While you were sleeping, we compiled the biggest stories of the day in one place. Each story has a quick and easy summary, so you're prepared for whatever the day brings. Just click on the links if you want to know more!
1. Florida's elected leaders offer dueling messages on masking:
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried also promised her office would start providing more frequent updates on COVID's spread in the state. Officials at the Florida Department of Health moved from daily to weekly reporting last month.
The commissioner's briefing came after Gov. Ron DeSantis hosted a closed-door roundtable with his health experts on Monday. The panel criticized masks, especially when used in schools.
DeSantis has also vowed to prevent mask mandates in Florida. Recently, he threatened to call the Legislature back to fight any federal requirements for schools, should they arise.
On Wednesday, Florida reported 16,038 daily cases and 92 daily deaths.
2. Is that a challenge? Broward County keeping masks required in schools:
The School Board of Broward County voted to continue its mandatory mask requirement for students, staff and visitors at all schools and District facilities this school year.
Masks will not be required when outdoors and all social distancing guidelines remain in place.
The move comes as the number of Florida COVID-19 cases has been roughly doubling every nine days, but how will DeSantis respond to this defiance?
3. The real leader of Florida makes moves on masks:
Walt Disney World will soon require masks while indoors and on Disney transportation, regardless of vaccination status.
The update in Disney's policy came after Orange County mayor Jerry Demings urged residents and visitors to wear masks when in an indoor space with others whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated.
On Tuesday, Orange County saw the highest number of new COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
4. Senate votes to start work on $1T infrastructure bill:
The vote came together quickly Wednesday night after President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators reached an agreement on the key part of the White House agenda.
In the statement, Biden added that they'd do all of that without raising taxes on anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year, and they won't increase gas tax and no fees on electric vehicles.
In a rare bipartisan showing of a 67-32 vote, the 700-page bill stated that $550 billion would be spent on public works projects, but it's unclear if enough senators will eventually support the final passage.
5. Team USA keeps bringing home medals:
Caeleb Dressel was as fast as advertised in the men's 100m freestyle and then some, winning his first individual Olympic gold medal with an Olympic record time of 47.02.
A gutsy anchor leg from Katie Ledecky powered the United States 4x200m freestyle relay team to silver behind China in a gripping final where all three medalists finished ahead of world record time.
U.S. shooter Kayle Browning hit 19 straight shots on her way to silver in women's trap shooting on Thursday. You can see the latest stories and medal count at the link above.
More storms Thursday and summer heat into the weekend:
Get your complete hour-by-hour forecast here.
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On This Day In History
The U.S. Congress passes legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s activities in space, on July 29, 1958.
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