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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  April 27, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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♪ >> good evening, i am judy woodruff. masking. the cdc issues new, less restrictive guidance on face coverings as more americans are vaccinated and public spaces begin to reopen. then, the road ahead. we break down the critical details of the biden administration's major push to infrastructure investment. getting the vaccine. donna struggles to convince a skeptical population of the benefits of receiving the shot against coronavirus. >> we have adequately learned our lessons from six years ago during the botched ebola trial, and we know the risk communication is key.
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judy: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. ♪ >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- >> cfo, caregiver, eclipse chaser, at raymondjames financial advisor helps you plan your life. >> consumer cellular's goal is to provide wireless service to help people connect. we offer a variety of no contract plans and we can help find one that fit to you. visit >> johnson & johnson. bnsf railway. ♪
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>> the john s james john foundation. >> and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to their pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. judy: president biden announced a new guidance about wearing masks today and specifically,
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when masks are no longer needed outside for vaccinated people. the latest recommendations still maintain important warnings about masking indoors and in crowds outside. the president, who has said he hoped the country is moving towards a more normal summer, made his remarks outside. pres. biden: starting today, if you are fully vaccinated and you are outdoors and not an a big crowd, you no longer need to wear a mask. i want to be clear, if you crowt a conference, or concert, you still need to ar a mask. even if you are outside. beginning today, gathering with a group of friends in a park, going for a picnic, as long as you are vaccinated and outdoors, you can do it without a mask. judy: shortly before the president spoke, cdc direct
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their dr. rochelle walensky said she hopes the changes will entice more americans to get vaccinated and she noted that vaccinations will enable americans to do more indoor activities indoors as well. >> as we gather more data on the real-world efficacy of vaccines, we know that masked, fully vaccinated people can safely attend worship services inside, go to an indoor restaurant or bar, and even produce pay in an indoor exercise class. judy: let's understand more about the revised guidance. dr. richard besser is the president and ceo of the robert wood johnson foundation, which is a newshour funder. dr. richard besser, thank you for joining us again. we heard dr. walensky refer to this as a step back to normalcy. let's g back over the most
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important part of these new guidelines, mainly with regard to what fully vaccinated people can do in starting with outdoors, how is that changing? >> for so long, we have been telling people to go ahead, get vaccinated, but nothing in your life will change. what we are hearing today is there significant changes. if you are fully vaccinated, it is safe to go outside without a mask on, as long as you are not in crowded places. you can go to a lot of places, as long as you are not in a crowded place, you can do that without a mask and recognize that it is a pretty safe thing to do. you can get together with small groups of friends who are vaccinated and you can be with people who are not vaccinated as well. judy: and how does one determine what is too large a crowd to become triple in without a mask? >> the cdc is a little dodgy on what is a small crowd and what is a large crowd and some depends on circumstance.
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if you are in a state where there is a live community transmission, like michigan, you want to be more careful about crowds and where places that numbers are low. if you can swing your arms around, i think you are in an area that is not too crowded. if you are shoulder to shoulder, that is a place where you want to keep your mask on. judy: they are giving new guidance with regards to indoors , saying if you are fully vaccinated, you can be indoors in your home or a another small setting with others, and even with some who are not as long as they are not high-risk. >> that's right, people think about risk as there is risk or there is no risk. and it is really on a scale. it depends on whether you are somebody with medical factors that put you at increased risk of disease or whether you are around people who have that, and then you want to be a little bit more careful. one of the other things they talk about are settings where,
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you still may need to wear a mask, but they are pretty safe if you are fully vaccinated. indoorining, going to get your hair cut, being in stores in places where in the past, you might be a little more nervous about that -- should they recommend wearing a mask so that because of the small chance that you could spread this to someone else, but it is considered a safe activity. judy: the big message coming through is if you are not yet fully vaccinated, get vaccinated. we have heard that time and again today. >> the other piecef that is only about half of the states are breaking down vaccination data by race and ethnicity. we know this pandemic as hit communities of color, black, latino, native american immunity is the hardest. it is not just about saying going get vaccinated. it is about state and localities upping the game, getting vaccines to people where they are, because what we have seen is this massive pressure
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vaccination and now the numbers are going down, the number is going down because the backlog has been met and now it's about making it as easy as possible for people where it may be challenging. get them to people where they are and report data by race and ethnicity you can see areas where you may have to target additional resources. judy: one other thing i want to ask you about and that is an article that you cowrote in the last few days about your concern but not enough attention is being paid to the safety of children in this pandemic. can you expand on that? >> i am a pediatrician and i am a parent. one of the silver linings in this pandemic is thankfully, children do not have a severe disease. they are less likely to be hospitalized and die. i think because of that, we have not paid enough attention to children and their needs. there are been hundreds of children who have died. there have been a few thousand
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children who develop this unusual inflammatory syndrome and we do not know the long-term consequences. and then the social and emotional impact of children from missing school to not being in their social groups, from losing parents. the needs of children have to be met and until there are safe and effective vaccines for children, we are not going to be done with this pandemic, and we nd to heed the guidance from cdc and state and local public health. judy: that is a sobering reminder for all of us who whether we have children or grandchildren, or friends children, and certainly with regard to schools. >> that's right. when you look at the challenges in schools, it is not being borne evenly. black and brown children are much more likely to be in schools that are not able to provide in person learning. thankfully in the american rescue act, there is money there for schools. we need to make sure that goes to school to provide the kind of ventilation and allows them
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to hire the staff and do the things to make school a safe place for all children. that is what the next phase is really about as we are ramping down, because in the fall, there may be vaccines or middle school and high school aged children, but there will not be vaccines for younger children and we want to get every child in america back in school learning. judy: so my people waiting for more good news about vaccines for children. dr. richard besser, president of the roger wood johnson foundation, thank you. >> thank you, judy. ♪ stephanie: i am stephanie sy with newshour west. we will return to the full program after the latest headlines. president biden spoke with india's prime minister as that country's covert crisis kept growing. the health ministry reported another 23 thousand infections
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in nearly 2500 deaths over 24 hours. president biden said he promised help including vaccines. foreign aid began trickling in india, but many complained. >> i am fed up, no one is listening here. i need oxygen. my husband's oxygen levels are going down. doctors are saying they do not have cylinders of oxygen. stephanie: the world health organization today says it believes three covariants and large public gatherings is -- a sweeping antiabortion bill today sign. it also criminalizes doctors who performed the procedure under those circumstances, making it a felony. antiabortion restrictions were also signed by governors in montana and oklahoma earlier
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this week. the biden administration is out with new initiatives on immigration as numbers of people crossing the southern border hit records. the first aims to identify human smugglers and freeze their financial assets. immigration agents will also curtail arrests in or near courthouses. officials say the change will ensure equal access to justice. the fbi today opened a civil rights investigation into the killing of a black man in elizabeth city, north carolina. sheriff's deputies fatally shot andrew brown last week. they say he try to drive off as they served a drug-related warrant. to family lawyers say today that an independent autopsy found around was shot five times from behind. >> this in fact was the fatal wound to the back of mr. brown 's head as he was leaving the site, trying to evade being shot at by these particular
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law enforcement officers, who we believe did nothing but a straight out execution. stephanie: the united states has had a confrontation with iran and the persian gulf for the first time in a year. u.s. navy footage released today shows a revolutionary guard ship cutting in front of a u.s. coast guard vessel this month, forcing a hard stop to avoid collision. american officials say a second incident occurred that same day. the u.s. state department today ordered much of its embassy staff to leave afghanistan. american troops have already begun leaving, ahead of president biden's september 11 deadline for total withdrawal. at a u.s. senate today, special envoy zalmay khalilzahd acknowledged concerns about the taliban taking over today. >> if they do want u.s. assistance, they want international acceptance, those things will all be affected by
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how they treat their own citizens first and foremost, the women of afghanistan, children, and minorities. stephanie: the u.s. withdrawal is taking place as peace talks between the taliban and the kabul government are stalled. a leading human rights group accused israel today a -- of practicing apartheid against palestinians. human rights watch issued a lengthy report that cited systematic discrimination. israel, in turn, charged that the group has "a long-standing anti-israeli agenda." president biden issued an executive order raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour for federal contractors. the increase takes full effect by march of next year. the federal government has some 5 million contract workers. consumer confidence rose sharply in april to its highest level since the pandemic began. home prices shot up nearly 12%
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in february from a year earlier, the most in nearly seven years. still to come on the newshour with judy was -- judy woodruff, we break down the details of the push for infrastructure investment. misinformation about access to meat abound on conservative media. ghana struggles to convince a skeptic of population to get the vaccine, plus much more. ♪ >> this is the "pbs newshour" from w eta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism. judy: tomorrow night, president biden gives his first address to congress and among other things, he is expected to talk about his large infrastructure and jobs plan. few realize, that is just one of the major infrastructure bil rolling in washington and could call it a pile of opportunity
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that has state scrambling. our lisa desjardins is here to help us follow the money. hello lisa. what is congress considering and why is it historic? lisa: judy, i know full i've heard infrastructure week for so long, but this is the time to pay attention, because what we have it here right now is not just a once in a generation influx of spending on infrastructure, but perhaps a once in a century type of spending. i want to clear up exactly what is happening. let's go through the four different ways that congress is trying to spend money on infrastructure. first, the american rescue plan, that was the big bill passed in march, that is already in law. three hunter $50 billion that states can use for many type of infrastructure. next, happening now, water, energy and highway bills. those are authorization bills, they do not spend the money, but
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they get the pipeline moving. those are bipartisan for -- bipartisan. in addition to those bills, we see the return of earmarks, and democrats in the house and senate would like to bring back earmarks for those annual spending bills, so every member of congress could say, i want money for this bridge or this road, and it is interesting because the deadline to get those project proposals in for every member of congress is this week in the house. last thing, we know the biden jobs plan as you mentioned, that is expected to be $100 billion just in itself. talking to offices that are well-managed, they are inundated with counties and cities, asking them for more information about how they can get this money, how they can request things like earmarks again and the deadline for those requests is this week. judy: state and local governments would have a lot to do with all of this, how are
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they approaching it? lisa: i want to play a bite by representative david price in north carolina. just to give you a feel for how frenetic this is. rep. price: this is a huge moment for those who care about infrastructure to pull out all of the stops and try to get it done. i guarantee you that most congressional offices are scrambling right now to deal with the requests that are coming in. lisa: at the same time, states are getting ready to get that american rescue plan money that has been passed and they are trying to deliberate how they will spend it. i want to look at what we know, some states are considering for that rescue plan money that should be arriving in the next couple of weeks. florida is considering some major environmental cleanups, and one of their transportation funds. in maine, they are talking about
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a major broadband push that can bring broadband out to some rural areas of that state. in counties across this country like a one in indiana, roads, bridges, county buildings. this is money that is going to every single county in this country, sometimes it is as much as 1/3 or more of their annual budget. i cannot stress enough what a major influx of cash this could be across the country. judy: so important to be talking about this and as you are saying, people are paying attention. lisa desjardins, thank you. ♪ judy: with all of the facts, fiction, and this information flying around, it can be hard to decipher the truth depending on
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where you get your her mission. breaking down how recent lies about president biden wanting to end the eating of red meat revealed concerning realities about our political climate. >> no burgers on july 4. no steaks on the barbie. i am sure that middle america is just going to love that. amna: the fall story started last week, a day after "the daily mail" published an article that claimed that president biden's climate plans could limit a hamburger to once a month. >> speaking of stupid, there is a study coming out of the university of michigan that says that to meet the biden green new deal targets, america has to, get this, america has to stop eating meat, stop eating poultry, fish, seafood, eggs,
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dairy, and animal based fats. amna: but that is not what the study said. it found that reducing red meat intake could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. it was never tied to biden's climate goals. but the article and kudlow's outrages set off a right-wing media frenzy. texas republican governor greg abbott and lawmakers even posted about it, falsely claiming that biden wanted to severely limit red meat, and amid criticism, fox news issued a clarification about their reporting. >> the data was accurate but the graphic and the script incorrectly implied that it was part of biden's plan for dealing with climate change. that is not the case. amna: the beef whoppers shows how misinformation can quickly spread and take hold in the current political climate. >> canceling dr. seuss is not stupid, it is intentional. amna: it is similar to the
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conservative uproar over false stories of dr. seuss being "canceled" when the book's publisher said it would stop producing several books with racist depictions. now, i am joined by martin haller, one of the authors of the study and a senior research specialist at the center for sustainable systems at the university of michigan. thank you for making the time. when you saw this story spreading, when you saw that it was linked to your study, what was your initial reaction? martin: disbelief, but befud dlement. it is a long way from our intention with the study. we certainly were not aiming to look at policy recommendations with this particular study. amna: what was your intention with the study -- what did your study actually say? martin: we were just looking to
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demonstrate the opportunity there is in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions from making shifts in our diets. we looked at the number of hypothetical scenarios, what if we reduce our animal based food consumption by 50% in the u.s., what would that mean for our greenhouse gas emissions. and we did an additional scenario, what if we reduced our beef consumption to 90% and took that even further. what we found was reducing our animal based food consumption by 50% and lower our greenhouse gas emissions fro our diets, from producing that food by 36%. if we take beef down to that very low level, 90% lower than our current consumption, it would cut our emissions from food production in half. amna: you are evaluating different scenarios of what
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could possibly happen. to be clear, was any part of your study saying that americans should stop eating red meat? martin: not at all. we are presenting the opportunity and yes, it was not intended to be a recommendation. these are fairly extreme scenarios, i would say. largely to demonstrate those opportunities. amna: explain the science a little bit here. in terms of the link between greenhouse gas emissions and our diets, specifically americans diets around red meat, what should we know? what is the environmental footprint of our current meat consumption? martin: producing animals contributes to greenhouse gas emissions in a few ways. growing the fee that is required for those animals, and animals like cattle, like beef cattle require a lot of feed to offer a unit of food that we can then consume. those animals like beef cattle have an additional impact in
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that their biology, their biology that allows them to get nutrients from rough edges as a byproduct produces methane, and we know methane to be a potent greenhouse gas, so that is a major contributor to the emissions associated with animal based food. to put it in perspective, red meat, beef, pork, lamb represents 9% of our calories in the average u.s. diet. it represents 47% of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our diet. those three, and beef is 40% of the emissions associated with our diet. beef is a big contributor here in the u.s. where we consume large quantities. amna: let me ask you, because you grew up on a livestock farm. what do you make of the way this whole conversation has unfolded? dr. heller: it is an important
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conversation for us to be having. it is a bit unfortunate that the conversation gets pushed to such extremes because as we are demonstrating here, there are real opportunities in relatively moderate changes in our diets and contributing to this climate crisis that we are currently a part of, and contributing to the solution to that climate crisis. amna: that is dr. martin heller of the center for sustainable systems at the university of michigan. thank you for your time. dr. heller: thank you. amna: the redmeat conspiracy is just one of a number of myths circulating on the internet about president biden's policies including related to the pandemic. here to explain how these falsehoods spread and how to counteract them is graham brookie, he's the director of the digital forensic research
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lab at the atlantic council. thank you for making the tim the evolution of this one redmeat story, it is packaged as false claims and then takes off online and in some media circles, is this a part of a pattern and have we seen this before with other issues? graham: absolutely. this is a part of a wider pattern of misinformation, domestic misinformation that we are seeing accelerate for sure in the united states. one of the interesting things about this case of the misinformation, whether or not were all going to be able to eat to beef in the near future is particularly interesting, and one of the main promoters are influencers of this was congressperson lauren boebert. what was interesting is that she has a significant constituency that is a ranching constituency. this case is false, we will all be able to eat red meat, but it is literally and figurively redmeat conspiracy theories
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for her campaign strategy. amna: there is a clip i want to play for you from tucker carlsen, with this brandishing of information as cultural warfare. we are talking during a pandemic, masking has become a political issue. last night on fox news, tucker said this. tucker: your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no to eing someone be a kid at walmart. call the police immediately. contact child protective services. keep calling until someone arrives. what you are looking at is child abuse. amna: graham, someone with an audience in his size, making a statement like that, what is the impact of a statement like that? graham: tucker crossan has a nightly viewership of millions of people, and first and
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foremost, that statement is false. second, we are in the middle of a public health crisis with the information that we need to make decisions about our own personal health is evolving. today the cdc guidelines on masks evolved meaning we have new guidance, and that is to be expected until the pandemic is over. it is not over yet. this disinformation is less about getting the information right and morris signaling to an audience. -- and more signaling to an audience. it is more about amplifying the ideology to a very significant amount of people across the united states. amna: specific to fox news, just to bring a back to the redmeat story, they came out and said we are walking this back, our script implied something that was not in fact true. what is the impact of something like that? once the disinformation is out there, coming back to correct it later? graham: the myth is always going
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to reach more people, the original falsehood is always going to reach more people than the correction, and that is the ballgame here. whenever you have a false narrative that gains a certain amount of traction, it will reach more people than all of the work that itakes to correct that falsehood, or reach all of the people that the falsehood haoriginally reached. that continues to be a major vulnerability during our public health response to the ongoing pandemic. amna: when you're talking about things that are said, now we are looking at the real-world implications of misinformation. there was an example of a florida private school in miami where the head of the school sent out a letter, discouraging faculty and staff from getting vaccinated against covid-19, saying she was not sure that covid injections were safe and that if faculty get them, they cannot be around students. that in the face of the cdc,
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fda, who also saying vaccines are safe. but once an idea makes its way out in the real world, what can be done to combat it? graham: we have to correct it. everybody thinks of this information as some of the else's problem, and when we have cases like unverified narrative started by tucker carlsen, that is a structural issue. we will have to have policies to deal with that and create resilience against that. but on a day-to-day basis, we have a responsibility to address this information or unverified information, especially when it affects day-to-day situations. always refer back to or look for publicly accountable i'm a science-based sources, and in this case, we have that is updated every single day with the latest guidance, but in local cases in which the situation might be slightly different from one neighborhood to another, or one town to
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another, the first and best practice is to refer to your local public health officials. amna: a lot of these examples are generated in right-leaning media circles, are there comparable examples coming from the left? graham: one of the main points is that misinformation is not always ideological. that said, what we have seen with public health misinformation about coronavirus is that the scale and scope from far-right ecosystems in the united states is far greater and has far greater amplification and infrastructure and engagement than sources of the misinformation or unverified information from other and of the ideological spectrum. that is a long way of saying, where fox news exists by an entire ecosystem and has amplification and reach, that does not necessarily exist for types of misinformation from other ideological ends of the
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spectrum in the united states. amna: graham brookie, helping us separate fact from fiction. thanks, graham. graham: thank you. ♪ judy: misinformation, a colonial past and a botched ebola vaccine trial all come into play in ghana as it fights to get the covid-19 vaccine into the arms of most of the 30 million people who live there. the west african country praised by the african cdc for its quick response to the pandemic is now on the front line in the fight against vaccine hesitancy. from the capital, accra, special correspondent nabil ahmed rufai reports. nabil: the lines are misleading.
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according to polling here, more than 10 million ghanaians, one third of the country, say they do not want to be vaccinated against covid-19. like this family, living in a small town in the region in eastern ghana. the vaccination drive has not started yet in this part of the country, but it has become a much discussed topic. >> i have never been to the hospital to treat any illness. i rely on traditional medicine. so i don't see the need to take the covid-19 vaccine. >> some of us have preconceived ideas that we will not take the vaccines. nabil: vaccine skepticism has set in among many guineans even before the country receives shots. some cite a video, with a doctor
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who claimed that covid-19 is a hoax, as a reason for skepticism. >> this vaccine is just not proven safe. >> the viral video has caused many to be hesitant about taking the covid-19 shots. the president was the first to get the shot and they did so on live tv. when the country received the first six hundred thousand doses of the astrazeneca vaccines, it was aimed at dispelling myths about the vaccines. >> taking the vaccine will not alter your dna. it will not embed a tracking device in your body. neither will it cause infertility in women or in men. >> but, donn vaccine -- ghana's vaccine hesitancy has roots. the memory of ebola vaccine trials by pharmaceutical companies johnson & johnson and
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one other one in 2015 is fresh. local media reported that people were given incentives be used as volunteers for the test. some people say they were not informed of the vaccine's risks, claiming they were going to be used as guinea pigs. this sparked national outrage. ultimately, the government suspended the ebola vaccine trials. >> people did not understand the concept very well. >> ishmael was among the 36 volunteers selected for one of the ebola clinical trials. he said the ebola trials should not discourage people from getting the covid-19 vaccine. >> what happened in 2015, the implication was to go on, i
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think people would understand the current situation in which we find ourselves with respect to the covid vaccine. >> the controversy surrounding the failed ebola vaccine trials is one reason the atta-kwaku family is adamant it won't take part in the covid-19 vaccination. >> when the a bowl of vaccine trial came out, we did not understand why they were going to use our people when we did not have any cases of ebola in ghana. now, i don't trust the covid-19 vaccine, so i won't allow any of my children to take it. >> the ghana health service say% it is doing things differently this time. >> at no point are you even allowed to induce anybody to principate in a trial. we have adequately learned our lessons from six years ago during the botched ebola trial and we know that communication is key, how we engage our community, what we call
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community, we have to speak to them about exactly what the vaccine trial or the vaccination is about so that they are able to accept it. >> the mistrust about foreign medicine and vaccination and ghana dates back to the british colonial rule in the 19th century and still resonates with some then -- some ghanai ans, and these women look back at a time when people rejected vaccination against meningitis because they did not trust foreign medicine. grace remembers. >> people were scared of the vaccination during the colonial times when there was an outbreak of diseases because they thought it was meant to kill them, but some of us took the shot. >> the rejection of foreign medicine and vaccination by some ghanaians in the past and the
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failed ebola trials have made it more difficult to convince skeptics to take the covid-19 jabs. so far, ghana has vaccinated more than 800,000 people including fronine health workers, journalists, and vulnerable groups in three of 16 regions in the country. ghana plans to buy another 42 million doses of covid-19 vaccines and that is along with the doses it is already received under the covax program which are be enough to vaccinate a 20 million people the government says it wants to vaccinate by the end of the year. it will still need to convince people to get the shots. ghana's health service has begun rolling out campaigns on social media to encourage people to get the vaccination. >> getting vaccinated is one of the best things you can do to protect yourselves and your loved ones from covid-19. >> dr. bernard okoe boye is a
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member of ghana's covid-19 management team. he says that ghana will make history together by getting the vaccination. >> people should have confidence in the process. what we are doing is to get more people on video saying that i took it and i am still fine. >> public health experts should -- say it will take a concerted effort to convince enough people to take the vaccine in order to achieve herd immunity. ishmael is on a door to door crusade to raise awareness about the vaccines, one person at the time. for the pbs newshour, i am nabil ahmed rufai. ♪ judy: marine scientists say they have identified in the pacific ocean more than 25,000 barrels
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that they believe contain the toxic chemical ddt. a massive underwater toxic waste site dating back to world war ii has long been suspected off the shore of southern california. given industrial companies used the ocean as a dumping ground there until 1972. but as stephanie sy reports, the magnitude of the problem was not previously known. stephanie: staggering, overwhelming. that is how researchers described the amount of these potentially toxic barrels they mapped in a survey last month. the scripps institution of oceanography team used autonomous underwater vehicles and sonar to survey 36,000 acres of a dumpsite that lies between the coast off los anges and catalina island. for decades, researchers have detected high levels of ddt in marine mammals, including dolphins, sea lions in the area also have died of an aggressive
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cancer. for a deeper look at the impact of the discovery, i am joined by uc santa barbara professor of microbiology, david valentine, who first identified dozens of these ddt barrels nearly a decade ago. thank you for joining the newshour. what doou make of these new findings, do they further validate your suspicions about this dumpsite from dozens of barrels you found 10 years ago to tens of thousands? prof. valentine: thank you for having me. and yes, this is an important piece of information that we simply lacked before. now knowing that 27,000 barrel like objects were present in a survey area that is still not the full scope of where dumping likely occurred. so to me, this is an indication
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that we have a real problem going on the seafloor. stephanie: you have shared photos with us and you can s some of the barrels are corroded. could some still be leaking and what we know about these old chemicals still impacting the environment to? prof. valentine: when we were working at the site in 2011 and then again in 2013, we observed all sorts of different barrels in all shapes and sizes, and some of those were heavily decomposed. some of them appeared to be somewhat deep in tax. what we do know is that some of the material, the ddt waste did escape containment and were present in the sediments, with concentrations that were extremely high. we know there is an escape of containment and we know these materials are there and can potentially get back into animals and ecosystem. stephanie: you said that we do
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not even know now the full extent of this dumpsite. one of the scripps scientist said it was more than twice of the size of manhattan and it continued. other than studying all of this, is there anything that can be practically done to address it? prof. valentine: you touch on an important point. we know that there are hundreds of thousands of objects down there and many of which are barrels, and there is quite a bit of study to get to the point where we can really address the question of what can we do to clean this up, and i think until we understand the full scope of the problem, we cannot really lay out all of our options because there are things that happen naturally in the ocean. microbes can break these things down, they can get buried long term.
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we do not know the extent to which of those things may or may not be happening with these wastes, and i think we need to know that before we can chart forward. stephanie: you and other researchers met with the senator dianne feinstein to brief her on the data. what is your ask from her and others in congress? prof. valentine: our ask is we need the support from the federal government to really understand what is happening in this environment. i think we are seeing the tip of the iceberg right now. we know there is 27,000 barrels a but we do not know what is in each one of those. we know there is ddt but we don't knowhat else is down there. we need to figure out how much we are dealing with, how much is there, and what are the prices sees -- processes that are active in moving the stuff around and what are the effects. that is the ask, to work with the scientific community to have the federal government work with
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us in order to push this forward to get the understanding that we can use to chart a path forward. stephanie: marine biologists have detected ddt and animal life around the los angeles area for decades and they have seen rare, aggressive cancer among sea lions, and yet, the attention seems relatively recent. you have been trying to get people to care about this issue for a while. why the sudden attention? prof. valentine: a lot of it has to do with the release of images and video. we came across the site in 2011, and it took us years to work up and understand what we were seeing, and to publish something in the scientific peer-reviewed literature that paved the way for our understanding. in doing that, we also released the video and images to go along with it, and that all triggered an investigative report, and
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that has triggered the public interest. we can say something about what is really going on down there. stephanie: a toxic legacy that we are only now beginning to fully grasp. david valentine with uc santa barbara, thank you for sharing your expertise. prof. valentine: thank you for having me. ♪ judy: everyone would agree this past year has been tragic in so many ways. it's also been strange. but something is about to happen to make it even stranger. the bugs are coming. billions of bugs. the periodic cicada invasion is just days away in many states. we are so pleased that that one of our own, john yang has gone and learned what you need to know to cope with the coming brood.
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jo: let's see if we can find someone under your. the bug guy and i are hunting cicada and his neighbors backyard in columbia, maryland. >> look at that. yeah. john: specifically, all of us are fully vaccinated, along with the three-year-old granddaughter emily looking for brood 10 cicadas. what do you think? >> pretty good. john: we dug up the cicadas and then put them back but soon we will not have to look very hard for them. they will climb out of the ground after 17 years below the surface and there will be a lot of them. >> 12, 13, 14 holes. that is probably going to translate into an acre to several hundred thousand cicadas
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per acre. >> just in this backyard. >> it is going to be crazy. there are literally going to be billions if not trillions of periodical cicadas emerging in 15 states from georgia to new york city, and then west to the mississippi river, ohio, indiana, and illinois. >> north american periodical cicadas emerge together in groups called broods and distinct geographical areas after spending 13 or 17 years underground. brood 10 is one of the biggest and will come out when the soil reaches 64 degrees. >> these guys have been underground for 17 years, and they are going to make a jailbreak at nightfall. their skin will split open, they are going to out of there and then they will move to the safety of the treetops. then in a span of about a week
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or 10 days, it is going to be a big boy band, because only the males sing. >> and they are allowed. up to 100 decibels, that is as noisy as a lawnmower. >> john, it is all about romance at that time. remember, these are teenagers, they are 17 years old. they have been underground. once they are up in the treetops, he's going to do his best to convince someone that she should be the mother of his nymphs. if she likes it, they are going to hook up and they are going to mates. >> the females lay their eggs and small tree branches and then the grown-ups die. after the eggs hatch, the nymphs fall to the ground, burrow into the soil, and the cycle starts again. >> these are the parents of the class of 2021. >> he save some cicadas from the
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last emergence into thousand four. >> we have two different species in the box right now. these are my favorites. >> chris hughes remembers feeling overwhelmed 17 years ago. >> it is just dramatic, neither were. literally the entire yard was moving. it was moving so much that we got up and you know how you feel when you get off of a boat, you are a little woozy? that is how he felt. >> the set of sea legs, you had cicada legs. >> yes. >> evolutionary biologist chris simon says there's a reason for their abundance. chris: when they come up, everything eats them. they have this safety in numbers strategy. eventually, predators get tired of eating them and then not far that they can survive and reproduce. and so, they all come out at exactly the same time. >> cicadas have even become
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cultural icons. simon showed us souvenirs like this jade cicada. >> they have traditionally been put in the mouths of dead people in asia to carry their spirits into the next world. this is a bumper sticker in nashville. cicadas are also very well loved in japan. this can transform into a robot, is called cicada-con. john: periodical cicadas may be transforming. >> we have seen many more cicadas coming out four years early and not only coming out four years early, but coming out in larger numbers, and they may and late eggs, and the eggs hatch. in previous years, we have seen them come out four years early, there were as many. they don't establish a self reproducing population.
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>> but not anymore. in 2017, simon tracked brood 10 cicadas that emerged four years early and estimates there are millions of them. >> with climate change, there is warming and the warming provides longer growing seasons for the trees and for the cicadas. and so, as the feeding season gets longer, the cicadas can grow faster. >> the brood 10 emergence will give simon a chance to collect new data. but for those who may fear the appearance of billions of bugs? >> they're not going to bites, they are not going to staying, they are not going to grab dogs and small children, these are harmless creatures. >> raupp cannot wait for cicadapalooza. >> this is like having a national geographic special right in your backyard. it is going to have birth, death, it is going to have
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romance in the treetops, it is going to have cicadas battling predators. it is better than a game -- episode of "game of thrones." >> for the pbs newshour, i am john yang. judy: but who's to say that enough of them could not pick someone up and carry them away. i know they are harmless but they are grossing us out. on the newshour online, india produces more covid-19 vaccine than any other country in the world. so how did the pandemic to get out of control their? we explored the global health breakdowns that drive inequality in vaccine access. all that and more at that is the newshour for tonight, i am judy woodruff. please join us tomorrow for special live coverage and analysis of president biden's first joint address to congress which begins at 9:00 p.m. eastern on your pbs station and online on our social channels. for all of us of the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay
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safe. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- ♪ >> consumer cellular. johnson & johnson. financial services firm raymond james. bnsf railway. carnegie corporation of new york, suprting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and international peace and security at the target foundation, committed to advancing racial equity and the change required to shift systems and equitable opportunities. and the ongoing support of these institutions. this program was made possible
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by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.] this is pbs newshour west from w eta studios in washington and from our bureau at the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. ♪ >>
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♪ ♪ >> pati narrates: what if i told you i found the perfect beach? soft sand for miles! warm water, warm people, and the oh so fresh seafood. what if i told you about a fishing village that has dreams to host the world? would you come? will it lose its charm if i tell you about it? can a pearl remain hidden once the oyster's opened? altata is an idyllic beach town on the sea of cortez, 45 minutes west of culiacán. this fishing village has got the weather, the beaches, and the food for a life in paradise. but there's a problem, the fish have been depleted and so too a way of life.


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