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tv   CBS Overnight News  CBS  December 27, 2021 3:30am-4:00am PST

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on your cell phone or connected tv. i'm elise preston, cbs news, new york. ♪ >> announcer: this is the "cbs overnight news." >> good evening. i'm meg oliver in new york. jericka duncan is off. for a second year in a row, covid is causing headaches for holiday travellers across the u.s. new infections spreading like wildfire have sparked staffing shortages, resulting in long delays and cancellations. new covid infections exceeded 200,000 a day over the past two weeks. that's up 69%. covid deaths are on the rise too. cbs' lilia luciano leads us off with a look at post holiday travel. lilia, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, meg. it is another very busy travel day. here at l.a.x., more than
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200,000 people are expected to pass through today alone. a lot of those flyers unhappy with these delays and cancellations cutting into their vacation time. one woman was telling me if she had driven instead of flown, she would have made it to her destination yesterday. but she is still stuck here. covid cancellations hit u.s. airports for the third straight day with more than 700 flights grounded, stranding passengers on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. >> cuts our vacation short, christmas vacation. we have to be back for work. so it was supposed to be a nice family vacation, meeting up with other family up there. so it's been upsetting. >> reporter: what did you tell the airline? >> that it was wrong. that they should have let us know earlier. >> reporter: thousands eager to take flight found themselves facing cancellations and delays and staffing shortages. delta and united, with some of the most planes grounded pointed to omicron exposure as a cause. york's kennedy, atlanta, l.a.x.
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and newark, new jersey. despite the cancellations, more than three million took to the skies since christmas eve. >> there is a lot of pent-up demand. people haven't seen their families and friends for two years. we're seeing a record number of passengers coming through since post-pandemic numbers. >> reporter: the cruise industry is also facing cofidis reputations. at least three cruise outlines had outbreaks on board in less than a week with dozens of passengers testing positive and forced to quarantine. >> they were cleaning and everything was sanitizing. i think personally they had too many people on board. >> reporter: travel blogger austin hamaway was on the mss seashore. he and his friends fell ill at sea. >> really affected me the most not being able to see my family at christmas. >> reporter: more cancellations are expected on domestic and also international flights, adding to the frustration and anxiety for flyers where the fast-spreading omicron variant is the difficulty to social distance. one passenger was telling me she
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felt very vulnerable seeing so many people not wearing masks through flights and also walking around terminals. meg? >> a lot of anxiety. lilia luciano, thank you. now to the surge in the omicron variant. one in four hospitals with icus reporting at least 95% capacity this week. and the omicron spike shows no sign of slowing. cbs' tom hanson joins us now from new york with more. tom, good evening. >> reporter: hey there, meg. good evening to you. with just a week left in the holiday season, the omicron variant is bearing down across the country, and health experts are sounding the alarm over a post holiday covid surge, especially among the most vulnerable. >> because i need to know for the safety of my job and everyone else around me. >> reporter: testing lines wrapped around the block in washington, d.c. where omicron cases have skyrocketed. there are similar scenes from los angeles to new orleans. one recent study suggests that omicron cases on average have as much as a 25% reduced risk of a hospital visit, and as much as a 45% reduced risk of hospitalization of one day or
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more. still, there is concern for the unvaccinated, and people with compromised immunity. >> we've got to be careful that we don't get complacent about that because it might still lead to a lot of hospitalizations in the united states. >> reporter: several states are reporting their highest daily case numbers in a year, just days away from a return to the classroom for millions of students. in new york city, rates among children are up fourfold from last week, with approximately half of those hospitalized under the age of 5. >> it is super contagious, and i have seen the spread from all the kids. er. >> reporter: dr. george vermitin is a pediatric doctor in the bronx. what can families do to keep their families safe and keep their kids in school? >> super important after family gatherings, if you can get tested, you should get like a test. most important thing is if you are above 5 to get your vaccine. and after that, most important thing, hand washing.
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>> and tom, what are schools doing to brace for a potential surge? >> well, meg, here in new york city, some schools are offering remote learning as well as keeping the schools open. and in washington, d.c., they're extending the winter break by two days. they're using that time to distribute 100,000 covid tests to faculty and students in hopes of returning to the classroom safely. meg? >> tom hanson, thank you. meantime, russian troops have reportedly withdrawn from the ukraine border. this comes after months of tension in the region and fears of a russian offensive in 2022. cbs' christina ruffini is at the white house for us tonight. christina, good evening. >> good evening, meg. that's right. russian state media said about 10,000 forces, many deployed near the border with ukraine, have returned to their home bases. now this could help de-escalate tensions in the region. however, it's only a fraction of about the estimated 70,000 to 100,000 troops russia has in the area.
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in an interview taped last week that aired today on "face the nation," margaret brennan asked the vice president if war in europe was eminent. >> we are having direct conversations with russia. we are very clear that russia should not invade the sovereignty of ukraine, that we must stand up, and we are standing up for its territorial integrity. we are working with our allies in that regard. >> reporter: the vice president also echoed what president biden has said, and that's moscow would face unprecedented sanctions should vladimir putin choose to invade his neighbor. now this comes after weeks of back and forth between nato and moscow, between the kremlin and the white house. russia has made its own demands, including saying it wants everyone to agree that ukraine can never join nato, a move that seems unlikely anyone would actually agree to it. u.s. intelligence reports originally said russia could be ready to invade ukraine as early as january. but with the troop withdrawal
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today, perhaps it's a sign that russia is holding off, at least for now. meg? >> christina ruffini, thank you. the "cbs overnight news" will be it was a white christmas in some parts of the country. in nevada, a massive storm pounded reno and lake tahoe. a 70-mile stretch of interstate 80 was shut down by whiteout conditions. and more snow is on the way, up to 2 to 3 feet by tuesday. minnesota was also socked by a heavy christmas day storm the interstate shut down for more than two hours on saturday. many injuries were reported. and in northern california, a state trooper had a narrow escape with some runaway wildlife there was no corralling this charging bull that was threatening traffic. the officer took a deep breath, as you can see right here, and avoided injury, as did the bull. thank goodness. the "cbs overnight news" will be right back.
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♪ >> announcer: this is the "cbs overnight news." >> i'm meg oliver in new york. thanks for staying with us. democratic leaders in congress are pressing president biden to ue executive action to implement parts of his build back better plan. the legislation has been stalled on capitol hill after democratic senator joe manchin said the proposal is too expensive and he won't support it. the president needs every democratic vote in the senate to pass the measure. vice president kamala harris discussed a possible way forward with margaret brennan on "face the nation." >> as you know, senator joe manchin said he's a no. you don't have the votes. >> i'm not giving up. the president is not giving up,
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and frankly, the stakes are too high. >> when you look at what's actually possible right now. >> yeah. >> do you feel that senator manchin is playing fair with you? >> i think the stakes are too high for this to be in any way about any specific individual. we have to -- >> it's a 50/50 senate. >> it is. i'm the tie vote. >> exactly. >> in fact, the president and i joke. and when i leave one of our meetings to go break a tie, he says well, that's going to be a winning vote. whenever i vote, we win. it's a running joke we have. but the stakes are so high. and we can't afford in this moment of time where we have an opportunity to do something so substantial in terms of public policy in america, to literally help families. i refuse to get caught up in what might be personal politics when the people who are waking up at 3:00 in the morning worried about how they're going get by could care less about the
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politics of d.c. they just want us to fix things. >> but the child care tax credit has already expired. >> expand it. >> how do you do that without senator manchin? >> you don't give up. that's how you do it. we don't give up. >> you can see more of margaret brennan's interview with vice president harris on our website, overseas, it was another quiet christmas at the notre dame cathedral in paris. it's been 2 1/2 years since fire tore through the building, which was one the most visited church in the world. a massive rebuilding process is under way, but it has been slowed by the covid pandemic. seth doane got a tour of the progress. ♪ >> reporter: it's at the heart of paris in every sense of the word, but this landmark, which has endured since the 12th century, is now almost unrecognizable inside as we saw when "sunday morning" was
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granted rare access. today notre dame is a district attorney ncathedral of scaffolding. an electrical shorten gulfed the church. the magnificent 160-year-old gothic spire collapsed and most of the roof collapsed. remarkably, much of the stone structure remained and french president emmanuel macron vowed to rebuild within five years. lead contamination from the roof and spire is one of the many challenges slowing renovation work, and even access to the monument, as we found out. so you've given us completely new clothes which we will wear and dispose of. we suited up this past summer to go high on the scaffolding over
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t c cathedral to meet the man who does not have time to enjoy the vistas of paris. what a view. >> yes. it's one of the most magnificent viw you can have from paris. but only for a small time because this will be here only for five years. >> reporter: he's referring to the scaffolding and that ambitious renovation deadline. >> and i'm here, me, to win this battle. it's a battle. it's a daily battle. >> reporter: in fact, he is a former military general. and he says that's part of the reason macron chose him. he is charged with managing this rebuilding effort. they've already raised $1 billion. he showed us the gaping hole at the church's transept. >> this is the heart of the here. >> the heart of it all. >> and pointed out where once was the roof. >> here you have in wood the framework.
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and above the framework, the roof in lead. >> reporter: this is where a lattice of centuries-old wooden beams known as the forest made up a sort of attic for the . it will be ready by 2024. >> why do you say that? because you have a lot of scaffold. >> reporter: yes. >> but we have a plan, which is very precise. now we have the end of the stabilization to proceed to restoration. in some way, the most difficult has been done. >> reporter: we're going up to the very top. to see the work chief architect phillipe villeneuve took us into that web of scaffolding which hd initially obscured -- >> wow. >> reporter: the cathedral's soaring ceiling. >> incredible. >> reporter: villeneuve says this renovation is for him a duty and a mission, adding --
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>> translator: my job is ever morning i wake up to save the temple. they were putting in place braces designed to support the flying buttresses. with such a beloved landmark, there has been debate over every detail, chairs advisors pews, light and art. but villeneuve told us the structure will be as close to the original as possible. >> translator: we'll be using the exact same materials as they did during the middle ages and in the 19th century, he told us. we went to look in quarries to see if the stones we had were the correct density. it was oak. it shall be oak. the rebuilding techniques are absolutely identical. cbs news visited one of the french forests where they were selecting some of the one thousand oak trees at least a century old for the spire and transept. earlier this month, they began sawing the first few trees. notre dame did not have modern
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fire safety equipment like sprinklers to slow the blaze, but french firefighters had trained to fight a fire at the cathedral. they used water at lower pressure and tried to avoid directly spraying the stained glass. the windows are absolutely irreplaceable, phillipe villeneuve told us. these treasures were spared. there are artisans from about 20 different specialties at work here, some in this medieval place using the most modern of implements. including a drone fitted with special imaging technology. >> it's a high resolution photograph. so i already have the cathedral on my computer. >> in cathedral in the computer. >> reporter: phillipe dillmann is at france's national center for scientific research.
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he showed us what he calls notre dame's digital twin. >> we have 3-d maps to understand the way they were built, but also to restore them. >> reporter: and they can compare these images with high resolution ones taken before the fire. they've examined how the monument moved, where it was stressed by the fire, and the temperatures at which it burned. they're trying to understand where specific pieces were placed. some materials like stone can be reused. but this piece of wood, for instance, has been burned. that's not going to be able to put back in place. >> exactly. >> reporter: why does it matter if you know exactly where that came from if you can't put it back? >> it's the knowledge of ancient carpet try. >> reporter: and in trying to understand those processes, there has been some unexpected revelations from materials, like that centuries' old wood. >> we can have indications on
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the medieval climate, the evolution of medieval climate just by looking on the isotopes inside. >> reporter: wow. so we're not only learning about putting the cathedral back together, you're learning bits and pieces of history, climate. >> right. the science for rebuilding but also for science. >> reporter: they're tantalizing details. this precious time capsule is inspiring and challenging artisans of our modern era, charged with preserving the majesty of the past. ♪ what happens when you block heartburn with one prilosec otc in the morning? heartburn doesn't stand a chance - day... or night. excess stomach acid can cause heartburn. prilosec otc works differently by preventing excess acid production. so don't fight heartburn, block it.
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one of the most sought after therapists in all of florida keeps his office hours on a beachside bench in st. petersburg. steve hartman fund his story on the road. >> reporter: in st. petersburg, florida, when the sunrises, al nixon sets for his impromptu therapy sessions. >> how have you been? >> reporter: are you surprised at what people tell you? >> not anymore. >> reporter: as we first reported a few months ago, al isn't a trained therapy. >> i've been concerned. >> reporter: he actually works for the city water department. >> he is dismissing you. >> reporter: but in these early morning hours he is a trusted confidante to whoever passes by. renee rutsteen is a regular.
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>> he knows everything about me. >> reporter: did you feel weird sharing all your secrets to a guy on a bench? >> no, because he'll never judge me and he always shoots me straight. >> he is not judgmental and he takes you for who you. >> reporter: bernadette says she has never met a wiser man. >> he is like a guiding force. >> reporter: at the same time, i don't hear you talking a lot. >> no. >> reporter: i see a lot of nodding like i do now. and what lot of um-hmms. >> listening is a number one skill all mankind needs to know how to do very well. >> reporter: a skill he has clearly mastered. when al started coming here seven years ago, the therapy was for him. he needed a quiet place to clear his head. and the last thing he wanted was to hear other people's problems. but then a woman he'd never met told him something he'll never forget. >> she said every day i see you, i know everything is going to be okay. and that made me realize that
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when you speak to someone or you smile, you let them know i value you. and people pick up that. >> when i walk by sometimes, i don't even get a chance to chat with him because there are other people within in the line. >> reporter: and the line has only grown. after we first told this story this past summer, people popped by with poems and paintings and poses for selfies. many new faces from many new places. >> yes. >> reporter: from how far away? >> all over the country. >> reporter: all over the country? why do you think people came from far and wide just to sit on that bench with you? >> i simply think people just know i care. >> reporter: same reason people put a plaque on the bench, to a loving and loyal friend and a confidante to many. how can such a simple plaque be that powerful? >> when you express to someone
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you matter to me. >> reporter: they gave you back what you gave them. everyone needs an al, even al. i didn't have to shout out for help. because you didn't have another dvt. not today. one blood clot puts you at risk of having another, so we chose xarelto®, to help keep you protected. xarelto® is proven to treat and reduce the risk of dvt or pe blood clots from happening again. almost 98% of people did not have another dvt or pe. don't stop taking xarelto® without talking to your doctor,
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last year's devastating wildfires in australia killed millions of wild animals from kangaroos to wombats to the country's beloved koalas. another fire season is approaching, but tina kraus reports the animals face other dangers besides the flames. these are memories australians and koalas would like to leave behind. but forecasters predict another fierce fire season, putting the tree-climbing creatures at risk again. >> traditionally koalas would be able to climb to the top of the tree and escape a low-burning fire, but when they move so quickly there is not as much opportunity to avoid them and escape them. >> reporter: more than 60,000 of the treasured national icons were either killed, injured or displaced during wildfires over
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the last couple of years. conservationists say koalas are now struggling to survive because they're losing their habitat as more trees are cut down and areas are built up. >> we are the problem. and we need to do a lot better to help these guys live where they live, because they were here before us. >> reporter: climate change is also a threat as koalas struggle with heat-related stress and dehydration. >> this is unprecedented. and we're in a tipping point times. and all these things eventually will have major impact not just on koalas, but all the other animals that live in the same habitat. >> reporter: campaigners are urging australia's government to plant nor trees and protect more land, to save the home of one of the country's most adored animals. tina kraus, cbs news. >> and that's the "overnight news" for this monday. for some of you, the news continues. for over, check back later for "cbs mornings." and follow us online at reporting from the broadcast center in new york city, i'm meg oliver.
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thiss cbws f. m elise prn yor an israeli hospital will administer a fourth covid-19 vaccine dose to some hospital workers. the effort is to help gauge whether another round of booster shots will be given nationwide. israel is also considering administering a fourth pfizer vaccine dose to adults over the age of 60. whiteout conditions on the west coast are expected to make highway travel difficult over the neeveral days. the severe weather comes as millions are planning to hit the roads for holiday travel. holiday shoppers spent more money this year compared to last. sales rose 8.5% according to a new mastercard pulse spending report with electronics, and clothing be this year's hottest
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gifts. for more news, download our app on your cell phone or connected tv. i'm elise preston, cbs news, new york. it's monday, december 27th, 2021. this is the "cbs morning news." covid cancelations. holiday travelers stranded after thousands of flights are grounded. how the surge in coronavirus cases is slamming air travel. snowy mess. a storm out west is wreaking havoc on the roads. why forecasters say people who are heading home may not be out of the woods just yet. and honoring a civil rights icon. desmond tutu dies at the age of 90. how his tireless and nonviolent fight against apartheid in south africa is being remembered this morning. good morning, and good to be with you. i'm tom hanson.


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