1/ For the 16th consecutive day the U.S. has averaged over 1,000 coronavirus deaths. The U.S. is averaging just under 53,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day – down 11% from the week prior. (CNN)

  • A Florida sheriff banned his deputies from wearing masks at work. Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods disputed the idea that masks are a consensus approach to battling the pandemic despite a majority of epidemiologists and other health experts saying face masks and social distancing are key to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Florida set a daily record for COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday. (Washington Post)

  • Trump added a frequent Fox News guest, who echoes his views on reopening schools, lockdowns, and college football, as a coronavirus adviser. Dr. Scott Atlas has reportedly been informally advising Trump for weeks after Trump first saw Atlas on Fox News, asserting that it doesn’t matter “how many cases” there are in the U.S., wrongly claiming those under 18 years old have “essentially no risk of dying,” implying that high risk teachers should “know how to protect themselves” from COVID-19 and baselessly claiming that “children almost never transmit the disease.” Atlas has also called the idea that schools cannot reopen this fall “hysteria.” (CNN)

  • A team of virologists and aerosol scientists were able to isolate live coronavirus in the air up to 16 feet from patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The team collected air samples from a ward dedicated to COVID-19 patients from seven and 16 feet away. The samples collected could then infect cells in a lab dish. (New York Times)

2/ The White House clarified that it will provide less financial assistance for the unemployed than Trump initially promised. Unemployment benefit will be $300 per week, not the $400 Trump announced on Saturday when he approved an executive action to expand unemployment benefits. Further, the extra $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits will likely to take a few weeks to reach people, but the funding could be exhausted in five or six weeks. More than 30 million people are receiving some form of unemployment benefits. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / ABC News / Bloomberg)

3/ Congress and the Trump administration remain “miles apart” on negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus deal. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly reached out to Pelosi seeking a meeting on the stalled talks, but “the White House is not budging from their position concerning the size and scope of a legislative package,” Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement. Pelosi and Schumer also signaled that Mnuchin – again – rejected their offer to find a middle ground between the Democrats’ $3 trillion package the GOP’s $1 trillion proposal. Pelosi and Schumer have not met with Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows since since Friday. (CNBC / Axios / Washington Post / Reuters)

4/ Public hospital data about the coronavirus pandemic is lagging by a week or more since the Trump administration ordered states to bypass the CDC and report data directly to the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS officials said the quality-control process has led to some delays in reporting hospital capacity estimates. Nearly three dozen current and former members of a federal health advisory committee, meanwhile, have warned that the new coronavirus database is placing an undue burden on hospitals and will have “serious consequences on data integrity.” (Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

5/ Minutes after Joe Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate, Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee attacked Harris, labeling her the “nastiest,” “meanest,” “most horrible,” and “most liberal leftist nominee” ever to run for vice president. Trump senior adviser Katrina Pierson attempted to paint Harris as an overzealous criminal prosecutor on one hand, while suggesting that her and Biden would neglect law and order on the other. Fox News, meanwhile, attacked Harris throughout Tuesday night with Tucker Carlson intentionally and repeatedly mispronouncing the senator’s first name before being called out by a guest. “So what?” he Carlson, “Comma-la.” And, finally, when Trump was asked about his tweet calling Harris a “phony,” Trump responded: “That she was a what?” He then continued: “She’s very big into raising taxes, she wants to slash funds for our military at a level that nobody would ever believe, she’s against fracking […] extraordinarily nasty.” (NBC News / The Guardian / CNN / New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg / CNN / The Hill)

  • Trump donated to Kamala Harris in 2011 and 2013. Trump gave donations of $5,000 and $1,000 to Harris’s re-election campaign for California attorney general. (Bloomberg)

  • [Analysis] What you need to know about Kamala Harris. “Harris, who is Black and Indian American, will become the first woman of color on a major-party presidential ticket when she and Biden are formally nominated by Democrats at next week’s virtual convention. She will be only the fourth woman on a major-party ticket. Here’s what you should know about her.” (Washington Post)

  • [Behind the move] Inside Joe Biden’s search for his own running mate. “The journey that led to Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate began two years ago, say those familiar with the process.” (NBC News)

  • [Perspective] Tucker Carlson’s mangling of Kamala Harris’s name was all about disrespect. “Here’s the thing: It’s really not that hard to get Harris’s name right.” (Washington Post)

  • [Perspective] Kamala Harris crystallizes Trump’s view of women. “Trump responded by sorting women into the good “suburban housewife” he believes will vote for him, and the nasty women who have not respected him.” (New York Times)

  • [Dept. of Whatever] Jared Kushner met privately with Kanye West last weekend. When asked about the meeting, the rapper, who has filed petitions to get on the November ballots for president in several states, tweeted: “I’m willing to do a live interview with the New York Time about my meeting with Jared.” In a recent poll, 2% of voters overall supported West, and just 2% of Black voters supported him. (New York Times / Politico)

6/ Several states concerned about slower-than-usual mail delivery are extending mail-in ballot deadlines and making backup plans to ease early voting. Legislators in Nevada and Mississippi will allow ballots to be counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day – even if they arrive much later. Connecticut made a similar change for the state’s primary, while Minnesota agreed to set aside its deadline as part of a court settlement. Several over states are also adding technology that would allow both elections directors and voters to track ballots as they move through the postal system. The American Postal Worker Union, meanwhile, warned that a U.S. Postal Service reorganization, introduced in July, has resulted in thousands of delayed letters. Another directive, requiring mail carriers to immediately head out on their routes, carrying only packages and letters that were sorted the night before, has resulted in some carriers doubling back to pick up a second batch later in the day. (Reuters / Bloomberg)

7/ Trump has averaged less than one intelligence briefing a week since July 1 – after it became public that he had ignored intelligence reports about Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for each American soldier killed in Afghanistan. Trump went from a high of 4.1 briefings per week on average in March 2017 to 0.7 per week since July 1. Monday’s briefing was his first in August and the first since July 22. In July, Trump received three briefings. (HuffPost)

8/ Trump privately told people that he intends to replace Secretary of Defense Mark Esper after the November election, frustrated that Esper hasn’t done more to publicly defend him on reports that Russia paid Taliban fighters “bounties” for the killing of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Esper, however, has told people close to him that he intends to leave regardless of the election’s outcome. (Bloomberg)

poll/ 40% of voters blame Democrats for failing to pass a new COVID-19 relief package before the initial $600 unemployment benefit expired last week. 39%, meanwhile, blame Trump and Republicans in Congress. (CNBC)

poll/ 79% of Americans say religious institutions should be required to follow the same social distancing guidelines as secular businesses and entities. 19% say houses of worship should be allowed more flexibility than other kinds of establishments when it comes to rules about social distancing. (Public Research Center)

poll/ 59% of voters oppose the Trump administration’s demand that schools and colleges fully open for in-person instruction. (Politico)

  • Nearly 1,200 students and staffers in a Georgia school district have been quarantined after 38 students and 12 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 – one week into the new school year. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

  • A school district in New Jersey voted this week to hold all classes remotely after more than 400 teachers opted out of in-person classes over health concerns. (CBS News)


Notables.

  1. A federal judge in New York invalidated rule changes made by the Trump administration that would have allowed individuals and corporations to kill large numbers of birds as long as they could prove the birds weren’t specifically targeted. U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni said there is nothing in the century-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act that indicates that in order for an action to be prohibited, it must be directed specifically at birds. He added: “Nor does the statute prohibit only intentionally killing migratory birds. And it certainly does not say that only ‘some’ kills are prohibited.” Under the Trump administration’s reasoning, a company like BP, which was responsible for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that killed up to a million birds, would not be liable for punishment under the changes to the law. “It is not only a sin to kill a mockingbird, it is also a crime,” Judge Caproni wrote. (Washington Post)

  2. Trump criticized wind power during an interview on Fox News and mourned “all the birds” that are killed by windmills each year. “Site and home values going way down,” Trump told Sean Hannity. “If you see a windmill and hear a windmill, your home is worth half or less than half. It kills all the birds.” (Daily Beast)

  3. Trump tweeted congratulations to a QAnon conspiracy theorist who won the Republican nomination in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District runoff. Marjorie Taylor Greene has posted hours of racist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic videos on Facebook. (Axios / NBC News / CNN / ABC News / New York Times)


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