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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  December 22, 2020 8:00am-9:00am PST

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[ applause ] >> just two days before his 80th birthday, dr. anthony fauci joining front line health care workers at the nih to get that moderna covid-19 vaccine shot, that coming as the number of infections in this country continues to accelerate. now more than 18 million cases. there were just 17 million cases four days ago. on top of that, calls this morning getting louder for a u.s. ban on travel from the united kingdom. that's because of that mutated and extra contagious strain of covid in that country and concerns that it may already be here. breaking overnight, finally, help on the way for millions of americans after congress passes a $900 billion relief package. we have more on when you can expect those checks to hit your mailboxes and your bank accounts
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and what else needs to happen before this pandemic is over. let's get to our reporters on the ground. ellison barber is in springfield, missouri, chef any gosk in new york and sarah harman is in london. ellison, let's start with you. they're getting those new shipments today of the moderna vaccine. there was a bit of a hitch yesterday. what's happening on the ground now? >> reporter: -- it was delayed, did not come. not long ago, maybe 20 minutes, we watched a fedex truck pull up at this loading dock with white boxes filled with the moderna vaccine. brown boxes filled with the kits necessary to administer the vacci vaccine. the syringes, the sanitation wipes, the reminders for people to get their second dosage. they made their way to the pharmacy. they watched as they unpacked those tiny vials, the tiny vials
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that look so small and insignificant but are so powerful. this hospital, they did not have any shipments of the pfizer vaccine. they're only getting the moderna vaccine. they waited eagerly for this to arrive yesterday so they could get vaccinations under way. it did not come. it was delays for reasons that weren't entirely clear. they had some shipments sent to some of their sister hospitals further away in smaller rural communities. they borrowed those vaccines so they could vaccinate people at this hospital who were signed up and scheduled to get it yesterday. again, those did not come. this morning they had to khcanc the vaccinations that were scheduled. the afternoon vac nations are back on and for this hospital, it's not a minute too soon. craig. >> ellison barber starting us off in springfield. ellison, thank you. let's turn to stephanie gosk in new york. starting today british airways
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passengers would need a neg ti covid test before getting on board a plane from united kingdom to new york. new york's governor is calling for an outright travel ban, right? >> he is. he's calling for an outright travel ban. he doesn't have the legal authority to do that. he wants the federal government to step in. in lieu of that band, he's asked airlines to take part. delta and virgin atlantic say they're willing to give peeft tests, show they're negative before they travel to new york. this corridor between new york and london is one of the most important ones in the world for business and banking. but you have local leaders here in this state very concerned after what happened here in the spring. the idea of having a more virulent strand of coronavirus on the streets of new york city has a lot of people concerned. they're only just barely keeping a lit d on the numbers here.
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you had mayor bill de blasio threatening a possible pause or shutdown in the knee future. governor cuomo multiple times has said he wants the federal government to step up and do something, calling them out, he says, for inaction. craig. >> stephanie gosk in new york city. steph, thank you. let's go over the pond now. sarah harman is in london. sarah, lots of concerns about this mutating virus. we'll get more on precisely what this mutation means and what it doesn't mean in a moment when we talk to dr. ashish jha. this morning, encouraging news from vaccine maker biontech. >>biontech, the maker of the vaccine says he's confident this will work against the new mutated version of the covid strain. he added, even if it needs
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tweaking, it can likely be done in a number of weeks. take a listen, craig. >> we can directly start to engineer a vaccine which completely mimics this new mutation and will be quickly able to provide a new vac covid-19, technically within six weeks, it means a vaccine that contains this information. >> reporter: so six weeks is pretty quick, craig. that's for the science part. if there were regulatory approval, that would be necessary on top of it, it could delay it further. again, he did say he's confident this will work against the new strain. that's good news here in the uk where the word british isles has never run more true. it's increasingly apparent in the last 24 hours that we're on some islands. if you look, there are 1,500
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trucks stuck on highways. goods from europe can no longer get in. 40 countries now are banning arrivals from the uk over fears that this new mutated covid strain could spread. epidemiologists tell us if it is, in fact, as containing ougs as early studies seem to show, it's likely already traveled out of the uk. craig. >> all right. sarah harman in london. joined now by dr. ashish jha, dean of the brown university school of public health. let's start where sarah left off there. this idea this mutated strain is likely already in this country. is that the reality? >> that may well be the reality, craig. that's where we are. look, this is a global pandemic. while we're seeing numbers of cases of this mutated strain grow in the uk, we're seeing some cases outside of the uk. i would suspect we have some
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here. a travel ban or testing everybody before they get on still will slow down how many more of those strains show up here, but i don't think this is the kind of thing where you can contain just within the uk. >> to be clear, dr. jha, this isn't unusual at all with viruses like this, correct? these viruses mutate. if that is the case, how concerned should we be about this particular mutation? >> so viruses mutate all the time. rna viruses like this one tend to mutate more. we've seen lots of mutations on this. we haven't seen one where we see a real functional difference. this is one of the first i've seen where there's pretty good evidence that it is now more contagious. thankfully not more deadly if you get infected. i'm with everybody on this, i'm not worried that the vaccine will somehow not be effective against this strain. >> this idea of a travel ban
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that governor cuomo has suggested, what say you to that? is that something that's necessary for flights from the n united king dochl? >> if we work on the assumption that it's already here and testing people before they get on is reasonable, i guess my feelings on travel bans is they can help. i78' not opposed to it. if the u.s. government did that, it would make sense. it would slow things down in terms of that strain arriving in the u.s. or having more of it here, but i don't think it's something we'll completely prevent with travel ban alone. >> let me get your thoughts on dr. fauci and alex azar getting vaccines last hour. this is dr. fauci just before he got that needle in the arm. >> what we're seeing now is the culmination of years of research which have led to a phenomenon that has truly been unprecedented, and that is to go
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from the realization that we're dealing with a new pathogen, a virus that was described in january of this year to less than one year later to have vk seens going into the arms of so many people including myself. >> dr. jha, here is the thing. a year ago this time no one even knew what coronavirus was, and now we have not one, but two vaccines that have been rolled out. what might this mean, the speed with which we were able to develop a vaccine? what might this mean moving forward for the development of other vaccines? >> so two things, craig. first is that we have made years of investments into new technologies like the mrna technology that we were able to use. so it just goes to the power of investing in science. we often don't know how it's going going to pay off.
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on this specific vaccine, we had other experience with other coronaviruses, sars -- the 2003 sars outbreak. we got lucky that we knew a lot about this virus when we first discovered it. we had a close cousin that we knew well. it seems for the future we have to keep investing in science and in studying viruses. when the next outbreak hits, we want to be as prepared as we ended up being for this one. >> a million passengers went through tsa every day for the past three days. it would seem as if there are a slew of folks watching and listening who have all but said to hell with the cdc's recommendations about not traveling, they've decided they will be traveling for christmas. what would your message be for those folks, dr. jha? >> my message is, we're so close to where people can get vaccines, you want to be careful. if you can avoid travel, please,
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please, please avoid travel. if you're going to travel, keep it small, wear a mask. protect each other. this is about your family and your community. we want people around and alive next year so they can get vaccinated and get back with their lives. that's what i'm asking people to do, keep it small and please be careful. >> dr. ashish jha, thanks as always. do appreciate you. >> thank you. still ahead this hour, will the incoming -- the incoming biden administration, will they boost vaccine production using a wartime production law? it's paerchltly something that's being considered. first though, congress, finally, sending a covid aid package to the president's desk. negotiations were going nowhere until they got a kick start from a bipartisan group called the problem solvers caucus. two of those problem solvers, they're going to join me next.
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congress finally passed a covid relief bill overnight with the treasury secretary steve mnuchin saying payments to americans could start to go out adds early as next week. the $2.3 trillion package is one of the largest stimulus bills in the history of the united states and it also includes money to fund the federal government. the covid relief portion totals about $900 billion. that's about half the size of the last relief bill. this bill includes direct payments of $600 to many americans, $300 in weekly unemployment aid and $28 billion for vaccine distribution. a that bill will be sent to president trump this week, and he is expected to sign it. i'm joined by two members of congress who were quite instrumental in that relief bill as co-chairs of the problem
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solvers caucus. democratic congressman josh gottheimer and republican congressman tom reed. thanks for your time. gentlemen, i understand that both of you got the covid vaccine as well. congratulations. any side effects so far? how do you feel? >> feeling great. thanks forcing asking. >> all good here. >> congressman reed, i'll start with you. it took months to get this bill passed. what can struggling americans and small businesses specifically -- what can they expect to see over the next few weeks? >> relief is on its way. thanks for problem solvers caucus members, equally divided democrats and republicans, putting people first. people will see the $600 checks immediately go out, unemployment relief extended to the $300 enhanced benefit. but small businesses, you'll see
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about $324 billion of payroll protection money to really target relief for those industries like our restaurants, like our small businesses in particular that were struggling and hit by covid-19, to get them to the finish line because with vaccines being distributed, that's a key component of this bill. that's the ultimate solution to covid-19 and getting it in the history books is getting the vaccine distributed so these businesses can get back to normal and individuals can get back to their normal way of life. >> congressman gottheimer, i have to ask you, could you live on $600 a month or $1200 or $1800? >> i like to see this as a down payment to get us through the next couple months. it's been nine months since congress has been able to get together and passed the last bipartisan package. tom and i and the bipartisan problem solvers caucus along with a group of senators finally
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said enough is enough. we put out our own proposal, /* to try to get us through these toughest months of winter to help our families get food, those in food lines for the very first time, to help with unemployment and rental sits stance and really to get us through the height of this emergency it's meant to be a short-term focus relief package. along with the direct payments you mentioned and to help out our small businesses, but as you just said, which i think is right, we've got more work to do in the new year. we'll be back at it. we've got to help our local governments struggling to pay cops and firefighters and teachers. we've got a lot of people hurting right now. i tell you this, we could not have gone home christmas time with nothing for our families. we sat down in a bipartisan way and got it done. >> congressman reed, there tends to be -- i won't say consensus, but a lot of folks around this country are pretty confident
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that there's going to be a third relief bill that's needed to help struggling americans in businesses and municipalities. are republicans prepared to pass a third relief bill? >> i think there are some outstanding issues. liability reform is something that's not going, needs to be addressed. it doesn't just deal with big business, but small business. it also deals with our colleges and universities, our hospitals and frontline workers. but it also deals with the small businesses that are going to be facing these lawsuits that are going to lose their coverage potentially because defense obligations under liability insurance carriers could disclaim because this was an act of god, a natural disaster. there's a crisis developing on the horizon. local and state government is going to have to be taken care of. josh and i got together working together with the problem solvers caucus, bipartisan senators, we've moved the ball forward. the good news is, with the
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vaccine being distributed, we're getting closer to getting covid-19 into history books and that is the ultimate solution we need to focus on in my opinion going forward. >> congressman jim clyburn of south carolina is running a special committee to investigate the government response to covid. he's issued subpoenas to compel hhs secretary alex azar, cdc director robert redfield to produce documents. the congressman is alleging trump administration political appointees tried to alter or block at least 13 scientific reports related to the virus. dr. anthony fauci talked about it on pbs last night. here is what he said. >> the morbidity and mortality report, there was a person in hhs who was actually trying to influence what was said in there. that person is no longer there. the person has been removed and that now is not a problem.
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>> congressman gottheimer, how confident are you that you're going to be able to get to the bottom of this in the biden administration? >> i'll tell you, in new jersey we've lost one out of 500 people, not to mention 30% of small businesses going out. this has been a very tough time for our community on the health and economic fronts. we've got to get to the bottom of all these issues. i think congress is obviously doing that right now. as you said, representative clyburn was chairing an effort on this, will get the facts, and i think given what the country has been through, we need to know so we're prepared for any other future crisis. but for right now, as we get through these things, as tom just said, we've got to get the vaccine out. we've got to make sure those get distributed, make sure people have the support they need to get through this tough time. and that's why what we did yesterday is so important and i hope will be a model for how we can govern going forward. in these days, this was a christmas miracle in washington, getting both sides together.
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but it can't be a one-off thin.. we have to make sure we move forward and get more done in the new year. >> a good spot to end it. congressman josh gottheimer, congressman tom reed. it would be nice if this is a caucus that grew. merry christmas to you. exactly two weeks until those georgia runoffs. but today one of the democratic candidates, jon ossoff, casting his ballot. he's going to join us live next. also, if you need a little pick-me-up this morning, we sure do have a story for you. how a preschool director is working through the weekends to buy gifts for students who have had to go without this season. hey, i just got a text from my sister.
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as of this morning, the georgia secretary of state is reporting that more than 1.6 million people have already voted in the zmat runoffs including one of the candidates himself. democratic candidate jon ossoff this morning casting his ballot early and in person with just
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two weeks to go until election day on january 5th. two weeks from today, we should note. i'm joined by nbc's priscilla thompson in atlanta. she's with the aforementioned candidate as well. priscilla. >> reporter: that's right, craig. we saw him cast that ballot here and remind voter to get out and vote. he's joining us. thank you very much for taking the time. $900 billion in covid relief passed last night. this is something that took months to pass. as recently as october, the white house had proposed a $1.8 trillion bill. now we're getting a bill worth half of that. did democrats take too long to strike on this deal? >> i would have voted for the bill because people need help now. the bottom line is that $600 is a joke. it's a joke. people have been waiting eight months for the united states senate to act.
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let's be very clear. the house passed substantial covid relief back in the summer. it's mitch mckonld and republicans in the senate and david purdue, my opponent, who opposed even the first round of $1200 checks, who have been holding this up for months and who cut the direct stimulus payments in half as we enter the holiday season with so many families having difficulty making rent, the car payment, affording prescriptions and putting food on the tachblt we need addict, substantial covid relief. the only way we'll get it is by winning these two races in georgia. >> i do want to talk specifically about your race. republican groups are outspending democrats in the ads. we've seen more than $100 million negative add spending directed specifically at you. that's more than double than what we're seeing against david perdue. how do you think that will impact the dynamics of this race and the results we're see in january? >> they're outspending us badly
quote
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on the air, but we're outhustling them. the attacks they're running are the paint by numbers, garden variety partisan nonsense. reverend warnock and i are focused on delivering health, jobs and justice for the people, to pass a new civil rights act that will secure equal justice for all, to get direct economic relief for folks, rebuild and reopen our hospitals that have closed. >> thank you, mr. ossoff. >> thank you. >> reporter: craig, there you have it. the work on the ground continuing even as we head into the holidays this week ahead of those january 5th runoffs. craig. >> priscilla, i think he can still hear me. do i have time for just a quick question. >> i've got you -- >> senate candidate. excuse me. mr. ossoff, the civil rights bill you're talking about, can you tell us a little more about
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what that would look like? >> yes. this civil rights act, a new civil rights act will empower the civil rights division at the department of justice to hold law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, facilities of incarceration accountable where there's racial profiling, where there's brutality where there's race or class bias. we need to establish national standards for the use of force. we also need to reform our nation's drug laws, legalize cannabis, stop locking people up for non-violent drug-related offenses. the 14th amendment already guarantees equal protection under the law. when ahmaud arbery is shot in broad daylight in georgia, that makes a mockery of that. we can get it done if we win these two senate races in georgia. otherwise they'll stop criminal justice reform in its tracks. >> jon ossoff, we'll have to
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leave it there, candidate for the senate there in georgia. thank you, mr. ossoff. priscilla thompson, solid work in atlanta which appears to have become your second home. thank you as well. let's turn now to michael starr hopkins founding partner of northern starr strategies, served on the president campaigns of barack obama and hillary clinton as well. michael, let's start with what priscilla asked jon ossoff about there, this idea that he's up against tens of millions of dollars in negative ads. what else are democrats up against there in georgia? >> i think the big thing right now is republicans' efforts to suppress the vote. i think it's smart for democrats to spend more money on get out the vote efforts than it is on ads at this point in the election cycle. voters know which party they're aligned with. the real effort now needs to be
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to turn out voters. it's smart to hear ossoff talk about the stimulus payments and what's going on in georgians' homes in terms of finance and stimulus funds. that's what's going to leave its mark here especially given the outstanding questions with senator perdue and senator laugh h leffler about insider trading. >> a new piece on kelly loeffler. they write that she in many ways appears to be a traditional business-oriented republican whose hard right turn is a stark reflection of the ideological gymnastics many politicians in her party have performed in the populist culture-warring trump era, as senator leffloeffler is facing criticism for her attacks on reverend warnock's views. do you see those attacks as part
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of the trump style that she's really leaning into? >> everything right now with republicans is tuned toward conservative media, right wing media, this reality tv show kind of narrative. i think it's what's really hurting republicans nationally. there are some that will argue republicans did better than they were expected in the house. i would argue in the long-term, what we're seeing is a republican party struggling to find its conscience and struggling to find its purpose at this point. you've got, on one hand, republicans talking about law and order. but on the other hand, you have republicans attempting to overturn the will of voters and effect have a due data. you're having republicans, rather than helping the voters and citizens they represent in georgia engage in insider trading and failing to give them information that would help them. it's laughable right now. i think you're starting to see republicans really distance themselves, not just from trump but from the brand itself.
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>> my colleague joy reid caught up with vice president elect kamala harris after she campaigned in georgia yesterday. this was ms. harris' pitch on the importance of winning the senate majority that's on the line there. >> on some issues we just know and have to believe that, if we have the majority in the senate, it may be easier to do things like get the john lewis voting rights act passed. that's just the reality of it. >> michael, an issue like that, voting rights, how galvanizing can that be for georgia voters in particular? >> i think it's everything. john lewis was a hero and someone who i admired which is why i founded the john lewis bridge project n. georgia specifically, i think you'll see people turn out, not just
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because of the ancestry and what it representing, but because of the future and where we can go forward. you're seeing brain drain in southern states all across the country, and you're seeing them go to places like georgia, and exactly for that reason, because georgia is moving the south forward. i think it's going to be interesting to see not only how this race plays out, but how georgia and southern states like it move forward in 2021. >> michael starr hopkins, we'll leave it there. merry christmas. appreciate you. >> thank you. take care. could the incoming biden administration ramp up vaccine production using a defense production act. some new details on those potential plans. also, the preschool director who is playing santa for her kids, by driving an uber on the weekends. folks, it's the perfect story for this holiday week.
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dr. anthony fauci and other
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officials received the coronavirus earlier this morning. the daunting task of distributing the vaccine to the bulk of the american people will fall to the incoming biden administration. nbc news has learned that the biden team is determining if the new administration should invoke the defense production act to help drugmakers produce and distribute that vaccine or those vaccines more quickly once mr. biden is in office. nbc's heidi przybilla shares the byline. what are you learning? >> the trump administration is promising widespread vaccination by spring or summer. the problem is right now we don't have the supply to do that. senior biden advisers tell nbc they're looking at ways they can possibly help early on right when they take office. they're looking specifically at the defense production act, a wartime production acted that
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compels manufacturers to produce things in the national interest. this is a critical decision because it coincides with biden taking office, his inauguration. we'll find out new data about whether these other vaccines are going to be effective. at that time the biden administration has a number of options. one is the defense production act. the problem, craig, is how do they do this in an equitable way that doesn't favor one company over another, so they cannot really pull the leaver on this until they have that data in hand. but, if we want to get all vaccinated widespread by spring or summer, they're going to have to do something to help these manufacturers scale, craig. >> had difficult przybilla, solid reporting as always. thank you so much. this is going to be a tough christmas for so many folks across this country, people hard-pressed by a faltering
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economy, fear of the pandemic or struggling to bring the holiday spirit home to their families, a lot of them. but there are some people who are trying to make sure families in need can have some joy this christmas. one of those people is renee dixon, the preschool director at lynd hurst baptist church in indianapolis. so good to see you. >> hi. >> hello. you spend your weekends driving an uber to earn extra money to buy gifts for your students who otherwise might not get a gift because of hard times at home. what moved you to do this? >> the children. this is something they need. their life has been turned upside down because of the coronavirus, no fault of their own. they need just a little bit of happiness, even if it's just for one day, a little bit of happiness in their life. >> and when you drive, i
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understand it's after you finish your regular job, you spend a few more hours driving. is that right? >> yes. when i get off work at 6:00 on fridays, i drive friday, saturday, sunday, all day, all night sometimes. if i really, really need something, i'll drive the weekdays when i get off, also. >> tell us about the school. tell us about the kids there. >> it's a preschool. we serve kids 1 to 12 years of age. our parents have had such a rough time. we've lost over half of our students. however, we're one of the ones who is lucky enough to still be open and help these families. i have parents tell me they weren't going to get their kids anything for christmas. i know how that feels. i said no, your child will have something for christmas. if you have two kids, both will
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have something for christmas. a family of four kids, they got something for christmas it's not only during christmas, but winter is coming up. now i've got to work on getting boots, coats, hats, gloves. i've been working on getting coats and snow boots. but i told my kids, and i promised -- i always keep my promise, they are going to have their snow boots before march. >> i love it. i understand, ms. dixon, it's not just the kids. you've also helped out some of the teachers there as well. is that right? >> yes. i earned a little money and able to give my teachers $50 cash. i said, it's not a lot -- they're like, no, no -- they wanted me to spend all the money on the kids and i needed to spend money on them, too. i gave them out of my pocket, $50 each. they were really grateful for it. it's just something you're supposed to do, even after
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christmas. it's something you're supposed to do, help people. >> renee, you're such a giver. what's on your christmas list if you don't mind me asking? >> well, i told santa, and santa told me i'm not getting anything for christmas. i told him i want a teacup yorkie and a nissan amada. we can't all fit in my car. my two darts and three granddaughters, we can't fit in my car together. i have to take somewhere me and some have to stay at home. santa told me i'm not getting anything for christmas, i'm not good with that. as long as the kids have something, i'll be fine. >> you'll be getting something for christmas, i'm sure, ms. dixon. you're undoubtedly on the nice list. you're doing god's work.
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a one-woman ministry you're running there. when we came across the story, we had to meet and talk with you. thank you for all that you're doing and thank you for making christmas a bit merrier. thank you, renee. >> you're welcome. >> renee dixon, my favorite person today. tonight, the nba is coming back t. league launching its regular season, this time outside the bubble and with road games. the legal was so successful in keeping players healthy in the bubble earlier this year, how do they plan to do it now? i spent time talking to nba commissioner adam silver about that and more. our conversation next. some things are good to know. like where to find the cheapest
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open. remember having that feeling for the first time? the first day you opened. the first day you had a customer, the first day you taught a class, had a client, a patient, a session. open... remember the night before you opened? who could ever sleep? open... but there's a different question we are being asked now. are you going to remain open? even when your doors are closed? open. that's how we show who we are. and there's another way to be open, to pull together - or push, depending on the door. and we are making it work and we will continue to make it work together. because open we stand.
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the national basketball association tips off its new season tonight. this time there's no bubble. and players will travel for games. so how does the league plan to safely play in a pandemic? i talked to nba commissioner adam silver ahead of a shortened 72-game season. back to the hard court. tonight the nba launches its 75th season at a time when the country is still grappling with the surge in coronavirus cases and a struggling economy. commissioner, there's been a great deal of debate about restarting the nba season.
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why now? >> in a way it's almost "why not." at the end of the day, like so many other industries where we want to work. by following the protocols we know have been effective, we can do things in a safe and responsible way. i'm not ashamed to say we're balancing economic factors as well, and not just for the players in this league but for the literally tens of thousands of jobs that are dependent on the nba continuing. >> the league was lauded, perhaps justifiably so, for maintaining a covid-free environment for several months. and now there's no bubble. i mean, are you pretty much resigned to the fact that you are going to have players who test positive and you're going to have to make adjustments to the schedule as a result? >> i accept that we had zero incidents of covid when we were in the bubble. i think it had a real impact in many of the participants in
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terms of their families, their mental wellness. it's not easy being cooped up for months. >> the league has extensive safety plans that include testing players, coaches, and staff once, even twice a day. what happens when there's an outbreak? >> it depends on how you define an outbreak. if we have a singular player on a team who tests positive, isolate that player, that player will go into quarantine of some sort and obviously be treated if that's necessary as well. if outbreak means we have a spread to a full team, we may have to pause the season again. >> back in march the nba and its players were criticized as some for getting covid tests before they were available to modifist the public. >> the vaccine protocols are controlled 100% by the government. there's no way we would ever jump the line. we've already been approached by a few different governmental agencies, and that is, public service messages about the
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benefits of getting vaccinated. >> to that point, commissioner, there are large swaths of folks in this country that are very skeptical about this vaccine, especially in the african-american community. do you think that nba players should get that vaccination publicly in an attempt to put folks at easy? >> i do. we are well aware that within the african-american community, there is a group who are skeptical, you know, who are hesitant to get the vaccine. and i think that to the extent that they see people like them, you know, who are out getting the vaccine, i think that creates just. >> as the league grapples with the public's perception of its players getting the covid vaccine, other changes are happening too. when it comes to the nba's policy on marijuana, the nba announced earlier this month it would stop random testing for marijuana this season.
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why? >> we decided that given all the things that were happening in society, given all the pressures and stress that players were under, that we didn't need to act as big brother right now. i think society's views around marijuana has changed to a certain extent. it doesn't mean we won't be talking to players who maybe aren't using marijuana casually abo but feel more of a dependency on it. >> who do you like this year? >> i like the refs. >> thank you, commissioner. safe answer there from the commissioner. we asked about the league's commitment to social justice issues following all the unrest and activism during last season.
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commissioner silver telling me that the nba has partnered with players to identify and support public policy. that's important to players, anner the an er t effort to make change, and they'll continue to do that this season and beyond. i'll see you tomorrow morning on "today." my colleague chris jansing will pick things up after a break.
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hello, i'm chris jansing, continuing msnbc's coverage of a very busy tuesday.
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let's run through some of the big headlines. america's most famous doctor, anthony fauci, with what we'll call a picture is worth a thousand words moment, getting the vaccine along with other top health officials. i'll speak to them in a moment. congress passed a $900 billion relief covid bill. 18 million covid infections in the u.s. now, another million in less than a week. and 320,000 deaths in this country alone. three airlines are now requiring covid tests before flying into new york from the uk as the world is increasingly walling itself off from that country after the discovery of a more infectious strain of covid that dr. fauci now believes is already here in the u.s. and we have new reporting that joe biden's team is looking at invoking the defense production act when they take office to ramp up vaccine production. the president, however, remains publicly and privately focused

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