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Daily News Digest – August 31, 2020

Presented by the

Medical Association of the State of Alabama


Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, August 31.


1. What’s on the ballot this November?

  • The presidential election and U.S. Senate contest might be the big draws for voters, but there are also six statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot Nov. 3.
  • Several of the proposed changes to the state constitution were approved by lawmakers in the 2019 legislative session.
  • One attempts to reorganize parts of the notoriously long 1901 Alabama Constitution and remove racist language, something voters have rejected twice in the past.
  • One would readjust the oversight and administration of the state’s judiciary, including how some judges and top administrators are selected.
  • Two are county-specific “stand your ground” type initiatives that would clarify that the use of deadly force at a place of worship is justified if carried out in an act of defense.
  • Read all about these and the other amendments on the ballot from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


2. Auburn holding 16 players out of practice after positive COVID-19 tests

  • Auburn expects to return to practice today minus 16 players sidelined after positive COVID-19 tests.
  • Coach Gus Malzahn said Sunday night that the Tigers had five positives early in the week and four more after additional testing Thursday. With contact tracing, seven others who had close contact with them face a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
  • “We had two position groups where we did not have enough guys,” coach Gus Malzahn said Sunday night. He declined to say which positions.
  • Malzahn said players didn’t want to attend meetings Thursday after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
  • Read more HERE.




A message from the

Medical Association of the State of Alabama

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we function as a society and has fundamentally altered our healthcare delivery system.
In an effort to understand these changes and their effects, the Medical Association of the State of Alabama released a survey summary detailing the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on medical practices and care delivery.
The survey identified several key findings:
  • Public Health Concerns
  • Severe Financial Impact
  • Patient Volume Reductions
  • Telemedicine Increase
  • Liability Concerns
For more information on the survey findings and to continue reading the op-ed from Medical Association President, Dr. John Meigs, click here.




3. University of Alabama reports additional 481 COVID-19 cases

  • The University of Alabama reported Friday that an additional 481 students have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to more than 1,000 infections since students returned to campus for the fall.
  • The University of Alabama System released new numbers on its dashboard of cases for all three campuses. The additional 481 cases on the Tuscaloosa campus were reported between Aug. 25 and Aug. 27. The university system said no students are hospitalized.
  • “We are closely monitoring our data daily, and we will continue to adjust operations as the situation warrants,” said UA System Chancellor Finis St. John in a statement accompanying the release of the numbers. He said testing for the virus was a “key pillar” of the university’s health and safety plan.
  • St. John said every student on the three campuses has the option of moving to fully online instruction at any time, remaining either on campus or returning home to continue their course work.
  • Full story HERE.


4. Rapid $5 coronavirus test doesn’t need specialty equipment

  • The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the first rapid coronavirus test that doesn’t need any special computer equipment to get results.
  • The 15-minute test from Abbott Laboratories will sell for $5, giving it a competitive edge over similar tests that need to be popped into a small machine. The size of a credit card, the self-contained test is based on the same technology used to test for the flu, strep throat and other infections.
  • It’s the latest cheaper, simpler test to hit the U.S. market, providing new options to expand testing as schools and businesses struggle to reopen and flu season approaches. The FDA also recently greenlighted a saliva test from Yale University that bypasses some of the supplies that have led to testing bottlenecks.
  • Both tests have limitations and neither can be done at home. Several companies are developing rapid, at-home tests, but none have yet won approval. Abbott’s new test still requires a nasal swab by a health worker, like most older coronavirus tests. The Yale saliva test eliminates the need for a swab, but can only be run at high-grade laboratories.
  • And in general, rapid tests like Abbott’s are less accurate than lab-developed tests. The FDA said in a statement announcing the decision that negative results with Abbott’s test may need to be confirmed with a lab test in some cases. The agency granted Abbott’s test an emergency use authorization late Wednesday for patients with suspected COVID-19.
  • Full story HERE.


5. News Briefs


Underground fire still burning after 3 months

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An underground fire at an illegal dump in Alabama has been burning since May, but officials are hopeful it will be put out soon.
  • The fire is smoldering under layers of mostly construction and demolition waste at a site north of Birmingham on a hillside behind multiple homes south of Interstate 22, reported.
  • Jefferson County Deputy County Manager Cal Markert said county crews are using heavy equipment to remove truckloads of waste, dirt and debris to access whatever is burning underneath, spraying it with water to ensure it is no longer burning and then hauling it to a permitted landfill.
  • “There’s stuff burning mixed all throughout, not just in one spot,” Markert said “You’ve got to kind of sort through the whole thing to get to what’s smoking to get it all out.
  • “We’re hoping it’s all closer to the outside edges where we’re digging and we can get it out pretty quick, but I just don’t know.”
  • Read more HERE.

Samford University president retiring next year

  • HOMEWOOD, Ala. (AP) — The president of Samford University in suburban Birmingham says he is retiring next year.
  • Andrew Westmoreland’s departure from the small college in Homewood was announced Friday to students, workers and alumni.
  • A search will begin immediately for a replacement, but the school has time to look since Westmoreland’s departure won’t happen until June 30, 2021.
  • Westmoreland has been at the small, Christian college since 2006. An announcement says enrollment has increased by almost 30% during his tenure, and Samford has added more than 30 new or improved academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Westmoreland plans to remain in Birmingham after he steps down.

What does Walmart see in TikTok? Millions of young shoppers

  • Walmart may be the world’s largest retailer but it has mostly failed in its efforts to break Amazon’s online dominance.
  • Could TikTok, a fast-growing 3-year-old app filled with goofy videos, be the answer?
  • TikTok’s U.S. business appears up for grabs, with the Trump administration trying to force a sale, claiming national-security risks due to its Chinese owner, ByteDance. TikTok denies it is a risk and is suing to stop the administration from a threatened ban.
  • Others have reportedly emerged, but the only confirmed suitors are Walmart, teaming with tech giant Microsoft.
  • The big-box retailer has given only a vague rationale for why it would want TikTok, but it appears to boil down to its vast audience of young people.
  • TikTok’s e-commerce business is small today but it says it has 100 million users in the U.S. — incredibly, nearly a third of the country. Many are young, the type of shopper increasingly difficult to reach via traditional media and advertising.
  • Full story HERE.





Inside Alabama Politics – August 28, 2020


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Six statewide constitutional amendments on Nov. 3 ballot


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn expects to be without 16 players in practice return


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Another 481 COVID-19 cases found at University of Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rapid $5 coronavirus test doesn’t need specialty equipment


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Underground fire in Alabama still burning after 3 months


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – What does Walmart see in TikTok? Millions of young shoppers


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Special session possible to renew industrial incentives


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After cancer diagnosis, RSA’s Bronner urges check-ups, screenings


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -AG: Time for former Alabama speaker to go to prison


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama team planning march against social injustice


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Op-Ed: Alabama Medical Practices Hit Hard by COVID-19, Survey Finds


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – August 30, 2020


AL.COM – Alabama adds 1,172 coronavirus cases, hospitalizations dip to lowest level since early July


AL.COM – Months into lockdown, families seek to reopen Alabama nursing homes


AL.COM – Contributor Will Ferniany: Healthcare in Birmingham is about to look a lot different


AL.COM – Alabama online sales tax a ‘financial vaccine’ for governments during pandemic


AL.COM – Monroeville man saw ’To Kill a Mockingbird’ in segregated theater. Now he’s city’s 1st Black mayor


Montgomery Advertiser – Barry Moore posts, then deletes, meme on Kenosha violence. He plans to repost it with a graphic content warning


Montgomery Advertiser – After Black Lives Matter protest, Alabama youth activist proposes leadership training to high schools


Montgomery Advertiser – First sergeants: Calling requires having hearts as strong as a diamond


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Person of interest in custody after early-morning homicide in Birmingham


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa police make arrest in weekend homicide at apartment complex


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: More than 2K people have died from COVID-19 as over 116K test positive and more than 48K recover


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa city leaders mull relief plan for bars


Tuscaloosa News – Resurfacing work on U.S. Highway 82 starts Monday


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa business added to the National Registry of Historic Places


Decatur Daily – State health officials recommend flu vaccine as pandemic lingers


Decatur Daily – Body of man missing 6 weeks pulled from Alabama lake


Decatur Daily – New Woodmeade principal wants to foster compassion, identify learning gaps caused by COVID-19


Times Daily – Area COVID cases decline


Times Daily – Joe Keenum submits low bid for Woodmont Drive resurfacing project


Times Daily – Florence closes Wildwood Park, Cypress Creek Canoe Launch due to storm damage.


Anniston Star – Thirty new cases of COVID-19 in Calhoun County


Anniston Star – Calhoun County inmate faces contraband charge


Anniston Star – More than 2,300 in Calhoun County have had COVID-19


YellowHammer News – Rep. Rogers: USPS, vote-by-mail issue ‘fabricated’ — Pelosi ‘wants nationwide universal mail-in ballots because she thinks it helps the Democrats’


YellowHammer News – Pack Education launches Ignite pilot to virtually support Alabama college students


YellowHammer News – Bronze Valley Accelerator names director, accepting applications from Alabama startups


Gadsden Times – Martha Lavender looks back at her Gadsden State experience, from classroom to presidency


Gadsden Times – ADEM transfer/modification of permit clears way for work at Noble Hill landfill


Gadsden Times – ADEM transfer/modification of permit clears way for work at Noble Hill landfill


Dothan Eagle – Barry Moore apologizes for posting meme concerning Kenosha violence


Dothan Eagle – Memorial remembers Beauregard tornado victims.


Dothan Eagle – Peanut Festival’s shutdown impacts nonprofits, school boosters, businesses


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn actors and characters who give quarantine TV a hometown feel


Opelika-Auburn News – Friday crash claims life of Auburn 20-year-old


Opelika-Auburn News – Lee County to take up $46.6M budget, quarry concerns


WSFA Montgomery – One person injured in vehicle, ambulance accident in Lee Co.


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama man reunites with family after 112 days at UAB Hospital due to COVID-19


WSFA Montgomery – Body of missing Fultondale boater recovered in Smith Lake


WAFF Huntsville – Mountain Brook girl is one of first in the country to pilot new wheelchair technology


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville volunteer group makes preparations to help people impacted by Hurricane Laura


WAFF Huntsville – University of Alabama responds to reports of asking professors to ‘keep quiet’ about COVID cases


WKRG Mobile – Mitsubishi Motors executive behind Nissan alliance dies


WKRG Mobile – Denver street vendor injured in attack given new smile


WKRG Mobile – Dangerous ‘Benadryl Challenge’ on TikTok blamed for death of Oklahoma teen


WTVY Dothan – Global stocks mixed after Wall Street advances to record


WTVY Dothan – ADPH: Much of Wiregrass at “low risk” of COVID-19 Spread


WTVY Dothan – Ala. congressional candidate under fire for post on Wis. shooting suspect


WASHINGTON POST – As confrontations between armed groups and protesters turn deadly, police face complaints of tolerating vigilantes


WASHINGTON POST – Police investigate fatal shooting near clashes in Portland as a homicide


WASHINGTON POST – New Trump adviser pushes ‘herd immunity’ strategy, worrying public health officials


NEW YORK TIMES – Portland Shooting Amplifies Tensions in Presidential Race


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: Cases in the U.S. Have Topped 6 Million


NEW YORK TIMES – The Few, the Proud, the White: The Marine Corps Balks at Promoting Generals of Color


WALL STREET JOURNAL – TikTok Deal Talks Are Slowed Over New China Rules


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Hotelier Agrees to Buy Hospitality Software Firm From Chinese Owners Ordered to Sell by Trump


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Berkshire Hathaway Buy Stakes Valued at a Total of $6 Billion in Five Japanese Companies




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