April news briefs

The census results and the Asian hate crime bill are just two of the many news highlights from the month of April. WSS recaps the news from April in the online monthly news series.

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Maggie Huang

WSS breaks down the month’s news.

Maggie Huang, Online News Editor

Coronavirus vaccine updates

The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine distribution was paused on April 13 as health offices reviewed reports of six cases of rare and severe blood clots in individuals after receiving the vaccine. The FDA and the CDC have stated that these six cases occurred among women ages 18 to 48 with symptoms occurring six to 13 days after vaccination. The pause was lifted on April 23. As of April 5, all Iowans 18 and above are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, with those 16 and above eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. To find out more about vaccine openings near you, please visit vaccinefinder.org. 

 

Updated ICCSD quarantine protocols

The ICCSD school board approved the district’s move to follow the Iowa Department of Public Health COVID-19 quarantine guidance earlier this month. An individual is considered close contact when they are within six feet of individuals that have tested positive for coronavirus. If both individuals wear their face coverings correctly, quarantine is not required. Students and staff who are fully vaccinated are also not required to quarantine as long as proper mask-wearing practices are followed during exposure and symptoms do not occur. 

 

George Floyd trial

Following the murder of George Floyd last May, the country erupted as many voiced their support for racial equity. The officer responsible for the murder, a former Minneapolis police officer, was soon fired and charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. On April 20, the jury reached a verdict, convicting Derek Chauvin of all three counts he was charged with. 

 

Asian hate crimes bill

The legislation requiring a more thorough investigation into hate crimes, particularly those against Asian Americans, was passed on April 22 with overwhelming bipartisan support. The vote was 94-1, with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) being the only one to vote against the bill. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced the bill last month, following the rise of attacks against those of Asian descent in the United States this past year. 

 

D.C. statehood bill

The house passed Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton’s Washington D.C. Admissions Act on April 22 to make the District of Columbia the 51st state. The legislation was passed 216-208 with Democrats voting to approve and Republicans voting to oppose. House Democrats described it as “a bid to restore equal citizenship to the residents of the nation’s capital and rectify a historic injustice.”

 

Guidelines for fully-vaccinated individuals

The CDC has officially released new travel guidelines for those who are fully vaccinated. For domestic travel, those who are two weeks past their final shot do not need to get tested before and after the trip and are also not required to self-quarantine. Public health measures such as wearing a mask at all times and social distancing are still required for all. For international travelers, fully vaccinated people do not need to get a coronavirus test before their trip unless required by the destination country. Fully vaccinated individuals can attend small gatherings outside without a mask as well as dine outdoors with people from multiple households. However, a mask is still required for crowded outdoor activities such as sports events or concerts. 

 

U.S. census results

The U.S. Census Bureau announced results from the reapportionment totals on Monday. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Caroline and Oregon will gain one seat, while Texas gains two seats. California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will lose one seat. 

 

Death of Daunte Wright

Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old unarmed Black man, was fatally shot at a Minnesota traffic stop on Sunday. According to Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Wright was pulled over for a traffic violation related to expired registration tags. Officers then discovered that he had a warrant for his arrest. The police officer that fatally shot Wright has since resigned and been charged with second-degree manslaughter. 

 

Passing of Prince Philip

Prince Philip of Britain passed away on April 9 at the age of 99 after decades of playing a supporting role as the husband of Queen Elizabeth. The death was announced by the royal family. He had previously been hospitalized in London after feeling ill and underwent heart surgery. 

 

Ethics investigation in the House

The House Ethics Committee stated they are investigating Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) regarding recent allegations, including potential child sex trafficking. The Justice Department is also investigating Gaetz for an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl. Gaetz has denied the allegations and refused calls to resign.