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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 6, 2020 2:06am-2:36am PDT

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tonight, the major blow to the push to reopen in person school, chicago the nation's third largest district changing course, the school year now set to start with online only classes. in georgia a second grader testing positive the whole class quarantined. florida topping york city cracking down, the new quarantine check points. the desperate search for survivors afte the catastrophic explosion in beirut, one american confirmed among the 130 dead the still unanswered questions, what triggered it the big shapeup for the democratic national convention, joe bide no longer going to
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milwaukee to accept the nomination president trump now praising mail-in voting in a second key battleground state. while elsewhere suing to stop it millions still without power after the deadly punch from the tropical storm isaias some could be in the dark for days. the surging cost of food in the first week americans are going without that extra unemployment check. the wave of public health officials resigning, the shocking threats and hate mail they've received. and businesses hit hard by the pandemic getting high tech help >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt good evening, it's a call no one wants to get wrong, schools, teachers, parents struggling tonight over how children can safely learn amid surging covid cases in the country, a worsening virus picture, changing minds in chicago where the nation's third largest school system now says it will move forward with remote learning only when the school year begins while new york city, after containing the virus, faces its own
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decision in coming days we've got it all covered. we begin tonight with miguel almaguer. >> reporter: today's decision means some 400,000 students in chicago will not return to the classroom at least for now. stepping back from a proposal for hybrid learning, a split between online and in-person instruction, the superintendent says the decision was made based on the high number of covid cases. >> i did not feel confident that we would be able to enter the classroom. in a safe way. >> reporter: teachers like madeline green concerned about going back to the classroom are now relieved. >> we're not reinventing what it means to build connections with students we're simply translating that to an online platform which our students are more fluent in than we are. >> reporter: citing chicago's nearly 5% positivity rat a key metric indicating if positive cases are on the rise school leaders insist the decision is best for children but parents like marin, with three kids learning at home
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outside chicago disagree. >> i would have hoped we could have come up with some good solutions to get some form of in person to start the school year. i do not feel it is developmentally appropriate for their educational experience to be doing it remotely. >> reporter: in florida wher 11% of people are testing positive for the virus the state ha million covid cases. today in court the largest teachers union filed an emergency injunction to delay the start of classes statewide. in georgia, with a 13% positivity rate, high school students packed in hallways. and at one reopened school district a second grader tested positive on the first day, causing the entire class to quarantine for two weeks. today the president again insisting on a return to school >> well, i'd like to see the schools open parents want the schools open we want them open. we want them open safely we're going to practice very strong hygiene and all of the other things i've enumerated many times.
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we want to see the schools open. >> reporter: the decision on returning to the classroom is expected soon in new york its positivity rate is among the lowest in the nation, less than 1% finally, good enough for one of the harshest critics of reopening, it can be done with proper precautions says a doctor at harvard. >> the single biggest determinant of whether we can open up safely or not is th level of community transmission, how much virus is spreading in the community. the bottom line is that new york has done a fabulous job of controlling the virus. one of the prizes of being able to control the virus is you get to open up schools safely. >> reporter: tonight the debate over going back to the classroom where hard lessons may soon be learned. tonigh decisions need to be made quickly as some cities are days away from the start of a new school year. lester >> time running out. miguel almaguer, thanks. another major story we're watching tonight, the desperate search for the missing after the massive explosion in beirut,
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at least one u.s. citizen among more than 130 people killed, some 5,000 injured. our richard engel on the many questions still unanswered. >> reporter: new videos tonight show how the powerful blast changed this city in an instant a church service was under way when -- the roof begins caving in. a bride posed for a wedding video. you can hear the first blast, and then -- a reporter in the upper corner doing a live television interview in arabic. she survived tonight we learned at least one american is among the more than 100 people who died. at least 5,000 were injured. and hundreds are missing. hospitals already struggling with covid are beyond capacity. >> we have a small hospital
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it's a 60-bed hospital and it's not equipped to receive this number of casualties. i've never seen something like this. >> reporter: lebanese officials say the blast was caused by a fire you can see it popping and sparking what started it remains unclear. but it grew, setting off the big explosion at a storage facility, lebanese officials say packed with 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, commonly used in fertilizers. it can also be used for bombs. timothy mcvay used it to destroy the federal building in oklahoma city the beirut blast was 1,300 times more powerful tonight lebanese officials are investigating why so much of this explosive chemical was left at beirut's port. lebanese officials say it was seized from a cargo ship six years ago, customs officials claim they asked to
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get rid of it but it never happened instead this was the port area before and after, like it was never there. >> richard, so tonight they're taking action against port officials. what can you tell us about that >> reporter: yes, the lebanese government says it is placing an unspecified number of port officials under house arrest while the investigation continues. apparently out of concern that they try to leave the country lester >> richard engel tonight, richard, thanks. with the covid pandemic still raging it was announced joe biden will not travel to this month's democratic national convention, his rival, president trump, meantime is sending more mixed messages about mail-in voting geoff bennett is at the white house. >> reporter: tonight republicans and democrats scrambling to make final arrangements for their national conventions, upended by the pandemic joe biden will no longer travel to milwaukee later this month to accept the
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democratic nomination for president. due to coronavirus concerns convention organizers announced today he'll now deliver that speech from his home state of delaware. and president trump today said he'll probably deliver his speech accepting the gop nomination from the white house. >> if for some reason somebody had difficulty with it i could go someplace else the easiest, least expensive, and i think very beautiful would be live from the white house. >> reporter: it would mark yet another break in presidential norms. president trump's predecessors have historically drawn clear lines between official white house business and campaign events. >> whether it's legally wrong or ethically out of the question, it shouldn't even have been something that was expressed. >> reporter: president trump, in that same interview, continued his baseless attacks on voting by mail. targeting nevada over its plan to conduct the november election almost entirely by mail-in ballot his campaign now suing the state. >> what they're going to do is blanket the state, anybody that
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ever walked, frankly, will get one. >> reporter: the president who has voted by mail in florida says that state's system is more trustworthy because it's had two republican governors, extensive research shows that election fraud is exceedinglythe presid today with republican arizona governor doug ducey. >> mr. president, in your estimation is mail-in voting safe in arizona as it is, as you say, in florida. >> well, i haven't discussed it with the governor i can tell you in florida they've done a very good job with it, in nevada it would be a disaster it's a very political state and the governor happens to be a democrat and i don't believe the post office can be set up -- >> reporter: funding for th postal service emerging as a key sticking point in the talks over the coronavirus relief bill negotiators met today with a postmaster general, a major trump donor whose policy changes and budget cuts have sparked fears the postal service won't be able to deliver ballots in time for the november election lester? >> geoff bennett at the white house, thanks. for the first time facebook has removed a post from president
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trump's page for, quote, harmful covid misinformation the social media giant took down a clip from his interview with fox news in which the president falsely claimed children are, quote, almost immune. and new york city is tightening its coronavirus restrictions on travelers beginning tonight, check points being set up at key entry points, including penn station and the port authority bus hub to enforce the state's quarantine rules. travelers from 34 states are required to self-isolate for 14 days and fill out contact forms or face a $2,000 fine. also in the northeast, millions still without power after tropical storm isaias carved a deadly path of destruction. gabe gutierrez on the urgent scramble tonight. >> reporter: tonight the northeast is rushing to restore power after one of the largest outages since super storm sandy eight years ago. >> still in shock. >> reporter: tropical storm isaias roared through here, knocking
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out electricity to about 3 million people a tornado ravaged this neighborhood in new jersey. >> it was so scary it was so loud and i knew that it was coming so i got under the desk in the office >> reporter: today a horrible discovery in pennsylvania, the body of 5-year-old eliza halal who had autism her parents say she wandered out of her home at the height of the storm. for some the damage couldn't have come a a worse time, powerless in a pandemic. >> unsettled time, incredible we're suffering through a 100-year pandemic and now at the same time we just got hit with probably the third worst electric storm we've had. >> reporter: today the governors of connecticut and new york declared a state of emergency that isaias devastated communities up and down the east coast, from ferocious flooding in philadelphia to a deadly tornado in delaware. >> there's a lot going on we were very anxious. >> reporter: steven and his wife kathy are relying on a generator in
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plantsville, connecticut, a matter of life or death for their daughter who as an autoimmune disease. >> it's vital for her to have the electricity. we have a machine that helps to clear her airway if we can't run the machine she wouldn't be able to breathe. >> reporter: so many families are preparing for another night without power. authorities say it could be days before it's restored. lester >> gabe gutierrez, thank you. we're back in 60 seconds with the soaring price you're paying for groceries these days at a time when so many american families simply can't afford it.
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we're back with price hikes many are seeing at the supermarket. paying for essentials is simply getting more expensive as more americans go hungry. stephanie ruhle reports on what's driving it all. >> reporter: grocery store prices have been rising for months. in the last few months have you noticed a change in grocery prices >> immensely they've risen quite a bit. >> i definitely have to check what we absolutely need instead of what we
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want chblt >> reporter: meat and veal jumped more than 20% between march and june poultry an eggs up more than 7% fresh vegetables and cereal also rising more than 3%. meat and eggs, almost every family out there eats a lot of, why are they seeing the biggest increase >> they are very large industries that rely on workers and as a result of the covid-19 infections that they had issues with keeping people on the line -- >> reporter: it's also because of supply and demand early on covid-19 shut down meat plants causing supply constraints. people are also eating out less which means buying more for males at home. but it takes time and money for manufacturers to adjust the packaging to be sold to grocery stores >> the food that is distributed to restaurants is packaged differently, packaged in huge lots. different cuts of meat than what you and i are used to in the grocery store. >> reporter: the spiking prices means many families can't afford to get the food they need. more than 29 million americans said they didn't have enough to
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eat at some point in july food banks across the u.s. since are overwhelmed. nearly 2 billion meals were distributed between march and june to families in need. >> there's anonymity and there's basically the ability to just walk up. grab food and leave. >> reporter: but for many families there's no end in sight. and that $600 in federal unemployment benefits have ended and lawmakers in washington have yet to come up with a new deal to provide additional money lester >> stephanie ruhle, thank you. new york city's health commissioner has resigned following tension with the mayor over the coronavirus response she's the latest public health official now out after criticism, personal attacks, even death threats faced by some. here's senior national correspondent kate snow >> reporter: across disions at controlling this pandemic. >> you did not listen to we the people. >> she needs to be fired. >> reporter: public
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health officials have gone from obscurity to needing security. >> we are going to go to her front yard in front of her sidewalk -- >> imagine if protesters showed up at the home of a fire chief to protest the way they're managing a fire that sounds ridiculous but that's exactly what's been happening to local public health officers as they strive to do their job based on science. >> reporter: dr. charity dean is one of more than 30 health leaders in 18 states who have resigned, retired or fired since the pandemic began, amid unprecedented political and personal pressure >> hi, ladies. >> reporter: we brought together a group of current and former public health officials. how many of yo have had personal threats against you three of the four of you. >> that fear, i've never felt that before a person posted something to the effect, "f" her, "f" them, let's start shooting >> reporter: barbara ferrer oversees -- 4,500 employees at los angeles county's health department.
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she's been getting threats and hate mail since march. >> one woman said, you know, that using very foul language somebody needed to shoot me and another person volunteered to take that task on >> reporter: wait a second, they threatened your life >> yes, we all have to understand how angry people are people have lost so much. >> reporter: then there's politica pressure when the colorado county where emily brown ran the health department wanted to reopen she found herself at odds with the commissioners. >> i thought it was too soon i was concerned this would be much too soon for the health of our community. >> reporter: she was fired shortly after. >> we are all left safe when we lose these seasoned health officers who have led their counties and their states for many years. it's really important we support the ones who are in office. and that we support science. >> reporter: speaking out for a profession under fire during a pandemic kate snow, nbc news, new york. we're back in a moment with the newest high tech health, robots making life
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safer and easier for frontline workers.
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we're back with our series search for solutions and the robots now helping humans in the battle against covid-19 jake ward has the story. >> reporter: at this dallas hospital a robot called moxi is the newest medical assistant. moxi works full-time delivering ppe, covid-19 tests, and even helps keep inventory. >> she's become a
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member of our frontline care team, rather quickly and has been instrumental in helping them. >> reporter: the automated helper takes on tasks and reduces the exposure risk for frontline workers. >> we've seen a dramatic increase in use since the covid pandemic has set in. >> reporter: in baltimore johns hopkins is testing a small robot attached to a touch screen ventilator so no one has to put on protective equipment and risk infection entering an icu room >> instead of going through the process of donning and doffing our ppe, we can make the whole change right from the touch screen outside the room. >> you're doing the same thing you would if you were in the room it's just that this robot is giving you a very long arm. >> reporter: it's not just in hospitals that robots can help essential workers. in grocery stores robots can scan the shelves. take inventory so human workers don't have to. >> today large grocery
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stored spend anywhere from 30 to 100 hours per store per week taking inventory with an automated solution, these retailers free up staff to focus on customer service or restocking. >> reporter: in the sky a company is testing drones that could someday transport vaccines to health care centers that need them cutting edge technology for the frontline workers who need it most jake ward, nbc news, south san francisco, california. >> the future is here. when we come back the powerful letters teens are writing to cope during some difficult times.
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finally tonight, hope and healing the powerful letters teens are writing to help make sense of these difficult times. here's rehema ellis. >> reporter: for these ohio teenagers the tragic deaths of other young black people are especially frightening. they're writing through their fares. >> dear breonna. >> dear elijah mcclain. he's basically a future version of me. >> reporter: connor is writin to elijah mcclain who died after an encounter with police. >> meant to cause fear stop now or else or else what >> reporter: the letter writing organized by a group called inspiring minds. >> we always believe there's healing in writing. we decided to do a whole series for our literature piece this summer where they wrote letters to those
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who died due to social injustice. >> reporter: in her letter she writes as if she were breonna taylor who was killed in a police raid on her home >> why me, i didn't do anything wrong. >> reporter: malachi is only two years older than tamir ric who was shot by. police when they mistook his air soft gun for a real gun. >> you're at the park playing with a toy gun. >> reporter: was it difficult to write this letter? >> no because i felt like it's something that needed to happen to like the world can hear the story. >> i hope people take this movement and all the protests that they will see how we feel and they'll at least try to make a change. >> reporter: teens pushing for change using the power of words. rehema ellis, nbc news. that is nightly news thank you for watching, everyone, i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each
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other. ♪ ♪
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>> kelly: welcome to "the kelly clarkson show," everybody. have another fantastic day in our summer staycation celebration! let's kick things off with a song by a phenomenal artist name ashe, here is me and my band y'all with her song "morale of the story." ♪ ♪ so i never really knew you ♪ god i really tried to ♪ blindsided, addicted ♪ felt we could really do this ♪ but really i was foolish ♪ hindsight it's ♪ obvious ♪ talking with my lawyer she said ♪ ♪ "where'd you find this guy?" ♪ i said, "young people fall in love" ♪ ♪ "with the wrong people sometimes" ♪ ♪ some mistakes get made ♪ that's all right, that's okay ♪ ♪ you can think that you're in love ♪ ♪ when you're really just in pain ♪ ♪ some mistakes get made ♪ that's all right, that's okay ♪ ♪ in the end it's better for me ♪ ♪ that's the moral of the story babe ♪ ♪ oh, oh ♪ oh-ooh-oh ♪ woo, oh ♪ oh-ooh


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