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Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY
·5 min read
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Smokers are prioritized to get the COVID-19 vaccine – and people have opinions. Republicans debate ousting two of their own. And everyone is about to be talking about the Netflix film "Mank."

It's Ashley. Let's talk news.

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Vaccine priority to smokers?

As more Americans anxiously wait their turn to get COVID-19 vaccines, people are discovering that smokers are one of the priority groups for vaccination. The revelation has drawn frustration on social media, but a study published last week in the peer-reviewed journal found that people who smoke or who have smoked in the past are more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, Adrianna Rodriguez reports. “I could see why people would feel as if that would be unfair,” said Samuel Kim, a thoracic surgeon at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. "But people who are smokers are in general at higher risk for getting sicker when they develop COVID-19."

In other COVID-19 news:

  • The pope got his second COVID-19 shot.

  • U.S. cases and hospitalizations are in decline.

  • AstraZeneca says its vaccine gets more powerful with second dose.

Greene and Cheney are in the hot seat

House Republicans huddled Wednesday to address divisions in their party and debate what to do about Reps. Liz Cheney and Marjorie Taylor Greene, controversial figures representing the two wings of an increasingly fractured party, Nicholas Wu reports.

  • Greene, a member in her first term from northwest Georgia, infuriated Democrats and some Republicans after her controversial statements and embrace of conspiracy theories came to light. Democrats introduced legislation that would remove her from her committee posts, and they are set to pass it Thursday.

  • Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, sparked furor among conservatives by breaking with the party to vote for former President Donald Trump's impeachment. Republicans debated whether she should remain in the party's leadership.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., shouts at journalists Jan. 12 as she goes through security outside the House in Washington.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., shouts at journalists Jan. 12 as she goes through security outside the House in Washington.

What everyone’s talking about

Add this to your Netflix watch list: 'Mank'

Hollywood's biggest party is still happening next month, but not everyone's invited. Wednesday, the Golden Globes announced nominees for the award show's 2021 prizes, and "Mank," "The Trial of the Chicago 7" and "Promising Young Woman" lead the pack. I’m here for the drama, so let’s talk snubs: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and “Da 5 Bloods” were all shut out of Golden Globe nominations. This year’s nominations showed progress toward diversity and inclusion when it came to the film nominees – but the same can’t be said for television.

Gary Oldman stars as screenwriting gadfly Herman Mankiewicz in the Netflix film "Mank."
Gary Oldman stars as screenwriting gadfly Herman Mankiewicz in the Netflix film "Mank."

Get ready to shiver: The infamous polar vortex is on its way again

An arctic blast is coming. And we can blame the infamous polar vortex. By early next week, much of the nation will see below-freezing temperatures. As is often the case with the polar vortex, the core of the bitter cold will be in the Upper Midwest and northern Plains, where wind chill temperatures will plummet as low as 40 degrees below zero in parts of the Dakotas this weekend. Sixteen states across the Midwest and northern Plains are forecast to endure temperatures below zero Monday morning, CNN said. That covers 16% of the country and 41 million people. The blast of frigid air is likely to advance deep into the south-central states and across the entire eastern third of the nation by early next week.

Real quick

From fiery crash to medical miracle

After a car accident destroyed his face and arms, a New Jersey man was determined to recover his independence. After complex transplant surgery, he has. Joseph DiMeo has become the world's first person to receive a successful face and double-hand transplant. "I can't give up. I've got a second chance," DiMeo said. "I can't mess that up."

Joseph DiMeo, 22, is adapting well to his new face and hands. Sensation is slowly returning to both, and his hand rehabilitation is way ahead of schedule.
Joseph DiMeo, 22, is adapting well to his new face and hands. Sensation is slowly returning to both, and his hand rehabilitation is way ahead of schedule.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 vaccine, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Morgan Wallen: Wednesday's news