Harry Reid, who rose from abject poverty in rural Nevada to become one of the most influential state and national leaders, died at home on Tuesday after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 82.
In a statement, Reid’s wife of 62 years, Landra, described her husband as a “devout family man and deeply loyal friend” and said he passed away peacefully surrounded by family.
Reid was thought to be nearing the end of his life when he underwent surgery in 2018 for pancreatic cancer, which has one of the lowest survival rates. Last summer, however, Reid announced that he underwent an experimental surgery and was declared in “complete remission” and cancer-free.
“We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support from so many over these past few years,” Landra Reid said. “We are especially grateful for the doctors and nurses that cared for him. Please know that meant the world to him.”
New York Times: Covid Live Updates: U.S. Daily Record for Cases Is Broken (story by Ron DePasquale)
The U.S. record for daily coronavirus cases has been broken, as two highly contagious variants — Delta and Omicron — have converged to disrupt holiday travel and gatherings, deplete hospital staffs and plunge the United States into another long winter.
As a third year of the pandemic loomed, the seven-day average of U.S. cases topped 267,000 on Tuesday, according to a New York Times database.
The record came just a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the number of days that infected Americans should remain isolated to five days, from 10. The C.D.C. changed course as Omicron’s rapid spread has worsened a labor shortage, upending the hospitality, medical and travel industries, among others. The agency did not recommend rapid testing before people left isolation and experts warned that omission risked seeding new cases and heaping even more pressure on already overburdened health systems.
Guardian: CDC drastically drops estimate of US Omicron cases by Edward Helmore
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised down its estimates for US infection by the Omicron variant, stating it accounts for approximately 59% of all Covid cases in the US, not 73% as it previously said.
Nevertheless, the figures issued Tuesday indicates that Omicron is spreading rapidly in the US, growing from a revised estimate of 23% of cases as of 18 December. The correction shows that until the week before Christmas, the Delta variant remained dominant.
“Setting aside the question of how the initial estimate was so inaccurate, if CDC’s new estimate of #Omicron prevalence is precise then it suggests that a good portion of the current hospitalizations we’re seeing from Covid may still be driven by Delta infections,” Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, posted on Twitter.
Washington Post: Navy site that leaked fuel into water system a ‘time bomb’ that must be emptied, Hawaii official says by Alex Horton
The fuel storage facility at the heart of the water contamination fiasco at Pearl Harbor is a “ticking time bomb” that the U.S. military is unable to manage, David Day, Hawaii’s deputy attorney general, said Monday, upholding a state emergency order compelling the Navy to empty massive storage tanks and make needed repairs.
A November leak of 14,000 gallons of jet fuel
at the long-troubled Red Hill underground fuel-storage facility contaminated a Navy-operated well, sickening scores of people and driving about 3,500 military families from their homes.
The Hawaii Department of Health on Dec. 6 ordered the Navy to suspend operations at Red Hill, which officials have described as the most important fuel depot in the Pacific. The Navy fought the order, saying in testimony last week that its decision to pause operations, rush water-filtration systems to the island and investigate the leak was an adequate response.
BBC News: Covid: Europe sees record virus case rise
France has reported Europe's highest ever number of new daily Covid cases as countries across the continent struggle to contain the Omicron variant.
But France, with its 179,807 cases on Tuesday, was not alone in breaking records, as Italy, Greece, Portugal and England all reported record highs too.
The figures could be due in part to reporting delays over Christmas.
Countries had been reporting rises running up the festive period, driven by the more contagious Omicron variant.
Studies suggest it is milder than Delta, with a 30% to 70% lower chance of infected people ending up in hospital. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that a surge in cases across Europe will push health systems towards the brink of collapse.
According to the WHO's weekly Covid update published on Tuesday, the number of new Covid infections grew by 57% in Europe in the week before 26 December, and by 30% in the Americas region.
DW: Hong Kong: Police arrest 6 over 'seditious publications'
Police in Hong Kong arrested six senior current and former staff members of an online media organization, authorities said on Wednesday morning.
The six have been arrested for "conspiracy to publish seditious publications," the government added in a press release.
In a Wednesday press release, Hong Kong police said that they had conducted a search against an "online media company," deploying over "200 uniformed and plainclothes police officers."
The official police statement did not identify those who were arrested but said they were three men and three women.
Hong Kong broadcaster TVB said the six are current or former staff from pro-democracy news website Stand News.
DW correspondent Phoebe Kong said officers of the Hong Kong police's national security department searched the home of Hong Kong Journalists Association chairman Ronson Chan.
Reuters: South Africa recalls new isolation and quarantine rules
JOHANNESBURG, Dec 28 (Reuters) - South Africa has recalled rules that no longer required people without symptoms of COVID-19 to isolate or test if they have been in contact with a positive case, the government announced on Tuesday, saying an amended circular will be re-issued.
Last week the health ministry said that asymptomatic individuals who had been in contact with a case of COVID-19 no longer had to isolate but should monitor for symptoms for 5-7 days and avoid attending large gatherings.
It had added that only those people who developed symptoms needed to get tested and that those with mild symptoms should isolate for eight days and severe cases for 10 days.
It had also revised protocols on quarantine, saying all quarantine facilities outside the home would be stopped, while contact tracing efforts would also be scrapped aside from in specific scenarios such as cluster outbreaks.
AlJazeera: Lawyer says Salvadoran gov’t quashed probe of gang pact: Reuters
A former senior Salvadoran anti-corruption prosecutor said President Nayib Bukele’s government shut down his unit’s investigation into its alleged negotiations with violent street gangs to help expand its power, as the United States steps up pressure on the Central American country over those talks.
German Arriaza, who headed an anti-corruption unit within the Attorney General’s Office, said his team compiled documentary and photographic evidence that Bukele’s government struck a deal with the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 gangs in 2019 to reduce murder rates and help the ruling New Ideas party win legislative elections in February.
Arriaza’s comments mark the first time a former Salvadoran official has publicly accused the Bukele government of making a deal with the gangs, which have plagued the country with often brutal murders and extortions for at least two decades. The ending of Arriaza’s investigation and his flight abroad have not been reported before.
On December 8, the US Department of the Treasury also claimed the talks took place and imposed sanctions on two Salvadoran government officials it said led them, as part of a series of similar actions to mark a democracy summit hosted by President Joe Biden.
Everyone have a good evening.