The Wider World

Kids under 5 hit hard by virus

OMICRON is shown to be fast-moving, but three studies have suggested it may not be as dangerous. However, kids under 5 are not eligible for the vaccine, and the numbers becoming infected are growing (Shutterstock).

They’re too young for the vaccine, but they’re filling up hospitals at an alarming rate.

The Associated Press is reporting that hospitalizations of children under age 5 are increasing rapidly, quoting data released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Omicron, the highly contagious variant of the coronavirus, is the cause of the surge, say public health officials. The hospitalization rates for that group has risen to more than four in 100,000 children now, from 2.5 per 100,000 children in December. That compares to one per 100,000 in the 5-17 age group where there is eligibility for vaccination.

The best response, says the CDCP is for older children and adults to get inoculated to prevent spreading the virus to the youngest group.

Life sentences for killers of Ahmaud Arbery

AHMAUD ARBERY

Three white men convicted of the 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, were sentenced to life in prison Friday by a judge in Georgia.

According to United Press International, Travis McMichael, 35, and his father Greg McMichael, 66, each received a sentence of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole. A third defendant, William Bryan, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

The three were involved in the pursuit and killing of Arbery to make a “citizen’s arrest” because they believed that he was the source of break-ins in the area.

Sports: Lakers starting to heat up

With a 124-118 win over the Atlanta Hawks Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers won their fourth straight game to move into a playoff position. LeBron James scored 32 points to lead the team. Malik Monk added 29 and Avery Bradley 21.

The Lakers are now 21-19 with a winning percentage of .525. Headed in the opposite direction are the Los Angeles Clippers with a 19-20 mark and two losses in a row. The top six teams in each conference make the post-season; the Lakers are now in sixth and the Clips in eighth.

Weather: Down and up and down …

If you like a little variety in your climate, you’ll appreciate the forecast for the West Orange County area for the next few days. Under partly cloudy skies, Saturday’s daytime high is expected to be a chilly 64, with an overnight low of 46. But on Sunday, the thermometer should warm to a summer-like 72 (51). Monday will cool to 69, and then heat up to 76 on Tuesday. And so on.

Business/Finance: A mixed report on labor

Deflated by a partially disappointing jobs report, Wall Street went into retreat on Friday, with all three major stock exchanges finishing the week in the red. The S&P 500 dropped 19.02 points to 4,677.03 and the Dow declined 4.81 points at closing to finish at 36,231.66. Nasdaq took the biggest beating, losing 144.96 points to close its worst week since February 2021.

The report from the Labor Department on the job situation was a letdown for those investors who expected that 400,000 people were added to payrolls in December 2021. Instead, the count came in at 199,000. On the other hand, unemployment dropped to 3.9 percent.

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