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WESA Daily Briefing: June 23, 2020

Erin Keane Scott
90.5 WESA

News on the coronavirus pandemic, protests, 2020 election and more from around Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Find all of the WESA Daily Briefing posts here

Editor's note: This post will be frequently updated with the latest news.


4:12 p.m. - Steelers to back players who kneel during national anthem


The Pittsburgh Steelers will support players who choose to kneel during the national anthem this season. In a video conference call on Tuesday, coach Mike Tomlin said that he and the organization will support players' actions and statements provided they are acting “thoughtfully, with class.” After San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protested police brutality by kneeling during the anthem in 2016, he was not re-signed by any NFL teams.


Tomlin also said Tuesday that two Steelers players have tested positive for COVID-19.

3:08 p.m. - Pittsburgh mayor reacts to police reform demands

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has responded to 12 demands for police reform made by activists last week. The primary demand was to defund the city's police, and invest more in Black communities.

In a response late Monday evening, Peduto said he would look to "rebalance" spending to focus on the community. Other demands include firing the police union president and abandoning the use of military-style equipment. Peduto said he was already doing some of those, but others were beyond the city's power.

Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
A demonstrator holds up a sign asking to defund the police and reallocate money into communities at a rally on Saturday, June 20, 2020.

2:54 p.m. -   City releases finalized 10-year bike plan

The Bike(+) Plan, released by the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, also proposes looking beyond conventional bicycles and toward the inclusion of other alternative modes of transportation such as scooters and pedal-assist bicycles. 

In a release, the mayor’s office says implementation of the plan will increase "connectivity and expand affordable transportation access to jobs, groceries, schools, frequent transit and other critical destinations."

The plan has been in the works for five years. Today’s final report was preceded by a draft version released to the public in February this year. 

1:13 p.m. – Latest COVID numbers

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County increased by 19, bringing the total to 2,239. The number of deaths increased by one to 179.

Statewide, the number of positive cases increased by 510, bringing the total to 82,696. The number of deaths increased by 38 to 6,464. The total number of deaths includes 4,410 in nursing homes.  

12:31 p.m. -Nittany Lion Inn to be used as quarantine site

The Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State's main campus will be used as a quarantine site for students who have COVID-19 or who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive.  That was just one topic President Eric Barron touched on during a town Hall Monday with faculty and staff.  Barron also says fans should not expect to fill a crowded Beaver Stadium  even if football and other fall sports resume.  

7:37 a.m. - Downtown streets to be reconfigured to accomodate COVID precautions

The Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership on Monday released a plan to close some streets to traffic or modify them to accommodate outdoor seating for restaurants. The PDP says "initial priority locations are at 6th Street from Liberty Avenue to Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Strawberry Way between Smithfield St. and Grant Street, Penn Avenue between 9th St. and 10th St., and Market Square, which collectively will impact 72 restaurants and other nearby businesses."

Find more here.