Newsy Headlines The Latest Videos From Newsy.com http://www.newsy.com/ <![CDATA[Trump Administration Clears Way For Biden Transition]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2020 08:54:00 -0600
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The announcement yesterday means the General Services Administration will release millions of dollars in funding for Biden's transition to the white House.

Yesterday, Emily Murphy — the GSA administrator — said her agency would move forward with transition proceedings. Previously, she refused to recognize Biden as the President-elect.

In a letter to Biden, Murphy wrote quote, "Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly... 

Pressured by any executive branch official .... including those who work at the white house or GSA .... with regard to the substance or timing of my decision."

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<![CDATA[What's The Risk Of Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner?]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2020 08:11:00 -0600
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As the holiday season begins, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19 as you make plans to celebrate. 

We asked the experts, what’s the risk of hosting Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving this year? How can I serve a meal and limit risk?

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 from hosting Thanksgiving is high.

"The risk is actually quite high to have any indoor gatherings with people that are not in your immediate family that you live with every single day," Dr. Kelly Cawcutt, infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine said.

"You may want to rethink that gathering and move to a virtual mechanism instead," Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said. 

"How well is the area set up to allow for distancing between family members and guests? And how good is the ventilation? If you are inside and you can't have windows open and you're forced to sit close together, it would be optimal to have people being masked while you're serving," Dr. Kelly Cawcutt, Infectious Disease Specialist at Nebraska Medicine said.

"And when they're not eating or drinking as much as possible. But again, as you take that mask off and talk and eat or drink at the same time, there will still be risk that will occur during that period for the spray of aerosols or droplets," Cawcutt said.

"The use of fans in the area can also help reduce your risk. You want to make sure that you've got really good ventilation and good circulation in the room where you're hosting your dinner. The best thing you can do is have a couple of box fans — one drawn into into the room, one exhausting air out of the room, making sure that that fan that's blowing into the room isn't blowing directly on anybody," Gonsenhauser said.

"Probably the safest is not to have other people over right now. Most parts of the country, you couldn't do this, say, in the backyard or, you know, at a picnic table in the backyard or something like that over the summer. That was definitely a good option to have. But now it's going to be tough," Dr. Irfan Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine, said. 

For more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk, visit newsy.com/whatstherisk.

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<![CDATA[Rethinking Public Health Funding When A Pandemic Is Our Biggest Threat]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2020 08:00:00 -0600
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In 2020, the greatest threat to Americans' safety has been the public health crisis known as COVID-19 — killing more Americans than every war since the Korean War combined. 

Newsy explored how many lives could be saved, and what would the impact be, if the nation's budget treated public health like national security. 

This video includes data from Trust for America's HealthCanadian Institute for Health InformationCongressional Research ServiceCato Institute and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

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<![CDATA[Urgent National Security Matters Await Pres.-Elect Joe Biden]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2020 06:00:00 -0600
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President-elect Joe Biden will inherit a host of urgent national security matters come Jan. 20. And some former Trump administration officials say the president has made that job more difficult.

"Elizabeth, do you feel like the country is more or less safe after four years of President Trump?"

"I think we're less safe," says Elizabeth Neumann. "I knew this was going to be different. I did not appreciate how dangerous he was."

Neumann, a former senior Homeland Security official who also worked in the Bush and Obama administrations, says filling national security positions will be first priority.

"We've had a lot of brain drain. A lot of people leave, a lot of people forced out," Neumann

But soon after should be addressing domestic terrorism. 

"The president's rhetoric is emboldening right-wing extremism," Neumann says. "I'm increasingly concerned that when the pandemic mitigation measures end, and we resume normal life, and we go back to mass gatherings, that will create targets of opportunity for white nationalists, for anti-government extremists."

Overseas in Afghanistan, President Trump recently ordered a drawdown to 2,500 U.S. troops in the days before Biden's inauguration. Kirsten Fontenrose, a former senior director in Trump's National Security Council, says it sends a dangerous message. 

"Any time, anywhere in the world that we advertise an exact departure for our troops, then we give room for terrorist organizations to recruit with that message and to plan their logistics for resupply," says Kirsten Fontenrose, the former senior director for Gulf Affairs at the White House's National Security Council.

Tensions with Iran have risen recently: Trump reportedly considering a strike on a nuclear site in Natanz, and rockets said to be fired by Iranian proxies hitting the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad. 

"You have to question what Iran's motivation is in trying to bait the Trump administration into kinetic activity right before they leave the office," says Fontenrose, now director of the Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative. "And it would put Biden in an incredibly difficult position where he'd be forced to deal with that. Although if you are the hard liners in Tehran, this is a perfect scenario."

Escalations could jeopardize Biden's hope of rejoining the nuclear deal. That's after estimates this year that Tehran, no longer bound to the agreement, could now produce enough material for a nuclear bomb in three to six months. 

With China, Biden faces a growing tech war. Trump is reportedly poised to enact hard-line policies in the hopes of locking in his legacy. His fourth and current national security adviser flags the increasing threat:

"Now with machine learning, with AI, with the cloud, the Chinese have become very adept at putting together a total surveillance society. They're now moving outside of China to do that around the world, and they want to have a file on every single one of us," says National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. "...They'll eventually have a social credit score on everyone in the world. And then they'll use that to manipulate us."

The Biden transition team told Newsy it's not in a position to comment at the moment. Biden continues to be denied intelligence briefings. 

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<![CDATA[What Can We Do To Avoid Plastic?]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0600
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Sustainable living is hard enough. Now add the pressures of a global pandemic and all bets are off. 

So we tracked down some experts and asked: What can we do to avoid plastic? 

"Forty percent of the plastic that we produce is for packaging. It's a huge, huge percentage," Jocelyn Quarrell, the CEO and Owner of Go Box, told Newsy. 

"So when we go to supermarkets... try to buy things in bulk, maybe bring your own containers, bring your own bags," Alexander Furey, the founder of Zero Waste Mindset, said.

"Rather than continuing to use more energy, produce more greenhouse gas emissions to take these materials through a recycling process, let's just capture it in its current usable state and cycle it back into the system," Quarrell said. "And that's what Go Box is trying to plug it into. Go Box is based in Portland. And we are a tech-enabled zero waste system that provides reusable containers and cups as a service. So these containers are on demand, they're in-house at these food vendors. They're sort of ready and waiting for folks, so people don't have to remember to bring something with them before they order takeout."

"We actually need to move away from ownership and buying," Furey said. "We need to start leasing."

"Look up Loop," Quarrell said. "They're a company that's working with large consumer packaged-good firms like Unilever, Procter & Gamble to offer their products in reusable vessels, so you can get, like, Head & Shoulders in a reusable bottle for your bathroom. And when you're done with it, you just ship it back to them. But I mean, just to be real, it's very difficult in this moment to avoid plastic. So don't put too much pressure on yourself."   

For more videos on how to live sustainably, visit newsy.com/sustainability.  

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<![CDATA[Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow Suffers Major Knee Injury]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 18:10:00 -0600
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One of football's brightest young stars has suffered a major leg injury. 

According to multiple reports, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner was carted off the field during Sunday's game after defenders took him to the ground.

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<![CDATA[New York Tightens Restrictions As COVID Hospitalizations Spike]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 18:00:00 -0600
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New York state is tightening restrictions as COVID hospitalizations spike. This includes limitations on the size of gatherings, including some parts of New York City.

COVID hospitalizations more than doubled in the past three weeks to 2,700 now. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo predicts the Thanksgiving break will lead to an increase in the state's positivity rate.

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<![CDATA[Biden Inauguration Likely Scaled Down Amid COVID-19]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 16:37:00 -0600
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There are less than 60 days left until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

His incoming chief of staff Ron Klain said because of the pandemic, the team is working on a scaled-down event.

"We have consulted with House and Senate leadership. They're going to try to have an inauguration that honors the importance and the symbolic meaning of the moment, but also does not result in spread of the disease. That's our goal," he said.

Traditionally, presidential inaugurations have large crowds that fill the national mall. They also include a lunch with lawmakers and a parade. We haven't learned what specific precautions will be taken at next year's event. 

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<![CDATA[What If Multiple COVID-19 Vaccines Are Approved?]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 16:32:00 -0600
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As COVID-19 spreads across much of the US, there’s a sign of hope: a third promising vaccine. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s candidate appears to work in an average of 70 percent of people who get it, with no major side effects. 

"These results show that we have a vaccine that is highly effective, better than the flu vaccine is in most years in being able to prevent coronavirus infection," said Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine trial. 

The vaccine may work in up to 90 percent of people, with tweaks in the dosage. Even more promising: unlike vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, AstraZeneca’s does not require super cold storage temperatures, making it easier to get to poorer parts of the world.

Sarah Gilbert, Oxford University/AstraZeneca's vaccine architect said, "No one is safe until we're all safe. So we need to think about the best use of the vaccine and we need a lot of vaccine."

But all three are proving to be effective, raising hopes regulators may approve more than one.

Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University, former chief of the FDA's vaccine division said, "We never know that any particular vaccine is going to succeed and how effective and safe it's going to be. So the more chances the better, the more shots on goal the better."

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met Monday. They’ll be deciding the order Americans will get an approved COVID vaccine. First, the 21 million health care workers. The best guess for most healthy Americans? April to June of next year. Health officials know, the shots aren’t any good if people refuse to roll up their sleeves to get it. Some people who participated in the trials are now trying to motivate the rest of us. 

"The big things like there's not going to be people in intensive care anymore and small things like people can have their relatives with them in hospital again. And then even smaller things like I can get the train and see my parents and not worry about it. I think it's going to change everything," said Lois-Clay Baker, an Oxford vaccine trial participant. 

"I have faith and science. I have faith in medicine. Without people stepping up we’re never gonna find a solution," Michael Rouse, a Moderna vaccine trial participant, said. 

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<![CDATA[Newsy's Latest Tech News]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 15:30:00 -0600
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<![CDATA[U.S. Health Officials Continue To Warn Against Holiday Travel]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 13:53:37 -0600
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Just a few days out from Thanksgiving and maybe you were hoping to be packing your bags right now...getting ready to travel for the holiday. 

While you may be itching to get on that flight, the CDC is still urging people not to travel this year.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says these gatherings will put loved ones at risk.

"As we're getting into the colder season, particularly the situation with the holiday season where you see people traveling, you see the clips on TV, people at airports — I mean, those are the things that we've got to realize are going to get us in even more trouble than we're in right now," he said.

Fauci, along with the CDC, worry traveling and indoor gatherings will cause another rise in COVID-19 cases ahead of Christmas. Even with vaccine candidates in late stages of its trials. A vaccine isn't expected to be approved for another few weeks.

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<![CDATA[Joe Biden Reveals Top Foreign Policy, National Security Picks]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 13:32:07 -0600
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President-elect Joe Biden on Monday revealed his picks for top national security positions in his new administration. 

Topping the list is Antony Blinken, who Biden will nominate as secretary of state. Blinken is one of Biden's closest and longest-serving foreign policy advisers. He previously served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama.

Other notable appointments include former deputy national security adviser Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Alejandro Mayorkas as Homeland Security secretary.

If confirmed by the Senate next year, Haines will be the first woman to lead the intelligence community. Mayorkas will be the first Latino and immigrant to head Homeland Security, and Sullivan will be one of the youngest ever to serve as national security adviser.

Biden has said he is pushing for a diverse Cabinet.

"I said at the outset, I wanted this campaign to represent and look like America," Biden said in his victory speech earlier this month. "We've done that. Now that's what I want the administration to look like and and act like."

On the trail, he spoke often of the nation's foreign policy, vowing to "rebuild" American diplomacy.

"I'll make it my mission to restore American leadership, elevate diplomacy as a principal tool of our foreign policy," Biden said in a July 2019 speech on foreign policy.

Rounding out the list Monday was former Secretary of State John Kerry, who will serve as President-elect Biden's climate czar.

All six announced Monday had previously served in the Obama White House in some capacity.

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<![CDATA[Pfizer Says Vulnerable Groups To Get Vaccine First]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 12:33:00 -0600
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 Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a board member of drugmaker Pfizer and a  former commissioner of the FDA, says there are plans in the works for distributing its vaccine.

“I think by the second quarter of 2021 maybe into the third quarter, we'll have a vaccine that hopefully will be licensed to general use," he said. "The emergency use authorization will be for a limited population this winter.”

He said on CBS's "Face The Nation" that older adults would receive a vaccine first and then its availability would expand in the spring.

On Friday, Pfizer requested FDA emergency use authorization for their potential vaccine.  Data it released showed it is 95% effective.

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<![CDATA[TSA Expects Millions More To Travel Thanksgiving Week]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 12:30:32 -0600
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Thanksgiving may look a little different this year, but you wouldn’t think that looking at America’s biggest airports. The TSA tells Newsy it’s expecting one million passengers to be screened on Wednesday, and another million the following Sunday. This, after over three million travelers went through checkpoints this past weekend — despite guidance from the CDC to stay home. 

"You don't know who you're sharing air with on the airplane. And even though you're trying to disinfect seats or handles, it's really what's happening in the flight in the air," said Dr. Kelly Cawcutt, an infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine. 

A forecast from AAA predicts at least a 10 percent drop in holiday travel this year. But experts acknowledge that estimates are less reliable than before. 

"The typical factors that we look at in determining if we’re going to travel are just out the window this year," said AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee.

Meanwhile, new COVID-19 cases have topped 12 million, with the daily rate growing to almost 200,000 last week. 

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<![CDATA[AstraZeneca: Vaccine Averaged 70% Effectiveness]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 12:12:02 -0600
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Another experimental vaccine shows promising data on its effectiveness during trials.

AstraZeneca said its vaccine candidate is up to 90% effective and was studied over two different dosing regimens.

The one showed to be 90% effective, participants received a half-dose, then a full dose at least one month apart.

Now when combined with results of the second dosing regimen, the vaccine candidate has an average efficacy rate of 70%.

AstraZeneca is the third major company now to report a high effective rate for its potential vaccine. 

Just last week, Pfizer and Moderna reported its vaccines were close to 95% effective.

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<![CDATA[Trump Campaign Cuts Ties With Lawyer Sidney Powell]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 11:35:40 -0600
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The Trump campaign cut ties with one of its lawyers after she made numerous baseless claims about voter fraud. 

The campaign said attorney Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own and is not a part of the campaign’s legal team. 

Powell claimed, without evidence, that millions of votes were switched to favor Joe Biden.

She also accused Georgia Republicans of conspiring against the president.

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<![CDATA[FDA Approves Emergency COVID-19 Antibody Treatment]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 11:34:00 -0600
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But the FDA has approved an antibody treatment for emergency use.

It's the same experimental drug given to president trump when he had the coronavirus last month.

The medicine from Regeneron is intended for patients with mild to moderate symptoms who are at high risk for severe illness.

Regeneron says there will be enough initial doses for about 300,000 patients.

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<![CDATA[Michigan, Pennsylvania To Certify Results]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 09:59:00 -0600
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Today is the certification day for election results in two key states: Pennsylvania and Michigan.  

But one member of the Michigan Canvassing Board may vote against certifying the state's results. 

Republican Norman Shinkle told The Washington Post and The New York Times he's considering blocking the certification. 

He said wants to wait for audit of the state's ballots, even though there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the Election. 

Shinkle is one of two Republicans serving on the four-person board, which is set to meet today at 1 p.m. eastern. 

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<![CDATA[Judge Rejects Trump Campaign PA Election Lawsuit]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 09:53:19 -0600
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A federal judge rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to block the certification of results in Pennsylvania. 

The campaign’s legal team filed an appeal yesterday. Judge Matthew Brann said the campaign’s legal arguments were "without merit" and had accusations that were "unsupported by evidence." 

Brann said he dismissed the case with prejudice, which means the lawsuit can’t be submitted again.

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<![CDATA[Georgia Recount Process Moves Forward]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 09:15:00 -0600
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Votes for the presidential race in Georgia will be counted again after President Trump's campaign requested another recount. 

State law allows the losing candidate to request a recount within two days of certification. 

This time, it won't be hand counted by thousands of workers — it will be counted through a scanner. The same way it was originally counted on election night. 

This will be the third time ballots are counted in the state. 

President Trump Still trails President-elect Biden by more than 12 thousand votes. 

Throughout the recount process, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has faced a lot of criticism from fellow Republicans. 

Now the FBI is investigating threatening text messages sent to his wife. The FBI is looking into the credibility of those messages.

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<![CDATA[Historic Pick of Cardinal-Designate Gregory May Have Political Impact]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 09:13:36 -0600
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This Saturday, Archbishop Wilton Gregory will become Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the first African-American in church history to obtain that rank. 

Those in and around the church say his appointment could be impactful. Not only for the 3 million Black American Catholics but for marginalized groups, religious and non. 

“Not to speak up for him. But I know he wants to create equality, create healing, and create opportunities for those that are the voiceless are those on the peripheries, as Pope Francis says, to have their voices heard," said Ansel Augustine Executive Director of Cultural Diversity and Outreach for the Archdiocese of Washington. 

Ansel Augustine of the Archdiocese of Washington says Gregory’s appointment is also a step toward the church addressing its own issues with race. 

Something he tackles in the documentary Black Faith Matters. 

“I do feel at times that the church adds to the problem by not discussing the problem and wants to put a fake band-aid on it,” said Augustine.  

“Well into the 20th century, the Catholic Church systematically denied Black men and women from entering a religious life, subjecting them to racial segregation and exclusion,” Shannen Williams, Historian of the Black Catholic Experience at Villanova University told Newsy. 

The hope for Black Catholics, like Black Catholic historian Shannen Williams, is that Gregory will be impactful there as well as in other controversial areas. 

“We bishops will always have the deepest regret for those who were abused and must live with that pain all of their lives,” Gregory stated in 2002.  

As president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he implemented the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” — the church’s zero-tolerance policy on sex abuse, removing priests found guilty of the crime but stopping short of defrocking them. 

He has political opinions. 

“He publicly voiced his disappointment and greater unease with President Trump's visit to the national Pope John Paul, the second shrine in Washington, DC,” said Williams. 

He also weighed in on the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy calling it "deeply disturbing." He opposed a Georgia gun law that would’ve allowed guns inside the church.  

And spoke out on the church’s treatment of the LGBTQ community writing, “These men and women are the sons and daughters of the church, and yet in too many cases they have not felt welcomed or respected.”

Amber Strong, Newsy, Northern, Virginia. 

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<![CDATA[What's The Risk Of Flying to Visit Others?]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 08:00:00 -0600
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As the holiday season begins, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19 as you make plans to celebrate. 

We asked the experts, what’s the risk of flying to visit family or friends?

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 from flying to visit others is high.

" It's not what you do, it's how you do it. That really matters," said Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. 

"Airlines do have quite a bit of airflow and circulation in the cabins. So it's probably a little bit more riskier than private car travel, but it's still really what the destination is, really the bigger issue," Dr. Irfan Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine, said. 

"You don't know who you're sharing air with on the airplane. And even though you're trying to disinfect seats or handles, it's really what's happening in the flight in the air. And when people still stop and take their masks off to eat or drink or someone coughs or sneezes and they remove their mask, it still carries a potential risk," Dr. Kelly Cawcutt, infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine, said.

"Some folks may be using ride sharing or public transport to get to the airport. Once you're there, although you're going to be socially distancing, you're going to be wearing masks and engaging and hand hygiene. You're still waiting in a lot of lines. There are still crowds," Gonsenhauser added.

"You need to be very cautious to have hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes with you. And I would really advise wearing a mask and truly considering a face shield for the time you are in the airport when you can't socially distance. And for the duration of your flight, if at all possible," Cawcutt said.

For more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk, visit newsy.com/whatstherisk.

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<![CDATA[Operation Warp Speed Adviser Says Americans Can Trust New Vaccines]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2020 15:48:00 -0600
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A lead doctor from the Trump Administration's vaccine program offered some optimism for the U.S. He says a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready as soon as December....and Americans should trust the safety of the new drugs. 

Dr. Moncef Sloaui of Operation Warp Speed said Americans could expect a COVID-19 vaccine by December 12. Vaccine candidates Pfizer and BioNTech recently submitted their vaccine for emergency use authorization and are awaiting approval from the FDA. 

Slaoui said if a significant number of Americans take the vaccine, the country could see some normalcy by May of next year. He said the administration is looking to vaccinate close to 20 million people in December and around 30 million per month after that. 

While COVID-19 cases are surging at record rates, there is skepticism of a vaccine coming out so quickly. Slaoui addressed those concerns.

He said, "My expectation this vaccine will be as safe as all the other vaccines that are being used in the population. And I would really urge people to listen to the experts, look at the data, keep their mind open and hopefully accept to be immunized."

recent Gallup poll found 58 percent of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine — that's up from about half from September.

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<![CDATA[GA Sen. Kelly Loeffler Tests Negative For COVID-19 After Mixed Results]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2020 15:36:00 -0600
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Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler says she is undergoing more COVID tests after a number of mixed results this weekend.

It's a predicament that could hinder her ability to campaign in a closely-watched re-election effort.

The senator's rapid test results were negative Friday morning, but another test came back positive that night. On Saturday, yet another test came back inconclusive. Those results were retested overnight and came back negative.

Loeffler's campaign spokesperson said she will continue to self-isolate and be retested again to hopefully receive consecutive negative test results.

The senator was maskless Friday around Vice President Mike Pence and fellow Georgia Sen. David Perdue. The trio traveled on a bus together and went to two campaign events, as both senators are facing runoffs. 

Before Loeffler's negative retest Sunday, Perdue’s campaign said he would remain home until Loeffler receives more definitive results.

As for the vice president... his office told the Atlanta Journal Constitution Sunday he was awaiting a “confirmatory test” from Loeffler before deciding his next step. 

The situation presents a potential problem for a candidate with a January 5 election day looming.

Loeffler's Democratic opponent, Reverend Raphael Warnock, said, "I pray that her test results come back negative and that she is back on the campaign trail soon."

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<![CDATA[Biden's First Cabinet Choices To Be Announced Tuesday]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2020 15:30:00 -0600
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The first picks for President-elect Joe Biden's cabinet are slated to be announced this Tuesday — despite Trump administration blockades.

The next president's chief of staff would not share which positions would be announced. The Associated Press reported he could name his nominees for secretary of state or treasury.

Biden has vowed to create the most diverse cabinet in modern politics — with women and people of color being considered for several positions throughout the government.

Nominations  are moving forward despite the Trump administration's unprecedented refusal to ensure a smooth transfer of power. President Trump is fighting his election loss to Biden and withholding information that would provide a peaceful transition.

Politico reports a number of Republicans are signaling that most of Biden's picks will be confirmed, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska saying, "Our role is to make sure that he selects folks that are … within the mainstream."

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<![CDATA[Trump Campaign Requests Recount Of Georgia Presidential Votes]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2020 11:49:00 -0600
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Two weeks after Joe Biden was declared president-elect, lawyers for President Donald Trump are still demanding recounts in certain states.

On Saturday, President Trump's legal team officially requested Georgia's secretary of state to recount each vote cast in the election. On Friday, Georgia certified President-elect Joe Biden's results that showed him winning the state by a razor-thin margin of 0.25 percent, or nearly 13,000 votes. State law allows a candidate to request a recount if the margin is less than 0.5 percent.

President Trump has called out Republican Governor Brian Kemp, criticizing a previous ballot audit as, quote, "a joke." In the letter, his legal team said, "President Trump and his campaign continue to insist on an honest recount in Georgia, which has to include signature matching and other vital safeguards."

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is also a Republican, said the state’s voting system "has never been more secure or trustworthy." He also ensured all ballots with signatures were verified twice.

County election officials have been notified of the recount, which will be done using scanners that read and tabulate the votes.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

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<![CDATA[Federal Judge Tosses Out Trump Campaign Lawsuit In Pennsylvania]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2020 11:13:00 -0600
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A federal judge threw out a Trump campaign lawsuit — attempting to prevent Pennsylvania's election results from being certified.

At the request of Pennsylvania's Secretary of State, U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann dismissed the lawsuit, saying it was "stitched together" like "Frankenstein's monster."

The campaign claimed voters in some Democratic-majority counties allowed voters to correct minor errors in their ballots, which disadvantaged Republicans.

Brann criticized the Trump campaign for using “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations” to try to invalidate millions of votes in Pennsylvania.

He said: “In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state.”

President Trump tweeted his campaign "WILL APPEAL" the decision by the judge, who is a former state GOP official appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama.

The president trails President-Elect Joe Biden in Pennsylvania by over 80,000 votes. Counties are slated to file their official election results by Monday.

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<![CDATA[FDA Approves Emergency Use of COVID-19 Drug Given to President Trump]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2020 11:11:00 -0600
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The FDA has approved the emergency use of an experimental antibody drug President Donald Trump was given when he had COVID-19 last month.

The one-time, IV-delivered drug is a combination of two concentrated antibodies that can help prevent the infection from worsening in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms. Drugmaker Regeneron says it might also reduce virus-related hospitalizations in high-risk patients.

But the product is in short supply because it's made by living organisms at a biological pace that can't be sped up. Regeneron says it will have enough for 300,000 patients to get it through a federal government allocation program by January. 

This is the second drug the FDA has authorized for emergency use this month. That permission allows drugs to be distributed even though their safety and effectiveness are still being studied. In public health crises, the FDA just has to determine if the experimental drug's potential *benefits outweigh the *risks. 

The antibody drug approvals come as companies are racing to produce a vaccine by the end of the year. Pfizer applied for FDA authorization for its vaccine Friday.

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<![CDATA[As Virus Surges, Sioux Falls Foods Producer Tries To Protect Workers]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2020 08:54:00 -0600
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In August, South Dakota famously refused to yield in the face of a global pandemic. Without restrictions, it hosted 460,000 visitors for its annual motorcycle festival. That event is now blamed for a major coronavirus surge in South Dakota and neighboring states.

Last week, South Dakota ranked second in the nation per capita for COVID-19 infections. And in Sioux Falls, one of the city's largest employers is trying to keep its workforce safe.

"Right here at this point in time, I'm probably managing double digits of people that are out because they aren't well."

Valerie Loudenback's family-owned business, Grand Prairie Foods, took the virus seriously early on. It imposed strict rules in March for mask-wearing, sanitation, social distancing, temperature checks and other health monitoring. And yet, she is seeing a spike in employees getting sick. 

"I have 274 people that work here for me," Loudenback said. "That means that there are like a thousand people who are (in) some way, shape or form affected by what we do here. And I have an example of a person today who we keep on the phone with our individuals and he sounds so sick. The worst thing I could ever imagine is having to tell someone who worked here that one of our employees was gone because of coronavirus. That's what I worry about."

South Dakota's Republican Governor, Kristi Noem, continues to refuse to require masks or to impose other restrictions to combat the virus.

"My people are happy," she said. "They're happy because they're free."

Dr. Benjamin Aaker is an emergency room physician and president of the South Dakota State Medical Association. He says hospitals are seeing a surge in patients.

"It's bad right now and we are worried about getting worse," he said. "Right now we are still under capacity or right at reaching it. We just don't want to go over capacity. That would be the disaster.'"

At Grand Prairie Foods, Loudenback is also trying to prevent that from happening.

"We talk to our employees," Loudenback said. "We know who in their families is sick. We ask them every day how they feel. There's certain things that we have learned to watch for. Headaches are a super important sign. And when people don't feel good, we get them out and we talk to them and we are almost like case managers so we can bring them back and understand the whole picture in their family."

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<![CDATA[Pres. Trump's Records Could Pose Another Hurdle For Biden Transition]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2020 06:00:00 -0600
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With President Trump in the final weeks of his White House tenure, ethics watchdogs and top Democrats in Congress have become increasingly concerned his administration is illegally destroying or failing to keep official documents.

"What's happened in the last few years is the National Archives has been giving departments and agencies permission to destroy records that almost anybody would consider not just historically significant but important even in the near term in terms of political accountability and also in terms of continuity of government," Matthew Connelly, a professor of international and global history at Columbia University, said in an interview.

Matthew Connelly leads the History Lab at Columbia University, which has gathered over 3 million declassified documents as part of its Freedom of Information Archive. He says for the public to truly hold government leaders accountable, it needs to see the evidence.

"Let's say that you're appointed to the Biden administration and you'd like to stop the practice of separating children from their parents, and let's say you might even, as they've already announced, they want to reunite these families. Well, how are you going to do that if Immigration and Customs Enforcement has already started to destroy records dating back to the first months of the Trump administration?" Connelly said.

Reports suggest President Trump has a habit of tearing up his papers and concealing documents detailing his meetings with foreign leaders. His top officials have reportedly used personal email accounts and encrypted messaging apps, and others have been sued for allegedly breaking federal records laws.

The concern has led watchdog groups and nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers to send letters to the White House and over 50 federal agencies, demanding they keep all administration documents — as mandated by federal law — ahead of the transfer of power.

"I'm particularly concerned about the preservation of records for people who are going to want to cover their tracks," Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told reporters last week.

The National Archives told Newsy it "takes its records management responsibilities seriously and has worked with the White House from the beginning of the administration to provide guidance with regard to the Presidential Records Act." It said specific questions about the current administration’s policies and practices should be referred to the White House. 


The White House did not respond to Newsy's request for comment by time of publication.

And what records might be missing from the White House after Jan. 20 is difficult to predict.

The Presidential Records Act requires the president and vice president to preserve and make public records that relate to their official duties five years after they leave office, with presidents able to restrict access to sensitive documents for up to 12 years. But experts say the Act is seldom enforced.

"The reason why we have this law is precisely for reasons of say, presidential administrations and how they transition from one to the next, and we want to preserve the institutional memory right of these different departments and agencies," Connelly explained.

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<![CDATA[Biden Chooses Three Latinos Among Picks For White House Senior Staff]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2020 15:03:00 -0600
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President-elect Joe Biden has chosen three Latinos from the Obama-Biden administration as some of his first White House senior staff picks.

The next director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs will be Julie Chávez Rodriguez. The deputy campaign manager served on Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' presidential campaign as national political director and traveling chief of staff. And during the Obama administration, Chávez Rodriguez worked as special assistant to the president as well as in senior positions in the Office of Public Engagement and Department of the Interior. 

Anthony Bernal was also named to the White House staff as first lady Jill Biden's senior adviser. He was her chief of staff during the campaign and has worked with the Biden family for more than a decade.

Lawyer Julissa Reynoso will now serve as the first lady's chief of staff. She previously served as U.S. ambassador to Uruguay and deputy assistant secretary of state during the Obama administration. 

The picks fall in line with President-elect Biden's promise to chose a diverse staff. 

"I said at the outset I wanted to represent this campaign to represent and look like America," Biden said. "We've done that. Now that's what the administration looked like and act like. For all those of you."

Biden is continuing to round out his incoming staff during the presidential transition, as President Donald Trump still refuses to concede the election.

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<![CDATA[Treasury Department Ending Several Federal Reserve Lending Programs]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2020 14:56:00 -0600
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U.S Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday several coronavirus lending programs won't be extended — a decision the Federal Reserve is criticizing.

In a letter to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, Mnuchin said the programs have "achieved their objective" and asked for over $450 billion to be returned to the treasury.

Mnuchin is letting several programs set up by the CARES Act in March expire at the year's end. The programs have helped keep U.S. businesses open as the pandemic continues to hamper the economy.

Shortly after Mnuchin's letter, The Fed protested in a statement that it "would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the Trump administration's decision "unnecessarily ties the hands" of President-Elect Joe Biden's incoming administration.

Mnuchin has denied ending the programs as a political maneuver. He said the Fed could request money for the programs again in the "unlikely" event they need to be reinstated.

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<![CDATA[Funeral of Radical Pakistani Cleric Attracts Massive Turnout]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2020 13:54:00 -0600
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Tens of thousands of people gathered in Pakistan for the funeral of a hard-line Islamic cleric who has long defended the country's blasphemy law. 

Khadim Hussein Rizvi was an extremist who called for the death penalty for anyone that insulted Islam. 

More recently, he led widespread protests against French caricatures depicting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. 

After the cartoons were republished by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, violent and deadly attacks followed.

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<![CDATA[Iran Enacts New Restrictions as It Experiences Its Worst Virus Surge]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2020 11:33:00 -0600
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Iran has enacted a slew of new lockdown measures as the country battles its worst outbreak of the coronavirus to date.

Travel, shrines, schools and most businesses, shops and restaurants were shut down on Saturday in some of Iran's largest cities. The head of Tehran's chamber of commerce said this will close 70% of businesses in the capital city and surrounding areas. And residents can't travel between the affected cities, with even the use of personal cars banned after 9 p.m. 

The new closures are set to last two weeks now, but they could be extended at any time. Iran's president said the government will provide four months of cash subsidies to 30 million residents because of the economic fallout from the latest virus surge. 

The new rules come on the heels of two Iranian health officials' resignations, including the health minister's adviser and deputy. In his resignation letter, the deputy minister said the country's current COVID-19 surge is due to the ministry's mishandling of the pandemic.

Top Iranian officials downplayed the risks of the virus from the beginning. Now, the president is urging residents to help "lessen the death toll" after the country averaged more than 430 daily fatalities since Monday. The manager of a Tehran cemetery says its influx of bodies for burial has more than doubled since before the pandemic.

Daily infection rates have more than tripled in Iran since the start of October. Iran's highest single-day for new infections was November 13, and its worst single-day death toll was recorded three days later.

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<![CDATA[Eight Injured In Shooting At Wisconsin Mall; Suspect Still At Large]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2020 10:37:00 -0600
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Eight people were injured Friday night in a shooting at a Wisconsin shopping mall and a suspect remained at large Saturday morning.

Police said the seven adults and one teenager were taken to a local hospital and all are expected to survive.

The shooting took place at the Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Authorities are working to identify the suspect — who fled the scene by the time officers arrived. Witnesses describe him as a white male in his 20s or 30s.

Police said in a Facebook post the shooting resulted from an "altercation" and wasn't a random act.

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<![CDATA[Pfizer, BioNTech Seek Emergency Use Authorization For COVID-19 Vaccine]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2020 10:00:00 -0600
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Drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech submitted an application for emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The companies say data shows the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing the disease. A second vaccine, from Moderna Inc., is showing similar results. 

The U.S. has a contract to buy millions of the Pfizer-BioNTech doses once that vaccine is approved, with shots to be free of charge.

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<![CDATA[Parler Downloads Surge As Conservatives Jump To 'Free Speech' App]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 17:14:00 -0600
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Parler, the social media platform marketed as a “free speech social network” with a hands-off approach to fact-checking, is seeing a large spike in users, particularly with conservatives. 

Following the election, Parler’s user base grew from roughly 4.5 million to about 10 million. As of Friday morning, it was the second most popular free news app on Apple’s app store, behind Twitter. Newsy reached out to Parler for comment on this story but has not heard back yet.

Its most notable users exist across the conservative political and media landscape. Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, who said she’d leave Twitter two days after the election, already has 1 million followers. President Trump’s adult children are on the app, and it’s been promoted by politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz.

"Big tech is out of control, filled with hubris and flagrantly silencing those with whom they disagree," Cruz said. "That’s why I’m proud to join Parler. This platform gets what free speech is all about, and i’m excited to be a part of it."

Parler also features fringe groups and individuals who've been banned from other social media sites, like Infowars founder Alex Jones and groups affiliated with the far-right Proud Boys. 

Newsy spoke to experts who said that Parler’s newfound popularity is due to mainstream social media platforms’ efforts to moderate dis-and-misinformation.

“What really has driven this movement towards Parler has been around the issue of election fraud and the labeling of the president's tweets and some other conservative voices who have suggested that there has been widespread fraud," said Bret Schafer, Media and Digital Disinformation Fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy. 

“The kind of content that we're seeing spread on Parler is very much related to stop the count or stop the electoral fraud," said Samuel Woolley, Program Director of Propaganda Research at the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas in Austin. "And so Parler is basically providing a space where people can air their political grievances, even though they've been proven to be completely false.”

Experts tell Newsy that Parler’s hands-off approach could turn the platform into an incubator for more dangerous content. 

"Parler's lax policing of the types of people who use the platform and the types of groups who use the platform absolutely results in extremist groups making use of the platform so that they can organize and communicate and recruit," Woolley said. 

"We've seen in the past many of these platforms that have popped up as free speech havens, what has progressed from there has been some really problematic content. And we have seen them become places that have housed extremist manifestos. We've seen them be places where anti-Semitism, sexism, racism has sort of run rampant," Schafer said. 

What remains to be seen is whether new users will stick around. Parler also saw a surge of new users in June after Twitter began labeling the president’s tweets, but it didn’t quite take off.

"One of the things we see with smaller, niches social networks — there are occasionally precipitating events that lead to people heading over there. It is rarely, almost never, I would say, an actual exodus from the main platform," said Renee DiResta, Research Manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory. "Even prominent accounts like Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul who announced in the late June, early July timeframe that they were going to Parler. [They] did not actually leave Twitter and did not decrease their posting patterns on Twitter, and in fact, very rarely actually post on Parler."

"My hunch is that Parler is not going to see sort of sustained growth because of the fact that, again, right now the user experience is really only enticing for, I think, a pretty small segment of society," Schafer said.

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<![CDATA[India Surpasses 9 Million Confirmed Coronavirus Cases]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 17:01:00 -0600
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India has surpassed 9 million COVID-19 cases.

That's the second most cases in the world, behind the U.S.

Hospitals in New Delhi say their intensive care wards are nearing capacity. Officials worry the case count will remain high after many people gathered to celebrate the Diwali holiday last week.

Government figures report 90% of critical care beds with ventilators were full.

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<![CDATA[At Least 37 People Have Died In Protests In Uganda]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 16:57:00 -0600
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Tensions remain high in Uganda as people protest the arrest of an opposition presidential candidate. 

Police say 37 people have died in the unrest.

Protesters want Uganda's long-time president to step down 

Human Rights Watch says Uganda's government is weaponizing COVID-19 guidelines against opposition candidates. 

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<![CDATA[Denver Broncos To Stop Allowing Fans At Games]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 16:48:00 -0600
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The Denver Broncos announced this Sunday's game will be the last home game with fans in the stands.

The team said it is confident its games did not contribute to the spread of the coronavirus, but it made the decision as a precaution, citing local guidelines to limit gatherings. 

The Broncos had allowed 5,700 fans to watch each game in-person. 

Eight of the 13 scheduled NFL games this week will allow fans in the stadiums.

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<![CDATA[Michigan's Top Legislators Meet With President Trump]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 16:47:00 -0600
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President Trump is having a meeting with Michigan lawmakers in a last-ditch attempt to overturn the results of the election he invited Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey to the White House today. A video was taken of Shirkey getting swarmed at the Ronald Reagan national airport today. 

"Where is the evidence? Will you honor the will of Michigan voters?" one woman asked. 

The president has tried to convince republican lawmakers in battleground states not to certify the election results there, and effectively, trying to convince them to appoint their own electors who would give him the votes from that state. 

It's certainly unprecedented, but both Chatfield and Shirkey have hinted they will not overturn the count. 

Again, the facts here so far are President-elect Biden won Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and despite the Trump campaign's claims, there's no widespread evidence of voter fraud and multiple legal actions have failed in that state. 

The president's actions have drawn criticism within his own party. Sen. Mitt Romney accused him of trying to subvert the will of the people, saying, "It is difficult to imagine a worse, ... more undemocratic action by a sitting American president."

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<![CDATA[Sen. Rick Scott Tests Positive For COVID-19]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 16:44:00 -0600
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There's another reported coronavirus case on Capitol Hill: Sen. Rick Scott confirmed Friday he tested positive for COVID-19.

Scott said he is experiencing "very mild symptoms" after he came in contact with someone who tested positive.

The senator from Florida added he has been quarantining in at his Naples home since last Friday. He plans to work from home in Florida until it is safe for him to go back to Washington, D.C.

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<![CDATA[Is The U.S. Ready For A National Lockdown?]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 15:47:00 -0600
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With record-breaking numbers — more than 250,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 — is it time to consider a national lockdown? After all, countries in Europe have done it, and it appears to have helped. Same with China.

 "I think a national lockdown where we lock everything down would ultimately be a last resort," said Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director,  American Public Health Association.

But what defines a "lockdown"? To some it can mean closing non-essential businesses, but what is considered essential in one state may not necessarily be essential in others. It could also include stay-at-home orders. And then there's a question of schools. This inconsistency can create confusion.

"The term lockdown really is a terrible term and we should talk about restricting exposure. So, for example, we know that anything where there's a large, large crowd creates a greater risk," said Benjamin.

And it's about reducing that risk. But even if we define what a national lockdown is, enforcement could be a problem. In Berlin, German police used water cannons to disperse demonstrators protesting restrictions. 

"Convincing people to do that will be a challenge. ... As you know, we cannot convince every American to wear a simple cotton mask," said Benjamin.   

"We saw what happened in China. They did an extreme lockdown scenario and they got really significant control over the epidemic. ... because of the authoritarian government and the differences in human rights," said Dr. Mark Dworkin Associate Director of Epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "In this country, we would have a great deal of trouble with such enforcement. I don't even know if it's completely legal."

COVID-19 advisor to President-elect Joe Biden, Dr. Michael Osterholm, initially said a national lockdown for a few weeks could help curb the spread of COVID-19 but he backtracked because he said it would be hard to get a national consensus. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci pushed for public health measures instead.

He said,"Public health measures, not lockdown of the country, but public health measures that are rather simple and easy to understand — the universal wearing of masks, the physical distancing, the avoiding congregate in crowded places, outdoors better than indoors, washing hands."

Dr. Georges Benjamin agrees and he says targeted restrictions instead of a national lockdown can help. 

"We can have both a reasonable economy and protect our health if we do it thoughtfully. And so the idea of having targeted closures at particular times for particular businesses and other activities allows us the ability to in some ways have it both ways."

But targeted restrictions aren't perfect. In New York City, different neighborhoods have different restrictions.

"We're in New York City. People are going to travel, they're gonna go between ZIP codes and neighborhoods," says John, a Brooklyn resident. 

 And it's not just between neighborhoods, some travel in between states, which can have varying degrees of restrictions.

"All of it is part of a strategy to reduce our risk," said Benjamin. "That does not mean that someone will not get infected. It does not mean that someone will not violate the standards that we're setting with these lockdowns."

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<![CDATA[DOD Leaders Won't Quarantine After Contact With COVID-Positive Person]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 15:21:13 -0600
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Concern is rising here at the Pentagon. Senior leaders are not quarantining even after coming in contact with the Lithuanian defense minister, who tested positive. 

Newsy has confirmed the secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy were in contact with Minister Raimundas Karoblis this week. Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller was, too. But again, none of them are quarantining.

According to Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, “senior leaders have been tested since the meeting” on Nov. 13. 

He added, “Additionally, DOD personnel who had contact with the delegation have received or are receiving at this time rapid COVID tests as deemed necessary based on CDC protocols.”

That’s in question, though, because with this type of exposure, the CDC recommends quarantining for 14 days. Instead, the department claims testing and mitigation measures were in place. 

At least one senior official, Anthony Tata, has tested positive. He is in isolation.

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<![CDATA[Georgia Secretary of State: "Numbers Don't Lie"]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 15:09:00 -0600
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Georgia's secretary of state is expected to certify the state's presidential election results today.

His office erroneously said he had already certified the results.

It now says he has not yet but will certify them, affirming a win for Joe Biden.

"Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don't lie. As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct," said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. "The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state's office, or of courts or either campaigns."

Georgia completed a hand tally last night confirming Biden won by more than 12,000 votes.

The hand tally was conducted to comply with a new state law; it was not in response to any suspected problems with the results.

Raffenspeger must certify the election results by 5 p.m. today.

Gov. Brian Kemp then has until 5 p.m. tomorrow to certify the state's slate of 16 presidential electors.

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<![CDATA[How A COVID Vaccine Approval Process Works And Why It Will Take Weeks]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 15:05:00 -0600
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FDA officials have said the review will take weeks. Here’s what we know about the process that will take place.

Right now, the FDA’s painstakingly going through lots of data. That’s in addition to the research and manufacturing plans and other information that both Pfizer and BioNtech previously submitted.  The FDA will release its own internal analysis.

Pfizer will also have to present their findings to an advisory committee made up of outside medical experts that make recommendations to the FDA. That’s going to be the public’s first chance to see the data. It’s been reported that it will be in early December. 

"When I'm sitting there, listening to those data presented to us at the FDA's vaccine advisory committee meeting, I will be looking to answer the question, would I take this myself? Dr. Paul Offit, FDA Vaccine and Related Products Advisory Committee member, said.

A few days following any FDA emergency approval, a CDC committee will then meet to make official recommendations about who will get the vaccine first.  

"We're interested in complete transparency. These meetings are open to the public on your computer," Dr. William Schaffner, member of CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice,s said. 

The CDC’s interim playbook says in the first phase, vaccines would go to paid and unpaid persons in healthcare settings who have contact with infectious patients or materials.  Lindsey Theis, Newsy, Denver. 

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<![CDATA[California Curfew in Place as COVID Cases Rise]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 14:35:00 -0600
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In California a temporary curfew takes effect across most of the state tomorrow.

The order bans gatherings and non-essential work between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

State health officials say if the curfew doesn't slow the spread, they will have to look at other options.

"In looking at that, If we do see trends that are more concerning, if we don't 

see the impact and effects of the actions today, there are other tools in the toolbox." 

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<![CDATA[Murderer Eighth Person Executed by Federal Government Since July]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 12:24:00 -0600
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The U.S. government executed a convicted rapist and murderer last night.

Orlando Hall is the eighth person put to death since the Trump administration reinstated federal capital punishment in July.

Hall was convicted for his role in the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 16-year old girl in Texas in 1994.

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<![CDATA[Biden Criticizes Trump For Challenging The Election]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:21:00 -0600
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Turning now to the White House transition —

Today marks two months until Inauguration Day.

It's also President-elect Joe Biden's birthday; he turns 78 today.

That makes him the oldest president in the nation's history.

But Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are still waiting to begin the transition to the White House.

That's because President Trump is pressing on with his efforts to change the election results.

Today the president will meet with Republican lawmakers from Michigan.

According to multiple reports, the Trump campaign's strategy is to persuade Republican-controlled legislatures in key states Biden won to undermine election results.

Here's what Biden said about the plan:

"It's going to be another incident where he will go down in history as being one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history. It's just out of the, not even within the norm at all."

Biden is becoming more frustrated as President Trump continues his fighting and delaying of Biden's transition process.


 

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<![CDATA[NYC Parents Protest Switch to Remote Learning]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 10:32:00 -0600
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"Schools are safe! Schools are safe!" shout parents in New York City protesting the decision to close schools.

The decision to switch to remote learning is an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Students went back to classrooms this fall at one of the largest public school systems in the country.

Parents are now calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to reopen them and instead close other establishments first.

"That is outrageous, and I am ashamed," said Reshma Saujani, whose child attends an NYC public school. "Shut the bars down, close the restaurants, close the gyms, ban indoor dining, but do not close the school," she said.

The city has said it would close schools if 3% of all COVID tests across the city came back positive over a seven-day period.

It hit that mark this week.

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<![CDATA[More Than 50 Protestors Sue Chicago Police]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 09:55:00 -0600
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More than 50 protesters in Chicago are suing the city's police chief — and officers.

They are accusing them of violent attacks and wrongful arrests during demonstrations this summer. 

The lawsuit says officers used tactics including tackling and beating protesters and used chemical agents against them. 

Some of those demonstrations turned violent — with people destroying property and stealing from stores. 

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<![CDATA[Michael J. Fox Enters 'Second Retirement' Due To Health Concerns]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 09:20:15 -0600
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Could this be the end of his acting career? Michael J. Fox reportedly wrote he's entering a "second retirement" in his new book "No Time Like the Future" because of health concerns.  

In his book, he writes: "There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me. At least for now."

He adds: "That could change, because everything changes. But if this is the end of my acting career, so be it." 

The 59-year-old — best known for his portrayal of Marty McFly in the "Back to the Future" trilogy... as well as his roles in "Family Ties," and "Spin City" — was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease when he was 29. 

The star told Good Morning America about a moment in 2018 that made him question his optimism. It was the year he had a risky surgery to remove a noncancerous tumor from his spine. Because of this, he had to learn how to walk again. And then when home alone one day, he slid in his kitchen, fell and broke his arm. 

"And of all things, that was the thing that really set me off," Fox told "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview. 

"That's bottom?," "Good Morning America" co-anchor George Stephanopoulos asked. 

"That was bottom cause it was so useless," Fox said. "It was so pointless and so stupid, so avoidable."

He talks about this life-changing moment in his new book, as well as his battle with Parkinson's, and how he was able to find his way back with one thing: gratitude. 

"I realized, if there's gratitude then you can sustain optimism," Fox said. 

Contains footage from CNN

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<![CDATA[Report: HIV-related Deaths Cut in Half Since 2010]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 09:19:00 -0600
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Some good health news — HIV-related deaths fell significantly between 2010 and 2018.

That's according to a new report from the CDC.

The death rate decreased by half across all genders, races, religions and ages.

Researchers believe the drop in deaths is a result of improvements to diagnosing and treating HIV.

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<![CDATA[President Trump Announces Medicare Requirements to Lower Drug Costs]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 08:50:00 -0600
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President Trump is expected to announce new rules to lower drug prices today.

One rule requires Medicare to compare U.S. drug prices with prices in other developed countries.

The other rule limits rebates paid to middlemen in Medicare.

The announcement follows executive orders the president signed in July and September.

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<![CDATA[What's The Risk Of Driving to Visit Others?]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 08:03:00 -0600
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As the holiday season begins, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19 as you make plans to celebrate. 

We asked the experts, what’s the risk of driving to visit family or friends?

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 from driving to visit others is high.

"It's not what you do, it's how you do it. That really matters," Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center said. "Driving in a car with your household contacts, that's no riskier than being at home with those folks. 

"The things where you may pick up some additional risk: if you have to stop and fill up for gas or use a restroom or use a restaurant along the way. Or if you have to stop in a hotel. Those are the activities where you really want to be careful about what precautions are in place and how you're limiting your exposure."

"Obviously, by wearing masks yourselves and using great hand hygiene and having hand sanitizer readily available with you while you travel, all will help decrease your risk," Dr. Kelly Cawcutt, infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine said.

"It's really the risk of what's going to happen once you get there. I mean, we've seen several clusters of cases in families where they've gotten together either for a wedding or some other gathering, and several members have gotten sick," said Dr. Irfan Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine. 

For more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk, visit newsy.com/whatstherisk.

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<![CDATA[Misleading Claims In A Trump Campaign Lawsuit]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 07:43:41 -0600
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The Trump campaign suit in Pennsylvania focuses on mail-in and absentee ballots. One central issue is ballot curing.

"We're talking about the ability of a voter to fix their mistakes," said Interim Executive Director of Common Cause Philadelphia, Suzanne Almeida. Common Cause has partnered with several other groups including the NAACP and League of Women Voters to challenge the suit. "Some counties were proactively reaching out to voters," she explained, "Some counties didn't." 

There were two common mistakes. One, an error on the outer envelope - a missing signature, misspelling, or incorrect address. And two, a missing secrecy sleeve (an envelope containing your ballot placed inside the envelope used for mailing).  Any of these mistakes disqualifies a ballot.

The lawsuit claims Democrat-heavy counties were more proactive in allowing voters to cure ballots, giving the Biden campaign an unfair advantage.

In a press conference on Thursday, Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani said, "If you made a mistake in that ballot and you lived in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh,  you were allowed to fix that mistake. But if you lived in what would be considered the Republican or Trump parts of the state, you were given no such right."

But we found that wasn't exactly the case. We reached out to every county’s elections office - and have so far confirmed only two counties - Somerset and Mercer - did not allow any kind of ballot curing.

The lawsuit states that “Lancaster, York, Westmoreland and Berks counties... did not contact voters who submitted defective ballots or give them an opportunity to cure.” But a Berks County spokesperson said voters who suspected a mistake "were given the opportunity to come into the office to 'cure' their ballot."

And a representative from York County said in some cases they passed voter names onto poll watchers to reach out.

A spokesperson from Fayette County - home to one of the two voters at the center of the complaint - wrote, "The county sent letters to those constituents whose mail-in or absentee ballots were identified as having one or more issues with their voter declaration on the external mailing envelope."

Westmoreland elections officials did not respond to repeated inquiries and the Lancaster elections director said: “No comment due to it being the subject of pending litigation.”

Commissioner Joe Kantz of Republican-leaning Snyder County said they let voters fix missing signatures. "We would do our best to contact that voter - let them know that it was not signed. If they wanted to come into the courthouse and sign it, they could do that, make sure their vote counted."

One defendant - Delaware County, was even more reserved - only notifying the parties if there was a mistake. They could then reach out to the voter.

Another, Allegheny, automatically returned mail-in ballots with mistakes on the outer envelope including directions on how to cure - but did not notify voters of a missing secrecy sleeve.

But these discrepancies do not necessarily point to anything nefarious. In Pennsylvania, like the rest of the country, elections are run at the county level. As Almeida explained, "There is wide variation and how counties choose to do a lot of the pieces of election administration." 

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<![CDATA[Demand Strains Coronavirus Testing Sites Ahead Of Thanksgiving]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 07:39:54 -0600
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With Thanksgiving approaching next week, more people are waiting  hours in long lines to get tested for the coronavirus. 

This is a look at the lines in New York. Even as testing has become more accessible, laboratories warn the increase now could delay results.

One person waited in line at a walk-in clinic in Brooklyn for four hours to get tested.

"Honestly I just think they could just take a better approach, especially during winter time, about standing in line right now because even standing here you could have a cold or get a cold just by standing outside."

The demand in testing comes as the CDC is urging Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, and not to spend the holiday with people outside of their household.

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<![CDATA[Dr. Anthony Fauci Addresses Coronavirus Vaccine Safety]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 07:03:17 -0600
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As new developments and results for vaccine candidates continue to come out, a lot of people are questioning the speed of the process.

In a briefing with other top U.S. health officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he wanted to settle those concerns.

"The process of the speed did not compromise at all safety, nor did it compromise scientific integrity. It was a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances in these types of vaccines, which allowed us to do things in months that actually took years before."

Dr. Fauci said he's confident a vaccine will be approved soon, And in the meantime — Americans should continue to wear masks, avoid crowds and do things outdoors.

His appearance at the white house podium is the first in months.

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<![CDATA[Feds Say Men in Mich. Gov. Kidnap Scheme Had Backup Plans]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 18:32:00 -0600
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There are new disturbing details on the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. 

Filings show the backup plan was for 200 people to take over the Michigan capitol building — and to televise executions of public officials throughout the week. 

The 14 men charged in connection with the scheme also reportedly considered burning down the state house — with lawmakers inside.

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<![CDATA[Father, Son Die After Virus Spreads Through Family]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 18:25:00 -0600
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Deanna Gibson from Ohio knows the feeling of loss all too well  after dozens of people in her family got sick with the coronavirus. 

She said it wasn't from a large gathering but rather from family members meeting each other individually and passing it on. 

Her son died first. 

"Having the pneumonia, I was unable to cry because when I cried, I started choking and coughing," she said. "I didn't even have time to process the loss of my son when my husband passed."

The family is pleading for people to celebrate the holidays safely by limiting large gatherings.

“Don't do it. Talk to your family on the phone, FaceTime, Zoom, anything,” Gibson said. “But we can't keep spreading this.”

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<![CDATA[COVID-Related Hospitalizations Skyrocket in U.S.]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 18:20:00 -0600
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(VO)

A new record for hospitalizations has been set every day this week. Hospitalizations on Wednesday rose to a record 79,410.

Those numbers are expected to go up, with the seven-day case average now passing 162,000. 

Huge strides have been made in treatments since the start of the pandemic. 

From using steroids to treat severe illness to turning patients on their stomach to reduce fluids in their lungs. 

But health care workers fear the battle will only be hurt by a failure to prevent infections in the first place. 

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<![CDATA[Africa Tops 2 Million Coronavirus Cases]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 18:15:00 -0600
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Africa has now surpassed two million cases of the coronavirus. 

Its 54 nations have reported 48,000 deaths from COVID-19.

The continent's infections and deaths are less than 4 percent of the global total. 

However, health experts are warning people to stay vigilant.

Despite the continent's relatively low COVID numbers and the latest developments on a potential vaccine African officials worry about access to supplies.

The price of vaccines and storage requirements could make it difficult for nations to compete with richer countries.

South Africa has the most reported cases in Africa with 750,000. 

Morocco, Egypt and Ethiopia have all seen cases top 100,000.

Morocco has more than 300,000 and Egypt and Ethiopia have seen cases top 100,000.

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<![CDATA[Pompeo Becomes 1st U.S. Secy. Of State To Visit West Bank Settlement]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 18:03:00 -0600
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

Thursday he announced products made in the settlements can be labeled "Made in Israel."

The policy furthers the U.S.'s recognition and acceptance of the settlements in the occupied territory — a disputed region between Israel and Palestinians. 

Most of the international community views the settlements as a violation of international law.

Pompeo also announced a new U.S. policy against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which protests Israel's policies toward Palestinians.

"Today, I want to make one announcement with respect to a decision by the State Department that we will regard the global anti-Israel BDS [Boycott, Divest, Sanction] campaign as anti-Semitic. I know that sounds simple to you, Mr. Prime Minister, since it seems like a statement of fact. But I want you to know that we will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support for such groups," Pompeo said.

In a statement, the BDS movement accused the U.S. of intimidation and bullying and said it rejects "all forms of racism, including anti-Jewish racism."

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<![CDATA[Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Shows Promise In Elderly]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 16:38:00 -0600
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The Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine trial has some good news after early data found its candidate is working well in older adults.

The University of Oxford says the shot is safe and that it triggered a strong immune response in people over 70 who are typically more vulnerable to the virus. They plan to release the late-stage trial results by Christmas. 

This comes just after Pfizer and Moderna announced they believe their vaccine candidates are both more than 94 percent effective. They plan to apply for emergency authoritization within days.

The first doses could be publicly available as early as next month and front line workers will likely get first dibs. Many doctors and nurses are sharing their stories of getting sick with COVID as hospital space grows limited.

One doctor said: "We're increasing our number of beds that we have available for COVID patients really on a day to day basis. We've expanded now into our third intensive care unit."

The stress of the pandemic made thousands of doctors leave their jobs.

The non-profit group Physicians Foundation surveyed 35-hundred doctors. They found eight-percent closed their offices in the last few months and as many as 16,000 practices could close by the end of the year.

The reasons ranged from mental exhaustion to concerns about their own health and families.

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<![CDATA[How El Paso Is Confronting One Of The U.S.' Worst COVID Outbreaks]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:20:34 -0600
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<![CDATA[COVID-19 Slows Adoption Process But Sparks More Interest]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 13:36:42 -0600
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In just a few weeks, Daniel and Jessica Unseth will finalize the adoption of their 16-year-old daughter Aliya and become a family of four.

"That's supposed to take place right before Christmas. So that'll be one heck of a Christmas present," Daniel Unseth said.

For this Texas family, their journey to adopting their eldest daughter began in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The first time that we met her everybody was all masked up and everything. It was an interesting first experience. Lots of isolated talks and meetings and what not. And the adoption process has been much, much slower because of paperwork," Unseth said.

Masked meetings and delayed paperwork are just two of the many hurdles adoption officials say prospective families are having to navigate as a result of COVID-19.

"COVID had an immediate impact on adoptions internationally and domestically," Chuck Johnson, the president and CEO of the National Council for Adoption said. "You had travel restrictions and quarantines and courts were closed, government offices were closed. So it really stranded a lot of families in the beginning."

Chuck Johnson is the president and CEO of the National Council for Adoption, a nonprofit that works with adoption agencies and child welfare authorities to place children and teens with prospective families. Johnson says travel restrictions and social distancing measures have forced everyone to get creative to move adoptions forward.

"Courts and other places are moving toward a virtual process, which is not a permanent solution. But it's just responding to the immediate need of trying to help these families and these children complete their adoptions," Johnson said.

"We actually get to meet our judge and finalize everything over zoom. So we don't have to really even go anywhere or anything," Unseth said.

But while the virus has slowed the finalizing of paperwork and placements, officials say they are seeing a dramatic surge in families wanting to start the adoption process.

"We have been told that because it's such a lengthy process, a lot of families did begin, at least the paperwork side, of beginning an international adoption," Johnson said.

Rebecca Gruenspan, the founder of RG Adoption Consulting, says the same can be said for the domestic adoptions of infants.

"What we're seeing is that there has been an influx of hopeful adoptive parents starting the process," Gruenspan said. "In March and April, when the pandemic first hit, I was swamped. Like families were coming out of the woodwork." 

"That's happening, because people for the first time in so long, have time to spend with each other and have some of these hard conversations and have time to move forward on some of their dreams that many have put on hold for so long," Gruenspan said.

But regardless of where you stand in the adoption process, officials are urging patience for the months ahead as efforts are made to end the virus.

"I think we all understand it's frustrating. You want your child, we get that. But be prepared for the challenges that lay ahead, don't go in expecting that you can kind of push your way through, Let's respect the system, let's work together," Johnson said.

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<![CDATA[CDC Says College Students Going Home For Thanksgiving Raise Risks]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 13:23:22 -0600
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After months away from home, Thanksgiving break is the reprieve, when students get to spend time with their families, reconnect. But the surge in COVID-19 cases has health officials concerned. 

Thursday, the CDC updated its guidelines, with its strongest warning yet, avoid travel for Thanksgiving, however for those students who do head home...

“Be careful when you're traveling, make sure you're wearing your face mask. When you're traveling make sure you're being conscious of hand hygiene. Ideally, try to quarantine, self-quarantine before the gathering and encourage other people to do the same,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told Newsy.  

Schools like Indiana University are trying to get ahead of the virus by ramping up testing.  

“We have a symptomatic testing operation. But we are also offering sort of a voluntary mitigation testing for those people who don't have symptoms who want to know their COVID status before they travel home,” explained  Dr. Erika Cheng of the Indiana University COVID-19 Medical Response Team.

IU students won’t return to campus until February, a growing trend for universities across the country.

“We're trying to quiet things down in town so that people don't get sick between the time they take the test and the time they go home,” Kevin O'Kelley, chair of the University of South Dakota COVID-19 Task Force told Newsy. 

In South Dakota, where COVID-19 hospitalizations have sharply risen, officials from the University of South Dakota launched the Know Before You Go Program, a combination of testing and social distancing before the break. 

“We want students who are positive to stay here, stay in Vermillion, don't take that positive COVID-19 to your hometown,” said O'Kelley. 

Surgeon General Adams tells Newsy he supports the use of tests, but they don’t eliminate the risk. 

“A test today is a test today. You could test negative today and be positive tomorrow. So it doesn't mean that you are absolutely free from having to practice some of these safety measures. It just means that you're not at that moment actively spreading infection,” Adams warned.  

Infectious disease experts say that’s particularly important for students from minority communities, who have been hardest hit by the virus.  

“I cannot in good conscience come before you and tout that [testing] ... [is] the way forward when it's not a universal strategy. What most people can do, though, is mask. What everyone can do, though, is wash their hands,” said Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, an infectious disease physician with the Washington University School of Medicine. 

One thing to note, many universities are considering requiring a COVID test either when students return to campus or in some cases before they are even allowed to return to campus. Amber Strong, Newsy, Northern, Virginia. 

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<![CDATA[Plaintiff In Trump Election Lawsuit Is A Former State Lawmaker]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 12:43:53 -0600
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David John Henry and Lawrence Roberts are the two Pennsylvania voters listed as “injured parties” in President Trump’s federal lawsuit seeking to block the state from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

Roberts, 79, was a former state representative who served in Harrisburg for 14 years.

He was a Democrat but later announced public support for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican.

Online voting records reviewed by Newsy’s investigative team show Roberts’ November ballot listed as canceled in Fayette County.

While the Trump lawsuit does not say why Roberts’ ballot was rejected, Fayette County Election Bureau Director Larry Blosser told Newsy it was because Roberts did not put his mail-in vote in the required secrecy envelope.

“Sad to say, he made a mistake,” Blosser said. “Mr. Roberts being in that position, being a legislator, he should’ve known the laws.”

Phone numbers listed for Roberts were out of service.

Newsy was unable to contact him.

Henry, the second plaintiff in the case, declined to answer questions when reached by phone.

The lawsuit says he also sent back a ballot without the secrecy sleeve. 

Some Pennsylvania counties alerted voters who cast “naked ballots,” giving them another chance to vote, but that was an extra step not required by the state.

Voting officials statewide spent months reminding mail voters to use secrecy sleeves.

In a move pushed by Republicans, counties were forbidden from opening ballots until Election Day. That limited the time available to reach voters who sent naked ballots.

Fayette and Lancaster counties don’t dispute that Roberts and Henry learned about their disqualified ballots when it was too late to fix them.

Fayette county told Newsy the secrecy sleeve rule tripped up 22 voters including Roberts.

“I don’t think he was disenfranchised,” Blosser said. “You got to hold the voters somewhat accountable for their actions.”

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<![CDATA[Former President Obama's New Memoir Breaks Record]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:58:00 -0600
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President Barack Obama's new book, "A Promised Land," is breaking records.

The book sold more than 880,000 copies on its first day.

Now, that's the most for any book published by Penguin Random House.

It is on track to be the best-selling presidential memoir.

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<![CDATA[Japan Reports Record Cases Of COVID-19]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:19:00 -0600
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Tokyo posted its highest COVID-19 alert level today. The city is set to break its record of new daily cases, with more than 500.

Wednesday, Japan recorded its own high, with more than 2,200 new cases.

Tokyo's governor said the city is taking steps to stop the spread, and said she fears it could reach 1,000 daily cases.

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<![CDATA[742,000 Jobless Claims Filed Last Week]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:10:00 -0600
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The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks and a sign that the resurgent viral outbreak is likely slowing the economy and forcing more companies to cut jobs.

The worsening pandemic and the arrival of cold weather could accelerate layoffs in the weeks ahead. Of the roughly 20 million Americans now receiving some form of unemployment benefits, about half will lose those benefits when two federal programs expire at the end of the year.

The Labor Department's report Thursday showed that applications for jobless aid rose from 711,000 in the previous week. In March, when the pandemic first intensified, the number had soared to 6.9 million. Before then, applications typically hovered about 225,000 a week.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

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<![CDATA[U.S. Surpasses 250,000 COVID-19 Deaths]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 09:57:00 -0600
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250,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in the United States.

That's nearly the population of Buffalo, New York. And the number of daily deaths keeps rising. Now, one American is dying from COVID every minute.

We say this not to scare you, but it's easy to get lost in the numbers reported every single day.

So we wanted to put them in context for you. The U.S. Surgeon General told Americans this is an "urgent moment" for the country. 

"We're now in the red as a nation. In the last 30 days, we have seen a 276% increase in cases and a 180% increase in hospitalizations," said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams. "So, I want people to understand this is an urgent moment for our nation. We really need to understand this is different than even in March in April because we have spread all across the country.”

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<![CDATA[Report: Australian Troops Killed 39 Afghans In "Blooding" Practice]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 09:56:00 -0600
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A disturbing report by the Australian military found troops unlawfully killed 39 Afghan prisoners, farmers and civilians.

A top official said in some instances, troops would shoot a prisoner just to achieve their first kill.

According to the findings, 25 Australian troops were involved in the killings that began in 2009. A majority took place in 2012 and 2013.

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<![CDATA[Job Market Recovery Stalls Amid COVID Surge]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 09:39:33 -0600
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Around 742,000 Americans filed jobless claims last week. That’s higher than expected, and the first increase in a month. 

The road ahead for the job market is unclear with COVID-19 cases rising. Some economists fear the resulting restrictions could reverse the gains made so far. Others warn of the potential effects of President Trump’s refusal to concede the election. 

“We could easily have a double-dip recession,” said Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors. 

The pressure is on in Washington to do something, with benefits from the first round of relief set to expire at the end of the year. 

“My sense is that we will need to do more, and that Congress may need to do more as well,” said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at a European Central Bank conference. 

The good news: the many vaccine developments from the past week. Experts welcome that progress, but also acknowledge it may not come in time to rescue the labor market. 

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<![CDATA[Judge Orders U.S. To Stop Expelling Migrant Children]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 08:17:00 -0600
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A judge has ordered the Trump administration to stop deporting unaccompanied migrant children at the Mexico border.

The policy was first allowed in March after an emergency order by the CDC because of the pandemic.

Nearly 200,000 migrants have been expelled since the order, most without the possibility to seek asylum in the U.S.

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<![CDATA[Iota's Devastation Becomes Clearer In Nicaragua And Honduras]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 07:59:00 -0600
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Hurricane Iota has left tens of thousands of people in Central America without a home. 

The storm created dangerous flooding conditions across Nicaragua and Honduras.

Here's a look at what people are dealing with.

More than 30 people have been killed as record rainfall is overflowing rivers and triggering mudslides. Many homes have been swept away. Rescue workers are still trying to get to isolated communities. 

The remnants of Iota could create more flooding across Central America Thursday as the storm moves toward the Pacific Ocean.

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<![CDATA[President-elect Holds Roundtable With Health Care Workers]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 07:40:00 -0600
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Friday marks two months until Inauguration Day.

We're looking at the path forward, as President-elect Biden prepares to take office.

A piece of that preparation is learning more about the fight against COVID-19.

Biden held a roundtable meeting with emergency workers where the president of the Minnesota Nurses Association described how dire the situation is getting becoming in hospitals.

"President-elect Biden, there is something seriously wrong when nurses have to take to the streets to beg for protection in the middle of a pandemic," said Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. "What we're experiencing in Minnesota is what nurses are experiencing all over the country."

Biden answered with criticism toward the Trump administration. He said the delay in transition is hurting his response to the pandemic.

"We've been unable to get access to the kinds of things we need to know about the depth of the stockpiles. We know there's not much at all," Biden said. "We get to the point where we have a sense of when these vaccines comes out, how they'll be distributed, who'll be first in line, what the plan is."

Biden also promised to make funding for state and local governments a priority when he takes office in January.

States are facing financial shortfalls because of the pandemic.

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<![CDATA[U.S. Government Prepared To Distribute Vaccine Upon Approval]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 07:07:00 -0600
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With recent positive news about COVID-19 vaccine candidates, top U.S. health officials believe every state will have access to a vaccine immediately after it is approved.

"We will begin distribution of the vaccine within 24 hours after emergency use authorization is approved," said Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed. "and only after the science has determined and approved it accordingly, then we are poised and ready to begin distribution."

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the government expects a total of 40 million doses of the two vaccines to be distributed across the country by the end of December.

Those vaccines would be manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna.

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<![CDATA[Pilots Watch Closely As FAA Lifts Grounding On Embattled 737 Max]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 20:55:00 -0600
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More than two years after the first 737 Max crash, and 20 months after the FAA first ordered the plane grounded in the U.S., it's finally lifting the order. Boeing has spent those months making changes to the plane's software and training, and fielding endless investigations, review boards, and lawsuits. But for a plane with a deadly record, are the changes going to be enough to get passengers on board? Only time has the answer.

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<![CDATA[Trump Campaign Spends $3M On Partial Wisconsin Recount]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 19:11:00 -0600
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(VO) 

The Trump campaign is shelling out $3 million dollars for a recount in two Wisconsin counties. 

It chose the heavily-Democratic Milwaukee and Dane Counties — where the president lost by a combined 364,000 votes.

His attorney said both locations had the "worst irregularities."

President-elect Joe Biden won Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. Election officials have found no evidence of fraud. 

The state has until December first to finish the recount.

President Trump re-tweeted a Reuters/Ipsos poll today and again falsely claiming the election was rigged. 

The poll shows more Republicans are also losing trust in the U.S. election system. 

It found 68 percent of Republicans think the election was rigged. 

And those respondents were concerned vote counters tipped the results in Biden's favor.

The poll also found less trust in the election among adults overall.

55 percent of adults thought it was "legitimate and accurate" — down seven points from their poll after the 2016 election. 

 

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<![CDATA[Study Says 12 Million To Lose Unemployment Aid on Dec. 26]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 19:09:00 -0600
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A new report from unemployment researchers finds 12 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance the day after Christmas.

The Century Foundation says aid for over 7 million gig and self-employed workers will expire.

As will benefits for over 4.5 million people getting extended unemployment insurance — after exhausting regular benefits.  

The eviction moratorium, student loan forgiveness, and other protections also expire at the end of year. 

More than 21 million Americans rely on unemployment benefits right now.

In Wisconsin alone, 94,000 people are waiting on money that hasn't showed up. 

Newsy's sister station in Milwaukee, WTMJ, spoke to more than 80 people who went months without seeing a dime. 

More than a month after our colleagues started contacting the state's unemployment agency, nearly a dozen people say they've finally gotten benefits. 

Without a federal extension of aid, "It will be a crippling end to one of our darkest years," the study's co-author Andrew Stettner told the Hill.

 

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<![CDATA[House Democrats Nominate Nancy Pelosi As House Speaker]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 19:08:00 -0600
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House Democrats Wednesday nominated Nancy Pelosi for another term as Speaker of the House.

Pelosi still needs to secure 218 votes in January to stay in power, but she's got the backing.

The longtime congresswoman from California urged Democrats — especially those still trading blame for lost seats — to unite and focus on the real issues, like the stalled coronavirus relief bill. There is no movement on a second deal — and key financial protections from the first round expire in a little over a month. 

 

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<![CDATA[New York City Closing Public Schools Thursday]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:49:00 -0600
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New York City is closing public schools Thursday and going with all online education. 

The city's COVID positivity rate is rising and passed the 3 percent benchmark set by school leaders to shut down. 

The district is the largest in the country, with more than a million students. But last month, officials say only about a quarter of them were back in a physical classroom.

 

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<![CDATA[Uptick In Infants, Children In Utah Intensive Care]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:48:00 -0600
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Doctors are trying to end the myth that children don't get as sick from the virus.  

In Utah, physicians say they're seeing an uptick in infants and children in ICU's.  

While most children only have mild symptoms, some suffer from multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome, which can come after COVID. The syndrome frequently affects children’s hearts.

Doctors also say it's more likely that kids will get sick from family and friends than at school. And getting sick now can impact physical health in the future. 

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<![CDATA[Nursing Home Virus Infections At All-Time High]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:46:00 -0600
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Infections are at an all-time high in nursing homes. 

The most recent available federal data is only from the first week of November. It shows more than 10,000 positive cases, which is higher than the peak in July. 

Florida alone reported over 1,300 new cases among nursing home residents last week.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted visiting restrictions at nursing homes a little over two months ago. And there aren't plans to go back.

On Wednesday, a group of mayors across the state urged DeSantis to act. 

DeSantis has been clear about his unwillingness to shut down again. 

The state — once the epicenter of the virus — entered phase 3 of its reopening plan in September.

And local governments are banned from imposing their own restrictions or closures. 

The COVID Tracking Project says while less than 1% of Americans live in nursing homes, these care facilities account for 40% of deaths.

 

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<![CDATA[What's Next For A COVID-19 Vaccine?]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:32:00 -0600
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It’s been nine months since Jennifer Haller, the first COVID vaccine tester, got a shot during Moderna’s Phase 1 trial. Now, Moderna and Pfizer's vaccine candidates are at the head of the race, each reportedly working in about 95% of those studied.

"That is way more than expected and it's wonderful news," Haller said.

Pfizer has said it plans to submit a request for FDA emergency approval in the coming days. Moderna will likely follow in a few weeks. But don’t expect the FDA to green light any COVID vaccine quickly. Officials have said it will take weeks at the minimum. 

"The decision will ultimately be determined by the scientists when we get the data set. This is new for FDA. It's new for the country, new for the world. But all of the candidate vaccines will go through the same process," Steven Hahn, FDA Commissioner, said recently. 

The application process is rolling, meaning vaccine makers have already had to submit things like manufacturing plans, and initial analysis. They’ll also have to publicly present their final findings to an advisory board of medical and science experts. That board provides recommendations to the FDA and is set to meet next in early December. 

"What really is happening is this independent process that is looked at by people with no skin in the game, financially or otherwise. I see the data. I get reported the data to me, the FDA sees the data soon it will be published with the entire community, will see the data," Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID director, said.

“We're at a point where we're really seeing the promise, where we're seeing that even these new technologies may produce vaccines that are going to help us meet this need. But we're waiting for more data, more follow up. And then, even as that becomes available, hopefully in the next couple of months and for other candidates, we also have the issue of having enough vaccine to really make an impact on the pandemic," Dr. Jesse Goodman, former chief of the FDA's vaccine division said.

Distribution will definitely pose some challenges. Health officials say if a vaccine is approved, vaccinations could start in December, but supply will be limited at first. 

"Probably the first month or two is really focusing on those high risk, essential workers with limited supply of maybe two vaccines," Dr. Mark McClellan Director, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy said. 

Drugmakers Novavax, Astra Zeneca, and Johnson and Johnson are also in the late stage, large scale phase 3 clinical trials for their potential COVID vaccines.  Not everyone will get the same vaccine if multiples get emergency approvals. Federal health officials say widespread vaccination won’t be until April to June of next year. 

Meanwhile, during the hopeful news, health officials say the best thing we can all do is follow public health advice. Neal Browing, another one of the very first human vaccine testers, put it this way:

"I'm taking every precaution that is recommended by every other person. I don't treat this like I'm invulnerable and I'm going to go out and risk it. It's just not worth it," he said.

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<![CDATA[How Will Joe Biden Change Foreign Policy?]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 16:35:00 -0600
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"I really wanted to congratulate you and to congratulate Kamala Harris," French President Emmanuel Macron told President-elect Joe Biden on the phone.

America's allies seem eager to start working with Biden — apparently viewing him as a more reliable partner than President Donald Trump. 

Where President Trump vowed "America first," Biden wants to restore America's leadership in the world.

On day one, he says he will rejoin the Paris climate accord and the WHO. He's also open to the idea of reentering the Iran nuclear deal under certain conditions. 

"The Biden administration will have a clear sense of what it hopes to accomplish. That's the sort of thing that I think the allies appreciate because it makes things kind of predictable and understandable," said Ian Hurd, a  professor of political science at Northwestern University.

But diplomacy and rhetoric aside, experts say don't expect the world to change too much under a Biden administration. 

"There's not much of a mandate for any dramatic changes outside of restoring what was the case in the Obama administration," said Thomas Schwartz, a professor of history and political science at Vanderbilt University.

With the pandemic and the economy to tackle at home first, Biden's international agenda may be minimal at first. Even after the pandemic, he will likely avoid major world entanglements. 

"Biden was part of an administration that got the United States into Libya and now looks at that as a big mistake," said Schwartz.

Under a Biden presidency, America's rivals will face a more unified West — ready to impose sanctions or revive diplomacy in unison. 

"The United States will be working with its allies, for example, to hammer out new trading rules with China or sanctions toward Russia," said Schwartz.

Some analysts hope Biden's diplomatic approach will lead to arms control deals or other conciliations with countries like Iran and Russia.

"It will be refreshing if the Biden government doesn't come in, assuming that it has implacable enemies in the world that it needs to degrade," said Hurd.

However, rising tensions with China are not going away. And Biden's plan to contain China's growing world influence is in line with current policy. 

"This summer you had Secretary of State Pompeo talk about the desire to create an alliance of democracies to balance against China both in the economic and military sphere. But that echoes a phrase that's been used by members of Biden's campaign," said Paul Poast a professor of political science at the University of Chicago.

Biden may also seek to build on President Trump's legacy on North Korea.

"I don't think the Biden administration is going to go back to a policy of 'we can't talk with Kim Jong Il, we can't meet with him. No, we can do those things, but we just need to be better at following up on the details and actually trying to get concrete steps taken by North Korea," said Poast. 

Analysts also expect Biden to carefully build on the momentum of the Arab-Israeli rapprochement in the Middle East, fostered by the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Ben Schamisso, Newsy.

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<![CDATA[Georgia To Conclude Presidential Election Tally Tonight]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 16:17:00 -0600
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It’s deadline day in Georgia to finish hand-counting five million votes in the presidential race, where President-elect Joe Biden leads by more than 13,000 votes.

This statewide audit is technically not a recount. It’s part of a new state law to ensure the election machines counted votes correctly.

The process did reveal some ballots that weren’t properly uploaded into the system. 

Gabriel Sterling – who oversaw implementing the new system – says there was no evidence of fraud.

Gabriel Sterling: "There were always going to be some illegal votes and we’re trying to track those down and investigate them, but nothing to say the outcome will be different based on what we’re seeing so far from this audit."

The Associated Press – which Newsy relies on – still hasn’t declared a winner in Georgia. 

Once the race results are certified, President Trump can still request a recount if the margin is less than half a percentage point.

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<![CDATA[El Paso Jail Inmates Paid $2 Per Hour To Assist With COVID]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 16:07:00 -0600
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El Paso County has requested the Texas National Guard mobilize to assist with the growing coronavirus crisis, including moving bodies to mobile morgues. But there’s one problem: There's no timetable for when help will arrive. 

The county sheriff’s office told Newsy that inmates are helping out in the interim. Those inmates are being paid $2 an hour. 

While officials wouldn't disclose all the work these inmates are doing, this is exclusive video of those inmates loading bodies into "mobile morgue" trailers. 

Krish Gundu is the executive director and co-founder of the inmate advocacy group Texas Jail Project.

"We have a callous disregard for human life. ... We think it's OK to put them in these risky situations, while at the same time denying them access to testing and medical care and free phone calls with their families," Krish Gundu said. 

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office told Newsy in an email this program is "100% voluntary" and that the $2 per hour figure is "simply the higher end of average pay per jail trustee across the country."

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, average pay for inmates across the country ranges from 14 cents to $1.41 per hour, depending on the state and the nature of the job. 

During the pandemic, we've seen other examples of incarcerated workers playing crucial roles in completing government tasks. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo used state prison labor to produce hand sanitizer while paying those prisoners well below $2 per hour.

"Is this what you would pay an essential worker who would be doing the job if you didn't have an inmate to do the job?" said Gundu. "I mean, why the difference? If you're treating them as if you're making them do essential work, are they going to have access to the vaccines when they come on? Are they going to be one of the first people to get those vaccines? There is no equity in that conversation."

And while some El Paso County commissioners voiced objections to the $2 wage, a motion to pay the workers more money failed to gain traction.  

"It just seems illogical for them to pay $12 an hour for folks who are in the jail as inmates when folks outside the jail are gonna want that opportunity," said El Paso County Precinct 3 Commissioner Vincent Perez. 

At the moment, El Paso is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks in Texas. More than 1,100 people are hospitalized in the county, and one in six COVID hospitalizations in the state are in El Paso. 

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<![CDATA[At Least Six Dead After Hurricane Iota Devastates Nicaragua]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 15:28:00 -0600
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Landslides and flooding are still a threat in Nicaragua and Honduras days after Hurricane Iota's arrival. 

The storm made landfall as a category four hurricane just two weeks after Hurricane Eta battered the same area. 

Iota brought down trees and telephone poles, making it difficult for authorities to access the damage. 

Tens of thousands of people were moved to shelters to avoid rising water. 

At least six deaths have been reported and several other people are still missing. 

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<![CDATA[Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley Tests Positive For COVID]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 12:00:00 -0600
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Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley announced he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Before his positive test he had said he was quarantining after being exposed to the coronavirus.

The 87-year-old Republican senator has not said how he was exposed, but Grassley was in the senate voting on Monday.

His office said he was not experiencing any symptoms.

Grassley is the longest serving Republican senator and third in line of presidential succession.

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<![CDATA[Some Stores Are Limiting Purchases As Shoppers Stockpile]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 11:59:00 -0600
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Grocery shelves are starting to look like they did back in March.

People are stocking up on goods like toilet paper and cleaning supplies as coronavirus cases grow. 

Some supermarket chains are re-imposing limits on the number of goods people can buy.

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<![CDATA[LAX To Offer On-Site Rapid Testing]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 11:32:00 -0600
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Travelers at the Los Angeles airport will be able to get tested for COVID on-site.

For $150, you can get a test and results within 24 hours.

That won't let travelers know before their flight, but it could let them know if they should quarantine at their destination. 

LAX is set to have rapid testing on-site next month. 

Health officials still say you should avoid non-essential travel. 

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<![CDATA[Pro-democracy Protesters In Bangkok Rally Outside Parliament]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 11:00:00 -0600
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Pro-democracy protesters in Thailand gathered near the country's parliament building as lawmakers discussed changes to the constitution.

The demonstrators were there to show support for new amendments. However, police used a water cannon on protesters after they breached a barricade and approached a parliament building.

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on seven potential constitutional amendments.

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<![CDATA[Rocket Attack On Baghdad's Green Zone Kills Child, Injures 5 Others]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 09:55:00 -0600
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Rockets struck Iraq's capital city of Baghdad Tuesday, killing a child and wounding five civilians and two security officials.

Four rockets struck within the heavily-fortified Green Zone, with one landing near the U.S. Embassy.

The attacks appears appear to be the end of a truce proposed by Iran-backed militia groups in October. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The rocket launches came days after the same day the U.S. announced it would reduce the number of troops in Iraq by mid-January.

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<![CDATA[FAA Lifts Ban On Boeing 737 Max]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 09:43:00 -0600
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The FAA approved the return of the 737 Max plane.

The FAA said Boeing must make updates to software and training to begin flying the aircraft again.

The plane has been grounded since march 2019 after two crashes that killed 346 people.

Boeing and FAA regulators were blamed for major flaws that caused the crashes. 

The lift on the ban comes as air travel has been decimated due to the pandemic. 

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<![CDATA[GA Secretary Of State Says Attack On Mail Voting Cost Pres. Trump]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 07:21:00 -0600
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In Georgia, the state is recounting votes because of the slim margin between President Trump and Biden. 

Now the state's Republican secretary of state says President Trump's attack on mail-in voting may have cost him the election there.

"Those 24,000 people did not vote in the fall. They did not vote absentee because they were told by the president, 'Don’t vote absentee it’s not secure,' but then they did not vote in person," said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. "He would have won by 10,000 votes. He actually suppressed, depressed his own voting base."

Those 24,000 votes he's referring to are the number of Georgia Republicans who voted absentee in the state's June primary, but did not vote in the general election. 

Another Georgia county found more than 2,700 missing votes yesterday, but Biden still leads by more than 12,000 in the vote count. 

Counties must complete the recount by midnight tonight so the state can certify results by Wednesday. 

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<![CDATA[Trump Campaign Suing Nevada]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 06:57:00 -0600
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With its chances of successful legal challenges in Michigan and Pennsylvania dwindling, the Trump campaign is now targeting other states.

It announced a lawsuit in Nevada to keep Joe Biden from winning the state.

The suit asks that president trump be declared the winner in Nevada or that results be made void and no winner declared. 

The campaign alleges voter fraud, but does not provide any evidence to back up that claim.

Nevada's secretary of state says Biden won the state by more than 33,000 votes. 

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<![CDATA[Pfizer Now Says Vaccine 95% Effective In Final Results]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 06:17:00 -0600
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Pfizer says its potential COVID-19 vaccine was 95 percent effective in final results. 

That was up from the 90 percent it announced last week.

And the company says it will submit the candidate for regulatory approval from the FDA within days.

Pfizer, which developed the vaccine with BioNTech, says that of more than 41,000 adults who participated in trials — there were no serious side effects.

Pfizer says it can produce 50 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year and 1.3 billion in 2021.

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<![CDATA[President Trump Orders A Drawdown Of 3K Troops From Afghanistan & Iraq]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2020 19:50:00 -0600
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Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced a drawdown of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq that will be complete just before the inauguration.

This comes 8 days after Defense Secretary Mark Esper was fired. 

Esper had opposed a drawdown at this point in Afghanistan saying conditions there are too unstable.

Miller says this move comes close to fulfilling a Trump campaign promise to remove all troops from what he has called “endless wars.”

Miller stressed that the withdrawal of 3,000 troops “does not equate change” to U.S. policies or objectives.

"This decision by the president is based on continuous engagement with this national security cabinet over the past several months, including ongoing discussions with me and my colleagues across the United States government," Miller said. 

The decision is causing waves even among some Republicans on Capitol Hill....like Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas who said in a statement:

“I believe that these additional reductions of American troops from terrorist areas are a mistake. Further reductions in Afghanistan will also undercut negotiations there; the Taliban has done nothing – met no condition – that would justify this cut.”

Democrats have also spoken out since the announcement. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia stated,

“We need to bring our troops home, but we must do so as part of a strategy that does not jeopardize the safety of Americans in the U.S. and abroad. There was no doubt the final days of this administration would be tumultuous, but the haphazard nature of President Trump’s decision will harm our national security and jeopardize countless American, Afghan, and Iraqi lives.”

The drawdown of 3,000 troops is expected to be completed by January 15th. The Pentagon would not elaborate on which units will be returning home. 

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