Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Wednesday, July 29, 2020:

COVID-19: LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: As U.S. coronavirus deaths approach 150,000, cases are leveling off in Arizona, Texas, Florida and now California. Dr. Fauci is warning of new outbreaks forming in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and other midwestern states. There are now 21 states in the federal government’s “red zone” -- meaning they reported more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the last week. AFT, the second largest teacher’s union, has authorized its members to go on strike “as a last resort” if they are forced to return to schools that are unsafe. WASH POST

TECH CEOS FACE GRILLING: The CEOs of four of the biggest tech companies, including two of the richest people in the world, will testify to Congress via video link today in what is expected to be a pivotal moment for the industry as it faces a reckoning over its power in everyday life. The House hearing, in which Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Sundar Pichai of Google will participate, is technically on the topic of antitrust, but expect lawmakers to veer into issues like free speech, misinformation and China. The show starts at noon E.T.: WATCH LIVE ON CHEDDAR

DEMS CLASH WITH BARR: Attorney General William Barr’s appearance at a congressional hearing immediately devolved into partisan name-calling, with Democratic lawmakers accusing him of being a “henchman” for President Trump, and the AG growing exasperated at not being allowed to speak. As the country’s top law enforcement official, Barr was there to defend the federal government’s response to the civil unrest in cities like Portland. He said the show of force was necessary to put down “mob” violence. CNN

TROPIC WATCH: Florida is now in the cone of a tropical disturbance that is expected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Isaias soon. The system is moving northwest in the Caribbean and could impact Puerto Rico with tropical storm-force winds as early as tonight. Floridians should be on guard that they could be dealing with a potential hurricane by the weekend. TRACK

SPACE TOURISM MILESTONE: Virgin Galactic unveiled the interior of the rocketship that it plans to use to take tourists to the edge of space and back. The SpaceShipTwo can carry six passengers and two pilots; every seat has a window view, and the cabin is outfitted with 16 cameras for all the space selfies you could ever want as a souvenir for your $250,000, 90-minute ride. There’s no date yet for Virgin’s first launch, but the company has recently said it’s within “spitting distance.” SEE IT

MICHELLE O'S POD: The Michelle Obama Podcast debuts today on Spotify, the first podcast to come out of the Obamas’ Higher Ground production company. In the first episode, the former first lady talks to her husband about their experiences growing up. Here’s a preview courtesy of the Today show: LISTEN

MLB COVID CRISIS: Major League Baseball has paused the Miami Marlins’ season after half the roster tested positive for coronavirus in the first five days of play. The team will be allowed to restart play next Monday. NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has offered up the state’s stadiums for any team who wants them, noting that New York has among the lowest infection rates in the country. NY1

EMMY NOMINATIONS: It’s a good day to be a Netflix executive. The streaming giant has broken HBO’s record for most Emmy nominations, earning 160 to HBO’s 107 (NBC was third, with 47). Netflix earned nods for Ozark and The Crown in the best drama race, which is wide open now that Game of Thrones is over. HBO earned 26 noms alone for Watchmen, while Disney+ and Apple TV+ got their first nominations (for The Mandalorian and The Morning Show, respectively). The awards will be handed out, one way or another, on Sept. 20. SEE THE LIST

OPRAH RETURNS TO TV: Oprah’s getting back into the role that made her rich and famous. On the same day that the publisher of O Magazine announced it will stop printing the monthly mag in order to make the brand more “digitally-centric,” Winfrey announced a new interview show that she will host. The Oprah Conversation debuts tomorrow on Apple TV+ at 6 p.m. CHI SUN TIMES

RARE SHARK ATTACK: A NYC fashion executive was killed by a Great White shark while swimming off the coast of Maine on Monday -- the state’s first fatal shark attack ever, according to police. Julie Holowach, 63, was apparently attacked as she swam just 20 yards offshore. Separately, some beaches in Long Island have been closed, reopened, and closed again after several shark sightings over the last few days along the southern shore. SUN JOURNAL

Listen to the N2K Podcast! Looking for more context and analysis on the big stories of the day? Check out our podcast! Hosts Jill and Carlo break down the headlines, every weekday morning Listen on Apple or Spotify, or watch on YouTube, and send us your feedback!

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