Over 100 NFL players test positive for COVID-19 on the same day

According to the National Football League (NFL), 96 of its players tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. There were an additional 10 positive tests among players over the weekend, bringing the total to 106 players on the league's Reserve/Covid-19 list since Christmas.

"We're entering a new phase of the pandemic, different than we've seen before," said the NFL's chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills. "We can't apply 2020 solutions to the 2021 problems we're having."

"What testing doesn't do is prevent transmission, and we've known that always," Sills said. "That was true last year and it's still true today. As we look at how to respond, what we're trying to do is prevent spread within the facility and keep people from testing positive." Sills added, "Keeping people from testing positive takes us back to their immunity: getting the booster, getting their antibody levels up. Spread within the facility is more about these other measures. You have to rely on those other measures to make sure that we're not creating spread within our facilities."

"At some point, you feel like you're fighting a ghost," Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. "You don't know where to swing."

League officials are resistant to the idea of daily testing.

The NFL postponed three games last week, but has yet to cancel a game so far this season.

NFL says teams can begin reopening facilities next week, report

NFL says teams can begin reopening facilities next week, reportThe National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league that constitutes one of the four major professional sports leagues in the USA. (Shutterstock)

Bette Midler apologizes for calling West Virginians ‘poor, illiterate and strung out’

The Divine Miss M Bette Midler apologized to West Virginia residents for what she called a "poor, illiterate, strung out" tweet about Sen. Joe Manchin.

Midler shared her frustration with Manchin after the Democratic senator announced he would not support President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act.

Midler originally tweeted "What #JoeManchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done to the rest of America, who wants to move forward, not backward, like his state, is horrible."


"He sold us out," Midler wrote. "He wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia. Poor, illiterate and strung out."

There was swift backlash and Middler later tweeted an apology.

"I apologize to the good people of WVA for my last outburst," she tweeted in part. "I'm just seeing red."


Days-long coverage planned to commemorate Capitol riots on first anniversary

ABC News announced Tuesday special coverage of the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol documenting that consequential day in history and providing an in-depth look at the aftermath. Attack on the Capitol - One Year Later will air across ABC News, beginning Sunday, Jan. 2, and continuing with daylong coverage on Thursday, Jan. 6.

World News Tonight anchor David Muir will lead coverage and has already conducted the first sit-down interview with three of the officers who testified during the congressional hearings on the Jan. 6 attack – Capitol Police officers Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell, and Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges. It was their first time sitting down together for an interview since their testimony on Capitol Hill and will air on World News Tonight with David Muir on Jan. 5, and Nightline.

This Week with George Stephanopoulos will air an interview with Jan. 6 committee ranking member Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), chief Washington correspondent and This Week co-anchor Jonathan Karl on Jan. 6 and its aftermath, and chief global affairs correspondent and This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz, who reconnects with a participant she met during the Capitol riots and examines the rise of military extremism since Jan. 6. The program will also unveil new findings from a new ABC News/Ipsos poll on where we are as a country following the attack.

ABC News’ Jan. 6 anniversary coverage will also include reports and interviews from chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas, chief White House correspondent Cecilia Vega, senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce, congressional correspondent Rachel Scott, White House correspondent MaryAlice Parks, correspondent Stephanie Ramos and senior Washington reporter Devin Dwyer.

The documentary Homegrown: Standoff to Rebellion will provide a look at the days, events and conversations leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, from the eyes of anti-government groups, with interviews from Ammon Bundy, a former Oath Keeper, extremism experts and several ABC News correspondents who were at the Capitol that day. The ABC News Investigative Unit-produced documentary will begin streaming Wednesday, Jan. 5, on Hulu, and on Jan. 6 on ABC News Live.


Thousands of LGBTQ+ Israelis received text messages to ‘repent’ or face ‘death’

The Jerusalem Post has reported that thousands of LGBTQ+ Israelis received text messages saying they "deserve severe punishment, death and deportation" and calling on them to "repent." The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel confirmed the news Monday.

"You are LGBT and an apostate. You deserve severe punishment, death and deportation from Israel," the message read. "Come to Yeshiva Ohr Elhanan in order to repent. We would be glad if you undergo conversion to faith."

According to The Jerusalem Post, "The message included a phone number and a Telegram account to contact and stated that it was sent by Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Hadash, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ohr Elhanan. The rabbi has denied that he has any connection to the message, saying he has never talked about the issue and the issue is not addressed in his yeshiva."

The Agudah and the Havruta organization for LGBTQ+ religious Jewish men invited Hadash to a dialogue with the LGBTQ+ religious Jewish community. They also called in a letter for Hadash to publish a public condemnation of the messages sent in his name and to "prevent the further great desecration of God that has already been done." The director-general of the Israel Internet Association, Yoram Hacohen, called for police to investigate whether the person who sent the text used data from the Black Shadow attack, adding that "Since these are text messages, it is possible to find out their source and take criminal action against the perpetrators...These are, on the face of it, elements who have grossly violated the Privacy Protection Law - I call on Israel Police to act immediately to locate the perpetrators. They have the tools to do that." This latest incident comes just days after a seminar hosted by the 105 hotline for the protection of children online concerning harm against LGBTQ+ youth online.

FDA approves first-ever injectable to prevent HIV

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug Monday that will allow patients to ditch the daily pill and receive treatment every two months. The drug, named Apretude, is being considered the first long-acting injectable medication for use as pre-exposure prevention, or PrEP, against HIV.

“Today’s approval adds an important tool in the effort to end the HIV epidemic by providing the first option to prevent HIV that does not involve taking a daily pill,” Dr. Debra Birnkrant, the director of antivirals division at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “This injection, given every two months, will be critical to addressing the HIV epidemic in the U.S., including helping high-risk individuals and certain groups where adherence to daily medication has been a major challenge or not a realistic option.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), notable gains have been made in increasing PrEP use for HIV prevention in the U.S. and preliminary data show that in 2020, about 25 percent of the 1.2 million people for whom PrEP is recommended were prescribed it, compared to only about 3 percent in 2015. However, there remains significant room for improvement.

PrEP requires high levels of adherence to be effective and certain high-risk individuals and groups, such as young men who have sex with men, are less likely to adhere to daily medication. Other interpersonal factors, such as substance use disorders, depression, poverty and efforts to conceal medication also can impact adherence. It is hoped that the availability of a long-acting injectable PrEP option will increase PrEP uptake and adherence in these groups.

The FDA tested the safety and efficacy of Apretude to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV were evaluated in two randomized, double-blind trials that compared Apretude to Truvada, a once daily oral medication for HIV PrEP. Trial 1 included HIV-uninfected men and transgender women who have sex with men and have high-risk behavior for HIV infection. Trial 2 included uninfected cisgender women at risk of acquiring HIV.

Participants who took Apretude started the trial with cabotegravir (oral, 30 mg tablet) and a placebo daily for up to five weeks, followed by Apretude 600mg injection at months one and two, then every two months thereafter and a daily placebo tablet.

Participants who took Truvada started the trial taking oral Truvada and placebo daily for up to five weeks, followed by oral Truvada daily and placebo intramuscular injection at months one and two and every two months thereafter.

Apretude includes a boxed warning to not use the drug unless a negative HIV test is confirmed. It must only be prescribed to individuals confirmed to be HIV-negative immediately prior to starting the drug and before each injection to reduce the risk of developing drug resistance.

Apretude has been granted a Priority Review and Breakthrough Therapy designation. The FDA granted the approval of Apretude to ViiV Healthcare, which is majority owned by GlaxoSmithKline.

WATCH: Mike Pence tells Trump supporters to ‘stay in the fight’ — but that it's ‘futile’

Alarm bells rang Tuesday when Pence continued the Trump team's false election fraud rhetoric - even after no evidence was obtained through various investigations. "Stay in the fight," he urged.

It is federal law that Congress must meet Jan. 6 to open the sealed certificates from each state containing a record of their electoral votes. At that time, bipartisan representatives from both chambers read the results out loud and conduct an official count.

The president of the Senate, in this case Vice President Mike Pence, then presides over the session and declares the winner from the official tally.

This is how it's historically happened, but what if Pence makes the decision not to announce the winner as President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris? Then it gets dicey.

"The role of the vice president as presiding officer is often an awkward one, as it will be for Pence, who will be charged with announcing Biden's victory — and his own defeat — once the electoral votes are counted. It will be especially tense for the former Indiana congressman as his boss, Trump, has refused to concede," the Associated Press reported in their explainer piece.

"I think there comes a time when you have to realize that, despite your best efforts you've been unsuccessful," Texas Sen. John Cornyn told reporters, saying he hopes anyone entertaining the idea of an objection would realize that it "would be futile and it's unnecessary."

Watch the video below to see Pence's remarks from a news conference on Tuesday.

Vatican: It’s ‘morally acceptable’ to receive COVID-19 vaccine derived from aborted fetuses

The Vatican released a statement Monday that said it's "morally acceptable" to receive a vaccination for COVID-19, even if the vaccine's research or production involved using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses. They cited the "grave danger" of the pandemic as their reasoning behind the controversial move.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office charged with promoting and defending church morals and traditions, released a heavily cited document that stated, in part: "when ethically irreproachable COVID-19 vaccines are not available ... it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process."

Anyone objecting to the vaccine due to its nature and their religion may do so, but the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted these entities must "do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent."

The Vatican Newsreported that Pope Francis approved the text on Thursday.

"In such a case, all vaccinations recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive," the report said.

"In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use," the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in their own statement last week.

The U.S. conference said that receiving one of the vaccines "ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community" and "considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good."

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Pelosi scolds Republicans: Stop the election ‘circus’ and ‘start focusing on COVID’

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