While income in the US rose in 2019, so did the uninsured

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit and the U.S. economy crashed, median household income was the highest ever on record, but the number of U.S. residents without health insurance also increased, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

Median household income in 2019 was $68,703, an increase of 6.8% from the previous year. That figure surpassed past boom-before-the bust years in 2007, when it was $62,090 in 2019 dollars and in 1999, when it was $62,641 in 2019 dollars, according to the Census Bureau.

The poverty rate in 2019 was 10.5%, a decrease from 11.8% in 2018. It was the fifth consecutive annual decline in the national poverty rate, according to the Census Bureau.

The number of people without health insurance increased last year to 29.6 million residents, or about 9.2% of the U.S. population from 28.6 million residents, or about 8.9% of the population, in 2018. That was primarily due to a decrease in the number of people covered by Medicaid, which provides health coverage to low-income adults, children, pregnant women and people with disabilities.

Hispanics saw the greatest jump in the uninsured of any racial or ethnic group, going from 17.9% in 2018 to 18.7% in 2019. The percentage of non-Hispanic whites and Asians without health insurance grew by less than half a percentage point from 2018 to 2019, and there was no statistical change for Blacks.

Sheriff: Fleeing suspect abandons winning lottery ticket

CANTON, Ga. (AP) — A suspect in Georgia left his good luck behind when he abandoned a winning lottery ticket while fleeing sheriff's deputies.

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office says the man had a Georgia Lottery scratch game card worth $100 when he ran away during a traffic stop on Interstate 75 on Monday.

In a Facebook post, it offered its congratulations and invited him to claim the ticket at its office in Canton about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Atlanta.

The man, who was not identified, was later taken into custody, sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Jay Baker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Baker said the man was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over for a tag violation, and he ran into the woods. The lottery ticket was in a backpack that also had methamphetamine, according to Baker. The man can have the lottery ticket back, but the sheriff's office said it will keep the drugs.

Minnesota calls on Trump, Biden to follow virus guidelines

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz urged the campaigns of President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Tuesday to abide by the state's guidelines for slowing the spread of the coronavirus when the candidates visit Minnesota on Friday.

“Partner with us in the fight against COVID-19,” the Democratic governor said in a letter to both campaigns.

Trump may be running as the “law and order” candidate, but that hasn’t stopped him and his campaign from openly defying state emergency orders and flouting his own administration’s guidelines as he holds rallies in battleground states. Trump has an airport rally scheduled for Friday in the north-central Minnesota city of Bemidji. Biden’s campaign has not yet announced a city or venue for his visit.

Walz said Minnesota requires face masks inside public places and strongly encourages them for outdoor gatherings.

The governor did not say in his letter how state and local officials will respond if either campaign fails to follow the guidelines for their events. Walz spokesman Teddy Tschann said they hope to hear back from the campaigns soon, and that they'll comply voluntarily instead of forcing the state to enforce its guidelines.

“We're hoping they don't put us in a position where they have to do that, but that would be up to local regulatory agencies and local law enforcement,” Tschann said.

Oops: VP Mike Pence missing from some Michigan ballots

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — President Donald Trump ... and “Spike?”

Local election clerks in Michigan downloading absentee ballots for residents overseas were given ballots that listed Trump's Republican running mate as Jeremy Cohen, who is the Libertarian Party candidate for vice president, the Michigan Secretary of State's office said.

Vice President Mike Pence wasn't on the ballot next to Trump. Cohen, whose nickname is “Spike,” is running with Jo Jorgensen.

It was a “temporary error” that was fixed within 90 minutes Tuesday, said Tracy Wimmer, a spokeswoman for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

“Approximately 400 ballots were downloaded by clerks during this period; we don’t know how many were sent," Wimmer said.

Clerks were told to reissue correct ballots and tell voters to ignore the erroneous ballot if they received one.

“If a voter does happen to return the incorrect ballot instead of the correct ballot, it will still count. The clerk will be instructed to duplicate a vote for Trump onto a ballot for Trump/Pence,” Wimmer said.

Coronavirus deaths in kids echoes toll in adults, CDC says

NEW YORK (AP) — A detailed look at COVID-19 deaths in U.S. kids and young adults released Tuesday shows they mirror patterns seen in older patients.

The report examined 121 deaths of those younger than 21, as of the end of July. Like older adults, many of them had one or more medical condition — like lung problems, including asthma, obesity, heart problems or developmental conditions.

Deaths were also more common among those in certain racial and ethnic groups, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC found 54 were Hispanic, 35 were Black, and 17 were white, even though overall there are far more white Americans than Black and Hispanic.

“It’s really pretty striking. It’s similar to what we see in adults,” and may reflect many things, including that many essential workers who have to go to work are Black and Hispanic parents, said Dr. Andrew Pavia, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at the University of Utah. He was not involved in the CDC study.

The numbers of young deaths are small though. They represent about 0.08% of the total U.S. deaths reported to CDC at the time, though children and college-age adults make up 26% of the U.S. population.

Fifteen of the deaths were tied to a rare condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which can cause swelling and heart problems.

The report also found nearly two-thirds of the deaths were in males, and that deaths increased with age. There were 71 deaths among those under 17, including a dozen infants. The remaining 50 deaths were ages 18 to 20.

Scientists are still trying to understand why severe illnesses seem to become more common as children age. One theory is that young children have fewer sites on their airway surfaces that the coronavirus is able to attach to, Pavia said. Another is that children may be less prone to a dangerous overreaction by the immune system to the coronavirus, he added.

Judge reduces damages over murder of missing woman's sons

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A judge in Washington state has reduced the damages in a wrongful death case brought by Susan Cox Powell’s parents on behalf of her sons.

Judith and Charles Cox had said the state didn’t do enough to keep their 7- and 5-year-old grandsons safe from their father, who killed the boys in 2012. Jurors found the state Department of Social and Health Services negligent in July and awarded $98.5 million to the Cox family for the pain and suffering of Charlie and Braden Powell.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stanley Rumbaugh on Tuesday reduced that by two-thirds Tuesday, to about $32.8 million, The News Tribune reported.

“This becomes a very difficult decision for the court,” Rumbaugh said. “It’s whether the size of the verdict in light of the evidence produced shocks the conscience of the court, and in this case it does.”

Lawyers for the state had filed a motion for a new trial or a ruling to reduce or throw out the verdict. It argued in part, “The jury verdict for Plaintiffs’ damages was so excessive as to be ‘flagrantly outrageous and extravagant’ on its face."

A response filed by the Cox family’s attorneys argued in part: “The jury was conscientious, diligent and nothing in the record suggests they acted with passion or prejudice. It faithfully performed its constitutional duty in reaching a damages award; that award must be respected."

Rumbaugh noted that passion and prejudice can be unconscious. The facts of this case, he said, are “bound to bestir passion in the hearts and minds of any rational person.”

Braden and Charlie Powell were killed by Josh Powell during a supervised visit at his Graham-area home. He attacked the boys with a hatchet and set fire to the house. Josh Powell also died.

He was being investigated at the time in the disappearance of his wife from their Utah home in December 2009. She is presumed dead. After her disappearance, he moved the children to his father’s Puyallup home.

Lawsuit: 'Cheer' star Jerry Harris sexually solicited minors

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Twin boys in Texas say that beginning when they were 13, “Cheer” star Jerry Harris sent them sexually explicit photos and videos of himself, and at one point cornered one boy in a bathroom at a cheer competition and begged for oral sex, according to a lawsuit.

USA TODAY, which first reported the allegations, said Monday that multiple sources told the newspaper that the FBI was investigating accusations that Harris solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Texas against Harris and three cheer organizations says the boys' mother reported Harris to the FBI last month.

The boys’ mother told USA TODAY that both boys have spoken to the FBI. The newspaper reported that law enforcement agents on Monday were at Harris’ home in Naperville, Illinois.

The FBI said in a statement provided to The Associated Press that it had conducted “court-authorized law enforcement activity” in Naperville on Monday, but the FBI said that policy prevented the agency from commenting on “the existence or nonexistence of any investigations that may be occurring.”

Harris, 21, was a breakout star of the Netflix documentary series “Cheer,” which followed the cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, as they sought a national title.

Harris, who has not been criminally charged, did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.

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