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New Day

1/6 Committee Sales Back Request; Erin Bromage is Interviewed about the CDC Rule Change for Covid; News Headlines from Around the World; Taliban Launch New Clampdown. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 29, 2021 - 06:30   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: The January 6th committee has agreed to delay or even drop some of the requests for hundreds of pages of National Security Council documents from the Trump White House after pushback from the Biden administration.

CNN's Paula Reid joins us now to break down this development.

So, Paula, what does this mean for the panel?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Such a great question, Kaitlan. What's so interesting is the records at issue here, they're hundreds of pages of Trump era national security documents and the Biden White House says it wants to keep them secret to preserve the confidentiality of discussions and advice around the presidency.

Now, it turns out, the documents may not actually have been that helpful at all to the committee. The Biden White House said in a letter this month that these records, quote, appear to have no content that might be material to the select committee's investigation.

But this is so significant because President Biden has the authority to, if he wants, protect Trump White House records, but so far he has repeatedly rejected former President Trump's blanket effort to cite executive privilege to try to block the release of some of his records related to January 6th. But here you see the Biden White House is pushing back and actually convinced the panel to scale back its request in this case.

Now, of course, Biden's previous decision to release some other Trump White House records is currently being litigated. Trump has appealed to the Supreme Court to try to block the committee from obtaining some of his records.


But federal judges have twice ruled against him and it's not clear, Kaitlan, if the Supreme Court will even take up his case.

COLLINS: So we know that there is kind of this timeline, Paula, for the committee to release the findings to the public. Obviously, that's been a big concern with the midterms not so far away. And so what is that looking like?

REID: That's right. The big question here is, when are we going to get to learn about all of the evidence the committee has gathered? Where is this all going? Well, CNN has learned that the committee is aiming to produce an interim report with initial findings by the summer with a full report to follow in the fall.

And that's significant because almost all of the committee's work has been done behind closed doors, including those hundreds of private depositions with witnesses who included former Trump aides, Stop the Steal Rally organizers and even election officials who were pressured to overturn the results.

Now, there's a caveat. This timeline could change. But, as you noted, there is -- there is some deadline pressure here for lawmakers to finish their work before the midterms as the committee is expected to be disbanded if Republicans retake the House in November.

Now, the committee has also said, Kaitlan, that it hopes to present more of its work in a public setting next year, which could include public hearings to try to tell the story of what happened on January 6th. But as of now, no public hearings have been scheduled.

COLLINS: I think people will be watching closely to see when they are scheduled.

Paula Reid, thank you.

Up next, the CDC has -- facing some major questions over its new guidance for Covid cases and infections and when you're out of isolation. Our next guest will join us to break it down and hopefully clear up some of that confusion.



JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. just hit an all-time high for the daily average of new Covid cases since the pandemic began. With more than 265,000 cases, surpassing the previous record set way back last January.

Now, adding to this record-breaking number of cases, the CDC announcing new guidelines that those who test positive for Covid-19 can actually shorten their isolation period, going from 10 days to five, if they're asymptomatic. And this news is causing some concern and confusion.

And joining us now to discuss all this is Erin Bromage, he's a professor -- a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

I want to clear up the confusion, but we have to say, you're one of those folks who are concerned. In fact, your exact words are, you are baffled by the CDC decision. You issued a tweet showing this picture of your research.

Tell us what we're looking at here. What is the source of your concern based on your scientific research and data?


Well, when we look at this, there is absolutely no data that I am aware about with the omicron variant that supports people coming out of isolation five days after they were first diagnosed with the virus. My own work shows that when we look at people five, seven, eight days after they were first tested positive or first symptoms, they still have enough virus in their nose, in the back of their throat to be able to come up positive on these antigen tests. And antigen tests are a very good proxy for live virus and the ability to be able to infect others. So it seems that they've made a decision without the data to actually support this change.

AVLON: Yes, we've spoken to other doctors and researchers who said that, look, the omicron in particular seems to be people are infectious before they show symptoms by, you know, 36 hours and for at least two days after. But you're disagreeing with that fundamentally. You're saying this actually could increase the spread, even though the desires to create an incentive to get more people to comply.

BROMAGE: Yes, so it's very clear that, you know, the two days leading up to symptoms and the three days after are the big (INAUDIBLE) in regards to viral shed. But to say that somebody on day five or day six is no longer a risk to other people, the data that we have on viral shedding just does not support that.

So, what you're really looking at is, you're going to have a lot of people who have tested positive, are going to follow the rules of the CDC, but are going to come out and start interacting in general public. They've saved themselves five days, but then they could potentially infect three or four other people, who then go into isolation for five days themselves. So, by saving five days with one person, we've ended up with 20 days of other people being out. So the math just doesn't seem to add up in regards to what we know about this virus.

AVLON: Now, Dr. Fauci told CNN that the CDC made the decision to lessen the negative impact of keeping society running. As you just said, with so many people out, if they didn't necessarily need to be, and recommended things like proper masking, saying that that's a way to cut the number of isolation people in half. You're saying also that masking, if you got out after five days, just isn't remotely sufficient, according to your research.

BROMAGE: Yes, I mean, wearing a mask from day six through day 10 will certainly lower the risk of ongoing transmission. But if you are being asked -- and a big part of changing this policy was so that we had a workforce to be able to keep society running, if you're going to go back to work and you're going to take your mask off to have lunch, if you're going to, you know, carpool, or use public transportation to get to work on day six, seven, eight, the mask will help reduce the risk to others, but it doesn't -- I mean I know it will never eliminate the risk, but it just presents a risk that we really shouldn't be doing. And we're not using data.

If we look at what they did in the United Kingdom, if we look what they did in the NFL, the NBA, it is five, six, or seven days, but a negative test at the end of that time.

AVLON: So, that's the final point I want to -- I want to hit with you because there's this controversy also about testing at the end of isolation.


AVLON: The CDC saying it's not needed. That doesn't pass a common sense test other than the fact it's damn hard to get your hands on tests. What do you make of that?

BROMAGE: Right. And that's -- I think that's where it's born from is the fact that it's really hard to get your hands on tests. But I can tell you, with people that work in very, very close proximity to each other, where masks are not worn regularly because of the job function, when you have a person and you're returning them to work after being infected and after sickness, the people that are working around them want to know that they're not going to get infected by that person.


But the simplest ways to do that is time and a negative test that actually shows, look, I am not carrying enough virus to be positive on this test. Therefore, I am not carrying enough virus to be able to infect you. And it works well in reducing anxiety in workplaces. And this just seems to be adding risk and anxiety that we don't really need.

AVLON: You're 100 percent right about that. If you've been isolated, if you can get your hands on a test, take the test. Just common sense.

BROMAGE: Absolutely.

AVLON: Erin Bromage, thank you so much for joining us.

And be sure to stay tuned for an interview coming up with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. She's going to join NEW DAY next hour with all your questions about these new CDC guidelines.

All right, the world just lost a political giant. That's how long-time Senator Harry Reid is being remembered across the aisle and across the country. And we're going to speak with his former senior adviser, next.


AVLON: Europe is seeing record-breaking Covid numbers as the Chinese government's strict lockdown continues in Xi'an. And in Hong Kong, the state's grasp on private media tightens with the arrest of six more people at what they call a pro-democracy outlet. CNN has this covered coast to coast and around the world.




Another record set here in France in terms of the number of new cases. More than 179,000 new cases in a single 24-hour period, smashing the Christmas Day record of more than 100,000 that was reached.

Here in this vaccination center in Paris, they're expecting greater numbers to come in after the government announced fresh measures on Monday that including shortening the time between the second dose and the booster. This as European countries try and avoid what the World Health Organization is warning of, that health care systems across the continent could once again be facing a breaking point.


There is a growing amount of frustration or even anger being vented online by people in Xi'an, who say they now have difficulties accessing to food items, especially after the authorities have banned them from going out to do grocery shopping. Now, that is also in sharp contrast to state media's portrayal of orderly delivery (INAUDIBLE) necessity items throughout a city by the government. And local officials insist a strict lockdown will help them end the current outbreak in a month or so, but that is cold comfort to millions of residents trying to survive now, enduring increasingly hard conditions.


One of the last remaining independent media voices in this city has fallen. This morning, police raided the newsroom of Stand News (ph), an online news portal, and also arrested at least seven of its current and former editors, accusing them of publishing seditious content.

Earlier this year, they acted similarly against the popular newspaper "Apple Daily," whose publisher and editor are behind bars, it's been forced to close as well.

There are dozens of opposition politicians behind bars. Street protests that were once part of this city's culture have been all but banned. The government would argue that it's restoring law and order after the increasingly violent riots of 2019.


COLLINS: Meanwhile, the Taliban taking aim at women's freedoms once again, now forbidding Afghan women from taking long road trips by themselves. They'll have to have a male relative with them. Showing that this is just the latest clampdown since the Taliban seized power in August.

CNN's Arwa Damon is following the story from Istanbul.

Arwa, what's the latest that you're seeing?

ARWA DAMON: Good morning.

And what do they mean by these long distances, Kaitlan? It is 45 miles at this stage. And so if you are a woman, as one protester pointed out, who is, for example, pregnant, whose husband is not in the house and needs to get to the hospital, what are you supposed to be doing?

And this rule really is very reminiscent of the Taliban of 20 years ago. And, of course, it comes to the heels of significant changes being enforced upon women and young girls to include lack of access to an education for the vast majority of them. Many of them being prevented from returning to their jobs. All of this being done under the guise of the Taliban repeatedly saying that this is specifically for the safety of women. And they keep insisting that these are all just temporary measures at this stage.

When it comes particularly to this new solo travel ban, there are other rules that the Taliban announced as well. That is that drivers are not allowed to play music. That they should not pick up any woman who is not properly dressed, And that cars should stop and pull over during prayer times.

It's also worth noting that over the course of the few months since the Taliban took power, they also effectively eradicated Afghanistan's ministry of women's affairs, replacing it with the ministry of vice and virtue. This was a ministry that was very, very feared under the Taliban of two decades ago.

And so when it really comes to women and young girls, many of them will tell you that they feel as if their happiness just continues to be stolen from them.

COLLINS: Yes, and you can't blame them. And no wonder so many were so skeptical when the Taliban claimed back in August that they were changed and not as they were before.

Arwa Damon, thank you so much for updating us on that.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is smashing Covid case numbers. Hospitalizations, though, are not rising at the same rate right now. We have an update on the state of the pandemic, next.



AVLON: You know what time it is. Resolution season is fast approaching with the clock ticking down to the start of 2022. So while losing weight and eating better are often at the top of the list, don't forget that other big one, getting a handle on your money. With big changes on the horizon and the pandemic economy, CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here with her financial checklist for the new year. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Kaitlan and John,

your house, your job, your retirement, time to tick through your personal finance checklist.

First, your house. Likely your biggest investment, right? The Fed has signaled interest rates could rise in the coming year likely three, quarter point rate hikes. The Fed is moving from stimulating the economy to now fighting inflation. Now, that means your borrowing costs could rise. The window is closing here to refinance your mortgage at super low interest rates.

If you're in the market to buy a home, it will likely cost more in 2022 than in 2021. Home prices still on fire. It has been a seller's market in real estate. Higher interest rates would make it more expensive to finance a home, buy it could help cool down red-hot prices.

It promises to be an exciting year for workers who have an upper hand in the labor market. Wage growth is higher than it's been in years. Employers offering perks and bonuses and flexible work schedules to keep their workers happy and attract new talent. Workers, you have leverage in the new year.

And for investors, time to check in on your risk tolerance and asset allocations. It's been a banner two years. The S&P 500 rose more than 20 percent in 2021. Stock markets recording record highs dozens of times, leading to record high retirement account balances, creating so-called 401(k) millionaires. If the strategists at JP Morgan are right, the economy and the stock market have favorable prospects in the new year. Quote, our view is that 2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, an end of the global pandemic, and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

JP Morgan predicting more stock market gains for the benchmark S&P 500.

And for those receiving Social Security, expect 5.9 percent more in your checks thanks to the government's annual cost of living adjustments.

Inflation, of course, is the wildcard in the new year. Higher prices eat into wage gains and they strain household budgets, especially for low-income earners.

John. Kaitlan.

COLLINS: We'll get started on that financial checklist.

And NEW DAY continues right now.

Good morning to our viewers in the United States and around the world. It is Wednesday, December 29th. I'm Kaitlan Collins, in with John Avlon again this morning.


AVLON: Good morning. Let's get this done.

COLLINS: We're following -- yes.

We are following three major stories, big stories that are of major concern.

First, the U.S. shattering its record average of daily coronavirus cases. And the CDC slashing estimates of how much omicron is in the United States.

Plus, the political world and the sports world are mourning the death of two giants, Harry Reid and John Madden.