Good morning, NBC News readers.
Hundreds of U.S. businesses have been cited for illegally denying paid leave to workers during the pandemic, Labor Department records show. Plus, Microsoft is set to move forward with talks to buy TikTok's U.S. operations, and two NASA astronauts made an historic water landing as they returned to Earth aboard their commercially built spacecraft.
Here's what we're watching this Monday morning.
Sickened by COVID, low-wage workers lose jobs and are denied paid leave
Lucie Joseph started to feel sick on April 28 as she rang up customers at the gas station where she worked in Delray Beach, Florida.
When her symptoms worsened, she got tested for COVID-19 and found out she did indeed have the virus. As instructed, she didn't return to work until she had two consecutive negative tests. On June 15, however, she was fired.
Two months before she was fired, President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which requires certain small and medium-sized businesses to pay a worker's full salary for two weeks if they become infected with COVID-19 and prohibits businesses from firing employees for taking leave.
However, hundreds of U.S. businesses — including some familiar names — have been cited for illegally denying paid leave to workers during the pandemic, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Meanwhile, other workers face wildly varying rules about whether COVID-19 is covered as a workplace injury. More than a dozen states have changed their laws or rules since the pandemic, often so that a nurse would be presumed to have contracted the virus at work, leaving it up to the employer to prove that the worker got it someplace else.
Here are some other coronavirus developments:
The opioid crisis has steadily worsened as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on
For historically Black colleges and universities, the pandemic has ushered in a 'new normal'
In Italy, where the coronavirus ravaged cities from late February through April, doctors are now preparing for a second wave
Track U.S. hot spots where COVID-19 infection rates are rising
Microsoft to 'move quickly' on TikTok deal following Trump talks
Microsoft will move forward with talks to buy TikTok's U.S. operations following a discussion between its chief executive, Satya Nadella, and President Donald Trump, the company said Sunday.
The announcement suggests that the White House is open to a deal that would see TikTok's U.S. operations pass entirely to an American owner. Trump had said Friday that he would ban TikTok and that he would not approve a Microsoft takeover.
In recent months, U.S. officials have expressed concerns over TikTok's Chinese ownership and fears that Beijing could use the social media app to gain access to U.S. user data. TikTok claims more than 100 million users in the U.S.
'They are obsessed': Why Germans have so much riding on the U.S. election
During the Trump administration, few places have recoiled with as much horror as Germany, once a vital friend that the White House now berates with open hostility.
But anyone hoping the U.S. presidential election in November will quickly reverse years of turmoil may be sorely disappointed, according to former U.S. diplomats, and officials and analysts in Berlin.
"How interested are the Germans in the U.S. election? They are obsessed with it," said John B. Emerson, U.S. ambassador to Germany from 2013 to 2017.
Stateside, Joe Biden's vice presidential pick remains a mystery. The three traits he should be looking for in a running mate should be competence, character and compassion, writes Jonathan Allen in a news analysis.
Meanwhile, Democrats are warning Republicans not to fill a possible Supreme Court vacancy this year after denying President Barack Obama the chance in 2016, saying it would embolden a push on the left to add seats to the court whenever they regain power.
"If they show that they're unwilling to respect precedent, rules and history, then they can't feign surprise when others talk about using a statutory option that we have that's fully constitutional in our availability," Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said in an interview.
NASA astronauts make historic splashdown in SpaceX capsule
Two months after NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley made history by launching into space from U.S. soil for the first time in nearly a decade, the duo returned to Earth on Sunday.
It marked a major milestone for human spaceflight — the first time that NASA astronauts have traveled to and from space aboard a commercially built spacecraft. It also marked the first water landing for an American crew spacecraft in 45 years.
Prior to the launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, NASA hadn't sent astronauts into orbit from American soil since the agency’s space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011. NASA has already announced the astronauts selected for the next Crew Dragon launch to the space station planned for late September, but the capsule will first need to complete NASA’s certification process.
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Florida is preparing for Tropical Storm Isaias as it moves up the East Coast
New York Mets star Yoenis Céspedes has opted out of the season for 'COVID-related reasons,' the team said.
How the world's fastest animal is losing the race for survival
This teen avenged her parents' murder. Or did she? Here's the story that has electrified Afghans.
Alarm in Brazil's Amazon rainforest as new data reveals a huge rise in wildfires
THINK about it
Students know that personal desires for a traditional high school experience are outweighed by the common good. So why doesn’t our government, writes rising high school senior Sadie Bograd in an opinion piece.
In most parts of the country, cooking sweet corn is synonymous with summertime. Here are five easy ways to cook it perfectly.
Experts recommend wearing clothing with built-in sun protection. We consulted dermatologists on the best UPF hats to consider this summer.
One touching thing
Weddings these days may be a bit different than usual but that doesn't make the bride's dress any less important. One organization is helping healthcare workers get the perfect gown - for free.
Brides Across America was founded in 2008 to give free wedding dresses to military and first responder brides. Now their mission has expanded to include those working on the front lines of COVID-19.
"This is what we are about, supporting those that support us on a daily basis," said Heidi Janson, founder and CEO of Brides Across America.
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