Omicron detected in 5 states, November jobs report preview: 5 Things podcast
Information about Omicron detected in 5 states, November jobs report preview: 5 Things podcast
On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Omicron detected in 5 states as Biden unveils new plan
White House correspondent Maureen Groppe reports on what President Joe Biden aims to do this winter to fight the virus. Plus, a government shutdown has been avoided, MLB reporter Gabe Lacques explains the latest work stoppage, the November jobs report will be released and Mariah Carey releases a new Christmas special.
Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson, and this is 5 Things you need to know Friday, the 3rd of December, 2021. Today Biden’s plan to fight Omicron, plus a government shutdown has been avoided and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
- A number of schools in the Detroit area will remain closed today after a 15-year-old shooter killed four students in Oakland County earlier this week. Other schools say they’ve also received threats of violence this week.
- At least 12 people are dead after an Islamic State attack on an Iraqi village. Among those killed, were Kurdish forces.
- And Germany has announced new sweeping COVID-19 vaccine requirements. They will block unvaccinated people from non-essential stores, restaurants, and sports venues while parliament also considers a general vaccine mandate.
The omicron variant of COVID-19 has now been detected in five US states. Yesterday, five cases were initially detected in New York while cases were also confirmed in California, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Colorado. The Minnesota case involves a man who began experiencing symptoms a day after attending the Anime NYC 2021 convention in New York City. That was held from November 19th to 21st and hosted about 50,000 people. And so it appears omicron is here to stay in the US, as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters yesterday.
As Dr. Fauci has said, over the course of the last week, every single day, we do, even the restrictions we put in place was not going to prevent this variant from coming here. It would just slow. That was the objective. So we do anticipate there will be more cases and we know that will be the case. And that’s why we’re focused on doing everything we can to fight the virus and the variant.
To tackle the new cases, President Joe Biden has unveiled his latest winter strategy to fight the virus. White House Correspondent Maureen Groppe reports.
There are a number of provisions in the President’s new strategy to deal with the coronavirus during the holidays. Some of the ones that jump out as most significant include the fact that private health insurers will have to cover the at-home test kits. So, right now they’re covering a coronavirus test if you go to the doctor’s office, but the administration wants to say that they also have to cover an at-home test for the coronavirus that you take at home, and they hope that that can encourage more people to take tests, to stop the spread the virus.
In addition, they are extending through March 18th, the requirement that masks have to be worn on airplanes, trains, other forms of public transportation. They are tightening the rules on coming into the country. If you’re flying into the country from another country, you have to have a negative test within a day of departure. Up until now, the standard has been, you had to have a test within three days. So they’re tightening that.
And then they are also launching a big effort to try to get more people to be vaccinated, particularly to get boosters. They say they’re about a hundred million adults who are eligible for booster shots now who have not gotten them. The administration was working on this because even before the new variant, we were still having problems with delta. We still don’t have enough people vaccinated, and they’re concerned that infections could rise as people stay indoors more because of the winter. And also people are going to be traveling and gathering for the holidays, so the administration is trying to take additional steps to keep infections from rising during the entire winter.
786,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in the US, part of more than 5.2 million deaths around the world.
A government shutdown has been avoided. Both chambers of Congress last night passed a bill to fund the government another 11 weeks through February 18th.
On this vote, the yays are are 69, the nays are 28, and the bill is passed.
That was the Senate vote. And the House passed the short term measure by a vote of 221 to 212, almost entirely along party lines. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill before funding runs out at midnight tonight. And Congress now has a few weeks to work on a longer term funding plan. A group of Republican senators nearly initially forced a shutdown after threatening to delay the bills passage in the upper chamber. They wanted language preventing the use of federal money to carry out a Biden administration mandate on workplace vaccinations, but their amendment narrowly failed 50 to 48.
Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players association expired at midnight on Wednesday. The results, all 30 owners voted to lock out players beginning yesterday, creating the first work stoppage since 1994 and 95. MLB reporter Gabe Lacques has more on how baseball got itself into a pickle.
Well, it’s kind of built up over the last five years, a lot of adjective from the players over what you might call ownership behavior since the last collective bargaining agreement was ratified in 2016. A lot of teams have simply not been very motivated to try to win, and that has taken the form of not offering players contracts. It almost has a collusion-like effect affecting both kind of the bottom of the free agent market in some years, and the top. In past years, we’ve had superstars like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, not sign and rejoin their new teams until late February, early March. And then for more veteran players, the types that might get a more modest contract, they basically been frozen out in some years, well into March or even deeper into the season. So it’s effort on the player’s part to try to control the owner’s behavior a little bit, by making some changes to the CBA. They look pretty radical on paper, but I also don’t think the players would be asking for these changes if things had been relatively normal the past five years.
I think what’s going to happen is the players will make some gains. I think a lot of the more extreme asks, such as reducing free agency eligibility from six years down to five years of service time, that might be pretty tough to get Major League Baseball to budge on, but I think they will be able to loosen a lot of the governors on spending, such as the luxury tax ceiling. I think you’ll find ultimately a majority of owners will be able to live with it being a little more higher and not quite so onorous for the bigger spending teams.
Will the season be delayed? That’s possible. I mean the spring training is in some doubt. You probably have to have a deal for sure by February 1st to make sure guys can report on time and all that. And opening day is March 31st. So pretty much a month ahead of that is when you would definitely have to have spring training up and running to have guys in any kind of shape to play regular season games by the end of March.
For more stay with USA TODAY Sports.
We’ll be able to pull back the curtain on the economy a bit today, when the November jobs report is released. Inflation is surging and supply chain issues continue, but economists still predict more solid job growth last month, largely thanks to strong consumer spending. According to the data provider FactSet, economists are forecasting around 535,000 jobs added last month, nearly the same as October’s gain of 531,000. And the unemployment rate may have dipped from 4.6 to 4.5%. Another looming question though, is whether people who lost jobs due to pandemic recession are reentering the job pool to again look for work. There are also concerns that the new omicron variant could impact the job market in the coming months.
Well, for a lot of people, all they want for Christmas is Mariah. The queen of Christmas is back today, along with Mariah Carey songs, Mariah merchandise, and now Mariah at McDonald’s. There’s also a sequel to last year’s Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special, which begins streaming on Apple TV+ today. Last year, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson appeared. And this time around, viewers can expect Khalid, Kirk Franklin, and more.
And you can find 5 Things seven mornings a week, year round, on whatever your favorite podcast app is. Thanks as always to PJ Elliot for his great work on the show. And I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.