The Rundown for March 25, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 30,009,773 and the nation’s death toll stands at 545.237, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Drugmaker AstraZeneca released updated phase 3 trial data for its Covid-19 vaccine yesterday after preliminary report data released Monday drew criticism. The company now says its vaccine is 76 percent effective in protecting against symptomatic cases of the virus, not 79 percent as claimed previously.

BIDEN TO HOLD FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE… President Joe Biden is scheduled to answer questions at his first press conference as president this afternoon. Biden has wanted his first press conference to celebrate passage of the COVID-19 relief package and will be pressed on a number of other pressing issues. The nationally televised event is scheduled to begin at 1:14 p.m. Eastern from the East Room of the White House.

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS IN CHARGE OF BORDER RESPONSE… President Joe Biden has put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of White House efforts to handle the influx of immigrants at the southern border. Biden says Harris will meet with the leaders of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to establish that “there is one single figure dedicated” to U.S. response. Also yesterday, the Pentagon approved a Department of Health and Human Services request to house migrant children at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas, and Joint Base San Antonio. Camp Pendleton in California and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado are being considered as well.

SENATE CONFIRMS DR. RACHEL LEVINE… Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed yesterday as assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services. Her confirmation came following a 52-to-48 vote in the Senate. Levine becomes the first openly trans federal official to receive Senate confirmation. She was previously Pennsylvania’s physician general and a professor at Penn State College of Medicine. President Joe Biden called her “a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

VIRGINIA ENDS DEATH PENALTY… Governor Ralph Northam yesterday signed legislation that makes Virginia the 23rd U.S. state to abolish the death penalty. His signature comes a month after both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly approved the legislation. Northam called signing the bill “the moral thing to do.”

ENTERTAINMENT
JAY LENO APOLOGIZES
… Comedian Jay Leno is apologizing for decades of racist jokes he’s made about Asian people. The former late-night talk-show host offers his apology amid rising violence targeting Asians, including last week’s shootings at Atlanta-area spas. Leno says he has met with the Media Action Network for Asian Americans and it has been very gracious in accepting his apology.

FORMER ‘TALLADEGA NIGHTS’ CHILD STAR DEAD… Former child star Houston Tumlin, whose only screen credit was a memorable one in the 2006 film “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” has taken his life at age 28. The Shelby County Coroner’s Office announced yesterday that Tumlin died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Pelham, Alabama, home Tuesday. In “Talladega Nights,” Tumlin played the trash-talking son of Will Ferrell’s lead character. More recently, he served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell and also worked repairing telephone lines.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

INDIANA 116 – Detroit 111… The Pacers held off the Pistons to win at home for the first time in seven games. Caris LeVert pumped in 28 points.

MILWAUKEE 121 – Boston 119… The Bucks led by as many as 25 points and then had to hold the Celtics scoreless over the final minute and a half to win their eighth in a row. Khris Middleton scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Bobby Portis delivered 21 points off the bench.

TORONTO 135 – Denver 111… The Raptors ended their nine-game losing streak by routing the Nuggets. Pascal Siakam led all scorers with 27 points. Og Anunoby added 23 points and Norman Powell tossed in 22.

ORLANDO 112 – Phoenix 111… Evan Fournier scored a driving layup with 6.4 seconds left and the Magic escaped with a win over the Suns. Fournier finished with 21 points. Nikola Vucevic had game-highs with 27 points and 14 boards.

Cleveland 103 – CHICAGO 94… The Cavaliers handled the Bulls despite the absence of leading scorer Collin Seton. Darius Garland scored 22 points to lead a balanced scoring attack. Larry Nance Jr. had 14 points and as many rebounds.

Charlotte 122 – HOUSTON 97… The Hornets took control with a big third quarter and put away the Rockets. They got 25 points from Terry Rozier and 21 from Devonte’ Graham.

Dallas 128 – MINNESOTA 108… The Mavericks pulled away in the second half to thrash the Timberwolves. Kristaps Porzingis scored 29 points to lead seven players in double figures. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 21 points off the bench.

Memphis 116 – OKLAHOMA CITY 107… Dillon Brooks pumped in 25 points as the Grizzlies downed the Thunder. Grayson Allen tossed in 20 points. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 16 points and 15 boards.

L.A. Clippers 134 – SAN ANTONIO 101… The Clippers jumped out to an early double-digit lead and never looked back in their blowout of the Spurs. Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points. Marcus Morris dropped in 20 points.

UTAH 118 – Brooklyn 88… The Jazz led 38-17 after the first quarter and rolled past the short-handed Nets. Donovan Mitchell scored 27 points in just 27 minutes.

SACRAMENTO 110 – Atlanta 108… Tyrese Haliburton knocked down two free throws to break a tie with 36 seconds left and the Kings hung on to top the Hawks. De’Aaron Fox scored a game-high 37 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Portland is at Miami…
New York hosts Washington…
the L.A. Clippers are at San Antonio…
the L.A. Lakers host Philadelphia…
Golden State is at Sacramento

NHL SCOREBOARD
OTTAWA 3 – Calgary 1… Josh Norris scored the first of three straight third-period goals that carried the Senators past the Flames. Goalie Filip Gustavsson made 28 saves.

MINNESOTA 3 – Anaheim 2… Jared Spurgeon netted a pair of first-period goals and Nico Sturm scored the decisive goal in the second as the Wild edged the Ducks. Cam Talbot stopped 28 shots at goal.

PITTSBURGH 5 – Buffalo 2… Sidney Crosby and Zach Aston-Reese both had a goal and an assist as the Penguins extended the Sabres’ winless streak to 15 games. Goalie Tristan Jarry made 26 stops.

Winnipeg 5 – VANCOUVER 1… Andrew Copp scored four goals in leading the Jets past the Canucks. Connor Helllebuyck stopped 28 shots at goal.

SAN JOSE 4 – Los Angeles 2… Evander Kane found the net twice as the Sharks doubled up on the Kings. Brent Burns assisted on both Kane goals. Goalie Martin Jones piled up 42 saves.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
the N.Y. Islanders are at Boston…
Philadelphia hosts the N.Y. Rangers…
New Jersey is at Washington…
Columbus hosts Carolina…
Toronto is at Ottawa…
Pittsburgh hosts Buffalo…
Florida is at Chicago…
Nashville hosts Detroit…
St. Louis is at Minnesota…
Dallas hosts Tampa Bay…
Vegas is at Colorado

NHL NEWS… The NHL has fired referee Tim Peel for a comment he made on the ice during Tuesday night’s Detroit-Nashville game. The 53-year-old Peel was caught on broadcast audio saying he wanted to give the Nashville Predators a penalty after he called Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson for tripping Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill, even though replays showed that Merrill embellished his fall to help draw the call. Peel was heard say saying “it wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a f—ing penalty against Nashville early.” The NHL says it has opened an investigation into the comment.

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCORES (2nd round)…
ALAMO REGION
(6) Oregon 57, (3) Gonzaga 50…
(5) Missouri State 64, (13) Wright State 39…
(2) Louisville 62, (7) Northwestern 53

HEMISFAIR REGION
(2) Maryland 100, (7) Alabama 64…
(6) Texas 71, (3) UCLA 62

MERCADO REGION
(4) Indiana 70, (12) Belmont 48…
(3) Arizona 52, (11) BYU 46…
(2) Texas A&M 84, (7) Iowa State 82 (OT)

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
PITTSBURGH, 6, Atlanta 3…
TAMPA BAY 7, Minnesota 6…
ST. LOUIS 3, N.Y. Mets 0…
DETROIT 4, Philadelphia 1…
TORONTO 5, N.Y. Yankees 0…
Oakland 14, CHI. WHITE SOX 4…
Colorado 9, MILWAUKEE 8…
L.A. ANGELS 4, Kansas City 2…
BOSTON 2, Baltimore 0…
Houston 11, WASHINGTON 8…
Texas 6, CINCINNATI 5…
ARIZONA 6, Cleveland 5…
Chi. Cubs 6, SEATTLE 2…
SAN FRANCISCO 7, San Diego 3

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