tv CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell CBS December 25, 2020 3:12am-3:42am PST
are holiday gatherings to blame? alone. are holiday gatherings to blame? >> the surge we are in right now was avoidable. >> garrett: the family of andre hill calls the shooting reckless murder. while columbus' mayor says it was a stunning disregard for life. remote learning for america's homeless children. what's being done to make virtual education possible for kids in family shelters. >> it's so hard. >> reporter: are you falling behind? >> yes, i am. >> garrett: dramatic rescue: a little girl is pulled from the rubble after a gas explosion leveled her home. american kindness: how cbs news viewers came through for a family struggling during the pandemic. and getting covid creative: meet a photographer keeping a beloved christmas tradition alive. >> use santa-tizeer. >> this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell, reporting from the nation's capital. capital. >> garrett: good eve
>> garrett: good evening, everyone. thank you for joining us. i'm major garrett. norah is off tonight. and we begin with breaking news. nearly a third of all americans are facing dangerous weather this christmas eve from florida to new england. the storm that began with snow in the midwest will bring torrential rains and damaging winds. that combination could knock out power and severely impact travel. this comes as many ignore advice to stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus. america's airports averaged about a million passengers a day for the past five days. and here's why health officials are so concerned: a record e up000 people will wake up christmas morning in hospita christmas morning in hospitals across the country suffering from covid. and those facilities are being stretched to the limit. many hospitals in southern california are now diverting patients. there's just not enough room or staff. this, as the state has just passed two million confirmed cases. and we must tell you this unsettling number: total deaths
in this country now top 328,000. many americans also face an economic crisis this holiday season, not knowing if they'll be able to pay their bills. tonight, the covid relief bill is still up in the air after president trump initially refused to sign it. there is a lot of new reporting tonight for you and your family, and our team is following every angle. we begin with cbs' charlie demar outside chicago. charlie, good evening. >> reporter: major, good evening. here at chicago's airport, there has been a steady stream of travelers throughout the day. that, of course, is despite the government's warning to stay safe this holiday and stay home and a nasty mix of weather is making a mess of this christmas eve travel. for those who hit the road and ignored government guidelines, near-whiteout conditions in minnesota forced some vehicles off the roads, like this jackknifed semi that ended up in a ditch. more than a half a foot of snow, followed by treacherous black
ice, covered roads, triggering hundreds of accidents and spinouts all along interstate 94. >> oh, my gosh. the roads are slippery. >> reporter: highway traffic in nebraska came to a standstill. blizzard conditions were to blame for a crash on i-80 that left three people dead, including a four-year-old. last-minute shoppers, they were not just battling the clock but also the elements. they didn't seem to mind. >> mother nature knew we needed to have a white christmas. >> reporter: despite warnings and urgent pleas not to travel, airports are not only packed. the t.s.a. says it's screened more than a million passengers wednesday, the most since the pandemic began last march. >> there's a lot of people here. >> reporter: it was busy here, too. travelers streamed through chicago's o'hare airport all day today to get to their holiday destination. >> it's a risk, but double masks and, yeah, thanks to all the people working here. >> reporter: now, despite this
surge in travel, a.a.a. predicts that travel is actually down 30% this holiday season compared to just a year ago. major. >> garrett: charlie demar, thank you. let's get the forecast from cbs' lonnie quinn. lonnie, where is this powerful storm right now? >> reporter: well, right now, major, one-third of the country, the eastern one-third is affected by it. so who gets a white christmas out of it? well, the tennessee valley, the ohio valley, you're getting snow right now. you're going to wake up to some fresh snow out there. everybody else, it is all rain for you, and this is not a light little christmas eve rain. this is potentially dangerous weather out there. we have tornado watches in portions of north carolina and south carolina. that line moves into washington, d.c. around midnight. it gets to new york city about 3:00, 4:00 in the morning. some wind gusts are at 60 miles per hour in the big apple. then it moves into boston. i think you will see the worst of it around 10:00 in the morning, with your chance for severe weather. and then it's all the cold air. it's not here at 7:00 in the morning for the eastern cities.
new york feels like 58, but at that same hour, tallahassee, florida, feels like it's 27 degrees. it will feel 30 degrees colder in portions of florida than it does in new york city. but the real cold air, st. louis tomorrow morning, feels like four degrees below zero. all that cold air moves into the all that cold air moves into the northeast, and with all the rain that's falling, there will be some icy slippery conditions out there by the time you get into christmas night and into the following day. major, not the christmas eve a lot of folks are looking for. >> garrett: lonnie quinn with all the key details. thank you. tonight, president trump is keeping the entire country guessing about the covid relief bill one day after demanding larger payments to americans, cbs news has learned the legislation has been sent to the president in florida, just in case he wants to sign it. cbs' paula reid reports tonight from west palm beach. >> reporter: house republicans turned back a push by democrats to increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000. >> the house stands adjourned. >> reporter: it was a rebuke. >> i'm asking congress to amend this bill. >> reporter: after the president
threatened to veto the relief bill unless payments were raised. with millions of americans in limbo, democrats are pushing him. >> believe it or not, the democrats agree with the president, at least to the extent that we need to sign this bill now. >> reporter: even republicans remain in the dark as to the sresident's next move. >> the best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill, and i still hope that's what he decides to do. >> reporter: the president was seen pulling into his palm beach golf club today, but, otherwise, laid low, after unleashing fresh controversy last night, when he announced a slew of new clemency actions, including a full pardon for his son-in-law, jared kushner's father, charles kushner, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in jail for preparing false tax returns and witness retaliation, including using a prostitute to blackmail his brother-in-law, a witness in the case. tru case was prosecuted in the early 2000s by trump ally chris christie. >> it's one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes
that i prosecuted when i was u.s. attorney. >> reporter: mr. trump also extended pardons to his former advisers roger stone and paul manafort, both convicted on charges stemming from the special counsel investigation more than 80 cleling. of the more than 80 clemency actions the president has issued while in office, 58 were for people he knows personally or done as a favor for an associate or were granted for political benefit. but the president's choices were met with criticism, even from republicans like ben sasse who called the moves "rotten to the core." once the stimulus bill is physically here in florida, the president can sign it quickly if he wants to, but even with millions of americans in limbo, the white house still refuses to say what the president will do. major. >> garrett: paula reid with the key phrase "if he wants to." tonight, california remains the epicenter of america's covid surge. the state now has more cases than italy. hospitals in southern california are struggling to keep up with
all the patients. more now from cbs' lilia luciano. >> reporter: an alarming milestone: california surpassing two million covid cases. in los angeles county, these carts tell the story. hospitalizations soaring, as are the number of deaths, 145 more than just yesterday. >> we have never seen daily death rates this high throughout the course of the pandemic, and the model predicts that the worst is yet to come. the surge that we are in right now was avoidable. >> reporter: health officials say people not adhering to strict social guidelines are fueling the rise in cases. those hoping to get vaccinated quickly may have to wait a bit. federal officials had estimated 20 million doses would arrive by the end of december, but that many won't even be delivered until early next year. among those who just got the vaccine, nursing home residents near seattle, the nation's first hot spot. this is 92-year-old "lovie" therriault. >> take that, covid.
>> reporter: there are more concerns tonight over covid's impact on the black community, where the virus' death rate is nearly twice that of white patients. >> i am short of breath. yes, i am. >> reporter: dr. susan moore posted this facebook video complaining she was getting inadequate care at an indiana hospital because she was black. she was released and died this week, her words now haunting. >> this is how black people get killed, when you send them home. >> reporter: indiana university health released this statement: "we take accusation of discrimination very seriously and investigate every allegation." also tonight, a homecoming that dennis zayas and his wife, jessica, never thought possible. >> everybody tells me i look great but it's a daily struggle. >> reporter: diagnosed with covid in july, he slipped into a coma for two months, and then his survival depended on a lung transplant. after painstaking rehab...
you're making it back home for christmas. how does that feel? >> i didn't think i was going to make it. >> it was an amazing gift. i don't want any other gift. i have everything. >> reporter: those spending the night in hospitals like this one weren't so lucky. i asked dennis what it is he missed most during those five months that he was hospitalized. you know what he said? food. and that he can't wait for tomorrow when he'll have a very traditional puerto rican christmas meal, as will i, major. >> garrett: lilia luciano, very good. thank you very much. today, britain and the european union struck a free trade deal meant to avoid gridlock at the ports when britain leaves the e.u. on january 1. they got a taste of what gridlock looks like this week when trucks were stopped leaving britain over the fears of the new strain of covid. today, truck drivers, still stranded, spelled out "help" with traffic cones at the port of dover. tonight, the city of columbus, ohio is moving to fire a police officer who shot and killed an
unarmed black man. as the victim's family demands justice, new details are emerging in this case, including the officer's record, which also includes numerous civilian complaints. here's is cbs' jeff pegues. >> today, i am announcing action to terminate officer adam coy. >> reporter: late today, when he made the announcement, columbus police chief thomas quinlan says he was thinking about andre hill's family. >> i cannot fathom the pain andre hill's family is feeling right now. he was taken from them by violence. >> reporter: he blamed veteran officer adam coy, who arrived on scene after a neighbor made a non-emergency 911 call of a suspicious vehicle repeatedly being turned on and off. in the body camera video, hill is seen holding a cell phone in his left hand. within seconds, officer coy moves closer to the open garage, fires his gun, and hill, who investigators say did not have a
weapon, falls to the ground, where he lay for several minutes with no one providing aid. >> don't move, dude! >> reporter: today, there were protests, anger and calls for justice. al williams is hill's brother. >> just outright crime. >> reporter: that's what you think it was? >> yes, i believe it was strictly an unjust murder. >> reporter: attorney ben crump represents the hill family. >> on a non-emergency call, you get out of your cruiser with guns drawn. this officer should be arrested for killing a man who was unarmed. >> reporter: still a mystery: why the officer drew his gun in the first place. jeff pegues, cbs news, washington. >> garrett: the christmas holiday marks a break in perhaps the most challenging school year this country has ever seen. more than 60% of american students were forced to learn remotely, at least part of the time, a hardship for all, of
course, but especially for students without homes. here is cbs' meg oliver. >> reporter: jasmine perez has shuffled through three new york city shelters during the pandemic, with her husband and four children. >> i have problems reading and writing. i've been through it, and i don't want my kids going through it. >> reporter: the perez children are lucky if they can stay connected for virtual learning for more than two minutes at a time. >> can you log in? >> no, it's slow. >> reporter: eight-year-old kaylie is her youngest. >> it's so hard. >> reporter: are you falling behind? >> yes, i am. >> when i was young, i didn't have that proper education. if they grow up, they want to be a lawyer, they need a diploma. they need to succeed. >> reporter: there are more than 15,000 children living in new york city family shelters. nine months into the pandemic, about 83% lack wifi for students learning virtually. >> our position is that it's been long enough. >> reporter: susan horwitz is an attorney with the legal aid society.
they're now suing, hoping to force the city to equip all family shelters with reliable internet access no later than january 4. >> the people who are living in shelters are in the demographic that has just been devastated by covid. they are poor. they are black and brown. they are people who are struggling with putting food on the table and staying housed. >> the wifi is a constant struggle. >> reporter: 15-year-old aaron morris has been living in a shelter for past year and is hoping his weak wifi doesn't cut off his dream of becoming a mechanical engineer, if he can keep up with virtual learning. are your grades suffering because of this? >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: how so? >> i used to be, like, 99 to 100, and it's just dropping down from there, which makes me very upset to the point i just want to tell my parents, "i don't want to go to school anymore. i don't want to do this." >> reporter: new york's mayor says he cannot offer a detailed timeline for wifi installation, but they hope to have it done by next summer after the school
year ends. major. >> garrett: meg oliver, thank you. there is still much more news ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news." dramatic video shows a police officer rushing in to rescue a young child after an explosion blew her home to bits. and a happy update: how cbs news viewers really came through for a family in need. ys? how did you find great-grandma's recipe? we're related to them? we're portuguese? i thought we were hungarian? grandpa, can you tell me the story again? behind every question is a story waiting to be discovered.
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to turning your new inspiration into your next pursuit. >> garrett: tonight, more than 7,000 people have been evacuated because of a wildfire that has burned 3,000 acres on and around camp pendleton in southern california. the fire has been fueled by dry santa ana winds gusting up to 35 miles an hour. now to some dramatic footage just released of a police rescue in porter county, indiana. a body cam captured the frantic scene in september after a gas explosion leveled a home. the officers dug through debris, finally pulling a three-year-old girl to safety. she and six are others, we're happy to say, survived the ordeal. and we have an update tonight on a struggling family of 12 in atlanta. last week we introduced you to yolanda myers, known by the 10 young grandchildren she cares for as g-mama. "cbs evening news" viewers were so touched by her story, that they donated to the african
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>> gar >> garrett: nothing stops santa claus, not a bad winter storm, not coronavirus. you see, santa and his helpers always have a plan "b." here's cbs' adriana diaz. >> beautiful. >> reporter: once the pandemic canceled her annual in-studio santa sessions... >> we thought how on earth are we going to make this happen? good job! >> reporter: ...alicia johnson's family got covid creative. her husband, dan, built this santa's workshop in their backyard. now he is sanitation. their daughter dalaney is the season's greeter. so with a little sanitizer and social distancing, the johnson found a way to keep tradition alive, even bringing in repeat customers. >> use the santa-tizer. ( laughter )
>> a picture of me with santa. >> reporter: alicia gifted this session after learning the photos were ricky carpentero's mother's christmas wish. >> i can't believe it. we haven't taken professional pictures as a family with him since birth, right. >> it was, like, so awesome! >> what do you want for christmas? >> for this coronavirus to be gone so i can go with my family. >> he wasn't there asking me for a list of toys, you know, that he wanted. he wanted something really important. that touched me really much. >> there you go! >> i feel like the pictures this year really show what we've all gone through. the children are so much more rounded. i personally think it was more magical this year. >> reporter: a magic no one could have pictured this time last year. adriana diaz, cbs news, warrenville, illinois. >> garrett: so awesome, indeed. we'll be right back.
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this is "the cbs overnight news." >> merry christmas. thanks for staying with us. this holiday season is unlike any other. the pandemic has wrecked the finances of millions of americans. and the threat of covid-19 will keep families apart, when we can all use the company of others. then, there's the issue of gifts. online shopping set a record this year. all of those orders had to be delivered. and for the most part, the shipping companies did a great job. new numbers show on-time delivery for fedex, u.p.s. and the postal service was more than 93%. because of the mountain of orders, more than 1 million
packages did not get to their destinations yet. errol barnett had this report from new york city. >> reporter: in a year unlike any other, the race for shippers to reach the homes of families nationwide, has reached its pinnacle. >> people are doing online shopping. the delivery system is flooded with packages. >> reporter: the u.s. postal service is getting hit hard. shipping millions more items than average. partly due to shipping caps at u.p.s. and fedex. for the first week of december, on-time deliveries fell to 75%. >> i'm worried about the u.s. postal system. i'm not sure what's going on. hopefully it will improve and they will figure it out. >> reporter: what is it like to be a postal worker right now? >> well, it's daunting. >> reporter: mark is the president of the american postal workers union, representing one-third of the more than 644,000 postal service employees. in addition to deliveries, he
says, more than 6,000 workers v tested positive for covid in the last week. >> with all of that, we're still out here, like all other essential workers. >> reporter: should people brace themselves and expect that things may be a little late this week? >> i think in some situations, people will be disappointed that the gifts, through the post office, and maybe other carriers, do not make it quite on time. >> reporter: private carriers are also overwhelmed. last week, u.p.s. health care president, wes wheeler, warned of gift delays, as the covid vaccine rolled out across the country. >> if it comes down to it, what gets priority? my christmas gifts? or the vaccine? >> the vaccine gets the priority on the aircraft. and if your package happens to be on that truck, you're lucky.