25 states. 150M people. 70% snow cover.

Alex Connor

We're two days post-Trump impeachment trial and President Joe Biden can’t move on fast enough. Why isn't there a 'Smokey Bear' for coronavirus awareness? And as of Monday afternoon, more than 70% of the USA was covered in snow.

It's Alex, filling in for Ashley. Here's the news to know.

But first, drop the queso: A listeria outbreak possibly linked to fresh and soft cheeses has sickened seven people in four states, according to health officials.

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Everything is bigger in Texas, even snowstorms

An "unprecedented" winter storm continued its assault on the nation Monday, leaving millions without power in Texas and wreaking travel havoc across a wide swath of the central and southern United States due to heavy snow and ice. In total, more than 150 million people were under a winter storm warning, winter weather advisory, or ice storm warning with more than 70% of the U.S. snow-covered. And in Texas alone, more than 2.7 million customers were in the dark as of noon local time. In fact, the storm could truly be a "once in a generation" type event when factoring in the brutally cold conditions, AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said. San Angelo, Texas, had its snowiest day ever recorded Sunday, the weather service said, with 10.1 inches reported in the city.

A snowplow works to clear an intersection in Oklahoma City Sunday.  Snow and ice blanketed large swaths of the U.S., prompting canceled flights, making driving perilous and reaching into areas as far south as Texas’ Gulf Coast.

History has its eyes on Trump

History isn't likely to be kind to Donald Trump, a president twice impeached and twice acquitted. "It will always be remembered by how it ended," said presidential historian Alvin Felzenberg. And while 43 Republican senators decided that video evidence of Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol and threatening politicians to overturn a democratic election is not worth a guilty verdict, the actions of Jan. 6 may have still solidified Trump's position in history. Already, historians had predicted that Trump would rank low for a tumultuous single term that included the COVID-19 pandemic, lies about his actions and those of others, business conflicts of interest and the alienation of global allies. "He's certainly in the bottom tier," Felzenberg said. "Maybe at the bottom."

What everyone’s talking about

Reopening schools just got trickier

A potential surge in COVID-19 cases caused by a new variant of the coronavirus could make it difficult for schools to reopen. Michael Osterholm, a Biden transition adviser on COVID-19, said the spiking number of U.K. variant cases may mean that "a lot of schools are going to be challenged to open at all." On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had released new guidelines for school reopenings that include a host of safety guidelines, including mask-wearing and maintaining 6 feet of physical distance between people when possible. Vaccinating teachers, however, is not a must for in-person instruction. "The next 14 weeks I think will be the worst of the pandemic," Osterholm said.

Real quick 

Inside the Lincoln Project

The Lincoln Project’s launch in late 2019 was designed to make a splash. And it did. So much so that the Republican organization would go on to raise nearly $90 million for its stated mission of defeating Trump in 2020. But as of last week, Amanda Becker reports for The 19th, just three of the Lincoln Project’s eight co-founders remain as the organization faces a rapidly escalating controversy over allegations of harassment by one of its co-founders, John Weaver. Who knew how much and when, and who can say what is now dominating the back-and-forth between those who remain at the Lincoln Project and those who have left. This is a look inside the Lincoln Project, where women in key positions were sidelined and where sexist and homophobic language was used by those in leadership posts.

Bill Gates on climate change: 'We need a plan'

Bill Gates is an optimist when it comes to climate change. The Microsoft co-founder and global health philanthropist said the past four years have been a wasted opportunity to combat the threat of a warming planet and U.S. leadership on the issue waned under Trump. But he said achieving Biden's ambitious goals of decarbonizing the energy sector by 2035 and attaining net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is within reach. "My goal is to say we need a plan," Gates said. In a wide-ranging interview with USA TODAY, the billionaire investor talked about how the "easy stuff," such as electric cars and the first part of clean energy generation, has largely been achieved. He said the focus must be on finding ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the agricultural and industrial sectors, such as developing a "green" process of manufacturing cement and steel that's affordable. 

"We need a plan," Bill Gates says. "People who think a plan is easy are wrong. People who think a plan is impossible are wrong. It's super hard and very broad, but it's doable." In his new book, he discusses ways to avoid "a climate disaster."

A break from the news, and couples

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