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tv   MSNBC Live With Ayman Mohyeldin  MSNBC  February 22, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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other nation. the somber milestone comes as the house is set to vote this week on a nearly $2 trillion relief package and more than four years after being denied a seat on the supreme court, merritt garland is getting his confirmation hearing. this time for the attorney general of the united states. making this promise to lawmakers. >> if confirmed, i will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the capitol on january 6th. >> and the supreme court dealt a major blow to former president donald trump when it paved the way for prosecutors in new york to get access to his financial records and tax returns. joining us this hour, nbc news correspondent jeff bennett, tara palmieri, good to have you both with us. let's begin with you. the house plans to vote on the pandemic relief package as i noted, but the real test will be on the senate side of things.
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what happens when the package moves to the other side of the capital? >> well, there are a lot of questions over whether moderate democrats like kirsten and joe manchin will vote for this bill. a lot of people including moderate republicans have said this bill is too big. they haven't been pushing it too hafrld let's be honest. this is a very popular bill. 60% of the american public likes the bill. that means republicans like the bill. now, democrats in the meantime before it is even being presented, they're fighting over minimum wage hike and whether that will be put in the bill. tomorrow they will decide if they can pass it with reconciliation. so you're not hearing too. from republicans. they're kind of sitting back and letting democrats fight over the minimum wage package that would be a part of bill because they know that would be unpopular with joe manchin and those who have a lot of power.
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so yeah. everyone is really looking -- >> sorry. go ahead. we thought we lost but go ahead. >> i'm saying, all eyes are on these moderate democrats and if they will sign on to the bill. that is overwhelmingly popular. and to see if any republicans will agree and sign on to this bill. which would allow biden to say he did have a bipartisan palg. >> so let's talk about the covid briefing. the big question continues to be about the vaccination efforts. certainly some of those were hit with the weather and that has certainly slowed things down. what should we expect to hear when they speak in the next few minutes. >> i think we should expect to hear about that. the bad weather has wreaked havoc across the u.s. specially in texas where you've had power outages and water sortage that's have understandably slowed down the vaccine effort. dr. fauci seems to think that
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setback will be a temporary one. he thinks at least 2 million of the 6 million vaccine doses that were delayed are now on their way and he expects that by mid-week, things can be back up and running. of course it is also true that another white house covid briefing on wednesday so we can check in with him about that. but there is this cascading effect where people had their first vaccination appointment canceled. they then have to reschedule it and given that both the pfizer and moderna vaccines have a two dose regimen, you've now not only scheduled one appointment, you have to schedule two. so there's a cascading effect the states have to account for and that's outside the realm of what the white house can control. >> all right. let's talk about confirmations and hearings. what kind of reaction are we hearing so far from merrick garland's confirmation? >> it was really popular, even with republicans. you see a lot of 2024 hopefuls.
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like senator tom cotton, ted cruz, they're trying to make their cases. not just about merrick garland but why they are leaders, right? and you see them really try to use this moment in the spotlight. but merrick garland stole the show when he started to cry about how his family said they were refugees and they came to this country. this was the american dream, him becoming attorney general. i think it would be really hard for moderate republicans to not vote in support of the attorney general. he made not only a strong case but a compelling case that i think would be politically strong. >> one of the more notable moments throughout the early moments of the confirmation hearing. jeff, let's talk about someone who is having a bit of a challenge. senators manchin, collins and romney all say they will vote no on her confirmation to head the white house budget office. is the white house convinced there is at least one or maybe
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two republican votes to be found to save the nomination? >> i tell you what. that is what they are signaling publicly but they can do the math just like the rest of us. and evenly split 50/50 senate, if you lose one democrat, namely joe manchin, you have to make up for that with a republican. and so far two republicans, senator mitt romney and senator susan collins, have said they are not going to vote in favor of nera tanden. and there are a few who would be inclined to say yes. so it is not clear who these white house officials and hill leadership have set their sights on to turn into a yes vote on the republican side. but both the president and his top aides are expressing public support for her. we heard from jen psaki talking about the lived experience that she brings to the job, given that as a young child, neera
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tanden's mother was on the same support sfels neera attenden will be in charge of if confirmed. so i'm told that she has not made up a decision about how to proceed with this. that she's waiting at least for these committees to have the initial confirmation vote. >> all right. let's go for the covid briefing. >> to this pandemic. everyone lost is someone whose life and gifts were cut short. our hearts go out to all of those who are grieving loved ones, who are so deeply missed. for those of us in the administration, the occasion makes us more determined to turn the tide on covid-19 so the
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losses can subside and the healing can begin. the president has asked us to use every possible resource to make that happen. on friday, i provided an overview of how the extreme weather had impacted our vaccination efforts. today, i want to give an update on our progress to recover. that progress began as soon as the weather began to improve thanks to an all out round-the-clock effort from our teams and partners. mckesson extended shifts saturday and sunday to pack vaccines and members of the military joined them in their efforts. 70 mckesson employees volunteered to work 1:00 a.m. shifts saturday night, sunday morning to prepare shipments to meet an 11:00 a.m. transit deadline. on sunday, umss extended its
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time in kentucky to allow them to pack hundreds of thousands more doses. thanks to that and many more, those efforts, they plan to deliver 7 million doses. this is a combination of the recovery from last week's doses that were hindered because of the weather and today's normal distribution. i reported on friday that we would catch up on deliveries by the end of this week. we now anticipate that all back logged doses will be delivered by mid-week. delivering doses to administration sites is only the first step. sites around the country have a significant job ahead of them to quickly vaccinate the public. it will take some time for those sites to catch up.
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we encourage vaccination sites to follow that same lead of those who are working extended hours to catch up on deliveries by scheduling more appointments to vaccinate the anxious public as quickly as possible. there are still vaccination sites closed from the storm's impact. texas' seven-day average of administered covid-19 doses decreased by 31% in the past week due to weather impacts. some houston area vaccination clinics in testing sites have now reopened. austin public health does not believe reopening is safe at this time but announce that had when operations resume, they will include extended hours and additional locations. next i want to begin to turn to our efforts to educate and communicate with the public about the importance of vaccinations. after all, today's challenge in vaccinating those who are
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waiting must be accompanied by an equally aggressive effort to reach people who are considering getting vaccinated but haven't yet decided to. we are so fortunate to have highly effective vaccines and safe vaccines which makes the conversation with the public a much more straightforward one. let me tell you a little bit about the three stages of our approach the communication. for the last month, we've been in the first stage of this work. that first stage has entailed a significant number of activities. listening to the public's concerns, hearing from experts, testing how different audiences react to different methods of communication and different messengers, and ensuring we can provide the answers the public deserves. today we began a second and more public stage.
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engagement with key stake holders. the covid team has begun meeting on an ongoing basis state and local health leaders, nonprofits, businesses and unions about the pandemic. we've held more than 100 one-on-one discussions with these groups and will continue this engagement throughout the response. now, to continue to inform our efforts around vaccine confidence, over the next two weeks, the white house along with cdc and hhs will host aer suies of listening sessions with key stake holder groups. these meetings will be led by dr. smith who is leading our equity work. these conversations will focus on how to strengthen vaccine confidence and how to eliminate barriers that underserved communities are facing vaccinations like paid leave, transportation and scheduling. the meetings are kicking off today with a conversation with
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key leaders in the african-american community. we'll be meeting with latino groups, faith leaders and members of the rural community. these listening sessions will continue our effort to hear directly from communities who have been hit hardest by this pandemic and help us build strong partnerships with those key to our efforts to build vaccine confidence and reach everyone in our response. as a part of this effort, beginning today, through wednesday, cdc is hosting a national forum on vaccines where they're bringing together thousands of participant from around the country, from practitioners to jurisdictions to others working on the ground to discuss practical strategies, technical resources and best practices for vaccination efforts. in a moment, walensky will discuss this. all of this is not only the
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whole of government response with you to leverage the best exiting resources outside of government to end this pandemic as quickly as possible. and our third phase, the public education campaign will be time for maximum effectiveness and designed based on beau our learnings and take full advantage of the participation of many throughout the country. so with that i'll turn it over to dr. walensky and then to dr. fauci and then we'll take your questions. >> thank you. i'm glad to be back with you today. we continue to see trends head in the right direction. but cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain at very high levels. covid-19 in the united states has been declining for five weeks with the seven-day average dropping 74% since the peak seven-day average on january 11th. the current seven-day average, approximately 66,000 cases per day, is similar tom seen in last
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summer's peak. cases remain significantly elevated. and the seven-day average for new hospital admissions, 6500 a day, reflects a 60% decline since the peak seven-day average on january 9th. the lowest in hospital admissions since last fall. the number of reported deaths also continues to decline with the seven-day average slightly more than 1,900 deaths, dropping 39% compared to the prior seven-day average. this is the lowest since the beginning of december. however, this seven-day average is counter balanced by the stark reality that this week we will surpass one half million covid-19 deaths in the united states. a truly tragic reminder of the enormity of this pandemic and the loss it has afflicted on our personal lives and our communities. while the pandemic is heading in the right direction, there is still much work to do.
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one area that is particularly important is getting students back to nip instruction while protecting students, teachers and staff. a little more than a week ago we released our operational strategy for opening k-12 schools. this strategy provides the long needed, science-based map to help schools open and remain open for instruction. since the release of the strategy we've been working closely with the department have education, public health partners and education partners with teachers and other school staff to increase awareness of the guidance and to support its use in ongoing discussions and planning efforts for school reopenings. the goal is to achieve the reopening of schools safely. we continue to study covid-19 spread in schools that contribute to outbreaks and steps that can help prevent
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spread in schools. today, cdc published a concerning report in the morbidity and mortality, that details an investigation of covid-19 spread in eight public elementary schools in a single school district in georgia during a period of high community spread. in the report researchers identified nine clusters of covid-19 cases including 13 educators and 32 students at least six elementary schools. in two of these clusters, covid-19 was spread first from educator to educator, and then from educator to student. these two clusters accounted for half of all the school associated cases. across the nine clusters, educators played an important role in the spread of covid-19 in the schools. covid-19 spread often occurred during in-person meetings and lunches and then subsequently spread in classrooms.
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it was also spread from educator to educator and student to student but this occurred less frequently. the two main reasons for the spread of covid-19 in these schools were inadequate physical distancing and mask adherence. in the schools, physical distancing of at least six feet was not possible because of the high number of students in class as well as because of classroom layouts. in addition, covid-19 may have spread among educators and students during small group discussions where educators were in close proximity no students. although the school district mandated in-person mask wearing except while eating and mask wearing was reportedly high, the study found there were instances where lack or inadequate mask wearing by students occurred. in these situations, lack of physical distancing likely increased the risk of spread. in addition, students ate lunch in their classrooms which may have also contributed to spread. these findings underscore the
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importance of strict mask adherence to the five key layered mitigation strategies outlined in the cdc's k-12 operational strategy. in particular, universal mask wearing, physical distancing of at least six feet, and using cohorting or podding of students are important to minimize spread throughout the school environment. this is especially true for schools that have high rates of covid-19 in their communities. as we have noted, distancing requirements which we recognize are very challenging, can be relaxed as community rates come down. it is also worth noting approximately 60% of close contacts of the cases agreed to be tested for covid-19, and for those who were tested, testing took five to seven days. a delay that makes it incredibly difficult to rapidly contain spread. these findings highlight an additional key mitigation strategy recommended in cdc's
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school guidance. the need for diagnostic testing and rapid and efficient contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine in collaboration with the health department. the findings also highlight the importance of scaling up vaccination efforts across the country, including the continued need to prioritize teachers and other school staff for vaccination is part of front line essential workers. consistent with the recommendation of the advisory committee on the immunization practices. cdc's operational strategy specifically includes vaccination for teachers and school staff and an additional hair of protection that can be added to the five key layered mitigation strategies. finally, i want to emphasize that while cdc's operational strategy does provide for in-person learning, the safest and quickest ways to keep them open is to have as little covid-19 in the community as possible. enabling schools to open and remain open is therefore a
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shared responsibility. encouragingly, consistent with the recent declines in covid-19 cases in the united states, the percentage of counties with the highest level of covid-19 transmission continue to drop. declining from approximately 90% when we released our school guidance about ten days ago to 60% as of yesterday. now approximately 18% of counties have covid-19 levels at the low or moderate levels that is consistent with full in-person learning for all k-12 schools in cdc's guidance and 22% are at the substantial level, for in-person attendance for all kx 12 schools. for the 60% of counties remaining in the red zone, the counties with high transmission, we encourage at least the k-5 students to return to school in hybrid or reduced in-person attendance and for middle and
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high school schools virtually, unless they can strictly implement mitigation efforts and have few cases. schools that are already open should continue to provide in-person instruction as long as cases are low and they simply use mitigation measures to keep them low. i home these findings serve as a catalyst for each of us to do our part to drive down the number of cases and reduce the spread of covid-19. i know this is not easy and so many of us are frustrated with the destruction the pandemic has had on our lives and children's education. but working together as a nation, we can turn the tide. finally, i want to share some news about our virtual national forum that kicked off this morning. i'm excited to share that we have over 11,000 participant from 6,000 organizations across all 50 states. nearly all territories and 128 tribes and tribal organizations. over the next three days, these
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participant will share information and best practices on how to build trust and confidence in covid-19 vaccines, use data to implement, and provide practical real world experience on how to increase vaccination capacities in our communities. i encourage each of you to watch the live stream plenary sessions throughout the day and get everybody gauged in your vaccination efforts. i want to encourage everyone to protect each other by wearing a well fitting mask, staying six feet apart from the people you donal live with, avoiding travel in crowds, wash your hands often and get vaccinated when the vaccine is available to you. now i turn it over to dr. fauci. >> thank you. i'm going to talk for a few minutes on updating you on where we are on some selected therapeutics for covid-19. so if we can move ahead to my first slide. in general, when one thinks of
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therapeutics, you think of them as therapeutics for early or moderate disease versus therapeutics for moderate to advanced disease. clearly, the strategy early on is to block the replication of virus and prevent it from going to the upper air way and the lungs and other organ systems. however, we have found through experience over the past many months that when one gets advanced disease, the hyper or inflammatory or imnoological response gives as much to the morbidity and mortality as the actual virus recommendly indication itself. in that regard, a variety of drugs have been tested. one such as remdesivir, the effect is clear but modett.
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when regard to getting early intervention, mono clonal antibodies have received emergency use authorization. here again, the earlier one uses these, the better. these are as efficient and more efficient in those individuals who don't necessarily have a good antibody response. the same can be said of could not virginia lessent plasma which is also earned an emergency use authorization. again, because of the variability in the antibody in various plasma, the issue here is getting this as early as possible. there have been a number of trials of a variety of antivirals or other agents that are off the shelf that have not been targeted. i'll get to targeted enter
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mention in just a moment. and then hyper immune globulin is also in clinical trial. and we await the results of all of these. with regard to therapeutics for advanced disease, as i mentioned, that is generally aimed at blocking an abarnt response as well as other mechanisms which are not necessarily that well understood. we have dexamethasone, a drug approved for many, many years as the standard of care for advanced disease, particularly people in the hospital on respir respirators, and/or requiring high flow oxygen. and emergency use authorization and a number of immunomodulators
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that include receptors, currently in clinical trials. can i have the next slide. the clear need is the development of potent nt a virals directly acting on sars cov-2. very similar to what was done with the highly successful drug development program for hiv as well as for hepatitis c. and what i refer to is the future development of therapeutics will be based on the identification of vulnerable targets in the sars co-v 2 cycle, and the design of drugs to inhibit these vulnerable targets. as i mentioned, we are beginning this and this is going to be the direction of the future. i want to point out to the group
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that the nih in april put together a treatment guidelines panel. that is a living document of clinicians and people involved in the care of sars cov-2 infected individuals who analyze the literature as well as the now very common pre print literature, and updated in meaningfully, in very frequent intervals. it is a living document. as i mentioned, there are 47 voting members of this. and since this was put online in i am a of 2020, easily accessible by covid-19 treatment there have been over 11 million hits to this. the reason we feel this is
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important, and i want to again bring to it everyone's attention. it is an easy way to get experienced clinicians to analyze data already in the literature as well as data that is in pre print form and involved in just clinical experience. it has been very advantageous to clinicians, not only in the united states but worldwide. and if i can have the next slide, finally, i want to just bring to your attention something that the fda has done today in having a press briefing, i believe, at 1:30. i want to bring it to your attention. because although they delineated the aspects of it, i want people to be aware of what they are doing. they are guiding the medical product developers by updating
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their guidelines on how they address the virus variants. and the products involved that are impacted by this updated guidance of vaccines, covid-19 tested, and therapeutics. why is this important? it is very clear that we are faced right now and will be in the future with variants that are already present, and that with all the pressures going on, and the high degree of replication throughout the world, that there will be the selecting of a variety of variants. we ourselves in this country are already facing variants that are having impact such as the u.k. variant. we have the south african variant in our nation and we're even having the evolution of variants within our own country. with regard to vaccines, the fda
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outlines the scientific recommendations for the modifications to authorize vaccines. in other words, we have vaccines that are out there that are highly efficacious. the manufacturers of these are going to want to know how they can address and modify their vaccines to address the ongoing evolution of variants. and we expect the manufacturing recommendations to remain the same and the effectiveness will be determined by studies. in other words, likely not have to prove efficacy in a large study. the same hold troos for covid-19 tests. they describe the activities to understand the public health impact on the variants and the impact on the test performances and provide recommendations to the developers of these tests,
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regarding the future genetic mutations and what they need to do when designing or modifying their existing tests. and finally the same hold troos for therapeutics. both drugs and biologics. how to generate data that potentially could support an eua for products that might actually be effective against emerging variants which obviously will be an issue, because we already know particularly that the south african variant is in fact affecting the effect of the monoclonal antibodies that people have developed. and former guidelineses on therapeutics will be updated to address the evolving land scape
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of the development context. in summary, the fda will give guidance to how these companies can address a problem that we know is with us already and that will be a problem in the future. i'll stop there and back to you, andy. >> thank you, dr. fauci. let's take a few questions. >> first up -- >> thanks so much for having this briefing. very helpful. my question is, what is the biden administration's policy for vaccinating federal employees? how are they prioritized? and a few other add-on
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questions. do you know if the biden administration's policy contrasts with that of the trump administration regarding who was vaccinated when? and in the, in looking for, accounting for the missing doses of vaccine, have all the doses that have been administered to federal employees been accounted for? thank you. >> okay. multiple parts. i'll do my best to answer. as it respects federal employees, what i can tell you is that the federal government is following the guidelines. if you would like more detail, if you have more specific detailed questions on aspects of federal employees, front line workers versus others, we will follow up with you and answer those questions. when you say missing doses, can
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you clarify what you're referring to, please? >> yeah. dr. walensky had spoken some time ago about vaccine doses that could not be accounted for. and there was a question whether that was due to a lag of reporting from the states to tiberius, and my question is, have all the doses that have been used for federal employees been fully accounted for? and is there somebody whose job it is to track that? >> so, look, dr. walensky can comment after me if you would like. i believe what you're referring to is the comment made some number of weeks ago right after
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we arrived here. at that point in time when we arrived here, about 46% of the vaccine that's had been dribbled to states had been -- had been distributed to states had been administered. so i think what she was saying is we have a lot of vaccines that have been delivered that need to now be administered. today, that number is about 80%. so we were at 46% and now we're at 80%. we applaud the vaccinators and everyone involved in improving that effectiveness. so again, i'll invite dr. walensky to correct me if i'm wrong, that we were referring to missing vaccines, that those that were delivered to be distributed more equitably. >> i don't have much to add. when we came into the administration, we had to make sure we could follow all the
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paths -- >> you are watching the covid task force briefing. give an update on the situation, hearing from dr. fauci, dr. walensky from the cdc, giving a three-pronged approach on where things stand. you heard andy talk about the vaccine distribution as it has been hampered by the weather in texas and other states in the country. you heard from dr. walensky address school reopenings and the guidelines put out for in-person instruction saying it is a road ma'am based on science, and you heard from dr. fauci address the therapeutics. joining me, associate decent of graduate medical education at the university of cincinnati college of medicine, and dr., let me begin with you. just your general reaction. they said they should catch up
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on the shipping backlog vaccines by the middle of this week, as we heard andy talk about it. what do you make of the vaccination effort to get back on track after the winter storms? >> thank you for having me. a couple of takeaways. number one, responsive. number two, science based. number three, very much in line with transparency. and all of those things physicians like to hear. those of us working communities trying to get them help, we want to make sure we have vaccines going into the arms. as far as with respect to the science based piece, i'm excited with the national forum that's happening currently. and 11,000 people who are involved as far as participant, which is an excellent
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turn-about. and i think trust is extremely important with any discussion on vaccines, when you're transapparently about things like schools and where the clusters are, i think it generates confidence. >> talking about how this has been affecting communities of color, and according to the latest data, 6% of black or african-american americans, you're there talking with the community and its leaders about how they're trying to address vaccine hesitancy. what are you learning? >> it's a great and important discussion that we should be having. i see a lot of activity on social media about how we can't say these communities are vaccine hesitant. it's not true. there are lots of african-americans who are. lots of hispanics and latinos who are. a lot of white people who are hesitant. it has to do with the time the
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vaccine was developed and we didn't see press conferences like this over the last year. we were parsing them for dishonesty and lies. people haven't had the best information even in this record breaking time to find this vaccine. so i did have a conversation with a bunch of people here and two important things to keep in mind. there's work to be done among those who are vaccine hesitant or vaccine skeptics. there aren't enough doses available for even those people in all. these communities who want it. so a lot of doctors who have been working in the black community have said, it is an interesting discussion and an important one about people who are skeptical about getting the vaccine burks if you could give us all the vaccine that's available, we'll use it. we've got enough arms. it will be weeks if not months where we're sitting on extra vaccine and we've got people in the vaccine who don't want to take it. right now the issue is twofold. the issue of getting the vaccine
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to everyone which what they were talking about, and then there is issue of supply. so we've got the 7 million doses. we've got this cap of this 1.6 million that we're hitting a day. it is because there isn't enough vaccine. it will be some weeks before we've got a problem where we have too much vaccine and not enough arms to put them in. >> the white house announced it will host a series of listening sessions beginning today to hear from communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic to try to build confidence. how important will it be to continue the outreach to those communities in the weeks and months ahead to not lose sight of making sure that the vaccine is being distributed to all communities and not in favor of one over the other, based on afloonls or accessible. >> absolutely. trust is built, i found, over multiple conversations. and really, it is a matter of making sure that we are staying in touch with the conversations
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that we have started. my biggest concern, and i will give a case in point. i've been working my grandmother who is 97 years old to get her to the point of wanting to get the vaccine. she is 97 so she is eligible with you she only got it last week. this is not matter of her being undereducated. my mother who has a doctorate was the one trying to get her vaccinated. yet it took this long for her to get this vaccine. so our efforts need to be continued, not only in the hesitancy realm but also to operationalize things. this is what we are trained to do. vaccinate patients. patients trust their babies with us to vaccinate. i think we need to be part of the solution to putting vaccines in arms. >> all right. thank you both for joining us. this afternoon, president joe biden took a big step aimed at getting the smallest
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businesses back on their feet. starting wednesday, there will be major changes in the way loans for the paycheck protection program are handed out. here's some of what is new. for two straight weeks only companies with less than 20 employees can apply through the program. a billion dollars is being set aside for business that's don't have employees in lower income areas, which are 70% owned by women and people of color. ensuring access for small business own here's are legal residents but not citizens, and allowing for more exfelons as well as business owners deliquent on student loans. >> we will ensure every dollar is spent well. these changes will bring much needed long overdue to help small business who's really need help staying open. maintaining jobs and making ends meet. >> at some point he will lead a
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candlelight ceremony. he will order flags at half-staff for five days in memory of those who lost their live. speaker nancy pelosi marked the news on the house floor. it comes as the biden administration makes covid-19 distribution a top priority. joining me now is the white house reporter for the associated press, and an msnbc political analyst. it was a message we just heard a short while ago from the covid briefing. this is the second time, jonathan, unfortunately that there will be a ceremony of its kind for president biden to commemorate those who lost their lives. he stood on the mall one day before the inauguration to mark 400 deaths from the coronavirus. talk about the contrast from president trump in his approach to covid. >> well, first of all, it is so staggering and sad that president biden has not in office just over a month and
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another one hundred,000 americans have lost their lives in that time, barring another moment of tribute tonight at sun down at the white house. it is a stark contrast from his predecessor. donald trump, of course, largely down played the severity of the virus. he ignored guidelines, refused to wear a mask, help pack campaign rallies where there was little to no social distancing. very few supporters wore a mask. he told bob woodward in those tapes in the fall that he deliberately down played it. we know night after night at the rallies, he claimed eroenl justly that the nation was rounding the corner. at the 100,000 death mark, 200,000 death mark, he put out per funkory tweets. and because of how contagious the virus is, americans haven't been able to gather for final services or memorials or the ability only the with loved ones
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to remember someone who is lost. and president biden whose own life has been shaped by immense personal tragedy, who really connects with fellow citizens on the topic of grief, he recognizes this moment of sadness, this moment of possible catharsis. >> we're talking about here a former president for a moment. former president trump will deliver the first speech of his post presidency this weekend at c-pac, they called it a show of force and said the message will be, i may not have twitter or the oval office but i'm still in charge. payback is his chief obsession. what are you hearing from your sources about what we can anticipate? >> well, there is some debate as to when former president trump would make a speech. some want him to hold off but it looks like we'll hear from him on sunday. he is expected to talk about president biden's early days,
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particularly on immigration, which was central to president trump's agenda. and we expect him only the pretty critical of democrats and republicans, too. we know how angry he is and how betrayed he feels since the events of january 6th and those who didn't support his efforts to overturn a free and fair election. so i think we will hear some pretty scorched earth rhetoric from him. where it goes is unclear. even the closest advisers, some doubt whether he will run for president again in 2024. at the very least, he wants to keep that thought alive to maintain his relevance, his ability to make some money and his hold over the republican party. at this point, very few in the gop seem willing to defy him. and we'llful more on his tax returns later in the hour. up next, tough questions for
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right now president biden's nominee for attorney general, merrick garland, is testifying in front of the senate judiciary committee. earlier he told lawmakers that he will seven the department independent of political influence and how he hopes to serve in that role. >> i would not have taken this
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job if i thought that politics would have any influence over prosecutions and investigations. i am not the president's lawyer. i am the united states' lawyer. my grandparents fled anti-semitism and persecution. the country took us in and protected us. and i feel an obligation to the country to pay back, and this is the highest best use of my open set of skills to pay back. >> joining me now is msnbc chief legal correspondent and anchor of "the beat" ari melber. good to have you. help us put into context merrick garland as candidate for attorney general, what kind of nominee has he shown himself to be in today's hearing?
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what has stood out to you so far? >> certainly that moment and some of the forthright and heartfelt way he spoke. subsequently on policy he was clear that he's got to be, in his view, a continuous robust investigation into the january 6th insurrection and he really put a larger context and historical frame for why he personally believes and he thinks of united states has a tradition of standing up for the marginalized, for those who face discrimination or, worse, violence. and why that's going to be front and center if he, as confirmed, takes over the justice department during this pivotal and tense time, ayman. >> one of the challenges you know as well as anybody the ability of merrick garland to restore the independence of the doj, he mentioned there, he's not the president's lawyer, he is the u.s.' lawyer. how does he even go by restoring it after what we just saw after these past four years?
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>> that's a big question, ayman. i think it's a smart and correct question. the short answer is he's got to do it through actions, not words. i think the justice department was widely and badly damaged under the previous administration. but you don't need to take my word for it. there was the largest sort of level of concern ever lodged on a bipartisan basis by thousands of former members of the department by both parties. so what he's got to do is day by day rebuild that. i don't think it's about more speeches, i don't think it's about press conferences per se, but it's going in there and making sure the cases of protected, the independence of those cases, be that areas where republicans are demanding kind of a shakedown of doj, which they've done. that's become a lot of partisan work of the republicans on the senate judiciary committee but also standing up to any pressure, whether there's liberals or democrats concerned about the hunter biden probe, in every case and in every way he has to be the independent jurist
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that frankly he's been on the court as a judge, and take that to the doj. i think the justice department, even apart from the president, has become ground zero for so many washington fights. and you cannot mollify or negotiate with those fights. you have to just do the work. >> let's turn to the supreme court if we can for a moment. earlier today the court declined to block a grand jury from obtaining president trump's tax returns. that's pretty big news. the president lashed out against that. trump calling the statement, "a continuation of the greatest political witch-hunt in the history of our country." he also made false claims about election crimes committed against him. trump, as you know, avoided releasing his tax returns for years well before his presidency, despite requests from prosecutors and congress. how significant is this today? it's significant because this is the very end of the legal road. this is the dead end about
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donald trump's tax secrecy. he also previously tried to claim immunity as president, where there are, of course, broader protections, but he lost. he lost the appeal and lost the last-ditch effort. this means investigators in new york will get his taxes on a confidential basis, there's no more legal bar to that. whether we find crimes in there or we hear more about this or they don't and we hear less about it, frankly, under the rule of law, it's fine either way. if under review his taxes don't create any criminal problems and thus they stay secret because they're not a party to a later case, fine, so be it, they did their homework, they did their diligence. if, however, the reason donald trump fought so hard to hide their taxes that there's something in there he doesn't want investigated or the rest of the world to see and they do create a case of some kind, we will hear about as well. this is a big loss for trump, even in his more recent quieter period he's putting out objections and statements and words but that dog will not hunt because it's not a witch-hunt. the court approved it.
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>> certainly seems like he's lashing out. do you have an idea how soon we will see these tax returns -- not us but the grand juries and prosecutors? >> i think the grand jury subpoena, they should get those quickly. that doesn't take long. you'd expect them to have that inside of a few months with whatever process they need to get it accurately handed over. the public, as i mentioned, we won't know if we ever see it or not. depends what they find. >> the accounting firm said it will comply with the law and decision. ari melber, thank you, my friend. that wraps up for me. i will see you back here tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. eastern. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace starts after the break. break. o chili? (waitress) well, you've got to sign a waiver. [loud laughter] (woman) is this even a road? (man) yeah. (woman) so what should we do second? (vo) the subaru forester. the most adventurous forester ever.
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hi there, everyone, it's 4:00 in new york. today president biden will mark a tragic milestone in this country. 500,000 lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic. 500,000 families torn apart by a pandemic that has raged through this country starting one year ago and was met with varying degrees of indifference and denial from the former president. president joe biden made defeating the coronavirus pandemic the central promise for his candidacy and organized his entire administration around vaccinating the nation and healing the country's gaping wound from the toll covid has taken on our communities, on our children, on our psyches and on our economy. today starting the next hour we will have special coverage of the president's remembrance of tribute to those who have been
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