The Wider World

Increase in COVID cases falling

THE INCREASE in new coronavirus cases worldwide is only half of what it was the previous week (Shutterstock).

New cases of coronavirus – principally of the Omicron variant – worldwide rose by 25 percent over past week. However, that’s a sort of good news.

According to United Press International, even bigger increases were reported in India and Brazil.  But across the planet, new cases increased only half as fast as in the previous week.

On Thursday, 3.3 million new cases were tallied, but that number fell to 2.4 million. However, deaths increased 10 percent this week, compared to 1 percent the week before.

The U.S. continues to lead the world with over 66 million cases and 873,000 deaths.

Numbers are now generally declining in Europe, South Africa and Australia, where the Omicron variant first took hold.

Hostage-taker killed after standoff

Police stormed a synagogue Saturday night in Colleyville, Texas and the hostage-taker was fatally shot after holding four people prisoner for 10 hours.

According to the Associated Press, the man was identified as Malik Faisal Akram, a British national who was reportedly demanding the release of a Pakistani scientist who had been convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers.

Akram was armed with a handgun he had purchased privately, said police. He also claimed to have explosives.

Sports: 49ers, Bucs, Chiefs post wild card wins

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs each posted wins in Wild Card Weekend NFL games on Sunday.

Tom Brady passed for two touchdowns for the defending league champs, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 31-15 to advance to the Divisional Round next weekend.

With a dramatic but a somewhat confusing last play, the San Francisco 49ers outlasted the Dallas Cowboys 23-17. The Niners built up a 17-0 lead and survived a late surge by the home team. Key plays were a 26-yard scoring run by Deebo Samuel after Dak Prescott threw an interception, and how –in the final seconds – Dallas was unable to get a play off before time ran out.

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 in what will almost certainly be the last game for Steeles’ QB Ben Roethlisberger. Patrick Mahomes passed for 404 yards and five touchdowns for the winners.

In the Divisional Round, it’ll be the Bengals vs. the Titans, and the Packers vs. the 49ers on Saturday, Jan. 22. On Sunday, it’ll be the Buccaneers vs. the winner of Monday’s Rams-Cardinals game, along with the Bills against the Chiefs.

Weather: Wait until Thursday

It’s been cloudy for the past few days, but if you can wait until Thursday, the sunshine will be back. The forecast for the West Orange County area is for a high of 65 (overnight low of 55) under cloudy skies on Monday. The sun will start to break through a bit on Tuesday and even more on Wednesday, but old Sol will really return on Thursday with a daytime high of 77 (49). The thermometer will rise to 79 by next Sunday with more sun.

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