From I-95 chaos to the anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, this week’s news changed rapidly.
Missed some of our updates? Catch up now with our weekly Breakdown.
I-95 CHAOS LED TO OVER 24-HOUR TRAFFIC JAM
A backup of traffic on Virginia’s I-95 highway stranded hundreds of vehicles for over 24 hours on Wednesday, forcing many drivers to sleep overnight in their cars. Twelve inches of heavy snowfall and icy road conditions gridlocked both directions for 50 miles. The exacerbated conditions made it difficult for rescue works to move downed trees, clear debris from collisions, and help aid anyone who didn’t have food and water.
Sen. Tim Kaine was one of those unlucky passengers Tuesday night, stuck in traffic as he documented his trip back to Washington D.C. for over 27 hours. NBC News reporter Josh Lederman also reported from inside his car, describing families taking their dogs for walks, handing out extra food, and waiting out the freezing traffic jam.
PHILADELPHIA HOME FIRE KILLED 12
A tragic fire in a Philadelphia row home killed 12 people on Wednesday, eight of which were reportedly young children. Spreading to two apartments in the Fairmount neighborhood building, the fire was believed to have started when one of the children lit a lighter near the Christmas tree.
Firefighters fought the flames for over an hour, later inspecting the damage inside the building. Virginia Thomas and Rosalee McDonald, two sisters, were among the confirmed victims in the deadly Philly fire.
U.S. REPORTED A RECORD 1 MILLION CASES OF COVID-19
Thanks to the rapid surge of Omicron cases over Christmas and New Year’s Eve, The United States added over 1 million people to its Covid-19 case count. The mutated variant accounted for many of the newly reported cases. The actual number is presumably much higher, however, due to at-home test results which are not reported to the government.
The surge in cases has put many businesses, schools, and government officials back in lockdown mindset as people reconsidered previous in-person plans. Many events have also gone remote once again as the nation struggles to curb the spread of the virus any further.
CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS DEADLOCKED OVER STRIKE
A Chicago Teachers Union strike forced district officials to cancel school on Thursday due to demands for stricter Covid-19 safety measures. With absenteeism and virus spread high among those ages 5 to 11, many teachers did not feel safe subjecting children to return-to-classroom orders if they could contract the virus.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the teachers union “unlawful” on Thursday, stating her belief that teachers did not care about their students or their families. The union, meanwhile, urged officials to consider a return to remote learning until the spread of Covid-19 could be managed more effectively.
THE JAN. 6 CAPITOL ATTACK WAS REMEMBERED A YEAR LATER
President Joe Biden spoke to the American people on Thursday, warning them once again of the dangers to our democracy on the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Though never mentioning the former president by name, he cited Donald Trump and his supporters as threats to the country and promised that an insurrection would never happen again.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi allowed for lawmakers to share their stories on the house floor and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer led a prayer vigil for the five people who lost their lives during the attack. Lin-Manuel Miranda also introduced a special performance from the cast of Hamilton, who sang to our elected officials via video.
ELIZABETH HOLMES WAS FOUND GUILTY
Theranos co-founder Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of 4 of 11 charges this week after over two weeks of deliberations. The jury decided to convict Holmes on four counts of defrauding investors, acquit her on three charges of defrauding patients, and failed to come to a decision on the remaining charges.
In the complex case, Holmes was charged with lying about her breakthrough medical devices and their ability to show accurate results. Convicted of committing wire fraud, juries had a difficult time proving that she actively conspired to defraud investors that her blood testing devices worked when they did not. She now faces a mistrial for the remaining charges, as well as up to 20 years in prison.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC BARRED FROM ENTERING AUSTRALIA
Tennis pro Novak Djokovic was sent to a Melbourne quarantine hotel for asylum-seekers on Thursday after Australian authorities denied him entry to the country and canceled his visa. He was granted medical exemption from the Covid-19 vaccine by Australian Open officials, but the Australian government later said that he failed to provide the proper documents.
The Prime Ministers of Australia and Serbia traded words as the defending champion planned to challenge the country’s decision. Meanwhile, a district court judge ruled that he would have to wait until Monday to plead his case. The tournament is set to begin on Jan. 17 with or without him.
ANTONIO BROWN KICKED OFF THE BUCCANEERS
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Antonio Brown from his contract this week after the wide receiver ripped off his jersey and stormed off the field shirtless mid-game. Citing his reluctance to play due to injury, Brown then traveled to New York City and released a rap song to his fans online.
Fans at the time questioned the odd timing and lack of comment from Antonio Brown about his decision to suddenly walk off the field. Coach Bruce Arians said that he was “no longer a Buc” following the incident, and the Bucs kicked him off the team one day later. His future with the NFL remains a mystery, though other organizations reserve the right to sign him to a new contract should they wish to have the volatile player on their roster.
MAJOR AWARDS SHOWS POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
The Grammy Awards announced this week that the annual show would be postponed indefinitely due to the spread of Covid-19. Though the original date was scheduled for Jan. 31, the Grammy Awards have yet to announce a new date. Likewise, the Sundance Film Festival also canceled in-person screenings scheduled for later this month, though viewers will still be able to screen the premieres virtually at home.
The Golden Globes still plan to go on this Sunday despite limited celebrity involvement and no host network. The “small event” will still award stars in film and television, though none will be allowed to attend. Many celebrities decided to boycott the Hollywood Foreign Press Association before the spread of Covid-19 anyway, due to issues with diversity and inclusion.
‘THIS IS US’ FINAL SEASON PREMIERED ON ABC
Fans were treated to a shocking revelation when Season 5 of ABC’s This Is Us wrapped up back in May, only to have to wait nearly eight months before the hit drama returned for a final farewell.
Kicking off Season 6 of the series on Tuesday, “The Big Three” of Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown), shared their 41st birthday, as they navigate their final few episodes together. Fans still have a lot of This Is Us coming their way as Season 6 will last for 18 episodes in 2022. How are we going to say goodbye to the Pearsons?