tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC January 18, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
tonight, news on the pandemic. the hospitals crushed, patients being treated in the hallways. and those free test kits now available. how to get one. and in new york city tonight, the horrific and deadly gas explosion. the images just coming in now. first, the biden administration's new website to order those at-home covid test kits up and running. americans placing their first orders and we'll tell you how. as the number of new cases spikes in much of the country. nearly 1 million children testing positive in just a week. from oklahoma city to oregon tonight, hospitals described as war zones. also here in new york city tonight, those images just coming in of that deadly gas explosion.inuding five police officers. body camera images showing officers racing in to help people trapped.
the next storm moving across the country tonight. and the wind chills plunging. it will feel like 40 below in some places. and then the other potential storm later this week we're now watching in the northeast. ginger zee times it all out. tonight, the major airlines here in the u.s. averting what they called a potential catastrophic disruption in service. just hours before the planned rollout of new 5g cell phone technology, what at&t and verizon have agreed to do tonight. but why there could still be flight disruptions tomorrow. gio benitez standing by. the urgent diplomatic mission to avoid a potential war in ukraine. the white house calling it an extremely dangerous situation tonight. and ian pannell in ukraine. the voting rights battle unfolding on capitol hill. the debate and now the democratic leader vowing to hold a vote so that every senator will be on record.
news tonight about that synagogue hostage standoff in texas. not it turns out the suspect had been tracked by uk intelligence. were warning signs missed? new developments tonight in the murder of that ucla grad student working in a furniture store. the suspect can be seen on surveillance. the major reward tonight. the new before and after images tonight of that massive volcanic eruption in the south pacific. and the images are stunning. the emergency playing out on the island nation of tonga. there's also major news at this hour in the january 6th investigation. eric trump's phone records now subpoenaed. and rudy giuliani and other lawyers subpoenaed, as well. and america strong tonight. honoring a sports legend in boston. good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a tuesday night. and we begin tonight with the pandem pandemic. that new government website to sign up for free at-home covid tests is now up and running tonight. a day early, but of course, not
a day too soon. four free tests per household and it comes amid the omicron surge across much of this country still. and the alarming spike in cases in children. nearly a million children testing positive in just a week. now, when it comes to cases, take a look. in 12 states and washington, d.c., there in green, the first to see omicron, the original epicenters, they are starting to see cases slowing. that's encouraging. but authorities are urging people to keep wearing their masks. across the rest of the country, in 38 states, cases are still going up, by at least 10%. in children, cases tripling from just two weeks ago. hospitals described as war zones tonight. members of the oregon national guard now preparing a hospital relief mission. that website, covidtests.gov,
now up and running. the first tests ordered today should be shipped out in the next seven to ten days. and, of course, with omicron spreading so quickly and so many people getting it, will this immunity from people getting it help end all of this? what dr. fauci said about that. abc's stephanie ramos leading us off tonight. >> reporter: tonight, that new website where americans can start ordering four free at-home tests, covidtests.gov, up and running a day ahead of the official launch tomorrow. families across the country are already placing their first orders. some who live in apartments having no problem. others running into glitches when trying to order to the same address as other tenants. netia mccray tried ordering for elderly relatives who live in apartments. >> i noticed that it was saying four tests have already been requested for this household. there has to be a way that we can work around this, that it has to know a difference between an apartment and the apartment building. >> reporter: mccray's orders eventually going through, after she searched for the addresses by zip code and went backwards. the white house acknowledging there could be some hiccups at first. >> every website launch, in our view, comes with risk. we can't guarantee there won't be a bug or two. >> reporter: the rollout of free tests comes as omicron cases
nationally are still skyrocketing. pediatric cases tripling in the last two weeks to nearly a million. and hospitals are waging an all-out battle that could last weeks. in oklahoma city, doctors describe a war zone with zero icu beds and more than 100 patients waiting. >> our emergency departments are overflowing. we have to care for patients in hallways, sometimes closets. >> reporter: with 1,000 workers in quarantine, doctors warn they are running out of staff and critical supplies like syringes and saline. still, in the northeast, where some cities were hit with omicron first, signs of a light at the end of the tunnel. new infections in new york state diving 40% since their peak. >> let's be clear on this -- we are winning. >> reporter: with a highly contagious omicron sweeping the nation, some are pointing to the
natural immunity that comes from infection. but dr. anthony fauci says it's too soon to say whether omicron will help lead to the end of the pandemic. >> it is an open question as to whether or not omicron is going to be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for, because you have such a great deal of variability with new variants emerging. >> reporter: and some experts say protection from natural infection with omicron won't last long if you are unvaccinated. >> i think what's going to happen is those individuals who have been infected and recovered and have not gotten vaccinated on top of it are going to be vulnerable to yet another wave. >> reporter: and again, to get those free tests, visit covidtests.gov. the site officially launches tomorrow. each household can get up to four tests and they will ship out in 7 to 12 days. and tonight, the white house announcing they will make 400 million n95 masks available to americans for free from the national stockpile. david?
>> stephanie ramos leading us off on this tuesday night. stephanie, thank you. with much of this country still digging out tonight, the new system moving across the country. near blizzard conditions already causing accidents. these images from renville county, north dakota. 55-mile-an-hour winds and wind chills of 40 below, hitting minnesota, all right, already, as well, then moving across into the midwest and then all the way east. and then another system that could hit the northeast at the end of the week. the models showing a couple of different scenarios here, so, of course, let's get right to chief meteorologist ginger zee tracking it all again tonight for us. hi, ginger. >> reporter: hi, david. you know, hastings, nebraska, they had a record high today of 66. tomorrow morning, they'll feel like 2. that is quite a swing. and so many are on that, so, look at this. the wind chill advisories that are all the way from montana to iowa. that chill slides to the south and east, it's not like it stops. oklahoma city only feels like 1 by thursday morning. pittsburgh, 11, 9, cincinnati, 1 below in buffalo, where they've had all that fresh snow. speaking of snow, a little hit of snow on thursday morning from
washington, d.c. up to new york. but it's this one, the one that impacts raleigh and south carolina, that we're really watching for friday night into saturday. two scenarios play out. one of them, it sticks closer, impacts us here in new york and boston. another, it stays out to sea. you know we'll be all over it, david. >> all right, i'm pulling for out to sea, the "b" option, ginger. we'll track it all week. thanks, ginger. we move on with the other news tonight and new images this evening coming in just before we came on tonight, in fact, of a deadly gas explosion here in new york. at least one person killed, several people injured including five police officers. the body camera video showing police on the scene, fire shooting from the home and then officers rushinging in to try to save those inside, searching for victims trapped. here's abc's will reeve. >> reporter: the body camera video shows nypd officers running toward the building in flames, just after the explosion in the bronx. you can hear someone screaming. that someone is trapped under a
couch. the officers scrambling to try and get to the woman. >> one, two -- >> reporter: finally freeing her. >> get her over the couch. >> reporter: the police alerted by a neighbor. >> i definitely heard her. and she definitely showed me her hand, so i really knew where she was at. >> reporter: authorities say the home exploded just after 11:00 this morning. one person killed. at least eight injured. >> the action of fdny and nypd and residents, their quick response really allowed many that were part of this crisis not to, in some way, be seriously injured or to die. >> reporter: residents left homeless. >> back out, back out. >> the metal just melted away. i swear i saw flames and the metal just melted. >> reporter: over 100 emergency personnel responded to the scene and new york mayor eric adams said that their quick action saved lives and that because someone smelled gas, it is under investigation. david?
>> all right, will reeve tonight. thank you, will. now to the battle between the major airlines in the u.s. and key cell phone carriers over 5g service. that crisis averted, at least for now, in this high stakes showdown. the airlines warning of major disruptions to travel and cargo delivery when 5g wireless technology goes live tomorrow. well, late today, verizon and at&t now agreeing to delay 5g near some major airports. abc's gio benitez covers aviation. >> reporter: tonight, crisis averted. at&t and verizon agreeing to temporarily limit the number of towers around airports that will carry their high speed 5g signals. the unexpected move coming just a day after major u.s. airlines warned that there could be a, quote, catastrophic disruption to air travel, if 5g rolled out near major airports. here's the worry. that stronger 5g signal is very
similar to the frequency of a plane's radio altimeter, a device pilots use to judge their distance from the ground. airlines say in poor weather conditions, when visibility is low, pilots might not have reliable information to land safely, potentially leading to thousands of diverted and canceled flights and not just for passengers, but cargo, too. >> the faa cannot tell us if there is a problem. the airlines are erring on the side of safety to make sure that it is scientifically determined that there isn't a problem and that the flying public stays particularly safe. >> reporter: the wireless carriers have long said 5g would not interfere with aircraft electronics. at&t saying in a statement, "we are frustrated by the faa's inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5g technology without disrupting aviation services." the faa says other countries have created permanent "buffer zones," keeping the signal away from airports, but the signal in the u.s. would be more than twice as strong as those used in europe. our mary bruce asking the
white house today why they didn't act sooner, despite two years to prepare for the 5g upgrade. >> did the faa drop the ball here? >> you know, i think, mary, there will be lots of time to look back and see how we got here. >> reporter: and david, despite that rollout delay, we may still see some disruptions, especially among international carriers like emirates, air india, and japan airlines. david? >> all right, gio, thank you. now to russia and ukraine tonight. the white house calling this an extremely dangerous situation, claiming military action by russia could happen at any moment, in their words. secretary of state antony blinken now headed to ukraine. and our senior foreign correspondent ian pannell is there. >> reporter: tonight, an urgent diplomatic mission to stave off a potential war in ukraine, as the white house ramps up the rhetoric, claiming military action by russia could happen at any moment. >> this is an extremely dangerous situation. we're now at a stage where russia could at any point launch an attack in ukraine. >> reporter: today, more russian troops and hardware arriving in
belarus, to ukraine's north, for war games, adding to the pressure from thousands already massing to the east. the kremlin threatening a mlitary technical response unless there's a guarantee ukraine won't join nato. >> president putin has created this crisis by amassing 100,000 russian troops along ukraine's borders. this includes moving russian forces into belarus recently for joint exercises and conducting additional exercises on ukraine's eastern border. >> reporter: secretary blinken now en route to the region for talks in ukraine. then a face-to-face with the russians. it could make the difference between war and peace. >> and ian pannell joins us tonight from ukraine. and ian, i know a bipartisan group of senators met with the president of ukraine in a show of solidarity. they've now returned to the u.s. and now secretary blinken headed to the region. how confident is the biden administration tonight that they'll be able to reach some sort of an agreement through negotiations? >> reporter: yeah, the pentagon is saying that there's still time for democracy to work, but remember, there were three
meetings last week, no obvious compromise. and now we're looking at more troops gathering on the border. so, yes, there is time for some kind of compromise, but time is also running out. david? >> that is for sure. ian pannell with us again tonight. thank you. back here at home now, and to the voting rights debate on capitol hill tonight. the democratic leader vowing to hold a vote so that every senator will be on record on this. rachel scott on the hill. >> reporter: tonight, the senate, for the first time, moving ahead with a debate on voting rights, even though the bill appeared doomed to fail. >> senate democrats are -- we are going to fight the fight. >> reporter: it comes after 19 states imposed new restrictions, making it harder to vote. the vast majority pushed by republican state legislatures. the effects already plain to see. in texas today, the county clerk in the state capital of austin announcing she had to reject 27% of mail-in ballot applications on technicalities. >> your next door neighbor who just turned 65 and who is voting
for the first time because they're afraid of covid, is not a fraudulent voter. >> reporter: on capitol hill, democrats accuse republicans of stifling democracy. > we cannot sit back and let one political party continue to unravel the threads of our democracy one voter suppression bill at a time. >> reporter: the voting rights bill would, among other things, make election day a federal holiday and guarantee all voters can request a mail-in ballot. it would also empower the justice department to police potential voter discrimination by states. but republicans are opposed. and two key democratic senators, kyrsten sinema and joe manchin, refuse to change the senate rules to let democrats pass the bill with a simple majority vote. >> think if you have a situation that we have right now where you have the executive branch of government and you have congress, the house and the senate, they're all the same, and there's no check and balance because basically, just sweep right through and the same thing could happen if republicans had everything. >> reporter: and just moments ago, senate majority leader chuck schumer told democrats
behind closed doors that they will push forward with a vote to try to change the senate rules to push through voting rights legislation, but that vote is still expected to fail. david? >> all right, rachel scott again tonight. thank you, rachel. and also from capitol hill tonight, the house committee investigating the january 6th riot tonight issuing new subpoenas. they now want eric trump, one of the former president's sons, they want his cell phone records. and tonight, they have also subpoenaed rudy giuliani and other lawyers, too. let's bring in jon karl tonight. what does this tell us about the direction of this investigation? >> reporter: well, david, the subpoena for giuliani and other trump lawyers including jenna ellis and sydney powell is a sign that this investigation is going far beyond the events of january 6th. that they are focusing on the broader effort to overturn the presidential election, focusing here on those who were most aggressively pushing the lie that the election had been stolen. as for the subpoena of eric trump's phone records, this is
the first time the committee has gone after the records of a member of the trump family. all in all, david, a sign that the committee is moving quickly and aggressively. >> jon karl with us tonight. thank you, jon. there is news tonight about the suspect in that synagogue hostage standoff in texas. sources now telling abc news that uk authorities had investigated the suspect but determined that he was not a threat. so, of course, were warning signs missed? abc's mireya villarreal in texas again tonight. >> reporter: tonight, we're learning how british national malik akram was able to enter the u.s. just weeks before that texas synagogue standoff, despite being on the uk's radar. law enforcement sources tell abc news british authorities investigated him a year ago, but determined he posed no threat that would stop him from traveling, allowing him to fly into new york over two weeks ago and then make his way to texas, where he bought a gun from someone he met at a homeless
shelter. >> he was checked against u.s. government databases multiple times prior to entering the country, and the u.s. government did not have any derogatory information about the individual. >> reporter: akram interrupting saturday's shabbat service at congregation beth israel, allegedly holding rabbi charlie cytron-walker and three others at gunpoint, demanding the release of convicted terrorist aafia siddiqui. the 11-hour standoff ending with the hostages escaping and akram shot dead as fbi agents converged. the fbi and department of homeland security now warning law enforcement nationwide that communities of faith will "likely continue to be targets of violence" and extremist actions. ♪ >> reporter: the former captives now finding strength through the community's support. >> while very few of us are doing okay right now, we'll get through this. >> reporter: david, uk officials are not commenting, because this is an ongoing investigation. but the white house says that they're going to take a hard look at what happened here, to
see what lessons can be learned and prevented from happening again. david? >> mireya villarreal, thank you. when we come back here, the horrific murder of a ucla grad student working in a furniture store. the suspect now seen on surveillance. there's a major reward tonight. t has your moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis under control? hide our skin? not us. because dupixent targets a root cause of eczema, it helps heal your skin from within, keeping you one step ahead of it. and for kids ages 6 and up, that means clearer skin, and noticeably less itch. hide my skin? not me. by helping to control eczema with dupixent, you can change how their skin looks and feels. and that's the kind of change you notice. hide my skin? not me. don't use if you're allergic to dupixent. serious allergic reactions can occur, including anaphylaxis, which is severe. tell your doctor about new or worsening eye problems, such as eye pain or vision changes, or a parasitic infection. if you take asthma medicines, don't change or stop them without talking to your doctor.
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finally tonight, before we go, the tribute planned for this evening for someone who was truly america strong. many call him the jackie robinson of hockey. the boston bruins tonight retiring the number 22 jersey worn by former player willie o'ree. on this day in 1958, he became the first black player to break the nhl's color barrier. inducted into the hockey hall of fame in 2018, o'ree, now 86, says having his number retired and hanging from the rafter is something he never dreamed of. this will all play out at the bruins game tonight. a very fitting tribute. i'm david muir. i'll see you tomorrow. good night
>> free covid-19 tests for every household. the government launching its website early. and concern over new 5g service -- why it is compelling several airlines to cancel flights. accessible. you can now order from the government, but is it too little, too late? dan: at have been infected with covid-19 over the course of this pandemic according to john's hopkins university data. more than 66 million cases have been detected since 2020. in california, we are averaging
more than 110,000 new cases per day, but our seven-day positivity average has decreased. it is 21.1%. we have seen record-setting demand for covid-19 tests because of the omicron variant. today, the government launched its website offering for free tests to everyone in the country, and your insurance company is now required to reimburse you for fda approved at home tests. santa clara county is finally reporting some relief on its testing infrastructure. dustin dorsey explains how a few key factors are helping make testing more accessible in the south bay. dustin course -- dustin: disneyland lines without the fun of the -- that is what it looked like at testing locations hope. >> as of this morning, there were spots available at our san martin site as soon as tomor