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tv   America This Morning  ABC  December 30, 2020 4:30am-5:01am PST

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>> stay right now on "america this morning," right now on "america this morning," a confirmed case of that more contagious coronavirus variant here in the u.s. what we know about the man who has it and what it means for the spread of covid in the country. plus the incoming congressman who lost his battle with the virus just days before taking office. check's in the mail. the direct deposits hitting bank accounts right now as part of a covid relief bill. how much will they be for after the top senate republican blocked a measure to hand out bigger checks? new overnight, disturbing details about the man suspected in the christmas day bombing in nashville. what his former girlfriend is now saying. police warned about him more than a year ago? plus wrongfully arrested. how faulty facial recognition landed an innocent man behind bars.
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the new lawsuit this morning. beware of squirrels. the battle brewing between a neighborhood and a wild pack of squirrels. and bust a move. the high-tech dancer that can do more than just the robot. good morning, everyone. we begin with the latest challenges in the battle against covid-19. >> a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus that surfaced in the uk has made its way to the u.s. and there's a second suspected case in colorado. >> overnight england authorized the vaccine made by astrazeneca and oxford university for use. vice president-elect harris and her husband received the moderna vaccine yesterday in a predominantly black washington, d.c. neighborhood as they seek to boost public trust. >> president-elect biden is slamming the trump administration over the pace of the vaccine rollout. a new battle raging over the race to vaccinate the nation.
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>> a few weeks ago, trump administration suggested that 20 million americans could be vaccinated by the end of december. with only a few days left in december, we've only vaccinated a few million so far. >> reporter: the trump administration is facing new criticisms over the number of vaccine doses doled out in december across the country, just over 2 million cases delivered so far, well under the goal of 20 million by the end of the year. the coronavirus task force says that may not happen until the end of january. >> we certainly are not at the numbers that we wanted to be at the end of december. >> reporter: admiral brett jiroir, the coordinator for the country's vaccine efforts, is defending the government. >> the federal government doesn't invade texas or montana and provide shots to people. we support the state and locals in doing that. >> reporter: he blamed underreporting for the drastic shortcoming, but dr. anthony fauci says that is unlikely. >> i mean, even if you undercount 2 million as an undercount, how much undercount could it be?
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>> reporter: the vaccine backup apparent in many states. in florida, hundreds of seniors and frontline workers lined up in hopes of getting their vaccines on tuesday, many camping out with chairs and blankets in preparation for the long wait. in kansas, officials open up clinics in fields and fairgrounds in hopes of administering more doses. >> it's going smooth. we have lots of vaccinators available. >> reporter: in new york, new confusion as city firefighters receive their shots, but members of the nypd still have to wait. in the meantime, new fears a more contagious coronavirus variant is spreading within the u.s. the health department in colorado told abc news overnight they are looking at a second unconfirmed case of the strain which led to strict lockdowns in england. the one confirmed case of the variant is a man in his 20s with no recent travel history. the discovery is coinciding with the post-holiday rush. the tsa screened over 1 million passengers for the seventh time in two weeks and experts warn that number is expected to continue to increase until after the new year. meanwhile across the country,
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scenes of overflowing hospitals show the bleak reality of the ongoing surge. the number of patients currently hospitalized nationwide is double what we saw in april and july. and the u.s.'s current epicenter, los angeles, officials report a 600% jump in covid deaths since last month. leaders across california are extending stay-at-home orders as some hospitals like this one in gardenia are running out of oxygen used to help patients breathe. this morning we're learning that one prison in alaska is reporting nearly all 1,200 prisoners have been infected with covid. the prison reported its first inmate case in november. another tragic casualty of the pandemic, covid-19 has claimed the life of an incoming republican congressman. 41-year-old luke letlow of louisiana was scheduled to be sworn in on sunday, but he died last night, less than two weeks after he was hospitalized, leaving behind a wife and two children. democratic governor john bel edwards issued this statement, saying, quote, it is with heavy hearts that donna and i offer our condolences to
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congressman-elect luke letlow's family. louisiana has lost more than 7,300 people to covid-19 since march and each leaves a hole in our state. president trump is turning up the pressure on senate republicans to authorize stimulus checks for $2,000, but senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is pushing back with poison pills that could derail the effort for bigger payments. abc's averi harper has the latest from washington, good morning. >> reporter: good morning. those long-awaited stimulus checks are finally going out. now the president is attacking his own party, saying those checks aren't big enough. this morning, another stimulus stalemate is taking shape in washington. as americans begin to receive a second round of economic relief, the treasury department says direct deposits could have arrived as early as last night, while releasing more details about payments for americans who qualify. $600 for individuals, $1,200 for married couples, and up to $600 for each qualifying child.
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it all comes as a measure to bump those stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 hits a major block. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell blocked two attempts from democratic senators to bring it to a vote on the floor. but mcconnell added that the senate will begin a process to bring three priorities to the table this week. the possible repeal of liability protections for social media companies, election integrity, and potentially the $2,000 stimulus checks, all trump demands. but how the senate will actually proceed is still unclear. >> those are the three important subjects the president has linked together. >> reporter: after mcconnell blocked the vote, trump tweeted this warning. quote, unless republicans have a death wish, they must approve the $2,000 payments asap. >> i don't agree with donald trump on much, but even a broken clock has the correct time twice a day. >> reporter: democrat senate minority leader chuck schumer urging mcconnell to act.
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>> leader mcconnell holds the key to unlocking this dilemma. >> reporter: now if you don't see those direct deposit payments in your bank account this morning, be mindful those payments just started last night and will continue through next week. if you do not have irs direct deposit, paper checks start getting mailed out today. kenneth? >> good information there, avery harper in washington, thank you. breaking news on the man accused in the christmas day bombing in nashville. abc news has learned anthony warner's girlfriend warned police last year he was building explosives in his rv at his home. sources tell abc police visited warner's house 16 months ago but weren't allowed to search the vehicle. investigators say warner died in the blast. the city of louisville is set to fire two officers involved in breonna taylor's death. a hearing is set for tomorrow for detective miles cosgrove and joshua james. their attorneys say the officers have received termination notices. cosgrove was one of the officers who shot taylor, james prepared the search warrant for the raid on her home.
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two cleveland police officers involved in the 2014 fatal shooting of 12-year-old tamir rice won't face criminal charges. officers timothy low man and frank garmack thought rice's pellet gun was a real firearm. the justice department says it found insufficient evidence to support charges. time for a look at your wednesday morning weather. winter storm warnings in effect in the chicago area. up to 8 inches of snow fell there. it was coated with sleet and freezing rain overnight. that storm becomes all rain as it moves north and east today. a second storm is cranking up in texas. it will bring rain and snow to most of the eastern u.s. through new year's day. tornados are even possible in the southeast. checking today's high temperatures, 52 in atlanta. 39 in chicago. high 40s in the northwest. and still 70s along the gulf coast. coming up, the singing
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legend back at number one for the first time in three decades. also ahead, wrongful arrest. how facial recognition is being blamed for putting the wrong man in jail. new video of a hot air balloon crashing in a backyard. what we're learning about the people on board next.
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back now with a hot air balloon with nine passengers crashing into the backyard of a home in gilbert, arizona. authorities say powerful winds caused it to break from its tethers. the pilot tried to get the balloon higher in the air but the winds were too strong. no serious injuries were reported. boeing 737 max is once again taking flight in the u.s. american airlines flew the first paying passengers from miami to new york. it's the first u.s. airline to return the jets to commercial service since they were grounded
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nearly two years ago following two deadly crashes overseas. united and southwest plan to resume flights next year. use of facial recognition technology to track down criminals is under scrutiny after another innocent man was thrown in jail. critics say the technology is flawed and disproportionately harms the black community. abc's megan tevrizian has more. >> reporter: this morning a new jersey man is suing the police after a bad facial recognition match landed him in jail for a crime he did not commit. last year, niger parks was falsely accused of shoplifting and trying to hit an officer with his car even though he was 30 miles away when the incident happened. he spent ten days in jail and paid thousands in legal fees before the case was eventually dismissed for lack of evidence. he's now suing the police and the city of woodbridge, new jersey, for violation of his civil rights, false imprisonment, and false arrest. parks is now the third person known to be wrongfully arrested based on faulty facial recognition technology.
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>> i said, no, that's not me. he turns another paper over, i guess this is not you either? i picked that paper up and hold it next to my face. i said, this is not me. i hope y'all don't think all black people look alike? in june robert williams spent 30 hours in a michigan detention facility after police incorrectly identified him as a suspect in a shoplifting case. the only evidence they had linking him to the crime was bad facial recognition. >> i can't put into words. it was one of the most shocking things i ever had happen to me. >> reporter: police departments around the country have been using facial recognition technology for the last several years, but one federal study from 2019 found a majority of the software shows racial bias, with higher rates of false positives for black and asian faces compared to white faces. as for parks, he had been incarcerated before and considered a plea deal, even though he was innocent.
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so he wouldn't run the risk of getting a long prison sentence. kenneth, mona? >> all right, megan, thank you. coming up, the tiny royal heard speaking for the first time. also ahead, people afraid to leave their homes because of aggressive squirrels on the attack. thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, are living in the moment and taking ibrance. ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor is for postmenopausal women or for men with hr+/her2- metastatic breast cancer, as the first hormonal based therapy. ibrance plus letrozole significantly delayed . . . . . patients taking ibrance can develop low white blood cell counts, which may cause serious infections that can lead to death. ibrance may cause severe inflammation of the lungs that can lead to death. tell your doctor right away if you have new or worsening symptoms, including trouble breathing, shortness of breath,
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cough, or chest pain. before taking ibrance, tell your doctor if you have fever, chills, or other signs of infection, liver or kidney problems, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant. common side effects include low red blood cell and low platelet counts, infections, tiredness, nausea, sore mouth, abnormalities in liver blood tests, diarrhea, hair thinning or loss, vomiting, rash, and loss of appetite. be in your moment. ask your doctor about ibrance.
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high protein. low sugar. tastes great! high protein. low sugar. so good. high protein. low sugar. mmm, birthday cake. pure protein. find our coupons in sunday's paper. you can call me crazy, but now they can call me that man. >> that is morgan freeman portraying principal joe clark
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in the movie "clean lean on me." he died at the age of 82. it was based on clark's tenure at a new jersey high school. prince and duchess meghan are now podcast hosts. it released tuesday. plenty of high-profile guests including elton john and tyler perry joined the couple but the real star of the show, their 19-month-old son archie. he had a special message for the listeners. >> after me, ready? happy. >> happy. >> new. >> new. year. >> yay! >> and we are happy to hear him. this marks the first time the public has heard archie speak. the podcast is part of a multimillion dollar deal the company has with spotify. turning now to the coronavirus, overnight officials in the uk authorized a new vaccine from astrazeneca in oxford, the decision coming as we learn more about that more contagious variant that started in the uk but now has been found
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in colorado. earlier i spoke with dr. imran ali about his thoughts on the new strain, as well as the american vaccine effort. president-elect joe biden is criticizing the trump administration for what he calls the slow pace of the vaccine rollout. the trump administration set a goal of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of the year. clearly we are far short of that goal. are you seeing a slower than expected rollout of the vaccine? >> i am, actually. because we at this rate are vaccinating 1 million people per week. and if we go at this rate, it's going to take a long, long time, more than a year to just reach that 70% threshold where we'll feel safe to make sure that we have herd immunity. so we really need more federal involvement to help coordinate with the local and state public health authorities. >> dr. ali, overnight we learned of cases of that new variant of the virus was found here in the u.s., in colorado. are you concerned about this new variant which is said to be 70%
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more contagious? >> i am, actually. it's not more lethal at all, but it's more contagious. because you know the coronavirus, everybody's seen it, it's like a round ball with these spike proteins. the mutation makes one of the spike proteins more sticky, so it attaches to the cells more easily. and that's why we're thinking this is more contagious. and, you know, hospitals are overwhelmed, and now with the people traveling for the holidays, you know, some think that makes the virus more contagious, and it's just a recipe for, you know, overwhelming our hospitals as it is. >> the number of patients currently hospitalized nationwide has increased more than 32% in the last month. where do you expect things to be one month from today in terms of cases and hospitalizations? >> if things go the way they are going, including, you know, the surge that we're going to expect from the holidays, you know, the mathematical models say that we might reach a peak on january 20th. so january, unfortunately mona, may be a very dark month.
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>> our thanks to dr. ali. aggressive squirrels are terrorizing a neighborhood in new york city. residents have reported at least five attacks since late november. the rodents even have some people afraid to go for a walk. one woman had to go to the e.r. and get a rabies shot as a precaution after her hand was bitten by a squirrel. >> basically runs up my leg. i'm like, okay, squirrel, hello, what are you doing? he either bit me or scratched me on my neck, and then i must have, like, reached over or do something, and next thing i know it's an mma cage match and i'm losing. >> residents have reached out to the city for help but were told to hire their own licensed trapper. they did, but so far they have come up empty. coming up, is beatle mania back? the fab four favorite topping the charts for the first time in decades. also ahead, the new lawsuit calling out a popular bread. why some say the company is baking up lies.
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♪ time to check "the pulse." we begin with a popular bread under fire. >> the maker of king's hawaiian sweet rolls is facing a class-action lawsuit initiated by a new york man accusing the company of misleading customers into believing the rolls are still being made in hawaii. the hawaiian rolls have been made in california since the '70s. >> the words "manufactured in california" is actually written on the packaging but the plaintiff says it's hidden on the back label. no matter where it's made, those things are delicious. next, congrats to music legend paul mccartney. >> the beatle is back on top. mccartney posted this video to celebrate his new album, "mccartney 3" hitting number one on the billboard sales chart.
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>> the first time mccartney had an album on top of the charts in his native uk since 1989. how about a judmbo jackpot? >> $800 million is up for grabs between the powerball and mega millions. no one won last night's drawing. the next drawing is on friday and the estimated jackpot is more than $400 million. >> the powerball jackpot drawing is tonight and it's now up to $363 million. finally, robots are on the loose again. >> the robots of boston dynamics, that is. they hit the dance floor in the company's year-end video, grooving to "do you love me?" >> and they do the mashed potato and the twist. as the song mentions, along with other dance moves. no word yet on where they are with tiktok dances, though. >> no electric slide? >> oh, that one. the hokey pokey? >> somebody really likes the music of the '60s here.
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. now at 5:00, another
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covid-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use in another country overnight. when the first shots are expected to be administered. >> i wasn't surprised. it was a matter of time. >> the new covid-19 variant has been found in the u.s. for the first time. the patient is a man with no travel history. what this means for contact tracing efforts. and some americans waking up to $600 stimulus checks in their bank accounts, but president trump still saying it's not enough. the effects of the pandemic highlighted at this food giveaway in the bay area. how you can help and give where you live. >> good morning. it's wednesday, december 30th. mike, what do you have going on over >> i have a lot going on over here. hands full


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