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tv   NBC Bay Area News at 6  NBC  January 19, 2022 6:00pm-6:30pm PST

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>> also, your tax dollars are going to this covid testing company, but is it legit? we investigate new details on a private company that government inspectors say is not properly equipped to handle tests. >> also, the new developments in the ongoing investigation into a embattled santa clara county sheriff lori smith. >> the news at 6:00 starts right now. we have key updates from our breaking news that we have been covering in downtown oakland. the federal courthouse remains evacuated after a possible pipe bomb was discovered outside. we have been covering the story for the past hour. the fbi says around 1:00, a man was seen leaving a package near the flag pole. the bomb squad is on the scene, and within the last 30 minutes, the bomb squad has rendered that package safe. so does that mean we are in the clear? let's bring in nbc bay area's
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sheryl herd who joins us in oakland with the latest. >> we are in the clear, raj. the fbi and the alameda county sheriff's department and opd saying that they are calling this a hoax device. the fbi says whoever put it there wanted to illicit this type of response, and boy, they did get it. let's roll the videotape so you can see what happened here for several hours. there is video, and i'm not sure if we can show it here, of a bomb squad member walking over and just picking up the devise that was placed there at about 12:40 today, in a planter right near the flag pole in front of the federal building. deputy sheriff ray kelly filled us in moments ago about what went on here. >> in looking at the evidence, there was a specific message in there for law enforcement that was left. we have since taken all of that evidence and turned it over to the fbi who has collected it. they'll do their analysis and
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further investigation from there. >> now, someone wrote a note inside of this box or bag or whatever it was. and it was a message, a definite message to law enforcement. federal officials are not telling us exactly what that is, but again, it was a message to law enforcement. now, the person, if they're ever caught, could be charged with weapons of mass destruction charges. didn't go into detail exactly what that means, so the fbi is the lead agency in this. the streets are clear right now. the shelter in place is now over. things are getting back to normal, but this investigation is just beginning. reporting live in oakland, i'm cheryl hurd. >> after weeks of cases spiking and worry mounting, it appears we're starting to get on the other side of the omicron surge. let's take a look at some of the numbers. right now, california's
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positivity rate is, yeah, 20.9%. right? but that's still, yes, it's high, but it's more than 2% lower than it was last week at this time. locally hospitalizations still a big concern. right now, the bay area has more than 1800 people in the hospital. and yes, that is a high number, but we saw more than 2200 people in the hospital during the peak of last year's winter surge. it's not just the numbers offering hope. local tech companies are giving us some new clues about where omicron may go from here. tonight, our business and tech reporter scott budman checks in with phones and thermometers and asks what they're telling us about this variant. >> check a local restaurant, a nearby gym, or a movie theater. four square did. >> people are more comfortable being out and about. >> and we are out. four square born in 2009 to help us find friends and businesses is still collecting data
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anonymously tracking phones that have the app and watching where they go. >> since the beginning of the pandemic, we have kept a really close eye on the traffic patterns. >> and can tell even as omicron surged, we doubled our travel and dining in the last year and tripled our visits to the movies. >> i think we're seeing that people are eager to just be out and about. i think we're seeing that a lot of people are more comfortable with the safety measures that are being taken by a lot of retailers and in airports and within even movie theaters. >> if pent-up demand is on your agenda, here's some good news. in california specifically, it looks like it's peaked. the ceo of san francisco based smart thermometer maker says 2.5 million internet connected thermometers anonymously show symptoms of illness dropping, especially in big cities. >> the large urban centers like san francisco and l.a. look like they're past the peak with the most noticeable illness decline
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being amongst adults. >> all good signs, as tech points to a future with less covid. scott budman, nbc bay area news. >> president biden says you can expect to get a free n-95 mask in the next few weeks. his administration is sending out 400 million n-95s nationwide. they'll be handed out at pharmacies like cvs and walgreens but some infectious disease experts say the masks would have been more helpful in november when the omicron surge started. >> this is coming a bit late because now we're on the downswing of omicron, and by the time they get here and we have them, it won't be as necessary anymore. >> perhaps it's better late than never. the number of people testing positive for covid in california has dropped about 2% in the last seven days. and while people with covid are still heading into our hospitals, dr. gandhi says at least 40% are admitted for other health problems and then testing
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positive for covid. >> tonight, there's new allegations against a nationwide covid testing company that operated three pop-up sites right here in the bay area. >> their tests were free, but we have learned they cost taxpayers more than $100 million so far. our consumer investigator chris kimura first exposed the story a couple weeks ago, right? you started poking around, and now those testing sites as least in the bay area are closed. >> temporarily. here's what happened today. the minnesota attorney general filed suit against the company and its lab, alleging misrepresentation, false advertising, and deception. it echoed what we have been hearing from some patients here at locations in san jose, san ramon, and mountainview. >> i certainly think their procedures could have been a lot better. >> allen says he visited this center for covid control test site in mountain view in late december. got a free rapid test and a free pcr test. it's now january 19th, and he still is waiting on his pcr results. >> never showed up.
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i sent them an email about that. and never heard back on the email. and it's been like, i don't know, three weeks now. >> allen is not alone. >> the place was absolutely disorganized, disjointed. >> patients around the country have complained. >> did not get my results. >> investigators took note. >> they trusted they would get correct results on time. they didn't get that. we're holding companies, these companies, accountable. >> that's minnesota's attorney general. today, his office filed suit against center for covid control and its lab doctors clinical laboratory. it accuses companies of failing to deliver results, and when they do send results, they're often deceptively riddled with inaccurate information. they say they falsely reported results to people whose results had not been processed or had never provided a sample. the suit payments a picture of a mess behind the scenes. for example, test being stored in trash bags. their lucrative failures.
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according to a cdc database that tracks federal covid payments, the government has paid ccc's lab more than $100 million tax dollars during the pandemic. the minnesota complaint raises a question about whether taxpayers should have even be sent many of the bills. it says the company's back end patient info system included a default option of uninsured to bill the government for tests instead of people's insurance companies. allen has health insurance. yet, he says ccc told him to leave it off his form. >> there was a question about filling in insurance information. they said just don't bother. >> again, allen is not alone. we asked ccc about this. a spokesman said what you describe is non-ccc policy. not directed by ccc, and of course, is unacceptable. these companies that have gotten more than $100 million tax dollars are the same companies as we reported yesterday, that medicare inspectors say were not properly equipped, were not properly staffed and did not
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properly handle samples. we asked the spokesman if the company's billed taxpayers for botched tests. his response, no. a degraded or spoiled sample is not tested. therefore, no payer is billed. >> i guess i got what i paid for, but it is costing me something from tax dollars, apparently, and that's not good. >> right now, center for covid control has paused its nationwide operations until saturday. the company says it's retraining staff. now, considering the federal inspection that shows failure after failure after failure, we asked the cdc today whether the center for covid control and its lab are still authorized to receive your tax money. we have not received a response. >> thank you very much, chris. if you're still looking to get those free at-home covid tests, we have made it easy for you. all you need to do is go to, click on the link on the trending bar. you can find information about the free tests and the link to actually order them. >> vice president kamala harris is coming home to california
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this friday. she'll visit san burr adino county. they'll highlight the benefits of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. the historic bill was signed into law in november. the vice president will carry a similar message to milwaukee next week, and then she's off to honduras for the inauguration of central america's first female president. >> up next, a mountain lion scare on the peninsula, but this time, it's big cat versus big cat. the video that has people in that neighborhood worried tonight. i'm chief meteorologist jeff ray niry. i'll have an update on wind coming our way, that's in about ten minutes. right now, as we prepare to come on in the west, what could be the last ditch u.s. mission to prevent a russian invasion of ukraine. tonight, russia's vow. also what we learned about the white house plan to make n-95 masks available to all americans. when we see you back here for nightly news.
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and present, can continue to get the tools they need to build a future of unlimited possibilities. elizabeth holmes' legal team is laying the groundwork to get her guilty verdicts tossed and possibly get a new trial. they filed a motion to keep the original versions of juror questionnaires sealed from public view. they believe legal experts will scour those documents to see there were any potential issues. holmes was found guilty of four charges of defrauding investors. she's now scheduled to be
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sentenced in september. >> more problems for lori smith. today, california's attorney general opened up a civil rights investigation into the embattled sheriff. let's bring in stephen stock who has broken several stories involving sheriff smith. >> today's announcement by the california attorney general follows a request from county supervisors here last summer. they asked for a civil grand jury investigation, which they got, and which resulted in seven formal accusations issued just last month. now, the attorney general is opening his own civil rights investigation. sheriff smith has come under fire over her management of the local jails, as well as questions about whether people who gave to her political campaigns got special treatment when they apply for conceal carry weapons permits or ccws. our investigation two years ago found those campaign donors were 14 times more likely to get a
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permit than those who did not give to her campaign. we also reported that the sheriff has not submitted to independent oversight at her jails. including not reporting incidents of severe beatings there. today, the attorney general said his office will investigate whether any state or civil rights had been violated by these actions. >> our investigation will seek to determine whether the sheriff's office has engaged in a patten or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful conduct. investigation, this investigation comes amidst deeply concerning allegations relating to conditions of confinement in the office's jail facilities, resistance through lawful oversight, and other misconduct. these concerns have been repeatedly voiced by elected leaders, media publications, community members, community organizations, and more. it is time that truth comes to light. >> he would not comment on any
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specifics regarding his investigation, but he did say his office will take its time and would like to hear from anyone who wants to give evidence or testimony. and within the past two hours, we got a statement from sheriff smith saying, quote, i have always welcomed any external review of the sheriff's office and we will immediately open all records. i have great confidence in the attorney general's office and i believe they will provide the expertise for a fair and impartial investigation. her attorneys are currently preparing objections to the civil grand jury's accusations on similar issues. they were in court just a few days ago. those issues, of course, were handed down in december. if any of those accusations, even one, are found to be true after a trial, the sheriff could be removed from office. >> thank you very much, stephen. >> well, it certainly sounded terrifying. two mountain lions fighting to the death in a belmont neighborhood overnight. home surveillance video captured
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the aftermath of the attack. look carefully. you can see two mountain lions around 2:30 in the morning on hastings drive. the larger one is dragging what police say is the body of a smaller mountain lion across the street. mountain lion then looks around, sits on a home front porch for a little bit, then takes off. parents in the neighborhood were alerted to be careful when taking their kids to school. >> got a text from the high school, because i have a student who goes there, saying there was an aggressive mountain lion somewhere out and about near. >> now, biologists say this kind of thing happens fairly often in mountain lion habitat, and they say belmont is right in the middle of it. they say it's usually a territorial issue like a male killing a cub that came into its home range. >> it's a long process, but today, another notable step. the a's and the city of oakland are trying to build that waterfront ballpark. the oakland planning commission is actually meeting on this issue right now. it's trying to decide if it will
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recommend to the city council that they should certify the environmental impact report for the project. now, part of tonight's meeting includes hearing from the public. if it recommends the city council certify the eir, that document, the council could then vote and green light this ballpark project as early as next month. wouldn't that be something? >> that would be amazing. let's bring jeff in. we saw two completely different days. it started off with heavy fog and then all of a sudden there was sunshine. >> so beautiful. tomorrow we'll see a repeat performance of that, a nice rebound for the afternoon. as we roll through tomorrow's forecast, i'm calling it the best day of the week, coming on in. get ready, do lunch outside. if you're doing work from home, step outside of your house for a little bit. make sure to get some fresh air because it's going to be good for us. right here in san jose, heading out in the next couple hours. 54 right now. some low 50s in the next few hours. chillier back through the east bay. walnut creek headed to the grocery store, we're down to 49.
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once we hit 9:00 tonight, and lots of 40s moving in, of course, after that. so again, a little bit of patchy areas of fog as we roll through tomorrow morning, and that chill, that's going to be with us. look at these numbers bottoming out at 39 in the tri-valley, 41 in the peninsula. south bay, 44 degrees, and we have those low to mid 40s here through the east bay and san francisco. north bay dropping down to 39. daytime highs tomorrow with some increased sunshine. we'll actually warm up a couple more degrees. in the south bay, it will put us at 64. 66 in gilroy. for the east bay, 63 in fremont and 61 in hayward. let's move through the peninsula, some sun and light winds. 59 in half moon bay and 61 in redwood city. san francisco, you're at 56 in the outer sunset. 59 in the mission. and across the north bay, temperatures primarily in the 60s here with some low to mid 60s from mill valley right up to santa rosa. we're getting this awesome weather moving in from an area of high pressure, as we have been talking about. this is the main reason why all
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of our rain chances every single bit of it is moving way off to the north. so no hope for any rainfall tomorrow or really for the rest of the month. at least any big kind of storms the way it looks now. so we have this with us as we roll through tomorrow's forecast. then by friday, we'll see a small little change here. this system is going to drop down on the back side of that high pressure, and that's going to help to create some wind force. let's show you that wind friday afternoon in the mountains. the red to magenta color, that's 40 to 50 miles per hour wind gusts. lower elevations from 10 to 25. friday afternoon into saturday morning, we don't expect the red flag fire warning but we could get wind warnings that are issues. as we roll through the day on saturday, that wind is gone and it's going to leave us with a nice weekend. that weekend on my seven-day forecast. san francisco, low 60s and sunshine. and for the inland valleys, we'll go up to a warmer 67 on friday and we're looking at those low to mid 60s for this weekend. so not quite pool weather coming our way, but maybe fire up the
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barbecue here on sunday and just kind of check things out and get it ready for spring. >> barbecuing on sunday? you're throwing that out there? >> in the middle of winter. >> wow. >> that's bold. >> thanks, jeff. >> up next, take a look. who is this couple in this gorgeous photo at baker beach in san francisco? you can help the photographer solve this mystery. stay with us.
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a huge infusion of west coast cash shaking up an election race in massachusetts. lyft has donated more than $14 million to activists working to put a gig workers law before voters there. the boston globe reports that the donation is the single highest in massachusetts state history. it is a replay of the ballot fight that we saw here in california in 2020 when prop 22 turned out to be the most expensive ballot measure in this state. now, while it passed, it is still tied up in the courts. now, the massachusetts proposal would classify ride share and
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delivery worker as contractors instead of employees. lyft could then avoid costs associated with employees like minimum wage, health benefits, and overtime. >> okay, this is a fun mystery. if you have some friends who just got engaged in san francisco, we would like you to take a look at something. here it is, a photo taken last friday of a happy couple framed against the rose tinted sunset shot. >> that's a spectacular photo. >> it looks fake, doesn't it? right at the golden gate bridge. the photographer who took it, gemma, captured this moment right after the proposal, as the couple shared a romantic kiss. they didn't hire the photographer. >> it looks like it's out of "time" magazine. >> oh, my gosh, look at this beautiful shot. the photographer posted this photo on facebook and would love to share it with this mystery couple, so if you know who this is or maybe it's you that just got engaged, please contact the photographer. we have posted this photo on our facebook page and our twitter page as well, and oh, yeah, by
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the way, congrats to the happy couple. >> let us know when the wedding is next. >> we'll crash that, too. >> up next, hoping for car prices to go down? don't hold your breath. what analysts are predicting will happen this year. when you have xfinity, you have entertainment built in.
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according to kelly blue book, new car prices reached a record high average of more than $47,000 last month when is about $10,000 more than before the pandemic. >> tonight at 7:00, a beloved diner in the east bay closing down for good. it's not because they weren't getting enough customers. the owner of betty's ocean view diner tells us why he's closing after nearly 40 years. and what it reveals about the state of our bay area restaurants. that story and more coming up on our 7:00 newscast. >> up next on nightly news, checking in on crucial blue collar voters. we travel to a key county to find out what's on the mind of workers. lester holt joins us from new york right now. tonight, president biden on defense as he marks one year in office. the president taking questions from reporters for nearly two hours as he faces crises on multiple fronts. his new message on the covid surge, inflation, and his
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stalled agenda. and his prediction that russia will move in on ukraine. the consequences he says vladimir putin will face. our kristen welker asking will he run again in 2024 with kamala harris on the ticket? senate democrats brace for a bitter defeat on the legislation he championed also tonight the biden administration's plan to hand out 400 million n95 masks for free when and where they will be available. the deadly military vehicle crash. at least two marines killed what we're learning. the newly declassified video from the botched u.s. drone strike in afghanistan that killed 10 civilians. what it revealed. just in, the supreme court rejecting former president trump's request to keep his documents from the january 6th committee. and major news of the fraud investigation into his company. and celebrating a barrier breaking fashion icon this is nbc


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