The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 8 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday, allowing visitors to pay respects during an unusual outdoor viewing aligned for the pandemic era, the Supreme Court announced on Monday.
  • The World Health Organization urged more wealthy countries to join its vaccine agreement.

More than 150 countries, representing 64 percent of the world’s population, have agreed to participate in the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, which aims to develop and distribute $2 billion in doses of a vaccine by the end of 2021.

Under the plan, rich and poor countries pool money to provide manufacturers with volume guarantees for a slate of vaccine candidates. The idea is to discourage hoarding and focus on vaccinating high-risk people in every participating country first.

  • President Trump predicted that a coronavirus vaccine would become available “within a matter of weeks,” again contradicting the assessments of his own administration’s top public health officials.
  • At a rally in Ohio on Monday, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that coronavirus only affects the elderly, and that young people don’t die from the illness.
  • The CDC quietly introduced — and then on Monday quietly withdrew — guidance on its website acknowledging that the coronavirus is transmitted mainly through the air.

The rapid reversal is another in a string of confusing missteps from the agency regarding official guidance that it posts on its website. The latest debacle concerns the spread of the virus by aerosols, tiny particles containing the virus that can stay aloft for long periods and travel further than six feet.

“In the scientific community, it’s become very clear that aerosols are very important,” said Linsey Marr, an expert in airborne viruses at Virginia Tech. “I hope that it comes back in some form that acknowledges the importance of aerosols.”

  • Much of Europe is scrambling to avoid another round of economically devastating widespread lockdowns as new spikes emerge in France, hospitals begin to fill in Spain and officials in the United Kingdom warn that a six-month fight to contain the virus remains ahead.
  • Residents of the United Kingdom who don’t self-quarantine after testing positive for the novel coronavirus could soon find themselves with $13,000 fines under a new order scheduled to take effect this month.
  • An organization of Black doctors is forming a task force to screen federal decisions about coronavirus vaccines and treatments, the latest sign of the medical community’s eroding trust in the FDA and the CDC under President Trump.
  • The managing editor of RedState who writes under a pseudonym, is actually William B. Crews, a public affairs specialist for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He has used his RedState position to spread COVID disinformation and smear his boss, Dr. Fauci, as a “mask nazi.”
  • From resistance to face masks and scorn for the science of the virus to predicting the imminent arrival of a vaccine while downplaying the death count, President Trump and a sizable number of his supporters have aligned behind an alternate reality minimizing a tragedy that has killed an overwhelming number of Americans and gutted the economy.

This mix of denial and defiance runs contrary to the overwhelming evidence about the spread and toll of the virus, and it is at the center of Mr. Trump’s re-election effort.

  • A coalition of 25 Democratic mayors has announced the rollout of pilot guaranteed income programs in their cities during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The programs offer monthly cash payments to low-income residents to supplement the existing social safety net.
  • The NFL fined three head coaches – – Denver’s Vic Fangio, Seattle’s Pete Carroll and SF’s Kyle Shanahan – $100,000 each for not wearing masks Sunday, and each of their teams another $250,000, sources told ESPN.

So that’s $1.05 million dollars in fines for not wearing masks.

  • New York City public schools reopened on Monday for up to 90,000 children — a small fraction of the city’s 1.1 million public school students but the first time any in-person classes have been held since the pandemic took hold in March.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Federal authorities have opened a civil rights investigation and a Louisiana State Police trooper is on leave as new questions have surfaced about the death of Ronald Greene, a Black man, after a high-speed chase in northern Louisiana last year.

“Greene was taken into custody after resisting arrest and a struggle with troopers,” the police report says, adding that he “became unresponsive” and died as he was being taken to a hospital. The report does not mention any use of force by troopers.

The front of Mr. Greene’s car did not strike anything and his airbag did not deploy, a lawsuit filed by Greene’s family said. Mr. Greene got out of the car uninjured and could “walk, speak and otherwise function in a healthy manner.”

As more troopers arrived at the scene, Mr. Greene apologized for leading the chase, according to the lawsuit. Two troopers pinned him down and “individually and in concert used lethal force against Greene,” including shocking him three times with a Taser as he begged them to stop.

Officers called an ambulance. When it arrived, emergency medical technicians found Mr. Greene unresponsive with multiple Taser barbs in his body, according to the lawsuit.

The family commissioned an independent autopsy that found severe injuries to Mr. Greene’s head and skull, and several wounds to his face, Mr. Merritt, the lawyer, said. After examining the damage to Mr. Greene’s car, which was mostly on the rear driver’s side, an accident reconstruction expert found it was “inconsistent with a fatal collision,” Mr. Merritt said.

  • A State of Emergency has been declared in Louisville, Kentucky in preparation of the grand jury decision for the Breonna Taylor case. LMPD has banned days off and is erecting barricades across the city.
  • According to a statement the Justice Department released Monday, New York City, Portland and Seattle are the three cities that “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” leading to their designation as an “anarchist jurisdiction.”
  • The NYPD announced 86 people were arrested in Times Square during a demonstration against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) on Saturday.

Police said the demonstration became tense when officers tried to move protesters from the area. Everyone arrested was charged with disorderly conduct. There were no reported injuries.

  • Florida Gov. Ron. DeSantis (R) announced new legislation that would charge protesters with felonies for damaging property and inflicting injuries, as well as sentence them to mandatory jail time for hitting a law enforcement officer. The bill, which state lawmakers will consider during next year’s legislative session, would also bar protesters who commit crimes from receiving state benefits or working for the state.
  • Jacob Gardner, a white bar owner charged in the fatal shooting of a Black man during a protest in Nebraska in May — less than a week after the killing of George Floyd — has died by suicide, the man’s lawyer said on Sunday.
  • Lifetime plans to premiere its first holiday movie focused on a gay couple this year, and is calling “The Christmas Setup” a “feel-good LGBTQ holiday romance.”
  • The confrontational tactics of some protesters against racial injustice worry others who fear an aggressive approach will antagonize people who may be receptive to their message, or play into conservatives’ critique of the largely nonviolent protests.

Trump Administration

  • President Trump questioned Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish that her replacement on the Supreme Court be chosen by the next president, suggesting without evidence that Democrats had concocted a quote provided by Justice Ginsburg’s grieving family.
  • President Trump said he would name a nominee to the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday, after services for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • Three Republican Senators — Mitt Romney of Utah, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Charles Grassley of Iowa — have been silent on filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Just two of them could force their party to delay a vote.
  • The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has requested documents from the Director of National Intelligence detailing President Trump’s ties to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

The documents, Sen. Bob Menendez said, are necessary to examine examples of Trump’s dealings with the Turkish president since taking office, including his refusal to enforce congressionally-mandated sanctions on Turkey.

  • The Office of the Special Counsel has started investigating Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for potentially violating the Hatch Act, after she slammed Joe Biden in a Fox News interview and her agency promoted it through official channels.
  • The federal debt will soar to levels unseen in the nation’s history over the next 30 years, consuming an ever-growing and unsustainable proportion of the nation’s income, the director of the Congressional Budget Office said on Monday.
  • The Trump administration on Monday removed the top two liaisons between the White House and the health department, leaving HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s chief of staff as the de facto personnel chief.
  • Top Trump administration officials announced a slate of punitive measures intended to add teeth to its attempt to reimpose international sanctions on Iran — a diplomatic maneuver dismissed by much of the global community as illegal and ineffective.
  • President Trump said he would not support a TikTok deal unless Walmart and Oracle own a controlling stake in the popular video-sharing app — appearing to reject the terms of an agreement he said over the weekend had his approval.

Presidential Campaign

  • Facebook announced that 2.5 million U.S. users have registered to vote in the upcoming general election through Facebook, Instagram and Messenger — a figure more than halfway towards Facebook’s goal of registering 4 million U.S. users to vote ahead of November.
  • A judge in New York has ordered the U.S. Postal Service to treat election mail as a priority amid widespread reports of mail delays resulting from operational changes directed by President Trump’s postmaster general.
  • Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is expanding its advertising offensive in Georgia and Iowa as the former vice president looks to broaden his path to the White House and expand the electoral battlefield beyond core states, like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida, where recent polls already show him with the lead.
  • President Trump claims he could easily close the growing fundraising gap between his campaign and that of Democratic nominee Joe Biden by calling “rich people that I know.”

“Give me one day and a telephone, I could get all these rich people that I know very much to all put up millions of dollars a piece,” Trump said during an interview on Fox and Friends.

  • A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign that challenges a Nevada state law sending ballots to all active voters amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The lawsuit lacks standing, according to U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan in a Sept. 18 order dismissing the lawsuit.

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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