In Crisis News

What will be "normal" in the "new, new normal?" Mental health expert weighs in

iStock/chee gin tan

With the COVID-19 pandemic easing in this country, and life slowly returning to normal, what exactly will that mean? ABC Audio spoke with Amanda Fialk [FALK], PhD, chief of clinical services at the treatment community The Dorm, about what to expect. 

Long story short, we've all experienced trauma, Dr. Fialk says, but how we process it will be different.

"It will be interesting to see what normal looks like and feels like," Dr. Fialk says. "I think 'normal' is a relative concept, especially for people who struggle with mental illness. You know, I think returning to a pre-COVID type world, it doesn't necessarily feel as exciting to people who maybe don't struggle with mental illness."

She explains, "People lost jobs, people lost loved ones, people were unable to participate in milestones, they stopped going to school, there's a lot of loss and a lot of grief. And you don't just process grief overnight."

Dr. Fialk continues, "It's not just gone because the imminent danger is no longer there. The lasting effects of the trauma linger...even when the outside environment is seemingly safe again."

She explains, "You can almost compare it to...when people are...fighting in a war and the war is over. They've survived, they're safe, they get to come home to their families. You would think that there's just a ton of excitement and joy...and there might be that. But in addition to that, there's also anxiety and fear involved in the re-entry."  

Dr. Fialk added, "Reintegration anxiety is normal! For many it will take time to adjust. Returning to 'normal' life is...a journey, not a destination." 

She suggests, "Rather than being critical or harsh or judgmental with self, be gentle and compassionate with oneself and one's feelings."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Republicans to block creation of January 6 investigation commission

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- The effort to create a commission to look into the events of the January 6 seige of the U.S. Capitol will face its first major test when it heads to the Senate, where it faces stiff opposition from Republicans.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his opposition and aims to unite Republicans against approving the commission.

"I do not believe the additional, extraneous commission that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts, or promote healing. Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to do that," said McConnell.

Several rank-and-file Republicans echoed sentiments made by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who says the commission will become politicized and claim Democrats will delay the finding to make political hay.

Democrats argue Republicans are afraid of what the commission might find, saying the GOP is too beholden to former President Donald Trump, who is accused of inciting the insurrection over pushing myths about the 2020 election.

It has been proven through various audits, investigations and hand-counted ballot recounts that the election was not, quote, "stolen."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted his political counterparts, saying, "We need an independent, trusted, bipartisan commission now more than ever. It is critically important to establish a trusted record of events and begin to restore faith in our democracy."

The commission aims to appoint a 10-member outside panel to look into how the January 6 riot started and the events that took place after protestors took the Capitol.  The bipartisan commission would share subpoena power with an equal number of staff for each side.

10 Republican senators would need to break from their ranks to approve the commission, but it is uncertain if that will happen.

In anticipation of the vote, Gladys Sicknick, the mother of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, as well as other Capitol Police officers met with Republican leaders in hope to change their minds and have them support the measure.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Survey shows Americans nervous about their driving skills after all that locking down

iStock/SIphotography

While few can argue that ending COVID-19 pandemic restrictions isn't a good thing, all that staying at home has apparently taken a toll on our driving skills. 

Thirty-seven percent of the respondents in a new survey admit they've entirely forgotten how to drive.

The non-scientific poll of 2,000 Americans commissioned by Nextbase Dash Cams revealed that 47% say they haven’t driven more than 50 miles per month since the pandemic began. As a result, 35% say their driving skills aren't what they used to be pre-COVID, and 39% say they're more nervous driving now than they ever have been. Thirty-four percent said they'd like to re-take driver's ed  to get more comfortable behind the wheel.

For those who have ventured out on the road, 53% of respondents said the highways and byways have been a "free-for-all" post-lockdown, as people got used to driving -- and not following the rules -- when there were fewer cars on the road. 

As a result, 46% of respondents say they've become increasingly annoyed at other drivers: 33% say they're using their horns more than ever; 25% say they've flashed their lights at annoying motorists; and 21% have even yelled out the window at other drivers. Fifteen percent admit they've cut off other drivers to express their discontent.

Nexbase director Richard Browning explains, "[W]e've seen a significant increase in shared consumer dash cam video vividly documenting incidents of dangerous driving and road rage."

Considering this, it's no surprise that 39% of respondents said they're more anxious about driving now than ever.

All of this is especially bad considering 62% of those surveyed said they plan to take a road trip of 100 miles or more this summer.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Today’s In Crisis headlines

(NEW YORK) -- Here are today's In Crisis headlines:

Senate to consider January 6 attacks commission; Republicans opposing measure
Senate Republicans are poised to quash an effort today to establish a bipartisan, independent commission to study the January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol that that left five people dead.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his opposition last week, along with his House GOP counterpart, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, ahead of the House vote that approved the measure, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats.  McConnell called the commission “a purely political exercise that adds nothing to the sum total of information," and noted that there is already an ongoing joint investigation into the attacks by the Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees, which are expected to produce a report in early June.  Democrats counter that the real reason Republicans are opposed is because they’re beholden to former President Donald Trump, who was impeached for inciting the mob that ransacked the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election and who continues to claim, falsely, that the election was stolen. 

The mother of Brian Sicknick, the officer who died after the Capitol insurrection, and Sicknick's partner, Sandra Garza, are scheduled to meet today with a number of GOP senators, including Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, with the intention of pressing Republicans to vote in favor of the independent commission.

Nine dead in San Jose mass shooting Wednesday
Nine people were shot to death at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in San Jose, California, on Wednesday morning, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.  One victim remains hospitalized in critical condition.  The suspect, identified as 57-year-old VTA employee Samuel Cassidy, also is dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff's spokesperson Russell Davis said.  Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said Thursday morning that two semiautomatic handguns and 11 magazines with ammunition were found in the area Cassidy where took his life at the rail yard.

An angry and emotional Governor Gavin Newsom, noting he visited the region after a mass shooting in Gilroy two years ago, declared Wednesday, "It begs the damn question what the hell is going on in United States of America?  What the hell's wrong with us?"  A White House proclamation directs that U.S. flags be flown at half-staff at the White House, and all public buildings and military and naval posts, to respect the shooting victims.  The incident brings to 232 the number of mass shootings in the U.S. this year.

New unemployment claims fall to pandemic low number
Some 406,000 new claims for unemployment were filed in the week ending May 15, according to Thursday-morning numbers released by the Department of Labor.  This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when it was 256,000, and also is a decrease of 38,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 444,000 new claims.  The numbers are another sign the job market is healing as the pandemic wanes.  There are currently 15,802,126 Americans collecting unemployment benefits from all state and federal programs.   

COVID-19 numbers
Here's the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections, deaths and vaccinations.

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 168,471,416
Global deaths: 3,500,001.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 591,957.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 33,191,164 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 591,957.  California has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 63,017.
U.S. total people tested: 461,869,272

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,781,120 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks third in the world after England, which has 3,902,160 cases, and Maharashtra, India, which leads the world with 5,650,907 reported cases.  Texas is second in the U.S., with 2,949,009 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

Latest reported COVID-19 vaccination numbers in the United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a total of 359,849,035 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S.  Of those, 289,212,304 doses have been administered, with 165,074,907 people receiving at least one dose and 131,850,089 people fully vaccinated, representing 49.7% and 39.7% of the total U.S. population, respectively. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines each require two doses to be effective.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose to be effective.

Now 3.5 million global COVID-19 deaths as infection rates decline; US vaccinations also declining
Yet another grim pandemic milestone has been crossed, with 3.5 million global COVID-19 deaths now reported.  Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University puts the number of fatalities at 3,500,001 as of Thursday morning.  The United States accounts for 17% of global deaths, with 591,957 reported.  That remains more than any other nation, though it’s suspected that India could be significantly underreporting its coronavirus fatalities, which currently officially number 315,235 but could be more than double that figure.  Even given those daunting numbers, the World Health Organization reports that for the week of May 17-23, there were over 4.1 million new COVID cases and 84,000 new deaths reported worldwide, a 14% and 2% decrease, respectively, when compared to the figures reported the previous week. 

In the U.S., where COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline rapidly, so too is the vaccination rate falling.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the seven-day average of vaccine doses administered has now dropped to just over 1.7 million doses a day -- down by nearly 50% in the last six weeks.  Just over 50% of the U.S. adult population is fully vaccinated, with nearly one in four of all Americans fully vaccinated, at 39.7%.  People aged 65 and older are the most-vaccinated U.S. demographic, with the CDC reporting 74.1% are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  States and businesses continue to offer perks and other incentives to promote continued immunization.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


President Biden orders further probe into COVID-19 origins

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- With researchers across the globe trying to accurately pinpoint the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Joe Biden ordered Wednesday for U.S. intelligence agencies to "redouble their efforts" in pinpointing how the virus passed onto humans.

In addition, the president wants U.S. agencies to ask "specific questions for China."

President Biden noted a report researching if the pandemic was cased by human contact with an infected animal or from a lab incident in China provided inconclusive results.  Because of that, he has ordered a second report to be completed in 90 days to "bring us closer to a definitive conclusion."

In a public statement, the president said, "As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has 'coalesced around two likely scenarios' but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question."

"Here is their current position: 'while two elements in the IC leans toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter – each with low or moderate confidence – the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other," he added.

The theory that the virus was created in the the Wuhan Institute of Virology and somehow escaped is a popular theory among Republicans, as it was pressed by former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

President Biden's order joins the growing global dissatisfaction with how the World Health Organization and China are conducting research to identify the virus' origin.

COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said of the renewed push, ""We need to get to the bottom of this, and we need a completely transparent process from China. We need the WHO to assist in that matter. We don't feel like we have that now." 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Today’s In Crisis headlines

(NEW YORK) -- Here are today's In Crisis headlines:

George Floyd's family meets with Biden, lawmakers on policing reform
President Biden met with the family of George Floyd at the White House Tuesday for over an hour on the one-year anniversary of Floyd's death, as well as with key lawmakers involved in policing reform negotiations.  The path forward on Capitol Hill for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act remains unclear, but negotiators say they've made progress and expressed optimism this week about its prospects.  Biden himself said he was "optimistic" lawmakers would reach an agreement on policing reform sometime after Memorial Day.  Outside the White House, attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the Floyd family, said Biden told them he's not looking for a "rushed" reform bill. The Floyd family returned to Capitol Hill later to meet separately with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, the latter of whom declared lawmakers are “making progress” on the legislation and promised the family that legislation would be named after Floyd. 

Manhattan district attorney convenes special grand jury in Trump probe
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has convened a special grand jury that could decide whether an indictment is warranted against former President Donald Trump or his eponymous company, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.  The DA has used previously empaneled grand juries during the investigation into the way Trump properties are valued to obtain loans or lower tax bills.  However, if there are going to be criminal charges, the special grand jury is the one that would make that determination.  Empaneling a special grand jury suggests the case has reached an advanced stage, but as yet there have been no charges filed.  Potential witnesses have been contacted in recent weeks about appearing before the special grand jury, the sources told ABC News.  Trump has insisted he runs a clean business and has called the investigation a “witch hunt.”
 
COVID-19 numbers
Here's the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections, deaths and vaccinations.

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 167,898,407
Global deaths: 3,487,458.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 590,994.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 33,166,902 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 590,994.  California has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 62,986.
U.S. total people tested: 460,952,396

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,779,998 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks third in the world after England, which has 3,899,813 cases, and Maharashtra, India, which leads the world with 5,626,155 reported cases.  Texas is second in the U.S., with 2,946,817 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

Latest reported COVID-19 vaccination numbers in the United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a total of 359,004,955 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S.  Of those, 287,788,872 doses have been administered, with 164,378,258 people receiving at least one dose and 131,078,608 people fully vaccinated, representing 49.5% and 39.5% of the total U.S. population, respectively. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines each require two doses to be effective.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose to be effective.

White House touts 50% COVID-19 adult population full vaccination rate
The White House COVID-19 Task Force is taking a victory lap, announcing that 50% of the adult U.S. population is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 50% of the population aged 18 and older is fully vaccinated, a total of 129,054,480 people.  Additionally, the White House said 25 states and the District of Columbia have fully vaccinated 50% or more of their adult population, while nine states have recently crossed the threshold of 70% of adults who’ve received at least one shot.  Currently, 61.6% of the total 18+ adult U.S. population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to the CDC.  Dr. Ashish Jha told ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday, "We have never done this in the history of America. No country has gotten this many people vaccinated this quickly.”

CDC updates COVID-19 deaths projection
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated their forecast of COVID-19 deaths, currently projecting the U.S. will see a total of 596,000 to 606,000 fatalities by the week ending June 19.  The previous forecast was for a total of 594,000 to 604,000 by the week ending June 12.  The forecast represents a continued decrease in the number of daily COVID-19 deaths.  Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University puts the current total number of U.S. coronavirus deaths at 590,994.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Vaccine milestone: Half of US adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19

iStock/coldsnowstorm

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that half of U.S. adults -- 129 million people over 18 -- are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In adults over 65 years old, that number rises to 73 percent -- or 40 million individuals.

Even more promising, nearly half of all Americans of all ages, that's 164 million people, have obtained at least one dose of the vaccine.

In nine states, 70 percent of their population over the age of 18 --  Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont -- are fully vaccinated.

At least 25 states -- including Washington, D.C. -- have reported at least half of the adult population being given at least one COVID-19 dose.

The Food and Drug Administration approved of vaccines to anyone over 16 in mid-April and, at the start of May, allowed the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children over the age of 12.

Those under 12 are still ineligible for the vaccine pending further study.

"The progress that we have made ... is due to all of you who have gotten vaccinated, who have contributed not only to your health but to mine and my family’s and my friends’ and yours, and the health of people who can’t get vaccinated because of their medical condition," COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said during a White House coronavirus response team briefing on Tuesday. "You’ve contributed to our country."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Tune in tonight for ABC's 'After Floyd: The Year that Shook the World – A Soul of a Nation Special'

ABC/JENN ACKERMAN

Tonight, ABC News is marking the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death with the special After Floyd: The Year that Shook the World – A Soul of a Nation Special.

The one-hour special will be hosted from Minneapolis by daytime talk show host Tamron Hall and GMA3: What You Need to Know co-anchor T.J. Holmes.

It features in-depth interviews with Floyd’s family, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, civil rights leader and founder and president of National Action Network Rev. Al Sharpton, How to Get Away with Murder and Insecure actor Kendrick Sampson and more. Singer Aloe Blacc will also deliver a moving performance.

Holmes tells ABC Audio he hopes people will watch the special and embrace whatever emotion they might be feeling.

“Whatever it is, just feel,” he says, recounting the advice of his friend and colleague Dr. Jennifer Ashton. “Because you can't heal unless you feel. So if people watch it and you come out of it feeling very hopeful, great. If you come out of it feeling angry, that's fine. If you come out of it with whatever emotion, that's O.K.”

“But I encourage everybody to just...whatever the year has been for you and whatever you take out of looking back at the year, just feel -- and that’s O.K.,” he adds.

After Floyd: The Year that Shook the World – A Soul of a Nation Special airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. It can be viewed the next day on demand and on Hulu.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'"Your Shot to Fly": United Airlines offering free flights for a year sweepstakes to encourage COVID vaccinations

iStock/Michael Valdez

In an effort to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19, United CEO Scott Kirby tells ABC News his company launched a sweepstakes that could win you free flights for a year. 

"Your Shot To Fly" is simple: any new or existing members of United's MileagePlus loyalty program who uploads their vaccination records to the airline's mobile app or website between today and June 22 will be entered to win a round-trip flight for two, in any class, anywhere in the world the airline flies.

Thirty pairs of tickets will be given out throughout the month of June, Kirby says.

What's more, on July 1, United will choose five randomly selected entrants to the sweepstakes to win the grand prize of travel for a year "for themselves and a companion -- also in any class of service, anywhere in the world United flies."

The airline is not only touting its cooperation with the Biden Administration's initiative to get as many Americans vaccinated as possible, but also showcasing that United is the only U.S. airline to which COVID-19 vaccination and testing results can be directly uploaded through its app and website.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Today’s In Crisis headlines

(NEW YORK) -- Here are today's In Crisis headlines:

Today is the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder
Today marks one year since 46-year-old George Floyd, a Black man, died beneath the knee of white former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during an arrest for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.  Video from the arrest shows Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, while Floyd repeatedly protested, “I can’t breathe.”  Chauvin and three other officers involved in the arrest were fired soon after and criminally charged in Floyd’s death.  On April 20, 2021, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced June 16.  The other three officers involved face trial on state charges in 2022 and also face prosecution on federal civil rights charges before then.  Floyd’s death drew worldwide attention to racial injustice and police use of force.  

A “Celebration of Life and Remembrance” in Floyd’s honor will be held today in Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is also calling for state residents to observe nine minutes and 29 seconds of silence, equal to the length of time Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck.  President Biden is also scheduled to meet privately today with Floyd's family, including his daughter, sister and brothers. 

The House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in March, which aims to increase law enforcement accountability by ending no-knock warrants, banning chokeholds, creating a national registry for police misconduct and seeking to end qualified immunity for police officers. However, it has yet to be considered in the Senate, where it would need support from at least 10 Republicans to pass.  Democrats and the GOP have yet to reach consensus over the qualified immunity issue, which would make it easier for civil lawsuits to be brought against police officers.  President Biden set a goal of today to get the bill signed into law, a deadline the White House this week admitted would not be met.

COVID-19 numbers
Here's the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections, deaths and vaccinations.

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 167,367,952
Global deaths: 3,475,201.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 590,697.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 33,144,178 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 590,697.  California has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 62,949.
U.S. total people tested: 460,189,835

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,778,555 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks third in the world after England, which has 3,897,815 cases, and Maharashtra, India, which leads the world with 5,602,019 reported cases.  Texas is second in the U.S., with 2,944,309 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

Latest reported COVID-19 vaccination numbers in the United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a total of 357,250,475 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S.  Of those, 286,890,900 doses have been administered, with 163,907,827 people receiving at least one dose and 130,615,797 people fully vaccinated, representing 49.4% and 39.3% of the total U.S. population, respectively. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines each require two doses to be effective.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose to be effective.

US surpasses 590,000 COVID-19 deaths
The U.S. has now surpassed 590,000 total reported deaths from COVID-19.  As of Tuesday morning, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed at least 590,697 people had died from the coronavirus since the first case was reported in the U.S. in January 2020.  That number remains the highest death rate of any other country, and accounts for about 17% of global fatalities.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently forecasting a total of 594,000 to 604,000 COVID-19 deaths will be reported in the U.S. by the week ending June 12.  And though the numbers are declining, the U.S. also continues to lead the world in total reported COVID-19 infections, with 33,144,178 as of Tuesday morning, accounting for 19.8% of global cases.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


A year since George Floyd’s death, people are pushing for change that lasts

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

(MINNEAPOLIS) -- A lot has changed in the year since George Floyd's death at the hands of police sparked a nationwide reckoning.

Amid the outcry, Confederate monuments were removed and hauled away. Racially insensitive scenes from popular TV shows, like Golden Girls and The Office, were pulled by streaming services. And, along with all the new racial equity initiatives announced by corporations, some also changed the names of their brands -- Aunt Jemima, for example, is now the Pearl Milling Company.

While the changes over the last year might be one step toward racial equity, people like Hank Willis Thomas, a conceptual artist based in Brooklyn, New York, are working to ensure there's a more inclusive landscape for all, not just for now but in the future, too.

Last summer, as protests broke out across the country in the wake of Floyd's death, Thomas' sculpture of a bronze arm arm in downtown Brooklyn -- called Unity -- became a rallying point for demonstrators, he said.

Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, said that Confederate and other war statues around the country carry powerful messages, but often show a biased perspective on history or completely leave out other important perspectives and truths. She said there's an opportunity to reimagine and build the monument landscape of tomorrow by telling more inclusive and diverse stories through public art.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Hotels.com translating your dreams into your dream vacation

Hotels.com

We're all dreaming to get away after the 2020 we had, so Hotels.com is offering some lucky would-be travelers the vacation of their dreams -- literally. 

As part of a new contest, the booking site has tapped expert dream interpreters Anna Toonk and Nina Endrst to translate what your actual dreams mean, and then they'll base your ideal travel destination on what your subconscious is chewing on when you're catching Zs.

Since a $5,000 vaca is up for grabs, rub the sleep from your eyes and enter what you've just dreamed about at Hotels.com/dreamvacation from today through Thursday May 27 at 5 p.m. Eastern time. 

Maybe that dream in which you're running through green fields will send you to Scotland, or dreaming about the beach will send you to a tropical island.

Let's just hope it's not that dream where you're falling.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Stephen Colbert's 'Late Show' returning to Ed Sullivan Theater with full, fully vaccinated audience

CBS 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live events in New York City last March, Stephen Colbert and his Late Show will be returning to Broadway's Ed Sullivan Theatre. 

CBS says the first show from the historic venue -- with a full audience -- will be Monday, June 14.  The audience members will need to show proof of vaccination, the network explains.

The show logged 205 remotely-shot episodes during the pandemic.

In a statement, Colbert said, "Over the last 437 days, my staff and crew (and family!) have amazed me with their professionalism and creativity as we made shows for an audience we couldn’t see or hear."

He added, "I look forward to once again doing shows for an audience I can smell and touch."

According to the network, face masks will be optional for the vaccinated audience members, and, "All staff and crew members will continue to be tested prior to commencing work on a regular basis, as well as screened daily for symptoms."

The network also clarifies that a "COVID-19 compliance officer" will remain on staff to make sure health and safety protocols are observed. 

Last week, New York City relaxed capacity restrictions for most businesses.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Today’s In Crisis headlines

(NEW YORK) -- Here are today's In Crisis headlines:

Observances this week to mark the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death
Members of George Floyd’s family, and others who lost loved ones to police encounters, joined activists and citizens in Minneapolis on Sunday for a march that was one of several events planned nationwide to mark the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020.  Hundreds of people gathered for the rally in front of the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted last month of murdering Floyd during an arrest.  Many marchers carried signs with pictures of Floyd, Philando Castile and other Black men killed by police.  Other observances are planned for the week, both in Minneapolis and around the country. 

Meanwhile, the White House has already acknowledged that it’s unlikely they’ll meet President Biden’s self-imposed deadline for signing the George Floyd Justice in Policing bill into law this week, the one-year anniversary of his death.  New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, one of the lawmakers taking the lead on the bill’s negotiations, said they are “making meaningful progress” but there is still a lot of work to do to get the bill to the president’s desk.  When asked if doing away with qualified immunity for police officers accused of wrongdoing was a necessity for Democrats, Booker hedged, siding with South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn that it needed to happen at "some point."

COVID-19 numbers
Here's the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections, deaths and vaccinations.

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 167,229,205
Global deaths: 3,464,997.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 589,893.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 33,117,923 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 589,893.  California has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 62,933.
U.S. total people tested: 459,239,906

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,777,077 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks third in the world after England, which has 3,895,920 cases, and Maharashtra, India, which leads the world with 5,579,897 reported cases.  Texas is second in the U.S., with 2,941,392 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

Latest reported COVID-19 vaccination numbers in the United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a total of 357,250,375 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S.  Of those, 285,720,586 doses have been administered, with 163,309,414 people receiving at least one dose and 130,014,175 people fully vaccinated, representing 49.2% and 39.2% of the total U.S. population, respectively. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines each require two doses to be effective.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose to be effective.

US COVID-19 daily infections, hospitalizations and deaths still falling
The seven-day COVID-19 new case average in the U.S. has now fallen to 28,000 – a more than 19.5% drop in the last week alone.  In the last month, the country's average has dropped by 57%, representing the lowest level of infections since June 2020.  Only six states – Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Minnesota and West Virginia -- are averaging over 100 cases per 100,000 residents.  Additionally, COVID-19 hospitalizations are down by nearly 15.1% nationwide in the last week, with just over 25,000 current inpatients, the lowest number since late September.  The average number of deaths over the last seven days also dropped to 552, numbers not seen since July of last year.

US approaches 40% vaccination rate as incentives continue
Based on the current vaccination rate, four out of every ten people living in the U.S. will have been vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of this week.  But as that rate slows, government agencies and even businesses continue to offer incentives to spur immunizations.  The first drawing in Ohio’s Vax-a-Million sweepstakes is scheduled for today, awarding a million dollars to one lucky vaccine recipient, with subsequent drawings scheduled for the next five weeks.  Chicago public health officials are introducing monthly concerts open only to vaccinated residents.  And United Airlines is offering vaccinated loyalty program members the chance to win free flights for a year.

Nine states now have at least 70% of their population vaccinated: Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont.  Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C., have now fully vaccinated at least half of their adult populations.  The news comes as U.S. health officials say that most fully vaccinated Americans can skip testing for COVID-19, even if they were exposed to someone infected.  That new guidance was announced last week but was all but eclipsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new, more relaxed guidelines on masks.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Biden to meet with George Floyd's family ahead of anniversary of his death

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- President Joe Biden will honor George Floyd on the one year anniversary of his death this Tuesday by meeting members of his family to discuss police reform.

The meeting will go ahead as scheduled even though Congress is stalled on a police reform bill that is named after Floyd -- George Floyd Justice in Policing Act -- which was passed by the House of Representatives after it was introduced in June 2020.

President Biden set a deadline for the Senate to pass the act, wanting senators to act before Floyd's anniversary.

Following the guilty verdicts against ex-police officer Derek Chauvin last month, President Biden spoke with Floyd's family and promised over the phone to them, "We're going to get a lot more done, we're going to do a lot. We're going to stay at it til we get it done."

During his first joint address to Congress in April, the president said, "My fellow Americans, we have to come together to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve, to root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system, and to enact police reform in George Floyd’s name that passed the House already."

"We need to work together to find a consensus. But let’s get it done next month, by the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death," he added.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged last week that the deadline would not be met, telling reporters that Congress remains at odds over key provisions of the bill.

"They're continuing to have good discussions. And that is a positive sign," Psaki said of the lawmakers, who are at odds over how far the bill should push. 

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, a Republican, proposed a counter measure -- but Democrats blocked it saying it did not go far enough.

It is unknown when or if the president will set a new deadline but Psaki said President Biden would "sign it into law as quickly as possible" when -- or if -- it reaches his desk. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


On Air Now

Regular Programming
12:00am - 7:00am
Regular Programming

Recently Played

RITMO

By THE BLACK EYED PEAS & J BALVIN

12:27pm

Upcoming Events

Breaking HIts