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U.S. surpasses 100,000 COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time

More than 100,200 Americans were hospitalized as of Wednesday due to the coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020, per the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The milestone comes as health officials anticipated cases to surge following holiday travel and gatherings. The impact of the holiday remains notable, as many states across the country are only reporting partial data updates.


Flashback: The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10% in week leading up to Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

  • Before the Thanksgiving holiday, the COVID Tracking Project warned of a "double-weekend pattern.
  • "Far fewer people will be tested on Thanksgiving Day, and perhaps on the day after as well, and then the usual weekend pattern will begin," it said.
  • "Death reporting, too, will slow down for an unknown number of days."

What to watch: That backlog is expected to clear sometime this week, resulting in a potentially confusing surge on all metrics.

By the numbers: The U.S. reported 13.7 million cases (confirmed and probable), 1.4 million tests, 196,000 cases and 2,733 deaths on Wednesday.

  • To date, 264,522 people in the country have died from the virus.
  • California confirmed more than 20,000 COVID-19 infections on Wednesday — the highest daily case count for any state to date.
  • Wednesday's virus death count is the second highest on record following May 7, and marks the first time deaths have exceeded 5,000 in a two-day stretch.

1 dead, 2 injured after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing at least one person and wounding two others Saturday, according to Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, per the SunSentinel.

The big picture: The incident at the Wilton Manors Stonewall Parade and Festival was one of two involving a pickup truck hitting a crowd on Saturday, with several cyclists left critically wounded in Arizona.

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In photos: Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro as COVID deaths top 500,000

Demonstrators took to the streets in at least 22 of Brazil’s 26 states to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic — as COVID-19 cases surged past 500,000 on Saturday, per AP.

The big picture: Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll and third-highest number of cases. Only 12% of the country's population has been vaccinated against the virus, AP notes.

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Major companies ask Colorado residents not to apply for remote positions

Major companies have said in recent job postings that Colorado residents are ineligible to apply for certain remote positions because a new state law requires businesses to disclose the expected salary or pay range for positions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The law, which went into effect in January, is meant to help close the gender wage gap and to promote wage transparency for employees, but companies have said Coloradans need not apply to avoid disclosing the information.

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In photos: Communities across nation celebrate Juneteenth

People across the country are celebrating Juneteenth National Independence Day.

The big picture: The date, June 19, memorializes when some of the last enslaved people in Texas learned about their freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865.

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Separate and unequal paths to business

When a bank turned down George Johnson for a business loan, he got creative. He returned and told the bank he needed $250 to take his wife on a vacation — and was approved. Then he invested the cash in his business, which became the first Black enterprise to trade on the American Stock Exchange.

Why it matters: The highways to success in the U.S. market economy — in entrepreneurship, corporate leadership and wealth creation — are often punctuated with roadblocks and winding detours for people of color.

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Attempting to reform gig work via co-ops

Ride-hailing service The Drivers Cooperative recently debuted in New York City, claiming that its lack of VC funding would result in better driver pay and lower passenger costs.

Why it matters: TDC’s approach is a direct rebuke to the venture capital-fueled gig economy model.

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Conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi elected Iran's president

Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi easily won Friday's presidential election in Iran, recording 62% of the vote with more than 90% of ballots counted.

Why it matters: Currently the head of Iran's judiciary, Raisi is a close confidant of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and has the support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). His victory solidifies him as a leading candidate to succeed Khamenei, though Friday's low turnout speaks to the disillusionment of many Iranian voters.

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Juneteenth and the country enslaved labor built on the backs of Black Americans

Juneteenth, a once-obscure commemoration of emancipation of enslaved people in Texas, has transformed into an annual reminder about how slavery robbed Black Americans of generational wealth.

Why it matters: That lack of generational wealth still denies Black families the economic security that many white families take for granted.

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