CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to 1,039,909 yesterday and the death toll jumped to 60,966, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. President Trump announced that the federal government will not be extending its social-distancing guidelines when they expire today. Trump said guidelines will be “fading out” because of work that governors are doing in their states. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis revealed yesterday that his state will begin lifting its coronavirus shelter-in-place order on Monday. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Los Angeles will become the first major city in America to offer wide-scale testing to all of its residents, with or without symptoms.
CORONAVIRUS DRUG SHOWS PROMISE… Scientists are excited about the results from an experimental drug that appears to be effective against the coronavirus. Officials say that in a study of 1,063 patients sick enough to be hospitalized, Gilead Sciences’s remdesivir shortened the time to recovery by 31 percent. The drug also might be reducing deaths, although that’s not certain from the partial results revealed so far. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.”
AMASH CONSIDERING PRESIDENTIAL RUN… Michigan congressman Justin Amash is exploring a presidential run as the Libertarian candidate. Amash, a former Republican who switched to independent, said weeks ago that he was considering entering the race. He has been critical of President Trump and joined Democrats in calling for his impeachment inquiry.
COURT STRIKES DOWN KANSAS VOTER LAW… A federal appeals court yesterday declared unconstitutional the Kansas law that required proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote. The law took effect in 2013 but was later blocked by a federal trial judge. In explaining its ruling, a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach “failed to show that a substantial number of non-citizens successfully registered to vote.”
ECONOMY CONTRACTS… The nation’s economy suffered its most severe contraction in more than a decade in the first quarter of the year, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Official figures revealed that the economy sank at an annual rate of 4.8 percent, bringing the first contraction since 2014. The coronavirus pandemic “is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world,” according to policymakers at the Federal Reserve.
U.S. TO PREVENT WEAPONS SALES TO IRAN… Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed yesterday that the U.S. will prevent Iran from buying conventional weapons once a United Nations embargo expires in October. The embargo is part of the 2015 multination accord aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapon capabilities in exchange for sanction relief. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal, prompting Iran to restart banned nuclear activities.
FAA INVESTIGATES ANOTHER HARRISON FORD INCIDENT… Federal Aviation Administration investigators are looking into an incident involving actor Harrison Ford last week at a Los Angeles-area airport. Ford was allegedly piloting a small plane that wrongly crossed a runway where another aircraft was landing. There was no danger of a crash, investigators say. The 77-year-old Ford reportedly has acknowledged his mistake and apologized. Ford is known to FAA investigators. In 2017, he flew low over an American Airlines plane with 110 passengers and crew on board at John Wayne airport. In 2015, he crash-landed a vintage airplane on a Los Angeles golf course.
ACTOR IRRFAN KHAN DIES… Indian film star Irrfan Khan died yesterday of a colon infection after a battle with cancer. He was 53. American movie-goers saw in the films “Jurassic World,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Life of Pi.” His 2008 film “Slumdog Millionaire” won eight Oscars, including for Best Picture.
FORMER JAGUARS LINEBACKER TELVIN SMITH ARRESTED… Former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith was arrested at his Jacksonville home last night and charged with one count of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. The 29-year-old Smith was later released on a $50,000 bond. ESPN reported that Smith is accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl multiple times in August and September. Investigators reportedly found evidence in Smith’s car that linked him to the victim. Smith was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2017. He recorded a career-high 134 tackles in 2018 but announced after the season announced that he needed to take time off for his family and his health. He hasn’t played since.