6 to Know: Why Climate Change, Global Travel Likely to Bring More Virus Outbreaks

It’s Thursday, December 2nd – and NBC 6 has the top stories for your day.

No. 1 – It took more than a year for a woman to muster up the courage and share her story.

Now, she’s recounting the frightening moments of a violent attack inside her own home. The woman is also demanding accountability for what happened. Ursula Salvador showed NBC 6 cameras her scars and a picture of her bloodied, on the ground after being attacked in her condo at the Icon in June 2020. That night police arrested Alexandria Conception-Garcia. The 24-year-old pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to three years’ probation. But Salvador says she’ll have to live with the pain, physical and emotional, for the rest of her life. Click here for her story in a report from NBC 6’s Jamie Guirola you’ll see Only on 6.

No. 2 – A young South Florida woman who vanished while on a road trip last week has been found in a California hospital, her mother said.

Isabella Marin, 21, who had been last seen by family members on Nov. 23, was located at a hospital in the Los Angeles area, her mother said Wednesday. Mother Olga Jarrin said she was in the process of flying to California to be reunited with her daughter. Marin’s mother said her daughter had left Fort Lauderdale last week on a road trip with her boyfriend but didn’t tell her where she was going. Marin’s boyfriend, Israel Del Rosario, said they visited his father in the Suwanee, Georgia, area for Thanksgiving and were on their way to California.

No. 3 – The U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of the omicron variant Wednesday — in a vaccinated traveler who returned to California after a trip to South Africa — as scientists around the world race to establish whether the new, mutant version of the coronavirus is more dangerous than previous ones.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious-disease expert, made the announcement at the White House. The infected person was identified as a traveler who had returned from South Africa on Nov. 22, developed mild symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 Monday. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco obtained a sample from the patient Tuesday evening and worked feverishly overnight to assemble the genetic sequence. The person, who had had the full two doses of the Moderna vaccine and wasn’t yet due for a booster shot, is improving, California officials said.

No. 4 – A viral outbreak in China became the defining issue for the past two years. The coronavirus is the latest example of a trend the scientific community says could increase. NBC 6 went behind the scenes at a Florida Research lab looking for treatments and vaccines to find out why more outbreaks are expected in the future. 

It comes down to main reasons: global commercial travel and climate change.  Scientists at Cleveland Clinic’s Florida Research and Innovation Center to try to get ahead of emerging viruses.  Dr. Michaela Gack, PhD, leads a team of around forty at the Port St. Lucie location, hoping to ramp up to one hundred next year. One of their specialties is looking at how zoological viruses – or viruses from animals – spill over and impact human cells. To find out why they say another pandemic could be coming, click here for the story from NBC 6 investigator Phil Prazan.

No. 5 – On June 5th, 1981, the CDC published an article that described a rare lung infection in five young, previously healthy gay men in Los Angeles.

That same day, a dermatologist in New York City reported a cluster of cases of an aggressive cancer among gay men in New York and California. This was 40 years ago, the official start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. To commemorate the anniversary, just outside the Fort Lauderdale galleria, World AIDS Day kicked off with Rock The Ribbon. The first World AIDS Day was December 1st, 1988. Since then, science and medicine have made extraordinary advances. Click here for the story in a report from NBC 6’s Steve MacLaughlin.

No. 6 – There’s art everywhere this week in South Florida, but heads are turning when they see an artist who you’d think is way too young to be on the big stage. Some of his works are taller than him.   

Andres Valencia can’t say enough about the fun he’s having during his time at Art Miami. Andres told NBC 6 that while standing in his Art Miami exhibit that he was initially drawn to the artworks in his San Diego home. His parents brought him all the way from California, so the world’s art lovers could see his creations. He started painting six years ago. Art Miami Director Nick Korniloff told NBC 6 that some patrons are really surprised when they see the artist whose works they’re admiring. Click here for the story in a report from NBC 6’s Willard Shepard.