ABC News Live Update: US nears 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19

Plus, a Capitol Police officer sits down for an exclusive interview about his experience inside the Capitol siege, and a midair scare is caught on camera when a Boeing plane engine bursts into flames.
26:56 | 02/22/21

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Transcript for ABC News Live Update: US nears 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19
Good morning I'm Diana status thanks for streaming with us in today's update the nation is approaching a once unimaginable. Milestone. 500000. American lives lost to the storm a virus this is the razorbacks native country gets back on track after those deadly winter storms delayed millions of doses. And the new warning from doctor fascia about masks and how long Americans might need to Wear them. Also ahead the latest on that mid air emergency. Yeah. Just. It has started to turn immediately. The FAA's grounding more than a hundred triple sevens after an engine. Fell over a Colorado neighborhood with hundreds of passengers on board and residents can hear those huge pieces of the aircraft crashing to the ground. The latest this morning as federal investigators search for answers. And for the first time a capitol police officers speaking out on camera nearly what it looked like inside the building during capital attack on January 6 they handled tactical gear and bulletproof vest. They were ready to go but was scared I was absolutely scared. Q what happened when he came face to face with the mob and what he's saying now about his fellow officers to exclusive interview this morning. We begin with that sobering. And that's more people than we lost in world wars one and two the Korean War ended Vietnam War combined. This is a nation scrambles to ramp up that vaccine roll out nearly 13% of the population has gotten at least one dose. In the pilgrim has the latest. Playing catch up this morning a scramble to get a backlog of vaccine doses delivered. After winter storms caused major shipping delays six million doses held up by the weather that's about three days worth of shipments. FedEx and UPS working through the weekend to get back on track we've writ been able to get about two million of those six million doses out. We expect to rapidly catch up this week. Fill that backlog make sure they're out to communities and also. Meet our our deadlines on our time lines of the doses that are due to go out this upcoming week in New York the Health Department now telling us they are expecting shipments to start arriving today. They were down to less than a thousand doses left because shipments just couldn't get here due to that whether. And that weather is still affecting those down south and Texas canceling appointments across the region. After having O. Bennett and the week that we. No power and no water. The fact that the shot sun coming up it's and data disaster. This as the first case of the south African bury it has now been found in the New York State residents that variant has been. Down in twelve states and Washington DC meanwhile a new Israeli study suggesting that one dose of the Pfizer vaccine could be 85% effective in preventing symptomatic disease. However health officials say more information is needed and for now it's critical we stick to the current two dose schedule. Back out here at this mass vaccination site at Jones beach you can see that people are already here lined up cars are in that they did people are getting their shot this morning at health officials are reminding people even if you've gotten both doses of the vaccine should still follow the CDC recommendations. Where your mask social distance and wash your hands. We weren't even Silberman a mass vaccinations at Jones beach in New York thanks you know. And as a nation ramps up efforts to vaccinated as many Americans as possible families across the country are trying to wrap their heads around is staggering death tolls went cold in nineteen so far she. Every face you see on the screen right now is a heartbreaking loss seen dozens Tommy has more on how we got here. 500000. Dead it's a painful milestone this morning that even mocked top doctors could not imagine one year ago. I don't accept every day that we're gonna have to have a hundred to 200000 deaths I think we can really bring that damn. But this is where we are today that half a million Americans who've died is nearly double the estimates that were released by the White House last spring. It's now one out of every 656. Americans. Take a look at this timeline you can see how the number of Americans who died has added up more than 250000. A loan since November Francesca McCall as a single mother in Birmingham Alabama. Who was raising seven children of her owned this time last year in the fall the corona virus took the lives of her younger sister. And her sister's husband who themselves were the parents of five children. Guess who's raising all twelve those kits now. It didn't get an emotional while local friendly and no data channel widow Martha the would have done it. What I mean. Ellen Clinton and her family are still struggling with how unfair it feels to lose their youngest daughter to cope it twenty year old Helen at took was hoping to become a pediatrician. Problem under your Irene. And. Well I'm there to. Help her. Com. Many are what. You mean. We're group for nurses like Michelle a seat oh in New Jersey. They've been treating sick patients as well as a sick family three people in her family were treated at her hospital. Her mother in law did not survive. My sis Romo was so sick. She could Neiman get out of bed say goodbye to her own mother. And since think that you could be when he beat away from your mom the person you care or and not be able to say goodbye. Diane the scientists here at the CDC. Estimate that we could see another 59000. Deaths in this country by the middle of next month. Diane daunting Steve since Tommy and then Diana thank you about. And earlier today doctor couch he talked about the staggering death hole in the US and what we need to do going forward. To try to keep flattening that her. I believe that if you look back historically. We've done worse than most any other country. And we're highly developed a rich country. So there was things back then that if you go back and think about what you might have done this look kind of disparate. Responses of different states rather than. Having a unified approach. But you know it's it's so tough to just go back and try and you know do a metaphorical autopsy on how things went it was just bad it is dead now. I think these numbers is so stunning. George you know remember back. In their late winter and early spring of 20/20 when we were saying we could get as high as 240000. And people. Was thinking we were being hyperbolic about it and now here we are. Within a half a million deaths just the stunning figure the only thing that I would just encourage all of us. Is that rather than looking back in and saying what the heck happened here just seeing now let's just go forward and be completely committed. As a unified country. To just go at this together this is a common enemy. We've all got a pitching in we're in the book some good shape now with the vaccines. But it's going to be a race against the infections that keep coming in our ability to do two things and do it well. When I ask you about an article that got a lot of attention over the weekend in the Wall Street Journal by Martin but Currie a doctor Johns Hopkins he says according to his studies we have heard immunity. By April we've seen these staggering drops in case is 77%. In the last six weeks any snow saying expression level with the public about the good news your reaction of that. Well there it. The numbers are coming down George when you look at the daily. A curves and the seven day averages this year showing on the screen there. It's dramatically down with the shock deflection. We've got to be really careful in not just say okay where where it will finish now withdrew it we have very hands out there. That could actually set us back I mean fortunately the vaccines that we are distributing now. Work well against the UK variant which looks like it's becoming more dominant in this country. We have the south African Gary and it's not dominated looks like the 117 from the UK. Is going to take over as the dominant we do have a good vaccine against that getting back. To my comment a moment ago Jewish that's more incentive to say. Rather than even think about declaring victory and saying well we have herd immunity were in good shape. We've got to keep pushing and pushing. Chris this thing could bounce back with the variants. Very very quickly we cannot declare a victory because of that curve is coming down. And thanks George and doctor without you for that interview. House Democrats are expected to pass president Biden's pandemic release plan by the end of the week but with such a narrow majority there's little room for disagreement even among Democrats. National correspondent Rachel Scott joins me now for more on this. Rachel good morning one of the big points of contention is this fifteen dollar. Minimum wage now senator Bernie Sanders has said it was advocating port has and that he's confident they can get it through when you look at the full picture what do you think well this and that. Getting cut and what are some of the other potential sticking. Points which ones all not all Democrats are on board with this guy and you have senator mansion and cinema these are too moderate Democrats bearish in the senate and they have said that they are not for push change this fifteen dollar minimum wage in this whole bit of relief package in here is why this matters in the house Democrats have majority age this is going to be smooth sailing are expected to pass this bill by the end of the week but of course you need both chambers in order to get a bill approved two minutes gonna go over to the Spanish and that have a 5050. Split. If the Democrats fifty Republicans Democrats can not afford to lose any senators Barack she answered huddled behind the scenes and figure this out or not to figure out how to get these two democratic senators who are now on the fence saying that they oppose that fifteen dollar minimum wage hike that's included in this bill. On board ordered is gonna have to take it out but senator Bernie theaters as you sad telling us that he is confident that it's gonna stay in this. Bill Diane. If the bill is passed this week. What by the house when you thing we could see a vote in the senate and ultimately when can Americans expect to see and get those rebate checks. Yes so let's lay this out here by the end of the week house is expected to pass this bill me even by the weak and that means that the senate could take this up as early as next week that it would head to president Joseph Biden's task force Signet church and we know that the Treasury Department is gonna wanna get those 14100 dollar stimulus check out and out fast lawmakers here also up against a deadline on March 14 unemployment benefits for millions of Americans are set to expire so they want to get this done and passed by inventing wanna get over to president Joseph Biden's death so we could see things start to move very quickly here at what we know from police the last two stimulus packages that got through which people that have direct deposit SATA but the IRS get their checks soon merge and then those paper checks -- take a little bit longer to get out but we get this moved very quickly some progress made in in the next week by the end of February I am Karen re just got to wash. Tim thanks Rachel. Here's what we're watching in Washington today at 9:30 AM eastern the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee Merrick Garland we will bring that. And meant to you live as it happens right here on ABC news live. Then at 12:30 PM eastern white house Press Secretary Jen Psaki will hold her daily press briefing. At 6 PM eastern president Biden will deliver remarks to commemorate the lives lost to help in nineteen. There will also be a moment of silence and a candle lighting ceremony. And conditions are finally starting to improve in Texas after last week's deadly storm power. Is backs for nearly everyone in the boil water advisory has been lifted in Houston but millions of people outside of Houston are still without safe drinking water. Marcus Moore is in Dallas with the latest. Data this morning a nightmare in the south millions still without safe drinking or running water. Using no running water at all in Houston the city lifting its boil water notice but still long lines for basic needs. People's video need. Water. Homes are not very prepared for a man in this situation is steel die here. And there is so much damage from burst pipes around the state farmers can't keep up. To our calls that are already booked another 800 we. Just couldn't even answer the phone. And while power has mostly been was sort many affected by the storm. Now stunt by jaw dropping electricity bills in fort work Ty Williams was charged 171000. Dollars. We are held hostage early lead our our race and were working. It is really crazy. Some bills like his due in part to the states unregulated energy market. When energy demands increase like they did last week sold your bills the State's governor says addressing these bills now a top priority. Take those who have suffered through days. A freezing cold without power. Should not be subjected to skyrocketing energy bills due to a spike in the energy market. Last week's storm claimed dozens of lives among the youngest eleven year old Christian Pineda his family now filing a 100 million dollar lawsuit. Diana are caught the company that manages 90% of the State's power grid says it has not seen the lawsuit but they will respond accordingly and that the thoughts go out. To everyone who has or is suffering from this right now and the take a look at this you can see. This stream of water going down this neighborhood street there are hundreds of water breaks. Up across the Fort Worth Dallas area and this is one of them has actually buckled this neighborhood street. And you can see and hear the water bubbling from underneath there there are so many breaks that crews Diane have not been able to keep up. It is a new week and there are new troubles for so many across this region. Incredible that this is still going on Marcus Moore in Dallas thank you. And that's gotten mid air scare caught on camera over 100 Boeing jets worldwide have now been grounded. After the engine of the United Airlines flight burst into flames and then shower homes and parks with debris. And a plane had just taken off from Denver ABC news transportation correspondent Jerry GO Benitez has the latest. This morning the FAA and Japan's civil aviation bureau grounding all Boeing triple sevens with a specific Pratt and Whitney engine. The NTSB investigate how this triple seven engines fell apart in mid air just after take off. Medicare just picture and a pillar data. The pilot calling a mayday at thirteen thousand feet I'll its boom. Bring around into. Why 231. Passengers aboard united 328 from Denver to Honolulu Saturday. That terrifying sight right outside their windows overnight the NTSB saying to fan blades on the engine. We're fractured. You can see a broken fan blade in this image. Brenda Joan was with her family on the plane. My daughter. We held hands and I are saying we held each other polls out one point I turned to night I just talk to her and I didn't mean debris flying out our window. And so I just any old you know let's not out I. On the ground a massive pieces of metal falling under neighborhoods some running away trying to avoid getting hit. By pieces falling out of the sky. We've gotten blown engine. And yeah. Oh. Hundreds of people calling 91 won't get my. The operators over well. Several are you calling about the airplane and Connecticut were getting blown up a table one called. This giant piece falling on Kirby Clements lawn. Crushing his truck. What looked out the door got all about. And there. Incredibly no injuries on the ground or on the plane. The pilots landing it safely in Denver but now that specific engine taking center stage. What he and kiss you must look at is there any evidence of our pre existing new issue with that engine. And overnight Boeing telling us that it supports the decision to suspend those triple sevens with that specific engine that we're told that that engine has a very unique design. That may require deeper and more free. When inspections. Diane incredible let no one got hurt their GO but he doesn't JFK airport thanks geo and we're hearing the first. Interview with a capitol police officer about the January 16 we come back what he says he saw and heard from the mob. And his fellow officers. Welcome back for the first time a Capitol Hill police officer who fought off the mob on January 6 is telling his story on camera. Officer Harry Dunn's experience who's front and center at the impeachment trial. And we heard how he was called the N word more than a dozen times our Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas sat down atop this are done for an exclusive interview. About what he saw and how he's moving forward. There were so many calls on the radio. Priority help help somebody's trapped we need help shots fired. When capitol police officer Harry Dunn went to work on the morning of January 6. It felt like a normal day was the first moment. Did you begin to get a sense that something is off kilter here can we. Would till two. Did helmets and riot helmets. No was new but no sense at all hell could preclude court. Correct in the thirteen year veteran seen here washes the crowd of thousands. Closed in on the east side of the capitol. Easy CEC. Old people. Trump Place confederate flags. And blue line flags don't tread on me flags the pending the den and see officers fighting. With these people pepper spray and smoke grenades desperately needs pepper balls. Being claimed by everybody's last dance we've for it with these people. Who were prepared. For a fight. They had on gas masks they had no body armor they had going to wave radios. They handled tactical gear. Blew the proved us they were ready to go when you see that level of preparedness. To death surprised you didn't scare you I was scared I was absolutely scared and his platform. I'm a big six for seldom is giant person it. And we had our guns out in and begin all of these people out there. There are intended. This and we'll take me out I remember at one point has said. How was this going to end. Eventually the mob forces wait inside the capitol building. Thompson done confronting a group carrying a blue lives matter crash but that we get dozens of officers down we get dozens of officers down. And you got the nerve to deal in the blue lies madness. I thought they were when have a moment where they may came to and they realized like you know what are we doing. Like the victim snapped out of the and they said. Now we're doing this for you were doing this for you. And as what you guys kept walking by. The one put out is beds. In say it trust me understand we're doing this for you buddy. Instead of it's. He showed his best ways to take bill fellow officers can you gotta wait kidding me. You gotta be kidding me exhausted our sued done trying to reason with a large group of protesters approaching our car away he was guarding. I literally told them that they wanted to get to hear you gotta go to me. And they did they just started talking to me they were saying how so Biden did not win the election. And nobody voted for him. So I took the bait. And out OK we're Romeo I voted for Joseph Biden is my boat and I count this is. When officer Dunn and touted the couple in the crowds. Began hurling the most vile racial slurs at him a black officer. And his girlfriend sit on repeat mega suit. Today. The motive for Joseph Biden guys. Today everybody the motive for Joseph Biden thanks to you. Sort of crowd join everybody everybody joined in with whom you're gonna capital defending the capital. And some power raced seeped into that took everybody wants to say that. Who's about politics and everything. But it was a large number of people in that crowd. Data were racists did to people who were there and tell you why they were there. Were stopping the steal. According to them they would doors for Russ taught us a favor and recorded those terrorists. You very precise you zoos use the word terrorist absolutely absolutely. It was insists. Mob or a bunch of thugs you know who they were terrorists. They tried to disrupt this country's democracy. That was good goal. You know what you'll failed. But five people lost their lives that day including capitol police officer Brian sick nick. After the capital had been cleared opposite Dunn hit his first chance to reflect on what he had witnessed. It's this cloud of smoke and water bottles. Broken flag poles are redeemed in the rotund. Just laying there on the floor of the review under the rotunda the pinnacle of that these tomorrow Ericsson democracy. And all of this stuff is there and I sat down with good friend of mine so sick is this American. What the hell is happening and it's all of them had colon and couple dozen times to duty. Second is building. Is this America. They beat police officers. Woods who lives matter flags. They fought us. And confederate flags in big US capitol. They stormed the speaker's office. They went to this sensitive documents they were trying to assassinate the vice president. In the capital. Plus the gamut of emotions I've got angry and I said. And are hurt you think sister in the senate you. And gaming there but our my talking about and that's how I get through it. Dunn has nothing but praise for his fellow officers including Eugene Goodman who was seen on camera shielding the unguarded cynical world. And directing senator Mitt Romney away from that mob of protesters. There were dozens of Eugene Goodman's that day dozens. You've seen got caught on camera and I'm not surprised he did the right thing to breathe paints a road game. He deserves everything that he's did and but there was so many. Eugene Goodman's that weren't caught on camera that day and I'm proud to work with them. Officer Dunn and his fellow Brothers and sisters at the capitol police are still healing on so many levels trying to overcome a day seared in their memories. As you can see from that any view Diane there's going to take some time. And a parable and their view Pierre Thomas thank you for that and you can see more appears exclusive interview tonight on ABC news prime. And on world news tonight also. ABC news' primetime series soul of the nation premieres next Tuesday at 10 PM eastern. Confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee Merrick Garland are set to start in just a few minutes when we come back. What to expect from Capitol Hill. Welcome back you're looking live at Capitol Hill where confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee Merrick Garland will start in just a few minutes. You might remember prison Obama nominated Garland to the Supreme Court and senate Republicans blocked him from having a hearing. At the time saying in an election year it should be up to the next president to nominate a Supreme Court justice will bring you today's opening statements lives. In just a few moments the opening bell meanwhile is about to ring. On Wall Street stocks are set to open. I've done for messaging 500 nothing truly winning streak last week. If anything the opening bell investors will be watching closely as fed chair general Powell has. Supplies before the senate banking committee tomorrow right now. We're seeing the Dow all the church. And here's a live look at Capitol Hill where we are waiting for again those confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee Merrick Garland let's ABC news political director Rick Klein. For more on this a written Marla. Could face an interesting political questions at the Biden administration a hat has been trying to avoid. And talk us through that what is he expected to have to answer today. Diane these are some of the the touch he has on a hot highest profile political questions unimaginable looking at the range of issues that judge Garland would inherit. If he is indeed confirmed as attorney general as expected. He would have to take over the the investigation is the origins of the Russell Crowe looked like form by his predecessor he would have to take over the investigation of undermining. President Biden's own son heat up and take over department that has historically low morale after Bob a lot of allegations of politicization of the Department of Justice. And perhaps the biggest of the whole bunch of cases that he would take over. The investigation into the terrorist attacks after US capitol on January sex that would be probably to the the biggest issue that he got that he'd have to inherit and looking looking also at the question of whether you prosecute president trump either as part of that. Or as part of any number of other investigations and as a whole lot that would be on his plate and I expect all of those issues that come up today. I will be interesting to hear what he has to say about them Rick Klein thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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