January 2023



By Michael Liedtke | Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — An Elon Musk tweet declaring he had the financing to take Tesla private in 2018 caused billions of dollars in investor damages after the deal collapsed, according to estimates presented Tuesday at a trial examining the haphazard handling of the buyout proposal.

The mind-bending estimates laid out by two experts hired by attorneys representing Tesla shareholders underscored the challenges facing a nine-person jury as the three-week trial winds down this week. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen expects to turn the case over to the jury Friday.

Depending on the verdict, Musk and the electric automaker that he runs could be facing more financial fallout for his unpredictable behavior on the Twitter platform, which he now owns. Without acknowledging any wrongdoing, Musk and Tesla reached a $40 million settlement with securities regulators after Musk’s troublesome tweets in August 2018.

In this class-action lawsuit on behalf of Tesla shareholders, the jurors must first determine whether two tweets that Musk abruptly posted on Aug. 7, 2018 steered Tesla investors in the wrong direction. If the jury decides to hold Musk accountable for the tweets that Chen has already deemed falsehood s, they will will face what may be an even more formidable task — trying to calculate how much Musk — one of the world’s richest people — and Tesla should have to pay for the misleading tweets.

One of Tuesday’s two experts, economist Michael Hartzmark, reviewed a report peppered with terms such as “but-for” and “consequential inflation” that made a case for calculating the damages suffered by Tesla shareholders during a 10-day period in August 2018 at anywhere from $4 billion to $11 billion, or $22.55 to $66.67 per Tesla share at that time.

Another expert, University of Maryland finance professor Steven Heston, reviewed an even denser report analyzing the impact of Musk’s tweets on more than 2,000 types of Tesla stock options, drawing largely upon a formula known as the Black-Scholes model widely used by companies to value executive compensation packages.

When pressed by a Musk lawyer about the reliability of his model, Heston acknowledged: “All models deviate from reality, which is why they are models.”

Heston, who said he was paid $300,000 to $350,000 for his work in the case, demurred on trying to make a concrete estimate on the investor damages, saying that was a job for the jurors.

The crux of the case hinges on an Aug. 7, 2018, tweet in which Musk declared “funding secured ” to take Tesla private. Musk abruptly posted the tweet minutes before boarding his private jet after being alerted that the Financial Times was about to publish a story that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund had spent about $2 billion buying a 5% stake in Tesla to diversify its interests beyond oil, according to his testimony.

Amid widespread confusion about whether Musk’s Twitter account had been hacked or he was joking, Musk followed up a few hours later with another tweet suggesting a deal was imminent.

During roughly eight hours of sworn testimony, Musk repeatedly insisted he was looking after shareholders’ best interests and believed he had a financing commitment from the Saudi fund that was recanted after his “funding secured” tweet. Musk also testified he could have still pulled off the buyout by raising money from other investors and selling some of his stock in SpaceX, a rocket ship maker that he founded.

After consulting with Tesla’s major shareholders, Musk decided the electric automaker should remain publicly traded — a decision that has paid off for him and other investors. Tesla’s shares are now worth more than eight times what they were at the time of Musk’s buyout tweet, after adjusting for two stock splits that have occurred since then.


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Bay Area News Group girls soccer top 15

(Mercury News & East Bay Times)


No. 1 SAN RAMON VALLEY (16-1-0)

Previous ranking: 1

Update: Beat Dublin 3-0, Foothill 2-0

Up next: Today at California, 6:30 p.m. 

No. 2 ST. FRANCIS (16-1-0)

Previous ranking: 2

Update: Beat Sacred Heart Cathedral 3-0, Archbishop Mitty 3-2

Up next: Wednesday vs. Presentation, 5:30 p.m.

No. 3 CARONDELET (13-2-0)

Previous ranking: 3

Update: Beat Livermore 2-0, Granada 4-0, Amador Valley 2-0

Up next: Today vs. Dougherty Valley, 6:30 p.m.

No. 4 MENLO-ATHERTON (9-0-4)

Previous ranking: 4

Update: Beat Carlmont 2-0, tied Burlingame 0-0

Up next: Today at Woodside, 4:30 p.m.

No. 5 ST. IGNATIUS (10-2-3)

Previous ranking: 6

Update: Beat Presentation 2-0 and 1-0.

Up next: Wednesday vs. Valley Christian, 6 p.m.

No. 6 MENLO SCHOOL (12-1-1)

Previous ranking: 8

Update: Beat Notre Dame-San Jose 6-0, beat Stevenson. 

Up next: Today at Priory, 3:30 p.m.

No. 7 WOODSIDE (8-3-1)

Previous ranking: 5

Update: Beat Carlmont 5-4, King’s Academy 2-0, lost to Sequoia 2-1

Up next: Today vs. Menlo-Atherton, 4:30 p.m.


Previous ranking: 7

Update: Beat Valley Christian 4-0, lost to St. Francis 3-2. 

Up next: Feb. 8 at St. Ignatius, 6 p.m. 

No. 9 MOUNTAIN VIEW (10-3-2)

Previous ranking: 9

Update: Beat Homestead 3-2, Palo Alto 3-0 

Up next: Wednesday vs. Saratoga, 6:00 p.m.

No. 10 HARKER (9-3-1)

Previous ranking: 10

Update: Beat Westmon 2-1, lost to Sacred Heart Prep 4-0

Up next: Today vs. Notre Dame-San Jose, 3:30 p.m. 

No. 11 PIEDMONT HILLS (11-2-3)

Previous ranking: 11

Update: Beat Overfelt 3-1, Mt. Pleasant 8-0

Up next: Today vs. Silver Creek, 7 p.m.

No. 12 LEIGH (11-3-0)

Previous ranking: 13

Update: Beat Branham 3-1, Pioneer 3-1

Up next: Today vs. Christopher, 7 p.m. 

No. 13 ACALANES (9-1-5)

Previous ranking: 14

Update: Beat Northgate 3-0, Alhambra 2-0, Miramonte 4-0 

Up next: Today at Campolindo, 7 p.m.

No. 14 MONTE VISTA (6-2-5)

Previous ranking: 12

Update: Beat California 2-0, tied Dublin 0-0, lost to Amador Valley 1-0.

Up next: Today vs. Livermore, 6:30 p.m. 

No. 15 CALIFORNIA (9-3-3)

Previous ranking: 15

Update: Beat Granada 3-2, Livermore 3-1, lost to Monte Vista 2-0

Up next: Tuesday vs. San Ramon Valley, 6:30 p.m. 


Teams eligible for the Bay Area News Group rankings come from leagues based predominantly in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. For updated records, please email [email protected]


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The statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack — the source of nearly one-third of California’s water supply — is at its highest level since 1995, boosting hopes that an end to the drought is near, but also raising concerns that a few warm spring storms could melt it too early, potentially triggering major flooding.

Not since Toy Story packed movie theaters, Steve Young led the 49ers to their fifth Super Bowl win, and gasoline cost $1.28 a gallon has there been so much snow in California’s most famous mountain range at the end of January.

“It’s absolutely massive,” said Kevin “Coop” Cooper, a ski resort consultant who lives near South Lake Tahoe. “I’ve spent so much time with my snow shovel that I named it. My wife thought I was having an affair.”

On Tuesday, the statewide Sierra snowpack was 208% of its historical average, a day ahead of the high-profile Feb. 1 snow survey that state officials planned to take near Highway 50 by Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort with TV cameras in tow. The last time there was as much snow, 28 years ago, on Feb. 1, 1995, it was 207% of normal.

The huge bounty is the third largest Sierra Nevada statewide snowpack since 1950, when consistent statewide records began, according to a Bay Area News Group analysis of historical data. Only 1952 (267% of average) and 1969 (230%) had larger amounts on Feb. 1.

In a few places, like Highland Meadow in Alpine County, the snowpack is the largest in recorded history.

Around Lake Tahoe, the snow has been so deep that stop signs and fire hydrants have been buried. Ski resorts that struggled during three years of drought, wildfire and COVID are seeing a banner year.  The snow base Tuesday at Palisades was 11 feet deep. At Kirkwood it was 12 feet. And at Mammoth Mountain, south of Yosemite National Park, it was nearly 20 feet deep.

“We’ve had a lot to dig out,” Cooper said. “I’m looking at a neighbor’s house right now. He needs to get shoveling on his roof. Gutters can fill up, freeze and fall off the house. Or if you have a flat roof it can collapse from the weight of the snow.”

The wintery windfall arrived in series of nine atmospheric river storms that began around Christmas and continued for three weeks. Since then, temperatures have been cool in the mountains, preserving much of it.

Snow is vital to California’s water supply. Many winters, storms blanket the Sierra, a 400-mile-long rocky expanse memorialized by naturalist John Muir as “the Range of Light,” that includes the lower 48 states’ highest peak, Mount Whitney, along with the glorious granite walls of Yosemite Valley and the sublime shores of Lake Tahoe.

It melts in late spring and early summer. Billions of gallons pour down more than a dozen Sierra rivers like the Merced, the Tuolumne, the American, and the Feather. The water is caught in major reservoirs. It also recharges underground aquifers and provides fish and wildlife life spring.

But in dry years, when few storms arrive, much less water is available for cities, farms and the environment.

The January storms caused serious flooding around Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Merced and Santa Barbara, killing at least 22 people, and creating power outages, mudslides and other damage.

The water also began filling reservoirs across the state. Most are still rising. The largest, Shasta, near Redding, which is 35 miles long, on Tuesday was 56% full, or 87% of its historic average for that date. The second largest, Oroville, in Butte County, was 65% full, or 112% of its historic average.

Many major reservoirs are certain to rise higher as snow melts in the coming months.

“The storms could shut off,” said Jay Lund, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis. “That’s the worst case. But even in the worst case, we’re still going to have a good snowpack. Most of it is in the bank, and will appear as streamflow.”

Tuesday, the statewide Sierra snowpack was already at 129% of its historical average for April 1, typically the end of the winter season.

State water officials are thrilled at the start to the winter. They are also eyeing all that snow cautiously.

“The snowpack is great,” said David Rizzardo, a supervising engineer with the state Department of Water Resources. “But it’s also providing a very unique challenge.”

Simply put, the drought will end if rain and snow continues to fill reservoirs. But if California receives big, warm, soaking storms that park over the Sierra, much of the snowpack could melt suddenly, causing mayhem.

That’s what happened in 1997. Several warm “Pineapple Express” storms drenched the Sierra around New Year’s Day. Yosemite Valley experienced its worst floods in a century. Entire campgrounds washed away. Half of Yosemite Lodge was destroyed. Across the Central Valley, big reservoirs filled to the top and released water uncontrollably. Levees broke, causing major flooding in Marysville, Yuba City and other communities. When it was over, 48 of California’s 58 counties were declared disaster areas and damage totaled $1.8 billion.

Hoping to reduce the chances of a similar event, dam operators in recent weeks have been increasing water releases from some reservoirs, like Folsom, northeast of Sacramento, and Millerton, near Fresno, to create more space.

It’s a delicate balancing act. Farms, cities and political leaders want as much water stored as possible. The public sometimes forgets the dams were built not just to store water, but also to reduce flooding, experts say.

“You want to be able to reduce the flows downstream to allow time for evacuations or levee repairs,” Lund said. “You really don’t want to lose control where you don’t have any more room for storage. We don’t want to kill anybody downstream. That’s the bottom line.”

If the rest of the spring plays out well, moderate storms will come in, with dry spells in between, allowing  reservoirs to gradually continue filling just as summer is starting and the risk of floods is ending.

“In a perfect year,” Lund said, “you refill the reservoirs right at the very end of May.”


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RHOP Cast Reacts to Robyn Dixon Admitting Husband Juan Cheated Again After Denying Claims on Show as Chris Bassett Calls Her Out for "Charging for the Truth"

Credit: Clifton Prescod/Bravo, Instagram

Cast members from Real Housewives of Potomac are now reacting to Robyn Dixon’s recent disclosure that her husband Juan Dixon cheated with another woman on social media. Robyn also revealed she knew of the woman’s claims before the season began filming.

In recent episodes, however, when Karen Huger exposed the woman’s allegations, Robyn and her BFF Gizelle Bryant seemed to deny knowing anything about it. But according to their admission on the Reasonably Shady podcast, the other woman told both of them. The stars then teased that their paid subscribers on Patreon would learn more details.

After the declaration, Chris Bassett – who was accused by Gizelle of making her feel uncomfortable in a hotel room – took to Twitter and revealed his reaction.

“So wait … there were TRUTHS that were omitted/not filmed during our season … as a cast, we chose to tell FALSEHOODS & LIES about innocent people all season long & now we are charging for the truth? 🤔🤔WTF. I’m good on this bulls**t,” he asked.

He then wrote a separate tweet, “Just so we are clear … Gizelle and [Ashley Darby] KNEW about this BEFORE the season … didn’t bring it up … that’s your friend cool … but chose to LIE as a distraction?????”

“[I’m not] mad at Robyn,” he continued, “but the others are trash for that.”

His wife Candiace Dillard Bassett also shared her thoughts. “Why be open or genuine or authentic when the least of us can rob our viewers of the truth and continually be rewarded for it?” she asked.

The singer went on to say, “It’s not entertaining. It’s not interesting. It’s wack.” She also said it “tarnishes the integrity of the premise of our show. It tap dances on the intelligence of the viewership.”

“And while we ‘reserve the right to be judicious about what we share,’ there is a special brand of audacity attached to individuals who will knowingly bury the lede,” she added, “in exchange for damning and salacious lies that stand to cause irreparable harm to innocent people.”

Candiace then wrote a post that may have referenced host Andy Cohen.

“Our boss’s favorite clap back when we’re playing coy about certain aspects of our lives is: ‘you’re on a reality show about your life.’ There is an expectation that – doing no harm – we show up to this platform as our authentic selves.”

Castmates Dr. Wendy Osefo and Karen had shorter responses, but their messages seemed to be clear.

“Clown behavior,” wrote Wendy on Twitter.

“Well you don’t say…” expressed Karen.

The Real Housewives of Potomac season seven airs Sundays at 8/7c on Bravo.


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You may not need binoculars or a telescope to see C/2022 E3 (ZTF), the green comet discovered this past March, when it makes its closest approach to Earth in 50,000 years Wednesday and Thursday.

“Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but if this one continues its current trend in brightness, it’ll be easy to spot with binoculars, and it’s just possible it could become visible to the unaided eye under dark skies,” said Preston Dyches, a public engagement specialist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

“This comet isn’t expected to be quite the spectacle that Comet NEOWISE was back in 2020. But it’s still an awesome opportunity to make a personal connection with an icy visitor from the distant outer solar system.”

The celestial streaker will be a cool 26 million miles away from Earth at its perigee and may be easiest to observe just before sunrise on Feb. 2. However, the moon’s expected brightness that morning could reduce its visibility, CalTech Magazine reported.


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SANTA CLARA — Trey Lance stood at his locker on one side of the 49ers’ locker room, speaking for the first time to reporters since a Sept. 18 fracture to his right foot, which remains in an orthopedic boot.

Down the way in a corner, Brock Purdy sat in front of his locker, waiting to update reporters on, well, how he is mulling options on how to fix his right, throwing elbow.

Lance, then Purdy. That could be how the 49ers’ quarterback depth chart looks going into next season, assuming Lance indeed gets fully cleared in a month and is ready for April’s start of the offseason program, as he expects.

All that truly remains up in the air, however, just two days after Purdy’s elbow injury in a 31-7, NFC Championship Game loss at Philadelphia.

“I haven’t talked to Kyle yet. I’ll go talk to Kyle and I’m sure it’ll be the whole story again this year for you guys, so I’m super excited for that,” Lance said with a wry smile. “But I’m just excited to get back out there.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will address the media Wednesday. But Shanahan caught up with a melancholy Purdy on Tuesday.

“We just sort of reflected about the season, and it was more about what I can do to get healthy and what I have to do when I get back,” Purdy said. “In terms of who’s going to be the starter and who we’re bringing in or any news, we literally didn’t cover any of that, and, honestly I didn’t want to hear about anything.”

Since Purdy’s injury, fans and reporters have begun speculating about the 49ers’ alternatives, such as signing Tom Brady in free agency or trading for a veteran, such as Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins or Derek Carr.

“I just wanted to focus on my recovery right now and what I have to do for my arm moving forward,” Purdy added.

The recovery of a torn ulnar collateral ligament figures to take at least six months. It’s essentially the most optimistic opinion Purdy has received. A full reconstruction of his UCL has not been ruled out, and that scenario could shelve him a year.

He’s been reading up on other case studies, aware that it’s a “baseball injury” that pitchers often endure, but not so much for football players, although former 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens indeed required a UCL repair after his December 2020 injury. He then bounced between the Eagles, the Browns, the Raiders, and finished this past season on the Vikings.

“The quarterback situation, there haven’t been a lot of cases,” Purdy said. “Usually, it’s like a linebacker or offensive lineman, and they can just brace it up and play. But when you’re throwing, it’s a different situation.”

Purdy is talking as if he’ll be back playing in 2023, after already stunning the NFL world the past two months. Quick refresher: He was the last player drafted in 2022, then “Mr. Irrelevant” relieved an injured Jimmy Garoppolo on Dec. 4, against the Miami Dolphins’ all-out blitzes. Purdy went on to post eight wins in riveting, high-scoring fashion, before a hit by Hasson Reddick crippled Purdy’s arm from throwing Sunday with a Super Bowl berth on the line.

He is aware a UCL repair could be fast-tracked to where he can throw in three months, then the six-month mark (or training camp) is when he could practice “and be part of everything.”

“There’s literally nothing I know for sure,” Purdy said of his prognosis. “There are different options in terms of letting it recover, surgery, all these different types of surgeries – repair vs. reconstruction. So we still haven’t come to a conclusion about any of that. We still have to get more pictures on MRIs and whatnot and get more opinions.”

Monday’s MRI revealed a torn UCL, and follow-up tests were upcoming Tuesday for Purdy, who was the last player in the locker room after the media’s hour-long access. Purdy wore an olive-green compression sleeve on is right elbow.

“In terms of walking around, I don’t feel it as much,” Purdy said. “It’s swollen. But the minute I go to move or to pick something up, there’s definitely pain. I can’t use my arm for any purposes other than that. It sucks. I definitely injured it.”

Lance, meanwhile, remains in an orthopedic boot. He required a follow-up procedure Dec. 30 to remove a stabilizing screw from his right ankle, which he fractured on a run in the Sept. 18 home opener against Seattle, an injury that required a five-day hospital stay to control his pain.

Lance plans on remaining under the 49ers’ care these next four weeks, “to make sure I’m getting to 100 percent, and I’m exactly where they want me and where I feel I’m more like myself.”

He went 1-1 as an injury replacement in 2021, the year in which the 49ers drafted him No. 3 overall after trading a trio of first-round picks (and more) for that slot. This year, Lance opened as QB1, lost the opener in a Chicago rainstorm, then was hurt in the first quarter of the home opener.

He continued to attend all 49ers’ meetings, and he was on the sideline to help Purdy several games. As for what help Lance may need for his re-entry, he feels his throwing motion is “in a really good spot.”

“We’ve been throwing, just half-kneeling and standing. I haven’t put any cleats on yet,” said Lance, noting that he keeps a ball with his name on it in the training and meeting rooms.

Garoppolo, a pending free agent, left the 49ers’ facility before the media got access to the locker room.

Once reporters finished questioning — and, in some cases, consoling — Purdy, wide receiver Deebo Samuel stopped by to gift Purdy a jersey that was autographed with a custom message, that read in part: “I’m so proud of you.”

Lance is, too. He was admired from an eighth-story suite how Purdy handled Miami’s defensive onslaught in that Dec. 4 coming-out part.

“I was super excited. It was little stuff we talk about through the week that we don’t go over, over, over, because we didn’t expect it,” Lance recalled. “Then they get a rookie quarterback in there and they bring zero 18 times in a row.

“I was super excited for him. He did a great job. He’s super fun.”

Alas, a Super Bowl was out of Purdy, Lance and the 49ers’ reach this season. Next year? Who knows their fate — or their health status.


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President Joe Biden intends to end the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies on May 11, the White House said Monday. That means that many Americans could have to start paying for COVID-19 testing and treatment after the declarations cease.

The White House, in a statement of administration policy announcing opposition to two House Republican measures to end the emergencies, said the national emergency and public health emergency authorities declared in response to the pandemic would each be extended one final time to May 11.

“This wind down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the (public health emergency),” the statement said.

Benefits allowed by emergencies will disappear

The public health emergency has enabled the government to provide many Americans with COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines at no charge, as well as offer enhanced social safety net benefits, to help the nation cope with the pandemic and minimize its impact.

“People will have to start paying some money for things they didn’t have to pay for during the emergency,” said Jen Kates, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “That’s the main thing people will start to notice.”

Most Americans covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans have been able to obtain COVID-19 tests and vaccines at no cost during the pandemic. Those covered by Medicare and private insurance have been able to get up to eight at-home tests per month from retailers at no charge. Medicaid also picks up the cost of at-home tests, though coverage can vary by state.

Those covered by Medicare and Medicaid have also had certain therapeutic treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies, fully covered.

Once the emergency ends, Medicare beneficiaries generally will face out-of-pocket costs for at-home testing and all treatment. However, vaccines will continue to be covered at no cost, as will testing ordered by a health care provider.

State Medicaid programs will have to continue covering COVID-19 tests ordered by a physician and vaccines at no charge. But enrollees may face out-of-pocket costs for treatments.

Those with private insurance could face charges for lab tests, even if they are ordered by a provider. Vaccinations will continue to be free for those with private insurance who go to in-network providers, but going to an out-of-network providers could incur charges.

COVID-19 vaccinations will be free for those with insurance even when the public health emergency ends because of various federal laws, including the Affordable Care Act and pandemic-era measures, the Inflation Reduction Act and a 2020 relief package.

Americans with private insurance have not been charged for monoclonal antibody treatment since they were prepaid by the federal government, though patients may be charged for the office visit or administration of the treatment. But that is not tied to the public health emergency, and the free treatments will be available until the federal supply is exhausted. The government has already run out of some of the treatments so those with private insurance may already be picking up some of the cost.

The uninsured had been able to access no-cost testing, treatments and vaccines through a different pandemic relief program. However, the federal funding ran out in the spring of 2022, making it more difficult for those without coverage to obtain free services.

The federal government has been preparing to shift COVID-19 care to the commercial market since last year, in part because Congress has not authorized additional funding to purchase additional vaccines, treatments and tests.

Pfizer and Moderna have already announced that the commercial prices of their COVID-19 vaccines will likely be between $82 and $130 per dose — about three to four times what the federal government has paid, according to Kaiser.

Medicare provisions

The public health emergency has also meant additional funds for hospitals, which have been receiving a 20% increase in Medicare’s payment rate for treating COVID-19 patients.

Also, Medicare Advantage plans have been required to bill enrollees affected by the emergency and receiving care at out-of-network facilities the same as if they were at in-network facilities.

This will end once the public health emergency expires.

Less of an impact

But several of the most meaningful pandemic enhancements to public assistance programs are no longer tied to the public health emergency. Congress severed the connection in December as part of its fiscal year 2023 government funding package.

Most notably, states will now be able to start processing Medicaid redeterminations and disenrolling residents who no longer qualify, starting April 1. They have 14 months to review the eligibility of their beneficiaries.

As part of a COVID-19 relief package passed in March 2020, states were barred from kicking people off Medicaid during the public health emergency in exchange for additional federal matching funds. Medicaid enrollment has skyrocketed to a record 90 million people since then, and millions are expected to lose coverage once states began culling the rolls.

A total of roughly 15 million people could be dropped from Medicaid when the continuous enrollment requirement ends, according to an analysis the Department of Health and Human Services released in August. About 8.2 million folks would no longer qualify, but 6.8 million people would be terminated even though they are still eligible, the department estimated.

Many who are disenrolled from Medicaid, however could qualify for other coverage.

Food stamp recipients had been receiving a boost during the public health emergency. Congress increased food stamp benefits to the maximum for their family size in a 2020 pandemic relief package.

The Biden administration expanded the boost in the spring of 2021 so that households already receiving the maximum amount and those who received only a small monthly benefit get a supplement of at least $95 a month.

This extra assistance will end as of March, though several states have already stopped providing it.

Congress, however, extended one set of pandemic flexibilities as part of the government funding package.

More Medicare enrollees are able to get care via telehealth during the public health emergency. The service is no longer limited just to those living in rural areas. They can conduct the telehealth visit at home, rather than having to travel to a health care facility. Plus, beneficiaries can use smartphones and receive a wider array of services via telehealth.

These will now continue through 2024.

Impact on the FDA

The US Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that when the Biden administration ends the emergency, existing emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines, tests or treatments will not be affected, and the agency may continue to issue emergency use authorizations.

“Importantly, the ending of the public health emergency declared by HHS under the Public Health Service Act will not impact FDA’s ability to authorize devices (including tests), treatments or vaccines for emergency use. Existing emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for products will remain in effect and the agency may continue to issue new EUAs going forward when criteria for issuance are met,” the agency said in a statement to CNN.

Since the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency, it “has allowed the FDA to provide important tools and flexibilities to manufacturers, health care facilities, providers, patients, and other stakeholders,” according to the statement.

In addition to the public health emergency, HHS has issued two other emergency declarations that provide broader access to medical measures for COVID-19. For instance, the emergency use authorizations for tests, treatments and vaccines are not tied to the public health emergency, but HHS will have to determine when to end the declaration that allows their use.

Many tests are available to the public under emergency use authorization, though several have been granted more permanent marketing authorization by the FDA. A few therapeutics, including remdesivir, have been approved to treat COVID-19, though others are still available under emergency use authorization.

Paxlovid and other oral antiviral drugs made available under emergency use authorization will remain covered by Medicare even though it has yet to be fully approved by the FDA, thanks to a provision Congress put in place as part of the fiscal year 2023 government spending package that passed in December.

Medicare typically doesn’t cover treatments available under emergency use authorization but has done so during the pandemic as part of the public health emergency.

Vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson and Novavax were also initially made available through emergency use authorization, though some have since been fully FDA-approved for certain ages.

HHS also issued another declaration that provides liability immunity to pharmacists who administer COVID-19 vaccines to children and to healthcare providers who vaccinate people in states outside of the state in which they are licensed. That is set to expire in October 2024.

White House response

The White House weighed in because House Democrats were concerned about voting against the Republican legislation to end the public health emergency that is coming to the floor this week without a plan from the Biden administration, a senior Democratic aide told CNN.

“Democrats were concerned about the optics of voting against Republicans winding down the public health emergency, absent an understanding of whether and how we intended to do so from the White House,” the aide said. “As soon as we saw this bill, it obviously concerns the White House. So, it was important for them to weigh in.”

The administration argues that the bills are unnecessary because it intends to end the emergencies anyway. And it noted that continuing the declarations until mid-May does not come with any restrictions.

“To be clear, continuation of these emergency declarations until May 11 does not impose any restriction at all on individual conduct with regard to COVID-19,” the White House statement said. “They do not impose mask mandates or vaccine mandates. They do not restrict school or business operations. They do not require the use of any medicines or tests in response to cases of COVID-19.”

The White House said it would extend the COVID-19 emergencies one final time in order to ensure an orderly wind-down of key authorities that states, health care providers and patients have relied on throughout the pandemic.

A White House official pointed to a successful vaccination campaign and reductions in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths as a rationale for lifting the emergency declarations. The official said a final extension will allow for a smooth transition for health care providers and patients and noted that health care facilities have already begun preparing for that transition.


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The 49ers are in the market for a new defensive coordinator.

DeMeco Ryans, who took over the 49ers’ defense under Kyle Shanahan in 2021, reportedly agreed to become the head coach of the Houston Texans on Tuesday — which means there will be a new coach running the defense for the third time in four seasons.

The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Texans have not yet announced the deal, which reportedly lasts six years.

Ryans, 38, coordinated the NFL’s top-ranked defense in 2022, with the 49ers giving up just 300.6 yards per game and 16.3 points per game. Those figures came after a 2021 season when the 49ers finished third in total defense (310.0) yards per game and ninth in scoring defense (21.5).

After joining Shanahan’s staff in 2017 as a quality control coach, Ryans was elevated to linebackers coach from 2018-20 under coordinator Robert Saleh. When Saleh was hired to become head coach of the New York Jets, Shanahan promoted Ryans to run the defense.

Ryans wore his emotions on his sleeve in pushing and prodding a talented defense.

“I’m emotionally involved because I’m excited when these guys make plays,” Ryans said last week. “I know how much effort, time and sacrifice these players put in. And when we go out there Sunday, the whole world gets to see that. Football is meant to be fun.”

A second-round draft pick out of Alabama in 2005, Ryans played for the Houston Texans from 2006 through 2011 and the Philadelphia Eagles for four more seasons.

Shanahan was a Texans offensive coach in 2006 and took notice of Ryans’ leadership skills.

“He’s the ideal leader, whatever he does,” Shanahan said. “He was that way when he came to Houston. He took over the defense right away. You could tell he was in charge when he was 21 years old. He’s just always been that guy.” I thought he was ready last year to be a head coach.”

A year ago, Ryans was a candidate in Minnesota but removed himself from contention to coach another year with the 49ers.

Fred Warner, the 49ers Pro Bowl linebacker said following the loss that he was mentally preparing himself for Ryans to move on.


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More than 1,700 flights were canceled and many more delayed on Tuesday as a brutal ice storm continued to hit parts of the South and central United States, bringing a second day of transport problems.

As wintry conditions affected an area from Texas to West Virginia, airplane tracking website FlightAware reported that more than 1,700 flights had been canceled within the US and 3,400 delayed by about 4 p.m. ET.

Texas has been particularly hard hit.

Three of the state’s airports — Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW), Dallas Love Field (DAL) and Austin Bergstrom International (AUS) — are experiencing significant disruption, according to FlightAware, with Dallas Fort-Worth seeing the bulk of cancellations. As of 4 p.m. ET, more than 900 flights to or from DFW were canceled.

Nashville International Airport in Tennessee was also seeing significant cancellations, with about 140 flights canceled by 4 p.m. ET.

Southwest, American and regional carriers Envoy Air and SkyWest have been the most affected airlines.

Texas-based Southwest and American airlines had both canceled more than 500 flights by Tuesday afternoon, representing 14% and 17% of their schedules, respectively.

On Monday, Southwest, which experienced an operational meltdown over the holidays, canceled about 12% of its schedule. American canceled 6% of its flights. Across all carriers, more than 1,100 flights were canceled on Monday, with more than 6,000 delays.

On Monday, Southwest Airlines issued a winter weather waiver across a dozen airports in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky. The waiver applies to affected travel between January 30 to February 1.

American Airlines issued a waiver on Sunday for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) that applies to travel from January 29 to February 2.

DFW airport tweeted Tuesday that it is well prepared for the winter weather: “Airport runways, roadways, bridges, and pedestrian walkways have been and will continue to be treated for any potential ice to ensure safety.”

There’s a winter storm warning in effect for a large portion of Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area, until 6 a.m. Central Time on Thursday, February 2.

The heaviest ice accumulation is forecast across large portions of Texas, which could see one- to three-quarters of an inch through Thursday morning. One-quarter inch of ice is possible across a wider swath of the region, including southern Oklahoma, Arkansas, northwestern Mississippi and parts of Tennessee.

“I encourage Arkansans who are experiencing winter weather to avoid travel if possible and heed the warnings of local officials,” Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted on Monday.

Top: Canceled flight information displayed on screens at Dallas Love Field Airport on January 30. Photo via AP.

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REPORT: Lisa Rinna Plans to Launch Her Own Reality Show to “Take on Kris Jenner” After RHOBH Exit, Details Revealed

Credit: Faye’s Vision/Cover Images

Lisa Rinna reportedly has big plans for her career in entertainment after announcing her exit from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills weeks ago.

According to a new report, Lisa, 59, is plotting to launch a new reality show with her family, including husband Harry Hamlin, 71, and daughters Delilah, 24, and Amelia Hamlin, 21, that will “take on Kris Jenner and The Kardashians” as she aims to become “the most powerful reality mogul in Hollywood.”

“It’s going to be interesting to see if Bravo steps up and develops a new show for Lisa or if she pivots into streaming the way the Kardashians have,” an insider told The U.S. Sun on January 30, noting that Lisa’s exit from RHOBH “set her up for a payday of epic proportions [that bosses can] build a major reality franchise around.”

While nothing has been set in stone quite yet, Lisa hopes to “lock something down by May,” no matter what it takes.

“Lisa is kind of the T-1000 version of Kris Jenner, and she’s going to be utterly ruthless and relentless about nailing down her next reality gig,” the source stated. “Stepping on other people’s toes is the last thing she’s worried about, and nobody is positioned better to be a successor to Kris and that franchise than Lisa and her family.”

In early January, after starring on RHOBH for eight seasons, Lisa confirmed her departure with a statement to PEOPLE.

“This is the longest job I have held in my 35 year career and I am grateful to everyone at Bravo and all those involved in the series,” she shared. “It has been a fun eight-year run and I am excited for what is to come!”

Then, weeks later, while appearing on an episode of Watch What Happens Live, Harry confirmed he has a cooking show in the works.

“A big network has asked me to do a cooking show and I’m in the process of putting that together,” he revealed.

Harry also dished on his wife’s potential return to the small screen during an interview with Entertainment Tonight, saying, “I’m sure she’s gonna be busy very soon.”

“Already people are talking to her about stuff. We’re busy right now, put it that way,” he teased.

He then added, to PEOPLE, that Lisa was “already talking to studios about getting going on something else.”

Lisa appeared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in a full-time role from season five through season 12.


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