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New Day Saturday

U.S. Breaks new Case and Hospitalization Records Amid Wait for Vaccine; Donald Trump Jr. and Andrew Giuliani Test Positive for COVID- 19; Michigan Lawmakers Stand by State's Results Following Trump Meeting; Biden's Margin of Victory Over Trump Surpasses 6 Million Votes; CDC Warns Americans not to Travel for Thanksgiving; AAA Predicts 95 Percent of American Holiday Travelers will Hit the Road; CDC Recommends Against Traveling for Thanksgiving; Moderna, Pfizer Vaccine Doses to Be Produced by End of 2020. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired November 21, 2020 - 06:00   ET




JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jessica Dean covering the Biden transition in Wilmington, Delaware. This is CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Breaking news. Donald Trump Jr. testing positive as the president's legal team, including Rudy Giuliani, is now in quarantine after exposure to the virus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I am so angry. So many people in this country have died as a consequence of this administration, his father's inattention to this pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): A record number of people in the hospital, more than 80,000. For the first time since early May, more than 2,000 lives reported lost to COVID-19 in a single day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Trump trying to overturn the election, meeting for an hour with Republican lawmakers from Michigan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): What the president is doing is completely unprecedented to try and disenfranchise voters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): And I just wish he would accept the loss, move on and start bringing us together instead of trying to create more divide.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Live look right now at the Capitol Building in Washington. It is Saturday, November 21st. Good morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone and I'm Amara Walker ... BLACKWELL: So, the ...

WALKER: ... in today for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: This morning, the U.S. is at a crossroads in this coronavirus fight. A big step closer toward a coronavirus vaccine, but also continuing down the worst stretch yet of this pandemic. The U.S. added more than 195,000 new cases yesterday alone. That's a record and the first time the U.S. has added more than 190,000 cases in a single day.

WALKER: And nearly a week after we crossed 11 million cases, the U.S. is already close to surpassing a total of 12 million confirmed cases and that's the most anywhere in the world. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. Pfizer and BioNTech have applied for emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine. The FDA says its outside advisory panel will meet to discuss the application on December 10th.

BLACKWELL: We're also seeing long lines for COVID tests ahead of Thanksgiving. The CDC really wants you to celebrate safely and they recommend not traveling. CNN's Polo Sandoval is with us now, live from JFK International Airport. Polo, good morning to you. People really have a tough choice to make ...


BLACKWELL: ... on how to celebrate and if they're going to see their family members. What are you seeing?

SANDOVAL: I know, Victor. AAA expects that those who do travel will perhaps actually get in their vehicles and drive to their destinations because of the pandemic and that will likely be the majority. So that's one of the reasons why situation may be a little bit slower at airports across the country, but the other authorities certainly hoping that people will heed that warning and that guidance that was issued by the CDC this week to simply just skip Thanksgiving travel altogether.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): It's a broader and, some fear, longer-lasting wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths and you can see it in the latest COVID trend map showing a virtual sea of orange and red 10 months after the first U.S. COVID-19 case was confirmed. At just over 13,000 new infections, the state of California shattered its own record Friday.

Then there's the reality of the fights on the front lines to save patients from the virus' suffocating grip. It's a struggle compounded by staff shortages in some of the nation's rural medical facilities.

PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: We're seeing these surges on intensive care units and that's when the mortality rate, the death rate goes like this to this, vertical, because nurses, other staff, doctors get overwhelmed and it's not just a matter of the beds, it's having trained staff in order to take care of them.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): On Friday, the American Hospital Association flagged reports from care facilities in at least six states where fears are growing about the physical and emotional toll on medical personnel.

LACIE GOOCH, NEBRASKA NURSE: I have seen so many emergent intubations. I've seen people more sick than I've ever seen in my life.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): There is, however, hope that front line medical workers could soon be better protected against the virus. On Friday, Pfizer and BioNTech were the first to apply for FDA emergency approval of their coronavirus vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what we had most hoped for, but it's not just around the corner. A vaccine roll-out is going to take a long time. It's not a vaccine that saves lives, it's a vaccination program.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Until that happens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues urging Americans to avoid travel and to keep the Thanksgiving celebrations small.

DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: I'm making the personal sacrifices not to infect my parents and my pregnant daughter and there's a lot of people out there who know how to protect one another and we just need to make sure we're all doing that.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Including by continuing to wear a mask. The CDC out with another reason to do so. The researchers took a look at the state of Kansas and its July 2nd mask mandate.


A majority of the state's counties, some two-thirds, opted out of the governor's mask order. They later recorded about a 100 percent increase in COVID-19 cases. Compare that surge to a 6 percent decrease in the counties that did require masks in public.


SANDOVAL: So the -- so the numbers certainly don't lie and something to consider as we approach the holidays here. Another big topic of conversation here in New York this week were the public-school system which, as we know, was ordered closed when it reached that 3 percent seven-week infection threshold. So far, Amara and Victor, what we know is that they could potentially open the week after Thanksgiving, but that's really going to be a moving target.

And as we heard from authorities here in New York, schools may have been the first domino to fall. Indoor dining, gyms, things of that nature may potentially be next in the coming weeks.

BLACKWELL: Yes. A lot of changes for those families and business owners there in New York. Polo Sandoval for us. Thanks so much. WALKER: Thank you, Polo. Well, Donald Trump Jr., the president's son, is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19. Trump Jr. becomes the latest figure close to the president's circle to contract the virus.

BLACKWELL: Let's go now to CNN's Kevin Liptak. He's with us from the White House. Kevin, good morning to you.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. Good morning. A spokesman for the president's eldest son saying Donald Trump Jr. tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week. He's self-isolating at a cabin and he's showing no symptoms. We don't know who he may have been in contact with before he tested positive, but he is among those in the president's inner circle who are pushing the president to continue contesting the election.

As you said, he's just the latest in a string of people inside the White House and in the president's inner circle who have tested positive for coronavirus.

We also learned Friday that that includes Andrew Giuliani. He's a mid- level aide at the White House and he's the son of Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, who has really taken the lead in the president's efforts to challenge the election results, even overturn the election results as other more seasoned election lawyers sort of back away.

Giuliani himself, the elder Giuliani, is self-isolating after being in contact with his son. He was originally planning to attend what, on its face, was an extraordinary meeting at the White House yesterday, the president summoning lawmakers, Republican lawmakers, from Michigan, all part of his attempt to convince fellow Republicans to undercut the election results, to ignore the popular votes in their states, potentially delay certification and even assign electors to Trump instead of Biden.

Now, after that meeting, it seemed like the president may have gotten a little less than he bargained for. I'm told that those lawmakers, which included the state House speaker and the state Senate majority leader, explained to Trump the laws in their states about certifying results and they came out with a statement and it said this.

"We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan's electors just as we -- as we have said throughout this election."

Now, one thing that those Michigan lawmakers did come to the Oval Office with was a request for more federal help on coronavirus. That's a topic the president has been largely invisible on for the last several weeks. He's been largely invisible generally. Yesterday was the first time we saw him in person for a week. He came to the briefing room to tout some advancements on drug pricing rules, but his mind was still very much on the election. Listen to some of what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, they waited and waited and waited and they thought they'd come out with it a few days after the election and it would have probably had an impact. Who knows? Maybe it wouldn't have. I'm sure they would have found the ballots someplace, the Democrats and the group. These corrupt games will not deter us from doing what is right for the American people.


LIPTAK: Now, reality check there. the companies that have come out with vaccine information needed to wait until after the election until all of their results were known and they could meet sort of the requirements laid out by the FDA for the amount of data that they could have. So, there's no truth to the president's suggestion that they were punishing him politically for what he's doing on drug pricing, guys.

WLAKER: Yes. That Michigan meeting, the outcome of it obviously a huge blow to President Trump on top of the legal challenges that they've been mounting which have been going nowhere. Kevin, you mentioned President Trump being invisible for the most part except for yesterday when we did see him there and he's been extremely active on Twitter, but in general, are we expecting to see him at any public events this weekend?

LIPTAK: Well, we will see the president participate in the annual G20 summit. It had been unclear up until late yesterday whether he would participate in this summit at all. It's being convened virtually. It's host is Saudi Arabia. Expectations are very low at this year's G20 summit despite the global pandemic.


There are some expectations for some debt relief initiatives, but that's about it. Of course, the president has never made it a secret that he doesn't think much of these huge, multilateral summits. He was actually the host of the G7 this year and he, after some back and forth, just never put it on the schedule, never hosted it.

He is at sort of the low ebb of his influence on the global stage at this point. Most of the other G20 leaders who will participate in the summit today have congratulated Joe Biden as being the president- elect. The one holdout is still Vladimir Putin of Russia.

WALKER: Kevin Liptak live for us there in D.C. Thanks so much. Well, President-Elect Joe Biden's margin of victory over President Trump is growing as more ballots are counted across the country.

BLACKWELL: So, the president-elect's lead over President Trump stretched to 6 million votes yesterday. Former vice president has close to 80 million votes, more votes than any presidential candidate in history and yesterday, Georgia's Republican governor certified Biden's win in the state. Governor Brian Kemp said he would allow the law and sign the paperwork -- or follow the law and sign the paperwork. Let's bring in now Errol Louis, CNN political commentator, political anchor for "Spectrum News" and host of the "You "Decide" podcast. Errol, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: Let's start in Georgia. So, we know that the president's campaign, because it ended within a half percentage point gap there, very narrow race, they can ask for a machine recount. The president tweeted about Georgia, didn't mention it, no updates from the campaign. They've got two business days. Do you glean anything from no immediate rush to a recount after this hand audit that we watched for a few days?

LOUIS: No. I think they may have given up at this point. Of course, they are within their rights to ask for the machine recount. It would be extraordinary if it reversed the results there. You know, normally, these kind of recount efforts might move a few hundred ballots one way or the other. That, unfortunately, is far beyond what Trump would need to make any kind of a claim that the count was somehow tainted.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The president-elect won Georgia by more than 12,000 votes. And we know that Republicans, in large part, have been silent up to this point because they want the president to play in the Georgia runoffs, at least not to depress the vote there. What is your expectation? Do you think it's probable we will see the president, as we saw the vice president yesterday, in Georgia campaigning for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue?

LOUIS: I suspect that he might. There's a very good chance that he might, Victor, and I would think only at the level -- if only at the level that he doesn't want his defeat to be completely catastrophic.

It's one thing to lose the White House and that's bad enough, but to have the taint of also having lost the Senate majority will be a blow against his historical legacy and frankly any remaining political viability that he has whether he wants to use his name and his reputation to run for office himself or to raise money or to do any other of the things that he might want to do with what's left of his career. So yes, I think there's a -- there's a very good chance that he might step in.

There's also been some decent reporting that suggests that he wants to strike back at the people that he thinks took this election away from him and what better way to do so than to try and put the Senate majority -- to keep the majority for the Republicans and the incoming Biden administration? The idea being to stop anything that has anything to do with the Biden administration succeeding. Not good for the country, but we know that vindictiveness has been part of Trump's politics from day one.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So a lot of Republican leaders who have not said much about the president's lawsuits have said that, you know, he has the legal right to challenge if he believes that there were some irregularities or fraud, that what damage would it do to humor the president? That was the narrative the first couple of days, the first week. Do you believe that the meeting with Michigan lawmakers yesterday in the White House changed that rationale?

And I should say that -- excuse me -- CNN's reporting is that he's considering calling Pennsylvania lawmakers before they certify on Monday.

LOUIS: Yes. Well, look, Michigan lawmakers, probably Pennsylvania lawmakers, people from any state no matter what their politics are or how they think this election ought to be wrapped up are going to come see the president. The president asks you to come talk, you go to talk and while you're there, by the way, you ask for COVID relief and other kind of things that your state needs. That's part of being a responsible political leader.

Are people going to, quote-unquote, "humor him" beyond, say, December 14th when the Electoral College meets and really puts this thing to an end? I'm not sure. At some point, you know, life has to go on and people have to start thinking beyond, about those Senate races in Georgia and their own political careers.


We're 60 days out exactly, Victor, from the inauguration and folks have got to really start thinking about the future, about their own careers, about serving the people that they represent and about the incoming Biden administration which may not take too kindly to this kind of obstructionism as they try and put together a new administration.

BLACKWELL: Can we look down the road a bit? You said 60 days out from inauguration. We're 21 days out from the funds running out for the federal government. Congress has to sign these bills -- I mean pass these bills, the president has to sign them by three weeks from today. This is the last opportunity for this president to get more funding for the wall, to fund some of his priorities. What's your expectation three weeks from that deadline? This week, the White House chief of staff said that it cannot guarantee that they will fund the government by that deadline.

LOUIS: Well, look, the absentee nature of the administration, the president's absence from public events does not bode well for any kind of a solution. My expectation, to answer your question, would be that nothing gets done, that certain parts of the government cease to function altogether and that everybody waits until January 5th, everybody wait to see who will be in charge of all branches of government, at which point, between, say, the outcome of the Georgia Senate races and the inauguration of the new administration on the 20th, that's when we'll start to see some motion.

And it pains me to say that because there's going to be a lot of frustration, a lot of confusion. The specter of bankruptcy and eviction looms over so many families at this point, but we have a completely broken system and a defeated departing president ...


LOUIS: ... that seems determined to keep it that way and to break the system just a little bit more.

BLACKWELL: He's also got with him Mark Meadows who was that freshman congressman who, in 2013, led to the government shutdown because he didn't want to fund the ACA and then started the Freedom Caucus which then pushed out John Boehner and now he's leading the effort from the White House. So we'll see. Three weeks until they've got to pass and sign the funding bill. Errol Louis, always good to have you, sir.

LOUIS: Thank you, Victor.

WALKER: Well, I don't have to tell you this. 2020 has been a year of enormous sacrifice and struggle for so many of us across America. Well, unfortunately there are still some challenges ahead. We're going to have more on the latest guidance from the CDC if you absolutely have to travel home for Thanksgiving.




BLACKWELL: Today, President-Elect Joe Biden will meet with his transition advisors. Both he and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer yesterday.

WALKER: CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck is in Washington D.C. with more details. Hi there, Rebecca. So what can we expect from today's meeting?

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning. Well, in the meeting yesterday with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, we saw President-Elect Joe Biden keep the focus on the two major issues that he's going to face first as president -- this coronavirus pandemic and of course the recovering economy.

They also said he told the two Democratic leaders that when it comes to the White House, mi casa es su casa, my house is your house, signaling the sort of cooperation that we can expect him to have with Capitol Hill, but of course we still don't know what the -- what the Senate is going to look like, whether Republicans are going to hold their majority in the Senate and of course that's going to have a major impact on Biden and his governing agenda and also whether he's able to get his cabinet picks confirmed.

That is what we are expecting to hear more about in the next few days. Early this week, we're expecting Biden and his team to announce some of their first cabinet picks. This week, Biden said that he has already chosen his treasury secretary. Of course, they haven't announced this yet, but our reporting suggests that Lael Brainard, who sits on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, is one of the front runners for that position.

We are also expecting a pick this week for secretary of state and what these posts will tell us will be sort of the priorities that we can expect from Biden as he's coming in as president, how he's going to govern. So, these are going to be some very important picks for him, but as for this weekend, no public events on his schedule. He's going to be meeting privately with his transition team over the weekend. One of the big challenges still for Biden and his team, of course, is that he has not been officially ascertained as the winner of this election.

As we've been talking about over the past few days, the General Services Administration in the federal government is responsible for ascertaining him as the winner, giving him access to information and data that helps his team to make decisions and start planning for the transition, start planning for things they're going to do when they take over. They haven't had access to any of that data.

So, we're getting some signs from Democrats that they're putting more pressure on Emily Murphy, who is the official at the General Services Administration responsible for this decision. Obviously, their hands are tied for the time being. We'll see how long it takes the GSA to come around on this, but for now, Biden and his team are moving forward, trying to put as many pieces in place as they possibly can for now, but not getting any help from the current administration.

BLACKWELL: Two weeks ...

BUCK: Amara, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Two weeks since the network called it for the former vice president ...

BUCK: Right.

BLACKWELL: ... and still no concession from the president, no moving forward to transition. Rebecca Buck for us in Washington. Thank you.

BUCK: Thank you.

WALKER: Yes. I think just a couple of days ago, President Trump was tweeting that he won the election. Promising news in the fight against coronavirus. Just yesterday, both Pfizer and BioNTech applied for emergency-use authorization. So how soon can you expect to get the vaccine? We're going to talk with a doctor who was part of BioNTech's vaccine trial. That's next.



WALKER: The CDC is warning Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving this year, but that message may be easier said than done. You are looking at scenes from airports across the U.S. yesterday. Gates were packed with passengers.

BLACKWELL: There they are. All right. So, this is a few of the airports. AAA says that most Americans will actually drive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEANETTE MCGEE, AAA SPOKESPERSON: So, for Thanksgiving when people decide to travel or those that do decide to travel, 95 percent of those traveling are going to go by car. You decide when you're leaving, where you're going, where you're stopping and, you know, who's going to be in the vehicle with you. It's all about eliminating exposure and getting a car is the easiest way to do that in terms of traveling.

Pack more food and water than you typically do to limit, you know, the number of stops you have to make. You need a thermometer, you need your masks, hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies.

BLACKWELL: Now, if you take the risk and you travel, there's some important precautions to remember.

WALKER: CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard has more on how families are adjusting during this very challenging period.


DANIEL HIGGINS, AUTHOR: It's my favorite holiday absolutely.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER (voice-over): Thanksgiving for Daniel Higgins typically looks like this.


HOWARD: Watching the parade, the lively dinner table and an even busier kitchen. But this year, he'll be spending Thanksgiving with just his wife and son.

HIGGINS: It's not worth it. It's not worth the risk. My mom's first cousin lost his life to COVID.

HOWARD (on camera): The Higgins are not alone. And many families are staying home for the holidays, and with COVID-19 cases rising across the country, the CDC is issuing this warning.

HENRY WALKE, CDC'S INCIDENT MANAGER FOR COVID-19: Amidst this critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period.

HOWARD: And physicians like Dr. Saju Matthew are practicing what they preach, canceling plans.

SAJU MATTHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: You know, for the first time, we are not getting together for traditional family Thanksgiving.

HOWARD: So, Dr. Matthew, how are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year?

MATTHEW: Everybody in their own tight bubble, will make their favorite recipe. We're going to share that on the Zoom call on Thanksgiving Day and enjoy it.

HOWARD: And for those families who still choose to get together despite the risk, experts have advised.

MATTHEW: A small gathering outdoors, wearing masks when you cannot socially distance, maybe having a boxed dinner, a boxed lunch, plating the meals out before the people arrive. Those are the options that I think are still doable.


HOWARD: So, this is a major concern. You know, especially as thousands of college students are preparing to head home for the holidays. But the CDC makes clear if someone hasn't been living with you in the past two weeks, they don't count as being part of your household. And that includes a college student. So, if they can't stay on campus, the CDC urges people to stay at least 6 feet apart, wear a mask, wash your hands, of course, and monitor symptoms. Amara, Victor?

WALKER: All right, some important advice there, Jacqueline Howard, thank you for your reporting. Joining us now is Dr. Chris Pernell; she's a physician in New Jersey and a volunteer in the Moderna vaccine trial and she recently lost her own father to COVID-19. Doctor, my deepest sympathies to you. I'm sure it's going to be difficult especially with the holidays approaching. Look, let's just be honest. It sucks. This whole thing sucks. I was hoping to travel to California to see my family to introduce, you know, my parents' newest grandson to them. That's not going to happen. I'm not going to be traveling.

But there are people who are going to say, I'm home sick, especially college students or those who haven't seen their families in a long time. What would you say to them?

CHRIS PERNELL, PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIAN, NEWARK UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: First, I would say to them that I understand, as you mentioned, I lost my dad during this pandemic. My family, we were looking forward to actually celebrating. I haven't had a proper celebration of my father's life, and Thanksgiving would have been a great opportunity to do that, but it's just not safe. So, I would say to those who are home sick, those who are longing for their loved ones, just hold the line. Hold on a little bit longer until we can get to a point in the nation where we notice the pandemic isn't accelerating, otherwise, it could be deadly.

BLACKWELL: So, we know that, that is the guidance that's come from you and the CDC and other health experts, but there are some people who are going to travel. I have friends whose parents are in their 70s, and they say, well, I'm going to get a test on Monday and then I'm going to drive on Tuesday or Wednesday, and I'll stay in the house all day. I'll be safe that way. Your message to people who think that, that is enough is what?

PERNELL: That doesn't work. You would have to have quarantined for 14 days, meaning no contact with anyone else, wearing a mask at all times, practicing robust public health measures and every person who would be getting together would be able to say I've done the same. And since that's no guarantee, you're just taking risk by doing that. A test only tells you that you're negative in the day and the moment that you tested. It doesn't tell you whether there is virus incubating in you. It doesn't tell you whether or not you got exposed after the test. So, it's just really a risk that people shouldn't take.

WALKER: We mentioned Dr. Pernell, that you are participating in the Moderna vaccine trial. First off, how are you feeling?


Why did you decide to volunteer? And I would assume once the vaccine comes out, you are planning to get the vaccine. But there are people out there, especially with the political polarization in this country and a lot of people saying, look, I just don't trust the way President Trump has handled the quote, unquote, "rushing" of the vaccines, but there really is no medical reason not to trust what we're seeing as the results come out. What are your thoughts on the vaccines when they are available?

PERNELL: I get it. I get the skepticism. You know, we are in unchartered territory, and I have been having a lot of conversations about this, and definitely conversations with healthcare workers. Because there is skepticism doesn't mean though that we should not, or we should stay away from the vaccine. As you mentioned, I participated in a vaccine trial. I did that because that was my way of being a part of the solution. I had seen black and brown communities devastated by this pandemic. I lost my own father. My sister is a long hauler, the patients in our safety net hospital in Newark, New Jersey came in with such complex conditions and cases related to the virus.

So, I needed to do something to help turn this trajectory around. So, hence, I volunteered. But I get it. I was just talking with peers yesterday, nurses, other physician colleagues who just aren't familiar with this level of speed, who just aren't familiar with this level of disinformation. And I think that's been most damaging to our public health infrastructure. What I would point people to is to look at what is known and what is available. The level of safety data that we do have to date. You look at the fact that these trials have been done in thousands upon thousands of people, typically trials have much smaller enrollment banks.

In the particular trial that I participated in, there are over 30,000 people who participated in the Pfizer trial, upwards around 60 or so. So, that in and of itself would allow us to see if there were side effects that were serious medical events that would have been evident, that would have been more likely to surface in those numbers. So, we're going to have to take people on a journey. We're going to have to meet them where they are, continue to speak to the science, continue to be rooted in the facts, and to just have some empathy. I think that's going to be really important.

BLACKWELL: Empathy and education certainly paired together. Dr. Chris T. Pernell, thank you so much for being with us.

PERNELL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, so record numbers of new cases, record numbers of hospitalizations and new restrictions, that means some people are panic buying again. And grocery store chains are thinking about reimposing limits. We'll tell you which items could now be limited. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


WALKER: U.S. stocks closed lower yesterday as coronavirus cases continue to climb across the country and states reimpose restrictions.

BLACKWELL: And major pandemic relief programs will expire at the end of this year unless Congress moves on another stimulus package. CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik has the information on what's at risk if there is no progress.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Amara. The trading week began with positive news on the vaccine front propelling the Stock Market's rally to record highs, but by the end of the week, a reality check for investors. The rising number of coronavirus cases again across the country and new curfews in states including California, Arkansas, and Ohio are rattling nerves on Wall Street and raising concerns about the economy taking another hit. As new restrictions return, there are limits being reimpose on key grocery items like toilet paper, paper towels and disinfecting wipes. Grocery chains like Giant are saying there is little evidence of stockpiling, but that supply chains remain challenged. So the idea to keep their shelves stocked and prevent shoppers from hoarding as they did when the pandemic began in the Spring.

Meantime, Congress has failed to reach an agreement on a second economic stimulus package despite months of negotiations. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have become less confident that any stimulus deal can be reached during a lame duck session. Now there's new research from think-tank Century Foundation showing that 12 million workers are at risk of losing their benefits. Freelancers or gig workers and others who aren't eligible for regular benefits have been receiving special pandemic support, but that help ends on December 26th if Congress doesn't act.

And with millions of Americans getting some sort of unemployment benefit, Black Friday is coming up. It's traditionally the start of the holiday shopping season, but because of the pandemic, don't expect to see long lines and crowded stores of years past. Instead, analysts expect a bigger chunk of shopping to move online.

Deals also started much earlier this year. The National Retail Federation predicts the average consumer will spend about $997 this holiday. The overall spending number is down about $50 from last year. But economists are also warning about K-shaped holiday spending. That means wealthy consumers will splurge while lower income Americans will pull back. Victor and Amara?


WALKER: Alison Kosik, thank you.

BLACKWELL: So, this surge of coronavirus cases, it is hitting college football pretty hard. Record number of games have been called off. One conference is challenging or changing their rules. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: The number of college football games canceled or postponed because of COVID keeps growing.

WALKER: Coy Wire is with us this morning. And Coy, more games have been called off this week than in any other week so far this season.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: That's right, and well, good morning to you. And Victor, 17 games called off. That's more than a quarter of the games this week, and it breaks the previous high set just last week. The surge of cases within programs is a microcosm of that which we're seeing across the country. All ten conferences have had at least one game affected.


Five top 25 teams have had games called off. And for the third straight week, a third of the PAC-12 state has been wiped away including Stanford hosting Washington State canceled yesterday due to cases within Washington State's program. The PAC-12 announced Thursday that healthy teams will now be allowed to schedule non-conference games, perhaps in part to help offset the reported $5 million the conference loses for each game not played.

All right, now to difference makers. Haley Moore is wrapping up her rookie year on the LPGA Tour. She's also a national champion sinking the winning putt for the years on a Wildcat in 2018, but Haley has also been bullied her entire life about her size. Now she's changing that narrative.


HALEY MOORE, LPGA GOLFER: I was like fat. I'm ugly. Golf is more of a hobby, it's not an actual sport.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't come near us. Stay away. Go sit by yourself.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just some of the insults slung at Haley Moore during middle school. Tough for her mother to hear, but --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, you really just have to try to take the high road.

MOORE: I was just so afraid of going to school.

VERCAMMEN: An all-time low bully snatched and doused Haley's backpack, wrecking textbooks and her prized Justin Bieber hard bag.

MOORE: I just didn't know what to do, and I think golf was kind of a distraction from what was going on in my personal life.

VERCAMMEN: Golf helped Haley cope. The bullying let up in high school and she swung her way to a golf scholarship, University of Arizona in her senior year. Haley helped lead the Wildcats to the national championship.

MOORE: Pretty cool to cap off on my college career.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haley Moore on a tee of the putt three.

VERCAMMEN: Another huge victory. Haley qualified to turn professional.

MOORE: I am ecstatic, and I am excited just because, I mean, it was a dream of mine to be playing on the LPGA.

VERCAMMEN: And now as part of the Ladies Professional Golf Association Campaign Drive On, Haley is speaking out.

MOORE: I learned what makes me different makes me stronger.

VERCAMMEN: Drive on promotes opportunities for women and promotes inclusivity.

MOORE: I'm Haley Moore and I drive on.

VERCAMMEN: Haley is almost 6 feet tall. She says she gets her height from her father, once a long snapper for the Ohio State University Football team. They both won championships, and this family conquered bullying and inspires anyone who has been picked on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will be something that they can use as an outlet to help them and, you know, divert away from the haters and all the, you know, shaming.

MOORE: I just -- I want to make a difference in life, and I think telling this side of my story and getting it out there to everyone who has someone who is struggling or knows someone, it's been rough for them, just to never give up and just keep fighting and you'll get through it.


WIRE: Thanks to our Paul Vercammen for that. Haley continues to inspire, Victor and Amara. She plans to create a foundation that's going to help kids who have been bullied.

WALKER: What an amazing story, and so inspiring. And listen, even from my experience, I've been bullied before and revenge --

BLACKWELL: Me too --

WALKER: The best way to really revenge is success. Just be successful and that's the best way to avenge those bullies. Coy Wire, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Yes, thank you, Coy. One hundred and ninety-five thousand new COVID cases yesterday. The CDC says that you should not travel for Thanksgiving. But next hour, we are talking to an expert who argues there is a way that we could curb this spread by Christmas without having to impose nationwide restrictions.



WALKER: In honor of our upcoming special CNN Heroes, an all-star tribute on December 13th, we are sharing some of the incredible moments of inspiration that moved us all this year.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): When the call rang out for masks, gloves, face-shields and protective suits to keep our frontline workers safe, Americans responded with great generosity and he simply turned in what little they had, but the workers at Braskem America did something extraordinary. They moved in and quarantined in two of their manufacturing plants for nearly an entire month. What they made every day was the material needed to make life-saving protective gear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where can we resource to actually help them first, and we found very quickly that our role in this is keeping our plant running safely and securely.

COOPER: So, for four weeks, no one left. They ate, slept, worked and played together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the team. The boys!

COOPER: When they needed a morale boost, family and friends formed a massive parade to say hello and send their love.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Awesome. Thank you.

COOPER: And when the month ended, they produced 40 million pounds of product, enough to make 1.5 billion surgical masks. They walked out together, a sign of determination and resolve to save lives in desperate times. And if you were wondering, yes, they got overtime and much needed time off with their families because of their heroic act.


WALKER: I think a lot of us need a lot of inspiration right now. Go to right now to vote for this.