CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached
3,497,847 and the nation’s death toll stands at 137,402, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Alabama Governor Kay Ivey yesterday announced a state-wide mask mandate after an “alarming” increase in cases and hospitalizations. The order begins today and remains in effect until at least July 31. In neighboring Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp yesterday voided orders by at least 15 local governments across the state that required people to wear masks in public places… Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, who has steadfastly refused to issue a mask mandate, announced yesterday that he has tested positive. Last night, Tulsa city councilors voted 7-2 to approve a face-covering ordinance that will take effect as soon as Mayor G.T. Bynum signs it… Walmart yesterday announced that customers will be required to wear masks at all locations starting on Monday.
WHITE HOUSE ROLLS BACK ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS… The White House yesterday finalized its rollback of the National Environmental Policy Act. The Trump administration has removed the rule requiring the government to consider climate change before proceeding on a project and is allowing industry involvement in reviewing the environmental impacts of their projects. The White House says the changes will speed up environmental reviews.
SHAKEUP IN TRUMP CAMPAIGN… President Trump announced a shakeup of his 2020 campaign team yesterday. Bill Stepien, who previously worked as campaign chairman for former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and had served as deputy press secretary for Trump’s re-election campaign earlier this year, is replacing Brad Parscale as campaign manager, with Parscale staying on as a senior adviser. The shakeup comes as Trump appears to be falling behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, with two polls yesterday listing Biden ahead by double digits.
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL… Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was discharged from Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday after being admitted on Tuesday with a possible infection. The 87-year-old had complained of fever and chills. The High Court completed its most recent term last week and won’t be back in session until October.
TWITTER HACKED… A Twitter hack yesterday forced the social-media platform to disable verified accounts. Politicians, celebrities and other prominent figures were targeted in the hack, which appeared to be part of an apparent Bitcoin scam. Twitter says it is investigating the attack amid reports that hackers paid a Twitter insider for help.
ROSE PARADE CANCELLED… Organizers announced the cancellation of the 2021 Rose Parade yesterday due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since its inception in 1891, the New Years Day parade has been held annually except in the wartime years of 1942, 1943 and 1945. The status of the Rose Bowl college football game that traditionally follows the parade is pending.
SHOWTIME ENDS ‘KIDDING’… Showtime is pulling the plug on the Jim Carrey dramedy “Kidding” after two seasons. The final episode aired in March. Carrey played the star of a children’s television program who is trying to cope with a stressful personal life. The show co-starred Frank Langella, Judy Greer, Catherine Keener and Justin Kirk.
TITANS REACH DEAL WITH DERRICK HENRY… ESPN reported last night that the Tennessee Titans have reached agreement on a four-year contract with star running back Derrick Henry. The deal is worth a reported $50 million. Henry led the NFL with 1,540 yards rushing last season. It was his second straight season of at least 1,000 yards.