tv CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell CBS December 9, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PST
several in person concerts the band will be putting on in its hometown for it's big anniversary show. b >> o'donnell: tonight, the major news as the c.d.c. takes its next step to try and prevent a winter surge, recommending pfizer boosters for millions of older teens. new covid cases nationwide up 42% since last week, and hospitals on the brink with very sick, unvaccinated patients. >> i don't think we ask ourselves" will it be bad today;" we ask" how bad will it be today." >> o'donnell: verdict in the jussie smollett case: the breaking news out of chicago. russian troop buildup. ukraine sounds the alarm, as its president tours the front lines, warning the world, his country could not fight back without help from the west. toxic water. military families in hawaii forced into hotels, getting sick after drinking water that tastes
like jet fuel. >> how long have i been poisoning myself and my kids? >> o'donnell: the breaking news from the navy tonight. no more reading glasses? the new eyedrops that could help millions of americans see clearly. how it works. 'tis the season for shipping. our exclusive middle-of-the- night visit to a fedex facility working around the clock to get your holiday packages delivered on time. and, on the wings of hope. the monarch butterfly's triumphant return to california. this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell, reporting tonight from los angeles. >> o'donnell: good evening to our viewers here in the west and thank you for joining us. we're going to begin with the new push to boost covid immunity in millions more americans. today, the f.d.a. authorized pfizer booster shots for 16- and 17-year-olds.
boosters are already encouraged for everyone 18 and up. public health officials are worried that people who were vaccinated last winter and spring now have weakened immunity, especially against the new omicron variant. now that strain, discovered last month, has now been found in at least 24 states. most of those omicron infections have actually been in vaccinated people, including some who'd received a booster. the more pressing concern tonight is a surge in cases of the delta variant. that has hospitalizations rising in more than half the country. in the hard-hit northeast, national guard troops are being deployed in several states to help overwhelmed hospitals. cbs' nikki battiste leads off our coverage in wilkes-barre, pennsylvania. good evening, nikki. >> reporter: norah, good evening. here in pennsylvania, this hospital behind me is so full, covid patients have been packed in the e.r. waiting room for up to 20 hours. as cases rise in the northeast, several national guard troops are being deployed to maine, new york, and new hampshire.
>> today, we got in more good news from the f.d.a. and the c.d.c. >> reporter: tonight, 16- and 17-year-olds can now get additional protection against covid, with the f.d.a. authorizing pfizer booster shots for this age group. it comes as covid cases across the country are on the rise, averaging 117,000 over a seven-day period. new cases have increased nearly 42%, and reported deaths are up 37% from last week. though the delta variant is driving the vast majority of u.s. cases, omicron is showing troubling signs. of at least 64 cases identified, more than 75% occurred in vaccinated people, and one-third had received a booster. and as holiday gatherings become more frequent, the push for vaccinations grows more urgent. in the northeast, where vaccination rates are among the highest in the nation, cases have ballooned more than 50% in the last week. here in pennsylvania, covid cases have soared 35%.
geisinger wyoming valley medical center in wilkes-barre is coping with a dramatic surge in covid cases. most of those patients are unvaccinated. the hospital is beyond overflow, operating at about 120% capacity with nearly a quarter in the covid unit. emergency room physician dr. essie reed says some patients are not heeding the warnings. >> i don't think we asked ourselves "will it be bad today?", we ask "how bad will it be today?" >> reporter: she says an unvaccinated couple critically ill with the virus refused any covid-related treatment. both died. >> it's tough to watch that, when we know this is so preventable. >> reporter: dr. reed told me even though she's seen covid patients who are vaccinated, they're much less sick than the unvaccinated patients. she says she also just treated a three-week-old baby whose parents had not had a vaccine. norah. >> o'donnell: oh, my goodness.
another reason to get the shot. all right, nikki battiste, thank you. well, there is breaking news from chicago. a jury has just found actor jussie smollett guilty of staging an anti-gay and -racist attack on himself and then lying to police about it. let's get the details from cbs' charlie de mar. he is outside the courthouse. good evening, charlie. >> this jury, after one day of deliberations, in which they found mr. smollett guilty of virtually all charges -- >> reporter: jussie smollett was expressionless as he walked out of a courthouse surgeoned by family. after more than nine hours of deliberation, the jury found him guilty of five of six counts of disorderly conduct for falsely reporting to police he was the victim of a hate crime. >> this jury worked so hard, and for mr. smollett to get up in front of them and lie for hours and hours and hours, that really compounded his misconduct. >> reporter: smollett's defense attorney says his client's legal fight into
over. >> we feel 100% confident that this case will be won on appeal. >> reporter: nearly three years ago, on a frigid january night, smollett told police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime near his apartment in chicago. he claimed his attackers beat him up, doused him in bleech, and put a rope around his next. brothers able and ola osundairo, said smollett paid them $3500 to stage the attack. >> my clients, ola and abel, could not be more pleased with the verdict. >> reporter: he refuted the brother's story he was the mastermind of the hoax. he told thjus the real victim, and the brothers wanted a $2 million payout to go away and say smollett had nothing to do with the hoax. smollett didn't comment after that verdict was
handed down. he is out on bond, but could face up to three years in prison when he is sentenced. norah. >> o'donne >> o'donnell: charlie de mar, thank you. well, tonight, a major loss for former president trump in his battle to shield documents from congress, and its investigation into the deadly attack on the u.s. capitol. a federal appeals court ruled late today that the congressional committee's unique need for the requested documents outweighs the former president's claim of executive privilege. it's not clear when the former president will have to turn over those documents, including notes and visitor logs from the day of the january 6 insurrection. we're going to turn now to president biden's efforts to prevent a foreign policy crisis on the russia-ukraine border, where nearly 100,000 russianer troops are amassed and could invade. cbs' weijia jiang has new details tonight from the white house. >> reporter: in a one-hour phone call this afternoon, president biden reiterated to ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky that the u.s. and n.a.t.o. allies will offer support if
russia invades. nearly 100,000 russian troops have already flooded the border. ukrainian military officials reportedly warned that they are notequipped to deal with the full-scale attack without the help of western forces, and experts predicted that the russians could wipe out. on wednesday, the pre the ukrainian army in under one hour. on wednesday, the president ruled out sending in u.s. troops. >> that is not on the table. >> reporter: zelensky has said his country needs more help. on top of the 88 tons of ammunition and anti-tank missiles that the u.s. supplied earlier this year, there are also 150 american military advisors in ukraine. president biden warned putin on tuesday there would be severe consequences if russia invades. >> i am absolutely confident he got the message. >> reporter: today he also spoke with the leaders of nine countries on n.a.t.o.'s eastern flank, uneasy about the instability in the region.
>> our objective is to make clear the significant and severe economic consequences if russia were to invade ukraine. >> reporter: but today, vladimir putin escalated his rhetoric, saying that the situation in ukraine resembles genocide. the white house dismissed the comment, advising the public to take it with a grain of salt, pointing out that the aggression is coming from russia. norah. >> o'donnell: weijia jiang, thank you. well, there is a contaminated water crisis on the hawaiian island of o'ahu impacted military families. the u.s. navy has been forced to shut down the use of two underground jet fuel storage tanks after complaints of water smelling and looking like it contains fuel. cbs' lilia luciano reports from honolulu. >> reporter: crystal murray and her four children left homele about a week ago after spending days unknowingly drinking, cooking, and bathing with toxic water. >> like, the whole house started
smelling, literally, like a mechanic's shop. and then the next morning, i ended up in the hospital. >> reporter: the navy now admits their water was contaminated by jet fuel leaking from this transfer facility. it was flowing into the faucets of thousands of military homes. the military mobilized troops to distribute safe water. >> all right, baby, go get your towel, please. >> reporter: so mothers like jamie simic can bathe their children like this. >> how long have i been poisoning myself and my kids? >> our children haven't bathed since saturday. we have been bathing out of bottled water. >> reporter: at town hall meetings, military officials have tried to reassure anxious families. >> i understand your frustrations and concerns, and-- and i share them. i-- this is-- we are working day and night to figure out what the source of the odors... them. we are working day and night to >> reporter: for many, reassurance came too late. >> when we could smell the fuel in the water, i was told we cannot get told anything.
we cannot give you any information. why is that okay? >> sir, it's not okay, bottom line. >> i have an 18-week, high-risk pregnant wife, and i'm being told you can use the water,and i go away. >> reporter: the murrays and thousands of military families >> reporter: the murrays and thousands of military families have now been forced to move from their contaminated homes. she's not sure what it would mean to return here.ho how would you feel coming back here? >> nervous. i think i'll probably take my own money and just kind of check the water. >> reporter: many of those families evacuated to this busy hotel and the risk of toxic water may extend beyond military families. those navy fuel tanks sit above a source that supplies water, norah, for more than 400,000 people here in honolulu. >> o'donnell: wow, what a critical story. lilia luciano, thank you. well, now, some eye-opening news for millions of americans who wear glasses. new prescription eyedrops became available today that could
potentially replace reading glasses for people who have trouble seeing close up. one woman tells cbs' jericka duncan, the drops changed her life. >> reporter: for most her life, toni wright has had perfect vision. but after turning 50, she started used readers, allowing her to see things clearly that are close up. how many readers do you think you have in all? >> i probably have eight pairs. >> reporter: eight pairs? >> yes. >> reporter: in 2019, her doctor told her about eye drops with the potential to correct her vision problems temporarily. >> i would put the drops in my eyes in the morning. >> reporter: what did you notice instantly? >> i would not need my readers as much. >> reporter: wright was one of 750 participants in a clinical trial to test the drug vuity, it's the first f.d.a.-approved eye drop to treat age-related blurry vision, presbyopia. the drug takes effect in about 15 minutes.
>> vuity utilizes the eye's natural ability to reduce the pupil size. reducing the pupil size expands the depth of field, or the depth of focus. >> reporter: one drop in each eye provides sharper vision for six to ten hours. a spokesperson for vuity says the medicine will cost about $80 for a 30-day supply. it is not expected to be covered by insurance. the drug works best in people age 40 to 55, and side effects in the three-month trial included headaches and red eyes. as for toni wright, it's an easy backup solution with a clear advantage. >> definitely a life changer. just a convenience to have that option. >> reporter: jericka duncan, cbs news, zelienople, pennsylvania. >> o'donnell: 'tis the season of giving, which also means it's the season of shipping. nearly 60% of americans will buy their gifts online this year,r d and that means hundreds of millions of packages. so, how does it all get done? well, we got rare access inside the fedex processing center her
in los angeles to find out. >> i feel like in some ways we're inside santa's workshop. ( laughs ) >> o'donnell: santa may see you when you're sleeping, and he knows his helpers at fedex are wide awake. it's 3:30 a.m. it's the middle of the night. and there's a lot going on! >> our employees, they look forward to this time of year, because they know so many folks are depending on us to get them their packages. >> o'donnell: fedex expects to ship 100 million more packages this holiday season. and each day, 240,000 go through this facility alone. t starting this summer, fedex added 14.4 million square feet of sorting capacity for this holiday season. >> on the peak, we're here long days. >> reporter: this is peak season. >> this is peak season. >> reporter: package handler kyle showed us one step in the complicated dance. >> when the packages go by, make sure the labels are up. >> reporter: bobby willis is vice president of operations on
west coast for fedex, and he took us on what some might call santa's sleigh-- a boeing 767. only packages, no passengers on board. >> no passengers on this part of the aircraft, only cargo. >> o'donnell: how long does it take to fill a plane like this? >> anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes. >> o'donnell: pretty fast. >> yes, yeah, we can do it pretty fast. >> o'donnell: it's a real-life game of tetris, called "t.- stacking," placed in the metal containers designed to fit on the cargo plane. so does a plane like this ever go out empty, or even half full? >> no. >> o'donnell: especially not this time of year. >> not this time of year. >> o'donnell: and it's not just toys on these conveyor belts... >> but also our vaccines. >> o'donnell: operations manager steve was there for the first shipment of shots, a year ago. so that vaccine that you got in your arm likely came through here, in fedex. >> exactly. >> o'donnell: how long are the vaccines in the fedex network? >> from pickup to delivery, a total of 20 hours.
we're saving lives. potentially millions of people, with those 290 million vaccines that are coming through our system, that we've delivered-- to me, that's incredible. >> o'donnell: between vaccine shipments and the holiday season, this is fedex's super bowl, and steve calls his employees "industrial athletes." >> every day, first five minutes is a stretch and flex. they're coming out here lifting 50 pounds, packages up to 150 pounds coming through the system. you've got to be warm, loose and ready to go. >> o'donnell: ready to go, like team lead lucinia griffin. not only a night job, it's physically demanding, not only at night. >> it is. it takes our arms, upper bodies to do this. >> o'donnell: santa's elves need big muscles. ( laughter ) les indeed. they work really hard. all right, still ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news," a major snowstorm wallops the west, while forecasters warn of a possible tornado outbreak.
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counting monarch butterflies just hanging out behind the ninth hole. >> here we have a few hundred clustering close together. h they just look like pine conesea or like, dead leaves, whatever. most people would never see them. >> reporter: an estimated 200,000 migrating western monarchs are spending the winter in california. last year, only 2,000 were spotted, and they were thought e to be on the verge of extinction. >> some of the biggest factors that are impacting monarch populations are insecticides, as well as habitat loss. >> reporter: so is there a big comeback? >> i think it's way too early tt tell, and we'll need a few years of decent numbers to see if this is really a comeback. >> reporter: in cool weather, the monarchs cluster in trees, only flying off to feed and pollinate when temperatures rise, conserving energy for spring, when it's time to reproduce. future generations will then fly to other western states for the summer, before making the long journey back to california next winter. >> what i love most about
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find out who he's helping this year. that's tonight's "cbs evening news," from los angeles. right now at 7:00 -- >> their presence here has made a remarkable difference. >> union square is full of color during the holidays, but tonight police say the addition of a lot of sf pd blue has been a game changer. a final farewell to a longtime bay area police officer and security guard killed protecting bay area journalists. >> like a majority of our police departments, we have been shortstaffed and in need of more guardian angels. god always seems to pick the best. tens of thousands of bay area residents could face new water restrictions after a vote tonight. welcome to the white house. >> my exclusive interview with first lady dr. jill biden. the message of unity on display at the white house in a time of
deep division. >> what you think the bidens can do to fix all of this? >> plus, a lifelong educator on the positive lessons on the pandemic, and her message to bay area parents tonight. right now at 7:00, and streaming on cbsn bay area , you cannot miss the stepped-up police presence around san francisco union square, but is it making a difference? good evening. i'm allen martin. and i'm elizabeth cook . andria borba on the nuke crime numbers just released this evening. >> reporter: well, the stepped- up presence by the san francisco police department at union square was in response to all of those viral smash and grab robberies that we saw in mid-november. they say that their presence is making a difference right now on the ground.