The Rundown for February 18, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 27,823,163 and the nation’s death toll stands at 490,394, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said yesterday that mounting evidence suggests the Covid-19 vaccine can slow the spread of the coronavirus. Whether vaccination can prevent transmission of the virus is “the looming question,” Fauci said during a White House coronavirus response team briefing.

TEXANS STRUGGLE DURING FREEZE… Troubles are mounting in Texas, where 2.7 million households are without power and residents in more than 100 counties have been told to boil their drinking water. Strained by an Arctic vortex that brought record low temperatures, the state has lost 40 percent of its generating capacity, with natural gas wells and pipelines, along with wind turbines, frozen shut. As many as two dozens deaths have been blamed on the cold snap and freezing temperatures are expected through the weekend.

CUOMO PANDEMIC HANDLING UNDER INVESTIGATION… New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is the target of an investigation launched by the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York. Investigators are reportedly looking into the conduct of top officials who coordinated the state’s response to the pandemic and a July 2020 order directing nursing homes to accept coronavirus-positive residents being discharged from hospitals. A former Cuomo staffer admitted last week that the governor’s administration had hidden the true death toll from the public for fear of political backlash. The state’s attorney general has also investigated and released a damning report of the governor’s handling of the crisis.

WOMEN GENERALS’ PROMOTIONS DELAYED… The New York Times yesterday quoted former Defense Secretary Mark Esper in reporting that the Pentagon delayed the promotion of two female generals out of fear that Trump would derail their nominations. Air Force General Jacqueline Van Ovost and Army Lieutenant General Laura Richardson of the Army are set to be nominated for promotions by the Biden administration in the coming weeks. Esper insisted he recommended the two generals not to be politically correct but because they were the best qualified.

8 WOUNDED IN PHILADELPHIA SHOOTING… Gunfire at a public transit station in Philadelphia yesterday afternoon left eight people wounded. The victims ranged in age from 17 to 71. One of them is reported to be in critical condition. Police say one person is in custody and two weapons have been recovered.

ENTERTAINMENT
RUSH LIMBAUGH DEAD AT 70
… Bombastic radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh died yesterday following a battle with lung cancer. He was 70. Limbaugh pioneered the American media phenomenon of conservative talk radio and used his platform to air commentary that was sometimes highly incendiary. He called former President Barack Obama a “house negro” and poked fun at Kurt Cobain’s suicide, former Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s cancer and actor Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease. A racist comment he made in 2003 prompted his firing after a short stint at ESPN. His radio show was heard on more than 600 U.S. stations with an audience that reached 27 million people weekly.

JESSE PLEMONS JOINS CAST OF SCORSESE FILM… Jesse Plemons has signed on to join Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro in the cast of the upcoming Apple thriller “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Plemons will reunite with director Martin Scorsese, with whom he worked on 2019’s “The Irishman.” The film is set in 1920s Oklahoma and centers on the serial murders of Osage Nation members in a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror. Plemons will play Tom White, the lead FBI agent investigating the murders.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

ORLANDO 107 – New York 89… The Magic shook off a slow start to roll past the Knicks. Terrence Ross came off the bench to score a game-high 30 points. Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and as many rebounds.

Atlanta 122 – BOSTON 114… Trae Young poured in 40 points and the Hawks topped the Celtics to end a four-game skid. Clint Capela powered his way to 24 points and 13 boards. John Collins tossed in 20 points.

PHILADELPHIA 118 – Houston 113… The 76ers built a 26-point halftime lead and held on to down the Rockets. Joel Embiid scored 31 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out nine assists. Tobias Harris had 24 points and 15 boards. Seth Curry dropped in 25 points.

WASHINGTON 130 – Denver 128… Bradley Beal made two free throws with a tenth of a second remaining and finished with 25 points in the Wizards’ come-from-behind win over the Nuggets. Davis Bertans led Washington with 35 points off the bench. Russell Westbrook totaled 12 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists.

Indiana 134 – MINNESOTA 128 (OT)… Domantas Sabonis racked up 36 points, 17 boards and 10 assists in leading the Pacers to an overtime win over the Timberwolves. Malcolm Brogdon added 32 points.

CHICAGO 105 – Detroit 102… The Bulls overcame an 18-point halftime deficit to upend the Pistons. Zach LaVine led the way with 37 points. Jerami Grant’s 43 points weren’t enough for Detroit.

Portland 126 – NEW ORLEANS 124… Damian Lillard knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds remaining to cap a 43-point, 16-assist effort that carried the Trail Blazers past the Pelicans. Gary Trent Jr. added 23 points.

MEMPHIS 122 – Oklahoma City 113… The Grizzlies were too much in the fourth quarter and took down the Thunder. Grayson Allen and Jonas Valanciunas scored 22 points apiece. Ja Morant had 15 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.

GOLDEN STATE 120 – Miami 109 (OT)… The Warriors outlasted the Heat after trailing by 15 points at halftime. Kent Bazemore delivered a game-high 26 points off the bench. Stephen Curry had 25 points and 11 assists. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 23 points apiece.

Utah 114 – L.A. CLIPPERS 96… The Jazz blew past the short-handed Clippers in the second half to win their ninth in a row. Donovan Mitchell pumped in 24 points to lead all scorers. Rudy Gobert had 23 points and 20 boards.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Toronto is at Milwaukee…
the L.A. Lakers host Brooklyn…
Miami is at Sacramento

NHL SCOREBOARD
Florida 4 – CAROLINA 3 (OT)… Jonathan Huberdeau’s second goal of the game came with 2:31 remaining and gave the Panthers a come-from-behind win over the Hurricanes. Huberdeau also had an assist. Goalie Chris Driedger made 32 saves.

TORONTO 2 – Ottawa 1… Alexander Kerfoot netted a tie-breaking goal midway through the third period and the Maple Leafs made it stand in edging the Senators. Frederick Andersen made 27 stops at goal.

Chicago 2 – DETROIT 0… Goalie Kevin Lankinen stopped all 29 shots in his first career shutout and the Blackhawks clipped the Red Wings. Chicago got goals from Philipp Kurashev and Alex DeBrincat.

Vancouver 5 – CALGARY 1… Five different players found the net as the Canucks skated past the Flames. Brock Boeser scored a goal and assisted on two others. Goalie Braden Holtby made 35 saves.

EDMONTON 3 – Winnipeg 2… Leon Draisaitl found the net twice to lead the Oilers past the Jets. Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins both had two assists.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
New Jersey is at Boston…
Philadelphia hosts the N.Y. Rangers…
the N.Y. Islanders are at Pittsburgh…
Columbus hosts Nashville…
Ottawa is at Toronto…
Washington hosts Buffalo…
San Jose is at St. Louis…
Arizona hosts Los Angeles…
Minnesota is at Anaheim

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD
No. 17 USC 89, Arizona State 71…
No. 19 TENNESSEE 93, South Carolina 73…
No. 22 LOYOLA CHICAGO 54, Valparaiso 52…
No. 23 Kansas 59, KANSAS STATE 41

TENNIS NEWS… Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4 yesterday to secure a spot in the Australian Open women’s final. Osaka will take on Jennifer Brady, who defeated Karolína Muchová in three sets to reach her first grand slam final. In the men’s semifinals, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic goes up against Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev and Daniil Medvedev battles Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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