Is flying safer than going to the grocery store? A Harvard study claims the combination of masks and high-quality ventilation systems on airplanes make it hard to catch Covid-19. But there are a lot of other factors at play.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. Election 2020
More than 65.5 million people have cast their votes for next week’s presidential election, already more than the total number of early voters in 2016. As we enter the last mail-in voting stretch, a federal judge has ordered the US Postal Service to ensure ballots are delivered quickly ahead of voting deadlines by allowing extra and late delivery trips. Meanwhile, President Trump tried to appeal to women voters during a campaign rally in Lansing, Michigan, last night. He also attacked Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and appeared to both downplay and take credit for thwarting the recent plot to kidnap her. The Trump campaign also suffered an attack of its own when its campaign website was briefly defaced in an apparent hack. In Georgia, Joe Biden gave a closing argument at the home where FDR healed from polio, saying the “soul of the nation” is at stake in this election.
There are 44 potential Covid-19 vaccines in human trials, but experts say we may not know which ones work best — or whether they work at all — until after people start getting them. That may mean settling for a vaccine that prevents severe infections instead of providing outright immunity. The Trump administration is set to announce soon that Medicare and Medicaid will cover out-of-pocket costs for any potential coronavirus vaccine that’s granted emergency use authorization. And help can’t come soon enough. More than half of US states reported their highest daily number of coronavirus cases ever this month. Some areas are back to the way they were at the first dark peak of the pandemic, with packed ICUs, taxed medical systems and victims’ remains filling refrigerated units.
3. Police violence protests
Demonstrators took to the streets of Philadelphia for a second night after the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. The 27-year-old Black man was killed Monday during a confrontation in West Philadelphia. His family said he suffered from bipolar disorder and was in crisis at the time. Some largely peaceful protests in the city devolved into violence and looting, leading police to ask residents in some districts to stay indoors. City officials acknowledge the shooting raises questions and are investigating. The case draws fresh attention to fatal use of force by police after months of protests over how officers treat Black people.
The US economy has rebounded over the last few months, but experts worry the recovery is losing steam. To add to the uncertainty, the ongoing stimulus scuffle in Washington could lead to further pain in struggling sectors like the travel industry and among small businesses if aid isn’t issued soon. A CNN analysis shows hotel occupancy is 29% below pre-crisis levels, and OpenTable reservations are down 56% from before the pandemic. If the 2009 recession is any measure, it could take the airline industry five years to recover from the economic toll of the pandemic. Eased coronavirus restrictions have boosted oil demand, and oil companies like BP have seen slim profits. But with Covid-19 cases on the rise again, the oil sector’s slow recovery could reverse course at any minute.
A judicial panel in Lagos, Nigeria, has begun hearings into the killing last week of activists protesting police brutality. Human rights group Amnesty International told CNN that at least 12 demonstrators were shot dead at two places in the city last Tuesday by soldiers, who then took the bodies away. Witnesses also say they saw the killings. The Nigerian army claimed on Twitter that these reports were “fake news.” Protests gripped Nigeria’s largest city for two weeks as people called for the end of the country’s Special Anti Robbery Squad, or SARS, which has been accused of serious human rights violations. Amnesty says at least 56 people have died across the country since protests began. The judicial panel will look into the claims against SARS, which was disbanded earlier this month, and investigate last week’s deaths.
Zeta heads for the US
Hurricane Zeta is due to hit the Gulf Coast later today. Hurricane warnings stretch from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi/Alabama line, including metro New Orleans. Strong winds and heavy rain are expected, and some places may see storm surges of up to 8 feet.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the World Series
Congrats, Dodgers fans. You earned this one.
Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton are engaged
The couple that stars on “The Voice” together, stays together.
Krispy Kreme offers free doughnuts and ‘I Voted’ stickers on Election Day
Bud Light Seltzer has launched holiday flavors including Apple Crisp, Peppermint Pattie and Gingersnap
Peppermint … seltzer? Intriguing.
Billionaire accused of blaring ‘Gilligan’s Island’ theme song on a loop at his neighbor during feud over $1 million sculpture along their shared property line that may block ocean views
Wow, wealthy people’s neighborhood disputes really are something else.
That’s how much debt President Trump has had forgiven since 2010 after he failed to repay his lenders for a Chicago skyscraper development, according to a tax analysis from The New York Times.
“Keith Raniere will not be able to victimize people anymore after today’s sentence and we’re very grateful for that.”
Acting US Attorney for Eastern District of New York Seth DuCharme, at the sentencing of Nxivm founder Keith Raniere. The former cult leader was sentenced to 120 years in prison after being convicted in 2019 of counts including racketeering, sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child and human trafficking.
Oh, didn’t see you there!
Man, meet bear. (Click here to view.)