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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  December 23, 2020 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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tonight, several developing stories as we come on the air. the holiday travel fears, as more than 80 million americans defy warnings to stay home. will christmas gatherings fuel another deadly surge in the new year? as the nation records more than 3,000 lives lost in 24 hours. and tonight, concerns about yet another new variant of the virus in the uk that may spread even more easily. new york city orders all travelers from the uk to quarantine or face stiff fines. and news tonight on the vaccine rollout. pfizer confirms a deal with the u.s. government for 100 million more doses by july. also new tonight, president trump threatening to veto the $900 billion bipartisan stimulus deal, demanding congress increase payments to americans. relief on hold, as millions of americans struggle through the pandemic. and late tonight, the president issuing new pardons.
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the holiday weather alert. blizzard conditions tonight, as the dangerous storm sweeps east. high winds, heavy rain, more snow. and what's behind it all? rob marciano standing by with what to expect christmas morning. new tonight, the pictures coming in. a roof explosion at a baltimore high rise, causing a scaffolding collapse. the dramatic rescue ten stories up. nearly two dozen taken to the hospital. also developing, the deadly police-involved shooting in columbus, ohio. the first body camera video from the incident. the officer already relieved of duty. and the surprise gift. the beloved u.p.s. driver and the community that showed up in force to say thank you. good evening and thank you so much for joining us on a busy wednesday night, i'm linsey davis, in for david.
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just two days before christmas, but no shortage of headlines tonight. the covid relief bill that congress spent six months negotiating is now on hold. president trump says it doesn't go far enough. and it comes as december is shaping up to be the worst month in this pandemic. majority of counties in this country are now considered sustained hot spots for covid-19, as millions of americans are now on the move, despite pleas to stay close to home. raising fears of a bigger surge than after thanksgiving. but there is encouraging news on those vaccines. pfizer confirms that they will sell the u.s. government 100 million more doses within the next six months. the first medical personnel with the new york city fire department got their shots today. but new concerns about those variant strains that are now appearing in the uk. will the vaccine protect against those, as well? and are children more susceptible? dr. ashish jha is standing by, but we begin with abc's stephanie ramos. >> reporter: despite dire warnings, nearly 85 million americans are expected to travel
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for christmas, sparking fears of another catastrophic coronavirus surge, worse than what we saw after thanksgiving. our gio benitez is at new york's laguardia airport. >> tsa screening more than 5 million people since friday, a record during the pandemic. and they're going mostly to rural areas, not big cities, raising concerns about a possible surge in vulnerable communities. >> reporter: and tonight, that alarming new headline out of the uk about yet another variant of the virus. officials identifying two people in the uk infected with a variant known to be circulating in south africa, just days after announcing a different version is spreading rapidly in the uk. >> this new variant is highly concerning, because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the uk. >> reporter: experts urging caution, saying it's common for viruses to mutate, but officials now investigating exactly how and why the uk variant is spreading more easily amongst
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children and adults. new york city taking action, ordering all travelers from the uk to quarantine or face daily fines of $1,000. >> we are going to have sheriff's deputies go to the home or the hotel of every single traveler coming in from the uk. >> reporter: scientists say the variant is likely already in the u.s., but believe the newly authorized moderna and pfizer vaccines will work against it. and today, pfizer announcing a deal with the u.s. government providing 100 million more doses of its vaccine by next july, doubling the initial amount. the cdc saying more than a million americans have been vaccinated. today, those brave fdny paramedics, who responded to countless calls during the brutal spring surge, receiving their first shots on the same day they learned a 12th member died. >> we've been on the front lines of this terrible and very
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contagious virus. we have lost people along the way and today's the first day that we start saving the lives of the first responders. >> reporter: december now the deadliest month of the pandemic. more than 3,400 lives lost on tuesday. the cheatham family in kentucky losing three family members since thanksgiving. first their grandfather, then both their parents. >> i could've went one christmas without seeing my parents, but now we have to spend the rest of our lives without ours. >> reporter: while the cdc recommends staying home for the holidays, the lowest risk travel is a short trip by car with members of your own household and no stops along the way. this way, you avoid other people and contaminated surfaces. linsey? >> stephanie, thank you so much. and we want to get right to dr. ashish jha, dean of the brown university school of health, about that latest variation discovered in the uk. dr. jha, how concerning is this, and is it likely that it's already here in the united states? >> yes, good evening and thank
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you for having me on. you know, one of the reasons we're discovering these in the uk is because they're doing really extensive testing of their viruses in a way that we are not. so, we don't know if it's in the u.s. or not. it is concerning that we have now several variants that seem to be spreading more easily. but we do need to start looking for it more aggressively here in the united states. >> and are children more susceptible to infection from these mutations that we're seeing? >> there's a lot we're still learning about this. it does appear from preliminary data that kids may be more susceptible to being infected. doesn't necessarily mean they're going to get any sicker. one of the highlights of this disease has been that kids don't usually get very sick. i think that will be true for this variant, as well. >> okay, dr. jha, thank you so much, as always. next tonight, we're on the front lines with paramedics at the epicenter of this pandemic right now, in orange county, california. six potential covid cases in just 30 minutes, risking their own lives to answer each and every call. abc's kaylee hartung is there. >> reporter: tonight, this is
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the battle on the front lines. paramedics in orange county responding to a relentless surge. this man has apparent covid symptoms and is being taken to the hospital for testing. his family's on high alert, another relative in critical condition. >> the last couple weeks have been some of the things we've never seen before. call volume, just the number of acutely ill patients. >> reporter: in just a half hour during our ride-along, six potential covid 911 calls coming in. it's a scene playing out across the country. more than 117,000 americans are now in the hospital, a new record. captain lee cabrera and his crew waiting up to an hour with patients because there's no room. >> having a critically ill person in your care in the back of an ambulance and being unable to get into the hospital is definitely challenging and concerning. >> reporter: here in orange county, 5% of firefighters are sidelined. the department pushed to the brink. >> right now, it's like all rules are out the window. we just have to keep guys and gals on our rigs and responding
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to, you know, to calls and helping out the citizens. >> reporter: because those calls are going to keep coming. >> they're not stopping. >> reporter: and linsey, the latest numbers here in california reflect the stress that these firefighters are under. the state surpassing 2 million cases and half those infections came in just the last six weeks. linsey? >> kaylee, thank you so much. and now to the president's stunning move on the covid relief bill that congress took months to negotiate. the president is calling the bill a disgrace, demanding congress more than double the amount of those checks sent to most americans. the president's own treasury secretary has said that those checks could arrive as soon as next week, but the president's move now puts that all on hold. here's abc's white house correspondent rachel scott. >> reporter: tonight, with relief for millions in jeopardy and the nation at risk of a government shutdown, president trump leaving the white house, heading to florida for the holidays. behind closed doors for days, the president last night posting this message on twitter, blasting that massive bipartisan stimulus package, demanding
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congress increase direct payments from $600 to $2,000. >> send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a covid relief package. >> reporter: members of his own administration had promised money would be in americans' pockets before the new year. >> people are going to see this money the beginning of next week. >> reporter: even one of the president's closest allies, senator lindsey graham, calling the bill "imperfect," but saying, "the sooner the bill becomes law, the better." democrats say the president should have weighed in earlier. >> they didn't get any feedback from the president. people are hurting right now. >> reporter: also uncertain, federal unemployment benefits and eviction protections set to expire at the end of the year. lisa mistretta was waiting for months for congress to act. she told us that $600 check wouldn't go far. now saying any further delay would be catastrophic. >> we will have zero income coming into our households, because this package is being held up right now. >> and rachel scott is joining
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us now live. rachel, the president leaving washington today for the holidays, but not before vetoing the defense spending bill. and this now sets up a veto override in the house and senate. >> reporter: yeah, that's exactly right, linsey. and president trump has been threatening to veto this defense bill for months. tonight, he is calling it a gift to both china and russia, but leaders on both sides of the aisle say that funding for the military is absolutely vital. and now lawmakers will have to return back to washington to try and override the president. and if they are successful, it will be the first veto override for the trump administration. linsey? >> rachel, thank you. and now to that breaking news. president trump announcing a new round of pardons, his second round in 24 hours. the list was revealed after the president had already left washington to spend christmas at mar-a-lago. here's abc's chief justice correspondent pierre thomas. >> reporter: tonight, the president's pardon streak continues. it's becoming clear that the president wants to purge as much of special counsel robert
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mueller's prosecution legacy as possible. trump granting a full pardon to self-proclaimed dirty strike ster roger stone, one of his most loyal allies. >> very happy with what i did. >> reporter: also receiving a pardon, the president's former campaign manager paul manafort, who received the toughest sentence of any of trump's associates entangled in the mueller investigation. manafort convicted of bank and tax fraud. the president already granting clemency to others charged in connection to the mueller probe, pardoning michael flynn, his former national security adviser, george papadopoulos and an attorney charged erltly in the investigation. tonight, trump pardoning the father of his son-in-law, jared kushner. charles kushner pleaded guilty in 2005 to tax evasion, witness tampering and making illegal campaign contributions. he served 14 months of a two-year prison term. linsey, we appear to be just getting started, and the theme
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that's emerging is that the president wants to wipe the mueller investigation off the face of the planet. to be clear, we expect more. a lot more. linsey? >> more to come. we are standing by. pierre, thank you so much. and we move on now to that major winter storm barrelling across the country this holiday week. more than 150 million under weather alerts at this hour and this is what it sounded like in steamboat springs, colorado. that is thundersnow, as an intense snow squall moved through the ski resort. whiteout conditions and dangerous driving in parts of the plains. tonight, the massive system heading east, threatening flooding and power outages for christmas day. abc's senior meteorologist rob marciano is tracking it all. hey, rob. >> reporter: hi, linsey. this is a dynamic storm and it's deepening and expanding, as are the impacts. we had a 63-mile-per-hour wind gust measured at that resort. the blizzard warnings have been expanded into the twin cities, that's a rare event as it stands. we've got wind watches and warnings all the way from texas
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all the way to the northeast with the flood potential, as well. all right, watch the front move, mostly a rain event tomorrow from chicago down to the gulf coast, but i'm really worried about the carolina and virginia coastlines. not just thunderstorms, but the potential for seeing tornadoes and heavy rain with damaging winds across the northeast. could see power outages in some of the big cities. then here comes the cold air on christmas morning. temperatures below freezing all the way down to florida. and remaining cold through the weekend. linsey? >> frigid just in time for the holidays. rob, thank you so much. next, police in columbus, ohio, releasing body cam video of the fatal shooting of andre hill, an unarmed black man who they say approached officers with a cell phone in his hand. that new video comes on the same day as the funeral of casey goodson, a black man shot and killed by a deputy two weeks ago. here's abc's marcus moore. >> reporter: this newly released video from a columbus police officer's body camera showing moments after 47-year-old andre hill was shot. >> put your [ bleep ] hands off to the side! >> reporter: according to authorities, the officers responded to a disturbance call early tuesday morning.
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>> got a grey suv in front of this location, keeps starting up and running. >> reporter: authorities say officer adam coy, a 19-year veteran of the force, and another officer, arrived to an open garage door with hill inside. hill walking towards the officers with a phone in one hand and the other hand not visible. officer coy opened fire, shooting hill, who authorities say was unarmed. >> to see him lying in the driveway, minute after minute after minute after minute, with no attempt to render aid. that is a stunning disregard for life. and in this case, black life. >> reporter: hill would later die at the hospital. officials also saying the officers involved did not activate their body cameras until immediately after the shooting. >> marcus moore joining us now. marcus, what do we know about any disciplinary action taken against the officers involved? >> reporter: well, linsey, officer coy has been placed on administrative leave and this
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police shooting comes just weeks after another man was shot and killed in columbus, casey goodson jr. was laid to rest today. linsey? >> marcus, thank you so much. and when we come back, dramatic new images from that volcanic eruption in hawaii. and the warning tonight fror tourists. and the high rise explosion today in baltimore. the blast triggering a scaffolding collapse. window washers stranded ten stories up.
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the force of the blast knocking a second scaffold off the building. baltimore's elite special operations team performing a highly technical rescue. >> one of our members had to step out on the scaffold, climb up the scaffold, cult through the window of the 11th floor and bring him through the 11th floor. >> reporter: with part of the roof collapsing, firefighters clearing the high-rise floor by floor and evacuating two neighboring buildings. in total, 21 people taken to the hospital. nine of them now in critical condition. the cause of the explosion is under investigation, but the company says construction to the air and boiler system is likely to blame. thankfully, because of the pandemic and the holiday, this building was mostly empty, otherwise this could have been a lot worse. linsey? >> trevor, thank you so much. when we come back, covid concerns strike on just the second night of the nba season. why the league decided to postpone one of tonight's games. because there are options. like an "unjection™". xeljanz. the first and only pill of its kind
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this holiday season, with ancestry. to the index now and dramatic new images from the volcanic eruption on hawaii's big island. the usgs has released this video of a lava fountain spewing from two vents at the kilauea crater. the park remains open, but rangers are warning visitors to stay on marked trails and keep covid-19 social distancing. and another pardon tonight, this one in a 2009 case that became known as the balloon boy hoax. richard and mayumi heene claimed their 6-year-old son was inside a gas-powered ufo-shaped balloon that took off from their colorado home. but all the while, the child was actually hiding in their attic. both parents were convicted and served jail time for what authorities called a publicity stunt. tonight, the colorado governor has commuted their sentences. and virus concerns have caused the nba to postpone a game on just the second night of
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the season. the rockets/thunder game on hold after three houston players returned positive or inconclusive tests. rockets star james harden was already inactive for violating league covid-19 protocols. and when we come back, the beloved u.p.s. driver and how one community came together this holiday season to say thank you. yeah!? i switched to geico and got more! more savings on car insurance!? they helped with homeowners, too! ok! plus motorcycle, boat and rv insurance! geico's got you covered! like a blanket! houston? you seeing this? geico. expect great savings and a whole lot more.
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community, but this beloved u.p.s. driver had no idea just how much he means to them. what they did that brought him to tears. anthony gaskin drives these suburban virginia streets every day. but on this occasion, his route was anything but routine. >> i wasn't quite sure what was going on at first. i felt like my heart was about to jump out of my body. >> throughout the pandemic, this 16-year veteran u.p.s. driver has been a constant in this richmond neighborhood, delivering more than 180 packages a day. >> he just kept being an uplifting, positive, warm and caring part of our lives without ever walking in our doors. >> in the spirit of the holidays, patty had an idea. >> maybe i could get a few people to get together and we could surprise him. so, i sent a note out, what do you think about maybe thanking him? >> the response was overwhelming. more than 100 people with signs to pay tribute to the man known for his comforting wave and
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smile. the man who always delivers. >> anthony! >> on the receiving end on this day and overcome with emotion. >> you could say i was in shock, really. my heart was just overjoyed. >> today, anthony was back on his route with this message. >> people realize that regardless of what's going on, that people still genuinely care. >> anthony and patty are both urging everyone to do what they can to help those in need, especially those who are hungry. on behalf of david and the whole team, i'm linsey davis. thank you so much for watching. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow. good night.
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>> announcer: building a better area for a safe and security futu future, this is abc 7 news. counting down the days until christmas means counting up the fines leveed on a san jose church. it's been holding indoor services and says christmas services will continue as planned. good evening and thank you for joining us. i'm ama daetz. >> i'm dan ashley. we all want to continue holiday traditions but this year we simply can't. >> we are not doing anything this year the way we have done in previous years. we can't. we're in the middle of a pandemic. >> that's director of public
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health dr. sarah cody. she and her team is not menacing words about the danger of coronavirus. it become the county's third leading cause of death following cancer and heart disease. case rates are up thanks to a surge of new infections following thanksgiving and a concern the same thing could happen over christmas and new years. the county's top doctors say we can't afford a repeat with christmas and have very clear instructions what we all need to do. >> pick up your phones, cancel your gatherings. do it for yourselves. do it for your loved ones. >> i urge, urge, urge anyone who is considering gathering to stop. >> they were very blunt today. stop. that's the message. that's not getting through to ca cavalry chapel in san jose. it become a legal matter.