ANOTHER GRIM CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK IN U.S.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — With the United States grappling with the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, Florida hit a grim milestone yesterday, shattering the national record for a state’s largest single-day increase in positive cases.

Deaths from the virus have also been rising in the U.S., especially in the South and West, though still well below the heights hit in April, according to a recent Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

“I really do think we could control this, and it’s the human element that is so critical. It should be an effort of our country. We should be pulling together when we’re in a crisis, and we’re definitely not doing it,” said University of Florida epidemiologist Dr. Cindy Prins.

Adm. Brett Giroir, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, called mask-wearing in public, which has been met with resistance in some U.S. states, “absolutely essential.”

Giroir, the assistant secretary at the Health and Human Services Department, told ABC’s “This Week” that “if we don’t have that, we will not get control of the virus.’’

President Donald Trump wore a mask in public for the first time Saturday, something Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday showed he has “crossed a bridge.”

Pelosi told CNN’s “State of the Union” she hopes it means the president “will change his attitude, which will be helpful in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.”

W.H.O. REPORTS ANOTHER RECORD SPIKE IN COVID-19 CASES

UNDATED (AP) — The World Health Organization, meanwhile, reported another record increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases over a 24-hour period, at over 230,000.

The U.N. health agency said the United States again topped the list among countries, with more than 66,000 cases. The figures don’t necessarily account for delays in reporting cases, and are believed to far underestimate actual totals.

Countries in Eastern Europe were among those facing rising waves of new infections, leading to riots in Serbia, mandatory face masks in Croatia and travel bans or quarantines imposed by Hungary.

Yet the numbers of infections in Eastern Europe pale in comparison to daily coronavirus reports from India, South Africa and Brazil, whose virus-denying president has tested positive.

India, which has the most cases after the U.S. and Brazil, saw a record surge of 28,637 cases reported in the past 24 hours. Authorities also announced a week-long lockdown beginning tomorrow in a key southern technology hub, where offices of top tech companies like Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are located.

South Africa has reported over 10,000 new daily cases for several days in a row, including 13,497 new infections announced Saturday night. Johannesburg’s densely populated Soweto township is one of the virus hot spots. With over 264,000 cases and 3,971 deaths, South Africa accounts for over 40% of all the reported coronavirus cases in Africa.

Meanwhile, in Taiwan, which kept its coronavirus outbreak to a few hundred cases, an annual film festival wrapped up with an awards ceremony this weekend where actors and others lined up for photo shoots with no social distancing, and participants didn’t wear masks.

SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO SHOWS PA. OFFICER PRESSING KNEE ON MAN'S NECK

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Video posted on social media that shows a Pennsylvania police officer with his knee on a man’s neck while trying to restrain him has prompted protests — and a demand from the local Black Lives Matter group to suspend the officers involved.

The video shot Saturday night from a passerby’s vehicle shows Allentown officers restraining a man on the ground outside the emergency room of the Sacred Heart Campus of St. Luke’s Hospital. An officer has his elbow on the man’s neck before switching to a knee to hold him down while other officers restrained his arms.

The man does not appear to be resisting during the video.

Allentown Police released a statement last night saying the interaction is being investigated and additional videos are being reviewed.

The department released its use of force policy earlier this month, five weeks after a white Minneapolis police officer put his knee on George Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped responding. Floyd’s death sparked protests around the world calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism.

The Allentown policy prohibits neck restraints and chokeholds. It says that officers should only use the amount of force necessary to control the situation.

Police have not released the name or race of any individuals seen in the video.

FIRE ONBOARD SHIP AT S.D. NAVAL BASE FIRE INJURES 21

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Twenty-one people suffered minor injuries in an explosion and fire yesterday on board a ship at Naval Base San Diego.

Military officials say the blaze was reported shortly before 9 a.m. on USS Bonhomme Richard. A Navy spokesman says 17 and four civilians were hospitalized with “non-life threatening injuries.”

The cause of the fire was under investigation. It wasn’t immediately known where on the 840-foot amphibious assault vessel the blast and the fire occurred.

The flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke visible around San Diego.

U.S. NAVY WELCOMES FIRST BLACK FEMALE TACTICAL AIRCRAFT PILOT

KINGSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Navy has welcomed its first Black female Tactical Aircraft pilot.

“MAKING HISTORY!” the U.S. Navy tweeted Thursday in response to a post that Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle had completed naval flight school and would later this month receive the flight officer insignia known as the “Wings of Gold.”

The Naval Air Training Command tweeted that Swegle is the Navy’s “first known Black female TACAIR pilot.”

According to Stars and Stripes, Swegle is from Burke, Virginia, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Officials said she is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas.

Swegle’s milestone comes more than 45 years after Rosemary Mariner in 1974 became the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet, according to news outlets.

PRESIDENT TRUMP CRITICIZES PRIVATELY-BUILT BORDER WALL IN SOUTH TEXAS

HOUSTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has criticized a privately built border wall in South Texas that’s showing signs of erosion months after going up, saying it was “only done to make me look bad,” even though the wall was built after a months-long campaign by his supporters.

The group that raised money online for the wall promoted itself as supporting Trump during a government shutdown that started in December 2018 because Congress wouldn’t fund Trump’s demands for a border wall. Called “We Build the Wall,” the group has raised more than $25 million promoting itself as supporting the president.

Former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon joined the group’s board and Trump ally Kris Kobach became its general counsel. Kobach is now seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Kansas.

The company that built the private section in January, North Dakota-based Fisher Industries, has since won a $1.3 billion border wall contract from the federal government, the largest award to date.

The section in question is a roughly 3-mile fence of steel posts just 35 feet from the Rio Grande, the river that forms the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. That’s much closer to the river than the government ordinarily builds border barriers in South Texas because of concerns about erosion and flooding that could violate U.S. treaty obligations with Mexico.

Trump tweeted yesterday in response to a ProPublica-Texas Tribune report that the riverbank has started to erode. A federal judge on Wednesday ordered attorneys for Fisher Industries and opponents of the private wall to set a schedule for experts to visit the site and inspect any erosion.

“I disagreed with doing this very small (tiny) section of wall, in a tricky area, by a private group which raised money by ads,” Trump wrote. “It was only done to make me look bad, and perhsps it now doesn’t even work. Should have been built like rest of Wall, 500 plus miles.”