December 2021 Current Events: US News

Updated January 2, 2022 | Infoplease Staff

World News | Science & Technology News | Disaster News

The world is a very busy place, and it's hard to stay on top of everything. Infoplease has got you covered. Here are the US news events you need to know so far for December 2021:

  1. Betty White Dies Before 100th Birthday
  2. Violence and Tragedies Continue into the Last Week of 2021
  3. Coronavirus Updates (5)
  4. Tragedies and Violence Continue into the Fourth Week of December
  5. Coronavirus Updates (4)
  6. Big Political Moves as 2021 Comes to a Close
  7. Coronavirus Updates (3)
  8. Gun Violence and Tragedies Continue
  9. Bob Dole Dies
  10. Coronavirus Updates (2)
  11. Supreme Court to Hear Arguments Regarding Abortion
  12. Coronavirus Updates

Betty White Dies Before 100th Birthday

Betty White

Photo Source: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

On Friday, December 31, beloved actress Betty White died at the age of 99. Her 100th birthday was just over two weeks away, on January 17th. White not only was a favorite on-screen presence, but she was also one of the first female producers to grace Hollywood. White passed away in her home from suspected natural causes, though her publicist has not confirmed this. Positive obituaries have been spread throughout all social media platforms.
Source: [1]BBC

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Violence and Tragedies Continue into the Last Week of 2021

Denver Shootings

Photo Source: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

On Saturday, December 25, an accidental shooting in North Carolina left a 3-year-old injured. The 911 call stated that the child had accessed the weapon and accidentally shot himself or herself.[1] On Monday, December 27, three people were shot and killed in a convenience store in Garland, Texas. A fourth victim has been taken to the hospital in critical condition. Police do not believe the attack was a robbery and the suspect, nor the getaway car, have been identified.[2] On Monday, December 27, five people were killed and many more injured after a shooting spree occurred throughout Denver and Lakewood. The suspected gunman began his spree in the Denver metro area before moving to Lakewood a few miles away. Though it is not verified, it is believed that the suspect was targeting tattoo shops. Two women were killed as well as three men, and a Lakewood police officer was injured along with a few others. The suspect was fatally shot by police and little else has been released regarding the events.[3] On Tuesday, December 28, police arrested the suspected getaway driver, a 33-year-old man, in the Texas convenience store shooting. While police are still searching for more information, they have arrested a 14-year-old boy who is the suspected shooter.[4] On Tuesday, December 28, legendary NFL coach John Madden died unexpectedly at the age of 85. The football community is mourning the death of this legendary player, commentator, and coach.[5] On Friday, December 31, at least 6 people were injured after multiple suspects fired 87 shots into a Philadelphia neighborhood. Police have not released much information and are still trying to confirm how many shooters were involved. Identities of the victims have not been released either.[6] On Friday, December 31, one person died and three more were injured after a shooting in Wisconsin. The gun was fired in a local establishment’s parking lot.[7]
Source: [1]CNN [2]CNN [3]CNN [4]CNN [5]CNN [6]CNN [7]CNN

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Coronavirus Updates (5)

Cruise Ship Covid

Photo Source: AP Photo/Bruna Prado

On Monday, December 27, New York City’s new vaccine mandate for private sectors went into effect. The new rules will require all private employees to have at least one dose of the vaccine and will not allow them to opt out with regular testing. The new mandate also states that healthcare workers no longer need to quarantine if they’ve had all vaccines, including the booster.[1] On Monday, December 27, Dr. Fauci said that health officials are considering shorter isolation periods for those who are infected with Covid-19. Health officials are also considering shortening quarantine periods for those who aren’t in healthcare.[2] On Monday, December 27, two more college bowl games were cancelled due to Covid-19 infections. The Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland and the Fenway Bowl in Boston, Massachusetts will no longer be played. The Sun Bowl, scheduled for Friday, is also in danger of getting cancelled.[3] On Tuesday, December 28, the CDC announced a new isolation time period for asymptomatic cases. Now, if a person is asymptomatic, he or she only needs to isolate for 5 days and continue to wear a mask around people the following days. The call comes after thousands of flights were canceled due to staff isolations.[4] On Wednesday, December 29, a record high was set for the average number of cases over a period of 7 days in the US. In the last week, due to the Omicron variant, the US saw 265,427 new cases. The peak comes as the Omicron variant continues to rapidly spread.[5] On Friday, December 31, even more US flights were cancelled not only due to bad weather, but also rising cases of Covid. The following day, it was reported that 4,400 flights were cancelled around the world, with 2,500 in the US alone. More than 1,000 of those flights were in Chicago.[6]
Source: [1]CNN [2]CNN [3]CNN [4]BBC [5]CNN [6]BBC

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Tragedies and Violence Continue into the Fourth Week of December

LA Store Shooting

Photo Source: AP Photo/Richard Vogel

On Thursday, December 23, a 14-year-old was killed after an officer’s stray bullet went through her dressing room wall at a California department store. LAPD has placed the officer who is suspected to have fired the shot on administrative leave. Officers were responding to a call regarding an assault with a deadly weapon at the store. The suspect had allegedly already shot a few people before engaging in gunfire with LA officers.[1] On Thursday, December 23, three women were left injured after a suspect opened fire on a Chicago mall. A 30-year-old suspect has been brought into custody with some injuries, but police believe at least one more suspect is at large.[2] On Friday, December 24, the Baltimore City Police Officer who was shot while in her patrol car earlier this week was taken off life support. Officer Keona Holley was a longtime cop in Baltimore, and was just sitting in her car when two suspects opened fire on the vehicle on December 16. The two suspects have been taken into custody and are also suspects in another homicide.[3]
Source: [1]CNN [2]CNN [3]CNN

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Coronavirus Updates (4)

Flight Cancellations

Photo Source: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

On Monday, December 20, Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Jason Crow all revealed they have tested positive for Covid-19. All three have reportedly received their Covid booster shots and are experiencing mild symptoms.[1] On Monday, December 20, US officials warned that Christmas travel will increase the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. Dr. Fauci stated that the variant is extremely capable of spreading, and is rapidly overtaking the world.[2] On Tuesday, December 21, the Justice Department announced that thousands of inmates who were released from prison due to Covid will be allowed to remain in home confinement. Nearly 36,000 inmates were released due to the pandemic, 25,000 of whom completed their sentences during the last two years.[3] The next day, it was reported that NYC’s Rikers Island has seen an explosion of Covid cases in inmates. The number of cases has been around 1%, but in the last 10 days, it has risen to 9.5%.[4] On Wednesday, December 22, a hospital in Cleveland released an ad that simply read “Help.” The hospital stated that it had more Covid patients than ever before and it needs help caring for all of them. The county in which the hospital is located accounts for 60% of Covid hospitalizations across the state.[5] On Friday, December 24, at least 465 flights inside, into, and out of the United States were cancelled as staff and crew called out sick with the Omicron variant on the rise. United Airlines cancelled at least 9% of its flights scheduled for that day. TSA stated that 2.19 million passengers were screened on Friday, the largest number airlines have seen this holiday season.[6] On Saturday, December 25, two of the world’s wealthiest nations - Monaco and San Marino - as well as Finland and Lebanon were added to the CDC’s Level 4 High Risk category. In response to the skyrocketing Covid cases, many countries have also announced cancelled New Year’s Eve plans.[7] On Saturday, December 25, scientists announced that South Africa was past its peak in Omicron variant cases. Cases have been on the decline since December 18. The country stated that though this fourth wave was steeper, it was also much shorter.[8] On Saturday, December 25, research showed that the Omicron Variant has resulted in more Covid cases than previous variants; however, hospitalizations thankfully remain lower. Unfortunately, there are still some areas in the country that are seeing an increase in hospitalizations. Just yesterday, more than 69,000 people were hospitalized with Covid-19. Despite these numbers, scientists have yet to officially determine whether the Omicron variant results in a less severe illness or not.[9]
Source: [1]CNN [2]BBC [3]CNN [4]CNN [5]CNN [6]CNN [7]CNN [8]CNN [9]CNN

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Big Political Moves as 2021 Comes to a Close

NYC Police

Photo Source: AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

On Wednesday, December 15, New York City announced its first female police chief. Keechant Sewell has been on the force for 23 years and will be the first female leader the state has seen in its 176-year history.[1] On Thursday, December 16, President Biden announced that former-Olympic skater Michelle Kwan will be the new ambassador to Belize and Caroline Kennedy will be the ambassador to Australia. Kennedy was the ambassador for Japan during the Obama Administration. Biden’s final selections will be sent to the US Senate for final approval.[2]
Source: [1]BBC [2]CNN

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Coronavirus Updates (3)

US Covid

Photo Source: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

On Monday, December 13, the Supreme Court voted to NOT block New York’s vaccine mandate. The Court received two emergency requests from healthcare workers, nurses, and doctors. The battle began after three nurses argued that the mandate didn’t allow for religious exemptions. The justices have also allowed mandates in Maine and Indiana to remain.[1] That same day, Philadelphia announced that it is putting a vaccine mandate in for all indoor venues. Proof of vaccination will be required for any venue that serves food or drink.[2] On Monday, December 13, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a report stating that cases in children are once again on the rise. Cases in children have risen at least 24% in the last week. Case numbers are considered “extremely high”.[3] On Wednesday, December 15, Google announced that it will fire all employees who refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Staff is required to upload documentation that they’ve received the vaccine. Those who fail will be put on unpaid leave and then potentially fired if they continue to refuse. The company has been pushing to have employees back in the building.[4] On Friday, December 17, Southwest’s CEO tested positive for Covid-19 just a few days after testifying, unmasked, at a Senate hearing. Gary Kelly was telling the Supreme Court he did not believe masks do not protect airline passengers, discussing aircraft ventilation systems. Sources say he is at home resting and is currently doing well.[5] On Friday, December 17, military personnel were released to a Michigan hospital to help with the overwhelming number of patients and underwhelming number of staff. The hospital, like many others across the country, has seen a surge in both Covid and non-Covid patients, as well as a surge in resignations and employee burnout.[6]
Source: [1]CNN [2]CNN [3]CNN [4]BBC [5]CNN [6]CNN

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Gun Violence and Tragedies Continue

Michigan Shooting

Photo Source: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

On Sunday, December 5, the parents of the Michigan school shooter were found and detained. Days earlier, they were charged with involuntary manslaughter after their son allegedly shot and killed four students at his school. The couple skipped the arraignment hearing, leading to a two-day manhunt. The couple was found in a workspace and appeared to have had help. Later, a 65-year-old man turned himself in as the person who helped them hide, stating he did not know they were avoiding warrants.[1]
Source: [1]CNN

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Bob Dole Dies

Bob Dole

Photo Source: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

On Sunday, December 5, Senator Bob Dole died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 98. Dole was a key politician in the later half of the 20th century, even running for president in 1996. He served as Senator of Kentucky for 27 years. Back in February, Dole announced that he was battling lung cancer. Dole has faced serious health issues since being wounded in World War II.
Source: CNN

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Coronavirus Updates (2)

US Covid

Photo Source: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

On Tuesday, December 7, Pfizer announced that its booster dose is fairly effective against the new Omicron variant. A small study performed by the company showed that three doses was as effective against the Omicron variant as two doses has been against previous variants. However, these results are preliminary and the data revolving around the Omicron variant is still developing.[1] On Wednesday, December 8, CNN reported that Republican Senators are expected to win a vote that will overturn President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses. Two Democrats announced that they will back the GOP efforts. However, the reversal is not predicted to pass the House.[2] On Saturday, December 11, it was reported that an investigation has been opened regarding the University of Florida. An internal report revealed that the university was facing political pressure to delay and destroy Covid-19 research. Once findings have been finalized, the report will be published.[3]
Source: [1]BBC [2]CNN [3]CNN

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Supreme Court to Hear Arguments Regarding Abortion

Supreme Court Abortion

Photo Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

On Thursday, December 2, former Vice President Mike Pence called on the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the US. Just the day before, the Supreme Court had begun listening to arguments regarding the new Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks. Should the Supreme Court decide to overturn Roe v. Wade, millions of women will lose access to abortions.
Source: BBC

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Coronavirus Updates

NFL Vaccination

Photo Source: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

On Thursday, December 2, it was reported that Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Brown is one of three players facing disciplinary action for misrepresenting his vaccination status. Brown has been suspended for three games.[1]
Source: [1]BBC

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