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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  November 30, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

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was spreading across the world earlier than we knew, and when will we have answers on how severe it is what dr. fauci said today about holiday plans. also, moments ago pfizer seeking authorization for teen boosters and the key fda panel vote on merck's covid pill also tonight, the deadly high school shooting in michigan three students killed. police on the scene, taking a 15-year-old into custody within five minutes, and what investigators just revealed dramatic testimony. the youngest accuser taking the stand to face jeffrey epstein's confidante, ghislaine maxwell, at her sex trafficking trial. jury selection in the trial of former police officer kimberly potter, who said she mistook her gun for her taser when she fatally shot daunte wright. will she testify in her own defense. tiger woods speaking out for the first time about his suv crash. what he revealed about his future in the sport. after black friday and cyber monday
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sales, it is giving tuesday. how you can give back this holiday season. this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. discouraging words tonight from the head of vaccine maker moderna, quoted as saying there could be a material drop in the effectiveness of current vaccines against the omicron variant. while late today pfizer filed for approval of booster shots for 16 and 17-year-olds, hoping to protect as many people as possible scientists are feverishly trying to understand the heavily mutated variant, now tracing its origins to a different and earlier path than first thought, as new worldwide recommendations are issued for certain travelers. some of the critical answers about the variant are still perhaps weeks away but there could soon be a new tool in the fight against covid, an antiviral pill from merck moving closer to approval tonight gabe gutierrez leads our coverage
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>> reporter: tonight, we're one step closer to a pill for treating covid. an fda advisory panel narrowly voting to recommend authorization of merck's antiviral pill >> this is an oral medication that can be administered in the comfort of the patient's home, can be given as a prescription and picked up in the pharmacies. >> reporter: how does this drug stack up against the omicron variant? >> i wish we knew. we are looking at it very carefully. >> reporter: while as the omicron variant spreads, the world health organization is advising people 60 and older and those with co-morbidities like heart disease and cancer to postpone travel meanwhile, the white house covid response team says there are now at least 226 confirmed cases across 20 countries >> one thing has become clear over the last 20 months we cannot predict the future, but we can be prepared for it. >> reporter: the cdc is now expanding its surveillance to four of the busiest airports in the country, new york's jfk, newark, atlanta and san francisco,
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with increased testing for specific international arrivals this illustration shows the omicron variant compared to the delta strain notice how many more mutations it has it turns out it was on the move earlier than we thought the first known cases reported in botswana on november 11th officials in the netherlands also say the strain was apparently already in the country at least a week earlier than previously believed. still, u.s. officials say it could be two weeks before we have more solid information as americans prepare for the holidays >> i would not change any plans, but that doesn't mean you should be cavalier about it >> reporter: today, stocks tumbled again the dow dropping more than 650 points. >> the recent rise in covid-19 cases and the emergence of the omicron variant pose downside risks to the employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation. >> reporter: concerns are growing about the effectiveness of therapies and vaccines against the variant. regeneron now says its
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monoclonal antibody treatment may not work as well on omicron as it does on other strains. >> we've started with very potent antibodies we have to look at how much the hit is, but more importantly we have to get ready for the next one. >> reporter: moderna's ceo warned today he expects a material drop in existing vaccines' protection against omicron. while late today, pfizer applied for the first emergency use authorization of covid boosters for 16 and 17-year-olds there's no timeline on when the fda could act. also late today, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction halting the start of president biden's national vaccine mandate for health care workers which was set to take effect next week, lester. >> gabe, back to merck's pill that an fda advisory panel recommended for approval, what happens now? >> reporter: well, lester, it now will go before the full fda in the coming days. now, the advisory panel's vote was very close, 13 to 10, and many of the panelists said they only wanted the pill used by high-risk patients and not pregnant women,
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lester >> gabe gutierrez starting us from new york across the country this evening medical detectives are searching for the new variant, analyzing positive covid tests in dozens of labs. erin mclaughlin got access to one of them in san diego. >> reporter: tonight, the cdc and scientists at nearly 70 state and local health labs are on the hunt for omicron, sequencing 40,000 to 80,000 specimens each week. >> given what we have seen in southern africa and certainly in europe, we do expect that it is here. >> reporter: like all viruses, covid mutates. that's normal. but what has experts concerned is the high number of mutations in the omicron variant, which attaches to human cells, making it more transmissible to others we were invited inside the labs at uc san diego where scientists are sequencing positive covid tests to check for the mutated virus. >> we get a lot of delta right now. it is pretty much everything that we
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have in the lab coming through is delta. >> reporter: in the lab, scientists take a covid positive sample and look for what is known as an s-dropout, meaning the virus's spike protein is so mutated that it can't be detected. that tells them they could be dealing with a variant such as omicron. how likely is it that you are going to find it >> oh, we will find it eventually it is just a matter of how soon. >> reporter: here the virus hunting starts at the sewer for months this team has been collecting and sequencing sewage samples from uc san diego and elementary schools across the city it is a way of detecting asymptomatic infection early. >> by sequencing the wastewater and understanding what particular variants are in our community, it allows us to understand whether there's a variant of concern that has arrived. >> reporter: no signs of omicron so far, but scientists here say it is only a matter of time tonight in san diego, this team is poised to be among the first to find it. lester >> erin mclaughlin, thank you. dr. richard besser is a former acting
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director of the cdc. i spoke to him a few minutes ago about the latest developments. dr. besser, good to have you here. let's start off with what we heard from the head of moderna today, suggesting the vaccines may not stand up, may not be as effective against this variant. is that something unexpected to you and what does the trajectory of this pandemic look like if that's the case? >> well, you know, lester, i think that's one of the big reasons why this is being taken so seriously there's a lot of unanswered questions a big one is how effective are the vaccines that are currently being used against this because of the number of mutations that are seen, the concern is vaccines won't work as well, but that's not known yet. so clearly right now being vaccinated is the best situation to be in until we have further information. >> i know restrictions and shutdowns and mandates can be unpopular at times, but are we using all the tools in the tool box here >> you know, i think we are right now but knowing that those other measures are
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available and things that could be taken if it turns out that this spreads more easily, that it causes severe disease, and that we don't have protection, but those are the questions that scientists are rushing to answer over the next couple of weeks until then, it is critically important that you follow the advice, you wear masks, you social distance cdc is beefing up the surveillance to be able to try and detect when this strain is first seen in the united states. it will be coming, so being ready for it and being able to react based on how severe it is is critically important. >> dr. besser, good to have you on. thanks so much >> thank you also developing tonight, this country's latest deadly school shooting at a high school north of detroit three students are dead, eight other people injured the suspect, 15 years old. meagan fitzgerald has late details. >> reporter: tonight, horror in the hallways of another american school >> it is a very tragic situation. >> reporter: the shooting happening inside oxford high school just outside of detroit. authorities in a press
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conference saying the first 911 call coming in at 12:51 p.m. they received over 100 calls. a 15-year-old sophomore opening fire with a semi-automatic handgun, killing three students, injuring eight others including a teacher. investigators say the suspect shooting some 20 rounds. an officer already on campus, quickly moving in. >> deputies responded and within five minutes had the suspect in custody he did not cause any problems he gave the weapon up. >> reporter: authorities say the suspect is not cooperating, and it is too soon to know the motive parents in this tight-knit community visibly shaken and holding their children close. >> so emotional because you never think it is going to happen here, and the kids just are all a big part of this community, and i'm so scared for them. >> reporter: fear gripping this town as president biden tried comforting those mourning >> as we learn the full details, my heart goes out to the
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families enduring the unimaginable grief of losing their loved ones >> i think this is every parent's worst nightmare. >> reporter: now left grieving in the midst of the holiday season. meagan fitzgerald, nbc news in new york, stunning testimony today from an alleged victim in the sex trafficking trial of jeffrey epstein's companion ghislaine maxwell. stephanie gosk has more. >> reporter: the first of ghislaine maxwell's four accusers and the one who says she was just 14 when the abuse began graphically described the first time jeffrey epstein sexually abused her in the pool house at his palm beach mansion, telling the court, i was frozen in fear, i had never seen a penis before i was terrified and felt gross testifying under the pseudonym jane, she said maxwell and epstein first approached her at a summer camp for gifted artists, which prosecutors say was the beginning of years of abuse, including ten trips to new york
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and new mexico jane said ghislaine maxwell was often in the room and at times took part in the abuse. maxwell pleaded not guilty to six sex trafficking counts, spanning from 1994 to 2004 her defense team told the jury jane only spoke out because she wanted money from a lawsuit. maxwell's attorney referred to her as a consummate actress earlier in the day jeffrey epstein's private pilot told the court he remembered meeting jane, especially her piercing blue eyes, but that she seemed mature to him. he also recalled a list of famous and powerful men who flew with epstein on his private jet, including bill clinton, prince andrew, donald trump, and kevin spacey the pilot testified that he never saw any sexual activity on the plane and that the cockpit door was normally closed. if maxwell is found guilty she faces decades behind bars. her defense attorneys say she wouldn't even be on trial if epstein hadn't taken his life. maxwell, they say, is a scapegoat, lester. >> stephanie, thank you. just in, cnn has suspended anchor chris
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cuomo indefinitely, the network citing new evidence from the new york state attorney general that suggests, quote, a greater level of involvement in defending his brother, former new york governor andrew cuomo, from sexual harassment allegations. cnn says chris cuomo is suspended pending further evaluation in just 60 seconds, tiger woods answering questions for the first time since that horrible accident
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in a minneapolis suburb today a former police officer went on trial accused of shooting and killing a young, black man, daunte wright, during a traffic stop her defense is she thought she was reaching for her taser. with more, here is ron allen. >> the defendant will please stand up. >> reporter: jury selection underway in the trial of former police officer kimberly potter, charged with manslaughter in the death of 20-year-old daunte wright, another fatal encounter that fueled a spring of protests demanding racial justice the incident seen on police body camera video, prosecutors say potter and an officer
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she was training, stopped wright because of an air freshener hanging from a mirror, illegal in minnesota, and expired license plates and tried to arrest wright after discovering an outstanding warrant for a gros misdemeanor weapons violation. potter with 26 years police experience is heard warning about firing a taser, but prosecutors say she fired a single lethal shot from her gun, what potter's attorneys say was a mistake, an explanation wright's family rejects >> everybody who has been there for us, standing with us on one of the worst days of our life. >> is there anyone here who would believe the testimony of a police officer just because he or she is in law enforcement >> reporter: potential jurors questioned about their views on police, race relations and the unrest that erupted after wright's death, and during the trial of the officer convicted of killing george floyd >> juror number seven, you will be on this jury >> reporter: the judge saying it should take
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a week to seat 12 jurors after assurances they would rely only on the evidence during the trial to determine whether potter is criminally responsible for wright's death potter faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of first-degree manslaughter one of her attorneys says the former police officer does plan to testify in her own defense. lester >> ron allen, thanks tiger woods is breaking his silence for the first time since he was nearly killed in an suv accident and opening up about his future in the sport. here is miguel almaguer. >> reporter: tonight, tiger woods is back on his feet and on the golf course, but not yet ready for the game >> it is hard to explain how difficult it has been, just to be immobile for three months and lay there. >> reporter: in his first press conference after nearly losing his life in february, woods says he hopes to play golf again but will never be the same player he used to be >> as far as playing at the tour level, that -- i don't know when that's going to happen we are talking about
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going out there playing against the world's best i'm so far from that. >> reporter: making his first public appearance in nine months, woods detailed his grueling rehab >> there were some really, really tough times, and the pain got pretty great at times. >> reporter: and also revealed how close he came to losing his right leg. >> how realistic was amputation >> yes, it was on the table. >> reporter: after multiple operations, surgeons stabilized woods' leg with a rod and screws while candid, the one thing woods didn't want to talk about is what he remembered after his crash. amid speculation he was distracted or perhaps even on medication, the sheriff said speed was the reason for the accident after slamming into a tree at 75 miles an hour, the 45-year-ol spent three weeks in the hospital and three months in a bed. >> i feel i'm lucky to be alive eventually i got to a point where they could wheelchair me outside safely, and i could feel the sun that was like a milestone.
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>> reporter: showing he is making progress, woods says he is inspired by his late father and hopes to play alongside his son, perhaps charting a course for his greatest comeback yet. >> the return to glory. >> reporter: miguel almaguer, nbc news up next for us, the race to deliver. our exclusive with the labor secretary. what he told us about when shipping might return to normal
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this is elodia. she's a recording artist. 1 of 10 million people that comcast has connected
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to affordable internet in the last 10 years. and this is emmanuel, a future recording artist, and one of the millions of students we're connecting throughout the next 10. through projectup, comcast is committing $1 billion so millions more students, past... and present, can continue to get the tools they need to build a future of unlimited possibilities. ♪ i see trees of green ♪ ♪ red roses too ♪ ♪ i see them bloom for me and you ♪ (music) ♪ so i think to myself ♪ ♪ oh what a wonderful world ♪ as you know, the holiday shopping
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season is here, but this year businesses both big and small are feeling the squeeze. in an nbc news exclusive, jo ling kent spoke to the u.s. labor secretary about when we will see relief and the economic threat from the new omicron variant. >> reporter: for the first time labor secretary marty walsh visiting the clogged port of los angeles, filled with idling container ships. >> i would say the port may not be operating 24/7, but at they're certainly operating as a higher capacity >> reporter: when do you think the supply chain will be back to normal >> i don't think there's ever a normal in the supply chain. i think it's always been ups and downs >> reporter: the port of l.a. says the number of containers waiting to be unloaded has dropped 37% since late october, but fed chie jerome powell today laying out fears brought on by the omicron variant. >> greater concerns about the virus could reduce people' willingness to work in person which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply chain disruptions. >> reporter: how are you as labor secretary going to incentivize people to keep going back to work >> i think the biggest
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thing is as we figure out the new variants we need to continue to stress people getting vaccinat boosted, wearing masks, being careful. >> reporter: but it is more than for this small business owner hiring at her chicago boutique kido is very expensive because she has to compete for workers with major retailers >> unfortunately if we are short staffed that affects everything >> reporter: on top of that, she has only been able to get 60% of what she needs to stock her shelves this holiday season >> we have at least a dozen of our best sellers that we have always leaned on during this time just haven't been available. >> reporter: how do you make sure small businesses are properly served in this pandemic when they try to get their stuff in for holiday season >> i think when we look at the unloading and delivering of goods and services to our country, goods to our country, i don't look through the lens of the big companies and then the small companies. i look to everybody's company at the same time. >> reporter: companies large and small, desperate for supply chain solutions. jo ling kent, nbc news, los angeles. and up next, on giving tuesday we will
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introduce you to a remarkable art program that helps people stay out of prison, now struggling for support.
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with black friday and cyber monday
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behind us, many charities struggled during the pandemic and are asking for help on giving tuesday. kristen dahlgren with one nonprofit "inspiring america." >> reporter: on a wall in harlem today, something big is taking shape much more than art, it is a story being rewritten with every stroke >> basically, the mural is a hand that represents that all of us together are responsible for uplifting young people in our community. >> reporter: artolution, a nonprofit that operates around the world in communities affected by crisis, today joined by once-incarcerated youth, using art to break the cycle of prison time. >> when i paint, i usually feel ecstatic. it makes me happy. it is another way of expressing your feelings >> being able to provide that to children and to artists and to people who never get that opportunity right here in this country and around the world is more important now than it has ever been before. >> reporter: but like many charities, this moment is also pushing them to the brink.
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in 2020, giving to arts, culture and humanities was down an estimated 7.5% artolution lost corporate sponsorship and had to lay off half its staff, streamlining to survive. >> everyone focuses on what happens after someone has gone in the wrong direction, but we need to support people from the beginning, especially youth. >> we have the ability to share that with those who may not have access to the most basic of resources that $1 means the world to that one child who is picking up a paintbrush for the first time in their life. >> reporter: now looking to others to help, but hopeful knowing how much beauty there is in the world. kristen dahlgren, nbc news >> the power of giving that's "nightly news" for this tuesday. thank you for watching, everyone i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other, and have a good night.
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♪and say that i'll be there, 'ere long!♪ next on nbc bay area news tonight, is it that bad already? many are saying to cancel your holiday travel plans because of the omicron virus. and elizabeth holmes, what messages reveal about their rocky relationship. and an owner of an east bay cannabis business speaks out. >> sadly sometimes these videos are taken out of per


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