CORONAVIRUS: Lots of coronavirus milestones were just crossed. In the US, there have now been more than 50 million infections, and 800,000 people have died of the virus. More than three-quarters of those deaths came from people over the age of 65. And since it’s also been exactly one year since the first covid vaccines were administered in the US, that means hundreds of thousands of Americans (the vast majority of whom were unvaccinated) died while vaccines were widely available - meaning they were “preventable.” In some good news: Pfizer’s covid pill helps protect against severe disease, even from the Omicron variant. If given within 3 days of the onset of symptoms, the pill cuts the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent. Pfizer’s chief exec said it could be a “critical tool to help quell the pandemic.”
PEOPLE: The death toll from the tornado outbreak now stands at 88, with 74 of those deaths coming from Kentucky. The state’s governor said the toll could grow as authorities continue to search the debris for missing people. This comes as state and local officials say it could take years for some of the hardest-hit areas to fully recover. Meanwhile, a fuel tanker just exploded in northern Haiti, killing at least 50 people. The vehicle was reportedly involved in an accident, and the victims had been trying to gather leaking fuel when it ignited. Stay tuned. And in other news, Canada has pledged up to $40 billion in compensation for Indigenous kids and families who suffered discrimination while in foster care.
COURT: Over the past couple of years, Prez Alexander Lukashenko has gotten a lot of international backlash for allegedly rigging an election and cracking down on dissidents. Incluuuuuding activist Sergei Tikhanovsky, who planned to run against Lukashenko in Belarusian elections last year…and was arrested before the vote. Fast forward to this week, and a court just convicted Tikhanovsky on charges of organizing mass unrest and inciting social hatred. Then sentenced him to 18 years in prison. Tension, high. In other news, everyone’s talking about Donald Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy. When Prez Biden took office, he scrapped the policy, but a court ruling forced him to reinstate it. So Biden tried to get rid of the policy a second time - a bid that was just knocked down by a US appeals court.