It’s been over three years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and scientists still aren’t sure how it all started. But new intel has put one theory front and center. Angie has the details.
Plus – some major rule changes are coming to America’s oldest pastime.
Those stories and more, today on Notice News.
New Intelligence on How COVID-19 May Have Started
Hey guys and happy Tuesday from Notice HQ in Brooklyn, I’m Jonathan.
Three years ago this winter, the coronavirus pandemic started rapidly spreading around the world, and as of today has killed over 6.8 million people.
But how did it all start? Our Washington correspondent Angie reports.
Angie: Three years ago, a dangerous virus leaking out of a science lab causing a global pandemic that killed millions would have probably sounded like a science fiction novel.
But now, some parts of our government believe that actually might be how the COVID-19 pandemic started.
This weekend, news outlets reported new intelligence has led the U.S. Department of Energy to conclude the pandemic “likely” began after the COVID virus accidentally leaked out of a laboratory in Wuhan, China. While media also report the Energy Department’s conclusion was made with “low confidence,” they now appear to agree with the F.B.I., who concluded with “moderate confidence” in 2021 that the pandemic was caused by a lab leak.
Wuhan, China, is home to several science labs that study things like viruses for disease controls and vaccine production, and in a lab leak, a dangerous pathogen — something like the COVID-19 virus — could have made its way out of a secure facility into the general population.
But many experts remain firmly divided as to whether or not this lab leak theory is correct.
Other U.S. agencies still believe COVID-19 emerged as an animal illness that somehow jumped to humans, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told C.N.N. that there’s no definitive answer yet to what started the pandemic.
Sound: Sullivan: “Some elements of the intelligence community have reached conclusions on one side, some on the other. A number of them have said that they just don’t have enough information to be sure.”
In response to the report, China accused the U.S. of politicizing the pandemic.
The country has long denied that COVID emerged from a laboratory. Experts say understanding how this pandemic started is helpful in preventing future pandemics.
Here’s what else is making news right now.
62 people, including 14 children, died in a shipwreck off the coast of southern Italy yesterday. The ship was just the latest carrying migrants from Iran and Afghanistan, stoking more debate on immigration laws in Europe.
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments today over President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. The plan, which could cancel up to $20,000 dollars in debt per borrower, has been challenged by Republicans in 6 states.
And – the New York City Department of Transportation is in hot water for misspelling Jackie Robinson’s name on a highway sign. One more reason to always proofread your work.
Big Changes Coming to Baseball
It’s a sport often called “America’s pastime,” but have you ever been watching a baseball game and thought it was…kinda slow?
If you have, it turns out, you’re not imagining it. In 2021, the average length of a Major League Baseball game reached a peak of 3 hours and 11 minutes. For comparison, the average time in 1976 was 2 hours and 29 minutes.
Games have gotten longer and longer through the years—but not only that, there’s also less action. Last season, the MLB batting average hit an all-time low of 243.
In an effort to offset this, the MLB and the players union created an 11-person committee to change the rules. What did they come up with?
A pitch clock, meaning that batters have 30 seconds to get to home plate, and pitchers have 15 to 20 seconds to start pitching once the batter is there.
They also agreed to ban defensive shifts, where players change position for tactical reasons, and agreed to increase the size of the base, all with the aim of more action on the field.
Baseball – like all professional sports – is big business.
In recent years, baseball has struggled to attract new, younger fans – who have been pulled more to action-packed games in the NFL and the NBA. The 2023 season doesn’t officially start until March 30th, but spring training games are using these rules, and it seems to be working.
The average game time for these exhibitions is already down to 2 hours and 38 minutes.
That’s it for today – but let’s see how closely you were paying attention. Go take the Notice News quiz on our website noticenews.com.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more from us, Notice News.