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tv   CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell  CBS  December 24, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

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that's a word i hear from norad. thank you so much for watching us at 6:00. the news continues streaming at cbsn bay area . we will see what 7:00. >> yuccas: tonight, the nightmare before christmas, thousands of flights canceled as the omicron variant takes a toll on airline workers. hole day travelers stranded as covid infects flight crews. >> i want to cry. >> yuccas: could the c.d.c. step in and shorten isolation periods for airline employees? plus smashing covid records. wild christmas weather. a powerful storm and record warm temperatures. your christmas day forecast. teen tragey, an officer's stray bullet hits a 14-year-old reportedly trying on dresses for her quinceañera. why l.a.p.d. opened fire in the first place. >> these are a tragic and unfortunate sequence of events. >> yuccas: ready for launch, the $10 billion telescope n.a.s.a.
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hopes will tell the story of our universe. the war on cancer, the power of science and music. ( singing ) one impressive young woman who's making it her mission to help others going through treatment. smaller christmas eve crowds as the pope's mass and in the biblical town of bethlehem but what's not missing is hope. and on the road, with a reminder that all it takes is one person to make a difference. this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell, reporting from the nation's capital. >> yuccas: good evening to our viewers in the west, and thanks for joining us this christmas eve. i'm jamie yuccas in for norah. we begin with the rise in omicron cases causing nightmares for holiday travelers. airlines have canceled more than 1,000 flights here in the u.s. and over 3,000 worldwide because employees are getting infected by the virus. in the last week, the number of
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average daily cases is up 45%. that surge is attributed to the fast-spreading omicron variant. there is one bit of good news. hospitalizations remain flat, hovering around 60,000 patients, suggesting omicron infections have been less severe than the deadly delta strain. despite the covid surge, president biden and the first lady try to bring christmas eve cheer to kids at children's national hospital here in the nation's capitol. the first couple spoke with children and their families and answered calls to norad's santa tracking service. good news, santa is right on schedule. cbs' nancy chen joins us from new york city. a lot of other people not on schedule. >> reporter: absolutely, jamie. good evening to you. those last-minute cancellations are adding disappointment on top of concerns over surges in covid cases, most cancellations coming from delta as well as united which scrapped ten percent of the flights. frustrations don't end today.
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hundreds of flights have been canceled tomorrow. for many travelers, it's the nightmare before christmas. >> i want to cry. >> reporter: united and delta putting the blame on omicron infections, grounding flight crews and operation staff. >> they're telling us we have three days to get any of us anywhere near l.a. or hawaii to go where we need to go. >> reporter: earlier this week, delta warned of possible staffing shortages as the company requested shortened isolation times for vaccinated workers who test positive. late thursday as some hospitals encounter staffing issues the c.d.c. shortened the recommended isolation time from ten days to seven for infected healthcare workers as long as they don't show symptoms and test negative. >> once medical systems will be compromised, healthcare workers themselves are getting infected. >> how do we manage on top of an already depleted healthcare workforce. >> reporter: in hard-hit new
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york the governor announce new standards today, fully vaccinated asymptomatic essential workers can return in five days after testing positive instead of ten. >> we want to make sure our critical workforce, the elder care, home healthcare, sanitation, grocery store, pharmacies, we need you again and be able to go to work. >> reporter: new york reported nearly 45,000 new cases today, a 14% jump from the day before, breaking records for the seventh time in just over a week. in los angeles, the number of daily cases has tripled in just three days to nearly 10,000. it's not just omicron's impact but the cumulative toll on healthcare workers. >> there's so much mental and physical exhaustion, it's the -- the concept of it is crazy. >> reporter: this nebraska nurse posted on social media about dealing with so much death for nearly two years and a very uncertain future. >> we missed christmas and new
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years coming up, we have a big fear. we are trying to clear out beds but there are quite literally no beds in this hospital. it's just as easy as getting vaccinated, being wise about who you're around. at this point, i'm just asking for your help. >> reporter: and we also learned tonight the white house lifted a temporary ban on travel from eight south african countries new years' day, a decision the world health organization has been urging, jamie. >> reporter: and the world health organization also said today santa is immune from covid so we have good news ahead of christmas. nancy chen, thank you. a powerful winter storm could bring five to eight feet of snow to the sierra nevada, while other parts of the country could be in store for a record warm christmas day. cbs' lonnie quinn joins us now with the latest forecast. talk about extremes, lonnie. >> yeah, it depends on where you live, right?
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i mean the stormiest weather right now, jamie, as you were saying out west. take a peek, arizona is picking up heavy rain. heavy snow in colorado and utah. look at the computer models, showing some of that snow continuing all the way through tuesday. by the time it's said and done, the numbers for snow totals could be enormous. looks like the sierra will pick up an additional 5 to 8 feet so they could finish with another two snow by tuesday. rockies picks up an additional one to two feet but the other extreme you were talking about, the warmest christmas ever for memphis at 77, warmest christmas ever for nashville 73. dallas hits 83, the east coast actually had a little bit of snow this morning but it's turning to rain for most to have the day tomorrow. you get up to northern new england you will still hold on to some snow. that is the way we see the weather picture. a little bit of something for everybody. it's all yours. >> yuccas: a little bit of something, lonnie, thank you.
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to los angeles, where the city's police chief called the shooting death of a 14-year-old girl absolutely heartbreaking, as cbs' carter evans reports, it happened when officers opened fire on a suspect inside a store. >> suspect entered into the business. >> reporter: the bizarre attack inside a burlington coat factory began when security asked a man leave the store. >> he started threatening security he was going to throw items. >> reporter: she said she tried to help customers escape. >> suspect was waiting downstairs. i had a customer in front of me. he reached down, he attacked her, hit her with a chain. >> female victim, head trauma. >> they received additional radio calls from multiple people indicating there was a possible shooting in progress. >> reporter: investigators say, when officers saw the suspect about to assault another person, they opened fire, killing him.
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>> officer needs help. >> reporter: they later found a bullet hole in the wall. >> we went behind it. it turned out to be the dressing room. >> reporter: inside, 14-year-old valentina orellana-peralta was dead from a gunshot wound. she was reportedly trying on quinceañera dresses with her mother. >> preliminarily we believe that round was an officer's round. >> reporter: no gun found on the suspect. >> these are tragic and unfortunate sequences of events. >> reporter: l.a.p.d. policy is to release body cam video within 45 days of a police shooting but the chief is promising to release the video by monday, in jamie. >> yuccas: tragic, carter. thank you. move over hubble, the james webb telescope will launch christmas morning from french guyana. n.a.s.a. spent $10 billion to build it. if all goes well, we could see the universe as it looked right after the big bang. how cool is that? here's cbs' mark strassmann.
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>> reporter: from the perch a million miles beyond earth, the james webb space telescope will glimpse the dawn of time like nothing before us. >> the universe is a 13.8 billion-year story and we're missing key paragraphs in the very first chapter. >> reporter: n.a.s.a. astrophysicist amber straughn hopes webb's discoveries will fill in the blanks. >> we hopefully will be able to see the first galaxies for the very first time.coveries will fn in blanks. >> we hop >> reporter: the gold plated mirrors will align to create one mirror, 21 feet across, six times larger than the one on the hubble space telescope. for more than three decades, hubble has given us stunning humbling views of the universe. but webb will search for heat signatures of the very first light after the big bang. >> we are looking for the faintest objects. if the telescope doesn't get
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cold, it will actually glow brighter than the objections we're looking for. >> reporter: to block the sun's heat from blinding webb, engineers designed a first of its kind sun shield, the size of a tennis court. it's five layers will keep the telescope side more than 600 degrees colder than the sun facing side. >> this material here is about 2 thousandths of an inch thick. >> reporter: once in space, webb will carefully unfold and rebuild itself like robotic origami. project manager bill oaks. >> the complexity, the deployment, the materials has never been tried by a n.a.s.a. mission before. >> reporter: if any one of 344 parts fail, the entire mission could be jeopardized. it all has to work. >> it's got to be pretty damn close to being 100% perfect for it to work. >> reporter: a million miles out, something goes wrong, no calling aaa. >> no calling triple a. >> reporter: webb's first images about six months away, worth the
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wait for a chance to see baby pictures of the universe. mark strassmann, cbs news, greenbelt, maryland. >> yuccas: definitely worth the wait. tonight we end our series "the war on cancer: 50 years." because of incredible work of medical researchers, the survival rate has gone from less than half to nearly 70% in the last 50 years and every survivor has a story. cbs' manuel bojorquez reports on mighty molly's. >> ♪ i'll be on top of the world with nothing holding me back ♪ >> reporter: there's pretty much nothing that will stop 20-year- old molly oldham from singing and acting. but in 2019, debilitating migraine headaches almost did. >> they did a scan and found this ginormous mass on my brain the size of a tennis ball. >> reporter: her family was with her in ohio when she got the news. >> so the doctors came in and told me, um, it was cancerous.
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>> reporter: it was stage three aggressive cancer that required chemo and radiation on top to of the six-hour surgery to remove the tumor. an hour after the operation, she came out, singing. ( singing ) >> i don't remember that, i just remember afterwards, my mom telling me, it was the most beautiful experience because, in that moment, she knew i was going to be okay. >> reporter: but 17 months later, the cancer was back. another surgery, and yet another song. one she wrote called "mighty in me." ( singing ) during this recovery, however, she had backup. ( singing ) a nurse at duke university hospital named david duckett. ( singing ) is there something significant in those lyrics, say you won't let go? >> i believe so.
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i'm not going anywhere, i'm not going to let you go, we're going to do this together. >> and not only is he giving me medicine and making me feel safe and helping me with my headaches and managing all of that, he was also helping with my heart. >> reporter: molly is now studying musical theater at the university of north carolina greensboro, launching a foundation to help young adults with cancer and making a point to show that, though cancer free, it's still day to day, suffering from seizures, a life long side effect of treatment. >> someone has to talk about it to find the cure. >> we can respond in fear. she chose life, she chose hope. >> reporter: and, still, mighty molly says it best herself. ( singing ) manuel bojorquez, cbs news, greensboro, north carolina. yuccas: my indeedigcb evenne
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could be a different game. in a recent clinical study, patients using salonpas patch reported reductions in pain severity, using less or a lot less oral pain medicines. and improved quality of life. that's why we recommend salonpas. it's good medicine. >> yuccas: pope francis celebrated christmas eve mass before an estimated crowd of 2,000 at st. peter's basilica. everyone in attendance including 200 cardinals, bishops and priests wore a mask, everyone except his holiness. and there were smaller than usual crowds in the biblical
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town of bethlehem for the second straight year, but covid couldn't dampen the mood at the annual christmas eve festivities. cbs' imtiaz tyab reports. >> reporter: it's an ancient tradition. the lighting of a candle at the church of the nativity where christians believe baby jesus was born on this very spot, but there are far fewer of the faithful in the biblical city of bethlehem this christmas thanks to the rapid emergence of omicron. still, for some, hope isn't all lost. >> we are christians, we always have hope in our hearts, and christ is the one who is bringing this hope. >> reporter: israel, which controls all the borders of the occupied west bank where bethlehem lies, has renewed its ban on overseas tourists, still in manger square the traditional christmas tree is up and the decorations are hung but without the usual 3 million-plus visitors for a second year in a
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row. small businesses here are struggling. vaccinated palestinian christians who live in israel, the west bank and even the few from gaza who are able to get permits are still able to visit bethlehem and were on hand for the annual christmas tree lighting ceremony. >> we truly believe that the birth of the prince of peace really joy and will prevail through the whole world. >> reporter: a message of hope, peace and light at a time when the world needs it most. imtiaz tyab, cbs news, london. >> yuccas: always hold on to hope. "on the road" is next, the author of a sympathetic ear traveled far beyond this florida bench. of a sympathetic ear traveled far beyond this event.
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i've never slept like this before. i've never woken up like this before. crafted with clinically studied plant-based ingredients that work naturally with your body. for restorative sleep like never before. >> yuccas: this summer, we introduced you to a man who
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offers a sympathetic ear, all from his beachside bench. here's cbs's steve hartman with an update "on the road." >> reporter: in st. petersburg, florida, when the sun rises, al nixon sets for his impromptu therapy sessions. >> how you been? >> reporter: are you surprised at what people tell you? >> not anymore. >> reporter: as we reported a few months ago, al isn't a trained therapist. >> i have been concerned. >> reporter: he works for the city water department. >> he's dismissing you. >> yeah. >> reporter: in these early morning hours, he's a trusted confidant and counselor to whoever passes by. >> and i wrote to him and said... >> reporter: renee retestein is a regular. >> he knows everything about me. >> reporter: did you feel weird sharing your secrets with a guy on the bench? >> no, he won't judge me. he takes you for who you are. >> reporter: bernadette mills says she's never met a wiser man. >> he's a guiding force. >> reporter: at the same time, i
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don't hear you talking a lot. >> no. >> reporter: i just see a lot of nodding like you're doing now. >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: a lot of mm-hmms. >> listening is a number one skill all mankind needs to know >> listening is a number one how to do very well. >> reporter: a skill he has clearly mastered. when al started coming here seven years ago, the therapy was for him. he needed a quiet place to clear his head and the last thing he wanted was to hear other people's problems. but then a woman he'd never met told him something he'll never forget. >> she said, every day i see you, i know everything's going to be okay. and that made me realize that, when you speak to someone or you smile, you let them know i value you, and people pick that up. >> when i walk by sometimes, you know, i don't get a chance to chat with him because there are other people waiting in line. ( laughter ) >> reporter: and the line has only grown. after we first told this story
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this past summer, people popped by with poems and paintings and poses for selfies, many new faces from many new places. >> yes. >> reporter: from how far away. >> all over the country. >> reporter: all over the country? why do you think people came from far and wide just to sit on that bench with you? >> i simply think people just know i care. >> reporter: same reason people put a plaque on the bench, "to a loving and loyal friend and a confidant to many, forever and always." >> powerful. >> reporter: how can such a simple plaque be that powerful? >> when you listen to someone, you matter to me. >> reporter: they gave you back what you gave to them. everyone needs an al, even al. >> have a great day! >> you, too, honey! >> reporter: steve hartman, "on the road," in st. petersburg, florida. >> yuccas: i think we all need a lot more al's. we'll be right back. ales. we'll be right back.
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right now at 7:00 -- >> it's really disappointingly and honestly. >> centerline on a cold day with a bunch of people is not exactly what you want to do. >> holiday testing trouble in alameda county tonight. what people found out after a long wait in line. i got a text message this morning saying my flight was canceled. >> it has been kind of strel.e back ofthe weather has nothing to do with a different christmas eve frustration at sfo. they are just light showers for christmas eve, but the better rain is coming in tomorrow for christmas day. we will time that out in the forecast coming up. a holiday tragedy on the coast where a deadly shark attack has prompted a warning to stay out of the water. right now at 7:00 and
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streaming on cbsn bay area, it is the holiday must have that no one seems to be able to get a hold of -- a covid test. kpix 5's da lin on the miscommunication that left dozens of people in the east bay out in the cold. >> reporter: although the bay area drug stores are sold out of the covid home test kits, and most county and state run test sites are closed on christmas eve. this was the line in front of friendship christian church in west oakland. 50 to 60 people waited for the church to open. the alameda county website said this was one of two locations in the entire county open for testing starting at noon. the problem was d information. like most east bay test sites, the church was closed. >> it's really disappg. >> standing in line on a cold day with a bunch of people isn't what you want to do. >> reporter: rebecca, her husband and infant daughter

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