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Sunday show preview: Omicron surges, and Harris sits for extensive interview

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The Sunday show coverage this holiday weekend is expected to focus heavily on the COVID-19 pandemic and Vice President Harris’ first term in the Biden White House.

Coronavirus continues to dominate headlines as the omicron, the most contagious variant yet, spreads through cities and states with striking intensity. 

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci says it’s ‘too premature’ for US to be discussing fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose More than 3,000 flights canceled worldwide as airlines cite COVID-19 staffing issues CDC loosens isolation rules for health workers amid omicron wave MORE, President BidenJoe Biden Harris tests negative for COVID-19 after close contact with aide Standing with Joe Manchin Holiday caller to Biden: ‘Merry Christmas and let’s go Brandon’ MORE’s top medical adviser, has recently warned about the “unprecedented” pace of the virus.

In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” this week, the infectious disease expert said the speed at which cases were rising nationwide was, in his view, “extremely unusual.”

Fauci has been the Biden administration’s go-to source of medical information on each new variant of COVID-19 and in many ways the public face of the response, often appearing on television news programs to address critical developments facing the nearly two-year pandemic. 

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On Sunday, he will be a guest on ABC’s “This Week.”

The latest statistics on omicron have been a cause for concern among public health officials and political leaders alike, including within the Oval Office.

Biden delivered a speech on the new strain on Tuesday, offering a host of expected measures to tamp down on the severity of the spread. He said he intends to dramatically increase the number of tests available for at-home use and create additional on-site testing locations for early detection. He also pledged to give medical facilities more resources.

The Centers for Disease Control and Infection, which provides regular updates and analysis on the virus, released a new report this week indicating that experts have indeed “identified the potential for a rapid increase in infections” of omicron nationwide. 

Additionally, the report says that such increases are “most likely due to a combination of two factors: increased transmissibility and the ability of the variant to evade immunity conferred by past infection or vaccination.”

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While the White House – and a good portion of news coverage – is focused on omicron, Democrats’ attention is also shifting towards Harris, who made a comment about the virus that caused some to scratch their heads.

Last week, the vice president said, “we didn’t see omicron coming,” a comment that had to be cleaned up after her interview with the Los Angeles Times.

“That’s the nature of what this,” Harris told the outlet, “this awful virus has been, which as it turns out, has mutations and variants.”

Harris will appear in a recorded interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” as the program’s sole guest.

When Biden asked Harris to be his running mate in August 2020, many Democrats were hopeful for a do-over of an election season that had often placed the two former senators at odds. Her selection received a cheerful response from many in the party who believed she could help Biden lock up the general election and govern with a new perspective on leadership.

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In the early days of the administration, however, Harris came under careful, at times intense, scrutiny as Biden’s number two, causing her to sustain brand damage and dogging much of the coverage of her early tenure as VP. 

Beyond the apparent omicron slip-up, Harris made remarks about migrants that were widely perceived to be tone-deaf and insensitive to individuals caught in an immigration system that she and Biden both promised to fix. 

Then, a report by CNN about the strife in her office caused many Democrats and journalists to probe deeper into the state of affairs in her inner circle.

The story, which included examples of infighting, led to follow-up pieces about the dissatisfaction of some of her top staffers, with several on her team calling it quits.

All of that scrutiny comes as the White House is looking to position Harris as a competent leader to stand beside the president after a tumultuous first year in office. 

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Some critics have argued that she is more scrutinized than any other vice president in the nation’s history because she is the first woman and woman of color to hold that job, leaving her with little breathing room to work.

There is also the question of whether Biden is planning to try for a second term. Administration officials say he is, and Harris recently said to the Wall Street Journal that she and Biden have never talked about the prospect of her running instead of him. 

But heading into the new year, questions have nonetheless mounted about whether Harris – or another Democrat entirely – will indeed be the next nominee in 2024.

Harris is likely to be asked about all of that on Sunday. CBS News is devoting the full hour of the program to the Q&A.

The full line-up of guests appears below:

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ABC’s “This Week” — Fauci; Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health

NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.); Brenda Sheridan, school board chair in Loudoun County, Virginia; Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times Magazine writer; Jelani Cobb of the Columbia Journalism School

CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Harris

CNN’s “State of the Union” — Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyOfficials warn children’s mental health worsens amid pandemic Hillicon Valley — Biden’s misinformation warning Biden: ‘Dangerous misinformation’ on social media, TV fueling vaccine hesitancy MORE, Reps. Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellWetlands point to extinction problems beyond climate change The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – The omicron threat and Biden’s plan to beat it Dearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized MORE (D-Mich.), and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonWest Virginia lawmaker slams GOP colleague over support for infrastructure law Democrats outraged after Manchin opposes Biden spending bill President Biden’s bipartisanship seems like unilateral disarmament MORE (R-Mich)

“Fox News Sunday” — Jha; Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocrats mull hardball tactics to leapfrog parliamentarian on immigration Democrats face painful reality as priorities stumble Democrats lack backup plan with expanded child tax credit set to lapse MORE (D-Md.) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntMembers of Congress not running for reelection in 2022 Senate confirms Rahm Emanuel to be ambassador to Japan Democrats push Manchin on ‘nuclear option’ for voting rights  MORE (R-Mo.) 

Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” — Former Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: Officials, experts respond to omicron; Biden administration raises alarms about Russia, China To advance democracy, defend Taiwan and Ukraine Haley has ‘positive’ meeting with Trump MORE, Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerMcConnell urges Thune to run for reelection amid retirement talk Senate Republicans call on Biden to lift vaccine mandate for truckers crossing Canadian border 14 GOP senators help advance McConnell debt limit deal MORE (R-N.D.), Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJim Jordan says he has ‘real concerns’ with Jan. 6 panel after sit-down request Jan. 6 panel seeks sit-down with Jim Jordan New York House Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Ohio) and former Trump White House senior adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerMcCormick drawing support from Trump alumni ahead of Pennsylvania Senate bid Can France turn back the nationalist tide? How American progressives normalize anti-Semitism MORE

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