tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC November 29, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
available in stores and online. tonight, breaking news. what we know so far on this new variant. the president and dr. anthony fauci and what they said today from the white house. the omicron variant, the world health organization labeling it a variant of concern. president biden today telling americans the new variant is a, quote, cause for concern, not a cause for panic. tonight here, the latest on confirmed cases now, including canada. dr. anthony fauci and dr. jha, you'll hear from them both here tonight. and the key questions -- this is variant more transmissible, could it be more dangerous, and most importantly, will the vaccines and the boosters work? tonight, your questions answered right here. also tonight, for the first time, we're seeing evidence made public in the investigation of former new york governor andrew cuomo.
the state attorney general releasing nearly nine hours of questioning about allegations of sexual harassment. you will hear the former governor answering the questions. the first witness taking the stand in the trial of ghislaine maxwell here in new york. jeffrey epstein's friend and alleged accomplice. she's accused of recruiting underage girls for epstein. what prosecutors said today in making their case. maxwell's attorneys tonight calling her a scapegoat. this evening, the new interview here with tiger woods on the accident and on playing again. what he reveals. tonight, authorities are now investigating what they say was a fraternity fight night. a young college student dying, reportedly collapsing soon after his fight. also tonight, we remember an american golfer who made history. and it's hard to believe our tenth year, our made in america christmas is back. what's your one thing?
good evening and it's great to be back with all of you at home after the thanksgiving holiday. i felt just like you did when we saw those headlines over the holiday, the alerts on our phones, this new variant. the omicron variant. the world health organization calling it a variant of concern. and tonight, they're now saying the global risk is very high. very little is known, of course. it is believed to be highly transmissible, but it also has dozens of mutations, which, of course, is also a concern here. first appearing in southern africa, tonight now confirmed in at least 17 countries, including canada. tonight, dr. anthony fauci suggesting it's likely here in the u.s. already and president biden today from the white house saying sooner or later, we will see it here. the president also saying, quote, omicron is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. the variant first identified in botswana, reported to the world health organization on friday. and you can see the map here tonight, now confirmed cases in
those 17 countries and, of course, just to the north of us in canada. already suspected cases in at least four other countries tonight. the u.s. restricting flights from botswana, south africa and six neighboring countries. the president defending those new travel restrictions, saying it will give the u.s. more time to prepare for the inevitable cases here. the last unrestricted flight from johannesburg arriving at newark airport this morning. president biden coming before the cameras to urge calm and urge action tonight. urging americans who are not vaccinated to get the shot and for all adults 18 and older to get a booster. just one of the long lines tonight. americans getting their shots. this popup site in washington, d.c.'s franklin park today. dr. jha is standing by right here with us tonight. and of course, those key questions. is this variant more contagious? could it cause more serious illness? and will the vaccines and the boosters work against it? we'll ask him in a moment here. we'll carefully get to it all tonight, beginning with abc's stephanie ramos leading us off right here in new york. >> reporter: just hours after the world health organization warned the global risks from the omicron variant are very high,
president biden with dr. anthony fauci at the white house, aiming to reassure the american people and to urge them to ge, and get the booster. >> this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. >> reporter: scientists are now racing to learn whether the omicron variant, with its 50 mutations, is more transmissible than the delta variant, whether it can make people sicker, and whether our vaccines and booster shots will prevent severe illness. the omicron variant was first identified in botswana and is sreading rapidly in south africa. about 200 cases have been confirmed in at least 17 countries, including three cases in canada. dr. fauci suggesting the variant could already be here, something the president acknowledged today. >> sooner or later, we're going to see cases of this new variant here in the united states. >> reporter: dr. fauci says he expected our vaccines and the
boosters to be effective in knocking down the severity of this new variant, though he cautioned, it's still early. >> we don't know exactly what's going on with this variant, but i would assume, and i think it's a reasonable assumption, that when you get vaccinated and boosted, and your level goes way up, you're going to have some degree of protection at least against severe disease. >> reporter: this morning, the final flight from johannesburg, south africa, touching down in newark ahead of the new u.s. ban on foreign travelers from eight south african countries. >> i think it's better to be safer than sorry, to restrict the travel until we know for sure. >> reporter: tonight, portugal confirming 13 cases of the omicron strain in one soccer team, after one player traveled to south africa. the kennedy family from north carolina were on a safari in
south africa. they're now making their way home, but the ban does not effect u.s. citizens. >> i understand there's a more global and bigger picture than my own particular family, but i'd like to get home, quarantine at home. >> reporter: genomic sequencing labs are now racing to find cases of omicron here in the u.s. the president says all three vaccine-makers are preparing to update their vaccines, if needed. >> in the event, hopefully unlikely, that updated vaccinations or boosters are needed to respond to this new variant, we will accelerate their development and deployment with every available tool. >> reporter: moderna telling us it would take a couple of months. >> we'll know from the tests in the next couple of weeks just how effective the vaccines are against this variant. >> reporter: the potential threat from omicron comes as the u.s. is already seeing a spike with the colder weather and now the busiest travel weekend of the pandemic. hospital admissions have climbed more than 20% since the beginning of the month. >> our isolation unit for people with covid-19 here in the hospital every day gets bigger and bigger and bigger. we're adding more and more rooms.
so we're going the wrong way with the variant we know now. >> reporter: facing a spike in covid cases already, new york's governor kathy hochul declaring a state of emergency to make sure the state and new york city are ready for any impact from the new variant. and the governor ordering all nursing homes to make booster shots available. >> we have to deal in the realities of a highly transmissible, we believe, variant. >> reporter: president biden urging americans to wear masks indoors when out in public again, to keep yourself safe and those around you. tonight, new york city doing the same. >> and stephanie ramos with us live tonight. and stephanie, i know the cdc doubling down late today on 18 and older in this country, to get your booster. and tonight, you're also learning that boosters could soon be expanded from 18 and up to include 16 and 17-year-olds, too? >> reporter: exactly, david. a source familiar with the discussions tells abc news pfizer is going to ask the fda in the coming days to authorize
boosters for 16 and 17-year-olds. pfizer's vaccine was authorized for adolescents back in may, so, many teenagers are already about six months out from their second shot. david? >> all right, stephanie ramos leading us off here on a monday night. stephanie, thank you. and of course a lot of questions tonight. let's bring in dr. ashish jha, dean of the brown university school of public health. dr. jha, always good to have you and your reassuring voice. we don't want to alarm people, we just want them to be informed as we watch this closely. and first off, how likely is it that the omicron variant is already here in the u.s.? >> good evening, david, thank you for having me back. i think it's very likely that it probably is here. if it's not here, it probably will be in the next few days. it has spread in much of the world and there's no reason to believe america has been immune with this variant. >> you heard dr. fauci saying that he believes the vaccines we have should have some protection here, but it's too early to say so definitively. do you agree with that, that the vaccines will help to work knock this down? >> i do.
i do. they may take a little bit of a hit on effectiveness, but especially if you've gotten that booster, i think it will provide at least a certain amount of protection. maybe a lot of protection. we don't know yet. >> i know it's early, but what are we hearing around the world from health officials abroad, what they're describing, what they're seeing as far as symptoms? i know hospitalizations often lag, it will take some time, but what are we seeing so far? >> yeah, so far, the early stories are that the cases are relatively mild, but we haven't yet really seen the full picture. i think the jury is out on this, david. we'll know more probably in the next week or two on how severe omicron infections are. >> all right, and you'll be right here to guide us through it. dr. jha tonight, thank you. and of course we're going to stay on this as we all urge caution on this, remaining optimistic here with what we hear from dr. fauci and right in from dr. jha, that the vaccines we have already will likely have some punch in knocking this down. but we'll stay on this, of course, as we always do. in the meantime, we are going to move onto the other news this monday night, and new york's attorney general going public with a trove of new evidence from the investigation
into sexual harassment involving former governor andrew cuomo. newly emerging evidence, because we're seeing it for the first time, the video of hours of testimony. tonight, you will hear him answering the questions and testimony from several of his accusers. here's abc's trevor ault. >> reporter: for the first time, you are watching video testimony of former new york governor andrew cuomo. >> have you ever had an inappropriate relationship with women on your staff? >> inappropriate, i assume, means a sexual relationship with women on my staff? the answer is no. >> reporter: today, the new york attorney general releasing nearly nine hours of video testimony over 11 hours of questioning, recorded in july as part of their investigation, which found cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, leading to his resignation. along with cuomo's testimony, the a.g.'s office also releasing a trove of documents and video testimony from six accusers, including former aides lindsay boylan, charlotte bennett, and brittany commisso. >> and so you have hugged ms. commisso? >> i have hugged her, and she
has initiated many of the hugs. > reporter: but in her interview you recorded in may, commisso claims that those hugs made her uncomfortable and one went a step too far. >> i remember his hand just sliding right up my blouse. i remember looking down. i remember seeing his hand, which is, i would say, it's a large hand, and over the -- my bra. >> reporter: the attorney general's report said they found cuomo's "denials to lack credibility and to be inconsistent with the weight of the evidence obtained during our investigation." and the former governor is now facing a charge of misdemeanor forcible touching, stemming from that alleged incident with commisso. cuomo says that interaction never happened and has repeatedly denied all claims of sexual misconduct, but he did publicly apologize to the 11 women who have accused him. >> this is not to say that there are not 11 women who i truly offended. there are.
and for that, i deeply, deeply apologize. >> and trevor ault with us live tonight. trevor, any response from the former governor on this release of these videos and these questions? >> reporter: well, his attorneys have been quite critical, david. his attorney says this was a manipulated release of testimony with selective editing, selective redactions. and david, cuomo is still scheduled to be arraigned on that misdee me nor charge in january, though the albany district attorney is still evaluating that charge. david? >> all right, trevor ault with us tonight, as well. trevor, thank you. and to another case being watched by the nation. the first witness taking the stand in the trial of ghislaine maxwell, of course, jeffrey epstein's friend and alleged accomplice. she's accused of recruiting underage girls for sex with epstein. prosecutors laying out their case today. maxwell's attorneys calling her a scapegoat. here's abc's erielle reshef. >> reporter: tonight, more than a year after her high profile arrest, ghislaine maxwell, jeffrey epstein's former girlfriend and longtime c
confida confidante, on trial for alleged sex trafficking. the six-count federal indictment accusing the socialite of recruiting and grooming underage girls for sex with the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender between 1994 and 2004. today, the 59-year-old maxwell seated in the federal courtroom with her defense team, cameras not allowed. prosecutors alleging maxwell "served up" a 14-year-old victim to be abused by epstein, claiming, "she knew what was going to happen to these girls. there were times when she was in the room when it happened." epstein died by suicide in august 2019 as he waited in jail on sex trafficking charges. since then, investigators have zeroed in on maxwell. but her defense team arguing that "jeffrey epstein manipulated the world around him and the people around him, including ghislaine," and describing her as a scapegoat for his actions. a sentiment echoed by maxwell's family. >> the authorities lost epstein on their watch in federal
custody, theoretically under 24/7 guard, and they're taking it out on my sister. and that's just damn wrong. >> reporter: three alleged victims, who were minors at the time, are expected to testify against maxwell, including annie farmer. farmer, the only alleged minor victim in the case to publicly identify herself, adamant that maxwell was complicit in epstein's abuse. >> looking back at this series of events now, it's just so clear how maxwell was a really important part of the grooming process, and they worked together as a team. >> reporter: and david, maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all six federal counts. today, we heard from epstein's former pilot, but of course, everyone waiting for the testimony of maxwell's accusers. david? >> all right, thank you, erielle. erielle reshef tonight. and from chicago tonight, jury selection is now under way in the trial of actor jussie smollett, charged with filing a false police report in 2019, claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, including a noose around his neck. he was later accused of staging it.
two brothers, former extras on the program "empire," claim smollett paid them to fake the attack. smollett has pleaded not guilty. we move on now the new interview. tiger woods breaking his silence about a possible comeback. woods recovering from that devastating leg injury suffered during an suv crash in february. and what he now acknowledges in this new interview about his golfing future. here's abc's victor oquendo tonight. >> reporter: in his first in-depth interview since that devastating car crash in february, tiger woods telling "golf digest," he feared he would lose his leg. >> there was a point in time when it was -- i wouldn't say 50/50, but it was damn near there that i was going to walk out of that hospital with one leg. >> reporter: woods suffered open fractures to both bones in his lower right leg after losing control of his vehicle outside l.a. on february 23rd. he spent three weeks in the hospital. wooding telling "golf digest", his greatest motivation to recover -- his son charlie. the two embracing after he won
his fifth masters in 2019. last week, hopes for a comeback after he posted this video, hitting a shot on the driving range. he's come back from devastating injury before, but this time, he says his days of being a full-time tournament golfer are over. >> i think something that is realistic is playing the tour one day, never full-time, ever again, pick and choose. it's an unfortunate reality, but it's my reality. and i understand it, and i accept it. >> reporter: and we expect to hear from tiger again tomorrow. he'll be hosting a tournament at a course in the bahamas. david? >> all right, victor oquendo tonight from florida. victor, thank you. and when we come back here tonight, the young college student who died after what authorities called a fraternity fight night. he reportedly collapsed shortly after. and later, we remember an american golfer who made history. wit eczema,oderate-to-e why hide your skin if you can help heal your skin from within? dupixent helps keep you one step ahead of eczema with clearer skin and less itch.
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♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ we have a passing to note tonight. we learned today pro golfer lee elder has died. he certainly made history along the way. the first black golfer to play at the masters in 1975. he joined jack nicklaus and gary player for the ceremonial 1st tee shot to begin the tournament in april. nicklaus saying, "the game of golf lost a hero in lee elder." he was 87. and it always seems to happen rather quickly after thanksgiving, all the christmas lights. tonight, the white house christmas decorations on full display. 41 trees throughout the white house, including the official tree in the blue room. first lady dr. jill biden revealing this year's theme, "gifts from the heart." the official gingerbread white house pays tributes to our front line workers.
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that guy needs to chill out! this was a cold call! finally tonight here, back from thanksgiving, we say happy hanukkah and get ready for our made in america christmas. your one thing that just might help create a job. tonight, our great made in america christmas is back. our tenth year here, going down the list and checking it twice. supporting local businesses in eery corner of this country. and tonight, as always, we start with our local tree farmers. >> hi, david. >> hi, david. >> hi, david. >> in waynesville, north carolina, tonight, the boyd mountain christmas tree farm.
and they are grateful. >> people seem to be coming out in record numbers to get the perfect christmas tree. >> reporter: across the country, in mckinleyville, california, is the johnsteen tree company. the workers that send out tiny christmas trees. you plant it and you watch your own christmas tree grow over the years. tonight, they tell us, now 35 workers, growing to more than 50 with the holiday demand. and just look at some of the trees now. south of atlanta, martin harman and his family planting theirs. still holding the original package next to his tree. the fowler family in lexington, kentucky, planting theirs in their front yard. the lights now on. >> hi, david! >> hi, david. >> hi, david. >> and all over this country, the small businesses waiting. knowing every year, we ask that one question, what's your one thing? you mind us seeing where it's made? we've been asking for so long, our viewers see us coming. where was this made? >> made in china, i know, i know, i know your show, i know your show. >> we'll never forget that family on fifth avenue. >> i know you.
>> tonight, authenticity 50, the bedding and home goods company, the cotton from california, yarn spun in georgia, the sheets cut and sewn in south carolina. the buttons from connecticut, packaging in illinois. and the label from seed to stitch, 100% made in the usa. >> hey, david! >> husband and wife steph and jimmy mcdonald tonight with what they say is a real advantage to made in america this year. >> we haven't had to deal with container ships being stuck at port. >> and buying local helps us sustain our small business and 1,000 local jobs from coast to coast. >> so, tonight, we begin with that same question, what's your one thing? ten years now of made in america. just like watching those trees grow from that farm in mckinleyville, california. >> made in america! >> we love it. let us know your ideas on our "world news tonight" facebook page, on my instagram. i read them all. let's celebrate american workers together, especially in these times. good night
>> at a time when there is not enough protection to keep everyone safe, group says the need to take priority or they will be forced out of business and out of town. could they say it will not be if -- >> they say it is not if but when the new variant will arrive. >> the 1000th patient, i a comfortable and confident. >> the 1000th patient chaired a milestone for the future of medical technology thanks to a bay area surgeon. >> building a better bay area. even forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. >> the holidays are a time of year that we often see some increases in crime. but we do have a perfect storm of bad outcomes. >> a perfect storm with devastating consequences. good evening. >> thank you for turning us. a violent loss of life is always
shocking and tragic but that kind of loss is even more painful during the holiday season. the death of a media security guard is one example. shot in downtown oakland in the line of duty before thanksgiving. he passed away on saturday. >> amen -- on sunday, amen who confronted a car burglar was shot. days before, this was the finish line for the oakland turkey trot. now the site of an unspeakable tragedy. these men are the latest victims in oakland to murder total, which tops 120 seven for the year. >> so what is being done about it? more police, or patrol, more resources? it is clear there is no easy answer. the oakland mayor made an impassioned plea for the city to stand in support of its police force. >> i am hopeful that we as city leaders can send a unified