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5 things to know for September 6: Covid-19, Afghanistan, Ida, gun violence, Ethiopia


By Dominic Rech, CNN

It’s Labor Day! If you have the day off, you might be curious about what’s open and what’s closed. At the White House, there is no rest, as President Biden tackles multiple crises.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

(You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Coronavirus 

Some US hospitals are getting close to full capacity as Covid-19 continues to spread, and soon officials could be making choices about who gets an ICU bed, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN. “We are perilously close,” the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases said. “You’re going to be in a situation where you’re going to have to make some very tough choices.” Masking is important, Fauci noted, but “vaccination is the No. 1” method of lowering hospitalizations. In the Southeast, Georgia is now seeing its highest number of hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic, matching January peaks, according to federal data. Concerns about Covid-19 are putting more emphasis on booster shots, with White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain committing to the science but not giving a specific date as to when they would be available to the public. Fauci, however, has confirmed that booster doses of Pfizer and Moderna might not come at the same time.

2. Afghanistan 

The Taliban have claimed victory in Afghanistan’s Panjshir province, with a spokesman saying the region had been “completely conquered” after two weeks of fierce fighting with a resistance group. If the claim is true, it would mean the Taliban now control every Afghan province. However, the National Resistance Front in Afghanistan, an anti-Taliban group that has been battling the militants’ offensive in the Panjshir Valley, denied the claim, with a spokesman telling CNN: “The resistance is still all over the valley.” The claims follow a weekend of intense fighting in the Panjshir Valley, with heavy casualties reported. Meanwhile, Klain said the US will find ways to get any remaining Americans in Afghanistan out of the country if they want to leave, even after the US finished its military evacuation. But when it comes to fighting ISIS-K, with no US troops left on the ground, gathering intelligence will become infinitely more difficult, according to current and former officials.

3. Ida

From Louisiana to New York, communities across the eastern US are trying to piece lives back together more than a week after Hurricane Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast. In both parts of the US, roadways turned to rivers, lives were lost and structures were destroyed by strong winds and rising waters. Power restoration could take weeks more in some places, officials said, with more than 530,000 customers in Louisiana still in the dark. Climatologist Kim Cobb warned that New York, like many cities, was clearly not prepared to deal with climate-related and weather disasters such as Ida. The true extent of the storm’s impact on human lives is still being realized. In one heartbreaking account, Chasity Fatherree recounts how her father became the first of dozens of confirmed casualties in the devastating storm system.

4. Gun violence

A former Marine outfitted in body armor fatally shot four people, including a baby, mother and grandmother, near Lakeland, Florida, early yesterday in what the sheriff there called an “active shooter rampage.” The suspect then got into a firefight with officers before surrendering, but he later tried to take a gun from an officer at a hospital, the sheriff said. An 11-year-old girl who was shot is expected to recover. Meantime, at least 46 people, including eight children, have been shot in Chicago over the weekend, police said. A 4-year-old boy was taken to a hospital in critical condition after he was shot twice in the head Friday night inside a home, Chicago police said. Adding to the violence, three people, including a student, were shot on the campus of Towson University in Maryland early Saturday, according to Baltimore County Police. The injuries were not life threatening, the university said.

5. Ethiopia

Bodies floating downstream into Sudan reveal what appears to be a new phase of ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia, a CNN investigation found. Witnesses on the ground say the bodies tell a dark story of mass detentions and mass executions across the border in Humera, in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Humera is one of many towns involved in the conflict that has ravaged the African country since the Ethiopian government launched an offensive in the northern Tigray region in November. Despite Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s quick declaration of victory, the region is still wracked by fighting, and CNN has previously reported on many atrocities including torture, extrajudicial killings and the use of rape as a weapon of war. CNN’s investigations indicate that the ethnic profiling, detention and killing of Tigrayans bears the hallmarks of genocide as defined by international law. The Ethiopian government said it was investigating the allegations.


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