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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 14, 2022 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

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rain windchills as low as 40 below zero. states of emergency in the carolinas and virginia we're tracking it all. also tonight the cdc's new mask guidance. which ones provide the most protection and which give the least it comes amid the omicron surge. cvs and walgreens temporarily closing some stores due to staffing shortages and when you could order free tests from the government's new website. tennis star novak djokovic detained in australia after his visa is canceled again. will he be deported? the u.s. accusing russia of a false flag operation with acts of sabotage to justify invading ukraine how the kremlin is responding dramatic new body cam from the worst wild fire in colorado history. authorities evacuating a costco going door to door, even saving horses. the investigation into pop-up testing sites. new warnings and consumer alerts in several states and the windy city's oldest hot dog stand, where they have
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been cutting the mustard for four generations. this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. half the country tonight staring down some of winter's worst in all its forms as we head into the weekend. from close to a foot of snow predicted in the northern plains and the midwest, these pictures from iowa where several inches are already on the ground with more to come the carolinas bracing for ice and even high wind and fire warnings across texas to eastern new mexico in all 64 million of us are under winter alerts from a system spreading from the middle of the country into the southeast and then up the i95 corridor where big cities like washington and philadelphia could also get snowed on while the northeast and new england face another round of brutal cold. our dasha burns has the very latest. >> reporter: tonight the monster winter storm already hitting north dakota
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drivers battling near white-out conditions in minnesota, cars getting off icy roads. the cedar river now frozen over. 64 million americans now under winter weather alerts across 26 states. the storm set to get even more intense with up to 10 inches of snow across the plains and sections of the midwest. in new england, windchills could plummet to a frigid minus 40. >> heavy snow tonight moves south into missouri >> not a lot of snow saturday morning, but watch out saturday afternoon, especially through areas like memphis and tennessee. then on sunday a big, huge snowstorm moves into west virginia and the appalachians an ice storm for the carolinas. and then monday morning, high gusty winds could knock out power. and a coastal flood threat for new york city >> reporter: in north carolina crews prepping to handle ice buildup on power lines with fears of worker shortages because of covid. >> we're doing everything humanly possible based on our limited resources of trust. >> reporter: after
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last week's nightmare in virginia on i95 trapping drivers more than 24 hours, the governor together declaring a state of emergency. crews pre-treating the interstate for ice expect travel delays this weekend as airlines face worker shortages in addition to the storms. many are already waiving change fees. lester >> dasha burns, thank you. there is breaking news tonight on covid. the cdc just out with new guidance on masks. and americans will be able to order free rapid tests from the government website here's gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: as omicron sweeps across the country, tonight the cdc is updating its mask guidance saying people can wear higher quality n95 or kn95 masks without worrying about supply shortages and that those better fitting masks offer better protection than loose fitting cloth ones >> the most important thing about mask wearing is wear one you will be comfortable keeping on for a long period of time and that fits well >> reporter: two huge
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pharmacy chains, walgreens and cvs say they had to temporarily close a small number of stores and now at least 80% of staff hospital beds are full in 21 states. more states are also reporting record pediatric covid hospitalizations at upnc children's hospital at children's hospital of pittsburgh, they have never been busier. right now the entire hospital has about 35 covid patients at this time last year, they had just five. >> it is exponentially increased in terms of our numbers. >> reporter: notably, nurses here like jackie are seeing fewer covid icu patients during the omicron wave. >> it's spreading faster it's getting kids sick enough to come to the hospital, but it's not getting them sick enough to be in the icu. and i think it goes to the show that the vaccine for those who have gotten it really does work. >> reporter: but that doesn't mean the stakes are any lower. >> have you been
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surprised on just how transmissible this omicron variant has been >> i'm shocked at how this went through our family. >> reporter: we met kerry white in the icu as she watched over her six-year-old son carter who had been diagnosed with covid days before. he also has a rare central nervous system disorder, hydrocephaly >> it's terrifying since the beginning of covid, we have always been afraid of what happens if carter touches this and our family has done everything we can. my husband and i are both fully vaccinated. carter was just vaccinated back in december i hate to think what could have happened if he wasn't vaccinated and how much sicker he could have been. >> reporter: tonight some good news carter has just left the hospital and returned home to a grateful family. >> that is some great news and, gabe, as i mentioned at the introduction, the white house released details about those free at home covid test kits. what's the plan? >> reporter: yeah, lester each residential
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address will be able to get up to four tests, and americans will be able to start ordering them starting next wednesday from a new government website, they will be sent out within 7 to 12 days, lester >> all right gabe gutierrez, thank you. this evening the world's top tennis star is in a new battle to remain in australia. novak djokovic's visa was canceled again over his vaccine status miguel almaguer as the latest. >> reporter: taking center court in a covid controversy playing out on a worldwide stage, tonight tennis superstar novak djokovic faces deportation from australia again after the immigration minister canceled his visa for a second time citing public health in a nation that requires foreigners to be vaccinated. >> it's bigger than any one person. >> reporter: meeting with his legal team to perhaps apply for an injunction to stay, djokovic has served up controversy since his arrival for the
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australian open. >> whether someone wants to get a vaccine or not, that's up to them >> reporter: a critic of vaccine mandate, after djokovic caught covid last month in serbia, he said he was unaware he had the virus when meeting with children unmasked but he did apologize for doing an interview the next day while knowing he was sick. state government in australia later granted djokovic a medical exemption to arrive, but he was detained at the airport and his visa was canceled before it was reinstated so he could play. >> this just seems like it's dragged on for quite a long time now. not great for the australian open. not great for novak. >> reporter: as djokovic seeks a men's record, 21 grand slam wins, his seesaw battle off court and in court is now much bigger than sports miguel almaguer, nbc news. tonight new reasons for concern that russia may be preparing to invade ukraine after high
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stakes talks failed to diffuse tensions between russia and the west andrea mitchell joins me now andrea, what's the latest u.s. intelligence suggesting >> reporter: lester, in a hugely unusual move, the u.s. is declassifying intelligence it says shows russia has sent operatives into eastern ukraine to carry out acts of sabotage against russian-backed forces. the idea is to make it look like a ukrainian attack to justify a russian invasion russia denies it but in turn u.s. officials tell nbc news, the u.s. is considering arming ukrainian soldiers this as several ukrainian government websites were hacked today, but are now back up. the u.s. says it's too soon to say who was responsible, but it's right out of the russian play book. if it turns out to be russia, it could trigger sanctions from the u.s. and u.s. allies. lester >> andrea, thank you with mid-term elections looming, former president trump kicking off his first rally of the year tomorrow and already endorsing dozens of candidates
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who have questioned the results of the 2020 election. here's hallie jackson. >> reporter: former president donald trump set to take the stage in arizona saturday for his first rally of 2022, sharing the spotlight with controversial fellow supporters of the stop the steal conspiracy theory, including kari lake running for governor there and secretary of state candidate mark stinson. this election was so shady, so shoddy, so corrupt. >> donald trump won. >> reporter: it was not and he did not but by supporting mr. trump's election lies, both have earned his endorsement. so have 57 other candidates who have questioned the legitimate 2020 results. as mr. trump flexes his political muscle ahead of the mid-term with more than 90 endorsements overall, including 15 for candidates challenging gop incumbents he doesn't like today one of the few republicans who voted to impeach then president trump announced he will not run for re-election.
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mr. trump's reaction, another one bites the dust lately the former president has made headlines for his shift in tone on vaccinations booed for blasting the shot's doubters. >> both the president and i are vaxxed and did you get the booster? >> yes. >> i got it, too >> okay -- >> don't, don't, don't. >> reporter: and taking this dig at politicians who now decline to say whether they've been boosted. >> it's yes but they don't want to say it because they've got this, they've got to say it whether you had it or not, say it. but the fact that is that i think the vaccine has saved tens of millions of people throughout the world i have had absolutely no side effects. >> reporter: the former president looking to retain his grip on the party as he hints at a 2024 campaign with one source close to him telling nbc news, all signs point to him running. >> i think if donald trump is a candidate in 2024 and i think by all measures he would win that election. >> reporter: still a recent quinnipiac poll finds that while
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nearly 70% of americans say that they want mr. trump to run again, that's down from just a few months ago. lester >> hallie jackson, thank you. in 60 seconds, we will show you the race to escape from colorado's most destructive wild fire. and our investigation into those pop-up covid test sites
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we're getting a look at dramatic new body cam video from the worst wild fire in colorado history last month. here's emilie ikeda. >> reporter: last month's historic fire consumed entire neighborhoods in colorado, every second mattered. >> everybody get out of the store now >> reporter: this newly released body camera video revealing just how quickly these officers jumped into action. >> evacuate now! >> reporter: within minuting rushing these terrified shoppers out of a costco surrounded by smoke and directing them away from danger. >> please go >> reporter: offering help amidst the chaos and confusion.
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>> do you have a car >> no. >> get in. >> reporter: door to door >> sheriffs office sheriffs office! ma'am, you have to evacuate. >> yeah, we are. we're packed >> reporter: sheriffs deputies evacuating residents. >> bring whatever is available. >> reporter: evacuating residents. >> reporter: even saving horses. tonight officers talking about the split second decision. >> for me it was, yeah, i'm terrified. and i was terrified that whole day this is my job to do i've got to do it. i'm trained for it hopefully make it out of there, which of course we did. >> that's what we're here for >> reporter: that day risking their own lives to drive through the fire only daylight would reveal the extent of the devastation. more than one thousand homes lost, but a community grateful to the brave officers who helped so many survive. emilie ikeda, nbc news. amazing work by those officers let's turn now into the investigation into those pop-up covid testing sites you have likely seen. new warnings
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and now investigators are zeroing in on one company. with more, here's anne thompson. >> reporter: at strip malls, urban store fronts, even trailers. the center for covid control set up more than 300 testing sites in least 29 states tonight all of them are just down and the company is under investigation by the federal agency that oversees medicare and medicaid >> we're here doing free covid testing monday through friday from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 no insurance needed. >> reporter: there are growing questions about the pop-up site business practices spurred by business complaints like kelly fisher. >> it was the pop-up tent in the parking lot of a mini mart >> reporter: she got a test before going on a trip with college friends in september. >> i wanted the results in 24 to 48 hours and i got them a week later so by the time i received them, they were useless. >> reporter: now fisher wonders why they needed her insurance information and a photo of her driver's license
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the center for covid control is an illinois-based company. its ceo is 29-year-old aleya siyaj, whose previous businesses include an axe throwing lounge and a doughnut shop. along with the federal probe, the center is the target of legal action in several states two issues cease and desist orders. regulators and two others tagging sites for operating without a license. oregon's department of justice investigating unfair trade practices. are you concerned that this company is running a scam >> i think that's a possibility. we have received a number of complaints that raised some red flags. >> reporter: now the center's ceo is apologizing saying due to our rapid growth and the unprecedented recent demand for testing, we haven't been able to meet all our commitments. the company says it will pause all services for the next week for additional staff training consumer advocates say if you go to a testing site, be wary of requests for out-of-pocket payments and sensitive information beyond your health insurance.
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and look for an association with a known organization you trust. to make sure the tests you take protects your physical and financial health anne thompson, nbc news. up next for us tonight, the epic battle over the future of one of the world's greatest rivers.
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with just three weeks until the beijing olympics, all eyes are on china. tonight the country under fire from some critics say it is causing a disaster along a critical
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river. keir simmons explains. >> reporter: the mighty mekong river, source of food and water for millions and tonight the front line in a david and goliath confrontation with china. >> when the river have problems, then people will have problems too. >> reporter: you don't have the food because you don't have the fish. >> we have nothing. >> reporter: in ten years, the mekong has changed dramatically an estimated 40% of fish have disappeared on this stretch of river, according to the mekong river commission many say the reason is upstream china has built 11 hydro dams and chinese countries are helping build more in neighboring countries. the dams contribute to historic floods and some of the worst droughts in living memory, disrupting the century's old ecosystem and damaging fish stock to find out just how badly fish stocks have been impacted, we are going to talk to folks in this fishing village. it is almost deserted.
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18 pontoons, but we see only five fishermen. this 64-year-old has been fishing since he was 12 how was the fishing today? none, he says. it's been like this every two to three days john roberts runs an elephant sanctuary by the mekong more organizations like his, he says, were not consulted by beijing. >> it is like someone turned off a tap >> exactly the days of the long three-month flood, which would have been part of the ecosystem. it has just disappeared completely. >> reporter: china says its dams do not impact the lower mekong and has agreed to share more water data, but is still accused of not giving more warning when it opens or closes the dams so a team in washington, d.c. is trying to help supply information. china does not. >> the mekong is dying a death of a thousand cuts from these dams. >> reporter: the dam monitor uses satellite technology to measure
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china's reservoir levels and inform people in countries downstream >> whether china will share actual physical data, not data that's observed from afar and not through satellites, it remains to be seen. >> reporter: but local people have been pushing back and winning. this campaigner fighting a proposal to turn the river into a canal for container ships. these are the rocks they want to demolish. >> all this section of the river will be canalized, meaning that all the concrete on both sides of the river. >> reporter: the project along the border of myanmar, thailand and laos is part of china's belt and road initiative. a trade policy which claims to support neighboring countries, but here at least it has backfired. and china has listened for the second time the plan is on hold. >> you have to stand up and fight it again. >> reporter: delegations from beijing have even visited local activists.
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perhaps a sign of china's government recognizing it must persuade, not just impose the most important thing, he says, is that china has people, too. and we have to make them aware what they do doesn't just impact me, it impacts the world. it impacts themselves. the battle over this river's future may hold lessons for the world. keir simmons, nbc news, the mekong, thailand. up next for us here tonight, the hot dog stand at the center of a community for almost a century
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finally, the hot dog stand that has come to symbolize a community and has been inspiring america for nearly 100 years here's kevin tibbles >> peppers and onions, right? >> reporter: there is nothing like a chicago dog. >> this food is awesome. >> the neighbor is faithful >> reporter: and at dave's red hots, the line is out the door. >> these hot dogs are made with love and they bring back old childhood memories. >> reporter: eugene yeah's family has owned this west side business for more than a century, a local place people count on. where does your money go >> right back into the community. >> some hot dogs and some chili dogs. >> reporter: but the hot dog history doesn't end here nope because dave, the original, was a russian immigrant who 90 years ago started selling hot dogs, making this the oldest hot dog stand in chicago.
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>> so i hope it goes on another 90 years. >> reporter: today dave's grandson ron myerson watches with pride. >> what's chicago? >> best hot dog city in the world. >> reporter: and this is the heart of it? >> this is a heart of it, yes. >> reporter: customers have memories, too how long have you been coming here? >> over 60 years. >> reporter: you're kidding me >> no, i'm not. >> this neighborhood is an institution. i work right around the corner and places like this are certainly cherished. >> reporter: because the love is slathered on right along with the mustard. >> lawndale has been so loyal and so faithful to this business. >> reporter: biting into a dave's red hot keep it is flavor of its community alive. kevin tibbles, north lawndale, chicago. >> did somebody say it's dinner time that's "nightly news" for this friday. thank you for watching i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night i'm janelle wan.
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next on nbc bay area news tonight, steins omicron surge may be slowing. so what happens next? and could we soon be treating covid the same way we treat the flu? our covid expert has answers. we're being told the wear n95 masks, but what happens when you can't find them? some options that are just as good. our housing market is getting a little less expensive. what's behind the drop? and why are we hearing about homes selling $1 million over asking? happy friday, everyone. this is nbc bay area news tonight. i'm janelle wang. now, for the past month we've been talking about the omicron variant, how it's driving


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