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COVID-19: Single-day U.S. virus deaths surpass 3,000

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As the United States marches closer to distributing a COVID-19 vaccine, the nation experienced one of its highest single-day death toll in its 243-year history on Wednesday, which saw over 3,000 Americans die from the novel coronavirus, making it one of the deadliest days in American history and the deadliest so far during the pandemic, the Associated Press reported Thursday afternoon.

At the time of publication, this bone-chilling number makes Wednesday deadlier than both the first day of the 1944 D-Day invasion of France (2,500) and the September 11, 2001 attacks (2,977).

For additional perspective, prior to this month, the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (2,403) was arguably the fourth-deadliest day in U.S. history, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt called “a date which will live in infamy”. Recent single-day COVID-19 death tolls have been significantly topping that of Pearl Harbor, pushing that day down the list.

The two single-deadliest days are typically agreed to be the 1862 Battle of Antietam (3,600) from the Civil War and then the 1900 Galveston Hurricane (8,000).

So far, the pandemic has taken the lives of more than 290,000 Americans, with well over 15 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Reporting 3,124 deaths on Wednesday, this makes it the deadliest day of the pandemic for the United States to date, with April 15 previously holding that record with 2,603 deaths.

Unfortunately, trends don’t point to the virus’s spread slowing down in the immediate future. In just five days, the U.S. has seen its number of cases rise by one million. On top of that, more than 106,000 infected Americans in hospitals, which is causing many of them to run low on space and staff.

New pandemic-related records, however, are being set almost every day now.

Despite the data painting a grim picture for the United States’ current situation, the future does hold some promise.

A U.S. government advisory panel endorsed Pfizer’s vaccine late on Thursday, with a final decision from the Food and Drug Administration approving the shot expected in days, per the AP. The FDA is widely expecting to follow the panel’s recommendation. While shots could start being distributed to frontline medical workers and others in days, the vaccine availability to the general public is expected to not happen for months.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Virginia Public Schools Reinstates Two Books Despite Complaints of Pedophilia and Pornography

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Fairfax

Fairfax County Public Schools has reinstated two books despite complaints from parents that the literature depicted and legitimized obscene and pedophilic material. Parents confronted the school board with the graphic images contained in the books beginning in September. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) announced the books were restored to libraries after two committees reviewed them.

The books, “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer” have been determined by the District as helpful to the LGBTQ community. Fox News reports “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison includes long sections of a boy reminiscing about explicit experiences he had at 10 years old. “Gender Queer: A Memoir” is by Maia Kobabe and includes photos of sexual acts between a boy and a man.

Virginia mother and president of Parents Defending Education, Nicole Nelly, told Fox News last week, “It’s appalling that Fairfax County’s response to parental feedback is to quibble over the definition of ‘pedophilia’ and to shame and denigrate families who are concerned about this material.”

“By attempting to normalize this content – and reinstating these books under cover of darkness right before Thanksgiving break – FCPS has demonstrated that in their eyes, parental input is a bug, not a feature, in the system” added Nelly.

In an interview with Fox News, Stacy Langton, one of the mothers who first confronted the school board, says “plenty” of Democrats and liberals are also calling her to say they “don’t want their kids exposed to this in school…this is FCPS coming out and explicitly saying they are in favor of porn in schools for your children.”

FCPS, however, claims that two committees comprised of school administrators, librarians, parents, and students determined that the books did not contain pedophilia, nor did they violate regulations by including obscene material.

“The decision reaffirms FCPS’s ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials that reflect on our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters” said FCPS in a released statement.

“Both reviews concluded that the books were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journeys” the statement continued.

Michael Sabbeth, Colorado attorney and author of “The Good, The Bad & The Difference: How to Talk With Children About Values” says “the Board’s assertion cleverly employs a logical fallacy—a strawman argument.”

While the board’s “refutation alleges the material affirms students with ‘marginalized identities’ and acknowledges the ‘difficulties nonbinary and asexual individuals may face’, their justification ignores and fails to negate allegations of obscenity, pornography and or pedophilia” states Sabbeth.

“Ironically, the Board’s justification demeans those it alleges to support. If, for example, pedophilia is in a book, arguing it helps youngsters is morally beneath contempt. To virtuously support those individuals, the Board need do no more than advance this unambiguous message: Treat all people respectfully” Sabbeth concludes.

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