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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  December 20, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PST

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see you back here at 4 p.m. bye, bye. tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. the cdc with eye-opening numbers just out tonight on this new variant, the omicron variant. what the numbers show in this country reports coming in now what could be the first omicron death in this country and where. late today, the cdc revealing omicron is now the dominant strain in america. the highly transmissible variant making up 73% of new covid cases in the u.s. more than 90% of new cases in some parts of the country are omicron. cases doubling every two to three days and what does this mean for christmas and your family gatherings? new york state, for one, breaking records for a fourth day in a row. what they're seeing tonight from texas to new york to michigan, and dr. jha is standing by to walk us through this. also news on moderna's booster
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tonight. also developing as we come on the air, the earthquake in california. a strong earthquake off the coast. the magnitude 6.2 quake damaging homes and businesses. some windows shattered. several aftersharks now being reported. tonight, news president biden has talked with senator joe manchin, after the bombshell reveal 24 hours ago by manchin that he is a no on the president's build back better bill. tonight, what both of them are now signaling now. cecilia vega with us live at the white house. two major drills we're watching at this hour. jury deliberations now under way in the case of former police officer kim potter in minnesota. the prosecutor calling the shooting and killing of daunte wright reckless and a blunder of epic propoe sutipropotions. and the trial of ghislaine maxwell going to the jury late today. the prosecution calling her and
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jeffrey epstein partners in crime. the defense calling a victim of straight up sensationalism. a college student last seen leaving her dorm. police finding her alive and held captive 90 miles from school. and we're tracking the holiday weather. the winter weather alerts tonight from california to montana and where this goes next. and the travel outlook for tomorrow. and your chances of a white christmas. good evening and it's great to start another week with all of you at home as we begin this christmas week, and we find ourselves dealing with a covid surge. just before we came on the air tonight, the cdc confirming what so many of us have heard from family members, colleagues, that everyone seems to know someone
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dealing with this. tonight, the cdc says omicron now makes up 73% of all new cases and in some parts of the country, more than 90% of new cases are omicron. cases doubling every two to three days. so, of course, what do you do to make sure your holidays are safe? dr. jha is standing by to answer your questions tonight. many t in the meantime, look at the map. 26 states has have cases risen or more. long lines for testing across this country tonight. in new york city, people standing in the cold weather. in new york state alone, cases tripling in just a week. a fourth day in a row setting new records. and a long line of cars again at dodger stadium in los angeles. and of course, this surge coinciding with the busy travel season. take a look at the crowds at boston's logan airport. tens of millions of americans expected to travel for the holidays. holiday performances tonight now extending their cancellations. nearly a third of all broadway
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shows shut down for now. and, of course, sports, too. the nfl and now more than a quarter of nhl teams canceling games due to covid. and news from moderna tonight. they say their current booster shot produces a strong antibody response against the omicron variant, according to their new data. they also say they're developing a new omicron-specific shot anyway. tonight, come reports the first omicron death, as well. this comes from harris county, texas, confirming the first death, a man in his 50s in harris county, of course, we don't know if he was vaccinated, if he had any pre-existing conditions that put him at any greater risk. it is still early. we are tracking all of the information coming in. and our chief national correspondent matt gutman leading us off in new york. >> reporter: tonight, just days before christmas, the nation's top doctors are warning of a surge of cases unlike anything we've seen so far in this pandemic, driven by omicron. the variant now accounting for 73% of covid cases across the u.s. in some parts, over 90%.
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it was recorded at 3% last week. but with effective vaccines and now the boosters, so far, seemingly making symptoms less severe, the governor urging calm. >> it's not march of 2020, it's not even december of 2020, just just to keep things in perspective. the dramatic rise in cases copping just as tens of millions travel for the holidays. the tsa reporting over 6.3 million travelers this weekend. 83% of pre-pandemic levels. at laguardia today, travelers lining up for tests. the skyrocketing demand in new york city forcing officials to add over 20 more city-run testing sites in the coming days. and what concerns authorities most, just how transmissible omicron is. >> this virus is extraordinary. it has a doubling time of anywhere from two to three days. right now, in certain regions of the country, 50% of the isolates are omicron, which means it's going to take over. with omicron that we're dealing with, it is going to be a tough few weeks to months as we get
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deeper into the winter. >> reporter: the cdc has discussed models showing the variant will surge through christmas, with a peak in mid-january, finally trailing off in march. the warnings from top health officials, if americans aren't vaccinated, boosted, and wearing masks in public places, this could multiply very cases. >> we could be having a million cases a day if we're not really attentive to all of those mitigation strategies. and i don't know if we'll hit that, but there are certainly projections that say that could happen. >> reporter: but tonight, an encouraging headline, early data from moderna showing its current vaccine booster increases antibody levels against omicron 37-fold. pfizer says its booster increased antibodies 25-fold. the variant already sweeping through houston. >> it's really achieved at about three weeks what it took delta
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three months to accomplish. >> reporter: the surge at first fueled by the delta variant now omicron, too, shutting down holiday traditions. almost a third of broadway shows have been canceled, including "hamilton." and three democratic lawmakers, senators elizabeth warren and cory booker, representative jason crow, revealing breakthrough cases. maryland's republican governor larry hogan, as well. senator warren tweeting, "i regularly test for covid and while i tested negative earlier this week, today i tested positive with a breakthrough case. thankfully, i'll only experiencing mild symptoms and i'm grateful for the protection provided against serious illness that comes from being vaccinated and boogsed." nearly 50 people aboard this royal caribbean cruise testing positive when it docked in miami. 98% of them were fully vaccinated. the long lines snaking around covid testing sites coast to coast. >> she's under the weather, so, got to get tested for day care and with christmas coming up and the grandparents potentially visiting, we want to make sure she isn't spreading it to them.
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>> reporter: and in another sign of how politicized vaccines have come. fans of president trump booing when he announced he got the booster. >> did you get the booster? >> yes. >> i got it, too. >> don't, don't, don't. no, no. >> reporter: in michigan, which has been struggling through its latest surge for nearly three months, fewer than 15% of icu beds are now available. >> we're seeing an inkres in the amount of ventilators being used and one of the scary, or probably i should say sad things, the overwhelming majority of these patients are not vaccinated. >> and of course our concern continues to be for the front line workers, as well. matt gutman with us here tonight. and matt, as i mentioned right off the top tonight, there are initial reports that health officials in texas have confirmed the first omicron-related death? >> reporter: that's right. that's harris county, david, in texas. that's where houston is, we believe this man was in his 50s. he lived in the eastern part of
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the city. we don't know anything about his underlying conditions, whether he was vaccinated or boosted. it is important to note, however, that this news comes just as the county raised its threat level to orange, indicating that there is an uncontrolled level of covid in the area and also worth noting that we have a no evidence that omicron is anymore virulent than any other variants, in fact, there is some information pointing to the opposite, especially if you are immunized. david? >> yeah, let's hope that holds true in the coming weeks and i know many people, matt, thanks to you, we have a lot of questions. we're going to go to dr. ashish jha. and dr. jha, great to have you with us. you heard the new numbers just before we came on tonight, from the cdc. omicron now the dominant variant in the u.s. 73% of new cases. and in some parts of the country, more than 90% of cases. this is going to rattle a lot of people. we knew highly transmissible, this was your suspicion last
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week, but this is very fast. >> yeah, good evening, david. thanks for having me back. it's very, very fast. i think it's caught a lot of health officials offguard, just how quickly it's become dominant. we expected it by the end of december. to get there before christmas is a little bit of a surprise, but it is a very contagious variant. >> doctor, we're hearing a lot of breakthrough cases, even those who have been vaccinated, two shots, and boosted. so far. and you heard matt say this moments ago, at least among those who have vaccinated and boosted, milder ssymptoms, at least so far. >> yeah, that's the big difference now between this and previous variants, is that we are going to see vaccinated people get infected. hopefully lower rates, especially if you're boosted, but most of them will have very we've got to do. that's what - we've got to stop paying attention to the infection numbers and really pay attention to who is getting sick from this. my hope and expectation is that most vaccinated people will do just fine. >> all right, this question is
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going to be tough for you, because you can't solve this problem, it's a little bigger than the two of us, but if you want to keep your family safe in the coming days and you're vaccinated and boosted but you still want to test, dr. jha, you saw the long lines there in our lead piece. pharmacy shelves empty for the at-home test kits. so, that's a challenge. and again, the second part of this is, what if the test comes back positive in the middle of your family get-together? >> yeah, this is a challenge. and i wish we had more of these rapid tests. these rapid tests are coming on and off shelves very quickly. if you can't find them today, look for them tomorrow. i think that's the test that you should be using before you get the family get-together. if you are positive, you got to isolate for at least five days, maybe longer. you can't, because otherwise you are going to spread it to other family members. >> dr. jha with us and i suspect we'll talk again this week. thank you so much. in the meantime, we are going to move to the other news this monday night. a powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake rattling northern california tonight. the epicenter 24 miles off the
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coast, about 250 miles north of san francisco. they did feel this in homes and businesses there and abc's marcus moore from california with the images coming in tonight. >> reporter: tonight, this northern california main street shattered. a strong 6.2 magnitude earthquake striking this afternoon. >> that was a big one. >> reporter: the force throwing open caroline titus's kitchen cabinets thrown open, canned food scattering across the floor. plaques falling off the walls. >> i talked to my husband, i said, that's quite a wind. he said, that's not wind, that's an earthquake. immediately, everybody was out on the street. >> reporter: angela grimaldo finding a mess in this day spa. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: the quake recorded at 12:10 this afternoon, 24 miles off the coast of petrolia, california. several aftershocks following. seismologist dr. lucy jones,
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saying earthquakes are common in the area, but this is the largest in quite some time. >> magnitude 6.2 if you're directly on top of it will cause quite a bit of damage. this one is an off shore. so i would expect a small amount of damage mostly confined to the coastal regions right along the ocean. >> reporter: david, emergency services is asking residents to report any damage and they emphasize that so far, there is no tsunami threat associated with this earthquake. there have been no reports of major roadway damage, but a lot of rattled nerves here on the west coast. >> no question about that. marcus, thank you. now, to washington, and there is news coming in tonight that president biden has talked with senator joe manchin after that reveal that caught the white house by surprise, when manchin went on cable on sunday morning and said he was a no on the president's nearly $2 trillion build back better bill. tonight, what the president and the senator are now signaling. and here's our chief white house correspondent cecilia vega. >> reporter: tonight, abc news has learned of a phone call between president biden and west virginia senator joe manchin. that call happening just hours
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after manchin declared he's a no on a key piece of the president's domestic agenda. today, the white house declaring the build back better plan is not dead. >> we're ready to move forward and get this done and work like hell to do that. >> reporter: but the reality, the white house was blindsided by manchin's announcement on fox news. >> i've tried everything humanly possible. i can't get there. >> you're done? this is -- is this a no? >> this is a no on this legislation. >> reporter: press secretary jen psaki in a blistering statement calling it a "sudden and inexplicable reversal" and "a breach" of manchin's "commitments to the president." >> they can just beat the crap out of people and think they'll be submissive. period. i understand that this is not the president. this is staff, and they drove some things and they put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable. >> reporter: tonight, "the washington post" reports manchin had agreed to white house priorities like universal pre-k, fighting climate change and expanding the affordable care act, but he would not budge on extending the child tax credit, which aims to reduce child
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poverty and is set to expire this month. sources tell abc news that during private conversations on capitol hill, manchin questioned whether parents would use that money to buy drugs. sources tell us he also said americans, including his own west virginia constituents, could exploit paid family leave to go hunting during deer season. the senator's office not denying the comments, saying he supports the child tax credit but believes the money should be targeted to those who need it most. they say he supports family leave as long as it has a "dedicated, sustainable funding mechanism." today, the white house insisting, there is still room for compromise. >> they share fundamental values, they're longtime friends, that has not changed. >> reporter: does the president feel betrayed by his friend? >> again, the president sees senator manchin as somebody who is a longtime friend, somebody who has worked well together on and our objective and our focus now is moving forward. >> reporter: well, now in washington, there are a lot of ideas about where this goes from
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here, including splitting this massive piece of legislation into smaller bills or perhaps funding fewer priorities for longer periods of time. but bottom line, democrats are furious and this legislation is hanging in the balance. david? >> cecilia, thank you. as you know, all this playing out, of course, these new covid numbers, as well, the new o omicron variant this new strain. all of this as i sit down with the president wednesday and we'll have it right after that on "world news tonight." in the meantime, now to the other news this evening. the jury is now deliberating the fate of former minnesota police officer kim potter in the shooting death of daunte wright. she says she mistook her gun for her taser. in closing argueths, the prosecutor calling that a, quote, colossal crew up. here's abc's stephanie ramos. >> reporter: tonight, the jury is deliberating in the trial of former minnesota police officer kim potter, who faces charges in the fatal shooting of daunte wright.
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>> members of the jury, this case is in your hands. >> reporter: the defense and prosecution presenting their closing arguments today. potter faces first and second-degree manslaughter charges for shooting and killing 20-year-old wright during a traffic stop in april. >> taser, taser, taser. >> reporter: in body camera video, potter is heard yelling taser repeatedly before she shoots wright, as the officer she was training attempts to arrest him for a misdemeanor warrant. >> i shot him! oh, my god! >> reporter: defense attorneys say potter confused her firearm for her taser. >> this lady here made a mistake and my gosh, a mistake is not a crime. >> reporter: and that potter was justified in using deadly force, because she feared wright would injure another officer as he drove away. >> daunte wright caused his own death, unfortunately. >> reporter: the prosecution telling the jury today the case is simple and that it's about
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the, quote, reckless handling of a firearm and culpable negligence by potter. >> members of the jury, this was no little oopsie. this was a colossal screwup. a blunder of epic proportions. it was irreversible and it was fatal. >> reporter: the jury will now have access to all the evidence presented during the trial. that includes the gun and the taser. they'll be able to see and hold both. the jury will be fully sequestered during these deliberations, david. >> stephanie ramos tonight, thank you. and when we come back here, the disappearance of that college student, now found a week later. she was being held captive. thinkorswim® by td ameritrade is more than a trading platform. it's an entire trading experience. with innovation that lets you customize interfaces, charts and orders to your style of trading.
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no surprises in these clothes! couple more surprises. tonight, the new storm threat in the west. winter weather alerts from california to montana. heavy rain, several feet of snow possible in the mountains. a white christmas there. but dry, mild conditions for millions traveling from the southwest all the way up to the northeast. when we come back tonight, one version of "the nutcracker"
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finally tonight here, the 7-year-old dancer who taught himself and taught the rest of us, too. tonight, the holiday performance in wilmington, delaware, and they are celebrating their newest star. ♪ lj marshall, who just turned 7, making his stage debut in "the nutcracker" ballet. his hat on, with help from the mouse. warming up in the aisles, the hallways, the flips. what's incredible is lj has never performed on stage before. entirely self-taught from videos online. the wilmington ballet saw a video of him dancing, performing right in his neighborhood. on the street. stunned by his talent, his confidence, they would meet lj and his family, offering him a
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full scholarship. training with the ballet for weeks, cartwheels, backbends, leg lifts, and no fear. and right before his big debut? >> hi david. >> -- lj telling us why he does it. >> make me happy and make me want to dance. >> hello david. >> tonight, the ballet on the lessons they and so many are learning from lj. >> he will inspire other children who look like him. he loves what he's doing and he's fearless in pursuing it. and i think that's something we all can learn from. >> it's lj's moment. the splits, the leg lifts, and the splits again. tonight, lj's mother ramona and all of us proud. >> dreams do come true, if you just work hard and continue to progress. >> it is just the beginning for lj. i'll see you tomorrow. >> building a better bay area,
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moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. >> i try to check walgreens and cvs and they did not have an available slot today. >> he looked online and he found this store, that's why i drove down here. >> the pressure on to get covid tests as people across the bay area gear up for holiday gatherings. >> thank you for joining us. the cdc announced omicron is the most common coronavirus variant in the country, accounting for nearly three quarters of covid cases. here are the key headlines. the director general of the world health organization is recommending canceling or delaying holiday events because of omicron. he says it is more likely vaccinated people or even those who have recovered from covid could be infected or reinfected. daily cases have nearly doubled since late october. federal data shows the u.s. averaging more than 125,000 new cases every day.
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moderna announced today its booster increases antibodies against the omicron variant within a month of getting the shot. >> as we get closer to the christmas holiday, more people are trying to get covid tests, especially at home tests, before gathering with friends and family. but for many, those tests are hard to find. reporter: travel and holiday plans continue for many throughout the bay area despite concerns about the omicron variant. this dr. encouraging people not together, but recognizes many will not be canceling plans. he says given a rise of covid in many parts of the country, knowing whether you are positive or not before you meet with people is critical. >> the recommendation in terms of getting tests to try to meet with others safely is to do an antigen test right before the meeting. the bad news is those tests have become a hot commodity

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