• Ariel Donato

Weekly News Blast | Apr. 3-10

1. United States COVID cases increase.

(Mufid Majnun/Unsplash)


White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha acknowledged the sudden uptick in cases. On the Today show, he said, “I think we’ve got to be careful,” but declared there is no need to be too concerned. Despite this, he discussed the low hospitalization numbers throughout the U.S. and the low community levels of COVID-19. In addition to Dr. Ashish Jha, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci emphasized the importance of continuing to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.


The Omicron subvariant BA.2 has become the most prominent strand of recently reported cases. Because of the dramatic increase in cases, some colleges and universities throughout the U.S. have reinstated their mask mandates. Philadelphia is the first city to reinstate the indoor mask requirement, having established a benchmark system to track cases and deaths. Using this system, the city has reported the deaths of 750 Philadelphians during the winter spread of the Omicron variant.


2. Los Angeles County banned official travel to Florida and Texas over LGBTQ+ policies.


Both Florida and Texas imposed new laws regarding LGBTQ+ peoples and terminology that are, as described by officials, driven by “transphobia and homophobia.” Some of the new legislation includes permissible classroom conduct and discussion ― new Florida law does not allow classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity between kindergarten and third grade. As described by the Los Angeles County Agenda Item, this conduct will “perpetuate a culture of bullying, secrecy, shame, and fear.” Many believe this law has egregious ramifications, such as the creation of a hostile environment for students and faculty.


In reaction to the Florida and Texas legislation, L.A. County banned county officials from traveling to Florida and Texas on business. The agenda item said the ban will be lifted when either of the states suspend these new orders.


3. Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first black woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court.


Because Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement after 28 years on the court, President Biden began searching for a replacement ― an honest and credible individual to fill Justice Stephen Breyer’s shoes. President Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to take on Breyer’s previous role. Jackson has extensive experience, having worked as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Vice Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a public defender, and a Supreme Court Clerk.


4. Ukraine announced its joining the European Union.


In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen traveled to Kyiv. On Friday, April 8, she presented President Zelensky with the official paperwork needed to join the European Union (EU) saying, “This is where your path towards the European Union begins.” Leyen also said the EU will continue to support Ukraine. During the press conference, she added, “Russia will descend in economic, financial and technological decay while Ukraine is marching towards a European future.”


Many countries already a part of the EU have sent letters urging for Ukraine to become a member of the EU. Other countries, such as the Netherlands and Germany, oppose the move.