The Rundown for December 31, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 19,968,087 and the nation’s death toll stands at 345,737, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nearly 3,750 deaths on Wednesday set a new record for the second straight day. The average of about 2,500 deaths per day in December doubled November’s death rate… The Florida Department of Health yesterday announced the first identified case of a variant of the COVID-19 first discovered in the United Kingdom. The discovery in Florida’s Martin County follows the detection of the virus in Colorado and California earlier this week.

WORKER FIRED, ARRESTED FOR DESTROYING VACCINE… A Wisconsin hospital employee has been fired and arrested for allegedly destroying more than 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The incident took place at the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee. A total of 57 vials of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine — which is required to be stored between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit — were left out overnight on Saturday. Officials say the worker “acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration.” Local authorities, the FBI and the Food and Drug Administration have joined in an investigation.

TRUMP EXTENDS BANS ON VISAS… President Trump yesterday extended his bans on green cards and several types of work visas amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump imposed bans on new green cards and certain visas in April and June, claiming they would protect American workers during the pandemic. The bans were set to expire yesterday but will remain in place through March 31. President-elect Joe Biden, who has criticized the measures, could opt to reverse the extension when he takes office January 20.

TOXIN IN RECALLED DOG FOOD BLAMED FOR 28 DOG DEATHS… Dangerous levels of aflatoxin in Sportmix products made by Midwestern Pet Foods are blamed for the deaths of at least 28 dogs. The Food and Drug Administration recalled the brand on Wednesday. The FDA said the “scope of the recall may expand as new information becomes available” during its investigation with the manufacturer and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

SLIGHT DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS… Nearly 800,000 more U.S. workers have filed new unemployment claims, according to the weekly Labor Department report released yesterday. The number of claims reflect a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week. The figure was lower than most experts predicted. The Labor Department also revised up last week’s claims by 3,000 and said the unemployment rate for the most recent week was 3.6 percent.

ENTERTAINMENT
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY TO MEDIATE DANNY MASTERSON CASE
… A judge in Los Angeles has ruled that stalking and intimidation cases brought by four women against actor Danny Masterson must now go through mediation within the Church of Scientology. The ruling comes just days before Masterson was scheduled to be arraigned on three charges of rape between 2001 and 2003. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield ruled that the complaints must be settled by the Church in “religious arbitration” due to an arbitration agreement that already exists among the parties. The suit filed in August 2019 claimed the plaintiffs had been stalked and intimidated by the church’s agents after reporting the allegations to police. Masterson is best known for starring in the sitcom “That 70s Show.”

FINAL McGUIRE SISTERS SISTER DIES… The last of the singing McGuire Sisters has died. Phyllis McGuire was 89 when she died Tuesday at her Las Vegas home. The group, also consisting of Christine and Dorothy McGuire, rose to fame in 1952 after winning a competition on the Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts show. The sisters sold millions of records and were best known for their hits “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight,” “Sincerely,” “Sugartime” and “Picnic.” The group made multiple appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, performed for five U.S. presidents and reunited for a comeback in 1985 where they also performed at various venues around Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

SPORTS
NBA SCORES

INDIANA 119 – Cleveland 99
… The Pacers built an early double-digit lead and cruised past the Cavaliers. All five starters scored in double figures led by Domantas Sabonis’ 25 points. Sabonis also grabbed 11 rebounds.

Chicago 133 – WASHINGTON 130… Otto Porter scored 28 points and Zach LaVine added 22 as the short-handed Bulls kept the Wizards winless. Seven players scored in double figures for Chicago.

Philadelphia 116 – ORLANDO 92… The hot-shooting 76ers led by as many as 37 points in the first half and never looked back in routing the Magic. Joel Embiid and Seth Curry scored 21 points apiece. Tobias Harris added 20 points.

HOUSTON 122 – Sacramento 119… James Harden came on strong at the end and finished with 33 points in leading the Rockets past the Kings. John Wall added 22 points in his first game since 2018. Christian Wood tossed in 21 points.

TORONTO 100 – New York 83… The Raptors came alive in the second half to put away the Knicks. Fred VanVleet’s 25 points led a balanced scoring attack. Kyle Lowry added 20 points.

New Orleans 113 – OKLAHOMA CITY 80… The Pelicans held the Thunder to seven fourth-quarter points in the runaway win. Brandon Ingram scored 20 points before getting ejected in the third quarter. Six other players scored in double figures.

Phoenix 106 – UTAH 95… The Suns took control with a big second quarter and held off the Jazz. Devin Booker scored a game-high 25 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Memphis is at Charlotte…
Detroit hosts Boston…
Miami is at Dallas…
Brooklyn hosts Atlanta…
Chicago is at Milwaukee…
Minnesota hosts Washington…
the L.A. Lakers are at San Antonio…
Denver hosts Phoenix…
the L.A. Clippers are at Utah…
Golden State hosts Portland

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 6 WISCONSIN 71, No. 21 Minnesota 59…
No. 16 Michigan 84, MARYLAND 73…
No. 21 OREGON 82, California 69

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCORES
Ball State 34, No. 22 San Jose State 13 in the Arizona Bowl…
Mississippi State 28, No. 24 Tulsa 26 in the Armed Forces Bowl…
West Virginia 24, Army 21 in the Liberty Bowl

TODAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
No. 8 Cincinnati plays No. 9 Georgia in the Peach Bowl…
No. 14 Northwestern plays Auburn in the Citrus Bowl…
No. 1 Alabama plays No. 4 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl…
No. 2 Clemson plays No. 3 Oho State in the Sugar Bowl

SATURDAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
No. 5 Texas A&M plays No. 13 North Carolina in the Orange Bowl…
No. 10 Iowa State plays No. 25 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl…
No. 11 Indiana plays Mississippi in the Outback Bowl…
No. 23 North Carolina State plays Kentucky in the Gator Bowl

SUNDAY’S NFL SCHEDULE
Miami (10-5) is at Buffalo (12-3)…
Cincinnati (4-10-1) hosts Baltimore (10-5)…
Pittsburgh (12-3) is at Cleveland (10-5)…
Minnesota (6-9) is at Detroit (5-10)…
New England (6-9) hosts the N.Y. Jets (2-13)…
Dallas (6-9) is at the N.Y. Giants (5-10)…
Tampa Bay (10-5) hosts Atlanta (4-11)…
Green Bay (12-3) is at Chicago (8-7)…
Denver (5-10) hosts Las Vegas (7-8)…
Jacksonville (1-14) is at Indianapolis (10-5)…
the L.A. Chargers (6-9) are at Kansas City (14-1)…
the L.A. Rams (9-6) host Arizona (8-7)…
Seattle (11-4) is at San Francisco (6-9)…
Carolina (5-10) hosts New Orleans (11-4)…
Tennessee (10-5) is at Houston (4-11)…
Philadelphia (4-10) hosts Washington (6-9)

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