This Week In Words: September 5–11, 2020

September 7, 2020
Stories about wildfires, the pandemic, and the risks of vaping all contributed words to this week's list of vocabulary from the news.
The White House responded to a report that the President has repeatedly insulted the American military, specifically referring to Marines who died in WWI as "losers" and "suckers," calling it "totally fake." Members of the administration said they have never heard him make these remarks.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie said he’s “absolutely” never heard Mr. Trump say disparaging things about service members and questioned why not a single on-the-record source had come forward to corroborate The Atlantic story in the three-plus days since it was published.
Washington Times (Sep 6, 2020)
Senate Republicans proposed a pandemic relief bill that's about one third the size of the $3 trillion that House Democrats passed in May. Both sides agree that more needs to be done, but there's no agreement about the scope or the details. Emaciated comes from Latin, where emaciare means "to make lean."
And top Democrats opposed the plan, arguing it was " emaciated" even before it was officially released.
NPR (Sep 8, 2020)
Indian and Chinese troops exchanged gunfire for the first time since the two countries went to war 45 years ago. The dispute, which has grown increasingly tense, is over a piece of disputed border territory in the Himalayas. Observers worry that the situation could escalate further, though with winter coming the mountains are about to become extremely inhospitable.
INDIA’S CONDUCT was as reckless as “doing a handstand on the edge of a cliff”, fulminated the Global Times, a state-run tabloid in China, on September 8th.
Economist (Sep 8, 2020)
According to a study, the huge ten-day August motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota has led to over 250,000 Covid-19 infections around the country. The study's authors say that the costs of the superspreader event will likely top $12 billion. Because attendees came from all over, the impact is widespread, though it varies from state to state depending on how many riders returned from the rally and how strict each state's rules are regarding masking and distancing.
In some places, any spread related to people returning from the rally was blunted by strong mitigation measures, like a face-mask mandate or a prohibition against indoor dining.
Yahoo News (Sep 8, 2020)
Fires in California have consumed over 2 million acres so far, and smoke is covering large portions of the West Coast, making for hazardous air quality in much of California. A new fire southeast of Los Angeles, which has burned over 11,000 acres, was started by an explosive display at a party.
A fire in San Bernardino County, southeast of Los Angeles, that officials said was caused by a pyrotechnic device used during a gender reveal party, had burned nearly 11,000 acres by Tuesday morning and was 16% contained, CalFire said.
Reuters (Sep 8, 2020)
In Utah, a teenage boy on the autism spectrum was shot by police responding to his mother's 911 call asking for help taking him to the hospital. The boy was upset because his mother was returning to work after a long break. One of the responding officers shot the boy as he ran away from them. He is hospitalized in serious condition.
"I said, he's unarmed, he doesn't have anything, he just gets mad and he starts yelling and screaming," Ms Barton said.
BBC (Sep 9, 2020)
Aleksei Navalny, the Russian dissident recovering from severe poisoning with a nerve agent, is no longer in a coma. The German government is deciding how to respond to the poisoning, which has caused widespread outrage around the world. German politicians and commentators are calling for Germany to stop construction on a gas pipeline under the Baltic sea, a project led by Russia.
“He is responsive to verbal stimuli,” the statement said. “It remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning.”
New York Times (Sep 7, 2020)
Journalist Bob Woodward released tapes of interviews with President Trump that he recorded while working on his new book Rage. In one of the tapes, recorded in February, the President says that the virus is "deadly stuff," more deadly than the flu, but that he downplayed its severity to the public to avoid panic. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to the tape by saying that the President bears responsibility for many deaths, since he knew how bad it was and still called it a hoax.
In interviews with Woodward between December 2019 and July 2020, Trump discussed the threat of the coronavirus with a level of detail that he had not yet acknowledged to the public, noting Feb. 7 that it was "deadly stuff," and "more deadly than your — even your strenuous flus."
USA Today (Sep 9, 2020)
With fall approaching, experts are warning that cold weather will bring more people indoors, causing a spike in infection rates around the country. They warn that because the virus is so widespread, and because so many states have lax or incomplete rules governing safe conduct, that the fall and winter could be even worse than the spring. Torquere is Latin for "to twist."
The pandemic is already a dominant campaign issue, and it’s not clear that even a spike in deaths would apply much torque to the presidential race.
Washington Post (Sep 5, 2020)
Evidence shows that smoking and vaping dramatically increase the risk of catching Covid-19, especially among young people. Additionally, people with lungs scarred by smoke and vapor suffer much worse symptoms and long-term damage. Where smoking doubles someone's chance of severe disease, vaping appears much worse: a fivefold increase in risk among young adults.
The punch of harmful chemicals packed into each puff is thought to discombobulate the system of checks and balances needed to direct disease-fighting cells and molecules toward harmful invaders like germs, while waylaying any misguided attacks on healthy tissues.
New York Times (Sep 5, 2020)

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