NORTH CAROLINA APPROACHES A QUARTER OF A MILLION INFECTIONS: At least 246,028 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 3,934 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 2,303 new COVID-19 cases, up from 2,102 the day before. Five coronavirus-related deaths were reported Sunday. At least 1,129 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, down 11 people compared to Saturday. Phase 3 of reopening is set to expire on Oct. 23, but Gov. Roy Cooper has not yet said whether he plans to extend the phase or if he will tighten rules to restrict the spread of the virus.
CHARLOTTE CHURCH EVENT LINKED TO CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK: Public health officials in North Carolina say at least nine cases of COVID-19 could be connected to a Charlotte church’s convocation events last weekend. Mecklenburg County said its health department urges anyone who attended the events at the United House of Prayer for All People just outside of downtown to get tested for the coronavirus, the Charlotte Observer reported. Free COVID-19 testing was being offered in the area on Sunday. Church officials could not immediately be reached for comment by the newspaper. The Washington, D.C.-based church was founded a century ago in Massachusetts.
NAACP SETTLES LAWSUIT AGAINST THE CITY OF GRAHAM OVER PROTEST RESTRICTIONS: The Alamance County Branch of the NAACP first sued the City of Graham over its old protest ordinance, and now the city has settled with the group while it negotiates with the county over protesters’ access to the courthouse. The eight named plaintiffs in the suit dismissed their claims against the city early this week, according to court records, with a one-year agreement that the city will explain and justify any emergency declarations affecting demonstrations downtown or protests of the Confederate monument in front of the Alamance County Historic Courthouse. According to the settlement, the city would have 24 hours following a declaration of a state of emergency to publish the imminent threat to life or property justifying the declaration, the general source of the threat and explaining how the state of emergency will address that threat. Mayor Jerry Peterman declared more than a few states of emergency in June citing unexplained law enforcement intelligence about potential protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Haddix said the city was violating state law as well as protesters’ First Amendment rights.
ATLAS HAS BULLIED HIS WAY TO THE TOP OF CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: Atlas shot down attempts to expand testing. He openly feuded with other doctors on the coronavirus task force and succeeded in largely sidelining them. He advanced fringe theories, such as that social distancing and mask-wearing were meaningless and would not have changed the course of the virus in several hard-hit areas. And he advocated allowing infections to spread naturally among most of the population while protecting the most vulnerable and those in nursing homes until the United States reaches herd immunity, which experts say would cause excess deaths, according to three current and former senior administration officials. Atlas also cultivated Trump’s affection with his public assertions that the pandemic is nearly over, despite death and infection counts showing otherwise, and his willingness to tell the public that a vaccine could be developed before the Nov. 3 election, despite clear indications of a slower timetable. Atlas’s ascendancy was apparent during a recent Oval Office meeting. After Trump left the room, Atlas startled other aides by walking behind the Resolute Desk and occupying the president’s personal space to keep the meeting going, according to one senior administration official. Atlas called this account “false and laughable.” Birx recently confronted Vice President Pence, who chairs the task force, about the acrimony, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Birx, whose profile and influence has eroded considerably since Atlas’s arrival, told Pence’s office that she does not trust Atlas, does not believe he is giving Trump sound advice and wants him removed from the task force, the two people said. This assessment is based on interviews with 41 administration officials, advisers to the president, public health leaders and other people with knowledge of internal government deliberations, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide candid assessments or confidential information.
TRUMP'S IDIOT FANS CHANT "LOCK HER UP" WHEN HE MENTIONS GRETCHEN WHITMER, TARGET OF RIGHT-WING KIDNAPPING PLOT: A new low point came on Saturday, when Mr. Trump held a rally in Muskegon, Mich., where he demanded that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reopen the state and then said “lock them all up” after his supporters chanted “lock her up!” It was a stunningly reckless comment from a president whose own F.B.I. this month arrested 14 men who it said had been plotting to kidnap Ms. Whitmer, a Democrat, and were captured on video with an array of weapons allegedly planning the crime. Mr. Trump has assailed Ms. Whitmer for months, disregarding her solid approval ratings with independent voters and women, two groups he is purportedly trying to court. Michigan Republicans, already struggling to avoid an electoral debacle in a state that has been returning to its Democratic roots in elections since Mr. Trump’s narrow victory in 2016, were again forced to answer for the president’s penchant for targeting high-profile women there. “She was literally just targeted,” Lee Chatfield, the speaker of the Michigan House and a leading state Republican, said of Ms. Whitmer. “Let’s debate differences. Let’s win elections. But not that.” A few hours after his appearance in Michigan, Mr. Trump went to Janesville, Wis., and similarly showed no hint of sensitivity to local circumstances. As he did with Ms. Whitmer, he demanded that the state’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, reopen Wisconsin and proclaimed that the country is “rounding the corner” on the virus — never mind that Wisconsin is experiencing a coronavirus spike and hit a record high in new cases last week.