Inside Daily Brief

In today’s issue:

  • The U.S. set a new record in coronavirus cases on Wednesday, topping 60,000, largely due to outbreaks in the American South and West.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that a New York prosecutor should have access to President Trump’s tax returns, but questioned Congress’s authority to investigate the president’s financials.
  • Only those earning less than $40,000 a year may receive the next stimulus check, Congressional Republicans said.


The U.S. reported a record 60,021 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, as outbreaks continue across the American South and West. Although the rate of new cases is increasing in 35 states, Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas have accounted for nearly 50% of all new cases in recent days. The U.S. has reported an average of 51,383 new cases in the past seven days, a record high seven-day average, and a 24.5% increase from the previous week.


  • By Wednesday, 42 Florida hospitals had no more ICU beds.
  • The Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, said that a local hospital is “in dire straits” and in two weeks will face “an unbearable level of crisis.”
  • Georgia’s ICU units are 82% full and hospitals are at 83% capacity.
  • As of Monday, 35 states plus Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico require people to wear masks in public.
  • According to a model by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, by Nov. 1, 208,000 people may die of coronavirus in the U.S.
  • The model indicates that the death toll will be much lower (163,000) if most Americans wear face masks in public.
  • As of Thursday morning, 3.1 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus and the disease has killed 134,291 people nationwide.


In a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a mixed ruling that will likely allow President Trump to keep his financial records away from the public eye. The ruling implies that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. will eventually be given access to Trump’s tax returns. But because that investigation is part of a grand jury process, the records are unlikely to be made public. The ruling said that Congress does not have unlimited power to investigate the president but it also states that the president is not “categorically immune” to investigations. Trump’s legal team had argued that he should be immune to investigations while he holds office.


  • SCOTUS sent both cases back to lower courts. Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow said that his team will continue fighting both cases.
  • “This is all a political prosecution. I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!” tweeted President Trump.


1.314 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, a decrease of nearly 100,000 from the previous week. Additionally, 1.039 million Americans applied for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits to independent contractors and the self-employed. A record 4.8 million jobs were created in June, pushing the unemployment rate down to 11.1%, from 13.3% in May. But the statistics released by the Department of Labor on Thursday suggest that unemployment will likely increase in the coming weeks. That’s in large part because as many as 24 states have paused or rolled back measures to reopen their economies due to surges in coronavirus cases.


  • 32.9 million people are now collecting unemployment checks.
  • There have been more than 1 million new unemployment claims for 15 weeks running. 
  • The number of new weekly unemployment claims has been declining since reaching a record 6.867 million in the last week of March.


GOOD NEWS: Conservationists have captured images of a subspecies of mountain gorilla that was once thought to be extinct. Cross River gorillas live in some mountainous areas in Cameroon and Nigeria and are thought to number under 300 members. They are very elusive and shy of humans. A network of cameras was set up in 2012 in the areas where they live. Although the devices have captured images of Cross River gorillas in the past, this is the first time they show a group with several babies, which suggests that efforts to help protect their habitat are working. “To see many young animals is a positive sign,” said John Oates, a primatologist at City University in New York. The images were captured in Nigeria’s Mbe mountains, which are home to about 100 Cross River Gorillas. To ensure the safety of the gorillas and other wildlife, conservationists have recruited 16 eco-guards from surrounding communities.

Senate Republicans said that only those who earn under $40,000 a year may receive the next stimulus check. Under the stimulus plan approved in March, 159 million Americans received a check of up to $1,200, with those earning more than $75,000 receiving smaller amounts. Although the talks regarding the next relief package are ongoing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that setting the cap at $40,000 will help direct aid to those most in need.


  • The $40,000 cap would translate into $200b in savings for the federal government but it would mean that 20 million fewer Americans would receive financial aid.
  • Some conservative lawmakers want to reduce the size of the next stimulus bill amid fears that the federal debt burden is increasing rapidly.
  • Both Vice President Mike Pence and McConnell have indicated that they want to keep the next stimulus bill under $1 trillion. However, White House economic adviser Peter Navarro said that President Trump wants the next bill to include $2 trillion in financial aid.
  • Congress has so far approved more than $3 trillion in pandemic-related financial aid. 


Facebook has shut down a network of accounts linked to Republican operative Roger Stone, saying that they were used to spread misinformation. The network included 54 Facebook accounts, 50 Facebook Pages, and four Instagram accounts. Operatives used the network to pose as Florida residents and post misinformation regarding local politics, as well as land and water bills. They also posted material released by Wikileaks ahead of the 2016 presidential election and about Stone’s trial. Facebook said the group spent $308,000 on ads.


  • Stone was convicted in November 2019 of witness tampering and lying to investigators – charges that stemmed from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • Stone, 67, is due to start his 40-month prison sentence next week.
  • His lawyers have asked a federal appeals court to delay his sentence over concerns about the spread of coronavirus in prisons.


Dozens of demonstrators and police were hurt during clashes in the Serbian capital Belgrade over the roll-out of a partial coronavirus lockdown. The protest began peacefully but turned violent on Tuesday evening when police fired tear gas at protesters trying to storm the National Assembly. The crowd attacked police with bottles, stones, and flares. The protests occurred after President Alexander Vucic announced a partial lockdown that included a ban on gatherings of more than five people and a curfew next weekend. By Wednesday, Vuvic seemed to have backtracked, saying that a lockdown would probably not be imposed. 


  • Vucic said that 4,000 coronavirus patients were being treated at hospitals, including 140 on ventilators.
  • Far-right nationalists have been blamed for the violence.


Sunrun, the largest residential solar power company in the U.S., has acquired rival Vivint Solar for $3.2b. The companies said they will be able to save about $90m per year in synergies. The U.S. residential solar market is growing because solar panels are much more affordable than they were a decade ago – the typical setup cost now costs around $18,000, down from $50,000 in 2010. But, residential solar power companies need to cut costs because federal tax credits that have kept prices down will be phased out by 2022. 


  • By joining forces, Sunrun and Vivint Solar will be in a stronger position to compete against Tesla, which is pushing a new solar power model based on high capacity batteries.
  • Under the battery model, residents may be able to make money by storing the excess energy their panels produce and selling it to power distributors.
  • Sunrun and Vivint Solar will have a joint customer base of around 500,000 clients.
  • Residential solar has reached only 3% penetration in the U.S. but further growth will “accelerate the transition away from polluting fossil fuels,” the companies said in a statement.


Here’s a sample of stories from yesterday’s Inside Business:

  • A job listing on Twitter’s careers page suggests the social media network may soon be launching a subscription service.
  • The Trump administration’s new rules removing student visas for international students taking only online classes in the fall could severely impact the talent pool in computer science and engineering fields.
  • Walmart is launching a competitor to Amazon Prime later this month.

Read more or subscribe to Inside Business.

Quick Hits:

  • Police have found the body of the mayor of South Korea’s capital, Seoul, the day after he was reported missing. According to news reports, Park Won was accused of sexual harassment by an aide this week. (This story is developing.)
  • The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the eastern half of Oklahoma can be considered Native American territory. The decision means that state authorities can’t prosecute Native Americans involved in offenses that take part in that territory.
  • Clothing retailer Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday and announced plans to close 51 stores. It has more than 500 stores worldwide and employs 4,025 people.
  • Webull is full of great tools and features, including paper trading, real-time quotes, and extended hours trading—all for free. Plus you’ll get two free stocks. Now that’s money. *

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Written and curated by Eduardo Garcia in New York. Eduardo is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School M.A. Science program and writes regularly for the New York Times Climate Fwd: newsletter. In one of his previous lives, Eduardo worked as a Reuters correspondent in Latin America for nearly a decade. 


Jonathan Harris is a writer for Previously, he wrote for The Huffington Post,, and the YouTube channel What’s Trending.

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