It’s almost Friday, I promise.
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, October 22.
1. Ainsworth tests positive for COVID-19, is asymptomatic
- Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said Wednesday he tested positive for COVID-19 but, so far, he has no symptoms.
- Ainsworth said he took the test after being notified Wednesday that a member of his Sunday school church group had acquired the coronavirus. Ainsworth has criticized mandatory mask orders, although he says he personally wears one.
- “Because I follow social distancing rules and wear a mask both in church and in my daily interactions, the positive result shows that even those of us who are the most cautious can be at risk,” Ainsworth said in a statement.
- Ainsworth said he “will quarantine for the appropriate period and seek follow-up tests to ensure the virus has run its course before resuming public activities.”
- The virus has been spreading at a quickened pace since early October, figures show, and around 840 people have been hospitalized a day over the past week, compared to around 750 a day in late September.
- Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
2. Virus cases among lawmakers stir State House concerns
- An Alabama lawmaker was in a meeting in the State House last week when he found out he had COVID-19, the latest of several legislators to test positive for the virus.
- State Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, said he’d gotten tested Oct. 14 because he felt ill, but was told he may have the flu and was given a strep test as well as a COVID-19 test. He said his medical care provider said he’d get a call at 8 a.m. Oct. 15 if he was positive.
- The phone call alerting him to his positive test came at 8:50 and he said he left the State House immediately. He went home and has been quarantined since.
- “I stayed six feet away from everyone and was masked up the entire time,” he said.
- Gudger is one of at least five senators to test positive for COVID-19, some of them recently.
- It is prompting concerns on the 7th floor of the State House about how to properly prepare for the upcoming legislative session in February, to say nothing of possible special sessions before then.
- Read the full story from Mary Sell and me HERE.
3. Supreme Court rules against curbside voting in Alabama
- The Supreme Court on Wednesday put on hold a lower court order that would have permitted curbside voting in Alabama in November.
- The decision stemmed from a lawsuit the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program filed on behalf of voters with health issues who were concerned about the risk of COVID-19 at the polls.
- Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill both celebrated the ruling, saying it upheld “the letter and spirit of the law.”
- They sought the high court’s intervention to block a lower court’s ruling in the case that would have let counties offer curbside voting. Lawyers for the state argued that since Alabama does not have a law expressly permitting curbside voting, that it should not be allowed.
- If it sounds like we’ve been here before, we have. The Supreme Court in July ruled in the same way in an earlier version of the case that sought to allow curbside voting in the runoff elections. That ruling was 5-4 along ideological lines, as was Wednesday’s 5-3 ruling after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
- Full story HERE.
4. With Medicare enrollment open, advocates offer seniors information on options
- With the Medicare enrollment period now open, advocates for seniors are offering information on supplemental health plans that could help with medical or prescription drug costs.
- The Alabama Department of Senior Services provides multiple programs that can help seniors decide what health care options are right for them.
- The State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP, provides free counseling and education for Medicare beneficiaries, including information on utilizing the first-year Medicare prevention screening benefits.
- Medicare Advantage plans offer qualifying seniors supplemental insurance to their existing Medicare plans to cover additional health care costs, including for prescription drugs.
- Alabama’s largest insurer announced this week that its supplemental Medicare prescription drug plan received a solid quality rating from the federal government.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s Blue Advantage Complete Preferred Provider Organization Plan, a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan, was awarded a four-star quality rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The plan is the only $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan in the state to receive such a distinction.
- Read more from ADN’s Will Whatley HERE.
5. Debate night
- President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, are set to square off in their final debate tonight, one of the last high-profile opportunities for the trailing incumbent to change the trajectory of an increasingly contentious campaign.
- Worried about losing the White House, some advisers are urging Trump to trade his aggressive demeanor from the first debate for a lower-key style that puts Biden more squarely in the spotlight. Whether the president will heed that advice remains to be seen.
- With less than two weeks until Election Day, Biden is leading most national polls and has a narrower advantage in the battleground states that will decide the race.
- A Fox News poll of battleground states released Wednesday had Trump trailing, but within the margin of error, in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, two states critical to his reelection chances.
- Trump, who staged a remarkable comeback in the closing days of the 2016 campaign, believes he can do it again by using the power of the presidency to attack his rival.
- More than 42 million people have already cast their ballots.
- The debate, moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, is a final chance for both men to make their case to a television audience of tens of millions of voters.
- The debate starts at 8:00 Central Time.
- Read more, watch some analysis and see those polls HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama lieutenant governor tests positive for COVID-19
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Virus cases among lawmakers stir State House concerns
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court blocks curbside voting in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – With Medicare enrollment open, advocates offer seniors information on options
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Face to face: Trump and Biden to meet for final debate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US officials link Iran to emails meant to intimidate voters
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After improvement, virus cases worsening in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Time running out on virus relief bill, Shelby ‘not optimistic’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Justice Dept. files landmark antitrust case against Google
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – October 21, 2020
AL.COM – U.S. Supreme Court blocks ruling allowing curbside voting in Alabama
AL.COM – Alabama Senate race: Jones outraises Tuberville, even as former Auburn coach widens lead
AL.COM – Feds name election officer for north Alabama to handle voter concerns, fraud complaints
AL.COM – 2 Alabama schools back to virtual learning due to coronavirus-related staffing shortages
AL.COM – Eagle Forum of Alabama calls for ‘no’ vote on Statewide Amendment 4
AL.COM – Alabama inmate dies after assault at Easterling prison
AL.COM – Birmingham refinances $179 million in debt
AL.COM – Out of Alabama unemployment benefits? Here’s how to keep getting them
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth tests positive for COVID-19
Montgomery Advertiser – U.S. Supreme Court upholds Alabama’s curbside voting ban
Montgomery Advertiser – Business is sweet for Montgomery cake designer who turned hobby into successful enterprise
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Police: Suspect in custody after shooting at law enforcement in West Ala.
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Public assistance program modifies application process to accommodate more families during pandemic
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – JCDH: COVID-19 testing fatigue could be impacting turnout at Legion Field
Tuscaloosa News – U.S. Supreme Court upholds Alabama’s curbside voting ban
Tuscaloosa News – County career tech program to receive $389,000 grant from West Alabama Works
Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama announces plans for winter graduation
Decatur Daily – Decatur’s traditional Christmas parade canceled; alternative drive-thru event planned
Decatur Daily – Son: Mom was ‘acting weird’ weeks before fatal shooting
Decatur Daily – Number of poll watchers expected to be up Nov. 3
Times Daily – Public can view Shoals Long Range Transportation Plan Thursday
Times Daily – Mayors will likely end up on Colbert solid waste authority boards
Times Daily – Hammock seeks revenue commissioner’s post
Anniston Star – Four-day classroom time begins Nov. 4 in Cleburne County
Anniston Star – Anniston orthodontics office delivers donations to 5 local schools
Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: One player’s journey from Anniston to the Major Leagues
YellowHammer News – Supreme Court again stops activist judge from unilaterally allowing Alabama curbside voting
YellowHammer News – Director of National Intelligence: Iran attempting to damage Trump’s reelection
YellowHammer News – Alabama Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth tests positive for COVID-19, currently asymptomatic
Gadsden Times – Gadsden woman arrested for chemical endangerment
Gadsden Times – U.S. Supreme Court upholds Alabama’s curbside voting ban
Gadsden Times – Gilley’s Christmas Lights are out for 2020 season; family plans to continue tradition next year
Dothan Eagle – Former Belgian PM in intensive care with COVID-19
Dothan Eagle – US officials link Iran to emails meant to intimidate voters
Dothan Eagle – US officials link Iran to emails meant to intimidate voters
Opelika-Auburn News – Two Valley residents found dead after welfare check
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika Main Street to host entertainment district on Auburn football gamedays
Opelika-Auburn News – Medal of Honor recipient Adkins to be buried in Arlington
WSFA Montgomery – Supreme Court blocks curbside voting in Alabama
WSFA Montgomery – Crenshaw Community Hospital keeps fingers crossed on tax vote
WSFA Montgomery – Democracy reform organization campaigns against Montgomery property tax increase
WAFF Huntsville – I-65 northbound lanes closed in Morgan County
WAFF Huntsville – Search underway for 2 women in Bankhead National Forest
WAFF Huntsville – Two local pastors, activist group ask Albertville City leaders to remove confederate monument and flag
WKRG Mobile – Florida man breaks a Georgia fishing record a few miles south of Columbus
WKRG Mobile – Mark your calendar: Daylight saving (and extra sleep) just days away
WKRG Mobile – Watch: Police bust massive house party in Ohio
WTVY Dothan – FBI imposters, romance popular scams that often target elderly
WTVY Dothan – Enterprise High School Wind Ensemble preparing for big concert
WTVY Dothan – Troopers: Wicksburg man killed in traffic wreck had been drinking
WASHINGTON POST – Trump weighs firing FBI director after election as frustration with Wray, Barr grows
WASHINGTON POST – U.S. government concludes Iran was behind threatening emails sent to Democrats
WASHINGTON POST – Trump aims for adulation. Biden goes virtual. The two presidential candidates are running vastly different campaigns as Election Day nears
NEW YORK TIMES – 2020 Election Live Updates: Campaigns Get Ready for Debate as Race Enters Final Stage
NEW YORK TIMES – Supreme Court Bars Curbside Voting in Alabama
NEW YORK TIMES – As Schools Across the U.S. Move to Reopen Doors, Boston Does an About-Face
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Google, U.S. Government Each Face Challenges in Court Fight
WALL STREET JOURNAL – NASA’s Six-Second Brush With Asteroid Bennu
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Elevated Jobless Claims Reflect Cooling Labor Market