|L-A Times 7/14/20|
As school districts across the country wrestle with whether they should hold in-person classes in the fall, California's two largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, announced yesterday that school will be online when it returns next month, instead of having students in classrooms. In a joint statement, they cited research about school in other countries, saying, "Those countries that have managed to safely reopen schools have done so with declining infection rates and on-demand testing available. California has neither." Across the country, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said schools will be allowed to reopen for in-person learning in parts of the state where infection rates average five percent or less for two weeks.
The total number of deaths in the U.S. was more than 135,600 as of early this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University's count, and the number of confirmed cases topped 3,363,000.
Budget Deficit at Record High in June, Driven by Coronavirus: The U.S. had its biggest monthly budget deficit in history in June, $864 billion, driven by federal spending on programs to help deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus shutdowns, including the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses keep paying their workers, and the extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits. The total deficit for the first nine months of the budget year, which began on October 1st, is a record $2.74 trillion.
➤SUPREME COURT CLEARS WAY FOR EXECUTION: After a U.S. district judge ordered a delay in federal executions on Monday, hours before Daniel Lewis Lee was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection in the first federal execution since 2003, the Supreme Court in a divided 5-4 ruling cleared the way early this morning for the executions to proceed. The Supreme Court acted after a federal appears court had refused to overturn the judge's delay. Lee's execution was scheduled for 4 a.m. ET, according to court papers. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan had ordered the delay because she said there were still legal issues to resolve involving the drug planned to be used in the executions. Lee was convicted of killing an Arkansas couple, William and Nancy Mueller and Nancy's eight-year-old daughter Sarah Powell in 1996. Two other executions are scheduled for later this week.
➤SURVEY: AMERICANS MORE TIRED THAN EVER: A new survey finds that 60 percent of Americans are saying their sleep routine during the pandemic has them more tired than they've ever been. In the poll of 2,000 adults for Leesa Sleep, 70 percent said their sleeping habits have become inconsistent, and 63 percent think their sleep schedules might be permanently ruined because of the pandemic. Part of it is being blamed on working from home, with 44 percent saying they stay up later since they don’t have to commute, with nearly half saying they get out of bed only 10 minutes before their workday at home begins. Additionally, people are also staying up late to binge-watch TV shows, with researchers reporting 67 percent of Americans are staying up until the early hours of the morning to do so.
➤NBA'S WESTBROOK TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS: The Houston Rockets' Russell Westbrook revealed yesterday that he'd tested positive for the coronavirus. The NBA star hasn't yet arrived at the league's campus at Walt Disney World, where games will be played when the season restarts, and it's now not clear when he will get there. Westbrook wrote on social media, "I’m currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared." He warned, "Please take this virus seriously. Be safe. Mask up!" The NBA also revealed that 322 players were tested when they arrived at Disney last week, with just two positives. The unnamed players are being quarantined, and could rejoin their teams later.
➤NHL TEAMS BEGIN TRAINING CAMP: NHL teams began their training camps yesterday (July 13th) for the upcoming playoffs when their season restarts. That's set to begin on August 1st, with an expanded 24-team playoff in two hub cities in Canada, Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta. Meanwhile, the NHL announced that 43 players had tested positive for the coronavirus from June 8th through the end of the league’s optional workouts.
➤CARDINALS RELIEVER HICKS WON'T PLAY THIS SEASON: St. Louis Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks won't be playing in MLB's coronavirus-shortened season because the 23-year-old has Type 1 diabetes, which he was diagnosed with in high school. Hicks' availability for the season was already uncertain, since he's still recovering from Tommy John surgery. About a dozen MLB players so far have opted against playing this year, including L.A. Dodgers pitcher David Price, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman.
➤CHICAGO MARATHON CANCELED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: Organizers of the Chicago Marathon announced Monday that it had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The annual event, which had been scheduled for October 11th, usually draws some 45,000 runners and more than one million spectators. The Boston Marathon was postponed from its April 20th date until September and then canceled, and the New York Marathon, which was scheduled for November 1st, has also been canceled.