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tv   CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell  CBS  September 17, 2021 3:12am-3:42am PDT

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pay someone to kill him? the plot now raising questions whether there's a link to the murders of his wife and son. call for help. new police video of a young woman missing for weeks. drivers wanted. schools are open, but there's no one to drive the kid, forcing parents, even national guardguao troops, to take the wheel. "eye on america": the big turnaround.erica": the big how dedicated teachers and staff turned around one of the worst schools in the state. postcard from space: a remarkable view from the first all-civilian space mission. and, paisley's mission: how an eight-year-old girl is bringing education to kids thousands of miles away. this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell, reporting from the nation's capital.g >> o'donnell: good evening and thank you for joining us. we wanted to begin tonight with the intensifying debate in the medical community over theneed
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for covid booster shots. tomorrow, the f.d.a.'s vaccine adsorymi iexpect to vote on whether to recommend a third dose of the pfizer vaccination for the general population. well, the biden administration is pushing for a third dose, but so far, the f.d.a. has not taken a definitive stance, saying overall data shows all currently authorized vaccines still protect against severe covid disease and death. moderna's data is still being reviewed. and adding to the confusion, according to the c.d.c., nearly two million fully vaccinated americans have already received an additional dose of a covid vaccine. many of those have weakened immune systems. so some people are already getting those boosters. but one thing is clear tonight: the pandemic is raging again. on tuesday, the u.s. reported nearly 2,000 new covid deaths. that's actually the highest single-day total in nearly seven months. cbs' jonathan vigliotti is going to lead us off tonight from los angeles. good evening, jonathan.poant ons
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compromising its larger effort here to get people vaccinated in the first place. tonight, some scientists are saying "not so fast" when it comes to covid booster shots. it was just a month ago when the biden administration was making its case. >> you'll be able to get the booster shots at any one of approximately 80,000 vaccination locations nationwide.0,000 vaccn it will be easy. >> reporter: but the food and drug administration has declined to take a stance, on the eve ofv an advisory committee meeting to decide whether to recommend approving pfizer's application to give out third doses. this week, in an article published by the british medical journal "the lancet," scientists, including two outgoing f.d.a. employees, argue currently available evidence does not show the need for widespread use of booster ccinio from israel, re-released by
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f.d.a. that suggested waning immunity against disease may occur in younger age groups. but it was younger, more high- risk age groups that the booster but it was older, more high-risk l e groups that the booster was reducing the risk of severe illness. >> it's confusing. >> reporter: dr. monica gandhi says the confusion may be producing an unwanted side effect. >> i think the messaging from the white house has served to terrify the vaccinated, and make the unvaccinated think that the vaccines don't work. and that is exactly what the white house did not want to message. >> reporter: and that fear, doctors say, comes at a time when i.c.u. beds in cities like spokane, washington, are packed with covid patients, many of them unvaccinated. >> we're seeing levels of hospitalization that we've not seen since the beginning of the pandemic. >> reporter: dr. dan getz says many of those patients are coming from idaho, just a few miles away. today, with hospitalizations soaring well past last winter's
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surge, the entire state is now under a crisis standard of care. some hospitals are rationing treatment. >> which is really every physician's worst nightmare, and it's going to lead to very real deaths. and not just deaths from covid. we're talking people having heart attacks, delaying care for cancer-- this affects all of us. >> reporter: and in an effort to cut back on covid cases, officials here in los angeles are taking their mandate one step further. starting next month, people will be required to show proof of vaccination before entering bars norah. and nightclubs. norah. >> o'donnell: jonathan vigliotti, thank you. the other big story tonight is here in washington, as capitol hill once again resembles a fortress. the fence is back up, and security is tight, ahead of a rally on saturday in support of those charged with storming the capitol. cbs' jeff pegues reports on new threats that have popped up on social media. >> reporter: with eight-foot- high fencing now surrounding the capitol, cbs news has learned
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that capitol police aren't just gearing up for saturday's rally. they're concerned about the day before, too. the f.i. hlaggedocial media posts which suggest storming the capitol on friday. and the new homeland security bulletin is warning of lone offenders, or small groups, that could spark violence. rally organizer, matt braynard, a former trump campaign staffer, says the says the event, which will include calls for the imprisoned january 6 rioters to be released, will be peaceful. >> the capitol police know that we are no threat. this is a theater to deter is ar people fr people from attending. >> reporter: the former president, who critics say incited the january 6 riot, endorsed this rally today, saying that people arrested in connection with january 6 are being persecuted unfairly. but those mobs of people caused more than $1 million in damage, injured more than 100 police officers, and led to five deaths. the security presence this time
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around looks much different. the national guard has been requested. nearby police departments are deploying, and new security cameras have been installed. >> we have to be over-prepared. we have to deal for the worst- case scenario and hope for the best-case scenario. >> reporter: the best-case scenario is that all this fencing that's surrounding the capitol and the security cameras guard against the potential for violence. officials expecting about 700 people out here, but that's a number that could go up, depending on the weather. they're not expecting rain on saturday. they're expecting clear skies. norah. >> o'donnell: jeff pegues, thank you. rap superstar nicki minaj is one of the best-selling and moste popular female artists of all time. but now, minaj has ignited a firestorm for spreading vaccine misinformation, telling her tens of millions of followers that her cousin's friend became impotent after receiving a shot. well, that claim has beenho debunked and there's no science behind it.
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so why is the white house offering help? here is cbs' nancy cordes. >> reporter: rapper nicki minaj is known for feuding with other stars like miley cyrus and cardi b., no odds with the white house. >> our hope is that anyone who has a big platform is going to project accurate information. >> reporter: it all started monday night, when the unvaccinated singer tweeted, "my cousin in trinidad won't get the covid vaccine, because his friend got it and became impotent. his testicles became swollen." trinidad and tobago's health minister debunked that the next day. >> reporter: white house staffers worried that the
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super-base singer with 23 million twitter followers might give the vaccine a bad rap. by yesterday, minaj was claimin. not qu e exnd an invitation to nicki minaj to come here? >> we offered a call with nickio minaj and one of our doctors to answer questions she had about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. >> reporter: underlying all of this is a serious problem: the persistent online rumors that the covid vaccine somehow causes impotence, despite the fact that studies have shown there is no link between the two. norah.e, minaj now >> o'donnell: nancy cordes, thank you. and we should note, minaj now says she's going to get the vaccine before she goes on tour. all right, now to south carolina where disgraced lawyer alex murdaugh surrendered to authorities today after being accused of hiring a hit man to kill him in a botched insurance fraud scheme. cbs' nikki battiste is following this increasingly bizarre case. >> reporter: 53-year-old alex
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murdaugh and his family of powerful prosecutors once held a commanding presence at this hampton county, south carolina, courthouse. but toght, he's a defet acinchae fraud and filing a false police report. murdaugh is accused of hiring s 61-year old curtis smith to shoot him in the head with hopes of leaving a $10 million insurance windfall to his older son. when the alleged plot failed, murdaugh told police he was shot while changing a flat tire. earlier today, a $55,000 bond was set for smith, who faces five charges ranging from assisted suicide to insurance fraud. it's the latest twist in a string of ongoing criminal investigations connected to murdaugh. his wife maggie and 22-year-old son, paul, were shot and killed on the family's property in june. dick harpootlian is murdaugh's attorney.
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>> reporter: law enforcement officials have opened an investigation into the death of 57-year-old gloria satterfield. murdaugh's housekeeper diedtter. after a trip-and-fall accident at their home in 2018. an autopsy was never performed. alex murdaugh is also under investigation for reportedly ented drehab for anof dollarss, opioid addiction. norah. >> o'donnell: nikki battiste, thank you. tonight, police body cam video provides a new clue in a young woman's disappearance that sparked a nationwide search. 22-year-old gabrielle petito is seen sobbing after an altercation with her fiance, brian laundrie, in utah. that was last month. they were on a cross-country drive, and she vanished soon after that incident. well, he drove home to florida, and is not cooperating with investigators. all right, tonight, school districts all over the country
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face a growing problem. listen to this: a severe shortage of school bus drivers. it's actually forcing states and parents to make some difficult choices. we get more now from cbs' errol barnett. >> reporter: with an alarming shortage of school bus drivers in baltimore, single mftall three to four times a week just to get her kids to school. this costs her more than $40 round trip twice a day. >> i just don't have those extra funds right now, and it wasn't budgeted in. >> reporter: more than half of america's school districts report their driver shortage is severe or desperate. many drivers retired during thed pandemic, and now some are fearful of face-to-face interaction with potentially infected kids. in massachusetts, national guard soldiers were deployed to drive buses, and pennsylvania is also considering doing the same. how often are you getting phone calls about this driver shortage? >> every minute. >> reporter: in baltimore, drivers are now calling out sick
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regularly. >> when we have to call a family at 7:00, you've already planned to go to work at 8:00 a.m. and to say that the bus isn't coming and they all, you know, quickly have to find another option to get their child to school, and childcare-- that's a huge problem. >> reporter: baltimore city offers a $250 monthly transportation stipend for parents like her, but her ride share bill will be nearly $1,000 for a month. >> i can't even look for a job right now. this is my job right now, getting them to school. >> reporter: adding to this issue-- to become a school bus driver, you must obtain a commercial driver's license, and that can take up to three and with so few and with so few applicants currently in the pipeline, norah, it's likely this crisis will last throughout the school year. >> o'donnell: such a challenge for parents all right, errol barnett, thank you. and we want to turn now to the education crisis in america's cities. minority children face a widening achievement gap with less access to quality education. a recent study found black students have fallen at least two years behind white students
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in their education. but we found a school that is bridging the gap. here is meg oliver with tonight's "eye on america." >> camden is not just the boarded-up houses you see. good morning, good to see you! there are lives. there are brilliant, beautiful scholars. good morning, george. there are families who love their kids, who are passionate about education, passionate about equity, passionate about change. >> reporter: that passion helped turn camden's failing public schools into a success story. over the schools and transformed them. this school is now the highest performing school in the area. >> if i need help, they'll step aside for me and teach me anything i need. >> reporter: the percentage of kids in this elementary school who are at or above grade level in math soared from 3% to 60%, and in reading from 4% to 50%.
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>> you're going to regroup, showing your 1s, okay. when you see our kids in action, and you see how much brilliance and how capable they are, you understand not to limit them. >> reporter: it's all part of camden's "second act," with the creation of what are called creation of what a renaissance schools, like camden prep. unlike most other charters, there is not a lottery admission. kid get to go here because they live in the neighborhood. >> these are the same scholars, and that proves that zip code does not determine your ability. >> reporter: what do you like about school? >> ( muffled ) >> reporter: you get to learn stuff? >> scholars, we're now going to start writing. >> reporter: the curriculum is tailored to each student's ability and measures both their academic and emotional progress. >> how do you feel right now? >> reporter: and there is daily communication with their parents. >> they text me, "our girl is having a great day!" >> reporter: and how does that make you feel at home? >> makes me feel good.
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all right, she got a star for the day, yes! >> reporter: when you wake up in the morning, rashad, do you want to go to school? >> yes. u >> reporter: why? >> when i go to school i see my teachers and my classmates and i think, okay, i'm going to be comfortable here. >> reporter: something tagoe never experienced, as her only student of color at her elementary school. i know when you were five a little boy said, "don't touch me-- you're dirty." does it still hurt? >> yep. so, when i think about that moment, especially being dark- skinned-- and you know you're different. i think about why i do this work. they're going to be the next generation to change this society and ensure that everything is better for them and better for the next generation after. and that's a big responsibility. but it's a beautiful one. >> reporter: meg oliver, cbs news, camden, new jersey. >> o'donnell: and principal tagoe is doing a beautiful job.
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how much do we love her? all right, there is still much more news ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news." north korea's new missile-- look at this-- launched from a train. why it's a big advance for the north. and, the all-civilian spacex crew sends these spectacular images from orbit. do your heart a favor, and quit now. (announcer) you can quit. for free help, call 1-800-quit-now. i brought in ensure max protein, with thirty grams of protein. those who tried me felt more energy in just two weeks! [sighs wearily] here, i'll take that! woo-hoo! ensure max protein. with thirty grams of protein, one gram of sugar, and now with two new flavors! introducing fidelity income planning. we look at what you've saved, what you'll need, and help you build a flexible plan for cash flow that lasts, even when you're not working, so you can go from saving... to living.
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heard about refugees in a bible class. that led to a lot of tough questions for her mom, tali jones. >> kind of bending down with my phone on google, looking up which countries are safest and which ones are taking in the t most refugees, because this was not a topic i was planning to discuss with a four-year-old. >> reporter: paisley's curiosity became a call to action. that's the reason for her trip to uganda, where, with the help from some experienced adults, she plans to deliver these do- it-yourself school >> it's made out of 100% sustainable wood. >> reporter: interlocking pieces that can be transformed into a pop-up classroom. there's also a toolbox with pencils and learning kits, made for hundreds of kids in a refugee camp. why do you stick with this? >> if we do not help them because the adults aren't, then who will help them have a better life? i mean, they're just like you and me. >> reporter: paisley will deliver the first portable classrooms at the end of the month, while teaching a lesson
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set your dvr so you can watch us later. that is tonight's edition of the "cbs evening news." i'm norah o'donnell here in the nation's capital. president biden wants to make them available next week. there is a debate in the medical community as to whether they are really necessary. a study looked at 1 million people 60 and older finds pfizer booster shots lower the risk of illness lowered 20 times. if and when the booster is
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approved, people can begin lining up for the jab eight months after being vaccinated. the unvaccinated continue to overwhelm the nation's healthcare system. >> reporter: here in florida, at at least 37 hospitals are at capacity. its impacts can reach anyone. >> i didn't expect my son to be in the hospital for five days. >> reporter: that's florida teach na nathanial osborne. he rushed his hospital for more than six hours with no beds available. seth's appendix ruptured. my wife asked one of the nouurs, what's going on. and the nurse rolled her eyes
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and said, what do you think? we are slammed with covid. >> sometimes we have to limit all the other cases that we have to do especially elective cases. >> reporter: they have not turned away patients yet but she's concerned for the coming months. >> all respiratory virus peak at that time. if we get that and in addition to covid, i am concerned of our capacity not only with space but with also staff. >> reporter: the problem and the suffering extending far beyond florida. in alabama, icu are above 100% capacity across the entire state. 73-year-old suffered a cardiac episode. his family called 43 hospitals in three states for help. he was transferred to a hospital
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