tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC September 16, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT
will the fda meet president biden's timeline to roll out boosters just days from now and hospitals in crisis where they are now rationing care statewide. also tonight, tracking severe storms life-threatening flash floods around d.c. some areas getting an inch of rain in just 20 minutes alex murdaugh surrendering to police, the south carolina attorney accused in a bizarre suicide-for-hire plot. what happened at his first court appearance late today new body cam of a 22-year-old woman and her fiance weeks before she disappeared on a cross-country trip what it shows. border showdown. the governor of texas demanding border crossings shut down as thousands of migrants wait under a bridge to be processed. and the heartbreaking image of baby and toddler found abandoned. the first all-civilian crew orbiting the earth inside spacex's historic mission the holiday shopping crunch arriving early and "rolling
stone" updating its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time what do you think about the brand-new number one >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt >> good evening, everyone the debate over covid booster shots may be coming to a head an fda advisory panel set to meet tomorrow to examine key questions. whether a third dose of the pfizer vaccine is safe or even necessary for everyone they're critical questions and a source of rare open disagreement among covid experts. the booster is backed by the biden administration but regarded with caution by even some within the fda. all this comes as the u.s. struggles to administer first doses. just over 54% of americans are fully vaccinated, and vaccine mandates are facing more and more challenges, which we'll get to in a moment miguel almaguer starts our coverage. >> reporter: divided over the science, tonight just hours before the fda advisory committee is set to vote on the
future of boosters, members of the agency are voicing both support and opposition over a third dose of pfizer's vaccine with the stage set for a controversial decision, pfizer says their data shows booster shots are needed six months after the second dose as protection from infection begins to wane but its vaccine continues to be highly effective in preventing hospitalization and serious illness, its most critical function this debate over boosters, does that erode public the public confidence in vaccines >> it's normal for scientists to not necessarily have consensus around a specific issue the problem is we're in a very toxic environment now because of all of the aggression coming from anti-vaccine groups, and they use any kind of difference in opinion as a wedge issue. >> reporter: with volumes of vaccine data now public, a new study in the "new england journal of medicine" did find effectiveness of a
booster dose, but other scientists writing in the lancet say current evidence does not therefore appear to show a need for boosting in the general population >> it has made people feel that the vaccines aren't working when they are still working. >> reporter: dr. john moore worries the message has been muddled, in part by the white house. in august -- >> get a booster shot. >> reporter: and earlier this month -- >> those eligible will be able to get a booster right away >> reporter: the president told americans to get their third dose before regulators even reviewed the research, mostly coming from israel where boosters have been widely given. if the fda did authorize the use of a booster, the cdc would still have to determine who qualifies for one. >> the israeli data that i've seen that were released overnight does support the idea of boosting for the over 60s it's much more of a gray area for younger people, particularly younger than the 50s
that's what the debate is going to center around, does it the data justify the decision >> reporter: tonight the question, do boosters get us ahead of the virus or is the third dose ahead of the science? >> miguel, help me understand here. about two million americans have already gotten a third dose, most of them immunocompromised. are they seeing any safety issues with those? >> lester, all the clinical data shows there are no real safety concerns. the side effects from the third dose are similar to the second. the question here, are booster shots really necessary, especially as other countries are short on supply. lester >> that may be getting closer to an answer. miguel, thank you. one of the least vaccinated states, idaho expanded hulk health care rationing statewide today amid a surge of covid hospitalizations this comes as debate intensifies over vaccine mandate. two dozen republican attorneys general warning the white house of legal action if the proposed mandates take effect here is gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: from
florida to arizona to new york, vaccine mandate legal challenges are mounting >> yes, there will be some individuals who will try to defy this. there will be court decisions that will appeal. >> reporter: this week, a federal judge in new york temporarily halted a vaccine mandate for health care workers in the state, claiming a religious exemption after some of them sued but the president is doubling down on his plan to require all private businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate covid vaccines or weekly testing >> these policies are what the science tells us we need to do they're going to save lives. >> reporter: los angeles county will soon require proof of vaccination or a negative covid test at indoor bars, clubs and wineries >> i am not anti-vax, but to not be able to be given the option when sending our children to school and going to businesses, going to establishments, going to entertainment seems crazy. >> reporter: legal experts say there is strong precedent for vaccine requirements, especially for government workers
private business mandates could also stand under emergency powers given to osha, although court battles are likely still, in some parts of the country, enforcing mandates of any kind seems daunting, especially if schools reopen. >> you right there, you clown. >> reporter: in council bluffs, iowa, police were called to a school board meeting as the parents erupted in protest over the district's decision to mandate masks. here in new york, some restaurants and neighborhoods with low vaccination rates are struggling. >> i don't think anyone should be segregated as far as where they can eat. >> reporter: as they start to enforce the city's vaccine mandate for indoor dining. do you think it should be the job of small business owners to police vaccine mandates >> i don't think should it be the job of the business owner, but there is no other way, i think. >> reporter: as the vaccine mandate debate rages, new covid cases are dropping slightly nationwide, but reaching unprecedented levels in the northwest. lester >> gabe gutierrez, thank you for that also tonight,
we're tracking severe storms bringing dangerous flash floods to the washington, d.c. metro area and virginia some areas seeing over an inch of rain in 20 minutes. amazing images coming in cars under water, highways shut down the risk for life-threatening flooding continues throughout the night new revelations tonight about tensions in the biden administration over the withdrawal from afghanistan. a new book claiming president biden resisted calls from his secretary of state and defense secretary to keep troops there longer kelly o'donnell with that story >> reporter: tonight the president's national security team on defense, pressed to explain new claims that president biden rejected advice to keep troops in afghanistan longer, according to an upcoming book by bob woodward and robert costa. >> i won't confirm or deny what's in the book. >> reporter: the authors write that last march, secretary of state antony blinken called from brussels to say here's
what i'm hearing, mr. president. a blast in quadraphonic sound from nato allies concerned about a u.s. withdrawal >> according to the woodward-costa book -- >> reporter: blinken questioned today by nbc's andrea mitchell. >> views that we listened to not only very carefully, but we shared directly with president biden, and they very much factored into our thinking and into the decisions he made. >> reporter: the president has come under fierce criticism for a chaotic withdrawal that includes the deaths of 13 u.s. service members. >> there is nothing low grade or low risk or low cost about any war. >> reporter: the book contends defense secretary austin had urged president biden to extend the mission with u.s. troops in order to buy time for negotiations with an exit plan in three or four stages. >> we followed a rigorous process the president made his decision >> reporter: the white house would not say whether president biden accepted or rejected recommendations on afghanistan, but that
he took in nonsugarcoated, sometimes conflicting advice lester >> all right, kelly, thank you. now that historic space flight the four civilian astronauts on the inspiration 4 mission completed their first round of scientific research traveling 5 1/2 times around the earth before going to bed for the night. kerry sanders has the latest. >> reporter: 357 miles above planet earth tonight four everyday americans in process of proving that space travel for the rest of us is possible >> three, two, one >> ignition and liftoff. >> reporter: the wednesday liftoff was flawless the falcon 9 rocket separated at 2:40. the booster then kicked in, propelling the dragon capsule into orbit watching it all from florida, 8-year-old slater bushman, a pediatric cancer patient at st. jude, just as st. jude physician assistant and now astronaut hayley arceneaux was when she was ten.
>> going through it, we needed some hope to cling on to. seeing hayley shoot into space like that, my god, if that's not a symbol of hope. >> reporter: in mankind's history, only about 600 people have gone to space, but never an all-civilian crew. >> i think those guys last night kicked the door open to orbital commercial space flights. >> reporter: there may be a commercial space race with virgin galactic and blue origin, who both recently went suborbital, but the great achievement here celebrated by all. tonight the crew in weightlessness has already started to gather scientific data that is hoped will aid future space travelers. unlike the extraordinary human specimens that are nasa astronauts, the inspiration are for our average americans. how does space travel affect their hearts? how is their blood impacted by radiation? are their cognitive abilities impaired their laundry list of work will occupy a significant portion of their three-day mission. spacex founder elon musk tweeted that he has spoken to the
that south carolina lawyer who allegedly tried to stage his own murder was arrested today on charges related to the scheme the latest chapter in a bizarre series of events that included the killing of alex murdaugh's wife and son. catie beck has the latest >> reporter: in a tan jumpsuit, handcuffed and shackled, alex murdaugh faced a judge and criminal charges twitching and looking uncomfortable, the prominent south carolina attorney now a defendant in the low country court system he knows all too well. murdaugh surrendered the authorities in hampden county before noon thursday, booked and charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and filing a false police report charges stemming from what investigators
believe was a staged suicide attempt on september 4th, claiming murdaugh instructed 61-year-old curtis smith to kill him, a plot to ensure murdaugh's son could collect on a $10 million insurance claim after his death. >> he is not a danger to the community the only person he is a danger to is himself. >> reporter: at his bond hearing, prosecutors argue murdaugh was a flight risk with significant means who should be tracked by gps >> sometimes those who have everything and who are suffering a possible fall from grace are actually more of a concern than a hardened criminal. >> reporter: the judge ruled murdaugh could return to rehab on a $20,000 bond without gps. this after murdaugh's lawyers again detailed their client's life dismantled by opioid abuse and the pain of grieving a wife and son brutally murdered. that detail causing murdaugh to shed tears at the table for murdaugh, it's the latest in a chain of devastating events with several investigations and civil litigations pending, including the murder of his wife and son, possibly misappropriating
millions from the family law firm, and the 2018 death of the murdaugh long-time housekeeper who allegedly fell at the murdaugh home. tonight murdaugh is headed back to rehab, but his legal woes are likely far from over catie beck, nbc news and in another deepening mystery, new body cam shows a missing 22-year-old woman weeks before she vanished on a cross-country trip with her fiance. the video shows a distraught gabby petito telling utah officers she and fiance brian laundrie had been fighting that morning. a witness had reported the two had been arguing. petito's family lost contact with her in late august. laundrie has been named a person of interest his attorney says he has been advised not to speak on the matter now to the record migrant surge, and another baby and toddler found abandoned at the border, just as the texas governor tonight is demanding president biden shut down border crossings. nbc's julia ainsley
has more. >> reporter: the image is heartbreaking two children abandoned at the u.s. border a 2-year-old girl from honduras and her 3-month-old baby brother, spotted by border patrol agents along the rio grande river. >> the 3-month-old was still in his baby car seat the simple color caught their eye and we were able to rescue these children. >> reporter: it's just the latest incidents of children abandoned during the record migrant surge, like these two young ecuadoran girls thrown over a 14-foot border wall, and the 10-year-old nicaraguan boy found by agents walking alone and crying in the rio grande valley. >> it is very taxing on us as agents to constantly see stuff like this happening. >> reporter: the incident comes as border patrol reveals an august for a second straight month they encountered more than 200,000 migrants trying to cross the southern border. that's a 21-year high, though the total has dipped slightly from last month
earlier this summer, we saw agents trying to keep up with the massive numbers, just at this one bridge along the rio grande >> i do think that what we're dealing with is much different than what we've dealt with in the past. >> reporter: it was in the hundreds when we were there tonight officials say the number of migrants under that bridge is now in the thousands, and the texas governor is demanding the biden administration shut down six border crossings. as for those children, border patrol said thankfully they did not require medical attention, and they're now in the custody of health and human services lester >> all right, julia ainsley, thank you up next, why you my want to start your holiday shopping right now in "the price you pay.
we now know who the host of "jeopardy!" will be, at least until the end of the year. sony pictures entertainment announcing mayim bialik and ken jennings will split hosting duties for the rest of 2021 last month mike richards stepped down as the late alex trebek's successor after offensive comments he made in the past came to light. summer isn't officially over yet, but already the holiday shopping crush is here. stephanie ruhle tonight explains why you might want to start buying your gifts now in "the price you pay. >> reporter: christmas is one hundred days away you hear it every year start your shopping early. but this time with widespread supply shortages, it's for real. >> i want to get ahead of everything. >> reporter: jamie stevens in miami is the mother of three college-aged daughters. do you normally shop this early >> no, i think about it and procrastinate
but this year i'm not procrastinating. >> reporter: she and her husband run a battery distribution business and know firsthand how hard it is to get supplies because of how covid has slowed the supply chain. already she has seen some items not available. >> getting started early certainly makes me feel better because i know that i'm going to get what i want, or at least i'm able to make those last-minute changes earlier than december 20. >> reporter: jamie joins an estimated 51 million holiday shoppers who plan to start buying gifts this month that's up from 46 million last year. >> if there are certain items that are on your wish list or your kids' or family's wish list this year, you're going to want to scoop them up early to avoid potential out-of-stock issues. >> reporter: items likely to be in high demand but low supply, anything with a computer chip like video games and appliances artificial trees, ornaments and wreaths are expected to be harder to find and cost more because of shipping delays.
and those toys your kids are talking about? >> all those hot holiday toy items, that's going sell out the quickest >> reporter: and to limit crowds, retailers like target are promoting deals over several weeks instead of one day, like black friday. but this year, if you see something you want before then, don't put it off until tomorrow. it might not be there. >> and stephanie, on behalf of fellow procrastinators, any benefit in waiting this out >> some things aren't even available yet think about it winter clothes, snow gear those things you'll have to wait for but this year it is all about flexibility. if you're not insistent on one specific item and you can be a little flexible, waiting it out, you will find some sales, and you should find some stuff in stock. >> all right, stephanie. thanks very much up next, the debate over the greatest songs of all time what's at the top of your list? ♪
finally, the new list out that had a lot of us here today debating and quietly humming what is the best song ever its kind of thing bound to spark arguments. best song ever ♪ we know what beyonce fans might say ♪ thunder only happen when it's raining ♪ >> or if you love fleetwood mac, both of those songs, by the way, making the top 20
of "rolling stone" magazine's first update to its 500 greatest songs in two decades. some songs i like to think we can all agree belong there ♪ do you remember ♪ >> "september" ranked number 65 in what turned out to be a pretty strong showing for the '70s ♪ staying alive ♪ >> music from the '70s isn't just big with people who were alive at the time. it's also big with young people. >> reporter: "rolling stone" polled 250 artists and musicians to come up with the rankings this list has plenty of classics you'd expect ♪ i want to hold your hand ♪ ♪ my girl, my girl, m girl ♪ >> but more than half of this year's all-time songs were not on the original list in 2004 ♪ caught in a bad romance ♪ >> so who leads the way? at number 5, nirvana ♪ with the lights out it's less dangerous ♪ >> unseated from the number one spot he held in the last
ranking, a bob dylan classic came in fourth ♪ like a rolling stone ♪ >> a sam cooke favorite in third. ♪ change going to come ♪ >> public enemy's fight the power in second ♪ fight the power ♪ >> and at number one -- ♪ r-e-s-p-e-c-t, find out what it means to me ♪ >> aretha's 1967 hit named the greatest song of all time >> it's a song with an incredible message that still resonates today. >> sure, there will be plenty on this list to debate, but who will debate the soul is due her respect. which song will you be humming tonight? that's "nightly news" for this thursday. thanks for watching. i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night more americans watch nbc news than any other news organization in the world.
i'm raj mathai. next on "nbc bay area news" tonight, the rules are changing. kids 12 and over might have to be vaccinated to go on to campus. two of the bay areas biggest districts are considering this new covid mandate. we're going to break down the rules and the pushback. also, will lake tahoe ever really be the same? water clarity, tourism and housing, the mayor of south lake tahoe is with us tonight. we will explain why a viral tiktok challenge is leading to vandalism at local schools. plus, a surprise concert in san francisco tonight by a legendary bay area band. just $20, but you have to be