CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… There were 20,241 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 733 deaths yesterday, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The number of reported cases nationwide stands at 1,329,791 and the death toll has reached 79,528. There was some good news in New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that new hospitalizations and deaths in the state fell to their lowest level since March over the weekend. Cuomo also issued a mandate threatening care facilities that they could lose their operating licenses if they fail to meet requirements intended to stem infections.
PENCE HAS BEEN SELF-ISOLATING… Vice President Mike Pence remained distanced from the White House over the weekend as three other members of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force remained in self-quarantine because of possible exposure to his press secretary, who tested positive for coronavirus. Officials say Pence doesn’t has been self-isolating since Friday, when his press secretary, Katie Miller, confirmed that she tested positive. Miller is the wife of top Trump adviser Stephen Miller.
FAUCI TESTIFIES TOMORROW BEFORE SENATE PANEL… National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci will testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee tomorrow. Fauci, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and other officials, will discuss reopening the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Fauci’s testimony before the Senate comes after the Trump administration blocked him from appearing before a House committee to discuss spending on coronavirus testing.
ECONOMIC ADVISOR TALKS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE… White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said yesterday that he expects the unemployment rate to climb above 20 percent due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. During an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Hassett, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, predicted that the high point for job losses will arrive by the end of next month. His prediction follows the worst month of job loss in U.S. history, as payrolls declined by $20.5 million in April.
FEDS ASKED TO INVESTIGATE JOGGER’S KILLING… Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the handling of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who authorities say died at the hands of two white men as he jogged through a neighborhood. Arbery was fatally shot on February 23 but the investigation was handled by local authorities and no arrests were made. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations joined the investigation Thursday following the release of cell phone video that captured the killing. The next day, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his son 34-year-old son, Travis McMichael, were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.
SINGER BETTY WRIGHT DIES… R&B and soul singer Betty Wright died of undisclosed reasons over the weekend, family members confirmed yesterday. She was 66. Born Bessie Regina Norris in Miami, Florida, she began as a gospel music singer in a family band before being discovered in the early 1970s through such hits as “Clean Up Woman” and “Where is the Love,” which was honored with a Grammy Award for Best R&B song in 1972. Wright earned five other Grammy nominations.
LOW INCIDENCE OF CORONAVIRUS IN MLB EMPLOYEES… A Stanford University study released yesterday found that 60 of 5,754 Major League Baseball employees tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. Twenty-six of MLB’s 30 teams participated in the study, and the results will have no bearing on the league’s ability to return to play. Testing was conducted last month.
KENNY CHESNEY TOPS ALBUM CHART… Kenny Chesney’s new release, “Here and Now,” sold 233,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 album chart. Drake’s “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” opened in second place after selling 223,000 units. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” rose to third place on sales of 100,000 copies. DaBaby’s “Blame It On Baby” slipped to fourth place with 48,000 units sold. Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake” capped the top five with 45,000 copies sold.