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tv   New Day Weekend With Christi Paul and Boris Sanchez  CNN  December 26, 2021 3:00am-4:00am PST

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good morning. welcome to your "new day." i'm boris sanchez. christi paul has a well-earned morning off. this final week of 2021 brings a new push to contain the omicron variant. how government officials are working to stop the spread as it sweeps across the country and potentially alters your new year's eve plans. plus, the world is mourning the loss of archbishop desmond tutu. more on his extraordinary life, legacy, and the tributes now pouring in, coming up.
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and a tale of two coasts, as part of the west sees heavy snow and bitter cold temperatures, parts of the east could see record-breaking heat. where we're seeing summer-like temperatures in your forecast. there is a day not too long ago when i had to stop and think, when they come in with handcuffs and they come in with a warrant for my arrest. >> librarians afraid of being fired, or worse, just for doing their jobs. why some say they're being targeted and how they're now fighting back. we're so grateful to have you this sunday deshgs 26th. i hope that christmas hangover isn't too bad. appreciate you starting your
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morning with us. we begin with the u.s. racing toward a record number of daily new covid cases fueled by the fast-spreading omicron variant. in some parts of the country hospitals are stretched thin as emergency rooms and icu beds begin to fill up. more than 71,000 americans are hospitalized with covid-19. the increase in cases also causing major travel disruptions this weekend. several major airlines have canceled more than 1,000 night because of staffing shortages. cnn's lucy kafanov has more. ♪ come and behold ♪ >> reporter: as americans celebrated another christmas during a pandemic, many saw holiday joy turn to frustration. omicron cases on the rise across the nation. airlines canceling more than 1,000 flights this holiday weekend citing covid staffing
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shortages and bad weather, leave passengers in him bo. >> we won't be able to get home. >> we've been checking all websites, the airports, the airlines. >> reporter: from coast to coast on christmas morning, those who did plan to see loved one, taking no chances. >> my girlfriend tested positive earlier this week and, you know, it's christmas morning, i'm trying to see my family and, you know, they're real covid conscious, i'm vaxx and boosted, but we're trying to be safe. >> i'm getting tested because i'm seeing my family today. >> reporter: those lucky you have to get a test. >> the line goes all the way back there. >> reporter: others saw their christmas plans wiped out by a covid diagnosis. >> i tested positive for covid. currently just hanging out at the apartment by myself. >> i was devastated that i was going to have to miss the holidays. >> reporter: the surge in cases leaving many medical workers and personnel stretched thin with little to celebrate. >> it's literally devastating and heartbreaking that we are in this condition that we are now.
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>> hospitals in the twin cities are overwhelmed and unable to take new patients because we're bursting at our seams already. >> if you have a time for a prayer for frontline workers, i would do that. >> reporter: to boost the depleted workforce the cdc issued new guidance for vaccinated asymptomatic health care workers to slash their quarantine from 10 down to 7 days. doctors hopeful that the omicron wave will soon pass. >> i am hopeful in that the data coming out of the uk and out of south africa showing that these patients infected with omicron are much less likely to be hospitalized and much less likely to be severely ill and so that alone is giving me a little bit of faith that 2022 will be a meaningfully different year. >> reporter: a hope shared by all on this christmas weekend. lucy kafanov, cnn, los angeles. >> thanks for that report. concerns about covid and canceled flights simply not enough to keep millions of americans from hitting the road and the skies this holiday season. many who spoke to cnn's nadia
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mow rear ro say they're taking every precaution. here's her report rr. >> reporter: more than a thousand flights canceled saturday and sunday and we're seeing airlines like delta with almost 300 cancellations on christmas day and that has had an impact for travelers all across the country. we're seeing those impacts, too, internationally with those flightses being canceled as well. here at atlantas hartsfield-jackson international airport we saw a slower christmas morning because of some of those cancellations and the omicron variant. dlaths the delta airlines and other airlines are telling us cancellations are due to the variant and flight crews not able to fly, exposed to covid-19 or testing positive for the virus. we know some of those cancellations due to weather. behind me you can see some people are here at the airport, but nothing like what we saw during thanksgiving. we were breaking prepandemic
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levels in 2019. now we have more people traveling according to the tsa on christmas eve, this christmas eve, compared to christmas eve of 2020, but not as many as 2019. that may be due to some of the cancellations and the rise of the omicron variant as there is rising coronavirus cases all across the country. we spoke with some travelers about why they said it was just so necessary for them to hit the road and fly out to see their family and friends this christmas weekend. take a listen. >> very concerned. i have glove and sanitizer and the special mask. but you just got to see your family. you have to walk with god. that's the only thing you can do. >> seeing family. going back to new york to see family from atlanta and covid has impacted travel quite a bit. just traveling safe. >> reporter: we spoke with some travelers who are still going on the international destinations. one man told me he hasn't seen his family in paris since december 2019, and he was going to do whatever it took to get out to paris this christmas. we spoke with another woman who
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says she's traveling from atlanta to baltimore and for the first time she will see her grandson. first time she will be able to meet him and wrap her arms around him. she expects that to be an emotional moment. nadia romero, cnn, atlanta. so the white house is struggling to meet some of the demands brought on by the rapid surge of the omicron variant. last week, the president announced that his administration would take additional steps to deal with the surge of covid-19 cases this winter. but with millions traveling and testing capabilities limited, critics say it may be too little too late. let's get to cnn white house correspondent john harwood who joins us live from the white house. the president made responding to the pandemic the cornerstone of his first year in office. clearly, covid will be a large part of his second year in office as well. >> boris, he faces the same challenge that he faced when he took office last january. it's of a lesser severity, we've
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got a huge spike in cases, a spike in deaths. those are at lower levels than they were before and we're not seeing the levels of hospitalization that we saw in january 2021 when president biden took office. even though we've gotten 200 million americans fully vaccinated, many of them boosted, the combination of determined vaccine resistance as well as these variants -- first delta, now omicron -- that has kept the administration chasing to catch up with this pandemic as governments around the world are chasing it. it is a huge challenge for president biden. now this is a president who had a son who served in iraq and yesterday he performed the traditional commander in chief's duty of delivering a christmas message to troops serving overseas. take a listen. >> i just want you to know how much we care. we're grateful for your courage, your sacrifice, not only your sacrifice but your family's
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sacrifice. the holidays bring into sharp focus. it's just part of the job, but it's a hard part of the job, but it's who you guys are. you're solid -- you know, i get criticized for saying this occasionally, but you're the solid steel spine of the nation. you really are. always vigilant, always ready when duty calls. >> reporter: there's no question, boris, that as a matter of economics, as a matter of public health, as a matter of politics, this president is in a battle to catch up with what's going on with the coronavirus and try to return american life to normal. now before the holidays he announced that the administration was going to make 500 million tests available to americans for free. you have to go on to a website and get those tests. everyone who has tried to find rapid tests at grocery stores or pharmacies around the country, has seen the short supply of tests and that's become a very
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significant metric for trying to track omicron. less severe somewhat, the early data suggests, but people need to track it with these rapid tests and that's one of the big challenges is making those widely available to americans so they can keep up with it, boris. >> yeah. frustrating experience especially if you're trying to make sure that you're safe to see loved ones that may be susceptible to a serious case of illness from the virus. john harwood from the white house, thank you so much. joining us to discuss all things covid is dr. swaminathan. thanks for sharing part of your weekend with us. i want to get your read on where things stand with omicron right now. cases are increasing rapidly. fortunately on the whole as john harwood pointed out, hospitalizations don't seem to be spiking as dramatically. do you expect that to potentially change? >> i think we are going to see a change, boris. while we're not seeing the same rate of hospitalization per
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case, because there's so many cases, we're still seeing high levels of hospitalizations. it depends on where you are in the country, but where i am in new jersey, new york, we're seeing huge spikes in cases and hospitalizations. fortunately we're not seeing the same spike in deaths, but as those cases continue to spike and more hospitalizations accrue, they're going to see more deaths simply because we don't have the staff, we don't have nurses, we don't have doctors to take care of all the patients. we don't have the right facilities because we are so stretched thin. i think we're going to see, as the cases rise, we're going to see that impact down the line. we haven't quite seen it yet. these are in highly vaccinated areas, new york, new jersey, areas where vaccine rates are high and we shouldn't see as many deaths and hospitalization, but as omicron spreads out to places with lower vaccination rates there's no reason to think we won't see the same level of hospitalizations and deaths we saw with delta, except there's so many more cases because of omicron. >> doctor, the cdc and the state
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of new york changed guidance this week and shortened the time that health care workers have to spend in isolation after testing positive for covid. you shared strong opinions a about that on social media. what struck you about that decision? >> i think what we're seeing is that cdc gave a little too much laxity to individual hospitals and hospital systems to make decisions. the cdc said we have emergency situations where we need those health care workers. we understand that. we understand it's part of our duty as health care workers. but we shouldn't be going to work sick. that's what these rules are really putting in place. they're requiring people to come back after five days of having covid, even if they still have symptoms. they say minor symptoms, but those are in the eye of the beholder. the fact is, we are asking health care workers who are still symptomatic, which means they can still spread, to come back to work. they're going to spread to their patients, to their colleagues, which is going to force more colleagues out of work. this is a dangerous situation to
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be looking at and we have asked so much of health care workers over the last two years, to ask them to come back to work sick while they can still spread the disease is really a little bit too far. what we should be seeing instead, shorter quarantine periods with a rapid test saying you are negative before you go back to work. that's the safest way to do this. i think we are really violating these health care workers that have been so stretched and what we're going to see as a result of that is more health care workers leaving. we've lost 20% of health care workers. we can't afford to lose any more. >> obviously the crux of the argument that you're trying to make has to do with testing and tests being available. i'm trying to get your perspective on why it's taken so long to make tests readily available now two years into the pandemic. it seems leak like a lot of folks are laying a hard time getting their hands on one. >> we're having trouble getting our hands on rapid tests and to
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do the reagent for patients coming to the hospital. this is kind of a foreseeable event. we can do this. two years ago we had to ramp up telgs testing and we haven't ramped up nearly as much as we should. you look at other countries you get a pack of seven every week or every day if you need them. this was foreseeable. for us to try to fix this now when we're in a surge, is the wrong way to do this. this should have been fixed months ago, pushing to get more tests out, more tests approved and safe for people, but we should have had this a long time ago. >> yeah. hopefully it will change soon and they will become readily available especially in hospitals to aid health care workers such as yourself. dr. swaminathan, thanks so much for the time. >> thank you. just ahead, we'll be taking a look at the incredible life and legacy of archbishop desmond tutu who passed away at the age of 90.
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plus a wint winter storm dumping snow in parts of the country, while others are seeing summer-like heat. where it will feel more like july than december after a quick break. with the new ww personalpoints program, you take an assessment, enter your goals, the foods you love and what fits into your lifestyle. you don't have to eat diet food. i can enjoy the things that i really love like wine, cheese. you can add points for eating vegetables or being active. i lost 26 pounds and i feel incredible. the all new ww personalpoints program. join today for 50% off at hurry, offer ends december 27th. this is your home. this is your family room slash gym. the guest bedroom slash music studio. the daybed slash dog bed. the living room slash yoga shanti slash regional office slash classroom. and this is the basement slash panic room.
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new this morning, south african archbishop desmond tutu has passed away. the 90-year-old is being remembered as a human rights activist, a nobel laureate and a man with enormous compassion for the oppressed. as david mckenzie reports, during a struggle against apartheid in south africa, he was a voice of peace in the midst of violence. >> you find your cousin has been killed -- >> reporter: when we spoke to the late photographer in 2016, he remembered a different time. >> we got funeral each week. people getting killed. and then you don't find one person. five, six, seven, eight people,
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mass funeral happens. >> reporter: during the 1980s, the apartheid regime was at war with the black majority. one of its goals, to turn the liberation movement against itself. neighbors betrayed neighbors. friends became informants. in this maelstrom, a diminutive anglican bishop was ever-present. desmond tutu was never afraid to step up to the racist regime using his bully pulpit of peace. during apartheid, archbishop tutu's position in the church gave him a semblance of protection, and his deep faith gave him an unwavering moral compass, even when it was deeply unpopular. >> i am not a politician, even if there are those who say so. i speak from the bible. >> the car was standing down there --
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>> reporter: for him, tutu's defining moment came at a funeral. >> this is all we wanted, we want to kill him. >> reporter: mourners wanted to throw a suspected informer into his burning car, but tutu saved the man from the mob, saying he should be forgiven, that the struggle should rise above the violence of the state. >> tutu is a man of god that taught the truth. nothing else but the truth. >> people listened? >> people listened to tutu, no matter what. >> reporter: during those dark days with anc leadership in jail or exile, tutu was the voice of the struggle. but after liberation, tutu's embrace of the ruling anc was awkward. >> you and your government, you represent me. >> reporter: when the rainbow nation faltered, he spoke up on corruption, aids policy, diplomacy. >> one day we will start praying
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for the defeat of the anc government. you are disgraceful. >> he's an equal opportunity irritant. >> reporter: but tutu's daughter says now that he's gone, south africa will lose its conscience. >> south africa will lose a champion and a coach. >> reporter: she says tutu always cheered south africa when it did the right thing, and consistently called the country to task when it did not. >> that was cnn's david mckenzie reporting. for more reaction to the death of archbishop tutu i want to bring in cnn correspondent larry madowo. the president of south africa
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called archbishop tutu a patriot without equal. he obviously played a pivotal role in bringing an end to apartheid, but that's really only part of his legacy? >> absolutely. he was much more than that. this is an anglican priest who become one of the leading opponents of white minority rule in south africa. that's why he won the nobel prize in 1984, a full decade before apartheid finally fell in south africa. he was awarded the presidential medal of freedom in 2009 by president biden. this speaks to his global reach. this man who i remember a couple years ago flying from johannesburg to capetown, and he came on the flight, and he got a standing ovation -- people were clapping and hollering -- because of the love they had for this man who spoke from the pulpit, but gave deep political speeches, while insisting he was not just a politician, he was a priest. this is the current bishop of capetown remembering who archbishop desmond tutu was. >> desmond tutu's legacy is
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model strength, model courage, and he felt with the people, in public and alone, he cried, because he felt people's pain. he loved, not just loved, he cackled with delight when he shared their joy. >> desmond tutu was often called the arch, but he had a great sense of humor even when he discussed serious issues and beyond apartheid in south africa he spoke out on major international issues. he was opposed to the iraq war. he campaigned for lbgtq rights which is a controversial topic in south africa. across the africa can continent here he campaigned for
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palestinian statehood, and he was in later life one of the elders, a group of international leaders set up by nelson mandela. he was a man who really did speak out against injustice wherever he saw it around the world. today there is mourning around south africa. one of the most consequential leaders to have lived has fall. there will be people sad today because he's one of the last generation of nelson mandela, people who fought to make sure it was a just and equal world, not just in the african continent, but around the world. >> he was a global icon and set an incredible example. larry from kenya, thank you so much. a christmas eve tragedy may have been caused by christmas lights on a tree. up next, we have more on a fire that left a father and two sons dead and a family grieving. we'll be back. stay with us. when a cough tries to steal dad's punchlines, he takes robitussin naturals powered by 100% drug-free ingredients.
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. here are some of the top stories we're following this morning. a tragedy in quakertown, pennsylvania. a father, his two sons, and their dogs, are dead after their house caught fire on christmas day. the fire marshal says the cause is likely a combination of electrical issues and a dry christmas tree. conditions were so volatile when first responders arrived, they initially had a hard time getting into the house, but the family's mom and eldest son were able to escape with only minor burns. the chief of police there says they are still investigating the incident. >> it's still under investigation, but it appears as
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if the christmas tree was the cause of the fire. >> so far, a gofundme page created to help the family has raised over $200,000. in minnesota, authorities are investigating a multivehicle crash that happened on christmas day. police estimating that about 50 cars and semi trucks were involved in this massive pileup. you can see in the video just how long the line of cars involved in the accident stretched. it caused the interstate to shut down for several hours. luckily, though, no fatalities or life-threatening injuries were reported. the cause of the crash still unclear, but obviously state troopers warned that as snow comes down, the chances of crashes go up. and in california, emergency crews responded to storm damage at a condominium complex late last night in the galita valley near santa barba. people reported, quote, a tornado-like event causing damage. it happened just hours after the national weather service warned
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of the possibility of hail and strong winds for that area. the storm caused downed tree, power outage, and damage to several cars. fortunately, though, no injuries were immediately reported. today storm conditions are going to continue in the west as a weather system continues to impact millions. let's get to cnn's allison chinchar, live from the cnn weather center. what are you seeing in the forecast? >> good morning, boris. yeah, we've got a couple different waves of systems here to talk about. we've got a lot of snow action, mainly focused in the western half of the country, but we're now starting to see it spread into other areas as well. we're talking a tremendous amount of snow here. it's why you've got so many areas in pink and purple indicating winter weather advisories and storm warnings stretching basically from california to michigan. looking at all of this moisture, again, this is several different waves here. the first wave over the rockies yesterday now starting to push into areas of the midwest for
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today, and then the second wave beginning to arrive into the west again today with not much of a break in between there, unfortunately. again, just because it's wave after wave, look at the forecast accumulation here. a lot of these higher elevations of the rocky, cascades, the sierras, snow will be measured in feet. not quite as high over areas of the midwest. likely just a few inches. mostly widespread you're talking about 4 to 6, but when you see the darker purple color could be reaching about 8 to 10 and then that pink color you're talking in excess of a foot of snow. the thing for this area, it's not just that it's the snow, it's the cold to go along with it. these are actual temperatures, not the windchills, the temperatures right now. 14 in minneapolis, 5 degrees in bismarck. when you do factor in the wind, it's even colder. minus 7 is what it feels like in bismarck. minus 12 in fargo. only feels like 4 degrees in minneapolis right now. i wish i could tell you we had better news the closer we would get to new year's.
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unfortunately we're still going to be seeing a lot of cold temperatures. far going from 23 and 25, down to a high of only 1 once we get to tuesday. minneapolis, also going to see some pretty cool temperatures over the next couple days. interestingly, though, the southern tier of the country, especially southeast, you're dealing with intense heat. lots of record highs possible, boris, not just today, but likely over the next several days. >> tough to stomach that picture and what it means long term. allison chinchar, thank you so much. so this is really powerful video you should take a moment to watch. it's new body camera video capturing deputies in kentucky as they found and rescued two infants in a bathtub. this is after their home was destroyed and they were swept up in a deadly tornado outbreak earlier this month. watch this. >> 329, we got the -- i think a 15 month old. can you send us med center.
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>> oh, my god. >> going to try to get them to you. >> all right. go ahead. here you go. >> is she okay? he? what do we got? >> good there. >> no cuts on the leg. anybody else? >> you can hear the faint cry of one of the children as deputies discover them. their grandmother says that as the tornado approached, she scrambled trying to put them in the tub for safety. she left them with a blanket, a pillow, and a bible. the children were just 15 months old and 3 months old. one was taken to the hospital for treatment of a head injury, but they were both alive and we understand they're both doing better. still ahead, icu doctors say their job is getting more difficult as more patients demand unreliable and risky
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of the pandemic, some of the goodwill towards health care workers appears to be dissipating. despite spending nearly two years fighting on the frontlines they're dealing with threats from patients and their families, demanding unproven treatments for covid. cnn's ed lavandera spoke with doctors in saint cloud, minnesota, who come face to face with a wave of misinformation. >> my name is jack. >> reporter: dr. jack lions spends his days treating covid-19 patients fighting for their lives inside saint cloud hospital in minnesota. like so many other doctors, he feels the strain. >> what's it been like to work in this atmosphere? >> it's exhausting.
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it is frequently heartbreaking. it is demoralizing at times. >> reporter: dr. lions says it's getting hostile as patients are demanding bogus medical treatments. >> are people treating these treatments like they're picking items off of a men knew at a restaurant? >> absolutely. folks act as if they can come into the hospital and request any certain therapy they want or, conversely, decline any therapy that they want, with the idea being that somehow they can pick and choose and direct their therapy. it doesn't work. >> reporter: that's putting health care workers at risk, hospitals are facing a slew of lawsuits, demanding risky treatments. across the country, there are reports of growing hostility between medical workers and patients and their families. it's a daily dose of threats and vitriol. >> insult your intelligence,
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insult your ability, and most hurtful, they say that by not using these therapies you are intentionally trying to harm the people that we've given everything to save. >> what has been the worst experience you've had? >> the most difficult experience we've had is a patient family who, under a pseudonym, made threats against the hospital. there was a reference to making sure the hospital is locked and we've got people that are coming for you? >> was it a death threat? >> i'm not sure how a person would take, we're going to march to the hospital we're coming for you, as anything other than a death threat. >> the tensions are high. >> reporter: barbara chapman is a nurse practitioner and works at the university of texas at tyler. last summer, she started a hotline offering teachers and health care workers mental health support. >> i used to think of it as being overwhelmed. health care workers are overwhelmed. that doesn't even address it. the way i address it with folks
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the way i talk to them, i refer to it as moral injury. >> what do you mean by that? >> we want to help folks, and now that folks aren't getting vaccinated, they're not believing us, they're questioning our education and background, it's hurtful. we're exhausted, we're tired, and so we have been morally injured. >> reporter: chapman says some nurses have endured so much abuse that even getting them to walk from their cars into work is a challenge. >> it's like when a veteran comes back from the war, he may be out of the war, but he hasn't left that war. >> it's crazy to me that you're talking about a health care job as if it was walking into a battlefield. >> it's a battlefield. it is a battlefield. >> reporter: dr. jack lions thinks of the pandemic's early days when grateful communities banged pots and pans to honor frontline health care workers. >> the vast majority of patients
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we take care of now, come to our interactions with distrust. >> so that feeling of goodwill is gone? >> long since dissipated. >> reporter: ed lavandera, cnn, saint cloud, minnesota. >> thanks to ed for that sobering report. three members of the korean pop group bts have now tested positive for covid-19. rm and gin were diagnosed yesterday. another member shuga tested positive for the virus on friday. all three were in quarantine after returning from the united states. south korea requires all international travelers to quarantine for ten days, regardless of their vaccination status and to take two pcr tests before being released. this week the country reported a record high number of critically ill covid-19 patients for four consecutive days. meantime countries across europe are scaling back or canceling new year's eve celebrations as they see a record number of covid-19 cases.
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cnn's barbie nadeau joining us from rome. where is the concern greatest in europe right now? >> well, it's really across europe. we saw a record in france, over 100,000 daily cases on christmas eve, and we've seen here in italy almost 55,000 xapsz we haven't seen those numbers since -- at all, actually, in the whole pandemic so far. one of the things that is a little bit encouraging, though, is we're not seeing the spikes in hospitalizations, but so many health care workers have covid we're seeing struggles with the health care systems in taking care of people. germany, which was the epicenter of the delta variant, is also seeing a lot of rise in cases due to omicron. the uk has reached over 100,000 cases as well. a lot of people from the uk are blocked from coming into europe. they can't go to france, they can't go to germany. we got through christmas. a lot of government's turned a blind eye and let people get together with their family, but new year's eve is going to be a bust. here in rome they've canceled
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the concert. in paris, they've canceled the fireworks so legendary in that city. we're seeing bans on gatherings in italy now. we have a mandatory outdoor face mask requirement, so you can't even walk your dog without wearing a face mask. all of these countries are doing what they can to stop a full lockdown. if that means restrict something movement, restricting some fun and parties and things like that to get through the week and new year's's celebrations that's what they're going to do to avoid a harder lockdown later. >> barbara nadeau from rome, thank you so much. up next, we'll take you to a place in texas where librarians are working hard to keep all kinds of books on the shelves. stay with us. with the new ww personalpoints program, you take an assessment, enter your goals, the foods you love and what fits into your lifestyle. you don't have to eat diet food. i can enjoy the things that i really love like wine, cheese. you can add points for eating vegetables or being active. i lost 26 pounds and i feel incredible.
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the all new ww personalpoints program. join today for 50% off at hurry, offer ends december 27th. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ experience the power of sanctuary at the lincoln wish list event.
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as the debate over how america's history is taught the schools continues across the
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country, a group of librarians in texas say they are focused on making their book collections more reflective of the increasingly diverse community in their schools, but according to them, their work is now coming under fire by parents and lawmakers alike. cnn's evan san toro has the story. >> reporter: this is a school librarian in texas. >> why are you afraid to show your face? >> because there was a day not too long ago i had to stop and think, when they come in with handcuffs and come in with a warrant for my arrest for alleging that i've provided obscene materials to minors, who am i going to call first. >> reporter: across texas, protesters at school board meetings are accusing of obscene content on children. >> this is not a political or
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witch hunt, this is genuine concern for children. it's abuse. it is grooming behavior. it's predatory. >> reporter: the anger is largely aimed at school libraries, and many texas politicians are on board. in october, republican state legislature matt krause requested every school district in the state scour their libraries for a list of 850 books. >> the list where the pattern seems to be books that are representative of lbgtq subjects and characters and topics. books that may contain depictions or narratives of sexual violence, survivor stories. some books that are about racism. >> reporter: the list includes "new kid" a novel about a black student's struggles fitting in in a majority struggles. the letter q, letters written to themselves and "the cider house
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rules" a character performance abortions. republican governor greg abbott took things a step further ordering officials to investigate any criminal activity in public schools after complaints about two lbgtq themed books he said were pornographic. >> i have never experienced anything like that before, where a government agency or any kind of government entity was interested in specifically what kinds of books were in the library. >> reporter: the texas library association is traditionally a pretty sleepy advocacy group. the heated rhetoric is forcing that to change. the group set up an anonymous hotline for librarians afraid of job consequences. >> school librarians don't go into this business to harm kids. they are working really, really hard to select books that represent everyone on their campus. >> reporter: this is happening all over the country.
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lbgtq and racial themed books written for children and young adults are facing powerful resistance. educators are being put on notice. >> this is pornography, plain and simple, and it does not belong in our schools! >> reporter: just since the start of the school year, the american library association has tracked more than 230 book challenges nationwide. the ala says there's been a dramatic uptick in challenges to books featuring lbgtq and racial themes. >> lbgtq plus student likes me being harassed for not conforming to antiquated notions of gender rules and how they should express themselves. >> here we go. there it is. >> reporter: librarians are starting to fight back. in a very librarian way -- >> this week we're sharing books that were gifts in people's lives and so i'm going to kick this off by sending the first -- my first tweet from our freedom friday account. >> reporter: carolyn is a retired librarian and one of the
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founders of the group freedom fighters. in a month it's become the grassroots way librarians under threat find and help each other. >> it's amazing how widespread these book challenges are. people are contacting us like privately from all over the country saying, can you help me? >> scared, nervous, unsure. >> they might lose their job? >> i've heard that. or hearing this from my district. they don't know this. what do i do? >> they're facing external pressure. what if i'm called out at a board meeting or someone is in front of my house. really, it's a time when people need a lot of support. >> reporter: librarians helping librarians, so librarians can get back to helping kids. >> i grew up reading "trumpet of the swan" and "little house on the prairie." there were no hispanic girls. that's a disservice to kids and so we work really hard as
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librarians to make sure kids have books that they can see themselves in, but we also want to offer books where kids can learn about other kids' lives. >> who knows that that is something that would get you demonized. >> reporter: governor abbott's office didn't respond when we asked about what librarians are telling us. we also reached out to matt krause. >> hello? >> do you think you're going to win or lose this? >> it's ot about whether i will win or lose this. i think it's a point in our culture and society we have to ask ourselves, what do we stand to lose if we don't correct action and course now. we can't afford democracy to believe anything else, then we'll correct this. >> thanks to evan san toro for that report. both aaron rodgers and lebron james had home-field advantage on christmas day. did it matter? some highlights after a quick break. i'm used to taking chances.
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mom, hurry! our show's gonna start soon! i promised i wouldn't miss the show and mommy always keeps her promises. oh, no! seriously? hmm! it's not the same if she's not here. oh. -what the. oh my goodness! i don't suppose you can sing, can you? ♪ the snow's comin' down ♪ -mommy? ♪ i'm watching it fall ♪ watch the full story at
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difference makers is brought to you by schwab. own your tomorrow. so we're actually going to hold off on the highlights until later this morning to tell you about this week's difference maker. detroit pistons guard josh jackson knows how hard it can be for single moms during the holiday season. he lost his stepfather back in 2014. recently jackson decided to give back by taking a group of single moms on a holiday shopping spree. watch this.
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>> how are you all doing? i did have a father, and he ended up passing away as i got older. for a short amount of time i grew up with a single mother. i watched my mom do a lot of things, break her neck to make things happen for me. so that is how i came to choose single mothers today. >> overwhelmed with joy. happy. really appreciative. i'm so thankful and grateful. i'll push it for you. >> okay. >> i don't mind. >> what are you looking for? i'm following y'all. >> doing handyman work too. >> i don't remember the toy section being this big. they have like eight aisles of toys. used to be only like three or four. >> they're going to drive you crazy with those. >> just a group of people who don't get enough attention and basically are nothing short of
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super heros. i really wanted to do something special for them today. >> it's not easy. it's definitely not easy. i appreciate him very much. i had nothing before this. it will help. thank you all. >> you have a good one, mr. jackson. >> you too. >> thank you, again. >> nice to meet you all. >> great work by josh jackson. he is this week's difference maker. a quick programming note for you, cnn is having a new year's eve party and you're invited. join anderson cooper and andy cohen for cnn new year's eve live. a show that starts at 8:00 p.m. right here on cnn. buenos dias. good morning and welcome to your "new day." i'm boris sanchez. christi paul has the morning off. this final week of 2021 brings a new push to contain the omicron variant. we'll tell you how government officials are working to stop
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the spread as it sweeps across the country and could potentially alter your new year's eve plans. plus the world is mourning the loss of archbishop desmond tutu. we have more on his extraordinary life, his legacy and the tributes that are now pouring in. and families in hawaii are demanding answers weeks after learning their water has been contaminated thanks to a fuel leak. some now saying they've had symptoms for months. and cultivating a dream. the inspiring story of one little girl now making history as georgia's youngest farmer. we're thrilled to have you bright and early this sunday, december 26th. i hope that christmas hangover isn't too bad.
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thanks for waking up with us. we begin with the surge of new covid cases nationwide fueled by the omicron variant. even though early research indicated the new strain may cause less severe illness, health care resources in some parts of the country are already stretched thin. 12 states have seen a 10% uptick in covid hospitalizations over the past week, with more than 71,000 americans currently hospitalized with covid-19. a surge is causing major disruptions for airline travelers this christmas weekend as hundreds of u.s. flights have been canceled just this morning. cnn's lucy kava nauf has more. ♪ come and behold ♪ >> reporter: as americans celebrated another christmas during a pandemic, many saw holiday joy turn to frustration. with omicron cases on the rise across the nation, airlines canceling more than 1,000 flights this holiday
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