Surge of U.S. virus cases ap­pears to be plateau­ing — for now

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION/WORLD / OBITUARIES -

NEW YORK — While deaths from the coro­n­avirus in the U.S. are mount­ing rapidly, public health ex­perts are see­ing a flicker of good news: The sec­ond surge of con­firmed cases ap­pears to be lev­el­ing off.

Sci­en­tists aren’t cel­e­brat­ing by any means, warn­ing that the trend is driven by four big, hard-hit places — Ari­zona, Cal­i­for­nia, Florida and Texas — and that cases are ris­ing in close to 30 states in all.

Some ex­perts won­der whether the ap­par­ent caseload im­prove­ments will en­dure. It’s also not clear when deaths will start com­ing down. COVID-19 deaths do not move in per­fect lock­step with the in­fec­tion curve, for the sim­ple rea­son that it can take weeks to get sick and die from the virus.

The virus has claimed over 150,000 lives in the U.S. plus more than a half-mil­lion oth­ers around the globe.

Over the past week, the aver­age num­ber of deaths per day in the U.S. has climbed more than 25%, from 843 to 1,057. Florida on Thurs­day re­ported 253 more deaths, set­ting its third straight sin­gle-day record. The num­ber of con­firmed in­fec­tions na­tion­wide has topped 4.4 mil­lion.

Prez, GOP sug­gest tem­po­rary fix for $600 job­less ben­e­fit

WASHINGTON — The White House and some of its Repub­li­can al­lies in the Se­nate are sig­nal­ing they want to ex­tend, at least tem­po­rar­ily, a $600-per-week ex­panded job­less ben­e­fit that has helped keep fam­i­lies and the econ­omy afloat dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic. The move looks to be too lit­tle, too late to pre­vent the lapse of the ben­e­fit of­fi­cially on Fri­day.

Repub­li­cans have been fight­ing to trim back the $600 job­less ben­e­fit in the next coro­n­avirus pack­age, but Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and some Se­nate Repub­li­cans sug­gested they could ac­cept keep­ing the full $600 ben­e­fit for now. Late-night talks were ex­pected at the Capi­tol.

“We want a tem­po­rary ex­ten­sion of en­hanced un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits,” Trump said at the White House. “This will pro­vide a crit­i­cal bridge for Amer­i­cans who lost their jobs to the pan­demic through no fault of their own.”

But Democrats have so far re­jected a piece­meal ap­proach, say­ing the next re­lief bill needs to move as a com­plete pack­age.

Prose­cu­tor: No charges for cop in Michael Brown’s death

CLAY­TON, Mo. — St. Louis County’s top prose­cu­tor an­nounced Thurs­day that he will not charge the for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot Michael Brown in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri.

It was nearly six years ago that a grand jury de­clined to in­dict Dar­ren Wil­son, the white po­lice of­fi­cer who shot Brown, a Black 18-year-old. Civil rights lead­ers and Brown’s mother had hoped that Prose­cut­ing At­tor­ney Wes­ley Bell, the county’s first Black prose­cu­tor, would re­open the case af­ter he took of­fice in Jan­uary 2019.

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