President Joe Biden announced a five-step strategy Thursday to fight COVID-19 including rigid testing for travelers entering the United States and providing free at-home tests. The new strategy comes amid the threat of a new mutation, the Omicron variant, which scientists are still researching.
Biden made the announcement at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md, saying that the strategy includes encouraging booster shots for all adults, establishing family vaccine clinics where children and adults can get vaccinated together and an increase in surge response teams. Biden assured that the two cases of the Omicron variant that have been reported in the United States are cause for concern, but not panic, saying: “We have the best tools in the world. We will fight this with science and speed, not with chaos and confusion. We enter this winter with strength.”
Travelers entering the United States will be required to have a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure, and face mask requirements on domestic flights have public transportation has been extended until March 18. The new strategy also included adding workplace protections to keep businesses open and employing rapid response teams in areas with a rise in positive cases.
Kane Brown has been announced as a co-host for the holiday special A Home for the Holidays. Brown’s co-hosts include Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara and Darren Criss.
A Home for the Holidays features performances from a number of different artists and was recorded at The Grove in Los Angeles. The special broadcast spotlights uplifting stories of American children who were adopted from foster care. For his segment of the show, Kane will introduce and perform for the Rodriguez family, including a young girl named Marjorie, who was placed in foster care as a toddler and lived in six different homes by the age of five. After finally finding a home with Jerry and Celine Rodriguez, Marjorie finally found her forever family.
Home for the Holidays will air on December 5 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
Carrie Underwood kicked off REFLECTION: The Las Vegas Residency at Resorts World Las Vegas on Dec. 1. According to a press release, the show featured “dancers, aerialists, a virtual orchestra, a stunning array of one-of-a-kind costumes, a breathtaking finale centered on a brilliant [and] a never-before-seen water wall feature.”
Due to popular demand, Underwood has already added additional dates to the residency, which runs for dates throughout December as well as select dates in March and April. The country superstar just announced six new dates for May of 2022. This marks the first Vegas residency for Underwood, following fellow country artists George Strait and Shania Twain with Vegas residencies. Strait launched Strait to Vegas in 2016, while Twain’s Let’s Go! residency kicked off in 2019.
Tickets are expected to go on sale Monday, December 6 at 10 AM PST. For more information, head here.
Jimmy Kimmel announced on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that Jennifer Aniston, Kathryn Hahn, Gabrielle Union and Allison Tolman will play ‘Facts of Life’ characters in the new special Live in Front of a Studio Audience. ABC previously aired Live in Front of a Studio Audience specials that recreated episodes of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Good Times.
The special will feature characters from Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes. Aniston will play Blair (originally played by Lisa Whelchel), with Union as Tootie (Kim Fields), Hahn as Jo (Nancy McKeon) and Tolman as Natalie (Mindy Cohn). Ann Dowd was previously announced as Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae), and John Lithgow will play the Diff’rent Strokes character Mr. Drummond (Conrad Bain), with Kevin Hart as Arnold (Gary Coleman) and Damon Wayans as Willis (Todd Bridges).
Diff’rent Strokes was created by Jeff Harris and Bernie Kukoff and had an eight-season run from 1978 to 1986. The Facts of Life was created by Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon and aired for nine seasons from 1979 to 1988.
The new special will air Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC, and stream on Hulu the next day.
Amazon Prime Video announced that ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ will return for a fourth season in February 2022, and shared a release date (Feb. 18th) as well as a teaser for the season. Amazon also shared a poster for Season 4 on social media with the tagline “We’re just getting started.”
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel follows Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), a housewife who decides to pursue stand-up comedy in the late 1950s. Season 4 takes place in 1960, and an official description reads: “Looking to hone her act, Midge finds a gig with total creative freedom. But her commitment to her craft — and the places it takes her — creates a rift between her and the family and friends around her.”
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and co-stars Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub. Gilmore Girls alum Kelly Bishop has joined the cast for Season 4.
While the Maine Garden + Marketplace is not the event we all know and love, it nonetheless provides an important opportunity for the gardening community to safely gather at a more manageable scale and with significantly reduced risk.
The Transportation Security Administration has not revealed the name of a Maine man who was was stopped last week at Boston’s Logan International Airport. He had in his backpack a 9mm handgun and a gun magazine.
Also read: Travelers warned about guns in luggage, again, as incidents spiked during pandemic in 2020
The man was stopped at about 5:30 a.m. Friday at a Terminal B security checkpoint, the agency said in a statement Monday.
State police say he had an expired concealed firearms permit and will summoned for illegal possession of a firearm.
A Maine man was stopped at Boston’s Logan International Airport last week with a 9mm handgun and a gun magazine in his backpack, the Transportation Security Administration said. https://t.co/MVcQuVIAYM
Public health official and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci confirmed on Wednesday that the first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been identified in the United States.
Speaking during a White House press briefing, Fauci said the case was found in California, adding that the patient traveled from South Africa to San Francisco on Nov. 22 and tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Fauci said: “The individual is self-quarantining and all close contacts have been contacted and all close contacts, thus far, have tested negative. The individual was fully vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms, which are improving at this point. So this is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant detected in the United States.”
The World Health Organization designated the Omicron variant a “variant of concern” last Friday after it was first identified in South Africa. The organization said Omicron has a large number of mutations and may spread at faster rates than other variants. News of the variant’s spread prompted countries across the globe to shut down travel from certain areas of Africa, though it has been detected in European countries.
Biden on Monday sought to calm fears about the new variant, saying that current vaccines should be adequate to combat Omicron, and added that it was a “cause for concern, not a cause for panic.” Vaccine makers said that they are testing their COVID-19 vaccines against the new variant, saying it may require new boosters that can target the strain.
Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams announced on Wednesday that she will launch a campaign for governor of Georgia in 2022. Abrams shared a video saying she would make another run for the office “because opportunity in our state shouldn’t be determined by zip code, background or access to power.”
Abrams, a former top Democrat in the Georgia House of Representatives, became a prominent voting rights advocate following her loss to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in 2018’s gubernatorial election. Abrams lost to Kemp, who was serving as Georgia’s secretary of state at the time, by 1.4 points. She declined to give a formal concession after she accused Kemp and state Republicans of suppressing the vote. The following year she delivered the Democratic response to former President Donald Trump’s 2019 state of the union and was credited with organizing voting efforts that helped Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win their runoff Senate races, which gave the Democrats control of the chamber. Abrams said in her announcement video: “That’s the job of governor — to fight for one Georgia, our Georgia. And now, it is time to get the job done.”
Kemp responded to the news of Abrams’ announcement by criticizing her “far-left agenda” stating that “woke politics would be the law of the land” in the state if she were elected. He said: “Next November’s election for governor is a battle for the soul of our state. I’m in the fight against Stacey Abrams, the failed Biden agenda and their woke allies to keep Georgia the best place to live, work and raise a family.”
Randy Travis has just released the “From The Vault” edition of his 30-year-old Christmas single “There’s A New Kid In Town.” The new version of the song features the country icon alongside rising country performer Drew Parker.
Said Parker of the collab; “I just remember getting to spend quality time with Randy and his family out on his ranch in Texas. Driving around the property and getting to take in all of God’s creation with one of my heroes. It was a very special day and one I’ll remember for the rest of my life.” Parker added, “I hope [country music fans] can see that I plan on carrying on the kind of country music that Randy started years ago. The kind of music that I want to make [is] country music about fun, faith and family.”
The video for the song resonated with Parker, as Christmas is his favorite holiday and Randy Travis is a personal inspiration. He said: “Getting to feel those Christmas traditions and emotions while watching a video of me getting to spend time with Randy Travis is incredible. There’s a scene in this video of me and Randy sitting on a couch in his awards room at his house. We shot that scene one time and when we got done I told the director that whatever had just happened in that room couldn’t be replicated.”
Take a look/listen to the new edition of “There’s A New Kid In Town” – here.