5 things to know for October 19: Coronavirus, stimulus, election, Whitmer, France

This year’s historic wildfire season just won’t let up. New blazes in Colorado have destroyed homes and forced hundreds of people to evacuate, and new fires are burning in Utah, too.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus 

The fall surge is upon us. The US is averaging more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases a day, and 10 states reported their highest single-day case counts last Friday. Now, only two states, Hawaii and Vermont, are seeing a significant improvement in their numbers. It’s the same story in Europe, where citizens and local leaders in the UK, France and Spain are balking at another round of potential restrictions. Italy also just announced new coronavirus measures. Meanwhile, US drug company Vaxart is under investigation for allegedly exaggerating its involvement in the US government’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine program. The company’s announcement that it had been picked to get vaccine development funding drove up its stock price, but the Department of Health and Human Services says Vaxart wasn’t chosen.

2. Stimulus 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Trump administration’s lead negotiator, have until the end of the day tomorrow to reach a coronavirus stimulus agreement if they want a bill settled by Election Day because of the legislative process that must play out in the House and Senate before a deal is done. Democrats hope this quick push means the Republican-led Senate may capitulate to their desires for a big-ticket bill. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still wants a leaner deal and says there may be Senate votes early this week on piecemeal issues like a stand-alone Paycheck Protection Program bill to help small businesses.

3. Election 2020

The US presidential election is just over two weeks away, and 27 million people have already cast their ballots. Early voting opens this week in many states, including today in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, North Dakota and parts of Florida. Georgia, which has been plagued by long voting lines, continues to set new daily early voting records. Meanwhile, President Trump and Joe Biden made some of their final appeals to voters this weekend. For Trump, that meant a large rally in Nevada where he tried to court suburban women voters and denounced coronavirus safety measures. The two men will meet for the final presidential debate this Thursday.

4. Kidnapping plot

Videos, photos and text messages among the people charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are revealing more about their alleged plot. The images and messages appear to show that the group engaged in tactical training with large weapons, surveilled Whitmer’s house and planned to use explosive devices in their attack. Though the Justice Department has filed serious charges against six alleged conspirators, President Trump continued to attack Whitmer on the campaign trail for her approach to the coronavirus and encouraged chants of “Lock her up!” at a rally. Whitmer and others decried his actions, saying Trump was inciting violence. Lara Trump, the President’s daughter-in-law and campaign adviser, said his rally behavior was just him “having fun.”

5. France

Demonstrators crowded the streets of French neighborhoods this weekend to mourn the death of teacher Samuel Paty and laud the importance of free speech. Paty was beheaded on Friday in a case that is now being handled by the national anti-terrorist prosecutor. Investigators believe Paty was killed because he organized a lesson on freedom of expression around the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The attacker has been identified as an 18-year-old Russian refugee of Chechen origin. He was shot dead in the same area where the attack took place.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays are going to the World Series 

And the socially distanced, audio-enhanced crowd goes wild!

NASA and Nokia are putting a 4G network on the moon

The aliens’ cell signal is about to get SO much better.

Chicago is the ‘rattiest city’ in America for the 6th year in a row

No no, not the most unkempt city. The rattiest! As in, the most rats … Wait, that’s not much better.

Tired of pumpkin spice? Why not try eating, you know, actual pumpkin stuff? 

Reminder: Despite the name, pumpkin spice doesn’t have any pumpkin in it!

You can now rent a private AMC theater for just $99

Yeah, you could watch a movie … or with those comfy recliners, you could just take one big collective nap.

TODAY’S NUMBER

7

That’s how many people have been killed by sharks in Australia this year, the most deaths since 1934. Australia is a hot spot for climate change, and experts say that could be a factor.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the network of people who came together.”

A statement from the Chambers-Courtier family after Holly Courtier, a 38-year-old hiker and mother, was found safe after going missing in Zion National Park for nearly two weeks. It still isn’t clear what Courtier was doing or how she survived in the vast park for so long.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Anything good on? 

Why is this praying mantis watching TV so cute? It’s not supposed to be this cute. (Click here to view.)

Blogs

Monday’s Dirt

Vancouver wants to name a street after their famous son, Ryan Reynolds.  But Ryan says ‘hard pass.’  He says he can just see traffic being bad and people saying things like ‘Ryan Reynolds is a mess’ or ‘Ryan Reynolds is really backed up.’  He says his brothers would ‘enjoy this too much.’ ‘Friends’ star, Matthew…

Friday’s Dirt

Yesterday a judge ruled that R Kelly’s sex trafficking and racketeering case will go to trial April 7th in Brooklyn.  Jurors will be selected over 10 days in mid-March. Kanye West is said to be trying to clone himself.  He is said to want an army of clones using his DNA because it’s his ‘duty…