tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN December 24, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST
good morning, everyone. i'm poppy harlow. so glad you're with us on this christmas eve. merry christmas eve to those who celebrate. sadly, another covid christmas and right now the omicron variant is disrupting the holiday season in more ways than one. cases are up dramatically as millions travel to visit friends and family. this morning more than 400 flights have been canceled due to staffing shortages. in new york, new infections were up 34 persian in one day forcing officials to scale back new york city's new year's eve celebration. and all week, all across the country, we have seen hours-long lines for tests, but here's what's different from last year. this is really important. we know so much more about this virus and hospitalizations are not surging. vaccines would protect from severe ill ens and death and many hospitalizations are readily available. just this week the fda authorized new treatments for
those infected with covid. our aviation correspondent pete muntean starts us off this hour. he is live at reagan national in arlington, virginia. and shimon prokupecz joins us in times square. pete, let me start with you. 400-plus flights canceled so far? >> reporter: i just checked the latest numbers, poppy. 468 in the united states. airlines say as these omicron cases went up, their staffing levels went down a little which is why they're cancelling flights now. 170 consolations at united airlines, about 140 at delta air lines. last night we obtained a memo from united airlines to its staff saying this is impacting its flight crews and also those who run the operation. we have received a statement from united airlines which says we unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of coming to the airport. you nighted says we're sorry for the disruption and are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their
way for the holidays. this is coming as we've seen long lines at airports across the country. the tsa, 2.19 million people at airports nationwide yesterday. that is the highest number we've seen at the holiday rush seeing day after day for about a week of numbers at or near 2 million people each day. just the start, poppy. the tsa says they'll screen another 20 million people between now and january 3rd when everybody begins coming home all at once. and this news, the biden administration says that it is cancelling travel restrictions for those coming into the united states from south africa and seven other countries. they e put those restrictions in place last month because of the omicron variant. they all end december 31st now. poppy? >> a lot of big headlines. thank you, pete. i wish every one of those people on the 468-some flights that are canceled, that they get another flight and get to their loved ones. thanks for the reporting. shimon, you are in times square. it's going to be a little less
packed this new year's eve? >> reporter: yeah, but the party will go on. it just won't be as crowded or as many people. this was a big thing for the city to try and get done despite obviously the spread of the omicron virus. a big concern here for the mayor. but this was important to make sure this happens to sort of send a signal as well that the city is open, that people can get together and do so safely. usually what happens in times square is you get about 60,000 people to gather in viewing areas, several across times square on broadway, 7th avenue, people would be standing behind me. this year they're significantly decreasing that because they want people to social distance, so it will be about 15,000 people in each of the viewing areas. still a significant number of people will be able to gather here in times square if they're lucky enough to get in. people really wait all day, all hours of the day to try and get
in on new year's eve. this year, though, they can't start gathering and getting into the viewing areas until 3:00. so the city making some changes. people will have to be vaccinated, and you will have to wear a mask. so really what it means, just less people. also, if you've ever done this, when people gather in these viewing areas, it's an all-day type of party. people get together and celebrate. they also are able to keep warm. you have a lot of body heat, so a lot less body heat. nonetheless, the party will go on with less people. i think it's good news for a lot of people visiting the city and also for many people who live here and come. last year, much different. we couldn't have any people here except some of the essential workers and first responders. this year, they are going to be allowing many more people but obviously less than normal. >> i hear that it's a great new year's eve show, shimon, right here on cnn with anderson cooper and andy cohen. so there's always that.
>> reporter: that's right. >> thank you, shimon. the fda says only one of the monoclonal antibody treatments currently on the market actually works gen the omicron variant. let's go to our senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen. she's following it. only one? which one? >> reporter: only one, and it's made by gsk. two others don't seem to work as well. let's look at the whole list. so with the fda and the department of health and human services saying this one monoclonal antibody is expected to be effective, but there are monoclonal antibodies by regeneron and lil li that are unlikely to be effective. there is another drug that prevents covid-19, prevents it, and that does seem to have neutralizing activity against omicron. unfortunately, losing two
potential treatments for people with covid-19, that's obviously not good. those companies have gone back to the lab to try to find a version of their drugs that will work against this new highly transmissible variant. poppy? >> okay. before you go, elizabeth, the cdc made a really important rule change in the last 24 hours that affects health care workers. what is it? >> reporter: it is. so, they shortened the isolation period. perhaps more importantly, they really put the power in the hands of hospitals and medical centers to make decisions about how long people stay out. so we're talking about people who are infected, who do have covid-19, but they have mild symptoms or maybe completely asymptomatic. you don't want to keep those doctors and nurses and other health care workers out for too long because, well, we need them. so the cdc said if a health care worker is asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and on the mend, they only have to be isolated for seven days, not ten, as long
as they have a negative test at the end of that seven days. but they said if the hospital puts themselves in a contingency plan, if the hospital says, wow, we are short and we are really getting overrun with patients, actually that can be shortened to five days and you don't need a test at the end of it. if it's a crisis situation, again, it's the hospital that gets to decide that, if it's a crisis situation, there's no restrictions. the hospital can decide if they're going to be doing any isolation of health care workers who test positive for covid-19. poppy, it will be interesting to see, this is just health care workers, delta air lines also asking to have the rules changed because they want to keep their planes up in the air, something we were hearing from pete a minute ago. it will be interesting to see if the cdc changes the rules for other industries as well. >> elizabeth, thank you. happy holidays. let me bring in -- >> happy holidays. >> -- chief clinical officer --
let's get to elizabeth's news and that is that only one of three monoclonal antibodies on the market seems to work against omicron. my first thought goes to, well, what if they don't work against whatever the next variant might be? >> you know, the way these monoclonal antibodies are made are very targeted to the specific germ they're fighting, so the fact that omicron is so different than the alpha or even delta makings it so that it's not unexpected that the antibodies won't work. the manufacturers do realize this and are constantly seeking ways to update the drugs so they fit better to the antibodies. but the great news is we're not only dependent on these anymore. we now have other drugs as well to help treat the germ that's less specific to the individual type. >> the cdc change in rules for health care workers that elizabeth just laid out is
fascinating and really critically important to keeping hospitals up and fully pungs functioning right now. do you think it would be prudent for the cdc to apply etd more broadly to industries like the airline industry? >> i think what's happening is the cdc is starting to treat covid like it does other endemics. if a pilot or doctor is exposed to the flu, we don't ask them to stay home. now that we have vaccines and treatments, we're starting to see the cdc treat this less like a pandemic and will run like wildfire through the population more like we do other diseases. >> the surge, you've said that the winter of 2021, now, is very different from the winter of last year. obviously, you know, you've got vaccine available to everyone, you have booster available to everyone in this country, you've got successful treatments, now two pills approved by the fda
this week. the question becomes, though, when does it actually become treated more like the flu as you said? >> you know, i don't think there's a switch that we flip. it doesn't go from pandemic to endemic. it's slow gradation. and we're definitely somewhere on that gradation. last winter we had very few percentage of the population with immunity of any type, whether it's from having the disease or having the vaccine to covid. this winter we have a much larger percentage of the population, and it's when people have antibodies to this to at least some form, some variation of covid, is when we start really talking about it being endemic rather than being pandemic. >> the medical regulator this morning recommended shortening the interval between your last covid-19 vaccine shot and boosters to three months versus six here in the u.s. if you're dealing with someone who got moderna or pfizer at the beginning.
should the u.s. be considering the same? >> i think we're going to be learning over time how long immunity lasts and when boosters should happen. by the way, how many boosters we'll eventually need. we know right now it's probably a minimum of three shots to be vaccinated. it might be four. it might be some later. but i wish i could -- it's kind of like elizabeth predicting inflation, like how do i predict. i can't until we get the data to see. >> we're all very fortunate to even have access to these vaccines and access to boosters when some people around the world don't have access to any. let's remember that. thanks so much. >> happy holidays. next, former minnesota police officer kim potter is facing years in prison after being convicted on two counts of manslaughter in the killing death of daunte wright. are we seeing a shift in how juries see these cases gen police? and after years of delays and setbacks, some exciting
news. nasa is set to launch a $10 billion telescope into space. it is the most powerful ever. we'll speak to an expert about why this is a game changer. and we're tracking santa of course on christmas eve. there he is for any of you children watching. make sure you're being very good. he's on his way to your house right now. he is flying over china and has already delivered 1.3 billion gifts. nurse mariyam sabo knows a moment this pure... ...demands a lotion this pure. new gold bond pure moisture lotion. 24-hour hydration. no parabens, dyes, or fragrances. gold bond. champion your skin. ♪ ♪
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gun for her taser when she killed the 20-year-old in a traffic stop near minneapolis back in april. daunte wright's mother told cnn this morning the guilty verdict is not justice but it is accountability. listen. >> i'm still going to always stand on accountability. i think, again, justice would be dawn ti being home. justice would be no more names being yelled in our streets. until that happens and we don't have to fight anymore, that's when true justice will be. but right now, we're going to accept accountability. no amount of time going to be justice for us, but i am -- i'm optimistic that they're going to do the right thing. >> joining me now is anne bremner, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> you've handled your fair
share of these cases and expected a continueviction in t case, which many different from the start. you say there's been a paradigm shift. >> definitely. there's been a sea change in police misconduct cases. i handled those after i was a prosecutor for many years including accidental discharge, mistaking a cell phone for a gun, a beer can for a gun, tripping and shooting, cases like that for police officers in seattle, portland, and elsewhere, but didn't see criminal courtrooms. yet now in minneapolis, in minnesota, we've seen two very high-profile cases where we see more police accountability, charging of officers. it's a paradigm shift, it's a sea change. >> to be fair, it's not always the case, right, even now. i think of 26-year-old breonna taylor shot in her home in march
of 2020. none of the officers were charged directly in her death. one officer stands trial next year but that's on endangerment. and in rochester, new york, the grand jury did not indict the officers in the death of a black man who died after he was pinned to the ground by police also in 2020. i wonder what you say to those families who look at those cases and say, no, i don't see the paradigm shift. >> right. well, sometimes these changes are slow in their progress, and i can tell you that i think we can all see that there has been a real change in terms of criminal charging of police officers. it was relatively unheard of before, and now we're seeing it more and more often. justice can be slow. justice delayed is not always justice denied. police officers say they want to be held accountable and make sure everyone feels there's not just accountability but true justice in our system.
>> the prosecution in the case of kim potter is pushing for a longer sentence than would be typical with a conviction like this because of aggravating factors. they say her actions caused a greater than normal danger to human life given her experience on the force, her years of training. they were successful in the argument against derek chauvin. will they be successful on that in this case, do you think? >> i think they will. this is like a redo of the chauvin case in terms of aggravation arguments. the best argument they made in this case is that accidents can be crimes. the defense was this was an accident, it was a mistake. but that's not a defense. that's a crime. and the jury agreed. and the judge will sentence within a standard sentencing range to begin with in minnesota. they have kind of grids that are like math. but they can depart from that range and go higher. her maximum sentence is going to be 15 years on the greater
charge of manslaughter one, but also the fact she was in a position of trust is truly a potential aggravating likely factor which the judge can consider. and finally, look at what the judge did, poppy. she had her remanded immediately to custody and said i'm not treating this case any differently than any other case. >> i was struck, as well. i mean, after the, you know, the request from the defense team, both defensor tos, the judge said, you know, i hear you, but no. she's going directly to prison to await sentencsentencing. ann, thank you very much. officials in los angeles, this is a tragic story, officials are promising transparency after a 14-year-old girl was shot and killed by a stray bullet fired it appears by an lapd officer. this happened on thursday. police were responding to reports of a possible shooting at a department store. the officer shot and killed a man suspected of attacking a
woman, but they later found the bullet had gone through the wall of a dressing room, hitting that 14-year-old girl, who was in dressing room with her mother. the lapd says it's investigating and they will release the body camera video on monday as well as the 911 calls. president biden is sending a clear message to china over accusations of genocide against the uighur population there. my next guest says the u.s. has to stay tough on china into the new year. ♪ get groceries, gifts, & more fast and easy. so last minute guests are the only thing you'll be waiting on. ♪ joy. fully. ♪
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china showing their outrage this morning after president biden signed a law banning imports from china's xinjiang province home to the wiiger population. both the biden and trump administrations have accused the chinese government of carrying out genocide against the uighur es. washington says they have been subject to forced labor, extreme human rights abuses for years, and the chinese government denies that. they are strongly opposed to this import ban. but it's a big deal. the question is what impact will it have. joining me is cnn political analyst josh rogan. you make the point we shouldn't be looking for china to be happy, right, about any of this. but you write in your piece that i was struck by, china wants to encourage fears among some in the west who believe that standing up to beijing will
ultimately lead to conflict. does this move the needle, josh, a law like this, especially when you have so many u.s. companies, powerful companies, not willing, not brave enough to stand toum the chinese regime? >> reporter: i think it's a really good question, poppy, because the u.s./china relationship is complex and there is a risk of a situation we could get into conflict. in america we still have a line that we don't want to cross, and that line is being complicit in mass human rights atrocities. that's what's going on in places in china. the law says we can't import products that are made with forced labor. all this new law says is that in xinjiang that's what's going on. you can read the data, interview the survivors. the evidence is just overwhelming. you know, the chinese government
is not supposed to like it. at the same time, if they don't like it, they have a very simple out here. all they have to do is stop the genocide, you know, closed down forced labor factories, release the uighurs from the concentration camps. it's a quick fix, actually. but it doesn't seem they'll do that. >> both administrations, trump and biden, agreeing on this, both state departments saying this is genocide. your piece on syria is important because so few people are actually writing in detail in the west and focusing on syria still. and you called this administration's policy on syria, quote, incoherent and contra contradictory. you know importantly fellow democrat senator bob menendez, chairing the foreign relations committee, has said i don't want what the administration's policy is. what is the read you get within the white house on this? >> right. it's interesting because, you know, in 2021, we were looking inward in a lot of places in the
world and they fell through the cracks. syria is one of them. for syrians on the ground, that's a tragedy on top of tragedy because they're suffering in 2021, the international community largely stood by. the biden administration says we're opposing the ha sad regime and pressuring them to give the syrian people some sense of dignity, justice, and human rights. but what people see on the ground is that -- actually, we're not doing that at all and we're standing by letting assad worm his way back into the good graces of the international community while committing his own atrocities. there's a gap that everyone sees but the biden administration won't acknowledge. you know, what menendez and all these other lawmakers are saying is, hey, you know, this is the united states of america, we should have a policy that matches what we're saying, you know, because that's important
for our credibility. the normalization of assad is a terrible thing because how many other dictator will see that and be, like, i can do that too. >> absolutely. josh, your reporting is so important, highlighting things that often fall through the cracks. thank you for that. >> great to see you. happy holidays. there was no shortage of political headlines in 2021, an attack on the u.s. capitol, new president sworn in, the birth of a big lie. we're counting down the top ten ahead. we've been waiting all year to come together. it worked! happy holidays from lexus. get 1.9% apr financing on the 2022 es 350. ♪
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back. former new york governor andrew cuomo won't face charges for an incident involving alleged sexual misconduct being investigated by the nassau attorney's office. he's accused of groping a state trooper in 2019. they say the allegations were troubling but not criminal. he's still facing a federal investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him. 2020 was a political roller coaster to say the least. just days into the year, former president trump's big lie sparked a deadly insurrection on capitol hill. shortly after president biden was sworn in, then trump was impeached again and acquitted again. heerp is our very own jim acosta with a look back at the top political stories of the year.
the top ten political stories of 2021 make this past year feel more like a decade. starting at number ten. pandemic paralysis as medical experts addressed vaccines and boosters as the best way of battling covid-19, disinformation continued to spread as well, misleading millions of americans. >> i'm sure you've seen the pictures on the internet of people who have had these shots and now they're magnetized. they put a key on their forehead. it sticks. they can put spoons and forks on them and they stick. >> that's utter nonsense. get vaccinated. at number nine, the republican party at war with itself over its leader, disgraced ex-president donald trump and his big lie that he won the 2020 election. >> most corrupt election. >> the president is unfit and the president is unwell. >> if donald trump were the 2020
no, -- 2024 nominee, would you support him? >> i would not. >> send liz cheney back home. >> at number eight, democrats had their own issues. >> given the sifcircumstances, best way i can help now is if i step aside. >> facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment, which he denied, the governor resigns. >> virginia, we won! >> youngkin clwins the governor race in virginia. >> a big night for republicans and a major wake-up call for democrats. >> and gavin newsom, democratic california in california, successfully fights off a recall there. >> thank you to 40 million americans, 40 million californians. thank you for rejecting this recall. >> number seven, messy withdrawal from afghanistan.
the biden administration scrambles to evacuate american citizens and tens of thousands of afghans from the country ahead of an august 31st deadline. 13 u.s. service members and more than 170 afghans are killed in terrorist attacks outside kabul's airport in the chaotic end to america's longest war. >> it's time to end the forever war. thank you all for listening. may god protect our troops. >> number six, the big lie gives birth to results in arizona which ends up confirming what americans knew -- joe biden won arizona. >> correlates with a official canvass numbers. >> and restrictive voting laws crop up in statehouses across the country. >> i'm going to sign it right here. it will take effect. florida, your vote counts. >> number five, president biden and his team try to show
democrats can deliver with big legislative victories first on covid relief then infrastructure. but the question remains, in his build back better social spending plan, can it pass through the senate? at number four, double trouble for the gop in georgia as republicans lose two senate runoff races in january. >> the democratic candidate in georgia, he is defeating david purdue, the republican candidate. >> gop insiders blamed trump grumbling that his election lies backfired. >> he is hereby acquitted of the charge. >> trump becomes the first american president to be impeached for a second time, this time for inciting the insurrection at the capitol. once again republicans stand in the way of a conviction. >> democrats falling short of the 67 votes needed to convict trump. this is the second time donald trump has been acquitted of an impeachment trial in the u.s. senate. >> at number two, an event that
would normally land at the top of any list of big political stories, the inauguration of a new president. >> serve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states. >> the constitution of the united states. >> but it was far from a typical transfer of power as trump tried to scheme his way into staying in office, pressuring state officials like georgia's secretary of state. >> so, look, all i want to do is this. i just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state. >> the number one story of 2021 -- american democracy under attack. january 6th, the insurrection. >> we fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. >> one last ditch attempt to
halt the biden presidency, far-right groups stormed the capitol, some chanting they want to kill the vice president. >> kill mike pence! kill mike pence! >> rioters clashed with police. eventually they smashed their way inside, sending lawmakers running for cover. a trump supporter is shot dead by a police officer as she and others attempt to breach the speakers' lobby inside the capitol. first responders are beat within the american flag and spray with the chemicals. as night falls on a shameful scene, a symbol of american democracy is left battered. in the melee, brian sicknick was assaulted by chemical spray. he suffered strokes and died the next day. haunted by january 6th, a handful of other officers later died by suicide and the trials of the inrecollectionists begin. true to form, trump went on to lie about what happened at the capitol, never showed remorse, never apologized for what he did. he's so far escaped any
accountability. instead he's been emboldened by republicans who have largely adopted his lies as their own. as lap dogs and conservative media and those in congress say it's toxic rhetoric. now the subject of an investigation by the january 6th house select committee. a probe and findings may alter the political landscape for 2002 -- 2022 and beyond. >> jim, thank you very much. how about this? seeing space in a whole new way. up next, we have a look at a new telescope getting ready to launch on christmas day. (vo) subaru and our retailers believe in giving back. that's why, in difficult times, we provided one hundred and fifty million meals to feeding america.
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in less than 24 hours, nasa's most powerful telescope is set for a christmas day liftoff. the james webb space telescope is a complex space observatory that costs fearly $10 billion. it's expected to answer questions about our solar system and existence. in addition to helping researchers understanding the origins of the universe. i'm so excited to bring in jonathan mcdowell, a space historian and astro physicist at the harvard center for astro physics. you have been waiting for this moment since 1989, not
exaggerating. >> that's right. we had a big conference in 1989 about to launch the hubble space telescope, but wa do we do for an encore? 30 years later, we have the answer. james webb is the most powerful space telescope ever built going up tomorrow morning. the whole astronomy community is on tenterhooks. >> i know they are. i think you'll have a hard time sleeping tonight, my friend. walk us through why this mission is so important. like, i've been raepding about exoplanets, i don't know what those are. what will it tell us? >> right. one of the key things that james webb wants to do is look at the very first galaxies and stars. and so hubble gives us good pictures of galaxies that are by astronomer standards nearby,
only a few million light-years away, but the distant ones when the universe was young are just little dots to hubble and this will give us the real scoop on how the universe came to be, how it is today. but also as you say, it's going to study what's called exoplanets, those around other stars. when webb was first planned, we didn't know that there were any. that's a discovery since then. but it turns out that webb is actually going to be really good for tasting the atmospheres of these planets, figuring out what elements are in the atmospheres, looking for oxygen, for things that might be a guide to life potentially. >> it has quite a journey before it gets to where it's going. a million miles to travel from earth over about a month's time. how challenging is this to have it all executed perfectly? >> it's an incredibly difficult
thing. not so much the travel to get there. it takes a month to get to those sort of magic spots in space called l-2, which is a million miles towards midnight. it's where the sun and the earth's gravity balance. a great place to put a telescope. nice and cool. but on the way there, it's going to have to unfold, because we didn't have a rocket big enough to launch it all, you know, deployed out. and so it's followed up by this origami thing. every day there's some piece of it that's going to be deployed or unfolded, and it's really tricky. it's all going to go right where you end up with not a shiny piece of space junk. the team is great. we're confident it will work but it's tricky. >> launching on christmas day gives you a little extra boost for everything to go perfectly.
when can our children watch this tomorrow morning? do you know what time? >> yes. so the launch, i'm afraid, is at 7:20 eastern standard time. >> in the morning? >> so you've got to get up early. you're up early anyway. >> my kids will be up at 5:00 a.m. >> right. exactly. but, you know, there's going to be stuff happening every day for us for the next two weeks. so it's going to be a marathon for us getting this thing on the way. but, yeah, 7:20 a.m. big boost, big rocket from french guiana in south america zooming up to this incredibly distant orbit. >> how great. jonathan, so much fun, an incredible accomplishment to get to this point. thanks for sharing a bit with us. >> thank you. while omicron is not stopping people from heading to the airports across the country this holiday, the virus is still impacting flights. we'll have an update on
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before we go this christmas each, a little something for the little ones. many of you know i have two little ones at home and my son luca inspired me to write this, "the biggest little boy: a christmas story." it is my first book about a little boy in a big, busy city like new york, and finding joy in the little thinging all around us. convincing my own kids that, well, this should be their favorite pobook, that's another
story. look what happened when i tried to read it to them. what's this? what's this? >> a book. >> no. >> i hope your children enjoy it more than mine apparently did. wishing you all peace, health, and joy over the holidays. thanks for being with me today. i'll see you back here on monday morning. "at this hour" with kate bolduan is next. before we go, though, let's leave you with this, one more look at the santa tracker that has delivered more than 1.6 billion gifts and is currently flying over vietnam. ♪
hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. here's what we are watching at this hour on this christmas eve holiday. a holiday surge. travelers hitting the road but major travel disruptions to come because of covid. big decision by the cdc, changing how long health care workers need to isolate after testing positive for covid. and now airlines want the same. going where no telescope has gone before. nasa preparing for a huge launch tomorrow that could answer some of our most burning questions about the origins of the universe. thanks for being here. we begin with the omicron surge impacting everyone's holiday. it's partly responsible for airlines canceling hundreds of flights this christmas eve. both united and delta air lines pointing to employee shortages due to the