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In the Grip of the Flu; Newtown Shooting: One Month Later; Gun Control Plan Expected Tuesday; NFL Playoff Results: Pats, Falcons Move Forward; Big Royal Baby News; Golden Globe Winners; Big Week of Earnings Ahead

Aired January 14, 2013 - 06:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, EARLY START continues right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: One month later, a day of remembrance and a painful decision await the community of Newtown, Connecticut.

SAMBOLIN: Flu shot scramble, a run on vaccine in some spots with an outbreak still gripping most of the nation.

BERMAN: NFL's final four, Atlanta and New England join the Ravens and the 49ers earning the right to play for a Super Bowl spot. They'll play next week. I can hardly wait.

SAMBOLIN: I'm very excited.

BERMAN: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin, Monday, January 14th. It's 6:00 a.m. in the East. So let's get started here.

First up, all but three states now in the grip of a flu epidemic, the only CDC says the only states spared widespread flu are California, Hawaii, and Mississippi. In New York, getting a flu shot is becoming tougher and tougher.

There's been a run on the vaccine at some pharmacies and urgent care centers since Governor Cuomo declared a public health emergency. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now live, and, Elizabeth, what exactly do health officials mean when they call this an epidemic? People get confused and they get a little scared.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, both of those things happen. So let me clarify and calm down at the same time. So what CDC officials do is they look at illnesses and how many people are dying, and when it reaches a certain level, a certain threshold, they declare it an epidemic, and I want to say that typically every year there's an epidemic.

Sometimes to make it sound like this year is different, typically, every year is an epidemic. So the words shouldn't make you scared. However, this is a bad flu season. That's clear. We shouldn't let words scare us. We should just be smart. Get a vaccine. Wash your hands a lot. Stay home from work if you're not feeling well -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Great advice. Governor Cuomo has declared a public health emergency in New York, so what does that do?

COHEN: You know, one of the things that it does is it tells pharmacists that they're allowed now to vaccinate minors because usually in New York State they're not allowed to vaccinate minors. So this is a great thing. It should get more shots out to more kids.

But it's interesting. We called a large number of pharmacies in New York, and none of them were giving shots to kids. They knew that they were allowed to, but they said, look, we're just not doing it. So it's unclear exactly how well that part of his directive works.

SAMBOLIN: Well, let's hope that folks still make the effort and get the children somewhere to get their flu vaccine. Elizabeth Cohen live for us. Thank you very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

BERMAN: All right, just a couple of minutes after the hour right now.

It's been exactly one month since the deadly shooting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut. The community has traveled an uneasy road from mourning to healing after the worst day when 20 children and six adults were killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The fate of the school building itself remains undecided. At a public forum last night, some said it should be torn down, but others said that would be a mistake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My best memories were at Sandy Hook school, and I think that children in the future deserve to experience the same beautiful memories that I did. If we were to knock the school down, we would be preventing future children from experiencing the same memories.


BERMAN: CNN Susan Candiotti is live now in Newtown. Susan, you know, what does the community want to do?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there are so many different opinions. You heard some of them there. Remember, it's only been a month since this happened. But this was the first of many public meetings they will have on this subject.

You heard a lot of things, for example, turn it into a planetarium. Turn it into a peace center. Some said destroy it. Others said, no, it's a sign of strength. We have to keep the school and add a memorial too. Certainly this is a difficult time for the entire community, but this is a community that is helping each other to try to get back some sense of normalcy.


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): St. Rose of Lima Church lost nine of its youngest members at Sandy Hook. A vigil drew thousands that first night and then there were the funerals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was this far away from the families. It was palpable what they were going through.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): How well are people healing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's still a lot of pain, a lot of grief. When it's going to go away, I don't know. It might never go away.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Arriving daily to ease that pain, something that astounds Deacon Rick Sinto and fellow parishioners.

(on camera): It's a month later. What are all these boxes doing here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the gifts. These are letters. These are prayers cards coming in from all over the country, all over the world.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Thousands of pieces of mail carefully sorted for each victim, including the shooter's mother and the killer himself.

(on camera): What does this is all a sign of?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the world putting their arm around Newtown and saying that we're here for you in some way.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Like a huge banner that reads "We Are With You, Newtown" filled with signatures hanging from an overpass. It's all the way from Tucson, Arizona, the site of the Gabby Giffords mass shooting.

Down the street from the elementary school, a bouquet marks the spot where a makeshift memorial once stood, now dismantled, composted, and preserved for a permanent memorial. In this community people turn to each other for strength, many with the same question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The main questions of why? Why did this happen? How did this happen?

CANDIOTTI: Seeking answers, no one may ever have.


CANDIOTTI: For now there is no single answer about what to do about Sandy Hook Elementary School -- John. BERMAN: And, Susan, of course, people all over the country right now having discussions, conversations about the future of the gun laws in this country. Any sense what the people in Newtown want to see changed, if anything?

CANDIOTTI: Well, you know, just like they're having conversations about this around the country, they're doing the very same thing here. There is no single answer here. People have different opinions, but many are calling for stronger gun control measures, including a ban on assault weapons.

I spoke with the first selectman here in Newtown, the equivalent of the mayor. Here's how she feels about it.


PAT LLODRA, FIRST SELECTMAN, NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT: The horror, these were 6 and 7-year-olds that were so he grievously harmed and killed by a man who was flawed in his judgment and had access to an assault weapon and other weapons as well.

So I think it's for many people like me who I've long been an advocate of better controls over access to those kinds of weapons, this simply elevates our passion on that issue.


CANDIOTTI: And later this morning, we will be attending a town hall right here in this building behind me. A news conference being held by a group called "Sandy Hook Promise." Now, certainly they don't speak for the entire town, but a lot of people there will be weighing in on the gun control issue debate along with other things, improving school security, and improving mental health care in the U.S. back to you -- John.

BERMAN: Thanks, Susan. Susan Candiotti in Newtown, Connecticut. Soledad O'Brien will be live in Newtown for "STARTING POINT" this morning beginning at 7:00 Eastern Time.

SAMBOLIN: And one month to the day since the tragedy in Newtown, Vice President Joe Biden and other top officials will meet with members of the House of Representatives this morning in a continued effort to gather policy proposals on gun violence. The vice president's final recommendations are expected to be announced Tuesday.

BERMAN: Also in the House of Representatives debate begins today on two bills that address Superstorm Sandy relief. Congress passed more than $9 billion in aid last week, but the states and the president are asking for another $50 billion. One of the House plans calls for just $17 billion in what it calls emergency aid.

SAMBOLIN: The week is getting off to a soggy start, very soupy here. Heavy rain and flooding have washed out roads in parts of West Tennessee. Public schools in at least three counties are closed today because buses cannot get to the students. BERMAN: In China, hazardous record high pollution levels in Beijing have prompted what's called an orange fog warning. Look at this picture.

SABMOLIN: Aptly named, right?

BERMAN: Schoolchildren have been ordered to halt outdoor activities in the worst polluted areas. The reports of respiratory problems and the sale of masks have skyrocketed. Last year heavy smog forced the cancellation of almost 700 flights at Beijing Airports.

SAMBOLIN: Do you have a football hangover this morning?


SAMBOLIN: A couple of really exciting playoff games on Sunday. New England beat Houston 41-28. The Patriots got a huge performance from running back Shane Verene. He scored three times. Not bad for a third stringer who scored four touchdowns all year before Sunday. Tom Brady has now won more playoff games than any NFL quarterback in history. He passed his idol, Joe Montana.

BERMAN: Tom Brady is very, very good.

SAMBOLIN: You love him. Google eyes.

BERMAN: There it is last night. I see it again now. He is still good.

SAMBOLIN: It gives you goose bumps, doesn't it?

BERMAN: Absolutely. All right, in Atlanta it was a cardiac ct finish. The Falcons came this close to blowing a huge lead. They beat the Seahawks 30-28 on that Matt Bryant field goal in the final seconds. They really almost blew it. Atlanta had two 20-point leads, but Seattle kept battling back.

It was almost like the Falcons went to sleep. Seattle jumped ahead with just 30 seconds left, but it was Matt Bryant who hit that 49-yard field goal to save them, and there was a huge sigh of relief all over Atlanta.

SAMBOLIN: So here's your playoff picture. San Francisco faces Atlanta in the Georgia Dome for the NFC championship. Baltimore tackles New England at Gillette stadium for the AFC title.

BERMAN: This will be a rematch for last year's title game. The Patriots, you'll remember, won that one on a missed Baltimore field goal. I mean, both these games will be excellent. I have no idea who is going to win. These are some good, good teams. It can keep us up very late.

It's 10 minutes after the hour right now. Speaking of winners and losers, it was an evening with a lot of winners, but Jody Foster, it was Jody Foster who was the talk of the Golden Globes. We're going to show you why coming up. SAMBOLIN: Plus, an iconic American muscle car is making a big comeback. We're talking about the Corvette Sting Ray. We're going to share all of the details with you straight ahead.


BERMAN: It's just into CNN, big royal baby news. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, their baby is due in July. That's according to St. James Palace. A spokesman also saying that Kate's condition is continuing to improve following her stay in a hospital for what the palace said was severe morning sickness.

She's believed to be about 13 or 14 weeks pregnant right now. Again, that baby due in July. You were born in July, and you, of course, are also a princess. It's fitting.

SAMBOLIN: So she's having a girl?


SAMBOLIN: I know. Everybody is speculating, wondering is it twins? You know, I was doing a little research. We said earlier 12 weeks. You said 12 to 14 weeks.


SAMBOLIN: So the baby is about the size of a lime right now because everybody is trying to figure out do we know the gender yet if it's only one because there's also speculation could it be two. All right, it's 14 minutes past the hour.

Welcome back to EARLY START, folks. Hollywood is buzzing this morning, and it's not because people have been up all night partying after the Golden Globes. It's about Ben Affleck winning the best director prize just days after his big Oscar snub.

"Argo" beating out "Lincoln" for top dramatic film as well and people are still talking about the speech that Jody Foster delivered in accepting a career achievement award. CNN's Nischelle Turner has so much to talk about. She's going to wrap up on the big winners and the best moments.


TINA FEY, ACTRESS: It's getting sloppy in here, everybody. Look at how drunk Glenn Close is.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Golden Globes are usually one big, irreverent party. And co-hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey kept the zingers coming for the ceremony's 70th anniversary.

AMY POEHLER, ACTRESS: Kathryn Bigelow nominated tonight. When it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron. TURNER: The drinks and jokes were flowing, but there were, you know, awards to be handed out. And guess who had the best reason to celebrate?


TURNER: The Iran hostage thriller "Argo" earned the night's biggest prize, Best Drama and director Ben Affleck who didn't receive an Oscar nomination this year was a winner as well.

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: I don't care what the award is. When they put your name next to the names she just read off, it's an extraordinary thing in your life.

TURNER: "Lincoln's" Daniel Day-Lewis and "Zero Dark Thirty's" Jessica Chastain took the top acting awards and both saluted their directors, Steven Spielberg and Kathryn Bigelow.

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, ACTOR: Steven Spielberg, you've given me an experience that I will treasure until the end of my life.

KATHRYN BIGELOW, ACTRESS: Kathryn Bigelow, you've done more for women in cinema than you take credit for.

TURNER: No misery at the "Les Miserables" table. The film won Best Musical or Comedy and earned honors for first time Globe winner Hugh Jackman and supporting actress Ann Hathaway.

ANN HATHAWAY, ACTRESS: Thank you for this blunt object. But I will forevermore use as a weapon against self-doubt.

TURNER: On the TV side, Showtime's "Homeland" took top drama honors. "Girls" won comedy series and a Best Actress Golden Globe for its creator and star Lena Dunham.

LENA DUNHAM, FILMMAKER/ACTRESS: This award is for every woman who's ever felt that there wasn't a space for her.

TURNER: Speaking of women, Jody Foster honored with the Cecil B. DeMille career achievement award, provided the night's most emotional moment.

JODIE FOSTER, ACTRESS: I will continue to tell stories, but it will be my writing on the wall and I want to be seen to be understood deeply and to be not so very lonely.

TURNER: And former President Bill Clinton surprised everyone when he came out to salute "Lincoln."

In the end, they laughed, they cried, and, of course, the party continues.

POEHLER: Good night. We're going home --

(END VIDEOTAPE) TURNER: So, you know, the Golden Globes was a night full of surprises, and no one surprises -- no bigger surprise, excuse me, than one that the audience didn't actually see. This happened back stage in the press room after "Django Unchained" writer and director Quentin Tarantino won.

Now, "Django" has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for its liberal use of the N-word. And Quentin Tarantino was really candid in his response why he uses it so much.



QUENTIN TARANTINO, DIRECTOR, "DJANGO UNCHAINED": If somebody is out there actually saying it when it comes to the word (EXPLETIVE DELETED), that the fact that I was using it in the movie more than it was used back in the antebellum south in Mississippi, in 1858, well, then they might have -- then feel free to make that case. But no one is actually making that case.

So, in other words, what they're actually saying is I should soften it. They are saying I should lie. They are saying I should whitewash. They're saying I should massage. And I never do that when it comes to my characters.


All right. Black people questions are all right, though.


TURNER: All right. Talk about double awkward moment there. That was Don Cheadle taking the stage of the press room right after Quentin Tarantino left the stage. Cheadle won a Golden Globe for best actor in a TV series. Both of the men actually using the word to reporters.


TURNER: I would have to say I'm not sure what Cheadle was doing, if he was being serious, taking a shot at Tarantino, or just trying to make light of the situation, but the whole thing was really awkward and very uncomfortable.

SAMBOLIN: There was a lot of controversy about this, Nischelle, as you very well know online. Some people were counting how many time the word was said, and director Spike Lee, one of the harshest critics about this, saying that it was disrespectful to its ancestors.

So, I suspect that that dialogue is going to continue, Nischelle.

Thank you so much for that.

TURNER: Well, yes. I think so. Thanks, Zoraida.


All right. Eighteen minutes past the hour. It's time for your "Early Reads", your local news that is making national headlines.

And we begin with a story from the conservative "Weekly Standard" magazine and blog. It is reporting former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford will re-enter politics. Our very own Peter Hamby was the first to break this, that it was a done deal. Sanford will run for the House seat that was once held by now Senator Tim Scott.

"Standard" says Sanford will make his run official in the next few days. Of course, you will remember that in 2009, then Governor Sanford was reported missing and later admitted that he had an affair with a woman in Argentina.

BERMAN: I told I bumped into Sanford at the Republican National Convention. He told me that he missed the political arena. So, not surprising maybe that he is getting back in. We'll see how the reaction is.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness. I'm sure -0

BERMAN: All right. "The New York Times" is writing this morning about a little red Corvette. Baby, you're much too fast. Prince hasn't driven this. G.M. has rolled out the 2014 --

SAMBOLIN: It's not red.

BERMAN: No, it's silver.

That's the new 2014 corvette Stingray. It shares only two parts with the 2013 model, so it's like the company built really a totally different car. G.M. borrowed some details from the 1963 model. So, there are some retro action going on there in that car. It will be in a showroom this fall.

SAMBOLIN: You know that song is going to be in my head all day long now.

BERMAN: Baby, you're much too fast.


BERMAN: For an extended look at all of our top stories, head to our blog You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Just search for earlystartCNN.

SAMBOLIN: And clinical psychologist Skip Rizzo is on the frontlines of military veterans' battles with PTSD. He developed a virtual reality therapy for vets, and now he is focusing on pre-deployment prevention. Check out this preview on "THE NEXT LIST".


SKIP RIZZO, PSYCHOLOGIST: Anybody that goes to war is going to be changed. It's just a reality. On the other hand, PTSD is a significant challenge. It's not about being weak. It's about having an experience of stress that really has a neurological impact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen hundreds of thousands of veterans that may be returning from Iraq or Afghanistan with post traumatic stress disorder. Conservative estimates say one in five folks coming home.

RIZZO: I want to prepare people to deal with stress better, and if that doesn't work out, to help them to fight through the challenges and the aftermath of stress.

Hi. I'm Skip Rizzo, clinical psychologist at the University of Southern California, Institute for Creative Technologies.


SAMBOLIN: Check out "THE NEXT LIST", Sunday, January 27th, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

BERMAN: And coming up, Wall Street's big week with some of the largest financial firms in the country front and center.


BERMAN: We are minding your business this morning. U.S. stock futures are trading mixed today. Dow and S&P 500 futures up slightly. NASDAQ futures, down.

SAMBOLIN: It is a big week for earnings. Poppy Harlow is for Christine Romans this morning, covering that story for us.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. It's all about the big banks. So, last week was a fine week on Wall Street. S&P 500 closed up half a percent.

But I think a lot of people were sitting on the sidelines waiting, waiting for this week because coming Wednesday, we're going to get big earnings from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs. And then Thursday, Bank of America, Citigroup. Friday, we're going to hear from Morgan Stanley.

Twenty-two of the 37 S&P 500 companies reporting this week. Folks are all financial. The numbers are expected to be very, very good. We're seeing a big rebound here.

If you look at the numbers, the expectations, the financials as a whole will be up about 15.5 percent from a year ago, and if you actually take out the insurers, because they've been hit so hard from all those pay-outs because of Sandy, the whole financial sector would be up 43 percent from a year ago.

Bank of America, I just want you to look at this stock because this company has gone through a rollercoaster ride. Bank of America up 70 percent from a year ago, but you've got a lot of those mortgage settlements behind the banks. They paid out a lot, but now it's behind them.

Also, you have a lot of layoffs still, and that means they're saving a lot of money. They're doing better. But it's coming at the cost of jobs.

BERMAN: I want to talk about the flu for a moment because Zoraida Sambolin here is courageously battling the flu here.

HARLOW: Right.

BERMAN: This comes at a cost.

HARLOW: It comes at a big cost. This interesting CDC study came out because so many parents are having to stay home with their kids because they have the flu. So if your kid gets hospitalized, serious flu, costs about $4,000. You're going to miss 73 hours of work, $1,500 in earnings.

Even if they just go to the emergency room, the cost is going to be about $730. You're going to miss, you know, two, three days of work. You're going to miss that money, and, you know, one in three employees in the United States does not get any paid sick days.

So, they're not going to necessarily take the time off. They go to work and get more people sick.

Keep in mind, flu shot, sometimes it's free. Sometimes it's up to 40 bucks. It's still worth it.

SAMBOLIN: And there's still time to do so, especially for the little kids.

HARLOW: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Poppy.


BERMAN: All right. It is one of history's modern enduring mysteries. What happened to Jimmy Hoffa? Coming up, the alleged mob boss who claims to know.

And if are you leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desk top or mobile phone. Just go to