Masks required on all public transportation, Wayne County drops virus complaints, a BHM spotlight on medicine

Travelers on airplanes and public transportation like buses and subways will be required to wear face masks starting next week to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a mask-wearing rule late Friday that builds on an order announced Jan. 21 by President Joe Biden.

The rule "will protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel safely even during this pandemic," said Dr. Marty Cetron, director of CDC’s division of migration and quarantine, who signed the order.

The 11-page CDC order takes effect just before midnight on Monday night. It makes refusal to wear a mask a violation of federal law, enforced by the Transportation Security Administration and other federal, state and local authorities.

The rule applies to passengers on airplanes, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares. It says travelers must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth while riding and while getting on and off rides. The order extends to waiting areas such as airports, train platforms and subway stations.

Airlines already require masks and have banned more than 2,000 passengers for refusing to wear one. Flight attendant unions have said a federal rule will make it easier for crews to enforce the requirement.

The order exempts children under 2 years of age and people with a disability that makes it unsafe to wear a mask. Airlines struggled with an exemption for safety and stopped allowing it. The CDC said transportation operators can require medical documentation.

Travelers will be allowed to remove masks while eating or drinking.

- from the Associated Press

Black History Month: Spotlighting medical research milestones

FOX 2 is honoring some of the nation's most famous and often forgotten-about figures in Black history. We'll start centuries ago before the country's founding when a slave brought to Boston revealed a way to fight deadly diseases.

Onesimus, an African slave who was taken to the U.S. in the early 1700s, is long considered the man responsible for turning the tide against smallpox when he informed the slave owner who purchased him about practices used to help people build immunity to the disease.

Centuries of progress from that moment led to the disease's eradication. Milestones from Back Americans parallel Onesimus's fateful advice and medical marvels continue to evolve the public health landscape.

In 2020, it was Dr. Kizzy Corbett who is credited with providing key research that led to the creation of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, one of the two most available doses available to the public in the fight against the coronavirus.

Michigan's top elected officials take aim at election fraud attorneys

Attorney General Dana Nessel, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are working to disbar four lawyers after litigation alleging election fraud made little progress in the state court system.

In a complaint filed with the Attorney Grievance Commission of the State of Michigan and the State Bar of Texas, all three asked that Greg Rohl, Scott Hagerstrom, and Stephanie Juntila of Michigan, as well as Sydne Powell of Texas, to be disbarred. 

In a press release, Nessel said all four attorneys filed lawsuits "based on falsehoods and used their law license in an attempt to disenfranchise Michigan voters" which undermined the faith of the public and eventually led to the violence and unrest.

Rohl, in an interview with FOX 2, said he represented disgruntled electors because "where else are they going to get relief. Because they thought there was an issue and when I read the complaint, I thought there was an issue. And I still do, quite honestly. There is some corruptness if you will, that tainted our process. 

How will Detroit restaurant community recover?

The recovery of Detroit's restaurant community likely won't follow a linear path as foot traffic in the city has been forever altered by COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, the economic rebound may be unequal based on geography.

Restaurants downtown have all but closed for lunch due to the dearth of offices that are housing employees for work during the day. Mix in capacity limits and curfew and they could struggle to return.

But outside of the downtown area, where more residential neighborhoods are located, it's a different story. "The neighborhood retailers in hospitality, emerged a lot faster than downtown because they have built-in audiences (and) more residents," said Dennis Archer, who owns establishments in Campus Martius.

Many of the smaller cafes, restaurants, and coffee shops with a more loyal customer base in their backyards could find navigating 2021 easier than some.

Wayne County drops cases related to pandemic orders

The Wayne County prosecutor has dismissed more than 1,700 tickets issued during the COVID-19 pandemic after the order enacting laws that were broken was thrown out by the state Supreme Court last August.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy said more than 1,600 tickets were misdemeanors that had been filed in Detroit and were still pending prior to this week. The charges included breaking gathering limits, keeping businesses open, or any other violations of the governor's pandemic orders. 

"However, considering the Supreme Court’s decision, WCPO will no longer use criminal prosecution to enforce the Governor’s Executive Order," said Worthy. "It is my earnest hope that people will continue to wear face masks, social distance, quarantine when warranted."

Last year, the Michigan State Supreme Court ruled the governor's authority she drew from a 1945 emergency law does not apply and it was an "unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch."

Police responding to shoplifting report get taken on downriver chase

Wyandotte police responded to a CVS a little have midnight after receiving a report of a shoplifting in progress. Upon arrival, they approached a man who fled on foot before jumping in a vehicle and taking off.

The suspect led police on a chase from Wyandotte, through Lincoln Park, Ecorse, and into Detroit, reaching speeds of 90 miles an hour at points throughout the pursuit.

After marooning himself on snow and getting trapped in a resident's front yard, he made several escape attempts, including ramming a Wyandotte police car. He eventually escaped on foot before Detroit police assisted in the search and spotted him running through a neighborhood. 

A standoff ensued before Detroit police negotiated a peaceful surrender. The man, now in custody, may be responsible for a number of thefts in the Downriver area. 

What we're keeping an eye on

  1. The Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center, a Detroit-based nonprofit has been busy making high-quality face masks for the pandemic. A good way to stay protected this pandemic and buy local is looking for the ISAIC 3-ply masks
  2. Taylor police are asking people to be on the lookout for a man posing as a DTE Energy employee who has been working his way through homes in the community and stealing money and jewelry.
  3. A Clawson man believed to be on drugs at the time he killed his best friend over the weekend is expected to be arraigned in court Tuesday 
  4. The Detroit Institute of Art is celebrating Black History month 2021 with an array of events throughout February. That includes an ongoing art project of creating work inspired by Charles McGee's painting Noah's Ark: Genesis.
  5. The Michigan governor will be joined by GOP and Democratic leaders to kick off a new $30 million scholarship initiative that offers a chance for getting a tuition-free associate or skills certificate. More info will be released this afternoon.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Regardless of the whims of a rodent on Groundhog Day, it's winter now. Temperatures are forecasted to climb up to 31 degrees. Expect more inclement weather later in the week.

Punxsutawney Phil goes virtual for Groundhog Day 2021

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor pandemic keeps Punxsutawney Phil from emerging from his burrow to forecast whether there will be six more weeks of winter or an early spring.

The spectacle that is Groundhog Day at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, will still go on but because of the coronavirus pandemic, revelers won't be able to see him and celebrate in person: This year, it's all virtual.

Beginning at 6:30 a.m. EST Tuesday, people can log on and listen to winter- and spring-inspired Spotify playlists while learning how to make Wigle Whiskey cocktails and at-home crafts, including the official cookie of Groundhog Day.

Then of course, the prognosticator of prognosticators — assisted by his Inner Circle — will emerge at dawn, either to find his shadow or not. If he sees it? Six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't, spring comes early.