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The "Amazing" Rest: Reality show host Phil Keoghan talks life after being grounded by COVID-19

Michael Yarish/CBS 2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved(NEW YORK) -- Arguably the most well-traveled TV personality on the planet, The Amazing Race's host, Phil Keoghan has been grounded. 

Production on The Amazing Race was suspended back in February due to the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, so like millions of people the world over, the multiple-Emmy winner is staying home.

Keoghan explained to ABC Audio that while it's strange not to have his usual globe-trotting work commute, not hustling in and out of airports from Maine to Marrakesh has its advantages. 

"This is the longest that I've been in one place my entire career," he says.  "So I've had more sleep than I've ever had, which I'm really treasuring. I realize now, you know, what all the fuss is about with sleep. It's amazing."

Other perks from his Amazing Race schedule? Working out every day, and spending downtime with family.

"Just connecting with people I'm close with on a different level," Keoghan says. "I've spent a lot more time with my wife and producing partner and a lot more time with my daughter."

Though he does admit, "I am missing getting out into the world, I have to be honest."

Keoghan says of the pandemic, "I do hope this ends soon. But I'm trying to do my part by staying inside and wearing a mask. Please, people. Can you wear a mask? That would be really helpful. Just saying."  

Keoghan may be working from home, but he's hard at work preparing for next week's launch of the reality show Tough As Nails. The series salutes everyday heroes, from fishermen to firefighters, by having them compete in a series of real-world physical, mental and skills challenges. It launches with a two-hour premiere July 7 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Report: McDonald's suspending additional dine-in openings because of new COVID-19 spread

Photo: McDonald's Corporation(NEW YORK) -- If your holiday weekend involves hitting the road and maybe swinging by the Golden Arches along the way, you might have to stick to the drive-thru. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, upticks in COVID-19 cases nationwide have led McDonald's to suspend by three weeks its plans to re-open more eateries for dine-in patrons, which were scheduled to begin over the July 4 weekend. 

In May, the fast-food giant began reopening its dining areas to patrons; around 2,200 of its 14,000 U.S. restaurants continue to do so, according to the paper.

Those McDonald's locations that already have fully reopened after months of drive-thru-only rules will continue to offer full service, although that depends on each state's rules, which may have changed. 

For example, officials in California, New York and New Jersey have reversed plans to re-open bars and restaurants to try to tamp down the growing number of coronavirus cases in various counties. New York has scrapped altogether a July 6 date for establishments to offer indoor dining.

In a a company letter that was obtained by WSJ by Joe Erlinger, McDonald’s U.S. president, and Mark Salebra, head of the National Franchisee Leadership Alliance owners association, the executives cautioned, "Our resiliency will be tested again. Covid-19 cases are on the rise."

They stressed that employees should remain vigilant with food handling, social distancing and other safety measures McDonald's put in place because of the coronavirus. "This surge shows nobody is exempt from this virus -- even places that previously had very few cases," the letter says.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Aaron Sorkin's star-studded "Chicago 7" will premiere on Netflix due to COVID

Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Another day, another cinematic casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, originally slated for a theatrical release, has landed at Netflix, according to Deadline.  

West Wing creator Sorkin wrote and directed the film, which chronicles a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic Convention that turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard.  Seven people -- including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale -- were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot, leading to a trial that would grip the nation.  

The cast includes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alex Sharp, Mark Rylance, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella and John Carroll Lynch.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Lionsgate confirms it will not pull 'Mad Men' episode containing blackface

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- As television series revisit problematic content and remove instances of material deemed racist, Lionsgate has announced that it will not delete an episode of Mad Men that contains blackface.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the season three episode "My Old Kentucky Home" will remain available for viewing in its entirety because of the historical context behind it. 

Instead of editing out the scene where John Slattery's Roger Sterling smears black shoe polish on his face in an attempt to score romantic points with Peyton List's Jane at a country club Derby party, the episode will contain a disclaimer.

"This episode contains disturbing images related to race in America," the intro card will read. "One of the characters is shown in blackface as part of an episode that shows how commonplace racism was in America in 1963."

Lionsgate issued a statement regarding its decision, saying, "In its reliance on historical authenticity, the series producers are committed to exposing the injustices and inequities within our society that continue to this day so we can examine even the most painful parts of our history in order to reflect on who we are today and who we want to become. We are therefore presenting the original episode in its entirety."

Other series have opted to edit out scenes or remove episodes containing blackface, such as The Golden GirlsScrubsCommunity and others.

As previously reported, Mad Men has left Netflix and will now be shown on Amazon-owned IMDb TV starting July 15. The series will then move to the AMC in the fall.

Mad Men aired its final episode in 2015 after a seven season run.  The series collected 16 Emmys, four of which were consecutive best drama series wins.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Today’s In Crisis headlines

(NEW YORK) -- Here are today's In Crisis headlines:

Unemployment falls as 4.8 million jobs added; additional 1.42 million apply for benefits
Some much-needed good economic news this morning: the U.S. Department of Labor reports 4.8 million jobs were added in June, bumping the unemployment rate down to 11.1%.  Even so, an additional 1,427,000 Americans applied for unemployment the week ending June 27, a decrease of 55,000 from the previous week’s level, which was itself revised up to 1.482 million.  Most of the new jobs came in the leisure and hospitality industry, which added 2.1 million jobs as more states relaxed pandemic lockdown restrictions.  While the addition of jobs is good news, experts warn there are warning signs on the horizon.  For example, the high weekly numbers of people continuing to apply for unemployment indicates the recession is hitting more industries than was initially expected.  Additionally, without additional monetary support from Congress, more small businesses could go under, resulting in more job loss.  The House on Wednesday unanimously approved an extension to the small business loan program (PPP) through August 8, meaning small businesses affected by the pandemic will still be able to apply for loans and grants through the small business loan fund, which has about $130 billion remaining to be disbursed.  The Senate approved the extension in a surprise move late last night. The bill now heads to President Trump's desk for his signature.

President Trump calls Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate”
In a since-deleted tweet Wednesday, President Trump called Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate.”  The president was reacting to news that the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ were to be painted on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, outside of Trump Tower.  Trump tweeted in response: "Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street."  Asked by ABC News’ Jon Karl why the president called black lives matter a “symbol of hate,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president believes that “all black lives matter” but claimed he was specifically referring to the organization, not the phrase.  President Trump has yet to directly condemn white supremacist rhetoric after recently re-tweeting a video that included a supporter shouting the phrase “white power.”  McEnany argued that the president has done enough to condemn racism, saying in part, “[T]his is a president who has repeatedly condemned hate and repeatedly encouraged for us all to come together.”
 
COVID-19 numbers
Here's the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections and deaths.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 10,717,158
Global deaths: 516,738.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 128,062.
Number of countries/regions: at least 188
Total patients recovered globally: 5,501,622

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 2,686,587 diagnosed cases in 50 states the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 128,062.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 32,043.
U.S. total patients recovered: 729,994
U.S. total people tested: 32,827,359

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in New York, with 394,079 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 19.5 million.  That is the most reported cases than in any other single region in the world.

COVID-19 headlines
US reports new record-high 50,000 new COVID-19 cases in a day
More than 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.  That marks the first time the U.S. has reached or exceeded 50,000 reported COVID-19 infections in a single day.  The previous single-day infection record was set just last week, when 45,000 new cases were confirmed on Friday, June 26.  There are now at least 2,686,587 diagnosed cases in the U.S. with at least 128,062 deaths.  These cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.  An ABC News analysis pf coronavirus trends across all 50 states and Washington D.C. found there were increases in the daily rate of positivity in 32 states, increases in hospitalizations in 25 states, and increases in daily deaths in 14 states.

WHO says 60% of all COVID-19 cases reported in the last month
Confirming the recent worrying upward trend in reported cases, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday that 60% of all global COVID-19 infections were reported in the last month.  WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the past week, “the number of new cases has exceeded 160,000 on every single day.”  The increase in worldwide cases comes six months since the first COVID-19 cases were reported in Wuhan, China.  The U.S. continues to be the nation that’s most affected by the pandemic, with at least 2,686,587 diagnosed cases and 128,062 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.  The WHO noted that the rise in the number of new cases is to be expected as nations relax restrictions against the spread of the coronavirus, but added the safeguards against the virus’ spread must be maintained.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Tom Hanks calls out people who won't wear a mask, "My Lord, it’s common sense"

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(LOS ANGELES) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) -- Tom Hanks is calling out people who aren't doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

According to People, while promoting his upcoming Apple TV movie Greyhound, the 63-year-old actor explained, "There's really only three things we can do in order to get to tomorrow: Wear a mask, social distance, wash our hands." 

"Those things are so simple, so easy, if anybody cannot find it in themselves to practice those three very basic things – I just think shame on you," he added. "Don’t be a p***y, get on with it, do your part. It’s very basic... My Lord, it’s common sense."

Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were two of the first celebrities to announce that they tested positive for the coronavirus back in March. Now, months later and fully recovered from the illness, the Forrest Gump alum gave an update on how they are doing. 

"... we are fine," he affirmed. "We had about 10 days of very uncomfortable symptoms. Not life-threatening, we’re happy to say."

"I guess we were model recoverers from COVID-19, but we were also isolated so that we would not give it to anybody else that we came in contact with," he continued. "And since then have been doing the same isolating, social distancing that is being asked of the world so, we are fine."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


COVID-19 cases hit new daily record in U.S. as states mark highest daily death toll

iStock/AlexSava(NEW YORK) -- COVID-19 cases are hitting new daily highs across the U.S., the hardest hit country by the pandemic.  On Wednesday, the U.S. documented a new record high of daily coronavirus cases as numbers surpassed 50,000 for the first time.

With 2,682,270 confirmed cases and 128,028 deaths, as stated by Johns Hopkins University, health officials and politicians alike are concerned that the outbreak is accelerating faster than the previous peaks seen in April and early May.

South Carolina documented its single highest number of fatalities in a day, with 1,497 new cases and 24 confirmed deaths. 

Texas saw a record high on Wednesday, as well, reporting 8,076 new cases -- roughly 1,100 more than the state's previous high. 

As for Florida, the state reported  6,563 new cases in a singular day -- pushing the state's positivity level past 15 percent.

Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, estimates that, by the rate cases are accelerating, the U.S. will document 100,000 cases per day in the near future.

With cases and fatalities spiking across the nation, some states are reconsidering reopening.  For example, California announced it will be shutting down restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, card rooms, movie theaters, zoos and other indoor businesses in 19 counties -- affecting 70 percent of the state's population -- to help prevent the virus from spreading.  These orders will expire in three weeks, depending on the virus' progression.

Some states are now enforcing mask laws, like Oregon, as health experts say wearing a mask is one of the best ways to prevent the virus from spreading.  

In relation to the mask debate, politicians like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are calling upon President Donald Trump to start wearing a mask in public and "Admit you were wrong." 

The president said Wednesday in an interview with Fox Business Network, "I'm all for masks" and that he "would have no problem" wearing one in public. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Elton John launching classic concert series on Friday; raising spirits and money for COVID

Gus Stewart/YouTube(LONDON) -- Like seemingly every other artist, Elton John's had to pause his tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now he's figured out a way to give fans the gift of live music, and raise money for a good cause in the process.

Starting on Friday at 12 pm ET, Elton is launching a weekly archival concert series on his official YouTube channel. The Elton John: Classic Concert Series will kick off with Live at the Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh, a 1976 show that's being made available digitally for the first time.

This particular concert features Elton performing classics like "Daniel," "Rocket Man," "Bennie and the Jets," "Skyline Pigeon" and "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)."  After this show, he didn't play another full concert for seven months.

Following Friday's launch, a new concert will then premiere every Saturday at 12 pm ET for six weeks, and there will also be limited-edition merch to go along with the series.  While enjoying the shows, fans will be asked to donate to Elton's AIDS Foundation, in support of its COVID-19 relief efforts. 

"My Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund helps front line partners prepare for and respond to the pandemic and its effects on HIV prevention and care for the most marginalized communities," Elton says in a statement.

He goes on: "We cannot jeopardize HIV testing and care during this time or else the results could be disastrous for the 37.5 million people living with HIV. So, I’m really happy to connect this YouTube Concertseries to benefit our Foundation’s urgent COVID response."

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Study shows a quarter of gym lovers will stop going because of COVID-19

iStock/Tsikhan Kuprevich(NEW YORK) -- The COVID-19 crisis has changed our lives in many ways, including our fitness routines.  A new survey shows that 24% of those who used to go to the gym twice a week say they won't return. 

That's not to say they've resigned themselves to the "quarantine 15" -- rather, many are choosing to continue their home exercise routines they've started while in lockdown. 

With gyms starting to reopen nationwide, the survey of 2,000 Americans conducted on behalf of LIFEAID Beverages Co. shows that a third of even dedicated gym rats will keep their memberships, but will go less often.  About half say they'll wait four or five weeks to get back into their routines.

The non-scientific poll revealed 42% of Americans now use their home gym equipment, which they now "prefer" over their fitness club.

With the world post-pandemic, 26% of gym-goers say they'd refuse to go to a fitness center that required them to wear masks, while 29% say even though they don't want to wear a face covering, they will if the gym asks them to. 

Even those in the "pro-mask" camp aren't digging wearing one while pumping iron: just 20% say they'd only wear one if the gym requires it. That being said, 62% of those polled agree the face coverings help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and 83% say they'd feel more comfortable at their fitness center if everyone was wearing a mask. 

Speaking of cutting the risk of disease, almost 40% say that when they return to the gym, they'll sanitize every piece of equipment before they use it, and nine in ten say they'll be sure to clean it afterward.  However, the survey also revealed that only 40% would "sanitize shame" someone who wasn't so considerate.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Modern Family' star Sarah Hyland confirms COVID-19 has pushed back her wedding plans

Lester Cohen/Getty Images for InStyle(LOS ANGELES) -- With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Modern Family veteran Sarah Hyland confirmed that her wedding plans have officially been put on hold.

Hyland, who became engaged to actor Wells Adams in 2019, appeared in Monday's episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons -- Ever! and began discussing her upcoming nuptials. 

"No plans as of right now. We’ve put all planning on hold," The 29-year-old sighed before detailing how her and Adams' families would be flying in from all over for the big event. "All of my family is mostly on the East Coast."

She furthered, "Of course with my health risks, we want to be as safe as possible."

Hyland previously revealed that she's immunocompromised due to being a transplant recipient, with increases her risk of developing the more serious symptoms related to COVID-19.  She also detailed that other illnesses hit her much harder than that of a person with a healthy immune system, revealing that she can spend over a week fighting a simple 24-hour bug.

She opened up in March, during the onset of COVID-19, that she was taking quarantine extremely seriously when speaking with Brad Goreski on his podcast Brad Behavior, where she revealed that she has been sanitizing her house like crazy.

"I am obviously immunocompromised with my transplant history and am on immunosuppressants," she said at the time before joking that she "took a shot of hand sanitizer, so we’re good."

That said, with the U.S. documenting an additional 40,000 COVID-19 cases every day -- numbers stated by Doctor Anthony Fauci on Tuesday -- Hyland made it known she does not wish to gamble on her or her family's health.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Today’s In Crisis headlines

(NEW YORK) -- Here are today's In Crisis headlines:

Mississippi governor signs bill to remove Confederate emblem from state flag
The Confederate battle flag, a divisive symbol of white supremacy and racism for generations, will no longer appear on the Mississippi state flag.  Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves on Tuesday evening signed into law legislation that mandates the emblem be removed, two days after the Mississippi state legislature voted in favor of the change.  The bill states that the current flag must be retired within the next 15 days and that the state Department of Archives and History has to develop a plan for the "dignified and respectful removal of the former official Mississippi State Flag.”  A nine-member commission will be established to present a new state flag option by September 14, and the public will vote on it on November 3. The new flag is not allowed to include a Confederate emblem and must include the words "In God We Trust."  The so-called ‘stars and bars’ emblem has been a part of the Magnolia State flag since 1894, 29 years after the end of the Civil War and the defeat of the Confederacy.  There have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to change the flag over the years, but the recent protests in the wake of the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis provided unprecedented momentum that led to Tuesday’s landmark legislation.

Bond granted for former officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks
A judge in Fulton County, Georgia on Tuesday granted a $500,000 bond for Garrett Rolfe, the white former Atlanta police officer charged with murder for shooting Black motorist Rayshard Brooks on June 12.  WSB Atlanta reports Rolfe was also ordered to wear an ankle monitor, observe a curfew, surrender his passport, not carry or possess firearms, and to avoid contact with any member of Brooks’ family or any police officers.  Officers confronted Brooks after answering a call reporting a man asleep in his vehicle in the drive-through of an Atlanta-area Wendy’s restaurant.  Rolfe shot and killed Brooks as he ran away after Brooks fought with officers and took their Taser.  Rolfe faces a total of 11 charges, including felony murder and aggravated assault.  Officer Devin Brosnan, who was also present during the incident, faces charges including aggravated assault.

COVID-19 numbers
Here's the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections and deaths.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 10,499,833
Global deaths: 511,860.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 127,425.
Number of countries/regions: at least 188
Total patients recovered globally: 5,377,142

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 2,636,538 diagnosed cases in 50 states the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 127,425.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 32,032.
U.S. total patients recovered: 720,631
U.S. total people tested: 32,206,245

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in New York, with 393,454 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 19.5 million.  That is the most reported cases than in any other single region in the world.

COVID-19 headlines
US reports nearly 44,800 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday
Nearly 44,800 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.  That's more than 3,000 cases over the total of new cases reported Monday, and just shy of the country's record high of more than 45,000 new cases identified last Friday.  As of Wednesday morning, the total number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. stands at 2,636,538, with at least 127,425 deaths.  Nearly half of all 50 states have seen a rise in infections in recent weeks, with some reporting daily records.  Mississippi reported a 117% increase in new cases in the week ending June 26, resulting from reduced social distancing in multiple counties.  Washington state reported 571 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, marking its second-highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.  In Texas, San Antonio COVID-19 cases doubled for the second consecutive week, and some Arizona hospitals are reporting they’ve run out of room and cannot accept any new patients because of the continued coronavirus infection surge there.

Doctor warns US could soon see 100,000 new COVID-19 cases daily
The director of the Harvard Global Health Institute warned Wednesday morning that the U.S. could soon see 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.  Dr. Ashish Jha told ABC’s Good Morning America, "That is where we're heading," echoing Senate testimony by Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday, when he forecast the same numbers.  Like other experts, Dr. Jha said wearing masks when outside of one’s home and avoiding indoor gatherings is key to reducing the infection rate, along with increased testing and contact tracing.  If numbers continue to rise despite those measures, Jha said, “then you have to just essentially shut the state down," adding, “A stay-at-home order, in my mind, is really the last thing that you do when nothing else has worked."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jennifer Aniston says "wear a damn mask" in response to surging COVID-19 numbers

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The time for debate over wearing a face mask is over says Jennifer Aniston, who officially joined the leagues of celebrities and politicians urging people to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The U.S. is currently documenting roughly 40,000 new cases a day, which Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday.

Fauci says that one of the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a mask, a recommendation that has become politicized between it being a public health service versus an attack on personal freedom.

Now, the Friends alum is putting an end to the debate by demanding that everyone come together to flatten the curve.

Speaking out on Tuesday, Aniston uploaded a makeup-free selfie of her proudly wearing a facial covering.  "I understand masks are inconvenient and uncomfortable," she relayed to her 34.4 million followers.

She then impressed upon the fact that wearing a mask should be the least of everyone's problems. "Don't you feel that it's worse that businesses are shutting down... jobs are being lost... health care workers are hitting absolute exhaustion," The 51-year-old queried. "And so many lives have been taken by this virus because we aren't doing enough."

The U.S. has been the hardest-hit nation in the world when it comes to confirmed COVID-19 fatalities, with Johns Hopkins University putting the national death toll at over 127,000.

Aniston noted that while many are trying to do the right thing by wearing masks, the effort needs to be unanimous among Americans. "This simple and effective recommendation is being politicized at the expense of peoples’ lives. And it really shouldn’t be a debate," The Morning Show star stressed.

"If you care about human life, please... just #wearadamnmask and encourage those around you to do the same," she imparted.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Pressure mounts on Trump to 'set a good example' and wear mask

iStock/Jovanmandic(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- As COVID-19 cases rise across the U.S., the worst-affected nation in the world when it comes to confirmed cases and fatalities, political leaders are putting the pressure on President Donald Trump to set an example by wearing a mask.

While the president has long resisted wearing a face covering, health officials -- including the nation's top infectious disease expert Doctor Anthony Fauci -- have repeatedly insisted that face masks help reduce the spread of the contagious virus.  

While President Trump's allies formally insisted the president is free to lead by his own example, now Senate and House Republicans have shifted their message in the wake of the South and western parts of the nation experiencing record-high cases.

Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, said Tuesday, "The stakes are too high for this political debate about pro-Trump anti-Trump mask to continue."

"Unfortunately, this simple life-saving practice has become part of the political debate that says this: if you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask; if you're against Trump, you do," he continued, saying the concept of wearing a mask should not have become politicized.

"The president has plenty of admirers. They would follow his lead," Alexander insisted, saying that President Trump should be seen wearing a mask from time to time to comply with CDC guidelines.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell touted the importance of wearing a mask as did Vice President Mike Pence. 

Even Fox News -- the president's preferred news network -- has switched its messaging, calling on Tuesday for President Trump to "set a good example" by covering up.  A similar message was echoed by Sean Hannity -- one of the president's "favorite journalists" -- who also called for more Americans to wear a mask in public.

Currently, the U.S. has confirmed that over 2,269,000 people have been sickened by the virus and over 127,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Fauci said Tuesday that he wouldn't be surprised that, after seeing the rate of cases accelerating, that the nation will document 100,000 new cases a day.  Currently, the nation is confirming 40,000 new diagnoses a day.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Regal Cinemas delaying their grand re-opening

iStock/Vladimir Vladimirov(LOS ANGELES) -- Following a similar decision by chain AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas has decided to delay the reopening of hundreds of its COVID-19-closed movie theaters. 

Cinemark Holdings, which owns the Regal chain of hundreds of venues in the U.S., began limited openings in June, and had planned to open most of its theaters by July 17.

However, The Hollywood Reporter explains, when Warner Bros. and Disney, respectively, decided to bump the release dates of Tenet and Mulan, the chain decided to delay theater openings a further week, to July 24. 

Tenet is currently set to open August 12, and Mulan on August 21. The releases of both films have been delayed twice due to the pandemic.

AMC similarly announced it, too, would delay the openings of its theaters nationwide; they will now open July 30. 

Both chains previously announced enhanced safety measures they'll take upon reopening, including social distance-compliant seating, PPE-wearing employees, and cleaning with special equipment. 

After initially declaring that masks wouldn't be required for patrons, AMC changed course ten days ago and said guests wouldn't be allowed into theaters if they weren't wearing them.  Regal recently announced a similar change.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Website lets students get their yearbooks signed virtually

iStock/spxChrome(NEW YORK) -- In this day of social distancing, students are not only missing out on graduation ceremonies and parties, but also that time-honored tradition of having classmates and teachers sign their yearbooks. 

But just like with classes via Zoom and other elements of the "new normal," technology has an answer.

Chicago-based tech entrepreneur and father of two, Kevin Malover, created MyYearbookPages.com, which lets students create a virtual yearbook.

How the free, mobile-friendly service works is students create an online profile and design their own yearbook, to which they can invite friends, family, teachers, and others to contribute classic yearbook bon mots like "2good 2b=4Gotten."

"Students are missing out on so many things as a result of social distancing and remote learning due to COVID," Malover said in a statement. "Yearbooks are such an important part of a school experience...so I developed MyYearbookPages.com, where they can do it all online."

All information is secured on commercial servers, but students under 13 will need a parent or guardian's permission to access the service.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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