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U.S. has 500,000 deaths from viruses, equivalent to the toll of 3 wars.

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The U.S. has 500,000 deaths from viruses, equivalent to the toll of 3 wars.

 

 

A unprecedented figure that all but equals the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined, the COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. topped 500,000 Monday.

At the White House, President Joe Biden arranged a sunset moment of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony and ordered American flags to be lowered for the next five days at federal buildings.

Biden said, “We must resist becoming numb to sorrow.” “We have to resist seeing every single life as a statistic or a blur.”

As reported by Johns Hopkins University, the half-million milestone comes as states redouble efforts to bring the coronavirus vaccine into their arms after the winter weather closed clinics last week, delayed vaccine deliveries, and caused tens of thousands of people to miss their vaccines.

A closely watched model from the University of Washington predicts more than 589,000 deaths by June 1, considering the rollout of vaccines since mid-December.

The U.S. toll is by far the world’s highest recorded, accounting for 20 percent of the world’s nearly 2.5 million coronavirus deaths, although the actual figures are believed to be considerably higher, partly because many cases, particularly early in the epidemic, were missed.

In early February 2020, the first recorded deaths from the virus were in the U.S. The first 100,000 deaths took four months to hit. It took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000 and another month to ascend from 400,000 to 500,000. The toll reached 200,000 in September and 300,000 in December.

In World War II, the U.S. reported an estimated 405,000 casualties, 58,000 in the Vietnam War and 36,000 in the Korean War.

In the past couple of weeks, average daily deaths and cases have plunged. Virus deaths have declined to an average of less than 1,900 per day from more than 4,000 recorded on some days in January.

Experts, however, warn that dangerous variants might cause the trend to reverse itself. And some researchers claim that not enough Americans have been inoculated yet to make a major difference to the vaccine.

Instead, the drop-off in deaths and cases has been due to the passing of the holidays; the cold and gloomy midwinter days when many people stay home; and greater adherence to the laws of masking and social distance.

Dr. Ryan Stanton, a Lexington, Kentucky, emergency room physician who has treated dozens of patients with COVID-19, said he never thought U.S. deaths would be so high.

I was one of the early ones who felt it could be something that might reach us for a few months… Before we got into the fall, I certainly figured we would be done with it. And I certainly didn’t see it going into 2021,’ said Stanton.

Kristy Sourk, an intensive care nurse at the Hutchinson Regional Medical Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, said she was motivated by the decreasing caseload and improvement in the vaccination of individuals, but “I know we are so far from over.”

“People are still dying, and families are still isolated from their loved ones who can’t be with them, so it’s still pretty heart-wrenching,” she said.

Power outages due to snow, ice and weather closed several vaccination sites and held up shipments across a wide portion of the country, including in the Deep South.

As a result, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day rolling average of first administered doses fell by 20 percent between Feb. 14 and Feb. 21.

The White House reported that about a third of the approximately 6 million doses of vaccine delayed by bad weather were shipped over the weekend, with the remainder scheduled to be delivered a few days earlier than originally expected by mid-week. On Monday, White House coronavirus response coordinator Andy Slavitt attributed the strengthened timetable to a “all-out, round-the-clock” initiative over the weekend that included workers working night shifts to pack vaccines at one vaccine distributor.

In Louisiana, state health officials said several doses were shipped over the weekend from last week’s shipments and were expected to continue arriving through Wednesday. Last week’s supplies arrived Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. And in Nashville, Tennessee, after days of treacherous weather, health officials were able to vaccinate more than 2,300 senior citizens and educators over the weekend.

Mary Pettersch, an 80-year-old retiree from Overland Park, Kansas, who is spending the winter in Palmhurst, Texas, with her 83-year-old husband, anticipated that the second dose they were expected to receive on Tuesday would be postponed due to the harsh weather last week.

Monday, she made some calls to health authorities, but they were not answered. Even, she didn’t think too much.

“Oh, I’d like to get it, but I’m going to get it back home if I can’t get it here,” she said, adding that in April she’s returning to Kansas. “At 80, you’re no longer frustrated,” she said.

This week, certain hospitals, clinics, community sites and pharmacies that are in the vaccine network in Louisiana will receive double dosage allocations, just as Gov. John Bel Edwards begins providing shots for some preexisting conditions to teachers, daycare staff, pregnant women and individuals aged 55 to 64.

After being forced to miss arranging tens of thousands of appointments last week, New York City officials planned to catch up on vaccinations, the mayor said Monday.

“That basically means we’ve lost a full week of our vaccination efforts,” said DeBlasio.

According to the CDC, more than 44 million Americans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and around 1.6 million have received either the first or second dose every day over the past seven days.

If health regulators approve a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine developed by drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, the nation’s supply could greatly increase.

The company said that if it gets the green light, it would be able to provide 20 million U.S. doses by the end of March and will have the potential to provide the U.S. with 100 million vaccine doses by the end of June.

That supply will help government officials meet the target of providing ample injections later this year to vaccinate most adult Americans. On a global scale, this year the organisation is planning to generate 1 billion doses.

Ahead of a congressional hearing on Tuesday looking at the country’s vaccine supply, J&J revealed the statistics in written testimony. Last week, White House officials warned that initial stocks of J&J’s vaccine would be limited.

The safety and efficacy of the shot is still being evaluated by U.S. health authorities, and a decision to approve its emergency use is expected later this week.

In the U.S., the J&J vaccine will be the first that only involves a single shot. Two doses spaced several weeks apart require the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

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Red Sox Notebook: Christian Arroyo back in lineup for second time since July 17: ‘He needs at-bats’

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Red Sox Notebook: Christian Arroyo back in lineup for second time since July 17: ‘He needs at-bats’

For the first time in more than two months, Christian Arroyo was back in the Red Sox’ starting lineup and playing second base for Sunday night’s series finale against the Yankees.

Arroyo has made just one start since July 17 as the 26-year-old missed the majority of the last two months with a hamstring strain as well as a difficult battle with COVID-19.

The most commonly used second baseman on the Red Sox’ roster this year, Arroyo projects as the starter if the Sox make the postseason. Jose Igelsias, who had started 10 straight games at second base before Sunday, is ineligible for the postseason roster and manager Alex Cora wants to get Arroyo some at-bats.

“I think it was more about who we’re facing,” Cora said of the Sox’ matchup vs. Yankees lefty Jordan Montgomery.

Iglesias is hitting .289 with a .777 OPS against lefties this year compared to Arroyo hitting .324 with an .882 OPS off them.

“He needs at-bats, right?” Cora said of Arroyo. “It’s not like we’re going from one to the other. It’s not like playing Dustin Pedroia and playing Cora in ’07 towards the end. If it was Cora/Pedroia early on, then I understand.

“We’ll be fine. He’s a good defender, he’s a good hitter. I think he has done an amazing job. We can use him in different ways too, later in the game. I felt today with the matchup we have, it’s a good one for him. We’ll see how it goes. I know in Baltimore, most likely, we’ll face a lot of lefties too. Let’s keep taking it day by day.”

Verdugo back in

Alex Verdugo seems to be slipping back into Cora’s good graces against lefties, too.

He’s been alternating with Kyle Schwarber in left field as Cora continues to mix and match depending on the lefty. It was Verdugo in there on Sunday.

Verdugo is hitting just .221 with a .546 OPS against lefties this year.

“He’s been solid,” Cora said of Verdugo. “Obviously we know he can hit lefties, we know that. Compared to last year it’s a lot different numbers wise but we still believe in this guy, he’s not a platoon guy, he’s an everyday player.”

The 25-year-old was the key player acquired for Mookie Betts from the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his first full season as a big leaguer, he’s trying to prove he’s capable of playing every day throughout the long season.

He entered Sunday ranked as the 11th-best everyday left fielder in MLB this season with 2.3 WAR, a .289 average, 13 homers and 59 RBIs.

“Obviously playing a full season is a lot different than playing parts of 162 or just getting called up for a little bit and he’s learning a lot,” Cora said. “One thing for sure, he understands his swing, he knows how to hit. He really does. I think when we made that change in Buffalo, hitting him lower in the lineup, trying to get somebody, it was about the top of the lineup but also keeping him right behind J.D. Martinez. He’s been dominating right-handed pitching. That’s what we envisioned. He’s a good player, a player we really like and there’s still stuff he’s going to get better at.”

Taylor still out

Josh Taylor received an MRI on his sore back on Sunday and was placed on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain. Taylor first hurt himself in the weight room and it’s been bothering him for a while, Cora said. He won’t be eligible to return until the final day of the season on Oct. 3.

He’s been the skipper’s preferred lefty out of the bullpen all year and his absence was felt on Saturday, when Darwinzon Hernandez was summoned in a key spot and gave up the game-losing grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton.

“It’s a tough one to lose him,” Cora said. “He’s been dominating against lefties throughout the season. Really, really good against them and he was throwing the ball well. It seems like velocity was up since he rejoined us after being on the COVID-IL. It’s tough.”

Cora will rely on left-handers Hernandez, Austin Davis and Martin Perez while Taylor is out.

Garrett Whitlock, on the 10-day injured list with a pectoral strain, is feeling better but hasn’t yet started throwing off a mound. The Sox were originally hopeful he’ll be able to return as soon as he’s eligible on Thursday, but Cora said he can’t speculate on a date yet.

Houck in the ‘pen

Tanner Houck is back in the bullpen and throwing some important innings for the Sox.

“It’s not like there’s a big moment for him,” Cora said. “The goal is for him to go multiple innings. You’ve seen it before. He’s dominant too…

“Trust the kid, trust him, trust his stuff, obviously in Baltimore, there are a lot of right-handed hitters in that lineup so he’s going to be very important for us.”

Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta are likely to be the three starters for the upcoming series with the Orioles starting on Tuesday.

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‘Dear Evan Hansen’ opens 2nd to ‘Shang-Chi’ at box office

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‘Dear Evan Hansen’ opens 2nd to ‘Shang-Chi’ at box office

“Dear Evan Hansen” may have been a hit on Broadway, but the filmed adaptation of the Tony-winning show is off to a slow start at the box office in its first weekend in theaters.

The Universal musical that’s playing exclusively in theaters grossed an estimated $7.5 million from 3,364 locations, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

First place again went to Disney and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which added $13.3 million in ticket sales in North America, bringing its domestic total to $196.5 million. The superhero pic has topped the charts for four consecutive weekends and this weekend surpassed “Black Widow” to become the highest domestic earner of the pandemic.

With little in the way of high-profile competition this weekend, “Dear Evan Hansen’s” $7.3 million was enough to land it in second place. While critics were less than impressed, audiences that did turn out this weekend were fans and gave it an A- CinemaScore.

Women made up an estimated 62% of the audience according to exit polls. Directed by Stephen Chbosky and written by Steven Levenson, “Dear Evan Hansen” is about a high school student with social anxiety disorder.

“We are tremendously proud of ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and everything about it,” said Universal’s head of distribution Jim Orr. “With an exceptional film and great audience scores, we think that’ll lead to a better than normal run at the domestic box office.”

Despite its prestigious pedigree and star-studded cast including Julianne Moore and Amy Adams, “Dear Evan Hansen” has become somewhat of a punching bag on social media since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. At the heart of the jokes is the fact that the film has a 27-year-old Ben Platt, who originated the role, playing a teenager.

“Musicals have always had mixed results at the box office,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “It’s really difficult to pin down and project what a musical might earn on opening weekend, especially in this marketplace.”

Earlier this year, the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights” underwhelmed at the box office despite stellar reviews — but it was also streaming on HBO Max simultaneously.

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Companies, activists push to speed zero-emission truck sales

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Companies, activists push to speed zero-emission truck sales

Officials from companies with fleets of trucks are urging governors across the country to embrace a rule meant to speed the adoption of zero-emission trucks and reduce a potent source of greenhouse gases spewed from the large commercial vehicles.

In a letter released late last week, representatives of companies including IKEA, Nestle, Siemens, Etsy, eBay, Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever joined with environmental activists and investors to call for the wide adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks rule.

Transportation is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., with trucks being one of the top culprits, activists said.

The rule requires manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to increase sales of zero-emission models over time in states where the policy is put in place. As production ramps up, the cost to manufacturers and buyers should come down, advocates said.

Supporters of the rule say companies increasingly are demanding clean trucks and vans to help meet climate and pollution goals and to save on the costs of fuel and maintenance. Approval of the rule by state governments could help give an added nudge to truck makers, backers said.

“The ACT rule will help bring down costs for zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by requiring manufacturers to increase model availability to meet the needs of fleet operators and driving investment in clean transportation research and development,” the companies and advocacy groups said in the letter.

“This will enable cost-effective electrification of commercial vehicles at the pace and scale needed to meet climate and air quality goals,” they added.

The switch to zero-emission trucks also will help reduce pollution in lower-income neighborhoods, many of which border highways, major roads and shipping centers, and where residents often have health problems like asthma, advocates said.

The rule has already been adopted in California and is being considered in several other states, including Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York and Colorado.

“Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are an essential part of the logistics networks that millions of Etsy sellers rely upon to deliver items to their buyers around the world, but these vehicles contribute disproportionately to air pollution and global warming emissions,” Chelsey Evans, senior manager of sustainability for Etsy, said in a statement. “Widespread adoption of zero-emission vehicles, including through the Advanced Clean Trucks Rule, is key to combating climate change.”

The letter was organized by the nonprofit group Ceres.

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Ticker: Johnny Ramone’s guitar tops $900K at auction; UMass Lowell professor lands $2.7M Alzheimer’s grant

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Ticker: Johnny Ramone’s guitar tops $900K at auction; UMass Lowell professor lands $2.7M Alzheimer’s grant

The primary guitar used by Johnny Ramone, on each of the Ramones records and at nearly 2,000 shows over the band’s career, sold for $937,500 at auction this weekend.

The 1965 Mosrite Ventures II electric guitar sold to an unnamed buyer in the U.S. in bidding on the Ramones and Punk Collection of Daniel Rey hosted by RR Auction.

“The consignor was thrilled with the results and is very happy that the guitar is in the hands of someone who will curate Johnny Ramone‘s Mosrite for future generations to enjoy,” said Bobby Livingston, executive VP at RR Auction.

It was played at every Ramones performance until his retirement: from November 1977 through August 1996, for about 1,985 shows.

The fretboard shows an incredible amount of wear from his aggressive down-stroke playing style. Secured to the guitar with gaffer’s tape is the original strap and three Ramones picks.

UMass Lowell professor gets $2.7M Alzheimer’s research grant

A University of Massachusetts Lowell researcher has received a $2.7 million federal grant to continue her research into the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The National Institutes of Health grant will help engineering associate professor Joyita Dutta look at the disease from a network perspective, viewing the interconnections between the regions of the brain, the university said in a statement last week.

She will use machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to build models from existing patient imaging data.

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High school football Stars of Week 3

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High school football Stars of Week 3

High school football superlatives from Week 3

DIVISION 1

*Jacob Leonard completed 16-of-29 passes for 145 yards and a pair of scores as Taunton handed Middleboro its first loss, 28-8.

*Mack Gulla ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns as Franklin defeated Duxbury, 27-14.

*Jayden Abreu completed 9-of-10 passes for 165 yards and two scores as Lawrence defeated Andover for the first time in 37 years, 37-26.

*Zach Gabriel rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns as Newton South outscored Waltham, 38-31.

*Xaverian earned his second straight win as Michael Oates ran for 124 yards and two scores in a 42-6 win over Brockton.

DIVISION 2

*Jaden Lewis rushed for 195 yards and scored twice as Durfee defeated Somerset Berkley 34-14 for its first win of the season.

*Marcues Jean-Jacques had 151 all-purposes yards and two touchdowns, while registering five tackles and two pass breakups in Arlington’s 25-17 win over Brookline.

*Andre Sullivan ran for 209 yards and three scores as Beverly beat Peabody, 55-35.

*Tyler Lane ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries as Milford nipped Natick, 28-27.

*Jason O’Keefe caught nine passes for 150 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 110 yards and a second score as Marshfield defeated BC High, 35-0.

*James Murphy completed 18-of-26 for 252 yards and two touchdowns as Reading defeated Danvers, 14-10.

*Conner Zukowski was nearly perfect, completing 15-of-18 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns as Mansfield defeated Stoughton, 42-14.

DIVISION 3

*Mike Landolfi completed 14-of-20 passes for 235 yards and five touchdowns, while rushing for a sixth, as Hanover rolled to a 47-13 win over Dighton-Rehoboth. Joe Curran was the top target with nine catches for 142 yards and three scores.

*James Doody caught six passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns as Marblehead defeated North Andover, 42-8.

*Davie Barretto and Mark Marchese combined to rush for 280 yards and four touchdowns as Revere rolled past Medford, 34-6.

*Ryan Carroll had three sacks as Silver Lake knocked off Norwood, 20-7.

DIVISION 4

*Andrew Meleski ran for 208 yards and a touchdown as Ashland edged Wayland, 24-20.

*Dylan Gordon rushed for 287 yards and scored four touchdowns as Foxboro rolled to an easier-than-expected 51-14 win over Plymouth South.

*Henry Gates completed 10-of-20 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns as Scituate handled Malden Catholic, 35-0.

*Alex Arbogast ran for 162 yards and three touchdowns on six carries as Tewksbury defeated Hopkinton, 34-3.

DIVISION 5

*Jason Romans caught four passes for 145 yards and two scores as Bishop Fenwick defeated Austin Prep, 28-7.

*Dan Sullivan threw three touchdown passes as Dover-Sherborn remained undefeated with a 42-0 win over Sharon.

*Matthew Kirrane threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns as Norton went to 3-0 with a 27-6 win over East Bridgewater.

*Mason Andrade ran for three scores as Watertown defeated Saugus, 32-6.

*Alex Diaz ran for 212 yards on 11 carries as Greater Lowell beat Essex Tech, 35-14.

DIVISION 6

*Sandwich earned its first win as Patrick Morin ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-14 victory Falmouth.

*Drew Donovan ran for two scores and also picked off pair of passes as Abington held off North Quincy, 27-21.

*Gavin Elder completed 13-of-17 passes for 272 yards and two scores, both going to Calvin Polchlopek, who had five receptions for 128 yards in Bellingham’s 20-14 win over Medfield.

*Jacob Coulstring rushed for 212 yards and three scores as Rockland defeated Whitman-Hanson, 23-7.

*David Brown ran for 140 yards and three touchdowns as St. Mary’s knocked off Bishop Feehan, 28-14.

DIVISION 7/8

*Xavier Polanco rushed for 231 yards and four touchdowns as Latin Academy headed into its bye week with a 41-8 win over Boston Latin.

*Ryan Silva ran for 135 yards and four touchdowns as Old Colony cruised to a 46-0 win over Wareham.

*Ashton Gabler and Tyler Richards teamed up to rush for 338 yards and three touchdowns as South Shore defeated Upper Cape, 22-6.

*Nick Sawyer rushed for over 200 yards and a touchdown, while adding a 65-yard TD reception as Lowell Catholic defeated Lowell Catholic, 35-28.

ISL/PREP

*Mason Hatfield ran for a school-record 293 yards and three touchdowns, while adding three receptions for 84 yards as Dexter Southfield defeated Worcester Academy, 35-6.

*Hudson Weidman threw for 133 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 111 yards and a fifth score as Pingree defeated Kingswood Oxford, 40-6.

*James Birch rushed for 212 yards and a pair of scores as Roxbury Latin edged Middlesex 16-13.

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Lucas: Biden policies call for return of the misery index

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Lucas: Biden policies call for return of the misery index

It is time to bring back the misery index.

No, not as an indicator of economic distress by everyday people faced with inflation and other economic concerns — although a good case can be made for that.

Nor is it in reference to a dictatorial President Biden policy over COVID-19 masking and vaccinations — although a good case can be made for that, too.

Technically the misery index is determined by economists by adding the unemployment rate to the inflation rate. It was made popular by Jimmy Carter in 1976 when he defeated Republican President Gerald Ford.

You may have recently noticed it by the soaring hikes in the price for groceries, gasoline and other consumer purchases.

But now, thanks to the lame and lamented presidency of Joe Biden, we have the return of the misery index. Only this time the misery is not based on economics, but human misery instead.

If nothing else, Biden has spread more misery around the country and overseas than any of our recent presidents. And it extends from the humanitarian crisis at the southern border to the miserable confines of Afghanistan.

While Biden can wave hundreds of thousands of unvetted, unmasked and unvaccinated illegal immigrants into the country, he is unable or unwilling to rescue hundreds of Americans he left stranded in Afghanistan.

He can sneak in the thousands of illegal Haitian immigrants, but he cannot lift a finger to help thousands of Afghan interpreters and allies he left behind to be killed in Afghanistan.

Talk about misery. What can be more miserable for an American than to be abandoned by your country? Joe Biden is a master of misery.

We used to say — and believe — the phrase that we as Americans do not leave anyone behind. Only now, thanks to Biden, we not only do leave Americans behind, but we forget them too.

Think about the misery those Americans, or what the thousands of Afghan allies are going through now that Biden has abandoned them to the Taliban, ISIS and other terrorist groups hunting them down.

Misery? How about the misery the families of the 10 innocent Afghans, including children, killed in Kabul by a U.S. drone? Think about what they are going through because of a military mistake?

Biden, with the folly of his hasty and reckless pullout from Afghanistan, has has killed more children (seven) than he has terrorists since he’s been president.

If the administration of former President Donald Trump were responsible for those civilian deaths, it would have been condemned as a war crime and he would have been called a war criminal. Did Biden, the commander in chief, give the order to launch that attack?

Instead, before calling it a “mistake,” hapless Gen. Mark Milley, the self-righteous chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, called it a “righteous strike.” It was apparently launched in retaliation for the killing of 13 U.S. soldiers on duty outside the Kabul airport days earlier.

These soldiers were not in combat, but were dealing with Afghans trying to storm the airport to get out of Afghanistan. They were part of a contingent of troops flown in to help deal with the botched Biden evacuation mess. Think of the misery their loved ones are going through.

This is not even to mention the misery of all those Haitians and others down at the southern border in and around Del Rio, Texas, who have flooded across the Rio Grande.

Not only are thousands living in squalid conditions under a bridge, but they are still coming — all unvaccinated, unmasked and unvetted.

Not only are they living in misery, thanks to Biden’s open borders, but they have caused misery for the residents of Del Rio as well as for thousands of other Americans living in other border towns.

If nothing else, Biden believes in spreading the misery around.

And where are the politicians? Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who made a big deal out of seeing “kids in cages” when Trump was president, have yet to inspect the horrendous living conditions in Del Rio or anyplace else along the border since Biden became president.

Meanwhile, Biden administration is secretly shipping these newcomers by bus to various parts of the United States, without anybody knowing anything about who they are or where they are going.

One thing for sure, though, is that they will not be transported to Martha’s Vineyard because that is where Barack Obama and John Kerry live.

Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachusetts political reporter and columnist.

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Pandemic, Amazon driving growth of east metro mega-business centers

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Pandemic, Amazon driving growth of east metro mega-business centers

An enormous new kind of trucking center is rolling into the Twin Cities — thanks in part to the pandemic and the home-delivery giant Amazon.

In Woodbury, Lake Elmo, Oakdale and Cottage Grove these kind of facilities have been proposed for development, with a total combined floor space of 109 football fields.

“We call them flex-centers,” said Carolyn Bates, research director for JLL, a worldwide real-estate service provider. The company reports a metro-area boom in the centers, which combine warehousing, offices, distribution and sometimes light manufacturing.

Their defining feature is their gigantic size. For example, a seven-building project in Cottage Grove will have 2.4 million square feet, the size of 31 typical Cub Foods stores.

EAST METRO PROJECTS

The east metro projects remain mysteries, with the occupants not yet known. None of them has been officially approved, but city officials have welcomed the potential additions to employment and tax base.

JLL’s Bates said businesses are presently asking for 13 million square feet for such facilities in the metro area.

“That is a very big number,” she said. Usually, demand hovers around 7 million to 8 million square feet.

That need is being met, in part, by similar centers proposed or underway in Blaine, Burnsville, Brooklyn Park and Arden Hills.
Bates said the demand is driven by COVID and the success of Amazon.

The company blazed a trail in home-delivery e-commerce by building its unified warehouse/office/distribution centers nationwide. It opened an 855,000-square-foot Fulfillment Center in Shakopee in 2016, and plans to open a 755,000-square-foot center in Lakeville this fall.

Amazon sales soared as COVID-fearful customers stayed home and ordered products on-line. In April, the company reported a 44 percent 12-month jump in sales.

OTHER COMPANIES FOLLOW AMAZON

An Amazon Fulfillment warehouse seen July 8, 2019 in Shakopee. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Now, other companies are catching up. According to JLL, they are following the Amazon prototype of the multi-purpose mega-center.

“It is no surprise to me to see more interest in warehousing complexes,” said Kristina Handt, administrator of Lake Elmo, where a one-million-square-foot project is proposed.

At a meeting Sept. 14, the Lake Elmo City Council heard about the plan to build on a 77-acre site at 34th Street and Ideal Avenue. The $104 million proposal calls for four buildings, employing 560 workers.

Handt welcomes not only the increase in the tax base, but the diversification. The city has proportionately fewer business and more housing than its neighbors.

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Vikings thrilled to have a loud sellout crowd as fans return to U.S. Bank Stadium

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Vikings thrilled to have a loud sellout crowd as fans return to U.S. Bank Stadium

U.S. Bank Stadium can indeed get loud. Justin Jefferson found that out on Sunday.

As a rookie wide receiver last season for the Vikings, Jefferson didn’t play a single home game in front of fans due to the coronavirus pandemic. But in Sunday’s 30-17 win over Seattle, the first regular-season game with fans at U.S. Bank Stadium since Dec. 29, 2019, Jefferson got a taste of what it’s all about.

“I was sitting on the bench with Justin Jefferson during the first drive and I forgot he had never been in our stadium for a regular-season game with a full crowd like that, and he was saying, ‘Oh, it’s loud in here,’ ” said quarterback Kirk Cousins. “And I kind of looked at him thinking, ‘I guess this is your first time.’ He was really impressed.”

Yes, Jefferson was. After his three-yard touchdown reception from Cousins with 16 seconds left in the half put the Vikings up for good at 21-17, he did his dance “The Griddy,’’ and it was warmly received by the crowd, announced to be 66,729.

“It was crazy,’’ Jefferson said. “It was so energetic.’’

The Vikings, who did have fans for two preseason games last month, made a big deal out of fans returning for the regular season. Among other things, there was a pregame country music concert outside the stadium, and before the game there was an elaborate introduction of players that featured plenty of special effects, including snow coming down in the indoor venue.

“I missed our fans a lot,” said linebacker Eric Kendricks. “They brought the energy. I knew driving to the stadium, I saw everybody out and being rowdy and everybody was excited about the game and it showed.’’

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said kickoff being at 3:25 p.m., rather than noon, might have made the fans even more rowdy.

“It was great,’’ Zimmer said. “It seemed like the fans have been pent up for a year, so I’m glad that they came out. It was nice to have a late-afternoon game where they could hit some of the local establishments before the game.”

GRIFFEN BOUNCES BACK

After missing one game with a concussion, Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen bounced back.

Griffen had three tackles, including a sack of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson in the third quarter for a loss of nine yards.

“My sack, I think every big play creates a momentum swing,’’ Griffen said of the play that soon led to the Seahawks punting and the Vikings getting a field goal on their next drive for a 27-17 lead.

Griffen, who returned to the Vikings this season after playing for Dallas and Detroit in 2020, had his first sack for them since Dec. 8, 2019, against Detroit. It came after Griffen had sat out Sept. 19 at Arizona following a Sept. 16 incident in which he swerved to miss a deer and his car hit a tree and he sustained a concussion.

“It’s going to take a little bit, but I’m still getting my feet under me,” Griffen said of not signing with Minnesota until Aug. 23 and then missing some time after the accident. “The more reps I get, the better I feel like I’m going to get.’’

COUSINS AND ‘SWAG’

Vikings running back Alexander Mattison said Cousins having a locker this season next to the hip Jefferson has led to one change in the quarterback.

“Being around Jet in the locker room, the lockers are switched around a little bit, he has a little more swag to him,’’ Mattison said.

Cousins was asked if that was a good word choice.

“(Tight end) Irv (Smith Jr.) said that a couple months ago, too,’’ Cousins said. “I don’t know. I think if you win it helps.’’

Cousins then joked about the word while referring to Kyle Shanahan, now San Francisco’s coach and once Cousins’ offensive coordinator with Washington.

“Kyle Shanahan used to say that my swag was having no swag,’’ Cousins said. “He told me as a rookie (in 2012) to never change.”

DEFENSE STEPS UP

After allowing 308 yards of total offense in the first half Sunday, the Vikings allowed just 81 in the second half and held the Seahawks.

“Defensively, we started out a little shaky,” Zimmer said. “They gave us some different things that we had to take care of.”

Kendricks called it a case of the defense “settling down.” In the end, the Vikings who entered the game giving up an average of 30.5 points and 420 yards, had their best defensive game of the season.

BRIEFLY

Jefferson, in his 19th career game, became the fastest receiver in team history to reach 100 catches and now has 108. “It’s a good achievement,” he said. … Inactive for Minnesota were running back Dalvin Cook (ankle), linebacker Anthony Barr (knee), tackle Christian Darrisaw (groin), cornerback Harrison Hand (hamstring), quarterback Kellen Mond and defensive linemen James Lynch and Patrick Jones II. … A source said the Vikings want to re-sign tackle Blake Brandel, who was waived Saturday when running back Ameer Abdullah was signed off the practice squad, to at least the practice squad if he clears waivers Monday. …  The Vikings were 9 of 14 on third-down conversions.

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Vikings’ Alexander Mattison steps in for Dalvin Cook and runs wild

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Vikings’ Alexander Mattison steps in for Dalvin Cook and runs wild

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he got the word Sunday morning that star running back Dalvin Cook would not be able to play in the late afternoon game against Seattle at U.S. Bank Stadium because of his ankle injury. Backup running back Alexander Mattison said he found out from Cook “a little sooner than everyone else,” though he didn’t give a precise timeframe.

Nevertheless, when the game got underway at 3:25 p.m. Mattison knew what he needed to do in replacing Cook.

“He knew I didn’t need a pep talk or anything,” Mattison said of what Cook told him before the game. “He knew I was ready for the opportunity, and told me just go run with it.”

That’s exactly what Mattison did. In Minnesota’s 30-17 victory over the Seahawks in front of a full house at U.S. Bank Stadium, Mattison carried 26 times to tie his career-high with 112 yards rushing. He also caught six passes for 59 yards.

“He always runs hard,” Zimmer said. “He got many opportunities. Alex is a good back.”

Cook, who entered Sunday ranked fourth in NFL rushing with 192 yards in two games, was hurt in the second half of 34-33 loss at Arizona on Sept. 19 but remained in the game. He did not practice all week, but Zimmer held out hope that he still would be able to play.

Mattison’s previous 112-yard game came last season October at Seattle when Cook was knocked out of the game on the first play of the second half with a groin injury. But that game didn’t end well with Mattison failing to convert on a key fourth-and-1 play, then the Seahawks winning 27-26 on Russell Wilson’s 6-yard touchdown pass to D.K. Metcalf with 15 seconds left, scoring on fourth-and-goal.

“We definitely owed them that one,” Mattison said of Sunday’s victory. “It was kind of something throughout the game that me and (tackle Brian O’Neill) and the O-line up front, we kind of had that vengeance feel to it. It felt great to go out there and execute.”

Mattison, in his third season, gave his offensive line credit Sunday.

“Feels good when you’re able to get the ball and be productive,” he said. “We love to be productive as backs in this offense. Feels amazing. Wouldn’t be able to do it without those guys up front, though.”

Mattison was more of a threat receiving than running in the first half. At halftime, he had five catches for 60 yards, and eight rushes for 36 yards. But once the Vikings took a 21-17 halftime lead, they leaned more heavily on the running game, and Mattison had 18 second-half carries for 76 yards.

Mattison’s receiving in the first half helped set up the ability to keep the ball on the ground in the second half. Most notably, with Minnesota trailing 17-7 early in the second quarter, Mattison gained 23 yards on a screen pass on a drive the Vikings used to cut the deficit to 17-14.

“Any time you have a guy like Dalvin out, especially not only the type of player he is on the field, but the leadership, his energy, it’s tough,” veteran Vikings receiver Adam Thielen said. “But (Mattison) is such a great guy to be able to come in there and fill (in) for him, because he’s just got a great mindset. He’s just in there, he’s working. He ain’t talking. He makes the most of it. So, we had no worry going into this game.”

In the end, Mattison was proud to help make up for the absence of his good friend Cook, who is in his fifth season.

“He’s telling me I was doing exactly what he would do, so that just made me proud to kind of be that little brother in a sense where I’m just there trying to learn from him, and it prepared me for this moment,” Mattison said.

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Mike Zimmer joins Kirk Cousins fan club after Vikings QB lights up Seahawks

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Mike Zimmer joins Kirk Cousins fan club after Vikings QB lights up Seahawks

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer isn’t known as a guy who’s always heaping praise on his quarterback..

At halftime of the season opener in Cincinnati, for instance, Zimmer mentioned to a network sideline reporter that Kirk Cousins was holding the ball too long.

After Sunday’s 30-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Zimmer was effusive in his praise of Cousins.

“I think he’s playing outstanding,” the coach said. “Not only that, he’s playing with a lot of confidence. I really appreciate his leadership he’s been doing lately. It’s been so much better. (It’s) something he wanted to work on this offseason. He’s done a great job with that.”

Zimmer wasn’t done praising Cousins.

“He’s always been very accurate,” Zimmer said. “He’s been in the offense a while. He sees things a little bit more clearly. Defensively, (the Seahawks had) some changeups in there, but he saw those really well. (On) the blitz, he threw to K.J. Osborn (on third down) It was an outstanding play because he was going to get rocked, and he knew it. He made a great, accurate throw to K.J.”

Cousins always has been known for being accurate, but he needs time, which is something his offensive line gave him Sunday. He was sacked just once by the Seahawks while leading the Vikings on six scoring drives and keeping possessions alive with clutch throws.

With star running back Dalvin Cook sidelined with an ankle injury suffered last week in Arizona, Cousins stepped up into that leadership role against Seattle.

“I try to be the same guy,” Cousins said. “Be consistent. Always building relationships. I assert myself when it’s good to do that.”

Cousins certainly asserted himself after the Seahawks’ opening drive concluded with a touchdown. He responded with a seven-play, 70-yard drive highlighted by hitting all five of his passes for 62 yards, finished off by a 7-yard touchdown throw to Tyler Conklin.

“It was great to start fast offensively,” Cousins said. “A lot of players stepped up and made plays.”

Cousins has played well in all three games this season. Even in the losses in Cincinnati and Arizona, it wasn’t his fault the Vikings (1-2) lost.

He was driving them to a potential game-winning field goal attempt against the Bengals when Cook fumbled the ball away.

In Arizona, he put the Vikings in position to win the game but Greg Joseph missed his attempt at a game-winning field goal as time expired.

In Sunday’s game, Cousins completed 30 of 38 passes for 323 yards and had touchdowns to Conklin, Adam Thielen (15 yards) and Justin Jefferson (3 yards).

Over the Vikings’ three games, Cousins is averaging more than 300 yards a game with eight touchdown passes and no interceptions.

“He has just no fear,” Thielen said of Cousins. “He’s not worried about anything other than going out there and doing his job.”

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