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tv   The Week With Joshua Johnson  MSNBC  December 19, 2020 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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that is all the time i have for today. i'm alicia menendez. i will see you back here tomorrow 6:00 p.m. eastern for more "american voices." but for now i hand it over to my colleague joshua johnson. hello, joshua. >> hello, alicia. thank you very much. good to see you. and good to see you too. i'm joshua johnson. it's great to be with you tonight, as always. the fda has authorized moderna's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. distribution has begun. trucks could start rolling to more than 3,000 locations tomorrow. it's a much-needed shot in the arm. but our failure to prevent more cases is shooting us in the foot. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, welcome to "the week."
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day after day the u.s. continues to set new daily records for coronavirus cases. yesterday nearly a quarter million people were diagnosed with covid-19. just yesterday. more help is on the way with this second vaccine. the moderna drug could reach health care workers as early as monday. between pfizer and moderna, nearly 8 million doses will be distributed nationwide this week. this morning operation warp speed's chief operating officer general gus perna said he's confident that 20 million vaccines will be allocated this year. so what's the difference between the two drugs? well, both the pfizer and the moderna vaccines are proven to be more than 94% effective regardless of race or gender or underlying health conditions. both have shown only mild and temporary side effects. the big differences are storage and timeline. moderna's vaccine can be kept in a conventional freezer at minus
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4 degrees. pfizer's needs a special freezer set at minus 94 degrees. both vaccines require a second dose, but moderna's come four weeks apart. pfizer's come three weeks apart. we will look at the production of these vaccines and see who could get the first doses. meanwhile, the uk has already started vaccinations, but that's not canceling other precautions. millions of people in london and most of england's southeast are being forced to cancel their christmas plans. today prime minister boris johnson announced these regions will be placed under the strictest lockdown rules, what they call tier 4. those restrictions effectively ban holiday gatherings beyond individual households. this decision came after the emergence of a fast-spreading variant of the virus. a mutation that is up to 70% more transmissible than previous versions. hundreds of anti-lockdown demonstrators gathered outside
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parliament to protest these new restrictions. it is worth noting this coronavirus has already mutated. a lot. and yet the vaccines are still considered extremely effective. speaking of vaccines, let's start there. today a cdc advisory committee voted to recommend the moderna vaccine for emergency use authorization on americans ages 18 and up. the vote was 11-0 with three recusals. nbc's shaquille brewster starts us off tonight from olive branch, mississippi that is southeast of memphis, tennessee. give us the timeline for distributing the moderna vaccine. >> reporter: joshua, the cdc said the work to distribute this vaccine came as soon as the authorization came on friday night. mckesson is the distributor moderna is relying on. and work began to essentially break down that stockpile of moderna vaccine into individual
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shipments based on the cdc's recommendations. and that is the work that has been going on since then. what we heard this morning from the chief operating officer of operation warp speed is that we can expect to see trucks leave this facility and another one in louisville tomorrow morning at some point. and make their way out across the country. we know that the first shipments of this vaccine can come as early as monday. remember, moderna is promising to deliver 20 million of these vaccines by the end of the month. you mentioned the key differences between the pfizer vaccine that we saw last week and the moderna vaccine that will be rolled out this time around.
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it's that storage capacity. what that means in implication is this vaccine will be able to go to more places more quickly than pfizer's vaccines. we're talking about places like pharmacies, doctor's offices, nursing homes, especially in those hard-hit rural communities. this was expected to have a major impact once it leaves the facility. joshua? >> there are some states who say their vaccine allocations for next week were sharply reduced. there was some controversy in terms of the administration saying that pfizer's having trouble producing the vaccine. pfizer's been saying they're not having any trouble producing the vaccine they just need to know where it needs to go and then they can meet the need. what's actually going on? who's right? >> reporter: it essentially boils down to a giant miscommunication. we heard from the general, general perna of operation warp speed, and he said and explained that essentially when he was laying out that initial forecast for states misallocated or underestimated the amount of vaccine that was going to be available for each individual state so that was the number that was conveyed to the governor. but you know, listen to what he told us this morning because you'll hear from the tone of the general when explaining his mistake, it's a tone that you don't hear too often coming out of washington.
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listen here. >> i am the one that approved the forecast sheets. i am the one that approved the allocations. there is no problem with the process. there is no problem with the pfizer vaccine. there is no problem with the moderna vaccine. so to the governors, to the governors' staffs, please accept my personal apology if this was disruptive in your decision-making and in your conversations with the people of your great state. i will work hard to correct this. >> reporter: he says that problem has now been solved and it won't affect his estimation that when you combine the vaccines from moderna and pfizer from last week and the ones that will be going out next week, that they believe they'll be able to hit that 20 million dosage target by the end of the vaccine or within the very first few days of january. joshua? >> thank you, shaq. that's nbc's shaquille brewster joining us from olive branch, mississippi. there have been problems with national distribution of the covid vaccine, as you heard. and there are more local issues
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as well. yesterday protests broke out at stanford university medical center hospital in california. frontline workers staged a walkout shouting "first in the room, back of the line." demonstrators accused the medical center of prioritizing vaccinations for senior doctors and medical workers who are not directly caring for covid patients. stanford has since apologized for its distribution plan and says it's working to develop a revised version. california's icu bed capacity has dropped to 2% statewide and that is a crisis at facilities like hazel hawkins hospital in hollister, inland from monterey bay. that is where we find nbc's scott cohn joining us now with more on the vaccine distribution and the challenges hospitals are facing. scott, how are hospital workers doing where you are, particularly with cases going up and bed capacity going down to almost nothing? >> reporter: yeah, it's really rough, joshua.
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as you know, hollister, as you said, it's inland and sort of on the edge of the central valley. so they get a cross-section here of people commuting to silicon valley about 40, 50 miles away and agricultural workers. this hospital, hazel hawkins in hollister, is the only hospital in the county and it is now operating at 130% of capacity. not just the icus but the whole hospital. they've had to double up patients in what were single rooms. they have patients that are staying in the emergency room. and of course a lot of it owing to that surge of covid patients. and people here wonder if there's any sign of it letting up. >> it's like a war zone inside there. we are kind of treating this as a mass casualty event. the hospital has come together as a team and we're treating the sickest patients and we're treating every patient that comes through the door, we're getting them in, giving them treatment and we're seeing everybody that shows up.
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>> reporter: now, the hospital staff here is getting vaccinated. that's the good news. they got about a little more than 200 doses of the pfizer vaccine last week. they've done half of it up till now. they'll do the rest next week. and they'll get about 300 doses of the moderna vaccine next week. so they'll be able to vaccinate not just the frontline staff but also eventually some support staff as well. but of course that doesn't do anything about the surge in the community. and they also know here that they've only had the first dose of the vaccine, so they won't be fully protected until they get the second dose, which they expect in january. it's a tough time here, joshua. >> scott, there are so many different kinds of medical centers in california. you know, stanford is different in that it deals with a different kind of clientele in palo alto, in silicon valley, where you are it's kind of in san bonito county, kind of inland from monterey bay, just
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south of the bay area as we think of it. away from interstate 5, which runs right through the central valley. it's kind of squished between all of these different population centers. what kinds of hospitals are the hardest hit right now? is it just the ones in the big dense areas like l.a., san diego, san francisco? is it the ones that are kind of squeezed between areas? who's struggling the most? >> in a lot of ways it's sort of equal opportunity. the state divides things up by region, and they're rook looking at icu bed capacity. in southern california the most populous part of the state they're tapped out of icu beds. los angeles, san diego, santa barbara. zero icu capacity. also here, this is considered part of the central valley, the san joaquin valley, also no icu capacity. in the bay area, the greater bay area, we're talking about 12%. the cutoff for the state, for the expanded stay at home orders is 15%. the bay area's below that. and sacramento now sitting right at 15%. the only area where it's a little bit less severe is in the northern part of the state.
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they're operating with about 25% of icu bed capacity left. but even that is pretty striking. so it's in a lot of ways, it's equal opportunity. it's a tough time, as i said. >> thank you, scott. that's nbc's scott cohn reporting for us from hollister, california. covid was not the only virus that made news this week. computer viruses did too. yesterday the white house was prepared to release a statement that would formally blame a hacking campaign against the federal government on russia. but they were told to stand down. it's unclear who gave that order. this was first reported by the a.p. and confirmed by nbc news. today president trump downplayed the hack and tweeted that china might be at fault. he cited no evidence for this, just said it might be so. two officials with knowledge of the situation say these tweets caught white house officials off guard. the tweets also directly contradict yesterday's statement from secretary of state mike
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pompeo. he said it was in his words pretty clear that russia was the culprit. joining us is democratic congressman ted lieu of california. he serves on subcommittees that focus on the internet and homeland security and his district includes malibu and santa monica. congressman lieu, good evening. >> thank you, joshua. honored to be on your show. >> i wonder what you make of the president's comments about this hack? is there any evidence that china might have had anything to do with this? we do know that china is very technologically sophisticated and this is not beyond their capability. but do we know that this was china? >> the answer is no. what we do know is that in 2016 russia engaged in a sweeping and systematic attack of our elections including a massive cyber hack and we know that russia continued to attack the united states in these last four years including this very recent hack of solarwinds that secretary pompeo said was
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essentially done by russia. i did not understand why donald trump still has yet to condemn vladimir putin for any of his attacks on the united states. i don't understand why when it comes to putin donald trump bends the knee. something is really wrong with our president when it comes to russia. >> how do you think this hack happened? do you think this is more about russia's technological sophistication here or is this the kind of thing where you had enough federal employees who just refused to update windows on time and it exploited a vulnerability that could have hit anybody? >> we do know from public reporting that on the dark web they were selling access to solarwinds, which is the company that was hacked, and this company had at least over 18,000 customers that may have been affected including numerous federal agencies. the reporting also says that one of their passwords was literally solarwinds123. if that's true, then solarwinds should be firing its employees
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right now who were responsible for that. at the same time we know that the trump administration also eliminated multiple positions in cybersecurity including a national security council position in cybersecurity and in 2019 a number of cybersecurity administration officials left. so it's no surprise that our cybersecurity has been weakened and foreign powers took advantage of it. >> solarwinds 123? really? seriously? please tell me you just made that up, congressman. that is the dumbest thing i ever heard. >> it may have been solarwinds 1234 now that i think about. >> for those of you who have a password like, that do yourself a favor, go google password generator right now and make up an honest to god not stupid password because that is a very bad password. what are we doing about these attacks? is this the kind of thing we have the capacity to push back on or should we just kind of get used to this being the nature of how the world is going to work for the future? >> so i'm one of four recovering
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computer science majors in congress. it's going to be one of three next year because a person's retiring. and it's clear that one of our weaknesses are third-party vendors. the opm hack during the obama administration, which was a massive hack where millions of security clearance records were taken by a foreign power, that was also done through a third-party vendor. so we have to do a lot more testing and surveillance of third-party vendors that provide software to the federal government. i'm working on legislation to do that right now. but that's a weakness in our cybersecurity. >> president-elect biden has tapped alejandro mayorkas to tap the department of homeland security. that is his nominee. what do you make of him in terms of his ability to deal with threats like these? >> i am so happy that alejandro mayorkas was nominated by president-elect biden. i knew him when he was a u.s. attorney, the central district
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in california. he is an amazing, smart, passionate, hard-working person. and he was also deputy secretary at a department of homeland security working on cybersecurity issues. so he gets it. and he's going to make sure that we get back on track in cybersecurity. at the same time we have to streamline cybersecurity in the federal government because right now you have the department of homeland security, you have the office of national budget, and then previously you had a cybersecurity czar. it's all over the place. i think we need a central point of contact. hopefully the biden administration will fix that in the next couple years. >> and briefly, sir, before i have to let you go, what's your sense of how much can actually be done about this? i mean, china and russia have the at least military advantage of making these kinds of hacks in a very centralized way. north korea as well. the united states as you mentioned does a whole lot of contracting. although a lot of our cybersecurity operations are governmental.
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this feels like we're fighting a very asymmetrical war with countries who just don't play by the same rules as the united states plays by. are you more optimistic about the future or more pessimistic about the future? >> i am optimistic because we do have the biden-harris administration coming in that will take cybersecurity much more seriously. they also believe in facts and in science. so that's good. in addition, we know that we have not enough cybersecurity professionals, not only in the private sector but also the public sector. so i have legislation which is a new collar jobs act that will provide a tax act for companies to send their employees to get trained in cybersecurity because we just need more cybersecurity professionals at all levels of government plus in the private sector. >> conversation for another night. i'd love to talk to you about the future of recruiting cybersecurity professionals because you're right, there's been an effort for years to try to get more people to if they're looking for a career shift to consider this as a future career. conversation for another night, though. would love to talk to you more
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about that. democratic congressman ted lieu of california. congressman, thanks very much. >> thank you, joshua. there's plenty more to come tonight. later on, lawrence o'donnell, the host of "the last word," will join us live. also coming up, congress is working through the weekend. lawmakers have until midnight sunday to reach a deal on a government spending bill including coronavirus relief. will they make it? we'll speak to michigan senator debbie stabenow. then early voting began in georgia this week for two senate runoffs. the outcomes will determine who controls the senate. we'll bring you the latest. and some are calling the british prime minister the grinch who stole christmas or rather canceled it. the uk is under new coronavirus restrictions after finding a worrisome variant of coronavirus. how much should the u.s. be worried about that variant? that's all ahead as "the week" continues on msnbc. ♪ limu emu and doug.
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let me first of all just say to everybody who's made plans for christmas, as i said earlier on, everybody who's thought
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about it, all the care and love that's gone into plans for christmas, we of course bitterly regret the changes that are necessary. but alas, when the facts change you have to change your approach. >> christmas in the united kingdom will be very different this year. today prime minister boris johnson ordered the highest level of coronavirus restrictions. it's early sunday morning in the uk right now. so those restrictions are now in effect. the new rules prevent people from mixing with other households unless it's only one other person and outside. non-essential shops, movie theaters, gyms and hair salons will be closed for two weeks. the change came after scientists announced they'd found a new strain of coronavirus. this mutation is up to 70% more transmissible than others. also breaking this evening the cdc released new guidance on allergic reactions to the vaccine. a small number of people who've
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gotten the vaccine have had reactions to it. today the cdc also gave the go-ahead for pilots to get vaccinated. officials say it is safe for them to get the shot and then fly. spacex is asking the cdc if its employees and astronauts should be considered essential workers so that they can get the vaccine soon. let's discuss all this with dr. lippi roy, an internal medicine physician and msnbc medical contributor. doctor, it's good to see you. i wonder what your thoughts are on this new strain of coronavirus with the understanding that viruses mutate. this is what they do. the minute a virus gets in your body it starts to change. that's how it works. so how worried should i be about this more transmissible strain, especially since it's been mutating and the vaccine is still 90-plus effective even with these mutations? >> well, a happy saturday evening to you, joshua. it's always good to see you. and you pretty much summed it up right there to be honest. it's important for your viewers to understand that the emergence
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of new strains is actually a normal part of virus evolution. emergence of new variants come and go over time. and emerge and evolve over time. they come and go. experts in the virus, epidemiologists -- by the way, kudos to the british surveillance team for detecting this particular strain. but the data right now is showing that this current strain in the uk is -- while it's moving faster, it's growing faster, there's no evidence that it's causing more serious disease, a. and b, there's no evidence to suggest that this particular strain will not respond to the current vaccines that are rolling out, joshua. >> i realize that's a weird way to start a conversation with you on a saturday night. dr. roy-g to see you, is this going to kill me? i know that's a weird way to start a conversation. >> i'm used to this with you, joshua. you and i have been talking about this since march. >> we have. >> so you and i have had lots of
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normal conversations. >> all year long. what happens now? the chief medical officer for london said they've alerted the world health organization, they're going to look into this. what's the next step, particularly in terms of trying to stop the global spread of covid? does this help in terms of knowing that there is this new kind of variant? >> so the short answer is that we don't know. to reassure your viewers, they're gathering data literally this minute. they're constantly gathering data. they're doing active surveillance. they're watching -- as you and i just discussed, viruses mutate. that's what they do. the seasonal flu vaccine. why do we have a different vaccine every year? because the influenza vaccine mutates that rapidly and that frequently. we already know that. so it's not really surprising. what's going to be key is noting any biologic difference as far as humans go, as far as any clinical manifestations, as far as disease severity.
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these are the things to watch out for. as far as you and me and the general population, the public health guidance and recommendations remain the same, joshua. it's wearing a mask, maintaining that distance, and when your turn comes up get the vaccine. joshua. >> let me ask you about these new allergy guidelines from the cdc. they say that anyone that's ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a covid-19 vaccine should not get that specific vaccine. i'm not sure what to do with that guidance. i don't know what ingredients are in a vaccine. peanuts, soy, i can tell you if i'm allergic to those. but the components within them, especially because the vaccines have been developed in some new ways that use different kinds of technology and mrna and so on, how do we as everyday people deal with that advice and know whether to take the vaccine or not? >> yeah, those are really great questions, joshua. so to your point, the cdc just came out with guidelines, very specific recommendations for the public when it comes to severe allergic reactions.
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so you're right. if a person has a severe allergic reaction to a specific ingredient in one of the vaccines that's out right now, they should not get the vaccine. as far as what the ingredients are, i believe the pfizer manufacturing guidelines -- information has the specific ingredients. the fda website does. and possibly the cdc website does too. and let me just continue on. the cdc also recommends that if a person has any severe allergic reaction to any other vaccine to not -- to ask their doctor whether they should get it. any severe allergic reaction to any non-vaccine -- non-medication like food or latex it's okay to get it. any allergic reaction to oral medications it's okay to get it. but if you have a severe allergic reaction to the first shot, they do not recommend getting the second. but you know, honestly, joshua, i know that some of this can be really confusing, so i recommend for your viewers look at the cdc guidelines and then talk to your doctor. if there's any confusion, just talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or issues. joshua. >> dr. lipi roy, msnbc medical
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contributor and internal physician, we appreciate you talking to that and to the point you just made because there are so many questions about this we're bringing dr. roy back tomorrow to answer some of your questions about the coronavirus, about this new strain, and the vaccine. so send your questions our way. no such thing is a stupid question. e-mail your questions to the sf or tweet us at theweekmsnbc. we'll get to some answers tomorrow. coming up, a new covid relief package has hit a major roadblock. can lawmakers reach a deal before they head home for the holidays? we'll hear from senator debbie stabenow of michigan when we come back. gillette proglide and proglide gel.
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this morning on capitol hill there was growing optimism that a coronavirus relief deal was imminent. again. now it seems the negotiations have hit yet another snag. this time it's a provision from republican senator pat toomey of pennsylvania. he wants to limit the federal reserve's authority, particularly related to a small and medium size business lending program. will this be enough to torpedo a relief package before the new year? and if not, how will congress get this done in time? joining us now is democratic senator debbie stabenow of michigan. she is a member of the senate budget committee and ranking member of the subcommittee on health care. senator, good evening. >> good evening, joshua. it's always good to be with you. >> good to see you too. i wonder what you think about pat toomey's objection that basically slowed down what would have been pretty much a voice vote on this and kind of derailed the process. do you think he has a point in his objection?
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>> well, i'm very frustrated about this, and let me just start by saying, joshua, having been involved in many of the discussions including the lead democrat with food access and agriculture provisions which we have something important to get more people food and support for our farmers, to see this derailed is very frustrating because people across the country, people in my home state of michigan need help. they have needed help for months. we've tried to put together a bipartisan effort all summer and into the fall with mitch mcconnell. and finally, a bipartisan group came together after the election, which was terrific. and we've got all the elements now to do something to help people who are out of work and small businesses and people who need food access and protections in terms of losing their homes right now. thousands and thousands of people losing their homes in
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january if we don't act. we have to act. and then at the last minute we are seeing an effort that really as we hold on to it, and i've been involved in a number of discussions today with senator toomey and others, the concern is that he really wants to tie the hands of the next administration in terms of the treasury and the federal reserve and the president to be able to act when there is a crisis. so we know he's objecting to the cares act lending provisions, but whenever we talk about how to address that -- and i disagree with him on that. but there's always an effort to go further. and basically limit what can be done in a financial crisis. and we're not done with the crisis. we are not done. we don't know exactly what will be happening in the new year. and it's really outrageous to think about limiting the tools of the new president to deal with the economic crisis we have.
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>> well, could i get you to react to something that another senator said in terms of how this whole process is playing out? here's what republican senator john cornyn of texas had to say about how he sees all this. watch. >> first of all, given the way that this is being negotiated, basically there are four people who are negotiating this massive spending package on behalf of the 535 members of congress. and essentially because this has been pushed off until these last days of the 116th session of congress the only thing most rank-and-file members will be able to do is to vote up or down. in other words, there's no opportunity to amend it through regular order. i just have to say this is a terrible way to do business. and in the future i hope we do better because this is almost
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the worst of all worlds when it comes to legislating. >> senator, i know our time is tight, but i wonder how you feel about that. do you kind of feel like senator cornyn feels that you're sort of along for the ride with these negotiations? >> actually, i've been involved in a number of the negotiations. i have to say, i find it almost humorous that senator cornyn, who's number two only to mitch mcconnell in the senate, would be acting as if he's not involved in those negotiations. he certainly should be. in congress unfortunately things never seem to happen unless there's a deadline, unfortunately. which is incredibly frustrating to me and certainly to people across the country. but i will tell you that there are a number of us, each of those that represent the pieces that are being talked about, the unemployment. it goes through finance committee.
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the agriculture and nutrition piece goes through the agricultural committee, which i am the ranking democrat on. we have all of these committees who are signed to negotiate on their pieces of this, which we have been doing. and now it's true that in the end you get to the top four leaders to put it together. would i like to have had this done sooner? absolutely. we tried to get senator mcconnell to work with us in the summer when he said we didn't know whether or not -- he didn't know whether or not there needed to be anything more done or not. and then half his caucus said they wouldn't support anything more, which is the position that we've had to deal with. the great news is that some of the republicans in the senate deserve great credit for stepping forward with democrats to negotiate after the election and have done a great job of giving us a framework. they gave us a framework. then the framework was given to each of the committees. the four leaders in the house and the senate of the committees were asked to negotiate their
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pieces, which we have done. they now put it together with the top leaders. and at the last minute senator toomey, being fully backed by the republicans, has come in to say wait a minute, we know you're trying to help people, we're trying to help people, but we want to take away a big tool for the next president to be able to help people if we see a real downturn in the economy. and it makes no sense. >> senator debbie stabenow of michigan, a state whose former governor has been nominated to be energy secretary. would love to talk to you about that another night. but for now thanks for making time for us. >> you're welcome. >> the covid vaccines are giving doctors new protection and new hope. the powerful story of a doctor who's back at work after getting his shot is just ahead. stay close. >> i was just thinking to myself, you know what? i may get to see my elderly father and see him in a safe manner.
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health care workers across the u.s. are rolling up their sleeves to receive the first batches of covid-19 vaccines. it should keep them much safer as they continue helping us if we get sick. a doctor in colorado is back at work in the e.r. after getting vaccinated this week. from our nbc affiliate kusa mark salinger has the story. >> reporter: in a year filled with so much darkness light is something we've all been searching for. >> there are so many emotions with this. true confession, i didn't really sleep great last night because i was just so pumped up about this. >> reporter: dr. ben eusatch woke up thursday morning knowing this random day in december is the one he'd been waiting for since the first covid-19 patient was admitted to his emergency room nine months ago. >> i got my vaccine this morning.
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just light at the end of the tunnel. >> reporter: he says he didn't even feel the shot going into his arm. he blames that on his adrenaline. what he did feel was a cocktail of emotions that can only come to life after seeing the sights he lives through every day. >> there's nothing that is more gut-wrenching to me than knowing that as i admit somebody and i put them up into the icu that they very well may not make it. >> reporter: dr. wasatch has treated hundreds of covid-19 patients as the medical director for the emergency department at uc health highlands ranch hospital. the vaccine now gives him protection against a virus that's killed so many. it also gives him hope beyond the doors of the e.r. >> as i was getting that shot i was just thinking to myself, you know what? i may get to see my elderly father and see him in a safe manner. >> reporter: the vaccine brings with it a time to celebrate. inside dr. wasatch's emergency room there are signs the fight is not over. >> when you and i are finished i'm going to put on my mask, put
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on my ppe and send the doc that's on duty today to get his shot. and that feels just as great as getting my own shot. >> reporter: off to treat more patients, this time knowing the future looks a little brighter. >> that was kusa's mark salinger reporting. georgia is counting down to two senate runoffs. the polls show both races appear to be basically tied. we'll take you there next. research shows people remember commercials with nostalgia. so to help you remember that liberty mutual customizes your home insurance, here's one that'll really take you back. wow! what'd you get, ryan? it's customized home insurance from liberty mutual! what does it do bud? it customizes our home insurance so we only pay for what we need! and what did you get, mike? i got a bike. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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georgia's senate runoff is on january 5th, and georgians are breaking turnout records in the first days of early voting. they've already cast more than 1.1 million ballots so far. the polls show both races are statistically tied. the polls show both races tied. purdue leads ossof by 0.8%. both races clearly are well within the margins of error. and that last race, loeffler-warnock race, is getting nasty. nbc's janelle ross is reporting that loeffler's campaign and some outside groups are using racial attack language. it is reminiscent of what we used to see from anticivil rights politicians. ja nell ross joins us now.
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how racialized is it? >> i think so understand it as purely racialized, you would have to understand a little bit about the history of race in american politics, which is generally speaking to try to maintain control of the legislative bodies, of legislative offices. there have typically been efforts to describe, depict, declare black politicians at illegitimate, as somehow un-american or simply not functioning within the mainstream, and that is the language you see here. there is a lot of talk about her as a radical, as a socialist, as un-american. there is commercial after commercial after commercial sort of repeating these ideas. sometimes those words are put into the mouths of people in the commercial who are sort of there
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to serve as the voice of voters. sometimes it comes out of the mouth of other candidates or other officials. on the flip side of this, i think you have a growing dynamic where the warnok campaign would lie to tie the opponent to extremist voices on the right, in particular one gentleman who does in fact have some ties to or at least a past connected to the ku klux klan and a whole series of activities including a conviction that involved some racial violence. and the loeffler campaign denied any connection to this gentleman. but one of his groups provided campaign funds. what you are seeing that is most shocking is you hear some of
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that language coming out of the mouths of ordinary voters. i think because there are so many ads on air. this stuff is being drilled in every day, two, three times an hour, so it is pretty hard to escape. >> what is that doing to the overall tone of the campaign. there are also some big political heavy hitters that are coming to georgia, have been and will continue to come to georgia between now and election day on january 5th. what is the mood of voters overall as you see it? >> i think there is this sort of interesting blend of things happening here in georgia. i think a lot of people are quite exhausted. i think in the same way that many americans are ready for the november election to take place and move on to other issues in their lives, you certainly hear people say something of that nature. and as i said, here in georgia, the public has been absolutely inundated with ads coming to their phones, to their tvs,
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calls, polls. they're just inundated. there is a sense of exhaustion. at the same time, i think both campaigns and more broadly the parties have done a very good job making it very clear what the stakes are here in georgia. on the one side is the idea of the ability to perhaps legislatively enact critical portions of a biden agenda or perhaps on the other block aid to critical parts of the biden agenda and to rev up the concern level are the other arguments i had mentioned earlier. covering news from african-american perspective. check it out online. thanks. the negro leagues now have major league status. mlb made that move this week. but what is the right way to honor black americans who played during segregation?
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this week featured two big stories from major league baseball. the cleveland indians announced their name would change after the 2021 season. a statement from the team reads, quote, we have decided to move forward with changing the current team name and determining a new non-native american based name for the franchise, unquote. this follows a similar move in
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july by the nfl's washington football team whose name i will not say. it retired that name for the same reason after years of criticism from the public and years of resistance from that team's owner. now neither franchise has chosen a new name, but the decision to applaud it as a positive step toward inclusion. major league baseball announced a, quote, long overdue recognition. it's elevated the negro leagues to major league status. now more than 20 years of records of black players will be included in the game's official statistics. from 1920 to 1948, a loose collection of seven major circuits, what we now call the negro leagues featured names that could become better known that their impressive statistics will stand alongside players like hank ar raraaron. this is widely seen as a
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positive development. but still some see those negro league statistics as tainted. after all, the conditions in the separate leagues were not equal to the majors. the schedules were inconsistent. the fields were not nearly as well maintained and recordkeeping was hit or miss at best. plus, the black players were not playing their white counter parts at all. espn's senior writer wrote in part, quote, just as in 1954 when the u.s. supreme court concluded in brown v board of education that separate was inherently unequal, separation devastated the negro leagues. it did what it was intended to do, unquote. but it could materially change baseball history. one negro league historian told an mlb podcast there is a record of another home run from will i mays and that could


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