Today's edition of quick hits:
* A sign of hope: "Treating critically ill COVID-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20 percent, an analysis of seven international trials found on Wednesday, prompting the World Health Organization to update its advice on treatment."
* The NIH is contradicting the White House again: "There is no solid evidence for or against recommending convalescent plasma to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19, a government panel said Tuesday, less than 10 days after the Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the treatment."
* Alexei Navalny update: "The Russian opposition leader and fierce Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok family, the German government said in a statement Wednesday.... Calling the findings 'disturbing,' German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a news conference that Russia must answer "difficult questions" related to the attack, according to Reuters."
* Belarus: "Strongman Alexander Lukashenko, who has been pictured in a protective vest and carrying a rifle on several occasions, still clings to power after 26 years, while the protests continue. Now, as pressure grows on Lukashenko at home and abroad more than three weeks after the contested election, personal accounts are emerging of the Belarusian regime’s fervor in stopping the biggest show of discontent in the country’s modern history."
* Census: "Facing lawsuits and mounting scrutiny for making last-minute changes that cut 2020 census counting a month short, the U.S. Census Bureau is now ending in-person counting in the San Diego area and some other parts of the country as early as Sept. 18 -- nearly two weeks before the expedited end date of Sept. 30 that NPR first confirmed."
* If something can be exploited for political gain, it will be exploited for political gain: "Millions of Americans who are struggling to put food on the table may discover a new item in government-funded relief packages of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat: a letter signed by President Donald Trump."
* FEMA: "The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will no longer pay for some safety measures related to COVID-19 that it had previously covered. Keith Turi, FEMA assistant administrator for recovery, announced the changes during a call Tuesday with state and tribal emergency managers, many of whom expressed concerns about the new policy."
* Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt: "The commander of the U.S. Army's Fort Hood is being removed from his position and will no longer assume command of a division at Fort Bliss, according to a U.S. Army statement released Tuesday."
* Waiting for the inevitable: "It’s not a matter of if a privately built border fence along the shores of the Rio Grande will fail, it’s a matter of when, according to a new engineering report on the troubled project."
See you tomorrow.