The latest weather for Baltimore, Maryland.
- LA Times
Serge Ibaka had 15 points and seven rebounds in his first game since March 14, but the Clippers lost 122-115 to the host Houston Rockets.
BEIT LAHIYA/GAZA CITY, Gaza (Reuters) -After days of heavy Israeli airstrikes, and then intensifying artillery fire, some terrified residents of north Gaza are not waiting to see if there is a repeat of 2014, when a ground assault followed. Under heavy shelling on Thursday night, Rewaa Marouf grabbed her children and fled the town of Beit Lahiya, close to Gaza's northern border with Israel. The U.N. refugee agency said hundreds of people had fled to U.N.-run schools in Gaza for shelter on Thursday, particularly in the north, and it was taking steps to make sure the sites were organised to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- Yahoo News
After being stripped of her House leadership position by fellow Republicans on Wednesday, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney is determined to lead her party away from Trumpism.
- The Independent
Ousted top GOP messenger says cable news channel has ‘particular obligation to make sure people know election wasn’t stolen’
- The Independent
‘Inaction – or just moving on – is simply not an option,’ Rep Bennie Thompson says as he announces new bill, which took months to agree on
- The Independent
Prince revealed that he began seeking therapy thanks to his wife’s concerns over his mental health
- LA Times
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit passed a drug test and is cleared to run at the Preakness Stakes, where trainer Bob Baffert has become the story without being present.
- Raleigh News and Observer
Some say the manner in which the county manager was removed could hurt Durham County’s ability to attract new companies and candidates to replace him.
- The New York Times
On Dec. 29, a National Guardsman in Colorado became the first known case in the United States of a contagious new variant of the coronavirus. The news was unsettling. The variant, called B.1.1.7, had roiled Britain, was beginning to surge in Europe and threatened to do the same in the United States. And although scientists did not know it yet, other mutants were also cropping up around the country. They included variants that had devastated South Africa and Brazil and that seemed to be able to sidestep the immune system, as well as others homegrown in California, Oregon and New York. This mélange of variants could not have come at a worse time. The nation was at the start of a post-holiday surge of cases that would dwarf all previous waves. And the distribution of powerful vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech was botched by chaos and miscommunication. Scientists warned that the variants — and B.1.1.7 in particular — might lead to a fourth wave and that the already strained health care system might buckle. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times That did not happen. B.1.1.7 did become the predominant version of the virus in the United States, now accounting for nearly three-quarters of all cases. But the surge experts had feared ended up a mere blip in most of the country. The nationwide total of daily new cases began falling in April and has now dropped more than 85% from the horrific highs of January. “It’s pretty humbling,” said Kristian Andersen, a virus expert at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California. “We could actually do a lot better than I had expected.” Andersen and other virus watchers still see variants as a potential source of trouble in the months to come — particularly one that has battered Brazil and is growing rapidly in 17 U.S. states. But they are also taking stock of the past few months to better understand how the nation dodged the variant threat. Experts point to a combination of factors — masks, social distancing and other restrictions, and perhaps a seasonal wane of infections — that bought crucial time for tens of millions of Americans to get vaccinated. They also credit a good dose of serendipity, as B.1.1.7, unlike some of its competitors, is powerless against the vaccines. “I think we got lucky, to be honest,” said Nathan Grubaugh, a public health researcher at Yale University. “We’re being rescued by the vaccine.” After B.1.1.7 emerged at the end of December, new variants with combinations of troubling mutations came to light. Scientists fretted about how the competition among the variants might play out. In January, researchers in California discovered a variant with 10 mutations that was growing more common there and had drifted into other states. Laboratory experiments suggested that the variant could dodge an antibody treatment that had worked well against previous forms of the virus and that it was perhaps also more contagious. In the months that followed, the United States has drastically improved its surveillance of how the variants mutate. Last week more than 28,800 virus genomes, almost 10% of all positive test cases, were uploaded to an international online database called GISAID. That clearer picture has enabled scientists to watch how the mutants compete. The California variant turned out to be a weak competitor, and its numbers dropped sharply in February and March. It is still prevalent in parts of Northern California, but it has virtually disappeared from southern parts of the state and never found a foothold elsewhere in the country. By April 24, it accounted for just 3.2% of all virus samples tested in the country as B.1.1.7 soared to 66%. “B.1.1.7 went in for the knockout, and it’s like, ‘Bye-bye, California variant,’” Andersen said. On the other side of the country, researchers reported in February that a variant called B.1.526 was spreading quickly in New York and appeared to be a formidable adversary for B.1.1.7. By February, each of those variants had grown to about 35% of the samples collected by Grubaugh’s lab in Connecticut. But B.1.1.7 came out on top. In fact, B.1.1.7 seems to have the edge over nearly every variant identified so far. At a congressional hearing Tuesday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said B.1.1.7 made up 72% of cases in the country. “We’re really seeing B.1.1.7 pushing out other variants decisively,” said Emma Hodcroft, a public health researcher at the University of Bern. The variants identified in California and New York turned out to be only moderately more contagious than older versions of the virus, and much of their initial success may have been luck. The overall boom in cases last fall amplified what might otherwise have gone undetected. It is unclear what gives B.1.1.7 an edge over the others. “Is it the greatest of all the variants? It’s just really hard to say right now,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virus expert at the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization. “We need more research to figure out more about what all of these combinations of mutations are doing.” Some answers may come from California, where researchers are staging a head-to-head competition in a lab, injecting mice with a cocktail of B.1.1.7 and six other variants. “The idea is to see which one will win out,” said Dr. Charles Chiu, a virus expert at the University of California, San Francisco, who was the first scientist to discover the California variant. In Michigan, one of the few states that saw the predicted surge in cases this spring, B.1.1.7 found a hook in younger people who were returning to schools and playing contact sports. “Because it’s more transmissible, the virus finds cracks in behavior that normally wouldn’t have been as much of a problem,” said Emily Martin, a public health researcher at the University of Michigan. But in the rest of the country, people naturally became more cautious when confronted with the horrifying toll of the virus after the holidays. B.1.1.7 is thought to be about 60% more contagious than previous forms of the virus, but its mode of spread is no different. Most states had at least partial restrictions on indoor dining and instituted mask mandates. “B.1.1.7 is more transmissible, but it can’t jump through a mask,” Hodcroft said. “So we can still stop its spread.” But other experts are still discomfited by how much the virus seems to have defied predictions. “I can’t necessarily ascribe it just to behavior,” said Sarah Cobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. Respiratory viruses sometimes go through seasonal cycles, but it is not clear why the coronavirus’s cycle would have caused it to decline in the middle of winter. “That makes me feel maybe even more ignorant,” she said. Also puzzling is why variants that pummeled other countries have not yet spread widely in the United States. B.1.351 rapidly dominated South Africa and some other African countries late last year. It was first reported in the United States on Jan. 28 but still accounts for only 1% of cases. That may be because it cannot get ahead of the fast-spreading B.1.1.7. “I think that is because it doesn’t really have much transmission advantage,” said William Hanage, a public health researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. P.1, a variant that is ravaging Brazil, got off to a slow start in the United States but is now estimated to make up more than 10% of the country’s cases. “I believe it is a matter of time before the P.1 variant becomes one of the most prevalent in the USA,” warned Dr. André Ricardo Ribas Freitas, a medical researcher at Faculdade São Leopoldo Mandic in Brazil. Still, Nels Elde, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Utah, said the events of the past four months raised questions about whether it was worth fretting over different variants, rather than focusing on the behaviors that can rein in all of them. “We’re splitting hairs between a handful of mutations here and there. We’ve lost some perspective,” he said. “It’s catnip for a curious mind.” The United States has an ample supply of powerful vaccines that make variants more an academic concern than a cause of worry for the average person. The vaccines may be slightly less effective against the variants identified in South Africa and Brazil, but they prevent severe disease from all known variants. It is not impossible the situation could worsen. Only about 35% of people in the United States have been fully immunized, and the protection from the vaccines may wane by the winter. No one knows how variants emerging in other parts of the world, like one that has come to prominence in India and is circulating at low levels in the United States, will behave here. And yet more variants will inevitably arise in places where the virus is rampant, Cobey warned: “There’s a lot of evolution to happen yet.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- Business Insider
Five of the deaths were reportedly connected to stone-throwing clashes. A sixth person had attempted to stab an Israeli soldier, Israel's army said.
With new federal guidance allowing people to ditch their masks in most places, it will be up to individuals to decide how to protect themselves now that vaccines are readily available, top U.S. health officials said on Friday. "What we're really doing is empowering individuals to make decisions about their own health," U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. "People who are unvaccinated should not be taking off their masks," Walensky told CBS News' "CBS This Morning" program.
- LA Times
A news article that pointed out actors' pandemic weight gain spurred a conversation about sizeism throughout the musical theater scene.
- Business Insider
Your Memorial Day is about to get a lot more expensive. From hot dogs to fuel, here are some of the products in short supply.
Several price hikes and product shortages could make your holiday more expensive this year. Here are some of the shortages to be aware of on vacation.
- The Independent
Joe Biden has reversed a series of executive actions issued by Donald Trump, including his plans for a monuments “garden” and an order for federal law enforcement to prosecute people who damage monuments “to the fullest extent permitted”. The former president issued his directives in the thick of his culture war grievances during antiracist demonstrations, though they did not amount to any policy changes or significant White House plans. During a speech at the foot of Mount Rushmore on the 4 July 2020, Mr Trump proposed a sculpture garden to honour “great figures of America’s history” after issuing an executive order to protect monuments from protesters – who had largely targeted Confederate statues and Jim Crow-era relics to the Lost Cause – as uprisings across the US raged against police violence and systemic racism.
- The Daily Beast
GettyDespite rolling back key guidance on coronavirus safety measures like face masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends businesses and employers consider daily symptom and temperature checks. Since COVID-19 is far from over in the United States, we must make better-informed decisions about what type of prevention practices work.And it’s time to remove practices—like checking temperatures and symptoms—that do not work.Why was fever screening implemented? Earlier in the pandemic, when the spread of COVID was not as well understood and highly accurate tests were not as readily available, it was thought that fever was a telling symptom of COVID-19. However, we now know that people can have COVID-19 with many different symptoms—or with a complete lack thereof.A scientific review of 22 peer-reviewed studies last fall found that if temperature checks were used to screen 100 people with COVID-19, between 31 and 88 of those with infection would be missed—and up to 10 people without infection would be falsely identified as possibly infected. Data from another study also suggested that temperature screening can miss over 75 percent of those with infection.To better understand why temperature checks are theater, it’s worth revisiting what a fever actually is. The origin of fever defined as a body temperature of ≥100.4°F (≥38.0°C) is commonly traced to the 1868 work by Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich, Das Verhalten der Eigenwärme in Krankheiten (The Course of Temperature in Diseases). In this context, it amounts to an increase in body temperature and can have many causes, including infection, heat exposure, auto-immune disease, stroke or heart attack, and cancer.Unlike the skin, which can be warmed or cooled by the local environment, the core body temperature, generally defined as the temperature of blood in a deep vein near the heart, is what is important to measure to determine the body’s internal environment. Prior research has suggested that infrared skin surface thermometers—the ones most visible in this era of temperature checks at the door—do not reliably predict core body temperatures.Symptom screening is also ineffective. The aforementioned review also found that if symptom screening was used on 100 people with COVID-19, the measures would deem 40 to 100 of those with infection as healthy. Data collected from an outbreak in a long-term skilled nursing facility found that when tested for COVID-19, 23 of 76 (30.3 percent) residents had positive test results, but 13 of 23 (57 percent) infected people reported they had no symptoms on the day of testing or prior.In November, the CDC published a study that assessed temperature and symptom screening efforts at U.S. airports, finding that the observed number of identified cases was 1 per 85,000 travelers screened. The authors remarked that those real-world findings were consistent with scientific models that suggest many infected travelers would be undetected by airport screening.So the case is strong that temperature and symptom checks are a weak means of preventing COVID-19 spread. And now, given the decreasing number of new infections and the rising proportion of those vaccinated, it is critically important to remove ineffective means of infection control and focus on measures that work.Currently, temperature screening is recommended federally, as well as in 22 states, and symptom screening is recommended federally as well as in 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. It might seem like as long as people are dying and getting infected, every safety measure is worthwhile. But the problem is that normal temperature and symptom screening results can create a false sense of security. Additionally, activities to conduct screening are costly in terms of staff’s time performing the checks, equipment, equipment maintenance, people’s time undergoing checks, software, and the costs of false-positive (and false-negative) results.Here’s How We Handle People Who Refuse to Get COVID VaccinesAs vaccination increases, the main driver of the continued spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. is unvaccinated people—whether because they refuse to get shots or otherwise—with asymptomatic or unrecognized infection. Vaccinated people, on the other hand, appear to be highly unlikely to contribute to the spread of new infections. Since the goal of screening measures is to keep those infectious away from those susceptible, vaccination reduces the pools of both—those infectious and those susceptible—making routine screening even less useful.In fact, if we feel we must continue screening employees, visitors, and others entering certain venues, we should be screening people for vaccination status. Some large venues, like baseball stadiums, have already begun to use vaccination status as a means for admittance to certain sections. Despite the concern by some privacy advocates—and, for very different reasons, a number of conservative politicians—over “vaccine passports,” they make a lot of scientific sense.With more evidence about the benefits and costs of various interventions, COVID-19 control activities should continue to be updated as the epidemic and control measures improve. Resources should be redirected from ineffective means of epidemic control, like temperature or symptom screening, to ones that are now proven to be useful such as ventilation, vaccination, and case-finding through targeted testing and surveillance.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Raleigh News and Observer
SC officials are thinking of incentives to persuade more people to get vaccinated.
- The Telegraph
China is holding its breath as its Zhurong rover is scheduled to be landed on Mars imminently, which will mark a significant victory for Beijing in its increasingly bold space programme. The Tianwen-1 mission, which translates as “questions to heaven”, launched in July 2020 and will be China’s first independent spacecraft to reach the red planet. The vessel entered the Martian orbit in February this year and is now preparing for its final touchdown as it approaches a vast northern lava plain known as Utopia Planitia, the Chinese Space Agency said Friday. At a press conference in March, Bao Weimin, the director of China’s Science and Technology Committee of the Aerospace Science and Technology Group, said that Tianwen-1 was orbiting at a speed of 4.8 kilometres per second and that its indicators and instruments were “working normally”.
- Associated Press
Kyle Connor scored twice and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Friday night in the regular-season finale for both teams. “It’s always good for confidence, everyone loves to score,” Connor said. Mason Appleton and Jansen Harkins, with an empty-netter, also scored and Connor Hellebuyck made 34 saves to help the Jets finish 30-23-3.
- Business Insider
Life detected on Mars might have actually originated in NASA labs, according to an Ivy League scientist
Microbes that may accidentally have been brought to the Red Planet could potentially wreak havoc, according to scientist Christopher Mason
- Business Insider
Four women who've accused Cuomo of sexual harassment have been issued subpoenas by New York attorney general
Since December, several women have come forward against Cuomo, who's repeatedly denied all allegations and refused calls to resign.