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10 things you need to know today: January 30, 2021

1.

GameStop chaos and vaccine uncertainty spun Wall Street into its worst spiral since October. Despite a resurgence of COVID-19 and political tumult, the stock market managed to stay positive for the past few months. But that all changed Friday as the S&P 500 fell 1.9 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite fell two percent. All three major indexes fell more than three percent over the week. A massive collaboration to buy GameStop stock left the video game retailer up 400 percent this week and 1600 percent this month. Investors fear hedge funds that usually profit off shorting GameStop stock will have to sell other shares to pay off their losses. They’re also seemingly worried about vaccine distribution delays, selling off stock in vacation and shopping mall businesses. [The New York Times, CNBC]

2.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday night announced that travelers will be required to wear masks on all public transportation — including planes, trains and subways, ferries, buses, taxis, and ride-hail vehicles like Uber — starting Monday night. People will also have to comply at transportation hubs like airports, bus depots, and train stations, and operators and transportation workers must wear masks while on the job. There will be exemptions for children younger than two, people with disabilities that leave them unable to wear masks, commercial truck drivers, and military transportation. People will be able to take off their masks while eating or drinking briefly. The CDC said it will mostly rely on voluntary compliance, although enforcement will be handled by the Transportation Security Administration and other federal authorities. The mandate comes after President Biden signed an executive order earlier this month calling for “immediate action” on mask-wearing on public transportation. [NBC News, The Washington Post]

3.

Johnson & Johnson on Friday said its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine candidate in a global trial was found to overall be 66 percent effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, but 85 percent effective at preventing severe disease, and there were no cases of COVID-19-related hospitalization and death in people who received the vaccine. In the United States, the vaccine was 72 percent effective against moderate to severe COVID-19, but it was 66 percent effective in Latin America and 57 percent in South Africa. The overall 66 percent efficacy rate fell short of that of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are both about 95 percent effective after two doses. But experts still saw the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a potential “game changer” because it only requires one shot and can be stored at refrigerator temperature. The company plans to file for FDA approval within a week. [The Washington Post, The Associated Press]

4.

Two House Democrats introduced a censure resolution against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Friday, citing Greene’s inflammatory comments and calling for her resignation. Reps. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) and Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) introduced the resolution, which cites Greene saying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is “guilty of treason” and “should suffer death or she’ll be in prison,” among other remarks and activity on social media before she was elected to Congress. The legislation to censure Greene requires a simple majority vote. Previously, top congressional Democrats criticized Republicans for assigning Greene to the House education committee despite reports that she called deadly school shootings “false-flag” operations. She also has backed the QAnon conspiracy theory. House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said “there is no place for comments like that in our political discourse.” [Times of San Diego, CNN]

5.

Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who died earlier this month from injuries he suffered after responding to the riot at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, will lie in honor in the building’s rotunda, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Friday. “The heroism of Officer Sicknick and the Capitol Police force during the violent insurrection against our Capitol helped save lives, defend the temple of our democracy, and ensure that the Congress was not diverted from our duty to the Constitution,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. Sicknick’s body is expected to arrive at the East Front of the Capitol on Tuesday morning, and a viewing period for members of the Capitol Police will continue overnight, while members of Congress will be able to attend a two-hour viewing Wednesday morning. [Fox News, Politico]

6.

The FBI is seeking information on an individual who allegedly placed pipe bombs at the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee headquarters on Jan. 5, the night before the deadly attack on the Capitol building. “The unknown individual wore a face mask, a gray hooded sweatshirt, and Nike Air Max Speed Turf shoes in yellow, black, and gray,” the FBI said. “The individual carried a backpack in their hand.” The FBI has reportedly interviewed over 1,000 people as part of its investigation. The two pipe bombs were discovered on the afternoon of the riot and defused, but according to CNN, “it’s still unknown why the devices did not explode.” Authorities are offering an increased reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the suspect’s arrest. [The Washington Post, NBC News]

7.

Two members of the far-right group the Proud Boys were indicted in federal court Friday for allegedly participating in the deadly riot at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6. Dominic Pezzola and William Pepe, who both hail from New York, were arrested earlier this month and now face charges of conspiracy, civil disorder, and unlawfully entering restricted buildings or grounds. Pezzola, reportedly a former marine, was also charged with robbery of personal property of the United States, assaulting law enforcement officers, and destruction of government property, among other things. This is the first riot-related case to accuse Proud Boys members of working together during the incident, though it does not allege they planned the attack before arriving in Washington, D.C. [NPR, CNN]

8.

President Biden made his first major excursion from the White House on Friday, visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. At the Bethesda, Maryland, hospital, Biden met with active duty and retired service members and also visited the vaccine distribution center. Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer at Walter Reed in 2015. While speaking to soldiers and staffers, Biden said the medical center cared for Beau “in his final days with great grace and dignity.” Biden has made few ventures outside the White House since he was inaugurated last week in an effort to minimize in-person work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides Walter Reed, Biden visited the Lincoln Memorial and went to Mass on Sunday. [The Associated Press]

9.

John Chaney, the Hall of Fame basketball coach who helmed the Temple University men’s squad for 24 years, died Friday. He was 89. The university said he died after a short, unspecified illness. After coaching at the NCAA Division II level for several seasons, Chaney, who grew up in Philadelphia, arrived at Temple, home to one of the city’s several storied basketball programs. Aside from his first season, Chaney led Temple to either the NCAA tournament or the National Invitation Tournament every year until he retired in 2006. Under his watch, the Owls reached the Elite Eight five times and won multiple conference titles. Chaney was known for implementing his teams’ notorious matchup zone defense and the passion he displayed on the sideline. [ESPN, Temple University]

10.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which was scheduled to take place over two weekends in April in Indio, California, has been canceled for the second straight year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser announced Friday. The Stagecoach Festival, which was set to take place the weekend immediately following the second round of Coachella, has also been shuttered. The move comes as no surprise given the high volume of COVID-19 cases in Southern California. Per The Los Angeles Times, Coachella is the most profitable music festival in the United States and typically brings in between $75 and $100 million over its two weekends, so the cancellation is expected to be another major blow to the global live events industry. [The Los Angeles Times]

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