tv PBS News Hour PBS October 13, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
♪ judy: good evening. i'm judy will work. -- judy. inflation hits record highs as delays in shipments overseas increase prices for everyday goods. we talked with the secretary of commerce gina raimondo. crime and punishment. the supreme court hears the boston marathon bomber case after an appeals court found errors in the original trial. critical shortage. covid-19 exacerbates an already serious lack of nurses in american hospitals especially in rural areas. > before the pandemic, we were facing a nursing workforce shortage. the pandemic was like a gasoline
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public broadcasting and contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ judy: ships are sitting. goods are not moving and prices keep rising. that triple whammy top pres. biden's agenda today as he promised new efforts to on snarl the supply chain and team information. --tame inflation. >> it is a crisis of global proportions for bottlenecks to a lack of computer chips. even a shortage of truck drivers to deliver all the goods. pres. biden met with retailers, board executives, and union representatives to apply supply chain challenges triggered by the pandemic. pres. biden: i will defect all -- direct all appropriate action. if the private sector does not step up, we will act them to -- asked him to act because work --
our goal is to address the long-standing weaknesses and our transportation supply chain that this pandemic has exposed. reporter: the port of los angeles will pivotal operating 24/7. the move aims to ease the massive shipping backlog. last month theort of long beach, california made the same shift. those two ports account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the u.s. >> the quickest route from asia to the united states is through los angeles and that is what everyone is trying to maximize. it is like taking 10 lanes of three -- freeway traffic -- traffic and squeeze it vented survive. reporter: walmart, target, ups, and fedex are expanding hours to move more cargo off the docks. they hope this will get ships to sure faster as the busy holiday shopping season rapidly approaches. trucking companies are struggling to keep up with increased demand.
wilford williams drives trucks throughout the midwest. wilford: i haven't had any downtime. as far as the company i am running with, they have kept me busy. . reporter: small businesses like ashley collectibles are feeling the pinch. >> to keep your shelves full, we have to order in advance. reporter: tracy jensen manages a toy shop in kansas city, missouri and said it has been a logiical nightmare. tracy: there are things that will not be here that are not coming and there are part and what shortages. there is probls with shipping, especially overseas. reporter: the shortages and broader net -- bottlenecks mean higher prices. the transport tatian cross from asia to the united states test transportation cost from asia to united states shattered a record high. the median price to ship a standard metal and from china to the west coast top $20,000.
that is nearly double what it cost in july. the skyrocketing costs have prompted retailers to chater their own ships to transport goods. all about added costs is pushing prices higher. dave rose nearly 5.5 percent in september over the previous year to match a 13 year high. for the pbs newshour. ♪ vanessa: we returned to the full program after the latest headlines. household heating bills are expected to soar this winter. a federal forecast says global inflation and supply shortages will boost energy costs 54% over last year. this winter is forecast to be slightly colder nationwide. the surge in inflation means social security recipients will
get their biggest cost of living adjustment in 39 years. the increase announced today among -- amounts to 5.9 percent, $92 a month. increases have averaged less than 2% a year for the last 10 years. the nations land borders will reopen to non-essential travel by foreigners after pandemic era closure that lasted 19 months. the bin administration says fully vaccinated visitors may enter from canada or mexico as of early november. in another development, the covid coordinator jeff seitz reported vaccination rates are up 20 percentage points from midsumme mr. seitz: since late july when the president called on organizations to require vaccines, the number of eligible americans who are unvaccinated has decreased by one third from 97 million down to 66 million individuals. vanessa: science credited -- he
credited vaccine mandates. chicago's police union urged officers to the plight the city mandate. they have to report their vaccine status by friday or face unpaid leave. the supreme court heard arguments today on the fate of one of the two boston marathon bombers. he is fighting the statement -- reinstatement of a death sentence that was thrown out. the bombing killed three people and wounded more than 260. we will take a closer look later. hurricane pamela is moving and lynn tonight across northwestern mexico. it came ashore today on mexico's pacific coast. it left flooded streets and downed trees in its wake. forecasters say remnants of pamela will bring have a brain to parts of texas and oklahoma by thursday. a windblown wildfire in southern california has threatened more than 100 homes for a second date.
it has come within a quarter-mile of the ranch once owned by president reagan. the fire in santa barbara county ignited monday and high winds spread it. by this afternoon, it had grown to more than 15,000 acres and was only 5% contained. the white house kicked off a global virtual summit today on cybersecurity involving 30 nations but russia was not invited. the focus is on ransomware attack's and many of them originate in russia. at an energy conference, president putin said he expects better ties ahead. pres. putin: in general, pres. biden and i have stable working relations. i assume fundamental interests of the two countries will lead one way or another, to our relations being repaired. judy: it will last two days. at the biden administration hopes to see, as seven windfarms
built off e east and west coasts of the u. in the gulf of mexico. secretary of the interior deb haaland said today that could be held by 2025. federal officials estimate the project, if built, would generate enough electricity for 10 million homes. in norway, a man armed with a bow and arrow has killed five people and injured two others including a police officer in a rampage. police have arrested and charged a danish man. the town -- he lives in the town where the attacks took place. there is no motive. star trek's captain kirk rocketed into space today. he traveled courtesy of amazon founder jeff bezos's company blue origin. they lifted off from west texas. the suborbital flight carry them
66 miles high and touched down after 10 minutes. at 90, william shatner is the oldest person ever in space. filter,, the supreme court hears the boston marathon bombers case -- bomber's case. what powers negotiating with the taliban over humanitarian aid to afghanistan. election workers in georgia or are fired for shredding 300 rotor registration forms plus much more. --voter registration forms plus much more. ♪ >> this is the pbs newshour from w eta's tutors in washington --w eta studios in washington and from the west from walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. judy: let's take a closer look at economic issues including our lead story, how the biden administration plans to address the challenges around getting the goods americans want delivered overseas when they
want them. for that, i am joined by the secretary of commerce, gina raimondo. welcome back to the newshour. it is good to have you. we listened carefully to what the president said today. people are saying it is a step in the right direction but he is also saying a lot depends on the private sector. how much difference will it make if you say the ports will be working 24/7? sec. raimondo: it is great to be with you. it will make a huge difference. what the president did today is significant in showing the leadership necessary to have two ports open 24/7 but he also convened at the white house and asked importers to do their part, also committing to working weekends and evenings and putting more people on staff the cargo -- so we can unload the
cargo and make space on port. this was not created overnight and will not be fixed overnight but this is a big step forward and we will see relief. judy: people who are close to what the ports to our already sounding skeptical. they are saying not all the terminals at these ports out of the west coast are operating 24/7. they point out truckers are being required to return a certain time -- kind of container to turk -- philip another with other goods. how much of that has been worked out? sec. raimondo: we are working for through alose details. this is within the administration of 24/7 effort. at the ports will go 24/7. it is complex. all of the supply chain issues we are grappling with our complex. there is no one fix. the ports have to be open 20 47. the private sector has to step up and do their part and hire more people and have nights and weekends. logistics expes are coming
into help. sec. buttigieg and the white house and my team are going through the be -- details to make sure we unclog the bottleneck at every level. judy: does that mean what people one in time for christmas? what is the timetable? sec. raimondo: that is the big question. consumers are struggling. you see it yourself. you see it yourself. things are more expensive. it is harder to get what you want as fast as he wanted. i think we all have to be able -- a little bit patient but we are in october so i am optimistic for good christmas. we will start to say progress over the next 30 to 60 days because of the actions we are starting today. judy: this is not just pandemic -related. e-commerce is the way of the future. sec. raimondo: a lot of what we are struggling with is we had been primarily a services economy. when covid came, everybody stayed home and started buying
things and we have not caught up. we need a bit more time to get the supply chain's moving again so we can increase the supply, prices will come down, and people will access what they want and need. judy: let me ask you about another part of the supply and demand mismatch we are dealing with and a big part of it and that is semi conductors. you have been very focused on that piece of the problem. these are the tiny computer chips that power everything from cars to smartphones to every imaginable kind of appliance. how long are those bottlenecks going to be with us? sec. rmondo: they can be with us a while. things are going to get a little bit better over the course of the next six to nine months. to solve that problem, judy, we need to make more chips in america. it is very simple. we do not make enough here in our country. right now, as part of the presidents package he is trying to get through congress, is an
investment of billions of dollars to incentivize companies to make semi conductors in america again. we founded the semi conductor industry in america and we make none of the worlds leading edge chips now. it is all in taiwan. i extremely focused on this. we are working with suppliers to encourage more transparency, pushing them to the limit to increase production, but the real solution here is what pres. biden is asking for, which is investments and manufacturing. judy: people aresking how long this will take. you mention taiwan. china is a piece of the puzzle. we heard the presidents ate this afternoon we should never have to rely on another country for goods especially when that country does not share our values. that sounds like he is in a hurry to get this done. sec. raimondo: he needs to be in a hurry. he feels the pain of the american people who cannot buy their cars or their trucks.
trucking companies cannot buy what they need because trucks and cars and medical equipment are being held up for semi conductors so he is honorary and we are in a hurry but congress needs to be in a hurry and pass the build back better legislation. judy: blanchard americans look for semi conductors to be made in any significant quanty? sec. raimondo: you will start to see improvement next year. it will take years but into 2022 we will see relief of semi conductor supply chains. judy: inflation. everybody is talking about it. new numbers out today. its running much higher than the administration's experts and the federal reserve had forecast. how long-term a problem do you believe it is and how much
concern do you have that whatever the concrete factors are, that higher prices get built into people's expectations and that begins to have a self-fulfilling effect on how much things cost? se raimondo: this is tough because we believe it is temporary but that does not mean it is not real. if you are going to the grocery store or getting gas, prices are higher and that is hard for americans. that is today's reality. we are working like crazy to make sure it is tempory and the reason i believe that is we tracked his every day all day. it still primarily is related to covid. car prices are hig used c prices are high. that goes directly to the lack of semi conductors. other prices are high. our manufacturing sector has not
ramped up again post-covid. i am hopeful with a little bit of time, with the investments that congress has to make, in workforce and manufacturing and infrastructure, we will be able to keep the lid on inflation, but i do not want to take anything away from the fact that at the moment, if you listen to me, you are saying it is expensive so we have to work to make sure it is temporary. judy: i hear you saying it is short-term but you said it will take time to get the semi conductor issue work through. it is hard for someone looking at this to see how these prices just quickly start to come. sec. raimondo: i don't think there is a quick fix. i will say if you look at lumber, a few months ago, prices shot throu the roof and we worked hard on that. we have done to beatis with the industry. those prices came down and they are coming down.
steps we took today with ports, you will see things improve. it is slow and steady when you ask about inflation, for the long-term, i am more worried about the economy if we do not make the build back better investments. our long-term job creation and productivity depends on the investments in infrastructure, ports, broadband, job-training, childcare, elder care that the president is going on. that will make america able to compete in the long run. judy: that is a question mark, isn't it? sec. raimondo: we are working hard but congress needs to make it happen. judy: the secretary of commerce, gina raimondo. thank you very much. i appreciate it. we look at the limits to what pres. biden can do about the supply and delivery issues and the effect it is having on the broader economy.
david lind covered this extensively with the washington post and joins me now. welcome to the newshour. i know you listened to what pres. biden said. you are listening now to secretary reminder. how much difference do you think the moves the administration is announcing to break up the bottleneck on the supply chain, how much difference does that make? david: it is a step in the right direction that the margin is made -- may improve a difficult situation but it is not accurate to say the port of long beach is already gone 24/7. they have six container terminals at that port. only one of the six has lengthened its hours in the pilot program and that is open 24 hours monday through thursday. not quite 24/7. that leaves the terminals out of
it completely. at the port of los angeles, the new initiative lounged today, it is not clear yet. it is not clear what the operational details will be. we are waiting to hear. the problem, i think, you know, for the administration at -- is that this is a challenge that is not immediely amenable to federal power. the entire supply chain is composed of private sector companies, all independent and operating sometimes in sideload ways -- silo'd ways and the administration recognizes they can play a role convening and getting people together and jawboning them to cooperate and share data but it is not as simple as cutting taxes or increasing spending. this, in many ways, is beyond the government's immediate power. judy: i ride your reporting on
what you are talking about and i asked secretary armando what about the fact that ports may not be fully 24/7? she says we are working on those details. they say they are doing that but we also heard her say it is up to the private sector and we heard pres. biden say we will call them out if they do not step up. what does that mean and does the private sector feel that pressure from the president? david: they do and they do not. it is a fragmented system so even the people directing the ports in los angeles and long beach cannot order the terminals to stay open until 3:00 in the morning because the ports operate and so the terminals set their own hours and in the past, when there have been night and
predawn hours available, truckers will not show ■up because if you think about it, if you are a trucker, you can show up at 3 a.m. to collect a shipping container. where you going to go with it? the warehouse maybe half an hour or 45 minutes away. they are not open at 3 a.m. it really is essential in the administration officials involved with this understand this but getting one part of the operation to longer hours will help but only if everybody is part of the process. it is going to take time to make that happen. judy: i am asking about the details because the problem is affecting so many americans and whether they are waiting to remodel their house or waiting for something they ordered that has not arrived and i'm still trying to get at this question
of how much difference can the administration -- i guess you can call it jawboning? how much difference cannot make? coupled with the mvoes they say they have the ports making on their own. david: i think at the margin, the administration can help and are trying to help. they are also trying to look as if they are engaged in trying to help because this is a problem that is not just economic. it is political. secretary romano acknowledged that. this is the kind of main street economic problem that can really cause our president problems. every person i talked to in my neighborhood has got a story to tell about something they brought of the store and could not find. i was rate -- waiting on an auto part that should've taken two
days under normal circumstances. it took me three weeks. i wife complained she could not find a specific type of credit food -- cat food for her fussy cat. none of these problems in the end of themselves are fatal or showstoppers but as they accumulate, they become along with inflation the kind of economic problem any white house is going to be really concerned about. judy: we have secretary romano sang people will see a difference by christmas. do you believe that? david: it is possible. these problems are not going away by christmas. most of the people we spoke to for a recent project say we have another year of disruption ahead of us and one reason for that is in the middle of next year, the big contract with the longshoreman union on the west coast expires. a lot of companies that have already been having trouble getting their goods are starting to place cautionary orders for
next year because they do not want to get caught short if there is a labor action on the docks in the middle of 2022. judy: david lynch with the washington post. thank you very much. ♪ judy: with all nine justices back in the courtroom today, the u.s. supreme court heard oral arguments and the case of the boston marathon bombers death sentence. eight years after the attack. john yang has our report. john: the april 2013 attack stunned the nation. two homemade bombs detonated near the finish line of the boston marathon, killing three spectators. one of them eight years old. more than 260 others were injured. 16 of them lost legs including a
seven-year-old girl. >> if you see these men, contact law enforcement. but of john: before of nine date -- five day manhunt ended, one of the suspects were dead. his brother was captured. after a month-long federal court trial, a jury convicted him on 30 counts and sentenced him to death. last year and appeals court throughout the penalty although not the convictions saying the trial judge made two mistakes. first the appeals court said the judge would not let defense lawyers asked drawers if they have been influenced by pretrial publicity. >> we felt strongly the case should not be tried in boston. john: the federal public defender was on the trial defense team but is not involved in his appeal. >> it was not just the media coverage but it was the way the event permeated the entire city. it many people were exposed to
false and inflammatory information during the time when the case was pending. we felt it was absolutely crucial to find out what they had read or heard or seen, especially given the proliferation of social media. judy: the appeals court -- john: the appeals court said evidence was excluded that suggested he was more responsible for the bombing, his brother. >>'s brother had murdered three men in massachusetts on september 11, 2011 but the judge excluded the murders, explaining it would be confusing and a waste of time. if it had not been for him, his brother never would have committed these crimes.
if he was not the instigator, if he was not the planner, he is less culpable. john: in today's oral arguments, justice alito agreed with the trial judge. justice alito: you don't have many trials. if it a person is on trial for murder, you don't have a trial about murder why and murdered c. -- murder y and murder z. to what degree can adjudge say we are not going to do this? another trial within this trial about what happened would evolve. john: justice kagan suggested that the jury should have had the chance to hear it. justice kagan: this is a classic case in which the evidence understood one way is highly relevant to a mitigation defense and the evidence understood in the way use adjusted says that is crazy. it does not happen at way. but that is what a jury is supposed to do. >> there was going to be no
cross-examination. the only people who have known what happened are dead. john: justice barrett asked about pres. biden's opposition to the death penalty. juice barre: if you win, that means that he is relegated to living under the threat of a death sentence the government does not plan to carry out. >> what we are asking is if the sound judgment of 12 respondents appears that he wants capital punishment for his personal acts in murdering and maiming scores of innocents and along with his brother at the finish line of the boston marathon should be respected. john: -- marsha: the bottom line is the court may very well in a divided opinion reinstate the death penalty for sarnev.
the court is divided in terms of six conservatives being more sympathetic to the government's arguments that the appellate court was wrong to set aside the death penalty and wrong on how the trial judge should have questioned jurors about the publicity they had experienced. john: the justices will roll by next summer but no matter what they say, he will die in prison as the appeals court ruling did not affect his 11 life sentences. for the pbs newshour, i am john yang. ♪ judy: judy: it's been two months since the taliban took control of kabul and solidified their grip on afghanistan. living conditions have deteriorated since. the banking system is in freefall and the economy all by collapsing. afghanistan needs help and it
needs it passed. that was a message from the head of one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations operating in the country. nick: for years afghanistan has been dependent on the international financial assistance and humanitarian aid. one of the largest organizations working in afghanistan is the norwegian refugee council which provided help to hundreds of thousands of afghans. with the taliban takeover, the council's ability to help has been disrupted as the weather is beginning to turned cold. the secretary-general of the norwegian refugee council recent return -- returned from a trip to cabell. welcome back to the newshour. we have seen the scenes in kabul not only of the internally displaced front of entire families selling their furniture to stay alive. how desperate is the situation. sec.-gen.: it is beyond desperate. i have been to afghanistan many
times over recent years. always a crisis. violence. cars. displacement. -- horrors. this time you feel like the hot beat population is in freefall -- the whole population is in freefall. the mothers and fathers i met in the camps in kabul includes -- they told me we had no income. there is no food or reserve. we will freeze and starve to death this winter unless aid is able to flow in the public sector is able to resume services including paying public servants. nick: the secretary-general said this week the taliban are cooperating and are allowing humanitarian aid workers to move in the country. is the norwegianefugee camps
able to do what it needs to do? >> we have been negotiating access, province by province. not only through our meetings. the most reported thing has to happen with the leaders, the commanders that met with the guns openly. they have allowed us unimpeded access with male and female staff in one province after the other. i think it is sinking in with them now that the population they now control are desperate and need help. nick: what are the greatest needs? what are you delivering? sec.-gen.: life saving mode. they have no heating or shelter. they have no food at the moment. there has been a collapse in the economy. there is no banking system functioning.
we cannot transfer money to our aid workers. this has to restart again in afghanistan if we are to save lives. nick: the international community is concerned about supporting the taliban, giving them recognition. do you believe aid can be delivered without the taliban benefiting? sec.-gen.: it can appear to we are in a situation all over the world with rulers in control or not to the liking of donors. we are impartial, neutral, independent but we can, as international actors, do the direct relief. we can help millions through the u.n. system, the international -- and the red cross. on top of that, we need to get the public services up and
running again. there are 300,000 publicly funded and paid for kitchens. the health sector as well. unless there are trust funds held by the u.n., directly fronting these teachers and nurses and doctors, with the world bank money that is sitting in washington, we will fail because we ahumanitarians cannot do it. nick: let's talk about the money sitting in washington. senior officials tell me there and no rush to unfreeze billions of dollars that have been frozen since the taliban took over. are you saying the u.s. must unfreeze billions of dollars currently being held in order to prevent or at least confront the crisis? sec.-gen.: yes. i understand nobody wants to
help their previous enemy but this money is not for the taliban. these are for the civilian population that were left behind. it is the same women and children were there before and the urgency has to be given to the decision-makers. i was not impressed when i saw the g20 countries agreed with me that it is urgent and did not come up with a formula that can be put into practice now. we don't have weeks. we have days to fix us. nick: not only to unfreeze the assets is important but also banks in kabul need to be allowed to function again. sec.-gen.: the u.s. needs to take a lead in unfreezing the assets of these so they will function so we can do the work. they need to unfreeze the funding that needs to go to the public sector but the two things have to happen in the next days.
we have no time to wait because people will perish. nick: you told the patella ban they must respect human rights and women's rights, one of the key requirements the international community says the taliban have to live up to in order for money to flow. today in northern afghanistan, we see some girls going to school but many in kabul or not. do you believe the taliban are respecting human rights? sec.-gen.: in many cases but -- not brought in more cases we can negotiate what is important. free, unimpeded access to all minorities, religious, ethnic, etc.. male and feme staff. boys and girls education also, yes. it is mixed. it has always been mixed but we are doing a tremendous this service with women and children that we are so concerned with if we are sitting doing a hands-off
exercise sitting on the fence and seeing how this moves. we wait for the last girls education corner in afghanistan. we wait for yes. it would be the ultimate insult to these girls who that we do not provide food for them because we still negotiate secondary or tertiary education. nick: thank you very much. ♪ judy: early voting started in the state of georgia this week ahead of next month's you met -- municipal elections but almost a year after the 2020 election, some republicans including former president trump push a false narrative that there was widespread voter fraud. today a superior court judge
dismissed georgia lawsuit seeking a review of nearly 150,000 absentee ballots from last year. >> many headlines center on fulton couy, home to atlanta. pres. biden one there with 70% of the vote. as early voting kicked off, to county election workers were fired for shredding about 300 voter registration forms. those were announced by richard baron, our nonpartisan director of elections and he joins me now. thank you very much. fulton county has been in headlines for years with elections problems even before you joined the staff there. what do you say to people looking at this instant as conservatives who say to them, this indicates the system is tainted? how do you respond? richard: i think it shows that we have employees in place and
checks and balances in place that cap something like this. when we became awa -- two employees became suspicious of it on thursday evening and by friday morning, three employees had reported this to their supervisors and from there, we terminated those two staff members so we took care of it as soon as we knew. reporter: do you know if those -- this was intentional? richard: we have no idea of the motivation right now. what we have done it is reported it to the district attorneys office almost as soon as we found out and then we made the call on monday morning to the secretary of state's office to report at and asked their office of investigations to investigate as well. reporter: brad raffensperger,
the secretary of state, made a serious charge. he wrote, the department of justice needs to take a look at what fulton county is doing and how their leadership disenfranchises fulton voters through into competence -- incompetence and malfeasance. it has the justice department reached out and how do you respond? richard: the justice department has reached out and i'm not surprised. he is in a tight primary race for next year and i think his press release is meant to play hoot to his base -- meant to play to his base. you cannot take politics out of this that is where you are at with the press for these. he had sent fulton county up to be his foil and he likes the relationship to be adversarial because it benefits him. reporter: i want to talk about that idea of politics more. this is the largest democratic leaning county in the state. the government is run by republicans in the state and they major county the first one
for this new controversial way of reviewing elections and you are currently under of review process in which the state could take over your election board. are you concerned about any political power play? richard: they took the time to choose three good people for this performance review panel so i'm confident the process will play out in the state will find no reason to take over the elections board. reporter: president trump continues to criticize your state even as judges have dismissed lawsuits about fraud. i want to ask and a bigger picture right. what is needed to help americans trust their own election process more? richard: i think there are basically right now a group of elected officials that are scared of their base and they
are not being honest with people. they are following their base rather than leading them and then telling them the truth. that is the situation we have here in georgia and across the country. you have seen judges all of the country through these cases out. the secretary of state's office provided the judge today with a lot of testimony that showed they looked at the ballots -- there were charges they were counterfeit and the judge made his decision partially based on what the secretary of state's investigators already found. i think it just affirms the fact that there has been no fraud in this election and that we need to move forward rather than continuing to look back and that the elections in this country are run well and that we need to become the model because if we keep questioning the system, we
become no better than any third world country with electi issues. reporter: what is your personal thinking or concern about the state of our democracy right now? richard: it is on shaky ground. we need leaders to step up and start speaking the truth to people about the elections. the people that were reelected last year are not questioning the results of their own election. there is some hypocrisy there. be brave enough to speak to their constituents about how the elections are run. reporter: director of elections for fulton county, georgia. thank you so much. richard: thank you. ♪ judy: lastight we reported on the heightened interest in careers in the medical field including moves to train more
nurses. tonight we look at the shortage of nurses affecting health-care care workers and hospitals. in the past few days, nurses and other workers in southern california and oregon authorized a potential strike against kaiser permanente, understaffing being part of the disputes. john yang is back with a report from south florida on how shortages are affecting hospitals there. >> tomorrow, we're down midship again. john: every morning dakota reds moves nurses around on the schedule for the nexteveral days to meet his hospital's daily needs. dakota: if you move right back to 11:11, you are covered until 11 and we will see what we can do at 11:00 to get you help here toohn: it is a constant struggle. a public hospital serves the largely rural agricultural population around florida, a
small city on the shore of lake okeechobee nicknamed america's sweetest town for its location in the heart of florida's sugar industry. the medical center center is a major employer in clewiston with 25 dads, the biggest hospital for more than 20 miles. >> we provide primary health care for the community and so if we cannot provide the care, that means you may have to travel an additional 30 to 45 minutes to get the care, to seek the care, which is why it is so important that we manage better for rural hospitals so we do not lose that. john: many hospitals were already short before the pandemic but the past 18 months put the problem in sharp relief. mary mayhew is president of the florida hospital association. mary: before the pandemic, we face our workforce shortage. the pandemic was like a gasoline
can over the fire. john: a recent study found before the latest delta surge, the state had an 11% vacancy rate for registered nurses. roughly the same as the national rate. it found a quarter of florida's registered nurses and one third of critical care nurse's left positions in the last year at siding job dishonest function. burnout or other opportunities. it projected if current trends remain the same, by 2035, there would be a shortage of nearly 60,000 nurses. mary: we have nurses that are retiring at younger ages. we have nurses who have left the intense 24/7 environment of the hospital for other opportunities in the community and certainly we have nurses that have pursued opportunities with staffing agencies across the country. if john: after his morning
cuddle, cody makes his rounds checking on his staff to see what they need. >> any questions about that? john: the worst of the delta spike came six weeks from august to september. the 10 bed emergency department had seven patients on ventilators at one point. the day we visited was the first since july without a hospitalized covid patient. red says his staff is emotionally and physically drained and with eight vacancies in the emergency department, half what he needs, stretched very thin. >> the concern is always, am i giving them enough tools to do their job? am i providing them what they need to do what the ascus? >> i would describe nursing like we are going to war. john: brittany johnston caring for people she grew up with is one of the joys of working here.
during the delta surge, it became a source of sadness. >> i have never in this hospital in 12 years seen seven to eight ventilators and my emergency department. this past friday, i had a classmate. i am 37 years old. we went to kindergarten together. all the way to graduation and he passed away of covid. and i was in the room and i was working. we did a code for over two hours and the physician just said -- can one person make it? hn: to deal with short staffing, nurses work extra shifts and alongside nurses hired on short-term contracts. the so-called travel nurses right now are 40% of the emergency department. high demand for travel nurses during the pandemic means higher
salaries than for staff nurses. sometimes leading to resentment and bigger brother holes for hospitals. it is an attractive option for staff nurses who feel underpaid like to katie. she left the emergency department after eight years for a nearby travel nurse job. tameka: i'm burnt out and tired and exhausted. but circumstances will be the same anywhere i work. and i go up the road 55 miles and do the same for double the pay. john: she return to a new position in the i.t. department. working with nurses on the computer systems they use, she says she says she is happy to be back but never would have returned for full-time patient care. tameka: i needed a break because it is a toll on me. it took a lot out of me and i needed a moment, like a minute to just do something different sides that. it is a little traumatizing.
there is no other way to put it. >> how many days have you had covid? john: as the delta surge abs, they fear the trauma of their work will intensify again. tameka: have you had the vaccine? >> no. john: especially in an area of less than 50% fully vaccinated. tameka: we are waiting for the next strand and making sure we are prepared mentally and physically and emotionally. john: to address the long-term shortages, mary mayhew of the florida hospital association says changes cannot wait. mary: urgently, we need to make sure our nursing programs and our community colleges and university systems are able to open the gates a little bit wider to add to the number of slots. we know there is great interest in terms of the number of applications our nursing schls are receiving that we have to
expand the capacity to meet that. it john: even if covid does proceed, the need for qualified nurs never will. for the pbs newshour, i am john yang in clewiston, florida. judy: thank you for that report. with the flu season coming, many people have wondered about getting the flu shot at the same time as a covid vaccine or a booster shot. some of your covid questions have answers on our instagram page at newshour. that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us align -- online or hear tomorrow evening. stay safe and we will see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- >> the world -- rules of business are being changed by looking at current opportunities and ahead to future ones.
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