CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,642,021 and the death toll stands at 97,698, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. A federal court upheld California’s restrictions on church services, ruling that the state’s decision to close places of worship amid the COVID-19 pandemic does not “infringe upon or restrict practices because of their religious motivation” nor does it “impose burdens only on conduct motivated by religious belief” in a selective manner.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPOSES BRAZIL TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS… The Trump administration announced last night that it will impose travel restrictions on foreign nationals who have been to Brazil in the last 14 days. With about 350,000 confirmed cases, the South American nation has become the world’s second major hotspot for coronavirus infections. The restriction will not affect trade between the two countries.
U.S. ‘CONSPIRACIES AND LIES’ ANGER CHINA FOREIGN MINISTER… China Foreign Minister Wang Yi says Chinese-U.S. tensions have been intensified by the spreading “conspiracies and lies” about the coronavirus. Wang accused the U.S. of using the coronavirus as a political tool in its attacks on China. President Trump has faced heavy criticism for his handling of the pandemic and Wang urged the U.S. to “stop wasting time and stop wasting precious lives” in its response to the pandemic.
ECONOMIC ADISER TALKS UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS… Senior White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday that he expects unemployment rates to increase in the coming months and possibly remain in double digits in November. Hasset said that the unemployment rate, which topped 14.7 percent, could surpass 20 percent by the end of the month. In a report released on Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the number of people filing for new unemployment benefits in the last nine weeks is nearing 40 million. Unemployment rates have already exceeded 20 percent in Hawaii, Michigan and Nevada.
FLORIDA ‘PAY-TO-VOTE’ LAW RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL… Voting-rights advocates are celebrating a federal judge’s ruling yesterday that Florida’s “pay-to-vote” law that prevents felons from voting if they cannot pay court fines and fees is unconstitutional. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union last year after Governor DeSantis signed the bill into law. In issuing the ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle noted that there is no system in place that keeps track or informs Florida felons of how much they owe.
FUTURE TOPS ALBUM CHART… Future’s new release, “High Off Life,” sold 153,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 album chart. Polo G’s “The Goat” opened at No. 2 after selling 99,000 units. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” jumped into third place after selling 65,000 copies. Drake’s “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” slipped into fourth place with 58,000 units sold. DaBaby’s “Blame It On Baby” sold 44,000 copies to cap the top five.
‘THE WILLOUGHBYS’ FIND THEIR AUDIENCE… Netflix’s animated family feature, “The Willoughbys,” has been watched by 37.6 million households since its April 22 premiere. The series, which is narrated by Ricky Gervais, centers on siblings who devise a scheme to get rid of their parents. The series’ voice actors include Will Forte, Alessia Cara, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Maya Rudolph and Terry Crews.
NEW YORK SPORTS TEAMS RETURN TO FACILITIES… The Brooklyn Nets announced yesterday that they will open their training center for voluntary workouts tomorrow. The announcement followed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that all professional sports teams in the state can return to their facilities. Other New York-based teams have yet to announce their re-opening plans. Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL owners have been negotiating with players union officials over plans to resume play.