December 19, 2020 News Summary
US Politics and Economics
Congressional leaders are scrambling to pass a bill granting a roughly $900 billion coronavirus relief package, which includes a round of $600 payments, financial assistance to small businesses, money for vaccine distribution, and a whole range of other financial programs. According to CBS news, this package gives each family half of the $1,200 that was distributed to each of the 60 million Americans under the previous $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March.
Turnout in the Georgia Senate runoffs approaches presidential election levels as over 1.1 million people have voted, which is roughly the same amount of people who voted at this point in the Presidential race. According to AJC, at least 150,000 people voted early each day this week, and although votes won’t be counted until 7pm on January 5th, Democrats seem to lead in early voting constituting roughly 59% of requested ballots, though Republicans, like before, are expected have higher in-person turnout on the day of the election. The runoffs will also witness nearly 76,000 new voters who have become residents or turned 18 since November 3rd. As of currently, incumbent Republican candidate David Perdue leads slightly over Democratic challenger, John Ossoff, while the second Democratic challenger, Raphael Warnock leads significantly. Democrats still need to flip both seats to win the Senate.
Per Texas Tribune, “a federal prosecuter has joined the ongoing political fight over police funding in Texas, pinning a yearlong increase in Austin homicides in part on the state capital’s budget cut that went into effect in October.” In the first eleven months of this year compared to last year’s, homicides have increased 55%, from 29 to 45. Announced yesterday, “Operation Undaunted” will be a new joint law enforcement group that will target shootings, repeat crimes, robberies and violent crime in Austin.
According to, CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, as of December 19, 2020, there are 17.39 million cases nationwide and 312k deaths. Currently, California leads with 1.76 million cases, while Texas follows with 1.55 million cases.
(NBC) A newly discovered variant of COVID has been found to spread faster. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a news conference that the toughest set of COVID-19 restrictions will be put in place starting tomorrow.
Science and Technology
A combination of astrophysical measurements has allowed researchers to put new constraints on the radius of a typical neutron star and provide a novel calculation of the Hubble constant that indicates the rate at which the universe is expanding. Ingo Tews, a theorist in Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology group at Los Alamos National Laboratory, finds that "the radius of a typical neutron star is about 11.75 kilometers and the Hubble constant is approximately 66.2 kilometers per second per megaparsec.”
US Politics and Economics: Dylan, Miranda, Caleb, and Annabelle
Texas Politics: Stephanie, Vicki, and Megan
Health: Matthew, David, and Owen
Science and Technology: Bryan
(All writers and editors are in middle to high school)