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America’s Struggling Rental Market Could Bring New Housing Crisis For The Nation

A large number of renters have been unable to pay some or all of their rent since the Covid-19 pandemic began impacting the US back in March.

Coronavirus Vaccine Bottle

Scientists Aren’t Convinced A “Warp Speed” Vaccine Will End The Pandemic

The American people, along with the rest of the world, are placing their hopes of defeating Covid-19 and ending this pandemic on a vaccine. There are multiple trials occurring around the world all at different stages, and while a safe and effective vaccine is top priority, time is also a factor considering this virus is continuing to infect and kill people.

Clinical vaccine trials are mainly meant to show whether a Covid-19 vaccine candidate will prevent any symptoms of the disease. The trials typically study between 30,000 to 60,000 volunteers, and some scientists are worried that the time spent on these trials will be too brief and too small to prove if the vaccine can actually prevent individuals from being hospitalized and dying, instead of just preventing a sore throat. 

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The United States specifically should wait for the most optimal vaccine to be on the international market, according to Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

“There’s a tension between getting every piece of information and getting a vaccine out in time to save lives. Would we like to know if the vaccine reduces illness or mortality? Of course. But there is a real time pressure. This is a pandemic. It’s explosive.”

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public meeting this Thursday to discuss how rigorously Covid-19 vaccine candidates would need to be tested before the US considered them safe enough for distribution. “Simply preventing mild cases is not enough and may not justify the risks associated with vaccination,” said Peter Doshi, an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

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On the other hand researchers also know that vaccines that prevent mild versions of a disease typically prevent the more severe version of the disease as well, so there are still good reasons to focus on studies involving milder cases of Covid-19. For example, according to Doshi, the original trials for a measles vaccine showed that it only prevented the virus itself, but not hospitalizations or deaths. Later studies, however, showed that the vaccine drastically reduced mortality, and according to the World Health Organization worldwide deaths from the measles fell by 73% in between 2000 and 2018 due to vaccines. 

In general, proving a vaccine can prevent severe illness and death is much harder than showing it can protect against mild illness, because hospitalizations and deaths are more rare. Individuals who volunteer for vaccine trials are also typically on the healthier side. 

“We’re probably not going to have the perfect vaccine. But I do think we’re likely to have vaccines that, if we can show they’re safe, can put an inflection point on this pandemic. … I think it’s still important to have a vaccine that has some effect even on mild illness.”

As it currently stands the Covid-19 pandemic has infected 8.7 million people in the US alone, and the mortality rate is about .6%. Leading scientists believe that the ideal vaccine will provide a sterilizing immunity front he virus. This would mean that the injection would prevent all symptoms of Covid-19 as well as secondary infections that could typically occur from the virus. Trials are projected to grow almost 10 times the sizes they are now as the months progress, and like any vaccine, the world won’t truly know how well it works until it’s actually here. 

American Flag Coronavirus

Late-Night Hosts Reflect On Trump’s Mishandling Of The Pandemic And Urge Viewers To Vote

As the US is entering into its third major wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and all 50 states are seeing rises in case numbers, late night television hosts are joining the likes of other celebrities with a major platform and speaking up against the current president and his handling of the virus as a means of getting their viewers to vote come next week. 

Lawyers Plus helps clients find a remote lawyer

How Law Firms In America Are Coping With The Covid-19 Pandemic

As the pandemic continues to intensify throughout all 50 states, America’s law firms are finding new ways to communicate with the general public and let them know that they still have legal protections that groups of lawyers are ready to defend.

Supreme Court Washington DC

Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed As Supreme Court Justice, One Week Before Election Day 

Justice Amy Coney Barrett could easily spend three decades sitting on the Supreme Court, however, the way in which she got to her position of power will not soon be forgotten by the American people who have had quite the year watching their current administration mishandle a global pandemic and further dividing the country politically. 

Barrett will begin her tenure one week before Election Day in what’s being referred to as one of the most rushed Supreme Court appointments in history. Barrett has received a wave of critiques from Americans and politicians who believe Trump pushed for Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a means of maintaining a Republican-controlled Senate, and now, her presence in the 6-3 conservative-liberal bench could transform the law in America for generations. 

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Barrett won the Senate vote 52-48; one of the closest Justice votes in history. Trump made it clear, however, that this was a divisive move as he knew putting Barrett in quickly would allow the high court to make crucial case decisions that would affect the outcome of the election between him and Joe Biden. Several challenges to voting rules in the key states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina are pending, just one week before Election Day. 

“The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences.”

Americans aren’t convinced of Barrett’s oath, however, as they know she has extremely conservative values when it comes to things like abortion and religious rights, LGBTQ+ protections, and federal funding for things like the environment or workplace protections. The other discrepancy citizens are having with this nomination is the fact that Justice Barrett has little to no experience being a court justice especially when compared to the seven other individuals sitting on the bench with her.

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Beyond that, the fact that Trump has now been able to appoint three Supreme Court Justices, making the bench predominantly conservative, has Americans fearing that his right-winged policies will survive for years and years, regardless of who’s in the White House. 

In traditional circumstances new Justices’ are sworn in at the Supreme Court, and in recent decades most of the new Justices’ struggle with how to respond to presidential invitations. Supreme Court Justices are meant to hold power in their own right, and should loath being seen as a prop for the president, as their judicial power is meant to rise above any one political ideal and instead abide by the law itself. 

Barrett and Trump’s “collaborative” type relationship, and Trump’s presence at her swearing in, could be fraught on by voters and the electoral college come Election Day. Chief Justice John Roberts is scheduled to administer the judicial oath to Barrett in a private event held at the Supreme Court this Tuesday, after which she will be able to assume her duties on the Court. 

For the newest justice, however, Covid-19 will likely postpone any other rituals or personal gestures that are typically offered to new Justices. These rituals normally involve a welcome dinner for the newest member which is a black-tie affair, and while the postponement of a party may not seem like a huge deal, the breaking of traditions surrounding this entire judicial process is staggering in terms of American history. 

US Fights Covid-19

US Hits Highest Weekly Average Of Covid-19 Cases Since Beginning Of Pandemic 

The new seven-day average of coronavirus cases in the US hit 68,767 on Sunday, topping the previous peak average of 67,293 reported back in July, and setting the record for highest number of new cases appearing within seven-days. This past Friday and Saturday marked the two highest single days of new cases, with more than 83,000 cases being added each day. 

Health experts claim that this is the resurgence of cases that they were warning about in the summer that would spike in the fall and winter. They also warn that this will likely be the worst wave of infection the US has seen so far. The US has already seen more than 8.6 million cases of Covid-19 and 225,230 deaths; putting us in one of the most dangerous and vulnerable positions in the world in terms of this virus.  US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb spoke with the press this past weekend about the new surges in cases.

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“We’re entering what’s going to be the steep slope of the curve. If we don’t implement some forceful policy intervention that could curb the spread this is going to continue to accelerate, and it’s going to be more difficult to get under control.”

Gottlieb claims the best way to get these outbreaks under control is a national mask mandate. “A mandate can be expressly limited to the next two months, it’s easier to wear a mask in the winter than the summer. The inconvenience would allow the country to preserve health-care capacity and keep more schools and businesses open.” Deaths are already projected to increase based on these new weekly spikes anyway, and the best way to prevent that from continuing to happen would be a mask-mandate; especially since the reinstatement of a nation-wide lockdown has seemed out of the question for months now. 

According to data released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, if 95% of Americans wore masks in public, more than 100,000 lives could be saved in the US through February. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, claims that since so many Americans are adamant about not wearing a mask in public, a mandate would be the only way to really curb the spread entirely. 

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More than two-thirds of states have reported an increase in new Covid-19 cases this past week. No state is reporting above a 10% in terms of  improvement and case numbers going down. In El Paso County, Texas, residents are seeing one of the biggest spikes in the country, and have reported that all intensive care units in their hospitals are at 100% capacity. Because of this the county has implemented a curfew for the next two weeks. 

While researchers around the world are racing to develop a vaccine, it’s naive to think one will be ready, safe, and effective enough to be distributed in time to combat this second wave that we’re currently enduring. Gottlieb claims the next two to three months will just have to be dealt with as we’ve been. Fauci, however, is still confident that a vaccine will be available sooner rather than later. 

“We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, beginning of December. The amount of doses that will be available in December will not certainly be enough to vaccinate everybody — you’ll have to wait several months into 2021.”

For now, the most imperative thing citizens in the US can do is listen to their healthcare providers and take all the necessary safety precautions to protect you and your loved ones from these spikes in cases. Also, make sure in the next week you either get out to vote early, or mail in your absentee ballot so that you vote for the candidate you want assisting you and your community/state/country through the rest of this global health crisis.

Jobless Sign

Weekly Jobless Claims Drop To Lowest Level Since Beginning Of Pandemic 

New filings for jobless claims in America totaled 787,000 last week, marking nearly the lowest it’s been since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March. Once the global health crisis hit America, citizens were losing their jobs by the millions every week, now, as the pandemic continues on and election day gets closer and closer, individuals are gearing up for an unpredictable rest of the year; luckily the entire year has prepared us for that. 

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were initially projecting the claims to hit 875,000 by the end of the week of October 11th, the nearly 100,000 difference is huge for the professionals who have been closely monitoring the economy since it began to dwindle in march. 

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Last week’s total marks the second-lowest new claim amount since March 14th; in seven months. March 14th also marked the first week that companies and businesses across the country began laying off their employees to cope with the initial economic impact of the first shutdown efforts. 

The previous week – October 3rd – saw 842,000 claims, meaning there was a 55,000 decrease in claims this week. One of the biggest reasons for this decline in claims is likely due to the fact that a lot of workers in America have now exhausted their regular benefits and are moving to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance emergency compensation program. 

During the week of October 3rd 509,828 Americans filed to receive compensation from the Pandemic Assistance program, bringing the total number of citizens using the program up to 3.3 million. The recipients in this program get an extra 13 weeks of financial compensation once they’ve gone through their initial 26 weeks of eligibility. 

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Continuous claims are also declining in America, meaning the individuals who are filing jobless claims for two or more weeks consecutively are also going down. That level dropped by 1.02 million citizens to 8.37 million individuals receiving continuous payments. Ian Shepherdscon is a chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics who recently spoke with the media about the improvement that comes along with these declining rates. 

“Some people no longer claiming benefits may have dropped out of the labor force, while some might have taken non-payroll gig or freelance jobs. Moreover, continuing claims lag initial claims, so if initial claims start rising again, continuing claims will follow.”

Claims initially surged the week of March 21st amid the government imposed lockdowns that appeared all across the nation. In late March the weekly total of jobless claims peaked at 6.9 million. Since the beginning of the pandemic about 11.5 million people have become employed after being laid off for pandemic-related reasons, however, a little more than half of the total number of citizens who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 are still unemployed. 

Opposing factions in the nation’s government have delayed another round of stimulus payments from being distributed to Americans, however, a deal is likely to come into fruition before election day.

US Presidental Debate

Biggest Takeaways From The Final Trump-Biden Debate 

The second and final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden took place Thursday night in what experts are calling a “more normal” debate when compared to the original showdown between the two candidates. 

Trump entered the debate and maintained a relatively calm presence, under the advice of his administration who pleaded with the president to cool down this round. The basis of his arguments remained the same as the previous debate: he downplayed the coronavirus pandemic and took no personal responsibility for America’s failings in handling it, threw personal attacks at Biden, and lacked an overall sense of substance in his answers. For example when asked about a health care agenda for his second term, Trump avoided the question and yet again made it through the night without mentioning a plan.

Additionally, the first question Trump was asked regarded how he would lead during the next stage of the coronavirus pandemic, to which the president reflected on the “success” he’s already had within the past year. The centerpiece of Trump’s arguments focused on the mentality that “it could be worse,” despite the fact that more than 220,000 Americans have now died. 

“It will go away and as I say, we’re rounding the turn, we’re rounding the corner. It’s going away.”

Trump made the above claim while avoiding discussing the multiple surges in cases occurring all across the nation currently. He did optimistically claim that a vaccine would be arriving “within weeks,” despite having no real evidence that that’s true. In a later portion of the debate he backtracked and mentioned that there was no “guarantee” one would be ready but he’s hopeful one will be ready by the end of the year. 

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Biden then offered a much darker, more realistic, painting of America’s handling of this virus, claiming we’re heading toward a very “dark winter” due to the action’s of Trump. Biden accused Trump of denying responsibility for Covid’s spreading in the US and downplaying the virus for months despite the piles of evidence being presented to him. 

“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths [over 200,000] should not remain as President of the United States of America.”

When discussing how he would handle the virus, Biden was able to list out some more specifics in terms of a concrete plan of action. He said he would establish a national standard for the reopening of schools and businesses and stimulus payments to get the nation as a whole back on track. He also projected that a vaccine wouldn’t realistically be available in America until at least the middle of next year, which is more on par with what public health experts are claiming, so instead he knows the biggest concern will be minimizing the spread. 

Trump, however, already has 50 million votes cast for him, and as he nears the same position he was in four years ago when he was going up against Hilary Clinton, he’s decided to resort to the same tactics he used back then to hopefully secure him another win. He tried to paint Biden to be a typical politician, like he did with Clinton, and pointed out that he’s been in office for nearly 50 years and America still has the same issues it did 50 years ago, like systemic racism. Trump continued to try to place every systemic issue America has experienced within the past five decades on Biden, which only gave Biden an opening to discuss all the successes that occurred under the Obama administration. 

Trump then continued to attack Biden and brought up the allegations made against his son Hunter and his involvement with the Ukraine, to which Biden just turned it back around and mentioned that “the guy who got in trouble in Ukraine was this guy,” pointing to Trump, “trying to bribe the Ukrainian government to say something negative about me, which they would not do.” Remember, it was Trump’s actions in the Ukraine that led to his impeachment. 

Biden then fully flipped the attack on Trump by going down the list of all his failings, specifically in terms of his administration’s economic, health care, and immigration policies. This was the moment in the debate that viewers really saw the difference between their two candidates. One answered every policy related question with a series of detailed proposals that explained how each would impact the average American household while the other kept the statements short, general and in high praise of the current administration. 

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Biden continued to assert his position byt slamming Trump for trying to have the Supreme Court undo the Affordable Care Act and all of its protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions; a pool of people that Biden mentioned will soon include those who suffered from Covid-19. Trump has long promised a new health care plan that would protect all Americans regardless of their current health status, but hasn’t even mentioned the specifics of a new plan once within the past four years. 

Biden, on the other hand, detailed his already existing proposal that would allow Americans to buy into a public health insurance program, he called the proposal “Bidencare.” He also asserted that minimum wage should be nationally raised to $15 an hour while Trump said the matter was up to the states. 

Then, more importantly, the issue of immigration was brought up, to which Biden immediately mentioned the 545 children that were separated from their parents at the border this week, to which Trump responded that they were being “very well taken care of,” despite the fact that some haven’t seen their families in months, which made Biden very upset. 

“They got separated from their parents, and it makes us a laughingstock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation.”

The issue of race and systemic racism was then raised, to which Trump claimed he’s done more for African Americans than any previous president since Abraham Lincoln, claiming to be the “least racist person in the room.” Biden then cast Trump and his entire administration as one that has consistently sought out to divide the country racially. 

“Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. This guy has a dog whistle as big as a fog horn.” The night then ended with Biden claiming he would transition the country away from the oil industry because of how much it pollutes the earth. As of right now the race is stagnant, so the most important thing to remember is to get out and vote!! 

For all questions/information regarding voting in the upcoming presidential election, click here.

America Surpasses 1,000 Daily Covid-19 Deaths As Second Wave Fears Grow

The newest data regarding the daily death tolls is just a part of the ongoing trends occurring in America that is leading experts to believe a massive second wave is still to come with the virus.

Big Bend National Park

Some Of The Most Scenic Places To Camp In America 

As winter approaches for parts of the US, many are working on planning things to do to keep themselves occupied as the world continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. Taking a road tip and going camping is pretty much the safest and easiest way to travel domestically at the moment. Especially if you live in a cooler part of the country, planning a road trip to go to one of the warmer parts of the country for an extended holiday camping trip is the best way to get your mind of the current state of the world and just relax. Here are some of the most popular scenic destinations for campers in the US:

Minnewaska State Park Reserve, New York: Since we’re still in the middle of fall and the weather hasn’t gotten too severe yet there’s still time to camp in one of the cooler parts of the country to really take in the fall foliage. This state reserve is less than 100 miles from the city and is known for its breathtaking autumnal landscapes and fresh mountain air. For those living in NYC, you can either drive up for the day or camp out based on how close it is.

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Minnewaska State Park Reserve, New York

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: This park is a short drive from Washington D.C. and has over 500 miles of hiking trails. The park itself is full of lush views of forests and waterfalls, which will make anyone feel as though they’re stepping right into a National Geographic documentary. There are five campgrounds available through November operating at reduced capacity. 

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida: In this park, you can have the largest barrier reef in the US right outside of your tent. Campers can easily rent snorkel gear and spend their time on the beach exploring the wide variety of nature and wildlife Fort Jefferson has to offer. While tours of the grounds are temporarily unavailable due to Covid-19, the campgrounds themselves are still operating fully. 

Big Bend National Park, Texas: This park is the go to destination for anyone with a serious urge for an adventure. Campers can go rafting, canoeing, and Kayaking along the Rio Grande or opt to hike any of the trails that go along the park’s desert, mountain, and river landscapes. At night, campers can enjoy some of the most spectacular stargazing sights they’ve likely ever seen, and with the campgrounds operating at limited capacity, there’s no worry of being too close to anyone else. 

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Big Bend National Park, Texas

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas: Arkansas in general is known for its lush countryside foliage, but it’s often overlooked by other more mainstream destinations. However, in the Ozark National Forest visitors would be shocked to see they have nine beaches and thousands of acres worth of lakes and streams to explore. There’s a number of fully-operating campgrounds in the forest and while some recreational services are closed down, there’s still plenty of options available for those looking for an adventure. 

Badlands National Park, South Dakota: The climate in Badlands is relatively self-explanatory; it can be bad. However, if you plan it out right you’ll have a gorgeous trip where you’ll see wondrous rock formations, prairies, and even some spots to look at ancient fossils. The park offers two campgrounds, Cedar Pass, which has amenities like running water and electricity, or Sage Creek, which has no running water but is known for being the more scenic spot for wildlife spotting. 

Gunnison National Forest, Colorado: This forest has over 3,000 miles worth of hiking trails and 1.6 million acres of land available to the public. You’ll be able to see the Rocky Mountains from practically any spot and with 30 campsites to choose from, any camper would be able to find the perfect spot. Some of the facilities on the grounds are temporarily closed due to Covid, however, all the necessary services are still available.