tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN December 16, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
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it's the top of the hour. i'm alisyn camerota. victor is off today. this hour president biden will huddle with his covid advisors at the white house about the omicron variant. new infections and hospitalizations are rising, forcing some colleges and universities to go virtual again. meanwhile, cdc advisors are set to vote on the future of the johnson & johnson vaccine. a new analysis sthoehows the ra of a rare blood clotting division of the that vaccine were higher than thought. they are talking with college
students who will spend the rest of the semester online because of covid. jeff, what do we know? >> reporter: alisyn, we do know that president biden will be meeting with his covid advisors here at the white house really making clear they're taking seriously the omicron variant threat. dr. anthony fauci, of course fcourse, the chief medical advisor to the president said this will be the dominant variant as early as next month. they're bracing for another winter surge, and the white house clearly, if not ahead of this, trying to be on top of this as much as they can nine days before christmas here. this is not how president biden wanted to end the year. covid has doubled in the months throughout the year. the booster shot is the only thing to sort of ward off the serious infections and hospitalizations, so the president is getting a briefing, not necessarily any new information expected to come from that, but just trying to highlight the omicron variant is
here, it is going to be the dominant strain next month and again bracing for a possible tough winter for the unvaccinated. so much different than a year ago, of course. it sounds familiar, it sounds like deja vu, but we are in a different place because of vaccinations. the president once again pushing vaccinations and those booster shots, alisyn. >> tell us what students are saying about all of this. >> there's an incredible acceleration on campus and nyu officials basically urging the staff members here to take a more remote approach when it comes to finals. you can imagine the school here has had to run through a tough line here, trying to restore normalcy for students, many who are vaccinated, there's a very high vaccination percentage among students, but at the same time recognizing this does continue to remain a threat. i've heard from many of them today, alisyn, they are largely
supportive of this. of course, there is the convenience factor here, but in all seriousness at the end of the day, many of the students i've spoken to are genuinely concerned they could potentially become infected even though they may be symptomatic carriers, this is not something they want to take to their family over the holiday break. >> it's not an overreaction. that's the kind of action that caused a surge in the first place last year, and i'm really glad they took this initiative. it's really hard to change exams to an online format. i know my lab professor had to. i really appreciate that as well. this is really important, this should be taken seriously. >> reporter: again, a reminder for viewers, this is simply urging faculty members. i've spoken to students who are still taking finals in class here, but you still have students looking ahead to the spring semester. they are required, especially law students, to have proof of
their booster come the spring semester. that is a relief for many students that will have a lot of interaction with students after the holiday. alisyn? >> jeff zeleny and paul, thank you. health officials think omicron is about to overtake us. he writes, right now we don't need models to tell us that the pandemic is taking over. the warnings are being validated already. the author of that article, david wallace wells, joins me now. david, you say omicron is about to overwhelm us. how do you know that since the cdc is not sort of sounding that kind of alarm? >> look, if you just look at the rate of growth and the places where we are tracking the omicron variant most carefully, notably washington state and new york city we're seeing rapid
rise that matches the stam rapid rise that we saw in south africa, that we've seen in the u.k., denmark and norway, where the beginning of the wave we have a doubling in spread every other day, which when you track that out in a week or so takes you from a very small number of cases to a place where some experts are expecting as many as a million new covid cases a day in relatively short order. so i think given what's happening every wwhere else in e world, and we're actually measuring this closely, and everything we know about the variant itself, we know it's two to three times more transmissible than delta, i think we have to assume that this is going to be a tsunami of cases. we don't know how severe it will produce, but we know in terms of
c caseload we are facing an amount that is likely to pass the cases we saw last winter. >> do you think lthe cdc and ni should be sounding a stronger alarm? >> i think they're sounding a relatively strong alarm, i'm just not sure what can be done when the pace of growth is so fast. one of the reasons they're emphasizing vaccinations, which that's a hard sell. most people who are not vaccinated are not about to run out and get vaccinated now, but they are encouraging boosters, is because people can go out and do that in relatively short order. the other measures that need to be taken we can roll out in several weeks, and omicron is about to be quite pervasive around the country, and we've lost the opportunity to stop the spread. there is little to be done to stop that spread. the question is managing the severity of the disease, and some of it is how vaccinated we
are and some of it has to do with the omicron variant, of which we know little about at the moment. >> norway is in partial lockdown, france is closing schools. do you think it's time for the u.s. to revert to some of those stronger measures again? >> well, personally, i'm not sure how much they'll help, to be entirely honest. i think that this variant is spreading so quickly, if we manage to take 10% to 20% off the spread, that will make a difference, but it won't stop us from having to deal with it in the next month or so. i think the schools that are closing down a bit early for christmas break will think over the holiday how to recount their standards for closure in january, i think that's a wise decision. personally, i don't know how to plan out the next six weeks except to say we should be doing everything we can to provide hospitals with the resources they need, and given the case numbers we're likely to see,
we'll still see a total number of hospitalizations and deaths that is likely quite large and which may, indeed, strain our hospital systems once again. >> david, can you explain that? if it's more transmissible but less severe, why are we going to see more hospitalizations and deaths? >> well, if you have a disease that, say, one-third is severe but it travels three times as fast and is transmitted three times as fast, you end up with ultimately the same number of severe cases. you have many more mild cases, but the ultimate number of people who end up in the hospital and die will be the same. there are indications even though this variant may be somewhat less severe than previous ones, it may not even be that beneficial. so if you have a variant like this one where the pandemic spread is, you know, doubling every two to three days, even if it's half as virulent, that means that in two three days' time you'll end up with the same number of cases you would have had on day one because the spread is so rapid.
we don't expect omicron will spread this rapidly indefinitely. it will slow, and we're seeing signs already in south africa the spread is already slowing or peaking, and that means the spread is relatively short. but it's transmissibility of this disease, not the variant that matters. this is not an especially lethal disease. what is really awful about it is it spread very quickly and nobody had any immune protection against it to begin with. given what we know about immunity of omicron, even if you're vaccinated, and if you're vaccinated and you've got the booster, you are protected substantially, but not as much as if you're vaccinated. you're much more protected than a few weeks ago when you felt
confident with your two shots. we need the third shot to protect people, especially the vulnerable and old. >> so everybody get your booster. david, thank you for this perspective. >> thank you very much. there is one thing on president biden's christmas list that may not get delivered, his build back better bill. it's held up by members of his own party, so we'll go live to capitol hill for where it stands next. ♪ ♪ you are my fire ♪ ♪ the one desire ♪ ♪ you are, you are, ♪ ♪ don't wanna hear you say... ♪ ♪ ♪ i want it that way ♪
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between president biden and senator joe manchin have stalled, meaning the president's build back better plan is unlikely to pass the senate by christmas. cnn's manu raju is live on capitol hill, so manu, what are you hearing what's happening up there? >> manchin has made clear to the president that he needs significant restructure of the bill. he indicated to me that 1$1.7 trillion is the most he would be willing to spend in this massive bill, and he simply does not believe that the bill that passed the house last month would fall under that price tag. one of the things that he has conveyed to the president, he reiterated in our conversations as well, is concerns over the scope of the child tax credit. that is an expansion of which would expire at the end of this year. he is concerned about including that for just one year. he thinks that it should be considered for about ten years' time, but if they were to do it
for ten years, that would essentially blow up the entire price of this bill and it would go much higher than joe manchin wants and would force other programs to be pulled out, essentially meaning they would have to rewrite a bill that's been negotiated in a mainstaking manner for months and months and months. as democrats had hoped to get this bill passed by christmas, which simply is not going to happen at this point, they are expressing criticism and concern over manchin's role. >> that's where he's at, and if you have a 50-50 split senate, you can have one person, or two people, stop everything. that's why people in our country should know that a 50-50 senate sucks and we can't get things done. >> reporter: manchin wants significant changes to the bill at this point. what is your message to him? >> we need to get this done. we have talked, we have talked, we have talked. it's time to put it on the floor and vote. >> our country would not tolerate a missed social
security payment for senior citizens. it's not acceptable to have a missed child tax credit payment that youngsters and their parents rely on. >> reporter: now, chuck schumer, the senate majority leader, has not exclusively said it will not pass by christmas as yet, but hoping and pushing for it. they are expecting joe biden, the democratic senators are, to make an explicit statement that the christmas deadline simply may not be met, but when will this bill be passed? can they get it done in january, will it slip to february, and all have questions of if or when. alisyn? >> a lot of people think they have bigger fish to fry in terms of voting rights and local elections around the country. president biden called that, the voting rights, the single most important domestic issue.
does that mean that's where he's going to put his energy? >> reporter: he did have a call with democratic leaders as well as joe manchin about a way forward. there have been a lot of discussions among senate democrats about trying fto figue out a proposal that can get them on the same page. there is a big problem here, alisyn. in order to get the bill through, they need 60 votes in the u.s. senate. that means 50 democrats, 10 republicans, but republicans are at odds with how to deal with this issue. the other idea is to change the filibuster rules and allow a 50 majority, with vice president kamala harris breaking the tie. but joe manchin, as well as kirstk kyrsten sinema, are saying there will not be a day they are in the minority with the president.
ultimately very likely this is once again going to stall in congress, and then the democrats will have to take it to the voters in next year's midterms. >> manu raju, thanks for laying all that out. in the investigation into the january 6 insurrection, we now know that one of the people advising the president's chief of staff on how to overturn the election results is a sitting member of congress. republican congressman jim jorda jordan forwarded a text message to mark meadows outlining a legal strategy. on january 26, 2021, vice president mike pence, as president of the senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as to electoral votes at all. margaret is here.
margaret, remember how badly jim jordan wa -- mark meadows wanted to be on the january 6 committee and was upset when he wasn't? >> this is all about politics, and today's actions of the speaker just confirm this. frankly, and i said this before, what else are they going to talk about? are they going to talk about crime, the fact that crime is up in every major urban area in this country? are they going to talk about the border crisis? the leader said, and as mr. banks said, i don't think they're going to address the fundamental question, the fundamental question of why wasn't there proper security presence at the capitol that day? >> margaret, can you imagine if he were on the committee now as these text messages came out?
>> i think that flashback was actually the role he would have played on the committee, probably not encouraging turning over of the texts. the texts that have been turned over so far, and i think what's been put in the public arena, is the tip of the iceberg of what this committee is looking at. it does show a lot of front end coordination now among members of congress as well as meadows and the white house and some of the organizers. it's noteworthy how much you might fault the legal reason or the constitutional reason here to see that these particular texts were talking about how to read the law or the constitution and try to make that argument through constitutional channels or legal channels, and i think what we'll perhaps see more of as the investigation continues is the sort of extra legal channels once insurrection began, is the communications
that investigators will be looking at. >> gloria, congressman jordan did have a point, i think, that last sentence i take to heart, the fundamental question of why wasn't there proper security presence at the capitol that day. why didn't president trump call for backup? why didn't he jump in when there were all of those texts beseeching him to call off the mob? >> right, and call on the national guard. the texts from meadows was talking about was the national guard will be there to protect the trump people, if you'll recall, in that text. if we take a step back, what this shows us is mark meadows is so central to all of this. he's almost a clearinghouse for all of these ridiculous ideas, somehow interpreting the constitution in the wrong way, and that all of this landed in his text messages or on his desk or he heard it from the president, et cetera, et cetera.
he was involved, as was congressman jordan with a key group of members of congress to try and figure out a way to overturn a free and fair election. and to go back to your original question, if jordan were on the committee right now, he would have to recuse himself because of a conflict of interest here. here was somebody forwarding an e-mail to meadows saying, hey, you know, which said, maybe we could do this, maybe we could do that. and yet he pushed himself to be a member of this committee knowing full well what he had done and what he had sent to the white house chief of staff. i mean, one wonders how he could have even gone in to kevin mccarthy and said, i really should be on this committee, if he knew we had this kind of conflict. >> on a separate topic, eric trump, the president's son, said
something really illuminating yesterday on a podcast about whether there could have been russian collusion. here it is. >> we weren't smart enough to collude with russia. we didn't know what we were doing. i remember walking up to a caucus in iowa, i looked at this young staffer and said, can you tell me what in the hell a caucus is, because i don't know what i'm doing here. >> from the mouth of babes. he said, we weren't smart enough to collude with russia. there were many pundits who felt that way. they felt that perhaps unwittingly they were being duped, but i thought it was so interesting to hear him say, we didn't know what a delegate was, we didn't know what a caucus was. >> the congressman speaks for
itself. we have been hearing more, understanding a little bit better how the former president's family and sons interacted with him and with the campaign behind the scenes both in 2016 and all the way through the end of the first term and in those days right up to january 6. we've seen don jr.'s text now to mark meadows imploring him to reason with his father in a way that apparently he could not. why does all of that matter? it matters if the former president runs for another term in 2024. surrounding all of this is a big question about how americans are proceeding the news around january 6, and i think there we do have a really bifurcated media atmosatmosphere, so a lot
the voters who need the reaction may not be getting it. that's just a reality we have to deal with and talk about. >> can i just add something about those iowa caucuses? as i'm sure you both remember, donald trump accused ted cruz of cheating during the iowa caucuses, saying he beat him by cheating. does that sound like a familiar refrain? going all the way back to the iowa caucuses, that this is something we heard then and this is something we heard in the 2020 election and continue to hear from the president of the united states. nobody can beat him unless they're cheating. >> i actually had forgotten about that, but that is the go-to excuse. thank you for that trip down memory lane. gloria borger, margaret talev, thanks. they are appointing the
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keechant sewell will lead nyc's police department. how she reacted when she heard the news. >> i actually didn't hear him correctly at first. i know i can do this job. i'm thrilled he believed in me to give me this opportunity to do this job. when he told me, i actually felt phenomenal and i said, now i'm part of this team and we can get started immediately. >> this highlights how slowly female candidates have moved into the pipeline to be considered for these positions. research shows women make up only 12% of law enforcement positions worldwide and only 3% of executive level positions. here's dorothy schultz, the first captain of the metro community railroad police. she is currently a professor at the john j. criminal college of justice. she's also the author of "the confidence chronicles: the greatest crime story never told." ladies, great to have you here.
officer dorsey, tell me your thoughts on keechant sewell being named the first female police commissioner in history. >> i commend her, but this is still a system where good old boys run the system, and there were 60 police chiefs forced to retire. carmen best was run out on the rail after the city council cut her salary, and others. erica shields in atlanta. how come the female police chiefs never seem to make it through their entire contract? so i hope they're not setting ms. sewell up for failure. this is still a good ole boy system. i heard from pat lynch they want her to get this city back on course, and for him, a guy who
hasn't seen a police shooting or beating of a black man that he can't get excited about, makes me think he's expecting her to run roughshod over people that look like her. >> your thoughts? >> i agree as far as so many women chiefs being bounced out of their positions. i think the interesting thing is more than half of them were bounced out by female mayors. >> why is that? what's behind that? >> i think it's a lack of confidence in many ways, that the women mayors are not sure of themselves and it's very easy to push the blame onto police chiefs, or in this case, police commissioner. because i look at minneapolis where so much of the issues surrounding policewomen started,
and there the male police chief actually replaced another ousted female was able to retain his position, and now that he's retiring, announced he's retiring, some people feel he betrayed them by not being there earlier. but he was able to withstand the local pressure, and so many of the women chiefs, we don't know if they could withstand the pressure, because the males are made to withstand the pressure. we saw what the end result was. >> what i hear you both saying is this is going to be particularly hard for her. and particularly also, sergeant dorsey, because of the crime spike that we're seeing in various cities. i just want to play for you what the san francisco mayor just
said yesterday about the future of crime fighting in our city. >> it is time that the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it's time it comes to an end. and it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement, more aggressive with the changes in our policies, and less tolerant of all the bullshit that has destroyed our city. >> sergeant dorsey, i want to get your thoughts on that, because does that signal that the pendulum is swinging back right now to, to, as she said, e aggressive crime fighting. >> it's not uncommon, and we've seen where police departments pull things back and let things get out of control. why all of a sudden does this black woman of all things want
police officers to get more aggressive, more police killings, more unnecessary shootings, more uses of force that don't need to occur and now she's going to sic police officers on an unsuspecting public? i fault her for the bullshit in her city for not tamping down sooner. >> she said sheriffs going to tamp down on crime, and i gather that's not been happening? >> what needs to happen is that officers need to be more proactive and less reactive, and they need to be, in those instances when they are doing something that's contrary to their training, held accountable. that would be nice. all of that sounds good and sexy, but we'll see what ultimately happens when this pendulum swings and now you have officers being uber-aggressive in a community. my hope and prayer is that ms. sewell has a big support system around her because she's an
outsider coming in as a detective, and being a street cop for 20 years, street cops have very little respect for detectives who make it into the supervisory realm. we'll see what happens. i pray they're not setting her up for failure, and i hope she's not coming in naive thinking pat lynch and his team will be really supportive of her. he's already said this is a different culture than she's used to. get ready, strap in. >> professor, you were the first officer of the rail program. do you think a woman brings something different to that job than men do? >> i really don't, and i feel in many ways that position is held primarily by people outside law enforcement and that it's held women back. the difference is my
interpretation is weakness, and that is not going to help women. each individual brings many skills to jobs. to say that all minority police officers bring certain skills or all women police officers bring in a different set of skills, what you need is an amalgam of skills. some people are better at certain things than others, and one of the criticisms, possibly, of policing is that those kinds of differences have not historically been recognized. we're always saying we'll wear a brown uniform, a blue uniform, a green uniform depending on the department, and there's been very little recognition that different people bring different skills that are not necessarily
related to this. >> professor schultz and sergeant dorsey, i really respect your thoughts as we follow this new era in new york. thank you. >> thank you. well, the justice department is no longer planning chaos to settle lawsuits in families. these were families impacted by the child separation. we'll have details next. and the largest corporate donor to the aspca and national park foundation. get a new subaru during the share the love event and subaru will donate two hundred and fifty dollars to charity.
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with flexible payment solutions for every budget. we're here making smiles shine bright so you can start the new year feelin' alright. call 1-800-aspendental or book today at aspendental.com a cdc vaccine advisory panel has just voted to recommend moderna and pfizer vaccines over the j&j one. cnn medical correspondent elizabeth cohen is here to give us the breaking news, elizabeth. >> alisyn, this is really quite stunning. the cdc advisors 15-0 voted to recommend that pfizer and moderna be the preferred vaccines over johnson & johnson. it's not so much about efficacy, yes, pfizer and moderna are more effective, but really it's about safety. let's take look at some numbers
that were discussed today by the cdc advisors. 17 million people in the united states have received johnson & johnson. 54 of them have developed a rare blood clotting condition, rare but extremely dangerous. nine of those 54 people have died. the people most at risk are women in their 40s. it's two deaths per million for women ages 40 through 49, but you can't predict who is at risk. you can't say, oh, you have this particular medical condition, don't get johnson & johnson. you don't know who is going to be at risk. and patients deteriorate very quickly. a cdc doctor gave these very pointed remarks. we've been struck when reviewing these cases by how rapidly patient status deteriorates and results in death. that's by cdc doctor isaac see. where does that leave everyone? if you got the johnson & johnson vaccine, don't worry. it is very effective . if you have not gotten this blood clotting disorder, you
will not, likely, because it happens within the first two weeks of j&j, so you're fine, but they're saying moving forward, pfizer and moderna are preferred. many more people are getting pfizer and moderna already, but the cdc wants to make it clear, when you go to get vaccinated, pfizer and moderna are preferred. alisyn? >> some people are worried who got the j&j vaccine in the last two weeks, but as you point out, the numbers are less than one in a million. extremely rare, but still, the cdc is addressing it. thank you very much for the breaking news. >> thanks. now to this. florida's governor ron desantis is pushing a bill that would allow parents to sue school districts if their kids are subjected to critical race theory. democrats accuse the governor of playing the culture war card. all of that is next. watch this. that was in these clothes... ugh.
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florida governor ran desantis just announced his latest move in the culture war over critical race theory. the governor's new stop woke act allows parents to sue schools that teach crt in the classroom. >> nobody wants this crap. okay? this is an elite driven phenomenon being driven by burea bureaucratic elites, elites in universities and in corporate america and trying to shove it down the throats of the american people. you're not doing that hearre in the state of florida. >> florida's school board banned critical race theory in june. critics say the new proposal escalates a fight over something nonexistent and also encourages parents to harass schools that
try to teach history about racism and slavery. joining us now is one of those critics florida state senator jones. thanks so much for being here. why don't you like the governor's stop woke act? >> first of all we should be honest the governor and the republicans know good and well crt is not taught in our k-12 schools or even our work places. it is unfortunate that instead of running on forward looking ideas to improve the livelihood of the 22 million floridians, they have resorted to this antiwoke conversation or rhetoric. that is just distracting them from their failed policy that has happened over the years. >> but, senator, that sort of dismisses that something is happening in the classroom. it is not just the governor. you see all the school board meetings where parents are so
worked up over this curriculum, basically white parents concerned that their white kids are being taught somehow or being made to feel guilty somehow about institutional racism or slavery. let me just play for you, lest you doubt something is happening, here are parent, just a smattering of school board meetings this summer. >> i'll be damned if i will allow a marxist revolution to take place in this country. and we need to reject our children even being taught it. >> politics cannot be in these schools unless it is a political class. crt focuses on mainly teaching cultural differences. instead of commonalities. >> even if you don't call it crt what do you say to those parents who don't like what is going on in the classroom? >> here's what i would say. i want the republicans to show their hand. this is not about crt. this is not about the 1619
project. let's be clear. this is them wanting to stop teaching black history. when you talk about crt, the 1619 project, that is exactly what this is. it's talking about policies that has created -- racist policies created years ago even during the jim yo era that put us in a position we are m now. teaching history to children, black history, which is american history and saying you don't want your child to learn it, it puts us in a predicament to where you have children who feel as if it is okay to use racial slurs in our schools or children feel it is okay to do the things to make it seem as if they are not a part of what we call america. every child should feel part of this. how do they feel part of it? by knowing how we got here. it is an ugly past but there is a truth to everything that's happened in the past. >> is it possible the curriculum
is being taught in too heavy handed a way that is somehow making kids feel bad? >> not a chance. there's been no evidence within the state of florida of showing critical race thooreory is taug in the classroom. as a former science teacher with conversations with history teachers, critical race theory is not taught. critical race theory is a study that is taught in law school. as a matter of fact, even in our colleges and universities critical race theory is an elective. >> yeah. i hear you. i just mean that something has happened in the past year where the -- somehow the teaching of our country's past and slavery, and institutional racism, has made many parents, i just played you a few examples, but we know this was happening all over the country, very uncomfortable. i'm wondering what the solution is. >> well, one, the solution is that we have to continue to speak the truth about how all of
this started which is donald trump who started with his anti-crt rhetoric. they saw it fit into a base and now it has gone and grown across the country so much so to where you even have states who ban certain books where children can't even read to learn about the history of black america. that is exactly what it is. the only thing that has happened is we have a president who has rallied up a base and now that base, the republicans see that it worked. because they believe it worked they are sticking to it regardless of who they're hurting. >> very quickly, and i only have a minute left, first governor abbott in texas allows random people to sue if they think somebody has assisted in abortions. then governor newsom in texas is going to take, use that tactic to try to stop gun violence and gun sales. now governor desantis is using that model in florida to allow any parent to sue a school district. where does this end? >> the only place this ends is that we have to begin to vote
these individuals out who believe in this type of rhetoric starting right here in florida. the only way to do that is by telling the truth of what black history is and what american history is. >> florida state senator jones, thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks to all of you for joining me. "the lead" with jake tapper starts after this very short break. with downy infusions, let the scent set the mood.
breaking just moments ago a cdc panel unanimously voting to recommend pfizer and moderna over the j&j vaccine. dr. sanjay gupta is here to explain why. plus lifting the curtain on behind-the-scenes efforts to overturn the election. then bravery above all else. a moment years in the making. three american heroes finally awarded the highest honor at the white house. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we begin in our health lead. moments ago cdc vaccine advisers unanimously voted to recommend americans should get the moderna vaccine or the pfizer vaccine because they say those two are safer than j&j's vaccine. this hour president biden is set to meet with his covid team to discuss the fast spreading omicron variant as cases are