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Interview With Rep. James Langevin (D-RI); Father Of Anthony Huber: We're Still In Shock" By The Verdict; Former Chinese Olympian Disappears After Assault Accusation; Chinese State-Run Media: Peng Shuai Will Appear In Public Soon; Shoppers Feel The Holiday Pinch Amid Inflation, Supply Chain Issues; Booster Shots Now Widely Available With Winter Wave Looming; New NASA Satellite To Search For Life In Space. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired November 20, 2021 - 12:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST (on camera): That's still happening. But when people do say I'm going to be with family or friends, et cetera, whether you're vaccinated or not, what should be the approach? Do you find that people are still going to be doing masks even indoors asking questions? I mean, what's the etiquette? I should say?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, BROWN UNIVERSITY: Yes, it's a great question. And it's an etiquette that we're creating in real-time. You know, as a doctor, I think about risks in gradations or levels. It's not black and white. So, really, you're taking a bunch of factors into account.

If everyone who is there is vaccinated, you are in the best possible scenario. I still do recommend a rapid test the morning of Thanksgiving, just because we do see some breakthrough cases and those can sometimes transmit.

If there are going to be some people who are unvaccinated, particularly kids, it's even more important to do that rapid test. And if there are a lot of people that are unvaccinated, then I recommend making sure you have windows open, good filtration or maybe even taking the celebration outdoors.

Thanksgiving is not a day to argue about vaccines. It's a day to enjoy being with your family, but you may be able to listen and overcome some hesitancy of family members. Knowing that there is no way for them to get vaccinated before Thanksgiving at this point, maybe they can get it done before Christmas.

WHITFIELD: Wow! OK. Well, Thanksgiving usually a time to relax and be with friends and family. But something tells me, it's still going to be a little stressful as a result of all those dynamics you just pointed out for us. Nonetheless, Happy Thanksgiving to you.

RANNEY: You too.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Dr. Megan Ranney.

All right, the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

All right. Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with reaction to the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial across the U.S. demonstrators gathering in several cities overnight, people and police even declaring a riot in Portland, Oregon.

They say demonstrators forced open the gate to the county's downtown jail and threw bottles and other objects at police. Authorities say demonstrators also caused damage to some city buildings.

And in New York, protesters marched through the streets and briefly shut down traffic lanes on the Brooklyn Bridge.

And then on Friday, a jury acquitting the Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges for killing two people and shooting another during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year, for the first time since taking the stand in his own defense, we're hearing from Rittenhouse himself.

He reacted to the verdict for a taped interview with Fox News soon after leaving the courtroom.


KYLE RITTENHOUSE, ACQUITTED IN KENOSHA SHOOTING TRIAL: The jury reached the correct verdict, self-defense is not illegal. And I believe they came to the correct verdict, and I'm glad that everything went well. And it's been a rough journey, but we made it through it.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Natasha Chen is in Kenosha, Wisconsin for us. So, Natasha, this has been an emotional trial for a lot of people. What are you seeing in Kenosha today?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Fred, we are seeing a lot of calm and quiet in Kenosha today. And that doesn't mean that they're not really feeling these emotions in private.

Yesterday, we saw a lot of people on the courthouse steps, mostly media, but people perhaps who are supporting Rittenhouse with celebratory shouts, people who were among the families of those who were killed, really emotional about this verdict.

We did hear from those families and their attorneys, including the attorneys for Gaige Grosskreutz, one of the -- one person who was injured by Rittenhouse during the protests that night.

Part of that statement reads that, Well, today's verdict may mean justice delayed, it will not mean justice denied. They are committed to uncovering the truth of that night.

And so, there's a lot of pain there. Then, you go on to hear from elected leaders all the way from the district attorney here who talked about this not being the outcome they wanted, but asking for people to be peaceful in the expression of their views, all the way to elected leaders in Texas, in California.

The California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeting that, you know, this sends a message that you can break the law, carry around weapons, built for a military, shoot and kill people, and get away with it, he said.

President Biden also said that this verdict may make people angry and concerned himself included but that there had to be again a peaceful expression of views here.

We did hear from Kyle Rittenhouse, very briefly, in that clip you showed. that was part of a trailer shown on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News last night.

Here is what his defense attorney told Chris Cuomo about having cameras following his client.


MARK RICHARDS, LEAD LAWYER OF KYLE RITTENHOUSE: I did not approve of that. I've threw him out of the room several times. They were -- and I'm not suggesting that Fox or some other network.


RICHARDS: I don't think a film crew is appropriate for something like this, but the people who were raising the money to pay for the experts, and to pay for the attorneys, we're trying to raise money and that was part of it.


CHEN: During a press conference that he gave earlier that afternoon, he was saying that his client was emotional and said thank you to him when the verdict was read. But when we asked whether Rittenhouse would be speaking publicly, Richard said he wasn't sure and that he wasn't in charge of Rittenhouse's media.

So, now we know that there is at least one camera that was allowed to follow him and get his thoughts after the fact. And we'll see if he says anymore, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Natasha Chen, thank you so much in Kenosha.

So, in the last hour, I spoke with the father of one of the two men killed by Rittenhouse. Anthony Huber. Here is what he had to say about the outcome of the trial, the father.


JOHN HUBER, FATHER OF ANTHONY HUBER: We're still in shock that this is the outcome. We still can't believe it.

WHITFIELD: What were your expectations?

HUBER: He, he should have got about 40 years in prison. That was our expectation.

You could tell by the biased judge that it was going to go that way.

WHITFIELD: Was there a moment, in particular, that stands out for you?

HUBER: You know, I knew something was wrong when they threw out the minor carrying a gun. You know, why throw that out in the middle of the trial? You should have let the jury decide.



HUBER: But you needed that.

WHITFIELD: Yes, so that, that was a turning point.


HUBER: He needed that so he could walk out. He thought he was above the law, anyways. You know, that's how it's always been. He got out on bail. Had he had been a black man? He wouldn't have got out.

WHITFIELD: And so now, what is the message in your view? What's the message being sent as a result of this verdict that it was self- defense? Kyle Rittenhouse felt justified and the jurors felt that he was justified in the killing of your son?

HUBER: Yes, we can't say what the jurors were thinking. But they were given specific instructions and parameters by that judge. And they were following his instructions, I'm sure.

And so, they probably couldn't come up with a conviction. I'm just -- we're still in shock here, you know? You know, that guy gets to run free and he's now -- he's now a hero.

And this is my son right here. This is Anthony. You know, we lost our son. And there's no justice right now for our family, and there's no closure. There wasn't going to be justice in that Kenosha court with that judge.

WHITFIELD: So, you're most -- you're most frustrated about the judge and his composure behavior in his courtroom.

HUBER: Yes, he's an embarrassment to all of Kenosha. They are not proud of that. Judge, I guarantee you.


WHITFIELD: All right, that was John Huber, it was his son, Anthony Huber, one of two killed by Kyle Rittenhouse. Let's bring in now Page Pate, he's a constitutional law and criminal defense attorney. Page, so good to see you.

So, you know, the core of this case was based on whether Rittenhouse was defending himself, the juror said yes, it was self-defense. Do you agree with John Huber there that, you know, that the road was paved once they dropped -- the drop the charge of being a minor and unlawfully carrying that weapon?

PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY (on camera): Well, Fredricka, I certainly think dropping that charge helped Kyle Rittenhouse because at that point, the jury could say, well, you know, the judge has basically dismissed the charge and he was carrying a gun unlawfully. So, he has a right to be at the protest. He apparently has a right to have an assault rifle at the protest.

So, all we need to focus on now is was he reasonable in using deadly force when these other people appeared to either confront him or come towards him? And obviously the jury decided that under Wisconsin law, which is a little unique here that he was justified and it was self- defense.

WHITFIELD: How do you see this potentially impacting a future cases where the defense will be self-defense, and use this as a model perhaps for their case?

PATE: Well, just like Wisconsin law, Georgia law where the Arbery case is going on has a very similar way to deal with self-defense at a trial.


PATE: Once a defendant, Kyle Rittenhouse in this case basically says, look, I shot the guy in self-defense, the burden shifts to the prosecutor to disprove self-defense. So, Rittenhouse never had to prove he was acting in self-defense, he just had to say he was.

And then, it was the prosecution's job to disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt. That is really difficult to do. And so, states have put these laws on the books to help people like Kyle Rittenhouse, who are carrying guns and who may be in a situation that they should not be in, but still have a right to defend themselves. So, it's a very difficult standard to me.

WHITFIELD: Yes. But while you did bring up the Georgia case in Brunswick, Georgia, and the defendant Travis McMichael was on the stand, the prosecutor asked about whether you felt threatened now, of course, you know, their case is predicated on self-defense, as well. And the prosecutor, you know, pressed on, did he -- you know, did Ahmaud Arbery have a weapon? Did he pointed at you? Did he say something? Did you feel like your life was in danger? And he essentially said no, to all of those things.

So, how do you see that, that kind of defense -- of self-defense has now been thrown out the window because the defendant is saying his life really was not in jeopardy?

PATE: Well, that's certainly one thing to take away from his testimony. But during his direct examination, Travis McMichael did say, look, he was running towards us, he was acting strange. I didn't know what else to do, but take the shotgun and, and pointed at him. So look, I mean, I don't think that self-defense, but that's why the jury is so critically important. And so, when you have a jury that is not well-balanced, that is obviously more like the defendant than like the community, you're going to have a very receptive jury to self- defense arguments like this. And I think that's true in both of these cases.

WHITFIELD: And, the jury and the studying of the jury was at the core of the Defense for Kyle Rittenhouse. And they clearly did a good job of trying to appeal to the jurors.

That's right. Because first, you had to have a jury that said, it's OK for a 17-year-old to bring an assault rifle to a protest and then basically carry it around and pointed at people.

And this group of folks said yes, that's OK. And if that's OK, then, self-defense becomes a legitimate defense at the trial, and that's exactly what happened in the Rittenhouse case.

WHITFIELD: All right, Page Pate, thank you so much. Appreciate you. Have a good, good Thanksgiving holiday.

PATE: Thank you. You too.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, where is Peng Shuai? New details in the disturbing disappearance of one of China's biggest tennis stars.

Plus, President Biden's Build Back Better bill has passed in the House, but now faces a battle in the U.S. Senate. What will actually remain in the final version? We're live at the White House straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: all right new video in to CNN. Chinese state media has just released what it says is video of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who has not been seen in nearly three weeks. Having dinner, however, in these images with her coach and friends on Saturday.

CNN cannot independently verify the video clips or when they were filmed. Peng has not been seen since she accused one of China's most powerful former leader of sexual assault.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is following the developments for us. So, Paula, what more do we know about the origins of this video and perhaps even a timestamp?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Fredricka, as you say, we don't know exactly when this video was filmed. It was -- it was tweeted out by the Global Times editor, who had also previously tweeted to confirm some images of Peng Shuai that's had been taken and another state-run journalist has said were posted by the Chinese tennis star herself. And had said that those were, in fact, accurate. So, what he has said is that this video clearly shows it was shot on Saturday. Now, within the video itself, we did hear one of the men at the table saying tomorrow, November 20th. Someone next to him then corrected him and said November 21st.

So, in some ways, it was a fairly clumsy way of confirming that it was the end of November. So what we are seeing certainly on social media is even more questions being asked since this video has been released.

And we're hearing from those in the tennis world around the world that they want more proof of the well-being of Peng Shuai. We've heard from the United Nations, we've heard the White House is concerned.

And we've also just recently heard from the world number one Novak Djokovic, talking about his colleague.


NOVAK DJOKOVIC, WORLD NUMBER ONE TENNIS PLAYER: The whole community -- tennis community needs to back her up and her family, and make sure that she's safe and sound. Because if you would have tournaments on the Chinese soil without resolving this situation, it will be a little bit strange.


HANCOCKS: Important to point out just once more, Fredricka, everything we are hearing is from Chinese state media, not directly from the tennis star herself.

WHITFIELD: All right. Paula Hancocks, thank you so much for that.

All right, joining us right now Congressman Jim Langevin. He is a Democrat from Rhode Island and the co-chair of the Congressional Olympic and Paralympic Caucus. And he's calling for a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Games in Beijing. Congressman, so good to see you.

REP. JIM LANGEVIN (D-RI): Good to be with you Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: So, I'll get to the Olympics in a moment. But first, may I ask you, what do you think is happening with Peng Shuai? President Biden has said he wants verifiable proof of her safety. What if anything, can the U.S. do here?


LANGEVIN: Well, these are all disturbing issues and I joined with President Biden in helping to see a concrete proof that Peng Shuai is OK. This is very disconcerting, and we should all be very troubled to those who care about human rights. And the fact that her safety could be compromised, that very, very disturbing.

WHITFIELD: The Women's Tennis Association is saying that it's prepared to pull out all of its tournaments from China. And they estimate that they have more than a $1 billion tied up in the long-term deal with China. It's like a 10-year deal.

So, in your view, does this assist in some leverage of demanding more detail about her whereabouts and well-being?

LANGEVIN: I commend the Chinese organization for that bold statement, and willing to take that kind of action. And the continued world attention, media attention, on Peng Shuai, making sure that we get this the spotlight of accountability on this issue, and hopefully, it pressures the Chinese government to produce verifiable proof that she is OK.

WHITFIELD: President Biden says the U.S. is considering a boycott of some sort, and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik released a statement this week, saying, I'm quoting now, "The Chinese Communist Party has consistently demonstrated their blatant disregard for human life and should never have been rewarded with the hosting of the Olympic Games. I am proud to stand against the Chinese regime, reaping the significant diplomatic benefits of hosting this event."

I mean, Beijing has hosted a Summer Games. Now, with his Winter Games -- hosting of the Winter Games. In your view, is it, you know, appropriate that China is hosting yet another games?

LANGEVIN: I don't think it's appropriate that China is once again hosting the Olympic Games that -- that's a tremendous honor to host an Olympic Game. And the fact that Chinese Communist Party continues its genocide against the Uyghurs, and continued crackdown against the people of Tibet, and also in Hong Kong, is deeply, deeply concerning.

I condemn the actions of the Chinese Communist Party, they should not be rewarded with the games -- the Olympic and Paralympic Games. So, to that end, my four -- the four of us, the co-chairs of the Olympic and Paralympic caucus have introduced to regulate resolution calling for a diplomatic boycott against the Olympic and Paralympic Games, so that we don't send any U.S. officials to China to honor the Chinese government, if you will, or China with the diplomatic presence.

WHITFIELD: So, talk to me about the punishment or the game that you see from a diplomatic boycott, because just think of the athletes who've been training -- and for these American athletes who have been training, anticipating, readying themselves for the games, only for a diplomatic boycott to be exercise at this point. Who do you believe would be punished most greatly here?

LANGEVIN: Well, we want -- we want our athletes to go to China and compete in the games, they spent their whole lives preparing for these Olympic Games, and we don't want to punish our U.S. athletes, or have them sidelined in any way. Whether to go there and actually compete, kick some butt, and show the Chinese Communist Party that the United States is still number one.

That being said, though, we don't want to send U.S. officials over there to legitimize China's hosting of the -- of the games, you know, it's -- wouldn't -- if government hosts a Olympic and Paralympic Games, they are bringing people from around the world and they'd be able to so say, you know, show off their country and say, see how wonderful we are.

We don't want the Chinese Communist Party to have that privilege to have U.S. diplomats there to be able to show off only the best of what China is without acknowledging and showing the abuses against the Uyghurs. Again, the fact that this crackdown against Tibet and Hong Kong. These are serious issues, and I condemn them in the strongest possible terms.

And we -- that the United States is the leader of the free world. And we need to speak out for those who can't.

WHITFIELD: Congressman, Jim Langevin, Thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it, and happy Thanksgiving.

LANGEVIN: Thank you, and happy Thanksgiving.

WHITFIELD: Thank you.


WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, a President Biden's major social spending bill passes the U.S. House, but a potential makeover looms in the U.S. Senate. How will the final deal help the record high prices across the country? We'll discuss next.


WHITFIELD: All right. Happy Birthday, Mr. President. President Biden is celebrating his 79th birthday today. He's also celebrating the passage of his Build Back Better plan by U.S. House Democrats.

The $1.9 trillion spending plan includes a major expansion of the social safety net as well as money to address the climate crisis. The bill now head to the U.S. Senate where it faces more challenges, changes, and an uncertain future.


WHITFIELD: For more now, let's bring in Arlette Saenz at the White House, Arlette good to see you. So what's ahead for this legislation? And is the President confident that he can get this bill through the Senate?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, the President has a lot to celebrate today, but also a lot of hard work stacking up on his plate. Yes, the House passed this major 1.9 social safety net spending package, but it still needs to make its way through the Senate.

Now, the President has called this a giant step forward to fulfilling some of his campaign promises. We take a look at what's in the House version of the bill there, things like universal pre K, also billions of dollars for climate change initiatives, and then also funding for Obamacare subsidies.

But White House officials acknowledged that there is still a long road ahead to get this bill passed in the Senate and changes are expected to be made in order to get all 50 senators on board. That means some of the White House's top priorities like paid family leave may be on the chopping block. But take a listen to President Biden as he spoke to reporters about the state of the bill yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Build Back Better plan, now that it's passed the House, when do you expect it to land on your desk?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't know. It's going to take a while to get through the Senate. I think it'll probably after Thanksgiving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you sign it if it doesn't contain paid family leave?

BIDEN: I will sign it, period.


SAENZ: Now there are a number of factors in play over in the Senate. You have moderates like Senator Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have concerns about elements of the bill. There's also Senator Bernie Sanders, who has concerns about the state and local tax deductions. But the White House insists that the President will be engaging with each of these lawmakers as he's trying to get this bill across the finish line, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Arlette Saenz at the White House. Thanks so much for that.

All right, so the holiday season is here. And with Thanksgiving just days away, many families are struggling. Inflation is leading to rising costs and food and just about everything else. The Department of Agriculture now says Thanksgiving dinner will cost around 5 percent more this year than it did last year. And that's leading some to turn to alternative means to feed their families.

A whole lot more people of this year are feeling food insecure. Coming to us now from Pennsylvania outside of what's known as the Free Store, Free Store founder and Second Lady of the Keystone State Gisele Barreto Fetterman and Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who is running for U.S. Senate in 2022. But we're going to talk about your Free Store. Good to see both of you.

GISELE BARRETO FETTERMAN, FOUNDER, FREE STORE 15104: So good to see you again.

LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): Thanks for having us.

WHITFIELD: Fantastic. So Gisele you first, you know, remind people what the Free Store is all about, who has access to it? How does it work?

G. FETTERMAN: Sure. So Free Store 15104 is nine years old and were in the country's first free stores. And we provide surplus or donated goods that families need and that can look like anything from diapers and formula to food, clothing, toys, and more. We believe we have to meet those specific needs like food, but we also need to provide joy. So today with the food we had flowers so that there's something beautiful in their table, we tried to meet the full needs of a family.

J. FETTERMAN: We just distributed a whole truckload of Trader Joe's food this morning to --

G. FETTERMAN: Yes. So everything is free. Everyone is welcome as long as you can get to us. You don't need to provide your taxes or proof I think those are all dehumanizing steps. You come here to a warm welcoming place and we hope to help fill some of your needs.

WHITFIELD: Oh, so Lieutenant Governor you said you've also deliver food so this is a place where people can come, they line up, I mean in their cars they get out, they pick what they want and at the same time that your, am I understanding you literally that you're also making deliveries?

G. FETTERMAN: He, I mean, I send him often to pick things up.

J. FETTERMAN: Yes. I'm happy to be her go for whatever but in this particular case this morning, I mean it's a lot of donated perfectly first quality food from Trader Joe's sometimes it's from Costco, sometimes it's from other grocery stores. You know what Gisele has done here is provided an avenue for all this tremendous surplus food that would otherwise go to waste to be distributed at no cost to anybody to families and she serves how many families a week here?

G. FETTERMAN: Well, it's about 100 families an hour so it comes out to a lot of families.

J. FETTERMAN: So it's really to her credit, which she recognized a disconnect between, you know, organizations and grocery stores and other retailers with need. And she's the -- she's where it all connects right here.

WHITFIELD: So Gisele you say about 100 families an hour. And are you seeing a sizable increase, you know, in the past few days compared to this time last year? What -- how are you gauging the need? What are you seeing in people and what they need and how bad the situation has grown?


G. FETTERMAN: Sure. So I think last year is an unusual year to compare it to because we were at the height of the pandemic, a lot of folks nearly unemployed. So I think it's been consistent. Around the holidays, I think it's always more challenging because they're looking for that balance, right?

They want to be able to feed their families for Christmas, but also provide a nice, you know, experience same thing with thanksgiving. So, flowers today were a wonderful touch. But the need is always, it's constant. There definitely has been an increase. But I think the last two years are, you know, they've been growing unfortunately, the need.

WHITFIELD: It's getting tougher for so many families across the board. Lieutenant Governor, you know, rising prices, you know, everyone is experiencing them at the grocery store. And it's hitting everyone very hard. So how, in general are people in your state, handling it as the holidays approach, aside from those who are coming to your food store, your Free Store.

J. FETTERMAN: Sure. Well, I think the majority of people that I interact with, and I've been all across this state, in a lot of different rooms, from one corner to the other, I think most people are thankful this Thanksgiving, that compared to a year ago, they're going to be able to see their family, and they all be vaccinated, and we will have an opportunity to come together and remember what we've lost over the course of the pandemic. But there's also a lot to be thankful for in terms of what we're able to do now that we're on the other side of the vaccination debate.

You know, you think back to where we were a year ago, where no one was vaccinated, yet, we weren't sure how successful the vaccine was going to be. You couldn't see your mother, your grandmother without the concern about bringing a deadly virus with you. And a year later, so much is better.

So I think, of course, we're sensitive to the fact that that things might be a little more expensive. But we're also very much thankful for the idea that we're able to celebrate Thanksgiving together, and while acknowledging, you know, nearly 800,000 empty chairs now, since this pandemic is beginning. So I'm actually, you know, glad to where we are a year now versus a year ago.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And First Lady Gisele, I mean, since the nation is experiencing these supply chain issues, so many shortages there bear, you know, shelves in some of the stores, are there any particular items that you wish you had more of? I mean, are you at the Free Store, also experiencing some real shortages in certain categories of need?

G. FETTERMAN: We're really lucky here, somehow our needs are met here. We have really generous folks in organizations in Pittsburgh that really do an amazing job, but I do hear that complaint across the state that is an issue. Here somehow we've been protected.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And I should say a Second Lady, you're number one. You're the number one Second Lady Gisele, how about that. How about that for interaction?

G. FETTERMAN: I appreciate you.

WHITFIELD: All right, well, thank you so much, Lieutenant Governor, and Second Lady. Appreciate what you're doing. And I know people are very grateful all year round, not just at Thanksgiving for what it is that you're doing with the Free Store there.

G. FETTERMAN: Thank you so much, great to see you.

J. FETTERMAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Have a great holiday. Thank you.


All right, coming up, just in time for the busy holiday season, the CDC gives the green light for the COVID booster shot for all adults in the U.S. details on the latest guidance straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Health officials in Michigan are issuing a nearly universal mask guidance as every county in the state is now a high transmission area. It's not alone and seeing upticks in cases. Half of all states are trending in the wrong direction right now. And that makes Friday's approval of booster shots for all adults especially key as the country enters a crucial winter. Nadia Romero is at a vaccination site here in Atlanta. So Nadia, what are you seeing there today?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, we've seen a long line steady traffic of people trying to get in to Viral Solutions here, this vaccination clinic here in Atlanta. Behind me they have a two different wings going, two different tents and four different lanes where people can come up and get your COVID-19 tests. You can get the vaccine and you can get the booster. And as you mentioned, we just received guidance from CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, giving her seal of approval on that booster for people who've taken the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine within the last six months.

And we asked the folks here at Viral Solutions, will that make a difference? And they said absolutely. We already saw a big change in the last two weeks with kids ages five through 11 coming to get their first round of shots. And now with the booster, a recommendation, more people were expected today.

They already had almost 100 people who preregistered for this clinic and they're expecting their numbers to go up over the weekend. We spoke with the CEO and founder and asked him about just what they're seeing, especially now as we get closer to the Thanksgiving holiday. Take a listen.


DR. BEN LEFKOVE, FOUNDER AND CEO, VIRAL SOLUTIONS: So over the past two weeks, we saw a big surge obviously in the five to 11-year old- population. And that was great. A lot of parents bringing their kids in. Really anxious to get their kids vaccinated. My kids were the first ones to get the pediatric vaccine here and I gave it to them myself.

And so we've seen that. So there's a good mix of children coming in and getting vaccinated. And now we are seeing a bump in the adult vaccination as well since that booster recommendation went out yesterday. We did see a little bump in our preregistration for the adult booster.



ROMERO: And so many people are preparing to travel, gather, be with friends and family because so many of us canceled those plans or really scaled back our Thanksgiving holiday last year, now finally being able to do more of that this time around.

And Fred, you mentioned the winter wave. We're already seeing in the north -- in the Midwest, places like Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Also in Colorado, Department of Defense is sending some 20 nurses to a one particular hospital to help them out with staffing shortages. And that's what we're seeing in our healthcare system, staffing shortages, plus COVID-19, especially those who are unvaccinated. They're needing their aid and health systems all across the country as cases continue to rise, Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right, still big concerns for good reasons. Nadia Romero, thank you so much.

All right, coming up, look at NASA's historic mission to search for life in outer space.



WHITFIELD: All right, NASA is preparing to launch a powerful new space telescope that they hope will answer complex questions about the origins of our galaxy and the possibility of life on other planets. Now the new CNN film "The Hunt for Planet B" provides a revealing look at this historic mission. Our Kristin Fisher has a preview.


KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Hubble Space Telescope has been beaming back images, transforming our understanding of the universe for more than 30 years. Now, its successor, a telescope 100 times more powerful is just weeks away from launch. The James Webb Space Telescope is designed to answer humanity's most existential questions. Are we alone in the universe? And where did that first light in the cosmos come from?

PAUL GEITHNER, WEBB DEPUTY PROJECT MANAGER: I think it's grace discoveries are going to be answers to questions that we have yet to ask or imagine.

FISHER (voice-over): Webb's deputy project manager Paul Geithner was hired by NASA 30 years ago, to help fix Hubble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was the mechanical version of eye surgery endeavors 11 day fix it mission in space was to install corrective mirrors. So the near sighted and nearly $2 billion Hubble Space Telescope can do what it's supposed to do, see. FISHER (voice-over): But once in space, Webb can't be repaired by astronauts, it will be too far away, orbiting the Sun at a distance four times further away from Earth than the moon. The telescope is also so big about the size of a tennis court that it can't fit on top of a rocket fully intact.

GEITHNER: We had to design it so it can be folded up and then unfold in space. So it's the origami observatory.

FISHER (voice-over): With more than 300 single points of failure. And each one could prove to be fatal to the mission success.

LEE FEINBERG, WEBB OPTICAL TELESCOPE ELEMENT MANAGER: We went to build the telescope this big unless we needed to. And you need to build a telescope this big if you want to look the very dimmest, most earliest galaxies in the universe.

FISHER (voice-over): Webb will be launching on a European rocket from French Guiana, a nod to the telescopes international partners, Europe and Canada. But just getting to this launch pad has cost nearly $9 billion more than initially projected. And it's about a decade overdue.

(on camera): Was there ever a moment where you thought, man, I just don't know if this is going to happen.

GEITHNER: There were numerous existential crises, both technical and programmatic through the life of the mission. But I guess we're all eternal optimists. And we persevered and made it happen.

Kristen Fisher, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: And be sure to tune in the all new CNN film "The Hunt for Planet B" premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. only on CNN.

All right, the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2021 have been announced and one of whom will be named the CNN Hero of the Year by you, our viewers. This week, we reintroduce you to CNN Hero, Dr. Ala Stanford.


DR. ALA STANFORD, PEDIATRICIAN: African Americans were dying at a rate greater than any other group in Philadelphia. So I jumped in. We were intentional about getting black and brown communities to access in care they need it. Those who are most vulnerable, they need to have the support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm done. I feel great.

STANFORD: Just seeing folks come out day in and day out, their presence says everything.

Yes. And she's smiling. There was all this narrative. Black people don't want the vaccine, but they were lined up, we had to earn the trust of the people. You know, it's saving lives, the data shows it, I could not allow one additional life to be lost when I knew that I could do something about it. Everything we did was for them to make sure they can get the care they deserve.



WHITFIELD: And go to right now to place your vote for the CNN Hero of the Year. And we'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: All right, hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me I'm Fredricka Whitfield. All right, we start with the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial strong reactions pouring in from across the country. On Friday, a jury acquitting the teenager on all charges for killing two people and shooting another during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year. That verdict is sparking a lot of unrest in some parts of the country.


Protesters gathering in several cities across the country overnight in Portland, Oregon. Police declared a riot after they said demonstration demonstrators rather forced open the gate to the county's downtown jail and threw bottles and other objects at police.