Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 27, 2020

Harold Maass
John Lewis' body is pulled across the Edmund Pettus Bridge
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

1.

Florida surpasses New York as state with 2nd most coronavirus cases

Florida recorded 9,300 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, surpassing New York as the state with the second most infections. Florida now has 423,855 confirmed cases, second only to California, which had 448,497 as of Sunday afternoon. New York has the third most, at 415,827. The Sunshine State has added more than 10,000 cases a day in July, while California has added 8,300 and New York just 700. Despite the surge, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has rejected imposing a statewide mask requirement, and insisted that public schools must reopen in August. New York still has recorded the most COVID-19 deaths, more than 32,000. Florida has had nearly 6,000 fatalities. Nationwide, the pandemic has claimed about 147,000 lives. [Reuters, The Hill]

2.

John Lewis' remains carried over Edmund Pettus Bridge

The body of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was carried Sunday across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where he and hundreds of other civil rights protesters were stopped and beaten by state and local police in March 1965. "I gave a little blood on that bridge," Lewis once said of the beating he sustained when he was 25. "I thought I was going to die." The Sunday memorial event, which organizers called "The Final Crossing," was part of a multi-day celebration of Lewis' life. The Selma clash, which came to be known as Bloody Sunday, helped galvanize support for the Civil Rights Act of 1965, and became a central part of Lewis' legacy. Lewis, who died just over a week ago after a six-month battle with cancer, will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol on Monday. [NPR, CNN]

3.

Trump officials: GOP relief plan will include 2nd round of checks

Trump administration officials said Sunday that Senate Republicans' new coronavirus relief proposal, due to be unveiled on Monday, will include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. GOP leaders had aimed to release the legislation on Thursday, but negotiations were bogged down over the details, including President Trump's now-abandoned call for a payroll tax cut. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that in addition to the checks the legislation would extend but reduce extra unemployment benefits. It is expected to cost $1 trillion. The Democrat-run House approved a $3 trillion proposal in May. The Democrats' plan includes new stimulus checks, more money for coronavirus testing and contract tracing, and renewal of the $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits due to expire at the end of the month. [USA Today, CNBC]

4.

Poll shows Americans increasingly see country headed in wrong direction

More Americans now believe the country is heading in the wrong direction than at any earlier point since President Trump took office, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Sunday. Eight in 10 Americans said the country is heading the wrong way just 100 days ahead of the November election. After months of downplaying the severity of the coronavirus crisis, Trump last week urged Americans to wear masks to help slow the virus' spread. Just 32 percent of respondents said they supported Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-eight percent said the economy is in good shape, down from 67 percent in January. [The Associated Press]

5.

Backlash spreads over federal crackdown in Portland

Civil unrest spread around the nation over the weekend as a crackdown by militarized federal agents in Portland, Oregon, re-energized protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Police and protesters clashed from Los Angeles to Richmond as demonstrators expressed anger over arrests made by federal agents around the Portland federal courthouse. In Portland, a crowd of about 1,000 gathered late Sunday for the 60th straight night of protests in the city since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. The demonstration was calm until people in the crowd launched fireworks toward the courthouse, and federal officers fired back with gas and crowd-control munitions. [The Washington Post, The Oregonian]

6.

Hanna weakens but flood danger remains in Texas

Tropical Depression Hanna continued to punish the Texas Gulf Coast with high winds and heavy rains on Sunday, after hitting as a hurricane on Saturday. The storm dumped more than a foot of rain on parts of South Texas and northeastern Mexico. Some patients in health-care facilities were airlifted out of communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, where health officials already were strained to the limit by coronavirus cases. Henry Van De Putte, CEO of the Red Cross' Texas Gulf Coast chapter, urged people to seek help despite fear of exposure to COVID-19. "Yes, coronavirus provides risk, but so does floodwater, so does not having electricity, so does not having required medications," he said. [The Associated Press]

7.

Moderna says it's getting more federal funding for coronavirus vaccine

Drug maker Moderna said Sunday that it had received an additional $472 million from the federal government to help it develop its coronavirus vaccine candidate. The money will support the work through a Phase 3 study due to start Monday, and other late-stage work. Moderna received $483 million in April from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which funds disease-fighting technology, when Moderna's experimental vaccine was in an early National Institutes of Health trial. BARDA's total funding for the Moderna vaccine candidate, which was the first in the U.S. to start clinical trials, now has reached $955 million. BARDA also has funded Pfizer, Novavax, and other companies working on coronavirus vaccines. [Reuters]

8.

Hurricane Douglas passes just north of western Hawaiian islands

Hurricane Douglas intensified slightly late Sunday as it passed just north of the western end of the Hawaiian Island chain. Forecasters said early Monday that hurricane warnings had been canceled for the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe, but remained in effect for Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau. "We remain uncomfortably close to a dangerous hurricane here in the state of Hawaii," Robert Ballard of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said Sunday. Douglas is a Category 1 storm, with top sustained winds of 85 mph. Maui was being pelted by heavy rain and strong wind gusts on Sunday. Any landfall would be just the third in Hawaii in modern history. [Central Pacific Hurricane Center, The Associated Press]

9.

Trump says he's too busy to throw out first pitch at Yankees game

President Trump tweeted on Sunday that he would not throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the New York Yankees' Aug. 15 game because he is too busy with his "strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else." It has been a presidential tradition since 1910 for presidents to throw a first pitch at a Major League Baseball game, and Trump has yet to participate. Trump, who played golf on Saturday with former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, tweeted that he would "make it later in the season!" Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, threw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals' stadium on Opening Day last week. [Sports Illustrated, Donald J. Trump]

10.

Gone with the Wind star Olivia de Havilland dies at 104

Olivia de Havilland, whose acting career spanned more than five decades, died Sunday at her home in Paris. She was 104. De Havilland was one of the last remaining stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, as well as the last surviving star of 1939's Gone with the Wind. In 1946, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in To Each His Own, and followed up with another win in 1949 for her work in The Heiress. In 1943, de Havilland took Warner Brothers to court after the studio lengthened her original contract as a penalty for turning down roles. The California Supreme Court ruled in her favor, and actors subsequently had more say over their careers. [CNN]