News Wrap: Biden administration says private insurers required to cover at-home tests

In our news wrap Monday, the Biden administration said private insurers will be required to cover up to eight at-home COVID tests per month starting Saturday, the U.S. advises against travel to Canada amid COVID spike, death toll from a Bronx fire lowered to 17, Kazakhstan's government says protests are under control, and Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to four more years in prison.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Biden administration is moving tonight to make it easier to get at-home tests for COVID-19.

    The White House says, starting Saturday, private insurers must cover eight at-home tests per person per month. Also today, the CDC warned against travel to Canada because of a rise in COVID-19 cases there. And, in China, parts of city of Tianjin were locked down less than a month before the Winter Olympics in Beijing 75 miles away.

    For the first time, doctors have transplanted the heart of a pig into a human patient. The University of Maryland Medical Center says the 57-year-old man is doing well three days after the surgery. He was ineligible for a human heart transplant. The pig had been genetically modified to prevent the human body from immediately rejecting the heart.

    The death toll from Sunday's apartment building fire in the Bronx was lowered to 17 today, including eight children. Officials in New York said some victims were double-counted after the city's deadliest fire since 1990. Investigators blamed a space heater for igniting the flames.

    Many of the victims were West African immigrants, as Mayor Eric Adams noted today.

    Eric Adams (D), Mayor of New York: This is a global tragedy, because the Bronx and New York City is representative of the ethnicities and cultures across the globe. And so everyone is feeling the pain of what we are experiencing.

    But I would tell you this, and I say over and over again, we're going to get through this moment.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The New York tragedy came less than a week after a House fire in Philadelphia killed a dozen people.

    The man who bought the gun used in the Kenosha, Wisconsin, killings pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor today. Dominick Black will pay a $2,000 fine under the deal. In 2020, he bought an assault-style rifle for Kyle Rittenhouse, who was underage. Rittenhouse later shot two people to death during racial justice protests. He was acquitted in November.

    In Kazakstan, officials say last week's protests have ended, with nearly 8,000 people arrested and Russian-led troops on the ground. Streets in Almaty, the country's largest city, were mostly empty today.

    In a teleconference, Russia's President Vladimir Putin vowed to oppose revolts against regional leaders.

  • Vladimir Putin, Russian President (through translator):

    Of course, we understand the events in Kazakstan are not the first and far from the last attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of our states.

    I agree with President Lukashenko of Belarus. The measures taken by our alliance have clearly shown we will not allow the situation to be rocked at home and we will not allow so-called color revolutions to take place.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In addition to the arrests, Kazakh officials say that 164 people were killed in the protests.

    Insured global losses from extreme weather hit $120 billion last year. That's the second highest amount ever. The world's largest re-insurer, Munich Re, today cited climate change as a main factor. Meanwhile, U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases rebounded sharply last year. The research firm Rhodium Group cites a surge in coal use.

    The Federal Reserve Board's vice chair, Richard Clarida, is resigning on Friday, two weeks before his term ends. He'd been criticized over stock trades he made in February of 2020, as the pandemic first threatened the world economy. He is the third Fed official to resign over the issue.

    The IRS announced today that federal income tax season will open more than two weeks early this year, on January 24. The agency says that it needs extra time to cope with potential delays from the COVID surge and less funding than it requested.

    On Wall Street today, a slow start to the week. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 162 points to close at 36068. The Nasdaq rose seven points. The S&P 500 slipped six.

    And several passings of note.

    Tonight, comedian Bob Saget is being remembered for long-running stints on TV's "Full House" and "America's Funniest Home Videos" in the late 1980s and early '90's. He was found dead in his Florida hotel on Sunday. A generation grew up watching Saget on "Full House," seen here as a widowed father playing with one of his three young girls.

  • Bob Saget, Comedian:

    Michelle breaks for the basket and goes right through my legs.


  • Bob Saget:

    OK. She's going for that super-duper, high-flying, baby-skying, junior, junior Slama Jama. Talk about serious hang time.


  • Bob Saget:

    Michelle scores! In your face.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Bob Saget was 65 years old.

    Also on Sunday, Dwayne Hickman, TV's Dobie Gillis of the 1960s, died in Los Angeles after battling Parkinson's disease. He was 87 years old.

    And Oscar-winning lyricist Marilyn Bergman passed away in Los Angeles on Saturday. She and her husband teamed on hundreds of songs, including "The Way We Were" and "Windmills of Your Mind." Marilyn Bergman was 93 years old.

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