Are you immune? – USA TODAY

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A stunning loss for Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva. At least 13 million people are in the path of a fierce winter storm. And the latest on the situation in Ukraine.

👋 Heyo! It’s Laura. It’s Thursday. Here’s the news you need to know.

But first, how does a cabin just go missing? 🕵️‍♀️ A Michigan man called police to tell them something pretty shocking: His entire cabin was stolen.

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Majority of Americans likely immune to omicron

Offering a glimmer of hope, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that 73% of Americans are now immune to the omicron coronavirus variant, a number some experts say means future surges could require far less disruption to society. The institute figures that about half of eligible Americans have received coronavirus booster shots, plus there have been nearly 80 million confirmed infections – and many more that have never been reported. All good signs in the battle for immunity. The institute estimates that the immunity percentage could reach 80% by mid-March. The notion of a “herd immunity” that could bring the pandemic to a screeching halt has disappeared amid variants, waning immunity and vaccine hesitancy among millions of Americans. But experts agree that the immunity numbers should prevent or shorten new illnesses in protected people and reduce the amount of virus circulating overall, likely easing the brutal impact seen in previous waves.

Devastating performance for Kamila Valieva

In a story full of shocking twists, this might be the one nobody saw coming. With a disastrous performance in her long program Thursday night, Kamila Valieva – the Russian figure skating phenom at the center of an Olympic doping saga – dropped out of first place, then all the way outside medal contention. She finished fourth. It was an agonizing meltdown for a 15-year-old who, for more than a week, faced global media scrutiny – prompting criticism of the adults in her inner circle, frustration with the bureaucratic levers of the Olympic movement and heartbreak for the teen in the middle of it all. Catch up on Thursday’s events at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

What everyone’s talking about

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Biden warns of ‘very high’ risk of Russian invasion of Ukraine

Russia sent an American diplomat home from Moscow as tensions remained Thursday in the conflict over Ukraine. NATO allies have accused Russia of misleading the world and disseminating “disinformation” by saying it was returning some troops to bases, charging that Moscow instead added as many as 7,000 more troops near its tense border with Ukraine. The Russian government, meanwhile, responded to American security proposals, and the U.S. is evaluating the reply, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. The U.S. and Russia have been trading replies on Moscow’s demands over security concerns related to Ukraine. Russia wants guarantees that NATO never admit Ukraine and other former Soviet nations as members, and that the alliance roll back troop deployments in other former Soviet bloc countries. In Washington, President Joe Biden told reporters the threat of a Russian invasion is “very high” and could take place in the next several days. What we know about the situation.

13 million in path of powerful winter storm

A powerful storm that threatened to dump snow, spark flooding and whip up tornadoes swept across much of the Midwest, South and Northeast on Thursday. A swath of 1,500 miles from western Oklahoma to northern Maine was under some form of winter weather alert, with more than 13 million people under a winter storm warning, the National Weather Service said. The storm could bring half a foot to a foot of snow in the narrow stretch from the south-central Plains to the Great Lakes. Severe thunderstorms with strong winds, hail and the potential for tornadoes could wreak havoc from Texas to Alabama, forecasts showed, with weather conditions ripe for tornadoes to form in several states. Check the latest weather updates here.

Real quick

Another stinkin’ recall

An undisclosed amount of Brut deodorant and Sure antiperspirant sprays are being voluntarily recalled because of the presence of the cancer-causing chemical benzene. In a statement posted on the Food and Drug Administration website, HRB Brands said that while benzene is not an ingredient in any of the impacted products, a review found “unexpected levels of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can.” The recall affects four types of Brut spray and two types of Sure spray with an expiration date on or before August 2023. The FDA advises consumers who have the affected sprays to stop using the products and discard them appropriately. Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen, according to the FDA. Exposure can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow, as well as potentially life-threatening blood disorders, said the agency.

A break from the news

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