The United States recorded nearly 75,000 coronavirus cases on Tuesday as the confirmed death toll from COVID-19 neared 227,000. The U.S. has recorded over a half-million new coronavirus cases over just the last week. More than half of states are at or near record levels of infections, and no state in the union is seeing a decline in new cases.
Despite the grim news, the Trump administration declared victory over the coronavirus on Tuesday. In a news release accompanying the release of a 62-page report, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy cited “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as one of President Trump’s first-term accomplishments.
In Wisconsin, health officials reported 64 coronavirus deaths and nearly 5,300 new daily cases Tuesday, shattering previous records. Just hours after that announcement, President Trump rallied his supporters in western Wisconsin, where thousands packed shoulder to shoulder at a campaign event where few people wore masks.
President Trump said Tuesday that any deal on a new stimulus bill would have to wait until after the November election. Trump’s comments came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate until November 9 following Monday’s vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. This comes as more than 54 million U.S. residents are struggling to afford food, according to the hunger relief organization Feeding America. Here in New York, the food bank operator City Harvest says 2.5 million people don’t have enough money for basic necessities. This is Guillermo Lugo, manager of a food distribution market in the Bronx.
Guillermo Lugo: “The average at this market was about 200-250 families. Since the onset of the pandemic, the average attendance at this market is 650 families. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.”
In Philadelphia, hundreds of people took to the streets for a second straight night Tuesday to protest the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by two Philadelphia police officers Monday while having a mental health crisis. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf called out the National Guard to help quell the protests after some people set fires and broke into businesses. On Tuesday evening, Walter Wallace Sr. called for an end to chaos and looting — but demanded justice for his son.
Walter Wallace Sr.: “Somebody has to be held accountable for what they did. If you’re going to call a justified shooting multiple times, I mean, what kind of law we have?”
Two members of a grand jury convened after the police killing of Breonna Taylor have spoken on camera for the first time, calling the actions of the Louisville officers responsible for Taylor’s death “criminal.” The two jurors say Kentucky’s Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron never gave them the option to consider murder or manslaughter charges against the Louisville police officers involved in Taylor’s killing. The pair had their identities concealed as they spoke with CBS’s Gayle King in an interview airing today.
Gayle King: “Can I ask you what you both think of the police behavior and actions that night?”
Juror 1: “Negligent.”
Gayle King: “Negligent?”
Juror 1: “They couldn’t even provide a risk assessment. And it sounded like they hadn’t done one. So their organization leading up to this was lacking. That’s what I mean by they were negligent in the operation.”
Gayle King: “Number two?”
Juror 2: “They were criminal. Leading up to this, in everything that they — the way they moved forward on it, including the warrant, was deception.”
President Trump continues to attack mail-in ballots, claiming it would be inappropriate to count any ballots received after Election Day.
President Donald Trump: “It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3rd, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate. And I don’t believe that that’s by our laws. I don’t believe that.”
On Monday the Supreme Court ruled mail-in ballots in Wisconsin can be counted only if they are received by Election Day. In other states, including Pennsylvania, ballots postmarked by November 3rd can be counted. Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion has alarmed voting rights advocates. Kavanaugh said counting ballots received after Election Day could create “suspicions of impropriety” because they could “potentially flip the results of an election.” One voting rights expert slammed Kavanaugh for adopting a “Trumpian mind-set.”
Meanwhile, many voting rights groups are now urging voters to drop off absentee ballots in person instead of relying on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver them in time due to cutbacks implemented by the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, a major supporter of President Trump.
In other voting news, the Texas Supreme Court has backed Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s order limiting ballot drop box sites to just one per county.
Muslim communities around the world are denouncing French President Emmanuel Macron’s public backing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, accusing Macron of attacking Islam. Macron made the comments during a vigil for a French teacher beheaded outside his school earlier this month. The teacher had previously shown his students a cartoon of Muhammad. Protests against Macron have erupted across Bangladesh, Palestine, Iraq and other predominantly Muslim nations. Meanwhile, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait and others are demanding a boycott of French products.
The United Nations is warning severe child malnutrition is soaring in Yemen, with nearly 100,000 children now at risk of dying. The food security crisis is being driven by a combination of the U.S.-backed Saudi war, the pandemic, climate change and cutbacks in international aid. Fuad Ahmad Remi is a nurse in Sana’a.
Fuad Ahmad Remi: “We are receiving many malnutrition patients and seeing many deaths caused by the poor economic conditions and the inability of parents to come to the hospitals because of poverty. … If the aid agencies stop their support, this will lead to a humanitarian disaster for the Yemeni people, who are unable to cope with the economic sanctions and the lack of fuel.”
The United Arab Emirates has become the first Arab state to open a consulate inside Western Sahara, which has been occupied by Morocco for 45 years in defiance of the United Nations and the international community. Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council is voting today to renew its mandate to keep a peacekeeping force in the occupied territory. Amnesty International has issued an appeal for the U.N. to include a human rights monitoring component for the peacekeepers. Most independent human rights organizations and journalists are not able to enter Western Sahara. The homes of Right Livelihood laureate Aminatou Haidar and human rights defenders Mina Baali and Elghalia Djimi remain under police siege since they and other activists launched a new organization known as ISACOM that demands self-determination and human rights for Sahrawis. Click here to watch our special, “Four Days in Western Sahara: Africa’s Last Colony.”
A teenage activist in Hong Kong was detained by police Tuesday near the U.S. Consulate, where he was planning to seek asylum. Nineteen-year-old Tony Chung helped found the pro-independence group Studentlocalism and had been arrested previously under Hong Kong’s new national security law. Two of his associates were also detained Tuesday.
In the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Zeta has strengthened back into a hurricane ahead of its expected landfall south of New Orleans as a Category 2 storm this afternoon. Officials along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast are warning of flooding and life-threatening storm surges. On Tuesday, Zeta struck Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, which was still recovering from Hurricane Delta’s landfall just three weeks ago. Zeta is the 27th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which is on pace to break all records.
In New York, Keith Raniere, the leader of the NXIVM sex cult, has been sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking and other charges. Over a dozen women testified at the sentencing hearing, saying Raniere traumatized and brainwashed them while he posed as a self-help guru. One of the survivors said Raniere started sexually assaulting her when she was 15 and he was 45. Others testified that Raniere referred to them as “slaves” and branded them with his initials using a cauterizing pen.
A federal judge has ruled President Trump can be personally sued for defamation by E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s. The judge rejected an attempt by the Justice Department to switch the defendant in the case from Donald Trump to the U.S. government, claiming that Trump’s rape accusation denial was done in his official capacity as president. The judge ruled that the president is not an employee of the government and that Trump’s comments regarding the rape accusation “would not have been within the scope of his employment.”
In Poland, protests continue following a constitutional court ruling last week that banned almost all forms of abortion, tightening anti-choice laws that were already among the most restrictive in Europe. Demonstrators took to the streets Tuesday, blocking public transit and streets in one of Warsaw’s richest neighborhoods.
Protester: “The truth is that there is going to be a chain of illegal, underground abortions now, which means that a lot of them will be conducted in inhumane conditions, completely devastating conditions.”
Meanwhile, lawmakers opposing the near-total ban on abortion led a protest inside the Polish Parliament Tuesday, wearing T-shirts and masks with a lightning bolt symbol representing the Women’s Strike movement.