5 things to know for September 17: Covid-19, Sally, census, William Barr, Venezuela

Cutting down on greenhouse gases is a huge environmental goal, but if the world wants to get to net zero emissions by 2050, it will cost a staggering $1 trillion to $2 trillion a year. (But scientists warn letting the climate crisis go unchecked could be even more expensive.)

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus 

We’re all waiting for a coronavirus vaccine, but Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says even if a vaccine were released now, it would take six to nine months for enough people to receive it to create immunity. In the meantime, Redfield says masks may work even better than a vaccine. For when a vaccine does arrive, rich nations including the United States, Britain and Japan have already bought up more than half the expected supply. That’s about 51% of available vaccines for about 13% of the world’s population. Meanwhile, some local leaders are enacting unusual punishments for people who don’t abide by health policies. In parts of rural Indonesia, those caught without masks must dig graves for Covid-19 victims. The governor of one Philippine province is asking people to report loud karaoke singers who disrupt people’s sleep during curfew hours.

2. Hurricane Sally

Hurricane Sally thrashed Alabama and Florida as a Category 2 hurricane, swallowing up homes, downing power lines and turning streets into rivers. At least one person is dead, one is missing, and more than 500,000 customers are without power in the aftermath. Three to four months’ worth of rain could fall in the region before the storm clears out today. Sally, now a tropical depression, is the fourth hurricane to make landfall in the US this year — the most to hit by the same date in 16 years. And scientists say the climate crisis is making storms like Sally worse. Warmer waters can make storms intensify more rapidly. Climate factors also can make storms slower and, thus, more destructive as winds stick around longer and more rain gets dumped in the same place.

Check your local forecast here>>>

3. Census 

The Trump administration is trying to get a federal judge to help shield thousands of internal documents about the 2020 census from the public. Many of these records detail the controversial move to cut off the census at the end of September, rather than the end of October as originally planned. The documents are in play because groups are suing the government to extend counting to through October, claiming the Trump administration is trying to create future GOP voting advantages by manipulating census methods. But for the administration to respond to the claims, the documents — more than 8,800 of them — must be released. So, the Justice Department actually wants the judge to rule against the administration to prevent that from happening. Remember that last year, revelations from documents cast doubt on the administration’s rationale for adding a question about citizenship to the census. That question was eventually forbidden by the Supreme Court.

4. William Barr 

Attorney General William Barr is facing criticism for comparing calls for a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to slavery. “Putting a national lockdown, stay-at-home orders, is like house arrest,” he said during an event at Hillsdale College. “Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.” Barr also launched into a tirade against the hundreds of Justice Department prosecutors working beneath him, equating them to preschoolers and essentially saying the opinions of politically appointed Justice Department leaders are more important than those of career attorneys who have served through multiple presidencies. Barr also recently suggested charging violent protesters with the rarely used accusation of sedition — conspiracy to overthrow the US government.

5. Venezuela

A new United Nations-backed report accuses the Venezuelan government of committing widespread crimes against humanity over several years. A fact-finding mission commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council investigated 223 cases of alleged extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture, and reviewed an additional 2,891 to corroborate patterns of violations and crimes. The mission found evidence that Venezuelan authorities and security forces committed “serious human rights violations” dating back to 2014, including “arbitrary killings and the systematic use of torture.” The UN report calls for the Special Action Forces, one of the government’s police groups, to be dismantled and for those responsible for its actions to be held accountable.


Here’s who won at last night’s Academy of Country Music Awards

Not to spoil anything, but there was a BIG surprise.

People are flocking to ugly produce right now 

Cheaper, and just as healthy. It’s what’s on the inside that counts!

Bus passenger uses a live snake as a face mask 

You can bet people were probably social distancing themselves all the way onto another bus.

The Big Ten has reversed course and will play college football after all 

Keeping up with who’s playing and who’s not is a sport unto itself.

Jim Carrey will play Joe Biden on ‘SNL’

Seems promising, but we’re gonna have to see the white wig first.



That’s the proportion of businesses that closed during the pandemic that will likely not reopen, according to new data from Yelp. That translates to about 163,700 businesses on Yelp that have closed since March 1. Of those, operators of about 98,000 say they’ve shut their doors for good.


“Everyone deserves to see themselves in government, to follow their dreams, and to be accepted by their community.”

Transgender activist Sarah McBride, who won her party’s nomination in Delaware for a state Senate seat, putting her on the path to become the first out transgender person in the US to serve in a state Senate post.


Who needs a vacation when you can travel virtually? 

All of us. We all still need a vacation. But maybe a few minutes touring these gorgeous and unusual places will help. (Click here to view.)