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Three Big Things

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  • COVID-19 vaccine weeks away, J&J, Moderna, Pfizer leading race

    President Trump said a coronavirus vaccine will be announced within weeks during his first remarks in Thursday's presidential debate.

    Moderator Kristen Walker asked Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden how they would lead efforts to combat COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of more than 220,000 lives in the United States.

    "Is that a guarantee?" Walker asked Trump of his vaccine timeline.

    "No, it's not a guarantee, but it will be by the end of the year," Trump replied.

    He named several pharmaceutical companies -- Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer --  that are in the development stages of a vaccine. He said the U.S. was working with foreign companies as well.

    Trump administration officials have previously said it could take until well into next year to distribute enough doses for all Americans once a vaccine is ready.

    "I think my timeline is going to be more accurate," Trump said."I don't know that they're counting on the military the way I do."

    He cited Army Gen. Gustave Perna, who co-leads public-private partnership -- dubbed "Operation Warp Speed" -- with Moncef Slaoui, the ex-head of GlaxoSmithKline vaccines division.

    Perna has led the Army's Material Command, its primary logistical command.

    "This is a very easy distribution for him. He's ready to go," Trump said. "We expect 100 million viles. As soon as we have the vaccine, he's ready to go."


  • More than 47 million ballots cast in US election, eclipsing 2016 early turnout

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. voters have cast more than 47 million votes for the Nov. 3 presidential election, eclipsing total early voting from the 2016 election with 12 days to go, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

    Some 47.5 million Americans have turned in ballots, roughly eight times the number of early votes cast at about same point before the 2016 presidential contest, and above the 47.2 million early votes that were cast before Election Day in 2016.

    The surge comes after many states have expanded mail-in voting and in-person early voting as a safe way to vote during the coronavirus pandemic and amid voter eagerness to weigh in on the political future of Republican President Donald Trump, who is facing a stiff challenge from Democrat Joe Biden.

    Biden leads Trump in national opinion polls, although surveys in crucial battleground states indicate a tighter race.

    The high level of early voting has led Michael McDonald, the University of Florida professor who administers the U.S. Elections Project, to predict a record turnout of about 150 million, representing 65% of eligible voters, the highest rate since 1908.

    Trump has railed against mail-in voting, making unfounded accusations that it leads to fraud. Experts have said such fraud is rare.

    Those attacks by the president have shown signs of depressing Republican interest in voting by mail. Democrats have roughly doubled the number of returned mail-in ballots by Republicans in states that report voter registration data by party, according to the Elections Project.

    (Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone, Daniel Wallis, Marguerita Choy and Jonathan Oatis)


  • Private red snapper season is still open in Alabama

    MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) says the weekends remain open in 2020 until the annual quota for red snapper is met.

    Originally, the season was extended for the weekend of Oct. 10-12 for private anglers to meet the quota, but Hurricane Delta threw a wrench in those plans.

    “That was not the weather I would have fished in. Although the weather was better Monday, some people in smaller boats went out and turned around. They didn’t feel safe or comfortable. I think that was a wise decision, but they will get opportunities later.”

    Bannon says anglers can pick the days best for them to take advantage of the red snapper weekend extensions.

    “We’re fishing to the quota. If it’s not comfortable or safe to go, don’t go. The fish are still in the bank, so to speak. We will keep Saturdays and Sundays open until we anticipate the quota being met, and that could be as soon as the end of this next weekend.”

    The ADCNR and MRD will post updates about the season through this link.

    Information from Doug Rainer contributed to this article.


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