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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  April 23, 2021 2:06am-2:35am PDT

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chauvin trial speaking out. did she want to see chauvin testify? and does she agree with the verdict new fallout after police fatally shot a 16-year-old black girl who was attacking someone with a knife growing protests and her mother speaking out. on this earth day president biden's ambitious pledge to slash u.s. emissions in half by 2030. can it be done and the so-called climate migrants where they're fleeing to avoid increasingly extreme weather. and the med student inspiring america. how a tragedy in his past is helping him connect to his patients >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt good evening think back it was a year ago this month, early april, as covid deaths in the u.s. rapidly climbed, that the government performed a major about-face, reversing covid policy and urging all of us to start wearing homemade face coverings tonight as the focus centers on getting more people vaccinated masks are back in the
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spotlight over just how important they are when we are outdoors, where even scientists acknowledge the risk of transmission is much lower but it's a conversation the head of the cdc thinks may be premature because right now covid cases are going up, not down, while at the same time the public's eagerness to be vaccinated is showing signs of slowing it's where we start tonight with miguel almaguer >> reporter: even as the u.s. surpasses another staggering benchmark, 32 million covid cases, tonight the cdc faces growing pressure and questions over its long-standing guidance on face masks outdoors >> it's not that hard to wear a mask >> reporter: with 24 states repealing that very mandate -- >> burn the masks. get rid of them. >> reporter: even scientists agree the risk of transmission is much lower outside. but crowd size or lack thereof and vaccination status makes a big difference the cdc director says the agency is looking
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into the matter but notes covid cases are on the rise again. >> we will be looking at the outdoor masking question but it's also in the context of the fact that we still have people who are dying of covid >> reporter: because most americans are not fully vaccinated, easing the restriction that saves lives won't happen overnight and now vaccination supply in many areas is outpacing demand. after quickly climbing to record levels, first shots are starting to decline at a worrisome pace >> we need to get as many as we can vaccinated >> reporter: mississippi and alabama have the worst vaccination rates in the nation, as hospitalizations rise to alarming levels and now there's a clear divide over who is and isn't vaccinated at dodger stadium this weekend fans with proof can sit in a fully vaccinated section. but they have to wear a mask on game day still, vaccinations are no guarantee at a kentucky nursing home the cdc says aninfect 22
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and staff who werevaccinated while most showed no symptoms, one died tonight, as fewer americans seek protection, many are also demanding more freedom. >> miguel, we're hearing tomorrow we may know more about the future of the johnson & johnson vaccine. >> reporter: that's right, lester. the cdc advisory committee could lift that pause as early as tomorrow, as was the case overseas earlier this week. if that happens, they could start administering j&j here as early as tomorrow night. lester >> all right, miguel, thank you. and you can make a plan for when you and where you're vaccinated visit planyourvaccine.com for more overseas, the situation in india's getting much worse tonight. now the world's covid epicenter with a record 314,000 cases reported in a single day. many hospitals are full just 9% of the population there has received a vaccine dose
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in minneapolis more sadness, more heartbreak at the funeral for 20-year-old daunte wright, who was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop ron allen is there ♪ >> reporter: today an outpouring of sorrow for a man whose death has become the latest cause for activists demanding justice for black men and women killed by police >> daunte wright's life matters >> reporter: daunte wright was 20. remembered as a former high school star athlete who always made people laugh and as the doting father of toddler daunte jr wright called his mother katie when police pulled him over for an expired license tag 11 days ago. the last time she heard her son's voice. >> he was loved by so many he's going to be so missed >> reporter: officer kimberly potter shot and killed wright when police say she mistakenly fired her gun at him instead of a taser. >> [ bleep ] i just shot him. >> reporter: police trying to arrest wright after discovering he had an
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outstanding misdemeanor warrant. the killing igniting sometimes violent clashes between protesters and police. today a call for wright's death to >> it's time to bring a new day. where we don't have to videotape when we see a badge. but where we know that they're there to serve and protect. not treat us like we've been convicted >> reporter: attending the service, relatives of george floyd and others who've lost loved ones at the hands of police. but mostly it was a day for a family to say good-bye >> i love you, daunte. and we will see you again. >> reporter: the former officer faces a manslaughter charge for wright's death but many in this grieving community want that charge to be murder lester >> ron allen in minneapolis. thank you. and two days after the guilty verdict against derek chauvin in the george floyd killing, insights about the case tonight from an alternate juror in the case. she spoke with gabe gutierrez. >> it's really sad how did -- how did a $20 bill in question
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end up in somebody's death? it boggles my mind >> reporter: lisa christensen was one of the alternate jurors who did not get to deliberate over derek chauvin's fate >> were you disappointed when you were dismissed from the jury >> absolutely. i was. >> you wanted to vote -- you would have voted guilty >> i would have. >> reporter: she listened to the 14 days of testimony and took extensive notes >> what stood out for me is that video they took a still photo of it. of him on mr. floyd's neck with his hand in his pocket i felt like he was being defiant. >> would you have liked to have seen derek chauvin testify? >> i don't think -- no i don't think it would have helped him at all. >> reporter: christensen lives in brooklyn center, outside minneapolis. not far from where protests erupted following the police shooting death of daunte wright in the middle of the chauvin trial. >> i could hear all the press helicopters. also i could hear the flash bangs going on >> reporter: but she says it did not impact her work on the jury for her the
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prosecution's key witness was dr. martin tobin, the world-renowned pulmonologist who testified george floyd died due to a lack of oxygen, not drugs or a heart condition. >> what was so powerful to me is he pointed out when mr. floyd actually lost his life >> reporter: also crucial, the emotional testimony from the bystanders especially the younger ones >> my eyes started watering and i started tearing up everything was so real and so genuine i mean, i felt their feelings i felt their pain. i felt their guilt >> reporter: christensen says she always knew it was a high-profile case but didn't realize the full magnitude of it until she was able to go home and turn on the tv lester >> all right, gabe, thank you. in just 60 seconds our exclusive on the growing showdown between the u.s. and russia
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growing questions in columbus, ohio after the deadly police shooting of a 16-year-old girl who authorities say was wielding a knife
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her mother speaking about her loss to nbc's meagan fitzgerald >> what's going on >> reporter: it happened in a matter of seconds >> hey hey! hey! get down get down >> reporter: columbus police officer nicholas reardon arriving on the scene and opening fire shooting and killing 16-year-old ma'khia bryant, who investigators say was armed with a knife >> she had a knife she just went at her >> reporter: reardon responding after a 911 call for help. >> we've got these girls over here trying to fight us, trying to stab us, trying to put their hands on our grandma. get here now >> the public can see that as unfortunate as it is, we do not know potentially how many lives could have been lost >> reporter: the chaotic scene sparking outrage and questions about policing lebron james tweeting a photo of reardon saying "you're next. the nba star later deleting the tweet explaining gathering all the facts is important but adding "my anger is still here."f we think about this in terms of self-defense, the
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officer did exactly what he was trained to do >> reporter: police say the investigation into the situation is still under way. >> there is more to look at. there will be an independent investigation done that will get those answers. >> i'm still mourning. >> reporter: answers ma'khia bryant's mother is hoping for >> the pain of losing a child is something that no parent wants to go through. >> reporter: a sentiment felt by communities across the nation who are calling for police reform. >> we do need some national standardized procedures and laws and policies that are in place the public has great distrust and many parts of our communities across america, white and black, have great distrust in police and the police struggling with their legitimacy. does this investigation stand? >> reporter: well, lester, officials say officer reardon was placed on administrative leave pending this investigation. as for the two females seen in that video confronted by bryant, we're told they have
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minor injuries lester >> meagan fitzgerald, thank you. by a vote of 94-1 the senate passed a bill today aimed at protecting asian americans from hate crimes, which have soared during the pandemic the bill would speed up the justice department's review of such crimes. on this earth day president biden at a climate summit pledged to slash america's greenhouse gas emissions in half within just nine years. here's peter alexander. >> reporter: hosting 40 world leaders for a virtual summit on climate change, president biden this earth day announcing ambitious plans to slash america's greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade. >> the signs are unmistakable the science is undeniable and the cost of inaction keeps mounting >> reporter: the president's goal, nearly double the target set by former president obama, including a new pledge to make the u.s. power grid 100% carbon pollution-free by 2035 and reach net zero carbon emissions by
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2050 president biden's looking to re-establish american leadership on the issue after former president trump withdrew the u.s. from the paris climate accord and mocked climate science. >> no nation can solve this crisis on their own. we have to step up >> reporter: but critics argue the president's commitments will make america less competitive globally, noting china, the world's largest polluter, says for now its emissions will keep going up. republicans slamming the president's plans to shift away from fossil fuels as a job killer >> the dna of the far left green new deal is all over president biden's spending bills. >> reporter: for its part the white house argues it's a jobs plan to slash emissions is short on specifics, and experts say it would require drastic changes to nearly all aspects of the economy. lester >> all right, peter, thank you. in our series "climate challenge" how some americans are getting ahead of those predictions that millions will be forced to move because of climate change. hallie jackson met some of them in asheville, north carolina
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>> reporter: the booths love living in asheville. for its great arts scene, its breweries and its location very different than their last home on the coast of georgia >> we started seeing the writing on the wall, that it was time to probably move on. >> reporter: that's because melissa booth, a scientist, had been noticing more extreme weather, stronger hurricanes and sea level rise was climate change the only reason that you decided to move? >> i would say it was the biggest reason >> reporter: why did you decide to move specifically here to asheville? >> there's plenty of fresh water here there always will be there's also no hurricanes, no big tornadoes, no violent weather patterns >> reporter: asheville is not immune to climate change of course but experts say partly because of where it sits, high up here in the blue ridge mountains, it doesn't have as many weather extremes and asheville is not alone. it's estimated nearly 5 million people have been displaced from their homes in the past five years because of natural disasters triggered by the climate crisis so whether people are forced to leave or
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choose to, where might they go? climate researchers say the answer is in and up, to havens away from the coasts and the heat think duluth, toledo, madison or buffalo >> the cities prepared to on-board climigrants as we call them, climate migrants, they need a variety of different investments in affordable housing and transportation and economic development >> reporter: and that's another challenge. more people will mean more infrastructure needs. and for the asheville mayor more of a reckoning over climate gentrification >> are we preserving this community for the people that live here? are we creating a community for the people that are going to move here we need to make sure that everyone has an opportunity as the city grows and changes. >> reporter: a changing climate changing communities hallie jackson, nbc news, asheville, north carolina now to our nbc news exclusive video capturing a very close encounter between russian military patrol planes and american boats near alaska. in u.s. territory. what were the russians
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doing? kevin tibbles traveled there. >> reporter: buzzed from above u.s. fishing boats in the bering sea harassed repeatedly by a low-flying russian military aircraft. the video obtained by nbc news barking at them to scram in broken english crackling over vhs radio. >> rocket shooting you are in danger. >> i was frightened because i was being bullied by the russians they're flexing their muscles. >> reporter: the blue norse captain david anderson was not alone. >> eventually it got so low that i could probably throw a rock at it. >> reporter: others reported russian naval ships, even a missile launch like this one, high north, well within u.s. fishing territory off the alaskan coast. a total shock to richard thummel whose company is part of a multibillion-dollar fishing industry
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>> seeing russian isn't anything new, but seeing russian military, that was new. one of the vessels saw a submarine surface. you know that gets your attention. >> reporter: with the depletion of arctic ice, natural resources become more accessible and everyone wants in. >> this is the first interactions they've had with u.s. fishermen. >> reporter: coast guard rear admiral matt bell stresses the need for u.s. vigilance. >> their navy was operating in our water. that's kind of unheard of that's unprecedented >> reporter: the dilemma facing the coast guard, which has its largest u.s. base here on kodiak, is that it takes days to reach fishermen endangered along the u.s.-russia sea border >> here in alaska the coast guard is always at the ready to rescue in the harshest conditions even when that distress signal is brought on by a foreign power like russia >> reporter: russian military exercises will certainly continue will we be ready >> if you give them an inch, what happens
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next year? >> yeah, my plan would not be to give them an inch >> reporter: in this vast rugged new frontier an inch can be everything. kevin tibbles, nbc news, with the u.s. coast guard in kodiak, alaska up next for us tonight, covid vaccine trials in young kids why getting the shots is crucial
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let's circle back now on the race to vaccinate and when kids should receive the shot tom costello takes us inside the trials. >> reporter: at duke med center this week follow-up bloodwork for marisol and
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alejandra gerardo. >> do you want to go first or do you want me to go first >> reporter: the 9-year-old twins were the first in the country to receive the pfizer vaccine part of a nationwide trial testing vaccine safety and efficacy on children between 6r-olds are in a separate trial. while severe covid-related illness and death are low in children, kids still account for 13.6% of all cases. 3.6 million so far 88,000 cases last week alone. vaccinating kids, say experts, is critical to building herd immunity marisol and alejandra's parents, both doctors at duke, felt a responsibility to volunteer their own daughters for the trial. >> for us and specifically for this vaccine where tens of thousands of adults had already been dosed and we felt quite confident in the safety profile >> reporter: in kansas city michael and joanna kelly enrolled 2-year-old nora. >> because we trust the science.
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we had the opportunity to sign up for this, and we talked it over and we believe that this is an opportunity to keep our child safe >> reporter: like similar trials involving the moderna vaccine, doctors start low, then slowly increase the children's vaccine dose >> it's basically the goldilocks effect, finding the right dose that produces robust immune response with the least amount of side effects >> reporter: for theave sleepovers and play dates again. >> reporter: fortunately, doctors say children generally tolerate the vaccine well with few side effects. the ultimate goal, to vaccinate every elementary school child by this time next year. lester >> all right, tom, thank you. up next for us tonight, a man who's about to become a doctor himself his unique perspective inspiring america.
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finally, we want to share some inspiration tonight from a man finishing up medical school in new jersey who turned a setback into a calling. >> can you put your arms up like you're boxing me? >> reporter: like many med students, tom pisano spends a good part of his day making rounds and listening to patients. >> any pain with that? >> no. >> reporter: and like them he has his own story to tell. >> i was in college on the ski team i went off a jump to do a backflip. i banged my head hard enough that i don't really remember what happened >> reporter: tom was paralyzed from the chest down he was just 19 but fate led him down
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an unexpected path >> and after that i just found this whole medicine thing really interesting. and at the same time also kind of fell in love with the brain, wanted to understand why my spinal cord didn't work, why i couldn't walk. >> reporter: now the 33-year-old is finding that his disability coect with patients. >> eve a wheelchair so they know, you know, one of my struggles. and i think that allows me to connect more with patients they seem to be more willing to share their story. to be honest, i found it with fellow students, fellow nurses, doctors, all people in the hospital seem to be more willing to share what they've gone through with me. >> reporter: tom will graduate from med school later this month and then begin his residency in neurology. with a personal perspective on the power of body and mind >> there's a life beyond your legs i've learned that i can basically do just about anything i want. i just need to be willing to put in a
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lot more effort to do it and to be a little creative on how i do it >> we wish him a long and successful career. that's "nightly news" for this thursday. just a program note. you can catch a new episode of "nightly news" kids edition on nbcnews.com and youtube. thanks for watching, everybody. i'm lester holt. take care of yourself and each other good night ty ♪ ♪ i feel my temperature rising ♪ ♪ higher higher ♪
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♪ it's burning through to my soul ♪ ♪ boy boy boy boy ♪ ♪ you're gonna set me on fire ♪ ♪ my brain is flaming ♪ ♪ i don't know which way to go ♪ ♪ your kisses lift me higher ♪ ♪ like a sweet song of a choir ♪ ♪ you light my morning sky ♪ ♪ with burning love ♪ ♪ ooh ooh ooh ♪ ♪ i feel my temperature rising ♪ ♪ help me i'm flaming ♪ ♪ i must be a hundred and nine ♪ ♪ burning burning burning ♪ ♪ and nothing can cool me ♪ ♪ i just might turn into smoke ♪ ♪ but i feel fine ♪
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♪ your kisses lift me higher ♪ ♪ like the sweet song of a choir ♪ ♪ you light my morning sky ♪ ♪ with burning love ♪ ♪ with burning love ♪ ♪ oh with burning love ♪ ♪ with burning love ♪♪ [cheers and applause] >> kelly: [screams] welcome to "the kelly clarkson show," give it up for my band y'all! [cheers and applause] you can't ever go wrong with some elvis presley, people. gene in the bronx requested "burning love" for a special reason, why did you want to hear this? >> think you for doing my favorite elvis song, it was wonderful. and i got to do that song

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