ABC News Live Update: New COVID variant spreading rapidly through NYC

Plus, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is blaming the state’s energy operator for the power outages after last week’s winter storm, and the attorney for Britney Spears' father is speaking out.
27:53 | 02/25/21

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Transcript for ABC News Live Update: New COVID variant spreading rapidly through NYC
Good morning I'm Diana say no thanks for streaming with us in today's update a new Coleman variant is spreading rapidly her New York City. The big question this morning can the new mutation is made the vaccine. The Daryn and five are now working to modify their vaccines while Johnson & Johnson waits emergency use authorization. But we're learning this morning about how effective that vaccine could be gets in various. Also ahead Texas governor Greg Abbott is blaming the State's energy operator for the deadly power outages after last week's winter storm. Here with the agency as saying now about just how close Texas was from a total blackout. Meanwhile many are still without clean water and some without water at all we have the latest from Texas. And the attorney for Britney Spears' father Jamie spears is speaking out about the fight over her conservative ship yeah I understand. Every story needs a felons and people have it so wrong here. Plus a never before seen home videos the attorney says. Shows Britney and her father happy together last year we have the latest in the battle over Britney. We begin with that new common variant in New York City adding to the urgency to speed up vaccinations. Researchers still don't know if it's more contagious or more deadly but vaccine makers are already preparing new booster shots to combat new strains. With Johnson has the latest. Early evidence that a new Kobe Berrian is now spreading rapidly in New York City. Researchers arguing this could be yet another variant of concern like the UK south African and Brazilian variance some of the variance raising questions about the impact on vaccines. Pfizer announcing their talking to regulators. About testing their own variant specific booster offering a third dose to 144. Clinical trial participants Madonna taking similar action sending modified vaccines for the south African Varian to the NIH for testing including a combination formula for those getting their first shots should that become necessary. And there is new hope on the horizon Johnson & Johnson on the verge of adding a third vaccine in the US. This one shown to be effective against the variants of the FDA meeting tomorrow and could give emergency use authorization as early as Friday night. With all three vaccines expected to be available soon George spoke with doctor she she job earlier this morning about how people can decide which vaccine to take. I really think and I mean this I was OS and my family. Even those who get wouldn't cover vaccine is available and not worry about picking between all three of these excellent accidents so you're hearing you think. Whichever one you can get whenever you can get at you should get it. I salute salute. Back here at the Javits Center this was converted into a field hospital last spring now it's a mass vaccination side. He could see people believing heartfelt messages on this wall of things here are expressing gratitude to all of the health care heroes. And members of the National Guard who been fighting to save lives here since the pandemic began. Diane. And I went Johnson force in New York thanks wit and for more let's bring an ABC news medical contributor and infectious disease specialist doctor Todd Halloran doctor Todd. Good morning let's start with this changing vaccine we just turn wicks peace the FDA's meeting tomorrow on possible emergency use authorization. And this scene is a single dose vaccine as opposed to Madera and finer Pfizer which require two doses. And the storage needs or little a different so how an impact do you think this can have I'm trying to slow the spread of the virus. I think it is do you know going to have a massive impact what you said single dose double really. Decompress is truly just legal perspective getting that second dose within three of four weeks is really hard and on the companies have been to manufacture. Other please remember it doesn't require the freezer to absorb it just requires refrigeration so does not only important in the United States but obviously remember this is a global effort and lastly because. It's a viral type of vaccine. Allows for a great scalability so all of those things are real problems. There's also evidence now the new Kobe Darian spreading right here in New York City and we're also seeing reports. California and Marion that may be more transmissible. Pfizer and Madeira now are exploring booster shots combat. At least one of those Newbury and how worried should we be about all of this. Oh well I mean obviously these periods are concerning right. I think what we're seeing is what we call conversion evolution of the DNC were presenting sort of survival of the fittest sourcing viruses that have competitive advantages where they can spread more efficiently so again concerning the good news is so far we've seen the vaccines will look like they work to prevent severe infections as long as these parents are. Costing more hospitalizations. Ice you admissions and deaths I think we're in good shape also. Important platform for these actions allow their technology. To shut can and should also we can get. Different vaccines are able to cover these variants so again all of this has promised. And now that we could have a new vaccine coming soon gets a little confusing right everyone wants the best to vaccine so is there any guidance on who should get what vaccine will what do you make of that. Rice or do you remember the demand far exceeds the supplies the best vaccine right now is go London you can roll up your sleeves and get the most important thing all of them look like they help prevent against severe disease that major metro wonderful. And then. In terms of looking forward and daily cases are continuing to solve will hit the fifty million mark on how many people are vaccinated in this country today with at least one shot. So. Isn't this is not pretty more clarity on when we'll be able to return to quote unquote normal. So Diane he notes or 500000. Deaths in the United States ED ER. I don't you know we've dropped our white expanded by one year old guy we are witnessing really a national cemetery. We have the largest coal is cemetery in the world so is so important so when car urging that we're seeing so many millions of people Americans getting vaccinated every day but again we have to continue to not just in our country but in the rest of the world in order really combat this does this fierce viral terrorist. Current doctor Todd alar and it's always great to have you that if you don't have great news generous thank you. Hear him. And now let's get to those new details and Tiger Woods is car crashed a golfer is recovering from serious leg injuries now a black box type device. Found in his SUV could help investigators figure out what happened the LA sheriff's office is already ruling out charges against woods saying this is likely. Just an accident not gotten in has the latest. As investigators try to determine the cause of Tiger Woods potentially career destroying wreck LA sheriff. Ruling out alcohol. This is purely an accident. There was no evidence of any impairment whatsoever he was lucid in order Val. Overall the sheriff adding there will be no charges. This is one of the few suburban streets you'll see with a runaway vehicle ramp affect their two of them then sheriff of LA county calls this such a dangerous. Stretch of road that there been. Thirteen accidents here over the past thirteen months for a van. With injuries. That stretch of Rudy so notorious that late Wednesday the county announced he safety review and an effort. To make it safer. On Wednesday Tiger Woods' girlfriend Erika Herrmann seem visiting the gulf legend as he recovers from the wreck. Nick totaled his ES UV and mangled one of his legs. During emergency surgery a middle Ron screws and pins were implanted to stabilize the bones in his Sheehan. Ankle and foot. Now attention is turning to the car woods was driving on days new Genesis GV eighty it how we safety features may have helped would survive the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety just began its rigorous testing on the model. Putting it through this high impact crash. This exclusive first look showing the special safety features of the car this. And you are being all not all east side airbags Arnold are. Now in the rear. Seat also test center. And it really puts you like the Kern. Manner thanks to Matt that many in Los Angeles for that report. Texas governor Greg Abbott says tragedy does not even begin to describe the suffering Texas hasn't George. In a rare statewide speech last night out at promised action in the wake of that catastrophic power outage. But many people in Texas are still dealing with power issues and problems with their water. ABC's Marcus mores and Arlington with the latest. Her cut repeatedly assured the state and the public that her cot was prepared. Those assurances turned out. To be false overnight Texas governor Greg Abbott also announcing multiple investigations into the agency that manages 90% of the State's power grid are caught. Must be overhauled. Many of you are angry. And you have a right to date. In a board meeting Wednesday Kirk cut CEO bill madness that Texas was just minutes away from a complete blackout six members of the or cod board have now resigned in the wake of the State's power crisis. Critics highlighting that several of those members live outside Texas and are not affected by the outages and now. The Travis County district attorney in Austin also opening a criminal investigation. Into the power outages that cost so much devastation. The DA has not indicated whether the investigation which specifically target are caught well most of the power has been restored and water boil notice is lifted. Many residents are still not in the clear just look at their water Houston public works has received 9400 complaints about water that looks dirty and smells fishy yeah. Officials say the change is caused by algae that is seasonal and adding the drinking water quote continues to meet or exceed federal and state standard. Others still don't have running waters like this apartment in Arlington Texas residents forced to fill jugs from a hydrant. You have to go to their fellow water otherwise you can't push the toy. Diana I want you to take a look at this this copper pipe this is low one inch water pipe and look at that begged out in the side there it is. One of the pipes that ruptured during the freezing but temperatures last week and that happened throughout this church building here. How many innocent water spewing onto the floor for nine hours last week there was. They tell us to eight inches of standing water inside the church building here pretty much covering. Every single space on this is the sanctuary here at saint John the apostle United Methodist Church really just an absolute mess and as you know. All all of this started when those massive power outages and of course is we just heard of the governor. Are pointing the finger during that statewide address and I'm as all of this is unfolding. Residents across the state are still dealing with the effects of this sound this incredible storm the cost so much devastation and damage here Diane. No sad to see the repercussions on the beautiful church and taking about so many are bringing in more in their own homes Marcus Moore thank you. And president Biden has nominated three new members of the postal service's board of governors. If confirmed they could lead to the removal of embattled postmaster general Lewis to joy yesterday lawmakers grilled enjoy over cost cutting changes he made to the post office and holiday delays. Now he's warning of more slowdowns but defying calls to step down national correspondent Rachel Scott has the latest Rachel good morning. Diane good morning ahead of the post office Louis enjoyed made it clear that he is not going anywhere telling lawmakers quote. Get used city now we did try to explain some of those financial issues with the Postal Service and some of those low downs with a male he was trying to cut back on a cost. Reducing overtime but that did slow down mail delivery during the holiday season and right before the election UN Americans. Waiting for prescription drugs yet Americans waiting for mail in ballots. He did push back against accusations that he was trying to undermine mail in voting but he did also apologize for the delay calling it. Unacceptable his goal here though is to still cut down on costs and changes that he is suggesting it would still slowed down the delivery of mail. And that is prompting new concern Friday had a tax season. And also ahead of possibly another round of stimulus checks and speaking of those stimulus checks. Diane 14100 dollars that's what Democrats are proposing. The house is now slated to vote on that massive one point nine trillion dollar Kobe relief package tomorrow that it would be off. To the senate Democrats want to move quickly here on March 14 unemployment benefits for millions of Americans expire they want to get a bill on president Joseph Biden. Best before that. Diane I'm Rachel Scott in Washington Forrest thanks Rachel. And here's what were watching in Washington today at noon eastern white house Press Secretary gen sacked fuel pulled her daily press briefing. At 2:30 PM eastern president Biden will participate in a ceremony to commemorate. The fifteen million home in nineteen vaccines. And at 4:30 PM eastern president Biden will be virtually address the national governors governors association. At the organizations winter meetings. And the attorney for Britney Spears' father is speaking out amid backlash over British concern readership. The issue has sparked a free Britney movement highlighted in the new documentaries ranging Britney Spears and Jamie Spears' attorney is telling his side of the story exclusively yeah. Welcome back Britney Spears' father is speaking out there his lawyers in an ABC news exclusive. His role in her highly scrutinized conservative ship has been back in the spotlight thanks to a popular in documentary. But his attorney now says Jamie is a loving father being unfairly portrayed as a villain. She sat down with our immune robot. I understand. That every story needs a felony. The people have it so wrong here. This morning V attorney Jamie spears Britney Spears father is speaking out its. Explicitly to ABC news. This is a story about a fiercely and loving. Dedicated. And loyal father who rescued his daughter from a life threatening situation. People were harming her and there were exploiting her. Jamie saved britney's life. In 2008 following a bitter divorce custody battle and two hospitalizations. Britney was placed under court mandated conserve it or ship. Which is been making medical and financial decisions for her in the last thirteen years I've written is. The concern order ship front and center of the new documentary. Screening Britney Spears and is a primary focus of the hash tag free Britney movement. A passionate group of Britney fans who believe she is being controlled against her will. Jamie's attorneys say court documents show that when he stepped in as conserved her in 2008. Britney's assets were only worth two point eight million. They say he worked with his daughter to restore her finances under the conservative or shipped to nearly sixty million in 2019. It's a shocking number to know okay here's. Rock star AA pop star are young woman who's making forty million a year and some how she'll only ends up with two point eight million in the bank. Does Jamie know how that happened. Pretty -- such were clearly being mismanaged and she was being taken advantage of financially. By some of those around her how did Jeannie turn britney's finances around still dramatically. He has collaborated with her. Heat when she is out for performing she is performed when she wants to record an album she can record an album. And when she wants to live her life the way she whines like a normal person he has collaborated with her to do that as well. Since two dozen eight creeping has released four albums. Starred on a prime time show I felt like I had a connection. He is and even hosted your own Las Vegas residency. But she is not performed professionally since 2019. Saying at the time she was backing out of an upcoming show because her dad was sick and she needed to focus on family but last year a seemingly different June. In November her journey telling a judge my client has informed me that she is of breed of her father adding she will not perform again if her father is in charge of. Or career can you explain why britney's lawyer is saying she doesn't want her dad in charge of her. Finances anymore and she's actually saying at least through her lawyer her lawyer is saying that Britney says she won't perform anymore. And told her dad is no longer in charge of her. Why would that happen why would that statement be made. Throughout one each when he. Britney and her father had many conversations. And in fact early on in the pandemic they spent two weeks. With other family members hunkered down in Louisiana. Britney and Jamie one on long drives together. They played and worked in the Stanley Cardin. And every night Jamie cook southern comfort food that the family aid can enjoy together. And in that time Britney never expressed those words to her father she's never asked him to step aside. Jamie's attorney says these videos Jamie says he and the spears family films. And shared exclusively with ABC news. Are from that family gathering horsing around their sister Gina land riding a bike with her niece and playing around with her family including Janie in the beard. In the garden so is it the belief that this is something her lawyer saying and that it. Not coming from Britney herself. Jamie loves his daughter. And like any other family issues come up from time to time. But this in no way takes away from the love and support that they have for each other. Britney knows that her daddy loves her. And she knows that she can call on him any time conservative shipper not. Vivian it is. Difficult to understand then lied britney's lawyer actually took a step further and said. That Britney was scared of her father scared of Jamie does Jamie have any idea why. That statement would be made. In the many conversations. They Cheney and bringing had to route point one rating up percent though sinks to Cheney should never asked him to step aside. If Brittany through her lawyer though is asking that Jamie her father or not be a part of her conservator ship why does she need and still insist on being. Her conserving her. Cheney serves as brings conservatory. Because he loves her. He wants the best for Britney. Okay. Dad dad dad who. What do you make of the free Britney moved and I think we have to remember how this conservative ershad was started. And that Britney. Needed help and that's why the conservative ship was put in place and when Jamie was appointed. Has Cheney aspirin because Britney could put this all to an end right now she's said hey guys. Everything's cool I don't need to be freed it. I'm living my life the way I want to live it and I've got people around me who are guiding me why wouldn't she just put that out there on social media. The last desperate me. While Britney has an address the conservator sent directly on line after that documentary which she did not participate in she did post this. I'll always love being on stage but I am taking the time to learn and be a normal person. I love simply enjoying the basics of every day life. She adds each person has their story and other take on on and their take on other people's stories and remember no matter what we think about what we know about a person's life. It is nothing compared to the actual person living behind the lessons we reached out to britney's attorney and he told us he cannot comment on a pending case Diane. Night Amy room back thanks for that to help us break it all down I want to bring in serious sex and radio host and ABC news contributor Mike muse my. Good morning you know they're still shell much about this story that we simply don't know so I want to make that clear before we even start. Oh what stood out you about this account from Jamie Spears' attorney. Yet the modalities and it we just don't know until we have to be careful of what rigs and seeing on immediate burst what is actually happening in the court room. Ers is actually went to medical professionals are actually witnessing two as well over their beings at three things they did and now Tammy Wynette and Amy. The attorney. I think she's still need to be to conservatives should. A certain period of time the lawyer didn't answer that specifically she said and every story needs a bill today and the army are bound to be a fraction of an apple also was a time period. The lawyer could have made chased Omar to and the public doesn't know or Sudanese continuing forward the second thing now was concerning to me and was Mangini said when Britney wants recorded an album secret records when Britney wants of reform she can reforms and when Britney wants of their programs like a normal person Arafat will collaborate Hirsch. It was very telling to me and exists. Britney Spears who is 39 years old and needs permission she's doing these things and I think that is what is unsettling. Reasons we don't know nothing that is when asked. This is curiosity. And is a than it is an and a woman still needs to get permission to 39 years folks who live on easy to collaborate. With the man or her father the third day as saying that this harness that he asked a debit it is we see her still being so success always seen her performing. But the acting as a human being. Intimately you immediately get up and go to work from if I and still have to get permission. From someone's in my line I think that is what the public's mind so vexing. And now her conservative ship has two parts there's a conservative ship over her person and conservative ship over her finances and that happens. In California unlike in other states were often it's just about finances. And so we should clarify Ed Jamie spears at. This point now is only in charge of her finances and he shares that responsibility with the banks and he doesn't oversee every change. But when you look at the history britney's father's saying look her assets have grown from two point eight million dollars when this whole thing started. To sixty million dollars since I have been given this conservative ship responsibilities so. How much is out evidence that at least when it comes to managing her finances he's been doing a good job. Let's talk did you Diane and you are always are able to give the balance in the air if you go on the past and free billionaire who went to have their groceries is right there is but that is a data point that actually is positive lie Arafat are needed to have been on the financial aspects have been a financial matters we seen -- more often how celebrities I even those that our actions are readership had been taken advantage Greta does not knowing what I was DL and n.'s I think we recognize that she there was there a need for her father Tuesday bin. I think that is the other question that we have to ask is you know hurt him too roll over assets to win that he did it. There's still grass now her financially to still be protected and I don't want from her sounds in his arms and two from those who may be granting advantage of the situation. With Britney Spears. And then you heard his lawyer they're saying that these videos and Jamie and Britney playing together with the rest the family. But they're proves that they don't get along do you think. That that video is enough to make that case and and couldn't. That be true and she still wants and the conservative ship has could both of those things be true. Both of those could be true but if you her with the lawyer were saying you were saying and how. It happened during the pandemic when we were the pandemic. This and is bigger things out and we want to be loved ones that should. It wasn't as it really was is there with her father she was director sisters she was there were extremely niece and so she's still want to be around her family. Suggest she's dare. Doesn't mean that maybe she couldn't have been Bogut and constitution could still be comfortable. But since you want her father to leave her financial matters alone Enzo. I mean that video has left more questions. And Diaw didn't prove it anything indeterminate whether or not. Our Britney acts he does not want her arm around. And it's a complicated case and tennis SATA one issue stuck in the middle of all this might news thanks for joining us. And check this out you are looking at something appropriately called a fire fall. Where you can see it if you hurry after the break. And a few more things to know. Where you know prosecutors have dropped DW I and reckless driving charges against music legend Bruce Springsteen. After he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of consuming alcohol in a closed area of these charges stem from a November incident was crazy was arrested in New Jersey part. He was also find five. Forty dollars. Visitors at Yosemite National Park retreating to a stunning view of the annual experienced known as fireball. Every year in mid February visitors traveled to the heart to see the fire ball which requires a combination. Perfect weather and perfect timing the sun hasn't caused just right hundred to look like lava. Yesterday was the last day news entities designated recommended window to use a fire ponds but officials say it is still possible to see today. And NASA has a real new footage from Mars including a high. Finishing panoramic view of the landings I captured. But perseverance rover. The new pictures showed the jazz are a crater lake that could have had a life billions of years ago. Cameras on the road are helping scientists decide which tracks a sample for lab for an eventual return to burns. All of this of course to answer the age old question is there life on Mars and and that doesn't that is ABC news live update I'm venues it thanks for joining us and remember ABC news lies you're free all day. With the latest news context and analysis we'll see right back here at 11 AM and AM eastern. The new Stacy.

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