tv CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta CNN November 27, 2021 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
you're live in the cnn newsroom. i'm jim acosta in washington. we start with breaking news. fears of another pandemic setback as dr. anthony fauci says a covid variant that could easily spread -- more easily and potentially evade vaccines already could be here in the u.s. >> i would not be surprised if it is -- we have not detected it yet. when you have a virus like this, it almost inverably is going to go essentially all over. >> the omicron variant has been detected in south africa, israel and hong kong. italy, germany and the uk announced confirmed cases. british prime minister boris johnson confirming what so many have feared would happen. >> it does appear that omicron spreads very rapidly and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated.
>> moderna says omicron represents a significant potential risk to its vaccine while pfizer says it could take 100 days to tweak its vaccine if needed. so the u.s. is hoping to buy time by restricting travel from south africa and several of its neighbors starting monday. arlette saenz joins me now from massachusetts where biden is spending the weekend. does the president have any plans to address the nation like what we're seeing out in the uk? what's the latest? >> reporter: well, jim, the last we saw and heard from president biden was yesterday as he spoke to reporters here in nantucket. it's unclear if we'll see him today before he returns to washington before. but the president said they're trying to take a cautious approach when it comes to this new coronavirus variant. and that is why they made that decision to extend restrictions -- travel restrictions from south africa and seven other nations in the region. now vice president kamala harris was asked a bit earlier today whether there might be
additional restrictions coming and she said that they're taking things one step at a time. take a listen. >> i have been briefed and as the president has said, we're going to take every precaution and so that's why we've taken the measures we have. >> do you think there will be any additional travel restrictions? >> we'll take it one step at a time. as of now, we've done what we believe is necessary. >> reporter: president biden was briefed on the latest developments a bit earlier today and senior u.s. health officials are in contact with health officials from other countries as well. that's according to a white house official. right now officials are hoping that by issuing this restriction that will offer more time to really fully understand this state of this new variant. officials say it may be several days or possibly even several weeks before the full impact is known such as how severe of an illness this variant might cause and whether it could possibly
evade vaccines. one thing that this administration is really pushing for the time being is vaccinations and booster shots. they say that is the way for americans to protect themselves. of course, there will be many questions about whether the administration will decide to take additional steps similar to what we heard from british prime minister boris johnson today as people are looking to curb the spread of this virus. for the time being, there's no detected cases reported here in the united states. dr. anthony fauci said it could be possible it's either here on on its way. >> i think that's a safe bet. thanks so much we appreciate it. dutch health authorities say 61 travelers from south africa tested positive for covid friday after they landed in amsterdam. tests are under way to see if think of them have the omicron variant. and a newark arrived at just after 7:00 this morning and atlanta, just after 8:00.
what are we hearing from the airlines here in the u.s. they have to be very concerned as well. >> you would think two of these airlines would be even more concerned, jim. but they tell us that they're going to continue their flights to south africa, continue business as usual despite the emergence of this news of the new variant omicron and despite what arlette was talking about, the travel restrictions going into effect on monday, affecting eight african nations. those two carriers, united and delta, say they're not going to change any of their scheduling and we mentioned the travel restrictions go into effect on monday. we have a partial list of those who are exempt from those travel restrictions, including u.s. citizens as well as lawfully permanent residents and spouses of those groups. noncitizen nationals of the united states, including those who are in the armed forces as well as spouses of those groups, a full list of those who are exempt can be found at the white house website. speaking to those in the health community, jim, there's a large amount of skepticism as to what these travel restrictions will
really do and how effective they'll be in stopping the spread. dr. anthony fauci said on friday there's no indication that omicron is here in the united states, but this morning on nbc he was saying a more cautionary tone, saying that he wouldn't be surprised if the strain is here. the cdc is adding to that caution and those concerns talking about being able to detect this and here's a statement in part i want to read from the cdc saying it is continuously monitoring variants and the u.s. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in this country. we expect omicron to be identified quickly if it emerges in the united states. arlette arlette mentioned this as well, they're working with officials in south africa. there's a lot of concern and fear if only because we don't know that much about this strain. there's not a epidemiological data. but the data that is available,
it's just downright scary. >> we need more information. thanks so much. let's take a closer look at how europe is dealing with the new variant. germany, italy and the united kingdom all have confirmed cases as of today and the european cdc says there's a high to very high risk of omicron spreading. tell us more about how the government there is trying to get ahead of this variant. i suppose at this point, the prime minister is just as frustrated as everybody else is right now. >> absolutely. the prime minister and the government in general is taking an urgent approach to this, two cases confirmed in the uk so far. there is a sense that this virus, this new variant could spread rapidly as we've seen in the past with the alpha variant and the delta variant here. but the prime minister did say that he will take a targeted
approach. there was a focus on the measures. the mandatory wearing face coverings, for example, on public transport and in shops, for example, and, of course, a bit more emphasis on that track and trace protocol that the uk has brought into force. but there is, of course, that focus on travel restrictions. the uk government had previously restricted travel from six southern african nations over concerns -- over this new variant today. the government has announced that four further countries will be add today the red list and travelers coming into the uk will be required to quarantine for at least ten days at a government-approved hotel at their own expense. there was a greater focus on the controls at the border. and the prime minister announced some new tougher restrictions for travelers. take a listen. >> we're not going to stop people traveling. but we will require anyone who
enters the uk to take a pcr test by the end of the second day after their arrival and to self-isolate until they have a negative result. we will require all contacts of those who test positive with a suspected case of omicron to self-isolate for ten days regardless of your vaccination status. >> and the vaccine question is also another key area of concern. the prime minister said, of course, that there are concerns that the new variant will have a negative impact on vaccine efficacy. although he did caution that there are some evidence to suggest that those who have been double vaccinated will have some good measure of protection. but they are encouraging people to go out and get those jabs and they are also encouraging people where eligible to get the booster jab, the third jab. the government is looking to shortening the gap between the
second and third dose and widening the pool of people eligible to get that third dose. and that's part of efforts to gain control over this variant before it spirals out of control as we have seen in the past. of course, the alpha variant last winter put immense pressure on the health care sector. that is the key concern here. the prime minister said that they are looking to buy time here for the health care sector. that will be a big focus for the prime minister and, of course, for european leaders dealing with this new variant. jim? >> all right. thank you very much. let's bring in dr. william schaffner. i thought we were out of the woods. now we're talking about travel restrictions. my goodness. travel restrictions in the u.s. don't begin until monday and even then, there are so many people it doesn't apply to as nick valencia was just talking about a few minutes ago. is a travel ban the best way to contain or slow down this virus? is it time to start thinking about, you know, vaccine
mandates for travelers flying around the world? i suppose the horse is out of the barn at this point. >> well, jim, these are sobering times, right? we were all optimistic that we were nearing the end of at least the pandemic phase and now covid has thrown us another big curve ball. we don't have all the information about this omicron strain but it looks very contagious and the early data, as you're reporting, as shown -- suggests that it can at least in part evade some of the protection from our current vaccines. travel restrictions are something you do as was said to buy some time. by their nature, they're very porous. there are lots of people who have exceptions to the travel. u.s. citizens could bring the virus back. sure, that could happen. and in any event, this is a highly contagious respiratory
virus. it's very hard, in fact, it's impossible, to really curtail for any prolonged period of time the spread of such a highly contagious respiratory virus. it's going to make its way around the world. it looks like that way. so, yes, i think we may indeed be in for a phase of many more masks, much more social distancing, and more restrictions and obligations for vaccination going forward. >> what are the chances that omicron is already here in the u.s. dr. fauci said it's probably here. i think that's probably a safe bet at this point, don't you think? >> well, i think the cdc is right, we're looking hard and we haven't detected it yet. could it be here? obviously because we can't test every single person who develops covid infection. so, yes, it could be circulating already.
if it isn't already, i'm sure it will be here soon, i'm afraid. >> and how long until we have a picture of how the vaccines stack up against it? i'm wondering about that covid treatment pill that we've been hearing about from pfizer, you know, do they have to go back to the drawing board on that? what are your thoughts on that? >> well, diagnostic tests, do they work as well? the antiviral drugs or monoclonal antibodies, all of that is currently being tested. as i like to say, the lights are on in the laboratories at night. i think we'll get a better idea this coming week about how well our vaccines work. i would hope we get at least partial protection against this strain and then of course the vaccine scientists are already working their laboratories are illuminated at night too, trying to update their vaccines to keep unwith covid and omicron.
>> and david mkenzie, our correspondent in south africa, he said hospitals there aren't strained yet, at least not yet. the question i guess that is raised by that, is it too early to read that as potentially a positive in all of this, that it may be more transmissible, but may not make people so sick that they need to be hospitalized. >> fingers crossed. fingers crossed. it is too early. the early spread came mostly among relatively -- big surprise -- unvaccinated people in south africa, younger adults. and so there's a lesson here for us. we have lots of people still undervaccinated or unvaccinated in the united states. delta is still the main threat here right now. we need to get everybody as vaccinated quickly as possible. >> and, doctor, you just brought this up, the delta surge, we're
still in the midst of it. 1,000 people are dying every day on average. that's extraordinary in and of itself and then what happens if omicron ends up being a menace and is just placed on top of that problem that we're dealing with right now? that is not -- that's not a good scenario. >> i'm not being facetious, we've seen this movie before, right? and so i think we need to just get our mind set that the virus is still in control. i don't care about your covid fatigue. we're going to have to deal with this in an ongoing way very, very seriously. and masks, social distancing, and those sorts of constrains are in our media future, i'm afraid, and you know me, i'm an optimist, but tighten your seat belts. >> all right. we will strap in and prepare for
the worst. hope for the best, prepare for the worst. thanks as always. we appreciate it. >> my pleasure. flash mobs ransacking high-end stores across the country. what's behind the surge of smash-and-grab robberies? to achieving net zero emissions by 2040. and we believe our smart buildings solutions can help. providing power to reduce emissions, intelligence to eliminate waste, and collaboration tools that help the workplace and the planet. between meeting human needs and a sustainable future, there's a bridge. cisco, the bridge to possible.
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today, we are translating decades of experience into strategies for the road ahead. we are morgan stanley. this holiday shopping season is off to a violent start. stores are seeing an uptick in smash-and-grab robberies. and a tacoma, washington, mall was cleared out when someone opened fire, and in los angeles, a group stormed a home depot and stole hammers and crowbars before taking off. retail workers are scared their store could be next. polo sandoval is in new york for us. this stuff is just getting out of control. is the crime keeping shoppers away? what are you hearing? >> yeah, jim.
i took a peek inside one of the department stores on fifth avenue, new york, there's no shortage of watchful eyes, not only monitoring the crowds, but also on the merchandise as well. that is certainly a concern. it is certainly not stopping people from heading out and making their purchases, not just here in new york city, but throughout the country. when you look at the numbers from some of those retail experts and the forecasts that they have issued that is indicating that by the time this weekend, alone, wrapping up, they're expecting about 150 million americans to make some holiday purchases. more than half of them are expected to make those purchases in person. one of the many reasons is because of those lingering concerns about supply shortages, about the inventory shortages at some of these stores here. you get a sense that a lot of americans are hoping to go out to those retailers and purchase those items themselves. we heard from the national retail federation which is this trade group of retailers and they are very confident, at least that group is very
confident that a lot of the big box retailers have prepared for this holiday shopping rush and stocked up on their inventory. when you hear from other experts, jim, they say that's acting as a sort of magnet for many of these individuals that are carrying out with these smash-and-grabs that we've seen across the country. but back to the retail numbers, those independent mom-and-pop stores and retailers, those are really the biggest concern right now because experts say they are the ones that have been hit particularly hard over the pandemic and that's why it is small business saturday and they're encouraging a lot of folks to spread a little bit of the love there, the retail love with them. but really whether you're going to your local mom and pop or hitting fifth avenue, experts are expecting for americans to spend at least $843 billion in holiday spending. the average american spending a little over $900 here. so, again, jim, those are some
positive and impressive numbers that experts are expecting the hoping will come true. remember, this is happening as americans across the country are dealing with inflation. many are still spending on those holiday purchases. >> all right, polo, thank you very much. let's bring in cnn law enforcement analyst anthony barksdale. great to have you with us. we appreciate it. there have been dozens of these flash robberies in recent weeks. why is this happening? >> it's a crime of opportunity. the opportunity is there and we're seeing criminals take advantage of these locations. >> and some law enforcement experts are blaming a lack of real legal consequences for these smash-and-grab incidents. i was speaking with charles ramsey yesterday and he was talking about some of this -- some of these law enforcement expert and is analysts say the
decriminalization of low-level offenses in some states like california as a means for criminals that are now manipulating the system. what do you think? does it have something to do with criminal justice reform going too far, or is there more to it than that? >> i would agree 100% with what chief ramsey has to say. it's gone too far. we can look across the united states in many cities where crime is just at unacceptable levels. and it's not only property. it's not only these types of smash-and-grab robberies, but look at homicides, look at philly. look at d.c. look at baltimore. i could keep going. but i agree, it's gone too far. we have to start prosecuting criminals and the police officers have to believe if they make an arrest, that the arrest will be prosecuted. and right now, they don't have
that faith in the system. >> yeah, i mean philadelphia hit 500 homicides. washington, d.c., just hit 200 homicides. we haven't seen levels of crime like that in your major cities since the '90s. it's unbelievable. and in these smash-and-grab cases, the cases are pretty similar, the thieves are wearing masks or hoods, making it impossible to identify them on security cameras. they're in and out in seconds. they're carried out by large groups of people in what appears to be a planned maneuver. when you look at these security videos, what pops out to you and what would you tell, you know, some of these retailers about what they can do about it? >> well, i can speak from personal experience. we were getting hit in locations in baltimore, so what i did i put plainclothes detectives in the stores, talked to the managers, said let me help you out, let us help you out. put detectives in as workers inside the store, but had arrest
teams outside of the stores, outside of the building. so if they did come in, when the thieves did come in and grab merchandise and went to run out, they only get but so far. the problem is, when you're just watching them on video and you have them on -- you have them on cameras, that's not sending a message. pretend that law enforcement was showing video of these smash-and-grab robberies where police are popping out and locking them up right then and there. take them down right then and there and then play that on social media and send a message that we're not tolerating this. back that up with prosecutors that take the case to trial and get convictions. we have to get serious about this. >> all right, we appreciate it. thanks so much. >> thank you, jim. and we're going to take a quick break. we'll be right back. unlike ordinary memory supplements, neuriva plus fuels six key indicators of brain performance.
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it's been a busy week for the january 6th committee, the panel sent out a new wave of subpoenas targeting those believed to be key organizers of the stop the steal movement, including roger stone. listen to their conversation from a year ago. >> roger stone is a smart political operator. he says trump still has a chance to stop this steal. >> the theft is provable in a number of different methods. in all of these swing states, you can go to stop the steal and we'll be posting that, but there is insurmountable, compelling evidence of fraud.
>> how do we trump this fraud, how do we override the scam? >> first of all, the backdrop. we have to have mass public protests. >> and democratic congressman pete aguilar of california is on the january 6th committee and he joins us now. thanks for being with us. i guess listening to those two talk about this more than a year ago, i guess it just brings back memories of, you know, they were trying to pull every fast one in the book to overturn the election results at the time. what do you want to ask roger stone and alex jones if you can somehow get them to talk to you? >> well, the committee has been very focused on finding out everything we can and specifically all of the activity that led up to january 5st and january 6th, the rally, the evening of the fifth and the morning of the 6th. clearly these are two individuals who had expensive contacts with folks inside and out of government who played a
role in continuing to pursue the big lie. and this is something that the committee has mandated and charged with getting to the bottom of. we're going to continue focusing on those efforts, but we need to have more of those conversations in order to connect the dots to gain better clarity on what happened. >> and do you think we're ever going to see any of these guys speak at a televised hearing, any of the -- you know, people that you're trying to subpoena to bring in? i mean, there are a lot of americans out there who want to see that, in front of the cameras being grilled by folks like yourself. >> well, i think it says a lot that they continue to stonewall, some of these individuals continue to stonewall. these are lawful subpoenas and the committee will continue to use every means necessary to compel witnesses to testify. it's our belief and we feel that the american public also feels that we need to gain more
clarity on what happened to ensure that we prevent this from ever happening again. this was an assault on a peaceful transfer of power and we do need to hear from these individuals and we're going to use every means necessary to compel them to speak to the committee. whether it's a prime time event or whether it's something that is behind closed doors, we just want to get to the truth. that's our focus. that's the mandate that the house resolution 503 that created the committee -- and keeping in mind again, jim, and i know you've reported on this extensively, we wanted a nonpartisan committee. that's what the house voted on. mitch mcconnell and donald trump allies successfully beat that down in the senate and so now it's on the committee in order to get the work done. >> and trump's former white house chief of staff mark meadows is facing possible criminal charges for defying the
subpoena. this is what meadows told fox news, he's exerted his executive privilege. it's not up to me to waive it. it's got me between a rock and a hard space. will you be referring meadows for criminal contempt charges like you did with steve bannon? is he headed in that direction? >> well, there's still a small window in which he can still comply here. and so we're keeping an eye on the calendar ahead this week and if mr. meadows does comply with the subpoena that he has been given, then we can prevent some of those steps. but if he doesn't comply, the committee has made very clear just as we did with steve bannon that we're willing to use whatever means necessary. and so i think that that's something that will have better clarity on here in the next week. >> does that mean he has about a week? >> there are some dates on the subpoenas and so we expect him -- we're hopeful that he
complies. that's our hope. that anyone complies with a lawfully subpoena. if he doesn't, then the committee is going to have to think through next steps and i would imagine that would be within the next week here. >> and is there any talk of trying to get testimony from trump or rudy giuliani, for example, his name hasn't popped up on these subpoenas yet. >> we've said that there is no one who is off the list. but we are performing our work, doing our investigate steps. right now this is the focus that we're on, these are the steps that we're taking. if there are other steps that the committee wants to take, we'll have those conversations and i'm sure the chairman will have comments and break that. but at this point, this is just the next investigate step, these subpoenas for groups and organizations and individuals who continued to have work in and around the january 5th and january 6th rallies. >> trump's legal team is arguing
that your committee and its legal fight for trump's white house records could cause lasting damage to the presidency. what is your response to that? >> well, the courts have ruled that executive privilege is not absolute and clearly the former president wants to invoke a privilege that he does not hold, the current occupant of the white house holds the keys to privilege. and so, you know, this is just continued stall tactics. this is something all of us expected from the former occupant of the white house, that's something he's built a career on is not paying legal bills and stall tactics within the court system. and so it's something that we are aware of and we're going to be successful with this court case. we're keeping a close eye on the calendar and we want this to move as quickly possible because we want to ensure that we have all of the documents in order to perform our investigate work to continue. >> very quickly, to follow up on that, speaking of the stall
tactics, do you think you're getting close to exhausting the potential recipients of subpoenas at this point? are you getting near to the bottom of that list? because obviously if you're continuing to send out subpoenas once a week well into the new year, we're starting to run into the midterm cycle and so on. are you getting close to exhausting that list of potential subpoena recipients? >> i think it's important to just say that we've heard from a number of people, not just the subpoenas that have been made public, but 250 witnesses that we've interviewed, 25,000 documents that we've poured over. so we continue to maintain a robust amount of work product to go through and should that work product give us more leads, then we're happy to chase those down and pursue the truth. >> all right, congressman pete aguilar, thanks so much for joining us. we appreciate it. >> thanks, jim. the longtime confident of
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on monday opening statements begin in the trial of ghislaine maxwell, the alleged police of convicted pedophile jeffrey epstein. maxwell is accused of sex trafficking and grooming minors as part of a sex ring that catered to epstein and a powerful network of men worldwide. epstein died in prison while way waiting his own trial. maxwell has pleaded not guilty. in the new series, journalist vicky ward tries to shed light on maxwell's longtime partnership with epstein. >> when did jeffrey really meet ghislaine maxwell? that is a topic of peculiar confusion. there are many different stories. but we have four people who say they know that they met in the 1980s through her father robert maxwell who very much wanted them to become a couple. when as far as you know did
ghislaine and jeffrey become romantically involved? >> in the '80s. >> long before her father died? >> oh, yeah. >> why did robert maxwell introduce ghislaine to jeffrey? >> i think that robert wanted to have this guy as a son-in-law. funny enough, he really -- that's what i think. >> and "chasing ghislaine maxwell" is streaming. there was a long stretch after epstein's death where nobody knew where she was. what is the public going to learn during this trial? >> well, i think we don't know. i think there is sort of -- there's an element of jekyll and
hyde clearly about ghislaine maxwell. one of the reasons there's so much interest in this trial, jim, is because her name is ghislaine maxwell and not sort of james smith. she is the daughter of the late robert maxwell who was an extraordinarily powerful and famous global media tycoon. ghislaine maxwell outwardly, what most -- she presented to most people as a very well educated woman. she had gone to oxford. she spoke numerous languages. she spent most of her time traveling around the world with people like bill clinton. she name dropped names like henry kissinger, the gaddafi family. she was a woman who had an extraordinary global rolodex. she was great friends with prince andrew. so the question is, are we going to learn in this trial, how did
somebody with all those benefits get to be where she is now, charged with these unspeakable allegations? how would somebody like her be in a position that she's now charged with helping jeffrey epstein groom and sexually abuse underage women? you know, i think it's the image of a very accomplished, privileged woman doing this to other woman, it's something that is very difficult to comprehend. and we all want answers. >> absolutely. and in a recent "rolling stone" article, you note that high society types are bracing for this trial. what's driving that? fear that they'll be implicated if epstein's little black book is introduced as evidence? what do you think? >> well, i know from my reporting -- and we all know it from the last two years, right,
jim, that since jeffrey epstein died, all sorts of names have been reported as being associated with him that we had no idea about. bill gates being one of them. leon black, the financier who was the head of apollo who has had to step down because of his association with jeffrey epstein. a couple of weeks ago, the ceo of barclays had to step down. jeffrey epstein is still very much an enigma. we know he was a sex offender, but there's a great deal we don't know. we know it was a con artist, criminal, embezzler, possibly a spy, an arms dealer, and a math teacher. he was able to lure not just young girls but powerful men into his mansions where there was some sort of powerful kind of concierge club happening.
what they were doing, we still don't know. and so therefore, i think a lot of people have reason to be nervous for ghislaine maxwell's trial. >> absolutely. and let's play another clip from your special. this one focuses on epstein. >> he was a mr. fix-it. he was a sensitive in a certain manner. he was careful, eloquent. he's very intelligent. he knows if he's going to be trapped. he traps you more than he's trapped. >> there's this idea with epstein out of the picture that maxwell has to be the so-called fall guy in all of this. do you buy that? >> well, it doesn't matter what i think, jim. it's what she -- whether or not she can convince the jury. i think you're going to see here
that she's going to put up the same kind of defense that her brothers put up in the early 1990s when they were charged of helping their father, who is there dead, steal hundreds of millions of dollars from their employee's pension funds. and i think what you're going to see here, we can see from the pretrial motions that ghislaine maxwell is going to say she too was a victim of epstein and like her brothers did, she's going to poke holes at the credibility of the government witnesses. and bear in mind, these charges are from a very, very long time ago. so the government is going to use that. >> it's fascinating stuff, vicky ward. thanks so much for being with us. the three-part special streaming now on discovery plus. vicky ward, great to see you again. thanks for stopping by. he spent decades behind bars
for a crime he did not commit. now he's beginning a new chapter of his life as a millionaire. his story next. automotive donoraru is the t to make-a-wish and meals on wheels. and the largest corporate donor to the aspca and national park foundation. get a new subaru during the share the love event and subaru will donate two hundred and fifty dollars to charity.
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homicide was dismissed tuesday after he served 43 years in prison. a gofundme account has been set up to help the 62-year-old start a new life. more than $1 million has been raised so far. kevin strickland has always maintained his innocence and that is quite a story. i wish him the best. we're back in a moment. liz, you nerd, cough if you're in here! shh! i took mucinex dm for my phlegmy cough. what about rob's dry cough? works on that too, and lasts 12 hours. 12 hours?! who studies that long? mucinex dm relieves wet and dry coughs.
you're live in the cnn newsroom. i'm jim acosta live in washington. dr. anthony fauci says a the omicron covid variant may already be here in the u.s. >> i would not be surprised if it is. we have not detected it yet. when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over. >> we know it's in belgium, italy, germany, israel and a confirmed case in the czech republic. boris johnson says two cases have emerged in the uk as scientists learn more about the variant by the hour. >> it does appear that omicron spreads very rapidly and can be spread by people who are double vaccinated. >> that is a scary possibility as pfizer says any potential tweak to its vaccine could take