Lamar Alexander Criticizes Trump’s Decision to Leave WHO

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he disagrees with President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate the United States’ membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations this week of its decision to leave WHO, The New York Times reported.

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Jason Lewis Says Parents Should Be Refunded for Property Taxes If Schools Don’t Reopen

Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis said parents should be refunded for property tax payments and tuition if schools aren’t allowed to reopen in the fall.

“The more we learn about COVID, the more it becomes apparent that we have done a huge disservice to our children in the way we have handled this virus. Research has proven that COVID presents minimal risks to young people. But what isn’t minimal is the toll this prolonged lockdown and social isolation has on our kids’ social, mental, and physical well-being,” Lewis said in a statement released Wednesday.

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United Will Warn 36,000 Workers They Could be Laid Off

United Airlines is warning 36,000 employees – nearly half its U.S. staff – they could be furloughed in October, the clearest signal yet of how deeply the virus pandemic is hurting the airline industry.

The outlook for a recovery in air travel has dimmed in just the past two weeks, as infection rates rise in much of the U.S. and some states impose new quarantine requirements on travelers.

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Michigan Rising Action Director Pushes Back on Coronavirus Task Force Timeline

Executive Director of Michigan Rising Action Tori Sachs criticized the timeline of the state’s coronavirus task force on Wednesday.

The Michigan Nursing Home COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force — which includes 13 members, several leaders from state health and regulatory departments, and state legislators — has until August 31 to present a plan to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for “any future wave of COVID-19 cases by developing an action plan based on timely and high-quality data,” according to the executive order that created the task force in June.

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Gov. DeWine Determines Seven Ohio Counties Must Wear Face Coverings in Public

Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week seven counties in Ohio will start wearing face coverings in public as the coronavirus cases continue to surge in the state.

Counties that need to follow this mandate are currently in Red Alert Level 3 Public Health Emergency, according to DeWine’s press release.

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Republican Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Sell Minnesota’s $6.9 Million COVID-19 Morgue

A Republican lawmaker has drafted a bill that would require Minnesota to sell a facility it purchased for the storage of deceased COVID-19 patients.

Due to a projected surge in COVID-19 fatalities, the state of Minnesota spent $6.9 million in May to acquire a warehouse for the “temporary storage of human remains.” As of early June, however, the facility had yet to be used.

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Protective Gear for Medical Workers Begins to Run Low Again

The personal protective gear that was in dangerously short supply during the early weeks of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. is running low again as the virus resumes its rapid spread and the number of hospitalized patients climbs.

A national nursing union is concerned that gear has to be reused. A doctors association warns that physicians’ offices are closed because they cannot get masks and other supplies. And Democratic members of Congress are pushing the Trump administration to devise a national strategy to acquire and distribute gear in anticipation of the crisis worsening into the fall.

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Paycheck Protection Program Is Supporting More Than 51 Million Small Business Jobs, Trump Administration Announces

The $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has supported more than 51 million jobs since its launch in April, the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration announced Monday as it released information on 4.9 million loans disbursed by the program.

“The PPP is providing much-needed relief to millions of American small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs and over 80 percent of all small business employees, who are the drivers of economic growth in our country,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement Monday.

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Millions of Potential Coronavirus Vaccine Doses Already Being Made, NIH Director Says

Millions of coronavirus vaccine doses are being manufactured, even before testing has been completed, the National Institutes of Health director said in an interview recently.

Doses of potential vaccines are being made to shorten the time it traditionally takes to develop a drug for public use, director Dr. Francis Collins told Intelligencer. Collins said he is “guardedly optimistic” that at least one vaccine will pass through the large phase of trials by December.

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Gov. Cuomo’s Order Sent More Than 6,000 Coronavirus Patients into Nursing Homes, Officials Say

Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s orders sent more than 6,300 coronavirus patients to nursing homes at the height of the pandemic, new numbers from state officials show.

Thousands of elderly coronavirus patients died after Cuomo issued an order March 25 mandating assisted-living facilities admit coronavirus patients, and state officials are now reporting that the number of admitted carriers is even higher than previous estimates.

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Tests Positive for COVID-19

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the coronavirus’s severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country.

The 65-year-old populist who has been known to mingle in crowds without covering his face confirmed the results while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters huddled close in front of him in the capital, Brasilia. He said he is taking hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug that has not been proven effective against COVID-19.

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Whitmer Announces Appointments to Coronavirus Nursing Home Task Force

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced that she had appointed 13 health industry and medical professionals to the Michigan Nursing Home COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force.

In addition to the 13 members appointed by Whitmer, the task force also includes Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon or his designee, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Orlene Hawks or her designee, Michigan State Long Term Care Ombudsman Salli Pung, State Sens. Rosemary Bayer (D-12-Oakland) and Curt VanderWall (R-35-Benzie) and State Reps. Leslie Love (D-10- Redford) and Hank Vaupel (R-47-Livingston).

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Walz Expected to Call Another Special Session to Extend Emergency Powers

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call another special session by the end of the week in order to extend his peacetime emergency powers.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) alerted members and staff in a Monday email about the likely special session.

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Minnesota Board of Medical Practice Investigating Republican Senator for Speaking Out on COVID-19

State Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), a practicing physician, revealed Sunday that anonymous complaints were filed against him with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for his public comments on the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is one of the most important videos I’ve made and one of the hardest,” Jensen said in a video posted to Facebook. “Less than a week ago, I was notified by the Board of Medical Practice in Minnesota that I was being investigated because of public statements I had made.”

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Gov. DeWine’s Company, which Owns a Minor Baseball Team in North Carolina, Gets Loan from Federal Virus Aid Program

A company partly owned by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is among those that received loans from a $600 billion-plus coronavirus aid program.

The data released Monday shows DeWine Seeds-Silver Dollar Baseball received a loan under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program for a range of $150,000 to $350,000.

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Michigan AG Nessel Will Comply with U.S. House ‘Partisan’ Request to Investigate Whitmer’s COVID-19 Nursing Home Policies

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel defiantly responded to a letter from U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., regarding the number of nursing home deaths in the state attributed to COVID-19.

Scalise is ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Coronavirus. His June 25 letter – also signed by Reps. Jim Jordan, R- Ohio; Blaine Luetkeymer, R-Mo.; and Jackie Walorski, R-Ind. – followed a similar letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to which she did not respond.

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COVID-19 Liability Reform Measure Flounders in Tennessee

Just a few weeks ago, Tennessee looked like a sure bet to become the latest state to protect businesses and other organizations from lawsuits by people impacted by the coronavirus in the push to reopen the economy. Republican Gov. Bill Lee had talked up the change and touted his advocacy on tort reform as a businessman, and he had GOP lawmakers in supermajorities lined up to seal the deal.

That was before negotiations among lawmakers broke down so badly in the hectic waning hours of legislative work that the generally mild-mannered Senate Speaker Randy McNally accused two House leaders of working with “a cabal of Democrats and attorneys to defeat the legislation and place our entire economy in danger.”

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Gov. Bill Lee Grants County Mayors Authority to Issue Mask Mandates

Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Friday granting the mayors of 89 counties the authority to issue local face mask mandates.

Six Tennessee counties – Sullivan, Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Madison, and Shelby – have local health departments, and therefore already have the authority to issue mask requirements as needed, Lee’s office explained.

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Commentary: Trump Economy Is Well Ahead of Schedule

The U.S. economy has added a record 7.8 million to 8.8 million jobs back in May and June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) respective establishment and household surveys, bringing the reported unemployment rate down to 11.1 percent even as the number of Americans returning to the civilian labor force following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns continues to increase.

This is incredible news because it means for certain that the labor market hit its bottom in April, the same month the IHME-estimated number of new cases daily was peaking at about 250,000 on March 29, down to an estimated 70,000 new cases a day now.

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Michigan Sees 460 New Confirmed Coronanvirus Cases, Second-Highest Number Since June 1

Michigan saw 460 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus announced on Friday, the second-highest number of new cases since June 1, according to analysis from BridgeMI.

The number follows Thursday’s 543 new cases, the highest number since June 1. The two-day total breaks the 1,000 confirmed cases mark.

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Gov. DeWine Unveils New Guidelines for Schools Reopening in the Fall

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday new guidelines schools will follow when they open up again in the fall.

According to the guidelines, schools will have to assess symptoms, wash and sanitize hands to prevent spread, thoroughly clean and sanitize the school environment to limit spread on shared surfaces, practice social distancing, and implement a face coverings policy.

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Study: Unemployment Pays Better Than Work for 68 Percent of U.S. Workers

The federal unemployment insurance emergency payments of an additional $600 per week to those laid off because of COVID-19 restrictions discourages work and slows down economic recovery, several reports indicate. Several congressmen have introduced proposals to address the issue.

A report published by the Foundation for Government Ability (FGA) found that by nearly tripling average unemployment benefits through the CARES Act, “Congress has created a situation where unemployment now pays better than work” for roughly 68 percent of U.S. workers.

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Commentary: Blue States Have Been Hit Much Harder by COVID-19

In March, data guru Nate Silver wrote about the different ways blue states and red states were experiencing the COVID-19 epidemic, noting that “states Clinton won do have considerably more total reported cases.”

COVID-19 was not just a blue state problem though. Silver pointed out that cases in red states were increasing far more rapidly.

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Michigan Bars Closed for Indoor Service, Restaurants Now Allowed to Deliver Alcohol

Michigan restaurants and bars will now be allowed to sell to-go alcoholic beverages, thanks to a new package of bills signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday.

Bars and restaurants will now be able to sell drinks to-go, as well as deliver them, until December 31, 2025. Whitmer’s office said the bills are aimed at providing relief for restaurants and bars impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according WXYZ.

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Walz Says Statewide Mask Mandate Is ‘On the Table’

Gov. Tim Walz said a statewide mask mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is “on the table” during a Monday press conference.

According to Walz, Republican governors who participated in a Monday phone call with Vice President Mike Pence were also “exploring the idea.”

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Britain’s Boris Johnson says COVID-19 Has Been a Disaster

Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged Monday that the coronavirus pandemic has been a “disaster” for Britain, as he announced a spending splurge designed to get the country — and his faltering Conservative government — back on track.

As the U.K. emerges from a three-month lockdown, Johnson has lined up big-money pledges on schools, housing and infrastructure, in an attempt to move on from an outbreak that has left more than 43,000 Britons dead — the worst confirmed death toll in Europe.

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Mark Green Introduces Bill to Provide Transparency on Federal Funds Spent in China

U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) recently introduced a bill to require annual reporting on federal funds spent in China.

The bill, called the Our Money in China Transparency Act, would require detailed annual reporting on any federal funds spent on activities conducted in collaboration with China’s entities and institutions, Green explained in a press release.

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Joe Biden Keeps Inflating the Coronavirus Death Toll

Former Vice President Joe Biden has repeatedly inflated America’s coronavirus death toll by hundreds of thousands and millions of deaths when talking about the virus.

Biden gaffed on Thursday, saying that “over 120 million” people were “dead from COVID” before correcting himself. Biden has struggled to get right the number of coronavirus deaths, which is at roughly 121,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Memphis Requires Masks, But Exemptions Include Unconscious People, Children, Runners, and Bikers, Who Are Told Not to Spit

The Memphis government is mandating the use of masks in many instances, with detailed instructions on when to do so or who may be exempt.

Mayor Jim Strickland signed a mask ordinance Thursday, WREG reported. The city council approved the ordinance 9-4 last week.

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Gov. Abbott Orders Texas Bars to Close Again Amid Coronavirus Surge

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that bars be shut down across the state for a second time on Friday amid a growing surge in coronavirus cases in his state.

Abbott also ordered restaurants to scale back their operating capacity from 75% to 50% starting Monday. In addition, Abbott ordered that outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more must also receive approval by local governments before taking place. Rafting and tubing businesses in the state have been ordered to close as well.

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Walz Distributes $841M in Federal COVID Aid to Cities, Counties

Gov. Tim Walz approved plans Thursday to distribute $841 million in federal coronavirus aid to cities and counties across Minnesota, along with another $12 million for food banks and food shelves that have seen a surge in demand since the pandemic hit the state.

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US Health Officials Estimate 20M Americans Have Had Coronavirus

U.S. officials estimate that 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the United States, meaning that the vast majority of the population remains susceptible.

Thursday’s estimate is roughly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed. Officials have long known that millions of people were infected without knowing it and that many cases are being missed because of gaps in testing.

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US Breaks Single-Day Record of New Coronavirus Cases

The United States recorded nearly 37,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday as the virus continued to spread across southern and western states, according COVID-19 trackers.

The 36,880 new cases is up from 34,700 recorded Tuesday, and broke previous single-day record for new cases set April 24 when 36,739 were confirmed, according to a New York Times database.

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Audit: US Sent $1.4B in Virus Relief Payments to Dead People

Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people, a government watchdog reported Thursday.

More than 130 million so-called economic impact payments were sent to taxpayers as part of the $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, cited the number of erroneous payments to deceased taxpayers in its report on the government programs.

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New York City Has 39,200 Criminal Cases Backlogged Amid COVID Outbreak

The New York City legal system has more than 39,000 pending criminal cases after trials were postponed in February, the city confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Trials by jury were postponed, prosecutions decreased as officials aimed to decrease the incarcerated population and various hearings were held virtually, The New York Times reported.

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US Citizens Likely to be Left Out as Europe Reopens Borders

Americans are unlikely to be allowed into more than 30 European countries for business or tourism when the continent begins next week to open its borders to the world, due to the spread of the coronavirus and President Donald Trump’s ban on European visitors.

More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe each year, and such a decision would underscore flaws in the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, which has seen the United States record the highest number of infections and virus-related deaths in the world by far.

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Kudlow Echoes Pence, Says ‘No Second Wave’ of Coronavirus Coming

by Andrew Trunsky   White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Monday that there “is no second wave” of the novel coronavirus coming, as states across the country reported rapid increases in new virus cases. Kudlow touted the progress that the country has made in combating the COVID-19 virus during…

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Shelby County Reports Biggest Virus Spike Since Pandemic Began

Tennessee’s largest county reported Saturday its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases, though officials were trying to figure out if the jump represented a surge in people getting sick or delayed results from testing laboratories.

The Shelby County Health Department in Memphis reported an increase of 385 cases of the new coronavirus, eclipsing the previous single-day spike by more than 100 cases.

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Gov. Lee Considers Calling Special Session of Legislature to Pass Bill Giving Businesses Protection From COVID-19 Lawsuits

Gov. Bill Lee is thinking about calling the Legislature in for a special session to pass a bill to provide retroactive COVID-19 legal protection for businesses, the Chattanooga Times Free Press said.

The General Assembly ended their session on Friday without the House passing the Tennessee Recovery and Safe Harbor Act. It received 46 of 50 votes needed. House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) questioned whether the measure was legal under Tennessee’s Constitution regarding the impairment of contracts. (The Senate had approved the bill.)

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Comedian DL Hughley Announces He Is COVID-19 Positive After Fainting Onstage

Comedian D.L. Hughley announced he tested positive for COVID-19 after collapsing onstage during a performance in Nashville, Tennessee.

The stand-up comedian, 57, lost consciousness while performing at the Zanies comedy nightclub on Friday night and was hospitalized, news outlets reported. On Saturday, Hughley posted a video on Twitter in which he said he was treated for exhaustion and dehydration afterward.

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Federal Judge asks Michigan Supreme Court to Decide Emergency Power Questions

A federal judge asked the Michigan Supreme Court to settle questions regarding whether Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has the authority to issue executive orders under two state laws.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney certified two questions to the Michigan Supreme Court.

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Minnesota Schools Given Possible Scenarios for the Fall

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) gave additional guidance for what school could look like in the fall.

The guidance recommended school districts plan for three possible scenarios: in-person learning for all students; hybrid learning with social distance and capacity limits; or distance learning only.

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Brazil Tops 1 Million Cases as Coronavirus Spreads Inland

Brazil’s government confirmed on Friday that the country has risen above 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, second only to the United States.

The country’s health ministry said that the total now stood at 1,032,913, up more than 50,000 from Thursday. The ministry said the sharp increase was due to corrections of previous days’ underreported numbers.

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McDonald’s to Hire 260K People in the US as Pandemic Lockdowns Come to an End

McDonald’s plans to hire more than a quarter of a million people over the course of the summer as economic lockdowns continue to slow down, the company announced Thursday.

The restaurant chain will add 260,000 employees as it reopens dining rooms after shutting down amid lockdowns designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, according to the president of the company.

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