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Senate Dems Shift Focus To Voting Rights As BB Bill Stalls; Record 4.5 Million Americans Quit Their Jobs In November; James Webb Space Telescope Completes Final Mirror Deployment. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired January 09, 2022 - 06:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning to you. Welcome to your NEW DAY on this Sunday. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez.

The Omicron variant reigniting debates over testing and masking in schools as the U.S. hits a new record for COVID hospitalizations among kids and many hospitals are, once again, pushed to the brink.

PAUL: Also high-stakes talks begin tomorrow between the U.S. and Russia as the Biden administration is warning it will impose severe penalties if Russia invades Ukraine. What Russia is saying now?

SANCHEZ: And we could soon learn whether tennis star Novak Djokovic will be allowed to stay in Australia where he's being detained amid a fight over his visa. Details on that ongoing saga.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything we did to wring our hands on the ground and have those sleepless nights led to a wonderful last 16 days.


PAUL: Listen, it may be the most celebrated mirror ever heard. A major milestone for the $10 billion James Webb telescope and what is next for NASA, what this is going to tell us.

SANCHEZ: Glad to have you with us this Sunday, January 9th. Appreciate you waking up with us. How are you doing, Christi?

PAUL: I'm well. How are you?

SANCHEZ: Good. You know, early alarm clock. We're hanging in there.

PAUL: I know. I know. That 2:00 a.m. or 1:45 rolls around very early. But we're glad that all of you are up and with us as well today because we're talking about something really important and we need to remember the people, the first responders and front liners right now this morning. Because across this country the Omicron variant has pushed these hospitalizations close to the record that was set almost a year ago. Just to give you some perspective there. And adding to the alarm is the soaring number of children who are hospitalized with COVID-19, particularly kids under five, who obviously are too young to be vaccinated.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And as you look at that map, New York is the latest state to mandate booster shots for health care workers as dozens of hospitals have canceled elective surgeries because of a shortage of beds. And on the west coast, Los Angeles is now seeing its highest number of new COVID cases in a single week since the start of the pandemic and parents are concerned because schools are supposed to reopen there on Tuesday.

PAUL: The biggest battle to get kids back in the classroom at this point we're seeing is happening in Chicago. More than 3,000 students there are in limbo after the school district shut down a proposed agreement between teachers and school administrators. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said remote learning just is not an option.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: We've got a lot of single parent households, a lot of moms working multiple jobs who cannot afford to miss work. We need our kids back in school. Remote learning for any period of time is off the table.


SANCHEZ: CNN's Polo Sandoval has the latest on the pandemic headlines this morning.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With COVID hospitalizations at record highs in New York state officials are ordering dozens of health care facilities to put nonessential and nonurgent surgical procedures on hold for two week. Forty facilities, mainly in central and northern New York are experiencing at least 90 percent bed occupancy, that's according to authorities.

New York State, just the latest racing to help hospitals and health care networks with shortages of staff and supplies amid the Omicron surge. At the University of Kansas Health System, similar concerns about their facility's approaching a breaking point.

DR. STEVEN STITES, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS HEALTH SYSTEM: You go from normal operations to contingency. And contingency planning means I'm going to have to put patients in usual situations. I have to cancel surgeries. But at some point you say, we're too overwhelmed to do any of our normal daily work. We can't even meet all of our patients' demands and at that point we have to turn on a switch that says we got to triage to the people we can help the most and that means we have let some people die who we might even be able to help.

SANDOVAL: The U.S. is seeing a record number of hospitalizations for children under five years old and new admissions for children under 18 are averaging nearly 800 a day. The figures are fueling the debate about how the nation's schoolchildren should continue their spring semester.

In Georgia, officials say public school teachers and staff are allowed to return to work even after testing positive or being exposed to COVID-19, as long as they don't have symptoms and mask up. Though each school district can make its own isolation guidelines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that anything that we do that is not putting the priority on keeping students and educators and their families safe is a mistake.


We should be using every tool we have in our toolbox to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our classrooms.

SANDOVAL: The Biden administration says it plans to make up to 500 million tests available to Americans for free this month. One emergency physician in Houston remains skeptical that's going to be enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need them now. And 500 million honestly won't be enough. Every American should have at least two to three tests per week to be testing and 500 million is not even going to get us near there.

SANDOVAL: With demand for COVID testing still high an additional problem is emerging, fraudulent testing kits, according to federal authorities. Experts warning that using fake testing products won't just be a waste of your money it can increase the risk of unknowingly spreading the virus and delaying treatment for it. The Federal Trade Commission recommending you only purchase tests authorized by the FDA as listed on that agency's Web site.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


PAUL: Let's bring in Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. He's a former Detroit health commissioner and a CNN contributor. Doctor, so good to have you with us again real quickly here. We just heard what Omicron is doing to kids and the hospitalization rates that are soaring. Help us understand physically what Omicron does to children.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, this is one of the scariest aspects of the surge. And I'll tell you as a father of a four-year-old it is something that really does keep me up at night.

Part of the issue here, part of the reason that Omicron is both more transmissible and less severe among adults is that it seems to take up residence in the throat rather than in the lungs. And that generally has been important in terms of reducing the level of hospitalizations per individual.

But in kids who have smaller necks that mean that it has the risk of closing down airways and so that is a medical emergency. And maybe explaining why the risk of hospitalization is about as high as it was with Delta but with so many more cases -- you're talking about so many more hospitalizations among children.

PAUL: Is there evidence that shows kids are recovering from this?

EL-SAYED: Yes. Kids are -- kids are recovering and what's important to note is it's not just that Omicron causes less severe likelihood of hospitalizations among adults, but also less severe likelihood of ICU stays among those who are hospitalized. And it's similar with children.

But the issue here is that, you know, kids generally, when you talk about kids in hospitals, they tend to spend a lot shorter time in hospitals so they are bouncing back. But for those moments where it is a medical emergency, that is an event that you want to prevent no matter what happens.

And so it's critical here, not just to assume that, well, the kid is going to get hospitalized but they're going to be OK. At the end of it to do everything we can to be protecting our kids in the first place.

PAUL: Absolutely. So full transparency I'm double vaxxed. I got it in December. It was much like the flu for me. Testing was so hard to get.

I mean the lines were hours long. You couldn't find an at home test anywhere. I don't know if that's changing, but how much confidence do you have in the at home tests, if that's all somebody has?

EL-SAYED: Well, it's critical -- it's critical that people, A, use an FDA authorized test, and, B, use it correctly. Oftentimes people who find out that they have been exposed they'll go home immediately thinking that they're doing the right thing and take their test immediately. Well, the problem is is it takes some time for the virus to incubate in your body. And so if you're testing immediately after exposure you might as well have thrown away the test.

Really you ought to be testing three days, four days, five days out and that gives you a much better readout around that most infectious period and the highest probability of being symptomatic. And so people need to know how to use them, but also we need to make sure that we have enough for them to use and the ones that they're using are actually FDA certified and quality.

PAUL: So the CDC recently modified their protocols and said that if you're infected you isolate for five days and you can then come out of isolation, regardless of whether you test negative. What evidence is there, doctor, that you're not shedding the virus after that period of time?

EL-SAYED: Well, 80 to 95 percent of cases are going to not be shedding virus after that five-day period. Of course, the problem is, is that 20 to five percent of people -- of cases will be. And so it is -- you know, every physician and epidemiologist I know would feel a lot more certain about coming out of that isolation period if they had a negative test to show that they were not shedding virus.

And so the CDC has issued the recommendations that they have, but if you have a negative -- if you have a test and you can take it at day five and you can show yourself to be negative you have a lot more -- a lot more affirm -- an assurance that that you're out there and you're not spreading virus to people that you know and love.

PAUL: Absolutely. So people who have had Omicron, I had somebody ask me this the other day, are they still vulnerable to Delta?


And we focused so much on Omicron do we know how rampant or not Delta is right now?

EL-SAYED: Well, we're talking about a moving target here. But most of the evidence suggests that Omicron has pretty firmly dominated Delta in terms of this sort of subcellular cage match that they're fighting in our bodies. The reality is that there's still some Delta going around.

But from what we understand, people who get Omicron are more protected against Delta than people who get Delta are protected against Omicron which is why we had a major Omicron surge after a major Delta surge. And the open question right now is, what is the -- what is the end outcome of what I like to call this wall of immunity that Delta -- that Omicron is going to leave in its wake? And so these are questions that scientists are going to be considering that have a lot of implications for the future of the pandemic and we're going to have to wait and see and understand what Omicron, previous Omicron infections protects us from.

PAUL: All right. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, thank you so much for walking us through all of the uncertainties for all these months. We appreciate you.

EL-SAYED: Thank you, Christi.

SANCHEZ: So the Biden administration is preparing for talks tomorrow over Russia's troop buildup along the border with Ukraine and the stakes are high.

PAUL: The U.S. has warned of -- quote -- "severe and overwhelming costs" to Russia's economy if Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine. The talks in Geneva, Switzerland are aimed at deescalating the situation and halting Russia's aggression in the region. The U.S. officials have also outlined possible areas of common ground if Russia reciprocates.

SANCHEZ: Our reporters are tracking the latest developments ahead of tomorrow's meeting. CNN's Jasmine Wright is live at the White House and CNN Europe editor Nina dos Santos is live from London.

Jasmine, let's start with you. The White House is threatening to impose high impact sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine. Walk us through what those sanctions look like.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Boris, senior administration officials they declined really to get into specifically what penalties that they can impose on Russia if it does proceed and invade Ukraine, but what they did describe was that Russia would face severe and overwhelming economic costs should the Kremlin do what many fear that they would do.

And, Boris and Christi, these sanctions would start big and it would buck past administration's traditional strategy in trying to deter Russia. And some of the things that they could face, really, would be really going straight for the dramatic. And in theory, my colleague, Natasha Bertrand, reported that they would have detrimental effects on Russian consumers, industrial operations and employment. And those types of restrictions could lead to Russia facing the same export restrictions in some cases countries like Iran, Syria and Cuba.

And now as you said, Boris, U.S. officials did say that there were certain places where both U.S. and Russia concerns overlap and that could provide the opportunity to open -- opening for negotiations like things on missile deployment and Ukraine and NATO military exercises. But administration officials really caution that reciprocity is the big word here, that Russia needs to match whatever offer the U.S. makes both in size and scope. And if they do not, the U.S. would not move -- the U.S. would not fulfill any of those offers.

They want to see the same input and output from Russia as they are also putting in. And so while U.S. officials say that they are not necessarily optimistic about what these talks could yield starting on Monday, they say that they are realistic about the high-stakes situation. Christi, Boris.

PAUL: Jasmine, thank you.

Nina dos Santos, as we said with us from London here. Nina, good to see you this morning. So we know that Vladimir Putin says he doesn't have any plans to invade Ukraine, but Russia has as many as 100,000 troops amassed along the Ukrainian border. With that said what does history tell us about what this president, President Putin, may be up to?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Well, recent history from 2014 tells us that he is willing to invade parts of Ukraine and also back pro-Russian separatists. Remember back in 2008 he also annexed parts of Georgia as well, Ukraine and Georgia, being crucial countries that NATO has potentially dangled the carrot in front of saying one day you might be able to join that coveted block of NATO.

What Russia essentially is trying to do here is to push back the boundaries of NATO. If you go back in history, Christi, about 30 years to the fall of communism, Russia more or less says that it was promised that NATO's borders wouldn't expand further east when foreign troops left Germany and Germany reunified.

But since then, NATO has expanded its borders aggressively. Russia says in the east, about 1,000 kilometers. And what Putin doesn't want here is further foreign troops in eastern European countries.


He also is trying to shore up his legacy as the Russian president who didn't, if you like, lose the Cold War. So going into these talks we know that Russia over the last few weeks has repeatedly published various sets of what is being called fanciful demands by international diplomats that includes making sure that countries that the United States could never arm -- could never arm the Ukrainian government if, indeed, they wanted to regain their independence in certain parts that Russia annexed like Crimea. And also that the west would limit itself to its troop deployments and missile deployments out in Eastern Europe. That will be extremely concerning for some of those eastern European states who have now become NATO members precisely because they've seen what has happened in places like Ukraine, Georgia and elsewhere. Christi.

SANCHEZ: And, Nina, besides the troop buildup along the Ukrainian border, Russia is also sending troops to Kazakhstan because of anti- government protests there that turned violent. How does that complicate things for Putin as he juggles these crises on his eastern and southern border?

DOS SANTOS: Yes. It's a good question, Boris. Well, Kazakhstan and Ukraine having visited or reported from these places numerous times in my career are very, very different. It has to be said Ukraine is far more pro-western. It's also an extremely sensitive topic for Russia post the fall of communism. And Ukraine is very keen to become, at least parts of Ukraine, are very, very keen to become a western nation that is part of NATO.

Kazakhstan is completely different. It has been ruled by an autocracy for the last 30 years since the fall of communism. It's right on the other end geographically of Eurasia close to China, and its government has been very, very close to Russia as well. It also relies on Russia economically for a large portion of its trade.

So, they're very, very different situations. But you're right to point out that this strife in Kazakhstan and the intervention of Russia is unexpected. It also raises the question of whether or not Vladimir Putin would have the capacity to be fighting, sending troops to two conflicts on two sides of Eurasia.

So a lot of geopoliticians I've been talking to the last couple of days have been saying, well, it's likely that Putin want a quick win in Kazakhstan, leave some troops there -- peacekeeping troops, which will be a question mark on the long term over Kazakhstan's sovereignty that the U.S. government has raised, but then really go back to focusing on Ukraine. These talks over next week are really going to be about Ukraine with a bit of Kazakhstan in the background. Boris and Christi.

SANCHEZ: All eyes will be on those talks and what comes from them. Nina dos Santos, Jasmine Wright, thank you both.

And still ahead, we have the latest on a tragedy in Brazil. A massive rock formation collapsing, killing at least seven people. We'll bring you the latest news on search and rescue efforts.

PAUL: Also, with just five days before the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic will soon find out whether he's going to play or if he's going to be sent home. We have a preview of the tennis star's visa hearing. It has turned into quite an international incident here. That's next.



PAUL: Listen, we've got some video that is just so riveting to show you here in a moment. But I want to tell you this morning that rescuers in Brazil are resuming their efforts today to find three people who are missing after a massive rock formation fell on top of several tourist boats.

It is horrifying video. So we're going to show it to you, but we want to warn you, it's hard to watch for some people. We just don't want you to be caught off guard. Here we go.


PAUL: Can you believe that? At least seven people were killed in that disaster. It happened yesterday. Officials there say 23 out of 32 people that were injured have been released from the hospital, but weather could have played a role in all of this. The Brazilian National Institute of Meteorology issued a red warning for the area on Friday citing rainfall projections of almost four inches per day until Tuesday. So they're saying all the rainfall could be part of what caused that formation to disconnect there.

Hours from an Australian court -- or hours from now I should say an Australian court will rule on whether Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic can stay in Australia to compete in the Australian Open.

SANCHEZ: Yes. The 34-year-old received a letter from Tennis Australia saying that he had a medical exemption after testing positive for COVID last month, but the Australian government canceled his visa after border agents determined that his exemption was invalid. There have been protests outside of a facility where Djokovic is detained. It's a building where asylum seekers some have been held for years.

Let's get to CNN's Paula Hancocks. She's live in Melbourne, Australia. And, Paula, this situation is casting a light not only on the world of tennis but also Australia's immigration policy.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, Boris and Christi. I mean, this has been playing out across the world and we're coming to a head at this point as we will find out, potentially, by the end of Monday whether or not Novak Djokovic will be allowed to stay in Australia and to play in the Australian Open.

Otherwise, if it doesn't go his way in that court case on Monday, in that hearing, then he will be deported from Australia. Now, of course, the other option is this could be prolonged within the courts and then, of course, it's up to whether he has permission to play in the Australian Open while the legal proceedings are ongoing.

Now, I'm outside where he is being held in this immigration detention facility. It's a fairly festive atmosphere here. You've got the pro- Djokovic supporters singing and dancing. But we are hearing more information and learning more from court documents which is really raising more questions than it's actually answering.


What we know is that Djokovic's lawyers say that he was given permission to have a medical exemption and was allowed to enter into Australia, which is why he came. And the reason they say that is, what we're hearing from these documents, is he is unvaccinated for COVID- 19. He did test positive, his first PCR test on December 16th of last year.

But that's when it gets quite complicated because we also see him in public or December 16th of last year. We see him at a panel discussion not wearing a mask with an audience. And then the next day as well on December 17th, we see him with a group of young tennis players. We see him accepting a postage stamp in his honor.

Now, it's unclear at this point if Djokovic was aware at that point that he had tested positive for COVID-19. We have reached out to his representatives. At this point we have heard nothing from them.

SANCHEZ: Paula Hancocks reporting from Melbourne, thank you so much.

So Democrats are facing an uphill battle as they return to work this week. Up next, a look at the Senate's agenda for the New Year annd the roadblocks that remain



SANCHEZ: In Nevada, Democratic Party leaders pay tribute to the late Senator Harry Reid. The former top Senate Democrat who helped engineer historical legislative lens was remembered by President Biden and former President Obama as one of their party's greatest leaders.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To me, no doubt Harry Reid will be considered one of the greatest Senate majority leaders in history. For Harry, it wasn't about power, it's about the sake of power, about the power to be able to use power through right by people.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So often compromises portrayed as weakness. Harry had a different view. He didn't believe in highfalutin theories or rigid ideologies. He thought most people make decisions based on their life experience, based on the immediate needs of their families, based on their own self- interest no matter what they may tell themselves. And as a result, Harry met people where they were not where he wanted them to be.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, the senator passed away late last month. He was 82 years old. His body will be transferred to Washington D.C. this week where he'll lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. That is on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats will be in Washington this week with a new focus, passing voting rights protections.

SANCHEZ: Right. Working on voting rights moved slowly as Senate Democrats negotiated aspects of President Biden's Build Back Better Bill. But with the BBB on the backburner, voting rights are now at the top of their agenda. CNN's Daniela Diaz joins us now live from Capitol Hill.

And Daniella, Democrats have set a tight deadline. The Senate minority -- Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expecting a vote on this just about eight days from now.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER (on camera): Yes. And I do want to clarify, Boris. That would be a vote on a rules change in the Senate so that Democrats could try to pass some sort of voting rights legislation by simple majority. They want a filibuster carved out, which means they don't need -- they wouldn't need 60 votes to pass voting rights legislation, they would just need 51.

But there is some road bumps ahead for Democrats on this goal of theirs. Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema do not support this rules change. They think the filibuster is crucial to be able to pass bipartisan bills. They believe in bipartisanship. So, that is a major concern here.

But look, President Joe Biden and Congressional leaders, Democratic leaders are beginning 2022 right back where they started at the end of last year. They were not able to accomplish passing that Build Back Better Act that you just mentioned, Boris,that bill that would have expanded the nation's social safety net because of Senator Joe Manchin. He did not support that $2 trillion bill. He was concerned about soaring inflation costs in this country, and they needed his vote. So, now they're back to square one.

You know, last year they were able to pass early on President Joe Biden's -- when he started his administration, they were able to pass the American Rescue Plan, that COVID stimulus package, nearly $2 trillion that pumped money into state and local governments, expanded the Child Tax Credit, helps small businesses. Then they had that bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, also nearly $2 trillion that would -- that was, "hard infrastructure, helps rose, train -- roads, trains, bridges, that sort of thing.

And then they were hoping for that Build Back Better Act, but really the problem here being that how were they able to accomplish their goals? You know, they have the majority in the House, in the Senate, the 2022 Midterms are fast approaching. So, there's a lot of concern within Congressional leaders, the administration, to see how they can achieve their agenda. Boris, Christi?

SANCHEZ: Yes, Daniella, time is precious when you've got Midterm campaigns really starting closer to mid-summer. Daniella Diaz reporting live from Capitol Hill, thank you so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Daniella.

SANCHEZ: And tonight, make sure to join Fareed Zakaria as he investigates the fight to save American democracy, a critical conversation. A new special that airs at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN tonight.

PAUL: Stay close. Coming up --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People say it's a resignation. To me, it's not a resignation, it's a revolution. We're finally realizing our worth.


PAUL: So, quitting is just half the story. We're going to tell you the other half. Stay close.



PAUL: So, even with a disappointing December jobs report which we just got this week, the U.S. closed out 2021 with some pretty strong job growth overall, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Christi. It's a complicated picture because 2021 also saw a record number of low-wage workers quit their jobs. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich takes a look at what some are calling the great resignation.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Good morning, Christi and Boris. Month after month we've seen a record number of Americans quitting their jobs. But when you dig into the numbers, you see that it's low-wage workers leaving their positions. We spoke to one hospitality worker who says that it's much more than just a great resignation.



IFEOMA EZIMAKO, QUIT HER JOB: People say it's a resignation. To me, it's not a resignation, it's a revolution. We're finally realizing our worth.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): A record. 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November, mainly from low-wage positions. For months now, workers have been resigning in mass. 23-year-old barback Ifeoma Ezimako who quit her job this summer says it's a labor market revolution.

EZIMAKO: I've done it since I was 15. I love the customer service, hospitality industry. I love putting a smile on people's faces. But it got to a point where I felt like I was giving a little bit too much of myself.

YURKEVICH: As a barback in Washington D.C., she's guaranteed a $5.05 cent tip to minimum wage. But with fewer customers coming in, that meant fewer tips with more responsibility.

EZIMAKO: Every day I had to enforce certain things where I'm like this is not in my job description. And now I'm being paid less.

YURKEVICH: More than one million people quit their leisure and hospitality jobs in November, with hundreds of thousands more quitting low-wage retail and healthcare jobs. There are still 10.6 million unfilled positions.

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: People feel empowered, they should because the job market is really, really tight. They have opportunity. If they're not happy with what they're doing, they're going to take another one. So, I think quit rates are going to be high for a long time to come.

YURKEVICH: And as Omicron sweeps the country, this silence is what many restaurant owners are facing. Michael Dorf, CEO of City Winery says he's doing everything to keep the staff he has left even with less business.

MICHAEL DORF, FOUNDER AND CEO, CITY WINERY: I don't want to afford to lose a single person. And we're still hiring as ironic as that is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have some specials today.

YURKEVICH: He normally operates with 1200 employees across his 12 restaurants and music venues.

DORF: Were only up to about 950 around the country.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Have you seen people quitting at a higher rate than usual?

DORF: Yes, for sure. We've seen people quit on the spot.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): He says he's risen wages to above $15 an hour and into the 20s for kitchen staff. His labor costs rose to 36 percent of his operating budget but it still may not be enough.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Do you still feel like you're gonna find that people are leaving quitting?

DORF: Yes. I think the hospitality industry is going to be especially challenged because there's a lot of other good high-paying jobs out there.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): And that's what Ezimako is looking for. Until then, she's moved back in with her parents and is back to school getting her sociology degree, while doing gig work part-time. Her hope is that her old industry will transform enough to lure her back.

EZIMAKO: If they were to offer us a one fair wage $15 plus tips on top, I'd go back. I love illuminating somebody's day. But at the same time, I have a little bit more self-worth now.

(END VIDEOTAPE) YURKEVICH (on camera): Good quits don't mean that people are necessarily stepping out of the labor force, it's more that they're job-hopping. Just look at the unemployment rate, 3.9 percent. That is a pandemic low. What it signals is that there is power in the American worker. They have the ability to choose the job that is best for them especially at a time when businesses need employees. Christi, Boris?

SANCHEZ: Vaneza Yurkevich, thank you for that report.

So, this has been decades in the making. And now two weeks after it first launched into space, the James Webb Telescope reached another milestone. A look at the journey ahead after a quick break.



SANCHEZ: NASA scientists are one step closer to unlocking the secrets of the universe. The James Webb Space Telescope completed its final deployment sequence just yesterday.

PAUL: Yes. And now more than two weeks after launching from South America, the Webb telescope is closer to transmitting images back to Earth and allowing researchers to study the first stars and galaxies in our universe.

Janet Ivey is with us. She's the president of Explore Mars, Inc. Janet, it's so good to have you here. We understand that, you know, this is the most powerful of telescopes ever and it is now fortunately this morning as of, its fully deployed as I understand it. But the next couple of weeks are going to be pretty critical because it's still traveling.

JANET IVEY, PRESIDENT, EXPLORE MARS, INC.: It's still traveling. Thank you, Christi and Boris. It's great to be here with you. We are celebrating. So, let's just go over this. 50 Major deployments are complete. I mean, this thing, everything had to work perfectly and it has. That's what makes this whole thing even more amazing.

178 release mechanisms were properly released. Yesterday, they were down to the last four to get that final wing of the mirror. And after that was deployed successfully, then they spent hours latching it in place, 20 years -- 20 plus years of work realized.

And so, the James Webb is about 600,000 miles towards its target at L2. And people always ask me, what exactly is Lagrange point 2? It's this beautiful accident of orbital mechanics and gravity between the Sun and the Earth where if you put anything right there at L2, it's going to stay at this fixed point.


And so, now, in the next two weeks, as it gets to this place about a million miles away from Earth, you're going to see all of the engineers are going to be working really hard to see these 18 honeycombs get to be this one mirror. And it will take the next five months for them to like, really get all of those 126 actuators in total to like have all of these individual mirrors act as one. So, we're going to see that to that beginning of let there be light moment, and it's going to be something.

We don't even know exactly what yet. But get this. It's 100 times more powerful than the Hubble telescope. And so we're going to be able to see those kind of first galaxies and stars that formed. And I think we're going to all have an amazing aha moment. And perchance even, maybe it's going to either answer some of our biggest cosmic questions or even add more to our cosmic questions.

SANCHEZ: That's right. Janet, I love the enthusiasm, the model, the background, and the way that you explain it. I've heard this telescope describe it as a sort of time machine, because it allows us to look back at the way that light and the material in space sort of unfolded into how it is today. How's that possible?

IVEY: Well, this is -- this is the incredible ingenuity of the James Webb. So, it is using infrared energy and infrared technology. And so, when we have infrared waves have longer wavelengths than visible light. And so, when you're using infrared, think about it going deeper and further, almost like an X-ray, right? It's going to be able to see through these dense regions of gas and dust. And that kind of infrared energy is going to reveal objects we've never been able to see.

One of the reasons that sun shield-like had to deploy, it's like from the sun, the kind of the sunshield side to the cold side, there's about a 600-degree differential. And these infrared instruments have to have it cold, super cold. We're talking minus -- nearly minus 200 degrees. And that is because it's like even after the Webb gets in place in a couple of weeks, it's going to take a while for it to cool down.

Again, we're going to be able to like because it's so cold, like get rid of any kind of background noise. And so, that those images will be pristine, and what we will be seeing will be truly stellar.

PAUL: Very nice, truly stellar. I love it. Janey Ivey, it is so good to have you here. We always appreciate you. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks much, Janet.

IVEY: Thank you, guys. And anybody can make their own model if they want to. Just go online.

PAUL: Not it's not as good as yours, though. Not as good as yours, Janet. Thank you so much. We'll be right back.



SANCHEZ: Across the country, millions of people are getting hit with severe weather. Take a look at this video out of Southwest Washington on Saturday. Severe storms prompting road closures there after heavy rain and snow. PAUL: You look at that and wonder how people are getting around so

well. But for that one stretch of road there, the National Guard was called in to assist residents there in Lewis County. That two hours south of Seattle.

There is a relief though here. Washington is expected to get a much- needed break from that rain today. So, we hope that for all of you there.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Washington not the only place dealing with severe weather. Today, some 30 million people in the Northeast are under winter weather advisories bracing for freezing rain, sleet, and more snow.

PAUL: It's an inside day. Let's put it that way. CNN Meteorologist Tyler Mauldin. Where should people stay inside today?

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that's a good way to put it, Christi. Good morning, everybody. So, those winter weather advisories stretch from the Virginias all the way up into New Hampshire. We already have precipitation moving in. There's a sliver of freezing temperatures right at the surface. And when that warm air and the rain moves over that, that's where we're seeing the transition.

And we're already beginning to see sleet and freezing rain across portions of Pennsylvania and also New York. And Central Pennsylvania is now under an ice storm warning. About 800,000 are under the ice storm warning. Here's what we're going to see. The rain is going to continue to transition into wintry mission specifically freezing rain across portions of the interior northeast. And eventually, it will taper off but that's not until about midnight. Then behind it is some really cold air on a northerly wind. That's going to lead to some lake effect snow across portions of -- right off of Lake Ontario.

Now, you can see, about a quarter of an inch of ice is possible across the interior northeast. The consensus, though, will be probably about a 10th of an inch or less across the Northeast. But enough to certainly cause some travel conditions to be pretty treacherous. And yes, as you mentioned, Christi, probably you just want to stay inside.

Notice this. The air behind it, you remember us talking about the really bitter cold air across the northern plains. We're now starting to see a little piece of that come into the Northeast. Temperatures during the morning hours will get down into the single digits across portions of the Northeast and will struggle to get above zero up in portions of extreme New England. Guys?

SANCHEZ: Prep the couch, the hot cocoa, perhaps some bourbon as well. Tyler Mauldin, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

PAUL: We know how -- we know how for us handle the cold weather apparently.