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News Brief: Week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5


CDC clarifies COVID-19 death report

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in all deaths due to COVID-19, 6% listed the virus as the only cause of death. 

Some individuals have begun to believe these statistics indicate only 9,000 deaths of the United States’ 180,000 coronavirus death toll are due to COVID-19. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leader on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, clarified what the report was intended to mean.

“Let there not be any confusion,” Fauci said. “It’s not 9,000 deaths from COVID-19. It’s 180,000-plus deaths. The point that the CDC was trying to make was that a certain percentage of [deaths] had nothing else but COVID. That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of COVID didn’t die of COVID-19.”

Trump causes voting confusion

President Donald Trump told North Carolina voters to vote in-person if they believe their mail-in ballot was not counted during an interview on Wednesday, Sept. 2. However, state and federal law indicates this could lead to voter fraud.

“They are going to have to check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way because if it tabulates, then they won’t be able to do that,” Trump said. “So let them send it in, and let them go vote. And if their system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they will be able to vote. So that’s the way it is, and that’s what they should do.”

However, voting more than once is illegal under federal law. In addition, it is a felony under North Carolina law “for any person with intent to commit a fraud to register or vote at more than one precinct or more than one time, or to induce another to do so.”

Trump later tweeted on Thursday, Sept. 3 to clarify his statements.

“Go to your polling place to see whether or not your mail-in vote has been tabulated,” Trump tweeted. “If it has, you will not be able to vote and the mail-in system worked properly. If it has not been counted, vote. If your mail-in ballot arrives after you vote, which it should not, that ballot will not be used or counted in that your vote has already been cast and tabulated.”

North Carolina board of elections executive director Karen Brinson Bell assured absentee voters that they did not need to visit the polling place to ensure their vote counted, saying voters who have cast ballots by mail are removed from the pollbook, “which is updated before voting starts at 6:30 a.m. Absentee ballots that are received on Election Day are not counted until after the election, and this prevents double voting.”


OKC extends mask mandate

Oklahoma City officials have extended the city’s mask mandate by six weeks.

The ordinance, originally set to expire on Sept. 8, will now expire on Oct. 20. All individuals 11 years old and older must wear a mask in indoor spaces.

Among the exempt are those who work in offices with no face-to-face interactions, diners while eating and drinking, those engaged in sports or cardio exercise and those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

While over a dozen Oklahoma cities currently have a mask mandate in place, Gov. Kevin Stitt said he remains firm in his decision to not institute a statewide ordinance.

“A mask mandate is something that I believe we should leave to the local communities … I believe that’s a local control (decision) and I’m not going to mandate something statewide,” Stitt said. “Every community is different.”

Tulsa cop charged in police shooting

A police officer has been charged for reckless conduct after he shot a Black man during a traffic stop in March.

Aaron Russell, a white cop, shot at Michael Delaney’s car several times during the stop, striking him in the shoulder.

Russell approached Delaney after a 911 caller reported him as a suspicious person on March 21. 

Police said Russell saw what he believed to be a pistol in the vehicle and ordered Delaney to get out of the car. He refused and accelerated while Russell was partially in the vehicle, trying to get him out. Russell then shot at Delaney as he drove away, striking him once in the shoulder.

Delaney is being held in the Tulsa County Jail on complaints of eluding police, reckless driving and driving without a license.

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