Daily Brief: Why Omicron is a Superspreading Variant, Chris Noth Accused of Sexual Assault

Also, Downtown Los Angeles breaks 133 year record for rainfall following storm this week, and more

» A Look at Why Omicron is a Superspreading COVID Variant
Researchers at the University of Hong Kong say the omicron variant multiplies about 70 times faster inside human respiratory tract tissue than the delta variant does. [NPR]

» Astroworld Festival Victims Died of ‘Compression Asphyxia,’ Medical Examiner Says The Harris County Medical Examiner’s office ruled on Thursday that all 10 victims died of “compression asphyxia,” or essentially from being suffocated by external pressure. According to the report, one victim is cited as having a contributory cause of “combined toxic effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and ethanol.” [Variety]

» Downtown Los Angeles Breaks 133-Year-old Rainfall Record After a storm swept through Southern California earlier this week, the Downtown L.A. area broke a more than century old record for rainfall. On Dec. 14, 1888, DTLA had .96 inches of rain, but on Dec. 14, 2021, the area was reported to have 2.16 inches of rainfall. [NBC Los Angeles]

» Chris Noth Accused of Sexual Assault by Two Women The two women, who don’t know each other and approached The Hollywood Reporter separately, told the publication that they were sexually assaulted by the Sex and the City star. Noth, who plays the husband of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), known as “Mr. Big,” on the TV series, denied the allegations in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, but the possibility of legal issues led Peloton to pull its new viral ad starring the actor. [Los Angeles Times]

» Investigators Obtain Search Warrant for Alec Baldwin’s Phone Nearly two months after the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the movie set of Rust, a judge granted police access to Alec Baldwin’s smartphone. [New York Times]


» LAX Officials Say Holiday Travel Could Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels An estimated 3.5 million people will be passing through the airport’s terminals until Jan. 3

» ‘Destroy Me Then’: Kim Kardashian on Law Student Life, What She’ll Sacrifice for Justice Reform On this week’s episode of Bari Weiss’s ”Honestly” podcast, Kardashian discussed why she decided to take on this mission and what it’s like to wield true influence beyond the realm of social media

» This Is How Much LAX Is Getting For A Facelift Thanks to the Infrastructure Bill Sen. Alex Padilla said the money will help the city upgrade terminals, runways, and other improvements at LAX and other California airports


Jimmy Stewart (Illustration by Christopher Hughes)

This Holiday Season You Can Watch Three Classics On Blu-Ray

Though it flopped upon its release in 1946, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life went on to become a perennial Christmas fable about a small-town man who learns how much his existence has mattered to those around him. It’s a deeply affecting movie and only, say, a magazine columnist with a little bit of inner Scrooge would mutter under his breath half a “Bah, humbug.” But Wonderful Life chases its bathos awfully hard and never bothers disguising manipulations that reveal more than intended. As essayist Michael Ventura once observed, what does it mean that, for all its supposed corruption and venality, the alternate-reality town of Pottersville that would have existed had George Bailey never been born often seems so much more alive, so much more human, than Bedford Falls, which is sanitized to the point of seeming embalmed?


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