Now You Know: Weeks of 01.16.22 to 01.29.22

From Left to Right: Gov. Youngkin, Sec. Antony Blinken, Novak Djokovic, Omicron Subvariant, Nor’easter

From Left to Right: Gov. Youngkin, Sec. Antony Blinken, Novak Djokovic, Omicron Subvariant, Nor’easter

1) Youngkin Reverses Mask Mandates

Nine days after being inaugurated as the first Republican governor of Virginia in nearly a decade, Gov. Glen Youngkin is sued by seven Virginia school boards, including Prince William County.

Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Hampton, and Richmond County are the other six counties who have collectively filed a lawsuit against the governor to stop the executive order that made masks optional to wear in K-12 schools on Monday. Jan. 24.

The schools argue that the order violates a Virginia law signed by former Gov. Ralph Northam. The law requires all VA school boards to, “to the maximum extent practicable… to reduce the spread transmission of COVID-19 [in which way has] been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” As of Jan. 29, it is still recommended by the CDC to keep students masked.

The school boards also argue that the order breaches a right given by the state constitution that says, “the supervision of schools in each school division shall be vested in a school board.”

In response, Gov. Youngkin told WTOP, “We will continue to protect parents’ fundamental right to make decisions with regard to their child’s upbringing, education and care.”

2) Russia-Ukraine Conflicts

(Cont. from Weeks of 01.02.22 to 01.15.22)

Still looking for assurance that Ukraine won’t be accepted into NATO, President Vladimir Putin of Russia has settled with about 100,000 troops at the border of Ukraine. The Pentagon says it’s enough troops to invade the whole country.

While it’s clear Russia has the capabilities, Putin hasn’t stated if they will carry out an invasion. It does however seem that the Russian military is preparing for just that.

They’ve expanded their blood and medical supplies. Retired U.S. Lt. Ben Hodges says while this “doesn’t guarantee that there’s going to be another attack… you would not execute another attack unless you have [a blood supply] in hand.”

The U.S. continues to threaten to impose sanctions on Russia if there is an attack. Lasting nearly eight hours, the U.S. outlined many of these sanctions in a meeting with Russia in Geneva on Jan. 10.

Since then, more meetings have taken place but serious communication with Russia has slowed overall, and the fear of an invasion that would kill thousands has heightened.

3) Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic needs one more major event win to officially rank above Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Grand Slam wins, marking him the greatest Tennis player in history.

Djokovic has historically performed well at Australian Open, winning the event nine times. The event takes place from Jan. 17-30 this year. Djokovic did not play.

Djokovic is openly opposed to the Coronavirus vaccine, and Australia has set strict rules requiring vaccination to enter the country. As the tennis player was infected with the virus previously, and has built a natural immunity, he was granted a medical exemption from the vaccine, and continued to fly to Australia.

He was detained at the Airport, and a legal battle between the player and the government unfolded. After his visa was initially cancelled, a judge ruled he should be allowed to remain in Australia and out of confinement.

Another court hearing overturned that decision, and Djokovic’s visa was cancelled for the second time on the grounds of “health and good order,” and was deported. The court has also ruled to ban Djokovic from the country for 3 years as a consequence of breaching entry laws.

Djokovic responded in a statement saying that he was extremely disappointed and, “will now be taking some time to rest and recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this.”

4) Omicron Subvariant

As the U.S. approaches 900,000 COVID-19 deaths, and a new subvariant has been detected in Washington. Known as BA.2, it’s a subvariant of the highly transmissible Omicron or BA.1 variant.

Nearly half of U.S. states have reported cases of the new variant, bringing the total at least 127 people known to be infected with BA.2 as of Friday.

It’s quickly becoming the dominant cause of infections around the world; however, experts say there is no cause for concern.

It differs from BA.2 in mutations in the spike protein, and the WHO wrote on their website, “investigations into the characteristics of BA.2… should be prioritized independently (and comparatively) to BA.1.”

While some cities are reaching their peak, Omicron cases have been slowing waning in the hotspots it hit first, providing a sliver of much needed hope for the country.

5) Nor’easter

From Virginia to into New England, over 10 million people are under warnings of a blizzard. Thousands of flights have been canceled, train schedules disrupted, and roadways are blanketed.

Here’s what we know:

  • A state of emergency has been declared in Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia
  • Amtrak announced several cancellations and service limits
  • Cape May, NJ has already gotten 13 inches of snow
  • Pembroke, MA has gotten 26 inches of snow
  • Over 100,000 families have lost power in Massachusetts

Read all the sources used in this article!