tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 9, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
well, tonight in just the space of a week's time, 18 deaths have now been reported, just today in one state, in massachusetts. where the city of boston has now declared a public health emergency, and it's now a big front in the spread of this flu during this already mean season. tonight we want to begin with our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman. she is at briggaman's women's hospital in boston. nancy, good evening. >> good evening, brian. influenza is putting a stranglehold on communities around this country, and tonight i have to tell you that i've now been in two large city emergency departments in this two days and i've never seen anything like this in the united states. at boston's briggaman's women's hospital, veteran e.r. nurse jana gil has seen it all. >> i've been working here for 27 years in the er. >> but she has never seen a flu season quite like this.
>> we have seen a huge increase in patients coming in, with the nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and upper respiratory infections with the fever and cough and body aches. >> i am declaring a public health emergency in the city of boston. >> boston's mayor is warning the threat is very serious. so far this season, there have been approximately 700 cases in this city alone. a ten-fold increase from last year's entire flu season. across the united states, schools in some areas are temporarily closed or postponing extracurricular activities. and it's now so bad that hospitals like the mayo clinic and others are restricting visitors or prohibiting them all together, at least for the time being. and it's getting worse. >> it's come back early and rather fiercely. it's a rather virulent strain so we're having a moderate to severe influenza season, just like the old days. >> beverly moss said her symptoms started suddenly.
and by last night she couldn't breathe. >> it was like something just hit me like a mac truck. and i just felt sick all over. aches, pains, immediately. and chills, fever. no appetite. >> you'll take that twice a day for ten days, okay? >> her prescription for recovery, an admission to the hospital, tamiflu, rest, oxygen and fluids. but she's still one of the lucky ones. she got a room. it's so busy at briggaman women's, patients are being seen in the hallway, and beds are being moved into what is normally the er waiting area. brian, expect these numbers to spike later this week when the cdc on friday releases the new figures. these people said they haven't seen anything like this in years. in the meantime, it's going to cost the u.s. economy perhaps $10 billion as people call in sick. brian? >> dr. nancy snyderman in boston tonight, a city to repeat that today declared a public health
emergency because of this flu outbreak. nancy, thanks. as we mentioned, there is also news tonight about ovarian cancer. it's a dangerous killer, way too often tough to diagnose. but now a small study to point the way to catching it early. which will, of course, save lives. it begins with a simple test that women already get routinely. our report tonight from our chief science correspondent, robert bazell. >> reporter: the experimental test could revolutionize early detections for two major women's cancers. uterine, which kills 8,000 women a year in this country. and ovarian, which kills 15,000. >> this has the potential to fill in a niche where there is no effective screening test. >> reporter: linda defino has stage 3 ovarian cancer. doctors found it only because she felt a fullness in her abdomen, a symptom women often
ignore. >> i started to feel this strange feeling that i just knew wasn't right. >> reporter: she is undergoing 18 weeks of chemotherapy. doctors have long been searching for a test to find ovarian cancer early, when it is far more easily treated. >> when ovarian cancer is found at stage 1, the cure rate is 85 to 90%. >> reporter: to develop the new test, the scientists at johns hopkins started with a familiar pap smear that looks for abnormal cells that become cervical cancer. the pap test has saved millions of lives around the world. the hopkins researchers found that cancerous cells from the ovaries and uterus made their way into the cervical fluid. they did not look at the cells, but used sensitive dna testing that revealed ovarian cancer 40% of the time, and uterine cancer fully 100%. >> just as important is that we could detect no false positives. >> reporter: this initial experiment on only 46 women. these need to be repeated in far larger groups. it will likely not be available as a routine clinical test for at least four years.
meanwhile, doctors hope that more refined genetic tests will find a higher proportion of the ovarian cancers. but even a 40% early detection rate for ovarian cancer would be a vast improvement and save many lives among the 22,000 american women diagnosed with the disease in this country every year. robert bazell, nbc news, new york. at the white house today, vice president joe biden presided over a meeting of gun control supporters, one day before a planned meeting with gun rights advocates, including the nra. this is all in advance of the administration's push for new gun laws in the post newtown era. our white house correspondent kristen welker was there. she is with us tonight from the north lawn. kristen, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. trying to maintain momentum. for stiffer gun control laws in the wake of that tragedy. vice president biden met with victims' groups and gun safety organizations here at the white house today and laid down a new political marker.
meeting with his gun safety task force, the vice president said the white house is prepared to act if congress does not. >> i want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion, unless we can do everything we're going to do nothing. it's critically important we act. >> reporter: sources close to the talks say among the executive actions, the president is considering expanding background checks for gun purchases. >> without an act of congress, without any help from the legislature, there isn't really that much that the executive branch can do. >> reporter: south carolina republican congressman jeff duncan released a statement sharply challenging the obama white house. the founding fathers never envisioned executive orders being used to restrict our constitutional rights. we live in a republic, not a dictatorship. the president has called for reinstating a ban on assault weapons, and limiting high-capacity magazines. polls show the nation is evenly divided on the issue of new gun laws.
at the state capitol in denver, colorado today, gun rights supporters rallied outside, while lawmakers debated on assault weapons bans inside. and in new york, governor andrew cuomo proposed a stricter assault weapons ban during his state of the state address. >> no one hunts with an assault rifle! no one needs ten bullets to kill a deer! and too many innocent people have died already! >> reporter: new jersey governor chris christie featured on the cover of "time" this week told matt lauer this morning, a broader approach is needed. >> why do we have such a stigma about mental illness treatment, why aren't we dealing with substance abuse treatment. >> reporter: the president will meet with a number of gun rights advocates, including a representative from the national rifle association. brian. >> kristen welker from the white house. on this white house effort in the post newtown era and now to one of the tragedies that prompted this entire debate over gun control to begin with. preliminary hearing for james holmes went on today.
he's accused of murdering 12 people, injuring 58 others in a shooting rampage in that aurora, colorado movie theater. tonight there has been a surprise move by the defense, and it's pointing the way toward the end game in this case. nbc's mike taibbi was in the courtroom. >> reporter: a lone gunman shooting rampage that killed and injured so many so efficiently was long in planning, as shown by the evidence revealed this week. an arsenal for mass murder accumulated in a two-month buying spree, mostly online right up to the days before the massacre. finally ready, police say holmes took pre-attack photos of himself, some with his weapons, just before leaving the night of july 19th. and holmes himself told police after his arrest how he booby trapped his apartment with a dozen bombs, hoping for an explosion to divert police there while opening fire at the theater three miles away. prosecutors played 911 calls from the theater, the sounds of gunshots and people screaming for help, jarring for the
victims' loved ones like jonathan blunk's wife chantel. >> it kind of makes you imagine it, like actually being there a little more. and it's something you don't want to imagine. >> from where i was sitting, i could see his face, i could see his eyes, i could see his expression, and he just looked very evil and just sat in the courtroom pretty much delighted. >> reporter: he didn't care who he killed in the theater, prosecutor karen pearson argued. he wanted to kill all of them. overwhelming evidence, say legal analysts. >> prosecutors are letting the defense know what they're in for if this case goes to trial. >> reporter: and holmes' attorney called no witnesses saying this isn't the time to put on a show or some truncated defense. referring, of course, to an insanity defense. the judge will rule on friday whether there will be a trial or perhaps when that trial may take place. brian? >> mike taibbi covering for us, centennial, colorado, mike, thanks. scary scene on the water in new york this morning. a ferry packed with hundreds of commuters slammed into its dock. passengers got violently tossed
in the sudden impact. more than 70 people were hurt, 11 of them seriously. federal investigators are on the scene looking for the cause. there are two big stories developing tonight involving performance-enhancing drugs and sports. one involves the major league baseball hall of fame and the players who today were turned away. the other, lance armstrong, who appears ready to open up with oprah. here with it tonight, nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: today baseball hall of fame voters pitched a shutout. >> for only the eighth time since voting began in 1936, the voting membership did not elect anyone to cooperstown. >> reporter: three stars of baseball's era denied. barry bonds who went from this to this as he became baseball's career home run king. sammy sosa, who hit 609 round-trippers. and roger clemens, seven-time cy young award winner, all fell short of the 75% of the vote by sports writers needed to be
enshrined in cooperstown. boswell, sports column inconsistent for "the washington post" says it's appropriate that they are in what he called a public relations prison. >> they don't have to give the money back, they just don't get to be in the hall of fame. >> reporter: none of the three have ever admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. confession has not helped slugger mark mcgwire. he finally admitted using performance-enhancing drugs in 2010. but for the third straight year was not elected with a shrinking number of votes. next week, cyclist lance armstrong will sit down with oprah winfrey for what's being billed as a no holds barred interview. his first since being stripped of his seven tour de france titles and banned for life by the u.s. doping agency. for being the mastermind of what it terms the most sophisticated doping program sports has ever seen. the expectation is armstrong will finally admit what he's denied for years. >> i do believe, if we take
armstrong, for example, that we want to see him as we once saw him. forgiveness will come easily to lance, i think. >> reporter: so where does this leave fans who often see athletes as gods? here's what columnist boswell told his son at 8 years old. >> you don't look up at them, you shouldn't look down on them. you should just look right at them. >> reporter: today hall of fame voters didn't like what they saw. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. still ahead for us on a wednesday night, how far can police officers go when they pull you over? what happened to one guy in the middle of the night could have a big effect on drivers all across this country. and later, an army of strangers making a difference. a big one, with a big surprise for a family that lost everything.
one. the confluence of safety and privacy. our report tonight from our justice correspondent, pete williams. >> reporter: after watching a speeding pickup truck weave down a missouri county road, a highway patrolman pulled over tyler mcnealy, who the patrolman says could not stand on one leg or walk and turn. when mcnealy refused to take a breath test, the patrolman drove him to a hospital, where he was restrained while a technician took a blood test without his consent and without a search warrant. the aclu told the supreme court today, that violated the right against unreasonable searches. >> i think it's very intrusive when somebody is physically restrained and handcuffed and the state comes up and puts a needle in your arm. >> reporter: missouri prosecutors urged the court to rule that police should never have to wait for a search warrant to do a blood test on a suspected drunk driver, because with every passing minute, the body is metabolizing alcohol and the level is dropping. with nearly 10,000 people killed each year in drunk driving
crashes, advocates of stricter enforcement agree. >> we need to have the best and the most accurate evidence available. and the evidence, of course, in a drunk driving case is the blood alcohol concentration. >> reporter: but today the court seemed impressed that 26 states already forbid police to take a blood test without a warrant and run of the mill drunk driving cases. justice kennedy asked, shouldn't it matter that so many states require a warrant and make it work very well? justice ginsburg. shouldn't police at least try to get a warrant since a number of them can do it very promptly. justice scalia. why not say to a suspect, we're applying for a warrant and we're going to stick a needle in your arm unless you agree to a breathalyzer test? the court seems unwilling to rule that police never need a search warrant for something as intrusive as drawing blood when there are other ways to enforce the drunk driving laws. pete williams, nbc news, at the supreme court. we are back in a moment with a neighborhood scare and a call
>> norfolk, 911, what is your emergency? >> i guess a lion. >> somebody in norfolk called 911 because they thought they had seen a lion roaming in their neighborhood. turns out it was a lion dog, a labradoodle groomed to look like a lion. he's a dog with a mane. his owner says he's supposed to look like the mascot at old dominion university. monopoly has announced they're going to retire one game token. for example, those of us who are race car people will vote to retire either the wheel barrow or the thimble, perhaps. parker brothers is opening it up to a vote. and from this, a new replacement token will be selected, so vote early, vote often. tomorrow president obama set to nominate his long-time chief
of staff, jack lew, to be the next treasury secretary. so far, the only huge controversy surrounding the harvard educated two-time head of omb is his signature, which has been affectionately compared to a 6-month-old less loose with a crayon. if lew is confirmed, that signature goes right on the money. starting pictures dread it, baseball fans know it well, it's the call of the bullpen and it may never be the same. t-mobile handing out samsung galaxy smartphones to major league teams to replace the handset and the cord. and since the call to the bullpen itself is sponsored these days, and seemingly everything in baseball is sponsored these days, they couldn't pass up this opportunity to step boldly into the cordless future. finally, the headline on the forbes website is scary. it reads, doom's day astroid bigger than expected. they're talking about a football-field-sized astroid called 99942 apophis, and while
it will pass by tonight, when it comes back in the year 2029, it will pass so close, just over 30,000 miles, it's going to be visible in broad daylight. we're back after a break with our making a difference report. big crowds, a big surprise for a family finally getting to go home after so much loss.
making a difference. brought to you by pfizer. time now for our "making a difference" report. more than 70 days now since hurricane sandy, still a lot of this region is in the dark with so many homes destroyed, condemned or not near ready to be lived in. that's where the volunteers from a charity group called "operation blessing" come in. you're about to see what they can do. nbc's rehema ellis has our "making a difference" report tonight from breezy point queens, part of coastal new york city. >> reporter: this breezy point neighborhood was devastated all at once by sandy. but the recovery is happening one home at a time. for three weeks, hundreds of volunteers have been working to rebuild this house for retired grandparents, jean and burt
metz, who were told only the floors and walls were being rebuilt. 72 days ago, 4 feet of floodwater rushed in, leaving behind dangerous mold. how much work did you do on the house? >> we did this house from stud to completion. here is a couple, gives back to their community, two-time cancer survivor. then on top of it, their home was flooded. >> reporter: operation blessing has helped 400 homeowners in breezy point, recruiting volunteers from near and far. >> brooklyn. >> queens, new york. >> queens! >> reporter: matt chung is lending a hand, even though his own home in queens is undergoing repairs from storm damage too. >> there's no point in sulking at home, sitting there doing nothing, so, you know, the contractors were working over there, these guys don't have anybody, so come out here and do what we can do. >> reporter: then there's linda woodside, who traveled 1,600 miles from san antonio. >> we wanted to give them a new start on life, because they've had a hard time. >> i think that is pretty.
>> reporter: finally, today, a homecoming and a big surprise. >> oh, my god. oh. i can't believe this. >> reporter: with every step, another happy revelation. >> oh, look at this one! the fact that we've been so blessed. i have said time and time again, we didn't expect the blessing of what they were doing. no less the blessing of what's done. >> reporter: after 61 years of marriage, jean and burt now looking forward to their future at home. rehema ellis, nbc news, breezy point, new york. >> we would be in bad shape around here without so many good people. that's our broadcast on a wednesday night. thank you here for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we, of course, hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
they've been waiting for answers since 1988. now the family of a missing bay area fwigirl is getting new information about her remain >> i'm scott budman at the consumer electronics show. what's hot this year? mobility and gaming. coming up, how silicon valley is playing a huge role. good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. just into our nbc bay area newsroom, a crime lab in
richmond has determined that a bone fragment found near stockton is not that of a hayward girl kidnapped in 1988. back in october investigators sifting through remains in an old well gave them a bone fragment from a child aged 5 to 14 years old. they believed it could have belong belonged to mikaila garrett. the time frame fits the killing rampage by the so-called speed free killer who dumped several bodies in lyndon. police say the bone fragment is not a match for the young girl. a measure voters passed in november in the three strikes law. and potentially a law that now puts thousands of prisoners back on the streets. nbc bay area's jodi hernandez spoke to one of the first three strikers to win his freedom. she joins us live
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