The Rundown for April 8, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 30,921,975 and the nation’s death toll stands at 559,109, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Nearly half of new coronavirus cases over the last week were confined to just five states, according to Johns Hopkins data. As of yesterday morning, New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey accounted for more than 196,400 of the country’s 453,360 cases (43 percent)… Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky cautioned during a COVID-19 Response Team update yesterday that the U.K. coronavirus variant has become the most dominant strain of the virus in the U.S. Scientists warn that the variant has been found to be more contagious and up to 100 more deadly than the original strains of the virus. Walensky said the spread of the U.K. variant could lead to a surge of new COVID-19 cases.

BIDEN TAKING GUN ACTION… Administration officials say President Joe Biden will take his first, limited actions on gun control today by directing his administration to tighten restrictions on so-called ghost guns and stabilizing braces that turn pistols into short-barreled rifles, in terms of accuracy. Biden vowed following two mass shootings last month that he would take “common sense” steps right away to address gun violence. The president also is expected to announce his nomination of ATF veteran and gun control advocate David Chipman as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

MORE MIGRANT FAMILIES REUNITED… Lawyers who’ve been struggling to reunite migrant families separated during the Trump administration have recently contacted the parents of 61 more children, according to papers filed in federal court last night. The number of known separated children whose parents have yet to be contacted has dropped from 506 to 445. The number stood at 611 in mid-January. The search is being conducted by a coalition of pro bono attorneys known as the steering committee,

VIRGINIA LEGALIZES CANNABIS… The Virginia General Assembly narrowly voted yesterday to legalize cannabis possession and home cultivation of plants for adults 21 and over. The law will take effect on July 1. Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax broke a 20-20 tie in the Senate by casting his vote in favor. It could take years, however, before before businesses can begin selling marijuana, because the legislature will need to deliberate and implement a regulatory framework. The bill also provides for automatic expungement of past misdemeanor convictions concerning cannabis. Virginia becomes the 16th state in the U.S. to legalize cannabis.

U.S., IRAQ AGREE ON WITHDRAWAL… A third round of talks concluded yesterday with the U.S. and Iraq reaching agreement on the eventual withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from the Middle East nation. The two sides announced in a joint statement that the U.S. military presence in Iraq would begin to shift to a non-combat role. About 2,500 U.S. troops remain in the country.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTOR WALTER OLKEWICZ DIES
… Longtime character actor Walter Olkewicz, whose many credits over nearly a 50-year-long career included “Seinfeld” and “Twin Peaks,” died in Southern California yesterday after a long battle with infections. He was 72. Olkewicz played Nick the cable guy on the 1996 “Seinfeld” episode “The Cadillac” and was cast as the bartender and croupier Jacques Renault on the original “Twin Peaks” as well as the 2017 Showtime reboot. He also played an oil refinery worker on the 90s TV series “Grace Under Fire.” His film roles include a mafia lawyer in the 1994 film “The Client.”

JACK HANNA BATTLING DEMENTIA… Animal expert and zookeeper Jack Hanna, whose many television appearances made him a national celebrity, is retiring from public life after being diagnosed with dementia. Family members broke the news in a social-media post and explained that the illness as progressed faster than expected. The 76-year-old Hanna, who served as the director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for several years, made regular appearances on such shows as “Good Morning America” and “Late Night With David Letterman.”

SPORTS
MLB SCORES

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Atlanta 7 – WASHINGTON 6
(7 innings)… Travis d’Arnaud’s two-run double capped a five-run top of the second inning and the Braves held on to take the first game of a doubleheader and win for the first time in four games this season. Ronald Acuña Jr. went 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Atlanta 2 – WASHINGTON 0 (7 innings)… Huascar Ynoa and two relievers combined on a two-hit shutout as the Braves completed a sweep of the twinbill. Pablo Sandoval connected for a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning. Atlanta managed just one hit in the first six innings off Washington starter Stephen Strasburg.

CINCINNATI 11 – Pittsburgh 4… Tyler Naquin’s leadoff homer sparked a five-run bottom of the first inning and the Reds rolled past the Pirates. Nick Castellanos, Aristides Aquino and Tyler Stephenson also hit solo homers. Luis Castillo (1-1) allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings.

Milwaukee 4 – CHI. CUBS 2 (10 innings)… Lorenzo Cain opened the scoring with a homer to lead off the top of the eighth inning and added a three-run shot in the 10th to power the Brewers past the Cubs.

PHILADELPHIA 8 – N.Y. Mets 2… Alec Bohn and J.T. Realmuto blasted three-run homers as the Phillies cruised past the Mets. Rhys Hoskins also went deep.

San Francisco 3 – SAN DIEGO 2 (1O innings)… Donovan Solano’s sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning scored Alex Dickerson with the decisive run in the Giants’ win over the Padres. Darin Ruf homered with a runner aboard in the second.

St. Louis 7 – MIAMI 0… Jack Flaherty (1-0) limited the Marlins to one hit over six innings and two relievers did the rest in the Cardinals’ blanking of the Marlins. Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer and Dylan Carlson unloaded a grand slam.

COLORADO 8 – Arizona 0… Antonio Senzatela (1-1) held the Diamondbacks to four hits over eight innings and got plenty of support offensively in the Rockies’ shutout victory. Chris Owings went 3-for-3 with a two-run double.

AMERICAN LEAGUE
CLEVELAND 4 – Kansas City 2
… Jose Ramirez slugged a pair of go-ahead two-run homers to lead the Indians past the Royals.

Minnesota 3 – DETROIT 2… Jorge Polanco’s two-run double in the top of the sixth inning lifted the Twins over the Tigers.

BOSTON 9 – Tampa Bay 2… Christian Vázquez drilled a two-run homer and singled home a run as the Red Sox thrashed the Rays. Starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-1) allowed a run on three hits over seven innings.

TEXAS 2 – Toronto 1… Kyle Gibson (1-0) scattered six hits over six shutout innings and Rangers held off the Blue jays. Nick Solak hit a leadoff homer and Luis Taveras singled home a run in the top of the second inning.

SEATTLE 8 – Chi. White Sox 4… The Mariners erupted to score seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to erase a 4-1 deficit and put away the White Sox. Kyle Seager struck the big blow with a bases-clearing double.

Baltimore 4 – N.Y. YANKEES 3 (11 innings)… Chance Sisco’s pinch-hit single in the top of the 11th inning scored Rio Ruiz with a go-ahead run and the Orioles made it stand in outlasting the Yankees. Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander hit solo homers.

INTERLEAGUE
OAKLAND 4 – L.A. Dodgers 3
(10 innings)… The Athletics rallied past the Dodgers for their first win in seven games this season. Mitch Moreland stroked a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning. Matt Chapman homered in the seventh and scored the tying run on Elvis Andrus’ sacrifice fly in the ninth.

TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE
NATIONAL LEAGUE
Miami (TBA) is at the N.Y. Mets (Taijuan Walker, 0-0)…
Pittsburgh (Tyler Anderson, 0-1) hosts the Chi. Cubs (Jake Arrieta, 1-0)…
Arizona (Merrill Kelly, 0-1) is at Colorado (Jon Gray, 0-0)…
St. Louis (Adam Wainwright, 0-1) hosts Milwaukee (Corbin Burnes, 0-1)

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Boston (Eduardo Rodriguez, 0-0) is at Baltimore (Matt Harvey, 0-0)…
the Chi. White Sox (Lance Lynn, 0-0) host Kansas City (Brad Keller, 0-0)…
Seattle (Marco Gonzales, 0-0) is at Minnesota (Jose Berrios, 1-0)…
Toronto (Ross Stripling, 0-1) hosts the L.A. Angels (Griffin Canning, 0-0)…
Oakland (Cole Irvin, 0-1) is at Houston (Cristian Javier, 0-0)

NBA SCOREBOARD
INDIANA 141 – Minnesota 137… The short-handed Pacers goT 22 points from Aaron Holiday and 21 in Justin Holiday in downing the Timberwolves.

Washington 131 – ORLANDO 116… The Wizards made 19 3-pointers in their win over the Magic. Bradley Beal returned after a five-game absence and scored 26 points. Russell Westbrook piled up 23 points, 14 rebounds and 15 assists.

BOSTON 101 – New York 99… The Celtics came up big in the fourth quarter to rally past the Knicks. Jaylen Brown scored 32 points and grabbed 10 boards.

BROOKLYN 139 – New Orleans 111… The Nets got 24 points from Kyrie Irving and 22 from LaMarcus Aldridge in their bombing of the Pelicans.

Memphis 131 – ATLANTA 113… The Grizzlies rolled past the Hawks for their fourth straight win. Grayson Allen scored 17 of his 30 points in the third quarter.

HOUSTON 102 – Dallas 93… The Rockets surprised the Mavericks to snap their five-game skid. John Wall returned from injury to score 31 points.

Charlotte 113 – OKLAHOMA CITY 102… Jalen McDaniels scored 21 points to lead seven players in double figures and the Hornets topped the Thunder. Cody Zeller delivered 15 points and 14 rebounds off the bench.

DENVER 106 – San Antonio 96… Nikola Jokic scored 25 points and dished off 10 assists in leading the Nuggets past the Spurs. Michael Porter Jr. finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

PHOENIX 117 – Utah 113 (OT)… The Suns fought off the Jazz in a matchup between the top two teams in the NBA. Devin Booker pumped in 35 points. Chris Paul tossed in 29 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
the L.A. Lakers are at Miami…
Toronto hosts Chicago…
Cleveland is at Oklahoma City…
Dallas hosts Milwaukee…
Portland is at Utah…
the L.A. Clippers host Phoenix…
Detroit is at Sacramento

NHL SCOREBOARD
Edmonton 4 – OTTAWA 2… Connor McDavid assisted on Leon Draisaitl’s three goals and netted the game-winner with 6:06 remaining to lead the Oilers past the Senators.

TORONTO 3 – Montreal 2… Auston Matthews netted his NHL-leading 28th goal to highlight the Maple Leafs’ win over the Canadiens. Goalie Jack Campbell made 32 saves in his 10th straight victory.

ST. LOUIS 3 – Vegas 1… The Blues skated past the Golden Knights to snap their seven-game winless streak. Jordan Bennington stopped 45 shots at goal. Vladimir Tarasenko and Sammy Blais scored first-period goals.

MINNESOTA 8 – Colorado 3… Kevin Fiala scored three goals and assisted on another as the Wild shot their way past the Avalanche. Kirill Kaprizov added two goals and an assist. Jared Spurgeon set up three goals.

LOS ANGELES 4 – Arizona 3… The Kings came from two goals down in the third period to upend the Coyotes. Carl Grundstrom netted the decisive goal with 6:05 remaining. Drew Doughty assisted on two goals.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
New Jersey is at Buffalo…
the N.Y. Islanders host Philadelphia…
Pittsburgh is at the N.Y. Rangers…
Boston is at Washington…
Carolina hosts Florida…
Tampa Bay is at Columbus…
Montreal hosts Winnipeg…
Edmonton is at Ottawa…
Detroit hosts Nashville…
Dallas is at Chicago

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