This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to CNBC, The seven-day average of daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed the peak seen last summer when the nation didn’t have an authorized Covid-19 vaccine, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday, citing data published over the weekend. U.S. Covid cases, based on a seven-day moving average, reached 72,790 on Friday, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s higher than the peak in average daily cases seen last summer, when the country was reporting about 68,700 new cases per day, according to the CDC. While data published on the CDC website shows a decline in the seven-day average of daily case counts in the following days, a separate coronavirus dataset maintained by Johns Hopkins University does not show a decline. Rather it shows a continued increase in the seven-day average to nearly 80,000 new cases per day as of Sunday. The seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 6,200 per day, an increase of about 41% from the previous seven-day period, according to Walensky. The seven-day average of daily deaths has also risen to 300 per day, an increase of more than 25%, she said, but still far below last summer’s peak of more than 1,100 daily deaths in early August 2020.
According to CNN, Florida A&M University students got a welcome surprise when the university announced it would be paying off student financial balances for the 2020-2021 school year. President Larry Robinson broke the news at the commencement for 2020 graduates Saturday. “This is an indication of our commitment to student success and our hope that your time on the ‘Hill’ has been transformative as you take on the challenges of the day, go out and make a difference,” Robinson told the graduates. The historically Black university used more than $16 million of funding from the federal CARES Act, which was passed in March 2020, to cover the fees, tuition and unpaid student account balances, according to a news release from the school. “Clearing student account balances from the previous school year was a way of practicing our motto of ‘Excellence with Caring’ by supporting students and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said William E. Hudson Jr., FAMU’s vice president for student affairs.
According to NBC DFW, Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church in Corsicana, Texas, says his fight against COVID-19 has changed his perspective on getting the vaccine. The North Texas pastor has been battling the virus for more than 20 days. He admits he was not vaccinated but now plans to after his near-death experience. Reeves says he started feeling body aches and other symptoms in early July and tested positive for COVID-19 a few days later. In about a week, Reeves’ breathing became so difficult that he needed to go to the hospital. At Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, his blood oxygen level dropped to dangerous levels. “The doctor came in and said, ‘You’re going to the ICU.’ And said that I needed to have a reality check that I could die,” he recalled. Reeves spent two days in the ICU. His chances of survival were fluctuating by the hour. At one point, doctors told him he could be in danger of needing a lung transplant. “I cried in here. I had emotional moments in here. I had regret in here,” he said. “I recognized that I had been a bit cavalier. That almost cost me.” Reeves’ medical treatment included Remdesivir and steroids. He made a remarkable turnaround, crediting his faith, the support from his church community and his medical team. “I asked them, ‘Why me?’ And they said, ‘Danny, it’s just the luck of the draw, and this can happen to anybody. And so if it can happen to me, it can happen to you. And you really ought to consider getting the vaccine. I’m not going to tell you to go do it. You have the choice and the right to make that choice,’” he recalled. Reeves says doctors at Baylor helped clear up some of the misinformation for him, and he now plans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
According to NBC News, Two more Washington, D.C., police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol have died by suicide, police said Monday. Since the attack by a pro-Trump mob, four officers who defended the site that day have died by suicide. Officer Gunther Hashida was found dead at his home Thursday, the Metropolitan Police Department said Monday, and Officer Kyle DeFreytag was found dead July 10. Hashida, a veteran of the force since 2003, was assigned to the police Emergency Response Team. “We are grieving as a Department as our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends,” police said in a statement earlier Monday. DeFreytag, who was assigned to the Fifth District, had been with the police department since November 2016, a police spokesperson said Monday night.
According to ABC 11, Jonathan Lotz, the grandson of the late evangelist Billy Graham, is out of the hospital after being admitted to the ICU with COVID-19 in ‘critical condition’ last week, his mother announced. Anne Graham Lotz, Jonathan’s mother, made the announcement Sunday evening via social media. According to Anne, eight days ago, the famous evangelical pastor was admitted to the hospital with the Delta variant of COVID-19 and pneumonia. Immediately, the Raleigh resident took to social media asking for prayers over her son. “Today he was discharged from the hospital! God has heard and answered your prayers for my son!” Anne wrote. On Wednesday, Anne shared the news that her son was out of the ICU and began rehab. His mother continues to ask for prayers as Jonathan continues to recover. “Please, please continue to pray for his swift recovery and restoration to full health with no setbacks or complications. And that I can take good care of him,” Anne wrote. “Blessing upon blessing to each of you who have helped carry him in prayer.”
According to Politico, The head of Florida’s largest hospital association warned that the skyrocketing number of Covid hospitalizations is unlike anything the state has seen before — even as Gov. Ron DeSantis downplays the spike. The Florida Hospital Association on Monday reported 10,389 Covid-19 hospitalizations, the most statewide during any point in the pandemic. This follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting over the weekend that the state had more than 21,000 new coronavirus infections on Friday. It was the highest one-day total for Florida, which now makes up roughly one and five new cases nationally. About 95 percent of those hospitalized are unvaccinated, and Mary Mayhew, the president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, said the Delta variant that is sweeping through Florida is infecting young and unvaccinated people and is much different than the previous strain. As Florida’s coronavirus infections continue to soar, public health officials and local elected leaders have pressed the DeSantis administration to take more drastic steps to get the virus under control. DeSantis, however, has maintained a strict “no-mandate” approach to the virus, including touting an executive order last week that prohibits school districts from requiring masks in K-12 facilities. He also vowed to fight any cities or municipalities that try to institute Covid restrictions, including mask mandates or lockdowns.
According to CBS News, U.S. gymnast Jade Carey has taken gold in the floor exercise on Tuesday after an impressive routine in the final. Carey secured gold after nailing all four of her tumbling passes, which included nine flips and six twists in her routine. She is the third consecutive American to take gold in the event after Aly Raisman in 2012 and Simone Biles in 2016. Her medal raises to five the number of medals Team USA has in women’s artistic gymnastics in the Tokyo Games. After Biles pulled out of Thursday’s individual all-around competition to focus on her mental well-being, Carey stepped in to replace her. Carey didn’t qualify initially because she was the third-ranking American behind Biles and Suni Lee, but she ended up placing eighth in the all-around final. She also finished eighth in the vault last week after making a mistake. However, Carey rebounded and earned her first ever gold medal on Monday.
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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!