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Happening Today: Puerto Rico, STDs, ‘Saturday Night Live,' Aerosmith

What to Know

  • The Trump administration said it was sending a flotilla of ships and thousands more military personnel to Puerto Rico
  • More than 2 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the U.S. last year — the most ever, health officials say
  • NBC said "Saturday Night Live" is adding three new cast members when it returns for its 43rd season

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Trump Suddenly Focuses on Puerto Rico, Promises Visit, Aid

Suddenly, just about all President Trump can talk about is Puerto Rico. After not mentioning the hurricane-devastated island for days, Trump pushed back aggressively and repeatedly against criticism that he had failed to quickly grasp the magnitude of Maria's destruction or give the U.S. commonwealth the top-priority treatment he had bestowed on Texas, Louisiana and Florida after previous storms. Trump announced that he would visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands next week. He tweeted about Puerto Rico's needs. He talked about Puerto Rico during a meeting on tax cuts. He raised the subject at a Rose Garden news conference with the prime minister of Spain. And he attended a hurricane briefing. He called a meeting of agency heads tasked with helping Puerto Rico recover, and sent top officials out to the White House driveway to talk to reporters. FEMA Administrator Brock Long delivered specifics: 16 Navy and Coast Guard ships in the waters around Puerto Rico and 10 more on the way. Throughout, Trump stressed that Puerto Rico's governor had praised the federal response, characterizing Ricardo Rossello as "so thankful of the job we're doing."

More Ships and Troops Headed to Puerto Rico, FEMA Says

The Trump administration said it was sending a flotilla of ships and thousands more military personnel to Puerto Rico to address the growing humanitarian crisis caused by Hurricane Maria. The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said the devastation wrought by the Category 4 storm presented logistical challenges, with badly damaged airports and seaports making it difficult to get aid and personnel to the stricken island. Long said 16 Navy and Coast Guard ships were in the waters around Puerto Rico, with 10 more ships on the way. They include the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship. Planes and ships were also bringing in a military force numbering in the thousands to help distribute aid. Military aircraft were dropping food and water to areas of the island still isolated and unable to receive help by road, he said. The shift, six days after the storm made landfall, came amid a growing chorus of criticism that the federal response so far had been insufficient and fallen far short of the responses to hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The Pentagon said the number of active duty military personnel would grow from about 2,500 to possibly double that number in the next several days.

Long-Term Care for the Aging and Ailing Is Surging, Survey Shows

Long-term care costs are surging again and the most expensive option — a private nursing home room — may soon top $100,000 per year. Growing labor expenses and sicker patients helped push the median cost of care that includes adult day care and assisted living communities up an average of 4.5 percent this year, according to a survey released by Genworth Financial. That's the second-highest increase since Genworth started its survey in 2004. The cost of home health aide services climbed the most, rising 6 percent, to $21.50 an hour. Private nursing home care now costs more than $97,000 annually. Many Americans don't plan for expenses like these or understand them until they face them, said Joe Caldwell of the National Council on Aging, which is not tied to Genworth's study. Long-term care costs can impose a crushing financial burden on individuals or families in part because private health insurance and Medicare, the federal program for people over age 65, offer only limited help. That can force people who don't have private coverage to spend down their assets until they qualify for the government's health insurance program for the poor, Medicaid.

U.S. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Hit Another High

Health officials are reporting another record increase in infections from three sexually transmitted diseases. More than 2 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the United States last year — the most ever. The diseases are treatable with antibiotics. Rates for all three have been rising for several years. Health officials have said better testing and diagnosis have helped increased detection of cases, but also that treatment and prevention programs have been hurt by budget cuts. Chlamydia is the most common, with nearly 1.6 million cases reported last year. About 470,000 gonorrhea cases were reported, and 28,000 cases of the most contagious forms of syphilis.

“Saturday Night Live” Adds 3 Cast Members for New Season

"Saturday Night Live" is adding three new cast members for its new season. NBC said the trio will join the show when it returns Saturday for its 43rd season. The newcomers are Heidi Gardner of Kansas City, Missouri, Luke Null of Cincinnati and Chris Redd of St. Louis. Gardner is the voice of Cooch in Crackle's "SuperMansion" and is in the 2018 Melissa McCarthy movie "Life of the Party." Luke Null is a Chicago-based musical comedian and performs at iO Chicago, an improvisation theater and training center. Redd is a comedian and rapper whose credits include the 2016 film "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping" and the Netflix comedy series "Disjointed." The newcomers are stepping in after the departures of "SNL" players Bobby Moynihan, Vanessa Bayer and Sasheer Zamata.

Aerosmith Cancels Tour Dates After Steven Tyler Falls Ill

Legendary rock 'n roll band Aerosmith has canceled the remaining dates of its South American tour as its lead singer, Steven Tyler, is treated for "unexpected medical issues." The band did not elaborate on Tyler's condition, only saying it wasn't life-threatening and that they expect him to make a full recovery. "I need to deal with this right away, and get some rest and medical care immediately in order to sustain and maintain my future performances...I promise I'll be back," Tyler said in a statement posted on social media. The cancellations affect the band's concerts in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Mexico through Oct. 7.

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