in the beginning when the numbers were really bad. we watched them rise. they're rising again. talk about who these people are that are coming in for care. are they vaccinated? are they unvaccinated? who is coming in to the e.r.s? >> alex, it's a pleasure to be back but not under these circumstances. and so in terms of who is getting hospitalized, who is getting infected, that has shifted down wards meaning that the overwhelming majority of patients who are getting infected now are less than 65. in fact, in florida over 85% of
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our 65 and older populations have been vaccinated. and we're seeing that in the hospitalization data. we have one-third of the hospitalized population represented by individuals in their 20s to 40s and, furthermore, we're seeing a lot of folks still younger being admitted to the icu under critical care monitoring. and so it's really a sad testament to the lack of mitigation measures that's going on in florida. but the fact that we protected the most vulnerable, especially those in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, we're not seeing the boat loads and hundreds of deaths that we saw last time, and i don't expect we'll get to that number, not anywhere close, but the fact people are still getting sick, still getting intubated, they're going to have long-term issues as a result of this and we're going to see more deaths but not to the extent that we saw in
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previous surges. >> and those folks being admitted to the hospitals unvaccinated or vaccinated predominantly? do you have a gauge on that? >> over 90% unvaccinated by far. >> extraordinary. so those people who are vaccinated, they still can get sick, right? this whole delta variant has done a number in terms of the efficacy of the vaccine, but it is working because it's keeping those people out of the hospital, preventing them from dying, but they still can get sick to some degree. can you talk about that? >> i would love to. a quick little lesson. there's a difference between the sars coronavirus and covid-19. they're not synonymous. if you get the virus, the question is, do you go on to develop covid-19 disease? and what we're seeing is that people who are vaccinated are having an increased rate of
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breakthrough cases, going on to develop the covid-19 disease. they are mild and not getting hospitalized. but what we're seeing with the delta variant is that it produce as much higher viral load to the extent if you do develop symptoms and you're vaccinated you can then transmit the virus to others unlike previous variants so the equation has changed here where now vaccinated folks were unlikely to act as vectors to transmit but you are likely based on preliminary data to spread the virus to others. but, again, the majority of folks who are vaccinated are having either no symptoms or mild symptoms, but it's just a higher proportion now. we have to put that into context. >> i appreciate you doing that. so the folks you're hearing from, people who are sick and
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unvaccinated specifically, are they expressing regrets? are they at all saying to doctors and nurse that is are trying to treat them, okay what do i need to do now? do you find there's an approach of change overall or not? >> well, honestly speaking, when i'm talking to my patients who are struggling to breathe, i'm not really talking about what happened in the past what could have been done what should have been done. i'm focusing on making sure they're able to survive. and i'm sure if i talked to them afterwards, they'll have a change of heart. when people are coming in and fighting for their lives, it's not the time to have a reflective moment and cast blame on them. folks are still getting hospitalized and folks will die because they are yet to be vaccinated. that's because of lack of
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leadership and poor messaging and a lot of misinformation. >> absolutely. you are doing your physician duty and trying to take care of people. you're right, it's not the time hindsight being 2020. any way to gauge how long this surge will lost? what will stop it? >> if you look at previous delta surges, in the uk they actually started surging in mid-may and peaked around mid-july. that was about a two-month time there. whereas in the netherlands they peaked one month later. so there are all of these variables we are unaware of. what we do know is we are likely -- we're not close to our peak. so this will escalate in the near future. in florida we've broken records. we've had our single highest day of infections in our state since
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the pandemic. and that number is expected to get higher. when will it peak? i have no idea. however, we do know that mitigation measures work. masks work. particularly, as i mentioned before, the viral load is so high the mask do prevent the transmission of the virus but the how sick you get depends on how much virus you get initially. so masks are a vital tool in the fight against this pandemic. i hate to say it but our governor has come out against masks for children, put orders in place to ban any mask mandates. and that's the exact opposite of what you want to do during this particular time. you need to be proactive. you need to treat this as a state of emergency, and our governor has done none of the above. >> i have to say it has defied logic to me why there is such consternation against just putting on a mask.
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so much good can be done. i don't understand it. i just don't and i will leave it at that. i do understand everything you've told us and i appreciate you so much. i hope i see you again perhaps under better circumstances. thank you. so despite some extreme efforts by democrats, the eviction moratorium expired this weekend. what can be done to save millions of americans from being kicked out of their homes? and if you didn't hear what donald trump's former chief of staff just said prepare to be alarmed and ask what does he mean? liberty mutual customizes car insurance so you only pay for what you need. how much money can liberty mutual save you? one! two! three! four! five! 72,807!
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well, the senate is back in session today finishing up text of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that comes as overnight the clock ran out on the nationwide eviction ban leaving millions of americans vulnerable to losing their homes in the coming weeks
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including yvonne bryant. >> i don't want to be on the street. >> reporter: yvonne bryant lost her job in the pandemic and has been struggling ever since, one of more than 6 million americans behind on their rent. how far behind are you on your rent? >> three months? i might be hopeless any day. >> in protest some progressive house democrats rallied on the steps of the capitol overnight calling on their colleagues to come back to washington to extend the moratorium. leigh ann caldwell is on capitol hill. what's the latest on this? is there any chance the house will come back to washington before the end of their august recess that goes into mid-september? >> reporter: alex, that protest on the capitol steps is it still ongoing. i spoke with representative cory bush who started this impromptu protest on friday night. she is still there and she has
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no plans to leave for the time being saying she needs to call attention for the urgency of the matter. now there's a lot of finger pointing going on. the democrats are saying they didn't hear about this from the white house until the day before the house was supposed to leave session. the white house is calling on local officials to do what they can to extend this moratorium. in a letter released last night house speaker nancy pelosi blamed republicans for not coming along. representative ocasio-cortez said this morning on cnn that should not be a factor since democrats control congress. let's listen. >> frankly a handful that threatened to get on planes rather than hold this vote. we have to really just call a spade a spade. we cannot in good faith blame the republican party when house democrats have the majority. we cannot kick people out of their homes when our end of the bargain has not been fulfilled.
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>> reporter: back to your original question, alex, will the house come back to do something? in a letter last night speaker pelosi also indicated that won't be the case because the house, even if they pass something, the senate has to act. the senate is in session as we speak. there are no plans to take up this legislation. for the time being about 11 million people who are estimated to be behind on their rent who are in jeopardy of losing their homes despite the fact, alex, in the last covid relief bill $45 billion allocated to help people who are behind on their rent and help landlords. only a fraction of that money has since been allocated. >> it's less than 2%. it is stunning. leigh ann caldwell, thank you. from capitol hill. new today signs donald trump could be planning his next political move. according to a new report from
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"the new york times," trump has built a war chest of more than $100 million. this comes as trump's former chief of staff, mark meadows, says trump has been meeting with cabinet members to discuss the future. >> we met with some of our cabinet members tonight. we had a follow-up member meeting with some of our cabinet meters. as we were looking at that, we were looking at what does come next. i'm not authorized to speak on behalf of the president. i can tell you this, steve, we wouldn't be meeting tonight if we weren't making plans to move forward in a real way and with president trump at the head of that ticket. >> joining me is katty kay, washington editor. how do you interpret what meadows said? he talks about the president. he talks about the cabinet.
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>> unofficially donald trump is running, right? and while he's running unofficially it's impossible for other candidates like ron desantis who might want to jump into the race to start making any plans made public. it was weird the language mark meadows used. it's not the cabinet. it is the former cabinet. >> former cabinet, exactly. >> the former president. the former cabinet. it's clearly not the cabinet. with that teaser at the end, we wouldn't be meeting like this if we weren't planning to make things official. he hasn't yet made it official. what is clear even with donald trump dropping hints and talking to people in private, the capacity to raise an enormous amount of money. and that has to give concerns to thinking they could throw the hat in the ring, people like
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desantis, mike pence, other people who think if donald trump were the head of the republican ticket in the next election they couldn't win back the white house. >> it sounds like at least in their minds they're operating a shadow presidency and, by the way, he said that on news max, the exact audience that might get worked up over the cabinet meetings. what are the implications of this? >> trying to keep his options open and supporters happy and mark meadows is fully onboard trying to keep his supporters happy. and has continued to do so ever since his line the election was stolen, that it was corrupt, as we now know he said to doj officials, wanted doj officials
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to say, that he believes it was a corrupt election and that's why he carries on saying the kinds of things he does. it keeps his supporters happy. it is a reflection of where he is and what he's been obsessed with and his mind hasn't changed on that despite the fact joe biden is there and, no, donald trump is not suddenly going to be reinstated as president. >> i think that was supposed to happen this month. it was august. big picture here, though, trump is at the center of several investigations. on friday the doj releasing the notes where trump asked it declared as corrupt. reiterating you said for our viewers. tuesday the doj said the irs must turn over trump tax returns to a house committee. so do you think democrats will intensify the investigations as a means to try to stop him from even considering legitimately, seriously considering, more than just talk, a 2024 run? could republicans eventually think it's too much.
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it's too much here and we'll hand the baton to others, the ron desantises, nikki haley, someone like that who might have a more legitimate or at least legality free. >> you might think that would be the case but, alex, i have yet to find the senior republican -- how many times during trump's presidency did you think this would be the moment when top republicans would go to him, enough is enough, or you cannot lead our party in this way? and it just didn't happen. one scandal after another and they stuck with him. either the manhattan district attorney or doj investigations that is concrete that would provide beyond financial jeopardy, i think, for onald trump. i don't see meadows or mitch mcconnell going to donald trump
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and saying you can't lead our party. yes, his poll numbers have dipped slightly amongst republican supporters, the party itself. look at the amount of money he's raising. he's still a huge fund-raiser and is still enormously popular. and it's difficult for any of those people to come forward and build a campaign to overshadow him while he's still out there throwing around these bread crumbs as he was doing through mark meadows. >> and they're worried what he might do. he would get a message out there and really go after them for challenging him. we know that, too. thank you for bringing some sobriety to this conversation. i appreciate it. good to see you, my friend. new reporting on overcrowded conditions from migrants in u.s. custody and disturbing allegations of the abuse of migrant children next. migrant c.
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in some parts of the country mask mandates are being reinstated as covid cases surge. in one of the biggest hot spots the governor is actively opposing these measures. let's go right now to austin, texas. gary, welcome. how are folks in the state reacting to this? >> reporter: hey there, alex. it has been 18 months that we've all been dealing with this coronavirus pandemic. just yesterday alone there were 80,000 cases of coronavirus across the country. 9,000 of them were here in the state of texas. i had a chance to talk to austin mayor steve adler about all of this. he painted a very bleak picture of what the hospitals look like. we're talking about icus. they have nine icu beds left in the entire austin area, 2.3
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million people, and they're dealing with staffing issues. we're talking about people in the hospital being put in hallways but the staff isn't necessarily there to support them. this time last year when they had staffing issues the state came in and they were able to supplement. they can't do that today. the hospitals are very much on their own. and on top of all of that this week governor abbott issued an executive order of a mandate saying local officials cannot mandate vaccines. they cannot mandate masks. i spoke to steve adler about that. he did not mince any words. >> i believe the governor is endangering the lives of texans by not letting local communities establish the rules to keep people safe. if the governor was not at this point telling us we can't put in mandates, we would have a mandate right now saying children in schools need to wear masks.
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i think it would be really important for us as a city to just require that all city employees get vaccinated. we don't want to be involved in court with the governor if we can avoid it because then the story becomes all about court and it makes the issue even more partisan or political than it is otherwise, which is just criminal that it's gotten to that place to start off with. >> reporter: so local officials had a choice here. they can go to court or go along with the governor's executive order. now there is some good news. according to the white house, every single day there's about 500,000 people across this country getting newly vaccinated against the coronavirus. here in travis county it's about 15,000 people a week, that's increasing the vaccination numbers. alex? >> i have to tell you, i'm glad the mayor of boston did not mince words and right on for everything he said there. thank you so much for bringing it to us. the republican fury toward wearing masks grows louder and some might say more dangerous. what can we expect in the battle
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on capitol hill political drama over mask wearing is back in full force. this week house republicans staging a maskless protest. they're seen here marching to the senate in a demonstration against new covid protocols put back in place after the cdc updated its guidance. joining me now doncalway, democratic strategist and founder of the voter protection action fund. susan del percio, msnbc political analyst, and david jolly, former congressman from florida and msnbc political contributor. hi, guys. hardly seems like a week since we last spoke.
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we have cases surging, in fact in many of the lawmakers' districts, and this is how they choose to lead by example? >> well, they're not leading, and it will take deaths to make their actions change. do not forget there's about 60 members, republican members, of the house who are not vaccinated. it is very likely at least one of them will get sick, if you start looking at the facts that are out there. wearing masks are a way of preventing people from getting sick. yes, i wear a seat belt. it doesn't mean i can't go 150 miles on the highway. you need to do both. you need to get vaccinated. you showed in your last couple of segments, alex, texas and florida. their hospitals are being overrun, so it will not just be people with covid going in who will die as a result of not
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having care but it will be those who have a heart attack or need lifesaving measures. and that, sadly, is probably the only thing that will wake these legislators up. >> sadly indeed. texas legislative -- rather, texas congressman roy has been the leader of sorts in this anti-mask crusade. let's listen to what he said on the house floor the last week. >> we have people infected with covid coming across our southern border into texas and you all put masks -- masks -- up front here -- here in the people's house? we ought to be around, okay, we can't come to the floor. i can't execute my constitutional duty unless i wear a mask. this institution is a sham. >> let's take note there, david, the other congress people behind him there, they all had masks except one, marjorie taylor greene. that said we've seen this recent switch in narrative from senate republicans. they've been strongly urging vaccinations.
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are the house gop actions like this -- does this just cancel out that whole initiative? >> sure, it does. this is not an order of nancy pelosi. there's an office of the attending physician, a doctor responsible for the environment of the congress, the environment of the house of representatives, that physician has determined given current conditions and the density requirements of the chamber and the house that it is in the public health interests of the congress to reinstate a mask wearing requirement. and so what you are seeing by republicans is a war on public health behavior that they don't like. i think you are seeing a dramatic rise in ignorance among house gop and, frankly, that's being translated through their public policy physicians as well. look, i've said several times, and i say this with lament not to try to take a jab. i think we are experiencing one of the great failures in american history.
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sacrifices all given to us in 2021 the tools to end a global pandemic. because of irresponsible behavior of our elected officials as well as some of our fellow americans, we are now facing a new wave and a new threat of the coronavirus. it's preventable. >> i'm curious what you think is behind this, don? is it really about putting on a mask, or is it a political stunt and, in fact, as political stunts go, this could cost lives, right? >> it not only could but it will cost lives to the extent that we don't take the actions that we can right now to end the delta variant and all of the subsequent variants. unfortunately, people will die and it's a harsh reality to not only those of us who don't get our lives back or have to go back into quarantine but, unfortunately, people will die and that's a sad reality. to answer your initial question which is what is really behind
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this, i have a hard time on television because i'm a history guy and you have to dig into history. the history of the united states of america is the idea of white male patriarchy unchecked. and even -- we have gotten to such a toxic place that even, hey, wear a mask or register your gun is some type of incursion on the freedom for white men to do what they want to do without being ever held accountable or held to have to think or take responsibility for their actions on other people. now, of course, men are highly infected with this, too. the history of our country is male egos run rampant and we, unfortunately, should not be surprised that it manifests itself in anti-masking or anti-vaxing because that's where we are. >> thank you for that big picture perspective. i appreciate that, don. david, let's look specifically at your state, florida, over 21,000 new cases of covid were recorded just yesterday, and the shocking thing is, it is the highest daily number since the
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beginning of the pandemic. then you have governor ron desantis declared victory saying the state came out relatively unscathed. he's now sticking to that. he's banning mask mandates. he's slamming what he calls, quote, a fauciian dystopia. >> it's very trump-like in terms of setting his own narrative, his own victory lamb and republic fusing to recognize any flaw in that. it's obvious that ron desantis and other leading republicans in the state of florida is evisceraing local control, of local school boards and counties. ron desantis does not. i think it suggests should he become president of the united states one day he would eviscerate principles in blue states for reasons of his own ideology. i think with a we're seeing with ron desantis is reflective of other republicans as well, alex. even when they say get vaccinated, because ron desantis has said get vaccinated, there's
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a caveat and always a lack of strategy. he says you should get vaccinated but if you don't want to, that's okay. we will not do masks or other preventive measures. it's devoid of any comprehensive strategy that you otherwise hear from leading public health officials and, frankly, elected democrats across the country today. >> susan, there was a study put out by axios this week in which it showed the most hard core opponents of coronavirus vaccination, the group who say they will never get one, they tend to be older, whiter, and more republican than the unvaccinated americans who are still somewhat persuadable and slightly more women than men but there's plenty of men to go around there. why do you suppose that is? >> because they've been led down this false narrative not just by republican elected officials and the former president but also by facebook.
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we have to take a look at social media and look at the amount of false information that is out there, alex, and that is something that while it's mostly republican, there are democrats who also buy into what they read on facebook. and that, i think, we need to call on and something maybe the legislators in washington do to focus more attention on the false information on facebook because that should not go unnoticed. the other part is, unfortunately, these are the people who will die first. and that will be a reflection not just on facebook but on the elected officials, those republicans who are not encouraging a full vaccination and, as david said, you can't have an exception. if you don't want to, that's okay, too. >> don, let's quickly take a listen to what was said on fox news. here it is. >> the biden administration failed at their effort to get us vaccinated by july 4th, and now
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we have to pay the price. and now you want to mask us because you clearly failed in your effort to get us vaccinated because the totalitarian impulse within you is so strong. nothing makes sense. >> is that july 4th failed target all on biden, though? because it was leading republicans and networks like fox news that continue sowing vaccine doubt. was there anything biden could have done to have fixed that persistent narrative? >> no. alex, i've been friends with you for a long time. i would never make you sit and listen to her. i don't know why you would subject us to that on a blessed sunday. i was thinking earlier today that it's time to hold fox news accountable. i wish that data scientists would get together and media scientists and tie fox news' -- not only rhetoric but every
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network has an angle they're trying to push but actual false statement. it's time to tie false statements to deaths, the demographics who accept this slanted and biased information but false information. she should be debarred because she is the member of the state bar association and has a duty to the people to not tell lies. >> she was the westchester county d.a. and she did a heck of a job when she did it. i don't know what happened. that having been said, i feel like i owe i i'm sorry flowers for that. it's all good. love all three of you. we'll see you again very soon. thank you so much. thank you. so if you don't live in california, you might think you're not affected by the ongoing drought, wait until you go shopping for groceries. don't settle for products that give you a sort of white smile. try new crest whitening emulsions for 100% whiter teeth. its highly active peroxide droplets swipe on in seconds.
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it's innovative. my go to toothpaste is going to be pronamel repair. age before beauty? why not both? visibly diminish wrinkled skin in... crepe corrector lotion... only from gold bond. so in california new concerns over extreme weather and the ripple effect across the country. let's go right to nbc's scott cohn standing by for us in san martin, california. i know you have a story about tomato growers in particular who are affected but overall how are farmers managing to conserve water in this drought? >> reporter: alex, they are making a lot of tough choices really. the tomato crop is where it really comes into play. i am in a field of heirloom
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tomatoes here in st. martin. these are the kind you see in the supermarket at restaurants and things like that but california accounts for like 90% of the processing tomatoes, the ones in your ketchup, your tomato sauce, and things like that. so they take a lot of water. water has gotten not only scarce but really expensive. eight to ten times what it normally costs. farmers are planting fewer tomatoes, diverting water to crops that they need to keep going year to year like say almonds and trees involved with that. and that increase in the price of water is just the start. >> the price of water. the price of seed. price of fertilizer. power. labor. so they're also experiencing some of those same cost increases overall impacting the price of growing tomatoes and
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also the price to process tomatoes. >> reporter: james sherwood runs a company that has a step in all of the proses of growing and processing and selling tomatoes. he says even the wooden bins they use and the price of that has gone up. we are looking at the wholesale level about a 5% increase in prices for the processing tomatoes but the real issue experts say is looking ahead to next year. a lot of the price for tomatoes is already locked in by contract but this scarcity means growers will change their plans, processors will change their plans, and you can expect to pay more when you go to the supermarket. >> okay. thank you so much. nbc scott cohn there in san martin. new, shocking allegations about the mistreatment of migrant children in u.s. custody. what whistle blowers are saying. it is disturbing and it's next.
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♪ watch the olympic games on xfinity ♪ ♪ root for team usa and feel the energy ♪ ♪ 7000 plus hours of the olympics on display ♪ ♪ with xfinity you get every hour of every day ♪ ♪ different sports on different screens ♪ ♪ you can watch it anywhere ♪ ♪ and with the voice remote ♪ ♪ you never have to leave your chair ♪ show me team usa. ♪ all of this innovation could lead to some inspiration ♪ ♪ and you might be the next one to represent our nation ♪ ♪ this summer on your tv, tablet, or any screen ♪ ♪ xfinity is here to inspire your biggest dreams ♪ new reporting from nbc news today i.c.e. will begin processing migrant families to relieve over crowded border stations as the border experiences a surge of people crossing in recent weeks. julia, welcome. tell us what happens to families that are currently in i.c.e.
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custody. >> reporter: well, now because when they're crossing the border cbp is at 500% capacity they are held in border control stations and oftentimes released without a notice to appear in court, really just a date to try to show up somewhere to report. i've heard from officials a lot of families they don't hear back from and what is more there is a humanitarian concern that holding a lot of people in these over crowded conditions, over 500% capacity right now, could lead to a lot of health problems especially as the delta variant soars. so now i.c.e. will start bringing some of those families into their custody processing them, giving them covid tests, offering vaccines. something the agency has never done before. they are usually in charge of detaining people, oftentimes before they're deported. >> it just seems absolutely incomprehensible. can you help explain?
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500% capacity. i don't even know what that looks like when they are that much over what they prepare for. how bad is it? >> that's right. well, it means there is not a lot of sleeping room and especially what it means is for these families with young children it can get very bad there and they're worried about koevgd outbreaks. other viruses spreading. there's also the issue of what happens to children. so children who come without their parents have been transferred to hhs custody as quickly as possible but even those facilities have become over crowded. that is part of another story we did where we spoke to some whistle blowers who say the over crowding in those facilities led to problems there. let's take a listen to what they had to say. >> there were these tents all over the place, these massive tents just crowded with kids. this was an environment in which covid spread very, very rapidly amongst the kids and ultimately
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amongst many of the staff as well. >> we were told to not share practically everything we witnessed there. we were told to not be on social media, to limit our conversations about the site with close friends and family, and to definitely not talk to the media. >> now health and human services, which runs those facilities for unaccompanied migrant children, did report in a statement responding to these allegations that they take any allegations of wrongdoing seriously and swiftly report them to the authorities. now we are seeing more and more of these complaints come out of those over crowded facilities. there are some people calling for a broader investigation into what is going on there and specifically to the contractors who were hired to run the facilities. >> it is an extraordinary story according to the whistle blowers. thank you so much julia

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