tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC August 20, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT
for covid, and we have learned how cal is handling students tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. the hurricane watches and warnings now up across much of the northeast. from new jersey, new york, up into massachusetts, and the major headline tonight on afghanistan. president biden before the american people today promising americans in afghanistan, we will get you home. tonight, the evacuation efforts in kabul unfolding in front of the world. late today, the associated press now reporting u.s. military helicopters have begun flying into taliban held kabul to air lift evacuees to the airport. if so, that would be another major step forward in what the president described today as a dangerous mission already. millions seeing that image of an american marine lifting a baby over the airport wall. the president saying tonight
nearly 6,000 u.s. troops on the ground helping in the evacuation. the president saying i cannot promise what the final outcome will be or that it will be without risk of loss. the president saying he had no indication americans haven't been able to get through to the airport. then what the defense secretary said today in a briefing with lawmakers. and what the pentagon acknowledged today. ian pannell tonight live from kabul. martha raddatz live in washington. and stephanie ramos with late word from the white house tonight. also this evening, that tropical storm set to become a hurricane in the coming hours. tonight the warnings and watches up right now in the northeast. alerts in six state as we come on the air tonight. henri gaining strength as it moves up to coast. winds topping 75 miles per hour. new jersey, new york, massachusetts tonight, connecticut already declaring a state of emergency. rob marciano standing by with the new track now shifting inward. news on the coronavirus tonight -- the u.s. now
recording its worst day in nearly seven months. nearly 158,000 new covid cases in 24 hours. tonight from florida to mississippi to oregon, what they're now seeing. the accident on the tarmac -- two passenger planes clipping their wings. and the new jeopardy host stepping down just nine days after getting the job. good evening, and it's great to have you with us as we near the end of another week together here. we will get to those hurricane warnings and watches in the northeast at this hour in just a moment. rob marciano with the new track. and when it hits this weekend. but we are going to begin tonight with that news coming in from afghanistan right now, the evacuation efforts under way, both at the airport, and tonight the a.p. is now reporting that u.s. military helicopters have
begun flying into taliban held kabul to air lift evacweiss to the airport. abc news has not independently confirmed this, but if so, it would be another major step in these urgent evacuations. president biden meanwhile, before the american people today and taking questions on the chaotic images being watched by the world. growing reports tonight, the taliban is blocking some people from getting to the airport. reports the taliban has shown up at the door of afghans who helped the u.s., and the president today promising americans in afghanistan, we will get you home. and when pressed, saying he would do the same for afghans who helped us. tonight, the new images emerging in the last 24 hours. smoke bombs being fired and efforts to control the crowds there. at one point, the image of a baby being handed over the wall to a u.s. marine. tonight we learned that baby is okay and has been reunited with the father. those urgent air lifts halted for several hours today because the base in qatar was at
capacity. the u.s. urgently looking for other places to bring evacuees. flights resuming hours later. the state department saying those flights are being diverted to several other countries. president biden, as i mentioned, before the cameras today, announcing this an evacuation is dangerous, and those words, saying he, quote, cannot promise what the final outcome will be or that it will be without risk. abc's senior foreign correspondent ian pannell leading us off again tonight from the kabul. >> reporter: tonight, the desperation in kabul captured in a single shocking image of a baby being lifted over razor wire, handed to a u.s. marine. officials now confirming the baby's been safely reunited with his father at the airport. this as a young girl begs u.s. troops to let her in. >> the taliban is coming! >> reporter: thousands still waiting outside the gates. where taliban fighters rule the streets.
nearly 6,000 u.s. troops now guarding the airport. tonight, abc news confirming there were no u.s. flights out of kabul for up to seven hours today because the airbase in qatar was filled to capacity. >> they were saying that they don't have enough room over there. the woman and the kids, everyone has problem. they are sleeping on the street right now. >> reporter: late today, we've learned rescue flights have now resumed, diverted to other locations. u.s. officials say 5,700 people have been evacuated in the last 24 hours, including hundreds of americans. 13,000 in all since saturday. [ gunshots ] tonight, president biden insisting the u.s. is doing everything it can to rescue those who want to get out, but acknowledging the extreme dangers involved. >> any american who wants to come home, we will get you home. but make no mistake, this evacuation mission is dangerous. i cannot promise what the final
outcome will be or that it will be without risk of loss. >> reporter: for the first time, the pentagon today saying it will rescue americans outside the airport, quote, if there's a need. but today the president's own state department issuing this travel alert, reiterating the u.s. government cannot ensure safe passage to the airport. stephanie ramos pressing the president about getting americans to safety. >> the military secured the airport, but will you sign off on sending troops to kabul to rescue americans who haven't been able to get to the airport safely? >> we have no indication that they haven't been able to kabul through the airport. we've made an agreement with the taliban. thus far, they've allowed them to go through. it is in their interest for them to go through. so we know of no circumstance where american citizens are carrying a american passport are
trying to get through to the airport. we'll do whatever needs to be done to see that they get to the airport. >> reporter: despite the president saying he has no indication there have been difficulties getting to the airport -- [ gunshots ] for several nights now, we've reported on the violence and the terror outside kabul airport and americans and afghans who can't get through. and late today, after the president spoke, defense secretary lloyd austin acknowledging with lawmakers that there have been instances of the taliban beating americans trying to get to the airport in kabul, calling the situation unacceptable. and pentagon spokesperson john kirby acknowledging there have been reports of some americans unable to pass through checkpoints. american citizen david fox telling abc news he was unable to make it through the violent crowds to get to the airport safely, even hit by a taliban fighter. >> i actually got whacked with -- you know, with one of these, like, fan belts for not
moving fast enough. for me, as a father, i always have to weigh the risks of these different options. so to me, the airport is very dangerous. >> reporter: and it's not just the thousands of americans. what about the tens of thousands of afghans who helped america? the president was pressed. >> will you make the same commitment to those who assisted in the american war effort over the last 20 years? >> yes, we're making the same commitment. there's nothing more important than bringing american citizens out, i acknowledge that. but they're equally important, almost, as all those who -- those sivs, we call them, who, in fact, helped us. they were translators. they went into the battle with us. they were part of the operation. >> reporter: but tonight, six days after kabul fell, most who're eligible to leave, trapped in terrifying limbo with no immediate way to get out. >> let's get right back to ian pannell again tonight. ian, we know flights have resumed. the pentagon saying they would go into kabul if necessary. we heard the president today call this a dangerous mission
while you and i were on the air together here. and tonight there's more evidence that time is running short here. >> reporter: yeah, that's right. deeply worrying evidence about a premeditated attempt by some elements within the taliban to deliberately target those who have worked with the afghan intelligence and military services but also those who have worked with the americans and british, going door to door, issues letters in some allegations they've targeted and killed people. david? >> ian, thank you. the president was asked today about the afghan interpreters who helped the u.s. and about one in particular named abdul. that interpreter still in afghan tell thing our team the taliban showed up at his front door because he helped the u.s. he is now in hiding with his young family from the taliban. martha raddatz met him in afghanistan two months ago and
warned the u.s. something must be done for those who helped the u.s. during the 20-year war because the taliban will come for us. martha on the message she received from abdul just before the president spoke today. >> reporter: among the thousands trying to escape tonight is an interpreter named abdul. he and his family were already in hiding when we visited kabul two months ago and was already pleading for help. >> i know that i will be killed by the taliban. if they takes over the kabul, then they will behead us or they will kill us. >> reporter: abdul worked with u.s. marines in helmand province. he showed us his visa application, his letters of referral from marines for whom he risked his life. but now abdul is on the run with his family, sending us photos, which we will not show, of the taliban arriving at one of the homes he had just left. our stephanie ramos taking his case straight to the president. >> my colleague martha raddatz interviewed abdul, an
interpreter who was on the front lines with u.s. forces in afghanistan. overnight, we received a photo of taliban militants coming to the door of his home literally hunting him down. thankfully he was able to escape, but he is obviously still in mortal danger. what would be your message to abdul, his wife, and his three young daughters? >> we want you to be able to get to the airport, contact us. we'll see whatever we can do to get you there. we've got to get you out. we are committed to deal with you, your wife, and your child, to get all three of you out of afghanistan. that's the commitment. >> reporter: abdul was warning all the way back in june what could happen if the taliban took over kabul, and it turns out last month a u.s. embassy employee sent a classified cable to the state department predicting the afghan government could soon collapse. still, president biden insists his team did not believe the
taliban would take over so quickly when the americans pulled out. >> got all kinds of cables, all kinds of advice. i made a decision. the buck stops with me. i took the consensus opinion. the consensus opinion was that in fact it would not occur if it occurred until later in the year. >> you heard president biden committing to helping abdul and his family, committing to help, before the world today, all those afghan interpreter who is helped the u.s. out. >> reporter: exactly, david, and abdul said he had a message for america, saying that afghans worked shoulder to shoulder with americans and had done their job with honesty and pride, saying the americans left us behind and left us to those people who are not human and cut our heads off in front of our families. i am a soldier, he said, i am ready to die, but i care about my family. if the taliban captures me, with
pride, i will tell them i was an interpreter and did it for my country and my people. and david, there are continuing efforts to try to get abodul an his family out of afghanistan. >> i know you're going stay in contact with him, martha. thanks for that. as you heard president biden say, he had no indication americans were having trouble getting to the airport. the defense secretary did tell lawmakers there are some reports americans have been beaten. the pentagon also saying there are reports americans have been unable to pass through check points, so there would seem to be a disconnect with what the president said today. our team has been pressing the white house on this. let's bring in stephanie ramos. steph any, any response tonight? >> reporter: clearly there is a disconnect. we pressed the white house about this, and an official did get back to me, telling me on backgrou background, quote, it is a volatile situation on the ground. we are working to facilitate
safe passage for americans and siv applicants. there are going to be reports of chaos at the airport. but we are going to get americans into the kabul afrirpt and on planes. not necessarily a direct answer, but bottom line, what congress heard today from the secretary of defense speaks for itself. david. >> stephanie ramos at the white house. stephanie, thank you. our coverage of afghanistan for tonight. we move on to the tropical storm henri, set to become a hurricane in just hours. hurricane warnings and watches already up across much of the northeast at this hour from new jersey, new york, right up into massachusetts. the storm circulating in the atlantic, wind gusts would hit 75 miles per hour. the track shifting west at this hour. further inland, caught our eye. let's get to senior meteorologist rob marciano with this track tonight. rob is live in connecticut. hey, rob. >> reporter: hi, david. it's been ten years since southern new england had a hurricane watch. hurricane conditions likely in
the next 36 hours. let's take you to the maps. long island, most of that hurricane watch is all the way in through new england. tropical storm watches for new york. expected to strengthen as it gets past the gulf stream and then rapidly head towards long island, connecticuts the a category one storm. landfall sunday afternoon and drifting into new england. with all this, all the impacts are going to come in. strong storm surge up to five feet, we could see rainfall up to 10 inches inland. inland will see flooding and this storm, david is coming in quick. >> major story as we head into the weekend. rob, thank you. we're going to turn now to the coronavirus pandemic. the u.s. recording its worst day in nearly seven months. nearly 158,000 new cases of covid in just the last 246 hours. and late reporting from "the new york times" tonight that the fda could be trying to give final approval to the pfizer vaccine as early as monday. abc's marcus moore from dallas tonight.
>> reporter: tonight "the new york times" reporting the fda is trying to give full approval to the pfizer vaccine as soon as monday. authorities say authorization is coming and their hope if and when it comes it will encourage more americans who are hesitant to get their first shot to stop the delta variant sweeping the country. it come as hospitals across the u.s. are in crisis mode, scrambling to find beds to treat a growing crush of covid patients, those patients increasingly younger and largely unvaccinated. >> i watched a 28-year-old previously healthy unvaccinated patient die from covid complications. and while we value every life, that, that one was tough because it could have been prevented. >> reporter: avery mitchell is 2 years old and one of 28 children being cared for at mississippi's only children's hospital. that's the most they've seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
in florida, toni peters struggling to breathe from her hospital bed, now urging others to get their shots. >> for yourself, for your family, for your loved ones, get the vaccine today. >> reporter: also from florida, this striking image of sick covid patients lying on the floor of a state-run regeneron clinic, waiting for monoclonal antibody treatments. toma dean, seen in that picture, speaking to us today. >> if i chose to stand up in line, i'd have never made it to the treatment. i'd have been back in an e.r. so i laid on the floor until they got wheelchairs over. >> reporter: across the country, oregon now reporting a six-fold increase in hospital patients in the last month. >> 18 months into this pandemic, our front line health-care workers have been caring for patients every day, are exhausted. and we're in a pandemic that many of us regard at this time as largely preventable. >> reporter: david, also tonight there's a new report that says some of the largest private
health plans will no longer waive patients' out of pocket costs for covid treatment by the end of this month. david? >> we're going to be staying on that for sure. marcus, thank you. when we come back, the accident on the tarmac. two passenger planes. and the new "jeopardy!" host stepping down nine days after getting the job. what makes new salonpas arthritis gel so good for arthritis pain? salonpas contains the most prescribed topical pain relief ingredient. it's clinically proven, reduces inflammation and comes in original prescription strength. salonpas. it's good medicine. (geri) i have copd.
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ask your doctor about ibrance. finally, those hurricane warnings and watches up right now in the northeast. let's get right back to rob with the latest. rob? >> reporter: this track took a big shift to the west this morning, so now we're forced to get ready in a hurry. landfall on long island and new england as a category 1 late sunday. plowing through new england. hurricane conditions in the next 36 to 48 hours which means tomorrow is your day to prepare. >> rob marciano, our thanks to you. whit and linsey here this
>> moving forward. it's finding solutions. abc seven news. >> is no problem at all. i'm happy to share it and feel safer about it. anchor: starting today, san francisco has some of the strictest vaccine measures in the country. people have to prove they are vaccinated against covid-19 to participate in many indoor activities. good afternoon. thank you for joining us. you're watching abc seven news at 4:00 live. across california, vaccinations are trending up as the delta variant surges. new numbers from the state health department show more than 80,000 doses are being administered per day. that average jumped from this time last month. it was around 67,000 doses per day. 3.5 million californians nearly are partially vaccinated. that is people 12 and older who have received at least one dose more than 22 million californians are fully
vaccinated. eight of the top 10 most vaccinated counties are in the bay area. kristen: san francisco has one of the heights vaccination rates in the nation, almost 80%. today officials say the new rules will help out the bread of delta. seeing the reaction from people around town. he joins us live in north beach. wayne: lots of reaction. we are talking about fitness centers, bars, indoor theaters. all of them will require proof of vaccination and especially restaurants with indoor dining. where else to go to get a sense of how people feel about that then here in the north beach? imagine arriving in san francisco today going to north beach for lunch and not being allowed to dine inside. >> i've never even heard of it until now. wayne: sing this from denver would be a statistical outlier on the first day of vaccine certifying and sandra nava at tony's pizza. >> i will have to take