tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC August 24, 2021 3:30pm-3:59pm PDT
for joining us for this interactive show, "getting answers." i'm julian glover. answering questions when it comes to covid-19. tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. president biden just moments ago on the emergency evacuations in? and what about the afghans who helped the u.s.? and tonight, president biden on his concerns over the potential terror threat on the groung in afghanistan the longer the u.s. is there. tonight, the pace of evacuations increasing dramatically. ian pannell reporting from kabul. martha raddatz live in washington with late reporting. can this deadline be met? also tonight, news on the pandemic. the u.s. now reporting more than 140,000 new covidases a day.
tonight, we're inside hospitals at a breaking point. dr. fauci tonight on what the u.s. needs to do to get control of this virus to have some sort of normalcy by next spring. and new numbers just in tonight from the cdc for fully vaccinated americans, how quickly does the vaccine begin to wear off over time? just as these boosters, these third shots, will soon be made available. also tonight, breaking news from capitol hill at this hour. the major milestone in the house on the president's sweeping inf infrastructure plans. the $3.5 trillion budget blueprint narrowly passing the house. but a reality check tonight, what it now faces ahead and jon karl is standing by. the scare forcing vice president harris' flight to vietnam to be delayed for several hours. at least one staff member at the u.s. mission in hanoi stricken with what could be that so-called havana syndrome. the mystery condition first detected in cuba. authorities say it is cause headaches and potential brain
injury. news on the missing tonight after those catastrophic floods in tennessee. tonight, we hear the 911 calls, the terrifying moments the water came rushing in.ol twins swept aw. foreman lost in the floods. the massive wildfires in california and tonight the neighboring states now reporting some of the worst air quality in more than two decades. the emergency onboard. the cell phone sparking on a plane. and the evacuation that came next. and tonight here, we remember one of the best rock 'n' roll drummers of all time. a force with the rolling stones. good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy tuesday night. president biden before the american people just a short time ago on the emergency evacuations in afghanistan.
tonight, president biden now saying the u.s. is on pace to finish this by that august 31st deadline to get out of afghanistan. that is one week from today, to get americans out, to get all u.s. troops out and it leads to questions tonight about all of the afghans who helped the u.s. over the 20-year war. will they get out, too? will that process continue after this deadline? the president saying he is concerned about the terror threat on the ground, with each day, u. u.s. troops remain there. concerned about isis in afghanistan and about the taliban, saying they're cooperating so far, but that's always a risk of it breaking down. tonight, the evacuations moving more quickly. the administration saying more than 33,000 people have now been airlifted in the past 36 hours. the state department now reporting that every american citizen in afghanistan that registered with the embassy has now been contacted and has been given instructions to get to the airport. the administration says some 5,100 americans have already been evacuated, but with
thousands of afghans still waiting to depart, the taliban today telling afghans not to go to the airport, that they should head back home, to work, that there is no danger. but of course, the very real fears remain tonight. president biden coming before the cameras late today, saying we will learn more about the nu team making their way to the airport overnight in a tense caravan, past heavily armed taliban fighters, making it inside airport walls where they will report for us tonight. groups of afghans also heading to the airport at night, boarding buses at a taliban checkpoint and then waiting, documents in hand as the taliban stand guard, determining who gets through and who doesn't. the president today on a virtual meeting with leaders of the g7, the eu and the u.n., tonight saying they are all united in their approach to the taliban moving forward. and we have learned that cia director william burns traveled to kabul for a secret meeting with taliban leader abdul beganny mar dar.
tonight, with one week to go before this august 31st deadline, the situation there on the ground. and we begin here with abc's ne pannell leading us off from the kabul airport. >> reporter: with thousands of desperate afghans trapped in kabul outside the airport, president biden so far refusing to extend the august 31st deadline for u.s. forces to leave afghanistan. >> we are currently on a pace to finish by august 31st. the sooner we can finish, the better. each day of operations brings added risk to our troops. >> reporter: the president making the decision today to ensure the u.s. military could complete the drawdown safely, with just one week to go before the deadline, citing a, quote, very high risk of an attack. >> the longer we stay, starting with the acute and growing risk of an attack by a terrorist group known as isis-k, an isis affiliate in afghanistan. >> reporter: biden telling the american people meeting the deadline depends on continued taliban cooperation.
>> it's a tenuous situation. we've already had some gun fighting break out. we run a serious risk of it breaking down as time goes on. >> reporter: biden speaking to g7 leaders today who urged the president to extend the deadline. and tonight, we're learning about an extraordinary secret meeting between cia director william burns and de facto taliban leader mullah baradar in kabul on monday. it's the highest level face-to-face talks between the administration and the taliban since the militants seized control. but it's unclear how productive the talks were. at a press conference today, the taliban announcing it's now blocking afghans trying to leave the country from the airport, telling them to go home and claiming they want to protect people from terrorist threats at the airfield. the taliban also rejecting any plans to extend the u.s. troop withdrawal. the announcement making the race to evacuate americans and afghan allies all the more urgent.
more than 75,000 people evacuated from the country in the past ten days,lung erans. on leaving ever 45 minutes. u.s. military helicopters conducting a second mission outside the airport, reportedly rescuing 16 americans monday, just days after crews airlifted 169 americans from a hotel outside the airfield last week. the escape from kabul is perilous. threats lie around each corner. afghans trapped behind taliban checkpoints wait in limbo, desperate but unable to get out. >> we're waiting to get through, but they're not letting us at the moment. >> reporter: under the cover of darkness, families move quietly with what remains of their lives stuffed into small bags, as they board buses bound for the airport. the threat from taliban checkpoints is everywhere. this is everyone's greatest fear in kabul, being stopped and
questioned by the militants. whole families sleep on the side of the road. and at the airport gate, less than 50 yards separates the last taliban checkpoint and u.s. fo for some here, it's a few small steps that could mean the difference between life and death. tens of thousands have now fled, but many still unable to get through. i pressed general sul listen say, who is in charge of civilian evacuations on the base, whether all afghans who helped the u.s. mission will be evacuated from the country. how confident are you that all american citizens who want to eilives to help us in this mission, will get out in the next seven days? >> what i can guarantee is that we will get as many out as we possibly can with the time we have available. >> reporter: which implies some will be left behind. or could be. >> i won't speculate on that. all i can say is that we will get as many out as we possibly can. >> and so let's bring in ian pannell, reporting from the airport in kabul for us again
tonight. and ian, i want to get back to what the president said just before we came on the air tonight, he said this august 31st deadline to withdraw all u.s. troops depends on the taliban continuing to cooperate. the president also saying he's mindful of the increasing risks on the ground there, not only from isis, but from the taliban itself. so far, cooperating with the u.s., but the president said there's a serious risk of that breaking down at some point, as well. give us a sense here, you're at the airport. how do you get all the americans out, all of the afghans who helped us out and ugs troops out by one week from today? >> reporter: i mean, that is the key question, david. and i just don't see how that is possible. perhaps -- perhaps you can get all american citizens out. we've seen a massive uptick in the number of airlifts, people going through this site here, the marines are working around the clock to try to facilitate getting people out of the country. but this is a huge base. there are thousands of troops here and it's going to take days
just to get the troops out, and that means there's a very narrow window to get the people into the camp and out of the country. and it seems to me it's going to be almost impossible to guarantee that the afghans who risked their lives to help us to get them out of the country. david? >> ian pannell reporting from the kabul airport. ian, thank you. and presidnt biden indicating he will try to meet that august 31st deadline. as you heard ian report, to get u.s. troops out, evacuations will have to end even sooner to give time to get the u.s. military out. the state department tonight saying they did make that contact with every american who checked with the u.s. embassy, but that does leave open the question, what about getting out all of the afghans who helped the u.s.? let's bring in martha raddatz tonight. martha, i was struck by what the taliban told the afghan people at this news conference today, they said, afghan nationals should head back to their homes, their jobs, their normal lives, there is no danger to them. they said, women should stay home for now for their own safety, they will not be
prevented from working, the taliban claiming. and they called on afghans to, quote, let's live together, the war has finished. but this is a real leap of faith and ese concerns are very real tonight, martha. >> reporter: they sure are, david. they simply can't take the taliban at their word. those afghans who worked for the americans who have not completed paperwork and still want to get out will be in pearil. and how they get out with the taliban fully in charge of the airport, with no american backup, is unknown. even though informal veterans w been trying to save their afghan friends will have a near impossible task getting them out. we're hearing harrowing stories from all over aftghanistan abou the very real threat, a threat that will be even greater come tuesday, because, david, it would have to be an extraordinary circumstance for president biden to extend that de deadline because officials tell me he does not want to. david? >> we know this threat remains for afghans and as you point out, martha, so many veterans
here in the u.s. now working in overtime to try to help the interpreters who helped them for so many years. martha, i know you're going to stay on this. we move on tonight to the pandemic in this country, the u.s. now reporting more than 140,000 new cases of covid a day in this country. tonight here, we're inside hospitals at a breaking point. and dr. fauci this evening saying the u.s. could get back to some sort of normalcy by next spring, but what he said has to happen before then. and those new numbers just in from the cdc tonight for fully vaccinated americans, how quickly does the vaccine begin to wear off over time? abc's victor oquendo from miami tonight. >> reporter: tonight, hospitals in the south buckling under a crush of covid patients. from houston, where some e.r.s have closed their doors, to louisiana, dh marked its deadliest day of the pandemic. inside this hospital in shreveport, exhausted staff facing a seemingly endless loss of life. >> imagine the pressure of knowing that i don't know if i can do this another day, another
hour, but if i don't show up tomorrow, there's nobody here to take care of this patient, there's nobody here to hold this phone and let them talk to their family the last time before we put a tube in them. >> repor to the care of funeral homes, only to go right back to the icu, where they will race to save more covid patients like this 36-year-old. >> it's really hard to see your strong husband so weak. >> reporter: lauren, who is recovering from covid herself, has waited nearly a month for her husband to wake up. lauren says he wasn't ready to get the vaccine and she just never found the time. >> i made the appointment three times and canceled it because i was too busy. if i could go back in time, that is the one thing i would change. >> reporter: still, dr. anthony fauci says he sees a light at the end of the tunnel as long as millions more americans get vaccinated. >> if we can get through this winter and get really the majority, overwhelming majority of the 90 million people who
have not been vaccinated vaccinated, i hope we could start to get some good control in the spring of 2022. >> reporter: some say the new fda approval for the pfizer vaccine helped convince them to get the shot. >> now that there are things that are fda approved, that makes it a little bit more comfortable. i did need to see a little bit more research, some fda approval at the very least. >> reporter: and for the millions of fully vaccinated, that third shot, a booster shot, just weeks away. officials say it could be available by mid-september. now more evidence americans will need it. an updated cdc study of 4,000 front line workers found that vaccine effectiveness at preventing any infection dropped from 91% to 66% from april to august, a drop that was likely fueled by the delta variant surge and a waning of vaccine efficacy over time, especially for health care workers who were among the first in the nation to be vaccinated. >> and victor, i want to get right back to that study. when you see the efficacy waning
over time, we should point out that these vaccines are still very effect 2i6 against severe dsease and hospitalizations, but the numbers are driving the argument for that third shot, a booster shot, which federal authorities say could be available by mid-september. >> reporter: david, experts stress that while we are seeing more of these mild breakthrough infections, the vaccine still dramatically reduced the risked of hospitalizations or dying of covid. now there is evidence of the vaccines waning over time and that's why health officials will recommend a booster shot eight months after that second shot. david? >> victor oquendo from miami tonight. thank you, victor. and tonight, the major headline out of washington at this hour. president biden moving forward on his two-track infrastructure plan, hoping to pass a buy partisan bill to rebuild the nation's roads and bridges and push through an even larger part of his agenda, that $3.5 trillion package for nontraditional infrastructure. let's bring in jon karl, because on the second part of that plan, the bigger part, with support from only democrats, it did take
a major step forward in the house today, but you and i both know it still faces a tough road ahead here. >> reporter: david, president biden was in need of a win and he did get a partial victory today as the house moved one step closer to passing the $3.5 trillion social infrastructure bill. the details are still to be w worked out, but the bill would include a big increase in education spending and expansion of medicare, tax increases on the wealthy and on corporations and funding to combat climate change. what action today means, david, is that in the senate, this can be passed with only democratic votes if democrats remain united, but david, that is a big if. you already have two democratic senators who say this bill is simply too expensive. >> all right, jon karl, a long road ahead here. jon, thank you. next tonight, we turn to that scare over the so-called havana syndrome, declaying vice president kamala harris's asia trip for a time. the u.s. embassy in hanoi
reported a possible case. tonight here, more on what this havana syndrome is, and here's abc's receive knstephanie ramos. >> reporter: tonight, vice president kamala harris has landed in vietnam after her flight was delayed over a, quote, "possible anomalous health incident" in hanoi.madamd you continue your trip? >> reporter: the reported incident affected a staffer at the u.s. mission in vietnam in recent days. allegedly an incident of "havana syndrome" -- the mysterious onset of symptoms like headache, earache, nausea and trouble seeing or balancing. cases were first reported by american personnel in havana, cuba, in 2016 and 2017. many of them diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries. since then, dozens of u.s. officials in multiple countries have reported symptoms. can you share more about the possible incident of havana syndrome that delayed the vice president's trip? >> while this is not a confirmed case at this point in time, we take any reported incident -- which was recent and was reported publicly, i will
note -- quite seriously. as a result, there was an assessment done of the safety of the vice president and there was a decision made that she could continue travel along with her staff. >> reporter: there are now more than 130 possible cases of havana syndrome, including in china and russia. the white house is investigating the cause. david? >> stephanie ramos at the white house tonight. steph, thank you. when we come back here, news on the missing, the 911 calls now, after those catastrophic floods in tennessee. and the phone sparking on a plane and th emergency evacuation. with chase freedom , i earn all this cash back? oh, i gotta tell everyone. hey rita, you can earn 3% on dining, including takeout! n pe hekim,ou en 5% on travel purchased through chase! way ahead of you. hey neal, you can earn 3% at drug stores!!! buddy, i'm right here. why are you yelling? because that's what i do! you're always earning with 5% cash back on travel purchased through chase, 3% at drugstores, 3% on dining including takeout, and 1.5% on everything else you buy. chase. make more of what's yours.
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>> buildingter ba area, moving forward finding solutions, this is abc 7 news. >> please get vaccinated. do it for your own health, do it for our children. >> if we keep lingering without getting people vaccinated that should be, this could linger on. >> a push to get people to get their shots and a warning we can't let our guard down, thanks for joining us, i'm larry beil. >> you are watching news at 4:00 wherever you stream. >> everyone standing in the back without a mask needs to leave. we will not proceed until anybody is wearing a mask. >> at a city councilman, massless protesters disrupted the meeting ahead of proposals for requiring masks.
the meeting was recessed until, was restored. the protesters left to air grievances outside of city hall. we willive reportn abc 7 news at 5:00. ages five 11 could be eligible for the covid vaccine this year. that is what the national institution -- to tune of health director told us. >> unvaccinated are five times more likely to become infected with covid compared to people who are fully vaccinated. there 29 more times -- times more likely to be hospitalized. >> the cdc forecast the daily case average will climb relates of timber. >> thousands of pfizer vaccines on the verge of expiring got a three month extension from the fda. >> part of our vaccine team spoke to medical experts who say vaccine doses are still being thrown out every day across the state. >> very, normally vaccines have