The daily coronavirus death toll is climbing in thirty states, and Anthony Fauci says it might be a good idea to cancel Thanksgiving. You didn’t feel like cooking anyway, did you?
Meanwhile, two staff close to Kamala Harris have tested positive for coronavirus. And Joe Biden made a thoughtful contrast to Donald Trump in last night’s head-to-head TV town halls.
And lastly, YouTube joins Twitter and Facebook in cracking down on Q-Anon conspiracy theorists. The disinformation machines are going into overdrive ahead of the election.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Coronavirus cases are surging across the northern hemisphere, and public health experts are warning that the worst is yet to come. In Europe, authorities are imposing another round of curfews and restrictions. And in the United States, the lack of a coordinated response is pushing the country toward a third peak in new case numbers.
The New York Times reports that seventeen states are seeing surges unlike anything they experienced earlier in the pandemic. States including Alaska, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin reported more new cases during the seven-day stretch that ended on Wednesday than in any other week since the virus arrived in the country.
Reports of new cases are trending upward in forty one states over the last two weeks, while nine states are holding case numbers roughly steady. No state in the country is seeing a sustained decline. According to the Associated Press, the biggest surges in the Midwest and Great Plains, where resistance to wearing masks and observing other social distancing practices has been running high. Deaths per day are climbing in thirty states.
Doctor Peter Hotez, an infectious-disease specialist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, told the AP that the three months following the November 3rd presidential election could prove especially damaging when it comes to fighting the virus. Hotez said QUOTE We haven’t had much of a national strategy to begin with... People are going to be worried, scared and feeling abandoned by the federal government ENDQUOTE.
Doctor Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s point man on the coronavirus, said Americans may have to bite the bullet and cancel their plans for a big family Thanksgiving this year. Any gathering involving out-of-state travel or mingling with elderly relatives is especially discouraged. Sorry grandma, but it’s for your own good.
Harris aides catch coronavirus
One month after setting an election fundraising record, Joe Biden has done it again. The Biden campaign revealed it brought in $383 million last month, CBS News reports, up from the $365 million raised in August. September’s total included contributions from 1.1 million new donors, bringing the number of contributors to the campaign to 5.5 million.
There was a setback yesterday, however. Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris suspended in-person campaigning through Sunday after two people who were traveling with her tested positive for the coronavirus. One person who tested positive was a flight crew member. The other was Harris’s communications director, Liz Allen. Harris and her husband both tested negative yesterday.
Biden himself appeared live last night from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia for an ABC News town hall moderated by George Stephanopolous. Biden stuck mostly to describing his moderate policies in detail and trotting out a litany of supporting statistics.
Donald Trump staged a competing town hall from Miami for NBC News. Before the event, Trump dissed the network and boasted about the free airtime for his campaign. Then during it he endorsed Q-Anon conspiracy theorists as an anti-pedophilia group and said he was unsure if Democrats were a satanic cult. The competing town halls were scheduled after Trump pulled out of the second presidential debate following his coronavirus infection.
YouTube bans QAnon propaganda
YouTube took action yesterday to ban more conspiracy theory-promoting channels and videos – specifically Q-Anon and Pizzagate.
Yesterday on its blog, the company said QUOTE we are taking another step in our efforts to curb hate and harassment by removing more conspiracy theory content used to justify real- world violence ENDQUOTE. The new rules prohibit content that threatens or harrasses
someone by suggesting they are complicit in one of these harmful conspiracies. A number of popular accounts were swiftly removed shortly after the announcement, the Washington Post reported. Twitter and Facebook have already taken steps to ban Q-Anon from their platforms, so YouTube is something of a Johnny-Come-Lately.
Also this week, Twitter removed a small network of fake accounts purportedly belonging to Black supporters of Donald Trump. One of the fake accounts claimed to be a married US Marine with three children who was a newly converted Republican. It had more than eighteen thousand followers before being suspended.
Separately, both Facebook and Twitter took steps to limit readership of an article by the New York Post about alleged emails from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son Hunter. It’s rare for the social media companies to penalize a traditional media outlet. But the companies are worried about a leak of hacked and unverified documents that could help swing the November election, after taking criticism for not doing enough to fight the spread of misinformation in 2016. A little over-correction may be preferable to the status quo here.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Donald Trump yesterday boasted to a cheering crowd in Greenville, North Carolina, that federal agents last month summarily executed an anti-fascist criminal suspect from Portland, Oregon, named Michael Reinoehl. Trump has brought up Reinoehl’s killing before, but yesterday was the first time he said US Marshals made no attempt to apprehend Reinoehl before shooting him. As Trump said, QUOTE They knew who he was. They didn’t want to arrest him ENDQUOTE. Looks like America’s death squads are coming home.
Reuters reports that record gun sales in the US this year are being driven in part by a surge in first-time buyers. Many are women, minorities and politically liberal buyers who once would not have considered gun ownership. Industry figures suggest 5 million people purchased firearms for the first time in the first seven months of this year, which is, as they say on the internet, very 2020.
Six months after the complaints surfaced about working conditions in an Amazon call center in the Philippines, workers told NBC News things have only gotten worse. The subcontracted workers who answer customer calls for the Amazon Ring home alarm system are reportedly forced into QUOTE subhuman ENDQUOTE conditions where coronavirus spreads rapidly. They are speaking up despite a contractual confidentiality clause that threatens them with a fine equivalent to two years’ salary. Here you go, another reason not to buy one of those creepy surveillance cameras.
A Brazilian senator allied to far-right President Jair Bolsonaro was caught hiding, uh, dirty money in his underwear during a corruption investigation, according to Agence France- Presse. In an attempt to conceal it from the police who were raiding his home, Chico Rodrigues reportedly stuffed the equivalent of $5,300 cash QUOTE between his buttocks ENDQUOTE. He claims to have done nothing wrong. Better luck next time, Chico.
That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.
OCT 16, 2020 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn