Omicron may be headed for a rapid drop in US and Britain

Scientists are seeing signals that COVID-19's alarming omicron wave may have peaked in Britain and is about to do the same in the U.S., at which point cases may start dropping off dramatically. The reason: The variant has proved so wildly contagious that it may already be running out of people to infect, just a month and a half after it was first detected in South Africa. “It’s going to come down as fast as it went up,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. At the same time, experts warn that much is still uncertain about how the next phase of the pandemic might unfold. The plateauing or ebbing in the two countries is not happening everywhere at the same time or at the same pace. And weeks or months of misery still lie ahead for patients and overwhelmed hospitals even if the drop-off comes to pass.

Biden on voting rights passage: 'I'm tired of being quiet!'

ATLANTA — President Joe Biden says that he supports changing Senate rules in order to pass voting rights legislation, declaring that changing the rules would be to protect the “heart and soul of our democracy.” Biden told a crowd in Atlanta that he'd been having quiet conversations with Senators for months over the two bills up for debate, stalled because there aren't enough Republican votes to move them past filibuster to votes. “I’m tired of being quiet!" he said, emphatically pounding the podium. "I will not yield. I will not flinch," in the effort to protect democracy. Current rules require 60 votes to advance most legislation — a threshold that Senate Democrats can’t meet alone because they only have a 50-50 majority with Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties. Republicans unanimously oppose the voting rights measures.

Special rescues help ailing owners find pets' next home

Who will take your pet when you die? The question often doesn't have an easy answer, especially for ill or older people headed to residential nursing care or assisted living. During the pandemic, specialized rescue, advocacy and adoption services run by volunteers are trying to fill the void, one pet at a time. Leaders in the small movement said the past couple of years have opened the eyes of many. “The thing about COVID is a lot of people are thinking, I can’t be guaranteed to be around forever. A lot more people are trying to make plans in advance, which is the best thing to do because unfortunately, a lot of people wait until they’re in hospice or there’s a desperate situation,” said Amy Shever, founder and director of 2nd Chance 4 Pets in suburban Sacramento, California.

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