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(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 95.6 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 Tuesday. All times Eastern:

Jan 19, 7:57 pm
US hospitalizations decreased on 13 days in January

In a continued encouraging sign, the number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. decreased on 13 days in January, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

That metric, which is "more resilient" than others to holiday reporting disruptions, increased six times this month, most recently on Jan. 12, it found.

Our daily update is published. States reported 1.7M tests, 144k cases, 123,820 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and 2,141 deaths.

— The COVID Tracking Project (@COVID19Tracking) January 20, 2021

There are 123,820 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the tracker.

The U.S. reported 144,047 new cases and 2,141 deaths on Tuesday, though national data was incomplete due to the holiday weekend.

Jan 19, 7:16 pm
DC memorial honors lives lost to COVID-19

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris honored the 400,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 with a tribute in front of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Tuesday evening.

The 400 lights along the pool were lit to symbolize the lives lost to the virus.

At the ceremony, part of the incoming administration's inaugural festivities, Harris called on Americans to "grieve and begin healing together."

"Though we may be physically separated, we, the American people, are united in spirit," she said.

Jan 19, 4:17 pm
Emirates, Etihad Airlines to test IATA COVID-19 travel pass

Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways said they have partnered with the International Air Transport Association to trial IATA Travel Pass -- a mobile app that serves as a “digital passport” to verify pre-travel COVID-19 testing or vaccination status.

The app also helps passengers find information on travel and entry requirements at their destinations.

Emirates Airlines said it plans to roll out the first phase in April, during which passengers leaving Dubai can share their COVID-19 test status directly with the airline through the app before arriving at the airport. Etihad will first offer the travel pass on some flights out of Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2021.

ABC News’ Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

Jan 19, 3:02 pm
Fatality rate increases in UK

British health authorities reported a record 1,610 daily deaths on Tuesday, bringing the weekly death toll to 8,267 -- a 19.8% increase over the previous week.
The United Kingdom has the fifth-highest number of COVID-19 deaths worldwide, behind the U.S., Brazil, India and Mexico, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Despite the record death toll, the U.K.’s number of new cases is on the decline amid a national lockdown. The U.K. reported 33,355 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the weekly total to 302,802 -- a 22.3% decrease from the last week.

ABC News’ Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

Jan 19, 2:39 pm
Death toll surpasses 400,000 in US

The U.S. death toll surpassed 400,000 on Tuesday and now stands at 400,022 fatalities.

The number of American lives lost to the coronavirus is more people than the number of U.S. 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 Department of Veterans Affairs.

The U.S. death toll is roughly equivalent to the population of Tampa, Florida, or Tulsa, Oklahoma.

By the middle of February, "we expect half a million deaths" in the U.S. from COVID-19, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who’s nominated to serve as the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CBS’ "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

ABC News’ Arielle Mitropolous contributed to this report.

Jan 19, 1:20 pm
US hospitalizations drop by 6%

In the last 10 days, the number of patients hospitalized nationally has declined by 6%, according to ABC News' analysis of data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project.

California has the most hospitalizations with more than 20,000 patients.

Texas has the second most with nearly 14,000 patients, followed by New York, Florida and Georgia.

Jan 19, 12:02 pm
Panel investigating global pandemic response says the worst is 'yet to come'

An independent panel backed by the World Health Organization and tasked with investigating the global pandemic response warned that “the worst of the pandemic and its impact are yet to come” in a new report released late Monday.

The panel put some blame on China -- where the outbreak originated -- saying in January 2020, Chinese authorities could have applied public health measures “more forcefully.”

The panel said the World Health Organization as well as national and local authorities could have issued more timely and stronger warnings on the potential for human-to-human transmission.

The panel also said that by the end of January 2020, all countries with a likely case should have implemented public health containment measures, but claimed only a minority of countries took full advantage of the information available.

The panel said its observations should be regarded as provisional because the investigations aren't complete and the pandemic is continuing to evolve.

Jan 19, 11:48 am
New record number of cases among kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association found over 211,000 new COVID-19 cases among kids last week -- the highest number since the pandemic began, according to a newly released report.

About 2.5 million children have tested positive since the pandemic started. From Dec. 31 to Jan. 14, there was an 18% jump in cases among children.

Severe illness due to COVID-19 remains rare among kids. Between 0.2% and 2.8% of all child COVID-19 cases have resulted in hospitalization, and children account for 0.00% to 0.17% of all COVID-19 deaths.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association warn that there’s an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm their long-term physical health as well as their emotional and mental health.

Jan 19, 10:35 am
Seychelles reopens to all tourists who have been vaccinated

Seychelles Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde has announced that the island nation is reopening its doors to all tourists, as long as they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In addition to providing proof that they have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, visitors must also produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within the 72 hours prior to their arrival in order to be exempt from quarantining, Radegonde said at a press conference last week.

From mid-March, those who wish to visit Seychelles will only need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result as the country hopes to have 70% of its population vaccinated by that point, Radegonde said.

Sybille Cardon, chairperson of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, told the state-owned Seychelles News Agency that the new measures to reopen the country will not help the tourism industry immediately.

"It is definitely not something that will help us immediately because, as you know, in Europe they want to vaccinate everyone with at least the first dose of the vaccine," Cardon said Monday. "The second dose will not be administrated in three weeks, as previously said. It will be done in about 2 to 3 months as they want to give the first dose to the majority of people. This means that the decision taken will not have a direct impact."

Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago located off the coast of East Africa with a population of just under 100,000, has reported 746 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including two deaths, according to the latest data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jan 19, 10:07 am
UK health secretary self-isolating after coming into 'close contact' with someone who tested positive

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Tuesday that he will be self-isolating at home for the rest of the week.

Hancock said he was pinged by the U.K. National Health Service's COVID-19 app on Monday night, alerting him that he had been in "close contact" with someone who has tested positive.

"So that means I'll be self-isolating at home, not leaving the house at all until Sunday," Hancock said in a video statement posted on Twitter. "This self-isolation is perhaps the most important part of all the social distancing, because I know from the app that I've been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and this is how we break the chains of transmission."

"So you must follow these rules, like I'm going to," he continued. "I've got to work from home for the next six days and together, by doing this, by following this and all the other panoply of rules that we've had to put in place, we can get through this is and beat this virus."

Hancock recently came under fire by British tabloids after he was seen in a crowded park in north London on Saturday. The current lockdown restrictions in England bars people from leaving their homes except for a very limited set of exemptions, including to shop for basic necessities, outdoor exercise and to go to work if they cannot do so from home. A photograph of Hancock surfaced after British Boris Johnson had released a video urging people to "think twice" before leaving their homes this weekend.


Last night I was alerted by the @NHSCOVID19app to self isolate so I’ll be staying at home & not leaving at all until Sunday.

We all have a part to play in getting this virus under control.

— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) January 19, 2021


Jan 19, 9:48 am
Norway says no evidence that Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine increased risk of patients' deaths

Norway's national public health institute said Tuesday that there is currently no correlation between receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and an increased risk of death among 23 people who died after getting the shot.

The deceased were "severely frail patients" who died within six days after vaccination in the Scandinavian country, and the incidents "do not imply a casual relationship between COVID-19 vaccination and death," according to Dr. Sara Viksmoen Watle, chief physician at the Norwegian Institute for Public Health.

"When we vaccinate the eldest and sickest who often have several underlying conditions we expect high mortality in this population. Hence, we also expect deaths following vaccination," Watle said in a statement Tuesday. "We do not yet know if these deaths are due to the vaccine or other causes, but we cannot exclude that common side effects may have led to a more severe course for some patients."

The Norwegian Medicines Agency and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health are investigating the deaths.

"So far, there are no statistical analyses that indicate that coronavirus vaccination has had an increased risk of death among those vaccinated," Watle said, after noting that the fatal incidents will be examined "in relation to the expected number of deaths among the nursing home population."

"In order to be able to interpret this information, it is important to see the full picture," she added. "Nursing home residents are at very high risk of a severe disease course or dying from COVID-19, and have therefore been prioritised for vaccination. A large proportion of those who live in nursing homes have severe underlying conditions or are in the last stages of life. Life expectancy in nursing homes is relatively short and on average, more than 300 people die in Norwegian nursing homes every week."

Jan 19, 8:05 am
Americans can expect travel restrictions to tighten 'if anything,' incoming CDC director says

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she will "hit the ground running" and suggested there might be more travel restrictions in store.

"We need to reset the stage here. We need to make sure the country, the people understand that this pandemic is now going to be addressed with science, with trust, with transparency, with communication of exactly where we are to the American people," Dr. Rochelle Walensky told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Tuesday on Good Morning America.

Walensky, the chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, will be sworn in Wednesday as director of the CDC -- an appointment that does not require Senate confirmation.

"I will be sworn in tomorrow, but the work has been happening since I was named," Walensky said, "and we've been working really hard to make sure we can come in and hit the ground running and make sure that we can get this country back to health."

Walensky said the incoming administration's plan to vaccinate 100 million people against COVID-19 within the first 100 days of Biden's presidency is "really ambitious but doable." The key is making sure there are enough people on the ground to administer the vaccines, understanding the supply and how many doses are going to which states, and making vaccines accessible to all people.

"All of that plan is underpinned with equity," Walensky said. "We need to make sure that we're equally and equitably getting the vaccine across this country."

In one of his last orders, outgoing President Donald Trump announced Monday that he was rescinding entry bans imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic on most visitors from Brazil and much of Europe effective Jan. 26. However, Biden's spokesperson Jen Psaki said the incoming administration won't be lifting the bans.

Walensky agreed with the move to reject Trump's order and said there may be more travel restrictions introduced.

"If you look at the fatalities of 400,000 that we're likely to hit today, if you look at our cases across this country, I don't think now is the time to encourage people to get on international fights, to encourage people to mobilize," Walensky said. "I think now is the time to really buckle down, double down our efforts. And so I don't expect that we'll be lifting travel restrictions and, if anything, I think we can expect that they might tighten, especially in the context of variants that we're hearing about."

Jan 19, 7:24 am
Israel sees record rise in cases despite mass vaccination

Israel confirmed 10,222 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, its highest daily tally since the pandemic began, suggesting the country's mass vaccination campaign hasn't kicked in yet.

The record figure translates to a nationwide positivity rate in COVID-19 tests of 10.2% However, one promising sign is that the number of critically ill patients hospitalized with COVID-19 across Israel has remained steady over the past few days.

Israel's cumulative totals now stand at 562,167 confirmed cases and 4,049 deaths from the disease, according to the latest data from the Israeli Ministry of Health.

Official figures show 25% of Israel's general population -- nearly 2.2 million people -- have received the first of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 5% -- more than 420,000 -- have received their second dose.

The Israeli government is expected to meet Tuesday afternoon to determine whether to extend the current lockdown, which has been in place since Jan. 8 and is slated to end Jan. 21.

Jan 19, 7:17 am
1 in 8 people in England have had COVID-19, data suggests

An estimated one in eight people in England have already been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to antibody data from the U.K. Office for National Statistic's COVID-19 Infection Survey.

The survey estimates that 12.1% of the population in England would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 on a blood test in December 2020, suggesting they had the infection in the past.

"The estimate is weighted to be representative of the overall population and suggests that an average of 5.4 million people aged 16 years and over in England would have tested positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 during this time," the report said. "This equates to 1 in 8 people aged 16 years and over."

That estimate was one in 10 people in Wales, one in 13 people in Northern Ireland and one in 11 people in Scotland, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, a regional analysis of antibody data for England found that the highest positivity was seen in Yorkshire and The Humber, followed by London and the North West, according to the survey.

The survey, which was launched in the United Kingdom in mid-April of last year, measured several factors: how many people test positive for COVID-19 at a given point in time, regardless of whether they report experiencing symptoms; the average number of new infections per week over the course of the study; and the number of people who test positive for antibodies, to indicate how many people are ever likely to have had the infection.

The U.K. -- an island nation of 66 million people made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland -- has confirmed more than 3.4 million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including more than 89,000 deaths. There were 37,535 new cases and 599 additional fatalities from the disease confirmed in the last 24 hours, according to the latest data published on the U.K. government's website.

Jan 19, 5:50 am
Eighteen family members test positive after holiday party in Pennsylvania

One family's holiday gathering in Pennsylvania has turned out to be a superspreading event, according to a report by Philadelphia ABC station WPVI-TV.

Darlene Reynolds, 55, said she woke up with a scratchy throat on Dec. 26, the day before relatives from as far as Canada were planning to come over for a holiday party at her home in the Milmont Park section of Ridley Township.

"I had no fever because I kept checking it," Reynolds told WPVI. "I said, 'I'll keep a distance since I have a tiny little cough.'"

Soon after the party, people started getting sick.

"We were sick, but we didn't know we had COVID. We could've had the flu, but it was scary," Reynolds told WPVI. "We got tested and we tested positive."

In total, 18 family members ranging in age from 1 to 62 contracted COVID-19. Reynolds said both her husband and their son were hospitalized.

Jan 19, 5:25 am
100 doses of Moderna vaccine batch flagged by California officials administered at mass vaccination event

Just hours after California's top epidemiologist recommended pausing the use of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna's lot 041L20A due to "possible allergic reactions" that are under investigation, Mendocino County officials discovered that the batch in question was used at a mass vaccination event in San Diego.

"The county has reviewed the lot numbers administered through our mass vaccination clinics as well as the inventory stored in our freezer. Upon further review, we are confirming that 100 doses of Mendocino County Public Health's Moderna vaccine associated with the batch the state is concerned with were used at a vaccination event at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds on January 7th," Mendocino County vaccine coordinator Adrienne Thompson said in a statement Monday night.

According to Thompson, all 100 doses were administered at the event and comprised a separate order from the state. No adverse reactions occurred.

"County staff will be contacting all 100 individuals that received a vaccine with this lot number to alert them of the recall," Thompson said. "No other side effects have been noted from use of this vaccine."

Mendocino County's public health officer, Dr. Andrew Coren, said events such as this are not unexpected because these are new vaccines, and it should not deter the public from getting vaccinated.

"This isolated event has not increased the percentage of vaccine reactions, which continue to be about one person in 100,000," Coren said in a statement Monday night. "Getting vaccinated continues to be the best way for all of us to help move beyond this virus and return to a normal way of life."

Jan 19, 4:17 am
US reports over 137,000 new cases

There were 137,885 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Monday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It's the lowest daily case count that the country has seen since Dec. 25. Monday's tally is also far less than the country's all-time high of 302,506 newly confirmed infections on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.

An additional 1,382 fatalities from COVID-19 were registered nationwide on Monday, 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 24,078,773 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 399,003 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.



(WASHINGTON) -- Part of the conversation about the recent racial reckoning in the United States amid the Black Lives Matter movement surrounds economic injustice. Inequity in home ownership between white and Black Americans, a scarcity of banking options available in Black and brown communities, and the difficulty Black entrepreneurs face securing loans to fund small businesses -- are some of the concerns over financial inequality.

A bill last year was introduced in Congress by a handful of Senate Democrats to make discrimination in the banking industry explicitly illegal for the first time. The bill has been sitting in the congressional Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Those concerns over economic injustice have led Black financial entrepreneurs to create financial services and banks for communities of color.

There are several Black-owned financial institutions that have been established throughout the decades: OneUnited, Broadway Federal Bank, CitiFirst Bank are among them, as well as the nation's oldest continuously-Black-owned bank, Citizens Saving Bank and Trust Company, established in 1904.

While these Black-owned banks began as physical, so-called "brick-and-mortar" buildings, they've launched digital components providing for online banking as part of their portfolio of services.

However, one Black-owned banking endeavor, poised to launch later this year, is positioning itself as a fully 100% digital Black-owned bank, and has attracted Black celebrity star power in an effort to attract those seeking to support Black-owned businesses and keep dollars in communities of color.

Greenwood has the backing of several notable Black politicians, business people and entertainers including former Atlanta Mayor and Congressman Andrew Young, rapper and activist, Michael Render, aka "Killer Mike," and media executive Ryan Glover.

Render told ABC News that banking was always stressed as he was growing up.

“So my grandparents believed in the Negro Leagues and Black Banks. They believed in participating in a larger economy, rather. But they always made a particular focus to do things that were specifically by and for Black people.”

"Greenwood was founded with the idea of recirculating dollars back into the Black community," said Greenwood's president and chief technology officer, Aparicio "Reese" Giddins.

Giddins, who has worked in banking for over 20 years told ABC News that starting a bank was always an aspiration.

"I wanted to start a bank out of college … and I entered the banking career field because you don't see a lot of us in the field," Giddins said, referring to the underrepresentation of African Americans in the financial industry.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that among the banking-credit subsector's industry professionals, African Americans make up only 7%. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report finding, of the 551,000 financial advisers in the U.S., only 6.9% are Black.

Giddins said Greenwood "pays homage" to the Black Wall Street of Tulsa, Oklahoma's Greenwood District of the 1900s where black home ownership levels were high and money was recirculated within the Black community.

Hannibal B. Johnson author of "Images of America: Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District," and "Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District" said that "Black Wall Street" was really about "Black Main Street," where the focus wasn't on stocks but on building community.

"When people think of Black Wall Street and when they think of the term 'Wall Street' they think of New York City, they think of investment. They think of banking. That's not what was in Tulsa. This was Black Main Street. This was a black enclave created out of necessity because of Jim Crow segregation, where black people concentrated in a 35-square block, maintained proliferations of service providers like doctors, lawyers, dentists, accountants ... But most of the businesses were small sort of mom-and-pop type operations … all the kind of business enterprises that you might find in towns across the nation," Johnson said.

Yet launching an independent, digital bank can be a risky venture. For example, Greenwood is not Federal Deposit Insurance Corp-insured -- the FDIC is an agency that protects bank customers' money in case a bank fails for any reason.

According to its website, while Greenwood is not FDIC insured, it is partnered with an FDIC-insured institution that will insure up to $250,000 of deposits.

Also for now, Greenwood is limited to offering only personal, not business accounts.

Giddens said Greenwood’s all-digital model helps provide access in communities where banking resources are lacking.

"One of the things that we've seen is that those banks that are in the community have often been left out the community … we've seen a kind of a gravitation towards online platforms and mobile banking ... Everyone talks mobile first in terms of banking and that's been highlighted in the pandemic. It just makes sense. So 65% of all individuals now are banking online or using their mobile device. So it's a natural transition to have our customers, onboard our platform, digitally … We solely want to focus on the outreach. This gives us a broader reach, to reach more customers in the community, to join our platform," Giddins said

Giddins said the bank will donate $10,000 to Black or Latino businesses every month by providing grants. He said he wants to use Greenwood as a means to help increase the amount of Black and Latino home owners by providing education on mortgages as well as mortgage loans.

But Greenwood's main purpose, said Render, is to serve the underbanked, those he said who live in banking deserts, "so they're not dependent upon check cashing places or payday loan lenders."

Greenwood also has plans to launch the "Greenwood Gives Back Program" where money from customers is circulated to Black and Latino businesses and provides food to struggling families, Giddens said.

These initiatives will be paid using a roundup feature that allows customers to round up their change to causes with which Greenwood has partnered, according to Greenwood's website.

"Banking is banking. The U.S. financial system is the U.S. financial system. But what we can do differently is to gravitate towards our community and show them how we plan to effectively raise an entire community with everything that we're doing differently across the board in terms of structure and providing that trust," Giddins said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


BackyardProduction/iStockBy LAUREN LANTRY, ABC News

(MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa) -- It's January now, but the problems of 2020 have followed Melanie Adams into the new year.

Last March, Adams was working in the only grocery store in Missouri Valley, Iowa. A town with fewer than 3,000 people, Adams, 28, said it was a place where "you know everybody, and everybody knows you."

But she said as news of the novel coronavirus swept across the nation, her fellow townspeople did not take the virus seriously.

"You wouldn't even be able to tell that that there was a coronavirus going around because nobody seemed to care," Adams told ABC News. "People would get up in your face. People would not wash their hands."

Adams soon quit her job because she was scared of contracting the virus, and began to fall behind on her bills.

By December, more than 10.1 million households in the United States were behind on rent, including more than 61,000 in Iowa, according to a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Last summer, the Aspen Institute estimated that 30-40 million were at risk of eviction.

Adams was one of them and experts say her case highlights the housing struggle that many Americans have faced under the pandemic. They also fear that the expiration of protection may force many tenants facing eviction to leave their apartments to avoid negative consequences of being removed.

Everything changed

After a few months of searching, Adams found a telecommunications job where she could work from home. She said she loved it.

But in October, everything changed.

"At first, I thought it was like the flu," Adams said. "I thought, 'OK, I'm a little under the weather, I'll be fine in a few days.'"

A few days turned into weeks. After initially testing negative for COVID, she said her doctors prescribed her antibiotics, but they didn't work. Then, they thought it was a nasal infection. It wasn't that either and she said she was never retested for COVID. She said there were days when she couldn't drag herself out of bed. She had aches and pains, vomiting, a fever and chills.

"I ended up going into the ER because one night, one day, I just could not breathe," Adams said. "My chest hurt so bad."

Finally, she requested that she be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. The test came back positive. To this day, Adams said she still can't taste or smell anything.

While she was sick, she had to take voluntary time off from her telecommunications job, which was unpaid. She fell behind on her $500 monthly rent by $2,000.

Facing eviction

The eviction moratorium included in last spring's CARES Act expired in July, and a new moratorium issued by the CDC in September does not actually stop landlords from starting the eviction process. Landlords can still initiate eviction proceedings, they just can't progress into further stages of the process if their tenants qualify under the CDC moratorium.

On Dec. 27, President Donald Trump signed another COVID-19 relief bill that extended the CDC's eviction moratorium until Jan. 31, 2021, for renters who qualify under agency guidelines.

"It's an important Band-Aid on a gushing wound, but it is still a gushing wound," Alieza Durana, the media strategist for Princeton's Eviction Lab, told ABC News.

Ron Klain, President-elect Joe Biden's incoming chief of staff, said on Saturday in a memo outlining the president's first 10 days in office Biden will "take action to extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures and provide more than 25 million Americans greater stability, instead of living on the edge every month."

By her own account, Adams qualified for the CDC eviction moratorium extension, but she never provided a signed declaration, which is a requirement to be protected under the federal relief bill, because she was afraid of the consequences.

So, on Dec. 30, her landlord messaged her saying that he couldn't allow her to stay if she wasn't paying rent.

ABC News reached out to Adams' landlord, who said he needed rent payments in order to meet his future mortgage bills. Adams wasn't able to pay, so he needed her to move out.

"Just like everybody else, they have to make a living too," Adams said of her landlord. "If money isn't coming in, there isn't much they can do. And if there's somebody else that can bring them in money, then that's what they got to do. Because they got to eat too. And I can't fault them for that."

She voluntarily left her apartment on Jan. 2.

"[In] small towns, the word gets around," Adams told ABC News, talking about her fear of repercussions if she pursued legal action against her landlord. "And if it got around that I tried to do something against these people, I will most likely not be able to rent anywhere ... in town or in the neighboring towns."

Fears of tenants losing their homes across the country

Durana told ABC News that tenants often leave their apartments voluntarily after they have been threatened with eviction because they think of it as a "Scarlet E" on their chest.

"An eviction can trigger ruined credit, mental and physical health deterioration, job loss and homelessness," Durana said.

Durana fears what happened to Adams could happen on a mass scale across the United States in the near future, which would push the nation into a housing and homelessness crisis.

"If a [landlord] loses a rental property, that does not mean that they will become homeless," Durana told ABC News. "For instance, owning and renting properties, that is a business venture. It is something that is associated with risk, as all businesses are, and that is fundamentally different from the need for shelter that every human has across the planet."

Adams said she now lives in the basement of her mother's home, which does not have internet.

Since she has been unable to access Wi-Fi, her telecommunications job has let her go.

ABC News' Liz Alesse contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



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

These are the most recent arrests:

1st conspiracy charges filed against Virginia man

The Justice Department has filed its first conspiracy charges from the Capitol riot against a Virginia man who they allege was an apparent leader of a group of militia members who were part of the mob that stormed the building.

Thomas Edward Caldwell is identified in an FBI affidavit as a member of the Oath Keepers. An agent alleges that he helped organize a group of eight to 10 of his fellow members to storm the Capitol with the intention of disrupting the counting of the Electoral College vote.

The group can be seen in video walking uniformly through a crowd of rioters trying to gain entrance to the Capitol.

Those members included co-conspirators Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl, who were charged for their role in the riots earlier this week. In social media posts, both Crowl and Watkins referred to Caldwell as "Commander," according to the court documents.

While inside the Capitol, Caldwell allegedly received Facebook messages telling him to "seal" in lawmakers in the tunnels under the Capitol and to "turn on gas." Other messages appeared to be trying to give him updates on the locations of lawmakers, the affidavit states.

Other texts reveal the extensive planning and even potential attacks that he and other members of the Oath Keepers were mounting leading up to the riots.

On Jan. 1, Caldwell allegedly messaged an individual recommending a room at the Comfort Inn Ballston in Arlington, Virginia, saying, "This is a good location and would allow us to hunt at night if we wanted to."

After the riot, Caldwell allegedly posted a Facebook message stating, "Us storming the castle. Please share. Sharon was right with me! I am such an instigator!" the affidavit states. He later wrote, "We need to do this at the local level. Lets storm the capitol in Ohio. Tell me when!"

Rioter seen attacking police with a bat

A man who was captured on surveillance video attacking law enforcement with a bat at the entrance of the Capitol turned himself in to the Metropolitan Police Department on Monday.

Emanuel Jackson is allegedly the rioter seen in photos the FBI released to the public, according to federal court documents.

On the surveillance video, Jackson is allegedly seen making a fist and repeatedly striking a Capitol police officer while attempting to force himself into the building, his arrest affidavit states.

Later, he is "clearly observed" with a metal baseball bat striking a group of both Capitol and D.C. police officers, according to the court document.

It is unclear whether Jackson has retained an attorney.

Houston police officer

A longtime Houston Police officer who resigned after he participated in the riot has been federally changed.

Tam Dinh Pham initially denied his involvement in the siege when he was interviewed at his home in Richmond on Jan. 12, according to court documents.

After the interview, Pham agreed to hand over his cellphone, which investigators noticed had no photos from Jan. 6, the affidavit states. However, the "Deleted Items" folder contained photos and images of him inside the Capitol building.

When agents advised Pham that it is illegal to lie to the FBI, he admitted that he was part of the crowd that stormed into the Capitol but denied taking part in any violence, according to the court documents.

Woman in Louis Vuitton sweater

A woman has been charged for participating in the riot after at least six people identified her by the Louis Vuitton sweater she was wearing that day.

In one video, Gina Bisignano allegedly was seen taking part in a skirmish with police trying to protect the Capitol building, according to an FBI affidavit.

Bisignano was allegedly part of a crowd that crushed a screaming police officer while a rioter grabbed his gas mask. At one point, Bisignano allegedly told the officer, "You hurt my f------ leg," the court documents state.

In a separate video, Bisignano is allegedly seen feet away from police, telling them to stand down.

"We the people are not going to take it any more," she could be heard saying in another video, according to the affidavit. "You are not going to take away our votes. And our freedom, and I thank God for it. This is 1776, and we the people will never give up. We will never let our country go to the globalists."

After entering the Capitol, Bisignano was allegedly heard telling other rioters, "We need Americans. Come on guys. We needs patriots! You guys, it's the way in. We need some people."

2 Texas rioters, including a former Marine, accused of violence

Two Texas men have both been arrested over their roles in the violence at the Capitol, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

Ryan Nichols and Alex Harkrider were identified from photos they posted to their social media accounts, along with several threatening messages calling for a violent overthrow of the government, according to an arrest affidavit.

In one video posted online, Nichols, a former Marine, can allegedly be seen yelling into a bullhorn in the direction of a large crowd, saying, "If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon!" the federal court document states.

Nichols also allegedly said "This is the second revolution right here folks!" and "This is not a peaceful protest," according to the affidavit.

Both Nichols, 30, and Harkrider, 33, are seen in videos trying to force entry into the building, with Nichols allegedly spraying what appears to be a large canister of pepper spray in the direction of officers. Nichols was also allegedly in possession of a crowbar, the court document states.

The FBI also noted several other social posts from Nichols, including one on Dec. 24 that showed a bullet and stated, "By Bullet or Ballot, Restoration of the Republic is Coming," according to the affidavit. Another post on Dec. 28 stated, "Pence better do the right thing, or we're going to MAKE you do the right thing."

Nichols was once featured on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" in 2018 after he drove 18 hours to rescue dogs before Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina.

It is unclear whether Nichols and Harkrider have retained attorneys.

Member of extremist group Three Percenters

Robert Gieswein -- part of the Oath-keepers, an extremist group related to The Three Percenters -- was charged with assaulting a federal officer with bear spray and a baseball bat.

According to court documents, Gieswein "encouraged other rioters as they broke a window of the Capitol building; entered … and then charged through the Capitol building."

An FBI affidavit confirmed that Gieswein runs a private paramilitary training group called the Woodland Wild Dogs and that he was identified from a patch for that group that was visible on a tactical vest he wore during the attack on Congress.

The affidavit said Gieswein gave a media interview echoing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and that Congress needs "to get the corrupt politicians out of office. Pelosi, the Clintons ... every single one of them, Biden, Kamala."

Retired NYFD firefighter

Freeport, New York, resident Thomas Fee surrendered to the FBI Tuesday morning at the bureau's resident agency on Long Island.

Fee, a retired NYFD firefighter, allegedly sent a relative of his girlfriend a selfie of himself inside the Capitol, prosecutors said. He's been charged by authorities.

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.

At his court appearance Tuesday, a judge ordered Fee to avoid all political gatherings and to avoid the U.S. Capitol and all state capitols upon his release. He must also surrender his two guns -- a pistol grip shotgun and an antique rifle.

Federal prosecutors also recommended evaluation and treatment for substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Fee posted his home as collateral for her $100,000 bond.

It is unclear whether Fee has retained an attorney.

Former FIT student

Nicholas Moncada, a 20-year-old former student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, was taken into custody at his Staten Island home Monday. 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.

During an appearance in a Brooklyn federal court Tuesday, Moncada was ordered to stay away from potentially antagonizing political events and speech after his release on $250,000 bond. His travel is also restricted to New York and Washington, D.C.

"There's obviously troubling conduct here," Assistant U.S. Attorney David Kessler said, though he noted the government did not object to Moncada's release on bond.

The bond was signed by Moncada's mother, grandmother and aunt.

Moncada was an illustration major but had not been enrolled at the school since May 2020 and did not receive a degree, a spokesperson for FIT told ABC News.

In a statement to ABC News Monday, 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."

Dozens of rioters who participated in the siege have already 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.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- A dozen Army National Guard members have been removed from the inauguration security mission, including two who were sent home after vetting for extremist links found an "inappropriate" text and comment, the Pentagon said oTuesday.

Each of the 25,000 National Guardsmen now in Washington assisting with security at Wednesday's presidential inauguration is being vetted by the FBI.

Each of the dozen Guard members has been sent back to his or her home state for later investigation either by their chain of command or law enforcement, officials said.

Two of the Guard members had made what Pentagon officials called an "inappropriate" text and comment, presumably of a political nature, while the other 10, officials said, had engaged in questionable behavior unrelated to extremism.

One of the Guard members was reported through the chain of command, the other was reported through an anonymous tip line, according to Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman.

The other 10 Guard members were flagged by the FBI's broad vetting process that looks at more than just whether there are ties to extremism.

"These are vetting efforts that identify any questionable behavior in the past or any potential link to questionable behavior, not just related to extremism," Hoffman said.

"If there's any identification, or anything whatsoever that needs to be looked into, out of an abundance of caution we automatically pull those personnel off the line, and make sure that they're not part of the mission set," said Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, at a Pentagon news conference. "And in certain cases we make sure that we get them sent home."

Hoffman said that Guard commanders are immediately removing any members who are reported to have engaged in questionable behavior and worry about follow-on action later .

"We're not even asking what the flag was we're just removing them," said Hoffman.

"We're not taking any chances," said Hoffman. "We'll ask questions later and we will ascertain whether any action needs to be taken by the law enforcement or by their chain of command."

No details were immediately available about which state Guard units the dozen members belonged to or about the nature of of the alleged ties.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. reached yet another grim milestone Tuesday as the confirmed coronavirus death toll topped 400,000, just one day before President-elect Joe Biden is set to take the oath of office.

The number of lives lost could fill Madison Square Garden in New York City nearly 20 times over and is roughly equivalent to the population of Tampa, Florida, or Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The 400,000 lives lost is more deaths than the number of U.S. soldiers that died in battle during World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined, an analysis of data compiled by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows.

The milestone comes just over a month after the country surpassed 300,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths on Dec. 14, and only 17 days since the U.S. hit 350,000 reported deaths on Jan. 2, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

“That the U.S. reached the grotesque milestone of 400,000 [COVID-19] deaths should stop us in our tracks. We should demand from our leaders an explanation of why they’ve allowed, in the last month alone, 100,000 Americans to die without taking action to stop this horrific loss of life,” Jennifer Nuzzo, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins, told ABC News.

Globally, the virus has claimed more than 2 million lives. The U.S. accounts for approximately 19.5% of the world's COVID-19 related deaths -- about 188,000 reported deaths ahead of the second hardest-hit nation, Brazil. The United States makes up just over 4% of the global population.

Experts had been warning for months that if Americans did not take the necessary safety precautions to protect themselves and others over the winter -- and in particular, over the holidays -- many people would suffer the consequences.

During a White House Task Force press briefing March 29, President Donald Trump said that if the U.S. could keep the death toll between 100,000 to 200,000 lives lost, it would mean that the administration had “done a very good job.”

However, by Labor Day, there were already 189,000 Americans dead, and in October, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top disease expert, warned that the number of fatalities could dramatically increase.

“The models tell us if we don’t do what we need to in the fall and winter, we could have 300,000 to 400,000 COVID-19 deaths,” Fauci said during a virtual event with the American University in Washington, D.C.

The totals have far eclipsed the task force's early estimates, and now, the incoming Biden administration is warning that the "dark winter" is not over yet. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who Biden nominated to serve as the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CBS' “Face the Nation” on Sunday that by the middle of February, “we expect half a million deaths in this country” from COVID-19.

“We still yet haven't seen the ramifications of what happened from the holiday travel, from holiday gatherings, in terms of high rates of hospitalizations and the deaths thereafter," Walensky added.

The U.S. currently averages just under 3,300 new coronavirus related deaths a day, and the beginning of the month, there have been more than 53,000 COVID-19 related deaths recorded -- that is approximately 1 American death reported every 30 seconds.

“We can’t let ourselves get numb to this moral and leadership failing. We must double down on efforts to stop the virus from spreading,” Nuzzo said.

The milestone also comes just days shy of the one-year anniversary of the country's first confirmed COVID-19 case, which was reported on Jan. 21, 2020, according to the CDC.

U.S. case totals now top 24 million, but the national seven-day average of daily cases is currently trending down from the record high set earlier last week -- averaging approximately 207,000 new confirmed cases a day.

This is a drop from the record high reported last Monday, though the country has not seen a day with fewer than 100,000 reported cases in 11 weeks.

Hospitalizations have also dropped nationally, with just under 124,000 patients currently hospitalized across the country, down from 132,000, earlier this week.

The staggering COVID-19 numbers also follows news of a new CDC report, which warned that the U.K. variant could worsen the pandemic in the U.S., without “universal and increased compliance” with mask-wearing and social distancing. The new variant, which is believed to be more contagious than previous strains, has now been discovered in at least 20 states, according to an ABC News count.

The number of cases of this variant are likely to "double every week," according to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner. "In about five weeks, this is going to start to take over," Gottlieb said during an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation."

And as the death toll continues to rise, state officials continue to clamor to vaccinate their residents, in a desperate effort to slow the death rate.

“Every vaccine dose sitting in a warehouse rather than going into an arm could mean one more death that could have been avoided,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar concluded last week.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Martin Holverda/iStockBy ERIN SCHUMAKER, ABC News

(DALLAS) -- Dallas officials are making changes after three high-income zip codes received a disproportionate share of the county's first COVID-19 vaccines.

Of the 3,071 doses given out at the Fair Park vaccination site, 461 doses went to people in three high-income zip codes, while people from two zip codes with the highest number of COVID-19 infections received a total of 49 doses, according to Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said a link to the appointment system that was shared among people in North Dallas enabled them to skip the line.

"Now we have an appointment system that can’t be hacked," Jenkins said. "The people that are getting appointments are the most vulnerable people."

In addition to the appointment system mishap, more people from affluent areas are signing up for the county waitlist, which is now 300,000 names long. Jenkins attributed the disparity to existing inequalities: compared to high-income people, low-income people are less likely to have reliable transportation, internet access or equal access to information.

There are also signs that racial disparities, which have popped up repeatedly during the pandemic, are already present in the way the vaccine is being distributed. In nearby Tarrant County, Texas, which is 30% Hispanic, only 5% of those vaccinated have been Hispanic.

A Kaiser Health News analysis published this week similarly found that in the 16 states that have released racial data about their initial vaccine distribution, Black Americans are getting vaccinated at a lower rate than white Americans, even despite front-line health workers typically being a racially diverse cohort.

Texas has administered 1.1 million vaccines so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which translates into 4,001 vaccines for every 100,000 residents.

As of Tuesday, Texas had reported 2.1 million infections and 32,711 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


MBPROJEKT_Maciej_Bledowski/iStockBy AARON KATERSKY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- An active duty American soldier is in federal custody Tuesday after he allegedly plotted with someone he thought was a member of ISIS to attack a landmark in New York City and fellow troops overseas, according to a law enforcement official.

Cole James Bridges, who is stationed at Fort Stewart, is charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS and attempting to murder U.S. service members.

The Ohio native allegedly spoke to an undercover FBI agent when he thought he was planning an ISIS-inspired attack against the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

Private First Class Cole James Bridges "betrayed the oath he swore" when he tried to supply ISIS with tactical military advice to ambush U.S. troops overseas, federal prosecutors in New York said Tuesday when announcing the criminal charges.

"Our troops risk their lives for our country, but they should never face such peril at the hands of one of their own," acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.

Bridges is charged with giving military advice and guidance on how to kill fellow soldiers to individuals he thought were part of ISIS.

"Fortunately, the person with whom he communicated was an FBI employee, and we were able to prevent his evil desires from coming to fruition," FBI Assistant Director Bill Sweeney said.

Bridges joined the U.S. Army in 2019 and was assigned as a cavalry scout in the 3rd Infantry Division based in Fort Stewart, Georgia. From the beginning of his service, court records said, Bridges began researching and consuming online propaganda promoting jihadists and their violent ideology. He is accused of expressing support for ISIS and allegedly began his collaboration with an FBI undercover last October.

"During these communications, Bridges expressed his frustration with the U.S. military and his desire to aid ISIS," court records said.

Bridges is alleged to have provided training and guidance to purported ISIS fighters who were planning attacks, including advice about potential targets in New York City, such as the 9/11 Memorial. He gave the undercover portions of a U.S. Army training manual and guidance about military combat tactics, for use by ISIS, according to the criminal complaint.

Earlier this month Bridges gave the undercover a video of himself in body armor standing before a flag often used by ISIS fighters and making a gesture symbolic of support for ISIS. A week later he sent a second video, using a voice manipulator, in which he narrated an ISIS propaganda speech, federal prosecutors said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- The National Weather Service is warning that winds 50 to 80 mph are expected for California Tuesday with extreme fire danger.

The most dangerous winds and highest fire danger on Tuesday will be south of the San Francisco Bay area into Los Angeles.

A red flag warning has been issued for the area where dry offshore winds could create extreme fire conditions.

The Bay area will not miss out on the winds Tuesday and they could be gusty at 30 to 60 mph and locally 75 mph is possible.

Fire danger is not as extreme in the Bay area since the air is not as dry as it is in Southern California but, nevertheless, fire danger will be elevated for the region.

Elsewhere, in the East a wintry blast is moving through with wind chills below zero in the Midwest on Tuesday and heavy lake effect snow in the Northeast.

Already 8 to 13 inches of snow fell in West Virginia, western Pennsylvania and New York and several more inches are possible on Tuesday.

The snow in the last 24 hours caused accidents, spinouts and partial closures to I-90 between Buffalo, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania.

Locally, the storm total could reach 18 inches in western New York and Pennsylvania later Tuesday.

That cold air is spilling into the northern U.S. Tuesday morning with wind chills below zero for some.

Some of that cold air will move into the Northeast Tuesday night and really spread across the area by the end of the week.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ridofranz/iStockBy ALLISON DE JONG, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Nearly 9 in 10 Americans say the coronavirus pandemic is not under control in the United States, but far fewer say they'll get vaccinated against it, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.

As the country endures record levels of daily COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, 52% say the virus is "not at all" under control, up sharply from 35% (among registered voters) in October. The view is deeply partisan; 7 in 10 Democrats and 55% of independents say the virus is not at all under control, versus 28% of Republicans.

In terms of vaccination, 63% say they will definitely or probably get the vaccine and 3% say they've already done so. The net (65%, due to rounding) is lower than the 71% who said they would get vaccinated in a similar question in late May. The decline is steepest among those who haven't gone beyond high school (-14 percentage points), Hispanics (-13 points), those ages 18 to 49 (-12 points) and Republicans and conservatives (each -12 points).


In what might ordinarily be seen as simply a public health matter, this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds that partisan and ideological differences in intended vaccine uptake remain vast. Eighty-five percent of Democrats and 80% of liberals probably or definitely will get vaccinated or have done so, versus fewer than half of Republicans (46%) and conservatives (48%). And these divisions have widened since last spring.

Concern over catching the virus is strongly linked to intention to get vaccinated. Six in 10 are very or somewhat worried that they or someone in their immediate family might catch it, down from 66% in July and as much as 69% in late March. Among those who are more worried about catching the virus, 79% intend to get vaccinated or have done so, compared with 39% of those who are less worried.

Again, this too, reflects partisan predispositions. Seventy-eight percent of Democrats are very or somewhat worried, versus 63% of independents and just 38% of Republicans.

Beyond those worried about catching it, an additional 1 in 10 now say they or an immediate family member already has caught the virus, up from 5% last summer and just 1% last March.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Daniel Tadevosyan/iStockBy DARREN REYNOLDS and WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Residents in parts of the Poconos have been asked to shelter in place after multiple shootings at multiple locations left at least four injured Monday night, according to officials.

The Monroe County Office of Emergency Management said those on the 196 corridor between Pocono Country Place and Pocono Farms East should seek shelter and report any suspicious activity.

The suspect is at large, according to Mount Pocono Mayor Michael Penn.

"Please consider this a developing community safety danger," Penn wrote on Facebook.

Rapid gunfire, according to the mayor, was reported in a Pocono Country Place, at the Dollar General store in Tobyhanna and at Stoogies on Rouge 196.

Police were dispatched at 5 p.m. to a report of multiple gunshots, Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Christopher Wagner said at a press conference Monday night. At that time, they started receiving other calls of gunshots around in the township.

Police said the initial response was at a residence and then at a shopping plaza where a 47-year-old woman was shot in the back and a 19-year-old male was shot in the arm. The woman had to be flown to a hospital trauma center.

A third victim, a 20-year-old male, was shot in the head at a parking lot and is out of consciousness, police said. Later, the fourth victim was found at a motor vehicle accident, where another 20-year-old male was shot in the leg.

The conditions of the victims are unknown.

Dollar General Store Manager Nicole Hull told ABC News affiliate WNEP-TV she heard several gunshots.

"It was scary. I'm used to living next to a gun range so, in my head, it's oh, it's the gun range, but in reality. It was right next to us and it started in our parking lot," Hull told the station.

A person of interest is being questioned, but no arrests have been made, according to authorities.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


amphotora/iStockBy MATT FOSTER and WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(TOLEDO, Ohio) -- The Toledo Police Department announced that 24-year-old officer Brandon Stalker was shot and killed after a standoff situation at a home Monday afternoon.

Officer Stalker was killed when SWAT teams forced an unnamed suspect out of the home he had been hiding in after hours of negotiations were unsuccessful, Toledo Police Chief George Kral said at a news conference Monday. The suspect started firing after exiting the home, Kral said.

Stalker had been assigned to cover the perimeter and was not part of the SWAT team, Kral said. He leaves behind a fiancé and a young child. Stalker was hired in July of 2018.

"This is a very dark and horrific day for the city," Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said at a press conference Monday.

The mayor called Stalker a "fantastic officer and a proud new dad."

"His loss will be felt forever. We will never forget his service and sacrifice," Kapszukiewicz tweeted.

Kral said the incident began when the gang task force saw a suspect wanted for vandalizing a cathedral earlier Monday.

As officers approached the suspect, Kral said he brandished a firearm and went into the home. At that time, a perimeter was set and the SWAT team and negotiators were called in. After hours of negotiations were unsuccessful, Kral said the SWAT team initiated gas inside the home.

The suspect then came out of the house with two firearms and started shooting, Kral said. Stalker was struck once.

The suspect was shot, but his condition is unknown.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- Every one of the armed National Guardsmen deployed around the U.S. Capitol and the streets of Washington, D.C., to help with security for Wednesday's presidential inauguration has already been vetted by the FBI as they look for any potential insider threats, according to a defense official.

There are now 21,500 National Guardsmen in the city who have arrived from all 50 states and three territories, building up to a force of 25,000 by Wednesday in what the Guard calls Operation Capital Response. The dozens of vehicle checkpoints, miles of protective fencing and concrete barriers, and the sight of armed guardsmen has given Washington the look of a fortress.

The significant Guard presence was requested by the Secret Service, which wants to prevent a recurrence of the violence carried out by a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters in their assault on the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.

"While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital," acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller said in a statement issued Monday.

"This type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events," said Miller. "However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique."

The security concerns surrounding Wednesday's inauguration have led to the buildup of a Guard force 2.5 times larger than had been expected prior to the riot at the Capitol.

It also means that guardsmen helping with security at the Capitol building area are armed, while other guardsmen assisting in other parts of the city on different missions may have their weapons with them though they are not loaded.

The FBI's screening of National Guardsmen begins as they arrive at the D.C. Armory to begin the process of obtaining Secret Service-issued credentials needed to access secure areas surrounding the inauguration, said Maj. Matthew Murphy, a National Guard spokesman.

It is there that every arriving guardsman gets their photo taken and hands over their military ID card, which is then placed into a database used by the FBI for background checks.

“If there’s any indication that any of our soldiers or airmen are expressing things that are extremist views, it’s either handed over to law enforcement or dealt with the chain of command immediately,” Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a statement.

The D.C. Guard is also providing additional training to the guardsmen -- that if they see or hear something that is inappropriate from someone in the ranks, they should report it through their chain of command.

"There is no place for extremism in the military and we will investigate each report individually and take appropriate action," according to a National Guard statement.

As part of their normal training, all military service members are trained annually on the Threat Awareness and Reporting Program (TARP), which similarly requires personnel to report any information regarding any known or suspected extremist behavior that could pose a threat to the United States or the military.

Concerns surrounding potential violence pegged to the inauguration are not limited to Washington.

At least 21 states have also activated their National Guardsmen to provide security at state capitol buildings, given the possibility that they might be targeted by extremists who support Trump.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


JeffKontur/iStockBy JON HAWORTH, ABC News

(DINWIDDIE, Va.) -- Two dogs are being credited with saving the life of their owner after they woke him up while his house was burning down before perishing in the fire themselves.

The incident occurred at 6:24 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 18 in Dinwiddie, Virginia, when the Dinwiddie Emergency Communications Center dispatched fire and EMS units to a house fire and reports that an occupant and two dogs were still inside the building.

However, as authorities responded to the house fire about 35 miles south of Richmond, they received reports that the individual had successfully escaped and was at a neighbor’s house across the street. The location of the two dogs remained unknown at this time.

“Upon arrival fire crews found heavy fire and smoke showing from the front of the structure,” read a statement from the Dinwiddie Fire & EMS and Dinwiddie Emergency Management. “Crews immediately began knocking down the fire and entering the structure to conduct a primary search.”

The person who was in the house at the time of the fire was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation before being transported to the Southside Regional Medical Center for further treatment. The name and age of the individual has not yet been confirmed.

It was during the authorities’ search of the structure that they discovered the bodies of the two dogs whom the owner had credited with saving his life.

“Prior to transport by EMS, the occupant was able to tell crews that he was asleep at the time of the fire and that the two dogs had jumped on him to wake him up, which then allowed him to escape the fire,” authorities confirmed in a statement.

The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation and authorities are now looking to see if there were operating smoke alarms at the residence that could have helped to prevent this tragedy.

The occupant is now being assisted by family as well as the American Red Cross.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


DaveAlan/iStockBy MINA KAJI, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Two Spirit Airlines agents were injured on Sunday after three passengers "attacked them" while trying to board a flight from Detroit to Atlanta "without authorization" on Sunday, the airline said.

Spirit Airlines told ABC News that the group became combative after the agents asked the passengers to verify that their carry-on bags met the airline's luggage size requirements.

"The agents attempted to calmly defuse the situation," Spirit said in a statement, "but were physically assaulted by these passengers as they closed a door to stop them from boarding the aircraft."

The airline confirmed one of the agents had to be transported to the hospital.

"All of us at Spirit wish the agents a speedy recovery and thank them for their courage and professionalism," the statement continued.

Spirit said those involved in the "attack" were arrested by law enforcement. Those passengers are also banned from any future travel on the airline.

"This violent behavior is completely unacceptable and has absolutely no place in airports or any other place of business," Spirit said.

The incident comes less than a week after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it will begin handing down stricter punishments to unruly airline passengers without a warning, including "fines of up to $35,000 and imprisonment."

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signed the order Wednesday directing the agency to take a "zero-tolerance policy" in unruly passenger cases after the agency saw a "disturbing increase in incidents" of passengers disrupting flights with "threatening or violent behavior."

The FAA's new policy will remain in effect through March 30.

"We can always make it a longer time period," Dickson told ABC News.

The agency said it has "initiated more than 1,300 enforcement actions against unruly passengers" within the last decade, "including recent cases for allegedly interfering with and assaulting flight attendants who instructed them to wear masks."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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