CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases throughout the U.S. has topped 420,000 and more than 14,000 Americans have died during the pandemic, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. ABC reported that the military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence warned White House officials as far back as late November that a contagion was sweeping through China’s Wuhan region. An NCMI report said the disease could pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia but the warning was ignored.
WHO URGES TRUMP TO EMBRACE ‘UNITY’… The World Health Organization is urging President Trump to avoid partisanship and embrace “unity” following Trump’s criticism of the agency for its coronavirus response. Trump said during a White House press conference on Tuesday that the WHO “did give us some pretty bad play calling.” The agency, however, declared the coronavirus crisis a global health emergency on January 30 as Trump began playing down its threat.
KANSAS OVERTURNS CHURCH ATTENDANCE LIMIT… The Kansas Legislative Coordinating Council yesterday voted to overturn Governor Laura Kelly’s executive order restricting attendance at church and funeral services to 10 people or less. The decision came after state Attorney General Derek Schmidt warned that the order is unconstitutional. Schmidt declared the order to be “sound public-health advice that Kansans should follow” but advised state police not to enforce it.
BERNIE SANDERS SUSPENDS CAMPAIGN… Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has ended his run for the Democratic presidential nomination. In announcing his withdrawal, the 78-year-old Sanders said he saw no feasible path to get enough votes to win the nomination campaign. Sanders’ campaign got off to a strong start with early wins in New Hampshire and Nevada but was overtaken by former vice president Joe Biden.
LOEFFLER TO LIQUIDATE STOCKS… Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia has pledged to liquidate her individual stock holdings amid a firestorm over trades that immediately followed private Senate briefings on the coronavirus. Loeffler and her husband, New York Stock Exchange chief executive Jeff Sprecher, had dumped between $1.2 million and $3.1 million in stock after the January briefing. In February, Loeffler also purchased stock in an online travel booking site but sold it four days later in advance of the Trump administration’s ban on flights from Europe.
LINDA TRIPP DIES… Linda Tripp, the former Pentagon public affairs office employee who played a prominent role in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, died yesterday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 70. Tripp’s recorded conversations with ex-White House intern Monica Lewinsky led to a perjury charge against Clinton, who denied having a relationship with Lewinsky.
LISA KUDROW SIGNS ON TO ‘SPACE FORCE’… Lisa Kudrow has signed on to star with Steve Carell in the upcoming Netflix series “Space Force.” The series also stars John Malkovich and Jimmy O. Yang. Carell plays four-star general and decorated Air Force pilot Mark R. Naird, who is called on to lead the new Space Force. The premiere is set for Friday, May 29.
DYLAN SCORES FIRST CHART-TOPPING SINGLE… Bob Dylan has scored his first chart-topping single with “Murder Most Foul,” the 17-minute track he released late last month. The song overtook REO Speedwagon’s “Time For Me To Fly” atop Billboard’s Rock Digital Songs Sales chart for the week of April 11. In the song, the 78-year-old Dylan grapples with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
LIVESTREAM CONCERTS… Radiohead has announced plans to perform live shows on YouTube during the coronavirus pandemic. Starting at 5 p.m. Eastern today, the shows will air on Radiohead’s Youtube channel. Beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern tomorrow, the Grateful Dead will start streaming a concert series on the band’s YouTube channel.
FORMER MLB STAR JOSH HAMILTON ARRESTED… Former Texas Rangers star and 2010 American League MVP Josh Hamilton was indicted on a felony charge for injury to a minor on Monday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported yesterday. Hamilton, who was arrested in October for hitting and scratching the eldest of his three daughters, turned himself in to police. His ex-wife has filed for a temporary restraining order on her daughter’s behalf. The 38-year-old Hamilton hasn’t played in the majors since 2015. The No. 1 pick in 1999 draft played for three teams over nine seasons. The five-time all-star batted .290 with 200 home runs in his career.