Current events: August 4th

Tropical Storm Isaias hits the Bahamas

On Saturday, Tropical Storm Isaias made landfall in the Bahamas with hurricane conditions, also hitting parts of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. According to The New York Times, “Bracing for drenching rain and heavy winds, Floridians [hunkered] down on Sunday as Tropical Storm Isaias [was said to whip] the state’s east coast, driving storm surges of two to four feet and the threat of flash flooding as it goes.” Storm warnings have now been extended to North Carolina as the tropical storm continues to head north with heavy rain and surges.

Deborah Birx warns that the U.S. had entered a ‘new phase’ of the pandemic

On Sunday, Deborah Birx, the physician overseeing the White House coronavirus response, warned the U.S. that the country had entered a “new phase” of the COVID-19 pandemic, urging people to take extreme health precautions. “Birx’s remarks came after another week of grim signs that the country’s pandemic response was failing. The seven-day average for new coronavirus-related deaths rose in nearly half of U.S. states over the past week,” said The Washington Post. With cases continuing to rise, experts advise taking precautions and continuing to wear face coverings and wash your hands.

COVID-19 cases soar in the Midwest

Despite the number of COVID-19 cases having plummeted in the Midwest, cases have begun rising after apparent progress with some states having doubled the number of cases in just one month. According to The New York Times, “In Missouri, Wisconsin and Illinois, distressed government officials are retightening restrictions on residents and businesses, and sounding warnings about a surge in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.” On Friday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci told Congress he was cautiously optimistic that a safe and effective vaccine would be available by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.

NASA astronauts return to Earth as SpaceX capsule lands down in Gulf of Mexico

On Sunday, the duo Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who made history by launching into space from U.S. soil for the first time in almost 10 years on a commercially built spacecraft, returned to Earth, making a splash landing off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. After two months up at the International Space Station, Behnken and Hurley had a successful return and landing despite Tropical Storm Isaias having been passing through Florida’s east coast. According to NBC News, “The return marks a major milestone for human spaceflight — the first time that NASA astronauts have traveled to and from space aboard a commercially built spacecraft. Completion of the test flight is also a big accomplishment for SpaceX and the entire commercial spaceflight industry.”

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