The Rundown for February 26, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 28,410,917 and the nation’s death toll stands at 508,114, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Senate parliamentarian has ruled against Democratic efforts to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of the Covid relief bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last night that the provision will remain in the House bill for a vote today.

WARPLANES STRIKE IRAN-BACKED MILITIAS… U.S. warplanes struck a camp in Syria linked to two Iran-backed militias that have claimed responsibility for recent rocket attacks against U.S. forces in Iraqi Kurdistan. The action was taken “at President Biden’s direction,” according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. “The operation sends an unambiguous message; President Biden will act to protect American coalition personnel,” Kirby said.

HOUSE PASSES EQUALITY ACT… The House yesterday passed a bill that would extend protections against discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill, called the Equality Act, or House Resolution 5, was approved 224-206 in a floor vote. It was introduced in the House and Senate last week with the intent to close gaps in current federal civil rights laws to protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

HHS NOMINEES CONFIRMATION HEARING… Surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy and assistant secretary for health nominee Dr. Rachel Levine were questioned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid crisis during a joint confirmation hearing yesterday. Appearing before the Senate health, education, labor and pensions committee, they pledged to use their past experience in public health to combat current and future national health crises. Murthy, who previously served as surgeon general under President Barack Obama, said the government must ensure the presence of community health centers that can distribute the vaccines and noted that vaccine hesitancy is a result of structural challenges such as a lack of access to healthcare. Levine, who currently serves as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said the pandemic has revealed the necessity for health agencies at all levels to work closely together.

TRUMP’S TAXES TURNED OVER… Millions of pages of former President Donald Trump’s tax records and financial statements have been turned over to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. The documents were given to the D.A.’s office earlier this week after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected Trump’s last-ditch effort to keep them private. The documents were subpoenaed as part of a fraud investigation and are not expected to be released to the public.

ENTERTAINMENT
LADY GAGA WANTS HER DOGS BACK
… Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of her two French bulldogs that were stolen in a violent theft on Wednesday night. A dog walker who was handling the dogs on a street in West Los Angeles was shot and wounded while trying to protect the dogs from the thieves. A third dog ran away and was later recovered by one of Gaga’s bodyguards. Gaga has been in Rome on a film shoot and wasn’t home home at the time.

‘BETTER CALL SAUL’ BEGINS PRODUCTION… “Better Call Saul” has received the go-ahead to begin production of its sixth and final season next month. Pre-production is currently underway, and the crew is being quarantined and tested for the upcoming start. Production on the “Breaking Bad” prequel was originally set for March 2020 but was delayed by the pandemic. There will be 13 episodes in the final season, although no air date has been confirmed. The series is shot in New Mexico.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

PHILADELPHIA 111 – Dallas 97… Joel Embiid scored 23 points to lead a balanced scoring attack and the 76ers cruised past the Mavericks. Ben Simmons and Seth Curry added 15 points apiece.

BROOKLYN 129 – Orlando 92… The Nets routed the Magic for their eighth straight win. Kyrie Irving led the way with 27 points. James Harden tossed in 20 points.

NEW YORK 140 – Sacramento 121… Immanuel Quickley scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half and the Knicks dealt the Kings their ninth straight loss. Julius Randle had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

MEMPHIS 122 – L.A. Clippers 94… The Grizzlies pulled away in the second half to blow out the Clippers. Tyus Jones came off the bench to score 20 points and lead six players in double figures. Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 15 boards.

Washington 112 – DENVER 110… Bradley Beal pumped in 33 points and the Wizards held on at the end to top the Nuggets. Rui Hachimura added 20 points. Russell Westbrook racked up 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

MILWAUKEE 129 – New Orleans 125… The Bucks got 38 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo and 31 from Khris Middleton in outgunning the Pelicans. Antetokounmpo also grabbed 10 boards. Donte DiVincenzo tossed in 24 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Indiana is at Boston…
Toronto hosts Houston…
Sacramento is at Detroit…
Miami hosts Utah…
Phoenix is at Chicago…
Memphis hosts the L.A. Clippers…
Atlanta is at Oklahoma City…
Golden State hosts Charlotte…
Portland is at the L.A. Lakers

NHL SCOREBOARD
N.Y. ISLANDERS 7 – Boston 2… The Islanders scored five unanswered goals in the third period to blow away the Bruins. Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal each had a goal and an assist. Semyon Varlamov made 34 saves at goal.

WASHINGTON 5 – Pittsburgh 2… Tom Wilson’s scored a go-ahead power-play goal at 12:40 of the third period and the Capitals added two more goals to put away the Penguins. T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist. Goalie Vitek Vanecek stopped 26 shots.

TAMPA BAY 3 – Carolina 1… The Lightning skated past the Hurricanes after spotting them an early lead. Yanni Gourde netted a tie-breaking goal in the third period. Goalie Curtis McElhinney made 31 saves and picked up an assist.

FLORIDA 3 – Dallas 2… The Panthers scored three straight goals late in the third period to stun the Stars. Frank Vatrano netted the game-winner with 3:10 remaining. Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves at goal.

Chicago 2 – COLUMBUS 0… Patrick Kane and Carl Soderberg scored third-period goals to send the Blackhawks past the Blue Jackets. Goalie Malcolm Subban stopped all 26 shots in the blanking.

OTTAWA 6 – Calgary 1… Colin White netted a pair of goals to lead the Senators in their rout of the Flames. Matt Murray made 29 saves at goal.

New Jersey 4 – BUFFALO 3 (OT)… Pavel Zacha set up two goals and found the net 1:17 into overtime as the Devils outlasted the Sabres. Jasper Bratt had a goal and an assist.

DETROIT 5 – Nashville 2… Sam Gagner’s hat trick carried the Red Wings past the Predators. Luke Glendening had a goal and an assist. Goalie Jonathan Bernier made 37 stops.

WINNIPEG 6 – Montreal 3… The Jets erased an early two-goal deficit to double up on the Canadiens. Kyle Connor found the net twice in the second period. Nate Thompson scored a go-ahead goal in the third.

Edmonton 3 – VANCOUVER 0… Goalie Mike Smith made 32 saves in his second shutout of the season and the Oilers clipped the Canucks. Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Boston is at the N.Y. Rangers…
Minnesota hosts Los Angeles…
Colorado is at Arizona

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD
MICHIGAN STATE 71, No. 4 Ohio State 67…
COLORADO 80, No. 19 USC 62

GYMNASTICS NEWS… Former Team USA gymnastics coach John Geddert took his life in Michigan yesterday, just hours after a judge issued a warrant charging him with human trafficking, racketeering and sexual assault. The body of the 63-year-old Geddert was found at a rest area along eastbound Interstate 96 in Clinton County. He formerly owned and coached at a gymnastics club where hundreds of women and girls say convicted sex offender Larry Nassar sexually abused them. Many said Geddert knew of this abuse, as Nassar had regularly treated young athletes in a back room at the club.

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