tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC December 15, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PST
thanks for joining us. we will be here every weekday at 3:00 on tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. bracing for severe weather tonight. nearly 100 million americans now under alerts. high winds and possible tornadoes yet again in several states. at this hour, a rare tornado watch across at least six states in the upper midwest, including minnesota, which has never had a reported tornado in december. and then that system keeps moving east, including those states just hit with the deadly tornados. meteorologist rob marciano is standing by to time this out tonight. also, just in, the national weather service now saying it was an ef-4 tornado that tore across much of kentucky, including mayfield. winds up to 190 miles per hour. the governor there breaking down today as he introduced the president, and what president biden has just promised.
we also have major new developments tonight on covid here in the u.s. how quickly this new variant is now spreading. and are the boosters working? what dr. fauci said today. and several universities reporting outbreaks. cornell now suspecting 900 cases of covid. it's believed the vast majority of these cases are among vaccinated college students. and the concern with students now going home for the holidays. former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin in federal court today, now pleading guilty to civil rights charges for the death of george floyd. overseas tonight, the humanitarian crisis now unfolding in afghanistan. our team is on the ground tonight. the children on the edge of starvation. a 2-year-old weighing just 11 pounds. and with the taliban now in control, now isis taking aim at them. our ian pannell back in afghanistan tonight. the major news back here at home tonight involving jfk. 58 years after his assassination, nearly 1,500
confidential documents now released on lee harvey oswald and what they reveal. remembering a trail blazing author and activist tonight. the discovery on mars. and our made in america christmas is back tonight. and this evening, a hint. what they hope you'll serve in the morning and then at night. good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy wednesday night. we'll get to this new variant and how quickly it's spreading in the u.s. and dr. fauci on boosters appearing to work so far. but we begin tonight with nearly 100 million americans under alerts at this hour as we head into the night for severe weather yet again. damaging winds and, yes, the potential for tornadoes. tornado watches in six states at this hour across much of the upper midwest. this is very rare for december. take a look at the radar right now. that line of severe storms and
that area of particular concern as we come on, right there in yellow for potential tornadoes after dark. already tonight, the fierce winds and blinding rain in lincoln, nebraska. it's the same system spawning blizzard conditions in utah. a convoy of snowplows there. and high winds in colorado. in some places, reports of wind gusts reaching 100 miles per hour. passengers today at the denver airport coping with hundreds of delayed or canceled flights. and this system, just like the one that hit over the weekend, is traveling west to east and will likely bring heavy rain and winds to the region hit with those tornadoes already. we do have it all covered tonight and first, the track of this severe weather into the night. let's get right to rob marciano leading us off tracking it all. rob? >> reporter: hi, david. another powerful system cutting into the heartland the next several hours will be life-threatening for some. let's get right to that. the tornado watch has just been expanded to include minneapolis. we mentioned how rare that would be. we've had reports of 80, 90-p
90-plus-mile-per-hour winds already. you can see the severe line cutting into iowa. we've got wind and snow alerts across a wide area, over 100 million americans under the gun right now. and we've got that big heat. that's what's triggering the severe weather. 34 degrees above average. that wind energy goes up into canada tomorrow. but the front itself lays down across the ohio, tennessee and mississippi river valleys for several days. this is right over the tornado-ravaged zone. heavy rain over two and three days is not what they need. david? >> that is certainly the truth. rob, thank you. and of course all of this with another major headline coming in from the national weather service tonight. they, of course, have been out surveying the damage from those deadly tornadoes already. just before we came on the air here, they issued their preliminary findings for damage across much of kentucky, including mayfield. i wanted to show you this. they say the tornado on the ground for 128 miles across western kentucky with a high end ef-4. that means peak winds of 190 miles per hour.
president biden late today touring some of the hardest-hit areas in mayfield, kentucky, and dawson springs, too, promising federal help now and for the long haul. and that no one is walking away. the death toll in kentucky, more than 70 people killed in that state alone. and the governor of kentucky choking up as he introduced the president. abc's elwyn lopez from mayfield again tonight. >> reporter: tonight, with this region bracing for heavy rain on the way, president biden on they th in mayf dawson springs. meeting withs, he's never seen destruction like this. more than 70 lives lost in the state. the governor breaking down as he introduced the president. >> i never thought in my life i'd be able to introduce a president, and i wish there were different circumstances. >> reporter: and the president acknowledging the pain and suffering in the community. >> i met one couple on the way up, said they're still looking for four of their friends.
they don't know where they are. and those who have lost someone, there's no words for the pain of losing someone. a lot of us know it. >> reporter: announcing the federal government will cover 100% of the cost of all emergency work for the next 30 days. >> to all the families here, keep the faith. we're going to get this done, i promise you. no one's walking away. we're in this for the long haul. >> reporter: david, people are racing to cover up what's left of their homes with blue tarps as a new threat looms. we could see heavy rain, up to three inches through saturday, that will only add to the misery here. david? >> certainly don't need this. elwyn lopez again tonight. elwyn, thank you. in the meantime, we turn now to the major new developments on covid tonight. how quickly this new variant is now spreading, now in at least 36 states. dr. anthony fauci said daying the boosters are working against this new variant so far. the washington national cathedral marking the deaths of more than 800,000 americans now.
this evening, a bell sounding once for every dead, in800 time. fauci saying today, new research confirming the power of boosters so far, that the third dose is restoring high levels of antibodies to fight this new variant. tonight, more universities, though, taking action after outbreaks, after cornell, where they suspect now 900 cases of covid on campus. the vast majority, it's believed, among students who are vaccinated. here's stephanie ramos. >> reporter: with the omicron variant now racing across the u.s., dr. anthony fauci today trying to reassure americans that we already have the weapon to fight it. >> our booster vaccine regimens work against omicron. at this point, there is no need for a variant-specific booster. >> reporter: dr. fauci pointing to new research on the power of boosters. lab studies of pfizer and
moderna vaccines show omicron significantly reduces antibody protection after just two doses. but a third dose restores high levels of antibodies. the white house covid team asked today how worried americans should be about omicron. >> if we didn't have these tools, i would be telling you to really, really be worried. but we have tools. so get vaccinated, get boosted. >> reporter: the omicron variant, detected in at least 36 states, now makes up about 3% of cases nationwide, and as much as 13% in new york, new jersey and washington state, where cases are doubling every day, pushing some people to get that shot. >> i'm going to go ahead and get vaccinated. i think it's right, especially with the variant. >> reporter: the number of covid cases at cornell university now more than 900. many thought to be omicron, pushing that college and others, like princeton and nyu, to move final exams online. and even if omicron is not more severe, as early data suggests,
experts worry a spike in infections will send more people into hospitals that are already under siege. here in new york's long island jewish hospital, doctors are braces for more cases. what are some of your concerns going into winter? >> as people now are gathering for the holidays and being inside, these new variants spread very easily, we know they're very contagious. much more contagious than delta even. we know that there are a lot of super spreader events in colleges right now that are happening, so all those college kids are going to come home and spread covid to their families. >> reporter: it comes as more than 100 athletes across professional football, basketball, and hockey teams teiv t w for covid or were exposed. more than 70 nfl players alone, including cleveland browns quarterback baker mayfield, along with his head coach. and l.a. rams wide receiver odell beckham jr. >> there's been a substantial increase in our positive cases
over the past several days. and i think this reflects that we're entering a new phase of the pandemic. >> reporter: and officials are telling us that they are very concerned about the number of covid cases that are growing, because the omicron variant is so transmissible. and now the cdc is out with a new forecast, estimating that the toll this could take on americans could grow, up to 845,000 by january 8th, with many states expected to see an increase in hospitalizations and deaths in the next few weeks. david? >> all right, stephanie ramos tonight. thank you. we're going to turn now to the moment in court today. former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin pleading guilty to violating george floyd's civil rights. chauvin, of course, already serving 22 1/2 years. george floyd's family now reacting tonight. and here's alex perez. >> reporter: tonight, an about-face from former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin. no cameras in the courtroom, chauvin changing his plea to guilty on federal charges that he deprived george floyd of his rights to be free from unreasonable seizure, and to
unreasonable use of force by a police officer that led to floyd's death. a jury found 45-year-old chauvin guilty on state criminal charges for floyd's death back in april. >> find the defendant guilty. >> reporter: chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in that case. chauvin in june seeming to allude to today's plea deal. >> my condolences to the floyd family. there's going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest, and i hope things will give you some -- some peace of mind. >> reporter: also part of today's federal plea deal, chauvin admitting guilt in a separate 2017 case where he allegedly kneeled on the back and neck of a handcuffed 14-year-old who survived. george floyd's loved ones reacting outside the court today. >> today, he had a chance to blow kisses and give air hugs to his family. we can't do that to all loved one who is not here. >> reporter: and david, federal prosecutors have recommended a
25-year sentence for chauvin that would run concurrently with his state sentence. had he gone to trial on the federal charges, he could have faced life in prison. david? >> all right, alex perez in minnesota tonight. alex, thank you. overseas tonight, our team is back in afghanistan, and what they've witnessed is truly horrifying. a humanitarian crisis now unfolding. children on the edge of starvation. a 2-year-old weighing just 11 pounds. and with the taliban now in control, isis is now taking aim at them. our ian pannell from afghanistan tonight. >> reporter: tonight, taliban militants are facing two new battles, four months after they seized power in afghanistan and american troops left. the last time we were airport, it was controlled by the u.s. military. today, it's these fighters. armed with u.s.-made m4 rifles. however, having forced americans and nato to withdraw, now have a
battle an insurgency of their own against isis. isis carried out that devastating attack on u.s. forces and afghan civilians in august that left 13 u.s. servicemen and women dead. since then, they've taken the fight to the taliban. the u.s. military fears isis or al qaeda could use afghanistan to launch terror attacks against america again. but taliban commanders like mawlawi mohammad salim saad try to play down the threat. "they aren't that strong," he says. though many of his fighters are on the front lines against isis in the east. but the bigger battle tonight isn't isis, but hunger. a mix of sanctions and drought has brought the country to the brink of catastrophe. the beds at this children's hospital are now overflowing with malnourished children. mohammed is 2 years old and weighs just 11 pounds. that's less than half the weight of an average american
2-year-old boy. you can see, poor little thing, just skin and bone. you must feel very hopeless, very helpless. his mom says she has a prescription to help ease size suffering, but no money to get it. the u.n. warns a million children are at risk of dying of starvation this winter. these images may be difficult to watch, but the lives of these children now depends on the world's attention and response. david, $280 million in energy aid has been okayed by the united states and others, but it is likely not enough. it won't reach hungry mouths until the end of the year and the situation right now in afghanistan seems as bad as i can remember it in 20 years of reporting here. david? >> just awful to see the faces of those children. ian pannell back with our team tonight and we sure do appreciate it. in the meantime, back here at home this evening and to the major news tonight. 58 years after the assassination of jfk. nearly 1,500 confidential documents now released, many on
lee harvey oswald and what they reveal. here's terry moran. >> reporter: 58 years from that fateful day in dallas, and today, new clues, new questions. among the documents released today, cia memos discussing lee harvey oswald's trips to the soviet and cuban embassies in mexico city months before president kennedy was killed. one of those cia memos, written the day after the assassination, says oswald communicated with an identified kgb officer while at the soviet embassy that september. oswald, who was married to a russian, was trying to get visas to move to russia. another new document, a tip from a u.s. official in australia two days after the assassination, anonymous call to the embassy from a man claiming to be a chauffeur for soviet diplomats who said the soviets had "probably" financial the assassination. the memo noting a similar call had been made a year prior. the documents show that american officials in australia dismissed both calls as crank calls. the national archives say the
vast majority of documents related to the jfk assassination have been released, but not all, and president biden has ordered a review of thousands of more documents kept secret for decades for release next year. >> terry, thank you. we turn now to the economy and inflation. americans, of course, paying more. tonight, the federal reserve saying they're going to try to take steps to try to slow this down, by raising interest rates up to three times in the coming year. which could mean more pain before this levels out. so, let's get right to our chief economics correspondent rebecca jarvis tonight. rebecca, what did they say? >> reporter: well, david, the fed acknowledges that inflation has become a larger issue than originally anticipated. the way they can address this is with those rate hikes, likely three of them beginning in the spring next year. and the idea here is to slow down spending, to make the cost of borrowing higher on everything from new mortgages to car loans, to credit cards and to make it more advantageous, david, to stash your money in the bank.
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>> live breaking news. >> enrichment, a person has been shot. they have been transported to the hospital. sky seven bringing us video from the intersection of market and truman where it happened. streets in the area are closed. we will take a look, the scene still active a few blocks from the richmond parkway. the shooting happened a short time ago, 2:30 in the afternoon. you can see police on the scene focused on the maroon truck at the top of your screen. we will bring you more updates as soon they become available. good afternoon and thanks for his -- for joining us. >> now to the storm. a lot of green on the doppler and you can see the droplets on the cameras. spencer christian has your forecast. spencer: the rain has arrived. you can see how widespread it is. there is a lot of developing offshore, but in the north bay we are seeing moderate to heavy
downpours. the area is expanding and it is windy outside, gusts up to 30 miles per hour and higher in some locations. this is a wind driven rain that will only get more widespread. the current storm ranks two on the store impact scale -- the storm impact scale. maybe thunder and snow up north. this will continue through tomorrow morning. starting at 5:00 this afternoon, notice it will be mainly focused in intensity on the north bay for a while, but later in the evening it will spread to other parts of the bay area moving south and east into the late night and early morning hours. there will be snow in the sierra come a winter storm warning in effect until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow above 2000 feet. 2-3 feet on the higher peaks so this is an intense storm. i will give you a look at the seven-day forecast in a