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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 8, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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they were able to use nets to stop the 2 pound sea lion. >> how did he get across four lanes? glad he did. >> thanks so much for watching. "nightly news" is next. >> see you at 6:00. tonight, hospitals under siege and understaffed battling a flood of covid patients and staff sick calls some hospitals in new york now delaying all non-essential elective surgeries. health care workers pushed to the limit. >> we're tired we're exhausted, and we're literally on the edge covid closings stores nationwide forced to shut down and cut back as more workers call in sick some starbucks and apple stores temporarily closed walgreen's and fedex warning of slower service. more than 5 million workers could call out in the days ahead. will it happen here we'll take you to the
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uk and south africa where omicron has already peaked with no major increase in deaths deadly flooding in the northwest. one man swept away, others rescued from the tops of their cars now 57 million are under winter weather alerts new details as tennis star novak djokovic sits in isolation trying to enter australia. his lawyers say he already had covid. the terrifying cliff collapse caught on camera. boaters racing to safety and special delivery a message from this ups driver that inspired so many across the country ♪ this is "nbc nightly news" with jose diaz-balart. good evening we are entering a new phase in this latest covid wave driven by the highly contagious omicron variant. first, came the explosion in cases and now come the hospitalizations in some areas the
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health care system is buckling under new pressure the virus is so widespread many healthcare workers are testing positive and calling out sick, and there's a lot of seemingly conflicting information. this virus is less severe, but icus are still approaching capacity, and what to make of the larger number of people who tested positive for covid while hospitalized for something else sam brock leads off our coverage tonight to help us make sense of it all. >> a year ago or even a month ago the dail covid infection number might have seemed impossible roughly 870,000 cases recorded friday alone. >> this has now been the largest influx of patients that we've ever taken care of they've been the sickest of the patients we've ever taken care of. >> a deeper dive into the number of hospitalized patients and deaths reveals trends that certainly don't match the massive case rise daily average. a 265% increase over two weeks compared to a 72% increase for
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hospitalizations while deaths have shown little change at about 1500 a day >> are you worried that we could see a dramatic rise in the amount of people dying from covid in the near future >> it's always possible, and i think it really depends upon who gets infected in the next several days and weeks. >> the emerging portrait of omicron is a variant increasingly making people sick at the moment a daily average of nearly 122,000 people are hospitalized with the virus. not far from the country's all-time high of 137,000 in january of last year with health experts predicting that record could fall in days at the same time, hospitals nationwide are reporting a dwindling number of available staff. >> every hospital is struggling with a staffing shortage like they've never experienced. now because of staff being out due to covid is just a gasoline can on the fire.
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>> i'm here to tell you we're tired, we're exhausted and we're literally on the edge. >> of those in american icus right now, just under 32% of adults are being treated for the virus. the other two-thirds are not. that's a notch below where we were during the peak of delta when 38% of icu patients had covid, but it is also significantly higher than we were just a month ago there's new development in major cities like new york and miami where roughly half the people admitted for care are being treated for something other than covid and then testing positive >> we are now admitting patients who have incidental infections who might be earlier in their disease, and who are more contagious. we are seeing people showing up and finding out that they also have coronavirus in addition to the reason that they are there. yet admitted for covid-19 or not, doctors say there is a common thread. >> most of the patients who are admitted to the hospital are unvaccinated for those who are being admitted to the hospital who are vaccinated, their severity of illness is less
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>> across new york state, 40 hospitals hit the threshold for delaying non-urgent surgeries as the nation grapples with the still rising flood of patients. >> sam joins us from outside miami's jackson memorial sam, how worried are officials about icu capacity >> jose, they're pretty worried we just tonight topped 80% capacity in our icus nationally. doctors tell me once you get to the 85% to 90% range lives will be lost that could have been saved because of a lack of resources. jose >> sam brock in miami, thank you. with omicron spreading fast, businesses are slashing hours and cutting back on services as more and more workers call out sick some are even fully shutting down and it's expected to get worse in the next couple of days gadi schwartz has more >> tonight, shuttered
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storefronts and closed signs as the great national sick-out spreads across the nation omicron tightening its grip on workers as businesses struggle to keep doors open. a new estimate says more than 5 million americans could be isolating at home over the coming days meaning stores like apple, walmart, starbucks and walgreen's have been forced to temporarily close some locations or shorten hours >> there's been a high level of stress in the system because of staffing shortages, and we've had to reduce operating hours in some locations. >> fedex also warning customers of delays, but while larg businesses are able to adapt, some small ones are barely hanging on. >> if you think about the 30 million small businesses in the u.s., 90% of them have few are than 20 employees, and 80% have fewer than ten. >> if one person gets sick the entire operation could be crippled >> we have the business we don't have the staff, and so that's really frustrating and there are new clients who want to come in that they have to turn away >> long beach california bark bark day care and grooming forced to shut down its day care operation and both owners catching the virus. >> we've never dealt with this situation. we feel completely helpless. >> for bakers, the
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dough is finally rise, but so far not enough to meet costs. >> if the bakery is not making the numbers then my rent's late which it's actually late this month. i haven't paid my january rent yet >> the bakery just re-opened after covid cases and exposure among the staff forced it to temporarily shut down >> we got a call that somebody on our staff tested positive for covid and then there was a second person and then a third person. >> but after sending out a call for help over 20 volunteers like marisa raised their hands to pitch in >> when this whole, crazy bad dream of a pandemic is over i want there to be great local stores still in existence. >> i was, like, i can volunteer. i'll even wash dishes. >> neighborhoods coming together to try to keep their local businesses afloat. >> gadi joins us now from los angeles gadi, how long do we expect these store closures to last >> well, these owners are hoping that the worst of it will be over in the next few
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weeks, but even before this so many of these small business owners reweac fing an extremely tight labor shortage that has now been made so much worse. jose >> gadi schwartz in los angeles. thank you. turning now to a deadly winter storm sweeping the nation. 57 million under alerts for snow, floods and dangerously cold temperatures. kathy park now on how its impacting travel and if there's any relief in sight. >> severe weather crippling the country from coast to coast. >> this is just terrible >> in the pacific northwest record rain and snow melt turned roads into rivers. the rising water swallowing homes and stranding drivers who needed to be rescued extreme flooding in western washington shut down a 20-mile stretch of i-5 in seattle, a landslide pushed a home off its foundation with a man still inside two hours outside the city 72-year-old delbert pratt drowned while moving his car
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to higher ground on the other side of the country, at least 57 million americans are under winter weather alerts this weekend as freezing rain threatens the nation's midsection before heading east. >> this is terrible. i can't even feel my fingers. it's numb. >> chicago, pittsburgh, baltimore and philadelphia all at risk of dangerous travel conditions due to ice accumulation. new england is still digging out from friday's storm, and parts of massachusetts buried in a foot of snow, though some residents are making the best of it. >> it's a winter wonderland it's beautiful and my dogs have never seen snow before. so he's loving it. >> kids in new york are still holding on to the snow that's left >> any time you have snow in new york and children of elementary school age, it's special and it's terrific out here. >> you have to take advantage of it. >> as the northeast
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braces for more bad weather, airlines also can't catch a break. covid and storms canceling more than 1200 flights today >> kathy park joins me now live from central park in new york kathy, is there any relief to these freezing temperatures in sight >> jose, it will only get colder as the arctic air settles in early next week. by tuesday several cities here on the east coast including new york will be in the teens. jose >> kathy park in new york city. thank you. now to nevada where many of the country's most powerful democratic leaders were today president biden and obama were among those honoring their former colleague harry reid at his memorial. leann caldwell was there. >> a rare moment, two presidents together for a mentor and friend >> harry's life shows that for all of our darkest days, we can find light and find hope.
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>> few people have done more for this state, this country, this driven, brilliant sometimes irascible deeply good man. >> harry from search light to capitol police officer to senate majority leader, always a fighter -- >> he never gave up. >> he served in a slightly less volatile time >> i never heard harry speak of politics as if it was some unbending battle between good neighbor. >> as we confront the challenges of the coming weeks and months ahead i take comfort in knowing that harry is with us. >> reid encouraged obama to run for president, a partnership that led to the passage of their signature legislative achievement, the affordable care act. >> the deals harry made to get that law done didn't always look pretty.
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it got votes >> a five-decade friendship, president biden praised reid for his tenacity. >> he led the democratic caucus just not by speaking, but by listening it was all search light, no spotlight. >> he disliked praise and small talk >> i was thanking you for the great job you did in the legislation and the rest i don't want to hear it click. >> good-bye was an unnecessary word. >> harry reid will lie in state in the u.s. capitol on wednesday leann caldwell, nbc news, las vegas. still ahead, signs of hope in the battle against omicron. we'll take you to south africa and london the worst may already be over there. will it happen just as quickly here will it happen just as quickly here? and we need more time. so, we want kisqali. women are living longer than ever before with kisqali when taken with an aromatase inhibitor or fulvestrant in postmenopausal women with hr+, her2- metastatic breast cancer. kisqali is a pill that's significantly more effective at delaying disease progression
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it was a game-changer for me. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. throughout the pandemic researchers often looked overseas to see how surges were developing and what it may mean for what's going to happen here in the future, but now there are possible reasons for hope and how quickly the omicron variant has moved through some countries and how few lives it claimed matt bradley reports from london. >> tonight, as the omicron variant tears through the u.s., news from overseas offers a glimmer of hope. in south africa where omicron was first identified the startling spike in cases was followed by an equally sudden decline. last month hospitals were packed and now the move in cape town christian barnard memorial hospital appears almost placid. >> this is another day of the icu of hours and normally operates at 100% occupancy is now with about 50% of
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occupancy for covid-positive patients dr. shikah advises calm for other countries now dealing with omicron >> have we seen high infection rate translate to high disease rates that would have been a reason for concern however, we have not seen a greater severity of disease with the current variant of omicron >> in fact, the death rate in south africa has barely risen dr. angela kunzi has identified the new omicron variant. >> what can the united states expect to see given the cases? >> a high number of cases, but you look at your death rate and icu cases, it doesn't matter how high your positivity rate is as long as your hospitals are not overwhelmed. >> the head of the cdc said the u.s. might mimic south african places. >> i do think in places that we are seeing a really steep incline, that we may well see a precipitous decline, but we're also a much bigger country than south
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africa >> doctors caution that south africa's experience is unique it's summer well and the population is younger, but in london, south africa's experience is having a sequel here cases spiked from omicron, but in the past few days have started to drop. hospitals have been overwhelmed, but that's more because of too few staff rather than too many covid patients doctors and nurses have had to call in sick after testing positive in fact, hospitalizations in london have increased only gradually compared to last year even as covid cases speaked and two key statistics that speak to the severity of the disease, the number of patients on ventilators and deaths have barely risen. there's no guarantee the u.s. follows the same path especially since a greater percentage of the population are vaccinated in the uk when it comes to
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omicron there's cause for optimism matt bradley, nbc news, london. up next, covid complicating many olympic dreams the top u.s. figure skater who just tested positive for the virus. also the successful nasa mission today giving these engineers reason to celebrate. giving these engineers reason to celebrate. loving their home. my daughter and i never agree on anything. that's not true! but we did agree this rug was perfect. okay. stop being weird. mom and daughter agreeing on something. wayfair works miracles! ooh! check this one out. this chair is so comfortable. it puts both of my babies to sleep. look at you making a space that works perfectly for all of you! i could use a good nap. people with moderate to severe psoriasis, or psoriatic arthritis, are rethinking the choices they make like the splash they create the way they exaggerate the surprises they initiate. otezla. it's a choice you can make.
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right on to a group of boaters near brazil's east coast north of rio de janeiro first responders are searching for 20 people who are still missing. the area has recently had heavy rains and floods, that may have loosened the soil leading to the deadly collapse tonight, we're one step closer to seeing farther into space than ever before there were cheers from nasa engineers today after they remotely unfolded the giant mirrors on the world's most powerful telescope which will absolve them to observe previously unseen corners of the universe it was launched on christmas day for its million-mile journey the pandemic is once again upending the sports world today u.s. women's figure skating announcing as their top athletes test positive for covid, and in australia, tennis star novak djokovic is now making his case in court to leave isolation and enter the country.
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raf sanchez has the details. >> tonight, novak djokovic's lawyers making their case, saying the tennis star was granted a medical exemption by australia's victoria's state government after testing positive on december 16. >> there was a ton of either miscommunication or people being misled purposely and at the center of this is the number one tennis player in the world. djokovic has been held at this hotel detention center since thursday after his visa was canceled due to his vaccination status the case heading for court in 24 hours' time, and today new pictures showing him at public events on december 16th, the same day he tested positive for covid it's not clear if he was aware of his diagnosis at the time. we reached out to his representatives, but did not hear back. djokovic who is 34 aiming for a record setting 21st grand slam title at the australian open hoping to surpass roger
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federer and rafa nadal while stateside welcome news on the ice. >> to the united states olympic figure skating team >> the u.s. announcing the female figure skaters who will be competing at the olympics among them, 16-year-old alysa liu who was forced to drop out after testing positive following her first day of competition. in all, five athletes including three just today withdrawing after testing positive for covid, but skating into history on friday night was mariah bell who at 25 became the oldest woman to win nationals since 1927, now off to pursue her olympic dreams just they weeks away as covid has the figure skating world on edge. raf sanchez, nbc news. >> and when we come back, the moving message from this delivery driver delivered into a door bell camera, but seen around the world around the r
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i'm cologuard®. i'm convenient and find 92% of colon cancers... ...even in early stages. i'm for people 45 plus at average risk for colon cancer, not high risk. false positive and negative results may occur. ask your provider if cologuard is right for you. there's good news tonight about the great power of a few kind words, and how one stranger's message gave a new mom just the lift she needed. new mom jessica kitchel was recovering from a c-section after the birth of her son chancy and feeling a little down last month when something extraordinary happened a ups driver delivered a package to her georgia home along with this simple, but
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heartfelt message. >> if this is the it's a boy house. i hope all is going well with your newborn. i had a child around the same time you guys did, and i just hope everything is going good god bless. happy holidays. >> so i just happened to play back the message and saw what he had said, and i was completely blown away. i felt like in that moment was exactly when i needed encouragement. the man at her door bell cam, new dad dallen harrell, a temporary ups driver hired for the holiday season. >> i wanted to truly ensure that she was okay since i also know she had a boy. >> jessica was determined to find the man who made such an impact and she posted the message on social media. >> within 24 hours the video started getting a ton of shares. >> and just a few days later. what's up, chancy kitchel? what's up, mr. kitchel? >> warm hugs and
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handshakes as dallen finally me jessica and her family >> sino weal fly get to see dallen physically and thank him in person for what his words of encouragement meant to me just was everything. >> it turns out the family had a surprise for dallen, too, a care package for his son devereax they posted his online registry to social media where strangers have now been buying gifts for the baby boy. >> i can't put into words profusely how grateful i am for you. >> new parents, now new friends. >> and i just hope everything is going good >> connecting and finding common ground. >> dallen's message reminded me that kindness is free it makes me emotional. just having a son myself and knowing how i want to raise him, dallen's mom did an incredible job teaching him to just love people.
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>> while dallen and jessica have met in person, their babies have not, but they hope to bring the little ones together some time soon that's "nbc nightly news" for this saturday kate snow will be here tomorrow night i'm jose diaz-balart thank you for the privilege of your time and good night not just overwhelming the hospitals. a warning out of san francisco. why people are being asked to think twice about dialing 911. new video out of the south
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bay showing a dramatic highway 1. what we learned about the investigation. and we know who is heading to beijing to represent the women's ice skating team and the bay area will be well represented. the news at 6:00 tarts right now. thanks for joining us. continuing our coverage of california's coronavirus surge. at home covid tests have been flying off the shelves for weeks now and sometimes they have been almost impossible to find. but within the past our governor gavin newsome signed an executive order to prevent price-gouging. now stores that increase the price of at-home tests by more than 10% can face legal consequences. and in the meantime, going back to work despite testing positive, now, the state department of public health is allowing health care providers and hospitals to let asymptomatic staffers return to work in some situations. the rule


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