A milestone nobody wants

·5 min read

The COVID-19 death toll in the United States has reached a new height. Millions of sleep apnea machines have been recalled over cancer risk. And hurricane season is starting to wake up.

👋 It's Laura. Nothing messes up your Friday like learning it's only Tuesday. To make it better, here's the news you need to know.

But first, "you want the truth?" Thirty-five years ago, an Ohio woman suffered a horror of horrors when she was robbed after a man threw a handful of cicadas in her face. 😭 Now, she's telling her side of the story, and it's not one you'll want to miss, for various reasons.

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600,000 dead

As states and cities across the country continue to take steps toward normalcy, the U.S. surpassed 600,000 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, a stark reminder of the pandemic’s enduring toll. The remarkable progress in the nation’s battle against the coronavirus, thanks to a concerted vaccination effort led by the federal government, has ushered in the lifting of restrictions and perhaps even a sense that the pandemic’s over. The current seven-day average of about 430 COVID-19 deaths a day is less than one-seventh of the 3,300 daily fatalities during the ghastly January peak. But even 430 represents a fourfold increase in the number of Americans per day who die of the flu in a typical year, and the U.S. still leads the world in reported coronavirus cases (33.4 million) and deaths. No other nation comes within 100,000 COVID fatalities.

'Pure insanity'

Even after then-Attorney General William Barr publicly acknowledged the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud that would've changed the results of the election, the Trump White House privately pressured then-Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen to look at allegations of voter fraud just before he was about to step in as acting head of the department in December. A trove of emails released Tuesday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee shows a persistent pressure campaign in the days leading up to Jan. 6, when then-President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to keep Congress from counting state-certified Electoral College votes.

  • From the emails: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sent Rosen a link to a YouTube video about a debunked theory that votes were switched from Trump to Biden. Rosen forwarded the email to then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, who called it "pure insanity." Here's what else was found.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 29:  U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (R) listens prior to Trump's Marine One departure from the South Lawn of the White House July 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to visit the Double Eagle Energy oil rig in Midland, Texas, and will attend a fundraising luncheon for the Republican Party and his reelection campaign.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775540363 ORIG FILE ID: 1262332931
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 29: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (R) listens prior to Trump's Marine One departure from the South Lawn of the White House July 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to visit the Double Eagle Energy oil rig in Midland, Texas, and will attend a fundraising luncheon for the Republican Party and his reelection campaign. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775540363 ORIG FILE ID: 1262332931

What everyone's talking about

Millions of sleep apnea machines, ventilators recalled over cancer risk

Medical device maker Philips is recalling sleep apnea machines and ventilators containing foam that could put users at risk of cancer or other health issues. A U.S. recall has been issued for millions of units of the Philips Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and mechanical ventilator devices because of a defect related to the polyester-based polyurethane sound abatement foam in the devices, which can degrade, causing harmful effects. Philips said there have been no reports of deaths, but it acknowledged the potential risks include "headache, irritation, inflammation, respiratory issues and possible toxic and carcinogenic effects." Patients are advised to consult with their doctors about whether to adjust their treatment plans. In some cases, the benefits of continuing to use the devices "may outweigh the risks," Philips said.

Hurricane season awakens

A bit of an unassuming name for the second named storm in a nascent hurricane season forecasters have warned could be a rager. Tropical Storm Bill churned off the East Coast on Tuesday, about 200 miles off Nantucket, Massachusetts, appearing unlikely to cause significant damage. The storm was moving to the northeast at 31 mph, the National Weather Service said early Tuesday. The system is forecast to become a post-tropical low before dissipating Wednesday, and there were no coastal watches or warnings in effect. As many as 10 hurricanes could form this year, NOAA said, with three to five possibly major hurricanes. An average season typically spawns seven hurricanes and peaks in August and September.

Tropical Storm Bill is off the Atlantic coast, headed away from the United States.
Tropical Storm Bill is off the Atlantic coast, headed away from the United States.

Real quick

Did the steroid come from a burrito?

A dominant Olympic hopeful middle distance runner has been banned for four years after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Could it have come from pork in a burrito? Shelby Houlihan, the reigning national champion and American record-holder at both 1,500 and 5,000 meters, was banned by the Athletics Integrity Unit after testing positive for nandrolone, which has been found in pork. She said she appealed the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and was informed Friday that it did not accept her explanation. "I feel completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed by the very sport that I’ve loved and poured myself into just to see how good I was," the 28-year-old wrote in an Instagram post. "I want to be very clear. I have never taken any performance enhancing substances. And that includes that of which I am being accused."

Shelby Houlihan is the reigning national champion and American record-holder at both 1,500 and 5,000 meters.
Shelby Houlihan is the reigning national champion and American record-holder at both 1,500 and 5,000 meters.

A break from the news

  • 💸 Big sale, bigger deals: Best Amazon Prime Day sales to get right now.

  • ✈️ Let's jet! Southwest Airlines offering half off fall airfares.

  • 🛍 Father's Day: 10 great last-minute gifts for dad you can get on sale.

  • 🖼 Art deco design is booming. Here’s how to get the look in your home.

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 death toll, voter fraud emails, Philips sleep apnea machine recall, Tropical Storm Bill, Shelby Houlihan. It's Tuesday's news.

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