7 Things: Huge jump in Alabama COVID-19 cases, questions linger over latest Trump-Russia ‘bombshell,’ SCOTUS hands big loss to conservatives on abortion and more …
7. Most expensive civil unrest ever
- According to insurance experts and city officials, the protests and riots that followed the death of George Floyd could be the costliest civil unrest in the history of the United States, which is in part due to the overtime pay for police officers and the destruction and theft from rioting and looting.
- CEO of Property Claim Services (PCS) Tom Johansmeyer said, “The riots in the Minneapolis area are the first riot and civil disorder event designated by [PCS] since the 2015 Baltimore riots.” Before this, the most expensive civil unrest was the riots in Los Angeles in 1992. Damage from the George Floyd protests and riots is estimated to cost more than $500 million just in Minneapolis.
6. Unemployment benefits added for some in Alabama
- Those in Alabama who have used up all of their unemployment benefits may be eligible for Extended Benefits (EB), as announced by the Alabama Department of Labor; this is just for those who have already gone through the 14 weeks of Alabama unemployment and 13 weeks of CARES Act benefits.
- Those who receive EB will also receive the extra $600 per week from the CARES Act until it expires on July 31. EB has only been made available when the unemployment rate is over 5.9%, which will make this the first time since the 2008 recession that these benefits are available.
5. New Tuberville ad released just two weeks before runoff
- Federal super PAC Club for Growth Action is releasing a new ad for former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville Tuesday for his U.S. Senate campaign, and the main focus of the ad is how Tuberville is pro-Trump.
- The ad takes aim at former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions by saying that “Alabama wants winners, not recusers.” It also describes Tuberville by saying he’s “a real leader, won’t back down, has Trump’s back. Enough with swampy politicians.”
4. Colleges to offer coronavirus testing
- Before students go back to college campuses in the fall, they’ll have a chance to be tested for coronavirus after Governor Kay Ivey announced that the tests would be funded through $30 million from the COVID relief funding.
- The testing will be free for students, and it’s going to be organized by the University of Alabama System, but testing is offered on all public-school campuses. Dean of UAB School of Medicine Dr. Selwyn Vickers said that the decision to have testing on private school campuses will be left up “to the institutions and their campus leadership.”
3. Huge defeat for conservatives at the Supreme Court
- Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush, once again dealt a blow to the conservative cause when he sided with the court’s more liberal judges to knock down a Louisiana law “regulating abortion clinics.” This happened after Robert declared the case he cited to make his decision to be wrongly-decided.
- Obviously, the media and their Democrats’ fears that the court would lurch to the right were unfounded and Republicans hoping that Roe v. Wade could potentially be up for review seems less likely, barring another appointment and another term by President Donald Trump.
2. Many questions remain about the latest Trump-Russia story
- Of course, the American media had already made up its mind when there were reports from unnamed sources that Russia was paying the Taliban to kill American soldiers. The allegation included that the President of the United States knew about this and didn’t care.
- Much of the pushback on the story is related to the fact that the intelligence was never confirmed nor was the president ever briefed on it, with CBS News’ Katherine Herididge reporting, “[T]he intelligence collection report reached ‘low levels’ NSC but did not go further, not briefed POTUS, or VP because it was deemed ‘uncorroborated’ and ‘dissent intelligence community.'”
1. Cases are on the rise everywhere in Alabama
- Coronavirus cases are increasing across the state, but North Alabama is also starting to see a spike after appearing to have very few issues, with 38 patients at the main Huntsville Hospital. There’s also been an increase in patients at the hospitals in Marshall County and Athens.
- Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said that the average age of coronavirus patients in the hospital is mid-50s, but added, “Young people are not immune. It’s rare but it happens.” There’s a 16-year-old on a ventilator in Huntsville, and Madison County Commission Chair Dale Strong has said that “we don’t have this pandemic under control” anywhere in the country, not even in Madison County.