August 8, 2020 News Summary
Updated: Aug 9, 2020
US Politics and Economics
The US added 1.76 million jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell from 11.1 percent to 10.2 percent. While these numbers seem to look pleasurable, economists fear that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues spreading in large parts of the country, the economic recovery is flattening out. There is a growing concern that the pandemic is making job losses permanent, as the safety net and benefits for the jobless is ending. A new analysis by the California Policy Lab found that 57 percent of people who filed for unemployment in the state either lost their jobs or had their hours slashed. Although this seems very bleak, unemployment numbers are still heading in the right direction. The fate of small businesses are also worrisome and alarmed. Eric Groves, CEO of tech firm, Alignable, found 12% of businesses that had been reopened were asked to reclose again.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to skyrocket in Texas, multiple requests have been made to lawmakers for the safety of Texan citizens. Per Business Insider’s article, “Houston Mayor Says the City's Coronavirus Crisis Could've Been Avoided if Texas's Governor Hadn't Obstructed…,” earlier this summer, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner along with mayors from other cities asked for the permission of Texas Governor Greg Abbot to make wearing masks compulsory. Turner claims that "in March and April and May, when we had local control and the tools that we needed, this virus was under control and it was very much manageable. It was only when those tools were taken away that the numbers went in a different direction." Originally Abbot rejected the idea, but only two weeks later, the assembly for the order became vitally necessary.
Texas has been a majorly red state ever since the late 1990s. However, according to Texas Tribune’s report, with the November 2020 elections growing nearer and nearer, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which has been campaigning to win Texas over, are growingly confident about an upcoming opportunity. DCCC Executive Director Lucinda Guinn praises, "I feel very encouraged by Texas. I think Texas is really a core piece of our offensive battlefield, and as we get closer and closer to Election Day, every day we become more offensive in our posture." While both parties are contending hard to please Texan citizens, only time will tell the conclusions in such a time of uncertainty.
According to CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, as of August 8, 2020, 12:15 PM (CDT), there are a total of 4,920,369 COVID-19 cases recorded in the United States. CBS News reports that an investigation by The American Academy of Pediatrics discovered that 97,000 children were infected by COVID-19 in just the last two weeks of July.
In an attempt to expedite the process of producing a vaccine for the hostile virus, the White House announced ‘Operation Warp Speed’. Whilst a normal vaccine undergoes multiple phases and trials that could take years, the government is investing in the mass production of a possible unproven vaccine. From the public’s view, this operation gives the image of rushing cutting corners, but officials have assured that no safety tests or experimentation are being skipped-- just accelerated.
Per CNBC’s article, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, claims that the chance of a COVID-19 vaccine being highly effective is “not great” and even a vaccine with 98 percent guaranteed protection can only have a slim chance of operating correctly. Although currently, the FDA allows the use of a COVID-19 vaccine with 50 percent chance at effectiveness.
World Politics and Economics
According to BBC News, four days after a huge explosion in Beirut, Lebanon that left at least 158 people dead, thousands of Lebanese protesters took to the streets, having several throwing stones at police reinforcement, who retaliated with tear gas. Similar to anti-government protests that erupted last October, the economic crisis and collapsing currency caused a huge level of mistrust in citizens, and the blast only reignited anger at what many see as a corrupt political class.
On the day before the presidential election in Belarus, a country in Eastern Europe, the campaign manager, Maria Moroz, for the leading candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, was detained. The government has not addressed the case and the reason Moroz is being held, but preliminaries to the election have shown the rise of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Additionally, ever since Alexander Lukashenko sought out a sixth term in office in Sunday's vote, opposition rallies have been larger than ever. Nonetheless, a representative for Tikhanovskaya previously stated that Moroz was detained on Thursday after visiting the Lithuanian embassy in Minsk, but the ministry denied she any apprehension, stating to the Agence France-Presse that the campaign manager had been "invited for a conversation". Currently, Lukashenko’s second rival is in prison, and his third rival has fled the country.
Southeast US Weather
Presently, according to Global Forecast System models (GFS), there are no major tropical systems in the Atlantic ocean, except a minor tropical disturbance in which the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts will no longer develop. However, several sources are wary of a strong tropical wave off the coast of Africa, but will take until next week to fully fall into place.
To get more live coverage of the latest updates on the tropics, visit the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Tidbits, CyclonicWx, or watch Force Thirteen.
In Houston Texas, today and tomorrow have a high of 94 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The chance of precipitation is 22 percent and 14 percent of rain later this evening. Rain Clouds are circling around Houston, but a storm will manage to raise precipitation levels by 3 percent. The wind in Houston blows lightly at 7 knots to the south and will slow down to 3 knots mowing through Sunday evening.
All local information is gathered from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Please remember to always stay safe and check in with your local weather center for news and weather preparation tips.
US Politics and Economics: Dylan, Miranda, Yijia, Caleb, and Eric
Texas Politics: Stephanie and Vicki
Health: Matthew, Megan, Allison, and Owen
World Politics and Economics: Joseph, William, and Jake
Southeast US Weather: Jade, Aiden, and Simon
Editor: VIA and Susanna
(All writers and editors are in middle to high school)