Today’s In Crisis headlines


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

Breonna Taylor’s mother requests independent prosecutor to handle case
Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, on Wednesday filed an application with the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council requesting they appoint a “competent and capable prosecutor” willing to handle her daughter’s case.  The application criticizes Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron for presenting no charges to the grand jury related to her daughter’s police shooting death, other than wanton endangerment charges against former officer Brett Hankison, on which he was indicted.  No charges related to Taylor’s death were offered to the jury.  The application further states that “the investigation and presentation were oversimplified and deficient by design” and that grand jury transcripts confirm critical evidence was not obtained or presented.  It also asserts Cameron violated his ethical, statutory, and constitutional duties and “made a biased internal decision to not prosecute this case,” and “deliberately engaged in misconduct designed to impede upon the grand jury’s independent investigative and factfinding roles.” 

The news comes as two additional, anonymous grand jurors declared in a telephone press conference Wednesday that they believed Breonna Taylor’s death was a crime, but prosecutors told them they didn’t believe they could make any charges stick, beyond the wanton endangerment charges the grand jury was told to consider.  One juror said there was an “uproar” when grand jurors realized they could only consider the limited charges with which they were presented.  Both grand jurors said they believed enough evidence was presented to them to warrant further charges, and feel that some officers’ actions that night were criminal.  Four grand jurors in all have now spoken publicly, all of whom objected to the limitations on the charges they were allowed to consider in Taylor’s death.

Breonna Taylor was shot and killed as she slept in her bed March 13 by Louisville police officers executing a no-knock warrant on her residence.  The officers opened fire after Taylor’s boyfriend fired his licensed handgun, believing intruders were at the door. 

Additional 751,000 unemployment claims filed last week
An additional 751,000 unemployment claims were filed in the week ending October 24, according to data released Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor.  The numbers represent a decline of 40,000 from the previous week’s revised level, which was revised up from 787,000 claims to 791,000.  The latest claims numbers are slightly better than expected but still represent a 32nd consecutive week of historically high unemployment. 

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: 44,583,829
Global deaths: 1,176,684.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 227,703.
Number of countries/regions: at least 190
Total patients recovered globally: 30,103,631

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 8,859,432 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 227,703.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 33,435.
U.S. total patients recovered: 3,518,140
U.S. total people tested: 139,513,001

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 920,105 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  That ranks third in the world after Maharashtra, India, which has 1,660,766 reported cases, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, which has 1,103,582 reported cases.

Fauci says US headed into a “precarious situation” this fall regarding COVID-19
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Wednesday that as the colder weather and holidays arrive, the United States is “going into a precarious situation where much of what we’re going to be doing is going to be indoors as opposed to outdoors.”  As a result, COVID-19 cases may continue to rise due to increase exposure risk, Fauci said, calling it “all a bad recipe for a tough time ahead.”  Dr. Fauci also recommended skipping large social gatherings this holiday season, such as Thanksgiving dinners.  “You don’t want to be the Grinch that stole the holidays,” Fauci said, but noted, “You want to take a couple of steps back and say, ‘Is it worth it this year to bring those people together when you don’t know what the status of everybody in that pod that you’ve created is?”

The nation’s top infectious disease doctor made the statements during a Journal of the American Medical Association live Q&A, during which he also again urged Americans to wear a mask for their own safety and that of others.  “We can’t have this very inconsistent wearing that you see some states that absolutely refuse to wear a mask…It almost becomes a political statement. We’ve got to get away from that,” said Fauci, noting that mask-wearing is working for other nations.  He also pushed back against those who insist allowing the population to become infected to supposedly achieve herd immunity is the best way to combat COVID-19.  “If you let everyone get infected, the data tells us that we’re not able to protect [vulnerable people] in the community,” Fauci explained, adding, “[Y]ou know how many deaths you’re going to have before you get there? That’s an unacceptable pathway.”

Concerning a COVID-19 vaccine, Fauci said it’s possible the FDA might not grant an emergency use authorization for any vaccine until January or later, but he expects pharmaceutical companies working on a vaccine will have enough data by December to decide whether to apply.  

Medicare, Medicaid recipients will receive COVID-19 vaccine for free
Good news for seniors, disabled Americans and others covered under Medicare and Medicaid.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed Wednesday that any COVID-19 vaccine authorized or approved by the FDA will be available at no cost to insured Americans. A rule issued by CMS will require that Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance cover the cost of administering the vaccine and that medical providers will be reimbursed for administering vaccines to individuals without insurance.  The U.S. government has spent billions of dollars in taxpayer money on the research, clinical trials, and efforts to purchase millions of doses of vaccines in anticipation of approval. 

NFL plans to limit Super Bowl fan capacity to 20%, with masks mandatory
The NFL is moving forward with plans for a reduced-capacity Super Bowl 55, scheduled to be played February 7, even if the league ultimately adds an 18th week to its regular season, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.  At this point, the NFL is planning to limit attendance capacity to 20% at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, which normally holds 65,000 fans. With temporary seating, its capacity could have been enlarged to nearly 75,000.  Fans will be in pods six feet apart and masks will be required.

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