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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  November 27, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PST

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hello and thanks for joining me. i'm kaitlan collins in washington in for fredricka whitfield. we have breaking news today as we are expecting british prime minister to speak after uk health officials have confirmed two cases of the new variant omicron is present in the uk. the u.s. doesn't have any confirmed cases and officials are warning it could be weeks before they have a clearer picture of this mutated variant. dr. anthony fauci is warning it could already be here. >> so you would predict from looking at the mutations that have been identified that it likely will be more transmissible. we don't know that yet, but you have to be careful and assume that's the case. >> do you believe that omicron is already here in the u.s. likely? >> you know, i would not be surprised if it is.
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>> we've already heard from officials who say if it's not here yet, it could be on the way soon. cnn is covering this from every angle in the world. we have reporters in london, atlanta and johannesburg and arlette zientz is traveling with the president. arlette, let's start with you. we'll hear from boris johnson since the first time they confirmed they have two cases of the variant in the uk. >> reporter: we're waiting to here from prime minister boris johnson. he'll be alongside his chief scientific adviser. we're hoping to get updates. >> there he is. we see boris johnson arrive to the podium. let's listen in. >> we've had the fastest vaccine rollout in europe and the
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fastest booster campaign in europe with almost 16.8 million boosters in people's arms. the case numbers have remained relatively high. we're seeing falling hospitalizations and falling numbers of deaths. on wednesday we received news of a new variant, the so-called omicron variant, and i want to express my deep gratitude to scientists in south africa who identified this new variant and shared the information widely and immediately. this variant is spreading around the world with two cases so far identified in the uk. as always, i must stress this, with a new variant there are many things we just cannot know at this early stage. our scientists are learning more hour by hour. it does appear that omicron spreads very rapidly and can be
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spread between people who are double vaccinated. there is also a very extensive mutation which means it diverges quite significantly from previous configurations of the virus, and as a result, it might in part reduce the protection of our vaccines over time. we need to take targeted and proportionate measures now as a precaution while we find out more. first, we need to slow down the seeding of this variant in our country. we need to buy time for our scientists to understand exactly what we're dealing with and for us to get more people vaccinated and above all to get more people boosted. as well as to help our nhs prepare for what is a challenging winter. yesterday we took steps to protect the uk against the
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variant coming here from southern african countries and added four more countries to the red list. we need to go further and implement a testing regime for arrivals from across the world. we're not going to stop people traveling. i will stress that. we're not going to stress people traveling. we'll require anyone who enters the uk to take a pcr test by the end of the second day after their arrival and to self-isolate until they have a negative result. second, we need to slow down the spread of this variant here in the uk because measures at the border can only ever minimize and delay the arrival of a new variant rather than stop it altogether. so in addition to the measures we're taking to locate those who have been in countries of concern over the last ten days,
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we will require all contacts of those who test positive with a suspected case of omicron to self-isolate for ten days regardless of your vaccination status. we'll go further in asking all of you to help contain the spread of this variant by tightening up the rules on face coverings in shops and on public transport. third, most importantly, we need to bolster our protections against this new variant. we don't yet exactly know how effective our vaccines will be against omicron, but we have good reasons for believing they will provide at least some measure of protection. if you're boosted, your response is likely to be stronger. so it's more vital than ever that people get their jabs and we get those boosters into arms
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as fast as possible. so, from today, we're going to boost the booster campaign. we're planning to do 6 million jabs in england alone over the next few weeks. now we're looking to go further. the health secretary is asking people to giving boosters to as wide as group as possible as well as reducing the gap from your second dose to your booster. we'll continue to coordinate. the measures that we're taking today including on our borders and on face masks are temporary and precautionary. we will review them in three weeks. at that point we should have much greater information about the continuing effectiveness of our vaccines. i very much hope that we will
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find that we continue to be in a strong position and we can lift these measures again. but right now, this is the responsible course of action to slow down the spread of this new variant and to maximize our defenses so we protect the gains we've worked for so hard and so that we can continue to save lives. thank you. i'll ask chris to do the slides. >> thank you, prime minister. first slide please. we thought it was sensible to -- >> joining me now to discuss this what you heard from boris johnson talking about the new variant causing global fears, a lot of new travel restrictions. we have reporters in london, atlanta and arlette zientz traveling with president biden. we have dr. esther chu with us. nada, i want to start with you about what we heard from the
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british prime minister saying there are a lot of unknowns about the variant. he says they learned about it on wednesday and he thanked the scientists in south africa for notifying other nations so quickly. >> that's right. he did thank south africa there. clearly the uk government is taking this seriously and posing these restrictions. we've heard stark warnings. although there's some unknowns, the warnings from boris johnson are concerning and he said there's evidence to suggest this variant spreads rapidly and can spread among those double vacc vaccinated. it might reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines over time, but we heard there will be national measures coming forth in addition to the travel restrictions. the travel restrictions are
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coming just as the uk was opening up its borders allowing people to travel with relaxed rules. now the uk will be taking more stringent measures requiring people to take a pcr test on arrival and to isolate until they receive the negative test result. that's coming into force to stem the spread of this new variant, of course, hearing now it may be more transmissible. there will be national measures also. we've seen other european countries taking on stricter national measures as we've seen in austria and slovakia. the netherlands taking on a full lockdown. he's said there will be tougher measures and they'll be asking people to wear face masks in shops and public transport.
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they will be requiring all contacts of those who test positive to isolate for at least ten days. there is going to be a revision of the measures in place at the moment. of course, boris johnson stressed these will be temporary measures as part of efforts to stem the spread of this new variant. they will be reviewed at three weeks. as we move into the winter months, the focus will be on the impact the variant has on hospitalizations in the uk and across europe. we saw with the alpha variant last winter, which had a huge impact on hospitalization rates, that will be a major focus in the next few weeks. >> dr. chu, i want to get your take on what we heard. there are a lot of things we don't know about this, that's what u.s. health officials have been stressing. it's not clear if concerns are justified yet. he said scientists are learning about this hour by hour. he said they believe it spreads
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rapidly and can be spread by people double vaccinated and we heard from dr. anthony fauci there's extensive mutation when it comes to this variant. >> we need to do some watchful waiting. it's too early to panic. looks like there's early information about tr transmi transmissibility. the other thing of concern is if they cause more disease and more severe disease and if they evade protection from vaccines. from the hospital perspective we're concerned abilout disease severity potential. hospitals are struggling to keep up. if this causes more disease causing hospitalizations, that could be devastating around the world, really emphasizes the vulnerability we have in under vaccinating much of the world. >> those are the two big questions. does it cause more severe
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disease and do the vaccines work effectively? he seemed to be saying it did. david, on the new re-vstriction being implemented now, several nations banning travel from south african nations, and we've seen a lot of anger there saying people are moving too quickly. they think it's a rash decision. you heard the argument there and i think you noticed that prime minister johnson went out of his way to thank the scientists in south africa for alerting other nations to this so quickly. >> reporter: well, i think that was a thankful to south africa, like saying thankful and then closing the door to your house. while the prime minister talked about preventive measures, in this part of the world they're
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not seen as proportionate. the feeling from scientists here and public health experts across the world is that travel bans aren't that effective in stopping new variants, particularly for a respiratory virus like covid-19. time and again over the last few days talking to people, this is the perspective of scientists i'm talking to, they say they're political measures to be seen to be doing something, not necessarily going to have a large impact on the spread of this variant. the other measures that the prime minister talked about like increased testing and contact tracing, those are widely accepted by public health officials and the w.h.o. as being smart choices, not political choices. some reporting is worthwhile over the last few hours i've been speaking to doctors who worked in public and private sector here in the province affected by this variant, at least at this stage they're not
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seeing a rush on to hospitals and they're not seeing evidence of more severe disease. it's early days yet. that's part of the criticism that the door was shut straightaway without potentially understanding when it's something to be worried about or it's a false alarm. >> arlette, we know these nations in south africa are upset by being cut off from travel, but the white house argument seems to be we're buying more time. the u.s. is buying more time by putting these restrictions in place starting monday. >> reporter: exactly. president biden yesterday when he was speaking to reporters here in nantucket, he acknowledged there's sill so much unknown about this new omicron variant. the president said he wants to take a cautious approach and that's why they decided to implement travel restrictions on south africa and seven other
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nations. right now officials are trying to use this time to learn as much as they can about the variant, whether it's going to cause severe illness, whether it could evade the vaccines that so many americans have gotten in the united states. dr. anthony fauci earlier acknowledged the possibility that it could already be here. now, it's going to take some time. officials say it could be several days, weeks before they fully know the impact of this new variant. for the time being we heard president biden yesterday urging people to get their vaccine shots and also for people to get their boosters. ultimately the administration feels those vaccines are what need to be taken into account at this moment in order for people to protect themselves against the coronavirus and other variants. this is all a very tough and tricky position for the biden administration. there will be questions about whether there might be more targeted measures in the way you
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heard boris johnson from the uk talking about. questions about what more the administration might be able to do to curb the spread of this variant if it, in fact, is here in the united states. >> nick, you heard boris johnson say he believes if you're boosted based on what they know now, your response is likely stronger. this could be more effective against this new variant. what caution are you seeing the cdc approach this with? >> reporter: we're seeing a lot of caution from the cdc and u.s. health officials. there's not enough data about this variant. the data we have, though, it's scary. we heard from dr. anthony fauci on friday saying not yet, there's no indication that this virus strain is here in the united states. on saturday morning he struck a much more cautionary tone saying that he thinks and he wouldn't be surprised if that strain of
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omicron is here. he tempered those comments by saying it's not time for americans to start panicking. >> we have not detected it yet, but, when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you're having travel-related cases in israel and belgium and other places, when you have a virus like this it almost is ultimately going to go all over. >> reporter: the cdc added that they do have the ability and have a good ability to track these strains when they make their way to the united states. as david mckenzie noted people in the health community are skeptical to accept the travel restrictions announced by the white house that go into effect monday affecting eight african countries saying they don't think it's enough to stop the
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strain showing up here. there are two major airlines saying they're not going to change a thing. they're going to continue to fly to south africa. that's raising concern that not enough will be done to stop the strain. >> when you look at the new restrictions, it raises questions about the global response. health officials have said they need to make sure the vaccination efforts are global. the white house pointed out how much vaccine the u.s. has sent to other nations. to africa alone they sent 93 million doses of vaccine. they have over 1 billion people in africa. what are you hearing from officials? is there a level of frustration when it comes to vaccine access there as they're dealing with this new variant?
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>> reporter: there's a great deal of frustration. the u.s. has been a leading nation in terms of donating excess doses and trying to get access to vaccines across the continent. other nations have been less generous. overall it's not necessarily a drop in the bucket, but it's not nearly enough in terms of vaccine availability and vaccine access. i want to touch on one brief thing that was mentioned in terms of the flights continuing to go to the u.s. this travel ban to the u.s. is a very leaky ban. just from a personal experience, if you have any kind of connection to the u.s., either a citizen or permanent resident or spouse of a citizen or child of a citizen, you can fly back to the u.s. in the middle of some of the worst pandemic stages. i took a plan from here in south africa to the u.s. and though people had to test before they
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leave, it's inevitable this variant will spread everywhere. that's the criticism of draconian bans in the view of some because you may be delaying the inevitable, but the economic impact and trade impact will be severe. >> we've seen how markets are responding already. they're not happy with the uncertainty. dr. chu, for people watching at home and saw what prime minister johnson just said, if you want to have a measured response to this but are concerned about the new variant and whether or not the fears are justified in the end, what's your advice? >> well, i think the advice is to fully use the protections that we have in place that we know work against any covid variant. masking is more important than ever. getting vaccinated is more important than ever. there are big implications for holiday gatherings and travel. we need to be cautious.
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we need to use testing very generously before travel, after travel and be particularly careful when gathering with family members not vaccinated and those who are immunocompromised. if people aren't excited to get vaccinated by elsa or delta, maybe the spectrum of omicron will inspire people to do what they need to do and get the primary vaccine series. if not, get boosters. >> we saw boris johnson said they were going to boost the booster campaign. dr. chu, nick, david and arlette, thank you for joining me. coming up the president of ukraine is alleging russia is plotting a coup against him. we have details on that allegation next.
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ukrainian president zelensky says a group of russians and ukrainians were planning to overthrow him citing intelligence his government has seen. the kremlin accused of plotting the coup are denying the claims. matthew chance reports the allegations has the region on edge for good reason. >> reporter: these are disturbing allegations from the ukrainian president. a serious and new threat posed by russia against his government. >> translator: we have information there will be a coup at our country. >> reporter: it's in just a few days he said on the 1st or 2nd of december. the kremlin denying any such plot. it's a dramatic escalation as russia is accused of amassing forces near ukraine's borders. now president zelensky says he
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has intelligence including an audio recording of russias ns a ukrainians describing the plot. he claims the ukrainian's richest man who owns several media outlets, may have been involved, something strenuously denied to cnn. the information made public by zelensky about attempts to draw me into a coup is an absolute lie he said. as a ukrainian citizen, the country's biggest employer, i'll defend a free ukraine and do everything i can to prevent authoritarianism. ukraine has been fighting a trench war with russian-backed
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rebels in the east. it was the threat of not supplying military aid that led to president trump first impeachment. >> tra it's one of the reasons the ukrainian leader seems on edge, confident he has enemies outside the country and in. he's using real concerns to crack down on his opponents too. matthew chance, cnn, london. >> thank you, matthew, for that report. still ahead we join an afghan refugee family as they take part in their first thanksgiving in america. stay with us. it's not magic that makes more h holiday deliveries to homes in the us than anynyone else, it's the hardworking people of the united states postal service.. to our 300,000 employees at cvs h health:
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this week many afghan refugees in the united states experienced their first thanksgiving. volunteers in california opened their doors to some of the families for the holiday tradition and natasha chen joins us from los angeles. natasha, you went to one. what was it like? >> reporter: it was so wonderful to witness, especially seeing the children taste cranberry sauce and stuffing for the first time. i was impressed with them not knowing english and learning it while school was still virtual. many people at this gathering were at one point or another new to this country, experiencing
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the same adjustments and having to learn new american traditions. >> hi. >> hello. >> hi. nice to meet you. >> reporter: this woman was cooking a thanksgiving meal for a large group of friends. >> why is everything so much harder after the pandemic? i forgot how to do this. >> reporter: she also wanted to open her los angeles home to some of the country's newest residents. she volunteers for an organization called mary's list. >> i threw it out and said do we know any afghan families that need a first thanksgiving. she said, yeah. >> reporter: this man tells us he was a translator and interpreter for the u.s. military in afghanistan. he arrived in late 2020 with his four children. his wife joined them five months later. this was the family's first
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invitation to a traditional thanksgiving meal. >> sometimes when they asked me what turkey is, i said it was like a big chicken. >> this is the lamb. >> reporter: there was something traditional on the table. this experience wasn't just about new foods. it was also about learning the tradition of sharing gratitude. >> we may have more in our life and our hands. of course the foremost example is this, that we are together, family. >> reporter: with his wife's visa delayed, he said they're lucky she arrived before the chaotic scenes in august. >> when i saw the photo of the afghans in the cargo plane, it
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reminded me of when i was in the same, but it was a giant cargo ship. >> reporter: he came to the u.s. from vietnam when he was a refugee. he says he can offer a warm welcome. like at many holiday gatherings not everyone practices the same religion or holds the same political belief. despite that -- >> there's something in the american experience that is rooted in gratitude, that is rooted in the volunteerism that you leave your country and you come here sometimes with very little, sometimes with nothing, and you start over. >> reporter: he tells his kids to work hard to seize this opportunity. >> we are here for you. the united states is here for you. everything you got in your hands, you have to study. >> reporter: starting with what he hopes is a lesson from their first thanksgiving.
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>> i would want them to see that kind of tolerance is possible in the united states. americans are at heart a generous people. >> reporter: he told me he had to explain to his kids what turkey is. he told them it's like a big chicken. mary's list is hosting all their refugee families for a friendsgiving in about a week. they're expected to help another 300 to 500 families next year. >> it's like a big chicken. did the gets have any favorite sides they tried? >> reporter: i asked the little girl what do you think of that red stuff? she seemed to like it. >> what a lovely story. natasha, thank you so much for joining us. during the 1920s the osage people of oklahoma were some of the richest people in the world. lisa ling uncovers that made
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there's a bridge. cisco, the bridge to possible. for some of the millions people headed home from thanksgiving this week, it could get messy on the roads and in the air. gene norman is tracking the developments. if you have a flight tomorrow or a long day of driving, what
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should you be expecting? >> reporter: the big problem will be in the northeast. quick clipper system moving out of the great lakes. no delays right now. detroit and michigan you're seeing 1 to 3 inches. if you're driving in this area, watch out because the roads will be a little bit slick. don't expect any big problems as far as the big cities, but watch this clipper system. it will come out of the midwest today and into tomorrow. there could be some big lake-effect snow as well in places like erie. watch as the flakes fly through the northeast. that could mean some problems into boston for tomorrow. the accumulations generally 1 to 3. that makes a coating on the ground. drivers have to watch out. could get slick there. elsewhere around the country, 45-minute delay in miami due to volume. rain in dallas and houston.
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a flyer needs to keep with them tomorrow a portable charger in guess all the plugs are taken up. smile. you'll get to where you're going eventually. >> i always forget my portable chargers at the airport. gene, thank you so much. good luck to everyone traveling home. up next, it sounds like the plot of a movie. nasa just launched a space craft to crash into an asteroid.
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another first for blue origin. it's next space launch will have max capacity. michael strahan will be an honorary guest on its flight on december 9th. strahan and five other passengers will ride to the edge of space on the rocket named after alan shepherd. i'm joined by leroy ciao. what is this going to look like do you think? >> michael strahan is definitely taller than the nasa requirement. he wouldn't have made it on the shuttle or the russian vehicles. they have much more strict requirements. it should be a fun ride for him and everyone else. getting into space is a unique experience that only several
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hundred people have had the experience. >> it's going to be a suborbital flight. can you explain and remind us what that means? >> for a suborbital flight it's only about 11 minutes from launch to landing. they'll touch the edge of space. go up like a cannon ball and come back down in an arc. they'll experience g forces, but they'll only get up to about three times the speed of sound as opposed to an orbital flight where you accelerate to about 1,750 miles an hour. it takes a lot more energy, a lot more power to get up there. about the same amount of time, 9 minutes to get from the launch pad to space. they won't reach the speed needed to stay up there.
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they'll get a glimpse but won't get the long duration view. >> a glimpse is a lot. a lot of people haven't even gotten that much. do you think this idea of space tourists is going to be the new norm or the new normal where we're seeing celebrities go and make these flights and get a glimpse of space? >> i think -- i hope so. i think the more people we can get up there to have that experience, the better we'll all be. it generates a lot of buzz and interest in space flight. that's good for the business. the fact that we're having these celebrities go up there, they come back and talk about their experiences and describe what they saw and felt. all their followers can vicariously live through them. as far as it's still out of reach price-wise for most of us. i'm not sure what blue origin is charging. the first ones with virgin
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galactic i believe paid around $250,000. much more in reach than for a week long stay aboard the iss. >> the cool thing about this trip is michael strahan is going to be joined by laura shepherd churchly. she's the daughter of alan shepherd. what is it like to see someone like that get this experience of their own? a little different, but still to get that glimpse. >> i think it's really cool because i have met her a few times. i got to meet her father alan shepherd. he was one of the first astronauts i met after i got to nasa. we had a reunion a couple weeks after i arrived in nasa. it was really cool to meet alan
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shepherd and some of the original seven astronauts. to see his daughter is going to get the chance to go on a suborbital flight and get that glimpse of what her father felt, it's wonderful. >> we see how emotional people are when they have these experiences. leroy ciao, thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. the top ten cnn heros of 2021 have been announced. as you vote for two more weeks, we'll introduce our top ten. one in northern nigeria, thousands of child victims have found hope for brighter futures thanks to this top ten cnn hero.
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>> these are children don't have a second name. >> mustafa and his staff educates more than 2,000 students every year from both sides of the conflict. go to cnn.com to vote for him or one of your favorite heros.
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thank you for joining me this afternoon. i'm kaitlan collins. cnn's news room continues with paula reid in just a moment. at fidelity, your dedicated advisor will work with you on a comprehensive wealth plan across your full financial picture. a plan with tax-smart investing strategies designed to help you keep more of what you earn. this is the planning effect. i just became eligible for medicare, and i'm already confused. i just called humana; i talked one-on-one with an agent who suggested a plan that fit my life. you should call too! so i did. turns out an all-in-one humana medicare advantage plan includes coverage for hospital stays, doctor visits and prescription drugs. most plans include dental, vision and hearing too. my agent told me i could save money on prescription drugs. oh! and these humana plans offer
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we've been waiting all year to come together. happy holidays from lexus. get $1,500 lease cash toward a 2022 rx 350. you get more with aarp medicare advantage plans from unitedhealthcare. like $0 copays on tier 1 and tier 2 prescription drugs. ♪ wow! ♪ ♪ uh-huh. ♪ $0 copays on primary care visits. ♪ wow! ♪ ♪ uh-huh. ♪ and with unitedhealthcare, you get access to medicare advantage's largest provider network. ♪ wow! ♪ ♪ uh-huh. ♪ most plans even have a $0 premium. so go ahead. take advantage now.
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♪ wow! ♪ ("jingle bells") ♪ (doors knocking and bells ringing to the music) ♪ - [announcer] this holiday season, give the gift of grubhub.
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♪ hello. thanks for joining me. i'm paula reid in for fredricka whitfield. we're following breaking news this hour as the uk confirms two positive cases of a highly mutated new covid variant called omi omicron. during a news briefing prime minister boris johnson said there's a great deal about this new variant that scientists simply can't know yet, but what they know is cause for concern. >> it does appear omicron spreads very rapidly and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated. there is also a very extensive mutation which means it diverges quite significantly from previous configurations of the virus, and, as a result, it might in part reduce the

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