Masks off

·6 min read

Masks can come off indoors if you're fully vaccinated, the CDC says. The first active-duty service member was charged in connection with the Capitol riot. And though the Colonial Pipeline is working again after a cyberattack, President Biden says it could "take some time" to replenish the gas supply but "don't panic."

👋 It's Laura. Today is Thursday, which is my Friday, which means it's time for a hike in the mountains! Hope you get into something fun this weekend!

🧠 But first, the future is here: Researchers implanted microchips into the brain of a man who was paralyzed from the neck down, and now he can write with his mind. He can also probably text faster than I can.

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Ready to ditch the masks?

Before we all forget what the bottom half of everyone's face looks like, the CDC on Thursday eased indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people. The new guidance still calls for masks in crowded indoor settings such as buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it would ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools. The CDC no longer recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds. The CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people – people who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose – in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot.

President Joe Biden takes off his mask to speak about the COVID-19 pandemic during a prime-time address from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Washington.
President Joe Biden takes off his mask to speak about the COVID-19 pandemic during a prime-time address from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Washington.

Israel, Hamas escalate heavy fighting

The death toll continues to climb in the Gaza Strip in the most severe outbreak of violence since a war in 2014. Israel on Thursday said it was massing troops along the Gaza frontier and calling up 9,000 reservists ahead of a possible ground invasion of the Hamas-ruled territory. In a burst of violence, residents in Gaza braced for more devastation as militants fired one barrage of rockets after another, and Israel carried out waves of bone-rattling airstrikes, sending plumes of smoke rising into the air. Gaza’s Health Ministry said 103 Palestinians, including 27 children and 11 women, have been killed, with 530 wounded. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks. Seven people have been killed in Israel, including a 6-year-old boy.

End of Ramadan: In the embattled Gaza Strip, the Eid al-Fitr call to prayer echoed over pulverized buildings and heaps of rubble as Israeli warplanes pound the territory. Hamas, the Islamic militant group ruling Gaza, urged the faithful to mark communal prayers inside their homes or the nearest mosques and avoid being out in the open. Eid al-Fitr, Arabic for "festival of the breaking of the fast," marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

People gather for Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on May 13.
People gather for Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on May 13.

What everyone's talking about

'Don't panic' at the pump

President Joe Biden has one message for drivers: "Don't panic." Biden said Thursday the Colonial Pipeline's vital fuel-shipping system is operating at full capacity after hackers seized control and triggered panic-buying of gasoline throughout the southeastern USA. The president warned that replenishing gas supply would "take some time." "This is not like flicking on a light switch," Biden said, noting the 5,500-mile pipeline had never been shut down before. Expect fuel shortages to improve regionally this weekend and into next week.

A pump is closed at a QuickTrip on May 11 in Atlanta.
A pump is closed at a QuickTrip on May 11 in Atlanta.

Active-duty Marine Corps officer charged in Capitol attack

Among several dozen people with ties to the military facing charges related to the attack Jan. 6 on the U.S. Capitol, a Marine Corps officer was arrested Thursday, making him the first service member on active duty charged for his role in the riot. Maj. Christopher Warnagiris, 40, who's stationed at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, is accused of forcing his way inside the Capitol by pushing through a line of police officers guarding the building. He faces several charges, including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, obstruction of law enforcement and obstruction of justice. The Justice Department said it has charged four guardsmen and reservists and about 40 veterans in the attack on the Capitol.

Maj. Christopher Warnagiris was arrested on May 13, 2021 for his alleged role in the deadly attack on the Capitol.
Maj. Christopher Warnagiris was arrested on May 13, 2021 for his alleged role in the deadly attack on the Capitol.

Real quick

Minneapolis officers' trial postponed

Citing the need to put some distance between the trial of three former Minneapolis police officers and Derek Chauvin’s trial because of the high-profile nature of the case, Judge Peter Cahill ruled that their trial will be postponed to March 2022. The three officers, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, were scheduled to face trial Aug. 23 on charges they aided and abetted in the death of George Floyd. The officers’ co-defendant, Chauvin, was convicted of murder and manslaughter counts. All four officers also face federal charges that they violated Floyd’s civil rights during his arrest May 25, 2020.

  • 'A harder case to prove': What Chauvin's guilty verdict means for three other officers charged in Floyd's death.

  • The pandemic forced judges to let livestream cameras into court. The Chauvin trial showed it could work. Will it last?

A break from the news

  • 🧖‍♀️ What is gua sha? Everything you need to know about the skin care trend.

  • 📚 Get practical: The 20 best gifts that college students actually need!

  • 🍻 Have we gone too far!? The makers of a new pickle-flavored hard seltzer, 'Afternoon Dillight,' say it's 'a really big dill.' Let us know if you try it!

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: CDC mask guidelines, the Middle East, Colonial Pipeline: It's Thursday's news

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