In our news wrap Friday, the CDC says evidence shows in-person classes can be done safely during the pandemic with the proper measures in place, the Biden administration will permit 25,000 asylum-seekers stranded in Mexico to enter the U.S. during court proceedings, nations across Asia celebrate the Lunar New Year, and the president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee resigned.
In the day's other news: The CDC offered new guidance on reopening schools during the pandemic. It found strong evidence that in person classes can safely resume with protective measures. It also said that vaccinating teachers is not a prerequisite, but they should be given priority.
This evening, President Biden urged states to follow the CDC's guidance.
The World Health Organization appealed for vigilance today, as new COVID infections drop worldwide. They are down for the fourth week in a row.
In Geneva, the agency's head said that it is still vital to stay alert.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:
Complacency is as dangerous as the virus itself. Now is not the time for any country to relax measures, or for any individual to let down their guard.
Every life that is lost now is all the more tragic, as vaccines are beginning to be rolled out.
The U.S. death toll reached 480,000 today, even as daily increases in infections and deaths have declined.
The United States will begin letting some 25,000 legal asylum seekers enter the country from Mexico while their cases proceed. The Biden administration announced the change from President Trump's policy today. It takes effect next Friday, involving three border crossings and a few hundred people a day.
In Myanmar, the general leading the new junta urged the public today to — quote — "join hands" with the military to achieve democracy. Instead, thousands of protesters confronted police in pro-democracy demonstrations. They were the largest since the military coup nearly two weeks ago.
The president of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee has resigned. Yoshiro Mori had complained that women — quote — "talk too much in meetings." Mori initially refused to go, but he gave way today, under pressure from the public and from Olympic sponsors.
Yoshiro Mori (through translator):
My inappropriate remarks caused turmoil. I'm sincerely sorry for causing troubles to many, including organizing committees and everyone involved in this. As it has been already reported, I will resign today. I have no intention to demean women.
The Tokyo Games are due to open in July, amid public opposition and the ongoing pandemic.
Back in this country, a White House press aide was suspended for a week without pay for threatening a journalist. Deputy Press Secretary T.J. Ducklo reportedly confronted a female staffer at Politico in sexist, profane terms. She had written about Ducklo's relationship with a reporter who covered the Biden campaign and transition.
And on Wall Street, a modest advance put three major indexes at record closes again. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 27 points to finish at 31458. The Nasdaq rose 69 points, and the S&P 500 added 18.
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