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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  December 21, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. president biden's speech to the nation. his warning to americans about this new variant, the omicron variant, now sweeping the country. the president's sobering address to the nation today, 24 hours after we learned the omicron variant is now the dominant strain here in the u.s., making up 73% of new cases. 90% of cases in some parts of the country. new york city tonight breaking records. what they're seeing from michigan to wisconsin. and across the country, people waiting for hours in line, waiting to get tested for covid before christmas. president biden urging unvaccinated americans to get vaccinated now, calling it potentially a life or death decision. and telling those who are vaccinated to get a booster as soon as possible.
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what he said about the holiday and what he said about a half a billion free at-home rapid test kits beginning next month. also tonight, my interview with the cdc director dr. rochelle walensky, and what concerns her most with four days to christmas. also tonight, millions traveling and this evening, the severe weather. a confirmed tornado touching down in florida. that system moving up the east coast and into new england by tomorrow. heavy snow and rain in parts of the west tonight. ginger zee here timing it all out, with so many hitting the road and flying. and with more than 110 million americans expected to travel, tonight, the best masks to wear if you're boarding a plane. and how to keep your family safe. there is breaking news just as we come on the air tonight in the trial of former police officer kim potter, who said she mistook her gun for her taser. what we've now learned. tonight, the scare at a sopping mall crowded with holiday shoppers. police chasing suspects into the mall. stores going on lockdown.
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the actresses on "sex and the city" issuing a joint statement on actor chris noth after sexual assault allegations made by several women. we have two important recalls tonight from the dinner table to the medicine cabinet. and our made in america christmas is back tonight. your one thing. and it turns out, oprah wants in, too. her made in america list tonight. good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a tuesday night and we begin tonight with president biden and his warning today for americans about this new omicron variant, with just four days now until christmas. the variant doubling every two to three days, now at least 73% of all new cases. the president acknowledging today americans are tired and frustrated and worried. but saying, this is not march of 2020, arguing, we have vaccines and boosters, but he did warn, if you're not fully vaccinated, you have good reason, in his
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words, for concern, and that you should get vaccinated immediately. calling it what could be a life or death decision. and the president, in a rare moment, pointing out the former president, president trump, that he acknowledged that he has gotten his booster. president biden saying he's had his booster, too. the president speaking to the nation from the state dining room at the white house, saying americans who are vaccinated and boosted can go ahead with their holiday plans. but he did say to expect breakthrough cases and perhaps many of them. but the experts say they don't expect them to be severe. once again, stressing vaccinations, but acknowledging americans are looking for tests, as well. the president announcing plans for new federal testing and vaccination sites starting here in new york city, where lines right now run for blocks. in cleveland tonight, a long line of cars at a drive-through test site, this is the cleveland
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clinic here. and in the west tonight, a drive-throgh testing site in pomona, california. many americans waiting for hours. the president says they now plan to distribute half a billion home rapid test kits that americans can request online, that begins in january. the president also sending 1,000 military medical personnel to help hospitals already at a breaking point because of the fall surge and now, of course, omicron. there is also news coming in from israel tonight, announcing a fourth covid shot there. they had boosters like us, and now have moved onto a fourth shot to keep protective antibodies up for people over 60 and for medical workers, four months after getting their third shot. and of course, we always ask here, is that what's coming here next? we begin here tonight with our chief white house correspondent cecilia vega leading us off from the white house. >> reporter: at the white house today, surrounded by christmas decorations, president biden trying to reassure americans that even in the face of the surging omicron variant, we are not in the darkest of days. >> this is not march of 2020. 200 million people are fully vaccinated. we're prepared. we know more. we just have to stay focused.
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>> reporter: he acknowledged americans are tired, worried, and frustrated, and told them to prepare for what's yet to come. >> because omicron spreads so easily, we'll see some fully vaccinated people get covid, potentially in large numbers, but these cases are highly unlikely to lead to serious illness. >> reporter: and the president with this warning for the unvaccinated. >> your choice can be the difference between life or death. >> reporter: with omicron now in all but one state, the president unveiling a plan to distribute half a billion free at-home rapid tests in january to any american who requests one. >> we'll be giving these tests to americans for free, and we'll have websites where you can get them delivered to your home. >> reporter: but the white house offering few specifics of how that would work. and tests in january won't help those people who lined up today around the country, hoping to get tested before christmas.
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>> public health officials have been saying for months you need to surge rapid tests for just this moment. is it a failure that you don't have an adequate amount of tests for everyone to be able to get one if they need one right now? >> no, it's not, because covid is spreading so rapidly, if you notice, it just -- it just happened almost overnight, just in the last month. >> reporter: in new york, the mayor says the demand for testing is the highest it's ever been. some people waiting more than three hours. not even the city government can find enough home tests. >> we tried to get it from the private market, we tried to get it from the government. it hasn't been here yet. we really need it, and we need it quickly. >> reporter: covid cases in new york city exploding, up 640% in just the past month. the highest rate in the nation. the city today announcing anyone who gets a booster at a city site will now get $100. president biden saying boosters may be the key to fighting this surge. >> i got my booster shot as soon as they were available. and just the other day, former president trump announced he had gotten his booster shot.
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it may be one of the few things he and i agree on. >> reporter: tonight, many hospitals at capacity, flooded with unvaccinated patients. sue wolfe is an e.r. nurse in madison, wisconsin. >> we have patients coming in all the time, waiting in the waiting room, waiting in the hallways, waiting on carts, waiting to go upstairs. >> reporter: sarah rauner is the chief pediatric nurse at beaumont hospital in troy, michigan. >> we are burnt out. we are tired and we are disheartened. so much of what we see on a daily basis is preventable. >> reporter: president biden now calling in a thousand additional military doctors, nurses, and paramedics to help. and tapping the national stockpile of masks, gloves, and ventilators. >> we're ready to send them immediately to any state that needs more. >> and so let's get right to our chief white house correspondent cecilia vega, live at the white house tonight. and cecilia, back to this issue with testing, the president promising to send out 500 million at-home rapid test kits to americans come january.
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and i know you pressed the white house press secretary today on exactly how this is going to work. >> reporter: yeah, david, they still don't have a lot of details. we know these are at-home rapid tests, brands that have been approved by the fda. you're going to have to go online if you want to get one. that website isn't live yet. but the press secretary assured me that it will be able to handle the demand. you heard president biden here today, he said this is not a failure, he doesn't consider it to be one. the reality is, david, right now, we are still nearly two years into this pandemic, asking when every american who wants a quick and convenient test can get one. >> all right, cecilia vega at the white house tonight. cecilia, thank you. we know a lot of you at home have questions. i want to bring in the cdc director dr. rochelle walensky. she's joining us from boston. >> good evening. >> thanks for being here. the numbers you revealed in just the last 24 hours. more than 70% of new cases in this country are now omicron. 90% in parts of the country. what concerns you most about just how transmissible this is? >> yeah, thank you.
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you know, i know things are moving quickly and that people have concerns, so, let me tell you, 73%, as you just noted and in some areas of the united states, 90%. this is exactly the rate of rise that we've seen in other countries and what we were anticipating here. the virus doubles at a rate of somewhere around 1 1/2 to every 3 days, and so, this is what we've been anticipating, this is what we've been preparing for. and this was really the reason for the president's announcement today, where we're able to offer support for hospitals, surge capacity for hospitals, increased capacity for testing, as well as increased access to vaccinations, so, all of that is part of the president's plan right now. but i want to say in this moment, where we do have an increased number of omicron cases, is that we have the tools to address it. we know that vaccines and booster, will help address this omicron surge and are also
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asking people to continue wearing their masks. all the prevention strategies will work against omicron, as well. >> dr. walensky, you mentioned the president's plan he revealed today, and that includes mailing out some 500 million rapid test kits at some point in january. you don't need me to tell you, we're now four days until christmas. is this too late for families finding empty shelves at pharmacies, long lines, hours long? how did we find ourselves in this situation again? >> yeah, really important question, and the government is doing a lot, and we recognize we have more work to do. so, you noted 500 million tests that will be available in january, a $3 billion investment for rapid tests, but i also want to highlight that right now, we have 20,000 sites where you can get free pcr tests. and what we're doing right now is, we're working with governments to see where -- and governors -- to see where there is expanded need and we're putting in federal testing sites in those areas of need right now.
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>> but again, for families watching us tonight and who want to test for christmas, what do they do? >> yeah, so, right now, what i would say is, continue to work towards getting a rapid test. if you can't get a rapid test, there are pcr testing sites available and where there is more demand, we're working now to establish further sites, as well. >> in the meantime, dr. walensky, i want to bring up a report that the fda is expected to authorize pfizer and merck covid pills to treat covid-19 as soon as this week. what can you tell us? is that a possibility? >> you know, i'm not going to get ahead of the fda. what i will say is, this is going to be a really -- both of these will be really important tools to address this virus. but importantly, all of those tools work to address it once you have it, and what we really want to do is prevent it. and you prevent it by getting vaccinated, getting boosted, and wearing your mask. >> all right, cdc director dr. rochelle walensky with us
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tonight. dr. walensky, thank you. and with omicron now sweeping across the country and this new warning today from the president, i'll be sitting down one-on-one with president biden for an exclusive interview on it all. the interview is at the white house tomorrow, we'll have it tomorrow night right here on "world news tonight" and on "nightline." but we move on now and to the millions traveling across this country, and with just four days until christmas, we're tracking storms on both costs tonight. in the east, an ef-1 tornado with 95-mile-an-hour winds in fort myers, florida, damaging homes and taking down trees there. that system moving up the east coast. and in the west tonight, the system bringing heavy rain and snow. what to expect as you travel? let's get right to chief meteorologist ginger zee. she's timing it out again tonight for us. hey, ginger. >> reporter: hey, david. that same storm that raked south florida with tornadoes and severe weather, well, now it's moved off the coast, but it is bringing heavy rain from oak island to wilmington there in north carolina. it is going to cook up the coast, and those outer bands will meet up with very cold air. what that means is a winter weather advisory or even warning
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from west cornwall, connecticut, up to caribou, maine. some lake effect snow bands, too. but we have to see the west real quick. three to five feet in some parts of the sierra. very wet in the bay area. even los angeles. the morning of christmas eve could see one to two inches of rain. but no worries, david, for santa's sake, it's gone by christmas day. >> all right, ginger zee, and i know they thank you for the rain, and santa, as well. in the meantime, authorities are expecting this will be a record week for travel since this pandemic started. more than 110 million americans expected to travel. tonight here, the best masks to wear if you're boarding a plane and how to keep your family safe. abc's gio benitez covers transportation. >> reporter: tonight, despite the fast-spreading omicron variant, millions are on the move. more than 100 million by car and the airports are packed. >> i got double vaxed, boosted, regular testing. >> reporter: some 30 million expected to fly between now and january 3rd, breaking pandemic records. more than 2 million people every day. first and foremost, experts say if you're vaccinated and
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boosted, you should feel safe to fly. >> the second most important thing is wearing a good mask, wearing a high quality mask. >> reporter: the most effective, the n95 mask. but experts say the kn95 and kf94 are almost as strong. surgical masks were also found to be effective in department of defense testing on airplanes. and with cloth masks, multiple layers are recommended. masks are required on all forms of public transportation, including buses and trains. and remember, airlines will not accept masks with breathing valves. and new covid protocols are making for long wait times at the airport. international destinations require airlines to check vaccine and testing documents. and if you're hoping to get tested at the airport before your flight, so are many others. lines are getting longer and longer. and david, thursday is expected to be the busiest day at u.s. airports. some of them, like seattle and newark, are letting you go online and reserve a spot in the tsa line. david? >> all right, gio benitez tonight.
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gio, thank you. we're going to turn now to late news coming in just before we came on the air tonight in the trial of former minnesota police officer kim potter, who says she mistook her gun for her taser. i want to bring in stephanie ramos, who has been following this very closely. stephanie, what did the jury ask? >> reporter: david, the jury wanted to know what happens if they cannot agree on a verdict. and what steps should be taken to get there. the judge responding by reading them the jury instructions and telling them they need to discuss the case with one another and, quote, deliberate with a view toward reaching agreement. she also said they should not hesitate to change their opinions if they're convinced, but did not tell them how long they should try. the jury also asking the judge if the zip ties holding the gun to the evidence box could be removed. the judge approving that request and, david, at this hour, we can hear protesters right outside that courthouse. david? >> stephanie ramos tonight, stephanie, thank you for the update. when we come back here, the mall lockdown, crowded with holiday shoppers. and those important recalls tonight.
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come forward. noth now fired from the cbs drama "the equalizer." noth calling the allegations "categorically false." when we come back, those two important recalls. and oprah is here with her made in america list. oh wow. ♪ i want my daughter riley to know about her ancestors and how important it is to know who you are and to know where you came from. doesn't that look like your papa? that's your great grandfather. it's like opening a whole 'nother world that we did not know existed. ♪ you finally have a face to a name. when you give the gift of ancestry®, you give the gift of family. ♪ johnson & johnson you give the gift of family. is the world's largest healthcare company. building a future where cancers can be cured. strokes can be reversed. joints can be 3-d printed. and there isn't one definition of what well feels like. there are millions.
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medicare from blue cross blue shield. by your side, no matter what. that's the benefit of blue. find your local blue cross and blue shield plan at benefitofblue.com to the to the index and two recalls tonight. proctor & gamble pulling dozens of aerosol hairspray products because they may contain levels of the cancer-causing chemical benzene. 32 different dry shampoos and conditioners including some old spice, herbal essences and pantene products. more on our website. and the fda is investigating a deadly listeria outbreak in some salads. fresh express recalling salad products due to possible contamination sold in 19 states from north dakota to the east at least one person has died. ten people infected. the packages with product codes z-324 through z-350 right under the use by date. when we come back here tonight, made in america. we asked for your one thing and oprah delivered. g like this. but what if it didn't?
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finally tonight here, oprah wants in. tonight, our made in america christmas is back. for ten years now, asking what's your one thing. your ideas pouring in. >> hi, david. >> hi, david. >> hi, david. >> from mouth vernon, washington, to los angeles, california. northfield, vermont, to ipswich, massachusetts. so many viewers with their one thing, and tonight, the one viewer you'll definitely know. >> hey, david. just one thing in america? how about dozens? >> we love when made in america meets oprah's favorite things. and this year, why so much of her list is american made. >> so many different types of products from so many different states, all creating jobs and supporting local communities and entrepreneurs.
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>> we went to find them. across california. the company, "mi cocina." founder, ubi simpson. >> david, thank you, and oprah, for having us and supporting made in america. >> their aprons made out of denim. >> i wanted to make product that looked great, where i could entertain, feed the family and also feed myself. >> six to eight workers, sewing and finishing every apron. 300 aprons a week. >> hope everyone stays safe and have a safe holiday season. cheers. >> in cleveland, ohio, tonight, they're bottling jars of ubah hot sauce. >> hi david, happy holidays. >> founder ubah hassan. >> anything that is delicious and good for you, it's in this bottle. >> ubah's idea, a taste of home. her native somalia. >> i miss home so much. so, this basically is a taste of africa in a bottle. >> 21 workers making 20,000 jars a day. >> we're made in america. i just feel so proud. >> and in canton, mississippi,
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tonight -- >> hi, david, welcome to mississippi. >> laysha pickering's company "musee bath." and what they call their "women of change bath bombs. >> each box has a bath bomb and the story of a woman who has changed the world. >> from rosa parks to maya angelou, amelia earhart, too. 60 workers, 5,000 bath bombs a day. they hire from all backgrounds. some workers with disabilities, others getting a second chance. >> made in america! >> in brooklyn, the gift for kids of all ages. "all of us" crayons. crayons representing different skin tones. >> hi, david. >> sabine josephs got the idea after her daughter olivia asked for crayons to draw her grandmother. >> the crayon set that we had, we didn't have the beautiful brown shade that grandma was. >> now, one year later, that message in crayon, "you are perfect." six workers, 125 boxes a day. >> happy holidays from all of us. >> and finally, in lyon,
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mississippi. >> welcome to heaton pecans, where in a nutshell we have it all. >> heaton pecans, family run fur 75 years. >> hey, david! >> the whole family filling orders for christmas. >> our pecans are grown here, and this is the end result. >> the family giving back, too. proceeds from their three-pound gift tin going to their foundation to fight addiction. >> we are so excited to be chosen as oprah's favorite things and seeing my brother's foundation, the william cliff heaton jr. foundation, at the heart of all of it is truly a blessing. >> all of it in honor of the son, the brother they lost. 45 workers harvesting 120,000 pecans a season. and there are grateful, and tonight, still ready for your orders. >> i'll take your order. i hear the phones right now, i got to go, so, keep calling, guys! >> made in america.
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dan: eight hours. we are on the scene after the standoff comes to a peaceful conclusion. >> they required vaccines and tests, and still, guests caught covid. it is a wonderful of us. spencer: rain has arrived and it is here for a one week visit. the forecast, coming up. abc 7 news at 6:00 start right now. announcer: building a better bay area. moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. and look at this, live doppler 7 is lit up with activity from tonight's storm which started in the north bay just hours ago. the bay area will not see a completely dry day for -- mark your calendars -- a week! thank you for joining us, i am ama daetz. dan: and i am dan ashley. this is a live a l
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golden gate bridge, the camera covered in raindrops. the rain has spread throughout the bay area. abc 7 was in this area as the rain came down. umbrellas out, bottles in the parking loss as well. so let's bring in the expert. ama: abc 7 news weather anchor spencer christian who is tracking it all. it is just the beginning. spencer: it is, at least a weeks worth of rain almost every day. let's look at live doppler 7 and you can see it is wet just about everywhere. heavy rain reaching land in the east bay, moving towards walnut grove. out towards antioch right now. have got a batch of downpours just offshore ready to move on shore in the next few minutes. so it will be pretty wet. the storm we have now is a level one on the stremme impact scale, light

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