A look back at the big headlines in the past weeks
COVID-19 variant makes it way into the United States
As it has now been a little over a year since the coronavirus was first detected, scientists have discovered three new strains of the virus. One variant has been found in the UK, one in South Africa and another has been confirmed in Japan. This comes as vaccines are being administered in other countries and are being given to health care workers and the elderly in the U.S.
The first known case of the U.K. strain known as B.1.1.7 in the U.S. was detected in Colorado on Dec. 29. As of Jan. 11, nine other states have confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 strain with California and Florida having the most confirmed cases of this variant.
This comes as California has become the new epicenter for the virus as hospitals are overwhelmed with the number of patients. According to CNN, as of Jan. 10, there were 22,513 patients in hospitals in California with Covid-19.
It is still unclear how many more cases of the B.1.1.7 strain there might be in the U.S. as scientists are still studying the new strains. Scientists have found that while the new strains aren’t deadlier, they are more transmissible. U.K. scientists have found that the B.1.1.7 strain is 70% more transmissible than earlier versions according to the Los Angeles Times.
Though scientists believe that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will protect against these new variants, there is still concern over how this may impact when the pandemic will end.
Rioters storm the U.S. Capitol
While the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate met on Jan. 6 to certify president-elect Joe Biden’s win, supporters of President Trump gathered in Washington D.C. as well. President Trump spoke to his supporters as he protested the results of the election and rallied them to march to the Capitol.
According to the New York Times, the rioters marched to the Capitol a little after noon where they outnumbered Capitol Police. Before 1 p.m. the rioters violently overwhelmed the Capitol Police and breached the barricades surrounding the Capitol’s outer perimeter while forcing their way into the building.
Members of Congress were moved to safer locations and barricaded themselves in their offices as the rioters smashed windows, stole property and took selfies inside.
After about four hours the sergeant-in-arms declared the Capitol building secure and Congress reconvened to finish the certification. President-elect Joe Biden was certified as the 46th president in the early morning of Jan. 7.
The F.B.I. is still continuing to arrest rioters and The Hill reported that an officer was suspended after being shown in a video taking a selfie with one of the rioters.
Since the riot Trump has conceded and has announced that he will not attend Biden’s inauguration which is set for Jan. 20.
House Democrats look towards impeachment
With a week before Joe Biden is inaugurated, the House Democrats have drafted to impeach Trump after the raid on the Capitol. Many members including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have mentioned the Trump cabinet should invoke the 25th Amendment.
Democrats are expected to begin to debate on Jan. 13 about the impeachment charge “incitement and insurrection,” according to the Associated Press. Three Republicans, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, New York Rep. John Katko and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger support the impeachment as no Republicans supported Trump’s impeachment in 2019.
“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said.
Many Trump administration officials have resigned after the Capitol riot including the Deputy National Security Advisor, Matthew Pottinger and the Education Secretary, Betsy De Vos.