While you were sleeping, we compiled the biggest stories of the day in one place. Each story has a quick and easy summary, so you're prepared for whatever the day brings. Just click on the links if you want to know more!
1. Florida allowed 800,000-1 million COVID-19 tests to expire
As the omicron variant continues to spread throughout Florida and the country, the state's emergency management director admitted Thursday that Florida allowed hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 rapid test kits to expire, citing a lack of demand for them.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has accused Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Health of stockpiling tests amid hours-long lines at testing sites in some parts of the state.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said the tests expired between Dec. 26 and Dec. 30 after being granted a three-month extension.
2. Florida health officials release new COVID-19 testing guidelines
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is prioritizing "high value testing," aiming to focus on certain groups who are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Those groups include the following, according to the Florida Department of Health:
- Older adults, especially those age 65 and older
- Individuals with certain medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, chronic lung diseases, heart conditions, and a weakened immune system (immunocompromised)
- Pregnant or recently pregnant individuals
The governor also said asymptomatic employees shouldn't need a negative test to return to work.
"In workforces, to force someone to be testing before they go to work is not going to really be high-value testing," said DeSantis. "The danger that you have is what impacts that could have on society."
3. An easy way to find your keys is now a tool for stalking
Apple's AirTag product was released in April of last year as a way to effortlessly keep track of everyday items such as your keys.
Now, a woman from Palm Beach Gardens found one inside her SUV. She said the AirTag was about the size of a quarter, hidden under a back panel and secured with Velcro.
After stalking concerns were raised, Apple later updated AirTags to cause them to start making noises within a day of being away from their linked device. Previously it was three days.
4. Demonstrations held in West Palm Beach on anniversary of U.S. Capitol insurrection
President Trump's supporters lined up along Southern Boulevard with music, waiving at drivers passing by. They're disappointed that the former president did not give a speech at Mar-a-Lago Thursday.
While that rally unfolded, a "Candlelight Vigil For Democracy" and peaceful "March To Save Our Democracy" was held at 6 p.m. at Southern Boulevard and South Flagler Drive.
Florida leads the nation in Jan. 6 Capitol riot cases. At least 170 rioters have pleaded guilty and more than 70 have been sentenced following the Jan. 6, 2021 attack at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
5. Couple forced to quarantine on cruise despite negative COVID test
Kelly and Luis Cotto were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary aboard the Norwegian Gem cruise ship, but their celebration ended suddenly on day two with a call and letter ordering them to quarantine in their cabin.
For the next four days, the Cottos say they became house prisoners because the cruise determined they had been in contact with someone who had COVID-19.
It turns out, cruise ships on the open sea can make their own laws. Once at sea, U.S. law does not always apply,
Michelle Couch Friedman, executive director of the non-profit consumer group Elliott Advocacy, is trying to get the Cottos a refund.
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On This Day In History
Congress sets January 7, 1789 as the date by which states are required to choose electors for the country's first-ever presidential election. A month later, on February 4, George Washington was elected president by state electors and sworn into office on April 30, 1789.
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