Should you cancel your winter plans? Fewer people are planning to travel, but there are still destinations looking forward to a bump — and road trips are emerging as a hot option, too.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. Election 2020
The ticket is set. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has picked Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate, ending months of speculation and breaking several historical barriers. Harris, 55, was the first woman and the first Black woman to serve as California’s top law enforcement official. She is also the first Black woman from California to serve in the US Senate and the second overall. Now, she is the first Black and South Asian woman to grace a presidential ticket. Experts say Biden’s allies are hoping Harris’ political savvy and straight-talking demeanor will win over disaffected conservatives. The pair is set to appear together for a speech today in Wilmington, Delaware. Meanwhile, another round of primaries yesterday brought another round of key developments. Among them: Democratic freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar won in Minnesota, giving another foothold to the progressive Democratic “Squad.”
The US government has reached a $1.525 billion deal with drug manufacturer Moderna to produce and deliver 100 million doses of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine once it is approved. This is one of several big pharmaceutical deals made under the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed,” the federal push to get vaccines and therapeutics to market as soon as safely possible. The goal is to get a vaccine to Americans by the end of the year. Russia is looking to beat that time frame and says its unproven vaccine could be available to other countries by November. But medical experts worry there isn’t enough data to back up its safety or effectiveness. The director of the National Institutes of Health has issued a staunch warning against trying to release a vaccine earlier than safely possible for political reasons, saying it “cannot be allowed to happen.”
3. UK Economy
The UK has sunk into the worst recession of any major economy. The country’s economic output shrank by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020, marking the worst quarterly slump on record. Since the pandemic began, the UK has shed 730,000 jobs, and there are fears more layoffs will come when the government’s furlough program ends in October. Wages also shrank, affecting living standards. A reminder: The UK is still negotiating Brexit, which means it needs to get a trade deal done with the European Union by the end of the year. The looming specter of Brexit also means UK companies will soon have to weather additional costs to do business with international partners.
Colorado’s attorney general announced an investigation into the Aurora Police Department, which has been a focus of recent protests against police violence. The probe will examine whether “patterns and practices” at the department are unconstitutional. The city has also commissioned an independent investigation of the 2019 in-custody death of 23-year-old Black man Elijah McClain, as well as a “comprehensive review” of the police department. McClain’s family recently filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city, saying officers’ conduct the night he died was unconstitutional. McClain is one of many Black Americans whose cases have served as a rallying cry in the period of protest and change following the May death of George Floyd.
The fate of the 2020 college football season is looking grimmer by the day. The Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences have postponed their fall football seasons, though both hope to resume play in the spring. Other conferences still plan to play, but that raises questions about what the football season will look like without big names like Ohio State, Michigan and Oregon in the mix. The decision has angered some coaches and athletics directors, as well as the President, who this week called on colleges to resume football despite the pandemic. The ACC and SEC, two other major football conferences, have yet to declare how they plan to proceed amid the coronavirus.
New York’s MTA wants Apple to create a Face ID that works with masks
Even your phone doesn’t recognize your pandemic-era self.
There’s a Dr. Pepper shortage because of increased demand
Spare a thought for your resident newsletter writer, who is taking this news especially hard.
Bindi Irwin is pregnant!
A new generation of Crocodile Hunters is on the way.
TikTok has chosen the first recipients of its $200 million creator bonus
The company says the fund is for creators who “bring joy,” which is another way of saying “make people laugh until they cry over some absurd skit that wouldn’t make sense anywhere outside the app.”
Gray reef sharks form long-lasting social groups, likely for hunting
Great, now we’re jealous of a shark’s social life.
That’s roughly the price of a single bitcoin right now. The cryptocurrency has surged more than 60% in 2020 and is up more than 180% from mid-March lows of about $4,000. Experts say the spike is because the US dollar has been especially weak.
“I think today it is evident there is an affirmation of not only Black women, but women of Southeast Asia, women of color, that they have finally reached a status where they are affirmed in this nation as equal partners, and this mountain that we’ve all been trying to climb, Kamala has now taken us to the mountaintop.”
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who said Joe Biden’s historic selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate fulfills the central message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final “mountaintop” sermon.
Keep your eye on the pendulums
Enjoy an optically satisfying pendulum light show — just be careful not to hypnotize yourself. (Click here to view.)