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tv   CBS Morning News  CBS  December 23, 2021 4:00am-4:30am PST

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for more news download the cbs news app on your cell phone or connected tv. i'm bradley blackburn, cbs news, new york. it's thursday, december 23rd, 2021. this is the "cbs morning news." omicron surge. americans rush to get tested for covid ahead of christmas. the worst could be yet to come. when we might see a peak in new infections. four more years -- president biden reveals what it will take for a second white house term. missing 3-year-old girl. the mystery surrounding a young child who seemingly vanished from her apartment playground. good morning, i'm wendy gillette in for anne-marie green. with just to days before christmas, there's alarming new data about the omicron variant and its rapid spread across the
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u.s. it's now in all 50 states including washington, d.c., and puerto rico. researchers at the university of washington believe there will be 140 million new infections between january and march. they predict it will peak in late january at nearly three million daily cases. there's some hope amid this latest covid surge. two british studies support earlier research the omicron variant is not as we're as the variant is not as severe as the delta variant, though hospital could still be overwhelmed with patients. courtney kealy is in new york with more. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, wendy. there have been over one million cases in just the last week according to johns hopkins, and at least 9,000 deaths in the last seven days. the hottest item this christmas isn't a toy, it's a covid test. >> i'm going to be with my mom for the holidays, so i want to make sure i'm okay. >> we've both possibly been exposed to people in the past couple of days who have covid, and the rapid tests, home tests are impossible to find.
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>> reporter: this new orleans drug store sold out of 360 tests in just three hours. >> we're lucky enough to get a couple cases in and put them out. they're gone. >> reporter: the white house plans to send a half a billion tests to americans next month. abc's david muir asked president biden if he should have acted sooner. >> we weren't talking about omicron six months ago. but it's just recent. and so we are chasing omicron. >> reporter: looking overseas there's hope the omicron surge may be over as quickly as it began. south african scientists say their country may be past the peak of its latest wave. >> when we look at the hospitalizations and other severity markers for disease, we don't really see that severe cases with omicron. >> reporter: back in the u.s. the fda granted its first emergency authorization for an at-home anti-viral pill to treat the virus. >> as quickly as pfizer gets the pills manufactured and delivered, we will immediately provide them to states and jurisdictions for distribution. >> reporter: pfizer says testing
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on paxlovid shows it to be nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths if taken within five days of experiencing symptoms. the white house says pfizer wi have about 265,000 of these pills available, and at least within the next month, at least ten million by this summer. also, the fda is expected to approve the merck anti-viral pill this week or next week. >> all right. courtney kealy in new york. thank you. despite the surge in covid ms of americans will be traveling for the holidays between now and the new year. mark strassmann reports from atlanta. >> reporter: bundling up with ppe for the holidays. it's beginning to look a lot like our first covid christmas. everywhere you go. >> i'm wearing two masks because even though i'm vaccinated, that doesn't mean that i can't get covid. >> reporter: an estimated 110 million people will travel this holiday season. nearly 30 million more than last year's season.
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aaa says traveling's almost at 2019 pre-pandemic levels. >> without a doubt people have more confidence with the vaccines and the boosters. >> reporter: six million will fly. many of them skittish, pack -- packing their omicron trepidation with their toiletries. >> we also have hepa filters on our airplane which really keep the air quality a high quality there. emergency room equivalent. >> reporter: maybe so, but the airlines' top medical adviser warns with omicron's high an passengers are two, even three times more likely to catch the virus than with delta. overall, the plane's cabin remains a low-risk environment. long lines of covid test takers include the holidays hosting families. >> family coming in from california. we're all vaccinated, but we just want to be double safe. >> reporter: most travelers, roughly 100 million people, will drive at least 50 miles. nationally, average gas prices run high, $3.29 a gallon.
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more than $1 above last year. the highest holiday price at the pump since 2008 despite paying up to gas up. and whatever the viral risk, one theory for the surge in holiday travel -- >> people being cooped up for a year and a half. they need to see family and friends. >> reporter: atlanta's airport, america's busiest, will process thousands of passengers heading to the holidays' most popular destinations -- resorts and theme parks, vegas and hawaii. it's also one of five u.s. airports that will offer international passengers on-site optional covid testing as soon as they land in this country. mark strassmann, cbs news, atlanta. the supreme court says it will hold a special session on covid vaccine requirements. the justices will hear arguments on the biden administration's vaccine or testing requirement for larger employers and a separate vaccine requirement for health care workers.
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it's set to happen on january 7th. the court had not been scheduled to hear cases until january 10th. president biden says he'll run for re-election in 2024 if he's in his current physical shape. here's what he told abc's david muir -- >> if i'm in the health i'm in now, if i'm in good health, then in fact i would run again. >> reporter: if that means a rematch against donald trump? >> you're trying to tempt me now. sure. why would i think run against donald trump? that would increase the prospect of running. >> the president has been adamant that he'll run for office again despite the fact he'll be 81 years old on the next presidential election day. mr. biden is already the oldest person in u.s. history to be inaugurated as president but has been deemed to be in good health. the fbi is investigating after a pennsylvania congresswoman was carjacked at gunpoint. mary gay scanlon was working to
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her parked car after a end in in philadelphia when police say two armed men demanded her keys. one of the suspects drove off in her car which had her personal belongings inside including her government cell phones and purse. the other suspect drove off in a dark-colored suv. fortunately scanlon was not injured. the search is ramping up to find a missing 3-year-old from san antonio. she was last spotted monday at a playground located inside her family's gated apartment complex. her family tells a local tv station they moved to the u.s. from afghanistan in 2019. lena's father says the family initially thought she may have left the playground with another afghan family but now believes she may have been abducted. >> we will continue to search the areas that -- surrounding where we've already searched. we will continue making as much contact with the community as we can trying to find someone who knows anything about lena.
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>> a local mosque is offering a $75,000 reward for anyone who can provide information leading to lena's return. coming up, history comes to life. a time capsule from the 1800s is opened. what they found inside. and pranked for the holidays. members of the anaheim ducks use a bear costume to pull a hilarious stunt on their teammates. this is the "cbs morning news." this is the "cbs morning news." don't be afraid of your freedom ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ libre the original eau de parfum yves saint laurent happy holidays still fresh
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♪ ♪ discover a world of giving with ralph lauren fragrances. british actress sally anne howes has died. she's best known for playing the character truly scrumptious in the 1968 movie "chitty chitty bang bang" with dick van dyke. she began her career in 1943 as a child actor and appeared in more than 140 films, musicals, plays, and tv projects. sally anne howes was 91. a time capsule more than a century old was opened, and the parent of a school shooting suspect made a request. those are some of the headlines on the "morning newsstand."
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the "associated press" reports the parents of the teenager charged with killing four students at a michigan high school are asking for a lower bail. james and jennifer crumbly have been in jail on a $500,000 bond since they were arrested nearly three weeks ago. they're accused of making a gun accessible to their 15-year-old son and failing to pull him out of school when told about his writings before the november shooting. they're charged with involuntary manslaughter. "the new york times" says the jury in the ghislaine maxwell trial was sent home for christmas without reaching a verdict. maxwell is accused of recruiting and grooming teenage girls for jeffrey epstein.yest the option of continuing deliberations today, but they declined. maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all charges. deliberations resume on monday. and the "richmond times dispatch" says a more than
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130-year-old time capsule found last week inside the base of a robert e. lee statue was opened. workers in richmond carefully opened the lead capsule and indiana found a water damaged 1875 almanac, two other books, a cloth envelope, and a silver coin. >> as best i can tell, three books and then another writing that was in an envelope. it's very damp, so they're taking their time and trying their best to preserve everything. >> historical records led many to believe the capsule might contain a rare photo of abraham lincoln in his coffin. workers say there could be another time capsule hidden. still ahead, taking the top spot. the social media platform that surpassed google in popularity this year.
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here's a look at the forecast in some cities around the country. ♪
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tesla is facing a federal probe for its dashboard video games. the national highway traffic safety administration said it's looking at roughly 580,000 tesla vehicles equipped with a feature known as passenger play. it's supposed to turn on when the car is in park, but officials said they have received recent complaints it can turn on while someone is driving. regulators are worried the feature could distract drivers and lead to crashes. on the cbs "money watch," you'll have more time to pay back your student loan, and google has been outranked as the most popular website. bradley blackburn is in new york with that and more. good morning. >> reporter: wendy, good morning. the labor department is set to release its weekly jobless claims report today which will likely stay below pre-pandemic levels. meantime, stocks ended higher
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yesterday as investors moderate their concerns about the omicron variant. the dow rallied 261 points. the nasdaq gained 180, and the s&p 500 added 47. the biden administration is extending its pause on student loan repayment, delaying payments on federal loans through may 1st. interest rates will remain at zero, and debt collection will also be suspended. the pause has been in place since the start of the pandemic and was set to expire next month. the u.s. navy is introducing new maternity uniforms for sailors who are expecting. they're part of a pilot program that will start early next year. the navy will select 400 pregnant sailors from around the world who will be issued the clothing for free. if they prove to be a success, more volunteers will be selected. and do you wonder which websites are the most popular on the planet? tech security company conclude cloud fare and says tiktok dethroned google. in september alone, the website
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had one billion active users. google was number two followed by facebook at number three. microsoft at four and apple rounding out the top five. wendy, it just shows the power of a tiktok dance. >> i cannot get into tiktok. how about you? >> reporter: you know, i'm not signed up, but i don't think we can wait much longer. clearly we're behind. >> i'm too old, i think, for tiktok at this point. >> we've got to catch up. >> we'll try. bradley blackburn in new york. thank you. up next, choreographing a proposal. a utah jazz dancer gets the surprise of her life during a performance on court. ♪ rich, indulgent chocolate with a luscious caramel filling.
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here's a look at the forecast in some cities around the country. ♪ the covid surge across the country is now impacting the college football bowl season. texas a&m has pulled out of next week's scheduled gator bowl in jacksonville, florida, against wake forest. texas a&m says it does not have enough players because of covid issues and season-ending injuries. wake forest hopes to find another team to play in the december 31st game. and the college football playoff issued a stern warning to the four teams vying for the national championship. it said if any of the teams cannot play in next week's
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semifinals, they will forfeit their game. and anaheim ducks hockey player donned a giant teddy bear suit to scare the daylights out some teammates. check this out. >> season's greetings from our family to yours. oh [ bleep ]. what the [ bleep ] -- >> we'll have put it on your lap -- >> the -- white one right there. >> ah. >> oh [ bleep ]. >> hah! >> oh, my god! oh -- >> oh, that's great. the unsuspecting players thought they were taping christmas messages for fans, but two of their teammates made the whole thing up as a practical joke. the ducks defenseman playing the bear, one of the players said it's the most scared he's ever been in his entire life. and a utah jazz dancer was in for the surprise of her life while she was performing at a game. ♪
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♪ hey baby i think i wanna marry you ♪ >> that's danielle bush's boyfriend emerging from the other dancers monday night to propose. bush was performing with the other dancers when all of a sudden the music changed to "marry you" by bruno mars. the other dancers were in on the whole thing. bush said yes, and her boyfriend placed an engagement ring on her finger. oh. coming up on "cbs mornings," in our series "a more perfect union," members of the rock band imagine dragons tell us how a young fan started them on an important mission. i'm wendy gillette. this is the "cbs morning news." "
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our top stories this morning -- the omicron variant is now in all 50 states. researchers at the university of washington believe there will be 140 million new infections between january and march.
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meantime, two british studies support earlier research that the omicron strain is not as severe as the delta variant. and the supreme court says it will hold a special session on covid vaccine requirements. the justices will hear arguments on the biden administration's policies regarding testing and vaccines for workers. it's set to happen on january 7th. in new york there's one elementary school teaching more than just reading, writhing, and arithmetic. kindless is also part of the curriculum. meg oliver explains. good morning -- >> reporter: at mosaic prep elementary in harlem, new york -- >> ready? >> yes. >> beautiful. let's go. >> reporter: getting pulled out of class is a good thing. 5-year-old king ortiz knows he has earned something special. what did you do so you could earn those coupons? >> so i learned to be nice -- >> reporter: being nice here is rewarded. >> excellent. here are your --
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>> reporter: 25 coupons scores you a shiny token for the vending machine. no chips or candy, only books fall. what do you do now? >> reporter: why did you want a book vending machine? >> during the pandemic, i noticed that students were reading less on line. >> reporter: principal lissette caesar -- >> i saw in texas and can they had a vending machine. i thought i would get it for my school. i started writing letters and begging people to support. >> reporter: when it arrived, what happened? >> it couldn't get through the door. >> reporter: the determined principal dug into her own pocket to retrofit the machine. 95% of students here are low income, a third live in shelters. >> i just really believe in making sure all my scholars have books at home. >> reporter: how does it make you feel when i read a book? >> excited. >> reporter: what do you want to say to your principal? >> thank you. >> reporter: meg oliver, cbs news, new york. coming up on "cbs mornings,"
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david begnaud takes us to an elementary school in california where children are getting special lessons in gratitude. plus, in our series "a more perfect union," members of the rock band imagine dragons tell us how a young fan started them on an important mission. and jamie wax gets us into the holiday spirit with a look at new interest in some classic christmas decorations. that's the "cbs morning news" for this thursday. thanks for watching. i'm wendy gillette. have a great day. ♪
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