Team USA snagged their first gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. And the Biden administration denounced Florida’s proposed “Don’t Say Gay” bill for schools.
👋 It’s Laura here! I’d never heard of snowboardcross until today. It’s Wednesday! Here’s the news.
But first, lions, kangaroos and bears, oh my! 🐻 You gotta check these pictures out. the best wildlife photos of the year by folks from all around the world.
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Mask mandates coming down
New York state will end a mandate requiring face coverings in most indoor public settings but will keep school masking rules in place, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday. New York is the latest in a long line of states to roll back mask mandates amid a decline in daily infection and hospitalization numbers. Later in the day, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said his state will follow a similar path, joining the ranks of fellow Democratic governors in rescinding some mandates as COVID-19 cases drop rapidly across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday it continues to recommend masking in areas of substantial transmission – most of the nation.
Team USA snags its first gold of the Games
Team USA finally earned its first gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Lindsey Jacobellis, competing in her fifth Winter Games, won gold in the snowboardcross competition Wednesday. Her previous best finish was winning silver at the 2006 Olympics. Another stunning mistake took American skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin out of contention for a medal in her second consecutive event at the Olympics. Shaun White and Chloe Kim advanced to the finals of the men’s and women’s halfpipe competitions. White, a three-time gold medalist in the event, is competing in his final Games. Freeskier Colby Stevenson soared onto the podium in the men’s big air competition. Looking for a recap of Tuesday’s events? We’ve got you covered.
What everyone’s talking about
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Biden slams Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill as ‘hateful’
The Biden administration denounced a bill advanced by Florida Republicans that would ban the discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools. The bill says teachers “may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in primary schools “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” It doesn’t offer definitions on what would be appropriate. On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis voiced his support for the bill. Conservative advocates argued the bill would advance “parental rights in education” by allowing parents to sue public schools discussing LGBTQ issues. Opponents said the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation would create a more hostile environment for LGBTQ students. Biden voiced his disapproval in a tweet, saying he wants “every member of the LGBTQI+ community – especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill – to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are.”
National Archives gets its records back from Trump
Breaking up is hard to do. Whether it’s a cardigan or your favorite record, things are bound to get lost in the shuffle. When President Donald Trump left office in 2021, he took 15 boxes of stuff back to Mar-a-Lago with him that he shouldn’t have. Last month, the National Archives took those boxes back. Keeping the boxes of records at Mar-a-Lago violated the Presidential Records Act, which requires the government to keep all documents and communications related to a president’s or vice president’s official duties. Trump’s representatives continue to search for additional records that belong to the National Archives, the agency said. Trump advisers told The Washington Post that they deny “any nefarious intent” and that the 15 boxes contained “mementos, gifts, letters from world leaders and other correspondence.”
You’re more likely to die from COVID-19 in the US than other wealthy nations
Although the omicron variant of the coronavirus appears less likely to cause severe disease compared with previous dominating strains, the USA is still experiencing more COVID-19 deaths than at any other point in the pandemic. The US case fatality rate – the ratio between confirmed deaths and confirmed cases – has decreased from 1.63% since the height of the delta wave on Sept. 1 to 1.18% as of Feb. 6, according to Our World in Data. Although the country’s case fatality rate during the delta wave was below other high-income countries, it’s now among the highest. Health experts worry the USA may be falling behind the progress against the virus made by other countries. Low vaccination and booster rates, lack of testing and consequences from an imperfect health system have stunted US progress in the pandemic, leading to more COVID-19 deaths and a higher case fatality rate, health experts say. Read more here.
A break from the news
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism