Delta Coronavirus Variant Could Become Dominant in the US (BCNN1 6.23.21)

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According to The Wall Street Journal, The Delta variant of COVID-19 could become the dominant strain of the virus in the United States in the next two to three weeks. CDC data shows that cases of the variant, which originated in India, doubled in the two weeks to June 19, and now make up 20 percent of positive tests. The highly infectious variant is on track to make up more than 50 percent of COVID infections by mid-July, said William Lee, the vice president of science at Helix, a population genomics company. In a Tuesday briefing, Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, said: “The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19.” The variant poses a risk for severe disease among those who are unvaccinated while vaccines have been shown to provide significant protection, said Fauci. The White House announced Tuesday that the U.S. will likely not reach Biden’s goal of 70 percent of Americans receiving one dose of the vaccine by July 4.

According to CNN, The Senate voted Monday evening to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s pick to fill a vacancy on a powerful DC-based appellate court and one of the President’s most closely watched judicial nominees. The vote was 53-44. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted with Democrats in favor of confirmation. The vote elevates Jackson from the US District Court for the District of Columbia to the influential US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, which is seen as a breeding ground for Supreme Court justices. She is widely viewed as a potential Supreme Court pick if there were to be a vacancy on the high court during Biden’s time in office. Biden pledged during the campaign to name the first Black woman to the Supreme Court should a vacancy arise. Administration officials have stood by that pledge since Biden entered the White House, and Jackson has repeatedly come up as a leading candidate.

According to NBC News, At least five people were injured, including one critically, and a dozen homes were damaged in a possible tornado outbreak in Illinois on Sunday, officials said. The tornado touched down shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday near the suburban town of Woodridge, about 30 miles southwest of Chicago, according to the National Weather Service. The storm outbreak traveled east and ended shortly after 1 a.m. Five people were taken to the hospital, including one in critical condition and four others who sustained minor injuries, according to Naperville Director of Communications Linda LaCloche. The city of Naperville, which sits just west of Woodridge, received 125 reports of property damage. At least a dozen homes sustained extensive damages, including torn roofs, fallen trees and broken windows, Naperville Fire Chief Mark Pucknaitis said. Some areas also had downed power lines and reported gas leaks.

According to ABC News, Multiple arrests have been made after 2-year-old Brison Christian, the nephew of a Detroit police officer, was gunned down on an interstate, authorities said. Brison and his family were traveling on Interstate 75 in Detroit when shots were fired at 9:45 p.m. Thursday, Michigan State Police said. Brison’s father, Brian Christian, said he saw a man holding a gun in a passing car. Brison’s parents pulled over and noticed both of their children were shot, police said. Brison, who loved SpongeBob and Oreos, was “bleeding from his head with his head down.” Brison was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said. His 9-year-old brother was hospitalized in serious condition and later released, police said. Christian told WXYZ, “The hardest thing ever is for my son to be literally dying in my arms and me being a father and I can’t protect him. I wanted with everything in me to see him grow up.” State police said the suspects’ car has been recovered but they declined to comment to ABC News Monday on how many people were arrested Saturday or on a possible motive.

According to the New York Post, Ben Zobrist, who retired from a 14-season MLB career in March 2020, learned that his wife was having an affair with their pastor, according to court documents that surfaced last week. The same minister is also accused of defrauding Zobrist’s charity, where he was employed. The 40-year-old ex-infielder seeks $6 million in damages from Byron Yawn, the CEO of Forrest Crain & Co., a Nashville-area business-consulting firm. Yawn is a former pastor and an elder at Community Bible Church in Nashville, where he met Zobrist and his wife, Julianna. Zobrist, a two-time World Series winner, filed the lawsuit in May through a Tennessee circuit court. The Peoria Journal Star obtained a copy of the court documents last week. Yawn had begun talking daily with Julianna through burner phones in 2018, and a sexual relationship between the two began a year later. Ben Zobrist took a four-month leave from the Cubs in 2019 to address his marital problems after Robin Yawn, pastor Yawn’s wife, informed Zobrist about what she believed to be only an emotional relationship between their spouses in May 2019. During that span of time, he lost $8 million in income, according to the lawsuit. Yawn provided the couple with marriage counseling in 2019 and counseled the 2016 World Series MVP on dealing with his anxiety and depression. It was not until June 2020 when Zobrist learned that his wife had a sexual relationship with their minister, according to the lawsuit. Julianna admitted that she lied to her husband about the nature of the affair in a written admission in their divorce proceedings. Ben Zobrist filed for divorce in May 2019 and Julianna Zobrist filed a counter-complaint in March 2020; both cases are still pending. The Zobrists, who got married in 2005, have three children together.

According to CNBC, A lot of people want to get back in the air as the pandemic eases and American Airlines, facing pilot shortages and recent bad weather, is struggling to keep up with demand. The U.S. carrier cancelled hundreds of flights over the weekend and says that it will be cancelling hundreds more through mid-July to help minimize disruption. Before COVID-19, American was the largest airline in the world by fleet size and number of passengers carried, but sank to a full-year loss of $9.5 billion as crews were furloughed. An American Airlines spokeswoman blamed the cancellations on labor shortages, bad weather at its main hubs, and “the incredibly quick ramp-up of customer demand.” But Dennis Tajer of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American’s roughly 15,000 pilots, told CNBC the company had to offer more advance overtime and give pilots more flexibility to make up for staffing shortages. “They’re trying to put a Band-Aid on something that needs stitches,” he said. American is expected to cancel about 1 percent of flights, or 50-80 flights a day.

According to Deadline, Actress Sanaa Lathan will be making her feature directorial debut on Paramount Players’ adaptation of Angie Thomas’ New York Times bestseller On the Come Up. The feature project has been a priority for Paramount Players and they were impressed with Lathan’s vision for the film, the story of which comes from the author of The Hate U Give; that novel turned into a 2019 Fox 2000 motion picture. On The Come Up, from HarperCollins imprint Balzer & Bray, centers on 16-year-old Bri, who wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons. Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be. Lathan was Tony-nominated in 2003 for her Broadway performance in A Raisin in the Sun in the Best Featured Actress in a Play category. She recently joined the cast of the Emmy Award-winning HBO series Succession and will next be seen starring in the upcoming action thriller Hit and Run opposite Lior Raz.
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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!