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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Beijing's Top Health Authority Stops Publishing Daily Case Figures; Week After Christmas Is Deadliest Of The Year For Heart Attacks; Shipping Delays Caused By Extreme Weather. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 26, 2022 - 05:30   ET



KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Reporting half a million new COVID infections every day.

In Dongguan -- this is a major manufacturing hub in the south. It's home to 10 million people. Officials there are seeing between 250,000 and 350,000 new cases a day.

And in Zhejiang province -- this is located just south of Shanghai -- officials there are reporting more than one million new COVID cases every day. Now, context is key here. This is a province of 64 million people, so by CNN calculations, that is just over 1,500 new daily infections for every 100,000 people.

A Zhejiang health official there says that the current wave of infection is expected to peak around New Year's Day -- that's roughly a week from now -- with two million new cases of COVID-19 every day.

Back to you, Whitney.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN ANCHOR: Kristie Lu Stout, thank you so much.

All right. Peru is in political crisis following a growing national protest in the aftermath of the ouster and impeachment of its former president, Pedro Castillo. The Peruvian government is accusing Mexico of interfering in its internal affairs as Castillo's family seeks asylum there.

CNN's Rafael Romo has more.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): Upon arriving in Mexico, they were received as distinguished guests by immigration authorities who handed them migration documents.


ROMO (voice-over): Mexican President confirmed Wednesday the wife and two minor children of former Peruvian President Pedro Castillo were granted asylum at the Mexican Embassy in Lima after he was impeached by the South American country's congress following his attempt to dissolve it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ROMO (voice-over): The former Mexican ambassador to Peru also confirmed that Pedro Castillo asked for asylum but was detained by Peruvian authorities before he was able to reach the Mexican Embassy building in Lima.

Now, the former president -- seen there the day he was detained -- faces charges of rebellion and conspiracy.

Peru's new government is furious about President Lopez Obrador's public support of former President Castillo, going as far as ordering the Mexican ambassador to Peru to leave the country and declaring him persona non grata.

ROMO (on camera): The political crisis has become an international saga with the new Peruvian government accusing Mexico of meddling in its internal affairs. And Mexico saying the due process rights of Pedro Castillo were violated when he was ousted. But Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador didn't stop there. He also railed against the U.S. government.

OBRADOR (through translator): And I, to be honest, am very sorry that the United States government, which always talks about democracy -- in this case, instead of asking that the will of the people be respected, that the democratically-elected president be respected -- what they end up doing is endorsing all the shady maneuvers to remove the president.

ROMO (voice-over): More specifically, the Mexican president criticized the recent meeting U.S. ambassador to Peru Lisa Kenna held with current Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, who succeeded Castillo, as well as other officials in the new government. He also criticized the fact that the White House recognizes Boluarte as the legitimate president of Peru when Mexico still considers Castillo, the South American country's true president.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Embassy in Lima said on Twitter that "The United States reaffirms its respect for the democratic institutions in Peru and rejects any misinformation that promotes contrary ideas. We continue to support of the people of Peru and call for peace and unity."

President Lopez Obrador is expected to host both U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in early January for the North American Leaders' Summit to be held in Mexico City.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


WILD: Rafael, thank you.

Headlines from around the globe right now. China is sending 71 planes across the Taiwan Strait in a show of aggression. This, after President Biden signed a huge U.S. spending bill that includes money to help modernize Taiwan's military.

Ten skiers that were feared lost or missing after an Austrian avalanche on Sunday have now been found alive. Four are injured, but only one seriously.

Police in Brazil have arrested a man accused of planting explosive devices one week ahead of the presidential inauguration there. Police say the suspect identified others in the plot and more arrests are coming.

Russia's Defense Ministry says three servicemen have been killed after a Ukrainian drone was shot down as it approached a Russian airfield.

Meanwhile, President Putin says he wants to negotiate over Ukraine, but Kyiv and its supporters have refused talks.

CNN's Nic Robertson has more.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): This year's war in Ukraine, the biggest land war in Europe since 1945, is both a symptom of diplomacy's limits and a harbinger with potential decay to come.


Russian President Vladimir Putin's unprovoked aggression is yet to be tamed by sanction or reason despite diplomatic outreach.

OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: (through translator): I believe it's right to have constant discussions. There must be a moment where Russia realizes that it needs to get out of this situation.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): China's Xi Jinping, whose increasingly bellicose diplomacy defying claims to Taiwan, is watching Ukraine, learning possible international limits on his own potential land grab.

Scholz, who is picking up his predecessor Angela Merkel's peacemaking mantle, used his recent visit to Beijing to try to shut down Russia's war and head off one over Taiwan.

SCHOLZ (through translator): It is important for China to use its influence on Russia. It is about principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Twenty-twenty-two has tested diplomacy more than any other year in decades.

On the upside, democracies have risen to the challenge. Diplomatic unity in the face of Russian aggression.

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): As war returns to European soil, we need to become brothers in arms once more.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): On the downside, it's shown diplomatic words alone won't work. They need to be backed by military muscle.

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: What happens at the negotiating table depends on what happens on the battlefield. Therefore, the best way to increase the chances for a peaceful solution is to support Ukraine. We will not back down.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The past year is setting the stage for diplomatic storms to come.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We will defend ourselves with all available means at our disposal.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Putin continues to tease the threat of a nuclear strike, potentially taking diplomacy in 2023 to its limits.

FERNANDO ARIAS, ORGANIZATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS: It does exacerbate the existing tensions to a point where unity of the international community cannot be presumed.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Add to this the increasing tensions with China and 2023 is shaping up to be an even challenge than 2022.

RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We recognize China poses a systemic challenge to our values and interests -- a challenge that grows more acute as it moves towards even greater authoritarianism.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Paradoxically, another growing challenge, climate change, perhaps offers a way out of the downward diplomatic spiral -- a need to combat global warming together.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE: And we have been working very closely -- without China -- even if the U.S. is, as we are, moving towards a 1.5-degree program, which we are -- if we don't have China, nobody else can make it to that goal.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): As with previous years, 2023 will offer opportunity to develop diplomatic off-ramps, perhaps none more poignant than the G7 to be hosted by Japan in Hiroshima.

There will be another climate summit, too. But as this year's COP 27 in Egypt showed, during global economic hardship domestic politics trump collective salvation.

The G20, in India, could be a place where compromises are made. The war in Ukraine would be in its 19th month and by then, battlefield realties hard to ignore despite Putin's new threats of a long war.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This will end, and it will end almost certainly with diplomacy, with a negotiation. But what I think we have to see is a just and durable peace, not a phony peace.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): So, the big diplomatic question for 2023, how to get Putin to agree. The answer may lie in the soaring food and energy costs triggered by the war. If the global situation worsens, collective pressure for some kind of peace will increase. The test of 2023 -- what to do if Putin ignores the warnings.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


WILD: Nic, thank you.

Ahead, delivery delays. You are not the only one whose holiday gifts never arrived. And why there are more heart attacks this week than at any other time of year. All that coming up next.



WILD: Welcome back to CNN. It is about 5:43 here on the east coast.

There are more heart attack deaths in the U.S. between the week -- during the week between Christmas and New Year's than compared to any other week of the year. The deadliest day, December 25. That is followed by December 26. And then, ranking third, January 1.

So I've never heard of this, so let's bring in Dr. Gregory Janis. He's a cardiologist at NYU Langone Health.

So, Dr. Janis, why is this -- why is this week of the year so dangerous?

DR. GREGORY S. JANIS, CARDIOLOGIST, NYU LANGONE HEALTH: Well, it's really unclear as to exactly why the mechanism of heart attack is strongest during this time of the year, but there's a lot of theories as to -- as to why. Many different things are contributing to it we think. We're not -- the scientific evidence isn't pointing exactly towards a specific thing but it's probably a conglomeration of things.

WILD: And what are some of those things? I mean, the weather is bad, you're probably drinking a lot, not eating very healthy, family stress. Are those some of the main risk factors? How do these things that are sort of going on externally impact your internal health?

JANIS: I mean, you took the words right out of my mouth right there.

So, we often deviate from our normal routines during this time of year, whether we are not exercising as much or we are not sleeping as well. And then there's always the stress and the anxiety that the holidays always bring. And whether it's about money, or your family, or about your jobs, the stress and anxiety of things certainly play a role.

And I absolutely think that the overindulgence in alcohol and sodium play a big role. The more we drink, the more sodium we have, the more unhealthy we are, and the more we have a tendency to ignore our health at that time. WILD: So what are the warning signs for a heart attack? And is it

true that the warning signs are not totally similar for -- or not totally the same for men and women? That they might present a little bit differently?


JANIS: Yes, that has definitely always been the case.

The classic symptom of chest discomfort, chest pain, chest pressure -- however you are going to describe it -- is something that is not always what happens, particularly during the holidays. But usually, it's chest pain or chest pressure. Discomfort is brought on by exertion and relieved by rest.

But shortness of breath can often be a symptom that people present with.

And another way that -- especially during the holidays -- that's often misdiagnosed is when people think they have indigestion. Whether it be heartburn, or abdominal pain, or something anywhere in this region that is unusual for you, particularly if it persists and particularly if it's associated with feeling sweaty or just unwell and persists over any period of time, it's something to pay attention to and to seek treatment for immediately.

WILD: What should you do at the immediate onset of a suspected heart attack? What can you do at home? I mean, is this the kind of thing you take aspirin? You've called 911 and you're waiting for the paramedics to arrive, and then what do you do?

JANIS: Well, chewing two baby aspirin is definitely one of the ways to get a quick dose of a blood thinner into your system. And you are in the throws of a heart attack due to a blood clot that is causing your symptoms, this can help mitigate the way -- the heart attack and make it less severe. That is for sure.

And it's just about getting care immediately. I can't stress enough how important it is to seek medical care if there is any distress or any type of symptom that you are particularly worried about.

WILD: All right, Dr. Gregory Janis. Thank you.

JANIS: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

WILD: Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING," flu season hit especially hard this year. Why experts warn that it could spike once again.

And next, right here on EARLY START, holiday gifts delayed by bad weather. So it's not just you, it's everybody.



WILD: Welcome back to EARLY START. Maybe it was the perfect excuse, maybe it was the worst-case scenario

-- but either way, a lot of packages did not come in time for Christmas because this huge Christmas blizzard just decimated the supply chain.

So let's bring in CNN Business reporter Nathaniel Meyersohn. Nathaniel, so what actually happened on the ground? Was it air travel? Was it -- was it rail? Was it trucking? Either way, I mean, the storm had an impact on Christmas gift orders.

NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Right, Whitney. So, this storm could not have come at a worse time for those last-minute Christmas gifts.

UPS had to shut its hubs in Kentucky and Illinois. FedEx had to shut hubs in Memphis and Indianapolis -- and FedEx is based in Memphis, so a huge hit there. The Postal Service had to close 89 facilities. And Amazon shut down deliveries in some of the areas impacted by the storm. So we're really focusing on those hubs -- delivery hubs that get you your deliveries.

And this is, of course, the busiest time of the year for these -- for these companies, so it couldn't have come at a worse time. And then, we also think about the stores and malls that had to close because of the storm. So let's hope that they're able to make up some of these deliveries this week as conditions get better, and stores can reopen.

But again, a huge hit to those last-minute deliveries and shopping season.

WILD: But it's hard because if the gift comes after Christmas -- like, what's the point in giving it, right? I mean, who wants a Lego set sitting around for the next six months until a birthday or something?

So, the problem is people might want to return that stuff and now stores are actually charging customers for returning those items online. So what can you tell us about that?

MEYERSOHN: Right. So you may have to return some of those items and that's bad news for stores. So we love free online returns because we can order anything and then bring it back. But the stores and companies hate it because it winds up back on their shelves or in their warehouses.

And we returned $816 billion in merchandise last year, so stores are saying we've had enough. Zara, H&M, Abercrombie -- they're all starting to charge for free online returns, and other companies are shortening their return windows. So, stores are saying we've had enough.

WILD: All right, Nathaniel Meyersohn. Thank you.

A deadly winter storm leaving thousands of Americans without power and many more with their holiday travel plans ruined. The areas hardest hit ahead on "CNN THIS MORNING." (COMMERCIAL)


WILD: Tom Brady delivers a Christmas Day comeback as the Buccaneers rally to beat the Cardinals in overtime.

Carolyn Manno has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Carolyn, how did he do it?


You know what? There were a few times on Christmas night where Tom Brady looked more like the Grinch than the man in red. We've seen the quarterback cast as a pretty frustrated figure on the sidelines a few times already this season.

But in the end, in his 331st start, he put on the show that we've come to expect. How'd he do it? Because he's Tom Brady. He always does it.

It was a pretty -- it was not really a pretty game by his standards. He threw a pair of interceptions to Marco Wilson in regulation -- the second one coming while the game was tied at six in the third quarter. And then, with eight minutes left in the fourth, the Buccaneers found themselves down 10 and Brady would go to work after that.

It was a third and goal situation. He found Rachaad White to cut the Cardinals' lead down to three. And then from there, Tampa Bay would force overtime. The 45-year-old quarterback looking like his old self. Brady ended up completing all six of his passes on a drive of 69 yards and then coming up clutch when it mattered the most.

Kicker Ryan Succop capping of Brady's 57th career game-winning drive as the Bucs keep their playoff hopes alive with a 19-16 win.

Elsewhere, the Dolphins taking on the Packers. It was 46 degrees at kickoff. And if it was, in fact, that cold, that's the coldest home game since 1989 for Miami. But that didn't seem to bother the Dolphins one bit early on.

Tua Tagovailoa finding Jaylen Waddle for the 84-yard touchdown in the opening quarter. Good luck catching that guy.

The second half, though, was all Packers. AJ Dillon running this one in for the score in the third quarter to tie the game up a 20.

And then in the fourth quarter, the Green Bay defense really came to life and they might have saved the Packers' season. They would pick off Tua three straight times, the final one coming with just about 90 seconds left, to seal the 26-20 win.

Jaire Alexander had one of those three interceptions. Listen to how he hilariously broke this down for us.


JAIRE ALEXANDER, GREEN BAY PACKERS CORNERBACK: So, I'm just lining up. I see number 10 motion over.


ALEXANDER: Hey, Jones!

I see number 10 coming across the field and I said oh, snap -- he fast. So I backed off. When I backed off, I seen him coming. He ran right in front of me and I was like wow, is he really overthrowing it? Huh?

Took it down the sidelines and turned it over to my God, and gave the football to a little kid wearing 23.


MANNO: Talk about painting a picture. We normally don't get that kind of description.

The game of the night in the NBA belonging to the Nuggets and the Suns. We're picking this one up in the fourth. Denver found themselves down two with 15 seconds to play. And then, Jamal Murray would find the lane to slam home the dunk and tie it up at 113.

So that meant overtime, and that's where Aaron Gordon would take flight, literally. I mean, check out these monster dunks. He's called for an offensive foul at first but that would be overturned. So he would make the free throws and the Nuggets would hold on to win this thrilled 128-125.

And look at this, Whitney. The Buffalo Bills had to spend Christmas morning in Chicago after their win on Saturday, but ended up flying into Rochester as the airport in Buffalo remained closed because of all that terrible weather that you've been talking about.

So the team was greeted by diehard Bills fans who made the trip out there. And then, when they took buses back to the facility at Orchard Park, they would come to find their vehicles buried under an incredible amount of snow.

This is Bills' safety Damar Hamlin documenting this crazy scene on Instagram. I think that they probably could have used a couple more shovels. But just wild to end after a game like this, Whitney, and then see your car completely buried in snow.

So week 16, a winter wonderland for sure. You had eight games kicking off with below-freezing temperatures on Saturday over the weekend.