Kevin McCarthy reportedly joked about hitting Nancy Pelosi with a speaker’s gavel during a GOP fundraising dinner

Pelosi holds gavel next to Kevin McCarthy
peaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) smiles after receiving the gavel from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) (R-CA) following her election as the next Speaker of the House during the first session of the 116th Congress at the U.S. Capitol January 03, 2019 in Washington, DC

  • Kevin McCarthy joked about casual violence against Nancy Pelosi during a fundraiser, reporters at the event said.
  • He reportedly said that, as House speaker, he’d find it “hard” not to hit her with the gavel.
  • McCarthy was speaking to around 1,400 GOP donors at a fundraising event in Tennessee.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joked about casual violence against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a glitzy fundraising dinner in Tennessee on Saturday night, according to several reporters who were at the event.

During a speech to around 1,400 GOP donors, McCarthy reportedly spoke optimistically about the Republicans’ chances for retaking the majority in the House following the 2022 midterm elections.

McCarthy went on to say that, should the GOP manage to flip the House in 2022 and if he were to become the speaker, he would find it difficult to resist hitting Pelosi with the speaker’s gavel, The Washington Post’s Michael Scherer said on Twitter.

“It will be hard not to hit her with it but I will bang it down,” McCarthy joked, according to Scherer.

Read more: The GOP is failing to make a villain out of Biden and has run out of ideas – so now they’re getting desperate and turning on their own.

The comments were met with criticism on social media, with Politico CA Playbook writer Carla Marinucci calling it “sickening.”

During the fundraiser, McCarthy was also presented with a comically large gavel by the Tennessee congressional delegation. It was labeled with “Fire Pelosi,” according to Tennessean reporter Yue Stella Yu.

Insider reached out to McCarthy’s team for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

McCarthy has long sought to become the next Republican House Speaker, Insider’s John L. Dorman reported in May. But he faces skepticism among some caucus members and GOP observers, Dornan wrote.

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Trump lashed out after documents were released showing him pressuring Justice Department officials to overturn the election

Trump Jan 6
U.S. President Donald Trump is seen on a screen as his supporters cheer during a rally on the National Mall on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Donald Trump lashed out after the release of documents showing him pressuring DoJ officials.
  • The documents show Trump urging them to say last year’s election was “corrupt.”
  • Trump repeated the election fraud claims that are at the center of his bid to overturn the election.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump in an at times contradictory statement responded to the release of documents that showed him pressuring officials at the Justice Department to subvert last year’s election.

In the statement, Trump denied that the documents showed that he sought to overturn last year’s election while repeating the baseless voter fraud claims that have been central to his bid to delegitimize Joe Biden’s win.

The documents were released by the House Oversight Committee Friday, and contain hand-written notes of a call between former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Donald Trump on December 27 taken by Rosen’s deputy, Richard Donoghue, who was also present on the call.

“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me,” Trump told the officials in the call, according to the notes. The officials responded that no evidence had been uncovered by the DoJ to substantiate the president’s claim.

Jeffrey Rosen
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen holds a news conference at the Justice Department on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC.

In his statement, Trump said the documents do not show he attempted to overturn the election yet repeated his election fraud claims and offered no new evidence to show they are credible.

“The corrupt and highly partisan House Democrats who run the House Oversight Committee yesterday released documents-including court filings dealing with the rigged election of 2020-that they dishonestly described as attempting to overturn the election,” Trump said.

“In fact, it is just the opposite. The documents were meant to uphold the integrity and honesty of elections and the sanctity of our vote,” he added. “The American People want, and demand, that the President of the United States, its chief law enforcement officer in the country, stand with them to fight for Election Integrity and to investigate attempts to undermine our nation.”

Read more: Where is Trump’s White House staff now? We created a searchable database of more than 329 top staffers to show where they all landed

Trump has pushed his election fraud “Big Lie” since losing the contest last year. Amid rumors that he is gearing up for another bid for political office, the claim has become the center of his propaganda campaign.

Last week a special House committee began probing the January 6 Capitol riot, in which Trump supporters motivated by Trump’s election fraud conspiracy theories attacked the Capitol in a bid to halt Biden’s certification as president.

One of the focuses on the inquiry will be the extent to which Trump’s claims instigated the violence and his actions leading up to the violence, and new evidence has emerged in recent days of the pressure Trump placed Rosen under to back his election fraud claims.

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Trump is ‘moving forward’ with a 2024 presidential run in a ‘real way’ and is meeting with ‘cabinet members’ at his New Jersey golf club, former chief of staff says

Former President Donald Trump and former chief of staff Mark Meadows
Mark Meadows, pictured right, said “cabinet members” met to discuss Former President Donald Trump’s political future.

  • Former President Donald Trump met with “cabinet members” at his New Jersey golf club, Mark Meadows said.
  • The meeting revolved around “what does come next,” the former chief of staff told Newsmax.
  • Trump is “moving forward” with a potential 2024 run in a “real way,” Meadows said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump is “moving forward” with a 2024 presidential run in a “real way,” according to his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

Trump met with “cabinet members” at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey to discuss his political future, Meadows hinted during an interview with Newsmax’s Steve Cortes on Friday evening.

“As we were looking into that, we’re looking at what does come next,” he continued.

Meadows, a loyal ally to the former president, further teased a potential Trump run.

“I’m not authorized to speak on behalf of the president, but I can tell you this, Steve,” Meadows said. “We wouldn’t be meeting tonight if we weren’t making plans to move forward in a real way, with President Trump at the head of that ticket.”

Read more: Where is Trump’s White House staff now? We created a searchable database of more than 329 top staffers to show where they all landed

The former president has confirmed that another presidential run is a real possibility. In April, he said that he is “100 percent thinking about running again.”

In June, Trump said that he would be making an announcement about a run “in the not too distant future.”

Earlier in that month, he told supporters to look forward to “2024 or before,” Insider’s Mia Jankowicz reported.

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Trump is owed a $1 million tax refund for his Chicago skyscraper but local officials are trying to block it

Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on July 19, 2021.

  • An Illinois tax agency ruled last month Trump’s Chicago skyscraper was over-assessed in 2011.
  • The ruling means Trump is owed a $1 million refund, but local officials filed a lawsuit to stop it.
  • The refund would come out of property taxes owed to the city and other agencies, including Chicago Public Schools.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump is owed a tax refund of $1 million for his Chicago skyscraper, but local officials are trying to stop it from being issued.

An Illinois tax agency ruled last month that Trump paid too much on his 2011 tax bill after the value of Trump International Hotel and Tower’s rooms and retail space was over-assessed by the Cook County Board of Review, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The ruling by the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board means Trump is owed $1.03 million, which would come from property taxes due to the city and other government agencies. Chicago Public Schools would lose out on about $540,000, according to the Sun-Times.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s has since filed a lawsuit to block the refund. When reached by Insider, the State’s Attorney’s office said it was unable to comment on pending litigation.

Read more: Where is Trump’s White House staff now? We created a searchable database of more than 329 top staffers to show where they all landed

The dispute is the latest development in the story of Trump’s taxes in Chicago. Alderman Ed Burke, the longest-serving member of Chicago’s City Council in history, served as Trump’s lawyer for more than a decade. His firm originally filed the tax appeal arguing the value of Trump’s building had been overestimated.

Burke, a Democrat, helped Trump secure $14 million in tax breaks on his Chicago skyscraper before parting ways with Trump’s company in 2018, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Later that year, the FBI raided Burke’s City Hall office and he was later charged with racketeering, bribery, and extortion, among other charges.

Prosecutors say Burke used the power of his office to drive business to his law firm, including blocking permits for people who did not hire them. He has pled not guilty to all charges, WTTW reported.

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Gov. Brian Kemp suggested Biden is at fault for Georgia’s COVID-19 vaccination rate, which remains one of the lowest in the US

Brian Kemp
Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia.

  • Gov. Brian Kemp called out Biden for not working harder to push the FDA to fully approve COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The governor pointed to the vaccine emergency authorization to explain some of the hesitation.
  • Kemp was also critical of the CDC’s new guidance on mask-wearing among vaccinated people.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Thursday attempted to shift blame to President Joe Biden for the state’s low COVID-19 vaccination rate as the highly-infectious Delta variant continues to spread, according to The Associated Press.

While speaking to reporters, Kemp said that Biden needed to push harder to allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to upgrade its emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccines to full approval.

Kemp, who won his first race for governor in 2018, also stated that asking people to wear masks once again sends a “mixed message” and might cause people not to take the vaccine.

He encouraged Georgians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and said he would look into other solutions if hospitals in the state became overwhelmed with patients.

Only 38% of Georgia’s total population is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“We know that the vaccines work,” Kemp said on Thursday. “I want to encourage people to get vaccinated if you’re comfortable doing that.”

Democratic state Sen. Michelle Au, an anesthesiologist, told The Associated Press that the state needed to do more to increase access to the vaccine and promote testing among residents who are unvaccinated.

“We aren’t trying hard enough,” Au told the news organization. “We like to blame the unvaccinated.”

Read more: Would-be staffers to Kyrsten Sinema got an email warning: You ‘aren’t working for Elizabeth Warren’

On Thursday, Georgia posted over 4,800 positive COVID-19 tests, a high-point that was last reached in early February, when the vaccine wasn’t as readily available to the general public.

With the Delta variant spreading throughout Georgia, similar to the US as a whole, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state rose above 1,800.

COVID-19 infection rates have remained elevated in southeast Georgia.

Charlton County Administrator Hampton Raulerson told The Brunswick News that interest in the vaccines has not been robust.

“There’s a lot of distrust when it comes to the vaccine,” he said. “A lot of people thought (COVID-19) was going away.”

Kemp said that many people are reluctant to take the vaccine since it has still not been fully approved by the FDA.

“I’d love to see the Biden administration put an ‘Operation Warp Speed’ on moving away from the emergency use authorization,” he said on Thursday, referring to the Trump-era public-private vaccine development initiative that manufactured and distributed COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation, told The Washington Post on Friday that the agency is redeploying staff to accelerate their effort in fully approving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“This will remove one more layer for the vaccine-hesitant,” Marks said. “If all this does is get five to 10 million more people vaccinations down south, that will save lives.”

The CDC earlier this week shifted their guidelines on mask-wearing, recommending face coverings for vaccinated people indoors in areas with high transmission of the virus.

The agency also called for mask-wearing in schools, which has been opposed by Kemp and other Republicans.

Kemp said that the CDC’s new guidance didn’t inspire confidence.

“When you tell them they can get vaccinated and then take their mask off and then you turn around weeks later and reverse that, who’s gonna trust anybody, any politician, Republican, Democrat, or otherwise?” he said.

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Sen. Ron Johnson says he’d support a vaccine mandate for an ‘incredibly deadly’ virus but not COVID-19, which has killed more than 613,000 Americans

ron johnson covid
Sen. Ron Johnson said Friday that he would only support a vaccine mandate for an “incredibly deadly” disease, but not COVID-19.

  • GOP Sen. Ron Johson said he would support a vaccine mandate only for an “incredibly deadly” disease but not COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 has killed more than 613,000 people in the US and more than 4.2 million globally, per Johns Hopkins University.
  • Johnson also attacked the CDC for changing its guidelines on masking.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, said he would support a vaccine mandate for an “incredibly deadly disease,” but said he would not support such a mandate for COVID-19.

“No,” Johnson said during a Friday evening appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” when asked whether he would ever support any sort of vaccine mandate. “Not unless there’s some incredibly deadly disease. I mean much higher infection-fatality rates than we have with COVID.”

“We don’t know the final infection-fatality rate, but right now it’s looking like it’s not going to be much more than double a bad season of flu,” he added.

Scientists believe that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is “substantially higher” than strains of the seasonal flu, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated there were about 34,000 deaths in the United States from flu-related causes in the 2018-2019 flu season.

COVID-19, which emerged in late 2019, has so far killed more than 613,000 people in the US and more than 4.2 million people across the globe, according to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University. More than 34 million cases of the disease have been diagnosed in the US since the disease was first diagnosed in the US early last year.

New cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from the disease declined with the rollout of the vaccines earlier this year, but the disease is facing a resurgence in the US as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads.

While vaccinated people can contract and spread the Delta variant, experts and data suggest the vaccines prevent serious illness and death. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, earlier this month called the ongoing surge a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Over the past week, vaccine mandates have become more commonplace as cases of the disease rise. Still, Walensky said Friday there would be no federal vaccine mandate for Americans, Reuters reported.

Major US companies, including Walmart and Disney, announced this week that they’d require some of their US employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. President Joe Biden this week announced all federal workers needed to be fully vaccinated or undergo regular testing.

Also in the interview Friday, Johnson lashed out at CDC after it changed its guidance this week on the wearing of face masks

“The American public is losing faith in our federal health agencies – and that’s a real shame,” Johnson said. “If there’s one part of government, other than the Defense Department, you’d like to have faith in, it’d be the federal health agencies — and they’ve lost the trust of the American public.

“Because they’re not making any sense,” he added. “They’re flip-flopping on issues, whether it’s masks, they’re not backing up their pronouncements with science.”

The agency said this week that vaccinated individuals should mask up in areas with a high level of COVID-19, backtracking on its guidance from May that said fully vaccinated people could take their masks off in most settings.

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Women, people of color, and low-income families face the highest risk of being forced out of their homes as the eviction moratorium comes to an end

Eviction Moratorium Activists Massachusetts Signs DOJ
Housing activists erect a sign in front of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s house in Swampscott, Mass.

  • With the eviction moratorium likely coming to an end Saturday, millions of renters are expected to be plunged into housing disarray.
  • About 73 percent of renters likeliest to be evicted are people of color. About 56 percent are women.
  • More than half of the likeliest people vulnerable to eviction make less than $25,000 in total household income.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The eviction moratorium is expected to end on July 31, after Congress failed to renew it before heading into recess until mid-September. Once the moratorium expires, about 7.4 million Americans will risk getting evicted in the next coming months, according to Census Pulse Survey Data.

Women, people of color, and low-income households are the most vulnerable groups of renters who will be exposed to the consequences brought on by the end of the eviction moratorium. These three groups are believed to have the likeliest chance of being forced to leave their homes within the next two months, Census household data projects.

About 1.4 million renters are very likely to be kicked out of their homes in the next two months, the data says. According to Insider calculations:

  • About 73 percent of the 1.4 million renters likely to be evicted are people of color.
  • About 56 percent of the 1.4 million are women.
  • And about 76 percent have an annual household income of less than $50,000 a year. More than half of the 1.4 million make less than $25,000 in total household income.

Additionally, about 20% of the 1.4 million have at least some difficulty hearing, and about 50% have at least some difficulty seeing.

Once the moratorium ends, these groups of people have the highest risk of being evicted from their homes.

Last year, US Census data showed evidence that people of color more frequently faced evictions than white tenants did.

Women on average face 16% higher rates of eviction than men, a 2020 study by the Eviction Lab said. When broken down by race, the difference is even more drastic.

Between 2012 and 2016, the study says, Black women were evicted about 36 percent more often than Black men.

“There’s the dynamic intersection between poverty and race,” Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project, an organization that aims to advance housing justice for poor people and communities, previously told Insider.

Researchers say there are several reasons why women might be evicted at higher rates than men.

One study, for example, found that men have a tendency to share personal conflicts like a job loss or health issue with their landlord directly while women generally keep to themselves, especially when either group deals with predominantly male landlords.

“The interaction between predominantly male landlords and female tenants,” that same study says, is “a culprit and often turns on gender dynamics.”

And in general, single mothers are more vulnerable to economic disadvantages and financial difficulties.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump helped the Republican Party raise $56 million online in the first half of 2021

Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on July 19, 2021.

  • Trump raised $56 million online in the first half of 2021, more than any other Republican.
  • The sum reflects the former president’s continued dominance of GOP politics.
  • A large chunk of the money came from recurring payments, which the party has reportedly halted.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump helped the Republican Party raise $56 million online during the first half of 2021, a clear reflection of his continued dominance within the party.

Trump helped the GOP raise the substantial sum between January 1 and June 30, which was disclosed in campaign filings on Friday, according to The New York Times.

The former president raised more money than any other Republican through WinRed, the GOP’s fundraising platform that launched in 2019 to counter ActBlue, the highly successful Democratic platform, according to federal records.

Since ActBlue’s founding in 2004, nearly $8.9 billion has been raised on the platform for Democratic and Democratic-aligned candidates.

Read more: Where is Trump’s White House staff now? We created a searchable database of more than 327 top staffers to show where they all landed

Trump’s fundraising haul includes $34.3 million via a shared account with the Republican National Committee (RNC), which is also known as the “Trump Make America Great Again Committee,” according to The Times. Much of the money raised by the committee was generated through a recurring donation program, where supporters made repeated payments, per The Times.

A Times investigation from April revealed how the program caused a series of fraud complaints and refund requests, due to many respondents unintentionally signing up for recurring payments. As of July, GOP officials have halted the withdrawals, according to an individual familiar with the situation who spoke to The Times.

The former president also raised more than $21 million which was funneled into two political action committees (PACs) that he oversees.

Trump’s fundraising slowed as the months passed by; after the January 6 Capitol riot and during his second impeachment trial in February, he raised $13.8 million, but that number had declined to $2.6 million by June.

The second-most dominant fundraiser was Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, a potential 2024 presidential contender who gave the GOP response to President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress in late April. He raised $7.8 million online.

Fundraising has been more urgent than usual for the GOP as the party ramps up efforts to regain control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections and prepare for the 2024 presidential election.

Trump has not yet confirmed a final decision on whether he will pursue another White House bid in 2024.

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SolarWinds hack targeted nearly 2 dozen federal prosecutors offices, including some of the most influential in the country like the Eastern District of New York

department of justice building
  • The emails of federal prosecutors’ offices around the country were hacked by Russian intelligence during the SolarWinds cyber attack.
  • The Russian hackers had access to the emails of federal prosecutors in New York, California, DC and other jurisdictions from May to December 2020.
  • The Justice Department released the update to “increase transparency” with the public as it continues to investigate the hacking.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Federal US prosecutors were among targets of the Russian hackers behind the 2020 SolarWinds cyber attack, the Justice Department said on Friday.

According to the update, the SolarWinds hackers breached the Department’s Microsoft O365 email accounts, which included the mailboxes of federal prosecutors from New York, Los Angeles, and prominent offices in 13 other states.

At least one employee email at each of the affected district offices was hacked, and at least 80% of employees in the four major US attorneys’ New York district offices — the Eastern, Southern, Western and Northern — had their accounts hacked, the DOJ said. Hackers gained access to all sent, received, and stored emails and attachments in those accounts, though it is unclear which information the hackers took.

“New York is the financial center of the world and those districts are particularly well known for investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes and other cases, including investigating people close to the former president,” Bruce Green, a Fordham Law School professor, told the Associated Press.

US federal investigators said Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) was responsible for installing malicious malware into SolarWinds’ Orion software in 2020. The US information technology firm has more than 300,000 clients, including US government agencies and the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies.

The group is believed to have had access to the emails from May to December of last year.

After learning these accounts were hacked, the Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer cut off the channel the hackers used to the Microsoft Office accounts, notified the affected parties and the public, and is continuing to monitor the security risks associated with the hack.

The Justice Department released the update to “encourage transparency and strengthen homeland resilience,” and so that others can “use that information to prepare themselves for the next threat,” the updated statement said.

The US Department of Justice could not be reached at the time of publication.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill that would strip schools of funding for imposing a mask mandate for students

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raises his hand.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen here at a July press conference, signed an order prohibiting schools from requiring masks.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed an order prohibiting schools in the state from mandating masks.
  • Florida schools that implement a mask mandate run the risk of losing state funding.
  • The move came days after the CDC recommended that students and staff mask up when they return to classes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed an executive order Friday that prohibits schools in the state from requiring students to wear face masks when they return to classrooms in the fall.

The executive order, released Friday, is “effective immediately” and directs the Florida Departments of Health and Education to release emergency rules that stipulate that decisions over whether students will be masked in classrooms will be left up to parents rather than school officials.

According to the order, schools that do not comply with the directives from the Education and Health Departments run the risk of losing funding from the state.

“We think that’s the most fair way to do it,” DeSantis said Friday at an event at an Italian restaurant in Cape Coral, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” DeSantis said in a press release announcing the order.

“Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children,” he added.

DeSantis’ order Friday comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week recommended that students and staff at K-12 schools wear masks in the classroom regardless of their vaccination status, as Insider previously reported.

Read more: Internal CDC document warns ‘the war has changed’ with the more infectious Delta variant

The American Academy of Pediatrics also this month recommended that students and staff – regardless of vaccinations – mask up in schools this fall.

The CDC guidance came amid a broader shift at the agency, which this week recommended that fully vaccinated individuals mask up indoors in areas of the US with high levels of COVID-19 transmission. The CDC in May said that fully vaccinated individuals could ditch their masks in most settings.

The changes, the CDC said, were due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the disease, which is at least partially responsible for the ongoing surge of cases in the US.

“Information on the Delta variant from several states and other countries indicates that, on rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday. “This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations.”

The US on Friday reported more than 122,000 new cases of the disease, according to data analyzed by The New York Times – the highest single-day increase in more than five months. The state of Florida this week neared its worst COVID-19 week of all time, reporting more than 110,000 new infections over the past seven days, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

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