Senator Blackburn: Democrats Are Working with Us to Pass COVID-19 Relief

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) shared that the current COVID-19 relief bill is a bipartisan effort closer to $1 trillion. The senator explained in a press conference Thursday that the move is favored by Democratic legislators over efforts by House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

“The good thing is that there are Democrats that have said to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer that they think it is wrong to hold out for a $3 trillion dollar deal, and saddle our future generations with that debt. So they’re working with some Republicans on a bill that is closer to a trillion dollars. So, the bill that we as a Republican conference had agreed on was about a $600 billion bill.”

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Michigan Restaurant Owner Loses Franchise with Big Boy for Breaking Pandemic Restrictions

The owner of a restaurant in Sandusky, Michigan, says it is being “forced to terminate” its contract with the Big Boy franchise over its decision to stay open despite pandemic restrictions. 

A recent order from the state of Michigan has closed indoor restaurant dining in the state from November 18 to December 8. It also closed in-person learning for college and high schools, movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades. The order additionally cancels group fitness classes and organized sports. 

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Faith and Freedom Rally Protests Mayor Cooper Rule of 8: ‘Make America Godly Again’

Monday afternoon in downtown Nashville, a rally of just over 100 people protested the latest gathering limit from Mayor John Cooper. None of the police were present at the Legislative Plaza steps where everyone gathered.

Cooper coined the term “Rule of 8” for the city’s latest pandemic-related order ahead of Thanksgiving. The event description on Facebook described the rule as “ridiculous and unconstitutional.”

Pastor Greg Locke hosted the protest. Locke announced the event during the third “Stop the Steal” rally last Saturday – Trump supporters have pledged to gather every weekend until the general election lawsuits are resolved.

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DeWine Says He Does Not Want Second Lockdown, Calls for ‘Slow Down’

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said during a press conference on Monday that he is not planning to impose a second full lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, instead calling for a “slow down” in the state.

Ohio is currently seeing thousands of new cases of COVID-19 each day, with nearly 8,000 new cases added on Monday, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

“Instead of shutting down, we have to slow down,” DeWine said at a conference from the Tri-State Airport in West Virginia, according to Fox8. “We have to slow down in our individual lives and our decisions in what we are doing.”

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Parents and Members of Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club Protest Distance Learning

A gathering of parked cars blared their horns as dusk fell over the parking lot. Parents arrived once more on a Tuesday evening to protest against distance learning at the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting.

After parents finished honking, they joined the meeting so that they can speak to the board directly. November 10th marked the fourth “Honk for Back-to-School” that parents and community members have attended. These individuals continue to protest the total distance learning at LCPS. 

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Fact-Checkers Rate Viral Video Alleging Whitmer Used Health Officials to Block Poll Challengers As ‘Partly False’

Fact-checkers have ruled a viral video “partly false” after it alleged that Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent health officials to bar poll challengers. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) was present during ballot counting at TCF Center on Wednesday.

It is reported that Whitmer sent MDHHS because the 40,000 square foot building was at capacity for COVID-19 restrictions. In the video, the woman stood alone on the second floor of the building. On camera, MDHHS officials were removing and barring entry to poll challengers.

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Commentary: Government Can’t Count Ballots, So How Can It Possibly Manage a Pandemic or Our Health Care?

Elections are a nasty business, but sometimes they can be clarifying.

We don’t yet know who won the US presidential election, and we may not for days or weeks to come. This stems largely from the ineptitude Americans witnessed on Election Tuesday.

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Governor Lee Grants $5 Million to Charter Schools Based on ‘Significant Academic Growth’

Governor Bill Lee announced Wednesday a $5 million grant for charter schools that had exhibited academic growth. The governor’s Emergency Relief Fund (GEER) will source the funds.

These grant will be referred to as “Charter School Support Grants.” Lee’s decision marked the first grant for charter schools during COVID-19.

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Governor Lee Extends State of Emergency Through End of Year

Governor Bill Lee has officially extended the state of emergency for the remainder of 2020.
The executive order followed Lee’s own quarantine due to exposure from the coronavirus. The extension of the order means that Tennessee will receive further federal funding, mayors can continue to implement their own guidelines, and government officials can continue to meet virtually.

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More Tennessee Counties Re-Issue Mask Mandates and Public Health Emergencies

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased this month, more Tennessee counties are re-issuing mask mandates. Tennessee has nearly 250,000 confirmed cases, 88 percent of which have recovered.
Montgomery County issued the most recent mask mandate on Tuesday. Other counties with mandates include Williamson, Wilson, Rutherford, and Sumner. These mask mandates adhere to guidelines issued under Governor Bill Lee.

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Retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander Defends Dr. Fauci’s COVID-19 Advice

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) defended Dr. Anthony Fauci’s COVID-19 advice after President Donald Trump’s remarks.
The senator also stated that people weren’t doing enough to counteract the spread of the virus.

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New Research Shows Excess of Non-COVID Deaths Increased Over Course of Pandemic

New research from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) shows that excess, non-COVID-19 deaths increased over the course of the pandemic. The authors theorized that the pandemic caused “disruptions” that led to these deaths.

Non-COVID deaths accounted for over thirty percent of the overall excess deaths. The most significant non-COVID causes of death were heart disease, Alzheimer disease, and dementia. 

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Belmont University Condemns Sunday Worship Protest, Cites COVID Safety Concerns – Never Addresses Protests

Belmont University sent out an email to students condemning Sunday’s worship protest and asking students to self-report if they attended. The university cited concern over the “city’s ability to manage the spread of this virus.”

“Regardless of your personal views about COVID-related restrictions on religious worship, events like this severely challenge our city’s ability to manage the spread of this virus,” read the email. “If you are a Belmont student and you did attend this event without wearing a mask and maintaining proper distance from others, please contact Health Services so they can evaluate your potential exposure and determine if a period of quarantine or being tested is necessary.”

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CDC Report Indicates Masks May Increase Chance of Infection with COVID or Other Respiratory Illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last month in which the nearly 71 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 reported “always” wearing their mask. This opposed to the 4 percent of infected individuals who “never” wore masks.
The number of individuals infected with COVID-19 positively correlated with the consistency of mask-wearing. The report didn’t address the possible correlation between face mask hygiene and COVID-19 infection, such as proper handling and disposal of masks. It also didn’t differentiate the respondents’ mask types.

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Mayor Cooper Launches ‘Hospitality Committee’ in Charge of Helping Business Compliance with COVID Regulations

Mayor John Cooper issued a press release Tuesday announcing the launch of a new “Hospitality Committee” to ensure business compliance with COVID-19 health orders.
Members of the committee cover major areas of Nashville’s tourism industry, including hotels, bars, restaurants, entertainment, and attractions.

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Virginia Proposes to Spend Nearly $121 Million in CARES Funding for COVID Vaccinations, Mentions ‘Vaccine Record Cards’

Virginia plans on spending nearly $121 million on CARES funding for COVID-19 vaccine equipment and advertisement. This according to a proposal draft, reportedly submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.

Nearly $6 million will be spent on equipment: over $111 million on administration and staffing and $3 million in a “public education campaign.”

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Metro Board of Health Resumes Controversial COVID Patient Database for First Responders

Metro Public Health Department will officially resume an updated version of the controversial COVID-19 patient database for the benefit of first responders. This follows Metro Department of Communications (DEC) weeks-long interim testing for the database.
The Metro Board of Health discontinued the first version of the system in June due to privacy concerns. About two months later, the board decided to resume the database. The members discussed an interim database that would take six weeks to develop. This following database will serve as the more permanent solution.

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Commentary: Trump Is Now One with Countless Essential Workers

Joe Biden has redefined mask wearing. It is now the thinking man’s patriotism, what every “scientific” and “refined” mind naturally does.

Biden, the media, and the progressive party all blame the now ill Trump for becoming infected. They accuse the president of becoming sick because he was selfish. You see, he was not always wearing a mask, or not always isolating in social-distancing fashion, or not always staying inside except for essential expeditionary trips.

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Rip Off: Over $1.7 Million of CARES Funding Wasted on COVID-19 Exposure App Used by Only 13.5 Percent of Cell Phone Users

The Virginia government will reportedly have spent over $1.7 million for the COVID-19 exposure reporting app COVIDWISE, which 13.5% of cell phone users have downloaded. Approximately $1.5 million was spent on marketing alone.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and SpringML Inc. received $229,000 in CARES federal emergency funding to co-develop and launch COVIDWISE. The app allows users to upload their positive test results, which allows other users to receive exposure notifications. Users will only be notified if they have been within a 6 foot vicinity for over 15 minutes.

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Tennessee to Receive Two Million COVID-19 Rapid Tests from White House

Governor Bill Lee announced during the weekly Tuesday briefing that Tennessee will receive around 2 million rapid viral tests for COVID-19. The tests from BinaxNOW will come in staggered shipments throughout the end of the year.
BinaxNOW tests are significantly more cost-effective and quicker at giving results. They are also more comfortable than the standard deep nasal swab. Instead of going up the nose and into the back of the throat, swabs will go just inside the nose.

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Outbreak in the NFL: Three Tennessee Titans Players, Five Personnel Test Positive for COVID-19

The Tennessee Titans suspended in-person activities through Friday after the NFL says three Titans players and five personnel tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first COVID-19 outbreak of the NFL season in Week 4.

The outbreak threatened to jeopardize the Titans’ game this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers and posed the first significant in-season test to the league’s coronavirus protocols.

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Governor and First Lady Northam Test Positive for COVID-19

Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday that he and his wife, First Lady Pamela Northam, have tested positive for COVID-19. The Northams received testing after learning that one of the governor’s staff members tested positive. 
Northam reports that he is asymptomatic; his wife is experiencing “mild symptoms.” The pair plan to isolate for ten days and then undergo another examination, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidelines.

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Gade Abandons Trump on Key Immigration Policy in First Debate U.S. Senate with Warner

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Republican challenger Daniel Gade appeared virtually on NBC4 for their first debate. NBC News’ Chuck Todd moderated the debate from Washington, D.C. with a live Zoom audience.
Topics included the Supreme Court nominations, COVID-19, the digital divide, policing, racial justice, immigration, and the election.

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China Failed to Stop Pandemic and Engaged in Coverup with WHO’s Help, GOP Congressional Report Says

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs is set Monday to release an audit report on actions perpetrated by China and the World Health Organization at the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The report, written by Republican members of the Democrat-led committee, states that “beyond doubt” the Chinese Communist Party “actively engaged in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn the world,” according to news accounts ahead of the release of the report.

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Trump Intends to Visit Virginia After Denouncing Gov. Northam and Endorsing Bob Good

President Donald Trump announced his intentions to visit Virginia after denouncing Governor Ralph Northam and endorsing congressional candidate Bob Good.

Trump tweeted his remarks on the first day of Virginia’s early voting and submission of absentee ballots, September 18.

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Metro Nashville Coronavirus Task Force Chair Dr. Alex Jahangir on July 2: ‘Saturday I Got A Call . . . 30 People Confirmed That Have Tested Positive . . . So This Was Atypical, Right?’

As The Tennessee Star reported on Monday, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced at a July 2 press conference he was turning the city back to Phase Two from Phase Three, shutting all bars down for 14 days, temporarily shutting down all entertainment and event venues, and reducing restaurant capacity from to 75 percent to 50 percent due to “record numbers” of COVID-19 cases traceable back to bars and restaurants.

Mayor Cooper did not provide any specific details to substantiate his assertion of “record numbers.”

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Governor Walz Sets First-Ever Standards for ‘Really Good Chance’ of Lifting Emergency Executive Orders

In an interview with The Star Tribune, Governor Tim Walz set the first standards for possibly lifting Minnesota’s emergency executive orders. His statement didn’t promise total relinquishment of his executive powers.
According to Walz, under 20 percent community spread and 4 percent test positivity rate would give Minnesota “a really good chance of doing most things.” The governor balked when questioned whether some of the restrictions were too harsh. Walz stated that his state has endured COVID-19 better than many states.

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UMN Football Back in Play After Big Ten Rescinds Month-Old Decision to Cancel Fall Season

University of Minnesota (UMN) fall football is back in play after The Big Ten rescinded its decision to postpone the season until spring.

The Big Ten Conference canceled fall sports last month “due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The announcement caused widespread backlash within the football community.

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Minnesota Department of Health: Even Kids Who Test Negative Must Quarantine If Exposed

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) stated Monday in a press release that even children who test negative for the coronavirus must quarantine if exposed. The MDH’s “COVID-19 Attendance Guide for Parents and Families” explains these standards.

“Getting tested does not shorten the time that they must stay home. Your child must stay home for 14 days (quarantine) from the last contact they had with the person who tested positive for COVID-19, even if the child tests negative,” states the guide.

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Gov Walz’s Sixth Extension of COVID Peacetime Emergency Follows Legislation’s Heated, Divided Vote

Governor Tim Walz extended Minnesota’s COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency for the sixth time after a heated, divided vote in the special legislative session. 
Walz stated in a press release that the coronavirus is still a danger to Minnesotans.

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Commentary: America’s Clown Conference

The latest act in the clown show that is the Big Ten Conference’s postponement of football this fall occurred on Thursday afternoon when Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer green-lighted high school football in the state.
Twitter erupted into paroxysms of hope, and the Internet haruspices crouched down to read the chicken entrails. Might the decision of this control-freak governor, who a little more than a week earlier had expressed glee that the Big Ten was scrubbing football for the fall, augur a reversal of opinion among decision makers in the Upper Midwest and thus a possible revocation of the conference suspension of fall sports?

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Commentary: Trump Takes on the Real Pandemic of ‘Critical Race Theory’

At long last, the president tackles the “critical race theory” infecting the federal workforce.
To be a freedom-loving individual in the year 2020, and to have a proper understanding of modern history and current events, is to be terrifyingly aware of just how much the liberty, prosperity, and stability of America and the free world depend on one thing and one thing alone—namely, the continued physical and intellectual health of a certain preternaturally brave, brilliant, and energetic 74-year-old named Donald Trump.

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Coalition Argues Taxpayer Dollars Should Fund Students, Not Institutions

More than 60 organizations in the U.S. have created a movement – “Yes. Every kid” – promoting policies and funding at a national and local level that focus on the needs of families and students over institutions.

At a time when tens of millions of students face nearly six months without consistent schooling, and while many schools are not reopening, the coalition argues that tax and other dollars should be sent directly to families to determine which educational opportunities are best for them.

“Families have already paid for the ability to access public education” through tax dollars, the coalition says. “Any additional funds should be provided directly to families via grants, stipends, rebates, or other mechanisms designed to help cover the schooling, courses, devices, connectivity, tutoring, socialization, extracurricular activities, and other forms of learning that have been left to parents to pay for.”

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Ohio Senate Discusses Limiting Pandemic Executive Powers, Passes COVID Liability Limits and Federal Relief Funds

The Ohio Senate passed two bills and discussed a third this week that would “check and balance” state executive orders. The two passed bills would limit essential workers’ liability for COVID-19 transmissions and grant $650 million of federal relief funds statewide, respectively.

Senate Bill (SB) 311 aims to install a balance of powers between Congress and Ohio’s Department of Health (DOH) during this and any future pandemics. In an interview with The Ohio Star, Senator Andrew Brenner (R-OH-19) explained the historical rationale behind the bill.

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Governor DeWine Requires Schools to Report K-12 Student COVID Cases to Government

Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday his order requiring all K-12 schools to report COVID-19 cases to their local health department. Schools must do so within 24 hours of notification of a positive test result from a student, teacher, staff member or coach.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes issued the order under DeWine. The order requires each school to appoint a coordinator to report positive cases, and to create a “reopening or pandemic operating plan.” It also requires schools to notify all parents and guardians of case reports. The order did not mention a requirement to tell the staff.

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Constitutional Experts to Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Emergency Powers: The Legislature is the Check on Executive Powers

In Thursday’s meeting of the Joint Ad Hoc Committee to Study Emergency Powers, two experts on constitutional law said, that with the deference the courts afford the executive branch, it is up to the Tennessee General Assembly to put checks on the broad powers of the governor during an emergency.

In the second of three meetings, committee members heard testimony from seven individuals:  Glenn Reynolds, Professor of Law, University of Tennessee; Larry L. Crain, Crain Law Group; Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General of the State of Tennessee; Patrick Sheehan, Director TEMA; Dr. Lisa Piercey, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health; Clark Milner, Deputy Counsel to Governor Bill Lee; Brent Easley, Legislative Director to Governor Bill Lee.

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Sen. Gazelka Challenges Gov. Walz on COVID Measures and Meetings: ‘There is No Longer an Emergency’

Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) continues to challenge Governor Tim Walz’s emergency executive powers, even after their private meeting Thursday. The two disagree about the necessity of Minnesota’s continued state of emergency.

Their meeting marked the 175th day of Walz’s orders.

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State Orders Public Colleges and Universities to Create COVID-19 Quarantine Shelters

Ohio will now mandate public colleges and universities to create non-congregate sheltering space for quarantining coronavirus patients.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes issued the order Sunday “to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” alongside Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted.

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U.S. COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Birx: Minnesotans Haven’t Done Enough to Decrease Spread

U.S. Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx stated in a visit to Minnesota on Sunday that Minnesotans haven’t done enough to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The visit is part of a cross-country tour to gauge how well states are adhering to coronavirus guidelines.
Birx commended the measures instituted by the state. However, she said that Minnesotans needed to do more – especially in rural areas.

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Tennessee Once Again Extends COVID-19 State of Emergency

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has once again extended the state of emergency until the end of September.

Lee, a Republican, initially imposed the state of emergency on March 12 in order to free up funding and relax rules regarding the treatment and containment of COVID-19. He extended the order on Friday, the day before it was set to expire.

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Coronavirus Worries Force Election Officials to Get Creative

The coronavirus has upended everyday life in ways big and small. What happens when those disruptions overlap with voting? Thousands of state and local election officials across the U.S are sharing ideas and making accommodations to try to ensure that voters and polling places are safe amid an unprecedented pandemic.

Some are finding ways to expand access to voter registration and ballot request forms. Others are testing new products, installing special equipment or scouting outdoor voting locations.

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Trump: Convention Speech Locale is White House or Gettysburg

President Donald Trump said Monday that his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination will be held at either the White House or the Gettysburg battlefield.

The president’s initial hopes for the event to be a four-day promotion for his reelection bid have been steadily constrained by the coronavirus pandemic, culminating in his decision last month to cancel nearly all of the in-person proceedings. In recent weeks, President Trump and his aides have looked for alternatives that would allow him to recreate at least some of the pomp of the event.

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Players Unite in Push to Save College Season, Create Union

Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players pushing for the opportunity to play this season despite the pandemic.

Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players’ rights movement in the Big Ten, didn’t like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence’s message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.

“There was a lot of division,” Reynolds told AP early Monday morning.

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Analysis: Churches in Danger of Self-Destructing for ‘COVID Safety’

A large swath of U.S. churches have not reopened for in-person services even though they have legal license to do so. It’s a decision that may very well spell destruction — with dwindling congregations and empty coffers — but it’s a decision many pastors are making nonetheless.

Almost one-third of church-going adults, 31 percent, attend a church which was still closed for public worship as of mid-July, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center published Thursday. In addition, half of church-going adults (those who attend services at least once a month) said they have not attended any in-person religious services for the past month. At the time of the survey, July 13-19, public worship was permitted everywhere in the United States except in some counties in California.

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Person ‘In Charge’ of Contract Tracing Won’t Cooperate with Probe, Auditor Says

An Auditor General’s recently released report answered questions about a canceled no-bid contact-tracing contract tied to a Democratic political consultant, but the person “primarily in charge of contact tracing” refused to cooperate.

Contact tracing is a method of gathering information to discover who might have been infected with COVID-19 by following an infected person’s interactions.

For example, one event at an Ingham County bar resulted in 187 COVID-19 infections across the state.

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The Status of the Coronavirus Vaccine Continues to Advance Rapidly

Researchers, governments and pharmaceutical companies worldwide have been working rapidly to develop an effective vaccine against coronavirus, which has infected over 4.5 million and killed over 150,000 people in the United States alone.

Testing has advanced quickly and there’s optimism that a vaccine will be developed before 2021. But there are also concerns that a vaccine won’t be sufficiently stockpiled or efficiently distributed. There’s additional worry that the growing distrust in vaccines will result in large numbers refusing the injection, making it less beneficial.

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Wealthy Donors Pour Millions into Fight over Mail-In Voting

Deep-pocketed and often anonymous donors are pouring over $100 million into an intensifying dispute about whether it should be easier to vote by mail, a fight that could determine President Donald Trump’s fate in the November election.

In the battleground of Wisconsin, cash-strapped cities have received $6.3 million from an organization with ties to left-wing philanthropy to help expand vote by mail. Meanwhile, a well-funded conservative group best known for its focus on judicial appointments is spending heavily to fight cases related to mail-in balloting procedures in court.

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