News Headlines 12/30/21

LOOKING FORWARD TO FEBRUARY: The latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic may hit its peak towards the end of January. Then, if it follows the pattern seen in South Africa, it could subside quickly. That is the projection of Dr. Anthony Fauci, interviewed on CNBC yesterday. He added cautionary words about the unpredictability of the path of coronavirus thus far. A record number of coronavirus infections have been recorded in the U.S. this week.

  • The U.S. is now averaging more than 181,948 new COVID cases daily, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Of those, 73 percent are the newer Omicron variant.
  • The governor of Georgia has called on the National Guard to help overwhelmed healthcare staff in the state’s hospitals and nursing homes. Other states that have called on the Guard include New York, New Hampshire, Indiana and Maine.
  • New record numbers of cases also were recorded in Denmark, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy and Spain.
  • Yesterday was two years from the day that the World Health Organization was alerted to an outbreak of a mysterious new viral illness in Wuhan, China.

GHISLAINE MAXWELL GUILTY OF SEX TRAFFICKING: Ghislaine Maxwell has been found guilty on five out of six charges related to child sex trafficking. Prosecutors successfully argued that Maxwell recruited underage girls to engage in sexual acts with Jeffrey Epstein from 1994 to 2004. Maxwell faces up to 65 years in prison. Epstein committed suicide in prison in 2019.

RED CROSS SEEKS DONORS: The Red Cross is calling on healthy Americans to donate blood due to “historically low” supplies across the nation. Blood centers have less than a one-day supply ready, a Red Cross spokesperson told Fox Business. Blood donations typically are lower in the winter months, but the pandemic has made the shortfall more severe.

MINIMUM WAGE RISES ACROSS U.S.: The minimum wage will rise in 26 states on January 1st. There is a wide range among the states, though. Florida’s minimum will go from $8.65 to $10 an hour, while California and New York minimums will go to $15 an hour for many workers. CNBC notes that many employers have already raised their wages in response to a tight labor market.