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'This is how I'm going to die'

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/27/2021 Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY
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Officers testified about the brutality of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Simone Biles withdrew from the Olympic gymnastics team final, reminding us all that she is human. And the CDC says it's time to mask up again.

👋 It's Laura, here with Tuesday's news. There's a lot, so let's get to it!

But first, how many people does it take to break a cardboard bed? 🤔 After rumors of the beds being "anti-sex," Team Israel decided to put them to the test to see if they could withstand the weight of more than one person. Check it out.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: July 27, 2021: U.S. Capitol Police officer Aquilino Gonell cries as he watches a video during the House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington. © Pool photo by Andrew Harnik July 27, 2021: U.S. Capitol Police officer Aquilino Gonell cries as he watches a video during the House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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Officers recall desperate struggle to hold mob on Jan. 6

Beaten unconscious. Blasted with chemical irritants. Attacked with a flagpole. Called a racial slur. Four law enforcement officers offered gripping accounts Tuesday of the harrowing violence and terrible fear they endured while trying to defend the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when a mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the building. The officers' accounts provided a dramatic opening for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, in which Trump's supporters tried to stop the certification of Joe Biden's 2020 election win. The mob was spurred by Trump's false claims of a stolen election. The House impeached Trump in January for inciting the “insurrection,” but he was later acquitted by the U.S. Senate.

'We're human, too'

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We have seen powerful performances from Simone Biles before. Nothing quite like this, however. With her anxiety growing and feeling as though she were carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, Biles withdrew one event into the team competition Tuesday. She couldn't cope emotionally, and her disastrous vault showed that she was putting herself at risk physically, too. "At the end of the day, we're human, too,"  Biles said afterward. The U.S. women wound up with a silver medal, but to wonder what might have been misses the big picture. By withdrawing, Biles let the world know that it is OK to not be OK, and the importance of that message, the people it might touch, cannot be overstated. If Simone Biles can take a step back from the world's biggest stage, it might just give others the courage to speak up when they need help, too.

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a man jumping in the air doing a trick on a skateboard: Simone Biles, of the United States, performs on the vault during the artistic gymnastics women's final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) © The Associated Press Simone Biles, of the United States, performs on the vault during the artistic gymnastics women's final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

What everyone's talking about

Mask back up

Time to bust out the masks again. On Tuesday, the CDC reversed course, urging even fully vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in areas of high COVID-19 transmission. It isn't likely to crush community spread, experts say – but it might ratchet up pressure on the unvaccinated and encourage businesses and schools to implement mask mandates. The CDC is also now recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors inside schools from kindergarten to 12th grade, regardless of vaccination status. The delta variant has ripped through unvaccinated communities in the U.S., accounting for almost all recent hospitalizations and deaths. The U.S. is reporting more than 50,000 new cases daily on a rolling seven-day average.

Atlanta spa shooter sentenced to life in prison

A man accused of killing eight people, most of them women of Asian descent, at Atlanta-area massage businesses pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday in four of the killings and was handed four sentences of life without parole. Robert Aaron Long still faces the death penalty if convicted in four more shooting deaths in Atlanta on charges of domestic terrorism with a hate crime enhancement in addition to murder. Long is white and six of the victims were women of Asian descent. But the prosecutor said he was motivated by sex addiction and his desire to eliminate sources of his temptation, not by any hate against Asians or women.

a lit up city at night: March 16, 2021: Law enforcement personnel are seen outside a massage parlor where a person was shot and killed in Atlanta, Georgia. Eight people were killed in shootings at three different spas in the US state of Georgia on March 16 and a 21-year-old male suspect was in custody, police and local media reported, though it was unclear if the attacks were related. © Elijah Nouvelage, AFP via Getty Images March 16, 2021: Law enforcement personnel are seen outside a massage parlor where a person was shot and killed in Atlanta, Georgia. Eight people were killed in shootings at three different spas in the US state of Georgia on March 16 and a 21-year-old male suspect was in custody, police and local media reported, though it was unclear if the attacks were related.

Real quick

More wind, higher temps could strengthen wildfires

Firefighters battling California's largest wildfire hoped cooler weather and other conditions would work in their favor Tuesday, but with stronger winds and higher temperatures on the way, the blaze could strengthen. The Dixie Fire, which combined with the Fly Fire in the eastern portion of the 325-square-mile inferno, has burned three dozen structures in Indian Falls but is threatening more than 10,000 others in Butte and Plumas counties, according to Cal Fire. The fire was only 23% contained as of Tuesday.

A firefighter uses a drip torch to ignite vegetation while trying to stop the Dixie Fire from spreading in Lassen National Forest, Calif., on Monday, July 26, 2021. © Noah Berger, AP A firefighter uses a drip torch to ignite vegetation while trying to stop the Dixie Fire from spreading in Lassen National Forest, Calif., on Monday, July 26, 2021.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'This is how I'm going to die'

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