June 30, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Congress on Tuesday that the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States could rise to 100,000 a day.

Fauci spoke to the Senate on Tuesday as the number of new cases of coronavirus in the U.S. has been rising, with surges in states including Florida and Texas. In response to questions from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Fauci said it's clear from the numbers that the U.S. is "going in the wrong direction."

"We've really got to do something about that, and we need to do it quickly," Fauci said. "...Clearly, we are not in total control right now."

Fauci also warned that if many Americans continue to not wear masks in public and ignore social distancing guidelines, "we're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there's going to be a lot of hurt." If this situation doesn't "turn around," Fauci said he "would not be surprised" if the number of new coronavirus cases reported in the United States each day rises from around 40,000 to around 100,000.

While Fauci wouldn't make a specific prediction about what the final U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic will be, he guaranteed it would be "very disturbing" and later said, "I think it's important to tell you and the American public that I'm very concerned because it could get very bad." Brendan Morrow

12:47 a.m.

During a press conference on Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was interrupted by an activist who accused him of misleading the public over the true number of coronavirus cases in the state.

Florida is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with public health experts saying the rapid increase is due to the state reopening too early and without enough precautions. DeSantis' press conference, held at a Miami hospital, came one day after Florida recorded 15,300 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day total of any state since the beginning of the pandemic.

While DeSantis was speaking, a heckler in the audience began shouting at him, yelling, "Shame on you! You are an embarrassment!" The man was identified as Thomas Kennedy, Florida director of the immigration advocacy group United We Dream. Kennedy accused DeSantis of "doing nothing" and "falsifying information" about the extent of the coronavirus crisis in the state. As he was escorted out of the room, Kennedy declared that DeSantis is "deceiving the public" and "should resign." DeSantis did not respond.

On Saturday, Rebekah Jones, Florida's former data chief, published an op-ed in USA Today saying the state's COVID-19 data is "unreliable, confusing, and hazardous to our health." Jones said she was fired in May because she refused to "manually manipulate" data at the request of state leaders. Catherine Garcia

12:11 a.m.

For people who believe trying to contain COVID-19 is too hard, or not worth the socioeconomic tradeoffs, or too uncomfortable, letting the new coronavirus spread freely throughout the population to achieve herd immunity — the point where the virus has saturated a community enough that it is effectively contained — without waiting for a vaccine might sound like a tempting, viable alternative to masks, social distancing, and more stringent measures.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) disagrees, and he explained why with some back-of-the-envelope math in a Twitter thread Monday evening.

In Mississippi, 40 percent of the population would equal 1.2 million people getting infected, versus the 36,680 cases that have already left the state's hospitals "stressed to the point of pain," Reeves wrote. To put it another way, Mississippi would need at least 3,187 new COVID-19 cases every day for a year, triple the state's worst days of this pandemic.

And even if you were willing to stomach 1.2 million to 2.4 million Mississippi residents getting infected with the virus, a study from King's College in London released Monday suggested people may lose their COVID-19 immunity within months, making herd immunity moot. Peter Weber

July 13, 2020

The Atlanta Braves on Monday said the organization's 108-year-old name "honors, respects, and values the Native American community," and there are no plans to come up with a new one.

On Monday, the Washington Redskins announced their name and logo will be retired, as the moniker is considered a slur against Native Americans. The Braves do not believe their name is insensitive, with the organization saying discussions have been held with Native American and tribal leaders, and a change is "not under consideration or deemed necessary. We have great respect and reverence for our name and the Native American communities that have held meaningful relationships with us do as well. We will always be the Atlanta Braves."

The team does have an advisory board that is taking a closer look at the "Tomahawk Chop" motion, which was popularized when Deion Sanders joined the Braves in 1991. Critics consider this gesture to be a racist caricature targeting Native Americans, and the Braves said this is "one of the many issues we are working through," with the organization "continuing to listen to the Native American community, as well as our fans, players, and alumni to ensure we are making an informed decision on this part of our fan experience." Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday lamented the way Blake Neff, the former head writer for his show, is being treated, after years of racist, sexist, and homophobic comments he posted online came to light.

Neff resigned on Friday, after Fox News learned about the messages he posted pseudonymously on the forum AutoAdmit. In a memo sent to Fox News staff on Saturday, network leaders called Neff's online conduct "abhorrent" and his remarks about Blacks, Asian-Americans, and women "horrendous and deeply offensive." Neff, who was hired at Fox News in 2017, recently told Dartmouth's alumni magazine that when Carlson reads off the teleprompter, "the first draft was written by me."

Fox News said Carlson would discuss Neff's actions during his Monday show, and near the end of Tucker Carlson Tonight, he said what his former staffer wrote "anonymously was wrong. We don't endorse those words, they have no connection to the show." However, there are "ghouls that are beating their chest in triumph at the destruction of a young man," he said, and "self-righteousness also has its costs."

Carlson continued to deflect, telling his audience: "We are all human, when we pretend we are holy, we are lying. When we pose as blameless in order to hurt other people, we are committing the gravest sin of all and we will be punished for it. No question." On his show, people are judged for "what they do, not for how they were born," he added, and "Blake fell short of that standard and he has paid a very heavy price for it."


Carlson also shared that he plans on taking the next four nights off, going trout fishing during a "pre-planned vacation." Last August, Carlson hastily took a few days off after saying white supremacy was a "conspiracy theory" and "not a real problem" in the United States. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

A federal judge on Monday struck down Georgia's six-week abortion ban, calling it unconstitutional.

House Bill 481, passed by the state's General Assembly last spring and signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R), would have banned most abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, which can be as early as six weeks. After a lawsuit was filed, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones in October temporarily blocked the law from going into effect, and he made it permanent on Monday.

"It is in the public interest, and is this court's duty, to ensure constitutional rights are protected," Jones wrote. In response, Kemp said the state will "appeal the court's decision. Georgia values life and we will keep fighting for the rights of the unborn."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia was among the organizations that filed the lawsuit, and its legal director, Sean Young, said in a statement that the ban "violates over 50 years of Supreme Court precedent and fails to trust women to make their own personal decisions. This case has always been about one thing: letting her decide." Under current law, abortions are allowed in Georgia during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

A New York Supreme Court judge on Monday lifted a temporary restraining order on Mary Trump, President Trump's niece, giving her the green light to publicize her upcoming tell-all, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.

The president's younger brother, Robert Trump, tried to block the book by saying Mary Trump was violating a nondisclosure agreement she signed in 2001, after her grandfather's estate was settled. When the temporary restraining order was granted, it prevented Mary Trump from being able to promote Too Much and Never Enough. The book, already No. 1 on Amazon, will be released on Tuesday.

Mary Trump's publisher, Simon & Schuster, said it was "delighted" by the decision, and her attorney, Ted Boutrous, said the court "got it right in rejecting the Trump family's effort to squelch Mary Trump's core political speech on important issues of public concern." Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

American Airlines on Monday said it contacted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after a photo of him not wearing a mask on a Sunday morning flight went viral, and affirmed with him "the importance" of the company's face covering policy.

Hosseh Enad, a marketing associate for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, tweeted a picture on Sunday night showing a maskless Cruz sitting in his seat, his cellphone in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Enad also tweeted a photo he said was of Cruz sitting outside the gate, not wearing a mask.

Since May 12, American Airlines has required that customers wear face masks while on board. In a statement to Reuters, the company said it expects passengers "to comply with our policies when they choose to travel with us." While the mask policy "does not apply while eating or drinking," the airline said, after reviewing the photo it still "reached out to Sen. Cruz to affirm the importance of this policy as part of our commitment to protecting the health and safety of the traveling public."

The Washington Post asked Cruz's office for comment, and representatives have yet to respond. Catherine Garcia

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