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tv   New Day With John Berman and Brianna Keilar  CNN  December 21, 2021 2:59am-4:00am PST

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a plan the nhl became the first pro sports league in the u.s. to halt all games in response to the covid outbreak. the new measures being taken to try to save the season. strong words from senator joe manchin after he rejected the president's build back better plan. who he is blaming for the breakdown. and commander in leash? meet the newest four-legged member of the first family.
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i'm still smiling over commander in leash. >> yeah. we have more of those this morning. don't you worry. >> i can't wait. good morning to our viewers here in the united states and all around the world. it is tuesday, december 21st. the omicron variant has taken over. it is now the most dominant strain of covid in the u.s., making up more than 73% of new infections. according to the cdc, they just released those numbers, that's 21 days after the first case was identified here. new york has seen a three-fold increase in covid cases in the past week. new jersey reporting the highest number of daily positive cases in almost a year. but the good news, out of both new york and new jersey -- and this is really important -- although they are rising, they are not seeing a drastic jump in hospitalizations yet. we're going to speak to a new york hospital official in a moment who will tell us they
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have plenty of capacity, at least for now. this is not 2020, he says. we are learning of the first known omicron-related death in the united states. a texas man in his 50s with underlying health issues. he was unvaccinated and previouprevious previously had been infected with covid-19. and the nhl is postponing their games until after christmas at least. >> at the white house, a staff member tested positive for covid. president biden will be tested again today. today, he is set to direct the people directly, talking about this renewed fight. he will announce the purchase of 500,000 rapid at-home tests and a plan to distribute those for free to those who request them. the president expected to say vaccinated americans don't need to cancel holiday plans despite the rising case count. let's go to jeremy diamond who
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is live at the white house. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, erica. president biden will have clear messages for the american public today. one for the unvaccinated, making very clear there is a high risk of serious illness and death as covid surges are surging across the country. but he will also have the message for those who are vaccinated, telling them they can go ahead with holiday plans, and that they are well protected, particularly if they are boosted from those worst outcomes of the coronavirus, and they'll likely just experience mild symptoms if, indeed, they are infected. he will also make clear that he is not looking to lock down or shut down the country. then, he will be announcing a series of new steps. you mentioned one of them. 500,000 rapid test that is the white house is going to be purchasing and beginning to send around the country beginning next month. americans can go to a website the white house is setting up to request those tests. it is not clear exactly how long, though, it'll take for the tests to be delivered. in the meantime, the president
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and the white house also sending additional medical personnel to states dealing with surges. 1,000 military service members will become deployable next month to help with surges in various states. you'll see the positioning of critical supplies like n-95s in key areas of the country, to send those to hospitals in need. all of this happening at president biden himself becoming a close contact as a mid-level white house staffer, according to the white house, tested positive for coronavirus on monday. president biden also got a coronavirus test on monday and tested negative through a pcr test. we're told he will be tested again tomorrow. because of the fact he is vaccinated, according to cdc guidelines, he does not need to self-isolate. instead, he'll go about his daily schedule and get another covid test tomorrow. >> jeremy diamond, appreciate the update. thank you. here in new york city, a ramp-up for testing capabilities in response to a record surge in cases throughout the city. cnn's jason carroll is live at a
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new york city testing site this morning. it is dark behind you, but i think i already see a line, jason. >> reporter: you do. this testing site doesn't open for about another hour, and already, we see about a dozen people who started to line up. the city says it is going to be opening more testing sites in the coming days. meanwhile, the mayor says he is committed to having the city stay open. the annual new year's eve celebration in times square is still on as planned, for now. >> i think that the times square celebration, if the numbers are at a dangerous level, this continues evolution, we need to pivot to do what's right. >> reporter: the final decision is expected before christmas, according to new york city mayor bill de blasio. this as the cdc announced omicron has become the dominant coronavirus variant in the united states. dashing hopes for a quick return to normalcy. >> i think it's the perfect
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storm phenomena here. come middle of january, this viral blizzard i've talked about, we are going to see 20%, 30% of health care workers getting infected, who will be off of work. the health care system right now is already stretched to the point of breaking. >> reporter: according to the cdc, omicron accounts for 73% of new coronavirus cases for the week ending december 18. in new york, the state broke its record for the fourth consecutive day, for the highest number of new covid-19 cases. >> this virus is a formidable opp opponent, and we don't know where it is going to end up. all of my experts here that i have been partnering with and learning from is telling us there's a great level of uncertainty. >> reporter: in light of the new surge and all the uncertainty, new yorkers are rushing to testing sites ahead of holiday travel and family gatherings to respond to the growing demand. mayor de blasio says the city will be opening two dozen more testing sites by the end of the week, and says despite concerning covid numbers in the
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city, he is committed to seeing the city stay open. >> we've got to beat omicron. we've got to avoid shutdowns. we've got to avoid restrictions. we've got to keep moving forward. vaccination is the key. >> reporter: feeling the urgency for at-home tests and antibody treatments, de blasio is asking president biden to invoke the defense production act. >> we've already used that and spent $3 billion to greatly expand the at-home tests. >> reporter: the press secretary says biden is working to expand access. while some help seems to be on the way, new york's governor is pleading with all new yorkers to get vaccinated and boosted. >> we have the protection to avoid that situation, so i will once again ask everyone, please, if you're not vaccinated, now is the time. so please do that for your loved ones so they can join you again next christmas, next holiday season. >> reporter: health experts across the country are pushing the same message. >> this remains a disease of the
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unvaccinated. get vaccinated, and we can get past this. >> reporter: this bit of news, the state's health commissioner has tested positive for coronavirus. dr. mary basset took a rapid test yesterday, tested positive, immediately went home. she's going to take a follow-up pcr test. the governor says she was vaccinated and boosted. again, erica, another example, possibly, of just how quickly and easily this is spreading. >> absolutely. jason, appreciate it. thank you. joining us now, cnn medical analyst and professor of medicine and surgery at george washington university, dr. jonathan reiner. great to have you with us this morning. 500 million test kits available, i guess within a few weeks. not today but a few weeks. is that enough? how often should all of us be testing, doctor? >> i think it is a good start. i think we're going to need a lot more than that.
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so the way to keep our economy hope and to keep our schools open and to keep each other safe going forward, at least until this pandemic is really brought under control, is going to be to test frequently. so, you know, last year, if someone in your office tested positive, particularly before we had vaccines, everyone was isolating for ten days. now, particularly in our vaccinated world, we don't need to do that. we can test people, and you stay at work, stay in school as long as you remain negative. our tests are really good at doing this. they take 15 minutes. they're inexpensive, or they should be inexpensive. i think this 500,000 tests a big step forward. but, you know, the proof is going to be in the pudding. we're going to order this from a central website and mail them to you. i can just imagine the surge when that site opens. i think it is very important to
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have these tests also available for pickup all around our communities. you know, in post offices, in banks, in transit centers, in subways, so that people can pick these tests up on the way home. look, if you're not feeling well, you want to test now. you don't want to have to go online, order a test that will come in a few days. what i'm hoping is once the site open, people will acquire the tests, have tests on hand at home that they can use going forward. but we're going to need more than 500,000. i think it is a great start. i applaud the white house for, you know, sort of changing course on this. >> really quickly, to follow up on john's second question, how often should you be testing? once there is better access to rapid, at-home tests, is this something we should do every day, a couple times a week, how often? >> well, i think if you have symptoms, you should test when you have symptoms. then i think we should be testing multiple times a week.
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multiple times a week. >> you can see -- >> think of a test -- think of a test as a snapshot. if you're getting together with friends tonight and you test negative as you're going out the door, you're negative when you're going out the door. if you tested negative yesterday, you were negative yesterday. you don't know what is going on today. we'll have to get used to having this as a frequent rapid tool. >> dr. reiner, can we get your take on the 73% of new cases now are omicron? what are the implications of that, particularly for our hospitals? >> so, you know, i'm hopeful that omicron might be either because of some intrinsic lower virulence, or maybe because of the immune wall that has been formed in this country and other western countries, that it might be a bit less virulent. but having said that, even a smaller, you know, percentage of a very large number can yield a
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lot of people in the hospital. so if the united states approaches 500,000 or more cases a day, it'll still swamp our hospitals. i'm worried about that. it looks like it is going to go through this country sort of in a wave, going from north to south. so hopefully, you know, all of, you know, our institutions won't be hit at the same time. it looks like, at least early data coming out of south africa, it looks like the peak may be quick, then the downside also quick. so there's still a lot to learn, but, obviously, we worry about keeping our hospitals afloat, you know, should thousands and thousands of patients need to be treated. >> we know there's still a push for vaccines. there are a number of people in the country who likely will never get that vaccine. that's a reality. what's fascinating is former president trump revealed that he was boosted, and it was a revelation that was actually met by boos at this tour that he was
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on. i wonder, what does that tell us about where things stand? is there truly a certain portion of the population that is a lost cause when it comes to the covid vaccine, and do we just move on? or do you think there is a chance to reach them? >> i think it is a lost opportunity. so about 40% of the folks who voted for the former president remain unvaccinated. and he's had this opportunity for the last year to reach out to them in a meaningful way. when you listen to that tape of the former president, he wasn't imploring the folks at that get-together to get vaccinated. he was imploring them to give him credit for the vaccine. it was all about him taking credit for the vaccine, not about them getting vaccinated. but, again, about 40% of republicans remain unvaccinated. they are going unarmed into a fight with this virus.
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it just doesn't have to be this way. leaders like the former president and many members of congress who refuse to disclose their vaccine status continue to perpetuate this, i think, great hazard for their constituents. >> dr. reiner, we appreciate you being with us this morning. thanks so much. >> thanks for having me. so we're going to speak to dr. anthony fauci next hour, just before the white house reveals its next steps in the covid fight. strong words from senator joe manchin on his rejection of the administration's build back better plan. >> guess what? i'm from west virginia. i'm not from where they're from. they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they'll be submissive. period. plus, the january 6th committee for the first time requesting cooperation from a sitting member of congress involved in the effort to overturn the election. will he comply? and the bidens moving one four-legged family member out of the white house, welcoming
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another. what we're learning about not one, not one, but two new white house residents. ♪ ♪ kiss the people you love. mark this moment in time, and celebrate every kiss. ♪ all the gifts you really, really, really, can't wait to unwrap. ♪
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♪are you ready♪ ♪are you ready♪ white house staff is blamed for derailing negotiations. take a listen.
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>> i'm not blaming anybody. i knew where they were, and i knew what they could and could not do. they just never realized that, because they figure that surely that god, we can move one person. surely we can beat one person up. surely we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable and make them say, i'll vote for anything. i'll just quit. i'm from west virginia. i'm not from where they're from, where they can beat the living crap out of people and think they'll be submissive. period. >> joining us now, senior correspondent, natasha alfred. and susan page of "usa today." the comments from joe manchin, susan, he's not going to be submissive, he's from west virginia, that may be the case. let's be honest, so much was riding on him. does the messaging need to be different this morning, especially in the wake of the comments by joe manchin. for messaging, i mean by democrats. >> yeah. well, democrats are in a pickle on this one.
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joe manchin has made those comments at that radio show after he had had what the white house described as a pretty conciliatory or pleasant conversation with president biden on sunday night. clearly, relations between these two men need some mending if the president is going to be able to pursue his big domestic agenda. even to do a downsize bill that has some of the programs that were in build back better and not others, not at all guaranteed democrats are going to be able to heal some of the fractures we see breaking out all over, to get something done. >> natasha, they are talking. i mean, yes, the manchin interview on radio where he made those comments was after the biden-manchin conversation, but if you're looking at the timeline, after manchin's radio interview, the white house held a white house briefing and didn't say anything mean about joe manchin there. it does seem like we're in this new chapter now, where democrats feel like maybe there's a chance in january. >> yeah. well, john, you, as a democrat,
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as have to project hope and optimism about what is next, right? we've gone through months and months of back and forth, sort of holding our breath for manchin, and this is the result. i don't know about you, but it feels akclimacticanticlimactic, that maybe something will happen and than it falls apart over petty issues. democrats have to think there is a possibility fort the bill, otherwise, they look weak for their constituents. it gives joe manchin more power than he really deserves to sort of have. we cannot forget that there are also republicans who are holding up the passage of this bill. so the best thing they can do is focus on what's in the bill that works. think about perhaps longer-term programs, just a fewer longer-term programs they can fund and get on board with. but that has to be the message, otherwise, they're sort of stuck in the mud. >> just to pick up on that p
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point, we know, natasha, what manchin reported to the white house had a fair amount of things in it. one thing it didn't have was the child tax credit. that extension had been stripped out. is it your sense from folks in washington that they could perhaps move forward with a version of build back better, and then is there a way to find enough republican support for a separate extension of the child tax credit? >> i mean, i -- >> that seems like a tall order. >> right. i know christmas miracles do happen, but i'm not sure if getting republicans to get on board with child tax credit, even if it is sensible, is something that can happen. they're sort of dedicated to obstructionism and this idea that they're going to stop any sort of legislative success for democrats, even if that means a win for the entire country. so i'm not sure if that is going to happen, but i do know that there are aspects of build back
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better which do benefit joe manchin's constituents in west virginia. so perhaps that is approach, right? think about, what are the policies that will affect his constituents, that if he rejects those, he has to go back and explain why he didn't support them when he had an opportunity. >> i will note, you know, i aulglove when people say, i'm from west virginia. we don't back down. people in every 50 state says that. >> connecticut, we don't back down. >> massachusetts, we're the nutmeg state. >> we're all from america. he is from america too. >> one state doesn't back down more than another. that aside, susan, to get a sense of the mood within the democratic party right now, all you have to look at is the congressional retirements. two more announced yesterday, including stephanie murphy from florida, who is in this swing district. she's seen as a centrist. i know she was seen as someone within the party that a lot of people thought had a bright future. she's not staying. i mean, that really does tell you something. >> yeah. she's a canary in the coal mine.
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this flood of democratic retirements, 22 so far of house democratic incumbents, a sign that, number one, some of them think they'll have very tough re-election battles. that is true of stephanie murray who had trouble with redistricting in florida. others who are even from safe districts are saying, we are likely to lose the majority of next year's midterms. being in the minority in the house is no fun. it's been four years since they got out of that situation. you really don't have very much power when you're in the minority in the house. so this is a sign that democrats who are there are making this calculation. contrast that with republicans. i think we've had about 11 republican house members say they're going to not run again. that's just half the number we've seen of these democratic retirements. >> natasha, what is the impact of those democratic retirements on efforts to get anything done come the new year? >> well, think when you have all those retirements, you have to think about who sits in their
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place, right? so there's recruiting new candidates who perhaps don't have the same name recognition for the party. they have to think about fundraising, sort of how they're going to basically fund these campaigns and push these candidates out. so it's a drain on energy and resources that perhaps democrats feel they don't really have to give at this moment. but they always faced an uphill battle. i think historically, being the party of the president, the odds were not in their favor. you have to think redistricting, as well. but i think it is important to also remember there is still time, right? it's a matter of what they do between now and midterms. although this focus has been on passing big, sweeping legislation, there is still a need to project that there's stability in the country, right, with other issues. people are going to remember these long covid lines during the holidays. they remember inflation. they remember the day-to-day of their lives.
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they may also remember the checks they got in the mail. focus on those wins, even as you're working on the legislation, and give people a reason to come back out for you. my readers care about student loans. perhaps people don't remember what was in build back better, but they're going to remember if you forgave the student loans and did what you could do with the power that you had. don't talk about what you can't do. >> interesting to see if the narrative changes. natasha and susan, great to have you both this morning. thank you. there is new reporting about the january 6th committee, possibly weighing criminal referrals against former president trump. is there a case there? i'm from massachusetts. we don't go to break for massachusetts. >> oh. >> derailing holiday plans, including the queen. the new details as the united kingdom weighs new measures to address the omicron surge.
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so it is a first for the investigation into january 6th. the house select committee is seeking testimony and documents
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from a sitting member of congress. the committee wants to speak with republican congressman scott perry of pennsylvania, who was deeply involved in the president's efforts to overturn the election. cnn's paula reed live in washington with the latest on this. paula? >> reporter: good morning. so the committee not sending a subpoena just yet. instead, sending their colleague a letter requesting his cooperation in their investigation into january 6th. he is the first lawmaker to receive such a letter from the house select committee. now, in this letter, they explain that they want to talk to him specifically about efforts to install former justice department official jeffrey clark as acting attorney general. clark was really open to the idea of using the justice department, the power of that office, to push the big lie. perry actually connected trump and clark at the same time the former president was really trying to pressure the justice department to do something to help him establish this lie, that the election was stolen.
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this underscores how trump is zeroing in on allies. >> he sues everyone and everything, but he is suing the new york attorney general, laity s letitia james. why? >> he is asking them to block the long-running civil investigation into the trump organization. two years, they've been investigating whether the trump organization misrepresented its assets to get better loan terms, better insurance rates and, of course, to pay lower taxes. her investigation mirrors a sim similar criminal investigation by the attorney general that already resulted in charges against the organization and one of its executives. now, interestingly, the timing on this lawsuit, this comes as james is seeking to depose the former president under oath next month. now, trump and his lawyers have long argued that james is politically motivated. they point to the fact she
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campaigned on a promise to target trump, and that is the basis of their lawsuit. they argue that she is violating trump's constitutional rights and abusing her office to pursue her own political aims. now, james has responded in a statement, saying, quote, to be clear, neither mr. trump nor the trump organization get to dictate if and where they will answer for their actions. our investigation will continue undeterred red because no one i above the law, not even someone with the name trump. >> paula reid, thank you very much. new overnight, the nhl putting its season on ice. at least briefly in response to the covid outbreak. details behind the decision. and new york hospitals bracing for a surge of new patients as cases of the omicron variant skyrocket. we'll speak with one hospital official who says there is reason this morning to be optimistic. ♪ ♪
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overnight, a ajmajor announcement to the nhl. a pause to its season through christmas due to the surge in covid cases. andy scholes has this morning's bleacher report. good morning. >> good morning, john. nhl plays two games tonight, then the league is shutting down through christmas due to the rise in covid cases. team facilities will reopen on sunday, and daily covid testing for players is going to resume them. nine nhl teams already had their seasons put on pause before this announcement. the league had also shut down travel to and from canada through christmas. games are scheduled to resume on monday.
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there have now been 49 nhl games postponed so far this season. nfl, meanwhile, adding 51 players to their reserved covid-19 list yesterday. the highest single day total since the pandemic began. a i m among the big names, travis kelce and joey bosa. this came as the nfl moved away from weekly testing of players. the leagues will only test vaccinated individuals showing symptoms and random groups each week. since the start of last week, 213 players reportedly tested positive for the virus. that's nearly 10% of the league. john, as we see, you know, leagues start to make changes to their covid protocols as cases continue to rise, so far, things haven't really changed for fans. we're still seeing full stadiums and arenas across the country with teams not really changing what their protocols were before all of this started happening with this new rise of cases. >> we're watching. i mean, things could change on a daily basis at this point, andy. thank you very much. coronavirus cases in the uk
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fast-spreading omicron variant. the prime minister is debating whether to impose another round of restrictions before christmas, days away at this point. cnn has reporters covering the pandemic around the world. >> reporter: i'm in london, where uk prime minister boris johnson is coming under mounting pressure from health experts to bring into force tougher covid-19 restrictions to stem the spread of the omicron variant. the government has, at this stage, stuck to plan b measures, including mask wearing and working from home. but as health experts warn against a surge in hospital admissions and new cases in the new year, the prime minister hasn't ruled out the potential for another national lockdown. >> reporter: i'm fred pleitgen in berlin. several countries are dealing with large-scale omicron outcomes. germany is bracing for the coronavirus variant. the cans hancellor, olaf schults
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meeting to discuss tough, new measures. the measures aren't only going to count for unvaccinated people but vaccinated people as well. the government is saying that those measures will not take hold for christmas but will certainly impact new year's eve, making large-scale celebrations all but impossible. >> reporter: i'm in jerusalem, where senior israeli ministers have been meeting to discuss new covid restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of israel's fifth wave. according to public radio, they raised a number of proposals, including putting further limits on large gatherings, extending the list of places requiring a green pass to prove vaccination or recovery, and ending free antigen tests for unvaccinated children. on monday, the country's daily covid case load jumped 30% to more than 1,300, a two-month high. with cases spiking, israel is trying to cut off its source of omicron infections by adding more countries to its red,
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no-fly list. from 5:00 p.m. eastern on tuesday, u.s., canada, and eight other nations will be red, meaning they'll be off limits for israelis unless they get special permission. >> thanks to our reporters all around the world. this morning, we are on verdict watch in the trial of former officer kim potter, who shot dante wright at a traffic stop. why her lawyer says the deadly mix-up between a taser and a gun should matter. former president trump booed by his own supporters after revealing he got the booster. >> did you get the booster? >> yes. >> i got it, too. >> okay. >> oh, don't, don't, don't. no. with access to financial adadvice, tools and a personalized plan that helps you build a future for those you love. vanguard. become an owner. ♪“i got you babe” by etta james♪ ♪ get groceries, gifts, & more fast and easy. so last minute guests
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day two of deliberations will begin later this morning in the trial of kim potter, the former minnesota police officer who is charged in april's shooting death of wright. the jury deliberated five hours yesterday after some emotional closing arguments. adrian adrianne has been following this for us and joins us with more. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. about three hours into deliberations, members of the jury had a question. they wanted to know when former officer kim potter met with dr. miller.
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you may remember miller is the psychologist called by the defense, a day before potter testified. the judge didn't give any specifics, however, it was revealed over the eight days of testimony that potter interviewed with dr. miller. during that zoom session, she told dr. miller she does not make mistakes. by contrast, her defense attorney, earl gray, said this was all a mistake. even the telling members of the jury to consider this question, how could potter recklessly handle a firearm if she didn't know she had a gun in her hand? on the other hand, the prosecution started its argument by saying dante wright was shot to death by the gun in the hand of a highly trained officer. prosecutors called this reckless. listen in to some of those arguments.
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>> no. dante wright caused his own death? so within seconds, he breaks away. that's the cause, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. that's what caused this whole incident. >> consider, if we accept that argument, that he caused his own death, we have to accept that any time a person does not meticulously follow the commands of a police officer, they can be shot to death, and there would be no consequences. >> objection. >> reporter: so the jury did not reach a verdict yesterday. they'll return for deliberations this morning. in the deliberating room, they have access to the gun potter grabbed, as well as the taser she intended to pull from her holster. it is an opportunity for them to compare and contrast the two weapons. they also have a laptop which contains video evidence. when we say video evidence, we're talking about the body camera footage. they can stop it, play it, fast
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forward at their own discretion. jury deliberations will continue today, and it is important to underscore that laptop has been disabled from inter net usage. >> adrienne broaddus, appreciate it. thank you. covid cases increasing in new york by three-fold. what does it mean for hospitals? joining me is the president and ceo of northwell health, which has an expetensive network of 2 hospitals and other health care centers in new york state. thank you for being with us, michael. what is the current situation in your hospitals? >> yeah, we're doing very, very well. very manageable. there's no crisis. let me give you a little bit of perspective. we have, right now, about 460 patients in our hospitals. that's less than 10% of our overall capacity. this time last year, during the
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second wave, we had almost 1,000 cases this time last year. compared to where we were back in the first wave, we had 3,500 patients in our hospitals. so when you look at the numbers today, they're relatively modest. they had been increasing relatively slowly since thanksgiving. we do expect an increase now over the holidays, but it is all manageable. we will be able to deal with this. i think it is time for people to be a little bit calm, you know, a little bit more rational. while the positivity rate in the community is increasing dramatically, that does not mean they automatically convert into hospitalizations. so on the hospital side right now, we're doing quite well. very manageable indeed. >> so do you think there is an overreaction in terms of the overall attitude out there? >> well, you know, we are in the middle of a pandemic, you know, going into a third wave.
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you're going to have surges. you're going to have more positivity. there's going to be more testing, which there should be. more testing sites are going to open up. you're going to have an in increasing rate of positivity. if people are not that sick and not in the hospital, you're building up herd immunity. so from that point of view, it's not the worst thing in the world, even though people are -- may not feel well for a couple of days. so if you get it and you don't feel well for a couple of days, you can handle this. it's a lot better, of course, than being in the hospital. i focus primarily on the hospital numbers because that's where you don't want to be. >> no. >> and we're going to have to deal with this, you know, over the next number of months. it's the reality of the circumstance, and just deal with it. >> i've spoken to a number of hospital officials in other
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places in the country where they don't have as much capacity. one of their concerns going forward is that health care workers, hospital employees, could get infected. look, even if it's not with a serious infection, it would mean they're offline for a few days, whether it be ten days or maybe a shorter period of time. so how much slack do you have in terms of your health care worker capacity? >> well, obviously, that's always a concern when you're in this business. we have right now about 300 workers that are out because of covid. they're either being quarantined or were with somebody that might have had covid. but, you know, we have got about 70,000 employees. 78,000 employees. the issue here is everybody has to get the booster. if all of the precautions are take inside the hospitals and everybody gets the booster, then you're fully vaccinated. that has to be a focus, not only for health care workers but for people in the community. and the other thing i just want
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to mention is that 80% of the people in our hospitals today, 80% of the 460, are non-vaccinated. they are unvaccinated. so this is a non-vaccinated issue. if everybody was vaccinated, then the numbers in our hospital right now would be very minimal indeed. so this is, you know, something i cannot fully understand, why people are still out there, even in the current situation, deciding they don't want to get vaccinated. it makes no sense. it is illogical and, quite frankly, pretty stupid. >> 80% unvaccinated still in the hospitals. >> right. >> michael dowling, we appreciateperspective, and reality check, at least for now. your hospitals have plenty of capacity, which we're glad to hear. president and ceo of northwell health, thanks for being with us. >> stay calm. thank you. breaking news this morning, the white house planning to deliberate 500 million free
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at-home covid tests to americans across the country. how will the plan work, and how quickly can you expect to get a test? the secret service stepping in to reclaim billions of taxpayer dollars stolen by people who defrauded the covid rewlief program. we'll speak to the new covid fraud czar. and tonight's winning number, 43 yes! noooo... quick, the quicker picker upper! bounty picks up messes quicker and is 2x more absorbent, so you can use less. bounty, the quicker picker upper.
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billions of dollars in covid-related funding stoellen. 900 active investigations are run as the federal government aims to crack down on an explosion of scams related to federal and state covid-19 programs. already, more than $1 billion has been seized, but there's still more to find. the agency naming special agent roy dodson as the first national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator, and he joins me now. good to have you with us this morning. a lot of people may see this, and i'm guessing there are two thoughts out there. number one, the secret service does this? number two, that is a lot of
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money. where are you focusing these efforts? i mean, just how bad are these scams? >> well, to date -- good morning. to date, the secret service has seen enormous fraud related to unemployment, sba loans. we have seized, as you said, over $1.2 billion. returned over $2.3 billion. we continue to see an uptick of that. criminal individuals are opportunistic, so when the federal funding from the cares act was released, they obviously pivoted to that and began targeting those programs. >> you know, this was like the super bowl and the world series rolled into one for scammers and
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hammers. what is it about this funding or the release of these funds that made it seem like such a ripe opportunity? was it that they could -- you mentioned unemployment. is it that they could sort of go after the funds as individuals, or try to go after individuals? >> well, i think the availability to file online applications made it easy to use. then the use of individuals. it's just -- you know, the primary thing that we saw was individuals or organizations, they could get these benefits rather quickly. >> you mentioned the online filing. is that what you're seeing growing from the scams? is there one area in particular that has you concerned?
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>> well, the concern continues to be just the available to continue to get funding. we see individuals and organizations are always looking for different ways to circumstancircumvent the system. i think it comes down to us being able to identify different mediums they can use. obviously, with the modern conveniences today of online banking, cryptocurrencies, this allows fraudsters to move monies much more quickly, and fast money equals fast crime. >> absolutely. is it also leading to perhaps changes in the way funds need to be distributed or questions about security with that, you know, fast money?
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>> well, it definitely presents challenges and causes us to develop new investigative techniques, but, you know, with the expertise we have, with our cyber fraud task forces which are made up of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, we have the individuals that can still investigate those cases and are able to apprehend those individuals that are committing these crimes. >> this is a lot of money. some 900 active investigations. you confident you'll be able to get it all back? >> well, i'm an optimistic individual, so i believe that, you know, knowing -- you know, we're going to do our best. the secret service, our cyber fraud task forces, all of our federal, state, and local partners are working tirelessly
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to identify new cases, to identify and recover funds. we're working hand-in-hand with the private and public sector, which has been an invaluable asset to these cases. >> special agent roy dotson, good to have you this morning and good to have you on the case. thank you. >> thank you. look, on the subject of security, the latest to be granted white house security clearance, a german shepherd named commander. >> hey, pal. how you doing? >> president biden welcoming the new first pup to the family. the four-month-old commander is a belated birthday gift from biden's brother james and sister-in-law sarah. as you will recall, champ biden, seen there on the right, passed away in june at the age of 13, which is 91 in dog years. their rescue dog, major, had some biting incidents with white house staff and has been in
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something of a permanent time-out, living with biden's friends in a quieter environment. also joining the white house family next month, we are told, a cat. erica. >> listen, i say the more pets, the merrier. but if my husband is watching right now, we're not getting a second dog, just to be clear. but i'm very happy there are more pets in the white house. >> i feel the cat is unnecessary. i don't mean to be judge y but - >> wow. >> what do they do? >> cue the cat hate mail. people hating you for hating cats, that's what i meant. >> i just don't acknowledge them. what i particularly liked about commander is the music that seems to follow him wherever he goes. whenever he is videos, he gets his theme song. >> you need a theme song, berman. we should come up with one for you. >> if only i were a four-month-old cute dog, i'd have music with me all the time. "new day" continues right now.
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♪ welcome to our viewers in the united states and all around the world. including cat lovers. it is tuesday, december 21st. brianna is off. erica hill joins me this morning. boy, i'm sure you feel lucky about that this morning. >> i do. listen, i'm not the one who is making comments about cats. you'll have to deal with that on your own. major news this morning, omicron has now overtaken delta as the most dominant covid strain in the united states, making up 73% of new infections. 73%. this new cdc data underscores just how quickly the omicron variant has spread across the country since it was first identified here just three weeks ago. in new york, there has been a three-fold increase in covid cases in just the past week. new jersey has seen the highest number of daily positive cases in almost a ye

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