tv CBS Morning News CBS December 22, 2021 4:00am-4:30am PST
connected tv. i am tom hanson, cbs news new york. it's wednesday, december 22nd, 2021. this is the "cbs morning news." >> we should all be concerned about omicron, not panicked. >> president biden's plan. the latest strategy to take on the fast-moving omicron variant as hospitals brace for staffing shortages. 110-year prison sentence. a truck driver is fighting his punishment for causing a deadly crash. why millions of people including kim kardashian are trying to help him. airport brawl. two people get into a fight in front of dozens of passengers. what started the heated confrontation. good morning, and good to be with you.
i'm anne-marie green. we begin with the fast-spreading omicron variant. it's now in 49 states, and the cdc is predicting a record high number of new covid infections as early as next month. the agency reported nearly 290,000 cases on monday. that's the second highest since the pandemic started. yesterday president biden laid out a plan to tackle the latest surge. he said his administration will buy 500 million at-home covid tests allowing americans to order them on line for free starting in january. meantime, the fda could approve covid treatment pills from pfizer and merck as soon as today. they would be taken at the early onset of symptoms to help prevent hospitalizations. courtney kealy is in new york with more on all of this for us. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, anne-marie. this covid surge is threatening to up-end american americans' holiday plans and federal and local officials are setting up more testing centers and ordering more at-home testing
kits. the federal government is ramping up its response to the omicron variant. president biden yesterday announced that half a billion at-home tests will be distributed for free in the coming weeks. >> as omicron spreads easily, especially among the unvaccinated, it's critically important that we know who's infected. >> reporter: beyond testing he said there's an urgent need to immunize more people. >> if you're not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned. almost everyone who has died from covid-19 in the past many months has been unvaccinated. >> reporter: omicron has now been detected in nearly every state and has surpassed delta as the predominant coronavirus strain. omicron is believed to be more transmissible and, therefore, more dangerous. >> each variant has its own little shop of horrors, and in the case of the omicron variant, that's what this is, that one-two punch of so many people getting infected and knocking out a substantial segment of our
health care work force at the same time. >> reporter: 20% of u.s. hospitals anticipate a staffing shortage within the next week. >> the death toll i think in the end is probably going to be similar to what it would have been with delta. however this is going to move faster because of the way it spreads. >> reporter: several states are activating national guard forces, deploying workers to help. america's third-largest city, chicago, will start on january 3rd for everyone over the age of 5 years old. they'll have to show proof of vaccination to enter such businesses like bars, restaurants, theaters, and entertainment venues. anne-marie? >> all right, courtney kealy in new york. thank you very much. the nhl will reportedly announce that it will not be sending players to the beijing olympics due to surging covid cases. a source tells the "associated press" the league informed the nhl players association that it was making the decision over
concerns the pandemic will disrupt the league's ability to complete a full season. more than 40 games have already been postponed in the past week. and ahead on "cbs mornings," cdc director rochelle walensky joins us to talk more about the administration's plan to battle a winter surge of covid cases and why we're still seeing a shortage of at-home testing kits. and this morning, jurors resume deliberations in the trial of a former minneapolis police officer who shot and killed daunte wright. there are concerns that they may not reach an agreement. the jury is weighing the fate of kim potter. she's charged with manslaughter after she killed wright in april during a traffic stop. potter has said that she meant to use her taser instead of her gun. yesterday the jury asked the judge how to proceed if they can't agree on a verdict. the judge instructed them to keep deliberating. and jury deliberations will also continue today in the sex trafficking trial of ghislaine maxwell. the jury yesterday asked to
review testimony of three of four women who said maxwell helped jeffrey epstein abuse them between 1994 and 2004. maxwell's lawyers say the government has used her as a scapegoat after epstein killed himself while in prison in 2019. and in colorado, there are calls for leniency after a young truck driver was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for his role in a deadly crash. more than 4.6 million people have signed an online petition asking the governor to reduce the sentence. even kim kardashian, an advocate for prison reform, posted on twitter that she's looking into the situation, saying colorado law has to change. karen morfitt from kcnc has more. i'm begging for forgiveness. >> reporter: rogel aguilera-mederos was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of four counts of vehicular homicide and 23 other charges
for this 2019 crash that killed four people. >> i'm crying all the time when i think about it. >> reporter: he was 23 at the time and claimed the brakes failed as he was driving out of the mountains and couldn't pull over to avoid stopped traffic. video shows he passed a runaway truck ramp where prosecutors say he could have pulled off. >> he made a series of terrible decisions. >> reporter: he got the minimum sentence for every count, but colorado's law mandates they be served consecutively, adding up to 110 years, effectively a life sentence. >> if i had the discretion, it would not be my sentence. >> reporter: some truck drivers have said on social media they'll boycott the state during their routes to protest. gage evans, whose husband died in the crash, said rogel aguilera-mederos's sentence should not be commuted. instead she said the mandatory
sentencing laws need to be reevaluated. >> he should not have taken a mountainous route with no experience. >> that was karen morfitt reporting. the district attorney overseeing the case is asking the court to reconsider the sentence, and the governor of colorado says his office is reviewing the truck driver's recent request for clemency. two travelers have been charged after a brawl broke out inside a miami international airport. the fight was caught on video on monday. police say the confrontation began when one traveler hopped on to an airport worker's cart and then refused to move until the worker gave him information about his delayed flight. officers responded to the scene. at one point an officer drew his firearm, but no shots were fired. another man tried to pull the police off the traveler. both men were arrested. coming up, unsolved mystery. on the 25th anniversary of the
the pandemic has had yet another impact on life in america. population growth in the country this year dipped to its lowest level since the nation's founding. the census bureau says the population grew just .1%. the coronavirus curtailed immigration, delayed pregnancies, and killed hundreds of thousands of people. the u.s. added just 393,000 people in the year ending july 1st. the nba plans to stay in the game at least for now, and there are new efforts to solve a notorious cold case. those are some of the headlines on the "morning newsstand." "the denver post" reports the boulder, colorado, police
department is looking to new dna technology to try and solve the jonbenet ramsey case. the 6-year-old girl was found dead in the basement of her family's home the day after christmas 25 years ago. her death was ruled a homicide, but nobody was ever charged. investigators say they're actively reviewing genetic dna testing to see if new technology can identify the killer. espn reports nba commissioner adam silver says there are no plans to pause the season amid a surge in covid cases. in an interview with the sports network, silver said that the league has examined multiple options but does not see a reason to stop play. seven games have been postponed over the past week, and more than 100 players and coaches have entered the health safety protocols. >> i think we're finding ourselves where we sort of knew we were going to get to for the past several months, and that is that this virus will
not be eradicated. we're going to have to learn to live with it, and i think that's what we're experiencing in the league right now. >> the nba said it might shift the times of some games scheduled for christmas day. and the "associated press" says spacex launched a cargo ship carrying christmas presents, food, and supplies to the international space station. >> three, two, one, zero, ignition and liftoff -- >> the falcon 9 rocket blasted off from nasa's kennedy space center yesterday. in addition to presents from the families, there's smoked fish, turkey, green beans and fruitcake. still to come, the latest nft sale. how much someone paid for a text message sending holiday cheer. t message sending holiday cheer.
say good-bye to staples center and hello to crypto.com arena. signs outside of the los angeles venue have been changed to the new name. the work began earlier this month. last month the cryptocurrency company based in hong kong struck the largest naming rights deal ever at $700 million over 20 years. the official name change will take place on christmas. on the cbs "money watch" now, a long-running strike at kellogg is over, and an nft of a text message fetched a really high price at auction. bradley blackburn has those stories and more. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. stock futures indicate a flat open after a recovery rally yesterday. the three major indices ended in the green, recouping some losses after three straight sessions of declines amid fears of the fast-spreading omicron variant.
the dow jumped 560 points. the nasdaq rallied 360 points, and the s&p 500 gained 81 points. a nearly three-month strike at kellogg's has finally ended. workers voted yesterday to approve a new labor contract and will be back on the job after christmas. the contract covers 1,400 union employees at four plants in michigan, nebraska, pennsylvania, and tennessee. they'll get a pay raise along with enhanced benefits. if you recently bought salad products from fresh express, you may want to check your fridge. the company is recalling several products due to possible listeria contamination. they were sold in 19 states and are marked with codes z325 through z350. shoppers should throw o products and contact fresh express or the store for a refund. how much would you pay for a text message? the nft of the first-ever electronic message reading "merry christmas" hit the auction block in paris and sold for $121,000.
the text was sent on december 3rd, 1992, and was put up for auction by a british telecom company vodafone. proceeds will go to charity. there's no word on the identity of the buyer. i wish i could pay someone to read my unread emails. i could retire. >> that's what i was thinking. i have boxes old phones with all kinds of stuff on there. i would almost pay someone to take it off of me at this point. i would pay someone to explain how nfts are a good investment. i don't quite understand it. >> it's a mystery. you have to have the right message, right? >> exactly. bradley blackburn in new york. bradley, good to see you. thanks. so up next, extreme holiday decorating. we'll meet a virginia woman with a passion for nutcrackers. decorating. we'll meet a virginia woman with a passion for nutcrackers. ♪
the runners trekked over snow and temperatures near zero. >> it was never going to be easy. coming to the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on the planet. as much as it was brutal, it's also majestic. so beautiful. >> a polish runner won the men's title finishing in three hours and 53 minutes. a runner from latvia set a women's record with four hours and six minutes. elton john hosted a zoom reunion with the collaborators of the recent hit album "the lockdown sessions." >> let's see who's here. >> hey, elton. everybody, it's -- >> hi, everyone. >> can you hear me? >> hello. >> oh, hi. >> hello. >> john was joined on the call by artists including dua lipa, miley cyrus, stevie nicks, and stevie wonder. the call was complete with pets, interruptions, smudged lens, and animal filters.
it ended with the late arrival of ed sheeran in a santa hat. and every year for christmas, a virginia woman's home is invaded by nutcrackers. leila henry has more than 500 nutcrackers which she displays for the holiday. her passion started 26 years ago when someone gave her two as a gift. the impressive collection includes the "wizard of oz," captain america, spider-man, mickey mouse, and winnie the pooh. >> i have them for every holiday, easter, thanksgiving, st. patrick's day, halloween. my favorite is my fisherman. it was given to me last year as a tribute to my father-in-law. >> henry says the nutcrackers representing branches of the military and her firefighters stay out all year. when the pandemic hit, the collection reflected it with the addition of a doctor and a nurse. coming up on "cbs mornings," vlad duthiers talks with opera
legend justino diaz about his kennedy center honor. i'm anne-marie green. this is the "cbs morning news." n do you have a life insurance policy you no longer need? now you can sell your policy - even a term policy - for an immediate cash payment. we thought we had planned carefully for our retirement. but we quickly realized we needed a way to supplement our income. if you have $100,000 or more of life insurance, you may qualify to sell your policy. don't cancel or let your policy lapse without finding out what it's worth. visit coventrydirect.com to find out if your policy qualifies. or call the number on your screen. coventry direct, redefining insurance. don't be afraid of your freedom ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪
our top stories this morning -- president biden yesterday laid out a plan to tackle the latest surge of covid cases. he says his administration will buy 500 million at-home covid tests, allowing americans to order them on line for free starting in january. mr. biden also said military personnel will help overwhelmed hospitals. nounceaydingyeo will rorte ring number of covid cases.
a source tells the "associated concerns the pandemic will disrupt the league's ability to complete a full season.>>with j christmas, americans are hitting the stores frantically searching for last-minute gifts. finding them is one thing, but mailing them on time is quite another. here's janet shamlian. >> reporter: 'tis the night before the christmas panic -- ♪ -- when all through the stores like fundamentally toys, procrastinators paced the aisles. you waited until the last minute because -- >> it's like that every time. there's just no way about it. >> reporter: manager cliff moss says the most popular items are long gone. what's it like in the store right now? >> it's crazy. we don't have a lot of what they're -- they might be looking for. >> reporter: for those relying on premium services to deliver gifts before christmas, it's almost the midnight hour.
>> i'm sending out a parcel, you know, it gets there on time, but i doubt it. >> reporter: at the post office, thursday is the last day to ship priority mail express, same with next-delay delivery via u.p.s. and fedex, and only fedex can help if you wait until friday. using same-day delivery. with an active season driven by pent-up demand, the national retail federation predicts record sales. >> it looks like actual retail sales will exceed our forecast and be upwards of 11% in terms of growth. >> reporter: but the omicron variant could be a last-minute grinch. what about the u-turn of the last few days in terms of the rise of the new variant? >> we always knew that covid could cause some uncertainty around the holidays. >> reporter: outdoor shopping centers like this have been especially popular amid covid concerns. this is the time people tend to hit brick and mortar stores as online sellers can't deliver in time. janet shamlian, cbs news, houston.
coming up on "cbs mornings," cdc director rochelle walensky tells us how to protect ourselves against covid as cases rise. and vlad duthiers talks with opera legend justino diaz about his kennedy center honor. and more on a drought in farming communities and creating ghost towns. that's the "cbs morning news" for this wednesday. thanks for watching. i'm anne-marie green. have a great day. ♪ have a great day. ♪