Thursday morning news – July 16, 2020

Alabama latest state to adopt mask mandate » Alabama is the latest state to announce a statewide mask mandate. Republican Governor Kay Ivey said Thursday… 

IVEY: Over a two-week period from June 29 to July 13, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama rose by 50 percent. And the number of patients hospitalized during this same time period has increased significantly. 

Beginning today, Alabamians will be required to wear a mask in public spaces. 

About half of all states now have mask mandates.

Florida does not have a statewide mask mandate, but the state’s hardest hit county, Miami-Dade, does. The coronavirus continues to surge in South Florida. 

Dr. Nicholas Namias with Miami’s Jackson Health System said they’re running out of critical care beds. 

NAMIAS: We are getting to the point where it’s going to be full. We have gridlock and we won’t be able to take patients in. They’ll just be stacking in the ER. 

Miami’s mayor has warned that if they can’t curb the outbreak, he may have to order another full lockdown. 

Florida is bringing 3,000 nurses into the state to help with the surging caseload. 

Meantime, in Oklahoma, Republican Governor Kevin Stitt made this announcement on Wednesday…

STITT: I got tested yesterday for COVID-19 and the results came back positive. 

Stitt says he feels fine, but is in quarantine and will be working from home for now.

Fauci pushes back against White House attacks » The White House’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, responded Wednesday to what some see as attempts within the White House to discredit him and other top health officials. 

President Trump this week retweeted a message from former game show host Chuck Woolery. It said—quoting here—“Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back.”

But Fauci on Wednesday said suspicion of doctors and the CDC isn’t helpful. 

FAUCI: For the most part, you can trust respected medical authorities who have a track record of telling the truth. But it’s entirely understandable how the public can get mixed messages and then get a bit confused about what they should do. 

Assistant Health Secretary Admiral Brett Giroir also pushed back against the president’s retweet, telling NBC’s Today Show

GIROIR: We may occasionally make mistakes based on the information we have, but none of us lie.  

Trade adviser Peter Navarro also published an opinion piece in USA Today this week saying Fauci—quote—“has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.” He then cited examples in which he said Fauci offered flawed or conflicting advice. 

Fauci told The Atlantic that attempts within the White House to discredit him are “bizarre.” And he said ultimately, it only hurts the president. 

The White House said Navarro failed to go through proper channels before writing the op-ed. 

Floyd family filing civil suit against city, officers » George Floyd’s family is filing a civil lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and the four officers involved in his death. WORLD’s Leigh Jones reports. 

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: Attorney Ben Crump said Wednesday that the family is suing to set a precedent—quote—“that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people.”

The suit claims the city and the officers violated Floyd’s civil rights.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill on Wednesday allowed members of the public and media to view footage from two of the police officers’ body cameras. The videos reportedly showed that when officers tried to place Floyd in the squad car, he panicked and resisted, telling officers he was “claustrophobic.”

After Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck and Floyd complained he couldn’t breathe, Chauvin appeared not to believe him, saying “Takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to say that.”

The judge has declined to allow news organizations to publish the video.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.

U.S. imposing travel bans on some Chinese tech executives » The Trump administration is imposing new travel bans on employees of some Chinese technology companies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Wednesday…

POMPEO: State Department will impose visa restrictions on certain employees of Chinese technology companies like Huwaei that provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations and abuses globally. 

Pompeo said Huawei “is an arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.”  

Pompeo made the announcements a day after the British government said it would ban Huawei from its 5G networks. That over concerns that the Chinese Communist Party could access sensitive data.

Police investigating after churches set ablaze, vandalized » Police are investigating a series of recent incidents after Catholic churches were burned and vandalized from Florida to California. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: A fire heavily damaged a historic church in Southern California, destroying the rooftop and most of the interior of San Gabriel Mission. The church is nearly 250 years old. Nobody was hurt in the fire.

Investigators do find the timing of the blaze suspicious. It came soon after the toppling of monuments to Junipero Serra, the founder of the California mission system.

And on Saturday in Ocala, Florida, a 24-year-old man rammed his vehicle into the Queen of Peace Catholic Church. He then doused the foyer with gasoline and set it ablaze before fleeing. 

And in Boston on Saturday, a statue of the Virgin Mary was set on fire. A similar statue was vandalized in New York City one day earlier. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Alecia Ballin kneels in prayer in front of the boarded up entrance to the fire-damaged San Gabriel Mission Sunday, July 12, 2020, in San Gabriel, Calif. 

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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