Judge Peter Cahill via AP News
George Floyd Officer Trial Image ID : 21102528922217 In this image from video, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discusses motions before the court Monday, April 12, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

Request to sequester Chauvin trial jury after Michigan protests denied

A request to sequester the jury in Derek Chauvin’s trial was denied Monday, according to The New York Times.

The request came after protests in Minnesota erupted over the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson requested that the jury be sequestered and told to avoid social media because he felt that the jury might be swayed by outside social pressures.

Judge Peter Cahill denied the request because he felt that the protests do not correlate to the trial.

The defense is set to begin presenting its case as the trial begins its third week.

B-117 variant worsening Michigan’s COVID-19 crisis

 Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Virus Outbreak Michigan Image ID : 21099695290000 In this photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. Friday, April 9, 2021. Faced with the country’s highest rate of new coronavirus infections, Whitmer on Friday urged a two-week suspension of in-person high school classes, all youth sports and indoor restaurant dining. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

It’s believed that the B-117 COVID-19 strain, also known as the U.K. strain., is showing up in about 70% of new COVID-19 tests in Michigan, according to CNN.

The variant is believed to be more deadly and transmissible, raising concerns for the state and the U.S. as a whole.

“It’s causing a surge in cases and it’s causing more severe disease, which means that even younger people, people in their 30s, 40s and 50s are getting very sick and being hospitalized from this,” said epidemiologist Dr. Celine Gounder, according to CNN.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that cases in Michigan passed 100,000 and have reached No.1 for COVID-19 cases in the country.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says that she will not put the state into another shutdown, but encouraged people to not eat indoors for two weeks and for high schools to consider going back online, according to ABC.

Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are all also experiencing increased numbers of COVID-19 cases.

India rises to second highest COVID-19 cases in the world

Devotees take holy dips in the Ganges River during Kumbh Mela, or pitcher festival, one of the most sacred pilgrimages in Hinduism, in Haridwar, northern state of Uttarakhand, India, Monday, April 12, 2021. Tens of thousands of Hindu devotees gathered by the Ganges River for special prayers Monday, many of them flouting social distancing practices as the coronavirus spreads in India with record speed. (AP Photo/Karma Sonam)

India surpassed Brazil for the second-highest numbers of COVID-19 cases as 13.5 million cases have been reported since last January. India reported over 168,000 cases in just 24 hours on Monday, according to CNBC.

Despite the rising cases, Hindu devotees gathered to attend holy baths at the Ganges river on Monday. It was reported that about one million people had attended the religious festival.

“The crowd here is surging…the police are continuously appealing to people to maintain social distancing,” said police official Sanjay Gunjyal, according to US News.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the cases have risen because of “people’s lack of commitment toward wearing masks and practicing social distancing,” according to CNBC.

Only about 4% of India’s population is believed to be fully vaccinated.

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