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Spring Breaker Who Said, “If I Get Corona, I Get Corona,” Issues Apology

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  • Brady Sluder, the spring breaker who faced heavy criticism for saying he wouldn’t let the coronavirus stop him from partying, has apologized for his comments.  
  • He is urging others to follow community guidelines concerning the pandemic and wants the public to use his story as motivation to be better people. 
  • Other young adults also seem to be better understanding the importance of social distancing after five Florida college students traveling for spring break tested positive for the virus.
  • Meanwhile, in Kentucky, one young adult tested positive after attending a “coronavirus party, ” intentionally defying calls against such gatherings.  

Spring Breaker Apologizes 

By now you’ve probably seen the infamous video of Florida spring breakers vowing to party on despite the coronavirus pandemic. Well, after a flood of intense criticism and mocking, one of those partiers has apologized. 

That man is 22-year-old Brady Sluder, an Ohio native and self-described aspiring SoundCloud rapper who said, “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”

“You know, I’ve been waiting, we’ve been waiting for Miami spring break for a while, about two months we’ve had this trip planned, two, three months, and we’re just out here having a good time,” he continued in the viral CBS interview. “Whatever happens, happens.”

This video blew up as Florida beachgoers were slammed for ignoring social distancing guidelines aimed at “flattening the curve.” But it also came at a time when many seemed to wrongly assume that young people are at low risk of contracting the virus or being hospitalized for it. So it’s safe to say that after the clip went viral, Sluder became the face of reckless young people not taking the virus seriously. 

On Monday, he changed his tune, posting a public apology on his Instagram.

“I’d like to take this time to own up to the mistakes i’ve made and apologize to the people I’ve offended,” he wrote. Like many others, I have elderly people who I adore more than anything in the world and other family members who are at risk, and I understand how concerning this disease is for us all.”

View this post on Instagram

I’ve done a lot of things in my life that I’m not proud of. I’ve failed, I’ve let down, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I can’t apologize enough to the people i’ve offended and the lives I’ve insulted. I’m not asking for your forgiveness, or pity. I want to use this as motivation to become a better person, a better son, a better friend, and a better citizen. Listen to your communities and do as health officials say. Life is precious. Don’t be arrogant and think you’re invincible like myself. I’ve learned from these trying times and I’ve felt the repercussions to the fullest. Unfortunately, simply apologizing doesn’t justify my behavior. I’m simply owning up to my mistakes and taking full responsibility for my actions. Thank you for your time, and stay safe everyone. ❤️

A post shared by @ bradysluder on Mar 22, 2020 at 10:34am PDT

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

In the post caption, he added that he “can’t apologize enough.” He said he is not asking for forgiveness or pity but wants the public to use this as motivation to become better people saying, “Life is precious.”

Other Rule Breakers Test Positive for COVID-19 

It seems like Brady isn’t the only one suddenly realizing how dangerous it is to ignore social distancing recommendations. Over the weekend, the University of Tampa announced that five of its students traveling together during spring break tested positive for the virus. 

And on Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said one person in the state became infected after taking part in a “coronavirus party” with other young adults.

The partygoers intentionally got together “thinking they were invincible” and purposely defied state guidance to practice social distancing, Beshear said. “This is one that makes me mad, and it should make you mad.”

“Anyone who goes to something like this may think they’re indestructible, but it’s someone else’s loved one that they are going to hurt,” he added. “Don’t be callous as to intentionally go to something and expose yourself to something that will hurt other people. We ought to be much better than that.”

“We all owe each other a duty to protect each other,” Beshear continued. “And we simply can’t have folks that are doing things like this.”

These stories, along with Sluder’s, serve as yet another reminder to practice social distancing. While research has shown that the virus poses a greater risk of death for people ages 65 and older, it can still infect healthy people of all ages.

In New York state, for example, 53% of coronavirus cases have been recorded among young people between the ages of 18 and 49, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday. There also have been “concerning reports from France and Italy” about young people becoming seriously ill, “and very seriously ill in the ICUs,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said last week.  

Even if someone were to contract the virus with few to no symptoms, if they aren’t careful, they can end up unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (CNN) (Fox News

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Amanda Gorman Wows the Nation With “The Hill We Climb”

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  • Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet, impressed the nation when she read “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration, making her the youngest inaugural poet in the nation’s history.
  • Gorman’s said the Jan. 6 attack on the nation’s Capitol inspired her to focus on a message of hope, community, and healing in her poem.
  • Big names like Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Barack Obama, and Lin-Manuel Miranda have all praised her work.

Amanda Gorman Becomes Youngest Inaugural Poet

Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman wowed the nation on Wednesday as she spoke of healing, unity, hope, and what it means to be American while reading her poem, “The Hill We Climb.”

At 22-years-old Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in the nation’s history. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she was the youth poet laureate of Los Angeles in 2014 at the age of 16. She then became the first national youth poet laureate in 2017. 

Now, her books are topping Amazon’s Best Sellers list and they are not even scheduled to be released until the fall.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden became a fan of Gorman after watching her give a reading at the Library of Congress. She then suggested that Gorman be a part of the ceremony. 

“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped That even as we tired, we tried,” Gorman recited during inauguration. “That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious. Not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division.”

Like President Biden, Gorman has struggled with a speech impediment and has been open about her experience overcoming it. She actually used poetry as a tool to correct it. First, she used it as a way of expressing herself without having to speak. Then she used it to bring her poems to life.

“Once I arrived at the point in my life in high school, where I said, ‘you know what? Writing my poems on the page isn’t enough for me,” she told CBS News. “I have to give them breath, and life, I have to perform them as I am.’ That was the moment that I was able to grow past my speech impediment.”

What Inspired “The Hill We Climb”

Gorman said the inaugural committee gave her freedom and flexibility when it came to choosing what to write about. She was well on her way before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Those events then influenced her writing. 

“It energized me even more to believe that much more firmly in a message of hope, community and healing. I felt like that was the type of poem that I needed to write and it was the type of poem that the country and the world needed to hear,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.  

That message came across clearly and the insurrection was depicted in part of “The Hill We Climb.”

“It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy and this effort very nearly succeeded,” she said. “But while democracy can be periodically delayed it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith we trust. For while we have our eyes on the future history has its eyes on us.”

Nation Impressed by Gorman

“Wow…Wow, I just, wow you’re awesome,” Cooper said when closing his interview with her. “I am so transfixed.” 

Lin-Manuel Miranda also cheered Gorman on. “The Hill We Climb” notably references a line of scripture that appears in a “Hamilton” song. Gorman also said she used to sing the song “Aaron Burr, Sir” to help her say her R sounds and correct her speech impediment. 

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise!” Oprah Winfrey wrote. “Brava Brava Amanda Gorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I.”

Winfrey also gave Gorman a ring with a caged bird on it—a reference to the famous Angelou poem— which Gorman wore during the inauguration. 

Actor Mark Ruffalo joined the onslaught of praise, saying that her words will lead the nation. 

Former President Barack Obama echoed that idea as well, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Gorman promised to run for president one day. 

See what others are saying: (CBS News) (New York Times) (Los Angeles Times)

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SAT Drops Subject Tests and Optional Essay Section

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  • The College Board will discontinue SAT subject tests effective immediately and will scrap the optional essay section in June. 
  • The organization cited the coronavirus pandemic as part of the reason for accelerating these changes.
  • Regarding subject tests, the College Board said the other half of the decision rested on the fact that Advanced Placement tests are now more accessible to low-income students and students of color, making subject tests unnecessary. 
  • It also said it plans to launch a digital version of the SAT in the near future, despite failing to implement such a plan last year after a previous announcement.

College Board Ends Subject Tests and Optional Essay

College Board announced Tuesday that it will scrap the SAT’s optional essay section, as well as subject tests.

Officials at the organization cited the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the reason for these changes, saying is has “accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to simplify our work and reduce demands on students.”

The decision was also made in part because Advanced Placement tests, which College Board also administers, are now available to more low-income students and students of color. Thus, College Board has said this makes SAT subject tests unnecessary. 

While subject tests will be phased out for international students, they have been discontinued effective immediately in the U.S. 

Regarding the optional essay, College Board said high school students are now able to express their writing skills in a variety of ways, a factor which has made the essay section less necessary.

With several exceptions, it will be discontinued in June.

The Board Will Implement an Online SAT Test

In its announcement, College Board also said it plans to launch a revised version of the SAT that’s aimed at making it “more flexible” and “streamlined” for students to take the test online.

In April 2020, College Board announced it would be launching a digital SAT test in the fall if schools didn’t reopen. The College Board then backtracked on its plans for a digital test in June, before many schools even decided they would remain closed.

According to College Board, technological challenges led to the decision to postpone that plan.

For now, no other details about the current plan have been released, though more are expected to be revealed in April. 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (NPR) (The New York Times)

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Biden To Block Trump’s Order Lifting COVID-19 Travel Ban

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  • President Trump issued an executive order Monday lifting a ban on travelers from the Schengen area of Europe, the U.K., Ireland, and Brazil. 
  • Trump said the policy will no longer be needed starting Jan. 26, when the CDC will start requiring all passengers from abroad to present proof of a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight.
  • The move was cheered by the travel industry; however, incoming White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki warned that Biden’s administration does not intend to lift the travel restrictions. 

Trump Order End To COVID-19 Travel Ban

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Monday ending his administration’s ban on travelers from the Schengen area of Europe, the U.K., Ireland, and Brazil.

That ban was put in place last spring in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. In his announcement, however, Trump said the policy will no longer be needed starting Jan. 26, when new rules from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention go into effect.

Starting that day, the CDC will require all passengers from abroad to present proof of a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight.

The recommendation to lift the ban reportedly came from Alex Azar, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. According to Trump’s proclamation, “the Secretary reports high confidence that these jurisdictions will cooperate with the United States in the implementation of CDC’s January 12, 2021, order and that tests administered there will yield accurate results.”

It’s worth noting that the ban will stay in place for travelers from Iran and China. Still, Trump’s announcement was generally cheered by members of the travel industry who have been pushing to lift the ban and require preflight testing instead. 

Biden To Block Trump’s Order

Soon after the news broke, the incoming White House press secretary for President-elect Joe Biden, Jennifer Psaki, warned that Biden would block Trump’s order.

“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” she wrote on Twitter.

“On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26.  In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” she added.

With that, it seems unlikely that Trump’s order will actually take effect. 

It’s also worth noting that this is one of many executive orders Trump has issued just before inauguration day.

Source: Whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions

Some of these orders could soon be overturned once Biden takes office Wednesday. Biden is also expected to roll out his own wave of executive orders in his first 10 days as president.

See what others are saying: (The Wall Street Journal) (The New York Times) (CNN)

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