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Daily News Digest – August 8, 2021

We have a pretty big correction we need to clarify about today’s last story.
Matthew Hammett is not Seth Hammett’s son but a relative.
We are sorry for the mistake.

1. Racing toward a new record

  • Alabama is racing toward virus numbers it last saw at the peak of the pandemic, with 2,134 COVID-19 patients in state hospitals Monday and only 6% of intensive care unit beds available.
  • Nearly one-third of the hospitalized virus patients, or 628, are in intensive care units and 318 patients are on ventilators. Williamson said 42% of intensive care unit beds in the state are now occupied by someone with COVID-19.
  • 33 of those patients are children.
  • On July 4, there were 213 Alabamians hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s a 1000% jump in just over a month.
  • Medical officials have said low vaccination rates and the highly contagious delta variant have combined to cause an explosion of cases.
  • “It’s like the California wildfires. We have the perfect environment,” said Dr. Don Williamson, Alabama’s former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. Unaccompanied minors in Alabama increase with national trend

  • The number of young immigrants taken into custody at the U.S. southern border and sent to sponsors in Alabama has spiked from October through June to 1,062.
  • Nationwide, 59,161 of the youth were released to sponsors between October and the end of June, according to federal Office of Refugee Resettlement data. Only 10 states have received more of the immigrant youth than Alabama. The 2021 totals nationwide and in Alabama are set to outpace fiscal year 2019 highs of 72,837 and 1,111, respectively.
  • When minors not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian are apprehended at the border, federal law requires that the ORR, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, feed, shelter and provide medical care to them. The office then releases them to sponsors — usually family members — while the minors await immigration proceedings.
  • Most of them are teen boys from Central America.
  • The increase has gotten the attention of a few state leaders. Sen. Arthur Orr this spring again asked the Catholic Social Services, which helps settle the young immigrants, to better spread them around the state so that their educational needs aren’t placed on a few school systems.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.


3. Senate inches toward passage $1T infrastructure bill

  • By the time you read this, the Senate may well have passed the $1 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure passage.
  • At last count, the Senate was supposed to vote at 10 a.m. Central time on final passage of the bill. It could get as many as 70 votes, a rarity in today’s bitterly partisan Washington.
  • Read more about the state of play HERE.
  • Read more about what’s in the actual bill HERE.


4. DOD to require vaccines

  • Members of the U.S. military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine beginning next month under a plan laid out by the Pentagon Monday and endorsed by President Joe Biden. In memos distributed to all troops, top Pentagon leaders said the vaccine is a necessary step to maintain military readiness.
  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the mid-September deadline could be accelerated if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise.
  • Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee said vaccines have proven to be effective.
  • Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., the top ranking Republican HASC member, said the vaccine will help protect troops who live in cramped conditions and don’t have the option to telework.
  • “We have already seen COVID-19 affect our readiness downrange. Our adversaries will take any advantage they can over us. We must not allow COVID-19 to be a hindrance on our force. Secretary Austin earlier confirmed that, as of Mid-July, over 70% of active-duty troops had received at least one vaccine shot. That is encouraging news and I hope that number reaches 100% quickly.”
  • Read more HERE.


5. Matthew Hammett announces run for HD 92

  • Covington County businessman Matthew Hammett today announced his campaign for House District 92, making him the second Republican candidate to enter the race.
  • Hammett is a relative of former Alabama Speaker of the House Seth Hammett, who represented the district.
  • In the GOP primary for the open seat, Hammett joins Greg White, the Covington County Commission Chairman who announced his candidacy last month.
  • They are running for the seat currently occupied by Rep. Mike Jones, the Rules Committee Chairman who last month decided to seek the State Senate seat being vacated by State Sen. Jimmy Holly, R-Elba.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Racing toward a new record of hospitalizations
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Unaccompanied minors in Alabama increase with national trend
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bipartisan infrastructure bill set for final Senate passage
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Key details of the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure plan
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID vaccines would be required for military under new plan
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Hammett joins Republican race for Alabama House seat
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Official: Nearly all Alabama COVID deaths among unvaccinated
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Growing demand, industry support lead to state investment in electric vehicle chargers
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate poised to pass $1T infrastructure plan
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Board lets Amtrak move ahead with Gulf Coast passenger plan
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bobby Bowden, folksy coach of Florida St dynasty, dies at 91
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama ICU beds almost full as COVID hospitalizations continue rapid rise
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News – August 9, 2021
AL.COM – Back to school 2021: Which Alabama schools offer virtual learning? Can I still enroll?
AL.COM – Cryptocurrency tax reporting deal hits Senate hurdle as Shelby seeks $50 billion in defense spending
AL.COM – 2 Alabama hospitals suspend some elective surgeries due to COVID spike
AL.COM – Judge promises quick action on Alabama landlords eviction moratorium challenge
AL.COM – Amazon mandates masks for all workers at its warehouses
AL.COM – Donaldson inmate, imprisoned for life, dies
AL.COM – $40 million auto steel plant planned for Madison
AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: Love your neighbor. Get vaccinated
AL.COM – Outbreak Alabama: Why our bad numbers are getting worse
Montgomery Advertiser – Family of 2020’s 1st homicide victim remember Erick Johnson, search for answers, information
Montgomery Advertiser – Balloon release for homicide victim Erick Johnson
Montgomery Advertiser – ‘We are in a very bad place’: Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations breach 2,100 as ICU beds dwindle
Decatur Daily – Delta variant ‘leaves no one out’ as local hospitalizations increase
Decatur Daily – Planned $40 million Madison plant will supply steel to Mazda Toyota
Decatur Daily – In the community: August scenes
Times Daily – 21 Colbert County Jail inmates test positive for COVID-19
Times Daily – Commission holds off on funding Innovation Center
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham fire and rescue puts out daycare fire
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UAB brings back Meals for Heroes program
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – What you need to know about the Delta Plus and Lambda variants
Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama doubles reward offered for vaccinated students
Tuscaloosa News – ASU receives $763K in state funds for historic Brewton campus improvements
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa business confidence soars to highest in Alabama, UA study finds
YellowHammer News – Beasley Allen files suit against trucking companies involved in deadly I-65 crash that claimed 10 lives
YellowHammer News – Alabama Hospital Association head Williamson predicts ‘school outbreaks’ of Delta variant
YellowHammer News – State Education Superintendent Mackey likens school mask mandates to uniform requirements — ‘Mask is just part of that attire’
Gadsden Times – PET OF THE WEEK: Annie Ann proves her mettle in ‘night on the town’
Gadsden Times – ‘We are in a very bad place’: Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations breach 2,100 as ICU beds dwindle
Gadsden Times – Surge in COVID cases causes postponement of Pancake Day until 2022
Dothan Eagle – Belarus leader accuses opposition of plotting a coup
Dothan Eagle – The Latest: Nigeria postpones 2nd vaccine rollout
Dothan Eagle – South Korea to release Samsung scion on parole
Opelika-Auburn News – The Latest: Nigeria postpones 2nd vaccine rollout
Opelika-Auburn News – South Korea to release Samsung scion on parole
Opelika-Auburn News – ‘Code red’: UN scientists warn of worsening global warming
WSFA Montgomery – Trucking company involved in fatal I-65 crash releases statement
WSFA Montgomery – Employers still have the hiring sign on
WSFA Montgomery – 73-year-old man dies after vehicle hits building in Opelika
WAFF Huntsville – Marshall County Schools prepare for new school year
WAFF Huntsville – Two women arrested for alleged pipe assault in Athens
WAFF Huntsville – Hartselle City Schools successful first day back – even the students agree
WKRG Mobile – Mississippi hospitals in crunch as COVID cases proliferate
WKRG Mobile – Epstein accuser sues Prince Andrew, citing sex assault at 17
WKRG Mobile – Huntsville man facing felony rape and kidnapping charges after posing as ride-share driver
WTVY Dothan – Geneva set to name new police chief
WTVY Dothan – Alabama health officials recommend pregnant women get COVID vaccine
WTVY Dothan – Secretary of State candidate has no interest in online voting
WASHINGTON POST – Hopes and fears as schools open their doors for new year
WASHINGTON POST – As coronavirus’s delta variant surges, indecision is along for the ride (again)
WASHINGTON POST – Lake Tahoe was already short on housing. Then the remote workers came to town.
NEW YORK TIMES – Senate Poised to Pass Infrastructure Deal, Then Turn to Democratic Budget
NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: Hospitalizations Soar in States With Low Vaccination Rates
NEW YORK TIMES – Inside the White House-Facebook Rift Over Vaccine Misinformation
WALL STREET JOURNAL – After Tokyo, Beijing Olympics Promise Colder Weather but Hotter Rhetoric
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Chinese Court Rejects Death-Penalty Appeal by Canadian National
WALL STREET JOURNAL – SoftBank Posts Lower Profit as Tech Rally Cools

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