The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus, Race Relations, and Trump Administration News

Read TIme: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID 19 Update

  • The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Sunday that she intends to have American schools open for in-person classes this fall, and insisted that this can be done safely despite concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

DeVos called on schools to reopen despite CDC guidelines that say children meeting in groups can put everyone at risk: “There is going to be the exception to the rule. But the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall.”

The Secretary also reiterated President Trump’s threat to withhold funding from schools that do not reopen.

“American investment in education is a promise to students and their families,” she said. “If schools aren’t going to reopen and not fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds.” ““There’s nothing in the data that suggests that kids being in school is in any way dangerous.”

  • The White House is seeking to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, as President Donald Trump works to marginalize him and his dire warnings about the shortcomings in the U.S. coronavirus response.

In a remarkable broadside by the Trump administration against one of its own, a White House official told NBC News on Sunday that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.” To bolster the case, the official provided NBC News with a list of nearly a dozen past comments by Fauci earlier in the pandemic that the official said had ultimately proven erroneous.

  • According to initial data reported by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there were zero new COVID-19 deaths on July 11 for the first time since the state’s first death was recorded on March 11.
  • New Jersey announced 16 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 349 additional positive tests.
  • Florida reports 15,300 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day increase for any US state, and 44 new deaths.

Floridians are testing positive every five and a half seconds. 

  • A 30-year-old man who believed the coronavirus was a hoax and attended a “Covid party” died after being infected with the virus, according to a Texas hospital.

The man had attended a gathering with an infected person to test whether the coronavirus was real, said Dr. Jane Appleby, chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, where the man died.

  • Top officials in Houston are calling for the city to lock back down as hospitals strain to accommodate the onslaught of COVID-19 patients. Texas health officials reported 8,196 new cases statewide, 80 more deaths and a total 10,410 people hospitalized.
  • Some parts of the Midwest are beginning to look alarmingly like the South and West did just a month ago. Cases have been trending upward in every Midwestern state except Nebraska and South Dakota.
  • Minnesota announced its highest daily case totals since May on Sunday and Saturday.
  • Indiana was among the first states in the Midwest to begin reopening in early May. The state was on track to enter its final phase (Phase 5) of reopening by the Fourth of July but as cases began rising, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced the state would instead enter an interim “Phase 4.5.” Mr. Holcomb’s amended executive order stops short of fully reopening but allows fairs and festivals, youth overnight camps and even conventions of up to 250 people to continue. Face coverings are “strongly recommended” but not required.
  • In Kansas, average daily case counts are at their highest levels and in Sedgwick County, which includes Wichita, cases have more than doubled since June 25. Local officials in Wichita have attempted to slow the spread by issuing a universal mask ordinance and banning gatherings of more than 45 people.
  • Parents and teachers discovered that one version of the reopening drafts for the Canyons School District in Utah included a recommendation that crisis communication employees have a “template letter” ready in case a student or teacher died of the virus.

The reference went viral on social media, but it’s not unusual at all for an organization to have a crisis plan in place in case someone dies. A newer draft of the district’s plans does not have that reference, as the reopening drafts are still in the planning phases.

  • The California Assembly is suspending its session until further notice following five confirmed COVID-19 cases among lawmakers and employees.

Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood, has tested positive for COVID-19 and will remain in quarantine with her daughter until a doctor instructs her otherwise, she wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Burke had “mask to mask” exposure to the virus on June 26, she said — the same day that an Assembly employee was last in the Capitol before testing positive. That employee wore a face covering at all times, according to an Assembly Rules Committee email.

Protests/Race Relations

  • The federal government has denied Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’ request for aid to help rebuild and repair Twin Cities structures that were damaged in the unrest following George Floyd’s death.
  • Lewis Hamilton shows his support for the Black Lives Matter movement during his victory in the Styrian Grand Prix.

Hamilton secured his first win of the season in Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix. Before and after the race, Hamilton made a more definitive statement by kneeling ahead of the anthem and raising his fist on the winner’s podium.

  • A man who was seen on video going off on a racist tirade against an Asian American family at a restaurant has resigned from his job as CEO of a tech company in California after drawing viral backlash.

Michael Lofthouse, the now-former CEO of San Francisco-based cloud computing firm Solid8, confirmed his resignation to Fox Business.

  • Protesters gathered outside the Allentown, PA police department Saturday night after a  39-second video showed a Pennsylvania police officer with his knee on a man’s neck and head.

The clip, shot outside a hospital in Allentown doesn’t show what prompted the confrontation, but three officers can be seen restraining a man lying face down on the ground and yelling.

One of the officers is seen thrusting his knee and elbow into the man’s head and neck. Earlier this month, the Allentown Police Department released a new excessive force policy. The policy bans neck restraints or chokeholds unless officers are preventing “imminent death or serious bodily injury” to a citizen or themselves.

The Lehigh County district attorney is investigating and in a statement said, “Although significant, the entirety of the interaction is being reviewed,” adding that witnesses were being interviewed and that other videos were being reviewed.

  • The NFL’s Washington franchise announced they are retiring the team’s name and logo. A new name has not yet been announced.

Administration News

  • Following an op-ed by former special counsel Robert Mueller published Saturday in The Washington Post, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he will grant a request by Democrats to have  Mueller testify before the committee about his investigation. 
  • President Trump floated the idea of selling Puerto Rico as the territory struggled in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, former acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke told The New York Times.

Duke, who served in the role for four months, told the Times on Friday that she was shocked when the president raised the suggestion of “divesting” or “selling” Puerto Rico.

  • President Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he’s fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. “Meadows told me he was doing that,” said one former White House official. “I don’t know if it ever worked.”
  • Donald Trump has criticised a group of his supporters who privately financed and built a wall along the US-Mexico border in South Texas earlier this year because the wall is already deteriorating from erosion.

The privately-funded wall was “only done to make me look bad,” the president tweeted on Sunday – despite the group, “We Build the Wall,” raising $25million in two years to erect it, in a show of support for Trump’s immigration and border security initiatives.

The group first launched its fundraising effort during the government shutdown of December 2018 when Congress would not agree to fund Trump’s wall proposal.

  • Senate Democrats are demanding they be allowed to see any copies of intelligence briefs that were presented to President Trump regarding evidence that Russia was paying the Taliban bounties for attacks on U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan.

Presidential Campaign

  • After months of insisting that the Republican National Convention go off as scheduled despite the pandemic, President Donald Trump is slowly coming to accept that the late August event will not be the four-night infomercial for his reelection that he had anticipated.

After a venue change, spiking coronavirus cases and a sharp recession, Trump aides and allies are increasingly questioning whether it’s worth the trouble, and some are advocating that the convention be scrapped altogether. Conventions are meant to lay out a candidate’s vision for the coming four years, not spark months of intrigue over the health and safety of attendees, they have argued.

Aides are pushing Trump to move his acceptance speech outdoors to minimize risk of virus transmission. But Trump has expressed reservations about an outdoor venue, believing it would lack the same atmosphere as a charged arena.

  • The Trump campaign canceled the president’s planned rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire because of concerns that COVID-19 fears and a forecasted thunderstorm would lead to low attendance, people close to the campaign told NBC News. 

In its statement, the Trump campaign announcing the rally was being called off blamed a forecasted thunderstorm in the area and “safety reasons” for the decision. But officials told NBC that it was one of several factors that the campaign feared would lead to low attendance at the event, prompting the cancellation.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s