5 things to know for May 4: Covid, immigration, US military, opioids, South China Sea

After 27 years, Bill and Melinda Gates have decided to end their marriage.

Posted: May 4, 2021 3:30 PM
Updated: May 4, 2021 3:30 PM

May the Fourth be with you! A clever Star Wars pun has turned into a holiday for fans of the franchise, but exactly how it got started is still a bit of a mystery.

Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus

Daily US Covid-19 case and death totals are now about one-fifth of what they were during their winter peaks, and many experts attribute some of the slowdown to climbing vaccine numbers. Nearly 83% of Americans 65 and older have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, and nearly 70% are fully vaccinated. Now, health and state leaders want younger people to take the plunge. To that end, the FDA is poised to authorize Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine in children ages 12 to 15 by early next week. Is someone you know still stymied by popular vaccine myths? Here are some useful rebuttals, including more on whether vaccines harm fertility (they don't). Meanwhile, in Brazil, Covid-19 has caused 1 out of every 3 deaths this year, and less than 10% of the Brazilian population has been vaccinated so far.

2. Immigration

President Biden will raise the refugee cap to 62,500 people this fiscal year after backlash following an earlier decision to maintain a Trump-era cap of 15,000. The elevated limit gets the administration back on track to its February promise of admitting more refugees. The vow was temporarily sidelined when a surge of migrants at the southern border moved Biden to reevaluate his policies. Nearly 6,000 undocumented immigrations were apprehended there daily in April, preliminary government data show. That means the continued influx is still higher than normal but appears to have plateaued. The Biden administration says it's still focusing on moving families and children out of US Border Patrol custody as fast as possible to alleviate overcrowding and long stays.

3. US military

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, the top US general, has dropped his opposition to major policy changes on how the military handles sexual assault and is open to removing the chain of command from involvement in investigations. An Independent Review Commission, created by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, is carrying out an urgent 90-day review of Pentagon policies and procedures on sexual assault. Milley until now had said sexual assault is a leadership issue and must be handled within the chain of command. But he dropped his opposition after seeing attempts to effectively reduce or end sexual assault within the ranks fail. A Defense Department survey estimated more than 20,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2018.

4. Opioid trial

A landmark trial in the US opioid crisis is now underway in West Virginia. Cabell County and its county seat, Huntington, have accused three major prescription opioid distributors of creating a public nuisance by failing to monitor, divert and report suspicious orders under the Controlled Substances Act. The complaint alleges the companies distributed a combined total of over 57 million doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone to the community of about 100,000 people between 2006 and 2014. Overall, West Virginia also had one of the highest opioid-involved overdose death rates in the country in 2018. This is the first federal case to go forward among thousands of opioid lawsuits and could set the tone for future litigation related to the crisis.

5. South China Sea

"Get the f**k out." That's what Philippine Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin told the Chinese government in a tweet demanding China's vessels leave disputed waters. The Philippines has been protesting what it calls the "illegal" presence of hundreds of Chinese boats inside the country's 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone in the South China Sea. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which about $3 trillion of shipborne trade passes each year. The Philippines has filed dozens of diplomatic protests to China since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, but Duterte himself has taken a more gentle tone toward the country's maritime rival in exchange for Beijing's promises of billions of dollars in investment, aid and loans.

THIS JUST IN ...

Tragedy in Mexico City 

An overpass carrying a subway train collapsed late last night in Mexico City, killing at least 23 people, local government officials said. At least 65 people have been hospitalized.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

How to choose the safest sunscreen for your family 

After months of lockdown, you definitely want to avoid a face-melting "Raiders of the Lost Ark" moment.

Mysterious new tarantula-like spider identified in the Florida Everglades

Respectfully, we don't need any more mysterious new tarantula-like spiders.

Tiffany & Co. launches engagement rings for men

Every engaged person should feel a little glam if they want to!

Used car sales are soaring 

If you were looking to offload your old reliable ride, now is the time.

Hubble telescope spies rare giant star battling against self-destruction

Aren't we all rare giant stars, battling against self-destruction?

TODAY'S NUMBER

$5 billion

That's how much Verizon is getting in a deal to sell Yahoo and AOL to private equity firm Apollo Global Management. The deal, due to close in the second half of 2021, signals Verizon's exit from the media business.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage."

Bill and Melinda Gates, who announced in a statement they are ending their 27-year marriage. The couple said they will keep working together at their philanthropy, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

The best movie score ever

Get into the true Star Wars Day spirit by watching the GOAT himself, John Williams, conduct the soaring opening theme from the beautiful Musikverein in Vienna. (Click here to view.)

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 593622

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1228171731
Ramsey51446875
Dakota45976452
Anoka41782439
Washington26948283
Stearns22266222
St. Louis17787304
Scott17296124
Wright16082140
Olmsted1325598
Sherburne1173087
Carver1050745
Clay816392
Rice8063107
Blue Earth751541
Crow Wing666290
Kandiyohi656283
Chisago601351
Otter Tail575478
Benton571697
Goodhue478572
Douglas468575
Mower466232
Winona455050
Itasca439156
McLeod424559
Isanti422464
Morrison419660
Nobles408048
Beltrami397059
Steele388715
Polk384868
Becker380953
Lyon361051
Carlton345654
Freeborn342029
Pine329022
Nicollet326243
Brown305440
Mille Lacs305053
Le Sueur292423
Todd282432
Cass273428
Meeker256640
Waseca236322
Martin230732
Roseau209419
Wabasha20613
Hubbard190041
Dodge18513
Renville180343
Redwood174337
Houston171916
Cottonwood165823
Fillmore156510
Wadena155922
Pennington153719
Faribault152419
Chippewa152338
Kanabec144726
Sibley143810
Aitkin135036
Watonwan13289
Rock128319
Jackson121812
Pipestone115926
Yellow Medicine114120
Pope11056
Murray10639
Swift105618
Stevens91411
Marshall88117
Clearwater86916
Koochiching83615
Wilkin81612
Lake81120
Lac qui Parle75322
Big Stone6004
Lincoln5813
Grant5788
Mahnomen5539
Norman5399
Unassigned49293
Kittson48622
Red Lake3977
Traverse3705
Lake of the Woods3253
Cook1640

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 367236

Reported Deaths: 5940
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57666626
Linn20892335
Scott20060241
Black Hawk15824308
Woodbury15138228
Johnson1449183
Dubuque13380208
Dallas1118398
Pottawattamie11132168
Story1062348
Warren577988
Clinton555893
Cerro Gordo540689
Sioux514474
Webster512293
Marshall483075
Muscatine481399
Des Moines458066
Wapello4303122
Buena Vista424840
Jasper419372
Plymouth401280
Lee376055
Marion362875
Jones299057
Henry291937
Carroll285752
Bremer284860
Crawford266240
Boone265034
Benton256655
Washington254050
Dickinson248543
Mahaska230451
Jackson222142
Clay215725
Kossuth215564
Tama209871
Delaware209741
Winneshiek196835
Page192722
Buchanan191432
Cedar190023
Hardin185643
Fayette185141
Wright184737
Hamilton180049
Harrison179673
Clayton169556
Butler165034
Madison162519
Mills162422
Floyd161142
Cherokee158938
Lyon158241
Poweshiek154934
Allamakee151451
Iowa148824
Hancock148434
Winnebago142531
Cass138654
Calhoun138513
Grundy136333
Emmet134240
Jefferson132435
Shelby131137
Sac130419
Union128333
Louisa128149
Appanoose128049
Mitchell126442
Chickasaw124116
Guthrie121530
Franklin120721
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112823
Howard104622
Montgomery103338
Clarke100224
Unassigned9710
Keokuk96031
Monroe95329
Ida90435
Adair86532
Pocahontas85522
Davis83024
Monona82730
Osceola78716
Greene77710
Lucas77223
Worth7478
Taylor66012
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Ringgold55824
Van Buren55818
Wayne53923
Audubon51010
Adams3384
Rochester
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 64°
Mason City
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 63°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 66°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 66°
Charles City
Mostly Cloudy
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Hi: 70° Lo: 53°
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Warmer conditions for the weekend
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