The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID 19 Update

  • Johns Hopkins University filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the Trump administration from stripping international students of their visas and forcing them to leave the U.S. if they are not taking any in-person courses in the fall.
  • Internal documents from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that fully reopening K-12 schools and universities would be the “highest risk” for the spread of coronavirus, according to a New York Times report, as President Donald Trump and his administration push for students and teachers to return in-person to classrooms.

The 69-page document obtained by the Times marked “For Internal Use Only” was among materials for federal public health response teams deployed to coronavirus hotspots to help local public health officials handle the outbreak, the newspaper reported.

The document was circulated this week, the Times reported, as Trump slammed the CDC guidelines around reopening schools and he, Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos increased their pressure on schools to fully reopen by the fall.

  • A long-expected upturn in U.S. coronavirus deaths has begun, driven by fatalities in states in the South and West.

“It’s consistently picking up. And it’s picking up at the time you’d expect it to,” said William Hanage, a Harvard University infectious diseases researcher.

According to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average for daily reported deaths in the U.S. has increased from 578 two weeks ago to 664 on July 10 — still well below the heights hit in April.

  • Former President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are calling on the American people to “wear a mask to save lives” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Carter Center, the Atlanta-based charity founded by the former president and first lady, shared an image of the couple with the caption “Please wear a mask to save lives.” The Carters can be seen wearing white masks featuring the organization’s logo.  

  • President Trump wore a mask during his visit to Walter Reed hospital on Saturday, marking the first time he has done so in front of cameras.
  • “If we just let drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidder, instead of to the people and the places where they are most needed, we’ll have a longer, more unjust, deadlier pandemic,” Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates cautioned, calling for a COVID-19 vaccine to first go to countries that have been hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic.
  • A few dozen U.S. Marines have tested positive for coronavirus in Okinawa, Japan, officials announced Saturday.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning that the spikes in coronavirus cases across the South and on the West Coast could lead to the virus finding a foothold in the Northeast once again.

“It is going to come back here. It’s like being on a merry-go-round. It’s totally predictable,” Cuomo said. “And we’re going to go through an increase. I can feel it coming. And it is so unnecessary and so cruel.”

  • North Carolina, Oregon, Arkansas, Hawaii and Alaska recorded single-day highs Saturday.
  • South Carolina announced its highest single-day total for coronavirus cases on Saturday, recording more than 2,200 infections; its previous record was set on July 4 with 1,854 new cases. More than 22 percent of tests in the state came back positive on Friday — the highest positivity rate for the state yet. 
  • Dozens of hospitals in Florida are at their ICU capacity as the state struggles to contain its massive spike of COVID-19 cases.

According to new data released by the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration, almost 85 percent of the state’s ICU beds are occupied, with just 933 ICU available beds remaining across the state.

WFLA reported that 435 were hospitalized overnight Friday, a new record. At least 52 hospitals in the state have no ICU capacity left at all.

  • Paul Waldron—the commissioner for St. Johns County just south of Jacksonville, Florida—has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently in the hospital in critical condition. Last week, Waldron voted against a countywide order requiring all residents to wear face masks as a way to prevent coronavirus infections.
  • Florida will start getting shipments this weekend of an antiviral drug that has shown signs of helping severely ill Covid-19 patients — cargo senior aides scored in part from New York just as Gov. Ron DeSantis was publicly dismissing the state’s help.
  • “Star Wars” Stormtroopers enforced mask-wearing and Mickey Mouse waved from a distance on Saturday as Florida’s Walt Disney World opened to the public for the first time in four months amid a surge of coronavirus cases in the state.
  • Cuyahoga, Ohio County Executive Armond Budish announced the establishment of a hotline to report people who are defying state order by not wearing face masks amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the state.  
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) on Saturday ordered bars to close and most residents to wear a mask outside. The state had an early outbreak that then receded, before a recent spike in cases and hospitalizations.
  • Louisiana has more cases per capita than all states but New York and New Jersey.
  • Texas lawmakers are asking Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to send federal resources to the region. The  bipartisan group has asked HHS to set up a field hospital in the region and provide additional financial resources as the area experiences a surge in coronavirus cases.
  • Brazil, the world’s No. 2 coronavirus hotspot after the United States, recorded 1,071 new deaths from the outbreak on Saturday, with a total of 1,839,850 confirmed cases, the Health Ministry said.

Brazil has now recorded a total of 71,469 deaths.

Protests/Race Relations

  • Vice President Pence said the decision to remove Confederate statues should be made at the local level and panned protesters who have dismantled the monuments themselves. 

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Pence said he “wouldn’t begrudge any community or any state to determine what people ought to be remembered and memorialized.”

  • One of three former Wilmington Police Officers fired last month after unintentionally recorded conversations became public, revealing racist and violent language, has filed an appeal for reinstatement.

In a letter sent through his attorney to the Wilmington Civil Service Board on July 2, former WPD officer James B. Gilmore argued that his comments are protected by the First Amendment’s protection of free speech, claiming they were not racist but instead reflected a religious stance against idolatry.

Administration News

  • More than 140 companies and trade associations including Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Marriott, Target, Uber, Lyft, the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that represent more than half of American private sector workers wrote to President Trump on Saturday urging him to leave the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in place. The letter cited public polling that found most Americans favor protecting Dreamers, the young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

“As large American employers and employer organizations, we strongly urge you to leave the DACA program in place.”

  • Updating an earlier story, Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen’s, imprisonment wasn’t related to the NY Post photo of him at a restaurant. Probation officers asked him to sign a document that would have barred him from speaking to reporters or publishing a book during the rest of his sentence, his legal adviser said.

Mr. Cohen, believing the agreement violated his First Amendment rights, refused to sign it, the adviser, Lanny Davis, said. Less than two hours later, federal marshals stepped out of an elevator with handcuffs and took Mr. Cohen back into custody.

  • The Trump administration announced a 25 percent tariff on $1.3 billion worth of French handbags, cosmetics and soaps in retaliation for a digital services tax on U.S. internet giants.
  • U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows reportedly recommended that President Trump not grant associate Roger Stone clemency over concerns of political blowback.
  • Former special counsel Robert Mueller, the top lawyer who led the Russia investigation, defended his teams’ findings on President Trump’s associate Roger Stone on Saturday after Trump moved to commute his sentence. 

“[Stone] remains a convicted felon, and rightly so,” Mueller wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) sharply condemned President Trump’s commutation for longtime ally and political confidant Roger Stone, labeling it “historic corruption.”

“Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president,” Romney tweeted Saturday morning.

Presidential Campaign

  • President Trump on Saturday expressed confidence that rapper Kanye West — who recently announced that he plans to launch a late bid for the White House — could steal votes from Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent in November, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“That shouldn’t be hard,” Trump tweeted, referring to West taking votes away from Biden. “Corrupt Joe has done nothing good for Black people!”

Sources:  ABC News, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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