tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC March 19, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
tonight, the breaking news as we come on the air. the president just a short time ago on the horrific shootings in atlanta. and what we've learned tonight. president biden and vice president harris meeting with asian-american lawmakers and community leaders late today. president biden and the vice president on the tragedy, the pain, and vowing to work to make our asian-american communities safer. and tonight, the newly obtained surveillance of the alleged gunman at the scene of the first attack. all eight victims have now been identified, six of asian descent. the devoted mother of two, the u.s. army veteran, the spa owner killed just two days shy of her 50th birthday. police saying they are not ruling out a hate crime, and abc's steve osunsami in atlanta tonight with late reporting on what we now know. the other major news this friday night.
the major change for schools across the country. the cdc issuing new guidelines tonight, recommending three feet of social distancing for school children with masks instead of six feet. could this help get children back to school sooner? some teacher's unions pushing back tonight. the cdc director saying, we have done the science. president biden also at the cdc tonight as health officials raise new concerns over those highly contagious variants, with several states now seeing cases on the rise. the worsening situation on the southern border. president biden's dhs secretary alejandro mayorkas traveling to el paso, texas, today. hundred of migrant children and teens now held at border patrol facilities for ten days or longer, well beyond the legal limit. matt gutman in el paso tonight. the widening scandal involving new york's governor andrew cuomo. "the new york times" now reporting tonight for the first time a current employee of the governor's office, and what she now alleges involving the
governor. back to sea. the american cruise lines resuming service, but the major change. and the "wheel of fortune" surprise. good evening. and it's great to have you with us here as we near the end of another week together. we begin tonight with the president and the vice president just moments ago on the horrific shootings in atlanta. they came before the cameras during their visit to atlanta, meeting with asian-american leaders, community leaders in the wake of the shootings that killed eight people. six of the victims were of asian descent. the president calling the meetings heart-wrenching. president biden saying whatever the motivation, too many asian-americans wake up in the morning in this country worrying that they have been verbally attacked and killed, and he addressed what we called the skyrocketing spike in cases. a year of living in fear, he said. all this as abc news obtains new surveillance appearing to show
the gunman getting in and out of his car at the first shooting location outside of atlanta. this shows the suspect in a social media video in 2018 that has since been removed by the crabapple church. the church confirming he was a member. police saying they're not ruling out calling this a hate crime. vice president harris saying regardless of motive, racism is real in america, it always has been, she said. sexism, too. saying asian-americans have been attacked and scapegoated. we are learning more about the victims. all eight identified, including emily tan. the owner of one of the spas. yesterday would have been her 50th birthday. and hyun june grant. a mother of two. so many of their faces on the screen tonight. president biden urging congress take up the covid-19 hate crimes act, saying words have consequences, that this should be called the coronavirus, full stop, he said. steve osunsami leading us off tonight in atlanta. >> reporter: in georgia tonight,
the president and the vice president are promising to do all they can to protect asian-americans from attacks in the streets. at a meeting, they heard a long list of concerns from some of the state's asian lawmakers. >> hate can have no safe harbor in america. it must stop. it's on all of us, all of us together, to make it stop. >> a harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us. the president and i will not be silent. >> reporter: across town, the coroner is sending the dead to funeral homes and releasing the names of the victims killed at the two 24-hour spas in atlanta. 51-year-old hyun grant, a korean immigrant, leaves behind the two sons seen in this photo to her left. 69-year-old suncha kim was also killed. so was soon park and yong yuo.
her two sons seen here are heartbroken and share this photo. the majority of georgia's asian residents live in the atlanta suburbs, but many of them work in the city. atlanta's interim police chief wants them to know that down here, there's no question that his people are concerned about racially motivated attacks. >> we're now working to have a greater outreach to ensure them that we are here for them as well. >> reporter: there's a lot of mistrust, you know. >> yeah, it is a lot of mistrust. it's very understandable, especially during these times. but it is incumbent upon us to make sure that we strengthen those relationships and to re-establish that level of trust. >> reporter: in the atlanta suburbs, there's new surveillance video from the scene of the first of the murders, at young's asian massage parlor. investigators here say that this is 21-year-old robert aaron long, seen going in and out of the business where he's accused of murdering four people. of the eight he's now charged with killing tuesday evening, all but two of them were asian. one of those two was paul michels, an army veteran who was
a handyman at the business. the local sheriff, who's gotten an earful of complaints over the way his office has handled the case, showed up at a vigil outside and offered his condolences. >> we are committed to providing a safe community and getting a solid conviction on this. you have my promise. >> reporter: the sheriff's office has long in custody. their investigators agree with police in the city that long had a sex addiction and was targeting the spas where he was a regular. long was well known at his southern baptist church and is seen here in a picture taken from a 2018 video posted on the church's facebook page that was taken down a few days ago. the church hasn't commented on the video but is releasing a statement, saying that the shootings were a total repudiation of our faith and practice. no blame can be placed upon the victims. >> steve osunsami back with us from atlanta. steve, you and i were on the air here together watching the
president and vice president, and both of them went out of their way to say, whatever the motivation, however this is defined by law enforcement, that too many asian-americans are in fear, have been attacked, have been killed. >> reporter: that's right, david, and complicating things is a growing sense of mistrust between the asian-american community and the law enforcement community, and that wasn't made any better here by some unfortunate statements made by investigators in some counties to the north of here who are working on their end of the case. we spoke with the interim atlanta police chief here, who tells us he wants the asian-american community to understand that he is here to protect them, and he realizes that there is still work to do. david? >> steve osunsami. steve, thank you for your careful reporting all week long here. steve and juju chang will be in atlanta tonight for a special edition of "20/20." i hope you'll join us all at 10:00 p.m. eastern tonight. an important conversation, and many powerful new interviews, including the son of one of those devoted moms lost this week.
that's tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern. we will see you then. in the meantime, the other major news this friday night, the pandemic. a major change for schools across the country. the cdc issuing new guidelines tonight, recommending three feet of social distancing for school children with masks instead of six feet. so could this help to get children back to school sooner? some teacher's unions are pushing back tonight. the cdc director saying, we have the science. here's abc's whit johnson. >> reporter: tonight, a major change that could help pave the way for millions more children to get back in the classroom. >> i'm hopeful that we are turning a corner on this pandemic. getting our children back to school, in-person instruction as soon as possible is a critical first step in doing so. >> reporter: the cdc today reducing its distancing recommendation from six feet to three inside the classroom with universal masking. but if community transmission is high, the cdc advises middle and high schools to break students into small groups or stay at six feet.
that's because older kids are more likely to spread the virus. >> we've seen the science to ensure that this is safe for those schools. >> reporter: the cdc citing multiple studies, finding the shorter distance did not sacrifice sfety. marci clark is a mother of three in new jersey, whose kids haven't been in a classroom in a year. >> it's been a year. i am at peace with my kids returning to school and being three feet apart from a classmate. >> reporter: but some major teacher's unions pushing back. the national education association calling for "more detail," and saying the rule change would be "particularly challenging" for large urban schools with fewer resources. and concern from some school boards. >> we do not want to try to cram as many students as we possibly can into a classroom. >> reporter: today, joe biden making his first visit as president to the cdc, saying science is back.
>> you've changed things. you've changed them in a way that are going to make everybody healthier in this country. and when we have a crisis, you're prepared to meet it, because you speak truth and science to power. >> reporter: but tonight, an urgent warning. dr. anthony fauci saying the highly contagious uk variant could be 64% more deadly and now accounts for up to 30% of infections in the u.s. but adds the three authorized vaccines are effective against it. >> get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible with the vaccine that we know works. >> and so let's get back to whit johnson tonight and back to those new guidelines for school children. the change from six feet to three feet with masks. but for teachers and adults in schools, we took note that the distance will remain six feet? >> reporter: david, six feet is still recommended among school staff, and when teachers are interacting with the students, that distance is also advised in group settings, when kids are eating lunch, exercising, or engaging in the other activities without masks.
and the cdc pointing out that children between the ages 5 and 17 make up just 10% of the covid cases in the u.s. david? >> whit johnson wih us again tonight. whit, thank you. there was some pushback from some teachers unions as whit reported. i'm sure many of you have questions at home, so let's get right to dr. ashish jha. the dean of the brown university school of public health. always great to have you.pyou h today say that we have the science on this. are you confident three feet instead of six feet makes sense? >> david, thanks for having me on. i think as long as the kids and adults are masking up, as long as there's reasonable ventilation in the room, i think the science here is pretty strong that three feet is every bit as safe as six feet. so i think the cdc got this one right. >> we're watching the vaccination numbers. we're encouraged by what we're seeing in recent days. but we also watched dr. fauci defend himself on capitol hill, still wearing his mask after being fully vaccinated. he said this is not theater.
even for vaccinated americans the recommendation is still masking in public because there's still a lot e don't know, even if you have been fully vaccinated. >> yeah, and here's the key part of that. i think we have very good evidence at this point that getting vaccinated dramatically reduces transmission, but there are still a lot of high-risk people out that that have not yet gotten vaccinated. and so even if there's a small risk of spread, i think we need to continue the mask up. over time we can definitely get rid of our masks and go back to a more normal way of life, but not until we have more high-risk people vaccinated. >> dr. ashish jha, with us on a friday night. we always appreciate your time. thank you. we move to the worsening situation at the southern border. president biden's dhs secretary traveling to el paso, texas, today. hundreds of migrant children and teens held at border patrol facilities ten days or longer. that's beyond the national limit. here's matt gutman from el paso.
>> reporter: tonight, with border patrol facilities dangerously overcrowded, abc news learning that about 500 migrant minors have spent more than ten days in custody, well beyond the three-day limit. many of those crossing like this 17-year-old in south texas. he says, we're here searching for the american dream because in our country, the violence is really bad. today homeland security secretary alejandro mayorkas, and a bipartisan group of senators visited immigration facilities here in el paso after he acknowledged earlier this week the challenges ahead. >> the situation is undoubtedly difficult. we are working around the clock to manage it. >> reporter: the u.s. bracing for a surge of migrants not seen in 20 years. many going right over this wall. these are what's left of the rickety makeshift ladders that migrants use to get over the wall. most of the children in overwhelmed border patrol facilities are forced to wait
for days for transfer to hhs shelters. but tonight, texas governor greg abbott blasting even those shelters, which are designed for children. >> we see very dangerous conditions that these migrants are forced to be in, whether it be lack of running water or the exposure and spread of covid. >> reporter: and today, david, the government of mexico saying it is deploying forces to its southern border, trying to stem the flow of migrants into the country. now, they're saying they're doing this mostly to protect the massive number of children coming in, most of them from central america. david? >> matt gutman on the southern border for us again tonight. matt, thank you. now to a developing headline as we're on the air. the widening scandal involving new york governor andrew cuomo. "the new york times" reporting tonight for the first time a current employee at the governor's office coming forward with her own allegations. here's abc's erielle reshef tonight. >> reporter: tonight, for the first time, a woman who currently works in the office of new york governor andrew cuomo coming forward to accuse him of sexual harassment.
alyssa mcgrath, an aide, said cuomo ogled her while she was taking dictation. i put my head down, waiting for him to start speaking and he didn't start speaking, she said. i look up to see what was going on and he was blatantly looking down my shirt. mcgrath tells the "times" a co-worker confided in her that cuomo groped her breast, a story that's been previously reported. cuomo denied ever getting physical with anyone. >> i never harassed anyone. i never abused anyone. i never assaulted anyone. now -- and i never would. >> reporter: but mcgrath is the eighth woman to say that's just not true. former aide ana liss claims cuomo created a toxic and abusive environment where she felt like, quote, just a skirt. >> i don't think the average person in new york state would like to know that their governor is an absolute monster. >> reporter: another former aide, lindsey boylan, says cuomo gave her an unwanted kiss.
she tells "the new yorker's" ronan farrow that one time at the governor's mansion one of cuomo's dogs jumped on her. she claims cuomo joked if he were a dog he would try to mount her as well. >> we unearthed emails, texts, both internal communications in the governor's office that talked about her looks and alluded to an elevated level of interest from the governor. >> reporter: and david, lindsey boylan said the governor's office tried to retaliate by leaking her personnel files with unflattering information to reporters. the governor's office says that was appropriate to set the record straight. david? >> erielle reshef here in new york. thank you. when we come back tonight, the another headline breaking involving coronavirus at mar-a-lago. what's being done there tonight. and a major step if you're looking to travel soon again, but with a major change. during photosynthesis, plants convert solar energy to chemical energy, cleaning the oxygen we breathe. plants clean the air. when applied to stained textiles, plant-based surfactants like the ones in seventh generation detergent
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or take other drugs that are known to cause changes in heart rhythm. tell your doctor about any changes in medicines you're taking. the most common side effects are swelling of the arms and legs and confusion. we spoke up and it made all the difference. ask your healthcare provider about nuplazid. look at this human trying to get in shape. ask your healthcare provider you know what he will get? muscle pain. give up, the couch is calling. i say, it's me, the couch, i'm calling. pain says you can't. advil says you can. next here tonight, former president trump's mar-a-lago club has been partially closed due to a covid outbreak. the associated press reporting a
section of the palm beach club was shut down out of on a abundance of caution and some workers have been quarantined. the former president moved to mar-a-lago after leaving washington in january. and royal caribbean and celebrity cruises will resume some sailings in june. the seven-day trips from the bahamas or st. martin will not stop at or depart from any u.s. ports. ships carrying 250 people are banned from waters. they'll need to show proof of a covid vaccine. children will need a negative test. when we come back, the ncaa is now apologizing to women players this evening. and the "wheel of fortune" surprise. st. st. when we come bac i'm searching for info on options trading, and look, it feels like i'm just wasting time. that's why td ameritrade designed a first-of-its-kind, personalized education center. oh. their award-winning content is tailored to fit your investing goals and interests. and it learns with you, so as you become smarter, so do its recommendations. so it's like my streaming service. well except now you're binge learning. see how you can become a smarter investor with a personalized education from td ameritrade. visit tdameritrade.com/learn
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and finally tonight here, a note before we go. week, the brave and loving son - on his mother. tonight, the outpouring of support from all over this country. the vigils, the marches, standing together for the lives lost in atlanta. 51-year-old hyun jung grant from korea on the left. she was one of the eight victims. she leaves behind two sons. her oldest son randy writing about his mother. she was a single mother who dedicated her whole life to providing for my brother and i, she was one of my best friends
and the strongest influence on who we are today. adding, as much as i want to grieve and process the reality that she is gone, i have a younger brother to take care of and matters to resolve as a result of this tragedy. tonight he tells abc news he's been overwhelmed by the support on his gofundme page. donations from all around the country and the world. writing, i don't know how any word i write here will ever convey how grateful and blessed i am to receive this much support. my mother can rest easy knowing i have the support of the world with me. brave words. ad that son talking to our juju chang tonight, and i hope you'll join juju and me, 10:00 p.m. eastern, for that special "20/20." good night. from
is a difference of a yard that can make a world of difference to me, tonight, see what a change in cdc guidelines means for getting kids back to school in the bay area after a year of distance-learning pick picture this, you get a coveted vaccination appointment, then it gets canceled per kit is happening for thousands of people here and tonight you are going to hear why. health experts reminding people that testing is still a huge part of the battle against covid-19. building a better bay area, for a safe and secure future, this is abc7 news. is vital, people getting vaccinated, public health experts say as many as possible as soon as possible to curb the coronavirus pandemic. >> it is why we are on vaccine watch as part of our efforts to build a better bay area. thank you for joining us.
multiple reporters to stories about vaccine shortages that are happening in different parts of the bay area. in the south bay, kaiser permanente members are some of the most impacted by the latest round of cancellations, abc7 news reporter, chris, found out it could be weeks before they are rescheduled. we will have his report in a moment. in san mateo county, the allotment of first doses has been cut in half, is that related to plea shields management of the vaccine supply statewide? not every county is on board? >> stephanie is looking at that for us, she is in the newsroom tonight, what did you find out? >> reporter: learning more as the situatin continues to evolve. we did learn this week, the state pledged to direct blue shield to give some decision- making powers back to local public health officials to better assess the vaccine dose allotments, but most of the bay area counties we have been talking to are still questioning what to do next.