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August 3, 2020

White House Experts: Coronavirus ‘Extraordinarily Widespread’

This Day in History | 1949

After a damaging three-year battle to win both players and fans, the rival Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball League (NBL) merge to form the National Basketball Association (NBA).


Good morning Middle Americans, 

If there was any doubt about how deep we are all steeped in coronavirus, White House COVID-29 task force member Dr. Deborah Brix tried to clear that up when she told America yesterday that the disease is virtually everywhere. Meanwhile, Florida looks like it’s mostly in the clear from Tropical Storm Isaias. But the storm has big plans for the rest of the week. “Isaias is expected to be at near hurricane strength when it reaches the coast of northern South Carolina and southern North Carolina on Monday night, and strong tropical force winds are likely with hurricane conditions in the Hurricane Watch area.” the NHC said. Also today, President Trump’s aides are increasingly worried that the 2020 campaign may already be defined as a referendum on Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and will feature a historic shift to remote and early vote options. After a fiery plummet through Earth’s atmosphere, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship splashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley tucked safely inside. Microsoft on Sunday confirmed that it has held talks with Chinese technology company ByteDance to acquire its trendy social app TikTok in the U.S. Microsoft said in a statement that it will keep working with the U.S. government on a deal and that it intends to conclude talks by September 15. Finally, we say good bye to actor Wilford Brimley, who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to an indelible character actor who brought gruff charm, and sometimes menace, to a range of films that included “Cocoon,” “The Natural” and “The Firm,” has died. He was 85.

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon

U.S. Coronavirus ‘Extraordinarily Widespread,’ White House Experts Say

(Reuters) – The United States is in a new phase of the novel coronavirus outbreak with infections “extraordinarily widespread” in rural areas as well as cities, White House coronavirus experts said on Sunday. Coronavirus cases continue to surge in some parts of the country and the public health officials are trying to work with governors to tailor responses for each state. 

“We are in a new phase,” said Dr. Deborah Birx. “What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread” in rural as well as urban areas.

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Clock is Ticking on Trump Comeback as Early Voting Nears

(AP) – It’s getting late early. President Donald Trump is privately reassuring Republicans anxious about his deficits to Democrat Joe Biden, noting there are three months until Election Day and reminding them of the late-breaking events that propelled his 2016 comeback.

But four years later, the dynamics are very different.

Aides are increasingly worried that the 2020 campaign may already be defined as a referendum on Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and will feature a historic shift to remote and early vote options. The president’s campaign is scrambling for a reset, pausing advertisements while struggling to find both a cohesive message and a way to safely put the president on the road in front of voters.

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NASA Astronauts Splash Down Near Florida in a SpaceX Crew Dragon

(USA Today) – A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in orbit retracted its claw from an attached trunk Sunday, releasing the support structure and exposing a massive heat shield designed to protect NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley from the treacherous process of Earth entry.

The spacecraft that departed the International Space Station only 19 hours earlier performed a critical deorbit burn, placing the duo on an irreversible trajectory toward the Gulf of Mexico. As expected, plasmas that quickly formed around the capsule during re-entry caused a communications blackout as the heat shield kept thousands of degrees at bay and the interior a toasty 85 degrees.

After several callouts to Crew Dragon with no response, Hurley’s signal finally made it through: “Endeavour has you loud and clear.”

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Microsoft Confirms Talks to Buy TikTok in U.S.

(CNBC) –  Microsoft on Sunday confirmed that it has held talks with Chinese technology company ByteDance to acquire its trendy social app TikTok in the U.S. Microsoft said in a statement that it will keep working with the U.S. government on a deal and that it intends to conclude talks by September 15.

If it were to complete the deal, Microsoft could simultaneously resolve a recent controversy in Washington and gain power in consumer technology. 

The statement comes two days after media outlets including CNBC reported that Microsoft was interested in acquiring the app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. Soon after the reports emerged, President Trump said that he opposed the idea of Microsoft buying TikTok and that he would move to ban the app in the U.S.

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Wilford Brimley, “Cocoon” Star and Quaker Oats Pitchman, Has Died at Age 85

(CBS News) – Wilford Brimley, who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to an indelible character actor who brought gruff charm, and sometimes menace, to a range of films that included “Cocoon,” “The Natural” and “The Firm,” has died. He was 85.

Brimley’s manager Lynda Bensky said the actor died Saturday morning in a Utah hospital. He was on dialysis and had several medical ailments, she said.

The mustached Brimley was a familiar face for a number of roles, often playing characters like his grizzled baseball manager in “The Natural” opposite Robert Redford’s bad-luck phenomenon. He also worked with Redford in “Brubaker” and “The Electric Horseman.”

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