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Biden finds a way back to a normal life in the fight against the virus

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Biden is proposing a $3 trillion infrastructure, education, and family package.

To slow the spread of the coronavirus, President Joe Biden spent his first 100 days in office urging Americans to wear masks and stay at home. His mission for the next 100 days will be to chart a course back to normalcy.

When Biden took office, he worked quickly to address vaccine availability problems, more than tripling the country’s capacity to prescribe them. However, ending the coronavirus pandemic, the core obstacle of his administration, would necessitate more than just getting bullets in guns — a mission that is becoming increasingly challenging as demand dwindles — but also a robust agenda to help the country recover from a year of isolation, disruption, and uncertainty.

If Biden declares war on a virus that infected about 200,000 Americans in January and destroyed over 3,000 of them per day, the next few months will be akin to winning the peace. Already, deaths are down to less than 700 every day, with an estimated daily case count of less than 60,000. Officials in the United States insist that there is still a long way to go until the government can be at peace, but progress has been made.

Go ahead, success would include completing the nation’s herculean vaccination programme — to date, 43 percent of Americans have had at least one shot — overcoming lagging interest, and explaining clearly what practises those that have been vaccinated may safely restart. Biden’s July Fourth promise that Americans can peacefully meet with friends and families, as well as the launch of the new school year, where the president plans to make all schools open safely, are key landmarks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was set to release new guidelines on outdoor mask use for unvaccinated people on Tuesday, ahead of Biden’s scheduled speech on the state of the pandemic response later that day. Officials said that in the coming weeks, they would work on relaxing guidelines for vaccinated citizens, both to recognise their reduced risk and to have an opportunity to get vaccines.

“We’re enthusiastic about the success we’ve made and the opportunities ahead of us, and we’re farther along than almost everyone expected because of the vaccine infrastructure we built,” said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients in a Monday interview. “It means we’re getting closer to normalcy.”

On Inauguration Day, the idea of COVID-19 vaccine production exceeding demand appeared fanciful, with only priority classes qualifying for vaccines and an illicit economy developing for “extra doses” for everyone else. Shots are now so widely available in many areas that the Biden administration is urging states and drug partners to set up walk-in clinics with doses without appointments.

This “latest era,” as Biden’s team refers to it, has been in the works long before the president’s inauguration. To avoid losing time, Zients and other officials drafted a slew of emails to kickstart the federal bureaucracy, all of which were submitted within minutes of their government email addresses being triggered. And as more Americans get vaccinated, the White House, according to Zients, is not relenting with its urgency.

“I believe the same strategy that served us well in the first 100 days will serve us well in the next 100 days,” he added.

One of Biden’s first acts as president was to expand the federal government’s orders for vaccination in order to guarantee enough doses for all Americans by early summer. The United States will now transition to sharing some of the precious supply with the rest of the world, as the White House reported Monday it will do with nearly 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in the United States but not yet approved for use there. At the same time, the White House was instrumental in reaching a deal with drugmaker Sanofi on Monday to help ramp up manufacturing of Moderna’s two-dose shot, which accounts for more than 40% of doses administered in the United States, by next year.

Believing that more Americans who have failed to get vaccinated will do so if it were easier, the White House has spent billions of dollars in advertisements urging vaccinations, community services that deliver doses to the most difficult-to-reach Americans, and tax breaks to allow businesses to give their employees compensated time off to get vaccinated.

“In this next round, we’ll concentrate on the availability, building morale, and helping to place equity at the heart of everything we do,” Zients said of the drive to have as many Americans vaccinated as possible in the coming months. “It won’t be quick, but neither was reaching 200 million shots in less than 100 days, which we did.”

To date, Biden and his advisors have erred on the side of caution, if not outright caution. Officials were hesitant to relax travel restrictions for vaccinated people not because they were concerned about their safety, but because they were concerned that unvaccinated people would accompany them.

“The president has been very transparent that he will still fire straight for the American people, and that is aligned with the wartime initiative of his leadership,” Zients said, echoing Biden’s call for the administration to “lead with science and facts.”

In March, Biden expected that limited, in-person crowds of vaccinated citizens would return for the July Fourth holiday, and aides later explained that he thought that would be possible without masks. Many saw it as an unnecessarily conservative expression of what the majority of the country was still doing. It also mirrored the remaining unknowns of how to reboot a country that had been in a state of semi-hibernation for a year.

“The nation has had plenty of lockdowns,” said Harvard professor of health policy and political science Robert Blendon.

Blendon said, “I believe there is friction within the administration.” “Anyone who monitors national mood understands that the more a firm road map is laid out, the happier people in this country will feel.”

Although analysts warn Biden that “we can’t predict it’s going to turn out exactly that way,” he adds that people’s lives will be easier if the administration “could set down, by September you’ll do this, by November you’ll do this.” However, there are these unknowns.”

The proliferation of “mutant” strains of the virus, declining demand for vaccination, and the public’s growing need to return to normalcy are the factors that keep White House officials up at night.

“It’s a race against time,” said Mark Schlesinger, a Yale professor of health policy, of the rush to have more people vaccinated because the virus is already spreading and potentially deadly strains are developing.

Biden’s next 100 days will enable him to promote many of the pre-pandemic habits that he has been discouraging for the last year while still watching for variants and pockets of contamination, in an uncomfortable change in public communications.

Federal relief funds and pent-up demand would spur expansion in the wider economy. However, the future of core industries of the US economy that hire millions, such as travel and hospitality, is dependent on how Biden handles the country’s recovery from the pandemic.

“The question for the Biden administration is, if they continue to portray a nationwide portrait of how America is as a whole, how can they wisely cope with the variation and get the more laggard states and places where vaccine hesitancy is still strong and many young populations are still uncovered?” Schlesinger said. “The million-dollar one.”

The politics of making the virus answer right cannot be forgotten by Biden, who was elected to end the pandemic but has a much wider policy agenda. “The relief would be unbelievable if the president is able to get us back to some kind of everyday life,” Blendon said. “And he’ll get a lot of credit for it.

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Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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Secret boyfriend: A Missouri family’s outrageous con that ended with a 2015 murder

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Secret boyfriend: A Missouri family’s outrageous con that ended with a 2015 murder

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – In October 2005, after Hurricane Katrina destroyed multiple areas of New Orleans, Claudine “Dee Dee” Blanchard and her daughter Gypsy Rose Blanchard moved to a home in Aurora, Missouri. Dee Dee claims Gypsy’s medical records were destroyed in the flooding.

According to Blanchard, Gypsy was diagnosed with leukemia and muscular dystrophy. She was wheelchair-bound, used a feeding tube, and had an oxygen tank. This would later be discovered as untrue.

Taking advantage of charities

In March of 2008, Habitat for Humanity built a small house in Springfield for the Blanchards. The home was specifically designed with accessibility features like lower light switches, a large bathtub, wide doorways, and a wheelchair ramp.

During this time, news outlets, the public, friends, and neighbors were fooled by their con. An outpouring of support came from charity organizations, donations, and even celebrities. They received free flights, lodging, and trips.

The Blanchards went on charity trips to Disney World and through the Make-a-Wish Foundation met Miranda Lambert. According to Tara Sullins, a friend of Blanchard, they received a large sum of money from Lambert and Blake Shelton for medical treatment in Paris.

Dee Dee’s legal name was Clauddine Blanchard. She uses various aliases and misspellings over the years such as DeDe, Claudine, and Deno. According to Michelle Dean’s BuzzFeed article, Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom Murdered, by the time she reached Missouri, she went be Clauddinnea and always added an “e” to her last name.

Gypsy’s father, Rod Blanchard, met Dee Dee while in high school. He was 17 years old and she was 24 when she got pregnant. They would soon get married, but he left the marriage before Gypsy was born. He remained involved with his daughter early on. He would later remarry and continue to make monthly child support payments, sent gifts, spoke to her on the phone. But according to Michelle Dean from BuzzFeed News, Dee Dee told neighbors Rod was an abusive drug addict and alcoholic who had never come to terms with Gypsy’s health issues and never sent them any money.

Dee Dee was convinced Gypsy suffered from a wide range of health issues. They spent a lot of time with various specialists throughout Louisiana. With her insistence, she managed to get treatment for her daughter’s ailments, including prescriptions for anti-seizure medication and surgeries.

Dr. Bernardo Flasterstein, Gypsy’s neurologist, became suspicious of her muscular dystrophy diagnosis. He ordered MRIs and blood tests, which found no abnormalities. After contacting Gypsy’s doctors in New Orleans, he learned that Gypsy’s original muscle biopsy had come back negative, which undermined Dee dee’s self-reported diagnosis as well as the claim that all of Gypsy’s records had been destroyed by flooding.  

He suspected the possibility of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. A condition in which a caregiver creates the appearance of health problems in another person, typically their child. 

Flasterstein did not report Blanchard to social services. He said he had been told by other doctors to treat the pair with ‘golden gloves’ and doubted the authorities would believe him anyway. 

A secret boyfriend

According to Michelle Dean’s BuzzFeed article, in 2012, Gypsy Blanchard met Nicholas Godejohn online. He was from Big Bend, Wisconsin, and had been diagnosed with autism.

The pair met online on a Christian singles dating site. They hit it off immediately. Blanchard and Godejohn spoke of eloping, naming future children they would have together, and sexual exchanges.

In HBO’s documentary, Mommy Dead and Dearest, Blanchard revealed Godejohn was into BDSM, sexual activity involving such practices as the use of physical restraints, the granting and relinquishing of control, and the infliction of pain. Blanchard was taught how to roleplay characters each with names and personas. Using secret social media accounts, she would dress up in costumes and share photos of herself with Godejohn.

In 2013, Godejohn pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct for allegedly viewing pornography on his laptop at a McDonald’s and touching himself inappropriately.

Their relationship would be a secret for two and half years before confiding to Blanchard’s friend, Aleah Woodmansee in 2014. Woodmansee found their relationship alarming due to the sexual nature and that she believed Blanchard was still a minor. She tried to talk her out of continuing contact with Godejohn, but Blanchard appeared to be completely smitten.

Blanchard confessed she wanted to be more like girls her age and date but knew Dee Dee would have to approve first.

At Godejohn’s trial, Blanchard revealed she arranged and paid for him to meet her mother in Springfield. She hoped that Dee Dee might allow them to date if she thought they met for the first time in person. They decided to meet at a movie theater to see Cinderella. Blanchard said her mother hated him. Regardless, she was able to sneak away and lose her virginity to Godejohn in a bathroom stall.

The murder

In an interview with 20/20, Blanchard said her mother got jealous that she was giving Godejohn too much attention and ordered her to stay away from him. They fought for weeks over the event. Gypsy said her mother called her names like slut and whore.

After the failed attempt, Blanchard and Godejohn began planning Dee Dee’s murder. “It was not because I hated her. It was because I wanted to escape her,” she said.

On June 2015, the day of the murder, per ABC News, Godejohn traveled to Missouri, checked into a motel, and waited for a confirmation text from Blanchard. Once Dee Dee fell asleep, he went to their home where Blanchard gave him a knife. She hid in the bathroom with her hands over her ears while Godejohn stabbed Dee Dee to death.

In an interview with 20/20, she said, “I honestly thought he would end up not doing it. I heard her scream once, and there was more screaming but not like the kind in a horror film. Just like a startled scream, and she asked, ‘Who was it that was in the bedroom?’ And she called out to my name about three or four times, and at that point, I wanted to go help her so bad, but I was so afraid to get up. It’s like my body wouldn’t move. Then everything just went quiet.”

Blanchard and Godejohn admitted they had sex immediately after the murder, according to ABC News.

On June 14th, 2015, a pair of disturbing posts appeared on Dee Dee’s Facebook page. Many wondered if the account had been hacked, but the second message made it clear something was wrong. 

On the run from the law

Blanchard and Godejohn stayed overnight in his motel in Springfield. They left on a bus to Big Bend, Wisconsin, on June 14th.

It was that afternoon when she made Godejohn create the Facebook posts. “I couldn’t stand the thought of her just there because what happens if it would have taken months to find her, so I wanted her found so she could have a proper burial,” Blanchard told 20/20.

In Springfield, when police found Dee Dee’s body, Woodmansee told police about Blanchard’s secret online relationship with Godejohn. With help from Facebook, authorities were able to find his IP address and track him and Blanchard down in Wisconsin.

Police from Waukesha County, Wisconsin, were dispatched to Godejohn’s family home. He and Blanchard were taken into custody on charges of murder and felony armed criminal action. The pair were extradited back to Missouri and were held on a one million dollar bond.  

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott held a press conference to warn the public about donating money to any of the fundraiser accounts associated with the Blanchards.

Gypsy’s trial

While the charge of first-degree murder can carry the death penalty under Missouri law or life without parole, county prosecutor Dan Patterson announced he would not seek the death penalty for either Blanchard or Godejohn, calling the case, “extraordinary and unusual”.

Investigations into the crime revealed a series of texts between them that appeared to discuss and plan Dee Dee’s death. It read, “Honey, you forget I am ruthless, and my hatred of her will force her to die,” Godejohn texted Blanchard. “It’s my evil side doing it. He won’t mess up, because he enjoys killing.”   

According to BuzzFeed, prosecutors also said they found social media evidence of Blanchard directly asking Godejohn to kill her mother, though these have never been made public. Documents from pretrial discovery show him telling a friend about Blanchard’s desire to murder her mother as early as May 2014.

On June 29th, Gypsy Blanchard pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Mike Stanfield, Blanchard’s attorney, said he was able to uncover decades worth of abuse that Dee Dee inflicted on Blanchard as a part of an elaborate fraud scheme. For months, he traveled to Lousiana to try to recover her medical records. 

After the disclosure of how Dee Dee had treated Blanchard all those years, sympathy for her as the victim of a violent murder quickly shifted to her daughter as a long-term victim of child abuse.   

Blanchard revealed everything about the financial fraud scheme. She admitted she had been lying for years and that her mom made her do it. But even she didn’t know everything that happened. When Blanchard first spoke with the police she told them she was 19. Gypsy’s father, Rod Blanchard, had to clarify she was actually 23.  

According to the HBO documentary, Dee Dee told her she suffered from asthma, epilepsy, hearing and vision impairments, had to be fed with by a feeding tube, was paralyzed from the waist down, and suffered from intellectual disabilities. During medical visits gypsy was told to not move her legs and to just play with the dolls she would bring with her as Dee Dee did all of the talking.  

Gypsy kept the facade for years, but as she became older, she expressed feelings of wanting freedom and love.

Attorney Mike Stanfield told BuzzFeed that Gypsy was so undernourished that during the year she was in the county jail, she gained 14 pounds, in contrast to most of his clients who lose weight in that situation.

In July 2015, she accepted a plea bargain agreement of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Speaking with various media outlets, Blanchard says she was able to research Munchausen syndrome by proxy and said her mother had every symptom.

She also says she feels freer in prison than she was before with her mother.

Blanchard is now serving her sentence in Missouri’s Chillicothe Correctional Center.

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Bo Byram is back. Nathan MacKinnon is returning. The Avalanche’s NHL-leading scoring clip is bound to surge.

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Bo Byram’s return sparks Avalanche in victory over Nashville Predators

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said if rookie Bo Byram had shot quicker a couple of times on Saturday night, the dynamic young defenseman would have had three goals against Nashville.

Following Colorado’s 6-2 victory, Bednar also could have said if star center Nathan MacKinnon was in the lineup, the Avs could have reached seven goals for the fourth time in eight games.

Bottom line: Colorado proved in November that it is loaded offensively, and has the ability to become more dangerous when MacKinnon rejoins Byram in the lineup on Wednesday at Toronto. The Avs are 7-1 in MacKinnon’s latest absence and 5-1 without both MacKinnon and Byram this month.

They have averaged 5.4 goals in the past eight games to lead the NHL in scoring at 4.00. And their .750 winning percentage in November (7-2-1) is a club record.

What happens when MacKinnon follows Byram in rejoining the lineup in the next game on Wednesday at Toronto? Perhaps MacKinnon will realize he doesn’t have to be the superstar for this team to score more goals than it allows, and that diminished pressure will add to the team’s chemistry.

“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Mikko Rantanen, who had three goals and four points against the Preds, said of MacKinnon. “Getting one of the best players back to the team is only going to help us.”

Byram is certainly an important side piece, and he adds to what already is the NHL’s most multi-faceted blue-line corps.

Byram, who settled for the game-winning goal and four shots in logging 22:00 after missing six games with another concussion, was the second coming of Cale Makar against the Preds. That’s a big statement as Makar, the 2021 Norris Trophy finalist who is on an offensive tear, had seven goals and 12 points in his career-high six-game points streak.

Bednar had high praise for Byram for how quickly the 20-year-old returned to his dominant nature while coming off at least his third concussion of 2021.

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WATCH: Broncos’ Javonte Williams’ 9-yard touchdown run against Chargers

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WATCH: Broncos’ Javonte Williams’ 9-yard touchdown run against Chargers

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