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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; New COVID Model Predicts 562,000 Total Deaths By April 1, Over 2,800 Deaths Reported Friday. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired December 19, 2020 - 08:00   ET





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

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NSAID: We likely will see shots in the arm by the very early part of next week.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the pandemic now projected to claim 562,000 lives by April.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's completely devastating. The hospitals are full, the ICUs are full, the emergency departments are full.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: U. S. Secretary of State who is now going public with Washington suspicions about who was behind the massive cyberattack on U.S. targets.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATES, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: 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: Clearly the Russians do not fear us right now. And the question is how far are you willing to escalate with the nuclear power.

ANNOUNCER: This is a New Day Weekend with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Capitol Hill there. We have a lot going on in the House right now as we're trying to come up with a stimulus and we're waiting to see what they come up with by the end of the week and they've got two more days to go and in addition to that there are now two coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States.

This good news comes at the end of what was though the deadliest week yet in this whole pandemic.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: More Americans are dying from COVID every day on average than ever and the U.S. is also setting new records for daily cases. The number of people fighting the virus in hospitals is at an all-time high. CNN's polo Sandoval is here with the latest. Horrible numbers on those three fronts but the vaccine, we're expecting Moderna to be getting to locations in the next few days, right?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes Victor, the authorization of this latest Moderna vaccine will likely mean that you can expect millions of additional vaccine doses to be play in play and available to protect us frontline workers and those most vulnerable.

But yes, as you just said, this is certainly some promising news that's happening as many parts of the country are seeing those numbers continue to rise as experts have put it time and time again, it's likely going to get worse in some parts of the country before it gets better.


SANDOVAL: Worst case COVID scenarios are playing out all over the country as vaccines are administered almost as quickly as delivered, more than 1.5 million new COVID cases were reported in just the last week. 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 still got work to do to get over this surge but I want people to be encouraged.

SANDOVAL: 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.

DR. CHRISTINA GHALY, DIRECTOR, LA COUNTY DEPT OF HEALTH: 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: Another health official in LA county expecting that region

will become the next epicenter of the pandemic. It is going to get worse between now and April, much worse. 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 a certain percentages that are going to need hospitalization and a certain percentage are going to die.

SANDOVAL: The same IHME model predicting the national death rate may peak in mid-January at over 3700 dead Americans a day and possibly reach 562,000 total by April.

DR. SAJU MATHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN & PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENTIST: That is over 0.5 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: Rhode Island going in the opposite direction with a noticeable decrease in infection rates, going from 10 to about 4 percent. Gyms there will soon be reopening and indoor dining capacity increased. So back to that Moderna vaccine. Here's where things stand right now. We know the FDA did issue that emergency authorization for its use just yesterday.


Now the CDC advisory panel will be meeting this morning. They will then issue their recommendation. It will be the CDC that will then accept that recommendation before those for Moderna vaccines could then begin to be spread throughout the country. Certainly hopeful that the process will closely resemble or at least closely mirror what we saw with the Pfizer vaccine and it will happen relatively quickly.


PAUL: All righty. Polo Sandoval, stay warm out there buddy. Thank you. So healthcare workers are supposed to be at the front of the line as you know for this vaccine. Well, Stanford healthcare in California's apologizing now for excluding a majority of them in their distribution plan.

BLACKWELL: Yes, listen to this. This is from CNN affiliate KGO. Their report is that seven, single digit - seven out of more than 1300 medical residents and fellows were slated to receive the vaccine. Instead priority was given to the faculty and the attending physicians who were working from home. Of course after that there were chants and protests, 'First in the room, back of the line.'


DR. SARAH JOHNSON, STANFORD RESIDENT PHYSICIAN: They cannot be offered the vaccine when I am at the hospital face timing and attending from home so they can see their patients and I'm in the COVID positive room and then those attendants are offered the vaccine.

It's very hurtful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were real human beings who looked at the output of that algorithm and said yes, this is OK, go forward. And that to me feels unacceptable.


BLACKWELL: So here's a statement from Stanford healthcare. We apologize to our entire community including our resident fellows and other front line care providers who have performed heroically during our pandemic response. We are immediately revising our plan to better sequence the distribution of the vaccine.

Let's bring in now Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency room physician and CNN Medical Analyst. Dr. Ranney, your thoughts on that. The disparity in who was getting this vaccine or slated to receive it versus those who were actually working in the COVID unit.

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I think the word of the resident that this was unacceptable just about sums it up. I don't know who designed that algorithm that thought that it was a good idea to exclude our residents. Any of us who are practicing physicians have been through residency and continue to supervise residents, know that they are our front line.

They spend more hours in the hospital than any of us and although they are generally younger, they too are at risk. Many of us remember the story of Adeline Fagan a 28-year old. Obstetrics and gynecology resident who died earlier this year from COVID-19. Those residents deserve to be protected before any of us.

As the do the housekeeping staff, the techs, the nurses, the ones who spend tons of time in the rooms with the COVID-19 patients and let me say one more thing which is that if we are messing up distribution to health care workers, if we can't get equity right here, it makes me quite worried about what we're looking forward to across the rest of the country.

BLACKWELL: I'm going to come back to that distribution in just a moment but let's talk about Moderna first. The second now vaccine getting emergency use authorization. This one is stored by comparison at warmer temperatures. How does that - than the Pfizer vaccine I should say.

How will that influence distribution, I guess geographically and ultimately lead to a mitigation.

RANNEY: So this is a really exciting news. The first important thing to know is that on every important measure, the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine seems to be about the same. Their efficacy, the low rate of adverse reactions like fatigue and pain, the amount of time that it takes to get them. It's 21 days versus 28 days.

But you highlighted that really important difference which is the Moderna vaccine can be stored at temperatures that are closer to that of a regular freezer. That is going to make it so much easier to distribute this vaccine. A lot of us have been worried about how we're going to reach people at risk who are not close to a major health care center because that Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at temperatures like that of Antarctica and it's really tough to do.

This is going to greatly open up our ability to get vaccines in the arms of all Americans. I'm just thrilled by that UA.

BLACKWELL: We've heard from the head of the FDA's Evaluation Research Division about anaphylaxis to severe allergic reactions that we've seen a few cases of and he says that this was late yesterday that they could be caused by polyethylene glycol and glycol. What is that and what's the overall risk?

RANNEY: So I'm going to start with the overall risk. The overall risk is quite, quite low. Any medication that you put in your body is going to have a small risk of anaphylaxis. Any food that we eat has a small risk of anaphylaxis.


I'm sure every viewer watching the TV this morning knows someone who has a bad allergy to peanuts or to bees or to penicillin or to something and so there's no reason to think that there wouldn't be that risk from this vaccine but it has been tremendously small, right? It's been less than 1 in a 100,000 people over the course of all the administrations of this medication.

Now that polyethylene glycol is the substance that most of us are thinking is likely what caused the anaphylaxis. That's the ingredient in neurolax. It's also the ingredient that people take to prep for colonoscopies. It causes diarrhea and other unpleasant symptoms when you drink it. That's its point but it's not a common thing to have anaphylaxis too.

So for the vast majority of Americans, even if you've had a bad allergic reaction to other vaccines or to other medications, this one should still be safe. It is not manufactured the same way as flu or tetanus. Doesn't have eggs in it. So for most people, it is still a very safe vaccine.

BLACKWELL: And we know of course that those potential side effects are a lot of the reasons why some are hesitant so we appreciate you offering some clarity on what we're learning from the FDA as now there's a second merging to use authorization for a vaccine. Dr. Megan Ranney, thank you.


PAUL: Yes, listen, if your kids aren't up yet, that could be kind of funny but if your kids aren't up yet by 8:00, don't forget there is a brand new Sesame Street family town hall about COVID-19 and stay safe this holiday season so get the kids, sit in front of the TV and do not miss the ABCs of COVID-19, this morning at 10 eastern.

BLACKWELL: Now if you're just waking up, you're forgiven, it's only 8:00 on the east coast, not too late. There's still no stimulus deal but there's also no shut down at least for now.

PAUL: Yes but this is the start of a critical weekend for lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They only have until Sunday night before government funding expires. What's at stake? A $900 billion pandemic aid bill that is urgently needed for so many families in this country.

Suzanne Malveaux is on Capitol Hill this morning. Suzanne, you know I heard Rep. Hakeem Jeffries yesterday say that they are willing to stay in DC to get this done what are the sticking points that they're still trying to reconcile this morning.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Christi. Well, it really was high drama yesterday. It was just six hours before that deadline, the midnight deadline before the government was going to shut down. They decided this 2-day extension.

One of the moments of drama happened when they were trying to pass this, they needed at least two-thirds to pass in the House and then all 100 senators not to object to moving forward and this quick vote. It was Senator Bernie Sanders who did object briefly to make a point before he withdrew his objection.

His point being that the $600 direct stimulus check is not nearly enough for individuals who are suffering now he wants that to be bumped up to $1200. He as well Senator Josh Holly are in agreement there and that is something that he said he is going to make sure gets in this bill.

So look for that point. The other one is something that is very frustrating to a group of bipartisan lawmakers both on the House and Senate side who initially came up with this - this relief plan in the beginning at least a framework for it and that is this federal reserve authority.

What kind of authority it has moving forward to issue emergency loans. Republicans want to restrict that ability. Democrats are in disagreement there. They say that it's going to tie the hands of the next administration, the Biden administration so take a listen to Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia, extremely frustrated - frustrated and angry that he believes this is turned political.


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

(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: I've spoken with Senator Manchin numerous times over the

week. It is a frustrating experience for him as well as for others who are just angry at this point that they put in weeks and weeks of work to get to a point where there's so much consensus and agreement on some relief here and they can't get across the finish line yet.

BLACKWELL: And despite that frustration that we're hearing from Senator Manchin and others, Senate leader Mitch McConnell has a degree of optimism. What justifies that?

MALVEAUX: What justifies it is that there's $900 billion worth of goodies if you will of stimulus that is going to be so helpful to many Americans. They put aside some of the more controversial proposals and they are looking at things like vaccine distribution, school aid, unemployment benefits, direct checks and extension for student loan payments.


And more time to be in your apartment if you can't pay the rent and all of these things that they actually do agree on, so they do believe that they're getting very, very close. I want you to just take a listen to what McConnell said yesterday.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-AL): 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: So Christi, I mean really the point here, the big question, can they get those other issues resolved or get it out of the bill all together to get to the deadline and that is going to be midnight on Sunday. Christi.

PAUL: All right Suzanne Malveaux, always good to see you. Thank you for all the good information this morning.

MALVEAUX: Good to see you.

BLACKWELL: The president-elect Joe Biden an incoming First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, they are expected to receive their coronavirus vaccine, the first shot next week.

PAUL: Also government agencies were targeted in this massive data breach including Homeland Security Division responsible for cyber security. Coming up why Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo now says he believes Russia is behind the attacks.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAUL: 20 minutes past the hour and according to The New York Times, a

substantial number of President Trump supporters and Republicans in general, say they don't want to get the coronavirus vaccine. Now president-elect Joe Biden and incoming First Lady say that they will get the vaccine on Monday in fact.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we're following all of the developments here. CNN's Rebecca Buck is covering the Biden transition from DC. Sarah Westwood is at the White House. Sarah, you're up first. The president, we haven't heard much from him about the rollout of the vaccine. He was more vocal about trying to convince people to take hydroxychloroquine than to get the vaccine for a COVID-19. Any details about why he skipped out on the vice president's event yesterday? Made no mention of it?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes Victor, that vaccination ceremony for the Vice President and the second lady took place here on the White House complex but the president did not walk over to attend it and in fact spent his time yesterday on Twitter nursing these election related grievances, even going after his fellow Republicans.

But he's really not spend much time even trying to claim credit for the vaccine rollout as aggressively as one might think Trump would do and he's certainly not trying to maximize the impact of this accomplishment that took place on his watch by encouraging more people to get vaccinated.

In fact we've heard hardly a peep from him on whether people should get in line to get the shot when it becomes available. That task is really fallen to other top members of the administration who are now confronting what the experts call vaccine hesitancy that is this reluctance among the public not to get the vaccine.

They're skeptical in some cases of receiving this shot and as you guys mentioned, the New York Times is reporting that that skepticism is most prominent on the right and among Trump's supporters. They are the most fearful of receiving the vaccine. The Times reports that mistrust of government is fueling a lot of that angst.

But Pence yesterday rolled up the sleeves for the vaccine and urged Americans to get it because he said the science behind it is safe.


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 also received the vaccine yesterday and in a tweet, he urged people later in the day not to let misinformation or mistrust lead to poor decisions when it comes to the vaccine.

So you do see the public health experts and top administration officials other than Trump trying to combat this misinformation that is leading to the skepticism that we're seeing among the public. The president has no public events on his schedule for the rest of this weekend so it's unlikely that we'll see him come out and address the vaccine again as roll outs of its are continuing across the country.

PAUL: All righty, Sarah Westwood, appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you. Let's go to Rebecca now on the transition. Today the Biden-Harris team, they're expected to announce and introduce formally at least the Climate and Energy team. What do you know?

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. Well, today we will be hearing from president-elect by then on a very important part of his incoming cabinet and top advisers. This is Climate and Energy that is going to be the focus here today and as Biden said as a candidate and during this transition, he's going to make climate a top priority of his administration.

Obviously a lot will depend on what he's able to do with Congress, whether Republicans or Democrats will have control in the Senate but he's going to be able to do a fair bit at the executive level as well and that's where the players are going to come in so one of the picks to watch today is going to be Congresswoman Deb Haaland and she's from New Mexico, a Democrat from New Mexico and notably she's going to be Biden's pick to head the interior department, be Interior Secretary and she is a historic pick in this respect.

She's going to be the first Native American to serve in this role, the Interior Department of course governs public lands, tribal lands and so this is going to be a very exciting pick for many Democrats and a historic one as well. So something to watch with Biden making the announcement of his climate team and his top climate and energy advisors.

Meantime of course, the president-elect is set to receive the coronavirus vaccine here this coming Monday. His wife Jill Biden will also be receiving the vaccine. This is all part of an effort to raise public awareness and public confidence in the vaccine. Biden has said repeatedly that he planned to receive the vaccine as soon as possible if the science backed it up.


And of course we've seen the FDA approving that Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccines so the science is there, that threshold has been met. Biden will be getting the vaccine, his running mate, his incoming Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff will not receive the vaccine until after Christmas, the campaign says because they want to stagger the vaccines just in case there any side effects that vice - the vice president and incoming president elect Joe Biden is experiencing and his wife.

So Kamala Harris will be receiving that vaccine soon as well of course. This is a bipartisan effort on going right now. It's not just Joe Biden, we saw Vice President Mike Pence getting his vaccination this week, members of Congress, leaders in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike sharing videos and photos of their vaccinations to build that public confidence. Of course having the president elect Joe Biden and get that vaccine this week will be a big thing. Victor, Christi.

PAUL: No doubt. Rebecca Buck, thank you so much. Listen, the scope here is widespread. This massive ongoing cyberattack against the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he's pretty sure who's behind it now. That's next




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

PAUL: At least Half a dozen federal agencies were targeted. We're talking about Homeland Securities, cybersecurity division. Also the departments of state, commerce, agriculture, energy. Now investigators are trying to determine what if any government data may have been accessed or stolen in the attack.


POMPEO: 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.


PAUL: Margaret Talev with is now. Politics and White House editor for Axios and Axios and CNN political analyst. Good to see you. Thanks for being with us Margaret. So let's talk about this. What is the significance of the Secretary of State talking about this publicly but not having the president himself address it?

MARAGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well Christi, good morning. I think it is significant that finally we're seeing very high level of representative from the Trump administration say this publicly now and begin to call Russia into account but we have not yet heard the president speak about it, tweet about it, message directly to Russia in public about it.

So to be clear we don't know for sure everything that the U.S. government is actually doing now. They may be gathering evidence, they may be looking at sanctions, they may be in the process of conducting some form of retaliation that would not be discussed publicly but we know that when you're not publicly blaming Russia, when you're not saying this is a wine that U.S. puts down in a marker, it sends a signal to Russia and it sends consternation across the United States. And that's what we're seeing. We're seeing folks like everyone from

Mitt Romney to Tom Bossert, President Trump's former Homeland Security adviser begin to call this out and say, look, this is really, really important. It's important to send a signal that you know what's going on and that it's not acceptable.

And I think when you think about how much the president has hammered on the Obama administration used for what they said was not doing enough to deal with Russian in 2016, that it's incumbent on President Trump to begin talking to the American people about this and to begin messaging publicly to Russia about where the U.S. stands and you've seen Biden say you know I won't stand idly by in the face of the cyber assault.

You've seen President-Elect Biden try to begin to preemptively signal to Russia. I am not going to treat things like this publicly the way the president has.

PAUL: Yes and we can't underestimate the significance of the Secretary of State saying it. This is a key person in his cabinet and yet we're not hearing from them so we'll wait and see if maybe we do. I do want to move on to Georgia. You know the runoff on January 5. So many people are watching it and the ads are brutal.

Here in Georgia you guys are not seeing them the way that we are but the AJC, the Atlanta General constitution is reporting that 76,000 new voters registered in Georgia before the state's December 7 deadline for this runoff election and here's what we know about these voters which is interesting Margaret.

56 percent of them under 35 years old. Some of them are new Georgia residents. Others just turned 18 and none of them have voting record in the state but this is - this will determine the party essentially, who holds the party in the Senate and so it's a pivotal run off. What have you heard about Georgia because I understand you've got some information for us?

TALEV: Well yes, these registration numbers that you're talking about are tremendously concerning to Republicans and you can guess why. These demographics, the age, new residents into the state, these don't portend strong Republican votes traditionally and so this is not really a matter of changing hearts and minds at this point.

This is a matter of turn out. It is a pure turnout game and Republicans are concerned that because President Trump has continued to say you know, the elections are hoax and you can't believe things that you actually can believe, that it will depress Republicans turnout.


If you have a scenario where you have depressed Republican turn out and increased turn out from new voters as well as motivated existing Democratic or Democratic leaning voters, then you have to chance to completely upend what should be you know, historically would be a low turnout type of election. You know it's after the presidential election, will control the senate

at stake. There's a massive mobilization effort and we're reporting something new this morning. There is group at Harvard University affiliated with the data privacy lab that has sought to protect voters who may be worried that all of a sudden the rolls could mysteriously change.

There is just walk through it as you know that says that about 200,000 Georgia voters in 2019 were improperly purged from the rolls. This new sign up allows you to sign up to either have notifications like push to your text or to your email so that if you are a Georgia voter and anything changes with your registration between now and January 5, that you didn't do, you will automatically be notified so that you can check it out and protect your ability.

So you don't try to show up and all of a sudden you're not there. Watch the early vote. We're seeing historic numbers in the first four days - five days now early voting in that run off. We're getting very close to matching the numbers of turnout for the entire last run off election two years ago.

So if that continues apace, it would exceed the numbers and change the dynamic in these two races.

PAUL: All right Margaret Talev, so good to have you with us this morning and to get your perspective, thank you.

TALEV: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Sure.

BLACKWELL: So a college student from Georgia and her boyfriend have been sentenced to four months in jail for breaking COVID restrictions in the Cayman Islands. The 18-year old Skylar Mac was visiting her boyfriend for a jet skiing competition. She was told to self-isolate for two weeks once she arrived but instead she stayed alone for only two days and then she went to the competition.

PAUL: Mac and her boyfriend have been in jail since Tuesday. They both pleaded guilty. Their attorney says they do plan to appeal though.

BLACKWELL: Up next, we look ahead to a very special family discussion on how to stay safe during the holiday season. While we know social distancing might not be a huge challenge for Oscar, the grouch but his friends has taken the time to give the rest of us a few tips. Stay with us as we go through the ABCs of COVID-19.



BLACKWELL: We know that for a lot of parents, explaining the enormity of COVID-19 and the pandemic and the impact, it's a challenge and it's not gotten a lot easier over the last several months.

PAUL: No, I mean, we're nine months in, ten months in here so we decided it was just time to calling back up. We asked our friends over Sesame Street to give us all a reminder of what we need to be doing right now during the holiday season. So here are Erica Hill and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey guys. Good morning. That's right. We are back. Sanjay and I are just a little bit excited for our next town hall coming up this morning. I'll be talking about getting through the holidays and this long winter and once again, we just - we got the most incredible questions from kids and parents, a lot of them perhaps not surprisingly were about the vaccine which works out very well because Sanjay, you just got the vaccine.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I did and it went really well Erica. By the way, I love doing these town halls for so many reasons, not the least of which is I get to spend some extra time with you but that shot, I got to tell you, honestly it didn't - it didn't hurt one Biden.t

Honestly, I think it helped that I had my Elmo doll with me.

HILL: Definitely.

GUPTA: The Sesame Street has really taught me a lot this year.

HILL: And then we know that Elmo loves you. No, it's great and I loved to see you do it because it sends such an important powerful message and I think that's one that so many families will take in as well. You know we're not just talking - we're talking about the health obviously but we know that when we talk about the health of someone, it's also about emotional health and so many families are struggling and that's something we're going to tackle too. Take a look.

ELMO'S DAD: Hi Erica. Hi Dr. Sanjay. I'm collecting food for our neighborhood food drive.

ELMO: Daddy, food can't drive. That's silly.

ELMO'S DAD: No Elmo, a food drive. It's when people collect food to give to families who need it.

ELMO: Why do families need food daddy? Can't they go into their kitchen and get food?

ELMO'S DAD: Unfortunately no Elmo. The virus has been very hard on some families. People are out of work and don't have money to buy the food and warm clothes they need.

ELMO: But daddy, everybody needs food and clothes.

ELMO'S DAD: Yes, they do son. That's why it's important to remember that the holidays are about giving and helping others.


ELMO: Well, Elmo will help daddy. And Elmo will ask his friends to help too.

HILL: Yes.

GUPTA: And we talk about a lot of ways people can help because I mean that is - that is - those are real issues Erica that people are facing this holiday season.

HILL: Yes, they are and they're going to continue into the winter months as we know. So all of us can get a little bit more information on those tools so we will see you all at 10:00 AM eastern. Coming up for our next ABCs of COVID-19 for the holidays. Thanks guys.

GUPTA: Thank you.


PAUL: We can't wait. We'll be watching. Erica and Sanjay, today refer your friends at 10 eastern for the ABCs of COVID-19 with CNN and Sesame Street. I know 2020 has brought dramatic change for so many of us and quarantines, isolation can really mess with our heads. Well, New York Times' bestselling author Lysa Terkeurst talks to me about how to reset with forgiveness, especially when you feel like you can't forgive.




LYSA TERKEURST, AUTHOR, FORGIVING WHAT YOU CANT FORGET: I think so many people being isolated and getting stuck in their own head. I think you start to question your own sanity. And I think you start to feel like what's wrong with me that I can't let go of these hard feelings.

PAUL: Does that feel familiar to you because that talks to a lot of people who've said Christi, quarantine is so hard because I'm so alone and that can bring up a lot of unresolved feelings. Now this comes up a lot during my conversations about the reset as I call it.

How COVID's changed us, how it's shifted our priorities. That was author Lysa Terkeurst there. She's a mom of five. Very candid about what she's dealing with right now in her new book, 'Forgiving what you can't Forget.'

She's trying to find what a lot of us might be looking for. Forgiveness and in her case it's for her husband who was unfaithful.

TERKEURST: I remember the day that my counselor said Lysa, do you want to heal? And I was like yes, I really want to heal and then he said well, today is a good day to start working on forgiveness and I said back to him are you high? Are you crazy?

Like absolutely not. I mean the other person hasn't said they're sorry, they haven't owned what they've done. PAUL: So her counsellor started with her pain instead and looked at

her and said I believe you. What happened to you was wrong. I'm sorry you were hurt and she says that's where we need to start sometimes.

TERKEURST: I can't really explain to you what that did to me because my counsellor wasn't the one who hurt me yet it was another human daring to bear witness to my pain and it gave me that empowering sense that someone else sees what I've walked through. Forgiveness is both a decision and the process.

You make the decision to forgive, the facts of what happened so the decision to forgive, our feelings aren't going to want to really cooperate with that part of it and that's OK.

PAUL: She says that forgiveness, it takes time, it requires setting boundaries but it's what helps us find that freedom we're looking for.

TERKEURST: How does the pay-off for doing this forgiveness work is that it creates space for us to start to see beautiful again. So instead of spending so much emotional energy on worrying about is that other person going to learn their lesson? Are they ever going to say they're sorry? Are they ever going to get better?

Instead we get to say you know what I'm going to let them have their journey but I'm going to detach my ability to heal from places I can't control and I'm going to intentionally find reasons to look for hope.


PAUL: So tell me how the coronavirus and quarantine has changed you and your approach to life and your priorities. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I think forgiveness is just one of those things that is just so hard for some of us to do when we've been hurt and then when we're stuck at home in quarantine, all of those thoughts run through your head and like she said, it can really make you feel like you're a little crazy sometimes and we don't want that to happen to you.

BLACKWELL: You and I have talked about forgiveness and one of the lessons that I've learned from you about this because we talked about my challenge of forgiving people is that it is not something you give to the other person. It is something you do for yourself to open up that space in yourself, to liberate yourself of that. That is such a challenge.

PAUL: It is and the other thing I think that is helpful because I recognize this in my own backstory is that forgiving somebody is not giving them an open door to come back into your life. You can forgive someone and still cut them out of your life.


PAUL: You have to set boundaries because boundaries as she was talking about that too, is saying this is what's acceptable to me and this is what's not acceptable to me.


PAUL: And I have to do this from my own health.

BLACKWELL: Yes. It's certainly a great lesson. Thank you for that, for the reset. Now listen, last Sunday we watched live as the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 were packed up and shipped out. Now it is Moderna's turn.

The second vaccine authorized for emergency use in the U.S. If they're packing it up during our hours tomorrow, of course we're going to have live coverage of the roll out here on New Day plus we'll have news on when the first Moderna vaccinations will start. There's a vote from the CDC panel that's expected today with the CDC director likely to sign off soon after.

So join us again for all these historic moments that's starting tomorrow at 6 AM eastern. Now we appreciate you being with us this and every morning.

PAUL: Yes. "SMERCONISH" is next. Go, make some great memories. We'll see you tomorrow.