Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021
Good Tuesday morning. Here’s what is happening:
The Associated Press: Officials have cut isolation restrictions for Americans who catch COVID-19 from 10 to five days, as well as shortening the time that close contacts need to quarantine.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the guidance is in keeping with growing evidence that people with the coronavirus are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.
Early research suggests omicron may cause milder illnesses than earlier versions of the coronavirus. But the sheer number of people becoming infected — and therefore having to isolate or quarantine — threatens to crush the ability of hospitals, airlines and other businesses to stay open, experts say.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the country is about to see a lot of omicron cases.
“Not all of those cases are going to be severe. In fact many are going to be asymptomatic,” she told The Associated Press on Monday. “We want to make sure there is a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society functioning while following the science.”
KUSA-TV: Four people were killed and at least three others, including a police officer, were wounded in a shooting spree throughout the Denver area on Monday night.
The suspect involved in the shooting was shot and killed near the Belmar shopping center, according to John Romero with Lakewood Police. Denver and Lakewood police said they believe that same suspect was involved in all of the shootings and that there is no further danger to the public.
Officials said they believe the shooting spree started in Denver just after 5 p.m.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said there were a total of four shooting scenes in the the city of Denver.
After those shootings, Pazen said they believe the suspect fled to Lakewood where another shooting occurred at a business in the 1500 block of Kipling around 6 p.m. One person was killed in that shooting.
Romero said officers eventually caught up with the suspect and that's when the suspect shot one of them. That officer was brought to the hospital where they are currently undergoing surgery, Romero said.
The suspect continued to shoot at officers and was eventually shot and killed.
CNBC: Dr. Anthony Fauci says The United States should consider a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel.
“When you make vaccinations a requirement, that’s another incentive to get more people vaccinated,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think that’s something that seriously should be considered.”
There is no indication at this point that a vaccine mandate is on its way for U.S. flights. When asked on MSNBC, Fauci, White House chief medical advisor, declined to say whether he has made the recommendation to President Joe Biden.
The White House, when asked for comment, referred CNBC to Biden’s statement to ABC News last week, “It’s been considered,” Biden said, “but the recommendation I’ve gotten, it’s not necessary.”
The travel industry, meanwhile, expressed opposition to a vaccine mandate for domestic travel when Fauci made a similar suggestion in September.
FOX News: President Biden said Monday on a call he agrees with GOP governors that there is “no federal solution” to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden made the comment after Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is the chair of the National Governors Association, cautioned the president against taking actions that may step on states' toes as they aim to fight the virus.
"One word of concern or encouragement for your team is that as you look towards federal solutions that will help alleviate the challenge, make sure that we do not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions," Hutchinson said. "The production of 500 million rapid tests that will be distributed by the federal government is great, but obviously that dries up the supply chain for the solutions that we might offer as governor."
"There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level," Biden responded, before mentioning another Republican governor.
WNBC-TV: New York state COVID hospitalizations have topped 5,500 for the first time since late February, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.
As of Monday, statewide hospitalizations stand at 5,526, the highest total since February 23 and a near 190% increase since Nov. 1 alone. That's still well short of the 7,000 New Yorkers who were hospitalized with COVID this time last year, and the sheer volume of omicron infections will likely translate to some more severe cases by default, especially among the unvaccinated, Hochul says.
ESPN: Vaccinated NBA players and coaches can now test out of quarantine in six days, according to a memo sent to teams Monday.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association agreed to the changes that will replace a protocol requiring league personnel to wait 10 days to test out of quarantine on a return to competition. The new protocol includes players, coaches, staff and referees.
Individuals also can still test out of quarantine with two negative results 24 hours apart.
USA Today: More than 1,200 U.S. flights were canceled and nearly 5,300 were delayed as of 5:30pm ET Monday amid bad weather and surging COVID-19 cases.
SkyWest had the highest number of cancellations for any U.S. carrier Monday. In a statement to USA TODAY, the Utah-based airline attributed its more than 300 cancellations to weather conditions at multiple hubs and "increased coronavirus cases and quarantines amongst crewmembers."
"Weather challenges" were also blamed for more than 1,200 delays on Southwest Monday, the most for any airline.
Delta's Executive Vice President and Chief of Operations John Laughter called the situation "a perfect storm that includes relentless weather systems coupled with the omicron variant surge." He said cancellations are always a last resort.
The area is a few miles east of Gillespie Field airport, where the plane was scheduled to land.
Deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department's Santee and Lakeside stations immediately responded to the scene along with the Lakeside Fire Protection District, the California Highway Patrol and the El Cajon Police Department.
"At this time, we do not have information on where the plane was coming from or how many were on board. Firefighters were not able to find any survivors at the crash scene," the sheriff's department said at 11:25 p.m.
The Guardian: The panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol plans to investigate a call made by former President Trump to the Willard hotel in the hours before the attack.
Congressman Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, has said the panel will open an inquiry into Donald Trump’s phone call seeking to stop Joe Biden’s certification from taking place on 6 January hours before the insurrection.
The chairman said the select committee intended to scrutinize the phone call – revealed last month by the Guardian – should they prevail in their legal effort to obtain Trump White House records over the former president’s objections of executive privilege.
“That’s right,” Thompson said when asked by the Guardian whether the select committee would look into Trump’s phone call, and suggested House investigators had already started to consider ways to investigate Trump’s demand that Biden not be certified as president on 6 January.
The Guardian reported last month that Trump, according to multiple sources, called lieutenants based at the Willard hotel in Washington DC from the White House in the late hours of 5 January and sought ways to stop Biden’s certification from taking place on 6 January.
New York Post: The jury in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial failed to reach verdict after third day of deliberations Monday.
The 12-person panel sent Judge Alison Nathan several notes Monday, asking for clarification on what evidence they could take into account for one of the charges. They also requested additional transcripts from the trial.
The jury also asked for a number of office supplies to aid in their deliberations, including Post-it notes, highlighters and white board paper.
As the jury entered its 23rd hour of deliberations, they sent a note to Nathan asking about flights they could take into account while mulling if they can convict Maxwell of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Deliberations in the case, which includes more than 900 exhibits and testimony from 32 witnesses, including Holmes herself, resumed Monday following a three-day weekend due to a court holiday Friday. Deliberations are scheduled to resume at the federal courthouse in San Jose on Tuesday, starting at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time.
The Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles Police have released video in a shooting that that killed an assault suspect and a 14-year-old bystander.
“She’s bleeding! She’s bleeding!” the officer screams of the victim as she crawls out of an aisle of home goods.
“Hold up! Hold up!” screams another officer, just before the first fires three rounds at the suspect, who is standing at the opposite end of the aisle. Daniel Elena-Lopez, 24, crumples to the ground, where he would later be pronounced dead.
Elena-Lopez appeared to be moving away from the victim and the officer at the time of the shooting.
Almost immediately, another woman’s screams can be heard coming from an adjacent changing area — where 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta had been trying on dresses with her mother.
Valentina had also been struck by one of the officer’s rounds, after it bounced off the ground and went through a wall separating the changing area from the shopping floor, police said.
NBC News: President Biden signed the $770 billion defense bill Monday but criticized restrictions in the bill on the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.
In a statement, Biden said that while he approved of the measure overall, he was unhappy with a number of legislative restrictions, including one aimed at thwarting efforts to close the facility, which former President Barack Obama had vowed to do.
"Unfortunately ... the Act continues to bar the use of funds to transfer Guantánamo Bay detainees to the custody or effective control of certain foreign countries," Biden said, adding that another component "bars the use of funds to transfer Guantánamo Bay detainees into the United States unless certain conditions are met."
The New York Times: Sarah Weddington, whose successful arguments before the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade case led to the legalization of abortion throughout the United States, died on Sunday at her home in Austin at age 76.
Ms. Weddington was 26 and had never tried a legal case when she and Linda Coffee, her co-counsel, went before the Supreme Court in 1971. Their legal battle culminated on Jan. 22, 1973, when the court ruled in one of the most consequential decisions in American history that a Texas state law banning abortions except to save the woman’s life was unconstitutional.
CBS News: A judge in Colorado has scheduled a resentencing hearing for the truck driver sentenced to 110 years in prison for a 2019 crash that left four dead and several others injured near Denver.
Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was convicted of 27 charges, including vehicular homicide. Under minimum sentencing laws, he was sentenced to 110 years in prison. Nearly five million people have signed a petition calling on Colorado Governor Jared Polis to grant clemency for Aguilera-Mederos.
Alexis King, the district attorney in Jefferson County, made the request for the hearing on Monday and asked the judge to lower the sentence to 20 to 30 years.
Aguilera-Mederos said his brakes malfunctioned while he was driving on Interstate 70. But videos show he may have missed a runaway truck ramp along the highway where prosecutors say he could have pulled off.
More snow showers and the coldest temperatures in years are expected over the course of the week.
As of Monday morning Pacific time, all roads in the Sierra and US-395 north and south of Reno were closed. Interstate 80, SR-20 and SR-49 were all shut down up to the Nevada state line, due to downed trees, power lines and continued heavy snow. The roads will likely remain closed through Monday, according to the state department of transportation; US-395 will stay closed between State Route 203 and State Route 182 due to heavy snow and poor visibility.
The Associated Press: A winter storm brought ice and snow to North Dakota and Minnesota, making for a rough Monday.
The Bismarck Tribune reported the storm dumped 6 inches of snow on Bismarck on Sunday. Authorities closed Interstate 94 between Bismarck and Fargo and Interstate 29 from Grand Forks to the South Dakota border. The entire interstate system in the state had reopened by 4 p.m.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for much of the southeastern portion of North Dakota and a winter storm warning for the eastern and central parts of the state through Monday evening.
Authorities were still advising people not to travel across much of the state and complained that motorists were getting stuck on secondary roads that were not plowed. Many county offices were closed expect for emergency services.
Most flights at the Bismarck Airport were still on time but most of the flights at Fargo’s airport were either canceled or delayed.
Widespread showers and storms are expected from the Midwest to the Southeast Tuesday through Thursday, but severe weather chances increase on Wednesday.
On Wednesday afternoon, severe weather is becoming more likely across portions of Mississippi and Alabama.
The short-term vacation rental booking company announced it will extend its party ban to 2022 with a few new restrictions – all in the name of public health and safety.
"We’re introducing new products and policies to crack down on disruptive NYE parties," Airbnb wrote in a news release Tuesday. "The anchor of this plan is a ban on one-night NYE bookings in entire home listings for guests without a history of positive reviews."
Guests who do not have a positive review history on Airbnb will be prohibited from making one-night reservations for entire homes.
The Associated Press: Crews in Richmond have found what appears to be a second and long-sought-after time capsule at a site that once held a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, according to Gov. Ralph Northam.
“They found it! This is likely the time capsule everyone was looking for,” he tweeted.
The box was expected to be opened Tuesday afternoon. It wasn’t immediately clear what kind of condition any contents might be in.
The development marked the latest turn in a months-long search for the capsule, which contemporaneous news accounts indicate was placed during a cornerstone-laying ceremony in 1887 attended by thousands of people. News accounts described its dozens of donated artifacts, including Confederate memorabilia. Based on historical records, some have also speculated the capsule might contain a rare photo of deceased President Abraham Lincoln.
CNN: Richard Marcinko, the first head of the elite SEAL Team Six, died Saturday, according to his family.
"Last night, Christmas evening, we lost a hero, who's also known as The Rogue Warrior, the retired Navy SEAL commander AND the creator of SEAL Team Six, my father, Richard Marcinko," Matt Marcinko wrote in a tweet on Sunday.
"His legacy will live forever. The man has died a true legend," he added.
Richard Marcinko, a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, was the first commanding officer of SEAL Team Six, the secretive unit formed in 1980 that would later carry out the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.
On December 28, 1895, the world’s first commercial movie screening takes place at the Grand Cafe in Paris. The film was made by Louis and Auguste Lumiere, two French brothers who developed a camera-projector called the Cinematographe. The Lumiere brothers unveiled their invention to the public in March 1895 with a brief film showing workers leaving the Lumiere factory. On December 28, the entrepreneurial siblings screened a series of short scenes from everyday French life and charged admission for the first time.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported earlier this year that the state is growing, at least in urban areas. Between 2010 and 2020, the state’s population grew by 4.7 percent.
It also happens to be the home state of your author.
Birthdays: It’s the birthday of actor Denzel Washington, who turns 66; singer John Legend turns 42; and comedian Seth Meyers, now hosting “Late Night” on NBC, turns 47.
One more thing. From Reuters photographer Jonathan Ernst:
An ear of U.S. President Joe Biden’s new dog Commander is visible in a window of the Marine One helicopter as they arrive for vacation at Gordons Pond in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, U.S. December 27, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst