– This is New York’s number one news, Channel 7 Eyewitness News with David Novarro and Shirleen Allicot, and Sam Champion with the exclusive Accuweather forecast. Now Eyewitness News at noon.
DAVID NOVARRO: A big day in the fight against COVID-19. Everyone 16 and older in New Jersey can now get the vaccine. And good afternoon. I’m David Novarro.
CANDACE MCCOWAN: I’m Candace McCowan in for Shirleen Allicot. We are here with a special digital edition of Eyewitness News at noon. While ABC’s coverage of closing arguments in the Derek Chauvin trial continue on channel seven. We begin in New Jersey, which is the last state and the state to open up eligibility to everyone over 16.
DAVID NOVARRO: And today is also the deadline President Biden set for all the states to get the vaccine. Eyewitness News reporter Derick Waller has more.
DERICK WALLER: New Jersey among the last states to open up their vaccine eligibility, and this morning talking to people here at this vaccine site in Newark, we got a better understanding as to why that might have been the case.
WALIDA WILSON: I’m on a cane. I can’t walk. It’s hard for me to walk up these hills. And I got COPD.
DERICK WALLER: Despite those medical conditions, Walida Wilson and her friend Dallie showed up in person at the New Jersey Institute of Technology vaccine site hoping to finally get an appointment with no luck.
DALLIE SHELL: They doing second doses for people. It’s the second dose turn. So but we’re kind of get just her first one.
DERICK WALLER: And now the competition for appointments might get even tougher. Today, anyone over age 16 can sign up, not just in New Jersey, but nationwide. Today was a Biden administration deadline. Newark mayor Ras Baraka is urging neighbors not to be discouraged.
RAS BARAKA: If you sign those lists and you’ve been waiting, now is the time for you to get it. They’re going to call you. As of Monday, everybody is eligible.
DERICK WALLER: That expanded eligibility comes even with the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine temporarily off the market. That’s after a handful of women developed life threatening blood clots, a literal one in a million occurrence. On Sunday, Dr. Fauci said he expects a CDC panel to bring back to J&J shot by the end of this week.
ANTHONY FAUCI: I would think that we’re not going to go beyond Friday in the extension of this pause. There will very likely be a decision. I don’t want to get ahead of them. But I don’t think that they’re going to completely cancel.
DERICK WALLER: And Dr. Fauci also says that if and when that CDC panel approves the Johnson & Johnson shot once again, this time it will likely come with a warning label. Reporting from Newark, I’m Derick Waller, Channel 7 Eyewitness News.
CANDACE MCCOWAN: And breaking news in New York, Governor Cuomo just announced museums and zoos can go up to 50% capacity next Monday. And movie theaters, they will be raised to a 33% capacity next Monday. Indoor large arenas will go to 25% capacity on May 19. That is in time for the NBA playoffs. Some more encouraging news in New York City. The mayor says the citywide positivity rate has finally dropped below 5%. And a new vaccination site will open at an iconic attraction.
Meanwhile, restaurants across the state can stay open an hour longer. Restaurants can stay open until midnight. And catered events can go until 1:00 AM. Eyewitness News reporter NJ Burkett has the latest from Midtown. NJ.
NJ BURKETT: Yeah. That’s right, Candace. For the first time in a long time, as you said, there’s an indication now that the citywide infection rate is falling. After weeks of stagnation, this is really good news. Public health authorities have been concerned, Candace, as you know, looking for signs, looking for indications that the city is beginning to turn the tide, turn the corner on the pandemic. It’s clear that the pace of vaccinations in New York City is now having a measurable impact, now down below 5%.
The city is now setting one day vaccination records. So this is all one reason that restaurants will now be able to remain open until midnight, albeit still at 50% capacity. It’s not clear when that will change. And the city has been able to maintain the breakneck pace of vaccination despite the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In fact, there is enough supply of the other two vaccines that there are now plenty of available appointments.
And the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may actually be approved for restricted use by the end of the week. The mayor suggested that that could be the timeline. Yet the mayor was asked whether the number of available appointments might actually be a bad sign. But there may be reluctance now to get the vaccine.
BILL DE BLASIO: We like the fact that people can get appointments readily. And I would argue the fact that we had our highest ever day for vaccinations is directly related to the fact that it became easier and more convenient. So I think the good news here outweighs the bad. The good news is that folks can finally get appointments when it works for them, when they feel ready, in a more convenient location. We want that. And as we experiment with the walk ups, that continues to be a good approach. We’ll keep expanding that.
But I also think that the answers on Johnson & Johnson will help a lot. I think if as we predict by the end of the week we’ll get some clear answers–
NJ BURKETT: And the mayor mentioned walk ups a moment ago. He announced now that any New Yorker 50 and older can simply walk into New York City vaccination center with no appointment necessary. And a vaccination center, they also announced, will be open soon in the American Museum of Natural History up on Central Park West. And farther uptown, Columbia University announced this morning that all students returning to campus in the fall must be vaccinated for COVID-19. We’re live on the East side. NJ Burkett. Channel 7 Eyewitness News.
DAVID NOVARRO: Thank you, NJ. Police say the driver who struck and killed a man on the Upper West Side did not realize he had run over a victim. Police say the 28-year-old driver was into left lane last night on Central Park West, when at the same time a pedestrian walked into the roadway and then laid down in the lane. As a result, police say the driver ran over the pedestrian and dragged the body before he realized what had happened and stopped. The driver stayed at the scene until police arrived. No charges at this time.
CANDACE MCCOWAN: Well, New York’s Department of Labor accidentally overpaid some people seeking unemployment benefits a year ago. Now the Department is notifying those people that they have to pay it back. They say under federal law, they are required to recover any overpaid funds. Now if you were overpaid, you will receive a letter with instructions on how to request an appeal or a waiver. Unless you file a timely request, the department will begin recovering payments from your benefits after 30 days.
DAVID NOVARRO: ABC News has been airing live coverage of the closing arguments in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin. Here’s a live look at the courtroom. The jury will get the case when both the prosecution and defense wrap up. Deliberations could begin as soon as this afternoon. Meanwhile, police departments across the country are bracing for protest. NBC’s Rena Roy has the latest from Minneapolis.
REENA ROY: Derek Chauvin’s fate will soon be in the hands of the jury. And they will soon be sequestered as they discuss if he should be found guilty. Today, both sides in the closely watched Derek Chauvin murder trial getting one final chance to make their cases and convince the jury. The prosecution trying to prove Chauvin’s actions when he pinned George Floyd’s neck to the pavement with his knee for nearly 9 and 1/2 minutes were a substantial cause of Floyd’s death.
– George Floyd begged until he could speak no more. And the defendant continued this assault. This was not policing. It was unnecessary. It was gratuitous. It was disproportionate. And he did it on purpose.
REENA ROY: The defense attempting to create reasonable doubt, arguing Chauvin’s actions were reasonable, and that Floyd’s drug use and heart issues ultimately led to his death. Defense attorneys also claiming the crowd of bystanders distracted officers.
– He’s not responsive right now.
REENA ROY: For nearly three weeks, jurors heard powerful testimony from 45 witnesses, including George Floyd’s loved ones, medical experts, and law enforcement officials. The former officer facing three charges, second degree unintentional murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter.
PHILONISE FLOYD: Minnesota, they have to get this right. The jurors, they have to get this right. My brother, he was tortured to death for over nine minutes.
REENA ROY: America watching intently.
REENA ROY: As protests continue coast to coast following the recent police officer shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago and Daunte Wright during this trial near Minneapolis just 10 miles away from the courtroom, increasing tensions in a community already on edge. Roughly 2,000 National Guard members deployed to this area, two guardsmen injured in a drive by shooting over the weekend. The schools here will be going remote starting Wednesday. And businesses in this area are boarded up in anticipation of any protests. In Minneapolis, Reena Roy for Channel 7 Eyewitness News.
CANDACE MCCOWAN: Well a historic day once again for NASA and space enthusiasts. NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter, Ingenuity rose from the dusty red surface into the thin air today achieving the first powered controlled flight on another planet. Flight controllers in California confirmed Ingenuity’s brief hop after receiving data from the Perseverance Rover, the triumph was hailed as a Wrights brother moment. The mini 4 pound helicopter carried a bit of wing fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer.
DAVID NOVARRO: Governors Island is getting help to control invasive plant species from a very low cost option that works for food. Four sheep have been brought in to live on the island to help landscapers. The sheep will spend the next five months in the Hammock Grove eating vegetation that could damage the island’s other plants. It’s part of a new innovative landscaping program. Sheep [INAUDIBLE] have been used on other municipal and federally owned properties. The sheep are from a lake preserve and farm in Albany.
I remember first seeing this in Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth Verrazano Bridge. And boy, it’s a win-win for everybody. Right?
CANDACE MCCOWAN: Yeah. Sam, just send us to an island for the next five months. I guess we are on an island for the next five months.
SAM CHAMPION: Well, I forgot how much of their weight they actually eat. But it’s kind of amazing. So they really do a great job. Just a few can take care of a big territory. So job well done. Plus we can all go by and see them, wave at them and see what’s going on.
Here’s what’s outside today. We’ve got some clouds kind of working at us from the North, already have some showers in Northern parts of the Hudson Valley, and some showers and clouds working up from the South. So even though we’ve got some sunshine in between the clouds right now across the city, it’s just a matter of time before we start to deteriorate that with some showers. And we’ll all see them this afternoon. 63 in Midtown. We’re looking at about 55 in the Melrose section, 62 by the time we get into Midland Beach. 63 in Smithtown right now. 63 also toward Montauk.
So you could see this push of cold air. This is that cold air that Reena was standing in in her live shot, right around Minneapolis. It’s 35 degrees right now. So this is pressing down, not only into the middle of the country, not only into the heartland. But we’re going to catch an edge of it after a quick cold front comes through by Wednesday. So we’ll go down sharply. And then we’ll come back up by the end of the week. In between now and then, this is what we’re talking about.
Now you can see those clouds develop, boom, right there and all the instability. And you can see the showers that are developing there as well. And you can catch the edge of this rain that was down near South of Washington DC this morning that’s starting to work North. This is the main driver. This is all just kind of developed a little bit stronger than the models we’re anticipating. That’s how we know we’re going to get showers in all locations. It’s not just the ones moving up in the South, but these that developed in the North as well.
So by 1:30, we’re watching that kind of filter in. By 3 o’clock this afternoon, you’re seeing some scattered showers, and even that picking up by the South. Then as we go through even 8 o’clock tonight, there’ll be some embedded heavier rain showers in this light showers that move by. And we’ll start to clear the clouds immediately following that. And then overnight tonight, we’ll be clear.
So if you’re looking at the hour by hour here, you can see by about 4 o’clock we’ve got some scattered showers. And I still feel like it’s 3:00 to 4:00. We’ve been talking about that all morning long. Then the clear skies. Look at how beautiful we started, about 6:00 AM at 50 degrees. And we’ll take that number up into the 70s tomorrow, probably around 74 degrees.
Air quality’s good. UV index is 6. In between those clouds, you’re going to get enough sunshine if you’re out that you’ll need some sun protection. Sun and clouds, late showers both North and South, 66 degrees. Clearing skies, comfortable overnight tonight, 45 degrees. And then tomorrow, it’s just stunning. I’d like to take the day off. It’s 74 degrees. Let’s just see if David says he’ll need me. 74 with bright skies. And then we’ll start to move that cold front through and things will drop down.
Thursday we’ll be sharply colder at a 53 degree high temperature. And look at that 38 degree low Wednesday night into Thursday morning. But we bounce right back, guys.
DAVID NOVARRO: What kind of a trick question was that, Sam? We need you all the time. One week to go before Hollywood’s biggest night. Producing the Oscars show is a huge task. And that was before a global pandemic disrupted everything. And this year, there won’t be a traditional audience or glamorous red carpet. Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has more on the big changes coming to this year’s show.
– And the Oscar goes to Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
SANDY KENYON: It’s been more of the same for half a century now. The faces in their films may change, but not the format at a show that grew ever bigger in scope with each passing year, until now.
AMANDA SEYFRIED: It is unprecedented because we are nearing, knock on wood, the end of this pandemic.
SANDY KENYON: A pandemic that postponed the Oscars show and forced a change of venue to a historic iconic art deco masterpiece, LA’s Union Station.
ANDRA DAY: Aesthetically, I think it’ll be amazing because I shot at Union Station before. And it’s just really cool. You know what I mean? It’s an amazing, very interesting venue.
SANDY KENYON: Andra Day is one of a record nine performers of color recognized in the acting categories.
– Because she’s strong, beautiful, and Black.
SANDY KENYON: She’ll be part of history at an Oscar ceremony unlike any other.
ANDRA DAY: I feel like the energy’s going to be– it’ll be a precursor to what summer’s going to look like, like when everybody loses their mind because they’re like, yes. Finally.
SANDY KENYON: Producers stressed the safety of the event. But they want to avoid the glitches of the Globes. So this year’s Oscar winners must accept in person or live via satellite with each nominee allowed to bring just one guest.
AMANDA SEYFRIED: This is the first award show that’s going to be really truly in person.
SANDY KENYON: There will still be couture, but no crowds.
– Less people, less dresses, more attention to the few dresses.
SANDY KENYON: They’ll be reaching back into the past.
– Mink. Coming
SANDY KENYON: To take a step forward.
AMANDA SEYFRIED: It’s going to be a bigger deal. It’s going to mean so much more this year than it ever has.
SANDY KENYON: Sandy Kenyon, Channel 7 Eyewitness News.
DAVID NOVARRO: And you can watch the Oscars right here on Channel 7. Sunday, our coverage begins at 4:00 PM with Eyewitness News. And then the action begins at 5:30 with “On The Red Carpet”. And at 8:00 PM, it is the main event for the Oscars. In addition to watching the Oscars on Channel 7, you can also watch it on these streaming apps. That’s going to do it for this special edition of Eyewitness News. I’m David Novarro.
CANDACE MCCOWAN: And I’m Candace McCowan. For Sam and the entire Eyewitness News team, thank you for watching. Make sure you’re back this afternoon for Eyewitness News first at 4:00. And we’re always on on ABC 7 NY. Have a good afternoon.