The Rundown for October 20, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 8,210,849 and the nation’s death toll stands at 220,095, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… An NBC analysis posted yesterday found that as many as 30 states and territories have seen Covid-19 cases increase more than 25 percent in the last two weeks, but only 21 states saw increases in testing at or above that level during the same period… New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and California Governor Gavin Newsom both announced yesterday that they would rely on in-house experts to review a federally approved COVID-19 vaccine before allowing it to be distributed to their state’s residents.

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE TO MUTE MICS… As President Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden are preparing for Thursday night’s final presidential debate, organizers announced yesterday that microphones will be muted to prevent the debaters from interrupting each other. The Commission on Presidential Debates says Trump and Biden can each have two minutes of uninterrupted time to answer each debate topic. After those two minutes, the presidential candidates will participate in an open debate. The 90-minute-long event is being being broken down into six segments that are 15 minutes each, allowing nine minutes of open debate for each topic.

SUPREME COURT REJECTS PENNSYLVANIA-BALLOT STAY… The Supreme Court yesterday rejected an emergency stay request filed by Republicans in Pennsylvania, paving the way for election officials in the state to count absentee ballots received as late as the Friday after Election Day so long as they are postmarked by November 3. Republicans had argued that it is up to the state’s legislature — not the court — to set rules for how elections are conducted. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are the only two swing states where officials can’t begin processing and counting the millions of absentee ballots until Election Day, likely delaying complete results for several days. In a third crucial swing state, Michigan, clerks can begin processing ballots only the day before Election Day.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INDICTS RUSSIANS FOR CYBERCRIMES… The Justice Department yesterday announced grand jury indictments of six Russian intelligence officers for cybercrimes. Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh accused the men of developing malware that brought down the computers in two Pennsylvania hospitals and infected computers in 60 physician offices and 18 community satellite facilities. The men are allegedly members of the Russian security agency GRU and were operating out of a Moscow military unit. They are also accused of disrupting the power grid in Ukraine, interfering in the French election and crashing computer systems around the world.

MYSTERIOUS ATTACKS ON U.S. DIPLOMATS EXPAND… The New York Times reported yesterday that mysterious attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba and China have been reported in other countries, including Russia. The attacks involve disturbing sounds that produce an array of alarming symptoms, from memory loss to migraines. According to the report, the Trump administration has been less than transparent about the attacks, particularly the incidents in China and Russia. The Times said the State Department has withheld “basic” information on cases from Congress and “ignored outside medical diagnoses.”

ENTERTAINMENT
JEFF BRIDGES BATTLING CANCER
… Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges revealed on social media yesterday that he’s battling cancer. The 70-year-old Bridges said he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and is starting treatment. He praised his team of doctors and said the prognosis is good.

POP SMOKE TOPS ALBUM CHART… Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon” sold 67,000 copies in reclaiming the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart. Last week’s champ, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s “Savage Mode II,” slipped into second place with 66,000 units sold. Juice WRLD’s “Legends Never Die” jumped into third place on sales of 45,000 copies. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” rose to fourth place after selling 38,000 units. Machine Gun Kelly’s “Tickets to My Downfall” finished fifth with 35,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Kansas City 26 – BUFFALO 17
… Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce with a pair of touchdown tosses and became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 90 career passing scores in leading the Chiefs (5-1) past the Bills (4-2). Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the ground game with 161 yards rushing.

Arizona 38 – DALLAS 10… Kyler Murray threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for a score as the Cardinals (4-2) rolled past the Cowboys (2-4). Christian Kirk was on the receiving end of both scoring tosses. Kenyon Drake rushed for 164 yards and two touchdowns.

WORLD SERIES OPENS TONIGHT… The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays meet in Arlington, Texas, tonight for Game 1 of the 2020 World Series. Both teams entered the postseason as their respective league’s top seed. The National League-champion Dodgers have reached the World Series three times in four years but haven’t won since 1988. The American League-champion Rays have reached Fall Classic for only the second time, with its only previous appearance in 2008. Lefthander Clayton Kershaw gets the opening-day assignment for Los Angeles. Righthander Tyler Glasnow takes the mound for Tampa Bay. First pitch is set for 8:09 p.m. Eastern.