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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  July 21, 2020 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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>> send in your picture, the giants and a's put your cardboard cutout in one of the seats. who knows, you can kind of watch it -- >> your cutout could catch a foul ball ball, and it all goes to local charities for good cause. >> thanks for joining us at 5:00, lester holt is next. >> see you at 6:00. bye. tonight the new warning from president tonight the new warning for president trump as we come on the air. the president holding his first coronavirus briefing in 90 days. his new message to americans, it will probably get worse before it gets better. and what he said about wearing masks. but notably not in attendance dr. fauci or any other health experts. also, president trum asked about jeffrey epstein's alleged accomplice ghislain maxwell. the president in his answer repeatedly saying, i wish her well also the top vaccine makers on capitol hill their answer to the question everyone is asking, when could one be available the outbreak surging, california topping 400,000 cases. and new from the cdc,
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why the true number of cases may be far higher than reported the chinese hackers accused of trying to steal vaccine research the charges just announced. president trump threatening to send militarized federal agents to more cities after scenes like this in portland. the mayor's message, stay out the major u.s. city shutting down summer camps after a covid outbreak what it could mean for reopening america's schools. and the nfl's new testing strategy as rookies report today to training camp will the season start on time? >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, everyone a remarkable change of tune for president trump today who announced the covid pandemic will get worse before it gets better and made an unqualified call for mask wearing as well as voicing support for more testing, all things he has mocked or openly downplayed until now. the about face coming
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during a late afternoon news conference our team is ready to go and the white house is where we begin with kristin welker. >> reporter: under pressure president trump holding his first briefing on the coronavirus since april touting progress fighting covid-19. >> the vaccines are coming and a lot sooner than anyone thought possible, by years. >> reporter: tonight intensifying his defense of his administration's handling of the crisis but unlike past briefings in which president trump was flanked by members of the coronavirus task force, tonight the president took the podium alone bringing in a shift in tone >> some areas of our country are doing very well others are doing less well it will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better something i don't like saying about things but that is the way it is >> reporter: including doing something he has rarely done, touting masks. >> we're instead asking americans to use masks, socially distance, and employ vigorous hygiene, wash your hands every chance you get while sheltering high risk
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populations. we are imploring young americans to avoid packed bars and other crowded indoor gatherings be safe and be smart >> reporter: the president also asked why he has sent mixed messages on masks tweeting out a picture of himself wearing one for the first time yesterday and then hours later captured at a fundraiser at his hotel without one. >> i have no problem with the masks i view it this way anything that potentially can help, and that certainly can potentially help, is a good thing i have no problem. i carry it i wear it. you saw me wearing it a number of times. i'll continue. >> reporter: he also addressed why nearly six months in, testing is still falling short. >> we've done more testing by far than anybody, some of the tests, because it is massive volume, it takes longer others of the tests as you know are very quick, five minutes and 15-minute tests and those are frankly the ones that i prefer but we're doing massive numbers. and the numbers are coming down. >> reporter: the one moment the president veered off message
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when he was asked about ghislain maxwell accused of enabling jeffrey epstein's exploitation of minors >> i don't know. i haven't really been following it too much. i just wish her well frankly. i've met her numerous times over the years especially since i lived in palm beach. >> reporter: tonight the president's rival joe biden in delaware sharpening his attacks. >> you know, he's quit on you he's quit on this country. but this election is not just about him it's about us. it's about you >> reporter: now the president's shift in strategy comes amid a slump in his poll numbers. it is not clear if he'll continue to do the briefings alone. dr. anthony fauci said he was not invited to this one, lester >> kristen welker at the white house tonight, thanks. with the pandemic hitting the u.s. especially hard, and americans clinging to the hope of a vaccine, the nation's top vaccine makers offered some credence to the president's sense of optimism, suggesting a vaccine could pass fda scrutiny late this year or early next
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here's tom costello. >> reporter: at the university of maryland med center today, more volunteers rolling up their sleeves for a covid-19 vaccine trial. this one, run by drug giant pfizer so far 138,000 volunteers have signed up as drug companies race to stop the virus that's already claimed 600,000 lives worldwide. >> so the race is on not against each other but against this virus. >> reporter: at a virtual congressional hearing today, executives from five leading vaccine developers said they're all in various stages of testing, some now entering human trials even before fda approval, pfizer, merck, astrazeneca, moderna, and johnson & johnson all plan to ramp up production to meet global demand some members of congress are concerned the white house could try to fast track a vaccine. >> i want to make sure that you will guard against any pressure that comes from the fda to either lower
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its standards or to approve something you know doesn't meet the standards. >> we are working around the clock to accelerate our development but we are not cutting corners on safety >> reporter: among the volunteers in the maryland pfizer study, cynthia sekorski who received two doses in june though she does not know if she received the vaccine or a placebo had you had any side effects? >> just very mild side effects after the first vaccine, which consisted of very mild chills but other than that, really none. >> reporter: 65 years old and in good health, volunteering, she says, is the least she could do >> i felt it was something that i could do to help fight the coronavirus. >> reporter: in the u.s., the nih is looking for 30,000 volunteers for each vaccine trial. the sign up link on its website uses a network dr. anthony fauci built decades ago. volunteers receive a stipend and either a vaccine dose or a placebo. lead researchers say
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it is critical to enroll minority volunteers, since covid has disproportionately affected those communities. >> we certainly aren't out to coerce any populations, but we would like minority populations to have full access and full advantage of participating in these trials if they wish to do so. >> reporter: depending on the vaccine researchers say we'd probably all get two doses and the fda is likely to approve more than one vaccine. >> the first vaccine might not be the best vaccine for seniors or for children >> reporter: the fda requires all vaccines to be at least 50% effective to receive approval four of the five drug companies received taxpayer money to find a vaccine. today two of those companies told congress they will offer the vaccine for free or at cost. lester >> tom costello tonight, thank you the urgency for a vaccine comes as infections continue to soar in hot spots like
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california, texas, and florida. as the cdc now says the real number of infections may be much higher than the current number suggests here's miguel almaguer >> reporter: with nearly 4 million americans testing positive for the coronavirus, tonight the cdc says the true number of people infected is likely ten times higher than reported in some regions. the new findings suggest those who are asymptomatic or didn't seem medical attention were likely spreading the virus in their own communities. >> everything was so uncertain. we didn't know if our dad would be able to get off the ventilator we didn't know how bad my mom was at that time >> reporter: when clair and grace green thought they had a mild viral infection they unknowingly passed covid to their parents. their father, jason, nearly died. >> i feel like i had a strong desire to continue being a part of my family's life. >> reporter: the new analysis from the cdc based on antibody
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tests indicates the hardest hit communities are nowhere close to achieving herd immunity, the level of exposure where the virus slows. although the number of cases are ten times higher than we thought they were, that number being much higher means the death rate is a lot lower >> reporter: as california now surpasses a stunning 400,000 cases, the golden state continues to set grim milestones for new infections and deaths while many hospitals across california are stressed, in some bigger cities there are open rooms in the icu. but in smaller communities, the situation is bleak facing a breaking point, some covid patients in rural communities are being moved 70 miles away. cities like los angeles and san francisco are under tightening restrictions >> we're exhausted we're just exhausted it's been going on for four and a half months now. >> reporter: with the pandemic taking a deepening financial toll, this is the line for unemployment benefits in oklahoma
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the crisis is spreading to smaller states like alaska, wyoming, and idaho >> i don't remember march and april at all. >> reporter: billy zenjri beat covid after four months in the hospital. >> god has some plan for me and i have to figure out what that is going forward. >> reporter: tonight, stories of survival amid news a staggering number of americans are infected and spreading the virus without ever knowing it miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. as covid cases surge and much of the focus of late is on the spread among younger people, a new warning about the growing impact on older americans. with that, here is kerry sanders. >> reporter: the villages in central florida, home to an estimated 51,000 retirees hospital admissions of village residents with covid have increased nearly 40% in just three days >> elderly people need to recognize this virus is very discriminatory it really picks on the elderly. >> just a catastrophe.
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it's a disaster. >> reporter: kate smith sloan advocates for the most vulnerable how bad is the crisis for elderly in our country? >> we've described it as a category 5 hurricane. >> reporter: 95-year-old maria died from coronavirus the family suspects she was exposed from an attending asymptomatic nurse who unknowingly spread it. >> the only people who had access in and out were the nurses and the people that work there. >> reporter: health officials say it has been difficult to get a handle on the problem among the elderly in large part because nursing homes continue to be overlooked according to former cdc director dr. thomas freedom >> we are flying blind in the middle of the worst pandemic in a hundred years. >> reporter: in florida where one in five residents is over the age of 65 the problem is most acute in long term care facilities and is getting worse. the number of infected residents and staff at elder care facilities has more than doubled in just the past three
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weeks. florida's governor today -- >> we cannot allow a contagious patient to be sent back in to a long term care facility that doesn't have the capability of appropriately isolating them >> reporter: tonight an analysis by nbc news of publicly available data shows covid related deaths among residents at long term care facilities now exceeds 567,000. >> all right kerry sanders tonight, thank you. this evening the justice department is accusing two men in china of trying to steal medical technology from companies here working on covid-19 treatments and vaccines pete williams has details. >> reporter: less than a week after novavax, a maryland biotech firm, announced it was researching a potential covid vaccine the fbi says, a computer hacker in china searched for ways to hack into its computers. now he and a former college classmate are wanted men charged by federal prosecutors with trying to hack into three other u.s.
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companies working on covid treatments and testing. they didn't succeed in stealing anything the justice department says, but their cyber attacks were a potential distraction. >> we are concerned that the hacking or even the attempted hacking of that information can slow down the research. >> reporter: and the fbi says the two chinese men targeted companies in other countries doing covid research, part of a worldwide hacking campaign that also targeted high tech firms and military contractors. sometimes they did it for profit the fbi says sometimes they stole secrets at the request of chinese intelligence officers based in this building >> when china violates criminal laws, and international norms, we will not tolerate it >> u.s. officials have been saying for weeks now china is trying to steal american covid-19 secrets, but this is the first time anybody's actually been charged with trying to do it. novavax says it is confident it can continue its vaccine work without disruption lester
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>> pete williams, thanks. in 60 seconds president trump's new threat to send in more federal agents as local leaders push back where are you?! honey, did you hear about these new geico savings? mom? you'll get an extra 15% on top of what geico could already save you. we're vikings! there's never been a better time to save with geico. switch by october seventh for an extra 15% on car and motorcycle insurance. hey, we lost the wifi password. do you remember what that is? and look, it feels like i'm just wasting time. that's why td ameritrade designed a first-of-its-kind, personalized education center. oh. their award-winning content is tailored to fit your investing goals and interests. and it learns with you, so as you become smarter, so do its recommendations. so it's like my streaming service. well except now you're binge learning. see how you can become a smarter investor with a personalized education from td ameritrade. visit
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♪ back now with presid back now with president trump's threat to send federal forces into more cities after violent clashes in portland, oregon between protesters and government agents. our gabe gutierrez now on the mayors pushing back >> reporter: tonight in what critics say is clearly a cornerstone of his re-election strategy, president trump is threatening to send in federal law enforcement to stop surging violence in major cities, from new york to chicago. >> look at what's going on all run by democrats, all run by very liberal democrats. you know what? if biden got in, that would be true for the country. the whole country would go to hell >> this is a game he's playing to divert attention away from the many crises that are facing this nation >> reporter: the trump administration says it sent federal agents to portland, oregon to defend federal buildings against
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violent attacks but the mayor there says that escalated the conflict now mayors from six major cities are sending this letter to the attorney general blasting that deployment >> i'll be darned if i'm going to let anybody, even if their name is mr. president, bring those kind of troops to our city. >> reporter: some legal experts are raising constitutional questions. >> what is unprecedented is using federal law enforcement like this, that is to say, as a counter protest force, in a context in which cities and states have said we don't need that >> reporter: still, it has been an especially violent summer atlanta has seen a 300% spike in shooting victims the second week of july compared to the same time last year and new york city over the past week shooting victims are up more than 200%. last week a 1-year-old died in brooklyn after being shot in the stomach while sitting in a stroller during a barbecue >> i was just crushed. >> reporter: we spoke with his father and
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grandmother. >> it's not the older people doing this. it's the young people doing it they can protest day and night until the sun turns blue but they need to stop the gun violence >> reporter: experts say this summer's scourge in violence is due to a perfect storm. a pandemic and widespread anger against the police lester >> all right gabe, thank you. with the school year fast approaching, summer camps have been viewed as a test run of sorts for getting kids back together in groups but after an outbreak in one major u.s. city, camps there are shutting down. here's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: with school districts scrambling to get ready for the first day back, whatever that may look like, a reality check on what is possible in miami >> we'll be closing all of our summer camps effective this week >> reporter: day camps shut down early after four cases of covid were discovered among campers and staff. many educators see summer camp as the canary in the coal mine for reopening
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schools and there have been mixed results in missouri 82 kids and staff got sick at an overnight camp earlier this month even with extra safety measures in place like health screenings, voluntary self-quarantine before camp began, and new air filtration systems in cabins. but at the hide away day camp in pennsylvania success. >> what has worked the best for us is keeping those campers in a controlled environment, so in very small groups rotating together and away from other groups >> reporter: when two campers tested positive for covid, only those children and staff had to be quarantined. but camp is not school >> most of your activities are outside. most of the school's activities are inside. >> for sure. i think it is going to be quite the challenge. >> reporter: facing those challenges will take smart plans and money. today the senate majority leader proposed $105 billion for schools. >> their educations depend on it in some cases their safety depends on it
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and so do the livelihoods of working parents. >> reporter: but some teachers are worried florida's largest teachers union is suing the governor over his order to reopen schools five days a week. >> they're saying they want to open up these schools but yet are not putting more funding. >> reporter: governor desantis said on monday the aim of the order was to give parents options including remote learning if they prefer while at hide away day camp the benefits of being with other kids are obvious. >> i was ready to do something different and get out of the house. >> i think they are thrilled we're kind of seeing them come back to life >> reporter: for the school year, that is a goal everyone shares stephanie gosk, nbc news up next the nfl's plan as the new season fast approaches. like how nice it is to save on your auto policy. but it's even nicer knowing that if this happens... ...or this happens... ...or this.... ...or this...
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it's a midsummer it's a mid summer ritual far different this year. training camp for nfl rookies began today with other players reporting next week. nbc's sam brock on the nfl's plan >> reporter: football fans desperate for an nfl kick-off this fall clubs are working to create a clean and safe environment just got a dose of good news after the league and players patched together a plan for covid-19 testing. two negatives required before players can even enter camp. then daily testing for two weeks should the positivity rate stay below 5% testing then goes to every other day. is it going to guarantee the nfl has a season this year
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>> i don't think there is any guarantee but we want to pull this off. america needs it it would be exciting to play nfl football and give people something to smile about and enjoy. >> reporter: andrew whitworth is an l.a. rams captain who has seen covid up close and personal his whole family contracted the virus in late june including his wife, four kids, and mother and father-in-law. >> it almost killed my dad, so i think we look at other families in the nfl, pregnant women specifically, people who maybe are living with their parents. >> reporter: with an eye toward families and safety the nfl season set to start in september after major league baseball and the nba. >> this since march 13th when everything shut down in sports is the most significant week in professional sports to see what it might look like for the rest of the year >> reporter: and tonight some promising early returns from the nba which just reported its latest round of testing results from the bubble in orlando. hundreds of players tested, zero positive. lester >> sam brock tonight
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view a new comet and catching up with ryan's world how this 8-year-old and his family are helping first responders our new episode is streaming right now. and that is "nightly news" for this evening i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. xxxx right now at 6:00, the fight over mask requirements hits the drive-thru line. the bay area starbucks worker who says customers are putting her life at risk. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good tuesday. thanks for joining us. >> a lot of new developments in the last few hours. let's begin in washington, d.c. for the first time in three months president trump gave a coronavirus task force briefing. he says things are going to get
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worse before getting better but adds his administration will stop at nothing to save american lives. the president also encouraging everyone to wear masks. as cases surge here in the california county health officer dr. sarah cody criticized the state's reopening. she says it was rushed and that's why cases are skyrocketing. also the debate is intensifying whether or not to reopen our schools in terms of campus re-openings. some parents and high profile lawyers are trying to force in classroom learning. they're calling for the courts to overturn governor newsom's order which prevents school districts on his watch list from starting the year in the classroom. >> well, it is a california order. everyone has to wear a mask while at the store or when they're within 6 feet of others outside, but what about when you're at the drive-thru? an east bay starbucks worker says the company doesn't make it a


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