The new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, has led to a rapid increase in the number of positive cases in the United States of America. Many cities have doubled down on the mask mandate and vaccination requirements, while private organizations have reverted to virtual gatherings only.
Over 1,100 flights were cancelled right around Christmas weekend. Many universities sent their students home and cancelled all in-person classes and final examinations. Saturday Night Live cancelled their live show performance as well.
A group of customers who are against vaccination arrived at Donald Trump’s restaurant on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where you are required to show proof of vaccination, expecting to be let inside. “We came to Trump Tower because we thought Donald Trump was supposed to be for America, he said he’s against vaccine mandates,” said an unmasked protester. A few days ago, Trump stated that he got the booster shot and was met with boos from the crowd.
Even the National Football League, National Basketball Association and other premier leagues are trying to adapt to vaccination requirements. The NFL player, Cole Beasly, who proudly stands by his anti-vax rhetoric, was charged almost $100,000 for breaking Covid protocol. Aaron Rodgers, another NFL player, had submitted (unsuccessfully) a petition to the NFL to accept his ‘alternative’ to being vaccinated. Both players were criticized on social media for their stance.
Catsuits have been described as the most popular fashion item of the year. Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, Taylor Swift and others have been spotted wearing them and the fashion magazine, Vogue, says that catsuits are making a comeback.
A catsuit is essentially a one-piece similar to Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman costume from the 1992 film, Batman Returns. Taylor Swift sported a lacy one when she performed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with a classic black blazer on top. Hailey Bieber was seen in a stylish floral, purple designer catsuit at Miami Art Basel. Last month, Priyanka Chopra Jonas wore a colourful floral catsuit at the British Fashion Awards. It was designed by Richard Quinn who made it look like a flowing gown with a cape to go with it.
Kim Kardashian has been seen in several Balenciaga pieces, including a hot pink one for her debut as a Saturday Night Live host. Sandra Bullock attended her film premiere with a gold, sequinned turtleneck piece and a black blazer.
According to Vogue, the renewed popularity of the catsuit, especially during the pandemic, is primarily because it takes little effort but is fashionable. Only time will tell whether they are here to stay.
Share the joy
This Christmas, people in the US had to deal with the uncertainty of the pandemic while buying last-minute presents amidst a food and supply shortage. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American is expected to spend about $648 on present shopping this year. Most shopped online and many began as early as October, fearing that supplies will be limited.
Celebrities posted their Christmas pictures on Instagram. Mariah Carey shared a picture celebrating one billion streams of her holiday classic, “All I Want for Christmas is You”, on Spotify. Ed Sheeran’s latest hit, “Merry Christmas”, with Elton John was played at 7 pm each night last week on local radio channels in New York and was synched to a light show on the Empire State Building.
Further uptown, the Rockefeller tree also dazzled on Christmas day. It was decorated with 50,000 multicoloured lights and had a 900-pound crystal star placed right on top.
The first-ever 3D-printed house on the market went to a family living in Virginia, just before Christmas. The house was built by Habitat for Humanity in partnership with Alquist, a 3D printing construction company.
The house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and is 1,200 square feet. Alquist printed the walls with concrete instead of the traditional lumber. The new homeowner had volunteered over 300 hours of her time which made her eligible for this innovative home. She will be paying back an interest-free mortgage. “Many people think Habitat gives homes away; we don’t,” said a representative for the organization. “We sell homes to families with low-to-moderate incomes.”
The construction crew took 12 hours to print the house and will be retrofitting it with solar panels. The house also includes a 3D printer which will allow the homeowner to print bulbs, light switch covers and other basic replacement parts.
The Habitat for Humanity stated that its mission is to provide affordable housing to lower income families and hopes to sponsor many more houses in the future. Local media, politicians and others gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Another project in Austin, Texas is expected to be the world’s largest community of 3D-printed homes. About a hundred single-story houses will be printed on-site using advanced robotics as well as concrete material.
You can get rich while being boosted and ready to face the New Year. New York City is offering $100 to those getting their second or third Covid booster shot between December 21-31 at a city-run site as well as those run by SOMOS Community Care. This is part of the $10 million advertising campaign by the outgoing mayor, Bill de Blasio. Earlier, the city had offered the chance to win in a $5 million lottery for getting vaccinated in the form of a ‘Vax & Scratch” ticket.