January 21, 2020

The Wuhan virus, which broke out in China last month and has so far infected more than 300 people and killed six, has reportedly reached U.S. shores, a federal source told CNN.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to announce Tuesday that a person in Washington state has been infected, making the U.S. the sixth country to experience the outbreak of the respiratory illness, along with China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, and South Korea. The patient was hospitalized with pneumonia last week after having traveled to eponymous Wuhan, China, where the outbreak appears to have originated at a seafood and poultry market, The New York Times reports.

A lot remains unknown about the virus, although the latest development strengthens the hunch that it spreads from person to person. One of the most pressing questions, Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventative medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told the Times, is how frequent that human-to-human transmission is. Read more at The New York Times and CNN. Tim O'Donnell

5:56 p.m.

The results from the first phase of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine trial are out, and the promising findings are in line with some early data from the study released in May.

The study, published Tuesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, found the experimental mRNA vaccine — which requires two doses a month apart — induced coronavirus immune responses in all 45 participants, just as scientists had hoped. There were some mild side effects, including fatigue, chills, and fevers, but The Associated Press notes those aren't uncommon with other vaccines, and there have been no major safety concerns.

Moderna will begin its final step at the end of July, a 30,000-person study to prove if the shots are strong enough to protect people from the virus. While the first phase does indicate the vaccine produces antibodies geared toward fighting off the virus, it's less clear if the levels of antibodies are enough to actually fend off infection. Read more the full results of the study at The New England Journal of Medicine, as well as more context at The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell

5:33 p.m.

The creators of Glee are remembering Naya Rivera as a "joy to be around," and setting up a college fund for her young son, after her tragic death.

Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan released a tribute to Rivera on Tuesday after officials said they recovered her body at Lake Piru in California, where she went missing days earlier. The actress, who played Santana Lopez on Glee, was feared dead after her 4-year-old son was found alone in a boat she had rented. Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said this week Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself," and an autopsy has since confirmed her cause of death as accidental drowning. She was 33.

"We are heartbroken over the loss of our friend Naya Rivera," Murphy, Falchuk, and Brennan said, per Variety. They described her as "one of the most talented, special stars we would ever have the pleasure of working with," someone who was "a joy to write for, a joy to direct and a joy to be around."

"She was warm and caring and fiercely protective of the rest of the cast," they go on to say. "She was tough and demanding. She was fun. She was kind. She was generous. ... Naya was more than just an actor on our show — she was our friend."

The statement ends with Murphy, Falchuk, and Brennan saying that their "hearts go out to her family" and that they are "in the process of creating a college fund for the beautiful son Naya loved most of all."

Among Rivera's former Glee colleagues who previously paid tribute this week were Jane Lynch, who remembered "what a force" she was, and Chris Colfer, who wrote, "Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be." Brendan Morrow

5:29 p.m.

President Trump continued to stir controversy about the Confederate battle Tuesday during an interview with CBS News' Catherine Herridge.

Herridge asked Trump if he still believes, as he said in 2015, that the flag should be removed from public spaces and placed in museums. The president didn't explicitly answer the question, but he said the only thing he really cares about his "freedom of speech," indicating that he thinks people should be allowed to leave it up.

When Herridge reminded him the flag is a "painful reminder" for many people because the Confederacy rebelled against the United States to preserve slavery, Trump said he knows people "that like the Confederate flag" who are not "thinking about slavery" before once again turning the conversation back to the First Amendment. Tim O'Donnell

5:23 p.m.

Florida is now leading much of the world in new coronavirus cases, and it's showing no signs of slowing down.

Florida reported 9,194 new coronavirus cases in the past day on Tuesday afternoon, bring its total case count to 291,629. A total of 132 new deaths were reported, bringing that count to 4,409, per the Miami Herald.

Miami-Dade County led the new case count at 2,090, leading one infectious disease expert to deem Miami the new "epicenter of the pandemic," CNN reports. "What we were seeing in Wuhan six months ago, five months ago — now we are there," said Lilian Abbo, of the Jackson Health System, during a Monday news conference held by the Miami-Dade County mayor.

The county has seen coronavirus hospitalizations grow by 68 percent and the number of ICU beds used go up by 69 percent in the past two weeks. The number of ventilators in use has also more than doubled during that time. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:33 p.m.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has announced a "return to the status quo" on international student visas.

Following several schools' decisions to go fully remote to stem COVID-19 spread, ICE announced foreign students could not access essential F and M visas they'd need to study in the U.S. But facing opposition from more than 50 colleges and universities, the Trump administration rescinded that rule change, a federal judge in Boston announced Tuesday.

ICE's initial decision came after Harvard University and other schools announced all their classes would be fully online in the fall, though most schools said they'd house students who could not learn effectively in their homes. That included students in countries wracked by civil unrest.

Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology specifically cited those students in suing ICE for its decision, and said it "would bar hundreds of thousands of international students at American universities from the United States." Dozens of universities joined the suit, which went to court Tuesday. That's where a judge announced ICE would "return to the status quo" and effectively drop its rule change. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:29 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on Tuesday unveiled his $2 trillion energy and climate plan, and he got a big pat on the back from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who briefly ran for president himself this cycle in the hopes of bringing climate change to the center of American politics.

Inslee would seemingly make for a tough critic since he's made climate change such a big part of a platform, but he had nothing but praise for Biden's plan, telling the New York Times it's a "triple-A rated clean energy" and "visionary" policy. "This is not a status quo plan," Inslee told the Times. "It's comprehensive. This is not some sort of, 'Let me just throw a bone to those who care about climate change.'"

The governor expanded on his approval during an appearance on MSNBC, where he explained he was pleased the plan was focused heavily on job creation.

Biden's plan consists of investing $2 trillion in carbon-free power and grid infrastructure, mass transit, efficient buildings, and sustainable housing, among other things, while shooting for 100 percent carbon-free power generation by 2035. Read more about Biden's at Axios and The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

4:24 p.m.

Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell has been denied bail.

In a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Alison Nathan ordered Maxwell, who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly conspiring with Epstein to sexually abuse minors, to be jailed until her trial, which is now set to begin in July 2021, Axios reports. She pleaded not guilty.

Maxwell's attorneys had asked for her to await trial outside of jail, saying that "COVID-19-related restrictions on attorney communications with pre-trial detainees significantly impair a defendant's ability to prepare her defense." But prosecutors said she's an "extreme" flight risk, and on Tuesday, the judge agreed, saying Maxwell "poses a substantial actual risk of flight," The New York Times reports. The judge denied Maxwell's request "to be allowed to stay in a luxury New York City hotel — instead of federal lockup — until her trial," The New York Post writes

Accuser Annie Farmer at the hearing urged the judge to deny Maxwell bail, saying that she is a "sexual predator who groomed and abused me and countless other children and young women," CNBC reports. Prosecutor Alison Moe also read a statement from another woman who wasn't identified by name saying that "without Ghislaine, Jeffrey could not have done what he did." Brendan Morrow

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