June 6, 2019

Ellan Levitsky remembers everything about the time she spent working in an Army field hospital in Normandy during World War II — from treating young soldiers to sneaking out to go dancing with another nurse.

The 99-year-old served alongside her older sister, Dorothy Levitsky, at the 164th General Hospital from August 1944 to May 1945. She returned to Normandy this week to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she reflected on the time she spent there nearly eight decades ago. "I loved the Army, loved everything about it," she said.

The daughters of Russian Jewish immigrants, the Levitsky sisters were inseparable, Ellan said, and that's why Dorothy joined the Army with her. She remembers being so cold during the winter that she used gin to start a fire in a wooden stove, and nearly burned down her tent — twice.

She also exchanged her uniform shirt with a local farmer for a chicken and once crawled through a hole in barbed wire in order to spend the night dancing. There was an air raid alert, though, and she couldn't return to the base until the next day. Dorothy thought she had died, Ellan told the Times, and when Dorothy saw her sister was alive, "she socked me in the face."

The sisters received the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest honor, in 2012, in recognition of their service. Before Dorothy died in 2015, the sisters made several return trips to Normandy, and made several friends in the region. "In the U.S., nobody even looks at my medal," Ellan told the Times. "Here they come over and shake my hand and say thank you for being in Normandy." Catherine Garcia

3:26 a.m.

In the messy panoply of global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweden stands out. Unlike its Nordic and European peers, Sweden decided early on for a "soft" approach, foregoing lockdowns for subtle changes to commerce and entertainment, voluntary mitigation guidelines, and encouraging working from home. "This is what has happened," economic correspondent Peter S. Goodman reports in The New York Times: "Not only have thousands more people died than in neighboring countries that imposed lockdowns, but Sweden's economy has fared little better."

"They literally gained nothing," Jacob Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, tells the Times. "It's a self-inflicted wound, and they have no economic gains." Sweden did see slightly less contraction in the first quarter, but now its economic pain is essentially equal to its Nordic neighbors. And Norway, which "was not only quick to impose an aggressive lockdown, but early to relax it as the virus slowed," is actually "expected to see a more rapid economic turnaround," Goodman reports.

Ironically, Bloomberg News reports, the social distancing requirements in Sweden are now more stringent than in Denmark, Norway, and Finland, all of which opted for strict lockdowns early on. Sweden's 5,420 COVID-19 deaths may not seem like much compared with 130,000 in the U.S., but per capita that works out to 40 percent more fatalities than in the U.S. and 12 times more than Norway, seven times more than Finland, and six times more than Denmark, the Times notes.

Johan Carlson, the head of Sweden's public health agency, said Tuesday that his country's declining rate of infections and patients in intensive care "is an effect of us keeping up the social distancing," though herd immunity "could definitely be playing a part in areas where we've had contagion." And Sweden's state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, maintains that his strategy is still more sustainable and will pay off in the long run.

And maybe it will. But three months into the pandemic, "Sweden's grim result — more death, and nearly equal economic damage — suggests that the supposed choice between lives and paychecks is a false one," Goodman writes. "It is simplistic to portray government actions such as quarantines as the cause of economic damage. The real culprit is the virus itself," and "a failure to impose social distancing can cost lives and jobs at the same time." Peter Weber

1:57 a.m.

One thing kept Corey Cappelloni motivated during his 218-mile run from Washington, D.C., to Scranton, Pennsylvania: knowing that his grandmother would be waiting for him at the end of his trek.

In early June, Cappelloni's 98-year-old grandmother, Ruth Andres, tested positive for the coronavirus. Not being able to visit with friends and family made her sad, and to try to boost her spirits, Cappelloni, an endurance athlete who has raced around the world, sent Andres books with photos from his travels. Cappelloni had been training for an ultramarathon, and his girlfriend suggested he run to see Andres.

He turned the journey into a fundraiser called Run for Ruth, earning $24,000 to buy smartphones and tablets to keep elderly adults isolated because of the virus connected with the outside world. Cappelloni told The Associated Press he wanted to show Andres "that I'm here for her and that I really care for her, because she has always been there for me from when I was born."

Cappelloni arrived at his grandmother's nursing home on June 19, not long after he received word that she had made a full recovery. Cappelloni had to stay outside, but Andres was able to see him from her window, and he relayed a very important message to her from his cellphone. "Nana, you're a strong person," he told her. "You're going on 99, and you still have many more miles." Catherine Garcia

1:31 a.m.

Amy Kennedy, a former school teacher, won New Jersey's hard-fought 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary Tuesday, setting up a contest against Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.), a first-term congressman who left the Democratic Party after the House impeached President Trump, offering Trump his "undying support." The state's primary election, held almost entirely by mail, had originally been scheduled for June 3.

"My message to Jeff Van Drew tonight is we have had enough and we demand better," Kennedy said. "We have had enough division and hate and selfishness. We have had enough of being abandoned and mistreated and forgotten. We have had enough of you and Donald Trump."

Kennedy, the wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) and daughter-in-law of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), defeated Brigid Callahan Harrison, a college professor and political commentator backed by South New Jersey Democratic party boss George Norcross, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D), Sens. Cory Booker (D) and Bob Menendez (D), and six of the district's eight counties. Gov. Phil Murphy (D), progressive groups, and the district's Atlantic City Democrats supported Kennedy.

"State officials had said they could not recall Norcross's operatives losing a primary in this part of New Jersey," The Washington Post reports. "Candidates backed by Norcross and Sweeney don’t typically suffer losses on their South Jersey turf," Politico confirms. Harrison and Norcross both quickly offered their support for Kennedy against Van Drew, a former Norcross protégé.

The race is expected to be highly competitive. Before the 2018 elections, New Jersey's congressional delegation was split evenly between six Democrats and six Republicans; after the election, only one Republican was left standing, until Van Drew switched parties. Peter Weber

12:57 a.m.

After nearly a decade, Southwest Airlines Captain Bob Halicky was back in the cockpit, and this time, he was making history.

In July 2011, Halicky, 59, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. At the time, Federal Aviation Administration rules prohibited pilots with insulin-treated diabetes from flying commercial airliners, saying it was too high risk. The American Diabetes Association and other organizations urged the FAA to reconsider, and they did, deciding in November that due to "the advancement of medical technology," pilots with insulin-treated diabetes could apply for the first-class medical certificate needed to fly commercially.

Halicky received his certificate in April, and quickly completed a requalification course. On June 22, he became the first U.S. airline pilot with type 1 diabetes to captain a commercial flight, traveling from Las Vegas to Seattle. Halicky told CNN he was "super pumped" about flying again, and called his accomplishment "a huge uplift to the diabetes community." Catherine Garcia

12:22 a.m.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Tuesday she and other coronavirus task force members did not expect the rapid resurgence of the virus as states started allowing businesses to reopen — including, in some states, bars and nightclubs. "None of us really anticipated the amount of community spread that began in really our 18-to-35-year-old age group," she said in a panel discussion at the Atlantic Council. "This is an age group that was so good and so disciplined through March and April. But when they saw people out and about on social media, they all went out and about."

The U.S. reached 3 million coronavirus cases on Tuesday, 500,000 of which were logged since June 26. "People under 40 have made up a significant portion of new cases recorded in states with recent outbreaks, a sign of how the virus has spread in bars, restaurants, and offices that have reopened," The New York Times reports. Ohio joined Texas, California, and other states in mandating mask wearing in public, and several hard-hit areas are reclosing bars and other businesses that foster close human contact.

At least six states registered new coronavirus case records Tuesday — Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Montana, California, and Hawaii — and Texas, Arizona, and Mississippi hit new highs for COVID-19 deaths. The death rate continues to decline, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease official, said Tuesday that taking comfort from that lagging indicator is "a false narrative." Peter Weber

July 7, 2020

Mary Kay Letourneau, the former teacher who married a student after being convicted of raping him, died of cancer on Tuesday, her lawyer said. She was 58.

In 1997, the Seattle-area teacher was convicted of second-degree child rape of her former student, 12-year-old Vili Fualaau; she was 34 at the time. Letourneau was paroled in 1998 and prohibited from having any contact with Fualaau, but soon after her release she was found with him in a car. Letourneau returned to prison, serving the remainder of her seven-year sentence.

Letourneau and Fualaau married in 2005, and divorced in 2019. She had four children from her first marriage and two with Fualaau, as well as at least one grandchild. Catherine Garcia

July 7, 2020

Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized last month after he fell and hit his head, a Supreme Court spokeswoman told The Washington Post on Tuesday night.

The incident occurred on June 21 at the Chevy Case Club in Maryland, the Post reports. Roberts, 65, was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he received sutures. He spent the night in the hospital for observation, and went home the next morning.

The Post learned about the incident from a witness, who said they saw Roberts' head covered with blood. When reached for comment, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said Roberts sustained an injury to his forehead "in a fall while walking for exercise near his home." He was hospitalized overnight "out of an abundance of caution," and doctors "believe the fall was likely due to light-headedness caused by dehydration."

The members of the court get to decide what is made public about their health; most recently, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared in May that she was hospitalized after being diagnosed with a gallbladder condition. Catherine Garcia

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