5 things to know for Dec. 16: Covid, software, Biden, condo collapse, extreme weather

5 things to know for Dec. 16: Covid, software, Biden, condo collapse, extreme weather

If the metaverse actually does become widely accepted, what will we wear in it? Industry leaders are looking forward into our “digital fashion” future.

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1. Coronavirus

Medical experts in the US are bracing for a trio of threats this winter: The arrival of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the continued onslaught of the Delta variant, and a slow resurgence of the flu. Flu and Covid-19 cases are already rising across the country, and the CDC predicts between 837,000 and 845,000 people will have died by January 8. Some colleges are moving classes and tests back online in preparation for worsening case numbers and the fast-spreading Omicron variant. Federal health officials say they’re ready for Omicron — and people should be fine if they get vaccinated and boosted. Meanwhile, the CDC’s vaccine advisers are set to meet today to revisit recommendations about the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. While the intended outcome of the meeting isn’t clear, advisers could decide to limit who’s recommended to get J&J’s single-dose vaccine.

2. Cybersecurity

Hackers linked with the governments of China, Iran, North Korea and Turkey are exploiting a critical flaw in a software used by big tech firms around the world, Microsoft has warned. So far, foreign hacking groups appear to have experimented with the vulnerability, which is located in Java-based software known as “Log4j” that organizations around the world use to log information in their applications. A senior US cybersecurity official said they have no evidence that federal networks had been breached using the vulnerability. However, the Log4j flaw could end up affecting most of the internet. Apple’s cloud computing service, security firm Cloudflare, and Minecraft, one of the world’s most popular video games, all run Log4j, according to researchers.

3. Build Back Better

Movement on the Build Back Better Bill, the $1.75 trillion economic and climate package that serves as one of the cornerstones of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda, has likely stalled until next year. Biden and Democrats were hoping to pass the bill by the end of this year, but talks between Biden and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a critical swing vote, have not produced any resolution. One of the most pivotal issues holding up progress is the child tax credit. For Biden, it’s a major priority that delivers aid to families and reduces child poverty. Manchin, however, wants it out of the bill. Even if Biden and Manchin did agree, the bill still needs to be finalized and approved for a vote.

4. Condo collapse

A Miami-Dade grand jury overseeing the Surfside condo collapse that killed 98 people in June has released a report detailing ways to avoid a similar tragedy. The report calls for more money, staff and inspectors to identify dangerous buildings, and recommends raising qualification standards for inspectors. The panel also said that the certification process for a residential property should begin much earlier than 40 years after it is built. The engineering firm that was hired for the Surfside condo’s 40-year recertification in 2018 had found “deep” concrete deterioration, but couldn’t perform repairs due to structural stability concerns. While it wasn’t their task to uncover what caused the deadly collapse, the grand jury also noted that, nearly six months later, investigators still don’t know exactly how it happened.

5. Extreme weather

Record December heat in the middle of the US has created an “unprecedented” extreme weather threat that has led to hurricane-force winds, fires, and more tornadoes over the Great Plains and the Midwest. At least 55 reports of wind gusts of over 75 mph were tracked in the region yesterday, setting a single-day record. A tornado in the southeastern portion of Minnesota was the first ever reported in the state in the month of December, according to NOAA data. Across the world, Super Typhoon Rai (known locally as Odette) has slammed into the Philippines, bringing torrential rain and the threat of widespread flooding to about 20 million people. Nearly 200,0000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

2021’s best red carpet trends 

Y2K style is back, no matter how traumatizing it was the first time around.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired head coach Urban Meyer

The Urban Meyer experiment is over after just 13 games.

We really did buy more alcohol during the early pandemic, study finds

Oh, if we only knew what was to come.

2021’s weirdest TikTok beauty trends

Proof that there is no limit to the strange stuff people will put on their faces.

‘Shatner in Space’ joins William Shatner on his trip to the final frontier

Reminder: Shatner is 90 YEARS OLD. And he WENT TO SPACE.

IN MEMORIAM

bell hooks, the prominent feminist, writer and academic, has passed away at 69.  Born in Kentucky as Gloria Jean Watkins, hooks was known for her writing on race, gender and sexuality, and was dedicated to producing feminist theory that anyone could use and understand.

TODAY’S NUMBER

45

That’s how many international visitors Bali welcomed in 2021. In a normal year, that figure would be in the millions, but strict border control measures and an airport closed due to the pandemic completely decimated the island’s tourism this year.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“While we recognize that no amount of money can make these families whole, it is the school board’s hope that this settlement will show our heartfelt commitment to the MSD families, students, staff and faculty and the entire Broward County community.”

Marylin Batista, the interim general counsel for Broward County Public Schools. The district has agreed to pay more than $26 million to the shooting victims and the families of 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Did I do that?

What, you think you can put cats in front of some perfectly set up dominoes and they WON’T knock them over? (Click here to view)

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