1.6 MILLION HAVE BEEN FULLY VACCINATED IN NORTH CAROLINA: At least 905,528 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 12,028 have died since last March, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services did not update its COVID-19 dashboard Saturday or Sunday. The department reported 2,154 new coronavirus cases on Friday, up from 2,112 reported the day before. At least 933 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday, down from 952 reported on Thursday. As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data are available, 4.3% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. More than 1.6 million people in the state have been fully vaccinated as of Friday. That’s about one in five adults.
PROSECUTORS WANT NC PROUD BOY LOCKED UP UNTIL HIS TRIAL: Federal prosecutors are urging a judge to order a North Carolina man jailed while awaiting trial on charges he plotted with other members of the far-right Proud Boys group to storm the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Justice Department prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday that Charles Donohoe, 33, of Kernersville, “played a direct role in unleashing violence on the Capitol" and celebrated online after the attack. While conceding that they don't have any evidence that Donohoe entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, prosecutors claim he was “heavily involved” in planning, organizing and leading a coordinated assault on the building. "When it came time to act, (Donohoe) did so without hesitation — advancing past barriers and joining in efforts to push past law enforcement," prosecutors wrote. Donohoe is one of at least 20 leaders, members or associates of the neo-fascist Proud Boys charged in federal court with offenses related to the Jan. 6 riots.
AD BLITZ TARGETS CAWTHORN AND OTHERS OVER LIES AND ENCOURAGING INSURRECTION: The Republican Accountability Project is spending $1 million on a new round of TV and digital ads criticizing six GOP members of Congress the group says “encouraged a deadly attack” on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as Electoral College votes were being counted. In addition to Cawthorn, the ads target Reps. Kevin McCarthy of California, who is the House GOP leader, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Mo Brooks of Alabama, who is running for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat. “We remember how Madison Cawthorn lied about the 2020 election results,” the narrator of the ad that focuses on the North Carolina Republican says. “We remember that he voted to overturn the will of American voters. And we remember how his lies encouraged a deadly attack on our nation’s Capitol." The new ads are part of a broader push from the Republican Accountability Project, which plans to spend $50 million in the 2022 election cycle, to weaken Trump and his allies.
FORMER TRUMP OFFICIALS REVEAL HIS RECKLESS (AND DEADLY) APPROACH TO CORONAVIRUS: Some of the Trump administration’s most senior public health officials offered a blistering post-mortem of the former president’s response to the pandemic in a documentary that aired on CNN on Sunday night. The former and current officials described a federal government in such disarray that hundreds of thousands of people may have needlessly died as a result. Much of the administration’s dysfunction played out in the open, but the insider accounts provided additional confirmation of the chaos and underscored the devastating effects the political polarization had on public health measures. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator under President Donald Trump, said in an interview for the documentary that most coronavirus deaths in the United States could have been prevented if the administration had acted earlier and more decisively. She also said that she received a “very uncomfortable” and “very difficult” phone call from Trump after she spoke publicly about the spread of the virus over the summer. Trump, who later admitted that he initially tried to downplay the seriousness of the virus, at first compared it to the flu and suggested the media was in “hysteria mode.” The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and Trump declared a national emergency two days later. In mid- to late March, several states announced stay-at-home orders for nonessential workers in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. By April and May, however, Trump had pushed for cities and states to reopen, and he falsely suggested that the virus could not survive in the sun and that “tremendous” light could kill it off. He also began hyping hydroxychloroquine as an unproven treatment, continued referring to the virus as the “China virus” and questioned the effectiveness of wearing face masks.
RISING TIDES HELPED REFLOAT STERN OF CONTAINER SHIP BLOCKING SUEZ CANAL, BOW STILL STUCK: The mammoth cargo ship blocking one of the world’s most vital maritime arteries was wrenched from the shoreline and set partially afloat again early Monday, raising hopes that traffic could soon resume in the Suez Canal and limit the economic fallout of the disruption. Salvage teams, working on both land and water for five days and nights, were ultimately assisted by forces more powerful than any machine rushed to the scene: the moon and the tides. As water levels swelled overnight, the hours spent digging and excavating millions of tons of earth around the Ever Given paid off as the ship slowly regained buoyancy, according to officials. While shipping officials and the Egyptian authorities cautioned that the complicated operation was still underway, they expressed increasing confidence the ship would soon be completely free. While the ship was moving, what remained unclear was whether the bulbous bow — a protrusion at the front of the ship just below the waterline — is totally clear of dirt and debris. If it is still stuck in clay or obstructed by rocks, the early morning optimism could quickly fade. Peter Berdowski, the chief executive of Royal Boskalis Westminster, which has been appointed by Ever Given’s owner to help move the vessel, told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS on Monday that he understood the bow to be stuck “rock solid.” “The ship is like a giant whale that we have to slide off the beach, back in the water,” he said early Monday. Pulling the stern lose, he said, was the easy part. “We shouldn’t start cheering just yet,” he cautioned. With the Ever Given sagging in the middle, its bow and stern both caught in positions for which they were not designed, the hull is vulnerable to stress and cracks, according to experts. Just as every high tide brought hope the ship could be released, each low tide puts new stresses on the vessel. Teams of divers have been inspecting the hull throughout the operation and have found no damage, officials said. It would need to be inspected again once it was completely free.