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New Day

Full House Star and Comedian Bob Saget Dies at 65; Apartment Fire Kills 19, Including Nine Children in New York City; Prominent Children's Hospital Says, Get Children Back to School. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired January 10, 2022 - 07:00   ET



ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): So, the Chargers are devastated. Raiders win 35-32. So, they and the Steelers ended up making the playoffs.

Meanwhile, here in Indianapolis tonight, top rank Alabama will face third rank Georgia for the National Title. Alabama has beaten Georgia seven straight times, including the beat down in the SEC title game a month ago. But the Dogs say they have learned from that game.


JORDAN DAVIS, GEORGIA DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: After the last Alabama game, it was like our wakeup call. We realized that we had a lot of work to do. And we haven't arrived yet. I had three shots at Alabama and haven't beaten them yet. So, that's speaking for myself. As a team, winning a national championship, this is what we're grinding for, this is what we've worked for all season. So, of course, it is going to be an amazing feeling.

BRYCE YOUNG, ALABAMA QUARTERBACK: We understand it is different. We have to earn it. Anything that happened in the past, you learn from it. But it's in the past. So, it is on us to work day in and day out to earn the outcome we want.


SCHOLES: Yes, guys. The Georgia fans here in Indy I talked to really confident they are going to win tonight despite losing seven in a row to Alabama. I mean, I guess their mindset is you can't lose to Alabama forever, right?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: Streaks are meant to be broken is what I'll say. I will say that. Andy, thank you so much. We know that we'll be watching anxiously with you.

And New Day continues right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Monday, January 10th. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

And what a sad morning for millions of Americans who watched T.V. in the '80s and '90s. What a sad morning for the comedy community, which is just heartbroken. Bob Saget has passed away. He was only 65. Saget played the perfectly awkward father, Danny Tanner, on the sitcom Full House. He was found dead in his hotel room at Ritz-Carlton in Orlando on Sunday. Police say no sign of foul play or drug use.

On T.V., Saget was the walking epitome of a dad joke.





SAGET: I have a date tonight. I have a date tonight. I have a date tonight. I have a date tonight. I have a date tonight. And why not?


BERMAN: Saget also hosted America's Funniest Home videos from 1989 to '97, which our friend Bill Carter notes, means that Saget was in two of the top ten shows at the time.


SAGET: A good recipe for you. Actually, no. But here's the best we could do with the ingredients at hand. And if you think I'm going to do a bad impression of a French chef, you are right, mon ami.


KEILAR: Tributes have been pouring in all morning for Saget in a very special way. Sure, he was popular with his fans, but he was loved by his fellow comedians. Here he is getting the last laugh at their expense during his Comedy Central roast back in 2008.


SAGET: Norm Macdonald, Norm, you're the funniest man I know, because these are the other people that I know.


KEILAR: Norm Macdonald there, who passed away just four months ago. That roast took a heartfelt turn when Macdonald paid a serious tribute to his longtime friend. Let's watch.


NORM MACDONALD, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: Bob was the first comedian that I ever saw perform when I was a boy, live. And I loved him. But one thing that bonds us as comedians is we're bitter and jealous and we hate everyone else that has any success. But Bob honestly has never had an unkind word for anybody and I love him. And I hope everybody else does. So, I just want to say that. Thank you.


BERMAN: Joining us now is one of Saget's longtime friends and fellow comedian, George Wallace. Georgia, we're so sorry for your loss this morning. I know that you had a relationship with Bob that dates back some four decades. Tell us about your friend and your relationship.

GEORGE WALLACE, COMEDIAN, LONGTIME FRIEND OF BOB SAGET: Well, thank you so much for having me on, John. Bob, it was sad last night when I heard the news. But the more you think of Bob, the more you start to laugh, because it was all about laughter. I mean, I wish everybody had a friend like Saget.

We met 40 years ago. Gary Shandling, Dave Coulier, we would hangout every night, comedy store, do our gigs and just love. And I just want to say my condolences to his family, his first wife, Sherry, and kids, his nephew, Adam.


I knew the whole family that dad, Ben and Dolly, and we just miss him. But the more I think about him, the more I would start to laugh. And I'd tell you what, America loved him and a family guy he was.

But the filthiest mouth on this planet, I don't know how -- when he gets to heaven, they are going to have to change their agenda to let him in. But I love this guy, I wished everybody knew him. John, these are kinds of friends -- go ahead, Bri.

KEILAR: No, no, no. He's the kind of friend who what? Please.

WALLACE: He's a kind of friend that -- we talk -- we both have been busy. So, we talked every three months. But he's the kind of friend that you talk to on the phone and you go right back to the same conversation you were talking about three months ago, just absolutely just the funniest man in the world.

And he did some crazy stuff. I remember once we were young. It was thanksgiving, newly in Los Angeles. He decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner. So, we said we're all coming over. So, we go over and we take the turkey out of the oven, and we go like, there's something different about the turkey. He never took the innards out, the paper and all that stuff inside the turkey. So, we cracked up. And we said if you didn't take the innards out, did you wash the turkey? He said, no, I just put it in the oven. But it was stupid. He was -- it's infectious stupidity, just the craziest guy you have ever seen in your life. But filthy, the bluest mouth you have ever seen in your life. And that's how you have to laugh.

He's gone, but we will never forget Bob Saget. And, Bob, wherever you are, you need to know it's me, I loved you, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. KEILAR: I think, you know, part of it is the joke is on us. Because for so many people who knew Bob Saget or enjoyed him on his most successful programs, I mean, they were the most P.G. of programs. But, George, can you speak to this because, I mean, he was only 65. This is just -- this is so shocking. We don't have any answers. And it's -- I think people are sort of beside themselves for how suddenly this has happened.

WALLACE: This is true. But you know what, one thing about Bob, he was 65, but about Bob, it doesn't matter how long you live. It's how you enjoy your life while you're living. And I'll tell you what, he had a good time. He made everybody laugh. We have never ever have seen his face without a smile or making you smile. And to his wife, Sherry, and current wife, Kelly, and all the kids, this is a guy that is going to be missed. But I'll tell you what, the more you think about him, the more you start to laugh.

And it's -- yes, the joke was on you, on America, because this guy was -- he was like a red fox (ph). You think he was going to see Fred Sanford and, boom, who the heck is this guy. But that was Bob. When you see him live, you go like, did he just said what I thought he said? The ruttiest (ph), filthiest mouth you've ever seen in your life, nobody could compare to Bob, just filthy and I love it.

BERMAN: The reason I think we're both smiling is we can see how much you loved him. And there is really something special about that. There really is. One of the things when you hear from members of the comedy community, yes, he made you laugh. But it is always interesting which comedian makes other comedians laugh. But in addition to that, you really just liked him. And we are hearing that again and again over the last few hours.

WALLACE: Listen, he was good people, and he came from good people. Like I said, I was at his home for dinner. We were kids -- weren't kids. We were in our 20s. So, we're all 65 now. But I went to his home. His daddy was crazy. His mom, Dolly, would say you talk so filthy and nasty. And his dad would say do it, do it, do it. She tells him to clean. His dad would egg him on, do it, do it, do it. So, just nothing but fun in the house. The sister, the nephew. I knew them all.

And like I said, it was Gary Shandling, Dave Coulier are (INAUDIBLE). One time they threw a party for me in my house, broke into my house to give me a surprise party. And I walked in and I went what the hell is going on. They were all dressed crazy like I didn't know who everybody was. And he insisted on cooking again. That's when buffalo wings first came out and my house smelt like grease for three months. He couldn't cook but he demanded to cook. But he's an awesome friend I wish everybody had a friend like Bob Saget.

KEILAR: He -- I said this last hour. Truly like he was the person when you thought of a dorky dad, Danny Tanner, who he played on Full House, is the person that you would think of. He was sort of this iconic dorky dad. But part of the reason I think America loved him so much was how much love he showed for that family, right? That was really the hallmark of his character, and it wasn't fake. WALLACE: Never fake. You can see that in all his shows. When the camera came on, you saw his smile first. That's the first thing you saw was his smile. That's the first thing you need to do to sell yourself.

And speaking of smile, I'm the one who sent him to my dentist. He and I had the same dentist and his whole family, and that's where he got that beautiful smile. I had them all go to my dentist, Dr. Efron (ph) in the (INAUDIBLE) California. Gary Shandling, Jerry Seinfield, Rosie O'Donnell, everybody had to go to my dentist.


I was in charge of the group.

BERMAN: Well, look, if you are all going to make everybody laugh so much, everyone is going to see everyone's teeth. You better go to a good dentist at that point. It ends up being hugely important.

WALLACE: But, John, when we were young, just come out of college, nobody had the money to go get a perfect smile. But now, we all make a little money. This is my smile now. But Bob would put that smile on my face anytime he'd call. I just did his podcast about three months ago. And I just talked to him on the phone about two months ago. And what a great guy, just a lovely friend and I wish you guys could have known him.

But it seems as though you do know him. That's how good he was.

BERMAN: And, look, he made a big impact on everyone who's growing up during those decades. And one of the cottage industries that I like over the last few hours is people who knew him from watching Full House. I like to send them clips of his standup. And they're like what? What is that?

WALLACE: That is not the same guy. No way Danny Tanner could talk like that.

BERMAN: George Wallace, again, we're so sorry for your loss. We thank you for sharing the memories of your friend. And you know what, he will live on in your smile, and that bright smile of yours whenever you think of him.

WALLACE: He will live on. And, Bob, wherever you are, I love you, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. Thank you, Bri. Thank you, John.

BERMAN: Thanks, George.

KEILAR: So, one of the worst fires in New York City has experienced in modern times, that is how Mayor Eric Adams described this fire in the Bronx on Sunday that killed 19 people, including nine children. Survivors talking about what it was like to get hit with the fire's thick, choking smoke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAISY MITCHELL, BRONX FIRE SURVIVOR: I was scared. I was really scared. I was scared. I mean, that smoke really hit me. By the time I got to the exit and I had the mask on, I couldn't even see. I thought I went blind. I couldn't even see.


KEILAR: That is Daisy Mitchell right after the fire, and she is with us now. She lives on the tenth floor of the building where this happened. Daisy, thank you so much for being with us.

Can you just tell us a little bit, start at the beginning, when did you first realize that there was a fire in the building?

MITCHELL: Okay. When I realized there was a fire in the building, my husband, he opened the door. He said, wow, I smell something burning. Then he opened the door, it was a fire. He said, baby, get dressed. And I said, for what? But the alarm was going off for a while so I didn't pay it no mind. But then when he opened the door and I went out there, I passed out. It was devastating. It was, like -- real scary.

And I went to the elevator. They were just like, no, don't take the elevator. I went to the stairs to open the door, and it just blew me back in the house. And I panicked. And I told my husband, let me in the house. I can't see. I'm blind. I can't see. I can't see. If I stayed out there another three seconds, I would have been gone too.

And I feel so bad about the people who -- it's really bad. It's really scary. And this morning, I didn't want to come out of the building. And my husband was like, you don't have to go. The elevator is not working. You've got to be walking back up. I was like, okay, I already promised these people, let me just go and do what I've got to do and get it over with.

KEILAR: Yes, no. look, it is an incredible loss when you look at the people who were gone and still the people who were injured with some life-threatening injuries as well. Tell us -- so once you got down through stairs, is that right, can you tell us about exiting the building and what it was like? Did you see other people? What kind of state were they in?

MITCHELL: Yes. It was like we was going down, and there were so many puppies and dogs laying in the exit that was dead. And it was hard going down because there was no backup lights. Now, I'm coming up, coming out now, they have lights. They are cleaning the building now. And it was really sad. I can't even talk about it, you know, because we just moved there. I just moved there. I have never seen nothing like it before. And I hope I don't have to go through it again. It is really devastating to see the stretchers and the people who died, kept coming out on stretchers, and the puppies laying in the exits, the dogs and all of this. I mean, it's really sad. I don't know nobody in the building. I stayed to myself but it's really bad. I feel bad for the families. I give all my love and blessings go out to the families, you know, to their loved ones.

KEILAR: Daisy, you mentioned the exit stairs were not lit. There is also a question about doors that should have been self-shutting, right, doors that should have closed on their own, fire doors, to keep smoke and fire in certain places or fire in certain places.

MITCHELL: Exactly.

KEILAR: Can you shed any light on that? What were the condition of doors in the building that were supposed to close? Did the doors close?

MITCHELL: Yes, they closed. But when the guys go and make their rounds in the building, the doors stayed open. And they slam to let you know they are doing their rounds and stuff. They slammed the doors real hard, you know?


And the building is okay. But after today, what I've seen, I don't think I can deal with this anymore, you know?

KEILAR: You don't think you can stay there?

MITCHELL: I never went through nothing like this. No, no. It's not -- I don't think so, no. I can't.

And my husband, he's sick. I'm taking care of him. He lives there, and I'm with him, watching over him, you know? That's not the place for him.

KEILAR: Have you had, Daisy, safety concerns about the building?

MITCHELL: Yes, really. I mean, I don't talk with nobody. I don't communicate with nobody. We stay to ourselves. We don't bother to nobody. We stay to ourselves. That's it. And I don't want to know anybody. So, it's better off being by yourself, and that's what we do, we stay to ourselves.

KEILAR: Do you feel like the building is in good condition?

MITCHELL: No, I really don't think so. I really don't think so.

KEILAR: How so? Can you tell me?

MITCHELL: How so? Well, hey, the guys are okay, but they're not all okay. There's a lot of hanging out. There's a lot of -- maybe because I don't know the people, but we stay in the house. I go to work, come home, take care of my husband. It doesn't feel comfortable.

KEILAR: Well, Daisy, I thank you for being with us. It's devastating for so many families who have lost loved ones and, obviously, for you, just going through something so traumatic. And we thank you for being with us.

MITCHELL: You're welcome.

KEILAR: All right, Daisy Mitchell with us. We're also going to talk to New York's mayor, new mayor, Eric Adams, about this tragedy, this huge fire. We'll have that coming up in here in just a few minutes.

Up next, the fight to get kids back into classrooms, we're going to hear from a top doctor at a prominent children's hospital.

BERMAN: Plus, the brother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick breaking his silence, he's not holding back on Donald Trump.

And later, the dramatic moment when a sight-seeing boat tour turned deadly.



KEILAR: For the fourth straight day, public school classes are canceled in Chicago, not remote, just canceled. What is causing Chicago teachers to keep moving the goalpost for the return to the classroom?

John Avlon has more in today's Reality Check.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The headlines are striking, Bri. The struggle over reopening Chicago schools, Chicago teachers defy order to return to classroom under shadow of COVID, Chicago mayor demands teachers return, union offers proposal.

And it is all the more striking because they are headlines from almost one year ago but they apply almost exactly to the standoff we are seeing today, as Chicago's Democratic mayor, Lori Lightfoot, is heading into a second week where the local teachers union is resisting calls to resume in-person learning in public schools.

But this is much more than COVID Groundhog Day, because, let's face it, a lot has changed in the last year, like vaccines. A year ago, they were brand-new, with just 16.5 million doses administered in January 20th, Biden's inauguration day. Now, we've had 519 million doses given, according to the CDC. That is 74 percent of the U.S. population with at least one dose, including kids over the age of five. So, that's a very different ball game, even with the omicron variant tearing through the country, which seems to be far more contagious but less serious, at least if you're vaccinated.

Over the last year, we have also learned that remote schooling is a lousy substitute for in-person, especially because it can take a serious toll on kids' mental health. Not only that, we have learned a lot about the spread of COVID in schools. According to the CDC, several studies show that transmission among students is relatively rare, particularly when prevention strategies are in place.

And speaking of prevention strategies, Congress allocated more than $190 billion in COVID relief to help America's schools reopen and stay open during the pandemic, funding everything from PPE to improved ventilation, technology and tutoring programs. And get this, Chicago received almost 2.8 billion in federal aid since March 20th. That's according to a data analysis by Chalkbeat.

So, for all the challenges that schools still face from omicron, most of the Chicago teachers union's concerns about the availability of vaccines, masks and ventilations from one year ago have been addressed, big time. And as for testing shortages, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker just announced 350,000 rapid tests will be sent to Chicago Public Schools courtesy of Abbott Labs and the (INAUDIBLE) Illinois Initiative.

So, what's going on here? Why are so many folks moving the goalpost and then digging in their heels? Because it's not just Chicago, big city mayors around the country have been tussling with their teacher unions to keep schools open. In some cities, like Newark, New Jersey, are in remote mode until mid this month and it's exposing the fault lines of Democratic politics and frustrating parents in the process. Because from President Biden to mayors like Lori Lightfoot and New York City's Eric Adams, Democratic executives have committed to keeping schools open. And that is meeting resistance from one of their party's most influential interest groups.

Now, some of the fights have been over vaccine mandates, which some local unions have resisted despite support from the nation's largest teachers union and the Biden White House. And the conflict may be rooted in concerns over collective bargaining, let's face it. But it also creates the ultimate politics make strange bedfellows overlap between conservatives who oppose mandates and the teachers union that usually blame for everything imperfect in public education.

And it is not likely to get any smoother as some big cities, like New York and L.A. look to possible vaccine mandates for students in the fall.


But a lot of the resistance also breaks down along the lines of simple logic. So, what Senator Ted Cruz, for example, tweets that COVID mandates are wrong, schools have no right to force you to get your five-year-old vaccinated, he is conveniently forgetting about public school vaccine mandates that have long existed for disease like measles, mumps, polio and chickenpox.

Of course, we politicized this pandemic to our detriment as a nation and teachers unions are not immune. The same standards have got to apply if we're going to return our nation to something like sanity. So, here's the deal. Follow the data, get your kids vaccinated and keep our schools open.

And that's your Reality Check.

KEILAR: All right. John Avlon, thank you so much for that.

BERMAN: All right. Joining me now is Dr. David Rubin, Director of PolicyLab at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which has issued a new set of guidelines on how to safely keep schools open. And, Dr. Ruben, the implication here, and I know you believe this, is, basically, schools, you think, should stay open. Why is it important to send this message?

DR. DAVID RUBIN, DIRECTOR, POLICYLAB AT CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: Well, you know, since the beginning of the pandemic, kids -- children in particular have been asked to take on a burden to protect principally vulnerable adults in the community. Last year, we were dealing with a virulent virus, a completely unvaccinated public. And we had to admit schools could be settings in which outbreaks to communities could occur. And so, therefore, we had to make decisions between bad and worse and to try to protect communities to buy time for vaccinations to arrive.

When you fast forward now, many, including our hospital, would argue at this point now that the public has been vaccinated and we are fortunate enough to be seeing a milder variant, that although spreading rapidly, is causing mostly mild disease in children and those who have been vaccinated. Now, you could argue that the detriment of continued social isolation, prevention -- not allowing kids to attend school and have access to education and all the services they receive, these are now greater risks to our country than the virus itself.

BERMAN: So, that's the argument for schools that they should be open. You also lay out how you think they should be open. And on this list you put out, number four is discontinue required weekly testing of asymptomatic people. Stop regular or weekly scheduled testing unless you have symptoms. Why?

RUBIN: well, you know, I think -- you know, we have been traumatized for the last two years. The goal last year was to eliminate any exposure risk because we were buying time for vaccination. However, as this has become milder over time, and particularly with omicron, with most people having milder infections, we're chasing milder infections. It no longer makes sense given just the widespread transmission of this to be chasing asymptomatic individuals or those with milder disease.

And so our plan, if we follow to the letter of the law testing those who were exposed or those with mild illness, we couldn't have work, we couldn't have school given the rate of transmission right now. And so I think we need to kind of change the perception. And our hospital put out this statement principally to change the perception about how we need to move forward. If we start to think about this as a seasonal virus, we no longer need to test asymptomatic individuals, we no longer need to necessarily test those with milder disease. They can just self-isolate.

I could sum this up as very -- basically, if you're sick, stay home. Wear a mask while you're in school until the worst of this is over. And, otherwise, if you're asymptomatic and we're all exposed, go to school. Wear your mask. Let someone know if you have symptoms so you can be removed from the classroom. But, otherwise, we need to get back to school, we've got to get back to --

BERMAN: The guidance, when you say, if you're sick, stay home, it makes it sound like COVID now, with omicron, might be a lot like other illnesses we deal with. And I think that might be the very point you're making.

RUBIN: Exactly. And I think we understand, you know, that the teachers are the backbone of this country and your nation's educational system, and I think we have all been traumatized. But if you actually start to really think about where we are now and not what COVID was a year ago but what it is now, particularly for those who were vaccinated, you would realize that in the winter season, just before COVID arrived, we had a bad flu season. And, you know, this is very similar to what we might do for flu. And, in fact, we're seeing milder disease right now with omicron than we would typically see in an influenza season particularly for children.

And so once you do that, you recognize that we're really asking people to hit reset on their perceptions that this is now acting more like a seasonal virus and, therefore, the kind of interventions we do should match that expectation.

BERMAN: Dr. David Rubin, thank you for joining us this morning and thank you for everything you and your colleagues at (INAUDIBLE) do. It's one of the great institutions in our country.

RUBIN: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Breaking overnight, a judge ruled in favor of Tennis Star Novak Djokovic in a standoff over his vaccine status.


So, is he going to play in the Australian Open? What the star revealed about his actions after he tested positive.