tv America This Morning ABC December 17, 2021 4:30am-5:01am PST
america this morning. have a great friday, everyone. right now on "america this morning," a whole new animal. that's how the omicron variant is now being described as it takes hold across america. covid cases already up 30% in recent days, deaths up nearly as much. and now theaters closing. schools moving online. this pro hockey game held without any fans. what experts are saying you need to know before the holidays, plus the new recommendation from the cdc about the vaccines and which are best. school threats on the rise. the troubling social media trend that has police departments across the country scrambling this morning. breaking overnight, alec baldwin's attorney responds after a search warrant is issued for baldwin's phone in connection with that movie set shooting. what the actor's lawyer is now
revealing. a major new ruling on the opioid crisis. the decision on whether the billionaire family behind oxycontin can be sued. plus, former first lady melania trump with a new initiative. and from eric clapton's battle over a bootleg cd to a "law & order" favorite with a big announcement to betty white's new movie project, it's friday, december 17th. and good friday morning, everyone. i'm faith abubey in for mona. >> and i'm rhiannon ally in for andrew. we want to begin this morning with the omicron variant. it is clear this morning we are entering a dangerous new phase of this pandemic. one very preliminary study found omicron could spread 70 times faster than the delta variant. here in new york city the positivity rate has doubled in just three days. >> more broadway shows are closing along with some shows in
los angeles and more colleges and universities are moving their classes online. the nfl and the nba are imposing new safety protocols and the montreal canadiens playing in front of empty stands. that's right. no fans allowed. but we begin this morning with our coverage on the new information about the vaccines. this morning, a new recommendation from the cdc for covid vaccines. the agency now says americans should take the moderna and pfizer vaccines over johnson & johnson when possible due to a rare but serious risk for blood clots. of the 17 million shots given, 9 people have died from thrombosis. >> it's very clear that the mrna vaccines are just slightly more effective and slightly more safe. >> reporter: the push to get americans the safest and most effective form of protection comes as the omicron variant spikes across 39 states and washington, d.c. with cases doubling every two to three days. >> the only real protection is to get your shots.
for unvaccinated we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death if you're unvaccinated. >> reporter: from florida to new york, lines for testing getting longer. desperate to get ahead of a potential omicron surge, the mayor of new york city announcing a six-point plan including increasing the testing capacity. >> that is a whole new animal and we got to be honest about the fact that it's moving very fast. >> reporter: the mayor also telling cnn he's leaving the door open to canceling new year's eve festivities in times square. >> we're going to reassess constantly. right now it's on. >> reporter: in florida an eye-opening finding in orlando. omicron is already making up nearly 100% of wastewater samples taken this week, and the cdc now projecting a grim statistic. covid deaths potentially soaring to 15,000 per week by january 8th. hospitals already overwhelmed by the delta surge could soon reach their breaking point. many americans now wondering if
it's worth gathering again for the holidays. >> i think it's possible to gather with family safely. the key in my mind is making sure everybody who can be vaccinated is vaccinated. >> reporter: and back to that new vaccine recommendation, even though the cdc is recommending pfizer and moderna, it says the benefits provided by the j&j shot still far outweigh any risk. drenching rain is now hindering the cleanup effort in kentucky as survivors of the deadly tornado outbreak struggle to salvage what is left of their shattered homes. most of the 90 people killed across five states were in kentucky including 13-year-old nyssa brown whose body was found yesterday about three blocks from her home in bowling green. but fewer people are missing than initially believed. meanwhile, workers at that candle factory where eight people died are now suing the company. they say they were not allowed to go home early as the storm approached. the company insists everyone was free to leave. meanwhile, the second powerful storm system that tore
through the midwest unleashing minnesota's first december tornado on record is now blamed for at least five deaths. strong winds topping 80 miles an hour ripped the storage building off the ground in hutchinson, kansas, and then in dodge city, high winds rolled into this metal watering tanking sending it crashing into a pickup truck. we turn to concerns about threats being made on social media canceling classes at schools across the country today. police are not taking any chances. they're trying to reassure parents. our andrew dymburt has more. >> reporter: emotions and tensions are running high in school districts across the country with a wave of school shooting threats circulating on social media prompting many districts to cancel classes today. >> a 12-year-old girl took to the internet and sent something out that shut a school district down for three days. >> reporter: authorities say kids are now posting and sharing messages on tiktok about targeting their classrooms.
police departments coast to coast this morning are reassuring parents, students and staff the threats are not credible, but they're also not taking any chances. >> we've checked out every one of these potential threats and deemed none of them to be imminent or credible, and we have arrested a lot of young people for making these threats. >> reporter: in the wake of the recent tragedy at a michigan high school where four students were killed, the local county has now documented more than 135 threats, and on long island, new york, one district reports a 148% spike in school threats this year, 25% higher since before the pandemic. now with this latest troubling tiktok trend raising more concerns about school violence, law enforcement officials have no choice but to investigate at a cost. it's draining police resources, pulling cops off the street who would otherwise be handling crime. >> we have to go out and investigate. so, again, you see what happens now, my resources got to go out and cover 450 buildings. >> reporter: as for those making
the violent threats, real or not, it's a crime, one authorities won't take lightly. >> these people that are making these threats, they're not a joke. they're terrorizing people, and we're going to hold you accountable. >> reporter: andrew dymburt, abc news, new york. >> andrew, thank you. tiktok releasing a statement saying it handles threats with the upmost seriousness and is working with law enforcement. >> the american missionaries kidnapped in haiti two months ago have now been released. the 12 remaining hostages were among 17 people abducted by the notorious gang there. five of them had already been freed. while the group included five children, some of them attended a church in michigan where members there say their prayers were answered. >> god has answered our prayers. we're rejoicing. a great load is lifted. i'm still waiting to hear the rest of their story. >> the gang was demanding $1 million for each hostage. no word on whether any ransom was paid. and breaking overnight, 27 people are feared dead after a
fire spread through this building in osaka, japan. the victims were inside a mental health clinic. investigators are looking into whether the fire was deliberately set. women can now get the abortion pill through the mail. after 20 years, the fda has permanently lifted its restriction which required women to pick up the medication in person at a doctor's office or clinic. the change is significant for women who live in rural areas. but the policy is still subject to state laws. a bankruptcy deal that would have settled thousands of lawsuits against opioid maker purdue pharma has now been rejected by a judge. it was thrown out because it would have protected the sackler family, which owns purdue pharma, from being sued. the company says it will appeal. striking workers at kellogg's will vote sunday on a new contract. union members have been on strike for nearly three months. the deal includes cost-of-living adjustments and a raise of $1.10 an hour. after an earlier deal was
rejected, kellogg's threatened to hire permanent replacement workers. it is time now for a look at your friday weather. good morning. we have a stalled out front across the tennessee valley on your friday morning producing some showers and thunderstorms. not good news for the tornado stricken areas from last friday in western kentucky and tennessee. we're going to see some thunderstorms there friday and friday night, and those will last into saturday as well. look at these areas between louisville and memphis. could see 2 to 4 inches of rain over the next 48 hours. it's going to hamper those cleanup efforts. meantime, your weekend forecast. some snow in the ski resorts in the northeast and the northwest. i'm accuweather meteorologist kevin coskren. coming up, the massive bee's nest found in someone's shower. >> i can't look. also ahead, a major step in the "rust" movie set shooting investigation. a search warrant issued for alec
people are buzzing about this. a seven-foot long beehive was found inside of a shower wall of a home in florida. the owners uncovered it while renovated. they called a bee keeper who removed an estimated 80,000 bees, and 100 pounds of honey. breaking overnight, alec baldwin's lawyer is now responding after a search warrant was issued for alec baldwin's phone in connection with that deadly movie set shooting. baldwined a mets holding the gun that killed helena
his lawyer said -- >> he went on to say, while we evaluate the phone information, we hope that the authorities continue to focus on how the live rounds got on the set in the first place. we turn now to the new accusations against actor chris noth, and the fallout this morning. this morning, actor chris noth is denying sexual assault allegations made by two women who told the hollywood reporter they came forward with their claim after seeing publicity surrounding the new "sex and the city" reboot series. both women are choosing to remain anonymous. the first claims noth raped her in his los angeles apartment in 2004, after first kissing her. it was very pain tl and i yelled
out spop, she says and he didn't. she later went to the hospital for stitches. the other alleged incident was more than a decade later in 2015. a server at a new york nightclub went on a date with him and they ended up back in his apartment. it was there the woman claims he forced her to have sex, saying i was kind of crying as it happened. the hollywood reporter says the women came forward separately, months apart, and do not know each other. in a statement, noth questions the timing of the allegations, calling them categorically false, and saying no always means no. that is a line i did not cross. the accuser from the first alleged incident tells the hollywood report they are two police officers came to the hospital. but she would not reveal to them who allegedly attacked her, fearing no one would believe her or that she would be fired. this morning, swift fallout from the allegations. peloton has pulled its new commercial starring chris noth.
in a statement, peloton said every sexual assault allegation must be taken seriously. coming up, betty white back in the news with a new movie. >> but first, when we come back, what we are learning about a dramatic scene. teenagers racing to escape a burning building. my plaque psoriasis... ...the itching... the burning. the stinging. my skin was no longer mine. my psoriatic arthritis, made my joints stiff, swollen... painful. emerge tremfyant®. with tremfya®, adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis... ...can uncover clearer skin and improve symptoms at 16 weeks. tremfya® is the only medication of its kind also approved for adults with active psoriatic arthritis. serious allergic reactions may occur. tremfya® may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. tell your doctor if you have an infection or symptoms or if you had a vaccine or plan to. emerge tremfyant®
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volcano on la palma has finally calmed down. authorities are allowing some of the evacuated resident there is to return home. more than 2,000 buildings are damaged or destroyed. there's now grief in australia for five children killed while playing in a bounce house. the victims were all 11 and 1 years old, celebrating the end of the school year, when a gust of wind lifted the bouncy house more than 30 feet into the air. and a dramatic climb to safety. outside a burning building in new york. two teenagers were hanging on for life. here's christine sloan. >> reporter: terrifying moments for two teenagers escaping a fire on the fourth floor of this building in manhattan. a 13-year-old boy, 18-year-old girl shimmy down a pole as flames rage out of a window above their heads. the two slide down the side of the building to save their own lives. witnesses watching in horror. >> they were about to jump out
the window. firefighters kept telling them hold on, hold on. then they got on the pole and they were sliding down. i was like, slide, slide. and they made it down. >> reporter: in the miraculous escape, you can see the first teen slide down before falling or jumping. >> i went to my window and looked out and i just seen the flames coming up and i'm like, wow, and then i seen the kid sliding down the pole. if it wasn't for those poles, they might have died. >> reporter: neighbors heard a loud noise before the apartment caught fire. >> it was a very big explosion this morning prior to the fire. >> reporter: investigators say a man was found dead in the apartment, trapped in a back room. firefighters also found a woman at the front, reportedly unable to open the door. she's in critical condition. officials say electric pibikes
were found inside the apartment. although the fire is still under investigation, officials say electric scooters also burned in the fire. fire officials have urged people not to leave scooters or e-bikes unattended while they're charging. >> christine, thank you. in sports, an overtime thriller in the nfl. the chiefs and chargers went to overtime in kansas city, ending with a dramatic touchdown. the chiefs winning it 34-28. early in the game, the chargers player left on a stretcher after slamming his head on the ground. he is in stable condition. coming up, former first lady melania trump and her new art. also ahead, why you should never, ever mess with eric clapton. what can i du with less asthma? with dupixent, i can du more....beginners' yoga. namaste... ...surprise parties. aww, you guys.
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♪ layla ♪ ♪ you got me on my knees ♪ all right, it's time knnow o check "the pulse" beginning with eric clapton's big victory in court. >> he sued a widow for listing a bootleg cd. her husband bought it at a department store years ago so she thought it was okay to sell it. >> no, she's now being ordered to pay $4,500 to cover eric clapton's legal fees, and she's also facing thousands of dollars in fines, all for an $11 cd. >> expensive cd. next melania trump is joining the digital collectible trend. >> the former first lady has announced her first endeavor since leaving the white house. she is now selling nfts, which are nonfungible tokens following her passion for the arts. the first one up for grabs is a watercolor with the title "melania's vision." >> mrs. trump says a portion of the proceeds will actually
benefit kids aging out of the foster care system. next a first of its kind discovery. >> scientists have found the first true millipede, a creature that has at least a thousand legs. it is less than four inches long. it was found 200 feet below the surface in australia. they believe it has 1,300 legs and it lives in full darkness. how would you hike to feel that? next "law & order" veteran sam waterston is coming back. >> he's returning as d.a. jack mccoy in a reboot next year. this will be waterston's 17th season on "law & order," executive producer dick wolf says jack mccoy is the show's ultimate conscience. and finally, betty white is turning 100 years old, and we're all invited to the party. >> it is coming to a theater near you. the beloved actress is celebrating her milestone birthday next month with a movie event. >> it will be shown in hundreds of movie theaters across the
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solutions, this is abc 7 news. reggie: an unexpected early start. the social media threat that has districts around the country on alert. >> to be fully up to date you need to have a booster. larry: health -- jobina: official making the case for boosters. ♪ listening to your holiday favorites around the house, we will tell you who might be digging this song. reggie: i was there for georgehe merkel. -- george michael. look at us.