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In The News… COVID, Ukraine, national & local news notes

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

COVID

Federal court judge ruled mandatory mask mandate on transportation venues is unconstitutional – for the most part now masks are optional.

CDC says it has asked the DOJ to appeal the rule on masks – many feel that it is a legal test to assure public health over courts. They could get a worse ruling if they lose.

Greece lifts most remaining virus measures.

In Washington, DC, among 397 hospitalized children, 87% were unvaccinated, 30% had no underlying conditions, and 19% were admitted to ICUs. Non-Hispanic Black children made up the largest group of unvaccinated children, at 34%, and they accounted for about one-third of Covid hospitalizations. Children with diabetes and obesity were more likely to experience severe Covid. The researchers also note that as of March 5, only 32% of children in this age group had completed their primary vaccination series. “The potential for serious illness among children aged 5–11 years … highlights the importance of vaccination,” they write.

Gov. Dewine of Ohio is positive. He is 75 and has moderate symptoms and being treated with MAB. His wife tests negative. He is vaccinated and boosted.

2 new COVID variants are the two spreading in NYC and several other states/cities

Moderna has announced a booster shot that includes the original Moderna vaccine plus one directed at the beta variant protects well against a range of coronavirus variants, a new company study has found.

The CDC has started a Center for Forecasting and Outbreaking Analysis – https://www.cdc.gov/forecast-outbreak-analysis/index.html

Boosters for children 5-12 may be approved shortly.

UConn has returned to mask mandate

Howard University has switched to remote due to uptick in cases on campus and in the community.

Masks for children in schools in NYC are still in place.

Covid-19 has meant near-isolation for millions of people immunocompromised by cancer or other conditions who haven’t produced adequate — or any — antibodies from the Covid vaccines. But researchers at the University Hospital Tübingen are designing a vaccine to elicit a deeper T cell response than the currently approved vaccines by targeting several key points on viral proteins — epitopes — that are good at stirring up immune T cells. The researchers, who presented early clinical data at the American Association of Cancer Research conference yesterday, said they hoped their approach would protect immunocompromised patients from Covid, even if they still cannot make antibodies.

FDA authorizes a COVID breath-test.

Disney has now made face masks optional.

The UK has a new, 6th vaccine.

44 Chinese cities under full or partial lockdown – Shanghai has opened up somewhat. There are 3 types of lockdowns when they happen – some allowing people to leave their home to their immediate area – some allowing people to roam their neighbors, but shops and businesses remain closed.

Dr. Jha on people with vaccine hesitancy: “This is certainly not the time to write-off people. You talk to them – and you listen.”

A 2nd Global COVID summit will be held in DC in May.

Pandemic school free lunch program will end.

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Putin on Russian TV (3amET, April 21) proclaims victory in Mariupol – no need to storm the steel plant, he’s moving on to other areas.

Severe hepatitis outbreak in children in Alabama – researchers are looking into relationship with COVID.

The Correspondents’ Dinner in DC will be held on April 30th, hosted by Trevor Noah, and the president is expected to attend.

Netflix has plummeted in value and participation since its restrictions on use of sharing memberships went into place.

DISNEY: Florida lawmakers voted to dissolve special self-governing status given to Disney decades ago as the company feuds with Republicans over controversial parental rights bill.

North Korea says it has tested a new guided weapon designed to improve nuclear capabilities.

Over 100 people who graduated from a school in New Jersey have had rare brain tumors. Some believe ionized radiation coming from a landfill in the area – part of The Manhattan Project – a secret military lab involved in the making of atomic bombs may be involved.

Elon Musk has made a leveraged move to buy all of Twitter, and restore its freedom of speech.

Adults in New Jersey will be able to legally purchase recreational marijuana this week (Thursday)

The UK will fly immigrants trying to come into England to Rwanda for processing.

Amazon.com Inc. will levy a 5% fuel and inflation fee on online merchants that use its shipping

Cruise ships & ferries in Estonia and other countries turned into temporary shelters, largely for women and children from Ukraine. Children play throughout the ship, attend remote classes – with a system of dining at the buffets, doing laundry, etc.

The Pope referred to “the Easter of War” in his Easter morning address to the world, which called for an end to war.

The GOP withdrew from the Commission on Presidential Debates – this is the beginning of a revamping of how Presidential debates will be done – some ideas are ‘no moderator’, debate clocks allowing candidates to speak freely with cutoff times, etc. 

US is moving to require USA-made steel for infrastructure projects.

Queen Elizabeth turns 96 April 21, 2022

Hospitals are charging 2 to 7 times the cost of cancer drugs to patients – a study finds.

Amazon will undergo a racial equity audit with former AG Loretta Lynch.

Tesla is now offering its own insurance, based on the specialty auto’s data.

RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY

COVID

RI has moved from low to medium COVID risk.

RIDOH is moving away from reporting percent positive on our COVID-19 data hub – largely because most people test themselves at home and do not report the results.

150,000 tourists are expected to return to Newport this summer.

Red Sox catcher and two staffers test positive for COVID

Viola Davis is being highly criticized for her portrayal of Michelle Obama in The First Ladies.

Tim Babineau, head of Lifespan is resigning at the end of May. A renewed merger with Care New England has surfaced, and the RI AG has opposed this action.

A raccoon tested positive for rabies in East Providence

Media reporting Providence Restaurant North – and Big King – closing.

This week the Veterans Administration in Providence opened a Hemodialysis Center.

In 18 states, the number of homeschooling students increased by 63% in the 2020-2021 school year, then fell by only 17% in the 2021-2022 school year.

Average age of current marijuana purchasers is 56 years old in RI.

In this week’s jobs report, RI’s unemployment rate has fallen below the national unemployment rate for the first time since February 2021.

Jasiel Correia reports to jail on Friday; the judge saying no to a request for a delay in going to jail.

RIPTA says it paid hackers $170K in ransom money after massive data breach

Boston Mayor Wu proposing a 1% cut to police budget for upcoming fiscal year

Twin River employees sue over overtime pay.

Twin River considering banning smoking throughout property

Jessica de la Cruz stopped her campaign for District 2 and now supports Allan Fung for Congress.

Tickets for Newport Jazz Festival are now on sale.

Robert Ballard, ocean floor explorer, will give URI commencement address.

The Park Cinema comedy club will launch on May 14th in Cranston.

The RI Sailing Museum will open in Newport on May 7th.

Republican candidate for Governor, Ashley Kalus, has begun the political advertising season by purchasing the first TV ad, selecting WPRI.

The somewhat controversial License Plate Reader System captured the autos containing 2 individuals suspected of shooting into the Dyer Avenue apartment incident. Their plates were read in the Route 10 area of Cranston/Providence.

Rachael S. Rollins, the US Attorney for Massachusetts, will speak at the Roger Williams University School of Law commencement.

Mental health emergency for children in RI – Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Bradley Hospital and others have called on the state to recognize the state of emergency in children’s mental health, noting 15% of RI high school students report they attempted suicide one or more times in the past 12 months. Also noting skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety, and trauma.

On April 7th, the Rhode Island Health and Educational Building Corporation (RIHEBC) closed on a $70.95 million bond issue for Achievement First Rhode Island. Proceeds will be used by Achievement First to:

·        Purchase and renovate the Achievement First Iluminar Mayoral Academy Elementary School building and property (85 Garfield Ave, Cranston). Improvements will include building an addition with a new gym and additional enrichment classroom space. 

·        Acquire and renovate a permanent home for Achievement First Providence High School (currently incubating at 315 Laurel Hill Ave, Providence), for students entering from AF middle schools.

·        Refund 2019 RIHEBC bonds issued on behalf of Achievement First, which were used for the initial renovation at 85 Garfield, and for improvements at AF Providence Elementary and Middle Schools

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Passings of note:

Kathryn Hayes, 87, one of the long time stars of As the World Turns and Star Trek on television.

Dede Robertson, 94, wife of evangelist Pat Robertson

Liz Sheridan, 93, who played Seinfeld’s mother