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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 15, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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tonight, the tonight, the nation's governors sounding the alarm. the federal stockpile of covid vaccine is gone, after the trump administration vowed to release all available doses, new word tonight the reserve is already exhausted. the governors saying we were lied to. tonight my conversation with house secretary alex azar, his stunning response, and e plan unveiled today by president-elect biden to get the rollout back on track. it comes as the world surpasses 2 million covid deaths, and the new warning on that highly contagious uk variant. how long the cdc says we have until it becomes the dominant strain in the u.s.
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chilling, new information about the capitol attack federal prosecutors citing strong evidence rioters intended to capture and assassinate elected officials. and new reporting on just how close the attackers came to vice president pence. inauguration lockdown, razor wire placed on fences around the capitol, the national mall shut down, and state capitols on high alert. president trump just five days left in office, what we've learned about when and how he will leave the white house. and the restaurant hero, the secret note that led to the rescue of an 11-year-old boy. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, everyone five weeks ago tonight, the future was finally looking brighter the first covid vaccine had just earned government approval, but getting the vaccine from the factory and warehouse into our arms has fallen far short of what we were told. as the worldwide death toll reaches 2 million, here in the
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u.s., injection plans are entangled in red tape, a confusing patchwork of eligibility rules and poor communications just ask anyone who has tried to secure a place in line tonight we'll take you into the heart of the frustration, and open some questions to hhs secretary alex azar. we've also gotten some disturbing, new insight into the suspected end game of those capitol rioters. it's awfully chilling. we'll tell you more about that, coming up. but let's begin with stephanie gosk and those vaccine bottlenecks. >> reporter: the idea is, open up eligibility so shots get into arms as it stands, only a third of the vaccines available have actually been used >> if you have a dose, give it, and don't be so rigid as to those early designations >> reporter: local and state officials say the real problem is supply. governors angry that reserve doses promised by the federal government are unavailable. >> they were lying they don't have any doses held back >> we were lied to with plans of
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the administration to release reserve doses. >> reporter: he says colorado is getting less than half what they were told. supply frustration in new jersey, too. >> we just need the supply from the feds to meet that demand and it's become increasingly ready that we are ready but they are not. >> reporter: states struggling with the vaccines they have in many places adults over over 65 and those with preexisting conditions qualify. the pool is millions larger, and websites and phone lines already underwater are now swamped. annette fisher can't get an appointment for her 90-year-old mom. >> maybe we figured they don't want this vaccine so we'll just move on, but it's not a case of they don't want the vaccine >> reporter: frustrated, she went to the nearest vac
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seen center in brooklyn, where a worker tried to help >> it was not going past a certain screen, so she said to me, you need to go home and do this on your computer, i said that's precisely part of the problem. >> reporter: anthony in florida called 300 times in a single day to get an appointment. >> we knew this was coming we knew we were getting this vaccine somebody should have thought this out >> every time you get a notification there's something available, you click on it, and it's already filled. >> reporter: on top of that, barbara nye has been hearing reports of snowbirds and canadians flying down to get vaccinated, which is not against the law in florida >> i'm upset because i think it should be the florida residents that are able to get the shot first >> stephanie joins us now from the javits center in new york just opened as a mass vaccination site have they had any difficulties there, stephanie? >> reporter: the state says there are appointments but people are having trouble booking them some people coming down here anyway and then being turned away lester >> all right, stephanie gosk, thank you. i spoke about this earlier with hhs secretary alex azar who blamed the
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bottlenecks on decisions made by states i began by asking him if he agreed with dr. fauci that the rollout has not worked as smoothly as hoped. >> so we've had tremendous success, having these incredibly effective vaccines, 38 million doses of vaccine available, 31 million shipped and distributed already, we're up over 12 million shots in arms. yes, we've had some governors overly prescriptive and restrictive in the groups of people they're trying to get vaccines out to that's our call to action, get the people 65 and old and get them vaccinated, we have to protect the vulnerable >> you seem to be laying the blame at the feet of governors. i'll remind you it was the trump administration that said 20 million doses by the end of 2020 we're two weeks into the new year what went wrong? >> well lester, we said we would have doses available for 20 million people that could be available, and of course, that was a projection based on estimates of when
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fda would approve. fda approved later, close to christmas you've got a natural scale-up the amazing thing is just how, without a hitch, the distribution has gone. >> you offer a pretty rosy assessment of things, but there are folks watching right now who are in the eligibility list right now, they can't get through on crashing websites, they can't make appointments on phones what do you say to those folks right now who are at their wits end on this? >> well, listen, we are in a situation right now where we've got 38 million doses available, 31 million distributed. we're encouraging our governors to use these other channels of distribution that people are used to, like retail pharmacy chains, doctors offices, community health centers, get the doses to places people are familiar with getting vaccines, it will work better in those situations >> i also ask secretary azar about that "washington post" report today that after he announced that second doses which had originally been held in reserve would be released.
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it turned out no such reserve existed. do those second doses exist right now? is there a stockpile that's still out there? >> no, there's not a reserve stockpile. we now have enough confidence that our ongoing production will be quality and available to provide the second dose for people, so we're not sitting on a reserve anymore. we've made that available to the states to order. >> the governor of oregon says that regarding the promise of more and the idea that these reserves are now emy, calling it deception on a national scale how you react to that >> if one doesn't want to listen when we have our press conference, when we sit and spend an hour and a half with the nation's governors, with the vice president, walking through the data, talking about available supplies, that's just, that's just willfulness and wanting to score a political point. every piece of data about this is completely transparent. >> and during our interview, i noted that it will likely be at 400,000 covid deaths by the closing day of the trump administration, looking back,
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secretary azar refused to acknowledge any possible missteps in the administration's coronavirus response now the urgency of a massive vaccine rollout is underscored by the 2 million deaths worldwide and cases rising here's miguel almaguer >> reporter: as our nation plunges deep near the darkest days of the pandemic, the end of this week marks a death toll 25% higher than any other week in the crisis grim scenes are still unfolding in pockets of the country the national guard moving so many bodies, more refrigerated trailers may be needed >> didn't want to show this, but this is where we have the storage unit, our morgue is full >> reporter: the doctors and nurses who were trying to save lives are too often the only ones who can say good-bye >> i was the one that was holding his hand while he died, and not his family >> reporter: while the global death toll has now topped 2 million, no country faces more heartbreak than the u.s.
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>> so many people come through these doors and they don't make it out the other side >> reporter: cases are climbing again, in 27 states, and so are hospitalizations back in october, 36,000 were under the care of doctors inside medical centers. today, it's nearly 129,000. >> we had a 28-year-old. we had a 34-year-old you have to walk to their family and to see them for the last time, and they have young kids it's such an awful thing. >> reporter: los angeles county remains the covid capital. one person is dying here every six minutes from the virus deputy fire chief patrick dragon, who lost his fight to covid, was a first responder at sandy hook, but his most important title was son and brother. >> we want to tell patrick how much we love him, how proud we are of him >> reporter: tonight the heart-breaking final good-byes for far too many families. miguel almaguer, nbc
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news none of us want to hear this, but this could get worse. the more contagious uk variant we've been talking about is in at least 14 states and the cdc warned today it will become dominant here by march. richard engel got rare access of how the variants are being tracked as they spread around the world >> reporter: covid is ravaging brazil. hospitals running out of oxygen, deaths rising, because of new covid mutations. today the uk already struggling with its own highly contagious variant, banned nearly all travel from south america. i went to the uk's main sequencing lab near cambridge, leading the world in hunting for variants robots here select covid positive tests, gathered nationwide. the virus is fed into machines that reveal its genetic code, and if the code has changed with a mutation doctor naomi park manages operations
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how often do you find anomalies? >> variants that come out that are alarming are really quite rare. >> reporter: are americans looking for variants and mutations closely enough >> honestly, no, not nearly sufficient to be able to doing the real time surveillance and monitoring all the variants as they arrive >> reporter: so americans might not know the real kind of variants that they're facing >> no, it might be they only realize once they see the effects of it and that is certainly too late >> reporter: the variants identified so far do not appear to be more deadly, but since they are more transmissible, overwhelming hospitals and causing more deaths richard engel, nbc news, cambridge. with all that, president-elect biden laid out his blue print for scaling up the vaccine effort with more on that,
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here's geoff bennett >> reporter: tonight, president-elect joe biden unveiling his action plan to pick up the pace of covid vaccinations >> this is a time to set big goals, to pursue them with courage and conviction, because the health of the nation is literally at stake. >> reporter: his plan encourages states to allow more people to get vaccinated, including those aged 65 and older and frontline workers. boosts vaccine supply by releasing the majority of available doses, sets up federally funded mass vaccination sites, sends mobile units to hard-to-reach parts of the country and calls for closer coordination with state governments. >> you have my word. we will manage the hell out of this operation. >> reporter: to pay for it, th president-elect is calling on congress to pass his nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief plan, which includes direct aid for struggling american families and businesses biden tonight announcing he'll issue on executive order requiring everyone to wear masks in places where he has the
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authority to mandate it the president-elect is also urging patients, warning americans the way out of the pandemic won't be easy or fast. lester >> geoff bennett tonight, thank you just five days before the inauguration, a massive show of force in washington is getting bigger, with 25,000 national guard troops now expected. here's tom costello. >> reporter: across washington, security is growing tighter by the hour, restricted zones, razor wire topping perimeter fencing, the national guard increasing troop levels to 25,000, weapons at the ready, as dozens of state capitols beef up security amid intelligence that right wing extremists are threatening more attacks. >> there's a great deal of very concerning chatter and it's what you don't know that we are preparing for. >> reporter: today disturbing details in charging documents against jacob chansley, part of a mob that attacked the capitol. the prosecutor in arizona said the
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intend of the capitol rioter was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the united states government the d.o.j. has since struck that phrase his attorney said thieves following president donald trump's direction and will seek a presidential pardon. despite guns, explosives and zip ties the u.s. attorney in d.c. says there is no direct evidence yet of kill or capture teams. today "the washington post" reports attackers were within seconds of reaching vice president pence before secret service agents hid him in a nearby office. capitol police and the fbi tell nbc news they are investigating whether republican members of congress aided the mob. >> if they aided and abetted the crime, there may have to be actions taken beyond the congress, and in terms of prosecution for that >> reporter: also tonight, the d.c police officers who fought for their lives last week are speaking out.
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officer daniel hodges crushed in the doorway. >> they ripped my mask off, stole my equipment, beat me up, sprayed me with everything i was able to get out >> reporter: officer mike screamed to the crowd he had children. >> they were chanting "kill him with his own gun.” >> reporter: officers from the park services are closing the mall the first time ever for an inauguration. d.c.'s mayor is encouraging people to stay home and watch it all on it. -- tv. lester >> those accounts of the officers simply awful. tom, thank you the number of arrests in last week's attack is growing quickly. the fbi now seeking tips with billboards around the country, nbc's pete williams joins us
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pete, what's the latest >> federal prosecutors are focusing on the most violent offenders, opened about 300 investigations with arrests so far in about a third of them, some of those arrested are cooperating, generating more leads. the fbi says it has received an astonishing 140,000 photos and videos to help identify rioters, identify rioters, people are even sending in tips about their own friends and family members as for whether the rioters had leader, prosecutors say it may take months to find that out >> pete williams tonight, thanks.
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tonight, as the president faces a second impeachment trial, we're learning how he'll make his white house exit here's peter alexander. >> reporter: tonight, for president trump, the final hours, moving trucks outside the west wing but no sign of the president. though vice president pence nbc news has confirmed called vice president-elect kamala harris on thursday, belatedly congratulating her and offering assistance with next week's inauguration that unlike the president, pence will attend. the conversation described as cordial and pleasant at the capitol, nancy pelosi side-stepping
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questions about when she'll send that article of impeachment to the senate for trial, to be prosecuted by nine house democrats. >> so urgent was the matter, they're now working on taking this to trial and you'll be the first to know. >> reporter: democrats would need 17 senate republican votes to convict president trump an uphill climb. one republican, alaska's lisa murkowski, a trump critic, not indicating how she'll vote but suggesting she's open to convicting the president. >> i believe that this president has committed an impeachable offense. >> reporter: now harris, the incoming vice president, is addressing concerns the trial that could start as early as inauguration day will overshadow their agenda >> we know how to multitask. there's a reason that word exists in the english language that's what's going to be required. >> reporter: we've just learned president trump's expected to
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leave the white house hours before the inauguration, with discussions under way for a ceremonial sendoff, arriving in florida, before biden is sworn in. lester >> peter alexander at the white house tonight, thanks. up next, the rescue mission by a quick-thinking restaurant manager
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♪ ♪ the chevy silverado trail boss. when you have a two-inch lift. when you have goodyear duratrac tires. when you have rancho shocks and an integrated dual exhaust. when you have all that, the last thing you'll need... is a road. the chevy silverado trail boss. ready to off-road, right from the factory. police say an 11-year-old boy is out of harm's way tonight, thanks to a clever restaurant manager sam brock has more >> reporter: the warning signs may not have been glaring, but they were visible
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enough >> we have some customers here, so we took it, one of the kids with lots of bruises on his arms. >> reporter: orlando restaurant manager flaviane carvalho secretly flashing him this note, "do you need help?” what happened when you showed him that sign >> he nodded me, yes, he needs help and he made this sign with his hands. >> reporter: timothy wilson ii the boy's stepfather is behind bars facing three counts of aggravated child abuse. the boy told investigators his stepfather hit him with a wooden broom, tied straps around his ankles and neck and hung upside down from a door >> even seeing the pictures is appalling this happened to a child. >> reporter: police told nbc news wilson denied the charges, though they say the boy's mother, kristen swann, admitted to knowing about the abuse. she's charged with two
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counts of child neglect. the boy and his half sister now in protective custody, as a touch and perseverance of another mother - >> i was ready to grab him and don't let him leave. >> reporter: -- may have changed the trajectory of this boy's life sam brock, nbc news. >> good for her. up next, how one man's inspiring america with two critical missions.
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finally, the music teacher and national gaurds -- guardsman doing double duty and inspiring america. here's gadi schwartz >> reporter: there is something stir being the images of the soldiers in the capitol and among them, there is one whose head is filled with the sounds of the bassoon. sergeant jacob cohen still finds time to teach class from his humvee are your kids ever worried about you? >> i try to talk about it at the beginning, just saying don't worry about me we're good over here >> reporter: just like so many others, when the call came, he answered >> the boots are there, right in the next room, with the uniform and it's always ready to go so you know, that's just who we are. that's the way we live you will start with your - >> reporter: for now at least there's zoom. >> during this time
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especially during the pandemic, things have been so turbulent and uncertain that if i can provide a little bit of stability, i'm all in >> reporter: now teaching lessons of duty and music, and the power of the bassoon. gadi schwartz, nbc news >> a great note to end tonight. that's "nightly news" for this friday. thank you for watching i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each . the federal government promised the stockpile of vaccines but we're learning it might not exist. we'll show you how bay area counties are responding. plus, anger and frustration. >> so i'll have to wait another two and a half, three hours. >> why some are getting vaccine appointments while others are being turned away. >> and the phone lines are jammed. up to four hours on hold of
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we're getting answers from kaiser and stanford health. the news at 6:00 starts right now. thanks for being with us. >> we begin with the battle against covid-19. tonight the world has reached a grim milestone. more than 2 million people globally have died from the virus. that's according to johns hopkins. more than 340,000 of those people are americans who lost their lives. the cdc says the u.k. variant could become the dominant strain by march. the agency has concerns we'll see rapid growth from that strain in the coming months. and there is no stockpile. this week the federal government said they would release vaccine doses being reserved for second shots but now several governors have said they've learned it has already been used up.


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