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The World Health Organization reports 230,000 new coronavirus cases were reported across the globe on Sunday — the highest single-day total since the pandemic began. The United States reported 60,000 new infections on Saturday and 68,000 on Friday — the two highest totals to date. Florida recorded over 15,000 new coronavirus cases Sunday, setting a new single-day high for any state, but Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis continues to downplay the pandemic and has refused to impose a new lockdown or to order residents to wear face masks.
Deaths are also increasing in many states as the official U.S. death toll tops 135,000. At least eight states set new single-day records over the past week: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Tennessee. In Texas, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner proposed shutting down the state for two weeks as hospitalizations surge to record highs, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott has rejected such calls. On Saturday, President Trump was photographed wearing a mask in public for the first time since the pandemic began. Trump put on the mask during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Trump and the White House continue to attack the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Over the weekend, the White House attempted to discredit him by distributing a document likened to an opposition research paper containing past comments made by Fauci. Fauci’s last briefing for the president came on June 2. Meanwhile, Trump retweeted a message today from the former host of “Love Connection” claiming the CDC is lying about COVID-19.
In California, the coronavirus death toll at San Quentin State Prison has reached nine, after two more prisoners died on Saturday. Nearly 1,500 men held at the prison have now tested positive. Dozens of critically ill prisoners have already been hospitalized. On Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the release of 8,000 people from the state’s prisons by the end of August. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health have found that prisoners are three times as likely to die from COVID-19 and five-and-a-half times as likely to get infected as the general population.
In Greeley, Colorado, workers at a JBS meat processing plant held a wildcat strike Friday, demanding better pay and safety improvements amid the pandemic. The work stoppage came after hundreds of plant employees tested positive for COVID-19, with six dying of the disease. In April, President Trump ordered meatpacking plants to stay open despite health risks to workers.
A large COVID-19 outbreak has hit a factory run by Los Angeles Apparel where workers make facial masks and other cotton products. Four workers have died, and more than 300 have tested positive. Most of the workforce are Latinx. The factory is owned by Dov Charney, the disgraced founder of American Apparel.
In international news, the coronavirus death toll in Mexico has topped 35,000. Mexico now has the fourth-highest death toll after the United States, Brazil and the United Kingdom. On Saturday, the Mexican government held a ceremony in Mexico City honoring the repatriation of 245 urns containing the remains of Mexicans who died of the coronavirus in the United States. This is Jorge Islas López, Mexico’s consul general in New York.
Jorge Islas López: “It’s a sad day, because 250 of our compatriots who died are arriving in Mexico. The majority of them were alone and isolated as a result of them fulfilling their duty and their work to sustain their families in both the United States and in Mexico.”
Authorities in India have announced a new week-long lockdown in Bangalore and other regions as COVID-19 cases reached new records. On Sunday, India reported nearly 29,000 new cases and 550 deaths. In Hong Kong, authorities have shut down its schools again due to a new surge in cases.
Colombia’s two largest cities, Bogotá and Medellín, are reinstating partial lockdowns as coronavirus cases surge. On Saturday, Colombia recorded nearly 7,000 new cases and just over 200 deaths — both record highs.
In Israel, thousands rallied in Tel Aviv Saturday to protest the government’s handling of the outbreak.
And in Japan, the U.S. Marines have acknowledged at least 60 marines have tested positive with COVID-19 at a base on Okinawa.
President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are continuing to threaten to cut off federal funding to public schools that refuse to fully reopen in the fall due to the pandemic. On Sunday, DeVos appeared on Fox News.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos: “Look, American investment in education is a promise to students and their families. If schools aren’t going to reopen and not fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds. Then give it to the families to decide to go to a school that is going to meet that promise.”
DeVos’s threat came as the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers called on Congress to fund personal protective equipment for school employees, as well as better ventilation systems and cleaning supplies. A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that nearly 1.5 million teachers are at risk of serious illness or death from the coronavirus.
On Friday night, President Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime friend and campaign adviser Roger Stone, who was set to begin a 40-month prison sentence on Tuesday. In November, a jury convicted Stone of seven criminal counts, including obstruction of a congressional investigation, making false statements to Congress and tampering with a witness in connection to the probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election. On Saturday, President Trump claimed Stone was a victim of a witch hunt.
President Donald Trump: “Roger Stone was treated horribly. Roger Stone was treated very unfairly. Roger Stone was brought into this witch hunt, this whole political witch hunt, and the Mueller scam. It’s a scam, because it’s been proven false.”
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut criticized Trump’s commutation. He tweeted, “Stone had info that would have put Trump in jail. He told Trump he’d obstruct justice if he got clemency. Trump agreed.”
In sports news, the Washington R*dsk*ns NFL franchise will change its racist name, which it’s held since 1933. ESPN reports the team hasn’t yet decided on a new mascot but will include the military in its new name. Indigenous campaigners celebrated the move as long overdue and are calling for the Kansas City NFL franchise to follow suit. Navajo Nation activist Amanda Blackhorse tweeted, “It’s time for the Chiefs to defuse the cultural offenses they enable and reflect #NotYourChief.”
In Indiana, prison officials are set to carry out the first federal execution in nearly two decades today. A federal judge had suspended the lethal injection on Friday, after the victims’ family members said they were afraid to travel during the coronavirus pandemic to bear witness to the execution. But a federal appeals court panel ruled the victims’ family doesn’t have to attend. Forty-seven-year-old Daniel Lewis Lee was sentenced to death decades ago for his role in a 1996 triple murder. Since then, several family members of the three victims have called for Lee’s sentence to be commuted to life in prison.
In media news, the chief writer at the Fox News Channel show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” resigned Friday after CNN revealed he had written racist and sexist messages online. Blake Neff routinely posted to the website AutoAdmit using a pseudonym, attacking Asian Americans and African Americans in highly offensive language, while maintaining a thread harassing a woman with information about her personal life. In a statement, Fox News called Neff’s online comments “horrendous and deeply offensive.” Tucker Carlson has called white supremacy a “hoax”; he’s repeatedly made racist, homophobic and explicitly misogynistic remarks. In one 2006 audio recording, he’s heard attacking Iraqis as “semiliterate, primitive monkeys.”
President Trump lashed out Sunday against a section of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that was privately funded by his own supporters. The three-mile barrier in the Rio Grande Valley was completed just months ago with support from the pro-Trump nonprofit “We Build the Wall,” whose board of directors includes Trump allies Kris Kobach, Tom Tancredo and Steve Bannon. The wall is already showing signs of heavy erosion. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “I disagreed with doing this very small (tiny) section of wall, in a tricky area, by a private group which raised money by ads. It was only done to make me look bad.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says an agent ran over an undocumented immigrant with his vehicle earlier this month near a border crossing in El Paso, Texas. The man was reportedly treated for injuries to his leg and torso and deported to Mexico on July 3.
A former Trump Cabinet official has revealed President Trump suggested selling Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the territory in 2017. In a new interview, former acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke quotes Trump saying, “Can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?” New York Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, who was born in Puerto Rico, responded to the report by tweeting, “You may try to sell the office you hold, your personal integrity and your soul, Mr. President — but I assure you Puerto Rico is not for sale!”
Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, artist Lin-Manuel Miranda and former presidential candidate Julián Castro are all backing calls to boycott Goya Foods — a staple brand of food and seasonings in the Latinx community. The boycott comes after CEO Robert Unanue praised President Trump during an event at the White House Thursday.
Robert Unanue: “We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder.”
On Friday, Unanue told Fox News he would not apologize for his statements, claiming the boycott of Goya is a “suppression of speech.” Julián Castro responded by tweeting, “Free speech works both ways. Goya Foods CEO is free to support a bigoted president who said an American judge can’t do his job because he’s 'Mexican', who treats Puerto Rico like trash, and who tries to deport Dreamers. We’re free to leave his products on the shelves.”
The United Nations Security Council voted Saturday to open a single border crossing to allow humanitarian aid deliveries from Turkey into Idlib province, a rebel-held region of northwestern Syria. The weekend agreement broke a week-long stalemate, after Russia and China vetoed plans to allow humanitarian aid shipments through two border crossing points. Idlib recently recorded its first case of COVID-19, raising fears for more than a million internally displaced Syrians living in sprawling camps.
In Poland, incumbent President Andrzej Duda has declared victory in Sunday’s presidential runoff election after narrowly defeating pro-European Union candidate Rafal Trzaskowski. Duda is a far-right nationalist who’s backed by President Donald Trump. He campaigned on an anti-LGBTQ platform and has proposed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from adopting children.
In London, animal rights activists on Saturday poured red dye into two fountains in Trafalgar Square, demanding the British government transition to a plant-based food system to prevent future pandemics caused by zoonotic diseases. At least two protesters with the group Animal Rebellion were arrested.
In Arizona, the family of a 65-year-old Latino man who died of COVID-19 is accusing state officials of being directly responsible for his death. In a scathing obituary in The Arizona Republic, the family of Mark Anthony Urquiza wrote, “His death is due to to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of the crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk.”