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Today’s In Crisis headlines

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(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:

Second Breonna Taylor grand jury member says jury wasn’t allowed to consider other charges
Another member of the Breonna Taylor grand jury has spoken publicly, also declaring that jurors were not allowed to consider any charges in the March 13 fatal shooting in Louisville, Kentucky, other than wanton endangerment charges against former Officer Brett Hankinson.  “The Grand Jury was only allowed to consider the three Wanton Endangerment charges against Detective Hankison,” the second anonymous juror said in a written statement, according to WHAS TV in Louisville, Kentucky. “No opportunity to consider anything else was permitted.” 

That statement agrees with the first anonymous grand juror statement, released Wednesday, that stated in part that the grand jury “did not have homicide offenses explained to them. The grand jury never heard anything about those laws.”  The first grand juror also wrote, “Self-defense or justification was never explained either.  Questions were asked about additional charges and the grand jury was told there would be none because the prosecutors didn’t feel they could make them stick.”

A judge ordered Tuesday that grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case are now allowed to come forward and that unrecorded grand jury proceedings can be released, denying two motions by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to prevent grand jurors from speaking publicly about their deliberations.   Taylor was shot and killed in her bed while sleeping as three officers executed a no-knock warrant at her residence, prompting her boyfriend to fire shots with his licensed handgun, after which officers returned fire.  Hankinson was indicted on wanton endangerment charges, with no charges brought regarding Taylor’s death.

One unidentified juror has already released a public statement, writing in part that the only
COVID-19 numbers
Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections and deaths.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 41,791,766
Global deaths: 1,138,671.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 223,059.
Number of countries/regions: at least 189
Total patients recovered globally: 28,384,889

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 8,411,262 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 223,059.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 33,396.
U.S. total patients recovered: 3,353,036
U.S. total people tested: 128,964,596

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 894,002 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  That ranks third in the world after Maharashtra, India, which has 1,625,197 reported cases, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, which has 1,076,939 reported cases.

FDA approves remdesivir as first drug to treat COVID-19
The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it had approved remdesivir as the first drug approved for use in treating COVID-19 patients.  Also known by the brand name Veklury, the FDA authorized the anti-viral drug “for use in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization.”  The approval order modifies an earlier FDA emergency use authorization (EUA), issued on May 1, that authorized remdesivir for the general population.  Remdesivir can still be used for pediatric patients under that EUA as clinical trials continue regarding the drug’s effectiveness and safety among pediatric patients. 

The FDA‘s remdesivir approval comes as eleven COVID-19 vaccines are currently in large-scale phase 3 clinical trials, according to The New York Times.  Several experts have cautiously estimated that one or more COVID-19 vaccinations could be ready for FDA approval before the end of the year.  Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor for the White House’s Operation Warp Speed COVID-19 vaccination effort, told ABC News Wednesday that he feels “pretty confident” most Americans can be vaccinated by June 2021. 

As of Thursday morning, there were over 8.4 million reported COVID-19 infections in the U.S. and more than 222,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.  This remains more cases and deaths than in any other country.

COVID-19 cases, deaths in the US post double-digit percentage increases; ICUs filling fast
The number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. rose by double-digit percentage points over the last week, according to an internal memo by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, obtained by ABC News.  The latest government data shows 41 states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, with five jurisdictions at a plateau and nine decreasing.  Also troubling: 417,899 new coronavirus cases were confirmed during the period of October 15-21, reflecting a 14% increase from the previous seven-day period.  There were also 5,413 deaths recorded during that same period, marking a 10.6% increase in new deaths compared with the previous week.  

The HHS memo also reports that the national test-positivity rate increased to 5.8% from 5.1% in week-to-week comparisons.  At the same time, some 25% of hospitals across the country have more than 80% of their intensive care unit beds filled. That number was 17-18% during the summertime COVID-19 infection peak.

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