The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 22,548 new cases and 362 additional deaths.
  • More than 266,000 coronavirus cases of the 1.4 million new cases in the U.S. between Aug. 2 and Sept. 2 can be traced back to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held in South Dakota.
  • More than 513,000 U.S. children have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
  • Stay-at-home orders helped with a reduction in spread of Covid-19, according to new research published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open.
  • Nine pharmaceutical companies issued a rare joint pledge seeking to reassure the public about the safety and efficacy of their potential vaccines for coronavirus. The unprecedented statement comes amid fears that President Trump is placing political pressure on the FDA to have a vaccine ready before Election Day.
  • Pfizer and BioNTech are confident they can have a vaccine against the novel coronavirus ready for regulatory approval by the middle of October, BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin has told CNN.
  • Phase 3 trials for the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca have been placed on hold after a ‘serious adverse event’ was reported in a participant in the UK.
  • Colleges and universities should try their best to isolate students infected with Covid-19 on campus rather than sending them home, so that they don’t infect other students or take the virus home with them, Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested. 
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co is investigating employees and customers who may have been involved in the misuse of federal funds meant to help small businesses and other customers hurt by COVID-19 shutdowns.

The bank said it had found cases of customers “misusing Paycheck Protection Program loans, unemployment benefits, and other government programs,” according to the memo, which was verified by a bank spokeswoman.

  • The Republican coronavirus relief bill includes a $300 per week federal unemployment benefit through the end of the year, another round of Paycheck Protection Program funding, and liability protections from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

The bill will need 60 votes to overcome Thursday’s procedural hurdle, something it is not expected to get.

  • Less than a week after welcoming back students, an elementary school in Ohio shifted to online-only classes after its principal and a teacher tested positive for COVID-19.

The Mentor Public School district in Lake County, Ohio announced the cases in a letter to parents over Labor Day weekend.

  • Japan’s Olympics minister said the already rescheduled 2020 games must take place next year despite concerns over the coronavirus: “The athletes are all working towards the event next year. By all means necessary, I think we have to go ahead with the games.”
  • Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut said it has postponed the opening of schools for both in person and online learning Tuesday, citing a ransomware virus that caused an outage of critical systems within the network infrastructure.
  • In a new interview, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) blamed President Trump for New York’s coronavirus outbreak, saying: “Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York. That is a fact. It’s a fact that he admitted, and the CDC admitted, and Fauci admitted.”
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said restaurants can increase their indoor capacity to 50% beginning Sept. 21.
  • The University of Tennessee is having a “significant issue” with a small portion of its study body, particularly fraternities, in combating the spread of Covid-19 on campus.
  • As Iowa emerges as the current hotspot of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said she has no immediate plans to enact stricter guidelines regardless of health experts’ recommendations that bars close and mask mandates be enforced.
  • The University of Iowa Athletics Department has announced it is resuming voluntary and mandatory student-athlete workouts.

Eight days ago, the university had halted all sports programs after reporting 93 positive Covid-19 tests within the athletics community.

  • Colorado will launch a partnership with Apple and Google to allow for Covid-19 exposure notifications on cell phones for contact tracing in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced Tuesday.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Rochester, New York Police Chief La’Ron Singletary announced that he will step down amid ongoing protests in the city in response to the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died of asphyxiation in March after local police put a hood over his head and pressed his head to a street for two minutes.
  • More than 1,000 pro-Trump protesters gathered near Portland to express support for the president on Monday. Some of the demonstrators, which included members of white nationalist extremist groups, were armed with rifles, pistols, knives and clubs.
  • Six months after Breonna Taylor was killed by Louisville police officers, the city is getting its first Black female chief of police, as Yvette Gentry, a former Louisville Metro Police deputy chief, is coming out of retirement to serve in an interim capacity as the city faces unrest over Taylor’s death.
  • Since its launch June 1, Denver’s new Support Team Assistance Response program, which sends a mental health professional and a paramedic to some 911 calls instead of police, has responded to more than 350 calls, replacing police in matters that don’t threaten public safety and are often connected to unmet mental or physical needs. The goal is to connect people who pose no danger with services and resources while freeing up police to respond to other calls. The team, which is not armed, has not called police for backup
  • After hearing the book, “Ron’s Big Mission,” written about Astronaut Ron McNair – the only Black member of the 1986 NASA Challenger crew – read during a second grade Zoom class, a Missouri parent complained to the school about the book’s content. 

The book focuses on McNair’s fight to get a library card in segregated South Carolina when he was a child growing up there in the 1950s.

The Rockwood School District responded to a parent’s complaint about a book by having it read to the entire school. 

Trump Administration

  • Gen. James McConville, chief of staff of the Army said that military leaders only recommend sending troops to combat as a “last resort” after President Trump said Pentagon leaders support war to bolster the defense industry.

Pressed on private industry’s influence on the decision to go to war, McConville said military officers take very seriously their recommendations on whether to send troops into combat.

“I can assure the American people that the senior leaders would only recommend sending our troops to combat when it is required in national security, and in the last resort,” he continued. “We take this very, very seriously in how we make our recommendations.”

  • The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg said that he believes “fear on a kind of superficial level of a Twitter mob” and a “fear of personal safety” kept his anonymous sources from going public with their allegations that President Trump called fallen service members “losers” and “suckers” in 2018.

“On one hand they don’t want to interfere in democratic electoral processes. On the other hand, you are talking about a president who is unlike anything they have ever experienced.”

  • Military members will be forced to take part in President Trump’s payroll tax deferral and will not be able to opt out of it, the payroll services provider for the Department of Defense said. The deferral is not forgiving the taxes, which people will be forced to pay back at a later date with an even larger amount of pay withheld as taxes in the new year.
  • The Justice Department is seeking to take over the defense of President Trump in a defamation suit brought by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who claims Trump raped her two decades ago.

In a court filing, the DOJ said Trump was acting “within the scope” of his job as president when he said Carroll lied about the incident, prompting her lawsuit. The U.S. also moved the case to Manhattan federal court from a New York state court, where a judge last month denied his request to stall the suit.

  • Two House sub-committees have launched an investigation into a suspicious string of recent soldier deaths at Fort Hood, Texas, one of the military’s most troubled installations, with an average of 129 felonies committed annually between 2014 and 2019, including cases of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Presidential Campaign

  • President Trump is trying to scare suburban voters into re-electing him. The strategy didn’t help Republicans in 2018, but both parties think that fear — over crime, street violence and economic security — could resonate more this year.
  • A North Carolina court dramatically expanded the number of voters eligible to participate in the 2020 election. The state may not disenfranchise citizens who owe fines, fees, and other debts from a felony conviction, the Wake County Superior Court ruled.
  • President Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen claims in his new book that then-Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Trump in 2016 was a “favor” connected with Cohen suppressing explicit photos of Falwell.

In a recording, Cohen says he stopped “a bunch of photographs, personal photographs” from being leaked. “I actually have one of the photos, it’s terrible.”

  • Following reports about the Trump campaign facing a cash crunch as election day draws nearer, President Trump told reporters “If we needed any more, I would put it up personally, like I did in the primaries last time,” adding, “whatever it takes, we have to win.”
  • While some news outlets and pundits claim that there are no “hidden Trump voters,” both a recent study and circumstantial evidence support that they do exist. If Trump’s true support is underestimated by two or three points, that is within the margin of error of most polls.

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

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