CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 37,155,004 and the nation’s death toll stands at 624,253, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Over the past 28 days, there have been 2,843,080 new cases and 13,675 deaths… President Joe Biden yesterday directed the Department of Education to take action against state bans on mask mandates while also issuing a mandate for nursing home workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The order directs Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to “assess all available tools” to ensure governors and other officials take the necessary steps to safely prepare students to return to school “including not standing in the way of local leaders making such preparations”… Early efforts to vaccinate older adults and other at-risk groups against COVID-19 saved almost 140,000 lives and prevented more than 3 million infections through mid-May, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 156 million people in the U.S. had received at least one dose of the two-shot vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech by mid-May and nearly 122 million of them were fully vaccinated… More than 20,000 students in Mississippi were quarantined due to coronavirus exposures over the past week, according to Mississippi state health department data. Nearly 6,000 have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks, and two have died.
WHITE HOUSE TAKES ON MASK BANS… The New York Times reported yesterday that the White House plans to increase its pressure on Republican states that ban masks in schools by invoking the Department of Education’s civil rights enforcement authority. That authority will allow the department to hear the concerns of parents who believe districts not implementing mask mandates could jeopardize their children’s right to an education. Secretary Miguel Cardona said he believes governors in Florida, Texas and other states could be violating students’ educational rights under the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
MILLEY TALK AFGHANISTAN… Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said yesterday that U.S. military intelligence did not indicate that Afghanistan would fall to the Taliban as quickly as it did. Speaking at a press briefing, Milley denied reports that the Biden administration ignored warnings that the security situation would deteriorate quickly as the U.S. was completing its troop withdrawal. Milley said the U.S. conducted a “deliberate and responsible drawdown” of troops with a focus on securing the U.S. Embassy and diplomatic presence in Afghanistan.
BIDEN ADMIN HOPES TO EASE ASYLUM CASES… The Biden administration hopes a proposed new rule for processing asylum cases at the southern border with Mexico will speed up the system and ease a backlog. Under rules proposed yesterday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers will be able to decide on asylum applications without the cases having to be assigned to immigration judges for review. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the new rule would reduce the caseload and “protect the rights of those fleeing persecution and violence.” The proposed rule wouldn’t apply to unaccompanied minors to those already living in the U.S.
PG&E RESTORING POWER AFTER SHUT-OFF… Pacific Gas & Electric began restoring power in some locations yesterday after shutting off power for approximately 48,000 California customers the night before. The shut-off was part of a planned safety measure in response to worsening wildfire weather conditions. Parts of 13 counties were affected.
GARTH BROOKS CANCELS STADIUM DATES… Garth Brooks announced yesterday that he is cancelling the remaining five dates on his 2021 stadium tour due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Brooks said he scheduled the tour believing the pandemic was “behind us” in July but says he must do his part to help end it. The canceled shows were set to happen in Foxborough, Charlotte, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Nashville.
A BOY FOR SCARLETT JOHANSSON AND COLIN JOST… Scarlett Johansson and her husband, “Saturday Night Live” host Colin Jost, have announced the birth of their first child together. The 39-year-old Jost announced the birth of the couple’s son, Cosmo, on social media. Johansson and Jost married in an intimate ceremony last October. She had previously been married to actor Ryan Reynolds and journalist Romain Dauriac with whom she shares 7-year-old daughter Rose.
Chi. Cubs 7 – CINCINNATI 1… The Cubs jumped out to a five-run lead after their first two at-bats and never looked back in breezing past the Reds. Michael Hermosillo hOmered with a runner aboard. Ian Happ and Sandy Alcántara added solo shots.
COLORADO 7 – San Diego 5… Trevor Story’s two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning proved to be the difference in the Rockies’ win over the Padres. C.J. Cron stroked a two-run double and singled home a run.
N.Y. Mets 6 – SAN FRANCISCO 2 (12 innings)… Kevin Pillar belted a tie-breaking three-run homer in the top of the 12th inning and Chance Sisco doubled home a run as the Mets outlasted the Giants. J.D. Davis lifted a sacrifice fly in the ninth to score Pete Alonso with a tying run.
Atlanta 11 – MIAMI 9… The Braves took an eight-run lead into the bottom of the ninth inning and held off the Marlins. They scored five of their runs on bases-loaded walks. Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer. Austin Riley had three hits and drove in two runs. Adam Duval finished with three RBIs.
Milwaukee 6 – ST. LOUIS 4 (10 innings)… Christian Yelich and Jace Peterson singled home runs during a three-run top of the 10th inning and the Brewers topped the Cardinals. Avisail Garcia’s second solo homer tied the game in the ninth. Willy Adames also went deep for Milwaukee.
ARIZONA 4 – Philadelphia 2… Humberto Castellanos (1-1) allowed just a run on three hits over 5-1/3 innings and the Diamondbacks clipped the Phillies. Castellanos also went 2-for-2 with an RBI single at the plate.
L.A. DODGERS 9 – Pittsburgh 0… Max Muncy homered twice and drove home five runs to lead the Dodgers in their romp over the Pirates. Corey Seager singled home a run and hit a two-run homer. AJ Pollock also went deep. Mitch White (1-1) pitched two-hit ball over 7-1/3 innings in relief of starter Justin Bruihl.
MINNESOTA 8 – Cleveland 7 (11 innings)… The Twins recovered to top the Indians after blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead. Jorge Polanco singled home Ryan Jeffers with the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning. Miguel Sanó knocked in five runs wit a single and a double.
N.Y. YANKEES 5 – Boston 2… The Yankees scored four times in the bottom of the second inning and cruised past the Red Sox. Andrew Velazquez drove in two runs with a pair of singles. Andrew Rizzo produced a two-run single. Andrew Heaney (8-8) held Boston to a run on two hits over seven innings.
L.A. Angels 3 – DETROIT 1… Shohei Ohtani (8-1) held he Tigers to a run on six hits over eight innings and helped himself at the plate with his 40th homer. Justin Upton got things going with a two-run homer in the top of the first inning.
TAMPA BAY 8 – Baltimore 4… Brandon Lowe singled home a tie-breaking run and scored in the bottom of the fourth inning and the Rays went on to double up on the Orioles. Wander Franco went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Seattle 3 – TEXAS 1… Kyle Seager’s two-run homer in the top of the first inning provided all the offense the Mariners needed in their win over the Rangers. Marco Gonzales (5-5) scattered six hits over 5-1/3 scoreless innings.
KANSAS CITY 3 – Houston 2… Hunter Dozier smacked a go-ahead two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Royals hung on to edge the Astros. The game featured a duel between Kansas City starter Brady Singer and his counterpart Zack Greinke but neither got a decision.
CHI. WHITE SOX 3 – Oakland 2… The White Sox held off the Athletics despite losing starting pitcher Lance Lynn to a fourth-inning ejection. Luis Robert singled home Yoan Moncada with a tie-breaking run in the bottom of the fourth inning and added a run-scoring single in the sixth.
WASHINGTON 8 – Toronto 5… Josh Bell hit a three-run homer and Carter Kieboom smacked a solo shot during a four-run bottom of the seventh inning that carried the Nationals past the Blue Jays. Juan Soto opened the scoring with a three-run homer in the first.
TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE…
Philadelphia (Zack Wheeler, 10-7) is at Arizona (Madison Bumgarner, 6-7)…
Cincinnati (Luis Castillo, 6-12) hosts Miami (Zach Thompson, 2-5)…
Milwaukee (Brandon Woodruff, 7-5) is at St. Louis (Jon Lester, 4-6)…
the L.A. Dodgers (TBA) host the N.Y. Mets (Taijuan Walker, 7-7)
the L.A. Angels (Jose Quintana, 0-3) are at Detroit (Matt Manning, 3-5)…
Tampa Bay (Shane McClanahan, 7-4) hosts Baltimore (Jorge Lopez, 3-13)…
Seattle (Chris Flexen, 10-5) is at Texas (Spencer Howard, 0-3)…
Kansas City (Mike Minor, 8-11) hosts Houston (Luis Garcia, 9-6)…
Oakland (Cole Irvin,8-11) is at the Chi. White Sox (Dylan Cease, 9-6)…
the N.Y. Yankees (Jameson Taillon, 7-4) host Minnesota (TBA)