tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC December 17, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
connect to nature this season. tonight, the alarming covid surge across the u.s. what they're seeing right now in new york city. just as millions across the nation travel for christmas. and dr. fauci on the new studies, and why he says you need to get the booster to protect against omicron. the fast-spreading omicron variant now in at least 42 states. new york state reporting a pandemic record tonight. more than 21,000 new cases in 24 hours. tonight, the entire rockettes' season now canceled. dr. anthony fauci on the studies that say five months out after the two vaccine shots, there's virtually no degree of neutralization. one month after the booster shot, you're back in the
protected range. and pfizer tonight suggesting two shots so far in trials in children are not enough. and tonight, breaking news going into the weekend. the big games being moved because so many players have covid. also tonight, former minnesota police officer kim potter breaking down on the stand. >> i remember yelling, taser, taser, taser. and nothing happened. >> describing the moment she shot and killed daunte wright. she has claimed she mistook her gun for her taser. the prosecutor repeatedly pressing the officer on her training on her taser to avoid this. potter sobbing, saying i'm sorry it happened. news tonight about a suspected serial killer. authorities say he used a shopping cart to carry away his alleged victims. a storm moving into the northeast. winter weather alerts already up tonight. snow, sleet, and rain.
the major headline, the longest sentence yet after january 6th. a florida man repeatedly assaulting officers. tiger woods beginning his comeback. what we witnessed today with tiger and his son. dolly parton, what she's now done. and our "made in america" christmas. the ideas pouring in. we keep going. >> announcer: from abc news world headquarters in new york, this is "world news tonight with david muir." good evening. it's great to have you with us as we near the end of another week together. christmas eve, one week from tonight. and we'll get there. but we do have a lot of news on this friday night. and a lot of questions about the new omicron variant. late today, a new study finding omicron spreading 2 to 3 times faster than delta. and that the risk of being reinfected with omicron is more than five times higher than
being reinfected with the delta. showing how transmissible this variant is. the famous rockettes christmas show, the whole season canceled. and a number of big games moved this weekend because so many players are sick. long lines across the country for testing today, from new york to maryland, from miami to houston, people waiting. in line and in their cars, concerned about exposure. as they prepare for the holidays with loved ones. tonight, dr. anthony fauci stressing the need for the booster shots, pointing to new studies showing five months out, after your second vaccine shot, there is virtually no degree of neutralization protection, but that one month after your booster shot, you're back in the protected range. they've always said these would wane, that's why you need to keep the antibodies up in your system. the radio city rockettes, cancelling those performances just before we came on tonight. some spectators already in their seats when they learned this. the nfl rescheduling several games this weekend. they're in active discussions to
postpone more, they say. and that disappointing news for parents of children under 5 years old. pfizer pushing back the time line. we're going to carefully guide you through it all on a friday night. erielle reshef leads us off here in new york. >> reporter: tonight, just one week ahead of christmas, experts warning the country is heading for a devastating double punch. as covid cases skyrocket from coast to coast, fueled by the delta variant already. and now the omicron variant doubling every 2 to 3 days. >> we're really just about to experience a viral blizzard. i think in the next 3 to 8 weeks we're gonna see millions of americans that are gonna be infected with this virus. >> reporter: omicron, now detected in at least 42 states, predicted to eclipse delta within weeks. new york state breaking a single day record for new infections, over 21,000. earlier this week omicron accounting for at least 13% of new cases. authorities believe it's likely much higher. in new york city, people waiting
hours in testing lines snaking around entire city blocks. officials stepping up testing to try to beat back the surge. >> i mean, it's scary. we don't know what's happening, but we're just doing the best we can. >> reporter: covid already shutting down some restaurants and broadway shows. the country's cultural institutions, an ominous reminder of the fraught early days of the pandemic. the lights of some of broadway's biggest hits like "hamilton," "moulin rouge," and "mrs. doubtfire" going dark. and holiday fixture the rockettes today ending their 2021 season of their beloved christmas spectacular. >> we were really just disappointed because we came all the way from alabama. that is a long way. >> reporter: covid also ripping through professional sports. multiple nfl and nhl games postponed. dozens of nba players on covid lists. and tonight, the nation's top health officials with a stark message for the unvaccinated. >> for the unvaccinated, you're looking at a winter of severe illness and death for
yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm. >> reporter: dr. fauci pointing to new studies. and what omicron shows, five months after the second vaccine shot. >> virtually no degree of neutralization protection. again, one month of the third dose, it goes well within the protective range. >> reporter: dr. fauci pushing for more americans to get vaccinated if you're not, and get boosters to boost your antibody levels if you've already been vaccinated. >> so the bottom line of what we've been telling you all along, it is critical to get vaccinated. if you are vaccinated, it is critical for optimal protection to get boosted. >> reporter: overwhelmed hospitals already coping with the crush of delta cases, now bracing for that omicron surge. in ohio, hospitalizations approaching a record high. governor mike dewine today deploying more than 1,000 national guard troops, saying 9 out of 10 patients in the hospital with covid are
unvaccinated. >> we're at a point 22 months into this or so when our medical personnel have just been slammed. >> reporter: new hampshire and maine seeing more cases than at any time during the pandemic. maine's national guard also called in to assist hospital staff. >> their presence here is like a great christmas gift. our work force is exhausted and they've been fighting this pandemic since the very beginning. and as we all know, it's only getting worse. >> and we are thinking about our front lines tonight. erielle joins us now. we know the vaccine is already authorized for children 5 to 11. but this other headline tonight, pfizer now saying tests of two low dose shots on children 2 to 5 years old, they may not be enough. obviously they're young, with little built-in immunity, and these doses are smaller. >> reporter: that's right. and this is not the news that pfizer and parents were hoping for. pfizer now testing to see if a third dose will help boost the immune response.
enough to protect these young children. but experts emphasize the vaccines are safe and effective for kids over 5. >> and dr. fauci pointing to the new research today, showing that five months after the two shots, pfizer or moderna, that it may not be enough protection for adults. saying there is virtually no neutralization to fight omicron. he said after the booster, one month after the booster, you're back in the protected range. more proof that you need to keep the antibody levels up. >> reporter: yes, they say it's the best way to protect yourselves and your loved ones as we head into the holiday season. david? >> erielle, thank you. we're going to turn now to the emotional testimony in the fatal shooting of daunte wright in minnesota. former police officer kim potter taking the stand in her own
defense, saying she's sorry and breaking down. she was pressed on training for her taser after saying she mistook her handgun for her taser. stephanie ramos with the testimony. and we warn you, the images are difficult. >> reporter: tonight, former minnesota police officer kim potter breaking down in court. sobbing on the stand at her trial. she is charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old daunte wright during a traffic stop. >> i remember yelling, taser, taser, taser, and nothing happened. and then he told me i shot him. >> reporter: potter recalling the moments she shot wright in the chest with her gun that she says she mistook for her taser. in april, wright was initially pulled over for an expired tag and an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror, which is illegal in minnesota.
brooklyn center police officers discovered wright had an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor weapons violation. when the officer potter was training tried to arrest wright, he struggled to get back in the car, and potter fired. >> i shot him! oh, my god. >> reporter: prosecutors arguing potter acted recklessly and negligently regardless of her intent, pressing her about her training in taser use. whether she should have known the difference between her taser, holstered on her left, and her gun, holstered on her right. >> we weren't always drawing our tasers from our holsters. a lot of times we were in plain clothes during training. >> okay, well, your policy that you're required to abide by, that you signed off on, requires that you perform reaction hand draws, true? >> during the training, yes. >> it also includes the reason for that, right? >> yes. >> and that's so that you reduce the possibility of accidentally drawing and firing a firearm, right? >> yes. >> reporter: potter, seen here after the shooting,
inconsolable. the body camera footage previously shown to jurors. today she broke down again when grilled by the prosecution. >> you stopped doing your job completely. you didn't communicate what happened over the radio, right? >> no. >> you didn't make sure any officers knew what you had just done, right? >> no. >> you didn't run down the street and try to save daunte wright's life, did you? >> no. >> you were focused on what you had done because you had just killed somebody. >> i'm sorry it happened. i'm so sorry. i didn't want to hurt anybody. >> reporter: the defense saying it should have been a third officer, sergeant michael johnson, to call in the shooting, since he was the supervising officer on the scene. the defense has rested.
the state and defense attorneys will now present their closing arguments on monday. david? >> stephanie, thank you. we turn next to the storm system moving into the northeast next. winter weather alerts already up tonight in several states. snow, sleet, rain, the system bringing more rain to the devastated tornado zone already. senior meteorologist rob marciano is timing it all out for us again tonight. hi, rob. >> reporter: hi, david. the rain that has been falling all day in kentucky will get to the northeast. that's where the winter weather is coming from. a couple of more rounds of rain in the tornado zone. here's the wave developing along that front. another day of rain, sometimes heavy tomorrow. then the rain changing to a mix as it gets to new york and new england by mid-morning. in the northeast, winter storm warnings for parts of new england. 6 to 8 inches of snow, and rain across much of the east. quiet early next week, but stormy in the west. david?
>> rob, thank you. next, a judge handing down the longest sentence yet after the january 6th attack on the capitol. robert scott palmer of florida sentenced to more than five years in prison for repeatedly assaulting police officers with a fire extinguisher during the insurrection. he was identified from images online. next tonight, an alleged serial killer behind bars in virginia. police linking him to the deaths of four women already. they say he used a shopping cart to carry their bodies away. and tonight, the concern there may be other victims. here's pierre thomas now. >> reporter: tonita lorice smith, age 39, and 54-year-old allene "beth" redmon disappeared in harrisonburg, virginia, this fall. authorities say they were murdered. their bodies found thnksgiving week in a vacant lot, allegedly transported in a shopping cart. 130 miles away in fairfax county, virginia, officials found this shopping cart and two more bodies in a container.
one of them, believed to be 29-year-old cheyenne brown, who was four months pregnant. authorities claim 35-year-old anthony robinson killed the women, and that he's a serial killer. he's now in custody, but authorities believe there may be other victims. >> we call him the shopping cart killer. he preys on the weak, he preys on the vulnerable and he does unspeakable things to his victims. >> reporter: police believe he met the women through a dating site, would lure them to motels, and then bludgeon them to death. authorities say they have found evidence, including surveillance footage, that ties robinson to both scenes. it's fair to say that on the dating apps that he is known to use, there are other people that you need to contact? >> there are. we know he's been in contact with other people. we found four people that didn't make it. >> reporter: david, police believe the suspect traveled as far north as new york and up and down the east coast. tonight, there is urgent concern that there could be more victims.
>> pierre, thank you. now we're going to turn overseas. a major political headline. a stunning blow for british prime minister boris johnson. his party suffering major losses in parliamentary elections that were viewed as a referendum on his government. back here at home tonight, and to a more promising headline. tiger woods, his first competition, just months after his devastating car crash that nearly cost him his leg. tiger woods tonight saying he owes much of his recovery to his partner on the course, his 12-year-old son charlie. here's victor oquendo. >> reporter: all eyes on tiger woods today, making his remarkable return to competitive play. >> a scene we thought we may never see again. tiger woods back in a tournament. >> reporter: tiger, playing the pro am at the pnc championship. his first tournament since that devastating car crash in february that he says nearly cost him his leg.
>> if you had asked me after those three months in the bed, would i be here, i would have given you a different answer. >> reporter: acknowledging he doesn't have the endurance to walk the course yet. >> my leg's not quite right yet, and it's going to take time. i'm a long way away from playing tournament golf. >> reporter: his son charlie, who he says was his greatest motivation to recover, playing alongside, in matching black. at today's pnc practice round in orlando, the 12-year-old holding his own. >> but it's all charlie, 18th hole. brings a smile to dad's face. >> reporter: making dad proud, finishing their round with this birdie on 18. and at times, tiger used a golf cart to get around the course today. but he says he will never use one when he returns to the pro tour. >> victor, thank you. when we come back, the major headline out of the ghislaine maxwell trial. and what didn't happen in court. and later here tonight, dolly parton, and what she's now done.
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next tonight here, closing arguments are now set for monday in the trial of ghislaine maxwell here in new york. the defense resting its case today with maxwell not taking the stand. the longtime associate of jeffrey epstein, she has pleaded not guilty to charges, which include sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy. a former employee of epstein's testifying that she respected ghislaine maxwell and never saw anything wrong. jury deliberations expected to begin next week. when we come back, a passing to note from the roots. also, news tonight on dolly parton, and what she's now done. maybe it's another refill at your favorite diner... or waiting for the 7:12 bus... or sunday afternoon in the produce aisle. these moments may not seem remarkable. but at pfizer, protecting the regular routine, and everyday drives us to reach for exceptional. working to impact hundreds of millions of lives... young and old. it's what we call, the pursuit of normal.
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are you ready to du more with less asthma? just ask your asthma specialist about dupixent. to the "index" of other news tonight. we learned today that leonard hubbard has died. he played bass with the roots for 15 years. he was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer 14 years ago. his wife saying that it returned last month. the band paying tribute, saying good-bye to their brother.
he was 62. and this question tonight. what hasn't dolly parton done? breaking three guinness world records. seven decades now on the billboard u.s. hot country songs chart. along with 25 number one hits on that list. both the most ever for a female artist. she also broke her own record for the most hits in general, 109 songs. parton saying, "this is the kind of stuff that really makes you very humble." and we love that about her. and we love your ideas for our "made in america" christmas. we go down the list in a moment. it's my 4:05 the-show-must-go-on migraine medicine. it's ubrelvy. for anytime, anywhere migraine strikes, without worrying if it's too late, or where i am. one dose can quickly stop my migraine in its tracks within two hours. unlike older medicines, ubrelvy is a pill that directly blocks cgrp protein, believed to be a cause of migraine. do not take with strong cyp3a4 inhibitors. most common side effects were nausea and tiredness. ask about ubrelvy. the anytime, anywhere migraine medicine.
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america" ideas. tonight, our "made in america" christmas is back. ten years now, asking, what's your one thing? in harlem tonight, the harlem candle company. >> hi, david. >> reporter: founder teri johnson started making candles in her kitchen. now making 3,000 candles a day. >> we have a collection of candles inspired by harlem renaissance icons. like billie holiday, joesephine baker, langston hughes. >> reporter: what is most important? >> made in america is extremely important to me. it keeps us working and motivated, looking forward to do going every day. >> reporter: and from the south photos of the workers who make them. >> hi, david. our supply chain consists of farmers, weavers, finishers, and sewers. we support approximately 1,000 jobs.
>> reporter: and in portland, maine tonight, a company using old sails to create tote bags. >> hi, david. after our appearance on your show, our sales were up 150%. what did they buy? the number one purchase was our multicolored nautilus beach tote. thank you. >> reporter: thankful, and getting ready for christmas with three words in mind tonight. >> made in america! >> we love your ideas. send me a tweet. let me know on instagram. i read them. and i'll see you monday. good night.
>> tonight we start with a big picture. will new action make a difference? >> as a juror, step back and look. >> elizabeth holmes's fate is in the hands of the jurors. >> a hollywood premiere is coming to san francisco this weekend. we will tell you why some are so angry about it. >> building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. >> when people walked onn streets of san francisco, they should feel safe. >> do you feel safe? it is hard to say yes. this is much more than the city's problem. >> the issue of crime and violence is top of mind across the united states. >> i am ama daetz.
>> i am dan ashley. you are watching right here on abc 7 and hulu live and wherever you stream. when something like crime affects the entire country, we focus our efforts here on making this place safer and a better place to live. big announcements at local and state level to fight drugs and crime. anxiety, i want to acknowledge that it is unacceptable what is happening. >> flanked by state law agencies, the governor announced a package of support to combat violent crimend