5 things to know for February 19: Texas, Iran, Covid-19, NASA, Capitol riot

Thomas Black took the powerful image symbolizing the winter weather crisis that continues to pummel the state of Texas. Black spoke with CNN's Chris Cuomo to detail the challenges he and his neighbors continue to face.

Posted: Feb 19, 2021 8:40 AM
Updated: Feb 19, 2021 8:40 AM

More than 60 million people still are under winter weather alerts. It's probably going to be cold again today, though some of you can expect things to warm up this weekend and into next week.

Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Texas

The lights are back on for most Texans, after a devastating week of freezing temperatures and winter storms. But now the state is facing a new crisis: nearly half of its residents are having to boil water due to a critically low water supply. Some are dealing with burst pipes and flooded homes, while others are struggling to find food. Carbon monoxide poisonings are spiking. To add to that, some Texans face yet another round of record lows tonight into tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz is under fire after flying to Cancun while his constituents were suffering. He has since called his decision a mistake.

2. Iran

The Biden administration says the US is willing to sit down for talks with Tehran and other signatories to the Iran nuclear deal. It's a significant move meant to break an impasse between the two nations, given that neither the US nor Iran had taken any real steps yet to salvage the agreement (which the US abandoned during the Trump administration). Until now, both sides had insisted that the other act first. It's one of several such efforts that the Biden government unveiled Thursday to jumpstart diplomacy. Still, it's unclear whether Iran would accept and a meeting has yet to be scheduled.

3. Coronavirus

The governors of some of the biggest US states are facing intense criticism over their leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is under fire for his restrictive stay-at-home orders that some say crippled the economy, even as he attended a party in a fancy restaurant. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is being panned for how he handled nursing home deaths. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing accusations of political favoritism after a pop-up vaccination site was set up to serve affluent zip codes. At the same time, more than 1,500 cases of concerning variants have been reported in the US as vaccine efforts experience weather delays. That means people will have to work "double time" to get vaccinations back on track, says Dr. Anthony Fauci.

4. NASA

Perseverance, NASA's most advanced rover to date, has flawlessly landed itself on Mars after a monthslong, 292.5 million-mile journey from Earth. "Percy" -- as she is otherwise known -- sent back her first images immediately after touchdown, showing her shadow on the surface of the landing site. The rover is going to be exploring Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient lake that existed 3.9 billion years ago, and searching for microfossils in the rocks and soil there. The mission is historic, and might finally yield answers to the long-enduring question: Was there ever life on Mars?

5. Capitol riot

Six US Capitol Police officers have been suspended with pay, and 29 others have been placed under investigation, over their actions in the January 6 riot, the department said. The announcement comes during a time of turmoil for the force, as its officers continue to grapple with the events that led to the death of one of their colleagues. Members of the Capitol Police issued a vote of no confidence in the department's top leaders earlier this month. At least seven officers in five other departments across the nation have also come under internal investigations as their presence in Washington during the assault comes to light through social media or other means. And as those probes continue, the number could grow.. And as those investigations continue, the number could grow.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Tim Tebow's professional baseball career has come to an end

The 33-year-old former college and NFL quarterback announced he's retiring from the sport.

Remember that proposal to have a statue of Dolly Parton erected at the Tennessee capitol?

Dolly said thanks, but no thanks.

Luke Combs is apologizing for past use of the Confederate flag

The country singer said he had "grown in my time as an artist" and now hoped to use his platform for good.

An Indiana art museum posted a job listing seeking a director to uphold its 'traditional, core, white art audience'

The head of the museum has since resigned.

French bakers want UNESCO designation for baguettes

We must protect that tasty bread at all costs.

PROFILES IN PERSEVERANCE

February is Black History Month, and every day we're highlighting Black pioneers in American history. Learn more here.

Fritz Pollard, NFL player and coach, 1894-1986

At 5 feet, 9 inches and 165 pounds, Pollard was small for football. Still, he bulldozed barriers on and off the field. He joined the Akron Pros of the American Professional Football Association, which later became the NFL. In 1921, while he was still a player, the team also named him its coach -- the first African American head coach in league history. He would go on to coach four different teams and found a Chicago football team of all-African American players. Pollard was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

TODAY'S NUMBER

10

That's the number of countries that have administered 75% of the world's available Covid-19 vaccine supply, according to the UN. More than 130 countries haven't even received their first doses.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"For too long, we have been waging a senseless and suicidal war on nature. The result is three interlinked environmental crises: climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution that threaten our viability as a species."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on a new report about the health of the planet. Called "Making Peace With Nature," it proposes a radical shift in the way mankind thinks about it.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

'Pretty much defying gravity'

This teenage girl is one of the world's best indoor skydivers. Watch her twirl her way through wind tunnels and be amazed. (Click here to view.)

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107189

Reported Deaths: 17621
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1446032234
Lake718651243
Allen66280881
Hamilton50567487
St. Joseph49217645
Elkhart39818546
Vanderburgh34458496
Tippecanoe30484274
Johnson27431465
Hendricks26064382
Porter25355386
Madison20880450
Clark20071278
Vigo18905309
LaPorte17019261
Howard16577313
Delaware16575299
Monroe16463220
Kosciusko14118166
Hancock12984185
Bartholomew12813190
Warrick12113190
Wayne11987268
Floyd11939226
Grant11845241
Morgan10324191
Boone9770121
Noble9181122
Henry9093167
Marshall9002147
Dearborn8900100
Dubois8778139
Shelby8178129
Cass8099127
Lawrence7989184
DeKalb7693108
Jackson758393
Huntington7548111
Gibson7045118
Montgomery6986123
Harrison6905100
Knox6884115
Steuben661988
Miami6530111
Whitley651460
Putnam638384
Clinton622177
Wabash6137111
Jasper607392
Jefferson5760104
Ripley553093
Adams537981
Daviess5042117
Scott485780
Wells4787103
White472869
Greene4661100
Clay460562
Decatur4576110
Jennings445767
Fayette442894
LaGrange423190
Posey405444
Randolph3872107
Washington387056
Fountain370464
Fulton361673
Spencer359247
Starke351574
Owen349677
Sullivan346654
Orange326572
Jay323950
Rush304332
Carroll291839
Franklin289544
Perry287153
Vermillion282058
Tipton249465
Parke248530
Pike245544
Blackford219744
Pulaski207559
Newton180652
Brown174250
Crawford168329
Benton165517
Martin152119
Switzerland146812
Warren133916
Union120516
Ohio92113
Unassigned0588

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

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