The Past 24 Hours or So

9/29

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Covid-19 has killed 1 million people worldwide.
  • The U.S. reported 36,792 new cases and 260 additional deaths. 14,065 COVID patients are receiving critical care. 
  • The number of new coronavirus cases in 21 states has increased by at least 10 percent or more from last week as health officials warn of a possible surge in cases in the fall and winter, according to a new analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
  • Despite the CDC warning that “Children younger than 5 years old – especially those younger than 2 – are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications,” and  that getting a flu shot during the pandemic – for all ages – is more important than ever, one-third of American parents have no plans to get their children vaccinated for the flu this year.

In addition, two-thirds of parents don’t believe getting a flu shot for their child is more important this year, despite advice to the contrary from major government organizations and pediatricians.

  • CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield has grown increasingly concerned that President Trump, pushed by a new member of his coronavirus task force, is sharing incorrect information about the pandemic with the public.

Redfield suggested in a conversation with a colleague Friday that Dr. Scott Atlas is arming Trump with misleading data about a range of issues, including questioning the efficacy of masks, whether young people are susceptible to the virus and the potential benefits of herd immunity.

“Everything he says is false,” Redfield said during a phone call made in public on a commercial airline and overheard by NBC News.

Redfield acknowledged after the flight from Atlanta to Washington that he was speaking about Atlas.

  • The CDC was pushed to play down the risks of the coronavirus pandemic in reopening schools, Olivia Troye, a former staff member for Vice President Mike Pence, told CNN.
  • Leaders of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, two of the most prominent science advisory groups, are calling out political interference in science, warning it undermines public confidence “when we need it the most.” The statement came one day after President Trump said he might reject a plan from the FDA to impose tougher standards for authorizing a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • President Trump announced a plan to deploy 150 million rapid coronavirus tests from Abbott to states across the nation to help with school reopening efforts.
  • President Trump’s plan to disperse 150 million rapid coronavirus tests is a step in the right direction, but too small and too late, according to  Dr. William Haseltine, chair and president of the global health think tank ACCESS Health International.
  • The nation’s top infectious diseases expert called Florida’s decision to reopen bars and restaurants last week “very concerning” as the U.S. is averaging about 40,000 new coronavirus cases per day. 

“You’re really asking for trouble,” Dr. Fauci said.

  • House Democrats on Monday unveiled a scaled-back $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package, a last-ditch effort to pressure White House negotiators to come back to the table and strike a bipartisan deal before the election.

It includes an additional round of $1,200 stimulus check for most Americans, money to restore $600 expanded unemployment payments through January, and millions to expand coronavirus testing.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) are calling for an investigation after the Pentagon reportedly used $1 billion in coronavirus relief funds on jet engine parts, body armor and other military equipment instead of medical supplies.

A coalition of 40 organizations from both sides of the aisle is also calling for a congressional investigation.

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended the “Safe Harbor Act which ” protects tenants from Covid-19 related residential evictions and foreclosures through Jan. 1.
  • Twenty students have tested positive for Covid-19 at Pace University’s Westchester, New York campus, 18 of whom live in the same dormitory
  • Citing “sufficient progress in the fight against Covid-19,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the easing of phase four guidelines for businesses starting Oct. 1.  

Restaurants will be allowed to expand indoor capacity to 40%, bars can reopen for indoor service, and may serve until 1 a.m, according to a news release. Class sizes for fitness and after-school programs will be allowed to expand and personal services that require the removal of a mask allowed to resume. 

Trump Administration

  • The New York Times on Sunday published a groundbreaking look into President Trump’s finances based on more than a decade of tax documents closely guarded by the president.

Here are five key takeaways from the report on Trump’s taxes.

  1. Trump paid almost nothing in personal income taxes for nearly two decades

Trump was able to avoid paying income taxes for 10 of the 15 years preceding his election in 2016, according to the Times, and paid just $750 in income taxes during the first two years of his presidency.

  1. Business losses protected his personal gains

Much of Trump’s personal tax liability was covered by a $72.9 million refund he received in 2010, according to the Times, claiming losses potentially driven by the failure of his Atlantic City Casinos. That refund, which has been under federal scrutiny since 2011, helped wipe out $95 million in income taxes Trump paid over three years.

  1. Financial record at odds with Trump’s boasts and disclosures

Trump claimed in his 2018 financial disclosure to have made $434.9 million that year, and blasted the Times in a Monday tweet for failing to consider the value of the assets he owns.

But according to the tax documents obtained by Times, the president lost $47.4 million in 2018 as many of his golf courses and hotels bled money.

  1. A ton of debt — and due soon

Trump owes $421 million in loans he personally guaranteed in addition to the potential debt he may owe the IRS pending the investigation into his $72.9 million tax rebate. Trump also owes the entirety of a $100 million mortgage on Trump Tower due in 2022.

  1. Trump could face serious legal consequences

The financial information unearthed by the Times revealed several areas where Trump could be vulnerable to civil or criminal charges for tax or financial services fraud.

  • Andrew Weissman, a top prosecutor under Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, said in a new interview that he “would have subpoenaed” President Trump during the investigation.
  • Responding to a bombshell report on President Trump’s taxes, the president’s former attorney and longtime fixer Michael Cohen said a massive tax bill and fraud charges are Trump’s “biggest fear.”

“Donald Trump’s financial records are the Rosetta Stone for understanding the depth of his corruption and crimes,” he said. “The more it is unraveled, the more he will unravel. It’s the reason he’s fought so hard to keep it under wraps.”

  • Two dozen state Attorneys General are condemning a proposal from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would loosen Obama-era federal protections for homeless transgender individuals and allow single-sex homeless shelters to establish policies based on biological sex.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Brett Hankison, the only officer charged in connection to Breonna Taylor’s shooting death, pleaded not guilty to three counts of wanton endangerment during his arraignment Monday. He is not charged in Taylor’s death, but for three counts of wanton endangerment over bullets that entered a neighboring apartment.
  • A member of the Breonna Taylor grand jury just filed a remarkable motion asking a judge to release the entire proceedings of the grand jury. The motion strongly suggests that Attorney General Cameron’s public comments contradict what was presented to the grand jury.
  • Attorneys for Prince George’s County, Maryland, have announced that a settlement has been reached with the family of 43-year-old William Green, a Black man who was fatally shot while handcuffed in a police cruiser earlier this year.
  • An Atlanta-based activist is facing federal wire fraud and money laundering charges after authorities said he spent more than $200,000 in donations intended for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sir Maejor Page, 32, was arrested Friday after authorities said he used donations for the social justice movement on tailored suits, guns and a home in Ohio.

  • Christopher Cantwell, a white nationalist podcaster who was featured in a Vice documentary about the 2017 Unite the Right neo-Nazi rally in Virginia, was found guilty of extortion and threatening to rape a fellow white nationalist’s wife. Lawyers for Cantwell had defended his messages as merely “obscene” or “over the top” rather than genuine threats.
  • Texas Sheriff  Robert Chody who appeared on the hit A&E show “Live PD” was arrested and has been charged with destroying or concealing evidence related to the death of 40-year-old Javier Ambler when he was in the custody of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department last year.

Chody is accused of ordering that “Live PD” destroy the footage showing Ambler’s death, which was never aired.

Presidential Campaign

  • Over 3 million Black voters in key states were identified by Trump’s 2016 campaign as people they had to persuade to stay at home on Election Day to help him reach the White House.
  • A nonpartisan get-out-the-vote website that helps voters register to vote and get critical election information says the weekend Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died it say a massive spike in registrations, with 139,046 registration verifications, or a 118 percent increase compared to the previous weekend. It also saw a spike in requests for mail-in ballots.
  • Democrats have raised more than $300 million in small-dollar donations for candidates and progressive causes since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death as the party aims to flip the Senate to Democratic control. In the first 24-hours following Ginsburg’s death, Democrats also broke two fundraising records at $6.3 million in one hour and $70.6 million in one day.
  • Republicans have asked the Supreme Court to halt a major Pennsylvania state court ruling that extended the due date for mail ballots in the key battleground state, teeing up the first test for the high court since the death of its liberal leader Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • An explosive report on President Trump’s tax returns has roiled the presidential race as Democrat Joe Biden and Trump get ready to debate for the first time on Tuesday night. Republicans acknowledged the report had the potential to hurt Trump at a critical time, as he is trying to catch up to Biden in swing-state and national 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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