tv Face the Nation CBS December 6, 2021 3:00am-3:30am PST
murthy. good morning. >> good morning. >> brennan: thank you for joining us. we wake up and at least 16 states have this new variant omicron detected. many are seemingly to be around the vaccinated, not clear if they all were boosted. do we know how widespread this infection is in the u.s. >> we're still learning a lot about the omicron variant. we detected a couple dozen cases here in the united states and a number of countries around the world now have omicron. but this is the p pattern we see with these variants. they are discovered in one place and they quickly spread around the world. the important thing is as we work hard to again answers about its transmissibility and its severity and its response to the vaccines and therapeutics, it is critical to know we have tools to protect ourselves genes this variants and the delta variant, which is still the dominant
variant in the united states. those include getting vaccinated and getting boosted. >> brennan: you know that the public is exhausted at this point. are people going into the holiday safe to travel? the president said infections are going to go up, and masks are required while in transit, but what do you tell someone who just bought a ticket to go away for christmas? should they cancel their plans? >> first of all, i understand the fatigue. we've been at this for 22 months, and the possibility of another variant can be frustrating to many people. and i get that. but we are not back in march 2020. we're not at the beginning of this pandemic, back at square one. we have learned a tremendous amount about how to gather safely. take halloween this year: i took my children trick-or-treating for halloween. many families gathered for thanksgiving -- >> brennan: right, and a
surgence is expected on the back end of that? >> what we know is if people use the tools they have, you can gather with much, much less risk. the concern and the challenge we have right now in the country, margaret, is we have millions of people still unvaccinated, which possess a risk to their lives and poses an increase risk of trsmission. if you get vaccinated and you gather in well-ventilated spaces and use masks, your risks can be quite low and your holidays can be quite fulfilling. >> brennan: for americans at home right now, should the they put on a cloth mask or go buy an n-95 because of the variants? >> what we've seen is the better quality of masks offer you better quality of protection. if you wear a cloth mask properly, you can get a lot of protection. if you upgrade to an n-95,
it can give you even more protection. >> brennan: there are a dozen countries that now has this omicron variant. the only regions under a travel ban are eight countries in africa. in africa. that doesn't really seem fa while sile out afric countries?hboring >> i'm glad you asked that. there were a rapid growing number of cases that were found in south africa. the travel restrictions don't permanently keep the variant out, we know that. >> brennan: it's here. >> the travel restrictions can buy you some time to do important things -- >> brennan: but i've heard this from the white house respectfully. but my question, though, what we learned at the beginning of the pandemic, china was put on a travel ban, meanwhile, in the back door, travelers were coming in from europe bringing in covid.
that's one of the facts established. you only have a travel ban on eight countries in south africa. the rest of the world is still traveling, and omicron is already here. if it is a queio ness, is eit countries get banned or lift the ban. you have scientists in south africa saying this is discriminatory. >> margaret, if you look at this, we're in a very different position than when travel restrictions were put in place in the beginning. we have travel measures, safety measures, helping to reduce the risk. and those are guaranteeing that people who get on international flights are vaccinated and pre-travel testing. and we use the time to strengthen those travel measures. the c.d.c. mentioned it will be shortening the window to 24 hours. listen, the bottom line is: these are meant to be temporary measures. nobody wants them to be on for any longer than they need to be. that's why we're
continuously re-evaluating them, so we can get them off as soon as it is appropriate. >> brennan: the world health organization had called booster shots a scandal that must stop now, sayinfar, and immoral. how do you justify having that as a center piece of your policy? >> our job is to protect people in america and to protect the world from a pandemic. getting a booster shot increases your protection. we've got to boost people here and make sure that the rest of the world has vaccines. that is what we're doing. it is why the u.s. has committed more than a billion doses. that's why we're investing in strengthening local infrastructure, training health care workers around the world, including the contcontinents in south africa. we've got to do both, margaret: protect our population with boosters and make sure the rest of the world can get vaccinated as well. >> brennan: dr. murthy, thank you so much for your
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>> brennan: the world health organization called the omicron variant a fast and a furious. we go to maria van kerkhove, world health organization covid 19 technical lead. good morning, doctor. >> doctor: hi, margaret. nice to be on your program again. >> brennan: nice to have you there from geneva. i know there is a little bit of a delay. do you have any indication yet on whether omicron causes more severe diseases? >> doctor: so our data that we have on severity of omicron is coming in by the day. we do know that people who are infected with omicron variant can have mild disease all the way through severe diseh"x:÷ initial reports suggest that people with omicron tend to have more mild disease, but it is too early to tell. the reason for that is because it takes time for people to go through the
course of their infection. it may take some weeks before we actually understand how many of those individuals will go on to develop severe disease. so we do see that full spectrum. even it is a mild disease, it is important that we still act fast now to take measures to control its spread. because even if we have a large number of cases that are mild, some of those individuals will need hospitalizations, they will need to go into i.c.u., and some people will die. and so more cases can mean more hospitalizations, and more hospitalizations could mean for deaths. we don't want to see that happen on top of an already difficult situation with delta circulating globally. >> brennan: take more health protective measures, exactly what does that mean? the w.h.o. has cautioned against travel right now. >> doctor: so, there are different types of measures we're talking about. if we're talking to governments right now, our message to governments is don't wait to act. everything we need to do
for delta will benefit omicron, no matter how this variant unfolds. it is not just the emmeemergence of a variant like omicron, the question is if it will outbeat delta. deet is an extremely dangerous variant. we want governments to act now to tike m take measures now to get people vaccinated, and take measures to drive down transmission. this is about policies in place to reduce the spread, wearing a mask, supporting people to work from home who can, and make sure you take measures to keep yourself safe when it comes to gatherings. there is a lot of things people can do to reduce the risk of spread when they come into contact with others. >> brennan: we see that the virus is flourishing among the vaccinated. covax is part of the world health organization that was supposed to avoid
vaccine inequity. it is not meeting its own goals. why isn't the international system getting vaccines to the people who need them? >> doctor: it's an excellent question, margaret. i think there is a combination of factors as to why covax has not access to the vaccine, to distribute those to those at risk in all countries. it is a matter of having enough production, of having deals with place with the manufacturers who are producing these vaccines, to be able to get those to the countries who need them most. if we look at one year of use of safe and effective vaccines, it is an absolute triumph we have so many safe and effective vaccines that keep people alive and prevent severe infection and prevent deaths, but the failure to deliver those around the world is catastrophic. and covax and partners have been working hard to do that.
but countries actually need access to the vaccine itself. >> brennan: why isn't covax, the u.n., and the w.h.o. able to do that last-mile delivery and help with the lo genics that los that you say are so badly needed. >> doctor: it is not even about the last mile. we need countries to be able to purchase the vaccine. we need those donations to be given through covax so they can be allocated to those who need them most. countries are working very hard right now on the actual delivery systems once they have access to the vaccines in hand. we have been working with country partners around the world, in ministries themselves, to be able to deliver when the vaccines come on line. but we need to know when the vaccines will become available. you have to plan to be able to be ready to deliver those. it is not just about waiting for the leftovers.
it is not even just about equity. it is the most epidemiologically sound thing to do and economically sound thing to do, and it is just not happening. >> brennan: but there is frustration in the world because the world nationals are supposed to help implement all of these things. we here from the white house that they have shipped more vaccines around the world than all other countries combined. they told us $473 million to educate workers in south africa. so we in america are being told there is an effort. why isn't that getting to people in need? why can't the w.h.o. do more. more? >> doctor: well, frankly, it is not enough. and we need it from more countries. so we're incredibly grateful for what the united states has delivered, but we need that from other leaders around the world.
we can't have enough -- this is a global problem that we're seeing with this pandemic, with the delta variant, with the emergence of the omicron variant. we need more. it is not a failure of covax to be able to deliver. the failure is the ability to have access to those vaccines to deliver. it is more than just rhetoric. what we need are they need to be able to purchase themselves ourselves, to get ahead of the line, so that the vaccines can actually go to those countries in need. don't get me wrong, what the united states is doing, we are very grateful for, but we need much more of it, and we need it from around the world. you can't protect only one country while the rest of the world suffers. that is not how we're going to get out of this pandemic. >> brennan: on that point, i know the world health organization has said that booster shots are unfair because people are getting another dose here while the rest of the world is still waiting. we heard from the white house argue against that and said that both things can be done at the same
time. why don't you think both things can be done at the same time? >> doctor: because it has an impact on production. it has an impact on supply. so our argument is that people around the world who are most at risk need their first and second doses before others get more doses. many people in the world are protected, very well-protected against severe disease and death. and adding another booster on top of that at the expense of others in other countries is what we're saying is unjust. it is unfair. it is not right. so you can do both, but it has an impact. it has an impact on supply. and there is no other way around that. >> brennan: okay. doctor, thank you very much for your work and your time today. we're going to go now to francis desouza, c.e.o. of illumina, a company that identifies and tracts covid variants through genetic sequencing. good morning to you. >> hello.
>> brennan: the $2 billion that taxpayers helped towards sequencing in this country, is america better now than at the start of this pandemic at forgiving out where the virus and the variants are? >> we're making progress, and we're in a lot different position than we were at the beginning of the pandemic. certainly a year ago we were sequencing very little, in terms of the positives we were seeing in this country. but over the last year, we started to see sequencing infrastructure being rolled out. if you look at the course of all of 2021, we probably sequenceed in the course of 2020 about 3% of the positives we have seen this year. the best practice is to do between 5% and 10%. but in the last three months, we're in the 5% to 10%. the challenge is it is very variable across the states. you have some states that are close to 30% of positives, and you have some states that are
closer to 1%. so over all, i think we have the capacity that we need, but we clearly have blind spots in parts of the country where we need do do more. brem>> brennan: to that point, in the united kingdom, within 48 hours of the first cases, they knew, after south africa sounded the alarm, the u.k. detected they had omicron. here in the united states, it took a week of time to pass between when the patient was tested and the state officials in minnesota confirmed it. why are we slower? isn't that more dangerous? >> it absolutely is. you want to be ahead of this. there is no questions that the u.k., specifically, has been one of the leaders in terms of rolling out a global im immunology structure. they were one of the first countries to recognize the value of doing sequencing.
so they started in april of 2020, and not many countries followed until december of 20, when we 2020, we started to see a new variant emerging. that we needed to understand it so we could tract how it is spreading, and to know if the tools we were using to fight the pandemic, the vaccines, the therapies, if they would still be affective. >> brennan: in terms of how this virus started, whether it is jumped between animals and humans, or whether it was something unique into immunocompromised individuals. do you have any insight into why omicron seems to be uniquely mutated. >> yes. we have over 50 new mutations, 30 are in the
"s" gene, which makes the protein, which is important. but the fact there are so many, coming from a virus that only mutates two to three times a month, tells us it has been somewhere mutating for a long time and we haven't seen it. there are a number of hype these. one, it could have been part of a chronic illness, perhaps that somebody immunoimmunocompromised, and they hadn't cleared it, and so it started mutated, or it could have been, as you said, transmitted to an animal and mutated there, and come back into humans. or it could have been circulating in a part of the global population that is just not being sequenced. we're trying to fo figure out where it was mutating. the 30 mutations on the "s" gene are important because it coats the "s"
protein. that is important for two things: one, that is how it gets into human cells. we've seen with other variants of concerns that certain mutations make variants more transmissible. and we're seeing that with some of the early date that that this variant might be more transmissible. the second reason it is important is that the "s" protein is actually a target for some of the vaccines. so the question now is: is it mutated enough that it escapes some of the vaccines. >> brennan: right. and we will be watching what the south african scientists find on that, of course. in this country, though, do you think there is a national strategy, to go along with the money, we talked about the $2 billion, to improve sequencing? >> i think we're starting to put it together. clearly it wasn't at the beginning of the pandemic. there are lots of elements of a national pandemic that are essential. one, understanding what are we trying to shoot for
in terms of a percentage of positives that we want to sequence. two, how is that going to happen? how are the samples going to go from clinics, where testing is happening, to labs that can do the sequencing. and then there has got to be more work around how is the data going to be shared? all of that are ideas and they're being put together, but there is still work being done to get it together. >> brennan: thank you very much, mr. desouza, for your time this morning. we'll be back in a we'll be back in a moment.
forward to seeing you right here. you are fully loaded and completely equipped for the race that's been designed for you. >> brennan: decorum in politics have never been synonymous, but our john dickerson looks at why decorum in politics has gone from bad to worse. >> in may of 1984, tip ontario neil was furious with newt gingrich. >> you challenged americanism, and it is the lowest thing i've ever seen in my 23 years in congress. >> reporter: he remarks
were quickly stricken from the record because personal attacks are not allowed on the house floor. the standards of decorum were so strict, the most powerful member of the body took the rebuke. house and senate rules keep passionate debates from divulging into personal insults because serious work cannot be done by people acting like children. on their own time, members can say what they will. and lawrence bobert did. she made bigoted slurs against ilhan omar. >> and there she is, ilhan omar. well, she doesn't have a backpack, she should be fine. >> reporter: decorum from democracy is not just one member's actions, but tha this behavior was applauded, as it was in her case. crassness, once seen as a lack of carbon is considered the right artillery.
congressman pa paul -- if party leaders respond by doing more than wrinkling a brow, these colleagues aim their suggestions at them. nancy maze was one of the few voices in her party to speak out. courtroom marjorie taylor greene attacked her and said she was just speaking for the party voters. party leaders agree, which is why they stay mum. they need those voters in 2022 to win back control. those turn on their leaders when those leaders try to govern. when speaker newt gingrich resigned, he railed against cannibals in his own party the. and speaker john boehner used the term for these members that bobbert would recognize. he called them political terrorists. >> brennan: and we'll be
connected tv. i'm elise preston. cbs news new york. this is the "cbs overnight news." good evening, and thanks for joining us tonight. former-senator bob dole, born and raised in russell, kansas, is being remembered for a life of service to his country. first, on the battlefields of world war ii, and then the heights of the power that he held in congress. bob dole died today at age 98. today, president biden called mr. dole a statesman like few in our history. flags in washington, d.c., from the capitol to the white house have been lowered to half staff. in 2018, senator dole returned to the capitol for a final salute to another veteran