A new COVID-19 treatment? – USA TODAY

Drugmakers seek FDA authorization for molnupiravir, an antiviral pill to treat COVID-19. Southwest Airlines apologized for a rash of flight cancellations. And what was that loud boom in New Hampshire?

👋 Hey! Laura here, with Monday’s top news, just for you.

But first, “you do you.” 🏳️‍🌈  It’s National Coming Out Day, and social media has lit up with people sharing their personal LGBTQ stories in support of the holiday and those who aren’t ready to come out.

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A pill for COVID-19? 

It could be possible soon. Pharmaceutical companies Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced Monday they requested emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for molnupiravir, an antiviral drug that offers the promise that COVID-19 could soon be treated by a pill. Molnupiravir, an orally ingested pill, is used to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 in adults at risk of worsening to severe COVID-19 or hospitalization. An interim analysis from a clinical trial found the medicine reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%.

Southwest cancellations send travelers scrambling

Southwest Airlines apologized for this weekend’s meltdown in a memo to employees after 1,900 flight cancellations stranded travelers and flight crews across the country. Southwest’s longtime operations chief and new president, Mike Van de Ven, said operations “seem to be on track for a reset so that Monday is more normal.” Travelers should check their flight status before heading to the airport. As of 11 a.m. EDT Monday, Southwest had canceled more than 360 flights, or 10% of its operation, according to FlightAware. The airline said air traffic control issues and bad weather in Florida were to blame for the initial cancellations and delays that quickly snowballed as crews timed out and couldn’t fly planned flights. Some couldn’t even find hotels to stay in. All this against a backdrop of staffing problems that have dogged the airline and others all summer.

What everyone’s talking about

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US celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day

A growing number of cities replace Columbus Day – celebrated Monday – with Indigenous Peoples Day. President Joe Biden issued the first presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day, lending the most significant boost to efforts to refocus the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus toward an appreciation of Native people. Columbus Day commemorates the arrival of the Italian explorer to North America in 1492. Native American groups say the holiday embraces Western colonialism and pays tribute to a man who promoted the trans-Atlantic slave trade and is responsible for the genocide of Indigenous people. Some Italian Americans see the move to scrap the holiday as an affront to their ethnic heritage.

Kenya dominates 2021 Boston Marathon

Run, Kenya, run! In the first Boston Marathon in 30 months after last year’s race was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Benson Kipruto of Kenya won the men’s race in an unofficial time of 2:09:51, and countrywoman Diana Kipyogei claimed the women’s race in an unofficial time of 2:24:45. It was Kipruto’s first Boston Marathon victory, and second overall victory of the year after he won the 2021 Prague Marathon. Kipyogei won the race in her debut. This was the 125th Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annually run marathon. This year’s race was supposed to take place on the third Monday in April, as is customary, but it was postponed because COVID-19 cases were at concerning levels. All runners were required to have proof of vaccination or a negative test to participate. For the first time in Boston Marathon history, staggered start times were implemented to accommodate social distancing.

Real quick

New Hampshire heard a boom

It was a fairly typical October morning in New Hampshire on Sunday until a strange boom rattled much of the state, as well as parts of Massachusetts and Maine. Residents reported feeling like their homes were shaking after the boom, leaving some people to suspect a large earthquake had occurred. Data from the National Earthquake Information Center showed no earthquake in the Northeast in the past week. With no evidence of an earthquake, residents are left wondering what caused the mysterious sound. No person or agency has confessed to being behind the incident. 🤷

A break from the news

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