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tv   New Day With John Berman and Brianna Keilar  CNN  December 24, 2021 4:00am-5:00am PST

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omicron surge. hundreds of preschool flights have now been canceled because of a jump in covid cases among flight crews. they are shortening the required isolation time for airline workers who have been exposed. the cdc has done so for health care workers. this with overburdened health care workers this winter. vaccinated and boosted can return to work after seven days with a negative test. the omicron variant setting new records, easily topping daily case numbers set during the delta wave. the average number of daily new cases, 182,000. but, and this is really important to focus on, we are not seeing hospitalizations rise at the same rate. want more good news? well, for the second time this week, the fda greenlit an anti-viral pill for covid. this one is from merck for
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immunocompromised americans who aren't well protected by vaccines. an effective drug from astrazeneca. the u.s. government only ordered enough for a 10th of the people eligible for it. cnn medical correspondent elizabeth cohen joining us now. elizabeth, good morning. >> reporter: good morning. ye is, the situation is as the numbers are rising, we are seeing cases rise but not seeing hospitalizations go up as much. one group of americans that i don't think we talk about as much as we should and that's the immune compromised. folks who are immune compromised, millions of them, did not get a response to the vaccine in the same way healthy people did. they are now vulnerable to covid-19 because they didn't get the antibody response they should have. so i want to introduce you to four of them. one is diane barren. she's in florida. she has cancer.
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diane ellis is in arkansas. eris bowden in hawaii. candace in hawaii. cancer patients, they're immune compromised. a drug can help them. take a look at this. there's 7 million immune compromised people who are eligible for this drug. but unfortunately the u.s. government has ordered only 700,000 doses of this drug that can help them. these folk, who were excited to have this are thinking, wow, will i be one of the lucky few or will i continue to be vulnerable to covid-19. john, carrick qaa. . >> that's tough to see, knowing there is something you could benefit from but there is such a small amount of it. what do they then do with that information? >> you know, what they do is they have to keep isolating themselves, keep staying away
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from people, as we hear the president say good out and enjoy christmas. woulder not shutting things down. the world is shut down for these people. they know their convenience did not produce anti-bodies. they have blood tests that show that. and so they have been told by doctors, you know what, you need to pretend it's march 20th all over again. all they can do is make phone calls, trying to get one of these precious doses. when only contracted is one tenth of the population, they're not confident they will be one of them. >> you said they got the vaccines but their bodies didn't produce antibodantibodies. that's two shots, right? >> or three. some of them four. that's right. when you're immune compromised. and they're a miracle. they give your body an instruction manual for how to make antibodies. my system can read that, your system can read that.
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if you're immune compromised, your system says, huh, what is this? i don't get it. i can't act on this. it just shovels antibodies into you. and that's not the first choice. the vaccine is better. but if yo you body can't read the instruction manual, mono colognal antibodies are your only alternative. >> elizabeth, appreciate it. thank you. joining us now to discuss dr. carlos del rio, executive associate of emery school of medicine. good to have you back. >> good morning, jim. >> you look at the travel numbers, people decided to live with the virus, have their vacations with omicron. by the way, that's what health officials like dr. fauci and the president are saying, pgs as long as you're vaccinated. do you have any concern of this many people traveling, seeing friends and family, and are
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there any simple precautions you would recommend? >> jim, everybody is traveling, including myself. we will all see an in krao else in a number of cases. if you're fully vaccinated, you are at much lower risk of getting infected. you may end up staying in isolation. maybe you need to be isolated another 7 to 10 days at a beach, which wouldn't be that bad. if you use a high-quality mask, something that fits very well, like an n 95, k-95, you keep it on all the time, use eye protection when you travel. be careful of what you do. people take care when they travel. they go to restaurants, bars. that's where you get infected. if you're going to eat, eat outdoors. use testing. i have been using a lot of testing. i got together two nights ago with my family. with he all got tested 24 hours
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before and right as we were entering our bubble. and we were all negative. and i think it's going to be fine. so if you do testing, you're going to be okay. you really need to take precautions. you don't want to get infected during a vacation. . >> it's already a big change. you are saying, as others are saying, if you're vaccinated, you can keep living through the holidays. i want to ask about another change. we saw the cdc reduced the required quarantine time of health care work tprers 10 to 7 to alleviate any shortage of them but also based on the science. you have airlines asking for a similar change. and i imagine other industries and companies might follow. do you believe that quarantine time should be shortened more broadly? >> i strongly believe that, jim. i sign a letter with the ceo of delta and the chief medical officer for delta air lines. the three of us sent a letter asking specifically to do that for delta.
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we think that airline pilots are central personnel. if you have a sick crew, you're not going to be able to have a flight. >> understood. the other positive development is a second pill to treat covid. now, at first, this is about if you test positive to keep you from getting sick and going to the hospital. but i just had a senior executive from merck on who said it's possible it gets to the point where you can take this to prevent getting infected. and i wonder if you believe that's where we're going here? >> jim, i'm not sure of the data. i'm very excited about the app approval. i think the data works for prevention. it will be nice to have a drug that works from prevention. we heard about one given by i.v. that is a preventive therapy. you can use some other mono
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colognal antibodies. yes, of both are really game changers. we desperately need it for covid. >> understood. okay. now, going forward, the data does seem to be good on omicron. south africa, israel, that, one, doesn't causality of severe illness. but also it burns out quicker. and i wonder if you believe we're going to get relief from omicron perhaps sooner than we expected. >> i believe so. i hope so. the modeling suggests we will peak in the number of u.s. infections the second or third week of january. then we will see a decrease in infections probably going through middle of february, late
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february. yes, i do think this is likely going to happen. the disease is significantly modified. if you have a lot of people with immunity, the clinical course of the virus will change. that's where vaccines are helping us. in new york, for example, not having a huge spike in hospitalizations, having a huge spike in infections i think is very good news >> good to hear good news. dr. carlos del rio, merry christmas to you and your family. >> merry christmas, sir. former minnesota police officer kimberly on the potter found guilty on two counts of manslaughter. she said she mistook her gun for a taser. prosecutors say they will seek a longer term. cnn's adrian broaddus is live with more. you have been covering this case. walk us through what happened
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yesterday. >> reporter: as you mentioned, members of this jury found potter guilty on both charges. after 26 years of protecting and serving a community she loves, the former police officer is waking up behind bars this morning. as she was escorted away by two hennepin county sheriff's deputies, her husband jeff, who was at her side, every day at the courtroom, could loudly be heard saying, i love you, kim. she turned and looked back and replied with, i love you, too. the wright family was also inside the courtroom. and daunte wright's mother began to cry when that first guilty charge was read. we learned during the reading of the verdict yesterday that members of this jury decided guilty on the second degree charge tuesday around 10:30 local time. and if you remember, five hours later, they submitted a question to the court wanting to know if
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they could not reach a consensus what steps they should take and how long they should deliberate. meanwhile, relief from the wright family. listen in. >> we'll never have daunte back. accountability is what we have been asking for since day one. this is a step forward and the bigger issue with policing. there has to be no more dauntes. >> it gives us a little hope, makes us feel a little bit better knowing we're one step closer. there is a lot of people that didn't get this type of justice that we got today. it was unbelievable. it was a happy moment for us.
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>> reporter: and daunte's father talked about a lot of people who didn't get this type of accountability. interestingly, both minnesota attorney general used the word accountability versus justice. and those words matter. i spoke with the family of philando castile after the verdict was read yesterday and they, too, were happy to see accountability. that's something they did not see when their loved one, philando, was shot and killed here in the state of minnesota. interestingly enough, a defense attorney paul eng also represented the officer who shot and killed philando castile. this morning, quiet outside of the courtroom. a stark contrast to what we saw and heard as the verdict was read. there were explosions of
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applause. erica. >> adrian broaddus, thank you. >> the next hour we will be joined by daunte wright's mother. growing concerns from vice president kamala harris's team that she is being sidelined by the president. brand new insider reporting. plus, chris sill liz zsa is here with a look at who deserves coal. a tsa agent made the nice list, leaping over a conveyor belt to save a choking baby. what a rescue. we'll show you the video and tell you the story. for fourteed our retailers have been sharing the love with those who need it most. now subaru is the largest automotive donor to make-a-wish and meals on wheels. and the largest corporate donor to the aspca and national park foundation. get a new subaru during the share the love event and subaru will donate two hundred and fifty dollars to charity.
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according to a new piece in the "new york times", the vice president's allies are increasingly concerned that president biden relied on her to win but does not need her to govern. joining us now is co-author of that piece, zolan kanno-youngs. you know you are going to spark lots of discussion with a piece like this. i'm curious, you also point to a
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warm close relationship with the president and the vice president have. is this more about the way biden governs? >> right. it's a combination of factors here. you're absolutely right, erica. we did point to a warm relationship. even there are times at one of the more controversial first moments, including when she went to the border and gave answers or stumbled on some answers about visiting the border. the president called her and thought she did a good job on that trip. they often tag-team. that relationship is warm. it's also not unique in the past to have vps, to have frustration around feeling sidelined. what is different about this dynamic is that you have a partnership here where you have the oldest sitting president and a vice president already coming in facing questions about her
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political future. and coming in widely thought of as a front-runner. and there is rising concern here, as you noted, that both the way her role has been shaped by this white house not headlining some of the issues that many allies would say would bring back a political return and headlining issues, agenda items, thought to be more polarizing, has really set her up at this point to be in a troubling position. some examples of that, we report on the meeting this summer, a pivotal meeting with a senator holding a key vote, joe manchin. and the president, who has over three decades experience in the senate going at that alone and not having the vice president there. now, of course the white house said that she did have meetings later in the day. you have allies pointing to other issues such as her
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headlining migration north and the border, trying to deter migration from central america. you have comments from democrats on the hill. representative henry cuellar saying he tried to talk to the vice president's office and telling us on the record that he felt it doesn't seem like the vp's office is really interested in that topic. on the other end, you have a democrat like representative karen bass of california saying that -- directing some frustration at the white house, saying they haven't done a job explaining the complexities of the issues. at the same time you have the vice president's camp, as well as the white house saying the vice president is dealing or contending, rather, with the double standard and heightened scrutiny. she has even talked about that to people like former presidential candidate hillary clinton as well.
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all of these factors combined -- >> you have a lot at play, absolutely. look, it's not easy when you're the first either. let's just be clear here. she is not only the first woman, first person of color in that role. when you're the first, oftentimes that means more scrutiny. how much of the way joe biden is handling this power dynamic or split of responsibilities, if you will, how much do you think is influenced not so much by the current vice president but by his time as vice president and the way that former president obama treated him in that role? >> it's a really interesting question. people did say there were frustrations with previous vice presidents, including joe biden. but you also had him headlining with the affordable care act. that is one thing people pointed to as well. and a distinct difference here
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in terms of what president biden values from those around him and the input he gathers. and that's the experience in the senate. and there is a difference when it comes to those 36 years that the president had in fostering the relationships and the four the vice president had as well. so you think that would be a factor here. but, look, all of this does raise questions. the whole reason we're talking about this again and that there is heightened concern, among those close to the vice president, is that you have the oldest sitting president. while the president said he is running again, look, there are questions about 2024, who would be the potential front-runner, and this heightened scrutiny does speak to how the vice president came in, widely thought to be a front-runner. you have representatives like karen bass saying -- still -- i
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thought it was interesting. i spoke to former senator chris dodd, who manage maed the search committee for vice president. he said while he does believe president biden will run for re-election, if he doesn't he still thinks vice president harris will be at the top of the ticket. there's questions right now whether she is being set up to successfully hold the position. >> we'll be watching as it all plays out. good to see you. happy holidays. thanks. >> happy holidays. well, 2021 was a busy year to say the least in washington. i don't think anyone would argue that. so in the spirit of the christmas season, let's take a look back at who is getting coal in their stocking and who is getting the opposite of coal, which our lawyers tell us is candy canes. santa himself is here, cnn politics chris sill liz zsa. let's start with the bad stuff. who is getting coal this year? >> i forgot my snowy white beard
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for my full santa effect, jim. let's start, and zolan referred to this. first, joe biden. he starts in the high 50s, looks like he's getting the coronavirus back under control, the economy is starting to recover. he ends with omicron raging, with his approval rating in the low 40s. some good signs in the economy. but overall, a very tough year for the president. so coal. i will also put kamala harris in the coal category. for a lot of republicans zolan and erica just talked about. she has struggled with will the role as everyone always has. that is just the job of being vice president. i think she has struggled a little bit. the whole thing with biden's age. is he running again? and the other one getting coal,
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mitch mcconnell. because he has become target number one for donald trump. donald trump calls him the old crow. he attacks him. he is trying to recruit someone to run against him as leader in the senate. john thune is thinking about walking away from politics. that would be a blow to mcconnell as well. the last one is the republican party in the coal category. this is a party currently organized and led by a man who falsely claims that the 2020 election was stolen. we cannot lose sight of that. he is not only arguing it is stolen. he is working to put some place people, secretaries of state, lower level offices who favor the idea of the election being stolen and might reverse an outcome. and i think we can't lose sight of that. >>. >> not coincidental that mitch mcconnell is one of the few
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willing to stand up to the big lie. so candy canes. who is getting the good stuff? >> i can tell you have kids. you're like me. you give them the broccoli first and the candy at the end. >> yeah. >> first, candy cane pete buttigieg. easy for me to say. i think he has had a really good year. he is headlining the best thing for democrats that joe biden got done, the infrastructure package. he's out there selling it, getting good reviews. and candidly getting good reviews and kamala harris not getting good reviews. they are the two axis. on the other side, ron desantis i think gets a candy cane. before i feel my twitter feed blowing up because people hate ron desantis. i'm talking about what his goals
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were at the start of the year and what the end of the year looks like. he wants to run for president. he has had a very good year in gaining support and loyalty within the republican party, so much so that donald trump is taking notice and trying to throw a few punches back to say, hey, if i'm running, he better not be running. third, and talk about your twitter feed blowing up. joe manchin. here's why. whether you agree or disagree with joe manchin, it is impossible to debate that he is the single most powerful united states senator. as some people would argue, has as much power as the president of the united states in terms of getting the legislative agenda done. he didn't want the build back better act. we don't have the build back better back. if there is going to be a social safety spending bill, it is going to go through joe manchin. he is as powerful now as he has ever been. and one people don't know, charlie baker, govern of massachusetts. charlie baker is the most popular second most popular
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governor in the country. which is remarkable. he is a republican in one of the most democratic states in the country. he's retiring mostly because he's sick of being in the trump republican party. this is a guy who left his ballot blank in 2016 and 2020. i think he is an example of leadership in the republican party saying i'm not going to go along to get hraopbg. i don't think this guy is good for the party. and he deserves some commendation for that. i ran out of candy canes just now >> but he is leaving the party with a candy cane. >> he is. that's why republicans get the coal. again, the people who should be liz cheney,s adam kinzinger, charlie baker, people who shown actual leadership in an attempt to overthrow an election are leaving. and that means the party consolidates around that big lie. and that is hugely problematic. both for the party but also for the country. >> chris, do i get a candy cane or coal? i'm just curious?
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>> well, erica definitely gets a candy cane. you're still up in the air. we have another 24 hours to decide. >> i can't win. chris sill liz zsa, thank you very much. >> it's you being a mets fan that hurts you. go nats! >> chris, merry christmas to you and yourself. >> had you too. thank you, my friend. by the way, erica, i'm not so sure about his snap judgment, you getting the candy cane and me getting the coal. >> what? >> i'm happy to you to have a candy cane. if you get one, why don't i get one? >> i will go back and check the list and we will discuss. >> how covid will change the pope's christmas eve mass today. plus, nasa counting down to a christmas day mission when it could help solve some of the space's biggest mysteries. itchy? squirmy? scratchy? family not getting clean?
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the surge in covid cases in china raising questions about the safety of the upcoming winter olympics. cnn is tracking developments all around the world.
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>> reporter: i'm john allen in rome. pope francis will lead a sub dued christmas eve inside st. peter's basilica, limited due to covid. the vatican required all to have a green pass. employees without one may face loss of pay. also this week, the vatican repeating strong moral support for vaccination campaigns with pope francis calling, getting the jab an act of love. >> reporter: i'm scott maclean in london where omicron variant continues to surge. thursday was another record high of new covid infections in the uk. british prime minister boris johnson used his christmas message to appeal to people to get racks nated for the sake of others, saying that is the teaching of jesus christ. he got an early christmas present from researchers saying you are less than half likely to
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be hospitalized reaffirming his decision note to put new restrictions in place ahead of the holiday. >> reporter: china's government has punished 26 officials for their handling of the city's covid-19 outbreak. xian has recorded 200 covid cases since december 9th and put its 13 million residents under strict lockdown. authorities punished 10 officials for their, quote, sloppy execution and chaotic management that caused an outbreak in a quarantine hotel for overseas travelers. with the winter olympics less than 45 days away, local authorities are under immense pressure to keep covid cases out. cities across china have been locking down and mass testing in response to a handful of new cases. >> here in the u.s., health care workers are bracing for their second covid christmas. the hopes and promise of vaccinations, even booster shots seems to not have come through for icu staff and hospitals large and small.
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cnn's sara sidner spoke with exhausted workers at a hospital in santa fe. >> reporter: erica and jim, the staff at the biggest local hospital in santa fe thought they had finally gotten relief because of the vaccines and boosters. unfortunately, too many people aren't taking the vaccine and they're ending up filling up their covid-19 icu. in santa fe, new mexico, the annual holiday light display dazzles the eye and lifts the spirit. but these are the lights grabbing all the attention just down the road. this is a covid icu. suddenly as busy as it ever was. >> it is clinically psychologically impossible to keep doing this day in and day out, especially for the past year or two. even the strongest respiratory therapists i have have broken down at times. >> reporter: the staff is
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resilient. but despondent some days. and plain old exhausted most. suffering and death greet them every day >> they come to me and say i do need a break. help me. >> reporter: when you talk about pulling them out and people breaking down, it sounds like a war zone. that's the same language that soldiers sometime use. >> is that what it feels like? >> yes. . to the point of it being almost unbearable. to see that. these are very good people. good respiratory therapists, good clinicians who want to do the best possible job and they can't, can't do it. >> reporter: there was a moment of light and hope. he was filled with hope when the vaccines were approved. he was one of the first in new mexico to get the shot. it. >> was just that light at the
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end of the tunnel. and then it was like wham, bam, here we are again. >> reporter: he couldn't have possibly accounted for the number of people who would refuse the vaccine. >> i in the beginning was an anti-vaxer only because of my immune system, but not anymore. >> what was it that kept you from going to get vaccinated? >> i do not have a very good immune system. >> reporter: a lot of times the doctors will tell you if your immune system is compromised, go get vaccinated. what were your concerns >> my heart issues. i know there was a lot of clotting in the first few. and i did have an example of not a good reaction to a friend who did get vaccinated. >> reporter: byres never got the vaccine. instead, she got a bad case of covid and was unable to breathe. >> do you regret it now?
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>> yes. and no. i wish i had gotten vaccinated sooner. i wouldn't be here. that's the regret. >> reporter: i talked to a lot of doctors and nurses and heard a lot of people say, i don't want to retire. i don't want to leave. but i don't know if i can do it. where are you? >> i'm probably at the end of that spectrum as well. it's straining. but i just -- this is my family. and this is my community. we're the city of holy faith. it's just been a lot. >> reporter: the unending pandemic surges have taken a toll. we have lost 110 nurses this year. >> reporter: that's 25% of the hospital's nurses. >> it's across the board. most definitely nursing, respiratory. but it's also food, nutrition, custodial support, techs, office, registration. it is a across the board. >> reporter: the remaining staff are fighting back death alongside their patients. there is no respite, not even
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for christmas. unfortunately, what everyone has realized, including the exhausted staff, is that covid is here to stay. erica, jim. >> that's for sure, unfortunately. sarah, thank you. just ahead, counting down the hours until your christmas celebration. how you and your loved ones can stay healthy over the holidays. and christmas with the beatles. more on "get back" and the other movies to see this weekend. ♪ don't let me down ♪ >> are you enjoying our conversation? ♪ ♪ is someone trying to steal your butterfinger? call the bfi. my butterfinger. ♪ ♪ no one lays a finger on your butterfinger.
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president biden says vaccinated americans can go ahead with holiday plans. but if you're wondering how to make those plans safer, let's talk to an expert. erin teaches at the university
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of massachusetts dartmouth. nice to see you this morning. we are going to go rapid fire because people have a lot of questions. the first one being, if you're getting together with friends or family, what should you do? when do you test? >> yeah. so good morning, erica. if you're getting together with friends and family, testing is really about getting the rapid tests and doing it immediately before getting together. the day before doesn't really work with the rate at which this virus goes from nondetectable to detectable and infectious. so testing immediately before if you can get your hands on rapid tests the day before. if you can only do pcr and turning them around in 24 hours. >> what if you're getting together with people who are not vaccinated? let's talk about kids, children under 5 who aren't etchell skwreubl for a vaccine? should you change the way you interact even if you are vaccinated and boosted? >> even has had the choice to decide what they are going to
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do. are you going to get vaccinated, not vaccinated, boosted or not get boosted. those people who have gone out and gotten vaccinated and boosted have tilted the odds way in their favor that they may end up getting infected from this. but one of the key things is not sickness. so keeping out of hospital, keeping out of having days and days off work because you're so sick. so, yes, there will be unvaccinated people at christmas, especially those 0 through 5 years old. but the ones most at risk have now had a chance of defining what risk looks like for them and what they're going to do. so when we're looking at christmas gatherings it's about what your risk tolerance is right now. and, yes, unvaccinated people are going to be there. but you've chosen your path in regards to vaccine and how you're going to be protected. >> but is there anything specific we should do for those who can't be vaccinated? kids under 5 can't choose whether to be vaccinated.
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they don't have the option. >> i'm not dismissing the risk to those under 5. the risks are low outcome to them at all. and the testing that comes together. if you put a buffer around those people that are actually vulnerable you can actually protect them through you being that firewall coming in. >> what about going back to school? we're seeing a lot of different approaches from different schools. what do you think would be the smartest protocol before kids go back in january? >> yeah. so schools absolutely have to go back in person in january. but you've got to go in with eyes open based on the data of what's happening with regards to infections. so children and teachers and staff all need to be tested immediately prior going to school. in states like massachusetts we rolled out the testing. testing on the morning you're coming in or the week leading up
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to it will lower it down. but then being hypervigilant about protocols in the first week so you can adjust -- capture the risk from the week before the holiday break and get back to school safely. >> for people traveling, and some folks may be traveling for christmas this weekend. but then after that, for a lot of people they have a whole week off with maybe trips planned. what do you need to do before you travel? . >> before you travel, you know, you do owe a responsibility to society. we are not just little, you know, objects moving around by ourselves. we actually affect what happens in society. so if you are going to travel, it makes sense to test before you jump on a plane. when you actually are traveling, just make sure you're looking at the risks. and the risks are face-to-face interaction and shared air. so you can actually travel safely and defining safely as
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not ending up in hospital but maybe being infected. but you can travel safely as long as you mind the risks which are wear masks, avoid indoor spaces that are crowded, those type of things. >> and keep the mask on. as long as you're on the plane and masked. should we minimize eating and drinking on the plane? >> yeah. so planes are not no risk but they are low risk for infection due to the high quality air and filtration they have inside. a good quality mask on you. and then it comes down to the neighbor on the plane. if it's a family member, you have an added extra risk. the most risk is the person sitting beside you. if you have a chatty person or a person eating that can't stop talking, keep your mask up a little bit longer. >> the excuse people always looked for. sorry. it's covid. i'm going to stay quiet. i'm sure you're getting asked this question a lot. as an expert people want to know what are the experts doing. what are you doing this holiday? have you changed your plans?
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>> we haven't changed our plans too much. we have a fairly small family. i do have an elderly grandparent that is actually coming. so what we have done as a family is just lowered the risk this week before she arrives into an infected household. if she gets infected, she's the one most at risk of the outcomes. we also have rapid tests, i bought them weeks ago, i have them here, again, to make sure. it is not so much about myself, my family that have very good health. it is those that may not have the better health such as her that we are trying to protect from our gatherings. >> aaron bromage, great to see you. appreciate the guidance. happy holidays. >> happy holidays to you, erica. coming up, late for christmas. hundreds of flights canceled just hours before the holiday. and next, faith leaders tell us how they try to bring people together in these divided times.
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it would be nice to have their advice.
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this is your home. this is your family room slash gym. the guest bedroom slash music studio. the daybed slash dog bed. the living room slash yoga shanti slash regional office slash classroom. and this is the basement slash panic room. maybe what your family needs is a vacation home slash vacation home. find yours on the vrbo app. ♪ it has not been an easy couple of years for so many across the country and around the world. i'm sure i don't have to tell you that. between the pandemic, many natural disasters, political polarization, many might be finding it difficult to come together, to celebrate the holiday season, even within their own family. we asked father edward beck, to
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share to find joy and togetherness in these times. good to have you. father beck, i wonder if i could start with you. you say christmas has a theme of light and darkness. tell us what that means and how folks at home can relate to that. >> jim, for those of us going to midnight mass tonight, the first reading is from the prophet isaiah. people who walk in darkness have seen a great light. a child is born to us. those words, i think, speak so well to what we're going through right now. we seem to be in darkness, the world seems once again thrown into darkness. and yet the message that christians will gather to
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celebrate this evening and tomorrow is that god is born into diminishment and struggle. so you have a poor refugee homeless family, and that's the christmas story. and i think god chooses to enter into those circumstances so that it is accessible to all. and that's the light part that we're not alone in it. despite the fact that external circumstances often let us think or we perceive we're alone in it, that god is with us and god wants to be more a part of our lives. i think that's the central message today. >> rabbi, you noted that, you know in this season, this is the season of giving, it is the season of miracles, you know, the miracle of hanukkah, the hope that came for christians when jesus was born. this is supposed to be a season of giving. you've noted it is also a great time for reflection, about what it means to really be a human, especially these days and to look at how we're caring for one
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another, how we're giving of ourselves. >> well, that is a wonderful question because how are we caring for each other? how are we giving to each other? i think that this is a time of collective mourning. and the darkness that was just spoken of really is a call for us to sit in the darkness and to examine what it means to be human, what it means to be on a planet with other human beings. it is a time, as i said, of collective mourning. and mourning is a process. the jewish mourning rituals ensure that, first, there is -- we're cared for and by the community. we are held tightly for a while, and then as time goes on, the
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tightness relaxes a little bit. we know that in mourning there is despair and there is anger. but those are things that are part of the process. they're not to be acted on until we come to the end of the mourning period. and the end of the mourning period is a time where we reach shalom. shalom is a lot more nuanced than the word peace. it really is a word that means inclusivity. shalom is related to the word shalude which means wholeness. in wholeness, every voice is included. that sense that we are all in this together and that we need to look and see ourselves in the eyes of other people and feel this -- one of the flaws in our assumptions is the idea that rugged individualism is the way that people should behave.
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and rugged individualism causes us to not care about other people. and to not be compassionate. the end of grief is peace, compassion, and then action. action grounded in compassion. >> i did not know that that broader history and meaning of the word shalom, learning something this morning. father beck, one struggle i imagine is that fewer people are going to church, to temple, to worship these days. like with many institutions, right, folks are retreating over time. and i wonder how you as people of faith breakthrough that to get the message through, right, as people come less often to hear that message. >> yeah, well, you know, jim, there is no supply chain shortage of love and compassion. and i think that when we're trying to say to people, you have a social responsibility, if you do gather, you know, christian churches, many are gathering this evening. and some are still


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