The Rundown for February 19, 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… Pfizer and BioNTech said yesterday that the first U.S. participants have been given shots in a large-scale clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of their COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women. The companies are aiming to enroll some 4,000 pregnant women in the trial around the world… President Joe Biden plans to announce today that the U.S. will contribute $2 billion to a U.N.-backed program seeking to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses to people in the poorest countries in the world.

TEXAS SHIVVERS… More than 300,000 customers remained without electricity in Texas last night following the record-breaking winter storm that froze the nation’s midsection earlier this week. About 7 million people in Texas remain under advisories to boil their water after blackouts shut down treatment facilities. President Joe Biden ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send generators and other supplies to the state while declaring a state of emergency in both Texas and Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz sparked outrage by attempting to escape the hardship by flying to Cancun. Amidst the fierce criticism, Cruz cut short the scheduled three-day trip and returned home.

SUSPENSIONS, INVESTIGATIONS AT CAPITOL POLICE… Capitol Police disclosed yesterday that six officers have been suspended with pay and 29 others are under investigation following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was one of five people who died in the attack. Another officer, Howard Liebengood, committed suicide days later. Steven Sund resigned as chief of Capitol Police the day after the riot amid criticism of his department’s lack of preparedness.

SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR SIGNS ABORTION LAW… South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster yesterday signed into effect a law that bans most abortions in his state. The law requires healthcare providers to check if the fetus has a heartbeat and only allow the mother to receive an abortion if the pregnancy is dangerous or the result of rape or incest. Healthcare professionals who violate the law could be charged with a felony and fined or jailed. Planned Parenthood has filed suit to block the law from taking effect.

PERSEVERANCE LANDS ON MARS… The NASA rover Perseverance successfully touched down on Mars yesterday after executing a risky and dramatic landing. The robotic explorer is on a two-year mission to search for traces of ancient microbial life on the planet and collect what could be the first rocky samples sent back to Earth. Perseverance is NASA’s fifth rover to land on the red planet. Earlier this month, spacecraft launched by the United Arab Emirates and China orbited Mars.

ENTERTAINMENT
PRINCE MARKIE DEE DIES
… Prince Markie Dee, who rose to fame in the pioneering hip-hop group the Fat Boys, died of an undisclosed cause yesterday. He was 52.The Fat Boys launched their career in 1983 by winning a New York City talent contest and their fourth album, “Crushin’,” was a platinum-seller. It included “Wipeout,” a cover performed with the Beach Boys that reached Number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Fat Boys also gained popularity with their breakout comedy film ‘Disorderlies” in the summer of 1987.

DOLLY PARTON DOESN’T WANT STATUE… Country star, actress and philanthropist Dolly Parton has asked Tennessee state lawmakers not to erect a statue of her on capitol grounds in Nashville. Last month, lawmakers introduced a bill to erect the state and a committee was prepared to discuss funding. “Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time,” Parton explained in her request to remove the bill from consideration. Parton added that she would like the statue to happen one day, “several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone,” if people still think she deserves it.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

Toronto 110 – MILWAUKEE 96… The Raptors got 29 points from Norman Powell and 27 from Pascal Siakam in handing the Bucks their fifth straight loss. Toronto led by as many as 23 points in the contest.

Brooklyn 109 – L.A. LAKERS 98… The Nets knocked down 18 3-pointers in cruising past the Lakers for their fifth-straight win. James Harden scored 23 points and dished off 11 assists. Joe Harris was 6-of-7 from beyond the arc and finished with 21 points.

Miami 118 – SACRAMENTO 110… Tyler Herro delivered 27 points off the bench to lead a balanced scoring attack and the Heat cruised past the Kings. Kelly Olynyk added 22 points and Duncan Robinson tossed in 20. Jimmy Butler racked up 13 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists in his third straight triple-double.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Golden State is at Orlando…
Cleveland hosts Denver…
Chicago is at Philadelphia…
Boston hosts Atlanta…
Denver is at Memphis…
Milwaukee hosts Oklahoma City…
Phoenix is at New Orleans…
Minnesota hosts Toronto…
Utah is at the L.A. Clippers

NBA ALL-STAR GAME SET… Forwards LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets have been named NBA All-Star Game captains after getting the most votes of any player in either conference. The two will pick their respective teams from the remaining 22 All-Stars on March 4. After getting a go-ahead from the NBA earlier yesterday, the game is set for March 7 in Atlanta.

NHL SCOREBOARD
New Jersey 3 – BOSTON 2… Kyle Palmieri scored back-to-back goals, the second one shorthanded as the Devils did all their scoring in the second period and held off the Bruins.

N.Y. Rangers 3 – PHILADELPHIA 2 (SO)… Kaapo Kakko and Artemi Panarin scored in the shootout to send the Rangers past the Flyers. The victory ended New York’s four-game skid.

PITTSBURGH 4 – N.Y. Islanders 1… Jason Zucker scored a goal and assisted on another to lead the Penguins past the Islanders. Goalie Tristan Jarry made 31 saves.

COLUMBUS 3 – Nashville 0… Goalie Elvis Merzlikins stopped all 32 shots in his first start since coming off injured reserve and the Blue Jackets blanked the Predators. Cam Atkinson provided all the offense Columbus needed in the first period when he netted his seventh goal.

TORONTO 7 – Ottawa 3… Auston Matthews scored his league-leading 15th and 16th goals and had two assists as the Maple Leafs thrashed the Senators. Mitchell Marner added a goal and three assists.

WASHINGTON 3 – Buffalo 1… The Capitals got goals from Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and Conor Sheary in skating past the Sabres. Vitek Vanecek stopped 22 shots at goal.

ST. LOUIS 3 – San Jose 2 (OT)… David Perron’s power-play goal at 4 minutes of overtime lifted the Blues over the Sharks. Brayden Schenn netted a tying goal with 40 seconds left in regulation.

Los Angeles 3 – ARIZONA 2 (SO)… The Kings recovered to outlast the Coyotes after blowing a two-goal second-period lead. Gabriel Vilardi netted the decisive goal in the shootout.

Minnesota 3 – ANAHEIM 1… Ryan Hartman and Kevin Fiala scored 38 seconds apart in the first period and the Wild hung on to down the Ducks. Anaheim managed just 17 shots.

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

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD
No. 1 GONZAGA 87, Saint Mary’s 65…
No. 3 MICHIGAN 71, Rutgers 64…
No. 4 Ohio State 92, PENN STATE 82…
WICHITA STATE 68, No. 6 Houston 63…
No. 11 Iowa 77, No. 21 WISCONSIN 62…
No. 25 San Diego State 67, FRESNO STATE 53

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