The World Health Organization on Saturday reported a new record in daily global coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day, tallying 259,848 infections in a 24-hour period that also saw 7,360 new deaths. Since the pandemic began late last year, The Associated Press reports, more than 600,000 people across the world have died from the virus. The United States, India, Brazil, and South Africa, reported the biggest increases Saturday. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 74,000 new infections Saturday, with Missouri and North Carolina setting new daily highs. Arizona saw its highest number of daily deaths after 147 were killed by the virus, though NPR notes the figure was reportedly in part the result of a review of death certificates. [NPR, Reuters]
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, holds a 15-point advantage over President Trump, a new poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News finds. In the previous iteration of the poll, Biden was up by 10 points. The coronavirus pandemic appears to be a major factor in Biden's growing lead — 54 percent of those surveyed trust him to handle the issue better than Trump, compared to 34 percent of voters who think Trump has a better grasp on the pandemic. The poll is also the latest national survey to show Biden enjoying strong support among suburban voters. CNN notes that if his nine-point lead continues to hold, Biden would be the first Democratic candidate to win the suburban vote by more than five points since at least 1972. [ABC News, The Washington Post]
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a lawsuit Friday night alleging several federal agencies violated Portland protesters' civil rights by arresting them without probable cause. The legal action comes amid a series of demonstrations against police brutality in Portland this week that continued through Saturday evening. The lawsuit claims agents from the Department of Homeland Security injured and threatened protesters, and it also seeks to require officers to identify themselves and their agency before making an arrest, as well as explain the reason behind the arrest. Previously, U.S. Attorney Billy Williams in Portland requested the DHS inspector general to investigate reports that agents arrested people without probable cause. [USA Today, The Washington Post]
The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday granted an emergency use authorization for pooled COVID-19 testing. Quest Diagnostics will now be able to group up to four samples together and will only test them individually if the batch comes back positive. This approach — which has been used in Germany, China, Israel, and South Africa, among other countries — can help save valuable time and resources in places where the virus is less prevalent during the pandemic. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir said it could help increase the U.S.'s testing capacity to 100 million per month by September. [Politico, The New York Times]
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday said she cannot say whether European Union leaders will reach an agreement on an economic recovery plan for the bloc amid the coronavirus pandemic. Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron walked out of a meeting Saturday evening as member states debated the size of the recovery package. The Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland have argued for a smaller fund, while Germany, France, and most other EU countries insist that at least 400 billion euros must be handouts that help protect southern European countries from the pandemic's worst economic effects. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Europe is being "blackmailed" by the more frugal states. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that even though Merkel and Macron "ran off in a bad mood," he's optimistic that the continuing talks will result in an agreement. [Bloomberg, Deutsche Welle]
The Trump administration has reportedly angered some Republican senators because of its efforts to block billions of dollars for states to conduct coronavirus testing and contact tracing in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, as well as money GOP lawmakers want to allocate to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pentagon, and the State Department to address the pandemic at home and abroad, people involved in the talks told The Washington Post. Negotiations around the next relief bill, which will likely be the last before the November election, are expected to increase in urgency this week as new cases surge in several regions. Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on multiple issues, but the reported disagreement between the GOP and the White House adds a new wrinkle to the situation. The Post's sources did say the talks are fluid, however. [The Washington Post]
China and the United States continued to trade barbs this weekend as tensions between the global powers heighten. In a statement Saturday, the U.S. embassy in Yangon, Myanmar, said Beijing's actions in the South China Sea and Hong Kong exemplified a "larger pattern to undermine the sovereignty of its neighbors." In response, Beijing said the U.S. was showing a "sour grapes" attitude toward the "flourishing" relations between China and Myanmar, and that Washington's criticisms were merely an attempt to distract the world from its domestic problems. "The U.S. should first look in the mirror to see whether it still looks like a major country now," China's statement said. Reuters notes both countries have battled for influence in Myanmar in recent years because of its strategic geographic location. [Reuters]
Following the death of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) Friday, there's been a surge of support to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in honor of the civil rights icon. Lewis helped lead a march for Black voting rights across the bridge in 1965, during which he and his fellow protesters were beat by state troopers in what became known as Bloody Sunday. Pettus was a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and later became a Ku Klux Klan leader. A petition to rename the bridge for Lewis actually began a month ago while he was battling cancer. Prior to his death, it had garnered around 250,000 signatures, but by Saturday evening the number jumped to more than 437,000. [CBS, The New York Times]
Walt Disney Co., which was Facebook's top U.S. advertiser for the first six months of the year, has dramatically cut its ad spending on the social media site amid a boycott from companies upset with the tech giant's handling of hate speech and other divisive content, The Wall Street Journal reports. Disney spent an estimated $210 million on Facebook ads for its streaming service, Disney+, so far this year, but the advertising is now paused. Other divisions of Disney are also re-evaluating their advertising on Facebook, and the Journal reports ads for ABC and Disney-owned cable networks have all but vanished from the site. [The Wall Street Journal]
Canada's Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Saturday that Ottawa has denied the Toronto Blue Jays' request to play at the Rogers Centre, their home stadium, during the shortened 60-game Major League Baseball season. The Canadian government does not believe it will be safe for the team to travel back and forth to play teams based in the United States, where coronavirus cases are rising. The Blue Jays are now looking at other sites to play their games this season, which begins this week. Among the possibilities are the club's training facility in Dunedin, Florida, although the Sunshine State remains a virus hot spot, and Buffalo, New York, the home of the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate. Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said the club is seriously considering the latter, but there are infrastructure challenges. [ESPN]
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