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5 Things To Know On Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Posted at 7:17 AM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 07:17:11-05

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. Omicron has arrived in Florida including the Treasure Coast
The first confirmed case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the state of Florida has been reported at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, but it's not alone.

The CDC and the Florida Department of Health have also confirmed a case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in St. Lucie County.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday that omicron has now been detected in 50 countries and 19 states with officials expecting those numbers to increase.

Omicron arrives in Florida including the Treasure Coast

2. Woman says Maxwell and Epstein abused her at age 14 in Palm Beach
The woman, who was identified only by her first name, Carolyn, was the third witness to testify at the sex trafficking trial about being sexually abused by Epstein in encounters facilitated by Maxwell, his one-time girlfriend and, later, employee.

At times choking up, she testified that she was a heavy drug user and middle school dropout when she was first taken to Epstein’s estate in Palm Beach, Florida, by an older teenage friend.

Prosecutors say Carolyn was one of several vulnerable teens from troubled backgrounds who were pulled into a scheme where Maxwell and Epstein would encourage girls in low-income parts of Florida to find other young victims to bring to his home, in exchange for a finder’s fee.

Maxwell trial
In this courtroom sketch, a witness testifying under the pseudonym "Carolyn," breaks down on the witness stand testifying about her experiences with Jeffery Epstein, during proceedings in Ghislaine Maxwell's sex-abuse trial, in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

3. Judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the Biden administration from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

The mandate was scheduled to take effect in January.

In balancing the harms of letting the mandate take effect or issuing an injunction, U.S. District Judge R. Stan Baker said an injunction would maintain the status quo.

Judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors

4. NBA: Unvaccinated players won't be allowed to travel to Canada for games
Unvaccinated NBA players will not be allowed to travel to and from Canada next year for games with the Toronto Raptors.

A memo obtained by ESPN and CNN says that unvaccinated players will not be able to play in Toronto starting Jan. 15 due to the country's COVID-19 restrictions.

The travel restrictions will impact approximately 15 players. Teams are reportedly required to provide the league with a list of unvaccinated players by Friday.

NBA Camps Open Basketball
FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2020, file photo, the NBA logo is displayed at center court during an NBA first-round playoff basketball game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

5. 'Name your Price' to adopt a new furry family member
The Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control is celebrating the holidays with 'Name Your Price' adoption fees.

All pet adoption fees are the price that the adopter chooses. Whether looking for a dog or a cat, rabbit or pig, a new best friend is waiting to be adopted.

The newly adopted pets will be spayed or neutered, microchipped, current on vaccinations, and come with a free bag of Science Diet pet food.

Dog up for adoption

Today's Forecast
Near-record heat with afternoon highs in the mid-80s

Latest Weather Forecast: Wednesday 5 a.m.

Get your complete hour-by-hour forecast here.

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On This Day In History
On Dec. 8, 1980, John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, was shot and killed by an obsessed fan in New York City. The 40-year-old artist was entering his luxury Manhattan apartment building when Mark David Chapman shot him four times at close range.

Remember, you can join Mike Trim and Ashleigh Walters every weekday on WPTV NewsChannel 5 beginning at 4:30 a.m. And you can always watch the latest news from WPTV anytime on your favorite streaming device. Just search for "WPTV."