News

Feds Formally Drop Case Against Epstein’s Jail Guards

Law & Crime reports: The day after a federal jury convicted Ghislaine Maxwell of sex trafficking and other crimes, the government formally recommended disposing of the prosecution of two guards on duty the night of Jeffrey Epstein’s death. Indicted in November 2019, Metropolitan Correctional Center guards Tova Noel and Michael Thomas each faced charges of falsifying records and conspiracy for …

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Virginia: Don’t Go To ER If You Have Mild Symptoms

The Hill reports: Virginia public health leaders urged residents with mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 cases to avoid making emergency hospital visits as the state sees a surge of coronavirus infections. The Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association said that people who have asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 cases or other nonserious illnesses often can recover at home …

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NYC Mayor-Elect To Keep De Blasio’s Vaccine Mandate

Gothamist reports: New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams will keep a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place for private-sector employers, embracing a policy previously established by outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio. Adams unveiled his plan to battle the winter surge at a news conference Thursday at Brooklyn Borough Hall, making the vaccine mandate a key part of his strategy, which he …

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De Blasio: Times Square NYE Celebration Will Happen

NBC New York reports: Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City will ring in 2022 in Times Square as planned despite record numbers of COVID-19 infections in the city and around the nation. De Blasio said on NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday that he wants to show the world that the city is “fighting our way through this.” After …

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NYC Subway Suspends Three Lines Amid Staffing Woes

The New York Daily News reports: The MTA suspended three New York City subway lines without warning Thursday morning as it faces massive staffing shortfalls from a surge in COVID-19 cases. The agency pulled the brakes on all B, Z, and W trains just before the start of rush hour. Meanwhile, J, D and No. 5 trains will make local …

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Arkansas Judge Strikes Down Ban On Mask Mandates

The Associated Press reports: An Arkansas judge on Wednesday struck down a state law that prevents schools and other governmental entities from requiring face masks. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox had already temporarily blocked the law in August. On Wednesday, he ruled the law unconstitutional on multiple grounds, including that it discriminates between children in public and private schools. …

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Woman Isolates In Plane Bathroom After Mid-Flight Test

Grand Rapids’ ABC News affiliate reports: A woman who grew up in West Michigan is now going viral for a video showing herself isolated in an airplane bathroom after she tested positive for COVID-19 in the middle of a flight. About an hour into the five-hour Icelandic Air flight to Reykjavik, Marisa Fotieo said her throat started to hurt. She …

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Paris Gets Outdoors Mask Mandate Amid “Tidal Wave”

France 24 reports: Wearing masks even outdoors will be mandatory in Paris starting on Friday, French authorities have announced, as the country struggles to come to grips with an Omicron surge. France is leading Europe in new infections, with a record 208,000 new cases confirmed over the previous 24 hours on Wednesday. That figure was preceded by a previous daily …

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Florida Breaks Its All-Time Daily Record For New Cases

The Miami Herald reports: Florida reported 46,923 new COVID cases, the largest single-day increase of COVID cases since the pandemic began and nearly double the previous peak during the summer, when the deadly delta variant was surging, according to Wednesday’s report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on Miami Herald calculations of CDC data. South Florida is …

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STUDY: J&J Booster Highly Effective Against Omicron

The New York Times reports: A Johnson & Johnson booster shot provided strong protection against the Omicron variant, greatly reducing the risk of hospitalization, according to a clinical trial in South Africa. The study, which compared more than 69,000 boosted health care workers with a corresponding group of unvaccinated South Africans, found that two shots of the vaccine reduced the …

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New York State Breaks Daily Record For New Cases

New York City’s NBC News affiliate reports: The state reported a new single-day high of 67,090 cases on Wednesday, a 64.5% increase in just the last day, Gov. Kathy Hochul said. The unprecedented total came amid a recent high in the number of daily tests — 362,594 — for a positivity rate of 18.5%. Hospitalizations are escalating exponentially, too, rounding …

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Greece Bans Music In Bars, Nightclubs Amid Surge

Reuters reports: Greece is introducing new restrictions on the hospitality sector from Thursday, bringing forward measures planned for early January as coronavirus infections surge. Bars, nightclubs and restaurants will be forced to close at midnight, with no standing customers and no music, with the exception of New Year’s Eve when then can stay open until 2 a.m.. “These measures, if …

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NFL Hall Of Fame Coach John Madden Dies At Age 85

NBC Sports reports: John Madden, a legendary figure known to one generation as a Hall of Fame coach, another generation as the sport’s greatest announcer, and yet another generation for the video game that bears his name, has died at the age of 85. The NFL announced Madden’s passing today. Madden’s influence on the sport of football is impossible to …

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US Breaks All-Time Record For New Daily COVID Cases

The Washington Post reports: The lightning spread of the coronavirus’s omicron variant in the United States pushed the seven-day average of new daily cases to 253,245 as of Tuesday afternoon, surpassing the previous high of 248,209 cases on Jan. 12. The omicron variant, first identified late last month in southern Africa, has sent infections soaring to levels not seen since …

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Texas Runs Out Of Monoclonal Antibodies Treatment

USA Today reports: Texas has run out of its supply of monoclonal antibodies, and infusion centers in the state will be unable to offer the treatment until more shipments are sent out in January. Infusion centers in Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio and The Woodlands have all gone through their supply of sotrovimab, the only antibody treatment believed …

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New Florida Park “Honors” Confederate War Veterans

First Coast News reports: A new park honoring the over 15,000 soldiers involved in the Confederate war effort is now open in North Florida. Kirby-Smith Confederate Park is located in Lincoln Villas in the Northeast Jacksonville area. The park is visible from the I-295 west beltway, and features Confederate flags, statuary and placards. The park’s website claims that the Confederate …

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Pediatric COVID Hospitalizations Up 400% In NYC

New York City’s ABC News affiliate reports: New York State reported a “striking increase” in new hospital admissions for children as pediatric COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. continue to rise week after week. The New York State Department of Health said the recent fourfold increase in admissions that began the week of December 5 is concentrated in New …

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STUDY: Omicron Infection Boosts Immunity To Delta

Reuters reports: Research by South African scientists suggests that Omicron could displace the Delta variant of the coronavirus because infection with the new variant boosts immunity to the older one. The study only covered a small group of people and has not been peer-reviewed, but it found that people who were infected with Omicron, especially those who were vaccinated, developed …

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CDC Investigates 68 Cruise Ships After COVID Reports

The Insider reports: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating or observing almost 70 cruise ships following COVID-19 outbreaks aboard the vessels, according to the agency’s update on Monday. According to the CDC’s website, 68 ships have either met the agency’s “investigation threshold” of crew or passengers COVID-19 outbreaks, or a health department has alerted the …

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NYC Schools First In Line To Get COVID Test Kits

Gothamist reports: New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the state is expecting to receive millions of additional COVID-19 tests by the end of this week, and will make most of them available to school districts, including one million kits—each with two tests—for New York City’s schools. “They can be in hand for the school districts to be able to deploy …

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