CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 8,856,413 and the nation’s death toll stands at 227,685, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The spread of the coronavirus continues to be felt on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 943.24 points, or 3.43 percent yesterday, while the S&P 500 fell 3.53 percent and the Nasdaq Composite declined 3.73 percent… The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said yesterday that December is the earliest any companies involved in COVID-19 vaccine trials would have enough data to apply for emergency use authorization for the Federal Drug Administration. Fauci discussed the quest for a vaccine on a live YouTube Q&A hosted by Journal of the American Medical Association.
SUPREME COURT SIDES AGAINST GOP IN MAIL-BALLOT CASES… The Supreme Court sided against Republicans on mail-ballot issues in two states yesterday. The High Court left in place for now a Pennsylvania state Supreme Court decision that allowed the counting of ballots received up to three days after the election, even if there is no legible postmark. Justices also rejected an effort by the Trump campaign and Republicans to reverse a six-day mail ballot due date extension in North Carolina.
ANONYMOUS AUTHOR REVEALS HIMSELF… Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor has revealed himself to be the anonymous author of a New York Times op-ed and book critical of the Trump presidency. In his September 2018 op-ed, Taylor declared he was “part of the resistance inside the Trump administration.” The op-ed spread fears within the administration that there was a “deep state” that was acting against Trump’s orders. Taylor’s book, “A Warning,” was published a year later.
FIVE CHINESE AGENTS ARRESTED… Federal agents arrested five people yesterday for allegedly acting as illegal agents of China. A sixth suspect remains at large. Prosecutors say the six were involved in helping the Chinese government force Chinese nationals in the U.S. to return to China through stalking and harassment. The campaign used “clandestine, unsanctioned and illegal conduct with the United States,” according to the indictments.
ZETA POUNDS GULF COAST… Hurricane Zeta brought 110 miles-per-hour winds and heavy rain when it made landfall as a Category 2 storm in southwest Louisiana yesterday. The storm moved to New Orleans before heading east through Mississippi and Alabama. More than 875,000 customers were without electricity in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, including about 350,000 in metro New Orleans, where a man was killed by a downed power line.
BILLY JOE SHAVER DIES… Billy Joe Shaver, a singer-songwriter aligned with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings in the country music outlaw movement of the 1970s, died yesterday following a stroke. He was 81. His most commercially successful song was “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal,” which was a No. 4 country hit for John Anderson in 1981. Jennings recorded 10 of Shaver’s songs on on his 1973 album, “Honky Tonk Heroes.” Shaver’s songs were also covered by such other artists as Elvis Presley, David Allan Coe, Patty Loveless, Tom T. Hall, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Paycheck.
‘NARCOS: MEXICO’ GIVEN THIRD SEASON… Netflix announced yesterday that it has ordered a third season of “Narcos: Mexico.” The drug-trafficking drama will return without series lead Diego Luna, who portrayed drug cartel leader Félix Gallardo. The new season will be set in the 90s, when the globalization of the drug business ignites after Gallardo’s arrest. Cast members Scoot McNairy, José Maria Yazpik, Alberto Ammann, Alfonso Dosal, Mayra Hermosillo, Matt Letscher, Manuel Masalva, Alejandro Edda and Gorka Lasaosa will all return for the third season.
MORE CHARGES AGAINST RON JEREMY… Prosecutors have charged porn star Ron Jeremy with an additional seven counts of rape and sexual assault. The 67-year-old Jeremy now faces a total of 11 counts of rape, eight of sexual battery and 16 other sexual offenses committed against 23 alleged victims ranging from 15 to 54 years old. He was initially charged in June with raping three women and sexually assaulting a fourth, but more women have come forward. If convicted as charged, Jeremy faces a possible maximum sentence of more than 330 years to life in state prison.
WISCONSIN-NEBRASKA GAME A NO CONTEST… A COVID-19 outbreak has forced the Big Ten Conference to declare Saturday’s Wisconsin-Nebraska game a no contest. The move came after six players and six coaches at Wisconsin tested positive. A “no contest” means the game is not counted for either side.
TONIGHT’S NFL SCHEDULE…
Atlanta (1-6) is at Carolina (3-4)