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New Day Sunday

U.S. Surpasses 12 Million COVID Cases As Thanksgiving Nears; FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization For Regeneron's Antibody Cocktail For COVID-19; Trump Campaign Requests Georgia Recount; Judge Dismisses Trump Campaign Lawsuit Attempting To Invalidate Millions Of Pennsylvania Mail-In Votes; Michigan GOP Requests Delay Of Certification While Wayne County Audits; Biden Poised To Make First Cabinet Picks This Week; Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler Isolating After Mixed COVID-19 Test Results; CDC Recommends Testing Before And After International Flights. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired November 22, 2020 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.S. has now surpassed 12 million cases of coronavirus.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: This is faster. It's broader. And what worries me, it could be longer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The surge is coming just at the beginning of the holiday travel season.

ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people you live with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state of Georgia will once again recount the presidential ballots as the Trump campaign requested.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A federal judge in Pennsylvania completely tearing apart the Trump legal strategy. He called this latest case that he has dismissed like Frankenstein's monster -- haphazardly stitched together.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A beautiful look at New York at the top of the hour. We're going to take you there in just a few minutes.

Good morning to you, it's always good to start a Sunday with you. It's Sunday, November 22nd. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Sunday, everyone, I'm Amara Walker in today for Christi Paul. BLACKWELL: So, President-elect Joe Biden takes office in 59 days. The coronavirus is spreading out of control in the U.S. and President Trump is denying both of these realities.

So, six days after the U.S. hit 11 million cases, the number of coronavirus cases is now above 12 million across the country. And at the start of Thanksgiving week, a record 83,000 people are away from their families in hospitals.

WALKER: The calls to avoid Thanksgiving trips aren't keeping the crowds away. However, Friday was the second busiest day at U.S. airports yet during the pandemic.

There is good news on treating COVID-19. The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for Regeneron's antibody cocktail, the same therapy President Trump received during his hospital stay.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is following all of this from New York. And good morning to you, Polo. What more do we know about --


WALKER: -- who can access this treatment and when?

SANDOVAL: Amara, we know that there is a bright at least glimmer of hope amid these just heartbreaking numbers that continue to mount here. When it comes to that Regeneron treatment that was just approved on an emergency basis by the FDA, we do know that it's only been approved for those high-risk patients, particularly those who are ages 12 and up. In terms of how soon patients will actually be treated with that, according to the FDA, we could see potentially to 80,000 doses for patients by the end of this month. And possibly close to 200,000 by the first week of 2021.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Regeneron's antibody cocktail to treat COVID-19 in high-risk patients with mild to moderate disease. President Donald Trump received the therapy called REGEN-COV2 when he was hospitalized for coronavirus.

According to the FDA the cocktail which mimics an immune response to infection reduced COVID-19-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits in some patients within 28 days of treatment. It works best in patients who are given the treatment early, before the virus has taken hold of the body.

Regeneron's chief executive officer said in a statement the demand may initially exceed supply, "making it even more critical that federal and state governments ensure REGEN-COV2 is distributed fairly and equitably to the patients most in need."

U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 12 million Saturday. An increase of more than one million cases in less than a week, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Over 255,000 Americans have died. November already accounts for almost a quarter of all COVID-19 cases and 9 percent of deaths.

Almost every state in the U.S. has reported a rapid surge in cases. In Texas, the Division of Emergency Management reports a team of 36 National Guard personnel have been sent to El Paso to help the city cope with the surge of COVID-19 deaths.

Good news on the horizon, experts say promising vaccines are on the way. The CDC will recommend which groups should receive a COVID-19 vaccine first.

DR. JOSE ROMERO, CHAIR, CDC'S ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON IMMUNIZATION PRACTICES: We have a number of categories of individuals that may go in the first round of vaccinations. Among those are health care providers, individuals at high-risk conditions, individuals living in nursing homes, first responders, essential personnel, individuals over 65 years of age.

SANDOVAL: As we head into Thanksgiving, airports across the U.S. bracing for increased travel amid the pandemic with the CDC now recommending coronavirus testing before and after international flights.



SANDOVAL: Now, some more limits to that Regeneron treatment, according to authorities, that patients who are already been put on oxygen because of their COVID infections, this does not apply to them. We should also mention Regeneron -- not the first treatment of its kind. There are about 70 different treatments currently under investigation. In fact the FDA, Amara and Victor, previously approved a very similar drug under similar conditions just earlier this month.

BLACKWELL: We'll talk with our medical experts about that authorization in just a moment. Polo, thank you.

WALKER: All right. Turning to politics now, and this week Georgia will count the presidential ballots cast in the election for a third time.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the Trump campaign now wants a recount after the vote was certified on Friday. CNN's Kevin Liptak is live at the White House. Kevin, is there some expectation that I guess the campaign thinks that this recount is going to change something, or is this apparently some effort to just drag it out?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. I think this is more about delaying the inevitable than actually finding more votes in this contest. The Trump campaign's legal pathways are rapidly disappearing, but they're still carrying out this futile effort to overturn the election results. The latest last night in Georgia the Trump campaign requesting a recount of votes there. The margin in the state is small enough to meet the threshold for this taxpayer-funded recount.

Now, remember there was a hand recount of votes in Georgia last week. Technically it was called an audit. It did not result in significant changes in the vote count. Joe Biden is still ahead in Georgia. This latest recount will be conducted electronically on scanners, so it will go much quicker. But given the results from last week, it doesn't seem likely that that will change anything there.

All of these efforts -- part of an effort to delay the results. The Trump campaign receiving a setback in Pennsylvania last night. A judge there denying their request to block certification in the state, not just denying their request but essentially laughing them out of court, saying their legal team led by Rudy Giuliani was using strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations and saying the Trump team was essentially trying to disenfranchise voters in the state.

Now, Giuliani had kind of taken the lead in Pennsylvania. This is one of the biggest cases that the Trump campaign was looking to given the importance of Pennsylvania in the Electoral College. It was a slightly shambolic outing for the former New York City mayor. His first appearance in a courtroom in decades and clearly the judge didn't think very highly of it.

This case was made more than 30 cases that the Trump campaign has lost or has withdrawn from courts in their attempt to overthrow the election results. As their legal pathways disappear, they are turning more to Republican lawmakers to try and convince them to go along with their efforts to delay certification.

You say that on Friday here at the White House when the president summoned lawmakers from Michigan to discuss the efforts there. Emerging from the meeting, those lawmakers said that they hadn't seen anything in their state that would change the result from Joe Biden to President Trump. But nonetheless, the Republican National Committee and state Republicans in Michigan are requesting a 14-day delay in certification in that state as an audit proceeds in the state's largest county, Wayne County.

Now all of this, the legal efforts, the delays, all of it seems like an effort less to actually change the results of the election but more to delay whenever Joe Biden can officially receive the money from the GSA that would allow him to begin the transition process, all of it seems more about Trump's efforts to delegitimize the election in the eyes of voters rather than anything else.

WALKER: Yes. And, Kevin, even with these delays, you know, that are trying to delay the inevitable, as you've been saying, we haven't been really hearing from many Republicans. I mean, they've been extraordinarily hesitant to cross the president or even call Joe Biden the president-elect.

Are we hearing from any more Republicans at this point conceding the election or saying, look, you know, Joe Biden has indeed won?

LIPTAK: Well, the ones we're hearing from our really -- the usual suspects. They're the Republicans that have spoken out against Trump in the past like Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse, both Republican senators. Yesterday we did hear from Pat Toomey. He congratulated the -- he's a Republican senator from Pennsylvania. He congratulated the judge in the state there. And he congratulated Biden, calling him the president-elect.

We also heard from Liz Cheney who's a senior Republican member of the House. She said that unless Trump comes up with accusations of fraud, actual proven allegations of fraud soon, he needs to accept the results of the election.

But other than that, you're not hearing from Republicans speaking out on this. A lot of this has to do with the president's base trying to maintain support for the president's base, and if you needed any reason why they might be staying silent just look at the president's Twitter feed.


He went after Liz Cheney last night.

WALKER: Kevin Liptak, appreciate you. Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Of course, there was that upset to the Trump campaign that Kevin mentioned, the federal judge dismissed the lawsuit that tried to throw out millions of votes in Pennsylvania. Judge Matthew Brann, long time and well-known Republican in Pennsylvania, noted that Biden won the state, and results will be certified by officials tomorrow.

WALKER: Now, this comes as President-elect Joe Biden has expedited his cabinet picks and is planning to make the first of several announcements, key announcements, this week. CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck is standing by in Washington, D.C., for us. This was essentially the last major case seeking to throw out votes that could swing a key state in Trump's favor.

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Amara. It's pretty much game over in the message from President-elect Joe Biden's transition is clear that Joe Biden won and President Trump lost. I want to read you a statement yesterday from Joe Biden's spokesperson Mike Gwin who said of the Pennsylvania ruling, "The judge's ruling couldn't be clearer: our people, laws, and institutions demand more, and our country will not tolerate Trump's attempt to revise the results of an election that he decisively lost."

As for the recount in Georgia that the Trump campaign is requesting a spokesperson for the Biden transition said, "Any further recount will simply reaffirm Joe Biden's victory in Georgia a third time." But the Biden transition not waiting around for Trump to be placated or satisfied in this case.

They are moving ahead with their plans, with their preparations, and this coming week we are expecting a slate of cabinet announcements from President-elect Biden, some key position that's he is going to fill. Obviously, this will give us a sense of what his approach is going to be as president, his priorities, with these picks, sending a message domestically and also to the world potentially with some of these picks.

One thing to watch is how Republican senators are going to respond because as you know, Republicans could be in the driver's seat in the Senate come next year. They could be the ones making this decision. But interestingly, the Biden team not waiting to find out what the balance of power in the state is going to be. They want to send a message that they are moving ahead quickly with their transition -- Amara, Victor?

BLACKWELL: Rebecca Buck for us in Washington. Thank you so much.

BUCK: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: With me now to talk about all that's happening, national political reporter for "The New York Times" and CNN Political Analyst Lisa Lerer. Good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So, let's start there in Georgia. The president is now asking for a recount. This is after the hand audit that wrapped up last week and the certification that happened on Friday. Is there any expectation that the president's refusal to accept the vote in Georgia is going to have some residual impact on these Senate runoffs?

LERER: Oh, I think that's a big part of why we see Republicans particularly in the state being concerned about crossing the president. I think -- look, as Kevin outlined, there is really no expectation that the president's continued insistence on recounting the votes again is going to change any results in Georgia.

The first recount he found -- there were about 900 votes that were given to the president after originally being given to Biden. He trails by 13,000 votes. And frankly, you just don't see recounts that result in that big a switch of votes, particularly when there's no sense that there's any widespread fraud.

But there is a political argument for Republicans which is that Republicans desperately need Trump's base of support to turn out in these runoff elections. The stakes, of course, couldn't be higher. It really is for control of the Senate. If Republicans can win these two races, they keep control of the Senate. And there's a lot of concern about crossing the president, you know, on this like quixotic and fairly anti-Democratic effort in Georgia than he might not put his whole heart into supporting the party in these races.

BLACKWELL: Yes, wonder if there's also a potential for the inverse impact, that some who were not of the base of the president could be annoyed, could be offended by the now third recount -- third count that Georgians will have to pay for.

Let's moving here to what we're hearing from some Republican leadership. We heard from Liz Cheney yesterday, Congresswoman Liz Cheney. We haven't heard from the House Republican leadership beyond what we heard from her statement calling for the president to respect the sanctity of the electoral process.


What's the significance of that statement coming from her, and does that give other House Republicans any cover?

LERER: Well, given that she was attacked by the president almost immediately after making the statement, I'm not sure many -- other House Republicans will follow her because there's a big concern among Republicans as there has been throughout the Trump administration about the president going after Republicans, could hurt them with their base.

I do think the point you made is a good one. While the president's efforts may rally his base and convince them that the election was somehow wrongly decided which, of course, is wildly untrue, we have no evidence of that, it may also hurt the Republicans with these voters that they need to win back which are these more moderate Republicans in the suburbs who didn't like the president's tone, didn't like how he up-ended all these norms of our Democratic process.

So, this really is a tricky line for Republicans to walk politically. But it's one that they're going to have to figure out because, you know, everything we hear from the White House is that President Trump, even after inauguration day, has no intention to give up the political spotlight. So, he is going to remain a player from the sidelines in our political system, in our politics, if not our system. And Republicans are going to have to figure out how to navigate that as they move forward.

BLACKWELL: G20 meeting yesterday scheduled to start at 8:00 by 8:13 the president was tweeting about the election. By 10:00 he was on his way to his golf club and that's where he was when the pandemic preparedness portion of it started. It just seems like it a perfect microcosm for what's happened over these last four years. How the president does and does not value multinational organizations, the pandemic, the work of the presidency, and his tee time.

LERER: That's exactly right. Look, we're in the middle of a deadly pandemic. The numbers as all our viewers know here are surging. This is a problem that's getting worse and is extremely deadly.

One virologist I interviewed this week told me 300,000 more Americans could die without action by inauguration day. So, there are things the president should and can be doing right now. He is not doing them, as you point out. He's golfing, he's not answering any questions from reporters, he's focusing much more on his efforts to muck up the election which is not -- the results of that election are not going to change. Biden is the president-elect.

And some of these moves have real consequences for the incoming administration. The steps by the president have blocked access for the President-elect Biden and his team to start dealing with really important issues like vaccine distribution and vetting their cabinet posts. So this is not just a question of optics or politics, this is a choice that's going to have real-world impacts on the lives of Americans. It's a very dangerous, very dangerous choice he's making.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And the two weeks since the race has been called, there have been more than two million additional coronavirus cases, more than 17,000 additional deaths. We'll go through the numbers and the impact as the president stonewalls on transition. Lisa Lerer, thank you so much.

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler is isolating. She received mixed results from recent coronavirus tests.

WALKER: Yes. Loeffler tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, but then a second test on Saturday came back inconclusive. She and fellow Republican Senator David Perdue are both in runoff elections on January 5th and have held several rallies in recent days together.

On Friday, they rode on a bus with Vice President Mike Pence to two campaign stops. And on Thursday, they campaigned with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. The audience was not socially distanced, and many people not wearing masks. Now, Reverend Raphael Warnock who -- her opponent in the senate runoff tweeted a response praying for negative test results.

The coronavirus surge is colliding with the typically busy Thanksgiving travel season. And more cities are putting in place new restrictions to prevent a post-holiday spike. We're going to discuss that and more with our medical expert next.



WALKER: Many travelers aren't being deterred by the calls to avoid Thanksgiving trips. A little more than one million people were screened at U.S. airports Friday. It was the second busiest day yet during the pandemic, but down from the norm this time of year.

BLACKWELL: So, for international travelers the CDC now recommends taking a COVID test one to three days before flying, and then another one three to five days after travel. If you're a passenger who tests negative three to five days after traveling, the CDC says that you have to stay home for seven days. That's shorter than the 14 days that it recommends without testing. But that does not apply to travelers with known exposure to an infected person. And this is just a change for international travel.

Now this coronavirus surge, of course, is forcing us all to make tough choices about how to handle Thanksgiving.

WALKER: CNN's Natasha Chen has a closer look now at what's at stake this year.


ARTHUR BRELAND, PASTOR, UNITED CHURCH: Father, we know that there are so many people that are going through dark times right now.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After almost a year of dark times, there's an understandable urge to be together for Thanksgiving.

KATHY FAYNE, RESIDENT, DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA: My father was in Memphis, he's 83. CHEN: But the risk is huge.

FAYNE: So, I'm struggling with going to see him because my mother passed earlier this year. So, I'm struggling right now trying to decide if I'm going or if I'm staying home.

CHEN: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says stay home. CDC experts now say most coronavirus infections are spread by people with no symptoms.


And the spread is worse than ever. The U.S. saw more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases every day for at least the last 19 days. New cases this month already total about a quarter of all U.S. coronavirus cases during the whole pandemic. One of those cases was Pastor Arthur Breland.

BRELAND: It was the worst experience I ever had in my life.

CHEN: On March 25th he woke up in a sweat.

BRELAND: I basically was trying to rush to the refrigerator to put my head in the freezer because I was so hot. And then I -- that's all I remember. And my wife waking me up a couple moments after that, and then being rushed to the E.R.

CHEN: After 12 days in the hospital and another month and a half recovering, he knows firsthand how real the threat is. This year his congregation is having more events outdoors. They will not be having their annual celebration, and Breland says he won't be visiting family across the country.

Eslene Richmond Shockley is also forgoing her family's usual 50-person gathering that's the protect the family after they already lost her 83-year-old uncle who she says died from COVID-19 in April.

ESLENE RICHMOND SHOCKLEY, FOUNDER, CARING FOR OTHERS, INC.: He wasn't feeling well. He went to the hospital and he never came back home.

CHEN: Shockley runs Caring for Others, a charity organization that held its annual Thanksgiving food drive Saturday. She honored her uncle Walter Green (ph) who would usually be present at the vegetable station.

RICHMOND SHOCKLEY: And this is the first year in 20 years that may uncle will not be here to help us to distribute the collard greens.

Because that was someone I could pick up the phone and call. But that's someone that is gone.

CHEN: So she says to make sure she can still see her other loved ones next Thanksgiving she won't be seeing them this Thanksgiving.

RICHMOND SHOCKLEY: Life is precious. Let us try to save each other.

CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.


WALKER: And joining us now is Dr. Saju Mathew. He is a public health specialist and primary care physician in Atlanta. Good morning to you, doctor. Thank you so much for joining us.

First off, just some advice from you because, you know, as we've been reporting, we're seeing long lines for testing ahead of the holiday. We know the CDC is telling people, please don't travel for the upcoming holidays, Thanksgiving, and what have you. And Newark, New Jersey, is asking its residents to shelter in place for 10 days after Thanksgiving. And we know that that's not exactly practical for a lot of people who work. So what's the right way to handle the holiday in your view?

DR. SAJU MATHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Yes, good morning, Amara.

Listen, nobody should be traveling. You know, like I tell all my patients, you know, a Zoom Thanksgiving is better than an ICU Christmas. I mean, I know that we're all tired, we want to see our family. But you've got to realize if you take a look at the pictures of everybody that was with you for Thanksgiving last year and if you want everybody there next year, you've got to make these hard decisions.

Listen, I was actually shocked, Amara, that there was only a 10 percent decrease in people traveling at the airports despite physicians like myself really kind of pleading and begging people to not go. We can celebrate Thanksgiving every single day of our lives. But we cannot replace a life.

WALKER: Yes. I don't know how else to say it but this is really just a bad year. It sucks that we can't go see our females. I know a lot of us are feeling lonely.

On a brighter note, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Regeneron's antibody cocktail to treat COVID-19 in high-risk patients with mild to moderate disease. We know this is something that President Trump also used.

Tell us more about it. What do we need to know? And what is the threshold to give someone this medicine?

MATHEW: Yes, you know, one more tool in the toolbox. I think that is incredible. We've got vaccines around the corner. And now we have two antibodies, Regeneron and Eli Lilly.

Listen, the best way to get an antibody response obviously is through a vaccine. But this Regeneron antibody is a bridge to the vaccine. You basically infuse two antibodies into a patient -- now remember, in order to get this you still have to go to the hospital. It is for patients with mild to moderate disease which is great because if you think about it, most people fall in that category.

I'm a primary care physician, I'm treating a patient right now, 75 years old, who doesn't want to go to the hospital. I call him every day -- I do a Zoom call with him, and he's still short of breath this morning. He would be the perfect patient for a Regeneron IV infusion and supposedly decreases the hospitalization and ICU admissions. Now, will we have enough of this, that's really going to be the problem.

BLACKWELL: Dr. Mathew, help us understand this new guidance on international travel. If there's a negative test three, five days after travel, the recommendation is to stay home for just seven days, not the 14.


We've been told that the incubation period for this could be up to 14 days, and that if -- that sometimes there's not enough of the virus in your system to test positive in the first five days. So what's the virtue of taking a test three days after travel, and staying home for seven days for international travel only? This doesn't apply to domestic travel.

MATHEW: Yes, good point, Victor. So you're right. When you talk about the incubation period, this is when a patient is exposed and when you develop symptoms. For most people, it is five days. So to be fair to CDC, they're going with the statistics. Most people develop symptoms five days after exposure.

Now, remember, these tests are not 100 percent accurate. I just tweeted the other day that a negative COVID test is not a green signal. It's a yellow flashing light. These tests are not 100 percent, the rapid test is only 80 percent to 85 percent and the PCR about 90 to 95 percent.

So I think what CDC is saying is, if you have a negative test, after you come back from international travel, three to five days after you should wait at least five days, you should wait another seven days because what they're saying is, hey, at least you got a negative test so chances of you really having COVID is pretty low, but still quarantine for seven days.

Not the perfect regulation or restrictions, Victor, but I think CDC is at least trying to put something out there to guide patients with travel or to guide people with travel.

BLACKWELL: All right. As you said, more people are traveling then. I guess we would have expected this time of year. Dr. Saju Mathew, thank you.

MATHEW: Thank you.

WALKER: Thank you. Election denialism is on the rise. Trump supporters continue to blame Biden's victory on voter fraud, even though there's no evidence, as right wing media embraces the President's conspiracies.


[06:36:04] BLACKWELL: Conservative media pundits and outlets are trying to breathe new life into the president selection fight weeks now after the election.

FEMALE ANCHOR: Let's bring on Chief Media Correspondent and the Host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter. Brian, good morning. You're calling it election denialism. Do you believe that these people who are denying that Joe Biden won really believe that?

BRIAN STELTER, CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: And that may even be a too polite term for what is going on. You know, we've seen 9/11 trutherism in the past, climate change denialism, anti-vaxxer conduct, and now this is election denialism. In a Monmouth poll earlier this week had startling evidence for how widespread these beliefs are, or at least how widespread they appear to be.

Monmouth found that 77% of people who voted for President Trump believe the election was not fair. They believe that it was rigged in some way. I don't think that every Republican voter actually truly believes it was stolen from President Trump. But I think it's a popular thing to say.

We are seeing this in the Nielsen ratings as well. Channels like Newsmax, which expound on this conspiracy theory stuff, are having higher and higher ratings. Of course, not nearly as high as CNN or Fox or MSNBC, but they're all they are finding an audience for straight up lies and propaganda supporting Trump.

I think what this is, it reminds me of a column by Rich Lowery before the election. He said a vote for Trump would be like a middle finger to the elites to the cultural left. I think in some ways, election denialism is the new middle finger. It's the new rude gesture to whatever or whoever you're trying to flip off.

For Trump voters, that's institutions like the media. Whether you actually believe the election was rigged or not, it's a way to lodge a protest vote. And I think that's partly why we're seeing so much of this content on right wing websites and TV shows.

BLACKWELL: And not just about the election, we're seeing a lot of denialism about the COVID figures as well as. And people who were also mocking the safety measures.

STELTER: Right. It's like a way of saying I don't believe the experts. I don't believe the science. There are really troubling links between these two stories that we're going to get into on "Reliable Sources" later today.

BLACKWELL: All right. We will look forward to that. Stelter, good to have you on a Sunday morning.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: And be sure to watch "Reliable Sources" today at 11:00 Eastern right here on CNN. WALKER: All right. Still to come, the American Red Cross is urging people to give blood ahead of the holidays. We're going to talk to the Red Cross medical director about why it's so important this year.



WALKER: The American Red Cross is urging people of all blood types to give blood for the patients this holiday season. They are testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Joining us now is Dr. Erin Goodhue. She is the Medical Director of the American Red Cross. Good morning to you, thank you so much for joining us.

So first off, just talk to us about how the pandemic has affected donations this year, especially as millions of Americans are now working from home and many people are choosing not to leave their homes unless they really need to.

DR. ERIN GOODHUE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, AMERICAN RED CROSS: I'm happy to speak to that. As you know, blood means never take a rest even for pandemic and even for holiday. So we're working hard to ensure that all of our donors have a very safe experience when coming to donate, to give the gift of life. We've been obviously hit, and then the beginning with some shortages. But now thanks to the generosity of our donors, we're able to continue to meet patient needs. And we're working hard so that we can meet that through the holiday season.

Donations may look a little different than typically for some donors, there are obviously some areas we can't collect blood in. But if donors can check out, they can find something convenient for them.

WALKER: Tell us a little bit more about how hard you guys have been hit in terms of the number of blood donations actually coming in because of the pandemic, and because people are more scared to venture outside and perhaps concerned about hygiene when they're donating blood.

We were obviously hit early on in the pandemic with a decrease in donors, and worked very hard to, you know, change the way that we do our blood donation operations.


On implementing temperature checks at the doors, everybody wears a mask, lots of hand hygiene, social distancing, you know, a lot of reconfiguration to our fixed donation sites. And thankfully, the generosity of people, even through this pandemic, we've been able to continue to meet the needs. And we want to be able to continue to meet those needs through the holiday season which is, you know, traditionally a little bit lower of a donation time is difficult.

WALKER: And I guess something that might bring people in, is the fact that the Red Cross is also testing for COVID-19 antibodies. Is that at the same time as the blood is being drawn? You're going to take those samples and send it out. And is this a free service?

GOODHUE: Yes. We definitely are completely free service testing for the antibodies to the COVID virus causes COVID-19, as you said, any of our blood donors, which is nice, because donors can then get a little information about their potential exposure to the virus. But also, the other nice thing, is if the antibody testing meets certain criteria, we're able to use plasma that we didn't initially think we could use to be convalescent plasma.

WALKER: Yes. And could you talk a little bit about that because you guys have seen a shortage of convalescent plasma as well.

GOODHUE: Yes, definitely. We're particularly concerned about maintaining a sufficient convalescent plasma inventory, particularly as the pandemic continues to increase in multiple states across the country, as we definitely need patients who've battled and overcome COVID-19 to, you know, come in and donate convalescent plasma. We want to make sure that all patients currently battling COVID-19 have access to all treatment options available.

WALKER: I appreciate you joining us this morning, and we hope those blood donations continue to pour in. Dr. Erin Goodhue, many thanks.

GOODHUE: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Well, have you ever had one of those days and you know the days I'm talking about. This guy knows exactly how you feel? We'll show you why, next.



BLACKWELL: Starting this weekend, the NFL is increasing COVID protocols across the league. That includes virtual meetings whenever possible and requiring masks or face shields during practice.

WALKER: And it comes after the league reported that 40% of its positive tests had come in in just the past two weeks. Coy Wire is with us. And, Coy, I guess what does that mean for the games today?

COY WIRE, SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hi, Amara and Victor. Commissioner Roger Goodell felt something needed to be done heading into this holiday week. The rise in cases around the league includes Browns star defender Myles Garrett.


WIRE (voice-over): He's out today against the Eagles. He was symptomatic testing positive on Friday. The Eagles themselves, they're down three players after a positive test on Thursday. And a majority of the Raiders starting defenses, hoping they test negative today, so they can be cleared to play against the Chiefs tonight. Eight top defenders were sent home this week due to a positive test and contact tracing. Let's go to top 10 college football match-up. Indiana ranked top 10 for the first time since 1969, but still more than 20 point underdogs to third ranked Ohio State. But Indiana intercepts Heisman candidate Justin Fields three times. That's as many as he threw all last season. The Buckeyes pulled away up 28 in the third.

But Indiana would not give up, Michael Penix to Jared Fryfogle, bringing them within seven now. Ohio State does hold on for 35 staying undefeated but Indiana Hoosiers making some serious noise in the Big 10 and beyond.

Finally, Victor, Amara, 2020 summed up in one play. German soccer goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky gets a pass from a teammate but he swings with and slices that right into his own goal, my goodness. The silver lining, he didn't give up any goals after that. His team won on a late goal. And it shows that there is hope if you keep fighting, stay positive, flip those around up.


WIRE: Amara, Victor, thankful to have you as teammates, wishing you and our viewers a happy Thanksgiving in the week to come.

WALKER: Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. But, I mean, really, how could you keep your head up after loving, doing your own goal for the other team?

WIRE: Yes, that one hurts.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it does. All right, Coy, thanks so much.


WALKER: (voice-over): President-elect Joe Biden is no stranger to diplomacy, but he's up against significant challenges with global allies and foes in a post-Trump world. We're going to discuss on the next hour on "New Day."

BLACKWELL (voice-over): And she was a born leader, a trusted adviser and a political force. The CNN Original Series First Ladies profiles Hillary Clinton tonight at 10:00. We'll be right back.



WALKER: CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute will be a special celebration of this year's most inspiring moments and here's one of them.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): Her name is Gianna Floyd. She's six-years-old and experienced a tragedy that shattered her world and woke up ours. For nearly eight minutes handcuffed on the ground and with a knee on his neck, her father George Floyd pleaded for his life. His death on May 25th by a white police officer in Minnesota spark worldwide protest against police brutality and systemic racism.

ROXIE WASHINGTON, GEORGE FLOYD'S FORMER PARTNER: I'm here for my baby and I'm here for George, because I want justice for him.

COOPER, (voice-over): After Gianna and her mother spoke at an emotional press conference, longtime family friend and former NBA player Steven Jackson comforted Gianna. He did what her father would have done, told her how proud he was of her and hoisted her onto his shoulders, where she shared a hope for us all.


WALKER: Go to right now to vote for this moment or any of our most inspiring moments. And be sure to watch CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute on Sunday, December 13th, at 8:00 pm Eastern right here on CNN.