Newsletter: Dr. Fauci Warns Of A Midwest Surge

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, center, speaks in June during a press conference on the pandemic. Susan Walsh / Associated Press
Dr. Anthony Fauci
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, center, speaks in June during a press conference on the pandemic. Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Newsletter: Dr. Fauci Warns Of A Midwest Surge

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Good afternoon! It’s still only Tuesday, and I’m still filling in for Hunter. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. The Midwest could see the next big surge in COVID-19 cases, Dr. Fauci says

After massive coronavirus outbreaks this year in the Northeast and Sunbelt, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned today that the Midwest could be next. But Fauci also said there’s still time to stop the surge — if states follow the national guidelines on reopening safely.

Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., specifically mentioned Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, the last of which is currently seeing one of the fastest per-capita increases in cases. [NPR]

The news comes as Chicago officials announced today that travelers coming from Missouri, Nebraska and North Dakota should self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the city. Chicago added Wisconsin to the list yesterday. [WBEZ]

State officials today reported 1,076 new cases and 30 deaths throughout Illinois. Over the past week, there have been an average of 1,413 cases per day, an increase of 44% from the average two weeks earlier, according to The New York Times. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, Chicago Public Schools officials are holding public meetings about a potential fall reopening plan — and already have faced hundreds of questions from parents and teachers, many steeped in skepticism. [Chicago Sun-Times]

What is CPS’ school reopening plan? Here’s a simple breakdown. [WBEZ]

And as college and high school students’ plans for summer internships have been postponed, many are turning to summer school. [WBEZ]

2. Attorney General William Barr defends feds’ response to protests

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who testified today in front of the House Judiciary Committee, defended the recent use of force by federal agents in cities with large protests like Portland, Ore.

“Violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests,” Barr said. Yet, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog has begun investigating the use of force and other tactics by agents in Portland and elsewhere.

Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., claimed that under Barr the Department is “a shadow of its former self.”

Democrats have claimed that Barr downplayed special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation into President Donald Trump. Barr’s Justice Department has also been criticized for dropping the prosecution of former Trump adviser Michael Flynn, and for pushing for a more lenient sentence for Trump ally Roger Stone.

Barr defended himself to the panel, which last year voted to hold him in contempt of Congress, saying that “many of the Democrats on this Committee have attempted to discredit me by conjuring up a narrative that I am simply the President’s factotum who disposes of criminal cases according to his instructions.” [AP]

3. Big tech goes before Congress tomorrow

The CEOs of the tech industry’s four most powerful companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — are set to face House lawmakers tomorrow in a hearing on a “sweeping investigation into the tech sector,” reports The Verge.

Since June 2019, the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel has led an investigation into whether the companies have grown too big and too powerful, acquiring at least 1.3 million documents and hundreds of hours of interviews. This is the first such widespread investigation since Microsoft’s antitrust charges in the ’90s and the first in the social media era. [The Verge]

Yesterday, President Donald Trump asked the FCC to develop regulations that could apply to Facebook, Twitter and other tech platforms. The move is the latest action taken by the president since Twitter labeled one of his tweets “potentially misleading.” [CNN]

And today Twitter penalized Donald Trump Jr. for tweeting misinformation about the drug hydroxychloroquine. The president’s son won’t be able to tweet, retweet or like other tweets for 12 hours. [Washington Post]

4. The differences between the Democrats’ and Republicans’ coronavirus relief bills

Tens of millions of Americans are scheduled to lose enhanced unemployment benefits this week — but politicians are still hashing out what another round of federal relief should look like.

Yesterday, Senate Republicans and Trump administration officials unveiled a $1 trillion proposal that slashed the emergency federal unemployment benefit from $600 to $200 a week. The proposal also provides tax cuts and liability protections to businesses.

House Democrats want a $3 trillion package that would keep the unemployment benefit at $600 and provide funds for rent and mortgage relief, food assistance, election security and schools.

Among other sticking points: Democrats want $1 trillion for state and local governments, and Republicans want to condition some of the funding to schools reopening in the fall.

What can they both agree on? Sending another round of $1,200 direct payments to American families. Here are more details about the two plans. [New York Times]

5. Lollapalooza is back — online and free

Chicago’s largest music party — which hosted 100,000 people a day last year — will be shedding the sunburns, overpriced cocktails and massive crowds. But it’s still happening.

Fans can watch more than 150 performances on YouTube for free from Thursday through Aug. 2, including sets from H.E.R, Vic Mensa and Kali Uchis — as well as favorite sets from previous festivals, like Chance the Rapper, Metallica and Paul McCartney.

And while the effect may feel like “a bunch of music videos,” at least the booze will be cheaper at home, right? [Chicago Tribune]

In other entertainment news, HBO’s Watchmen, based on a graphic novel and grounded in real-world racism, received 26 nominations today for the prime-time Emmy Awards. But unlike the usual aplomb, the announcement was made online with minimal video production. Find a full list of nominees in the link. [AP]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Worldwide, the pandemic is linked to 10,000 child deaths each month due to hunger. [AP]

  • Chicago has another Columbus statue still standing. [Sun-Times]

  • The Miami Marlins’ season has been suspended due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the team. [USA Today]

  • How has COVID-19 affected O’Hare’s finances? City Hall won’t say. [Crain’s]

Oh, and one more thing …

Are jeans dead for good?

Jean companies, like Lucky Brand and Levi’s, have had sluggish sales for about five years, according to The Washington Post. Then the pandemic ushered in massive numbers of people working remotely — and the trend of comfier, stretchier fabrics has only solidified further.

“Jeans are cardiovascular prisons,” said Rocío Rodríguez, who says she’s spent the last few months in pajamas, even while at work. “As much as I like the look, I don’t find myself waking up everyday thinking, ‘Wow, I can’t wait to put on my jeans.’ ”

And while “athleisure” — clothing that can be worn for exercise as well as daily life — used to be marketed almost exclusively to women, many companies are reporting increases in the sale of joggers, leggings and sweatpants for men. [Washington Post]

Tell me something good …

Is there a song that triggers a good memory for you?

Mandy Gill writes:

“ ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’ by the Backstreet Boys will forever remind me of carefree pool days at my best friend Jenny’s house! We were in middle school at the time, and this was our go to CD! I don’t even know how many hot summer days were spent blasting this song on our boombox while we gossiped about our crushes and dreaming about our plans for the future.”

And Bonnie writes:

“My favorite music memory is ‘Layla.’ When I hear it, I instantly remember many years ago being in a pub on a Friday night with my friends and brother. He passed away many years ago, and I love this fun, good memory of my brother Gene.”

What about you? Feel free to email or tweet me, and your responses may be shared here this week.

Thanks for reading and have a nice night! We’ll see you tomorrow.