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COVID-19 is beginning to spread more rapidly in Georgia, but health experts warn the cases we know about are just the tip of the iceberg. Georgia’s confirmed cases have more than quadrupled over the past two months, spurred by the emergence of several omicron subvariants that are causing outbreaks in other parts of the nation. Epidemiologists from the White House to Atlanta’s own researchers said COVID- 19’s spread is likely much worse than it appears on paper due to the prevalence of at-home tests and the number of infections that go unreported.

A recent monkeypox outbreak across the U.S., Europe, Australia, and the Middle East has baffled health experts and is raising concerns of a wider outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that nine cases of monkeypox have been detected in seven states as of Wednesday, as global health authorities confront an unprecedented spread of the virus. Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, part of the same family as smallpox.

At a memorial service in Atlanta, President Joe Biden and three former presidents paid tribute Wednesday to the late Veterans Administration chief and U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, who lost limbs while serving in Vietnam. Biden called Cleland a hero who “exemplified the best of the American spirit.” Former President Barack Obama said Cleland “defied impossible odds to become one of our nation’s finest public servants.” None of the former presidents were present, but each sent letters read by Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter. Cleland died in November at the age of 79, but his memorial service was delayed because of the pandemic.

Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order Thursday extending the suspension of the state gasoline sales tax through July 14.

Britain will mark Queen Elizabeth’s record-breaking 70 years on the throne this week with four days of celebrations, ranging from military parades and church service to street parties and a pop concert outside Buckingham Palace. Elizabeth, 96, marked seven decades on the throne in February, and two public holidays have been set aside to create a four-day weekend for nationwide events commemorating her reign from June 2-5.

Weeks after the seating of a special purpose grand jury with subpoena power, the Fulton County District Attorney’s wide-ranging criminal investigation into efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election is heating up. Jurors are slated to hear closed-door testimony from

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Separate subpoenas were filed to interview five of Raffensperger’s current and former top aides.

The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee is drawing condemnation for its failure to address allegations of sexual abuse and its treatment of victims over two decades, according to a newly released investigative report. The report, issued Sunday, was the result of a seven-month investigation. The scathing report, by Guidepost Solutions, a domestic and international investigations, monitoring, and security and technology consulting firm, also found “credible” allegations that prominent Georgia evangelical leader Rev. Johnny Hunt, a former president of the powerful Southern Baptist Convention, sexually assaulted another pastor’s wife in 2010. Hunt served for more than three decades as pastor of First Baptist Church Woodstock. 

Federal investigators have interviewed several Georgia Republicans who refused to join a phony slate of GOP electors to help Donald Trump’s failed effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The interviews involved at least one Republican who decided to take his name off the electoral list, along with one other activist who rejected an offer to join the group. In all, four Republicans decided not to join the slate of 16. The 16 Republicans who filled out the fake slate are a cross-section of influential leaders. They include state GOP Chair David Shafer and state Sen. Burt Jones, a Trump-backed candidate who won the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor without having to compete in a runoff after his top rival, Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, conceded.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has officially landed at MSNBC, where she is expected to make appearances on the network’s cable and streaming programs as well as host a new original show. The program, set to debut in the first quarter of 2023, will “bring together her unique perspective from behind the podium and her deep experience in the highest levels of government and presidential politics,” the network said in a statement. 

The Cobb County Board of Education approved a $1.4 billion budget for 2022-23. It includes raises for all permanent employees. The budget also adds dozens of new positions, including roughly 40 teachers and 10 school psychologists. Superintendent Chris Ragsdale called the budget “employee-centric”.

The University of Georgia is offering sophomores, juniors, and seniors up to $3,500 to give up their dorm rooms to make space for incoming first-year students. UGA is seeing more accepted high school seniors deciding to enroll at the Athens campus, spurring a rush on dorm rooms. The university requires first-year, full-time undergraduate students to live in campus residence halls. “The on-campus living and learning experience is a hallmark of an undergraduate education at UGA, and we firmly believe it contributes positively to our stellar retention rate for first-year students, as well as to our high graduation rates,” said UGA spokesman Gregory Trevor. 

The Emmy winner, actress, and LGBTQ rights activist Laverne Cox has become the first transgender person to have a Barbie doll designed after her, at a time when advocates warn that transgender rights are coming under legislative attack in the United States and abroad. Cox noted the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community — particularly for young transgender people — while promoting the doll. “I hope all the kids who are feeling stigmatized when their health care is being jeopardized, whose ability to play sports [is curtailed], I hope they can see this Barbie and feel a sense of hope and possibility,” she said. Cox, whose acting breakthrough came on “Orange Is the New Black,” is one of the Western world’s most prominent transgender activists, and her ability to move “beyond societal expectations to live more authentically” was praised by Barbie maker Mattel. 

Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson are among those departing “Saturday Night Live,” leaving the sketch institution without its two most famous names after Saturday’s 47th season finale. Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney will also leave the cast. 

Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday settled claims by 40 U.S. state attorneys general that the company made misleading claims about the fuel economy and payload capacity of some of its vehicles, violating state consumer protection laws. The company agreed to pay $19.2 million to the states and refrain from making misleading advertising claims as part of the settlement filed in San Diego Superior Court in California. Georgia has joined the settlement and as part of the settlement agreement, Georgia will receive $370,706.64.

Hyundai is recalling 239,000 cars in the U.S. because the seat belt pretensioners can explode and injure vehicle occupants. Three injuries have been reported, two in the United States. In a letter to the Korean automaker, government regulators said the driver’s and front passenger’s seat belt pretensioners can explode upon deployment and send shrapnel throughout the vehicle. The recall, which expands and replaces three previous recalls, includes 2019-2022 Accents, 2021-2023 Elantras, and 2021-2022 Elantra HEVs, or hybrid electric vehicles.

Have a great week…


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