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New Day

Covid Cases Rise Sharply; Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) is Interviewed about His Win; Manhunt for Passenger who discharged gun at Airport; Cari Champion is Interviewed about Peng Shuai and LeBron James. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 22, 2021 - 08:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, what we're seeing right now is not what you want to see in the battle against the coronavirus just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The seven-day average of new cases is on the rise. It is now approaching 100,000. And hospitalizations, which is, of course, a key indicator, also seeing a clear uptick here.

Let's bring in CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

OK, where are we, Elizabeth, at this point in time, which is a critical point in time, we're going into the holidays.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And we might remember from last year, Brianna, when we were headed into the holidays, that the numbers start to go up for two reasons. One, it's getting colder, so it's harder to kind of congregate outside so people are going inside. We know that that's worse for Covid transmission, and also we're getting ready for the holidays, so people are getting on trains and buses and airplanes. So all of those things will contribute to this increase.

So, let's take a look at first where we were October 21st. So, let's look at where we were October 21st, not all that long ago, and there was one state, one state in red on this map where the cases were rising, just one state.

Now, fast forward to currently, we have 28 states in red, 28 states where the numbers are rising. So, as you mentioned, headed in the wrong direction.

Let's take a look at what the current numbers are for daily cases and daily deaths. For cases per day, it's about 92,000. For deaths per day, it's about 1,100. So, it's very easy to sort of say, OK, I'm kind of done with this, Covid in my mind is over. When you have 1,100 Americans dying per day, that is not a time to stop taking precautions. And the most important precautions, if you're not vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you haven't gotten a booster and you're more than six months past that second shot, go get a booster, now recommended for all adults. Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, I got mine here coming in a couple of days, Elizabeth. Can't wait for it.

Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much.

COHEN: There you go. Great. Thanks.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy made history when he became the first Democrat to win re-election in the state since 1977, but it was a lot closer than some folks thought it might be in a blue state that Joe Biden won handily in 2020. So what does this say about how things look for Democrats next year?

Joining us now is the present and future governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy.

Governor, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

Look, your margin in New Jersey was bigger than Glenn Youngkin's in Virginia, which got a whole lot of attention. That's the glass half full interpretation. The glass half empty is, Joe Biden won the state by 16 points just one year ago. So, what's the lesson you take from this?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Good to be with you, John.

My overwhelming lesson is thank God we put the policies in place that we did, that we built the coalition that we built, otherwise we would have gotten washed away by the same red wave. It's quite clear there are -- there's a whole lot of hurt out there. There are a lot of kitchen tables that we need to get into to make sure they know that government is there for them, that we're putting policies in place to help them and we're -- we are -- we are a force for good. And that's the mission clearly for us ahead in this.

BERMAN: What do you think is fueling that red wave you just mentioned?

MURPHY: I think it's a combination of things, John. I don't think it's one thing only. There's a lot of hurt out there. You lost your job. You lost a loved one. Your small business went down. You're sick and tired of wearing a mask or mandates. You're frustrated as heck. I understand all that. We were the first ones up to bat, but it's our job to make sure, again, that folks know that we are there for them.

BERMAN: If national Democrats are going to take a lesson from what you were talking about happened in New Jersey, how should they be addressing that hurt that you're describing?

MURPHY: I think putting the policies in place as fast as possible. We've done a lot of -- we stand for a stronger and fairer New Jersey. We put a lot of pieces of that puzzle in place. I think the infrastructure bill that the president signed last week is going to make a big difference. I think this Build Back Better, please, God, that gets done, that will make a huge difference. I think folks need to see not just words but action and the extent to which they see that action connect into their lives, they'll say, you know what, I understand it. These folks are on our side and they're helping us.


BERMAN: Why don't you think they're seeing that right now?

MURPHY: I think it's an incomplete picture. We've made a lot of progress, but we still have more work to do, quite clearly, particularly, I think, at the national level, this Build Back Better piece, if you talk about expanding child care, expanding pre-k, making housing more affordable, making college more affordable, whatever it might be, most of which, by the way, or all of which we're doing in New Jersey, I think you show folks that you can -- you can actually put that in place. It will -- it will change folks' opinion.

BERMAN: Inflation. People hate inflation, right? They can feel it. They can feel gas prices rising. They can feel milk prices rising.

MURPHY: No question about it. Gas is up. The cost of most goods are up. Labor is -- there's still huge dislocations in the labor market. The supply chain, this stuff is real.

And, again, folks are looking to leadership, whether it's in your state or in the country, to say, you know what, we've got a plan in place to deal with this.

BERMAN: Former Congressman Beto O'Rourke, running for governor in Texas, told Dana Bash over the weekend basically he doesn't want President Biden to go down to Texas to campaign for him.

How much of that do you think we'll see in the next year?

MURPHY: I hope not much. I think the president is waking up every single day doing -- doing as good a job as he can. He's facing an enormous amount of headwinds. But I'll tell you something, when you add up the American rescue plan, the infrastructure plan, if this Build Back Better package gets done, those are three historic steps in the direction of strengthening the middle class in our country. I tell you, the president is welcome here any time.

BERMAN: Governor Phil Murphy, congratulations on your election win. Thank you for joining us this morning.

MURPHY: Thanks for having me, John.

BERMAN: All right, we do have breaking news this morning.

We're getting disturbing, new details on the SUV that plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. At least five people are dead this morning. That number could rise. We're getting new information about where the suspect was coming from.

And police are on the search for a man whose gun discharged at an airport -- at airport security in Atlanta. KEILAR: Plus, new polls show that more Americans are choosing not to

have children. What is behind the trend and why does it have experts so worried?



KEILAR: A manhunt is now in its third day for the passenger who fled Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport after a gun discharged during screening. That gunfire triggered chaos inside the airport. It sent panicked travelers fleeing.

CNN's Nadia Romero is live for us at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport with the very latest.

Nadia, where do things stand today?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, the airport is trying to get back to normal, right? They had that temporary ground stop on Saturday right after the incident where there was so much confusion and chaos, people figuring out what was going on. Now, today, trying to get back to normal because, of course, we're right before a major holiday.

So, let's back -- let's just rewind now to go back to Saturday afternoon, and what was supposed to be a typical weekend, right before the Thanksgiving holiday. And police say it was 42-year-old Kenny Wells who came into a TSA security checkpoint with a firearm in his bag and it was flagged through the x-ray machine. And police say he lunged for his bag, grabbing the gun, and that's when it discharged.

People thought they were in the middle of an active shooter situation and that spread very quickly throughout the airport and on social media. People fleeing, as you mentioned, trying to get away, thinking they were running for their lives. And the idea that this was an active shooter, that rumor spread much quickly -- much more quicker than the actual truth that it was an accidental discharge. That's what we heard from Atlanta's airport spokesperson.

So now Kenny Wells was able to make it out of the airport in the midst of all the confusion with everyone else who ran. So, he's now facing several arrest warrants that are out for him right now, including having a firearm, because he is a convicted felon. Police say he should have never been in possession of a firearm, let alone bringing it -- trying to get it through a security checkpoint, through TSA here at the airport. Also for reckless conduct because of that domino effect of what occurred.

So this put a lot of spotlight on security measures at Atlanta's airport, are we safe here? And the Atlanta airport's spokesperson told us, listen, on a quarterly basis, we are doing everything we can to try to keep people safe, adding more than 300 cameras back in January.

But, Brianna, this is an issue all over the country. The TSA says they're seeing a record number of guns being tried to be brought in through the security checkpoints at airports all across the country.


KEILAR: Really interesting, a record number.

Nadia, thank you so much for that report.

BERMAN: All right, time for the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

Five people were killed and more than 40 injured when an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Investigators now believe the driver was fleeing another incident when he drove into the crowded parade route.

KEILAR: Closing arguments are set to begin here in just moments in Brunswick, Georgia, where three white men are charged with murder in the fatal shooting of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery.

BERMAN: In Haiti, two missionaries from the group of 17 who were abducted last month have been released. A Haitian gang is still holding 15 others, including several very young children, and is demanding a ransom of $1 million per hostage.

KEILAR: And here at home, a series of highly organized, brazen robberies at malls across the country. Just take a look at this one. This was at a Louis Vuitton store in Illinois where a mob stole $100,000 worth of goods in just minutes.

And in California, we're told that 80 looters hit a Nordstrom where two employees were assaulted, one of them pepper sprayed.


BERMAN: Yes, no "s" at the end of Nordstrom.

The birth rate here in the U.S. has declined for a sixth straight year. And a new Pew research study may explain why. More adults who do not already have children say they're unlikely to have them. More than 40 percent of those surveyed mentioned medical issues or financial concerns as factors in their decision.

KEILAR: And those are "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

Look, kids are expensive, though, Berman, I will say that. They're pretty pricey. You can see how some people might be dissuaded.

But you can have more on these stories all day on CNN and Don't forget, of course, to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning. Just go to

BERMAN: And Christine Romans refers to kids as cost centers.

KEILAR: I love that and I'm stealing it.


KEILAR: Yes, they are. Yes. And also vectors, I will say. I will call them that.

LeBron James -- this is just wild. He was ejected from a game after a bloody altercation on the court. This move sparked this reaction from a Pistons player.

BERMAN: And, new twists and turns surrounding Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. Why her appearance in this video call this weekend is raising even more questions.



KEILAR: Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai says that she is safe and well, that she is living at home in Beijing. The three-time Olympian holding a 30-minute video call with the president of the International Olympic Committee. That is according to the Olympic governing body.

But tennis officials have yet to make contact with her. The Women's Tennis Association telling CNN it was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don't alleviate or address the WTA's concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion.

Shuai is one of China's most recognizable sports stars. She had not been seen publicly since she accused the former vice premier of China of sexual assault back on November 2nd.

Let's talk about this now with Cari Champion, former ESPN anchor and host of the "Naked with Cari Champion" podcast.

You know, Cari, I think what stands out here is just what a hard line the WTA is taking compared to, you know, even the IOC or certainly the NBA. What do you think?

CARI CHAMPION, HOST, "NAKED WITH CARI CHAMPION": Oh, no, you're -- you're absolutely correct. Here's what's interesting, too. Steve Simon, the WTA president, looked at this issue, which I think makes perfect sense as an issue of humanity and not an issue of business. The NBA has business interests. NBA China is a lucrative business and their response when they had their quote/unquote incident with China was, you know, we apologize. We don't want any problems. Forgive us, in essence.

And Steve Simon said, I really don't care about the business aspect. In fact, he literally said, we could lose million -- hundreds of millions of dollars, and that's OK. He's a good guy. He ran a tournament locally here and he just really cares about the players. The WTA has always been about the service. The service of the players, founded by Billie Jean King. So this all makes percent sense to me, which is why he's like, I really don't necessarily care about the business. We'll suffer those repercussions. We just want to know she's OK.

KEILAR: Yes, I mean, look there's a question of whether this is state protected sexual misconduct, right? And, clearly, China is trying to silence this.

I -- I want to ask you -- I'm so glad to have you on today to talk about this.

This LeBron James brawl that we watched involving Detroit Piston's player Isaiah Stewart, what happened here?

CHAMPION: You know, a lot of people this morning are saying malice in the palace part two because -- specifically because they were in Detroit. But if you look very carefully, Isaiah Stewart was called for the foul first because he was trying to box out LeBron and clearly hit him in his elbow, right? And then LeBron, just trying to get him off of him, getting the rebound, may have been a little -- he's not a dirty player. We all know LeBron James is not a dirty player, but he was a little loose with it, if you will.

And then, at the end of the day, I felt like Stewart's ego got more involved in the process. Now, he would have simply been able to play but he escalated after he kept trying to come after LeBron. No one was going to let that happen. We've seen this before in the sense that after the malice in the palace, the original, there will never be another brawl in the NBA where you're actually going to attack. So it's a lot of huffing and puffing and hold me back and here I come, here I come.

But, at the end of the day, if you did get to LeBron, that would not have helped your career ultimately. You're not thinking of that in the moment, and vice versa. LeBron wasn't trying to be a dirty player. I mean, obviously, he turned around and we didn't hear this, he goes, my bad, after he realizes, I mean, you know, my bad doesn't suffice when you have a cracked eye, but he goes, my bad.


CHAMPION: But that wasn't the intention of all.

KEILAR: Yes, it did not suffice, clearly, for Isaiah Stewart. But that just got out of hand.

Kerry, it's great to see you. Thank you.

CHAMPION: You, too. Thank you, Brianna. Have a good one.

KEILAR: All right, you, too.

Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 3:00 p.m. ET, FLOTUS welcomes White House Christmas tree.

3:30 p.m. ET, VP Harris speaks on Covid equity.

6:00 p.m. ET, Bidens celebrate Thanksgiving at Fort Bragg.



KEILAR: More on our breaking news.

At least five people killed, dozens more injured when a car plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. We'll have the latest on what we know about the suspect ahead.


BERMAN: Time for "The Good Stuff."

Thirteen-year-old Abraham Olagbegi was diagnosed with a rare and life- threatening blood disorder. He was granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


What he chose, to feed the homeless in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, for a year.