The Rundown for February 2, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 26,317,540 and the nation’s death toll stands at 443,205, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Biden administration’s coronavirus response team announced yesterday that the Pentagon and the Department of Health and Human Services have ordered tens of millions of at-home COVID-19 test kits from the Australian diagnostics manufacturer Ellume. The tests, approved by the Food and Drug Administration last December, provide results within 15 minutes, with 95 percent accuracy.

BIDEN TO PUSH FORWARD WITH COVID RELIEF PLAN… President Joe Biden is prepared to push forward with his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan after meeting with a group of 10 Republican senators at the White House yesterday. Biden told the senators that their downsized plan didn’t go far enough. Prior to the meeting, top Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House filed a joint $1.9 trillion budget measure and demonstrated their willingness to bypass Republicans altogether on a new virus relief bill.

McCONNELL TRIES TO DISTANCE GOP FROM CONSPIRACIES… Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell yesterday acknowledged that “loony lies and conspiracy theories” have become a “cancer” for the Republican party. McConnell appeared to be referring to Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, although he didn’t refer to her by name. Greene felt targeted by McConnell’s remarks and declared that “the real cancer for the Republican Party is weak Republicans who only know how to lose gracefully. This is why we are losing our country.” House Democrats, meanwhile, are moving expeditiously to remove Greene from her committee assignments.

OREGON DECRIMINALIZES DRUGS… Oregon yesterday became the first state in the country to decriminalize virtually all illicit drugs after ballot measure approved last fall took effect. Under the new law, possession of small amounts of the drugs is a civil, not criminal, offense that carries a $100 fine that can be paid by undergoing a health assessment. Measure 110 also uses tens of millions of dollars from Oregon’s marijuana tax to fund addiction treatment for violators.

STORMS SLAMS EAST COAST… Northeast and mid-Atlantic states were slammed by a nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of snow in some areas and was expected to intensify overnight. The National Weather Service said swath of more than 2 feet of snow could cover the region from Pennsylvania to Maine, including the metro areas of Philadelphia, New York and Boston. New York City and New Jersey issued states of emergency and New York City put travel restrictions in place to keep nonessential personnel off the roads. Most flights in and out of New York City and Boston airports were canceled.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTOR DUSTIN DIAMOND DIES
… Actor Dustin Diamond, who was best-known for playing Screech on the sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” died yesterday of lung cancer. He was 44. The illness was diagnosed just three weeks ago. Diamond first played his Screech character in the 1988 series “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” which was the basis for “Saved by the Bell.” After the show ended in 1992, Diamond continued to reprise his role for the franchise in various spinoffs, including “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.”

ABUSE CLAIMS SURROUND MARILYN MANSON… Marilyn Manson’s record label cut ties with him yesterday after multiple women accused him of abuse or assault. “Westworld” actress Evan Rachel Wood alleged that Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, “brainwashed and manipulated” her for years while they were romantically involved. Following her claim, three more women made similar accusations. Manson called the allegations “distortions.”

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD
L.A. Lakers 107 – ATLANTA 99
… The Lakers were too much down the stretch in downing the Hawks. Anthony Davis led a balanced scoring attack with 25 points. LeBron James added 21 points.

Charlotte 129 – MIAMI 121 (OT)… Malik Monk came off the bench to score 36 points and lead the Hornets past the Heat. Devonte Graham added 24 points. Cody Zeller had 19 points and 12 rebounds.

CLEVELAND 100 – Minnesota 98… Collin Seton scored 26 points and Jarrett Allen added 23 points as the Cavaliers held off the Timberwolves. Allen also had 18 boards.

CHICAGO 110 – New York 102… Lauri Markkanen pumped in 30 points to lead the Bulls past the Knicks. Zach LeVine scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half.

MILWAUKEE 134 – Portland 106… The Bucks made 21 of 42 3-point attempts in building a big lead early and cruising past the Trail blazers. They got 22 points from Jrue Holiday and 21 from Bobby Portis.

Sacramento 118 – NEW ORLEANS 109… De’Aaron Fox poured in 38 points, including 17 straight during the decisive fourth quarter, as the Kings put away the Pelicans. Harrison Barnes tossed in 24 points.

Houston 136 – OKLAHOMA CITY 106… The Rockets jumped out to a 48-24 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in their blowout of the Thunder. Eric Gordon delivered a game-high 25 points off the bench. Six other players scored in double figures for Houston.

Phoenix 109 – DALLAS 108… Devin Booker’s 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining lifted the Suns over the Mavericks. Chris Paul led all scorers with 34 points. Deandre Ayton grabbed 17 rebounds to go with his 10 points.

Memphis 133 – SAN ANTONIO 102… The Grizzlies routed the Spurs for their seventh straight win. Gorgui Dieng scored 19 points to lead nine players in double figures.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Toronto is at Orlando…
Brooklyn hosts the L.A. Clippers…
Memphis is at Indiana…
Washington hosts Portland…
Detroit is at Utah…
Golden State hosts Boston

NHL SCOREBOARD
N.Y. RANGERS 3 – Pittsburgh 1… Chris Kreider netted a go-ahead goal midway through the third period to help push the Rangers past the Penguins. Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists.

Boston 5 – WASHINGTON 3… The Bruins rallied from three goals down in the second period to top the Capitals. David Pastrnak scored Boston’s first two goals to spark the comeback.

TAMPA BAY 5 – Nashville 2… Yanni Gourde found the net twice as the Lightning skated past the Predators. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 24 saves.

MONTREAL 6 – Vancouver 2… Jeff Petry scored two goals and assisted on another as the Canadiens breezed past the Canucks. Nick Suzuki and Artturi Lehkonen each had a goal and an assist.

Calgary 4 – WINNIPEG 3 (SO)… The Flames outlasted the Jets after spotting them a two-goal lead. Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau scored in the tiebreaker. Gaudreau also scored a tying goal in the third period.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Buffalo is at the N.Y. Islanders…
Pittsburgh hosts New Jersey…
Dallas is at Columbus…
Montreal hosts Vancouver…
Carolina is at Chicago…
St. Louis hosts Arizona…
Calgary is at Winnipeg…
Colorado hosts Minnesota…
Ottawa is at Edmonton…
Los Angeles hosts Anaheim

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD
No. 13 TEXAS TECH 57, No. 9 Oklahoma 52…
No. 25 DRAKE 95, Illinois State 60

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