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Coronavirus spread continues, first federal executions since 2003 and Naya Rivera's tragic end

With late-night ruling, Supreme Court clears way for first federal executions in 17 years.
Donald Trump
Donald Trump smiles as he addresses delegates during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, 2016.Patrick Semansky / AP file

Good morning, NBC News readers.

With the coronavirus surging in Florida, Gov. DeSantis may not be able to roll out the red carpet for the RNC after all, the Supreme Court has cleared the way for the first executions in 17 years and a tragic end for "Glee" actress Naya Rivera.

Here's what we're watching this Tuesday morning.

Coronavirus spread continues to overwhelm best-laid plans

California officials ordered sweeping new restrictions on Monday in response to a statewide surge of COVID-19 cases, including an immediate halt to indoor activities in restaurants, bars, museums, zoos and movie theaters.

Los Angeles and San Diego, the state's two largest school districts, announced Monday that classes will be online-only at the start of the school year, citing "skyrocketing infection rates" of the coronavirus in their areas.

As the calls from the White House to fully reopen schools grow louder, evidence continues to pile up to show that is unlikely to happen, at least not on the national scale President Donald Trump desires.

That's not because state and local officials aren't trying, but because the spread of the virus is beginning to overwhelm even the best-laid plans, NBC News' Benjy Sarlin writes in a news analysis.

Here are some other developments:

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Supreme Court clears way for first federal executions since 2003

The Supreme Court ruled early on Tuesday that the first federal executions in 17 years can be carried out.

In a 5-4 decision issued shortly after 2 a.m. ET, the justices rejected inmate claims that a lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital was unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court majority opinion says that "the plaintiffs have not established that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their Eighth Amendment claim" and "that claim faces an exceedingly high bar."

The Eighth Amendment bars cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court decision means four executions scheduled to take place at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, may now proceed as planned.

Image: A guard tower sits along a security fence at the Federal Correctional Complex where Daniel Lewis Lee is scheduled to be executed on July 13, 2020 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The Federal Correctional Complex at Terre Haute, Indiana, were the first federal executions since 2003 have been cleared to take place.Scott Olson / Getty Images

Body of "Glee" actress Naya Rivera was found in a California lake, authorities believe.

Authorities are confident they have found the body of actress Naya Rivera at Lake Piru in California, five days after she went missing during a boating trip with her son, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

Rivera, 33, had been out boating with her 4-year-old son last Wednesday afternoon when she went missing.

On Thursday, the sheriff's office said it was presuming that Rivera drowned in the lake. Deputy Chris Dyer said there were no signs of foul play or anything that went wrong "besides a tragic accident."

Opinion: Rivera may be gone, but the "Glee" star's queer legacy will last forever, Dana Piccoli writes in a THINK piece.

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Quote of the day

"There’s a public health imperative to keep schools from becoming a petri dish."

Austin Beutner, Los Angeles school superintendent, on beginning the school with online-only classes.

One true love thing

For 114 days, Mary Daniel wasn't able to get closer to her husband than touching his hand through a pane of glass.

Her husband, Steve, is in a nursing home with early-onset Alzheimer's. During the coronavirus pandemic, there have been no visitors allowed.

Mary felt like she was breaking her vow to be by his side. Then she learned that the nursing home needed a dishwasher, so she took the job so she could spend more time with him.

She said the message she hopes to convey to her husband is that "he is deeply loved and that he will never be alone. That's the best gift I can give him for the rest of his life."

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Thanks, Petra Cahill