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tv   CNN Newsroom Live  CNN  December 23, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PST

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hello and a very warm welcome to viewers joining us in the united states and right around the world. i'm isa soares in london and just ahead on "cnn newsroom." >> long testing lines across the country have already begun. >> half a billion tests bought by the u.s. government will be distributed for free. >> i'm pretty worried that the surge that we're going to see in the coming weeks is going to be worse than the surge that we saw last winter. >> consider gathering with
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family and friends practicing similar prevention measures. president biden saying he bungled the covid case. omicron variant may have peaked. and despite the surge in covid cases, americans are crowding the roads and the airports at near pre-pandemic levels. we have your holiday travel and weather covered. >> announcer: live from london, this is "cnn newsroom" with isa soares. welcome, everyone. it is thursday, december 23rd. we begin with some positive news in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. there is a new pill that could be a real game changer. the fda has authorized pfizer's
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antiviral pill to treat covid-19 in the united states. and the white house says thousands will be available in a matter of weeks and many more by the summer. cnn medical analyst dr. leana wen explains why this is such a big deal. >> there are a lot of people who are remaining unvaccinated. i wish they were going to get vaccinated, but we know that there are some people who are just not going to do it. somehow these people are ready to take treatments if they get infected even if they could get the vaccine. they are likely to overwhelm the hospitals. if they can get a pill that removes them from the hospital, that will help to save their life, but also will help to remove the strain on our health care system. >> well, of course this comes as the omicron variant sweeps across all 50 states. as you can see there all in red. and puerto rico in just over three weeks since it was first reported in the united states. but south africa, where it was initially detected if you
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remember, appears to have passed the peak of its omicron outbreak, and a top epidemiologist in the country says that could be due to immunity through vaccinations as well as natural infection. we'll have a live report, of course, from the region in just a few minutes. also a new study from denmark shows covid-19 boosters offer a significant increase in protection against omicron. while two other studies suggest a reduced risk of covid-19 hospitalizations when infected with omicron compared to delta. and, of course, those glimmers of hope come as the u.s. endures a new surge of covid cases and the major shortage of tests, americans are waiting in long lines as you can see there to get tested in the run up to the holidays in hopes, of course, of safely celebrating with their loved ones. on wednesday, the u.s. president was asked if the lack of available tests marks a failure by his administration. cnn's jeff zeleny has his response. >> reporter: president biden
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acknowledging in a new interview that his administration has struggled to keep up with the omicron variant of the covid-19 pandemic. clearly marking this surge in cases here in the u.s. he said simply nothing has been good enough. he was defensive in one hand on an abc news interview, but also tried to really explain why no one could have foreseen this rapid surge. >> well, i don't think it's a failure. i think you could argue that we should have known a year ago, six months ago, two months ago, a month ago. i've ordered half a billion of the pills, 500 million pills -- excuse me, 500 million test kits that are going to be available to be sent to every home in america if anybody wants them. but the answer is, yeah, i wish i had thought about ordering half a billion pills two months ago before covid hit here. >> reporter: but, in fact, many experts said you could see this coming so there are questions of why more tests were not ready.
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now, there are going to be about half a billion at-home tests mailed in the month of january, but the question is will that be too late. the president also seemed to struggle between the idea of pills and tests, so a bit of confusion there on that part. no doubt, he said, and wanted to stress, this year the holidays certainly different than a year ago because of vaccinations. this is not like the march of 2020, the beginning of the pandemic. said the country is in an not tirely different place. the world is as well. the president clearly, though, trying to take command of this, which has certainly eluded him. but also in that abc news interview, david muir asked the president about his own reelection prospects. did he plan to run for reelection? watch what he says when he talks about president trump. >> yes. but, look, i'm a great respecter of fate. fate has enter intervened many,
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many times f. i'm in good health, then n fact, i would run again. >> if that means a rematch against donald trump? >> you're trying to tempt me now. sure. why would i not run against donald trump as a nominee? that would increase the prospect of running. >> reporter: that, of course, is many years to come. the challenges now facing this white house are much more severe on the pandemic, trying to contain this. of course, the president's political fortunes are deeply tied into all of this. clearly heading into the holidays, the white house on edge during this christmas. certainly ending this year in a complicated step again with the pandemic. jeff zeleny, cnn, the white house. >> thank you, jeff. well, the vice president's office may be on edge after a staff member tested positive. the staff member is vaccinated,
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boostered and covid free. the president will test in line with guidance from the cdc office. new york is the hot spot with the state reporting the highest daily cases on wednesday. up nearly 24% from its last record set just days earlier. new data shows nearly 60% of new states -- new cases are concentrated in new york city as well as surrounding areas. now, in response the city stepping up its testing operations, performing around 170,000 covid tests a day, and that is a new record. new york senator chuck schumer is requesting 100 additional mobile testing sites from the federal emergency management agency. it originally offered six, but schumer said that just won't do. and 11 area hospitals will also limit visitors due to recent outbreaks, saying it is the best move until cases get under control. a court case means canceled
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events. the nba postponed a sixth game, this time between the brooklyn nets and the trail blazers. the nets didn't have enough eligible players to play. broadway is taking a hit cancelling 12 shows, hamilton, harry potter due to outbreaks. many shows will close a week before performances resume, and theaters just reopened, of course, september after an 18-month hiatus due to the pandemic. so we all know -- we can imagine what they're going through. now, the covid surge is impacting colleges and universities in the united states as well. duke university joins a growing list of schools requiring students and employees to get booster shots by january. at least five other colleges and universities have issued covid-19 booster mandates for students. meantime, some colleges have already moved the last days of their full semester online while others are adjusting their
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spring semester, delaying reopening, or moving to virtual learning due, of course, to concerns over the omicron variant. now, that is in the united states. let's look internationally. china is imposing a major covid lockdown on a fourth city, and this one appears to be the biggest yet. in xian, some 30 million people are being forced to stay home. like in wuhan last year if you remember, transportation to and from the city has been suspended. mass testing, as you can see, is already underway. schools in many public facilities have been shutdown with only essential services like super markets and hospitals staying open. selena wang is tracking the story for us from tokyo. selena, this is a huge undertaking, but the major -- the first time a major city has been placed under lockdown in china. what does this mean in theory for those who will be under lockdown? >> reporter: yeah, isa, for
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weeks they have been trying to contain the cluster of cases since december 9. the city reported more than 200 covid-19 cases which by international standards and comparing it to outbreaks we're seeing in other parts of the world, it sounds like a small number of cases. but in china where they are pursuing this zero-covid strategy, they are responding by locking down xi'an and residents. they are largely leaving their homes, but one person, designated person from each household can go out once every two days to get groceries. and local authorities are saying the only other time they can leave is for medical emergencies or what they're calling, quote, urgent and necessary works. this is the fourth time a major chinese city has gone into lockdown. the first one was back in early 2020 when wuhan, ground zero of the pandemic went into lockdown. it is not xian we are seeing extreme measures. cities across china in response to a handful of cases are using lockdowns and mass testing to try to contain those localized
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flare-ups. and, of course, isa, with the beijing olympics less than 45 days away, the stakes here are heightened. china's borders have been largely closed off since early on in the pandemic, and soon they will be dealing with thousands of athletes and participants coming into beijing from all around the world. at a press conference just today, the beijing organizing committee said, though, that they are going to be able to keep any possible cases in the olympic bubble away from the rest of the population. these protocols, covid restrictions that we are going to see at these winter games, are set to be the most elaborate and stringent yet than what we saw at the tokyo games. olympic participants are going to be in a strict bubble away from the population. any unvaccinated participants, they would have to quarantine for 21 days upon arrival. >> wow. and, selena, very briefly, do we know how long this lockdown would last for? >> reporter: we don't know yet how long this lockdown is going
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to last for, but as i mentioned, this is a strategy that we have seen in other areas. for instance, in dong xiang, they went into a quasi-lockdown. we can expect these measures to persist until we see these cases come down significantly, isa. >> selena wang for us in tokyo. good to see you. as we mentioned at the top of the show, top scientific exp expert in south africa says they have reached their peak. as you can see on the map, south africa is one of few countries where cases are down compared to last week. they have fallen by more than 20%. the head of the south african medical association says this fourth wave was steeper but much shorter than previous waves. hospital admissions and deaths have thankfully been significantly lower. let's get more on this encouraging statement from nairobi, kenya. larry, finally we have some positive news of sorts to bring. talk us through what the
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scientific researchers have found and how it compares to previous variants here. >> reporter: that's right, isa. scientists in south africa think this is a positive scientific. we need this bit of good bit of news in the pandemic. scientists say they believe south africa is now past the peak of the omicron wave. now, to be clear, this peak was much steeper according to one expert speaking to cnn, but significantly shorter. what does that mean? it took half the time compared to previous waves to get to its peak. so if you compare to the beta variant or delta variant, it took a longer time. the omicron variant peaked faster, but didn't last long. we are seeing case numbers drop which includes city of johannesburg where 70% was in this one province. the other reason according to another expert speaking to cnn is because the population
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immunity. that is, natural infection and vaccination going up. these are positive siebz. because it spread so fast within the community, more people got infected and had some form of immunity and that is why it didn't spread as quickly as people feared. this is also another positive scientific for the rest of the world figuring out how will omicron behave in their own countries. if south africa is a way to go by, it will be less severe, fewer people in the hospital and fewer people dying. >> we are closely monitoring, of course, everything that is unfolding in south africa. larry with some good news for us this morning thanks very much, larry. we have this just in to cnn. authorities are on the scene of what they are calling a major industrial accident at an exxon-mobil refinery in bay town, texas, as you can see there. that is just to the east of houston. initial reports are that some type of explosion happened inside the plant, and we've just
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got video that shows a raging fire with plumes of smoke as you can see there on your screen. it's not clear, of course, at this stage what caused the accident. the sheriff's office says some injuries are reported and is recommending people avoid the area. of course, if you're just joining us, authorities are on the scene of an oil refinery accident in bay town, texas. we'll stay on top of the story and bring you more details as soon as it comes into cnn. now, today is expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the holiday season. coming up, just how many people are expected to pass through u.s. ports or airports. and officials in minnesota are preparing for protests. jurors may be struggling to reach a verdict in the former police officer's manslaughter trial. we'll bring both those stories after a short break.
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now, authorities in minnesota are preparing for possible protests as jury deliberations continue in the manslaughter trial of former police officer kim potter. there is still no verdict and deliberations will resume in the coming hours.
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omar jimenez reports there are signs the jury is struggling to reach an agreement. >> reporter: the jury in the kim potter trial ended their deliberations wednesday right at the 24-hour mark over the course of the past three days, and still no verdict. we got an indication that they may be having trouble getting to a consensus after one of two questions was asked of the judge on tuesday. that question simply asked, what happens if we can't reach a consensus. and now moving forward, we're running right into christmas eve and christmas on the horizon, and this judge has indicated she would not keep these jurors over christmas eve and christmas, meaning if they can't come to a decision before then, we would just start up again the week of december 27th. now, the crux of what they are trying to figure out and get to a consensus on is whether former officer kim potter was justified in her shooting and killing of 20-year-old daurnte wright. she claimed she reached for her
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taser but grabbed her gun before shooting and killing wright. the mere claim she meant to grab her taser even she didn't think deadly force is needed. the defense has argued if wright complied, none of this would have happened. but, of course, this is what the jury is trying to decide. and at least over three days and 24 hours total of deliberations, still no verdict. omar jimenez, cnn, minneapolis. >> and those deliberations omar was referring to will resume this morning. the attorney for daunte wright's family said he is not discouraged by the jury's questions if they can't reach an agreement. have a listen. >> it is not an unusual question early on in deliberations, which that was. you know, when you start to get really nervous as a lawyer is when you start getting notes from the jury that lead you to believe there's just no chance that this jury is going to be able to reach a resolution.
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so, given the stage that that came, you know, i think that my advice is always to clients in those situations, not to read too much into that at this point, particularly given that the other two questions show us that the jury was likely carefully analyzing impeachment evidence, and evidence related to a critical theory of the case, the physical construction of the gun. so that shows us that we have an active, intelligent and working jury at this point. personally, i think it benefits the prosecution because those of us who have observed both weapons, touched both weapons know how both weapons operate, you know. we're hopeful the jury is going to see what we heard explained through expert testimony and see with their own eyes it's negligent, cull pauably negligent, it's reckless if not more to say you made a simple mistake in confusing those weapons. it shouldn't happen. >> and, of course, we will
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continue to follow the story as we have from day one and bring you the latest developments. now, the jury in the sex trafficking trial of ghislaine maxwell has adjourned and urged to be cautious of the covid surge. they deliberated for two days without reaching a verdict. the british socialite is accused of luring teenage girls to be sexually abused by her former boyfriend jeffrey epstein. maxwell has pleaded not guilty. now, new figures show the u.s. economy did slightly better than initially thought in the third quarter. gdp grew at 2.3% rate. still, inflation we've been talking about here on the show is a major concern. passports are the latest item to be hit with prices going up by $20 starting monday. the state department said in a tweet the increase fee as you can see there is necessary to ensure we continue to produce one of the most secure travel and identity documents in the
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world. so, as one example for an adult renewing by mail, the cost will go from $110 to $130 as of next week. now, many travelers are dusting off their passports this holiday weekend. travel has been picking up despite covid concerns. and today is expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the holiday season. cnn's pete muntean has that for you. >> reporter: air travel numbers are so close to what we saw back in 2019. in fact, the tsa screened 1.98 million people at airports across the country on tuesday. that number 99% of the same day back in 2019, shy by only about 2300 people. this just barely ends a five-day streak where we saw numbers higher than 2 million people at airports each day. you know, the tsa says thursday will be one of the busiest days of the holiday season for air travel, and that really kicks up
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a huge streak of numbers, they say, a total of 20 million people between december 23rd and january 3rd. you know, aaa reminds us the vast majority of people will drive. 100 million people driving 50 miles or more. that number up only 7% of what numbers were before the pandemic. they say travel by air is safe because of heavily filtered air and the transportation mask mandate still in place until march 18, 2022. and the tsa and faa have announced a new partnership where if you defy that rule, you could lose your tsa pre-check for good. pete muntean, cnn, regan national airport. >> thank you, pete. new travel restrictions across europe don't appear to slow things down. cnn's anna stewart live for us. cases continue to surge in the uk, indeed across europe, and despite all the covid testing, all the paperwork and the
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headaches, correct? >> reporter: absolutely extraordinary, isn't it? given the whole world is a new patchwork of travel bans and travel restrictions, demand is definitely there. and we're getting some fresh numbers in terms of international travel from oag, which is a global travel data provider. there is safety for airlines to operate their schedule at least to the end of the year. isa, since 9 beginning of december there's been a reduction of 2.8% of seats. that's windows just before the omicron variant was discovered. now, once we have all had our christmas puddings and drank far too much champagne on new year's eve, the pitch looks more bleak going 2022. we are seeing some airlines beginning to drop their capacity for the coming months. for instance, ryanair, the low cost carrier here, has slashed their january traffic forecast by a third. they've also doubled their annual loss forecast. so, good news for airlines just in the next few days. people do want to travel. they want to see their family
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and friends, but i think after christmas, once they're back home, the suitcases are going away to the loft to gather dust for the next few months. >> anna, just before you leave us, give our viewers a taste really of what any advice and tips you think would help when traveling. >> reporter: yes, because everyone, of course, wants to keep safe. you also want to keep moving through those airports as quickly as you can. certainly there are things you can do to reduce your exposure. first up, of course, masks. they are mandated by most airlines. what kind of mask you use not only protects others, but which reduces your exposure as well. you have cloth masks, surgical, you might want to pick a respirator mask like n-95. is your phone charged? do you have a charger? do you maybe want to print it out if you're someone that loses your phone like me in airports frequently? and always bring extra tests with you for your travel so that you can test yourself maybe with a rapid antigen before you meet with different people over the holidays and travel insurance,
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isa, absolutely critical at the moment. covid travel insurance. check that you have it because if you test positive while you are away, that holiday could be a little bit longer and a lot more expensive. isa? >> very good tips right there from anna stewart. thanks very much, anna. here it is almost christmas and many in the u.s. are turning on the air conditioners instead of fireplaces. high temperatures are expected across the country. tyler malden joins me now. you were seeing snow. what happened here? >> yes, so, isa, let me start off by saying where the hot conditions will be. it will be in the southeast. that's where we'll have decent travel weather in the next few days. but out west, that's where we're locked in this pattern, this very nasty winter weather pattern which is going to lead to cold conditions out there and the heavy snowfall. as a result, any impacts that we see out west will be because of
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that system coming ashore. and we are looking at major to extreme impacts out there. so if we encounter any airport delays, it's going to be across california going on up into the pacific northwest. then as you start pushing out to the east where that bubble of heat is located, it looks kind of good for flying. it's also looking pretty good for any ground travel as well. however, there is a little fly in the proverbial ointment across the great lakes where we have some minor delays possible because of a system pushing over. eventually we see the record heat build up a little farther to the north and east and encompasses more of the east coast while the snow producer out west continues to push east as well. this will also impact our travel, too, on christmas eve and going into christmas day. so, the major to extreme travel
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impacts that are basically bottled across california and pacific northwest for today will start to migrate to the east once we get into, once we get into christmas eve and christmas day. we are looking at in addition to the rain and snow across the west, high winds in portions of the rockies going on into the plains. now, what about that heat? that heat as i mentioned is building, and it is record breaking. we could potentially see 140-plus record temperatures in the coming days, isa. so it is not going to be feeling much like christmas this year. christmas 2021 is going to be feeling more like it's springtime. >> christmas is what you make of it, right? let's hope everyone has a lovely christmas, yourself included, tyler. thanks very much. and still to come right here on the show, the january 6 house committee is hoping to speak with one of donald trump's top congressional allies, republican representative jim jordan.
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>> you know what this is about? this is about the democrats attack the president again, president trump again like they've done for what, now five years. of course i talked to the president. i've been clear about that. i don't recall the number of times. >> was it before, during or after the attack on -- >> i talked to the president after the attack. i'm jonathan lawson here to tell you about life insurance through the colonial penn program. if you're age 50 to 85, and looking to buy life insurance on a fixed budget, remember the three ps. what are the three ps? the three ps of life insurance on a fixed budget are price, price, and price. a price you can afford, a price that can't increase, and a price that fits your budget. i'm 54, what's my price? you can get coverage for $9.95 a month.
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welcome back to "cnn newsroom." i'm isa soares. if you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour. china is implementing its biggest lockdown impacting nearly 13 million people. mass testing is underway and transportation to and from the city has been suspended.
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and u.s. president joe biden is trying to ease concerns over covid testing shortages in an interview with abc news. he said he didn't think his administration's response to the current state of the pandemic has been a failure. well, in that same interview the president also said he hasn't given up on his sweeping economic and climate plan despite democrat's failure to get senator joe manchin on board. the president said he plans to speak with manchin next week and says they can implement the build back better legislation. he insists it will help lower inflation. we are now two weeks from the one-year anniversary of the deadly attack on the u.s. capitol. in an interview with abc news, president joe biden was asked if accountability should go all the way to the top over the january 6 attack. have a listen. >> i think accountability is necessary. look -- >> and that means if it goes -- >> those responsible should be
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held accountable. >> meanwhile, a new lawsuit is looking to block a subpoena from the house committee investigating the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. four people who started the pro trump rally that came before the capitol riot want to keep the parnl from obtaining their phone records. still, the committee is pushing ahead with its work and is now hoping to speak with a congressional ally of donald trump. cnn's jessica schneider has the details for you from washington. >> reporter: a lot unfolding from the january 6 committee. they just sent out another letter requesting a voluntary interview with a republican lawmaker. this time it's congressman jim jordan, one of trump's top congressional allies. the committee is telling jordan they want to hear from him about his communications with the former president on january 6th. they say that jordan had at least one and possibly multiple chats with trump that day, and now they want jordan to sit down for a voluntary interview as soon as january 3rd. but from what we've seen, it is highly unlikely that congressman jordan will cooperate. he's already warned the
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committee that targeting gop lawmakers in any capacity will be met with political retribution if republicans re-take the house after the midterms. and we even saw republican congressman scott perry lash out at the committee's legitimacy already this week where he eagerly rebuffed their request to interview him. we have not seen a response from jordan just yet, but the committee, in their letter to him, is trying to throw jordan's words back at him by writing that jordan did say back in august that he had, quote, nothing to hide. congressman jordan did have at least one text message of note. his spokesperson confirmed that jordan did forward a text to former chief of staff mark meadows on january 5th, outlining a legal theory of how vice president pence could block the certification of the election. now, jordan's spokesperson said the text was written by a former defense department inspector jen and that congressman jordan was forwarding that text on to meadows. but it is clear this committee
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wants to know through jordan what trump was up to inside the white house on january 6, and they say that jordan had at least one, if not multiple communications with trump. unlikely that jordan would sit down for the voluntary interview, and they will have to see if the committee goes so far as to subpoena the gop lawmakers. in addition, a federal judge has just rejected michael flynn's attempts to block the committee from getting any of his phone records or testimony. it's trump's former national security adviser here. he filed a lawsuit tuesday requesting immediate action, but then on wednesday, about 24 hours later, the judge said he was not entitled to an immediate block of the information being given to the committee, and that instead his lawsuit should just continue to play out. so for now, the committee has cleared at least one small legal hurdle. but with at least eight other people suing the committee to hamper their investigation, it really could be a long court battle on multiple fronts. jessica schneider, cnn,
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washington. >> thank you, jessica. you are watching "cnn newsroom." just ahead, a growing number of european countries are rolling out covid vaccines for kids. we've got the details in a live report next. no problem, the sleep number 360 smart bed is temperature balancing so you both sleep just right. and it senses your movements and automatically adjusts to keep you both effortlessly comfortable. so, you can really promise better sleep? yes! you'll know exactly how well you slept, night after night. we take care of the science. all you have to do is sleep. and now, save up to $500 on select sleep number 360 smart beds. plus, 0% interest for 48 months. only for a limited time. to learn more, go to with age comes more... get more with neutrogena® retinol pro plus. a powerful .05% retinol that's also gentle on skin. for wrinkles results in one week. neutrogena®. for people with skin.
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now, a new study out in the uk suggests people infected with the omicron variant are 40 to 45% less likely to be hospitalized. the country reported more than 106,000 new covid cases on wednesday. the first time it's crossed the 100,000 threshold since the pandemic started. uk regulators have now approved the pfizer biontech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. some good news there. germany's health minister says people will eventually need a fourth vaccine dose . he said it's clear three doses don't protect against the omicron variant. meanwhile, spain will bring back outdoor mask mandates starting
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christmas eve and belgium is cancelling indoor events although gyms and museums can stay open. covering developments across the continent, we begin first with salma abdelaziz in london. let's talk about the study i believe will be published later today, raising hopes that those infected with omicron will be less likely to be hospitalized compared to the likes of delta here. >> reporter: yes, more evidence, growing evidence that omicron appears to be milder which adds to what we heard from doctors in south africa. in recent days, two pre-print studies published to -- preprint studies is preliminary data, again, showing that omicron appears to be milder. the first paper was pre-print published yesterday from the university of edinborough in scotland. it shows there is a two-thirds reduction in the risk to hospitalization when you compare the delta variant to the omicron
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variant. researchers said at this point, given the amount of infections in scotland, they would have expected 47 people in hospital at the point in which the study was being done. 47 people in hospital with omicron, they had 15 people in hospital with omicron. so two-thirds reduction, really significant there. the other paper coming out of south africa shows there is 80% lower odds of being hospitalized with the omicron variant. and researchers also found that if you have that third shot, if you have the booster jab, that reduces your risks even more. it will give you 50% lower reduction in the possibility of severe illness if you have that third shot. important to note that they are talking about the double vaxed. the unvaxed highly subject to the variant. it could lead to less hospitalization due to variants. it is the overwhelming spread, isa. even if you have less people winding up in hospital with the omicron variant, if you have an overwhelming number of people
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getting that variant, then you just have a huge ratio, a huge proportion that is going to wind up in hospital. we already know this is being looked at very closely by authorities, governments, ministers here in the uk are watching this closely because that's what prime minister boris johnson said he would do, watch that data hour by hour. dr. anthony fauci used this in a white house briefing. so really important figures here for governments to help make their decisions, isa. >> in the next few weeks it will be important as we try to protect, salma, the national health service, the nhs has here. stay with us, salma. let's get to nada. we are seeing european countries pushing ahead with vaccination for children as well here. >> reporter: yeah, absolutely. as salma mentioned, there's been a huge -- doubling down on the vaccination campaign in england. and of course now in europe, we are seeing it extended to the younger age group of 5 to 11-year-olds. france, finland, denmark,
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belgium amongst those countries now widening that vaccination campaign. we are also seeing foreign countries taking a different approach. germany announcing it is looking at a fourth booster dose. the health minister there saying three doses does president seem to be durable enough against the omicron variant. so they are now encouraging to go ahead with this fourth dose. they all can be keeping their vaccination centers open over christmas, all part of their efforts really to double down on the vaccination campaign. they are looking at getting something like an additional 30 million doses administered by the end of january. and, of course, this comes alongside the tightening of covid restrictions in germany after christmas. they are restricting social gatherings pretty tightly and canceled new year's eve celebrations. but, of course, this comes from warnings at the w.h.o. europe is at the epicenter of the pandemic. there is a storm coming and potential for further hospital admissions. we've seen other european
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countries taking a similar approach to germany, doubling down on vaccination efforts. as you mentioned, tightening restrictions ahead of the winter. >> nada bashir, salma abdelaziz. if i don't see you, have a wonderful christmas and hop happy holidays. still to come, vladimir putin holds a marathon news conference as russia wants to hold talks with the u.s. and nato next month. you are looking at live pictures from moscow. we have the latest next. drille. they release medicine fast for fast pain relief. and now get relief without a pill with tylenol dissolve packs. relief without the water.
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now, at this hour russian president vladimir putin's holding his annual year-end news conference. you are looking at live pictures coming to us from moscow. this conference comes amid tensions over the country's military buildup along ukraine's border which we have been reporting on the show for several days now. and as russia really looks to hold talks with u.s. and nato over security guarantees, talks are expected in the new year. cnn's melissa bell is following all the developments from moscow and she joins us now. melissa, i suspect this might be quite a lengthy news conference as we have come to witness over the past few years.
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what are we expecting to hear from the president here at this time, of course, of heightened tensions with the west and with nato? >> reporter: well, for the time being you're quite right, this can go on for sometime. the record is 2008 when it lasted 4 1/2 hours with some 80 questions from journalists, isa. it's been going on for just under an hour now, just over half an hour. and so far it's concentrated very much on things like the pandemic, the economy, the soaring inflation that russia is seeing, rising food prices, and salaries. so very much on the economy and how it is impacting ordinary russians. what we expect later, though, and what we are looking to is what comments putin might make on the latest development on the crisis in ukraine. now, we have an idea of what he's going to say since we heard from him only a couple days ago when he spoke to a defense ministry meeting about those talks that we now expect to take place between nato, russia, and the united states in january. we know that he believes that what russia wants is to avoid
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blood shed and very much to look towards dialogue. i mean, these are talks that russia has requested that will be based on demands that russia has made. many of them already judged unacceptable by the west. and yet there will be those talks. so we'll be looking to see what he has to say about that. we expect him also, though, isa, to be asked more about domestic issues. particularly that crackdown on dissenting voices that we've seen very much in russia this year, and particularly the naming, the designation as foreign agents of organizations that are essentially don't see eye to eye with the kremlin. he'll be asked about that. it is in the midst of this ukraine crisis this press conference takes place, so we expect a lot of questions on that, and hope to hear more about russia's thinking, particularly now that washington and nato have been very clear about the nature of the discussions that they hope to have with russia, specifically the fact that they deem many of russia's demands unacceptable to begin with, isa. >> i know, melissa, you'll keep an eye on that news conference. get yourself a strong cup of
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coffee. i shall speak to you later. thanks, melissa. now, to u.s., food companies dole and fresh express are recalling some pre-packaged salads because they could be contaminated with listeria. the fda says two separate outbreaks dating back several years have led to more than two dozen illnesses and three deaths across the united states. both outbreaks are still being investigated. for now the fda advises avoiding all of the recalled product which are listed on its website. mcdonald's locations in japan are temporarily limiting the sale of french fries because of global potato shortages. the company cites the pandemic as well as extreme flooding in canada for causing shipping delays. for one week beginning this friday, customers will only be able to buy a small serving of fries. the c.e.o. of mcdonald's japan says they are exploring other shipping options like air mail to get more relief for their faithful customers. don't panic yet. researchers in virginia are
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quite surprised after opening a time capsule from the late 1800s. it was unsealed on wednesday, days after workers found it in the pedestal of a confederate statue in richmond. the capsule contained three books, an envelope as well as a coin and dozens of other items mentioned in an 1887 newspaper story about the capsule, including a picture of abraham lincoln lying in his coffin. the researchers are wondering if there is another capsule in the area. and we are getting a look at the remarkable rescue of two babies in kentucky who were swept away in a bathtub when tornadoes ripped through the state early this month. take a look at the moment sheriffs and neighbors pulled them free. have a look. >> 3:20 now, we have i think a 15 month old. central, can you send us med center? >> oh, my god. >> we can't get them to you.
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>> there you go. is she okay? he? what have we got? >> good there. no cuts on the leg. >> both of them. >> well, the 15 month old and 3 month old were with their grandmother at the time. she put them in the bathtub with a blanket, pillow and bible and said she held onto the tub until it was ripped out of her hands. one of the infants was taken to the hospital with a head injury after reuniting with their grandmother. and that does it for me here on "cnn newsroom." i'm isa soares in london. thanks very much for your company this year. i wish you a happy and healthy holiday to you and your loved ones. i shall see you in 2022. but do stay with us. right now our coverage continues, of course, on "early start" with christine romans and paula reid. you are watching cnn.
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xxxx good morning. it is thursday, december 23rd. two more shopping days until christmas, everybody. it is 5:00 a.m. exactly here in new york. thanks for getting an early start with us. i'm christine romans. >> and i'm paula reid in for laura jarrett. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. >> nice to see you again, paula. let's begin with something americans desperately need this morning, right? hope. three new early studies suggesting there is a lower risk of hospitalization for those infected with the omicron variant than delta.


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