Oct 26, 2020
AP MORNING WIRE
Good morning. In today’s AP Morning Wire:
- US early vote over 58 million, exceeds 2016 with 9 days to election.
- Fear and anxiety spike in coronavirus hot spots across America.
- Iran has few ways to contain virus; Europe ratchets up restrictions.
- Pope Francis names 13 new cardinals, includes first Black US prelate.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR – GLOBAL NEWS COORDINATION, LONDON
AP PHOTO/BEBETO MATTHEWS
Early US vote total at 58M, exceeds 2016; Trump, Biden to escalate campaigning with 9 days to go
The number of people casting an early ballot in the U.S. presidential election has already surpassed those who voted early during all of 2016.
More than 58 million people have voted with nine days to go before Election Day, report Nicholas Riccardi and Angeliki Kastanis.
Democrats have been dominating early voting, but Republicans are slowly narrowing the gap. That’s because in-person early voting has kicked off in several states and President Donald Trump has convinced many supporters not to use mail-in ballots with his unfounded warnings about mail-voting fraud.
One out of every 4 of the voters is either new or infrequent, a sign of a potential record-setting turnout.
Trump plans to intensify an already breakneck travel schedule in the final full week of the presidential campaign, despite an alarming surge of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and a fresh outbreak in his own White House.
Trump is expected to hit nearly a dozen states with his trademark rallies in a last-ditch effort to recover ground from Democratic rival Joe Biden, report Zeke Miller and Alexandra Jaffe.
Biden also plans to pick up his travel schedule, aiming to hit the half-dozen battleground states that his campaign sees as key to victory. Biden plans a mix of socially distanced, in-person events with virtual events.
The White House says Vice President Mike Pence plans to maintain an aggressive campaign schedule this week despite his exposure to a top aide who tested positive.
AP PHOTO/RICK BOWMER
Fear and anxiety spike in virus hot spots across US; ‘We’re not going to control the pandemic,’ says top Trump aide
About half of U.S. states have suffered their highest daily coronavirus infection numbers in October, and the country as a whole set a record daily new case number.
Deep-seated fear and anxiety is on the rise in the nation’s hot spots, report Holly Ramer and Adrian Sainz.
Some northeastern states hit hard in the spring are seeing numbers bounce back and COVID-19 is surging in Idaho and Utah. More than 350 doctors, nurses and other health workers in New Mexico signed a letter imploring residents to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and limit large gatherings.
As Trump barnstorms the swing states, often downplaying the pandemic before largely unmasked crowds, the U.S. lurches toward what Biden, citing health experts, warns will be a “dark winter” of disease and death.
In a statement that drew wide notice, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows declared: “We’re not going to control the pandemic.” Pressed to explain why, he said, “because it is a contagious virus just like the flu,” adding that the government was focused on getting effective treatments and vaccines to market.
Hungry Houston: “As a man, as a father, as a provider, I felt at a low point,” says one unemployed man in a line of cars stretching more than half a mile to the Houston Food Bank, which has been distributing 1 million pounds of food some days. It’s the largest U.S. food bank and experts say they don’t see an end in sight to the demand. Anita Snow and John L. Mone have this special report.
AP PHOTO/EBRAHIM NOROOZI
Wary of angering the public, Iran has few ways to contain the virus; Europe reels under surging cases, ratchets up restrictions
”Great suffering” and “hospitals full of patients.”
Iran’s health minister delivered a rare speech criticizing his own government’s refusal to enforce basic health measures as coronavirus infections and deaths surge in the Islamic Republic.
But just one day later he sent a starkly different message, seeking to reassure the public that things were under control. The rhetorical about-face captures Iranian leaders’ inconsistent response to the pandemic that many see as fuelling the virus’s spread, reports Isabel Debre from Dubai.
Experts say the mixed messages reflect the fact that the leadership has little room to impose severe restrictions that would damage an already fragile economy savaged by severe U.S. sanctions — and thus stoke more public anger.
- Buckling under a resurgence of the virus on the continent, the Spanish government declared a national state of emergency that includes an overnight curfew in hopes of not repeating the spring’s near collapse of the country’s hospitals.
- Italy has imposed at least a month of new restrictions to fight rising infections, shutting down gyms, pools and movie theaters and telling cafes and restaurants they must close at 6 p.m. daily.
- Pediatricians are urging the British government to reverse course and provide free meals for poor children during the school holidays as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes more families into poverty.
- With the virus battering Europe with renewed force and as winter looms, its restaurant industry is struggling. Spring lockdowns already devastated many eateries, and now a new set of restrictions is dealing a second blow. More than just jobs and revenue are at stake — restaurants lie at the heart of European life, Raf Casert in Belgium writes.
Colombia’s Grim Milestone: Colombia reached 1 million confirmed cases over the weekend, becoming the second country in Latin America to report that number in less than a week. The nation of 50 million saw cases peak in August but still registers around 8,000 new infections a day. Argentina hit 1 million cases on Monday and Peru and Mexico are expected to reach the bleak marker in weeks. Brazil ranks third worldwide in the number of cases and passed 1 million confirmed infections as far back as June.
- Sri Lanka’s Parliament has been closed for disinfection after a police officer at the complex tested positive amid a new surge of the virus in the country.
- Australia’s former coronavirus hot spot of Melbourne will largely emerge from its lockdown after the city recorded its first day without a new COVID-19 case in more than four months.
AP PHOTO/JOSE LUIS MAGANA
Pope Francis has named 13 new cardinals, including Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who would become the first Black U.S. prelate to earn the coveted red hat.
In a surprise announcement to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said the churchmen would be elevated in a ceremony on Nov. 28, Frances D’Émilio reports.
Gregory’s ascension elevates a leader who has drawn praise for his handling of the sexual abuse scandal that has roiled the church. The Washington-area archbishop also has spoken out about the importance of Catholic leaders working to combat the sin of racial discrimination, Elana Schor reports.
The selection of Gregory won praise from LGBT advocates in the United States, days after Francis grabbed headlines for voicing support for civil unions for gay couples.
Other Top Stories
A deeply torn Senate is set to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Republicans are overpowering Democratic opposition to vote today on President Trump’s nominee before Election Day. Barrett’s confirmation was hardly in doubt as Senate Republicans seized the opportunity to install a third Trump justice, securing a conservative court majority for the foreseeable future. With no real power to stop the vote, Democrats argue the winner of the Nov. 3 election should choose the nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of violating the new U.S.-brokered cease-fire aimed to halt the fighting over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The truce that began earlier this morning was announced Sunday after talks facilitated by the United States. It was a third attempt to establish a lasting cease-fire in the flare-up of a decades-old conflict that has left hundreds, if not thousands, dead in the last month. The truce was challenged quickly by accusations from both sides. Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since 1994.
A fast-moving typhoon has forced thousands of villagers to flee to safety in provinces south of the Philippine capital. It flooded rural villages, ripped off roofs, toppled trees and electric posts and knocked out power in several towns. There were no immediate reports of casualties from Typhoon Molave but authorities reported at least one person was missing and seven others were rescued after their yacht sank. The typhoon has sustained winds of 77 mph and is expected to start blowing out of the country into the South China Sea.
Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to become a hurricane as it heads toward the eastern end of Mexico’s resort-dotted Yucatan Peninsula and then toward a possible landfall on the central U.S. Gulf Coast at midweek. Zeta became the earliest ever 27th named storm of the Atlantic season. It was centered 260 miles southeast of Cozumel island with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. Though nearly stationary, the storm is expected to begin advancing over the Yucatan Peninsula, then head into the Gulf of Mexico and approach the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday.