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tv   CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell  CBS  August 19, 2021 3:12am-3:42am PDT

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mcconnell. up in flames: a northern california wildfire burns 50,000 acres in just 24 hours. pesticide ban: how soon until your fruits and vegetables will be free of a chemical linked to neurological damage in children? pregnancy and covid: tonight, the new warning for pregnant women, as doctors say they're more likely to be hospitalized and need a ventilator. and, taking a stand. a young student who loves honey bees has the state capital buzzing. >> this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell, reporting from the nation'sin capital. >> o'donnell: good evening, and thank you for joining us. tonight, president biden is trying to get a handle on two legacy-defining crises. his administration is grappling with how to evacuate those thousands of americans and afghan civilians after the taliban takeover. we'll have late reporting on
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that in just a moment. the other crisis? covid's summer surge. with new evidence that vaccines lose effectiveness over time and with the delta variant raging, the administration is recommending covid booster shots for adults who have received either the moderna or pfizer vaccine, and the boosters should come eight months after their second dose. the first will be available the week of september 20. well, as of tonight, nearly 90 million americans who are eligible for covid shots have not even had one. and tonight this news: the president is forcing nursing homes to get their staff vaccinated or risk losing medicare and medicaid funding. there is a lot of news to get to and cbs' david begnaud is going to lead off over coverage in hard-hit monroe, louisiana. good evening, >> reporter: good evening, norah. you know, the f.d.a. has to approve the booster plan and so does the c.d.c. advisory panel. dr. fauci told me tonight, if you got pfizer or moderna, you're going to want to stick with the same manufacturer when you go back to get a booster shot. today, what the president said
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was an attempt to stay ahead of the coronavirus: >> my administration has been planning for this possibility and this scenario for months. we purchased enough vaccines and vaccine supplies so when your eight-month mark comes up, you'll be ready to get your vaccination free. >> reporter: this booster strategy comes from data which shows that the vaccines are losing efficacy over time. >> the current strong protection against severe infection, hospitalization, and death could decrease in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or who were vaccinated earlier during the phases it of our vaccination rollout. >> reporter: the case for boosters is building. three studies published by the c.d.c. today shows the effectiveness of vaccine against infection declined when the delta variant began circulating. one study examined the records of more than 10 million new yorkers and found that vaccine effectiveness against infection in may was 92%, but then it dropped to 80% months later. yet, at the same time, protection against
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hospitalization continued. dr. fauci, if the vaccines are diminishing over time, how many boosters do you think people are going to need? >> i would doubt if we're going to need many boosters. when we try to find out the breadth and the depth of the response by a booster, it is really extraordinary. it goes up by multiple-fold, at least 20- to 30-fold. so we don't anticipate beyond this we're going to need anything else. >> reporter: there is reason for worry. this country is averaging 500 covid deaths a day. president biden lashed out at governors that he claims are playing politics with safety measures. >> we're not going to sit by as governors try to block and intimidate educators protecting our children. >> 211, i'm en route. >> reporter: the surge through southern states is overwhelming. 27-year-old trent is a field supervisor for arcadian ambulance in lafayette, louisiana. >> we have three of them right now currently waiting. >> reporter: he took us to lafayette general medical center where there were ambulances lined up.
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he said recently paramedics waited between 30 minutes and three hours. >> we kind of just have to tell the hospital, like, "look, find something. we don't care where you put this patient. you have to put them somewhere because we need to run emergencies." >> reporter: despite transporting covid-positive patients weekly, medic britney decou is not vaccinated. you're up close with it. does that not change your opinion? >> no. me and my family are very religious. we pray a lot. we trust god. >> reporter: you know, louisiana set another record today-- highest covid hospitalization rate of any point at the pandemic. and that's impacting non-covid patients. just yesterday, a man in central louisiana had a heart attack, went on a community hospital and they said, you have to go on a larger hospital for advanced care. they called around for two hours. they looked 100 miles around and they could not find a single available bed. norah. >> o'donnell: this is affecting so many people. david begnaud, thank you. and turning now to afghanistan and more chaotic scenes at the kabul airport.
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evacuations are proceeding slowly, with thousands of americans still wanting and waiting to get out. and there are reports that taliban fighters are preventing afghan civilians from getting anywhere near that airport gate. cbs' david martin is monitoring the situation from the pentagon. >> reporter: u.s. combat troops lined up shoulder to shoulder behind concertina wire at the airport to keep back desperate afghans clamoring for a way out. a few times, warning shots had to be fired to keep the mob back. for now, the runways are clear and transport planes have flown out a total of 5,000 people, mostly american citizens and afghans who once worked for the u.s. it could be the largest evacuation since the fall of saigon 46 years ago, and defense secretary austin acknowledged it's not moving fast enough. >> it's obvious we're not close to where we want to be in terms of getting the numbers through. >> reporter: the pentagon says
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it can fly out up to 9,000 people a day, but they first have to get past taliban checkpoints to reach the airport. the u.s. will soon have 6,000 combat troops on the ground, but they are needed to defend the airport and keep it operating. they're not enough to send into the city to pick up stranded americans. >> we don't have the capability to go out and collect a large numbers of people. >> reporter: president biden insists all this chaos was inevitable, not the result of bad planning. >> the idea that somehow there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, i don't know how that happens. >> reporter: so for you that was always priced into the decision. >> yes. >> reporter: the way austin describes the mission, it may not be possible to get everybody out. >> get as many people out as fast as we can, you know, with the time that we have available. >> reporter: president biden had originally ordered all u.s. troops out of afghanistan by the
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end of the month. but he said today he would extend that deadline, if that's what it takes to evacuate all american citizens. norah. >> o'donnell: a significant development. david martin, thank you. and tonight, as we wait to see what happens to the afghans who helped the u.s. and want to leave the country because they fear for their lives, the taliban has insisted they will respect human rights. but today, protests turned deadly. cbs' roxana saberi reports. >> reporter: in an early display of dissent against the taliban's takeover, protesters in eastern afghanistan today waved the afghan national flag. taliban fighters responded swiftly, leaving at least oneeae dead. dead. scenes like these challenge the taliban's pledge that this time, they'll bring law and order with a kinder, gentler hand.and. the tal the taliban commander told cbs news his fighters have set up checkpoints into kabul airport to control crowds, but for many afghans trying to flee the
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country, these heavily-armed fighters are inflicting terror. few make this far, if at all. so we're heading now to the military side of kabul airport, which has reopened for flights for foreigners like us to leave, and afghans that the u.s. isve and afghans that th trying to evacuate. it looks like all these people are trying to get into the airport. inside, we saw u.s. troops preparing to airlift afghans out. just after midnight, we joined them. we're about to take off from kabul in a u.s. military transport plane with 300 afghans-- men, women, and children. many carried little but hope and relief. sayed jalal zaheer told us, as a translator for the u.s. army, he lied to get past ten taliban checkpoints. >> if they found me, they're going to kill me. >> reporter: he hopes if these kids see afghanistan again, they
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will see it at peace. what is your dream now for your kids and for your family in america? >> only one dream: to make a bright future. >> reporter: sayed told us it took two and a half years to get his u.s. visa. now he's worried his friends who also worked for the u.s. government won't get theirs before the u.s. troops withdraw by the end of the month. norah. >> o'donnell: roxana saberi, thank you. and on that note, tonight president biden said u.s. troops will remain in afghanistan until all american citizens are safely evacuated. moments ago, i spoke with the top republican in the senate, mitch mcconnell, about the administration's handling of the withdrawal. the president just said in a new interview tonight that he didn't see a way to withdraw from afghanistan without chaos-- in other words, he saw that chaos as inevitable. is that how you see it? >> well, we shouldn't have made this decision in the first place. only had we only had 2,500 troops there,
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light touch, no chaos, not a single american soldier killed in a year, in combat. we've now left 10,000 to 15,000 american citizens behind enemy lines with no plan to get them to the airport to get out. and ironically, we have more troops in afghanistan now, trying to rescue our people, than we had before this unbelievably bad decision to precipitously withdraw. >> o'donnell: do you think we need to put more forces on the ground in order to rescue those americans? >> well, the president should leave no american behind. i'll leave it up to him to figure out how to correct the mistake that he made. he took this enormous risk in order to pursue basically a poll-tested line that we've ended the longest war, and we're bringing everybody home, a political decision that produced
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catastrophic consequences. >> o'donnell: but, senator, to be fair, president trump was the one who put this plan into action to withdraw american forces out by may 1. does president trump bear some responsibility? >> look, i-- i argued to president trump that this decision should not be made. i had a similar conversations with the previous president. president biden didn't have to make this decision, based upon what a previous president had decided to do. he should have done the right thing for the country. this was entirely predictable. >> o'donnell: do you believe lef that america is less safe now that the taliban are in charge? >> absolutely. i-- no question about it. afghanistan will shortly return to exactly why we went there in the first place. >> o'donnell: and now congress will investigate. all right, tonight, the biden administration is reversing a trump-era policy and will ban a common pesticide from use on farms. chlorpyrifos has been used on numerous fruits and vegetables,
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but it has been linked to neurological damage in children. the ban will take effect in six months. in northern california tonight, nearly 7,000 people remain under evacuation orders as the caldor fire rages. the fire, burning northeast of sacramento, exploded over the last 24 hours, scorching more than 50,000 acres and threatens to overrun the community of grisly flats. it's already torched dozens of homes, a school, and post office. all right, turning now to north carolina because dozens of people are unaccounted for after floods washed through the region on tuesday. those are the remnants of tropical storm fred, and they are pushing north, prompting flood watches in upstate new york and new england. well, tonight, hurricane grace is lashing the caymen islands and could hit mexico overnight. and look at this: tropical storm henri is expected to become a hurricane friday near bermuda and could impact the northeast this weekend. all right, tonight, we're going to continue our reporting from on the ground in haiti, where
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the situation is dire after that 7.2-magnitude earthquake. officials there said today that at least 600,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and get this-- 135,000 families are displaced. cbs' vladimir duthiers is in pourt-au-prince. >> reporter: it was another grim day in haiti today as search- and-rescue teams found more search-and-rescue teams found more bodies in the bodies in the rubble. rescue and recovery efforts have been slowed by tropical storm grace, and roads that were damaged by the earthquake, which lead to the hardest hit areas. more u.s. forces have been deployed to haiti. the navy warship u.s.s. "arlington," with more than 600 military personnel on board, will arrive by friday. >> it's a heavily damaged area and i think the need is going to be great. >> reporter: we're here at this hospital in les cayes. the united states coast guard is also here. we know over the course of the last couple of days since the earthquake struck, they rescued numerous victims, and have brought in thousands of pounds of supplies to the affected area. >> we have all kinds of rescue
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equipment. we have over 80 rescuers working in this area. >> reporter: desperation is growing as many of the hospitals are overwhelmed, forcing some patients to be treated outside-- including this woman and newborn child. this young boy with a broken leg was lucky to get a bed. he says he's doing okay. today, we traveled with world central kitchen, a humanitarian group that prepared thousands of meals and delivered it to some people who haven't eaten in days. >> we know they are hungry. they are really hungry. they lost their houses. they lost everything. so for sure, that's the most important thing for them right now, is to eat, to stay alive. >> reporter: all day long, aircraft behind me have been flying in the critically injured and transporting supplies to areas that need it most. the group that flew us to les cayes tonight, world central kitchen, was founded by celebrity chef jose andres, and they hope to serve as many as 30,000 meals per day, norah.
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>> o'donnell: all right, vladimir duthiers, thank you. and there is still much more news ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news."n tonight what pregnant women need to know about the covid vaccines. t what. and we need more time. so, we want kisqali. living longer is possible and proven with kisqali when taken with a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor in premenopausal women with hr+, her2- metastatic breast cancer. kisqali is a pill that's significantly more effective at delaying disease progression versus a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor alone. kisqali can cause lung problems or an abnormal heartbeat, which can lead to death. it can cause serious skin reactions, liver problems, and low white blood cell counts that may result in severe infections. tell your doctor right away if you have new or worsening symptoms, including breathing problems, cough, chest pain, a change in your heartbeat, dizziness, yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, tiredness, loss of appetite, abdomen pain,
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so does my oral-b oral-b delivers the wow of a professional clean feel every day. >> o'donnell: the c.d.c. is warning about resistance to covid vaccines among pregnant women and nursing moms. cbs' nikki battiste has important information about why those shots are so needed. >> reporter: zara zuckerman was a bit hesitant about getting a covid vaccine while pregnant with her daughter, sophie, but she was more concerned about getting covid. >> pregnancy is scary but this is something that can make it less scary. this is protecting you and protecting your unborn baby. >> we need to impress upon women how serious covid infection in pregnancy could be. >> reporter: dr. laura riley says pregnant women who contract covid are more likely to hav covid are more likely to have severe infection, be hospitalized, and need a ventilator. but only 23% have received at
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least one dose of a covid vaccine during pregnancy. >> pre >> pregnant women hear a chorus of "don't eat that, don't take that, don't put anything on into your body." and so the natural reaction is "oh, maybe i shouldn't." but here we're saying, this is a prevention that is going to save you, potentially, from som you, potentially, from something far worse. >> reporter: a new study showset pregnant women infected with covid are at a significantly higher risk for preterm birth. >> these are babies who are going to stay in the hospital longer, who may go through their lives with many more difficulties. >> reporter: zuckerman said she felt relieved after gettingorted she felt relieved after get vaccinated. >> i felt instantly like we had made the right decision, like i was starting on my journey to protect myself and protect my kid. >> reporter: sophie is now four months old, perfectly healthy, and hitting all her milestones. nikki battiste, cbs news, new york. >> o'donnell: and coming up next, a sweet story.
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>> o'donnell: most people are afraid of bees, but not a young girl who lives just outside chicago. cbs' michael george reports that she is creating quite a buzz at the state house. >> just be super, super chilledh >> reporter: scarlett harper is fearless, especially when it comes to bees. >> wow. >> reporter: this 11-year-old wants to get as close as she can. you're not afraid of them at all. >> no.
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i mean, you have to be, like, respectful of them. >> reporter: when scarlett learned the bees in her neighborhood were being wiped out by mosquito pesticides, she rallied to save them... >> go make some phone calls, get some state reps on board. let's do this. >> reporter: ...cold calling state lawmakers and working with them to write a bill aimed at limiting the use of harmful chemicals. >> bees are completely vital to humans. they pollinate a third of our food supply. and without them, we really can't survive. >> reporter: not a lot of kids your age would go to the lengths that you're going to save bees. >> instead of thinking of my age as a disadvantage, i try to use it as a tool. because i'm a little bit younger, i can not get bogged down in what might go wrong. >> reporter: while the so-called bee bill started off strong, it's currently stalled, leaving scarlett even more determined to fight. >> we're going to win. >> reporter: you're not giving up. >> not one bit. up. >> not one >> reporter: after all, every hive needs a queen. michael george, cbs news,
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>> announcer: this is the "cbs overnight news." i'm ben tracey in washingto. thanks for staying with us. as the delta variant continues to sweep through the nation, booster shots will be available for those who are vaccinated. health care workers and nursing home residents who got their second dose eight months ago will be the first in line. there were more than 86,000 cases of covid reported this week. that's twice as much as the week before. and in alabama, the state hospital association reported that as of tuesday, there were no i.c.u. beds available in the
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entire state. in fact, there was a wait list. in texas, republican governor greg abbott remains in isolation after testing positive for covid. abbott, who was vaccinated in december, has refused to reinstate mask mandates despite cases in texas. his positive test came after being in a room of supporters. it is fought by doctors, and emergency workers. david begnaud went along for a ride with an ambulance crew in louisiana. >> reporter: how long have you been waiting? >> i have been waiting for three days. >> reporter: three days? >> yes. >> reporter: you've been here for three days? huh? >> yes, three days. >> reporter: oh, my god, wow. what's your name, ma'am? >> julia. >> reporter: we were right there when 48-year-old julia klay was loaded in the back of acadia ambulance and transported to
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lafayette, louisiana. 59% of the beds here are filled with covid patients, and 93% of them are unvaccinated. and now clay is one of them. >> reporter: you wish you would have taken the vaccine? >> yes. >> reporter: acadia ambulance based in louisiana is the largest privately owned ambulance company in the country. we spent three days with them. dr. chuck bernal is their chief medical officer. of your call volume, how much is dominated by covid patients? >> around 30 to 40% of our calls is covid patients. >> reporter: 27-year-old trent is a field supervisor for acadia. >> we have three of them right now apparently waiting. >> reporter: he took us to lafayette general where ambulances were backed up because no e.r. beds were available. they had to wait with patients 30 minutes to three hours. >> we have to tell the


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