CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 7,497,847 and the nation’s death toll stands at 210,852, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… President Trump’s top policy adviser Stephen Miller has tested positive for coronavirus. He is the latest official caught up in an outbreak at the White House that has seen at least 10 others test positive.
TOP MILITARY LEADERS QUARANTINING… Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley and several members of the Pentagon’s senior leadership are quarantining after a top Coast Guard official tested positive for coronavirus. A defense spokesman explained that the Pentagon is “conducting additional contact tracing and taking appropriate precautions to protect the force and the mission” in response to Coast Guard vice commandant testing positive on Monday. The announcement raised major national security questions amid the White House outbreak.
TRUMP HALTS ECONOMIC-AID NEGOTIATIONS… President Trump declared yesterday that he is ending negotiations with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders over a new pandemic economic aid package until after the November 3 elections. Trump also said he wants the GOP-controlled Senate to focus on confirming his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. The president blamed Pelosi for the failure to reach an agreement on the relief package, while the house speaker accused the president of holding the country hostage, lying about negotiations and having a disdain for science. She questioned whether the president’s drug treatments have impacted his thinking. News of Trump’s announcement prompted markets to dive. The Dow Jones Industrial average fell more than 600 points and closed down 1.3 percent, or 376 points. The S&P 500 dropped 1.4 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite finished down 1.6 percent.
FED CHAIR WARNS OF ECONOMIC HARDSHIP… Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned during yesterday’s National Association for Business Economics annual meeting that the U.S. must pursue economic recovery from the pandemic recession. The rise in Covid-19 infections is a major risk, Powell noted, and a second wave of coronavirus could “more significantly limit economic activity, not to mention the tragic effects on lives and well-being.” Powell renewed his call for Congress to provide additional support for the U.S. economy and cautioned that “Weakness feeds on weakness.”
TOP DOJ OFFICIALS DIRECTED BORDER POLICIES… The New York Times cited handwritten notes and the results of a two-year watchdog’s investigation in reporting yesterday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein directed the Trump administration’s border family separation policy in 2018. The two pushed the policies of prosecuting immigrants suspected of illegal crossings and separating mothers from children as young as infants. A Justice Department Inspector General’s 86-page draft report noted that Sessions publicly distanced himself from the policy but refused to sit for an interview with the investigators. The DOJ has repeatedly passed along responsibility for the policies to the Department of Homeland Security.
DELTA STRENGTHENS INTO HURRICANE… Delta strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane yesterday as it continued its approach to the Gulf Coast. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 145 mph and remain at least as powerful today as it moves from waters off southern Mexico into the northwest Caribbean Sea. It is expected to make landfall in the U.S. between Friday night and Saturday morning.
EDDIE VAN HALEN DIES… Legendary rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen died yesterday at a Los Angeles hospital after a long battle with cancer. He was 65. Van Halen moved with his family from the Netherlands to Southern California when he was seven and as a teen he started performing in bands with his older brother. Alex. The two added vocalist David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony to form the band Van Halen in 1974. The band rose to stardom in 1978 with its self-titled debut album.
SINGER JOHNNY NASH DIES… Singer Johnny Nash, who crossed over from reggae into pop and performed the 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now,” died of natural causes at his home in Houston, Texas, yesterday. He was 80. In addition to his own success as a singer-songwriter, actor, producer, and record label executive, Nash is credited with helping launch the career of his friend Bob Marley.
2 MORE MOVIE RELEASES PUSHED BACK… Movie studios and theaters continue to reel from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as two expected blockbuster films announced pushed-back premiere dates yesterday. “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader, is set for release on March 4, 2022, instead of October 1, 2021. The highly-anticipated remake of “Dune” has been pushed back from December 18, 2020, to October 1, 2021. On the bright side, the fourth installment of the “Matrix” franchise has been moved up from April 1, 2022 to December 22, 2021.
NBA FINALS SCORE…
L.A. Lakers 102 – Miami 96… The Lakers fought off the Heat to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. LeBron James had game-highs with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Anthony Davis added 22 points. L.A. will try to wrap up its first championship in 10 years Friday in Game 5.
MLB PLAYOFF SCORES…
AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES
Houston 5 – OAKLAND 2 (at Dodger Stadium in L.A)…. George Springer homered twice and drove in three runs to lead the Astros past the Athletics for a 2-0 lead in the series. Martin Maldonado also went deep for Houston. Framber Valdez allowed just two runs on five hits over seven innings. The Astros send righthander Jose Urquidy to the mound today in Game 3. Oakland counters with lefthander Jesus Luzardo.
TAMPA BAY 7 – N.Y. Yankees 5 (in San Diego)… The Rays held off the Yankees to even the series at a game apiece. Mike Zunino and Manuel Margot belted two-run homers. Austin Meadows added a solo shot. It will be a matchup of righthanders in Game 3 today when Tampa Bay sends Charlie Morton to the mound, where he’ll face Masahiro Tanaka.
NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES OPENERS
Atlanta 9 – Miami 5 (in Houston)… The Braves erased an early 4-1 deficit to top the Marlins. Travis d’Arnaud blasted a three-run homer and Dansby Swanson added a two-run shot during a six-run bottom of the seventh inning. Ronald Acuna homered to lead off the first. Atlanta will try to make it two straight today when it sends Ian Anderson to the mound. He’ll be opposed by fellow righthander Pablo Lopez.
L.A. Dodgers 5 – San Diego 1 (in Arlington)… Starter Walker Buehler and four relievers combined on a three-hitter and the Dodgers cruised past the Padres. Corey Seager lifted a go-ahead sacrifice fly to spark a four-run top of the sixth inning. Lefthander Clayton Kershaw takes the hill for Los Angeles today. San Diego hasn’t announced its starter.