US nears 500,000 deaths as medical workers fight on
As the United States nears a once-unthinkable 500,000 deaths from COVID-19, a leading forecasting institute estimates at least 90,000 more Americans are likely to die from the virus by June 1. By then, the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects deaths could drop to less than 500 per day. However, the number could be even lower if Americans are vigilant about wearing masks. Currently, the U.S. is averaging about 2,000 deaths per day.
But nearly a year into a life-altering pandemic, many Americans are fed up with wearing masks and desperate for a return to normalcy. Health care workers don’t want to hear any of that. "I've been telling people who thank me for this, 'Just tell yourself and everyone you know to wear a mask when you’re out in public places,'" said Dr. Eric Cioe-Peña, an emergency room physician now running a COVID-19 field hospital in Staten Island, New York. "'Don’t clap, don’t give me baked goods. I don’t need any of that. I need you to wear a mask and not get COVID.'
As more parents decide to hold their children out of kindergarten amid the pandemic, the learning gap widens — and schools could lose funding.
Texas warms up after historic storm
A warming trend is bringing welcome relief to Texas, a state in full-blown recovery mode Sunday from a winter storm that at its powerful peak left more than 4 million people without electricity and almost half the state's 29 million people under boil-water advisories. The recovery was being aided by escalating temperatures. Temperatures in Houston and Austin climbed into the 70s. Many Texas power plants and water facilities were ill-equipped to handle the wintry onslaught, resulting in the shutdown of basic utilities for millions of residents. Austin Water said Sunday that storage in reservoirs had climbed to 72 million gallons, but that at least 100 million gallons was needed to help build water pressure system-wide. In San Antonio, authorities said Sunday that water had been restored to 98% of the city.
Texas' winter storm could make life worse for Black and Latino families hit hard by power outages.
Deal reached in lawsuit alleging James Franco intimidated students into "sexual exploitation."
England's Jasmine Harrison, 21, becomes youngest woman to row solo across an ocean.
US sticking with two-dose COVID-19 vaccine schedule, though study suggests one shot provides good short-term protection.
Race and diversity reporter N'dea Yancey-Bragg discusses why we should teach Black history from Black perspectives on USA TODAY's 5 Things podcast.
United Airlines is investigating who leaked data revealing when Sen. Ted Cruz originally planned to return to Texas.
"An important first step": Texas Gov. Abbott thanks Biden for "partial approval" of disaster request.
United plane drops debris over Colorado, lands safely in Denver
A United Airlines plane with 231 passengers and 10 crew on board experienced right engine failure shortly after takeoff on Saturday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane, en route to Honolulu, landed safely in Denver after it dropped debris in several neighborhoods throughout Broomfield, Colorado. United Airlines said Sunday that it is temporarily grounding its Boeing 777s following the aircraft's catastrophic engine failure, and federal aviation regulators have ordered United step up inspections of the planes. United says it will work closely with the FAA and the NTSB “to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service.”
Poll: Donald Trump still commands the loyalty of GOP voters
If there is a civil war in the Republican Party, the voters who backed Donald Trump in November's election are ready to choose sides. An exclusive Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll finds Trump's support is largely unshaken after his second impeachment trial in the Senate, this time on a charge of inciting an insurrection with the Capitol's deadly assault on Jan. 6. By double digits, 46%-27%, those surveyed said they would abandon the GOP and join the Trump party if the former president decided to create one. The rest were undecided. Half of those polled said the GOP should become "more loyal to Trump," even at the cost of losing support among establishment Republicans.
Move over Fox News, Trump voters are shifting toward Newsmax and OANN.
Djokovic wins ninth Australian Open title, 18th Grand Slam overall
Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 tennis player in the world, won his ninth Australian Open title on Sunday and 18th Grand Slam overall — dusting No. 4 Daniil Medvedev. Djokovic is now within two Grand Slam titles of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who each own 20 men's singles championships, making this race the closest its ever been among the three all-time greats. Djokovic will consider this one of his finest achievements, given that he was nearly knocked out of the tournament in the third round when he suffered an injury to his oblique area midway through a match against Taylor Fritz.
Slide into our DMs: Biggest News has officially launched texting. Let USA TODAY send you a short, daily text message of the news everyone’s talking about – and chat about it with you. It's fun, FREE, and you can subscribe right here. 📲
This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Contributing: The Associated Press.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 pandemic, United Airlines debris, Novak Djokovic: The weekend's biggest news