States across the country are crying out for help from the federal government as the coronavirus takes its toll, not only on their populations but on their budgets. And they need it before Joe Biden gets sworn in as president next year.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden has reportedly told his staff he isn’t interested in investigating or prosecuting Donald Trump. Apparently he doesn’t want to be defined by his predecessor, which, I mean, frankly, sounds like a personal problem.
And lastly, new research suggests that there’s good reason for hope that people who catch coronavirus and get better gain a long-lasting immunity. This is going to make it easier to get people vaccinated, the experts say.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Joe Biden has privately told advisers that he doesn't want his presidency to be consumed by investigations of his predecessor, despite pressure from some Democrats who want inquiries into Donald Trump. That’s according to NBC, citing five people familiar with the discussions. Biden has raised concerns that investigations would further divide a country he is trying to unite and risk making every day of his presidency about Trump, NBC’s sources said. One adviser said Biden has made it clear that he QUOTE just wants to move on
ENDQUOTE. The upside is, any decisions by Biden’s Justice Department regarding Trump, his staff, his associates, et cetera, wouldn’t affect investigations by state officials. That includes Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who has fought to obtain Trump’s tax returns.
Separately, Biden announced a number of staff appointments yesterday, the Times reports. Mike Donilon, the chief strategist for his campaign and a decades-long friend and adviser, will serve as a White House senior adviser. Donilon will be especially involved in speechwriting and messaging. Biden’s White House counsel will be Dana Remus, who served as general counsel to the Biden-Harris campaign and previously was general counsel of the Obama Foundation. She is a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Julie Chavez Rodriguez, a former national political director for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign, will run the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Annie Tomasini, now Biden’s traveling chief of staff, will be director of Oval Office operations.
And yet there is still no White House job for Gritty. I’m starting to wonder if Biden is really President of Antifa after all.
MASSIVE STATE BUDGET SHORTFALLS
This may not shock regular listeners, but the Associated Press reports that it is shaping up to be a bleak winter. With more shutdowns looming and a vaccine months away from wide distribution, governors across the United States are pleading for more help from Washington.
Renewed restrictions on indoor businesses, overloaded hospitals and the coming end of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans have led governors to paint a dire picture of the months ahead. That is, unless the federal government steps in with more money and leadership to help beat back the resurgence of the coronavirus.
Between now and June 2022, state and local governments could be facing a shortfall of $400 billion or more. The cost of distributing tens of millions of doses of a vaccine next year is also emerging as a major concern for governors. State health authorities have called on Congress to provide $8.4 billion for that purpose.
On a conference call yesterday of Democratic governors from the Midwest, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called for a sequel to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act adopted by Congress in March. Casey Katims, federal liaison for Washington Governor
Jay Inslee, said the situation there is too dire for the state to wait until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in January 20, according to the AP.
There are more mundane problems brewing, as well, thanks to the pandemic. NBC News reports that grocery stores are taking new steps to avoid the empty shelves that were the hallmark of the first weeks of the pandemic. Supermarket chains like Kroger and Publix have started to limit in-store and online purchases on products such as toilet paper, cleaning supplies and paper towels to reduce stress on supply chains. They say they’re trying to discourage hoarding. Announcing rationing should do the trick! But please, folks, do try to leave something on the shelf for others.
COVID IMMUNITY RESEARCH PROMISING
Here’s a bit of relatively promising news, also from the New York Times. It’s about the results of the most comprehensive and long-ranging study of immune memory to the coronavirus to date. The Times cautions that the research, published online, has not been peer-reviewed nor published in a scientific journal.
Yet the research also provides the most hopeful answer yet to a question that has shadowed plans for widespread vaccination. The question: How long might immunity to the coronavirus last? The answer, according to this new study: Years, maybe even decades.
The findings should come as a relief to experts worried that immunity to the virus might be short-lived, and that vaccines might have to be administered repeatedly to keep the pandemic under control. In recent months, reports of waning antibody levels have created worry that immunity to the coronavirus may disappear in a few months, leaving people vulnerable to the virus again. But many immunologists have noted that it is natural for antibody levels to drop. Besides, the Times says, antibodies are just one arm of the immune system.
The findings of the new study are also consistent with encouraging evidence emerging from other labs. Think of this as a silver lining to an unfortunate positive coronavirus diagnosis: you probably won’t get it again, at least not soon after shaking it.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out one of the Trump campaign's longest running post-election complaints yesterday. According to NBC News, five of seven justices ruled that officials in Philadelphia did not violate state law by maintaining at least fifteen feet of separation between observers and the workers counting ballots. It’s a blow to Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who, per the Times, asked Trump’s campaign to pay him a day rate of twenty thousand dollars. Giuliani denies it. The man is legendary.
More election news, this from Michigan by way of the Washington Post: The two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted against certifying the ballot count in the Detroit area last night, leaving the four-member board in a deadlock. The move means that the largest county in Michigan has failed to certify the vote by yesterday’s deadline. The issue now moves to state board, which has until December 13 to reach a final decision certifying the winner of the election statewide. But federal law says electors must be chosen by December 8, so... keep an eye on Michigan.
Iowa’s Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, said yesterday that he tested positive for Covid-19. Grassley is the second-oldest person in the Senate at age 87, after Diane Feinstein of California. He’s also the most senior Republican in the chamber and president pro tempore of the Senate, which makes him third in line to the presidency, per NBC. The more you know!
A new study reported in the Guardian says that one percent of people cause half of all global carbon emissions from aviation. Stefan Gössling of Sweden, who led the new study, said QUOTE If you want to resolve climate change, then we should start at the top, where a few ‘super emitters’ contribute massively to global warming ENDQUOTE. It’s really not cool to be a frequent flier anymore!
NOV 18, 2020 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn