tv CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell CBS December 11, 2020 6:30pm-7:01pm PST
>> o'donnell: tonight, the first covid vaccine is ready for rollout, awaiting the green light from the f.d.a. as the u.s. experiences the worst week of the pandemic. the logistical puzzle tonight: getting the pfizer vaccine from deep freezers in michigan into the arms of americans across the country. why it will require precision. the storage box can only be opened twice a day as hospitals around the country practice and prepare for approval. presidential pressure: did the white house tell the f.d.a. commissioner to approve the pfizer vaccine today or find a new job? covid's growing toll. more americans have died from the virus than died during world war ii. mississippi is out of i.c.u. beds as hospitals are at the breaking point. >> it's really hard right now to feel helpless.
>> o'donnell: plus, new york city bans indoor dining. historic decision: the breaking news as the supreme court rejects texas' last ditch effort to overturn the election, that's essentially ending president trump's attempt to change the results. breaking news: a car drives through a protest in new york city. what we're learning tonight about the injuries. the biden cabinet is introduced. instead of a team of rivals, he has a team of repeats. and cbs' steve hartman is "on the road" with a top-secret mission. >> hi, this is secret santa. >> o'donnell: delivering holiday cheer for essential workers. >> emily, that's 1,000 secret santa dollars for you. >> oh, my god! >> this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell reporting from the nation's capital.
>> o'donnell: good evening to our viewers in the west, and thank you for joining us. we're going to begin with breaking news because the f.d.a. >> an historic and hopeful milestone in the middle of an horrific pandemic. cbs news learned tonight's decision comes after president trump's chief of staff told the head of the f.d.a. stephen han earlier today to sign off ton vaccine now or hand him his resignation. now that the shots have been approved, pfizer and the federal government are starting to roll out shipping nearly 3 million freezing cold vials of the vaccine to more than 600 sites across the country. tonight, hospitals are awaiting shipments of the vaccine and at the same time they are overflowing with more new patients affected by covid 19. as we come on the airers there is more evidence that we are now at the worst moment of this crisis. in the past week, more people have been infected in the u.s. than at any other time during the pandemic. deaths keep skyrocketing, too.
nearly 16,000 americans have died this week alone, and with it likely to take months to get enough americans vaccinated to stop the virus from spreading. tonight, cities and states are imposing drastic new restrictions that includes new york city, once home to some 23,000 restaurants. starting monday, all indoor dining will be banned. we have a lot of new reporting for you and your family tonight and our team covering it all. cbs' manuel bojorquez is going to lead off our coverage from kalamazoo, michigan, where workers are standing by to start shipping out those vaccines. good evening, manny. >> reporter: good evening, norah. tonight, the head of the f.d.a. is denying he was told to sign off on the vaccine right now or resign, but sources tell cbs news, the threat was clear: the president wanted the vaccine quickly as possible, putting political pressure on a public health process. now that's the f.d.a. has given that final approval, workers at this pfizer plant in western michigan can begin the process
of rolling out the first shipment of millions of doses of the vaccine. tonight, the vials are filled and waiting in more than 300 subzero freezers for the green light from the f.d.a. health and human services secretary alex azar: >> they'll use fedex and u.p.s. they drop ship through a very tightly controlled system, through the 636 sites our governors have designated for this initial crunch. >> reporter: it's a massive logistical operation. u.p.s. says the process has already begun, shipping vaccine kits with supplies like syringes. the next step will be transporting the vaccine itself. and then, sending dry ice to sites that don't have the ability to store the vials at the required extreme cold temperature. adding to the delicate process, hospitals only open the shipments twice a day and confirm the dose count for three minutes before storing them. frontline medical workers will get them first, as early as monday. >> well, this is our ticket out of this pandemic.
>> reporter: dr. nick gilpin is the chief medical officer at beaumont hospital grosse point outside detroit, part of a hospital system that currently has nearly 600 covid patients. beaumont health's first batch is expected to cover about 1,000 employees. >> i believe that by taking the vaccine myself, which i intend to do, i hope that i can spread that message to our providers and get people to understand that it really is the right thing to do. >> reporter: but not the only thing, he says. until a vaccine is widely available this spring, mask wearing and physical distancing remain the general public's best shot. manuel bojorquez, cbs news, kalamazoo, michigan. >> reporter: i'm meg oliver at university hospital in newark, new jersey. >> hi, may i have your name? >> reporter: ...where they're practicing how to distribute the vaccine once the shipments from pfizer arrive. have you ever had to practice something like this before? >> no, we've never had to really do something like this.
this is a setup for vaccination that i've never seen or had to do. >> reporter: under "operation warp speed," university hospital is one of about 250 sites across the country, testing logistics and distribution with setups like this. >> we're testing the actual assembly line process for people to get registered quickly, erccinated quickly, observed over at least 15 minutes to make sure there are no adverse events or allergic reactions and then given that appointment card to come back for their second injection. >> reporter: at this site, once they start, possibly as early as next, we they will have the ability to vaccinate more than 3,000 people per week. new jersey's goal is to vaccinate 4.7 million within six months. jonathan green runs their emergency room. he will be one of the first frontline workers to receive a vaccine. 0 st spring, they lost 10 dear colleagues to covid. >> i think about it every day. i was just looking at some photographs of one of our directors of nursing who passed away, and it's... you never
think that you're going to come to work and get sick and die, and that shouldn't happen for anybody. so, we're-- we're excited that the vaccine is here. i wish it was sooner. >> reporter: in the coming weeks, there will also be mega- sites in new jersey using an expanded version of the model from university hospital. they will include colleges and vacant department stores with the capability of vaccinating up to tens of thousands of people per week. norah. >> o'donnell: so many details involved. meg oliver, thank you. tonight, we're hearing from healthcare workers and families with a warning: while we wait for the vaccine to be administered, this is not the time to let your guard down. cbs' janet shamlian has more. >> reporter: an unthinkable record: coronavirus deaths topping 3,000 for a second consecutive day. ( coughing ) tonight, california reporting the highest number of new cases ever. mississippi is completely out of
i.c.u. beds. fort worth, texas, is doubling capacity at the morgue, and in new york city, indoor dining shuts down starting monday. >> the rate of transmission and the density and the crowding, that is a bad situation. >> reporter: the horrifying death toll includes names like stephanie smith, 29-years-old, about to be married. she should have been on her honeymoon the day she died. p people, and it'se've been trained to help people, and it's really hard right now to feel helpless. >> reporter: dr. shirlee xi says if only the doubters and nonmaskers could spend one day like she does. >> you get on that phone and you call the son to tell him that his father... who had grown up alone and an orphan, died the same way because i couldn't get into the room soon enough to hold his hand while he passed away.
and i'm not somebody's family. i can't ever become their family. i can't talk to a patient without a mask on. i can't touch them without gloves on. and i-- you know, they-- they die and they never see our faces. >> reporter: dr. xi says hospitals can find more beds, but they are out of healthcare workers. >> we can't call on anyone to help us if we run out of staff to take patients. if we stop masking or if we stop distancing, just-- we're going to lose so many more people before we get to the end. >> reporter: what a toll this has taken on healthcare workers. and a sobering statistic tonight: if 3,000 people continue to die each day, in two weeks, on christmas day, that's 42,000 lives lost. that number enough to fill lluston's major league baseball stadium. norah. >> o'donnell: staggering. janet shamlian, thank you. we are following breaking news tonight in new york city.
cell phone video shows a car striking a crowd of dozens of protesters in manhattan. at least six people were hurt. one has serious injuries. police are telling us it was an accident, but the investigation is ongoing. at least one protester was arrested for obstructing law enforcement. there's breaking news tonight from the supreme court. in a 7-2 ruling, the justices refused to hear a lawsuit filed by the texas attorney general, trying to throw out millions of ballots in four states, all but now ending the president's attempt to reverse his election loss. cbs' ben tracy joins us now from the white house with breaking news. good evening, ben. >> reporter: norah, in this decision, the supreme court said texas does not have standing to question how other states conduct their elections. and for president trump, who had hoped the supreme court would ultimately decide the election in his favor, this is a big blow. tonight, the supreme court declined to hear one of the last legal challenges to the 2020 election, saying texas did not have standing to bring the suit. at a white house holiday party
this week, president trump had high hopes for what he called "the big case." > we have tremendous cases right now, a big, big case. >> reporter: the lawsuits was filed by texas attorney general ken paxton and joined by 17 other states, asking the court to invalidate votes from four key battleground states. but federal judges across the country have repeatedly tossed out the trump campaign's claims due to a lack of evidence. and they lost yet another lawsuit in wisconsin today. but tensions remain high as the electoral college meets monday to solidify joe biden's victory. in michigan, 16 electors will be offered police escorts. elector bobby walton. >> i wasn't looking forward to the walk from the garage to the building, but i would have done building, but i would have done it. and-- and i would have kept my head down and just kept walking forward. but this way, i don't have to do it all alone. >> reporter: cbs news has learned white house chief of staff mark meadows called f.d.a. commissioner dr. stephen hahn today, pressuring him to approve the pfizer vaccine or consider
resigning. president trump weighed in on twitter, ordering hahn to "get the damn vaccines out now." and calling the f.d.a. "a big, old slow turtle." in a statement, hahn admitted he was encouraged to continue working expeditiously. f.d.a. authorization could come as soon as tonight. >> but we also have a solemn obligation to the american people to get this right and determine the safety and efficacy. >> reporter: president trump is fxated on a vaccine, and making sure he, not president-elect biden, gets credit. >> don't let him take credit for the vaccines, because the vaccines were me, and i pushed people harder than they've ever been pushed before. >> reporter: now, with this rejection by the supreme court tonight, the president's legal challenges are all but over, but congressional republicans can still challenge the outcome of the electoral college vote when congress meets on january 6. but the constitution requires that both chambers of congress agree to any objections, and considering democrats control the house of representatives, any effort by the republicans to ome arethe election outcome are
doomed to fail. norah. >> o'donnell: ben tracy, thank you. tonight, president-elect biden is turning to a trio of obama- era veterans for top posts in his administration. but even as he introduced more of his cabinet picks, the president faced more questions about his son hunter and the investigation into his tax returns. cbs' ed o'keefe reports tonight from wilmington, delaware. >> these are all friends. i'm not used to them standing for me. >> reporter: president-elect joe biden's cabinet has some fresh faces, but unlike the so-called team of rivals assembled by his former boss president obama, many of the new president's top choices make up a team of repeats. >> they bring deep experience and bold new thinking. above all, they know how government should and can work for all americans. >> reporter: if mr. biden's 14 cabinet picks thus far are confirmed, they'd represent the most-diverse collection of men and women to ever advise a president. today, he added susan rice to serve as domestic policy chief. she was mr. obama's national security adviser and once had a
west wing office next door to mr. biden. >> in the 21st century, our foreign, economic, and domestic imperatives are deeply intertwined. >> reporter: down the hall sat white house chief of staff denis mcdonough, chosen today to run the department of veterans affairs. he'll be just the second non- veteran to lead the v.a., which includes one of the largest healthcare systems in the world. and then there's tom vilsack, who spent eight years as the obama agriculture secretary and has been asked to come back. it's been two days since mr. biden's son hunter said he's under f.b.i. investigation for tax fraud. today, the president-elect was asked whether his son committed a crime. >> i'm proud of my son. >> reporter: but mr. biden ignored a question about when he learned that his son was under investigation, and he wouldn't answer when he might be vaccinated against covid-19. norah. >> o'donnell: ed o'keefe, thank you very much. and there is still much more news ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news." the ultimate super-spreader: more than 300,000 covid cases
traced back to this one event. plus a covid outbreak among big cats at a zoo. it gets between fibers to remove visible and invisible dirt. if it's got to be clean, it's got to be tide. managing you're on it.es? staying fit and snacking light? yup, on it there too. you may think you're doing all you can to manage type 2 diabetes and heart disease... ...but could your medication do more to lower your heart risk? jardiance can reduce the risk of cardiovascular death for adults who also have known heart disease. so, it could help save your life from a heart attack or stroke.
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covid superspreader event. remember back in february the drug company biogen hosted a two-day conference in boston. about 100 people became sick at the time. well, now the journal "science" reports more than 300,000 covid cases worldwide can be traced to that very conference. that includes 50,000 right here in the u.s. tonight, three snow leopards at the louisville zoo are being treated for covid. two males and a female leopard tested positive and are said to have mild symptoms including wheezing and coughing. wildlife experts say the big cats were likely infected by an asymptomatic zoo worker. seven basic trainees are launching into history as the first enlisted members of the u.s. space force. the group will train to track satellites and assist rocket launches. the space force turns one year old later this month and plans for more than 300 trainees by the fall of next year. the next frontier. all right, "on the road" with steve hartman is next. secret santa has a big surprise
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dissolves quickly, instantly ready to start working. ♪ oh, what a relief it is so fast. it's a thirteen-hour flight, tfifteen minutes until we board. oh yeah, we gotta take off. you downloaded the td ameritrade mobile app so you can quickly check the markets? yeah, actually i'm taking one last look at my dashboard before we board. excellent. and you have thinkorswim mobile- -so i can finish analyzing the risk on this position. you two are all set. have a great flight. thanks. we'll see ya. ah, they're getting so smart. choose the app that fits your investing style. ♪ >> o'donnell: cbs' steve hartman renews a holiday tradition here by teaming up with secret santa. this year, santa has really
upped his game. here's tonight's "on the road." >> reporter: for a brief moment, i felt bad for kimberly davis, not because she has to clean a covid ward. she loves her job at houston methodist. i felt bad for kimberly because i lied to kimberly. they told you i was doing a story about essential workers, right? >> correct. >> reporter: we're not doing a story about essential workers. truth be told... >> oh, okay. >> reporter: ...i had to lie to everyone i spoke to for this story, and when they discovered my real intent... >> i'm sorry, i'm at a loss. >> reporter: ...most were speechless, lips aquiver, many in tears. my partner in this joyful deception was an anonymous wealthy businessman known to me only as "secret santa." in a normal year, secret santa personally hands out hundreds of $100 bills to random strangers. >> oh, my god!
>> reporter: but this year, the novel coronavirus called for a novel sleigh ride, so he mailed packages to carefully selected essential workers across the nation. >> and inside that is a sealed envelope that says, "do not open until instructed to do so by steve hartman at cbs." >> reporter: his targets included ashton dooley, a sanitation worker from sarasota, florida, whose brand-new bride has cancer. >> she let me shave her head n at first time. that's when i knew i wanted to marry her. >> reporter: elgin thrower, a security guard from kansas city, with a special needs son and a dream to be a police officer. >> in law enforement, i can make a difference. >> reporter: and danielle dip, a waitress from pittsburgh, who's way behind on rent. >> it has been a pretty bad year, but somehow, somewhere, something's going to work out. >> reporter: on that note, i'd like to introduce somebody to you. >> okay... >> hi, this is secret santa. >> reporter: danielle's bad year was about to get a whole lot
better. >> open up that sealed envelope. >> okay. >> reporter: everyone's bad year was about to get a whole lot better. >> oh, my gosh. there's money in there, you guys. >> there's $1,000. >> whoa! >> whoa! >> reporter: in the coming weeks, secret santa will give away about $100,000 total to total strangers. >> oh, my god! >> and that's to help make your christmas just a little bit better. >> oh, my god. i can't believe this. >> reporter: but, of course, the money isn't the real gift here. >> thank you. >> you know, kindness, when freely given with no expectation in return, is, in fact, unconditional love. and that's really what we're giving them. >> reporer: and what does it feel like to receive such a gift? well, sometimes being speechless... >> i'm sorry. >> reporter: ...says it all. >> are you okay? >> reporter: steve hartman, cbs news. >> i'm sorry. >> reporter: "on the road." >> o'donnell: that might be the best one ever. we'll be right back.
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it is the first such authorization in the united states. the drugmaker is sending the first doses to hospitals and pharmacies all around the country. they are expected to arrive in california on tuesday. also at seven this just in from the south bay, a multicounty coronavirus outbreak involving youth basketball teams. plus. if there is 40 people sitting and we have a $20 fine it will not be so big. we cannot let the cure be worse than the virus. >> open defiance of health orders, the busy friday night crowd at bay area restaurants that are supposed to be closed now to diners. also