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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  February 19, 2021 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome to "the lead," i'm jd a -- and i'm jake tapper. joe biden thanks employees and encouraging all americans to take the vaccine once it is available. president biden has promised vaccines for anyone who wants one by july of this year and today pfizer ceo said they accepted a challenge to try to produce vaccines even faster but he is not making promises to getting life back on track. >> i abelieve we'll be approaching normalcy by the end of this year and god wig this
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christmas will be different than last. but i can't make that commitment to you. >> the vaccine rollout which was already lagging is now facing a new challenge. widespread severe winter weather that has shut down shipping hubs and canceled appointments as well as transportation. vaccinations in aln affected. the distribution in some places have been brought to a grinding halt as dr. fauci put it. officials say this means the u.s. will have to work double time to catch up. cnn's jeff zeleny is traveling with president biden in michigan. the u.s. is approaching any day now the 500,000 covid death. president biden under a lot of pressure to ramp up vaccinations. what is he saying today? >> reporter: he absolutely is under pressure and he knows that he own this is challenge and problem. it is why he wanted to come here to the pfizer plant behind me in
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portage, michigan, to see firsthand and make the case that, a., vaccines are safe. we have not heard this message in a while, because there has not been -- there is a shortage of vaccinations, but as they ramp up supply, there is a worry inside the white house and across the administration that the people who need the vaccines may not be taking them. so he said i urge americans that are eligible to believe that these vaccines are safe. but then, jake, he quickly shifted to trying to urge republicans to support his $1.9 trillion covid economic relief bill. and he said, in the most political terms yet since he became president, look, the polls show that the majority of americans support this bill. and then he said, what would you have me take out of this bill? what should we not spend on trying to solve this problem. so trying to drum up support for this. but, jake, the reality is that this is likely to be a democrat-only bill at this point unless we see changes next week in the house and in the senate. but clearly the president trying
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to say that he is getting a handle on this. but also urging calm. he said there are things that we cannot control. like the weather. like other strains and variants. so saying that the u.s. will get a handle on this but acknowledging even he does not know exactly when that will be, jake. >> is he open at all to changing the bill in order to get republican support? is that something that he's willing to do? >> reporter: he teased that in terms of the spending on this. he has defended the $1.9 trillion price tag on this. saying now is the time to go big. but he said he does still want to sit down with republicans and they could -- he could be open to trimming the number in some respect. that likely means more targeted economic relief checks to americans. he didn't say that specifically but signaled some openness to trimming it somewhat but certainly not zram atticly. they're focusing on this big bill here. but the house could vote as
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early as next week. but still a lot of complications along the way largely with democrats in the president's own party. >> thank you so much. today the white house said winter weather has created a backlog of 6 million vaccine doses and officials are expressing optimism that they could catch up and claiming that the back log will be delivered n the next week. >> feeling the impact of the deadly winter storm. >> reporter: millions delayed forcing states to close mass vaccination sites like disneyland in california. andy slavitt saying the winter weather has impacted every part of the process, from vaccine manufacturing to distribution hubs. >> our logistic distribution teams have all faced challenges as workers have been snowed in and unable to get to work to package and ship the vaccines,
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kits, and the require dilute. >> now affecting as many as 13 vaccination sites until the power is back, they can't get if you supplies. but 1.4 million doses are finally on the move again today. health officials say ups and fedex will make saturday and sunday delivers this week and tasking states with making up for lost time next week. >> next we'll week we'll try to double up. >> 90% of the allocation will arrive late because of the weather out east. >> as so many states across the country were starting to close the gap between doses received and shots in arms. 37 states now say they've administered more than 75% of what they've received. four states are over 90%. >> we've not got over 200 vaccine distribution sites and we're ready for more. we have been told to expect a significant increase. >> reporter: the latest estimates suggest a big increase. if pfizer and moderna are able
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to provide what they've promised in the next three months the u.s. should have three times as many shots on hand. and even with the delays we're experiencing right now, the biden administration is pushing forward with plans to open more federally administered vaccination sites saying today that they will open four new sites florida, one in pennsylvania. all five should be up and running in its next two weeks. jake. >> alexandria field, thank you so much. and joining us to discuss, the democratic governor phil murphy. so about 5% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. that is also the national average right now. experts say that we need that number to be 70% to 85% of the population in order for there to be herd immunity achieved. what is responsible for the rollout being slower than desired so far and how do you plan to step up the vaccination rates particularly with this weather challenge?
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>> yeah, the weather is certainly the here and now reason why it is in a straight line but i'm confident it sounds like your reporting is as well, that this will straighten itself out in a matter of days. the biggest reason is the lack of supply. we're now up to 85% of every shot that we've gotten has been already administered. it is 70% in the federal program for long-term care, it is 88% in the piece of the big part of this that we control. i think we've overbuilt our distribution capability, jake, knowing that we didn't have the supply that we wanted or expected at the beginning. but as that supply increases, i am very confident we have the distribution capability to get it into people's arms. >> bloomberg reports that there have been zdaily fixes and glitches with your appointment booking system.
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it is crashing and blocking users. what is going wrong and how are you fixing it? >> yeah, we've had some spirited challenges with our principal vender. it is in a better place this week, thank god. and we're -- our intention is to keep it that way. we've had 2.7 million people preregister for a vaccine. so i don't want to -- there is no excuse for that but the reality is this is among the biggest supply demand in balance of anything i've ever been around. it is going to get cured. biden team is doing a good job. they inherited a empty cupboard but they are fixing that. the president was laser focused on it. i'm cautiously optimistic that in the not too distant future this is a much more balanced, more regular cadence, much more acceptable reality for all of us. >> i know it is hyperbole when you said a empty cupboard but
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the trump administration had the vac up and going, it is not as though they didn't do anything here and that should be recognized. and i want to ask you about the racial gap in vaccinations which is an issue all over the country. it is particularly wide in new jersey. only 4% of vaccines going to black residents of the garden state are 15% of the state's population, 5% of vaccines in new jersey going to hispanic residents, though hispanics are 20% of the new jersey population. why is this disparity happening? what are you going to do about it? >> i just want to go back to the prior administration. i don't think any democratic elected leader in the country gave the trump team as much credit for the development -- >> absolutely. >> as i did. >> yeah. >> so your absolutely right about that. but the manufacturing distribution piece they let us down. listen, we're not happy with the penetration at the moment in our black and brown communities. that is begun to change the numbers are better than that
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today. still not acceptable. we've begun a fema partnership in houses of worship. i'm going to be in a latino church on tuesday and a friend of mine's baptist church on wednesday. we need to do a lot more. we have a plan to do a lot more to get into communities that we've not been able to reach as effectively as we'd like. that is going to change and it has to change. this pandemic didn't create these inequities but it is laid them bare. >> you have said that all schools in new jersey should reopen. but a lot of them are not. including in the two largest school districts. they've remained closed to in-person learning with teachers union saying that the teachers don't feel safe. you have said that you agree that the science is on the the side of getting kids back into a physical classroom as long as safety measures are taken with masking and distancing. so why are all of the classrooms still closed? >> if you look at districts, jake, that we have
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responsibility for, whether this is districts, charter schools and renaissance schools, it is just over 800. right now plus or minus 650 of them have some form of in-person instruction. in fairness, a lot of them are hybrid. so there is different cohorts during the week depending on which day you look at it. but the needle is moving pretty regularly, pretty -- with a pretty good rhythm toward -- from remote to hybrid and ultimately from hybrid to all in-person. vaccines for educators, i hope to get to sooner than later. that is an important step to accelerate that progress. it is not a bright line only step. it is obviously the social distancing, the ventilation, the face coverings and all of the other contributors, but we are slowly but surely getting to what we need to which is safe,
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responsible, in-person instruction. >> does the vaccinating of teachers need to be accompanied by a pledge to go back to school because kids are suffering and if the violence is on the side of getting the kirds back in school i think there are a lot of frustrated parents and caregivers who do not understand why so many schools remain closed. should vaccinations for teachers putting them in the -- at the front of the come with a promise that they will go back to school? >> the problem with that, jake, is it implies that the only reason we're not back in school is the vaccine. and the cdc has been quite clear that the vaccine is a very important element to getting kids back to in-person instruction. but it is an element. it is an important one. but it is face coverings, social distancing, barriers, one-way halls, good ventilation, and
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vaccines, please god, sooner than later. and me point is we're migrated almost every day to more in-person instruction. will vaccines of our blessed heroic educators accelerate that? absolutely. there is no question about that. >> governor phil murphy of new jersey, thank you so much. appreciate your time today. >> thank you, jake. water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. now millions of texans are in need of drinking water and that is not the only basic necessity in short supply. plus get the second covid shot now or wait so more to ko get the first dose. could the vaccine time line be changing? stay with us. msung galaxy s21 is here and it's on verizon 5g ultra wideband, the fastest 5g in the world. available in parts of many cities. it's not just a great network. it's ridiculously fast. (vo) stream your favorite shows in ultra hd. i'm so excited about this. streaming is crystal clear. select unlimited plans get the disney bundle included
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in our national lead, a water crisis is now unfolding in texas as most of the power is back on in the state. water and food are scarce. and officials warn that this may be the case for days as cnn's ed lavendera reports.
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>> reporter: a military plane transporting 84,000 bottles of water from california landed in galveston texas. water and distribution sites in houston and san antonio. >> i don't think any of us was expecting this. and for it to be like this. so it is all about survival until it starts getting warm. >> no water, and i have a 7-year-old and it is like, it is tough. >> reporter: some 16 million texans are battling water disruptions as more than 1200 public water systems afighting to fix disruptions. the worst of the texas freeze is over. state officials say the power grid emergency is now under control. there are still tens of thousands of people without power in texas. but getting those people back on line will require utility crews to repair damage inflicted by the winter storm and that could
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take several more days to repair. >> i want to acknowledge the immense human suffers that we saw throughout this event. when people lose power this there are heartbreaking consequences. >> seven people around the town of abilene died. a volunteer found an elderly couple in their home. it was 12 degrees inside. >> they had elected to leave their home and so it was 24 hours later she went back to take them food and found the husband deceased in bed. >> reporter: as if battling a massive power outage wasn't enough, residents like melissa webb in this apartment complex could only watch as fire destroyed her homes. >> i haven't been able to go to work all week long and now everything that we have is gone. >> as the water pressure, as you mentioned -- >> part of the building collapsed as a reporter
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interviewed a firefighter after frozen fire hydrants helped not to put out the flames. del rio mayor said his city wastewater system was knocked offline for an hour this week which sent sewage seeping into low-lying parts of the city. >> this is something that it is beyond historical, unprecedented. it is a chain reaction of worst case scenario of worst case scenarios. >> greg abbott has renewed calls for an investigation of ercot and called for executives to resign. bill magness answered questions on cnn. >> how you could keep your job after a week like this. >> we're going to go and explain the steps that we took and how that played into the entire situation on the electric grid. if that is the outcome, that is the outcome. that is where we're accountable and we want to be accountable and explain what we did.
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and then we'll see what happens. >> reporter: jake, as a friday afternoon, there is about 160,000 people across the state still without power. it will take most of the weekend to get all of the water issues fixed. there is a sliver of good news. temperatures across the state finally above freezing but we have one more night of frigid below freezing temperatures to go before we're out of the woods, jake. >> ed lavendera, hang in there. appreciate your report. i want to bring in the mayor of san antonio, texas, mr. mayor, how bad are things in san antonio. does the city have power and water that you could use, are grocery stores stocked? >> well 20% of our service area is without water right now. about 30% are low pressure. we have been doing well in terms getting people's power back on. we have roughly 500 or so without power. the sun has come out in san
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antonio but it has been a tough week of suffering in our community like it has all across the country, all across the state. >> what about grocery stores? is there enough food there for people? >> there has been a run on water as you could imagine and other food stuffs. so there has been an incredible amount of activity in our grocery stores and in fact my wife was just today spending three hours at the grocery store bagging groceries for the community and there is just a lot of activity. but there is a run on supplies so what we've done is set up water delivery, mass distribution sites along with the food bank all around the city and that will continue for a while. >> mr. mayor, we know you spoke with somebody at the biden white house. have you talked to governor abbott? >> yeah, i talked to the governor last night. and described our situation. which unfortunately is playing out all across the state. one of the things that we talked
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about is working to -- on a fund to help people pay for broken pipes and related damage that has been part of that chain reaction of this terrible event that started with the ercot shut downs of power. >> so you have long lines today at a water distribution site in san antonio and as you've discussed many texans need to boil water before using it. how long do you anticipate needing this distribution site open and when do you think water will be fully functioning in san antonio? >> you know, it is very hard to say, jake. because what we're anticipating now with the weather warming and pipes thawing is that we'll have a crisis of infrastructure damage. we have been sending more water through pipes than we usually do in the peak months of the summer. but that -- there is to pressure. so the water is going somewhere. so there is going to be a catastrophic number of leaks and
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breaks in our pipe system and that is going to continue for some. the truth of the matter is the water supply lines and water distributions have been occurring for the last 12 months because of covid and now we have another crisis on our hands with regard to the energy situation. >> san antonio mayor ron nuremburg, thank you so much. let us now hoe with you could help and what we need to bring attention to. our thought and prayers are with the people of texas. >> thank you, jake. president biden's first major speech to the world showing they're not dealing with trump any more. stay with us.
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our world lead today, it is a big day for president biden's foreign policy agendas he looks to change america's standing on the world stage and undo you the president trump agenda. amidst criticism he's turning a blind eye to iran's human rights record and not to mention the funding of terrorism as alex marquardt now reports. >> america is back. >> reporter: it might have been virtual but biden's first return to the u.s. stage was no less than a seismic shift for foreign policy. >> america is back. the transatlantic alliance is back. and we are not looking backward. we're looking forward together.
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>> reporter: in a speech alongside the leaders of france, germany and britain, biden vowed to reengage with europe to con front the rise of china and bullying and the threat to democracy around the world. >> democracy doesn't happen by accident. we have to defend it. fight for it. strengthen it. renew it. >> reporter: biden's virs visit was at the state department, a clear signal that he plans to reverse or change course from donald trump's inward looking self-centered approach. >> from this day forward, it is going to be only america first. america first. >> american and alliances are our greatest asset and leading with diplomacy means standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies. >> reporter: one of trump's first moves was to pull the u.s. out of the iran nuclear deal and impose the so-called maximum pressure campaign.
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now the biden administration is ready to talk again. >> this was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. it didn't bring calm. it didn't bring peace. and it never will. >> the threat of nuclear proliferation also continues to require careful diplomacy and cooperation among us. we need transparency and communication to minimize the risk of strategic misunderstanding or mistakes. >> reporter: today the u.s. officially re-entered the paris climate accord which trump had withdraw from and criticized. >> i was elected to represent the citizens of pittsburgh, not paris. >> together we need to invest in the technological innovations that will power our clean energy futures anden enable us to clea energy solutions. >> reporter: president biden was speaking to a friendly european
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audience, welcoming him with open arms and the british prime minister saying that the u.s. is back at the leader of the free world. that does not mean that they're in lockstep and that europe will simply follow the u.s. europe has become more independent during the past four years of trump, forging its own path and will have significant differences with the u.s. on the the critical issues of china and russia. >> thank you so much. it seems the new acceptance test for the republican party involves a trip to a private club in florida. who is in and who is out? that's next. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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we have breaking news for you now. democratic senator joe manchin of west virginia just announced that he will vote against president biden's pick to lead the office of management and budget putting her nomination in jeopardy. saying i have carefully reviewed the public statements and tweets that were personally directed toward my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from bernie sanders to mitch mcconnell and others. i believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of the congress and the next director of the office of management and budget. let's bring in our panel. alexander rojas, this is biden's first defeat and obviously a defeat for -- personally because of a bunch of tweets that she's done that were rather harsh. >> yeah, and i mean, there is public record of those tweets. but the reality is i think that
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joe manchin is the one being divisive right now. we're in the middle of a public pandemic. joe biden was just re-elected by a huge mandate by the american people and we need to deliver and need people in positions of power who are ready to go big in this moment and not leave anybody behind. the mentality has to be of the democratic party but any elected official that we have to move quickly to save as many lives as possible and i would also point out that he had to problem voting to confirm other appointments of clearly partisan members when it was the previous republican administration. there should be no, i think, opposition to some, you know, folks that are being proposed by the biden administration who have, you know, clearly are ready to do the work and get the job done and they feel are the best prepared to do it. >> and mary katharine, it needs to be pointed out the republican resistance, i'm not sure how many of the 50 republican senators are against her
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nomination but it is in jeopardy. republicans for four years said oi oh, i didn't see the tweet whenever asked about donald trump's tweets which by the way were far worse as obnoxious as neara tandent's tweets were. it is bizarre to see a bunch of republican senators who have read tweets and suddenly offended. >> i think it is minimal. it goes more to being the head of a liberal think tank for a long time and a liberal movement and this is a partisan divide, not so much tweets. i also don't love people going down for mean tweets. but here is the thing. senator joe manchin has a pinky ring and it one ring to rule them all. he is in charge of these things and in huge ways because of the very nonexistent margin that democrats have right now. and so i think he's allowed to have a vote of conscience in which he decides that this
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nominee doesn't work for him. and i don't necessarily want to -- well i think the democratic party shouldn't want to question him motives because they have could keep getting him on their side. >> it is true. meanwhile there is the civil war going on in the republican party. kevin mccarthy and steve scalise made the trip to mar-a-lago and now lindsey graham is heading there to try to make peace between president trump and mitch mcconnell. mcconnell said he's not going to bend the knee and then there is nikki haley, trying to straddle the two sides, criticize trump for his behavior since election day but praising trump. she wanted to meet with trump and he refused to meet with her, alexandria. >> the republican party is trying to figure out what to do with trump. he's to popular within the base of the gop to completely denounce and move on. i think it is important to call out that nikki haley, folks like
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lindsey graham who are also trying to quell the civil war, bring some peace, also prior to four years ago where on the record saying how much they disliked the former president and now they have to own the responsibility of what they're party has become. and so, again, while the republicans are in this sort of civil war and are going to continue to be down that path, i think for a little while because all of the conversation about what the future of the republican party looks like are in the context of donald trump, it is just going to be very difficult and i think democrats have to take this opportunity to show that we could really deliver. which is why i think we're just talking about senator joe manchin, it is important that we move as quickly as possible to save as many lives as possible and that means passing bills as quickly as possible, making sure that we're providing a wage increase for essential workers and a number of other issues that we could deliver on while the republicans are in disarray. >> and mary katharine, john thune is defending his colleagues who voted to impeach
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or convict former president trump saying basically that all of the these county and state republican party censuring the people who voted their conscience are engaging in republican cancel culture. what do you think? >> well honestly i think that is the best tactic, to speak up vociferously and defend your vote of conscience and on behalf of others because i don't think that it gets you much to go to mar-a-lago other than maybe a tan because i don't think that trump is necessarily interested in the future of the party. he's interested in the future of trump. and that is always been the case. that is not a controversial statement. even for people who really like trump. there is -- you must admit he's a transactional human being. and here is the problem. -- post january 6th and post impeachment finds that 54% of americans want trump out of politicals entirely. they find him to be a toxic force.
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74% want him active with 50% wanting to be the head of the party. so there is a tough line to walk here and graham is saying, hey, can you not go to war with us in primaries, please, please, please. if he feels like going to war, he will go to war. but if the republican party has a future where it could reach the votes it lost, it is going to be somebody who could walk the line like a nikki haley or more likely like a desantis who is governing and doesn't have time to get into a lot of discussions with trump. he's like, that i think works in his favor as somebody who might be able to walk that line in the future. >> thanks to both of you, tune in this sunday to state of the union, dr. fauci and mike mccaul, and ark saw acea hutchinson and pramila jayapal join us. wait or not to wait for the second vaccine dose as millions are still waiting to get their
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first shots. stay with us. till you find the perfect slice... even if everyone asks you... another burger truck? don't listen to them! that means cooking day and night until you get... [ ding ] you got paid! that means adding people to the payroll. hi mom. that means... best burger ever. intuit quickbooks helps small businesses be more successful with payments, payroll, banking and live bookkeeping.
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it's moving day. and while her friends
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are doing the heavy lifting, jess is busy moving her xfinity internet and tv services. it only takes about a minute. wait, a minute? but what have you been doing for the last two hours? delegating? oh, good one. move your xfinity services without breaking a sweat. now that's simple, easy, awesome. xfinity makes moving easy. go online to transfer your services in about a minute. get started today. covid's still a threat. and on reopening schools, we know what happens when we don't put safety first. ignore proper ventilation or rates of community spread, and the virus worsens. fail to provide masks or class sizes that allow for social distancing, and classrooms close back down. a successful reopening requires real safety and accountability measures. including prioritizing vaccines for educators. parents and educators agree: reopen schools. putting safety first.
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in our health lead today, new evidence in two different medical journals suggested that after the first dose of the pfizer vaccine, rates of covid infection appeared to drop by as much as 90%. this raises questions about whether it is worth delaying second doses. so that more people could use the second dose as their first shots. let's bring in dr. paul offit, doctor, good to see you. the u.s. has distributed 73 million doses of vaccine and put 57 million dose news arms and a single dose would immediately double the supply available if everybody got the first instead of getting two. what do you make of that idea, delaying the second dose until most have had their first.
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>> i think that is a bad idea. there was a three week interval before dose two so you could see whether one dose worked and they found if you looked between 14 and 21 days when people got sick they were much more likely to have received the placebo than the vaccine. so during that one week period of time based on small numbers that the vaccine was about 92% effective for a few weeks. the reason this is a to dose vaccine is that when pfizer and moderna did the so-called phase one studies to see whether or not they needed a second dose, they found when they gave the second dose they have a much, much higher to the neutralizing antibodies and more importantly, most importantly, you develop the kind of immune cells that predicted memory. so it is clear that this is a two-dose vaccine. that you're going to have longer, better, more complete immunity with the second dose and if people wait a long time for that second dose, i'm not saying that you can't wait say
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six weeks between dose one and two, but if you're waiting months and months, you'll have this false notion that your protected when you may well not be. i think it is a mistake. >> i want to you ask about the cdc director today saying that schools could open at any stage of community spread. take a listen. >> the numbers that remain red, so with universal masking and physical distancing and devenation of classrooms there is opportunities for in-person learning. >> you work at children's hospital of philadelphia. what do you think? >> well, i agree with dr. walensky. i think the school is a more controlled situation. so in theory, if you do the things that you should do, mask, physical distance, do the kinds of mitigation procedures for example have people sitting as much as you can six feet apart, don't have everybody get together in the cafeteria, that you could have less spread in that setting than you would say in the community which has been shown in a couple of studies.
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so i agree with that. >> dr. paul offit, thank you so much. appreciate your time. coming up, what do hunter biden, andrew cuomo and donald trump and rudy giuliani have in common. that is next. s21 is here and it's on verizon 5g ultra wideband, the fastest 5g in the world. available in parts of many cities. it's not just a great network. it's ridiculously fast. (vo) stream your favorite shows in ultra hd. i'm so excited about this. streaming is crystal clear. select unlimited plans get the disney bundle included and discovery+ on us. yes! buy samsung galaxy s21+ 5g. get one on us. only on verizon. if you have risk factors like heart disease, diabetes and raised triglycerides,... ...vascepa can give you something to celebrate. ♪ vascepa, when added to your statin,... ...is clinically proven to provide 25% lower risk from heart attack and stroke. vascepa is clearly different.
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in our politics lead today, the manhattan district attorney's office just added a seasoned widely respected white house collar criminal prosecutor. the idea to bolster the team investigating possible fraud by former president trump.
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this happens as high-profile investigations are heating up and attorney general merrick garland will face tough questions at his monday confirmation including investigation news trump, rudy giuliani, andrew cuomo and perhaps even president biden's son hunter as jessica schneider reports. >> our law is not the instrument of partisan purpose. >> reporter: judge merrick garland guaranteed impartialality when i accepted the nomination for attorney general. but the issue next week are very political. >> we made a mistake. >> this week senate republicans demanded that garland fully commit to investigating andrew cuomo in what republicans are calling a cover-up for not reporting all nursing home deaths in 2020. the fbi and the u.s. attorney in brooklyn have opened an inquiry and that is not the only probe republicans will press on.
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>> i'm absolutely calling on a special counsel to look at everything hunter biden. >> they will raise the investigation of president's son hunter biden who they are looking into for tax and money laundering laws and business dealings with foreign countries, china in particular. the department of justice has already charged more than 220 people in connection with the capitol attack. >> we fight. we fight like hell. fwlnchts but garland is expected to face questions about whether to investigate former trump for inciting the insurrection and how to broaden the domestic terrorism background, something he tackled in 1995 when he was on the ground one day after the oklahoma city bombing. >> from a personal point of view, i wanted to go. i mean, it was a terrible scene on the television. >> reporter: garland has acknowledged his personal connection to its justice
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department. >> entering the department of justice will be a kind of home coming for me. >> reporter: he started his legal cavreer there and worked s a prescriptiosecutor before bec top official. >> i'm confident he'll look at every case on the merits and make sure that the department operates seamlessly across different elements. >> reporter: people who know him say garland will bring his deliberate demeanor as a judge to a position politicized over the past four years by four different attorneys general. and he'll have to decide whether to continue defending trump era policies in court, something that biden officials have already begun backtracking on. merrick garland will likely face intense questions from republicans on monday. and he'll have to walk a fine line here since he's still technically a sitting judge and is really not seen specific details about the cases, he'll soon have to confront. and jake, i'm told that his opening statement on monday will
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focus on the importance of an independent doj and the value of integrity and how civil rights will be a top priority after doj. >> thank you so much. and also in our health lead, dr. fauci this afternoon said that the world needs a universal coronavirus vaccine. one that covers all of the mutations of the deadly virus. moments ago in an interview with georgetown university, fauci said shame on us if we do not develop such a vaccine. since all coronaviruses such as covid-19 have what he calls pandemic potential. finally, we'd like to remember just one of the almost 500,000 lives lost to coronavirus in the u.s. a pandemic which is disproportionately effecting minorities. trisha was a 49-year-old mother of two and a nurse, she worked at the first surgical hospital in bel air, nur houston, texas, a nurse for 15 years, for 12 years she was the chief nursing
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officer. she got sick with covid in december and tayed on a ventilator for six weeks. she died on february 5th. her husband will miss hearing her voice the most. may her memory be a blessing to her kids and husband and all who knew her. follow me on facebook, instagram and twitter at jake tapper and tweet at "the lead." our coverage on cnn continues right now. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're following the extreme winter weather crisis in texas. the state right now facing another night of record cold temperatures amid a water crisis triggered by the near total failure of the state's power grid. nearly half of the state is being told to boil water before drinking it but many still have no water at all. compounding the misery, food shortages that have left some grocery store shelves totally empty while others are limited
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