The Rundown for January 25, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 25,124,064 and the nation’s death toll stands at 419,204, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during an appearance on Fox News “Sunday” yesterday that health officials are tracking coronavirus mutations to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines and treatments stay ahead of new variants until collective immunity is achieved. She said the CDC had administered 21,848,655 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of yesterday morning. President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, said in a separate interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that a plan for distributing the vaccine, particularly beyond nursing homes and hospitals, “did not really exist when we came into the White House.”

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION RALLIES SUPPORT FOR RELIEF PROPOSAL… The Biden administration is trying to rally bipartisan support for the president’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal. During a call to 16 senators and two House members, administration officials tried to ease concerns that the package is too pricey. Some lawmakers from both parties have expressed preference for a smaller plan that prioritizes coronavirus vaccine distribution.

BIDEN TO LIFT PENTAGON’S TRANS BAN… President Joe Biden will lift the Pentagon’s ban on transgender people serving in the military by signing an executive order today, according to White House officials. Former President Trump imposed the ban in 2017, reversing the Obama administration’s policy that allowed open service by transgender people. New Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to attend today’s signing at the White House.

SIX DEAD IN INDIANAPOLIS SHOOTINGS… Six people were fatally shot and a juvenile was taken to the hospital in critical condition early yesterday following a shooting spree in Indianapolis. Police responding to the report of a disturbance found the wounded child and directed units to a second location, where the bodies were found. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randall Taylor both referred to the incident as a “mass murder” during a press conference yesterday afternoon. Among the dead was a pregnant woman and her unborn child.

CHICAGO TEACHERS WON’T RETURN TO CLASS… Chicago Teachers Union members yesterday voted to defy an order from Chicago Public Schools to return to in-person instruction due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Representatives from the nation’s third-largest school district have indicated that they would treat the defiance as an illegal strike. Kindergarten through eighth grade teachers were originally scheduled to return to classrooms today.

ENTERTAINMENT
MORGAN WALLEN REMAINS ATOP ALBUM CHART
… Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” sold 159,000 copies to remain atop the Billboard 200 album chart for a second week. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” jumped into second place on sales of 47,000 units. Why Don’t We’s “The Good Times and the Bad Ones” opened in third place after selling 46,000 copies. Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” slipped to fourth place with 41,000 units sold. Ariana Grande’s “Positions” sold 39,000 copies to cap the top five.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE… The Liam Neeson action-thriller “The Marksman” brought in $2 million to top the weekend box office for a second straight week. “The Croods: A New Age” finished second with $1.8 million. “Wonder Woman,” “News of the World” and “Monster Hunter” were also in the top five.

SPORTS
NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP SCORES

Tampa Bay 31 – GREEN BAY 26… The Buccaneers held off the Packers in the NFC title game and advance to take on defending-champion Kansas City in the Super Bowl on their home field. Tom Brady overcame three interceptions to throw touchdown passes to three different receivers in reaching the Super Bowl for the 10th time. Leonard Fournette ran 20 yards for a second-quarter score. Chris Godwin had five catches for 110 yards. Defensively, Tampa Bay sacked Aaron Rodgers five times.

KANSAS CITY 38 – Buffalo 24… Patrick Mahomes hit Travis Kelce with two of his three touchdown passes and the Chiefs rolled past the Bills in the AFC championship game. Mahomes completed 29 of 38 passes for 325 yards. Tyreek Hill had nine receptions for 172 yards.

NBA SCOREBOARD
Toronto 107 – INDIANA 102… The Raptors came on strong down the stretch to hold off the Pacers. OG Anunoby scored a game-high 30 points. Fred VanVleet added 21 points and Norman Powell tossed in 20.

L.A. CLIPPERS 108 – OKLAHOMA CITY 100… The Clippers jumped out to a 17-point lead after the first quarter and hung on to down the Thunder. Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 34 points.

BOSTON 141 – Cleveland 103… The Celtics built a big lead early and never looked back in their dismantling of the Cavaliers. Jaylen Brown scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter. Kemba Walker dropped in 21 points.

Charlotte 107 – ORLANDO 104… The Hornets erased a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to upend the Magic. Gordon Hayward made a tie-breaking layup with less than a second remaining and finished with a game-high 39 points.

SAN ANTONIO 121 – Washington 101… The Spurs ran past a Wizards team that was playing for the first time in two weeks. Patty Mills scored 21 points to lead a balanced scoring attack.

MILWAUKEE 129 – Atlanta 115… The Bucks led by 19 points at the half and coasted past the Hawks. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Bobby Portis delivered 21 points off the bench.

PORTLAND 116 – New York 113… The Trail Blazers withstood a fourth-quarter rally in downing the Knicks. Damian Lillard lit it up for 39 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Philadelphia is at Detroit…
Indiana hosts Toronto…
Charlotte is at Orlando…
Miami is at Brooklyn…
Cleveland hosts the L.A. Lakers…
Denver is at Dallas…
Chicago hosts Boston…
San Antonio is at New Orleans…
Golden State hosts Minnesota…
Oklahoma City is at Portland

NHL SCOREBOARD
CHICAGO 6 – Detroit 2… Pius Suter scored two of his three goals in the first period and the Blackhawks skated past the Red Wings. Conor Murphy had a goal and an assist.

Buffalo 4 – WASHINGTON 3 (SO)… Jack Eichel netted the lone goal in the shootout to lift the Sabres over the Capitals. Rasmus Ristolainen assisted on two goals.

Toronto 3 – CALGARY 2… Wayne Simmonds scored a tie-breaking power-play goal with 32 seconds left in the second period and Auston Matthews added the decisive goal in the third to push the Maple Leafs past the Flames. Morgan Rielly assisted on all three goals.

Vegas 1 – ARIZONA 0… William Karlsson found the net with 43 seconds remaining to send the Golden Knights past the Coyotes. Marc-Andre Fleury faced only 16 shots in the shutout.

NEW JERSEY 2 – N.Y. Islanders 0… Jack Hughes and Pavel Zacha scored two minutes apart in the first period and the Devils blanked the Islanders. Goalie Scott Wedgewood stopped all 28 shots.

PITTSBURGH 3 – N.Y. Rangers 2… Jake Guentzel’s goal with 1:31 left gave the Penguins a come-from-behind win over the Rangers. Jared McCann netted a tying goal early in the third period.

Los Angeles 6 – ST. LOUIS 3… Six different players found the net as the Kings doubled up on the Blues. Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists. Adrian Kempe set up two goals.

San Jose 5 – MINNESOTA 3… The Sharks recovered to put away the Wild after blowing a two-goal lead. Brent Burns scored a go-ahead goal with 1:49 remaining.

DALLAS 3 – Nashville 2… Joe Pavelski’s power-play goal early in the third period proved to be the difference in the Stars’ win over the Predators. Pavelski also had two assists. Roope Hintz also had a goal and two assists for Dallas.

ANAHEIM 3 – Colorado 1… John Gibson made 32 saves at goal and the Ducks eased past the Avalanche. Jakob Silfverberg, Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm found the net.

Edmonton 4 – WINNIPEG 3… Leon Draisaitl beat the final buzzer with a game-winning goal as the Oilers topped the Jets. Kailer Yamamoto scored a tying goal with 3:05 to go. Connor McDavid had three assists.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Ottawa is at Vancouver

MLB NEWS… The New York Yankees have acquired right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates for four minor league prospects. Pittsburgh received pitchers Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras, infielder Maikol Escotto and outfielder Canaan Smith in the deal. The 29-year-old Taillon, the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2010 and was a 14-game winner for the Pirates in 2018. He appeared in just seven games in 2019 and missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow.

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