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tv   New Day With John Berman and Brianna Keilar  CNN  December 29, 2021 5:00am-6:00am PST

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it is wednesday, december 29th. i'm john avlon with the great kaitlan collins. wishing you a good morning. we are following three major stories this morning. the u.s. shattering its record average of daily coronavirus cases, and the cdc slashing estimates for how much omicron is actually in the u.s. plus, the political world and the sports world are mourning the death of two american giants, harry reid and john madden. but first let's get to the pandemic. the u.s. hitting a record of more than 265,000 new coronavirus cases tuesday alone as two highly contagious variants fuel surges across the country. but we need to note that the number of hospitalizations are not rising yet at the same rate. and the cdc is lowering the estimate of the prevalence of the omicron variant from 70% to
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59%, suggesting that while the new variant was on the rise, it is not infecting people at the rate that the cdc just projected. >> pediatric hospitalizations are also near their september peak though. nationwide hospitalizations of children with the virus have jumped on average nearly 50% in just one week. parents understandably concerned as vaccination rates particularly among the pediatric population continue to lag leaving many children potentially vulnerable to infection. president biden says for now vaccine requirements for domestic travel could be imposed if his medical team recommends it, but dr. anthony fauci says don't expect one in the immediate future. as health officials are also advising that we should be bracing for case numbers to could sky rocket in the new year. let's get to leyla santiago who is live at a testing site in mimp. a miami. how long are people waiting for a test this morning? >> reporter: when we checked with the folks that made their way through the line behind me, they told us this morning it was
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about three hours. and listen, i've been telling you that all week. not much has really changed when it comes to the volume of demand for testing here. this is a place where they have -- or the county, rather, miami-dade county, they have opened two new sites, extended hours at others, and they are still seeing that demand. we talked to one of the workers who told us that she felt like this was the beginning of the pandemic when a lot of people were coming out for testing. here is what else she told us. >> we're looking at possibly this continuing maybe into of course the new year, maybe into mid-january. because families, you know, they want to get together of course. >> reporter: so they are planning for this to be the situation for quite a little while here. as far as supplies go for on site testing here in miami-dade county, they tell us that they are doing okay with supplies, they have enough tests to go around. but when it comes to the take
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home oigkits, the county distributed 152,000 take-home kits between friday and monday and they are all out now and they have put in a request for more. but at this point, there is really no telling on when they could get more of those supplies. >> leyla, thank you for your update. omicron is sending cases across the united states through the roof. and speed i can't trish stands are bracing for a very busy january as hospitalizations among children are approaching levels not seen since september. joining us now, director of infectious diseases at the university of alabama at birmingham. doctor, i want to get your take on what dr. walensky from the cdc said just a few moments ago. >> it really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate.
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we really want to make sure that we had guidance in this moment where we would have a lot of disease that could be adhered to, that people were willing to adhere to, and that speaks specifically to when people were maximally infectious. so it really spoke to both behaviors as well as what people were able to do. >> is that clear and consistent to you, doctor? >> i think it is not really either. and i say that feeling that as always the cdc is in an unenviable place, right, trying to walk this path between the science, which is really incomplete, particularly with omicron, and the very challenging reality that we are facing as we try to keep business as usual. right? we are really in a very difficult place in terms of the number of people who are infected with this variant. i can tell you that from a health care system that people are really struggling trying to
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keep things moving. nobody wants to go back, right, to where we were where we had to cancel surgeries, we had to really streamline care. so in many ways, it is very understandable that they want people to get back on their feet. the devil is in the details. what is really concerning is that if this is going to work without testing people to make sure that they can come back, people, a, have to be really asymptomatic and that is a really unclear component of the cdc's guide nness and we can ta about that. second, they really have to mask up at five days and they need to stay masked for the next five days with a good mask. that is asking a lot given what we know people's behaviors have been. and dr. walensky alluded to that. >> and also it doesn't say what kind of mask. and when it says the symptoms, it doesn't say that you are completely asymptomatic, it says that you are asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving. so i think that has been the fine print that everyone is reading very closely. but it really stood out what she
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said to us about she said a lot of this decision had to do with what people are willing to tolerate. and i don't think that that is something that we've heard from the cdc before about why they are making decisions on isolation and on quarantines. >> right. you may recall that dr. francis collins on one of his exit interviews i think last week said something like, well, maybe we should have paid more attention to the behavioral science around vaccine hesitancy. and many people including many health care providers basically rolled their eyes with all respect to dr. collins who has been an incredible leader because we face this challenge constantly, right? it is all about asking people and expecting people and hoping that people hold up their end of the bargain. and that just isn't always the case. >> certainly isn't. look, part of the conventional wisdom rooted in experience is that kids thank god have been less affected by covid up to this point. now we've got kids, many of them vaccinated, not at the rate they
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should be, but what is so troubling to parents like me is seeing this rate of childhood hospitalizations really spike in many places. are you seeing that as an indication that omicron is not only far more contagious but more affecting children than previous variants we've dealt with? >> you know, i think that is a great question. i'm hesitant to really say definitively. i can tell you that from what i've read and from what my pediatrician colleagues say, that it doesn't seem to be a case of the virus -- or this variant being more pathogenic, more harmful in kids, that it is just a matter of so many more infections in a group that is un undervaccinated. in alabama, only 8% of eligible young kids are vaccinated fully in that age group. and that is really scary. so you have more vulnerable people, a very infectious virus and the denominator is just such that you will see more kids get hospitalized. i really hope and pray that this is not going to go into more of the inflammatory syndromes and
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more of the really bad outcomes that we saw with delta when kids were in the pre-vaccination era. >> yeah, that data in alabama is especially troubling. my mom is a fourth grade teacher there and to see how few children have gotten vaccinated there, much less just overall population in adults also not getting vaccinated in alabama. i do wonder what you think of what dr. walensky said when it comes to what parents do really want to know, those who want to get their kids vaccinated, that those under 15 -- or under 16 still can't get a booster shot even though that they can get the other two shots, they are not yet able to get a booster shot. and then those kids under 5 cannot get vaccinateded a eed a all. and dr. walensky said don't expect that to change in the next month at least. >> i'm not really clear on why the booster shot is so controversial. i think part of it, and again this is conjecture because it is educated i guess speculation, you know, because again, there is not a lot of really rationale
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that has been shown behind this. i think part of it is that there is this lingering risk about particularly myocarditis in younger men, although it is not being seen in higher numbers as age declines. it is probably more related to elevated antigen levels as you get into your 20s. so we shouldn't theoretically expect that that would be an issue. i think that they are being very cautious. on the other hand, they desperately need protection that i think a pbooster shot would provide. the younger kids, that is really a question, the you thiunder 5-year-olds, we do need more data on efficacy in that group. >> all right, doctor, thank you very much for joining us. >> my pleasure. stay safe. one of america's most consequential political figures has died, former senate majority leader harry reid passed away yesterday in his home state nevada after a four year battle with pancreatic cancer.
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he was 82. joining me now to discuss his life and legacy, his friend and former colleague senator dick durbin of the great state of illinois who currently is the democratic whip. first i'm so sorry for your loss. you were friends with harry reid for decades. tell us about the character of the man. >> plosmost politicians spend a lifetime trying to hide their flaws. harry would announce them publicly. a lot of politicians like to talk about their log cabin childhood. he wrote a book about growing up in poverty. he can't run away from who he really was. and i think that that authenticity is what made him such a powerful effective leader. >> and you know, he did have an extraordinary rise. and he was not a charismatic figure necessarily, but he was tenacious, hard-working.
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what were the secrets to his success as a matter of intra personal politics? >> he was a boxer, you know, a fighter in the ring when he was growing up. he had a caring heart, but he was a tough guy when he needed to be. and one out of every ten americans today have health insurance because of obamacare and because harry reid along with nancy pelosi made it the law of the land. think about that as a legacy. that you helped 10% of the people living in america have the peace of mind to know that they have affordable quality health insurance. that alone was an amazing achievement and harry was tough enough to get it done. >> and was attacked and hated by many for that achievement. >> yes. >> i want to talk about that toughness though. i noticed a tweet from eric holder who in paying tribute to senator reid's passing said that the senate today, democrats in the senate, could use more of that harry reid toughness. what do you make of that advice, what do you take from that
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advice? >> well, i was his whip and the whip counts votes and i can't tell you how many times harry and i sat down and talked about needing one more vote. right now we're at a 50/50 senate, you know, 50 democrats and 50 republicans. we have a working majority when the vice president shows up and votes. harry would be the first to know that political reality is a tough one to get anything serious done. but the fact is that we're working toward that goal and harry inspired me and a lot of people who work in the snenate today is keep an eye on the price. >> and speaking of that, harry reid's role in encouraging barack obama your former illinois senate colleague to run for president was pivotal. and former president obama shared alert and it says in part i would not have been president had it not been for your
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encouragement and support i wouldn't have gotten most of what i got done without your skill and determination. tell us what it was like serving in the senate during that time with the obama presidency, harry reid as majority leader, your chief whip, a big margin up front, but a lot of headwinds and resistance that were just a harbinger of things to come. >> we needed 60 votes. we have exactly 60 votes to pass obamacare. harry knew that. and then our friend, dear friend, teddy kennedy comes down with cancer and is dying and we realize we're going to fall one vote short. you know, those were times when harry was just doing his darnedest to figure out exactly how to get the 60 votes on the board and keep them there. it was a death defying act in political terms and he got it done. it took focus on every single individual senator, he knew them, he knew their strengths and their weaknesses and he
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wasn't afraid to call them and tell them how much he was depending on them. that kind of looerp leadership m leadership made a difference. >> and i'm glad you mentioned the 60 votes because it lead to the question of the filibuster. harry reid penned an op-ed that had vow indicaadvocated for doiy with the filibuster. and it is a living event and it must change and the american people elect leaders to address issues, not to cower behind arcane parliamentary procedures. what do you think about that? and what did you think there might be towards a path if not ending the filibuster then mending it, reforming to return to for example a talking filibuster as president biden has advocated? >> i can tell you that it has to be done for the good of this country. the united states senate -- >> can that get done? >> it can if we get all of the democrats to stand behind the change and maybe even a few republicans to realize.
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under the current republican leadership, we've seen more filibusters, more obstruction than ever in the history of the senate. nothing close to it. and if we don't change the rules to go back to a senate that truly debates and legislates an responds to the needs of america, it will be a great misfortune for this country. harry understood that. >> i want to press you on what the outlines of that kind of an agreement could look like. famously senator manchin, senator sinema are resistant to ending the filibuster. i spoke to senator ben cardin a few days ago and he suggested that possibly there might be a possibility to returning the talking filibuster but allowing the minority to offer amendments. are you in active conversations with those two senators and your republican colleagues about some kind of grand bargain to reform the filibuster, return to what it once was? >> yes. and frankly, we realize that if we don't do it soon, it will be too late. there are critical issues. the voting rights of every
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american are at stake here. and if you want to stop legislation to guarantee every eligible voter has an opportunity to vote, then for goodness sakes do more than just phone in your opposition. stand at your desk and defend your position. be prepared to do that as long as necessary. if you want to do this by absentee ballot, you are on your own situation as a senator, that is wrong. and a talking filibuster which says if you believe it, stand up and defend it, otherwise don't stop the progress of the body. >> important to remember that that is senate tradition, not what we have today. senator dick durbin, thank you for joining us on your holiday to pay tribute to your friend harry reid. >> my honor. up next, more on the life and legacy of the legend john madden, we'll talk to a man who worked closely with him through seven super bowls. >> and president biden with a covid testing shortage he vowed to fix.
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there has been a major loss in the sports world. john madden, the legendary hall of fame coach and mainstay in the broadcasting booth has died at the age of 85. joining us now is ted shaker who was john madden's producer at cbs for 14 years and was with him during the coverage of seven super bowls. thank you so much for joining us this morning to talk about just so much of his career from player to coach to broadcaster. and i love something you said about how when he was becoming a broadcaster learning what it is like being in the booth and you said he doesn't know anything about the routine other than what he learned from getting interviewed as a coach. he got up in the booth and said what is this, i'm a mile away from the field. i got to be down on the field, saying it was just so foreign to him to be up in the booth and
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not down on the field. >> exactly right. i'm honored to be able to talk about him and i thank you for the invitation. >> of course. and so talk about what that was like when he became a broadcaster, learning what that was like and just seeing the game from a very different view. >> john first and foremost was about as curious a person as i've ever met. if he spent time with you, he is just peppering you with questions because he is trying to learn, who is this guy, how does he work, what is the situation, et cetera. he did that with everyone. and he cared about people. i think, you know, when we talk about great communicators over the years, you know, and we talk about churchill and other
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people, john madden was one of the great communicators of our time. he was able to -- even though he appeared to be the regular guy, the boom, bam, boom, all that stuff, but he was always the smart he isest guy in the room was able to communicate his thoughts so that everyone would understand them. when it came to football, if you were someone who did not play, did not watch a lot, did not read a lot about it, you could be, you know, man, woman, child, when john explained what was going on in a game, or with someone on the field, or in someone's life, he began to basically teach everyone the art of football. and the art of life. and he was just unique that way. he would pick up -- grab guys that he liked along the way.
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there is a guy named sandy montag. he was a $50 a day stats guy in the graphics department of the games john did. he became pals with him to the point where sandy would always be with him. he'd be on the train, then he'd be on the bus, then he became his agent and now is one of the biggest agents in the sports industry. that is the kind of guy john was. >> i love it. and you are so right about him being a great communicator. maybe the first time he's been compared to churchill. but he deserves it because there was that enthusiasm and the accessibility. i just wonder, given your close proximity, what are some of your favorite madden moments, the stories that really sum up the man? >> boy. well, i mean, one of the things that he said to me, i was at the masters in augusta, it was in the spring, it was in april.
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and he was at home in california. and we wanted to talk about how we were going to try to improve our coverage of the nfl the following fall. and he used this metaphor which i've never forgotten and i've used countless times. he said -- for him it was a metaphor that didn't make any sense. he was talking about climbing a rock, the surface of a rock. something that he wouldn't do to save his life. anyway, he said when you climb up a rock, you can't all of a sudden stop and say i'm good, this is where i want to be. you know, i'm fine. this is status quo. he said there is no status quo. he said you either always have to be pushing to get better, always pushing to get better, tweak here, tweak there, try to make this better, that better, because if you don't always push forward, if you aren't always trying to get better, you are going to slide backward. and when you slide backward, you will fail. that to me was advice that i've
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used every day of my life. >> it is amazing advice. and i do want to ask you one last question, something that is on the more humorous as ppect o him. he was terrified of flying and so he always rode around in this bus. were you on the bus with him, what was that like? >> yeah, i mean, my wife has been on the bus. it was just -- it was fun. he was always fun to be around, you know. he was always fun. he was hilarious. when we had our first child, we had a daughter, and i was like off the charts happy. and he called and wished me congratulations. and he said what kind of a baby is it? and i said it is a woman. and he said a woman? and from that moment on, every time i saw him or he saw my wife, he would always say how is the little woman? you know, that is john madden.
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he is just the best. i'm really going to miss him. but we are so fortunate to have him in our lives. and he had the most wonderful life with his wife, virginia, and mike and joe. just a wonderful, wonderful man. >> ted, you are obviously such a big part of that. so thank you for joining us this morning just to remember his life and his legacy that he is going to leave going forward. and if you haven't watched some of that old tape, i recommend everyone to do so because it is so, so good. >> he will not be forgotten. >> fox has a documentary out about him which aired on christmas day. he got a chance to see it and hear all these people talk about what a valuable person he was in their lives. thank god he saw it. >> thank you, ted. thank you for joining us. be well. could president biden take executive action to revive his "build back better" plan? we'll talk to a key progressive about just that, next.
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the fate of president biden's domestic agenda, a nearly $2 trillion "build back better" plan still hanging by a thread. and now progressive testimonies a democrats are telling the president it is time to do whatever it takes to get will done including executive action. and continued pressure on the senate. joining us now is marie newman who penned that tweet. congresswoman, thank you for joining us. i want to ask you about this executive action piece.
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this past weekend, your colleague jayapal wrote that the cpc would soon release a plan for executive action, specifics. you can tell us more about this plan and what it will entail? >> first of all, thank you for having me this morning and good morning. yes, since mr. manchin made this announcement that he would walk back his promise to the american people, and at the heart of it, that is what this is. he is betraying the country and certainly his state. his state is the one to the tune of 77% of his state said we want paid leave, we want our taxes cut through the child tangs credit, et cetera. so we have asked the president what can we get done in terms of executive action particularly on climate action. we think that lot can be done on the executive action side. but we do have a plan and working closely with him, but we asked the president to take action now. >> i want to get specific. because obviously the constitution mandates that
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congress has the power of the purse strings. so specifically what do you think that president biden can do via executive action that would have been included in a more expanded version of "build back better" specific to the climate? what are you going to call on the president do by executive action? >> i think first things first, right? the most powerful climate action that we can take is making sure that we're working with companies to reduce emissions. and we think that we can do that by executive action. we can also mitigate significant things like laead pains as well as significant housing issues. so there are a wide variety. remember, climate action isn't just one silo of things. it affects housing, employment, how we address climate justice in at risk communities and on and on. we think a lot of that can be done via executive action.
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>> and i appreciate you getting specific. because there has been a lot of confusion about such a bold call. but what you are saying is basically a lot of the agencies may be able to do this through regulation, presumably that may delay implementation through the courts, but that is the level of specificity we haven't seen, so thank you for that. i want to ask you about the overall effort. there has been debate about whether maybe they should be broken up. there are questions about how you bring manchin back in if you are going to get this done through reconciliation because it doesn't look like republicans will help you. i know progressives have compromised a lot in an attempt to get this done. but david axelrod, one of your home state colleagues, fairly wise guy himself, said in an op-ed in the "new york times," you can't always get what you want, to paraphrase roosevelt, it is a rendezvous with reality and a fight for what is possible. where is the common ground given this pitch by joe manchin at the
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11th hour, how do you see a grand compromise being able to get this done through reconciliation for democrats? >> i think mr. manchin has to feel the pressure, right, that first of all, the american public to the tune of 65% to 70% of the nation wants things like paid leave, extension of the child tax credit, making sure that we have afford bable housi and climate action. the nation wants this. but just as importantly, the president has about 99.9% of the party pointed in the right direction to get a reconciliation package done. all we have to do is make sure that mr. thanmanchin can get ons bus and get it done. i have to believe in his heart of hearts that he cares about the country. >> of course he does. >> so i be eseech him to think about that. when moms and dads have to go to work sick because they are either sick or their child is
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sick, and they don't have paid leave, when in fact we've reduced poverty between 30% and 35% as a result of child tax credits, he has to understand that he is in i think the sixth most poverty stricken state in this nation, so i beseech him to think about his moral values. >> congresswoman, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you. up next, fighting the omicron wave. will millions of at-home covid tests make a difference? but first, friends, collaborators, legends. carole king and james taylor in an unforgettable concert film sunday night at 9:00 on cnn. here is a preview. >> friends, collaborators, legends, the music shaped a generation, they came together for the tour of a lifetime.
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♪ and it's too late, baby, now, it's too late ♪ >> james taylor. ♪ >> his songs were amazing, his voice, and his demeanor. >> and carole king. sth ♪ so far away 12340e9s. >> one of the greatest song writers of all-time. >> i asked her to be part of my band. >> four years have passed sense the first time we played. >> i loved every experience we have had together. ♪ you just call out my name and you know wherever i am i'll come running ♪ >> just call out my name, sunday at 9:00, on cnn.
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narrator: on a faraway beach, the generation called "our greatest" saved the world from tyranny. in an office we know as "oval," a new-generation president faced down an imminent threat of nuclear war. on a bridge in selma, alabama, the preacher of his time marched us straight to passing voting rights for every american. at a gate in west berlin, a late-generation american president demanded an enemy superpower tear down a wall
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and liberate a continent. american generations answering the call of their time with american ideals. freedom. liberty. justice. for today's generation of leaders, the call has come again to protect our freedom to vote, to fortify our democracy by passing the freedom to vote act and the john lewis voting rights act because america - john lewis: we are not going back, we are going forward.
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president biden is ending his first year in office still dealing with an issue from the early days of his presidency, testing. joining us now is dr. nicole laurie, prepared and response at the department of health and human services, and also director of the coalition for epidemic preparedness, all titles that are very important thousand. and doctor, i want to talk to you about what the cdc director just told cnn when it comes to testing and the shortages that we've seen in the united states. this is what she said -- >> right, so we now have 20,000 sites where you can get a pcr on-site and more and more federal new testing sites are coming online in the current moment. the administration is doing a lot to make sure that those rapid tests are afford bld and
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bei accessible. and with the bringing of half a billion rapid tests that are coming in january, there will be free rapid tests at sites so that people can easily access them. >> so that plan that she is talking about is a new one, distributing half a billion free tests to people who sign up for them online. and i'm wondering if you think that that is a good step, a significant enough step i guess given what we've seen with the shortages so far. >> i guess i think that takes great step but to be honest, i don't think that we really need to wait for rapid tests and all these diagnostic tests to know what to do. we know that if you are sick, you need to stay home and that if you go out, that you need to wear a mask. and so the idea that we have to wait for these tests to be available, to take the kind of actions that we need to take, doesn't quite add up to me. so i think that we're creating a huge controversy over something that doesn't need to be as
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controversial as it is. >> what about the affordability of the test as well. because they said in january that that is when they will be plentiful they are hoping, that is what they are aiming for, trying to get these back on the shelves so you can just walk into a drug store and get one easily. but they are still not that inexpensive when it comes to if you have several children or you are buying a lot because of your job and your line of work. they are still pretty expensive. >> that's right. and it would be terrific to have free or extremely low cost diagnostic tests. we know that in every aspect of getting medical care in this country, that cost is an issue. so getting them to be free will be really critical. but that doesn't change the fact that if you are sick, you should stay home if you can. and if you can't, you should be wearing a mask. >> what do you make of the new cdc guidance that shortened that isolation period if you are asymptomatic or what it said on the website, the language was if your symptoms are resolving? >> you know, i think that it is really well intentioned.
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and i think that you always have to balance the science, the uncertainty, the public health need and getting society to continue to function. i think that is what cdc was trying to do. i don't think that they communicated it very well or very clearly so right now a lot of the public is pretty confused. >> do you think a lot of that has to do though with the public just not willing to do whatever it is that the cdc recommends? because it seems inevitable that at any point there will be some people who don't want to do the recommended isolation or what they do believe, wearing a good mask when you are out in public, a lot of people we've seen don't want to do that or just don't do it. >> well, i think that that is exactly right. they don't want to do it. and in some sense they feel forced to do it. i didn't see the cdc telling people that they were forcing them to do anything. i didn't hear anything about a mandate. what i heard was if you are
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sick, it makes sense to get a test. if you are positive, you should stay home and not expose others. and particularly if you are not vaccinated and you are exposed, it is important for you to be wearing a mask, for you to get tested, and to take care of yourself. and if you are positive, and you are unvaccinated, you are at a lot hire risk of getting sick and ending up in the hospital. so you are going to want to know if you have covid so that you can get appropriate treatment. i didn't hear anything about a mandate. what i heard was this is what makes good common sense. it just was not communicated very clearly. >> of course these are guidelines, recommendations from the cdc on what is best. they have been updating them. doctor, thank you so much for joining us this morning. >> you're welcome, thanks for having me. up next, the legal showdown in ohio as republicans are looking to redraw the congressional map.
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gerrymandering, the dark at of politicians picking their people rather than people picking their politicians, continues unabated in america. yesterday though we saw some rare evidence of nonpartisan redistricting success in michigan and virginia. but in ohio, where voters passed a constitutional amendment to have a nonpartisan process put in place just a few years ago, the state gop rammed through hyper partisan maps that could give them built-in 13-2 advantage. joining me now to discuss it is david pepper, former chairman of the ohio democratic party and author of "laboratories of autocracy." so david, thanks for joining us. tell us what happened in this hearing yesterday. which i should note included the son of the current governor
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sitting in judgment after refusing to recuse himself. >> yeah that is symbol tick of how broken ohio politics is. so we have a pretty balanced supreme court, we have three democratic endorsed justice, three republican endorsed justices. and a chief justice who voted against the last gerrymandering in 2011. so the argument yesterday was about the congressional map that as you said would be rigged to be about 13-2 or 12-3. the breakdown in ohio is somewhere around 53% republican, 47% democrat. so a fair map would be around 8-7. 12-3, 13-2, is outrageous. so they faced tough questions yesterday. and hopefully this week or soon we'll get an outcome. and if the court strikes the man down, obviously i hope they do, then it would go back to the statehouse to get their act together and start following the constitution.
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>> what a novel idea. and those registration stats doesn't even count for the independent voters that make up a plurality of voters in the state of ohio. >> right. the formula is you are supposed to take the last ten years of statewide elections and do the math and figure out where your the republicans -- by the way, the republicans were caught using two sets of book. internally they had data that showed them this was a good map for them, but they would present public numbers that they weren't using to make it sound like it was competitive, and the briefs from the people challenging the map showed they were literally using public books to make it look good, private books to assure all the congressmen don't worry, we got you taken care of, and i think that's one of the biggest problems they face in front of the ohio supreme court, they were lying to the public about what the map would actually do. >> well, look, we have seen states push through these hyperpartisan maps from republicans in texas to democrats in illinois. some of which are being now challenged in court as you're
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doing. but what do you make of the success of these nonpartisan processes in michigan and virginia yesterday? we don't usually get to talk about the good stuff in that regard. >> i always said if you took, you know, ten randomly selected citizens, and had them draw a map, it would always be far better than the politicians. in michigan, they proved this is right yesterday. ohio tried a constitutional amendment for an independent commission, it failed 70-30. that's why we went with the changes that ultimately passed. but there is no doubt if you get the politicians out of the room completely, that the average -- if you pick seven viewers, they would do a better job. they don't have the inherent conflict of interest of people trying to rig their own election. >> before we go, i want to talk about your book "laboratories of autocracies" about how state legislatures divide the country. tell us about the state of play and when it comes to election subversion, what you think can be done about this. >> so, yeah, the title basically
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is describing the reality in our country today, state houses and many of them, like ohio's, have become undemocratic essentially and they're polling down the entire nation's democracy. we have to fight back. if we don't, they'll succeed, there is federal solutions like the freedom to vote act. as i put in the book, there are many things individual citizens can do. the way i think about it, we're going into '22, make a new year's resolution that part of your personal mission statement will be to fight for democracy every day. and the book goes through all the ways you can do that, whether it be, you know, registering people to vote. one of the reasons the state houses do so much damage is no one is paying any attention to them. pay attention. figure out who is your state rep, figure out if they're doing good things or bad things for democracy, if they're doing bad things, make sure they're challenged. the other thing we have to start doing, the national party, those who believe in democracy, they have got to understand the politics these days is a
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50-state battle for democracy and everything should be shaped from that. we shouldn't only fight for it in a few swing states, in a presidential year, we have to fight for democracy every year at every level. >> every day. >> school boards, state house, you name it. >> david pepper. >> the people fighting democracy -- >> we have to leave it there, david. we have to leave it there, you're dead right, decisions are made by people who show up. thank you so much for joining us, david. >> thank you, john. time now for the five things to know for your "new day." a record number of new covid cases in the united states, 265,000 as omicron and delta variants fuel the surge. number of hospitalizations not rising at the same rate as that. but hospitalizations of children are up about 50% in just one week. and former democratic senate leader harry reid has died. he spent 30 years representing state of nevada in congress. reid lost his four-year battle
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with pancreatic cancer on tuesday at the age of 82. legendary nfl coach hall of famer and cultural icon john madden has also died. his oakland raiders won the super bowl and he then transformed himself into a beloved analyst and broadcaster for 30 years. john madden was 85. palestinian president mahmoud abbas is on a rare trip to israel, holding talks with benny ganz. his first working meeting there since 2010. a record for snowfall. 17 feet this month. >> those are the five things to know for your "new day." more on these stories all day on cnn and and download the 5 things podcast every morning. go to get it wherever you get your podcasts. the good stuff is next. and you don't want to miss it. >> i love good stuff.
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it is time for the good stuff. it is a story that would warm anybody's cold heart. a fedex driver in maine was able to go home to his family in jamaica for christmas, thanks to the kindness of the people whose packages he delivers. it started when vivian and chase murphy gave him a bottle of water, it ended with them rallying together with other families in their neighborhood to help them go home for christmas by paying his plane ticket in full. >> it was kind of emotional. i didn't expect it. kindness can go a long way. >> it was ingraham's first time visiting his family in jamaica in a couple of years.
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one of the kids he delivers to dressed like him for halloween. we could all do with a little more of that. >> kindness can change a person's life. >> more of that, fewer of the plane crazy meltdowns that people are having. >> double down on kindness, go away from the crazy. >> thank you for joining us. cnn's coverage continues right now. good morning, everyone. i'm poppy harlow. jim has the week off. new this morning, on cnn, cdc director rochelle walensky weighing in on her agency's decision to cut covid-19 isolation guidance saying it was based in part on what they thought people could tolerate and had nothing to do with the shortage of tests across the country. this as the u.s. has just seen the worst day yet in terms of new covid-19 infections. shattering its record average of daily new cases on tuesday, with more than


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