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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  December 21, 2020 7:00am-8:00am PST

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morning, everyone, i'm poppy harlow. jim sciutto has a well deserved week off. we're glad you're with us this morni morning. on the same day moderna rolls out its covid vaccine, there are new concerns over a new virulent. the big question this morning is will the u.s. join the list stopping travel from the uk. they're trying to determine whether this virulent will be
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vaccine resistant. they don't think so. on sunday alone more than 190,000 cases were reported across the country. health experts fear holiday gatherings are going to make this worse. and then there's the economic fallout of the pandemic. after months of clashing, lawmakers are poised to vote on a $900 billion relief bill today. what does it mean for you, for the millions of americans waiting for financial help in the midst of this crisis? we'll get to that. let's begin in london, nick robertson joins us outside of 10 downing street. how are officials responding to the discovery of this new variant? >> they're responding by trying to deal with the consequence and the announcement of tighter lockdown measures which was trying to control the spread in the uk and people trying to flee london by train, by plane and
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the message clearly not for people to do that. by far the biggest consequence for the government has been so many countries, well more than two dozen now, el salvador, lit wain nia, israel, saudi arabia, kuwa kuwait, canada, all preventing british citizens or people living in the uk at the moment to travel to those countries. the biggest impact has been with france where there's a ban on freight going to and from the uk between here and france. and that's important because 20% of the goods imported to the uk come through those port crossings and some of that includes fresh and frozen food. so the government meeting right now in the emergency cabinet session with government special advisers is to manage the impact now, not only to contain the
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virus in the uk but make sure there's going to be enough food and other goods coming into the country if this persists. currently this is a 48 hour suspension by france but it's not clear where it goes from there. poppy. >> thank you very much for that reporting. this news of this new variant comes at the same time some good news comes and that is the first doses of the moderna vaccine are set to arrive at health facilities across the country today. alexandra field is in long island, new york where they are waiting and hoping they're going to get some today. >> they are hoping it's coming today. it looks likely, poppy, i'm at one of the two hospitals in the northwell hoping to get the vaccine. they've started vaccinating week, but there's a big job lt
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ahead, they have 64,000 hospital staff members who do have contact with covid patients across 19 hospitals. they have an average of about 900 covid patients that's how badly it's needed in the hospitals. so the moderna vaccine will go towards getting more of the front line workers vaccinated as quickly as possible. while we have to remember the vaccine is not likely to be available to the general public for a few months the moderna vaccine gives us a boost. you should see 5.9 million doses of it sent out this week so more people can be vaccinated, but also this is a vaccine that doesn't need to be kept at the ultra low temperature like the pfizer vaccine. there could be more access to it for areas that don't have the ultra low cold storage capability could get and distribute this vaccine. it's a promising day, at least at this hospital, poppy. >> it is for sure.
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residents and staff at more than 600 nursing homes across the state of new york are going to start getting pfizer's vaccine today. jean is with us this morning. you're in river dale, new york, they must be very relieved to be getting this. >> reporter: we just asked staff, poppy, what is the kneeling in theknee feeling in there? how are residents and staff feeling? they said it's absolute excitement because they waited all year for this day to come. there are 600 residents in this long-term care facility and they expect every single one of them, practically to get the vaccine, they've gotten the consent from the residents or their family. they're hoping 200 day, 200 tomorrow, and 200 wednesday. and the vaccinations have just begun. they teamed up with the wall
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green pharmacy, so there are six pharmacists going room to room giving the vaccine for the next three days. we saw them bring in the vaccine this morning to the facility so they just got it. this home, along with all the long-term care facilities have had rough times this year. there were 54 residents that passed away in this home during the course of the year. 15 of them, the facility says from covid, the rest were suspected covid, but a lot of them were in the hospital and passed away. they haven't had a case since june they said, but they are so relieved for now the residents will be getting the vaccine starting at this very minute, poppy. >> i don't know if you know this, but we're looking at live pictures of folks inside getting the vaccine. so it's wonderful to see all around. jean, thank you very much. i'm joined now by dr
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dr. varkey, from emory university. you had a good weekend, you got the vaccine on saturday. how are you feeling? >> i feel great. i have my card confirming the fact i received it. very grateful, feel privileged having received it. it was a good weekend for my colleagues, we were able to vaccinate over 4,000 health care workers at emory so it's good to take a step to protect those on the front line. >> let's talk about the variant in the uk. more transmissable they believe but not more deadly. should people in the u.s. be panicked? i don't want to alarm people more than necessary. >> that's the key we question. the answer is no. people should not panic. during the pandemic, your viewers are going to read and
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hear about emerging variant viruses. all viruses mutate over time, that's what they do. there's no evident this variant is more resistant to the therapeutics we're using to treat covid-19, and no data to say some of these safe and effective vaccines are not going to be effective. so it's important for the public to take action to try to protect those closest to them. this is, if i can get it down to one sentence, it's limiting time indoors unmasked with people outside of your household. this is critical as we move into the christmas holiday. >> we had admiral brett girard on. i want to play some of his reaction to the variant and get your thoughts.
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>> it is not any more lethal or dangerous than the normal coronavirus, no evidence to suggest it, no evidence to believe it. also no evidence to suggest or believe it would evade our vaccines we have now. our vaccines develop antibodies against multiple parts of the spike protein, not just the mutated one. so we're encouraged ant that, but, of course, we have work to do to understand this more fully. >> can you talk about that work he said that needs to be done to understand it more fully? how long does that take? >> we'll get more information as we study this variant. i think it'll take on the order of weeks. but that is what the virus does. we still have the ability, as citizens, to take action and protect ourselves. the other comment made is key, if you look at the virus, part of the beauty of how these vaccines are being designed is to design multiple antibodies to the spike proteins.
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that's one of the reasons why the public should feel confident and not be distracted as vaccines evolve. the key point about it is we have control over what we need to do. i worry that when the public hears about mutations or variants there's an interpretation that the virus changes what it does. that's not the case. this is still a respiratory virus and we still know what we need to do in order to prevent transmission to others. >> when you hear the numbers from the tsa that now for three days in a row, more than a million people have passed through security checkpoints across the country, that's never happened during this pandemic so that would mean more folks are traveling for the christmas holiday than we saw for thanksgiving and we've now seen the spike in cases from thanksgiving gatherings. can you believe it? >> i would love to say that i don't believe it, but sadly we repeated this time and time again. and again, i guess what i would tell your viewers, poppy, it's
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not too late to make difficult decisions. i worry that people who get infected today, at lunch, will plan to get tested say on wednesday. that will be two days after their exposure. their test will be normal. they will test negative because the virus is not replicating in their nose or the back of their throat. i worry those individuals will travel to families where they gather with other households as people do typically over christmas. i worry on christmas eve and christmas day people will then infect their family members, loved ones and not know it because they won't be symptomatic until the day after or two days after christmas. this is so critical that the public take decisive action. we are so close to the end game. we can limit the amount of tragic deaths that happen if the public acts now. >> no question. doctor, thank you. i am so glad you got the vaccine over the weekend. great news. >> thanks, poppy.
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stay safe. >> you too. still to come, lawmakers are on the verge of passing a much needed stimulus bill. when will you, when will americans see relief? and a heated meeting on friday in the oval office that has officials worried after a heated discussion over martial law took place. millions hit hard in the pandemic are looking for a meal. just a meal this holiday week. >> for me to get the last of something and the person behind me to be in a worse position than i am. from your walmart store. really fast. really perfect. let's end the year nailing it. ♪ to customizes yourcaniling it. gocar so you only pay for what you need? really? i didn't-- aah! ok. i'm on vibrate. aaah! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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grown an eviction crisis is growing by the day and congress has failed again and again to compromise but today relief is in sight. word is the text of the new stimulus bill will be finalized any minute and then congress will vote on it and pass the deal. manu raju is on capitol hill with what is in the bill. and most importantly how quickly americans will see that relief. >> reporter: it will take some time, some will see it quicker than others. it depends on the exact situation. it depends also when this bill will be signed into law. we have not seen the bill text yet of the proposal, even though both chambers are trying to approve it to today, $900 billion of relief tied to a 1.2 spending package to keep the government open until next september. it'll pass the house today, the question will it pass the senate
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today, something that requires all 100 senators to agree to schedule a vote. we'll see if it happens. and then it'll take a few days to get to the president's desk because of how big it is. the president is expected to sign the bill and then they have to implement it. so it's going to take time to get into the system, but this proposal does include a new round of unemployment benefits to the tune of $300 a week, expect people to see the benefits kick in as soon as december 27th. this bill also has $600 in direct payments to individuals. that is capped at $75,000 for individuals, each additional person in the family would get $600, so a family of four could get $2,400, that could take a couple weeks to get kicked into the system. once the bill b becomes law, and the bill has $284 billion in
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forgivable loans for the paycheck protection programs. $25 billion for rental assistance and extends the moratorium. and $20 million for the purchase of vaccine, $8 billion for distributing the vaccine. $13 billion for food stamps and child nutrition benefits. what is not in the bill, one reason why it came together, democrats dropped their demand for aid to state and local governments they want direct assistance to that. republicans pushed back on that, democrats dropped that demand, republicans had pushed for liability protections for business entities and others, they dropped that demand. as a result they came together on this proposal but votes still need to happen, it needs to get to the president's desk and they need relief. it's going to take time for that to happen, poppy. >> manu we appreciate the update this morning. with me is congressman jim himes of connecticut.
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thanks for being with me. vermont independent, bernie sanders isn't going to stand in the way of the deal he not happy with it. he said it's not adequate to address the enormous economic crisis facing the country. my question, it's been pretty much the promise for most democrats that this is a stop-gap emergency bill and more aid is to come under the biden administration. are you so sure? is that a guarantee to the american people looking at the ma makeup of the next congress? >> i don't disagree with senator sanders. this bill comes months too late and it is too little. but it is better than where we were yesterday which is nothing. $600 in checks to every american that's not enough. but it's better than -- when you combine that with the rental assistance and the other items that manu ticked through, there's going to be real relief
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provided to the american people probably in the matter of a week or so. with respect to joe biden, a lot depends on what happens on january 5th in georgia. there's a reason this bill took a long time. there's a reason why the aid is not what it should be and that is mitch mcconnell in the united states senate. and january 5th, the democrats control the senate chamber, yes, we will get a follow on package done. i know joe biden once he becomes president on january 20th will use executive powers to provide aid to the american people but a lot depends on what happens in georgia on january 5th. >> i hear you on mcconnell and saying he didn't have the republican senate votes there. however, you know there were offers made to speaker pelosi, including a $1.8 trillion offer from the white house and the treasury secretary at the end of october that she was not happy with. so i guess, you know, hindsight is 20/20 and we learn a lot from
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our failures. i wonder if you think there's a message here, particularly to leadership, democratic leadership included, on, you know, why this took so long? and why the american people had to wait so long? >> well, remember, stephen miller when he was offering up $1. $1.8 trillion, at the same time, the guy who matters, because congress passes bills, the guy who matters, the guy who runs the united states senate he was laughing at that, he was saying $500 billion, look it up, he was saying $500 billion. so stephen miller had no support from his party with what he was negotiating with speaker pelosi, and speaker pelosi knew that. mitch mcconnell is clear about where he is. so instead of having the $500 billion deal that was real back in october, we now have more than twice that in a package that will be, i think, a downpayment because we do know and we didn't know this in october that joe biden will be
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president and that he will do everything he can to make sure in the first couple quarters of 2021 the federal government is there in a way it hasn't been. >> i think -- i want to move on to russia, but there are a lot of americans sitting at home watching this this morning scratching their heads and saying, why does it take once again until the 11th hour for congress to get something done that both sides agreed we needed something done months ago. but let's move to russia and this huge, huge hack and the president over the weekend downplaying it, saying russia, russia, russia, everyone blames russia, it could have been china. even with the secretary of state saying it was very clearly here russia. you have said, if it is russia, they are, in your words, a deterrable actor. what do you do now? because sanctions have been so ramped up already. how do you deter russia? >> the secretary of state is right. and the president is doing what this president has always done in the four years of his
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presidency, which is to defend a vladimir putin, even at the expense of what his own intelligence community is telling him. i can't talk about it on tv but i know what the intelligence community is telling the president and the president is doing what he's always done, which is defending vladimir putin. so how do we deter russia? this is not necessarily a slight on this president, although this president should be standing up and being clear with the russians about what they did and how they respond. this is also barack obama when the russians hacked the 2016 election, they got a wrist slapped, had a bunch of their diplomats sent out of the country, a facility shutdown. i think we need to make it clear to anybody around the world who does this, if you do this kind of thing you will pay a severe cost. the chinese, russians, iranians, north koreans, nonof them believe it right now. and we need to use our defensive capabilities in a way that makes them realize there's a cost to hacking our systems.
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>> you bring up your feeling that the obama administration didn't do enough in 2016, and mitt romney is finally i think getting apologies and the recognition he was right in 2012 calling russia the number one geopolitical foe. because a number of folks in the obama administration at the same time, tony blinken among them, who's going to be secretary of state, when all those russian concerns were brushed aside, including from biden himself, what's your advice to the incoming president-elect when it comes to russia? >> poppy, we need to be clear about the nature of threats that face this country. that's something that again i spend most of my days on as a member of the intelligence committee. russia is a bad actor in just about every realm out there, in terms of the hacks, what they're doing in ukraine, trying to kill their political opponents using chemical weapons. but russia at the end of the day is a very poor country, its
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economy is entirely dependent on oil, which is becoming less important, relative to the chinese who are growing and innovating and with whom we have business to do, relative to the north koreans which are in a better position or iranians which are in a better position to come up with a nuclear weapon. it's hard to say the russians are a big threat there. what the new administration needs to do -- i'll give donald trump credit for this -- they need to pick up on where donald trump's calling out of china, bad chinese behavior but engage in a constructive way, that means working with our allies in east asia, getting our allies together so we can counter chinese attempts to expand their influence. how we behave in syria, iraq and afghanistan, there's no cookie cutter answer, but the team coming in is about as knowledgeable and thoughtful and
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smart and built up with relationships in those regions as anyone we've seen. >> thank you for your time, congressman. if we don't talk to you before, have a good holiday. >> thank you. the president's former lawyer known for promoting conspiracy theories was at the white house yesterday again, this follows a heated white house argument where declaring martial law was actually discussed. more on that, next. with allsta. saving is easy when you're in good d d d d d d. call a local agent, or 1-800-allstate for a quote today.
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we're monitoring live pictures from the justice department where attorney general bill barr is set to appear a a a a at one of his la conferences, this is before he leaves that role. he's expected to announce new criminal charges against a bomb maker in the bombing of pan am flight 33, today is the anniversary of that attack. president trump announced barr's resignation last week. barr's last day as ag will be this wednesday. as for the president, once again he has no events on his public schedule today as he keeps focussing on the fiechbl days of his presidency attempting to overturn the election he lost and those efforts reportedly led to a
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screaming match in the oval office and martial law was brought up. let's go to john harwood at the white house. invoking martial law that was actually discussed as a serious possibility? >> reporter: i don't know how serious the discussion was, michael flynn, the retired lieutenant general who was trumped national security advisor before he was fired for lying to vice president pence, lying to the fbi, he pled guilty to a felony, which regarded conversations with russians, he then was recently pardoned by the president. he was on television saying the president could invoke martial law to rerun elections in swing states that the president has lost. this is a crazy idea. and the president was -- had michael flynn to the white house, along with sidney powell, the conspiracy theory lawyer who
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was advancing other crazy ideas there was discussion of sidney powell being appointed special council to investigate voter fraud. bill barr, who has to be happy leaving this crazy talk, has himself said there was no fraud that would effect the election. so the president is having trouble processing the fact he lost, spending his time lying about it, pretending he didn't lose, raising money from his supporters and entertaining these ideas for what he might do about it. i think nothing is go to come of those ideas but the president is going to make some noise over the last 30 days. >> i can't believe that conversation actually happened, but thank you for the reporting. still ahead we're going to speak with a doctor whose team helped enroll more than 1,000 participants in the vaccine trials but he didn't get the
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vaccine himself until last week. he'll join us. some things are good to know. like where to find the cheapest gas in town and which supermarket gives you the most bang for your buck. something else that's good to know? if you have medicare and medicaid you may be able to get more healthcare benefits through a humana medicare advantage plan. call the number on your screen now and speak to a licensed humana sales agent to see if you qualify. learn about plans that could give you more healthcare benefits than you have today. depending on the plan you choose, you could have your doctor, hospital and prescription drug coverage in one convenient plan. from humana, a company with nearly 60 years of experience in the healthcare industry. you'll have lots of doctors and specialists
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all while adhering to covid restrictions in his personal life but just last week he finally got a vaccine. he got a dose of the pfizer vaccine and he joins me now. i bet that felt good, didn't it? >> it felt fantastic. it was a culmination of all the hard work and relief. we're seeing -- it's scary. >> it's very scary. it must be weird to be in your seat and see the hope and the light at the end of the tunnel with these vaccines rolling out and being administered, but at the same time seeing the tragic numbers and seeing like what's happening in the state of california, right? the hospitals on the brink. i just wonder what that's like from someone on the front lines. >> we do both, the research side and at the same time i'm the internist, i still see patients every day. you're right. i feel like i'm in this race and
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i felt that way even when most people seemed to think this is a bad case of the flu, but it's not. people are dying and it's really bad. and so, very quickly, as soon as we can, we got to vaccinate everyone before everyone gets sick. >> you've said before that you feel like you work in a petri dish every day, that's true. now you have to feel a little more protected but not fully. you also got this vaccine with your daughter, right? she's a doctor? >> yeah, that was amazing. new internist, i've been waiting, 14 years ago she said, dad we're going to work together. so when the two of us got to go arm in arm to get our first shot was fantastic. >> i bet. you also heard from some of your colleagues texting back and forth with you, your doctor buddies as you call them, that
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were asking you before you got the vaccine like really, are you going to do it? is there mistrust within your medical community about these vaccines. >> it's not as bad. i'm glad to say when i stood in line the doctors were there. and during the clinical trials, even though they also certainly didn't want to sign up, lots and lots of them were anxious to get a vaccine. we're seeing it. it's not a mystery. the patients are coming in this sick, the patients are calling, i'm exposed, i don't feel well and then there's the disaster in the icu and the ones that are dying on us. >> you talk about the real heroes. i was reading something you were quoted in. you said, look, the real heroes are the thousands of those who volunteered to be part of these clinical trial. what's your message to them now having reaped the benefits of their willingness to volunteer? >> yeah, it's great. for months i called them hero,
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now i call them geniuses, everyone else gave them a hard time, i can't believe you did that, and now it's kind of funny because the same people, wow, you're vaccinated, you're immune, where do i go? how do i get mine? so yeah, they're heroes and geniuses. >> we have some adorable picture that is we think will bring smiles to the faces of those watching. here you are with your family and grandchildren we have pictures of your grand kids there. i wonder what it's like for you to see those pictures and realize that soon enough, you know, a month from now when you're fully vaccinated, you know, you might be able to cuddle them just like old times. >> i am -- new times because it will be a first. yes, i'm so excited. because i don't want -- all day long in practice and in real life i don't want to give
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anybody covid. i have my mask, i wear it religiously. and it's a catch 22. my daughter and i, we're potentially typhoid mary and we don't want to spread it. but the opportunity finally -- the cool part to everybody who's contemplating do i want a vaccine or whatever, pfizer released their data, one week after the first shot you have around 55% chance of not getting covid and then incredibly, 28 days later you are not 95% likely not to get covid. and even the 5% that get covid, at least in the pfizer data, did not have a serious illness, in fact, it was almost like the smi sniffles. >> thank you for doing what you do every day and for being with us. i'm happy for you getting to hold those little babies very soon. thank you. >> thank you for helping spread the word. we want to line everybody up. >> this year, as you know, the
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holidays are unlike any other. especially this. food insecurity has risen dramatically since the start of the pandemic and many people are finding it hard to feed their families. rosa, in south florida one in five people don't know where their next meal is coming from? >> reporter: you know, poppy, it's heartbreaking because the need for food is skyrocketing and it's doubled here in south florida since the pandemic began. the loading dock you see behind me, they're loading food right now to deliver to families in south florida that are in need. one in five people in south florida need the food that you see here to feed their families. that's more than a million people, including 300,000 children. that is why we're seeing moms, dads, grandparents, neighbors, standing in food lines for hours for a box of food.
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before dawn, people waited at a south florida mall on the weekend before christmas. >> i was sleeping. >> but they're not here holiday shopping. they're in line for free food. >> always been hesitant about coming, because i would -- i'm sorry. i would hate for the person -- me to get the last of something and the person behind me be in a worse position than i am. >> can i have two melons here, please? >> reporter: it's a scene replayed across the country, from los angeles where one food bank says distribution of groceries have doubled since the pandemic began. to the suburbs of atlanta, where 500 cars waited for an hour and a half before distribution started. >> this is another indication of the pain and suffering being felt across our nation. >> reporter: since the pandemic began in march, hunger in the united states has skyrocketed.
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feeding america reports a 60% increase in the demand over last year. >> merry christmas. >> reporter: in south florida one in five people need food assistance and a quarter of children go to bed hungry, according to feeding south florida. deborah hightower is an accounta accountant. >> this is hard for me to come here. >> reporter: the motototototr oe agers was recently hospitalized and said she lost her job twice since the pandemic started. >> i'm very independent and i don't like to ask for help but sometimes you just have to do -- god humbles you. >> reporter: some people, like larry waited for hours not to get food for himself but for three members of his church who are unemployed or can't leave their homes due to covid concerns. >> you certainly get a lot of smiles. you can't hug them anymore. >> reporter: leonard and julie delivered the food they received to seven neighbors and friends.
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>> appreciate you sharing with me. >> reporter: as the pandemic surges, demand for food is expected to grow. >> i'll see you soon. >> reporter: feeding south florida has delivered more than 150 million pounds of food since the pandemic started in march. and, poppy, there is this misconception that the poor want free food, free things, it couldn't be farther from the truth. there is dignity in work but so many americans right now are stripped from that dignity because of the surging pandemic and because of the current economic situation. poppy? >> you're right. and that woman at the beginning of your piece said it all, like trying so hard to fight back those tears. rosa flores, i'm glad you're highlighting this. thank you so much. we'll be right back.
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welcome back. well, the balance of power in the senate hinges on two senate runoffs in georgia next month. early voting under way in the state today, also both vice president elect kamala harris and ivanka trump are campaigning in georgia. let's go to jessica dean covering the biden camp. good morning. obviously it's georgia, georgia, georgia through january 5th. how much of the president-elect's agenda depends on if republicans hold those seats or if they go to democrats? >> so much of it, poppy. he said so in the past. he acknowledged he's going to have some what we called brick
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walls to run through, especially if republicans maintain control of the senate. biden has a very aggressive agenda that he wants to push through with big infrastructure packages, things like that. and it's going to hinge on the how the balance of power plays out there in the senate. you can see why so many people are focused on georgia and the two runoff races there. you mentioned vice president-elect kamala harris is traveling to georgia today to campaign for the democrats in those runoffs. she planned to do two but because of the vote in d.c. on the covid relief bill, she'll only do one event. ivanka trump also traveling to georgia. she also planned to do multiple events but with two sitting senators involved they need to be in d.c. as well for the vote. so they're going to do just one event. this is so critical to both sides who emerges victorious in the runoffs. if the democrats win that puts
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them at a 50/50 split with kamala harris being the tie breaking vote. that shows you just how tight it is. poppy. >> quickly before you go, what else do you know? anything more on the update on when the president-elect and the incoming first lady get the covid vaccine today? >> reporter: we know it's later this afternoon, poppy. we're waiting on an exact time but we know that will be done publicly. so you will all see as it happens as the president-elect gets that vaccine, wants to get the message out there that the vaccine is safe and effective. >> thank you for the reporting. thanks to all of you for joining me today. i'll see you back here tomorrow morning. i'm poppy harlow. "newsroom" with kate bolduan is right after this. this year we g. and with free curbside pickup at walmart... you can get the perfect gift up until the last minute. let's end the year nailing it. ♪
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hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. thank you for joining us right now. a major step forward in the fight against the pandemic. today, millions more doses of coronavirus vaccine -- of a coronavirus vaccine are rolling out. moderna got the green light for emergency use this weekend, shipments started going out on sunday. according to the chief of operation warp speed, americans will start getting these shots as early as this morning. today we're going to see president-elect joe biden and jill biden rolling up their sleeves to get the first dose of the vaccines before cameras. it's yet to be announced if and when the current president, donald trump, will be doing the same, though. also this hour a major break through in congress, reaching a deal on a covid relief package. this shoul


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