The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 9 Minutes

10/13

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 43,043 new cases and 284 additional deaths. 14,914 patients are receiving critical care.
  • Nine states reported record-high hospitalizations on Sunday: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
  • Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson has paused the advanced clinical trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers.
  • The city of Qingdao in eastern China has tested more than 3.07 million people for COVID-19 since the weekend, when 12 locally transmitted cases were reported, according to the city’s information office.

No new cases have been identified by the citywide testing program from the more than 1.1 million samples already returned. 

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 can survive for nearly a month in cooler, dark conditions on some nonporous surfaces such as glass and money in controlled laboratory conditions, according to a study published Monday that notes that the primary source of spread still appears to be through airborne aerosols and droplets caused by talking, singing, breathing or laughing.
  • Tensions between Anthony Fauci and President Trump are increasing after the nation’s top infectious disease expert asked the Trump campaign to take down a new ad that features comments of his that he says were taken out of context and used without his consent. But the Trump campaign and the president himself continue to assert the ad is just fine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci repeated his displeasure. “By doing this against my will, they are in effect harassing me,” Fauci told CNN.

  • Dozens of doctors practicing in Michigan wrote a letter to TV stations in the state on Monday urging them to stop airing an ad from the Trump campaign that features comments on the coronavirus pandemic from Dr. Anthony Fauci that Fauci says were used without his consent and which are taken out of context. 

“Physicians and public health professionals work hard every day to inform people about reducing COVID-19 infections and how we can all stay safer, and President Trump’s campaign ad undermines these life-saving efforts,” Dr. Rob Davidson, executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare, told The Hill in a statement.

  • With new coronavirus infections numbering between 40,000 and 50,000 a day, Dr. Fauci says the country is “facing a whole lot of trouble” 
  • Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, refused to wear his mask while taking questions from reporters outside the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. “I’m not going to talk through a mask,” he said.
  • Trump boarded Air Force One via the much shorter fuselage stairs, fueling speculation he lacks the energy to climb the normal AF1 boarding stairs. 
  • Several major media organizations have declined to allow reporters to travel with President Trump aboard Air Force One to campaign events due to concerns about a lack of COVID-19 protocols observed by White House staff.
  • As President Trump plans to hold events daily leading up to the November election, Dr. Fauci says it’s “even a worse time to do that” with the coronavirus pandemic showing climbing cases in the U.S.

“We know that is asking for trouble when you do that. We’ve seen that when you have situations of congregate settings where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves.”

  • President Trump boasted about being “immune” to the coronavirus, painted a rosy picture of his administration’s pandemic response in his return to the campaign trail Monday following his COVID-19 diagnosis.

“Now they say I’m immune. I feel so powerful. I’ll walk in there. I’ll kiss everyone in that audience,” Trump told the crowd. “I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women, just give you a big fat kiss.”

  • Scientists have confirmed the first case of coronavirus reinfection in the United States: a 25-year-old Nevada man whose second round of the virus was more severe than the first.
  • Despite no federal attempt to map how COVID-19 is spreading across schools, early data from the COVID-19 School Response Dashboard which is run by a group of national education organizations, researchers and technology experts is indicating that schools don’t currently appear to be the major spreaders that experts once feared. 

Data taken from the last two weeks of September from more than 200,000 students attending school in-person from 47 states found an infection rate of 0.13% among students and 0.24% among staff.

  • New York City issued  62 summonses and over $150,000 in fines since Friday during pandemic-related closures and restrictions.

The penalties included five issued to religious congregations.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the fines for mass gatherings in violation of state rules would be up to $15,000 a day, and the fines for not wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing could be $1,000 a day.

  • Vanderbilt University announced that due to the quarantining of individuals with positive tests and those designated as close contacts, the Commodores’ game against Missouri scheduled for Oct. 17 will be postponed.
  • Authorities in Nashville are investigating an outdoor religious concert that took place downtown on Sunday, after videos shared by the organizer showed hundreds of people crowding together, most of them not wearing masks.

The Nashville Metro Public Health Department said the event organizers did not submit an application to the Health Department or a permit application to any Metro department.

  • Newly uncovered confidential data reveals that there have been many outbreaks of coronavirus in schools, workplaces and other facilities driving a surge of COVID-19 cases in Illinois, which were previously undisclosed and perplexing public health experts.

Several outbreaks have occurred at correctional facilities and a major military base.

  • A Wisconsin judge has ruled the state’s mask mandate will be allowed to continue, turning aside a challenge from a conservative legal group that argued the state’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, overstepped his executive authority by issuing emergency orders to slow the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • North Dakota has fewer than 20 staffed ICU beds available as COVID-19 cases surge.
  • Over the last four weeks, hospitals in the northwest and northeast of England have witnessed a seven-fold increase in COVID patients in their ICUs. The coronavirus situation is “building up nationally” across England, with hospitals in northern regions especially at risk of being overwhelmed by ICU patients, UK health officials warned.
  • The growing number of coronavirus patients has forced several hospitals across Belgium to reduce, cancel and postpone non-urgent operations to free up resources.

Trump Administration

  • Confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, began Monday.
  • President Trump lashed out at “radical activists” and “extremists” bringing attention to Christopher Columbus’ ties to slavery and mistreatment of Indigenous people on Columbus Day, celebrating the holiday with a call to “safeguard our history.” Trump also said those who oppose the figure or prefer celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day “spread hate and division.”
  • Two ethics groups are calling on the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against Attorney General William Barr, alleging he has used the role for political reasons to support President Trump. 

The groups wrote in a 267-page research paper that Barr has an “authoritarian worldview” that “makes him see himself as entitled to ignore laws, ethics, and historical practices” as the attorney general.

  • Despite fears that climate change threatens wolverines’ habitat in the lower 48 states, the federal government has decided against protecting the animals, saying their populations are stable.

“With fewer than 300 wolverines left in the contiguous United States, there is no justification for the FWS’ decision to deny protection. Listing wolverines as threatened or endangered would trigger new, badly needed conservation efforts,” Earthjustice said in a release slamming the Trump administration’s decision to remove protections for the animal.

  • Officials in Wisconsin have informed FoxConn, the Taiwan-based company that pledged to create 13,000 jobs across the state that it has missed employment targets necessary for being approved for state tax credits for the second year in a row. It comes after President Trump has repeatedly praised his deal with the company to create more jobs.

Racial & Social Issues

  • Facebook has explicitly banned Holocaust denial. The social network said its new policy prohibits “any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust”.

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg wrote that he had “struggled with the tension” between free speech and banning such posts, but that “this is the right balance.”

  • Pennsylvania’s second lady, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, on Sunday tweeted that she had been the victim of a racist attack while shopping at her local grocery store and shared a video of a woman calling her a racial slur through the window of her car.

Fetterman, who is normally accompanied by state troopers whenever she leaves her home, decided to go out on her own when she realized that a sale on golden kiwis would be ending soon at her neighborhood Aldi.

She says that the woman who accosted her and called her the N-word recognized her as the wife of Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) which is what apparently led to the racist incident.

  • The University of North Carolina Asheville locked down its campus during the weekend after the school said multiple offices received threatening emails demanding the removal of a Black Lives Matter mural that had reportedly been painted recently by students during the school’s “Student Rights Week.”
  • A Miami street will be renamed to honor Trayvon Martin, the teenager whose 2012 death sparked a nationwide reckoning with racial injustice and police brutality and has helped inspire the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Preliminary findings from a new study out of Canada are pushing back against common misconceptions of social programs and those experiencing homelessness. Researchers behind the bold new study that kicked off in 2018 gave a one-time lump sum of 7,500 Canadian dollars — about $5,700 — to 50 people who had recently become homeless, and allowed them to choose how to spend the money while following their lives over 12 to 18 months. 

The study found that those who received the money on average were able to find stable housing faster, maintain financial security and stability and increased their spending on food, clothing and rent.

Presidential Campaign

  • California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office is investigating the placement of unauthorized ballot drop boxes in Orange, Los Angeles and Fresno counties.

“Operating unofficial ballot drop boxes — especially those misrepresented as official drop boxes — is not just misleading to voters, it’s a violation of state law,” Padilla said in a statement.

The Fresno County Republican Party posted what it called a list of “secure” ballot collection sites on its website, none of which are official county drop box locations.

California Republican officials have defended the drop boxes, saying a 2016 law allowing so-called ballot harvesting permits them. State officials said the boxes do not constitute harvesting, which allows voters to designate someone to submit ballots on their behalf.

  • A federal judge has upheld an agreement that extends Minnesota’s absentee ballot counting deadline by seven days, dealing a blow to Republicans.
  • Alaska’s Supreme Court affirmed a ruling on Monday by a lower state court that threw out a requirement for Alaskans planning to vote by mail to have their ballots witnessed and signed by a person over the age of 18.
  • Hundreds of people lined up early Monday morning in Georgia to vote. Some complained on Twitter of 90-minute delays as new touch-screen voting machines had to be rebooted.
  • Joe Biden released a statement celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Biden’s statement made no mention of Christopher Columbus.
  • Snoop Dogg is lending his 2004 hit “Drop it Like it’s Hot” to a Democratic campaign urging voters to use ballot drop box locations. The 60-second campaign ad shows voters depositing their ballots in official boxes as the rapper’s song plays in the background.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Financial Times, Forbes,  Fox News,The Hill, Independent, MSNBC, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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