Well, that was quick. After a few weeks of rising sales, airline bookings are trending downwards again because of rising Covid-19 cases. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day.
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The US is hurtling toward 3 million recorded Covid-19 cases, hundreds of scientists have signed a letter warning about the dangers of airborne transmission, and a new model has projected a total of 200,000 Americans may die by November unless almost everyone wears a face mask. Oh, and the school year is just weeks away. President Trump has urged schools to reopen despite widespread concerns about testing and safety logistics, and Florida has mandated that all schools must reopen in the fall even though the state has become a major coronavirus hotspot. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci says he doesn’t believe there will be a federal mandate for people to get a coronavirus vaccine once one becomes available. In Australia, Melbourne is now under a six-week lockdown as the country battles another wave of coronavirus cases. And in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro announced he has tested positive for the virus. He’s been criticized for downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic for months.
President Trump will meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador today. Despite obvious tensions between the two leaders, it’s expected to be a congenial affair meant to show off the implementation of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal. This is the first time Mexico’s President has left the country since taking office in December 2018, and critics have questioned the meeting’s timing. (Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backed out of a trip to the US earlier this week, citing coronavirus concerns.) However, both Trump and López Obrador have been scrutinized for their response to the pandemic, so even though Trump has long fostered enmity with Mexico, the meeting will give them a chance to shake hands, smile, and focus on something else.
3. Election 2020
Another round of primary results is bringing the full picture of November’s general election into focus. In New Jersey and Delaware, early returns show Joe Biden continuing to add to his delegate count for the Democratic presidential nomination. In Kentucky, Amy McGrath won the Democratic Senate primary at the end of June, which means she’ll face Mitch McConnell in the fall. Even if she doesn’t win, McGrath could hurt the GOP if she forces the Senate Majority Leader and other Senate Republicans to spend time making sure she doesn’t gain ground in the race. In general, several key Democratic Senate challengers are outraising their GOP incumbents, spurring anxiety over who will control the Senate after November’s results. Pushes for mail-in voting are still coming on strong, too: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker recently signed a bill allowing all registered voters in the Bay State to vote by mail in the upcoming primary and general elections.
The Trump administration has begun formally withdrawing the US from the World Health Organization following months of threats and criticism against the international body. Medical associations, advocacy organizations, international allies and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have all advised President Trump not to withdraw from the organization, especially during a raging pandemic. Some have warned that withdrawal in the current environment could also interfere with clinical trials essential for developing vaccines, as well as efforts to trace the spread of the virus globally. However, Trump has repeatedly accused the organization of aiding China in allegedly covering up the origins of the coronavirus and allowing its spread. The administration has already diverted funding from the WHO, but the full withdrawal won’t go into effect until next July.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with the civil rights and activist groups behind the widespread Facebook boycott yesterday, and … it didn’t go well. Leaders of the groups blasted Facebook’s leadership after Tuesday’s meeting, saying it was a “disappointment” and “nothing more than a PR exercise.” Zuckerberg agreed to meet with the groups after major brands like The North Face, Pfizer and Levi Strauss have joined the pressure campaign over the social network’s handling of hate speech and misinformation. Going into the meeting, the groups presented Facebook with a set of demands that would address the platform’s handling of discrimination, misinformation and hate. However, they said afterward that Facebook’s leadership did not provide any specific commitments or timeframes for change. A Facebook spokesperson said the platform has established new policies banning voting and census suppression and removed more than 200 white supremacist organizations.
The MLB has unveiled its 60-game season, which will start July 23
But will it actually happen? We’ll see.
The opening match in the ‘MLS is Back’ tournament is postponed due to positive Covid-19 tests
A new comet is now visible with the naked eye
Now that 4th of July fireworks have subsided, how about gazing at space fireworks instead?
‘Hamilton’ is on Disney+, and its creator Lin Manuel Miranda is responding to the way it handles slavery
That’s how many named storms are predicted for this year’s Atlantic hurricane season — the highest prediction since 2005.
(n) the percentage of people who test positive for something (e.g. coronavirus) out of the total number of people who are tested
A lot of officials, such as Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, have pointed to a rising positivity rate to counter arguments that the increase in case numbers is simply the result of more people being tested. Miami-Dade County reported a staggering 26% positivity rate last Sunday. So, for every 100 people tested, 26% of them tested positive for coronavirus.
A cool light-bending science experiment
Learn about total internal reflection — the principle behind fiber optic cables — in this quick, satisfying demonstration. (Click here to view)