This Week In Words: Current Events Vocab for October 3–9, 2020

October 7, 2020
Stories about the VP debate, Covid-19 in the White House, and a possible reckoning for big tech all chipped in words to this week's list of timely vocabulary from the week's news.
The former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on the current CDC head to admit that the administration has failed to confront or control the pandemic. Dr. William Foege, an epidemiologist who led the victory over smallpox, wrote a letter to Dr. Robert Redfield saying that the public deserved an open accounting of the failures, calling the situation "a slaughter and not just a political dispute."
“You could upfront, acknowledge the tragedy of responding poorly, apologize for what has happened and your role in acquiescing,” Foege wrote to Redfield.
USA Today (Oct 6, 2020)
The Trump campaign is cancelling advertisements in Midwestern states and increasing spending in the Sun Belt and Nevada. The campaign says that it's confident about the Midwest, particularly Ohio, but some Republican strategists question this decision and suggest that the campaign is short on money. Congruent is Latin for "agreeing" or "consistent."
“I don’t think the spin is in any way congruent with the reality,” Nicholas Everhart, an Ohio-based Republican ad maker, told BuzzFeed News.
BuzzFeed News (Oct 7, 2020)
President Trump returned to the Oval Office after leaving the hospital and briefly isolating in the White House residence. Since people with the virus are considered highly likely to be contagious at this stage of the illness, staff are required to wear protective gear when interacting with him, though masks are still optional in the White House. Convalesce is Latin, meaning "to recover health."
He has been convalescing in the White House residence since he returned from a three-night hospital stay on Monday evening.
AP (Oct 7, 2020)
After President Trump was hospitalized with Covid-19, a number or prominent White House staff and Republican officials have tested positive, as have members of the military and civilian White House staff. The White House has said that it will not be doing contact tracing to determine who else may have been exposed. Experts believe that many of these people were infected during the reception for Amy Coney Barrett, the President's nominee to replace Justice Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
The White House has declined to give a total, citing privacy concerns, but is under pressure to describe the extent of the outbreak and explain how it happened.
NPR (Oct 7, 2020)
Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris met for the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City, Utah. The event was less chaotic than the first presidential debate, though the Vice President talked over the moderator extensively and both candidates dodged questions they did not want to answer. This was the only scheduled meeting between the two.
If Pence isn't exactly known for providing forthright answers to questions in interviews or press conferences, his avoidance of answering moderator Susan Page of USA Today's questions on Wednesday seemed to reach new levels of evasion.
CNN (Oct 8, 2020)
As the President's poll numbers fall, some Republicans in vulnerable races are beginning to separate themselves from him. The debate, his hospitalization, and his announcement that any financial stimulus to help the economy will have to wait until after the election have all contributed to growing unease within the party. While many Republicans are optimistic, saying the President enjoys broad support, some senior G.O.P. officials fear that the next month will not be good for them.
Underscoring Trump’s unpredictability [were] the White House’s overtures to Pelosi Wednesday for a deal to rescue the airline industry.
Washington Post (Oct 7, 2020)
While the coronavirus pandemic rages, the opioid abuse epidemic continues to be a serious problem. After a 4 percent reduction in 2017, overdose deaths reached an all-time high last year. Proxy comes from procuracy, which originated in the Latin procurator: a manager, agent, steward, or attorney.
States that saw reductions in carfentanil seizures by police—a rough proxy for use—also experienced reductions in deaths.
Economist (Oct 7, 2020)
A recent report shows that high-level officials in the Trump administration pushed for the separation of families at the border regardless of the age of the children concerned. When the policy of prosecuting all undocumented immigrants began in 2018, Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General at the time, told prosecutors "we need to take away children." Then-deputy AG Rod Rosenstein said that it didn't matter how young the children were.
The decision roiled the prosecutors along the border.
New York Times (Oct 7, 2020)
The House Judiciary Committee released a 449-page report that says big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are abusing their power and have grown too large, effectively becoming monopolies that suppress competition. Members of the committee said that if Joe Biden wins the election, they're confident that he'll use the report to guide his administration's policies on the tech sector.
A scathing report detailing abuses of market power by four top technology companies suggests a tough road ahead of new rules and stricter enforcement for Big Tech should Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden win the White House.
Reuters (Oct 7, 2020)
Last month was the hottest September on record, according to the European Copernicus weather service. It averaged almost one degree Fahrenheit warmer than September of 2019, which had broken the previous record. The warmer climate has made wildfires, flooding, and severe storms worse, and experts say that the trend will continue as long as carbon levels in the atmosphere continue to rise.
And it had a hand in the torrential downpours that inundated the south of France with more than half a metre of rain in a day.
BBC (Oct 7, 2020)

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