tv New Day With John Berman and Brianna Keilar CNN December 30, 2021 5:00am-6:00am PST
good morning to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. it is thursday, december 30th. i'm kaitlan collins with john avlon this morning. john and brianna are off. good morning, john. >> good morning. >> this morning, we have the u.s. shattering its record of daily new coronavirus cases as thely contagious omicron variant is spreading. daily new cases hit a seven day average of more than 300,000 cases. the last time the number of cases hit a peak close to that was in january. dr. fauci says it is time to rsvp no to the giant new year's eve bashes you had planned. >> if your plans are to go to a 40 to 50-person new year's eve
party, with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a happy new year, i would strongly recommend that this year we do not do that. >> yeah, so if that were your plans, sorry about that. there is also been growing pushback from frontline workers to new cdc guidelines cutting the amount of suggested days to isolate and quarantine in half. the american nurses association saying it is deeply concerned about the changes, citing insufficient evidence and concern for healthcare workers safety. the flight attendant union is also raising a red flag. now, michigan is one of several states hitting pandemic hospitalizations this month. the state department's help now says it will not adopt the shorter isolation quarantine guidelines until it reviews the evidence. while it waits for more information from the cdc, specifically for special populations, and high risk
settings. michigan's health officials say this is not the time to relax. let's get to cnn's polo sandoval on what we're seeing nationwide. these numbers sure are alarming, polo. >> they are. here in new york state alone the state obliterating the daily record with some 67,000 new covid cases just yesterday. nationally we have heard even from the world health organization, also by the way who is describing this as a covid tsunami and something that many health officials have never seen before. a wave of new covid cases hitting the u.s. >> it is unlike anything we have ever seen. >> reporter: as the cdc predicts more than 44,000 people could die of canovid in the next four weeks. hospitalizations are expected to increase for the sixth straight week as the pandemic rages on. >> what we're experiencing now is an absolute overwhelming of the emergency departments. >> reporter: data shows the omicron variant may cause less severe illness than delta, but
hospitals are still being inundated with new patients. and many of them unvaccinated. >> inside the hospital we're seeing an increase in admissions that is startling, so to hear that omicron is different and is not causing immense illness in people is not what we're seeing on the ground. >> reporter: as the number of new cases skyrocketed to another record high on wednesday, some health officials scramble to defend the cdc's decision to cut its recommended isolation and quarantine times in half for asymptomatic people. >> the judgment that the cdc made was all things considered, what people would be able to implement, there is risk in everything when it comes to sars covid 2. that's just the reality. >> reporter: the cdc tied the new timeline to transmissibility. >> the vast majority of the transmissible time is in those first five days. >> reporter: but it provided no data to back that claim. another key criticism leveled at the cdc director, why additional testing was not a requirement to come out of isolation?
>> if we had a massive amount of tests in our communities now, would you have included testing in your algorithm and i would be shocked if she said no. >> reporter: the cdc says it is not clear at home tests can tell whether a person is likely to transmit the virus to others. >> there is no evidence that it has any predictive value. >> reporter: most experts concede the guidance is not perfect, but it is an acceptable compromise to allow the country to function. >> the cdc, what they were trying to do is not somehow play to the economy it was to play to the very safety of our everyday lives. >> reporter: and the situation is only expected to get more critical, with new year's eve only a day away. covid impact here in new york city still being felt with roughly 30% of ems workers calling in sick. about 17% of firefighters according to an fdny spokesperson, some experiencing flu-like symptoms and those who
are generally sick. we did hear from bill de blasio saying they do -- they are confident they will weather this, they have ways of making sure no calls go unanswered and they're calling on the public to not dial 911 unless it is an emergency. some people have actually been dialing 911 to try to get a ride to get a covid test. >> new york's a resilient city. polo sandoval, thank you very much. new this morning, johnson & johnson says that two new reports show people who get booster doses of the company's vaccine are well protected against severe disease and hospitalization from the omicron variant. let's get to cnn's leelizabeth cohen with more. you're looking at this data. this is a vaccine that has had some issues, there has been some -- also issues with the public perception of it. with this new data from the reports, what are you seeing? >> kaitlan, i think the new data adds to the argument that j&j should be a two-shot, a two-dose
vaccine, like pfizer and moderna. let's take a look at what this johnson & johnson study found. this came out of a press release, not peer reviewed or published in any way. folks that got a johnson & johnson shot and booster six months or more after that first shot, there was 85% effective against hospitalization, compared to people who were completely unvaccinated. and interestingly, the two shots didn't just increase antibodies, they also increased other parts of the immune system, but, this is a big but, the cdc still recommends moderna or pfizer over johnson & johnson for both the original vaccination as well as for the booster. there is some safety concerns with johnson & johnson, so the cdc says except in unusual circumstances get moderna or pfizer. kaitlan? >> a big question of how the cdc responds to these new reports as well. thank you for the update. maryland and the district of columbia are among the regions
to see an all time high number of covid cases. in d.c., starting next week, all public school students must show a negative covid test result within 24 hours of returning to school. joining us now to discuss this new policy is the d.c. mayor, mayor bowser. thank you for joining us this morning. of course, d.c., i live here, you live here, this is a big epicenter now of the omicron cases in the united states. and you announced yesterday that all public schools and staff will need to provide proof of a negative test to get back to school next week. i'm curious, what drove this new policy, besides the obvious with the case count. >> well, we want to make sure that our commitment to having in person learning is honored with our families and we want to put ourselves in the best position to keep our -- to reopen our schools from winter and keep them open. and the way to do that is to ensure that every child and every adult that enters the building next week can produce a
negative covid test within 24 hours. and we will continue to be vigilant and conduct our surveillance testing throughout the school year. >> mayor, look, i commend your commitment to in person learning and the plan sounds good. the problem, of course, is going to be in the follow through. it is tough to imagine that every single person is going to get their child tested. so what are you going to do to enforce this rule, people don't follow through, block the kids at the door, kick them out of school? >> we actually are providing on monday and tuesday every family with an at-home test. and it is a simple way for them to upload that test. and we will certainly work with families who need assistance to get that done and uploaded by wednesday. but we have to ensure the safety of the buildings, and every family who is committed to producing that negative test. >> so could this become a regular thing where they are
regularly submitting these test results? or is this a one-time policy? >> it is a one-time policy for the break. we anticipate that we can use it in future breaks. we have another february winter break and we have a break for spring obviously. and we're thinking as long as we have the testing capability, which we do, i'm very proud of my team for producing and sending out over 100,000 at-home tests just last week and we will have 6 million that we're going to deploy in our schools for our frontline workers. >> i want to commend you for sending out the free tests. that's something critical, the biden administration has been a bit behind the eight ball. good to see local leaders do that. that could make a big difference. if this -- if we see this wave continue to rise, with increased childhood hospitalizations, it seems to be the case, is there any scenario where you would consider closing schools, even though that's not your first
choice. >> i have to tell you, i'm glad you raised hospitalizations, there is a lot being said about cases and certainly we're concerned about cases, we want people who have been infected to isolate, but our experience in our hospitals has been extremely good. one of the last numbers i saw was two days old now, i think, 104 d.c. -- or 104 residents in d.c. hospitals with covid. while that is 104 too many, certainly we know that our hospitals are withstanding the new cases. the reason we're in this position this year and not like we were last year is because of vaccination. and so, we have to continue to focus on vaccination as our first line of defense, get people getting boosted. and big thank you to all of our nurses and doctors who are operating our hospitals and our residents who are only using the hospital when they need to. >> yeah. >> i want to clarify, by the way, the overall
hospitalizations are indeed down. pediatric hospitalizations are up. we just spoke to someone who works at the national children's hospital in d.c. said pediatric hospitalizations are up. you see that data, i assume, right? >> no, absolutely. and we are looking at that closely, but even in the raw numbers of our -- of children in the hospital, while that increased in the last two weeks in december, it is still a relatively low number and well within their capacity. >> yeah, i definitely think you got to mention the hospitalization number when we are talking about these new case counts. given the big questions about them. mayor bowser, i want to also ask you about another announcement that you made recently that proof of vaccine will now be required at restaurants, bars, nightclubs, indoor entertainment facilities, gyms, indoor meeting establ establishments. this starts january 15th. i'm curious why you made this policy decision now given we have seen other cities take this step before this and now this
say decision you are making come january. >> like i said, kaitlan, the evidence is very clear about people who are vaccinated and their experience with covid, even with omicron and people who are not. not just for hospitalizations, but also case counts. people who are unvaccinated are getting covid. i think the number is ten times more than people who are not. and they're going to the hospital 20 times more. so our path out of this with this variant and god forbid if there is another one is to make sure that people are vaccinated and boosted. so we have upped our mandate for our own employees, we had a test out option. that is no longer. so 37,000 d.c. government employees must be fully vaccinated and boosted. and we're requiring it as you said in those gathering spots that we know are at high risk
for covid transmission. people can comply, simply by showing their vaccination card. and a government-issued i.d. >> one other question i do have is some news we're seeing out of michigan this morning where the michigan department of health and human services says they're sticking with the old isolation guidelines from the cdc, while they wait for more information. that shortens the isolation period from ten days to five days if you're asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving according to the cdc website. is d.c. going to adopt the new guidelines when it comes to isolation or stick with the old ones. >> well, i know that our d.c. health officials are reviewing those closely. we have typically followed the cdc's guidance and issued our own d.c. health guidance. we haven't issued the new guidance yet, but we are following it closely. we do think it is very important that we give the public some easy to follow recommendations so they can keep themselves safe
and their families safe. so confusion with the cdc and d.c. health, we don't think supports the public health. so we're looking at it very closely and we'll update our guidance accordingly. >> but you haven't made a decision whether or not to also adopt that shortened isolation period yet? >> we have not updated our d.c. health guidance yet. >> okay. mayor muriel bowser, thank you for joining us this morning. >> thank you. >> thank you. just ahead, a jury finds ghislaine maxwell is guilty of c sex trafficking a minor for jeffrey epstein. today's crucial call between president joe biden and russia's president vladimir putin. and former first lady melania trump stepping back into the public eye. the lasting cologne scent of old spice dynasty helps get you off your couch. and into the driver's seat.
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for the second time in less than a month, president biden will speak to president putin today. the phone call, requested by the russian leader, comes ahead of a series of january talks over russia's months long troop buildup on the ukrainian border. john harwood joins us live from the white house to explain. john? >> reporter: john, this is a challenging moment for president biden at a time he's dealing with a covid resurgence, economic challenges, legislative challenges and now vladimir putin is testing him by the potential for an invasion of ukraine, another invasion of ukraine. of course, he seized crimea in 2014. president biden has been trying to deter him. in the earlier call he indicated there would be sanctions the likes of which president putin has not seen before should he invade again. that includes unplugging russia from the international financial system, perhaps more severe sanctions on russian oligarchs
or even vladimir putin himself. the question of putin's intention is a little bit murky. he is, of course, claiming that the united states and nato are aggressing against ukraine, excuse me, against russia by moving closer and invading its sphere of influence. ukraine is trying to move closer to the west. the -- there is a potential for some sort of diplomatic off ramp with a -- if not a promise that ukraine will not join nato, which is what russia is demanding, perhaps some sort of neutral arbiter that would establish a zone where russia -- between russia and nato. we don't know, we do know that president biden is trying to foster diplomatic talks. putin initiated this call. the united states senior administration officials yesterday weren't reading too much into that, saying when they asked for a call, we say yes, when we ask for a call, they say yes. we do have the talks next week
in geneva, which are potentially for continuing that talks toward a diplomatic solution, but we don't know whether vladimir putin's trying to create a pretext for invasion saying well, i asked again for them to meet our demands, they didn't, therefore we're moving in. or whether he legitimately wants a diplomatic off ramp, that's something that we'll find out a little bit more about today. and a lot more next week. >> high stakes call. john harwood from the white house, thank you very much. and with more on this, let's go it the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine, bill taylor, who is now vice president of strategic stability and security at the u.s. institute of peace. good morning, mr. ambassador, thank you so much for joining us. you are someone who knows this area best. and so i wonder what you make of the russian president wanting to talk to president biden again so soon? >> you're right, i think it is very interesting that president putin asked for this call. he asked for it before his
holidays. he asked for it during president biden's holidays, the united states, of course, and a lot of the western world celebrate time between our christmas and new year's. in russia, they have an orthodox christmas. they haven't had theirs yet. president putin asked for this call during president biden's holidays and before his start. so it is very interesting that he would make this call so quickly. so i think he's got something to ask for. something to say. and it is -- it might be just season's greetings. i bet it is more than that. i bet it is something more on the discussions that are going to take place on the 10th of january. >> somehow i suspect it is not seasons greetings. so, i mean, look, with your deep expertise, what would you expect vladimir putin to put forward today and who is in the stronger position fundamentally? >> the stronger position in the bigger term is clearly on the
side of the united states. the united states has strong allies, the united states has strong economy that gives us strong ability to as you indicated earlier, john indicated earlier, the ability to put serious sanctions on russia if they were to invade ukraine again. and the alliance that the united states has with nato and other allies around the world gives it the stronger strategic position. it is clear, however, that the russians have a strong tactical position. the russians are clearly militarily stronger in their own neighborhood. there is no doubt about that. and that may lead president putin to overplay his hand. it may lead president putin to do something ill advised, that does generate this response from the west, not just from the united states, but from europe, from nato, from other allies around the world, that will impose great costs on him to do this. this is this call today, this afternoon, is an opportunity for president biden to remind
president putin of the consequences of a bad decision on president putin's part. >> i wonder what you make, ambassador, of ukrainian president zelensky saying the sanctions that president biden threatened to impose on russia if they do go forward with this invasion, he said he's not sure it is enough to deter putin from going forward with this. we have seen in the past sanctions have not always deterred the very combative russian leader. what is the option here for the white house? >> option for the white house is to make it clear that sanctions are one strong component of deterrence, but there are others. white house made it clear that there will be additional military equipment and assistance to ukraine to try to help them defend themselves against the russian attack. that is part of deterrence. there is also the understanding that the united states and nato will support the ukrainian people as they resist.
if the russians were to invade and come into ukraine, they would have a very hard fight against not just the ukrainian military, but the ukrainian people. they fought against the russians on the eastern front who will take up arms again. this is a potent force that the russians are going to have to deal with if they are thinking about invading. that's part of the deterrence as well. and the white house is also indicated that if the russian tanks come in -- moving west, start moving west into ukraine that we willey reinforce our n allies on the western flank of nato. it is also military support to ukraine and boosting our force posture in nato. >> what you're talking about here, ambassador, is the u.s. getting involved in directly albeit with its allies in a kinetic war should russia invade. this is all, of course, against the backdrop of the 30th
anniversary of the fall of the soviet union and putin's clear ambitions to reconstitute that fallen nation. really, what is the off ramp that you think the united states could diplomatically steer the situation towards, because, you know, nato is not going to abandon the former baltic republics, and i can't imagine we would let ukraine be invaded. >> we're certainly not going to abandon any nato ally. that is absolutely true. we're not going to abandon an independent sovereign ukraine. whether we're going to actually put forces, u.s. forces or nato forces into ukraine, that's the -- other than for training, which they already are, of course, that's another question. that is another question. but there is this off ramp that you talked about, and there are four different areas of conversation that are going to take place in the coming months,
starting on the 10th of january, continuing for the next couple of weeks. they are with the united states and russia on those -- on certain issues having to do, for example, with placement of missiles. strategic discussions. and that's what's been going on so far and that will -- that's one of them as well. there are russian nato conversations to be had, about deconflicting military actions, there are russia osce, that is organization security in europe where all the european nations sit down, including ukraine, sit down with the russians, and have a conversation about european security. then there is the last bit of where the united states has indicated it will try to help with the negotiations to solve the problem in donbas. there are diplomatic activities that are coming up, that give the opportunity to mr. putin, if he wants it, to go down the diplomatic route rather than the invasion route.
>> well, we'll be watching closely and relying on your insight and analysis. ambassador william taylor, thank you very much. >> thank you very much. good to talk to you. up next, ghislaine maxwell found guilty of five of six counts related to jeffrey epstein's sexual abuse of minor girls. we'll speak to the attorney for the accusers. and another sign of a pandemic economy. we break down the new weekly jobless claims next. (burke) this is why you want farmers claim forgiveness... [echoing] claim forgiveness-ness, your home premium won't go up just because of this. (woman) wow, that's something. (burke) you get a whole lot of something with farmers policy perks. [echoing] get a quote today. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ age is just a number. and mine's unlisted. try boost® high protein with 20 grams of protein for muscle health. versus 16 grams in ensure high protein. boost® high protein also has key nutrients for immune support. boost® high protein.
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jeffrey epstein's associate ghislaine maxwell and her sex trafficking trial is speaking out on the guilty verdicts that came down yesterday. >> this is one important step towards justice. i wasn't sure that this day would ever come. and i just feel so grateful that the jury believed us and sent a strong message that perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation will be held accountable no matter how much power and privilege that they have. >> after the verdict, maxwell's legal team said they are working on an appeal. joining us now to talk about this is an attorney for 20 of epstein's accusers, gloria allred. thank you so much for joining us this morning on this very important verdict that came down yesterday. and i just want to know, we heard from -- heard there, i want to know what the general reaction has been from the women that you represent. >> yes, i represent 20 accusers of jeffrey epstein and some also
had allegations against miss maxwell, which they shared with law enforcement in the southern district of new york, the prosecutors. though they did not testify. i can tell you that they're very happy that justice has been done, that it has been a long time coming. of course, they were denied the opportunity to confront jeffrey epstein in the court of law because he died while he was in federal custody at the metropolitan detention center. and he -- there was the victim of a homicide or he committed suicide, not 100% clear yet. but in any event, there is some justice because miss maxwell was convicted of very serious felonies, conspiracy to sex traffic underage girls is extremely serious charge. and so in other words she assisted him, she knew what she was doing and the juri jury was
careful and deliberated and asked for the transcripts of all four testimonies, also reviewed the defense transcript of some of their witnesses and ultimately they reached the decision that miss maxwell should be convicted. and i do think, kaitlan, it sends a very serious message to others who may be involved in or deciding whether they will get involved in conspiracy of the sex traffic other young girls to other sexual predators and they need to understand from this conviction actually a number of convictions against miss maxwell that they could possibly end up being prosecuted, convicted and facing a prison sentence which could keep them in prison for the rest of their lives. >> and i should note that authorities do say they believe epstein did kill himself. i do want to talk about the arguments we heard in court as this trial was playing out, about ghislaine maxwell, talking about her, essentially her defense saying she is being a
scapegoat for epstein, she is facing the reckoning that he never will given his death. you heard from the victims and from the survivors here saying really this kind of sinister ploy on her part, taking them shopping, taking them to the movies, building this sense of trust and normalizing sexual abuse, that ended up for some of them going on for decades. and so what do you make of how the defense tried to frame this over the last several weeks and days? >> right, and that's called the empty chair defense or some other dude did it and he went that way. the other dude being jeffrey epstein and she's being scapegoated for what he did, which even the defense admits was absolutely wrong and criminal. so the jury didn't buy it. it is as simple as that. she was involved and as you say, she normalized the behavior that some of the victims testified, that she, you know, because
there was another woman there who appeared to be in a relationship with jeffrey epstein, namely miss maxwell, and because she helped to arrange some of their travel or recruited some of the girls or assisted in it, that, you know, she made it seem as though it was okay to travel, to be with mr. epstein and they could engage in the fantasy that he just wanted to help them with their education, they were just going in to give him a massage and get $200, which was a lot of money to an underage girl, especially some of these girls who are very vulnerable from poorer homes, single parent homes, and they seem to think it was okay because she was there. so none of those defenses worked. they attempted to discredit some of the victims because they were compensated by the epstein victims compensation fund. there is nothing wrong with that. they have a right to be compensated. they can prove they were the
victim of a wrong, and that they suffered. and many of these victims were trau traumatized. some will have life-long emotional injuries for the rest of their lives. and physical injuries as well. so now it is time to make the predators accountable and those who assisted this predator accountable. that was done in the criminal case. and now it has been done in the epstein compensation fund as well. >> this is something that permanently altered their lives and now hopefully with this verdict, they have some sense of justice. gloria allred, thank you for joining us this morning. >> thank you. bye-bye. up next, new jobless claims numbers are just in. we're going to break them down for you. and melania trump going where no former first lady has gone before.
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just in to cnn, moments ago, new unemployment numbers, cnn's matt egan joins us now. what do the numbers show? >> well, kaitlan, these numbers show that this jobs market is on fire. just 198,000 first time jobless claims in the latest week, that is down from the prior week and it is not far from the 52-year low that was set earlier this month. basically it is saying that demand for workers is very high. and firing is historically low. now, economists say that some of the recent drops could have been driven by seasonal effects. numbers get noisy this time of the year. they like to look at the four-week average, but even by that measure, this is the lowest
level of claims since 1969. we really can't lose sight of how far the jobs market has come. but at this point, earlier this year, early january, of this year, jobless claims were at nearly 900,000. today's number is down by roughly 3-quarters. and that makes sense because businesses right now have a near record number of job openings. they are desperate to hire. many of them can't afford to let go of the workers they do have. big picture, kaitlan, i think all of this shows that the jobs market is ending 2021 in a really strong place. >> yeah. everywhere you go you see the help wanted signs and it is certainly some welcome news for the biden white house to close out 2021 with. matt egan, thank you so much. >> thanks. that is extraordinary, 75% decline in one year, 52-year low. all right, on another note, after months of relative public silence, former first lady
melania trump stepping back into the public eye with a new project. it is is a water color close-up of her eyes in the form of an nft, entitled melania's vision. cnn's white house correspondent kate bennett has more. kate, what do you make of all this? some former first ladies write books, devote themselves to charity. now, instead, we have an nft of melania trump's eyes. >> you said it, john. that is classic melania trump. the nft thing came out of nowhere, no one really saw it coming. it is not traditional. but nothing melania trump really did as first lady was quote, unquote traditional. certainly this new endeavor which could be lucrative is something we're paying attention to. >> we know, kate, it goes on sale tomorrow. she is donating part of the proceeds to charity. is that right? >> right. so it ends the sale tomorrow. so it has been on sale. and she is donating part of the proceeds.
she says, but we don't know, really what that portion is. her office has not responded to our request for comment. there are a lot of questions about this nft. since leaving the white house, almost one year ago -- >> being your first lady was my greatest honor. thank you for your love and your support. >> reporter: -- melania trump retreated into her standard comfort zone, privacy. only recently emerging promoting her new nft business on an almost daily basis since its announcement and tweeting with slightly more frequency than her normal silence about national anniversaries, tragedies, and a holiday visit with the florida coast guard. it is the release of her non-fungible token or nft that has been unexpected. nfts are blockchain encrypted digital art works or other collectibles purchased through cryptocurrency. trump's features a close-up of her eyes, drawn by a french artist. purchasing melania's vision, the title of her nft includes the drawing as well as a brief audio
clip. >> my vision is look forward with inspiration, strength, and courage. >> reporter: plenty of celebrities have embraced the nft craze. mostly because they can be super lucrative. and to the hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in profit via the world of cryptocurrency. releasing limited edition pieces that fans can buy has already lured not only melania trump, tom brady has one, so does snoop dogg. what is a pop culture trend if it doesn't include paris hilton? >> that's hot. that's hot. that was hot. >> reporter: who released several nfts and counts herself as a collector. but a former first lady not exactly what most do after leaving the white house. laura bush has dedicated her work to helping others on a global scale. >> free people around the world must stand with afghan women. >> reporter: michelle obama used her platform and popularity to
push various projects including voting rights. >> the truth is that registering to vote just isn't hard. it doesn't take long. >> reporter: melania trump has yet to establish a post white house foundation. she did say a portion of the proceeds would go to help foster children, but questions from cnn as to how much and which programs have gone unanswered. one person in her corner on the venture, her husband, and crypto critic donald trump. >> i never loved it because i like to have the dollar. i think the currency should be the dollar. never a big fan. >> reporter: now embracing his wife's latest and somewhat unusual project. >> she's going to do great. she does really -- she's got a great imagination. >> so, ma elania trump is teasi another nft she could release in january. this could be a regular thing for her. this could be a moneymaker. there are a lot of questions and certainly unusual for the first
lady. >> be best. >> all right, john, you got 24 hours. >> the first thing i'm going to do after the show. >> we'll be watching at 9:01. kate bennett, thank you so much. up next, a royal year in review. filled with highs, lows and moments in between. hi susan! honey? yeah? i respect that. but that cough looks pretty bad... try this robitussin honey. the real honey you love... plus the powerful cough relief you need. mind if i root through your trash? now get powerful relief with robitussin elderberry.
was one of the most dramatic years in recent history, and that's saying a lot. there was scandal, loss and a bombshell oprah winfrey interview. family troubles kept on coming, changing the lives of the windsors forever. max foster has more. >> reporter: for the royal family, 2021 was punctuated by loss. >> in the months since the death of my beloved philip, i have drawn great comfort from the many tributes to his life and work. >> reporter: husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, the man she described as her strength and stay no longer by her side after 73 years of personal and professional partnership. one image lingers from his funeral, that spoke not just to her loss, but to that of so many others, who were left on their own because of covid. it didn't slow her down.
the queen back at her desk where she was still officially in mourning. until doctors advised her to rest in october, following a hospital stay and preliminary investigations into an undisclosed condition. later, compounded by a back sprain. >> it is an extremely punishing schedule for someone who is 95. and i think no one would criticize her at all and everyone would support her in stepping back and doing a bit less. >> reporter: she gave up international travels some years ago, so prince charles represented her in barbados in november, for a ceremony to replace her as head of state by a locally appointed president. it marked the end of 396 years of british rule. and a long awaited reconciliation with the island's colonial past. >> the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with
extraordinary fortitude. >> reporter: it wasn't first time that race came up as an issue for the family in 2021. >> concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born. >> reporter: prince harry and meghan, the duchess of sussex, went rogue, not just leaving their royal roles, but telling all to oprah winfrey on why they felt the need to get out. >> it raised very serious allegations of racism, but also of rifts within the family, difficulties between prince harry and his father, the differences between him and his brother. it really was a very warts and all opening up of things that have traditionally been kept very private by the royal family. >> reporter: the queen issued a statement, acknowledging the allegations, and committing to address them. while also pointedly noting that recollections may vary. the rest of the family characteristically kept calm and carried on until william was
given an unsolicited question. the queen's youngest son prince edward spoke to cnn but wouldn't be drawn on the sussex saga. >> we have all been there before, we have all had excessive intrusion and attention in our lives. and we all dealt with it in different ways. and, listen, we wish them the very best. >> reporter: the palace continued to distance itself from prince andrew publicly, pursued by the fbi in recent years for sexual abuse allegations, prince andrew repeatedly denies all wrongdoing. regardless of how the impending trial unfolds, royal commentators expect the institution to survive in tact. >> i think the royal brand has taken a battering in 2021, from all sides, you know. we had the fallout from the
oprah interview, we had prince andrew's ongoing legal issues, these are all things that, you know, really should have dented the monarchy, but i think that the key players have just quite simply kept calm and carried on and done some really good things. >> reporter: in february '22, the queen will celebrate her platinum jubilee, the only british monarch to do so, having first ascended to the throne 70 years ago in 1952. the firm is keen to focus attention on that, and the success of the queen's entire reign, rather than a tumultuous 12 months. max foster, cnn, london. >> john, i'm not sure anyone is doing much more of keeping calm and carrying on anymore. >> but that is still good advice. keep calm and carry on, even as the royal soap opera continues to fascinate some folks on this side of the atlantic. >> certainly a lot of us. just ahead on cnn, jobless claims are back near a historic
low. we'll break the new numbers down for you. >> and this sunday on cnn, american music royalty carole king and sweet baby james taylor in an unforgettable concert film. here is a preview of "just call out my name." >> friends, collaborators, legends, their music shaped a generation. they came together for the tour of a lifetime. ♪ and it's too late now it's too late ♪ >> james taylor. >> his songs were amazing. his voice is amazing and his demeanor. >> hee-haw. >> and carole king. ♪ so far away ♪ >> carole king, one of the greatest songwriters of all time. i asked her problem part of my band. ♪ i've seen fire and i've seen rain ♪ >> 40 years since the last time we played. >> i loved every experience we have had together.
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good morning, everyone. so glad you're with me. i'm poppy harlow. jim has a well deserved week off. as the omicron variant takes over the u.s., a very stark prediction from the cdc this morning. now forecasting over 44,000 people will die from covid-19 in this country in the next four weeks. this comes as school systems grapple with what to do after the holiday break. some places like washington, d.c. requiring negative tests before kids can return to the classroom. in the