5 things to know for July 22: Covid-19, Capitol riot, guns, wildfires, China

If you’re taking advantage of the IRS’ child tax credits, be aware: They may mean an unwelcome surprise come tax season.

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

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1. Coronavirus

Coronavirus will kill 100,000 more people by the time the Tokyo Olympics is over, the World Health Organization has warned. In the US, top health and White House officials will soon meet to discuss mask recommendations as cases continue to mount. These new cases are ravaging more people in lower-risk groups, like young adults, than early waves of the pandemic. CDC advisers will also meet today to review whether a booster shot of a Covid-19 vaccine will be necessary soon. At a CNN town hall yesterday in Ohio, President Biden expressed frustration over people who refuse to get vaccinated. While breakthrough infections do happen, new cases are overwhelmingly affecting the unvaccinated.

2. Capitol riot

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of the five Republicans recommended by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to serve on the House select committee created to investigate the circumstances of January’s Capitol riot. Pelosi said she vetoed the appointment of Reps. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks because both had objected to the certification of the November election. In response, McCarthy pulled all five Republican members he had appointed, leaving only one GOP lawmaker: Rep. Liz Cheney, who was tapped for the committee by Pelosi. This breakdown of bipartisanship underscores the deep partisan divide over the fallout from January’s attack. The committee is slated to have its first hearing next Tuesday.

3. Gun violence

The Justice Department is launching a series of anti-gun trafficking strike forces to combat sources of gun-related crime. The strike forces will be based in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, DC. These cities are known corridors where illegal guns are being trafficked and used in deadly shootings and other crimes. In general, gun violence has been on the rise, with year-to-date increases in homicides in three of the five task force cities. Last month, Biden warned of the potential for more violence in the summer, when crime often surges.

4. Wildfires

Wildfires are raging in unexpected parts of the globe as hot temperatures and dry conditions turn rarely burned places into tinderboxes. Near the Russian Siberian city known as the coldest in the world, fires have consumed more than 6.5 million acres since the start of the year. Most of Europe, the Western US, southwest Canada and some regions of South America experienced drier-than-average conditions in June, creating prime conditions for new blazes and making ongoing fires harder to battle. In California, Pacific Gas and Electric announced it will bury 10,000 miles of its power lines to reduce the risk of starting any more blazes. Equipment belonging to the nation’s largest utility has played a role in sparking some of the deadliest wildfires in California.

5. China

Widespread flooding in the central Chinese province of Henan has submerged entire neighborhoods, swept cars off of roadways, caused landslides and overwhelmed dams and rivers since intense rain started battering the region last weekend. In a horrifying scene, rising floodwaters trapped passengers on subway cars and nearby platforms in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou. Several people died in the incident, and at least 33 have perished overall as a result of the floods. Henan is one of China’s most populous and poorest provinces, with about 99 million residents. More than 6,000 firefighters and 2,000 members of the military and paramilitary forces have been deployed across disaster-hit areas.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Men have a bigger carbon footprint than women, thanks to their appetite for cars and meat

Psh, men, always filling the beds of their F-250s with porterhouses and ground beef.

Venmo is getting rid of the feature that lets you see strangers’ payments

But how will you know what two random people three states over paid for their shared dinner last night?

Dolly Parton recreated her 1978 Playboy cover

Still got it!

A 22-foot spaceman sculpture has landed in the Caribbean Sea

Be patient with him; he’s lost. 

OLYMPICS UPDATE

Brazilian soccer legend makes history

Marta, widely regarded as one of the greatest female footballers of all time, became the first player to score in five straight Olympics after netting in Brazil’s 5-0 win against China.

See the latest Olympic news and highlights here. 

TODAY’S NUMBER

$26 billion

That’s the sum of a settlement proposed by a group of states’ attorneys general that would resolve claims against the “big three” drug distributors — McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen Drug — plus manufacturer Johnson & Johnson in an expansive ongoing civil suit targeting companies that deal in opioids.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“I know what happens when you turn people into a minority.”

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who warned Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán behind closed doors about the consequences of Hungary’s controversial anti-LGBTQ law. Orbán has suggested a referendum on the law in response to international condemnation.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

A living legend 

Meet 100-year-old gymnast Agnes Keleti, a 10-time Olympic medalist and the oldest living Olympic champion. (Click here to view.)

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The pandemic changed the way we ate and shopped — not always for the better

The pandemic changed the way we ate and shopped — not always for the better


FILE – In this May 23, 2011 file photo, consumer Sonia Romero shops for tomatoes at a Superior Grocers store in Los Angeles. As food costs continue rising, many grocery shoppers are seeking new ways to cut costs. After you’ve tried every store brand and linked, scanned and clipped every coupon in sight, what about buying in bulk? (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)


(CNN) — Covid-19 affected our lives in so many ways, including how we ate and shopped. The changes were not always for the better, according to a series of reports presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition.

Increase in junk food intake

An analysis by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found some of us increased our consumption of unhealthy snacks and desserts, including chips, cookies and ice cream, while also guzzling more sugary drinks such as sweetened coffee and teas, regular sodas, fruit drinks, and sports or energy drinks.

Over a third (36%) of the nearly 4,000 Americans who were surveyed in June 2020 reported sometimes consuming more unhealthy snacks and desserts than before the pandemic, while 22% said they sometimes drank sugary drinks.

However, 16% said they ate snacks and sweets often or always, while 10% said the same of sugary beverages. People who reported consuming the most unhealthy foods and drinks were more likely to identify as Hispanic or Black and be younger than age 65, obese, female, and of lower income and education levels.

The same survey also asked about food availability and safety. Nearly 6 in 10 people — predominately lower-income, unemployed, Black or Hispanic adults — said they were worried about not being able to obtain food at nearby stores or were concerned they might catch Covid-19 from food. Early fears that Covid-19 could be spread via food packaging were quickly discounted by scientists.

These findings “highlight the importance of strategies and communications that reduce fears and prevent unintended negative behaviors,” such as food hoarding and panic buying, said dietitian Brianna Dumas, a fellow in the CDC’s Research Participation Program, in an abstract.

In addition, public health officials should stress “consumer awareness of food access options during emergencies, including promotion of hunger safety net programs, especially among disproportionately affected groups,” Dumas said.

A drop in healthy foods

Another study analyzed the diets of more than 2,000 Americans before and during the pandemic and found a decrease in the consumption of healthy foods, including vegetables and whole grains, during the past year.

“This decrease was the most pronounced among women, black and Latino study participants, and participants who gained at least five pounds or more since 2018,” said Caroline Um, a postdoctoral fellow at the American Cancer Society, in a statement.

Um plans to follow study participants to understand how their diets might continue to change. Other studies will investigate which factors, such as mental health or financial stressors, might be involved in the change in eating behaviors.

Kids gained weight

Nearly 30% of 433 parents surveyed by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University said their child had gained an average of 9.6 pounds in the months between May and September of 2020.

Parents of children between 5 and 18 years old were questioned before the pandemic and again in May and September of 2020 about their concerns regarding their child’s weight.

Families who said their child gained weight during that time period were concerned about that trend and attempted to monitor and restrict their child’s eating habits in both May and September. However, in families where children did not gain weight, parents were initially concerned and monitored their child’s food intake in May, but had stopped doing so by September.

Further research is needed to investigate and target the “different behavioral, societal, environmental, and psychosocial factors” that might contribute to weight gain among children and adolescents, wrote Melanie Bean, an associate professor of pediatrics and co-director of the Healthy Lifestyles Center at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University, in an abstract.

Teasing people about their weight

Another study presented at the conference looked at the impact on children when family members teased them or made other critical comments about their weight. Researchers from Tufts University found that exposure to negative family comments about weight “as little as 3 times per month was significantly associated with moderate to high levels of weight bias internalization,” according to the study.

Prior research has shown that when children and adults experience weight stigma and internalize it, that itself can predict weight gain.

“A common perception is that a little shame or stigma might motivate people to lose weight, but that is not what we see in research,” Rebecca Puhl, deputy director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, told CNN in a prior interview.

“In fact, when people experience weight stigma, this actually contributes to unhealthy eating behaviors, lower physical activity and weight gain,” Puhl said. “Our studies show that when parents shift the conversation to healthy behaviors, that tends to be much more effective.

“The focus isn’t on the number on the weight scale, but on the whole family eating fruits and vegetables, replacing soda with water, getting daily physical activity,” she added.

Online grocery shopping

A study done in the early days of the pandemic — March and April of 2020 — found that a third of the nearly 18,000 households surveyed said they were shopping online for groceries, and, of those, 60% said they planned to continue to do so after the pandemic passed.

Their top reasons? Over 80% said it was to “avoid public germs and Covid-19,” while 44% wanted to “take advantage of the convenience,” according to Shu Wen Ng, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Higher food prices in areas with higher restrictions

Researchers from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy analyzed retail prices for food and other consumer goods in 133 counties in the United States and compared them to the levels of Covid-19 restrictions imposed by local governments.
Results showed that a higher level of government restrictions during the pandemic was associated with higher food prices, but did not affect the cost of other consumer goods.