tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN December 16, 2021 6:00am-7:00am PST
people who look similar to me really makes it feel more comfortable to learn. >> a lot of times when there is plus sized groups, they tend to be focused on weight loss, and the reality is that not everybody who is fat is actually looking to change that. >> i love that he's building that community. and cnn's coverage continues right now. good thursday morning. i'm erica hill. >> i'm jim sciutto. we're following several major stories this morning, new weekly jobless claims are out, there is some encouraging news, despite an 18,000 increase compared to the previous week, the numbers still extremely low, nearing a 52-year low. comes as the federal reserve is picking up the pace to fight inflation. new projections show multiple interest rate hikes next year
while the central bank says it will wrap up its stimulus program, a bond buying, faster than originally announced. >> we are also closely monitoring the significant rise in covid-19 cases, it is sparking concerns over the fast spreading omicron variant. and we're learning four major -- that all four major vaccines are providing protection but less protection against the new strain. meantime, at least four more colleges and universities being added to the list now of schools that are shifting the final days of the fall semester to online learning, including final exams because of a rise in cases. >> and just more crazy weather, a record-setting day of unprecedented winds slam the midwest and the rockies. look at those pictures there from kansas. hurricane force winds barreling through nine states, more than a dozen tornadoes reported as well. including the first ever tornado in december, recorded in the state of minnesota. experts now warning the storms may be, quote, the new normal.
let's get things started with those new jobless claims. rising slightly 206,000, but still as jim pointed out, they're near this 52-year low. >> christine romans joins us now. so much data out there, inflation concerns people, one thing seems clear the job market is hot. >> yeah, it is. these are numbers consistent with a healing job market. remember you guys we were reporting a million layoffs a week in the worst of the crisis from covid. 206,000 layoffs new jobless claims, that's a relatively low number. very close to a 52-year low. that's what you want to see. bottom line, bosses aren't laying people off. they're trying to find workers, not lay them off. so you're going to see a relatively low number of layoffs here. we heard from the fed chief yesterday that in fact the labor market is strong. he's really zeroing in i think on the 4.2% unemployment rate. not exactly full employment, but getting close there. so as we see kind of difficulty
from economists and the government measuring how strong the jobs market is, the fed is assuming it is strong and will continue to be strong. one of the reasons why it is going to try to tap the brakes on the economy so it doesn't overheat next year, you guys. >> christine romans, appreciate it. thank you. here to discuss as well, cnn economics and political commentator catherine rampell. as we look at this, the numbers we're seeing are consistent with a healing job market. the fed chair pointing to that number in terms of 4.2%. but we're also very focused on inflation. and the fact that we learned that we're setting the stage for three interest rate hikes. the basic question is, will that work? >> if i knew the answer to that question, i would be a very rich woman. but, yes, the federal reserve's job, it has a dual mandate, maximum employment and stable prices. they're fairly confident we're on the way to maximum
employment. obviously employers are trying to hire, their challenge is finding enough workers to get them into those jobs. and inflation, it is a much more complicated story. initially the fed among many other economic experts, by the way, thought that the upward price pressure we were seeing would quickly recede. it was being caused primarily by the reopening of the global economy after a mass shutdown last year because of the pandemic. of course, supply chain problems have persisted, demand has remained very strong, we're trying to buy much more in terms of goods than was the case prepandemic. so the ports are clogged. there aren't enough truckers to get goods around and prices are going up. and the real risk that the fed sees, i believe, is that those expectations about higher price will become embedded. and so even if the port situation gets better, people will still expect prices to go up and they will therefore raise their prices, they'll demand
higher wages and it becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy we get more and more inflation. >> inflation is factoring into the current debate here in washington about the president's economic agenda. republicans, not just republicans, joe manchin as well, saying you pump all this money into the economy again, that will juice inflation. on the other side, the child tax credit, for instance, would arguably help a lot of people who are hit hardest by the rising prices. tell us what the -- separate out the politics if we can, what is the economic data tell us about the infusions included in bbb, how they would affect inflation. >> i think it is reasonable to say that some of the elements in this legislation will give more people money to spend, and they will spend that money, and that will put upper pressure on demand and therefore could, you know, could contribute to inflation. but the amount is relatively small in the grand scheme of the overall economy and there are other elements in this bill that
also would, you know, push prices in the other direction. if we're, you know, building more houses, for example, that should be the greater supply of housing should reduce price pressure on shelter costs. so overall i think the effects of the bill are likely to be pretty minimal. the republicans who say this bill is going to, you know, super charge inflation around biden and the democrats who say this is going to control inflation are probably wrong. it is likely to be a wash. who i what i would prefer to see biden doing is sell this bill on the merits. it does a lot of good things, universal pre-k, et cetera, sell it on the merits rather than claiming it is going to do something that it won't and frankly can't. >> and it may have some convincing to do within his own party in terms of that selling. catherine, good to have you on. >> thank you. turning now to coronavirus and the spread of the omicron variant. so far the variant has been identified in 36 states as well as washington, d.c. and puerto
rico. the surge in new cases taking a major toll on everyday life. you may be seeing some of it where you are, here in new york city, some broadway shows just canceled, sporting events as well, college campuses as we pointed out, some of those schools now shifting back to online learning. >> yeah. at least four more colleges and universities including princeton and nyu taking protective measures moving the last days of their fall semesters online including final exams. cnn correspondent polo sandoval has been covering. what is the thinking behind these schools' decisions. are they trying to get to the other side of the holidays in effect. >> that's essentially what they're trying to do here too, jim. what they noticed was a considerable acceleration in the number of covid cases. not severity of breakthrough cases. that's important. the result is the university officials are basically telling the campus here that no cause for alarm, but for caution and for action. that's what brings us to this point here, where university officials are recommending the faculty take a remote approach
for their upcoming finals, the cancellation of all on campus, nonessential events and closure of common areas like meeting spaces and athletic spaces as well, for example. when it comes to the greater picture here, nyu alone, there are multiple universities, that are following or doing -- taking similar steps here, including cornell, princeton. the good thing is many universities actually count with a very high vaccination rate among students. princeton, 98 or 99%, speaks to the lack of severity in many of these cases, breakthrough cases that have been detected. and when it comes to steps that the university officials are taking, looking ahead to the spring, i can tell you several of these schools are actually going to be requiring these boosters. here at nyu, requiring the students upload proof of their booster dose by mid-january. certainly speaks to these kinds of protocols and tactics that are basically being deployed throughout the northeast to try to get ahead or to try to deal with this winter surge that one
expert after another will confirm already is here. guys. >> that it is. polo sandoval, feels like we have been here before, feels better this time with the vaccines. thank you. u.s. researchers are now saying they have found the omicron variant is, quote, markedly resistant to four major vaccines as well as to most antibody-based therapies. >> you know, each new variant as i like to say has its own shop of horrors and the omicron variant, here is what i'm worried about. it is so transmissible. second, it has the immune escape property. >> cnn's senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen joining us now with more. i think this is leading to a lot of confusion and concern for people when we hear that information. when we factor in boosters though, across the board, how does that impact this lower efficacy?
>> i'm going to try to make it really simple, erica. two doses are useful to some extent against omicron. but three doses are better. so just remember this, it is sort of shades of gray i don't want people to feel like, my gosh, omicron, the vaccines don't work at all, i won't get vaccinated. that would be a huge mistake. get vaccinated, the first two shots are the most important and after six months get a booster. that will help more against omicron. let's take a look at the results from a study that just came out from columbia university. it is actually quite grim and i want to try to put it in context a bit. so what they found is that omicron is markedly resistant, that's the phrase they used, to pfizer and moderna and johnson & johnson and the astrazeneca vaccines and omicron is the most complete escapee, what they mean by that, is that omicron managed to escape the vaccine even more so than delta, or the other variants that have come out. now, let's take a look at what the columbia study says about boosters.
a third booster shot may not adequately protect against omicron infection, but, of course, it is advisable to do so. the reason why i talked to david ho at columbia says this, it is not that the vaccines don't do anything against omicron, it is that they managed to escape -- sorry, omicron managed to escape the vaccines to some extent. so if you get vaccinated, you may still get infected with omicron, but there is some data showing you will get some protection against serious disease. so that's why dr. ho and others including dr. anthony fauci are saying get vaccinated. let's take a listen to something that dr. fauci said earlier this morning. >> in the winter months, with indoor congregating, with the holiday season, inevitably we're going to see even more cases than we're seeing now. but if we handle it well and continue to push on the vaccinations, i hope by the time we get through the winter we'll be on a downslope as opposed to an upslope. >> and, again, you'll hear him
pushing for vaccination, that's because, again, with omicron, the vaccine doesn't work as well, but it does seem to still protect people against going to the hospital or horribly dying. erica, jim. >> big benefit, elizabeth cohen, thanks so much. next, republican congressman jim jordan acknowledges he is one of the lawmakers who had -- had his text with mark meadows revealed by the january 6th committee. what exactly his text said as well as a key deposition that has now been delayed for a second time. plus, i'll speak live with the next police commissioner of new york, the first woman to take that job. hear how keechant sewell plans to combat rising crime and diversify the police force. plus, hundreds of thousands of people still without power this morning following the hurricane-force winds slamming the middle of the country. strong enough to topple semitrucks. widespread damage. we have an update.
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the january 6th committee with former justice department official central to the efforts to overturn the election again. jeffrey clark, who was involved in trying to help then president trump overturn 2020 continues to deal with medical condition which delayed his deposition earlier this month. in the meantime, erica, lots more happening. >> yeah, in the meantime, you're right. we're learning more about at least one of the lawmakers who texted with then white house chief of staff mark meadows in the buildup to the insurrection. paula reed joining us now. so, jim jordan putting it out there, that one of the text messages that has been revealed
was his. >> that's right. this has been a big outstanding question this week after the house select committee revealed some text messages to former white house chief of staff mark meadows, some of which were from lawmakers pushing ideas and possibilities about how they could potentially try to undermine the outcome of the 2020 election. now, lawmakers were not named by the committee. the committee said in the next few weeks they'll consider naming them, reporters weren't going to wait for that, they got to work trying to figure out who sent the texts, u.s. lawmakers pushing theories about how to potentially disenfranchise voters. one of the texts as you said has been identified as being from representative jim jordan. now, cnn has learned that jordan forwarded this text to meadows, laying out a theory about how former vice president mike pence could stop the certification of the 2020 election results. the text read in part, on january 6th, 2021, vice president mike pence as president of the senate, should
call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all. this is just an example of the intense pressure that pence was facing not just from the former president, but also from his allies to act on these unproven legal theories. now, jordan's spokesman said in a statement emphasizing this was not an original text, it was a forward saying, quote, mr. jordan forwarded the text to mr. meadows and mr. meadows certainly knew it was a forward. but the committee insists that this is just an example of how they believe meadows was at the center of this effort to try to overturn the results of the election, and one of the many reasons that they want him to come in and sit for a deposition. interestingly, erica, yesterday i was speaking with a former white house official trying to figure out who may have sent some of the texts and this person suggested that representative jord wan was too savvy to put anything like this in a text message. turns out not the case.
>> joining us elliott williams, former deputy assistant attorney general. this is what's clear, i don't know what difference forwarding or not makes, it is the consistency. several sitting lawmakers, republicans, were communicating with the white house about a deliberate effort to reject votes from states that trump lost. >> right. that's what it is. based on nothing. based on absolutely nothing. and the bigger point is who is surprised at this point? we knew there were go to be members of congress, that information got revealed, and jim jordan had a consistent pattern of showing for donald trump and spewing these theories about the integrity of the election going back months. it should shock nobody. i'm not surprised by it here. and it doesn't -- this doesn't change the underlying outcome. the question is do you get him to come into to testify or to provide more context? at this point, it doesn't matter. he has the information he forwarded. >> or facing legal consequences, right? >> yeah.
i would actually ask both those questions of you. could there be any legal ramification here and to your point, is he even needed at this point because there is likely so much more information that the committee has that we don't know about. >> i do think it is unlikely he gets charged with the crime on account of these text messages. now, if you give him an opportunity to come in, you do invite a bit of a circus. what you end up with is -- and more to the point, this is an individual who wanted to be on the january 6th committee in the first place. if you recall there was a fight over having him in another member of congress participate. it turns into a circus and a fight and you lended him that ground if you give him the opportunity to come in and pri the context. these these are damning on their face. i don't think there is much more use to giving him an opportunity to provide more context to them. they can try, but i think it invites a bigger fight. >> there is this point too, those lawmakers that were trying to help the president overturn the election based on false
claims of fraud were all elected in the same election on the same day on the same ballots under the same state and federal election laws, which they all claim as some basis that the election was stolen from trump. there is an odd contradiction there, wouldn't you say? >> i think that elections are fraudulent when democrats win. that's the argument that they're attempting to make here, which is that if our -- the president started saying this, president trump started saying this back in -- the first time back in 2016, but back in june of 2020, saying the only way i could lose this election is if there is fraud. making point there is no possible way that democrats could actually win elections. but the hypocrisy is stunning, jim, because, yes, all these individuals in some of these states that they are challenging won their elections. >> and when asked about it, they say their own elections were free and fair, by the way. >> that's another point we can say, isn't this surprising, not
at all. >> thanks so much. next month, for first time a woman will take the reins of the new york police department. the incoming commissioner, keechant sewell, joining us live next. plenty to discuss. you'll want to stay with us for that. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ experience the power of sanctuary at the lincoln wish list event. at capella university, we know smart comes in many forms. -good boy! -so we made flexpath the kind of smart that keeps up with you. with flexpath, you can earn your master's degree in 14 months for $14,000. that's the kind of smart i like. capella university -- don't just learn. learn smarter.
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overnight, just extreme weather rocked parts of the u.s. stretching all the way from the rockies to the great lakes. thunderstorms with hurricane force wind gusts of 75 miles per hour reported across several states. the national weather service says the weather, the extreme weather is unprecedented. >> cnn correspondent lucy
kafanov is following owl of this for us. >> reporter: from the rockies to the midwest, an intense storm system pummeled the region, producing tornadoes and hurricane-force winds in nine states. the massive storm system resulted in the most hurricane-force winds in a single day. in minnesota, the national weather service office in the twin cities confirming a tornado touched down in plain view. this is the first tornado reported in the state during the month of december. in colorado, collude clouds des to boulder, bringing strong gusts of wind. in el paso county, high winds were responsible for knocking over tractor trailers. and the cause of delaying or canceling many flights at the denver international airport on wednesday. >> they canceled our flight. i went to customer service and they didn't have any flights going out until friday. >> reporter: down in new mexico, intense winds flipped the small
plane over at the santa fe airport. >> this is the first time that -- since i've been here that we have had this kind of extensive damage, especially to aircraft. >> reporter: over in the plains, winds are producing dust storm conditions. in western kansas, visibility on interstate 70 is virtually nonexistent. >> this is like a tornado. >> reporter: intense winds whipping up dust and sand, shutting down parts of the road for several hours. while over in garden city, kansas, all flights were canceled to and from the airport. the severe weather has left hundreds of thousands of people without power. and comes less than a week after tornadoes ripped through eight states in the midwest and the south. now, this region is experiencing an unusually warm december. i may be bundled up now, but we saw a high of 75 degrees here in davenport, iowa, yesterday. that's an insane record. and the sad reality is this is what climate change looks like. the extreme weather is here to
stay. the question is, jim and erica, what we do collectively to stop that trajectory. back to you. >> remarkable weather events seemingly every day. lucy kafanov, thank you very much. >> wild to think it was 75 where lucy is yesterday. chad myers, cnn meteorologist joining us with more on this. these intense shifts as we have seen and the storm prediction center calling the storms unprecedented. the can concern is they become more common. >> what we this is the jet stream in the right place for almost a spring type storm. we had a very warm gulf of mexico and you want to talk about climate change or global warming, the gulf of mexico is very warm. that adds humidity to the air, pushed up to the north. if you want to add something in there, would this have happened anyway, yes. we had all this warm air and warm water making humidity, that's why these storms have been so big. bigger than they should be anytime of year for that matter. 77 in wichita.
here is galveston, texas, 79. look at this number, des moines, 74 yesterday. your old record was 59. here is what we had. two things. the wind event out west. here is kansas. the wind event out west. this has never happened in december ever in this area before. here is the moderate risk, level four or five, severe weather across parts of iowa, minnesota. this has never happened before in december. not that it has never happened, it certainly has, but in the spring when it is supposed to happen. the irony is here the problem is it is december. that's why it is very hard to put your mind around how this happened here. even back out to the west, see some of the streaks, those streaks were actually smoke from fires. lamar, colorado, 107-mile-per-hour wind yesterday. look at this, tornadoes, 20. we had over 100 tornadoes in december so far with these few storms we have had. the normal number or the average number is 23. severe wind, more severe wind yesterday than we have ever seen
in any one day , over 75 miles per hour, 55 reports. so here is la nina, talk about global warming, we also talk about la nina, this is adding another 10 or 20%. the jet stream is coming down and it is turning like this. this is normal, what happens in la nina. what also happens, an increase in tornado activity right where we expect it. just this is -- you look farther north than what we expected anyway. guys? >> wow. chad, appreciate it. certainly gives you pause. >> yeah. historic appointment, a woman will now lead the new york police department for the first time in its history. the incoming commissioner keechant sewell will join us live, there she is, coming right up.
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to all the kisses... ...that led... ...to this one. celebrate every kiss, with kay. a monumental moment for new york city is keechant sewell becomes the first woman appointed nypd commissioner in the department's 176-year history. it is a critical appointment at a critical time from the mayor-elect eric adams who ran on a platform of combatting rising crime in the city. sewell will take over a department struggling to tamp down a startling rise in gun violence and murder. so far this year there have been 443 murders in new york city, surpassing last year's total of 45% increase from two years ago. so joining me now live, the next commissioner of the nypd, keechant sewell. congratulations on your appointment.
this is truly a historic moment for new york, my hometown. >> thank you. i appreciate it more than you know. thank you. it is a pleasure to be here. >> as you know, violent crime is up across the city. people are scared. new yorkers are scared by what they see there. you said earlier this morning, you're going to put initiatives in place very quickly to address this rise in crime. can you be specific? on day one, what kind of steps will you take to address the rise in crime? >> the first thing we would like to do, i keep saying we're going to do an assessment. i hope to be able to do that before january 1st. i want to know what works in the nypd already and what we can change. we have to stop the guns that are flowing into the city. that's priority number one. we have to actually -- the people who are bringing these guns in, the gangs that are operating, profiting from these guns coming in, we have to be able to address that as well. the moment i have an idea what is going on, i'll be able to say with more specificity what we're
going to try to do on day one because that is where we are laser focused is getting the violence to stop in new york city. >> one step to do that to address gun violence in particular is the idea of bringing back this plain clothes anti-gun unit, 600 people. when i have been out on ride alongs with nypd cops this summer, they speak about guns, they speak about this iron pipeline of guns into the city from southern states with more lax gun laws. i wonder, in addition to steps like that, can you -- can police in a city like new york fight gun crime without stricter gun laws? >> i think we can fight gun crime. you mentioned the anti-crime unit, we're going to try to retool that to be an anti-gun unit. i understand we need to put the right people in those positions. we need to have them well trained. we need to have the right temperament to tackle these problems. but i certainly believe we certainly can stop the flow of guns. i know police officers are
scared about doing their jobs. i want them to know i have their backs. we have the support of the communities to get these guns off the street. we have to stop the violence that is priority, that is day one. >> you said this a number of times, you want to have your fellow officers' backs here. and we hear this a lot from them. they're worried about the risks they take, possibly losing their career from doing the job. you have a lot of folks leaving the force. can you describe, there might be officers watching right now what specifically will you do to have their backs? >> i want them to know if they are doing their jobs, the way they have been trained to do them, we will support them. i will always have the backs of my officers. 100%. we want the community to have the backs of the officers as well. we have to get them to talk to the community so we can build that morale and let them know they are doing the work that we asked them to do. i will support them 100% when they are doing the job they are supposed to do, they are trained to do, we asked them to do. >> understood. okay. bail reform has been an issue
that your predecessor dermott shay often talked about the state bail reform system. and officers on the beat as well saying they see repeat offenders released back on to the streets, often hours after they were picked up for something else. what changes in law in the state of new york do you believe you need to see to help address that problem? >> i think we have to talk about there being a balance. judges need to have the discretion to be able to determine who is a danger to society. and when and if they can release that person very quickly. that balance has to be something that we discuss in the way that it shouldn't be that you stay in jail simply because you don't have the money to get yourself out. if we can give the judges the discretion to do that, i think it would be a lot better off and that's at least a first step. >> you're going to be taking over at the time of yet another wave in the pandemic here as omicron works its way through the country. the nypd as you know has a vaccine requirement, mayor elect adams said during the campaign he was going to revisit that
decision, that requirement. do you believe the vaccine mandate should stay in place for officers? >> i support the officers are vaccinated. i leave that decision to the mayor and we'll follow whatever he decides we should do. >> do you believe that boosters given what we know about what is necessary to protect people from omicron, do you think boosters should become a requirement for serving officers? >> i'm going to leave that to the politicians, whatever they ask us to do, whatever the mandate is, we're going to follow. >> let's talk about you for a moment. this is truly historic. we heard that word a lot. it is 176 years of the nypd. you're the first woman, the first black woman to lead the force. you're someone who reflects the city of new york. i wonder if you could describe the moment when mayor-elect adams told you have the job, when he reached out to you. >> i wasn't sure i heard him correctly first. it was actually pretty
exhilarating. i know that i can do this job. i am thrilled he believed in me to be able to give me this opportunity to do this job. but when he told me that, i actually felt phenomenal. i said i'm part of his team and we can get started immediately. >> adams has spoken about, as you just did there, about a balance. tough on crime, but working with the community, including working with community groups to help address the many causes of rising crime in the city. how does having someone like you in leadership, as i said, someone who reflects the city of new york, make a positive difference in achieving that balance? >> mayor-elect adams speaks oftentimes about emotional intelligence. and i think when you have a person who can connect with a community or connect with the police as well, because the police are the community, right, policing is about people, when you have someone who can dig in and find out what is the underlying emotion that people are femaling oe feeling, i thi
way you build bridges and i think that's the way you should police. >> but before we go, i want to ask you, this is a big position at a difficult time for new york. you know new york. you're a queens girl. you've been on the force for a generation. and you know that folks today, they're scared about the direction of the city. folks i know who won't ride the subway, right. they're worried about the threat. you give them some confidence, some hope that there is a solution here in the near term to make the city safer? >> absolutely. hope is wonder follow have. we want everyone to have hope. hope has to be married with action. and i want to assure them we have initiatives that we're going to implement and we have the drive and the determination to turn this around very quickly. so i appreciate the hope and please keep that hope. but we're coming. and we're going to make things better. >> keechant sewell, i love new york. i'm a new yorker. i know a lot of nonnew yorkers who love new york as well. congratulations on your position. and we wish you and the officers the best of luck. >> thank you so much. thank you for having me.
happy holidays to you. >> you too. still ahead here, masks still a major point of contention as airlines prepare for a busy couple of weeks around the holidays. now two airline ceos say they support dropping a mask mandate. we'll ask the head of the flight attendants union how she feels about that suggestion next.
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we can't predict when an emergency will happen. so that's why it's important to make a plan with your parents. here are a few tips to stay safe. know how to get in touch with your family. write down phone numbers for your parents, siblings and neighbors. pick a place to meet your family if you are not together and can't go home. remind your parents to pack an emergency supply kit. making a plan might feel like homework, but it will help you and your family stay safe during an emergency. violence on airplanes is at an all-time high. as of tuesday, the faa says there have been more than 5,600 reports of unruly passengers this year alone. the agency usually investigates nearly 200 incidents a year. look at that sharp increase on
your screen. yesterday, the senate oversight hearing, which had significant focus on the $54 billion in pandemic support for the airline industry, sarah nelson, president of the association for flight attendants, testified about the increase in violence and its impact. >> we are not a bailout. but lately, we have been punching bags. flight attendants and aviation workers are saying please make it stop. >> sara nelson joins us now. good to see you this morning. so much of that violence is related to masks, which made it i thought even more interesting that yesterday two of the ceos who were there testifying questioned the continuing need for masks on planes. i want to play you that moment for folks at home. we may not have that sound, but the ceo of southwest, gary kelly, say ig think the case is very strong that masks don't add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment, saying it's
very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting. the former surgeon general was on cnn this morning and called those comments, quote, irresponsible and reckless. are where do you stand? >> i said in the hearing those comments were not helpful at all. i do want to correct the record here because gary kelly came over to me after the hearing and said he was absolutely with me on the fact that our layered approach to safety and security is what's necessary to keep people safe on the planes. the filtration on the plane, the hepa aircraft filtration with the masks and the deep cleaning, all of those things together keep people safe on a plane and in a controlled environment. doug parker did not hear what was happening. he has put a statement on the record saying that he was responding to the hepa filtration. he was not responding to the masks. the biggest problem for flight attendants is that when there is inconsistency in communication, that puts us in harm's way because we are charged with enforcing that mask mandate. so those two ceos corrected the
record with me. doug parker on the record for the whole public. i want to be very clear that the airline industry from the very beginning has worked with us to put mask policies in place even before the federal government put that in place, and they continue to support that and support the flight attendants. >> you make a good point about messaging, which has been an issue from day one of this pandemic on nearly every level, whether it be masking or even just the reality that that is an evolving science. that's the way science works. so looking at that, right, and just the need for clarification this morning based on comments from yesterday, as you point out, that makes your job harder. i was struck by something in your testimony when you noted that flight attendants wonder every morning when they put on their uniform whether it will be a sign of leadership and authority or a target for a violent attack. this may sound like a flippant question. it's not. what is wrong with people? what is your assessment in terms of what has changed in the way that flight attendants and aviation employees are being treated when they were simply asking people to follow a
federal rule? >> the biggest problem that we have in this country is that people wdon't know what to believe. there have been two different narratives about this pandemic from the beginning and that continues. when you keep people in that state of not knowing what to believe, their anxiety goes through the roof. we see this as flight attendants. i can relate it in a very simple analogy, which is when there's a delayed flight and we get regular updates to people, even when that flight is severely delayed, they leave smiling and thanking you. when you don't, they become agitated, angry, and sometimes there's outbursts. so you have to be clear with people about what the truth is and then they make good decisions and they calm down. >> in terms of calming down and making good decisions, you also made the point that you think alcohol has a role to play here. you would like to see better regulation of alcohol consumption on board and even in the gate area. would you like to see a stop to alcohol sales in the airport?
would that help? >> well, look, we have a big problem here because we have low-hanging fruit that we should be able to get to. airports are pushing to go alcohol. before we talk about stopping alcohol in airports, let's stop pushing alcohol on people right up to the moment they board that plane and giving them the idea they can carry that alcohol onto the plane, which is a violation of federal regulations. people can be denied boarding, but we are at low staffing, we're not able to see those things every time, and when people have that alcohol and go up in the air and cabin is pressurized at 8,000 feet and there's less oxygen, that affects them more and they make bad decisions. >> what's your biggest concern going into the holidays? you mentioned stamping. that's a major concern. there was a lot of upset passengers when flights were delayed earlier in the fall.
what are you most worried about now? >> well, look, there's actually more flight attendants per flight-hour now than prepandemic. what i'm talking about is that the airlines prepandemic put staffing levels down to minimum levels, and that hasn't changed. while we have airplanes full of people who are essentially first-time flyers or infrequent flyers. a lot of questions. that makes our jobs harder. we believe that the holidays are going to be okay for the consumer, for the traveler, because we negotiated with the airlines, incentives for people to come to work. flight attendants have been a little reticent to pick up that overtime, voluntary overtime, because of the conditions at work and the concerns around covid. that extra incentive of financial incentive is helping them say to their families, i'm going to do this because this is going to be good for us. that will support the operation. i think we'll be okay barring any major weather event. sara nelson, appreciate you joining us this morning. hope people are a little kinder. >> thank you so much. thank you.
still ahead, dr. fausm fauch w anthony fauci warns it is a matter of time before the omicron variant takes over the delta variant. to all the kisses... ...that led... ...to this one. celebrate every kiss, with kay. ho ho ho! not again. oh no. for the gifts you won't forget. the mercedes-benz winter event. get a credit toward your first month's payment on select models. ♪ ♪ cases of anxiety in young adults are rising as experts warn of the effects on well-being
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