Biden launching winter COVID fight plan; pro baseball season in peril; plus more top news

Today is Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. Let’s get caught up.

Here are today’s top stories, celebrity birthdays and a look back at this date in history:

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<p>A sign requiring the use of masks is shown on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.</p>

AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

A sign requiring the use of masks is shown on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.

President Biden launching winter COVID fight plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to kick off a more urgent campaign for Americans to get COVID-19 booster shots Thursday as he unveils his winter plans for combating the coronavirus and its omicron variant with enhanced availability of shots and vaccines but without major new restrictions.

The plan includes a requirement for private insurers to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests and a tightening of testing requirements for people entering the U.S. regardless of their vaccination status. But as some other nations close their borders or reimpose lockdowns, officials said Biden was not moving to impose additional restrictions beyond his recommendation that Americans wear masks indoors in public settings.

Biden said Wednesday that the forthcoming strategy, to be unveiled during a speech at the National Institutes of Health, would fight the virus “not with shutdowns or lockdowns but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing, and more.”

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<p>Then-Chicago Cubs player Javier Baez sports an MLB logo tattoo and logos on his hat and jersey as he waits to take batting practice before Game 2 of baseball's National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Oct. 7, 2017, in Washington.</p>

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Then-Chicago Cubs player Javier Baez sports an MLB logo tattoo and logos on his hat and jersey as he waits to take batting practice before Game 2 of baseball's National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Oct. 7, 2017, in Washington.

Work stoppage puts pro baseball season in peril

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Major League Baseball plunged into its first work stoppage in a quarter-century when the sport’s collective bargaining agreement expired Wednesday night and owners immediately locked out players in a move that threatens spring training and opening day.

The strategy, management’s equivalent of a strike under federal labor law, ended the sport’s labor peace after 9,740 days over 26 1/2 years.

Teams decided to force the long-anticipated confrontation during an offseason rather than risk players walking out during the summer, as they did in 1994. Players and owners had successfully reached four consecutive agreements without a work stoppage, but they have been accelerating toward a clash for more than two years.

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Click on the links below for full versions of today’s top stories. Keep scrolling for a look back at this day in history and today’s celebrity birthdays:

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IMAGE OF THE DAY

<p>Abortion rights advocates holding cardboard cutouts of the U.S. Supreme Court justices demonstrate in front of the court Wednesday in Washington as the court heard arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.</p>

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Abortion rights advocates holding cardboard cutouts of the U.S. Supreme Court justices demonstrate in front of the court Wednesday in Washington as the court heard arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.

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TODAY IN HISTORY

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