tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN December 17, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
coronavirus cases spiking across the country as a new study out of the u.k. finds there is no evidence that the omicron strain is more contagious than the delta and biden stalled the social spending bill, voting rights and immigration won't make it through the senate this year. will democrats be able to turn things around? the mayor of san francisco declaring a state of emergency to crack down on crime. she is vowing to tackle what she calls the b.s. destroying the city. san francisco's chief of police is here to respond. i want to turn straight to cnn's kyung lah on the dramatic spike in covid cases across the country. >> reporter: america's covid time war, long testing and vaccination lines in miami and familiar fears of exposure.
>> he doesn't live in my house but i'm scared so i decided to make an appointment to get tested just in case. >> reporter: in new york city, the positivity rate has doubled in just four days. the city health advisor tweeted we've never seen this before in nyc. a return to holiday tradition is halted once again. radio city music hall announced the christmas spectacular shows are cancelled for the rest of the season due to increasing challenges from the pandemic and pharmacies, store shelves for rapid tests sit empty all echoes of the past. people here waiting for than an hour to be tested as omicron reveals its rapid spread. >> this is after coming yesterday twice and then not being able to get tested here. >> this is a whole new animal and we got to be honest about the fact that it's moving very fast and we have to move faster. >> reporter: the past is prologue as new york's mayor doubles restrictions and
considers scaling down the times square new year's eve celebration. a visible return of sports restrictions. hockey in montreal played to empty stands. the nhl shut down two teams because of covid spread and the nfl postponed three games this weekend. overall, deaths are increasing half of u.s. states up sharply in seven. that's an increase of 8% from just last week. >> i think we're really just about to experience a viral blizzard. if you look at south africa, look at what is happening in europe, in the next three to eight weeks you'll see millions of americans infected with this virus. >> you're looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated. >> reporter: with previous surges the unvaccinated are filling hospitals as doctors warn they are exhausted and losing staff. >> the reality is you can't just create humans to provide that care and staffing is a challenge
everywhere. >> reporter: what makes this winter different while omicron may be highly, highly transmissible, vaccinations especially boosters can protect you from serious illness but in a set back for parents 2 to 5-year-olds, pfizer said two doses of the vaccine did not produce enough immunity saying they are testing out three child size doses . a delay until the second quarter for next year. >> you want the right dose and regimen for the children. you don't want a delay, you want to get it right and that's what they're talking about. >> thank you very much for that. appreciate it. i want to bring in dr. jonathan reiner. he's a cnn medical analyst. good evening to you. this study out of the u.k. finds there is no evidence that the omicron variant is less severe than delta. but i mean, we know it's much more transmissible. how worried are you tonight? what do you think of this u.k. study? >> i don't know what to think of
it because the u.k. study did not have a lot of data on hospitalizations. so the, you know, absence of evidence is not the same as the evidence of absence. and in fact an in depth study out of south cafrica today suggested in the south african experience, the severity of illness is less severe. i think they documented a 1.7% hospitalization which was lower than in their prior surges. so it's really too soon to know. one study suggested that it's less virulent and an anecdotal evidence shows that. we have to see what happens in the united states. >> what does this mean in practical terms for people, doctor? are they protected if they're
wearings a mask? how long of exposure to omicron does it take? >> if this isl less virulent, we're going to swamp our hospitals with a relatively low rate of hospitalization, when you have that kind of denominator, our hospitals will be completely under water as they are in some parts of the country now like western michigan. what we know works is masking with a good mask. it's not long effective to wear a cloth mask. get rid of the cloth mask and get a k 95 mask or n 95 mask and wear that in crowded situations indoors. we have now really i think emerging data suggests that people who are boosted are very well protected against booth illness and better protected
against severe illness. so if you are triply dosed or doubly dosed if you had the j&j vaccine, you're in pretty good shape of being protected against severe illness. test yourself. have tests at home. if you want to meet with friends and family, test yourself before you go. have them test before you meet. that increases your level of safety. all the things that we learned from the first several waves in the first two years of this odyssey still are in place. socially distancing, wearing masks and being fully vaccinated and as an earlier guest mentioned, you're no longer fully vaccinated if you're not boosted. i want the cdc to say that because we know with certainty with omicron, two doses just don't cut it. >> i want to ask you because listen, the issue that we dealt with during the height of covid, right, before the vaccine was in
hospitals, medical facilities were overwhelmed. we're hearing the ohio governor is mobilizing 1,050 national guards to help across his state. are we about to see hospitals get over run again? >> this is the problem. before the pandemic, hospitals were short on really skilled nurses. and then the pandemic hit. and we lost some nurses because there is only so much some people can take. when you're working in literally a battle zone where your patients are dying every day, a lot of people have left the profession and we can't run hospitals without nurses. when hospitals became short on staff, other hospitals started a bidding war. so a skilled nurse now in the united states, a critical care nurse for instance, someone who works in an icu can go to a place like ohio or michigan or maybe even rhode island now and get paid between 5 and $10,000 a
week and they're worth every pen kne -- penny of that but that sucks staff out of other hospitals. so all over the united states, e.r.s for instance are filled with icu patients that don't have a bed in the intensive care units not because there are no beds but there are no nurses. layer on top of that baseline a surge in people being admitted with covid and it's a prescription for disaster. the public needs to lock arms and rally behind the health care professionals, protect our hospitals and the way to do that is to mask up, vax up and boost up. otherwise, if you have a heart attack or stroke, your hospital can't help you. this is a real problem in this country and the public needs to understand if cases sore, if a lot of them are mild, our hospitals are not going to be able to handle this. >> dr. reiner, hope they're
paying attention to you, thank you, sir. >> have a good night, don. as kyung lah mentioned, the christmas spectacular starring the radio city rockettes cancelled and multiple broadway shows cut down with 21,000 new covid cases in the past 24 hours. sadly, that's a new pandemic record, joining me is the president of the broadway league that represents all of broadway and commercial theater in the u.s. and around the world. that's a pretty big job. so glad you're here to talk about this. here is a list of cancellations. do you expect to see more closures ahead during these weeks? >> we still have 25 shows that are performing as of tonight, seven shows are not but every
day the number is different. for example, yesterday we had several shows that missed one performance and are back up today so we think that things will continue to change daily but we believe that enough shows, a lot of shows that are tony award winning shows are playing and so broadway is open and we plan to keep it open. >> so what is -- listen, i think everyone wants broadway to be open, right? we love our broadway here and people love it around the world but what is going to be the breaking point, charlotte? do you think broadway could shut down again? >> i really don't unless there is something we don't know and i don't have a crystal ball and we certainly have three epidemiologists we work with that are giving us information on a daily or every other day
basis. we've been serious since the day we opened because we said from day one that our number one priority is to keep the cast, crew safe. we have been able to be open for four months and not have to have shutdowns, the little omicron variant has certainly not been a pleasant visitor to broadway but at the end of the day, we still have quite a few shows open and running and happy audiences. >> listen, i know you said broadway protocols are the standard but are there things you can't change that up the risk here? >> i'm not aware of them. we would not have opened had we thought there there things we should be doing that we weren't doing. we have the best advising us. at this point based on what we know, we don't believe we're
putting people at risk. we believe the protocols are working, which is why these shows are not open tonight because for example, several times this week several cast members tested positive but they were false positives so they were literally able to go on that evening because several of those things happened at the wednesday matinees. so we believe the protocols while strong are what are keeping us open. >> you said they're gold standard, if they are, what should people be thinking about when going to concerts or even school performances going into holidays across the country? >> well, they absolutely have to wear their masks and many people are tired of wears masks but we absolutely enforce it and remind everybody all evening if anyone tries to slip that mask off, someone walks around and says put it on, so wear your mask, we
require vaccinations before you can even walk in the door so we believe those things are working. of course, people are out and about and being and posed and that's why we had breakthrough cases. all of our cast and crew are vaccinated and they wear masks if not performing on stage. >> we were here in new york and got the double whammy, the nba and nhl and shows are shutting down we hear, not all of them but a couple. it felt like deja vu. broadway was closed for more than 18 months during this pandemic and we don't know how long these performances will ultimately be suspended now. how costly are these cancellations, charlotte? >> very costly.
it isn't health ty for the economics of the show. broadway is symbolic of new york and vielsce versa so we absolut need to keep broadway open as long as we can keep it open safely. i don't think a show can be closed for a month without changes but we're not having those discussions at this point. >> charlotte martin, appreciate your time. >> thank you. so what can we do to protect ourselves and our loved ones as the omicron variant spreads? cnn's chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta is here to weigh in. >> don, i know people have heard this over and over again, getting vaccinated and boosted is one of the most important tools now. let me show you when we talk about hospitalizations with covid patients, we know it's going up. look what is happening until
october with the difference between the unvaccinated and vaccinated. it is very clear that if you look at covid patients in the hospital, the vast majority of them are unvaccinated. the people who are vaccinated, especially if boosted should feel most comfortable. the problem is when hospitals become overwhelmed, if you're not going to the hospital for covid, for a car accident or something like that it may be harder and harder to find beds and to get that kind of care. so elective cases get cancelled. vaccines are a big part of that but also other things, as well. testing, we still aren't doing nearly enough testing. the goal is at one point to be doing tens of millions of tests a month and we're still not anywhere near that. masks, you know, if you go into places where you are indoors and there say lot of people around that you don't know their
vaccination status, masks can befec be effective. these type of high filtration, n 95 and kn 95 masks you can find. tlai they're not that uncomfortable to wear. if you wear a mask, wear a good mask. here is something else we do. this is a co 2 monitor, carbon dioxide monitor, a poor man's assessment of ventilation. more people in a room breathing out carbon dioxide, you'll get an assessment how good the ventilation is. if it's not good open doors, people out of a certain space to try to decrease the carbon d dio dioxide, decrease the likelihood you're breathing in someone else's air. the thing we didn't have a year ago was the vaccines so hopefully people take advantage of it. don, if i can, i wanted to spend a minute telling you about this documentary we got coming out
sunday night. it's all about the use of cannabis and treating children with severe autism. i've been reporting on medical cannabis for ten years now. many researchers are coming to me saying here is what we're doing, here is the results and such was the case with autism. 14 states now permit the use of cannabis to treat severe autism. there is science emerging from places like israel, new york, california, we met with some of these families. we saw what their lives were like and talked to the researchers. listen to what we found out. >> we're seeing some pretty impressive changes. >> whether you say seeing impressive changes, what do you mean? >> children whose aggressive bay haif -- behavior was daily and gone away, i mean, gone away. a lot of kids are more social. >> so who do we got?
what's the purple one? >> he's easier to redirect. can we do this or this? yes, mom. okay. >> ezra is more patient, not hitting, not excitable. >> we have to share, okay? >> okay. >> able to attend school. >> ez, what are you making now? >> and at home he's doing things joann never dreamed possible. like cooking. and singing. ♪ ♪ so w >> so what is going through your mind at this point? >> i'm getting my baby back. i'm getting my boy back. >> as we were talking, there fg something still nagging at me. >> do you ever think your e expectations are influencing how owe you think he's doing? >> yes and no. i don't know how he's changing.
i don't know how he started communicating and started to be reasonable and how he stopped being aggressive. >> don, what i was driving at there with her is this idea that you have to worry about suggestibility and families who they want to believe this is going to work and that's why these trials are conducted. blinded, randomized trials to try to get some really good data. reemphasize that many of these families did try other things but then evolved into using cannabis and no one is saying that this is a cure. not by any means but the idea that life can be so challenging both for the child and for the family and this may potentially, potentially offer some relief is what this film, this documentary film is about. don, hope you get a chance to watch. everyone else, hope you get a chance, as well. >> we'll definitely watch. appreciate that. make sure you tune in sunday 8:00 p.m. for the special report "weed 6" marijuana and autism
beginning at 8:0 o0. agenda stalled. can democrats come back with momentum to get their holidays passed? i'll ask congressman ro khanna. there he is after the break. our sleigh is now ready, let's get on our way. a mountain of toys to fulfill many wishes. must be carried across all roads and all bridges. and when everyone is smiling and having their fun i can turn my sleigh north because my job here is done. it's not magic that makes more holiday deliveries to homes in the us than anyone else, it's the hardworking people of the united states postal service.
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do progressives feel like they've been had, they were hung out to dry? >> progressives feel the senate needs to live up to its commitment. the president said i have the votes and the frame work and i presume that the senators gave him that commitment. it's time to vote and it's time for the president to say i need you to live up to the commitment you made to me, to the american people and the democratic party. >> so who do you blame? are you blaming the president or blaming the senate? who are you blaming? >> i'm not blaming anyone. i'm just saying let's have the vote. i think i'm -- i think this going on and on and on is not helping anyone. i mean, the american people need help. we need to lower prescription drug prices, we need to lower child care. we need to lower the cost of elder care. that's all in the bill.
we need climate provisions. let's have a vote. i don't think if you put it up for a vote that a senator is actually going to go and vote against if this president said he had the commitment, this is what he wants and this is his frame work. >> you don't think senators joe mansion -- look, because you've been really patient with senators like mansion, mitch mcconnell saying he's suggested for years mansion should switch parties. i mean, has a time come for him to get out of the way and do what so many democrats are pushing for? >> no, i don't think he should be switching parties. look, don, we passed $1.9 trillion of the recue plan that year. we passed the child tax credit. that was a big deal. we passed the infrastructure deal. that was a big deal. any of these achievements are big things for the first terp a -- term and senator mansion was a big part of that. my sense was that the president
had a compromise, progressives compromise. we were as you know 3.5 trillion. we lost a lot of our priorities like free community college, dental, vision, hearing. we compromised. senator mansion compromised, as well. that was the frame work. let's get that frame work passed. >> you think senator mansion would vote for it if they put a vote on the floor, to the floor? >> i think if the president addressed the american people or came on your show and he said, this is my bill, this was the compromise, i had the commitment from 50 senators when i went to the house and anyone that votes against this is voting against my agenda and commitments they made to me, i think there is a good chance. can i guarantee it? no. i think the president needs to lead. he's been very, very patient. he's been very solicited of opinions but had a commitment and deal and it's time to have a vote. >> i hope he's listening or his representatives because we'd
love to have him on the show to do that. the invitation is always there. so congressman, the president speaking about the need to pass voting rights legislation. here he is. >> we supported democrats fighting for the voting rights bill since day one of the administration making sure we have a unanimous support among democrats in the senate, which we do but each and every time it's brought up that other team blocks the ability even to start to discuss it. that other team. we used to be called the republican party. >> so he's obviously blaming republicans there. he has a point. the real obstacle is the filibuster and mansion and cinema aren't buncdging. do they realize what is at stake? >> this has to be the top issue. i don't realize how any person in the house or senate can say we're okay with black people not having the same right to vote. we're okay in 2021 with kicking people off the rolls. this is our moment.
just like the civil rights movement had their moment. this is our moment. and this president auought to s we are going to have a vote and see where people are. are people going to stand up for a filibuster and block voting rights? let them not just get spokesperson and have press releases. let them vote that way on the floor. it's time to hold people accountable and let's start having votes on this and have votes again and again and have people vote against empowering every american and stand in the way of equal rights. i don't think when you have that vote, people will want to be recorded that way for history. >> listen, i've been saying for a long time since this idea with the new administration about bipartisanship, bipartisanship, you hear that so much. i said bipartisanship for the sake of by partisanship was empty. listen to this message. >> here is the thing we must
remember, slavery was bipartisan. jim crow segregation was bipartisan. when colleagues in this chamber talk to me about bipartisanship, which i believe in i have to ask at whose expense? >> he talked about a lot of issues, even lgbtq rights, telling gay people they didn't have the right to be married. that was bipartisan. there are many examples of that including women's rights throughout history. are some senators putting the idea of compromise over who is right? >> that was an extremely eloquent statement by senator warnock and what he's saying is there are some principles higher than bipartisanship and that is justice. that's in the preemble of our constitution and i doesn't think that anyone ought to compromise or seek to reach across the aisle when it comes to those first principles. that's just wrong. and that first principle, let's
be clear. that first principle is that every person in this country ought to have a right to vote, you shouldn't have some communities and some denied that right because you have less polling places kicking people off the polls. john lewis who i had the honor of serving for was beaten on the bridge to fight for that. we're not being asked to do what john lewis did. we're not being asked to be in jail. what we have to do is vote. >> congressman, i understand what you're saying. i understand that. the real crux of that is, what is more important, is it more important to stick to something that is not helping america? is it more important for this idea as i said of just bipartisanship because it sounds good because it is somehow virtue signaling or more important the sacred right to vote be granted to all americans equally and equitibly?
that is the crux of this question. bipartisanship, what does that actually mean? isn't it more important to say people should have the right to vote in this country? it should be free and fair as many people as possible should have the right to vote and should be as easy so vote as possible for every person that is eligible to vote. >> don, i agree completely and i agree that principle trumps bipartisanship and we have to do that without a single republican vote, let's do that. that's principle up first justice and equality and that is something we should do and it's much more important than saying let's have bipartisanship. >> thank you, congressman. appreciate it. happy holidays to you. be well. thank you. >> happy holidays to you. thanks for having me on. so there is no longer a toll rent -- she is no longer tolerant of the b.s. and london breed is launching intervention. i'll speak with the city's chief of police about the crime
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criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end and it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement, more afwggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the bull that's destroyed our city. >> joining me now san francisco police chief william scott. chief scott, thank you so much. appreciate you joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> the mayor is declaring a state of emergency in the tender loin area of your city and saying there will be less tolerance for the b.s. is this the right move? >> yes, absolutely the right move. we have a lot of challenges in the city,i it's a great city bu we have challenges. for people protecting and serving the public, we want to be able to do our job and not that we couldn't do it before
but you need support and understafunding and need an infrastructure to do the job the way the public is demanding us to do it. this is a huge step toward making things a little easier for officers to get out and do the enforcement they've been asked to do and not so much have to worry about the social side of this because we are really enhancing that part of it so our officers have options to get people help and those people that just are insisting on using drugs in the street and some of the things we see in the city, those folks will be arrested. they will be cited and arrested and we'll give people options but we have to be consistent of upholding the law and that's really difficult to do when you're asked to do too many things and a lot of those things really district from our core function. >> i want to key in. you said we have to be consistent. i want to know what that means.
you said we're trying to do too many things. you have to be more consistent with what? >> we have to be more consistent with people understanding that we will not tolerate people using openly drugs on the street. you know, we have drug dealers that have lived here or come here and there is so much demand for it, we have to crack down on it all and we've arrested almost 500 drug dealers in that area this year. not that arrests aren't being made on that said but we've been more tolerant than we need to be on the other side. people who are using drugs on our streets, you know, the laws changed a few years back in california but we have to uphold the law and use every tool at our disposal and be consistent when people are using drugs in our streets and come here to buy drugs, we need to deal with them as well from a criminal justice perspective when all other social services fail. and we're going to give them the
opportunity to have the social services but we're going to be more consistent on making those arrests and not allowing people to use drugs on our streets because that's where we see the behavior, overdoses and deaths. we have to stop that. >> you're talking about beyond marijuana or including marijuana. >> no, i'm talking beyond marijuana. we have a fentanyl crisis in this city beyond belief. >> what do you mean you're trying to do too many things? >> over the years law enforcement -- this is the second major police force i've worked for. we've been asked to do many things that go beyond really the core functions and look, we have to get people to a better place. people call 911 or 311 and behave to respond and help them. but we also have to bring the social services in so the officers aren't doing that side of the evasion as much as we've been asked to do and, you know, this city has a lot of services
and i think we are committed to doing a better job to bringing all of this together so our officers can do really our core function. and that's stopping crime, stopping violent crime, stopping open air drug use and sales. we've been pushed beyond that. we've been asked to address the unhoused crisis in our city in a way that goes beyond what we're trained to do and what we should be doing. i think this is music to my ears and many of our officers, most of our officers, this is bell come. >> and probably many residents. i'm enjoying this conversation and candor. will you hang with us through the break, chief? >> absolutely. thank you. >> we'll be right back. where you can pay a little less and enjoy the ride a little more. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ now, get new lower auto rates with allstate.
so back with me now, san francisco police chief william scott. so chief, i've got to ask you this, mayor breed pushed for cuts to police budgets after george floyd. you have a progressive prosecutor that ran on promises to cut prostitution, drug use and dealing. aren't those things that are keeping you as a mayor cutting out the b.s. that's destroying your city? >> well, those things definitely don't make things easier, but look, as far as cutting our budget, our budget, this is going into my sixth year here as the police chief and every year we're fighting for budgets and if it's not one thing, it's the other. that's nothing new. mayor declaring the cuts will go to a, the african american
community was just the focus of what was needed at that time. we have the same discussion every year, just a different issue. as far as prosecution and all that, the thing from the police department, our officers and our department, we need to be consistent in terms of what we do, and what i try to do don, as the chef of police here is keep us focused on what we need to do. people are asking for help. they don't want to see this behavior in their nay beighborh and we should do our job the best we can and give the prosecutors the best cases we can do and give that consistently. we really can't worry about the things outside of our control and make excuses. we have to do the jobs the best we can and stay focused on that. i think what i've seen from the public here, when we do that, we're okay with people. the rest of the stuff, you know, that needs to be addressed with the people that are in charge for those issues but for us, we want to make sure we do our job and have to do that consistently and we've been, you know, we've
had challenges and we have to step up some of our game, if you will and we need to be consistent in doing that. i know our officers will do it. they've asked for the infrastructure that the mayor will make happen in this because we'll have now a place to get people help. >> chief, i appreciate it. and i won't be here next week, so i won't see you. so merry christmas, happy holidays to you. >> thank you. you as well, merry christmas, happy holidays. >> thank you. we'll be right back. my friend recommended safelite autoglass. they came right to me, with expert service where i needed it. ♪ rock music ♪ >> man: that's service i can trust... no matter what i'm hauling. right, girl?
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tell your provider about vision problems or changes. taking rybelsus® with a sulfonylurea or insulin increases low blood sugar risk. side effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may lead to dehydration which may worsen kidney problems. wake up to what's possible with rybelsus®. (♪ ♪) you may pay as little as $10 per prescription. ask your healthcare provider about rybelsus® today. (man) so when in doubt, just say, "let me talk to my manager." next, carvana's 100% online shopping experience. oh, man. carvana lets people buy a car-- get this-- from their couch. oh, how disruptive. no salesman there to help me pick out the car i need. how does anyone find a car on this site without someone like us checking in? she's a beauty, huh? oh, golly! (laughter) i can help you find the color you want. that sounds nice. let me talk to my manager.
(vo) buy your next car 100% online. with carvana. in this season of giving, we want to show you how you can help our 2021 cnn heroes. here's anderson. >> i'm anderson cooper. one person can really make a difference. and this year, we're making it easy for you to support the great work of the cnn heroes.
just go to cnnheroes.com, and you can make a donation. you will receive an email confirming your donation. right now, through january 3rd, your donations will be matched up to a total of $500,000. cnn is proud to offer you this simple way to support each cause, and celebrate all of these everyday people changing the world. you can donate from your laptop, tablet, or phone. just go to cnnheroes.com. thank you. >> and if you know someone great who deserves to be a cnn hero, tell us about them at cnnheroes.com. thanks for watching, everyone. our coverage continues. (vo) for fourteen years, subaru and our retailers have been sharing
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