tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN November 29, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
other four previous variants of concern. so it has mutations that are similar to the delta variants. so we're expecting it to transmit faster and based on the early evidence we see in south africa, it's certainly transmitting faster than the delta variant. >> reporter: already confirmed in at least 15 countries, it's clear omicron is making its way across borders. >> we're going to see cases of this new variant here in the united states. >> reporter: trying to slow the spread, the u.s. along with almost 50 other countries who have put travel restrictions on countries in southern africa are sparking criticism. >> it's outrageous that south africa, southern africa is being pu punished for having good surveillance and ensuring we wanted to be transparent and share this data with the rest of the world as soon as we knew it and confirmed it. >> reporter: these restrictions have left travellers in limbo. >> we've probably already had about ten flights booked that we
were either canceled or that we were not allowed to board. >> reporter: but today president joe biden tried to assure the american people that these are precautionary measures. >> this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. >> reporter: and he along with other top health officials continue to echo one main message. get vaccinated. >> please, folks, if you have been on the fence, i'm not a politician. i'm a scientist. maybe we can even ask all the politicians to agree on this one. get your vaccine. get your booster. it's the best chance we've got to drive this covid-19 pandemic away. >> jake, as we have been saying, there's still a lot we don't know about this new coronavirus omicron, including whether or not it evades vaccines. in fact, if it indeed does, pfizer and biontech staying is prepared to adapt its vaccines within six weeks. johnson & johnson also saying it is pursuing an omicron specific
vaccine as well. as you heard from president biden and public health officials, your best protection is getting vaccinated. in fact, the cdc just a moment ago strengthening its recommendation for boosters saying anyone over the age of 18 should get boosted six months after their second dose. >> amara walker, thank you. let's bring in chief medical adviser dr. anthony fauci. good to see you. you've spoken multiple times with your counterparts in south africa where omicron has become the dominant variant in just two weeks. what are they telling you about the spread and the severity of cases there? >> well, with the latter, jake, they don't know and we're in virtual constant contact with them. they have patients they're following and they assured us they'd know probably in a matter of a week, a week and a half as to whether or not we're dealing with something that for the most part is more severe, equally as severe or less severe. it could be either of them.
right now it does not look like there's a big signal of a high degree of severity, but it's too early to tell, jake. we really need to wait for them to give us the information. they have been extremely cooperative and collaborative and transparent with us about what's going on there. very helpful. >> president biden said today he does not anticipate expanding u.s. travel restrictions even though almost 20 countries now have confirmed cases of the new omicron variant. given what we've seen with this virus, do you expect more travel restrictions if omicron is proven to be more contagious and more deadly? >> i don't think so, jake. i think what was done about the restrictions from south africa and neighboring countries was merely because when the information came out, about the molecular makeup of this virus with all of the mutations that were of concern, we felt we needed to do something right away. hopefully those restrictions are not going to be a very long duration until we got a handles
too what's going on, but we do not anticipate further restrictions. >> south africa said this earlier today. >> first, it's outrageous that south africa, southern kafrica has been punish forward having good surveillance and ensuring we wanted to be completely transparent. so this kind of early knee-jerk reaction to block travel is probably just going to slow it slightly at best but probably have little if any impact. >> do you disagree with what he just said? he said it's probably not going to have much of an impact. >> it's not going to have an impact on the big picture of whether it gets here or not but what impact it will have, it will buy us maybe a couple of weeks of getting better prepared. whenever you do something like give travel restrictions, you don't do it just for no reason. you do it to allow you to get a
leeway, a little bit period of time of make a week or two to intensify your preparedness and to understand what's going on better. and that's the reason why the president said at the press conference today, now is the time to say, what can we do about this? the unvaccinated need to get vaccinated and those eligible to get boosted should get boosted because we know from experience, jake, that even with variants that are not specifically directed at by the vaccine, such as the delta variant. if you get the level of antibody high enough, the protection spills over to those other variants. so we have every reason to believe, even though this is an extraordinary, unusual variant because of the number of mutations, there's no reason to believe that it will not happen, that if you get the level of antibody high with the regular booster to the regular vaccine, that you're going to have at least some effect and hopefully a good effect on ability to
protect against this variant. >> you said that pcr tests, coronavirus tests, should detect cases of this new variant. but what about those that use the at-home rapid tests. could omicron be more widespread than the ability to track it because those tests don't work on omicron? >> i asked that question just yesterday because i was on a prolonged zoom call with our african -- south african colleagues. and they said at least some of the rapid antigen tests would pick this up. he couldn't guarantee all of them would but the ones they were using, he didn't specifically say what they were, is that the mutations did not interfere with the ability to recognize the antigen by the antibodies that were used in the rapid test. so that is a good thing. the pcr tests that are used can pick it up. lucky for us that's the case. >> do you expect that the omicron variant will become the
dominant variant in the united states at some point? >> jake, we just can't predict that. we don't know. and that's the reason why we're looking at what the pattern is in south africa. it's unfortunate that south africa has been sort of the epicenter of at least the recognition of it, but the good news is they are as good as it gets when it comes to scientists and public health people so they'll be able to give us some very important information hopefully within the next week or two. >> today new york city made masks highly recommended. we're now in the thick of holiday gatherings, people spending more time indoors because of the cold weather. would you urge cities and states to reinstate mask mandates and social distancing measures, and what do you say to those people and i've seen republican members of congress say they don't think masking does anything. >> well, masking certainly does something. i don't think there's any doubt about that. the idea about mandates again, depends on where you are and the
circumstances you're in. one thing for sure that if you are an indoor congregate setting where you don't know their vaccination status of the people around you, you should wear a mask. we're going to be traveling soon. people will be traveling for the upcoming holidays. you'll be in airports that are generally crowded. keep that mask on. i know when people go eat at the food courts, to the best of your ability, stay away from that and keep your mask on. you have to have a mask on when you're on the plane. but make sure you have it on when at the airport. >> so do you think cities should have mask mandates? >> i'm not going to speculate on that. i want to see what happens right now. right now we should be focusing on what's going on in our own country. we have a delta variant that is overwhelmingly dominant. we have 60 plus million people who are eligible to be vaccinated which have not yet gotten vaccinated and we want to
get a lot more people eligible to be boosted, boosted. vaccination will be the solution to this. whether it's the delta variant or omicron variant, vaccination will be the solution. could yet another house republican face censure. the bigoted remark sparking outrage, next. plus a new waves of smash and grabs. thieves hitting luxury stores to best buy. stay with us. ♪ well the sun is shining and the grass is green ♪ ♪ i'm way ahead of schedule with my trusty team ♪ ♪ there's heather on the hedges ♪ ♪ and kenny on the koi ♪ ♪ and your truck's been demolished by the peterson boy ♪ ♪ yes -- ♪ wait, what was that? timber... [ sighs heavily ]
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covid conspiracy theory. he posted, here comes the mev, the midterm election variant. they need a reason to push unsolicited mail-in ballots. democrats will do anything to cheat during an election but we're not going to let them. congressman jack completely disregarding the first oath, first do no harm. the world health organization named it and labeled it a variant of concern, not democrats, and there's absolutely zero proof of widespread election fraud in vote by mail. let's discuss. ramesh, set aside the political nature of thirngs s, there's so about this variant we don't know. it's frustrating for health officials to say we don't know. they're trying to be transparent. it seems irresponsible for a doctor of note like dr. ronnie jackson to pretend this is a manufactured crisis.
>> it's irresponsible for a doctor, it's irresponsible for political leaders. he manages to be irresponsible in both ways. a lot of uncertainties about this. we don't know how deadly it is. for example, though maybe the most important question mark here, one thing we can now say with pretty much certainty is we'll not get enlightenment from congressman ronnie jackson. >> i think that's fair. i don't know if he believes this or not. >> that's the thing. i do hope real journalists will report this out. maybe he was joking. maybe give him the benefit of the doubt but he seems -- i fear he's not. i don't know if he believes it or just trying to manipulate gullible supporters. i just don't know. but physicists are always working on a unified field theory to pull together all into one theory. he's coming close to a unified fraud theory of all the nonsense. the mail-in ballots are perfectly state. i think the entire state of utah votes by mail. colorado, does other states. so he combines the big lie about
election fraud with this really eccentric belief that somehow i guess nancy pelosi and barack obama and i were like hiding out, cooked all this up and then got south africa -- it's nuts. >> nobody believes just one conspiracy theory. you got to collect them all. >> what's so damaging about this, too, beyond the multiple falsehoods in that one tweet is that he does have the title of doctor. doctors, nurses, medical professionals are broadly, widely regarded as they are trusted by the public. there's a reason why earlier this year or some time last year republicans -- the republican doctors caucus did kind of a psa add encouraging people to get vaccinated because the public trusts doctors. when you have that additional title on top of elected official, on much to politician, it's egregious for him to be spreading these conspiracy theories. >> beyond obviously the falsehoods in that tweet, what it seems he's trying to do here are sort of hone in on two things.
one, you know, voter fraud which we know not to be true. in 2020. but what we're seeing from republicans as they think this motivates the base. we're seeing him sort of go after that. and then also there's clearly an exhaustion from the pandemic. and we're seeing some republicans through tweets point that out with this new variant. and sort of dramaticize what president biden is trying to do. we've also seen the president when asked about lockdowns and masking mandates he carefully responded to that. he's clearly trying to stroke the republican base here through many falsehoods that clearly don't make sense. >> speaking of which, not one republican leader denounced ronnie jackson or publicly denounced the horrific islamic phobic comments made by laura boebert of colorado last week. which they have a strong vote by mail thing in colorado. she suggested her muslim american colleague, ilhan omar, maybe she was joking but not
funny, might be a suicide bomber. the two congresswomen spoke today. if you were hoping this was going to bring a moment of reconciliation, here's what lauren boebert had to say about her conversation. >> i never want anything i say to offend someone's religion. so i told her that. she kept asking for a public apology. so i told ilhan omar that she should make a public apology to the american people for her anti-american, anti-semitic, anti-police rhetoric. >> congressman omar said instead of apologizing for her comments and lies, representative boebert refused to acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments and doubled down on her rhetoric. i decided to end the unproductive call. i believe in engaging in those we disagree with respectfully but not when it's rooted in bigotry and hate. so that resolved absolutely nothing. in fact, made it worse. i wonder, i don't know how much you were following this in front
of the scenes, boebert put out or maybe somebody on her staff put out almost a contrite tweet and marjorie taylor greene basically shamed her for being conciliatory on this. i guess the trump lesson is never apologize, even if you are 100% bigoted and wrong. >> it definitely seems to have gotten way worse than before the phone call. and there's no one here, no one from leadership really stepping in to tell either congresswoman really here what to do. so it seems like this is just going to keep spiraling out of control. we'll see more republicans, you know, perhaps take this type of tone because they're not really facing consequences. we heard from the republican leader kevin mccarthy say that even republicans who have lost their committee memberships may get reinstated if republicans win their majority in the house. if there are really no consequences here, public apologies or private apologies really might not matter. >> i think it's a really good
point. they face no consequence because they get all the benefits of outrage and stoking their base but kevin mccarthy has done nothing to stand up and say these comments are wrong. and all of us are old enough to remember when kevin mccarthy punished steve king for his comments being sympathetic to white supremacy. that was in 2019. kevin mccarthy's focused only on one thing. winning back the majority and making sure he has enough votes to become speaker and he has to appease that crowd. >> it's the donald trump effect but also the ilhan omar. she's made a series of remarks that were accused of anti-semitism. democratic congresswoman eliot engel said she had made a vial anti-demitic smear. she's faced no consequences for that. made a nonapology apology. pelosi didn't insist on anything more than that. and i think if you are the marjorie taylor greenes and boeberts of the world, why should we be the ones who back
down when they never do? >> she was called out by the senior most democrat on the foreign relations committee. so she was called out. >> who is still in power in washington? it's not eliot engel. >> i think pelosi and others called her comments anti-semitic. >> leadership released statements. >> then pelosi accepted her nonanalogy saying she clarified her remarks, which, you know, i'm sorry if you took offense, right? >> but can we talk about the news, not the history. the news here -- >> history is relevant. >> the democrats did call out congresswoman omar, they should have and were right to do so. crickets from -- i have to say, i laugh every time i hear the phrase republican leader applied to mr. mccarthy. because he's a moral and political invertebrate. it's an oxymoron. these words don't go well together. republican leader has become one
of them. >> why are the house republican leaders so quiet on this? is there no up side? >> it seems to be no upside because of the republican base. that's the trump effect here. and then, of course, with kevin mccarthy's ambitions to become speaker of the house if republicans do win that majority. they're trying to figure out this balance between making sure the moderates in swing states have the cover they need from these controversial comments but also not alienating the base and the republican members who support and make these comments. >> one more thing which is that if mccarthy denounced boebert, trump will denounce mccarthy and mccarthy understands that. >> right. and there is some new reporting in politico saying some democrats, particularly allies of congresswoman omar don't see it as authentic but others worry if they punish a lawmaker who admits a mistake and tries to make amends they'll set themselves up for similar treatment or worse during a future gop majority. this is reporting from before she put out her video that
seemed to not be rather apologetic at all. but there was a moment it looked like lauren boebert was approaching contrition. >> and it was well phrased. very often in washington they do this. if you were offended or something. she just said, i apologize to muslim americans who i've offended. it's very often in washington couched in much weaker language than i saw coming out of congresswoman boebert, and good for her. but she seems to be crop firn i fishing that from more extremist wings of her party. >> i think contrition and acceptance would be a good thing in washington. people say stupid things and if they apologize and they're sincere and don't it again, maybe there are lessons to be learned? >> it would be good but i think you might be setting the standard a little bit too high. >> appreciate it. the former secretary of defense under trump is taking the current pentagon to court. secretary mark esper will join us live. stay with us.
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in our politics lead, former secretary of defense mark esper who was fired via tweet just days after former president trump lost the 2020 election, is suing the current defense department. the lawsuit which was first reported by "the new york times" is over the current pentagon's demand that esper take out, quote, significant parts of his memoir about his time as secretary of defense. the book is "a sacred oath." it's set to be released this spring. joining us is former defense secretary mark esper in his first interview since filing the lawsuit. mr. secretary, thanks for joining us. what does the pentagon seem to
be so wrd about that they would edit out or block out, what is it, up to 60 pages? >> well, first of all, good afternoon, jake. good to be with you. let me just say, the -- my view is the american people deserve a full and unvarnished history of the last presidency that the trump administration. and what i aim to do was to provide important insights and anecdotes and color to what was arguably one of the most tumultuous second halves of an administration in history. and so what i did was follow the law and my personal commitment to protecting national security and filed my manuscript last may for what's called prepublication review. i got the document back nearly six months later, and the report that i received in early october, the dod told me that items, material on nearly 60 pages would need to be redacted. it's important to say that dod doesn't do all the retacting. they actually had to farm it
out, if you will, to at least a dozen plus other agencies and departments. so i don't know who all is marking up the document but i'd say this much. i submitted what i believed at the time and still believe is an unclassified manuscript and that the dods and others continued redactions are arbitrary and unfair. and they should relent and allow this manuscript to be published as i wrote it. >> the lawsuit, your lawsuit cites, quote, significant text is being improperly withheld from publiigation under the guise of classification. the withheld text is crucial to telling important stories discussed in the material. do you have any idea what they are redacting? how much of it is about donald trump, president trump's actions? how much of it is about china or
ukraine or russia? do you know? >> i know exactly what they are redacting because they give you feedback as to what it is. what i don't know is why. and i also -- the clear reasons why. and the people i've talked to at dod have been reductant to state it is classified. i often get these are sensitive items that might affect international relations, that are sensitive. they've asked me to exclude quotes to exclude conversations with foreign leaders. you know, i tried to work with dod informinally between the time that i received my first results back from the review and over a month-long period which ultimately resulted in me having to write a personal letter to secretary of defense austin. i tried to work informally. they were telling me were highly classified items. i'd go back online and find the dod reported the material themselves. so i don't know what the reason is but again it's arbitrary. it's capricious and just does
injustice to this important part of america's history that the people need to know about. and need to understand in depth. so that's why i'm committed to getting to the end of this and making sure that we publish the manuscript in full so the american people know the full story of what happened, the good and the bad during those last couple of years of the trump administration. >> do you think this is the biden administration not wanting to -- you to report favorably on anything you think trump did right? do you think there is political considerations at play here? oh, we don't want esper to insult world leader two because we're still trying to deal with him? or do you think this is just a bureaucrats bureaucratic? >> i think it's a combination of bureaucracy, maybe laziness on the part of the reviewers. also, i know for a fact that there are folks in the policy world, at least at osd policy, maybe other -- maybe the state department who are concerned about international relations
and the diplomacy of it all. but this is very simple. i have a lawsuit pending. i can't go into too much detail. if this is not about politics, if the administration shares my view we should have transparency in government as much as possible without compromising national security, which i remain convinced i have not done nor will i ever do, then the white house, and i think it really lies at the white house now because this extends beyond dod to multiple agencies and departments. the white house can simply come down and say, look, if it's classified, let secretary esper know. allow him to review it. i retain my clear arnss. if not, then remove the redactions and allow him to move forward and publish this book as written. >> might you just do what john bolton did and just publish it and let the chips fall where they may knowing government suits like this when they are as weak as you describe this one, ultimately fail? >> well, i could, but, look, i want to do it the right way, set
the proper example. i followed the process diligently for six months. i've engaged with them formally and informally and the next step has been the lawsuit step. that said, i would say the white house can come in, step in and say allow it to move forward and go from there. we'll see what happens. we'll take this one day at a time. i think it's important the american people understand their history, our history and what it means because i've wrote this memoir for a variety of reasons. not just to tell a good story about what happened during those tumultuous times but also for history, for students of government. for policymakers today. to give them some insights into what i was thinking. how i tried to work may way through day-to-day activities. what were the core principles that guided me? where did i succeed? where did i come up short? i think these are all important things that i think people will find very interesting when they read my memoir, "a sacred oath." >> i know you weren't secretary
of defense during the insurrection on january 6th. but has the january 6th committee reached out to you to talk to you? just wondering as long as i have you here? >> yes, they have reached out to me. we haven't been able to connect yet. you're right. i wasn't there at the time. it was a terrible, tragic event and obviously struck all of us pretty deeply. but we'll see where that goes. i did not focus on that. i tried to focus on my tenure as both secretary of the army, where i think we made very important strides in terms of modernizing the united states army and then, of course, my 18 months as secretary of defense where again i covered the most controversial or important elements of that time. >> mr. secretary, thanks for joining us. we look forward to the book being published and you coming back and talking to us all about it. >> sounds good, jake. thank you. coming up next, law enforcement on edge as large groups of thieves en masse target stores as the holiday shopping season heats up. superpowers from a spider bite?
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in our national lead, the recent wave of mass smash and grab robberies at stores across the country appears to be getting worse. police in minnesota say at least 30 people robbed a best buy store there. multiple incidents have been reported in california, including one where as many as ten thieves made off with sledgehammers and crow bars from a home depot. josh campbell is live with us. what are police departments doing to try to stop this flurry of organized mass burglaries. >> surging additional resources is topping that list. various departments across the country have been increasing patrols at areas near the retail locations to prevent the follow-on type of brazen robberies. here in los angeles, the department has placed their officers on tactical alert which means there are additional officers available to respond should they see another one of those. up in oakland, opd will have
additional staffing to address thee increase in violent crime. several tactical teams will support the patrol officers who were responding to armed ca caravans, illegal side shows. they are highly skilled in de-escalating incidents. some of those incidents we've seen. truly brazen. on friday in minnesota, two best buys robbed. over 30 people carting out merchandise. here in los angeles recently, a nordstroms was robbed by several individuals carting off over $25,000 worth of merchandise. a security guard was hurt during that incident. we've seen many more. but the one that really has law enforcement concerned here is the one you mentioned at the top. this home depot in the los angeles area that was robbed right in front of employees and shoppers. up to ten individuals carting away hammers and other items that could be used for additional robberies. that's why they are of so much concern. one development on that case we're hearing over the weekend the beverly hills police department stopped a vehicle,
arrested four people that were believed to be suspects in that home depot incident. that very important because in order to try to stop the next one of these incidents, authorities want to interview these suspects to see if there's anything they can glean about what might be coming next. >> this is certainly organized and certainly crime. i don't know if it's considered organized crime. either way, is this something that the fbi can or should get involved in? >> we know the fbi is certainly paying attention to what's happening. i heard from an official a short time ago who says the bureau is in communication with local law enforcement. they are working to determine if there's any type of federal nexus in which they'd take a more active role. right now the investigations are being handled by the various different local jurisdictions but it's important for viewers to note that across the country there are on any given day these task forces involving the fbi, the u.s. marshals service, local law enforcement that regularly work together to try to stop crime. of course, in this situation, where you see these incidents,
we don't know if they are connected but they're using the same tactic. overwhelming force. rushing in to these retailers with a large number of people trying to overwhelm security. cart out merchandise. causing violence and smashing. that's something law enforcement around the country certainly is taking note of. we can expect should this continue we'll see a greater role by the federal government. the number of drug overdoses skyrocketing during the pandemic. many of those deaths are being caused by one potent drug in particular. that story next.
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installment of our new series "news of addiction." today a look at fentanyl. it's driving rising overdose deaths. more than 150 a day according to the u.s. centers for disease control. fentanyl is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. often mixed with other drugs to make them cheaper and more powerful and more addictive. and as miguel marquez reports for us, the pandemic has made it even harder for those struggling with addiction. >> i just knew in my mother's heart, my son was dead. >> reporter: matthew davidson, 31 years old. died from an overdose on memorial day 2020. >> i just remember crying out, i wasn't ready to let you go. and spent some time alone with him patting his hair, touching his hands. he looked like he was just asleep. >> reporter: davidson first addicted to prescription painkillers, then heroin,
struggled with addiction for ten years. >> this isn't my first time i've been in the program. >> reporter: in and out of a program, overdosing more than once. his death ultimately caused by fentanyl. >> at one point when his girlfriend was asleep, i think that's when he decided he was going to take this dose of what he thought was heroin, but it was a very high level of fentanyl as well. >> and it doesn't take any of it to hardly kill you. >> reporter: fentanyl and synthetic opioids like it accounting for 64% of the record 100,000-plus deadly drug overdoses from april 2020 to april 2021. >> did the pandemic kill matthew? no. it just intensified. i think he was more emotionally fragile during that time. >> what did the pandemic do for addiction in places like kentucky? >> yeah, there was a clear and obvious increase in use,
overdose, any metric you want to use. >> a former opioid addict, alex now dedicates his life to studying, understanding, and working with the addicted and recovering at lexington's voices of hope. he says the pandemic and the isolation with it devastated the addiction community. >> what addiction is in your brain is down regulation of dopamine and what social interaction does is up regulate dopamine. it is literally organic medicine for the recovering brain. >> reporter: add to the mix cheap and plentiful fentanyl 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine whether in pill or powder form injected or snorted, dangerous even in tiny amounts. how did fentanyl come into your life? >> my first overdose. >> reporter: how many have there been? >> 14. >> reporter: he says he was clean for 19 months then last december his grandfather died. grief drove him to relapse. he thought he was using heroin.
it was fentanyl. >> reporter: how much did you use? >> very little. less than 0.1 gram. and i found out it was straight fentanyl. >> reporter: that is a tiny -- >> that is tinier than tiny. it is like barely a sprinkle of salt >> i want to welcome everybody tonight. >> reporter: social interaction important for the addicted, their families, too. jean butcher founded the kentucky chapter of parent of addicted loved ones and over the years they've had it all as they struggled to free their son matthew from opioids. >> well, send him somewhere and fix him. or fix her. it doesn't work like that. >> why don't they just stop? >> don't they know they can stop? >> you would think they'd know what they're doing to their children. >> but you see, drugs take over the brain. >> reporter: matthew's brother glen says there is no easy way to recover and money alone won't solve the problem of addiction. >> addiction isn't something you
can just turn off. for a lot of people it's not a choice. they are addicted to these drugs and i think the only way they can get off is through support and love. >> this is his wallet. he didn't have much. >> reporter: karen butcher now clings to the few physical reminders of her son, matthew. her favorite? a quilt made from all his favorite shirts. >> sometimes i would think, okay. i have matthew's arms wrapped around me. >> reporter: it includes the last photo they took together in his most favorite shirt. >> if the house caught on fire i'd probably grab that quilt. i call it my matthew quilt. >> reporter: matthew davidson one victim of america's opioid epidemic wrapped in the pandemic of covid-19. >> many thanks to the davidson and butcher families for speaking to us. it is not easy. they do it because they hope it will help other people. if there is any bright spot here, jake, it is that the cdc does have predicted numbers for 2021 of drug overdoses and they are below where they were at the
worst of the pandemic in 2020. they are still high but they are better than a year ago, hopefully the worst is behind us. jake? >> thank you so much for that report. tomorrow our series "united states of addiction" continues with a look at the surge of meth use in america. coming up, queen elizabeth will rule one less place, one fewer places. either way, starting at midnight tonight. ♪ wow! ♪ ♪ uh-huh. ♪ $0 copays on primary care visits. ♪ wow! ♪ ♪ uh-huh. ♪ and with unitedhealthcare, you get access to medicare advantage's largest provider network. ♪ wow! ♪ ♪ uh-huh. ♪ most plans even have a $0 premium. so go ahead. take advantage now. ♪ wow! ♪ it's a thirteen-hour flight, that's not a weekend trip. fifteen minutes until we board. oh yeah, we gotta take off. you downloaded the td ameritrade mobile app so you can quickly check the markets?
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barbados will officially ditch its colonial ties to britain and remove queen elizabeth ii as its head of state as it becomes an independent republic for the first time ever. cnn's max foster has somehow managed to score this gig live from the capital city of bridgetown. prince charles is there, expected to speak tonight? >> he is. it is actually going to be a big moment i think because prince charles i expect to say something about the atrocity of slavery and how that is a stain on britain's past and britain has never gone as far to say things in those terms. not as far as many would like here, frankly. they would like a full apology, reparations. but this is all linked to barbados' colonial past. they became independent from the uk 55 years ago. as you say, the queen will no longer reign over this island as of midnight tonight. prince charles is here representing the queen and will watch as the royal standard is
lowered for the last time and replaced by the barbados flag. it is a big island. a lot of older people look back on this very dark past and are angry about it and they want to get rid of the british monarchy and they want reparations for what was done by the brits back in the 1620s when they settled here and made huge amounts of money from the sugar trade and slave trade. younger people i think the ones i spoke to today are feeling very positive about this moment and want to move on and look forward to a brighter future. the celebration is just starting. an epic steel band will be playing behind me soon and we'll have the moment at midnight when barbados gets its first president, a barbados president and head of state appointed by the parliament. it is a huge moment in caribbean history. other countries like jamaica
looking very closely and those republican movements celebrating as well tonight. >> centuries late but at least it is happening. max foster in barbados, thank you so much. follow me on facebook, instagram, twitter, and tiktok @jaketapper and tweet the show on cnn. our coverage continues with wolf blitzer in "the situation room." see you tomorrow. happening now the cdc just weighed in on the newest coronavirus variant as president biden is urging all americans not to panic about the omicron threat. i'll ask moderna's chief medical officer about fears this variant may evade immunity from covid vaccine. also tonight a second trump associate could soon face a criminal contempt referral for defying the january 6th committee. the panel is setting a vote on jeffery clark's fate as the decision on mark meadows' defiance is expected thi