5 things to know Friday

After Parkland shooting, are American schools safer?

Friday marks two years since 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. While Congress apportioned millions of dollars to cover the cost of safety equipment and programs to keep students safe, experts say that’s precisely the wrong response. Three safety specialists who spoke to USA TODAY in November advocate for staff training and empowerment as a better tactic to confront school violence. The American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association this week recommended additional precautions for student drills, including giving parents advanced notice and tracking any traumatic symptoms afterward. 

Love is in the air: It’s Valentine’s Day

Sweethearts all over America and many parts of the world on Thursday celebrate Valentine’s Day, the holiday devoted to romantic love. Valentine’s Day’s origins are kinda weird; one fable involves goat’s blood. The clean version is that a man named Valentine who was imprisoned by the Romans sent a message to a woman he loved with the signature, “From your Valentine.” The rest is history. Nowadays, Valentine’s Day is usually marked with gifts of cards, flowers, candy and other goodies. Fortunately, many major retailers are eager to help out with deals and freebies.

  • Cheap date ideas: Where to find food deals and freebies
  • What to buy: 15 gifts woman actually want
  • Scam alert: Shield yourself from Valentine’s Day cybercrooks
  • Get even: Zoo will name a cockroach after your ex – and that’s not all

China’s coronavirus reporting methods under scrutiny as US cases hit 15

Confirmed coronavirus cases boomed this week as China altered its method for counting amid concerns over its handling of the crisis. But experts expressed hope that Friday could bring greater understanding of whether the virus is growing or waning. The death toll from the virus, dubbed COVID-19, rose to at least 1,380. All but three of the deaths have been in mainland China. A person in Texas was confirmed as the 15th coronavirus case in the U.S. on Thursday. China previously counted cases only when a person tested positive for the virus. Now, chest imaging and other medical diagnoses are being included. Provided China continues to tally with the new method, experts say it would give a chance for an apples-to-apples, day-to-day comparison.

  • From a rumor to 1,000 deaths: How the coronavirus outbreak unfolded for Americans at the epicenter.

Closing arguments resume in Harvey Weinstein trial

Prosecutors are expected to make their final arguments Friday in the sexual misconduct trial of Harvey Weinstein in New York. On Thursday, defense attorney Donna Rotunno told jurors to “use your New York common sense” to find Weinstein not guilty. “You may have had a gut feeling that Harvey Weinstein was guilty. Throw that gut feeling right out the window,” she said. During the trial, Rotunno tried to raise doubts by pointing out alleged conflicts in accusers’ accounts compared to email exchanges and other documents. Weinstein, 67, faces five charges, including rape and assault, in connection with accusations from two women. He could serve up to life in prison if convicted.

  • Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes trial: Your questions answered
  • Weinstein trial: Model contradicts accuser’s testimony about bathroom assault
  • Weinstein accuser sobs as she describes trying to fight him off: ‘I’m being raped’

Z Flip will cost you, but photo features are nifty

The Galaxy Z Flip, available Friday, is an incredibly cute new smartphone from Samsung, our reviewer finds — but at $1,380, oh so pricey. Photo enthusiasts might really like a couple of features, USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham writes in a review including other just-announced Samsung offerings.  Unfold the phone, and you can adjust to have images on one side of the screen and use the other for scrolling — a nice way to view photos. And for tripod-less, time-lapse photography, fold the phone in two, have the camera portion sitting upright, and shoot away.

  • Check the attic! These old tech items could be worth a lot
  • Map apps aren’t all that: Some still love their paper maps

Contributing: Associated Press