tv NBC Nightly News NBC September 28, 2009 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
is not intentional, they say. they say the orders to deploy just happened to come at the same time. the younger o'toole says serving with his father in afghanistan is much the same as it was in reno, except that his dad keeps bugging him to call his mom. >> and he should listen. >> mom likes that. >> "nightly news" is next. >> we'll see you at 11:00. ha on our broadcast tonight -- the flu fight. we have a comprehensive look at swine flu. how families and hospitals are handling it and sorting out the vaccines as flu season takes off. backing the bid. president obama decides to fly to europe to try to bring the olympics back home to chicago. >>at the wheel. what's the number one thing that seems to keep young drivers safer on the road? and she's got game. the college football official who's breaking through that
grass ceiling. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television on good evening. there is reason to believehis past weekend was the all-time benchmark high so far for suspected cases of swine flu. one hospital in cleveland reports a rapidly growing number of patients, another in denver has run out of h1n1 test kits. there are similar spikes in phoenix and four doctors have the flu at a hospital in northe virginia. anthe debate is already under way about the vaccine that's yet to become widely available. we have special coverage of all of it tonight, beginning with our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman, who's here with us in our new york studios. nancy, here it comes. >> brian, here it comes. the numbers are up, as you know. everyone's talking about h1n1 or swine flu, and health officials
want one message to come over loud and clear, the flu vaccine is on its way. after months of preparation to manufacture 65 million doses of the vaccine meant to derail it, the second wave of the swine flu virus is upon us. >> we are clearly in the middle of a pandemic. it is in at least half of the states or more in the country. >> reporter: according to the centers for disease control, least 26 states are reporting widespread flu activity, up from 21 a week earlier, with 99% of the strains confirmed as swine flu. so in what will be an unprecedented undertaking, health officials hope to vaccinate well over half the u.s. population in just a few months. the public that this vaccine is and what may prove to be the biggest obstacle is reassuring the public that this vaccine is
necessary and safe. >> i don't think i've had the flu since i was about 15 years n't nt the swine flu. se i t >> i know it's not supposed to cause any problems, but i'm just not comfortable with it. >> this isn't as new as people might think it is. it really is a very slight difference from the seasonal flu vaccine that we give to people for decades with a very good safety record. and that's the message we want to get to people. >> reporter: but it's a vaccine that is also coming to market while testing is not yet complete. >> it's a little bit strange, so i can understand why there might be concern. but i was a volunteer. i took that vaccine. my grandchildren are going to get that vaccine just as soon as it's available. >> reporter: and it's expected to be available in the next two weeks. the concern over the safety of the swine flu vaccine is ironic because if the h1n1 swine flu strain had been discovered just a few months earlier, it's very likely it would have just been put into the regular old seasonal flu shot, which is normally three shots in one. and, brian, we might be having a very differe conversation. >> i haven't thought of it that way. dr. nancy snyderman starting off
our coverage for us tonight. >> you bet, brian. >> thanks, as always. now we switch to the situation on the ground, which as you may know if you broug a loved one in for testing has become extreme in some places, including a tennessee hospital that's been swamped with sick kids, and like a lot of places, they've been forced to improvise. our own janet shamlian is with us tonight from memphis. janet, good evening. reporr: brian, good evening. this children's hospital is so overwhelmed with potential swine flu cases, they've got triage tents set up outside the emergency room, and they're not even at the peak of the outbreak. >> hey, guys, can we help you? >> reporter: on the front lines in the fight against the flu -- >> just going in the entrance to the tent there. hopefully they can get you guys in and out pretty quick, okay? >> reporter: -- a sprawling triage tent, staffed wit doctors and equipped like a trauma center, right in the middle of a hospital parking lot. >> she's been saying her throat hurts? >> yeah. >> what about headache? >> reporter: more than 300 kids are turning up with flu sympto each day, double what they see
here in a normal flu season, and well beyond what the emergency room can manage. >> physically we just don't have the space to handle that, plus we needed the space to take care of the more sicker patients. >> reporter: across the country, a surge of sick kids have parents panicked. >> i would rather come here than to go to the local hospital and then be sent down here later. >> reporter: the trotters drove 60 miles to have their son michael looked at. >> this is not going to hurt, okay? you can just relax. >> reporter: like most kids, he was sent home. of the 6,000 screened since school started, only 100 had been admitted. two teenagers have died. just blocks away, one of the flu's most fertile breeding grounds -- school. >> it's a huge challenge here. >> reporter: absences in some memphis classrooms are nearing 20%. despite an aggressive plan that includes stepped-up sanitation and designated sick rooms. >> that's what we're hearing, that it will get worse in terms of more people affected we
get deeper into the flu season. >>eporter: a scary situation for parents and children, in memphis and beyond. one of the reason for the crowds here and elsewhere, many families without medical coverage are now using emergency rooms as primary care, like their doctor's offices. brian? >> janet shamlian with that prong ofhis story in memphis tonight. janet, thanks. and now the third prong, the impact on businesses. according to recent surveys -- this is important -- only about a third of the companies in this country could keep their businesses up and running if half their workforce was out sick with the flu. already some employers are trying to get out ahead of the flu, taking steps to try to head off the worst of it. that part of this story tonight from nbc's kevin tibbles. >> reporter: at the minneapolis headquarters of retail giant target, a command center tracks potential swine flu hotspots globally, 24/7. >> one of our main roles is to help make sure that we have a safe and secure environment for
our team members and guests. >> reporter: with 350,000 employees worldwide and millions of customers, keeping them healthy and informed is vital to the bottom line. target is working to obtain the swine flu vaccine when available. until then, free seasonal flu shots are offered to every employee. there's a free health ca hotline, and flu information on the company website. for customers, $24 flu shots are available at each target pharmacy. target medical directojoshua riff -- >> over the last five years we have really been preparing for a pandemic. >> reporter: electronics retailer best buy keeps its staff of 150,000 up to date using the social networking site twitter. the u.s. chamber of commerce says businesses lose some $10 billion each year to the flu. a potential swine flu outbreak could hit even harder. >> if you're not prepared, you may have to shut your doors. >> reporter: but preparing may be difficult, says economist mike mazzio, when
recession-weary companies have already reduced staff. >> in many, many cases, the backup employee that would step in if somebody got sick no longer works for the company. >> reporter: officeware, with 100 employees, sells and services business equipment in louisville, kentucky. here workers are issued anti-flu kits and new instructions -- >> they're wiping down the keyboards, they're wiping down the reens, wiping down the devices before they even start to work on it. >> reporter: as swine flu season approaches, businesses more than ever are being urged to prepare, expecting it won't be business as usual. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. and now we turn overseas. iran flexed a bit of military muscle today with the test firing of its longest-range missiles. given their range, they would put israel and parts of europe within air striking distance. at talks that get under way this
week, iran is expected to be confronted about an underground facility that until last week had remained a secret. we learned today just how important it is to the president to bring the 2016 olympic games to his home city of chicago. later this week, he's going to get on air force one and fly all the way to europe to push for it in person. our white house correspondent savannah guthrie broke ts story today about the president's latest efforts as salesman in chief, and savannah, it's not like there isn't already a lot going on in that building behind you. >> a lot going on, but it's important to the president. he will be in copenhagen on friday to make this personal pitch. he's been saying for weeks he wasn't able to go because of the health care debate but things are better enough for him to make this quick trip on air force one to make a personal bid to get the games. on the streets of chicago, the buzz was the president's latest diplomatic mission. >> sending our top guy over there to make the pitch is the right thing to do. >> much confidence. i already felt pretty optimistic
about it, but i think now more than ever we have a very good chance of getting the games. >> reporter: from his candidate days -- >> let the games begin! >> reporter: -- to earlier this month on the white house lawn, where he picked up some pointers on fencing, the president has established himself as kind of olympics super-fan. now with chicago locked in a tight battle with tokyo, madrid and rio de janeiro, and their heads of state making a presentati presentation, the hometown pressure for obama to go was intense. >> they've been reading the tea leaves, so to speak, over the past couple of weeks with ioc members saying that obama could really make a difference if he went to copenhagen. >> reporter: but today some questioned whether the president should take the time, with iran, afghanistan and a health care debate to tend to. aides say he'll be on the ground less than five hours. >> surely it's within the purview of the president to root for america, but maybe i'm -- i'm wrong. >> reporter: british prime
minister tony blair's personal pitch helped win london the game. russia's president, vladimir putin, lobbied and won. but just like olympic sports, there are no guarantees. the president's high-profile visit could end with the agony of defeat. senior advisory valerie jarrett said the famously competitive president intends to bring home the gold. >> president obama never goes anywhere to come in second. of course he wants to win. >> reporter: well, the first lady is still planning to go today, as she briefed some of us reporters and made it clear she approaches this like an olympic competitor. she said, it's a battle we're going to win, take no prisoners. and the decision comes friday, brian. >> we will see at the end of the week. savannah guthrie at the white house tonight, thanks. and like so many cities, so many urban areas in this country, there is another side to chicago. not far from where they're hoping to host the olympic athletes, street violence in chicago has taken the lives of dozens of school-aged children year after year.
tonight a beating death that was caught on camera that has shocked even many veterans in law enforcement. our report tonight from nbc's rob stafford. >> reporter: he was by all accounts an innocent bystander caught in the middle of this -- a street fight on chicago's south side that soon turned deadly. >> it was chaos. it was chaos. i mean, there was -- there was so many kids, it was very difficult to determine who was who. >> reporter: 16-year-old derrion albert was swarmed by a group of boys who police say viciously punched and kicked him. aa and if that wasn't enough, one boy decided to strike m with a large wooden post as well. the video, obtained by a cell phone from wlfd in chicago, goes on to show the boy lying motionless on the sidewalk. >> get up! >> pick him up. >> reporter: frantic teens carried him to a nearby building. >> we need help! we need an ambulance! >> reporter: but albert, an
honor student at a nearby high school, died of his injuries. >> i can't think possibly what could have been going through his mind to do this to my child. >> reporter: his mother was inconsolable. >> i tried to do everything i could to keep him safe. >> reporter: today his classmates and parents showed up for a vigil at a community center but many are worried the simmering rivalry may spark even more violence. the video of the melee, not all over the internet, is not the kind of public image chicago wants to project, especially on the verge of its big olympic bid. the ly consolation, police say, is it helped identify key suspects. three teenagers arnow in custody. the youngest just 16, charged with first degree murder as adults. horrific images capturing teens out of control and a boy in the wrong place at the wrong time. rob stafford, nbc news, chicago.
and when our broadcast continues along the way on a monday evening -- the question, how do some teenagers end up safe drivers while others amount to a road hazard? some new findings a lot of parents are going to want to hear. and later, a new sight between the stripes and wearing them as well. . huh. what's this? well, that's how i'm going to get there. it's guidance. oh, so maybe i should follow it, too. it doesn't work that way, pete. you see, this is my own personalized plan. you've got to get one that's right for you. okay. but i can still walk along it while we talk, right? [ laughing ] yeah, come on. whatever your destination, fidelity has the people, guidance, and investments to help you find your way. fidelity investments. turn here. or 100 pringles. both cost the same, but only the pringles superstack can makes everything pop! ♪ hey [ male announcer ] same cost but a lot more fun. ♪ everything pops with the pringles superstack can!
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in the car. >> reporter: a new study finds that this kind of parenting has a tremendous positive influence on a teenager's driving. researchers at children's hospital of philadelphia found that teens with supportive parents who set clear rules about driving were half as likely to be in a crash as those whose parents were less involved. teens who get clear guidance also were twice as likely to wear seat belts, 70% less likely to drink and drive, and 30% less likely to use cell phones while driving. >> parents need to be able to give rul, to monitor those rules, but to make it really clear to the young person that this is not about control. this is about safety. they need to honor teenagers' need for independence. >> reporter: but independence has its limits. researchers say giving a kid his own car may encourage risky behavior. this study found that teens with their own cars were twice as
likely to be involved in a crash as teens who shared a car with family. >> our strong recommendation is that teenagers need to ask parents for the keys to the car. >> reporter: and researchers say whatever driving rules are laid down for teens, parents need to live by them, too, because teenagers will follow your example and are more responsive to adults who practice what they preach. lisa myers, nbc news, washington. when we come back, a big name in music history is gone and a genuine american hero has a new job. and a genuine american hero has a new job. mom was diagnosed with moderate alzheimer's. it was tough news to hear. everything changed. i didn't know what to do. right about then, our doctor mentioned the exelon patch. he said it releases medicine continuously for 24 hours.
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breaking up is easy to do. ♪ remember when that's allstate's stand. are you in good hands? ♪ we learned today the hero of the hudson river has a new job. captain sully sullenbergerf us airways water landing fame is moving into a new role as a management pilot on the safety team of the airline. while it's a teaching position, it also means you just might hear his voice over the p.a. from the front of the cockpit if you fly us airways. for those who perhaps did not hear about it on last night's broadcast or this morning, we wanted to mention again the passing of william safire.
he was a frequent guest of ours as a panelist on "meet the press." former nixon white house aide, went on to be a pulitzer prize-winning "new york times" columnist, author and de facto dean of wordsmiths in this country who has a college dropout, went on to become one of the most widely read and quoted authority on the english language. he died yesterday at a hospice lliam safire was 79. r. donald fisher, who co-founded the gap 40 years ago, also died yesterday after battling cancer. the company was named after the idea of the generation gap between the world war ii generation mostly and their kids. their clothes for younger consumers helped them grow into a retailing giant with more than 3,100 stores worldwide. it allowed donald fisher to become one of the nation's leading philanthropists and art collectors. and a woman with an almost mythic role in music history is now gone.
♪ lucy in the sky with diamonds ♪ >> her name was lucy o'donnell. she was better known, of course, as lucy in the sky with diamonds. as the story goes, she was a schoolmate of young julian lennon, who was just 4 when he showed his dad john a drawing of her that he described as "lucy in the sky with diamonds," which also nicely provided the initials lsd. lucy o'donnell died of lupus. she was just 46 years old. when we come back, on the sidelines of the next college football game, look closely. you might see something unusual. text-out-loud-reading, turn-by-turn-direction- giving sync® system ...in the all-new taurus from ford. (beep) (sync® voice) please say a command. read message. (sync® voice) highway 8 closed. update route. (sync® voice) turn right on silver road. (announcer) we speak car. we speak innovation. introducing the all-new taurus from ford.
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stay with plavix. finally tonight, coming off another football weekend, the officials in those striped shirts on the football field can be your best friends or not, depending on the call. mostly, though, they try to stay out of the action, and you have to look fast to see them. if you get a good look at one college football line judge this season, you'll notice a difference because she is different from the others on the field. nbc's thanh troung has our report tonight from dekalb, illinois. >> i've got scrambled eggs this morning.
>> reporter: like most mothers, sarah thomas wears a lot of hats. >> i wake up in the morning about 6:00 and i put the mom hat on, and then the kids get off to school, and then i put the sales rep hat on, and i do that from 8:00 to 5:00. >> reporter: that's monday through friday. then comes saturday. on weekends during the fall, sarah puts on a different kind of hat. sarah thomas, the working mom, becomes a college football official. on this day before northern illinois faces off with idaho, thomas huddles with her strid colleagues for a pregame prayer. born and raised in mississippi, this former college basketball player and self-proclaimed tomboy said she craves the excitement surrounding football. >> i wouldn't rather be nowhere else than right here, unless i was home with my kids. but this is what my job is and i take full pride in being here. >> reporter: she arrived here nearly three years ago as the first female official in college football.
four other women have since followed her path but don't call her a trail blazer. >> i do this because i love it. i don't do things for recognition or to buck the system. >> reporter: before the collegiate level, thomas worked high school football games for ten years, and she tackled plenty of challenges along the way. she recalls her brother's warning when she first started. >> he told me that these were a bunch of men set in their ways and that i might get some strange stares, and i did. >> reporter: she still gets the occasional surprise stare but she also gets respect. there's talk she cou be the first woman to work the sidelines in the nfl. >> i think if she continues to develop the way she has the first three years, i think that's in her future. >> reporter: thomas says she looks forward to that day if it comes, but for now, her biggest concern is getting back home in time to fix breakfast for some hungry boys. thanh truong, nbc news, dekalb, illinois.
>> by the way, with that story we welcome thanh troung to the nbc news on-air staff. is he a great storyteller who has an amazing personal story as well. but we'll save that part for another time. that's our broadcast for now for this monday night. thank you for being with us. i'm brian williams. and we all hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com