10 things you need to know today: July 3, 2020

The U.S. hit with another record one-day coronavirus surge, employers added a record 4.8 million jobs in June, and more

A testing site in Tampa, Florida
(Image credit: Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

1. New coronavirus cases hit another daily record

The United States confirmed 55,220 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, another single-day record. More than 10,000 of those cases were in Florida. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) became the latest to issue a statewide order requiring people in most counties to wear masks to bring surging coronavirus infections under control. Abbott ordered face coverings for anyone inside a business or other buildings open to the public, or in an outdoor public space where social distancing is impossible. The order takes effect Friday. Cases are rising in three dozen states and some, such as Tennessee, on Thursday joined a growing number that have rolled back reopening plans. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D), who issued a statewide mask order last week, vetoed a bill calling for letting gyms and amusement parks reopen.

The Washington Post The Texas Tribune

2. U.S. added record 4.8 million jobs in June

U.S. employers added a record 4.8 million jobs in June, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The gains smashed economists' expectations of an increase of 3 million. It was the second month with millions in job growth following huge losses in April, when coronavirus lockdowns peaked. The June hiring brought the unemployment rate to 11.1 percent, down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April but still higher than any period between World War II and the start of the coronavirus crisis. Even after two months of private-payroll gains, there were almost 15 million fewer jobs in June than in February, and the June data was compiled before a coronavirus spike in the South and West that has prompted some states to halt or roll back their reopenings.

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The New York Times

3. Trump to start July 4th weekend at Mount Rushmore celebration

President Trump will start the three-day Independence Day weekend at Mount Rushmore, where 7,500 people are expected to attend a fireworks display Friday. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem (R), a Trump ally, said masks will be optional and social distancing won't be required at the event. That prompted objections from local officials, including the Republican mayor of nearby Rapid City, Steve Allender. Leaders of several Native American tribes in the region also warned the event could result in a coronavirus spike among their members. "The president is putting our tribal members at risk to stage a photo op at one of our most sacred sites," said Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

The Associated Press

4. Herman Cain hospitalized for coronavirus after attending Trump rally

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain announced Thursday that he was being treated in a hospital after being infected with COVID-19. Cain learned Monday that he had tested positive, and he was hospitalized Wednesday. He attended President Trump's June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Trump campaign announced hours before the event that six staff members on the rally advance team had tested positive for coronavirus, and after the rally two members of the Secret Service who attended also tested positive. Cain said in a video on his website that he had worn a mask at the event when in groups of people, although he posted photos on social media showing him without a mask and surrounded by people. The editor of Cain's website, Dan Calabrese, said there was no way to know where Cain was infected.

The New York Times

5. FBI arrests Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell

The FBI on Thursday arrested Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime confidante of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, on allegations that she helped her then-boyfriend recruit underage girls who were subjected to sexual abuse. A grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday accused Maxwell of perjury and conspiring to get girls to travel to engage in sex acts. Maxwell, daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell, has been under investigation for months on suspicion of being an accomplice to Epstein. Epstein committed suicide in a federal jail last summer awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said that Maxwell helped Epstein "groom minor victims for abuse" and sometimes "participated in the abuse herself." Maxwell lawyer Lawrence Vogelman declined to comment.

The Washington Post

6. Supreme Court leaves abortion protest zone policies in place

The Supreme Court on Thursday left abortion protest zones in place in Chicago, Illinois, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Chicago policy bars anti-abortion activists from getting within eight feet of a person who is within 50 feet of a health-care facility if their intention is to offer the person counseling or anti-abortion leaflets. The Harrisburg policy bars people from gathering within 20 feet of a clinic's entrance or exit. The rules were enacted to prevent protesters from harassing women seeking services in abortion clinics. Anti-abortion groups and activists said the protest zone rules violated their free speech rights, while women's health-care providers said the activists posed a threat to public safety.


7. Trump scores victory as Supreme Court takes up Mueller appeal

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear the Trump administration's appeal of a lower court ruling that Congress should have access to secret grand jury materials from then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. The court will take up the case in its nine-month term that starts in October, which means that Democrats won't get to see the testimony before the November presidential election. The documents are likely to be withheld from the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee until 2021. An appeals court previously sided with Democrats and said lawmakers should be given access to the materials because Mueller's probe "stopped short" of coming to a conclusion about whether President Trump tried to obstruct justice. The Department of Justice says the House hasn't indicated that it "urgently needs these materials for any ongoing impeachment investigation."

The Associated Press Bloomberg

8. Joint Chiefs chair confirms soldiers sent to D.C. were issued bayonets

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, has confirmed an Associated Press report that some service members were issued bayonets when they were sent to Washington, D.C., early last month to respond to protests against racial injustice and police brutality. The soldiers from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, based in D.C., were told to keep the bayonets in their scabbards, and weren't called off base during the crackdown. In a letter to Milley, Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said brandishing bayonets could escalate the danger of violence, drawing a parallel to the 1970 fatal shooting of four students by National Guardsmen at Kent State.

The Associated Press

9. Stocks boosted by stronger-than-expected June jobs report

U.S. stocks gained on Thursday after a better-than-expected June jobs report ahead of the three-day Fourth of July weekend. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 percent, and the S&P 500 rose by 0.5 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq also gained 0.5 percent, reaching the latest in a series of record highs. The Dow finished the shortened trading week up 3.3 percent while the S&P 500 rose by 4 percent. It was the best week for both indexes since June 5. Markets are closed for the Independence Day holiday, but futures for all three of the main U.S. indexes were up early Friday. European stocks struggled on Friday, threatening to snap a four-session winning streak as rising fears about a coronavirus spike in the U.S. overshadowed upbeat economic data.

CNBC MarketWatch

10. Hugh Downs, longtime 20/20 and Today host, dies at 99

Hugh Downs, the beloved TV broadcaster who hosted Today and 20/20, has died at 99. Downs died of natural causes on Wednesday at his Arizona home, his family confirmed in a statement. Over the course of his TV career, Downs spent more than 10,000 hours on the air, and he once held the record for the person with the most hours on network television until he was surpassed by Regis Philbin. Downs hosted Today for nine years beginning in 1962, as well as 20/20 for more than 20 years. Paley Center curator Ron Simon said Downs "represented the entire history of broadcasting," as "whatever the format, he was that consummate, quintessential broadcaster who could adapt his style to what was needed."

The Hollywood Reporter The New York Times

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.