It's gonna be a hot one this weekend. Close to 90% of the country is looking at temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Stay hydrated, everyone.
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Day after day, the US is topping itself in coronavirus cases and deaths. Thursday brought 77,225 new cases, eclipsing Tuesday's single-day nationwide case record. At least 943 people were also reported dead. Florida alone reported 156 new coronavirus-related deaths, the most yet in a 24-hour period. Hospitalizations are also on the rise: Miami's mayor says the city's hospitals have reached 95% capacity. In Texas and Arizona, morgues are filling up in the hardest-hit areas and officials are bringing in coolers and refrigerated trailers to store bodies. Yes, it's bleak, and the international community is taking notice. Mark Lowcock, The United Nations' top official in charge of humanitarian aide warned that the failure of wealthy nations to contain and react to the pandemic could allow the virus to ravage less developed nations and exacerbate the effects of the global health crisis for tens of millions of people. Currently, more than 13.8 million people have contracted the virus worldwide, resulting at least 590,000 deaths.
2. Election 2020
Both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention will look a lot different now that the coronavirus is back with a vengeance. Democratic officials have advised members of Congress not to plan to travel to this summer's party convention. DNC leaders already asked state parties and convention delegates to participate remotely, allowing for nearly two weeks of virtual voting ahead of the convention. The Republican National Committee has revised plans for the party's convention in Jacksonville, cutting down on crowd numbers and speeches. This includes Trump's big planned speech on the last day, which will now feature restricted attendance. Meanwhile, GOP leaders are trying to convince Trump to halt his attacks on mail-in voting over fears that it may turn GOP voters off if they have to go to the polls in-person in November.
The US has "several" intelligence indications that Iran has put portions of its air defense system on "high alert" in recent days, which means the country's surface-to-air missiles would now be ready to fire at targets perceived to be a threat. The change in status follows several unexplained explosions at key facilities tied to the country's military and nuclear programs. The US had concluded the recent security boost is out of uncertainty about whether there is an unknown threat to the regime. One theory among the international community is that Israel may be behind some of the explosions. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz didn't exactly rule out the possibility while discussing the incidents two weeks ago.
Strap in for a Congressional sprint toward a new coronavirus relief package. Although, given how little Democrats and Republicans agree on the next steps, it may be more like a roller derby. Senate Republicans are slated to release their plan next week, which will probably be rejected by Democrats who want a larger, more comprehensive plan (remember, House Democrats passed that huge $3 trillion measure in May, which never really went anywhere). Some of the topics up for debate are small business aid, education funding, state and local funding, corporate liability and unemployment protections. However, both sides only have a few weeks before current unemployment enhancements run out. There's also an August recess looming, but House Democrats have made it clear they'll forego the recess to get a deal done.
5. Washington football
The Washington Redskins have opened an internal investigation after 15 former female employees and two journalists who covered the team accused the team's staffers of sexual harassment and verbal abuse. The allegations were first released in a Washington Post article. Some of the team's employees implicated in the article have been fired or left their positions recently. Owner Dan Snyder and former team president Bruce Allen were not directly implicated, but Snyder was criticized for fostering a team culture in which such abuse could take place. The team has been in the spotlight over the past few weeks as it faced pressure to change its name, which has been long criticized for its racist connotations.
It's World Emoji Day. How are we using them to talk about the coronavirus?
White Castle is testing a burger-grilling robot named Flippy
And Flippy is ... much taller and more intimidating than its cute name may suggest.
One Direction is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a special gift for fans
No, it's not a reunion tour, so save your most ear-splitting squeals.
Alex Trebek gave an update on his health, and says he's 'feeling great'
KFC is going to sell plant-based fried chicken in some lucky regions
Prepare yourself for KFPBC (Kentucky Fried Plant-Based Chicken, yes we know the nickname needs work).
That's how many subscribers Netflix added in the second quarter of 2020, smashing their own expectations.
"I know there's an argument going on here in the state over whether the governor can or cannot make you wear a mask. I'm not in that fight. But I'm here to tell you, put it on."
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, telling the state of Kentucky that, regardless of whether or not the state's Gov. Andy Beshear has the authority to mandate mask wearing, people should wear them because it's, in his words, the "best way all of us can be responsible to ourselves and sensitive to the health of others."
Hey, watch the glissandos!
We brought the week in with a cat video and, darn it, we're gonna go out with one too. (Click here to view.)