In this Dec. 7, 2021, file photo, a camera shake gives the holiday lights a different look in downtown Portland. Credit: Troy R Bennett / BDN

Today is Thursday. Temperatures will be in the low teens to high 20s from north to south, with sunny skies and gusty winds adding a bite to the air throughout the state. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

The latest on the coronavirus in Maine

Five more Mainers have died and another 1,462 coronavirus cases were reported on Wednesday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The statewide death toll now stands at 1,468. Check out our tracker for more information.

U.S. health regulators on Wednesday authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus.

Omicron expected to be Maine’s dominant COVID-19 strain within weeks

Lab results from last week showed that omicron cases accounted for roughly 3 percent of total cases in the state. But it appears that it is spreading rapidly and will crowd out other variants.

PLUS: Researchers forecast omicron surge, but variant may be less deadly

Omicron is making Maine’s shortage of a key COVID-19 treatment even worse

Scientists believe that only one of the three approved monoclonal antibody treatments effectively fights infection in omicron patients.

MORE: Omicron less likely to put you in the hospital, studies say

Maine holiday traffic will fall short of pre-pandemic levels in part due to rising cases

The number of travelers on the Maine Turnpike is projected to remain 9 percent below pre-pandemic levels.

Presque Isle inn’s new owner wants to recreate its former flair

A spot “where everybody knows your name” is a good place to be, and the new owner of the Presque Isle Inn and Convention Center wants to create just that kind of feeling.

Prominent Orono inn closes after 57 years in business

The University Inn on College Avenue closed, as of Monday, “for good,” owner Tracey Whitten said in a video posted on the Inn’s Facebook page. 

You can buy a $185 moose antler chew and local catnip at Maine pet stores this season

Pet owners are spending more for holiday treats and toys this year, with seasonal plush toys and special treats topping many Mainers’ lists, local pet shops say.

US Rep. Jared Golden says Joe Biden needs to listen to moderates to salvage spending agenda

The 2nd District congressman supports parts of the plan, including child care funding and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

UMaine athletic program receives $1M donation

The money will supplement $90 million the Harold Alfond Foundation gave the institution 14 months ago to upgrade all of their athletic facilities on campus.

In other Maine news …

United Airlines suspending flights from Bangor to DC

State agency pulls Cutler salmon application after community raises concerns

With spring only 4 months away, Bar Harbor looks to reduce cruise ship visits in 2022

Dam reconstruction at Dover-Foxcroft water supply solves erosion and low flow issues

Adapting to a shortening winter, Maine ski areas are increasingly turning to snow making

Maine home sales continue downward trend in November as prices continue to rise

Maine shipyard delivers sub to Navy fleet ahead of schedule

Despite disappointing start, UMaine women’s basketball veterans encouraged by young team’s growth