Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Biden Advances Vaccine Deadline For All Adults

After having previously announced that the states would have to make all adults eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine by May 1st, President Biden moved up the date by nearly two weeks yesterday to April 19th.

At the same time, he urged Americans not to let their guard down yet, warning about the spread of coronavirus variants across the country, while also saying the vaccines work against them. Speaking at the White House, he said, "Let me be deadly earnest with you: We aren’t at the finish line. . . . We’re still in a life and death race against this virus." He said that the number of cases are going back up and hospitalizations are no longer falling, urging that people continue to wear masks, socially distance and wash their hands. 

The White House said yesterday that that nearly 33 percent of Americans and over 40 percent of adults have gotten at least one shot, and nearly 25 percent of adults are fully vaccinated. Among those over age 65, 75 percent have gotten at least one shot and more than 55 percent are fully vaccinated.

➤POLICE INSTRUCTOR TESTIFIES IN CHAUVIN TRIAL OFFICERS TRAINED TO 'STAY AWAY FROM THE NECK': A Minneapolis police department use-of-force instructor testified in former Officer Derek Chauvin's murder and manslaughter trial in the death of George Floyd yesterday, saying that the department's police are taught to use a knee on the back or shoulders if necessary to restrain combative suspects, but to, quote, "stay away from the neck when possible." Lieutenant Johnny Mercil also said they must use the least amount of force required to get a suspect to comply.

Chauvin underwent department use-of-force training in 2018, and his defense has argued his actions against Floyd had been what he was trained to do. During cross-examination of Mercil yesterday, the defense showed him body-cam photos and suggested that Chauvin's knee was really more on Floyd's back, shoulder or shoulder blades than on his neck. Mercil agreed it appeared that way in some of them.

In other testimony, the Minneapolis police official in charge of crisis-intervention training, Sergeant Ker Yang, said officers are taught to, quote, "slow things down and re-evaluate and reassess." Chauvin took a course in 2016 on recognizing people in crisis and how to use de-escalation techniques to calm them down. Additionally, Minneapolis Officer Nicole Mackenzie, who trains members of the force in medical care, testified that department policy required Chauvin, who was certified to perform CPR, to start aid before paramedics arrived, if possible.

➤NAVY MEDIC SHOOTS TWO SAILORS IN MARYLAND, KILLED AT ARMY BASE: A 38-year-old Navy medic shot two U.S. sailors with a rifle at a military facility in a Frederick, Maryland, office park, yesterday, wounding them, then went to the nearby Army base Fort Detrick, where he was shot and killed by security forces. Officials don't yet have a motive for the actions by Fantahun Girma Woldesenbet. Gate guards at the base, where Woldesenbet was assigned, had been given advance notice and he took off when they told him to pull over for a search. He made it about a half-mile into Fort Detrick before the base's police force stopped him. They shot and killed Woldesenbet when he pulled out a weapon. One of the sailors shot was in critical but stable condition yesterday and the other in serious condition. Woldesenbet was married with two young children.

➤ARKANSAS LAWMAKERS OVERRIDE VETO OF MEASURE BANNING MEDICAL TREATMENT, SURGERY FOR TRANSGENDER MINORS: Arkansas lawmakers voted yesterday (April 6th) to override a veto the day before by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of a ban on gender-affirming medical treatments -- meaning hormone treatment or puberty blockers -- or surgery for transgender minors. It is the first law of its kind by any state. The Republican-led Legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of overriding the veto, which required only a simple majority. Pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender minors were among those who'd spoken against the measure, saying it would harm those young people, who are already at higher risk for depression and suicide. Opponents say they will sue to try to block the ban from going into effect this summer.

➤PHILADELPHIA SUED FOR CHANGING NAME OF COLUMBUS DAY HOLIDAY:  Italian-American groups and Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla filed suit in federal court yesterday against Mayor Jim Kenney's administration over his recent executive order renaming the city's Columbus Day holiday to Indigenous Peoples' Day. The suit contends that while both ethnic groups deserve recognition, Kenney, quote, "may not take action that discriminates against Italian Americans to exalt another ethnic group in its place," according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. When Kenney ordered the name changed, he said Columbus, quote, "enslaved indigenous people, and punished individuals who failed to meet his expected service through violence and, in some cases, murder." The lawsuit further contends that Kenney's executive order fits a pattern of discrimination by him against Italian-American city residents, who they say should be designated a protected class. Other actions they cite include efforts to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus from south Philadelphia, and the removal last year of a statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo from outside the municipal services building. Kenney called the lawsuit "a patently meritless political ploy."

➤THE COUPLE FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE ROYALS ANNOUNCE FIRST NETFLIX PROJECT: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s first project with Netflix will focus on the Invictus Games, a Paralympics-style competition for wounded soldiers and veterans. Harry founded the organization in 2014.

The pair will release the docuseries project through Archewell Productions. Titled Heart of Invictus, it will follow athletes as they prepare for the Games in The Hague, set for 2022.

In a statement, Harry said: "Since the very first Invictus Games back in 2014, we knew that each competitor would contribute in their own exceptional way to a mosaic of resilience, determination, and resolve. This series will give communities around the world a window into the moving and uplifting stories of these competitors on their path to the Netherlands next year."

Oscar-winning British director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara have also signed on. Harry will both produce and appear on-camera.

"The multi-episode series will join the competitors as they train, and along the way reveal powerful stories of resilience and hope. The series will also follow the organizers as they work to prepare for the Games, postponed until next Spring, and as they partner with each nation's team to support their competitors over the coming year," according to the project's press release.

Meghan and Harry’s deal with Netflix calls for them to make documentaries, docu-series, feature films, scripted shows and children's programming exclusively for the streaming giant.

➤CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER KILLED IN RAMMING ATTACK TO LIE IN HONOR IN ROTUNDA: U.S. Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans, who was killed in the vehicle ramming attack Friday at a barricade 100 yards from the Capitol, will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on April 13th, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday. Capitol Police also released a statement from the family of the 18-year veteran and father of two that said, "His death has left a gaping void in our lives that will never be filled." Another officer was injured in Friday's attack. The suspect, 25-year-old Noah Green, was shot and killed by police after he came out of the car with a knife. Investigators have said they believe he'd been having delusional and suicidal thoughts.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, who it's been reported is under investigation over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, including if he had sex with a 17-year-old and other underage girls, and paid them or offered gifts in exchange for sex, requested a blanket pardon from former President Donald Trump in the final weeks of his administration, the New York Times reported yesterday (April 6th). The Florida Republican has been a strong defender of Trump, but the Times cited sources as saying the request was denied because it was considered that the broad pardon could set a bad precedent. The Times said it's unclear if Gaetz or the White House knew about the Justice Department inquiry when the pardon request was made. Gaetz denied last week to Politico that he'd sought a pardon from Trump, and stood by that last night to the news outlet, but said he hadn't read the Times article.

➤HARRIS FINALLY MOVES INTO VICE PRESIDENT'S RESIDENCE: Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff were finally able to move into the official vice president's residence on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., last night (April 6th). The couple had been living in Blair House, across the street from the White House, since Inauguration Day, while needed renovations were being doing on the VP's residence. The six-bedroom mansion was first named the official residence of the vice president in 1974.

🦮DOG STOPS TRAFFIC TO GET HELP FOR HER OWNER DURING MEDICAL EMERGENCY: A dog stopped traffic to save its owner when the woman began to have a seizure. Haley Moore and Clover, a Maremma mix, were taking a stroll through their Ottawa, Canada, neighborhood when suddenly Moore began to seize. That’s when Clover sprung into action by walking into a busy road and forcing a truck to stop. When the driver Dryden Oatway saw Moore lying face down on the ground, he jumped out of his truck and ran over to help. Moore doesn't know what caused the seizure, but she will feel "10 times safer" because Clover will be there. The Moore family showed Clover their appreciation by treating her to a steak dinner.

➤STUDY..WOMEN WHO EXPERIENCE MORE STRESS AROUND THE TIME OF CONCEPTION ARE TWICE AS LIKELY TO GIVE BIRTH TO A GIRL: Women who are more stressed out at the time on conception are more likely to give birth to a girl. Researchers from Spain measured the level of the stress hormone, cortisone, pregnant women had in their hair from week nine of their pregnancy through to delivery. Each measurement covered the cortisol levels for the preceding three months. They found that women who gave birth to girls had higher levels of cortisol in the weeks before, during, and after the point of conception than those who had boys. Experts say the finding adds to evidence that stress experienced by mothers around the time of conception and during gestation can have an impact on the nature of the pregnancy, birth, and even infant neurodevelopment. They add this phenomenon could be explained by the body’s “stress system” modifying the concentration of sex hormones at the time of conception, but it’s not clear how this would work, and more research will be needed to determine exactly how and why this happens.

➤KETCHUP SHORTAGE HITS RESTAURANTS, FAST FOOD CHAINS ACROSS THE U.S.: Ketchup is in short supply due to the pandemic. Plate IQ reports that prices for ketchup have gone up 13 percent since January 2020. This comes as shared bottles of ketchup at restaurants have been replaced with individual packets at many restaurants. Current guidelines from the CDC advise restaurants to “avoid using or sharing items that are reusable such as menus, condiments, and any other food containers” to curb the spread of the virus. America’s most popular ketchup brand, Heinz, says it can’t keep up with orders for its ketchup packets. To deal, restaurants have reportedly scrambled to find alternatives. Also, with more cooking at home during the pandemic retail sales of ketchup were up 15 percent.

➤DISNEY WORLD WILL ALLOW GUESTS TO REMOVE FACE MASKS OUTDOORS WHEN TAKING PHOTOS: Disney World in Florida is relaxing one of it’s COVID-19 rules, slightly. The Orlando-based theme park says visitors will now be able to pose for photos outdoors and with its cast members without wearing face-coverings beginning Thursday.  Previously, the parks implemented a strict protocol around its face mask policy, mandating that guests wear face masks at all times unless they are eating or drinking. Guests will still have to wear masks the rest of the time (unless they are eating or drinking), and will still have to wear masks when taking photos indoors.

➤TWO OF 22 WOMEN WHO FILED SEX MISCONDUCT LAWSUITS AGAINST WATSON SPEAK PUBLICLY: Two of the 22 women who have filed lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct by Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson came forward publicly yesterday. The cases all relate to misconduct while Watson was getting massages. Massage therapist Ashley Solis said during a news conference, "I got into massage therapy to heal people. . . . Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that. . . . I suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and depression." An attorney at the news conference also read a letter that another accuser, Lauren Baxley, wrote to Watson in which she said, "Every boundary from professional and therapeutic to sexual and degrading you crossed or attempted to cross." Watson's attorney said in response that the law firm of the attorney representing Solis, quote, "sought $100,000 in hush money on behalf of Ms. Solis to quietly settle the allegations the month before he filed the first lawsuit." The NFL is investigating the claims.

⚾NATIONALS FINALLY PLAY FIRST GAME: The Washington Nationals finally got to play their first game of the season yesterday, five days later than they were supposed to, after several games had to be postponed due to Covid-19 issues on the team. But they were apparently ready to go, even though nine players weren't with the team because of either positive Covid results or contact tracing, beating the Atlanta Braves at home 6-5. What was supposed to be Washington's season-opening three-game series against the New York Mets was scrapped, and Monday's planned game against Atlanta will be played as part of a doubleheader today.

⚾DETROIT'S BADDOO GETS WALK-OFF HIT AFTER HOMER, GRAND SLAM IN FIRST TWO GAMES: Detroit Tigers rookie outfielder Akil Baddoo continued what's been a blazing start to his big league career yesterday, getting a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Detroit a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins. Those heroics in Baddoo's third major league game came after he hit a home run on the first pitch of his first-ever major league game on Sunday, and then hit a grand slam in his second major league game on Monday. The 22-year-old had never played above Class A ball until this year, and didn't play at all last season because there were no minor league games due to the pandemic.

🏀NETS' HARDEN TO MISS AT LEAST 10 DAYS, DURANT LIKELY BACK: The Brooklyn Nets' James Harden will be out for at least 10 days with a hamstring strain, the team said Tuesday. One of the front-runners for the league MVP, Harden was able to play just four minutes Monday after having missed the previous two games. Meanwhile, teammate Kevin Durant, who's missed 23 games with a hamstring strain, is likely to return today.

⚾PADRES: TATIS JR. LIKELY WON'T NEED SURGERY ON SHOULDER: The San Diego Padres said Tuesday that star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. should be able to avoid surgery on his left shoulder after he partially dislocated it the day before while taking a hard swing. The 22-year-old has been put on the 10-day injured with a slight tear of the labrum.

No comments:

Post a Comment