Your Thursday News Crash Course

Major backlash to relaxed COVID guidelines, an indictment of Russia’s military from the inside, and Jake Paul's unparalleled, costly boxing career.

This is an excerpt from Incoming, BuzzFeed News’ morning newsletter dedicated to making sense of this chaotic world we live in. Join the club here.

The CDC admitted to COVID response failures as some experts are slamming its new relaxed guidance.

The @CDCgov has normalize the uncontrolled spread of #covid19. More people will develop Long Covid and end up with chronic diseases. That is the opposite of normal. #UrgencyofIllness

Twitter: @rubin_allergy

The CDC relaxed its COVID-prevention guidelines last week, with the justification being that there are vaccines, boosters, and treatments that reduce the likelihood that people will develop severe disease and die compared to earlier in the pandemic.

Doctors and other public health experts beg to differ, and some argue that the changes reflect what Americans want, not what’s best from a public health standpoint.

1/ The issue isn’t whether CDC is changing their guidance to what the average person might already be doing. The issue is there are still thousands of deaths, thousands infected/out of work; we aren’t any better at slowing transmission; & burden is on those who stand most to lose

Twitter: @AbraarKaran

The updated guidance — which comes at a time when more than 400 people continue to die from COVID every day in the US — includes:

  • People who have been exposed to COVID, regardless of vaccination status, no longer have to quarantine if they aren’t showing symptoms, including in schools. Many experts actually agree this change is warranted and reflects what's realistic for people to do in the pandemic.

  • Infected people who “choose to use testing to determine when to discontinue masking” can leave isolation after day five even if they still test positive on a rapid test. However, evidence shows many people are still positive on rapid tests after day five, even if they don’t have symptoms. And if you test positive on a rapid test, then you’re contagious.

  • COVID screening tests used to catch asymptomatic infections are no longer recommended “in most community settings."

  • People are no longer recommended to stay 6 feet away from others to avoid infection. But the CDC acknowledges that the closer you are to a large number of people, the higher your chances of becoming exposed to COVID, so “you may want to avoid crowded areas.”

He spoke out against his time in the Russian military. Then he fled.

  • "God, if I survive, then I’ll do everything that I can to stop this.” Russian soldier Pavel Filatyev published a 114-page account of his time in the military online and lambasted the Kremlin for pulling Russians into a war many didn't want. Read the Guardian's exclusive interview with the first known Russian soldier to flee the country after criticizing the war.

  • Another explosion in Crimea destroyed an ammunition depot on Tuesday, the Washington Post reported. Ukrainian officials haven't outright claimed responsibility, but the country's defense minister said the military is "using a strategy to ruin [Russia's] stocks, to ruin their depots, to ruin their headquarters, commander quarters.”

Snapshots

Monkeypox can cause painful sores on your butt, genitals, and mouth. People are using these treatments to combat pain. “This is very embarrassing, or maybe not embarrassing, maybe traumatic. I was laying for hours just holding my butt cheeks apart so they didn’t clench, because if they clenched, I would be destroyed."

A 25-year-old is going to prison for those scam calls telling your grandparents they need to bail you out. The criminal ring defrauded over 70 older people out of more than $2 million, authorities said.

Andrew Tate, a former kickboxer turned viral online misogynist, is getting yassified to troll his violent rhetoric. The yassification of Tate is a way to parody him: If you hate women so much, what if women memed you into being the most cliché version of feminine womanhood imaginable?

R. Kelly's attorneys decried his child sex abuse case and attributed it to a "mob justice climate."

r. kelly walks outside in a suit and sunglasses. someone holds an umbrella for him

This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault and child abuse.

More than a decade after R. Kelly was acquitted over the infamous video of him allegedly sexually assaulting and urinating on a 14-year-old, the girl in the video, who is now 37yearsold, is expected to testify that she lied to authorities about the tape under pressure from Kelly.

On Wednesday, attorneys for Kelly’s former business manager and an assistant who are accused of helping him conceal his wrongdoings in the 2000s claimed they thought the tape was fake and had no idea about Kelly's abuse at the time. According to the indictment, Kelly and business manager Derrel McDavid paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to an acquaintance in 2001 to collect the videos that purportedly showed Kelly’s sexual abuse.

This trial comes less than two months after Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on racketeering and sex trafficking charges. Kelly faces 13 counts, including producing and receiving child sexual abuse images and obstructing justice. Prosecutors also allege that he schemed with associates to round up the illicit tapes, pay off witnesses, and persuade the girl at the center of the 2008 case and her parents to lie about the true nature of her relationship with Kelly, who was her godfather.

Jake Paul is going to keep boxing and making millions, no matter what doctors say.

Jake Paul, bearded and shirtless, wails in celebration in a boxing ring after defeating some guy

Though Jake Paul the prank vlogger has supposedly been succeeded by Jake Paul the serious fighter since his January 2020 shift to professional boxing, it’s clear he’s intent on editing his public image like he might have done with a YouTube video: curating fights, creating drama, and angling unerringly for attention.

“Boxing changed my life and saved me in a lot of ways,” he told BuzzFeed News. “When you grow up in the spotlight and you’re dealt so much power and responsibility at a young age, it’s easy to fumble. And that’s what I did.”

Departing from the platform that earned him fame and notoriety puts distance between him and serious past allegations (of which there are many) in a way his peers haven’t been able to pull off. His supporters and detractors keep tuning in to see what he does with the rare combination of cash, infamy, and talent, and it’s paying the bills — Forbes reported he made $40 million in 2021. With boxing, Paul is still making money off his personality, despite his estimated 20 to 30 concussions and the fact that he’s yet to fight a professional boxer.

“You have Floyd Mayweather. Then there was Conor McGregor. And guess who’s next? Me,” Paul said. “I’m the new kid on the block and I’m the money fight.”

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