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tv   Jose Diaz- Balart Reports  MSNBC  January 18, 2022 7:00am-8:00am PST

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good morning. it's 10:00 a.m. eastern, 7:00 a.m. pacific. i'm jose diaz-balart. we begin this morning with the intensifying coronavirus pandemic. as the omicron variant overwhelms hospitals across the south and west, and even as cases begin to peak in parts of the northeast, public health officials warn, we are not out of the woods. on capitol hill, democratic lawmakers are bracing for a showdown today over a voting rights package with zero republican support. we'll ask democratic congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz about the path forward. and right now, mass trials are under way in cuba as part of the government's crackdown on political dissidents. we'll speak to a cuban activist about what's going on and the
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realities facing those who speak out. this morning, hospitals across the country are filling up with covid patients, as the omicron variant continues to spread virtually unchecked. in los angeles county, the amount of people hospitalized is up 200% in the last two weeks. in texas, hospital workers describe feeling defeated, as hospital beds fill up yet again. one nurse telling "the texas tribune," quote, i work 60 hours a week and i don't see my child, i don't see my husband, so that i can come and care for you while you yell at me because you're upset that you have a disease that i told you how to prevent in the first place. joining me now is nbc news correspondent, gabe gutierrez in new york. nbc news correspondent ellison barber in houston. and dr. uche blackstock, the
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founder and ceo of advancing health equity and an msnbc medical contributor. gabe, let me start with you. so many cases of covid right now. what are officials saying about whether we're moving out of this phase of the pandemic yes. >> reporter: hi, there, jose. good morning. former fda commissioner scott gottlieb said this morning that he believed that this omicron wave signals the end of the pandemic phase of this virus. but that it likely does not mean the virus will leave human circulation. however, dr. anthony fauci is a little bit more cautious. he's saying it's too early to tell whether the omicron rave is the last one of this pandemic. take a listen. >> when you talk about whether or not omicron, because it's a highly transmissible, but apparently not as pathogenic, for example, as delta, i would hope that's the case, but that would only be the case if we don't get another variant that eludes the immune response to
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the prior variant. i really do think that it is an open question as to whether or not omicron will be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for, because you have such a great deal of variability with new variants emerging. >> so, jose, certainly some of the data among public health experts asking exactly when coronavirus will become endemic, but this comes as cases, as you know, jose, in the northeast are starting to plateau. other parts of the country, though, are still dealing with an increased case load, which is forcing several school districts around the country to close. and that's certainly something that, you know, public health experts are watching and wondering just how long this omicron wave will take. and also, pediatric hospitals, when we visited them last week, seen as has seen a doubling in cases in the last few days. the thinking is among some
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public health experts that omicron will be this wave that really spreads throughout the country over the next couple of weeks. the hope is that hospitalizations and deaths don't also continue on that upward trajectory, jose. >> certainly the hope. gabe, thank you. dr. blackstock, you mentioned that omicron should be a warning sign for us as far as what could be ahead with future variants. what lessons should we be taking from this omicron experience? >> jose, thank you so much for having me. yes, i think that we really need to use this moment to prepare. the fact is that there could be another variant that is not only more transmissible like omicron, but also more virulent, like delta. and if that was the case, and we were in the current state we're in right now, there's no way our hospitals and our health care workers and the system would be able to accommodate or even survive. everything would break down. i think we really need to use this moment right now to prepare as much as possible to get high-quality masks and rapid
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tests into the hands of every american. but also think about the policies that need to be in place, at a local and state level, to keep populations protected, as well. that is what we need in order to be well prepared for the next variant. >> so what policies can we have that will protect the population? this is such a fast-moving, rapidly changing pandemic, right? >> right, exactly. and so i think that we need data-driven mask policies. if we see cases surging that, you know, we have policies that say, okay, everyone, if you're an indoor public area, you need to wear a mask. and that's driven by the metrics. another thing that we need to work on that we haven't really worked on is air filtration and ventilation, infrastructure in buildings. how do we make schools and businesses safer. and how do we make workplaces safer? i think we need the cdc and the biden administration to come up
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with federal guidance around workplace safety. yes, definitely, we want people to get vaccinated, but what does a safe workplace look like? because if we're going to be able to get through the next wave, right, we need to make sure that we can do so, that people can work safely and go to school safely and we're not there yet. >> i'm wondering, dr. blackstock, this is such a huge problem, such a huge issue, but go to the local pharmacy, go online and try to get a good-quality mask. i don't know which are good-quality masks versus fake masks, masks that don't work, masks that aren't available. how about testing? where do you get tests? i just went to my local pharmacy two days ago to try to get tests and there was a big spine in spanish and english, "no tests." >> right. and so that's what we need to be doing this time. building up that testing infrastructure. so that people can get their test results back very quickly. and also, you know, we see that
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the website is going to be opening tomorrow for americans to get their rapid tests. but we know there's a 7 to 12-day delay on shipping. so this really cannot be. already behind, and we really have to make sure the next time that this happens that we are prepared. and there's so many things that we can do. the biden administration can actually work with rapid test manufacturers to subsidize the tests to get them over american. so there are things that we can do, that we haven't done to prepare ourselves for the next wave. >> you know, get tests out to where people are working, and you know, i'm just thinking of the folks that were working, the essential workers in our country that are working in the fields. and when they get sick. first of all, they can't take time off. but then, there's no access to testing. we've got to have that available to everyone in this country. now, ellison, meanwhile, you're at houston methodist, which has a virtual intensive care unit. what does that mean?
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>> hey, jose, yeah, this is the virtual intensive care unit's operation center. and as we walk, you can sort of see some of the screens here. this is a good example, where they are literally tracking in realtime patient's vital information. most of the people you see here, they are registered nurses. some of their icu doctors working in the virtual icu, they actually live in other states. imagine with me, if you can, that you are an er nurse. and say, because of the surges of patients and the staffing shortages that we're seeing right now, you have a patient in your er who needs icu-level care. but the icu is full. so you don't have an option, a place to send them. and say, because an er nurse's skill set is different than an icu nurse's, you need a little bit of guidance. how to handle a covid patient who's on a ventilator. how to wean them off of it. there are buttons like this in most rooms, particularly in all the icu rooms here.
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and also, carts like this. literally, you push that button and then, watch! realtime help comes seconds later. this connects to the registered nurses that work in this room -- there's one there. >> good morning! >> hi, fred. and they can give a doctor a nurse guidance on what to do. this system at houston methodist, they started developing this well before the pandemic and then as they were getting ready to roll it out, the pandemic hit. doctors here say there is no question that this system has saved lives at this hospital, as they've seen covid surges and staffing shortages. listen. >> we could not have delivered care in the last two years to the number of icu patients, emergency room patients, and immediate care patients if we did not have our virtual icu. my team were taking care of patients who had cardiac arrest.
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and then down the line, another patient went into cardiac arrest. well, i can't be in two places. i'll be running back and forth, but i really would not be doing full justice, which i would have wanted. so what i did was, that we took care of that patient, we had our virtualized icu nurses and physician take over another patient's. >> reporter: so we are looking at one of the icu beds here at houston methodist. they have eight different hospitals, over 300 icu beds with this type of equipment. if i were a doctor, i could monitor all of this. if i noticed that a patient was having some sort of an issue, i could send an alert down to the icu so they could physically go in that room and check on the patient. i can monitor it from here. and you have to remember, in a pandemic, it takes, what, about 12 to 15 minutes for a nurse or a doctor to don the appropriate ppe to get inside. this makes a nurse, a health
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care professional, get in that room a little bit faster. they say that the data on this, at least for this hospital, they're still watching how things duo, but in the last year, they've seen their codes, numbered instances of cardiac arrest, drop by 37%. and they believe, jose, that is directly tied to this. they say this is a system that really can work in hospitals all over the place. and as we're seeing these issues of staffing shortages continue with nurses, doctors, just burning out, that this could be a huge lifeline for others. jose? >> fascinating stuff! ellison, thank you so much. dr. blackstock, all of this comes as cases, as gabe was telling us in the northeast are beginning to plateau. what factors are you looking for that could indicate omicron has already hit its peak in places like new york? >> so in new york, we're actually seen cases plateau. we've all seen over the last few days, hospitalizations decrease slightly as well.
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we know that death is a lagging indicator. unfortunately, we won't see the effects of omicron on death cases for another few weeks. but i know that i've even just seen in my own experience, testing lines in the new york city area are much, much shorter. my concern, though, is that while we're reaching the peak, how long will the plateau last, meaning that people will still be hospitalized. we still have about 15,000 people that have been hospitalized in new york state in the last few weeks. so those numbers are still quite high. and what's going to happen as omicron spreads across the country to places with lower vaccination rates and staff shortages. i'm concerned more about rural areas, the midwest, and the southeast, and that they may have a larger impact of omicron, because of the staffing shortages and the lower vaccination rates in those areas. and they really are going to need to make sure that we're keeping people safe. it may be that we have to convert tools to promote options, put capacity restrictions in place, but the
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goal is to decrease the spread so people don't end up in the hospital. >> dr. uche blackstock, gabe gutierrez, ellison barber, and virtual nurse tom along with us, ellison, thank all for being with me this morning. i appreciate your time. coming up, the senate takes up voting rights today, but democrats are bound to lose the fight. we'll bring you the latest reporting on what the white house plans to do to reset before the midterms. plus, new information this morning about the suspect in a texas synagogue hostage standoff. while he was already on british authority's radar. you're watching "jose diaz-balart reports." e he was a authority's radar. you're watching "jose you're watching "jose diaz-balart reports. i have friends. [ chuckles ] well, he may have friends, but he rides alone. that's jeremy, right there! we're literally riding ther. he gets touchy when you talk about his lack of friends. can you help me out here? no matter why you ride, progressive has you covered with protection starting at $79 a year.
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16 past the hour. today, the senate is expected to begin debate on bills aimed at protecting voting rights in the wake of new voting restrictions in a number of states. however, democrats do not have the votes to vaps the bills or even change senate rules to pass them without a simple majority. all of this comes as president biden will be holding a news
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conference tomorrow to mark his first year in office. with me now, jake sherman, founder of punch bowl news, and an msnbc political contributor and jonathan lemire, politico white house bureau chief and host of msnbc's "way too early." thank you for being with me. jake, we know this effort is about appealing to the democratic base, but does it have the potential to create a split in the senate democratic caucus? i mean, they're split in so many things, right? >> yeah, and it doesn't only have the potential, it does split the democratic caucus, absolutely. and it serves to highlight those divisions for another week this week. i mean, the split is very pronounced. joe manchin and kyrsten sinema are not willing to blow up the filibuster, which is the only way to get voting rights done. by holding this vote this week, and i understand why schumer wants to do it. i totally get it. he made a commitment to his base. this is an issue that 48 democratic senators agree on and are passionate about.
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and but kyrsten sinema and joe manchin are not. it puts the spotlight on those two senators. and you hear the rhetoric. the rhetoric is we're not going to absolve anybody from their responsibility to pass this law. and i think that they are trying to again highlight that. but with the president's approval ratings in the 30s, republicans at least having a fighting chance to take back the snad senate, a good chance to take back the house, another week spent with internal democratic party fights. >> jake, let's talk about this. because you've actually talked about this before with me. manchin and sinema may be the public face of no changes in the rule, but there are other democratic senators who may be aren't so public, who don't agree with that. >> i would say that's right. listen, i think there are senators that are wobbly and a little bit less willing to change the senate rules to pass
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voting rights, especially if the effort is going to fail. i think you've heard some of that hesitance from people like jon tester, who says he's not crazy about a carveout for voting rights. you've married mark kelly, democrat of arizona, who's in one of the marquise senate races have said something similar, some sort of pause about blowing up the filibuster. they are the public face, but there are some people behind them. but the overwhelming majority of senate democrats, overwhelming, want to change the rules to want to either blow up the filibuster, change that 60-vote threshold, or blow up the rules and change the rules to pass voting rights. what schumer has to do in addition to manage his base outside the capitol is manage his base inside the capitol. his constituency inside the capitol, those 49 senate democrats, he's playing to the vast majority of them. and i think that's how his world sees these moves. >> it seems, though, jonathan, it's a very tough call for the president, right, to get
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democrats and just generally in the senate, to get out of this situation and stay unified. >> well, this has been a trick kby calculus for the president throughout. he took a lot of heat from members of his own base for not doing more on voting rights during the early months of his generation. he went down to georgia to atlanta, and made clear what he wanted, that he wanted to change the filibuster. that he wanted there to be real effort, federal effort on voting rights. and it went nowhere. in fact, his motorcade was warming up at the white house to make the drive up pennsylvania avenue to the capitol, when arizona senator kyrsten sinema delivered a speech on the senate floor, saying, nope, i'm not doing that. we're not going to change the filibuster. and of course, there's no margin for error, so they weren't able to get it done. white house aides told me privately, they recognize it's a
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long shot to say the least to have real change through the senate. they're going to look to some executive orders the president can do on his own. but they understand that, you know, there are more than a dozen, nearly two dozen republican-controlled state legislatures across the nation that have restricted access to voting. and they hope, the white house hopes, anyway, that that becomes a real animating force to turn out democrats to the polls this fall for the midterms. but they're worried. they know civil rights groups have said, hey, we wanted mlk day, ie, yesterday, to be the deadline to show some real progress, to show it's action and not just words. so far, the white house only has words to show for it. >> jake, our nbc news colleagues report that the biden administration is looking at a new messaging and communications strategy. what would that be? and is that possibly effective? i mean, how do you deal with the reality that people are feeling in this country?
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we have the covid crisis, really creating havoc in our country. inflation, et cetera. how do you reset? >> well, when all else fails, you blame your communications effort, right? you blame the people who are charged at delivering the message instead of the actual reality. and the reality is, it's very difficult to govern, and it's very difficult to govern aggressively and fulfill aggressive and lofty campaign promises with a 50/50 senate and a minor margin in the house. you can communicate until you're blue in the face about that reality, but that's the way it is. you can reset and do whatever you like to try to explain that way. and by the way, this administration has a lot of successes. they passed an infrastructure bill, they passed a covid relief bill. whether that plays or not is up to -- i don't know the answer to that, but the reset here, i don't know how you reset the idea that the bbb has stalled and voting rights is going nowhere. i mean, you could reset that all
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you want, and that's still the reality on the go and here at the capitol and at the white house. i would take any thought about a reset with a heap of salt. because, you can't reset and reframe and repackage a brutal reality for this white house. >> jake sherman and jonathan lemire, thank you so much for being with me this morning. stay with msnbc for a special edition of "meet the press daily" today. chuck is rolling out his meet the midterms coverage, tracking which way the political winds are blowing so far. that's today at 1:00 p.m. eastern, 10:00 a.m. pacific, right here on msnbc. >> we have some breaking news to share with you. it has to do with concerns about the 5g network sites around airports. joining me now, nbc's tom costello who covers aviation and has been on the story for months. tom? >> the bottom line here, sources are telling nbc news that negotiations are underway at this hour between the government and the industry. the cell phone industry, essentially to create the buffer
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zones around those 5g sites near airports that the airlines are worried about. as you know, the airlines have been suggesting, do not turn on those 5g sites at midnight tonight around airports, because they have the potential to cause interference with critical cockpit technology, the altimeters that the pilots use for approaching runways in bad weather. the faa has said if these 5g sites go live at midnight, then they will have to order pilots, do not use altimeters at more than 80 airports in bad weather. and that would mean these airlines, and they have already warned, the airlines have warned they would have to cancel thousands of flights they were going into airports with potentially bad weather, especially tomorrow on the west coast. now we hear there are late negotiations underway between the airlines and the industry, the cell phone industry, and the government, trying to ensure that the airlines do, in fact, have a buffer zone, a two-mile buffer zone around those cell
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sites near airports. that would give them, they believe, the protection against any interference with their altimeters so the planes can land safely, and that would avert any type of massive meltdown the airlines have been worried about. again, negotiations underway. right now, no resolution, but this is still very much a work in progress. jose? >> and tom, so, this crisis could come to a head tonight at midnight? tonight? >> midnight tonight is when the 5g sites go live tonight. at&t and verizon. it's an upgraded experience, from 4g to 5g, much faster, much newer. there is universal agreement this is good for the economy. but however, there is universal agreement in the aviation industry that there is a potential for interfering with the altimeters on planes when they come in for a landing at critical airports. the cell phone industry says, absolutely not. it's been tested and rolled out
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overseas in europe. no interference with the airlines and with planes. but the u.s. aviation community says, listen, this is apples and oranges. yes, it's 5g, but we're operating on a little bit of a different spectrum on the radio spectrum, and they're not comfortable at all with the possibility of any interference that could cause problems for passenger planes. as you know, the united states aviation community has a zero tolerance right now for anything that could compromise safety. it's why the u.s. has such a good aviation safety record. they're simply not comfortable with taking the risk right now. >> tom costello, thank you for bringing us this breaking news this morning. appreciate it. >> you bet. a uk security force confirms to nbc news that the suspected hostage taker at a texas synagogue was the subject of a short low-level investigation by british intelligence in 2020.
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last hour, my colleague, kris jansing, spoke with jeffrey cohen, one of the people who was held for hours on saturday. he described how he worked with his fellow hostages to prepare to escape. >> our attacker led us have some food. when the pizza came, i motioned to the rabbi, and i think he was thinking the same thing, but again, we haven't talked about that part, to come back where we were, rather than put it on the tables up-front, so that we were well positioned. and what that meant was, when things devolved at the end, we didn't have a specific plan. we hadn't communicated, we were ready to go. >> joining me now is nbc news correspondent, morgan chesky. morgan, good morning. what more do we know? >> reporter: jose, some interesting developments coming within just the last few hours. that uk security source confirming, as you mentioned,
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that malek fizel akram was the subject of that one-month-long investigation by the british intelligence agency, mi5, back in 2020. a low-level, relatively short investigation, that began out of concerns that he may have been involved in a potential terrorist plot. however, that investigation was discontinued when the evidence gathered did not meet the threshold to proceed. that's according to that british security source. and following that, jose, we're told that akram essentially joined about 40,000 others in the uk, who had been investigated, at least briefly at one point in time, before those investigations came to a close for potential terrorist ties. he was apparently deemed a relatively low threat and we do know that when he arrived at jfk on december 29th, according to a u.s. senior law enforcement official, he arrived illegally, and they're still trying to figure out exactly what his
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travels were from jfk on the 29th to when he arrived here at that colleyville synagogue on saturday. we do know that he spent at least a night or two at a dallas homeless shelter. they confirmed that. and they also said that it appears that he was dropped off by an individual that he knew. two exchanged an embrace. so we learning much more about this 44-year-old british national who was killed by members of the fbi hostage rescue team wherever they breached that synagogue, after that incredibly tense 11-hour standoff. jose? >> morgan chesky in colleyville texas, thank you so much. still ahead, the covid crisis in the midwest. of i talked to one missouri doctor whose hospital is struggling to find ventilators. you're watching "jose diaz-balart reports." o find vens you're watching "jose diaz-balart reports.
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31 past the hour. in kansas, two large school districts were forced to cancel classes this week after a surge in cases among students and staff. more than 800 school employees have called out sick. in missouri, covid icu hospitalizations have surpassed its previous record set back in august. joining me now is dr. ragu adiya, chief medical officer of liberty medical hospital in liberty, missouri. what can you tell us about where things stand today in your hospital? >> thank you for having me. it's about the same as it has been over the past week or two. our numbers are at or beyond capacity, both in icu and in the regular floors. and that is worsened by staffing issues, as well. and so, we are doing the best we
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can, bringing in all the help that we can from all sorts of places in the hospital. >> and that includes, i guess, relying on some of your regular office employees to step in and help out. how has morale been among your staff. how are you holding up? >> well, it's difficult. i mean, as you know, the clinical people, the nurses, doctors, environmental service workers, everybody, they're all exhausted. so when crisis hit, we used everything we had available in our search plan. we opened up the labor pool and put in a request for people in every area to come in and help. and this is typical midwest, everyone helps everyone out. so we had non-clinical people, people in business office and elsewhere signing up quickly. and so we had people, you know, from non-clinical areas stripping beds and being, you know, people who answer forms
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and bring in things from different places. so just helping each other out. trying our best to keep ourselves, you know, helping people. so that's what we want from the community, as well. they want -- we want them to help us out. so it's the typical midwest. we want them to help each other get vaccines and put on masks. >> and doctor, i mean, talk to me about who the patients are that you're seeing in the hospital today. are they vaccinated, unvaccinated, are they mostly for covid or the side kind of separate health issues? >> yeah, we have all sorts of patients. of course, people, non-covid patients who need care, they need care. so they're in the hospital as well as the covid people. right now, about 40% of our in-patient population is covid. and well over half of our icu beds are taken up by covid
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patients. and the vast majority of these patients are non-vaccinated. and especially in the icu. and some of them have received vaccines, but again, they have not received the booster that they should have. it's been a long time since they got their second vaccine and they have numerous risk factors. the vast majority is non-vaccinated people in the hospital. >> dr. raghu adiga, thank you so much for being with me this morning. appreciate your time. time now to take a look at headlines out west. a washington couple and their dog faced a horrendous ordeal when their house slid off its foupgs. the house was left dangling at nearly a 45-degree angle. large flooding possibly from a water main break in the area caused the ground to had to evae over a dozen nearby homes. joining me now from los angeles is nbc's gadi schwartz.
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what are the conditions of the house and of its owners? >> reporter: good morning, jose. fortunately, the couple who lives there and their dog are okay. but their home is still teetering from looks like an impossible angle. now, the homeowner told the seattle times that this all started when he got a call at 4:00 a.m. from a neighbor who told him water was gushing down his driveway. he got up, started driving around his neighborhood, saw a broken main, and then get a second call from his neighbor, asking him if he's okay, because his house just fell down a hill. the homeowner then rushes back to find his wife and his dog still trapped inside. his wife was unable to leave the upstairs, because the stairs were gone. so finally, she was rescued from that three-story, more than $2 million home. the family is absolutely devastated. they say they lived there in that house for 20 years. they raised all their kids there. and day don't know what they're going to do now. meanwhile, authorities are still investigating what caused that water main to break.
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jose? >> just amazing video. gadi, family and friends in los angeles are mourning the loss of a nurse killed in a horrendous attack. >> reporter: yeah. that 70-year-old desandra shell. she's being remembered for her selfless dedication as a nurse and a front line worker for over almost four decades, in fact. she was waiting for a bus to take her to the l.a. county usc hospital where she served for more than 38 years when she was punched in the head by a homeless man and she fell back, suffering major injuries to her skull. she was then taken to the same hospital where she worked and that's where she passed away. the man police say who killed her was found sleeping nearby and arrested and authorities are now calling on more to be done to protect those who use public transportation. while out in san francisco, another woman who was killed after being pushed on to subway tracks in new york is being mourned at a vigil there. 40-year-old michelle go grew up in the bay area. she died after a man went up
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behind her and shoved her on to some tracks at times square without any provocation. witnesses saying that she never even saw her attacker. that man has also been arrested. jose? >> what a horrible story. gadi, let's kind of change, because there's some bragging rights for two kids, as their mother becomes one of the fastest in america, right? >> yeah, 37-year-old supermom kira deanoto just set the women's marathon record finishing around 2 hours and 19 minutes at the chevron houston marathon out in texas. and she was an all-american runner in college, but she took a seven-year break from running after hurting her ankle and then becoming a mom of a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old. and then she started running again a few years ago to give her some me time and now she is breaking records. here she is on the "today" show this morning. >> i still feel like i haven't found my limit and there's a lot of room to grow in the sport. keep the running shoes on and keep hitting the pavement and
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2024, watch out. >> talk about an inspiration. after she won, she also tweeted that the thing that she is most excited for is for some other woman out there to see her and think, i can do that too. and she says, she knows they can and she's going to be rooting for them. jose? >> an inspiration to us all. gadi schwartz, thank you very much. it's great seeing you, my friend. thanks for being with me. coming up, can democrats pull off a reset before the midterms? we'll ask florida congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, next. it's great to see you, congresswoman. let's chat in just a couple of minutes. ngresswoman. let's chat in just a couple of let's chat in just a couple of minutes. ♪ and i think to myself ♪ ♪ what a wonderful world ♪ a rich life is about more than just money. that's why at vanguard, you're more than just an investor, you're an owner so you can build a future for those you love.
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43 past the hour now. back to capitol hill, where senate democrats will launch another effort today to push voting rights' legislation through the chamber. but right now, they don't have the votes to either advance the bills or change senate rules to pass them with a simple majority vote. with me now is florida democratic congresswoman, debbie
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wasserman schultz. congresswoman, it's always a pleasure to see you this morning. let's talk about the agenda. i mean, voting rights is just one of the many issues, including immigration reform, police reform, the build back better act, that are stalled or have essentially died in congress. how do you and your colleagues break that logjam? >> well, let's remember that we have already achieved historic progress. not only through the american rescue plan, where president biden steered our nation through a terrible economic crisis that was the result of covid-19, and then subsequently, in november, we passed the bipartisan infrastructure framework legislation that will invest over $1 trillion in building and reconstructing and repairing our roads and bridges, making broadband affordable for everyone across this country. so let's not just dismiss that
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we have already made historic progress. we have more work to do and we are going to continue to put our heads together and to sit down at the table and hammer out those necessary compromises. this is all -- jose -- republicans not helping at all. and done without a single republican vote. >> and what are your priorities, congresswoman, for 2022? >> you know, what, in 2022, i most definitely want to see us pass voting rights legislation. right now, republicans are, across this country, passing state laws to roll back voting rights, to make it harder for black, brown, and disabled people to cast their ballot. this is an ugly stain on our history. and we need to make sure that we pass voting rights legislation. so that we don't get lumped in, in the cauldron of suppression and oppression that communist countries, that my constituents fled from, are in the midst --
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continue to be in the midst of. we have countries like venezuela and cuba in our own hemisphere that stop their people from freely and fairly voting in an election. and that's what republicans are driving us towards. it's unacceptable and we have to pass voting rights legislation to make sure that the franchise for everyone is preserved. >> congresswoman, this past weekend, esaw another example of the threat facing the jewish community in the u.s. a gunman held several people hostage at a texas synagogue. one of the hostages, jeffrey cohen, appeared on msnbc last hour and talked about the need to continue fighting anti-semitism. listen to this. >> these words do have consequences. they play on people's ears, they play on people's fears. and it leads to actions like this, where people believe that if they want to accomplish a political act, terror to one
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group or another, in this case jews, is not just capable, it's doable. >> what more should be done to fight anti-semitism in the u.s.? what more should be done? >> there is so much more. jose, you are probably familiar with the statistic that 55% of hate crimes is based on religious faith, were targeted against jews even though we are less than 2% of the population. and it is an everyday normal part of life that they have armed security guards. that their congregants and leadership have to take active shooter training and security training. and we have to make sure that we increase the amount of funding for nonprofit security grants. we have to make sure that the senate immediately approves and confirms, debora lipstat, the ambassador for anti-semitism
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that is stalled by republicans in the united states senate. and we have to make sure that we fight this hate together. anti-semitism is not a relic of the past. it is here and now. and we have to make sure that we are coming together. that the words of hatred that are passed cavalierly, that they cease, and that america's leaders make sure that we lead by example. it's just, it's become dangerous in too many places to attend synagogue, to go take your kids to a jewish community center and no one should have to live in disappear be blocked and barred from practicing their faith, because of who they are. it's just unacceptable in the greatest country if the world. >> indeed, it is. and it should be unacceptable. congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, thank you so much for being with me this morning. i so appreciate your time. still ahead, dozens of cuban protesters face up to 30 years in prison for participating in
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last summer's demonstrations against the government or simply for watching them. why some are calling this crackdown some of the harshest on the island in decades. you're watching "jose diaz-balart reports." and in decs yoreu' watching "jose diaz-balart reports. ever wonder what everyone's doing on their phones? they're banking, with bank of america. his girlfriend just caught the bouquet, so he's checking in on that ring fund. that photographer? he's looking for something a little more zen, so he's thinking, “i'll open a yoga studio.”
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this week, more protesters in cuba are facing trials for demanding freedom. they could be sentenced to up to 30 years for demanding change since the regime took power 63 years ago. those being prosecuted include children as young as 15 years old. activists say more than 300 protesters have been prosecuted, hundreds still behind bars in inhumane conditions. what are you hearing from those on the ground about these trials? >> it's devastating. actually, last week only there were 57 trials.
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around 200 started in december during holidays, during christmas, the cuban regime was sentencing peaceful protesters of july 11 to answer from six years in prison until 30 years in prison. but we have to remember that on july 11th they detained around 48 minors, children younger than 17 years old. right now at least 14 of them are still in prison and facing also sentences that go from 15 years to 18 years, or at least that was what the four minors that were in a trial last week faced. >> these aren't people who participated in any violent acts. we saw the videos as much as the
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cuban government tried to bar these videos from being known. there were people taking to the streets asking for change. who are these people that are now facing 15, 18, 30 years in prison? >> you know, jose, what's so interesting to me is a lot of what's happening in cuba, there is an elephant in the room. although cuba is a political apartheid, there is definitely racial discrimination happening in cuba. when cuba gets a cold, afro cubans get the flu and they die. there's one who was killed by the police. the two witnesses who saw him be killed by the police are now being charged with 20 years in prison simply for witnessing and telling the state they were unjust in killing this black man in cuba. yes, there is definitely
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political apartheid happening in cuba. black cubans are facing harsher punishments, even death. >> i want to bring up someone else's name. she's just released after being detained. she wrote a letter, put her name on it, describing torture while being detained. writing, quote, they torture us physically and psychologically. with tweezers they pull our nails out. is this happening 90 miles away from the coast of the united states? >> that is something that has been happening from july 11th and before, because that's something cuban political prisoners face on a daily basis. it's a scandal that it's not such a scandal as it should be. all the detainees of july 11th
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saying that they were beaten until they screamed viva fidel. if they refused, they were beaten, male and female. this reality is now being legalized and the regime is just sentencing them in a strategy that has, of course, the goal of punishing all these young men and women, but also a very specific objective of imposing terror, imposing panic in a population that is determined to
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win freedom. >> what's going on is going on just 90 miles from the united states. thank you very much for being with me this morning. that wraps up the hour. i'm jose diaz balart. thank you for the privilege of your time. craig melvin. your time. craig melvin
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and learning really hard. but instead of working to help students safely return to the classroom, the san francisco school board focused on renaming schools and playing politics. and they've even saddled our district with a $125 million deficit. our children can't wait for new leadership. here's our chance for a fresh start. on february 15th, please recall school board members collins, lópez and moliga before our kids fall even further behind.
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good tuesday morning. craig melvin here. we're following several fast-moving stories, starting with the fight over voting rights today. we're reaching a critical moment on capitol hill because in the next hour the senate should start debate on the john lewis voting rights act.


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