Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

Michelle Egan is Interviewed about the Chicago School Cancellations; Sotomayor False Claim about Covid; Cliff Collapses on Boaters in Brazil; Dozens Killed in Kazakhstan; Fossil Fuel Emissions Jump in 2021. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 10, 2022 - 08:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Fourth day in a row as the standoff between the city and the Chicago Teachers Union drags on amid a Covid- 19 surge. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised parents for speaking out against the teachers union.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: Parents are outraged, and they are making their outrage known to the teachers union. This is a very different dynamic than ever before. We've got an enormous amount of parent activism. They are writing letters, emails. They are protesting. They're holding press conferences.


KEILAR: Joining me now is Michelle Eagan, whose daughter attends a Chicago public school. She's actually organized a petition that urges the Chicago Teachers Union to report to work and reopen schools. And it has garnered a whole lot of support online.

Michelle, I understand you're getting about a thousand new signatures a day here.

Tell us, you know, what you want and who you're holding accountable for this shutdown.

MICHELLE EGAN, STARTED PETITION TO GET CHICAGO STUDENTS BACK IN SCHOOL: Absolutely. So, you know, we want CPS, first and foremost, to know that we do not want to go to remote learning. And we want them to continue to hold their ground. We do not want to see CPS give in to the union's demands or the teachers' walkout.

The science around this is so clear, and we want the decisions to be based on science. You know, we're very frustrated that there are no public health leaders standing up and saying that we should be moving to a remote learning environment, especially for a district of this size, and so we want our union and we want CPS to be making this decision based on science.

KEILAR: So, what do you think is going on here? Because, you know, just for people who aren't familiar with the Chicago Public School District --

EGAN: Yes.

KEILAR: Almost all of the teachers are vaccinated, right?

EGAN: That's right.

KEILAR: It's a --

EGAN: Ninety-six percent, I believe.

KEILAR: So, it's sort of a mixed bag, obviously with the kids, which is the case all over the country.

EGAN: Right.

KEILAR: But what is going on here, do you think, that has the teachers union saying no? And, you know, three out of four teachers in the district?

EGAN: You know, it's a great question. You know, and one of the things that we're really frustrated about is, you know, it's very clear that public health leaders are saying the classroom is the safest place for our kids. And even the rates, the Covid rates that CPS has published, they're lower within the CPS community than they are out in the general community. So, as parents, you know, we saw over the holiday break, we saw our teachers going on vacations and visiting families, and they absolutely should be doing that, but to return to school three days later, and say that they don't feel comfortable being in the classroom when the public health community says it's safe, and the rates within the community of kids is lower than what they face when they go to the grocery store or when they get their nails done, or when they're out in just the general community living their lives. You know, we have to move on. We have to live our lives with this pandemic. And so we really want the teachers to get back to work.

KEILAR: What was it like for your daughter doing remote learning?

EGAN: Oh, it was hard, you know. And I was talking with her last night about it. And she said, you know, I was doing so well before the pandemic. And in remote learning, like millions of kids, she struggled. And so when we went back to school in the fall, she came back, you know, her grades came back. She figured out a way to, you know, work and get back to where she was before. And she's really proud of that. And so now, to have this happen, and to have this kind of threat of moving an entire district of this size to remote learning, and thinking about her going back through that again, she said to me last night, she said, mom, this is when I'm supposed to be preparing for high school, and she should be given that opportunity to really test herself and push herself in the classroom. But the remote learning environment isn't going to cut it.

KEILAR: So testing -- Covid testing was not great in Chicago Public Schools. It's not -- just to be clear to people, it's not like every student got tested before they were to go back and a lot of testing results were invalidated. Do you think this would be more clear-cut if the testing had been

better by the public school system?

EGAN: You know, I really don't know. I think maybe that's possible. You know, CPS is on an opt-in testing program, which, you know, gives -- puts the decision of whether or not a child gets tested in the hands of the parents. And for a community of this size, and for a community that's this diverse, you know, some parents have access to technology and some parents, there's even language barriers as well.


And so CPS has to take all those things into account when they're deciding what the best path is. And I think the mayor believes and -- right now in the opt-in program and putting that power, the decision back into the hands of the parents. And that seems to be the right thing to do right now.

KEILAR: Yes, look, whoever is accountable here, and people have different opinions on it, clearly you have yours. It's the kids that are paying for it, that is what is so clear.

EGAN: Absolutely.

KEILAR: And they really -- it's cost them so much already.

Michelle, thank you so much for being with us.

EGAN: Thank you.

KEILAR: Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 9:30 a.m. ET, Biden returns from Camp David.

1:30 p.m. ET, White House briefing.

2:00 p.m. ET, State Department briefing.


KEILAR: Some are calling this the most tenuous moment in Europe since the end of the Cold War. We have the latest on the high stakes talks that are underway right now between the U.S. and Russia.

BERMAN: And what a Supreme Court justice said about kids and Covid that was wrong. We have a fact check next.



BERMAN: Time for "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

Tributes pouring in for one of America's most beloved TV fathers, Bob Saget. The comedian best known for playing the loveable Danny Tanner on "Full House" passed away. His body was found at an Orlando hotel room. There were no signs of foul play or drug use. Bob Saget was 65 years old.

KEILAR: And at least 19 people died, including nine children in the Bronx, in New York City's deadliest fire in 30 years. Sixty-three people were injured and there are still 32 who have gone to the hospital with life-threatening conditions. Firefighters found victims on every floor of the building. And officials say the death toll is likely to climb.

BERMAN: And just in, Novak Djokovic, the world's number one tennis player, says he wants to stay in Australia and compete in the Australian Open. This after a stunning victory in court. A judge ordered the government to restore the tennis star's visa and release him from immigration detention. The government warns it may still cancel his visa from being unvaccinated ahead of next week's Australian Open.

KEILAR: And the standoff between the teachers union and Chicago Public Schools has drags into a second week. Students now missing a fourth consecutive day of school. Both sides are talking but they remain far apart on Covid protocols.

BERMAN: Officials from the U.S. and Russia holding high-stakes talks in Geneva. The U.S. is seeking to prevent the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while Russia eyes expansive security demands. Diplomats have been publicly pessimistic about the chances of progress.

KEILAR: That is "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." You can see more on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning. Go to And you can also find it wherever you get your podcasts.

BERMAN: So, during Supreme Court oral arguments over President Biden's coronavirus vaccine mandates, Justice Sonia Sotomayor made a starkly false claim about child hospitalizations.


JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT: Those numbers show that omicron is as deadly and cause as much serious in the unvaccinated as delta did. We have over 100,000 children, which we've never had before, in serious condition and many on ventilators.


BERMAN: CNN's Daniel Dale has a fact check.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: The justice was just plain inaccurate here. According to the latest federal data, there are actually about 5,000 people under the age of 18 in U.S. hospitals with cases of Covid-19. That is far from over 100,000. And not all of those roughly 5,000 are in, quote, serious condition.

Now, the justice could have correctly said that the number of U.S. children in hospital with Covid-19 is at a record level, and she could have said that the rate is rising sharply, but over 100,000 in serious condition? That's just wrong.

John and Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, thank you, Daniel.

Just terrible people out of Brazil, where at least 10 people have died after a huge slab of rock fell off of a cliff on to several tourist boats below.

CNN's Matt Rivers has more on this.



Further south in Brazil, a horrific tragedy that you almost have to see to believe. And a warning to our viewers, that some might find this video disturbing.

In video taken from a lake in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, you can see part of a rock face actually collapses in spectacular fashion down onto the lake below. All that dirt and rock, some of it fell onto boats there were on the lake at the time. Authorities saying that ten people were killed as a result of this collapse. An additional 32 injured, at least so far.

A geologist told our affiliate CNN Brazil that it was likely a preexisting fracture in the rock, along with heavy rain over the past couple weeks that caused the collapse.



BERMAN: That's just terrible video.

New this morning, two security soldiers have been killed in Kazakhstan. The discovery comes just hours after the country's president claimed that order had been restored and he framed the recent deadly protests as an attempted coup.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen live on the border with the latest.

And this real sense of upheaval inside Kazakhstan, Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, John, there certainly is a real sense of upheaval and still a very fast-moving situation there inside Kazakhstan. One of the things that the president of that country said is he did say that he believed this was an attempted coup. He also said that he believed that some of the protesters were trained outside of the country. Again, once again, talking about foreign influence on all of that, So far we have to say no evidence has been provided by the Kazakh government. That could have been the case.

However, the Kazakh government is saying that their crackdown is absolutely continuing. And, in fact, even speeding up. They say that so far around 8,000 people have been detained in relation to those protests. And, of course, they were so tough and so deadly and took place there in Kazakhstan last week.

The death toll, they now say, is at 164, and more than 100 of those in one city alone. That's the city of Almaty, which is the largest city and really the ones where we did see a lot of those videos of security forces opening fire on people and then going there house to house and street to street. Obviously, a lot of the violence taking place there in that city.

Now the Kazakh government is saying it's slowly getting the situation under control. There was a day of mourning today. They also turned on the Internet, at least for a little while. But they also said that the reason why they're getting it under control is they have foreign troops on the ground and most of those foreign troops are coming from Russia.

There was a call today from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, that's a Russia-led military alliance here in this area. And on that call, Vladimir Putin also said that he believed foreign influence was at play there. He said that he believed midon (ph) tactics were being used, of course referring to the protest that happened in Ukraine in 2014. And the Russians are saying that their troops are going to stay on the ground there as long as needed. Once again, you can see the Russians really expanding their influence here in this region, John.

BERMAN: Yes, huge international implications there with Russia perhaps exploiting the situation.


BERMAN: Frederik Pleitgen, thank you for being there for us.

Just released data that spells bad news for one of President Biden's major policy goals.

KEILAR: And a major loss overnight of the one and only Bob Saget.


BOB SAGET, ACTOR AND COMEDIAN: I don't know where I'll see you next, on the show, on a tape or in front of your home, but I have to say, take care of yourselves and keep those cameras safely rolling.




BERMAN: All right, released just moments ago, new analysis that reveals the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Data shows a 6 percent increase in 2021, compared with 20.

Chief climate correspondent Bill Weir live with the latest here on what happened, why, and the possible implication to President Biden's climate goals.


We knew that the planet cooking pollution emissions would come back with a vengeance after the world reopened after the shutdowns of 2020, but they came back even more than anybody expected, much faster than the economy. And the result really is coal. The dirtiest fuel of all, when there was a shortage of natural gas, prices spiked for natural gas, utilities, they don't have any incentives or any punishments to worry about to go back to burning coal. So that jumped 17 percent. It's the first time since 2014 this country has burned more coal than the year before.

And, of course, this is completely in the wrong direction that we should be going, according to scientists and the pledges of Joe Biden. He wants to cut emissions half of 2005 levels just in the next eight years. But it's not happening. It's going in the wrong direction.

BERMAN: Well, it's going up, not down. He wants it to go down.

Also learning new information about the price of climate inaction, Bill.

WEIR: Absolutely. So the -- Copernicus is the E.U.'s version of NASA and NOAA. Their numbers, they ranked 2021 the fifth warmest year on record. It would have been higher if not for the La Nina effect in the Pacific that generally cools things down. But you've got to look at the longer trend. In the last seven years, the warmest seven years ever recorded. And some think it might be the coolest seven years for the rest of our lives, which does not bode well.

And we're also expecting confirmation later today that 2021 was the most expensive and deadliest year when it came to unnatural disasters. 2020 was over $100 billion. 2021 will probably eclipse that. And if you just add it up over the course of a decade, that's $1 trillion for the U.S. in climate related disaster costs, which is twice as much as Joe Biden's build back better plan.

BERMAN: That is interesting. Bill, and I have to say, when 17 percent burning more coal than last year for the first time since 2014, I didn't do that -- I didn't know that, and that really does tell you something.

WEIR: Yes.

BERMAN: Thanks, Bill.

WEIR: You bet.

BERMAN: L.A. Public Schools identifying 50,000 positive Covid cases through its testing program in the past week alone -- 50,000. The latest on where things stand with the omicron surge.

KEILAR: And, spoiler alert, player 001 in "Squid Game" -- did I even say that right? I need to watch it. I'm a little afraid to, though -- is a winner again.



KEILAR: Time now for "The Good Stuff."

A breakout star from the hit Netflix series "Squid Game" making history as the first Korean actor to win a Golden Globe.

Seventy-seven-year-old O Yeong-su, who plays player one, not player 001, as I said, you can tell I haven't watched "Squid Game," I'm afraid of it. He won best actor in a supporting role in television. This year's Golden Globes is scaled down amid a controversy over diversity. So O's victory was announced at a private, online celebrity with no celebrity intros or speeches. In a statement released by Netflix, O says, after hearing the news, I told myself for the first time, you're a nice dude. Thank all of you in the world. I wish you a beautiful life.

BERMAN: You're a nice dude. Ah, the irony there for fans of "Squid Games." I don't want to give anything away. I don't want to give anything away. He was great, though. He was -- he was really, really good.

KEILAR: He was fantastic. I am -- OK, it's been a rough pandemic and I kind of need like the uppers, right, like Ted Lasso, Jason Sudeikis won, which was great. I need that Ted Lasso vibe. And so I have put off watching "Squid Game." But should I watch it, John Berman?

BERMAN: Ah, yes, you should definitely watch it. Maybe not with the kids. I will offer that suggestion. And Ted Lasso and "Squid Game" nothing like.

My favorite winner was Jean Smart, who won for "Hacks," which was -- she's terrific. I mean she's just terrific. And she was in "Mare of Easttown" also.


She had maybe the best year in all of television besides Brianna Keilar.

KEILAR: Right. Well, maybe even more so.

But, look, see, now I have a list because of you of things I need to watch