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CDC Advisers To Vote On Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine Today; BioNTech CEO Speaks Exclusively To CNN; As Vaccine Approval Moves Ahead, Congress Stalls On Stimulus Package; GA Republicans Mired In Misinformation Ahead Of Senate Runoff. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired December 12, 2020 - 07:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Now coming up, we've got a CNN exclusive interview with the CEO of BioNTech, Pfizer's partner in the development of the coronavirus. The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An absolutely critical development in the fight against the coronavirus. FDA advisors recommending emergency authorization of Pfizer's vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to see vaccine actually being administered this week, almost for certain. About three million doses are going to be distributed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a vaccine that is very safe, that is very effective.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a triumph for humans, and it's a triumph for science.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Supreme Court has spoken and it is game over for what was a long shot lawsuit. Shutting down Republican efforts to stop Joe Biden for becoming president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was still surprised at the extent to which even after a very clear defeat of the president in the election, that so many Republicans would be willing to do so much to undermine democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rudy Giuliani, he has lost every case so far, he will continue to lose every case. It should be over. Let's hope it is.


BLACKWELL: Good morning to you. It's Saturday, December 12th. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Amara Walker, in for Christi Paul. BLACKWELL: Listen, we've got viewers with us from around the world. We thank you for being with us at the top of the hour. We're just hours away from another milestone moment in the COVID pandemic.

The FDA has authorized Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. Now, this sets up the CDC advisory panel to vote today. And acceptance by the CDC would finally allow the vaccinations to start as early as Monday.

WALKER: And the timing could not be more critical. More than 3,300 new deaths due to COVID-19 were reported in the U.S. on Friday. More than 108,000 people in hospitals right now across the country, and the US has added more than 231,000 new cases yesterday. All of these statistics are records.

Let's bring in CNN Health Reporter Jacqueline Howard now to walk us through the vaccine news. Jacqueline, good morning to you. First off, explain what happens next. Now that the FDA has issued its emergency use authorization, how soon we'll be, will we start to see people getting that needle in their arms.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Yes, well, we could see shots administered within days, but this is a process. Yes, the authorization news is big news. But the story does not end here. There are some additional steps. And here's what those additional steps are. While we heard from the FDA. We're going to hear from another public health agency next, and that's the CDC.

And while the FDA authorization tells us, yes, the vaccine can be used under emergency use, the CDC will next tell us how the vaccine can be used. And here's what we can expect later today an advisory committee to the CDC. That's an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, they're going to vote on what they think the CDC should recommend. Once that vote happens, their decision will then be sent to the CDC director, and then it's up to the CDC to accept the committee recommendations.

So, again, the FDA gave the authorization it's not a full approval, but they gave an authorization to say yes, the vaccine can be used for emergency use. We're next going to hear from the CDC on the who, what, where and when. Once that process plays out, then we can start seeing vaccines being administered.

BLACKWELL: So, let's talk about that portion, because at some point, this is all handed over to the states. Talk us through distribution.

HOWARD: That's right, Victor. The states are going to oversee distribution. So, what's going to happen once shipments are delivered to states, then the states will kind of oversee how those shipments are distributed to different location areas. to then be administered. Those locations include your local CVS, your local Walgreens, hospitals, of course. And then from there, the first people to get vaccinated will be healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents.

That's something that actually the CDC already has put out a recommendation on. They recommend those two groups to be prioritized first. After that, then in the next phase, we're going to see other older adults, other essential workers and people with underlying medical conditions. And then later, it will be the rest of us. So, that's the vaccine rollout, the prioritize groups first and then later on everyone else.

WALKER: So, let's talk about the rest of us, right, because there are still questions on who can actually get the vaccine and actually those who cannot get the vaccine.

HOWARD: That's right, and because there are still questions, that's why again, this vaccine has not given full approval. It's just an emergency use authorization. Because of that clinical trials are still happening. Data are still being collected. And here are the groups where there are still some questions. We still don't have enough safety data on these groups.

People under age 16, pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding people who are immunocompromised, and people who have had a significant history of severe reactions to vaccines. Those groups are areas where there's still some questions, and we're still seeing data collected. And as clinical trials continue, we can expect to see more data coming out on the COVID-19 vaccine.


BLACKWELL: All right, Jacqueline Howard, thanks so much for walking us through it.

WALKER: So, bracing for the major logistical challenge that lies ahead. The FAA is urging airports nationwide to be ready for flights carrying the coronavirus vaccine.

BLACKWELL: CNN Aviation Correspondent Pete Muntean is outside Pfizer's facility in Michigan with a look at their preps for this historic shipment.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORREPONDENT: We know that the Pfizer vaccine leaving here will need to be packaged in tens of thousands of pounds of dry ice. That is critical for this vaccine, especially temperature sensitive; needs to be at negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit during transport. And what's so interesting here is that the FAA is now telling Air Cargo operators handling those packages to take extra care because of the dry ice.

As it melts, the FAA says, and it does so faster on an airplane, that dry eyes turn into carbon dioxide and in extreme cases, could be enough to suffocate a pilot or somebody handling one of those packages. The FAA is recommending that people involved in this massive movement wear CO2 detectors or that they be installed in airplanes. We know that UPS and FedEx will be transporting and handling those packages. UPS in the East, FedEx and the West. UPS says, "we're about to see a massive coordinated set of movements." WES WHEELER, PRESIDENT, UPS HEALTHCARE: People embedded in, at the Pfizer location in Michigan and they will be helping Pfizer to dispatch packages and they will be loaded onto a trailer. A dedicated trailer with an escort, and they will drive five hours to Louisville, Kentucky, and then they'll be dispatched around to the states that were assigned.

MUNTEAN: There is also help coming from the federal government. Truckers will see relaxed restrictions so they can work extra hours. Air traffic controllers will give priority clearances to flights carrying the vaccine. And we know that U.S. Marshals will monitor the security of these shipments. It is a massive movement. And it all starts right here. Pete Muntean, CNN Portage, Michigan.


BLACKWELL: Pete, thank you. Let's go now to that CNN exclusive. The CEO of BioNTech, Pfizer's partner on the coronavirus vaccine spoke with our Fred Pleitgen.

WALKER: And our friend joins us now from the company's headquarters and mines Germany. Fred, what did you tell you about being part of this historical moment and playing an integral role in the worldwide distribution of this vaccine?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Amara. I mean, obviously, they're absolutely thrilled that they got that emergency use authorization. They said it's an extremely important milestone for them. Of course, not just because the U.S. is a gigantic market for vaccines. But of course, also because the situation in America right now is so dire. And these guys were so keen to try and help do something about it.

One of the first questions that I posed to the CEO of BioNTech, I said, when does he expect that the vaccine is actually going to make a difference on the trajectory of the virus in the United States? And he said, while jobs are going to be available almost immediately, for a lot of people to get vaccinated, it's going to be around early spring. Let's listen to some of what he had to say.


UGUR SAHIN, CEO, BIONTECH: It could happens beginning March, middle of March, end of March, to see the first effects. And I hope that was the spring season we will have by nature a lower, lower rate of, of infections and the combination of both might help us to have a more better summer, than, than, than the situation is now.

PLEITGEN: What steps are being taken to really upgrade and really speed up production as fast as possible?

SAHIN: We anticipate that, that, that, that the need, the worldwide need for our vaccine is much higher than, than we initially estimated. And now, of course, understanding that models might be required. Yes, we started a few weeks ago to evaluate if we can produce models and, and this, of course, means that we need to understand the constraints for example, the availability of all materials, the availability of machines of production rooms and, and of fill unfinished capacity.

And this is exactly happening and I anticipate that end of January. We'll be able to clearly state if we can produce models and if yes, how many.



PLEITGEN: So, there you see they're already working on ways to try and scale up production. In fact, BioNTech, just a couple of weeks ago, bought another plant here in Germany that they want to start using to make vaccines fairly quickly as well. And then if we get back to that report that Pete Muntean did, that the challenges, about the logistics of this vaccine, that obviously needs to be transported at minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit, these guys are aware of those challenges as well.

And one of the things that the CEO told me, he said, they're already working on new formulas, better formulas for that vaccine. So, in the future, they could be able to transport it probably refrigerated, possibly even room temperature. They think that's going to be around possibly the second half of next year. So, they are also aware of those challenges and they're trying to work on those as well, guys.

WALKER: They're already trying to improve those logistical challenges too early in the game. I appreciate you joining us Frederick Pleitgen in (INAUDIBLE), Germany. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: The Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General that is trying to block millions of votes in key battleground states.

WALKER: But the president says the legal battle isn't over. CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider with more.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The Supreme Court has spoken and it is game over for what was a long shot lawsuit that gained support for more than 100 Republicans in Congress, nearly two dozen Republican attorneys general. The justices on the Supreme Court have spoken for the second time this week, shutting down Republican efforts to stop Joe Biden for becoming president. The Supreme Court putting it this way.

Texas has no right to even file this lawsuit at the high court because Texas has no right to legally challenge how another state conducts its elections. And in this case, of course, Texas was challenging the election procedures of four battleground states. Now, in this order from the Supreme Court, two of the most Conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, said that they believe the Supreme Court should have at least let Texas file the case.

But then these two Justices said if that had happened, they too would have rejected it. So, this is a complete rejection of the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, his efforts to stop the electors in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia, from voting for Joe Biden when they meet on Monday. Now, this was a short order, just one page in just a few sentences in it. But this is a major defeat for Republicans. And it's a victory to all of the states and officials who blasted this effort by Texas.

In fact, officials in Pennsylvania called it "a cacophony of bogus claims that called for a seditious abuse of the judicial process." And the Supreme Court seemed to agree in a Friday order that kept up a week of two Supreme Court rejections of Republican efforts. And of course, there have been repeated shutdowns of cases across the country by other state and federal judges. This one just the latest. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: In Florida, thousands of evictions have already been filed. Millions of people are now facing homelessness at the height of this pandemic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I'm about to be homeless.


WALKER: Plus, where stimulus talks stand right now with the financial security of millions of Americans hanging in the balance.

BLACKWELL: Also, the largest soccer stadium in the Netherlands? Well, it was. It was forced to close because of coronavirus is being put back to us now, in the name of science.



WALKER: The nation's leading scientific experts are racing to approve a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine, but leaders on Capitol Hill are nowhere near a deal to help millions of Americans who are in need right now.

BLACKWELL: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he would like to end negotiations over liability provisions and requested aid for state and local governments in favor of passing a more limited stimulus package without them. But Democrats have said a scaled back package is not an option. Let's bring in now, CNN's Cristina Alesci. Cristina, good morning to you. This is not one of those Washington fights that won't have real world impact. People will lose money, potentially lose homes if nothing is done.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Victor. Congress right now is letting the economic pain spread right alongside the virus. Here in New York, another devastating blow to the restaurant industry came yesterday, when the governor announced that New York City indoor dining would shut down yet again. This is happening all over the country because governors do not want

their hospital systems overwhelmed that is causing chaos in people's lives, turning lives upside down. And Congress has yet to help here. It is failing the American people. Let me let me walk you through what exactly is at stake. You talked about the people potentially losing their homes.

14 million Americans now risk evictions. Five million of those are worried about getting a notice at the end of December when the CDC's eviction moratorium runs out. An additional 853,000 people filed for initial unemployment claims last week, if you count an additional 400,000-plus people who filed for the same benefit under a different program, you're talking about a million people just last week that need unemployment.

This is just devastating and yet Congress has yet to act. One thing that people at home should understand is that the major sticking point right now between the Democrats and the Republicans is called liability protection. What is this about? It basically, limits workers ability to sue employers for example, if they get COVID on the job. The Republicans are saying this has to be a, it's a must have in the bill.

Democrats are saying, no way. They are worried that although they're winning some extra money for workers in the short term, that they are giving away something more valuable in the long term, and that is the ability for workers to hold their employers accountable. So, that is the sticking point that Congress is grappling with right now.

WALKER: And Cristina, so, if Congress can get its act together, and, and pass such a bill, what, what would be in it? And what would that mean for these millions of Americans who are facing evictions, or who need the economic assistance, the, the assistance, the financial, the money.

ALESCI: So, right now, the proposal, both sides agree that there's going to be $300 in additional unemployment benefits for people. There, there'll be $300 billion in small business loans, 35 billion for healthcare providers, and critical here: 3.4 billion for vaccine rollout.

Now, the way this would work as these items would get rolled into a larger bill funding the government that all of this has to happen. Democrats and Republicans have to agree, they have to write the legislation and they have to pass the bill all by the end of next week. This is a tall order, but as we just rolled out that a lot is on the line.

And I know that you guys are going to be covering the specific heartbreaking stories all morning, but these are, these numbers represent real people real lives. And I cannot tell you how many calls I got from unemployed people and small businesses who really need this help.

BLACKWELL: Yes, there are plenty of people who were just up against it right now and Congress has to do something. Cristina Alesci, thank you so much.

ALESCI: Thank you.

WALKER: And as Christina mentioned, pandemic eviction protections are set to expire at the end of the year. What this means for the millions of American families struggling to make ends meet?


BLACKWELL: Plus, the 2020 election, for the most part is over, but the President's attempts to undermine it are not. Find out why some Republicans worry the President's conspiracies could cost them big.


BLACKWELL: Early voting starts Monday in two crucial Senate races in Georgia. Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, they face Democrats John Ossoff, and Reverend Raphael Warnock in the January 5th runoffs. Now, those races will determine which party controls the Senate.

WALKER: President-elect Biden will be in the state on Tuesday. His trip to Atlanta will be his first campaign event since he won the presidency last month. And ad spending in the state has now topped a staggering $450 million and that total does not include what the candidates spent before November 3rd.

All eyes are on Georgia including President Trump's as the senate run off there intensifies.

BLACKWELL: The President's insistence that the state's electoral votes were stolen from him. It's complicating things for Republicans

WALKER: GOP officials in the state worried that if enough voters believe his lie that the election was rigged, it could mean trouble at the ballot box.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Donie O'Sullivan spoke to some Trump supporters who are in Georgia and believe that the votes were stolen.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know yet. If it's going to be the same counters and the same dominion machines, I may not. And if I don't see the Republicans thumping for Trump, I'm not voting for them.

O'SULLIVAN: Two critical runoff elections in Georgia next month. We'll decide what party controls the U.S. Senate. But some Trump supporters here still falsely believe Trump didn't lose this stage in the presidential election, and they don't think Georgian Republican Senate candidates are standing up for Trump.

Some folks were saying they're not going to show up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand them, because we're pissed.

O'SULLIVAN: Did you vote, sir, in the in the presidential election here in Georgia?


O'SULLIVAN: Who did you vote for? If you don't mind me asking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The greatest president we've ever had, Donald J. Trump.

O'SULLIVAN: And he lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't lose. He's going to win. You kidding me? He isn't going to lose.

O'SULLIVAN: Do you plan on voting in the Senate runoff? Six months?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do plan on voting in the senate run off.

O'SULLIVAN: For a Republican, I take it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know at this point.

O'SULLIVAN: So, you might not vote Republican in January?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't vote for a party. OK. As far as I'm concerned, the Democrats and Republicans can all go to hell.

O'SULLIVAN: You guys want to have?

Trump supporters are stuck in the murky muddy world of misinformation. Viral videos claiming the election here was rigged or circulating all over the Internet. Lynnwood a Trump supporting lawyer in Georgia who is now challenging the results of November's election even tell Republicans they shouldn't vote in January's runoffs. If the senators do not challenge the November results.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue do not do it. They have not earned your vote. Don't you give it to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) of the Republican people and the base of reason to get up off our tails and go vote for you. Because if you don't stop this fraud of an election, you don't have our back, so while we haven't yours.

O'SULLIVAN: If I were chairing the Republican Party and I hear you a Georgia voter, a Conservative a Trump supporter Republican saying they might not vote, I would be freaking out. I would say, where -- oh my god, are we going to lose this?

JAMES REVERE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: That's point. That's the point. Those two Republican senators need to get their asses out of their office and start thumping on the street and demanding a real recount, not a fake recount.


O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Do you trust that next month's election, the runoffs are going to be fair?

MAJORIE WOMACK, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Not 100 percent, but I'm still encouraging people to vote because if they don't vote, they will absolutely be nothing to sort out and we will have gifted the elections to the Democrats.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Gabriel Sterling is a Republican election official in Georgia, who is called out Trump's bogus election claims.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): A lot of folks, look, just don't believe that there is a free and fair election here in Georgia for the presidential race. And some of them don't think that what is going to happen here in January in the Senate runoffs is going to be fair either. What's your message to, to people who believe this?

GABRIEL STERLING, VOTING SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER, GEORGIA: Well, first of all, we've shown with math, we've show with everything we can. I know in their heart of hearts and their gut, they are just -- no evidence there would ever see.

This can be -- they can believe this because everybody they know voted for Trump, they don't know anybody voted for Biden. And we've been talking about this for months. We had an entire ad campaign on disinformation that we did in the state to explain to people, a lot of what you're going to hear is not going to be real.

The problem is we're having to combat it from the president of the United States, which makes it much more difficult.

AMERICAN CROWD: We love you! We love you!


AMERICAN CROWD: We love you!


BLACKWELL: Our thanks to Donie O'Sullivan.

Let's bring in now Greg Bluestein, a political reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Greg, good morning to you. President Trump told his supporters that this Texas lawsuit was the big one.

Well, the Supreme Court swatted that away. What's the impact on this Senate race because we understand that David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler supported the lawsuit?

GREG BLUESTEIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Yes, they both came out strongly behind this lawsuit a few -- a few days ago. And sort of that range of Georgia officials even though the Georgia attorney general who's also Republican said it was basically categorically false. It had nothing to do with the truth in Georgia.

The impact this will have goes directly to the package we just saw. There is a significant number of Georgia Republicans who believe this disinformation. Many of them will still vote, but there is a core of them that will not vote, and that's what's keeping Republicans and Georgia up. And then, they're worried that they're -- that these conflicting messages from the president and his supporters to vote in a rigged election will depress turnout in the long run.

BLACKWELL: David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are all in on the Trump narrative that the election was stolen. We know it was not, that that's misinformation.

Because they believe they have to be that close to present, there can be no daylight between them for her to win, specifically, I'm talking about Loeffler.

But what what's the cost on the other end of the political spectrum? Because we'll remember that she was not the choice that President Trump highlighted to replace Johnny Isakson, Doug Collins was.

So, is there a calculation that she is losing a significant amount of more moderate Republicans by going all-in with, with President Trump?

BLUESTEIN: Oh, she has more work to do than Senator David Perdue, because Senator Perdue already has a victory under his belt. He didn't face a Republican primary challenger, he was a loyal Trump supporter way back in 2016.

So, she feels like she has more work to do to consolidate the Republican base, because she felt she faced Doug Collins for the last year or so, basically, in a -- in a fight for pro-Trump supporters, where both of them try to outdo each other on the right, and Doug Collins called her insufficiently conservative, a closet moderate.

And so, now, she's got to go working and generate that energy from the conservative base by appealing directly to President Trump because her worst night -- one of her -- one of her worst nightmares is one false tweet. One angry tweet from President Trump, saying that she is not doing enough to support him.

BLACKWELL: I wonder if this vote that she and Senator Perdue cast in support of the defense on funding bill is enough for that, because President Trump has said that he will veto it, there are two of the 84 senators who voted to support it.

What do you think that a significant enough separation from the president that it could be troublesome for the two of them?

BLUESTEIN: Yes, this was the first major vote where they did distance themselves. They did separate themselves from the president, and it was an impossible situation for them because they're about 500,000 or so military veterans here in Georgia, and that, that bill directly keep is a must-pass spending bill to keep financing department of defense installations here in Georgia and elsewhere. Luckily for them, I would say, they have a lot of cover. There is -- there is 82 other senators who voted for that including many Republicans. But still, you could see President Trump firing off an angry tweet about that -- about the -- in his view, maybe betrayal from fellow Republicans on that vote.

BLACKWELL: Yes, veto proof majorities in the House and Senate.

Let's turn to the Democrats now. You wrote this week about how the state of Georgia is changing. President-elect Joe Biden will be coming here to campaign for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.


BLACKWELL: They have also held fundraisers with Nancy Pelosi, with Elizabeth Warren. When you look next door, yes, a few years ago, when Doug Jones was running for the Senate in Alabama, he was really selective about the Democrats -- the national Democrats that he would be associated with.

What does this Biden campaigning, the Pelosi and Warren fundraising tell you about how this state is changing?

BLUESTEIN: It's a sea change. And you don't even have to look next door, although that's a great comparison. You can even look at Jon Ossoff's congressional run, it was a different, different time and of course, a smaller district. But he did the same thing three years ago where he distanced himself as much as he could from Nancy Pelosi and a liberal figures nationally, and now, you're seeing the opposite.

And it -- there's a couple of reasons for it. One is, of course, now, Democrats have a path to victory in Georgia. President-elect Biden showed it, he won the state by about 12,000 votes. And the other reason is this is a purely based turnout election, Democrats need all the support they can get. That means they can't afford to turn off the left flank of the party or the centrist flank of the party.

That's why you're seeing on these airwaves -- on CNN's airwaves the other day, Jon Ossoff openly embracing the endorsement of Bernie Sanders, something you would not have seen a Georgia Democrat do just maybe four years ago.

BLACKWELL: A Republicans as they did, or at least, the president did in the general election that ended in November, are they still dissuading or discouraging Republicans from voting by mail? Because there are some changes as early voting starts on Monday.

BLUESTEIN: That is a very tricky situation, Republicans because we're looking at a January fifth runoff where the weather could be icy, it could be miserable, it could be rainy here in Atlanta and Georgia.

So, Republicans are trying to get voters to bank those ballots, either early in-person or by mail, as soon as they can to offset democratic advantage with male-in ballots. But, at the same time, Republicans have prepared years of discouragement from President Trump with false baseless claims about fraud in male-in ballots. So, they've got to overcome that and it won't be easy to do so.

BLACKWELL: Yes, asking someone to go out and vote regardless of whether in November is different than ask them to do it in January, even in Georgia.

Greg Bluestein, thank you so much.

BLUESTEIN: Thank you.


WALKER: Millions of families in Florida are facing eviction this holiday season. We speak to one man sharing his struggle to keep his home. That's next.



WALKER: 14 million American households are at risk of homelessness if the CDC eviction moratorium expires at the end of the year.

BLACKWELL: And despite the pandemic, thousands of evictions have already been filed in Florida. And that state has fewer protection for renters like late fee restrictions and rent control. CNN's Rosa Flores has the story.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Since his wife died in 2012, John Ayers counts his blessings, like Bella and Bear.

JOHN AYERS, FLORIDA RESIDENT: He's just such a goof-off.

FLORES: And his job as an insurance agent.

FLORES (on camera): You were earning good money.

AYERS: I was making a salary.

FLORES (voice-over): Enough to pay $2,000 rent on a house in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

FAST ICE, UBER DRIVER: Good morning, Mr. (INAUDIBLE). We're here for you.

FLORES: And because of his severe arthritis and diabetes --

AYERS: Let me catch my breath for a second.

FLORES: -- an Uber driver known as Fast Ice to get around.

But a few months after the pandemic broke, John lost his job, exhausted his savings on rent, medicines, and utilities, and was slapped with an eviction notice.

AYERS: I need help. It's the first time I've said it. I need help because I'm about to be homeless.

FLORES: Like millions of Americans, John could be homeless on New Year's Day, when the CDC's order halting evictions expires.

AYERS: And right now, I can't.

FLORES: While he can't afford his medications, he's not worried about himself.

AYERS: It's the thought of being out there with the dog because I'm not putting my dog down.

ROBERT LEE, JUDGE, BROWARD COUNTY COURT: This is a residential eviction for non-payment of rent.


FLORES: County Judge Robert Lee says evictions in Broward County could triple in the first three months of 2021, from 5,000 to 15,000.

And in the case of some landlords --

LEE: They are almost in the same desperate position as the tenant is.

FLORES: To meet skyrocketing demand, the court has moved judges who try crimes, medical, and insurance claims to evictions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm with coast to coast legal aid.

FLORES: Pro bono attorneys are going where the need is great. Food lines, to help tenants fight to stay in their homes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're looking for a shelter?

FLORES: But the call volume at this homeless shelter in Miami-Dade County increased from 800 calls a month, on average, to 1,200 last month. And the homeless population is already growing.

RON BOOK, CHAIRMAN, MIAMI-DADE HOMELESS TRUST: The fear of that turning into thousands upon thousands drives me completely crazy. I cannot almost have a conversation without breaking down over what it means.


FLORES: As for John, he's looking for a job --

AYERS: You know, upload my resume to these places.

FLORES: -- and counting a new blessing. Fast Ice now drives him free of charge.

AYERS: You're a good man, my brother.

ICE: You are a good man.

FLORES: A man desperate for a miracle.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


WALKER: That's a reality and it's heartbreaking.

Well, this year, "CNN HEROES" celebrates the people behind the two biggest stories of this year: the fight against the coronavirus and the battle for racial equity and social justice.

The 14th annual "CNN HEROES ALL-STAR TRIBUTE" show will be hosted by Anderson Cooper and special guest co-host Kelly Ripa, as well as a host of celebrities. Watch it tomorrow, December 13th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

BLACKWELL: The Army-Navy football game is usually played in a packed stadium, of course, not this year. Coy Wire is live from West Point. Much smaller crowd, but of course, just as meaningful.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, lots of excitement too, Victor. I got us a souvenir. It's quadruple extra- large, well, fit you and me. Army-Navy Game is a special, special rivalry.

And coming up, we're going to hear from some of the players we talked to about the bigness of this game.



WALKER: The Army-Navy football game dates back to 1890, but traditionally, it's played at a neutral site.

BLACKWELL: Not this year because of the pandemic. The game will be played at West Point for the first time since 1943.

Coy Wire is there for us this morning. I'm going to skip by the head joke. I want to go straight to the interview that you -- you've done with some legends about the rivalry. About how this one will feel a little different.


WIRE: Yes, I thought you'd appreciate that one -- Yes, I thought you'd appreciate that when my bald brother miss you all. Hey, I'm talking about Captain America here. Two-time Super Bowl champ with the Cowboys and Heisman Trophy, winning quarterback for the U.S. Naval Academy Roger Staubach. He says that this year's game indeed will be unlike any other.


ROGER STAUBACH, LEGENDARY QUARTERBACK, 1963 HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER: The Army-Navy game for me was -- at that time was the biggest thrill I've ever had as a -- as an athlete. It was, you know, it just seems like yesterday. But I mean, there still going to be very competitive battling each other. And without people in the stands, so, I think there is a little bit of a difference.

WIRE: Roger, I know you've teamed up with USAA to help bring fans something really special this season, even though there have been some special moments taken away.

STAUGHBACK: The USA is always thinking about something clever to do at the Army-Navy Game. And the is a neat deal, you're uploading photos, and you're showing photos, the Army-Navy fandom, or your favorite Army-Navy memory. And so, they'll be a winner, an army a winner, and a navy winner. And they'll be able to come to the game next year.


WIRE: All right. Send those photos, This is a bucket list ticket for sports fans. Now, the very first Army-Navy Game did you know played right here at West Point.

But for more than 75 years, it's been played mostly at a neutral site in Philadelphia. But we asked both sides what it means to have this edition of the game played on Army's home turf?


AMADEO WEST, ARMY LINEBACKER: Being in our own backyard, it's going to be an incredible feeling. And just knowing you're being a part of history.

CAMERON KINLEY, NAVY RUNNING BACK: I'm most looking forward to beating Army in their home stadium, in a year that's like no other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beat Army at West Point is all the bragging rights of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beat them at their house would be awesome.

JEFF MONKEN, ARMY HEAD COACH: It would mean a lot for us to beat Navy whether it was at West Point in Annapolis or out on the Interstate.


WIRE: They will not be playing on the Interstate. They'll be playing right behind me in Michie's Stadium, about 8,000 attendees. Only West Point's cadets and the Naval Academy's midshipmen coming up from Annapolis.

President Trump also scheduled to attend. This will be his fourth consecutive Army-Navy Game. And one of my favorite quotes I like to share every year, Victor and Amara, to paraphrase the 34th president of the United States Dwight Eisenhower. He said the Army and Navy are the best of friends. 364-1/2 days of the year, but on this one Saturday afternoon, we are the worst of enemies. Game time is at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. BLACKWELL: And they hold those bragging rights until the game rolls around the next year. Coy Wire for us there at West Point, thanks so much.

WIRE: Thank you.


WALKER: Well, the largest soccer stadium in the Netherlands was shut down by the coronavirus, and now it's being put back to use because of the coronavirus. We'll explain next.


BLACKWELL: Johan Cruyff Arena is one of the largest stadiums in Amsterdam. And normally, one of Europe's most well-known soccer teams plays there.

WALKER: But because of COVID-19, the stadium has a new purpose, studying spit or aerosols as a scientist call it.


BERT BLOCKEN, RESEARCHER, EINDHOVEN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY: There is almost no information in the scientific literature about the behavior of aerosols in this kind of environments. That's first, so I will go on to get fundamental insights in the behavior of aerosols in a stadium filled with football supporters.


BLACKWELL: Well, as they study how saliva -- I think it's better -- can spread the virus, the scientists want to know how it happens in a packed arena and whether it can be stopped.

WALKER: Inside, machines spray a mist, resembling the saliva, a 55,000 cheering fans. And after a few weeks of tests, a computer model will analyze the data.

BLACKWELL: Now, the researchers hope the findings can help make large indoor gatherings safe again.

And now you've seen those stimulated saliva aerosol machines.


BLACKWELL: Thanks so much for joining us. The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An absolutely critical development in the fight against the coronavirus, FDA advisers recommending emergency authorization of Pfizer's vaccine.