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Omicron Spreads In The UK; Several U.S. States Assess Tornado Damage; Rural Americans Discuss Impact Of Inflation; CNN Names 2021 CNN Hero Of The Year. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired December 14, 2021 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10. Welcome to the second of three shows we`re producing this week. It begins in the United

Kingdom where health officials say Omicron, a newly discovered variant or version of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly throughout the country. The

British government estimates that Omicron accounts for 20 percent of all corona virus cases in the UK. That amounted to just over 4,700 Omicron

cases Monday.

Ten people had been hospitalized with the new variant, despite most of them being fully vaccinated. One person with it has died. There`s a lot that`s

still unknown about this mutation of COVID, but according to the World Health Organization, early findings suggest that existing vaccines may be

less effective in preventing people from getting and spreading Omicron.

Early data also suggests its less severe than previous COVID variants, that most people with Omicron have relatively mild symptoms or none at all.

Still, the British government is asking more people to work from home. It`s reinstated a mask mandate for people to shop or use public

transportation, and it`s planning to expand vaccine requirements for people to go into certain public places.

Across the Atlantic, New York State is increasing COVID related restrictions. For people to enter businesses there, they now have to be

wearing masks unless the businesses themselves require vaccinations. The states government says it`s trying to get ahead of an expected winter surge

in cases.

A mask mandate remains in effect in Illinois for people who go inside public buildings, and that`s regardless of whether they`ve been vaccinated.

Cases have been on the rise in the American northeast and Midwest over the past couple weeks. We don`t know if that`s because of the Omicron variant

though. This could be the continued spread of previously identified versions like Delta. Protestors have been speaking out against various

mandates nationwide, and dozens of court cases related to them have been filed.

Meanwhile, several states in and around the Midwest are trying to measure the damage caused by last weekend`s tornadoes. Kentucky`s governor says at

least four of them struck his state with one twister staying on the ground for a stretch of 200 miles or more. At least 74 people there were killed,

more than 100 are still unaccounted for and over 1,000 homes in Kentucky were destroyed. People from all over the country have sent millions of

dollars in donations. Officials say more is needed and they`re specifically asking for blood donations. Seven other states were hit by

tornadoes last Friday or Saturday. The National Weather Service says at least 50 twisters were reported.

10 Second Trivia. What did U.S. President Gerald Ford call "public enemy number one" in 1974? Soviet influence, Pollution, OPEC or Inflation. With

the inflation rate at higher than 11 percent, President Ford called it a public enemy.

There are a lot of mixed signals concerning the U.S. economy. In its most recent employment report, the Labor Department said 210,000 jobs were

created in November, that`s far short of the 573,000 economists had expected, a bad sign there. On the other hand, the unemployment rate, the

percentage of American workers who don`t have a job, that dropped from 4.6 percent in October to 4.2 percent in November, a good sign there. Wages

have increased.

The government says this November the average amount of money Americans made per hour was 4.8 percent higher than it was a year ago, but prices

have increased to. The government says inflation is 6.8 percent higher than it was a year ago. It`s biggest increase in almost four decades.

Economists say the rise in wages is not enough to keep up with the rise in prices. And while some are optimistic that inflation could calm down in

the year ahead, banking officials have indicated it may stick around.



VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the St. Cry household, "Bridget" the show cow and "Trigger" the rescue horse are top priorities.

C. ST. CRY: Your animals come first. Like, they eat before I eat.

YURKEVICH: And these gentle giants eat a lot. The price of their food has gone up and with twice daily feedings, they run through nearly two 50-pound

bags a week.

C. ST. CRY: It was about, like, $16 a bag and right now it`s at, it depends on where you go. Where we`re getting it, it`s about, like, $22.

YURKEVICH: It`s just one of the price pinches for this family in rural Michigan. Spending power for rural Americans has dropped by 5.2 percent,

compared to 3.5 percent for urban Americans from pre-pandemic. And rural Americans typically spend more on the very items that have seen the biggest

price increases, food, energy and cars. What are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to inflation?

C. ST. CRY: I think it`s just not having the options to offset those costs. It`s, like, OK, yes, we could drive another half hour, another hour

but it`s like we`re paying $3.50 for gas.

YURKEVICH: But gas prices are falling to a seven-week low, down twenty cents in Michigan in the last month to $3.22 a gallon. And for these new

small business owners, every cent counts.

C. ST. CRY: You have a budget that you have to stick to.

YURKEVICH: This year the couple launched their wood furniture and decor company Palomino and Co. out of their garage. But then the cost of lumber

sky rocketed, and good quality became scarce. So, to fill orders, they turned to their own barn for wood.

C. ST. CRY: All of this used to be stalls. This whole, the aisle way, they`re all stalls. We deconstructed those to get lumber.

YURKEVICH: The price of wood has come back down but the cost to ship their orders is up.

DYLAN ST. CRY, MICHIGAN RESIDENT: With being out a little farther out in the country, obviously shipping costs they increase because the farther out

they have to drive.

C. ST. CRY: I think we`ve been hit with so much. It`s, like, you know, first inflation and then gas prices and then shipping.

YURKEVICH: But as prices have risen, so have wages up 4.8 percent since last November. Dylan still has his full-time job to help support the

business. Do you feel like it`s risen a little bit together enough to offset?

D. ST. CRY: Yes. It`s definitely helped, probably not enough to keep up with inflation but it`s -- it`s definitely helped though. You always have

that in the back of your mind.

YURKEVICH: The couple says there is a positive to living in rural America during a time of inflation. If a family in the community is suffering

financially, the whole community rallies around them to try to keep their heads above water. The St. Cry couple says that despite the fastest rise

in inflation in nearly 40 years, they`re very hopeful and optimistic about their future and their business`s future. They believe that this inflation

is temporary. Back to you.


AZUZ: Everyday people changing the world is the phrase used to describe CNN Heroes. This year marked the 15th anniversary of the program. CNN

announced its top 10 Heroes in October and after that it was up to viewers to choose the Hero of the Year. The finalist was named in the All-Star

Tribute on Sunday night.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HERO HOST: The 2021 CNN Hero of the Year is Shirley Raines.


AZUZ: So, who is Shirley Raines? She`s the founder of the non-profit organization called "Beauty to the Streets". For the past six years, it`s

provided food, clothing, hair and make-up services on skid row, an area of Los Angeles, California that has one of America`s highest concentrations of

homeless people.

Raines first started working in this area in 2017 when she joined a church group that went there to feed people. She felt a connection to the

homeless community. Raines had experienced financial insecurity, grief and loss herself in previous years after her two-year-old son died. Thirty

years afterward, she and her six children began the work that became "Beauty to the Streets".


SHIRLEY RAINES, 2021 CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: This journey has not been easy. I stand before you today a very broken woman. My life will never be the

same since my son died, and it`s important that you know that broken people are still very much useful. We are very much useful.


AZUZ: Raines received $100,000 to expand her weekly outdoor beauty salon on skid row.

Bears have been known to eat everything from berries to fish to grass and deer, but do they eat reindeer. This one does. The cub viciously attacked

an inflatable reindeer recently in southern California while its mother hung back and watched the scene unfold. Get it? A woman nearby thought

this was funny enough to whip out her phone and provide this video, but she says the two bears are commonly seen in the neighborhood and that they`re


You might call them "Bad News Bears". That cub left more than a "barren" stain on that reindeer. He caused a "Padding-ton" of damage, and while no

one had to call "Smokey" and this happened a long way from "Chicago". We`d say the cub that managed to "Winnie" the fight will probably get passed

over by Rudolph and the gang this Christmas. Pocahontas High School won`t get passed over though. Shout out to you our viewers in Pocahontas,

Arkansas. We have one more show to go for the season and for the year. So, we hope you`ll "bear" with us once again tomorrow. I`m Carl Azuz.