tv CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta CNN December 26, 2021 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
, wa -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com hi, everyone, and thanks so much for joining me this afternoon. i'm jessica dean in washington. and we begin this hour with concern growing about the rapid spread of the coronavirus, the omicron variant fueling a new surge, the u.s. now seeing daily cases not seen since january. and as cases spread, so does the demand for tests. americans now facing a shortage of at-home kits. in miami, like so many other parts of the country, people are spending this day after christmas waiting in long lines to get tested. and this morning two cruise ships returned to florida after several passengers and crew members tested positive for covid despite all adults being fully vaccinated. some passengers say they were encouraged by how well their cruise was handled during its eight-day journey. others say the cruise should've been more transparent. >> the only reason why we found
out that people on the ship had covid is because the first destination we were supposed to go to, it took -- we sat there for a couple of hours, and then we found out they wouldn't let us on the destination because of so many people on the ship having covid. and they just let everybody go about their business. >> we're also seeing more major flight disruptions as airlines deal with staffing shortages caused by covid. cnn's nadia romero is at hartsfield-jackson airport in atlanta, one of the busiest airports in the world on one of the busiest travel days of the year. thousands of flights have been canceled today. walk us through what's going on. >> reporter: you have all of that coming together. you have the fact that it's a sunday, people normally travel on sunday. you see higher numbers. it's the day after christmas, people have to get back to work tomorrow, and you have the omicron variant. you have all of these things all coming together, and that equals
more than a thousand flights being canceled today alone. more than 2,000 across this holiday weekend domestically when you add in global international travel, that's thousands more people impacted on those flights because they've been canceled or even delayed. and there is that ripple effect whenever you have a cancelation or a delay because of how interconnected we are these days. so we've been talking to people who are finally coming out today. luckily they're able to get on their flight. so many others obviously not. their flight was canceled or delayed. they're just trying to get home. i can tell you just from yesterday, people were in much better spirits on christmas day traveling to go see their family and friends. today you hear a lot more honking, whistling, there are a lot more police officers out trying to direct traffic. you have people that are just frustrated because there are so many people trying to get home. there's that stress of trying to get back, but it's not working out for so many people because of all those flight cancelations. we did talk to one person who said that he wanted to make sure
that he travelled to see his family this holiday season. and he did so safely by getting vaccinated and boosted. take a listen. >> i came down here on the 20th, and i'm fully vaccinated, got the booster so that added a bit of confidence. and i was expecting it to be super busy, but wasn't so much. i guess it's not saying much. we'll find out how it is here pretty soon, though. >> reporter: yeah, so a big difference here in atlanta as compared to buffalo's airport, much busier airport. and we saw delta airlines, this is one of the hubs, had the most cancelations out of all of our domestic airlines. a big impact, that domino effect we're still feeling the effects of that now, jessica. >> thanks so much for the update. college football is also dealing with more fallout from this latest covid surge. today the military bowl and fenway bowl both set to place
this week announced they would have to cancel the games. that makes four bowl games now impacted by the virus. and here now to talk more about this and more, associate dean of global health at the university of alabama at birmingham, dr. mike saag. great to see you. they're looking to earn a spot in the national championship game. if you're someone going to one of these bowl games this week, what's your advice? and if you're one of the teams, what's your advice? >> yeah, for those going to the game first ask the question are you vulnerable, do you have an underlying condition that could get you in trouble if you got sick. and if so, at least wear a mask. the teams played all year for this moment, not just for the bowl championship series but also just the bowl games are what people play for. and so it's very disappointing when these games get canceled. for the teams that are going to these games, they're trying to
keep them as safe as possible. most teams including alabama allow the players to go home for christmas. they're now coming back together. they're vulnerable in the sense that they could have been exposed while at home. but everybody's hopeful that the covid epidemic will spare these teams and allow them to play these bowl games that they richly earned. >> to your point, they've worked all year for this. you hate to see that get canceled. so we have bowl games that are being canceled, the nfl, the nba, the nhl, they're all postponing games. do you think this is just part of our new normal? or is this more of a concentrated period within this covid epidemic? >> i think we are approaching a new normal, and it probably, since it's the end of the year, it's important to reflect what have we learned. and the answer is we've learned a lot. we can track this epidemic in
realtime and notice when variants are coming out. we have a vaccine that works incredibly well. we have drugs that are coming out in larger numbers now so that if people are diagnosed early, they can get into care and avoid the serious complications of this ravaging disease, assuming they get treated early. so all this has come together. it's a celebration of signs, the achilles hill for us right now is testing. i know you all talked about that on cnn earlier today. we'll get that fixed. and, as we move forward, i think we just have to learn to live with this. it's going to be the new normal for us. and we have to watch out for these spikes like we're seeing with omicron. but if we all pull together, we'll get through it and get back to some semblance of normal. >> you talk about the celebration of science. it is amazing just what, you know, if you look at this time last year, we do know so much more. obviously we have the vaccines, we have the boosters, it makes a big difference.
this morning dr. fauci talked about omicron and the rise in cases. i want to play what he had to say. >> they're seeing less of a severity in the form of manifestations by hospitalizations. the issue that we don't want to get complacent about, john, is that when you have such a high volume of new infections, it might override a real diminution in severity. so that if you have many, many, many more people with a less level of severity, that might kind of neutralize the positive effect of having less severity when you have so many more people. and we're particularly worried about those who are in that unvaccinated class. >> and, dr. saag, obviously they are just essentially saying don't get complacent even though this may be shown to be less severe, don't get complacent. do you think that we risk getting complacent at this point in the pandemic when people are just so tired of doing all of
these things but we know we have to? >> well, jessica, i think you hit on the right word, tired or fatigued. we're all worn out, the doctors, the nurses, the general public, parents, everyone's worn out with this. but we don't have much of a choice, we have to plow forward. and my advice is let's embrace the science, let's embrace what we've accomplished. and maybe now with the new year we can all redouble our efforts to work together to get this done. the doctors and nurses, we're in it, we're all in it and we're going to be there for folks when they get sick. it's really time for the public to step up and get vaccinated. the time to hesitate is through, we just need to get it done. and that'll help keep us safe. monitor yourself for symptoms, especially when there's an outbreak. get tested early because when you get diagnosed early, those drugs are available for us, and that can keep us out of the hospital. and if we see these spikes like omicron, there's going to be some more of them, i'm afraid in
the future. but if that happens, hunker down a little bit more, wear the masks in public, try to avoid large crowds. we all know the drill by now, it's only been two years. look how much we've learned -- >> yeah, we have learned a lot. i think the signal went out a little bit there, but you were saying we've learned so much, it sounded like in the last two years, that we have come a lot farther with this thing. we just have to hang on. right? >> absolutely. if we just use what we've learned to keep ourselves safe, do the right thing, get vaccinated, monitor, get tested early and get into care if you test positive. >> all right, dr. mike saag for us, thank you so much. we appreciate you. >> good being with you, jessica. still ahead, the impact of all of this on children. thousands have lost caregivers and loved ones throughout the pandemic. and all of them are now living in a world that has turned upside down. we're going to talk with a social worker on how to help children navigate and cope with all of this.
plus, a truck driver is sentenced to 110 years in prison following a fatal crash. now public outcry and a district attorney are pushing for clemency. we've got details on the court hearing tomorrow. those details coming up next. ♪ the one desire ♪ ♪ you are, you are, ♪ ♪ don't wanna hear you say... ♪ ♪ ♪ i want it that way ♪ learning about our history with ancestrydna®, inspired us to learn more about our culture and where we come from. ...right here? ohhh my god. where? discovering things that were a mystery, that's what ancestry® did for our family.
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honestly until the court proceeding has been done. we were told the day of sentencing that there was a review in progress and it would be done through the court system and the sentence would be considered and more than likely reduced. and for the governor to get involved before that process is done i think would be inappropriate. >> cnn's lucy kafanov is following developments for us in all of this. lucy, what's the latest? >> reporter: the district attorney is now asking the court to reconsider that very lengthy 110-year prison sentence for raher rahela aguilar. the driver was 23 years old at this time of the accident. he was driving at 85 miles an hour. his brakes failed, he was convicted of vehicular homicide, among other charges. the d.a. is not looking to
overturn the conviction. in fact in a statement the d.a. alexis king said that maderos made multiple choices resulting in the death of people, adding that the shorter sentence reflects, quote, an appropriate decision for that conduct. now, at issue are colorado mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which require sentences for each count to be served consecutively rather than concurrently, which is now maderos ended up with more than a century behind bars, a sentence twice as long as some murder convicts and even the judge at this time of issuing that sentence said, quote, if i had the discretion, it would not be my sentence. some colorado lawmakers are now pushing to overturn the laws. take a listen. >> the system here at this building has created a situation where a judge at their own discretion who doesn't want to issue a sentence has had to issue that sentence. what we hope to achieve is reforms. that's really what this is all about. we have to reform a system that
is creating a situation where we are creating more victims of our justice system. we have to do that now. >> now, you mentioned that petition nearly 5 million people wrote to the governor asking him to either reduce or overturn that lengthy sentence. the governor os office tells cnn they are reviewing their request for clemency, but we are not likely to see the governor before this plays out. >> thank you so much. a champion of the anti-apartheid movement in south africa has died. archbishop desmond tutu was 90 years old. tutu fought alongside nelson mandela against the apartheid regime and the policies of racial segregation. former president bill clinton remembered him today saying, quote, desmond tutu's life was a gift, blessed with brilliance and elegance, and an unshakeable faith in the inherent decency of
all people. cnn's david mckenzie looks back at tutu's life and legacy. >> reporter: when we spoke to this late photographer in 2016, he remembered a different time. >> people are getting killed, and then you don't find one person, five, six, seven, eight people, much funerals happen. >> 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. desmond tutu was never afraid to step up to the racist regime using his bully pulpit of peace.
>> his position in the church gave him a semblance of protection, and his deep faith gave him an unwavering moral compass. >> reporter: even when it was deeply unpopular. >> i am not a politician. even if there are those who say so. i speak from the bible. >> reporter: tutu's defining moment came at a funeral. >> this is not what we wanted. >> reporter: mourners wanted to throw a suspected informant into his burning car, but tutu saved the man from the mob, saying he should be forgiven, that this struggle should rise above the violence of the state. tutu is a man of god that talked the truth. >> reporter: but people listened. >> people listened to tutu no matter what. >> reporter: and 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. >> reporter: when the rainbow nation faulted, he spoke up on corruption, aids policy, diplomacy. >> one day we will start praying for the defeat of the anc government. you are disgraceful. >> 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
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youngest group will not get protection from covid-19 until well into 2022. that vaccine delay is adding to the mental health and difficulties for kids who are also struggling from isolation and also the loss of loved ones due to the pandemic. >> i'm so concerned about our children because there is an epidemic, if you will, of mental health challenges that they have been facing, and it's partly because of the pandemic. we've seen certainly that many children have lost loved ones during this pandemic. 140,000 kids lost a caregiver. we know that their lives have been turned upside down. they haven't been able to see friends as often as they would. >> we have a licensed therapist who works at children's healthcare of atlanta strong for life. thank you so much for being here to talk about what is such an important issue. we are just at the point where 5 to 11-year-olds have gotten a chance to get their second vaccine, and now omicron is turning things all upside down
again. how do we help our children cope with disappointment when they've been promised they can get back to normal after getting these shots? how do we help them continue to deal with disappointment and change? >> right. i think part of it is we have to get out of our own way because sometimes we are scared to have the conversation because we think we have to be perfect, and we have to have all the right answers. and it's stopping us from just being there and being present so we need to open up a dialogue and have a conversation, and really let them take the lead because we don't want to make assumptions we know exactly what they're feeling, we just want to sit back and listen. and that's truthfully what we hear most from kids and they just want adults to listen. they don't want someone to come in and fix it or tell them what to do. they just want somebody to ask them how they're doing. >> and so what does that look like? is that kind of sitting down and in a nonhigh-pressure way just saying how are you to do, or what are you thinking about? what's the best way to open that dialogue? >> you've got it. it really is that simple.
we want to be careful not to use leading questions, like we don't want to put our own stuff onto them. so, for instance, you wouldn't want to say something like, are you worried about this? because we don't want to assume that or put that onto them but, hey, how are you doing, how are you feeling? and sitting back. and this is the hard part because we naturally want to come in and fix it especially if we get the sense that a child is struggling. we want to make them feel better. but we have to show a little restraint and really just listen, and then whatever they tell us, we need to validate it. and this is tricky, again, because we're often thinking about our own feelings. but it's not about how we feel. and even if you don't feel that way or don't agree with it, we want to make sure we are telling them that we understand it, and it's completely normal and okay to feel that way. and we have to really be careful that we don't fall into the trap of trying to fix it. so saying things like, this will make you stronger, things happen
for a reason, you don't have anything to worry about, other people have it way worse, it doesn't make them feel better, it just minimizes and dismisses what they're feeling. >> it's about really saying i hear what you're saying to me and validating that. and some kids, probably most kids, are in the middle of their holiday break right now from school, and this goes all the way up to college. i know a lot of the universities are trying to figure out what to do as well. how do you help these kids, again, going from little kids all the way to young adults kind of navigate this uncertainty? and that can often times can produce so much anxiety even for us adult when's we don't know the answer, we don't know what is going to be certain. >> right. and part of it is that this is just one example, but it's a real opportunity for us to think about, how do we build resilience in kids? because it's not the only setback, it's not the only time they're going to experience disappointment. so how do we teach them to
navigate this? and part of it is that we are scared of our emotions. we often want to run from them. we try really hard to push them down, but it will bubble up to the surface. so we want to teach kids, first of all, how do we name our feelings. so helping them name or label their feelings, helping them express it, and then how do we help them manage it. and that's where healthy coping skills come in. and this is learned, we are not born into the world knowing how to do this. we have to learn over time how to regulate our emotions and our behavior. but here's the tricky part is we often think that it's complicated and it takes too much time and we don't really have time for it. but it can be as short as ten seconds of engaging in deep breathing or going for a walk. it's really about calming the body to then calm the mind. >> yeah, that's such an important point.
and we saw the surgeon general there in that clip that we played just before we brought you in talking about more than 140,000 children in the u.s. have lost a parent or a grandparent to covid. what advice do you have to parents or caregivers who are helping children who are struggling with a loss of a loved one? or maybe children who feel isolated right now? >> yeah. well, i think what you're talking about is getting at the grief that comes with this, and we often think about grief just as it relates to the loss of human life. but grief is a natural and normal response to a loss of any kind. and i think we need to start normalizing that because there is a lot of grief happening at the moment even right now today with the loss of plans and expectations that we had. and what we know about grief is that there is no time line, it's not linear, and we can't just fix it. so part of it, again, is tolerating that discomfort and knowing that we need to learn how to sit with it and how to
talk about feelings. when comes to kids working through this, we also need to empower them because a lot of times they are scared to talk about it because they're worried they're not going to be able to handle it. they're worried it'll make it worse. and part of our job is to help them understand that they have the ability to navigate life's ups and downs. they can be resilient. they are capable, but we have to teach them and we have to give them opportunities to practice this. so helping them to name those feelings, helping them to work through it and cope with it so that they can start to see themselves as being prepared. and we don't want to shield them and protect them, we need to start preparing them for this stuff. >> build those muscles, yeah. all right, well, that is all so helpful, thank you so much. >> thank you for having me. a quick programming note for you. carole king and james taylor in an unforgettable film "just call out my name" that is airing next
sunday january 2nd. here's a preview. >> friends, collaborators, legends, their music shaped a generation, they came together for the tour of a lifetime. ♪ ♪ and it's too late baby, now it's too late ♪ >> james taylor. >> his songs were amazing, his voice is amazing and his demeanor. >> hee-haw. >> and carole king. one of the greatest songwriters of all time. i asked her to be a part of my mind. ♪ i've seen fire ♪ >> 40 years have passed since the first time we played. >> i love every experience we have had together. ♪ you just call out my name and you know wherever i am ♪ ♪ i'll come running ♪ "just call out my name" next sunday at 9:00 on cnn.
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whiteout conditions led to a 20-car pileup in nevada. take a look at the scene here. the wintery weather mix this morning making it a nightmare for drivers. truckee meadows fire and rescue posted this on twitter saying conditions are extreme with 50-mile-per-hour winds and whiteout conditions. three people were sent to the hospital. no word on their conditions. but the national weather service in reno said, quote, today is the type of day to just stay at home if you can. more snow is expected in that area. in california, people reported a, quote, tornado-like event last night. emergency crews responded to storm damage at a condominium near santa barbara. it happened just hours after the national weather service warned of the possibility of hail and strong winds for that area. the storm brought down trees and damaged cars but thankfully no
injuries. frigid temperatures and the possibility of a foot of snow in the west. we're going to bring in cnn meteorologist tyler malden for the latest. >> the country is split right down the middle right now. you're either dealing with springtime warmth or you're dealing with the dead of winter type temperature outbreak and a little bit of snowfall, too. now we have winter storm warnings continuing from california all the way up into washington as far east as the great lakes. it's all one massive winter storm impacting the region. this system is bringing the snowfall, it's also the reason why we have stormy conditions in central and southern california yesterday. we've picked up 3 to 6 inches of snowfall in portland and seattle. some areas almost 3 feet of snow once you start getting into the mountains of nevada. that's great for the ski resorts. it's also great for the drought. however, it does lead to the potential for avalanches. so be aware of that.
now, it doesn't take much of a wind to cause whiteout conditions. so, unfortunately, as we continue to see the snow pile up in the days to come, that's going to be possible for us. and it also doesn't take much of a wind to see windchills. we've seen winds across the four corners get as high as category 1 level, category 1 hurricane level, about 75 to 80 miles per hour. then up here across the northern plains, jessica, we're going to see temperatures plunge well below zero, and with a mighty wind, that's going to lead to windchill alerts. windchills could get as low as minus 40 in portions of montana and north dakota. >> wow, that is incredible. all right, tyler, thanks so much for breaking it down for us. and still to come this afternoon, politics, protests, and a pandemic. she was front and center as the city of atlanta navigated some settle biggest challenges of the last few years. next, mayor keisha lance bottoms on her time in office and what
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the death of brirayshard brooks. the officer faces multiple charges including felony murder. large numbers of atlanta officers called out sick in response to those charges. and atlanta's police chief even resigned following the shooting in subsequent protests. it was a critical moment for the city of atlanta, one mayor
keisha lance bottoms is reflecting on as she nears the end of her term. my colleague fredricka whitfield sat down with the mayor to ask her about some of the challenges she faced while in office and what she plans to do next. >> is there anything in that moment that you felt you should've done differently, you could have done differently? how do you describe what you and the city endured at that time? >> it was heartbreaking for so many reasons because i know that our officers were out by and large doing the very best that they could do, and then you have this young father who was killed. and just a couple of hours ago i was with a group of ceos in the city and university leaders who i meet with quarterly. and we had a presentation from the group perf who has been helping us with police reform in the city. and i asked the question, had our training been differently --
had our training been different, would that have turned out differently? and the response was, we don't know, but what we are working toward with our training is to make sure that it's not just de-escalation but that we don't get to the point where you need de-escalation. and with the killing of rayshard brooks, it was a horrible time in our city because it was shortly after the killing of george floyd. and in so many ways for so many, it represented all of the things that people had been angry about. but, on the other side, there was the outcry of where is the support for our police officers? and, um, in that moment i made the best decision based on the
information that i had and the options that i had before me. i felt that it was the best decision. life, you don't get do-overs in life. i can't say that i would do anything differently, but i know i made the best decision i thought could be made in that moment, and it's my hope that on the heels of that tragedy that we are able to avoid another tragedy like that in our city. >> and of course all this is happening in the middle of the pandemic. and then covid hits you and your family very personally, your husband derek gets covid, you do as well. your entire family, you're worried about everyone's safety. how did your personal experience and that of your family help redefine your leadership role or even your perspective on how to
move forward? >> i believe it really brought my disagreement with the governor to a head because it was a very personal experience, and my husband had a very tough time with covid. but my oldest son was positive the week before my husband and i were infected. we were awaiting some covid tests because at that time i was getting us routinely tested and i had just been to the funeral of rayshard brooks. so i had got us tested because we had been in a large public gathering. and had we gotten those results back sooner, we could have isolated my oldest son, and it would've saved my husband and i from being infected. and that really was when you began to see the divide with the governor and i. i was very frustrated with the
policies that he had in place, the lack of policies of what i felt to be a lack of planning and execution as it related to covid. and it was no longer in the abstract that people are dying and families are being impacted. it was my family, too. and very likely in some way that was the driving force behind the passion that you saw with my fight with the governor because i knew that our family represented a lot of families. and by the grace of god, we are all healthy now. but going back to the summer of '20, july of '20, we didn't know what the outcomes would be when people were infected with covid. >> georgia has been the epicenter of a lot, covid, as we just saw the spate of unrest
here and georgia continues to be the centerpiece in the political arena. you just mentioned you often went toe to toe with governor brian kemp. and now kemp is going to be challenged by another republican who the former president trump is endorsing, david perdue. how do you see the landscape ahead for that gubernatorial race with these two republicans now going eye to eye? >> to say that it's going to be interesting would be an understatement. >> and there is still the former president trump dynamic. >> there is still the trump dynamic. and now you have stacey abrams whose announced she's running for governor. and i believe it's a nightmare scenario for republicans to have a nasty primary battle because they're going to spend a lot of money, there's going to be a lot of fighting, a lot of exposure of weaknesses during that fight. but what i truly hope is that
voters across georgia will still turn out to vote. >> what will be your role? will you be working with stacey abrams to help her in her campaign? there was a time when many thought you would be part of the biden administration. you're among the first elected officials to endorse him when he was running for president. what's next for you? >> i will do everything in my power to make sure that stacey abrams is elected governor. and then, beyond that, just making sure that we're doing what we need to do across the country to make sure that people are educated and informed and that they are registering to vote, that they are showing up to vote. because these are issues that impact our daily lives. >> all that you have learned, all that you have endured, all that you hope to be passing on, whether it be to your children, to the city of atlanta, or to the mayor-elect, andre dickins, what will be your advice for
him? >> i've given him a lot of advice. i don't know if he's going to take it or not. but just a few things, and we were actually together this morning, and i just really cautioned him to protect his peace. >> what do you mean by that? >> there were moments during my term that i honestly thought i had lost the ability to empathize. because there are so many bad things that you confront on a daily basis as a leader. and i think part of it is creating something internally that protects you. but if you don't ever separate, if you don't ever turn off, you can sometimes become desensitized. >> so that's hard to understand because especially when you were thinking about your son, your son was standing right next to you during those moments of
unrest in atlanta. that was empathy. but was it before or after that where you felt like there was possibly an absence of empathy in you as a leader? >> i don't think it was continuous, but there were moments. and i'm sure over the next few months i'll go back and i'll think about what else is going on when i felt that. but that's what happens when you are fatigued, when you're drained, when you don't take a day off, when you -- >> so he's got to find that space. you're hoping he finds that space where you can -- >> yes. >> -- decompress, reconnect with yourself so as to keep your priorities in check? >> absolutely. and i've heard people say -- they're calling 2021, 2020 the great resignation. i think it's the great re-evaluation on how we maintain
our physical and our mental and our emotional well-being. and i wish i had been more thoughtful of that for the entirety of my term and not at moments when i felt that i maybe physically was at my breaking point or just completely exhausted. >> so then that brings us to a great way to wrap it all up which is when will we see keisha lance bottoms re-evaluated keisha lance bottoms? >> i am in a state of re-evaluation. i'm hopefully going to be able to take some time over the holidays. right now i feel like i'm running through the tape. and even with my tripping over words and stumbling, it's because i'm really tired right now. but once things settle down, i want to make sure that we finish strong and i leave this city in the best possible way that our
new mayor can pick up the baton and continue the race. once i feel comfortable and that i've done all i can do, then i'll stop and think and i'll re-evaluate. >> mayor keisha lance bottoms, thank you so much. >> thank you. up next, the good stuff, children acting well beyond their years and going above and beyond to do some pretty heroic and historic acts. that's next. ♪ your dell technologies advisor can help you find the right tech solutions. so you can stop at nothing for your customers.
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saved a choking classmate and rescued a woman from a house fire all in one day. he was honored for his heroism. t he performed the heimlich maneuver. and then he helped a woman off a porch after her house caught fire. again, all in one day. way to go. she's just 6 years old and she is already making history. not only is she georgia's youngest certified farmer. she is also the state's youngest black farmer. here's her story. ♪ ♪ my favorite vegetables that i grow is carrots. here's a fun fact about carrots.
if you eat a carrot, you actually are eating the roots of the carrot. they are delicious! ♪ my name's kenna ray johnson. i'm the youngest black farmer in the state of georgia. welcome to my farm! the story starts from my great grandma kate. she taught me a lot of stuff about gardening. you grow the strawberry plants with sunlight, water with the worms and the fresh soil. >> we had the girl scouts come. some of them have seen fruit and vegetables but they really don't know where it comes from. they got a chance to really dig for sweet potatoes. and that was the most exciting
thing that a kid can show you. >> a potato! >> the excitement of them actually finding something that they truly eat already, you know, in the garden. you learn so much more about what's in your backyard that you probably have never known if you had not played in the dirt. historically, you think of farmer john, you know, the overalls with the white t-shirt, a straw hat. and, let's be honest, you know, a caucasian man. [ laughter ] i'm kendall's mom. we don't really see too many black farmers. >> you put this in the compost over there, it makes good dirt. good dirt means new plants. >> kendall leads us, and
wherever she wants to go, we are there to back her up. >> i proclaim tuesday kendall appreciation day in georgia. >> someone texted me and said google her. >> kendall ray johnson. >> it feels great that they know me now and that they know my garden. ♪ sometimes you just need to share your fruits and vegetables with the whole community. >> kendall, amazing work. love seeing her story. thanks so much for joining me today. i'm jessica dean. "cnn newsroom" continues with ryan nobles right now. ♪ you are live in the "cnn newsroom." i'm ryan nobles in washington. we begin with covid cases surging across the u.s. as
millions of americans gather with their families and loved ones this holiday season. fueled by the omicron variant, new cases are eclipsing infections fueled by the delta variant over the summer, and are racing toward record highs. even on this day after christmas, people are lining up to get tested. the need for tests is only expected to keep rising. now, hospitalizations do remain relatively lower than during peaks earlier this year. but, still, there are still nearly 70,000 americans in hospitals right now with covid. covid-related deaths, although, nowhere near peak levels, but they're still up 30% from last week. all this causing major disruptions on what is typically one of the busiest travel days of the year. major u.s. airlines have canceled hundreds of flights again today as staff and crew continue to call out sick. and what we're seeing only underscores what health experts have been urging for months, get
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