The Rundown for October 16, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 7,979,448 and the nation’s death toll stands at 217,683, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Nine states reported record one-day increases of new infections yesterday. Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa are among Midwest states that set records.

TRUMP, BIDEN HOST TOWN HALLS… President Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden participated in separate town halls last night. Biden, appearing on ABC from Philadelphia, criticized Trump’s “panicked” response to the to the coronavirus pandemic. The former vice president appeared to be at ease as he answered questions ranging from criminal justice reform to climate change and foreign policy. He was not a “fan” of packing the Supreme Court with more liberal justices to counter seat seats stolen by Republicans but stopped short of ruling it out. Appearing from Miami on NBC, while Trump questioned the effectiveness of wearing masks to defend against the coronavirus, declined to denounce QAnon and dodged questions about a New York Times investigation of two decades of his tax returns, which he has refused to release publicly despite promising to before the 2016 election.
iden

BARRETT CONFIRMATION… The Republican majority on the Senate judiciary committee plans to vote next Thursday whether to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for a full floor vote. Democratic Senator from Connecticut Richard Blumenthal unsuccessfully sought a postponement, calling the nomination a “sham process.” The 22-member committee is expected approve Barrett’s confirmation along party lines. Her appointment would then move to the full Senate, where it needs a simple majority for final confirmation. Barrett answered questions before the committee for three days last week. Witnesses were brought in for yesterday’s fourth and final day of the confirmation hearings.

FBI INVESTIGATES EMAILS… The FBI is investigating whether the emails cited in a debunked New York Post story are products of a foreign intelligence operation. Agents have seized a laptop that purportedly contained evidence that presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, orchestrated a meeting between his father and a firm that once had the younger Biden on the payroll. President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani reportedly gave the laptop to the Post, and Giuliani claimed to have received it from a Delaware computer repairman who has changed his story multiple times in media interviews. Both Hunter and Joe Biden deny the emails’ authenticity and say such a meeting never happened. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported yesterday that President Trump just “shrugged his shoulders” when he was personally warned by his own national security adviser last year that Giuliani was being used to feed him disinformation from Russian intelligence operatives. The U.S. intelligence community was reportedly concerned about Giuliani’s ties to Andriy Derkach, the Ukrainian lawmaker spouting pro-Kremlin propaganda who was last month blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury as a “Russian agent.”

MORE AMERICANS IN POVERTY… Researchers at Columbia University say 8 million more Americans have been plunged into poverty since May as federal aid to help people through the coronavirus pandemic has largely dried up. The researchers found that, after falling by four million at the beginning of the pandemic thanks to a $2 trillion emergency stimulus package, the number of people in poverty is now higher than before coronavirus crisis. A separate study, from the universities of Chicago and Notre Dame, used a different definition of poverty and found that the number of poor Americans has grown by six million people in the past three months. The latter study found that circumstances have got worse mostly for Black people and children.

ENTERTAINMENT
NETFLIX COMEDY LINES UP STAR-STUDDED CAST
… Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Ariana Grande, Jonah Hill are among entertainers who have joined Netflix comedy film “Don’t Look Up.” Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett and Rob Morgan already have signed to star in a cast that also includes Timothee Chalamet, Matthew Perry, Kid Cudi, Himesh Patel and Tomer Sisley. The film centers on a pair of low-level astronomers who warn mankind of an approaching asteroid that will destroy earth during a media tour.

REBA McENTIRE TO STAR IN ‘FRIED GREEN TOMATOES’… Reba McEntire has signed on to star in the upcoming NBC series “Fried Green Tomatoes,” which is based on the 1987 Fannie Flagg novel and 1991 film. The 65-year-old McEntire will play Idgie Threadgoode in a story about a middle-aged housewife and an elderly woman living in a nursing home. The 1991 movie adaptation starred Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-House Parker and Jessica Tandy as Ninny.

SPORTS
MLB
AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORE

HOUSTON 4 – Tampa Bay 3
(in San Diego)… Carlos Correa’s one-out homer in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Astros a walk-off win over the Rays and pulled them within 3-2 in the series. George Springer homered to lead off the bottom of the first. Michael Brantley stroked a two-run single in the fifth. It will be a matchup of lefthanders today when Houston’s Framber Valdez goes against Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell. Gametime is 6:07 p.m. Eastern.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORE
ATLANTA 10 – L.A. Dodgers 2 (in Arlington)… The Braves pounded the Dodgers to take a 3-1 lead in the series. Freddie Freeman’s tie-breaking RBI double sparked a six-run bottom of the sixth inning that put the game away. Dansby Swanson added a two-run double. Marcell Ozuna smacked a pair of solo homers. Los Angeles will try to stay alive today by sending righthander Dustin May to the mound. Atlanta didn’t name its starter.

SUNDAY’S NFL SCHEDULE
Chicago (4-1) is at Carolina (3-2)…
Philadelphia (1-3-1) hosts Baltimore (4-1)…
Atlanta (0-5) are at Minnesota (1-4)…
Pittsburgh (4-0) hosts Cleveland (4-1)…
Houston (1-4) is at Tennessee (4-0)…
the N.Y. Giants (0-5) host Washington (1-4)…
Denver (1-3) is at New England (2-2)…
Indianapolis (3-2) hosts Cincinnati (1-3-1)…
Detroit (1-3) is at Jacksonville (1-4)…
Miami (2-3) hosts the N.Y. Jets (0-5)…
Green Bay (4-0) is at Tampa Bay (3-2)…
San Francisco (2-3) hosts the L.A. Rams (4-1)

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Kansas City (4-1) is at Buffalo (4-1)…
Dallas (2-3) hosts Arizona (3-2)

NFL NEWS… Fred Dean, a Hall of Fame pass-rushing defensive end who played with the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers, died Wednesday after battling COVID-19, the Pro Football Hall of Fame confirmed yesterday. He was 68 and had been hospitalized in intensive care. Dean played on two Super Bowl-winning teams with the 49ers and was selected to the Pro Bowl four times during his 10-year career.

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