Memorial Day to blame for COVID-19 spike, Trump heads to Arizona and NASCAR drivers stand behind Bubba Wallace

Key Democratic primaries set to take place in New York and Kentucky.
Image: Suelyn Farel adjusts her mask on the first day of the phase two re-opening of businesses following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Manhattan borough of New York City
Suelyn Farel adjusts her mask on the first day of the phase two re-opening of businesses in New York City on Monday. Carlo Allegri / Reuters

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

As coronavirus cases spike across the country, President Donald Trump heads to one of the hot spots, NASCAR drivers stand behind Bubba Wallace and temperatures hit 100 degrees in Siberia.

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


End of lockdown, Memorial Day add up to increase in coronavirus cases, experts say

The spike in coronavirus cases in Florida, Arizona, Oregon and other Southern and Western states can be traced back to around Memorial Day, when officials began loosening their lockdowns, health experts said Monday.

And in about two weeks, hospitals in those states could find themselves struggling to find enough beds for patients, one of the nation's top public health experts warned.

"In some smaller Southern towns, the per capita rates of infections could be as high as New York City was at its peak," Dr. Erik Toner of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said.

President Trump is heading to Arizona, where coronavirus cases are surging, later today.

The president was last in the state just six weeks ago, but it is now experiencing a major spike in COVID-19 infections that show no signs of abating.

As of Monday night, Arizona had recorded 54,586 cases, a doubling of cases in just the last 15 days, and 1,342 deaths, according to NBC News' tally.

After weeks of pressure from public health experts, doctors, and mayors, Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, reversed his position on masks just last week, allowing counties and cities to mandate them for residents if they choose.

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 120,000, according to NBC News' count. See a map that tracks the number of fatalities compared to confirmed cases.


Officials tell protesters to leave Seattle's police-free 'autonomous zone'

Officials in Seattle on Monday ordered protesters to leave the self-declared Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone after a pair of weekend shootings left one person dead and two injured.

Officials are working with Black-led organizations and "partners in de-escalation" to get the hundreds of people who have occupied the area to leave, Mayor Jenny Durkan said.

“It’s time for people to go home,” she said, adding that it was time “to restore order and eliminate the violence on Capitol Hill.”


Key Democratic primaries for House in N.Y. and Senate in Kentucky

New York's coronavirus-delayed primary is today — and it has the potential to throw a wrench into the power structure in the Democratic-controlled House.

Rep. Eliot Engel, who's in his 16th term in Congress, is fighting for his political life. His race has become a flashpoint in the battle between establishment Democrats and the progressive wing of the party led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

While in Kentucky there's a Democratic battle for the right to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.

Click here to get everything you need to know about Tuesday's two big contests today.

And listen to our Into America podcast as host Trymaine Lee explores how protests and the pandemic have fundamentally shifted Kentucky's Democratic Senate primary race.


NASCAR drivers stand behind Bubba Wallace after noose incident

NASCAR drivers stood behind racer Bubba Wallace on Monday, presenting a unified front with the circuit's only Black competitor after he reported finding a noose in his racetrack garage stall.

Wallace tweeted a picture of the moving image, just ahead of the rain-delayed Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, with a one-word caption: "Together."

We apologize, this video has expired.

'Off-the-charts warm': Siberian town hits 100 degrees

A Siberian town, nestled about 6 miles within the Arctic Circle, recorded a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, likely setting a new record for the hottest temperature recorded that far north.

The milestone comes as Siberia — and the Asian continent as a whole — have experienced unusually warm conditions since the start of 2020.

And while it’s tricky to know the impact of climate change on individual records or temperatures in any given season, experts say the developments are part of a broader warming trend that has been documented across the globe.


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Plus

THINK about it

Barr's latest battle exposes how Trump's war against the rule of law rages on, former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade writes in an opinion piece.


Live BETTER

Feeling anxious? Rearranging your furniture may be the self-care you need.


Shopping

Whether you’re looking for sundresses, suitcases or sandals, Amazon’s Big Style Sale, a week-long fashion sale, might be able to help you save substantially.


One interesting thing

Florence, Italy, is one the world’s most beautiful open-air museums. The birthplace of the Renaissance, it is home to priceless works of art.

But with coronavirus keeping tourists away, the city of Florence has a problem: Preserving history isn’t free ... so what happens if nobody is around to pay for it.

Check out this beautiful video in our series: The Next Italian Renaissance, which explores what comes next for Italy after the coronavirus pandemic.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra