The News You Need To Read This Morning

The pandemic we avoided, the Uvalde lives lost due to police incompetence, and the books you should read right now.

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.

How we stopped mpox from becoming another pandemic

an illustration of a black umbrella with a tiny usa flag on top, red dots fall from the sky

In summer 2022, there was a storm of warnings, declarations, articles, tweets, push notifications, and social media conversations about mpox (formerly known as monkeypox). But the tide on this global outbreak seems to have turned.

Cases are way down and trending in the right direction. The highest single-day case count in the US for mpox was 635 on Aug. 1. Now, the CDC reports there were fewer than 10 cases most days in early December, and the US Department of Health and Human Services announced on Dec. 2 it would not be seeking to renew its public health declaration for mpox.

Mpox didn't just vanish on its own: The White House created a National Monkeypox Response office to lead a science-based vaccination campaign. After it was established that mpox was spreading primarily through sexual contact — and that most of the cases were identified in gay and bisexual men — experts asked at-risk people to essentially avoid casual sex. In addition, a collective of individuals and organizations (including Grindr) banded together to ensure that information was widely disseminated about symptoms, risks, and vaccine availability.

“We are in such a different place than the last time I talked to you,” Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the National Monkeypox Response deputy coordinator, told BuzzFeed News. “You know, it’s kind of exciting to have this conversation. … We’re now down over 93% from the peak of the outbreak. Now, we’re pushing toward a point where monkeypox isn’t a part of everyday life in the US.”

A possible Zelensky–Biden linkup

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky may visit the White House on Wednesday, Reuters reports. Sources say that Zelensky could take his first known trip outside Ukraine since war broke out in February, but that security issues could result in a last-minute change of plans.


The former police officer who killed Atatiana Jefferson has been sentenced to almost 12 years in prison. A jury delivered the sentence after finding Aaron Dean guilty of manslaughter — but not murder — in the 2019 fatal shooting of the 28-year-old Black woman.

J.K. Rowling responded to a trans YouTuber's call to boycott a new Hogwarts video game. It didn't go well. Rowling became a global celebrity for introducing the world to Harry Potter in 1997, but her name has become inextricably associated with her anti-trans remarks in the last decade.

Millie Bobby Brown has been called out by an intimacy coordinator after she bragged about kissing her costar Louis Partridge without his consent after "hurting him" with real punches. The intimacy coordinator also acknowledged the power imbalance between the Stranger Things star and the lesser-known actor.

Some Uvalde victims were still alive when medics reached them but they were not immediately taken to the hospital

Crosses with victims' names are decorated in front of the Robb Elementary School sign

Uvalde shooting victims who were still alive when they were finally removed from the school building were not immediately treated or transported to a facility for the emergency care they needed, records obtained by news outlets show.

Nineteen children and two adults died after a shooter opened fire at Robb Elementary School on May 24. But one teacher and two children were still alive when medical staff reached them, the report said. The three died en route to the hospital.

The biggest cause for the delay in medical care was the confoundingly slow police response. But according to a report copublished by the Texas Tribune, ProPublica, and the Washington Post on Tuesday, a lack of coordination and poor communication between law enforcement and medical staff led to confusion and further delayed critical emergency services to victims that could have potentially saved their lives.


A person with a purple turban stands in chest-deep water in front of the Golden Temple

I read 365 books this year. Here are my recommendations for your highly specific needs.

Illustration of an open book covered with numbers

Reading more is what happens when you resolve to be more offline but refuse to touch grass, Kelsey Weekman writes. But rather than fixating on how you can hack your life to become an Olympic book marathoner like some kind of Silicon Valley self-help monster, Weekman’s just going to tell you what she actually enjoyed:

These are just a few of the many, many books Weekman read and recommended. Take a look at her full roundup for more.

Still reading, eh? Seems like you might want to get this in your inbox. No pressure though. Just some food for thought.

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