Monday morning news – April 5, 2021

Calls grow for more Capitol security following Friday attack » Some officials are calling for more security at the U.S. Capitol after a man attacked two officers guarding the Capitol grounds last week.

Retired Gen. Russel Honere led the review of Capitol Hill security after the January 6th riot. And on Sunday, he told ABC’s This Week that right now, the Capitol police department is more than 200 officers short of what it needs.

HONERE: And that’s been exacerbated last year because they did not get a police class through because of COVID. So they’re got catching up to do. They’re going to need help, and the National Guard is going to have to continue to assist them. 

He said other security improvements are needed as well, such as upgrading cameras and sensors.

But Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said he hopes to see the barricades surrounding the Capitol come down soon.

BLUNT: Secure the Capitol, but at the same time, make it as secure as it needs to be but as free as we can possibly make it. It’s an important element of who we are. It’s an important symbol of who we are. 

On Friday, a lone suspect, 25-year-old Noah Green, drove into a security barrier and then attacked capitol police officers with a knife. Officer William Evans was killed in the attack, and officers shot and killed Green. Investigators say he had been suffering from delusions, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts.

COVID-19 cases still up in U.S. » The rate of new COVID-19 cases in the United States is still up from where it was two weeks ago. New infections now stand at about 65,000 per day. That figure has barely moved since late February.

It’s a race between the virus and COVID-19 vaccines. And epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm says right now, the virus is winning. He said that’s due in large part to a much more infectious variant.

OSTERHOLM: In some ways we’re almost in a new pandemic. The only good news is that the current vaccines are effective against this particular variant, B117. This is a virus that is now 50 to 100 percent more transmissible or infectious than the previous viruses.

He said the United States is the only country in the world that is still relaxing restrictions even as the virus gains ground.

But there is a little bit of good news. According to a 7-day rolling average, the number of daily U.S. deaths from COVID-19 has dipped slightly over the past few days after plateauing for about a week.

Florida braces for possible “catastrophic flood” of wastewater » Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency over the weekend after a leak at a wastewater pond. The leak threatened to flood roads and burst a system that stores polluted waters south of Tampa. DeSantis told reporters Sunday:

DESANTIS: What we’re looking at now is trying to prevent, and respond to if need be, a real catastrophic flood situation. 

Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes said, “We are talking about the potential of about 600 million gallons” gushing out of the retention pool within minutes.

Officials brought in rocks and materials to plug the hole in the pond late Friday into Saturday, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

Gov. DeSantis clarified that the wastewater is not radioactive.

DESANTIS: It’s primarily saltwater from the Port Manatee mixed with legacy process water and stormwater runoff. 

Officials began evacuating more than 300 homes and a highway. Residents who live around the Piney Point reservoir received an alert via text saying to leave the area immediately because the collapse was “imminent.”

Jordanian official says “malicious plot” put down » A senior official in Jordan on Sunday accused the country’s former crown prince of conspiring with foreign elements in a—quote—“malicious plot” that threatened national security.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters that the plot had been foiled at the “zero hour.”

He said authorities arrested more than a dozen people, including two senior officials close to Prince Hamzah.

Hamzah, King Abdullah II’s half-brother, confirmed that he has been placed under house arrest.

HAMZAH: [speaking in Arabic]

He accused the country’s leadership of corruption and incompetence.

The unprecedented incident has raised concerns about stability in a country seen as a key Western ally.

Safadi did not identify the foreign countries allegedly involved in the plot.


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