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Flu kills 15-year-old Georgia high school student

A DeKalb County, Georgia, student died from the flu on Sunday, the second teenager in metro Atlanta killed by the virus.

>> Watch the news report here

School district officials are reminding students and staff to continue taking precautions as flu season may not have reached its peak.

District officials confirmed Monday afternoon that the 15-year-old Cross Keys High School student died Sunday. Principal Jason Heard sent a note Monday morning, shortly after classes started, to inform staff of Miguel Jaimes Martinez’s death.

>> Texas teacher dies from flu after spurning medicine that cost $116

Heard said counselors would be making classroom visits and students who needed immediate attention could receive it at the school’s media center.

“The entire DeKalb County School District is saddened by the news that one of our own has passed away due to illness,” Superintendent Steve Green said Monday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the student’s family, loved ones and peers in this unfortunate and trying time.”

>> How does the flu kill healthy people?

The teen, a sophomore, is survived by his mother and three siblings.

His death is one of only a handful of confirmed flu deaths of children in metro Atlanta. Coweta County officials confirmed that 15-year-old Kira Molina died in late January of a flu-related illness. Five-year-old Elijah Snook died in late January after being hospitalized Jan. 13 with flu-like symptoms, WSB-TV reported.

At least 66 Georgians have died during this flu season, and schools have seen absences spike in recent weeks. Some districts have asked teachers to help clean common areas to limit contamination and spreading the virus.

This season’s predominant flu strain is H3N2, which causes the worst outbreaks of the two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses that are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.

>> When can you go back to work or school if you have the flu?

“Of the viruses we hate, we hate H3N2 more than the other ones,” said top CDC flu expert Daniel Jernigan. “This strain, which has been around for 50 years, is able to change more quickly to get around the human body’s immune system than the other viruses targeted in this year’s seasonal flu vaccine.”

JoAnn Harris, DeKalb Schools’ lead nurse, said the district is using guidelines from the county’s health department and advising parents to keep children at home as symptoms present themselves. In the case of a fever, officials suggest keeping the student home at least a day after the fever breaks and a day after using fever-reduction medication.

The number of flu hospitalizations in Georgia surpassed 1,000, with 120 of those patients hospitalized last week alone, according to figures released Friday by the state Department of Public Health. In Georgia, flu had killed two people between ages 5 and 17; seven between 18 and 51; eight between ages 51 and 64; and 49 people 65 and older.

>> 5-year-old Georgia boy dies from flu complications

Although this year’s flu vaccine is far from perfect, experts urge people to get it if they haven’t yet. Although it’s believed to be less effective than those from other years, it can lower the severity of the flu if you do get sick.

Hospitals, swamped with flu patients, are asking people to be prudent.

Some people need to be in the emergency room, but some just need a doctor or clinic, and some need home treatment.

A group representing Georgia hospitals on Monday cautioned people to check their symptoms for real emergency signs before they drive off to the emergency room.

“Those who do not have the flu, but go to the ER, risk catching it from those who do,” the Georgia Hospital Association said in a press release Monday. “However, anyone who is concerned about a serious or life-threatening illness should go to the ER.”

>> Flu virus spread by breathing, study finds

The state Department of Public Health has been getting calls from hospitals that they’re inundated, a GHA spokeswoman said. People are crowding hospital ER’s that don’t have the warning signs for ER treatment. The hospitals, in turn, are having to spend money and work staff more to deal with the influx.

Emergency warning signs for people to go to the ER include:

• trouble breathing

• chest pain

• persistent vomiting

• flu-like symptoms that improve, but return with fever and worse cough

There is more information listed on the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

>> Read more trending news 

“There is, I don’t want to say panic, but extra concern out there this year,” said the spokeswoman, Erin Stewart. “Of course, always be safe. Go to the CDC website, assess your symptoms.”

If people are unsure whether they need more care, they can contact their doctor or a clinic.

“Hospitals are working diligently to make sure each patient receives timely and efficient care,” said GHA President Earl Rogers.

This bouncy ball bar trick seems to defy the laws of gravity

How can a cat toy make you the most popular person in the bar?

This little trick seems to defy the laws of gravity — but it’s really just simple physics.

Watch the video

RELATED: With just one simple move, you can make a beer can fly

To pull it off, you’ll need a wine glass, a small bouncy ball, and a straw. Bet your friends that you can move the ball from one side of the straw to the other without touching it.

When nobody can guess what to do, just create a little tornado in the wine glass and watch their jaws drop.

Looking for more bar tricks?  Start here .

The 2018 Olympics are well under way, but one of the Games’ biggest sponsors is conspicuously absent

The eye-popping McDonald’s at Gangneung Olympic Park in PyeongChang, South Korea is built to look like an Extra Value Meal. It’s offering free Big Macs to all the athletes.

Watch the video

But McDonald’s role in the Games has shrunk dramatically since the Rio de Janeiro Olympics only two years ago. In fact, CNN Money reports that the Golden Arches just ended its decades-long sponsorship of the International Olympic Committee, putting an early end to a deal that was set to expire in 2020.

For American audiences, that means the Olympic-themed McDonald’s advertisements of yesteryear will no longer be shown on television.

While the reason for the partnership’s termination is unclear, both sides confirm that it was a mutual decision.

“We are proud of everything that we have achieved as an Olympic sponsor, but as a part of our global growth plan, we are reconsidering all aspects of our business,” McDonald’s told CNN Money. “As a result, we have made the decision, in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee, to focus on different priorities.”

RELATED: Marvel teamed up with the U.S. Olympic ski team to produce some truly heroic suits

McDonald’s Olympic sponsorship began with the 1976 Games in Montreal. It has built restaurants in both the Olympic Park and Olympic Village since the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

But in recent years, the fast-food chain has come under fire from public health professionals for promoting fitness in its Olympic advertising while selling high-calorie food products.

WATCH: Police officers rescue freezing puppy found under Florida bridge

Police in Daytona Beach, Florida, released video of two animal control officers rescuing a pit bull puppy who was left under a bridge in freezing temperatures.

>> Click here to watch

In the video posted on the Daytona Beach Police Department’s Facebook page, you can see the puppy shaking uncontrollably because she was so cold. The animal control officers did everything they could to warm her up.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

A passer-by called police after seeing the puppy in the cold water.

The animal control officers found her under the Seabreeze Bridge in mid-January when the temperatures had fallen to below freezing.

>> Read more trending news 

One of the Daytona Beach police officers adopted the puppy, now named River, and she is safe and in a loving home.

Valentine's Day 2018: 6 ways to eat for free or cheap

From flowers to a gift to dinner out, Valentine's Day can be an expensive holiday.

>> White Castle will offer romantic Valentine’s Day package, reservations again

To help you save some money, these restaurants are offering some cheap or free Valentine's Day meals.

Hooters

If you're without a significant other this Valentine's Day – or even if you've found a new sweetie and want to score some free wings – participating Hooters locations will help you shred your ex. Shred online and print a coupon to take to the restaurant or bring in a photo of your former love and let Hooters shred it. In return, you can buy 10 boneless wings and get 10 free – and maybe a bit of catharsis. Learn more at www.hooters.com.

Fogo de Chão

If you make a reservation and dine at a participating Fogo's location anytime from Feb. 10 through Feb. 17, you'll be able to save on a return visit. You'll receive a complimentary churrasco dining card that you can use next time you're in the restaurant. (As is usually the case, "certain restrictions apply.") Learn more at http://fogodechao.com. 

Qdoba Mexican Eats

Take advantage of the restaurant's "Qdoba for a Kiss" promotion, and you'll be able to buy one entrée and get one free at participating restaurants on Feb. 14. Bring your significant other to kiss, smooch a photo of your favorite celebrity on your cellphone or even pucker up to a burrito – anything goes! 

On top of that sweet deal, from Feb. 6-28, if you share a kissing photo on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #QdobaForAKiss, Qdoba will donate $1 to No Kid HungryFor more information, visit www.qdoba.com.

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse offers a Valentine's Day meal for two at participating restaurants from Feb. 12-16. For a special price (which varies by location), a couple can share a Bloomin' Onion, choose two entrees (center cut sirloin, grilled salmon or Alice Springs chicken), two sides, two salads and cheesecake for dessert. Learn more at www.outback.com.

California Pizza Kitchen

Enjoy a "Sweet Deal for Two" at participating California Pizza Kitchen locations from Feb. 14 to 18, and you'll get an appetizer, two entrees and a dessert from their special menu for $35. Choose from among three appetizers, 10 entrees or four desserts. As a further incentive, if you tag your sweetie or best friend in California Pizza Kitchen's Facebook post with the hashtag #CPKgiveaway, you'll be entered to win a $100 gift card. Learn more at www.cpk.com.

Waffle House 

Waffle House probably isn't the restaurant you think of when you're picturing a candlelit dinner with cloth napkins and tablecloths, but that's just what they're doing on Valentine's Day. You can enjoy alcohol-free champagne as the lights are dimmed, and choose from breakfast favorites or special offerings like ribeye and eggs. Many locations are participating, so check for your location's phone number and contact person for reservationsLearn more at ww.wafflehouse.com.

>> Read more trending news 

>> Table for two: Waffle House offers romantic dinner for Valentine's Day

New study on relationships has some good news for single people

Single people have it rough in February.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the scramble to find Mr. or Mrs. Right — or even Right Now — is as hot as ever. To ring in the holiday alone — amid the showers of PDA, discounted couple’s meals, elaborate gifts, inevitable proposals, weddings and the endless photos on social media capturing it all — seems tantamount to turning on a giant neon “Loser” sign. Truthfully, those entrenched in singledom actually know that that’s far from the truth, but now there’s scientific evidence to support that idea!

Watch the video

RELATED: Royal lovebirds Harry and Meghan have big plans for Valentine’s Day

According to the “Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,” even though marriage is seen as society’s happiest ending, single people have better relationships overall. The study published in 2015 stated that, “Single individuals are more likely to frequently stay in touch with, provide help to, and receive help from parents, siblings, neighbors and friends than the married.” The study showed that single men and women tended to have more social interactions with people and, therefore, had stronger bonds. You hear that! While married people have each other, the single folks have everyone else, and it’s seemingly creating more better, intertwined communities. Nice!

The researchers found that instead of pushing for more marriages, public policy “acknowledge the social constraints associated with marriage and recognize that single individuals have greater involvement with the broader community.”

According to Indy100, the study lead to a May 2017 TEDx talk with speaker Bella DePaulo. DePaulo, a doctor of psychology and author, raised the argument that the stories of married people were more likely to be told and promoted in the news, pop culture and even laws than those who are single. She then delved into the benefits of single life in society saying, “It’s the single people who have more friends…who are contributing to the life of their cities.” She concluded that happiness doesn’t come from marriage, and the single people tend to be “less lonely.”

RELATED: 10 things to do on Valentine’s Day if you’re single

“With so many big, important components of life available outside of marriage for both women and men, what’s left for people who want marriage to maintain its special place in our lives? One possibility is to insist that there is still one thing we single people can only get by marrying – and that is genuine happiness,” she said.

DePaulo continued, “Now we know that’s just not so. And we can all benefit from that. Married people, now that you know some of the secrets of a successful single life, feel free to steal them to add new shades of bliss to your lives. And single people, you know what to do: go out and live your single lives fully, joyfully, and unapologetically.”

It seems single people are going to be just fine even if no one sends them a dozen roses or a box of chocolates — and there’s plenty to do on their own.

After witnessing a DUI death, she found an unlikely career as a hard of hearing Uber driver

One night, Amy Barnes witnessed a child’s death at the hands of a drunk driver.

“It broke my heart to watch basically a… 4-year-old child die,” she said. “That did not need to happen.”

Watch the video

So she took a job as an Uber driver to “drive at night hopefully to save drunk people’s lives.”

And she’s good at it. Barnes has a 4.84 rating with Uber, “which is good enough that I get VIP rides all the time.” But she’s far from your typical driver.

RELATED: When passion becomes profession: A motorcycle enthusiast and the custom bikes he builds

“I am a deaf and hard of hearing Uber driver,” she said.

Because of this, it’s sometimes a struggle for Barnes to understand her passengers. “So it might happen sometimes, you may say the same thing three times, four times, and I’m not hearing,” she said. “So when they’re on their fourth time, they start yelling, and I can’t do anything about it.”

“Passenger communication with the deaf and hard of hearing I would say is the biggest obstacle,” she added.

Barnes’ hearing loss is “right in the range where people speak.” She was raised orally, meaning that she was encouraged to listen to recordings of her own voice, then learn to speak proper English from that. While she can talk normally, her voice doesn’t sound like a typical hearing person’s voice. And that has an unfortunate side effect.

“To be honest, people believe all the time that I’m drunk, so I’m forever basically always having to say, ‘I’m not drunk,'” she said. “But Uber, they know, they know that the deaf and hard of hearing, they sometimes have problems with the voice.”

RELATED: Shoe shines with passion, polish, and a touch of soul

Uber’s understanding of her situation is one of many reasons why Barnes loves her job.

“Driving for Uber is one of the very few jobs that I can do and truly feel free to be myself,” she said.

And she has a message for people who don’t believe that deaf and hard of hearing drivers can do a good job:

“The deaf people, they have a very hard time applying for work. So I ask that we be accepted into society just the same as speaking people, because we’re not deaf and dumb. We can do the job. We just want to live.”

Table for two: Waffle House offers romantic dinner for Valentine's Day

Couples looking for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day don’t need to book a table at a fancy, high-priced restaurant. For the 11th year, Waffle House is taking reservations.

>> Read more trending news

Waffle House? 

“I would kill you if you took me there for Valentine’s Day,” my wife said, narrowing her eyes and casting them toward the living room couch.

OK, it’s not for everyone, but Waffle House takes its Valentine’s Day dinners seriously. At 170 locations across 17 states across the Northeast, South, Midwest and as far west as Texas, Waffle House will dress up its restaurants with candlelights, tablecloths and flowers. 

"A perfect Valentine's dinner consists of soft music, great food and a welcoming atmosphere," Walt Ehmer, Waffle House CEO, said in a news release. "And we have all three waiting for those who are ready."

>> Waffle House to host romantic Valentine’s Day dinner

Waffle House began its Valentine’s Day tradition in 2008 at its location in Johns Creek, Georgia. Ehmer said the concept is growing every year.

“It’s really a bucket-list experience,” he said in the release.

So, if Bert’s ChiliAlice’s Iced Tea and Waffle House’s traditional fare of eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and hash browns make you dewy-eyed and sentimental, now is the time to make reservations.

. So, go ahead and scrap the box of chocolates you were planning on buying, make a reservation at Waffle House, and serve your sweetheart Papa Joe’s pork chop, Bert’s Chili, or the cheesesteak omelet of their dreams.

Here is the full list of locations.

WATCH: Choir students sing national anthem from all floors of Kentucky hotel, wowing guests

A man woke up to a lot of commotion in the lobby of a Hyatt Regency in Louisville, Kentucky, days ago, but when he realized that the “noise” was actually a stunning rendition of the national anthem, he made sure to have his camera rolling.

>> Watch the video here

>> On Rare.us: No players knelt during the Super Bowl national anthem

Garrett Mager soon learned that the Kentucky State Choir Finals were to explain for all of the youthful voices collected in one place.

He said that he witnessed a “proud #American moment tonight” when he heard the performance live, and it seems many others who watched Mager’s video agreed.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Not only has the video been shared more than 600,000 times since Wednesday, Feb. 7, it’s also been watched more than 24 million times.

>> Read more trending news 

“Had a proud #American moment tonight. Woke up in my hotel hearing a lot of noise outside in the lobby. I went out and found this. The Kentucky State Choir Finals schools are all staying at my hotel,” Mager wrote on Facebook. “They decided to sing the National Anthem together on every single floor. #Amazing.”

The comments on Facebook were overwhelmingly positive, with many saying the performance brought tears to their eyes and gave them chills.

>> On Rare.us: Pink nails National Anthem despite flu diagnosis

Others echoed Mager’s thoughts, saying they were proud to be an American.

WKYT reported that the performance is an annual tradition and that more than 650 students took part.

Ginger Zee of 'Good Morning America' welcomes baby boy

Congratulations are in order for “Good Morning America’s” Ginger Zee, who just welcomed her second child – a baby boy – with husband Ben Aaron.

>> On Rare.us: Omarosa goes to war with Robin Roberts after being called out on live TV

The meteorologist gave fans a first look at her bundle of joy Saturday when she shared a photo of her newborn’s feet.

“8lbs 7oz, 21.5,'” she captioned the post, adding three blue heart emojis.

>> See the post here

>> On Rare.us: Ginger Zee revealed the startling amount of weight she lost during 'Dancing with the Stars'

On Friday evening, just one day after appearing at the Red Dress / Go Red For Women Fashion Show in New York City, Zee announced the news on Twitter with a photo of her oldest son Adrian, writing, “Scrubbed in, delivered a healthy baby boy and got a cookie to celebrate. It’s been a good day.”

>> See the post here

Zee announced her pregnancy in August while she was delivering the national weather forecast.

>> Read more trending news 

“This is the breaking news part. There’s a lesser-known visual phenomenon that’s about to happen on our maps only for the next five months,” she teased viewers at the time while the southwest and southeast portions of the country were highlighted on the screen behind her. “These areas are going to have a shadow from my belly because I’m pregnant.”

On Thursday, her “GMA” costars threw her an on-air baby shower to celebrate and to shower the happy mom with lots of love.

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