tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC December 8, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
tonight, several developing stories as we come on the air. our exclusive tonight inside the cdc. what they're seeing with this new variant in the u.s. right now. and tonight, pfizer now revealing new data on its booster, up against the omicron variant. saying the booster does appear to restore protection to its highest level. tonight, dr. anthony fauci saying this new data allows him to breathe a little better. tonight, our dr. jen ashton inside the cdc. what they're seeing across the nation. and what has the cdc director most concerned? also, dr. jha here tonight answering your questions. if the boosters are, in fact, this effective against this new variant, what about children and the current timeline? also tonight, the trial of former police officer kim potter now under way. officer potter charged with
manslaughter for shooting and killing daunte wright, who was unarmed during a traffic stop. she claims she confused her gun for her taser. daunte wright's mother testifying about her final phone call with her son when he was stopped by the police. tonight on capitol hill, the head of instagram grilled about its effects on children, particularly young girls. so, what's being done? rachel scott on the hill tonight. it was a case that horrified the country, so tonight, why was convicted killer scott peterson back in court today? the family of lacy peterson watching it all again in that courtroom. tonight here, the never before seen photos revealed at the trial of ghislaine maxwell. the photos with jeffrey epstein and what prosecutors are hoping these images demonstrate. tonight, our ian pannell on the ukraine border and 24 hours after that video call with president biden, what vladimir putin is now signaling. hillary clinton making news tonight. something she has never done before. and she breaks down while doing it. also tonight, tiger woods and the big announcement.
and our made in america christmas. your ideas pouring in. good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a wednesday night. and we begin tonight with the major news this evening on the effectiveness of these vaccine boosters with this new omicron variant. tonight, pfizer now reporting that early data suggests that the booster does bring your antibodies back up, restoring protection to its highest level. tonight, in pfizer's new study, it did show that the new variant did chip away at the effectiveness of those two doses of the vaccine, but that after the third shot, the booster, there was a high antibody response. health officials tonight say that's reason enough to get a booster shot now, and dr. fauci, for one, saying today this news makes him breathe a little easier. tonight, our dr. jen ashton with
rare access inside the cdc's emergency operation center where they are tracking covid, of course, and this new variant in the u.s. right now. and all of this as delta continues at an alarming rate. this new surge with the colder weather here. people, of course, back indoors. more than 117,000 new cases every day now. that's up 46% in a week. new hospital admissions up more than 14% from last week and in children, this was alarming, hospital admissions up nearly 37%. so, tonight here, several questions answered. what has the cdc director most concerned about this new variant, dr. jen ashton with that. and what about these boosters and this news they're now working? dr. jha on that in a moment. but we're going to begin with whit johnson leading us off here. >> reporter: tonight, pfizer releasing early data suggesting two shots plus the booster appear to stand up against the new variant, and could be a key tool in the fight against omicron. dr. anthony fauci saying the news makes him, quote, breathe a little better. >> when you get that third shot
boost, it dramatically increases the level of laboratory-projected protection. this is good news about the booster protection. >> reporter: early results from pfizer found that high levels of antibodies from a booster may better defend against omicron. but when the standard two-dose vaccine took on the new variant, antibody levels dropped 25 times lower. pfizer saying two doses may not stop infection, but are still likely effective in preventing severe disease. >> people should go get their third dose now, not wait. >> reporter: pfizer's data coming on the heels of a small study out of south africa that also found omicron appeared to chip away at two doses of the vaccine. here in the u.s., cases of omicron have been detected in at least 21 states. our dr. jen ashton today getting a rare look inside the cdc's war room, where scientists are tracking omicron across this country.
cdc director dr. rochelle walensky showing us the many mutations. >> these are all the mutations. >> these are the spike proteins. these are all the mutations. >> reporter: while early signs show omicron might be less severe than delta, they still believe it's highly transmissible. that it spreads easily, and has them concerned about the sheer numbers. >> we have some concerns about this new variant in terms of its transmissibility. we don't know what it's going to do in terms of disease severity. but even if it is not more severe, if we many, many people who get it -- >> large denominator. >> right, a much larger denominator. and we could have a problem with disease severity anyway because there are just more people who have it. >> reporter: but right now, it's the delta variant making up nearly all new cases nationwide. an 83% increase since late october. hospitals feeling the surge, even in highly vaccinated areas like the northeast. >> delta is incredibly infectious, and those, you know, 5% to 10% of the people that haven't been vaccinated, that's who delta is going at right now.
>> reporter: in massachusetts, one trauma center at umass memorial running out of beds. >> there's 75 patients waiting in the e.r. for a bed, including seven icu patients. and there's really no end in sight, which is the scary part for all of us. >> reporter: and hospitalizations in connecticut doubling in the last month. >> right now, 100% of our patients who are admitted to the hospital, at greenwich hospital, 100% are unvaccinated. >> reporter: 100% in here. >> right now. today. every day, it's a little bit like going into battle. and we recognize that this is not over yet. >> reporter: this current wave driven by the highly transmissible delta variant. and tonight, dr. walensky warning about the impact of another highly contagious variant like omicron. >> if we have a much more transmissible variant, you end up with a much larger population of people with disease. and then even small amounts of that very large population that end up in hospital, you end up
with a real crisis at the hospitalization level and potentially lots of poor outcomes. >> yeah, so even if it's less severe, still highly transmissible, which could add up in the numbers, we've seen this before. dr. ashton with her exclusive at the cdc today. whit johnson with us now live. and whit, we know the cdc director also made news tonight, revealing what we know so far about the 40 or so cases of omicron they've already found here in the u.s. what can you tell us? >> reporter: yeah, david, dr. walensky says more than 40 people in the u.s. have been infected with the omicron variant so far. more than three-quarters of them were fully vaccinated. and about a third had received booster shots. but she says so far, nearly all of those cases have been mild. david? >> mild and that was encouraging, as well. whit johnson tonight. whit, thank you. we know you have a lot of questions at home, so, as always, dr. ashish jha, dean of the brown university school of public health back with us tonight. and he's back with us in person for a change, which we always like, though about six feet of distance still between us. first of all, you and i have talked about the antibody response several times on our air. and now pfizer is saying early
data, it's early, but very encouraging that the boosters appear to spike that antibody response. >> yeah, david, thanks for having me back. it is really encouraging. the data shows that there's a sharp dropoff in your antibodies' ability to manage omicron after two shots, but the third shot really seems to make a big difference. >> and not only that, i want to go back to something you told me before, that you're seeing in many cases after the booster, the antibodies could be actually at a higher level than even after the second vaccine shot. >> that's right. that's right. the booster really gives your immune system another really good opportunity to rev up and get ready for this virus. that's why i think boosters are so essential for every adult right now. >> we know we have a lot of parents watching us here every single night, hanging on your every word. they're going to say, if these boosters are working and you showed it tonight, why do we still have to wait as long before we get our child boosted? >> that's a great question. i have three kids who have been vaccinated. same question in my household. first of all, we think in the first few months after the second shot, you still do have
high protection. we really do need more data before we start giving boosters to kids. >> dr. jha, thank you. we turn to the other news this wednesday night, and testimony now under way in the trial of former minnesota police officer kim potter in the death of daunte wright during a traffic stop. after he began to struggle, officer potter rushing to his car, firing, claiming she mistook her handgun for her taser. her body cam there capturing it all. daunte wright's mother, the first witness to take the stand today. abc's stephanie ramos from minneapolis tonight. >> reporter: tonight, an emotional start to the criminal trial of former police officer kim potter, accused in the death of 20-year-old daunte wright. potter, a 26-year veteran of the police department, in the courtroom today. she faces first and second-degree manslaughter charges after shooting wright in the chest last april. the defense says she mistook her taser for her gun. katie bryant, wright's mother, called as the prosecution's first witness. >> i wanted to protect him, because that's what mothers do.
>> reporter: bryant detailing the last phone call with her son, as he was pulled over for an air freshener in the rear view mirror, which is illegal in minnesota, and an expired tag. >> he just sounded really nervous, but i reassured him that it would be okay. >> reporter: the call abruptly ending. that mother later making a video call. a woman in the car with wright answering the phone. >> she said they shot him and she faced the phone towards the driver's seat. and my son was laying there and he was unresponsive and he looked dead. >> reporter: bryant rushing to the scene. >> i didn't want to believe tha the ground, but i could tell it was him because of his tennis
shoes. >> reporter: during that traffic stop, wright struggled with officers who were attempting to apprehend him after discovering an outstanding warrant for his arrest. potter pulling out a firearm. >> taser! taser! taser! >> reporter: realizing she had shot wright as the car drove off. >> i just shot him. >> reporter: the defense today placed the blame on wright, saying all he had to do was stop and he'd still be here. the prosecution arguing, as a veteran of the police force, potter should have known the difference between her taser and gun. potter is expected to take the stand in her own defense next week. david? >> all right, stephanie ramos from minneapolis. thank you, stephanie. we turn next tonight to a story that horrified the nation. scott peterson was back in court today, and so was the family of lacy peterson, watching it all again. it was a resentencing hearing after the murder case nearly 20 years ago. scott peterson, you'll remember, convicted in the killing of his pregnant wife lacy and their unborn son on christmas eve in 2002. tonight, peterson in court,
confronted by lacy's still grieving mother and siblings. and why was he in court? here's kayna whitworth. >> reporter: it was a case that horrified the nation. and tonight, scott peterson is back in court. long after the christmas eve murders of his wife lacy and unborn son, scott peterson in court today, because the california supreme court overturned peterson's death sentence last year, ruling jurors in his original trial were improperly screened for bias about the death penalty. because of that, peterson no longer faces the death penalty. the judge today resentencing him to life in prison without parole. and lacy peterson's heartbroken family once again finding themselves in court with the man who killed their daughter. lacy's mother confronting him, telling him, quote, lacy and connor will always be dead and you will always be their murderer. peterson sitting in silence. lacy's sister in tears, telling him, "it makes me sick being here today in front of you again." nearly 20 years ago, peterson
admitted to an affair, but denied the killings, in an exclusive interview with diane sawyer. >> did you murder your wife? >> no, no. i did not. >> reporter: tonight, peterson's attorney maintaining his innocence and saying the judge denied his client's request to speak at the hearing. >> he wanted to make it clear that there is no way he could have possibly harmed lacy and connor. >> reporter: and david, scott peterson is still trying to get his conviction overturned. his lawyer is asking for a new trial and they have a hearing for that in february. david? >> all right, kayna whitworth with us tonight, as well. kayna, thank you. meantime tonight, on capitol hill, the head of instagram grilled about its effects on children, particularly young girls. so, what's being done and how soon? rachel scott on the hill tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the head of instagram appearing before congress for the first time, defending the popular social media app from blistering bipartisan criticism that instagram is toxic for children,
especially young girls. >> how do you square a business model that prioritizes user time and engagement with knowing there's a direct correlation between time and harm? >> senator, respectfully, using our platform more will increase any effect, whether it's psitive or negative. but if people don't feel good about the time that they spend on our platform, that's something i personally take seriously. >> reporter: adam mosseri pointing to outside research showing more teens use tiktok and youtube. and today, introducing a new safety net hours before that hearing, telling lawmakers the company will take more steps to protect children, including prompts to suggest users take a break, and other parental controls. but senators say the damage has already been done. >> instagram is addictive. >> senator, respectfully, i don't believe that research suggests that our products are addictive. >> reporter: many of those claims directly contradict a whistle-blower who came forward weeks ago, accusing the company of choosing profit over safety. and as for those new parental
controls, those will not be added to instagram until march. david? >> all right, rachel scott on the hill tonight. rachel, thank you. next, to the sex trafficking trial of ghislaine maxwell. jurors seeing new images of maxwell with jeffrey epstein. prosecutors arguing they appear to be a happy couple in the images, attempting to portray them as partners in crime. a third accuser now also taking the stand, identify bid her first name only, carolyn, claiming she was just 14 when she first went to epstein's home and that maxwell scheduled some of her explicit massages with epstein. she testified on one or two occasions, maxwell allegedly handed her $300 payments. tonight, 24 hours after that high takes video call between president biden and vladimir putin, what putin is now signaling. ian pannell from ukraine again biden saying russian president putin, quote, got the message, after their video call on ukraine. >> i made it very clear, if, in fact, he invades ukraine, there
will be severe consequences. >> reporter: abc news tonight given exclusive access to ukrainian forces training with u.s.-supplied javelin anti-tank missiles. this is part of what vladimir putin means by a red line. what he sees as america's, nato's growing involvement in ukraine. tensions still high, as we saw on the front lines, where ukrainian forces are fighting with russian-backed rebels. you can hear the sound of rapid automatic gunfire there. they're te. we were so close to the front, you could only whisper. the russian-backed separatists literally about 50 years, maybe less, just on the other side. and beyond those lines at the border, as many as 100,000 russian troops are now massed. by friday, biden hopes to announce a higher level meeting with some nato allies and russia to discuss the kremlin's concerns. perhaps offering a way out of
this crisis. david? >> all right, ian pannell again tonight. ian, thank you. and when we come back here, the deadly crash into the water near niagara falls. the images tonight. and hillary clinton breaking down while doing something she's never done before. why hide yourt has your moderate to severe eczema or atopic dermatitis under control? hide my skin? not me. by hitting eczema where it counts, dupixent helps heal your skin from within keeping you one step ahead of eczema. hide my skin? not me. d atea lg- earer skin... keeping you one step ahead of eczema. and fast itch relief for adults. with dupixent, you can show more skin with less eczema. hide my skin? not me. don't use if you're allergic to dupixent. serious allergic reactions can occur, including anaphylaxis, which is severe. tell your doctor about new or worsening eye problems, such as eye pain or vision changes, or a parasitic infection. if you take asthma medicines, don't change or stop them without talking to your doctor. when you help heal your skin from within you can change
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i dream of going up to her and sitting down next to her, taking her in my arms, and saying, "look at me, listen to me. you will survive. you will have a good family of your own. and three children. and as hard as it might be to imagine, your daughter will grow up and become the president of the united states." >> mrs. clinton's words and her raw emotion there made news as soon as this was released today. she said there were tough days at the end of that campaign, but still believed she would pull through. now to the news on tiger woods tonight. he begins his comeback in orlando next week. he will play with his 12-year-old son, charlie, of course, in the pnc championship. woods competing for the first time since nearly losing his leg in that devastating crash back in february. when we come back here tonight, made in america christmas and your ideas. we're loving them.
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>> a lot of school switched online learning during the pandemic but only stanford launch a class in virtual reality. >> restaurant parklets are here to stay. the city says they need to be safer. >> there are lots of people whose attitude is, i want to know. >> really -- what really happened the day jfk was killed? answers to that question, tapping expertise from researchers in the bay area. >> building a better bay area. moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. >> good evening, thanks for joining us. >> we will get to the latest on the information we have on the pandemic. >> 11 of the 12 patients in an east coronavirus cluster work at kaiser's oakland medical. six of those are confirmed to be infected with the omicron variant. they are the only known omicron
cases in the east bay. they were vaccinated and have had booster shots. patients and coworkers in contact with them have been identified and so far, all have tested negative for covid. >> the 11 workers are part of a cluster of 12 cases stemming from a wedding in wisconsin that took place over thanksgiving weekend. at least six of the 12 patients have the omicron variant. sequencing on the other samples haven't yet -- hasn't been finished. >> pfizer indicates the omicron variant likely chips away at the efficacy of its vaccine, but a booster can help. >> three doses is really what is required to effectively protect from omicron. >> the ceo of pfizer says if needed, the company could have a new vaccine for the variant by march. >> the fda authorized a covid-19 antibody drug today. antibody drugs have been in use for treatment for more than a year but