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Omircron Variant of COVID; Conclusion of Hurricane Season; Advice For Holiday Shopping; Controversial Mall Christmas Tree. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired December 01, 2021 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Welcome to the last month of the year and it`s very first edition of our show. I`m Carl Azuz. Thank you for watching.

Headlining today`s program, the World Health Organization, part of the United Nations, is telling governments to stay calm and take quote

"rational" measures to guard against a new variant of COVID. Officials named it Omicron last week.

It`s the latest of several mutations the virus has had around the world. Omicron was first identified in South Africa and neighboring Botswana. It`s

now been seen in at least 15 other countries, though early indications is that it may be less severe than other forms of COVID. Omicron has a lot of

mutations, or differences from other types, but there are also differences on how doctors could fight it.

New coronavirus pills are being reviewed for their effectiveness. Antibody treatments have helped COVID patients. The Biden Administration is telling

more Americans to get vaccinated, saying that`s the key to stopping the Omicron variant, but researchers say it`s not known yet whether vaccines or

the other treatments available will be effective at fighting Omicron. They predict it will likely be two to three weeks before vaccine effectiveness

is known.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a 3D animation of the spike protein and all those different colors on there represent

these different mutations, and that`s what scientists, sort of, look at trying to figure out what are these mutations. Have we seen them before?

Some of them they have seen before. Some of the mutations have been associated with higher transmissibility. Some have been associated with

being a little bit harder to detect by antibodies. So maybe some escape of immunity, but we don`t know what it all means when you bring it all


So there`s a lot that we still don`t know about this -- this new variant and that`s what they`re going to be figuring out over the next couple of

weeks. How transmissible is it? How sick does is really make people? Do current vaccines work against it? Again, that`s obviously a big question

and how about the risk of reinfection. If you`ve been infected with one of the previous variants, how well does that immunity, that infection acquired

immunity, protect you against this.


AZUZ: Another story making headlines, the CEO of the social media company Twitter has left his job. Jack Dorsey, co-founded the company in 2006 and

worked as its CEO until he was forced out of that role in 2008. He returned to the position in 2015 to help improve Twitter`s business, and Dorsey

announced this week that he decided to leave because he believes Twitter`s ready to move on from its founders. Dorsey also leads another company, an

online payments provider, named Square. During his tenure at Twitter, Dorsey faced challenges and criticism over the content the company allowed

and banned. Twitter`s Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal has taken over as CEO.

Finally in our tour of today`s headlines, the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season has come to an end. It officially runs from June 1st through

November 30th, though it`s still possible for storms to form outside of that period. The final numbers of this season, 21 named storms, seven

hurricanes, four major hurricanes that reached Category 3 strength of higher. For perspective, 2020`s record breaking hurricane season saw 30

named storms, 14 hurricanes and seven major hurricanes.

One curious characteristic about this year was that even though it was active at the start, things quieted down suddenly in September. Storms just

weren`t forming at the rate they did before, but officials say even though there were fewer hurricanes than last year. They still caused $20 billion

more in damage, largely because of Hurricane Ida. After it made landfall in Louisiana in August, the system traveled across the eastern U.S. and up to

the northeast where it brought tremendous amounts of rain and flooding.

10 Second Trivia. In what year was the term "Cyber Monday" first used? 1985, 1995, 2005, or 2010. The National Retail Federation used the term in

2005 in reference to a spike in online shopping four days after Thanksgiving.

Hanukkah is going on right now. Christmas is less than four weeks away, and America`s online retail sales this year, at this time, are not what they`ve

been in the past. Consumers spent $8.9 billion online during "Black Friday" 2021. It was $9 billion last year. They spent $10.7 billion on "Cyber

Monday" 2021. It was $10.8 billion last year. So about $100 million less on each day, this is according to marketing data company Adobe Analytics and

it`s the first time it`s reported a decrease in online sales on those two days. But Adobe still expects online spending to break records this year

because Americans have been spreading it out over a longer period of time.


NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: The holidays are here and you need to buy a gift at the last minute. That might be a mistake this year

though with all the supply chain and shipping issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over 2 billion times, that`s how often the words out of stock came up as researchers track just 18 different product categories

online in October.

NEIL SAUNDERS, SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR GLOBALDATA RETAIL: I think the problem in retail at the moment is there`s just difficulties at every stage of the

supply chain. So there are difficulties in manufacturing overseas because factories are closed because of COVID. There are obviously difficulties

shipping because there aren`t enough containers and the containers are in the wrong place. There are difficulties getting ships into port and

unloaded once they get to the United States.

MEYERSOHN: It will be smarter for you to go to the store and pick something up quickly, than ordering something two days in advance and risking that

your package doesn`t show up in time.

DAVID KATZ, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER FOR RANDA APPAREL AND ACCESSORIES: We`re starting to see a larger percentage of people buying online and going

to the store, and we`re also trying to drive more traffic to the store. The frustration level is lower when you go to mortar and brick, particularly

when inventory`s limited. When there`s lots of inventory what do a lot of people do online? I`m going to buy a size 34 and a size 36 and I might buy

two colors and I`ll return the ones that I don`t want. But what if your size just isn`t there and your color`s not. So you don`t get that option,

where as in a store, you know it fits and you have these alternatives.

MEYERSOHN: Retailers like Kohl`s are so eager to have you buy online, pick- up in store that they`re offering $5 off if you do so.

SAUNDERS: So actually you can get some incremental sales from customers as well by getting them to come into stores. They might buy other things,

because they have a browse around and they end up putting other things in the basket or the cart. So all around, it`s just a very positive thing

financially for a retailer to do.

MEYERSOHN: If you buy something online, you`re much likelier to return it than if you buy it in a store.

SAUNDERS: Between store -- pure store buying and online buying, there is a very big difference from return rates, and because when people go to the

store they will touch. They will feel the product. They will try it on. They generally buy the right size and they know it`s, kind of, the right

product for them before they buy it. So the decision is almost final.

KATZ: If you want to buy something, buy it now. Don`t wait and risk it being out of stock later in the season.

SAUNDERS: I think one of the main pieces of advice is to shop early, whether it be in store or online. Get the products you want early

especially if you are shopping online, because as well as there being a lack of availability of products, there`s also likely to be a shipping

crunch as we get closer to the holidays. There may not be enough capacity to deliver.

KATZ: You should buy now. You should buy as soon as possible. I don`t know that you`re going to A, get the item that you want or B, that you`re going

to see deeper discounts than you`re seeing right now. We don`t do a lot of discounts when we don`t have enough inventory.


AZUZ: Christmas Island, Santa`s Magic Sleigh, Dominique the Donkey and Santa Claus` Party, these are some of the lesser known Christmas songs that

didn`t seem to catch on like White Christmas. Will the tradition of Woody the Talking Christmas Tree catch on at a mall in Eastern Canada?


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s a talking Christmas tree that`s being talked about. Talked about by everyone from little kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve never talked to one before.

MOOS: After a 15 year hiatus, Woody the Talking Tree is back at the Mic Mac Mall in Nova Scotia, Canada, depicted as the "Nightmare Before Christmas"

by one cartoonist. Argh. Kill it with fire someone tweeted. Woody`s very own Twitter account describes him as a chatty coniferous with a pension for

small talk in malls. There`s something about kids talking to Woody reminiscent of Dorothy talking to the Wizard of Oz.

WIZARD OF OZ: Do not arouse the wrath of the Great and Powerful Oz.

MOOS: Woody got a makeover from this to this after an absence of 15 years. Mall manager says,

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Woody was in the North Pole.

MOOS: Actually the mall changed management. Now Woody is inspiring kiddy sketches, embroidery, tree ornaments even fingernail art. Woody is the

"Wizard of Odd", easy to needle.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


AZUZ: Some will ask if its "fir real" if they "canaan" believe their eyes. Supporters might call it "noble" or "grand" and say it "spruces" up the

mall. Critics might say it`s a "pine" to look at and it should be put back in the "fraiser". In short, Woody will be short of "balsam" over others

will be "cypressed" to run the other way. But hey, "trees" the season. John A. Ferguson Sr. High School, thank you for watching from Miami, Florida.

Let`s go Falcons. I`m Carl Azuz and that`s CNN.