tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC July 23, 2021 2:06am-2:36am PDT
the games as covid cases soar in tokyo. a massive new internet outage hitting some of america's biggest companies. how did it happen and how vulnerable are we? with a wave of violent crime, the justice department launches gun trafficking strike forces in major cities, but will it work and the olympic challenges and triumphs i have witnessed. how the athletes always win out despite the odds this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. reporting tonight from tokyo. good evening, everyone great to be with you from japan on the eve of the olympic opening ceremony we are more than a dozen time zones ahead of the u.s., a 13-hour flight from new york, but it is not lost on any of us here that neither time nor distance offer escape from the scourge of covid. we will update the situation here in tokyo and its impact on these games in a few moments. but back in the u.s., tonight the cdc charting a rapidly worsening covid crisis
tens of thousands of new cases a day, some hospitals revisiting days they thought were firmly behind them, but also signs more people may be starting to roll up their sleeves for covid vaccinations as officials warn this delta variant is both dangerous and efficient in making the unvaccinated sick. miguel almaguer has the latest >> reporter: painting a grim picture of the new reality inside some hospitals, tonight the numbers from the cdc reflect our nation slowly slipping back towards crisis as we surpass 50,000 infections a day, new cases, hospitalizations, even daily deaths are spiking again. >> it is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know of and that i have seen in my 20-year career >> reporter: struggling to contain the delta variant, florida, texas and missouri, three states with lower vaccination rates, now account for 40% of the nation's new cases.
one kansas hospital turning away patients as they struggle to manage their own caseload >> we're kind of at a tipping point. yeah, we're past the tipping point. we're in trouble. >> reporter: meantime, center, expanding unty, their just-shuttered covid ward in the nation's former covid capital, new infections increased nearly 2,000%. >> we are talking about reopening covid wards and all these beds in the hallways, is it disheartening to see? >> it is really, really hard. >> reporter: nurse manager chris rice says with vaccinations his team is on the front line of a battle they don't need to be on anymore >> just feels like we are going backwards, and i know that me and a lot of other people here are just -- we are feeling very discouraged, very disheartened, very in some cases a little bit angry. >> reporter: as the
cdc heard evidence today on breakthrough infections and discussed possible boosters for those with compromised immune systems, there is some progress in hard-hit states where more americans are choosing to get vaccin mia vinnar his battle to covid through a glass wall after they both became infected >> i wish we would have gotten vaccinated i mean, one simple shot could have prevented all of this. >> reporter: tonight, regret and loss as more families face dark days ahead. >> miguel, there's also a new warning tonight from the nfl to unvaccinated players. what are they telling them >> reporter: well, lester, the nfl says if a team has a covid outbreak among unvaccinated players, they may need to forfeit a game, and if that game can't be rescheduled players might not get paid lester? >> reporter: miguel almaguer tonight, thanks this evening philadelphia and new orleans are the latest cities to now recommend mask wearing indoors even if you are vaccinated this is an issue, as you just heard, also
getting new attention from the white house kelly o'donnell has more >> reporter: the delta variant mask debate. tonight president biden says he has talked to his covid experts about mask rules for vaccinated americans, but so far no change is planned >> 25-person group we put together are looking at all the possibilities of what is happening now. >> reporter: the cdc director has a message for the fully vaccinated mask wearing is up to you. >> you may choose to have an extra layer of protection by putting on your mask, and that's a very individual choice. >> reporter: but in covid hot spots, some local officials push for broader mask wearing. authorities in new orleans and philadelphia now recommending masks indoors for the fully vaccinated today atlanta public schools said masks will be mandatory for all students and staff regardless of vaccine status
while urging more americans to get the shots, last night president biden made this claim >> you're okay you're not going to get covid if you have these vaccinations. >> reporter: but that's not true. there are breakthrough covid cases after vaccination. the president was more precise today. >> if you are vaccinated, you have over a 98% chance of never catching this virus at all. >> reporter: the president also said overwhelming proof so far is that vaccinated americans are unlikely to be hospitalized or die from rare breakthrough cases, even though some instances have occurred lester >> kelly o'donnell at the white house, thanks excitement building here on a friday morning in tokyo where just hours from now the opening ceremony of these olympics get underway. covid concerns scaling back that event, but certainly not the momentum tom llamas is here and has late details for us >> reporter: tonight the u.s. women's gymnastics team giving the world a glimpse of why they are favored to win gold.
simone biles showing her power and grace during a run-through on the mat, and her poise just before nailing this vault the team staying united after that covid scare. alternate kara eaker still isolating after testing positive and in softball, team usa on the road to gold with back-to-back victories. on the field and in the water, athletes are contending with extreme heat >> i just got off the water now and i'm exhausted and i'm hot, and it is tough, but it is part of it >> reporter: the olympic action coming as covid cases continue to rise in tokyo. nearly 2,000 infections since yesterday, including two more in the athletes' village. tonight we are hearing from the american beach volleyball player who tested positive taylor crabb said he was vaccinated, has no symptoms and is devastated to miss the games.
and now olympic officials dealing with a pr crisis. the director of the opening ceremony here at the olympic stadium was fired today, just one day before the global event, because of past comments he made about the holocaust that were offensive. both he and the olympic organizing committee have apologized they say the opening ceremony will go on as planned. first lady jill biden will be one of the few watching in person >> we're ready to go we are ready to walk we are excited to experience that feeling in the stadium, and i know that all of the athletes around here are feeling it, too. >> tom, here we are hours before opening, and now we are hearing about a possible covid cluster. what do you know >> yeah. this is a strange case, lester the czech republic is investigating whether members of their delegation broke covid protocols in a charter flight from prague to tokyo. five members have tested positive, including three athletes they're wondering if the virus spread on that trip. >> tom, thanks very much i will have more about my own journey here to tokyo coming up first, in just 60 seconds the massive internet outage that hit so many companies.
tonight, troubling new questions about the vulnerability of the internet after yet another massive outage took down some of the world's most heavily used websites. here is tom costello. >> reporter: across the internet today, blackout, including amazon, home depot and lowe's, delta and southwest online check-ins, fedex, american express, chase and schwab, even some 911 service affected twitter lit up with complaints just at the store. unable to process credit card. british airways, please fix this issue. it's not just delta, a whole lot of the internet is down the problem originated with internet service provider akamai which said it was having trouble with its domain name service or dns, a sort of internet phone book that directs all web traffic to the proper addresses. an hour after it started the company tweeted it had implemented a fix. akamai says a software update, not a hack, caused the problem the third major
internet outage in two months and the second involving akamai, underscoring the internet's vulnerability. >> we really do need to think long and hard about our ongoing redundancy and reliability because we do have a lot of the internet centralized under just a handful of several major corporations >> reporter: akamai handles up to a third of the world's internet traffic, critical to internet connectivity in a global economy lester >> tom costello, thanks attorney general merrick garland is taking aim tonight at the crime wave in many of america's cities. garland announcing he is sending in more federal resources to combat gun violence. with more on that, here is gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: tonight in new york city, police are looking for the gunman who shot a 16 year old in broad daylight, just another example of surging gun violence in major cities across the country. >> this strikes not only at the communities we serve
but at our own community of law enforcement. >> reporter: today the justice department launched what it calls anti-gun trafficking strike forces in five cities, new york, washington, d.c., los angeles, san francisco and chicago, where just yesterday three people including a teenager were killed by gunfire and 32 others were wounded. in d.c., outrage after 6-year-old naya courtney was gunned down >> our family is broken, and we will never be the same again. >> reporter: the biden administration is focusing on a crackdown of illegal gun sales, but similar tactics have been tried before do you believe that the main reason for this uptick in violent crime is bail reform >> without a date. >> reporter: critics including the head of the nypd's detectives union argue going after guns is not enough they highlight recent cuts to police department budgets and the elimination of cash bail. >> it is a revolving door new york city detectives and police officers have from year to date made
of those individuals are let back out on to the street so there are no consequences. >> reporter: the attorney general says this new initiativ will make it easier for local cops and prosecutors to share information and make arrests with outstanding warrants lester >> gabe gutierrez, thank you. up next, the challenge of holding these olympics keir simmons with an exclusive interview with japan's prime minister we will be right back.
by the time i boarded the plane i had already completed several of japan's covid protocols, installing special health tracking apps on my phone, and there were still pages of covid paperwork to complete on the flight following our shadow into tokyo, several more hours of processing awaited me. just landed at narita airport in tokyo. they just made an announcement that they will ask olympic travelers, people such as myself, to stay on board the airplane while other people deplane, and then we will be escorted to an area where we will be tested as other passengers proceeded, medical staff were ready for the rest of us now we're taking a very long walk to what i presume is the testing area this, by the way, will be my third covid test since monday after three hours of checkpoints and a negative result, it was off to the hotel where olympic travelers remain under the watchful eye of health authorities
many people here in japan were against holding the olympics, concerned it could lead to a covid outbreak, but japan's prime minister says he wanted to send a message of resilience. he spoke exclusively with our keir simmons. here it is >> reporter: staging the olympics in a pandemic poses difficult challenges japan's prime minister, yoshihide suga >> nice to meet you. >> reporter: telling nbc news in his first-ever u.s. television interview many japanese people are deeply worried that there will be a rise in infections did you consider cancelling the games >> translator: i think that cancelling the game is very easy to do, but japan made the bid and was awarded to be the host country. and as the nation hosting the games, i believe we must fulfill our obligation to the rest of the world. >> reporter: there's a huge weight on your shoulders. your political career perhaps depends on these games. are the olympics worth
it >> translator: over 4 billion people across the world will be watching these olympic games. in that context, overcoming the hardship of the coronavirus and to be able to hold the games, i think there's real value in that. >> reporter: japan's prime minister was the first world leader to meet president biden at the white house the two coordinating countermeasures on china. >> translator: i think president biden is a president who tries to build a consensus among allies and like-minded countries in order to advance policies. >> reporter: and that's different from the previous administration >> translator: yes, i think the previous administration advanced issues based on the individual personality of the president, but the biden administration tries to steer allies and like-minded countries towards the same direction. >> reporter: the biden administration's support of japan's olympics another sign of the strengthening relationship how many medals will japan win, more than
team usa >> translator: i hadn't thought about that. >> reporter: never gave it a thought? it is the most important question >> translator: we're the host country, and the japanese people are quite modest therefore, we want to share the medals with everyone >> reporter: tonight we've traveled to japan's ancient capital of kyoto the prime minister is hoping the world will see his country at its best despite the worst of times with the pandemic lester >> all right keir simmons tonight thank you. four new sports are set to make their olympic debut including surfing. hawaii native carissa moore is already a world champ, but now hopes to bring home her first olympic gold catie beck has her story. >> reporter: under a rainbow on top of a wave, carissa moore goes to work >> you really can't complain about this office space >> i know. >> reporter: on a board since age 4, today she is a four-time world champion
the 28-year-old honolulu native trains in her own backyard. >> being in the water is where i feel the most at home and surfing is where i feel most myself. >> reporter: so to become the first iffor the olympics in surfing >> this is the roo where i keep all of my trophies. >> reporter: we met her soon after in early 2020 her road to success in japan as unpredictable as the waves >> i have to, you know, trust the universe that it is going to work out, and at the end of the day there's just things i can't control. you just have to be like, all right, well, that's that. >> reporter: weeks later, carissa's motto came sharply in focus. the pandemic took hold hawaii's beaches closed the olympics cancelled. carissa kept her hopes and her feet firmly planted, but as soon as she could she was competing and at her highest level. in april, landing a huge air reverse to her own surprise
>> i was just like, wait, what g.di >> reporter: carissa's cheering sectiong oteges she mentors through her nonprofit. at 18 carissa was the youngest surfer to win a world championship she wants to help the next generation feel confident. did you struggle with body image >> i did, i did, and i'm never going to say it is perfect. i still look in the mirror sometimes and don't feel that great about myself >> it was like, nailed it. >> reporter: encouraging her along the journey, her dad who doubles as her coach, and her husband, luke, who owns banan, a frozen dessert business keeping life sweet when competition gets stressful. >> he's a good, happy, positive distraction >> yes >> and he provides this i can see why you married him, i mean obviously. >> reporter: headed for the biggest stage she and her sport have ever seen, carissa will keep doing what she does best, chasing waves and dreams
olympics have always been about achievement against the odds, the will to find a way, albeit on the field of play, not against an insidious virus. this is my tenth olympics, and as i arrive here in tokyo tested, weary and preparing to go into soft quarantine, it is starting to come back to me how many times right before opening ceremony it felt like things were teetering on the edge. take my first olympics salt lake city 2002, just five months after 9/11 the games were secured by armed soldiers, the fear of follow-on terror attacks haunted us in those days out of the original security rules before september 11th, this balloon or any airplane would not be allowed to get within three miles of that site i remember athens 2004 there were genuine worries the venues wouldn't be ready, over budget and out of time, there was even early talk of whether the games would be relocated to another country.
in the lead up to the 2014 sochi games in russia, security fears hung in the air. would terrorists from the north caucuses make a move? the rio games in 2016 played against the backdrop of the zika outbreak they were all serious concerns, but every single time something magical happened >> unbelievable. he's done it >> the athletes stole the show >> simone biles. >> and rewrote the headlines. adversity suddenly not something to fear but to be overcome and washed away in heady triumph. the olympics have always been about excellence, pride and patriotic glory. and yes, as we have already seen, these games will be different in so many ways, and there is potentially much more to risk. but leave it to the athletes who have waited so long for their moment to do what they were born to do, to find a way to
rise above it all. that's "nightly news" for this thursday from tokyo. be sure to catch opening ceremony hosted by savannah guthrie and mike tirico tomorrow morning right here on nbc. thank you for watching, everyone i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night ♪ ♪ ♪♪ i ♪ ♪ i'm a one way motorway ♪
♪ i'm the one that drives away ♪ ♪ follows you back home ♪ ♪ i ♪ ♪ i'm a street light shining ♪ ♪ i'm a white light blinding bright ♪ ♪ burning off and on ♪ ♪ uh-huh ♪ ♪ it's times like these ♪ ♪ you learn to live again ♪ ♪ it's times like these ♪ ♪ you give and give again ♪ ♪ it's times like these ♪ ♪ you learn to love again ♪ ♪ i ♪ ♪ i'm a new day rising ♪ ♪ i'm a brand new sky ♪ ♪ to hang the stars upon tonight ♪ ♪ but i ♪ ♪ i'm a little divided ♪ ♪ do i stay or run away and ♪
♪ leave it all behind ♪ ♪ it's times like these ♪ ♪ you learn to live again ♪ ♪ it's times like these ♪ ♪ you give and give again ♪ ♪ it's times like these ♪ ♪ you learn to love again ♪ ♪ it's times like these ♪♪ [cheers and applause] [screams] welcome to "the kelly clarkson show," everybody! give it up for my band y'all! looking so sharp today and their little sweaters. they look so cute today. that was "times like these" by the foo fighters. molly from pittsburgh requested that one. what is your connection to the ng