tv New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman CNN January 19, 2021 5:00am-6:01am PST
delaware. very interesting to learn about mitch mcconnell, and we're getting more announcements from the presidential transition today. >> that's right, john. this is a new detail that we're just learning about what inauguration day will look like tomorrow for joe biden. we understand now that he'll be attending church services in washington, d.c., and congressional leaders will be joining them. among them, house speaker nancy pelosi and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. this is a sign of deference by partisanship and respect that, of course, biden has not been afforded by the outgoing president donald trump. so very, very interesting indeed. as for his final day here in wilmington, delaware, as president-elect, we expect him later in the day to attend a farewell event where we expect to hear briefly from the president-elect and then he, of course, heads down to washington, d.c. originally he hoped to take the train as he has done so many times throughout his washington career but no longer doing that due to security concerns. and then this evening, once he
arrives in washington, d.c., both he and vice president-elect kamala harris will be attending this memorial service honoring the lives, the many lives lost throughout the covid-19 pandemic. such a stark reminder of what he is about to inherit as soon as he takes office tomorrow. and then that speech that he will give on inauguration day tomorrow. one of the most important speeches he has ever given. we know that he has been working on this for weeks and that the theme of national unity will be a big one, particularly after what we saw happen on capitol hill two weeks ago, john. >> thank you, mj. it's incredible to think about all that will happen in the next 28 hours. inaugural events kick off this afternoon under extreme security. "the washington post" reports the fbi is warning law enforcement that far right extremists have discussed posing as national guard members to disrupt the inauguration. cnn's pete muntean is live in washington with more on what's happening at this hour. pete? >> alisyn, things only get more and more locked down here in
washington as the day goes on as we move into inauguration day. police are in the process of closing down the bridges between virginia and d.c. this is one of those checkpoints staffed by members of the national guard and the fbi tells the "washington post" it is worried that armed insurrectionists could pose as members of the guard. we have just learned all 25,000 members of the guard are now on the ground here in washington. but now the big question is how long all of this protection will need to last. the head of d.c.'s department of homeland security says it could be some time. here's what he said. >> right wing extremism is not going anywhere. and i think we can definitively say that. and so one of the things that we want to do is see, what does the new normal look like? and certainly this domestic terrorism, this right wing extremism is going to be with us for some time in the months and years ahead. >> president-elect biden will look out onto an entirely
different inaugural crowd instead of the people in the audience, the national mall completely cleared out right now. 200,000 flags representing the folks who would be here, were it not for the pandemic and all of this protection, this is going to be an inauguration like no other. >> pete muntean in washington, keep us posted. joining me now is democratic senator chris coons. he is a close friend of president-elect joe biden. thanks for being with us. moments ago, we got word that, still, senate majority leader, soon to be minority leader mitch mcconnell, will attend church with the bidens tomorrow morning. this sounds like something that chris coons has his fingers in. what do you know about this? >> john, that's just an important and symbolic gesture of coming together, of the sort of unity that president-elect biden has been calling for throughout his election and this transition. as you know, there are millions of us who are eagerly
anticipating joe biden's swearing in tomorrow at the west front of the united states capitol. but if you look at everything that's a part of joe's plans for his inauguration, it shows an entire focus on unity. yesterday was martin luther king day. millions of americans engaged in service as part of the inauguration. today we'll have a farewell ceremony for joe here in delaware for him to travel, sadly, not by train, but to washington, where he will join vice president-elect kamala harris in an evening tide lighting of the reflecting pool in front of the lincoln memorial to remember the 400,000 americans who died so far in this pandemic. and that church service tomorrow is an important part of respecting tradition and signaling the importance of faith in joe's life. it's how he's been able to get up when life has knocked him down. it's central to how millions and millions of americans have gotten through this pandemic so far. and it's an important reminder
of who joe is and of who we are as a nation. a nation that is hopeful and optimistic. and it's going to need a lot of help coming together. >> you mentioned that joe biden will not be traveling by amtrak, by train. jeff zeleny tells me he made 8,000 amtrak trips between wilmington and washington. you're in wilmington. you have a sense of what's going on. just what's the mood inside biden world this morning with these few hours left to go? >> optimistic. look, this is what joe biden's campaign for president was all about, which was a turning the page. ending a chaotic and divisive presidency. moving us forward. when i first talked to joe about his running for president in early 2019, i told him i was convinced he was the right leader for this moment. i had no idea then, none of us did, that 2020 would be such a
deadly, difficult and divided year and that he would become president at such a challenging moment. he will look out on a mall that is empty of americans, that has hundreds of thousands of flags in their place. in part because of the pandemic, in part because of the violence and chaos of last wednesday. joe biden and kamala harris are absolutely the leaders we need for this moment and on his first day, he will sign a whole series of executive orders to undo some of the damage and division of the last four years. but he needs partners in congress, in the senate. later today we'll hold the confirmation hearing for tony blinken to be his secretary of state, and i am working hard to make sure there's a window for his core cabinet members to be confirmed later this week after the inauguration. that is one important way that leader mitch mcconnell and leader schumer can show that we are indeed coming together and moving forward. >> yeah, you talk about the confirmation hearing for tony blinken today. we do not believe that he will
be confirmed tomorrow which would mean that joe biden very well might likely be the first president in a long time not have any cabinet members confirmed his first day in office. can you give me a sense of what day you think we will get some confirmations? >> i'm hopeful by later this week we'll see a core team of his secretary of defense, secretary of homeland security, secretary of the treasury, secretary of state confirmed. we don't have exact days on each of them because, as you know, the power-sharing agreement for a 50/50 senate and the terms of when and how an impeachment trial may begin are just being hammered out in final detail now between schumer and mcconnell. but joe biden has nominated an incredibly skilled and capable cabinet representative and diverse cabinet, but folks who have worked together at the highest levels of government in sharp contrast to the previous government. this is a confirmable cabinet of folks who can help lead us forward through this challenging
and tumultuous moment. and the bold plan joe put out that includes everything from national service for addressing this pandemic, as you know, long something i've championed, as well as additional checks, more money for vaccination, support for schools safely reopening, extension of unemployment. congress needs to act on that and act quickly. >> you talked about unity and the message of unity. for you in the senate, does unity include working across the aisle with ted cruz and josh hawley? >> look, as you know, i'm someone who believes in the possibility of reconciliation. a lot of my faith heroes and heroes in service are people like john lewis who were able to be reconciled to those who opposed them at times even violently. but part of my understanding of how we should conduct ourselves in this world is that true reconciliation only comes after repentance. and i'm looking to see whether my colleagues reflect on the
chaos and violence of last wednesday and take any responsibility for it and in any way show a sense of responsibility for it that could lay the groundwork for reck sillation. i've found a bay to work across the aisle even with republicans i sharply disagreed with. but i thought last wednesday's actions and those who stoked it and those who led up to it, like president trump, were unprecedented in the modern era in the united states, and there has to be accountability for those actions. >> just on a positive note, backing up here a little bit, you know joe biden for a long time. if i'm not wrong, you delivered a nominating speech for him in iowa in like 2007 when he ran for president that time around. you were stumping for him before you were in the u.s. senate. what's this like just for you right now? >> it is a wonderful moment. my daughter's been singing "one day more" from "les mis." another day, another destiny.
to think we're just on the precipice of a moment in american history where joe biden will become our next president is truly exciting to me. it's energizing to many of us here in delaware and across the country who worked so hard. i think that we have one last chance for the senate of the united states where he served for so long, an institution he loves, to return to functionality, to actually delivering results for the american people. joe is someone who has been knocked down hard by life twice. he knows what it means to lose things you love and to grieve. but he also knows how to get back up. with the strength of his faith and family, and how to move forward. and that's always inspired me. his willingness to take on challenges and to serve. we need to take this opportunity, this moment, to move past these divisive, difficult, deadly last four years to move past this pandemic and to see the ways in which our country is divided and needs to heal. and i think joe is just the
right moment -- he's just the right man to lead us through this moment. >> senator chris coons from delaware, proud senator from a proud state this morning. thanks for being with us. >> thank you, john. joining us now, cnn white house correspondent john harwood and cnn political commentator van jones. guys, we've been looking forward to talking to you this morning. van, i want to start with you and get your thoughts on what these four years have meant for you, for the country, and now at the end of them, what we're supposed to take away from all of this. >> well, you know, it's been a tale of two countries. i mean, for the people i care about the most, people i talk to the most often, it's been a nightmare. and daily escalating series of norm-breaking, rule-breaking and also i think we sometimes don't understand what this has meant
at the grassroots level. i'm from small-town america. grew up in jackson, tennessee. people just going to the store, people just walking down the street. people trying to interact at work. and just being hit with a growing sense of, frankly, physical danger as people are more and more emboldened to speak out and say crazy stuff in staff meetings, in the lunch rooms and once you had the covid thing hit it got worse because people were more isolated. so when you see people, there would be a look in people's eyes where they felt their freedom was being impaired because somebody asked them to wear a mask and these confrontations. what you see on social media. so this idea that this was just something that's happening in washington, d.c., this was a culture shift in a negative direction. the entire culture jumped on a reverse escalator down and back and people have been scared.
and are still scared. and so, you know, for other people, it was great to have the president who is quote/unquote speaking for them. but for the people not in that tight circle around his ideas that got more extreme and more bizarre is a nightmare and hopefully tomorrow that nightmare comes to an end. >> i quoted george w. bush in the show earlier. w. said essentially that was some weird blank. as you sit here this morning, just finish this sentence for me. well, that was dot dot dot. >> wait, are you talking about the inauguration tomorrow or -- >> i'm talking about the last four years. as you look back on the last four years, finish this sentence. well that was -- >> it's been horrible for the united states. and it is fortunate for the united states that it comes to an end tomorrow. look, donald trump was produced
in large part by the backlash to president obama who embodied the growing diversity in the united states. he has -- there's an irony. he released this report yesterday on martin luther king day which read like it was written by the high school republican club decrying the fact that feminism and the civil rights movement have produced what it called identity politics. donald trump has practiced the purist form of identity politics, and that is the identity of white people who feel aggrieved by the way the country is changing culturally, the way it's changing economically. he has stoked that anger. after the election, which he lost, which he then falsely claimed that he had won and had been stolen from him. he stoked that anger so that it had no place to go until it exploded, as we saw on january the 6th. and we're now two weeks later. the president is about to leave, and joe biden is somebody who
has instincts that run in the opposite direction of donald trump and we'll see what his prospects are for trying to narrow at least somewhat the divisions that donald trump has exacerbated. >> van, tomorrow president-elect joe biden has invited congressional leaders to accompany him to church tomorrow morning. joe biden is a true churchgoer. he really does that. it's not under duress. it's not faking it for the cameras. he doesn't just do it when there's a violent photo op he's staging as we remember from -- this is president trump. and so it seems that joe biden is opening his arms to people that he could harbor resentment towards, but he's opening his arms. given that you say the past four years has been basically a nightmare, are you hopeful today? >> yeah, of course. look, joe biden was not my candidate, and he wasn't the
candidate at first of a lot of democrats. we looked a lot of different places. but he is the candidate this country needs, the president this country needs because he has the capacity to bring people together, and he knows who he is. he has to do two things that would be impossible for an ordinary politician. on the one hand, he has an african-american base that turned out in record numbers and did extraordinary work because we have extraordinary pain. this virus has hit us first and worst. the effects of the lockdown have hit us first and worst. black women are in free-fall. women are in free-fall and black women are in free-fall with a lead balloon. he's got to do something to respond to the pain of his base. at the same time, he's got to reach out and bring along and bring on board millions and millions of white americans that have been told to be afraid of him. i think he -- i can't think of another politician who can pull off both. and for people who feel that he
should only do one or the other, i will say, if you abandon your black base, you'll not be here 2024, and if we just throw away all these white voters that are mad, guess what, throw them away. we don't need these trump voters. your trash will be the nazi's treasure. we'll not know anybody away. i don't like nazis and cultures enough to cede them 30 million people. joe biden is the leader that can bring african-americans up and bring white folks in. he showed it in the election and in the primary, in his whole life, and i expect he'll be able to do it again. >> it's interesting, john, listening to you and van talk about the impact that this has had on america over the last four years. you don't just snap your fingers and have it change in one day. this isn't, as i noted before, bobby ewing in that season of "dallas" in the shower where all of a sudden, it didn't happen. it happened. it happened. and i don't know -- joe biden
will give a speech about unity tomorrow. we heard some details about what he's going to try to do, but how hard will it be? what will be sort of the back wind that he'll be facing as he tries to do this? >> john, it's going to be extremely hard for joe biden to do that. but let's just step back and think about the journey that joe biden has traveled to get to this day. i'm older than all of you guys. i was there in the spring of 1987 at the wilmington train station where joe biden announced his first campaign for president. he was a young man then. he was going to galvanize the baby boom vote. new generation of leadership at a time when george h.w. bush represented a previous generation. i was there in the senate office building when he pulled out of that campaign. he was a flawed candidate. 20 years later, tried again in 2007. way overmatched by hillary clinton and barack obama. that campaign was not a success. however, barack obama saw in joe biden somebody who could help
him succeed as president. and now we have found almost -- more than 30 years after that initial attempt by joe biden, he has arrived at a place where there is no politician in the united states who has a better opportunity by virtue of his personal characteristics and his experience to make the attempt to bridge the divide in the united states. it's going to be hard for him. it will be hard for anyone, and i think if you looked at it realistically you'd say it's not likely he's going to be able to do it. but nobody has a better opportunity to do it than joe biden, and he's going to give it a shot in his inaugural address tomorrow, and it's going to be profoundly different from the era that started four years ago with donald trump. >> he's going to talk about unity and some people think that that's a little premature given everything that we've seen over the past years and what we saw two weeks ago. and that maybe it's a little pollyannaish. what do you want to hear him say tomorrow? >> unity is not premature.
it's long overdue to have the commander in chief say that we're one country and to mean it. and to lay out ideas and principles and programs and plans that can bring us together. that's what i want him to hear. that's why people went to vote. people didn't vote because we want to figure out a way to win a food fight in the middle of the pandemic and economic collapse. people want to end the food fight and get back to work, putting the country back together. and that's his job. it's easy to go on twitter and say, oh -- nobody who is living in the real world wants more of what we just have been through. yes, there has to be accountability. we have a white nationalist terrorist network more dangerous than anything al qaeda could ever dream of. that thing needs to be gone after by law enforcement. and put to bed. but that is not the vast majority of americans on the right. it's not the vast majority of americans, period. and so listen, if you love the past four years of food fight you go get your own ketchup
bottle. the rest of us are going to figure out a way to come together and joe biden will have a very welcome message for most americans tomorrow. >> van jones, john harwood, appreciate it. great to have you on this morning to talk about this. look forward to speaking to you over the next few days as this historic transition takes place. join cnn's all-day coverage of the inauguration of president joe biden. it begins tomorrow. we start our coverage quite early, 5:00 a.m. eastern time. an fbi warning about qanon followers talking about infiltrating security for the inauguration. how does that impact how they'll prepare, next.
we have new reporting from "the washington post" that says the fbi is warning the qanon followers have talked about posing as national guard troops to infiltrate the inauguration ceremony. joining us now, cnn's senior law enforcement analyst andrew mccabe, the former acting director of the fbi. andy, great to have you here. when you hear qanon is trying to get inside the national guard to get closer to the ceremonies of the inauguration, that's of concern. and you add that to all these other concerns about some of these militant groups that have some overlay with law enforcement. what do you see here? >> well, i think the first thing that we're seeing, john, is that
is a very reasonable overcorrection. so if you think back to the time, the days preceding the january 6th attack, i think what we saw was assumptions. people weren't considering some intelligence and some chatter in maybe the way they should have. but attacks have a way of refocusing your attention and causing people to recalibrate how they are -- what they're hearing. what they think of what they're hearing and how they disseminate that intelligence. you're seeing the fbi being overly cautious, which is a good thing. dissemiating more broadly and considering what they formerly dismissed as just aspirational chatter, now thinking like, hey, maybe some of these things could actually happen. >> do we know yet the level of organization that went into what happened on january 6th? were there leaders of it? again, people don't show up for a peaceful march with, you know, batons and ropes and -- >> zip ties.
>> -- zip ties unless there was some plan or level of organization. so what have we figured out about that? >> you're right, alisyn. those are all good indicators that at least some people were thinking ahead, were planning, thinking about the equipment, the protective equipment or the zip ties and things they would need to execute their plans. ie, they had plans. what we're seeing now is the fbi is making arrests and going after people who are visibly associated with the militia groups. the 3 percenters, oath keepers, proud boys and getting deeper at those targets that may have actually been involved in like unit-sized planning, gathering together in groups, prepositioning at the capitol and people who you saw using what appear to be tactics in the -- in terms of the way they communicated and moved. these are different from the run of the mill trump supporters being arrested for essentially trespassing and disorderly conduct. once we start getting these folks in custody, some of them
will talk, and then we'll find out exactly how much planning was going on. >> understood. andy mccabe, thank you very much. so tomorrow's inauguration of president-elect joe biden will take place on an empty national mall. but a few people will be there, and we talk to one next. ♪ we made usaa insurance for veterans like martin. when a hailstorm hit, he needed his insurance to get it done right, right away. usaa. what you're made of, we're made for. usaa
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in just hours, president-elect joe biden heads to washington, d.c., where he and vice president-elect kamala harris will be, of course, sworn in tomorrow. joining us now is democratic congressman eric swalwell. he'll attend the inauguration. he's also one of the house impeachment managers. congressman, great to see you. you're in washington, d.c., right now. can you just tell us what the nation's capital looks and feels like this morning? >> not the celebration that we would like to see for any president. i went to president trump's inauguration in 2016.
i took friends of mine from my district who supported the president as my guests. we had disagreement about it, but we both went and watched the transition of power. today there are thousands of guardsmen in the street. there's a wide perimeter around the capitol. you need to be credentialed to even get close to the capitol. and it's really a result of, obviously, this horrible pandemic but also a president who incited an attack on the capitol and for the first time in our country's history, we'll not be able to say we've had a peaceful transition of power. >> how does it work with you being able to be there? how many people will be there? where will you be sitting? how will they ensure your safety? >> i feel safe. i'm grateful to the law enforcement and military who are ensuring that. i was going to bring my wife, but we had a conversation, i know a lot of my colleagues have had, which is, we've got a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. and because of what happened just a couple of weeks ago, we
both don't want to be at the capitol at the same time. so i'm going to bring someone i grew up with in my hometown as my guest. you get one guest, and -- but still important to show ourselves and the world that we can witness a peaceful inauguration. >> so not only will you be there no , not only are you impeachment manager but you also ran for president. you were a presidential candidate. i'm just wondering if you ever let your mind go there and think, what if i won? i have an uncontrolled pandemic. i have a devastating economic crisis that i would have to be dealing with. all of this civil unrest. all of this surge of extremism. white nationalist extremism. do you ever think how biden will tackle that, and what that will mean for the incoming president? >> i do. i ran to make a generational case, and before the pandemic hit, i would hear from voters in iowa and new hampshire. they'd say, i love that you're
running, but we just don't want to risk rolling the dice on a younger candidate and that bore out during the race when the most seasoned candidates were the ones that lasted until the end. i think the voters got it right. they picked joe biden as someone that will be able to draw on his experience, draw on a history of bipartisanship in the
senate and someone who has worked in a recession before, helping the obama team, and also with his response to the ebola crisis. so we're fortunate that such an experienced leader is taking office and the biggest priority has to be to crush this virus, get our kids back into their schools and open up this economy. >> let's talk about the senate impeachment trial of donald trump that looms. is that -- >> hope so. that's a decision for the speaker. the team is meeting regularly and we'll be ready. >> okay. so -- but have you gotten any marching orders that it will start next week, and are you getting ready for that?
>> we'll be ready. i want to say, the case -- it's no secret the president told a big lie. radicalized his supporters and incited terrorists to attack the capitol. when that happened, he did nothing to stop them. we're ready. the senate is not in session until, i believe, a little bit later today. so we're ready to proceed. >> and just tell our viewers what that will look like. will you call witnesses? will you use videotape? how are you going to make your case? >> when i was a prosecutor, i would never preview to the public what i would do in a courtroom and our team has agreed we'll not do that either. but the facts are no secret. and unlike most cases, the jurors here are actually victims. they ran for their lives, too. they ran out of that chamber and they saw just as all of us did, those terrorists stormed their chamber, ransacked their desks and just desecrated a sacred
symbol of democracy. >> joe biden will have so much on his plate, the first 100 days. so how long do you think that this trial would last? >> again, not sure. that's really a decision for the senate because they'll vote soto set the trial rules. we think for reasons of deterrence and disqualifying this man who despises public safety and democracy, we have to make our case. >> congressman eric swalwell, thank you very much for laying everything out for us and what we expect to see tomorrow. we'll be watching. >> thank you. we could learn today whether the dangerous new coronavirus variants are resistant to vaccines or if this vaccine will work on them? jen has an exclusive look inside the lab doing this research, next.
just hours from now we could learn whether the coronavirus vaccines that people are being given work against the new, more contagious variants of the virus that are threatening so many parts of the world. cnn's david mckenzie has an exclusive look inside the lab doing this crucial research. >> reporter: a new year, a new level of sadness. a new level of fatigue. >> a time we never thought we'd experience in our life and it's here. it's a reality. >> reporter: a second wave of covid-19 is devastating south africa. saleem kazi's organization was once averaging two covid-19
funerals per day. now it's 12. sometimes 14. >> people have to take lessons from this. it's -- i don't know. god is testing everybody. >> reporter: a country that defied the odds in fighting against covid-19 most of last year finds itself being tested like never before. by what was discovered in this very lab. a troubling new variant of the virus that is much more contagious than the original strain. for trulio, the first clue were the panicked calls from the doctors whose hospitals were overrun. using samples from newly infected covid patients across south africa, it was his team's sequencing that revealed the variant's exact mutations. >> we can see what's going on. these cells are quite happy and grow in the body. >> reporter: covid-19 targets those cells. >> the same thing as if you would actually -- >> reporter: it has three
mutations at key sites the virus uses to bind to human receptors meaning it targets those sells more efficiently. >> it has a close distance. it has to get in. and it has to get out before the cell dies because the virus has no life of its own. >> reporter: thanks to sounding the alarm, wrish scientists discovered a separate variant sharing one of the same key mutations. >> what's not normal is when one variant dominated across a very geographic region and that's associated with the first increase of cases. that's exactly what helped south africa and the uk. >> this is a level three biosafety lab because it's growing live versions of this troubling new covid variant discovered nea ed here in south. the work he's doing is critical to understanding where this pandemic goes next. the team's final results expected later today will help
answer whether covid-19 vaccines will hold up against the variant and its three mutations. preliminary results suggest that antibodies from the first wave of infections are less effective against the new variant. >> as somebody with a family and parents, i was very concerned. but for us, this is our job, right? we're here only for one thing. and that's to do the research. >> reporter: research done at a record pace. because the consequence of not knowing is all too clear. and the costs of the pandemic already too high. david mckenzie, cnn, south africa. >> our thanks to david for that. president-elect joe biden's first inaugural event in washington just hours from now. it will honor americans lost to coronavirus. we have new details about the
president-elect joe biden and vice president-elect kamala harris will honor the nearly 400,000 americans that have died from coronavirus at the lincoln memorial reflecting pool. more than 53,000 deaths just this month alone. joining us now, chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. it's so remarkable to have a leader acknowledge the huge devastation this country has felt in terms of the number of deaths. >> no question about it. i was doing some -- talking to some folks over the weekend. this idea that, throughout this pandemic, there really hasn't been what they have referred to as the center of grief.
so much of the grieving that's taken place has taken place behind closed doors, behind closed home doors, funeral home doors, hospital doors, whatever it may be. we don't see it. we don't feel it. and that makes a big difference sometimes in terms of how we respond to it. there's many people who still think that this is -- we're looking at this in the rear-view mirror. and, obviously, we're not. these numbers are as bad as they've ever been and so much news going on in the world because we don't have that center of grief. maybe we don't pay as close attention to it. this reminds people. it's tough news to hear. i'm sure what the president-elect will be saying today, but it's really important and a stark reminder of what we still need to do over the next several weeks and months. >> 399,008 deaths. we'll cross the 400,000 mark today. the final full day of donald trump's presidency. some people look at that and say
that is in some ways an appropriate milestone given how this administration has handled it. in terms of what the next administration will have to handle, sanjay, we heard from professor michael osterholm. we had a graphic which talks about how much more contagious some of these variants will be, and others are describing a race now between getting the vaccines in people's arms and these variants which are going to spread more quickly. >> yeah, there's two really important points. these numbers you're looking at on the screen, i think it's really important when we look at the models here, and this will be something we need to pay attention to. these variants we need to pay attention to. if it were just 50% more deadly, what would that mean after a month? you'd have roughly 1.5 times more deaths. but the contagiousness is a real concern, okay? if you look at this after six
generations we typically say a generation is five days. six generations would be a month. 50% more contagious could potentially lead to 11 1/2 times more deaths. why? because it's more transmissible, spreading to more vulnerable populations, even casual interactions with people are much more likely to lead to infections. so you get a significant problem. as michael osterholm was talking about, we have about 30% of the country right now that's probably been exposed to this. we don't even know because testing is still a problem in this country. but say if it's 30%, that means the vast majority of people who again may be look at this in the rearview mirror are still at risk. and that's why you have to really focus on these mitigation measures. the same basic things we've been talking about, the mask wearing, the distancing, all that sorts of stuff. what osterholm was also saying without coming right out and saying it is look what they had to do in the uk. look what they've had to do in
ireland. this idea that nobody wants to talk about, of potentially targeted lockdowns to really just break the cycle of transmission. may be necessary. nobody wants to say this, and i understand that. the incoming task force doesn't want to say it. obviously, this current administration we have not done that. but you know, the virus may be dictating some of these terms. if you are getting really, really significant spread and potentially 11 times more deaths as a result of that, that's obviously a gigantic problem, and there are ways we know to basically stop that. >> let's talk about that. michael osterholm scared me because i've thought for the past couple of days, oh, good, there's positive signs, hospitalizations are ticking down and so the idea this is about to explode, i don't want to go home and tell my kids that. >> no, look, i don't either, alisyn.
it's tough to give this sort of news. and i feel like we've had to do it for the last year. nobody wants to hear it. but i think the truth is important here. it's important for a couple of reasons, because it's the truth, but also because it doesn't mean we're help unless the face of this. the same exact things that have -- that we know work, that have worked in other countries, that have reduced their viral transmission to hundreds instead of hundreds of thousands can work here. even if it was masks and basically limiting maximum obp occupancy in areas that are the biggest source of viral transmission can make a big difference. the vaccines will help. the vaccines may need to be tailored now as these variants become more and more dominant. we'll see. they may become more like the flu shot but it takes awhile for the flu shots to work. great big light hopefully at the end of this tunnel but it's going to take a while. the question really is, what price are we willing to pay in
the interim at this point? the number of people who are likely to get infected is going to go up, i think. we've seen maybe a little bit of downward trend. i want to see if that continues. we know this uk variant because it's more transmissible will become the dominant variant. you have a doubling every week. if it's 5% now, it will be 10% next week and 20% the week after. you get the idea. we've got to make sure the vaccines work against this and we've got to protect people from becoming infected for the next several months. next several weeks at least. the weather will get warmer. the vaccines will kick in. that will all help. but again, what price are we willing to pay over the next several weeks and months? >> one thing is clear. we'll have a change in posture in terms of leadership. 27 hours from now or so. 28 hours from now. and we'll see very quickly how much of a difference that makes. sanjay, thanks for being with us this morning. look forward to talking to you
again very soon. >> you were right the first time. it's basically 27 hours until president-elect biden is sworn in. >> i got bad at the math. i was better earlier in the morning. >> just wait until tomorrow morning because the berman and i will be here extra early tomorrow at 5:00 am eastern. >> that number i can tell. i can tell what that number means. >> his math is going to be all wrong. we'll see you then. and cnn's coverage continues, next. ♪ ♪ this is my body of proof. proof of less joint pain and clearer skin. proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis... ...with humira. humira targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain,
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very good tuesday morning. i'm jim sdhciutto. i'm poppy harlow. >> 27 hours from now, america will have a new president. president-elect biden heads to washington, one day before he delivers a hugely consequential speech. the most consequential of his life and takes on the challenge of uniting a deeply divided nation and an economy in crisis and a raging pandemic. as well as a vaccine distribution plan in shambles. today, nearly