Return to Transcripts main page
Hala Gorani Tonight
World Health Organization Chief Warns Of A "Tsunami" Of COVID Cases; NHS England Sets Up COVID "Surge Hubs" Amid Omicron Wave; Ghislaine Maxwell Convicted Of Sex Trafficking. Mourners Pay Respects to Desmond Tutu; A Royal Recap of 2021; Company Hopes to End U.S. Reliance on Imported PPE; 2021 Through the Eyes of Women Photographers; Animals Enjoy Leftover Firs as Sustainable Treat. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired December 30, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Record case numbers once again, shortages
of rapid tests and hospitals bracing for the worst. How Omicron is casting a shadow over new year's eve all around the world. Plus, personal
protective equipment that is made in America after CNN's reporting uncovered used dirty gloves entering the U.S. supply chain. We'll show you
how one company is aiming to change the industry.
And Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin are scheduled to speak by phone next hour. We'll tell you what's on the agenda for the U.S. and Russian leaders. A
tsunami of COVID cases is coming. That is the warning from the World Health Organization as the surge of Omicron continues all around the globe. Case
records in various countries are being broken daily now. Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, these are just some of the countries seeing all-time high
case numbers, you see it there on the map.
Governments are doing what they can to prepare. Turkey is beginning a rollout of its own domestic vaccine called Turkovac. And England which
reported more than a 180,000 cases on Wednesday alone is setting up COVID surge hubs at hospitals around the country. The National Health Services
England director says the system is now on quote, "war footing". So, these surge hubs would be used in case there's an overflow of patients in
Meanwhile, with just a day to go until new year's eve, one question seems to be on everybody's lips given the circumstances. Do we go ahead with the
parties? Cities around the world have been weighing their options. Take a look.
GORANI (voice-over): The quick spread of the Omicron variant is putting a damper on new year's eve celebrations around the world. While some smaller
events are still taking place, it will be a grim start to another year of the coronavirus pandemic. London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced in a tweet last
week that the annual event in Trafalgar Square is canceled, saying the safety of Londoners must come first.
Some 6,500 people were expected to attend. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided against tougher COVID restrictions, but cautioned that
people should be smart about how they ring in the new year.
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: I think everybody should enjoy new year, but in a cautious and sensible way. Take a test,
ventilation, think about others, but above all, get a booster.
GORANI: In Paris, the traditional fireworks display over the Champs- Elysees has been called off. And officials have implemented a mask-wearing policy in outdoor public spaces starting Friday. And in Atlanta, the new
year's eve Peach Drop has been canceled for the third-year in a row as positive cases are on the rise in Georgia's capital city. But, to the
delight of many, the fireworks in Sydney will go on as scheduled.
Attendees are strongly encouraged to be fully-vaccinated and boosted, and an indoor mask mandate is also in effect in New South Wales for those over
the age of 12. In New York, workers are preparing the traditional Waterford crystal ball that will drop over Times Square. This year's event will be
scaled back to 15,000 people. There's usually about 60,000 revelers taking part.
After canceling its new year's eve celebrations earlier this month, Rio de Janeiro reversed course. There will be no outdoor concert this year, but
the world-famous fireworks on Copacabana Beach will go on. The city also announced precautionary measures to avoid mass gatherings. And Dr. Anthony
Fauci has some strong advice for those who do plan to attend large celebrations.
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If your plans are to go to a 40 to 50-person new year's eve
party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a happy new year, I would strongly recommend that this
year, we do not do that.
GORANI: Many were hoping for a return to normalcy as we ring in the new year. But, thanks to COVID, we will have to wait a little bit longer.
GORANI: Let's hope it's a little bit longer. Cases in the U.S. are also now higher than ever. The country hit a record of almost 301,000 average
new daily cases on Wednesday.
That is a new pandemic high. Just look at the spike on the graph. Let's bring in our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen on how the U.S.
is coping and Salma Abdelaziz on the European situation. Elizabeth, let's start with you. Over 300,000 cases, we're nowhere near the end of this
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, we certainly aren't, as 300,000, a little bit more than that, and it is just going up.
Let's take a look at those numbers again. So the U.S. hit its case count peak back in January with 252,000. That's one of the bumps that you see
there. And then on the far right is where we're at now, which is 301,000. And it is projected to get worse, and not just cases, and I think this is
where we've had a bit of a turn, Hala.
The talk has been, OK, so we're going to have a lot of cases, but you know, people are mainly getting very -- you know, only mildly ill. So it doesn't
really matter that there's a lot of cases. Well, what we're seeing is that once you get these huge numbers, even though -- even if only a small
percent end up in the hospital, a small percent of a huge number can be a really big number. So, the CDC throughout the pandemic has been doing
forecasts, so let's take a look at the CDC's latest forecast.
So, right now, there's an average of about 9,400 new hospitalizations per day in the United States. The CDC expects that by mid-January, there will
be 17,400 new hospitalizations per day. That's obviously just a huge jump. Let's look at deaths. In the last four weeks, there have been 39,000 COVID
deaths approximately in the U.S. and the CDC is expecting, is forecasting that in the next four weeks, there will be more than 44,000 deaths.
So we're going to start seeing not just these case numbers get higher than ever, but also starting to see hospital and death numbers get very high.
Now, this is just a forecast, and the margins of error are quite wide. But still, this is what the CDC is forecasting. That's to come in the weeks to
GORANI: And Salma, across Europe, tell us about numbers there because we're seeing records once again, today.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely mind-boggling figures, just skyrocketing cases. Numbers simply not seen in the course of this pandemic.
France breaking the record for all of Europe with more than 200,000 positive cases in a single 24-hour period. And health officials are of
course looking at these figures, and they are wringing their hands, they are absolutely worried about what this means come a few days, a week, or
two weeks from now when these positive cases could potentially turn into hospitalizations.
And, yes, of course, we understand that Omicron may appear to be milder from anecdotal studies from what researchers and scientists have found so
far. But still, those numbers are so big that even if it's a smaller ratio of people winding up in hospital, it's the sheer figures that could
threaten healthcare systems across Europe. That's why the National Health Service here says they are on a war footing, Hala. They say they cannot
waste time waiting to find out how many people are going to wind up in hospital.
They need to put plans in place now. So what are those plans? Well, the NHS is setting up surge hubs, there's going to be eight of these across eight
different hospitals in England. I know, we have pictures to show you of those surge hubs and each of these hubs should be able to accommodate up to
a hundred extra COVID patients. There are also plans in place for surge plus beds, up to 4,000 more beds for the National Health Service to
potentially use if this wave of Omicron patients occur.
It's absolutely concerning for health officials. And as we head into new year's eve, I am sure all of those doctors and nurses are worried, will
this only increase the numbers if people are going out, if people are socializing? Remember, London is one of the few cities without restrictions
here on new year's eve. What will that mean for those figures? What will that mean for that wildfire spread of Omicron, Hala?
GORANI: All right, yes, and we're going to be talking now to a doctor who is very concerned about that question. Thank you very much, Elizabeth Cohen
and Salma Abdelaziz. Although, the COVID variants have changed throughout the pandemic, one thing remains the same, and that's the heavy toll it is
having on healthcare workers. One doctor leading the charge in advocating for NHS staff here in the U.K. is Julia Grace Patterson. She took a break
from practicing medicine to set up Every Doctor and she's joining me now from London.
Thanks for being with us. Let's -- talk to me about what doctors and healthcare workers are telling you about how overwhelmed, about how
overburdened and stressed they have been in the last two years.
JULIA GRACE PATTERSON, FOUNDER & CHIEF EXECUTIVE, EVERY DOCTOR: It's been incredibly difficult in the U.K. since the pandemic began. And we've had
several very large waves and cases with different variants. And there's a lot of concern now with Omicron because the staff are exhausted, and we
already have a lot of staffing problems in the NHS. And we're missing 94,000 staff members. And so, there's a lot of concern.
I know that you've been mentioning that this field hospitals currently being set up, it's called Nightingale Hubs. But amongst the doctors that I
speak to, there's a concern that we won't find the staff to, you know, to facilitate those services being set up, to be honest.
GORANI: Yes, and what's the -- is there a solution? I mean, I'm sure you're thinking about how to alleviate some of the pressure. Is there a
solution to bring more doctors in or -- because one of the other additional complications is that Omicron is hitting people so hard that a lot of
people are having to call in sick across the -- across sectors and including in the healthcare sector.
PATTERSON: Absolutely, the staff sickness levels in the NHS is very high and going up. And in fact, there's been an announcement this evening that
some of our rail networks are being affected now because of then staffing problems. And I suppose it was expected really. And we have problems in the
U.K. with staffing partly because of underfunding in the NHS, and there's been a staff exodus over the last few years with a lot of pay freezes and
workers haven't been treated very well.
And one of the things that we think might improve the staffing over the next couple of months is if the government could look really carefully at
the budgetary concerns and remove any limitations that departments are having in terms of filling posts, you know, getting people to come in and
do extra shifts because really we feel it's going to be all hands on deck. And they really need to be encouraging doctors as much as they can and
trying to -- well, I suppose, provide a lot of support for them because these are staff who have been through an awful lot over the last couple of
GORANI: Yes, one of the things I've noticed in -- as we continue to cover this pandemic is, I mean, we've covered -- we've covered doctors under
pressure in war zones, we've covered them in disaster zones. I have never seen in my career so many doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers just
literally break down on camera and cry because they just cannot save so many patients, and they're just not used to losing so many. Talk to me
about the health -- the mental health aspect of this on them.
PATTERSON: The toll that it has taken on healthcare workers has been extreme and devastating. And I actually think that a lot of healthcare
workers still are not in a place where they're able to process the experiences that they have had because it's been unrelenting.
And in the U.K., because of COVID, a lot of cancelations of surgery, of normal treatment for patients has meant that our waiting list in England
are the longest they have ever been, which means that whenever the COVID wave sort of declines and that sort of settles down a bit, and healthcare
workers are working as hard as they can to clear backlogs and waiting lists because patients with other conditions are also at risk. And so --
GORANI: Yes --
PATTERSON: There's really not been any pause for people. It's just been nonstop since sort of March 2020.
GORANI: What's --
PATTERSON: You know, I'm a campaigner -- yes, sorry, what were you going to say?
GORANI: So, I was just going to say, so all that being said, what do doctors make of the fact that no additional restrictions were put in place
in England, for instance, on new year's eve. Are they frustrated by that?
PATTERSON: I think there's a huge amount of frustration because, you know, after these case numbers go up, our data over the Christmas period has been
a bit imperfect because the reporting has been disrupted by the Christmas period and people taking time off and that sort of thing. But what we do
know is the cases are going up very fast. And as you've said, there is some initial thought that perhaps Omicron isn't creating the burden of severity
of illness that previous variants have, and I suppose we're all hopeful that that's the case.
But if you look at the case numbers, even if a small proportion of those needed hospitalization, that's going to cause an enormous pressure on the
NHS. And so, what I'm hearing from healthcare staff is say, they really can't understand why Boris Johnson is making England an anomaly and not
putting more public health measures in place at this time.
GORANI: All right, well, thank you very much, Dr. Julia Grace Patterson for joining us for more on how healthcare workers are coping now that we're
about to enter the third year of this pandemic. Thank you.
PATTERSON: Have a good day --
GORANI: Now, let's talk -- let's talk about Russia and the U.S., extremely complicated is how the Kremlin is describing the issues that Vladimir Putin
wants to discuss with the U.S. President Joe Biden in a phone call in about 75 minutes from now. Mr. Putin asked for this call as the crisis over
Ukraine is not cooling off. The Kremlin says he sees it as a prelude to diplomatic talks that are set for January 10th. Russia has massed some
100,000 forces on the Ukrainian border.
And that has led to western countries to threaten more punishing sanctions if Russia invades. So, what does Mr. Putin want NATO's guarantee that it
won't expand farther east is one thing that he would want, that it will never grant Ukraine NATO membership, and that it will not position forces
or weapons in former Soviet republics.
What the U.S. and NATO want is pretty clear. They want Russia not to invade Ukraine. CNN White House correspondent John Harwood is live with us. John,
let me ask you first about the timing because we heard yesterday that Vladimir Putin had requested this call. It's happening on new year's eve
between two holidays. The president is in Delaware. What should we make of the timing of this phone call between the two men?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Hala, more significant than the fact that if between the two holidays is that it's a
few days before a set of negotiations that will begin in Geneva on January 10th, involving Russia, the U.S. side and NATO, the organization for
security and cooperation in Europe. All of them trying to deter Vladimir Putin from launching another invasion of Ukraine.
As you know, he has an established record of aggression, invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was president, seized Crimea illegally in 2014 when
Barack Obama was president. Still has possession of it. Now, he's threatening to invade again, wanting assurances that Joe Biden is not going
to give him that Ukraine will never be a NATO member. The question is, is he staging this phone call for the purpose of being turned down by Biden
and having that as a pretext to invade?
Or does he actually want to explore the diplomatic path that Joe Biden, the off-ramp that Joe Biden has offered him? That's what we're going to find
out later today, and when we get to those negotiations in Geneva.
GORANI: I know your sources in the administration saying they believe Vladimir Putin is saber-rattling or really intent on invading Ukraine?
HARWOOD: They're being very neutral on that question. They're not raising expectations about this call. On a background call yesterday, a senior
administration official was asked, well, what does it mean that Vladimir Putin reached out to initiate this call? Some people might interpret that
as, well, he's blinked in this standoff. Remember, a couple of weeks ago, Joe Biden told him there would be very serious consequences in terms of
sanctions if he invades.
But what the U.S. side says is, no, any time Putin wants to talk, we say yes, any time we want to talk, Putin says yes. So I think they are not at
all certain of what Putin is going to do and they're going to try to source that out today and see if they can diffuse this situation. The one thing we
know is the United States is not going to send military forces to defend Ukraine, but they would like to have Ukraine's sovereignty protected in
ways short of doing that.
GORANI: John Harwood, thanks so much. Still to come tonight, the jury in Ghislaine Maxwell's sex trafficking trial has returned a guilty verdict.
We'll tell you what happens next. Stay with us.
GORANI: One of Ghislaine Maxwell's defense attorneys says her legal team has already started working on her appeal. The British socialite and long-
time associate of Jeffrey Epstein was convicted Wednesday on five of the six counts against her including one count of sex trafficking. She's
accused of recruiting and grooming teenage girls so that Epstein could sexually abuse them. Annie Farmer, the only accuser to testify by her full
name, spoke to "ABC's" "Good Morning America" about the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNIE FARMER, TESTIFIED IN GHISLAINE MAXWELL'S CRIMINAL TRIAL: I wasn't sure that this day would ever come, and I just feel so grateful that the
jury believed us and sent a strong message that perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation will be held accountable no matter how much power
and privilege that they have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The judge has not set a sentencing date. Maxwell still faces two pending perjury charges related to a 2016 civil deposition. CNN legal
analyst Joey Jackson joins me now. So, let's talk about this appeal. What are her options?
JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Hala, good to be with you. What happens is, is that defense attorneys generally will appeal, and the
appeal is, yes, predicated on the verdict, but it more has to do with any legal issues that came up for which the judge committed any error. The way
the system works is that you have a judge who really is the person who determines what the law is going to be of the case, what jury instructions
will be provided to the jury, what evidence is admitted for the jury's consideration as what is not.
And the jury simply evaluates the facts and all 12 have to be in a court unanimously. So, when defense lawyers appeal, what they do is they appeal
information that got to the jury's purview that the jury perhaps should not have considered. And it's not only that it got to the jury's purview as a
result of a judicial error, meaning the judge admitted it, but --
GORANI: Yes --
JACKSON: It has to be not harmless, it has to be something that prejudice or otherwise really led to a trial that was not fair or proper. And so,
that's what defense lawyers will do, it's still too early to tell whether any legal issues went amiss by the judge that would bear fruit and
otherwise give Miss Maxwell a new trial.
GORANI: Can she cooperate now? She didn't do it before the trial or during the trial. But now that she's been found guilty, can she offer some sort of
cooperation in other cases in order to reduce her sentence?
JACKSON: So, Hala, that's a great question, and i think that's precisely what the government will do. Based on personal experience of mine, with the
Southern District of New York, it was only a few short years ago that a client was convicted of one particular count, the government came to me
thereafter and said, hey, in the event your client doesn't want to go to jail, would you be interested -- your client be interested in giving
information on other targets of an investigation?
We didn't go that route, but it was an option. Why do I make that, you know, case to you or tell you about that? Because I think we'll have the
same here. You might recall, Hala, when it came time for Miss Maxwell to testify or not testify --
GORANI: Right --
JACKSON: The judge asked, hey, do you want to testify? She said, no, I don't, because the government hasn't proven my case beyond a reasonable
doubt. Well, now, we're in a different place. At that time, she really felt she wanted to fight, was not guilty, and as a result she was adamant. At
this point, when you're facing significant jail time, that circumstance may have changed and she may be incentivized to provide information critical to
other actors or players that she wasn't really privy or really inclined to do at that point.
So I do think that, that approach will be made. It will be up to her as to whether she wants to provide that information. But the incentive will be
significant time reduction in the event that she gives information that's critical and that's truthful and that's valuable to a case the government
wishes to pursue against any of the other participants.
GORANI: And how would this impact -- in the U.K. people are very interested in this question. How does this verdict impact Prince Andrew who
is not at all connected to this case and has consistently denied wrongdoing. But could this have an impact on him?
JACKSON: It could have a significant impact, and just for clarity, obviously, we know that Prince Andrew is going through a civil matter, a
civil litigation. That's not criminal at all. There is an accusation with respect to any proprieties or misconduct he engaged in, that a particular
victim is looking to be compensated for civilly. The distinction is, civil cases involve money, criminal cases involve crimes.
However, Hala, what happens now is that Miss Maxwell may have information relative to, you know, the prince's involvement, lack of involvement,
timing, who he was with, when he was with them, what his intentions are, what she observed, who she observed it with, information that's critical.
And if the government wishes to pursue that and deems Miss Maxwell's information to be credible, that is truthful, they can use that and do
whatever they wish. And, so, yes --
GORANI: Right --
JACKSON: It could, depending upon the information she, Miss Maxwell has and how valuable it is, and how it could be corroborated, have a crucial
impact upon the prince.
GORANI: So, is your feeling that she would be inclined -- I mean, I've heard many -- I don't know, it's difficult to get in her head, but what
kind -- when you say that a cooperating defendant who's been found guilty can offer evidence and information in order to reduce. What are we talking
about here in terms of reduction? Is -- would it be significant?
JACKSON: It would have to be. So what happens, Hala, is this. The government sometimes comes to you before the case moves forward, and they
say, hey, listen, we're looking at specific targets, do you have information? In the event your client does, you go with your client, it's
called a proffer. That information is provided to the government, it's vetted, it's corroborated and if truthful, perhaps they don't prosecute
you, or if they do, it leads to a reduction. There are other instances where after the fact, right? As here, the government can go and they could
say, hey, listen, we know you now having been convicted, the government has plenty of leverage.
You're facing significant time, right?
GORANI: Right --
JACKSON: And as a result of potentially facing so many decades in jail, maybe you know, you don't want to do those decades in jail. We have
information, we think, right, we have information that you have information that could be valuable and critical to us as we conduct our investigation.
If you play ball with us, cooperate --
GORANI: Yes --
JACKSON: With us, give us information, we will reduce that time. So, yes, in order to incentivize a defendant who's been convicted, the reduction
would be very critical, and that often gets a person to be talking when, as you know, Hala, she was not talking at all before.
GORANI: Right, it would have to be significant. Thanks very much, Joey Jackson, and have a great new year.
JACKSON: Thank you so much, Hala, and you.
GORANI: Thank you. Just ahead, remembering the conscience of a nation. We'll take you live to Cape Town where a hero of South Africa and an icon
of human rights around the world is lying in state. Plus, a country mourned as Prince Philip passed away at the age of 99 earlier this year. We'll look
at what the rest of 2021 had in store for the royal family.
GORANI: A simple pine coffin and social distancing to keep mourners safe, the body of archbishop Desmond Tutu is lying in state at his former church,
St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, where South Africans are paying their very last respects to the antiapartheid hero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was the moral compass of the country, if you like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He can pass away but his memory will live beyond this moment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just lived out this ability to celebrate the fact that we are all God's children. And that means that no one's more
important. So we're not afraid of anyone and we're not going to pander to anyone. But we're also going to notice everyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Tutu's casket arrived at the cathedral Thursday morning and will remain there until his funeral New Year's Eve. The Nobel laureate is being
honored by a week of memorials and tributes after he spent decades fighting apartheid.
Back in 1994, when South Africa held its first democratic election, its first president, Nelson Mandela, described the archbishop as "the voice of
the voiceless." The world lost Desmond Tutu on Sunday when he died at the age of 90. And our David McKenzie is in Cape Town and joins us now live
And set the scene for us; today, mourners paying their respects. We were discussing yesterday how the archbishop himself said, just find me the
cheapest casket you can, which really says a lot about him, even in death.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Hala. It certainly is in keeping with a man, who was larger than life but always humble in his
approach to life, a political figure who was never really a politician.
And you see that in all the ways that this memorial and the days of lying in state and the funeral are arranged. The former archbishop was heavily
involved in his own funeral planning and asked for the cheapest casket available, taken in that solemn procession to St. George's Cathedral, a
short few blocks from where I'm standing.
There will be a final moment for South Africans and others to pay their last respects on Friday and then that funeral on Saturday, with 100 people,
because of COVID restrictions, paying their respects to the great man -- Hala.
GORANI: And what about the funeral -- so you mentioned the funeral on Saturday.
What should we expect on that day?
MCKENZIE: Well, we should expect an Anglican memorial, a requiem mass for the archbishop. And I'm sure there will be very heartfelt remarks from
those attending because this man had a huge impact on South Africa's modern political history.
As a fighter against apartheid, he often was in that pulpit at that same cathedral where his funeral will take place, raging against the wrongs of
the apartheid regime and particularly the security forces.
There were protests frequently in the streets around me and around that church that he often organized and he was leading personally. He was a man
small of stature but incredibly brave, physically brave.
And it wasn't just that he spoke the words of his faith. He took his faith and acted on it and showed that there really isn't a place for standing on
I remember hearing him say he had to leave his early vocation as a teacher when they brought in the racist education regime of apartheid, because he
couldn't even be vaguely associated with that injustice.
He became a religious man and used his bully pulpit of peace, as it's being called, many times to effect change in this country. So it will be a moment
of reflection on New Year's Day, bringing in the new year here in Cape Town, South Africa, a city he was long associated with. Hala?
GORANI: Thank you very much. David McKenzie in Cape Town.
New revelations now about an iconic moment you may or may not remember, depending on your age --
GORANI: -- British pop star Elton John's performance at Princess Diana's funeral 24 years ago. Now the two were known to be close friends but,
according to papers released by the U.K. National Archive, there was resistance from Buckingham Palace over a version of Elton John's hit ,
"Candle in the Wind," rewritten specifically for Diana.
The dean of Westminster even had to personally appeal to allow this performance. Now Diana, of course, died in Paris in 1997, resulting in a
huge outpouring of public grief. Interesting, though, that, to learn, today, 24 years later, that that performance was at risk of not happening
at all, one of the most memorable performances.
And it's been a roller coaster of a year for the British royal family, who never seem to be far away from the headlines these days. A tell-all
interview shocked the world with racism allegations and the death of a major family figure left the queen a widow. Our Max Foster reports on the
royal family's 2021.
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the royal family, 2021 was punctuated by loss.
ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF ENGLAND: In the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of
the many tributes to his life and work.
FOSTER (voice-over): Husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, the man she described as her strength and stay no longer by her side, after
73 years of personal and professional partnership.
One image lingers from his funeral that spoke not just to her loss but to that of so many others, who were left on their own because of COVID.
But it didn't slow her down. The queen, back at her desk, while she was still officially in mourning until doctors advised her to rest in October
following a hospital stay and preliminary investigations into an undisclosed condition; later, compounded by a back sprain.
KATE WILLIAMS, AUTHOR AND ROYAL EXPERT: It is an extremely punishing schedule for someone who is 95. And I think no one would criticize her at
all and everyone would support her in stepping back and doing a bit less.
FOSTER (voice-over): She gave up international travels some years ago. So Prince Charles represented her in Barbados in November for a ceremony to
replace her as head of state by a locally appointed president. It marked the end of 396 years of British rule and a long-awaited reconciliation with
the island's colonial past.
CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: The appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with
FOSTER (voice-over): It wasn't first time that race came up as an issue for the family in 2021.
MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: Concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born.
FOSTER (voice-over): Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, went rogue, not just leaving their royal roles but telling all to Oprah Winfrey
on why they felt the need to get out.
EMILY NASH, ROYAL EDITOR, "HELLO! MAGAZINE": It raised very serious allegations of racism but also of rifts within the family, difficulties
between Prince Harry and his father, the differences between him and his brother. It really was a very warts-and-all opening-up of things that have
traditionally been kept very private by the royal family.
FOSTER (voice-over): The queen issued a statement, acknowledging the allegations and committing to address them whilst also pointedly noting
that recollections may vary.
The rest of the family, characteristically, kept calm and carried on, until William was fired an unsolicited question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Are you a racist family, sir?
PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE (from captions): No, we're very much not a racist family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER (voice-over): And the queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, spoke to CNN but wouldn't be drawn on the Sussex saga.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE EDWARD, EARL OF WESSEX: And listen, we have all been there before. We have all had an excessive intrusion and attention in our lives. And
we've all dealt with it in slightly different ways. And, listen, we wish them the very best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER (voice-over): The palace has continued to distance itself from Prince Andrew publicly, pursued by the FBI in recent years for sexual abuse
allegations. Accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a civil suit this year, claiming the royal assaulted her when she was 17.
Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied all wrongdoing. Regardless of how the impending trial unfolds, royal commentators expect the institution to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NASH: I think the royal brand has taken quite a battering in 2021, from all sides, you know. We've had the fallout from the Oprah interview, we've
had Prince Andrew's ongoing legal issues.
These are all things that, you know, really should have dented the monarchy.
NASH: But I think that the key players have just quite simply kept calm and carried on and done some really good things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER (voice-over): In February 2022, the queen will celebrate her platinum jubilee, the only British monarch to do so, having first ascended
to the throne 70 years ago in 1952. The Firm is keen to focus attention on that and the success of the queen's entire reign rather than a tumultuous
12 months -- Max Foster, CNN, London.
GORANI: After the break, brand new medical gloves produced in the United States.
Why is that significant?
Well, following our exclusive report, we'll explain.
GORANI: At least four people are now reported dead in Sudan, after security services opened fire with live bullets on protesters,
demonstrating against military rule.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI (voice-over): Sudan's Central Doctors' Committee said live bullets and tear gas were fired on the crowds and that a number of people are also
wounded. We're also learning that broadcasters have been raided and journalists may have been assaulted by security forces.
The U.S. embassy in Khartoum condemned the shootings, saying it deplores the attacks and calling on authorities to respect the freedom of the press.
There's been a series of mass protests since an October military coup.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: More now on our top story: the coronavirus, particularly the Omicron variant, is spreading in unexpected ways. U.K. scientists say
they're seeing more cold-like symptoms, including sore throats, headaches and runny noses.
Their study estimates 75 percent of people experiencing those symptoms likely don't have a cold but likely have COVID-19.
India reported more than 13,000 new infections today, a 43 percent jump from yesterday. And, as we talked about earlier, new cases in the U.S. are
hitting all-time highs.
One medical expert says the spike is unlike anything we've ever seen, overwhelming emergency departments in Washington. Nationwide, over 300,000
new cases in the U.S. in a 24-hour period.
The pandemic has put U.S. dependence on foreign imports on full display. The country relies very much on overseas suppliers, for everything from
masks to medical gowns, to hospital gloves.
GORANI: It's made the U.S. very vulnerable to supply chain upheavals and to some bad actors. Now a factory in Illinois is hoping to change that.
Scott McLean joins us with those details -- Scott.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Hala. Yes, the pandemic certainly taught us a lot of valuable lessons. One of the biggest was the value in
diversity in medical supply chains, because, at the outset of the pandemic, decades of outsourcing meant that the U.S. and many other Western countries
as well were suddenly at the mercy of Asian countries, which produced the vast majority of the world's PPE.
And we all know the chaos that happened after that. We saw shady middlemen, price gouging, fraud scams and, as our CNN investigation found, dirty, used
medical gloves being imported to the United States by the tens of millions.
So to make sure that never happens again, nitrile glove factories are now popping up across the United States. Now because this is a product that was
barely made in the U.S. at all before the pandemic, these startups are very short on experience. But they are not lacking in ambition.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Literally hot off the production line, the very first hand molds being dipped in nitrile.
A 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 have 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 in American manufacturing, specifically for critical assets like class one medical
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.
(on camera): 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?
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
MCLEAN (voice-over): 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 child care.
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 start-up 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 U.S.
is on foreign sources, which is a vulnerability in public health emergencies.
Another American start-up, 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 we're prepared for a
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, 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: Now in the midst of a pandemic, of course, no one is complaining about U.S. government investment in domestic PPE production. But no one we
interviewed for this story thinks that that is a viable long-term solution, either.
The medical supply chain expert that you heard from there thinks that the U.S. government ought to instead be investing -- or they should instead be
negotiating better trade deals to make sure that wages and standards in countries like Malaysia, China and Thailand are comparable to wages and
standards in the U.S. so that American producers can compete on a level playing field.
And Dylan Ratigan, he is trying to send a message to large multinational companies that take advantage of low labor costs in the developing world.
And, of course, there are too many of them to list.
He says that if you can make a product as simple as a nitrile glove in the United States, something that is literally worth just a few pennies, then
there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to make shoes and tablets in the U.S. and still pay people right.
But of course, he has yet to prove that he can actually make money, because he doesn't expect to sell his first shipment of gloves until February -- at
GORANI: OK. Thanks very much, Scott McLean.
And we'll be right back. Stay with us.
GORANI: As we reach the end of the year, CNN's gender equality reporting team collected the 12 best photos taken by women in 2021, in an industry
still very much dominated by men.
The As Equals team shines a light on the women helping us see the world through a different lens. Four of the photographers sat down to tell us
about their work.
SUZANNE PLUNKETT, PHOTOGRAPHER (voice-over): What you see in the photo is a boulder being placed by Greenpeace in a marine protected area. By placing
these boulders, they can protect these wildlife marine protected areas.
I remember sort of bracing myself and really thinking, like, I've got to do it and I just really had to focus. I was kind of cutting out everything.
There was a lot of kind of chaos going around behind me.
MARLENA WALDTHAUSEN, PHOTOGRAPHER (voice-over): On my picture we see Max and Alex, a trans (ph), who have been married for 1.5 years. And they lie
on a blanket next to the shore of a lake.
What I have heard from Max is that they feel that trans life is so invisible in public and that if there are stories that reach a wider
audience, it's always about loneliness and pain.
WALDTHAUSEN (voice-over): So what I wanted to show in the picture is their daily life, their relationship and their life outside of those stereotypes.
I love the hand of Alex, touching Max's hair. And you can kind of almost feel the fingers in your own hair when you look at the picture. That's what
FLORENCE GOUPIL, PHOTOGRAPHER (voice-over): This is a portrait of Concepcion, who is an indigenous woman from the Andes region of Peru. This
is a woman that testified that she was sterilized. It was a mix of feelings, of course.
This is a problem, an issue that hasn't been resolved yet. There is no justice yet. It's been 25 years and these women are still trapped in
silence. It is, for me, like a gate to invite many other women that are silenced to call for justice.
KIANA HAYERI, PHOTOGRAPHER (voice-over): This photo specifically shows hundreds of women, dressed up in colorful clothes, wearing their makeup,
the best clothes they have (INAUDIBLE) poverty. And they've come to (INAUDIBLE) to celebrate now (INAUDIBLE) Persian new year.
Afghanistan is a beautiful, beautiful country, with very beautiful people. And it's sad that it's been -- the news about Afghanistan is dominated by
all these like horrific stories like return of Taliban, poverty and droughts. I think this is a perfect example of that beauty that we're
missing to see in the media.
GORANI: And you can see the full photography collection on CNN's website.
So nothing's better than Christmas leftovers. The animals at Berlin Zoo would agree. Their festive snack of choice, 200 unsold fir trees donated to
the zoo for the animals to eat or play with.
The zoo says the trees give the animals a festival for the senses and are, quote, "not only a source of nutrition but also act as enrichment."
It's getting very philosophical. More than a lovely way of spreading Christmas cheer, it's also climate conscious. We'd love to see them in the
wild but here you have it. According to Carbon Trust, a discarded Christmas tree has a carbon footprint of about 35 pounds. So there you have it, a
win-win for the environment and for the wildlife, having a good time, munching away.
Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Lynda Kinkade is up next.