The Rundown for February 22, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 28,113,699 and the nation’s death toll stands at 498,883, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser, said during an appearance on CNN yesterday that he expects “a significant degree of normality” by the end of the year” but acknowledges that it’s “possible” that people will be wearing masks into 2022. Fauci, said the possibility of future mask mandates relied on future levels of community spread.

BIDEN WON’T LET IRAN GET NUKES… National security adviser Jake Sullivan says President Joe Biden remains determined to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons even thought it has not yet responded to an offer to negotiate. Appearing on CBS News’ “State of the Union,” Sullivan said that Biden believes diplomacy is the best method to ensure that Iran continues to comply with international nuclear weapons restrictions. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would be willing to negotiate plans for returning to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal.

FAA ORDERS 777 INSPECTIONS… The Federal Aviation Administration is ordering inspections on all Boeing 777s with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. Yesterday’s announcement followed a viral video shot by a passenger aboard one of the planes captured one of the engines in flames shortly after takeoff from Denver. The failing engine dropped debris on the Denver suburb of Broomfield Saturday before the plane safely returned to Denver International Airport.

TEXAS DEALS WITH SKYROCKETING ELECTRIC BILLS… Texas Governor Greg Abbott said yesterday that the state Legislature will prioritize dealing with residents’ skyrocketing electric bills. Amid the recent record-low temperatures, Texans who did not have a fixed electric plan had their bills spike due to market costs. Some of the bills totaled into the tens of thousands. Abbott and the Legislature held an emergency meeting Saturday to find ways to “shield” residents from the inflated costs. As of yesterday afternoon, there were about 30,000 Texans who were still without power.

STORM MOVES IN ON NORTHWEST… An extreme weather system known as a “pineapple express” was expected to arrive in the northwest last night. The system, which originated near Hawaii, will dump rain and snow over much of the upper west coast through tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service. It is also expected to produce high tides, high winds and an increased chance of river flooding.

ENTERTAINMENT
MORGAN WALLEN REMAINS ATOP ALBUM CHART
… Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” sold 93,000 albums to remain atop the Billboard 200 album chart for the sixth straight week. The Weeknd’s “After Hours” surged into second place after selling 42,000 units. Lil Durk’s “The Voice” jumped into third place on sales of 40,000 copies. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” finished fourth with 38,000 units sold. Pooh Shiesty’s “Shiesty Season” sold 37,000 copies to cap the top five.

JAMES FRANCO SETTLES LAWSUIT… James Franco has reportedly settled a 2019 lawsuit filed by two of his former students at an acting school he founded. The students, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, accused Franco of intimidating his students into sexual situations. They have agreed to drop their individual claims and their sexual exploitation claims are also being dismissed without prejudice, meaning they can be re-filed. Additionally, fraud allegations brought forward in the suit will be subject to limited release.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

NEW ORLEANS 120 – Boston 115 (OT)… The Pelicans came from 24 points down to outlast the Celtics. Brandon Ingram made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 33.9 seconds left in overtime and finished with a game-high 33 points. Zion Williamson had 28 points and 10 rebounds.

Oklahoma City 117 – CLEVELAND 101… Six players scored in double figures as the Thunder dealt the Cavaliers their 10th straight loss. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way with 31 points.

ORLANDO 105 – Detroit 96… Nikola Vucevic pumped in 37 points and grabbed 12 boards to lead the Magic past the Pistons. Evan Fournier tossed in 29 points.

TORONTO 110 – Philadelphia 103… The Raptors came up big in the fourth quarter to fight off the 76ers for their fourth straight win. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet scored 23 points apiece.

NEW YORK 103 – Minnesota 99… The Knicks recovered to top the Timberwolves after blowing a 21-point lead. Julius Randle scored 25 points and brought down 14 rebounds. After the game, Minnesota announced it had fired Ryan Saunders, who went 43-95 in two-plus seasons as head coach. The Timberwolves were reportedly looking to replace Saunders with Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch.

ATLANTA 123 – Denver 115… Trae Young scored 35 points and dished off 15 assists in leading the Hawks past the Nuggets. Clint Capela added 22 points and 10 boards.

Brooklyn 112 – L.A. CLIPPERS 108… The Nets held off the Clippers to win their sixth in a row. James Harden scored a game-high 37 points and collected 11 rebounds. Kyrie Irving tossed in 28 points.

MILWAUKEE 128 – Sacramento 115… The Bucks got 38 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo and 32 from Khris Middleton in cruising past the Kings. The loss was Sacramento’s seventh straight.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Chicago is at Houston…
Dallas hosts Memphis…
Miami is at Oklahoma City…
Phoenix hosts Portland…
Charlotte is at Utah…
the L.A. Lakers host Washington

NHL SCOREBOARD
WASHINGTON 4 – New Jersey 3… The Capitals skated past the Devils after spotting them a two-goal lead. T.J. Oshie netted a pair of power-play goals. Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal with 3:04 remaining proved to be the difference.

OTTAWA 3 – Montreal 2 (OT)… Brady Tkachuk found the net at 3:30 of overtime to send the Senators past the Canadiens. Drake Batherson and Josh Norris scored in regulation.

BOSTON 7 – Philadelphia 3… The Bruins scored four unanswered goals in the second period to put away the Flyers in a contest played outdoors at Lake Tahoe. David Pasternak scored a goal in each period.

Winnipeg 4 – VANCOUVER 3 (OT)… Pierre-Luc Dubois’ second goal of the game came 27 seconds into overtime and lifted the Jets over the Canucks. Dubois also assisted on Neal Pionk’s second-period goal.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Tampa Bay is at Carolina…
Toronto hosts Calgary…
Dallas is at Florida…
the N.Y. Islanders host Buffalo…
Los Angeles is at St. Louis…
Colorado hosts Vegas…
Anaheim is at Arizona…
San Jose hosts Minnesota

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD
No. 3 Michigan 92, No. 4 OHIO STATE 87…
No. 6 HOUSTON 90, Cincinnati 52…
No. 11 IOWA 74, Penn State 68…
No. 21 Wisconsin 68, NORTHWESTERN 51

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