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Daily News Digest – December 21, 2021

Presented by the

University of South Alabama Health System

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, December 22.

1. Inside Alabama Politics

A new edition of Inside Alabama Politics is out today!
In today’s edition:
  • Senate race heats up;
  • Running for Governor;
  • What’s really going on with Trump?
  • Gambling legislation: What could really happen?
  • Spat between Ethics Commission & AG could get serious;
  • Reading between the lines on prisons
  • RSA funds show eye-popping growth;
  • Coleman to challenge Moore?
  • Big push on reducing recidivism coming;
  • Potpourri.
ADN Insiders can read these stories and more HERE.
Not an ADN Insider? You’re missing out! With the legislative session approaching and campaign season upon us, it’s the perfect time to subscribe. See rates HERE.


2. Alabama COVID-19 numbers tick up, still lower than most of the country

  • The state’s COVID-19 numbers, from cases to hospitalizations, are starting to creep up as winter begins.
  • Although the state’s health system is in far better condition than it was in August and September, when hospitals were all but full and officials feared the network was nearing the breaking point, numbers are slowly creeping upward, said Dr. Scott Harris, the head of the Alabama Department of Public Health.
  • “We are a little concerned about how our numbers are trending,” Harris said in a discussion held on Facebook live Monday night hosted by the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.
  • As of Tuesday, 417 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, up from just 250 a month ago. Harris called that number “very manageable” for a system that was treating about 3,000 pandemic patients daily in the fall.
  • The good news is that Alabama’s case and hospitalization numbers are some of the lowest in the country, as the midwest and northeast are being the hardest hit at the moment.
  • The bad news is that the state maintains among the lowest vaccination rates at 47%. Only Wyoming and Idaho have lower vaccination rates.
  • The new, fast-spreading omicron variant has been confirmed in the state, but health officials don’t believe it has overtaken the delta strain yet. Omicron cases don’t respond to monoclonal antibody treatments that have helped patients in recent months, posing a problem once the variant arrives in force, officials said.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.





A message from the

University of South Alabama Health System

  • Here, we combine knowledge, skill and technology with a patient-centered, team-based approach to care.
  • We’re committed to providing each patient with a personalized treatment plan in a nurturing environment, conducive to healing.
  • In partnership with the USA College of Medicine, we combine the latest in cancer therapies with comprehensive support for the emotional, social and physical challenges that a cancer diagnosis can bring.




3. Alabama woman admits to more than $1M in pandemic fraud

  • An Alabama woman pleaded guilty to charges of helping prepare dozens of fraudulent applications for federal pandemic relief funds involving more than $1 million, news outlets reported.
  • Corine Campbell of Saraland, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, was accused of helping with more than 50 bogus applications for money through the government’s Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Read more HERE.



4. Pivot to home testing as omicron spreads

  • Responding to the omicron variant surging through the country, President Joe Biden announced the government will provide 500 million free rapid home-testing kits, increase support for hospitals under strain and redouble vaccination and boosting efforts.
  • At the White House on Tuesday, Biden detailed major changes to his COVID-19 winter plan, his hand forced by the fast-spreading variant, whose properties are not yet fully understood by scientists.
  • People will use a new website to order their tests, which will then be sent by U.S. mail at no charge. The 500 million could be increased, depending on developments.
  • Biden also chastised social media and people on cable TV who have made misleading statements to discourage people from getting vaccinated.
  •  He noted that former President Donald Trump has gotten his booster shot, and he said it’s Americans’ “patriotic duty” to get vaccinated.
  • “It’s the only responsible thing to do,” the president said. “Omicron is serious and potentially deadly business for unvaccinated people.”
  • Read more HERE.



5. Can Dems reach a new deal on BBB?

  • President Joe Biden appeared determined Tuesday to return to the negotiating table with Sen. Joe Manchin, the holdout Democrat who effectively tanked the party’s signature $2 trillion domestic policy initiative with his own jarring year-end announcement.
  • Biden, responding to reporters’ questions at the White House, joked that he holds no grudges against the conservative West Virginia senator whose rejection of the social services and climate change bill stunned Washington just days ago.
  • But the Democrats face serious questions over whether the $2 trillion initiative can be refashioned to win his crucial vote or the party will be saddled with a devastating defeat.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer assembled Senate Democrats Tuesday for a private virtual caucus meeting to discuss next steps. Manchin was a part of that call and spoke to colleagues, despite some withering criticisms some in the caucus had launching in his direction days earlier.
  • Schumer vowed Monday that the chamber would vote early in the new year on Biden’s “Build Back Better Act” as it now stands so every senator “has the opportunity to make their position known on the Senate floor, not just on television.” That was a biting reference to Manchin’s sudden TV announcement against the bill on Sunday.
  • Read more HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Plan for I-10 bridge across Mobile River resurrected


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Virus hospitalizations, school cases increasing in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama woman admits to more than $1M in pandemic fraud


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden pivots to home tests to confront omicron surge


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden vows he, Manchin will ‘get something done’ on $2T bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Shoals lawmakers bringing bills to change prison early release law


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Innovation Commission shares recommendations


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hubbard asks to address court about apology, calls


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congress sends Biden $2.5T debt limit hike, avoiding default


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Data indicate omicron is milder, better at evading vaccines


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pfizer confirms COVID pill’s results, potency versus omicron


AL.COM – As omicron sweeps US, Alabama hospitals brace for another COVID surge


AL.COM – Confederate statue’s new museum home in Mobile sees records-setting attendance


AL.COM – JCCEO’s ousted executive director denies misappropriating funds, presiding over deficit that led to agency’s demise


AL.COM – Honda’s Lincoln plant begins production on new Passport, TrailSport


AL.COM – Mo Brooks: Replace Mitch McConnell with Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee or Ron Johnson


AL.COM – Austal lands design study contract for Navy supply ship program


AL.COM – National Geographic: Clotilda slave ship more intact than thought, scans show


AL.COM – Alabama lagging on new plan for incarcerating parole violators


AL.COM – Alabama delays social studies standards updates amid requests to address ‘unbalanced’ topics, CRT


Montgomery Advertiser – A look at what’s open, and closed, around Montgomery on Christmas Day


Montgomery Advertiser – Why are gas prices dropping? The answer may surprise you


Montgomery Advertiser – Racial division in rural Alabama: Here are the biggest gaps and commonalities in opinions


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Fans pack Legacy Arena as the Tide tips off against Davidson


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Preparing for long haul with COVID and mixing vaccines


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Common cold and flu season beginning to flare up


Tuscaloosa News – Easterseals’ 2021 Christmas ornament celebrates old L&N Station


Tuscaloosa News – North Tuscaloosa, Northport road work will continue through 2024


Tuscaloosa News – Live Nativity scene in Northport continues through the day after Christmas


Decatur Daily – Split council selects outside candidate as Environmental Services director


Decatur Daily – Court grants preliminary approval to class action settlement against 3M


Decatur Daily – Athens-Limestone Children’s Advocacy Center receives grant


Times Daily – Community Development Committee awards $200K in grants


Times Daily – Permitless carry gun bills gaining support


Times Daily – Love’s wants to build RV park behind store


YellowHammer News – ALGOP announces candidate qualifying period for 2022 primary election cycle


YellowHammer News – Spring Hill College degree programs ranked among best in Alabama


YellowHammer News – Club for Growth endorses U.S. Rep. Barry Moore’s re-election bid


GADSDEN TIMES – Pilgrim’s Pride fails in bid to move rendering plant suit to federal court


GADSDEN TIMES – Contributor Elaine Harris Spearman: Latest political ads conjure up painful memories


DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan airport gets $1 million from infrastructure bill for modernization


DOTHAN EAGLE – Local case numbers, risk increasing


DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: Lack of workers; plentiful work


WASHINGTON POST – Biden seeks to recast pandemic fight, rejecting lockdowns and school closures as omicron surges


WASHINGTON POST – U.S. life expectancy, population growth drop as pandemic heads into third year


WASHINGTON POST – Financial regulator takes aim at ‘buy now, pay later’ credit


NEW YORK TIMES – Omicron Is Just Beginning and Americans Are Already Tired


NEW YORK TIMES – President Biden and Senator Joe Manchin III have many differences over the proposed domestic policy bill, but one issue stands out: the child tax credit.


NEW YORK TIMES – How the 2020s Economy Could Resemble the 1980s



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