Today’s In Crisis headlines

Written by on May 16, 2024

(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:

Senate to consider January 6 attacks commission; Republicans opposing measure
Senate Republicans are poised to quash an effort today to establish a bipartisan, independent commission to study the January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol that that left five people dead.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his opposition last week, along with his House GOP counterpart, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, ahead of the House vote that approved the measure, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats.  McConnell called the commission “a purely political exercise that adds nothing to the sum total of information,” and noted that there is already an ongoing joint investigation into the attacks by the Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees, which are expected to produce a report in early June.  Democrats counter that the real reason Republicans are opposed is because they’re beholden to former President Donald Trump, who was impeached for inciting the mob that ransacked the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election and who continues to claim, falsely, that the election was stolen. 

The mother of Brian Sicknick, the officer who died after the Capitol insurrection, and Sicknick’s partner, Sandra Garza, are scheduled to meet today with a number of GOP senators, including Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, with the intention of pressing Republicans to vote in favor of the independent commission.

Nine dead in San Jose mass shooting Wednesday
Nine people were shot to death at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in San Jose, California, on Wednesday morning, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.  One victim remains hospitalized in critical condition.  The suspect, identified as 57-year-old VTA employee Samuel Cassidy, also is dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff’s spokesperson Russell Davis said.  Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said Thursday morning that two semiautomatic handguns and 11 magazines with ammunition were found in the area Cassidy where took his life at the rail yard.

An angry and emotional Governor Gavin Newsom, noting he visited the region after a mass shooting in Gilroy two years ago, declared Wednesday, “It begs the damn question what the hell is going on in United States of America?  What the hell’s wrong with us?”  A White House proclamation directs that U.S. flags be flown at half-staff at the White House, and all public buildings and military and naval posts, to respect the shooting victims.  The incident brings to 232 the number of mass shootings in the U.S. this year.

New unemployment claims fall to pandemic low number
Some 406,000 new claims for unemployment were filed in the week ending May 15, according to Thursday-morning numbers released by the Department of Labor.  This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when it was 256,000, and also is a decrease of 38,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 444,000 new claims.  The numbers are another sign the job market is healing as the pandemic wanes.  There are currently 15,802,126 Americans collecting unemployment benefits from all state and federal programs.   

COVID-19 numbers
Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections, deaths and vaccinations.

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 168,471,416
Global deaths: 3,500,001.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 591,957.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 33,191,164 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 591,957.  California has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 63,017.
U.S. total people tested: 461,869,272

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,781,120 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks third in the world after England, which has 3,902,160 cases, and Maharashtra, India, which leads the world with 5,650,907 reported cases.  Texas is second in the U.S., with 2,949,009 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

Latest reported COVID-19 vaccination numbers in the United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a total of 359,849,035 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S.  Of those, 289,212,304 doses have been administered, with 165,074,907 people receiving at least one dose and 131,850,089 people fully vaccinated, representing 49.7% and 39.7% of the total U.S. population, respectively. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines each require two doses to be effective.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose to be effective.

Now 3.5 million global COVID-19 deaths as infection rates decline; US vaccinations also declining
Yet another grim pandemic milestone has been crossed, with 3.5 million global COVID-19 deaths now reported.  Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University puts the number of fatalities at 3,500,001 as of Thursday morning.  The United States accounts for 17% of global deaths, with 591,957 reported.  That remains more than any other nation, though it’s suspected that India could be significantly underreporting its coronavirus fatalities, which currently officially number 315,235 but could be more than double that figure.  Even given those daunting numbers, the World Health Organization reports that for the week of May 17-23, there were over 4.1 million new COVID cases and 84,000 new deaths reported worldwide, a 14% and 2% decrease, respectively, when compared to the figures reported the previous week. 

In the U.S., where COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline rapidly, so too is the vaccination rate falling.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the seven-day average of vaccine doses administered has now dropped to just over 1.7 million doses a day — down by nearly 50% in the last six weeks.  Just over 50% of the U.S. adult population is fully vaccinated, with nearly one in four of all Americans fully vaccinated, at 39.7%.  People aged 65 and older are the most-vaccinated U.S. demographic, with the CDC reporting 74.1% are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  States and businesses continue to offer perks and other incentives to promote continued immunization.

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