Weekly Roundup: October 4-10
The Weekly Roundup by GWCD is a collaboration between members of the news & blog committee to compile three main headlines from the week. As one of the goals of the committee is to keep our GWCD community updated on current events, the Weekly Roundup is intended as an easy way for members to read up on the highlights from each week in addition to the articles published regularly by our members.
Highest Number of Single-Day COVID-19 Cases Reported Since August
By Alisa Kingsbury
On Thursday, October 8, the United States reported more than 56,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, which was the country’s highest daily increase since mid-August, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
This brings the number of confirmed cases to over 7.6 million, with over 213,000 deaths. Wisconsin hit a new record on Thursday as well, reporting more than 3,000 cases. Both Illinois and North Carolina reported case numbers on Thursday comparable to peak-levels last month and July, respectively.
Analysts from the CDC have recently said there may be an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the next month.
Harris and Pence battle it out on the debate stage
By Abby Osborne
Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence participated in the first Vice Presidential debate this last Wednesday on October 7. While it was much less chaotic than the presidential debate, there was still plenty of fire on the debate stage.
COVID-19 easily dominated the debate especially considering the fact five days earlier President Donald Trump announced that he and Melania Trump, amongst a dozen others, were diagnosed with COVID-19. The debate began with Harris arguing that Trump’s response to the pandemic was inexcusable, while Pence retorted that Trump’s travel restrictions on China and the progress on a vaccine evidenced a prompt and efficient response.
The back and forth between Harris and Pence about COVID-19 set the framework for the rest of the debate: Harris would express a biting criticism of the Trump administration, Pence would try to combat these claims by cherry picking certain policies or outright lying to the public, and they’d continue this until the moderator, USA Today journalist Susan Page, would try to steer the conversation in a different direction.
Despite Page’s best efforts to keep things together, Pence mimicked (albeit in a more subdued way) Trump’s tactics and kept interrupting Harris, sparking a viral moment when she quickly responded, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.”
However, both candidates received flack for not always answering the presented questions. Pence avoided the question about Trump potentially refusing to accept the election results if Biden happens to win while Harris side-stepped a question about her opinion on court packing.
F.B.I. Charges 13 Men in Michigan Governor Kidnapping Plot
By Alisa Kingsbury
Federal and state officials in Michigan announced terrorism, conspiracy, and weapons charges against 13 men involved in the conspiracy to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmar of Michigan. At least six of them, officials said, created an intricate plan to kidnap the democratic governor, who has recently become a target for anti-government groups’ criticism due to her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The men that planned the kidnapping met repeatedly during the summer months for firearms training, combat drills, and to practice building explosives, the F.B.I. said. The group also gathered several times to discuss the mission, including in the basement of a shop that was accessible only through a “trap door” under a rug. They also repeatedly spied on Whitmer’s summer home in September and October, and were planning on purchasing explosives for the plot on Wednesday of last week, authorities said.
The F.B.I. said a man in the kidnapping plot contacted an unnamed anti-government group for help, and that state charged an additional seven Michigan men with providing material support for terrorist activities, being members of a gang, and using firearms while committing felonies.
Gretchen Whitmer tied the conspiracy to President Trump’s inability to condemn white supremacy. “Just last week, the president of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups,” Whitmer said. There is no evidence that the group was inspired by Trump in any way, but Whitmer said the group “heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry — as a call to action.”