‘Your World’ on US economy, COVID-19 omicron variant πŸ’₯πŸ’₯

This is a rush transcript from “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” December 31, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JACKIE DEANGELIS, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: They are getting ready to ring in the

new year in Times Square, while, on Wall Street, they are ringing up big

gains for 2021, the markets soaring this year, despite the pandemic and

high inflation, the S&P 500 finishing out the year up about 27 percent.

Welcome, everyone. I’m Jackie DeAngelis, in for Neil Cavuto. And this is a

special edition of “Your World.”

The big question, of course, where do we go from here? Our market pros are

going to weigh in on that in just a moment.

But, first, let’s get to FOX Business’ Gerri Willis with a closer look at

Wall Street’s big finish.

Three straight years of gains, Gerri. This is pretty phenomenal.

GERRI WILLIS, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It is phenomenal, Jackie. Great

to see you.

And, of course, what we’re seeing today is a little sell-off at the end of

today, markets finishing lower on this final trading day of 2021. Let’s

take a look back, though, at what the tumultuous year in the markets had to

offer, 2021, the year of the retail trader, crypto, meme stocks, but also

another year of big gains, as the S&P 500 set 70 record closes, more than

double the pace of 2020.

Leading the way with the strongest performance was the energy sector, as

oil climbed to seven-year highs from $50 a barrel at the beginning of the

year to $70, sparking analyst calls for $100-a-barrel oil in 2022.

Now, some stocks even doubled in value this year, Moderna, a leader in mRNA

vaccine innovation, Ford, which set ambitious goals for producing electric

vehicles, and chipmaker Nvidia benefiting from semi-shortages caused by

supply chain disruptions.

Now, as we saw life briefly return to normal, stay-at-home stocks that had

performed so well throughout the pandemic, like the streaming services,

Peloton and Zoom, came falling back to earth. As lockdowns eased, a surge

in consumer spending fueled gains in retail stocks, like bed, bath and body

works.

And as we head into the new year, the meme stocks, although much lower than

they were at their highs in January, have still posted eye-watering gains

on the year, like AMC, with returns of more than 1200 percent.

So, a strong year for sure and one that may not be repeated given the storm

clouds on the horizon, like rising interest rates, more inflation, the

midterm elections, and the continuing COVID threat. Bottom line, stocks,

especially U.S. stocks, continue to be the most attractive play for

investors in 2021. And, well, they may be that all over again in 2022,

Jackie.

DEANGELIS: They just might be.

Gerri Willis, great to see you and happy new year.

All right, so where do we go from here?

Let’s bring in our market pros, trader Ted Weisberg at Seaport Securities,

economist Steve Moore, and Slatestone Wealth chief strategist Kenny

Polcari.

Kenny, you and I have been having this conversation all week. Really strong

finish to the year. 2022, though, there are quite a few unknowns. Gerri

mentioned them. Inflation certainly is one. We’re expecting to see it creep

higher from here. Fed could be raising interest rates. A lot of things to

think about, slowing growth as well.

Your thoughts on how we’re going to kick the year off?

KENNY POLCARI, SLATESTONE WEALTH: So, I think that that’s exactly it.

I think the focus is here is going to be completely on the Fed, on rates

and on inflation, and the pace at which they stop the taper and the pace at

which they raise interest rates, right? The market is expecting three 25-

basis-point rate increases. There’s talk of a 50-basis-point rate increase

somewhere in there.

Will it be the first one? Will it be the last one? Will it be the middle

one? And that is what I think the market is not pricing in at the moment,

right? And the only way we’re going to know if that happens is to see what

happens with inflation. And we’re going to get more macro data in the weeks

and the months ahead. And so that’s going to dictate.

I think the Omicron thing and the virus thing is going to be behind us.

Most people assume that it’s now more endemic vs. pandemic. And we will

just learn to live with that.

DEANGELIS: It seems to be how the market is looking at things right now,

essentially pricing in this surge in Omicron and saying, we’re going to get

through it within a few weeks.

Ted, I want to get to you, because a lot of investors look at this market

and they say, wow, three straight years of gains, even during a pandemic

time. We’re at or near highs when it comes to the market.

They’re nervous. They’re a little bit nervous about trying to get in or

figuring out what their strategy should be.

TED WEISBERG, PRESIDENT, SEAPORT SECURITIES CORPORATION: Well, no matter

what the sentiment, no matter what the levels, Jackie, this is a risk

business. And so people have a right to be nervous. There’s plenty to be

nervous about.

Markets clearly have been climbing a wall of worry, not just this year, but

for the last couple of years. But I do think that it’s a third good year. I

have a feeling that a lot of folks have basically pushed their gains into

next year. I mean, that’s a technical reason to do that.

So I think that allowed the averages to kind of levitate these last two or

three weeks of the year. By pushing the gains into 2022, you basically

don’t have to deal with the tax consequences until the spring of 2023.

So it’s quite possible we’re going to see some selling in January and into

February. But, going forward, I think, Kenny, you hit the nails on the

head. It’s inflation, it’s the Fed, it’s corporate earnings. In my opinion,

the Fed continues to be trapped and to a large degree behind the curve.

DEANGELIS: Right.

WEISBERG: If inflation persists, the Fed is going to have their hands

forced. And they have already indicated interest rates are going to move

higher next year, which at some point will be a negative for the markets.

But I think, initially, a lot of that might be priced in. But if inflation

really continues to be a problem, then the Fed is going to have to get much

more aggressive.

DEANGELIS: Aggressive, right.

WEISBERG: And that’s going to be a big question mark for the markets going

forward.

DEANGELIS: Steve, I want to get more of a macro view from you, because we

talk about inflation all the time, right?

And the experts are saying we’re going to go higher before we go lower.

Part of that inflation isn’t just coming from the stimulus that the Fed has

pumped into the market, but it’s coming from all of this spending. And the

Democrats are saying, no, we’re going to try to go forward with Build Back

Better in January, no matter what.

STEPHEN MOORE, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Yes, Jackie, I’m not

maybe quite as bullish as my friends here.

I think that the inflation issue is going to get worse before it gets

better. I think the Fed has been incredibly irresponsible for the last six

to nine months. They continued to say inflation was either not a problem

and that it was transitory. And it isn’t transitory. And they have been way

behind the curve.

So I think the Fed has — should have taken action six months ago, but they

certainly have to take action immediately. But I want to mention another

couple of risks in addition to inflation.

By the way, when you get inflation, if you look back at it in the 1970s,

which was obviously the decade of high inflation, the worst decade since

the 1930s for the stock market, Jackie. Stocks lost about 40 percent of the

value in real terms in that decade because inflation was so high. So

inflation in the long term is not a good thing for stocks.

Now, the other thing to worry about that’s keeping me up at night, Jackie,

and something you and I have talked about many times, is, what is the fate

of this Build Back Better bill? It is, in my opinion, horrific for the

markets if it passed.

Now, right now, it appears to be dead. But there are a lot of talks between

the two Joes, Joe Manchin and Joe Biden, about trying to revive it. And I’m

really worried about the tax increases, because if those tax increases are

to pass, you’re talking about the United States having some of the highest

tax rates in the world, and that is just not good for American companies

and it’s not good for the economy generally.

DEANGELIS: You’re absolutely right.

And, of course, Ted made the point that we might see people deferring their

gains into next year, and they’re going to get hit even harder.

It might keep you up at night, Steve. It gives me nightmares.

MOORE: Exactly.

DEANGELIS: I want to thank you all for joining us today. Great to see you

three, and wishing you a happy new year. We will see you in 2022.

MOORE: Thank you.

POLCARI: Bye-bye.

MOORE: Happy new year.

DEANGELIS: All right, well, it’s not just stocks that we’re watching, of

course.

The price of gas has surged 46 percent this year. If my next guest is

right, that could even go higher in 2022. Patrick De Haan is with GasBuddy,

which tracks prices at the pump across the country.

AAA fuel gauge says the average today, Patrick, is $3.29. A year ago, it

was $2.25. So we have come down 10 cents, but we’re still relatively high

and people are talking about $4.

PATRICK DE HAAN, GASBUDDY: Yes, that’s right, Jackie.

We’re closing out the year. Gas prices are starting to inch up. That’s

going to be a segue into what we expect for 2022. The yearly national

average this year ended up being at $3.02 a gallon. Next year, it’s going

to be even higher, nearly 40 cents, we forecast, the national yearly

average in the year, ahead of $3.41, with the potential that the national

average could reach — or could reach $4 a gallon.

For those in California, they could see $5, even into the mid-$5 gallon

range.

DEANGELIS: What kind of timeline are we looking at here? Because we were

having this conversation yesterday about gas prices, how it’s impacting the

average consumer in America. They’re paying more to fill up. There could be

more pain ahead.

Of course, we have got midterm elections next year. The peak of the season

is usually July 4. So is that the way you’re looking at this?

DE HAAN: Well, generally, what we see in a normal year, gas prices peak

right around the same time we transition to summer gasoline.

There’s a lot of pinch points between refinery maintenance and the switch-

over to EPA mandated-summer gasoline. We expect a peak at some point late

May, early June. And, by then, it may be close to or beyond $4.

But this year is going to be front and loaded, meaning that the highest

prices are going to be in the first six months of the year. And I believe

it’s because of those higher prices that the second half of the year, we

will see additional oil production. And consumers could see the end of 2022

with the national average that’s back down closer to $3 a gallon.

DEANGELIS: But you and I also follow these prices really closely. And we

know one thing, Patrick. They seem to go up very quick. And when it’s time

for them to come down, wow, it takes a lot longer to come down.

DE HAAN: No better example than what we have been seeing after Omicron.

Prices for oil plummeted. But it took the national average a couple of

weeks to really start seeing those, reflecting those lower oil prices, and

only a week or two did we see those low prices.

And now the national average is starting to head back up as oil prices have

climbed.

DEANGELIS: All right, well, we will be talking to you in 2022 to get your

forecast.

Thank you so much for that. Always great to see you, Patrick.

DE HAAN: Happy new year.

DEANGELIS: You too.

All right, coming up, the countdown to 2022 is on. With Omicron surging,

should you call those parties off this year, though? We’re going to ask a

doctor coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEANGELIS: Well, welcome back.

Democrats vowing to move forward with that nearly $2 trillion social

spending bill in the new year, but as the party’s hopes remain high, so

does inflation. Ikea is the latest to say that it’s raising prices over

supply chain issues.

So, is right now the time to keep pushing for more spending?

Let’s ask Illinois Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi.

Congressman, good to be with you.

Want to get your take on this, because it’s a hot topic right now.

Inflation is crippling a lot of budgets here in America. And many people

say this is not the time to be spending more. Your thoughts.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): First of all, happy New Year’s Eve,

Jackie.

DEANGELIS: Thank you.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: You’re absolutely right.

My constituents are very worried about inflation, there’s no doubt about

it. You just have to look at the gas pump.

At the same time, they want components of that Build Back Better plan, such

as lower prescription drug prices and help with child care, which has

become so unaffordable across the country.

DEANGELIS: When it comes to the no-vote, essentially, killing the bill, at

least for now, and Joe Manchin, some of his concerns, why is it that the

parties couldn’t come together and sort of bring him on board?

I mean, he is for some spending. He’s not for everything that’s in that

bill.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes, after his FOX News interview, he went on to West

Virginia radio.

I read the transcript of it. And it seems like he supports some vital

components of that bill, such as help with child care, help with universal

pre-K, which he signed into law as governor in West Virginia, as well as

some renewable energy provisions.

So I think that we talked about BBB, Jackie, but we should also talk about

GGG, get governance going. So, let’s pick up the piece parts that we can

agree on, pass them, and get them signed into law to help people right now.

DEANGELIS: Yes, I mean, what you’re saying makes sense. And what he’s been

saying makes sense.

But there are things included in this bill, for example, tree — provisions

made for tree equity, I mean, there are certain things that can definitely

go, especially at a time right now where, you said, gas prices are rising,

food prices are rising, and people are feeling that pinch.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: We have to be very practical right now, Jackie.

And whatever we can get done, let’s get it done. Let’s help the American

people, because, yes, my constituents are concerned about a lot of things.

But, for instance, women, a lot of them have dropped out of the work force

because child care is so unaffordable. Millions of women have.

So to help them to get back into the work force become more productive and

to make the economy more prosperous has got to be job number one for

Congress right now.

DEANGELIS: Some people would say another way to look at it is, you can

stimulate the economy this way with this kind of spending, cutting some of

these costs for people, but you could also leave child care, for example,

to be a competitive industry, let people pay for their own child care.

But let’s stimulate the economy. Let’s open it up. Let’s get over the

coronavirus and get everybody back to work.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I totally agree we have to get everyone back to work.

And that is incredibly important, because if we can get more people back to

work, especially women who’ve dropped out in droves during COVID, then they

can be more productive. We can produce more goods and services. And,

ultimately, that leads to less inflation.

DEANGELIS: Last question, do you think the progressives in your party are

pushing too hard on this president with policies and things that are

unpopular with American voters, because when it comes to President Biden’s

approval rating, it’s at a new all-time low?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I made a New Year’s resolution, which is I don’t

like to criticize my fellow Democrats.

But, at the same time, we have to be very practical right now. And we have

to get something done. As for what the future holds, I just remember what

Yogi Berra said, which is I never make predictions, especially about the

future.

(LAUGHTER)

KRISHNAMOORTHI: But I hope that we can come together.

And, by the way, that bipartisan infrastructure bill that Republicans and

Democrats came together on is going to be so important for dealing with

inflation…

DEANGELIS: Yes. Yes.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: … because we can direct a lot of that short-term

spending to unwind the bottlenecks that exist and create supply chain

disruptions.

DEANGELIS: Congressman, good to see you and a happy new year to you as

well. Thanks for coming on today.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Happy new year.

DEANGELIS: All right, well, fair and balanced, we want to get the read on

all of this now from New York Republican Congresswoman and House Republican

Conference Assistant Whip Nicole Malliotakis.

Congresswoman, great to see you.

You heard what the congressman had to say. I want to get your response.

REP. NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-NY): Yes, I mean, he didn’t name like half of

the stuff that’s in that bill that’s just awful, expanding the IRS by

doubling the force, so they can go after regular people, anybody who makes

a transaction over $600.

Think about the amnesty provisions in that bill and a lot of those

entitlement programs that they want to create that are costly and new and

completely unaffordable or unsustainable. And they also want to open that

up to those who are in the country illegally.

So that’s really the main objection that Republicans have to this bill, is

that it spends an enormous amount of money at a time when we cannot afford

it on things that we shouldn’t be implementing in this country.

So, I think that — I think most people in America are actually happy that

the build back broke is dead, because it was a disastrous policy that was

moving us more towards socialism. At the end of the day, people want to

secure our borders. They want to make sure that we get this economy back on

track.

If we continue to disincentivize people to work, like these welfare-

without-work requirements that would be in this new bill, that would only

expand the problems that we’re facing right now. We need to work and

produce. And we need — that’s what’s going to drive down inflation. That’s

what’s going to bring the supply chain back into where it needs to be.

So, I disagree with my colleague there. That’s why Republicans unanimously

voted against this bill. And we’re happy to see it fall off the table this

year, in 2021.

DEANGELIS: Yes, when it comes to what’s happened over the course of the

last two years with the pandemic, the Democrats like to place a lot of

blame for the problems in the country on the coronavirus specifically.

And they continue to do that when they talk about people not getting back

to work. And it’s a chicken-or-egg question, right, for example, with child

care. Are women staying home because they don’t have child care because of

the pandemic, because kids are doing virtual learning, or is it time to say

enough of this, Omicron is very contagious, but not as many people are

dying from it, let’s open this economy, open the floodgates, get people

back to work, and cut those programs, or not implement them at all at a

time like this?

MALLIOTAKIS: There’s no doubt that Democrats have, sadly, used this

pandemic to implement more government control.

And the build back broke agenda is exactly an example of that, how they

tried to add bureaucracy and continue that. And whatever — whatever

they’re giving out with one hand, they take with another. So if you get a

stimulus check, now we’re seeing inflation paying for that. And it’s coming

back with the other hand.

Households all across America are paying so much more in terms of energy

costs, gas prices. If they went on a little vacation, they paid more for

the hotel or to rent a car.

DEANGELIS: Yes.

MALLIOTAKIS: If you’re trying to purchase a car or to lease a car, you’re

seeing that price also extremely inflated due to semiconductors.

DEANGELIS: Yes. You’re right.

MALLIOTAKIS: So it just doesn’t stop.

And we have to get this economy back. And the way we’re going to do it is

by pushing people to a return to normalcy. And that’s why I say we have got

to focus on treatments and we have got to focus on therapeutics, because

COVID is here to stay. We need to adapt to it. And we need to make sure

that we’re protecting people.

The vaccine is one tool in the arsenal.

DEANGELIS: Treatments are the other.

MALLIOTAKIS: But we also need to make sure that we’re dealing with

treatments and therapeutics, yes.

DEANGELIS: You’re absolutely right.

When it comes to inflation, of course, the Democrats will say that we’re

seeing wage growth, while inflation is outpacing it, so actually people

have less disposable income.

Congresswoman, great to see you today. Happy new year to you as well. We

will see you in 2022.

MALLIOTAKIS: Happy new year.

DEANGELIS: Coming up: Wildfires are roaring through Colorado, as hundreds

of homes have been destroyed and thousands more have evacuated.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEANGELIS: The friendly skies not so friendly today.

Travelers now facing an eighth day of delays and cancellations, more than

1,400 U.S. flights already grounded so far.

We’re back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEANGELIS: FOX News Alert.

Thousands of people have been evacuated and hundreds of homes are

destroyed, as wildfires raged through Colorado.

FOX News correspondent Jeff Paul is in Louisville, Colorado, with the

latest — Jeff.

JEFF PAUL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jackie, officials say things are

really starting to move in the right direction.

The winds are dying down. Those big fires are now out. And you can see it

is really, really starting to snow here, the first of the season. But for

the folks in neighborhoods like the one behind me — and I don’t know if

you can see past this huge dump of snow we’re getting — they have got

crews out here who are trying to put out spot fires while folks are coming

back to their home to realize and find out that they have lost everything.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON, COLORADO RESIDENT: It’s a pretty profound loss to lose a house, but

my wife and I are safe and uninjured. And, at the moment, I’m glad she

didn’t take the drive over with me this morning, because I think it’s

breaking my heart.

I’m sure it would break hers too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Now, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

But firefighters really point to a combination of strong winds and dry

vegetation. Some estimate that the clock on the winds was as high as 105

miles per hour. More than 500 homes have been destroyed. And officials say

they would not be surprised if that number was closer to 1,000, just given

the vast footprint of this wildfire.

First responders didn’t even have time to fight the fire for the first

couple of hours. Really, their focus was on getting everyone out safe. Tens

of thousands had just a few moments to get whatever they could and evacuate

to that safe spot to escape the flames.

So far, only a few minor injuries have been reported. And officials here

say, if it stays that way, that would be incredibly fortunate. Now, there

is some confusion about the cause of this fire. At first, they kind of

thought that maybe it was from a downed power line.

Officials say that there was some confusion over whether they were power

lines or commercial lines. Again, it’s going to take a long time for them

to figure out how this massive wildfire started. And it’s going to take a

long time for this community to get back on its feet — Jackie.

DEANGELIS: It sure is.

Jeff Paul, thank you so much.

For more on that specific situation in Colorado, I want to bring in

Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

Governor, good afternoon to you.

And, first, I’m sorry for the devastation that your community is

experiencing.

Can you tell us a little bit about how it feels to operate and try to

manage a situation like this, a crisis, if you will, at such a difficult

time of year?

GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): This is really, Jackie, a crisis in super high

speed.

This all happened in the course of half-a-day. It’s already snowing out.

It’s cold. The very few fires that are left are being extinguished. There’s

very little additional risk at this point.

But what happened yesterday, Jackie, happened so fast. We had winds with

gusts up to 105 miles an hour, meaning this fire spread across a football

field in a second or two.

DEANGELIS: Wow.

POLIS: That’s how quickly this happened.

I was up in choppers this morning with the National Guard surveying the

damage on a reconnaissance mission. Really powerful, as you can imagine,

just to see the burned-out shells of what used to be homes for so many

people, so many loving families, other homes that it jumped over that were

untouched, a patchwork of destruction.

It’s really like nothing else I have seen before.

DEANGELIS: Obviously, the goal is to preserve human life. That is first

and foremost.

But you hear the sound bite from that gentleman in Jeff Paul’s report there

talking about the destruction and toll it will take, the impact it has on

families. It is devastating.

POLIS: You know, Colorado’s a small state.

I have had to check in with a number of my friends that live there: Are

you OK? Is everyone safe?

This is really, if it turns out — and so far no one is confirmed lost in

this quick blaze. This would really be a New Year’s miracle, Jackie, if no

one is lost in this, because the damage is extensive, over 500 homes,

businesses, Target, Costco, businesses you or I might frequent right by the

golf course, Coal Creek Golf Course.

I mean, this is just a typical loving community and a great neighborhood.

And it was changed over the course of six hours.

DEANGELIS: You have declared a state of emergency in the region. And,

also, FEMA is going to step in and help you with some of the eligible

firefighting costs as well.

Have you spoken to the president on receiving aid and trying to work

through this?

POLIS: Spoke to the president this morning. Certainly, he committed that

the federal government will help however they can.

Right now, the biggest short-, medium-term problem is going to be families

that are unhoused. They lost everything they had. But many of them have

kids that want to return to school. Where are they going to live nearby

while they rebuild their homes?

We still have electricity out in a lot of the affected areas. And there’s

areas that are still smoldering and too dangerous to return to. So,

hopefully, folks will be — who have homes left will be able to return to

those in the next few days. Those who haven’t, we need to do everything

that we can to help them rebuild, rebuild their lives.

And that’s what community is all about.

DEANGELIS: Governor, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask about this, your

recent decision to reduce the sentence of truck drivers — that truck

driver who was convicted for vehicular — vehicular — pardon me —

manslaughter earlier this month from the original 110-year sentence now

down to 10 years.

What was the logic behind that decision?

POLIS: Well, right now, as you can imagine, it puts all that in

perspective here, when we just lost 500 homes.

But in that tragic accident, four people lost their lives. Countless more

were injured. What we did is, we looked at what were the types of

punishments for this kind of reckless driving, the kind of poor decisions

that the driver made that led to the death of others, and there’s — what

we essentially did is, we reduced the 110-year sentence, because we found

no precedents for — I mean, people — whether you agree with it or not, I

mean, they — when the people commit murder, it’s not a 110-year sentence.

And so what we commuted that to is a 10-year sentence, which is the type of

sentence, that’s the range that is really commensurate with the damage that

he caused. He’s going to live with this the rest of his life. But he will

serve time in prison for his decisions.

DEANGELIS: All right, Governor, we are wishing everyone on the ground well

and, as you said, praying for a New Year’s miracle.

Thank you so much for joining us today.

POLIS: Thank you.

DEANGELIS: We will be back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEANGELIS: New York City is moving forward with its scaled-back New Year’s

Eve celebration, final preparations under way, as Times Square gets ready

to welcome thousands.

FOX News’ Laura Ingle is there with more on what to expect.

Laura, a lot of people saying that they’re happy Bill de Blasio didn’t

cancel this, even if it’s scaled back.

LAURA INGLE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Right.

DEANGELIS: It’s good to have the ball drop with people around this year.

INGLE: Absolutely.

And you know what? We have been covering this for years and years, I

usually do the New Year’s Eve day reporting. And I can tell you, this is

the first time that we haven’t had to wear gloves. The weather is warmish

for New York for this special day.

And those who do want to be here and ring in the new year in one of the

most iconic spots on the planet are going to have to follow some pretty

strict rules, though, if they want to participate.

Let’s tell you about what some of those are. This is a scaled-back

celebration, as you mentioned, tonight, with only 15,000 screened revelers

allowed to take part in this historic event. That number is down from the

usual 58,000 head count that we have seen in years past.

Now, in addition to being checked for weapons, New Year’s partiers will

have to show proof of full vaccination, a photo I.D., and wear a mask to

make it through the screening process tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON BOROWSKI, TOURIST: We came vaccinated. And we just — we’re not

scared.

You just got to — you got to keep living. You got to do stuff. You can’t

just stay penned up and be scared. You got to get out and come to New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

INGLE: And come to New York, they did.

And while the warmer temps and high rates of vaccinated people have made

the mood merry here tonight, there is the sort of uncomfortable news that

New York City has just seen its highest number of COVID cases recorded

yesterday, 44,000 in just one day.

City officials say they are also dealing with a record number of first

responders calling out sick ahead of the big ball drop. Now, while many

cities are pulling back their plans, others are following New York’s lead.

The show will go on in hot spots like cities like Las Vegas and Chicago, in

fact, the Las Vegas Strip prepping its fireworks show, and estimates

300,000 people will be there to celebrate.

So, you want to catch it all, right? You don’t want to miss a minute of all

the cameras around the entire country. Well, tune in FOX News at 10:00 p.m.

Eastern. We will have our All-American New Year’s Eve show. We have got a

show live in Nashville and here in New York.

And, of course, we’re going to be bouncing around checking out what’s going

on. So you don’t want to miss it. Keep it on FOX. We will see you here in

Times Square — back to you, Jackie.

DEANGELIS: I will be watching.

And, of course, you have the increased security at Times Square.

INGLE: Yes.

DEANGELIS: Now all these COVID provisions. Makes it difficult to operate,

but glad that they’re doing it.

Laura, good to see you. Happy new year.

INGLE: Yes, good to see you. Happy new year.

DEANGELIS: All right, well, if you’re having your own party tonight, how

do you keep yourself safe as cases keep rising?

Joining me now with some advice, infectious disease specialist Dr. Amesh

Adalja.

Doctor, always great to see you.

Dr. Fauci saying don’t go to parties with 40 or 50 people, but you could

have small gatherings. Your thoughts on how people should celebrate tonight

and how they should stay safe if they are gathering together?

DR. AMESH ADALJA, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SOCIETY OF AMERICA: The best way to

stay safe is to make sure that everybody there is fully vaccinated. The

smaller the party, the less risk there is going to be.

You can also do things like, for example, if you’re in a place where it’s

warm outside, have the party outside. Open windows. And you can use rapid

tests just before the event if you have them to minimize the risk.

But know that you can’t get the risk down to zero. There’s always going to

be some level of risk, especially with the Omicron variant. And we kind of

have to find a way to navigate through this. And I think, if you’re fully

vaccinated, when you get any kind of infection, it’s going to be mild, not

something that you need to call the doctor for.

And I think that’s a win in general when it comes to this pandemic.

DEANGELIS: That does appear to be a win.

And another win potentially in the new year could be those rapid tests

arriving, even though they have been delayed, ramping up therapeutics. We

have been talking about that for the last couple of weeks or so, and also

just how quickly this virus has spread. As you mentioned, it’s very, very

transmissible.

You’re going to add another layer of natural immunity to the landscape too.

ADALJA: I do think that, after Omicron has its way with this country,

we’re going to have a lot of people that are immune to this infection,

either through vaccines and a combination of Omicron, which will give us

kind of hybrid immunity, which was probably the best type of immunity on

the planet.

But a lot of people are going to get infected. I think this is not

something that’s avoidable. And those who are unvaccinated, especially if

they’re high-risk, that’s the worry that we have, that, in the wake of

Omicron, that we may see hospitals get crushed, hospitals that are already

dealing with a lot of Delta patients.

And that’s what we have to kind of navigate. While Omicron seems less

severe, and there’s hope in the future, we still have a couple of weeks to

months ahead where we have to really think about hospital capacity in some

parts of the country.

DEANGELIS: I hear what you’re saying. I think a lot of people are thinking

about that. And they’re also trying to look forward and hopefully see a

silver lining, that, potentially, this could be behind us.

Doctor, always great to see you. Hope you ring in the new year in a happy,

healthy way. Thank you.

ADALJA: Thank you.

DEANGELIS: Coming up, we look at the life of beloved television icon Betty

White.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY TYLER MOORE, ACTRESS: What a nice surprise.

BETTY WHITE, ACTRESS: I happened to be in the neighborhood.

TYLER MOORE: Doing what?

WHITE: Coming to see you.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITE: Oh, Mary, I love this apartment. I love what you have done to it.

TYLER MOORE: I haven’t done anything to it.

WHITE: I know. That took guts.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEANGELIS: Farewell to an American icon.

Actress Betty White is dead at the age of 99, passing away at her home this

morning, just weeks before her 100th birthday.

Most famous for her roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore” show and “The Golden

Girls,” her career spanned more than 80 years in show business.

Joining me now to remember, Internet radio host Mike Gunzelman.

Mike, great to see you.

I’m laughing at that clip coming in, because I’m thinking of when I would

sit up late at night and watch Nick at Nite, “Mary Tyler Moore” reruns with

my mother, watching “The Golden Girls” with my grandmother when she would

baby-sit.

I mean, Mary…

MIKE GUNZELMAN, FOX NEWS HEADLINES ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Yes.

DEANGELIS: Betty White touched us all.

GUNZELMAN: Yes. And you’re exactly right there.

I mean, right now, across social media, Betty White is trending. And here’s

the thing. I’m in my early 30s, Jackie, and Betty White transcended across

generations.

Where, if somebody passes away, they might be 70, 80, or 90 if they’re an

actor and an actress, the younger generations might have just heard of

them. But, with Betty White, we all felt that we knew her, even if we

didn’t fully get to see her during the “Mary Tyler Moore” days or anything

like that.

But she was the epitome of being cool. Of course, the accolades for her

acting career speak for themselves, eight-time Emmy Award winner, three

Screen Actors Guild Awards. She also holds the Guinness World Record for

longest-running television entertainer for being a female, and Hollywood —

star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, all of it.

But I think what’s really, really special about Betty White is, she was

awesome. Everybody loved Betty White.

DEANGELIS: They sure did.

GUNZELMAN: Everybody.

DEANGELIS: You’re right.

And she transcended all these different decades and still managed to stay

relevant, hosting “Saturday Night Live” most recently. So, when you think

about that, it’s pretty amazing.

Some of us just want to be cool in our prime. She was doing it in her 90s.

GUNZELMAN: Absolutely.

Betty White is like — when you think of like the grandmother or the old

lady that lives on the block who’s nice and sweet and kind of can throw

jokes at you, and you’re just like, wow, I want to be her when I grew up,

or, like, she’s awesome, that was Betty White.

Of course, she was on television and everything, but you felt that you

really got to know her. And, of course, in her 80s, she hosted “Saturday

Night Live” because of a viewer poll, the people wanting to see Betty

White.

And then, of course, she was on commercials. She was in “The Proposal”

movie with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. And it’s just — it’s just

shocking because he was an angel here on Earth, and now she’s an angel up

in heaven, but she was so awesome.

We love Betty.

DEANGELIS: Yes. And “Saturday Night Live” isn’t an easy show to host,

especially…

GUNZELMAN: No.

DEANGELIS: … when you’re the age that she was.

GUNZELMAN: In your 80s. Yes. Yes.

DEANGELIS: President Biden was asked about her passing earlier. He weighed

in. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Do you have a response to the news of Betty White?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That’s a shame. She was a

lovely lady.

JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY: Who didn’t love Betty White? We’re so sad about

her death.

JOE BIDEN: Ninety-nine years old.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

JOE BIDEN: As my mother would say, God love her.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

JOE BIDEN: Incredible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEANGELIS: And everyone did love her. She was just funny.

As we were showing that clip when we bumped in, I was laughing because it

just — it brought me back. Her timing was impeccable.

GUNZELMAN: Yes, I mean, everything about her.

Of course, “The Golden Girls” is what she will probably be most known for.

And just seeing her and, like you said, the timing, but also just being

that hilarious, funny person that you just wanted to maybe have a drink

with, or if you saw her, you just wanted to high-five and give her a hug,

that was Betty White.

And it is — the timing is just really unfortunate, because, of course,

2020-2021, it’s like, really, you’re going to throw this at us right on New

Year’s Eve, of all days? We’re going to lose Betty White? It’s like,

please, can we finally get out of this year?

But People magazine had a huge celebratory issue for her, because she was

about to set — to turn 100 in just a couple of weeks, on January 17. That

came out two days ago. There was also supposed to be a movie event

celebrating her life across 900 theaters. And they were also going to do

her birthday party live as well, and livestream that in just a couple of

weeks.

So it’s just — it’s just truly sad. But there’s a couple things to

remember Betty White, besides, of course, everything that we have seen of

her on the screen, is, when she was speaking with People magazine earlier

this year, she mentioned that the key to — the key to a long life was

having a sense of humor.

DEANGELIS: Yes.

GUNZELMAN: And then the other thing is, right after her husband passed

away, she was on “Inside the Actors Studio” with James Lipton.

And James Lipton asked her, if heaven exists, what do you want God to say

to you at the pearly gate?

DEANGELIS: Mike…

GUNZELMAN: And he goes — I want to see my husband, Allen.

And that’s what she’s doing right now.

DEANGELIS: Mike, I got to go.

GUNZELMAN: Appreciate that.

DEANGELIS: All right, Betty White dead at 99.

We will have more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEANGELIS: There was no shortage of news this year, and Neil was covering

it all.

Before we kick off 2022, here’s a look back at 2021.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Our focus is on completing the

drawdown that we began in April under the president’s order and making sure

that, as we do that, we transition to a new relationship with Afghan forces

and the Afghan people that helps them continue to try to defend their

country.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If the country is overrun by the Taliban,

what will that say about our 20 years there? A waste?

KIRBY: I don’t think we want to get into speculating and hypotheticals

here about what may or may not happen. Again, we’re all watching the

security situation with concern.

CAVUTO: It is over. Our 20-year ordeal in Afghanistan is over.

GLORIA CHAVEZ, EL PASO BORDER PATROL SECTOR CHIEF: Human life, human

beings are a commodity to these ruthless smugglers. We know their tactics.

I mean, I have been doing this over 25 years now. And we know exactly the

tactics of these people. And, for them, it’s just a profit.

CAVUTO: Is it looking grim?

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Well, Neil, what I would say is, as long as

there’s people missing, they’re going to search. We need to account for

everyone.

But I can tell you, the first day, any time they thought that they had a

lead, they pursued it. Unfortunately, they weren’t — except from the very

beginning, they weren’t able to identify anybody that had survived.

RON KIM (D), NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYMAN: The governor has abused his

powers. He has a pattern of abusive behavior. He has abused me and my

family by calling me and threatening my career in front of my kids, in

front of my wife. So we need to — we must hold him accountable.

CAVUTO: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has resigned.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: You can have

elimination or you can have eradication.

And as I have said so often is that I don’t think there’s a chance you’re

going to eradicate this, because we have only eradicated one virus for

humans in history, and that is smallpox. Elimination is tough.

We have eliminated polio from this country. We have eliminated measles from

this country. And we have done it by very effective vaccination campaigns.

I’m not so sure we’re going to be able to do that, at least not in the near

future.

CAVUTO: As some of you know, I tested positive for COVID. My wife

similarly tested positive. So the only one who is vulnerable for the time

being might be our dog, which is keeping a safe distance.

What is your definition of fair share? At 50 percent, are they paying their

fair share?

PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Yes, or closer to it

anyway.

I mean, look, we’re talking about folks who are doing great, who will still

be doing great under this tax provision.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is a messy sausage-making

process.

CAVUTO: I think it’s an insult to those who make sausage that this

anything like that. It seems a lot messier.

Are you a tad anxious?

JEFF BEZOS, FOUNDER, AMAZON: Neil, I’m not. I am excited, but not anxious.

We will see how I feel when I’m strapped into my seat, and…

(LAUGHTER)

BEZOS: But I’m very excited. We’re ready. The vehicle is ready. This team

is amazing. I feel very good about it. And I think my fellow crewmates feel

good about it too.

CAVUTO: When you get a chance to be up there for the 10 minutes that you

will, what’s the first thing you’re going to want to do?

WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR: I’m going to look out the window, Neil.

I’m going to see the vastness of space and the fragility of the Earth.

JONATHAN HUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: “You enter royal life as a commoner

at your peril.”

So, mum still seems pretty skeptical about Meghan overall, but a little

less harsh, I have to say, Neil, than she was before the interview aired.

And I should also point out, Neil, that her text arrived before I woke up

in L.A. this morning.

(LAUGHTER)

HUNT: So, even allowing for the time difference, there’s a reasonable

chance she was sober when she sent it.

CAVUTO: Look what it did to the markets today. They’re calling it the

Adele rally. OK, maybe they’re not, but I am.

The calming, captivating lyrics Adele brings to a beleaguered world that

needs the welcome distraction, that’s why this is so big.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DEANGELIS: That’s a wrap on “Your World” for 2021.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy new year.

“The Five” starts now.

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