SEPTEMBER 08, 2020
AP MORNING WIRE
Good morning. In today’s AP Morning Wire:
- Election 2020: Trump, Biden spar in Labor Day blitz.
- COVID-19 vaccine is latest flashpoint in White House race.
- US summer of coronavirus ends with health officials worried.
- Virus puts added strain on Gaza’s overwhelmed health system.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR – GLOBAL NEWS COORDINATION, LONDON
AP PHOTO/CAROLYN KASTER
Trump, Biden duel over economy, workers in Labor Day blitz; Vaccine latest flashpoint in White House campaign
On Labor Day, the key presidential election figures sparred on the economy, American workers and the coronavirus as the traditional start of the two-month sprint to the U.S. election took on a juggernaut pace.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump spent the day lashing at each other’s credentials on the economy and understanding of the American worker as the campaign entered its final stretch, report Noreen Nasir, Alexandra Jaffe and Kathleen Ronayne.
Vaccine Flashpoint: In the meantime, the prospect of a vaccine to shield Americans from infection has emerged as a major point of contention in the White House race as Trump accused Democrats of “disparaging” for political gain a vaccine he repeatedly has claimed could be available before the election.
Trump made the accusation a day after the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris, said she would trust public health experts and scientists over Trump on a potential vaccine, Darlene Superville reports.
Deep-seated concerns exist in a fraught election year about political influence over development of a vaccine, and whether one produced under this process will be safe and effective.
The virus has killed nearly 190,000 Americans and infected more than 6 million others under Trump’s watch.
Congress Returns: Hopes are dimming for another virus relief bill as Congress returns to session. Talks between top Democrats and the Trump administration broke off last month and remain off track. Recent conversations among the key players have led to nothing. And toxic relationships among those players are making it harder to break the impasse, Andrew Taylor reports.
American summer of COVID-19 ends with health officials worried; Hopes for antibody tests still unfulfilled
AP PHOTO/MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ
The lost and deadly American summer of 2020 won’t be easily forgotten.
It drew to a close with many big Labor Day gatherings canceled across the U.S. and health authorities pleading with people to keep their distance from others so as not to cause another coronavirus surge like the one that followed Memorial Day, writes Jeffrey Collins.
One New Hampshire woman, taking her first trip out of state since the outbreak, said “I saw it as the turning of the corner. We survived this. Let’s live life a little,” as she sat in traffic in North Carolina on the long trip home.
Antibodies: Coronavirus tests touted by President Trump and his top officials to help reopen the economy are widely available, but predictions for their usefulness haven’t panned out. The tests check the blood for antibodies that help fight off infections. But scientists still haven’t determined whether those antibodies shield someone from getting infected again. And medical experts warn the tests cannot be safely used to return workers to the office, Matthew Perrone reports.
Gaza’s struggling health system hit by virus strain; Stalled by pandemic, migrants press in quest for better life
Dozens of health care workers have been infected by a coronavirus outbreak in the Gaza Strip that was first detected last month.
The wave of infections has further strained an already overburdened medical system gutted by years of strife with Israel and intra-Palestinian feuding. Since 2007, Gaza has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade meant to isolate Hamas after it seized control of the territory that year from the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority.
In part because of the punishing blockade, the virus was not detected among the general population until late August. It has since infected over 1,000 people in the densely populated territory, which is home to 2 million Palestinians. Nine people have died. Fares Akram reports from Gaza City.
Panama Migrants: Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of migrants are stranded around the world because of border closures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Panama, the slender bottleneck between the North and South American continents, is a transit point for virtually every migrant heading from South America to the U.S. by land. It closed its borders in March.
The closure left nearly 2,000 migrants from Haiti and a handful of African and Asian countries stuck in camps in the jungle along Panama’s northern and southern borders, Juan Zamorano reports.
India Surge: 1,133 deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours, the nation’s highest single-day total. The Health Ministry also reported close to 76,000 new cases, raising India’s tally to nearly 4.3 million — second only to the U.S. and maintaining an upward surge amid an ease in nationwide restrictions to help mitigate the economic pain.
Africa Tourism: The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates the drop in travel caused by the pandemic will see Africa lose between $53 billion and $120 billion in contributions to its GDP in 2020. Kenya expects at least a 60% drop in tourism revenue this year.
South Africa expects a 75% drop. South Africa’s Tourism Business Council says 1.2 million tourism-related jobs are already impacted. South Africa’s borders, including virtually all international flights, have been closed for nearly six months and there are no signs of them reopening. Gerald Imray reports from Cape Town.
Spain Education: The highly anticipated return to classrooms in the country is becoming a nightmare for many families who face being charged with absenteeism if they don’t send their children to schools because they fear illness. Over 8 million students are beginning the academic year this week or next.
More than half a million people have contracted the virus in Spain and at least 29,500 have died. The country currently has the highest rate of contagion in western Europe, Sara Puig reports from Barcelona.
China WHO: President Xi Jinping has praised Beijing’s role in battling the pandemic and expressed support for the World Health Organization. His praise for the country and for the U.N. health agency was a repudiation of U.S. criticism and a bid to rally domestic support for Communist Party leadership.
Japan Economy: The country has reported its economy shrank at a record rate in the April-June quarter, even worse than initially estimated. The pandemic, which has people staying home, restaurants and stores empty or closing, and travel and tourism nose-diving, has hurt all the world’s economies and many companies. But it has slammed Japan’s export-reliant economy.