Monday morning news – July 13, 2020

Fla. breaks single-day record for new COVID-19 in any state » Florida on Sunday shattered the national record for a state’s largest single-day spike of new COVID-19 cases. More than 15,000 people tested positive.

Speaking to reporters one day earlier, Governor Ron DeSantis again said he believes more testing is largely behind the surge of new cases. 

DESANTIS: We’ve tested 2.4 million people. That is one for every nine people in the state of Florida. 

He noted that the percentage of tests returning positive seemed to have stabilized in recent weeks. But according to Johns Hopkins University, Florida’s seven-day rolling average rate of positive tests is second-highest in the nation. At about 20 percent, it trails only Arizona.

New cases are also up nationally. The United States recorded 68,000 new cases on Friday, another new record. And the country’s seven-day moving average of COVID-19 deaths hit 700 on Saturday. 

The good news is, that number is only a fraction of what it was in mid-April, when the country reached 2,200 deaths per day. 

Assistant Health Secretary Admiral Brett Giroir told ABC’s This Week… 

GIROIR: This is not out of control, but it requires a lot of effort and everybody’s gonna have to do their part. You’ve really got to stop the bars. You’ve got to decrease restaurant capacity. You’ve got to physically distance. You have to have people wearing a mask in public. It’s absolutely essential.

President Trump wore a mask in public for the first time Saturday.

WHO: Record-high COVID-19 cases worldwide » And the World Health Organization reported a worldwide record rise in coronavirus cases on Sunday: About 230,000. It said the sharpest increases were in the United States and India. Also South Africa with more than 13,000 new cases. 

India reported a record surge of about 29,000 new cases in one day. Authorities there are locking down the city of Banglore for at least a week. Theat’s a major tech hub in India. 

Iran is dealing also with a worsening outbreak, but President Hassan Rouhani says shutdowns are not an option for his country’s reeling economy. 

ROUHANI: [Speaking in Farsi]

He said if Iran tried a large scale lockdown—quote—“the next day, people would come out to protest the (resulting) chaos, hunger, hardship and pressure.”

Lawmakers debate new economic stimulus bill » Congress is back in session one week from today, but lawmakers and the White House are already negotiating over the shape and size of another stimulus package. 

Back in May, House Democrats passed a nearly 2,000-page $3 trillion bill, largely down party lines. It called for another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to even more people.

But Senate Republicans are eyeing a package about a third of that size, just over a trillion dollars. Their plan could also provide another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans, but possibly at a lesser amount and perhaps only to people earning less than $40,000 per year. 

GOP Senator John Barrasso said Sunday that the first priority of a new package should be to get people back to work and children back in school…

BARRASSO: And finally we need to provide the liability insurance for our healthcare workers,  our mom and pop small businesses, and for our schools so they can all open in a good way. 

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a new stimulus bill faces a steeper uphill climb than the CARES Act passed back in March. 

MCCONNELL: This is now July. It’s that much closer to the election. This is  probably going to be more difficult politically to pull everybody together. 

The White House says President Trump supports spending $2 trillion on a new stimulus bill. 

Mueller, lawmakers feud over Trump commutation of Stone sentence » Democrats on Sunday blasted President Trump for commuting the prison sentence of longtime ally Roger Stone on Friday—just days before he was set to report to prison. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff…

SCHIFF: The president through this commutation is basically saying if you lie for me, if you cover up for me, if you have my back, then I will make sure that you get a get out of jail free card. 

And former special counsel Robert Mueller spoke out over the weekend. In an op-ed in the Washington Post, he answered White House charges that the Russia probe was a “witch hunt” and that Stone was unfairly targeted. 

Roger Stone told reporters on Friday … 

STONE: The investigation of Robert Mueller, we now know indisputably was illegitimate, that there was no legal basis for it being opened. 

But Mueller wrote that the probe was of “paramount importance.” And he added that Stone—in his words—“remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.” 

A jury found the 67-year-old guilty of seven felony charges brought by Mueller’s office. Those included lying to Congress and witness tampering. 

Mueller wrote that though he felt compelled to respond to—quote—“claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper.”

But hours later, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said he thinks Mueller has more explaining to do. On Sunday, he announced that he plans to call the former special counsel to testify about the Russia probe. 

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) In this Monday, July 6, 2020 file photo, a health care worker administers a COVID-19 test at a site sponsored by Community Heath of South Florida at the Martin Luther King Jr. Clinica Campesina Health Center in Homestead, Fla. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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