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New Day Saturday

U.S. Tops 13 Million Confirmed COVID-19 Cases and 264,000 Deaths; Former U.S. Cyber Chief Rejects Trump Campaign's Election Claims; Adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Says Response to Killing of top Nuclear Scientist Will be "Like Lightning"; Federal Appeals Court Denies Trump Campaign Effort to Revive PA Lawsuit, Says "Claims Have no Merit"; James Clyburn Calls for More African Americans in Top Biden Administration Roles; CDC Advisors to Vote Next Week on which Groups They Recommend Get Vaccine First; Australia's COVID-19 Epicenter Goes 29 Days with No New Infections. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired November 28, 2020 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "JOE BIDEN'S LONG JOURNEY," a CNN special report, tonight at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After a Thanksgiving like no other, America headed into a Black Friday like no other.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am so worried about everything that's happening over Thanksgiving because we have a massive surge on top of another massive surge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel good. I feel safe. There's nobody out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, now, 2,000 deaths per day is going to be the new normal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world waits for the ultimate weapon to battle the pandemic to officially arrive.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't let Joe Biden take credit for the vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The political theater absolutely has to stop.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're at war with the virus, not with one another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iran has now accused Israel of being behind the assassination of its top nuclear scientist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a two-fold effect. So one is to slow down the program, the other one is make it impossible for the United States to engage Iran after January 20th. (END VIDEO TAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Even at these hours, it's hard to imagine LAX being as empty as you see it there, but there it is. Not a lot of traffic there but looks like a beautiful morning before the sun comes up. Good morning to you and everyone, wherever you happen to be waking up from today. There is a lot riding on the next several days, I want to point out, particularly when it comes to the fight against coronavirus. Los Angeles County is taking dramatic action now to spread the curve.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. For people living in the most populous county in the country, if they're not in the same household, they cannot get together. That starts on Monday. Now, that does not include church services or protests. The L.A. County sheriff's department says the focus is on education. Enforcement is an extreme last resort.

PAUL: CNN's Polo Sandoval has been looking at all of this. Polo, good morning to you. What are you hearing there?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Guys, another 200,000 cases yesterday, now pushing the nation past that 13 million mark in terms of total COVID infections. That's certainly adding to the urgency for efforts by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will be meeting in just a few days, voting to try to establish exactly who would be the first to get a vaccine once a -- once a safe one is approved.


SANDOVAL (Voice-over): As of today, more than 19,000 Californians have lost their lives to the coronavirus. Until yesterday, only two states, New York and Texas, had reached that sobering milestone.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, AMERICAN SCIENTIST: We're in the most dangerous public health crisis this nation has faced at least for the last 100 years. We're going easily to 200,000 new cases per day. It'll be accelerated because of the Thanksgiving holiday. It will be accelerated again over Christmas and I'm so upset about the deaths.

SANDOVAL (Voice-over): Those death rates, along with the number of infections and hospitalizations, continue climbing throughout much of the country, with frontline healthcare workers putting their lives on the line to save patients.

DR. HASSAN KHOULI, CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, CLEVELAND CLINIC: It is disheartening to see some of our colleagues, our nurses, our respiratory therapists, our physicians falling ill and looking them in the eyes too and see how this is impacting them. This is as real as it can be and we have to -- we have to follow all the things that we know work. SANDOVAL (Voice-over): Including mask wearing, social distancing and following post Thanksgiving advice to quarantine when in doubt about possible exposure. Health officials say that's especially important if you attended a holiday gathering this week with guests outside of your household or with people not taking precautions.

DR. AMY COMPTON-PHILLIPS, CHIEF CLINICAL OFFICER: If you've expanded your bubble over Thanksgiving, the CDC asks us to stay quarantined for 14 days and so we're going to do everything we can to get as close to that as possible.

SANDOVAL (Voice-over): Multiple health experts are warning that this latest spike hasn't even peaked and likely it'll worsen significantly in the coming weeks, putting a bigger strain on hospitals across the country.

DR. COLLEEN KRAFT, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, EMORY UNIVERSITY: People can't get their serious surgeries if there's no ICU beds available because of COVID. So this is really becoming a tragedy within a tragedy.

SANDOVAL (Voice-over): In the race to secure a safe COVID vaccine, a CDC advisory committee will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday, voting on who would be among the first to be vaccinated. Frontline healthcare workers and those at high risk of infection likely to be prioritized.

The World Health Organization also calling for more research on a vaccine candidate being developed by AstraZeneca. A dosing mishap in their trial gave a small group of study subjects less dosage, but was more effective than the planned dose, leading to questions about their trial.


SANDOVAL: There are still multiple medical facilities across the country that are able to keep their head above water. In fact, here in New York, the head of or at least the chief medical officer at Mount Sinai saying that, yes, their COVID numbers are certainly rising, but at the same time, they are still well within their ability to actually take care of those patients, Victor.

[06:05:02] So certainly some optimism from coming at least one doctor here in New York, but many rural hospitals and health facilities across the country, they are certainly looking at a potential crisis in the weeks or potentially months ahead.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Polo Sandoval for us this morning. Polo, thanks. In about 30, 35 minutes or so, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, he'll be with us to talk about the new stay-at-home order in Los Angeles, if it's possible that we could see similar restrictions in other parts of the country, the progress on the vaccines, a lot more and that's coming up a little later this hour.

PAUL: Yes. And while the U.S. sees a surge in coronavirus cases, President-elect Biden is working on his plan to distribute a vaccine. BLACKWELL: CNN's Rebecca Buck is with us with the latest on that from Washington. Rebecca, advisers to the CDC, they have now called this emergency meeting on Tuesday. Tell us what we're expecting then.

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Vice President Biden, now President-elect Joe Biden, said as a candidate that he would listen to the scientists and the experts when it comes to addressing the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and indeed that is what we are seeing from him now as president-elect.

One of the members of his Coronavirus Advisory Board, Dr. Celine Gounder, saying that she believes Biden is going to listen to the scientists when it comes to deciding who is going to be prioritized for the coronavirus vaccine. Some of the people that you would expect probably. Healthcare workers, the elderly, she says, also people with pre-existing health conditions will likely be moved to the front of the line in a Biden administration to receive this vaccine.

But one of the things that is key here for the Biden transition according to Dr. Gounder is just to remove the politics from the equation, to follow the data, follow these expert recommendations. Obviously no small task when you look at how this pandemic has become politicized in the past few months by the current administration.

One thing that the Biden team has working in their favor, though, as they're moving forward with their planning on this is that finally this week, the General Services Administration ascertained his victory as president-elect, enabling him and his team to coordinate with federal officials, to get access to federal information and data to help them start this planning process to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

And there's no question that when Biden takes office, this is going to be the first big test he faces as president, not only what his response will be to the ongoing pandemic, and we are expecting a very difficult winter, there's no doubt about it, but also this vaccine roll-out and how he handles the logistics of that as well. So the planning already beginning in earnest with this meeting this coming week, Victor, Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Rebecca Buck, good to see you this morning. Thank you.

BUCK: Bye, guys (ph).

BLACKWELL: Kevin Liptak, you are up next. He's at the White House. Kevin, President-elect Joe Biden picked up a few votes in Milwaukee County after the President's campaign requested a recount. Are we hearing any comment from the White House on that?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, they are signaling they will appeal that decision. They're essentially trying to throw out tens of thousands of absentee ballots in Wisconsin. Now, remember, it was the Trump campaign that requested the recount in two counties in Wisconsin. They're paying $3 million for those recounts. It ended up that Joe Biden ended up with 132 more votes than Donald Trump did in this recount.

This is all as the President continues to make these false claims about the election, even as his legal pathway is crumbling to overturning the results and as the transition is continuing at pace. The President seems to be setting a condition on Joe Biden for entering the White House even after he said that he would leave if the Electoral College affirms Joe Biden as president next month.

The president tweeted, "Biden can only enter the White House as president if he can prove that his ridiculous 80 million votes were not fraudulently or illegally obtained." Of course, the proof that the President is looking for there is ample. Republican and Democratic state officials have all said that there was no widespread election fraud in this election in November.

If anyone is struggling to prove their case here, it's the President. He's suffering legal setback after legal setback. The latest again came in Pennsylvania yesterday. A judge there again rejecting the Trump campaign's efforts to block certification. The judge, who is a Trump appointee, essentially saying calling an election unfair doesn't make it so.

Now the Trump campaign has said that they will appeal that decision to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has shown no willingness to take up these cases. This is all an effort by the President to sow doubt about the election among his supporters, but if you needed any indication that the President is looking towards the end of his term, just look to these rash of rule-making decisions, pardons that are coming up in the next several weeks. This is all a sign that the President is fully aware that he will not be president in January 20th.

[06:10:00] PAUL: Kevin, I want to get to this, too, because we're learning the Justice Department's rushing to change some rules around the methods of execution. What do you know about that?

LIPTAK: Yes. This is sort of the latest example of this rash of rule- making that the Trump administration is rushing to finish as this term winds to an end. Now, this would expand the possible methods of the federal death penalty to include electrocution and even firing squads. Now, this would occur only in cases where lethal injection, which is the case that's been used by the federal government for decades, wasn't available.

And now, it's not clear that any of this is going to come to fruition. It's not clear that the federal government is going to be executing anyone by firing squad anytime soon, but what the rule does is essentially allows the federal government to use execution methods that are allowed in certain states for federal executions if the crime was committed in that state and so some states do allow for these alternate methods. For example, Utah allows firing squads in certain instances.

Now, this is all as the Justice Department is rushing to finalize federal executions in the final weeks and months of the Trump administration. There are five federal inmates who are due to be executed between now and when the president's term ends. President- elect Joe Biden has signaled that he opposes the death penalty. It's not clear that he would call these executions off, but this is all meant to rush these executions.

If all of them go through, that would be the most federal executions during a presidential transition since 1884.


PAUL: Wow. All right. Man. Kevin Liptak, thank you so much for all the information.

BLACKWELL: So, the man that President Trump fired for calling the 2020 election "the most secure in American history" says that you should have 100 percent confidence in the vote.

PAUL: In an interview with "60 Minutes," Chris Krebs, the former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, says there's no evidence that voting machines were manipulated by any foreign actors.


SCOTT PELLEY, CORRESPONDENT, 60 MINUTES: Let me ask for your reaction to some of the vote fraud that the President and his team have been alleging. Votes tabulated in foreign countries.

CHRIS KREBS, FORMER DIRECTOR, CYBERSECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY: So all votes in the United States of America are counted in the United States of America. I don't -- I don't understand this claim. All votes in the United States of America are counted in the United States of America. Period.

PELLEY: Communist money from China and Cuba used to influence the election.

KREBS: Look, I think these -- we can go on and on with all the farcical claims alleging interference in the 2020 election, but the proof is in the ballots. The recounts are consistent with the initial count and to me, that's further evidence, that's confirmation that the systems used in the 2020 election performed as expected and the American people should have 100 percent confidence in their vote.


BLACKWELL: Iran is vowing there will be swift and severe retaliation for the killing of one of its top nuclear scientists. We'll examine how his death could complicate the Biden administration's approach to Iran.

PAUL: Also ahead, Australia's state of Victoria, which was once the country's COVID-19 epicenter, was able to go 29 days without any new infections. We'll tell you what we know.




PAUL: Well, Iran is promising to retaliate for the killing of the country's top nuclear scientist. The military is saying the response will, quote, "be like lightning."

BLACKWELL: Iranian state media says that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated Friday in an attempted -- in an ambush, I should say, outside of Tehran. Now, top Iranian officials blame Israel, but they've not provided any evidence for that claim. So far, Israel has not said anything about responsibility for the killing.

Let's bring in CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh. Nick, he's not a household name. What do we know about the scientist?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, he is essentially the most prominent nuclear scientist Iran has. Accused by Israel there, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu giving a long speech in late 2018 naming him specifically, essentially saying this man is the repository of all Iran's nuclear knowledge for any weapons program they may seek to reignite. Unclear precisely what he was doing at the time of his death, but he's obviously a man who was high on target lists.

Now, it's embarrassing for Iran that somebody this prominent would be killed in the secure areas of Tehran and the circumstantial evidence does point to Israel as the likely culprit in this because they have a track record of being able to do things like this despite the fact there is no comment from them at all about their involvement in all of this.

Why now, though? That's the question people are obviously asking and the answer is very obvious. We are in the closing days of the administration of President Donald Trump who stepped out of the nuclear deal designed to slow Iran's weapons and nuclear program, period, put maximum pressure sanctions on Iran, assassinated their most prominent military figure, Qasem Soleimani, in January as a response to Iran's attacks on U.S. assets in the region.

But now, President-elect Joe Biden has made very clear signals he wants to get back to the negotiating table, possibly back into the nuclear deal et al. So there are some who are arguing this is all about disrupting that negotiating process, making the avenue for diplomacy a lot tighter.

Then there's of course a counter argument that says, frankly, the tougher Trump is right now, the more of a tonic that Joe Biden's team appear when they arrive on the scene here. I think the broad issue is whether these next 50 days embarrass Iran so much that its hawks (ph) get the upper hand internally and then mean that they don't really fancy a deal going forwards, but frankly, the ultimate takeaway from this, if you are in Iran's top officialdom, you aren't safe wherever you are it seems if, indeed, this was an assassination carried out by Israel. [06:20:05] So very tense times in that region, but I should just add a note of caution here. It doesn't seem like any of the sides involved want a full-scale conflict. They didn't go for that after the assassination of Qasem Soleimani. So I think we'll see more of this tension rising, but most likely the ultimate solution to this will be negotiations some point in late January.

PAUL: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, really appreciate all the insight. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, the Biden cabinet is now coming together, but the House majority whip, Jim Clyburn, he says that what he's seeing so far is not good. We'll talk about that.


PAUL: Twenty-four minutes past the hour and President-elect Biden's lead has grown by 132 votes in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

[06:25:02] This is after a recount paid for by the Trump campaign.

BLACKWEL: Yes. It cost about $3 million for the recount in Milwaukee and a second county, but in Milwaukee County, Biden's lead grew by 132 votes and President-elect Biden won Wisconsin overall. The vote is scheduled to be certified on December 1st. Let's bring in Errol Louis, CNN political commentator, political anchor for "Spectrum News" and the host of "You Decide" podcast.

Errol, I spent an hour of my life watching Rudy Giuliani's podcast yesterday. I want it back because there was nothing really of value that I saw there and this was recorded obviously before the Pennsylvania loss. Three judges appointed by Republicans, one by Trump himself. One of the lines from Rudy Giuliani was that these are in Democratic areas, that Democrats have control of the judiciary. The judge yesterday from the Third Circuit was very clear, the claims have no merit.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. This is kind of litigation by assertion. What the Trump team has done, what Rudy Giuliani has done -- and he knows better than this. I mean, he's a long-time prosecutor. He understands the law very well, but what they've done is just made wild accusations and they're really making a political case inside the courtroom and that never goes well.

The reality is what you can say on the steps of the courthouse, you can say whatever you want, but when you come in there, you've got to make pleadings that are specific, that have evidence, that obey the basic rules of the court or else they'll throw you out of there.

And, you know, there's an expression getting laughed out of court, it's not -- it's not that funny to the judges because they are very serious about their jobs and when you see what the Trump campaign has done, they've lost, I think, upwards of 30, close to 38 cases at this point. They've been just trying to satisfy their client. The President wants people to go out there and argue for him even if the claims have no merit. That's what he's done and he has not advanced his prospect of overturning this election one bit by doing it.

BLACKWELL: So let's look ahead, the residual impact on what the Republicans want to happen in Georgia. On one hand, you've got the President in all of these cases, specifically in Georgia, saying that, you know, we won Georgia big, you came out and voted for me, but the Democrats stole it and it's a rigged system, but come out and do that again in January because we can -- reconcile those two, how you can make simultaneously these two conflicting arguments.

LOUIS: Yes. What the President is doing is making it very hard for the Republicans who are trying to win these two Senate seats to do so because the most potent argument that they have is that you can't let a President Biden and Nancy Pelosi control two-thirds of the branches of government and then also let the Democrats control the third branch, but to do so would amount to the concession speech that the President has never delivered, to do so would require him to say, look, I lost.

If you want to salvage anything left of of my agenda or of a conservative agenda, you've got to hold on to these two Senate seats. That's the straightforward way to do it, Victor, but we know that's not what the President is going to do. He can't make his mouth say those words and so you've got two Republican Senate candidates who are really going to be in a very tough position trying to argue that it's important to elect them, but not say why.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The President will be in Georgia a week from today rallying for Loeffler and Perdue. Let me turn toward the Biden transition and we can forgive people for missing this because of the Thanksgiving headline, but in the middle of the week, the House majority whip, James Clyburn, he remarked on dissatisfaction with the Biden cabinet, what he's seeing thus far.

He told, according to "The Hill," Juan Williams, "From all I hear, black people have been given fair consideration, but there's only one black woman so far. I want to see where the process leads to, what it produces, but so far it's not good." First, the potency of this coming from Congressman Clyburn before we get to the content of it.

LOUIS: Yes. Well, look, it's extremely important. You know, there's a -- there was an old R&B song, "If you dance to the music, you've got to pay the piper." Well, this is Jim Clyburn. The bill is due. The piper wants his due. He made the Biden campaign possible. Remember, he was in fourth or fifth place, he'd almost flamed out in Iowa and in New Hampshire and it was Clyburn's extraordinary action of endorsing him before the South Carolina primary that put Joe Biden in the race and made this election victory possible.


Now, what Jim Clyburn wants is maybe a little bit more than people expected. But he wants to name the DNC chair, he wants a fellow South Carolinian to be in charge of the party nationally. He wants more black appointees to serious departments, not just HUD, although, I think he has a candidate for that too, but he wants to help name the head of agriculture, very important in South Carolina by the way. He wants to help name the new attorney general who would be in charge of the Justice Department.

This is -- you know, this is politics. This is as real as it gets. This is -- you know, the old adage is that you fight with your enemies before the election and then after the election you fight with your friends.

BLACKWELL: The two black women so far, the vice president-elect and the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., no black women in the Trump cabinet, two in eight years of Obama if my name is correct, Lisa Jackson at EPA and Susan Rice in two roles. Quickly before we go, the threshold for Biden, do you expect, I mean, as you point out, it's not a number specifically, it maybe is the -- some of the marquee positions like we saw with Secretary Rice at state in the second term of George W. Bush.

LOUIS: That's right. And in this case, look, there's one very interesting possibility which is Health and Human Services which is going to be extremely important, and first of all, it's a gigantic department, but it's going to be extremely important as we roll out the vaccine and try to put an end to this pandemic. Patricia Harris, under Jimmy Carter, years and years and years ago, was a Health and Human Services Secretary have not seen a black woman in that position since. It's going to likely be one of the places that people start looking.

BLACKWELL: Yes, first black women to serve in a presidential cabinet back in '76 -- '77, I should say. Errol Louis, thanks so much.

LOUIS: Thank you.


PAUL: Experts are warning that the next surge in COVID cases could destabilize the U.S. It's more than just our healthcare system we're talking about here that can be affected. We'll explain in a moment. Stay close.



BLACKWELL: Doctors are predicting a post-Thanksgiving surge in coronavirus cases. And Dr. Peter Hotez particularly says that without a national program in place, hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed.


PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR & DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: We're going to be regularly hitting 2,000 deaths per day, but then going up to 3,000 deaths and 4,000 deaths. More lives than the U.S. lost in terms of GIs in World War II. These are the kinds of numbers we're talking about. Numbers that are approaching what we experienced in the 1918 flu pandemic, except it's happening over a much shorter period of time. So, this is -- this is going to be very destabilizing for the country, not only in terms of health, but also our economy as well as our homeland security is under threat.


PAUL: Epidemiologist and CNN political commentator Dr. Abdul El-Sayed with us now. Dr. El-Sayed, thank you so much for being here, we appreciate it. There's something else, there's another factoid that really caught my attention yesterday, that back in the Spring, the first million cases took 98 days to get to that point, to the last, the latest million cases we've seen, it's only taken six days. We know that there is a lag in the number of cases and deaths because of the holiday weekend that we just surpassed here, that we're in right now here for Thanksgiving. How long will it be before you think we'll get accurate numbers, and how important is it to get those numbers from people who might see a lag and maybe decide that things might be getting better?

ABDUL EL-SAYED, FORMER DETROIT HEALTH COMMISSIONER: Yes, I hate to say it, over the last couple of days, there's been a lot less recording of cases, but probably a lot more transmission of COVID-19 simply because of the patterns of travel and visitation that we saw. I want to be clear about something. One, the historians write about this COVID-19 pandemic, they're not going to write about those first 100 days that we all experienced as a shock. They're going to write, unfortunately likely about this spike in COVID-19 because this is the moment when unfortunately, we're starting to see the kind of acceleration and the kind of spread of COVID-19, not just in speed but also in geography, right?

In the past we had COVID-19 spikes relegated to a number of cities with a lot of international travel. Unfortunately, now over the Summer, it's had an opportunity to spread at a low grade into every nook and cranny of this country. And now you've got people mixing in ways that the weather and the holidays tend to create, and that is creating the kind of mass spread that we saw in the Spring just everywhere in the country, and I'm really worried about what might happen. The important thing here though is that we have a choice. We have a choice to continue to physically distance, to wear our mask, to wash our hands, to make good decisions, to mitigate that spread and to save lives.

PAUL: And we also have the hope of a vaccine that is going to be on the market, we believe very soon. We know the advisory group to the CDC is voting on Tuesday to determine who is going to receive those first doses of vaccines. What is the criteria for them to make those prioritizations?

EL-SAYED: Well, classically, what you want to do with vaccines is give them to folks who are at the highest risk of the worst outcomes or the highest risk for getting the disease. And that means of course that frontline personnel are going to be first. People who are courageously taking care of sick folks in hospitals and clinics all over the country.

[06:40:00] And then after that, you really want to make sure you're getting them

to seniors who we know are at higher risk for bad outcomes and people with chronic conditions. Then highly likely that they're going to focus on communities where there is a significant amount of spread to make sure that they can use that vaccine to mitigate that spread in those communities and so on. And so, we've got to be thoughtful about where we put it, particularly given the fact that the first two vaccines that are coming online are going to be vaccines that require a high amount of capacity for refrigeration simply because they have to be kept at such low temperatures.

And so we've got to be really thoughtful about where we put them and how we get them out there because not only the vaccinations, but all of the infrastructure that it takes to get those vaccinations out there, there's scarce resources and we want to make sure we're as potent and effective with those vaccines as possible.

PAUL: And when we talk about first responders and these frontline workers who are going to be getting the vaccines first, as that is expected, I want to listen to Syra Madad with you here, she's a senior director of Special Pathogens at New York City Health and Hospitals. Here's what she told CNN.


SYRA MADAD, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL PATHOGENS PROGRAM, NEW YORK CITY HEALTH & HOSPITALS: The political theater absolutely has to stop. People are much more reluctant and hesitant. Even healthcare workers, you know, I'm in the healthcare setting and healthcare workers are also hesitant even though they're going to be the first priority group because of all of this politicalization of everything that's been going on.


PAUL: We know people have trepidations about taking the vaccine, at least some people do. Have you seen anything like what she is describing in the medical community where there are actual doctors, nurses, frontline workers who are hesitant to take a vaccine?

EL-SAYED: You know, I have to say unfortunately, I have. And the reason why is because throughout this process, obviously, we've had to work faster to get a vaccine out there as a scientific community than ever before. This is going to be a record, a vaccine from understanding and ascertaining a novel virus to getting a vaccine that is safe and effective in less than a year, that is a real record. The problem however is that throughout this process, we've watched as politicians have laid claims to this process. And unfortunately, people trust scientists, they don't necessarily trust politicians.

And if they feel like this process has been driven by politics and not by science, they will -- they will ask second questions. Now, we have to focus on making sure that the science is transparent, that relationships are built with key leaders across communities. That people understand exactly what it is that went into producing these vaccines and how they were studied and what rigor was kept in maintaining clinical trials because of course, science is a process. And so long as you put that process forward and not the political process that unfortunately politicians have been talking about, I believe that people will have trust in this vaccine, it will have the effect that it can have to bring down this virus.

But again, a vaccine is a different thing than a vaccination. People have to trust the vaccine to turn it into a vaccination in an arm.

PAUL: All right, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, always appreciate your expertise, sir, thank you.

EL-SAYED: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to Australia now, specifically the state of Victoria which was once the country's COVID-19 epicenter. It's now gone 29 days since its last new infection, but it was tough to get to this point. It took a lockdown that lasted 112 days, and that was to bring the second surge of the virus under control. Now, people who live there were not allowed out at night, all non-essential businesses were shut down or at least closed for the period. The Australian government is now optimistic, but still pretty cautious. Some restrictions are staying in place like the size and number of gatherings that are allowed.

PAUL: Not what the sports world wants to hear here. Major college football power -- game canceled because of COVID.

BLACKWELL: What this could mean for the Ohio State University shot at a national title -- hey, "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING" is back tomorrow night, and you'll be able to watch a prep school, some students there, they visit a prison, form some unlikely bonds.


LISA LING, CNN REPORTER (on camera): How are you guys doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, it's now -- we're inside.

LING (voice-over): Guiding Hudson and the other students through security gates is the boys English and theology teacher Jim Micheletti.

(on camera): Do you talk much about what the boys are about to embark on before they go in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's tricky because you don't want to give away too much. You want it to be a surprise. You want it to be a healthy shock. Geography matters. Getting kids out in the community matters. And we're always telling students don't let school get in the way of your education, a lot of good stuff to see out there.


BLACKWELL: Back-to-back episodes of "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING" tomorrow night at 9:00 on CNN.



PAUL: I'm just reading what I'm seeing on the prompter.

BLACKWELL: I knew it. I knew it. As soon as I saw it, there was going to be an Ohio connection and you were going to fall in love with the way this was written.

PAUL: And I did not write it, just so --


PAUL: You know. But one of college football's best teams has to cancel a game today because of coronavirus concerns.

BLACKWELL: Carolyn Manno, Christi Paul hypes up everything Ohio.

PAUL: You've got to love your --


PAUL: Hometown --

BLACKWELL: I know, I know --

PAUL: Home state.

BLACKWELL: Carolyn is here with the "BLEACHER REPORT". Tell us what's going on in Ohio state.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: You know, normally, you have to be unbiased. But you know, when it comes to sports, I think there's a little bit of wiggle room --

PAUL: Wiggle room --

MANNO: Good morning to you both --

PAUL: Thank you.

MANNO: Yes, just a little -- just a little bit. Here's what's going on, this is one of seven college football games cancelled today alone.


Number four Ohio state, heavy favorites here to make a deep run in the playoffs, now calling off their game against Illinois. They were hoping to move to 5-0, but that's not going to happen after an increase in positive test results within the school's program. Right now, the Buckeyes team facilities are shut down, all team-related activities are on hold after head coach Ryan Day and several other members of the program tested positive. It's the second Buckeye game called off this season, so one more could lose them a shot at the big ten title. You have to play a certain amount of games here. The NFL is ordering

its teams to close team facilities on Monday and Tuesday, citing the rise in COVID cases around the country and an increase in travel during the holiday weekend. That will not apply to the teams who are playing the Monday night and now Tuesday night games. So, Ravens and undefeated Steelers squaring off Tuesday after a widespread coronavirus outbreak on the Ravens squad. If that happens, the Ravens game against the Cowboys initially scheduled for Thursday night will also be moved back.

And you know during this time of giving around the holidays, we love to find the helpers, those who are giving their time and energy and resources into helping other people. And Rasheed Wallace; former NBA star and his friend and also former NBA player Stephen Jackson are doing just that in this week's difference makers while also focusing on local communities.


RASHEED WALLACE, FORMER NBA PLAYER: For me the love with giving back to the community came from being a part of the community. Myself, Stephen Jackson, you look at guys like us, you know, real hot heads and technical fouls on the court, but we're so misunderstood because look, I'm at work, but he also did a lot of community work and we just came together, man, and we've been doing it ever since.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NBA great Rasheed Wallace returned home to Philadelphia to promote peace.

WALLACE: We're going from city to city, we tried to knock it out, trying to bring that light into people's lives because it's a lot of -- people out here that feel forgotten. You know, they don't have that help. The resources that we're providing for the community, it'll be dairy boxes, water, frozen chicken breast, frozen steak, vegetables, fruit, any type of baby needs, any type of feminine hygiene products, it's whatever we can get our hands on that we think the people will need. When I do this, I do it from the muscle. I'm more hands on.

I'm going door-to-door. I'm dropping it off right to you. I don't have time for all the politics, be right there frontline. And ten toes down, trying to get the people what they want. I would say the most positive message that we get is the hugs, the high fives, the thank yous, the tears. Let's uplift that. Let's uplift this community. We're coming together to stay positive. If I can reach one kid, if I can reach one person who is trying to make that difference in their community positive, I'm all for it. And I thank you, God, my job is done.


MANNO: It's great work being done, and plenty more for you coming up in the 8:00 a.m. hour, Christi and Victor. I'm going to bring you a story that you're not going to want to miss. A Vanderbilt kicker who has the potential to make history later on today, we'll bring you that just a bit, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, all right, looking forward to it, Carolyn Manno --

PAUL: Yes, that's a good one.

BLACKWELL: Thanks so much --

PAUL: Carolyn, thank you. All right, so traditions, shopping the day after Thanksgiving. They're hard to break.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, there would be crowds, but I also have a lot of faith in all outlets that they'd be able to maintain social distancing, make sure that everyone is wearing their masks. And I also have faith that people, you know, with the holiday season understand that it's really important to wear your masks, social distance and --


PAUL: Shoppers looking for Black Friday deals showed up early, retailers tried to keep people safe, and get the sale. How did that work out? We'll tell you.



PAUL: So, in honor of our upcoming special "CNN HEROES", an all-star tribute on December 13th. We're sharing some of the incredible moments of inspiration that moved us this year. And here's one of them.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Hans Christian Andersen wrote, "where words fail, music speaks." In the early days of the pandemic, we didn't have the right words or know the right way to be together, but we had songs that filled the air. In Florence, people sang the Italian national anthem.

In Chicago, they countered the sorrow and loss with "Living on a Prayer".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Living on a prayer!

COOPER: In Dallas they made sure their neighbors knew they could lean on me.

CROWD: Lean on me, I'm going to need somebody to lean on.


COOPER: In Boston, they belted out "Sweet Caroline".


CROWD: Sweet Caroline --

COOPER: And a Broadway legend Brian Stokes Mitchell serenaded us with the "Impossible Dream" from his balcony. All across the world, people found a way to sing and spread hope and offer thanks and celebrate life. They posted on social media.


Communities belted out hits from balconies and neighbors brought their musical skills to the streets. All over the world, we found a way to lift each other up and connect with the power of music.