On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 is closer to approval. An FDA panel of experts gave the green light. Plus, new details are coming about the ‘Rust’ film set shooting, 150 people were arrested in an internet drug operation bust, a Brazilian Senate committee recommends charges for President Jair Bolsonaro on his pandemic response and wild weather continues.
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Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson, and this is 5 Things you need to know Wednesday, the 27th of October, 2021. Today, a step closer to COVID-19 vaccines for younger children. Plus Brazilian lawmakers want President Jair Bolsonaro to face criminal indictments on COVID and more.
Here are some of the top headlines.
- Another COVID-19 vaccine maker is hoping to enter the US market. The maker of Covaxin, a widely used vaccine in India, has submitted an application to the FDA to begin a US trial.
- A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the men shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse cannot be called victims at trial. Rittenhouse will soon face trial for shooting three people, while killing two, during protests against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year.
- And the Atlanta Braves have taken a one game to nothing lead in the World Series over the Houston Astros. Game two is set for tonight in Houston.
We’re a step closer to seeing a COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged five to 11 in the United States. Yesterday, an FDA panel voted unanimously to authorize the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for that age group. Here’s what some committee members had to say. Dr. Paul Offit and Jeanette Lee.
Dr. Paul Offit:
It’s always nerve wracking, I think when you’re asked to make a decision for millions of children based on studies of only a few thousand children. You never know everything. The question is when do you know enough? And I think we certainly know that there are many children between five and 11 years of age who are susceptible to this disease who could very well be sickened or hospitalized or die from it.
At one point we thought if we vaccinated enough people that the virus will go away. It’s not going away, and I think we’re going to have to find a way to live with it. I think the vaccines give us a way to do that.
School-aged children may be eligible for the shots by next week, but there are still three major hurdles to clear. First, the FDA needs to officially sign off. Then an independent CDC advisory panel will look at the data. And finally, the CDC Director needs to sign off. Data shows a third of the adult dosage is more than 90% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in the kids. And while the virus is nowhere near the concern for kids as it is for adults, it can still be dangerous. Hundreds of children aged five to 11 have been hospitalized for the virus, and 94 have died this year alone. It was the eighth leading cause of death in that age group.
We’ll get new details today about the deadly accidental shooting on the set of the movie Rust. The district attorney and sheriff in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the tragedy happened, will hold a news conference to talk about the latest in an ongoing investigation. Last week, a prop gun fired during rehearsal by actor Alec Baldwin, and killed cinematographer Hylena Hutchins, while also injuring the film’s director, Joel Souza. No criminal charges have been filed, though authorities say they’re not ruling that out. Questions have been asked of the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was relatively inexperienced, and of the film’s assistant director, Dave Halls, who declared the guns safe before Baldwin took possession. Halls has also faced safety complaints in previous productions.
150 people have been arrested as part of a massive dark net drug operation bust. The operation involved fake pills that were often laced with lethal drugs. The sales came as part of an online op called Dark Hunter and required coordinated enforcement actions to take down. Drug enforcement officials worked from Australia to Europe and the United States. US Deputy Attorney General, Lisa Monaco.
Thanks to unprecedented international law enforcement cooperation, 150 dark net drug traffickers have been arrested around the world, including 65 right here in the United States. It represents global cooperation and the recovery of more than 500 pounds of illegal drugs, drugs which contained enough fentanyl for more than four million lethal doses. This operation seized nearly $32 million in cash and virtual currencies, the largest J Code seizure to date. We know that precursor chemicals that go into these pills are coming from labs in China and manufactured in Mexico. And look, you can expect us to continue to press our international counterparts, to press countries like China, to press Mexico, to make sure that these labs cannot operate from their locations and send deadly pills here to this country.
An international investigation continues and could bring more arrests.
A Brazilian Senate committee is recommending that President Jair Bolsonaro face a series of criminal indictments related to the world’s second highest COVID-19 death toll. Along with the United States, Brazil’s pandemic response has been considered one of the worst in the world. Yesterday’s Senate committee vote came after a six month investigation of the Brazilian government’s handling of the pandemic. The committee is calling on prosecutors to try Bolsonaro on charges ranging from misuse of public funds to crimes against humanity. The president has denied wrongdoing, though he has regularly downplayed the severity of the virus, even as more than 600,000 people have died in the country.
Wild weather is expected to continue to slam parts of the US today. That bomb cyclone that swamped the West Coast over the weekend keeps heading east, and the heaviest rainfall totals of four to eight inches were forecast from Connecticut to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Gusty winds are also expected further east and north deeper into New England all the way up to Maine. Out west and farther south, severe thunderstorms keep battering the planes, including Oklahoma and Texas this morning. For more, head to USAToday.com/weather.
A thanks as always for listening to 5 Things, where you can find us seven days a week, wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their great work on the show. I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.