a massive shortage of testing and massive chaos at the airports. new covid cases are at levels the u.s. hasn't seen since president biden's inauguration. over 1 million americans tested positive for covid in the past week. and experts fully expect the case numbers to go up after the holiday celebrations. this morning the president met with governors reiterating his commitment to providing states with federal help. >> my message to the governors is simple. if you need something, say something. and we're going to have your back in any way we can. last week we took steps to bolster support for you with number one, more capacity to get shots in arms. >> many states set covid records over the past week. we'll check in on new jersey in a moment. they hit the highest number of covid cases ever on christmas day. and yesterday delaware, hawaii, maryland, new jersey and virginia set new seven-day average case highs.
dr. fauci warned while the case numbers are concerning, the hospitalization rates are the real reminder we're not yet out of the woods. >> we're still getting increases in hospitalizations so we'd better be careful we don't jump the gun and think we're in good shape when we need to be extremely careful getting people vaccinated. getting people boosted, making sure we wear masks. we're in a tough situation with omicron. it's not something to be taken lightly. >> let's check in with our correspondents across the country. covid cases and testing demand keep climbing. we have mike memoli with the president. gary is in new jersey as they break covid case records. alison barber is in new york square as new york city takes testing to the subways. and we also are at la guardia airport. the president talked about omicron earlier today. what's the latest from the white
house? >> when we heard from the president at the start of this month talking about an expected surge of cases largely at the time about the delta variant, we heard him again last week talking about how his administration was responding to this omicron surge. and then again today as he was preparing to leave the white house for this holiday week to come here, there was a common refrain, that december of 2021 looks a lot different than december of 2020. that yes, we are still very much dealing with this pandemic. and we're expecting now a significant as we're already seeing, a surge in cases but we have so many tools at our disposal to try to deal with this. that primarily means the vaccine, of course, millions of americans have been vaccinated. the overwhelming majority of country has. they're trying to push more americans to get boosted. but one of the real struggles at this moment that has to do with the issue of testing. the president acknowledging that he is seeing some of the reporting over the days. americans waiting in long lines to get testing, the steps he announced last week still not really available to many
americans. the ability to request a take-home test via the mail. that's an issue he's trying to con front. as he spoke to the nation's governors, the bottom line is we're better equipped to this. and he understands there's more to come. part of what the president is also considering at this point, and we've heard this from dr. fauci and the president acknowledged that he was going to be hearing some recommendations for this. some of the additional measures that might need to be taken. should, for instance, there be a requirement to be vaccinated in order to get onto an airplane. should there be a shrinking of the quarantine time as we see omicron much more transmissible but perhaps cases not quite as severe. these are all things that his administration is heading into 2020 confronting, but a very different 2022 ahead than 2020. >> i want to ask you more about testing. last week the white house saying they're working on getting 500 million tests available in january. how is that going?
it sounds like it's a little bit of a challenge to say the least. >> yes. when the white house, when the president announced this last week, there were some immediate questions about this new website that they said they were going to be setting up. some very basic questions. when this website is set up, how many tests can an individual household request? how are they going to decide if there's more demand than there is supply. we don't have answers from the white house on this. but what the white house is insisting is that over time as they are setting up more of these popup vaccination and testing clinics around the country as they're surging more resources in the form of medics and doctors and nurses from the ranks of the military to aid some of the hospitals that they are trying to deal with the immediate surge. the president reiterated the idea that on some level they were caught by surprise by just how quick this surge in demand for testing was. that as you put it earlier, if he had known there was going to be this level of demand, they would have acted sooner.
there's a lot of questions about whether, in fact, the administration had the warnings and just wasn't quick enough to act on them. >> yeah. all right. let's go to garrett and talk about what's going on in new jersey. they broke the single-day case record. what's the situation like there? what kind of covid response are you seeing? tell us what's happening. >> yeah. that spike in cases across the state of new jersey you're talking about is leading to long lines at covid testing centers like this one in bedford, new jersey. it goes to the end of the parking lot and around the corner here. you see technicians out here as it's starting to snow. people are getting tested for a variety of reasons. some as a precaution. others because they want to travel and need that negative pcr test to travel. one woman i talked to said her entire family tested positive with coronavirus on the rapid tests but she couldn't get a pcr appointment until today. here the appointments are booked until this coming friday at this point. there's a lot of frustration.
you'll remember in new jersey it went from long lines at testing centers to long lines at vaccination centers to no lines at all. and now we're back to the long lines at testing centers. here's what some folks i talked to today had to say. >> it's super unfortunate. hopefully we can just go back throughout regular life. i think what's really upsetting is there's no support for families. because obviously all of us in the same house have to be out of work during the holidays it was easier because there were vacation days and what not. but outside of that, other families don't have that. you know? >> what are you calling for here? >> i think if you're going to force people to quarantine in their homes, there has to be some support for their basic needs. >> so what is new jersey doing about this rise in covid cases? well, in terms of the statewide level, there's not any mandates according to the governor, although he does say all options are on the table. they're looking forward to making it more of the local
communities, making their own decisions here. >> so gary, we see the testing lines are long. we know the cases are up. how about hospitalizations? are those up, too? >> yes. hospitalizations are up a little bit. about 25 00 people are in the hospital in new jersey right now. but that's not nearly what we saw last december. clearly what's happening here is people in the hospital are unvaccinated. the people that are vaccinated are getting to stay out of the hospital. >> all right. gary, thank you. they're testing now at the turnstiles in new york city. what can you tell us about that? >> two subway testing popup sites that opened today, one here in times square. another at grand central. five additional sites are expected to open in the coming days. we have seen vaccination sites in subways prior to this. there's still one here at the times square subway stop, but testing inside of a subway, that's a first for the big apple.
>> mass transit does not to be a vector and has not been a vector of transmission if there's masking. >> all this as two new vaccine mandates go into effect in new york city. one of them expanding the vaccine mandate for the private sector in new york city. the other related to children. now, anyone over the age of 12 in new york city must show proof of vaccination in order to eat inside at a restaurant, go to a jim, or go to any indoor entertainment venue. >> ron, you're at la guardia airport in queens where i can only imagine what it's like today. what are the delays and cancellations like there? >> well, here at this terminal b, there's only a handful of delays and cancellations. as you can see behind me, the traffic at this moment is relatively light. so it's at this moment, a pretty good time to be trying to get out of here. there's american airlines, jet blue, air canada and others
here, but of course, this is just a snapshot in time, and the other thing, of course, is you should check with your travel agent or your airline before you go to the airport because all of this is a very fluid situation across the country. the number of cancellations is up, again. it's just past 1,000. the height of it was 1500 or so in previous days. so we're creeping up again to where we were over the course of the holiday weekend. and this is, of course, something of a lull between now and new year's eve when travel, again, will probably pick up later in the week. we just got a statement from delta airlines which is saying that they're having delays particularly at their hubs in minneapolis, and salt lake city and seattle due to weather. we've heard about the weather problems in that part of the country. they say they've cancelled 374 flights out of about 4100 scheduled for today. so and a number i think will go
up a bit more and they're blaming it on covid employees calling out sick, and the weather. so we're in the middle of it. still in the thick of it and the numbers are still going up. >> all right. ron, mike, gary, ellison, thanks to all of you. winter weather adding to the travel mess across the nation after a white christmas in washington state and parts of california, more snow and rain is in the forecast there for this week. winter storm warnings extend from seattle to as far south as san diego. heavy rains are causing flooding and power outages in southern california over the weekend. in los angeles county, they got 10 inches of snow with powder expected in the foothills tonight. in seattle, several inches of snow blanketed the city which broke temperature records at a bone chilling 20 degrees. yesterday outside reno, whiteout conditions and 50 miles per hour winds caused a 20 vehicle pileup. two systems in the upper midwest and great lakes move today bringing snow, rain and sleet
from boston to new york city. later this hour, we'll ask a doctor what you need to know about omicron in the coming days and what's behind the alarming spike in kids' hospitalizations. first, another legal hurdle for the january 6th committee. plus as holiday sales hit prepandemic highs, gift returns may be restocking empty shelves. we have your business update ahead. you're watching msnbc reports. e, you'll get closer to iconic landmarks, to local life and legendary treasures as you sail onboard our patented, award-winning viking longships. you'll enjoy many extras, including wi-fi, cultural enrichment from ship to shore and engaging excursions. viking - voted number one river cruise line by condé nast readers. learn more at viking.com.
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welcome back. as we approach the first anniversary of the january 6th attack, the house select committee investigating the capitol riot is going after more information but also running in legal roadblocks. the latest is a lawsuit from the current spokesman who sued the committee on friday to prevent it from accessing his financial records. he was subpoenaed in november for his involvement in planning and fundraising for rallies based on the lie that the president won the 2020 election. he sat for a deposition with the
committee and produced more than 1700 pages of documents, but he now says in a statement the committee is intimidating him for supporting the former president. joining me with more on the investigation into january 6th, nbc news capitol hill correspondent and washington post reporter. what can you tell us about the latest lawsuit. he's pushing back on that investigation into his bank accounts and -- finally, are we saying hi name correctly? >> yes, his lawsuit shows even people who are speaking publicly slandering the committee's work are actually cooperating with it. you mentioned that he sat for a deposition for more than two hours, turned over hundreds of pages of documents. the committee has information from him. but what we've seen before from people like mark meadows is what we're seeing now. they're investigating him but now they feel it's too much. that's the point of this lawsuit
here is stopping them from demanding the bank records. it shows us the committee is looking at the money trail. they're not just focussed on the conversations being had in the white house around former president donald trump. they're also focussed on the financing and putting together of these rallies that turn sod violent on january 6th both at the ellipse and the capitol. he is at the center of that, but there are also other people who testified and are going to continue testifying and turning over documents to that effect. it just goes to show the broad range of inquiries the january 6th committee is undertaking. zblim losing track of the lawsuits filed. is this the new norm and how are they affecting the committee's investigation? >> it seems like it is the new normal. it's not necessarily impacting the committee's work, except it slows down the process of them getting the information they're trying to get here. and we know that at the end of
the day, they're happy to do these criminal contempt referrals and hold people in contempt of congress, but what they would rather is allow people the time and ability to cooperate with them. there's going to be another twist to this, too. because what we saw in the recent days and weeks is that they're starting to look at now stemming from the mark meadows texts lawmakers who are still members of congress. their colleagues. they are only requesting information from a handful of them at this point. but what happens when these people have said as they have, that they're not going to comply with the committee's work? it begs the next question here as we head into the new year. what lengths is this committee willing to go to in terms of holding its own colleagues accountable? would they subpoena sitting members of congress? that's the question. >> for the first time the committee is asking fellow members of congress for information about january 6th. and the efforts to overturn the election. that happened for the first time this month.
what is the latest there? >> we don't know yet. the committee is -- has asked representative scott perry of pennsylvania and jim jordan of ohio to talk to them. give them information. it's a request, not a demand. but republicans all the way up to kevin mccarthy, the house -- excuse me, the house republican leader have been reticent to work with this committee. they haven't supported it with the exception of two republicans who sit on it. republicans have almost universally opposed it. so what happens when these people don't cooperate? chairman bennie thompson has signalled he's willing to take an aggressive stance and try to subpoena members of congress. let's step back and realize what a big deal that is. members of congress typically can't come testify before committees. there's one committee where they do. it's an ethics committee that is tasked with governing internal regulations and rules in congress.
but congress is charged with investigating the executive branch mainly. so for it to investigate its own people and then try to force them with the legal document to come talk is a remarkable -- would be remarkably aggressive move. the chairman signalled they're willing to do that. it would probably get tied up in a bunch of legal battles. legal experts i talked to said it's mixed about whether congress can subpoena its own members and whether the members of congress can fight that subpoena. and the courts would have a really hard time untangling all of that. i think the committee has really focussed on talking to these people without trying to have to go to court. because as you said, they're already tied up in court. nine, ten different cases with different people right now. and they're running out of time. they really want to get their work done before the november midterms. and republicans might take control of congress the next year. and then could they sideline this committee and its work? >> amber, i want to play something the january 6th
committee chair said earlier this month. >> we'll have public hearings. we'll tell this story to the american people, but we won't do it peace meal. we'll do it when we can tell the story all at once from start to finish. not leaving anyone guessing and not allowing it to fade into the memories of last week's news. >> so amber, what does that tell you about how this committee is proceeding and the end game? is that why we haven't seen any in-person hearings since the summer. >> yes. they are -- we talked about how aggressive they are when it comes to trying to get people to talk to them. when it comes to trying to piece together information, they are slow. they are methodical and hard working. over the holidays, the committee, this committee, even when congress is home, is the one working nonstop, especially trying to issue subpoenas, get people to talk to them, get information. for example, today we didn't even know until we had reporting about trump's spokesman suing
the committee to try to get his bang records. we didn't know the committee was trying to get bank records. it says to me the committee despite krift schism on the left that they should be rolling stuff out and have a drip of what they're find, the committee is trying to produce a report to almost the 9/11 commission report. they want something big that they can hand over to congress and the american people, because they realize that they are the only official government investigation into what happened on january 6th. and what they're really trying to get at, and i think why they're keeping this so quiet is how high up did this go? how much did president trump not just incite violence on the day in the national mall and in his tweets, but how much did he and his allies institution allize violence? >> all right. allie, amber, thank you both for being with us. up next, a former ambassador to russia joins us to talk about vladimir putin's latest not so
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state tv this weekend he'll consider a slew of options if the west doesn't meet his security demands. military one of the options. he said it's up to the u.s. and nato allies to deescalate tensions along the board. we have the u.s. ambassador to russia during the obama administration. he's an international affairs analyst. thank you for being with us. how seriously should we take putin's latest comments? is this saber rattling or are you more concerned than that? >> i don't know. you don't know. biden doesn't know. the head of the cia doesn't know. i don't think putin's own clees associates know. and therefore, we have to take it seriously. obviously putin is is increasing the threat against ukraine. even in the last couple days as you reported this. we don't know if that's the beginning position in a serious dialogue that they have also agreed to negotiate in january,
or if the january negotiations are just a pretext, an excuse that they can say well, the west wasn't serious yarks, and now we're going to invade ukraine. i think it's a serious situation right now. >> there are several reports that as many as 10,000 russian troops have withdrawn from the ukraine border region. what do you make of that pullback? >> i think it was a good sign, but not definitive sign. the rest of them are there. the naval forces are still there, and putin is making the threats you talked about. by the way, it's also threatening countries like sweden and norway saying if you join nato, there are going to be repercussions for that. when he says the u.s. and the nato alliance has to guarantee that ukraine will not join nato or else, he then says i'm going to consult my military advisers for what our response should be. in other words, he's upping the stakes when it comes to his ultimatums despite the fact that
10,000 soldiers have moved away from the border. >> president biden warned putin not to invite ukraine during their video conference earlier this month. what do you think came from that meeting? and that warning in particular? >> well, you know, i think the biden administration is choosing between bad and worse outcomes. i think it was the right decision to talk to vladimir putin. it's better to talk and know what he's thinking rather than guess. i hope and from what i understand, that he laid out his threats, economic threats, comprehensive sanctions that russia will have to endure if it invades ukraine. and we'll have to wait and see. i think sometimes we think putin is a rational actor. when talking about ukraine, i don't think he is. i think he's emotional. he doesn't believe that ukraine should be a country. he literally thinks the ukrainians are not a separate people. and, therefore, this kind of cost benefit analysis, will this be good or bad for my economy, i
think for putin sometimes he has more irrational responses. that makes me nervous about the recent things he's been saying. >> i know the answer to this may be i don't know as well. but is putin's ultimate objective to keep ukraine out of nato? is that just a piece, big picture? what do you think his biggest objective is? >> i really don't think -- i used to meet with putin when i was in government for five years and i followed his career for 20 years. i don't actually think he cares about nato expansion. i think what he's threatened by is ukrainian democracy. and if there was a guarantee that ukraine wouldn't join nato, he would still be threatened by ukrainian democracy. in other words, the pressure wouldn't subside. i think that's the real threat to putin's regime. >> meanwhile, we know the ukrainian president spoke with more than 20 members of congress last week. what does that tell you that he's speaking with u.s. lawmakers about the situation in his own country? >> it means he's smart.
he understands we have a democracy here. that president biden is not the only decision maker. he wants to explain the ukrainian position which i think is important for people to hear directly americans to hear directly from the ukrainian president about the threats they're facing. and i think that will increase pressure first and foremost for more military assistance to ukraine. that's his immediate objective. he understands the u.s. congress plays a role in that decision making in our political system. >> two of the senators involved in the meeting, wrote in the washington post that the white house needs to use more than just diplomacy to combat russia's aggression saying the biden administration has placed diplomacy at the forefront of the efforts to deter russia. however, the efforts must be combined with the necessary economic and military measures that would strengthen a diplomatic approach and give it greater credibility. what's your take on that, and in your opinion, what would constitute necessary economic
and military measures here? >> i could not agree more. it's exactly right. diplomacy without a coercion, without the threat of economic sanctions is meaningless. and let's be clear. that's the game putin is playing. we should counter. he wants to talk about european security. we should want to talk about his violations of european security. number one, and number two, we are not going to go to war with russia over ukrainian sovereignty. let's be clear about that. everybody understands that. so instead, we should help ukrainians defend themselves. we should want to increase the cost of a russian military intervention, and the way to do that in my opinion, is to give defensive weapons so the ukrainians can fight for their own sovereignty. and i, therefore, agree that we have to increase military assistance and increase the threat of economic sanctions. >> all right. ambassador, thanks for being with us. happy holidays to you. turning now to south africa where a week of mourning is
underway as a country honors arn bishop tutu. he helped lead south africa out of ahar tide. he was often called the moral compass of his country. his funeral is this saturday. molly hunter is in london with international reaction to archibishop tutu's death. >> that's right. look, he was a towering figure with charisma. @biden says his courage and moral clarity helped inspire change toward apartheid. he writes his legacy will echo throughout the ages. former president obama called him a mentor, friend, moral compass. he was grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but also concerned with injustice everywhere else. and one more. the dalai lama saying the
friendship and spiritual bond between us with us something we cherished. wednesday there's a memorial service. thursday c there's a private intmate night with trends of the tutus. on friday, he'll be lying in spate before his fun -- lying in state before his funeral on saturday. people mentioned this is a man who could make you smile. he was a powerful activist, but he also had a very good sense of humor. and a keen sense of mischief, apparently, too. >> yeah. the descriptions of him just incredible. molly, thank you. coming up, kids and covid. growing concerns about young children who still can't get vaccinated. we'll talk to a doctor next. plus many happy returns. piles of holiday gifts going back this week. we'll show you where the returns end up and how to get cash back. . we do consulting, but we also write. [szasz] we take care of ourselves constantly;
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holiday season. christmas now in the rear-view mirror. as covid cases spike and omicron spreads across the u.s. and around the world, what do you need to know to protect your family? our public health analyst and founding director of the national center for disaster repairedness is here now. doctor, glad to have you with us today. how worried are you about a post christmas surge with people travel, getting together with family and friends this week? how bad could this be? >> yeah. so actually there is serious cause for concern. this is not like march 2020. but it is like december of 2021. it means that we have an omicron surn. we still have delta around, and we're still getting cases of people being admitted to the hospital. a couple big points. first, the number of people getting admitted to the hospital does include some people who have been vaccinated. but the number of people getting into icus and not surviving are
essentially entirely the unvaxed. and so this is the main message. here's what to do for new year's eve as far as i'm concerned. for a few days from now. number one, let's really try to keep our gatherings small. nobody allowed in who has not been able to prove they've been vaccinated. we should be testing people about a day before the party, but keep the crowd small. and secondly, besides the vaccination proof, and testing, why don't we do a big party, but a zoom party? we've done this a couple years now. it's kind of fun. you get as many people as you want on the zoom. you're celebrating. you watch the ball drop, plus the champagne, little cleanup. it's kind of fun. that's how we are handling this. i think we have to be cautious now. we just can't let up right now. there's too much going on, especially problems like exposure of children. >> yeah.
i'm laughing, doctor, because i think my husband is watching this and laughing right now, because he already suggested that we make new year's eve a zoom situation over the weekend yerks and i kind of gave him the look, but i think that's the truth. that's where we are right now. zoom is the better bet. i want to ask about new concerns about the new covid anti-viral treatments. the fda is out with a long list of prescription medications that may harmfully interact with the covid pills. what should our viewers know here? >> right. so a few months ago i was hearing about these new pills that were coming -- i was excited. i was calling it a game-changer. it turns out, and i've written about this. there are problems with both the merck and the pfizer pills. and pfizer just reporting now that there are significant complications with their new drug if people are on statins. if people are on anti-depressants. if people are on blood thinners
which is, i don't know, probably the majority of american adults are on at least one of those drugs. so we're going to have to be cautious. those drugs are going to have to be used judiciously. it could be life-saving, but we're going to have to be really careful. >> yeah. let's talk about kids. we're seeing an increase in covid cases and children. the new york health commissioner releasing an urgent advisory to pediatricians on christmas eve after the pediatric hospitalizations quadrupled in the state. what kind of risk does omicron pose to kids who are too young to be vaccinated, in particular? >> well, i think it's a problem. but it's also a problem with not a real answer now. we don't have enough data to -- we know that omicron spreads like wildfire. we know it's probably more resistance to the vaccines. but we don't know yet how severe is it going to be? for everybody. adults, older people, children, et cetera. and i think the safe thing to do
is let's get all of our children vaccinated. we're way behind on even the 5 to 11-year-olds who are eligible to be vaccinated. no less the 0 to 5-year-olds are not even eligible yet. we have to step it up and make sure our children are protected. this could be not a great situation for our kids. >> dr. fauci told msnbc earlier this morning we should be worrying about hospitalizations. do you agree? what are you keeping your eye on as we try to understand the nature of this new omicron variant? >> so i visited a hospital a couple days ago in new york city. a very busy new york city hospital. and they had a whole floor, absolutely filled with covid patients. the majority of which had been unvaccinated. a few have been vaccinated. but on the icu floor, 100 % of the admissions to the icu were unvaccinated. you know, we have two americas.
the vaxed and the unvaxed. and the difference between those groups is going to become increasingly stark. those people that die and go to icus are going to be unvaxed. so what could be a more clear message than that to people? >> yeah. i don't think there is one. doctor, thank you so much for that. and thanks for the words of advice for this new year. we appreciate it. >> sure. and we are still waiting on verdicts in two high profile faces this week. juries returning to deliberations in the ghislaine maxwell and elizabeth holmes trial. in new york the discussions are ongoing. this morning they requested the use of a white board and post-its in a note to the judge and asked for clarity on the term enticement. he pleaded not guilty to charges but could face up to 80 years in prison if convicted. in california today is the last day for the jury to return a verdict in the trial of
elizabeth holmes before the new year. she's charged with multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy for allegedly rying to -- lying tillerson ves or thes about her blood testing. the judge deliberated for 22 hours so far. they are considering three months of testimony from the trial. next, the unusually big business of holiday returns in the middle of all the supply chain snags. this is "msnbc reports". chain s. this is "msnbc reports". subway's eat fresh refresh™ has so many new footlongs. refresh! here's how they line up. we got the new chicken & bacon ranch, new baja steak & jack, and the new baja chicken & bacon, aka “the smokeshow”" save big. order through the app. ♪ limu emu... & doug ♪ ♪ superpowers from a spider bite? i could use some help showing the world how liberty mutual customizes their car insurance so they only pay for what they need. (gasps)
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welcome back. covid did not scare americans from spending american this holiday season. holiday sales jumped. according to one survey holiday sales were up 10.7% compared to 2019. before the pandemic even started. americans spent billions of collars between thanksgiving and christmas. that means they'll be returns
billions of dollars in gifts that missed the mark. we have tips if you need to bring things back. >> first the rush to get things under the rush, and now the rush to return them for cash or store credit. it's predicted 120 billion of products will be returned. up from the previous record of 115 billion last year. spurred by online shopping. >> so maybe you get that gift that you're not so keen on. okay. the first thing to do, make sure you don't remove it from the onlial packaging. they're more likely to give you a cash refund rather than store credit if they can resell the item. yeah. this is going back. also make sure you don't accidentally throw away the gift receipt with your wrapping paper. if you do lose the receipt, your options are to regift the item or have the awkward conversation
with the person who gave you the gift to see if they have a receipt. if not, most will give you a store yet, but some won't. >> for in person returns, bring your i.d. most stores ask for it. they're trying to cut down on people who abuse return policies. and when you're inside the store, make sure you're nice to the employee. oftentimes they have discretion on whether or not to accept that return. >> retailers have extended the return windows that gives you extra time to make the returns or exchanges. with more on the holiday returns, shaq brewster is at a warehouse outside of indianapolis where some of your unwanted gifts may end up. i wonder what happens to the gifts once we bring or send them back to the store. and congratulations, you're inside without a coat on. i can't remember the last time we saw you do that. >> i almost forgot to take the coat off. we talk about the holiday gifts
going back after this christmas weekend in fact let's acknowledge it's not because everyone is ungrateful. but so many more people are doing that online shopping this time around. and online gifts are twice as likely to be returned as those gifts you go and get to try on in the store. what happens to those gifts? well, many of them to be returned. many of those gifts end up in warehouses like this. this is a warehouse holding some 6,000 pallets, containing items that have since been returned. i spoke to the c.o.o. of this company that helps resell these items to third parties. and he says he's expecting a tsunami, that was his word, a tsunami of returns this holiday season because of the increases in online shopping. listen to how he put it. >> we see for this season that volume is going to increase again. and a big part of that is going to be e-commerce shopping, and the continued shift for folks to
buying online is going to result in some increases in customer returns. by and large we see about 50 to 60% of merchandise going back on the shelves, provided it's in, you know, brand-new condition. the bulk of that, the rest of that, the 40 to 50% that they don't put back on the shelf, tends to go through a business platform like v-stock. >> reporter: so these items then go to third parties, and then they eventually get disseminated. one other factor is the environmental impact this has. we know some 5 billion pounds of essentially repackaged garbage ends up in landfills. that's from returns exclusively. so there is an impact to it. we talk about the free returns all the time. it's not free for many of the retailers. they're spending about 7% more this year on processing those returns that many of us are doing more often than we would like to admit, ellison.
>> so shaq, i got a question for you, i'm so fascinated by this. i have returned many a thing in my shopping lifetime. but i've never actually walked into a store or purchased anything online that clearly looked to me like someone had sent it back, that it maybe had already been given to someone, tossed around in your bag a little bit and then returned. are you actually getting to see any of the process of what they do with those items or are they already treated and taken care of and ready to go on to the next place? >> reporter: here at this warehouse, they're largely treated and taken care of and they're going off to that next place. but we did speak to an expert about this. one shift they're noticing in recent years is that customers are a little bit more willing to take some of those gently used items than they were in the past. so many times you have stores that label things at refurbished or lightly used. whereas customers didn't acknowledge that before, more stores are willing to put those items back on the shelves or at
least give people an opportunity to get those items for perhaps a lower cost. so more people are considering that, although it sounds like you're not quite there yet, ellison. >> shaq, you said a lower price. i'm there for a discount, that's for sure. it depends on how good the discount is. happy holidays, my friend. >> reporter: happy holidays. up next, the origins of the universe could soon be coming into focus, literally. we'll take you inside nasa's webb telescope liftoff, after the break. ♪♪
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scientists and amateur star gazers got a special holiday gift this year. a revolutionary telescope. nasa's james webb telescope successfully blasted into orbit on christmas day. it's headed into space right now. it's the largest telescope ever built. when fully operational, it should help us understand the beginnings of the universe. nbc's gadi schwartz has more. >> reporter: the most powerful space observatory ever built is headed deeper into the galaxy. following a successful launch wednesday morning, the james webb telescope is on its mission to peer into the origins of the universe. >> it's a cultural undertaking and not just something for astronomers. >> reporter: one of its aims, to
provide new insights into the existence of life on other planets. >> it will help us understand possibilities and maybe even the probability of potential life forms, although we're not looking for a life form itself, we're looking for the environment that would allow life to thrive. >> reporter: to reach this point has taken $10 billion and combined brain power of thousands, from 14 countries. but it's still just at the beginning. over the next few weeks, webb will continue deploying its antennas, sun shield, and mirrors. each procedure a critical and complicated step to fully assemble the telescope, a process space fans will be able to follow in real time. >> now taking its first steps in pursuit of cosmology cal discovery. >> reporter: much larger and a hundred times more powerful than the hubble telescope which launched in 1990, webb can
capture light rains from billions of years ago. >> it's a time machine. it's going to take us back to the very beginnings of the universe. >> reporter: nasa says the telescope will be able to zoom in on exoplanets in distant galaxies, examine their alien atmospheres, and beam back images across a million miles of space to scientists on earth. >> after webb's images and discoveries start to come in, the way we look at the sky will be different in the future than the way we look at it today. >> reporter: it has the potential to change how we see our place in the cosmos. >> we've still got six months until the webb telescope is up and running, a million miles from earth, that is if everything goes according to plan. unlike the hubble telescope which astronauts could repair, the webb telescope will be on its own for its mission.
msnbc coverage continues with lindsey reiser right now. good to be with you. i'm lindsey reiser. we're going to start with a new update from president biden on the covid response. the president vowing to do more to boost testing access as people in some areas continue to face hours-long lines. >> we've seen how tough it was for some folks to get a test this weekend. it shows that we have more work to do. we're doing it. >> the president is also warning that hospitals will soon be overrun in areas with lower vaccination rates. his remarks come as positive test numbers break records around the country. among the place reporting or nearing all time daily records in recent days, florida, delaware, ohio, missouri, new jersey, and new york. nearly 50,000 people tested positive in new york alone on