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The CDC Expands a COVID-19 Surveillance Program to Include More Than 30 Pathogens; How Did The Great Sphinx End Up in The Desert?; Rarely-Seen 30-Foot Whale Shark Feeding in Hawaiian Waters. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired November 08, 2023 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, sunshine. We`re halfway through the week, but we`re going to keep on grinding and shining because that`s just what we

do. It`s Wednesday, November 8th and the holiday travel season is almost upon us. So in the spirit of that pack your best, because we`re going to be

going around the world for several stories today. But first let`s talk specifically about what`s happening at some of the airports heading into

the holidays.

If you`re traveling through international airports in Boston, San Francisco, Washington, or New York, you may see extra security for the

tiniest of passengers, bacteria and viruses. The U.S. centers for disease control and prevention or CDC is expanding a program that detects COVID-19

to include more than 30 pathogens, it`s called the Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance Program. It was first introduced in 2021 during the pandemic,

even though the U.S. has relaxed a lot of its pandemic-related restrictions, thousands of people are still being hospitalized with the


As part of the surveillance program, international travelers can volunteer for nasal swabs. The CDC has also been testing airplane wastewater since

2022. Did you know? Today they`ve tested more than 370,000 people arriving from more than 135 countries at seven participating U.S. airports.

Now, four of those airports will also test for bacteria and viruses behind infectious diseases like the flu and RSV. This surveillance program is

meant to help health officials detect new variants of COVID-19 and other diseases before they spread across the country.

Now, pop quiz, hot shot. Ten second trivia.

In Egyptian mythology, what creature has the head of a human in the body of a lion?

Griffin, Sphinx, Phoenix or Centaur?

If you think sphinx, you think correctly, the sphinx is an important figure in Egyptian and Greek art. A giant carving of the mythical creature, the

sphinx lies in the sand near Giza famous pyramids in Egypt. The great sphinx is thousands of years old. It stands 66 feet tall and it`s thought

to be carved from a single piece of limestone. But how would such a huge sculpture end up in the desert? Well, one popular theory was put forward by

geologists, Farouk El-Baz. He believed that the desert wind, shaped a natural land form to resemble a reclining sphinx. And the ancient Egyptians

simply added surface details.

El-Baz came up with his theory about 40 years ago and a new study suggests he may have been onto something. A team of scientists at NYU`s applied

mathematics lab replicated windy conditions, the Great Sphinx likely faced 4,500 years ago instead of wind, they used a flat stream of water. And when

it was washed over clay models of natural land forms, low and behold, a lion shape took form.

All right, from the sands of Giza, we`ll dive now into another big discovery spotted in the waters of Hawaii.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a rarely seen, whale shark, according to researchers from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology Shark Research Lab,

who captured the footage near the Hawaiian islands. The whale shark is the world`s largest species of fish and is known to live in Hawaiian water, as

the research say.

MARK ROYER, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII, SHARK MANAGER: They`re here more often than we think, but however, they are probably hard to come across. I didn`t

see this animal until they hopped in the water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Royer observed the 30-foot shark beating on Hawaiian entities known as nehu and approaching their boat that was starting idle in

the water. Experts say that in these situations it`s important to be mindful, let the shark approach, but don`t aggressively get close and

disturb it.


WIRE: That was whaly cool. One other fun fact about whale sharks, the largest fish on the planet, even though they`re about as big as a school

bus with enormous mouths, they couldn`t eat you even if they wanted to. Their throat is only the size of a quarter, designed only to swallow small,

tiny little fish.

All right, our next story takes us to the Hawaiian Highlands where we`re getting a glimpse of an extremely rare bird. The kind of which only five

are thought to be remaining in the wild. Researchers though, they`re working to help them make a comeback.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: High up on a plateau in the middle of the Hawaiian island of Kauai, a team of researchers carefully transport, some extremely

precious cargo.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`ve spent three days in this remote and rain- soaked expanse of jungle, looking for something very specific and very small. The egg of one of the world`s most critically endangered species, a

Hawaiian honeycreeper known as the `Akikiki, found nowhere else on earth but here. According to the Hawaiian Department of Land and Natural

Resources, there are only five of the species left in the wild.


right now. We do have about 50 `Akikiki in human care at our two centers in Hawaii. And we do know that this past breeding season, there were no

surviving chicks in the wild.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hannah Bailey manages the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center on the island of Hawaii. The center serves as a Noah`s Ark of sorts

for the `Akikiki.

BAILEY: Our mission is to provide safe haven populations of the species that are in peril so that when the environment is right for them to survive

long-term, we`ll be able to re-release them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hannah says the current state of all of Hawaii`s forest birds is dire due in part to the usual culprits like habitat loss,

but a newer and more deadly manners has emerged.

BAILEY: The biggest threat right now to Hawaii`s endangered birds is mosquitoes. Because they carry avian malaria, which the birds have no

resistance to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to the American Bird Conservancy, climate change has enabled non-native mosquitoes to find their way to Kauai`s

highest elevations. The `Akikiki`s last refuge in the wild.

BAILEY: This is a portable brooder box that we can also use to incubate eggs. And it helps us transfer eggs from one location to another that have

been incubated safely so that they will continue to grow and develop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to have landscape level solutions to the mosquito problems. In the meantime, keeping the birds in centers like this

one where enclosures are designed to mimic their natural habitat, but to protect it from mosquitoes, and where human interaction is strictly limited

to discourage imprinting, a process where animals lose their natural behavior. These may very well be an entire species last chance at survival.


WIRE: All right, from mythical beasts in ancient Egypt to rare creatures in modern day, Hawaii, we`ve been all around the world today. Time for our

grand finale, today`s story getting a 10 out of 10 takes us to the sleepy mountain town of Hope in British Columbia, Canada. That wasn`t quite such a

sleepy town after a collision involving a trailer full of fireworks it led to a light show that was anything but infinitesimal.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You expect to see fireworks on a national holiday, but not just driving down a dark highway.

RYAN KUHN, RECORDED FIREWORKS: Probably the most spectacular firework show we`ll ever see in our lives. It was quite a -- a site to behold.

MOOS: Ryan Kuhn was driving with his wife on the trans-Canada highway, near town called Hope in British Columbia, police say a tractor trailer

rear ended a pickup parked at the side of the road with a trailer full of fireworks in tow. Traffic was stopped.

(On camera): And how long did the show last?

KUHN: It was about an hour. The first half an hour was nonstop fireworks. So imagine the crescendo of the best firework show you`ve ever seen. It was

just nonstop for 30 minutes.

MOOS: Some dared to get out of their cars, still wary of flying debris. The driver of the pickup hit by the truck had minor injuries, wrote one

commenter, "Dude! That`s better than Disney`s fireworks.


WIRE: Now, that`s the way to end this show with a bang. Congrats to Mr. Rhodes and the Mustangs in Sumner, Nebraska, you submitted the winner for

#YourWordWednesday, infinitesimal, an adjective, meaning extremely small. Well done.

Our special shout out today goes to Verde Middle School in Florida, Boca Raton, rise up. Thanks for the love. And our second shout out of the day

goes to Campbell County High School in Gillette, Wyoming, let`s go. What do you say? We make this an awesome day, y`all. I`m Coy Wire and we are CNN