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What we’re reading: US COVID-19 cases rapidly increasing, Pope Francis announces support for same-sex civil unions

Exam Corp Lab employee, left, conducts a COVID-19 test at the parking lot of the facility in Niles, Ill., Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

US COVID-19 cases approach another spike

The U.S. is struggling to keep COVID-19 under control as more cases are continuing to be reported each day.

The country’s daily averages keep climbing toward the summer’s peak, and several states are setting hospitalization records daily, according to CNN.

On Tuesday, there were more than 60,300 new cases, which an increase of about 73% over the last five and a half weeks, according to John Hopkins University data.

A rapid acceleration in cases is expected to continue as winter begins, according to former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

Pope Francis supports civil unions for same-sex couples

Pope Francis, center, makes the sign of the cross during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope while being interviewed for the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Francis shifted his tone toward homosexuality and plans to support civil unions for same-sex couples, according to comments he made in a documentary released Wednesday.

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the pope said. “I stood up for that.”

The remarks are different from those of his predecessors and may shift debates about the legal status of same-sex couples around the world, according to the New York Times.

Soldiers open fire on protestors in Nigeria

A police officer stand guards on a street in Lagos, Nigeria, Wednesday Oct. 21, 2020. Nigerians protesting against police brutality stayed on the streets in Lagos on Wednesday, breaking the government curfew following a night of chaotic violence in which demonstrators were fired upon, sparking global outrage. ( AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Violence and chaos broke out as protestors called for an end to police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria.

The protest turned violent Tuesday night after a three-day 24 hour curfew was announced and riot police were deployed, according to NBC News.

There were multiple eyewitness reports of soldiers opening fire on protestors on Tuesday night and into Wednesday.

Thirty people were being treated for “mild to moderate” injuries. Of those, two were receiving intensive care and three had been discharged, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said.

Despite the protestors that were injured, the Nigerian army has said the shootings were “fake news” and no soldiers were on-site Tuesday night.

DOJ reaches $8 billion settlement with Purdue Pharma

Photo shows the Purdue Pharma logo at its offices in Stamford, Conn. Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, the powerful prescription painkiller that experts say helped touch off an opioid epidemic, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of over $8 billion, Justice Department officials told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Douglas Healey, File)

The Department of Justice reached an $8 billion settlement with Purdue Pharma, the oxycontin maker that has been blamed for fueling the nation’s opioid epidemic, according to ABC News.

The settlement resolves criminal and civil investigations into how Purdue marketed its painkillers but does not prevent the owners of the company from being prosecuted in the future.

The company pled guilty on three counts in the settlement: one charge of defrauding the U.S. and two anti-kickback-related charges.

“With criminal guilty pleas, a federal settlement of more than $8 billion, and the dissolution of a company and repurposing its assets entirely for the public’s benefit, the resolution in today’s announcement re-affirms that the Department of Justice will not relent in its multi-pronged efforts to combat the opioids crisis,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen in a statement.

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