It’s Thursday, September 23rd - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - An emergency rule issued by Florida's new surgeon general allows students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to remain at school as long as they're asymptomatic.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that the state will be taking a "symptoms-based approach" to COVID-19 in schools that will no longer require asymptomatic students to be quarantined or stay home. Students who are sick will still have to stay home, and students who were in close contact with a COVID-19 case but aren't experiencing symptoms should still be monitored, DeSantis said. DeSantis said keeping healthy kids out of classrooms is "incredibly disruptive," and said parents should determine whether a healthy child stays home or goes to school.
No. 2 - The U.S. moved a step closer Wednesday to offering booster doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to senior citizens and others at high risk from the virus as the Food and Drug Administration signed off on the targeted use of extra shots.
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The FDA authorized booster doses for Americans who are 65 and older, younger adults with underlying health conditions and those in jobs that put them at high risk for COVID-19. The ruling represents a drastically scaled back version of the Biden administration’s sweeping plan to give third doses to nearly all American adults to shore up their protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. However, more regulatory hurdles lie ahead before the dispensing of boosters can begin.
No. 3 - An abortion bill similar to one signed into law in Texas was filed in Florida on Wednesday that would ban most abortions in the state and would allow lawsuits against doctors who violate it.
The legislation filed by Republican Rep. Webster Barnaby immediately met with opposition from Democrats who want to preserve the right to legal abortions. Barnaby's office said he wasn't ready to comment on it. While similar bills have died in the Florida Legislature in past sessions, the debate has heated up since the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to block the Texas law that bans abortion when a so-called “fetal heartbeat” is detected, or about six weeks into pregnancy, before many women realize they are expecting.
No. 4 - Gabby Petito was killed by another person, a Wyoming county coroner determined a day ago as the remains found in Grand Teton National Park over the weekend were confirmed to be the missing 22-year-old New York woman. But a key question - how exactly did she die - remains pending further analysis, officials have said.
In the meantime, her family's attorney is threatening legal action against the family attorney of her missing fiancé, claiming the lawyer is using Gabby's picture to promote his law practice. The spat comes as law enforcement tries to answer what is now their main question: where is the FBI's prime suspect, her 23-year-old fiancé Brian Laundrie? He's been missing for more than a week now after purportedly telling his parents he was heading out for a hike in a sprawling nature preserve.
No. 5 - More clues are surfacing in the disappearance of Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito — and several social media users are examining every shred of evidence with excruciating attention to detail.
Facebook groups, YouTube commentaries and TikTok videos dedicated to discussing Petito’s case have sprouted in recent weeks, with users exchanging theories and information about the 22-year-old Instagram influencer. The case has generated widespread public attention, sparking online debates and discussion about what happened to the “#VanLife” influencer. As clues and evidence continue to mount, experts warn that observations shared online could be misleading or false. Click here for the story from the NBC 6 digital team.
No. 6 - The Miami Dolphins will have a new starting quarterback for at least one week after Tua Tagovailoa was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The signal caller will miss the game after suffering a fractured ribs injury early in last Sunday's blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills. Tagovailoa was carted off the sideline during the first quarter, getting knocked out in the second series. The Dolphins initially said he was questionable to return, then ruled him out. Jacoby Brissett came in at quarterback. Brissett will be the team's starter with Reid Sinnett expected to be his backup.