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Third Vaccine Coming to U.S.; Healthcare Workers Breathe a Sigh of Relief; CEO's Under Pressure from E.U. Leaders; Tiger Woods Accident Still Under Investigation; Tiger Woods Lucky to Survive; Jamal Khashoggi's Murder Linking to Saudi Crown Prince; Capitol Security Officials To Testify On Intel Failures; Oath Keeper Now Says He Didn't Meet With Secret Service; Supply Shortages Of Chips; U.S. Jobless Claims Expectations; Texas Doctors Fear Winter Storm Will Lead To New Spikes; Supporters Of Myanmar Military Coup Take To The Streets; Facebook-Australia Showdown Over; Olympic Torch Relay One Month Away; Ping-Pong Prodigy To Help President Biden's Mission. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired February 25, 2021 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead on CNN Newsroom, Americans could soon have access to a third coronavirus vaccine while officials in Europe are set to question pharmaceutical CEOs over access and distribution delays.
A U.S. intelligence report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi could soon go public. We will have the details, plus a possible new link to the Saudi crown prince.
And later, Facebook users in Australia, will get access to news again. How the tech giant found a way around the country's latest tech law.
Well United States is now one step closer to adding a third vaccine to its fight against COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration says Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe and effective and meets the requirement for emergency use authorization. Now an advisory committee will meet Friday to make a recommendation.
The vaccine comes in just a single dose, and data suggests it could prevent asymptomatic infections starting out about four weeks. One health official also says the shot may not require a post-vaccination observation period, because it works differently than vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna.
With those two vaccines currently in use nearly 66 and a half million doses have been administered across the U.S. so far. And amidst the push to get more Americans vaccinated the CDC director suggested those who have had COVID-19 may want to consider waiting to get their shot to allow others without immunity to go first. CNN's Alexandra Field has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A third vaccine could be available to Americans as soon as next week.
JEFF ZIENTS, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE: If authorized, we are ready to roll out this vaccine without delay.
FIELD: The Biden administration preparing to ship three to four million doses of Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine, which is likely to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA later this week. The agency today releasing data showing that Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is safe, and more than 66 percent effective.
ONI BLACKSTOCK, PRIMARY CARE & HIV PHYSICIAN: It will get us to all we need to get us in terms of having most of the public vaccinated. Hopefully by the summer, or early fall.
FIELD: The federal government also unveiling a new plan to send out 25 million masks to people who need the most.
ZIENTS: In the month of March we will begin to deliver millions of masks to food banks and community health centers around the country. Many low-income Americans still lack affordable access to this basic protection.
FIELD: This as weeks of declines in new COVID cases continue across the country, but not as steeply and not enough to eliminate concerns, new variants could cause another surge.
TREVOR BEDFORD, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: It could result in more than a wave in say, April and May than we would've expected otherwise.
ABDUL EL-SAYED, EPIDEMIOLOGIST & FORMER DETROIT HEALTH DIRECTOR: We are in arms race between the virus and our ability to vaccinate and shut down the avenues that it has to continue to evolve.
FIELD: Weekly shipments of vaccines are getting another increase.
ZIENTS: We have nearly doubled weekly supplies of doses in just five weeks.
FIELD: States are now set to receive a total of 14.5 million doses this week, with another 2.1 million going directly to pharmacies across the country. Today, Texas launches its biggest vaccination effort yet. A new FEMA super sight in Houston capable of serving as many as 6,000 people a day. And New York City is opening two of its largest sites. Governor Andrew Cuomo says both aimed toward more equitable vaccine distribution.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): COVID preyed on the health disparities, and the comorbidities that were existing in communities that did not have enough health care service in the first place. Because it showed the underlying injustice in society.
FIELD: New analysis suggests that more new ones allocation of vaccines, targeting more specifically vulnerable groups could help states save thousands of lives.
BLACKSTOCK: The disproportionate toll of the pandemic on black Americans as well as the effects of structural racism, calls for black Americans to have a lower vaccine cut off because often we are getting underlying conditions at much earlier ages than our White American counterparts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD (on camera): And the likelihood of a third vaccine now fueling hope certainly, but a fourth vaccine may not be too far off in terms of hitting the market here in the U.S. Drug maker AstraZeneca hoping that their vaccine will also eventually receive an emergency use authorization from the FDA, they say they would have as many as 15 million doses ready to go by the end of April.
In Brooklyn, Alexandra Field, CNN.
CHURCH: Well as experts raise concern about COVID variants, one official says that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now preparing for all scenarios, including the possibility of another surge in cases in the U.S. this spring.
But there is encouraging news when it comes to vaccine protection against those variants. The data shows that Johnson & Johnson shots seems to work better against the variant first identified in South Africa than initially thought. The vaccine had a 64 percent efficacy rate in South Africa.
And Moderna says it's designed an updated version of its vaccine to help combat the South African variant, initial doses will be evaluated in a clinical study.
Well, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been declining all across the United States, including in Oregon, a state that has seen a dramatic drop in the last few weeks. And now for the first time in a year one hospital, Providence Portland Medical Center currently has no COVID patients in its critical care unit. And just two people with coronavirus are in that hospital.
Elissa Reinhart is a critical care nurse at Providence Medical Center. She joins me now from Portland, Oregon. Good to have you with us.
ELISSA REINHART, CRITICAL CARE NURSE, PROVIDENCE PORTLAND MEDICAL CENTER: Thank you. It's good to be here.
CHURCH: So, hospitalizations in Oregon are down and your hospital, Providence Portland has no COVID-19 patients in its critical care unit for the first time in the year. How do you feel about that? REINHART: It's amazing, it's a relief, it's much needed respite from
what has been going on this year. I know that we'll have patients again very soon, but right now, it's nice to see that the numbers are trending down.
CHURCH: Yes, that is very encouraging. And of course, as a nurse, you care for the sickest COVID-19 patients at your hospital. How difficult have these past 12 months been for you and your colleagues?
REINHART: I think, difficult encompasses it well. It's been emotionally exhausting to try to care for a disease process that you are not sure how it's going to play out. There has been more fluency in it as the year has gone on. Eventually there was a lot of fear, not even knowing what you are going to be facing going into the rooms, what risk you are putting yourself or your family at.
Overall, like I said it's exhausting. I think seeing people suffering so much, presents in so many different ways and all the different ways are immensely traumatic for both the family, and the family members who are looking at these patients. And the patients who are isolated experiencing it alone, it's very challenging. And when you're trying to be their family but also the support needed for the family that's outside of the hospital area.
CHURCH: Yes. That must be the hardest part of it particularly if you are saying goodbye to a patient and their family members and not able to be with them, I can't imagine how that must feel for you.
REINHART: It's devastating. I think that we support patients first and foremost, but family members are a part of that patient's being, and so to not let them be involved in the passing processes is really difficult for everyone, and it's difficult for us to watch and to try to fill that role for the patients and for the family members being that bridge is, like I said, it takes an emotional toll. And we all feel it. And it grows, it doesn't get better.
CHURCH: I totally understand. Do you think that this is the beginning of the end of this pandemic? Or do you worry that the variants might trigger another surge in a few weeks as some experts are suggesting?
REINHART: I'm always hopeful, that the end is in sight. And I think seeing the downtrend has been a really great thing. I'm hoping that means that people are really following more of the recommendations that are out there, but also more people are getting the vaccine. And as we reach higher levels of immunity in the community that we'll start seeing a downtrend.
You know, the problem with the vaccine and the variants is that if we can't deliver the vaccine quickly it gives the variants more time to take off and establish, or even new ones to come up.
So, I think the speed of the vaccine delivery is going to be key in this, and I really hope that people, I know there's so many different beliefs out there about vaccines but I really hope that they consider the overall impact that this would have if we could bring it down now, instead of having to go through multiple more variants that will be spreading much quicker and more aggressively. So, I think it will be interesting to see, like I said I'm hopeful that it is the beginning of the end but it will remain to be seen.
CHURCH: Absolutely. And after caring for so many critical COVID-19 patients, do you have a message for our viewers about how best to avoid getting sick?
REINHART: You know, I know people who have followed everything and still have gotten sick, but at the same time I think there are some very clear guidelines that have been put out and that have worked for the majority of us. Masking, first and foremost, and not masking where part of your face is off or you're taking breaks.
I know it's uncomfortable, I wear that mask all the time, I wear it all shift long, but keeping your nose covered, and then hygiene of course, always washing your hands. But first and foremost, masking will make the biggest difference in this aerosolize virus.
CHURCH: A powerful message. Elissa Reinhart, thank you so much for talking with us and for all that you do.
REINHART: Thank you for having me.
CHURCH: Well in the coming hours, European Union lawmakers will have their chance to grill top executives from vaccine companies. It comes as tensions have been rising over production and distribution delays across the block.
Even with shots going into arms, France is seeing an alarming raise in cases as variants spread. The country reported more than 30,000 new infections on Wednesday. It's ordered a weekend lockdown in Dunkirk and its surrounding legion to curve the surge there.
And CNN's Melissa Bell joins us now from Paris. Good to see you, Melissa. So, what's likely to come out of this grilling of vaccine companies?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We should get, for a start, Rosemary, more information. This is something that European officials have consistently complained about. There will be of course this session in front of the European parliament. We will hear from the CEO's of AstraZeneca, for instance, and I think the questions that the parliamentarians are going to have are not only about those shortfalls that we saw in the quarter and that proved so catastrophic to the European vaccine rollout.
But also, what we can now expect in the second quarter since there are fears that they may be delays there. And of course, that then brings into jeopardy the plan for the European Union to have 70 percent of its adult population vaccinated by the summer.
Because if there aren't supplies, of course those jobs cannot be going into the arms. And the delays that we have seen in so many European Union countries will continue as we head into the summer.
So those pharmaceutical CEO's like (Inaudible) are under a great deal of pressure in front of parliamentarians who will be looking to get to the bottom of that. The question of whether they are this time, for the second quarter going to meet their contractual obligations or not.
We're also going to see a meeting from European leaders later today, and of course the vaccination strategy will be at the heart of that. There are leaders that are under extreme pressures from those dual pressures that you mentioned.
First of all, the fact that the vaccine rollout has been slowed down by the supply problems that we've seen because of that European coordination and how it's gone. But also of course, because there are those extremely worrying figures. We have been hearing from Angela Merkel and the German press who have been saying, look, we have to be very careful about coming out of these restrictions too fast since a third wave is what would follow.
Here in France, as you have mentioned, the worst figures announced yesterday since mid-November, that's how bad things have gotten with the French resisting a nationwide lockdown, but now being forced into those regionalized local lockdowns of which we are likely to see more. The problem of course, the spread of that variant first identified in the United Kingdom.
So, those European leaders meeting tonight will be of course under great pressure back at home, and looking to see what the European Union can do better to try and improve its vaccine rollout going forward. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Melissa Bell joining us live from Paris.
New details about Jamal Khashoggi's murder are expected in the coming hours with a new report by U.S. intelligence. Just ahead, evidence tying Saudi's crown prince to the people involved.
Plus, the latest on legendary golfer Tiger Woods after his car crash, we hear from one of the first officers on the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLOS GONZALEZ, DEPUTY, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: I could tell he was in shock, and you know, rightfully so, he had gone through a very catastrophic traffic collision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (on camera): We are learning more about the car crash involving golfing great Tiger Woods. He told investigators he had no recollection of the crash, according to an L.A. County sheriff, authorities also say the crash was an accident, and they will not pursue any charges against that the 15-time major champion.
The 45-year-old's SUV veered across two lanes of road before hitting a curb then a tree and landing on its side. Here is what's one of the first officers on the scene found when he got there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GONZALEZ: I ran over, I saw there was a big hole in the windshield and I was kind of able to get my upper body in there. And you know, I see Tiger Woods sitting in the driver seat, you know, on his side with the seatbelt on. It's dark inside. So, I don't immediately recognize him. I kind of make the judgment call that I'm going to wait for the fire department to pull him out, rather than pulling him out myself, you know, which would cause further injury.
So, at that point, when I make that decision, my number one job is to keep Tiger from going into additional shock. So, you know, I just kept talking to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (on camera): And CNN World Sports Alex Thomas joins me now live from London. Good to see you, Alex, So, what more are you learning about all of this?
ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR (on camera): I think the key line is the local sheriff's department saying to CNN in an interview, that the crash was purely an accident, there's no crime involved. Although it's important to reiterate that the investigation is still ongoing.
Police haven't yet examined the data from the car's computer, which might tell them a little bit more. Noticeable there were no skid marks, no sign that Tiger Woods having break before crashing at high speed. They have spoken to Tiger Woods since he regained consciousness, thank goodness after surgery.
And at the moment he has no memories of the crash at all, so can't help out. That stretch of road is notorious amongst the local police enforcement. It's downhill, it's winding, there have been 13 accidents there over the last 10 or 11 months or so. There's a 45-mile-an-hour limit. The car is often clocked at twice that speed.
This was headline news across the globe, Rosemary, that clearly the golf world hit particularly hard. It's considering was a legendary figure, Tiger Woods is within the game. All the leading golfers in the men's game or at the world golf championship events in Florida this week, the PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan speaking from there, saying, let's forget about Tiger's possible come back. When he might, if at all play golf at again, Tiger is a human being and the most important thing is his well-being.
But of course, people have pointed to that astonishing recovery from Ben Hogan, another legend of the game who was involved in a crash in 1949 that should've killed him, really. And yet, 14 months later came back to win the U.S. Open, and indeed, win another five major championships after that.
Rory McIlroy was mentioning that when speaking to the press on Wednesday, he had a lunch with Tiger in 2017 when Tiger's back problems were at its height. The sort of thing that made Tiger crawl on the floor, and said that if Tiger would come back from this crash it really would be remarkable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RORY MCILROY, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Right now, I can't think of any greater comeback in sports than the one that, you know, the journey that he made from that lunch we had in 2017 to winning the Masters a couple of years later.
DUSTIN JOHNSON, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: He is such a big part of the PGA Tour and what it has become today. So, yes, I mean, once he's not playing anymore, definitely, you know, the game will miss him. But I don't -- I feel like he'll always somehow be around, and involved with the game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS (on camera): Dustin Johnson the world number one ending those sound bites there, Rosemary. And Rory McIlroy, of course, one of those young players who is supremely talented, sometimes labeled the next Tiger Woods who was inspired to take up the game by him and seeing him come back so late in his career and play alongside this talented youngsters who were inspired by him has been one of the joys of watching the man's game in recent years.
It would be very sad if that was lost. But clearly, the golf is secondary right now. To seeing just a human being involved in a very traumatic car crash get better for the sake of his two kids and his family.
CHURCH: Most definitely. Alex Thomas, many thanks.
Joining me now is Dr. Murtaza Akhter. He is an emergency physician at Valleywise Health Medical Center in Arizona. Thank you, doctor, for talking with us and for all that you do.
MURTAZA AKHTER, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, VALLEYWISE HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER: Thank you for having me.
CHURCH: So, we are now learning that Tiger Woods could have lost his right leg as a result of those injuries in the car accident. Thankfully that did not happen. But how extensive are his injuries? And how long do you expect his recovery and rehabilitation to take?
AKHTER: Yes. So based on the report, it sounds like he had a comminuted open fracture of the tibia and the tibia wall (Ph), which are basically both of the lower leg bones. To have an open fracture is bad enough because it means it rip through the skin and that can lead to infection if it's not washed out carefully. And then of course have multiple fractures of the lower leg means it's very unstable.
Presumably that's why he was taken straight to the operating room. But remember also there is the fear of bleeding out, and that's the reason that even a leg injury can be deadly. I think a lot of people think whether it's from trauma from a car accident or gunshot, like I've seen a lot of them in the E.R. not where if, you know, it should've a leg, they'll be OK.
That's not true at all whether from a gun been shot or a car accident, people can bleed and hemorrhage a lot. And in the case of Mr. Woods, it turns out he actually needed a fasciotomy. So, it turns out there was a lot of pressure on the leg that not only needed the bones to be repaired but actually the muscles to be released.
So, it was actually quite a tenuous situation. I wasn't the one who operated on him, of course. But based on the reports, it sounds like it was a really bad injury.
CHURCH: Yes, he is lucky he had great medical assistance there. And doctor, given Tiger's injuries from his car accident, and on top of that his five back injuries, how likely is it that he will ever be able to return to competitive golf?
AKHTER: Yes, it's a great question, I think is a question that everybody is wondering. I'm not at his bedside right now to know exactly how he is doing, it is a major injury and it will take quite a bit of time to recover, at least months, at least many months. But that's not to say that he can't be back on the golf course definitively.
It's very possible that the bones will heal well and with good therapy and rehab he will be able to recuperate again and be able to, you know, swing the golf clubs again. But it's just hard to know, it's way too early. You know, the thing to keep in mind is a rollover accident like he was in, a rollover accident is very dangerous and he is honestly lucky to still be alive. Which goes to show the impact that seatbelts have, as well as airbags, but in particular, being restrained such that he made it out alive, that's the most important thing.
It would be really great if he can recuperate and be back on the golf course, but the most important thing is that he survived. And it really goes to show the importance of precautions and safety measures.
CHURCH: Yes. You are exactly right, and of course, we do know, we all know across the globe that Tiger Woods is a fighter. We've seen him fight back. He has come back from all sorts of difficulties in his personal life, and of course his back surgeries.
So, are there -- just talk us through the process of this rehabilitation, this recovery. Are you talking about six months here? Are you talking about a longer period than that?
AKHTER: Yes. Everybody is different, what I've seen in the emergency department I see them in the worst state and at that moment you have no idea. You know, your main goal is to make sure that the bleeding is stopped, that the patient stops hemorrhaging and to get the bones in place as quickly as possible so that they can have good long-term healing.
In terms of how long it will actually take, I think six months, probably a reasonable estimate in general for somebody who's had comminuted fractures of both bones of the lower legs. But it's very variable. Like you said, Tiger Woods is a fighter. It's very possible that he'll get very intensive therapy and rehab, but it could also be longer than that.
It just very much depends and we are at the very early stages, and as I've mentioned earlier, if he had muscle release, the fasciotomy to think about healing and recovery right now is actually too soon. I know that a little bit sounds dramatic, but really this was a bad injury, and the first thing to make sure is that he actually gets his health back before we talk about recovery and how soon he'll be back to the golf course. It's very possible that he will be, but we're at the very early stages right now.
CHURCH: Yes. All right. Dr. Murtaza Akhter, we thank you for talking with us.
AKHTER: Thank you for having me.
CHURCH: A U.S. intelligence report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi could be made public in just a matter of hours. The unclassified report is expected to hold new details on who ordered and carried out the 2018 killing and its gory aftermath.
President Biden says he plans to discuss it with the Saudi king when they talk.
And there's this new development, top secret Saudi documents have surfaced in a Canadian lawsuit that appeared to directly link Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the two private jets used by Khashoggi's killers. The crown prince has denied any involvement.
CNN's Nic Robertson is following the story for us and he joins us now live from London.
So, Nic, how damning is this report for the Saudi crown prince? And what might the consequences be of this new information now linking him to this murder?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This new information comes from a case that's being heard in Canada. What we know, and we knew this immediately after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, that planes had flown from Saudi Arabia with the hit team, the Saudi his team aboard, and then taking him away afterwards. That was known.
What these new documents show, is that they are now -- that the company that owned and operated those aircraft was brought under the control of the crown prince through the public investment fund in Saudi Arabia. Now, Saudi authorities at that time said that they were going through a variety of corruption cases, and bringing companies like this one back under the control of the government, that's their position.
This aircraft company itself, although it's a company that operated the aircraft, was being run and had originally been set up under the auspices of the previous king to be run by the interior ministry as part of their counter-terrorism operations.
So, the allegations were that an official within that -- who worked for the interior ministry had corrupt influence over these companies and therefore they were brought back under the control of the government. That's the Saudi position.
But what it has done is laid these documents which clearly showed that these aircrafts used to take in the hit team and bring them out. That the aircraft -- the company that operates that aircraft was in fact controlled through the public investment funds in Saudi Arabia of which the head is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
So, the report that we are expecting, unclassified, this is a legal obligation for the director of national intelligence, and that's now Avril Haines and she said at her confirmation hearing that she would make this report public.
We haven't heard from officials in detail about the CIA's assessment, that the high degree of probability that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. So, will the report provide more detail, the expectation is that there won't be a smoking gun linking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly to the killing.
That's the expectation, but whatever evidence there is that places him in that frame is going to be difficult for President Biden to navigate a relationship with Saudi Arabia that he is recalibrating, that, you know, on the one hand, keeping Saudi Arabia, which is the most important influential country in the Middle East in the gulf as a close ally, while at the same time, holding them up to the standards on human rights that he says that he is going to do.
So, that's a difficult line for President Biden, and of course, the stake is. Saudi Arabia can make its own choices. It can decide, you know, if it has a deep falling out with the United States to recalibrate its relationships with Russia or China, that's a decision that they'll make.
But that's the tight rope for President Biden, as evidence may or may not accumulate further damaging Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's reputation.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Nic Robertson, many thanks joining us live from London. I appreciate it.
And still ahead the people who secured the U.S. Capitol are telling their side of the story about what happened on January 6th. And why nobody thought it would be as bad as it was.
CHURCH (on camera): Security officials on Capitol Hill say incomplete and contradictory guidance was a major reason Congressional security was unprepared for the deadly siege on January 6th. The acting House sergeant-at-arms is scheduled to testify later today, Timothy Blodgett is expected to say that a threat assessment three days earlier did warn of potential violence from Trump supporters, but the message was contradicted elsewhere in the directive.
Acting Capitol Hill Police chief, Yogananda Pittman has a similar message, she says had the secret service known of a credible threat on January 6th they would not have brought Vice President Mike Pence to the Capitol.
In the weeks since the insurrection, two groups keep popping up, Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, the Oath Keepers stood out in the Capitol riot in part because of their paramilitary gear, coordinated movement and sophisticated communications. Prosecutors are now fighting to keep one of them behind bars pending her trial.
We get more on that from CNN's Brian Todd.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): She is seen in this video in tactical gear walking with other members of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers toward the Capitol on January 6th. Later she was pinpointed in these images by prosecutors, as having been part of the group moving in an apparently organized manner inside the Capitol.
This week Jessica Watkins has appearances before a federal judge. The judge is weighing a request for prosecutors to keep Watkins in jail ahead of her trial, prosecutors have filed a motion calling Watkins a flight risk and a danger to the public.
JOHN SCOTT RAILTON, SENIOR RESEARCHER, THE CITIZEN LAB: I think what we know from Watkins is intercepted chats and some of the things that she has said is that she was prepared to go underground she said, if Biden was elected. And so the judges are going to be asking this question, is she prepared to go underground again.
TODD: Watkins has changed her story before the court in recent days. She just retracted an account she had given the court that she had met with secret service agents on January 6th.
The secret service denied it. But Watkins still claims in court papers that she was given a VIP pass to the Trump rally that preceded the riot, and that she was providing security for legislators and others in their walk to the Capitol.
OREN SEGAL, VICE PRESIDENT, CENTER ON EXTREMISM, ANTI DEFAMTION LEAGUE: They may discuss the need to sort of protect people from a tyrannical government or to make sure that their freedom are not being infringed upon. But these people, this group, has an ideology, that animated by conspiracy theory.
TODD: In court papers, Watkins' lawyer claims her security role was sanctioned by people who organized the Trump rally. But Watkins and two others alleged members of the Oath Keepers are now charged with conspiracy in the attack. A total of nine members of the group have been indicted. Prosecutors have said members of the Oath Keepers coordinated and planned before the January 6th attack, and even during it.
According to court documents, Watkins communicated on a walkie-talkie like app during the riot, quote we have a good group, we have about 30 to 40 of us, we are sticking together and sticking to the plan. This week acting metropolitan Washington Police Chief Robert Contee told Senators about coordination between many rioters.
ACTING CHIEF ROBERT CONTEE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: There were hand signals that were being used by several of the insurrectionists, there were radio -- there was radio communication by several individuals that were involved.
TODD: Prosecutors told the court, Jessica Watkins was quote, gleefully embedded within this mob at the Capitol. Monitors of extremist group says the Oath Keepers are likely under more pressure now than they have ever been, but they're worried about what happens next.
RAILTON: What about the lone wolf style individuals, with strong anti-government ideology who may be part of those groups, part of their orbit, existing on the periphery, or now seeing the group come under pressure and trying to decide whether that it is time for them to take things into their own hand?
TODD: Jessica Watkins has pleaded not guilty to the charges against here. Watkins' attorney did not respond to our request for comment on prosecutors calling her a flight risk and a danger to the public.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH (on camera): President Biden has signed an executive order demanding a review of supply chains for critical products including semi conductor chips. The White House says the order will identify gaps in manufacturing as well as disruptions in supply chains, it comes amid a shortage of chips and other goods that have forced U.S. automakers to slow production.
CNN's John Defterios joins us now live from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you John, so this chip shortfall seems to come out of nowhere. What impact is it having and what are the wider implications of this?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (on camera): Well, Rosemary, this is a product of the internet of things were really connected whether it's our phones, our laptops, refrigeration's, or automobiles as you were suggesting there in your lead in. So, the Biden administration is eager to kind of revive domestic industry for chip manufacturing, even suggesting $37 billion. That is not going to happen overnight.
In the meanwhile, why did the supply chain breakdown is the big question mark? Number one, the United States only produces 12 percent of the chips in the world that is one problem. And there is an over reliance on Asia, mainly in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore. It's all good when things were not disrupted by the coronavirus and other are concerns that China may be sitting on the rare (inaudible) needed to produce the chip, and maybe holding back supplies.
So, this is why we see the auto manufacture suggesting they could lose a fifth of their production here in the first quarter, because there is a shortage of chips that is used to communicate throughout the vehicles. And this is part of the wider tensions we see right now between Washington and Beijing. It's not bubbling to the surface on the chips, but it is clearly there because of the over reliance on Asia in manufacturing. You can take a look at Apple and its products, they are done in mainland China.
CHURCH: And John, we're waiting U.S. jobless claims later today. Do they remain historically high? And what is the chairman of the U.S. Central Bank telling Congress about the real jobless rates?
DEFTERIOS (on camera): Yes, this is a little bit complex, Rosemary, but let's break it down. We're in that period after the stimulus of last year $2.3 trillion and before we get kind of scale of the vaccines here, to get rehiring taking place. So, if one things is that jobs are getting back into place that is misleading indeed.
Let's take a look at the expectations this week. It is better than 830,000 claims, 830,000 people asking for new claims, and nearly 4.5 million that's still remain on government benefits. That is historical high by a level of four to five times the norm, and even at that level, Jay Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve the United States was on Capitol Hill and suggesting that the overall jobless rates may be misleading today. Let's take a listen to him
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: We have 10 million fewer people working on payroll jobs than we had just one year ago today. And that the unemployment rate, the reported rate is 6.3 percent but if you include people who are in the labor force and indeed working in February and a couple of other adjustments, you get to almost a 10 percent unemployment rate. So, there is a lot of slack in the labor market and a long way to go to maximum employment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS (on camera): And why Powell suggest that you need to have that near $2 trillion package, Republicans are pushing back, this should get cleared one way or the other in the next week, Rosemary. But 150 CEOs wrote to lawmakers on Capitol Hill saying they support the measures, we are looking from Silicon Valley to Wall Street and the heartland of America the manufacturer saying, we do need that sort of scale of intervention by the government. Rosemary?
CHURCH (on camera): Alright. Many thanks, as always, John Defterios, joining us live from Abu Dhabi.
Well, now to another story we have been following, the unexpected winter storm in the U.S. state of Texas, which coupled with the pandemic is a crippling crisis. Texas has had one of the highest rates of COVID infections of any states. Second only to California. And last week's ice and snow only made a difficult situation much worse.
CNN's Miguel Marquez reports from Houston
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tania Delacruz's oxygen levels drop and her temperature shot up on the coldest night in South Texas.
How much more complicated or difficult was it to deal with that given that you had no electricity, no water and all that stuff?
TANIA DELACRUZ, DEVELOP COVID-19 SYMPTOMS DURING STORM: It was pretty bad because even though you would try to cover up with all the blankets that you know, you could find and I was still feeling cold.
MARQUEZ: So you had chills.
DELACRUZ: Yes. And then the cough, I mean, the colder it is the more prone the attacks come.
MARQUEZ: Graciano Lopez was on oxygen recuperating from COVID-19 at home, then his electricity went out, then the batteries on his oxygen machine.
When I don't get oxygen, he says, to the floor I go.
Sandra (Inaudible) is on demand, but now she is worried about for other family members who have COVID-19.
For two days my family had to rent a hotel just to stay warm, she says and I was here and all I could do was worry about my kids. Houston's united memorial center a hospital CNN has twice visited as the pandemic raged is seeing fewer patients today. One concern, the storm may produce another spike in cases.
JOSEPH VARON, CHIEF MEDICAL DOCTOR: They didn't care about COVID. We have a bunch of shelter that were open to keep people warm. And you know that a shelter is a giant Petri dish. So (inaudible). So, I do expect the next two days were going to have a small spike in the number of cases.
MARQUEZ: Like many hospitals, UMMC lost power and water, pipes burst, but staff worked through the worst of it. Anita Pandey's home is still unlivable, her family now with relatives.
ANITA PANDEY, CHIEF NURSING OFFICER: Looking at this patients we are actually looking towards us to make sure we take good care of them even though they knew we had an emergency, we make sure we support 100 percent and provide both medical and emotional care. It was above my own personal concern.
MARQUEZ: Alethea Juarez's husband just got over COVID-19.
UNKNOWN: This was our master bedroom. Our master bathroom. And our two walk in closets.
MARQUEZ: And like so many Texans, now this.
ALETHEA JUAREZ, HOME DAMAGE BY BURST PIPES: When we came home we discovered a lot of fall right here and it also had collapsed in my closet the light ballast was hanging down, sheetrock was down, everything in my closet was destroyed.
MARQUEZ: Home after home across nearly the entire state damaged by frozen and burst pipes. We met Mike Philips four years ago on a boat in flooded Houston neighborhoods after hurricane Harvey. He says this is worse.
MIKE PHILIPS, KHI RESTORATION: This was right across Texas and no one was spared with these busted pipes whether you lived in Lubbock, Texas or you live here in Houston, Texas we all experienced the same problems.
MARQUEZ: Miguel Marquez, CNN, Houston, Texas.
CHURCH (on camera): That is remarkable there. We will take a short break. Still to come, Facebook users in Australia can once again share news stories. We will tell you why the tech giant and the governments are no longer at odds.
CHURCH: Protesters are back out in the streets in Myanmar that includes supporters of Myanmar's military coup, we are seeing some of them carrying banners in support of the army and the state administration council. Anti coup protesters have also turned out they are rallying for the 20th day in a row after the army seized power at the beginning of the month that detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and others.
Well, the standoff between Facebook and the Australian government is over, with both sides claiming a win. Australia's parliament has passed its media reform law designed to force tech companies to pay publishers for news content. But Facebook won some concessions after blocking news pages in Australia. Will Ripley is following this live from Hong Kong, he joins us now. So, both sides claiming they have won, who really came out on top?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, it depends on your perspective Rosemary, from the Australian government perspective this guarantees that Australian news outlet will be paid for content that appears on Facebook or on Google. But from the Facebook perspective, they play hardball by controversially pulling their news feed from Australia's Facebook users, including vital COVID-19 information and they got a lot of flak for that.
But what the government did on Tuesday was they re-wrote this code, they soften the language, essentially making it more attractive that commercial negotiations take place. Initially they were saying that there could be individual or collective bargaining and it could pretty easily go into force arbitration if the news outlets and the social media platforms could've strike a deal.
Facebook felt like that might railroad them into being force to pay for content and posted on Facebook when they did not want to. So, the way that it has now been written, it encourages this commercial negotiation, acknowledging the contribution that Facebook and Google have made to sustaining news in Australia.
But it also, because Facebook and Google are already in the process of negotiating with media outlets in Australia, it still does guarantee that they are going to be paid, it's just the outlets that Facebook and Google want to strike a deal with, the ones they want to pay and they want to post.
So, that is a key difference here, because for awhile now, Facebook has been engaging in these kind of one-off contracts with various news organization paying them for content that goes on Facebook, but this law is unprecedented, because it makes it necessary and essential that Facebook pay any content provider that appears on its platform.
Other countries, Rosemary, could be taking a very close look at this and tried to follow suit, because there has been criticism that Facebook profits off of news content that it is not necessarily paying, you know, local news outlets in particular, small publishers in particular for.
CHURCH: Yes. We will watch to see what the ramifications are. Will Ripley bringing us the very latest from Hong Kong, many thanks.
The Olympic torch relay kicks off in Japan in just one month, but with COVID still spreading, organizers are laying out a lengthy list of health measures for torchbearers and fans to follow. We are live in Tokyo. That's next.
CHURCH: Well, the Tokyo Olympic torch relay is set to begin on March 25th, but officials say there will be multiple COVID precautions in place as torchbearers make their way to every corner of Japan.
And CNN's Blake Essig joins me now live from Tokyo to talk more about this. How is this going to work exactly?
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, you know, Rosemary, obviously as you said, there are a number of counter measures put in place to not only protect the torchbearers but all the people that are taking part in putting on this torch relay, which covers all of Japan. But I mean, really this is another positive sign that the Paralympic and Olympic games could actually happen this summer.
Earlier today the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizing committee held a press conference to lay out their torch relay plans. You know, again, 121 days long start March 25th and that torch will go through all 47 prefectures here in Japan, starting with Fukushima.
Now, Fukushima was one of the areas most devastated by the great 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that resulted in nuclear power plant meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-chi power plant. Now as they move forward there will be 10,000 torchbearers who will carry the torch across this country, and you know, one of the positives signs, and again it may be a little foreshadowing for what's to come this summer, spectators will be allowed to line the relay route and watch the torch go by.
Of course, they're going to have to wear masks, they have been asked by officials not to vocally cheer on these runners, instead they can clap to show their support, they have been asked to avoid contact with people, closed spaces and large crowd sizes. And that crowd size issue is one of the big factors, if any area along the relay route has a large crowd size, there's a potential that officials will suspend that part of the relay.
And in part, one of the measures that they're hoping to put into place to prevent that from happening, you know, they're going to have celebrities carrying the torch, they are going to let people know which leg certain torchbearers are running until about 30 minutes before they get the torch.
So, moving forward, not only are you going to have that, but there is the potential for reformatting as well. Prefecture to prefecture depending on COVID-19 infection rate. So, again a positive step towards the fact that we very well might have an Olympic games this summer, and that spectators could also be there, Rosemary?
CHURCH (on camera): Yes. Hopefully it will all go very smoothly. Blake Essig joining us live from Tokyo. Many thanks.
Well, as if being a table tennis childhood prodigy wasn't impressive enough, ping-pong sensation, Anna Hursey, who's just 14 years old is proving you can do it all while fighting climate change on a global scale.
Here is world sports' Christina MacFarlane.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This used to be how Anna Hursey turn heads. The child prodigy and youngest ever athlete to compete at the commonwealth game at the senior level. But now it's also for this.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We desperately need a unified national response to the climate crisis.
MACFARLANE: Last month as President Biden rolled out his climate change plan of action, 3,000 miles away in Wales, 14 year-old Anna Hursey was about to become part of it.
ANNA HURSEY, TABLE TENNIS PLAYER: I was just as home and my parents just got a phone call, and I was kind of like what is this about, and they told me, but I was really excited.
MACFARLANE: She has been asked by the U.S. Embassy to join President Biden's mission for climate change, following her efforts to help put sports on the path to carbon neutrality.
HURSEY: I feel so proud, because President Biden, he clearly cares for people, not only for the U.S. but for the world too. President Biden's new climate change agenda is very bold, to achieve zero emissions in America by 2050 is incredible. I think some people just don't want to think it's true, that humans are causing this damage, and that we are responsible for what is happening and what will happen. But I am carbon neutral so every month I invest into a project that offsets my carbon footprint.
MACFARLANE: This is about her health to. Hursey has asthma so air pollution affects her badly.
HURSEY: It definitely affect the level that I can go to (inaudible) especially with my fitness. When I travel like -- when I go to China it makes my asthma much worse.
MACFARLANE: And with her Chinese British dual nationality, China is where she spends a lot of her time for one-on-one coaching.
HURSEY: All they do in China is train. I train eight to seven hours a day, pretty much seven times week, it was definitely much harder more intense. It was really hard and I went in the summer, so it was boiling and the coaches were always asking us to go on five mile run, but it was really hard.
MACFARLANE: Five mile run, at six years old?
MACFARLANE: But it has paid off. In 2018 she became the youngest ever athletes to compete at the commonwealth game in Australia at the age of 11. And now she is eyeing an Olympic medal.
HURSEY: I really want to win a medal, in the Olympics, hopefully next one that would mean the world.
MACFARLANE: As would changing the world.
HURSEY: Climate change is about pairing for my family my friends, everyone is affected by climate change. And sport can definitely influence change. (END VIDEOTAPE)
CHURCH (on camera): So impressive in every way. Thank you so much for joining us I'm Rosemary Church. The news continues after a quick break. Have yourselves a great day.