tv Craig Melvin Reports MSNBC November 29, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PST
and it's men, women, and children. it's great to see you. thank you for being with me this morning. that wraps up the hour for me. i'm jose diaz-balart. you can always reach me on twitter and instagram. be sure to follow the show online @@j drks -- good mondy morning. here at msnbc head quarters in new york city, today the world is holding its collective breath as a brand new covid variant raises huge questions in this holiday season. and the approach is changing by the minute. in the last 30 minutes new york city announcing an indoor mask advisory. once again everybody in america's largest city is encouraged to wear a mask in indoor public settings regardless of their vaccination
status. also this hour, the president will address the nation after being briefed on the omicron variant spreading worldwide concern. the president's top medical adviser, dr. anthony fauci says it could take weeks before we know more about omicron. he says all signs suggest it may be more transmisable and could even evade immune protection. in just a couple minutes, i'm going to talk one on one with a doctor who is the chair of the south african medical association. and she is credited by uk's telegraph newspaper with being the first to alert authorities about patients with the omicron variant. i'm gong to ask how the variant stands out from others and what the symptoms are like. also happening today, opening statements are set to begin in the high profile ghislaine maxwell trial. we'll break down why we probably won't hear any high profile names in the course of the
trial. plus congress is, in fact, back, and busier than ever. on friday government funding runs out. the debt limit will probably need to be lifted again in a couple weeks. on top of that, the president's build back better bill is hanging by a thread in the senate. we'll get into how congress plans to tackle all that and more with the holidays just around the corner. we want to start with mike memoli at the white house and matt bradley in london for us. mike, let me start with you on this one. according to the public schedule, as we speak, the president, vice president, should be in a briefing with their covid response team on the omicron variant. later on this hour the president is set to speak to the american people about what we know. what are we going to be hearing from the president this morning? >> well, as you just laid out, we're at such an early stage with this new variant just making its appearance known that there are more questions than answers. there's more that we do know at this stage, and according to the white house, the president is going to be pretty clear about that. this is an administration that
believes it's really important to have as much clear and direct information from trusted public officials as possible. especially from our public health officials. and that's why we saw the president as soon as he got back from his thanksgiving break in nantucket. had an urgent meeting with his response team yesterday at the white house. another meeting this morning. then he's going to share with the american people what he's heard so far, and he'll be blunt about the fact that there's still more information that we need to get in order to maybe result in new restrictions, new changes in policy. as one white house official put it, there's not going to be much in the way of news as much as a message of reassurance from the president. behind the scenes, we've already been hearing from the white house over the last few weeks they were tracking a potential winter surge here, trying to get ahead of that. knowing that so many americans were going to be spending more time indoors as the weather turns colder and spending more time with their families, traveling around the holidays. so they were already preparing for sort of a rampup in messaging around the importance of getting your booster if you haven't yet.
about getting vaccinated if you haven't yet done that, and also, as we have younger populations now eligible for vaccines, the importance of doing that as well. so you can expect more in the weeks ahead from the white house about that. but at this stage, what the white house wants to do is make it clear that they are on top of the situation, that they're learning as much as they can. the one thing we've seen in terms of concrete steps is the travel ban of those countries in the southern part of africa. something that's really been a focus of international discussion, especially as it relates to whether there has been enough vaccinations in that part of the world. something we're also going to be looking for in the weeks ahead from the white house as well. >> we're going to bring the president live as soon as he begins speaking. if you didn't know it, matt bradley, by now we are in this pandemic together. the entire world. now the world health organization this morning saying the global risk of the new omicron variant is incredibly high. how are nations responding? >> yeah. at the same time they're saying the countries should take a risk-based approach to whether
or not they implement the travel bans. last year they were a skeptic about travel bans. we're hearing protests from southern african countries. they are vulnerable to cutting off traffic and transportation. they're protesting. one saying that this is discriminatory. this is unjustified. but we're starting to see that the world health organization is changing on that question of whether or not countries should be implementing travel bans and saying they should be doing this as a risk-based approach. the world health organization also reminding, using this occasion and just as we're speaking there's a meeting of world health organization health ministers to try to come up with a new global accord on viruses and on pandemics. this was just sort of happened to happen as we started to see the emergence of this new omicron variant. we heard from the head of the world health organization saying this new variant goes to show
how much the world needs an international accord when it comes to sharing research, sharing strategy on a pandemic. and you know, what you're going to hear today and what you're going to hear in the next couple days and weeks is a lot of finger pointing from the global south to us in the global north. saying this is exactly what happens when you don't distribute vaccinesequitably. even though it was the rich world most affected by the pandemic last year, it's the poor world now that doesn't have the vaccines and that's where we're starting to see like we saw in south africa, the emergence of troubling, very concerning new variants. and so a lot of the global south, a lot of international organizations are saying this is just chickens coming home to roost. when you don't distribute the vaccines equally, you get huge pockets of the world that don't have protection. and that's when you start to see things like omicron emerging. >> that's a valid point, and the world health organization calling prior to this for rich countries to donate more and
more vaccines to third world countries so something like this would not happen, but here we are. mike, matt, thank you both. appreciate it. i want to turn now to a doctor who is the chair of the south african medical association and is reportedly one of the first doctors to suspect a different variant among her patients in south africa. doctor, thank you for joining us. i know you're busy right now, but we appreciate all of your inside knowledge on this. we are just getting to know omicron. and so talk to us first about the differences that you saw in your patients that tested positive for omicron versus other variants that we've experienced during this pandemic. >> thank you so much. the omicron variant was so -- i noticed a difference sometimes on the 18th of november with our patients coming into the surgery. you have to understand that for
about eight to ten weeks we were really not seeing a lot of covid positive patients. we passed our fourth wave of the delta, the third wave of the delta, and then we had what i call a breathing space. a nice breather, and then on that specific day, because i'm also aware of what is happening in the background with all the vaccines and some of these, whent the patients come in with symptoms that are similar to viral infections, i decided to test him, and then he was positive. it's a young person, 30 years, a young male, 30 years of age who actually thought that because he was working in the sun a few days before that this is related. body ache and fatigue, and not feeling well was due to the long hours in the sun.
we tested him positive. his family also made a point in working that day because they were not feeling very well. they began the same thing. they tested all positive. a four-month old baby. the baby was positive. they all tested positive and went and fetched the baby. but none of them were extremely ill. and unfortunately, the rest of the day i saw more covid-19 patients coming in with some very, very mild symptoms. nothing like what we have seen with the delta variant. and i'm not saying that this is going to stay like this. but this is what we -- how we picked them up right in the beginning. and then i alerted the advisory committee and said i have seen these patients today. it's not delta. the symptoms are similar for me at that stage to -- than to
delta, and -- or it must be a new variant. at that stage we were not aware of any variants around. but simultaneous we look at the clinical pictures or saw the clinical picture of these patients. i tested them with rapid testing at my surgery. our labs also detected on the pcr that there were abnormalities and we alerted the nicd and only last week was the announcement that yes, it is, indeed, a variant, and we all know the story of the variant with the 30 plus mutations. not sure what it will mean going forward. it might mean it will escape your immune system. it might mean that you are not -- if you are vaccinated, it still can attack you. very interesting. there's a lot of things that we still are unknowns that we still don't know. >> let's dig into more of what you know, doctor, which is first and foremost, what are the
symptoms of omicron specifically that you saw in your patients? >> again, it is very vague. it is a malaise type of thing. i don't feel well. i have a body ache and pain, and i'm tired. i'm tired for two days, and you know, you have to ask this specifically. do you have a temperature? i would say i think they were warm. none of them had severe cough. they would say they've got a scratchy throat. it's not a sore throat. it's not a direct sore throat. none of them had a runny nose at that stage or specifically that day, and even after today, i didn't see a cold, a type of cold where you come in with a severely blocked nose and a high temperature. i only saw two children with a high temperature, and they're all at this stage have recovered very nicely at home. so none of these patients were
seeking to be sent to admission. and we sent them home with conservative measurements, and we followed them up. i'm glad to say all of them are fine today. yes, some of them have not been fully vaccinated. the people that i saw today was mostly children, and we don't vaccinate the -- the one child was 13 years old and has had the vaccine, but the rest were younger than 12. we are not vaccinated 12 and less. and then two people and one late 20s and one in mid 50s. so not really sick again. they're not feeling well, but they're not very sick. so while we are telling this, it's not to say that this virus is not going to be extremely viralant going forward.
what we're saying is the symptoms at home, that can be part of this new variant, and you need to check it out. you need to go to the doctor, have a check. do a pcr or a rapid test. don't just assume that this scratchy throat is nothing. because if it is -- if it is the omicron, you might spread it to the rest of the population or the people next to you, and that's what we don't want. so we're giving you the symptoms to try to say listen, it's not severe symptoms. we have seen that they recover, but you need to go and get yourself checked out. we don't want this to spread. >> doctor, when you say -- >> i'm not -- >> when you say some of these patients were not fully vaccinated, do you mean they had gotten one shot, some vaccinated by j&j or astrazeneca or had any
had their booster and subsequently tested positive for omicron? >> so the people -- the patients who had been vaccinated with pfizer, interesting, it is the patients who got the last shot of pfizer in august. they are the ones that now -- that we have picked up with breakthrough infections. but going forward, because we have to report this to the nicd, they will link it to our vaccine system, and that data will become available going forward. but that is what we have seen. so only one johnson & johnson patient who had only one vaccine, remember, it's the only now opened up about two weeks ago for a second dose of johnson & johnson. and we are only opening in the next week or so for 50 pluses for a booster of pfizer.
so far has not happened. it doesn't play a role. so only one with johnson & johnson breakthrough infection. that was a doctor or is a doctor in her 60s and also fully recovered. very mild disease, and so we haven't seen severely ill patients at this stage. and we're not saying it's going to stay like this. we understand at the beginning of the infection or the beginning of the wave that your younger people would most probably be the most affected. and that these are what we're seeing. yes, it is a fast-spreading virus. but it's faster than delta, that -- the scientists will tell you that. all we know is -- are we overwhelmed in our surgeries at this point? no. >> no. okay. >> our hospitals over whemed? no. >> that's good information for all of us to know.
just getting this information over the last couple days during the thanksgiving holiday here in the united states. doctor, i cannot tell you how much we appreciate you joining us today and providing us your expertise and information on omicron as we learn more about this new variant. of course, we are awaiting the president as well to give us an update during this hour. doctor, thank you so much. fantastic to see you. thank you. we're going to have much more as i said on the omicron variant this hour. the remarks from the president as i mentioned after his meeting right now with the covid-19 response team. we'll bring you that live. first prosecutors are set to begin making their case against ghislaine maxwell. we'll take a closer look at the charges coming up next. ges comit ] ♪ and my clothes smell so much fresher than before ♪ try gain flings and you'll be a gainiac too! the only detergent with oxiboost and febreze. ♪ limu emu... & doug ♪
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welcome back, everybody. the jury is seated and opening statements are set to begin soon in the high profile sex trafficking case against ghislaine maxwell. she's accused of being a key player in the epstein's sex trafficking ring. t saying she helped and recruit four underage girls mostly in the 90s. she insists she's innocent. our investigative reporter tom winters outside the courtroom. also joined by katie fang. she's also an msnbc legal analyst. tom, let me start with you. set the scene for us here.
we know proceedings very underway. the jury seated. catch us up on what's going on right now. >> reporter: right. well, we didn't think the jury was selected and about to be seated and sworn in, but there's been a couple complications. one of the jurors came forward and told the judge after being picked, going through the process, that she had a financial hardship. her employer only covering two weeks of paid leave for her for jury duty, and this trial expected to last at least six weeks. that would pose an understandable hardship for her. during the process the judge is going to call the employer and see if an accommodation can be made. another juror said this morning her husband surprised her with a trip right around christmas time. and as we've reported before, this trial is expected to go through the holidays. not sitting on christmas eve, but in the days leading up to and immediately following christmas. the judge's plan at this point as of a couple minutes ago in the time it took for me to walk
out here, if they can't move the trip, they would perhaps not sit on the monday or tuesday following christmas. what does this mean as far as today and how this case is going to unfold? it means opening statements which i frankly thought would be going on right now, i actually didn't think i would be able to come out and speak with you. i thought i'd be inside listening to him. they've been delayed. i think they'll be delayed until after lunch. we'll see whether or not we get enough time to get our first witness in. we expect federal prosecutors to take about 25 minutes. that's what they've told the judge for their opening statements and attorneys for ghislaine maxwell, the attorney delivering the opening statement for her says she'll take a little over an hour. that's what we anticipate to occur this afternoon. but the first things first, there's actually going to be a jury here sworn in. that's what's going on this morning. taking a lot longer than i think everybody hoped for. but once the jury is seated, we should get underway.
>> listen, i appreciate you coming out to the camera, and with all that's going on, i'm going to let you get back into the courtroom and see if there's any other hiccups with the jury. thank you, tom, for that. katie, let's address the hiccups with the jury. is this fairly normal for the beginnings of a trial? >> yeah. i mean, what happened was we started with 600 prospective jurors. it was whittled down to 68. we have 12 with alternates. as we know this case is six weeks. as we heard from the juror, there could be financial or scheduling difficulties. this is not unusual. i think everybody including ghislaine maxwell's defense team, wants to get this started. she has been in custody for 17 months. she has attempted repeatedly to post bond to be able to prepare for trial and has been denied.
i think everybody wants this trial to get started on both sides. >> help set some expectations for us. there are obviously some big names associated with epstein and ghislaine maxwell over the years. those names are not necessarily going to come up in this trial. talk about what this trial is about and what it's not about. >> yes. so the federal judge in this case has made sure that the jurors will not hear names of other people. that this trial will be focussed exclusively on four alleged victims who were minors at the time of the alleged abuse that was committed by ghislaine maxwell and jeffrey epstein. those four victims are going to testify. the judge has ruled that their names will be presented to the jury through the course of the trial, but their full names will not be presented to the public at large. the jury will listen to the facts and the evidence as presented by the prosecution. all of us that are observing this case want to know whether or not ghislaine maxwell will
testify. i reasonably anticipate she will for the following reasons. she is claiming that she also was a victim of jeffrey epstein. that she was manipulated by him and much of his life was compartmentalized, so she was unaware, allegedly, of what he was doing. based on that preview from her defense team, it would be reasonable to expect her to testify. as we know, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. there's no obligation for her to testify at her own trial, and what's interesting about this case, unlike the ahmaud arbery and kyle rittenhouse cases we saw public sized for the world to see, this trial is not televised. we are relying on people like tom winter to give us all the facts and details transpiring and progressing while inside the courtroom. >> katie, you see ghislaine will likely testify because of what her defense set up. do you think she should, though? >> no. i don't think she should. i don't think she should expose
herself to what would be anticipated to a blistering cross examination. it's a very fine line to walk and say you were unaware when there are direct allegedly there's direct evidence that she knew and participated in the crimes with which she is being charged. i think it's a really dangerous thing to put yourself up there. i think that she is right to some extent that this case is an epstein by proxy trial. however, she has been alleged to have committed things directly at her own hands in terms of the abuse of the young girls. i think it would be a danger proposition for her to sit in front of a jury of her peers and have to be cross examined on her conduct. >> coming up, getting the massive spending bill through the senate. lifting the country's debt limit, making sure the government doesn't shut down. right around the holidays. it always seems to land right there. it's going to be a wild couple weeks on capitol hill. how it could all get done, coming up next.
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is always free. go to dealdash.com today and see how much you can save. there are auctions going on right now. so, what are you waiting for? all right. this morning, everybody, it is back to business everywhere and on capitol hill. congress is facing big deadlines. think include avoiding a government shutdown by this coming friday and raising the debt limit two weeks from now on december 15th. there's also the matter of the president's nearly 2 trillion build back better spending bill which senate democrats have to pass by christmas. we are following all of this on
the hill. let's hit the top of the agenda, ali. good to see you. what does congress need to do to avoid a shutdown? >> reporter: good to see you. welcome back from thanksgiving and certainly hitting the ground running here. as you just laid out, december is jam packed, and two of the deadlines that lawmakers have no choice but to contend with are december 3rd and december 15th. the day the government shuts down, midnight on friday at this point, and a few weeks later, middle of december, the u.s. line of credit runs out. taking these things separately, because that's how lawmakers are going to take them. on the government funding piece of this, there are few people who think the government is actually going to shut down. what's more likely to happen is the house and the senate are going to move to push a continuing resolution to fund the government. likely through january or potentially february. those are the dates that our sources are telling us. on the debt ceiling piece of this, what's different on this
turn of the merry go round than the last time we did the story is a lot of the visit ral between republicans and democrats in the senate seems to be gone. a few weeks ago there's goading for senate democrats to go through a partisan budget process. now this time we know that schumer and mcconnell met before everyone went home for recess and there are conversations ongoing. though the details are fuzzy and have not been hashed out publicly, but clearly movement happening, but definitely waiting until the last minute here. the last time we spoke to the chair of the appropriations committee in the house, she said there had been a lack of overchurns from republicans about what they wanted and didn't want when it came to funding the government. both of the crises looming. >> crises always looming a couple weeks before christmas. you can't do washington without that. let's talk about the third item on the list. on the to do list, build back
better. >> reporter: yeah. >> what's going to stay in the house version? what's going to go? i know specifically that the immigration provision, democrats really want that to stay in the house version as it goes through the senate. >> reporter: yeah, and they've wanted this to be on the bill both on the senate and house side from the moment they started talking about this build back better agenda. certainly, immigration is one of the key pieces as well as paid leave as well as the state and local tax deductions. all those are things that are likely to see changes. on immigration, what we're going to see this week is democrats and republicans going before the parliamentarian and basically arguing the base of why it should if you're democrats stay in the bill, and should not if you're republicans, be in the bill. the thing that matters is whether or not it abides by the rules of reconciliation, the con vo lewded partisan budget process that they're doing this whole slew of policy priorities through. we expect to see those things argued this week and the senate parliamentarian has previously
said no to immigration in the way they wanted it in the bill. they're waiting to see if it's days or weeks until they get the decision, whether or not this iteration of immigration policy can stay. >> i'm sure democrats are going to want to get this across the finish line as we go into an election year coming up. thank you. good to see you. >> reporter: thanks. in a couple minutes we expect to see the president give an update on the omicron variant. we're already seeing travel bans across the world in response to the variant. will they up end the travel industry just as it's getting back to normal? we're going to check in on what the airlines are expecting for the holidays coming up next. once upon a time, at the magical everly estate, landscaper larry and his trusty crew... were delayed when the new kid totaled his truck. timber... fortunately, they were covered by progressive, so it was a happy ending... for almost everyone.
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with concerns about the questions the world has about the omicron variant. tom is at reagan national airport in washington. >> reporter: good day. the airlines really were under the gun in the spotlight after the high profile meltdowns over the summer and into october. but spirit, american, and southwest, those airlines all seem to operate smoothly over the thanksgiving stretch. very few cancellations today. very few over the ten-day period. most people getting to their destinations on time. the thanksgiving 2021 travel rush now in the rear-view mirror with airlines celebrating their heaviest passenger loads in two years. on sunday the biggest travel day yet, the tsa estimating 2.4 million fliers took to the skies. >> when you haven't seen family in two years, sometimes you mask up and do what you got to do. >> reporter: over the entire thanksgiving travel period, an average of 2 million passengers and more traveled each day. the most since 2019.
to avoid a repeat of a mass cancellations that began over the summer and extended into october, airlines streamlined operations and staffed up. air travelers and road warriors also benefitted from blue skies and clear weather across most of the country. though on sunday, rain showers in the northwest and snow flurries in the northeast delayed some flights, while traffic volume slowed travelers at critical airports in florida, including tampa, orlando, and palm beach. here at denver international, the nation's third busiest passenger traffic is surging. 69 million passengers in 2019. 80 million expected in 2025. denver, a key hub for united and southwest, operates six runways. critical to remaining open during any looming snowstorms this coming winter. >> having the flexibility to keep the airport open and moving through and keeping planes de-iced is key to making sure all our flights are operating as
on time as possible. >> reporter: looking forward to the christmas holidays, expert say book now and pad your itinerary with plenty of time. >> airports are going to be packed. you should leave early. build in some buffer time. i don't recommend 45-minute connections these days. because then you're just asking for things to go wrong. >> reporter: the airline is closely watching the new omicron covid variant. over the summer you may recall we have a sudden kind of a loss of passenger volume when the delta variant became a concern. and now looking forward, the thinking is maybe the omicron variant could also depress passenger volumes. so far that's not happening. strong passenger bookings all the way through the christmas holidays. back to you. >> all right. that was tom costello. the twitter ceo just revealed that he is stepping down from his executive role at
twitter. he said in a statement that he believes twitter is, quote, ready to move on from its founders. in recent years jack dorsey has faced criticism for not doing enough to stop the spread of misinformation on the platform. the company's chief technology officer will be taking over as twitter's new ceo. any minute we expect to hear from the president on the omicron variant. what we're hearing from our nation's top doctors about the variant coming up nec. but first -- next. but first, a quick reminder in how far we've come in fighting the virus. the dictionary word of the year is vaccine. we'll be right back. l be right . d all day without heavy perfumes? now they can! with downy light in-wash freshness boosters. just pour a capful of beads into your washing machine before each load.
which is now more important than ever. ♪♪ because the way we care... is anything but ordinary. only eggland's best. ♪♪ welcome back, everybody. here is a live look at the white house. any moment we expect to hear from the president to give an update on the omicron variant. he's also expected to urge people to get their booster shots. these have been biden's first public remarks since meeting sunday with his covid response team. as soon as we see the president, we're going to bring you there live. also during sunday's meeting biden's chief medical adviser said it will take about two more weeks to know more about the transmisability and severity of
omicron. he also had this to say yesterday on "meet the press". >> the profile of the mutations suggest it's going to have an advantage in transmisability and might evade immune protection. >> all right. we want to bring in the medical director of covid isolation and quarantine sites for housing works in new york city. thank you for joining us. we heard from dr. fauci. he also told another network, it was, quote, inevitable that omicron was arriving in the united states or was here and we don't know it yet. we also heard at the top of this hour from the south african doctor credited with treating the first known omicron cases. and she says some of her patients were fully vaccinated. let's listen again to what she had to say. >> the patients who have been vaccinated were -- interesting, it is the patients who got the
last shot of pfizer in august, they are the ones that now -- that we have picked up with breakthrough infections. >> doctor, given what we know and what we don't know, what's the best course of action here? >> yes, so a lot to unpack. let me start by saying the fact that the new variant has e american second down really no surprise to any public health expert. we know with 42% of the globe fully vaccinated, the virus is going to continue to replicate and mutate and new variants will emerge. we need to make sure that our leaders, especially the leaders of wealthy nations shift their focus away from travel bans and focus on vaccinating the globe, especially people in africa and low-income countries. that's what we need to focus on. we need to follow the science. there's still a lot more information that we need about this variant.
but we really need to look at what the w.h.o. is saying. the world health organization. saying covid measures must be based on science. let's make sure our travel and health policies are driven by evidence-based health policies. as for what dr. fauci said, he's right. the sequencing that was done by the experts in south africa reveal that there are multiple mutations, particularly in the spike protein which is the part that enables the virus to somewhere -- enter the cells. that's the concern for increased transmisability of the virus. we don't know if that's going to be true or if it's going to be evade our immune system. companies like moderna and pfizer and johnson & johnson are testing their vaccines on this variant. >> a couple followup questions for you. what i'm hearing from you is you don't necessarily agree with the president's decision to institute a travel ban. with that being said, what do you want to hear from the
president today? especially when it comes to vaccine distribution? >> yeah. you know, first of all, let me say there are three things that i want to hear from the president. one is reassurance to the public. don't panic. follow science. number two is promote ongoing p evidence-based public health measures, vaccination, booster and masking, especially in indoor areas with poor ventilation, and third, clarity on the travel restrictions. just be consistent. remember, this omicron variant now exists well outside of africa. it's in multiple european countries and canada. focus more on the science, follow facts not fear because that's leadership. >> from the doctor i was speaking with a little bit earlier, she talked about more mild symptoms she saw with this omicron variant. can folks kind of breathe a sigh of relief hearing that? >> yeah, so that would be great news, you're absolutely right. that doctor talked about
malaise, fatigue. these are typical viral symptoms. honestly, though, it's too early to say. what she's reporting is anecdotal. some of the cases that she saw. we need far more information. i'd rather not see any symptoms at all. i'd rather see mass vaccination and public health mitigation efforts in place. >> do we need genomic testing here so we're ahead of the curve? >> 1000%. we really need to develop a widespread robust state of the art genomic testing, sequencing that's both rapid and accurate. that's how we're going to be able to take all these variants, and be able to take which ones are clinically relevant. the majority of variants are really benign. they have no impact. we have to detect the ones that are harmful to humans. coming up, everybody, if your credit card is getting a lot of use today, you're not alone. we're talking cyber monday next,
including an historic drop in holiday sales on black friday and the items most likely to be out of stock when you shop. but first, actors, singers, and musical theater fans across the world celebrated stephen sondheim's life in music this weekend. he died friday at 91 years of age. here's how musical icon patti lupone remembered him today on "morning joe." >> he made me a better singer. he made me a better actor. he was very funny and very gregarious and very at that time very gentle and you could see how this man had the ability to write deeply emotional music and lyrics. that's who he was. 's who he was.
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one gram of sugar, and nutrients to support immune health. no one can deliver your mom's homemade short ribs. that's why instacart helps deliver the ingredients. and you add the love. welcome back. this morning you've probably already received tons of emails from retailers trying to offer the best discounts for cyber monday. it comes after disappointing black friday sales, but no matter what you buy, the supply chain issues could make it harder to get those gifts to get to your front door in time for christmas. amazon's ceo appeared on the "today" show this morning is and said the company is ready for the increase in online orders. >> consumers should expect great low prices. we got over 20% more inventory than we had a year ago, and so
selection's in a good place. we've spent tens of billions of dollars building out the transportation infrastructure, some of which you see behind us all to deliver for days like today and for the weeks to come between here and christmas. consumers should feel good about shopping today. consumers should feel good about shopping the days, the weeks ahead. >> and nbc's jo ling kent has more from nbc's air hub just outside dallas, texas. >> reporter: we have some new numbers, $9.2 billion is how much was spent online over the long thanksgiving holiday weekend according to adobe, and of course that is good news for places like amazon. we're here at the biggest air hug in the country, the busiest air hub where they are transporting more than half a million packages every single day. cyber monday is upon us and today is expected to break records with $11 billion set to be shelled out online as retailers drop deals on biggest wish list items with the hope of
bounding back after a dismal black friday turnout. with smaller discounts on fewer items, this year's foot traffic failed to reach pre-pandemic numbers and in a black friday first, shoppers actually spent less money online compared to last year. the sales slump comes after a slew of smash and grab robberies hitting high end and big box retailers across the country. in los angeles, a string of heists put police on tactical alert. >> i haven't been coming out as often like to this area, just because i know stores have been getting hit. >> reporter: outside of concerns over shopping safety, industry insiders say discounts posted in the days and weeks before black friday had consumers checking off their gis lists earlier than ever. two-thirds of people started their holiday shopping before thanksgiving. >> i started my holiday shopping back in july. >> reporter: today's deepest discounts will be on toys, and electronics. with delivery delays and a backlog of orders because the
supply chain is in crisis, and with shipping containers backed up in ports, some big names like gap and target are now flying in products from overseas factories to meet holiday demand. meanwhile, from the air to the ground, it's a mad dash to dodge delays and get those gifts out the door. the best advice for those with a must-have item on their list, buy now before it's too late. >> of course with supply chain concerns and shipping delays, deadlines are really going to matter a lot this year. your first shipping deadline you need to know about is december 15th. that's the u.s. postal service ground shipping deadline to get your things in time for christmas. yasmin. >> and thank you to nbc's jo ling kent. that does it for me this hour, everybody. you can catch me weekends from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. "andrea mitchell reports" starts right now with my colleague chris jansing. good day, everyone.
this is "andrea mitchell reports." andrea is on assignment. i'm chris jansing. we're following that breaking news from the white house. president biden addressing the nation this hour after a second meeting with his covid response team in just two days. highlighting the urgency the administration is feeling to learn everything they can about the concerning new coronavirus variant omicron with confirmed cases already at our northern aborter in ontario, canada. there are still a number of things we don't know about this variant with the white house releasing a statement sunday saying dr. fauci believes it will take up to two weeks to get answers on omicron's transmissibility, severity and other characteristics. the big question for nearly 200 million fully vaccinated americans, will their vaccine hold up against this new strain. fauci this morning urging eligible americans to not let fears over omicron's impact stop them from getting their booster shots.