tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC January 28, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
tonight, the coronavirus and the new variant. this time, from south africa, now detected here in the u.s. this is the variant dr. fauci has said he is concerned about. will the vaccines work against it? two cases of that variant discovered in south carolina. neither patient had traveled nor do they have any connection to each other. the cdc tonight warning it appears to be more contagious. dr. fauci and dr. jha, we hear from them both tonight. what you need to know. and on the vaccines here in the u.s., why are shots going unused? the cdc tonight now reporting 13 states have used less than half of the vaccine doses sent to them. amid the pandemic, president biden signing a new executive action today, reopening the
enrollment period for obamacare, to help struggling americans. mary bruce standing by on that. the arrest at the capitol. police say a man with a gun in his car and paperwork on "stop the steal." the false claims about the election. and house speaker nancy pelosi tonight on the continuing threat, saying the enemy is within. saying members of congress want to bring guns onto the floor and have threatened other members. and the newly sworn in congresswoman and the videos. what she said to a survivor of the parkland shootings and what she said about the las vegas massacre. tonight, the deadly leak at a plant. at least six workers killed. workers say there were clouds of chemicals. employees immediately falling unconscious. the major storm system slamming the west. racing across the country. and now it could potentially become a significant nor'easter. up to a half foot of snow possible in some places in the east. and rob marciano with the new track tonight. general motors with a major announcement. gm will stop making gas-powered
passenger cars and suvs, and when they plan to do it by. and america strong tonight. the u.s. service member and the time sensitive mission. would he get there in time? good evening and good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy thursday night. and we begin tonight with that troubling news on the coronavirus here in the u.s. the south african variant of the virus that we knew dr. anthony fauci has said he was concerned about, has now been found in two people in south carolina. neither had traveled and they had no connection to one another. tonight, scientists believe this strain is highly contagious and the other concern is that it would appear that the vaccines aren't as effective in fighting it. moderna, for one, already announcinge ainst this variant, though that will take time. pfizer says it's hard at work on this, too. tonight, the virus has now taken more than 431,000 lives. this january has been the deadliest month yet.
with news of that south african variant here, the cdc tonight is now urging people not to travel. and this evening, all of this comes amid efforts to get more vaccine out there. and news that some vaccine is not being used. that new note from the cdc, saying at least 13 states have used less than half of the vaccine doses sent to them. abc's whit johnson leading us off tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the first known cases of that highly infectious covid variant from south africa now confirmed in the u.s. two people from south carolina with no travel history or connection to one another. what is your biggest fear? >> my biggest fear at this moment is that these variants are going to take hold and really take off across the united states. and if that happens, we're going to see a huge spike in cases. lots of infections, lots of deaths. >> reporter: the cdc now urging all americans to avoid travel. it's exactly what experts worried about, since early tests showed the south african variant may chip away at the effectiveness of the pfizer and moderna vaccines.
>> the one in south africa troubles me. >> reporter: dr. anthony fauci telling us work is already under way to update those vaccines with a booster shot. >> we'll already be on the road to being able to give people a boost that directs against the south african isolate. that's what we're doing right now. so we're just -- yeah, we're not taking any chances. >> reporter: there is no evidence the south african variant is more deadly, but it does spread more easily, like mutant strains from brazil and one from the uk, already in 28 states.wir icafo. where tht,ki fothe south >>abs acro the coun including here at stanford on the hunt for the variant from south africa. eyay it's only ar of yet, but ti awe it m still be ill be lown total number of cases, but i do believe it's probably much more widespread than just south carolina.
>> reporter: with new variants threatening a fresh surge in cases and more deaths, growing pressure to vaccinate with limited supply. some states like washington cracking down, telling nonresidents there's no vaccine for them. this man drove from oklahoma to get one. >> i set my mileage at zero miles when i left. i drove almost 1,800 miles in 2 1/2 days. >> reporter: in oregon, county health workers stuck in a snow storm managed to save six doses that were about to expire, setting up an impromptu clinic, going car to car, administering shots to thankful drivers stranded on the side of the road. >> it wouldn't have mattered if it was six doses or one or 200. we would have been out going door to door until we couldn't give them anymore. >> that's really something. whit johnson with us tonight at that mass vaccination site at the javits center here in new york. you've been reporting here over the past several dys the long lines across the country, families trying to make appointments for vaccinations, they can't get them. and then today we learned this from the cdc, they're reporting that 13 states have used less than half of the doses
distributed to them. how is this even possible? >> reporter: well, david, there are a variety of problems. one complicating factor is many health care facilities are holding onto those second doses until they know that more is on the way. a senior white house adviser is now promising that fixes are in the works, including plans to ship out 10 million doses per week over the next three weeks. david? >> all right, whit johnson leading us off tonight. whit, thank you. and we have heard from dr. fauci there for days to keep an eye on this variant from south africa. now that it's here, what more do we know? and what are they seeing in south africa right now, where more than 90% of the new cases there are this new variant. here's our foreign correspondent james longman tonight. >> reporter: south africa was already overwhelmed by coronavirus and now it's the epicenter for that new, seemingly more contagious b-1-351 variant taking over the country. >> it is quite horrible. all the icus, all the hospitals
are full. >> reporter: with two cases now detected in the u.s., at least 31 countries are now facing this strain, too. by some estimates, it could be up to 50% more infectious. though scientists caution they're still studying it. in south africa, a ventilator shortage. hospitals stretched thin. morgues unable to keep up. has it ever been as bad as it is now in south africa? >> this is the worst. the number of patients is just overwhelming. we've allowed patients to die because we could not ventilate them. >> reporter: south african researchers saying the variant now makes up ore than 90% of cases there, despite a strict lockdown. the w.h.o. warning today it's also fueling a second covid wave across the continent. >> and james longman with us tonight from london. and james, we heard what dr. fauci said about the pfizer and moderna vaccines, that they work against most of these variants, including the uk variant, but that when it comes to this south won't bes effeive.
>> reporter: yeah, david. there are some worrying signs that this south african variant may be chipping away at the efficacy of the vaccines. but this is important. the vaccinemakers are saying they are working hard at updating their shots. david? >> all right, james longman with us tonight, as well. thank you, james. and amid this pandemic, president biden taking executive action today to expand health care access, reopening the enrollment period for obamacare to help struggling americans. here's abc's senior white house correspondent mary bruce tonight. >> reporter: president biden today signing an executive order allowing millions of americans to sign up for obamacare in the middle of the pandemic. >> to undo the damage trump has done. >> reporter: the order opening a special insuranc peodrom february 1toay 15. it comes with biden focused on selling congress on his massive nearly $2 trillion covid relief bill, which includes $160 billion for vaccinations and testing. support for small businesses. and $1,400 direct payments to
most americans. biden wants to pass the bill with republican support, but gop lawmakers say the price tag is just too high. >> if our republican colleagues decide to oppose this urgent and necessary legislation, we will have to move forward without them. >> reporter: the white house today asked whether they would be willing to break the bill into pieces to allow votes on the parts with bipartisan support. their answer -- no. in the oval office, we asked the president directly. do you think getting covid relief passed will require you to break it up into chunks, mr. president? >> no one requires me to do anything. >> saying it's not required of him. mary bruce live with us at the white house tonight. and mary, president biden says this is a national emergency, that it can't wait. but as you report here tonight, republicans and democrats still seem far apart. so, what's the bottom line? >> reporter: well, david, the talks continue. i asked the white house today, what's more important, getting that this is part of the negotiating process. but the big picture here, david,
is they make too many concessions to republicans, they could risk losing support from democrats. and with that near even split in the senate, they just don't have a lot of wiggle room here. david? >> millions of americans are watching it all tonight. mary bruce tonight. mary, thank you. and now to what authorities say is the continuing threat at the u.s. capitol. new arrests reported on capitol hill tonight. 71-year-old dennis westover of west virginia in court in washington, d.c., arrested for allegedly having a gun near the capitol. authoriies say he shouted at a national guard member. they recovered a gun from his car along with "stop the steal" documents, those false election claims, and a list of politicians. tonight, authorities also arresting a man accused of attacking a police officer while trying to force his way through a capitol checkpoint. nancy pesionight sayemn.to bri d and the wly sworn in congresswoman and the videos now. what she said to a survivor of the parkland shootings and what she said about the las vegas massacre. abc's rachel scott back on the
hill tonight. >> reporter: tonight, three weeks after the storming of the capitol, house speaker nancy pelosi calling for greater protection for members of congress, insisting they now face an enemy within. >> we will probably need a supplemental for more security for members when the enemy is within the house of representatives. >> reporter: when asked who she was talking about, pelosi saying this -- >> we have members of congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of congress. >> reporter: she didn't mention names, but pelosi's words likely a veiled reference to newly-elected congresswoman marjorie taylor greene of georgia. in a widely shared video from 2019, greene declaring pelosi a traitor, implying she should be executed. >> it's a crime punishable by death is what treason is. nancy pelosi is guilty of treason. >> reporter: it's not the only video coming back to haunt the congresswoman. she also posted this one,
questioning whether the mass shooting at a country music festival in las vegas was a setup by liberals to rally support for gun control. >> so, i am really wondering if there is a -- there's a bigger motive there and does it have to do with the second amendment? >> reporter: that, of course, is not true. authorities determined the shooter, stephen paddock, acted alone. a motive was never determined. greene also shown on this 2019 video chasing david hogg, a teenage survivor of the parkland school shooting. hogg was on capitol hill lobbying for tougher gun laws. >> but yet you're attacking our second amendment. >> reporter: now, congresswoman greene sits on the house education committee, installed by the republican leader, kevin mccarthy. >> what could they be thinking? or is thinking too generous a word for what they might be doing? it's absolutely appalling. >> rachel scott with us live from washington again tonight. and rachel, house republican leader kevin mccarthy has been under increasing pressure to try to stop the infighting among
house republicans since these deadly riots at the capitol. he said that former president trump should, quote, accept his share of responsibility, but today, mccarthy was in florida, trying to mend fences with the former president? >> reporter: yeah, that's exactly right, david. republican leader kevin mccarthy requested this meeting. the two meeting today in florida. we know that trump was unhappy with mccarthy's criticism of his words at that rally. tonight, trump's team calling the meeting cordial, david. >> rachel scott, who covers congress for us every night. rachel, thank you. we turn now to the deadly chemical leak at a food processing plant, this was north of atlanta. workers say they were overcome by clouds of chemicals. employees immediately falling unconscious. hazmat teams responding. and tonight, at least six workers have died. here's abc's steve osunsami now. >> reporter: workers at this georgia poultry plant tonight say that the fog of chemicals in the air was so thick that anyone who walked into the area lost consciousness. >> we have a nitrogen leak. we have some people down inside. >> reporter: six people died.
one of them at the hospital. doctors tonight are still treating at least eight of the plant's workers. >> i couldn't see but nothing but fog at the bottom of the steps. it was too thick. so, i turned around. but if i had gone down there -- everybody that went down there, they fell out. >> once the units arrived, they found a large contingent of employees that had evacuated, along with multiple victims that were in that crowd that were experiencing medical emergencies. >> reporter: more than 100 were put on buses to a nearby church where they were medically evaluated. >> a lot of these folks that came into work today did not have any idea of what would happen, nor did their families. >> reporter: taking no chances, authorities put a school nearby on lockdown, frightening the school's parents, who were told that they shouldn't come get their kids. four firefighters we a hospitalized and one of them is still being treated tonight. authorities believe that the leak was in a line of nitrogen and they're still not sure what caused it. david? >> all right, steve osunsami, thank you. >> we're going to turn now to this headline getting a lot of
attention on wall street. day traders at home in this pandemic on inexpensive apps taking on giant wall street hedge funds who have bet against struggling companies. many of those investors at home investing in those struggling companies, forcing the hedge funds to then pay up for shorting the companies. here's abc's chief business correspondent rebecca jarvis tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the new york attorney general is investigating after a multibillion dollar bubble on wall street burst. it all started as a raging tug of war between a group of young stock enthusiasts who bought shares in struggling companies like game stop. but the biggest hedge funds in the country were betting game stop would crash, also known as shorting. by buying the stock, the newcomers helping to push shares of game stock up 1,700%, costing the hedge funds more than $5 billion. but today, several online brokerages decided to restrict trading in companies like game stop, effectively shutting out the little guys. but tonight, many say they're not giving up.
>> i think the stock is going to go up a lot, so -- regardless of the new restrictions. >> reporter: you did not sell today? >> no, not a single share. >> reporter: 19-year-old j.p. is one of many newcomers, stuck at home in the pandemic, swapping trading tips on reddit. until today, he was using the free online platform robinhood to buy and sell stocks. that is, until they told their users they couldn't buy any more game stop in light of recent volatility. what did you think of robinhood's move? >> i thought it was pretty unfair and unjust. >> reporter: and now, late tonight, an aboutface. robinhood announcing it will reopen limited trading tomorrow, calling it a risk management decision. >> so, let's get right to rebecca tonight. and rebecca, as you reported, new york's attorney general tonight saying she's reviewing concerns about trading on the robinhood app. we know those at-home investors say they deserve that right to do it. but you're learning tonight that several members of congress are now looking into this, as well? >> reporter: that's right, david. we've heard many calls from congress to look into this new
territory, these new trading devices. it's important to keep in mind here, the s.e.c. says they are not commenting to abc news at this time, but the bottom line, this is not saving for retirement. if you are even considering doing this kind of trading, proceed with caution, david. >> all right, rebecca jarvis, tonight, as well. thank you, rebecca. when we come back here, the major storm system slamming the west, racing across the country and it could potentially become a significant nor'easter, up to a half foot of snow in parts of the east. so rob is going to time this out right after the break. are you ready to join the duers? those who du more with less asthma. thanks to dupixent. the add-on treatment for specific types of moderate-to-severe asthma. dupixent isn't for sudden breathing problems. it can improve lung function for better breathing in as little as 2 weeks and help prevent severe asthma attacks. it's not a steroid but can help reduce or eliminate oral steroids. dupixent can cause serious allergic reactions
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we can feel that cold air pouring in right now and that sets the stage for that nor'easter, that energy coming from the california storm, which is still bringing that heavy tomoch mora goodont 10el, in and that nor' developing sunday night, monday into tuesday, could see significant snows especially inland. we'll be tracking it, david. >> we're going to need that hood you have there, rob, with the temperatures on the way. robe mars rob marciano, thank you tonight. when we come back here on the news, the major announcement the news, the major announcement from gm tonight. not an injection or infusion, for adults with rate to severe ulcerative colitis when a certain medicine did not help enough. xeljanz is the first and only fda-approved pill for moderate to severe uc. it can reduce symptoms in as early as two weeks, improve the appearance of the intestinal lining, and provide lasting steroid-free remission. xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections.
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finally tonight here, america strong. the service member getting the call on the most important mission of all. it was a time sensitive mission for u.s. army private second class tyrell hicks, training on a base several states away. the team at university of maryland st. joseph medical center were waiting. private hicks was granted leave to be there for his son's birth. his wife alana had no idea her husband was there. >> congratulations! >> private hicks running to her room. alana surprised and about to give birth. >> you ready? >> baby cannon would soon arrive.
>> hey, david. >> tonight, mom and little cannon with us. dad back on the base. >> just here introducing you to baby cannon and let you guys know we've been overwhelmed with love. the amount of gratitude that i have to have my husband by my side, it was totally not expected for me. >> and this new mom with a thank you. >> shoutout to his troops and everyone who has been supporting us. we feel loved and honored and it was a perfect way to welcome our new baby boy cannon to the world. >> i'll say. congrats to mom, and dad, back at the base, thank you for your service. i hope to see you tomorrow. good night california is vaccinating more than 100,000 people per
day. sounds good, but we really need to do better. tonight we look at the problems and the solutions. and 7 on your side digs in to the second state auditor report on the edd. if possible,t's en more scathing than the first. i'm spencer christian. our storm is losing its intensity, but its impact will linger. i'll have the accuweather forecast coming up. abc7 news at 6:00 starts now. >> building a better bay area for a safe and secure future. this is abc7 news. well, have you seen enough of live doppler 7 this week? we'll stop showing it when it stops raining. which is not quite yet. good evening. i'm ama daetz. >> and i'm dan ashley. the end of the storm is in sight, which is certainly welcome news for the neighborhoods where the weather caused some real problems this week. check out the beach flats area of aptos in santa cruz county. long-time resident rich ralston
posted this video on facebook today, showing several inches of stan they haven't seen hit the bad for years. willits in mendocino county got 10 inches of snow, plus high winds and trees simply snapped in the storm. tammy wilkens sent us these pictures of damage she saw. >> incredible photos. in the central valley, yosemite got so much snow, it's staying closed all through the weekend. these are pictures the national park service tweeted. beautiful but a little scary with all that snow. the storm, though, is winding down. we are definitely past the worst of it. >> which is great news. spencer christian is tracking. spencer, what's left? >> well, dan, take look at live doppler 7. you'll see it is winding down, area is receiving very little or no rainfall at all. but where it is raining in some of those place, it's raining heavily, and that's mainly down in the south bay from gilroy to