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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 12, 2020 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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dive down every day until christmas. that's how they stay in shape after eating all those milk and cookies. >> he can swim with the fishes and still be around for christmas day. it's amazing what the man can do. thanks for watching. breaking news tonight. the moment we have been waiting for the fda authorizes emergency use of a covid vaccine, calling it safe and effective. >> d-day was the beginning of the end, and that's where we are today. >> now the unprecedented national effort to produce, ship, and administer the vaccine as the death toll hits a new one-day record the first vaccinations now set for monday we're on the ground with u.p.s. and fedex as they begin this massive challenge, delivering the most important packages in history. >> this is a monumental event it may be our finest hour hospitals first in line to get the
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vaccine. how doctors and nurses are getting ready amid a brutal surge in covid patients one state has just run out of icu beds. supreme rejection. the latest attempt to overturn the election shot down by the supreme court. mid-year report card we've been following these high school students since the first day of class their raw emotions in this challenging year. and making her point. >> right through there! >> the first woman ever to score in a major college football game >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with jose diaz-balart. good evening this is a historic day. what very well could be the beginning of the end of the pandemic the first vaccine for covid will be given to americans in less than 48 hours the cdc today affirming the fda's authorization, putting into motion what will be one of the biggest logistical challenges since world war ii but let there be no
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doubt. this war is still far from over. we hit new records on friday for deaths, cases, and hospitalizations tonight our correspondents across the country are going to walk you through every step of what happens next and we begin with gabe gutierrez in michigan. >> reporter: these are the loading docks where tomorrow morning a record rollout is set to begin workers today packing millions of vaccine doses here at pfizer's sprawling plant in portage, michigan. >> today is truly a historic day for seven months we have realized the greatest public/private partnership in modern times. >> reporter: united airlines had already flown in some of the shots to the u.s. from belgium. the potentially lifesaving cargo carefully transported in subarctic coolers the first batch 6.4 million doses. for now "operation warp speed" is stockpiling 500,000 of those and splitting the rest in two. the first half delivered now, the
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rest in three weeks. 145 sites expect deliveries monday. 425 on tuesday 66 on wednesday. >> we think as early as about three weeks from now we can be delivering vaccines to all providers as directed by the states >> reporter: overnight the fda authorized pfizer's vaccine for emergency use, writing that the known and potential benefits of the vaccine outweigh the potential risks for people 16 and older. fda commissioner stephen hahn says the agency did not cut corners. >> we worked quickly based on the urgency of this pandemic, not because of any other external pressure. >> reporter: president trump called it a medical miracle. >> this is one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in history. >> reporter: but just hours earlier he'd slammed the fda calling it a big old slow turtle. today dr. hahn disputed reports the white house chief of staff told him to clear the vaccine on friday or submit his
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resignation. >> the representations in the press that i was threatened to be fired if we didn't get it done by a certain date is inaccurate >> reporter: for now as "operation warp speed" kicks into high gear the latest projection is 40 million doses delivered by the end of the month >> and gabe joins us live from the pfizer plant in michigan. gabe, you said pfizer's holding back half of the supply why? >> reporter: yeah, jose at least initially "operation warp speed" is holding about 500,000 doses in an emergency reserve. about half of the rest will be sent out in about three weeks. that's to make sure everyone who gets a first dose can get a second one jose >> reporter: gabe gutierrez, thank you very much. transporting the vaccine will be an unprecedented challenge. this massive high-tech task to store, ship, and track it on the way to where you live in this mission every second counts. morgan chesky reports from the u.p.s. worl port air hub in louisville, kentucky
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>> reporter: tonight shipping giants nationwide ready to roll out pfizer's covid-19 vaccine the next 24 hours crucial. the first doses moving from a pfizer plant in michigan to fedex and u.p.s. hubs like memphis, tennessee, and louisville, kentucky before going out to 636 locations nationwide u.p.s. mostly covering the east coast while fedex primarily covers the west >> it's historic i mean, this is a monumental event i believe as a company it may be our finest hour >> reporter: richard smith is the regional president for fedex americas, covering every domestic delivery he says the company's using real-time tracking to follow every vaccine shipment from start to finish >> there is a distribution that's essentially broken down into different states, different metropolitan areas will go to fedex versus u.p.s but we're prepared to deliver from anywhere to anywhere on a time-definite basis overnight. just as we do every day out there.
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>> reporter: u.p.s. using a similar strategy >> we can be very agile in how we handle any kind of shipments coming into louisville >> reporter: u.p.s. health care president wes wheeler says each box like these that went to canada not only packed with dry ice but a bluetooth device tracking its subfreezing temperature and active location >> every time the package hits one of our locations anywhere in the country we'll be able to see it and we'll be able to monitor its location and if we get stuck for whatever reason we can recover. >> reporter: the destinations, hospitals and major distribution hubs all equipped with ultra cold freezer capability >> we all have our eye on the mission >> reporter: now shipping competitors working together, ready to pivot at a moment's notice with the answer to covid-19 >> morgan joins us now from the u.p.s. hub in louisville morgan, this center's going to play a critical role. >> reporter: yeah, jose, it absolutely is in fact, this hub is where one of those first cargo planes is going to be arriving carrying those vaccine doses, some of which
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are going to be immediately off-loaded into that ultra cold deep freeze. the rest loaded onto next-day planes and taken to more than 50 locations. jose >> morgan chesky in louisville, thank you. health care workers will be first in line when vaccinations start next week. hospitals across the country are getting ready. meagan fitzgerald reports from cedar-sinai hospital in los angeles >> reporter: tonight after ten months of so much despair new light at the end of a very dark tunnel. for health care workers it comes as the nation saw its deadliest week since april. more than 15,000 new deaths nationwide nearly 200 hospitals at capacity and almost 1/3 are seeing more than 80% of icu beds occupied >> things are really tough. this virus is so -- it's so serious and people don't see it that way >> reporter: from coast to coast hospitals have been preparing to roll out the vaccine for weeks.
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in phoenix, this health care system doing a practice drill. in louisiana, oshner health making sure their storage unit is ready for the nearly 10,000 doses heading their way. >> those vaccines will go into these containers that are for cold storage >> reporter: so many front line workers now breathing a sigh of relief after living in fear of contracting the virus and passing it on to their own families >> i've had doctors come up and tell me i've not seen my parents in six months, i'm afraid to go home. >> reporter: dr. paul nee works at danbury hospital in connecticut, where some 700 medical staff signed up for the vaccine in less than 24 hours what does the vaccine mean to health care workers? >> i think it's hope it may be the beginning of the end of covid >> reporter: in mississippi, where the state is out of icu beds, hope comes too late for frontline workers like angela howard's sister janet sittin she and her husband both contracted the virus at the same time >> they actually wheeled him into icu and let him hold her
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hand for a little bit. >> reporter: janet died weeks before the vaccine arrived. >> i wish it had been a month sooner however, i'm grateful that it's coming, and i'm more grateful than relieved that health care workers are receiving it first >> reporter: health care workers who are heroes willing to sacrifice to save lives, even when it costs them their own >> meagan joins us now from los angeles meagan, hospitals in california are filling up fast. how soon will hospitals receive the doses? >> reporter: jose, seven hospitals across the state are expecting to receive this vaccine as soon as this week especially the one behind me here, cedar-sinai. and it can't come soon enough this hospital here, icu is at capacity across southern california icu capacity has dropped to 5%. jose >> meagan fitzgerald in los angeles, thank you. nbc's senior medical correspondent dr. john torres joins us now dr. torres, the cdc
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just voted on recommendations to the new vaccine including advice for pregnant women. >> jose, studies weren't done on pregnant or breast-feeding women so we don't have data on how safe or effective the vaccine is for them. but today the cdc recommended that if a pregnant woman is part of a group who's recommended to get the vaccine like a health care worker she may choose to be vaccinated but should talk with her doctor to make an informed decision the cdc also recommended the vaccine even for someone who's already had covid although they could wait 90 days after getting the disease to get the shot since in those three months it's unlikely they'll get reinfected with the virus. >> and dr. torres, the cdc is now saying exactly how far apart these two shots need to be. >> jose, you need two doses of the pfizer vaccine to get the full protection it offers and today the cdc recommended you get the second dose 17 to 21 days after getting that initial shot. but realizing that some might miss that time window, they also said that if you do miss day 21 you need to get that second
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shot as soon as you can and you're not going to need to repeat the first shot all over again jose >> dr. torres, thank you very much. we want to take a moment to pause and note that with this vaccine something truly big is happening. something that could change the course of history. we've had big scientific achievements before. often set off with a bang this achievement packed in tiny vials no less spectacular. but now it's on us put this in some historical perspective. what does this stack up alongside >> you look over the decades at tests of america like the world war ii effort or the moon landing program these things show how well we did as a society. and i think we're about to see that right now as we see whether this vaccine works and whether it will be distributed to everyone >> it took 25 years to develop a vaccine for polio, 12 years for the flu.
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this first covid vaccine took just 11 months the scientists should be celebrated. >> this is probably one of the greatest public health accomplishments in my lifetime >> reporter: but so too should the volunteers tens of thousands across the world who rolled up their sleeves to take their shot at helping. >> 100 years from now historians will look back on this year and say, did we americans meet our moment? i hope they say that we did >> we all hope that. up next, supreme loss the court shuts down the president's bid to throw out the election results. and remembering country music legend charley pride. ♪ you've got to
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president trump is fighting back today after the supreme court's rejection of another lawsuit to throw out election results in key states. here's kelly o'donnell with the latest. >> reporter: president trump taking marine one on a flyover today to soar above his supporters demonstrating in washington, d.c. a brief spectacle after the president aimed angry tweets at the u.s. supreme court. the high court that he helped shape with three justices flatly rejected the president's attempt to overturn the election. a failed request to toss out votes in four battleground states. today repeating his spurious claims.
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"the supreme court had zero interest in the merits of the greatest voter fraud ever perpetrated on the united states of america. today the president embraced this traditional perk of his office >> mr. president, would you do us the honor? >> reporter: the commander in chief's coin flip at the celebrated army/navy game invited to cheer for athletes of both military branches without favor. while today he tipped the scales against his attorney general william barr, retweeting a call for barr to be fired and asking "why didn't bill barr reveal the truth to the public before the election about hunter biden," referring to barr's knowledge that the department of justice has been investigating hunter biden's finances the son of the president-elect disclosed the probe wednesday saying that he handled his affairs legally and appropriately. today president-elect joe biden headed to a philadelphia hospital for follow-up medical care on the fractures in his right foot.
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and tonight, in new comments to fox news president trump says he is very disappointed in the supreme court for rejecting his effort to overturn the biden victory, saying the justices lack courage. jose >> kelly o'donnell, thank you. still to come, students under pressure what they're now telling us about trying to learn during the pandemic and a history-making move for this female football pioneer
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the pandemic has caused a massive upheaval for millions of students struggling with learning online so tonight we're checking back with high school students we first met a few months ago here rehema ellis. >> reporter: nationwide this has been a school year filled with challenges every day. >> it's crazy. >> everything's getting worse. >> reporter: from the start we've been keeping in touch with 16 high school students in october allegra in chicago was frustrated with online class glitches >> the whole thing would just kick me out and say your connection was lost. >> reporter: she's still all remote but now she's overwhelmed.
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>> i don't really know what to do so it's really stressful. >> reporter: back in october when we surveyed high schools in the nation's largest 100 districts, 48 were fully remote as of this week that number is the same but many schools have shifted back and forth. in fact, 42 of those schools have shifted from in-person to remote or reverse at least once pennsylvania junior john robert is feeling strained by it all >> every single day is kind of you wonder what's going to happen and you worry about actually getting sick yourself >> reporter: would you say your grades are better or worse this year than last year? >> definitely worse. >> reporter: so that's got to be frustrating. >> very. i'm still surprised at how much online's affecting me >> reporter: across the country school districts report a disturbing increase in the number of students failing. in houston 42% failed two or more subjects
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compared to 11% in a normal year. in chicago 13% of high school students failed math and in los angeles ds and fs are also increasing >> i'm definitely more stressed this year >> it just feels like there's more pressure on me to do well now >> i would say holistically they are 50% more stressed than they were in the past because they're so worried about their grades all the time. >> reporter: it's a changing learning environment creating a troubling reality for kids >> at this time last year i feel like i knew so much stuff and i could not tell you what is happening in any of my classes i don't know anything. i genuinely am so lost >> reporter: anastasia in new york was remote learning on her phone at the start of school she still is, and it's taking a toll. >> i'm not passing all my classes i'm failing a few, actually >> i don't know if it's going to be an entirely lost year, but there are huge chunks that they have been deprived of
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adequate educational opportunities. >> reporter: what makes you hopeful as we move into the second half of the school year? >> i think we're going to get back in classrooms and we're going to see teachers who have really learned all the more so to put a priority on caring for kids >> reporter: in september remote learning was tough for ohio freshman cam miller >> very frustrating. >> reporter: but now signs of resilience. so, cam, would you say you're making the adjustment to learning at home? >> i would i was taught to never let life run over you. you're always in control of what you can do so i've been doing my best to stay in control of what it is i'm doing, especially in these unprecedented times. >> reporter: unprecedented times challenging our kids in ways we're still learning about rehema ellis, nbc news and tonight we're remembering a music legend charley pride was country music's first black superstar. he had more than 50
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top 10 country hits and was the first african-american inducted into the country music hall of fame pride died from complications of covid. he was 86 years old. a vanderbilt university football player made history today again. we profiled kicker sarah fuller when she was the first woman to play in a major college football game. well, today she is the first ever to score. kicking an extra point for the commodores in the game against tennessee. when we come back, the dazzling holiday decorations going up for a good cause
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there's good news tonight about the true spirit of the season and the families lighting the way with their labors of love this year families all over are finding special ways to bring light to these dark times. using their biggest and brightest holiday displays in tennessee, melissa and dan biddock giving back, hosting a dazzling outdoor gift donation for babies in a local hospital >> we decided to do the toy drive for the nicu babies. >> reporter: it's a mission with special meaning.
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their own son mason has been ill and in the nicu since he was born in july >> it's been an emotional roller coaster. my first grandchild is going through so much. and we can't even be with him but knowing that this is happening, it makes me smile >> reporter: this celebration honoring the dedicated doctors and nurses, too. >> we want to be able to bless them just like they bless us >> reporter: these acts of kindness playing out across the country. many taking part for the very first time. in the city of grapevine, known as the christmas capital of texas, louie and laurie murillo set up santas raising more than $15,000 to help local families get christmas gifts. >> i would get a few santas here and there in the mail, and then as 10, 12, 14, 500 came into the house -- >> i was like i'm all in you know just like texas. i'm going to go big or
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i'm going to go home >> reporter: that spirit catching on in california, too. >> merry christmas >> reporter: leah giles filling wishes from her outdoor giving tree. notes like these left by those in need asking for art supplies and a skateboard, writing "all our money goes to bills. my husband was laid off. and "little boy needs a jacket mom owned a salon and had to close." this holiday season families giving the gift of hope >> for some of these families they may be struggling financially. they may be struggling emotionally. mentally it's just something like this can maybe give them that smile that they've been needing for the longest time >> and that's nbc "nightly news" for this saturday. i'm jose diaz-balart thank you for the privilege of your time and good night
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right now, a race to get americans vaccinated. >> within the next 24 hours they will begin moving vaccine from the pfizer manufacturing facility to the ups and fedex hubs. >> tonight when the vaccine will come to the bay area and how many doses hospitals are expecting. >> plus more questions about the safety of the vaccine. the cdc releasing its recommendation for pregnant women and people with allergies. what a bay area doctor is saying about that guidance. and in the central valley icu beds have run out as the number of cases


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