Omicron wave reveals early indicators of easing in states hit early

A woman receives a Covid-19 test during a drive through the Covid-19 Testing Center as hundreds of cars and pedestrians queue to check out a Covid ahead of the Christmas holiday in North Bergen, New Jersey, the United States, December 22, 2021 -19 test as Omicron levels up across the land.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

After weeks of rising infections, the latest Covid surge is showing signs of slowing in a handful of areas earliest affected by the Omicron variant – offering a glimmer of hope that this wave is beginning to wane.

The U.S. has been reporting an average of nearly 800,000 cases a day for the past week, more than triple the previous record set last winter, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But in a handful of states and cities, particularly on the East Coast, cases appear to have plateaued or been declining in recent days.

In New York, the seven-day average of daily new cases has declined since hitting a record high of 85,000 a day on Jan. 9, according to Hopkins. Cases there doubled over a series of seven-day periods in late December and early January, but have fallen sharply to an average of 51,500 since last week. In New York City, average daily cases have fallen 31% over the past week, data from the state Health Department shows.

“There will come a time when we can say it’s all over,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference on Friday. “We’re not there yet but boy is it coming and we’ve been waiting a long time.”

New York is still reporting high levels of daily infections and ranks 15th among all states, down from the second-highest a few days ago, according to a CNBC analysis of population-adjusted case counts. New Jersey also recently fell out of the top five and is now 20th as the state saw a 32% drop in average daily cases over the past week.

At the end of December, Washington, DC had the highest number of Covid infections per capita than any other state, peaking at an average of 2,500 per day. That has since fallen to 1,700, the data shows.

And in neighboring Maryland, daily infections hit a pandemic high on Jan. 8 but are down 27% from a week ago.

In Illinois, said Dr. Khalilah Gates, associate dean of medical education at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said the stabilization in hospitalizations is “already kind of being felt.” On Sunday, the state reported a seven-day average of about 7,200 patients hospitalized with Covid, a 4% increase from the past week, a more modest increase than the 30% weekly growth reported, according to the Health Department was only observed two weeks ago.

“There’s not that influx that we had at the beginning of the climb and things are just a little bit around,” she said. “And if that goes on for five to seven straight days, I think you start to breathe a little easier and say, OK, like we kind of got through that climb, got through that climb too.”

Cases are also declining in South Africa and the UK, which are being closely watched as potential clues to what could be happening in the US, as they have both experienced previous spikes. Hopkins data shows average daily infections in South Africa are down 80% from where they peaked on December 17 and in the UK by 42% from that country’s peak on January 5, although there’s no guarantee the US will will follow the same path.

American populations have different vaccination rates, previous exposure to the virus, and levels of underlying health conditions, so Omicron’s trajectory could vary.

Certainly, cases are rising in most states, with 23 reporting record-high infection rates as of Sunday, data from Hopkins shows. And yet, U.S. cases are undercounted due to the availability of at-home testing kits, the results of which are not typically reported to state or federal agencies.

That increase is particularly visible in western states, where average daily cases are showing some signs of slowing but are still up 14% over the past week. This has led to a “jumping up” in Covid admissions at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Los Angeles, Dr. Michael Daignault on CNBC Worldwide exchange Friday morning.

“We had this delta rise, it was a rise and then a plateau, and then the Omicron kind of lifted off this delta crest,” said Daignault, an emergency room physician at the hospital.

Caused the increase New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday to issue emergency orders to combat the new wave of cases.

A steep peak

Experts predict the Omicron wave will fall almost as fast as it has risen, leaving the US with relatively few Covid cases sometime in February or March, although cities are likely to reach that point sooner.

While the threat of a new variant could always change projections, it’s possible Americans could see some breathing space as a large segment of the population retains some immunity to the recent infection.

“Sometime in early March, mid-March, we should be in a very good position,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “April, May, we will have reported very few cases.”

However, how quickly cases drop after they have peaked depends on a community’s adherence to public health measures after that period.

“It depends on how high the peak is. And whether people, when they see case numbers going down, kind of ease things up,” said Aubree Gordon, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

hospitals overwhelmed

There is a growing body of evidence that the Omicron variant makes people more contagious, but not as sick as the Delta variant.

Still, there is a record 156,000 Americans in US hospitals with Covid, according to a seven-day moving average of HHS data, up 17% over the past week. A significant proportion of Covid hospitalizations appear to be from people admitted for other reasons who test positive for the virus once in a facility.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told CNBC: “screeching in the streetlast week that about half of the city’s hospital admissions are people who were diagnosed after being admitted for something else. NY Governor Hochul on Sunday reported that 42% of hospitalized Covid patients in New York were admitted for something other than the virus.

Even if the omicron variant causes less severe diseases, the hospitals can still be burdened due to the high patient volume in combination staff shortage.

“The rate-limiting factors are still the incredible speed of this variant, the number of patients who come into the ER or require an admission,” said Daignault, the LA physician. “And even if we do peak in late January, you still have the back end of that spike for the rest of February.”

Daignault suspects that many of the intensive care patients at his hospital are currently suffering from the more virulent Delta variant. Delta cases could also contribute to a spike in LA’s daily Covid deaths, he said. Still, the CDC recently estimated omicron now accounts for 95% of new cases.

Nationwide, cases and hospitalizations have passed the peak of last winter, but there are about 87% as many patients in intensive care with Covid. The US is reporting a seven-day average of nearly 1,800 Covid deaths a day, according to Hopkins data, which, while rising, is about half the peaks recorded around this time last year, before vaccines were widely available.

While vaccines, particularly without a booster dose, appear to offer less protection against infection by Omicron, they appear to withstand the serious illnesses and deaths that they were originally designed to prevent. While this means that vaccinated people may be contributing to the rise in cases, in reality it is the unvaccinated who are driving hospital admissions.

But the high transmissibility means many healthcare workers have contracted the virus and are being forced to isolate, pushing some hospitals to their limits even sooner.

Although a peak in cases provides some light at the end of the tunnel of this surge, hospitalizations and deaths have lagged the rise in infections. The full impact of the Omicron spike remains to be seen.

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WATCH: Signs Covid is peaking in the North East

Jennifer Lopez reveals off bohemian model in denim maxi skirt as she spends high quality time with daughter

Jennifer Lopez showed off her sense of chic bohemian style on a Saturday outing with daughter Emme.

The 52-year-old music sensation wore a multi-panel denim maxi skirt and a Chanel purse with black fringes as she shopped at The Grove in with her 13-year-old offspring The angel.

The mother and daughter duo held hands as they walked in and out of various stores at the popular mall.

Shopping: Jennifer Lopez showed off her chic bohemian style during a Saturday outing with daughter Emme when the pair shopped at The Grove in Los Angeles

In keeping with the overall theme of the outfit, the hitmaker wore a pair of trendy suede cowboy boots.

The Grammy winner paired her stylish outfit with a cropped cream turtleneck.

Although the weather wasn’t too bright, she also wore oversized brown sunglasses to protect her eyes.

Close bond: The 52-year-old music sensation and daughter, 13, held hands as they walked in and out of various stores at the popular mall

Boho: Lopez rocked a multi-panel denim maxi skirt and a black fringed Chanel purse for the weekend getaway

Boho: Lopez rocked a multi-panel denim maxi skirt and a black fringed Chanel purse for the weekend getaway

Stylish: The singer paired her chic outfit with a cropped cream turtleneck

Stylish: The singer paired her chic outfit with a cropped cream turtleneck

The diva added a bit of glamor to her outfit with a pair of medium sized gold hoop earrings tucked into her ears.

Not wanting her hair to interfere with her shopping experience, the Hustlers star had her brown locks pulled back into a sleek bun.

Meanwhile, her daughter Emme sported a trendy, youthful outfit, wearing acid wash jeans and a white crew-neck sweater.

Cowgirl: In keeping with the theme of the outfit, she wore a pair of suede cowboy boots

Cowgirl: In keeping with the theme of the outfit, she wore a pair of suede cowboy boots

Chic: Although the weather wasn't too bright, she also wore oversized brown sunglasses

Chic: Although the weather wasn’t too bright, she also wore oversized brown sunglasses

Energy: At some point during the shopping spree, Lopez recharged with a cup of coffee

Energy: At some point during the shopping spree, Lopez recharged with a cup of coffee

The fashion-forward teen also rocked a white pair of Converse shoes and black-rimmed reading glasses.

Not in the mood to chat with her mother, she had a pair of white headphones in her ears for musical conversation.

At some point during the shopping spree, Lopez re-energized with a cup of coffee.

The Bronx-born beauty has been busy promoting her upcoming movie Marry Me, and she has recently released a new clip on Instagram with some soundtracks from the film.

In the collection of montages, the siren could be seen kissing her co-star Owen Wilson, 53, on the lips.

Shopping therapy: The

Shopping therapy: The “If You Had My Love” singer was flipping through the clothes on the shelf in a store when her daughter stood nearby

Accessories: The diva added a bit of glamor to her outfit with a pair of gold hoop earrings

Accessories: The diva added a bit of glamor to her outfit with a pair of gold hoop earrings

Busy: The star had her brown tresses slicked back into a stylish bun when she took a call during the outing

Busy: The star had her brown tresses slicked back into a stylish bun when she took a call during the outing

The clip shows Lopez singing her On My Way song on stage while scenes from the romantic comedy are shown.

In the film, Lopez plays pop superstar Kat Valdez, who is ready to marry her singer boyfriend Bastian on stage in front of her fans to her hit song titled Marry Me.

But when the diva found out minutes before the streamed wedding, which is set to be watched by 20 million viewers, that her fiancé cheated on her with her assistant, she went on stage anyway.

Young fashion: Meanwhile, Emme sported a trendy, youthful outfit, sporting acid wash jeans and a white sweater

Young fashion: Meanwhile, Emme sported a trendy, youthful outfit, sporting acid wash jeans and a white sweater

In her own world: Not in the mood to chat with her mother, Emme had a pair of white headphones in her ears to entertain her with music Aspiring trendsetter: She also rocked a white pair of Converse shoes and black-rimmed reading glasses

In her own world: Not in the mood to chat with her mother, Emme had a pair of white headphones in her ears to entertain her with music

New movie: The star has been promoting her upcoming movie Marry Me, in which she plays pop superstar Kat Valdez, who finds out she was cheated on by her fiancé just before they plan to get married

New movie: The star has been promoting her upcoming movie Marry Me, in which she plays pop superstar Kat Valdez, who finds out she was cheated on by her fiancé just before they plan to get married

And then, dazed, she tells math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Wilson) that she’s going to marry him instead.

“They say if you want something different, you have to do something different,” she tells the crowd as she tells Owen she wants to marry him.

Marry Me will be released on Valentine’s Day 2022.

Interesting Storyline: Spontaneously she decides to marry her fan instead (played by Owen Wilson)

Interesting Storyline: Spontaneously she decides to marry her fan instead (played by Owen Wilson)

Releases February: Marry Me releases on Valentine's Day 2022

Releases February: Marry Me releases on Valentine’s Day 2022

A brand new labor battle opens on Broadway as omicron closes exhibits

A sign indicating canceled performances of “Mrs. Doubtfire” due to Covid is displayed in the window of the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on December 16, 2021 in New York City.

Dia Dipasupil | Getty Images

After over a year of industry-wide closures, Broadway theaters finally reopened in September, but 2021 did not end the way theater professionals hoped it would. The late 2021 comeback had largely bucked London’s touch-and-go reopening earlier that summer: only a handful of Broadway productions temporarily closed due to delta infections. But omicron outbreaks late in the year stalled live theater. Before Christmas, 18 productions canceled performances. Five shows closed permanently in December, citing extreme uncertainty ahead this winter and increased challenges from the pandemic.

If some shows can’t go on under these conditions, how Broadway producers are choosing to close is creating a new labor controversy involving artists already among the hardest-hit by the pandemic.

Kevin McCollum, a prominent producer of numerous Broadway shows including the Tony Award-winning productions of “In the Heights,” “Avenue Q,” and “Rent” says he remains “very bullish on the theatre business,” but he just made a decision that has theater unions alarmed.

McCollum has multiple shows currently running on Broadway, including “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Six,” but as omicron surged in New York City, “Mrs. Doubtfire” had yet to find its footing.

“Mrs. Doubtfire was especially vulnerable because [it] just opened,” McCollum said.

With no cast album (unlike the wildly popular show “Six”), he says opening the show as cases spiked was “like planting a sapling, but there’s a hurricane.”

Doubtfire was open for seven days before an omicron outbreak in the cast forced McCollum to cancel Sunday’s matinee performance on December 12. Due to infections, the show did not reopen until December 22. During the 11-show shutdown in December, McCollum says the production swung $3 million: $1.5 million in expenses and another $1.5 million in ticket sales refunded to customers. But the larger issue was the shutdown’s impact on advance ticket sales, coupled with negative to lukewarm reviews.

Prior to the shutdown, the show sold around $175,000 in ticket sales per day, a relatively decent figure compared to gross weekly ticket sales during the same period in 2019. After the shutdown, that number dropped to $50,000. “When a show cancels a performance due to Covid, we see an increased cancellation rate for all performances,” McCollum said.

The Broadway League suspended their publication of gross-ticket sales during the pandemic, making it impossible to verify box office performance. The Broadway League declined to comment.

The decrease in box office sales and increase in ticket cancellations was particularly concerning to McCollum as the holiday season is the most profitable, bolstering Broadway productions through the slower winter months. Family-oriented musicals, such as “Mrs. Doubtfire,” in particular benefit from the busy season.

“Especially for a family show, there are younger people who are not vaccinated, and with a family of four, none of them can come in because they’re not going to let their child wait outside,” McCollum said.

He remains optimistic that family-oriented productions will have a greater chance of survival later this spring, benefitting from rising vaccination rates among kids and FDA approval of booster shots for younger children.

But in the meantime, McCollum has made a move that has attracted controversy: the show must be suspended, with a plan to return, but no guarantee for any of the artists involved.

An unprecedented ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ suspension

In a move described by unions as unprecedented for the Great White Way, McCollum decided to temporarily suspend performances until March 15. Soon after announcing the hiatus, two other productions followed in McCollum’s footsteps. “To Kill A Mockingbird,” the hit play based on Harper Lee’s novel of the same name, announced Wednesday that it would suspend performances until June (temporarily laying off the cast and crew), and reopen the show in a smaller theater. “Girl from the North Country,” a jukebox musical featuring the work of Bob Dylan, will also end its run this month, but the production is currently in “advanced talks” with the Shubert Organization to reopen at another Broadway theater later this spring.

McCollum says he’s “not just throwing in the towel.”

According to the producer, the cost of the shutdown will be between $750,000 and $1 million. However, if the show were to remain open and experience additional closures as infections permeate the cast and crew, the production would lose around half a million each week. Between a decrease in ticket sales, mounting last-minute ticket cancelations and refunds, the evaporation of group sales (which account for a large portion of box office sales), and a plethora of costs associated with Covid testing (which average $30,000 per week), McCollum says the show would be forced to close permanently if it attempted a January run.

Other producers have made the final curtain call. Among Broadway shows that have closed for good: “Thoughts of a Colored Man”, “Waitress”, “Jagged Little Pill” and “Diana.”

The Temptations’ jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud” is closing later this month. “Caroline, or Change” also recently closed, though it was scheduled as a limited run.

Theater unions push back

McCollum says the nine-week hiatus is the only viable option to keep the production open.

“I have to figure out a way to extend my operation,” he said. “Because with the 14 unions … we don’t have a mechanism to hibernate. We do have a mechanism to open and close. Therefore, using that binary mentality of opening and closing, I had to turn the show off … preserve my capital, and use it when the environment is more friendly towards a family show.”

But according to the NYC Musicians Union, who represents musicians on Broadway, there is a mechanism for a production to hibernate. Provisions in the union’s contract with Broadway productions allow producers to temporarily close for a maximum of eight weeks during the months of January, February, and September. To do so, producers must get permission from the union and open their books to prove the show is losing money. McCollum declined, forcing the production to officially shut down — albeit temporarily, if all goes according to plan.

The union claims the producers of “Mrs. Doubtfire” intentionally chose to close the production (rather than enter an official, union-sanctioned hiatus) to hide their finances. “Our Broadway contract does allow a show to go on hiatus in a way that protects everyone’s jobs and gives audiences the promise that the show will return. But some producers choose not to follow this route so they can hide their finances from us. Instead, they simply close down their shows completely, with a vague promise of re-opening,” Tino Gagliardi, the President of the NYC Musicians Union Local 802, said in a statement to CNBC.

A spokesperson for McCollum’s “Doubtfire” production said the producer’s decision to shut down rather than follow the procedure for a union-sanctioned hiatus was due to difficulties in coordinating a unified deal between multiple unions, who presented the producer with different terms.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 05: Producer Kevin McCollum poses at the opening night of the new musical based on the film “Mr. Doubtfire” on Broadway at The Stephen Sondheim Theatre on December 5, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Getty Images)

Bruce Glikas | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Actor’s Equity Association – the union that represents Broadway actors and stage managers – says their contract with the Broadway League includes language from the last century that permits a show to close for at least six weeks.

According to Mary McColl, the union’s executive director, the archaic provision was meant to prevent producers from closing a show, laying off the entire cast, and re-opening shortly after (often in a new city) to “revitalize” the production, potentially with a new cast. McColl, whose last day as executive director of AEA was Friday, told CNBC that “it was never contemplated that it was made to create a layoff circumstance, which is what it is being used for now.”

“Even though it might completely comport with that specific article in our contract, it was never contemplated that it would be used in this way. And I don’t believe that any producer, up until now, has actually put it out in the public realm as ‘this is just a hiatus,'” she said.

While omicron has put shows in a challenging financial position, she says producers like McCollum are using that as an excuse to engineer a new cost-cutting tool: producers suspend productions during the winter months when shows struggle to sell seats, a challenge facing the industry even before the pandemic.

“I think this producer really looks at this as a layoff that’s necessary in the winter,” McColl said. “I don’t think it’s just exclusive in their mind to the Covid situation we’re in, but to create a layoff provision in the production contract, which we do not have.”

She says the move to go on hiatus should have been bargained between the union and The Broadway League (which represents shows in negotiations with artist unions). The union attempted to negotiate, but The Broadway League refused. The League recently came under fire for its disparaging comments against understudies, in which president Charlotte St. Martin blamed show closures on “understudies that aren’t as efficient in delivering their role as the lead is.”

In declining to comment, The Broadway League added to CNBC that it “would refrain from commenting on an individual show’s business model.”

As a result of McCollum’s decision, 115 people will be laid off for at least nine weeks while the show is shuttered; an especially difficult prospect for theater artists who have been out of work for over a year. One of those workers losing her job is LaQuet Sharnell Pringle, who is a swing, understudy, and assistant dance captain for “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Pringle says she had to find additional streams of income while Broadway was closed for 18 months. Now, she is leaning on those side hustles again – entrepreneurial opportunities that include teaching, writing, and editing.

While McCollum argues the temporary closure will ensure “long-term employment,” others are not as optimistic about the show’s future.

“This is either going to be a wonderful idea that helps to keep live theater going during a global pandemic, or it is just prolonging us actually being closed,” Pringle said. “There’s the actor side of me that wants to believe in this [but there is also] the actor who has lived through this for going on two years now [that] says it might be too soon for theater to be back.”

Will the cast return?

It remains unclear whether the cast, crew, and musicians will return if the show re-opens in March, as many are still recovering from the significant financial blow of 18 months of unemployment and may look for work elsewhere.

Pringle is pondering another career, like many on Broadway, looking for work in less volatile sectors of the entertainment industry. “I’m auditioning for as much television and film as I can to get work that way,” she said. While she doesn’t think ongoing closures will dry up Broadway’s pool of talent, she says it will “severely injure it.”

She wants to continue with “Mrs. Doubtfire” but said, “I have to be smart, business-wise, and keep all my options open. … Actors care about the projects we’re attached to, but we also have to think about our livelihoods.”

“It’s been painful,” McCollum said. “There’s nothing harder than working in the theater.”

McCollum says Broadway’s need for mask-less employees coupled with a live performance poses a unique challenge to the theatre industry, in which Covid is more likely to spread and interfere with operations.

Another issue hitting many Broadway productions is the absence of older patrons, which theater heavily relies on. For the 2018-2019 season, the Broadway theatergoer was on average 42.3 years old. Conversely, film audiences skew younger. According to PostTrak’s Motion Picture Industry Survey, those aged 18-24 represent the largest demographic among moviegoers.

Despite the challenges, he insists that his team is “ready to do whatever we have to do to re-open the show in March” and he says those who want to return to the production can have their jobs back.

No guarantees

However, according to both unions, McCollum has not guaranteed that “Mrs. Doubtfire” will return in March, nor has he contractually guaranteed that the current workers will remain with the show when it is scheduled to re-open. If he had closed the show temporarily under the musicians’ union’s contractual provisions, he would be obligated to re-hire all musicians, according to their union, when the show resumes performances.

“Stopping a show abruptly and firing everyone creates a financial shock to our musicians and the other hardworking theater professionals,” Gagliardi said. “When a show closes like this, none of the artists have a guarantee of being re-hired when, or if, the show reopens. Artists deserve a written guarantee that they will be re-hired.”

The unions are collectively perplexed by McCollum’s resistance to working out a deal.

“If in fact, they’re saying we have to do this because we don’t have enough money to keep the show running, and we want to save enough money to reopen the show at a time when we think people will buy tickets, why would they not put that in writing so that the actors, and all the other workers, have some security, because everybody’s laid off,” McColl said.

Producers are also not obligated to re-hire the cast under the same terms of their original contract. In other words, the union will have to renegotiate the contracts when the show re-opens, and the actors could be paid less as a result.

The spokesman for the Doubtfire production said there are no guarantees to anyone who works on the show that it will re-open. “The show has closed. Kevin has said he will be offering everyone on the show their jobs back on March 15, if they want to come back,” the spokesman said. But he said anyone associated with the production has “no obligation to come back to the show if we don’t want to and we are free to take other employment if we wish.”

“When a show closes, their contract ends. Their contract is just negated regardless of how long it was supposed to run for,” outgoing AEA executive director McColl said, who added the union will be taking up issues related to the McCollum decision in its next negotiations, though she will no longer be leading it. “If they are an actor or stage manager who earns above the union minimum, which a lot of actors and stage managers do, they’re able to negotiate over scale. Without a guarantee that they’ll come back at that dollar amount, it’s possible that that producer would offer them less money to come back.”

McColl says that in negotiations with McCollum, the producer refused to put his words in writing. Although he has made a verbal “promise,” McColl says, “there is no guarantee that that’s going to happen,” and that is a difficult position for all of the workers, including actors, stage managers, musicians, stagehands and wardrobe workers on “Mrs. Doubtfire.”

To make matters worse, equity members’ health insurance is based on the number of weeks they work, and many workers will be unable to gain access to unemployment benefits, as some have not worked long enough since the 18-month shutdown to qualify.

Union officials are concerned that other shows, like “Mockingbird” and “Girl from North Country” have done, will enter similar hiatuses during slow months, dealing a significant blow to workers in the entertainment industry who will be without pay and health insurance while productions wait to open in a more fiscally advantageous environment.

The situations are different. Mockingbird is downsizing and moving to a new theater, while the Dylan musical is working on a new reopening plan. Unlike Doubtfire, they were not in negotiations with unions that fell apart. Neither union commented on these shows to CNBC, but expressed concerns about the general trend of going on hiatus.

Producers for “Mockingbird” and “Girl from North Country” could not be immediately reached for comment.

“It’s just a terrible circumstance that our members find themselves in, and the fact that it is now being picked up by other shows is a really terrible situation,” McColl said. “If an employer wants something, usually the negotiation provides something in return for the worker. I see that coming for The Broadway League and their members. I see that coming.”

Missed this year’s CNBC’s At Work summit? Access the full sessions on demand at https://www.cnbcevents.com/worksummit/

Vid exhibits Ukrainian troops testing Javelin missiles in opposition to Russian cage-style tank armor

UKRAINIAN troops were recently filmed testing US-made Javelin missiles against Russian cage-style armor.

Video released on Thursday by the Ukrainian press service of the Joint Armed Forces, shows armed forces performing combat exercises in an area of ​​conflict with separatists in the east Ukraine.

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Ukrainian troops were recently filmed testing Javelin missiles against Russian cage-style armored tanksPhoto credit: Facebook / Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation
The target appeared to be a Cold War era tank turret

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The target appeared to be a Cold War era tank turretPhoto credit: Facebook / Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation

The exercises took place on a training ground, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The target was about a mile away and appeared to be a Cold War-era tank turret.

Officials said this was the first time the troops had fired the spear.

Since 2018 Ukraine – which is trying to join the organization of the North Atlantic Treaty, or NATO – Received US ammunition and Javelin missiles, which has been criticized Moscow.

Kiev has accused Moscow of massaging tens of thousands of soldiers in preparation for a possible offensive and fears that a simmering conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region could break out into open war between neighbors.

Russia denies planning an attack, but blames Ukraine and the Ukraine US destabilizing behavior.

Last week it was reported that Russia was holding its own military exercises nearby – including Black Sea Fleet SU-30 fighter jets and SU-24 bombers conducting aerial refueling exercises over Crimea, the Black Sea Peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Ukraine’s chief security officer Oleksiy Danilov said Wednesday that 122,000 Russian soldiers are 200 kilometers from the border with Ukraine.

AT THE FRONTLINE

Danilov said Reuters last week that Russia At least 500,000 to 600,000 soldiers would be needed at the border “to keep the situation under control in the event of an offensive”.

He also said Russia could top up its troop numbers very quickly and at any time, but it would take more than 24 hours to get enough troops to the border to launch an invasion.

On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi made a video call to 20 US senators and members of the congress amid growing tensions with Russia.

“Today more than ever it is not words that count, but decisive actions,” Zelenskyj is quoted in a statement.

“My goal is to stop the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine. Security in Europe is inconceivable without an end to the war in Donbass. “

Zelensky and the legislature also discussed putting further sanctions pressure on Russia. Washington’s Supporting Kiev’s “Euro-Atlantic aspirations” and Ukraine’s prospects for NATO membership.

TUGS OF WAR

Russia and Ukraine have been in a bitter tug-of-war since Moscow annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and supported the separatist uprising that has since killed more than 14,000 people.

A 2015 peace agreement brokered by France and Germany ended large-scale hostilities in Donbass, but efforts to find a political solution to the conflict have so far failed.

According to recent reports, Russia has approved plans for “urgent mass graves” amid fears that World War III could break out if Ukraine were to invade.

Russian socket MK claims the tombs were erected in priority after allegedly appearing in leaked legal documents expected to go into effect on Feb.1.

Officials said this was the first time the troops had fired the spear

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Officials said this was the first time the troops had fired the spearPhoto credit: Facebook / Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation
The exercises took place in an area of ​​conflict with separatists in eastern Ukraine

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The exercises took place in an area of ​​conflict with separatists in eastern UkrainePhoto credit: Facebook / Operation of the Joint Armed Forces of Ukraine
Russia has denied planning an attack on Ukraine

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Russia has denied planning an attack on UkrainePhoto credit: The Associated Press

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Knee-jerk omicron shutdown exhibits lack of presidency coordination

The “knee-jerk” reaction from countries imposing border restrictions due to the new omicron Covid variant show that, according to CAPA – Center for Aviation – governments haven’t learned much about how to deal with Covid-19 effectively.

Multiple countries including the USA, Canada, UK and Singapore Postponed last week to restrict travel from southern Africa after the World Health Organization (WHO) flagged Omicron, which was first discovered in South Africa, a Variant of concern.

The newly identified strain has a large number of mutations and worrying properties that health professionals are concerned about.

Israel and Japan led a. a Prohibition for all foreign visitors.

Nearly two years after the pandemic, “we don’t seem to have really learned much,” CAPA chair emeritus Peter Harbison told CNBC “Squawk Box Asia” Thursday.

“There is very little coordination between governments about what we do. It’s like a squat every time,” he said, calling for a “multilateral consensus.”

The Chief Medical Advisor to the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Wednesday defended the U.S. travel restrictions, describing them as a temporary measure designed to buy time for health officials.

The WHO has warned countries against this impose blanket travel bans, argues that it will “worsen inequalities”. The UN health panel called instead for an “evidence-based” approach, including more screenings and possible quarantines.

South Africa has also slammed the travel restrictions as “unjustified”.

From Wednesday, 23 countries worldwide reported cases of the strongly mutated Omicron-Covid-19 variant.

Disastrous prospects for travel

The prevailing disjointed approach is having “catastrophic” effects on global recovery, said Harbison, whose agency provides market intelligence to the aviation and travel industries.

“The industry has to face the fact that it is not going to go away anytime soon and we will inevitably get these reactions every time there is a new burden that it will be very clear,” he said.

A passenger wears a face mask when she saw a coronavirus variant called Omicron on 29. 19.

MOHD RASFAN | AFP | Getty Images

Even before the advent of the Omicron tribe, the outlook for the travel industry – and especially aviation – was bleak.

The International Air Transport Association Forecast in October that next year international air traffic will struggle to approach pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Asia hardest hit

The Asian aerospace industry is expected to be hardest hit in 2022, only reaching 11% of 2019 levels based on pre-omicron estimates. In comparison, 75% in Europe and 65% on the routes Europe-North America.

Compared to other parts of the world, Asia has so far only slowly opened up and lifted travel restrictions.

Singapore pioneered the resumption of travel in the region and took off bilateral travel agreements – known as vaccinated travel routes (VTLs) – with different countries including several neighboring neighbors.

If Singapore goes like this and really starts to close, then I guess [it] sends a very bad signal.

Peter Harbison

Chairman emeritus, CAPA – Center for Aviation

However, Harbison said the country’s response to the Omicron outbreak is being closely monitored.

“If Singapore goes down this path and really begins to close, I think it sends a very bad signal to the rest of the region,” he said.

However, China – Asia’s largest contributor to international tourism – continues to have the greatest impact on the region’s recovery. With little signs of China’s repeal international border restrictions In the short term, the effects on the industry could still be felt for some time.

“China has a massive impact on this region in terms of travel, so if they don’t move, this region in particular suffers,” said Harbison.

Interactive map exhibits the place the Covid omicron variant has been detected

From the USA to Germany and from Saudi Arabia to Australia, the Covid-19 Omicron variant has distributed in dozens of countries global.

The World Health Organization has labeled Omicron, which was first discovered by South African scientists. a “questionable variant” because a large number of mutations the could make the variant more contagious.

Much is still unknown about the variant initially designated as B.1.1.529. Scientists are studying whether it is more communicable, causing more serious illness and death, and whether tests, therapeutics, and vaccines are effective against it.

Still, the advent of the Omicron variant has led some countries to tighten border restrictions and spark new concerns about the health of the global economy. Meanwhile, declining investor sentiment rocked global markets.

Rating agency Moody’s said the Omicron variant had created new uncertainty just as many countries were moving towards a semblance of post-pandemic normality.

“Omicron’s discovery underscores our belief that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a health threat as well as the primary source of uncertainty for the global economy and a driver of financial market volatility,” Moody’s said in a report Tuesday.

The Covid pandemic, which began early last year, has seen more than 263 million reported infections and over 5.2 million known deaths as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

More than 8 million doses of the Covid vaccine have been given, according to Hopkins data. But many low-income countries – especially those in Africa – have vaccinated less than 10% of their population, according to statistics from the online repository Our World in Data.

Soccer lawmakers to debate Tremendous Bowl-style half time exhibits

The South American football association CONMEBOL suggested last month the idea of ​​extending halftime. Photo by Buda Mendes – FIFA / FIFA via Getty Images

A proposal to extend halftime breaks for Super Bowl-style entertainment shows to 25 minutes is being discussed this month, the international football association board (IFAB) said on Friday.

South American football association CONMEBOL made the request last month, suggesting working for cup finals like the Copa Libertadores competition.

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Law 7 of football states: “Players are entitled to a break at half time, which must not exceed 15 minutes.”

The IFAB Regulatory Board has put the CONMEBOL request on the agenda for its technical advisors to discuss at remote meetings on October 27th.

In 2009, a proposal by FIFA to extend the half-time from 15 to 20 minutes was rejected. It has been criticized as a commercial move, though FIFA spearheaded the increasing time it took for players to reach the dressing rooms from the pitch.

This month’s expert meetings will also receive updates from ongoing attempts to use temporary substitutes for players suspected of having head injuries and the offside law.

The IFAB panel consists of the four British football associations and FIFA delegates. A business meeting is held in November to set the agenda for an annual legislative session in February or March.

How Olivia’s Fashion Makeover Exhibits Her Evolution

Olivia Plath has experienced many ups and downs on Welcome to Plathville. Her glam style transformation shows how she has changed as a person.

Olivia Plath out Welcome to Plathville has changed since the show’s first season and her latest hair transformation seems to symbolize her personal growth. Olivia’s marriage to Ethan Plath was central to the show, and fans watched as the couple struggled to make their relationship work. Here’s everything you need to know about Olivia’s journey, and how her glamorous makeover tells a story about who she is now.

The popular reality show follows strict parents Kim and Barry Plath, their nine children and their daughter-in-law Olivia. The children grew up away from popular culture, with strong beliefs that made it difficult to meet anyone outside of their family. While Olivia was once in good favor with Kim and Barry, fans watched them turn on Olivia and even insisted that they be present with the custody when Olivia is around the younger Plath kids. the Plath parents treat Olivia worse than Max Kallschmidt, Moriah Plath’s boyfriend, which led fans to label Kim and Barry as hypocrites.

Related: Welcome to Plathville: How Olivia Plath Finds Her Voice After Season 2

Welcome to Plathville has explored how Kim and Barry’s strict rules broke Ethan’s relationship with them while straining his marriage. Ethan and Olivia met seven years ago in a camp and began a long-distance relationship where they wrote letters and occasionally got to make phone calls. The couple started dating and married in 2018 when they were both around 20 years old, and Olivia kept her blonde hair and signature style for years. Her signature blonde look seemed to show how comfortable she was with Ethan at the time. It might have been a safe choice.

Olivia has always broadened Ethan’s horizons, from the first taste of lemonade to being encouraged to travel with her. Olivia has expanded her photography business and explore life outside of small town Georgia. Their location in Cairo has become a source of conflict for the two of them, as Ethan wants to stay there because he likes the country life, while Olivia wants to move to a bigger city, away from his parents. Ethan and Olivia admitted they argued all the time, and many fans noticed that Olivia’s hair went from plain blonde to fiery red. Fans speculate that the hair color change was triggered by tension in their relationship.

Olivia has said that she has come a long way over the past year, and her bold new hair color could be another way of asserting her independence. The red color could also give her the courage to live alone for a while, as the fans saw Olivia breaks up with Ethan in the latest Welcome to Plathville Episode. Olivia had said that she had always dreamed of dyeing her hair red and the fact that she recently dyed her hair might show that she is finally ready to do what she wants instead of settling down .

Next: Welcome to Plathville: How Kim Plath and Olivia Plath actually look like each other

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Mackenzie Long
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Mackenzie is a college graduate and spends most of his time watching TV or writing about it for ScreenRant.

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Store eight Milan Trend Week Avenue Fashion Appears From the Spring 2022 Reveals

There is a very short and sweet part of the transition period when you can wear nice pairings like sweaters and shorts or jackets and sandals – if the weather permits, of course. It’s the kind of ensemble that Los Angeles locals are lucky enough to wear for most of the year. But for the rest of us who don’t call Southern California home, the ideal fall forecast gives us a chance to make the most of our summer and Autumn wardrobes.

This last week in MilanHer show goers welcomed perfect temperatures in the low 70s and sunny skies and got a few extra days of sandal season. Chunky knits and plaid trousers were paired with heeled sandals, as were brown leather trousers and blazers. Fuzzy mohair cardigans, midi skirts, velvet jackets and cuts from head to toe were on display alongside open-toe shoes. The judgment? sandal Season is not over yet.

When the temperatures cool down, all of these looks go well with you knee high boots or Ballet flat, but in the meantime, do like the Milan Fashion Week street style set and take the opportunity to wear sandals with other classic fall staples.

Below are eight ways to wear sandals this season, inspired by the street style of Milan Fashion Week.

Buckle up

A pair of buckled mules easily grounds oversized knit and flared trousers – no jacket required.

MM6 Maison Margiela oversized jacquard knit turtleneck

Valentino Garavani Mini VLogo hobo bag made from calf hair

Stella McCartney Mona wool trousers with flared legs and houndstooth check

Leather bound

Pick up patent, wrinkled, vintage or smooth leather separations with strappy sandals – you guessed it – leather.

Rejina Pyo Margo Blazer made of synthetic leather

Kassl Bag Lady leather lacquer shoulder bag

Bouguessa Diana embossed leather pants

Double intake

Now wear an embroidered blouse and tapered pants with buckled mules and repeat this later with ankle boots.

Sea Santos blouse with eyelet collar

Bottega Veneta Loop shoulder bag

Ulla Johnson Jupiter carrot trousers made of cotton twill with quilted seams

Jil Sander x Birkenstock Arizona two-buckle sandal

Compensation blocks

A metallic block heel sandal is comfortable to wear all year round, from special occasions to the office and beyond.

Warm Hugs Only checkmate vest

Linda Farrow Jerry round frame acetate sunglasses

Jil Sander skirt with geometric print

Hang around

When else could you wear comfortable, cozy tartan slippers or? Sheepskin slides Out of the house outside of autumn?

Sleeper pajama set made of crpe de chine with feather trim

Evolve Together Milan Face Mask, 7 Inch Set

Prada Galleria Medium Saffiano Leather Bag

Sandals that fit

A flat leather sandal with straps goes surprisingly well with the tailored suits of fall – a neutral brown option creates a solid contrast to an otherwise dark blazer and trousers.

& Other Stories One button blazer

Melissa Joy Manning moonstone earrings made from 14k recycled gold

& Other Stories figure-hugging flare pinstripe trousers

Autumnal textures

It is best to avoid summer-like materials such as raffia and ropes and opt for something that is more geared towards the fall season, such as this combination of satin sleigh and velvet jacket.

L’Agence Kaydence double-breasted corduroy blazer

Saint Laurent Signature round sunglasses

Emme Parsons satin slippers

Head over heels

You’ll want to wear a pair of Bottega Veneta heeled sandals with everything.

Marc Jacobs hairy, cropped mohair cardigan

Ray-Ban Classic Wayfarer 50mm sunglasses

Bottega Veneta BV Lido Slide sandal

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