The Wider World

Biden’s plan to fight omicron

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN speaking on his plan to guard against the omicron variant of the coronavirus (White House).

Vowing to “fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion,” President Joe Biden on Thursday outlined a plan to deal with the potential threat of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The new strategy involves the creation of family-oriented vaccination sites, booster shots for all adults, free at-home tests and requirements that international travelers be tested for COVID-19, according to The New York Times.

Omicron is the latest mutation from the original version of the virus and some virologists have expressed concerns that it may be more highly transmissible that earlier variants, or may be more resistant to the protections offered by vaccines. However, they also concede that neither premise is confirmed and more testing and research is needed.

Additionally, according to USA Today, the requirement that masks be worn in airplanes, trains and public transit will be extended to March 18, and requiring private health insurance companies pay all the cost of at-home coronavirus tests.

Good and not-too bad jobless stats

Although new filings for unemployment benefits last week showed an increase over the previous week’s numbers, the overall picture looks bright, according to United Press International.

The Labor Department stated in its weekly report that there were 222,000 new filings last week, up from 194,000 the previous week. But that number was the lowest for any week since 1969 and far below the “final week of the pre-pandemic era,” with 256,000 filings in March 2020.

The good employment numbers were given credit for a strong day on Wall Street.

Sports: A replacement for Brian Kelly?

Just a day after Brian Kelly announced he was leaving his head football coaching post at Notre Dame to take over the job at LSU, the Fighting Irish have already identified a successor.

That’s what Sports Illustrated is reporting, stating that defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman will be offered the job. So far this season, Notre Dame is 11th in the nation in scoring defense.

  • Three present and former players for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been suspended by the NFL for allegedly misrepresenting their coronavirus vaccination status. Suspended without pay for the next three games are wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Mike Edwards. John Franklin, now a free agent, is ineligible to pay in the next three games for any NFL team.

Weather: Cool it this weekend

Residents and visitors of West Orange County who appreciate cool weather can enjoy the next few days. The forecast for Friday is a daytime high of 88 (overnight low of 52), followed by 65 (49) on Saturday and 66 (51) on Sunday. In the coastal areas of Huntington Beach, the forecast is similar but a few degrees cooler. There will be partly cloudy skies all across Orange County.

Finance: Markets bounce back big

After two days of bear, the major stock exchanges turned bullish on Thursday, posting strong gains at the closing bells. The S&P 500 rose 64.06 points (1.42 percent) to 4,577.10. The Dow jumped 617.75 points (1.82 percent) to 34,639.79. The Nasdaq showed a rise of 127.27 points (0.83 percent to 15,381.32.


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