CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 7,455,184 and the nation’s death toll stands at 210,155, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The outbreak appears to be intensifying in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain region. Cases have risen about 14 percent in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin and more than 20 percent in Montana.
TRUMP RETURNS TO WHITE HOUSE… President Trump was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and returned to the White House last night after three days of treatment for COVID-19. Upon arriving at the White House, Trump removed his mask and posed for pictures. The severity of Trump’s illness has been left to speculation, although doctors have been treating him with a steroid, dexmethasone, that is normally used only in the most severe cases.
WHITE HOUSE WON’T CONDUCT CONTACT TRACING… The New York Times reported yesterday that the White House will not conduct contact tracing of guests and staff members who attended a Rose Garden reception on September 26 despite at least a dozen attendees having tested positive for COVID-19 in the 10 days since. The reception was organized to honor Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination. Public health experts that it was irresponsible to organize such a closely packed gathering where few people wore masks.
SOUTH CAROLINA ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUIREMENT REINSTATED… The Supreme Court yesterday granted a request from South Carolina Republicans to reinstate the state’s witness-signature requirement on absentee ballots pending appeal. According to the court’s order, any ballots cast before it had acted, and received within two days of the order, cannot be rejected for failing to comply with the witness requirement. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch indicated they would not have counted those ballots.
STATE DEPARTMENT SANCTIONS UKRAINIAN DISINFORMER… The State Department has revoked the visa of a former Ukrainian diplomat who has helped Republicans spread baseless conspiracy theories about the Biden family and foreign meddling in 2016. Andrii Telizhenko had been accused of intentionally spreading Russian disinformation. In mid-September, the Treasury Department sanctioned another ally of President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani for his alleged work as an “active Russian agent” who is part of Moscow’s interference in the 2020 campaign.
DELTA BECOMES HURRICANE… Tropical Storm Delta formed in the southern Caribbean Sea yesterday and strengthened into a hurricane. The storm is expected to make landfall Friday morning somewhere between the Louisiana-Texas border to the west and the Alabama-Georgia border to the east. It would be the third hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast so far this season.
ANNE HECHE ELIMINATED ON ‘DANCING’… Actress Anne Heche was eliminated from Season 29 of “Dancing with the Stars” in last night’s episode. Heche had teamed up with Keo Motsepe for the ABC competition series. Still in the running are “Cheer” coach Monica Aldama, “The Bachelorette” alum Kaitlyn Bristowe, “Selling Sunset” star Chrishell Stause, retired NFL player Vernon Davis, actresses Skai Jackson and Justina Machado, reality TV stars Jeannie Mai and Nev Schulman, Backstreet Boys singer A.J. McLean, actor Jesse Metcalfe, rapper Nelly and Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir.
PADDY CONSIDINE TO STAR IN ‘THRONES’ PREQUEL… Actor Paddy Considine has landed the leading role in the upcoming HBO “Game of Thrones” prequel. Considine, whose credits include “Hot Fuzz,” “The Borne Ultimatum” and “Peaky Blinders,” will play Viserys Targaryen in “House of the Dragon.” The series is based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood anthology on the Targaryen family and is set 300 years before the “Game of Thrones.” The premiere is set for sometime in 2022.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL…
GREEN BAY 30 – Atlanta 16… Aaron Rodgers hit Robert Tonyan with three of his four touchdown passes and the Packers (4-0) cruised past the Falcons (0-4). Rodgers completed 27 of 32 passes for 327 yards.
NFL NEWS… The Houston Texans have fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien following the team’s 0-4 start. The Texans named Romeo Crennel interim head coach. O’Brien 52-48 at Houston since taking over in 2014.
MLB PLAYOFF SCORES…
AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES OPENERS
Houston 10 – OAKLAND 5… Carlos Correa went 3-for-5 with a pair of homers and four RBIs in leading the Astros past the Athletics at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Alex Bregman also went deep for Houston, which pounded out 15 hits. Oakland will try to even the series today when it sends Sean Manaea to the mound. He’ll be opposed by fellow lefthander Framber Valdez.
N.Y. Yankees 9 – TAMPA BAY 3… Giovani Stanton unloaded a grand slam to cap a five-run top of the ninth inning and put away the Rays in San Diego. Clint Frazier, Kyle Higashioka and Aaron Judge smacked solo homers for New York. It will be a matchup of righthanders today when Tampa Bay sends Tyler Glasnow against Yankee rookie Deivi Garcia.
TODAY’S NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES OPENERS…
Miami (Sandy Alcantara) vs. Atlanta (Max Fried) in Houston…
the L.A. Dodgers (Walker Buehler) vs. San Diego (Zach Davies) in Arlington
TODAY’S NBA FINALS SCHEDULE…
the L.A. Lakers vs. Miami in Game 4 with the Lakers leading 2-1