The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 

  • The U.S. reported 46,295 new cases and 1,024 additional deaths. At least 6,913 Americans died this week as a result of COVID-19.
  • The number of people who have been infected with the novel coronavirus globally surpassed 23 million on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. JHU is reporting more than 801,000 people have died from the virus.

The United States has the highest numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths in the world.

  • The World Health Organization said children aged 12 and over should wear masks to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic under the same conditions as adults, while children between six and 11 should wear them on a risk-based approach.
  • President Trump accused the FDA of making it difficult for drug companies to test possible coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics on people.

“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!” Trump tweeted.

  • Schools across the U.S. are facing shortages and long delays, of up to several months, in getting this year’s most crucial back-to-school supplies: the laptops and other equipment needed for online learning, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The world’s three biggest computer companies, Lenovo, HP and Dell, have told school districts they have a shortage of nearly 5 million laptops, in some cases exacerbated by Trump administration sanctions on Chinese suppliers, according to interviews with over two dozen U.S. schools, districts in 15 states, suppliers, computer companies and industry analysts.

  • Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA) announced on Saturday he has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Pennsylvania Republican said that he is complying with health guidelines and postponing public events following his diagnosis.

  • Springfield, Massachusetts police are looking for a man who allegedly gave a Walmart shopper a “Covid hug.” 

The suspect, whom the victim had never seen before, took an item out of his hand and then gave him a hug.

“Just giving you a Covid hug. You now have Covid,” the suspect said before laughing and walking away, according to the Springfield Police Department.

The victim is a cancer survivor, the police department said, adding that the suspect did the same thing to several other customers.

  • New Jersey reported its lowest number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations since March 24.
  • Georgia surpassed 5,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
  • A 6-year-old girl from Hillsborough County became the youngest person to die from coronavirus complications in Florida.
  • The number of Covid-19 hospitalizations in Mississippi dropped below 1,000 for the first time in two months.
  • Covid-19 hospitalization rates in Los Angeles County are the lowest since April.

Trump Administration

  • Maryanne Trump Barry was serving as a federal judge when she heard her brother, President Trump, suggest on Fox News, “maybe I’ll have to put her at the border” amid a wave of refugees entering the United States. At the time, children were being separated from their parents and put in cramped quarters while court hearings dragged on.

“All he wants to do is appeal to his base,” Barry said in a conversation secretly recorded by her niece, Mary L. Trump. “He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this.”

Barry, 83, was aghast at how her 74-year-old brother operated as president. “His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God,” she said. “I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit.”

Barry also said at one point, “It’s the phoniness of it all. It’s the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel,” according to the audio scripts and recordings.

According to the Washington Post, Barry said to Mary: “He went to Fordham for one year and then he got into University of Pennsylvania because he had somebody take the exams.” “No way!” Mary responded. “He had somebody take his entrance exams?”

Barry then replied, “SATs or whatever…I even remember the name. That person was Joe Shapiro,” Barry said.

  • The U.S. was further isolated over its bid to reimpose international sanctions on Iran with 13 countries on the 15-member U.N. Security Council expressing their opposition, arguing that Washington’s move is void given it is using a process agreed under a nuclear deal that it quit two years ago.
  • The House on Saturday passed legislation that would prevent the U.S. Postal Service from making any changes to its operations that could slow delivery of mailed-in ballots for this fall’s elections.

It would also provide $25 billion for Postal Service operations, which is an amount originally recommended by the agency’s board of governors. House Democrats also included the funding in the $3.4 trillion coronavirus relief package that they passed in May.

  • A California Superior Court judge has ordered President Donald Trump to pay $44,100 to Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, to reimburse her attorneys’ fees in the legal battle surrounding her nondisclosure agreement.
  • TikTok plans to sue the Trump administration over its executive order banning transactions between U.S. companies and the popular video-sharing app as well as its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

Protests/Racial and Social Issues

  • Federal authorities on Saturday forced demonstrators away from a plaza near a federal building as dueling demonstrations in Portland by right-wing and left-wing protesters turned violent. No arrests were reported.
  • A Kansas City police sergeant has been indicted on a felony charge of third-degree assault after he allegedly kneed a 15-year-old boy on his neck and head and forced his head into the pavement while the teenager repeatedly said “I can’t breathe,” a Missouri prosecutor announced Friday.
  • Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) said she will veto City Council-approved proposals that would include reducing the police department by as many as 100 officers through layoffs and attrition.
  • Westerly, Rhode Island Police said Friday that they caught two people red-handed trying to vandalize a statue of Christopher Columbus.

Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said the two had been among a group that tried to spray paint on the Columbus statue across from town hall at around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday.

  • Someone sprayed black paint on a giant mural of George Floyd at the Minneapolis intersection where he died in May. A Minneapolis police spokesman said the department hasn’t taken any reports about the vandalized mural.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus.COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 4 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 47,146 new cases and 1,134 additional deaths.
  • At least 175,204 Americans have died from the coronavirus, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. should start dropping around parts of the country by next week, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said, as Americans stick to mitigation efforts that help curb the spread of the virus.

Mitigation measures like controlling crowds and shutting down bars work, Redfield said, but it takes time until they’re reflected in the numbers.

  • The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. could spike to as high as 6,000 people a day by December in the worst-case scenario, according to Dr. Chris Murray, the chair of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Researchers predict the more likely scenario of the number of daily deaths will decrease slowly in September – then rise to nearly 2,000 a day by the start of December.

  • The number of serious mortgage delinquencies rose to a 10-year high in July, according to a report released Friday by financial data firm Black Knight.

The number of homes with mortgage payments more than 90 days past due but not in foreclosure rose by 376,000 in July to a total of 2.25 million. 

  • A new analysis of 194 countries, published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the World Economic Forum, has definitively shown that countries led by women had “systematically and significantly better” COVID-19 outcomes, often locking down earlier and therefore suffering half as many deaths on average as those led by men.

“Our results clearly indicate that women leaders reacted more quickly and decisively in the face of potential fatalities.”

  • The Infectious Diseases Society of America has revised its coronavirus treatment guidelines, recommending that anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine not be used for COVID-19 patients at all.

“IDSA’s expert guidelines panel concluded that higher certainty benefits (e.g., mortality reduction) for the use of these treatments are now highly unlikely even if additional high quality data would become available,” the group said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg News.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci weighed in on the national debate to reopen schools, saying a unilateral approach will not work, and recommending each area shape their plans for virtual or in-person classes around the local coronavirus positive test rates.
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would shut down the U.S. to blunt the spread of the coronavirus if scientific advisers said such a move was necessary.

“I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,” Biden said.

  • Thirty-six students at Purdue University in Indiana have been suspended by school officials after taking part in a gathering held by the Circle Pines Cooperative, a fraternity-like organization unique to Purdue’s campus. The students were suspended over violations of the school’s coronavirus guidelines, while the Circle Pines Cooperative itself had been ordered to suspend operations.
  • Vanderbilt University athletics program has revealed that an unspecified number of members of the football team have tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Public schools in Boston will start the year remotely on Sept. 21 with a phased in approach to returning students to the classroom. 
  • The Dallas Independent School District will start the academic year with full remote learning through at least Oct. 6.
  • Just over a week after announcing the Kentucky Derby would allow fans in the stands to witness the 146th edition, organizers have changed their minds. The rescheduled Run for the Roses will now be held without spectators.
  • Major League Baseball has announced two additional New York Mets games – the team’s games this weekend versus the New York Yankees have been postponed due to Covid-19 concerns. 
  • Over 700 participants are slated to take part in the reenactment of the historic Civil War Battle of Gettysburg this weekend.

When asked about whether masks will be enforced for the event, Kirk Davis of the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association said “some men will be wearing masks, some will not. They’ll be absolutely at least six feet apart.”

Due to the volume and crowd size of the event, organizers will place particular emphasis on social distancing even during the reenactment.

He added that anyone going inside buildings or in the museums would be required to wear masks, and room occupancies cannot exceed 15 people.

  • At least 26 people spread across three states have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in connection to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and one has been hospitalized. The event drew hundreds of thousands of people despite fears of the pandemic.
  • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu tweeted Friday that effective immediately, all restaurants in the state can go to 100% capacity for indoor dining.
  • Arkansas reported 887 new cases and 22 additional deaths. This is the largest number of deaths recorded since the pandemic began, and the fourth highest day of Covid-19 cases in the state, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said.
  • A federal judge in Louisiana has ruled that the governor’s order mandating the closure of bars due to COVID-19 concerns was constitutional, shutting down a challenge from several bar owners in the state.
  • Covid-19 hospitalization rates in Los Angeles County are the lowest since April, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) announced at a press conference.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 

  • The U.S. reported 46,436 new cases and 1,356 additional deaths. Test Positivity Rate has increased every day this week – from 5.531% on Sunday to 6.802% on Thursday.
  • Thanks to safety protocols like masks and social distancing, new case trends are now “going in the right direction,” said Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir, the Trump administration official overseeing US coronavirus testing.

Despite the hopeful signs, now isn’t a time to let up or ease measures, he cautioned.

“This could turn around very quickly if we’re not careful,” Giroir said. “We saw that early on after Memorial Day and the couple weeks afterward that sort of started the current outbreak.”

  • Superspreading events – when one or a few infected people cause a cascade of transmissions – may be especially important in driving the coronavirus pandemic in rural areas.

Health officials across the country have reported superspreading events related to birthday parties, funerals, conferences and other large gatherings. “About 2% of cases were directly responsible for 20% of all infections,” researchers wrote in their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • The Trump administration appears to be reversing course and giving COVID-19 hospital data collection duties back to the the CDC, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing comments from White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx.

Last month, the administration abruptly informed hospitals that they were to stop submitting COVID-19 data to the CDC, and instead begin logging it with TeleTracking, a private firm based in Pittsburgh, rather than the CDC. The rapid change and lack of clear communication from the administration led to weeks of chaos.

  • Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research who will help decide the fate of a coronavirus vaccine has vowed to resign if the Trump administration approves a vaccine before it is shown to be safe and effective.
  • At a campaign stop in Old Forge, PA, Trump criticized the Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) for not having already totally reopened the state, “You’re governor has you in a shutdown. Like, what’s going on? Shutdown Wolf – he’s gonna destroy your soul.” He then claimed that public health measures to slow the spread of coronavirus are “more dangerous than the virus”
  • Trump again compared the U.S. to New Zealand saying, “They had a massive breakout yesterday.” New Zealand reported 5 new cases Wednesday – bringing their total active cases to 101. The U.S. had over 45,000 new cases. 
  • U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) tested positive for coronavirus and has decided to self-quarantine for 14 days. The senator is contacting those with whom he may have had contact. 
  • The White House has formally declared that teachers are essential workers as part of its effort to encourage schools around the country to reopen for in-person learning.

The move is just the latest in the administration’s campaign to pressure districts into bringing back students this fall. The essential worker designation provides guidance for educators that is only voluntary; it calls on teachers to return to the classroom even after potential exposure.

  • MLB announced that because of two positive tests for Covid-19 in the New York Mets’ organization, Thursday’s Mets game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park has been postponed.

Additionally, Friday’s scheduled game between the Mets and New York Yankees at Citi Field has been postponed “out of an abundance of caution.”

  • East Carolina University has paused football activities indefinitely. A news alert on the university’s website said the school has identified a cluster of Covid-19 cases within the university’s football team and Clement Hall, which is a university residence hall.
  • North Carolina State University will move all undergraduate classes online starting Monday because of Covid-19 clusters from large parties.

University officials have received “reports of large parties in off-campus apartments,” and identified “three Covid-19 clusters in off-campus and greek village houses” in the last two days.

  • Florida State University has confirmed 42 students on campus have tested positive for COVID-19 over a two-week period.
  • Boston University issued a new policy that allows students who die while attending the school to receive their degree posthumously. 
  •  Laurie Santos, head of Yale University’s Silliman College, has warned students to “emotionally prepare” for people to die from COVID-19 when in-person classes begin this month.

In an email, Santos wrote, “We all should be emotionally prepared for widespread infections — and possibly deaths — in our community. You should emotionally prepare for the fact that your residential college life will look more like a hospital unit than a residential college.”

  • Just over one week into the school year, more than 300 students and teachers have had to quarantine in Martin County, Florida. 
  • Connecticut is currently trending at a 0.8% positivity rate for Covid-19 and is well within the self-imposed metrics to reopen schools in two weeks, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said. 
  • New York City teachers threatened to strike or bring legal action unless the largest U.S. school district implements a more rigorous COVID-19 testing plan and other safety measures before reopening schools next month.
  • Philadelphia will permit indoor dining to resume Sept. 8, under specific restrictions.

Restaurants cannot be filled to more than 25% capacity and no more than four diners are allowed per table. There will be no bar service and alcohol can only be served with a meal.

  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said there has been a significant decrease in coronavirus cases in urban areas, but the state has experienced an increase in cases in rural areas.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has issued social distancing measures for college and university outdoor stadiums and game day events. 

Everyone 6 years old and up must wear a mask. Everyone must practice social distancing with people not in their household. Stadium capacity is limited to 25%. No pregame tailgating or rallies outside the stadium are permitted.

  • A teenage girl in Southern California has died from the coronavirus, Orange County health officials announced. 

The girl had “significant underlying medical conditions,” officials said in a news release without providing further details about the child or her health conditions.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 

  • The U.S. reported 45,103 new cases and 1,416 additional deaths. 
  • In the past 14 days, there have been 1,133,409 new cases (Test Positivity Rate of 7.302%) and 14,779 Americans have died.
  • Top World Health Organization officials are warning that the coronavirus outbreak is now spreading fastest among younger people. COVID-19 is increasingly being transmitted by people in their 20s and 30s in many countries, including the United States, where restrictions on public life have relaxed in recent weeks.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said health care professionals need to continue to “make recommendations and policy based on data and evidence.” 

“Speculations, anecdotal, those kinds of opinions, really need to be put aside,” he said while speaking during a George Washington University webinar.

  • The University of Illinois has received FDA authorization for a fast saliva test that gives results in about three hours.
  • The Trump administration will allow coronavirus tests developed by individual laboratories — including commercial facilities run by Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp — to be used without an FDA review, a decision that public health experts warn could lead to broad use of flawed tests.
  • Operation Warp Speed chief adviser Moncef Slaoui said he expects a coronavirus vaccine to be widely available sometime next year – perhaps between April and June.
  • President Trump highlighted New Zealand’s fresh coronavirus outbreak for the second time this week, while claiming the U.S. has done a good job of containing the virus.

“New Zealand had a big outbreak, and other countries that were held up to try and make us look not as good as we should look, because we have done an incredible job,” Trump said at a news briefing on Wednesday.

NOTE: New Zealand reported six new cases on Wednesday.

  • Newlyweds, Tyler and Melanie Tapajna, of Parma, Ohio, originally scheduled a 150-person wedding reception; but, the pandemic caused a change to their plans.

Instead of canceling the food they had ordered, they turned their canceled reception into an act of service by donating the catered food for their reception to a local women’s shelter.

After a small backyard wedding with immediate family members, the groom in his tuxedo and the bride in her wedding dress kept their face masks on and put on gloves and hairnets to serve the food to about 150 women and children at the shelter.

  • A union representing Iowa public school teachers and the Iowa City Community School District announced it will sue Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds over the state’s plan to reopen schools in the fall. The plan requires classes operate at 50 percent capacity in person, and superintendents who do not abide by the guidance could have their licenses revoked, while students would be at risk of not receiving credit.
  • The Detroit Federation of Teachers voted overwhelmingly to authorize a safety strike over concerns about the school district’s reopening plan. 
  • No NBA players within the Disney World based campus have tested positive for Covid-19, the league reported.
  • The College Board announced that 178,600 out of 402,000 students who signed up to take the SAT and SAT Subject Tests on Aug. 29 will not be able to do so.
  • Boston University and Emerson College both reported positive cases of Covid-19 as students return to campus.
  • Several UConn students have been removed from campus housing after an unapproved gathering in a residence hall.

Reports indicate that students were not wearing masks or following social distancing guidelines.

  • North Carolina State University has identified two additional Covid-19 clusters at two sorority houses on campus, according to a release on the school’s website.

The Alpha Delta Pi Sorority House has reported seven positive cases and the Kappa Delta Sorority House has six positive cases.

  • At least 13 members of Phi Delta Theta fraternity at Kansas State University have tested positive for COVID-19 just one day after in-person classes began for the semester.
  • Massachusetts will require all schoolchildren to get influenza vaccines to stay enrolled in public schools and daycares. 
  • Florida reported 4,115 new cases and 174 additional deaths – surpassing 10,000 total  deaths.
  • Kentucky reported 655 new cases and 12 additional deaths. Of the new cases, 91 or 14% are children.
  • More than half of Kentucky counties are in the Covid-19 “danger zone” Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced.

“According to White House data, 20 Kentucky counties are in the red zone with a positivity rate of 10 percent or higher, and dozens more are in the 5-10 percent positivity rate yellow zone,” Beshear said via Twitter.

  • Videos which appeared on social media depicting large numbers of people not properly social distancing in strip clubs and hookah lounges have spurred Nashville Health department officials into checking on social distancing compliance at these establishments.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed an executive order declaring that an emergency exists for Louisiana’s November election because of Covid-19.

According to Edwards, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s plan “does not provide for absentee mail-in voting options for people who are at high risk” for coronavirus.

  • Illinois reported 2,264 new cases – the highest daily number of cases reported since May 24 – and 25 additional deaths.
  • 1,970 K-12 students and 328 school staff in Mississippi have been quarantined in the state due to possible exposure to Covid-19.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read TIme: 4 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 40,458 new cases and 1,195 additional deaths.
  • More than 22 million coronavirus cases have now been recorded globally, including nearly 800,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
  • The CDC launched a new program that will help monitor the spread of Covid-19 using sewage testing.
  • Testing is “still not completely fixed” across the entire nation, Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a town hall with Healthline.com.

“The other thing that’s a problem – still not completely fixed, but fixed in many areas of the country, but not all – is the delay between the time you do the test and you get the result back,” he said. 

  • In the Early stages of the pandemic, the U.S. forced major manufacturers to build ventilators. Now they’re piling up unused in a strategic reserve. Months into a $3 billion U.S. effort, the vast majority of ventilators are going unused. The Department of Health and Human Services said it had handed out 15,057 ventilators by Friday, and there were 95,713 ventilators in the federal stockpile. Of those, 94,352 came from contracts signed since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hit back at President Trump’s comments calling her country’s surge in Covid-19 cases “terrible.”

“I don’t think there’s any comparison between New Zealand’s current cluster and the tens of thousands of cases that are being seen daily in the United States,” Ardern told reporters.

  • CNN’s Anderson Cooper got into a heated on-air clash with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, an ardent President Trump supporter, for pushing an unproven therapeutic treatment for coronavirus.

“You really are a snake oil salesman. I mean, you could be in the Old West standing on a box telling people to drink your amazing elixir that there’s no proof,” Cooper told Lindel.

“I do what Jesus has me do,” he told Cooper.

  • MLB announced that Tuesday’s Cincinnati Reds game against the Royals in Kansas City, Missouri, has been postponed. The Reds previously said a player on the team had tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the postponement of two weekend games.
  • The Chicago Bears will not play home games in front of fans when the 2020 NFL season begins.
  • Eight members of the Greek life system have tested positive for Covid-19 at North Carolina State University. 
  • The University of Notre Dame suspended in-person classes for two weeks, eight days after the school’s fall semester began and after 146 students and a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus. 
  • Michigan State University will conduct the fall semester as online-only instruction, its president announced Tuesday afternoon, days before students were set to move in for the fall.
  • Iowa State University said in a news release that 175 students living in residence halls and campus apartments have tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said that all sports will go forward this fall.
  • The University of Alabama announced that spectators will be allowed at home football games.

Approximately 20% of the seating capacity at Bryant-Denny Stadium (approximately 20,000 fans) could be filled, but school officials have prohibited tailgating on campus.

  • New York City’s public schools plan to open their doors to students for some in-person learning when the school year starts in just a few weeks, but more than 300,000 students are opting to stay home for all online learning instead.
  • Pennsylvania will roll out a Covid-19 contact tracing app for residents in September, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced Tuesday. 

The app, COVID Alert PA, will use Bluetooth technology and notify Pennsylvanians if they spent 15 minutes or more in close proximity to another person who later tested positive for the virus.

  • Florida reported 3,838 new cases and 219 additional deaths.
  • On a phone call with school district superintendents, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran told them not to close a school without calling state officials first to discuss it.

“Before you get to that point of closing a classroom or closing a school, we want to have that communication with you because we want to be as surgical as possible,” Corcoran said.

One district leader, who was on the call and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisal from the state, said some district leaders would now be reluctant to shut down a school and send all students home for remote learning.

  • The board of directors of the Florida High School Athletic Association voted late last week to allow schools to start fall sports Aug. 24 — a decision that ignores a recommendation from the organization’s own medical advisory panel, which had called for delaying fall sports until at least the end of September.
  • Louisiana reported 664 new cases and 28 additional deaths. 
  • The positivity rate in Louisiana has dropped below 10%, Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a news conference.

The positivity rate for the state is 9.4%, Edwards said, dropping the state to the “yellow zone” as classified by the White House coronavirus task force.

  • Hawaii reported 134 new cases on Tuesday, with most in Oahu. The rate of daily new cases is seven times higher than it was a month ago.
  • Honolulu tightened its restrictions on public gatherings as coronavirus cases surge in Hawaii.

“There can be no social gatherings — indoors or outdoors — on the island of Oahu,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced in a news briefing Tuesday.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 5 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 37,996 new cases and 408 additional deaths. Test positivity rates have increased in 34 states.
  • COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., eight months after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country. The coronavirus is behind only heart disease and cancer among causes of death in the U.S., according to the CDC. 
  • The U.S. has had the worst response to Covid-19 of any major country, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Institute of Health, said.

“I think it’s pretty fair to say we may have the worst response of any major country,” Jha said during a Center for American Progress webinar. While he said that it could be argued that Brazil’s response has been as bad or worse, competing with Brazil for that title is “not where you want to be.” 

“We didn’t get here overnight. This has really been one mishap after another,” Jha said. “The single factor that really differentiates us from everybody else is denialism that has pervaded our entire approach.”

  • Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said that she wished the US shutdown had looked like Italy’s, which was under a total lockdown.

“I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy. When Italy locked down, I mean, people weren’t allowed out of their houses,” she said.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, “We’d better be careful when we say ‘Young people who don’t wind up in the hospital are fine, let them get infected, it’s OK.’ No, it’s not OK.”

“They have residual symptoms for weeks and sometimes months,” he said.

Fauci said subsequent check-ups show that many “have a substantially high proportion of cardiovascular abnormalities, evidence of myocarditis by MRI and PET scans, evidence of emerging cardiomyopathies.”

  • Novavax announced it would proceed with Phase 2 clinical trials to determine if its coronavirus vaccine candidate showed positive results for patients.
  • President Trump has expressed enthusiasm for the FDA to permit an extract from the oleander plant to be marketed as a dietary supplement or, alternatively, approved as a drug to cure COVID-19, despite lack of proof that it works.

Oleandrin was promoted to Trump during an Oval Office meeting in July. It’s embraced by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a big Trump backer, who recently took a financial stake in the company that develops the product.

  • “Big surge in New Zealand,” Trump said. The country reported seventy-one cases in August. The U.S. reported 43,000 cases and 619 deaths Sunday. 
  • The nation’s two largest drugstore chains, Walgreens and CVS, plan to check patient temperatures and wear face shields for the first time when administering flu vaccines.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) cast doubt on whether negotiators would be able to break the impasse on a fifth coronavirus package, though he said that he thinks there needs to be another bill.
  • FHA mortgages have the highest delinquency rate in four decades. New Jersey had the highest FHA delinquency rate, at 20%. The state also had the biggest increase in the overall late-payments.
  • A Kansas high school teacher created what is believed to be the first national database tracking the effects of COVID-19 in K-12 schools.

The Google spreadsheet – which is updated every five minutes – chronicles total known cases, suspected cases, quarantined individuals, and deaths at every school reported by officials or covered by local news outlets. https://bit.ly/schoolscovid

  • Jimbo Jackson, principal of Fort Braden School in Tallahassee who survived Covid-19, is urging parents to opt for virtual learning for their kids.
  • Just a week into the fall semester, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said it would shift to remote learning for undergraduates after a number of coronavirus cases emerged.
  • 155 Colorado College students have been placed under quarantine for two weeks after a new student arrived on campus last Friday and tested positive for Covid-19.

The quarantined students have been told not to leave their rooms except to go to the restroom and only while wearing a mask.

  • At least 24 people tested positive for coronavirus in connection with a wedding reception in Millinocket, Maine. 
  • For the third consecutive week, the National Hockey League announced that it has received no new positive Covid-19 test results during the past week inside the league’s two hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton.
  • New Jersey reported 316 new cases and four additional deaths. The state’s rate of transmission climbed back above the key benchmark of 1 that indicates the outbreak is expanding.
  • Newark’s school district, the largest in New Jersey, will reopen the academic year with all-remote classes and no in-person instruction through at least the first marking period.
  • Gyms can open as soon as August 24 with 33% capacity and mask mandates, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said. 
  • Maryland established a hotline to report potential Covid-19 violations. 
  • About 6 million Americans plan to fly this Labor Day Weekend, according to data from travel management app TripIt. Approximately one million of those who have decided to fly over the holiday are headed to Florida which is struggling to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At least five students and two teachers from Bradford County School District in Florida have been placed on quarantine due to exposure to Covid-19. 
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, notified the community of potential COVID-19 exposures at Kappa Sigma Fraternity House. 
  • A state agency says it is working to fix a data error on Iowa’s coronavirus website that lowers the number of new confirmed cases and therefore downplays the severity of the current outbreak, just as schools are deciding whether to reopen.

The glitch means the Iowa Department of Public Health has inadvertently been reporting fewer new infections and a smaller percentage of daily positive tests than is truly the case.

  • A Nebraska community theatre decided to go on with their summer production of “Mamma Mia” despite the current health crisis and now more than 20 of the show’s cast and crew have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Texas reported 51 new Covid-19 related deaths, bringing the total number of coronavirus related deaths to 10,034 in the state.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 43,008 new cases and 619 additional deaths.
  • The multibillion-dollar effort to get a coronavirus vaccine on the market could see delays because researchers haven’t recruited sufficient numbers of minorities to join the clinical trials.
  • A school district in Arizona canceled its Monday classes after a “high volume of staff absences” created insufficient staffing levels.

The J.O. Combs Unified School District in San Tan Valley, Arizona, previously announced last week it would resume in-person instruction on Monday, but since that announcement, the district “received an overwhelming response from staff indicating that they do not feel safe returning to classrooms with students.”

  • For the ninth straight day, New York state’s Covid-19 positivity rate is under 1%. 
  • New York City’s “Tribute in Light” that honors victims of the September 11 attacks will go on, organizers said Saturday, after concerns about workers’ safety during the pandemic threatened to cancel the tribute.
  • A fourth coronavirus cluster has been identified by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • South Carolina reported 537 new cases and nine additional deaths. The state’s positivity rate as of Saturday is 11%. 
  • A White House task force report warns that the coronavirus spread in Georgia is “widespread and expanding” and “strongly recommends” a statewide mask mandate. 

Georgia remains without a statewide mask mandate. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Saturday said residents are urged to wear face coverings and take other precautions. The order would allow local governments to mandate masks, but only on their publicly-owned property, not at private businesses.

  • A third Cherokee County school will temporarily end in-person learning after more than a quarter of its students were quarantined and 25 people at the school tested positive. 

Creekview High School now has 500 of its 1,800 students under precautionary quarantine.

  • Ohio reported 40 deaths on Saturday, marking the state’s highest number of deaths reported since July 31.
  • More than 30 Nashville police officers enforcing mask requirements issued nearly 3,000 warnings, 25 citations and arrested one person this weekend.

Officers were in Nashville’s famed entertainment district over the weekend as part of the department’s enhanced mask enforcement initiative.

  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) insisted that his state’s Covid-19 cases are under control despite a 23% positivity rate.
  • School officials in Oklahoma say a student knowingly attended classes with the coronavirus on the first day of school, thinking it was safe to do so because he was asymptomatic.

Officials announced that another student also tested positive for the virus, and 22 students who came in contact with the two students are now quarantining.

Trump Administration

  • President Trump has told aides he’d like to hold an in-person meeting with Russian President Putin before the November election.
  • Democratic leaders announce they are scheduling an emergency Aug. 24 hearing for top U.S. Postal Service officials to testify before Congress after the agency sounded the alarm about its ability to handle increased mail-in-voting.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told CNN that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “are looking at having a standalone bill” to provide funding to the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Pelosi said she is calling the House back into session this week to vote on a bill prohibiting the U.S. Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service.
  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN that he would be open to the idea of a standalone bill that contains only funding for the U.S. Postal Service. 

Meadows told CNN on Sunday that the U.S. Postal Service will not dismantle any mail sorting machines between now and Election Day.

  • The U.S. Postal Service announced it would stop removing mail boxes through late November following complaints about how some had been taken away.
  • Pentagon officials working on Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s cost-cutting review of the department have proposed slashing military health care by $2.2 billion, a reduction that some defense officials say could effectively gut the Pentagon’s health care system during a nationwide pandemic.
  • Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly told federal prosecutors last year that they believed President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner may have presented misleading testimony during the panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump Jr.’s and Kushner’s accounts of a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign reportedly conflicted with the testimony of former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates. 

The committee also reportedly accused the president’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, former campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis and private security contractor Erik Prince of lying to Congress, which potentially carries a felony charge.

Protests/Racial & Social Justice

  • Leslie David Baker, the actor best known for playing Stanley Hudson on “The Office,” shared some of the racist online abuse he says he has received since announcing his plans to star in a spinoff series to show the “great deal of work that needs to be done here in America regarding racism.”

“For those of you who don’t believe racism is still alive in the world… here’s the proof,” Baker wrote on Instagram on Wednesday, alongside screenshots of messages he says he’s recently received. “Our goal has simply been to entertain and give the fans a quality series.”

Presidential Campaign

  • Joe Biden and Kamala Harris tweeted condolences to President Trump on the loss of his brother: “Mr. President, Jill and I are sad to learn of your younger brother Robert’s passing. I know the tremendous pain of losing a loved one — and I know how important family is in moments like these. I hope you know that our prayers are with you all.”

Harris tweeted: “Doug and I join the Biden family in sending our deepest condolences and prayers to the entire Trump family during this difficult time. Losing a loved one is never easy but know that we are thinking of you.”

  • Kamala Harris has support from a nontraditional corner as she seeks to become the country’s next vice president: Her sorority sisters.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the nation’s oldest African American Greek-lettered sorority, say they plan to help get Joe Biden elected after he named their sorority sister as his running mate.

  • President Trump is planning to deliver remarks on “a half century of Joe Biden failing America” in Old Forge, PA on the same day Joe Biden is set to give his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus, Protests/Racial & Social Justice, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 56,729 new cases and 1,229 additional deaths.
  • The WHO reported 294,237 new Covid-19 cases and 9,985 additional deaths worldwide.
  • President Trump said he disagreed with an assessment from CDC Director Robert Redfield that the United States could face the “worst fall” from a public health perspective if Americans do not follow guidelines to ease the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • Leaders at the CDC were blindsided this week when President Trump announced that the agency could deploy teams to assist schools with safely reopening in the fall.

The announcement left CDC officials scrambling this week to train staff to be able to deploy if they are called upon, a senior official said. 

The surprise statement by Trump was reminiscent of early on in the pandemic when the CDC Task Force regularly learned about assignments during presidential briefings, finding out in real time along with the public, a senior official said.

The CDC official said the agency is expected to come up with a vaccine plan for schools in at least four states by October, even though there is no realistic expectation that a vaccine would be ready by then.

  • The FDA has granted emergency use authorization to a Covid-19 diagnostic test that uses a new, inexpensive method of processing saliva samples. 

The molecular diagnostic test can yield results in under three hours, researchers said, and up to 92 samples can be tested at once.

  • Covid-19 rates in children are “steadily increasing,” according to nCDC. Children make up more than 7% of all coronavirus cases in the U.S. with the number and rate of child cases “steadily increasing” from March to July.
  • Russia has started manufacturing its new vaccine for COVID-19, the Interfax news agency reported. 
  • The American Heart Association recently warned that coronavirus can cause “devastating” and lasting cardiac complications. 

“These aren’t the patients that are elderly and immunocompromised. They’re patients that are surviving this virus, but now they’re going to have a new chronic medical condition related to surviving this virus that we need to recognize and treat.”

  • President Trump said that Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence told him that players do not want to see the football season cancelled or postponed, after two major athletic conferences have done so already amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Three women were arrested in connection with an attack on a 17-year-old Baton Rouge, Louisiana Chili’s hostess after the employee refused to seat a party of 13 diners together, citing company COVID-19 social distancing policy.
  • Conservative pundit Bill Mitchell has been permanently suspended from Twitter, the social media platform.

“[Mitchell] has been permanently suspended for violating the Twitter Rules by using one account to evade the suspension of another account,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an email.

Mitchell confirmed the suspension in a post on the social media app Parler, though he asserted he was booted from Twitter over his stance on wearing a mask amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • MLB postponed two games between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend after a player on the Reds tested positive.
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has identified a third cluster of coronavirus cases since students returned to campus for the fall semester.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp (R) issued a new Covid-19 executive order extending the shelter-in-place order for the medically fragile, continuing the ban on large gatherings and maintaining health and safety protocols for Georgia businesses.

The order says local governments “who choose to impose a Local Option Face Covering Requirement” must not fine businesses, fine violators more than $50, or enforce masks at polling places.

  • A 15-year-old boy from metro Atlanta became the second youngest person to die due to complications from Covid-19 in Georgia. 
  • Florida reported 6,352 new cases and 204 additional deaths – the 53rd consecutive day Florida has reported more than 4,000 cases in a single day.
  • 7,234 children have tested positive in Alabama. Three children have died. 
  • The Wabash, IL County Health Department is looking for people who attended a “mini-prom”  on August 4 and may have been exposed to multiple confirmed cases of coronavirus.
  • Nine Oklahoma Sooners football players tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a break that began on August 8. “A relatively small number” of other players are also being isolated because of contact tracing.
  • An Oklahoma State University sorority is being quarantined after 23 sisters tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials were alerted Friday night and immediately put the house in quarantine, prohibiting anyone from leaving the facility, which is located off-campus

  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has convened a team of public health experts, bioscience executives, government leaders and philanthropists to push for accelerated research, development and production of low-cost, do-it-yourself diagnostic kits based on paper-strip designs that can be used frequently and produce results in minutes, similar to home pregnancy tests. No lab equipment or special instruments would be required.

Trump Administration

  • Trump expressed support for actions taken by his new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and denied that his administration was seeking to create delays in mail ahead of the November election and attempted to shift blame to Democrats for a lack of funding for the Postal Service.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Democratic leadership are considering returning from August recess as early as next week to consider legislation addressing issues at the U.S. Postal Service. 

  • Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), the state’s top election official, has accused President Trump of trying to derail November’s general election by hamstringing the United States Postal Service.

“In Arizona, it’s against the law to ‘delay the delivery of a ballot.’ I’ve asked [Arizona] Attorney General [Mark] Brnovich to investigate recent changes at USPS, and whether or not the Trump administration has committed a crime,” Hobbs tweeted.

  • A small group of demonstrators held a noisy protest outside the Washington condo of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy amid growing concerns that he is gutting the U.S. Postal Service to help President Donald Trump win reelection in November.
  • President Trump will withdraw William Perry Pendley’s nomination to lead the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, a White House official confirmed to The Hill.

Pendley was a controversial choice for the role because he has previously advocated for selling off public lands. He has also been criticized for comments he made about Islam, the Black Lives Matter movement and undocumented immigrants as well as skepticism about climate change.

  • Following a catastrophic chemicals explosion in Beirut, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said Lebanon will only receive financial support when its leaders enact reforms to finally respond to their people’s demands for good governance and to end corruption.
  • The U.S. is tracking the situation in Belarus after last weekend’s disputed election then a crackdown on protests, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
  • The White House said President Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, died on Saturday.

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • A rally by the far-right group Proud Boys turned violent in downtown Kalamazoo, MI. The chanting, mostly mask-less Proud Boys marched toward Arcadia Creek Festival Place waving American, Trump, and Gadsden flags and other symbols. Violence broke out soon after, with Proud Boys attacking counter-protesters with pepper spray, fists, kicks, and shoves.
  • At Stone Mountain, Georgia, police in riot gear dispersed right-wing demonstrators, some waving the Confederate battle flag and many wearing military gear, and groups supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, after fights erupted between the groups, some of whose members were armed.
  • A Georgia state trooper was arrested and charged with murder on Friday after he fatally shot a 60-year-old Black man who allegedly tried to flee during a rural traffic stop.

Jacob Gordon Thompson, 27, was booked on felony murder and aggravated assault charges stemming from the Aug. 7 death of Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis.

Presidential Campaign

  • In a move that marks a shift from previous nominating events when candidates are showcased and make a speech on the final night, President Trump will have a role in each day of the Republican National Convention later this month, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reported.

The president has also said he plans to accept the nomination from the White House, another unusual move for a party convention.

  • Newsweek has apologized after an op-ed it published about Sen. Kamala Harris drew an avalanche of criticism that it perpetuated a racist conspiracy theory about her eligibility to be vice president.

In the editorial, Chapman University law professor John Eastman suggested Harris, who was born in Oakland, was not a natural-born citizen because her parents were immigrants.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 55,649 new cases and 1,216 additional deaths.
  • If the United States were to allow coronavirus infections to run rampant to achieve possible herd immunity, the death toll would be massive, especially among vulnerable people, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
  • CDC Director Robert Redfield doesn’t want to pressure schools into reopening, but wants them to do it “safely and sensibly.”
  • Surgical gowns, gloves, masks, certain ventilators and various testing supplies needed to respond to the coronavirus pandemic are on the FDA’s first-ever list of medical devices in shortage.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced four million free masks will be provided to the state’s most vulnerable residents, through a partnership with Ford Motor Company and the FEMA. 
  • The private health care technology vendor that is helping to manage the Trump administration’s new coronavirus database has refused to answer questions from top Senate Democrats about its $10.2 million contract, saying it signed a nondisclosure agreement with the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
  • A person who has recovered from COVID-19 will likely be safe from reinfection for three months, according to updated guidance from the CDC.

The information marks the first acknowledgement of a defined immunity period for people who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection.

  • The Department of Homeland Security announced an extension of the U.S. agreement with Canada and Mexico to limit nonessential travel through Sept. 21. It was the fifth extension since the measure was put in place in March.
  • Museums and cultural institutions across New York City can open – with restrictions – beginning Aug. 24, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Twitter. 
  • Columbia University and Barnard College in New York City jointly announced the decision to have all undergraduate courses given remotely for the fall 2020 semester.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced the implementation of a new, color-coded rating system that will revolve around a seven day, rolling cumulative positivity rate number.

Counties that are currently in the green or yellow will be permitted to go forward with school and athletics.

If any county goes into the red category, all schools in that county will automatically go 100% to virtual learning.

  • Seattle public schools will begin the school year with remote learning for most students. 
  • An Arizona school district that had planned to restart in-person classes next week in defiance of the state’s health benchmarks abruptly reversed course on Friday after staff members staged a “sick out” in protest.
  • 96% of California students will start the school year with distance learning, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said in a news conference.

Only 71% of districts are confident that students will have the technology needed for online learning. As such, California has partnered with many tech and office supply companies to ensure each student has a laptop or tablet and access to Wi-Fi.

  • Two coronavirus clusters have been identified at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals will return to the baseball field on Saturday after a Covid-19 outbreak within the team forced a 16-day hiatus from games.
  • The Ohio Valley Conference will postpone all fall sport competition and championships due to “uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.”
  • The Cherokee County School District in Georgia reported 80 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 1,106 students and staff quarantined as a result of those cases, for the week – almost triple the number of students and staff that were confirmed Covid-19 positive the prior week and double the number in quarantine.
  • A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by an Arizona woman who claimed New York’s 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers from hot spot coronavirus states infringed on her “fundamental right to travel.”
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and Secretary of State Michael Adams announced an expansion of voting options for voters this November as the coronavirus pandemic persists.

The plan includes expanded eligibility for absentee voting, three weeks of in-person early voting ahead of Election Day, and relaxed restrictions on voter identification for those who were unable to get a driver’s license or photo ID due clerk’s office closures amid the pandemic.

Trump Administration

  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and his deputy Ken Cuccinelli are ineligible to serve in their current roles because their appointment violated federal law, the Government Accountability Office ruled.
  • Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith intends to plead guilty to falsifying a document to justify surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page as part of the 2016 investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Clinesmith is accused of altering an email that said Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was not a source for the CIA, even though Page had had a relationship with the agency.

  • Postmaster General Louis DeJoy acknowledged in an internal memo that his restructuring plans for the U.S. Postal Service, which have garnered severe criticism, have had “unintended consequences.”
  • President Trump would not say whether he agreed with Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene’s support of the QAnon conspiracy theory after hailing her as a “future Republican star.”
  • According to a complaint, detainees in an El Paso immigrant detention center have been sexually assaulted and harassed by guards in a “pattern and practice” of abuse, according to a new report by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune.

One woman was allegedly kissed and groped by several guards. 

  • Jose Arrieta, the Department of Health and Human Services chief information officer, abruptly resigned Friday after only 16 months in the position.
  • A pair of senior Trump appointees departed the CDC, a change at an agency that’s been heavily scrutinized for its response to the coronavirus.

Kyle McGowan, the CDC’s chief of staff, and Amanda Campbell, the deputy chief of staff, both announced their departures.

  • Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf tweeted, “We continue to work with our Canadian and Mexican partners to slow the spread of #COVID19. Accordingly, we have agreed to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at our shared land ports of entry through September 21.”
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the United Nations Security Council for rejecting a U.S. resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran.

The council voted to allow the 13-year embargo to expire this October despite the protestations of the U.S., Israel and multiple Arab states.

  • Trump issued an executive order late Friday giving TikTok’s Chinese parent company,   ByteDance, 90 days to divest its U.S. operations.

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • A grand jury has indicted three police officers on charges of second-degree murder in the death of George Robinson in Jackson last year. 

According to the indictment, the three, who were Jackson Police Department patrol officers at the time, removed Robinson from his vehicle, body-slammed him on the pavement, and repeatedly struck him in the head and chest.

  • There has been renewed attention in the community of Harrison, Arkansas to remove a white pride billboard, including a new petition to take it down has drawn more than 9,200 signatures, after a video showed a protester getting threats for holding a Black Lives Matter sign under the billboard.
  • Louisville, Georgia city officials voted this week to remove the Market House pavilion, a building that was once used to sell slaves in the former state capital.

Presidential Campaign

  • The United States Postal Service is removing mail sorting machines from facilities around the country without any official explanation or reason given. In many cases, these are the same machines that would be tasked with sorting ballots.
  • All of New Jersey’s approximately 6.2 million registered voters will receive mail-in ballots to vote in November’s election in an effort to protect the state from during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy confirmed Friday morning.
  • The U.S. Postal Service sent letters to 46 states and the District of Columbia warning that delivery delays could mean that some ballots cast by mail in the November election won’t arrive in time to be counted.
  • A bipartisan group of state election officials wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy last week, requesting a virtual audience to discuss concerns they have regarding November’s election, but a meeting has yet to be scheduled as tensions surrounding Election Day mount.
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) announced that he had made a criminal referral to the New Jersey attorney general calling for a grand jury investigation into President Trump and United States Postal Services chief Louis DeJoy, alleging they have possibly subverted the November election.
  • President Trump at a news conference said he was willing to give the USPS more money — but only if Democrats give in on their demands in coronavirus relief talks.
  • The Police Benevolent Association, which represents roughly 24,000 members, gave Trump its endorsement. 
  • The union representing postal workers has officially endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden’s White House bid. 

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 5 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 51,998 new cases and 1,181 additional deaths. 
  • Adm. Brett Giroir, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said people should not get “hung up on a number,” when asked if there were a number of tests that the U.S. should be doing.

“We are doing the appropriate amount of testing now to reduce the spread, flatten the curve, save lives – because it’s not the number,” Giroir said.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said Americans need to think about returning to some sort of normalcy as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

It is a challenge, but “you can’t interrupt your life, totally, indefinitely. You’ve got to try to safely get back to normal,” he said.

  • Fauci said, “You can’t run away from the numbers of people who’ve died, the number of people getting hospitalized, the surges we’re seeing.”

“How long we’re going to have to be doing this depends totally on us.”

  • Regarding the state of the pandemic, Fauci said, “Bottom line is, I’m not pleased with how things are going.”
  • CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield asked Americans to do “four simple things” for “their country right now and for the war that we’re in against” coronavirus:

Wear a mask

Social distance

Wash your hands

Be smart about crowds

“I’m not asking some of America to do it,” Redfield said. “We all gotta do it.”

  • Joe Biden advocated that a mask mandate be instituted nationwide. 

“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum. Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing,” Biden said, adding that experts advised it could save over 40,000 lives over the same time span. 

Biden said, “It’s about your responsibilities as an American. Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens.”

  • A new survey by the CDC found that almost 41% of respondents are struggling with mental health issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic – both related to the pandemic itself and the measures put in place to contain it, including physical distancing and stay-at-home orders.
  • The Senate left Washington, D.C. on Thursday until September — the latest sign that a deal on a fifth coronavirus relief package is, at least, weeks away.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA.) said that talks between the White House and Democrats on coronavirus relief will resume only when Republicans come to the table with at least $2 trillion.

“When they’re ready to do that, we’ll sit down,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.

  • Another 963,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis – the first time in five months that fewer than 1 million have filed for first-time jobless benefits.
  • Since the Trump administration directed hospitals to report its data directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Covid Tracking Project has found the data to be “erratic,” “spotty and difficult to interpret.”
  • Bill Gates predicted in an interview that the first coronavirus vaccine “won’t be ideal in terms of its effectiveness against sickness and transmission. It may not have a long duration, and it will mainly be used in rich countries as a stopgap measure.”
  • Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said the United States should not expect to see an approved vaccine by October – a reference to speculation that President Trump could prematurely rush a vaccine through the regulatory process prior to Election Day.
  • Russian officials in Moscow said they have offered “unprecedented cooperation” with the U.S. to accelerate access to effective Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. But the officials said that the “U.S. is not currently open” to the Russian medical advances.
  • The World Health Organization said there is not “sufficient information at this point to make a judgement” on the Russian vaccine that was announced this week.
  • Confronted on Fox News with polling showing public support slipping for in-person school amid the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos pushed a conspiracy theory: “Well, we know that it’s a coordinated effort and a campaign to sow fear.”
  • A group of parents are suing California Gov. Gavin Newsom over in-person school restrictions. Christine Ruiz has two sons with autism, and she said that without specialized learning, they are falling behind.

The lawsuit alleges that students will not receive equal access to education.

  • 47-year-old Yolanda Yarbrough was arrested this week after she allegedly hit an American Airlines employee at an airport in Arizona after she was barred from boarding for refusing to comply with the airline’s mask policy.
  • New York City’s “Tribute in Light” that honors victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum announced Thursday. “The health risks during the pandemic were far too great for the large crew required to produce the annual Tribute in Light.”
  • Stanford University is canceling almost all in-person classes this fall.
  • East Carolina University police have already had to shut down 20 student parties, one of which was packed with about 400 students. Classes started at ECU on Monday.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is withdrawing his lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) and the City Council regarding restrictions Atlanta put in place over coronavirus, including a citywide mask mandate.
  • Illinois has surpassed 200,000 total Covid-19 positive cases, with an additional 1,834 new cases being reported Thursday.
  • Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas (D) is extending the city’s coronavirus state of emergency until at least Jan. 16, 2021, requiring most people to continue wearing face coverings while in public places and capping crowds at bars to 50% capacity.
  • St. Louis’ order that limits capacity of bars, restaurants and nightclubs to 50% occupancy and institutes an 11:00 p.m. closing time went into effect Thursday. There were no previous restrictions.
  • Shelby County, TN health officials say they won’t recommend closing schools or returning to a stay-at-home order until 25% of coronavirus tests in the community come back positive — a threshold dramatically higher than other cities across the nation.

By contrast, New York City’s mayor has said school buildings must shutter if the positivity rate exceeds 3%, and other school districts have vowed to limit in-person learning when the rate hits 5%.

  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) is extending the state’s mask order. 
  • California’s coronavirus case count topped 600,000 on Thursday, the first state in the country to reach the grim milestone.
  • The number of people dying from Covid-19 every day in California remains high, despite a decline in cases and hospitalizations. The 14-day positivity rate has also dropped to under 6% for the first time since June 28. The state reported another 160 fatalities Thursday. 
  • A Los Angeles megachurch that has remained open, despite state guidelines ordering indoor worship services closed, is suing the state over what they believe are unfair Covid-19 restrictions. The suit accuses the state government officials of selectively restricting gatherings and interfering with their religious freedom.
  • Hawaii reported its highest single-day case count of Covid-19 with 355 cases.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, 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