tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC January 12, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
tonight, several developing stories as we come on. the major new findings on the omicron variant here in the u.s. what we now know. the study looking at tens of thousands of patients showing the risk of death compared to delta. as new cases of covid surge across 99% of all counties in the u.s. and dr. fauci saying today what the acting fda chief said 24 hours ago. that most people are going to get covid. and tonight, the new findings. how contagious the virus is once it's airborne. and why your mask is most important in those first five minutes. we'll break it down for you. the prices you're paying. new inflation numbers just in tonight. and this is not going away. what americans are now paying on meat, poultry, fish, eggs. gas prices up nearly 50% from a year ago.
rent going up, too. so, what's still driving this? and is there any relief coming? rebecca jarvis is here. the developing headline, the january 6th committee now asking to hear from the republican leader in the house, kevin mccarthy. about his phone calls with former president trump during the capitol riot. we're also learning tonight the former president's former press secretary already answering questions from the committee. jon karl standing by with new reporting. a major setback here in the u.s. for britain's prince andrew tonight. what a federal judge has now decided. the lawsuit against andrew will move forward. and british prime minister boris johnson in trouble tonight, facing calls for his resignation after attending parties while he ordered strict lockdowns in the uk. at least one gathering right at 10 downing street. ian pannell live in london. the emergency involving a
u.s. navy helicopter tonight. what we've now learned. and the new images of that medical helicopter with an infant and medical crew onboard, crashing near philadelphia. the miracle survival story. we're tracking a new winter storm hitting the midwest, then moving east, the south then possibly right up into the northeast. and tonight, we remember the lead singer of an iconic american group. good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy wednesday night. we begin tonight with these new findings on the omicron variant sweeping the u.s., as cases and hospitalizations hover at record highs still. authorities tonight studying tens of thousands of patients and now revealing new evidence that omicron is, in fact, not as deadly as delta. a study of nearly 70,000 patients finding they were half as likely to be hospital sized and 91% less likely to die.
all of this, of course, encouraging. and some hopeful signs tonight from cities where omicron surged first. could some of these cities hit first now be showing that they could be turning the corner on this first, too? this is still sweeping the nation. take a look at the map tonight. omicron now responsible for 98% of all new cases nationwide. this map showing the variant in red there, spreading across the country since mid december. the country now averaging 750,000 new cases every day. dr. anthony fauci said something today quite sweeping in nature, reflecting just how contagious this variant is, saying, quote, everybody is going to wind up getting exposed and likely getting infected. he had been asked about what the acting head of the fda said just 24 hours ago, essentially agreeing with her. he went on to say, if you are vaccinated and boosted, you have a low risk of getting sick from this. and tonight, there is also new research about how contagious the virus is once it is airborne and why your mask is most important in those first five minutes that the virus is in the air around you. we're going to break this down for you. and tonight, the white house now
promising to begin shipping 5 million free rapid tests to schools in this country every month. the first going out this month. abc's whit johnson leading us off tonight. >> reporter: tonight, more evidence that omicron may cause less severe illness. the first major study in the u.s. also showing the risk of dying was 91% lower compared to delta. >> given the sheer number of cases, we may see deaths from omicron, but i suspect the deaths that we're seeing now are still from delta. >> reporter: that review of 70,000 patients in california found that people are half as likely to be hospitalized with an omicron infection compared to delta, and tended to have shorter hospital stays. and none of the omicron patients studied needed a ventilator. >> the problem is that for unvaccinated people or people that have not gotten boosted that are high risk, yes, they may not end up on a ventilator, but they still are getting quite
sick from this, but it does show omicron seems to have less of an effect on lung disease. that's hopeful. >> reporter: but the covid surge sparing no corner of the country. this map showing the rapid spread of omicron since mid-december, 99% of counties in the u.s. now reporting high transmission. today, dr. fauci echoing the assessment from the acting head of the fda that most people are going to get covid. >> what she was referring to is that virtually everybody is going to wind up getting exposed and likely get infected. but if you're vaccinated and if you're boosted, the chances of your getting sick are very, very low. >> reporter: still, with 750,000 new infections every day, the administration says it's updating its mask guidance and exploring ways to get better masks to americans. >> we're in the process right now of strongly considering options to make more high quality masks available to all americans. >> reporter: but for weeks, health experts and cities like new york and los angeles have been urging people to upgrade to more protective masks like n95s, kn95s, and kf94s. >> the most important mask, the best mask is the one you'll wear
all day, so if you can figure out a good, well-fitting mask that fits your nose and mouth, that's the most critical. no doubt about it, kn95s, n95s, kf94s, there's a series of masks out there that are much higher quality. >> reporter: and tonight, another hopeful sign that in places where omicron surged first might be turning a corner. new york city reporting a 20% decline in cases since january 1st. and in boston, wastewater samples show a sharp drop in the amount of virus detected in the last week. >> both encouraging signs in new york city and in boston. we have to see what the days and the weeks ahead show us. whit back with us tonight. and i know there's also new research this evening about the virus once it's airborne. someone around you has it. it was very telling about how strong it is for the first five minutes or so, and then how quickly it weakens, which reinforces why masks are so important during those first minutes of exposure to someone who is sick. >> reporter: yeah, david, this
new study out of the uk estimates that covid loses most of its ability to infect within the first five minutes of leaving someone's body. and 90% of its ability to infect within 20 minutes. the research shows that the virus dissipates relatively quickly in the air and that your highest risk comes from someone who is close to you without a mask. david? >> whit johnson leading us off tonight. thank you, whit, as always. we're going to turn now to the economy and the prices you're paying and new evidence tonight that you're not imagining things. prices are going up on everything from groceries to rent now. new numbers tonight showing inflation now at the highest level since 1982. consumer prices up 0.5% last month, up 7% year over year now. so, what continues to drive these rising prices? and the question we always ask here, is there any relief coming? here's our chief business and economics correspondent rebecca jarvis tonight. >> reporter: tonight, with images of empty store shelves around the country and prices rising, johnetta jackson of detroit, a single mom of four, says her grocery bill has soared. >> just to get through a week, it's 300 bucks.
prices just went through the roof. >> reporter: food prices, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs up 12.5% from a year ago. shelter, rent, up almost 4%. and used car prices up a whopping near 40% from a year ago. plus, gasoline prices, which declined slightly between november and december, still up nearly 50% versus a year ago. fueling the surge? >> it's really a lot of things all at once. it's everything from supply chain problems to what has been an extraordinary strength in demand. >> reporter: those factors also contributing to shortages of everything from baby formula to produce and cereal, causing headaches and anxiety for consumers who haven't experienced inflation li this since 1982 when ronagan was president. >>hemy ut human behavr. we have no muscle memory of this. >> rebecca jarvis back with us tonight. and rebecca, we know the white house was pressed on this today, of course, how much longer will americans have to deal with this?
>> reporter: well, david, the white house along with many economists predict that these elevated prices will remain through the winter, but will moderate by year end. and the federal reserve is also expected to hike interest rates four times this year to keep inflation from undoing the economy. david? >> rebecca jarvis tonight. thank you, rebecca. now to the developing headline tonight from washington. news in the investigation of the january 6th riot. the house committee now asking the republican leader in the house, kevin mccarthy, to voluntarily cooperate with their investigation. we're also learning the former president's former press secretary has already answered questions from the committee. our chief washington correspondent jonathan karl with late reporting tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the committee investigating the january 6th insurrection is asking the leader of the house republicans, kevin mccarthy, to
voluntarily testify about his conversations with then-president trump as the riot was underway. the committee believes mccarthy is uniquely qualified to talk about trump's state of mind. as the violence unfolded. in my book, "betrayal," a source close to mccarthy recounts a heated phone call between the republican leader and trump. mccarthy told trump, "i just got evacuated from the capitol! there were shots fired right off the house floor. you need to make this stop." shortly after that, with rioters still inside the capitol, mccarthy told abc news that he pleaded with trump to give a national address calling on them to stand down. >> i begged him to go talk to the nation. >> reporter: the committee points out that one week later, mccarthy placed blame for the riot on trump. >> the president bears responsibility for wednesday's attack on congress by mob rioters. he should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. these facts require immediate action by president trump -- accept his share of responsibility. >> reporter: but the committee notes that just two weeks later,
mccarthy paid trump a visit at his mar-a-lago resort, where he posed for this picture. still, the committee hopes that mccarthy will voluntarily testify, as he suggested he would. >> would you testify if they call you? >> look, i don't have anything really to add. i've been very public, but i wouldn't hide from anything. >> reporter: no response yet from kevin mccarthy to the committee's request, but in a reminder that others close to trump are cooperating with the committee, we learned that kayleigh mcenany today did answer questions from the committee investigators. david? >> jonathan karl on this again tonight. jon, thank you. meanwhile, here in new york city tonight, a major setback for britain's prince andrew. a federal judge here issuing a blow, refusing to dismiss a lawsuit claiming the prince sexually assaulted an american woman when she was 17. all of this, of course, the continuing fallout from jeffrey epstein. abc's james longman on what happens next now. >> reporter: tonight, a major legal setback for prince andrew. a federal judge in new york has
now allowed virginia roberts giuffre to go forward with her civil sex abuse case against him. the judge denying a motion by the prince's lawyers to have it thrown out. their claim was largely based on language in a 2009 settlement between giuffre and convicted sex offender jeffrey epstein, that included a clause protecting "other potential defendants" from future lawsuits. lawyers for the queen's second son, and epstein's friend, argued that term included the prince. but in his ruling today, the judge called that 2009 agreement "ambiguous" and "riddled with drafting problems." giuffre claims epstein trafficked her to have sex with andrew when she was just 17, allegations the prince has denied repeatedly. epstein died by suicide in jail in 2019. but this new development now puts prince andrew's denials in the spotlight. >> the discovery process is what prince andrew has been trying to avoid, meaning having to sit down and do a deposition, having to turn over documents. >> reporter: the prince has been essentially in hiding from the public for months. but tonight, buckingham palace
is not commenting. >> prince andrew is by far the biggest royal story, and it has the potential to cast a huge shadow over everything that the royal family do in the coming months. >> reporter: virginia giuffre's lawyers say she's pleased at this decision and looking forward to evidence of her claims being taken into consideration. but david, this really does now feel that the pressure is up on prince andrew. >> not what he was hoping for today. james, thank you. and from britain's prince andrew to the british prime minister tonight, boris johnson now facing calls for resignation. apologizing for attending gatherings, at least one party right at 10 downing street, after he called for the uk to go under strict lockdown because of covid. abc's senior foreign correspondent ian pannell on opponents now calling out this hypocrisy. ian's in london tonight. >> reporter: tonight, boris johnson forced to apologize for attending what appears to be a party during strict lockdown in may 2020,
when people were banned from going to funerals, let alone parties, and could only meet one person outdoors for exercise. >> i regret very much that we did not do things differently that evening, mr. speaker, as i've said, and i take responsibility and i apologize. >> reporter: an email leak showing 100 people being invited to "socially distanced drinks" and johnson's residence in downing street in may 2020 and to "bring their own booze." it isn't the first time it's happened. earlier that month, another gathering with food and wine. and a reported christmas party that his adviser seemed to laugh off as just a work event. >> this fictional party was a business meeting. and it was not socially distanced. >> reporter: johnson claiming this and other gatherings were "within the rules," which allowed business meetings, but the opposition labour party is having none of it. >> when the whole country was locked down, he was hosting boozy parties in downing street. is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?
>> reporter: well, until the next election, it's going to be up to boris johnson's own party to decide whether or not he stays or goes and the mood's bleak. one lawmaker referring to the prime minister as a dead man walking. there's now an independent investigation into at least ten gatherings like this. if any of them are found to be illegal and boris johnson was there, then his position is going to look very untenable. david? >> tracking it all for us from london. ian pannell tonight. thank you, ian. and this evening, the developing headline back here at home and president biden's fight to protect voting rights in this country. the president will travel to capitol hill tomorrow, and tonight, news the senate majority leader chuck schumer now says he's laid out the path to begin debate on a new bill that would combine both of these voting rights bills. rachel scott live on the hill tonight. rachel, senator schumer says the senate could begin debate without changing any senate rules here. until now, we know threats of the filibuster have blocked debate, so, how will this work? >> reporter: well, david, senate republicans have repeatedly blocked democrats from even
debating votes rights legislation, but tonight, senate majority leader chuck schumer says he has figured out a pathway forward, by attaching voting rights legislation to a separate bill over in the house. to debate voting rights for the first time without changing any of the rules, david. >> all right, so, he's found a path forward to debate these bills, but of course, the real test is the vote on these bills that comes after debate. and that, he would still have to somehow get around the filibuster. >> reporter: exactly, david. you have those two moderate democratic holdouts, senator joe manchin, senator kyrsten sinema. they are firmly opposed to changing the senate rules, which would allow democrats to pass voting rights legislation without any republican support. now, president biden is expected to travel here to capitol hill tomorrow to make a plea in person directly to those senators and majority leader chuck schumer hoping to have a vote on those rule changes in the coming days, david. >> all right, watching it all. thank you, rachel. former senate democratic leader harry reid laying in state in the capitol rotunda. former colleagues and members of congress honoring the five-term senator from nevada.
current senate leaders paying tribute today. house speaker nancy pelosi saying to see him lead and legislate was to see a master at work. president biden, who served with reid for two decades in the senate, later paying an unannounced visit. when we come back on this busy wednesday night, new images of that medical helicopter crash near philadelphia tonight, with an infant and crew members onboard. also, the emergency tonight involving a u.s. navy helicopter. and we're tracking that newest storm, it hits the midwest first and then aims right toward the east. ♪ ♪
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tonight, news of that emergency involving that u.s. navy chopper near smithville, virginia. the pilot of the navy seahawk helicopter forced to make a hard landing in that field there. the chopper skidding into the trees. three crew members onboard. one is being treated for minor injuries. also tonight, there are new images now emerging of that medical helicopter making an emergency landing near philadelphia. you can see the chopper in the background of this video here going down. you'll remember an infant, three crew members onboard, all of them survived this. the pilot seriously injured but improving and has been praised for avoiding buildings and power lines. when we come back, we are tracking that new storm from the midwest to the south and then the east. and later here, remembering the lead singer from an iconic american group. with dupixent, i can du more....beginners' yoga. namaste... ...surprise parties. aww, you guys. dupixent helps prevent asthma attacks...
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♪ my one and only baby ♪ ♪ be my ♪ ♪ be my baby ♪ >> ronnie spector was born veronica bennett in washington heights. alongside her sister estelle and cousin nedra, forming the ronettes. their success wasn't immediate. here's what she told dick clark in 1963. >> have you made a lot ocos? >> we've made -- >> they have any success? >> no.ut with werful voices and trademark beehives, the ronettes would go on to sweep the country with hits for nearly a decade. ♪ walking in the rain ♪ ♪ walking in the rain ♪ >> they would tour with the rolling stones in the uk and it was the rolling stones who opened for the ronettes. it was their collaboration with music producer phil spector that brought about some of their most famous songs. ronnie would marry spector after the band broke up in 1967. she would later say, "the magical music we were able to make together was inspired by our love. he was a brilliant producer but a lousy husband."
after years of reported abuse, they would divorce in 1974. ronnie spector would launch a solo career. there was "take me home tonight" with eddie money. ♪ be my little baby ♪ ♪ take me home tonight ♪ >> the ronettes were inducted into the hall of fame in 2007. ♪ baby i love you ♪ >> ronnie spector died after a brief battle with cancer. hr family tonight saying, "ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor, and a smile on her face. she was filled with love and gratitude." celebrating an iconic singer tonight, ronnie spector. good night.
dan: overwhelm schools in the east bay, numeral's in the north bay. we are in the omicron surge of the pandemic, and now people say they want to get reporter: a popular face mask may be fake six out of 10 times it is sold. what you need to know, coming up on 7 on your side. announcer: building a better bay area. moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. >> i think it's hard to process what is actually happening right now, which is most people are going to get covid. kristen: is covid an inevitable infection? you just heard from the head of the fda, and almost two years into the pandemic it is hard not to agree with her. >> getting a notice every day that you may have come in contact loses all value now some are taking matters into their own hands. good evening, thank you for joining us. i am ama daetz and i am dan ashley you have.
heard of chickenpox parties, and now people are considering getting covid on purpose. it is worrying doctors. our reporter explains why an infectious disease specialist believes it could lead to bigger issues for you, others, and the entire world. reporter: in a world where we are still asking what is next, we have a new answer. are you telling me people are actually trying to get mccrone to just get it over with? >> i have heard multiple reports from people in the community. i think there is a sense of fatalism, like, i am going to get it anyways, so why not just get it and get it over with and maybe i will not have that much anxiety trying to protect myself? gone are the days people had chickenpox parties. now people are talking about getting covid on purpose? >> the difference between a chickenpox party and getting omicron on purpose is, people are still dying from