CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus case in the U.S. has reached 1,811,277 and the death toll stands at 105,147, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. A comprehensive study published yesterday in the Lancet medical journal found that physical distance and perhaps the use of a mask were the two best ways to prevent transmission. The study urged people to stay at least three feet apart and more if possible. Also yesterday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer rescinded the state’s stay-at-home order, allowing many businesses to reopen later this week. Whitmer issued an executive order allowing retailers to open Thursday and restaurants to open on Monday with both being subject to capacity limits.
TRUMP THREATENS TO USE MILITARY ON PROTESTERS… Demonstrations and clashes with police continued in cities throughout the U.S. yesterday. President Trump threatened the nation’s governors that he would deploy the military to states that fail to end violent protests over police brutality. Later, police under federal command fired tear gas and flash-bang grenades at peaceful demonstrators so that Trump could walk to nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church and pose for photos while holding a Bible. The bishop who oversees the church was “outraged” that the president would use that place of worship for a photo-op. “We need moral leadership and he’s done everything to divide us and has just used one of the most sacred symbols of the Judeo-Christian tradition,” lamented Episcopal Bishop Mariann Budde.
WHITE NATIONALIST GROUP INCITING VIOLENCE… An account claiming to be associated with a non-existent national anti-fascist organization has been suspended on Twitter after sharing a tweet that incited violence. The account, which has been connected to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, declared, “Tonight’s the night, Comrades Tonight we say ‘F— The City’ and we move into the residential areas… the white hoods…. and we take what’s ours …” Twitter suspended hundreds of accounts and is conducting an investigation into the widespread use of disinformation to deflect blame for recent violence.
GEORGE FLOYD DEATH OFFICIALLY RULED A HOMICIDE… The Hennepin County Medical Examiner yesterday officially ruled last week’s death of George Floyd a homicide. According to the updated report, the 46-year-old unarmed black man died on May 25 due to a “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restrain, and neck compression” while Floyd was being restrained by law enforcement officers. Hours before the update was released, attorneys for Floyd’s family released the findings of an independent autopsy, which determined Floyd died of “asphyxia from sustained pressure” on his neck and back.
LOUISVILLE POLICE CHIEF FIRED… Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the firing of Police Chief Steve Conrad yesterday in response to the performance of his officers. The announcement came a day after the fatal shooting of the owner of a barbecue restaurant that offered meals to police officers. 53-year-old David McAtee died while police and National Guard opened fire while enforcing a curfew. He was inside his restaurant at the time. Mayor Fischer said police turned off their body cameras prior to the shooting.
BIDEN MEETS WITH BLACK LEADERS… Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden vowed to African-American leaders yesterday that he would fight institutional racism and re-establish a Justice Department police oversight body within the first 100 days of being elected president. Biden made the announcement while visiting with political, religious and education leaders at Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware. The former vice president listened and took notes before standing to address the crowd.
BANDS CANCEL STADIUM TOUR… Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts announced yesterday that they are postponing their joint summer stadium tour until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original stadium tour was set to kick off on June 18 in Jacksonville, Florida. Members of Motley Crue were looking forward to returning to the road together following the release of their Netflix biopic “The Dirt.” Poison was set to tour with its original lineup of Bret Michaels, C.C. DeVille, Bobby Dall and Rikki Rockett.
MUSIC INDUSTRY TAKING THE DAY OFF… The music industry will be observing a day-long “blackout” today in response to George Floyd’s killing last week. All three major record labels yesterday promised on social media “a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community.” Workers at the labels have been given the day off as “a day of action,” intended to “provoke accountability and change.” Interscope vowed not to release new music this week.
MLB OWNERS FAVOR SHORT SEASON… ESPN reported yesterday that Major League Baseball owners are now willing to honor the March accord in which players agreed to prorate their 2020 salaries based on the number of games played but are also angling for a much shorter regular season. Owners are thinking in terms of a 50-game season, with players earning their full prorated salaries. Players have sought a full prorated portion of their salaries based on a March 26 agreement with the league. The Players Association on Sunday proposed a 114-game schedule that would cover 70.3% of their original salaries. A 50-game schedule with full pro rata would pay the players 30.8 percent of that number.