ONE QUARTER OF NC'S ADULT POPULATION HAS BEEN FULLY VACCINATED: At least 929,406 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 12,248 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,509 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, up from 2,087 the day before. At least 977 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday, down from 1,010 on Thursday. As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data is available, 4.6% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. More than 2.3 million people in North Carolina have been fully vaccinated. That includes more than one-quarter of the state’s adult population and one-fifth of all North Carolinians, health officials said.
PROOF OF VACCINATION REQUIRED TO ENROLL IN DUKE UNIVERSITY FALL SEMESTER: Duke University will require all new and returning students to present proof of vaccination to student health officials before they can enroll for the fall semester, the school's president said Friday. A statement from Duke President Vincent Price says the policy will cover all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in all degree programs who intend to be on the Duke campus for any period of time starting with the fall semester. Price says documented medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated. In March, Duke University enacted a stay-in-place order for all undergraduate students following a spike in COVID-19 cases that officials blamed largely on students attending fraternity rush events. In one week, more than 180 students were in isolation after testing positive, and another 200 students were in quarantine as a result of contact tracing.
CHARLOTTE GUN SHOP OWNER SAYS STIMULUS CHECKS FUELED SPIKE IN SALES: The FBI in March conducted its highest number of background checks this year on North Carolina firearms buyers, a Charlotte Observer analysis of FBI data shows. The agency conducted 90,090 firearms background checks last month in North Carolina, up from 72,430 in February and 86,017 in January, FBI data shows. People were already on edge because of recent mass shootings in the country and talk in Congress of more gun laws, Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns on Wilkinson Boulevard told the Observer. “And then they sent out $1,400 to buy one,” Hyatt said of federal stimulus checks deposited in taxpayer accounts. “That was the secret ingredient we didn’t have before. None of the laws they’re proposing are way out there, but a lot of times, the message gets lost in the details,” he said. The March number neared 2020’s highest count of 90,593 in June, which nearly doubled the highest monthly number of checks in each previous year through 2015, according to the data. The agency doesn’t break down the numbers by city and town.
100 CORPORATE EXECS MEET TO DISCUSS OPPOSING VOTER RESTRICTIONS: Executives from major airlines, retailers and manufacturers — plus at least one NFL owner — talked about potential ways to show they opposed the legislation, including by halting donations to politicians who support the bills and even delaying investments in states that pass the restrictive measures, according to four people who were on the call, including one of the organizers, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale management professor. While no final steps were agreed upon, the meeting represents an aggressive dialing up of corporate America’s stand against controversial voting measures nationwide, a sign that their opposition to the laws didn’t end with the fight against the Georgia legislation passed in March. It also came just days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned that firms should “stay out of politics” — echoing a view shared by many conservative politicians and setting up the potential for additional conflict between Republican leaders and the heads of some of America’s largest firms. This month, former president Donald Trump called for conservatives to boycott Coca-Cola, Major League Baseball, Delta Air Lines, Citigroup, ViacomCBS, UPS and other companies after they opposed the law in Georgia that critics say will make it more difficult for poorer voters and voters of color to cast ballots. Baseball officials decided to move the All-Star Game this summer from Georgia to Colorado because of the voting bill. The call’s goal was to unify companies that had been issuing their own statements and signing on to drafted statements from different organizations after the action in Georgia, Sonnenfeld said. The leaders called in from around the country — some chimed in from Augusta, Ga., where they were attending the Masters golf tournament. This is a good start, but it remains to be seen if they will hold to their principles and withhold donations from vote suppressors.
ANOTHER BLACK MAN SHOT BY POLICE A FEW MILES AWAY FROM CHAUVIN TRIAL: A 20-year-old Black man died after a police officer shot him during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday, sending hundreds of people into the streets where they clashed with police officers into Monday morning. The protests in Brooklyn Center came hours before the 11th day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who has been charged with murdering George Floyd, was set to begin in a courtroom less than 10 miles away. Outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Sunday night, smoke billowed into the air as a line of police officers fired rubber bullets and chemical agents at protesters, some of whom lobbed rocks, bags of garbage and water bottles at the police. Brooklyn Center’s mayor ordered a curfew until 6 a.m., and the local school superintendent said the district would move to remote learning on Monday “out of an abundance of caution.” Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center Police Department said an officer had shot the man on Sunday afternoon after pulling his car over for a traffic violation and discovering that the driver had a warrant out for his arrest. As the police tried to detain the man, he stepped back into his car, at which point an officer shot him, Chief Gannon said. The shooting comes after two weeks of testimony in the trial of Mr. Chauvin, who is white, that has laid bare the pain that the death of Mr. Floyd, a Black man, caused in Minneapolis. Jurors have heard from people who witnessed Mr. Floyd’s arrest, medical experts who described his death and police officials — including the Minneapolis police chief — who condemned Mr. Chauvin’s actions. And the graphic video of Mr. Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes has been played repeatedly. Witness testimony is expected to resume at about 9:15 a.m. on Monday.