Data Show 40 Percent of Ohio Counties Experience Rise in Coronavirus Cases 7 Weeks After Mask Mandate Despite Claims by DeWine, CDC

Has Ohio’s statewide mask mandate affected the coronavirus case counts in counties? Data show 40 percent of counties saw a net increase during a 21-day period, despite claims by Gov. Mike DeWine and the CDC.

The Ohio Star examined the state health department’s historic case counts. The summary data is available in a CSV file from a link on the Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard here.

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High School Students Moving Out of Illinois So They Can Play Sports

Illinois high school student athletes and their parents who are tired of COVID-19 delays in sports are taking matters into their own hands — some are protesting, while others are moving out of state to play elsewhere.

Student athletes, coaches and students’ parents rallied in the dozens in McCook on Sunday to demand fall sports to resume, ABC 7 reported. Only golf, cross country, girls’ tennis and girls’ swimming and diving are playing for now.

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Survey: Families in Four Largest U.S. Cities Facing Significant Financial, Health, Education Setbacks

More than half of the households surveyed in the four largest U.S. cities are facing serious financial problems as a result of their state and city shutdowns, a new five-part polling series conducted by NPR, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found.

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Positive COVID-19 Cases Drop in No-Lockdown Sweden, Marking the Lowest Rate Since the Pandemic Began

Sweden’s positive coronavirus cases dropped after the country carried out a record number of COVID-19 tests recently, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing Swedish health officials.
The country saw only 1,300 positive cases out of 120,000 tests last week, representing a 1.2% positive rate, Sweden’s health agency said Tuesday, according to the Reuters report. The low number of cases is the lowest Sweden has seen since the pandemic, which originated in China, first emerged in Europe, the report noted.

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The Bill Cunningham Show Talks to The Ohio Star’s Jack Windsor to Discuss New State Law Allowing for the Legal Removal of People with COVID From Their Private Homes

Tuesday morning on the Bill Cunningham Show broadcast weekdays from 12 pm to 3pm on Cincinnati’s News Radio 700WLW, host Cunnigham welcomed The Ohio Star Managing Editor, Jack Windsor, to the show.

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NIH: Halted Vaccine Study Shows ‘No Compromises’ on Safety

The suspension of a huge COVID-19 vaccine study over an illness in a single participant shows there will be “no compromises” on safety in the race to develop the shot, the chief of the National Institutes of Health told Congress on Wednesday.
AstraZeneca has put on hold studies of its vaccine candidate in the U.S. and other countries while it investigates whether a British volunteer’s illness is a side effect or a coincidence.

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Thousands of Ohioans Must Return Unemployment Overpayments

Around 48,000 Ohioans were notified they received an overpayment of unemployment benefits during the pandemic and must repay the state, The Associated Press reported.

That’s about 6% of the nearly 800,000 Ohioans who have been paid regular unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic in March, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

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Poll Reveals Growing Distrust in CDC and Media Over COVID Information

American voters’ trust in the national media and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide accurate information about the coronavirus pandemic has plummeted since March, according to a CBS poll published Sunday.

Roughly 54% of voters trust the CDC for reliable information about the virus, a 30 percentage point drop from March, when 86% of voters said the same thing, the CBS poll showed. Fewer voters also trust the national media to provide good information about coronavirus, or COVID, according to the poll, which was conducted between Sept. 2-4 and sampled 2,493 registered voters nationwide.

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Ohio Leaders Play Both Sides of Mask Debate

Ohio’s reported coronavirus cases and hospitalizations dropped significantly on Sunday from the 21-day average.

The Ohio Department of Health on Sunday reported 773 more coronavirus infections, increasing the number of cases to 130,558. That is below the 21-day average of 1,061 newly reported cases a day.

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DeWine Administration Lays out Its Work Over the Past Week, from Providing Kids with Books to Implementing School Virus Reporting Requirements

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his administration provided a “Week in Review” for the past week, with actions ranging from providing free books to kids to requiring schools to report coronavirus cases to local health departments.

The week started off Monday with DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announcing assistance for five projects to create 574 new jobs and retain 1,058 jobs statewide. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought to the board by JobsOhio and its regional partners. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $23 million in new payroll and spur more than $68 million in investments across Ohio.

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Ohio Senate Discusses Limiting Pandemic Executive Powers, Passes COVID Liability Limits and Federal Relief Funds

The Ohio Senate passed two bills and discussed a third this week that would “check and balance” state executive orders. The two passed bills would limit essential workers’ liability for COVID-19 transmissions and grant $650 million of federal relief funds statewide, respectively.

Senate Bill (SB) 311 aims to install a balance of powers between Congress and Ohio’s Department of Health (DOH) during this and any future pandemics. In an interview with The Ohio Star, Senator Andrew Brenner (R-OH-19) explained the historical rationale behind the bill.

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Shelby County Says Woman Dead for Six Months Contracted COVID-19, Needs to Isolate

When is a COVID-19 patient not a COVID-19 patient? When the person has been dead for six months, as has reportedly happened in Memphis.

Media reports have carried the story, including coverage here by KVUE.

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Governor DeWine Requires Schools to Report K-12 Student COVID Cases to Government

Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday his order requiring all K-12 schools to report COVID-19 cases to their local health department. Schools must do so within 24 hours of notification of a positive test result from a student, teacher, staff member or coach.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes issued the order under DeWine. The order requires each school to appoint a coordinator to report positive cases, and to create a “reopening or pandemic operating plan.” It also requires schools to notify all parents and guardians of case reports. The order did not mention a requirement to tell the staff.

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Battleground Michigan: Lawsuits Challenge State’s Coronavirus Restrictions, Ballot Rules

A pair of lawsuits filed against top-ranking state executives in Michigan seek to challenge the recent policies the two Democrats have put in place as part of their efforts to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak there.

The suits, filed by the Thomas More Society on behalf of several Michigan plaintiffs, argue that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson have, respectively, suppressed political speech and unlawfully altered the state’s absentee voting system, according to a press release from the Thomas More Society.

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State Orders Public Colleges and Universities to Create COVID-19 Quarantine Shelters

Ohio will now mandate public colleges and universities to create non-congregate sheltering space for quarantining coronavirus patients.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes issued the order Sunday “to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” alongside Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted.

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Coronavirus Worries Force Election Officials to Get Creative

The coronavirus has upended everyday life in ways big and small. What happens when those disruptions overlap with voting? Thousands of state and local election officials across the U.S are sharing ideas and making accommodations to try to ensure that voters and polling places are safe amid an unprecedented pandemic.

Some are finding ways to expand access to voter registration and ballot request forms. Others are testing new products, installing special equipment or scouting outdoor voting locations.

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President Trump Announces Plasma Treatment Authorized for COVID-19

President Donald Trump announced Sunday the emergency authorization of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients, in a move he called “a breakthrough,” one of his top health officials called “promising,” and other health experts said needs more study before it’s celebrated.

The announcement comes after days of White House officials suggesting there were politically motivated delays by the Food and Drug Administration in approving a vaccine and therapeutics for the disease that has upended Trump’s reelection chances.

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Advocates Sound Alarm Over Absentee Ballot Signature Verifications in Michigan

Election integrity advocates believe something fishy is going on in Wayne County with absentee ballots, and they say Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is undermining the security of the process there and across Michigan.

Glen Sitek of the Election Integrity Fund provided an exclusive statement to The Michigan Star.

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Jail That Released Ibrahim Bouaichi Due to Health Risk of Coronavirus Had No Cases of COVID-19

Ibrahim Bouaichi, an inmate in Virginia who was released on bond from jail due to the Coronavirus pandemic, made headlines last week for allegedly killing his accuser.

At the time of his release, the jail where Bouaichi was held had no recorded cases of COVID-19.

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School District Closes Schools, Charges Students $140 per Week to Attend ‘Learning Centers’

Shortly after announcing that the fall semester would begin online, the board of education of the Durham, North Carolina public school department said it will charge families $140 per week to send their children to “learning centers” at various local schools.

The school board, which last month said it planned to activate its “Plan C” and start school in the fall with virtual learning, this week “authorized the opening of six learning centers to provide support for students who need supervision” while schools remain online, according to the school district’s website.

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Trump: Convention Speech Locale is White House or Gettysburg

President Donald Trump said Monday that his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination will be held at either the White House or the Gettysburg battlefield.

The president’s initial hopes for the event to be a four-day promotion for his reelection bid have been steadily constrained by the coronavirus pandemic, culminating in his decision last month to cancel nearly all of the in-person proceedings. In recent weeks, President Trump and his aides have looked for alternatives that would allow him to recreate at least some of the pomp of the event.

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Players Unite in Push to Save College Season, Create Union

Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players pushing for the opportunity to play this season despite the pandemic.

Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players’ rights movement in the Big Ten, didn’t like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence’s message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.

“There was a lot of division,” Reynolds told AP early Monday morning.

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Dr. Simone Gold of America’s Frontline Doctors Responds to Twitter’s Censorship of Her Account

Dr. Simone Gold, a board-certified emergency physician and the founder of America’s Frontline Doctors, has responded to Twitter’s removal of her tweet about treatments for COVID-19 and locking her out of her account.

In her response, Dr. Gold – who also graduated from Stanford Law School after completing her medical degree – called out her temporary Twitter ban, calling the action “another classic case of tech censorship against anyone who speaks out against the media narrative.”

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Metro Nashville Council Member Wants People Not Wearing a Mask to Be Charged with Murder or Attempted Murder

Metro Nashville At-Large Council Member Sharon Hurt said Wednesday during a virtual meeting of the Joint Pubic Safety and Health Committee that there should be stronger legislation for those not wearing masks and suggested they be charged with murder or attempted murder.

Hurt said that she works for an organization that, “If they pass the virus, then they are tried for murder or attempted murder.”

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Amy Acton Steps Down as Ohio Governor’s Health Advisor, Will Return to Work for the Columbus Foundation

Dr. Amy Acton stepped down from her role as Governor Mike DeWine’s Chief Health Advisor, the Ohio Department of Health announced Wednesday. 

DeWine called Acton a “friend and advisor” on Twitter, saying that “she has assured [him] that she is just a phone call away and will be available to continuing advising [his administration] as [they] move through this pandemic.”

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The Status of the Coronavirus Vaccine Continues to Advance Rapidly

Researchers, governments and pharmaceutical companies worldwide have been working rapidly to develop an effective vaccine against coronavirus, which has infected over 4.5 million and killed over 150,000 people in the United States alone.

Testing has advanced quickly and there’s optimism that a vaccine will be developed before 2021. But there are also concerns that a vaccine won’t be sufficiently stockpiled or efficiently distributed. There’s additional worry that the growing distrust in vaccines will result in large numbers refusing the injection, making it less beneficial.

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Second Stimulus Check Likely to Exceed $1200 for Many

President Trump hinted that the second round of stimulus payments could be higher than the original $1200. The new GOP plan has updated the definition of “dependents” allowing many to receive an additional $500 dollars per person in their families. 

During an interview in Texas yesterday, President Trump spoke on the second stimulus package, saying “we want to take care of people that don’t have jobs,” Noting that “we have to do it smart but we want.. (to be) very generous.” When asked by a reporter if $1200 would be enough the president responded ” We’re going to see it may go higher than that actually.” He went on to praise the economy saying “We just had tremendous job numbers” and “great retail sales numbers.”

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Ohio Regulators Ban, Then Un-Ban ‘Controversial’ COVID Drug

The Ohio Pharmacy Board (OPB) implemented – then quickly reversed – a ban on the use of hydroxychloroquine Thursday. The move followed a revocation of the emergency use authorization by the FDA earlier this month. Previously, President Trump said the decades-old drug could be used as a preventative treatment for a deadly symptom of the disease that causes the lungs to lose function.

As of today, a new rule is set to go into effect regarding the drug, hydroxychloroquine. The OPB published a memo on the rule change stating “in general, the rule prohibits the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.”

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Senate Republicans Propose New $1 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package

Senate Republicans’ latest COVID-19 stimulus package proposes another round of direct payments to Americans and more enhanced federal unemployment benefits for workers who lose their jobs during coronavirus restrictions.

The $1 trillion package, called the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act was released Monday.

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Democrats Seek Coronavirus Aid Bill Provision to Limit Federal Agents from Patrolling Cities

Senate Democrats are planning to insert a provision in the coronavirus relief bill that would place restrictions on the Trump administration’s ability to send federal agents to help quell protests in cities across the country.

The provision would require federal agents to identify themselves, use marked vehicles and stay on federal property rather than patrol city streets, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday, according to NBC News. Local officials including mayors and governors would need to approve the use of federal agents patrolling streets.

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Carol Swain Tells Fox and Friends Weekend: Politics Underlies Everything We Are Doing With COVID-19

Dr. Carol M. Swain appeared on Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends Weekend Edition with hosts, Jedediah Bila and Pete Hegseth Sunday to discuss how the coronavirus has been politicized and schools have become indoctrination camps of an anti-American agenda.

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Critics: Changing Information about Coronavirus Transmission, Impact Leads to Backlash over Policy Decisions

Since March, when U.S. policy makers implemented restrictive policies to limit the spread of the coronavirus, government agencies have collected data and reported their findings, which have significantly varied over time. As the data comes in, agencies have amended their guidelines, often to the frustration of policy makers and media critics.

Initially, the Centers for Disease Control argued that the coronavirus could be spread via surface-based transmission. It has since changed its position on this after scientific studies have shown the opposite. It recently stated that doorknobs and other commonly touched surfaces are not consistent with transmission. Rather, spread of the virus is believed to be mostly through droplets from respiratory exchanges, it states in its revised guidelines.

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Study Finds That Full Lockdowns Did Not Reduce Coronavirus Mortality Rate

A study published Tuesday in The Lancet medical journal found that full lockdowns, border closures and high rates of coronavirus testing are not associated with a statistically significant reduction in the total number of critical cases or the virus’s overall mortality rate.

However, the study, which was based on data from the 50 countries with the most reported cases as of May 1, noted that lockdowns and border closures are likely associated with better overall health outcomes, as the measures helped drive down the rate of the virus’s transmission and reduce the load on hospital systems.

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Gov. DeWine Orders Nearly Everyone in Ohio to Mask up and Travelers to and from Certain States to Quarantine for Two Weeks

Whether you live in metropolitan Columbus or rural Beaverdam, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine demands that you wear a mask when you step foot outside your door.

DeWine is imposing a statewide mask mandate starting today at 6 p.m. His announcement is available here.

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Ohio in the ‘Yellow Zone’ Accounting to White House Task Force Report

Ohio is in the “yellow zone” for coronavirus cases, according to a White House Coronavirus Task Force report that presents a list of suggested actions.

The July 14 report is available here. The Ohio data begins on Page 246.

The classification means Ohio had between 10 to 100 new cases per 100,000 residents the week before the report was released, and the yellow zone for test positivity, indicating a rate between 5 percent to 10 percent.

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Commentary: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

Dr. Carl Sagan was one of the premier scientists when it came to trying to bridge the gap of hard science with general public understanding. In the process, his personal enthusiasm for the wonder of science became evident to all. He also understood that science could be hijacked and that the highest standards of evidence were required when fantastic claims were being made.

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Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Delayed Indefinitely by Virus

Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” which had hoped to herald Hollywood’s return to big theatrical releases, has yet again postponed its release due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Warner Bros. said Monday that “Tenet” will not make its August 12 release date. Unlike previous delays, the studio this time didn’t announce a new target for the release of Nolan’s much-anticipated $200 million thriller.

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Commentary: Time to Adopt a ‘Second Tower’ Mentality

Few who were alive at the time can forget the moment the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Over the intervening 18 minutes, people remarked that there were 10,000 people in those buildings on any given workday. And some talked about a B-25 that crashed into the Empire State Building in dense fog in 1945. Nearly all were wondering how those kinds of accidents can still happen in the 21st century. In those tense minutes, everyone knew something was terribly wrong, but they were in a First Tower Mentality.

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Guidance for Masks in Schools Varies Widely Across US States

School districts that plan to reopen classrooms in the fall are wrestling with whether to require teachers and students to wear face masks — an issue that has divided urban and rural schools and yielded widely varying guidance.

The divide has also taken on political dimensions in Iowa, among other places, where Democratic-leaning cities like Des Moines and Iowa City have required masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus, while smaller, more conservative communities have left the decision to parents.

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Reports of a Surge in Coronavirus Cases in Texas Infants is False, Official Says

A viral report of a sudden surge of coronavirus cases in infants in a single county in Texas is inaccurate, a local official said on Saturday.

On Friday, the top health official for the Corpus Christi area said at a press conference that the county currently has 85 cases of newborns with coronavirus.

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DeWine Tells Meet the Press He May Implement Statewide Mask Mandate

As Ohio’s coronavirus testing and case numbers are increasing, Gov. Mike DeWine is threatening to impose a statewide mask mandate.

While Ohio’s coronavirus tests and cases are increasing, the rate of deaths is decreasing, even as Gov. Mike DeWine says he has not ruled out a statewide mask mandate.

DeWine spoke about mask mandates on Meet the Press on Sunday.

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Lawyers Help Ohio Business Owners Organize Lawsuits Into Class Action to Take on DeWine’s Shutdown Regulations

Ohio business owners who are fed up with Gov. Mike DeWine’s ever-lasting shutdown regulations are joining their lawsuits together into a class action against the state.

Three lawyers are working together to help combine existing lawsuits and are looking for other owners whose livelihoods are being threatened by what they say are unconstitutional orders. The suit against the DeWine administration and other government agencies was filed in the Ohio Court of Common Pleas in Lake County.

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Ohio Ends 2020 Fiscal Year with General Tax Revenue Down $1.1 Billion

Ohio concluded the 2020 fiscal year with General Revenue Fund tax revenues of $1.1 billion, or 4.6 percent, below estimates, a clear indication of the impact the COVID-19 restrictions have had on the state.

Tax revenues in June were $50.5 million, or 2.2 percent, below estimate. However, state officials noted that revenues were better than a month earlier when they were 13 percent below expectations.

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Commentary: In-Person Schooling Would Be One of the Safest Activities to Reopen

Most students around the country haven’t been to school since March, when large parts of the country began to lock down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the data increasingly suggests that reopening schools entails the least risks and should be a goal of every level of government.

The early hope was that the closures would be temporary, such as Michigan’s school-closure order that was originally meant to end in April—but that was extended for the rest of the school year.

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Judge Theodore Chuang Rules Women Can Get Abortion Pill Without Doctor Visit

A federal judge agreed Monday to suspend a rule that requires women during the COVID-19 pandemic to visit a hospital, clinic or medical office to obtain an abortion pill.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang, an Obama appointee based in Maryland, concluded that the “in-person requirements” for patients seeking medication abortion care impose a “substantial obstacle” to abortion patients and are likely unconstitutional under the circumstances of the pandemic.

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Analysis: President Trump Was Correct About the Rapid Economic Rebound Post-Shutdown as Another 630,000 Americans Come Off Unemployment Benefits

Another 630,000 Americans came off continuing unemployment claims the week ending June 27, according to the latest unadjusted data from the U.S. Department of Labor, proving President Donald Trump is right about the economy rapidly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic state-based shutdowns.

Since the week ending May 9, unadjusted continuing unemployment claims have dropped from 22.8 million to 16.8 million the week ending June 27, a massive turnaround of 6 million Americans who temporarily found themselves on unemployment benefits but then rapidly came off of it on a net basis.

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Buckeye Institute Sues Over Law Allowing Columbus to Collect Income Taxes From Commuters Despite Emergency Order Preventing Them from Working in the City

The Buckeye Institute said that it and three employees filed a lawsuit over the taxing of workers’ income in Columbus since they do not live in the city and were not allowed to work there during Ohio’s Stay-at-Home order.

The lawsuit, which is available here, was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County.

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