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Jackman infected, ‘The Music Man’ on hold


Everyone was eagerly looking forward to Broadway re-opening up this year, but now some shows are closing again due to the new omicron variant of COVID-19. “The Music Man” star Hugh Jackman tested positive, shutting down the show until the new year. The Associated Press has the story:

Multiple Broadways shut down due to COVID-19 surge

NEW YORK — The Broadway revival of “The Music Man” has been one of the hottest tickets in town and it has limped along without co-star Sutton Foster. But now the show is being shuttered until the new year because Hugh Jackman has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Jackman took to social media Tuesday to announce that he had tested positive. He says that although his symptoms are mild with only a scratchy throat and a runny nose, he needs to quarantine.

Some Broadway shows have closed for several days and some have folded completely because of virus cases “Thoughts of a Colored Man” joined “Waitress” and “Jagged Little Pill” as shows that have closed this winter due in part to rising infection rates.

Visitors wearing face masks walk down Main Street USA at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Dec. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)



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BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana officials are urging residents to go online for Office of Motor Vehicles services, and say 12 offices are temporarily closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The department said Tuesday that “Louisiana residents should only visit OMV field offices if it’s absolutely necessary.”

Louisiana, officials reported Monday that hospitalizations of people infected with the coronavirus had doubled over the course of a week.


ORLANDO Fla. — The mayor of one of Florida’s largest counties on Tuesday blasted Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying he has been missing in action during the latest wave of COVID-19, as some counties brought back mask mandates for government workers and other municipalities opened up new testing sites in response to overwhelming demand.

The mayor of Orange County, Jerry Demings, said local governments had been forced to figure out on their own, without help from the state, how to respond to the omicron variant that has rapidly overtaken the delta variant as the dominant strain of the coronavirus in Florida.

Florida hit a new record for daily cases last weekend, with the state reporting 32,850 new cases on Saturday.

Demings said new restrictions placed by DeSantis and the Florida Legislature on actions that can be taken by local governments and private businesses to combat the virus have made fighting the pandemic more difficult.

A new law signed by DeSantis last month prevents businesses from having vaccine mandates unless they allow workers to opt out, bars schools and governments from having vaccine mandates and allows parents to sue schools with masking requirements.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Members of the public queue to take a COVID-19 tests in Sydney, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Australia’s Victoria and Queensland states reported record levels of new daily coronavirus infections on Tuesday as pressure on testing centers prompted calls for wider use of rapid antigen tests. (Brendon Thorne/AAP Image via AP)


MADRID — A recent sharp surge in coronavirus infections in Spain gave no signs of abating Tuesday with nearly 100,000 cases reported in the previous 24 hours, a new all-time pandemic high.

Health Ministry data showed that the 14-day infection rate soared to 1,360 cases per 100,000 residents, up from 1,206 new cases on Monday, nearly twice the level from a week earlier and five times the incidence rate at the beginning of December.

Authorities reported a total of 99,671 new positive cases, a new daily record for the seventh consecutive day.

But the sharp increase in contagion is not replicating the flow patients requiring hospital care that strained Spain’s public health system in previous surges, something that experts partially explain because of a vaccine uptake of more than 80% of the total population. Intensive care unit occupation with COVID-19 patients remained at an average of 18.7% of the national capacity.

With 114 new casualties, the pandemic’s confirmed death toll is 89,253 in the southern European country.


ATLANTA — Georgia is setting new records for the number of test-confirmed COVID-19 cases.

An extremely rapid rise in cases pushed totals on Tuesday beyond peaks previously set in January. The state recorded nearly 14,000 positive tests in its report released Tuesday, a combination of molecular PCR tests and rapid antigen tests.

The seven-day average of positive tests in Georgia roe to nearly 10,000. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals rose to nearly 2,200 statewide on Tuesday.

Rising cases led the city of Atlanta to cancel its New Year’s Peach Drop. Emory University says it will begin spring semester classes online. And some public schools say they will require students to again wear masks in January.

A medical worker wearing protective gear in a booth takes a sample from a woman in the sub-zero temperatures at a temporary screening clinic for the coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)


SEATTLE — The Washington state Department of Health has reported a new record number of cases tallied in a single day.

The Seattle Times reports state officials confirmed 6,235 new cases on Dec. 24. The state’s previous single-day record number of cases was 5,526 cases on Dec. 7, 2020.

Dec. 24 also marked the first time Washington state reported over 6,000 cases in a single day.

The spike in cases mirrors that of other U.S. cities as the highly contagious omicron variant has become dominant.


HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii will conduct mostly online classes for the first two weeks of the spring semester as the state watches a surge in omicron coronavirus cases.

Hawaii has had all-time record high daily COVID-19 numbers in recent days. University of Hawaii officials say that campuses across the islands will temporarily move many classes to online instruction.

In an email to students and staff, University of Hawaii President David Lassner says only classes that can be “effectively taught online” will change.

Other classes will be taught in person but with physical distancing, mask wearing and health screenings in place

People wear face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus inside a train in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)


ATLANTA — Emory University’s president said Tuesday the school is switching to virtual classes to start the spring semester because of a national surge in COVID cases fueled by the omicron variant.

In a letter to the university community, President Gregory Fenves said Emory will transition back to in-person learning on January 31 if conditions permit that.

The switch to remote learning applies to undergraduate, graduate and professional courses. Residence halls will remain open, though students are encouraged to delay their return to campus.

COVID-19 infections in the Atlanta area, where Emory is located, are climbing rapidly.

The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in Georgia rose to nearly 8,700 a day on Monday, according to the state Public Health Department. That’s nearing the peaks that Georgia saw in infection numbers in early January and early September.


LONDON — The U.K. has reported another record number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with a further 129,471 infections on Tuesday.

The data was incomplete because of the Christmas holidays, and did not include figures from Scotland or Northern Ireland.

A further 18 people had died after testing positive for the coronavirus, the government said.

Officials have said some 90% of cases in the country are now the omicron variant.

Despite the high daily infections Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has said it is not imposing further virus restrictions in England before the new year. Meanwhile Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which make their own public health rules, began shuttering nightclubs and limiting social gatherings from Boxing Day.

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