tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC July 9, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT
booster shots after pfizer said a third dose would offer more protection how the cdc and fda are pushing back dr. fauci is here to answer your questions. two americans brought before the cameras today among the suspects in the assassination of haiti's president. what they've told authorities, and tonight word the fbi is joining the investigation. president biden's new call with vladimir putin warning him again over relentless cyber attacks. elsa slalamming the northeast, flooding new york subway stations and in the west another punishing heatwave more than 30 million under alert. the head of the fda calling for investigation into a controversial alzheimer's drug a new twist in the billionaire space race just hours before richard branson hopes to blast off into history. and the 14-year-old whwho made history of her own at the national spelling bee. and that's not the only talent making her a star
>> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt >> good evening. i'm peter alexander in for lester we begin tonight with two major headlines in the fight to combat covid. the cdc releasing new guidance for schools, urging them to fully reopen this fall for in-person learning, saying those who are vaccinated do not need masks, and those who are not should wear them after the ne we told you about last night, ththat pfizer is developing a booster shot to target the delta variant, the fda and cdc now say those who are fully vaccinated do not need a booster. i just asked dr. anthony fauci about all of it. we will have that in a moment but we begin with late-breaking details from miguel almaguer. >> how you doing >> reporter: when fully vaccinated students and teachers return to the classroom, they won't need a face mask, says the cdc. the new guidance, which several states stopped enforcing weeks ago now mirrors the same guidelines for inoculated adults. but vaccines are not
yet available for children under 12, meaning roughly 28 million school-aged kids should still wear a mask and take preventative measures. >> it can be difficult for a school to either document the vaccine status of their students, teachers and staff. so in that situation, they might decide to do universal polics. >> the cdc's agency guidance comes as it also calls for all schools to fully reopen and also weighs in on the battle over boosters >> have you pull up your shirt >> reporter: after pfizer said its vaccine efficacy shows a decline after six months, and that americans would get added protection from a third shot, both the cdc and fda say there e is no scntific evidence a booster is needed yet >> across the board, it is clear. even with the delta variant, vaccine effectiveness against severe disease and hospitalization is very high after two doses. >> reporter: still, with pfizer moving forward. getting many americans
even their first dose remains daunting. >> i'm not going to get vaccinated that's a hard no. >> reporter: in wisconsin, authorities are going door to door, hoping to increase the vaccination rate, which just rose nationwide by 0.1%, with super sites like the javits center now closing their doors, the dangerous delta variant is fueling outbreaks nationwide >> we did not expect the arrival of the delta variant or number of like how infectious it was. >> reporter: tonight's setbacks as our nation moves forward, and as children get ready to face a new school year >> miguel, even though the cdc says vaccinated children do not need face masks, does it mean that all districts are going to lift their policies? >> no, peter it will be up to local school districts to decide if universal mask-wearing is needed, and many schools say that's likely the direction they'll move peter? >> miguel, thank you
i just spoke with dr. anthony fauci about schools and that debate over boosters but i started off asking him whether every school should be opening its doors for full-time in-person learning this fall >> the answer to that is an absolute yes we want to get chilen back in school in person across the board as we enter into the fall term. >> you said this week that vaccines currently work against the delta variant, but pfizer says that it is producing a vaccine booster that would target it specifically do americans really need a booster >> right now, they don't. we feel that ultimately at some point, we may need a boost as the durability of the response wanes but we don't know that right now and we don't know when that will be but we are certainly in the process of trying to find out >> 67% of american adults to this point have now received at least one shot but that means after a months' long push. a third of american adults have so far decided not to get a
shot if we stick at about 67%, is that enough? what would that mean >> well, we need to do better than that and that's exactly the reason why we're pulling out all the stops. whatever it takes, even if we get trusted community people, trusted messengers in the community to go house by house, person by person, not to force anybody to do anything, but try and explain to them why it is so important for their own health, for e health of their family, and actually indirectly for the health of the entire community. >> just part of our discussion tonight with anthony fauci the u.s. is sending federal investigators to haiti tonight after the assassination of that country's president. the move comes after haitian authorities announced a new wave of arrests that includes two americans. gutierrez.be >> reporter: haitian authorities now say at least 28 suspects were involved in the assassination of the country's president,
lining them up for the world to see behind a table displaying firearms, machetes, and colombian passports. haitian police say 17 men have been arrested, incling 15 colombians and two haitian americans. three suspects died in a gun battle, and eight others are still on the run haitian government officials identified the u.s. citizens to nbc news as james solages and joseph vincent. "the new york times" citing a haitian judge involved in the investigation reports that the two americans were working as s translators and said they were not in the room when president jovenel moise was killed with the country in turmoil, the u.s. is sending fbi and homeland security officials to help investigate. some protesters don't believe the government's account and are skeptical that a supposedly professional group of killers cod carry this out but be caught so quickly >> haiti is in a state of shock >> reporter: laurent lamothe is a former prime minister of haiti. could an assassination
like this have been carried out without some inside help >> people are not understanding some of the ease of access to the president's house and to the breakdown of security. there has been a complete security breakdown in the president's security detail. >> reporter: the former prime minister says haiti's first lady was shot three times. tonight she is still in critical condition at a miami hospital, peter. >> gabe, thank you very much. and in just 60 seconds, president biden's new warning to vladimir putin and the stunning reversal after the approval of that controversial aleimer's drug
now to president biden's phone call today with vladimir putin and his latest warning about ongoing cyber tacks following their face-to-face summit in geneva his message without cooperation, there will be consequences kelly o'donnell is at the white house tonight. >> reporter: turning up the pressure, president biden for a second time warned vladimir putin to stop russian criminal
hackers seizing american companies' data, demanding ransom during an hour-long phone call, mr. biden said putin must disrupt the cyber gang >> the united states expectwhen a ransomeware operation is coming from his soil, we expect him to act if we give enough information to act on who that is. >> pressed further on consequences for putin -- >> will there be consequences >> yes >> mr. biden's first threat was delivered in person last month in geneva. but ransomeware attacks continued, stoking republican criticism. >> what do they come away after joe biden threatened putin they hacked more companies in america and what has biden done >> reporter: today for the first time publicly, the president said his response could include a u.s. cyber attack on the servers used by these russian hackers. peter? >> kelly o'donnell kelly, thank you in afghanistan, there is desperation tonight among the thousands of translators who helped the u.s. and want to leave now to escape
taliban reprisals. nbc's richard engel is in kabul >> reporter: the taliban today took over two more afghan border crossings, and now claim to control 85% of afghanistan that may be an exaggeration, but not by much. the taliban certainly control or are fighting to control the majority of the country as the afghan army fractures and surrenders left behind are thousands of afghan contractors and translators. the taliban considers them traitors. yesterday president biden had this message for them >> good afternoon. there is a home for you in the united states if you so choose, knowing we'll stand with you, just as you stood with us >> reporter: in kabul, i met tom, which is what u.s. troops called him did you hear president biden's promise? >> i got a lot of news, a lot of announcements, but there is no action. >> repeporter: tom lived in close quarters with u.s. troops d has
reams of recommendation letters. he helped translate for and sometimes defend u.s. forces on 150 combat operations. if you told me like, hey, tom, just get behind me and show me the enemy. >> reporter: so you're pointing out where the taliban are? >> yeah, i'm pointing them, pointing them. >> reporter: they're over there >> yes, sir. >> reporter: tom's former company commander vouches for him and wrote a letter endorsing his application. >> we owe a debt not just to tom, but to the interpreters that served us and fought along side us. >> reporte tom has been waiting for his visa for four years. >> this process is really a hard one. >> reporter: you helped the.s now the u.s. needs to help you >> yep. >> reporter: simple as that >> yeah, yeah. that time u.s. needed hip so we helped them. right now we needed help, so u u.s. army, the u.s. go in and they have to help us >> r reporter: it's reasonable tom says he was told his visa is still in administrative processing, and the translators have already been killed, including a colleague
killed ohis way to pick up his visa peter? >> richard engel in afghanistan tonight, richard, thank you tonight a breakthrough between the u.s. and russia allowing urgent aid deliveries for syrian refugees displaced by civil war. chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell recently traveled to both of those border camps andrea, this deal came right before the deadline >> peter, only hours before the u.n.'s aid to millions of syrian refugees wasas to be shut down, russia agreed to let it continue for 12 months, but only through one corridor from turkey. we visited thaborder crossing last month with u.s. u.n. ambassador linda thomas greenfield who negotiated the aid renewal with her russian counterpart in around-the-clock talks at the u.n president biden commended the renewal in his call with vladimir putin today but critics say it's not enough given the dire conditions. last saturday, russian air strikes and syrian artillery struck more villages in the area, relief workers say killing eight, including children peter?
>> andrea mitchell, thank you very much. heavy rain is falling across parts of new england tonight as elsa finally makes its way out of the u.s. new york city getting a one-two punch. some subway riders there braving waist-deep floodwaters. and on the other side of the country, another potentially historic heatwave. some 33 million people in ten states under heat advisories and warnings this weekend. now to a stunning move by the acting head of the fda, asking for an independent investigation into the agency's own staff after the approval last month oa controversial new alzheimer's drug we get more from kristen dahlgren >> reporter: tonight the acting head of the fda calling for an inspector general's investigation into approval of aduhelm, the first alzheimer's drug in decades. janet woodcock writing she is concerned about cocontacts between representatives from biogen and fda during that review process, including some that may ve occurred outside of the formal correspondence process. >> is one of the worst decisions i can remember >> reporter: dr. aaron
kesselheim resigned from the fda advisory committee after the drug's approval last month. >> if there is data that the fda has that we don't know about that might justify aspects of the decision, then we should know that >> reporter: approval of aduhelm was already controversial after evidence of its effectiveness was inconclusive the drug, which costs $56,000 a year was first approved for all approximately six million ericans who suffer from alzheimer's. this week, that was revised to those in n the disease's early stages like p phil gutis, who participated in the drug's trials. >> it is a little bit of a gut punch because, you know, i do believe this has helped me. >> reporter: while in a statement, biogen said we will cooperate with any inquiry as tonight millions of families facing alzheimer's wait for answers about the drug that once brought so much hope. kristen dahlgren, nbc news two controversial monuments are set to come down this weekend after a years' long legal bale
>> reporter: down to the wire as richard branson's virgin galactic showcases the final preps for its spaceship. on sunday flying to 50,000 feet before release. >> fire. >> fire. >> reporter: then rocketing to the karman line that marks the edge of space. nasa and the air force say that line is 50 miles high virgin test pilots have already climbed to 56 miles. but now the bezozos team is tweeting that only their rocket will climb 62 miles high. the internationally recognized karman line and their passenger astronauts won't have an asterisk by their names. and by the way, they have bigger windows to gaze at the earth. blue origin uses a rocket virgin galactic uses a space plane with 17 windows. >> if he were here, he would argue his experience is better than os. i can give you lots of reasons why we think our experience is better than his. but they're both valid. >> reporter: bezos launches on the 20th, bringing along one-time female nasa astronaut candidate wally funk
>> i would say honey, that is the best thing that ever happened to me let me give you a hug! >> reporter: at 82, her first ridede into space will make her the oldest person to go there notwithstanding that edge of space debate, branson is sure to beat bezos lifting off sunday at 7:00 a.m. mountain time. peter? >> tom costello, thank you very much. nbc will have live coverage of the e launch sunday morning at 9:45 eastern onost nbc stations tonight on our series "priced out," we focus on property taxes and why some homeowners are charged higher rates than others, even in the same neighborhood. meagan fitzgerald explains >> reporter: a home is more than just a place to live. >> my great grandfather purchased the home. >> reporter: this house is a link to jalen stevens' past. but he is fighting for his future, struggling to pay the property taxes. >> i've been risking foreclosure the last six years. >> reporter:r: he says his home in east detroit was overassessed by the city one study shows nationwide the property tax rate for the least expensive
home is more than double than that of the most expensive home in the same jurisdiction and those in predominantly black neighborhoods are assessed at 50% higher than white neighborhoods in the same area. >> this is a story of structural injustice >> reporter: bernadette atuahene studies property tax inequity in detroit. >> s since 2009, one in three homes has been confiscated because of property tax foreclosure. we haven't seen this number in american history since the great depression. >> reporter: the city of detroit admits property tax inequity was an issue, but says that's no longer the case. >> there is no systemic or systematic overassessment of properties in detroit. >> reporter: detroit's lead assessor alvin horn says that's because of changes that began seven years ago. >> we have more processes. we have more resources. we have oversight from county and state to make sure that's what happened before, that the mistakes of the past never happen again. >> reporter: we asked for data to support the city's asserertion that property tax inequity has improved since making those changes, but so far
the city has not provided that information. atuahene says that's because the problems still exist. just last year, she helped 68 homeowners, including edith ford file appeal. >> property tax is sky-high. >> reporter: edith won hers, and her property taxes are now 15% lower. >> i can afford to fix things at my house i'm saving money where i can pay my own bills. >> reporter: in fact, all 68 appeals atuahene worked on had their assessed values reduced. >> if there isn't a problem as the city is suggesting, how you explain that 68 of those homeowners ended up with lower assessed values >> i would say the process works. that's why we have an appeals process. >> reporter: chris berry analyzes property values across the country. >> it's not just a problem in blue states or red states. it's in cities and suburbs and rural areas. >> reporter: one issue, assessors only evaluate the exterior. they don't go inside so they can't factor in upgrades, upkeep or deterioration.
>> there is lots of features of homes that buyers and sellers get to see but assessors don't. >> reporter: if you file for appeal, bring pictures of the inside include images of what's bringing the value down, and provide prices of comparable properties that recently sold in the area as for jalen, his appeal was denied, but when nbc news started asking questions, the city acknowledged it made a mistake and now says it's making adjustments so jalen is still waiting for official word. he says filing the appeal wasn't easy, but not filing could have been a costly mistake. meagan fitzgerald, nbc news, detroit. up next, the historic queen of america's spelling bee.
finally tonight, can you smell historic the new 14-year-ol national spelling bee champ from louisiana is already setting records and breaking boundaries this is what 14-year-old zaila avant-gagarde is famous for this week. we say this week because you're surely going to hear from her again. zaila just became the first ever african american champion of the scripps national spelling bee the winning word -- >> murraya is it like the english name murray which could be the name of the comedian >> bill murray made the spelling bee >> it's actually a type of tree >> m-u-r-r-a-y-a >> that is correct >> reporter:erhaps
fittingly, her next steps may be on the hard wood. you see, zaila says for her spelling is just an hors d'oeuvre. basketball is her main guinness world records to her name, from dribbling to juggling. to what do you even call that? it's good to have goals. zaila sharing those on "today." >> yeah, going to harvard to play basketball, and maybe going to the wnba, but overseas or something before i start going to my next thing of like working at nasa or something like that or being a basketball coach. >> reporter: about that last name, her dad changed it to avant-garde in honor of jazz musician john coltrane his daughter now o the fast train to s-u-c-c-e-s-s. >> she is something else that is "nightly news" for this friday. i'm peter alexander. thanks for watching. have a great weekend good night
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