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5 Things To Know On Friday, January 1, 2021

Posted at 7:01 AM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 07:01:34-05

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1. How did Florida end 2020? With a new COVID-19 variant and record numbers:
Florida closed out the year with a record increase of 17,192 coronavirus cases in one day, shattering the mark of 15,300 on July 12.

After the first two deaths in Florida were announced on March 6, which is 300 days, the death toll has reached 21,673 for an average of 72 per day.

The Florida Department of Health on Thursday night reported it has evidence of the first identified case of the more contagious United Kingdom COVID-19 variant of a man in Martin County, bringing the total of confirmed and suspected cases in the United States to 7.

COVID-19 variant found in Martin County

2. How's the vaccine rollout going? Slowly:
Palm Beach County rolled out a phone number, 561-625-5180, this week for seniors to schedule an appointment to get the vaccine, but it has been inundated and often unavailable since it can only handle 150 calls at a time.

At the start of the month, the federal government set an ambitious goal of distributing 20 million coronavirus vaccines throughout the US. But as the year comes to a close, the US came well short of that goal.

As of late Thursday night, a total of 12.4 million vaccines have been distributed across the US. Of those, just 2.8 million have been administered.

Florida leaders defend rolllout of coronavirus vaccine

3. The most infamous woman you can think of is in town:
State records show that Casey Anthony has filed documents to start a private investigation firm in Palm Beach County.

Anthony, who was acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, nine years ago, filed the paperwork with the Florida Division of Corporations in mid-December.

The address listed for the company belongs to Patrick McKenna, according to Palm Beach County property records. McKenna was the lead investigator on Anthony's defense team during her 2011 trial.

Records show Casey Anthony is starting private investigation firm in West Palm Beach

4. Dog day afternoon: Last greyhound races in Florida:
On New Year's Eve, the Palm Beach Kennel club began running its last 30 greyhound races. The passing of Amendment 13 in the November elections puts an end to the practice starting Jan. 1, 2021.

As for the race track space, officials say announcements on what it will develop into in four to six months. Some of the ideas pitched have been motocross, drone racing, and jetski football.

As for the greyhounds, the club said they will be adopting some of them out, others will be racing at other tracks, and some will return to their owners.

Palm Beach Kennel Club runs its last live greyhound races

5. Starting 2021 on a positive note: A ride for mental health:
Today, former Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor Din Thomas will be riding his bike across the state to raise awareness for men's mental health.

He has partnered with the HeadsUpGuys organization and reached his goal of raising $1,000.

Thomas said he wants to provide mental support to the fighters he trained because he didn't have anyone there to support him when was a professional fighter.

Former UFC fighter biking across Florida New Year's Day to raise men's mental health awareness

Today's Forecast
Windy, warm weather continues

Latest Weather Forecast: Friday 5 a.m.

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On This Day In History
On January 1, 1959, facing a popular revolution spearheaded by Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista flees the island nation.

Fidel Castro is shown with a group of his soldiers in front of a mural showing ex-dictator Fulgencio Batista as an army Colonel leading troops through mountains of eastern Cuba. Castro viewed the mural at Batista's farm 15 miles southwest of Havana. This is a 1959 photo. (AP PHOTO)

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