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New Day Saturday

FDA Authorizes Second Vaccine As U.S. Suffers Deadliest Week Yet; CA Hospitals Face Crushing Number Of Cases As ICU Beds Run Out; Shutdown Looms With No Breakthrough On Stimulus Deal; NYT: Distrust Of Government Fueling Republican Vaccine Hesitancy; Biden And Harris To Formally Unveil Climate And Energy Team Today; Pompeo Alleges Russia Be Held Responsible For Massive Hack Attack On U.S. Federal Agencies. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired December 19, 2020 - 06:00   ET



RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ryan Young in Atlanta, Georgia and this is CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Voice over): The FDA has just issued emergency- use authorization for Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We likely will see shots in the arm by the very early part of next week.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make no mistake about it, it's a medical miracle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): With the pandemic now projected to claim 562,000 lives by April.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if things don't change, we're going to probably be rationing care.

CHRISTINA GHALY, DIRECTOR, LA COUNTY DEPT. OF HEALTH: It's completely devastating. The hospitals are full, the ICUs are full, the emergency departments are full.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Voice over): U.S. secretary of state was now going public with Washington's suspicions about who was behind the massive cyber attack on U.S. targets.

MICHAEL POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE (Voice over): I think it's the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): And the question is how far are you willing to escalate with a nuclear power?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul. (END VIDEO TAPE)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you on this Saturday morning. There is the capitol and we are so grateful to have your company as always. You know, there are two coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States now. The FDA is saying Moderna's vaccine can start rolling out. Vaccinations can begin once CDC advisors vote and they're expected to do so today to recommend it and then the CDC director signs off.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And listen to these statistics. The numbers coming in are just horrific. More people are now getting infected than ever. A record number of people are now fighting the virus in hospitals and another sobering number here.

More Americans are dying from COVID every day on average than ever. Let's go to CNN's Polo Sandoval for the latest. These numbers are going in all the wrong directions as we're getting the new information about these vaccines.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Victor, this latest FDA approval now expected to add -- at least put millions of doses into play there and adding them to the pool of vaccines that are being administered to those front line workers and also those most vulnerable, but when you hear from multiple health authorities, they are warning that it's certainly going to get worse before it gets better.


SANDOVAL (Voice over): Worst-case COVID scenarios are playing out all over the country. As vaccines are administered almost as quickly as they're delivered, more than a million and a half new COVID cases were reported in just last week. The U.S. surgeon general, Jerome Adams, among those already vaccinated against the virus.

JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: I'm really pumped because this is, again, the light at the end of the tunnel we've been waiting for. This is the beginning of the end and make no mistake about it, it's going to be a hard couple of weeks. We've still got work to do to get over this surge, but I want people to be encouraged.

SANDOVAL (Voice over): What was once a COVID surge is now a COVID siege in California, says the director of Los Angeles County's Department of Health Services, Dr. Christina Ghaly. This week, that state shattered its own record for the highest number of COVID deaths in a single day as well as a 0 percent ICU capacity in parts of southern California, but the biggest limiting factor is not a lack of space or supplies, says Dr. Ghaly, it's the exhausting demand on hospital staff.

GHALY: When there's not sufficient, highly-trained staff to be able to care for the ICU patients, you end up with a situation where you either have people without that high level of training caring for the patients or you have those highly level trained nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists taking care of more patients than they would otherwise. SANDOVAL (Voice over): Another health official in LA County expecting that region will become the next epicenter of the pandemic and it's going to get worse between now and April, much worse. The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington now warning 49 states may see high or extreme stress on ICU capacity over the next four months.

AMESH ADALJA, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: We haven't even seen the brunt of what happened during Thanksgiving and then on top of that, with Christmas, deaths lag cases and you just have to look at the sheer number of cases that are occurring every day and then translate that to certain percentages that are going to need hospitalization and a certain percentage are going to die.

SANDOVAL (Voice over): The same IHME model predicting the national death rate may peak in mid-January at over 3,700 dead Americans a day and possibly reach 562,000 total by April.

SAJU MATHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN & PUBLIC HEALTH SPECIALIST: That is over half a million deaths and when this pandemic is going to be over, what's really sad for me to say as a physician on air is that we're going to find out that a good 80 to 90 percent of these deaths are preventable.

SANDOVAL (Voice over): Rhode Island going in the opposite direction with a noticeable decrease in infection rates, going from 10 percent to about 4 percent. Gyms there will soon be reopening and indoor dining capacity increased.


SANDOVAL: And this morning, we're getting a few, but nonetheless disturbing reports out of southern California that some fairly well- off patients willing to pay their way into the line to get their COVID vaccine.

Dr. Jeff Toll, who has admission privileges there at Cedars-Sinai hospital or medical center in Los Angeles telling CNN that one patient even offered to pay or at least donate $25,000 to the hospital in exchange for a shot. Dr. Toll's response to that patient the same it's been to all other patients, get in line, wait your turn as that first wave or at least that first allotment goes to those most vulnerable.

PAUL: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for the wrap-up.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you, Polo. Let's stay in California, though, because what we're learning there, it's just remarkable. Let me read some of the headlines. Let's start with the "San Francisco Chronicle," "ICU availability plummets to all-time low as California goes into strict lockdown." This is from "The Fresno Bee," "Ambulances serving Fresno hospitals may deny rides for less-sick patients as COVID surges."

"Los Angeles Times," here, "L.A. County on verge of becoming COVID-19 epicenter," and the quote here from someone, "We are getting crushed." CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles with the latest. Paul?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN REPORTER: Christi, Victor, just agonizing numbers again out of California. Three-hundred more new deaths, 41,000 new cases and the number everyone is watching closely because it's tied to whether things open up or not and that is what is left in terms of open intensive care unit beds. According to the state, in the San Joaquin region as well as Southern California, there is -0 percent ICU capacity.

At this small hospital in Tarzana, they say the beds are 90 to 100 percent filled and the doctor here talking about how they had to make adjustments, moving the ICU around to a different floor, expanding it. We're hearing this throughout hospitals in Southern California. We're also seeing that in some cases, ambulances lined up outside emergency rooms, did not have any room to drop their patients off and back here they say, yes, you move things around, you make adjustments, but it is taxing on doctors and nurses.


THOMAS YADEGAR, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, ICU AT PROVIDENCE TARZANA MEDICAL CENTER: Obviously we're trying to get -- it's not a matter of just space at this point. I have nurses that are falling sick, doctors and other family members of theirs that are falling sick and are having to miss work and be quarantined. So it's also a matter of resources, people resources.


VERCAMMEN: And how did we get here? Well, the ICU chief here says he thinks that many people just plain got COVID fatigue. They were following along by the rules and suddenly let up after a while, went to a party or some event with several other different people from many different households, then they wound up here in this hospital. Really tough days in California right now. Back to you, Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Tough days indeed. Paul, thank you so much. Coming up, we'll speak with epidemiologist and public health expert Dr. Abdul El- Sayed about the state of this surge across the country. Nearly a quarter million new cases on Friday. Also we'll talk about the authorization of the Moderna vaccine and we'll get his take on the challenge of rolling out all these doses.

PAUL: And as you're waking up this morning, no, there's no stimulus deal, but there's also no shutdown, at least for the moment. However, this is a critical weekend for lawmakers that we're looking at today.

BLACKWELL: Yes. They have until Sunday night to fund the government. At stake, $900 billion pandemic aid bill as well. Of course that's needed for a lot of families across this country. Suzanne Malveaux is on Capitol Hill this morning. Suzanne, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: Let's talk about these sticking points and some of them are popping up quite late.

MALVEAUX: That's right and some of them are quite familiar, too, as well, Victor. What we saw last night was just six hours shy of that midnight deadline before the government was going to shut down. So they gave two extra days here and one of the dramatic moments that took place, you had to have at least two-thirds approval in the House and all of the senators to agree on this continuing resolution to keep the government going, no objections.

And it was Senator Bernie Sanders, all eyes were on him because essentially he is insisting on these stimulus checks, direct checks to individuals, it now stands at $600 in the negotiations. He wants to double that $1,200 for working class individuals and that is something that he says that he will demand, but he did not demand that last night, so the government continues to be funded.

That's just one of the things. One of the other things, however -- and this is where it gets into the politics of it all. I mean, Democrats and Republicans are screaming at this point that it is political. It is over the Federal Reserve's authority to issue emergency funds. Senator Pat Toomey, Republican, wants to limit that, says that some of these things should be restricted.

Democrats say, look, you know, this is going to tie the hands of the next administration, the Biden administration, to deal with the crisis.

[06:10:05] We heard from Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, who, again, just screaming take this out, this doesn't belong in COVID relief. Take a listen.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: I'm begging and pleading with my Republican friends, my Republican senator friends and Mitch McConnell, the majority leader for the Republicans, I'm pleading, please. This is not the place for that. It truly is politics.


MALVEAUX: And Victor and Christi, we also know as well that there are some areas of agreement. There is some sense of hope. When you look at the unemployment benefits, for example, or loans for small businesses or even funds for vaccination distribution, these are the areas that they've already gotten to and much agreement in a bipartisan way. This was Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell last night.


MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I'm even more optimistic now than I was last night that a bipartisan, bicameral framework for a major rescue package is very close at hand.


MALVEAUX: But what they have to do is they have to grapple with two major bills, a $1.4 trillion spending bill to keep the government going obviously into September of 2021 and then this $900 billion COVID relief bill which they still have to work out those details, Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. I'll take it -- I'll take it, Suzanne. We'll see if any of these sticking points are enough to lead to a shutdown. They've got till Sunday night. Suzanne Malveaux for us there on Capitol Hill. Thank you.

PAUL: Suzanne, thanks. So Vice President Mike Pence has taken his coronavirus vaccine yesterday on live TV, trying to knock down skepticism and fears. A lot of questions this morning about whether the president will do the same.

BLACKWELL: Also at least a half dozen government agencies targeted in a massive data breach, also a lot of companies in private sector. Homeland Security Division responsible for cybersecurity is one of them. Coming up, why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he believes that Russia is responsible.




PAUL: So according to "The New York Times," a substantial number of President Trump's supporters say they don't want to get the coronavirus vaccine. "The Times" says his supporters' distrust of government is what's fueling the skepticism there.

BLACKWELL: Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence received his coronavirus vaccine. He did it on live television and this was an effort to reduce skepticism and fears. CNN's Sarah Westwood is following all the developments from the White House. So what do we know about the President's involvement in that event? He didn't tweet it or mention it at all.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. That's right, Victor and Christi, and President Trump has actually been really quite absent this week during what should be a triumphant moment for his white house and even, frankly, in some ways for him personally after his push to accelerate the timeline of vaccine development defied many expectations, but that is just not what we're seeing from President Trump.

We are not seeing him even out there trying to take credit in the way you might expect from President Trump nor do we see him encouraging people to get vaccinated once they're able to do so. The window into his attention that his Twitter feed provides shows he's still really focused on those election-related grievances, but now his administration has the enormous task of confronting what the experts call "vaccine hesitancy."

That is this reluctance among some people to take the vaccine when they're able to do so and that is most prevalent, as you guys mentioned, among some of the Trump supporters as polls are showing that Republicans are the most skeptical of receiving the vaccine and so that is why we are starting to see the great lengths that Trump administration officials, minus Trump himself, are starting to take to try to convince people that it is safe to receive this vaccine.

We saw Vice President Mike Pence get the vaccine on camera yesterday and he assured people that the science behind the vaccine is sound.


PENCE: Vigilance and the vaccine is our way through and building confidence in the vaccine is what brings us here this morning. While we cut red tape, we cut no corners.


WESTWOOD: Now, Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the second lady also received their vaccines on camera yesterday and Adams tweeted yesterday as well that he did not want people to let misinformation or mistrust lead to poor decisions when it comes to receiving the vaccine. So there's a real effort among some people in Trump's orbit to try to overcome what could be a very difficult task because the more that people get vaccinated, obviously the quicker that people can get back to normal life.

But it's up to Trump and these Trump administration officials to overcome the skepticism that's fueled in part by the fact that Trump has been telling people the virus is not something they should be afraid of and discrediting the public health officials that people need to trust who are saying this vaccine is safe, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Sarah Westwood, good to see you this morning. Thanks for the update.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Sarah. So on Monday, President-elect Joe Biden and incoming first lady Dr. Jill Biden, they're expected to receive their first dose of the vaccine. Biden said that he would get the shot in public to show his confidence in it. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband will take theirs the following week and medical experts recommend that Biden and Harris stagger receiving the shots so that the two don't experience any potential side effects at the same time.

PAUL: And today, the two, Biden and Harris, are holding an event to formally introduce nominees for their climate and energy team. The president-elect is expected to nominate Michael Regan to run the EPA. He currently heads the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. Others expected at that event include New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland who is Biden's nominee for interior secretary and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm who is expected to be tapped to lead the Department of Energy.

[06:20:10] Still to come, the FDA clearing the way for a second vaccine. There's more expected here. State officials are already learning, though, about delays and smaller shipment plans for the very first vaccine and we're going to talk to Dr. El-Sayed about that in a moment.


PAUL: Twenty-four minutes past the hour right now. The FDA has authorized Moderna's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use now. This is the second vaccine to get authorization in the U.S.. A CDC advisory panel is meeting today, in fact, to recommend its use and once the committee makes a decision, the CDC director will need to sign off on that.


If it's approved, we're going to start seeing shipments go out as early as next week. Now, this is happening as the U.S. broke another daily record for COVID-19 cases. We want to bring in epidemiologist and former Detroit health commissioner Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. Dr. El- Sayed, thank you so much for being with us again.


PAUL: We certainly appreciate it. I want to ask you about this vaccine is where -- I know a lot of people are wondering if the president will get the vaccine, but there are a lot of other people wondering that -- they are wondering about the vaccine in general. More than 249,000 cases yesterday alone and that's the highest case that we have seen since this pandemic began in one day.

Let me ask you this. When we talk about the prioritization for the vaccine process, where do people who have had the virus and may have antibodies, where do they fall in the hierarchy of who needs to get this?

EL-SAYED: Well, as far as we understand, there haven't been specific arguments made about people who have had the virus. They fall into the categories that they fall into based on whether or not they're frontline healthcare workers or they're people who live in long-term care facilities or they're essential workers.

And so the reason why and, you know, the the way this works is that when people are infected by a virus, their body does generate some natural immunity. At the same time, we have had reported cases of people being re-infected and we don't know how long that immunity lasts and so it's better to have them immunized just like everyone else depending upon either their risk for contracting the disease or their risk for getting extremely sick if they do.

PAUL: And we've had this reporting that there are states that are just not going to get the second dose of vaccine or certainly not the volume that they thought they would get in a timely manner and we've had many states, including, in fact, Governor Phil Murphy (ph) of New Jersey was on last night saying he has not gotten a satisfactory answer as to why they're not going to be getting those.

Do you know of any reason why there should be a hold up in the distribution of these vaccines that are just sitting in warehouses right now?

EL-SAYED: Well, we're waiting for more answers and I'll tell you this, this has been a really, really challenging logistical process. We knew that the moment that we had an evidence-driven, safe and effective vaccine, that wasn't going to be the end of this. That was just the beginning, right?

There was also the work of logistically taking it out to all the states and then making sure that people were comfortable and understood exactly what this vaccine was, why it was rolled out as quickly as it could be given where the science was and how it is that they're going to get it and what the -- what the -- what the structure of lines is going to look like in terms of who gets it first.

At the same time, we're still awaiting answers and what we all hope is that this is about addressing some of the logistical challenges of deploying a vaccine in record time rather than anything untoward politically, but we're still waiting for answers and I think everybody should make sure that we are focused on making sure that people who've gotten this vaccine get their second dose, that we're rolling it out as fast as possible.

You mentioned yesterday being a record-setting day. We are certainly not out of this yet and we've got to make sure that we're getting that vaccine out as quickly and as efficiently, effectively as possible.

PAUL: Yes. And California in particular is really in crisis right now. We know ICU availability in Southern California is at 0 percent and experts say it's just going to get worse because this threatens the level of care that each patient can receive. So when we say that, how soon -- since we have -- we are now one week into vaccinations. How soon might we see or do you anticipate vaccines will start to slow the spread, that we might see some relief as these vaccinations are administered?

EL-SAYED: Well, there's a couple of pieces here, right? And we know that these vaccines, they have been studied in two doses and those doses come 17 to 21 days after the first dose and so we're still in the first week.

Nobody has had their second dose as far as we know and given that, we're still certainly not out of the woods and even yet, we are vaccinating the folks who are most likely to be exposed to the virus, the frontline healthcare workers, and those most likely to suffer a bad outcome if they are exposed, and that's front -- those are folks who live in long-term healthcare facilities.

But the impact of that is is going to take time to see and the general hospitalization number isn't driven by either of those groups, it's driven by the more mundane transmission that happens between us because folks aren't wearing masks and because folks are choosing not to physically distance.

And I worry a lot because the holidays are upon us and just like Thanksgiving, the bump for which we're seeing right now, the holidays have been a time where people come together and so the vaccine isn't going to rescue us from what's happening in the next month and folks have to understand that. So we are not out of the woods.


Folks definitely need to keep wearing their masks, need to keep physical distancing, and I know it's hard, but we've got to focus on the fact that we want to make sure we can get together with our families next year, and that nobody is missing from that gathering.

PAUL: It's true. And you just brought up something that made me think about something. When we talk about the fact that we're waiting to get some word as to why there's a bit of a hold-up on some of these vaccines that are sitting in warehouses, if that tends to continue, if they don't get these vaccines out as quickly as necessary, what would happen if somebody got the first vaccine, but they couldn't get the second shot three weeks later?

EL-SAYED: So, that's not how the virus course -- I mean, excuse me, the vaccine course is designed to be done. We do know that it probably wouldn't be the end of the world, but we want to make sure, right, that the finally calibrated, scientifically thought-through process through which you deploy a vaccine is followed to the T, because we want to make sure that we're getting maximum efficiency in terms of the control of spread and the immune response that we want from patients.

But in theory, if somebody were to get this vaccine and have to wait a little longer for their next vaccine, it's not like the body forgets the memories that it's made about the virus that it saw on how to fight it. But we do want to make sure that we're following the protocol because that's how it's been studied, and it's really important to follow that, given the fact that there has been a lot of thought power put into how to do this best, and we want to make sure that we're abiding by that.

PAUL: OK, yes, just wondering about what the risks might be if they didn't get that second vaccine in a particular time frame. And lastly, before I let you go, give us some clarity, would you, on the differences between the Pfizer vaccine that we're seeing out there right now and the Moderna that we expect could be out there by next week sometime.

EL-SAYED: Yes, well, they're very similar vaccines. They're both what we call MRNA vaccines, meaning that there are small piece of material that codes for a piece of the virus that then will go into your body. Your body will naturally turn that piece of code into a piece of the virus that then your immune system responds to.

Both work the same way. There are some advantages that the Moderna vaccine has. A, it does not have to be stored at such low temperatures, and so the logistical lift is a little bit lower although it does still have to be stored at very low temperatures because it is an MRNA vaccine.

And the second is that there is some evidence that the MRNA vaccine from Moderna may protect against transmission as well. We know that both of them keep you from getting really sick. But it's plausible that the Moderna vaccine also protects you from getting any infection so that you can't transmit it to someone else.

And that was a theoretical risk that occurred in the Pfizer vaccine. But I want to be clear, people should get the vaccine that they can get to as soon as they have access to it. And so, I wouldn't be holding out and quibbling over whether or not you get the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine or a next vaccine comes out.

We want to make sure that we bring this pandemic to its knees as fast as possible. We know how fast that it is hurting people, and it is critically important that folks get access to the vaccine that they can get access to as soon as they're told by a public health official or their workplace that they can.

PAUL: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, I know you've been working overtime for so many months here, we appreciate you taking time for us this morning, thank you.

EL-SAYED: Thank you.

PAUL: You know what? Stay with us this morning as well, Big Bird, Elmo and Friends all coming back to you. We've got a brand-new family town hall, it's about COVID-19, and it's about staying safe, particularly during the holidays. Don't miss "THE ABCs of COVID-19" this morning at 10:00 Eastern.

BLACKWELL: The scope of the cyberattack on the U.S. government, it's still unclear, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it is clear who is behind it. He says it's Russia. What we know about this huge breach. We'll bring that to you, next.



BLACKWELL: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that he believes Russia is responsible for that massive cyberattack that has breached federal agencies and dozens of companies.

PAUL: Yes, at least, a half a dozen federal agencies were targeted here including Homeland Security's cyber security division, and the Departments of State, Commerce, Agriculture, Energy. Investigators are trying to determine what if any government data may have been accessed or stolen in the attack.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: There was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed a code inside of U.S. government systems, and it now appears systems of private companies and companies and governments across the world as well. This was a very significant effort, and I think it's the case that now we can say pretty clearly, that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity.

(END AUDIO CLIP) BLACKWELL: Let's bring in Errol Louis; CNN political commentator and

host of the "You Decide" podcast. Errol, good morning to you -- no, for all the president's rhetoric about nobody's tougher on Russia than Trump in third person, the president said nothing about this.

What do you believe the impact of the silence is? And are you confident that there are enough people around the president who are outraged by this, that there is something being done, that serious consequences and reaction won't have to wait for another month for the next administration?


ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I have no confidence that things are going to happen before the next administration takes office, Victor, in part because it's not just the president who has remained silent.

All of the people around him who you would expect to be speaking out, banging the drums, warning the government, announcing the defenses and if any retaliation is going to happen, and by that, I mean, the heads of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the CIA, the director of National Intelligence, where are these people? Where is the big press conference announcing to the world what is going to happen as a result?

None of that is happening. And this is a president who we've had solid reporting, doesn't want to hear anything about it, that he doesn't like hearing any criticism of Russia, that he doesn't allow it into his briefings, that it's not on his formal briefings, and when it comes up orally, he seems to attack the intelligence itself. So, this is not somebody who has ever uttered a public word of criticism of Vladimir Putin, and there's no reason to expect it to start now.

BLACKWELL: We've got a lot to take through, so let's move on to this stimulus deal, fight, and the funding bill as well. Some Republicans have now pushed in, led by Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania to rein in the emergency lending authority of the Federal Reserve. Long and short of it, if I have it correctly is that it allows the Fed

to back corporate bonds so that lending doesn't freeze, and they can also lend to states and municipalities, local governments. How did this become central to getting some relief to the people who need it?

And does this appear to be enough to lead to a government shutdown, to prevent potentially a stimulus bill getting to Americans who need help?

LOUIS: Well, we'll find out whether or not Republicans want to really draw a line in the sand on this. But just to explain, I mean, the Federal Reserve does not normally do what it announced it would do at the start of the pandemic.

That in reaction to the exploding rates of unemployment and the other weaknesses in the economy because of the pandemic, they announced that they would do something they haven't done since the Great Depression, which is to -- they created and called it the Main Street Lending Program, they began to make direct loans to corporations.

It turned out they didn't use all of the power and the money that they had available for it, but just announcing it enabled a number of companies to -- and industries like the cruise ship industry that were in a state of collapse to suddenly become bankable. I mean, it did what it was supposed to do, which was to shore up confidence that the economy would come back, that these businesses should not just be left to flounder and to die, and to the extent that, that worked, it really should be praised.

Now, look, the government, the administration and the Republicans in Congress are threatening to do what they often do, which is to say they'll take back the power if they decide that it should expire and they'd rather have control of it themselves.

But it becomes one more thing for everybody to fight over as we try and organize some kind of a response and revive the economy, which is really sort of very much back on its heels despite what's happening on Wall Street, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood mentioned the president's absence as it relates to so many things. I mean, it's remarkable that the president, we only hear from him through Twitter like, you know, where 13-year- old girls on Spring break, and this is the only way we can communicate with each other.

But the president said nothing about taking the vaccine, encouraging people to take the vaccine. He was more vocal about getting people to take hydroxychloroquine than taking this vaccine, which doctors have said is safe. I want you to listen to Republican Congressman Ken Buck.


REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): I'm an American, I have the freedom to decide if I'm going to take a vaccine or not, and in this case, I am not going to take the vaccine.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Could I ask you why?

BUCK: Yes, because I'm more concerned about the safety of the vaccine than I am the side effects of the disease. I'm a healthy person, and I think most Americans are healthy.


BLACKWELL: You know, these kinds of family study, Errol, we've talked a lot about how black people in this country might be hesitant to take the vaccine. The largest single group they found was Republicans at 42 percent who said that they probably or definitely will not take this vaccine. The responsibility of members of this party, leaders of the party to encourage Republicans to take it, and what we're seeing and not seeing from the president, what's your take?

LOUIS: Yes, well, I mean, look, there's an anti-science, anti-vaccine wing of the Republican Party. If they succeed in politicizing the vaccine the way they politicized the response to the coronavirus, we'll continue to see needles sickness and suffering and death. And there's no other way to put it.


You know, I almost wish to be honest with you, I know we're in the news business and we want to put out there what's being said, but I almost wish we wouldn't air that kind of information or at least pair it up with information about how and why terrible scourges like polio and like malaria have rescued great portions of the human race because of vaccines.

The idiocy of somebody like Ken Buck, who I understand is a cancer survivor, he may be personally frightened, but that's his personal problem. His public responsibility is to let the public know that vaccines have saved this country over and over again.

They've saved the human race from needless suffering and death, and that this is going to be the only way out of the current pandemic, whether Ken Buck wants to score some cheap political points or not.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Errol Louis, thank you for your insight. Enjoy the weekend.

LOUIS: Thank you. You too.

BLACKWELL: We'll be back.



PAUL: Let's talk about Cameron Dobbs. She's a volleyball player-turned coach at the University of Miami. It is not her most important position though.

BLACKWELL: She leads Operation Christmas Child. It's a drive that helps children around the world a shoe box at a time.


CAMERON DOBBS, VOLLEYBALL PLAYER-TURNED COACH, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: These kids get their first Christmas gift they've ever had. I know, for me, even at 21 years old, I'm still thrilled to open something on Christmas Day. These kids for their first time ever get to do that.

Operation Christmas Child is an incredible operation, started by Samaritan's Purse back in 1993. Basically, ever since they have been sending shoe boxes filled with Christmas gifts and hygiene items, and all sorts of fun things to kids overseas. I am the main point person for Operation Christmas Child in Miami in terms of athletics using the University of Miami.

And in past years, I have also connected with FIU and their sports teams to try to get them involved as well. So, I knew our big thing this year was really going to be donations with money rather than people shopping and bringing in their own boxes. Because we had a flood of donations coming in, that meant that I had to go and do all the shopping. There were many nights I was staying up until 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m., packing boxes, labeling boxes. After our final collection date, we ended up setting a record, passing what we've done in the past two years. And on this third year, even in 2020, even amidst COVID-19, we had collected 759 shoe boxes.

MIKE BLANC, CHAPLAIN, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: Cam, she's amazing. Just the different things that she does, like it impresses me. But we couldn't ask for a better leader. This is a family, and the one thing that we love is just getting our family together and participating in the community in different activities.

DOBBS: It blows my mind every year seeing how many student-athletes, how many of the football coaches' wives tag on to this Operation Christmas Child and are just so excited to help out, and so excited to give and to help these children. It's an incredible organization and it's so much more than just a little Christmas gift.


BLACKWELL: Good work, Cam. More than 1,000 shoe boxes have been donated over the past three years.

PAUL: That's awesome. Coming up in the next hour, they're divided by a wall, they're united by music. This is such a moving story. Musicians collaborating across the U.S.-Mexico border.





PAUL: Yes, this year we asked you to vote on the year's most inspiring moment to be honored at "CNN HEROES", an all-star tribute of course. And here's Anderson Cooper with the moment that moved you the most.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Sometimes a photograph can capture the mood and the attention of the world. In June, one image did just that. During protests on the streets of London, events turned violent. Black Lives Matter group was there to condemn statues of people with racist ties and many white protestors were there to protect the statues.

Things got heated, one man, Bryn Male; a white former police officer wandered into the crowd and he started to get beat up. One of the Black Lives Matter protesters Patrick Hutchinson saw that he was in peril, Patrick moved in, picked him the injured Bryn, carried him through the crowd to safety.

PATRICK HUTCHINSON, RESCUED BRYN MALE AFTER HE WAS ATTACKED DURING A LONDON PROTEST: The biggest thing for me was making sure that no harm came to him because I knew if harm had come to him, then that relatively just be changed, and then the blame would fall on the young Black Lives Matter protesters. We made sure we got him out of there safely.

COOPER: Patrick, a father and grandfather hopes that everyone who sees the image understands that the responsibility to do the right thing resides in all of us.

HUTCHINSON: We just want equality for all races, for all people. Right now, we're the ones who seem to be the oppressed ones. And it's about time things were changed, you know, the world over.


PAUL: You can watch "CNN HEROES", this all-star tribute any time on CNN go, CNN on-demand and "HBO Max".

BLACKWELL: And be sure to stay with us this morning for something special. The "Sesame Street" crew is back on CNN for a new family town hall. It's about COVID-19 and staying safe during the holiday season. "THE ABCs OF COVID-19" is coming up at 10:00 Eastern. And the next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FDA has just issued emergency use authorization for Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We likely will see shots in the arm by the very early part of next week.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make no mistake about it, it's a medical miracle.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, NEW DAY: With the pandemic now predicted to claim 562,000 lives by April --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If things don't change, we're going to probably be rationing care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's completely devastating. The hospitals are full. The ICUs are full.