November 4, 2020 News Summary
US Politics and Economics
Yesterday, November 3, 2020, was election night, when millions of Americans voted mostly for either Former Vice President Joe Biden or Incumbent President Donald Trump. As of 12:45 PM CT, the winner remains unknown. Currently, the NY Times has Biden at 238 electoral votes and Trump at 214 electoral votes, with Biden having 50.2% (70.1 million) of all votes compared to Trump’s 48.2% (67.3 million). Currently, Biden has almost all of the states that Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won in 2016, and is expected to pick up Arizona (a swing state that Trump won in 2016). In Nevada, Wisconsin, and Michigan, Biden has a razor-thin lead, but in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia, he currently trails the President by varying margins, from 1.4% in North Carolina (77 000 votes) to 8.1% in Pennsylvania (Trump leads by 536,000 votes there, but only 64% of ballots have been counted). However, as of now, the race is too close to definitively call, with both candidates having possible paths to 270.
UPDATE 1:20 pm: Biden has won Wisconsin, flipping the state that was narrowly given to Trump four years ago.
UPDATE 3:43 pm: With a 1.2 point lead, the NYT and NBC have called Michigan for Biden, flipping the state that was narrowly given to Trump four years ago.
As for the Senate Race, the NYT’s race tracker says that Democrats have 47 seats (including the two independent senators, who caucus with the Democrats) and Republicans also have 47. The Senate races in 6 states (Alaska, Michigan, North Carolina, both Georgia elections, and Maine) remain uncalled. So far, Democrats have flipped two seats and Republicans have flipped 1, giving the Dems a 1 seat net gain. They would need three more seats to tie the senate, or four seats for a simple majority.
Finally, for the House of Representatives, Democrats are expected to retain control, with 197 seats compared to the Republicans’ 185, however, the Democrats did lose 5 seats.
A legal cloud over almost 127,000 votes cast in Harris County was temporarily lifted Sunday when the Texas Supreme Court rejected a request by some Republican activists to throw out early balloting from drive-thru polling sites in the state's most populous and largely Democratic county. Texas Tribune reports, “The Republican plaintiffs, however, are pursuing a similar lawsuit in federal court, hoping to get the votes thrown out by arguing that drive-thru voting violates the U.S. constitution. A hearing in that case is set for Monday morning in a Houston-based federal district court, one day before Election Day. A rejection of the votes would constitute a monumental disenfranchisement of voters — drive-thru ballots account for about 10% of all in-person ballots cast during early voting in Harris County.”
According to CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, as of November 4, 2020, 12:32 PM, there are over 9.35 million cases and almost 232k deaths nationwide. California leads with the most cases at a total of 934k, and Texas follows by a total of 916k cases.
(ABC13) Houston Methodist researchers study that the virus has mutated in such a way that it spreads easier. The medical director of microbiology at Houston Methodist, Dr. Wesley Long, cautions, "The virus is still out there in the community, still transmitting person-to-person and as we move into the winter months and it gets cold, people tend to congregate more indoors."
Science and Technology
According to BBC, the US has become the first to “formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.” President Trump announced the move in June 2017, but the UN said that the US had to wait 3 years for that to come into effect. However, the US can still rejoin it if a president chooses to do so.
A team from MIT has created an underwater navigation system called Underwater Backscatter Localization (UBL). “Sound is power-hungry,” says Adib. For tracking devices that produce acoustic signals, “their batteries can drain very quickly.” That makes it hard to precisely track objects or animals for a long time-span — changing a battery is no simple task when it’s attached to a migrating whale. So, the team sought a battery-free way to use sound.
Southeast US Weather
(Atlantic) In the Atlantic, Eta hit the Mediterranean a few days ago and now has the chance to hit Florida. It will remain will slow down as it turns away from the south of Mexico this Friday, before strengthening across the Gulf towards Florida.
(Pacific) Tropical storm Odalys, located west of Mexico, is currently making a turn south as it slows down to less than 39 mph wind with no threat of making landfall.
(Local) Currently, skies will remain sunny with some partial clouds. The temperature will hit the high of 83 degrees Fahrenheit later this week but, late next week, is expected to drop back down to the mid-seventies late. Winds are reaching a maximum of 12 mph.
US Politics and Economics: Dylan and Annabelle
Texas Politics: Stephanie, Vicki, and Megan
Health: Matthew, David, and Owen
Science and Technology: Bryan, Yiqi, Amelia, and Joseph L.
Southeast US Weather: Jade, Aiden, and Simon
(All writers and editors are in middle to high school)