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New Day Sunday

Nearly 1,700 Flights Cancelled Due To COVID-19, Winter Weather; U.S. Shatters Average Daily COVID-19 Case Records; Schools Weigh Changes As COVID-19 Infections Surge Among Children; Supreme Court To Hear Arguments On Vaccine Mandate; Three People Missing, Feared Dead After Fast-Moving Colorado Wildfire; Biden Faces Pressure To Turn Around Crises Ahead Of Midterms; U.S. Economy Could Face Hurdles In 2022 Despite Current Momentum; Remembering TV Icon And Comedian Betty White. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired January 02, 2022 - 06:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Kaitlan Collins in for Christi Paul on this Sunday morning.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Kaitlan. Thanks for joining us. I'm Boris Sanchez.

COVID cases are spiking, sparking major problems. Thousands of flights canceled and in-person learning is now in jeopardy for millions of kids. We'll tell you what the experts are concerned about going into the New Year.

COLLINS: Plus, from COVID to the economy to tensions with Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Biden begins the New Year with a mountain of challenges ahead of him.

SANCHEZ: And a wave of severe weather moving across the country, including snow and potential for tornadoes. Your forecast and what it could mean for your travel plans.

COLLINS: And saying goodbye to America's Golden Girl. We'll look back at the incredible career of the iconic Betty White and the impact that she had on the world of television.

SANCHEZ: We are so grateful for you joining us this Sunday, January 2nd. And we hope that you're having a great 2022, one that's hopefully COVID-free.

COLLINS: Yes, Boris. I hope -- how is your 2022? I feel like it's going to be a good year. I'm hoping that there's a lot of the challenges that we had in 2021 that will be put behind us this year.

SANCHEZ: So far so good, Kaitlan. I mean, you're here. I'm here, apple juice. It's bright. It's early. Thanks again for joining us.

COLLINS: Nowhere else I would rather be on the second day of the New Year. We start this morning, Boris, millions of Americans will return to work or school this week, but this explosive surge of new COVID-19 cases is altering daily life across the U.S. The holidays may be over, but the travel nightmares are just getting started as airlines have canceled nearly 1,700 flights today due to a combination of COVID-19 disruptions and the severe weather that has slowed down travel.

SANCHEZ: It really is a sea of red across the United States as you take a look at your screen. All but one state reporting over a 50 percent rise in COVID cases week over week and that is shattering records. The number of COVID-19 cases jumped 113 percent across the U.S., but hospitalizations have ticked up at a slower rate with the unvaccinated still making up the vast majority of those that need treatment.

Despite a year of pleading from public health experts only about 62 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. Now, Dr. Jonathan Reiner warns that previous mitigation measures that were once effective may not be as helpful at stopping the spread of COVID.


DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: So at the beginning of this pandemic -- now hard to believe almost two years ago, when we were all were taught, you know, you have a significant exposure if you're within six feet of somebody and you're in contact with them for more than 15 minutes. All these rules are out the window. This is a -- this is a hyper contagious virus.


SANCHEZ: And now with the holiday season behind us, millions are facing the grim reality that the return to work or school is going to be anything but routine.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fresh off the holiday break, teachers, parents and students are trying to make sense of the latest COVID surge. Monday is return to school for millions of kids across the U.S. but many will not be heading back to a classroom. As record numbers of children are hospitalized for COVID-19 some school districts will start with online learning including in Atlanta which announced on Saturday the first week back from the holidays will be virtual.

It's the third largest school district in the Atlanta metropolitan area to make that move. All Atlanta public school staff members are required to report to their work places on Monday for COVID-19 testing, according to a statement.

DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, CHIEF OF DISASTER MEDICINE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: There is absolutely no way to keep Omicron out of the schools. No way. It's more transmissible. It passes through and looks just like a cold. And what we're going to be relying on is testing in addition to the standard practices of masking, social distancing and hand hygiene.

But the testing that we're using these antigen tests at home simply are not sensitive enough to keep Omicron out of our schools. Even if they're picking up 80 -- 85 percent of the cases, and that's with parents doing their absolute best to test correctly, read it correctly or even have the willingness to do so, some cases of Omicron are still going to slip through.

SANDOVAL: A vast majority of the country seen in dark red is struggling with COVID surges and some places 50 percent or more.


The nation broke records at least four times recently for its seven- day average of new daily COVID-19 cases. The nation broke records at least five times this week for its seven-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases, reporting an all-time high of more than 394,000 new daily infections on Saturday. That's according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

REINER: I'm worried about our hospitals. We're going to continue to see millions and millions of cases in the United States. And even with a lower virulence apparently for this variant, still, about 2 percent of folks who contract the virus need to be hospitalized. And it's going to be a race. It's going to be a race between waiting for this surge to crest and hoping that we don't run out of hospital capacity.

SANDOVAL: As the holidays come to a close, airlines canceled more than 2,700 flights on Saturday, more than any other recent day. Dealing with both coronavirus infections among aviation crews and a winter storm sweeping much of the nation. A week of massive cancellations have complicated holiday travel, including the return home.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


SANCHEZ: Thanks, Polo, for that report.

So the White House is expected to unveil details about the rollout of 500 free at home COVID tests -- rather 500 million, I should say.

COLLINS: CNN's Kevin Liptak is joining us live now. And, Kevin, we still have a lot of questions about how exactly this plan to distribute half a billion tests is going to work. So I guess the question is, you know, what do we know about this plan so far?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. Remember, Kaitlan, it was 11 days ago that the president announced that the federal government was going to purchase 500 million of these antigen tests for Americans to order online and they would be shipped to them.

But 11 days later there's still a lot of questions about those tests, namely, when they will be available. The most specific that the White House has gotten is January, but we don't know anything beyond that. We also don't know how many tests each American household will be able to order.

Now we do expect to learn a little bit more about this this week. Principally the federal government will announce these contracts that they have made with the companies to actually produce these tests some time -- some time late this week. But in the meantime these lines are still forming at testing sites around the country. There are delays in people getting their results. So I'm told the White House is still working on this. They're working pretty hurriedly behind the scenes and we do expect to learn more this week.

Now in the meantime the White House is also trying to ramp up other testing sites. There was a federal testing site that opened in New Jersey yesterday. There are also federal testing sites opening in Washington, D.C., where you are, and Philadelphia later this week. They're also sending FEMA personnel to hospitals that might be under strain.

But, Kaitlan, it's really no secret that the president really wanted to enter 2022 in far more normal circumstances. We did hear from him very briefly on New Year's Eve. He sent a video to one of the New Year's Eve broadcast and he says, "The virus has been tough, but we've been tougher."

SANCHEZ: And, Kevin, this week the White House is also closely going to be watching the Supreme Court, right? Because they're set to hear oral arguments related to the president's COVID vaccine mandate. What is the White House anticipating?

LIPTAK: Yes. So remember these are two vaccine mandates. One is on health workers and one is on employees at businesses who employ more than 100 people. And though this had really been a centerpiece of the White House's strategy to get the country vaccinated after the stubbornly high percentage of people are resisting shots.

And so those vaccine mandates came under legal challenge from business groups, from Republican led states. They say it amounts to government overreach. The White House says that it's actually essential for workers' safety that these go into effect.

And so the oral arguments are on Friday. We expect the justices to hear those arguments. It's a special session.

When you talk to White House officials they say their plan B is really if these are struck down, to just continue encouraging businesses to implement these mandates. Many already have. So we'll see how that plays out at the end of this week. Guys.

SANCHEZ: Kevin Liptak traveling with the president in Wilmington, Delaware, thank you so much.

Joining us now to talk all things COVID is Dr. Susannah Hills. She's a pediatric surgeon at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Hills, always great to have your expertise and especially in light of COVID hospitalizations among kids recently hitting a record I'm wondering why you think we're seeing the spike?

DR. SUSANNAH HILLS, PEDIATRIC ENT AND AIRWAY SURGEON: Well, clearly, Boris, we're seeing that those patients who are hospitalized right now with COVID are by and large people who are unvaccinated. That applies to adults and to children as well. We're seeing breakthrough infections for sure in those who are vaccinated, but the vast majority of patients who are really sick with this disease are unvaccinated and unboosted.


And that really is, of course, the primary leading factor. Also at this moment we're having all of these holiday gatherings indoors and that is a perfect vehicle for transmission so that, too, has increased our cases.

SANCHEZ: Doctor, given that so many younger kids are becoming ill, do you think that schools might have to reconsider their approach to reopening now after winter break?

HILLS: Yes. That's the question, right. So Atlanta has taken the move to hit a pause and give their kids a break and see how it goes over the next week or so. Right here in New York, we're planning to send kids back to school tomorrow.

I think a few of the keys to deciding what to do are, one, what is the positivity rate in the community around the schools? And number two, what is the access to testing, masks and the other things that are so important to helping mitigate the spread of this virus?

So we'll see how things go. There will be lots of different strategies entering into 2022 in the school systems, but we'll see how things go here in New York. We've got tests at all of the schools that are available, but we'll see what access is for families at home who are trying to get tests and we'll see how long schools are able to stay open without excessive positive cases.

SANCHEZ: And, doctor, how should parents potentially change their approach?

HILLS: Well, it's really critical for families to remember that those strategies that have worked against this virus, all along, are still going to work against this new variant. Yes, the Omicron variant is more transmissible, but it's a respiratory virus transmitted the same way as all of the other strains of COVID-19.

And so masking, hand washing, being very careful with indoor gatherings, trying to maintain some distance, and, of course, testing if you have symptoms. These are all things that are still going to be effective. They may not cut the cases down as much as with other variants because this strain is so transmissible.

But they're still tools that will be helpful and will help cut down on spread. Of course the key is, if your child or a family member has symptoms of a cold or a respiratory virus, then getting tested and getting that person isolated if they are, indeed, positive is really important. So getting access to testing is key.

And then, of course, if your family is unprotected, folks who are unvaccinated and who are eligible for boosters and have not gotten a booster yet please go out and get that done. That really is what's keeping people out of the hospital right now.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it's such an important message. Doctor, I did want to focus on comments from Dr. Jonathan Reiner. I'm not sure if you heard the sound bite earlier in the hour but he talked about previous steps to mitigating COVID that might not be as effective during this new surge. Six plus feet of social distance, et cetera. If the answer is more stringent steps how do you try to persuade a public that is already ignoring them and COVID fatigued?

HILLS: Yes. It's incredibly challenging. I think we have to just continue with the messaging that we've been using and try to be available as health care providers to answer the questions that families have. But it's just so important for families to understand that they do have some control over this virus.

And, you know, from my perspective, I really do believe that mitigation strategies like masking, like hand washing, like distancing and avoiding excessive indoor gatherings really are critical to helping decrease the spread of this virus. It may be more transmissible, but these same strategies still will work against any respiratory virus, and that includes Omicron.

SANCHEZ: Dr. Susannah Hills, always appreciate your insight. Thanks for the time.

HILLS: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: And a further discussion of COVID policies and the White House's testing strategy and what you can do to keep you and your family safe during the latest COVID surge it's going to be on "STATE OF THE UNION" later this morning at 9:00 a.m. with Dr. Anthony Fauci. Again, "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER AND DANA BASH" later this morning right here on CNN.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, at least three people are now missing after a fast-moving wildfire tore through Boulder, Colorado. Given all three of those missing lived in homes that were destroyed by the blaze, unfortunately, authorities say they do fear the worst. The Marshall fire leveled entire subdivisions in minutes, destroying nearly 1,000 homes in the state since Thursday and some survivors say they saw their whole lives change in just a matter of seconds.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, BOULDER COUNTY, COLORADO RESIDENT: It looks like something just came and flattened out parts of the neighborhood, trees are gone, houses leveled. So, yes, it's -- it's hard to see.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me what that was like the first moment you saw your house standing there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, BOULDER COUNTY, COLORADO RESIDENT: That was tough. You know, you prepare for that moment, but it's like -- I don't know. Your kids, they grew up there. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Roughly 6,000 acres have been burned by the blaze which is now more than 60 percent contained. But, of course, the snow that you see there, now disrupting some of those recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, President Biden is beginning his second year in office with a list of major challenges ahead of him. With the midterms looming, the White House knows the clock is ticking. More on their plan for the months ahead next.

SANCHEZ: Plus, severe storms hitting parts of the southeast again and it's not over yet. Your forecast ahead later this hour. Stay with us.


COLLINS: Following the holiday break, President Biden is returning to Washington with a slew of challenges ahead of him. COVID cases are spiking because of this new Omicron variant and a key part of his legislative agenda remains at a standstill in Congress. The coming weeks and months will be a test of his political, diplomatic, and management skills.

Joining us now to talk about all of this is the Washington bureau chief for "The Chicago Sun-Times" Lynn Sweet, and CNN political commentator Errol Louis who is also a political anchor for "Spectrum News" and a columnist for "New York Magazine." So thank you both for getting up with us on this Sunday morning.

And, Lynn, I want to start with you, because from the pandemic to what's going on with his legislative agenda now that -- of course, during this holiday break you saw Senator Manchin come out and say he could not support the Build Back Better plan as it is now, President Biden has several major challenges ahead of him. So what have you heard are really the White House's top priorities for this week and for January, really?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, the top priority is to figure out what Democrats can get together on and repackage the Build Back Better massive proposal into something, I'm going to call in my analysis just Build Back Best You Can, that will include some social safety net issues but probably will not include immigration. It probably may be scaled back, do less for more years, rather than everything for fewer years.


Some climate -- some climate control -- provisions and programs would be there, Kaitlan, but the package just can't be that big. And the other thing that (INAUDIBLE) with that, that President Biden and other Democrats need to do is, figure out how to explain to people what you just said, that the clock is ticking and that pragmatism is not a dirty word to get -- if it means that's how you get something done.

COLLINS: Yes. And that seems to be the reality that they're dealing with now. And so, Errol, I wonder, you know, when it comes to the domestic agenda, the president has said he's still hopeful that he and Senator Manchin can -- quote -- "get something done," is the way he phrased it. But I think based on what Lynn was just saying it's going to look likely a lot different than what the White House initially had expected and had wanted.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. Unfortunately, for the Biden administration, this bill, by not getting it done, by not getting it done before the re-election year here -- by the midterm year here, they in some ways forfeit much of what they had hoped to reap politically from it and now it's going to mostly fall on the other side of the midterms.

What that then means for the Biden White House is that they're not going to get the credit that they had hoped for. So they're going to have to look elsewhere for what's increasingly looking like a grim scenario as the re-election year approaches. I mean, this is -- this is almost the worst case scenario.

It almost would have been better if it completely failed so that they could start over and try to reset the terms of the debate, but right now they're stuck with Manchin having really humbled the White House and not much of a prospect for getting something across that's going to help the White House politically.

COLLINS: Yes. It will be interesting to see how they handle Manchin given the scathing statement that we saw from the White House after his comments on "Fox News" about not supporting it ultimately.

But, Lynn, turning to coming else that were coming up on this week also is the one-year anniversary of the January 6th attack on the Capitol. And so we know on Thursday we're going to see a lot of programming from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a lot of paying tribute to what happened that day, remembering what happened that day, in detail. And you've said you think what happens on this Thursday will kind of chart the course for what this year is going to look like. What do you mean?

SWEET: What I mean is that Trump is also going to be making an address late in that afternoon. The whitewashing of January 6th will come to a full fruition on that day with Trump and his allies, who are intent on denying what happened and this is in connection with election denialism, and this will help set the tone for the Biden politics.

You have the January 6th committee, which knows -- it goes out of business as soon as the -- you know, when the Republicans -- if they do win control of the House. So you have their work picking up speed, doing more public hearings in their intent to at least set history straight as to what happened.

So what I mean is, on January 6th, sets the tone because if the Biden administration, Democrats and even well-meaning Republicans, can't keep reality straight and can't even convince people -- they lose that grip that the coup that was attempted on January 6th may not have happened, which it did, as CNN underscores every time we talk about this and other news outlets, then I think it sets a very tough road ahead for the Democrats as they try to pursue what is already an uphill challenge on getting the legislative agenda passed and the Trump -- if Trump does find a way to return to social media during this year, which he might, it will make things even tougher for the Democrats.

COLLINS: Errol, how do you think Republicans will handle Thursday?

LOUIS: I think they are going to try and pretend that it didn't happen, frankly. And if a microphone gets thrust in front of their face, they're going to, I think, pretty much down the line do what they've already decided they're going to do, which is follow Trump over the cliff of falsehood, rather than truth, and say that it was not that important or that people in the district don't care about this or just do a quick pivot and say let's talk about inflation, let's talk about the mishandling in their point -- from their point of view of dealing with the pandemic.

I think they're going to just try and change the subject. The facts are damning. They all were there. We've got endless amounts of footage. We've got, I think, what, upwards of 700 people who have been arrested and indicted. The facts are not on their side. So I think they're going to just try and walk away from it. From the point of view the White House, by the way, it's not necessarily a big winner for them.


It's basic reality that has got to be adhered to. But you're not going to necessarily win a lot of votes either for congressional Democrats or for the White House simply by pointing out what happened in 2020. They have got to do a lot better and I think the focus will be on the pandemic which was a much stronger area that everybody does agree at least exists.

COLLINS: Yes. And President Biden has said that's his top priority, key to his success of his presidency. Errol Louis, Lynn Sweet, thank you both for getting up with us this morning and we hope you both have great 2022.

LOUIS: You too --

SWEET: Happy new year to you.

SANCHEZ: New York City Mayor Eric Adams gave his first speech since being sworn into office on New Year's, and he offered a message of resilience as the city continues to struggle with the COVID crisis.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D-NY): We have lived through two years of continuous crisis. The crisis tells us that it is in charge. That it is in control. The crisis wants to tell us we can be happy, when we can be sad, when we can work and how we can enjoy our city. This will be our new year's resolution. We will not be controlled by crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: The former NYPD officer takes on the role as the city is struggling with a dramatic surge in COVID case, high unemployment rates and rising crime.

Still ahead, CNN gets an exclusive look inside a factory that's working to make the USA a little more self-reliant when it comes to in demand protective gear like masks and gloves. That story and more just ahead.


COLLINS: The U.S. economy has some serious momentum at the start of 2022, but skyrocketing COVID-19 cases could threaten that progress.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Plus, there are other risk factors like those pesky supply chain issues and high inflation. CNN's Matt Egan has more on where the U.S. economy could go in the New Year.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Kaitlan and Boris, first we've got to acknowledge the fact the United States' economy end of the year in pretty good shape.


The jobless claims near the lowest level in 52 years, the unemployment rate down to 4.2 percent and GDP that is accelerating. The hope is that this rapid recovery continues, allowing the United States to get back to full employment in 2022. But it's also important to think about what could go wrong here. Not to be pessimistic, but to be cognizant of the risks.

We've got to start with COVID. Hopefully, the Omicron wave is short- lived. But if it's not, or another scarier variant emerges, that would obviously be a threat to the recovery. On supply chains, the Delta variant really impacted things and made the supply chain situation worse by getting workers sick and making them scared to get into work. We don't know if that's going to be the case with Omicron but it bears watching.

Inflation, the high cost of living right now is eating into many Americans' paychecks. Many economists expected inflation will cool off in 2022 but that remains to be seen. The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, is ending its emergency support for the economy by planning to raise interest rates three times in 2022 and shut down its bond-buying stimulus program. The risk is that this endangers the recovery by moving too quickly to remove support.

And then lastly, there's Washington. After pumping in nearly $6 trillion of support over the last two years, the federal government is taking a more of a hands-off approach in 2022. Fiscal spending likely is expected to drop dramatically. That makes sense given the economic progress, but that's something the economy is going to have to adjust to.

And we've also just got to talk about some surprise events, whether it's a massive cyberattack or some sort of a natural disaster because, Kaitlan and Boris, remember that very few people in 2018 and 2019, we're talking about the risk of a global pandemic that ends the economy. And now that's all we talk about.

SANCHEZ: That is a good point. Matt Egan, thanks so much.

The pandemic obviously has brought increased attention to critical medical supplies and shortages in the United States, especially PPE, personal protective equipment. Now, one company based just outside Chicago is working to reduce U.S. reliance on imports while also creating jobs that pay well above minimum wage.

COLLINS: CNN's Scott McLean has an inside look at how they're doing it.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kaitlan, Boris, the pandemic taught us a lot of lessons. One of the biggest is the value of diversity in medical supply chains because at the outset of the pandemic, decades of outsourcing meant that the U.S. was at the mercy of Asia where the vast majority of PPE is actually produced.

Well, now, at least a dozen medical glove factories are popping up across the United States and all but one are starting from scratch.


MCLEAN (voiceover): Literally, hot off the production line, the very first-hand molds being dipped in nitrile. The results are reliable stream of medical-grade gloves made in America. This is a big deal because for decades the U.S. has imported these gloves from cheap suppliers almost entirely in Asia. It took a pandemic to start to change that. Businessman Dylan Ratigan says he felt compelled to act.

DYLAN RATIGAN, CEO, U.S. MEDICAL GLOVE COMPANY: We've just watched hundreds of thousands, more than a half a million Americans die and many of them for no reason. I think bad decisions have been made an American manufacturing specifically for critical assets like class one medical devices. The decision has been made to make sure that never happens again.

MCLEAN: When the pandemic exploded, the nitrile glove industry was plagued by price gouging, fraud, and scams. A CNN investigation found counterfeit, substandard, or even dirty used medical gloves being imported to the U.S. by the tens of millions.

Pre-pandemic there was only one nitrile glove producer in the U.S., in Fayette, Alabama. But the company says it struggled to get even the U.S. government to buy its gloves because they cost around twice the price. That's because around 10 percent of the world's medical gloves are made in China, 20 percent in Thailand, and 65 percent in Malaysia where the U.S. government only recently lifted an import ban on the world's largest producer after finding evidence of forced labor earlier this year.

How do you compete with slave labor?

RATIGAN: The technology allows me to do it in a way that I can compete with even the dirtiest user of slave labor. You want to be a customer of a slave labor company? I don't.

MCLEAN: And you couldn't do it 30 years ago.

RATIGAN: You could never have done this 30 years ago because the technology didn't exist. But the most important thing that you need to see is this.

MCLEAN: Ratigan is a former cable news anchor and now CEO of the U.S. Medical Glove Company committed to paying workers at least $25 per hour plus health care coverage and plans for free on-site childcare. There are currently about 100 of them now assembling new lines and ovens using all-American-made parts.


RATIGAN: And that is a critical distinction between this company and others.

MCLEAN: The startup housed in a sprawling former Caterpillar factory is backed by a $63 million advanced purchase order from the U.S. government, all told Washington is spending $1.7 billion to help American companies manufacture PPE at home after the pandemic exposed how dependent the US is on foreign sources, which is a vulnerability in public health emergencies.

Another American startup, USA gloves outside Houston, was created by former importers who found it almost impossible to buy gloves from abroad. They don't have any government investment yet, but once the machines are finally up and running next month, they hope to turn a profit from private sales, even with higher prices than Asian brands.

ZISHAN MOMIN, CEO, USA GLOVES: And hospitals and clinics and even end users are willing to pay that slight premium so that, you know, we're prepared for a future pandemic.

MCLEAN: It's still early days, but experts say it is essential for the U.S. to make more of its PPE at home. The question is --

PRASHANT YADAV, HEALTH CENTER CHAIN SUPPLY EXPERT, CENTER FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: Whether people will remember this and be willing to pay that premium in the medium term or is this just a very short term memory, and soon people will go back to thinking about who's my lowest-cost supplier.

MCLEAN: That may ultimately be what determines the success or failure of these new enterprises, whether they're expensive experiments, or the beginning of a new era that reduces America's dependence on factories on the other side of the world.


MCLEAN (on camera): Now, the Medical Supply Chain expert you just heard from does not think the government investment and PPE production is a viable long-term solution. Instead, he thinks that Washington should be making better trade deals to ensure that wages and standards in Asia are comparable to the U.S. so that American producers can actually compete on a level playing field. Kaitlan, Boris?

COLLINS: Only one nitrile glove producer in the United States before the pandemic. That is remarkable. Thank you, Scott, for that.

And now, from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, to Golden Girls, to Hot in Cleveland, everybody has a favorite Betty White sitcom. Coming up, we're going to remember the TV icon and her extraordinary career that spanned decades.


BETTY WHITE, ACTRESS: Thank you very much, Daniel.



COLLINS: She was America's golden girl and a TV icon. This morning, fans around the world are still mourning the loss of the trailblazing actress Betty White who died at age 99 on New Year's Eve just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday.

SANCHEZ: Yes. White's decades-long career in show business earned her five well-deserved primetime Emmys and a Grammy. She was perhaps best known for her role as Rose Nylund on the Golden Girls.


WHITE: And they attack chickens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't count about chickens, Rose. She didn't call me chicken. She called me Peacock.

WHITE: You look more like a chicken when you're angry.


SANCHEZ: Joining us now is CNN Media Analyst Bill Carter. Bill, grateful that you're sharing part of your Sunday with us. Thanks for joining us.

Betty White famously didn't have kids of her own. She was a stepmom. But in so many ways, she was like America's grandmother, right? So many people from all different ages loved her. What do you think gave her that that broad appeal?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: I think that's a good way to put it, Boris, because she was -- she just had this natural appeal to her. I mean, she was not a trained performer. She is a person who just grew up in the beginning of television and she just adapted and was herself. That's the thing. She didn't have to change a lot because people knew what to expect from her.

And she had a really good wit. Like, she could come back with very fast things. And I think she just minded people of their grandmother in the latest stages of her career because she stayed relevant. She was still a person you wanted to be around, you wanted to talk to, you wanted to hear from her.

I liked -- I liked basically her style which was natural. There was nothing about her that was fake or forced. Even though her characters was very, very broad, extremely broad, you could relate to her all the time.

COLLINS: Her characters were so good, they're so memorable. But I really think looking back, Bill, one of the most memorable parts to me at least is when she hosted Saturday Night Live. She was the oldest host of Saturday Night Live. I believe she was 88. And it was -- I rewatched it on Friday after we learned about her death, and it is so funny. That opening monologue, if you haven't gone back and rewatched, it was so good.

But can you just talk about how, you know, she -- it was so unusual for her to go and host it. And even she said she was kind of confused why there was this Facebook petition to get her to host Saturday Night Live, but it's such a memorable episode.

CARTER: It really is. And I did the same thing, Kate. I went back to watch it because I remembered it well, that it was good. But her performance was fantastic, actually. I mean, that's not an easy thing to do. She was 88 years old. There was this groundswell of popular opinion to bring her on to the show.

And normally, I think Lorne Michaels isn't going to respond to that, but I think he saw that that was a way to connect even with the younger audience because Golden Girls, despite being about retired ladies, was extremely popular with young people. They really connected to it.

So, putting her inside of Saturday Night Live really worked. And she was a natural at that too, because just her delivery, she can be very dry, very droll, and hit you with a very witty line. And you know, I've been on that show when they've done it. I've seen them produce it. It's very tough. They're changing the script between the dress rehearsal and the live show. And it's all on cue cards, and you have to read them.

And this is a lady, she's 88 years old, she's got to do all that with these young performers, and she kept up with all of them. It was really a fantastic performance.

SANCHEZ: And we should note that SNL replayed that episode last night to honor Betty White. And one of the things that I loved about it specifically this prison sketch where she's like playing a scared straight roll trying to scare these new inmates. She's seen as this like sweet kind lady, but there's a sharpness there, right? There's like a darkness. She's fierce.

CARTER: Absolutely. And that was an ongoing bit on the show. And it brought her into that. And well, she just went with it. That's the thing about her. She was -- she was fearless, absolutely fearless. I remember late in her careers, she came on with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show and did all kinds of stunts where they like fired like arrows at her behind a plastic glass. Craziness like this she wouldn't flinch. She was just very much a natural performer. She loved it.

Obviously, this is a career she kept going from the late 40s until very recently, so she really wanted to be in show business. And she did it so well across all kinds of genres.

SANCHEZ: She was a trailblazer and ultimately an American icon. Betty White, 99 years old. Bill Carter, thanks again for the time, sir.

CARTER: Happy New Year, guys.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

CARTER: So, we have a programming note for you. For decades, singer- songwriters, Carole King and James Taylor left a remarkable impact on the music industry. It's a CNN concert film.


Watch Call Out My Name tonight at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN. We'll be right back.


COLLINS: The new year started off with a bang at the Rose Bowl. Ohio State pulling off a comeback for the ages last night, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Let's bring in Coy Wire right now. Coy, they call it the granddaddy of them all for a reason the buckeyes getting a historic offensive performance.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This game feels magical. It's an unreal backdrop with traditions that date back to 1902. I was fortunate enough to play in one of those. I played in NFL playoff games. Nothing compares to the Rose Bowl Utah playing in their first ever Rose Bowl with fans. They're in full force to see one of the most exciting games of the season.

Fighters go and blow for blow with highlight-reel plays like Utes quarterback, Cameron Rising 62-yard run, but Ohio State's quarterback CJ Stroud would set Rose Bowl records with six touchdowns, 573 yards passing most going to Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Look at that catch, 347 yards on 15 catches. It's the most in any bowl game ever.

This gave the Buckeyes lead with four and a half to go, but Utah's backup freshman quarterback Bryson Barnes hit that touchdown pass there to tie it up at 45. He hasn't thrown a pass all season. But the Utes left about two minutes on the clock and that was enough time for Ohio State's Noah Ruggles to drill the game-winning field goal 48-45 Buckeyes. I don't think that these kids don't care if they're not playing for a national title.


C.J. STROUD, QUARTERBACK, OHIO STATE: It's the Rose Bowl, man. Like, you know what I'm saying? This is where legendary games will be in play. So, if you aren't motivated to play, I mean, I probably think I'll question your love of the game.

BRITAIN COVEY, UTAH WIDE RECEIVER: It's starting to hit me finally. You know, I don't want to take my pants off. I'm just proud of this team, and this program, this university. I just have a great love for the University of Utah and -- I'm sorry.



WIRE: Incredible, powerful stuff, meaningful game. Speaking of meaningful games, Kaitlan, I have to ask you, how bad that Alabama? You're taking on Georgia in the national championship again on Monday. How you feeling about it?

COLLINS: I am booking tickets with my dad right now to go to Indianapolis. I will not be on CNN next week because hopefully, we are going to the game. I mean, it was -- it was a really good game. Cincinnati, I hope they don't feel too bad because they just -- what happened to them is what happened to so many people that Alabama plays.

And so, I'm pumped. I know some people are complaining that Alabama and Georgia are going to be playing each other again in the national championship. But I mean, they're just too aggressive teams. And I think it's going to be a very fun Monday night coming up.

WIRE: I saw Alabama play in person this season. They look like and play like an NFL team already. You're tied doing much better than Boris' Syracuse Orange and my Stanford Cardinals this season.

SANCHEZ: Coy, whenever you want to get my Miami Dolphins takes, I'm ready, just to shout and I'll go.

WIRE: Yes. All right, let's get to some hockey real quick. We got to go to the coldest NHL game in history y'all. Temperature at puck drop for last night's Winter Classic between the blues and wild in Minneapolis, minus six approximately, with wind chill of about minus 20. It was so cold they had to heat the ice. Think about that.

40,000 bundled fans. But those hockey dudes are built different. Check out the St. Louis Blues players showing up in flip flops, shorts, and floral shirts where their game at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. And while those blues were probably a bit chilly, their game was straight fire. A whopping second period when they scored five goals. That was enough for the 6-4 win for St. Louis.

And perhaps one of the best stories of 22 already from the sports world, Vancouver Canucks equipment manager Brian Hamilton was able to meet the woman who saved his life yesterday. In October, the Seattle Kraken fan was holding up her phone towards Hamilton with a message and said the mole on the back of your neck is cancer.

No more communication after that, but after checking with team docs, Hamilton learned that he had staged to skin cancer with maybe five years left to live. After a monumental effort to track down the fan, Hamilton met his guardian angel yesterday, 22-year-old Nadia Popovici.


BRIAN HAMILTON, EQUIPMENT MANAGER, VANCOUVER CANUCKS: She needs to know she's the story. She's the person that that did this. She saved the life. She doesn't know. Like, she does -- she needs to know her efforts were valid and bang on and I'm happy that story is there but not for me but for her because the world needs to know that she's a -- like, this woman exists. She's a hero. And you know we need to celebrate her and people like her that take the time to do things like this and save lives.


WIRE: Powerful stuff. Now, Nadia is about to start medical school, Kaitlan, Boris. And get this. The Canucks are giving her $10,000 to help her get started on her journey.

COLLINS: That's awesome.

SANCHEZ: Well-earned. Incredible story. Coy Wire, thanks so much. Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.



SANCHEZ: So, the forecast looks pretty intense this morning, heavy snow, thunderstorms, possible tornadoes. A wave of severe weather is moving across the country and it could impact millions of Americans.

COLLINS: So, let's bring in our CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. Allison, you know, my sister was in Northern Alabama. They are watching these tornadoes and that weather that was coming through there all night long, but it's a big travel day. So, what should people be expecting if they're on the road are planning to fly today?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's already been a busy last 24 hours. We've had over 40 damaging wind reports, a lot of those in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Thankfully, zero confirmed tornadoes yet, but we do still have more potentially that could come today.

We hope to keep that number at zero, but it's still a possibility. Although the vast majority of the threat will lie in damaging winds, very similar to what we saw over the last 24 hours. It just shifts a little bit farther to the east. So, now you're talking the main focus to be the Carolinas, Georgia, even stretching down into Northern Florida as well.

Here's that first line that really begins to push through much of the southeast. That's going to be this morning and through the afternoon and early evening hours. But notice you also have some moisture pushing in along the backside of that front. But the difference is now that colder air has been able to surge in. So, now you're actually talking about potentially snow showers in some of the same areas that just had damaging wind gusts just yesterday. So, we're talking even cities like Memphis, Nashville, Huntsville, Alabama, even Knoxville all looking at the potential for some snow showers overnight tonight as that cool air really begins to push back in.

The heaviest rain is going to be focused into the Carolinas and Virginia where two to four inches is expected in the next 24 hours. Winter Storm Warnings and winter weather advisories are out. We've got some in Maine through New York, and then that second dose that stretches all the way back towards Texas.

The first round mainly for the East Coast is really going to be rain. But by tonight, we start to see a lot of that transition back over into snow, guys, even yes, for some of the Northeast cities. Back to you.

SANCHEZ: Allison Chinchar from the CNN Weather Center, thank you so much.

COLLINS: President Biden is expected to talk with the leader of Ukraine today as Russian troops remain at their eastern border.