The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 47,685 new cases and 1,144 additional deaths. 
  • A new study finds some evidence that infusions of convalescent plasma may help severely ill coronavirus patients survive better. 

Patients given the plasma treatments at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City were a little less likely to die and a little less likely to get worse in the hospital than patients not given the treatment.

  • Bill Gates called the U.S. response to Covid-19 “shocking” and “mismanaged” in an interview published on Monday in Stat.

“You know, this has been a mismanaged situation every step of the way,” Gates told Stat. “It’s shocking. It’s unbelievable – the fact that we would be among the worst in the world.”

  • In an April 13 phone call with journalist Bob Woodward, President Trump called coronavirus “the plague” acknowledging it would be devastating for vulnerable Americans, saying “this thing is a killer if it gets you. If you’re the wrong person, you don’t have a chance.”
  • President Trump defended his assertion that the novel coronavirus would “disappear” with or without a vaccine, saying the United States would develop what he called “herd mentality.”

“With time it goes away,” Trump said. “You’ll develop — you’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality. It’s going to be, it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen. But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.”

NOTE: To develop herd immunity, about 200 million American’s would need to contract the virus. The death toll would be nearly 6 million. 

  • President Trump claims that he “up-played” the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, despite telling Bob Woodward in March that he “wanted to always play it down.”

“I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action,” Trump said today when asked why he minimized COVID-19 when the virus has proven to be particularly lethal for communities of color, adding: “My action was very strong.”

  • The assistant secretary of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, accused the media of being dishonest about the coronavirus pandemic and reiterated talking points about Covid-19 that President Trump has pushed for months, including that schools should reopen for in-person learning and that very few children are affected by Covid-19.
  • More than a week after tests were placed on hold due to serious side effects in a participant in Britain, AstraZeneca has resumed COVID-19 vaccine trials in South Africa.
  • Speaker Pelosi insisted that the House will stay in session until she and other congressional leaders can reach agreement on a long-stalled covid relief package.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY0 is calling for the resignation of Trump administration health secretary Alex Azar, amid mounting evidence of political interference in the federal government’s coronavirus response.
  • The White House blocked trade adviser Peter Navarro from testifying at a House oversight hearing Wednesday about a partially canceled Defense Production Act contract to manufacture ventilators.
  • Canada’s health minister on Tuesday said she could not rule out another full lockdown if needed amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases, but added that the government was significantly more prepared to manage the virus than during the first wave.
  • The University of Arizona has issued a recommendation, in accordance with the local county health department, strongly urging students to shelter in place until Sept. 30 following a large number of positive Covid-19 cases.
  • Major League Baseball announced that the home of the Texas Rangers, Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, will host the World Series. 

MLB’s 2020 postseason plan includes hosting games at four neutral site stadiums in California and Texas starting with the Division Series.

  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced 87 Covid-19 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, the highest number of deaths reported in one day since early May.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Officials in Louisville, Kentucky, announce a financial settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman fatally shot by police in her home in March.

Trump Administration

  • A nurse at a Georgia Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility is accusing the detention center of performing hysterectomies on immigrant women being detained there, usually without their consent.
  • President Trump revealed that he wanted to assassinate Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier in his presidency, reversing his previous denial that the issue ever came up.

“I would have rather taken him out. I had him all set. Mattis didn’t want to do it,” Trump said in an interview with Fox & Friends, referring to then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “Mattis was against most of that stuff.”

Trump’s comments are similar to a report in journalist Bob Woodward’s 2018 book “Fear.” Following the book’s publication, Trump denied the account, dismissing the book as “fiction” and telling journalists that assassinating Assad “was never contemplated, nor would it be contemplated.”

“Let’s fucking kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the fucking lot of them,” Trump is said to have told Mattis.

In the Tuesday interview, Trump also personally attacked Mattis as “highly overrated” and “a bad leader,” saying “he was terrible to me, he was a terrible general.”

  • The World Trade Organization found on Tuesday that the United States had breached global trading rules by imposing multi-billion dollar tariffs in President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, a ruling that drew anger from Washington.

The WTO said the U.S. duties broke trading rules because they applied only to China and were above maximum rates agreed to by the United States. Washington had not then adequately explained why its measures were a justified exception.

  • The Trump administration is no longer moving forward with plans to soon issue a controversial Medicaid rule that states warned would force major cutbacks.

The rule, proposed late last year, would overhaul how states use certain Medicaid payments to draw down more federal dollars. Both Democratic and Republican governors criticized the proposal, arguing it could hurt their ability to fund their state’s Medicaid programs when they’re already facing pandemic-related economic pressures.

  • A surge in people buying guns since the coronavirus pandemic began has flooded the FBI’s background check system, causing a spike in the number of delayed checks and allowing gun sales to proceed without them.
  • The president claimed to have read Bob Woodward’s book on Monday night. “I read it very quickly. And it was very boring.”

Note: The book is 466 pages and would take the average person more than twelve hours to read.

  • President Trump backtracked on his decision to reimpose 10 percent aluminum tariffs on Canada on Tuesday, hours before Ottawa was set to announce retaliatory measures.

Presidential Campaign 

  • A voter-outreach effort by the U.S. Postal Service drew a growing backlash as election officials in several states warned voters that the embattled agency was providing inaccurate information about how to vote in the Nov. 3 election.
  • A state judge in Ohio ruled that election officials can set up multiple drop boxes per county for voters to return absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 presidential election, writing that a limit of one per county is “arbitrary and unreasonable.”
  • County elections officials in Pennsylvania may no longer discard mail ballots simply because they question the authenticity of a voter’s signature.

The Pennsylvania Department of State issued that guidance last week and, on Tuesday, two organizations that had sued the state over the practice dropped a federal lawsuit challenging it.

  • The Texas Supreme Court has again issued a ruling blocking Harris County from sending mail-in ballot applications to all of its over 2 million registered voters amid an ongoing court battle.
  • Scientific American offered its first presidential endorsement on Tuesday, backing Joe Biden, saying he is better on science and ripping President Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump’s rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic in the U.S.”

  • The Black Voters Matter Fund, a nonprofit organization aimed at mobilizing voters in marginalized and predominantly Black communities, said it will be deploying voter outreach caravans in states across the South and the Midwest and rolling out radio advertisements in an effort to engage and rally Black voters ahead of the election.

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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