CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 8,333,591 and the nation’s death toll stands at 222,063, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A Reuters analysis found that COVID-19-related deaths hit daily records in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Kansas, Hawaii and Wisconsin. Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Colorado and Ohio reported record daily increases in new infections… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday altered the definition of what constitutes “close contact” to a person infected with COVID-19. The CDC updated the guidance to define close contact as being “within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more” over a 24-hour period. The agency previously defined close contact as being within 6 feet of a confirmed case for 15 consecutive minutes.
SENATE FAILS TO PASS RELIEF PACKAGE… The Senate yesterday failed to pass an updated “skinny” COVID-19 relief package. The 51-to-44 fell short of the 60 votes needed to pass. The bill was nearly identical to a measure the Senate unanimously rejected last month, when Democrats said it didn’t do enough to help Americans and businesses and was riddled with “poison pills.” Democrats have been seeking a larger relief package similar to the $2.2 trillion measure passed months ago by the House. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier this week that she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are making progress on negotiations for the next package.
OBAMA CAMPAIGNS FOR BIDEN… Former president Barack Obama pulled no punches in Philadelphia yesterday at a campaign rally for Joe Biden. Obama hammered President Trump over his taxes, his character and his leadership style. The former president also warned that the failure to turn out and vote in the 2016 elections contributed to Trump’s victory. “I am asking you to remember what this country can be. What it is like when we treat each other with respect and dignity. What is it is like when our elected officials actually behave responsibly,” Obama said during his 30-minute speech at Lincoln Financial Field.
SENATE PANEL TO VOTE TODAY ON BARRETT NOMINATION… Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday vowed to call a vote today on Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination. Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham called the vote after Democrats on the committee threatened pledging to boycott a proceeding that they called “a sham.” They want Republicans to wait until after the November 3 presidential election before filling the vacancy created last month with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Should Barrett’s nomination advance to the full Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to hold a procedural vote on Sunday and a final vote the next day.
PURDUE PHARMA PLEADS GUILTY TO THREE FEDERAL CHARGES… The Justice Department announced yesterday that OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma pled guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion. The settlement follows expert testimony that OxyContin, a powerful prescription painkiller, helped drive an opioid epidemic. The agreement worked out by prosecutors does not release any of the company’s executives or owners from criminal liability amid an ongoing criminal investigation.
GUILIANI NABBED IN ‘BORAT’ SEQUEL… Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” sequel scheduled for release tomorrow night on Amazon Prime captures President Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in a compromising hotel room with an actress pretending to be a 15-year-old girl. Giuliani went to the hotel room thinking he was being interviewed about the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response and accepted the flirtatious girl’s invitation to join her in the bedroom, which is rigged with hidden cameras. Reviewers yesterday described the scene as “cringe-worthy.” Giuliani, who called the police after the incident was filmed last July, maintains his hands were down his pants because he was tucking in his shirt.
CARRIE UNDERWOOD WINS BIG AT CMT AWARDS… Carrie Underwood won Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year for “Drinking Alone” at last night’s CMT Awards show in Nashville. Luke Bryan won for Male Video of the Year for “One Margarita” and Chris Young won for Performance of the Year for “Drowning.” Dan + Shay scored the prize for Duo Video of the Year for “I Should Probably Go to Bed,” Old Dominion’s “One Man Band” won for Group Video of the Year and Gabby Barrett’s “I Hope” won for Breakthrough Video of the Year.
WORLD SERIES GAME 2…
Tampa Bay 6 – L.A. DODGERS 4… Brandon Lowe homered twice and knocked in three runs to power the Rays past the Dodgers and even the 2020 World Series at a game apiece. Joey Wendle drove in Tampa Bay’s other three runs with a two-run double and a sacrifice fly. After a day off today, the series resumes tomorrow. Tampa Bay has announced Charlie Morton as its starter. L.A. counters with fellow righthander Walker Buehler.
PENN STATE BASKETBALL COACH RESIGNS… Penn State men’s basketball coach Pat Chambers has resigned following an internal investigation of new allegations of inappropriate conduct. The situation came to light earlier this summer when former starting guard Rasir Bolton claimed Chambers’ racially-insensitive and inappropriate comments were the reasons why he transferred to Iowa State in 2019. Chambers had a 148-150 record and failed to lead the program to an NCAA Tournament berth since being named Penn State’s coach in 2011.