Mu COVID Variant Found in 49 States (UCN 9.7.21)

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According to the New York Daily News, Since being discovered in Colombia in January, the mu variant of COVID-19 has spread to nearly four dozen countries and has made its presence known in Hawaii and Alaska. It has so far been found in 49 states with Nebraska being the only state to not have a mu variant case detected. Health officials believe mu is even more transmissible that the delta variant and has the potential to resist vaccines. California has reported the highest number of the latest variant with 384. A total of 167 of those cases were found in Los Angeles County. On Aug. 30, the World Health Organization called the mu variant a variant of interest due to its ability to be more transmissible than any of the other strains of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet made similar classifications about mu in the U.S.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Morehouse and Spelman colleges are canceling most of their homecoming activities due to the surge in coronavirus infections. The announcements, made Friday, cite the escalating spread of COVID-19 off campus. Morehouse’s homecoming was to occur Oct. 10-17, and will not be rescheduled. But the football game against Fort Valley State University will still be played as planned, on Oct. 16. Spelman will hold all alumnae events for homecoming virtually beginning Thursday, Oct. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 17. A determination is still being made regarding student events, Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said in a message Friday afternoon. Morehouse and Spelman, historically Black colleges located near downtown Atlanta, required students, faculty and employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine to be on campus this fall, unless they received an exemption. Clark Atlanta University, also adjacent to Morehouse and Spelman, is scheduled to have its homecoming Oct. 24-30. CAU has also mandated vaccinations. Clark Atlanta officials did not immediately not respond Friday to questions about possible changes to CAU’s homecoming weekend schedule.

According to Insider, Fifteen staffers in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools District have died from COVID-19 in the past 10 days, according to reports from local media. Sonia Diaz, a spokesperson for several unions in the school district, confirmed the number of deaths to NBC 6 on Friday. Miami-Dade County Public Schools resumed classes on August 23, but it is unknown exactly when the employees contracted COVID-19. A spokesperson said, “The loss of any of our employees is one that is always profoundly felt as every member of this organization is considered a part of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools family. We extend our hearts and prayers to the loved ones of those whose lives have recently been lost.” Not all teachers have been identified yet. A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools said it does not release information regarding the cause of death of employees.

According to NBC News, A 4-year-old boy who was randomly shot in the head died Sunday from his injuries, police said, one of at least eight children and dozens of other people who were wounded in Chicago over a Labor Day weekend punctuated by gun violence. The death of the boy, Mychal Moultry Jr., on Friday evening set off a holiday weekend in which police scrambled to investigate scores of crime scenes across the city. Mychal was getting his hair styled in the front part of a home when two bullets ripped through a window and struck him in the head, said Rahman Muhammad, deputy chief of the Chicago police detective division. Detectives continued to canvass the area and look for witnesses. “We definitely need the help from the public to further this investigation,” Muhammad told reporters Monday. Besides Mychal, at least three other people were killed over the weekend, and at least 53 were injured by gunfire, police said. Muhammad shared limited details of some of the nonfatal shootings involving children. An 11-year-old was grazed by a bullet Saturday and a 14-year-old was hit in the ankle when multiple shots were fired into a crowd at a back-to-school event at a gas station. A 25-year-old person was also shot multiple times. Bullets tore through a basement window Saturday evening, striking a 13-year-old. A 14-year-old was involved in a shooting early Sunday as he walked with his father to their car. Also Sunday, a 17-year-old traveling in a car after a party was caught up in gunfire. The extent of the injuries was unclear, and no suspects were in custody.

According to Miami Herald, Abe Coleman, a longtime Holmes Elementary teacher and mentor to thousands of young men in Miami — “one of the best that the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project ever had” — died Wednesday, Sept. 1, after being hospitalized with COVID-19. Coleman’s wife, Inez Jackson, agrees with that assessment of Coleman by leaders within the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, a mentoring program founded in 1993 by U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson when she was a Miami-Dade County School Board member. According to 5000 Role Models, its in-school mentoring and dropout prevention program is designed to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and to help guide minority kids toward manhood and college. “You couldn’t ask for a better man than Abe Coleman. He was the best,” his wife said. Rep. Wilson said, “He was amazing, absolutely amazing,” “He was a man for all seasons. There was nothing you could ask him to do for children that he wouldn’t do. He took them to jails. He took them to college tours. To Frost Museum. He took them to Vizcaya. For those little children, this is such a huge, huge loss.” Coleman was 55.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, The Venice International Film Festival provided a data snapshot of its 78th edition on Tuesday — and the numbers, so far, show what a COVID-19-era comeback can look like for a well-managed A-list event operating under public safety protocols. Organizers said Venice has issued 9,800 accreditations to international guests so far this year, up from 6,908 by the end of the 2020 festival and 12,800 at the end of the pre-COVID 2019 edition. Tickets sold to the public revealed a similar comeback, with 23,713 already issued, compared to just 13,162 for the entire event last year, and 28,741 in 2019. The event hasn’t been without a few hiccups though, as the return to normal ticketing demand has intersected with the realities of COVID safety requirements. Security and safety protocols this year are broadly similar to those put in place in 2020 when Venice was the only major film festival to hold an in-person event amid the pandemic. However, the overwhelming success Venice had in holding a safe event last year, combined with a remarkably strong film lineup and greater travel freedoms throughout much of the West, has resulted in bumper attendance bumping into public safety controls. Capacity in Venice’s cinemas remains capped at 50 percent for social distancing and all tickets have to be booked in advance on the festival’s online ticketing platform. The festival has added several additional screening venues this year to help cope with the distancing requirements. The total number of cinema seats at the festival this year is 4,128, down from 6,048 in 2019, when theater capacity was at 100 percent. COVID tests are provided for free at the event, but taking them is mandatory every 48 hours if you are not fully vaccinated. The festival said 10 percent of registered guests are unvaccinated and have submitted to the regular testing.

According to Billboard, Kanye West lands his 10th No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, as Donda debuts atop the list with the year’s biggest week for any album: 309,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Sept. 2, according to MRC Data. It surpasses the year’s previous best week, when Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour started with 295,000 units. West is now one of only seven artists with at least 10 No. 1 albums in the 65-year history of the Billboard 200 chart. The Beatles have the most No. 1s, with 19. They are followed by Jay-Z (14), Bruce Springsteen (11), Barbra Streisand (11), Eminem (10), Elvis Presley (10) and West. (Waiting in the wings for their 10th No. 1s are the acts with nine leaders: Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Drake, Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift. Donda keeps up a hot streak for West on the Billboard 200, as he once again ties Eminem for the most No. 1 debuts in a row on the chart. Donda is West’s 10th straight charting album to bow atop the list. West also ties Eminem for the most consecutive No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, each with 10.

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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!

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