CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,879,830 and the nation’s death toll stands at 129,904, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned during an appearance yesterday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the U.S. is “right back where we were” when the country experienced its first peak in coronavirus infections earlier this year. Forty states have reported a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases after lifting restrictions and phased-in reopenings. Federal Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told ABC News yesterday that he “can’t predict when a vaccine will be ready.” The admission contrasts with President Trump’s prediction that scientists would have a “vaccine solution” ready “long before the end of the year.”
ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE DEVELOPERS WITHDRAW… The energy companies behind the $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline yesterday announced they were pulling out of the project, citing uncertainties about costs, permitting and litigation. Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced their withdrawal despite winning a critical permit last month in Supreme Court. The companies released a statement explaining that “recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated delays” for the 600-mile project, which would have crossed West Virginia and Virginia into North Carolina.
REMAINS IDENTIFIED AS VANESSA GUILLEN’S… The Army announced yesterday that it has identified the remains of missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, according to the lawyer representing the slain woman’s family. The 20-year-old Guillen had been missing since April 22. Last week, investigators found what turned out to be her remains about 20 miles away from the Killeen, Texas, base. One of two suspects in the case, a Fort Hood soldier, took his own life last Wednesday after being confronted by Killeen police officers and federal marshals.
8 BELIEVED DEAD IN IDAHO AFTER PLANES COLLIDE… Authorities in Kootenai County, Idaho, believe eight people are dead after two planes collided over Coeur d’Alene Lake yesterday afternoon. Two bodies were recovered before the planes sank, officials say. The remaining six victims are still unaccounted for but are believed to be dead. The planes have been found in 127 feet of water and recovery efforts will begin today or tomorrow.
2 DEAD, 8 WOUNDED IN SOUTH CAROLINA SHOOTING… An early-morning shooting outside a nightclub in Greenville, South Carolina, yesterday left two people dead and eight others wounded. The Greenville County Sheriff says the incident was “probably gang related” and investigators are seeking two suspects. Conditions of the wounded vary from minor to critical, according to officials.
NICK CORDERO DIES… Broadway star Nick Cordero died last night after a months-long battle with COVID-19. He was 41. Cordero fell ill on March 20 and was first diagnosed with pneumonia before testing positive for the coronavirus. He had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for 94 days before his death. While battling the disease, he had his right leg amputated, lost more than 60 pounds and survived two mini-strokes. On Broadway, Cordero received a Tony nomination for “Bullets Over Broadway” and also starred in “Rock of Ages,” “Waitress” and “A Bronx Tale the Musical.” He was in L.A. to star in a “Rock of Ages” adaptation.
LIL BABY TOPS ALBUM CHART… Lil Baby’s “My Turn” sold 70,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 albums chart for a fifth week. Lil Durk’s “Just Cause Y’all Waited 2” rose to No. 2 after selling 43,000 units. DaBaby’s “Blame It on Baby” finished in third place with 40,000 copies sold. Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” finished fourth on sales of 39,000 units. The Weeknd’s “After Hours” sold 32,000 copies to cap the top five.
NHL PLAYERS, OWNERS FINALIZE SEASON PROTOCOLS… NHL players and owners have finalized protocols to resume the season by the end of the month. The agreement still has to be approved by the players’ union executive committee before it goes to a full membership vote of all NHL players. The NHL’s board of governors will also vote on the package. The league hopes to open training camps on July 13. Once regular-season opens, Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto while the Western Conference teams will be in Edmonton. The 24-team tournament will conclude with a Stanley Cup Final in Edmonton, likely in early October.