PODCAST: Hospitalizations of U.S. children under 5 with COVID-19 at highest levels (UCNN 01.08.22)

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According to the Associated Press, Hospitalizations of U.S. children under 5 with COVID-19 soared in recent weeks to their highest level since the pandemic began, according to government data released Friday on the only age group not yet eligible for the vaccine. The worrisome trend in children too young to be vaccinated underscores the need for older kids and adults to get their shots to help protect those around them, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since mid-December, with the highly contagious omicron variant spreading furiously around the country, the hospitalization rate in these youngest kids has surged to more than 4 in 100,000 children, up from 2.5 per 100,000. The rate among children ages 5 to 17 is about 1 per 100,000, according to the CDC data, which is drawn from over 250 hospitals in 14 states. Overall, “pediatric hospitalizations are at their highest rate compared to any prior point in the pandemic,” Walensky said. The overall hospitalization rate among children and teens under 18 is still lower than that of any other age group. And they account for less than 5% of average new daily hospital admissions, according to the CDC. The trend among the very youngest kids is being driven by high hospitalization rates in five states: Georgia, Connecticut, Tennessee, California and Oregon, with the steepest increases in Georgia, the CDC said.

According to the New York Post, Intense winter weather shut down multiple major Kentucky highways Thursday afternoon after a near-record snowfall caused a huge pileup involving dozens of cars and hundreds of collisions. A 10-mile stretch of Interstate 64 near Mount Sterling was closed in the afternoon after 50 to 75 cars piled up on the slick roadway, causing many hours of traffic delays. On Interstate 75 in Lexington, police stopped responding to non-injury car crashes after being on the scene of more than 100 during the day, the station said. About 20 other crashes resulted in injuries in the city. A WKYT correspondent said it took seven hours to cross a bridge leading out of Lexington on I-75. By 7:30 p.m. the city had accumulated 9 inches of snow, just shy of the daily record, the station said. Lexington typically sees only 14 inches of snow per year, on average, according to government data. In Elizabethtown, a 20- to 30-car pileup on the Western Kentucky Parkway Thursday afternoon closed the thoroughfare in both directions, the city said. Videos posted to social media showed disabled cars, trucks and 18-wheelers strewn across the snowy road. Gov. Andrew Beshear said all three highways were back open in an evening tweet. The Democrat declared a state of emergency, urged drivers to stay home and closed state buildings Friday, when temperatures were expected to flirt with the single digits. Kentucky State Police tweeted that many roads in the state remained icy, and warned conditions “will not improve tonight.”

According to USA Today, A man lost his legal fight against a Northern Ireland bakery that refused to make a cake for him decorated with the words “Support Gay Marriage” and the “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie. The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday said it won’t rule on Gareth Lee’s request to overturn an earlier U.K. ruling supporting Ashers Baking Co. Instead, the court said his application “was inadmissible” because Lee had not raised the European Convention on Human Rights – including the right to respect for private life and freedoms of thought and expression – in his earlier court actions. Lee said he was frustrated in the outcome based on what he called “a technicality” and said that freedom of expression “must equally apply to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.” This is just the latest turn in a 7-year legal tussle that began in 2014 when Lee ordered the cake for a same-sex marriage campaign event in Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage became legal there in 2020. At the time, Ashers Baking refused to make the cake because it was a “Christian business” and would not create products with messages at odds with its beliefs. Courts in Northern Ireland found that the bakery discriminated against Lee, who is gay. But the U.K. Supreme Court in 2018 overturned the decision, ruling that the bakery did not discriminate against Lee. Subsequently, Lee took his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and argued that the U.K. court breached the European Convention on Human Rights. In its decision, the European court said it could not rule because Lee had not raised the convention in his U.K. court actions. “By relying solely on domestic law, the applicant had deprived the domestic courts of the opportunity to address any Convention issues raised, instead asking the Court to usurp the role of the domestic courts,” the court said. “Because he had failed to exhaust domestic remedies, the application was inadmissible.” Lee’s attorney Ciaran Moynagh of Phoenix Law in Belfast told The Guardian they would consider a new legal challenge.

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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!