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A member of the Swiss Guard wearing a face mask on Oct. 14. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images

11 members of the Vatican's Swiss Guard tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation, according to a statement released by the organization this week. The Vatican also announced that someone who lives in the same residence as Pope Francis tested positive for the virus, according to AP.

Why it matters: The positive cases draw concerns about the spread of the virus in the home of the pope, who is 83 years old.

The big picture: The pandemic has come storming back to Europe, and hope of a return to normality is being replaced by a much more ominous prospect: the return to lockdown.

  • Italy was one of the world's first major coronavirus hotspots, locking down the entire country in March, and on Wednesday reported 7,332 new positive COVID-19 tests — breaking its previous record for most infections added in a single day

Go deeper: Pope calls on world to act with "urgency" to curb climate change

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 18, 2021 - World

China's economy grows 6.5% in Q4 as country rebounds from coronavirus

A technician installs and checks service robots to be be used for food and medicine delivery in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, on Sunday. Photo: Hu Xuejun/VCG via Getty Images

China's economy grew at a 6.5% pace in the final quarter of 2020, the national statistics bureau announced Monday local time, topping off a year in which it grew in three of four quarters and by 2.3% in total.

Why it matters: No other major economy managed positive growth in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in China, the country got the virus under control and became one of the main positive drivers of the global economy even as the rest of the world was largely under lockdown.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.