Soldier surprises daughters after returning home from deployment in Afghanistan

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(BLUE ROCK, Ohio) — A soldier who returned home after a year-long deployment surprised his two adorable little daughters — and his wife captured the emotional reunion in a video that is now going viral.Sergeant First Class Terry Gottke of Blue Rock, Ohio, who served a stint in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard, disguised himself as a firefighter Saturday when he approached his girls, Tawny, 7, and Brea, 5. With his wife, Brittany, recording the whole time, Terry Gottke — his face covered with a helmet and gas mask — approached Tawny and Brea, who want to become firefighters when they grow up.When Terry took off the helmet, the girls rushed him.“Daddy!” screamed Tawny, who along with little sister hugged her dad tightly.“Who is that, Tawny?” asked her mom.“Daddy!” she screamed again, still squeezing her father.After about a minute, Terry Gottke tells his girls, “I don’t have to go back!”“Yeah!” screams Tawny.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Florence causing ‘historic and unprecedented flooding’; at least 17 dead

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(NEW BERN, N.C.) –Florence weakened to a tropical depression Sunday, but that is cold comfort to residents in North Carolina who have seen over 2 feet of rain and are now battling major-river flooding and possible tornadoes.“Flood waters are still raging across parts of our state, and the risk to life is rising with the angry waters,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said at a midday news conference.He added that “this storm has never been more dangerous than it is right now” in certain areas of the state.Some parts of the state were getting 2 to 3 inches an hour, Cooper said.“That’s enough to cause flooding in areas that have never flooded before until now,” Cooper said.Since the storm made landfall as a hurricane in North Carolina on Friday morning, it has been blamed for 16 deaths.Officials said at least 17 people have died in both states. The death toll included a person killed Sunday in a pickup truck crash near Gilbert, South Carolina, that occurred when the motorist drove through standing water on a roadway, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.Hundreds of people have been rescued by local authorities, Cajun Navy volunteers and the U.S. Coast Guard since Friday morning.New evacuation orders were issued Sunday for a mile-long area along the Cape Fear and Little rivers in North Carolina. More than 700,000 households and businesses in the state were still without power as of Sunday afternoon, an estimated 15,000 people were in shelters, and 171 primary roads were closed including parts of two interstates, authorities said.The state Highway Patrol advised people to stay off the roads, saying troopers responded to 48 collisions from Saturday night and into Sunday morning.Adding to the threat of further flooding, a tornado watch was in effect for most of Sunday for the areas of Wilmington, Fayetteville, Myrtle Beach, Jacksonville, Oak Island, and Florence.“It’s bad right now, and we do expect it to get worse over the coming days,” Michael Sprayberry, director of North Carolina Emergency Management, said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday. “We know that’s going to be a major mission going forward because this is historic and unprecedented flooding.”Major-river flooding a threatCatastrophic flooding unfolded Sunday morning in parts of North Carolina, exceeding flooding 19 years ago in Hurricane Floyd, the National Weather Service said.One waterway — the Cape Fear River — rose 15 feet in just 24 hours from early Saturday to early Sunday. It reached flood stage in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where mandatory evacuation orders were issued Saturday.“This will be very dangerous flooding over the next few days,” the National Weather Service said in a tweet Sunday morning.The Coast Guard head echoed this view.“My biggest concern is the rising water,” Schultz said on This Week, noting that Wilmington, North Carolina, got 24 inches of rain and could potentially get 15 inches more.“We’re looking at a high-water situation,” he said. “The rivers could potentially crest here into the early part of this week. So we have not seen the worst of the flooding.”Schultz was among the emergency officials who briefed President Trump on the storm on Saturday.“We talked about the massive risk the storm poses — catastrophic flooding, prolonged flooding,” he said of the briefing. “We gave him an update on response capabilities in the theater, and the president is completely leaning in — anything the feds need to do to support the local, the state partners here in South Carolina and North Carolina. We feel fully supported.”The Lumber River, near Lumberton, North Carolina, will rise into major flood stage Sunday morning. It is expected to reach a level very near the record Hurricane Matthew set in 2016. Mandatory evacuations were issued for South Lumberton on Saturday.Major-river flooding is also expected on some rivers from southern Virginia to northern South Carolina.The Northeast Cape Fear River, near Chinquapin, North Carolina, will rise above record flood levels set by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. This will cause devastating flooding across much of Onslow County with travel made impossible and many homes completely flooded.The Neuse River — both near Goldsboro and Kinston, North Carolina — will reach major flood stage late Sunday and into Monday. The Waccamaw River, near Conway, South Carolina, will rise near record levels by the end of the week.Florence has dropped a tremendous amount of rain in eastern North Carolina, with a widespread 20 to 30 inches already reported. Radar is estimating that some areas between Wilmington and New Bern, North Carolina, have received over 30 inches of rain.These are some of the latest rainfall totals as of 11 p.m. Saturday:— Swansboro, N.C. — 30.59 inches— Newport/Morehead City, N.C. — 25.20 inches— Elizabethtown, N.C. — 20.17 inches— Jacksonville, N.C. — 16.13 inches— Conway, S.C. — 9.90 inches— Myrtle Beach Airport, S.C. — 6.74 inchesFlorence is now the third storm to set a tropical cyclone state rainfall record in just the last 12 months. Harvey dropped 60.58 inches of rain last year in Texas, setting the state’s new record. Just last month, Lane dropped a maximum of 52.02 inches of rain in Hawaii, breaking the state record. The 30.59 inches that have fallen in Swansboro sets a new record for North Carolina.Florence also currently stands as the sixth-highest tropical cyclone rainfall total across the U.S. for records dating back to 1950.Heavy rain spreads inlandHeavy rains bands are still coming onshore in eastern South Carolina and North Carolina on Sunday morning. Some of the heavier bands have shifted toward Fayetteville, Charlotte and Raleigh.Torrential rain is causing inland flooding with major roadways closed, including large portions of I-95.An additional 6 to 10 inches of rain is still possible along the southeast border of North Carolina and South Carolina.Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding is likely over the southern to central Appalachians from western North Carolina into western Virginia and eastern West Virginia. Torrential rain will cause flash flooding and increase the risk for landslides in the higher terrains.Florence is still moving very slowly inland. The track shows Florence moving west through Sunday, and then gradually turning north by Monday. Florence will likely become a remnant low within 36 hours.Even though Florence is weakening, it will still bring significant rainfall inland to the Appalachians before moving toward the Northeast on Tuesday. Totals could exceed 4 inches locally for inland New York and Massachusetts.“People need to heed the warnings from their local emergency management experts and stay in safe ground,” the Coast Guard’s Adm. Schultz said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Skier dies after avalanche at New Mexico’s Taos ski resort, officials say

first_imgRoschetzkyIstockPhoto/iStock(TAOS, N.M.) — A skier has died after getting trapped in an avalanche at Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico on Thursday, a ski resort official said Friday morning.A second person was injured in the incident.Both men were trapped for 22 minutes after the avalanche sent snow pummeling down a mountain around 11:45 a.m. local time on Thursday, Chris Stagg, vice president of Taos Ski Valley, Inc., told ABC News.Rescuers dug the skiers out and transported them to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, Stagg said.Their names have not been released.After the avalanche, rescuers searched for other people possibly buried under the snow, ABC Albuquerque affiliate KOAT reported. The snow is so deep in some areas that probes being used to locate people cannot reach the bottom, Stagg said.It is unclear what triggered the avalanche, which occurred on the K3 shoot off Kachina Peak, the ski resort wrote on Twitter.The lift for Kachina Peak just opened on Wednesday, according to The Taos News. The lift rises to about 1,100 feet to take expert skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain, the newspaper reported. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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A trick-or-treater saw a house with an empty candy bowl—so he left some of his own, Md.) — While many kids dressed up in costumes to go trick-or-treating Halloween night to see how much candy they could collect, one little boy decided to give some of his away.The selfless trick-or-treater approached a house in Gambrills, Maryland, and was surprised to see an empty candy bowl sitting on the porch.Instead of turning around and continuing on to the next house, he almost immediately reached into his own bag of candy, grabbed a few pieces and left them in the bowl for the next visitors.The residents who saw the doorcam footage appreciated the boy’s generosity, posting the video to Facebook with the caption: “This has got to give hope to everyone that there are still amazing people in this world,” they wrote in the Facebook post of the video. “What a selfless act from this little guy! Kudos to his parents!!!”Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Bureau of Prisons director cutting internet access, technology usage for staff to ‘limit distractions’

first_imgiStock(WASHINGTON) — The Bureau of Prisons will make hiring a main priority in the coming year and will also be cutting internet usage for its employees to “limit distractions,” Director Kathy Hawk Sawyer stressed in an internal email to prison staff that was obtained by ABC News.“Although technology serves us well in many of the security and communication features we utilize, we must not allow technology to be our enemy by taking our eyes and ears off the interactions around us or limit our face-to-face interaction with staff and inmates,” Hawk Sawyer wrote in the email.She added, “Also, internet access on government devices and computers should be used only to complete required daily work. Some internet access will soon be curtailed so that distractions will be eliminated.”While Hawk Sawyer didn’t make a direct reference to the Jeffrey Epstein case, recent court documents said the two officers in charge of watching over the Epstein’s cell were catching up on a sports news site and looking at motorcycle sales, the night the convicted sex offender and financier died at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.One of the biggest issues surrounding the Bureau of Prisons is the lack of staffing required — in some cases, one source described MCC’s staffing to be operating at only half-capacity. Hawk Sawyer addressed the issue head on in her email.“In addition, we are taking a fresh look at what staffing level is correct for each institution,” she said.Hawk Sawyer said Attorney General William Barr made a “personal appeal to [the Office of Personnel Management ] to expedite our request” to hire at the local level.She referenced the need for more focus on the BOP’s Special Housing Units, an area of a prison that houses high profile and problem inmates. Epstein was housed at MCC’s Special Housing Unit when he was found dead in August.“Special Housing Units continue to be a major focus. I commend those of you who work in our SHU units for your renewed commitment to ensuring that we adhere to our policy requirements regarding rounds and counts in SHU. Individual inmates in these units may be particularly vulnerable to suicide and other mental health concerns due to the restrictive environment,” she said.A BOP spokesperson said Hawk Sawyer is focused on a “back to basics” approach, emphasizing sound correctional management.“Her message regarding limiting or removing unnecessary distractions inside Bureau facilities, such as internet access on government devices and computers, or cellular communication using smart watches and other technology, is one of a number of areas under review to enhance on the job safety and security in Bureau institutions,” a spokesperson told ABC News.The spokesperson added, “The need to use such technology, such as the internet to perform vital job functions for specific duties and positions will be reviewed, and access will be tailored accordingly to ensure a safe and professional environment.”A source familiar with the matter said the letter from the director was met with “anger” from rank and file officers. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reservedlast_img read more

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Teacher dressed up as a black leader every day for Black History Month

first_imgCourtesy Latoya McGriff(SUFFOLK, Va.) — To celebrate Black History Month, this Virginia-based teacher is bringing history to life.Latoya McGriff is a first-grade teacher at Creekside Elementary School in Suffolk, Virginia. This year, McGriff decided to dress up as a different African American historical figure every school day during Black History Month.“I decided to dress up for Black History Month so that the kids are actually seeing a live person from history,” McGriff told Good Morning America. “I just wanted to bring history alive for the kids.”McGriff, who has been an educator for 12 years, said that the majority of her school’s population is black and she emphasized the persistent importance of representation within history.“It is important for the children to see that people who look like them have made contributions because it reassures them that they can, too … It’s hard to believe in something you don’t see,” McGriff said.The different outfits are used as a conversation-starter, McGriff explained. The students will ask questions when they see them and will want to know more about the historical figure she’s portraying, she added.McGriff decided to also put a focus this year on African American historical figures local to Virginia. Her personal favorite has been Mary Jackson.Jackson was a mathematician and an aerospace engineer for NASA in the 1950s and played a large — and widely unrecognized — role in sending the first astronaut into orbit.Jackson’s life was most recently portrayed in the 2016 blockbuster Hidden Figures, where she was played by Janelle Monae.“Mary Jackson personally influenced me because of her struggle,” said McGriff. “She was known as a human computer, yet she wasn’t even allowed in meetings because of the color of her skin and because she was a woman. Yet, she prevailed.”McGriff dressed as other well-known figures such as Misty Copeland, Ella Fitzgerald and Barack Obama, but also gave recognition to those who are lesser-known, such as James Lafayette, a former slave turned spy during the Revolutionary War; Dr. L.D. Britt, the first African American doctor in America to have an endowed chair in surgery; and Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first African American justice.Along with different historical figures, McGriff also chose to honor historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the nine historically Black Greek-letter organizations.Two institutions personally relevant to McGriff are Hampton University, the Virginia school that she graduated from in 2006, and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., the sorority of which she’s a member.McGriff said she wanted to incorporate HBCUs and Black Greek-letter organizations as an inspiration for higher education.“[Learning about these organizations] gives children something to look up to, and they get excited about wanting to go to school and get to college,” McGriff told GMA.“I hope that [the students] learn, no matter the circumstances, they can make a difference in this world,” said McGriff. “No matter where they come from, how they look, they can make a difference.”Although the online attention has been a shock, McGriff hopes it will continue to raise awareness of the importance of Black History Month in schools.“I hope that [people who see the story] will implement some type of Black History Month program in their school,” McGriff said. “They don’t have to dress up like I did … but, I just want people to incorporate black history so that other students of color can see themselves represented in history.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Up to 150K coronavirus deaths possible by July 18, CDC says

first_imgMyriam Borzee/iStockBy MATT GUTMAN, EMILY SHAPIRO, BRIAN HARTMAN and MARK OSBORNE, ABC News(LOS ANGELES) — As coronavirus cases continue to climb across the country, a new forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the U.S. could soon see 150,000 fatalities.The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. currently stands at 121,969 with 2.38 million confirmed cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.There have been over 482,000 deaths globally.Below is the latest coronavirus news as of Wednesday:Dozens of Secret Service agents self-quarantine: ReportDozens of U.S. Secret Service agents are now in self-quarantine after President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma over the weekend, according to a report in The Washington Post.A source familiar with the matter told ABC News that the number of Secret Service personnel who are self-quarantining for 14 days is in the “low dozens.”To put that number in context, the Secret Service employs approximately 3,200 special agents, 1,300 uniformed division officers and 2,000 support personnel.ABC News previously reported two Secret Service members were among the six Trump staffers to test positive before the rally. Two other staffers later tested positive in conjunction with the president’s return to the campaign trail.The USSS said the self-quarantined members would not affect operational capacity.“The U.S. Secret Service remains prepared and staffed to fulfill all of the various duties as required,” USSS Director of Communications Catherine Milhoan said in a statement. “Any implication that the agency is in some way unprepared or incapable of executing our mission would be inaccurate.”“To protect the privacy of our employees’ health information and for operational security, the Secret Service is not releasing how many of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19, nor how many of its employees were, or currently are, quarantined,” the statement added.Many health officials, including coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci, had warned Trump against holding the rally due to COVID-19 fears.In response to questions about the sick agents, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement, “The President takes the health and safety of everyone traveling in support of himself and all White House operations very seriously. When preparing for and carrying out any travel, White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office, to ensure plans incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible.”Disneyland delays reopeningAs Southern California deals with a concerning increase in coronavirus cases, Disneyland is delaying its planned reopening.Disneyland had previously announced it would reopen on July 17, pending government approval. But the state now says it will not offer guidelines for theme parks to reopen until July 4.“Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials,” the park said in a statement. “Once we have a clearer understanding of when guidelines will be released, we expect to be able to communicate a reopening date.”The Downtown Disney District will still reopen on July 9 as previously planned.Orange County, which includes Anaheim, has seen over 11,000 confirmed cases, while nearby Los Angeles County has more cases than any other county in the nation.Nevada mandates masks for everyoneNevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a mandate for everyone in the state to wear masks or facial coverings in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.“I know Nevadans are worried not only about their health but also about their jobs and commerce,” Sisolak tweeted. “They keep asking, ‘What can I do to help?’ You can do this. Everyone can. This simple act is this is not only a way for us to save lives, but a way for us to save the Nevada economy.”After test positivity rates dropped steadily through May and early June, rates are now creeping up again. The number reached a low of 5.2%, but has been up seven of the last eight days and now sits at 5.7% of tests coming back positive, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.“I don’t want to have to take steps backward by imposing stronger restrictions on those identified as high risk if I don’t have to — and the best way to prevent that is to not let a business type or industry become high risk in the first place. It’s on all of us, Nevada,” Sisolak wrote.“That’s why, today, I signed a directive with a new requirement for Nevadans and visitors to wear a cover their nose and mouth with a mask or face covering, when in public space, whether publicly or privately owned,” he added.The directive goes into effect on Friday.So far, there have been 14,362 confirmed cases and 494 deaths in Nevada, according to the state.Texas COVID cases cross 5,500The number of cases reported the previous day in Texas was 5,551, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The total is a new one-day record for the state.The previous one-day high was 5,489 — recorded Tuesday.The state also recorded its highest number of tests — both viral and antibody tests — at over 40,000. However, the percentage of positive tests hit a high of 10.42%, a steady climb from one week ago (6.94%).There have been over 125,000 cases in the state so far, and at least 2,249 deaths.CDC offers frightening death toll predictionIn the CDC’s weekly “ensemble forecast,” an average of predictions from 20 different models, the organization said that the U.S. death toll will likely be between 130,000 and 150,000 by July 18.The U.S. death toll currently stands at 121,746.Forecasts indicate that the number of new deaths will likely surpass the number of deaths reported over the last several weeks in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.In all other states, the number of new fatalities is expected to stay steady or slightly decrease.California cases see stunning jumpIn California, COVID-19 cases saw a stunning 69% jump in just two days, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.On Sunday, California reported 4,230 new cases, on Monday there were 5,019 new cases and on Tuesday cases increased by 7,149, Newsom said.And as the state increases testing, residents should anticipate more of an increase in the positivity rate, the governor warned.Hospitalization numbers have increased and 30% of ICU capacity statewide is being used, he said.Newsom urged Californians to wear masks and practice social distancing, stressing that the state is still in the first wave of the virus.LA County has more cases than any other countyLos Angeles County has more cases of coronavirus than any other county in the U.S.LA has over 88,500 residents diagnosed with COVID-19, followed by 87,700 cases in Cook County, Illinois, and 64,000 cases in Queens in New York City.Florida sees major increaseIn comparison, the entire state of Florida had 109,000 cases as of Wednesday.LA County has about 10 million residents while Florida’s population stands at roughly 21.4 million.But Florida is also seeing a major increase. The state’s Department of Health reported 5,511 news cases Wednesday, representing a 15.91% positivity rate out of 36,300 tests conducted Tuesday — the highest percentage positive in the last calendar month and almost one-third higher than one day earlier.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday blamed rapid transmission in the 18-35 age group for the new rise in daily cases.“Granted, they’re weren’t being tested at this level a couple months ago,” he said. “But I also think they are testing positive at a higher and higher rate. So clearly you have community spread there.”LA County public health director reveals death threatsOn Monday, the director of LA County’s Department of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, revealed that she’s received death threats due to the pandemic.Ferrer said she was holding a COVID-19 briefing on Facebook Live in May “when someone very casually suggested that I should be shot.”“I didn’t immediately see the message, but my husband did, my children did, and so did my colleagues,” Ferrer said in a statement.“One reason I handle these briefings myself is to shield the extraordinary team at L.A. County Public Health from these attacks which have been going on, via emails, public postings, and letters — since March,” she continued. “It is deeply worrisome to imagine that our hardworking infectious disease physicians, nurses, epidemiologists and environmental health specialists or any of our other team members would have to face this level of hatred.”“Our job and our calling is to keep as many people as safe as possible during this pandemic,” Ferrer said. “While frustration boils over in our communities as people are done with this virus, this virus is not done with us.”In Los Angeles’ fight against the virus, Los Angeles International Airport is implementing thermal camera technology and city officials are bringing mobile testing to about 25,000 people at 15 Los Angeles public housing developments.LA County is continuing to reopen in phases. Among the open facilities are bars, wineries, public pools, beaches and piers, day camps, gyms and museums.Concert venues, nightclubs, youth sports leagues and movie theaters are among the businesses still closed.ABC News’ Scott Withers and Bonnie Mclean contributed to this report.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Coronavirus live updates: Cristiano Ronaldo tests positive for COVID-19

first_imgnarvikk/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people worldwide.Over 37.8 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The criteria for diagnosis — through clinical means or a lab test — has varied from country-to-country. Still, the actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the virus has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica.The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 7.8 million diagnosed cases and at least 215,251 deaths.California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 858,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 821,000 cases and over 736,000 cases, respectively.More than 190 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.Here’s how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:Oct 13, 11:07 amCristiano Ronaldo tests positive for COVID-19Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for COVID-19, the governing body of soccer in Portugal announced Tuesday.The 35-year-old Portuguese soccer star is “doing well,” doesn’t have any symptoms and is currently self-isolating, according to a statement from the Portuguese Football Federation. Due to the positive test result, he will not take part in his country’s UEFA Nations League match against Sweden on Wednesday.Following Ronaldo’s diagnosis, the remaining players of Portugal’s national soccer team were tested for COVID-19 again Tuesday morning and all results came back negative. Portugal coach Fernando Santos will train them Tuesday afternoon at the Cidade do Futebol complex near Lisbon, according to the statement.Oct 13, 10:39 amEurope reports highest weekly incidence of COVID-19 casesThe World Health Organization said more than 2.2 million new cases of COVID-19 and 39,000 deaths from the disease have been reported across the globe in the past week, the highest number of reported cases so far in a single week since the start of the pandemic.According to the WHO’s weekly epidemiological update published Monday, Europe registered the highest weekly incidence of COVID-19 cases of any region since the start of the pandemic, with almost 700,000 new infections reported. The region’s weekly incidence in cases and deaths increased by 34% and 16% respectively in comparison to the previous week. The United Kingdom, France, Russia and Spain account for over half of all new cases reported in the region.Africa reported a substantial rise in deaths from COVID-19, with a 27% increase compared to the previous week. South Africa continues to register more than half of all confirmed cases reported in the region, the WHO said.Still, nearly half of the world’s cases and deaths continue to be reported in the Americas region, with the United States, Brazil and Argentina accounting for the greatest numbers, according to the WHO.All regions showed an increase in cases during the reporting period, except Southeast Asia. Countries reporting the highest number of cases in the last seven days include India, the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom and France, the WHO said.Oct 13, 8:28 amIowa becomes latest US state to surpass 100,000 casesIowa has tallied more than 100,000 positive cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.The midwestern U.S. state reached the grim milestone on Monday amid a surge in new cases. More than half of all 50 states have now passed the 100,000 mark.As of Tuesday morning, the Iowa Department of Public Health had recorded a total of 100,507 positive cases out of 867,124 individuals tested so far, with a positivity rate of 11.6%.U.S. President Donald Trump is heading to the Hawkeye State, where he will host a campaign rally Wednesday following his recent COVID-19 diagnosis.Oct 13, 7:58 amChinese city tests more than 3 million residents amid outbreakThe eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao has tested more than a third of its nine million residents for COVID-19 since launching a citywide testing campaign amid the country’s first reported domestic outbreak in months.The Qingdao Municipal Health Commission said in a statement Tuesday that it had collected over three million samples for COVID-19 tests and that no new cases have been found among the more than 1.1 million results returned thus far. The entire city will be tested this week, the commission said.A total of 12 cases of COVID-19 — six with symptoms and six without — have been recorded in Qingdao, since an outbreak linked to the city’s Municipal Chest Hospital was discovered over the weekend, according to the commission.The Chinese mainland, where the coronavirus pandemic began last December, has so far reported 85,591 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,634 deaths. The country does not count asymptomatic infections as confirmed cases.Oct 13, 7:16 amItaly introduces strict new nationwide measuresThe Italian government imposed strict new measures nationwide on Tuesday in a bid to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus.Under the new rules, parties in public spaces and discos, both indoors and outdoors, are banned. Parties can be held in restaurants but with no more than 30 attendees. Bars, ice cream parlors, pastry shops and restaurants with table service must close by midnight, while those without must shutter by 9 p.m. Drinks can only be consumed while sitting at tables — not while standing at the bar or outside — after 9 p.m.Also banned are school trips, guided tours and any contact sports not organized by an association that can maintain social distancing rules. Gyms, however, remain open.The government’s new measures are limited to “strong recommendations” against private gatherings and parties in homes with more than six people who don’t share a household. There’s also no obligation to wear a face mask inside a home but it’s “strongly recommended” when guests are over.Last week’s nationwide mandate to wear masks outdoors remains in place.The move comes as Italy, once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, sees a sharp uptick in infections after gradually loosening restrictions during the spring and summer, following a nearly three-month lockdown that helped get its COVID-19 outbreak under control.Earlier this month, the European country confirmed more than 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day for the first time since the peak of its outbreak in late March. On Monday, Italy’s civil protection agency registered 4,619 new cases and 39 deaths, bringing the cumulative totals to 359,569 cases and 36,205 deaths.Oct 13, 5:51 amRussia sees record rise in cases and deaths but ‘no reason’ for lockdownRussia confirmed 13,868 new cases of COVID-19 and 244 deaths over the past 24 hours, setting new records for its daily tallies of both infections and fatalities.It’s the third straight day that Russia has registered over 13,000 new cases. The country’s previous record of 13,634 new cases was set over the weekend. Meanwhile, the latest single-day death toll shatters the previous record of 232 deaths, which was set at the end of May.The cumulative totals now stand at 1,312,310 confirmed cases and 22,727 deaths, according to Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters.Russian authorities have said there’s no immediate plan to impose a second nationwide lockdown, even as the country’s outbreak grows after most coronavirus-related restrictions were lifted over the summer.“In spite of the fact that we are seeing growing numbers, today in the Russian Federation we are not talking about blocking the economy, halting any activities, enterprises or any sectors of the economy because we see no reason for that today,” Anna Popova, head of Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnazor, told reporters Tuesday.But officials in Moscow, the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, have recommended that the elderly self-isolate at home and also encouraged businesses to have at least one-third of their employees work from home. School holidays in the capital this month were extended from one to two weeks.More than 33% of the newly confirmed cases — 4,618 — and nearly 24% of the newly reported deaths — 58 — were registered in the capital. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has said that this week will be “largely decisive” in the fight against the city’s outbreak.Oct 13, 5:33 amIndia records lowest daily tally of cases since AugustIndia confirmed another 55,342 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, it’s lowest daily tally since mid-August.An additional 706 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded. The country’s cumulative totals now stand at 7,175,880 confirmed cases and 109,856 deaths, according to the latest data from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.India is only the second country in the world to surpass seven million total cases, after the United States. Since hitting a peak of 97,894 new cases registered in a single day in September, India’s average number of daily cases has steadily declined, falling to under 73,000 cases a day.The vast country of nearly 1.4 billion people is still on track to become the pandemic’s worst-hit nation within weeks, overtaking the United States, where more than 7.8 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19.Oct 13, 5:08 amFour Vatican Swiss Guards test positive for COVID-19Four members of the Vatican Swiss Guard have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.The test results came in over the weekend and the four guards, who are showing symptoms, were placed in isolation.“During these hours, the necessary checks are being carried out among those who may have been in direct contact with them,” Bruni told reporters Monday. “In the meantime, in accordance with the provisions issued last week by the Governorate of Vatican City State, all the guards, whether on duty or not, wear masks, both outdoors and indoors, and observe the prescribed health measures.”They are believed to be the first to test positive for the virus among the Vatican Swiss Guard, the elite, colorfully-dressed corps that protects the pope. It’s unknown what direct contact — if any — the infected guards had with Pope Francis, who doesn’t wear a mask at his general audiences or when meeting with worshippers, sometimes coming into relatively close contact to mingle and shake hands.The COVID-19 infections among the four guards are in addition to three other positive cases discovered in recent weeks among residents and citizens of Vatican City, the tiny city-state surrounded by Rome that is home to the pontiff and serves as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. All cases have mild symptoms and the necessary measures of isolation and contact tracing have been taken, according to Bruni.Oct 13, 4:31 amUS reports more than 41,000 new casesThere were 41,653 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Monday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.The latest daily tally is down by less than 3,000 from the previous day and falls well under the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.An additional 317 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Sunday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.A total of 7,804,336 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 215,086 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July. The daily tally of new cases has gradually come down since then but has started to climb again in recent weeks.Week-over-week comparisons show the number of new cases reported across the nation continues to go up, as does the usage of intensive care units, but the number of new deaths are down, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News last week.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Despite CDC warnings, millions of people flew over the holidays

first_imgnpstockphoto/iStockBy MINA KAJI, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Even with the uptick in travelers over the holidays, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) revealed Monday that it screened 500 million fewer passengers in 2020 compared to last year — a 60% drop.“Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, the agency screened a total of approximately 324 million passengers throughout its airport security checkpoints,” TSA said in a news release. “That figure represents just 39 percent of the approximately 824 million total passengers screened in 2019.”Despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising people not to travel, TSA screened almost 18 million of those people over the holiday travel period. The last day of the travel period, Jan. 3, marked the highest checkpoint volume since the pandemic hit, with TSA screening 1,327,289 people.The total number of holiday fliers was still down around 40% compared to last year, but it greatly exceeded predictions. AAA had forecasted only 2.94 million would travel by air between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3.Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci was worried that Christmas could be worse than Thanksgiving in terms of potential COVID-19 spread because Christmas is a longer holiday. After each summer holiday, the U.S. reported a significant rise in infections across the country, and experts say Thanksgiving has played a major role in the country’s largest viral surge to date.On ABC’s This Week, Fauci said cold weather forcing people indoors paired with “the traveling associated with the holiday season is all of the ingredients that unfortunately make for a situation that is really terrible.”“To have 300,000 cases in a given day and between 2,000 and 3,000 deaths per day is just terrible,” he said Sunday. “It’s something that we absolutely have got to grasp and get our arms around and turn that — turn that inflection down by very intensive adherence to the public health measures uniformly throughout the country with no exceptions.”Although the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that air travel won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, the record-breaking development of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has given some airline executives hope that demand will return sooner.On Friday, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian told employees in an internal memo that Delta expects to achieve positive cash flow by the spring.“The second phase will begin only when we reach a turning point with widely available vaccinations that spur a significant return to travel,” Bastian wrote, “particularly business travel.”TSA said on Monday it “anticipates daily travel volumes will continue to rise steadily and follow seasonal patterns” but it “expects volume will remain well below pre-pandemic levels through most of 2021.”Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Parents of Walter Wallace Jr. demand justice and police reform in Philadelphia

first_imgCopyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. iStock/Motortion(NEW YORK) — “He’s mental,” were some of the last words Walter Wallace Jr. heard before he was shot 14 times by a Philadelphia police officer.On Oct. 26, 2020, less than a month after marrying his pregnant wife Dominique, Wallace was shot by police in West Philadelphia while experiencing a mental health crisis.His death, caught on video by police body camera and by residents on his block, caused an avalanche of protests in the city.“It’s a hard pill to swallow, you know what I mean? I was thinking about my kids burying me and I had to bury my kids. No parent should have to go through that,” Walter Wallace Sr. said, speaking out for the first time with ABC News. “It’s like the devil’s ridin’ over your back.”His son had a history of mental illness since he was a child. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD at a young age and was taking multiple medications, including Adderall.“He was funny. He liked to play basketball. I mean, he liked to rap for sure. He loved making music and he didn’t care about what nobody said about him at all… he was happy with himself,” one of Wallace Jr.’s best friends Kaseem Nelson told “Nightline.” “He was an all-around good person. I don’t know, as far as flaws I didn’t see too many. He was my brother that was it.”As an adult, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.According to his family, whenever Wallace Jr. would have a mental episode, they would call an ambulance and request an emergency evaluation and treatment for mental illness.Bilal Nelson, Kaseem’s brother and another one of Wallace Jr.’s friends, said it didn’t take much to get Wallace Jr. upset, especially when they were younger.“I will always get him to calm down and try to get him to see it from my point of view,” Villa Nelson said. “He would always tell me, ‘little bro I need you’… Basically, I was able to calm him down because when he’s mad, he’s not thinking, all he wanted to do was react.”“I was never afraid of him,” he added.On that day in October 2020, Wallace Jr.’s sister and brother both called 911. His sister told dispatchers her brother had a record, was on probation, and had been violent. She said he was attacking his mother and the dispatcher said she would send help.With the knife in his hand, Wallace Jr. walked out of his home where his neighbors and loved ones were outside. Seconds after police arrived, his wife yelled, “He’s mental,” attempting to warn them her husband needed help, she later told “Nightline.”Police arrived on the scene and asked Wallace Jr.’s mother what was happening, to which she responded “He came outside. He had the knife in his hand.” The police asked him to put the knife down more than 12 times, body camera video showed.Less than a minute on scene, the two police officers on site released 14 bullets. Ten of them hit Wallace Jr. and he died at the scene.Robert Gonzalez has spent his career studying these interactions, helping to change training techniques at the New York Police Department after Eric Garner’s death.“The sister actually tells the 911 dispatcher that the suspect has a record. Was it a criminal record? Was it a medical record?” Gonzales said. “It was the 911 one dispatch, in my opinion, who failed to ask the right questions so that the police officer can be armed on how to deal with this particular situation.”In addition to being ill-informed, the officers were also ill-equipped. In Philadelphia, most officers are not issued less lethal forms of force, like a stun gun. Gonzalez said the only option they could use to disarm him at that point was their guns.“I believe when he failed to comply after maybe the sixth or seventh attempt, they realized that he was never going to drop the knife,” Gonzales said. “Then you need to use deadly physical force. And it appears that’s what these officers did in this particular situation. So in my opinion, this was a justified shooting.”But Gonzales says before deadly force, there should be other de-escalation tactics employed.“Me personally, I probably wouldn’t to discharge my firearm,” he said. “I think what could have saved Walter’s life in this situation is if the officers would have continued to maintain the zone of safety, if they would have requested additional backup where someone who responded might have had a Taser and then perhaps that would have saved the life in this situation.”“Justice need[s] to be served and the cops need to be locked up for what they did to him,” said Kathy Bryant.With her son on the floor gasping his last breaths, his mother Kathy Bryant lunged at the officer.“Why would you do that? I told you he was mental!” she screamed.“If Tasers had been around, if those officers had been Taser-trained and certified, he would very likely be alive,” said the family’s attorney Shaka Johnson, a former police detective.“How are we now four to five months, six months, removed from that shooting, and you still have not implemented required training and required equipment issues at the academy level for less-lethal options? How have you not done that?” he added.In 2015, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services worked with the Justice Department, concluding all Philadelphia officers should be equipped with less-lethal options like Tasers. They also said not having these options makes officers “more likely to use deadly force.”Research from the Treatment Advocacy Center shows that people with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed during a police encounter. At least a quarter of fatal police shootings involve an individual with untreated severe mental illness.Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw arrived on scene shortly after the shooting to address the crowd. Outlaw is the first Black female police commissioner in the department’s over 200 years.“There was a community on scene. There was family there that had witnessed it as well,” Outlaw told “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang. “I generally respond to all critical incidents in which there is a discharge of a firearm, where there’s police involved. But it was really important for me to be there because there was a lot of emotion there. There was a lot of community out there and they wanted answers.”Outlaw met with the Wallace family and their attorney to review the body camera footage in the following weeks.After the family’s approval, on Nov. 5th, she made the decision to release the video publicly just two weeks after the incident, along with the 911 calls. It was the first time in Philadelphia police history that this kind of video would be released to the public.“To think about how a call for help ends up part of a death sequence is chilling,” said Marc Lamont Hill, professor of media studies and urban education at Temple University. “But it’s very much what it means to be in America as a Black person and as a person with mental illness.”Outlaw said she has made the request for police officers in the city to be equipped with stun guns, but said the department’s budget has yet to be approved by the city council.“I have made the request,” said Outlaw. “It costs approximately $14 million over a period of five years to get everyone in patrol at least outfitted with Tasers. We did put that request forward.”The city will decide whether to approve the budget in June.The Wallace family is suing the officers involved for wrongful death. They are asking for reform and plan to file a separate federal lawsuit.The family attorney is asking for specific changes within the city’s police department.First, “to retrain every officer who has a Taser right now,” said Johnson. “Make the Taser standard issue at the academy level and you also need to train on less-lethal methods at the academy level.”The Wallace family just wants justice to be served for their son.“Justice need[s] to be served and the cops need to be locked up for what they did to him,” said Bryant. “I can’t touch him. I can’t hug him. I just can’t see him no more. And it hurts me so bad. You don’t know how much I really miss my son. I miss him so much. Sometimes I wish I could just hear the bell ring.”“Charged, that’s right. Do it,” said Wallace Sr. “[Be]cause had it been me [who] shot a cop, and did kill a cop, they would have prosecuted me to the fullest.”Kaseem Nelson remembered the last time they saw each other, just days before the shooting.“We was talking and it’s crazy because I was telling him that I was proud,” he said. “I was happy to see him doing good… when I was with him… I was just with somebody that was cool, he was like my big brother.”last_img read more

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