By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Indiana ICU beds dwindle to 16%

Indiana's open Intensive Care Unit beds have now dwindled to just 16.3% on Thursday, as COVID-19 patients occupy 30.3%. There were 2,676 COVID patients hospitalized on Sept. 14. This compares to the 3,381 COVID patents on Nov. 30, 2020 at the peak of the pandemic. The difference is that last November, there was no vaccine available. Today, these hospitalizations are AVOIDABLE because there are three vaccines widely available and are free.

The Indiana National Guard has been deployed to Clark Memorial Health Hospital in Jeffersonville to support besieged medical staff there. The hospital's CEO Ruth Schmidt told the News & Tribune: “We got through the first wave of COVID and we think ’OK, we’ve gotten through this and bang! We get hit with the second one.' It’s hard to maintain that for a year and-a-half. People are getting tired.”

At Angola's Cameron Memorial Community Hospital, the Herald-Republican  reports that it is "full to the brim" due to a surge of unvaccinated COVID patients. Interim CEO Angie Logan: “Our hospital admissions, right now, for us are higher than it was last year during the peak. We’re typically full. In the last couple of months we have been at capacity."

What's coming? According to the University of Washington's COVID metrics site, Indiana can expect 19,241 deaths by Dec. 31. On Thursday, Indiana had recorded 14,864 deaths. Daily deaths are expected to be 103 on Dec. 8. As of Thursday, just 48% of Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated and 52% have received one dose. So what we're looking at here is on April 1, we had 13,077 deaths, which made this pandemic the most lethal health sequence in our 204 year history (the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918/19 killed an estimated 10,000 Hoosiers). The vaccine was widely available last spring, meaning that about 6,000 deaths (almost all among the unvaccinated) were avoidable.

2. Redistricting maps pass House

By an expected 67-31 vote, the Indiana House voted to pass congressional and General Assembly maps. There was no testimony. “Our job was to draw maps to reflect the population, communities of interest and compactness,” said House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers. “I’ll stand up and defend these maps all day long.” According to CNHI's Whitney Downard, Huston said the House could reconvene if the Senate made changes based on public testimony, scheduled for Sept. 27. “If they need to change (their map), and there’s constructive input and they feel the need to change, we’ll address it,” Huston said. “It is not a foregone conclusion, and that’s why I told members to make sure they’ve available next Friday.” Representatives could return Oct. 1 to concur, or approve, any changes made in the Senate map. The Senate Elections Committee is expected to vote on the maps bill Sept. 28. The full Senate is scheduled to meet Sept. 28, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 for first, second and third readings, respectively.

3. School boards and 'aggressive' behavior

Two school boards - Northwest Allen County Schools and Bartholomew Consolidated - are closing themselves off from constituents due to "aggressive behavior" over the issue of masking mandates. NACS will "pause" the public comment during future board meetings. Bartholomew will meet "virtually," saying in a statement: “This change to a virtual format is driven by episodes of threatening behavior, profanities used during meetings, personal attacks directed toward various individuals, non compliance to meeting protocols that include maintaining appropriate physical distancing, wearing masks, and following public comment guidelines, and a substantial interference with the ability to conduct necessary business.”

4. House Jan. 6 subpoenas

The U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol issued subpoenas to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. The four men are among former President Trump’s most loyal aides. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., wrote to the four that the committee is investigating “the facts, circumstances, and causes” of the attack and asked them to produce documents and appear at depositions in mid-October.

5. Arizona 'audit' to say Biden won

Nevermind. After spending millions of taxpayer dollars while tainting millions of dollars of election equipment, the Cyber Ninjas will report today that Joe Biden carried Arizona's 11 Electoral College votes. The Wall Street Journal reported this tweet: “The #azaudit draft report from Cyber Ninjas confirms the county’s canvass of the 2020 General Election was accurate and the candidates certified as the winners did, in fact, win.”

Have a great weekend, folks, and thanks for reading. It's The Atomic!