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New Day Saturday

Dozens Likely Killed as Powerful Tornadoes Tear Across the U.S.; At Least 24 Tornadoes Leave Path of Destruction Across Five States; January 6 Committee Subpoenas Six People Linked to Planning Rally; Bodycam Video Shows Different View of Wright's Police Encounter; Hospitals Strained as COVID Infections and Hospitalizations Rise. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired December 11, 2021 - 06:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your "NEW DAY."

It's Saturday, December 11th. I'm Boris Sanchez.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you all. I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul.

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Amara.

We are following breaking news this morning. A dangerous and deadly night across the Central United States. A powerful line of storms unleashing at least 24 tornadoes across five states, killing at least two people. That number, though, Amara, expected to increase.

WALKER: This is all that is left of a candle factory. More than 100 people were working inside when the tornado hit. This is in Kentucky. But with storms still in the area, and debris everywhere, we will not know the extent of the damage and the casualties for some time.

Now, Kentucky's governor says tornadoes tore through a 200 mile stretch of his state. Thousands are without power. Many homes are destroyed. And now with the state of emergency declared, the National Guard is deploying to the hard-hit areas.


GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): This has been one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history, and some areas have been hit in ways that are hard to put into words. And as we're sitting here today, and this is before daybreak, we believe our death toll from this event will exceed 50 Kentuckians, probably end up closer to 70 to 100 lost lives. Remember, each of these are children of God, irreplaceable to their families and to their communities.


SANCHEZ: Meantime, at least one person was killed in nearby Northeastern Arkansas after a tornado ripped through a nursing home. Residents and staff were trapped in the rubble until help arrived. At least 20 people injured at that facility. A second person died in a nearby Dollar General store.

We also want you to look at this video out of Illinois, a possible tornado cut through an Amazon warehouse and trapped workers inside. We've just learned that local law enforcement has confirmed some fatalities from the collapse. The exact number still unclear at this point. Also unclear how many people were even there at the time. Authorities say the size of the building and the damage are complicating efforts to make sure that everyone who was in got out safely.


SARAH BIERMANN, HUSBAND WORKS FOR AMAZON: I talked to him about 8:00 tonight, a little before. I texted him and he was returning to the warehouse to drop his van off. And I haven't heard from him since. I just heard through the news and -- we live in Edwardsville, we lost power. So, I decided to come down here to see what was going on. I had no idea the building looked that bad. And I'm just -- I'm worried sick. I just want to know if he's OK.


WALKER: Just heart breaking.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar joining us now.

Allison, tell us more about what we need to know and particularly in Kentucky. I mean a 200 mile track?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah. The potential is there. I mean we're really not going to know much until the daylight comes back out so you can really take a better look at the scope of where these storms went through.

Again, all the video were coming in as devastating as it is. It's really hard to see that scope because it's dark outside. This video coming in from Arkansas. Again, you can see the roof just ripped off some of these buildings. You have some buildings that are completely levelled in some of these states. This here is what this area looked like in Mayfield, Kentucky, before the storms. OK? Now you can see part of that tower is gone.

Again, lots of very large trees down around the building. And some of the surrounding buildings as well. So, you are talking significant damage here in some of these communities. But yes, the really, thing to note with this particular storm is we may have had a tornado on the ground for at least 200 straight miles.

Now the National Weather Service will have to wait until daybreak, go out and survey the damage to determine whether or not it actually stayed on the ground for that entire time or if it kind of came up and went back down off and on. But here you can see the tornado warnings. That's the purple box looking things that you can see just kind of riding along this white line, showing you that system over the last several hours as it goes through.

Keep in mind, perspective here, folks. Most tornadoes last less than 10 minutes and travel less than 10 miles. So, this was on the ground for hours likely, again for more than 200 miles potentially. So, this was a very long-lived, very devastating and destructive tornado. Not that the others that we may have weren't also destructive but again, that one just being particularly long-lived.


Over 29 total tornado reports from this event. Keep in mind, some of those may be from the same storm. This is all of what the Weather Service will go out and take look and get more detailed information later on today. Over 100 damaging wind reports and about 20 large hail reports.

Here is the thing, though, it's not over. We do still have on going severe storms. Here is a look at where tornado watches still exist. So, you can see, it's over multiple states. Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, still dealing with active tornado watches at the moment. And even active tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings.

Here is the main line. Again, it stretches from New York all the way back towards Texas. But the main focus really, is in the center point of this system. Again, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. This is where the strongest storms are located right now. These pink and purple boxes here, that's where we have active tornado warnings.

We will continue to watch this, Amara and Boris, we will also let you know what is in store for the rest of the day coming up in just a little bit.

SANCHEZ: Unsettling to think that after all the damage that we just walked through and that you explained. That there are still warnings out there, that the danger is not over.

Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

Let's get straight to Lieutenant Dean Patterson. He's a public affairs officer with Kentucky state police.

Lieutenant, thank you so much for joining us this morning. You've been able to survey some of the damage. What have you seen? And how are you and your troopers doing?

LT. DEAN PATTERSON, KENTUCKY STATE POLICE (via telephone): Thank you, Boris. You know we're seeing things that none of us have ever seen before. I went to hurricane Katrina several years ago and I've seen things now I didn't see then. The damage here is indescribable. It's changed the landscape of the city that we know here in Mayfield. And you know we haven't even seen the beginning of it really because the sun hasn't come up.

SANCHEZ: We're looking at footage right now, sir, of what appears to be a semitruck that - I mean it's in pieces. There have been buildings that have been destroyed. What do you know about the state of things in Mayfield? Are people able to access help if they need it? Is there a coordinated effort now to survey the damage, to try to rescue folks that may be trapped?

PATTERSON: Yeah. But this storm hit just after 9:30 last night. And you know, as soon as it came through, people jumped into action. The command posts were set up throughout - throughout the county. And there was a vast, coordinated effort to get, really just to get to places where people needed us. And then to you know get them to the help they needed.

So, we've got plenty of things set up. People are getting the help they need and the medical care they need. We got shelters set up. So, I think that we really gotten off on the right foot. And we just have a long way to go.

SANCHEZ: Walk us through any warning that you got. What was it like when you first learned that this event was happening? And what did you do? And what are the protocols in place for folks in that area?

PATTERSON: We've been getting warnings you know all week that today or last night was going to be a big event. And you know we always listen to those. And we always hope that they're not what they could be. And you know, I was eating supper with my family last night. We were watching the storms roll through Arkansas. And we watched them for several hours.

And then they finally, you know, got to us. And so, I hunkered down like anyone else. And it was about I think 9:37 was actually the time it was supposed to come through. And once it came through, you know, I just jumped in my car and went to work. And that's what a lot of us have done.

SANCHEZ: Very much appreciate the stoicism and the work that you do, but I'm curious how it affects you. We're watching folks comb through what appears to be more than a dozen feet of rubble in height. What goes through your mind when you're in that devastation?

PATTERSON: Well, it's hard to know because most of us have never had to experience this type of devastation before. You know, you get into a zone and you just go to work. And you know, our main priority is life safety and to get people the help they need as quickly as they can.

And you know, if you let what's around you get to you, you know you're not going to be effective. So, you know I give all the people that work with us props because they just go to work. And we can't ask for more than that.

SANCHEZ: And Lieutenant, quickly, what is your message to folks in your area who may not know what to do right now? PATTERSON: Well, they need to pray. They definitely need to do some -- a lot of prayer because there's a lot of people hurting. People that don't even know they're going to be hurting yet because we haven't even yet found out you know how bad this has gotten at some.


You know we're still an hour or more out and the sun coming up. And that's when this is really going to start to unfold for us. We've got weeks and for months ahead of us. And it's just tragic. So, prayer and patience.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. Given some of the footage that we've been seeing this morning, it looks like it will be a long road ahead to get back to normal in that part of Kentucky.

Lieutenant Dean Patterson, we appreciate the time, sir. And of course, we appreciate your work. Good luck.

PATTERSON: Thank you.

WALKER: Yeah. A lot of prayers and a lot of holding your breath as daybreak happens.

Let's talk more now about this with LaTresha Woodruff. She is a spokeswoman for Arkansas Emergency Management.

Good morning to you.

First off, what can you tell us about the extent of damage and where you're hearing about it.

LATRESHA WOODRUFF, SPOKESWOMAN, ARKANSAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Like Lieutenant Patterson said, the extent of damage will not be known fully until the sun comes up. We're still a couple of hours from sunup here in Arkansas as well.

But Craighead County emergency operations gave us a call around 7:45 on Friday. They reported tornado that touched down in the communities of Bay and Monette. In Monette, that tornado actually struck a nursing home. We have since learned that one person has passed away from injuries sustained during that tornado and several other folks injured there. People were trapped inside, first responders got there and were able to get a lot of people out of that nursing home there.

And Trumann, Arkansas, which is in Poinsett County, also a nursing home impacted. No one hurt that we know of at this point. We believe that everyone was able to be evacuated from that area. The Interstate Highway there in Trumann, which is in Poinsett County as well, traffic had to be shut down on that highway because of several overturned vehicles. So, some injuries there as well.

We have several fire departments, sheriff's departments, EMS agencies that are working these. We had across the state some severe weather activity just about in every area of Arkansas. So, they've been stretched pretty thin, but they've gotten out there and they're doing the best that they can to try to see if there's any people that need help so that they can start recovering from this. It's been pretty rough night here in the state of Arkansas.

WALKER: Yeah, absolutely. And you can see that it was very much rough night as we look at some video from Monette, Arkansas. A lot of people there on the ground, emergency workers on the ground and just tons of debris. It's not clear, unless you guys can tell me in my ear, that this is video from that nursing home where that one person was killed as LaTresha is telling us.

But more about the nursing home in Monette, Latresha. Do we know that everyone has been accounted for? Have all the residents been moved out and take into a shelter?

WOODRUFF: At this point we can't say that everyone has been accounted for. I don't have that information. But the people that they were able to get out of that nursing home have been either taken to a hospital to be checked for their injuries or treated for their injuries or moved to another place.

Again, it's still dark outside right now. We won't know the extent of the damages until the sun rises here in Arkansas. And that's when some of the real work begins. As Lieutenant Patterson said that right now, we need to have people who are praying for folks who are impacted by this and praying for our first responders as well because they have a long road ahead to try to see if there are any more people there and see what we can do to recover from this storm.

WALKER: Yeah. And just to reference that video we just saw a few moments ago from that nursing home, it is confirmed that is the nursing home where one person died, at least one person in Monette. You can see the roofs were just torn off from that nursing home. But still, a lot not known just yet, of course, when the sun comes up, we will get more information.

LaTresha Woodruff, all the best to you. Keep us posted. Thank you so much for your time.

WOODRUFF: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: We're going to keep monitoring all the latest from these storms and bring you the latest news from the central part of the country. But first, we want to pivot to the latest from the nation's Capitol. The House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection issuing six new subpoenas last night. And this time they're making a direct connection between organizers of the stop the steal rally and former President Donald Trump.


WALKER: Let's go now to CNN congressional reporter Annie Grayer for more on this.

Good morning to you, Annie.

So, tell us more about who exactly is being targeted in this round of subpoenas.

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yeah. So, the committee on Friday, yesterday, issued six new subpoenas. And while none of these names are necessarily household names, what's important to know is the committee for the first time reveals the documents that shows that they have individuals that they're subpoenaing, which specifically in this case are rally organizers of those rallies leading up to the January 6th riot and former President Donald Trump.

Now, the names of these six individuals are Robert "Bobby" Peede, Jr., Max Miller who is running for Congress in Ohio, Brian Jack, Bryan Lewis, Ed Martin and Kimberly Fletcher.

Now, the committee says that they have documents on file that show that Peede, Jr. and Max Miller were in a meeting with former President Donald Trump on January 4th in a private dining room off of the Oval Office at the White House with Katrina Pierson, who is another individual that the committee has subpoenaed and the three of them plus the former president were discussing who Trump wanted to see speaking at the rally on January 6th.

Now, we don't know anything more about the contents of that conversation but the fact that the committee has that kind of information on file with that direct connection is pretty significant.

These six join a larger group that the committee has subpoenaed with the date of December 23rd to turn over documents to the committee and appear for depositions throughout the beginning of January.

WALKER: All right. Annie Grayer, we will of course be watching this closely with you. Thank you so much.

And still ahead the jury sees new bodycam from a footage from the killing of Daunte Wright. What it could mean for the former police officer who pulled the trigger.

SANCHEZ: Plus, COVID cases and hospitalizations on the rise as the Delta variant continues sweeping across the country. Now some states are deploying the National Guard to help medical teams.

The latest and all your COVID headlines after a quick break. Stay with us.



SANCHEZ: We're just about 21 minutes past the hour. And the jury in the trial of Kim Potter has seen new bodycam footage showing a different view of the former officer's encounter with Daunte Wright. You'll remember Potter is charged with manslaughter after shooting and killing the 20-year-old during a traffic stop.

WALKER: Well in that video, you hear an officer trying to console Potter after the shooting saying that Wright, was, quote, "trying to take off with him in the car." CNN's Adrienne Broaddus has more.



ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the first time we're seeing a different view of Daunte Wright's deadly encounter with police.

POTTER: I shot him. Oh my God!

BROADDUS: New police body camera video shows Wright initially cooperating with officers.

MYCHAL JOHNSON, POLICE OFFICER: You're under arrest, Daunte.

BROADDUS: Sergeant Mychal Johnson then enters Wright's car from the passenger's side testifying he struggled with Wright for the gear shift.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he appears to have been trying to move the shift now?


BROADDUS: After the shot was fired and the car crashed down the road, Johnson tried to reassure Officer Kim Potter who had pulled the trigger.

JOHNSON: Kim, that guy was trying to take off with me in the car.

POTTER: I know.

BROADDUS: Next, video shows Potter distraught.

POTTER: Just let me kill myself, Mike.

JOHNSON: No, that's not happening, Kim. I have giving you my gun. Okay? I am just going to hold on to yours.

BROADDUS: The weapon swap Johnson says was to preserve evidence.

JOHNSON: Kim, can I see my gun real quick?

BROADDUS: He later removed the rounds from the gun. Fearing Potter may harm herself.

EARL GRAY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Did Daunte Wright, at any time, show any sign of stopping, giving up, saying okay I'm done?


BROADDUS: But it was the potential harm Wright could have done that the defense narrowed in on.

GRAY: If he had taken off with you in that car halfway, what would have happened to you?

JOHNSON: Probably dragged.

BROADDUS: Arguing Potter was protecting Johnson.

GRAY: Dragged and what?

JOHNSON: Injured.

GRAY: Seriously injured? Maybe even dead, right?


BROADDUS: The state pushed back, trying to show Potter's actions were reckless, the lynchpin of a manslaughter conviction.

POTTER: I just shot him.

MATTHEW FRANK, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY, GENERAL OF MINNESOTA: Could Officer Potter, in using a firearm, have shot you?

JOHNSON: Possible.

BROADDUS: The defense quick to step in, again.

JUDGE: The objection is sustained.

MATTHEW FRANK, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MINNESOTA: And when you use deadly force, you have to consider surroundings.


FRANK: And when you --

BROADDUS: And again.

JUDGE: No leading questions please.

FRANK: I'm sorry.

BROADDUS: So far, the prosecution has called 14 witnesses, including painful testimony from Wright's mother.

KATIE BRYANT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S MOTHER: It was the worst day of my life.

BROADDUS: And the woman Wright was dating, Alayna Albrecht-Payton, who was in the passenger's seat when Wright was shot.


BROADDUS: She tearfully recalled his final moments.

ALBRECHT-PAYTON: I just remember like trying to just get him up. I was trying to push on his chest and call his name and he wasn't answering me. He was just gasping like just taking breaths of air. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BROADDUS (on camera): On Friday, Johnson was one of three people who testified. At the time of the shooting, he was Potter's supervisor, but he's no longer with the Brooklyn Center Police Department. On Friday, he told members of the jury, he believed Potter was justified in using deadly force, citing the state's law. Boris, Amara?

WALKER: All right. Adrienne, thank you for that.

Here to discuss more now is criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson.


Good morning to you, as always. Good to see you.

So, first off, Joey, we heard there from Potter's former supervisor on the stand Mychal Johnson, testifying that the officer had a right to use deadly force to prevent death or bodily harm. He said, look, I could have been dragged and injured or killed if she had not taken action. What did you think of his testimony? Was it effective?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah. Amara, good morning to you.

I think what the defense is trying to do in their cross-examination is to refrain the issue. And I think the prosecution will get the jury back on track. What the defense is trying to do is say could you really have killed him anyway at the end of the day because of the fact that the other officer, the supervisor would have been danger and dragged, et cetera? That's not the issue.

The issue is whether or not Kim Potter, the officer who fired the shot, thought that in her mind it was objectively reasonable to use deadly force at that time. Apparently, she did not do so otherwise she would have. How do we know she didn't think deadly force was appropriate or otherwise necessarily, Amara, because she didn't use it?

She felt that as Kim Potter that a taser would have been more appropriate under those circumstances given the facts at that particular time. As opposed to using a taser, she mistakenly used her firearm. The question then becomes was that action, either a, under the current charge we're looking at reckless with respect to her use of a firearm instead of a taser, or b, was it careless.

The issue is not whether or not you know ultimately could have been really more effective to use deadly force because of the fact that the law allows it. That's not it. But if the defense effectively is allowed to reframe that issue, then we're really at another place. And I think the prosecutor worked very hard to bring the jury back to the issue in question, not the issue that the defense would have the jury believe.

WALKER: So, perhaps it works against Kim Potter that she says on video that she grabbed the wrong gun and that she had wanted to use the taser instead.

Joey, we're going to have to leave it there unfortunately.

Joey Jackson, thank you so much.

JACKSON: You're welcome. Thank you, Amara.

SANCHEZ: We're continuing to follow breaking news this morning after deadly tornadoes tears through at least five states.

Let's get straight to the director of Kentucky Emergency Management, Michael Dossett.

Michael, good morning and thank you for sharing part of your day with us.

In the next hour, you're going to be heading to assess some of the damage with Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. Are there any updates you can provide our viewers right now with what you're anticipating?

MICHAEL DOSSETT, DIRECTOR, KENTUCKY EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT: Well, certainly. And this is a tragic day in Kentucky's history. We have had a significant strike, one that may ravel the longest tornado. We have - we have a tornado track that runs over 200 miles from southwest to northeast. We have 19 counties that are impacted. And that is just the immediate assessment.

We're certainly waiting for daybreak. Our first responders have been out during the event. There have been so many calls for service, so many citizens that were in perilous conditions. So, our hearts go out to the families of those who have been lost and certainly the rescues are ongoing as we speak.

SANCHEZ: And speak to us about that, because when we heard from our meteorologist, Allison Chinchar, a few moments ago, she made clear that there may still be some danger out there, not just from the potential for obstacles and some of the debris that we're seeing but also the weather itself may create some issues for you and your teams.

DOSSETT: We've looked thus far at the tornado tracks. There were four separate tracks, the longest one certainly being 200 miles plus. The system is continuing. It won't exit the state on the far eastern borders until about 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. It's certainly has wreaked havoc. This will be one of the most significant, the most extensive disasters that Kentucky has faced.

And we're one of the top - the states in the top 10 in a normal situation, but our impact is usually flooding. So, this is a tremendous impact for the commonwealth. We have already notified our FEMA partners in region four.

The governor signed a letter to the president asking for an emergency declaration. We're asking for power assessments. We're asking for some overhead teams to come in and help us with command and control. And certainly, we have incident management teams on the road heading down to our western counties as we speak. SANCHEZ: And sir, we're seeing as workers comb through what appears to be a massive debris field that is several feet high, this is in Mayfield, Kentucky. Do you know specifically what areas were hardest hit? I'm not sure if you're able to see what we're showing on the screen right now, but it looks utterly devastating.


Do you know what may have happened in this area? Where the areas of focus should be?

DOSSETT: Mayfield and Graves County will be ground zero for the Commonwealth. This city took the hardest hit. There's massive devastation in that city. We'll be -- we'll be on the way there in several hours after daybreak.

SANCHEZ: And sir, I'm wondering if you've had any contact yet with the federal government if there have been any communications perhaps with the White House, any offers of assistance?

DOSSETT: Absolutely. FEMA region four is our oversight for federal assistance. We have reached out to them. The governor has signed a letter requesting immediate assistance from FEMA, and that's making its way through the chain and we'll get a response hopefully sometime today.

SANCHEZ: And I understand that as you noted, there are search and rescue efforts under way right now. What is your message to folks that are feeling desperate, that are perhaps trying to get in touch with loved ones or trying to comb their neighborhoods to figure out where their loved ones might be. What do you say to them?

DOSSETT: You know, it's heartbreaking. It's an extremely difficult time. We're not the only state in this event. This will turn out to be a quad-outbreak event with Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and certainly Kentucky. Our first responders are on the ground and they're doing life-saving efforts as we speak. The message is the same. Don't go out unless it's an emergency. Check on your family, your friends, your neighbors.

We are rushing all the assets of the -- of our state cabinets down to western Kentucky. We have Kentucky transportation on the road already with heavy equipment. The National Guard will be there at daybreak. We have all the assets of the state moving in that direction. We have mutual aid, and Senate management teams moving in that direction. We have a team on the road from Metro Louisville that will assist Mayfield.

SANCHEZ: And you know, this is likely a moment of despair for the residents in that area. Just looking at the pictures, it looks to be a long recovery, a daunting one. On an emotional level, what is your message to people in Kentucky?

DOSSETT: You know, Kentucky is a resilient state and we help ourselves. We help our neighbors. So, it is extremely bad now, but we're working to get there, and at daybreak you will see what we've always seen, neighbor helping neighbor. And certainly, our commonwealth assets will be there. It is one of the commonwealth's darkest days, but I assure you at daybreak you'll see individuals in that city and many other cities assisting one another.

SANCHEZ: Michael Dossett, thank you so much for the time, our prayers are with you, and if there's something that we can do, please do not hesitate to reach out so we can get messages that you need out there. Thank you so much.

DOSSETT: Thank you for the support.

SANCHEZ: Stay with CNN, we're going to keep monitoring this story and we'll be right back after a quick break.


SANCHEZ: Now to the fight against COVID-19. The number of people getting vaccinated is increasing, but so are the number of new infections and hospitalizations. Let's discuss the latest COVID developments with Dr. Susannah Hills; she's a pediatric ENT surgeon and Airway surgeon at Columbia University Medical Center.

Doctor, thank you so much for sharing part of your morning with us. The average number of new COVID cases per day had actually dipped a few months ago, and the Delta wave was cresting it appeared. So, why do you think the new numbers have surged over the last few weeks?

SUSANNAH HILLS, PEDIATRIC ENT SURGEON, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Well, it's not unexpected, Boris. It's the Winter time and people are now gathering indoors more frequently. And this is what we saw last year. Over the Winter months, we had a real increase in cases and the holidays particularly are really challenging time for managing this virus. The highest number of daily cases we've had throughout the pandemic, and just one week after new year's last year. So it's really that holiday Winter time viral season, plus being indoors that makes it hard.

SANCHEZ: And doctor, we saw an increase in cases with the new variant, the Delta variant, right? Now the Omicron variant is out there. Are you anticipating that we'll see a similar surge with Omicron that we saw with Delta?

HILLS: Yes, every indication so far, Boris, is that this Omicron variant is more transmissible than the Delta strain or our original coronavirus strain. And so we can expect to see an increase in case numbers. So far, the anticipation is that Omicron cases will be probably around 50 percent in the next couple of weeks or so.

And so, we can expect the numbers of Omicron cases to go up. We're already seeing that in hospitals, in several states are really being stretched with little staffing, and with the increase in anticipated cases that may lead to increase in hospitalization numbers, we may be in for a difficult time in the next month or two with this Omicron variant.

[06:40:00] SANCHEZ: Dr. Hills, I want to ask you about that strain on hospitals

because it's something that you're familiar with. Several states have deployed National Guard to hospitals amid this surge. Maine, New Hampshire and New York are on that list. Are you concerned about the renewed strain on hospital systems in different pockets of the country?

HILLS: Absolutely, yes. You know, right now in New York, in Upstate, there are about 50 hospitals that have less than 10 percent bed capacity. Part of that is staffing issues. We're also having increased numbers of cases and hospitalizations across the state. We're seeing that here in the city as well. But it's really hard to see this happening where we're in a situation where we have to deploy National Guard to help. It was over a year ago that I was leading a National Guard team here in New York City to help with our Airway cases at our own hospitals of our sickest COVID patients.

And I was hoping that moment had passed, but it appears that we're in a situation now where we need that kind of support again.

SANCHEZ: Yes, sad to see with a pandemic that sometimes it feels like it's a few steps forward and then several steps back again. Dr. Susannah Hills, thanks so much for sharing your expertise this morning.

HILLS: You bet.

WALKER: And the breaking news we've been following this morning. Overnight, powerful tornadoes ripping through the south and central part of our country. In Kentucky alone, the governor says there are at least 50 people who may be dead, possibly 70 to a100. Up next, we'll go live to the CNN Weather Center for the latest.



WALKER: And we are continuing to follow breaking news this morning. A powerful line of deadly storms moving across the country. Overnight, dozens of tornadoes across five states. In Kentucky alone, the governor says at least 50 people are dead and he expects that number to rise possibly as high as 100, he said. CNN's Allison Chinchar is live from the Weather Center with more. And Allison, the threat not over just yet?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No, it's not. And it's been a devastating last 12 to 24 hours already. Over 30 tornado reports, over a 100 severe wind reports and about 20 large hail reports, but those numbers are likely to go up not only because, you know, it's delayed getting a lot of these reports in, but also we still have ongoing severe weather. You still have four states looking at active tornado watches at this moment, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi as well as Alabama.

The line itself stretches from New York all the way back towards Texas, but the main focus for severe weather has really been this middle section here, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. This is where you have the active ongoing warnings. At this moment, thank the Lord, we do not have any tornado warnings at this exact moment. You do have severe thunderstorm warnings, so those are the orange little boxes you see there. But we had tornado warnings just a few moments ago.

So, it is still potentially there to have more tornado warnings as we go through the rest of the day. Here is where the main focus is going to really be the next 24 hours, basically stretching from Ohio back down towards Louisiana, cities like Atlanta, Chattanooga, Montgomery, Birmingham, all of these areas still have the potential for some isolated tornadoes, damaging winds as well as hail.

The good news, Amara and Boris, is that by tomorrow, this entire system is off the coast and there's no immediate weather right behind it that would inhibit any of the clean-up that is likely going to be needed in several states.

WALKER: Yes, I think there are a lot of people right now are bracing for what we will see and find out once the sun comes up. Allison Chinchar, I appreciate you, thank you so much for that --


WALKER: Well, the annual CNN Heroes All-Star tribute gala airs live tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Take a look.


JENIFER COLPAS, TIERRA GRATA: There was no drinkable water. Something inside me started saying you need to do something about it.

ALA STANFORD, BLACK DOCTORS COVID-19 CONSORTIUM: I could not allow one additional life to be lost.

LYNDA DOUGHTY, MARINE MAMMALS OF MAINE: I feel this responsibility to help these animals. This is what I was put on this earth to do.

SHIRLEY RAINES, BEAUTY 2 THE STREETZ: They started calling me the make-up lady. I love them because I am them.

ZANNAH MUSTAPHA, FUTURE PROWESS ISLAMIC FOUNDATION: What keeps me going is the resilience of these children.

HECTOR GUADALUPE, A SECON U FOUNDATION: We want to give you your second chance at life. It provides you a way to dream.

MICHELE NEFF HERNANDEZ, SOARING SPIRITS: We help people live through something they did not think that they would survive.

PATRICIA GORDON, CURE CERVICAL CANCER: I'm just doing the job that I'm supposed to do. I think I'm the luckiest doctor that ever lived.

DAVID FLINK, EYE TO EYE: I want them to know that their brains are beautiful. We have to love each other across our difference.

MADE JANUR YASA, PLASTIC EXCHANGE: There's no small dream, if you believe, you will succeed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Join Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa live as they name the 2021 hero of the year.

KELLY RIPA, ACTRESS: Welcome to the CNN Heroes family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 15th annual CNN Heroes All-Star tribute, Sunday at 8:00 Eastern.


WALKER: Make sure to join Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa live as they name the 2021 hero of the year. We'll be right back.



WALKER: Army and Navy renew college football's most meaningful rivalry in the shadows of New York City today, in tribute to the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

SANCHEZ: And let's go to Coy Wire, he is live from MetLife Stadium. Coy, the game last year was special because it was the first time it had been played on campus since World War II, but now it's back on the big stage where you are.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Army-Navy game, Boris, Amara, good to hear you, dates back to 1890. The tradition pageantry, passion, respect for one another, make it one of the most special rivalries, if not the most special in all of America's sports. Now, the games traditionally played in Philly, but this year, the game's added purpose, it's here in the Meadowlands just across the Hudson from the side of the tragic events that took place in 9/11 20 years ago. We asked the players and the coaches what this year's edition means to them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, midshipmen, at ease.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Playing in the Army-Navy game is something I can't really explain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To play in this game it feels amazing. It feels like a huge honor. A lot of great people, great men have played in this game. And to be able to be a part of that legacy, a part of those names means everything to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It touches all of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's just a feeling in the air that's indescribable.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the utmost respect for the guys on the other side of the field because you know the sacrifices that they're willing to make for our country, for their family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Army-Navy is just something different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leading up to the game, the night before, you really can't sleep much, just thinking about the game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not just a football game. Represents all the midshipmen, all the soldiers that are deployed or doing something that not everyone is willing to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're playing for pride. You're playing for your teammates. You're playing for your seniors. You're playing for your union class. You're playing for bragging rights. And it being the only game that weekend, you have no other choice but to win.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every player on each team that's out there competing in every classmate of theirs in the stands that make up the core cadets, and the midshipmen have made a pledge of commitment to this nation, and would ultimately sacrifice their lives for everyone that's watching the game. And that makes it different than any other game, and it makes it -- it makes it truly special.


WIRE: More than a game. Army's 8-3 favored by a touchdown over Navy who is 3-8. But you know, just watching this Army-Navy game is a way for us to pay respect to our U.S. service members, past, present and future.


These athletes are dedicated to their studies, committed to service and willing to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of our nation, exactly the type of athlete we want to highlight. Game time is 3:00 Eastern today.

SANCHEZ: And we will be watching, as you said, Coy, more than a game. Glad that you're there. Coy Wire, thanks so much.

WALKER: Thank you, Coy --

SANCHEZ: Thank you --

WALKER: Good to see you. Well, we are continuing to follow our breaking news after a deadly wave of tornadoes ripped across several states, including hard-hit Kentucky. We will have the latest when we come back.