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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

FDA Expands Booster Eligibility To Children Ages 12-15; Democrats To Intensify Push For Voting Rights Protections; Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young Scores Career-High 56 Points. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 04, 2022 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The stock settled back slightly to close in a market cap of $2.99 trillion, a figure all the more remarkable because of how fast Apple got there.

It took 42 years from its launch in a Bay Area garage to reach its first trillion dollars in value. It took just two years to hit the second trillion. Getting to the third trillion -- oh, it just took 16 1/2 months. The stock is up 35 percent last year.

Apple won't be alone for long. Analysts think Microsoft could follow its tech titan rival into the three-mile-high club within the next few months -- remarkable.

EARLY START continues right now.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Exactly 30 minutes past the hour this Tuesday morning. That means it's time for our top stories to keep an eye on today.

As Omicron surges and more children are in the hospital, parents are bracing for schools to go back online. Politicians are vowing to keep classrooms open, trying to reassure parents they won't be left in the lurch on childcare, unemployment, and their hope the pandemic's end was in sight.

JARRETT: The FBI is now helping investigate last week's wildfires in Boulder County, Colorado. Two people are still missing as authorities survey the damage and look for the cause. The fire has destroyed nearly 1,000 buildings. The only hospital in the town of Louisville remains closed because of smoke damage.

ROMANS: After 30 years in office, veteran Democratic Illinois congressman and civil rights activist Bobby Rush will not be seeking another term, according to several reports. He joins 23 other Democrats who have said they will not be seeking reelection as their party tries to cling to its slim House majority.

JARRETT: In New York, a federal judge has dismissed charges against two prison guards who admitted to falsifying records the night that convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein died in jail. Tova Noel and Michael Thomas were accused of failing to check on Epstein in prison after he was placed on suicide watch.

ROMANS: Toyota is set to make history today and become the top- selling auto company in the U.S. General Motors has held the title for almost a century. Both companies forecast to report sharp drops in sales last quarter with, of course, computer chips still in short supply.

JARRETT: And still, no Powerball winner. Christine, there's still time for you.

ROMANS: (Laughing).

JARRETT: The jackpot is going into orbit. The next drawing is tomorrow. The estimated jackpot now $575 million.

And I know Christine always says take the payout.

ROMANS: I do, but I also never, ever play the lottery. That's what you know about me. Fully fund your 401k and 529s, folks. Leave the lottery aside.

All right, the FDA greenlighting Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine booster shot for children ages 12 to 15. The agency also shortening how long you need to wait for your booster if you received the Pfizer vaccine. Everyone 12 and older now eligible after just five months. That's instead of six. The CDC director is expected to sign off as soon as tomorrow.

Some families in Texas went for boosters before heading back to class.


JAYNA KHATTI, 15-YEAR-OLD GETTING BOOSTER: I was at basketball practice and I just got in the car and my mom was like we're going to get your booster today.

TENNIE MCFARLAND, 15-YEAR-OLD GETTING BOOSTER: I was worried it was going to be a long time before we got, but I think it's good because we're about to do a lot of traveling for like sports and stuff. So I'm glad I got it now.

DAWN MOSHIER, CAMPBELL PHARMACY: It's been busy. It's been nice. I mean, this is what we've been wanting.


JARRETT: Glad to see it busy.

The Omicron variant has been disrupting kids returning to physical classrooms across the country.

The former acting head of the CDC says it could be a rough few weeks here, folks, but he sees a reason for optimism.


DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, CDC: As Omicron goes through -- and it's going through at an enormously high and fast rate -- it will leave behind, hopefully, people who have some protection against whatever variant comes next. If that's truly the case, in the next six week-two months we could be starting to see the endgame for this pandemic.


JARRETT: It's time for three questions in three minutes. Let's bring in Dr. Elizabeth Murray. She's a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Doctor Murray, it's so nice to see you this morning.

This news from the FDA on expanding the booster -- something like five million kids now eligible. What are you looking for when the CDC advisers meet tomorrow?

DR. ELIZABETH MURRAY, PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN, GOLISANO CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER (via Skype): I'm going to let a little nerd energy out. I am very excited with the ACEF meeting tomorrow. I love these meetings -- these advisory council meetings. They are jampacked full of great information.

They are open to the public. They are livestreamed. I highly encourage people to watch what you can because the discussion is robust and great and you get to see these great minds kind of go through all the data.

So, I'm expecting to see a safety update and then the data saying why they think a five-month window is the right window. And so, let's see what they have to show us. I always like to say let's see the data before we cast an opinion. And so, I'm very much looking forward to it.


As a mother of a 12-year-old who is approaching the five-month mark, I'm definitely very interested to see what the data tells us.

ROMANS: Yes, I'm right at the five-month mark, too, for two of my kids, so I'm real, real interested to see what this is going to mean and how quickly we can do this.

I want you to listen to what the surgeon general of Florida said yesterday on COVID testing.


DR. JOSEPH LADAPO, FLORIDA SURGEON GENERAL: My department's goal is going to be to put out testing that doesn't restrict access to testing but reduces the use of low-value testing and prioritizes high-value testing. So, you know, if your -- if your grandmother gets a test, that's a much high -- much more valuable test than the 8-year-old third-graders that Los Angeles County is sending in to get weekly testing, right? The first one is going to -- is much more likely to change outcomes.


ROMANS: About changing outcomes, does this targeted testing strategy have merit, in your view?

MURRAY: Well, I think it depends on what our priorities are, and I don't think they have to be mutually exclusive. I get nervous when we're kind of pitting one thing against --


MURRAY: -- another. The strategies can be different.

Making sure that the elderly -- perhaps, a more vulnerable person -- has early access to things like monoclonals or other treatment to prevent them from going to the hospital if they become sick certainly is very, very valuable.

But keeping kids in school and adults in the school buildings, all safe, is also critically important. And so, the goal there is really keeping the germ out of school because we do have adults and we do have vulnerable children in schools.

So, there's layers of protection that we need to focus on. Testing is definitely one of them but it's not the be-all-end-all as a week of now 300,000 pediatric cases in the United States -- blowing by the previous record of 250,000. Hearing from my colleagues in Kansas City that some schools are going mask-optional this week is certainly very, very concerning to me. I think we need to continue with these layers of protection -- testing being one important part.

JARRETT: You know, part of it seems to be symptomatic of the fact that we just don't have an effective testing strategy -- so, essentially, we're rationing the tests because we don't have enough of them. And we certainly don't have them distributed in a comprehensive and uniform way.

I want to talk to you about this data on hospitalizations because we're trying to focus more on that number and less on these explosive case counts, but focusing on the hospitalizations. It seems to be hard to parse out when people are going and getting hospitalized because of COVID -- because they've been diagnosed with COVID -- and when they go to the hospital for something else. But then, while they're there, it turns out they test positive.

Can you help us parse this out? What are you seeing in the E.R.?

MURRAY: Yes, I think it's really important to level set. You know, we have these fabulous electronic medical records -- some are fabulous, at least -- and we have to remember that they were not created to be searchable databases. They are created to be patient-specific data transfer devices, meaning my electronic medical record can stick with me and providers from perhaps different institutions can look at it. But it's not meant to be universally searchable.

So, getting this data on who is vaccinated or not, or whether they're symptomatic or not symptomatic -- that actually has to be done almost on a person-by-person level so you can see the sheer manpower involved in just getting the data is quite great.

I think whether you are admitted to the hospital because of complications from COVID versus you are in the hospital and -- for other reasons and are also found to have COVID, it's still important because it matters on where you are placed in the hospital. It matters on the equipment that is used to take care of you. You know, it certainly is very real. We know that pre-symptomatic people can certainly spread disease, especially in light of Omicron.

So, I think that it's making -- people want an answer and they want to figure out how they can get through this safely and getting this data feels very, very important. But I think the presence of the germ in the hospital is what we need to worry about because if it's there it can spread to others. And we need to be very careful to make sure that it does not spread to the vulnerable patients or the other patients in the hospital.

ROMANS: Yes, it's all a huge challenge. I mean, it just means we have all these people in the hospital seeking care and we have a very stressed out healthcare community. Am I right? I mean, I've been talking to doctors --


ROMANS: -- and nurses who are saying that this is -- this is really tough, especially when you have people who have to stay home and quarantine for five days, right, after they've had a positive test themselves.


MURRAY: Definitely, definitely. I mean, my colleagues and I are really realizing and appreciating this is what the adult medicine colleagues experienced a year-year and a half ago. Everybody is getting sick right now.

ROMANS: All right, Dr. Elizabeth Murray, pediatric emergency physician. Thank you so much for your time again this morning, and thank you for everything that you're doing.

JARRETT: Yes. Stay safe, Dr. Murray. Thank you.


Later today, President Biden will address the nation on COVID's astonishing spread through the country. But Omicron isn't the only battle he's fighting right now. He also wants to get his sweeping economic agenda passed before the midterms in November as Democrats pressure him to do something on voting rights.

CNN's Jasmine Wright is live in Washington for us this morning. Jasmine, I understand Democrats want to make a real push to pass voting rights legislation in the coming days. Obviously, the anniversary of the January sixth attack this week. So, what's their plan?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. Look, it's a bold plan from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. He says that the chamber will consider and eventually vote, potentially, on whether or not to change the Senate filibuster -- excuse me, Senate filibuster rules to allow voting rights legislation to pass with 50 votes only right now. It needs 60.

And it's a particularly bold plan Laura because he wants to do this first by January 17th, which is the MLK Day. But also, because right now, they do not have enough votes to do so. He says that this plan will only come into fruition if Republicans really decline to vote for this latest Democratic attempt to pass a voting rights bill.

But because of those Senate holdouts -- Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema -- they don't have 50 votes, which means that him putting this bill on the floor -- or this consideration on the floor really is kind of putting the football back into their hands, saying I dare you to vote this down.

But, of course, both Schumer and President Biden are under a lot of pressure from Democrats, as you said, and civil rights activists to make some moves when it comes to voting rights legislations as they face Republican legislature after legislature across the country passing restrictive voting rights. Democrats are pushing them to move, so this is Chuck Schumer's answer.

In a letter to Democrats and a dear colleagues letter, Schumer wrote that "The weaponization of rules once meant to short-circuit obstruction have been hijacked to guarantee obstruction." There, he's talking about the filibuster. He says that "We must adapt. The Senate must evolve like it has many times before. The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history."

So, there, pretty clear from Schumer that he wants to see something.

Now, of course, for the president's part, overall, the president -- and I think it's fair to say -- is really supportive of Schumer. They talk pretty frequently. And, of course, President Biden himself has been inching closer and closer, Laura, to really accepting that nothing about voting rights will change unless they kind of address the filibuster.

So recently, right before the new year, Biden said that he would support a filibuster carveout and said it's the biggest issue of the time. And, of course, this comes as both the Senate and the White House are marching towards that January sixth anniversary where the issue of democracy will be front and center for both leaders, Chuck Schumer and President Biden -- Laura.

JARRETT: Jasmine, thank you.

We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


ROMANS: A wave of tragic deaths after wet winter weather in the southeast over the past 24 hours. In Tennessee, a 7-year-old was killed early Monday morning. A tree fell onto a home near Knoxville. In the Atlanta area, a 5-year-old boy in Dekalb County died when a tree fell on this home just after 5:00 a.m. on Monday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The crews made entry to make a rescue -- make a rescue and heard people screaming at the time. Overnight, we had pretty good wind. And obviously, the rain that we've been having, the ground has been real soft.


JARRETT: In Maryland, three people were killed after an SUV and snowplow collided in Montgomery County on Monday evening. More than a foot of snow had fallen there.

A live look near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Travel on one of the busiest stretches of I-95 at a total standstill for hours, due to snow, debris, and multiple accidents. From Georgia to Maryland, almost 370,000 customers remain in the dark this morning.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this Tuesday morning. Happy new year, investors -- a record Monday.

Right now, looking at markets around the world, you can see a big jump in Tokyo shares. Hong Kong and Shanghai essentially mixed, and Europe has opened higher. On Wall Street, stock index futures this Tuesday morning, leaning higher again.

Record highs for the Dow and the S&P. The Nasdaq also higher Monday -- optimism the economy can overcome surging COVID cases.

Coming up today, a read on U.S. manufacturing and a check on the great resignation, as it's known. The Labor Department reports the number of job openings and the number of quits in November. A near-record number of Americans have been quitting their jobs in previous months, matched by a near-record number of new businesses being created.

AT&T and Verizon postponing their 5G rollouts near airports for a couple of weeks, preventing any disruptions to air travel and shipping and potential legal battles here. In December, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it planned to ban pilots from using a key aircraft instrument that 5G signals could interfere with -- something that might have led to flight delays and diversions.

Officials in the aviation industry were planning to sue the FCC to keep the rollout from happening on January fifth.

All right, the world could consume more oil this year than ever before. As pandemic restrictions eased, global energy demand rebounded strongly in 2021 and it's expected to rise further this year. The International Energy Agency predicts global oil demand will increase by 3.3 million barrels per day next year, and 99.5 (sic) million barrels per day, matching the pre-pandemic record in 2019.

It underscores just how dependent the world is on fossil fuels still, despite huge investments to address the climate crisis.





JARRETT: David Bowie's entire songwriting catalog purchased by Warner Music Group. "Variety" reporting the price as upwards of $250 million. Bowie, who died back in 2016, put out 400 songs on 26 albums during his five-decade career.

Other big artists have sold the rights to their catalogs, including Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, and most recently, Bruce Springsteen, who might have set a record, selling his to Sony Music for a whopping $500 million.

ROMANS: All right.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger emotional winning his last home game in Pittsburgh.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.


You know, Ben Roethlisberger is a Steelers legend. He won two Super Bowls. He won more games in the black and gold than any other quarterback ever, and it's not even close.

And the fans there in Pittsburgh giving Big Ben an awesome farewell. "Let's go, Ben" chants breaking out throughout the night. Tons of fans rocking the number seven jerseys, and tons of signs also throughout Heinz Field.

And then, Roethlisberger had a rough night passing but threw this touchdown to Diontae Johnson in the first quarter. Then, at the end of the game, after taking a knee one last time at Heinz Field, Roethlisberger's teammates would surround him.

Steelers win 26-14 to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Roethlisberger getting emotional afterwards, saying that playing in front of Steelers fans for the past 18 years has been incredible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BEN ROETHLISBERGER, QUARTERBACK, PITTSBURGH STEELERS: But I'm so thankful and blessed to be able to call this place home for almost half my life -- in front of these fans and seeing all the signs and all the jerseys and --

FAN: We love you, Ben. We love you.

ROETHLISBERGER: -- and just to come out here, I just -- I don't know. I've been so blessed and I'm just so thankful.


SCHOLES: All right, just one day after leaving the Buccaneers in the middle of the game, Antonio Brown showed up courtside at last night's Mets-Grizzlies game in Brooklyn. And while Brown's future remains unclear, he was not officially released by the team yesterday.

Now, on Sunday, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians said Brown was no longer a Buc after he stripped off his jersey and ran off the field mid-game. Arians said yesterday it was tough how it all went down.


BRUCE ARIANS, HEAD COACH, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: I wish him well. I hope if he needs help, get some. And -- but, yes, I -- it's very hard because I do care about him.


SCHOLES: All right, to the NBA. Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young putting on a show against the Blazers last night. Trae scoring a career-high 56 points, making seven of 12 three-point attempts to go along with 14 assists. The only player in NBA history to have both a 55-plus-point night and at least 14 assists in the same game.

But it still wasn't enough to get a win. Portland takes it 136-131 and hands Atlanta its 10 loss -- 10th loss in the last 14 games.

All right, and the fans who fell from the stands at FedExField when a railing broke say they were not offered on-site medical attention contrary to the Washington Football Team's statement on Sunday. According to an ESPN report, one of the fans said the only person who asked if everyone was OK was Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who narrowly avoided the falling railing himself.

Multiple fans also said the staff told them to get the F off the field after they had fallen.

In a statement, the Washington Football Team said the safety of their fans is of the utmost importance and they are looking into what happened.

All right. And finally, Titans season ticketholder Chad Davis had the thrill of watching his team win the AFC South on Sunday. But the thrill turned into panic when he noticed on his two-hour drive home from the stadium that his wedding ring with the Titans logo on it was missing. He asked for help on Twitter, saying "Sick to my stomach. Was sitting in section 202. Please share in case someone found it. I would pay to recover it."

Well, Titans president Burke Nihill saw the post and sent the security guard to go try to find it. And guess what? One of them did. Nihill posting a picture of the ring, saying "All good, Chad. Someone will be in touch about how to get it back to you."

You know, losing a ring in a stadium, guys, has got to make you pretty nervous.

ROMANS: I know.

SCHOLES: But, you know, a great happy ending to that story, and pretty impressive they found it so quickly.

ROMANS: I want to know. Is his wife's name on that ring or just the Titans logo?

JARRETT: I was going to say I have a lot of questions. Why is the Titans logo on his wedding ring?

SCHOLES: Did he marry the Titans?

ROMANS: Like, two loves -- the Titans and my wife. All right -- at least she knew what she was up for. She knew -- she knew what his loves were.


ROMANS: Nice to see you, Andy. Great news for them.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: Thanks, Andy.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us this Tuesday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Tuesday, January fourth. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

This morning, record highs in the number of new coronavirus cases. The U.S. seven-day rolling average of cases now stands at a record 400,000. And now, more than 103,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized with coronavirus. It's the first time the total has reached six figures in nearly four months.