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In our news wrap Monday, the U.S. passes 443,000 COVID-19 deaths after the worst month yet, snow piles up across the East Coast with cancelled flights and suspended transit, the Kremlin denounced mass protests in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the number of active hate groups appears to have decreased in 2020 -- but only because many moved online.
The United States has now passed four 443,000 pandemic deaths after the worst month yet. More than 95,000 lives were lost in January alone nationwide.
But there is also news that the average daily death toll has begun to decline, along with overall infections, and the number of Americans hospitalized with COVID fell beyond 100,000 today for the first time in two months.
Heavy snow shut down some COVID vaccination sites today from the Northeast to New England. A winter storm sent cars skidding, and brought out the shovels, with some places getting two feet of snow. In New York and elsewhere, it meant more delays for people waiting for their shots.
Mayor Bill de Blasio:
We don't want folks, especially seniors, going out in unsafe conditions to get vaccinated. We can take the supply we have and distribute it very quickly in the days to come and make sure everyone gets their appointments, but it's not safe out there today.
So, vaccinations are canceled today. They are also going to be canceled tomorrow.
The storm also grounded hundreds of flights and disrupted rail service.
The U.S. and other nations have condemned a military coup in Myanmar. The army seized power early today in the former Burma. Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested, along with other officials. Police blocked access to the international airport in Yangon. Phone and Internet service were cut in the country's capital.
We will take a closer look later in the program.
In Russia, the Kremlin denounced mass protests in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny and defended mass arrests. Hundreds of thousands turned out on Sunday, but officials branded them — quote — "hooligans and provocateurs."
More than 5,400 people were arrested, sparking complaints of brutality today.
Kirill (through translator):
The riot police attacked us many times and beat us, even though we were just peacefully standing there. There were people who shouted. And after we were attacked, we also started to shout.
Navalny has a court hearing tomorrow, and prosecutors say they will ask to keep him jailed for up to 3.5 more years.
Back in this country, there's word that the number of identifiable hate groups in the U.S. actually declined last year, as extremists moved to online networks. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that shift makes them more difficult to track. The report identified 838 such groups. That's down from a high of just over 1,000 in 2018.
And on Wall Street, stocks recouped some of last week's losses. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 229 points, to close near 30212. The Nasdaq rose 332 points. And the S&P 500 added 59 points.
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