National News

Coronavirus live updates: California calls for pausing use of Moderna vaccine lot

Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and ERIN SCHUMAKER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 95 million people worldwide and killed over 2 million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Here's how the news is developing Monday. All times Eastern:

Jan 18, 4:13 pm

LA Fire Department sees positivity rate plummet after most firefighters get vaccinated

The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) saw its COVID-19 testing positivity rate fall significantly after 75% of firefighters on the force received their first COVID-19 vaccine.

When the first vaccines were being rolled out in late December, weekly LACoFD positivity rates reached 18%, roughly equivalent to positivity rates in the county's general population. Today, after three-quarters of the force opted to get vaccinated, the LACoFD positivity rate has fallen to 5.6%.

"As expected, the vaccine began to have its impact seven to 10 days after the first vaccines were given," Dr. Clayton Kazan, the department's medical director, said in a statement. "This is the first time in the entire pandemic that our data diverged from that of the county," he added.

This week, firefighters will start receiving their second dose of the two-dose vaccine.

-ABC News' Matthew Fuhrman contributed to this report.

Jan 18, 2:53 pm

WHO director criticizes deals between rich countries, vaccine makers

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, took aim at rich countries hoarding the COVID-19 vaccine and the pharmaceutical companies profiting off of it, during a WHO executive board meeting Monday.

"It’s right that all governments want to prioritize vaccinating their own health workers and older people first,” Tedros said. "But it’s not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries."

Tedros pointed to one of the lowest income countries in the world, which he did not name. "Just 25 doses have been given," he said. "Not 25 million, not 25,000 -- just 25. I need to be blunt: The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure."

The deals rich countries have made with vaccine producers are putting the effectiveness of COVAX, the WHO's global vaccine-sharing program, at risk by driving up prices, according to Tedros. "This could delay COVAX deliveries and create exactly the scenario COVAX was designed to avoid, with hoarding, a chaotic market, an uncoordinated response and continued social and economic disruption," he added.


Jan 18, 1:41 pm
Disneyland Paris postpones reopening, citing 'prevailing conditions in Europe'


Disneyland Paris, which was slated to reopen Feb. 13, will delay reopening until April 2, 2021, "due to the prevailing conditions in Europe," Disney said in a statement posted on Twitter Monday.

As of now, Disneyland Paris is taking reservations from April 2 onward. Those with existing bookings between Feb. 13 and April 1 should consult Disney's website. "Given the current context our plans continue to evolve," according to Disney.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.


Jan 18, 12:14 pm
US accounts for nearly 20% of COVID-19 deaths worldwide

The United States has reported approximately 19.6% of the world's COVID-19 deaths.

Just over a month after exceeding 300,000 confirmed deaths from the disease, the country is on track to hit yet another staggering milestone: 400,000 deaths in less than a year, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

To put that in perspective, 400,000 people could fill New York City's Madison Square Garden nearly 20 times over, or is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Tampa, Florida, or Tulsa, Oklahoma. The figure is more than the number of American soldiers who died in battle during World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined, according to a data estimate compiled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

During a White House coronavirus task force press briefing on March 29, President Donald Trump said that if the U.S. could keep its COVID-19 death toll between 100,000 to 200,000, it would mean that his administration had done "a very good job."

But the death toll has already far surpassed the task force's early estimates, and now President-elect Joe Biden's incoming administration is warning that the "dark winter" is not over yet. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, whom Biden has nominated to serve as the next director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday that they "expect half a million deaths in this country" from COVID-19 by mid-February.

The U.S. is currently averaging over 3,300 new COVID-19 deaths per day. The country has registered more than 52,000 deaths from the disease just since the start of the month, which is approximately one American death from COVID-19 reported every 30 seconds.

However, COVID-19 hospitalizations nationwide appear to be stabilizing. The number of patients hospitalized with the disease across the country continues to drop, now standing at 124,387. Arizona, Nevada and Alabama currently hold the highest COVID-19 hospitalizations rates per million people in the country.

Jan 18, 11:43 am
Norway says it 'can't rule out' vaccine side effects in 23 deaths


Twenty-three reports of suspected deaths associated with COVID-19 vaccines have been submitted to Norway's national health registry as of Jan. 14, according to an updated statement from the country's drug regulator on Monday.

The Norwegian Medicines Agency said it "cannot rule out that adverse reactions to the vaccine occurring within the first days following vaccination (such as fever and nausea) may contribute to more serious course and fatal outcome in patients with severe underlying disease."

Thirteen of those reports have been assessed by the drug regulator, as well as the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

"The reports suggest that common adverse reactions to mRNA vaccines, such as fever and nausea, may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients," Sigurd Hortemo, chief physician at the Norwegian Medicines Agency, said in the statement.

Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency, told the state-run broadcaster NRK: "We are not alarmed by this."

"It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients," Madsen said. "Doctors must now carefully consider who should be vaccinated. Those who are very frail and at the very end of life can be vaccinated after an individual assessment."

Norway is currently administering COVID-19 vaccines to the elderly and people in nursing homes with serious underlying diseases -- at first with just the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine up until Jan. 15, and then also with the Moderna vaccine. Official figures show that more than 30,000 people have received the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in Norway since the end of December.

According to the Norwegian Medicines Agency, an average of 400 people die each week in nursing homes and long-term care facilities nationwide.

The Scandinavian country of 5.3 million people has confirmed more than 58,000 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including at least 521 deaths, according to the latest data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Jan 18, 11:26 am
California calls for pausing use of Moderna vaccine lot following 'possible allergic reactions'


California's top epidemiologist has recommended pausing the administration of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna's lot 041L20A due to "possible allergic reactions" that are under investigation.

"A higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions were reported with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine administered at one community vaccination clinic," Dr. Erica Pan, state epidemiologist for the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement late Sunday night. "Fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention over the span of 24 hours. Out of an extreme abundance of caution and also recognizing the extremely limited supply of vaccine, we are recommending that providers use other available vaccine inventory and pause the administration of vaccines from Moderna Lot 041L20A until the investigation by the CDC, FDA, Moderna and the state is complete."

The California Department of Health said all of the affected individuals appeared to be experiencing "a possible severe allergic reaction during the standard observation period," which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says some people have experienced when receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 330,000 doses from that specific lot have been distributed to 287 providers across the state, with the shipments arriving between Jan. 5 and 12, according to the California Department of Public Health, which said it has not been notified of any other cluster or individual events related to this lot.

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Moderna told ABC News: "Moderna acknowledges receiving a report from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that a number of individuals at one vaccination center in San Diego were treated for possible allergic reactions after vaccination from one lot of Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine. The company is fully cooperating with CDPH in investigating these reported adverse events. Consistent with the statement from CDPH, at this point Moderna is unaware of comparable adverse events from other vaccination centers which may have administered vaccines from the same lot."

Jan 18, 8:27 am
London to pilot 24/7 vaccination sites before end of January

Before the end of the month, London will begin piloting COVID-19 vaccination sites that will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to Nadhim Zahawi, the United Kingdom's minister for COVID-19 vaccine deployment.

England's National Health Service (NHS) will trial the round-the-clock vaccination sites at hospitals in the British capital.

"And we'll look at how we expand that," Zahawi told Sky News in an interview Monday.

Zahawi said the key with 24-hour vaccination sites is to ensure vulnerable populations, such as people over 80 and others deemed high-risk, are still being targeted.

"At the moment, the challenge is obviously supply -- limited supply vaccine that needs to get into the arms of the most vulnerable four cohorts. So the targeting has to be really, really precise so that we can protect them by mid-February," he added.

"So if you just want to chase volume, chase speed and not accuracy, 24 hours works really well," he continued. "If you want to chase both accuracy, protecting the most vulnerable and of course speed, then you want to do what we're doing which is primary care networks, hospitals, large vaccination centers and of course pharmacies."

As of Saturday, 3,857,266 people in the U.K. have received the first of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest data published on the U.K. government's website.

The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved three COVID-19 vaccines for use to date -- one developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, a second developed by England's University of Oxford and British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, and a third developed by American biotechnology firm Moderna.

The U.K. -- an island nation of 66 million people made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland -- has confirmed more than 3.3 million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including over 89,000 deaths. There were 38,598 new cases and 671 additional deaths confirmed over the past 24 hours, according to the latest data.

Jan 18, 7:10 am
France expands vaccination campaign to 75 and older, anyone deemed high-risk

People aged 75 and over will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in France starting Monday.

Up until now, only residents of nursing homes and medical staff aged 50 and over were able to be vaccinated against the disease.

France is also expanding its vaccination campaign to include anyone with high-risk conditions, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or transplant patients.

The move comes after the country's death toll from COVID-19 topped 70,000 over the weekend.

France has confirmed more than 2.9 million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including at least 70,283 deaths, according to the latest data from the country's public health agency. The Western European nation has the sixth-highest tally of diagnosed cases in the world, after the United States, India, Brazil, Russia and the United Kingdom, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

So far, the European Medicines Agency has approved two COVID-19 vaccines for use in the European Union -- one developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and another developed by American biotechnology company Moderna.

Jan 18, 6:24 am
Oklahoma school district stops basketball games due to 'super-spreader event'


A public school district in Oklahoma City canceled basketball games on Friday night after witnessing what it called a "super-spreader event."

Millwood Public Schools said it "made the decision to put kids and families first," pulling its basketball players off the court during games against Community Christian School in Norman, about 20 miles south of downtown Oklahoma City. The school district posted photos on Facebook showing a crowded gymnasium with no social distancing and few people wearing masks.

"We will NOT subject our kids and families to a super-spreader event just to compete," Millwood Public Schools wrote in the Facebook post Friday night.

Community Christian School's athletics director, Mat McIntosh, told Oklahoma City ABC affiliate KOCO-TV that the photos shared on social media showed the home side, which "was three-fourths full." He said that they "would never put any students at risk."

"During [Friday] night’s game when the decision was made to pull the players off the court, we were caught off guard," McIntosh said in a statement. "We hated that. It has been our desire to keep things as normal as possible. We have policies in place for COVID during athletic events. As a school, we have listened to the governor’s statement to stay at 50% capacity. We feel even [Friday] night, our overall capacity was under 50%."

Jan 18, 5:25 am
Germany has vaccinated over one million people


More than one million people have received the first of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in Germany, according to the country's public health agency.

As of Saturday, 1,048,160 first doses had been administered nationwide, according to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute. So far, the European Medicines Agency has approved two COVID-19 vaccines for use in the European Union -- one developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and another developed by American biotechnology company Moderna.

There were 7,141 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Germany on Sunday. An additional 214 deaths from the disease were also registered nationwide. That brings the country's cumulative totals to 2,040,659 cases with 46,633 deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

Jan 18, 4:19 am
US reports under 200,000 new cases for first time in two weeks


There were 174,513 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Sunday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It's the first time in two weeks that the country has logged under 200,000 newly confirmed infections in a 24-hour reporting period. Sunday's tally is far less than the country's all-time high of 302,506 new cases on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.

An additional 1,723 fatalities from COVID-19 were registered nationwide on Sunday, down from a peak of 4,462 new deaths on Jan. 12, according to Johns Hopkins data.

COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the holidays followed by a potentially very large backlog.

A total of 23,936,772 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 397,600 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of the pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.

The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4, then reaching 200,000 on Nov. 27 before topping 300,000 on Jan. 2.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Capitol rioter who allegedly posted 'Outside Pelosi's office' to Instagram arrested

Win McNamee/Getty ImagesBY: AARON KATERSKY AND JULIA JACOBO, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) — Federal authorities are continuing to charge rioters who took part in the siege on Capitol Hill.

One New York resident was arrested Monday, according to federal court documents

Nicholas Moncada, a 20-year-old student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, was taken into custody at his Staten Island home. He allegedly livestreamed his "storming" of the Capitol on Jan. 6, prosecutors said.

Moncada allegedly also posted a selfie of himself inside the Capitol, captioning it, "Outside Pelosi's office.”

He was recognized by fellow FIT students, who then alerted the FBI to his involvement, according to the court documents.

In a statement to ABC News, Moncada's attorney, Mario Gallucci, said he is not facing any violent charges.

"Mr. Moncada was taken into custody this morning by the FBI and has been charged with various sections of the United States Code for trespassing inside a restricted building and trying to disrupt or impeded the conduct of Government business, as well as, trespassing on the floor of various Government rooms including the House of Congress, the lobby adjacent to the floor and the Rayburn Room of the House of Congress," Galluci said. "I do not believe he is being charged with committing any acts of violence. Mr. Moncada denies any participation in the effort to overthrow the Government, and he looks forward to defending his good name.”

Freeport, New York, resident Thomas Fee allegedly sent a relative of his girlfriend a selfie of himself inside the Capitol, prosecutors said. He's been charged by authorities but is not in police custody.

In the text message, Fee, 53, allegedly wrote that he was "at the tip of the spear," a reference to the Capitol rotunda, according to the court documents.

Fee drove to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, and a license plate reader in New York picked up the Chevy Tahoe he was driving upon his return on Jan. 7, the court documents state.

Dozens of rioters who participated in the siege have been taken into custody.

Last week, the man seen wearing a "Camp Auschwitz" hoodie, Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller and several members of law enforcement were arrested in connection to the riot.

It is unclear whether Fee has retained an attorney.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


At least 21 states activating National Guard troops in capitals to prepare for possible attacks

ABC NewsBy JULIA JACOBO, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- At least 21 states are activating National Guard troops in preparation of possible attacks this week.

The FBI is warning that armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols as well on Capitol Hill after a group called for "storming" state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings on Inauguration Day.

In Michigan, where armed militia breached the state Capitol in May, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the National Guard would be activated from Monday to Wednesday to provide additional security and crowd control measures.

"Last week's horrific scene on Capitol Hill was an attack on our democracy and shows that we need to be adequately prepared for acts of violence as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as our 46th President of the United States," said Whitmer, who faced a kidnapping plot against her in October.

Small protests took place in Ohio on Sunday, where Gov. Mike DeWine authorized 1,000 soldiers and airmen to provide assistance to federal authorities in Washington, D.C. Several hundred more are remaining in Columbus to protect citizens, public buildings and private property from "civil unrest," according to a statement from DeWine's office.

Other states where National Guard troops have been activated include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection on the Capitol, making him the first president to ever be impeached twice. The vote triggers a trial in the Senate, but senators will not return early for an impeachment trial  prior to the inauguration.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Damaging winds expected in California, heavy snow for the Rockies and Eastern Great Lakes

ABC NewsBy MAX GOLEMBO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Major damaging winds are expected in California this week from the San Francisco Bay area all the way down to Los Angeles.

The strongest winds in the San Francisco Bay area and Northern California will be on Monday and into the evening as winds could gust up to 50 to 70 mph with locally higher gusts.

Also, with all the dry wind, a fire weather watch has been issued south of San Francisco where these conditions could spread fires quickly.

For Southern California, winds will pick up Monday night into Tuesday and could gust as high as 70 to 80 mph with locally gusts near 90 mph.

A fire weather watch has also been issued for Southern California Monday night into Wednesday morning for rapid fire spread.

Meanwhile, a few areas around the country could see heavy snow in the next few days.

The first area is the eastern Great Lakes in western New York and western Pennsylvania where a winter storm watch and lake effect snow has been issued.

The heaviest snow will be north of Syracuse, New York, and between Buffalo, New York and Erie, Pennsylvania, where some areas could see up to 16 inches of snow.

There also could be some slick roads from Illinois to Ohio and northern Kentucky where 1 to 2 inches of snow is possible due to a quick moving storm system.

Another area in the country that will see heavy snow is in the Rockies from Colorado to New Mexico where locally more than a foot of snow is possible over the next 24 to 48 hours.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Newborn giraffe dies when mother accidentally steps on its neck after giving birth

Nashville ZooBy JON HAWORTH, ABC News

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A newborn giraffe has died in a tragic accident shortly after it was born when it was stepped on by its own mother.

The incident occurred at the Nashville Zoo and was announced on Jan. 16 when the zoo’s pregnant giraffe named Nasha went into labor as thousands of people watched the event live online during a live feed.

Shortly after labor, however, complications with the baby giraffe began to develop and medical intervention was required from Dr. Matthew DeLisle from the Tennessee Equine Hospital and the zoo’s veterinary team who were able to eventually successfully deliver the calf.

"The calf appeared to be thriving on an initial exam," said Dr. Heather Schwartz, Nashville Zoo's Director of Veterinary Medicine. "We moved the newborn to be with her mother and the two were bonding. During this time, Nasha may have inadvertently injured her calf. The giraffe keepers noticed that the calf was in distress."

According to a statement from the Nashville Zoo, the animal care team immediately intervened but were unsuccessful in their attempts at reviving or saving the calf.

A necropsy showed that the newborn giraffe had suffered trauma to the neck but the giraffe will undergo further testing to see if there may have been any underlying causes involved with the death although initial observations did not indicate anything specific.

This was Nasha's first birth and the Nashville Zoo said that she is doing well in spite of the tragedy and that zookeepers will be giving her “an abundance of comfort and care for the next few days.”

"We are devastated over the loss of Nasha's calf," said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo's president and CEO. "Our staff has worked tirelessly to make sure this calf was given the best possible care. We moved from fear of a stillborn to joy of revival to anguish."

Nasha’s pregnancy was being followed by thousands of people all over the world thanks to three cameras that had been installed in her pen by ABC News’ Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV.

“The station's news programs frequently updated viewers on the status of Nasha's pregnancy and encouraged people to watch the ‘Baby Giraffe Cam’ through their website. Nashville Zoo also included the live cameras on their ‘Baby Boom’ webpage,” the Nashville Zoo said in a statement.

The zoo also posted the tragic news on Instagram saying: “We are heartbroken to announce that Nasha's calf died shortly after our birth announcement earlier … Thank you all for your support over the past few weeks and especially during this tough time.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Coronavirus updates: LA becomes 1st county to cross 1 million cases

Samara Heisz/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 94.2 million people worldwide and killed over 2 million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Here's how the news developed over the weekened. All times Eastern:

Jan 17, 10:57 am

People turned away from Houston Astros’ stadium after vaccines run out

People seeking COVID-19 vaccines in Houston were sent away from Minute Maid Park after appointments were overbooked.

The Houston Health Department announced Saturday that it had run out of vaccines by 6 p.m. after it had administered 5,451 doses at the site, where the line wrapped around the building, ABC Houston station KTRK-TV reported. Several people left without getting vaccinated.

Houston Health Department Stephen Williams said during a press conference Saturday he warned the mayor that there wouldn’t be enough doses to last the week.

The city received “a little” over 30,000 doses, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

Jan 16, 6:41 pm

Prince William touts vaccine, urges UK to follow grandparents' lead

Prince William championed the effort of the NHS, the U.K.'s health agency, in delivering the COVID-19 vaccine in a video posted to Kensington Royal's Twitter account Saturday night.

The video included several health care professionals on a Zoom call, along with the Duke of Cambridge, talking about distributing and delivering the vaccine.

"This is because we have a world-leading NHS, this is because we have the right people, the right research and development here," William says in the video.

William also encourages people to get the vaccine when they are eligible, noting his "grandparents" -- Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip -- got the vaccine already. The palace said last week that Elizabeth, 94, and Philip, 99, had gotten the vaccine.

"My grandparents have had the vaccine and I'm very proud of them for doing that," he says in the video. "So it's really important that everyone gets their vaccine.”

Jan 16, 6:05 pm

LA County crosses 1 million cases, identifies 1st UK variant

Los Angeles County, the hardest hit region in the country right now, announced it has crossed 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.

The county has identified 1,003,923 cases since the start of the pandemic -- the first county in the country to cross the mark. Only four states outside of California have met that ignominious total. The county announced 253 new deaths and 14,669 new cases on Saturday.

There are currently 7,597 people hospitalized in LA County with COVID-19 -- down slightly from days earlier when the total crossed 7,900.

Also of concern, the county identified its first case of the so-called U.K. variant on Saturday. The case was discovered in a man who was recently in LA, but has since traveled to Oregon, where he is isolating, the health department said.

"The presence of the U.K. variant in Los Angeles County is troubling, as our healthcare system is already severely strained with more than 7,500 people currently hospitalized," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health. "This more contagious variant makes it easier for infections to spread at worksites, at stores, and in our homes."

There had already been 40 cases of the variant, officially called the B.1.1.7 variant, detected in California.

Jan 16, 3:11 pm

FDA comments on reports of deaths in Norway following COVID-19 vaccination

The Norwegian Medicines Agency on Thursday reported a total of 29 people had suffered side effects, 13 of them fatal, according to The Associated Press. All the deaths occurred among patients in nursing homes and all were over the age of 80.

A spokesperson from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told ABC News on Saturday regarding the deaths in Norway: "To date, we have not seen any new safety signals In the U.S. following administration of either authorized COVID-19 vaccine, and therefore do not currently plan to make any changes."

In the U.S. any reports of death following vaccination are "promptly and rigorously investigated" by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the spokesperson said.

Jan 16, 11:39 am

Texas reports 3rd case of UK variant

Texas' third case of the COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the United Kingdom, has been found in Dallas, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported in a statement Saturday morning.

"The individual is a male resident of the City of Dallas in his 20’s, with no recent history of travel outside of the United States. Results of genetic sequencing this week showed that the infection was caused by the variant. This is the first known case of this variant in a Dallas County resident. The individual is stable and is in isolation. DCHHS epidemiologists are involved with the investigation in identifying and notifying close contacts," the statement read.

  • ABC News' James Scholz

Jan 15, 8:20 pm
7-day averages for cases down across US


There are some encouraging signs in the latest COVID-19 data.

The seven-day averages for cases are declining throughout the U.S., according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The averages are down in all four regions that the tracker compares: Northeast, Midwest, South and West.

On a national level, it appears that COVID-19 hospitalizations are also on the decline, the tracker said. Though it noted that some areas are still seeing an "overwhelming" level of hospitalizations.

The U.S. reported 243,996 new cases, 3,679 new deaths and 127,235 currently hospitalizations on Friday, according to The COVID Tracking Project's tally.

Jan 15, 4:57 pm
Biden stresses equity, transparency in vaccination plan

President-elect Joe Biden laid out a five-point vaccination plan Friday that he promised would turn the public's "frustration into motivation" and meet his goal of getting 100 million shots into Americans' arms within his first 100 days in office.

The plan includes working with states to open up more priority groups for vaccination, mobilizing a larger workforce to administer vaccines and working directly with independent and chain pharmacies to distribute them. Biden's administration also plans to set up 100 federally funded vaccination centers in school gyms, sports stadiums and mobile clinics to help reach communities that have been hit hard by the virus.

"Equity is central to our COVID response," Biden said.

Scientists in Biden's administration, like the surgeon general, will speak directly to the American people, he added, and pledged to be transparent about "both the good news and the bad" when it came COVID-19 progress. "You’re entitled to know," he said.

Jan 15, 2:07 pm
Faster-spreading variant could become dominant by March: CDC


The new COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom could increase the trajectory of the virus in the United States, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

Unless new mitigation measures are taken, the variant, known as B.1.1.7, is likely to become the predominant variant in the U.S. by March, the report warned. The CDC called for "universal compliance" with public health measures and more genomic surveillance to monitor new variants and mutations.

"Higher vaccination coverage might need to be achieved to protect the public," according to the report. While the new variant is not more deadly than the old one, it is thought to be more transmissible, meaning that it could lead to more cases, and ultimately more hospitalizations and deaths.

-ABC News' Sony Salzman contributed to this report.

Jan 15, 1:01 pm
COVID-19 deaths top two million worldwide


Deaths from COVID-19 reached a grim new milestone Friday, with 2,00,905 fatalities reported around the world since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The United States leads the world in COVID-19 deaths, with 389,581 fatalities, followed by Brazil, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Jan 15, 1:11 pm
100M doses in 100 days 'quite feasible': Fauci


Dr. Anthony Fauci called President-elect Joe Biden's promise to administer 100 million COVID-19 shots in the first 100 days of his term "quite feasible" during an interview with NBC's Today show Friday. He said he hopes the United States can get to 70% or 80% vaccination within several months.

Part of the distribution holdup, according to Fauci, has been careful prioritization by states.

"If you have a dose, give it," he urged states. "Don't be so rigid as to those early designations."

Reaching those goals, however, depends on vaccine uptake. 

"When a vaccine becomes available, get vaccinated,” Fauci pleaded with the public.

Jan 15, 8:31 am
Biden picks former FDA chief to help lead Operation Warp Speed


U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Dr. David Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to help lead the federal government's COVID-19 vaccine initiative.

Kessler, a pediatrician and lawyer who headed the FDA from 1999 to 1997 under the Bush and Clinton administrations, will replace Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is the current chief science officer to Operation Warp Speed.

Biden also announced several other appointees who will join his incoming administration's COVID-19 response team.

"We are in a race against time, and we need a comprehensive strategy to quickly contain this virus," Biden said in a statement Thursday. "The individuals announced today will bolster the White House’s COVID-19 Response team and play important roles in carrying out our rescue plan and vaccination program. At a time when American families are facing numerous challenges I know these public servants will do all that is needed to build our nation back better."

Jan 15, 7:40 am
Moscow sees highest single-day death toll from COVID-19


There were 5,534 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a record 81 deaths from the disease registered in Moscow on Thursday, according to Russia's coronavirus response headquarters.

In total, the Russian capital has reported 882,962 confirmed cases with 12,322 deaths, according to the coronavirus response headquarters.

With more than 3.4 million confirmed cases, Russia has the fourth highest cumulative total in the world, after the United States, India and Brazil, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Jan 15, 6:58 am
US marks 10th straight day of over 200K new cases


There were 229,386 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Thursday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It's the 10th consecutive day that the country has reported more than 200,000 new cases. Thursday's tally is less than the country's all-time high of 302,506 newly confirmed infections on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.

An additional 3,769 new deaths from COVID-19 were registered nationwide on Thursday, down from a peak of 4,462 fatalities logged on Jan. 12, according to Johns Hopkins data.

COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the holidays followed by a potentially very large backlog.

A total of 23,314,238 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 388,705 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.

The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4, then reaching 200,000 on Nov. 27 before topping 300,000 on Jan. 2.

Jan 14, 9:57 pm
Dodger Stadium to open as mass vaccination site Friday


Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium will open as one of the largest mass vaccination sites in the country on Friday, officials announced.

The stadium will have the capacity to vaccinate 12,000 people a day, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said during his COVID-19 briefing Thursday.

Eligibility in Los Angeles County currently is limited to health care workers and seniors in nursing facilities.

The vaccination push comes as 1 in 3 people in LA County has been infected with COVID-19, Garcetti said. The county reported 17,323 new cases on Thursday.

"Our numbers remain very high. We remain one of the epicenters of this disease across the country," Garcetti said, though he added that there are signs that hospitalizations may be stabilizing.

Jan 14, 8:06 pm
US deaths 25% higher than any other time during pandemic


Deaths continue to surge nationwide in the weeks after the end-of-year holidays. U.S. deaths are currently 25% higher than at any other time during the pandemic, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

"For scale, COVID-19 deaths reported this week exceed the CDC's estimate of 22K flu-related deaths during the entire 2019-2020 season," the wrote.

There were 3,915 deaths reported on Thursday, well above a seven-day average that continues to rise. Cases and hospitalizations were under the seven-day average on Thursday.

The one bit of good news highlighted by The COVID Tracking Project hospitalization numbers are leveling off. However, there are still 128,947 people currently hospitalized, much more than at any other time during the pandemic.

The COVID Tracking Project singled out Alabama, Arizona, California and Florida as particularly concerning locations right now. Arizona currently has the worst per-capita case numbers in the world, according to the project.

Jan 14, 4:29 pm
Newly identified US variant may have emerged in May, study indicates


A newly identified variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 may have emerged in the U.S. in May and could be one of the predominant versions circulating now, researchers at Southern Illinois University found.
 
Just because a new variant has emerged doesn't mean it's inherently dangerous, experts cautioned. It’s unknown if this new U.S. variant is more transmissible and deadly, but scientists say they are monitoring and continuing to study newly emerging viral variants. On Wednesday, researchers at Ohio State reported two newly identified ones. On Thursday, researchers at Southern Illinois University said they also identified a new variant, which is likely the same as the two identified in Ohio.

Now, researchers at Southern Illinois University are sharing even more details about this U.S. variant, which they are calling 20C-US. Origins of this variant can be traced to May 2020 from a sample in Texas, they said.
 
The 20C-US variant appears to be widespread in the Upper Midwest and comprises roughly 50% of the samples in the U.S., said Keith T. Gagnon, coauthor of the study and associate professor at Southern Illinois University.

"Let’s not get overly excited -- but be diligent," Gagon said. "Here it was, underneath our noses, for months."
 
“It doesn't look like it’s going to get in the way of vaccines," Gagnon added.

ABC News’ Sean Llewellyn, Eric Strauss and Sony Salzman contributed to this report.

Jan 14, 3:30 pm
Texas is 1st state to administer 1 million vaccines


Texas, home to about 29 million people, has become the first state to administer more than 1 million vaccine doses, Gov. Greg Abbott said.

Texas has 2,040,751 confirmed cases and at least 31,277 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Texas’ Harris County, home to Houston, ranks No. 5 in the country for highest cases, behind Los Angeles County, California; Cook County, Illinois; Marciopa County, Arizona; and Miami-Dade County, Florida.

ABC News’ Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

Jan 14, 2:14 pm
Brazil variant prompts UK to ban arrivals from some South American, Central American countries


The United Kingdom will ban arrivals from several South and Central American countries beginning on Friday "following evidence of a new variant from Brazil,” U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

The government will ban arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Travel from Portugal to the U.K. will also be suspended given its strong travel links with Brazil, Shapps said.

Jan 14, 2:05 pm
About 1 in 3 has been infected in LA County


About one in every three people in Los Angeles County has been infected with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, Los Angeles County Health Department officials said Wednesday.

Los Angeles County is close to becoming the county to reach 1 million cases. As of Thursday morning, 958,497 people in the county had been infected.

Jan 14, 12:46 pm
Arizona leading US in cases per capita

The U.S. is averaging over 242,000 new cases per day, according to ABC News’ analysis of COVID Tracking Project data.

Arizona is leading the country in cases per capita.

In Virginia, Georgia and Florida, daily case numbers dwarf their respective summer peaks.

In New York, the average number of daily cases is 65% higher than during the spring surge.

Jan 14, 12:24 pm
Turkey's president gets 1st dose of China's COVID-19 vaccine


Turkish President Recep Tayyip on Thursday received a first dose of CoronaVac, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac, according to state-owned Anadolu news agency.

Turkey approved CoronaVac for emergency use on Wednesday. Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca was the first person in the country to receive a dose of the vaccine.

Jan 14, 11:28 am
Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI receive 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine


Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.

"I can confirm that as part of the Vatican City State vaccination program to date, the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus," Bruni said in a statement Thursday.

Francis, who turned 84 last month and had part of a lung removed when he was younger, reportedly received the shot Wednesday while Benedict, 93, reportedly got it Thursday.

Vatican City, an independent enclave surrounded by Rome that serves as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, launched the immunization campaign on Wednesday, administering doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

The tiny city-state has a population of only around 800 people but employs more than 4,000. It's unclear how many doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have been procured so far.

Vatican City citizens, along with employees and pensioners, will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine as well as family members who are entitled to use of the city-state's health care system. Priority is being given to health care workers, public safety personnel, the elderly and individuals who are most frequently in contact with the public, according to Bruni.

The vaccination campaign is voluntary and people under the age of 18 are being excluded for the time being, Bruni said.

Since the start of the pandemic, Vatican City has reported at least 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Jan 14, 10:13 am
US reports over 229,000 new cases


There were 229,610 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Wednesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It's the ninth straight day that the country has reported more than 200,000 new cases. Wednesday's tally is less than the country's all-time high of 302,506 newly confirmed infections on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.

An additional 3,959 new deaths from COVID-19 registered nationwide on Wednesday, down from a peak of 4,327 fatalities logged the previous day, according to Johns Hopkins data.

COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the holidays followed by a potentially very large backlog.

A total of 23,079,163 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 384,794 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.

The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4, then reaching 200,000 on Nov. 27 before topping 300,000 on Jan. 2.

Jan 14, 10:00 am
Another member of Congress tests positive

Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., said Thursday morning that he’s tested positive for COVID-19, one day after attending the impeachment vote on the House floor.

Espaillat said he's quarantining at home.

He tweeted, “I received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week and understand the affects take time. I have continued to be tested regularly, wear my mask and follow the recommended guidelines."

Eight lawmakers have tested positive since the Jan. 6 siege.

Jan 14, 8:46 am
965,000 workers filed jobless claims last week

A total of 965,000 workers filed jobless claims last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday, an increase of 181,000 from the prior week.

The Labor Department also said that more than 18 million people were still receiving some form of unemployment benefits through all government programs for the week ending Dec. 26. For the comparable week in 2019, that figure was just above two million.

The weekly unemployment tally has fallen since peaking at 6.9 million in March but still remains elevated by historical standards.

The pre-pandemic record for weekly unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982.

That record has been broken every week since late March.

As of last month, the unemployment rate in the U.S. was 6.7%. It was 3.5% last February.

Jan 14, 8:32 am
WHO experts arrive in Wuhan

An international team of scientists researching the origins of COVID-19 arrived on Thursday in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus was first discovered, the World Health Organization said.

“The experts will begin their work immediately during the 2 weeks quarantine protocol for international travelers,” the WHO tweeted.

Jan 14, 8:19 am
US could see up to 477,000 deaths by Feb. 6

This week’s national  released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that 16,200 to 29,600 more Americans will likely die in the week ending Feb. 2.

The national ensemble estimates a total of 440,000 to 477,000 COVID-19 deaths will be reported by that date.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Far-right video blogger, man with Confederate flag among latest Capitol siege arrests

Tidewater Regional JailBy ALEXANDER MALLIN and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- More than a week after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, federal authorities continue to charge people who allegedly participated in the riot, often relying on video taken at the scene to identify suspects.

As of Saturday, approximately 80 cases have been charged in federal court and at least 40 people have been arrested in connection with the attack, the Department of Justice said. Additionally, the FBI has opened approximately 200 subject case files and received roughly 140,000 digital media tips from the public.

Those recently charged include:

Far-right video blogger 'Baked Alaska'

A far-right video blogger known as "Baked Alaska" was arrested Friday in Houston in connection with the insurrection, authorities said. Anthime "Tim" Joseph Gionet was charged in federal court with unlawful entry to a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, court records show.

According to an FBI affidavit, Gionet livestreamed for approximately 27 minutes on the platform DLive while inside the Capitol. The video was captured and posted to Twitter and YouTube.

"The defendant and the individuals he is with be can seen in the United States Capitol Building and can be heard chanting, 'Patriots are in control,' 'whose house? Our house,' and 'traitors, traitors, traitors,'" the affidavit stated.

Gionet picked up a telephone in an unnamed Senate office and acted out "a purported phone call with the United States Senate personnel" and later could be heard saying, "Occupy the Capitol let's go. We ain't leaving this bitch," according to the affidavit.

After allegedly entering another office, he encouraged others not to break anything, the affidavit stated.

When asked by law enforcement officers to move, Gionet allegedly identified himself as a member of the media. He allegedly cursed several times at a law enforcement officer and said, "You broke your oath to the Constitution," before leaving the building, according to the affidavit.

Authorities were able to identify Gionet when he turned the camera around and showed his face while filming, according to the affidavit. "The defendant is a known social media personality and is thus recognizable," the affidavit stated.

Gionet briefly worked for BuzzFeed years ago, the publication said, before becoming known as a pro-Trump activist. Following the Capitol attack, DLive indefinitely suspended him from the streaming platform.

ABC News was unable to reach Gionet for comment.

Mother of man who allegedly brought zip ties to Capitol

The mother of a man who allegedly wore tactical gear and carried plastic restraints during the Capitol siege was arrested Saturday, authorities said.

Lisa Eisenhart was taken into custody by Nashville FBI agents Saturday on charges related to the Capitol riot. She faces four charges, including allegedly conspiring with her son, Eric Gavelek Munchel, to violate federal statutes.

Munchel, who was arrested in Tennessee Jan. 10, appears to be the man seen and photographed in the Senate chambers wearing black tactical gear and carrying plastic restraints, the U.S. attorney's office said.

He was charged with "one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds," according to the U.S. attorney.

Additionally, Munchel faces the same conspiracy charge as his mother, court records show.

The FBI affidavit alleges that the two "knowingly and willfully joined a mob of individuals to forcibly enter the U.S. Capitol with the intent to cause a civil disturbance designed to impede, disrupt, and disturb the orderly conduct of business by the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate."

Both Munchel and Eisenhart were seen in video footage holding "flex cuffs" in each of their hands during the pursuit of two Capitol police officers, the affidavit alleges.

In an interview with the Times of London referenced in the affidavit, Eisenhart said they had entered the U.S. Capitol as "observers."

"I'd rather die a 57-year-old woman than live under oppression," she also told the publication. "I'd rather die and would rather fight."

ABC News was unable to reach Eisenhart for comment.

New York man whose social media allegedly placed him at Capitol

FBI agents arrested a New York man Saturday in connection with the Capitol riot, a law enforcement official told ABC News.

Edward Jacob Lang, 26, of Newburgh, allegedly created several social media posts that placed him at the Capitol during the siege. One Instagram post was allegedly captioned, "1776 has commenced."

The specific charges were not immediately clear.

Man seen carrying Confederate flag in Capitol

A man whom authorities identified as carrying a Confederate flag while walking through the Capitol halls during the Jan. 6 siege was arrested Thursday morning in Delaware, a law enforcement official confirmed to ABC News.

Kevin Seefried was charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and one count of depredation of government property, the U.S. attorney's office in D.C. announced.

His son, Hunter Seefried, faces the same charges, authorities said. ABC News could not immediately reach them or their attorneys for comment.

The FBI had put out several bulletins over the past week seeking to identify the elder Seefried. Both men were identified after the FBI received a tip from Hunter Seefried's coworker that he "bragged about being in the Capitol with his father" on Jan. 6, according to an FBI affidavit.

Both men allegedly entered the Senate building through a broken window, soon after which Kevin Seefried was spotted walking through the halls with a Confederate flag, according to the affidavit.

FBI agents interviewed the men on Tuesday, during which they confirmed they participated in the riot, according to the affidavit. Kevin Seefried "explained that he brought the Confederate Battle flag ... from his home in Delaware where it is usually displayed outside," the FBI said.

Kevin Seefried told law enforcement they traveled with their family to see Trump speak, and then he and Hunter participated in the march to the Capitol, according to the affidavit.

Retired firefighter who allegedly threw fire extinguisher at police

Robert Sanford, a retired firefighter from Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, was arrested Thursday morning on three federal charges for allegedly hurling a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol police officers at the riot last week, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News.

The assault is separate from the ongoing investigation into the death of Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, the official told ABC News.

Sanford, 55, was charged with four federal offenses -- knowingly entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, civil disorder and assaulting officers engaging in their official duties.

A federal judge in Pennsylvania Thursday afternoon ordered Sanford to remain in government custody pending his next hearing in Washington, D.C., saying his alleged actions show he presents a danger to the community.

During the detention hearing, a Department of Justice attorney accused Sanford of traveling across multiple state lines "as part of a group" that attended President Trump's speech and then subsequently marched to the Capitol for "purposes of basically participating in a riot that was an insurrection against the United States government."

Rejecting the defense's argument that Sanford's long service as a firefighter should count in favor of his release pending further proceedings, the judge described his actions as "clearly ... a danger to the community," adding the riots were "a danger for the Capitol, it was a danger to our democracy, and our legislators."

Authorities identified Sanford from two videos that captured the attack on the Capitol, stills of which were included in the FBI affidavit.

Sanford allegedly threw an object, which from the video appeared to be a fire extinguisher, at a group of police officers, according to the affidavit.

"The object appears to strike one officer, who was wearing a helmet, in the head," the affidavit stated. "The object then ricochets and strikes another officer, who was not wearing a helmet, in the head. The object then ricochets a third time and strikes a third officer, wearing a helmet, in the head."

One of the officers was evaluated at a hospital before being cleared to return to duty, according to the affidavit.

Sanford was identified after a longtime friend of his contacted the FBI in Pennsylvania and said they recognized Sanford from photos put out by the FBI, the affidavit stated. The friend said Sanford traveled to DC "on a bus with a group of people" who "had gone to the White House and listened to President Donald J. Trump's speech and then had followed the President's instructions and gone to the Capitol," according to the affidavit.

Sanford had recently retired from the Chester Fire Department in Chester, Pennsylvania, authorities said. The man identified as Sanford in the videos can be seen wearing a stocking cap with the logo for the fire department.

In a statement released Thursday, Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland said Sanford served as a member of the fire department from January 1994 to February 2020.

"While Robert Sanford adorned a hat with a Fire Department logo, he is not a current employee of the city of Chester," Kirkland said.

Man who allegedly beat officer with American flag

A man seen in a viral video beating a police officer with a flagpole that had an American flag attached to it has been charged, the Department of Justice said Thursday.

Authorities identified Peter Stager of Arkansas as the man in the video. Stager allegedly repeatedly struck an officer with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department on the steps of the Capitol building with the flagpole, according to the criminal complaint.

A confidential source tipped the FBI off to Stager's identity from two videos posted on a Twitter thread, according to the FBI affidavit.

In one of the videos, the source identified Stager as saying, "Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what's in that building."

"That building" was believed to be a reference to the U.S. Capitol building, and "everybody in there" a reference to the congresspeople inside at the time, according to the affidavit.

Stager allegedly told a separate individual in touch with the confidential source that he thought the cop was "Antifa," despite the officer's jacket identifying him as police.

Stager was taken into custody Thursday by Little Rock FBI agents, authorities said. ABC News was unable to reach him for comment.

Man who filmed fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt

John Sullivan, the leader of activist group Insurgence USA who followed rioters throughout the Capitol and taped the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt, has been charged with multiple federal offenses -- entering a restricted building, civil disorder, violent entry and disorderly conduct -- authorities said.

Sullivan, 26, was arrested Thursday in Provo, Utah.

The complaint alleged that Sullivan, while wearing a ballistics vest and gas mask, entered the Capitol through a window that had been broken out.

The affidavit for the charges is based almost entirely on a 50-minute video Sullivan taped as he filmed rioters attacking the U.S. Capitol, as well as an interview Sullivan gave to an FBI task force officer last week.

In the video, Sullivan can be heard saying, "It's our house motherf-----" and "We are getting this s---," according to the affidavit.

The agent also cited interviews Sullivan gave to both CNN and ABC's "Good Morning America" in which he described the situation inside the Capitol.

According to the affidavit, Sullivan told investigators he is an activist and journalist "but admitted that he did not have any press credentials." He told investigators he was willing to provide a copy of all his footage from within the Capitol, the affidavit stated.

In July, Sullivan was charged with rioting and criminal mischief in connection with a protest in Provo, authorities said. The case is still pending.

ABC News has reached out to Sullivan for comment.

Former Texas mayoral candidate who posted selfie videos from Capitol

A former Midland, Texas, mayoral candidate was arrested and charged with two federal offenses Wednesday after she posted multiple selfie videos of her participating in last week's riot in the Capitol, authorities said.

In one Facebook video cited in the FBI affidavit, Jenny Cudd made statements "indicating her admission of entering the U.S. Capitol," the affidavit stated, including allegedly being a part of the crowd that stormed the Capitol and broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

According to the affidavit, Cudd said in the video, "We did break down Nancy Pelosi's office door and somebody stole her gavel and took a picture sitting in the chair flipping off the camera."

"I am proud of my actions, I f----- charged the Capitol today with patriots today. Hell yes, I am proud of my actions," Cudd allegedly said.

The Facebook livestream video has since been removed.

Cudd was charged with entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. Her attorney told the Midland Reporter-Telegram she plans to plead not guilty at her court appearance next week.

Cudd ran for mayor of Midland in 2019 and lost to Patrick Payton. Following her arrest, Payton's office released a statement to Austin ABC affiliate KVUE: "The mayor will reserve any further comment for much later and would encourage us all to reserve any further speculation or judgment on these matters until more is known and the federal authorities progress in their work on this matter."

More high-profile arrests

Among the dozens of people charged in recent days in connection with the Capitol attack, a man seen smoking a cigar during the siege was taken into custody Friday, according to the FBI. He was charged with smashing a window at the Capitol, according to an FBI affidavit.

On Wednesday, a man who authorities identified as the rioter wearing a "Camp Auschwitz" hoodie during the Capitol siege was arrested in Newport News, Virginia. He faces charges of unlawful entry into the U.S. Capitol and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller was charged Wednesday with obstructing law enforcement engaged in official duties, unlawfully entering Capitol grounds and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

The man who was photographed inside the Capitol wearing fur pelts and a bulletproof police vest while holding a Capitol Police riot shield was arrested Tuesday in Brooklyn and faces four federal charges.

Last weekend, Capitol riot suspects who allegedly brought zip ties and wore tactical gear were arrested in Texas and Tennessee.

The man seen carrying Speaker Nancy Pelosi's lectern through the Capitol halls and the shirtless man dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress and red, white and blue face paint were arrested on Jan. 8 in Florida and Arizona, respectively.

ABC News' Luke Barr, Aaron Katersky, Matt Foster, Alexandra Svokos and Julia Jacobo contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Woman, 70, filmed allegedly poisoning husband's coffee with roach killer multiple times

DNY59/iStockBY: JON HAWORTH, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) — A 70-year-old woman in has been arrested after being filmed allegedly poisoning her husband’s coffee with ant and roach killer on more than one occasion.

The incident occurred on Jan. 12, when 70-year-old Suncha Tinerva of Queens in New York City was caught on video surveillance placing a “white powdery substance” from a bottle with a red cap and a yellow label into her husband’s coffee, according to a statement from Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz’s office.

“Tinerva retrieved the bottle from the cabinet under the sink and allegedly spiked her husband’s coffee on two or three occasions,” said Katz’s office. “On Jan. 14, 2021 at approximately 10:40 p.m. … detectives recovered a bottle with a red cap and yellow label from the spot under the sink.”

Authorities then discovered that the contents of the bottle allegedly contained 100% boric acid -- a substance that is used to kill ants and roaches.

“People who have eaten boric acid have had nausea, vomiting, stomach aches, and diarrhea … Eating extreme amounts has resulted in a red, ‘boiled lobster’ like skin rash, followed by skin loss. People who breathed in borax had a dry mouth, nose, and throat. Coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, and nose bleeds have also been reported,” according to the National Pesticide Information Center.

Katz’s office said that Tinerva’s husband became sick but, thankfully, did not die following the attempted poisonings.

“Domestic violence is not limited to mental and physical abuse. The defendant in this case allegedly used deception to sicken her spouse,” District Attorney Katz said in a statement.

Tinevra has since been arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Jeffrey Gershuny on charges of attempted assault in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

Judge Gershuny ordered Tinerva to return to court later this year on March 10 and, if convicted, Tinevra could face up to four years in prison.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Snow squalls and gusty winds expected in parts of Midwest and Northeast

ABC NewsBY: DANIEL MANZO, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) — The organized part of the winter storm that hit the Northeast on Saturday has ended and it brought 13 inches of snow to Mineville, New York, 16 inches of snow to Woodford, Vermont and 12 inches of snow to Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire.

The warmer side of the storm brought over 3 inches of rain to Connecticut and over 2 inches of rain to New York.

In the wake of this system, an upper level low pressure system remains very slow to move out of the eastern U.S. and it is creating patches of unsettled weather, mainly in the form of quick moving snow squalls across parts of the Great Lakes and into the Appalachians where snow squalls on Sunday could quickly reduce visibility.

Some of these snow squalls could have as much as 6 inches of snow and would add on to current snow pack in parts of the region.

Gusty winds along the Northeast coast are a concern today in the wake of the storm with gusts possibly reaching 50 mph at times.

This will be gusty enough for some scattered power outages and it certainly will keep afternoon temperatures feeling pretty cold as drier weather is on tap for the big northeastern cities today.

Much further west, Hawaii saw its biggest swells of the season with surf reaching 50 feet on Saturday which prompted many surfers to hit the ocean on Saturday in the island chain.

Waves are still expected to be elevated today there before another big swell comes on Monday.

However, the forecast for Monday’s waves are not expected to be as high as the 50-foot surf we saw on Saturday.

It is important to note that extremely large swells are expected in Hawaii this time of the year mainly due to the passing of mid latitude cyclones across the Pacific.

Elsewhere, there was record-breaking warmth across southern California on Saturday as Palm Springs reached 90 degrees which broke a daily record.

A high of 93 degrees was reported in Camarillo, California, which was also good enough for a daily record.

The next big weather story is a strong offshore wind event that will develop in California over the next few days.

Wind gusts will gradually increase Sunday night through Tuesday in Northern California, with wind gusts reaching as high as 75 mph in spots and this could result in downed trees and power lines over the next few days.

In Southern California winds will increase beginning on Monday with gusts locally as high as 80 mph at times.

The event is expected to last into Wednesday and there is fire danger for the region with this wind event.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Nearly a dozen ex-military members among those arrested in connection with Capitol riot

BlakeDavidTaylor/iStockBy OLIVIA RUBIN and SOO RIN KIM, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Retired military servicemen are turning up in alarming numbers on wanted posters and in charging documents as federal agents continue their sweep of arrests tied to the deadly riot at the Capitol last week, a trend that has experts increasingly concerned about the dangerous allure of extremist and paramilitary groups.

So far at least nine of those arrested for participating in the riot have been confirmed to be former members of the U.S. military, ABC News has confirmed through court files, lawyer statements, and military records.

The actual number is likely higher. On Thursday, FBI Director Chris Wray said the bureau has made over 100 arrests in connection with the riot, with many more anticipated.

"The large number of individuals with ties to law enforcement or the military already arrested or apparently now under investigation suggests a deeper level of far-right sympathizers in these fields," said Javed Ali, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council.

Some experts have been sounding alarm bells about the issue for years.

Among the ex-military arrested following last week's attack was Larry Rendell Brock, who invaded the Capitol alongside Eric Gavelek Munchel, with both of them sporting military uniforms and gear, including zip ties, according to the Department of Justice. Munchel, of Tennessee, and Brock, of Texas, were among the first arrests as FBI agents sought to determine whether they could have been engaged in a plot to take lawmakers hostage.

The Air Force confirmed to ABC News that Lt. Col. Brock retired in 2014 after more than two decades of service, noting he had served as an A-10 pilot until 2007.

Brock was released to home confinement on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. In an interview with The New Yorker, Brock said, "The president asked for his supporters to be there to attend, and I felt like it was important, because of how much I love this country, to actually be there." He has not yet entered a plea.

Other arrested individuals include David Lester Ross, a former member of the Massachusetts National Guard, who was taken into custody on Jan. 6 near the Capitol building after he "did not obey at least three warnings" from officers to disperse, according to arrest records. Ross pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Thursday, and was released and ordered to stay away from D.C. His lawyer, Darry Daniels, declined to comment when reached by ABC News.

On Friday, ABC News confirmed the man seen on video smashing through the window of the Capitol building with a police shield is a former Marine. The man, Dominic Pezzola, was in the Marines for seven years as an infantry assault man, the Marine Corps told ABC News. He had won a National Defense Service Medal.

Pezzola was taken into custody Friday morning, according to the FBI, who said he is the same person seen in images "smoking a cigar inside the Capitol building."

Earlier this week, the FBI questioned a former reserve Navy SEAL after he boasted in a Facebook video about "breaching the Capitol." The video shows Adam Newbold, 45, from Lisbon, Ohio, whom the Navy confirmed is a retired reserve SEAL special warfare operator, in a car on his return home from Washington, telling his Facebook followers that he had wanted to make lawmakers "think twice about what they're doing" and leave them "shaking in their shoes."

When reached by ABC News on Tuesday, Newbold pleaded for forgiveness for his participation, saying: "I am not a terrorist. I am not a traitor."

In the oath they take upon enlisting, U.S. military personnel and officers swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

Mary McCord, a longtime national security expert who now runs Georgetown Law's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, told ABC News that the radicalization of military servicemen and their participation in the Capitol riot last week isn't surprising to her and has long been an issue.

"Some unlawful militias specifically recruit from the military because of their expertise in firearms, explosives, and tactical skills," McCord explained. "And the idea of continuing to have a mission can be very appealing to ex-military, especially if they are predisposed ideologically with the unlawful militias."

McCord called it "a serious problem" and said it's something that the military "should be addressing" -- both with respect to active duty and former military members.

Calls for discipline against former military members who participated in the riot have been growing since last week.

"I think we should throw the book at them, to the furthest extent possible," said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz. "If you're off active duty, I want to figure out a way we can bring you back and charge you."

"And if you're convicted, we should be able to take your benefits away," Gallego added.

Military personnel who retire after 20 years of service are entitled to benefits like monthly military retirement pay, access to Department of Defense medical care and health plans, and access to military commissaries. Those who leave prior to 20 years of service get no military retirement pay or access to DOD military care, but do have access to Veterans Affairs benefits like health care and home loans.

On Monday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., sent a letter to acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller requesting that the Defense Department's criminal investigative organizations work with the FBI and Capitol Police to investigate current and retired military members who may have participated in the attack. In the letter she urged Miller "to take appropriate action to hold individuals accountable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

"Upholding good order and discipline demands that the U.S. Armed Forces root out extremists that infiltrate the military and threaten our national security," wrote Duckworth.

In court, though, ex-servicemen have been citing their military backgrounds in seeking special consideration from the court -- or pardons from President Donald Trump.

"My client fought -- was in the military, served honorably. No criminal background whatsoever," said the attorney for Jacob Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, the man who was photographed during the riot wearing horns and body paint. "And he, like a lot of other disenfranchised people in our country, felt very, very, very solidly in sync with President Trump."

ABC News has confirmed that Chansley used to be a Navy supply clerk.

And Virginia police officers Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker appear to have posted a photo of themselves with their middle fingers raised, in front of the statue of John Stark in the Capitol, according to the Department of Justice's statement of facts in the case. After the riot, Robertson repeatedly defended his participation, saying he was "proud" of the photo because he "was willing to put skin in the game," according to the DOJ document.

The two officers have been put on administrative leave, according to a statement from the town of Rocky Mount, where they both work. During an interview with a local media outlet, Robertson said he and Fracker "did not participate in any violence or property damage," and suggested that Capitol Police allowed them into the building.

The Army confirmed to ABC News that Fracker is a current corporal in the Virginia National Guard, though they emphasized that he is not on duty with the Virginia National Guard troops currently in D.C.

"The Army is committed to working closely with the FBI as they identify people who participated in the violent attack on the Capitol to determine if the individuals have any connection to the Army," they said in a statement.

Appearing before a federal judge following his arrest, Robertson cited what he described as 23 years of military experience as the reason he should not be detained pending trial.

The judge agreed and ordered Robertson released on bond.

ABC News' Luis Martinez, Ben Siegel and Luke Barr contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


National Rifle Association files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

dsmoulton/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The National Rifle Association announced that it intends to restructure as a nonprofit based in Texas and has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections.

"The move will enable long-term, sustainable growth and ensure the NRA's continued success as the nation's leading advocate for constitutional freedom -- free from the toxic political environment of New York," the gun advocacy group said in a statement Friday.

The NRA added that it has been incorporated in New York for approximately 150 years.

"This strategic plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth and progress," NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said in a statement. "Obviously, an important part of this plan is 'dumping New York.' The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom."

LaPierre dubbed the decision Friday a "transformational moment in the history of the NRA."

The move comes after the NRA was sued by New York Attorney General Letitia James last August in a bid to dissolve the group.

James accused the NRA of an array of "illegal conduct," according to a press release at the time describing the suit, including "[the] diversion of millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership, awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty."

The NRA has filed a counter claim, calling the initial suit politically motivated.

James on Friday responded to the bankruptcy news in a statement, saying, "The NRA's claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt."

"While we review this filing, we will not allow the NRA to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability and my office's oversight," James added.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Horn helmet-wearing, painted face Capitol rioter should remain in custody: DOJ

DanHenson1/iStockBy ALEXANDER MALLIN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Jacob Chansley, the horned helmet-wearing, painted face Capitol rioter is set for a detention hearing this afternoon in Arizona federal court, and prosecutors are requesting a judge keep him in government custody pending trial -- using some of their bluntest words yet in court to describe last week's assault on the U.S. Capitol as a "violent insurrection."

"Chansley is an active participant in -- and has made himself the most prominent symbol of -- a violent insurrection that attempted to overthrow the United States Government on January 6, 2021," prosecutors wrote in a brief to the judge. "Chansley has expressed interest in returning to Washington, D.C. for President-Elect Biden's inauguration and has the ability to do so if the Court releases him. No conditions can reasonably assure his appearance as required, nor ensure the safety of the community."

Chansley is the rioter seen roaming through the halls of Congress last week wearing horns, a coyote tail headdress, face paint and a wielding a 6-foot spear.

Prosecutors describe Chansley as both a clear flight risk and a mentally unstable individual, partly due to his leadership in the QAnon movement -- which they bluntly describe in the brief as a "dangerous extremist group."

"Chansley has also previously espoused identifying and then "hanging" "traitors" within the United States government," prosecutors say. "Despite the riot on January 6, Chansley has stated his intent to return to Washington for President-Elect Biden's inauguration, and his repeated and demonstrated unwillingness to conform to societal rules suggests a pending criminal case will not stop him."

The brief also notes that Chansley's employment status contributes to his flight risk -- citing his ability to "sporadically" earn money by showing up at protests and riots with other QAnon followers around the country.

"Chansley is a high-profile leader and the self-professed shaman of QAnon, giving him the ability to raise large sums of money for travel (and other activities) quickly through non-traditional means," the brief says.

Prosecutors also point to recent reports of possible violence at the Capitol leading up to the inauguration, and note that in his interview with the FBI before his arrest, Chansley told agents he'd "still go, you better believe it."

"U.S. Capitol Police report that Chansley was among the first inside the Capitol," the brief says. "He made his way into the halls of the Senate and the Senate Chamber within minutes of the rioters breaching the building. At this juncture in our Nation's history, it is hard to imagine a greater risk to our democracy and community than the armed revolution of which Chansley has made himself the symbol."

"He loved Trump, every word. He listened to him. He felt like he was answering the call of our president," Chansley's attorney Al Watkins told CNN in an interview Thursday. "My client wasn't violent. He didn't cross over any police lines. He didn't assault anyone." Watkins said Chansley also hopes for a presidential pardon.

During his court appearance on Jan. 11, Chansley's court-appointed attorney, Gerald Williams, told the judge that Chansley has been unable to eat since he was arrested, The Associated Press reported. He said his client has a restricted diet, though it was unclear to Williams whether Chansley's food issues were related to health concerns or religious reasons.

The judge ordered Williams to work with the U.S. Marshals Service to address the issue.

Chansley's mother, Martha Chansley, told reporters outside the courthouse that her son needs an organic diet, The Arizona Republic reported.

"He gets very sick if he doesn't eat organic food," she said. "He needs to eat."

So far, approximately 80 cases have been charged in federal court and 34 people have been arrested in connection with the attack, the Department of Justice said Thursday. Additionally, the FBI has opened approximately 200 subject case files and received roughly 140,000 digital media tips from the public.

Chansley's detention hearing before Magistrate Judge Deborah Fine is set for Friday 4:30 p.m. ET via teleconference.

ABC News' Ivan Pereira and Meredith Ferrell contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


FBI discusses possibility of explosive devices at expected protests linked to inauguration

krblokhin/iStockBy ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- The danger to the public and to law enforcement officers from explosive devices during expected upcoming protests "is substantial," the FBI warned in a new awareness bulletin obtained by ABC News.

The document includes photos of devices used in the last eight months against civilian and law enforcement targets during public protests.

"Devices targeting infrastructure also increased following violent activity during this time period," the document said.

The FBI now wants to make first responders aware of what has been deployed in the past and what they might encounter during demonstrations linked to the inauguration.

"The danger posed to law enforcement officers and the general public from the all the tactics listed is substantial," the bulletin reads. "If a suspicious item is reasonably believed to contain explosives, an IED, or other hazardous material, DO NOT touch, tamper with, or move the item. Only bomb disposal personnel should handle any suspected devices that are located."

An internal FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News earlier this week stated that armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols and at the U.S. Capitol at least through Inauguration Day, in the wake of a pro-Trump siege on the Capitol last week.

During that riot last week, suspected pipe bombs were found outside of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee, a few blocks from the Capitol. U.S. Capitol Police later said they were "hazardous" and could have caused "great harm." A federal law enforcement source told ABC News the suspected weapons were active and not fake devices.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Flint water crisis: Many residents said they still don't trust tap water

turk_stock_photographer/iStockBy HALEY YAMADA, JASMINE BROWN and MATT GERMAN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Demands for accountability in the Flint water crisis may soon be answered nearly seven years after people first began reporting the devastating side effects of the city's lead-poisoned water.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Wednesday that former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and eight other state officials would be charged in connection to the drinking water crisis, during which at least 12 people died and 79 people became ill from Legionnaires' disease which was connected to the contaminated water.

Snyder is charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty, each carries a penalty of one year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, according to court documents. Snyder pleaded not guilty via a Zoom hearing on Thursday.

The state's former director of health and human services, Nicolas Lyon, and former chief medical executive, Eden Wells, are each facing nine counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Snyder, as well as the former emergency manager of Flint's Department of Public Works, Howard Croft, who has been charged with two counts of willful neglect, will be back in court on Jan. 19. The other defendants are due back in court on Feb. 18. No other pleas have been entered yet.

Flint has a population of about 100,000 people, the majority of whom are Black. To save money, in 2014, the state switched the city's water supply to come from the Flint River. An investigation later found there were highly toxic levels of lead in the water and that the cases of Legionnaires' over the course of two outbreaks between 2014 and 2015 also coincided with the water source switch, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Pure and simple. This case is about justice, truth, accountability. Poisoned children [and] lost lives," Nessel said during a press conference Thursday. "We may never know all the names of those who had their lives and livelihoods destroyed by this man-made crisis."

Flint resident LeeAnne Walters has largely been credited with being the first to sound the alarm on the crisis. The mother of four testified in 2016 about how much her children suffered from drinking the water contaminated with lead.

"[My son] would scream and cry about how bad his skin burned," Walters said to the Michigan Joint Committee on the Flint Water Public Health Emergency. "These are my kids. These are everybody's kids."

Snyder had apologized for the crisis during his 2016 State of the State address.

Nearly 9,000 children drank lead-contaminated water over the course of 18 months. Walters said Thursday that the charges are just the beginning of the community's healing.

"There are huge victories that have [been] accomplished, but there's still a lot of work that needs to be done," said Walters. "I think the fact that we've had to go through it, it's opened our eyes to, 'Yes, there needs to be some community involvement and a check-and-balance system when it comes to a governmental system to make sure that things are being done properly.'"

"I would say, in my opinion, about 95% of people still distrust the water," she added. Since 2016, the water is regularly tested and has been considered safe since 2018.

Although the tap water has been deemed safe, people like Shirley Drake say they still rely on bottled water.

"I don't trust the water in the pipes," said Drake. "So, for cooking and drinking, I get bottled water."

Michigan state Sen. Jim Ananich, a Flint resident, said he doesn't like when his 5-year-old son drinks the tap water. He thinks accountability will begin to rebuild trust within the community.

"Some people, I don't think, will ever feel there's justice," said Ananich. "But, I think criminal convictions of folks will be a start."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


DC police officers speak out after US Capitol siege: 'I thought ... I might die'

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- When a violent mob of President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, it was law enforcement officers who put their lives at risk to protect Congress and secure the area.

Robert Contee, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, let three of his officers who were on the front lines speak to D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA about their experiences.
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"They have a heroic story and I think the world really needs to know," Contee told WJLA.

Officer Daniel Hodges, 32, whose platoon had been on duty since 7 a.m., said he feared for his life multiple times that day, including when he was "surrounded" by pro-Trump rioters outside the Capitol building and beaten.

"That was one of the three times that day where I thought: Well, this might be it," Hodges, a patrol officer in the 4th District, told WJLA. "This might be the end for me."

Another time, Hodges said, was when their police lines broke on the dais and they had to fall back to the Capitol building.

"We were battling, you know, tooth and nail for our lives," he said. "We held the line there in that doorway, and I guess I got pinned through the small back-and-forth we had fighting for, you know, every inch. And I had my arms pinned at that point, I wasn't able to defend myself."

In a now-viral video that was shared on social media, a bloodied Hodges is seen screaming for help as he is being crushed against a metal door frame inside the Capitol building.

Hodges said one rioter ripped off his gas mask and beat him with his own baton, while another tried to gouge his eye.

"At that point, I was also, you know, sucking in OC and CS gas, so I was pretty disabled at that point," he said. "I thought, you know, this might be it, I might die and there's nothing I can do to defend myself at this point. So I just started screaming at the top of my lungs for them to give me a way out, get me a line of retreat. Thankfully someone was able to do that and I was able to extricate myself."

Officer Christina Laury, 32, who is assigned to the narcotics and special investigations division, said the crowd of rioters was "immediately" aggressive and had already taken over the Capitol grounds when she arrived on scene.

"I don't think we even understood the magnitude and the amount of people that were actually there," Laury told WJLA. "By the time I got there, officers were already getting, you know, sprayed with whatever these individuals had, which I believe they had bear mace which is literally used for bears. They're spraying it at us -- human beings -- which is, you know, putting us out of service for a while. I mean, I got hit with it plenty of times that day and it just seals your eyes shut."

"You just would see officers going down, trying to, you know, douse themselves with water, trying to open their eyes up so they can see again," she added. "And at the same point, these people are still trying to push and gain access to the Capitol."

Laury said she also witnessed officers on the front lines of the Capitol building getting beaten with metal poles, in addition to be sprayed with bear mace and other chemical irritants.

"They did everything in their power to not let those people in," she said. "And this was going on for hours."

Laury said she doesn't get scared often but admitted, "That was probably one of the scariest days."

"When you can't open your eyes and you're in the middle of what we would call a fight essentially, you know, that's scary," she said. "The bravery and the heroism that I saw in these officers -- the second they were able to open their eyes, they were back up front and they were just trying to stop these individuals from coming in."

Officer Michael Fanone, 40, who is part of the crime suppression team in the 1st District, said he and his partner joined the front lines after relieving some of the fatigued and injured officers, even though he said none of them volunteered to leave. He recalled being tased "half a dozen times" and rioters grabbing gear off his vest, ripping away his badge, taking his ammunition magazines and trying to get a hold of his gun.

"I remember guys chanting, like, 'Kill him with his own gun,'" Fanone, who previously served for the U.S. Capitol Police, told WJLA. "I remember trying to retain it and the thought did cross my mind like, 'OK, people are trying to kill you and I think this has crossed the threshold of you, you know, defending yourself.' I thought about killing people."

Fanone said he told the mob that he has children and some of the rioters began to shield him from others until his partner was able to get him out of the area. Fanone, who said he's generally in good health, was later hospitalized and learned that he had suffered a mild heart attack.

"I've never experienced anything quite like this," he said. "I don't think I would have had a heart attack other than getting physically assaulted on Jan. 6."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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