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Stimulus Package Will Test Limit of Progressive Power As Senate Fight Looms

A rise in the federal minimum wage is a key goal for progressives, but is proving contentious with Republicans who question how it could impact businesses.
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Biden's $1.9 trillion relief bill passes House, but faces Senate hurdle
The Senate parliamentarian ruled on Thursday the minimum wage hike cannot be included if Congress uses the budget reconciliation process.
South facing flood warning and severe storm threat
The Pacific Northwest will get a bit of a break in the active weather Saturday as the latest storm to drop feet of snow moves further east.
5 books not to miss: Nobel winner Kazuo Ishiguro returns, Viet Thanh Nguyen's 'The Committed'
Nobel winner Kazuo Ishiguro returns with his much-anticipated new novel "Klara and the Sun," while Viet Thanh Nguyen releases sequel "The Committed."
House passes Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package
The House of Representatives voted early Saturday morning to approve President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package, a major step toward enacting the first legislative priority of the new administration as the devastating fallout from the spread of Covid-19 has left Americans in dire need of further relief.
NCAA tournament bracketology: Brand names have big opportunities this weekend
The teams with the most to gain this weekend are the banner brands in the sport.
Florida manatees are dying in droves this year. Experts blame poor water quality, starvation.
Florida has recorded more manatee deaths this year than the first two months of 2019 and 2020 combined. Experts point to starvation and bad water.
'Strange Fruit': The history behind Billie Holiday's 'radioactive' protest song that inspired Hulu film
Get to know the story behind Billie Holiday's controversial "Strange Fruit," now the subject of Hulu biopic "The United States vs. Billie Holiday."
How Goats (And Perhaps People) Make Up Their Minds
How does a herd decide which direction to head in? Researchers put GPS collars on a gathering of goats to find out. Here's what they learned — and how it might apply to humans.
Mike Huckabee: Britney Spears case – she makes headlines but guardianship abuse too often ignored
What do a megastar singer, Britney Spears, and an elderly Alabama philanthropist, Joann Bashinsky, have in common? A whole lot more than you think.
What the NWHL-Barstool Drama Reveals About Women’s Sports
The National Women’s Hockey League distanced itself from the site’s endorsement, sparking a firestorm about how teams should build their audiences.
I Have Some New Ideas for Outdoor Dining Structures
Plastic bubbles are so 2020.
'Pokémon Go' Kanto Raid Day: Start Time, Counters and Everything You Need to Know
Trainers have a chance to get rid of Frustration from their Shadow Pokémon.
51 Famous Firsts in Space History
From catching a glimpse of the far side of the moon to the world's first space tourist, here's a look back at over 100 years of space history.
The 25 Best Fantasy Movies on Netflix, According to Critics
Netflix has plenty of movies on offer for those who want to leave the real world for a while and escape into a fantasy world of their choice.
'Dare mighty things': The man behind the secret message in the Mars rover's parachute
For the thousands of people who work on a spacecraft that journeys to Mars, the result of their efforts often remains unseen once it leaves Earth. That all changed this week when NASA's Perseverance rover returned the first-ever video of a descent through the Martian atmosphere and safe landing on the red planet.
'Dare mighty things': The man behind the secret message in the Mars rover's parachute
When NASA's Perseverance rover returned the first-ever video of a descent through the Martian atmosphere and landing on the red planet, a secret code was revealed in the parachute. Meet Ian Clark, a systems engineer at NASA who put it there to inspire people.
Best Buy, Electronics Giant, Lays Off 5,000 Employees as Online Sales Grow in Amazon Race
The electronics giant has enjoyed a boom in online sales and said it would add 2,000 part-time staff.
The Man Who Refused to Bow
adam Kinzinger is a liberated individual—liberated from his party leadership, liberated from the fear of being beaten in a primary, liberated to speak his mind. The 43-year-old representative was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump for inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol.“I don’t have a constitutional duty to defend against a guy that is a jerk and maybe says some things I don’t like,” Kinzinger told me, explaining what had pushed him to finally break with the president. “I do when he’s getting ready to destroy democracy—and we saw that culminate on January 6th.”This was the sort of language a number of Republicans used in the immediate aftermath of the riot. “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on January 13. But by the end of the month, McCarthy was traveling hat in hand to Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump.[Read: Kevin McCarthy’s pyrrhic victory]“I was really pissed—I wasn’t surprised, but I was really upset,” Kinzinger said. “And to have seen it in just such a short amount of time go from ‘Donald Trump bears blame’ to ‘I’m going to go down and kiss the ring’ because you want to win your speakership. I mean, really? It’s that important? For what?”In Kinzinger’s view, McCarthy’s Florida trip was an act of betrayal by a man who was supposed to put the interests of his own caucus—and of the country—first. “Starting about eight months ago, I noticed that he was never interested in defending [House Republicans] … He would throw us under the bus and defend Donald Trump,” he said. “And that was just more of what this is. And then [Minority Whip] Steve Scalise goes down” to Mar-a-Lago, two weeks later. One by one, most of the leaders of his party knuckled under—but not Kinzinger.“I just refuse to bow.”Kinzinger is a man on a mission; he sees politics not merely as a way to gain power but as an arena that tests character. In 2008, he watched John McCain run for president. “He said, ‘I would rather lose an election than lose a war.’ I admired that.” Inspired, Kinzinger ran for Congress in 2010, and won.Like McCain, Kinzinger served in the military before entering politics. He joined the United States Air Force in 2003 and flew missions in, among other places, Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s still a pilot, now a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard. Military service “made me a much better person in terms of being able to relate to people,” he told me.“I think any time you fight for something bigger than you, that is life-changing. I think any time you are willing to put your life on the line for something, that’s life-changing.” That belief, he continued, is “the thing that has always driven me, ever since I’ve gotten into politics.” He’s attracted to the idea of voluntary national service, because like military service it takes people from different life backgrounds and life experiences and creates bonds, mutual understanding, and greater unity.Kinzinger’s political stance—his willingness to criticize the most popular and feared figure in his party, when the overwhelming majority of his colleagues have either gone silent or defended the ex-president’s indefensible actions—can’t be understood apart from his military service.“Because we ask [service members] to die for the country, we have to be willing to do the same thing. But”—here he turned incredulous—“we’re too scared to vote for impeachment, because we’re going to lose our job? Like, seriously?”For most of Kinzinger’s colleagues, the answer is: Yes, seriously. When I asked Kinzinger how many Republican votes there would have been in favor of impeachment if it had been a secret ballot, he told me 150. Instead, there were only 10.IF MILITARY SERVICE shaped Kinzinger in some important ways, Christianity has shaped him in others. Kinzinger was raised as an independent fundamentalist Baptist until he was 20, but the experience left him alienated. “That was a really damaging, in my mind, a very damaging religion,” he said. I asked him why.[Read: Betraying your church—and your party]“The best way to put it is your salvation is by faith alone unless you do something wrong—and then you were never saved in the first place,” he said. “And by the way, we have these really strict rules that you have to follow that nobody can follow, but everybody at the church is going to act like they are and you’re the only one that isn’t.”For Kinzinger, that sort of legalism took “the joy out of Christianity.” He resolved to find something different; today, he considers himself a nondenominational Protestant. “The second part of my life has been the journey to really, truly understand what faith is,” he said.This new phase in his pilgrimage has made him less rigid. “I think as I’ve gotten older and I’ve kind of journeyed on in my faith, I understand what salvation is. I understand that Christ spent his time hanging out with sinners, not great people—and not because they were sinners but because that’s just where his compassion was.” Twenty years ago, he admitted, he had a hard time seeing how a Democrat could be a Christian; today, it’s easy for him to understand. “There are frankly roles for Christians on all sides of the aisle,” he told me. And like many Christians, Kinzinger believes the Trump years, in which so many conservative evangelicals enthusiastically embraced a man who embodies an ethic antithetical to biblical Christianity, have done untold harm to the Christian witness.“My goal is frankly to admonish the Church for the real damage it has done to Christianity,” Kinzinger said. “The thing I’m always asked, and I don’t think anybody with a straight face can answer differently—maybe they can, but—‘Do you think the reputation of Christianity is better today or five years ago?’ And I think most people would say it was better five years ago.”Kinzinger’s stance has earned him some critics. One of Trump’s fawning court pastors, Franklin Graham—the son of the prominent evangelical preacher Billy Graham—attacked the 10 Republicans who supported impeachment. “It makes you wonder what the thirty pieces of silver were that Speaker Pelosi promised for this betrayal,” Graham wrote on Facebook.“He said we took pieces of silver from Nancy Pelosi because—what?” Kinzinger asked me. “Trump is Jesus Christ? Christians have got to open their eyes and be like, ‘What is happening?’”Kinzinger’s main focus these days is on fixing the Republican Party—figuring out what went wrong and what has to be done to make it right again.I asked him whether, in retrospect, he sees warning signs about the direction the GOP was heading that he didn’t recognize at the time. “I think that the warning signs were just basically this lack of—you always assume there was a backstop of truth-telling,” he responded. “No matter how bad it got, ultimately we would defend the Constitution and tell the truth. And I don’t believe that anymore.”[Tom Nichols: The Republican party is now in its end stages]“Looking back on it,” he added, “it was so obvious. You see it in people—in a minor thing, in people like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who stoke the outrage of the day, and they can be completely on the other side of the subject that they were on six months ago and nobody calls them out on it. And you realize that if you don’t have a commitment to truth, you can get by with a lot of stuff. I think those warning signs were there.”What he never expected, he told me, was “the authoritarianism … but looking at the fact that truth doesn’t matter, anything now is possible.”But the abandonment of truth wasn’t the only factor that reshaped the GOP; the politics of fear contributed, too. In the past, there was significantly more focus on policy, Kinzinger said. But today “we feed fear. That’s all we do.”Worse, politicians are rewarded for fearmongering. “I don’t do emails like this anymore,” he explained, “but if I sent out an email that said, ‘Chip in five or 10 bucks because otherwise Nancy Pelosi’s going to burn down the entire country,’ I would raise a lot of money on it. If I send something out that says, ‘Give me five or 10 bucks because I want to present a future that’s optimistic for this country,’ I’ll raise an eighth as much.” He said both sides do it, but it’s the Republican side he can speak most authoritatively about. He added this ominous note: “By the way, fear works. And if you have a leader that speaks your fears right back at you, boy, that is the most compelling thing to get a vote.”Kinzinger is trying to break that cycle and reverse the incentive structures. He’s announced a new initiative, the Country First movement, to provide financial support to Republicans who stand against, and offer an alternative to, Trumpism.Those Republicans need to “present an optimistic view, to reinspire people,” he said, “but I think just as importantly you have to call out BS. If somebody is peddling fear, you have to call that out. It’s calling out that stuff openly and aggressively and shining light at darkness. I think that‘s part of it.”Kinzinger added that for the past four years “nobody’s heard anything against [Trump], so then when I come out and I say this stuff as aggressively as I am now, people are blown away, like ‘How dare you! He’s the messiah.’ Because nobody had said otherwise.”Leaders have to lead, he said. “For too long, we just tried to reflect back what people wanted to hear, and so they heard no alternative.” And voters, for their part, have to demand better. But he has hope that if they do, they can turn the situation around. “It took us awhile to get in, it may take us a little bit to get out, but I also don’t think Donald Trump is as inevitable as people think. But he will be if nobody speaks out.”Telling the truth, fighting fear, and putting forward a positive narrative will do a lot, but they’re not enough on their own, without structural changes. Kinzinger suggested finding media outlets that can serve as alternatives to Fox News and Newsmax. He said that think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute need to put together a policy agenda that reaches beyond the typical conservative mantra of lowering taxes. He wants to see a conservatism that aims for equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome, and that insists that children born in the inner city should have the same opportunity as those born in wealthy suburbs.“But it can’t be done under the banner of a QAnon flag [while] burning down the Capitol,” he said.I asked Kinzinger why he’s still a Republican, given that the GOP is unquestionably the party of Donald Trump. “I’m a Republican because I’ve been a Republican far longer than Donald Trump has,” he told me. “He’s a Republican usurper, and he’s a RINO [a “Republican in name only”]. I’m not going to let him take the party. So I will fight. I will fight like hell.”The six-term congressman, who was probably the House Republican fighting hardest for the integrity of the party during the whole Trump era, has just one regret: “I still wish I’d have done more and fought harder and louder. And now I’m going to make up for that during this time.”So how long are you going to give the party to recover? I asked Kinzinger.“I think we will start to see by the summer where we’re at. If 20 percent of the Republican base is ready to move on from Trump today, and it’s 25 or 30 in the summer, that’s a good trend. If in the summer it’s 18 or 20 percent, that’s a bad trend. I think summer’s check No. 1, and then, obviously, the 2022 election is check No. 2. But if that 20 percent grows to 35, 40, 45 percent, this party might be salvageable.”For now, though, Kinzinger’s verdict on the party to which he belongs is searing. “Look, this great party that I fell in love with has just destroyed lives, honestly,” he said. For many people, “politics has become their god and religion, and that bothers me because that is destroying people’s lives. My new driving passion is just to aggressively tell the truth even when nobody else does.”Kinzinger knows in a rather personal way what happens to people who allow their politics to become their religion. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that 11 members of his family, incensed by his criticisms of Donald Trump, had sent him a handwritten two-page letter, saying he had joined “the devil’s army.”“Oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to God!” they wrote. “It is now most embarrassing to us that we are related to you. You have embarrassed the Kinzinger family name!”The author of the letter was Karen Otto, Kinzinger’s cousin. According to the Times, she also sent copies to Republicans across Illinois, including other members of the state’s congressional delegation. (Kinzinger did not release the letter.)“I wanted Adam to be shunned,” she told the Times.Kinzinger told me he didn’t feel wounded by what was done to him by his family members. “I just feel sorry for them,” he said. What stood out to him was the “level of hate and anger”; it helped him “realize how deep that rot is.”“I have no desire to make up with them,” he told me. “I forgive them. I don’t hold any grudge. I don’t lose any sleep over it.”But while what happened to Kinzinger may be extreme, he is hardly alone; politics is placing stress on countless relationships among friends and family, and shattering more than a few. “Do you have any advice for people struggling to reach people they love at moments like this?” I asked. “What would you say on the interpersonal side of things? How can repair and reconciliation go forward?”“It’s a tough one,” Kinzinger conceded. “Because I say, on the one hand, try to have compassion for them; they’re brainwashed. It’s true, but I also know truthfully that if I’m talking to somebody that is saying what they’re saying and I know they’re brainwashed, it doesn’t help me look at them any better. I’m just being honest.”As we spoke, it became clear that Kinzinger was still trying to understand what’s going on beneath the anger and the hate, even as he has become its target. One clinical psychologist told me when the letter was published that Kinzinger was on the receiving end of a textbook cultlike response: remove yourself from the devil, cut the person off from the family, prove devotion to leader and mission.But Kinzinger knew that what was driving his family’s response was not only distorted thinking but also anxiety, unease, even a sense of terror. That is how the information sources they rely on are conditioning them to respond to his acts. And it’s the source of a lot of the ugliness we’re seeing play out in American politics.“All conflict arises from fear,” Kinzinger told me. “If you and I hated each other and we were arguing on Zoom, what it would come down to is because I fear something and you fear something, and that fear rises up; it creates conflict every single time. My good mentor Jamie Winship talks about this.” (Winship is a former police officer whose ministry seeks to bring peaceful solutions to high-conflict areas in the world.) “I think it’s understanding that a mom who’s down the Q rabbit hole or a dad who’s chosen Trump even over family, that to them it is a way to alleviate their fears,” Kinzinger said. “Maybe that gives you a way to humanize it.”No one can doubt Kinzinger’s courage—demonstrated in war zones, in risking his life on a city street to save a woman whose throat had been cut by an assailant, in risking his once-safe House seat, and now in forcefully calling out those in his own party who have compromised their moral principles and turned their party into a menace. But demonstrating that courage while also humanizing our politics, and even humanizing those who consider him their enemy, may be his greatest service to our nation.
Elizabeth Warren Says Filibuster Is 'Giving a Veto to Mitch McConnell' on Minimum Wage
McConnell has called the $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed by the House on Friday a "missed opportunity."
Q&A: How the scars of Flint's water crisis shook faith in Covid-19 vaccine
Mistrust in the government is nothing new for the residents of Flint, Michigan. CNN's Go There team asked readers to submit questions to correspondent Omar Jimenez about what it was like reporting in Flint.
How a religious festival turned into a massacre
CNN has been investigating reports of a massacre at Maryam Dengelat Church in Ethiopia's Tigray region where dozens of people were killed over three days of violence
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How a religious festival turned into a massacre
CNN has been investigating reports of a massacre at Maryam Dengelat Church in Ethiopia's Tigray region where dozens of people were killed over three days of violence
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Win with Super 6 on Dirrell/Davis Fight
Super Middleweight title eliminator is headliner on PBC on FOX card Saturday
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What AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are buying up: The 5G battle between US carriers just got very interesting
Big news on where AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are spending money on 5G makes clear for consumers where the future of the faster wireless service lies.     
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Win $1,000 on Michigan/Indiana with FOX Super 6
The Wolverines push for a Big Ten title and top seed in NCAA Tournament takes them to Bloomington, where Indiana is in a must-win situation
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Op-Ed: My parents are almost 80 and getting chemo. Why is it so hard for them to get the vaccine?
When the doctor told us to call the COVID vaccine hotline, we knew we were completely on our own, despite my parents' advanced age and risk factors.
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Daniel Prude died and it was ruled a homicide. So why isn't it a crime?
Attorney General Letitia James suggested the maze of state law governing use of force is tilted toward police officers.       
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Republicans sued over proxy voting in the pandemic. Now they're using it to speak at CPAC.
Nearly two dozen Republicans attending CPAC in Florida have designated a proxy to vote on their behalf, citing the "ongoing public health emergency."      
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‘WandaVision’ is making us question everything we know about Wanda’s powers
Disney Plus's "WandaVision" hints at an unseen origin story.
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Letters to the Editor: Recalling Newsom is a lazy way for Republicans to win in California
Republicans are hoping voters take their frustration out on Newsom, who has worked harder than any of them on this pandemic.
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Publix COVID-19 vaccine deal with Florida raises questions
State officials confirmed an agreement exists between the state and Publix but have not produced documentation outlining the terms of the partnership.      
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Letters to the Editor: Is police training giving cops PTSD? If so, we're all in danger
A psychologist who worked with veterans believes basic training inflicted PTSD on soldiers, and believes a similar dynamic may be at work with police.
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Von Spakovsky & Cuccinelli: Biden's immigration order – this is how policy will hide crimes, ignore victims
On his first day in the Oval Office, President Biden signed a record 17 executive orders. One of the worst – and most dangerous – was his "Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities." A more apt title would be "Providing Sanctuary for Criminal Aliens." 
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Letters to the Editor: We've provided a breeding ground for virus mutations with repeated reopenings
Our cycle of lockdowns and reopenings always keeps the coronavirus burning through the population, providing ample opportunities for new strains to emerge.
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Opinion: Tiger Woods crash wakes us up to the everyday nuisance of car culture
Readers use the Tiger Woods crash to decry the dangers of driving and the public's obsession with celebrity status.
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Pandemic Forces Family Video, America's Last Video Rental Chain, to Close Its Doors
Keith Hoogland, the company's president, thought Family Video's 700 stores had two or three years left, but the pandemic proved to be an insurmountable problem.
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The Syrians Executed the Most Deadly Chemical Weapons Attack in Generations—With U.N. Inspectors There
"Someone had launched a major chemical weapons attack on the suburbs, no more than 5 miles from his hotel. They had killed and injured scores of civilians, and perhaps more...And it happened at the precise moment when a body of U.N. experts was present in Syria to document the deed."
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Use of Sarin in Syria 'Awakened the World to a Grave Threat,' Says Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Joby Warrick
"I worry that we're entering a time where anti-democracy forces will see value in developing new kinds of chemical weapons, and—noting the disruptive impact of COVID-19—perhaps biological weapons."
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Why can’t a company unleash irrepressible undergraduates as campus guides?
Because it’s too much fun and freaks out university lawyers.
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More biking, fewer trains: Survey examines the pandemic’s effects on mobility in the D.C. region
Residents say they walk and bike more, and drive and take public transportation less.
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Vaccines Are Banishing Any Doubt About Reopening Schools
The past year of COVID-19 has been so terrible that many people struggle to imagine any return to normalcy. More than 500,000 Americans have died. The continued shutdown of schools has led to rising rates of depression and anxiety, unhealthy weight gain, and self-harm among students. Now, because of the rapid development and distribution of highly effective vaccines against COVID-19, a long period of devastation for American families—including the children who have been out of classrooms for so long—is coming to an end. Despite the amazing solution of vaccines, however, many educators, government officials, and media commentators cannot seem to permit themselves any optimism yet about when school closures and other emergency restrictions might be eased.Officials across the United States had to err on the side of caution last March and shut almost everything down, including schools. Too much about the novel coronavirus was unknown. Scientists quickly came to conclusions about which mitigation procedures worked to minimize risk. When measures including masks, physical distancing, and better ventilation were put into practice, people performing essential jobs did not get sick. But many schools remained closed. Vaccines were then rapidly developed, and are starting to be distributed more nimbly in the U.S. At this point, the end of the pandemic is not just a glimmer in our eye, but a reality coming closer and closer for countries with a brisk vaccine rollout. But the public narrative in the United States seems to still be swirling around three depressing themes: (1) alarm about more infectious variants of the coronavirus; (2) uncertainty about whether vaccines will stop asymptomatic as well as symptomatic infection; and (3) disagreement about whether schools can safely reopen when not everyone is vaccinated. Regrettably, unwarranted pessimism about the first two issues will complicate the third—despite an emerging consensus among health experts that opening schools is paramount for student learning and mental health.[Zeynep Tufekci: 5 pandemic mistakes we keep repeating]Millions of people in the U.S. have already received one of the two mRNA vaccines that have proved highly effective against the coronavirus. A one-dose adenovirus-DNA vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is on the verge of authorization. Phase 3 clinical-trial data for five other vaccines deploying different technologies show promising results. Since the peak of the third surge this winter, the number of new cases and hospitalizations has been falling dramatically across the United States. The sharpness of the decline suggests that partial immunity, likely from both natural infection and vaccinations, has started to kick in. In countries with a more rapid mass- vaccination rollout than the U.S., specifically Israel and the United Kingdom, the decline in hospitalizations and cases from vaccines has been even more precipitous.In response to that good news, skeptics point to several major variants of the virus now circulating in the world: B.1.1.7 (the “U.K. variant”), B.1.351 (the “South Africa variant”), P.1 and P.2 (the “Brazil variants”), B.1.427/B.1.429 (the “California variant”), and B.1.526 (the “New York City variant”). These variants are suspected of being more easily spread from person to person, and conflicting data leave open the possibility that some may be more dangerous to each infected individual.All of the approved vaccines and major vaccine candidates provide nearly 100 percent protection from severe COVID-19 disease that requires hospitalization or medical treatment, even when tested in countries where variants are circulating. For instance, the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine prevented 100 percent of hospitalizations and deaths across the three sites in which it was tested (the United States, Latin America, and South Africa), despite 95 percent of the viral strains in South Africa at the time being the B.1.351 variant and 69 percent of the strains in Brazil being of the P.2-variant lineage. Protection from mild disease from the variants with the current vaccines is more variable.Vaccines can work in multiple ways, most familiarly by inducing antibodies that usually provide more short-term protection or protection from mild illness. The COVID-19 vaccines also generate strong T-cell immunity, which not only is more enduring, but works against numerous parts of the virus (including different parts of the spike protein produced by the vaccine), making them more resistant to variants. The astounding protection that the vaccines provide against becoming ill from the coronavirus is likely due to generating a complex T-cell response that makes the disease less severe. In fact, re infection with variants leading to a symptomatic infection is rare following the development of T-cell immunity to an initial infection. Moreover, vaccines have been shown to generate T-cell immune responses directed against multiple regions of the virus—responses that remain potent across variants. Once vaccinated, an individual should be protected against severe disease from any variant.Despite considerable data to that effect, frequent predictions of deadly fourth waves of infection because of the variants are generating anxiety among the public, including teachers. Constant speculation that the variants will infect even people who have antibodies to the coronavirus—despite immunity being more than just a matter of antibody production—is distorting the discussion about schools.[Derek Thompson: The truth about kids, school, and COVID-19]Another problem is the frequent confusion of the idea We don’t know from the clinical trials whether COVID-19 vaccines prevent asymptomatic infection with the idea COVID-19 vaccines don’t stop transmission. Beyond the sheer biological plausibility that a vaccine-mediated immune response would block viral replication in your nose—through which you are most likely to spread the virus—as effectively as it blocks replication elsewhere in the body, researchers now have powerful data from the real-world vaccine rollout indicating that vaccination will reduce spread (from asymptomatic infection), as well as symptomatic disease. A recent article in The Lancet showed that health-care workers in the United Kingdom who were swabbed every two weeks after vaccination demonstrated an 86 percent reduction in asymptomatic infection compared with unvaccinated individuals. Other data, from health-care workers based in Israel and across the Mayo Clinic system, show a similar result: a massive reduction in both symptomatic disease and asymptomatic infection after vaccination. A study from Israel across a more general population during an early vaccine rollout confirms that 89.4 percent of infections are prevented with vaccination (including asymptomatic). In clinical trials, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 74.2 percent effective in preventing asymptomatic infection. Furthermore, nasal viral loads from post-vaccination exposures are low and likely noninfectious because of the body’s immune defenses rushing in to halt viral replication. With every passing week, vaccines will prevent more disease transmission, and our messaging can change accordingly. However, the number of stories lamenting whether vaccinated grandparents can hug their unvaccinated grandchildren speaks to our failure to absorb this data and move forward with optimism.Finally, the debate over school openings—which shouldn’t be a debate at all—does not incorporate what scientists have learned about the pandemic. Despite a wealth of data from the CDC and other countries suggesting that opening schools is safe for teachers and students with mitigation procedures applied, many districts across the country, especially on the West Coast, have failed to reopen. Oregon and California have no clear path in sight for schools to return to in-person learning. The latter has maintained more stringent and prolonged lockdowns during COVID-19 than any other state in the U.S. and, like many other places, has expressed panic regarding variants. Furthermore, most states have not told their residents that life could pivot toward normalcy for the vaccinated. Oregon teachers recently indicated that they would not return to in-person instruction even after vaccination. Continued fear-based messaging and policies in certain states are likely creating needless anxiety for students, parents, and teachers.Some parents and teachers felt strongly about keeping schools closed because everyone’s personal level of risk acceptance is different. However, as millions of Americans receive vaccines and community spread slows, we will be able to open schools while mass vaccination is under way. Overcaution and overcautious messaging kept our schools closed earlier in the pandemic, but experts and public officials need not emphasize caution when touting the incredible efficacy of the new vaccines and their ability to return life to normal. Telling people that their lives won’t change after vaccination is tantamount to telling schools to remain closed.[Elliot Haspel: The debate school safety is no longer relevant]At this point in the pandemic, Americans know how to keep businesses and schools safe for reopening, and we have highly effective vaccines that protect against severe disease, even from variants of the virus. Children and their families have suffered enormous collateral damage from the failure to open schools. Data point after data point shows that countries with a rapid vaccine rollout are seeing the expected, but still thrilling, decline in cases and hospitalizations. Fear was warranted at the outset by the severity of infection that can occur with COVID-19, and fear dies slowly. But public-health messengers and Americans as a whole must allow remarkable scientific progress to help assuage the misery of the pandemic. At this point, the power of these vaccines is undimmed by variants, and Americans, their public officials, and especially their schools must allow this optimism to now dominate.
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Former NBA star Pau Gasol is determined to help others after retiring from the game
Pau Gasol is back playing basketball after announcing his signing with FC Barcelona. It's been a long journey for the former NBA All-Star, who hasn't played professionally since 2019 due to injuries -- and the NBA champion is thinking about life after hoops.
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Former NBA star Pau Gasol is determined to help others after retirement
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Former NBA star Pau Gasol is determined to help others after retiring from the game
Pau Gasol is back in professional basketball after announcing his intent to rejoin the team that launched his career, FC Barcelona.
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Hannity urges GOP to stop 'infighting,' unite as conservatives: 'Enough enemies in your life'
Sean Hannity on Friday urged Republican lawmakers to stop fighting with each other and focus on the conservative principles that unite them. 
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Former NBA star Pau Gasol is determined to help people
Former NBA star and new Barcelona player Pau Gasol is determined to help people through his foundation.
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Netflix’s Biggie Doc Is a Literal “Puff” Piece
I Got a Story to Tell breaks one of the rapper’s own commandments.
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These Two Democrats Voted No on $1,400 Stimulus Checks
The new COVID-19 stimulus package is worth $1.9 trillion and contains a provision to raise the minimum wage.
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