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Jan 05, 2022
Covid cases continue to balloon across the U.S., smashing records with no end in sight. A federal judge has blocked the Navy from taking action against 35 sailors who have refused vaccination on religious grounds. November jobs data is in, and America has a record-breaking number of quitters on its hands. And on the East Coast, a huge winter storm led to a highway crisis that left hundreds stranded. All this and more in today’s Presidential Daily Brief.
1 - Peak Still to Come
U.S. records highest number of new cases in one day ever, globally
Monday saw 1,080,211 new cases for the United States, and experts still project cases peaking weeks from now. The highly contagious Omicron variant is driving “almost a vertical increase” in cases, according to U.S. pandemic advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. Hospitalizations and deaths have not surged as rapidly as they have in past waves, but they’re still ticking up steadily. More than 103,000 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, which is the highest since September’s wave. Concerningly, children’s hospitalizations have been rising as well. 8,652 Americans have died of COVID-19 in the past week. (Source: BBC)
2 - Judge at Sea
The Navy can’t act against its sailors who refuse vaccination
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas granted a preliminary injunction that prevents the Navy from taking action against 35 sailors who have refused the Navy’s vaccine mandate on religious grounds. Over 98.5% of active and reserve Navy members have been fully vaccinated. O’Connor, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, wrote that the 35 sailors have a right to refuse vaccination on religious and First Amendment grounds. Early in the pandemic, the Navy dealt with a critical COVID-19 outbreak that infected hundreds on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier. Ever since, they have avoided any more major disruptions. (Source: ABC News)
3 - Quitters Never Win? Think Again
November data shows workers are still moving around more than ever
Newly released government data shows that 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in November, a record-setting number. That brings the U.S. national quit rate to 3%, although it’s higher in food service and retail where the rates are 6.9% and 4.4%, respectively. But don’t call it another part of the Great Resignation -- 6.7 million people were hired in November as well, indicating that many people aren’t quitting the labor force altogether, but instead simply switching jobs. Add to that over 10 million job openings in November, and it seems the job market is looking great for workers. (Source: Axios)
4 - Stranded by Storms
Virginia motorists on I-95 stranded overnight after a multi-car pileup
The first mid-Atlantic storm of this season hit the east coast, covering Virginia in over a foot of snow. A 50-mile chunk of Interstate 95 in the state was at a total standstill for almost 30 hours after multiple vehicles crashed on the roadway. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, who had been commuting into Washington, D.C., was one of hundreds stuck on the road. Some decided to abandon their vehicles, while others ran out of gas and weathered the cold, hunger and thirst for the 27 hour stretch. (Source: NBC News)
5 - Briefly
Here are some things you should know about today:
Albany district attorney will not prosecute former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo was charged with a misdemeanor sex crime of forcible touching. (Source: CNN) The CDC now recommends that those who received the Pfizer vaccine should receive a booster shot after five months. The FDA recommended shortening the waiting period from six to five months given the highly transmissible omicron variant. (Source: NPR)
Watch Adam Grant
As He Shares Tips On How to Get Through the Pandemic With Good Energy
1 - New Year, New Win
The first ever Cambodian American mayor takes office in Lowell, MA
Sokhary Chau is also the first Asian American mayor for the town of Lowell, Massachusetts. Chau, previously a city councilor, was unanimously picked by his council colleagues to head the legislative body. His family fled Cambodia when he was nine after his father died at the hands of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, leaving his mother to navigate “landmines, jungles, hunger, sickness and uncertainty” to bring her family to America. Chau’s election comes after a federal voting rights lawsuit made the city change its election process, which the lawsuit alleged violated the voting rights of minority residents. (Source: NPR)
2 - Help Wanted!
A mom running out of time takes her daughter’s dating life into her own hands
Beth Davis, 61, is fighting breast cancer for the second time after beating it in 2004. Her diagnosis is grim, as the cancer has already spread to her bones. With the help of Ibrance tablets, she hopes to live at least two more years, and she has one main goal during that time: finding her daughter, Molly Davis, 30, a man. Beth bought a 47-foot-by-25-foot billboard in Times Square advertising her daughter’s dating profile to the world with the caption “Date my daughter”. Beth hopes that if the gimmick works, she can be there to witness her daughter’s wedding. (Sources: TheHill, NYPost)
3 - Bad News for… News
New data shows that the news is declining in popularity
Looking back, 2020 was a perfect firestorm of political drama and pandemic panic that kept people worldwide glued to the news. 2021, though, apparently didn’t match up. New data shows that social media engagement with news articles was down about 65% from 2020 to 2021, cable news primetime viewers across Fox News, CNN and MSNBC fell by 36%, and news media app downloads dropped by 33%. And these aggregate yearly numbers would be even more stark if not for the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, which boosted news traffic globally for that month. (Source: Axios)
4 - No, not RedWolves
Washington’s NFL Team has yet to settle on a new name
After decades of resistance to the team’s old, racist team name and mascot, Washington’s NFL team dropped its name in July 2020, opting to just play under the name Washington Football Team. Now, team president Jason Wright has announced that a new name will be unveiled on February 2nd, and it won’t be the Wolves or RedWolves. Both those names were popular with Washington fans, but they are trademarks held by other organizations. Finalists in the running include Commanders, Admirals, Armada, Brigade, Sentinels, Defenders, Presidents and Red Hogs. (Source: AP)
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