tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC January 9, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
stay with us and we will see you back here in 30 minutes for abc 7 news at 6:00. tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. at least 19 people killed today including 9 children after a a massive, five-alarm fire broke out in a high-rise apartment building in new york city. and officials warn the death toll is expected to climb. the fire started on the third floor of this 19-story apartment building in the bronx. flames and and smoke pouring out of the windows with residents trapped inside, frantically calling 911. as many as 200 fdny firefighters on scene, rescuing residents on stretchers. more than a dozen taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. many reportedly suffering from severe smoke inhalation. more than 30 others injured. the mayor tonight calling the fire one of the worst in modern times in the city. why officials think the deadly smoke spread so quickly. the other major headlines tonight, hospitals and health
care workers pushed to the brink as omicron fuels a nationwide explosion of cases. more than 80% of adult icu beds occupied nationwide, forcing dozens of hospitals in new york to stop elective surgeries. the spike in covid cases also forcing a standoff in our nation's schools. in los angeles county, most students set to return to in-person learning tuesday, but nearly 13% of students and staff have tested positive. in chicago, students face more cancelled classes amid the deadlock between the district and teacher's union. and in philadelphia, dozens of schools shifting to virtual learning tomorrow due to covid related staffing shortages. tonight, what parents need to know as students return to class. a brutal cold front sweeping from the deep south to the northeast, threatening tornadoes, heavy rain, ice, and snow. rob marciano with the timing and track. diplomatic talks between the u.s. and russia begin tomorrow, focusing on the crisis in ukraine as tensions mount in the region. shocking new images tonight, showing a devastating cliff collapse in brazil that killed
at least ten people. and novak djokovic fights to play the australian open. the tennis star's case in court tonight over his vaccination exemption. and breaking news as we come on the air. bob saget found dead in orlando. the iconic comedian was 65 years old. good evening, everyone. thanks so much for joining us on this sunday. i'm linsey davis. new reporting tonight on the explosive covid surge straining hospitals and schools across our country. but we do begin with breaking news. the devastating fire breaking out in a high-rise apartment building in the bronx, right here in new york city, killing at least 19 people, including 9 children. more than 40 others injured, 13 sent to the hospital in life-threatening condition. fire officials say an electric
space heater sparked the flames. it was in a third-floor duplex apartment. about 200 firefighters responding to the scene. the mayor said some of them pushed through the smoke even though their oxygen tanks were empty. calling it one of the worst fires in modern new york city history. and saying the city will help the largely muslim community recover. janai norman leads us off from the scene. >> reporter: tonight, 19 people, including 9 children, are dead, and more than a dozen people are fighting for their lives after a five-alarm fire broke out in this apartment complex in the bronx in new york city. >> fires on the third floor of a 19-story occupied m.d. >> reporter: officials say the fire broke out just before 11:00 a.m. sunday morning on the third floor. the smoke spreading quickly throughout all 19 stories of the building. >> oh, there's a fire up there, too! look up! >> oh, my god! >> reporter: many residents trapped inside their apartments, blinded by smoke. >> i panicked. i was scared.
i was really scared. i was scared. i mean, that smoke really hit me. by the time i got to the exit and i had the mask on, i couldn't even see. >> reporter: more than 200 firefighters on the scene within minutes, smashing out windows and evacuating residents on stretchers. >> we were sleeping, and then my kid just screams, fire, fire. >> reporter: mamadou wague says his daughter woke him up, saying a mattress in their apartment was on fire. >> it was a lot of smoke, you cannot see nothing. >> reporter: sanchez guillermo says he and his son waited for help in their apartment for an hour and a half. >> i was thinking they would never arrive. >> reporter: new york city mayor eric adams saying this is one of the worst fires in recent history. >> when something like this hits the city, it's going to take us a long time to recover. >> our hearts go out to those families. janai norman joins us. the mayor says this is one of the deadliest fires in 30 years in the city. what do we know about how this happened?
>> reporter: it's absolutely devastating. officials are pointing to a door left open that likely contributed to the smoke spreading so quickly. the fire commissioner said it likely started from a malfunctioning space heater. tonight, the governor and mayor are offering assistance to those residents. >> janai, thank you. now to our other top story tonight, the record breaking covid surge, fueled by the relentless omicron variant, pushing hospitals to the brink. the number of hospitalized americans who are positive for covid-19 soaring to over 138,000, just shy of a pandemic high. tonight, the u.s. is reporting a record average of more than 668,000 new cases per day, more than a six-fold increase compared to just five weeks ago. in new york, state officials are also reporting a single day record of more than 90,000 new cases. phil lipof reports on the dire staffing shortages tonight at america's hospitals. >> reporter: tonight, a record-breaking explosion of omicron infections pushing
hospitals and front line workers across the country to their limits. >> now we have the covid surge going on that is just pushing everything over. in my career, i've not seen numbers and volumes like this. >> reporter: at least 1 in every 70 americans tested positive for covid last week. that's nearly 5 million new infections, a pandemic record. and that number likely does not include all the people testing positive using at-home kits. >> i expect this surge to peak in the next couple of weeks. it'll peak in different places in america at different times, but once we get into february, i really do expect much, much lower case numbers. >> reporter: but for right now, some hospitals across the country even converting storage space into emergency care rooms, like here in wisconsin. and in new hampshire -- >> none of the people we've taken care of who got really sick from covid thought they were going to get really sick from covid. >> reporter: in new york, the state with the most covid cases, more than 40 hospitals now ordered to stop elective surgeries to focus on patients
already packing emergency rooms. washington state, on the verge of being forced to make tough decisions about which patients get access to care like dialysis. >> right now, we are closer to a crisis situation than we ever have been. >> reporter: health care workers continue to test positive. tonight, the california nurses' association blasting the state's latest guidance for health care workers, which says those who test positive and are asymptomatic can return to work without quarantining or testing negative. >> if we're infected, we put our patients at more risk of getting sicker. >> reporter: and the cdc director again defending the agency's controversial guidelines shortening the isolation period to five days without recommending a test. >> this is hard. we have ever-evolving science with an ever-evolving variant, and my job is to provide updated guidance in the context of rapidly rising cases.
>> phil joins us from new york city. tell us why that new federal vaccine regulation could be in jeopardy. >> reporter: linsey, the supreme court is set to take up that rule any time now. it would require companies with 100 or more employees to either be vaccinated or to get tested weekly. if the justices don't block that, enforcement could begin in february. >> phil, thank you. schools are facing standoffs as they grapple with the unprecedented omicron surge. in chicago, it's still unclear if classes will resume tomorrow. as the teachers' union and mayor clash over remote learning. in philadelphia, 46 schools are set to be virtual next week. here's zohreen shah on the frustration for parents tonight. >> reporter: tonight, frustrations felt on both sides by teachers and parents as schools across the country struggle to safely keep students in the classroom amid this winter covid surge. >> i would just describe this as completely flummoxing.
what is going on? >> reporter: major concern growing in los angeles county with most students returning to class on tuesday. nearly 13% of students and staff testing positive for covid in the past week. today, hundreds of families rushing to get tested. >> i feel half and half. she's making friends and growing socially, academically. but it's always really scary. >> reporter: but tonight health experts pointing out that while the decision to go virtual is up to individual school districts, testing and mitigation strategies also work. >> masking, ventilation, test to stay strategies have saved hundreds of thousands of person days for kids staying in school. >> reporter: in chicago, students are facing a fourth day of cancelled classes on monday amid an ongoing dispute between the teachers' union and the city over covid safety protocols. >> we have got to get the teachers' union to get real and get serious about getting back into in-person learning. >> reporter: tonight, abbott
labs announcing it will provide 350,000 tests to chicago public schools. meanwhile, students in atlanta heading back to class monday after a week of virtual learning. >> the contact tracing was really our last line of defense. >> reporter: here in l.a. county, there's a mad scramble with testing. with this site averaging 2,600 tests a day. the governor unveiling his budget with expanded testing for schools. linsey? >> zohreen, thank you. tonight, a new brutal cold front is sweeping across the country. emergency crews rescuing 40 people stuck on a sheet of ice in wisconsin after it broke away from shore after they were ice fishing. the bitter cold weather bringing the threat of tornadoes, heavy rain, ice, and snow from the deep south to the northeast. let's get right to rob marciano. hey, rob.
>> reporter: linsey, this storm on the leading edge is a lot warmer than the last one. we had a lot of problems with freezing rain and slick spots this morning. and the severe storms that continue to move across the south and east. you see it cutting across the carolinas and georgia, then it will persist for the next couple of hours. then it moves off the coast with the rain. here comes the cold air from the midwest, it will feel like 9 degrees in boston tomorrow morning. minus 2 in detroit. and look at tuesday morning. even colder for the northeast. minus 24 in burlington. minus 14 in boston. the trend is for more rounds of cold air. linsey? >> rob, thank you. tensions are rising between the u.s. and russia, set to begin high-stakes talks over fears growing that russia could invade ukraine. russian and american diplomats meeting for a working dinner tonight in geneva. here's maryalice parks. >> reporter: tonight, after two high-stakes calls in a month, russian and american diplomats kicking off a week of intense negotiations. the u.s. responding to russia
deploying tens of thousands of troops to ukraine's border. >> and it's clear that we've offered him two paths forward. one is through diplomacy and dialogue. the other is through deterrence and massive consequences for russia if it renews its aggression against ukraine. >> reporter: putin says he wants guarantees that ukraine, increasingly allied with the west, will not be allowed into nato, and that nato will pull back from former soviet states. both ideas outrageous and preposterous to the west. senior u.s. officials saying the u.s. is willing to discuss missile deployments to the region and possibly limiting the size of military exercises in nato countries on russia's border. and if those incentives don't work -- >> there will be massive consequences for russia, if it renews its aggression. economic, financial, and other consequences. as well as nato almost certainly having to reinforce its positions on its eastern flank. >> reporter: in ukraine's capital city today, anti-russian protests. ukrainians fearful the fate of
their country could be hanging in the balance. >> we are afraid that russia will attack ukraine in the coming months. we all built this country. we love it. we believe in its future. >> reporter: after these talks, there will be more between russia and nato and other european security organizations. it's possible that the recent unrest in kazakhstan could hang over all of it. russia says it doesn't want to talk about it, but secretary blinken said he has a lot of questions and concerns and did not rule out bringing it up. linsey? >> maryalice, thank you. we're learning late this evening that bob saget has died. he was found dead in a hotel room today in orlando. no signs of drug use or foul play. he was 65 years old.
as danny tanner of "full house" fame, bob saget gained a reputation as a quintessential family man. and as the host of "america's funniest home videos," he made people laugh. as recently as last night, he was doing what he loved. standup comedy in florida. but hours after his final routine, he was found dead in a hotel room in orlando. he was pronounced dead at the scene. detectives say they found no signs of foul play or drug he posted on twitter, i had no idea i did a two-hour set.
he's survived by his wife and three children. our thoughts are with the saget family. and we now turn to a critical court hearing which could determine whether novak djokovic will play in the australian open. the serbian tennis star remains detained over a covid protocol dispute. he's appealing the cancellation of his visa. today, supporters rallied outside of the hotel where he's being held. here's britt clennett. >> reporter: tonight, tennis champ novak djokovic waiting for a judge to decide whether he can stay and defend his australian open title. djokovic, confined to an immigration detention hotel since australian border forces cancelled his visa last week and revoked his covid vaccine exemption. lawyers for the serbian tennis star filing court documents arguing djokovic first tested positive last month but after two weeks had not had a fever or respiratory symptoms of covid-19 in the last 72 hours, and had written clearance from the department of home affairs determining he met the requirements for entry.
video of djokovic maskless at a public event after that positive test now raising questions. it is unclear whether he knew of his covid status at the time. djokovic, who has been an outspoken vaccine skeptic, taking to instagram on friday to thank his supporters. tonight, australians deeply divided over what the outcome should be. many speaking out against the grand slam champ. >> it's our rule. that's it. no jab, no play. >> reporter: as anti-vaxx protesters and djokovic supporters cheered for his release outside the australian prime minister's home. linsey, a virtual hearing is now under way. djokovic should learn in several hours whether he can stay in australia. linsey? >> britt, thank you. still ahead on "world news tonight" this sunday, terrifying new images tonight of a deadly cliff collapse in brazil. and why you won't be able to watch the golden globes tonight.
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let's give molly some help. >> reporter: but this is not a case of an overzealous future mother-in-law. beth discovered wingman, a dating app for friends and family hoping to play matchmaker, after she learned she may not have much time left. sharing on her profile, "a year ago i found out that breast cancer had extensively spread to my bones. i'm now on a mission to find a good man for my daughter to love." she describes her daughter as "a ray of sunshine" who "tries to improve the lives of everyone around her," and "has strong determination to balance fun, fitness, and new experiences. i want to know i'm leaving her in good hands." >> molly has been my wingman, taking me to my doctor's appointments. i can't say enough about that. what it meant to me. >> mom, i wouldn't -- i wouldn't have it any other way. you know? >> reporter: a story so bittersweet it caught the attention of wingman founder tina wilson. >> she's just brave and feisty and i instantly loved her. i thought, you know, we have to help. >> reporter: she helped by providing this gigantic
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>> i was coming down the stairs and saw a buddy sitting on the floor. this is crazy. >> tonight on abc 7 news at 6:00, heartbreaking accounts about new york city's worst fire disaster in 30 years. investigators revealed what caused that fire. and look at this line. demand for covid testing is way up. why is a bay area city scaling back on its testing efforts? a big day in sports. the niners have a big shot to make the nfl playoffs, and in endby is superstars -- and annnn mba superstars return after two years. abc 7 news at 6:00 starts now. announcer: building a better bay area. moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. >> this is a horrific, horrific, painful moment.
>> disbelief and grief from the mayor of new york city tonight in the wake of one of the deadliest fires in the city's history. good evening and thanks for joining us, i am dion lim. right away would begin with developing news. 19 people have died in that fire in the bronx. a reporter from our sister station in new york city has been there all day. josh, what is the latest? reporter: first of people have been confirmed dead in this fire, including nine children. 13 more people are described as critical and in life-threatening condition. so the numbers may change sometime tonight. meanwhile investigators believe all of this started because somebody plugged in a faulty space heater. [sirens wailing] reporter: flames shot like a blowtorch from a third floor apartment. but fire was th