California’s expansive August Complex Fire is now a gigafire — a term for a blaze that burns at least a million acres of land.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. White House
President Trump says he has ordered his negotiators to stop discussing a new stimulus deal until after the election. His announcement sent stocks plunging and sparked new uncertainty among people in particularly hard-hit industries, like airlines. While Congress has butted heads for months over stimulus proposals, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seemed to be mounting a strong new effort to get a deal done soon. Now, experts warn of what may happen to the economy with further aid still on hold. Meanwhile, Stephen Miller, a top Trump policy adviser, is the latest White House official to test positive for coronavirus. The White House said it has completed “all contact tracing” for positive Covid-19 cases among its ranks, but given the confusing and sometimes contradictory information released by the administration about the recent outbreak, doubt remains.
Half of US states are now seeing an increase in coronavirus diagnoses, and the country just surpassed a cumulative 7.5 million reported cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci says the US could see 400,000 Covid-19 deaths by this winter if health recommendations continue to be flouted. “Pandemic fatigue,” so to speak, is also a problem in Europe, the World Health Organization warns. Amid this apathy, countries like Germany are seeing their highest number of cases in months. On the vaccine front, the FDA says it will want to see two months of follow-up data for any clinical trial that may lead to a coronavirus vaccine. That would make it difficult, if not impossible, for any vaccine maker to apply for emergency use authorization by Election Day.
3. Election 2020
The vice presidential debate between VP Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris is tonight at the University of Utah, and Covid-19 precautions are top of mind. After initially balking at the idea, Pence’s team has agreed to have plexiglass barriers on stage. VP debates are usually an undercard, but given that President Trump and Joe Biden are both in their 70s, Pence’s and Harris’ appearances seem to mean more this time around. While Harris’ team says she will likely focus on Trump and his record, Pence may face questions about the administration’s handling of the pandemic and his own role leading the White House coronavirus task force. Watch at 9 p.m. ET.
4. Big Tech
Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook hold “monopoly power” in key business segments and have abused their dominance in the marketplace, according to a 16-month congressional investigation into the tech giants. The House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel issued the strong condemnation, and said the companies’ anticompetitive conduct