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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 18, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT

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the decision based on new evidence that protection from infection wanes over time president biden late today saying he's using federal powers to stop gop governors from banning school mask mandates. and to require vaccines for nursing home staff dr. fauci is here answering your questions. also, the president speaking out on afghanistan in a new interview. was there a way to withdraw without chaos? the top u.s. general saying he saw no intelligence that the country would fall to the taliban in just 11 days the pentagon acknowledging it doesn't have the forces to rescue americans who can't get to the airport as afghans face violent crackdowns the california wildfires doubling to over 50,000 acres. thousands evacuated. tropical triple threat fred's remnants moving into the northeast in north carolina, dozens unaccounted for in the floods. and new tracks for tropical storm henri and hurricane grace.
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the first honor flight since covid struck we're on board >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt good evening, everyone in a major step to get us in front of the quickly spreading delta covid variant, american adults who have received the full doses of moderna or pfizer vaccines were told today they'll need to roll up their sleeves again. the biden administration says a booster or third shot will be necessary to increase our immune responses to the virus. the announcement today by federal health officials acknowledging that over time, those original doses become less effective in preventing infections, while emphasizing they are still robust in preventing severe disease and hospitalization. still, officials say you'll need that booster eight months after your second shot the jury still out on the johnson & johnson vaccine tonight. miguel almaguer has late details >> reporter: making it official today, the
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first booster shots for the general public will go into arms september 20th after the fda and cdc sign off, most adults fully vaccinated for at least eight months will qualify a top priority, protecting health care workers, nursing home residents, and seniors who were vaccinated first. the booster shot, a third dose of the same formula and vaccine for those who were fully inoculated with pfizer or moderna. >> it will be easy just show your vaccination card, you'll get a booster. >> reporter: for those vaccinated with johnson & johnson, a booster will likely be needed but for now there's simply not enough data. citing multiple studies with a variety of date ranges, today the cdc released complex charts and bar graphs containing vaccine data on pfizer and moderna. but the takeaway is simple over time, vaccine efficacy against infection has declined, meaning your chances of catching the virus increase
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still, effectiveness against hospitalization, while slightly decreasing, remains relatively high perhaps the biggest concern, the threat from delta this graph showing a significant drop in efficacy. >> we are concerned that this pattern of decline we are seeing will continue in the months ahead, which could lead to reduced protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death. >> reporter: while the fully vaccinated still have a layer of protection, the cdc estimates likely near the eighth-month mark after inoculation, antibody levels decline, saying a booster increases them by at least ten-fold meantime, today the president using federal leverage to mandate nursing homes to vaccinate staff amid a rash of new infections he's also ready to fight governors who are banning mask mandates in schools. >> i'm directing the secretary of education, an educator himself, to take additional steps to
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protect our children this includes using all of his oversight authority and legal action, if appropriate. >> reporter: with the country still struggling to give even the first dose to some 85 million americans, authorities say the booster rollout will be much smoother than the original rush to get shots, never mentioning the need for mass vaccination sites, the white house says 80,000 locations nationwide will be ready, including 40,000 local pharmacies >> this is no time to let our guard down we just need to finish the job. >> reporter: tonight, our nation planning for tomorrow, as we all face an uncertain future >> miguel, let's get back to this rollout of booster shots will people need to go back to the same location where they received their first vaccines >> reporter: lester, you'll be able to go to any vaccination site for a booster for many americans, that will be their local pharmacy the bigger hurdle may be convincing those who were hesitant to
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get vaccinated to go back for a third dose when it's their time. lester >> all right miguel, thank you. a short time ago i spoke with dr. anthony fauci and i asked him how long the vaccine booster will remain effective and whether people will need another shot every eight months >> lester, i don't think that's going to be the case because of the data we have now of when we've done studies with boosters. the level of antibody that has been elevated by that third shot is extraordinary. it goes up at least 10, sometimes 20 or more fold. >> will this change the meaning of "fully vaccinated," meaning that we're seeing organizations and companies and governments now putting in mandates and they're talking about people who are fully vaccinated so if you get to that point and you haven't had your third shot, does that put you in the partially vaccinated category? >> that's a very good question, lester before i answer that, i want to make sure
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people understand, still the most important thing we need to do is get the unvaccinated people to get their vaccine. it is entirely conceivable that we will determine that actually, the proper, full component will be the prime followed by the initial boost, and then multiple months later, a boost that could actually give you an increase in level as well as an increase of durability that's entirely conceivable. >> i have to tell you, it feels a little bit like those folks who got the johnson & johnson vaccines are kind of left hanging here when will they get word of the need for a booster, potentially >> it is likely that they will, but right now the fda is now looking at the j&j, the approval, how that would fit in we're not forgetting at all about the people with j&j. >> are you able to look around the corner at what would happen after the delta variant, and are you able to adjust the vaccines accordingly >> well, you know, one thing that was really interesting, lester, when we did the studies on giving a third shot, that third
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shot boost that we're talking about, it elevated the levels of antibody across the entire spectrum of variants. >> you think this will break the back of the situation we have n ll we're dealing with a very wily virus here but right now we want to make sure we're ahead of the curve we don't want to wait until there's a breakdown of protection and that's the reason why we're doing it now. >> a lot of questions as we enter this new chapter in the fight against covid. in 60 seconds, richard engel in afghanistan on the effort to evacuate americans, and violence by the taliban. and the three tropical weather threats we're watching here at home
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back with the crisis in afghanistan. the pentagon says about 5,000 americans and others have been evacuated since the taliban takeover and tonight, president biden is weighing in again on the chaos we have two reports starting with kelly o'donnell at the white house. >> reporter: tonight,
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a chilling assessment. the u.s. military does not have sufficient forces to rescue americans who cannot get to the kabul airport evacuation point. >> we don't have the capability to go out and collect up large numbers of people. >> reporter: the u.s. is relying on the taliban to let americans and afghan allies pass through checkpoints to reach the airport. a risky journey. today in an interview with abc news, president biden said he knew chaos was inevitable >> we're going to go back in hindsight and look, but the idea that somehow there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, i don't know how that happens. >> reporter: the pentagon says the pace of evacuations is improving but still not adequate pressed about stranded americans, the president said if necessary, troops would remain beyond the august 31st withdrawal deadline. >> if there's american citizens left, we're
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going to stay till we get them all out. >> reporter: today the administration said u.s. intelligence consistently identified the risk of a rapid collapse but general milley insisted those predictions were for weeks or months. >> there was nothing that i or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days. >> kelly, did the president talk at all today about those striking images from the base in kabul of afghans desperate to get out? >> reporter: he did, lester, and dismissed those as scenes that happened four or five days ago, stressing the important thing is that the u.s. needed to get control of the airport and did. lester >> kelly, thanks in afghanistan, two distinct worlds. order now restored at the airport in kabul as the u.s. military steps up evacuations. and the chaotic situation in the rest of kabul and beyond under taliban control. richard engel is there for us >> reporter: the u.s.-led evacuation today is finally moving quickly and smoothly from the military side of kabul airport. planes arriving and
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departing around the clock. it's a far cry from the bedlam monday when thousands of afghans broke into the airport, so desperate to escape the taliban, they clung onto departing aircraft now more american troops have been brought in for security today we watched troops get ready for a patrol they're relaxed. u.s. forces may be doing this for several more days or even weeks. as u.s. officials say up to 15,000 americans remain in afghanistan, along with tens of thousands of afghans who may be eligible for asylum, including the group we met yesterday who had no visas. >> somebody promise, okay, i will give you tomorrow, day after tomorrow they didn't. >> reporter: today they met with a state department official who says they're working on getting flights with them and the others who work on the base, along with their families this afternoon we saw hundreds of afghans being processed, waiting to start new
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but still uncertain lives. while this base is much more orderly, much more secure, the biggest problem is getting here because outside the perimeter, the taliban are in control the u.s. military asked them to keep back the crowds, but the taliban are doing it their way firing in the air, sometimes beating afghans who try to approach in jalalabad, afghans demonstrated, carrying the tri-colored afghan flag, saying it represents them, not the taliban flag witnesses say the taliban opened fire, killing at least three demonstrators. overnight, afghanistan's new presumptive leader arrived in the country, moving through the taliban stronghold city of kandahar he's mullah abdel ghani baradar, he was deputy leader of the taliban when it hosted and protected osama bin laden while he plotted 9/11. former secretary of state mike pompeo signed a peace deal
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with him under president trump. a deal president biden implemented, rapidly pulling out american troops, triggering the rapid collapse of the afghan army and the taliban's rapid takeover richard engel, nbc news, kabul. in this country, a developing story in indiana. a shooting at a manufacturing facility north of indianapolis has left two women dead this happened near frankfurt, indiana police say they pursued the suspect, who was arrested after his vehicle crashed. tonight the wildfire emergency in the west has gotten even worse with a destructive new fire in northern california blowing up and threatening many more homes. nbc's jake ward is there tonight. >> reporter: overnight, the caldor fire outside sacramento exploded, doubling in size. >> this area is extremely hard for us to get into. >> reporter: in california, 31,000 residents are under evacuation orders. at least two civilians were injured in the fire, which remains entirely uncontained. >> we are seeing
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generational destruction of forests because of what these fires are doing. this is going to take a long time to come back from. >> reporter: gusty winds and dry drought conditions creating a dangerous situation, destroying numerous homes and property this classroom used to belong to the elementary school students in this small town it's a reminder that wildfires don't just touch down in remote areas. increasingly, they are sweeping through our lives. residents racing to get out and making their way to safety. >> it's just very -- it's sad what's happening. >> it's hurting my heart right now because as i'm driving up here right now, if this is the last time i ever see this area, it will be heartbreaking. >> reporter: these satellite images from nasa show dark smoke reaching all the way to nevada, where ash rained down. tonight in california, firefighters face another difficult night ahead. jake ward, nbc news, grizzly flats, california. we're following a triple tropical threat
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tonight. dozens are unaccounted for, north carolina, after flash flooding in a rural area west of asheville those same remnants of tropical storm fred are now bringing heavy rain to the mid-atlantic and northeast with 11 million under flash flood watches. in the caribbean, grace has strengthened into a hurricane and is expected to make landfall tomorrow in the yucatan peninsula. tropical storm henri could grow into a hurricane and threaten new england by sunday. a u.s. navy warship is on its way tonight to haiti where the humanitarian crisis is growing as crews struggle to bring relief to survivors of the deadly earthquake. gabe gutierrez is there. >> reporter: these are the first patients rescued from a village in the haitian mountains days after the earthquake this child clinging to an aid worker has a critical head injury one by one they're brought off this chopper. patient after patient, over and over again. they're coming from
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some of the island's most remote regions that have had no access to medical care for days help is pouring into haiti, but with landslides cutting off rural roads, it's a nightmare to distribute supplies to those who need it most now the u.s. army is on the move, today rushing in aid from samaritan's purse into one of the hardest-hit regions, a place where hospitals are desperately overcrowded and overwhelmed. why is it so important for you to be here >> it's very important. nobody has been up to see these patients yet. and it's been, what, five days now? so this is why we do what we do. >> reporter: retired flight paramedic teresa gray flew in from alaska, one of many american volunteers now scrambling to help. >> it's always an urgent need when haiti is in trouble. always >> reporter: world central kitchen responded to the 2010 earthquake, the 2016 hurricane, and now - >> we're going to be here as long as we need to be. >> reporter: the damage here is likely in the billions of dollars. the true cost might never be known gabe gutierrez, nbc
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news, port-au-prince, haiti. we've got more to tell you about up next, a critical shortage of child care workers. the impact on american families
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california, did you know our homes share power? but when we try to stay cool in a heat wave our supply is pushed to the limit. but you have the power to keep us up and running! “i do?” yup, we all do! with flex alerts. they notify us when to shift our energy use if our power supply is stretched. so from pre-cooling our homes, to using less energy from 4-9pm, together, let's flex our power to save our power. sign up for flex alerts today. as more parents return to the workplace, they're finding the cost of child care is spinning out of control stephanie ruhle explains why in our series "the future of work." >> reporter: for working mom portia twitt, day care is essential but she can't afford full-time care >> my child care costs more than my mortgage. >> reporter: tuition for her 2-year-old's care up 30%.
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>> i am trying to find if i can do a combination of day care in a different location, hiring in-person care, and starting my day much earlier to watch her it's actually horrific. >> reporter: for the 27 million americans who need child care in order to work, it's a hefty expense. for young children, averaging $250 a week or $13,000 a year. that cost could rise as 4 of every 5 child care centers say they don't have enough staff. some are paying more to hire workers. >> the biggest challenge right now is finding and retaining high-quality staff. >> reporter: during the pandemic, more than one-third of workers lost their jobs, and some never returned to child care centers that pay around $12 an hour. >> child care facilities are having to compete with higher wages offered by a lot of large multinational corporations who are also facing worker shortages. >> reporter: rose cushing oversees 11 child care centers in new jersey >> we had to close a number of ou
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programs and rooms because we don't have enough staff at this time we're down about 50 staff in early child hood ed. >> reporter: to find workers she's increased starting pay by $2 an hour. until she has more staff, her waiting list of nearly 40 families will likely grow. >> if you're down a clerk at your local convenience store, the line would be longer, the service would be slower that's not an option in child care. >> reporter: the federal government has provided over $53 billion in covid relief for child care and early education. and president biden wants $450 billion as part of his build back better agenda it includes capping child care costs for families, investing in child care centers, and raising the minimum wage for workers to $15 an hour are you able to do your best at work? >> i don't think so. you get that stereotypical mom guilt of where you're like, i'm not bein
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the best employee, i'm not being the best mom. and it hurts your heart. >> reporter: a growing problem with no easy solution stephanie ruhle, nbc news. up next, a group of veterans take flight on a new journey to receive a special honor.
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finally tonight, "honoring their service. the special flight that brought american war veterans to our nation's capital today for the first time since the start of the pandemic >> looks like it's going to be a fun day. i got up at 1:00 to come out here. >> reporter: their journey started in chicago. 112 veterans boarded a chartered flight to
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washington, d.c. where they spent the day this moment almost 16 months in the making the first honor flight since the pandemic and today three veterans from world war ii, 33 from the korean war, and 76 from the vietnam war were recognized. >> thank you for your service. >> thank you. >> reporter: curtis bentley, who served in the navy during world war ii, joined today's flight >> i've been here before, and i've never seen this. i'm just real thrilled to be here today >> reporter: bentley and the other 111 vets visited the world war ii, lincoln, korean, and vietnam memorials. >> it was a real honor. i'll never forget this, never. >> reporter: but for some of them, it was more about meeting other veterans and sharing stories. >> there's actually
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a healing effect, with them getting together with fellow veterans that have experienced the same situations. >> reporter: heroes returning home tonight after seeing the memorials built in their honor, for their sacrifice and for our freedom. and for that we salute them that's "nightly news" for this wednesday thank you for watching i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night, everyone
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i'm raj mathai, next on nbc bay area news, you can see it and you can smell it. our smokey skies. jeff ranieri explains why we're just now seeing the worst of the smoke. how bad is it for you to be outside breathing in this air? we're talking to a pulmonologist, and does the matches you're wearing for covid help with smoke? some refugees from afghanistan have made it to california. we're talking about the volunteer effort to get them what they need.


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