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Coronavirus

President Trump and First Lady Test Positive For COVID-19

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President Donald Trump announced that he and Melania Trump have both tested positive for the coronavirus.

What we know:

  • The news of the president and first lady’s test results came just hours after reports announced that Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19. Hicks is one of Trump’s closest advisers and traveled with him several times this week on Air Force One.
  • Once news broke of Hicks’ positive test result, the president and first lady were tested and placed in quarantine. Hicks has also traveled with top advisers Stephen Miller and Jared Kushner. According to CNN, a source close to Hicks said that she is experiencing symptoms of the disease. President Trump was last seen in public while he was returning from a fundraising trip in New Jersey.
  • The president’s physician, Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley, confirmed the news of positive test results. He said that he expects the president to “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”
  • President Trump is not the only prominent world figure to contract the virus. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro previously tested positive. This news has already proven to be destabilizing as U.S. stock futures have already plummetted by over 400 points.
  • At age 74, Trump falls into the highest risk category for complications due to COVID-19. It is no stretch to say that this is one of the most severe health threats a sitting president has experienced. The virus has already killed 200,000 Americans and 1 million people worldwide.
  • President Trump has widely been criticized for his response during the pandemic. He has openly downplayed the severity of the virus and pushed local and state leaders to lift safety measures and reopen schools and businesses. Trump and members of the West Wing have also been seen disregarding social distancing and face-covering guidelines.
  • According to the White House on Friday, President Trump is experiencing “mild symptoms” and is still “energetic” at work. His schedule has been updated to cancel upcoming events involving travel.
  • Joe and Dr. Jill Biden both tested negative for the coronavirus on Friday following the confirmation of Trump’s diagnosis. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen have also tested negative.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has not commented on how Trump’s diagnosis will affect upcoming debates. The next debate between Trump and Joe Biden is currently scheduled for October 15.

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Sagar is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo. He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in Trumpet Performance and Economics. Sagar writes for Black News Alerts and the BNA Daily Podcast.

Business

Coca-Cola to Scrap Around 200 Drink Brands Due to Falling Sales During Lockdown

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Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Coca-Cola will discontinue about 200 drink brands, halving its portfolio, according to its earnings call on Thursday.

What We Know:

  • During an analyst call, CEO James Quincey stated that they didn’t name the brands it would scrap. Still, it will likely remove more brands from its “hydration” category, including brands like Dasani, Powerade, and Smart Water.
  • Since June, the company has mentioned it will discard drinks such as TabZico, and Odwalla.
  • Coca-Cola’s profits are dominated by its most famous brands, Coke, Sprite, and Fanta. Quincey said more than half of the company’s brands collectively generate just 2% of its revenue in July.
  • Due to this, Coca-Cola has selected to terminate specific brands so it can make sure drinks with the most substantial potential to expand their consumer bases increase frequency and drive system margins, it said.
  • Despite terminating some brands, the company stated it will continue to search for new beverage categories. It started its Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in Latin America in the third quarter through an agreement with Molson Coors Beverage Co. and will launch the product in the US in the first half of 2021.

  • In the quarter to September, Coca-Cola stated that net revenues declined 9% to $8.7 billion because of a drop in out-of-home drinking, as restaurants in some areas remained shut, and fewer people dined out. Sales had recovered in the previous quarter, the company mentioned, but at a slower rate.
  • The company still beat revenue expectations, with revenues around $300 million higher than analysts had prognosticated. Unit sales, which don’t include currency variations, fell by just 4%.

Water and sports-drink volumes, the category Quincey said could face further cuts, fell 11%. The company attached this to a drop in water brands. The company said the ultimate impact of the pandemic on its near-term results was “unknown,” and Quincey mentioned, “many challenges still lie ahead”.

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Coronavirus

Judge Blocks Trump Plan to Cut Food Stamps for 700,000 Adults

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Food stamps recipients doing a big once-a-month shopping trip on the day their monthly SNAP account is re-funded. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Food stamps recipients doing a big once-a-month shopping trip on the day their monthly SNAP account is re-funded. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A recent motion by the Trump administration was aimed at making it more challenging for certain demographics to receive government aid known as food stamps. In a 60 plus page document, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of D.C. shot down their effort of what seemed to be a blatant disregard of how a move like this would significantly impact so many Americans during a time of the pandemic.

What We Know:

  • The ruling follows the Trump administration’s nearly yearlong effort to change and reduce the amount of people who rely on food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The proposal was originally made during a time when the U.S was in the middle of economic prosperity and record low unemployment rates before the events of this year. The new rules in the plan would have greatly limited access to the program.
  • As the story goes, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a once-booming economy to a grinding halt and placed millions of Americans into the unemployment line. Numbers continue to look grim as roughly 25 million adults are still without jobs and are currently claiming unemployment benefits. The unemployment rate as of September is sitting at nearly 7.9%, almost double of what it was in February.
  • In Judge Howell’s ruling, she stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the organization in charge of SNAP, had remained usually quiet on how many people would have been affected by the administration’s rule change as the pandemic continues to plague the nation. She cited that the number of people signing up for SNAP has risen 17%, about 6 million new recipients, since May.
  • The rule change has been called “a vivid illustration of this relentless ideology that’s not informed by the economic realities of people, whether they are in the pandemic or not in the pandemic,” by Stacy Dean vice president for food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The judge called them out for trying to steamroll through policy with seemingly no effort to incorporate feedback” on concerns from states and other groups.
  • Howell also noted that the Trump administration had failed to give any reasons as to why the food stamp requirements needed to change. It targeted many “able-bodied adults without dependents,” meaning all adults ages 18 to 49 who don’t have children or family members with disabilities.
  • This demographic of adults are typically limited to three months of food stamps within a three-year period unless they acquire employment or happen to be enrolled in a worker training program, but most states are allowed to shelve those requirements.

Under the proposed rule, states would be required to prove that certain counties had unemployment rates of at least 6% in order to waive the restriction. This change is what prompted the Urban Institute to estimate that roughly 700,000 people would have been kicked off SNAP, although that number could be much greater now since the date of that last report.

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Coronavirus

Trump Slams Fauci In Campaign Call

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President Trump was heard on a Monday campaign call making rude and baseless claims about Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health officials.

What We Know:

  • On the call, Trump said that the country is ready to move on from the pandemic, even though 215,000 Americans are now dead and cases are spiking again. He called Fauci and health officials “idiots” and said that his large campaign rallies were no problem.
  • Trump also falsely claimed that “if I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths . . . we’d have 700-800,000 deaths right now.” There’s no way to know how America would be handling the pandemic if Trump had listened to Fauci because this administration has not listened to health officials since day one. The only fact that we do know is that 215,000 people have actually died from coronavirus based on the Trump administration’s response and guidance.
  • Trump also said that Fauci has given bad health advice concerning mask wearing and that he does not want to keep him. “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him,” he told campaign employees on the call.

“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots — these people, these people that have gotten it wrong. Fauci’s a nice guy. He’s been here for 500 years. He called every one of them wrong. And he’s like this wonderful guy, a wonderful sage telling us how.” – President Trump

  • At the same time Trump was blasting Fauci on the campaign call, Fauci was receiving the National Academy of Medicine’s Presidential Citation for Exemplary Leadership. While accepting the honor, Fauci said “We have a lot of challenges ahead of us and I can’t help thinking that we’re really going through a time that’s disturbingly anti-science in certain segments of our society.”
  • Trump held this call two weeks before the election to offer some optimism and shore up the campaign in its final days. Trump told his staff that this is the most excited he’s been and that “we’re going to win”.

He also made the baseless claim that Democrats will be “cheating like crazy because they always cheat” and that “the only way we can lose this election is if they cheat. Okay, that’s the only way.”

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