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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  July 26, 2021 3:30pm-3:59pm PDT

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area. >> and i played table tennis with lily ten years ago. she just kicked my butt. she's amazing. >> even better now. >> yes, i wouldn't challenge her. >> lester holt is next. >> bye. we'll see you at 4. vaccine mandates as covid surges in the u.s. california and new york city now requiring vaccinations or weekly testing for all their employees. the department of veterans affairs the first federal agency to issue a vaccine mandate. and the list of cities reimposing mask mandates growing as the delta variant rapidly spreads among the unvaccinated. the drama here in tokyo. swimmer caeleb dressel leading the u.s. men's team to gold. katie ledecky, her duel in the pool. and simone biles hopes to bounce back after a tough start.
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what she says about feeling the weight of the world. and tracking the tropical threat already impacting the games. the scorching heat dome over the u.s. massive wildfires in the west destroying homes. over a month after the surfside collapse, the final victim identified. just hours away from the first hearing of the capitol riot select committee. the house gop new attack on the two republicans taking part. the major announcement from president biden. when the u.s. combat mission in iraq will come to an end. caught on camera, the fireball in the sky. and my of america's newest gold medal ilses after walking away from the sport, what brought him back to the pool. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. reporting tonight from tokyo. >> hello from tokyo. blustery winds, rain falling as a tropical storm system pushes past this area. we'll have highlights coming up, but we
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begin back home with local authorities now imposing indoor mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. some places going much farther. california and new york city telling ac weekly covid testing. this as projections show we could see additional deaths in the thousands per day if this surge is not arrested. we begin tonight with miguel almaguer. >> reporter: well before any fall surge, tonight some hospitals across the nation are already struggling to manage the 60,000 new daily covid infections plaguing the u.s. as icus fill up. some models suggest our nation could see upwards of 4,000 deaths a day by october. the 100 million americans who are unvaccinated driving the numbers and the risk, even for those who are inoculated.
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>> if you allow the circul many people are unvaccinated, you give it another opportunity to mutate even more, and you may wind up with creating a variant that in fact eludes the protection of the vaccine. >> reporter: as new inoculations plateau, pfizer and moderna at the fda's urging are expanding the size of their vaccine studies in children 5 to 11 amid rare reports of heart inflammation in younger americans, a masks indoors nationwide, said to be under active consideration. today st. louis county joining savannah, georgia in reimplementing the policy. >> these numbers are too alarming to ignore. >> reporter: as major medical organizations say vaccinations should be mandatory for health care workers, today the department of veteran ace fairs became the
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first federal agency to require vaccinations for medical staff. >> veteran affairs is require that all docsavto be vaccinated. >> reporter: the state of california and new york city also announcing public employees will soon be required to show proof of vaccination or face weekly testing. >> individual's choice not to get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us. >> reporter: with health officials confirming booster shots could be needed for americans 65 and older as well as those with compromised immune systems, tonight covid cases are rising in every state, and so is the risk to all americans, including the vaccinated. >> miguel, i know in los angeles they're not just seeing a lot of cases. they're seeing a lot of very sick people. >> yeah, lester, the delta variant is now accounting for 21% of those who are hospitalized in l.a. county. they are in the icu in part because so many americans are getting so sick, there is a
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growing push for employers to mandate vaccines. lester? >> all right, miguel almaguer, thank you. a worsening situation tonight in alabama. that's the state with the lowest vaccination rate. hospitalizations are surging, and the governor is being quite blunt about it all, blaming it on the unvaccinated. gabe gutierrez is there. >> reporter: at the university of alabama am today icu nurse barbara thornton learned one of her covid patients in her 20s had just died. >> it's really sad to see people so sick and to see their families suffer because they can't be with them in the hospital. >> did you any there would be another wave of this? >> i honestly didn't. i thought that we were on the otheride of it. >> reporter: and yet hospitalizations in alabama have soared more than 300% since july 1. 34% of the state's population is fully vaccinated, the lowest rate in the country. >> it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. it's the unvaccinated
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folks that are letting us down. >> reporter: over the weekend a sharp rise in covid patients from 35 to 48, far less than it sees back in january. but these patients are much younger. >> i think there are a number of reasons people are hesitant to get vaccinated here there ias lot of mistrust of government mandates, of guidance that comes down from on high. >> reporter: here and across the south, that mistrust runs deep. tennessee-based conservative radio host phil valentine didn't think he needed the vaccine, but the now has changed course after getting covid and ending up at the hospital in serious condition. >> his not getting it influenc o people not to g. and that is the regret of his life. >> turn to the right. >> reporter: medevac pilot ricky hamm did get vaccinated, but tested positive three days after getting the shot before it fully took effect. he'd spend 187 days at the hospital, and now has this message from
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those still skeptical. >> nobody wants to go through this. and a lot of people that went through this didn't come out. is it worth not taking a shot? that to me is stupid. >> reporter: here in birmingham, this hospital's lab says all 31 of its most recent covid samples have come back positive for the delta variant. lester? >> gabe gutierrez, thank you. and to make plan on where to get vaccinated, visit plan your vaccine.org for more. here in japan, team usa is off to a powerful start, especially in swimming with a chance for more gold medals in the pool just a short time from now. tom llamas is following it all here in tokyo. >> reporter: in the pool, team usa proving they're the team to d medal! >> reporter: caeleb dressel leadx100 relay as hi teammates cheered from the stands. >> i'd say we dominated that pretty well. >> reporter: she is dom night, ariarne
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titmus is going to get that gold! >> katy kaye was edged out in her first event by aussie star ariarne titmus. >> i can't be too disappointed with it. it's my second fastest time ever. i got caught and put up the best effort i could.r: while titmus' coach may have won the medal for the >> a close second on the 18-year-old becoming the first american woman to win a gold medal in tae kwon do. >> it's everything everybody looked up to. i want to be like her, she won the first gold medal. i'm that person now. it's pretty unreal. >> reporter: another first, 13-year-old momiji nishia. >> japan owns the street! >> reporter: winning the first women's skateboarding medal for japan. and more good news for the host country in tennis with naomi osaka notching another win. while the u.s. picked up two more golds in skeet shooting. but in gymnastics, the
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men failing to medal in the team event. >> here it is right here. >> reporter: the women are up tomorrow after a shaky start in qualifiers. simone biles admitting she is feeling the pressure, sharing on instagram i truly do feel like i have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. the olympics is no joke. >> it was pressure that affected the qualifying round? >> i think definitely. we all kind of could feel that simone, like we said we got the jitters out and we're ready to go out there and kill it. >> reporter: and tonight with a tropical storm dumping rain on tokyo, some events like rowing and archery are being delayed. but what's one more day when you've already waited a year. >> tom, oddly, there is one sport that can actually benefit from the storm. >> that's right, lester. the weather is bad for pretty much every outdoor event except surfing. the storm system expected to create very big waves. so several heats, including the medal round are happening today. we're going get our first olympic medals in surfing a day early. lester? >> all right. tom llamas, thanks.
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let's take a closer look now at the tropical storm. it's packing winds of 45 miles per hour. landfall expected north of tokyo tuesday night or early wednesday, bringing up to 4 inches of rain. while in the u.s., dangerous heat extends from the gulf coast to the northwest. some areas will see temperatures well over 100 degrees. in just 60 welcome to allstate. (phone notification) where we've just lowered our auto rates. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ and savings like that will have you jumping for joy. now, get new lower auto rates with allstate. because better protection costs a whole lot less. you're in good hands with allstate. click or call for a lower auto rate today.
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introducing aleve x. it's fast, powerful long-lasting relief with a revolutionary, rollerball design. because with the right pain reliever... life opens up. aleve it, and see what's possible. the battle against wildfires is growing more intense tonight. crews in california trying to contain fast-moving flames threatening thousands of homes. just one of the large fires in a dozen states. steve patterson now with the latest. >> reporter: tonight, wildfire season in full force way too early. the harbinger, northern california's dixie fire, now torching an area the size of new york city, ripping apart more than a dozen homes and structures, threatening 10,000 more. >> it's very
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stressful, scary at times. >> reporter: more than fife dozen firefighters on the front lines struggling to contain the flames after the rapidly expanding footprint merged with the nearby fly fire into an unpredictable mega blaze. >> it's almost beyond comprehension how fast these fires can move. >> reporter: crews across the west already stretched thin. right now 22,000 firefighters on the front lines of 85 major fires raging across 13 states. so far more than 2.7 million acres have burned this outpacing this n 2020, the worst year ever recorded by nearly a million acres. >> we still have to keep our head in the game because we still have the peak months ahead of us. >> reporter: in oregon, the massive bootleg fire, the nation's largest, is now burning more than 400,000 acres, and only 53% contained. >> it's so dry that a lot of this is just turning to dust. >> reporter: the sparks of a climate in chaos, igniting fears of another unprecedented year of devastation.
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steve patterson, nbc news. one month after the surfside disaster in florida, the last victim of the condo collapse has been identified. 54-year-old estelle hedaya was the 98th person to be identified. rescuers removed most of the debris from the site last week. an emotional day expected tomorrow at the u.s. capitol where a select committee will hear testimony from four police officers who fought rioters who attacked the capitol in january. garrett haake is there for us. garrett, what will we see tomorrow? >> lester, we will see committee members question these four police officers who battled with rioters here at the capital. they'll tell what they saw and felt and in many cases what the officers still carry. we'll see adam kinzinger tapped by speaker pelosi over the weekend to join the seven democrats and one other republican leader kevin mccarthy mocked those two republicans for taking
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these invites from speaker pelosi, calling them pelosi republicans, but cheney and kinzinger dismissed the name-calling as childish and said they're ready to get to work. >> thank you. the u.s. will end its combat mission in iraq by the end of the year. that announcement from president biden today richard engel has more on this. >> reporter: president biden today with iraq's prime minister announced the end of an era, that the combat mission in iraq is over, again. >> our shared fight against isis is critical for the stability of the region, and our counterterrorism cooperation will continue even as we shift to this new phase we're going to be talking about. >> reporter: it's the second time the u.s. has ended combat in iraq after president biden invaded in 2003 to overthrow saddam hussein, claiming he was developing weapon of mass destruction and kicking off a
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civil war. it took nearly eight years for the u.s. to declare the combat mission complete. >> america's war in iraq will be over. >> reporter: then vice president biden with president obama welcoming back the last troops from iraq. but with u.s. troops outside, iraq collapsed, becoming a safe haven for isis terrorists. so the u.s. went back in. todayt combat administration, iraq 2 is over. but this time a few thousand u.s. troops will stay in iraq in a support capacity and conduct counterterrorist operations as needed. it's a very different picture in afghanistan, where president biden is fulfilling a deal signed by former president trump to pull out nearly all troops by the end of august. the taliban are already making rapid advances. today's announcement on iraq is largely symbolic and seems designed to help the country's prime minister in upcoming elections by making him look like a
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peacemaker. it's a far more cautious approach than the one in afghanistan, which is deteriorating rapidly. >> richard engel, thank you. tonight, take a look at this video out of texas. hundreds reported seeing this fireball streaking across the night sky. experts believe it may be part of the perseid meteor shower that is expected to peak next month. up next, they were fined for wearing life... doesn't stop for diabetes. be ready for every moment, with glucerna.
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with the eyes of the world on tokyo, controversy is erupting over uniforms that many are blasting as sexist. here is stephanie gosk. >> reporter: tonight, female athletes say they want the focus to be on what they do, not what they wear. the norwegian women's beach volleyball team was recently slapped with a $1500 fine for refusing to play in the regulation bikini bottoms during a tournament, opting instead for elastic shorts. now pop star pink is offering to pay the fine, saying she is very proud of the team for protesting the sexist ru about their uniform. at the olympics, the german women's gymnastics team sends a similar message, wearing full unitards stretching to their ankles instead of the leotards. in recent years there has been a push to avoid sexualization and gender stereotyping at the olympics. >> wroe you will not see in our coverage some things we have seen in the past with
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details and clothes and parts of the body or elements that really speak about sexuality. >> reporter: it wasn't until 1952 that females made up more than 10% of the competitors. now of the 11,000 athletes in tokyo, nearly half are women, and they're able to compete in more sports than ever before. so while many strides have been made, clearly when it comes to gender equity, there is still a distance to go. stephanie gosk, nbc news, tokyo. in swimming, the americans in the 4x400 freestyle went the distance, winning gold with a huge performance by bo becker, a first-time olympian who overcame a great deal to get here. >> another gold medal in the men's relay. >> in a word, how you describe the performance of that team? >> unforgettable. just to be up swimming at that level of competition, swimming with the best in the world, the u.s. has always been pretty dominant in the
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relays, especially the 4x400 free. >> did you feel that pressure? >> yeah, it's a high pressure for shy, that was just a magnificent swim. >> it's my first olympics. i haven'thas it like to be sitting here, talking with me right now with an olympic gold medal around your neck? >> it's amazing. if you asked me nine months ago if i would be sitting here, i would have laughed at because i was pretty much retired from swimming nine months ago. covid hit. wasn't really in good place mentally, kind of burnt out from the sport of swimming so, i went home andere, didn't touch the pool. developed a lot better mentality towards the sport, and re-ignited the flame to keep going. the sport gets in your head a lot. you're staring at the black line a lot of hours a day. so it adds up. you spend a lot of time with just you and your thoughts. >> so in this case,
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stepping away was actually a good thing for you? >> yeah. normally, you do not off and then try to say, oh, i'm going to try to make olympic trials. those nine months were a grind, but here i am. >> got the fire in your belly again? >> oh, yeah. >> want some more of those? >> yeah, it would be nice. it would definitely be nice. limu emu... and doug. so then i said to him, you oughta customize your car insurance with liberty mutual, so you only pay for what you need. oh um, doug can we talk about something other than work, it's the weekend. yeah, yeah. [ squawk ] hot dog or... chicken? [ squawk ] only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ [swords clashing] here. new aspercreme arthritis. full prescription-strength? reduces inflammation?
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she already set a new olympic record in the backstroke, tonight 19-year-old regan smith swims for gold. there was one stroke she liked least. >> i was terrified of not being able to see the wall, i would refuse to do backstroke. i would cry if i had to do it. >> reporter: but how far she has come. she has set three world records at age 17. >> this is unbelievable. smith is going to -- >> reporter: what was it like when you broke world record after world record after world record? >> it was really crazy just because going into that meet, i didn't think i was capable of doing that. >> reporter: regan first started swimming inspired by her big sis renna. >> i pushed really hard because i wanted to follow in my sister's footsteps. >> reporter: and how old are you? >> i was 7.
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i won i had so much fun. i looked so silly. i was wearing a tankini. i looked ridiculous but i loved it. >> reporter: at what point did you start thinking you might be able to get to the olympics. >> i remember my fifth grade year book quote and it said what do you want to be when you grow up? and i said olympic swimmer. >> reporter: she may be still growing up, but she is already an olympic swimmer known for her signatures and lucky pink crocs. braving minnesota mornings to head to the pool. >> this is what i want to do. it's the life i've chosen. >> reporter: but the pandemic upended her routine. she had to finish her senior year of high school virtually and delayed stanford to train in minnesota. training became a mental test. >> i remember having a lot of practices thinking what am i doing this for? the games might not even happen. >> reporter: regan said she pulled through with the help of her family and her dogs. >> they've been great stress relieves, helped me get out of ruts and hard times. >> reporter: one of 11
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teenagers swimming for team usa in tokyo, regan is now helping lead the next generation. >> aside from genetics, what do you think it takes to become an three-point athlete? >> the dedication and the focus and what your family does for you. you can't do this by yourself. >> reporter: vicky nguyen, nbc news, lakeville, minnesota. >> that's nightly news for this monday from to right now at 4, he's saying it's not a mandate but the governor is requiring state workers too get comes at a real societal worke to do. preparing for school for another year with covid restrictions. >> looking to get back on the
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podium for team u.s.a. athletes vying for gold. the one thing heading to tokyo that could alter some of the games. >> good afternooanyou for joini this olympic edition o area news. >> we want to begin with some breaking news. former senator barbara boxer assaulted in oakland today. according to a tweet from her account she was in the jack london square neighborhood this afternoon when it happened. we want to show you the area where it happened. police say she was walking on third street when someone pushed her from behind, stole her cell phone and then jumped into a waiting car. the former senator is okay. she was not seriously hurt. the oakland police department is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. of course, sky ranger over the scene and will keep an eye on the situation and provide any updates

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