The Rundown for February 17, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 27,756,623 and the nation’s death toll stands at 488,081, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… During a CNN Town Hall last night, President Joe Biden said he expects the COVID-19 vaccine to be widely available in the U.S. by the end of July and cautiously suggested the nation may return to “normal” by Christmas. Biden said one of the most significant obstacles he faced in taking on the pandemic response from the previous administration has been a lack of vaccinators to administer the shots. Earlier yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said The Biden administration will raise the vaccine supply to states from 11 million to 13.5 million doses per week.

AT LEAST 21 DEAD IN WINTER STORMS… At least 21 people have died in the polar vortex that brought brutal chill to the nation’s midsection this week. Most of the deaths were reported in Texas, where millions of people were left without power. Officials say at least seven of the deaths are suspected to be from gas or carbon monoxide poisoning as people struggle to keep warm in cars parked in enclosed spaces.

SENATE SCHEDULES CAPITOL-ATTACK HEARING… The Senate yesterday scheduled its first hearing to examine the security failures that led to last month’s breach of the U.S. Capitol building by a mob of Trump supporters. The joint hearing held between the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Rules and Administration Committee is scheduled for Tuesday morning. Robert Contee, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department; Michael Stenger, former Senate Sergeant at Arms; Paul Irving, former House Sergeant at Arms; and Steven Sund, former chief of U.S. Capitol Police, have been requested to testify.

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION RESPONDS TO IRAQ ROCKET ATTACK… The Biden administration say it has “the right to respond at the time and place of our choosing” in response to Monday night’s rocket attack at Erbil Air Base in Iraq. The attack left five Americans injured and a foreign contractor dead. An obscure Iraqi militia group that calls itself the Guardians of the Blood Brigade claimed credit for the attack.

DOMINION TO SUE MIKE LINDELL… Dominion Voting Systems has announced plans to sue pillow salesman Mike Lindell over his baseless claims about nonexistent election-fraud conspiracy. Lindell, a staunch supporter of former President Trump, emerged as a leader in Republican efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and cited Dominion in his claims. The company has already filed $1.3 billion suits against Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani.

ENTERTAINMENT
AARON ECKHART JOINS ‘THE FIRST LADY’
… Aaron Eckhart has signed on to the cast of the Showtime series “The First Lady.” The 52-year-old actor will play president Gerald Ford in the series, which tells White House stories from the perspective of the wives of presidents. The first season will focus on Ford, Obama and Eleanor Roosevelt. Michelle Pfeiffer will play former first lady Betty Ford. Viola Davis has been cast as former first lady Michelle Obama.

CLINTONS AT CICELY TYSON SERVICE… Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were among those who attended a private memorial service for legendary actress Cicely Tyson in Harlem yesterday. The nearly three-hour service was held a day after fans of the pioneering icon lined up to pay their respects at a public viewing. Gospel singer BeBe Winans provided a highlight at the service with a performance of sang “Stand” — which Tyson had requested prior to her death on January 28 at age 96.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

BOSTON 112 – Denver 99… Jaylen Brown scored 27 points and Jayson Tatum added 21 as the Celtics topped the Nuggets. Tristan Thompson grabbed 12 rebounds to go with his nine points.

New Orleans 144 – MEMPHIS 113… Zion Williamson pumped in 31 points and the Pelicans rolled past the Grizzlies. Josh Hart delivered 27 points off the bench. Brandon Ingram dropped in 22 points.

Toronto 124 – MILWAUKEE 113… The Raptors pulled away in the second half to top the Bucks despite losing Kyle Lowry to an ankle injury. Fred VanVleet scored 33 points to lead six players in double figures. Pascal Siakam had 23 points and 13 rebounds.

L.A. Lakers 112 – MINNESOTA 104… LeBron James scored 30 points and grabbed 13 boards to lead the Lakers past the Timberwolves. Dennis Schroder added 24 points.

Portland 115 – Oklahoma City 104… The Trail Blazers built a 14-point halftime lead and coasted past the Thunder. Damian Lillard led the way with 31 points and 1 assists. Enes Kanter brought down 21 rebounds to go with his eight points.

Brooklyn 128 – PHOENIX 124… The Nets erased a 24-point third-quarter deficit to sink the Suns. James Harden scored a game-high 38 points. Joe Harris tossed in 22 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
New York is at Orlando…
Boston hosts Atlanta…
Houston is at Philadelphia…
Washington hosts Denver…
Indiana is at Minnesota…
Chicago hosts Detroit…
Portland is at New Orleans…
Memphis hosts Oklahoma City…
Miami is at Golden State…
the L.A. Clippers host Utah

NHL SCOREBOARD
N.Y. Islanders 3 – BUFFALO 0… Anders Lee found the net twice in the Islanders’ blanking of the Sabres. Goalie Ilya Sorokin stopped all 20 shots in his first NHL win.

Washington 3 – PITTSBURGH 1… Conor Sheary and Jakub Vrana scored second period goals and the Capitals cruised past the Penguins. Richard Panik set up two goals.

New Jersey 5 – N.Y. RANGERS 2… The Devils scored three unanswered goals in the third period to put away the Rangers. Nicholas Merkley had a goal and an assist. Mackenzie Blackwood made 37 saves at goal.

Colorado 3 – VEGAS 2… Nazem Kadri scored with 41 seconds remaining to send the Avalanche past the Golden Knights. Colorado also got goals from Nathan MacKinnon and Brandon Saad.

LOS ANGELES 4 – Minnesota 0… Goalie Jonathan Quick made 28 saves in shutting out the Wild. Jaret Anderson-Dolan had a goal and an assist for the Kings.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Florida is at Carolina…
Toronto hosts Ottawa…
Chicago is at Detroit…
Calgary hosts Vancouver…
Winnipeg is at Edmonton

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD
No. 5 ILLINOIS 73, Northwestern 66…
GEORGIA 80, No. 20 Missouri 70…
No. 24 ARKANSAS 75, Florida 64

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