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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  August 23, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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learn more about the condition at tonight, several major headlines as we come on the air. the fda giving full approval now to the pfizer vaccine and what this could mean for vaccine mandates in this country. and the news coming in from afghanistan tonight. the evacuations. how many americans, how many afghan interpreters remain? and will the president extend that august 31st deadline? tonight, the taliban with a warning if he does. first, the coronavirus and tonight, pfizer now the first covid vaccine in the u.s. to be fully approved for americans 16 and older. until now, it had been given emergency use authorization, now full approval. found to be 91% effective at preventing the virus. federal authorities have long hoped this moment would help with the unvaccinated, providing additional proof of the vaccine's safety. what this could mean for vaccine
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mandates moving forward. what new york city has done. and companies, too. the united airlines tonight giving employees five weeks from today to be fully vaccinated. and all of this comes as more than 180,000 children get covid in just one week. dr. jha standing by, answering questions on all of this and the booster and when you should plan to get it. also tonight, the mass evacuations and the race against time in afghanistan. will president biden extend that deadline? what the white house said just today. the taliban now saying that date is a red line. and the pentagon tonight on the u.s. military going into kabul to help americans and afghans get out. ian pannell reporting from kabul and martha raddatz live in washington tonight with what she's now learned. the horrific and deadly weather here at home. the flooding tragedy in tennessee. many families say it came out of nowhere. at least 21 people now killed,
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including 7-month-old twins swept away from their father. country legend loretta lynn heartbroken tonight following the death of her longtime ranch foreman. homes, cars, roads washed away. several still missing. a record-setting 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. also, henri slams into the northeast. a confirmed tornado tonight touching down in massachusetts. heavy rain and flooding from new jersey, new york, rhode island, up through massachusetts and the heat wave likely next. new york governor andrew cuomo's final hours in office. his farewell message. and what he says in that message about the a.g. report that led to his resignation. news on that deadly highway shooting. a father shot while driving. his young sons, 6 and 8, taking control of the wheel, pulling off the highway, finding a woman to call 911. and tonight here, we remember a rock 'n' roll pioneer.
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good evening and it's great start another week together. the news coming in out of afghanistan in just a moment. will president biden extend this deadline? is there a firm number on americans and afghans still trying to get out? but we are going to begin tonight with that major news on the pfizer vaccine, now given full approval by the fda. president biden today calling this a key milestone in the fight against the pandemic. the fda calling it a pivotal moment for our country. it comes amid the surging delta vriant. more than 137,000 new covid cases a day in this country. and authorities are now hoping this leads to more of the unvaccinated getting the shot and more companies and businesses mandating their workers get vaccinated, too. pfizer is, of course, now the first covid vaccine in the u.s. to be fully licensed. until now, it had only been given emergency use authorization, now full approval, based on data from 45,000 trial volunteers showing the vaccine is 91% effective at preventing covid.
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tonight, federal authorities hope this will encourage many of the 82 million americans who still haven't had their first shot to get it. president biden touting the scientific evidence today, telling the unvaccinated, quote, the moment you've been waiting for is here. and with this approval, the president also calling on state and local governments, businesses and schools to issue vaccine mandates now. new york city today requiring teachers receive at least one dose by next month. the u.s. reporting more than 180,000 new child covid cases in just the last week. the pentagon tonight now moving forward with plans to require vaccinations for more than 1 million active military personnel. and the vaccination rate in this country is now picking up steam
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again. this cdc reporting reporting 71% of those 12 and older have now received at least one dose. several days now with more than a million vaccinations in this country. and abc's eva pilgrim leading us off. >> reporter: in that long-awaited decision, the fda giving full approval to the pfizer vaccine for americans 16 and older, making it the first vaccine to move past emergency use authorization. >> if you're one of the millions of americans who said that they will not get the shot until it has full and final approval of the fda, it has now happened. the moment you've been waiting for is here. >> reporter: the president calling the fda's review process the gold standard. the pfizer vaccine found to be 91% effective in preventing covid-19. in just eight months, americans have received more than 200 million pfizer doses, with a billion more given around the world. the vaccine is now among the most studied in history. full approval for the pfizer
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vaccine now paving the way for more vaccine mandates from schools, governments and corporations. and with a surging delta variant, the president is pushing companies to act. >> if you're a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full fda approval to require vaccinations, i call on you now to do that, require it. >> reporter: tonight, the pentagon is preparing to require the shot for 1.3 million active duty troops. new york city mandating the vaccine for all school employees, without the option for weekly testing. and at united airlines, workers will have five weeks from today to show proof of vaccination. the question is whether full approval will trigger a wave of desperately needed vaccinations. about 85 million americans are eligible but have not gotten the shot. a recent poll found 3 out of 10 unvaccinated people said they would be more likely to get a shot that had full approval. >> i'm just like a lot of other people, they scared. i was waiting on the fda approval. >> reporter: still, more americans are dying of covid, now an average of 738 every day. florida just saw its deadliest week. >> a lot them actually that are coming here and before we
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intubate them almost their last words are begging us for a vaccine. but unfortunately, by that time, it's already too late. >> reporter: in palm beach, doctors gathering in solidarity before dawn to beg members of the community to get the shot. >> the science is there. we must stop denying the data, so please get vaccinated. >> reporter: and tonight, the number of children infected with covid is skyrocketing. more than 180,000 cases last week, nearly five times more than just a month ago. 14-year-old preston timmins has autism and was hospitalized in arizona for days with covid. >> it's terrifying. he doesn't like, you know, them poking him and prodding him. and he has to have oxygen because he can't breathe well on his own. it's hard. >> reporter: preston is finally home recovering. his mom now plans to get him vaccinated as soon as he's better. >> and eva pilgrim with us
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tonight. and eva, we should also point out that with this full approval of the pfizer vaccine, the fda still warning that the vaccine should not be used in younger children under 12, but that they're still working on this? >> reporter: that's right, david. the fda making it very clear that the vaccine should not be given off-label to children under 12. the commissioner saying they are not just small adults. the fda is still studying the safety data and the proper dose before making that recommendation for those younger children. that decision could come this fall. david? >> eva pilgrim leading us off. eva, our thanks to you. and so, with the fda giving pfizer vaccine the full approval, the bigger picture here tonight, will this change minds, will this change what companies now do moving forward? and, of course, the booster shot, that third shot now on the horizon. so, let's get right to dr. ashish jha, dean of the brown university school of public health. and dr. jha, always great to have you. first off, i'm curious your thoughts, how big of a game changer is today's full approval?
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will it change minds, as i said, or will it have an even larger impact on companies and what they'll now mandate with their workers? >> yeah, so, first of all, david, thanks for having me back. i think this is really big news. i think this is great. and i think the big impact will be on companies, on schools, on universities, hospitals, who have been waiting. i think with full approval, now, i think they will move forward with mandates. i expect a wave of mandates coming. i do think for some individuals it will make a difference, as well, but i think the big impact will be from mandates that are coming down the pike. > in the meantime, we can't forget the fully vaccinated americans already and this third shot, this booster set for mid-september, pending fda approval. we've heard a lot about the eight-month mark, you should get the booster eight months after
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you were fully vaccinated. people are going to be doing the math in their heads tonight. why that timeframe and does it make sense to you? >> yeah, it does. you know, what we're seeing from israel, and that's really the place that has the best data, is some waning of immunity in high risk people. so, what i'm saying is, telling people is, if you are immunocompromised, if you are elderly, if you have multiple chronic conditions, after eight months, it probably does make sense to get a booster, to get that extra level of protection. haven't seen data yet that most normal people with normal, healthy immune systems need it. i think we'll have more data on that, but for the high risk people, it does make sense. >> as soon as we get that data, dr. jha, we'll have you back on. thank you. in other news tonight, we turn to afghanistan and to news on the mass evacuations, the race against time there. will president biden extend that august 31st deadline. what the white house said just today here in a moment. the taliban now saying that date is a red line. the u.s. and allies making progress, airlifting roughly 16,000 people out of kabul in just the last 24 hours. but that image, planes taking off using flares to protect against any possible terror threat from the ground. and the pentagon tonight
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acknowledging a second group of americans in kabul was airlifted to the airport and that rescue operations are taking place as needed to bring more people inside the perimeter at the airport. our senior foreign correspondent ian pannell reporting from kabul again tonight. >> reporter: tonight, violence and chaos around the airport in kabul, but the pace of evacuations stepping up. u.s. and coalition planes flying more than 16,000 people out of afghanistan in just the past 24 hours. a new record. but so many more remain. the u.s. was planning to pull out on august 31st, one week from tomorrow. president biden now hinting that may be delayed. >> our hope is we will not have to extend, but there are going to be discussions, i suspect, on how far along we are in the process. >> reporter: the taliban today calling august 31st a "red line," saying moving the deadline would amount to "extending occupation" and would "provoke a reaction." so, now the situation's increasingly desperate. over the weekend, surging crowds trying to get to the airport leaving at least seven dead, including reportedly a
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2-year-old girl. today, a firefight breaking out between gunmen and american and german forces. an afghan security officer killed. others wounded. >> we have a long way to go and a lot could still go wrong. >> reporter: the white house warning terrorists may see an opportunity in the chaos, calling the threat of an isis attack at the airport, "real", "acute" and "persistent." as a defense, military aircraft now releasing flares to distract any heat-seeking missiles that might target planes. outside of afghanistan, the u.s. enlisting a fleet of commercial jets to transport americans and the afghans who worked alongside them. >> once screened and cleared, we will welcome these afghans who helped us in the war effort over the last 20 years to their new home in the united states of america. >> reporter: hundreds of afghan refugees now arriving in virginia. this woman telling our affiliate wjla she fled kabul in the darkness with her husband and 3-year-old daughter. >> in the morning, taliban is in the street, we scared, we go in the night to the airport. >> reporter: at dulles airport outside washington, d.c., this
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man and his family speaking with abc's gio benitez. an government for more than two years. this is his first time in the united states. >> a lot of relief? >> yes. now i can -- we are safe here. yeah. >> reporter: while the numbers of americans and afghans getting out of the country has increased, tens of thousands still remain stuck outside the airport, afraid or simply unable to get through those checkpoints or the chaos. and time's starting to run out for many of them to get out safely. david? >> ian pannell reporting for us again tonight. our thanks to ian and the team. meantime, at the white house today, our stephanie ramos asking about that august 31st deadline to get the u.s. troops out and of course americans and afghan interpreters before that. stephanie asking if the president plans to extend that deadline and here's what his national security adviser jake sullivan said. >> reporter: what if the u.s. can't get americans and afghan allies out of the country by august 31st?
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what happens then if the taliban says they are not willing to extend, is the u.s. going abide by their red lines? >> so, i'm not going to take this on as a hypothetical question. what i'm going to say is what i said at the outset, which is, we are in touch with the taliban daily. we're in touch with our allies and partners, we're reviewing our progress in this particular operation, which we feel has been substantial over the past few days. and the president will make his own determination. >> that was the answer at the white house today on this deadline. august 31st is a week from tomorrow. i want to bring in abc's chief global affairs correspondent martha raddatz with us. martha, i know you pressed he secretary of defense on this just this weekend. what are you learning from your sources tonight on this deadline as it approaches? >> reporter: well, david, the defense secretary told me the goal is to finish the evacuations by that august 31st deadline.
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the complication is that we now have close to 6,000 troops there to facilitate the evacuation. so that troop withdrawal in itself would take several days and that means they would have to get american citizens and afghan allies out of afghanistan by next weekend, if not sooner, in order to then get the troops out by the deadline. a u.s. official tells me at this point it is unlikely the deadline will be extended, but the negotiations are ongoing. david? >> all right, you'll be tracking it all. martha, we'll see you tomorrow night. we move on this evening to the horrific and deadly weather here at home. the flooding tragedy in tennessee. at least 21 people now killed, including 7-month-old twins swept away from their father. and tonight, loretta lynn heartbroken following the death of her longtime ranch foreman. abc's elwyn lopez is in tennessee tonight. >> reporter: tonight, new images of the catastrophic destruction in parts of middle tennessee after deadly flooding decimated the area. at least 21 people killed, including 7-month-old twins swept away from their father. country music star loretta lynn
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posting on facebook her family is heartbroken. their ranch foreman, wayne spears, among the victims. officials going door-to-door, searching for as many as ten people still unaccounted for here in humphreys county. >> they were on a raft trying to hold on. they hit a tree and it broke. one sister went one way, lily went the other. >> reporter: tarri holderman telling us her 15-year-old niece, lily bryant, is among those missing. lily's sister making it to safety. >> and it's just been tough, because we can't find her and we need to find her. >> reporter: more than 17 inches of rain falling in just a matter of hours over the weekend. training thunderstorms along a stationary front bringing relentless rounds of rain over the same area. the deluge turning the creek that runs through the town into a raging river. this is how high the water was? >> yeah, several feet. >> reporter: lindsey daniel taking me through her family's flood damaged home -- >> we stayed in there.
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>> reporter: -- telling me she, her husband and 8-year-old son was trapped in their attic for five hours until they were rescued. >> we knew we had people coming to get us. and i honestly think that's the only thing that kept us going. >> reporter: david, house after house swept off their foundations by surging waters. look at this home, now sitting in the middle of the road. the devastation goes on for up to ten miles. further complicating search and recovery efforts here. david? >> we are thinking about those families in tennessee tonight. elwyn. thank you. tropical storm henri battering the northeast today. spawning a confirmed tornado, as well, in marlboro, massachusetts. flood watches in effect still for much of new england. henri, the first tropical storm to hit the region in nearly 15 years. the storm also knocking out power to at least 140,000 customers. and outgoing new york governor andrew cuomo dealing with the storm in his final weekend in office.
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the governor now with just hours left. cuomo today in a farewell message saying it was an honor to serve, but also blasting the state attorney general's report into sexual harassment claims against him, saying it was, quote, designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic and it worked. leutenant governor kathy hochul becoming the first woman governor in new york at midnight tonight. when we come back this evening, news on jesse jackson and his wife, both hospitalized after testing positive for covid. pool floaties are like whooping cough. amusement parks are like whooping cough. even ice cream is like whooping cough, it's not just for kids. whooping cough is highly contagious for people of any age. and it can cause violent uncontrollable coughing fits. sometimes followed by vomiting and exhaustion. ask your doctor or pharmacist about whooping cough vaccination because whooping cough isn't just for kids. age-related macular degeneration may lead to severe vision loss, so the national eye institute did 20 years of clinical studies on a formula found in preservision. if it were my vision, i'd ask my doctor about preservision.
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parents performed country music. and don and phil everly were just 18 and 20 with their hit "bye-bye love" in 1957. ♪ bye bye love bye bye happiness ♪ >> don everly, the deeper voice, usually the lead singer. once saying he and his brother could almost read each other's minds when they were singing. ♪ drooem ♪ ♪ dream dream dream ♪ >> among the first inductees to the rock 'n' roll hall of fame, influencing the beatles, simon and garfunkel, the eagles. ♪ i want you to tell me ♪ ♪ why you walked out on me ♪ >> don passed away seven years after his brother phil. his family saying don lived by what he felt in his heart, sharing the music that made him an everly brother. we loved their music. it certainly lives on. i'll see you tomorrow. good night. . >> this really just gives us a
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lot more confidence that what we have been seeing along is correct. >> confidence and optimism because the u.s. has its first fully approved coronavirus vaccine. local doctors weigh in on what could change in the bay area in california. >> every day they are calling and asking if there is anyway we can help. >> see how people in the east bay are answering calls for help that are coming from afghanistan. >> it's not going to be bitcoin stadium, but a name changes in the works for california's memorial stadium at berkeley. >> building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions, this is abc 7 news. president biden: the moment you have been waiting for is here. it's time for you to get your vaccination. get it today. today. >> no time like the peasant -- present and now is our best chance. >> you're watching abc 7 news at
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6:00 wherever you stream. today the fda granted full approval of the pfizer covid vaccine for those 16 and up, making it the first to be fully licensed in the u.s.. this is a historic moment in our fight against the coronavirus. president biden: together we have made significant progress in seven months. we just have to finish the job with science, facts and confidence. >> with full approval it's easier for businesses, school districts and government agencies to require vaccinations. new york city issued a vaccine mandate for school staff. the pentagon immediately announced it will press ahead with plans to require members of the military to get their shots. and there is hope that the fda's full approval will encourage people who are hesitant about whether the vaccine really is safe to get. >> ar-15 -- a topic that our reporter is looking into. stephanie, let me start with


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