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Daily News Digest – July 20, 2020

Good morning!

Hope you had a nice weekend after the monster that was last week. This one is gonna be a good one, I can feel it.

If you checked out over the weekend, get caught up via our Weekend Digest HERE.

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, July 20.


1. COVID-19 update

  • The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 3,754 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the 7-day average of new cases reported up to a new high of 1,854.
  • Twenty-two deaths were reported Saturday and Sunday, bringing that total to 1,254.
  • A total of 584,387 people have been tested since March, according to ADPH, and 65,865 have now tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 29,736 are presumed recovered.
  • No updated hospitalization data was available Monday morning, but last week hospital officials reported that 85% of intensive care units were full.
  • Alabama is now under a statewide mask ordinance, issued by Gov. Kay Ivey last week. It expires at the end of the month, unless Ivey extends it.
  • Read more and see the latest charts from BamaTracker HERE.


2. State moves to ban anti-depressant sold in convenience stores

  • The Alabama Department of Public Health is moving to ban a widely available antidepressant that can mimic the effects of opioids.
  • Tianeptine is approved in some other countries to treat depression but is not approved in the United States, State Pharmacy Director Nancy Bishop told Alabama Daily News.
  • “The dose for depression is very low but when taken in high doses, the drug produces a high and euphoric effect similar to opioids and can lead to dependence,” Bishop said. “It is taken as an opioid substitute or to eliminate opioid withdrawal symptoms and can be purchased at convenience stores and online as a dietary supplement.”
  • Tianeptine is the active ingredient in Tianna, which is sold in convenience stores and online and sometimes marketed as a dietary supplement. It’s also called Tianna Red, Tianna Green and Tianna White.
  • Last week, the State Committee of Public Health, at the recommendation of Alabama Department of Public Health, moved to categorize tianeptine as a Schedule II drug. Other Schedule II drugs include morphine, cocaine, methamphetamine and hydrocodone. Some Schedule II drugs are available legally through prescriptions.
  • While the drug has been on ADHP’s radar for several years, it was about two years ago there was a noticeable increase in reports of people abusing it, including from emergency rooms treating people intoxicated from it or experiencing withdrawals, said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.
  • Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


3. Tuberville says maybe to debate; Jones says voters deserve one

  • Republican Tommy Tuberville on Friday declined to commit to debating incumbent Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race, while Jones suggested that Tuberville is scared to do so.
  • “We’ll sort through the invitations and then we’ll decide,” Tuberville said in a telephone interview, before suggesting that party labels and loyalty tell voters all they need to know, a sign of the partisan frame his camp will put on the race over the next 100 days.
  • “The difference is, he takes his marching orders from the Democratic side … and I stand with President Trump. So, you know, if you think about it, that pretty much tells most of the people in Alabama, all the voters, what they need to know,” Tuberville said.
  • Jones said in a separate interview that voters deserve a debate.
  • “Look, he didn’t debate Jeff Sessions and so I’m confident he’s going to be too afraid to debate me, because I do have a record that he can’t just slap a label on when he’s on the debate stage,” Jones said.
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


4. Doctor who survived COVID-19 bewildered by public disregard

Dr. Michael Saag, left, speaks with an unidentified coworker in Birmingham, Ala., on Friday, July 10, 2020. Saag survived COVID-19 and now treats patients with the disease. (Amanda Chambers/University of Alabama at Birmingham via AP)
  • Dr. Michael Saag spends much of his time treating patients fighting for their lives and working with colleagues who are overwhelmed and exhausted by the relentless battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • But he enters a different world when he walks out the door of his Alabama clinic: one where many don’t wear masks, keep their distance from others or even seem aware of the intense struggle being waged against a virus that has cost about 140,000 lives nationwide and made so many — including the doctor — seriously ill.
  • The disconnect is devastating.
  • “It’s a mixture of emotions, from anger to being demoralized to bewilderment to frustration,” Saag said.
  • For him, the fight is personal. In early March, both he and his adult son came down with the virus after a trip to Manhattan when the epidemic was raging there. First came a cough, followed by fever, a headache, body aches and what Saag called “fuzzy thinking,” or an inability to concentrate.
  • “When I talk to a patient and I say, ‘Hey, I’ve had it too,’ it’s like we’re connected in a way that I really, honestly haven’t felt with patients ever before — and I’ve been doing this 40 years,” Saag said.
  • Full story from Jay Reeves HERE.


5. GOP leaders, Trump to discuss virus aid as crisis deepens

  • Top Republicans in Congress are expected to meet today with President Donald Trump at the White House on the next COVID-19 aid package as the crisis many hoped would have improved has dramatically worsened, just as emergency relief is expiring.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was prepared to roll out the $1 trillion package in a matter of days. But divisions between the Senate GOP majority and the White House posed fresh challenges. Congress was returning to session this week as the coronavirus crisis many had hoped would have improved by now only worsened — and just as earlier federal emergency relief was expiring.
  • Trump insisted again Sunday that the virus would “disappear,” but the president’s view did not at all match projections from the leading health professionals straining to halt the U.S.’s alarming caseloads and death toll.
  • McConnell and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy were set to meet with Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “to fine-tune” the legislation, acting chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Fox News.
  • The package from McConnell had been quietly crafted behind closed doors for weeks and was expected to include $75 billion to help schools reopen, reduced unemployment benefits alongside a fresh round of direct $1,200 cash payments to Americans, and a sweeping five-year liability shield against coronavirus lawsuits.
  • But as the White House weighed in, the administration was panning some $25 billion in proposed new funds for testing and tracing, said one Republican familiar with the discussions.
  • Full story from Lisa Mascaro and see both Fox News interviews HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State adds 3,754 COVID-19 cases over weekend


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State moves to ban opioid-like antidepressant sold in convenience stores


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Doctor who survived COVID-19 bewildered by public disregard


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tuberville says maybe to debate; Jones: Voters deserve one


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP leaders, Trump to discuss virus aid as crisis deepens


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – July 19, 2020


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Remembering John Lewis, civil rights icon and `American hero’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama mask rule off to uneven start as pandemic continues


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Republicans eye sweeping shield from coronavirus liability


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Justice Ginsburg says cancer has returned, but won’t retire


AL.COM – Confederate names don’t belong on Montgomery’s Black schools, social justice groups say


AL.COM – John Lewis’ lasting impact on ‘Black Lives Matter’


AL.COM – Did the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing help kill idea of ‘White Jesus’?


AL.COM – Black Alabama store owner punched by cop: Calling police is like ‘rolling the dice’


AL.COM – Are Alabama voters and candidates ‘writing the obituary’ on political debates?


AL.COM – Can Alabama’s two-week mask rule save the school year?


AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: The tacky slam on Gov. Ivey


AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: Here’s how best to honor John Lewis


AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: Here’s a prediction for 2020


Montgomery Advertiser – Martha Roby: Your census response matters to Alabama


Montgomery Advertiser – John Lewis, civil rights icon, dies at 80


Montgomery Advertiser – Air Force ROTC opens summer field training despite COVID-19 pandemic


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – The FDA warns your hand sanitizer could be poisoning you


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham Fire and Rescue battle big blaze in east Avondale


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: COVID-19 death total exceeds 1,200 as more than 65K test positive and nearly 30K recover


Tuscaloosa News – City to suspend curbside recycling


Tuscaloosa News – Russian ambassador rejects virus vaccine hacking claims


Tuscaloosa News – State creates innovation commission


Decatur Daily – State moves to ban antidepressant sold in convenience stores, can mimic opioids


Decatur Daily – More students struggling with mental health due to ongoing pandemic


Decatur Daily – Athens attorney says COVID-19 left him ‘the worst I’ve ever felt’


Times Daily – State moves to ban drug that mimics opioids


Times Daily – Doctor who survived COVID-19 bewildered by public disregard


Times Daily – 69,000 state workers lost coverage during pandemic crash


Anniston Star – 21 new county COVID cases reported; RMC figure steady


Anniston Star – Movie filmed in Anniston coming out in September


Anniston Star – State moves to ban antidepressant sold in convenience stores, can mimic opioids



YellowHammer News – Ainsworth warns Alabama mask mandate ‘a slippery slope’ to mandatory vaccines, vows to fight against potential second economic shutdown


YellowHammer News – Southern Research’s screening center searches for clues to COVID-19 treatments


YellowHammer News – State Sen. Orr: ‘I think you’ll see the AEA back in force in the 2022 election cycle’


Gadsden Times – Riverview nurse welcomed back after fighting COVID-19


Gadsden Times – Man killed in shooting Sunday morning


Gadsden Times – Missing boy found safe after search


Dothan Eagle – Drive-up COVID-19 testing available in Houston County on July 23


Dothan Eagle – Judge weighs N.C. voting rule change demand with COVID-19


Dothan Eagle – Kentucky secretary of state wants volunteers for polls


Opelika-Auburn News – EAMC nearing peak number of hospitalizations


Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika’s Brandon Fincher announces campaign for Ward 5 council seat


Opelika-Auburn News – Judge weighs N.C. voting rule change demand with COVID-19


WSFA Montgomery – Coronavirus rebounds around the world, deaths top 600,000


WSFA Montgomery – Justice for Breonna Taylor petition hits 10 million signatures, second biggest petition in website’s history


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery man killed in crash north of Troy


WAFF Huntsville – Local organization host family read-in for social justice and equality


WAFF Huntsville – Decatur City Schools suspending summer learning, modifying summer activities


WAFF Huntsville – COVID-19 in Alabama: State sees 1,685 new cases in 24 hours


WKRG Mobile – Spanish Fort priest back at Mass after COVID-19 recovery


WKRG Mobile – Missing diver near Destin identified; U.S. Coast Guard continues search


WKRG Mobile – Kansas dog makes 50-mile trek to her old home in Missouri


WTVY Dothan – Tuberville says maybe to debate; Jones: Voters deserve one


WTVY Dothan – Dothan City Commissioner Giving Away Masks


WTVY Dothan – Record week of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, ADPH says


WASHINGTON POST – A South Bronx barber takes on a new role in his pandemic-ravaged community


WASHINGTON POST – Endangered GOP senators under pressure as Senate considers new coronavirus measures


WASHINGTON POST – Trump defends bungled handling of coronavirus with falsehoods and dubious claims


NEW YORK TIMES – As Trump Ignores Virus Crisis, Republicans Start to Break Ranks


NEW YORK TIMES – Despite Masks’ Proven Value, Some U.S. Leaders Avoid Mandates


NEW YORK TIMES – Coronavirus Live Updates: Congress to Return With Stimulus Front and Center


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Companies Lose Hope for Quick Rebound From Covid-19


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Congress to Start Negotiations on Next Round of Coronavirus Aid


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Some Companies Got Both Government Contracts and PPP Loans


Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)






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