5 things to know for February 16: Stimulus, Capitol riot, Covid-19, weather, Ebola

Newly released videos paint an alarming picture of just how much worse the Capitol attack could have been. CNN's Tom Foreman takes a closer look.

Posted: Feb 16, 2021 3:50 PM
Updated: Feb 16, 2021 3:50 PM

Happy Mardi Gras! Though Covid-19 canceled New Orleans' legendary Carnival parades, residents have responded by turning their houses into floats. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Stimulus 

Millions of Americans stand to lose their unemployment benefits in less than a month, meaning the pressure is on for Congress to reach an agreement on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion economic rescue proposal. Despite Biden's hopes for a bipartisan deal, a process is underway that would allow Democrats to pass the bill through the Senate with just 51 votes. The House is on track to pass their portion of the proposal as soon as next week. But the bill could face a tougher time in the Senate. Progressive and moderate Democrats there will have to settle a series of philosophical debates over its scope, including whether they are willing to spend $1.9 trillion and whether they want to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of the bill.

2. Capitol riot

New audio and video recordings from the January 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill offer even more insight into how some rioters had little fear of police as they launched a large, coordinated attack. The footage also highlights the restraint of police at the scene, and suggests the riot could have been deadlier had officers acted more aggressively. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans for a commission to investigate the riot, similar to the one that examined the 9/11 terror attacks. But some of the extremists who entered the Capitol that day are carrying on as before. As the FBI investigates members of the extremist, anti-government Oath Keepers, the group's leader might even be emboldened. And Parler, the social network on which some of the rioters organized, is back online after it went dark for a month.

3. Coronavirus

One of most surprising success stories on vaccine rollout comes from the UK. At the height of the pandemic last year, the British had one of the highest national death tolls in the world. Now, thanks to an early series of big bets on then-unproven vaccines, as well as its centralized National Health Service, the UK has the third-highest vaccination rate in the world -- behind only Israel and the UAE. That's especially good news, as more evidence suggests that the coronavirus variant first identified in the UK is linked to more severe disease. The UK's success comes as new research from Israel finds that the Pfizer-Biotech vaccine appears to reduce symptomatic coronavirus infections by more than 90%. Elsewhere in the world, the rollout hasn't gone as smoothly: Peru's foreign minister resigned recently after being outraged that government officials had been vaccinated even before the country started offering doses to health care workers.

4. Winter storms

It's colder out there than it has been in decades. About 200 million people remain under some sort of weather-related alert after a winter storm that has pummeled much of the US. The storm moves into the Northeast today, leaving a heavy trail of snow and ice in its path. That's after snow blanketed the usually temperate states of Texas and Oklahoma. If you're one of the millions of customers whose power has gone out or will go out at some point this week, these tips can help you stay warm and safe. And in another extreme weather event, three people were killed and 10 more were injured after a tornado ripped through a coastal North Carolina community.

5. Ebola

Countries in West Africa are on high alert after an Ebola outbreak in Guinea. The nation confirmed at least seven cases of the disease, including three deaths, on Sunday. The World Health Organization has teams on the ground and is working to procure the Ebola vaccine, which has helped control recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The world's largest Ebola outbreak to date began in Guinea in 2014, spreading into neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone through 2016. More than 28,000 people were infected by the severe disease, and more than 11,000 of them died.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

After a recent surge of attacks, hundreds of people are volunteering to escort elderly Asian Americans to help keep them safe

There's still some good in this world.

Scientists have discovered strange life forms under Antarctica's giant floating ice shelves

They're dumbfounded at how these creatures are able to survive such extreme conditions -- and think they might possibly have stumbled on a new species.

Meanwhile, here's how the animal friends we know stay warm during extreme cold

From the penguins who cuddle together to the alligators with their noses frozen above ice, how some critters have adapted is truly a sight to behold.

French workers can now eat lunch at their desks without breaking the law

The days of multi-course meals with colleagues in bistros seem so far away.

Machine Gun Kelly says he wears girlfriend Megan Fox's blood around his neck

Who still thinks romance is dead?

PROFILES IN PERSEVERANCE

February is Black History Month, and every day we're highlighting Black pioneers in American history. Learn more here.

Jane Bolin, judge, 1908-2007

Bolin made history again and again. She was the first Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School. The first Black woman to join the New York City Bar Association. The nation's first Black female judge. But she didn't dwell on those achievements. "I wasn't concerned about (being) first, second or last," she said in 1993. "My work was my primary concern."

TODAY'S NUMBER

$60

The price of US oil rose above that number per barrel for the first time since January 2020. It's all thanks to a strange combination of vaccines, economic optimism and a rare bout of winter weather in Texas.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"When I see Vice President Harris and her husband, I see us."

Nikki Buskirk, a 37-year-old Black woman who sees her own marriage to a White man reflected in Kamala Harris' interracial relationship. Harris' example could inspire some Black women to reexamine a taboo that has shaped many of their private lives, CNN's John Blake writes.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

A pixelated, 3D masterpiece

This artist uses thousands of Legos to create portraits of iconic figures. Watch how he does it. (Click here to view.)

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1608825

Reported Deaths: 27176
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook61448710970
DuPage1040741359
Will874621090
Lake772361061
Kane65993851
Winnebago39106545
Madison38249578
St. Clair35065570
McHenry33116316
Peoria26021362
Champaign25923183
Sangamon24663271
McLean21935208
Tazewell19792326
Rock Island17877346
Kankakee16821235
Kendall15501107
Macon14525244
LaSalle14520275
Vermilion13288190
Adams12718148
DeKalb11695129
Williamson11483159
Whiteside7925176
Jackson772889
Boone761282
Coles7381113
Ogle715787
Grundy702881
Franklin691399
Clinton682098
Knox6677164
Marion6559138
Macoupin649399
Henry624074
Jefferson6086132
Effingham608582
Livingston572896
Woodford555191
Stephenson548889
Randolph530297
Monroe509199
Christian493980
Fulton489670
Morgan488196
Logan478674
Montgomery469276
Lee459558
Bureau428388
Perry415871
Saline411764
Fayette401358
Iroquois395873
McDonough356256
Jersey323153
Shelby315643
Douglas307336
Crawford306030
Lawrence301931
Union297147
Wayne274657
White266830
Richland263255
Hancock258434
Pike256856
Clark251938
Cass251528
Bond244424
Clay240747
Edgar236345
Ford235656
Warren226061
Carroll225837
Johnson214424
Moultrie212431
Jo Daviess206926
Washington206227
Wabash201616
Greene200939
Mason200151
Massac199544
De Witt196330
Piatt191414
Mercer191234
Cumberland179325
Menard159812
Jasper153118
Marshall134921
Hamilton129521
Brown10198
Pulaski98711
Schuyler9728
Edwards96615
Stark77027
Gallatin7496
Scott6975
Alexander67811
Henderson65614
Calhoun6452
Hardin56114
Putnam5454
Pope4845
Unassigned1892432
Out of IL80

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 944708

Reported Deaths: 15343
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1287051987
Lake634321097
Allen53759760
Hamilton43980448
St. Joseph42010590
Elkhart33651491
Vanderburgh30486449
Tippecanoe26872250
Johnson23685417
Hendricks22354341
Porter21799347
Clark17493231
Madison17439384
Vigo16209284
Monroe14515191
LaPorte14350239
Delaware14134222
Howard13921273
Kosciusko11448135
Hancock10886166
Warrick10715177
Bartholomew10589169
Floyd10471206
Wayne10020226
Grant9165204
Morgan8895160
Boone8417111
Dubois7748123
Dearborn764990
Henry7648130
Noble7435101
Marshall7384128
Cass7209117
Lawrence6999153
Shelby6616111
Jackson659186
Gibson6177107
Harrison606286
Huntington603195
Montgomery5830105
DeKalb578391
Knox5506104
Miami545788
Putnam540568
Clinton535965
Whitley526553
Steuben499768
Wabash486292
Jasper481860
Jefferson472892
Ripley456077
Adams445568
Daviess4209108
Scott407965
White392957
Clay392857
Greene390592
Wells388784
Decatur385996
Fayette377278
Posey361541
Jennings354356
Washington333747
LaGrange323575
Spencer319536
Fountain317955
Randolph314889
Sullivan308449
Owen284863
Starke281464
Fulton280054
Orange276859
Jay256338
Perry252552
Carroll244929
Franklin240538
Rush235630
Vermillion234450
Parke221020
Tipton210555
Pike209539
Blackford169634
Pulaski165551
Crawford146718
Newton145245
Benton143516
Brown135546
Martin129317
Switzerland126210
Warren115516
Union97711
Ohio80111
Unassigned0479