National Headlines

BlakeDavidTaylor/iStockBy ALEXANDER MALLIN, ABC News

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department announced on Thursday the arrest of a suspect in the murder case of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, whose tragic killing in late June inspired the namesake for the Justice Department's "Operation Legend" law enforcement initiative.

Police charged 22-year-old Ryson Ellis with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action, saying in a press release that Ellis fired shots into the apartment where Taliferro was sleeping on the night of June 29.

The KCPD said that Ellis sent threatening social media messages to a witness after the shooting, which led to Taliferro's family members confronting him about the shooting, including Taliferro's father.

Both Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump applauded the news of Ellis' arrest, with Trump holding up a picture of Taliferro at a news conference at the White House.

"We named 'Operation LeGend' after LeGend Taliferro, where we are going to be helping out and are in the process of helping out cities throughout our country that have difficulty with crime," Trump said. "So that's really good news, they caught the killer of LeGend."

In a separate statement, Barr said the arrest came as a result of coordination between Kansas City police, the FBI and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"Today's arrest of LeGend Taliferro's suspected murderer marks a significant step forward in his case and illustrates the potential of Operation Legend more broadly," Barr said. "This development is a model for joint efforts to solve crimes and reduce violence in other cities. I thank the state and local law enforcement officers who helped make possible this important step in bringing justice to LeGend, to his family, and to his community."

Barr first announced the creation of "Operation LeGend" in an exclusive interview with ABC News last month, when he told Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas that he decided to name the initiative after LeGend after hearing he had survived open heart surgery, only to be killed in his sleep.

"My daughter had open-heart surgery at a comparable age and I remember how stressful it was for our family," Barr said at the time. "And the idea of your child surviving that and, you know, the-- the joy you would feel to see your kid pull through something like that and then have them shot in the face, it -- it affected me a lot."

Since its launch in Kansas City, the DOJ has expanded Operation LeGend to multiple other cities, including St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Memphis, Tennessee.

The effort involves the deployment of agents from the FBI, ATF, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals to assist in investigating violent crimes in cities that have experienced recent surges. But it has been met with considerable skepticism, at least initially, from local leaders who believe Trump and Barr are working to target cities led primarily by Democrats with aggressive and visible federal responses like have been seen in Seattle and Portland.

Barr has repeatedly sought to separate "Operation LeGend" from the violent clashes in Seattle and Portland between protesters and federal agents primarily from the Department of Homeland Security.

"Although LeGend's suspected murderer has been arrested, Operation Legend will go on," Barr said Thursday. "Inspired by this success, federal law enforcement will continue working tirelessly to support state and local partners in our shared mission to keep the American people safe and enforce the rule of law."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Justice has accused Yale University of illegally discriminating against Asian American and white applicants.

A two-year civil rights investigation, in response to a complaint by Asian American groups, found that race was a factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year, officials said. It also found Asian American and white applicants have one-tenth to one-fourth the likelihood of admission as African American applicants with similar credentials.

In a letter sent to the university's attorneys, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, who heads the DOJ's civil rights division, said that the department has "determined that Yale violated, and is continuing to violate, Title VI." Title VI of the 1965 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in programs that receive federal financial assistance. The Supreme Court has ruled that colleges that receive federal funds can consider an applicants' race, along with other factors, but Yale's use of race "is anything but limited," the DOJ said.

"Yale’s use of race at multiple steps of its admissions process results in a multiplied effect of race on an applicant’s likelihood of admission," Dreiband said in the letter.

In a statement, Yale said it "categorically denies" the DOJ's allegation of discrimination, and called the investigation "meritless" and "hasty."

"At Yale, we look at the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants," the statement said, adding that the Ivy League school takes into account factors such as their "academic achievement, interests, demonstrated leadership, background, success in taking maximum advantage of their secondary school and community resources, and the likelihood that they will contribute to the Yale community and the world."

Yale said that it has been complying with the DOJ's investigation and had not yet provided all the information the department had requested. "Had the Department fully received and fairly weighed this information, it would have concluded that Yale’s practices absolutely comply with decades of Supreme Court precedent," the statement said.

In its letter, the DOJ demanded that Yale stop using race or national origin in its upcoming 2020-2021 admissions cycle. The university could also choose to submit a plan to the DOJ that does consider race or national origin that is "narrowly tailored as required by law," including a date to stop using race in its admissions process. The letter gives Yale until Aug. 27 to comply with the DOJ's demands or risk facing a federal lawsuit.

Yale said it does not plan to change its admissions process.

"We are proud of Yale’s admissions practices, and we will not change them on the basis of such a meritless, hasty accusation," the university said in its statement.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 750,000 people worldwide.

Over 20.6 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 5.2 million diagnosed cases and at least 166,148 deaths.

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

4:40 p.m.: Southern Conference postpones fall sports

The Southern Conference is postponing its fall conference competition, including football, conference officials said Thursday.

Non-conference games are allowed if desired, the officials said.

The conference intends to move fall sports to the spring.

"Safety must come first," Commissioner Jim Schaus said in a statement. "We are still hopeful that we can have these sports successfully compete in the spring."

3:55 p.m.: Biden calls for nationwide mask mandate

Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Thursday called for a nationwide mask mandate to go into effect immediately.

"Every single American should be wearing a mask when they're outside for the next three months, at a minimum," Biden said. "Every governor should mandate mandatory mask-wearing. The estimates by the experts are will save over 40,000 lives. The next three months. 40,000 lives."

"When I get occasionally confronted with a person in public about wearing a mask, I say, 'Look, this is America. Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens,'" he said.

"So let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide, starting immediately. And we will save lives," Biden said.

3:20 p.m.: Georgia governor withdrawing lawsuit against Atlanta over mask rules, other coronavirus restrictions

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Thursday that he's withdrawing his lawsuit against Atlanta's City Council and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over the city's mask requirement and other coronavirus restrictions.

Kemp, a Republican, had argued that Bottoms, a Democrat, couldn't enforce rules that were more restrictive than his executive orders.

Bottoms has now "agreed to abandon the city’s Phase One roll-back plan, which included business closures and a shelter in place order," Kemp said in a statement Thursday.

In light of that, "and following her refusal in mediation to further negotiate a compromise, the Attorney General’s Office has filed to withdraw our pending lawsuit," Kemp said.

Kemp added that Bottoms "has made it clear that she will not agree to a settlement that safeguards the rights of private property owners in Georgia. Given this stalemate in negotiations, we will address this very issue in the next Executive Order."

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that this "decision effectively allows Atlanta and other cities to keep their mask mandates on the books, though officials said Kemp’s order will seek to limit the scope of the ordinances to government property."

Bottoms, responding to Kemp's decision, tweeted a quote from writer and activist Audre Lorde, which said: "Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing."

The current executive order expires on Aug. 15, the governor said.

2:35 p.m.: Fauci says temperature checks not reliable for screening

As classrooms reopen for the fall, many school administrators say they're using temperature checks on students and teachers.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday that the White House and the National Institutes of Health have abandoned temperature checks as a screening tool.

Especially on hot summer days, temperature checks aren't a reliable way to screen for infection, Fauci said.

"We have found at the NIH, that it is much much better to just question people when they come in and save the time, because the temperatures are notoriously inaccurate, many times," Fauci said at an event with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Fauci added that in recent days his temperature read as high as 103 degrees before getting into the air conditioning.

12:50 p.m.: Florida tops 9,000 deaths

With 148 new deaths reported in hard-hit Florida on Wednesday, the state's death toll has now surpassed 9,000, the Florida Department of Health said Thursday.

Over 557,000 people in the state have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Florida has the second-highest number of cases in the U.S., behind California.

12:15 p.m.: About 70% of Catholic schools will be reopened by end of next week

Many Catholic schools across the country are already up and running, and by the end of next week, about 70% of them will be reopened, Kathy Mears, the National Catholic Educational Association CEO and interim president, told ABC News on Thursday.

Most schools are offering some type of in-person instruction, she said.

"We are being very careful. We are following all local guidelines and the recommendations of many health care professionals," Mears said. "We are making sure that the students are six feet apart in our schools, that they're all facing one direction. Plexiglas has been put up."

She said reopening decisions are being made at the local level.

"We pride ourselves on meeting individual needs and that requires different teachers at different times. So for high schools, many of them are using hybrid models," Mears said.

She continued, "For the elementary, we can keep them better in one classroom because one teacher teaches all subjects and that teacher can differentiate. So at the elementary level, about 85% are going back in person full-time. About 15% of our students and their families are choosing to go online."

11:25 a.m.: NCAA chief medical officer: 'It's a very narrow path to get fall sports right'

As some college athletic conferences postpone fall sports and others forge ahead, Dr. Brian Hainline, senior vice president and chief medical officer at the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), warned Thursday, "It's a very narrow path to get fall sports right."

“In April, we were envisioning that there would be a continued downward trajectory of COVID-19 new infections and deaths, that there would be a national surveillance system national testing, and national contact tracing that would allow us to really navigate this pandemic into re-socializing both in sport and then the rest of society,” he said during a media briefing hosted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America on the impact of COVID-19 on college athletics.

“That hasn't happened, and it's made it very challenging to make decisions as we approach fall sport," Hainline said.

Dr. Carlos del Rio, a professor of medicine and global health at Emory University and a member of the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel, recommended "that we hold off and we control this virus."

“My advice to organizations that I've talked to is: if you cannot do it safely, you shouldn't do it,” del Rio said at Thursday's briefing.

The U.S. has "a quarter of the world's total number of cases," Del Rio stressed.

"I feel like the Titanic, and we have hit the iceberg, and we're trying to make decisions of what time we should have the band play,” del Rio went on. “I think a lot of the discussions of whether we should have sports, [or] we shouldn't have sports, should really be focused on getting control of the pandemic."

The Pac-12, Big Ten and Big East conferences announced this week that they're postponing all fall sports.

The Big 12 announced Wednesday that it will move forward with fall sports this year and will give athletes in high-contact sports including football three COVID-19 tests per week.

The SEC is also moving forward. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said Tuesday, "We will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports as we monitor developments around COVID-19."

9:15 a.m.: At least 561 inmates test positive at Florida prison

At Florida's Baker Correctional Institution, 561 inmates and 25 staff tested positive for the coronavirus as of Wednesday, reported Jacksonville's WJXT-TV, citing the Florida Department of Corrections.

Another 294 inmate tests were pending.

One week ago, 20 inmates and 17 staff members had tested positive, WJXT reported.

All staff and inmates at Baker Correctional Institution were given face masks and everyone is required to wear one, a Department of Corrections spokesperson told WJXT.

Meals are now provided in cells and inmates' temperatures are checked daily, the Department of Corrections told WJXT.

7:45 a.m.: New Zealand reports 13 more locally-transmitted cases

New Zealand confirmed 13 new locally-transmitted cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

Authorities said the new cases are all in Auckland, the country's most populous city, and are linked to the four people from the same family in Auckland who tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, breaking a 102-day streak without any locally-transmitted cases across New Zealand.

The fresh cluster of cases spreading within the community, which now totals 17, prompted New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to place Auckland under a three-day lockdown starting Wednesday and to reinstate some restrictions for the rest of the country.

"We are now treating these cases as a cluster -- and what we know about clusters is that they grow," New Zealand's ministry of health said in a press release Thursday. "What is important is that we investigate these cases to their full extent, and that is exactly where people who are coming forward to be tested are helping us."

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand has reported 1,239 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 22 deaths. Thirty-six of those cases remain active, including the 17 linked to the recent outbreak, according to the health ministry.

6:39 a.m.: India reports highest single-day spike in infections

India registered 66,999 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, its highest single-day spike in infections yet.

The country also recorded an additional 942 coronavirus-related fatalities, according to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The nationwide total now stands at just under 2.4 million confirmed cases with at least 47,033 deaths. More than 653,000 of those cases remain active, after 1.6 million patients have recovered.

India has the third-highest number of diagnosed cases in the world, after the United States and Brazil.

5:12 a.m.: Newborn baby among Minnesota children recently hospitalized

A newborn baby is among the children recently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota, according to a report by Saint Paul ABC affiliate KSTP-TV.

Jenni Gibbens said her son, Harrison, was just 25 days old when he tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized in July, making him one of Minnesota's youngest coronavirus patients.

"I was in absolute shock," Gibbens told KSTP. "Any time when it's your child, it's just heartbreaking."

Gibbens' entire family ended up contracting the virus, with her husband being the first to show symptoms in early July. Her 4-year-old son Deacon, who also tested positive, was asymptomatic, she said.

Baby Harrison spent three days at Children's Minnesota hospital, where staff monitored his fever, oxygen levels and heart function.

"At 27 days old, he is officially taking the title of a COVID survivor, which seems unreal," Gibbens told KSTP.

To date, more than 9,000 Minnesota residents under the age of 20 have tested positive for COVID019, including more than 1,400 children younger than 6, according to KSTP.

Patsy Stinchfield, a pediatric nurse practitioner and the senior director of infection prevention and control at Children's Minnesota, said 72 children have been admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, with around 10 needing to be put on ventilators.

"Most of the kids that are coming in are in for support, IV fluids, observation, just making sure they're not going to get worse," she told KSTP. "We are seeing a very wide variety of symptoms."

4:48 a.m.: Italy orders COVID-19 tests for travelers from four nations

Italy has ruled that people traveling to the country from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain must be tested for COVID-19 on arrival.

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced Wednesday evening that he had signed the new order, adding that anyone traveling from or through Colombia would be barred from entering Italy.

"We must continue along the line of prudence to defend the results achieved in recent months with everyone's sacrifice," Speranza wrote in a Facebook post.

Italy, once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, has so far reported more than 251,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 with over 35,000 deaths. The country has largely contained the spread of the virus in recent months, but now there are fears of a possible resurgence of infections.

Italy registered another rise in the number of new infections Wednesday, with 481 cases identified in the past 24 hours -- up from 412 on Tuesday, according to data released by the Civil Protection Agency.

3:50 a.m.: US records nearly 56,000 new cases, over 1,500 additional deaths

There were 55,910 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Wednesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

An additional 1,504 coronavirus-related deaths were also reported -- a jump of more than 400 from the previous day.

It's the first time in four days that the nation has recorded over 50,000 new cases. But Wednesday's caseload is still well below the record set on July 16, when more than 77,000 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

A total of 5,197,377 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 166,027 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July.

Many states have seen a rise in infections in recent weeks, with some -- including Arizona, California and Florida -- reporting daily records. However, the nationwide number of new cases and deaths in the last week have both decreased in week-over-week comparisons, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News Wednesday night.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- A lawyer for an alleged child-sex trafficking victim contends in a new court filing that attorneys for Jeffrey Epstein's $655 million estate are engaged in a "concerted and coordinated effort" to delay the woman's lawsuit in an attempt to steer her claims into a private victim compensation fund established by the estate.

"They have done everything they can to make these cases as difficult as possible for the victims so the victims feel like they have no real choice but to submit to the fund and postpone the proceedings indefinitely," Robert Glassman, an attorney for the alleged victim who sued under the pseudonym Jane Doe, wrote.

Doe filed the lawsuit against the estate in January. The complaint also names Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's alleged accomplice, as a co-defendant. Doe alleges she was recruited by the pair in 1994 when she was a 13-year-old music student at a summer camp in Michigan.

Of the more than 30 women who brought legal claims against Epstein's estate following his death last year, Doe is the only accuser who has declined to put her lawsuit on hold to pursue an alternative resolution via the Epstein Victims' Compensation Fund, a voluntary non-adversarial program that began evaluating claims in June.

In the seven months since Doe filed the lawsuit, estate lawyers have yet to turn over a single document in response to pretrial requests and have "resorted to belittling [Doe] ... simply because she is exercising her constitutional right to pursue a legal claim against those responsible for causing her unimaginable harm," according to Glassman's claims in a letter to U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman.

"In short, since [Doe] has not agreed to stay her case and walk away, she is being punished by the Epstein estate for doing what she has a basic right to do. That is simply unacceptable and [she] is not walking away," Glassman wrote.

Glassman declined to comment on the letter when reached by ABC News.

Lawyers for the estate did not respond to an email request for comment, but in a letter filed with the court late Wednesday, they disputed Glassman's allegations that the estate had belittled the alleged victim as "completely untrue."

"We have done no such thing, and the inclusion of this claim by plaintiff's counsel further highlights their lack of good faith in these discussions," Epstein estate attorney Mary Grace Metcalfe wrote.

The parties have been wrangling for months now over the estate's insistence on a confidentiality order and a non-disclosure agreement being in place before they would turn over any relevant information in their possession to Doe's lawyers, who have thus far declined to sign on to its terms. During a teleconference last week, estate lawyer Bennet Moskowitz told the court that Doe's lawyer's refusal to sign the agreement is the only thing standing in the way of the estate turning over documents to her legal team.

"It kind of boggles our minds because this case is brought by someone acting through an anonymous name. That is reason alone to have a confidentiality agreement," Moskowitz said.

Moskowitz also advocated for putting the litigation on hold while Doe submits a claim to the compensation fund, arguing that it was "a very sensible thing to do."

According to a spokesperson for the compensation program, forms were sent to over 100 potential claimants so far and more than 25 claims have been filed and are being reviewed.

Unlike a lawsuit, the claims process is designed to be confidential from start to finish, which may be a favored path for the vast majority of alleged Epstein victims. But the process, by its very nature, may also prevent disclosure of information about the scope of Epstein's finances and his alleged sex-trafficking operation that might otherwise be revealed in public court records or proceedings. The only public reporting required of the program is a periodic aggregate accounting of the number of claims paid and the total amount of the awards.

Judge Freeman, who is overseeing the case, seemed to be nudging Doe's lawyers during the telephonic hearing in the direction of staying the case, as dozens of other Epstein accusers had done.

"I'm not trying to twist anybody's arms here. I just think you need to talk because I don't want to see money unnecessarily spent," Freeman said. "And I'm not saying you should agree to a stay, but I think you should consider it."

But Glassman told ABC News in a brief interview last month that -- while Doe may at some point opt to submit a claim to the compensation fund -- she has no interest in delaying the lawsuit while that process runs its course. Glassman also said that he sees no need for the confidentiality agreement the estate wants in place because there is an existing court order which prohibits the disclosure of his client's identity to anyone not involved in the case.

"We're interested in taking this case to trial and getting the evidence that we need in order to prepare the case for that time," Glassman said.

Doe's lawsuit alleges that she is the first known child victim of Epstein and Maxwell. According to her civil complaint, after first meeting them at the music camp, a months-long grooming process continued after she returned home to Florida, where Epstein had a seaside estate on Palm Beach Island. Doe's father had recently passed away, the complaint said, creating an opportunity for Epstein and Maxwell to fill the void.

"Epstein gave himself the name of Doe's 'godfather' while Maxwell acted like an older sister to her," her complaint said. "They took her to movies, went shopping with her and lounged around Epstein's estate with her."

Doe, now 40, alleges the abuse escalated over the next few years as Epstein and Maxwell asserted more and more control over her life and aspirations. Epstein paid for voice lessons, private high school tuition and even co-signed a lease on a New York City apartment for Doe and her mother, according to her complaint.

She claims the abuse occurred at Epstein's homes in Florida, New York and his ranch in New Mexico, and that she would often travel to those locations with Epstein and Maxwell on one of Epstein's private jets.

"Epstein's system of abuse was facilitated in large part by his co-conspirator and accomplice, Maxwell, who helped supply him with a steady stream of young and vulnerable girls," the complaint said, "many of whom were fatherless, like Jane Doe, and came from struggling families."

The allegations in Doe's complaint are substantially similar to the circumstances of one of the three child victims described in the criminal indictment filed against Maxwell last month. Maxwell has denied Doe's claims in the civil suit and has pleaded not guilty to the charges in the criminal indictment. She is currently being held without bail in a federal jail in Brooklyn, New York.

In a letter to the court Wednesday, Maxwell's attorney Laura Menninger indicated that she intends to ask the court to put Doe's claims against Maxwell on hold, pending the outcome of her criminal case. Citing the difficulties she's had communicating with Maxwell at the jail, Menninger asked for another week to consult with her client before filing a formal request.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- More than 150 days after the killing of Breonna Taylor, a young Black medical worker fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plainclothes officers who were executing a no-knock warrant, it's still unclear whether any police will face charges, attorneys for Taylor's family said.

Ben Crump and Lonita Baker said at a press conference on Thursday that the family met with the mayor and state attorney general on Wednesday but that no definitive answers emerged.

Crump did say he "absolutely" expects there to be charges in the case, but he didn't provide additional details.

Baker said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron personally extended his condolences to the family during the meeting, the first time he's spoken with the family.

Cameron told them he didn't reach out previously because he feared it could interfere with his investigation. His office is waiting on ballistics reports from the FBI and additional interviews before any decisions are made, Baker added.

"He wants to have the right answer at the end of this. He doesn't want to rush through it," Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, who attended the meeting, said at the press conference.

But, Baker added, "We're not going to wait forever. We do want this resolved quickly and accurately."

Taylor was killed March 13 after officers executed a no-knock entry into her home, according to the arrest warrant obtained by ABC News. Police said she had been accepting packages for an ex-boyfriend whom police were investigating as an alleged drug trafficker.

Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, got out of bed around midnight when they heard commotion outside. After a short exchange with officers, Walker said he fired his gun in self-defense, saying he thought the home was being broken into, according to police.

The plainclothes officers returned multiple shots, including the ones that fatally struck Taylor. Police said the no-knock warrant was necessary "due to the nature of how these drug traffickers operate," the arrest warrant states.

Attorneys for Taylor's estate claimed that more than 20 shots were fired into her apartment, hitting her multiple times.

Crump said Thursday that in a separate meeting he and his co-attorneys challenged Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer "to make sure that he is courageous and responsible in trying to lead his city out of this tragedy."

"He has that power and we want him to rise to the occasion," Crump said.

Crump also said they discussed the officer who attorneys for Taylor's family allege lied on a probable cause affidavit that "enticed" a judge to sign a no-knock warrant, calling for him to be fired.

"You have to admit the wrong that occurred, and then you have to have conscientious thoughts about how that wrong happened," Crump said.

Baker added that they discussed with the mayor a number of things that they believe the city needs to change, including ordinances, the FOP contract, and the termination of other officers involved. There was a positive dialogue, she said, but now it's time to turn it into action.

Taylor's aunt, Bianca Austin, said that even though it's been five months, each day still feels like March 13.

Wearing a T-shirt with Taylor's face pinned to the left arm and a mask with her niece's name, Austin said the family still has faith the city will do the right thing.

"We need to take our city back so there won't be any more names," she said.

Palmer said she hopes to see justice beyond just her daughter's case.

"At this point it's bigger than Breonna, it's bigger than Black lives," Palmer said. "It's about bridging the gap between us and police."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Wildfire season is in full effect Thursday as multiple fires throughout the West are being fueled by bone dry conditions.

The Lake fire broke out north of Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon and grew to 10,000 acres in just hours. It is currently 0% contained. Evacuations were issued for residences in the area.

In Oregon, the Mosier fire broke out and scorched 500 acres and is threatening 300 homes.

The Grizzly Creek fire in Colorado is now 4,624 acres, with evacuations continuing for some communities in the area.

Gusty winds and dry conditions were fueling the fires in Oregon and Colorado Wednesday and more gusty winds are expected Thursday.

Red flag warnings continue for the Rockies and the heat watches and warnings have been issued from Oregon, California and Arizona, where it could be as hot as 120 degrees in some areas Thursday.

The heat will expand over the next few days as temperatures are expected to reach 100s, even in the Pacific Northwest.

Meanwhile, large portions of the U.S. are dealing with significant rain.

A slow-moving storm system brought more than 10 inches of rain to southwestern Arkansas Wednesday, submerging neighborhoods there.

In Virginia and Maryland, up to 4 inches of rain in just a few hours produced causing flood rescues, and even a sinkhole to develop, swallowing cars and cutting off a neighborhood in Virginia.

More heavy rain is on the way from New Jersey to North Carolina. A Flash flood watch has been issued for the area for Thursday.

Some areas could see an additional 2 to 4 inches of rain in the next 48 hours.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


crisserbug/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A community college in Ohio has had no reported cases of COVID-19 traced to the school since reopening for in-person classes three months ago.

As of Wednesday, the school, Stark State College, said it hasn't had any confirmed cases across its multiple locations.

The news is somewhat surprising, as most college campuses have not been free of the virus this summer. A New York Times report, looking at a mix of public and private four-year universities, found that at least 6,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were traced to about 270 colleges during the pandemic. One notable outbreak occurred in the University of Washington's Greek Row.

Stark State, which has a main campus in Canton, has implemented a range of protocols to operate with a limited number of students and staff on campus during the pandemic. An overview of their measures and other school factors demonstrate the number of variables that go into safely reopening schools.

'A measured approach, and then some'

For Stark State, the goal has been to take "a measured approach, and then some," Marisa Rohn, vice president of advancement, human resources and partnerships at Stark State, told ABC News.

"We know we're not immune," Rohn said. "Our hope is to mitigate that and take these measured approaches that really limit that risk."

Building off safety and response protocols the school had originally created for H1N1, Stark State has also worked with the local health departments in the counties that it serves, referred to guidelines from the governor and state health department and regularly monitors Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

"We have gone point-by-point down the governor's RestartOhio plan for higher education and ensured that we meet, or in most cases exceed, those guidelines for return to the classroom protocols," Rohn said.

For instance, temperature scans -- which the state guidelines do not list as a requirement for returning students -- are conducted at all entrances. The school has also required that anyone on campus wear a facial covering since it reopened for in-person learning in early May. (The initial state guidance recommended students wear masks, and last month it became a statewide mandate.) The school also regularly cleans its air filtration systems, a protocol that is not listed among the state guidelines.

Social distancing and sanitization

The summer semester features a smaller on-campus population in general, with about 80% of students online already, Rohn said. For in-person classes, the school has prioritized classes that require hands-on learning, including commercial drivers license, automotive and health care programs. A little more than 750 students have been to school in person this summer across two campuses and automotive and commercial drivers license locations.

The school has deployed several measures to promote social distancing. There are fewer entrances, to better manage foot traffic as well as conduct health screenings. Class times are staggered throughout the day to limit the arrival and departure of students and at any given time. Class sizes have ranged from 10 to 12 students, with an even smaller number in the commercial drivers license program. (Training in the truck went from a student-instructor ratio of 4:1 to 1:1.)

In common areas and computer labs, seating is roped or marked off to enable a six-foot distance. The cafeteria capacity was cut in half.

The school has also ramped up sanitizing protocols. Hand sanitizing stations are located at all entrances and throughout the campuses. Classrooms are sanitized after each use, including door handles, counters and tables and students are provided cleaning wipes.

Signage at each entrance gives a rundown of the school's safety protocols, as well as a list of COVID-19 symptoms. If someone forgets a mask, there is a supply of facial coverings available, and they are for sale in the bookstore. Should someone become sick, the school will isolate them in a designated area until they can be brought to a clinic or hospital.

Social distancing and sanitizing measures also apply to the school's employees: Faculty and staff rotate on-campus shifts, plexiglass separators have been installed in offices and cleaning supplies are accessible to all.

Protocols in place

Stark State has established protocols should a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19, is notified of exposure or needs to be tested. The school would collaborate with the health department in the county in which the person resides, which would conduct contact tracing and advise the school on quarantining.

So far, the school has had a few reported exposures of staff members off campus who were asked to self-quarantine and monitor symptoms, Rohn said. Should it be notified by a county health department of any confirmed cases linked to its campuses, the school has to notify the public on its website.

"We are prepared, we have our protocols in place," Rohn said. "For us, it's that balancing act. We really need to keep our teaching and learning mission in the forefront, but we also need to keep people safe."

Monitoring community spread

The Ohio health department monitors COVID-19 spread using a four-level system based on seven different indicators -- such as new cases, hospital admissions and ICU bed occupancy -- that's updated weekly for each county. The counties that Stark State's campuses are in -- Stark and Summit -- are both in the second level, meaning there's increased exposure and spread and residents should exercise a "high degree of caution." In one indicator, Stark has just above 50 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, while Summit has 75. The counties surrounding Stark and Summit are in the first, second or third levels.

Low community spread is key in reopening schools, health experts say.

"If you don't have a lot of community spread, then the chances are it's less likely that you're going to be seeing a lot of cases in the schools," said Dr. Simone Wildes, an infectious diseases physician at South Shore Health in southeastern Massachusetts and an ABC News contributor.

The fact that a majority of the college's enrollees are part-time -- about 72% -- may also help with a staggered schedule of students on campus.

The community college also doesn't have dorms or athletics: two key concerns with reopening colleges.

"You don't have people in the dorms, people in close quarters -- that's something they have going in their favor," Wildes said.

Stark State's fall semester starts Aug. 31, at which point it's expected about a third of students will be fully online, a third will be fully in-person and a third will be doing a hybrid, officials said. Annually, the school typically serves around 15,000 students.

Having more people on campus this fall will put their new protocols to the test.

"On a small scale, I think most people are able to manage things very well," Wildes said. "But as we expand the numbers, then things get a lot harder to control."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


grandriver/iStockBy KIARA BRANTLEY-JONES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The Navajo community suffered one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates per capita in the country just three months ago but with the implementation of strict public health measures such as curfews and mandatory mask-wearing, Navajo Nation has curbed the spread of coronavirus.

Overall, the number of coronavirus cases have declined in the Navajo community. The latest figures from the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 19 new COVID-19 positive cases, 6,893 recoveries and no recent deaths, according to a press release from the office of the president and vice president of Navajo Nation.

Jonathan Nez, who was elected president of the tribal nation in 2018, implemented a lockdown order in April to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases within the Navajo community.

“We have had curfews and we still have curfews today because we're not letting down. There's no vaccine,” President Nez told ABC News' Nightline. “There's no cure for COVID 19. So we're not going to let down here.”

In addition to having 57 weekend curfews, tribal governments are working to improve access to water for many residents by allocating funds from the CARES Act into the community to get needed infrastructure.

"Our people are hauling water … most of the time they're getting their water for their livestock and [it] leaves a little bit for drinking and even personal hygiene," said President Nez. "And so if we can get running water to our families, that could really accelerate the push back on COVID-19 here on the Navajo Nation."

An estimated 30% of people who live on the Navajo reservations do not have access to running water and turn to outdoor pumps to get their supply.

The lack of accessibility makes it more difficult to fulfill the constant handwashing necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A grassroots effort called the Navajo and Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund has been working to combat these disparities by distributing food, water and other essential needs to the most vulnerable in the community since March.

“We’ve provided food and some PPE to over 80,000 households,” said Cassandra Begay, communications director for the Navajo and Hopi Families Relief Fund.

In community hotspots where COVID-19 positive cases surged a few months ago, the grassroots effort provided COVID positive kits which included tents, cots, food and medicine. These kits allowed community members who tested positive for coronavirus to recover in isolation without increasing the risk of infecting other family members in multigenerational homes.

Although COVID-19 cases in the Navajo community are on the decline, precautions are still being taken to ensure that a resurgence does not occur in the next few months.

“We can’t afford for this virus to continue devastating our communities,” said Begay. “We can’t wait for the government to save us, our grassroots effort just speaks to the power in people and humans to do something for ourselves.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ekaterina Molchanova/iStockBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) -- An Illinois school district is banning students from wearing pajamas during remote schooling -- a move making some parents unhappy.

The specific guidance comes from Springfield School District's 2020-2021 student and family handbook. The handbook states that pajama pants are not allowed in school and extended the policy to remote learning.

Director of school support Jason Wind told members of the Springfield Public Schools Board of Education, "We don't need students in pajamas and all those other things while on their Zoom conferences," during a recorded Zoom meeting.

"Everyone in the committee felt that was an important portion to this to make a change and state that very specifically," he said.

As fall classes are slated to begin Aug. 31, some parents have spoken out about their concerns over the dress code policy.

Emily Parkinson, a fourth grade special education teacher based in Chicago tweeted, "This makes me angry. There's a global pandemic, many parents have lost jobs, kids are doing the best they can to cope ... and they're going to be disciplined for what they wear ... in their own home? Come on, Illinois."

A woman from Arizona tweeted, "Why are schools so hell-bent on telling kids what to wear then swear up and down they can't make kids wear masks on campus?" Her tweet received over 10,000 likes and more than 500 retweets.

The district has affirmed that it does not intend to be punitive or to prescribe what students wear at home during remote learning during such uncertain times.

Hankins' statement also points out that the district is appreciative of the input and attention that has been given to their handbook, and they are open to making the guideline more supportive and inclusive.

The Springfield School District has about 14,000 students and plans to kick the school year off with a hybrid program in which students will attend in-person classes two days a week.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 747,000 people worldwide.

Over 20.5 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 5.1 million diagnosed cases and at least 165,934 deaths.

Here's how the news developed Wednesday. All times Eastern:

10:10 p.m.: Colorado extends mask mandate

Colorado's mask mandate, which was set to expire this weekend, has now been extended.

Gov. Jared Polis put the policy into place for 30 days starting at midnight on July 16. The mandate requires everyone 11 years and older to wear a mask in public indoor spaces and on public transit or a non-private vehicle, such as taxi or ride-share.

"Our data has shown that mask wearing has contributed to our great success thus far in reducing the spread of the virus and helping more and more of our economy re-open rapidly including our schools," Polis said in a statement to ABC News. "Therefore we expect the mask order to stay in place and support localized efforts to continue mask wearing and raise awareness about the importance of avoiding large groups. Masks and social distancing continue protecting the lives of Coloradans during this pandemic."

After rising through June and July, cases have been decreasing in Colorado in August. After initial heights in April, the cases grew to a high of 870 cases during a second wave on July 27. The state reported just 215 cases on Aug. 11.

9:51 p.m.: AMC to reopen some theaters Aug. 20

One of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic has been the film industry as movie theaters across the country have remained shuttered for months.

AMC Theatres announced it will be opening more than 100 theaters on Aug. 20, and then plans to have two-thirds of theaters open by Sept. 3.

"We already have opened more than half of our theatres in Europe and the Middle East, safely and without incident, and will open all by August 26," the company said in a statement, adding the final third of theaters closed in the U.S. will "open after we get further clearance from state and local authorities that it is safe to do so."

The company plans to show first-run films soon after opening, including the new X-Men film The New Mutants on Aug. 28, and Tenet, the much-delayed Christopher Nolan film, on Sept. 3.

AMC said it plans to implement strict cleaning procedures, social distancing, required masks and "significantly limiting seating capacity."

By screens, AMC is the largest theater chain in North America.

9:25 p.m.: White House releases guidance on reopening schools

The White House has released its own guidance on safely reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

The four-page document largely echoes previous guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out for schools, including recommending masks when social distancing is not possible.

There are also specific recommendations for high-risk teachers and students.

The guidelines make an argument for on-campus learning, in line with President Donald Trump's push for in-person instruction this fall.

Trump again called for students to return to schools at a briefing on Wednesday, arguing that online and remote learning isn't good for their development.

"When you sit at home in a basement looking at a computer, your brain starts to wither away," he said. "We have a lot of good experience at that just by taking a look at what is happening in politics."

7:25 p.m.: Big East latest conference to postpone fall sports

The Big East is the latest collegiate conference to postpone the fall season.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, volleyball and field hockey will not compete this fall, officials said Wednesday. The conference is considering having the teams compete during the spring of 2021.

Fall competition for sports in their nontraditional seasons, including baseball, softball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse and men's and women's tennis, also will not be held.

Sports that are not sponsored by the Big East, including football, are not affected.

The move follows similar announcements from the Pac-12 Conference and Big Ten Conference. On Tuesday, both associations said they are postponing fall sports, including football, through the end of 2020 due to the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the Big 12 Conference announced it will move forward with fall sports this year.

4:30 p.m.: California 'turning the corner on this pandemic,' governor says

California, the state with the most coronavirus cases, is "turning the corner on this pandemic," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

ICU admissions have decreased by 16% and hospitalizations are down by 19%, Newsom said.

"You can’t let your guard down," he warned.

"You want to see those numbers continue to go down? Wear a mask. You want to see those numbers continue to go down? Continue to physically distance," Newsom said.

California has more than 586,000 diagnosed coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. California is followed by Florida and then Texas for most cases.

3:10 p.m.: Georgia school with 35 cases moving to hybrid learning

Georgia's North Paulding High School, where images of packed hallways between classes went viral on social media, now has at least 35 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to a letter from school officials to parents.

The high school moved from in-person classes to virtual learning, but on Monday, students will start a hybrid schedule depending on their last name to combine in-person and digital learning.

School officials said Wednesday: "The plan we have developed will reduce the number of students on campus by half, will reduce hallway congestion, will improve traffic flow during class transitions, and will help mitigate other challenges we have identified since in-person instruction started.

1:15 p.m.: All NJ schools can reopen

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday that he's signing an executive order clearing pre-K through grade-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, to reopen for the upcoming academic year.

All of these schools can open if the institutions desire and if social distancing and other protections are strictly adhered to, Murphy said.

School districts that can't meet all health and safety standards for in-class learning must begin the year with all-remote learning, Murphy said. Those districts must provide plans for reaching those standards and the anticipated date to be back in classrooms, he said.

Any student who chooses remote learning must be accommodated, he said.

"There is no one-size-fits all plan," he tweeted.

12 p.m.: Big 12 Conference moves forward with fall sports including football

The Big 12 Conference will move forward with fall sports this year, officials announced Wednesday.

Athletes in high-contact sports including football will get three COVID-19 tests per week, officials said.

Schools not in the Big 12 Conference must follow those testing rules in the week leading up to games against Big 12 schools, officials said.

"We are comfortable in our institutions’ ability to provide a structured training environment, rigorous testing and surveillance, hospital quality sanitation and mitigation practices that optimize the health and safety of our student-athletes," Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. "We believe all of this combines to create an ideal learning and training situation during this time of COVID-19."

"Ultimately, our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete in the sports they love this season and it is up to all of us to deliver a safe, medically sound, and structured academic and athletic environment for accomplishing that outcome," Bowlsby said.

Officials with the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences said Tuesday they are postponing all sports including football.

11:45 a.m.: No guests at the 2020 Masters

This year's Masters Tournament will take place without any guests or patrons, Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, said Wednesday.

The tournament, initially set for April, was rescheduled due to the pandemic and will be held Nov. 9 to Nov. 15.

"We determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome," Ridley said in a statement.

11 a.m.: Over 550,000 diagnosed in Florida

In hard-hit Florida, Miami-Dade County reported 4,105 new cases on Tuesday, the highest one-day reported total for the county during the pandemic, according to the state's Department of Health.

This is likely due to a backlog of cases reported following the tracking system's temporary shutdown. Miami-Dade County has been reporting a range between 1,210 and 1,808 new daily cases over the last week.

Over 550,000 people in the state have been diagnosed with COVID-19. At least 8,897 people have died, according to the Department of Health. The state reported 212 new deaths in the last 24 hours.

10 a.m.: 2020 Paris Marathon canceled

This year's Paris Marathon, set for November, has now been canceled due to the pandemic, officials announced Wednesday.

Organizers said it would be especially difficult for runners coming from abroad to make it to the event.

Runners who were signed up for this year’s marathon are automatically signed up for next year's, organizers said.

9 a.m.: NJ district to go all virtual after 402 teachers say they can't work in school

New Jersey's Elizabeth Public Schools will go 100% virtual after 402 teachers said they'd need "special considerations for health-related risks and cannot teach in person," Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer said in a letter to parents Tuesday.

With five weeks until school begins and "insufficient staff to safely reopen," "it is unfruitful to continue to pursue something that cannot occur," Hugelmeyer wrote.

"We will spend the next five weeks working to create the best virtual experience possible," she said.

Meanwhile, New Jersey educators are calling on Gov. Phil Murphy and the state's Department of Education to direct all state public schools to open remotely.

Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, Patricia Wright, executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and Marie Blistan, president of the New Jersey Education Association, said in a letter Tuesday, "reopening schools for in-person instruction under the current conditions poses too great a risk to the health of students and schools staff."

8:01 a.m.: Russia's COVID-19 case count tops 900,000

Russia reported 5,102 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing its tally soaring past 900,000.

The country also reported an additional 129 fatalities. The nationwide total now stands at 902,701 confirmed cases with 15,260 deaths, according to data released Wednesday morning by Russia's coronavirus response headquarters.

Russia's latest daily caseload is down from a peak of 11,656 new infections reported on May 11.

Russia has the fourth-highest highest number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and India, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that his country has become the first in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine. Critics say the vaccine was approved before the final Phase III trial and that no scientific data from the early trials has been released so far.

7:16 a.m.: Over 1,000 students in Georgia school district under quarantine

More than 1,000 students in a single Georgia school district have been ordered to self-quarantine this month after at least 70 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in various schools.

The Cherokee County School District has published data on its website showing at least 1,130 students and 38 staff members from more than a dozen schools are under mandated two-week quarantines. The district reopened its schools on Aug. 3, welcoming back 30,000 students for in-person learning.

Many of the confirmed cases were identified at Etowah High School in Woodstock, Georgia. The Cherokee County School District announced Tuesday that it is temporarily closing Etowah High School, with the hope of resuming in-person classes there on Aug. 31.

"This decision was not made lightly," the school district said in a statement Tuesday. "As of this morning, the number of positive cases at the school had increased to a total of 14, with tests for another 15 students pending; and, as a result of the confirmed cases, 294 students and staff are under quarantine and, should the pending tests prove positive, that total would increase dramatically."

6:33 a.m.: First dog to test positive for COVID-19 in North Carolina dies

The first dog to test positive for COVID-19 in North Carolina has died, officials said.

The dog, who had been showing signs of respiratory distress, was brought to the NC State Veterinary Hospital on the evening of Aug. 3, after the owner noticed the onset of distress earlier in the day, according to a press release from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The dog ultimately succumbed to the "acute illness," and its owner alerted veterinary staff that a member of the family had previously tested positive for the novel coronavirus but later tested negative.

Samples were collected from the dog and sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories, which confirmed a positive test result for COVID-19. The dog's family, along with state health officials, were notified.

"A necropsy was performed to try to determine the animal’s state of health at the time of death and the cause of death, and the complete investigation is ongoing,” the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Tuesday.

There is currently no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

5:20 a.m.: Two men facing charges for allegedly hosting house party in Nashville

Two men are facing criminal charges for violating public health emergency orders by allegedly throwing a large party at their house in Nashville, Tennessee earlier this month.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has issued arrest warrants for Christopher Eubank, 40, and Jeffrey Mathews, 36, who were both reported to be out of state Tuesday night and have been told to surrender upon returning to Nashville. Eubank and Mathews are each charged with three separate counts -- all misdemeanors -- of violating health orders by hosting a gathering in excess of 25 people, not requiring social distancing and not requiring face coverings.

Police said hundreds of people attended the Aug. 1 party at the property owned by Eubank and Mathews, located on Fern Avenue in Tennessee's capital. Patrol officers responded to the home late that night and ultimately directed that the party cease.

Cellphone footage, obtained by Nashville ABC affiliate WKRN-TV, purportedly shows large crowds of people at the party wearing no masks and not maintaining social distancing.

4:39 a.m.: Nearly one-third of Kentucky's new cases among teens

Nearly one-third of new COVID-19 cases in Kentucky at the end of July were among those 19 years old or younger, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News Tuesday night.

In Mississippi, Black residents represented 58.5% of the state's new cases during the period from July 5 through Aug. 1 -- a 37.2% difference between cases and census racial distribution, according to the FEMA memo.

Meanwhile, the test-positivity rate was greater than 10% last week in Arkansas, where 5,593 additional cases were reported and two counties have emerged as new hotspots. Logan County reported 90 new cases last week, an increase of 428% and a test-positivity rate of 17.59%. Poinsett County reported 74 new cases, an increase of 189% and a test-positivity rate of 15.43%, according to the FEMA memo.

However, the national test-positivity rate continues to decline. Over the past seven days, the rate was 6.6% -- down from 7.9% from the previous week. The nation also saw a 12.7% decrease in new cases as well as a 4.3% decrease in new deaths being confirmed over the last week, compared with the previous seven-day period, according to the FEMA memo.

The memo shows that just five states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, while two states are at a plateau and 49 states are going down.

3:45 a.m.: US records more than 1,000 new deaths from COVID-19

There were 46,808 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Tuesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

An additional 1,082 coronavirus-related deaths were also reported -- more than double the amount from the previous day.

Still, it's the third consecutive day that the nation has recorded less than 50,000 new cases. Tuesday's caseload is also well below the record set on July 16, when more than 77,000 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

A total of 5,141,208 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 164,537 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July.

Many states have seen a rise in infections in recent weeks, with some -- including Arizona, California and Florida -- reporting daily records. However, the nationwide number of new cases and deaths in the last week have both decreased in week-over-week comparisons, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News Tuesday night.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


kali9/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(SAVANNAH, Ga.) -- The Savannah Police Department announced Wednesday that it terminated two of its officers following a three-month investigation into excessive force used in an arrest.

District Attorney Meg Heap told reporters at a news conference that she will call for a grand jury in September to look into the April incident involving Corporal Daniel Kang and Sergeant Octavio Arango. Heap, the police officers and Mayor Van R. Johnson did not disclose specific details about the incident -- which was caught on body cameras -- but they did say excessive force was used during a warrant sweep on a suspect who, ultimately, was misidentified.

"Based on my review of the internal investigation and the video, I believe that the conduct of the two members of the Savannah Police Department during this particular incident was totally unacceptable and egregious behavior on their part," Johnson said at the news conference.

Following the incident, the officers notified their supervisors about the use of force during the arrest, the Savannah Police Department said. The supervisors alerted internal affairs after reviewing the details of the incident and body camera footage, and the officers were put on administrative leave.

In July, internal affairs terminated the officers for "conduct unbecoming of an officer," and other charges. Savannah Police Department Chief Roy Minter presented the evidence and body camera footage to the Savannah CARES Task Force, which was created last month by the mayor to review current use of force policies and internal affairs data in the police department.

"Last Friday, the CARES Task Force gathered in person and they reviewed the body cam video, and they made a recommendation to the chief that the actions of the officers warranted a referral to the district attorney's office," the mayor said.

Arango had been with the department for approximately 15 years and Kang for eight, according to police. Attorney information for the officers wasn't immediately available.

"We have worked hard to build a rapport with our community and want to strengthen that trust," Minter said in a statement.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStock/vesilvioBY: LUIS MARTINEZ

(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI is investigating the shooting of a U.S. Air Force helicopter as it flew over northern Virginia on Monday.

One crew member had a minor injury, according to the FBI and the Air Force. The UH-1N Huey helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing at a nearby airport and a bullet was discovered in the airframe.

On Monday afternoon, the helicopter from the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Joint Base Andrews was flying a routine training mission over Middleburg, Virginia, at an altitude of 1,000 feet when it took fire from the ground, said an Air Force spokesperson. McClatchy was the first to report the shooting incident.

Already training for an instrument approach to Manassas Regional Airport, the helicopter quickly diverted to the airport to make an emergency landing.

"The Airport received a call from Manassas Control Tower at 12:20 pm on Monday about a military helicopter inbound that had an on-board emergency and that paramedics would be arriving shortly," said Pattie Prince, the communications manager for the city of Manassas.

The helicopter landed safely at 12:43 p.m. and "initial findings are that the helicopter was struck by a bullet resulting in a minor injury to an aircrew member and damage to the aircraft," said the Air Force spokesperson.

"The crew member "sustained a non-threatening injury, for which he was treated and subsequently released from the hospital," said a spokesperson for the FBI's Washington Field Office.

"The FBI Washington Field Office (WFO) dispatched special agents and its Evidence Response Team to the Manassas Airport after receiving reports that a helicopter was shot at from the ground nearby," said the FBI spokesperson.

"WFO is working jointly with our law enforcement partners, including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident," said the spokesperson.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


eranicle/iStockBy ELLA TORRES, ABC News

(MARION COUNTY, Fla.) -- A Florida sheriff has banned his employees and anyone visiting his offices from wearing a mask during the pandemic -- a move that is sure to cause controversy as studies have shown masks reduce the risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods wrote in an email on Aug. 11 to employees that some exceptions will be made, including at courthouses, jails, schools and hospitals. But "masks will not be worn" by on-duty employees at any other time, he said.

Woods went on in the email, which was obtained by ABC News, to say that any person who walks into "any one of our lobbies (which includes the main office and all district offices) that is wearing a mask will be asked to remove it."

"Now, I can already hear the whining and just so you know I did not make this decision easily and I have weighed it out for the past 2 weeks. … This is no longer a debate nor is it up for discussion," he wrote.

Woods said for as many health professionals who would vouch for wearing a mask, he "can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t."

In the early stages of the pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with other government officials, advised against wearing masks. The evidence at the time indicated that masks would do little to stop the spread of COVID-19.

But experts, seven months into the pandemic, are now arguing that enough new evidence concludes that masks are critical in mitigating COVID-19 spread.

One study published in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, found that wearing a mask may drop the risk of transmission from 17% to 3%.

Woods' order comes as the City of Ocala, located in Marion County, is working on putting a mask mandate ordinance in place.

Ocala City Council passed an emergency ordinance last week requiring people to wear masks inside businesses; however, Mayor Kent Guinn vetoed it Monday, according to the Ocala Star Banner.

The city council will meet Wednesday to consider overriding the veto, the Star Banner reported.

Florida, including Marion County, set a single-day record on Tuesday for the most deaths related to COVID-19.

Mask-wearing among law enforcement has been less consistent than in the general public.

An ABC News analysis found that only three of the nation's largest police departments require officers to wear masks and gloves while policing Black Lives Matter protests. The other six largest police departments ask, but do not mandate, that on-duty officers wear masks or gloves in public.

In Ocala, officers are advised not to wear masks while on duty so they can clearly communicate with people they encounter, according to the Star Banner.

Woods said as such in his email, telling employees that even if they are among the exceptions who can wear a mask, "the moment that enforcement action is to be taken … the mask will be immediately removed."

Woods concluded his email by saying, "My orders will be followed or my actions will be swift to address."

"Be Safe!" Woods wrote.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



A woman lucky to be alive after being severely injured in June when a car crashed into a major Atlanta hospital spoke out for the first time, recalling the terrifying details and painful recovery process.

Kai Bailey, 29, was tending to a friend in the emergency room -- sitting outside the ER due to COVID-19 protocols -- at Piedmont Hospital when a Mercedes-Benz SUV crashed into the lobby, leaving one person dead and others injured.

"I looked up from my phone. There was a red SUV coming towards me as if it had been hit," Bailey told ABC News. "I was running initially from [the] red SUV not knowing that the Mercedes was going to then run into the hospital, as I'm running into the hospital."

A second dark gray vehicle, as seen on video, rammed past the red SUV outside and into the lobby area where Bailey was at the time.

"I've never been in so much pain in my life. Not even a mother, not even childbirth, could compare here to the pain that I feel," she explained.

Bailey's hips and pelvis were broken in the accident. She was unable to sit up or walk until she underwent extensive therapy at a rehab facility.

In a statement to ABC News, Atlanta Police public affairs officer Steve Avery said the crash is still under investigation, but "at this time no charges are anticipated."

Bailey's attorney, Jane Lamberti, told ABC News, "I have never seen a case where there has been a death or a serious injury, and the driver wasn't even given a citation."

Bailey plans to file a lawsuit against the hospital, but for now, she said all she wants is the chance to hold her daughter without pain.

"She also knows that mommy is hurting. She does a great job was trying to help me," Bailey said.

And despite the physical struggle, the mother said she has become stronger by the outpouring of support from her family.

"It's been very good to be home -- I enjoy being home with my family and friends," she said. "All of my family has just stepped in to help me out."

Bailey has moved in with her mother as she continues to heal and recover.

Piedmont Hospital told ABC News it would not "comment on any pending claims or investigations as a matter of policy" but it continues "to express our deepest sympathies to the patients, families, and staff who were impacted by this accident and its aftermath."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- The Northeast is expected to have another hot and humid day with flash flooding possible.

A Heat Advisory has been issued from New York City to Hartford, Providence and Boston with temperatures near 90 degrees and, with humidity, it will feel like its 90 to 100 for most of the I-95 corridor.

Thankfully much cooler and drier air is moving into the Northeast Thursday and into the weekend.

In addition to the heat, a flash flood watch has been issued from Virginia to New Jersey including Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

Already Wednesday morning, areas just southwest of D.C. have seen 2 to 4 inches of rain with flash flooding reported there.

As a very slow moving cold front stalls in the area, more flash flooding is expected in the Mid-Atlantic states and some areas could see up to 4 inches of rain in a short period of time.

Meanwhile in the West, it’s very dry, windy and extremely hot.

The Grizzly Creek Fire continues to burn in western Colorado and Interstate 70 is still shut down after several communities in the area had to be evacuated on Tuesday.

The wildfire is now down to 3,200 acres and no containment with 211 personnel fighting the fire.

Also, a brush fire broke out outside of Los Angeles Tuesday, near Chatsworth, right next to freeway 118.

Up to 150 personnel were fighting the fire and it was finally under control by the evening hours.

There is bad news for wildfire fighting in the west as more dry, gusty winds are now forecast.

Most of the western states from California to Montana are now on alerts for either fire danger, extreme heat or gusty winds.

Temperatures are expected to hit close to 120 by the end of the week in the Southwest from southern California to southern Arizona.

Elsewhere, Tropical Depression 11 could become Josephine later Wednesday which would make it the earliest “J” named storm in recorded history in the Atlantic Ocean.

At this time, it is expected to strengthen with winds of 60 mph by Friday morning, but the good news is that it looks like it will miss the Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico.

After that, conditions are expected to become unfavorable and the system is expected to weaken and possibly recurve and miss the U.S. completely.

It is still worth watching, however, since this has been a very active year in the Atlantic Ocean.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Keep Informed
Local News

WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 13, 2020

  A city man faces assault and other charges after being accused of punching a woman... and, then stabbling two of the women's relatives during a domestic incident Tuesday night.  James...

Read More