tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN December 29, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST
guidance from ten days to five days for those with asymptomatic infection was driven by evidence that most transmission occurs in the first five days. meantime, as hospitalizations of children with covid-19 are rising at an alarming rate, surging nearly 50% in just a week, dr. walensky says she hopes for approval for boosters for 1 to 15-year-olds in the days and weeks ahead. vaccines for kids under age 5 will take longer. as airlines canceled thousands of flights over the holiday weekend, president biden says vaccine requirements for domestic travel could be imposed if his medical team recommends it. let's le ginn with our senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen for more on the news that rapid at-home covid-19 tests may be less effective when it comes to detecting omicron. what do we know? >> poppy, what we know bottom line is these tests even before
omicron, they're not perfect. but to bottom line it, basing this on what dr. fauci said this morning, they are still useful. imperfect but useful. let's talk about what they're good for and what they're not quite as useful for. if this test says that you have covid, then you almost certainly have covid. if the test says you don't have covid, that's where you get more questions. now, the folks at abbott labs, they make the test widely used in the united states. we reached out to them. this is what they had to say. we've conducted lab analyses and tests on the omicron variant from live virus including those from the first u.s. omicron case at equivalent sensitivity as other variants. that led us to think, hmm, how good has it been in general? this is the data on the cdc's website. let's pretend that you have covid. we know you have covid because you took a pcr test. we know you have covid and you
have symptoms. the rapid test is going to be wrong 35% of the time. it's going to give a false negative. it's going to say you don't have covid even when you do. if you have covid and you're asymptomatic, the test is going to be wrong about 64% of the time. it's going to tell you you're negative even though you have covid. there are lots of nuances here. you may have covid and be asymptomatic but not be contagious, and then you would ask does it really matter if you have covid? lots of lirtal fine points to discuss here. the major takehome is, if it says you're negative, you're not necessarily negative. you need to think about masking and testing again. dr. walensky talked this morning about how they didn't include guidance to get a test to get out of isolation because they're not sure how well the test works in that situation. let's take a listen. >> -- not to have the rapid test for isolation because we
actually don't know how our rapid tests perform and how well they predict whether you're transmissible during the end of disease. >> so again, bottom line. if a rapid antigen test says you have covid, you almost certainly do have covid. if it says you don't, that's a lot more questionable. >> elizabeth cohen, thank you very much for all of those updates. let bring in dr. jeffrey gold, the chancellor of the university of nebraska medical center. thank you very much for joining us this morning. i'm so glad we have you. it was you guys -- i still remember the images of people coming onto the tarmac off those planes to be treated at your facility, some of the first covid cases back in 2020. what do you make of where we are now as a country with covid and this new variant two years later? >> poppy, first, thanks for having me back. i remember those days quite well, also. we have come a very long way
since that time. we've learned a lot about this virus and about the various variants that have occurred after the original virus. we've learned a good deal about different types of vaccines, about ways of treating and preventing the spread of the virus. unfortunately, we continue to be dealt curveball after curveball by the mutations of this virus and our ability to respond to it. i think what dr. walensky said this morning is reasonable, in that we need to deal with the situation in a realtime basis. at the end of the day, the basic things still count. it's still going to be about testing, vaccination and each individual taking their personal responsibility to protect each other and protect themselves. >> what do you make of the news elizabeth just reported about the declining accuracy of these popular at-home rapid tests when it comes to detecting the
omicron variant? >> we've known since the very beginning that no test is perfect. the pcr tests are more accurate and more specific, but unfortunately take time and difficulty teeing them up. the rapid tests or the antigen tests vary tremendously. it's dictated by a couple of things. it's dictated, first of all, by the test itself. secondly, it's dictated by how much virus a person may be carrying at any given time. when you ear carrying a slow amount of virus, you have a lesser chance of transmitting to others. you may, if infected, have a lesser chance of testing positive with an anti joe paterno test. so i think what elizabeth said about, if you test positive, essentially you've got covid. i think if you're symptomatic and you test negative, you need to either retest several times over a period of days, get a pcr
test or self-isolate. those are the only three logical choices. >> there are more children now being hospitalized across the country because of the omicron variant. it's not that children are necessarily getting sicker, but it's more contagious, so more children are getting it. dr. peter hotez told me last night that schools should consider delaying a return at least for a few weeks for these kids. obviously, that comes with serious cost to children's learning and mental health, parents not having child care, a whole host of things. how do you weigh the two? >> again, a very complex relationship because we know having kids in school not only advances their academic world, but their socialization and so many others. however, i think a lot depends upon what's going on in the local communities. we have a patchwork across our country, and even within individual states.
what i mean by that is in some parts of the country like the mid atlantic or in the washington, d.c. belt way where we know that omicron is raging, we may want to make a different decision than we do in other parts of the country where we have much lower prevalence of virus. i know a lot of universities across the country have gone to remote learning for the first month of the spring semester. we have not made that decision, but we're monitoring the situation carefully. as of yesterday, we've got a total of 28 omicron cases in the entire state of nebraska compared to 99% delta variant. so we're in a different situation than other parts of the country. this just underscores the fact that this type of decision making needs to be done on a local basis. >> dr. jeffrey gold, thank you very much for all you and your team have done over the last two years and for being with us this morning. >> great pleasure. thank you. let me bring in one reporter for "the los angeles times" who
says the pandemic has been much more than stories she's covered as a journalist. it has divided her family. brittany mejia just wrote a piece about the death of her unvaccinated grandmother from covid and how opinions over the vaccines have caused such a divide. here is part of her remarkable piece. quote, for many, covid-19 is what forced them to stay home and wear masks to keep others safe. the virus existed largely in the abstract. for me, it's what came to define these last two years, personally and professionally. it's what tore through my family, infecting nearly 30 relatives here and in mexico just on my mom's side. it's what led me to drive my cousins to say goodbye to their father who was on a ventilator. it's what was now stealing the heart of our family. brittny joins me.
thank you for sharing this experience. it must have been very hard to write. >> thank you so much for having me on. it really was. i think this is the most personal article i've ever written, and it was very difficult, but almost cathartic, i think, to be able to write her story. >> you describe your grandmother, and forgive me pronunciation as a chigona, and forgive my pronunciation, a bad ass. >> yes. she was definitely a chigona. she was the example for all of us, especially the women in our family. she emigrated here with her children, five of her children to start over from mexico and was a nurse in mexico, but had to start over again here and started working in a factory sewing burlap sacks. saved enough money, bought a house in highland park, really
reached the american dream. i think for all of us, it was just such an example for how we wanted to live and how we wanted to kind of pass that down through the generations. >> you tweeted that even the responses, brittyy you've gotten to this article illustrate the division that tore apart your own family. i wonder if you could speak to that experience, any advice or lessons for others watching who are also dealing with divides in their family over this. >> it's been really challenging. even the funeral was this week, the service, the wake, everything was this week. even then, it was difficult to see family members unmasked in the church, unvaccinated family members who were unmasked. i don't know what it's going to take, and i think there is this division that exists. it's the truth for a lot of families. i got so many emails saying
their were dealing with the same type of situation. i think for me, a huge thing -- my sisters and i went to the cemetery together. i went with two of them. on the way there, one of my sisters and i kept talking to the other and trying to wear her down a little bit because she didn't want to get vaccinated. when she told me to make the appointment on the drive to the cemetery, which we did for this friday, i just felt relieved. i think there were tense moments between us, and we don't see eye to eye on some things. but for me it was worth it to keep having those conversations and to push through that. i think that's the best advice i could give, is that it's important to continue having those conversations and to make those appointments. it makes it kind of easier and takes away the extra step from somebody else. >> that's a great point. you even had to bring masks to the funeral, n95 masks begging people to wear them. you write in the piece "i am so tired."
what has been most exhausting for you, because you've been covering it day in and out as a journalist and then fighting this fight personally. >> it's been really hard for me. i think even this past week i was in an icu, and everyone in the icu was unvaccinated, a lot of them on ventilators. i think it was difficult for me because sometimes i feel like i'm just painted as the unreasonable one in my family by some family members, even though really what i'm trying to do is make sure everyone is protected because i don't want us to lose anybody else. i think that's what's been especially challenging, is being able to see it firsthand and have family members who aren't seeing it for themselves and having to explain it, is just exhausting. >> they're really lucky to have you brittny. >> thank you. >> i'm really sorry for your loss. >> thank you. >> what a story. i encourage you all to read it.
still to come, unearthing history, nearly 135 years later, i will speak to the researcher who got the first look inside a time capsule found underneath where the robert e. lee statue was in richmond, virginia. next, from his humble beginnings to senate majority leader, we remember the legacy of harry reid. >> one of the things that i hope people look back at me and say, if harry reid can make it, i can. ue zinc formula. it shortens colds! zicam. zinc that cold! people everywhere living with type 2 diabetes are waking up to what's possible... with rybelsus®. the majority of people taking rybelsus® lowered their blood sugar and reached an a1c of less than 7. rybelsus® isn't for people with type 1 diabetes. don't take rybelsus® if you or your family
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senator harry reid who passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 82. president biden said, harry never forgot his humble roots. a boxer, he never gave up a fight. a great american, he looked at challenges and believed it was within our capacity to do good torques do right. former president barack obama shared a letter he recently wrote to harry reid at the request of his wife when his health had taken a turn for the worse and talked about accomplishments he had that wouldn't have been possible without reid. he wrote, as different as we are, i think we saw something of ourselves in each other, a couple of outsiders who defied the odds and knew how to take a punch and cared about the little guy. and you know what, we made a pretty good team. joining me is our chief political correspondent dana bash. so glad you can join us. you interviewed reid. let me play a little bit of that. >> here is why i did it.
we had a d.c. circuit, the most important court in the land except for united states supreme court. we had four or five vacancies, they refused to fill t republicans, many cabinet officers that we couldn't get a vote on. the judges, more than 100 vacancies waiting to be filled. i have no doubt that i did the right thing. >> talking about his controversial decision -- i think it was 2013, on the filibuster for presidential nominees. what lessons can we learn from harry reid, do you think? >> so many, poppy. it's hard to even know where to start. first and foremost is that you don't -- he said this to me, that -- one of the many times i talked to him. he said, what i want people to know about me is that, if i can get to the pinnacle of american
politics, anybody can. he literally grew up in a shack with no running water. his mother was a launderer. she did the laundry for brothels in what was effectively a truck stop near henderson, nevada. he fought his way out. he hitch hiked to high school in henderson so they could have a proper education. he found some fantastic mentors, and he used his street smarts in order to get to where he was, and that really served him in so many ways. number one, he was definitely -- he would be the first to say, he was not an orator. he didn't give soaring speeches, but he played the inside game. he learned the senate rules. he understood how the process worked, and gave him a leg up on
so many people, and had a tremendous sense of loyalty and that was a two-way street. that served him well, not only with his staff, but his leagues, both in the democratic caucus and also across the aisle from speaker boehner to mitch mcconnell. he fought tooth and nail with them, but they always knew where they stood with him. >> dana, humble roots doesn't even begin to describe what he came from. "the new york times" reminds us about the fact that he had no indoor plumbing. his father was an chol alcoholic miner who eventually died from suicide. his mother doing laundry from local brothels. i was reminded of this moment in his 2009 conversation with david axelrod. let's play it. >> having been raised the way i was with no health care, my mother had no teeth, we didn't go to doctors. they thought she had tb.
never went to the doctor. it was a false positive. i can't imagine how much she would have worried about it. i did as a little boy. >> that was such a driver in him being instrumental in getting obamacare passed. how much do you think his own experience as a child shaped what he fought so hard for in the senate? >> so much, almost entirely, especially on obamacare. there's no question that legislatively that is his number one legacy, the fact that he fought so hard with the house speaker and, of course, with president obama. they had 60 democratic votes, which is hard to imagine now. but they needed that filibuster-proof majority. he did what he had to do. he made some deals that were pretty controversial. but he knew he was willing to kind of take the political hits for that in order to kind of keep his eye on the prize.
that was obamacare. one other thing i just want to say in talking about his humble roots. he was a capitol police officer. you're getting a degree in law. he paid his way at george washington university by being a capitol police officer. i remember texting him on january 6th, trying to get a sense of how dismayed he was. obviously he was not just because he was a senator and a leader, but because he was one of those capitol police officers. the level of disgust and despair he had in what he was seeing was really hard to even articulate. it's just a reminder of how people come through the ranks here in washington in very different ways, but there is really nobody like harry reid
when it comes to making his way to the top of elected politics. >> said so well. i know we have to go, i just will say i love what he said about his legacy. when he was asked what's your legacy. it was not about what he accomplished. he said it was his more than 60-year love affair with his wife and he wanted to show people what a good marriage really meant. >> boy was that a love affair. >> right? dana, thank you so much. well, with a saw in hand, one of virginia's leading historians cracks open a look at life in the late 180s. we'll speak with her life here about what was inside that time capsule and the challenges ahead next. did you just spike the footlong? sorry, i didn't want the delay of game. save big. order through the app.
a magical moment for history lovers in virginia and beyond. as a time capsule discovered under the former site of a robert e. lee statue is opened, newspapers indicated the box rumored to contain a rare photo of abraham lincoln had been placed there. there was no confirmation until this week. one of the people you see in that video is kate ridgeway, the state archaeological conservator
at the virginia department of natural resources. this is so exciting, kate. my executive producer has been talking about this non-stop all week. we're really excited you're here. >> thank you so much for having me, poppy. >> you worked in the area of conservation for many years. you have your master's degree in the field. here we see you cutting open this box that dates back to the civil war. what was the moment like? >> it was terrifying and i was so focused on what i needed to do, that i sort of blocked everything around me out which helped because there were a lot of people there. >> i want to talk all about what was in there. you guys thought it's going to be soup inside because it was found in a wet area, but it wasn't. and you note that this box was in the lee statue pedestal according to news accounts from the time, but i wonder if that
statue had not been removed in recent years, if you guys would have ever gotten this? >> i don't think -- there was no way to get to this -- >> did she freeze? okay. let's see if we can refresh the connection and get kate back. if we can't, maybe we'll take -- let's take a quick break. we'll be right back.
all right. we have reestablished connection with kate ridgeway. do you think this would have been found if the robert e. lee statue had been removed? >> i don't think it would have been. this box wasn't a time capsule where people were expected to come and retrieve it after 100 years. this was more of a cornerstone box for the dedication of the monument. so without disassembling the statue, you would not find this box. >> i should also note, there's so much talk about it being found, but it's also notable what is not found inside of it. a number of historians have said, any members of the black community which was pretty prevalent and thriving at the time. can you speak to that as well? >> first, i will say we will not done a complete inventory yet. so when we have that, we will get that out to everyone. so we really don't know
everything that's in there. but i do think it reflects on what the society at the time felt was important, and i think this is a good learning opportunity for us when we do something similar, to show what virginia is like in the future. >> a great point. so now what happens? once you do that full inventory, where does all of this go to be preserved? >> so right now a lot of the artifacts are in the freezer because they came out -- they were wet, and a lot of artifacts are drying. what we're going to do is stabilize these artifacts, do what we can to make sure that they're available for whoever the next owners happen to be. department of historic resources is just a holding area for these artifacts, and they will be going to an institution in the future that hopefully will be able to research the use and put them on exhibition. >> so cool, so great. thank you, kate, for being with us to talk about this. >> you're welcome.
thank you for having me. >> great to have you. well, covid-19 dominated the headlines this year for sure. there were other breakthroughs and battles in medicine. ahead we take a look back at the health stories that made headlines in 2021. leveraging gold, a strategic and sustainable asset... the path is gilded with the potential for rich returns.
while the coronavirus pandemic did demand most of our attention, another epidemic continued to surge. >> america's drug epidemic now deadlier than it has ever been. >> record death toll. >> for the first time on record, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in a 12-month period between may 2020 and april 2021, much of it from elicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. president biden's new drug czar, dr. gupta, no relation to me told me we need to more strongly employ harm reduction, making drus use safer with things like mel locks own, clean syringes and testing drugs for the presence of fentanyl. >> people will say, look, you're enabling drug use. that's the provocation. >> as a physician who has spent his career dealing with science and moving data around, we just
do not have that evidence. >> tonight for the first time in only 20 years, there's a new drug just approved to treat people in the early phases of alzheimer's disease. >> in june, u.s. food and drugs administration green lit add nol, the first new degree approved to treat alzheimer's disease since 2003. according to the fda, the drug can reduce amyloid proteins that block the neural pathways in people with mild disease, but the approval was controversial with many researchers, including the fda's own independent advisory committee saying the evidence simply wasn't there to show it slows down cognitive decline. >> effectiveness is something we don't fully understand just yet. there's a growing concern about a surge of covid-19 cases in tokyo. >> instead of a medal count, we're already trauking the covid count. >> it had already been postponed the previous year, but this summer the tokyo olympic games took place in the midst of the
pandemic. strict testing and masking protocols were put into place and attempts were made to keep athletes in a bubble with very limited interaction with anyone outside. i reported firsthand about how the olympics pandemic playbook was being put to the test. >> is there a criteria by which you would start to become concerned? >> what we look at is changes in patterns. so if we started to see infection in people that weren't part of a close contact group, if we started to see a rising number of cases, if we started seeing cases doubling more rapidly than we saw. today the department of health and human services announcing sweeping changes to its vaccine rollout to get more people vaccinated. >> they're now saying the vaccine should be made available to anyone over age 65. >> the first covid shots went to the most vulnerable, nursing home residents, front line health care workers, and then eligibility was expanded to nose with underlying conditions and those 65 and older. by april, everyone 16 years and
older in the united states was eligible for a shot. in may, 12 to 15-year-olds were authorized for pfizer shots. in august, pfizer's vaccine became the first fully fda-approved covid-19 vaccine in the united states. the biden administration calling out the misinformation machine, accusing facebook of killing people by letting anti-vaccine lies linger on the platform. >> they'reout rage ous, offensive posts that compare vaccines to the holocaust and nazi, germany. >> it's become so significant an issue that is surgeon general called it a serious threat to public health. >> we're still seeing this information spread like wildfire on social media sites in particular. >> what's resulted is a persistent pandemic, with more than 100,000 new infections daily and tens of thousands of covid patients in the hospital, most of them unvaccinated. some of these heavily red districts that voted overwhelmingly for the former president donald trump, the vaccines remain unpopular, not
just hesitancy here. there are people who truly believe the vaccine is a big problem. >> with more than one in ten americans saying they have no plans on getting a shot -- >> we live in a free country and the right to make our own health care decisions is the core of it. >> school districts, businesses, states, even the federal government are starting to implement vaccine mandates in an effort to return to normal. >> this is not about freedom or personal choice. it's about protecting yourself and those around you. >> it is one of the clearest examples of public health colliding with politics. health officials in china are trying to identify a mysterious strain of pneumonia. >> a mysterious new cluster of pneumonia cases. >> when we first learned of this virus nearly two years ago, we had no idea the destruction it would leave in its wake. by september we lost more lives to covid than the estimated 675,000 people who perished in
the 1918 flu pandemic. granted, the population in the united states was one-third what it is now, but there were no vaccines available 100 years ago either. it is difficult to fathom that we have now lost more than 800,000 lives to the coronavirus. sadly, much of it preventable as dr. deborah birx told us. >> there were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge. all of the rest of them in my mind could have been mitigated or decreased substantially. after most kids spent the first year of the pandemic online, getting kids back into the classroom this year was a priority forrer one. but how to do it, that was up for debate. vaccination requirements, mask mandates, testing, quarantines, it all erupted into clashes at local school board meetings across the country. >> no more masks! >> while children are less likely to be hospitalized from covid-19, the number of infections among children has
been steadily rising since this summer. in october the fda authorized a smaller dose of the pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 through 11. that group remains the least vaccinated. vaccination is a key to controlling this pandemic, but we're learning how how long it can last. protection against severe disease does remain high. the cdc has expanded the recommendation for all adults over 18 to get a booster shot, six months after the pfizer and moderna vaccines and two months after the johnson & johnson one. >> we know they're safe and they're highly effective in bringing very, very high up the optimization of your protection. over the last two years there have been thousands of variants, with a handful of them becoming variants of concern. still vaccination, masking,
testing, can help limit the spread of the virus. this past spring we saw the rise of delta, a variant two to three times as infectious as the original coronavirus. it overwhelmed india and then europe. this summer, it swept through the southern united states where vaccination rates were among the lowest in the country. and now omicron cases are growing all over the world. >> this is really something to be reckoned with. it is really rapidly spreading literally throughout the world and certainly in our own country. >> as the weather gets cooler and we move indoors, remember to get your shots, to mask up. despite all the fear, we do have the tools to stay healthy and protected. >> dr. sanjay gupta, thank you for that. they are music icons that have dominated the charts for decades, but james taylor and carol king have been friends for
just as long. up next, a preview of their new cnn film about their first tour together, and i will speak with a renowned music producer who introduced them decades ago. the living room slash yoga shanti slash regional office slash... and this is the basement slash panic room. maybe what your family needs is a vacation home slash vacation home. find yours on the vrbo app. johnson & johnson is the world's largest healthcare company. building a future where cancers can be cured. strokes can be reversed. joints can be 3-d printed. and there isn't one definition of what well feels like. there are millions. we're using our world to make your world a world of well.
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truly remarkable impact on american music. the documentary takes us behind the scenes of their first tour together. watch this. >> actually i've been a fan of james taylor's songs since i met him in 1970. in fact, to the point where prior to hearing james' songs i was writing with other people, mostly jerry gothan and tony stern, and james inspired me to try writing my own music and lyrics. i hope that worked out okay. [ cheers and applause ]. we're going to play for you right now and see what you think. ♪ you got to get up every morning with a smile on your face ♪ ♪ and show the world all the love in your heart ♪ ♪ then people gonna treat you better ♪
♪ you're going to find, yes you will, that you're beautiful as you feel ♪ >> wow. i love that. joining us now is music producer and manager peter asher. peter, great to have you. >> thank you very much. delighted to be here. >> you deserve a lot of the credit here. not only did you sign then unknown james taylor, but you introduced james and carrolole each other. what was that first meeting like? >> it was memorable. i should give credit to guitar player danny core ch ma who introduced james and me and, when i moved to los angeles, introduced me to carole. i had fallen in love with carole's playing by listening to the demos of all those great songs she wrote for all those
different people. i wanted the two of them to meet and i wanted carole to consider playing on the record i was about to make with james. it was my -- i was in a little rented house down near hancock park, and carole came over. james was sitting there with his guitar and i just encouraged them to sit next to each other on the piano bench and play something, because i felt their styles would fit, and they did. they got on very well and it was obviously the beginning of a profound friendship and a musical partnership that went on from then until now over the course of many decades. then when we made the "sweet baby james" album, carole was kind enough to play on every single track on that record. >> i love the point she made in the clip right there that it was james taylor who encouraged her to write her own music, to write her own songs and her own lyrics. it just speaks to such a supportive friendship on both ends. >> that's true.
what's interesting, of course, is they came at it -- even though they became sort of joint representatives and part of the singer/songwriter movement, they came at it from such different places. carole had been writing all these hits for other people, songs which were incredibly successful. i was in awe of carole by looking at her credits long before i met her. james came at it from being what was in those days a folk singer. anyone who had long hair and played an acoustic guitar was automatically a folk singer. you would think they would be at the opposite ends of some spe spectrum, but in fact, they got on incredibly well both musically and personally. >> where do you see their biggest impact on other artists? >> well, i think, as i say, between them and people like joni mitchell and neil young and other brilliant members of the same sort of era, suddenly being
a singer/songwriter became a thing and became a career. i don't think we'd see the ed sheerans or taylor swifts, holly humberstones, brandi carlile, all those people are adept to the singer/songwriters of that early generation of which james and carole were certainly key elements. >> before we go, your favorite carole king/james taylor song. >> i would never dare to compare a carole king song to a james taylor song and choose a favorite. but overall because of what it accomplished i'd have to go with "you've got a friend." it was the moment that james and i heard carole sing this brand new song, fell in love with it. we asked carole, even though she
was about to make her own solo record, we'd ask if we would be crazy to ask if we could record it as well. carole with extraordinary generosity said yes. they both succeeded. >> what an amazing life they had both led. peter, thank you, what a joy to have you. thank you very much. >> thank you. again, do not miss the all new cnn film "just call out my name" sunday night at 9:00 p.m. on cnn. we'll be right back. hi everyone. i'm amara walker in for kate bolduan. here is what we're watching. a record high of new covid cases. top doctors answer your questions. demanding justice. the family of a teen accidentally