A million lives lost

·7 min read

More than 1 million Americans have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. President Joe Biden condemned white supremacy while visiting with loved ones of Buffalo shooting victims. And Congress talked UFOs for the first time in 50 years.

👋 Hey! Laura here. Nothing messes up your Friday like finding out it's actually Tuesday! Here's the news you need to know.

But first, it's baaaack! 🥳 Taco Bell relaunched its beloved Mexican Pizza. Here's how to order one today.

The Short List is a snappy USA TODAY news roundup. Subscribe to the newsletter here or text messages here.

A somber milestone

When the U.S. surpassed 1 million COVID deaths on Tuesday, the grim milestone provided yet another reminder of the enormous human toll extracted by a pandemic the nation is eager to leave behind. At a time when Americans have largely ditched masks and may be more preoccupied with inflation, abortion laws and the war in Ukraine, it’s easy to forget the coronavirus has claimed more lives in this country than its deadliest conflict – an estimated 750,000 died in the Civil War – or previous outbreak. The 1918 flu pandemic killed about 675,000 people domestically. And it's not over with yet: The White House recently warned the fall and winter could bring as many as 100 million new infections.

Last Thursday, Biden ordered flags in public buildings to be flown at half-staff and issued a statement: "As a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow. To heal, we must remember. We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible.''

President Joe Biden's remarks on 1 million COVID deaths.
President Joe Biden's remarks on 1 million COVID deaths.

'White supremacy is a poison'

Joined by first lady Jill Biden, an emotional President Joe Biden met with families of shooting victims during a trip Tuesday to Buffalo, New York. Grieving with family members of the 10 people who were killed Saturday in a racially motivated mass shooting at a supermarket, the president condemned the gunman's "hateful, perverse ideology rooted in fear and racism" and called out those who have pushed the "Great Replacement Theory" – the belief that white Americans are being systematically "replaced" by immigrants and minorities. "What happened here is simple, straightforward terrorism," Biden said. "Domestic terrorism inflicted in the service of hate and a vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior." Most of the victims were Black, either shopping or working at a Tops Friendly Markets in one of Buffalo's highest concentrated African American neighborhoods.

✍️ The Backstory: Why you won't see a picture of the Buffalo suspect on our front page. These are our standards for covering mass shootings.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit the scene of a shooting at a supermarket to pay respects and speak to families of the victims of Saturday's shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit the scene of a shooting at a supermarket to pay respects and speak to families of the victims of Saturday's shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

Man killed in California church shooting charged gunman

In California, murder and attempted murder charges were filed Tuesday against a 68-year-old man who officials say was armed with handguns and Molotov cocktails when he attacked Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church members on Sunday. Dr. John Cheng, 52, was killed when he charged the gunman and tried to disarm him, authorities said. Five other churchgoers were injured in the attack, which federal authorities say is being investigated as a hate crime.

Flowers, cards and a photo of Dr. John Cheng were placed outside his office in Aliso Viejo, Calif., on May 16.
Flowers, cards and a photo of Dr. John Cheng were placed outside his office in Aliso Viejo, Calif., on May 16.

What everyone's talking about

The Short List is free, but several stories we link to are subscriber-only. Consider supporting our journalism and become a USA TODAY digital subscriber today.

'Heroes of our time' exit Mariupol steel plant

A contingent of Ukrainian fighters who doggedly defended the sprawling Azovstal steel plant in the ruined city of Mariupol for weeks "fulfilled its combat mission," Ukrainian officials said, and efforts were underway Tuesday to evacuate the last of the group. "Mariupol defenders are heroes of our time," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a statement. More than 260 Ukrainian troops were evacuated to areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists. "The work to bring the guys home continues, and it requires delicacy and time," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. The steel mill has for weeks symbolized Ukraine's final holdout in Mariupol.

👉 More news: Retired colonel on Russian TV: War is going badly and will 'frankly, get worse.' Biden will meet with the leaders of Sweden and Finland. Tuesday's latest updates.

Baby, hold on: More formula is on the way

Nestlé is flying Gerber baby food formula to the United States from the Netherlands and Switzerland to address significant shortages in American supermarkets, the company announced Tuesday. Nestlé said it was prioritizing formula products that "serve a critical medical purpose as they are for babies with cow’s milk protein allergies" by moving up shipments and rushing them via air to help fill immediate needs. U.S. manufacturer Abbott Laboratories first recalled dozens of types of its Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas in February, sending many parents into a buying frenzy and emptying the aisles of supermarkets. Earlier this week, Abbott Nutrition and the Food and Drug Administration struck a deal to begin the process of reopening Abbott's Michigan baby formula factory.

An employee walks past empty shelves where baby formula would normally be located at a CVS in New Orleans on Monday, May 16, 2022. President Joe Biden's administration has announced new steps to ease the national shortage of baby formula, including allowing more imports from overseas.
An employee walks past empty shelves where baby formula would normally be located at a CVS in New Orleans on Monday, May 16, 2022. President Joe Biden's administration has announced new steps to ease the national shortage of baby formula, including allowing more imports from overseas.

Real quick

🗳 The busiest primary day of the year: Midterm primary elections are happening in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon, Kentucky and Idaho. Keep up with our live coverage.

'Where are they coming from?'

What's out there? Well, nobody's entirely sure. Government officials testified Tuesday at Congress' first public hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years as part of an effort to be more transparent about investigations into "unidentified aerial phenomena." UAPS are "a potential national security threat" and must be investigated, said Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., chair of the House Intelligence Committee’s Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation subcommittee. Sightings of UAPs have increased since the early 2000s as the stigma around reporting has decreased, according to Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray, adding that the Navy and the Department of Defense have been working to transition from relying on anecdotes from aviators to a data-driven, "all hands on deck" approach to investigating the sightings. Read on for more from the hearing.

Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray points to a video display of a UAP during a hearing of the House Intelligence, Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee hearing on "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena," on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Washington.
Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray points to a video display of a UAP during a hearing of the House Intelligence, Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee hearing on "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena," on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Washington.

🌤 Weather watch: The calendar says May, but the thermometer says July. What's the weather up to in your neck of the woods? Check your local forecast here.

A break from the news

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: 1 million US COVID-19 deaths, baby formula shortage, UFO hearing, Ukraine steel plant evacuation. It's Tuesday's news.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting