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The coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people and upended the global economy in less than nine months

The coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people and upended the global economy in less than nine months

The coronavirus has killed at least 1 million people across the globe, a nightmarish milestone in the world's fight against the virus that emerged from Wuhan, China, late last year, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Roughly half of the world's total Covid-19 fatalities have been reported in only four countries — the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to Hopkins data.

The U.S. reached a death toll above 200,000 people last week, more than any other country on the planet. Declared a pandemic over six months ago, the coronavirus has swept through nearly every nation and has infected more than 33 million people along the way, according to Johns Hopkins. It's shuttered businesses and schools, wreaking havoc on global economies and leaving millions unemployed. 

"One million is a terrible number, and I think we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's health emergencies program, told reporters on Friday. 

CNBC has compiled a package of stories that will run Monday and Tuesday looking back at how the coronavirus pandemic has changed health care, the economy and society itself since its discovery less than nine months ago. 

Please check back here for links to these coming stories and more as they are published:

A timeline of the insidious path the coronavirus took around the world to kill more than 1 million 

From a wet market in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus infiltrated Asia within weeks of its discovery before traveling to Europe, hitting the U.S. in January in Washington state and New York City. It's since spread throughout Latin America and now Africa.

Medical historian compares the coronavirus to the 1918 flu pandemic: Both were highly political 

A historical look at how the Covid-19 outbreak compares with the 1918 flu pandemic — from the diseases themselves to resistance to wearing masks during both outbreaks. There was even a 1918 epidemiologist who withstood criticism for his public health recommendations, similar to Dr. Anthony Fauci today.

As coronavirus deaths pass 1 million, health-care workers around the world share stories from the front lines 

From Bangalore, India, to Sao Paulo, doctors and health workers share personal stories about the coronavirus outbreak from across the world.

The coronavirus is shifting the power balance in air travel to last-minute leisure passengers 

Milan is out and the Rocky Mountains are in. The pandemic is turning airlines' most price-sensitive customers, leisure travelers, into a prize. Carriers are adding more vacation destinations and trying to create softer, gentler policies for a group that has long taken a back seat.

How the U.S. economic response to the pandemic stacks up to the rest of the world

While the U.S. health response to the coronavirus pandemic has faced criticism, the economic response has been among the best in the world. In the throes of the pandemic, the Federal Reserve and U.S. lawmakers moved swiftly to implement unprecedented stimulus aimed at supporting the largest economy in the world during a global halt to economic activity.


Texas governor declares disaster after brain-eating amoeba that killed 6-year-old found in city's water

Texas governor declares disaster after brain-eating amoeba that killed 6-year-old found in city's water

Gov. Greg Abbott  declared a state of disaster in a Texas county after a deadly brain-eating amoeba was detected in a city's water supply and tied to the death of 6-year-old boy this month.

Residents of Lake Jackson were advised to boil their water before using it after Naegleria fowleri was found in their water system. A previous warning that extended to other cities in Brazoria County said not to use the water at all, but that warning was lifted, and now only the boil advisory remains in effect for Lake Jackson.

Abbott on Sunday declared a disaster in Brazoria County, saying that three of 11 water tests in the county found N. fowleri, "posing an imminent threat to public health and safety, including loss of life."

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said it was alerted Friday evening to the presence of N. fowleri in the Brazosport Water Authority supply. 

Environmental officials initially warned all users of Brazosport's system not to use the water, but said later Saturday that "the issue has been narrowed to the city of Lake Jackson’s water distribution system."

Authorities "are actively working on a plan to flush and disinfect the water system," but it was unknown how long that will take, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said.

Microbe in Texas city's water: Officials lift warning on water in Texas but advise to boil before drinking

Earlier this month, 6-year-old Josiah McIntyre died after contracting the microbe.

"He was an active little boy," Josiah's mother, Maria Castillo, told KTRK-TV. "He was a really good big brother. He just loved and cared about a lot of people."

According to the Houston Chronicle, Josiah's relatives said he was tested for strep, COVID-19 and other diseases when he got sick with a fever, headaches and vomiting, but by the time doctors realized it was N. fowleri, it was too late.

"We just want people to be aware that it’s out there," his grandmother, Natalie McIntyre, said Saturday during a fundraiser, the Chronicle reported.

N. fowleri can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an infection that destroys brain tissue and can kill within five days. The boy died Sept. 8.

The CDC says N. fowleri is commonly found in lakes in the South, especially in the summer, but getting sick from it is rare, with only 34 documented cases in the U.S. from 2009 to 2018. Those who do get sick are generally infected through their nose after swimming or diving in warm freshwater. The CDC says N. fowleri also can spread via inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or contaminated tap water.

While Lake Jackson residents are under the boil advisory, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said they should not allow water to go up their nose or sniff the water while bathing and showering. An infection cannot occur from swallowing infected water, the CDC says.

Josiah's grandparents said they suspect he was infected after inhaling infected water at a "splash-pad" they visited shortly before he fell ill, the Houston Chronicle reported. A hose at the boy's house also tested positive for the microbe, according to KTRK-TV.

Josiah's death prompted city officials to test their water and close the splash-pad, KTRK-TV reported

N. fowleri and warm weather: Diseases like West Nile, EEE and flesh-eating bacteria are flourishing due to climate change

The microbe can cause symptoms similar to bacterial meningitis, including headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting, making an initial diagnosis challenging, the CDC says. The infection progresses rapidly, eventually causing neck stiffness, seizures, hallucinations and coma.

Contributing: The Associated Press


3 ways to ensure you communicate your potential in a job interview

3 ways to ensure you communicate your potential in a job interview

In the spring of 2019, I interviewed a job candidate with no software sales experience for a software sales position. She had scored some impressive sales wins at two national restaurant chains over the course of her career, but I had to figure out if she had what it took to succeed at a growing HR tech start-up.

“Can you describe a time when you displayed creative problem-solving?” I asked her.

The story she proceeded to tell gave me goosebumps.

January is typically one of the slowest months for restaurants, especially those that generate a lot of business from large groups of business travelers. Since this woman’s main role was selling private event space at a steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis (and there are no big industry conferences in January), she knew she would have to get creative to hit her quota. After doing some research, she found that professional basketball games were the only events happening downtown in the frigid weeks following New Year’s. But NBA teams need to eat too, right?

After several weeks of phone calls and emails to team managers, she finally got a “bite” from the travel manager for San Francisco’s NBA team. But there was a catch. He wanted a catered meal delivered to the stadium in Indianapolis before a game happening the very next day. She had never arranged a catered steak dinner before, much less to the stadium with less than 24 hours notice. But thanks to her hustle, she not only pulled it off and met her January sales quota, but also made a repeat customer out of the Golden State Warriors.

Needless to say, she got the job.

Potential is something most hiring managers look for when filling a position. Sometimes, a candidate’s potential is even more important than experience. But “potential” can be hard to define. The dictionary definition—the capacity to become or develop into something in the future—rings hollow compared to the experience of interviewing a job candidate that radiates potential.

I’ve found that people with potential are people in motion—those who aren’t content maintaining the status quo and seek continual growth and improvement. Potential says, “I’m not a finished product.”

But having potential and being able to communicate that potential are two different things. Here are three ways to ensure that your potential shines through in your next job interview.

Find the common thread

I believe everyone has a “thread” that has been constant throughout the fabric of your career. This thread is what drives and motivates you—what you feel you were put on this earth to do—that’s been present in every role you’ve held. My common thread is unlocking people’s potential. I’ve occupied some very different roles in my career—I’ve been a pastor, a professor, a vice president of sales, and a human resources chief—but my core motivation has been the same through them all.

Find that common thread in your career and give it a tug. Think about how it aligns with the role you’re applying for. And consider how to convey that the open position is the next logical step in your career journey. Most modern companies want to hire people with momentum—people who know where they’re going in life or at least have a vague idea of an ultimate career goal. I want to know the direction people are growing in, and understand why they think the open role is their next step.

Tell a story

Telling stories is the most powerful way to communicate information. According to famed author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins, “The power of a single story goes far beyond simply relaying facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They give color and depth to otherwise bland material and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.”

To communicate your true potential in a job interview, consider preparing a few stories that give “color and depth” to your professional experiences. Think about a time when you demonstrated creative problem-solving, your biggest professional achievement, or an instance when you had a tough decision to make.

Next, run the story through the STARL framework. STARL stands for situation, task, action, results, and learning. To really shine a spotlight on your potential, spend plenty of time on the “L” and refine the lessons you learned. In interviews, I love asking questions like, “what would you do differently?” and “name an opportunity that you could have handled better.”

These questions open the floor for the candidate to showcase their ability to critically assess the past and imagine a different future. That’s a foundational aspect of a growth mindset. It’s tempting to go into an interview and try to cast an aura of perfection, as opposed to sharing what you learned and what they would have done differently. But sharing those insights, while it may feel vulnerable, takes a lot of self-awareness and shows that the candidate is willing to learn.

Practice, practice, practice

At the end of the day, the candidate is responsible for making the interview a positive experience. Only you can control what it feels like to talk to you. Consider practicing your stories on a friend to get some feedback, or recording a video of yourself answering some common interview questions. Both of these approaches may feel wildly uncomfortable, but will help you understand how you “show up.” Ninety-three percent of communication is nonverbal, after all, so if your body language is at odds with what’s coming out of your mouth, you may want to break some bad habits before the interview. But, above all else, remember to be yourself.

Companies want to hire humans with breadth and depth of experiences, perspectives, attitudes, and opinions. It’s okay to show your personality in an interview. In fact, I encourage it because you will never bore someone into hiring you.

At the end of the day, communicating your potential starts with believing in your potential. Establish the right balance between confidence and humility, and you’ll leave the hiring manager thinking, “equipped with the right resources, this person could accomplish something truly great for our organization.”

Adam Weber is the cofounder and chief people officer of Emplify, an employee engagement measurement company, and author of Lead Like a Human.


Sienna Miller says Chadwick Boseman took a pay cut on 21 Bridges

Sienna Miller says Chadwick Boseman took a pay cut on 21 Bridges

Chadwick Boseman, Sienna MillerPhoto : Jon Kopaloff ( Getty Images )

It’s only been a month since Chadwick Boseman died from a largely secret four-year battle with colon cancer, but the stories about him being an unbelievably kind and generous person continue to roll in. Speaking with Empire, Boseman’s 21 Bridges co-star Sienna Miller revealed that he actively worked to get her into the movie and even personally took a pay cut so she could get paid the amount that had asked the studio for. Miller explains that Boseman was apparently a fan of her work and had approached her about joining 21 Bridges, and she was willing to consider the job just because she wanted to work with him.

However, she said she would only do it if the studio (the specific studio isn’t named, and there are a few that funded 21 Bridges) would meet a specific salary number that she wanted. Miller says her daughter was just starting school and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to go back to work, so the pay had to be worth it. When the studio wouldn’t agree to give her what she wanted, Miller says Boseman stepped in and voluntarily donated some of his salary so she could get to the number she wanted. She says he told her, “You’re getting paid what you deserve, and what you’re worth,” which she considers the “most astounding thing” she’s experienced in the entertainment industry. “It’s just unfathomable to imagine another man in that town behaving that graciously or respectfully,” she says, adding that there was “no showiness” when Boseman did it and that “other male actor friends” tend to “go very very quiet” when she tells this story. “[They] go home and probably have to sit and think about things for a while.”


Trump paid his daughter Ivanka $747,622 for 'consulting,' then deducted it from his taxes, according to a New York Times investigation

Trump paid his daughter Ivanka $747,622 for 'consulting,' then deducted it from his taxes, according to a New York Times investigation

  • A New York Times investigation into President Donald Trump's tax filings found that from 2010 to 2018, Trump wrote off about $26 million in unexplained consulting fees.
  • Among them was $747,622 written off by the Trump Organization, the same amount his daughter Ivanka Trump reported receiving in consulting fees, according to The Times.
  • The payment appeared to be related to managing hotel deals that were already part of her job, according to the newspaper. Reporters matched the number to one his daughter disclosed when she joined the White House in 2017.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.


President Donald Trump once appeared to pay his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, $747,622 in "consulting fees," then write them off on his taxes, a New York Times investigation found.

That figure was among about $26 million in "unexplained 'consulting fees'" that the president wrote off from 2010 to 2018, The Times reported on Sunday.

The investigation, detailing two decades of Trump's tax returns, found that he was a far less successful entrepreneur than the image he has tried to sell the American public.

The Times found that Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency and the same amount his first year in office.

In 10 of the previous 15 years, he paid no income taxes, The Times reported.

GettyImages-donald trump ivanka trump Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Ivanka was apparently paid as a consultant for a job she was already supposed to do

The tax filings The Times reviewed don't name the consultants. But reporters matched the $747,622 figure claimed by the Trump Organization to the number Ivanka Trump reported in a financial disclosure when she joined the White House in 2017.

The Trump Organization claimed that the payments were related to hotel projects in Vancouver and Hawaii, The Times reported. Ivanka Trump "had been an executive officer of the Trump companies that received profits from and paid the consulting fees for both projects," meaning she appeared to be treated as a consultant on the same hotel deals she was already responsible for managing, the newspaper said.

Tax law allows employers to deduct consulting fees as a business expense, but IRS rules specify that to do so, the consulting arrangement must be an "ordinary and necessary" part of operating the business.

The Times noted that the IRS has pursued civil penalties against some business owners who sought to avoid taxes by paying high fees to related parties who were not really independent contractors. The newspaper cited a 2011 case in which the IRS denied an Illinois accounting firm $3 million in consulting-fee deductions because it learned that the partners paid themselves the fees through corporations they created.

A Trump Organization lawyer did not comment to The Times on the consulting-fee arrangement.

The lawyer also told The Times that "most, if not all, of the facts" in its investigative report "appear to be inaccurate."

FILE PHOTO: Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser to President Donald Trump, listens to remarks during "Unleashing the Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Through Finance and Markets" event, at the IMF and World Bank's 2019 Annual Meetings of finance ministers and bank governors, in Washington, U.S., October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Theiler/File Photo Ivanka Trump was an executive at the Trump Organization when she received consulting fees. Reuters

If the IRS digs in, Trump will have to prove that Ivanka's company did the work and that the fees were reasonable, an expert says

It is not totally uncommon for companies to hire related parties to do consulting work, Michael Dambra, an associate professor of accounting and law at the University at Buffalo School of Management, told Insider.

"I would say for family companies it's a typical tax-avoidance strategy," Dambra said. "I wouldn't say there is anything unusual. What the Trump Organization would have to prove is that these consulting fees served a valid business purpose and that the prices were reasonable."

Dambra's biography page says that his research "examines the economic impact of regulatory changes" and that his findings have been cited in Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, SEC commissioner speeches, congressional depositions, and policy papers from the US Treasury Department.

If the Trump Organization were a publicly traded company, there would be mandatory disclosures related to business done by related parties — but since it's a private company, there is information related to the dealings that's not available, Dambra said.

Dambra said that if the IRS were to challenge the deductions — "and we know that there are audits going on," he said — the agency would want evidence that the consulting work was actually done and that it was necessary.

Dambra said he thought it was "a little unusual" for an executive of a company to be paid consultant fees.

"It's possible that Ivanka Trump has a fantastic consulting business and so they were the best company for the job," he said, "but it would be pointed out as unusual and something the IRS would certainly investigate."

As for The Times' investigation as a whole, Dambra said he always finds it interesting the disconnect between what Trump claims his net worth is and "what shows up in the numbers."

Dambra pointed to a 2019 Buffalo News report that said Trump inflated his net worth by $4 billion when he bid to buy the Buffalo Bills football team years earlier.

Ultimately, he said, in order to know whether the consultant-fee deductions related to the payments to Ivanka Trump were valid, more needs to be disclosed.

"I would say in defense to Trump here, there's nothing unreasonable about trying to minimize your taxes. We all do some form of that," he said. "The question at hand is whether this is defensible, and that's what we don't have information on."


25-Year-Old's Japanese Girl's Plastic Surgery Transformation Stuns Internet

25-Year-Old's Japanese Girl's Plastic Surgery Transformation Stuns Internet

Mikishi, a 25-year-old girl from Japan, has been getting a lot of attention on Asian social media lately, because of her drastic plastic surgery transformation.

Ever since taking to Twitter to confess that her appearance is the result of several bouts of plastic surgery, back in March of this year, 25-year-old Mikishi has become somewhat of a poster-girl for early plastic surgery. She had her first cosmetic procedure, a facial reshaping, on the first day after graduating high-school, and she has since turned to plastic surgery several more times, spending about 4 million yen ($40,000) in the process. But she considers it money well spent, as plastic surgery changed her life, giving her back her self-esteem and helping her lead a happy life, instead of sinking into a depression. Today, Mikishi actually advocates for plastic surgery for people who really feel like they need it, and she has even founded a company that provides consultancy  services to such individuals.

Photos: Mikishi (@Qpr_7)

Mikishi told Japanese magazine SPA! that she decided that she wanted to undergo plastic surgery in high-school. As a junior, she confided in a classmate that she dreamt of becoming a model, only to have her secret shared with other colleagues who would later mock her for it. Even the friend she had trusted laughed at her, asking her if she looked in the mirror lately.

She had never had a problem with her looks before that embarrassing episode happened in junior high-school, but from that point on she became obsessed with her appearance, thinking herself ugly and refusing to share her dreams and aspiration with anyone. She recalls looking around and thinking that all the other girls were cuter than she was. It got so bad that she could barely focus on anything else but her looks.

Photos: Mikishi (@Qpr_7)

“I hated my face so much that I didn’t want people to see my face, so I didn’t like walking outside or getting on the train. That’s why I even had my parents pick me up from school by car,” Mikishi said. “Also, my mentality was very unstable, and I would suddenly burst into tears during class. I thought I couldn’t go on living living like that, and when I graduated I was prepared to break the ties with my friends. I confessed to my mother that I wanted to have plastic surgery as soon as I graduated.”

After seeing how serious of an issue appearance was to her daughter, Mikishi’s mother agreed to pay for whatever procedure she wanted done, as long as she consulted a doctor first. The very first day after graduating high-school, Mikishi went under the knife for a full eye incision, ptosis reshaping and a procedure on the outer corners of her eyes.

Photos: Mikishi (@Qpr_7)

However, that very first experience with plastic surgery only made things worse. She started thinking about what other people would think when they saw her. What if she still wasn’t pretty enough? So she didn’t step out of the house for three months, and plunged into a deep depression. Her family helped her through it, and she started socializing after getting a part-time job at a Government office.

Mikishi still wasn’t confident in her appearance so she turned to plastic surgery again, getting a chin implant, nose job, as well as more work on her eyes. She has had four major plastic surgery operations so far, which cost around 4 million yen ($40,000), as well as some maintenance procedures. It’s a lot of money, Mikishi acknowledges, but she says it was all worth it, because it changed her life completely.

For example, today she feels comfortable trying on clothes that she wouldn’t dare put on before. She had some brands she liked a lot, but she would look in the mirror and say “this face doesn’t look good on you”. She though skirts’ and heels were suitable for pretty women, but not for her.

Mikishi took out a loan to afford all the plastic surgery she had done, but she confidently says that she prefers to be in debt than suffer from low self-esteem. Now she wants to help other people to better themselves without going through the hardships she went through. To that end she founded Popelka Co. Ltd., a company that provides consultation and counseling regarding plastic surgery, hospital introductions, cost support and interpreter support for procedures outside of Japan.

“If you want to get plastic surgery or don’t like your face, you shouldn’t get the wrong person to talk to,” Mikishi said. “Parents and school teachers never understand your reasons and and many people only say nice things. I once consulted with a school health teacher about my problems. Then he said, ‘There are a lot of people who live happily even if they aren’t cute.’ It’s hard to realize that there is no one who understands you.”

Ever since she shared her own transformation on Twitter, she has been getting a lot direct messages on Twitter from people asking for help either for themselves or their loved ones who are going through similar issues. Through Popelka, the 25-year-old hopes to normalize plastic surgery for people who really need it, and counsel those thinking about going under the knife.


The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip 5 weeks from Election Day

The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip 5 weeks from Election Day

(CNN) President Donald Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court over the weekend is likely to further nationalize the fight for control of the Senate, with Republicans looking to defend a majority that was very much at stake well before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.

There's no question the court battle has already injected more money and partisanship into many of these races , but a little more than week out from Ginsburg's death, there isn't yet enough data to definitively say whether the vacancy — another major national event in a year full of them — will benefit one party or another.

The loss of the liberal justice has been a fundraising bonanza for Democrats, many of whom already had significant financial advantages, with small-dollar donors giving more than $300 million via the online fundraising platform ActBlue since her death, according to a spokesperson. But it's also stirring conservatives, who are hoping to remind right-leaning voters who may have soured on Trump of the importance of having a GOP-controlled Senate when it comes to the long-term balance of the high court.

The Senate landscape looks different from the last time there was a Supreme Court fight, just before the 2018 midterms. Two years ago, Democrats were on defense, and at least three of their red-state incumbents couldn't overcome a highly partisan confirmation nationalizing their races.

This year, however, Democrats are on offense, defending just 12 seats to Republicans' 23. Two of those Democrat-held seats — Alabama and Michigan — bookend this list of the seats most likely to flip partisan control, which was first published at the end of August . The remaining eight seats on the list are Republican-held. Democrats need a net gain of four seats to win control of the chamber, or three if Joe Biden wins the White House since the vice president breaks ties in the Senate. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales , a CNN contributor, rates six GOP-held seats either Toss-up or Tilt Democratic.

Two of those are blue states that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, which is where Republicans fear a partisan Supreme Court debate could hurt the most. Democrats are already making Republicans' push to confirm a new justice part of their advertising in Colorado -- which maintains its spot at No. 2 -- layering that message on top of their long-running attacks on the GOP on health care. The fate of the Affordable Care Act , a winning issue for Democrats in the 2018 midterms, has once again been thrust to the fore of the election, with the high court scheduled to hear arguments over the law the week after Election Day.

In Maine, another blue state where a Republican incumbent is facing a tough reelection, Democrat Sara Gideon is explicitly arguing that this election isn't just about Sen. Susan Collins — who has said the Senate shouldn't vote on a nominee before Election Day — it's also about Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom the narrator in one of her recent spots says, is also on the ballot.

It's possible Maine, which is No. 5 on the list, and North Carolina, which is No. 4, could soon switch places. If the Supreme Court vacancy does push voters deeper into their partisan corners, that could spell good news for North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, but bad news for Collins, who's already alienated moderates and independents with her support for Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 and isn't likely to enamor herself with conservatives by saying a Trump nominee shouldn't be confirmed before the election.

One change from late August: Montana is now ahead of Georgia in likelihood that it'll flip control -- largely because of candidate matchup and the uncertainty of a runoff in the Peach State -- but a sustained Supreme Court fight could reverse that shift given that Montana is still a red state, while Georgia is looking increasingly purple.

Kansas still does not make the list, but more than some of the other Democratic "reach seats," the Sunflower State may deserve an honorable mention. Republican outside groups are continuing to have to spend money they should be spending elsewhere to boost the GOP nominee, who's facing a former Republican. However, this is one of the red so-called firewall states where Republicans think their candidates will be boosted by increasing partisan feelings around the Supreme Court.

The bottom line: there's plenty of speculation about how the struggle over the court will shape the race for the Senate, but it's still too early to know how Ginsburg's death is moving specific contests. That's why CNN's ranking of the top 10 Senate races remains largely unchanged since late August, when the political conventions had just ended and America was on the cusp of the traditional fall campaign season. A lot has happened since then — and undoubtedly a lot will happen between now and Election Day.

With just more than five weeks to go, here are the seats most likely to flip control:


1. Alabama

Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Doug Jones

Jones maintains his spot as the most endangered senator — a position he isn't likely to cede with the Supreme Court vacancy underscoring partisan lines in deep-red Alabama. But Jones isn't running away from his party, most recently joining his fellow Senate Democrats in saying he'd oppose any Trump Supreme Court nominee before Election Day. He hasn't shied away from going after Trump either, using the President's alleged words about America's fallen soldiers (and Fox News' confirmation of parts of the account, first reported in The Atlantic ) in an ad against Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville. Energizing the Democratic base, especially African-American voters, continues to be Jones' most realistic path to victory. But while he's enjoyed a financial advantage over Tuberville, it's hard to see him overcoming the partisan bent of the state since he only narrowly defeated Roy Moore, who faced sexual assault allegations, in a 2017 special election.


2. Colorado

Incumbent: Republican Sen. Cory Gardner

A nationalized race is the last thing Gardner wants in a state that voted for Clinton by about 5 points and where Trump is deeply unpopular. His opponent, former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, launched one of the first ads to mention the Supreme Court vacancy , pointing out Gardner's support for confirmation before the election. The first-term Republican is in a bind: he can't afford to turn off the conservative base, but he's also trying to hold onto enough ticket-splitting voters. He's running ads touting his bipartisanship, and like many GOP incumbents this cycle, he's been leaning into health care . But a recent Gardner spot that featured his mom, a cancer survivor, earned headlines for misleadingly saying his bill would "forever" guarantee protections for pre-existing conditions -- even without Obamacare.


3. Arizona

Incumbent: Republican Sen. Martha McSally

Appointed to this seat after losing her 2018 Senate race, McSally faces a difficult path to victory in November that requires winning over Trump's base and some of the suburbanites who dislike him. Unlike Gardner, though, she's in a state where Trump is competitive, and there's the chance that a tightening presidential race here -- as one recent ABC/Washington Post poll showed -- could boost her fortunes. But the Supreme Court fight could also underscore her liabilities with suburban women, whom she failed to win over in 2018. Democrat Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband for former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, doesn't have a voting record and had a massive cash advantage as of mid-July, when the latest fundraising reports were available.


4. North Carolina

Incumbent: Republican Sen. Thom Tillis

Trump has been holding a lot of rallies in North Carolina, which could be good news for first-term Sen. Thom Tillis, who's struggled to consolidate the President's base behind him. But when Trump makes news at those rallies, for example, by suggesting people to try to vote twice (which would be illegal), Tillis risks losing the well-educated and suburban voters who are making this state competitive up and down the ballot. Tillis' allies have tried to turn some of the knocks against the President against Democrat Cal Cunningham, a former state senator and Army reservist, accusing him of being an "anti-vaxxer" because he said he's concerned about political interference in public health. Cunningham, who outraised Tillis in the last quarter, has consistently led in public polling here but Republicans feel the race has tightened since Labor Day and that the stakes of the Supreme Court fight could bring home GOP voters to Tillis. There will be plenty more spending on both sides up until the end: North Carolina's Senate race was the most expensive in the nation, with nearly $146 million in total ad spending, including what's already been spent and future reservations, according to a CNN analysis of CMAG data as of September 21.


5. Maine

Incumbent: Republican Sen. Susan Collins

First elected in 1996, the Caribou, Maine, native has long relied on a moderate image to dispatch Democratic challengers. But Democrats' central argument against her this year is that she's no longer the senator Mainers have elected four times before. Collins' vote for the 2017 GOP tax plan and contributions from the pharmaceutical industry have been especially prominent parts of Democratic messaging, although one recent spot from a Democratic outside group also spotlights her support for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. That 2018 vote was a rallying cry for moderate Republicans, independents and Democrats, particularly when it came to fundraising. Another Supreme Court vacancy allows Democratic state House Speaker Sara Gideon to argue that even if voters like Collins, they cannot afford to have another GOP vote in the Senate. At the same time, Collins' refusal to confirm a Trump nominee before the election isn't likely to win her any sympathies with the GOP base, whom she needs to turn out for her. One more complicating factor for Collins, who failed to hit 50% in several recent public polls , is ranked choice voting , which helped send New England's last Republican member of the US House packing in 2018 . She's in a bind, but the question is if Gideon -- who's facing attacks on her record in the state legislature -- can exploit it.


6. Iowa

Incumbent: Republican Sen. Joni Ernst

Iowa's Senate race is the second most expensive, with $136.3 million in total ad spending, according to a CNN analysis of CMAG data as of September 21. Republicans see this as a must-hold seat in a Trump state that potentially becomes safer with the balance of the Supreme Court at stake. Democrats are looking at a competitive presidential state, however, and see an opportunity to pick off a GOP senator, who they're arguing has changed since her infamous "make 'em squeal" ad six years ago. Democratic outside groups are using Ernst's recent controversial comments about coronavirus, in which she expressed skepticism about the death count , against her, while Democratic businesswoman Theresa Greenfield is having Republicans vouch for her on air. Republicans are trying to tie Greenfield to the national party , with the narrator in one recent National Republican Senatorial Committee spot saying, "If Theresa Greenfield wins, the mob wins." Recent public polling shows no clear leader.


7. Montana

Incumbent: Republican Sen. Steve Daines

Montana moves up a spot on this list, meaning it's more likely than the Georgia seat (see next item) to flip partisan control in November. Polling here shows a very tight race, but Democrat Steve Bullock, a two-term governor who won statewide the same year Trump carried the state by more than 20 points, has a demonstrated ability to win ticket-splitting voters. And while Republicans argue that the Supreme Court battle has a better chance of helping them in Montana than in Georgia, there is recent precedent for a Montana Democrat opposing a Trump nominee and still winning. (See Sen. Jon Tester in 2018.) Democrats are also encouraged by the removal from the ballot of the Green Party candidate , who could have siphoned votes away from Bullock. But even if Trump hasn't been doing as well here as four years ago, this is still a tough race for Democrats. Republicans are trying to tie Bullock, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for president, to the national party, with one ad saying, "He's changed, and now he stands with them."


8. Georgia

Incumbent: Republican Sen. David Perdue

Georgia drops below Montana in large part because of the uncertainty over a January runoff. Democrat Jon Ossoff, who lost an expensive 2017 special House election in the Atlanta suburbs, is taking on first-term Republican Sen. David Perdue. Despite the state's traditional Republican bent, demographic changes in the Atlanta suburbs are making the Peach State much more competitive for Democrats up and down the ticket. Ossoff's best shot is winning outright in November if Biden can carry the state. A CBS News poll released Sunday showed Perdue leading 47% to 42% among likely voters. If neither candidate receives a majority and the Senate race advances to a January runoff, with unpredictable turnout, it could be harder for a Democrat to win without presidential coattails. Perdue is trying to paint Ossoff as "too radical." But in a sign Democratic hits may have been resonating, Perdue had to address attacks over his stock trades in a recent ad , in which he explained that the government cleared him of wrongdoing.


9. South Carolina

Incumbent: Sen. Lindsey Graham

There was a long time when Democrat Jaime Harrison generated headlines about this race because he was running against Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been a boogeyman on the left -- and is even more so now after reversing his stance on confirming Supreme Court justices during presidential election years. That national attention helped the former state Democratic Party chairman vastly outraise Graham, a Trump skeptic turned close ally. But it no longer appears to be just out-of-state buzz animating this race. Public polling has consistently shown Harrison locked in a tight race with Graham, which is why, of all the "reach seats" Democrats are targeting in red states like Kansas, Kentucky, Texas and Alaska, this one makes the list of seats most likely to flip. Harrison has no shortage of cash, but the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recently made a seven-figure coordinated investment here to send a signal that despite this being a reliably red state, the Senate race is real. Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, is making a $6.5 million ad buy in the state. Republicans acknowledge it's competitive but believe the Supreme Court stakes -- and Graham's role as Judiciary Chairman -- will solidify it as a GOP stronghold.


10. Michigan

Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Gary Peters

Peters is the only other Democrat running for reelection this year in a state Trump carried (albeit narrowly) in 2016. And although the state looks to be moving away from Trump at the presidential level, outside groups from both sides are spending here for the Senate race. Republicans were always enthused by John James, an Iraq war veteran and Black businessman who lost Michigan's 2018 Senate race. But they've grown more optimistic about his chances against Peters, who's been outraised several quarters in a row. An NBC News/Marist poll released Sunday showed Peters with a narrow lead against James, 49% to 44%, among likely voters.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.


Researchers figured out why coronavirus kills people with no other medical conditions

Researchers figured out why coronavirus kills people with no other medical conditions

  • A pair of new studies describe a key phenomenon that can occur in some patients infected with the novel coronavirus, and it could explain why the illness can kill younger patients with no preexisting conditions.
  • The coronavirus can block interferon and delay the immune system’s response to the pathogen. Some affected people might have undiagnosed interferon imbalances prior to the COVID-19 condition.
  • These genetic interferon imbalances can exacerbate the effects of COVID-19 and cause complications that can lead to death.

People who suffer from certain medical conditions have a higher risk of developing COVID-19 complications, including death. The list of ailments that could worsen a COVID-19 prognosis includes cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Older people are also more at risk of dying than younger patients. It’s not just that some of the comorbidities mentioned above can develop later in life, but the immune response in older people might not be as effective as in young patients. Even so, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule. Many young patients have died from coronavirus infections, including people who had no serious chronic diseases. That’s why there are no guarantees that younger, healthy adults and children will recover from a covid infection.

A pair of new studies provide a key observation that might impact future COVID-19 treatments. Studies we covered months ago said that the coronavirus blocks the production of interferon locally when it infects the first cells, potentially delaying the immune system’s reaction to the new pathogen. Other studies proposed interferon-based therapies for COVID-19 as a result. But it turns out there may be another reason that impacts interferon production that has nothing to do with the presence of the novel coronavirus in the system.

Researchers from the Netherlands published a study in JAMA Network that detailed just four COVID-19 cases, which might seem unusual for any research into the novel coronavirus. 
But the scientists focused on only two pairs of brothers because of the COVID-19 complications they had developed.

The first two brothers were aged 29 and 31 years old. Both were healthy and did not suffer from any preexisting chronic conditions before catching covid. Within days after getting the virus, they were having trouble breathing on their own and they were admitted to the hospital. The younger man died and his brother spent 33 days in the hospital, including 10 days on a ventilator.


Two weeks later, two other brothers who were even younger developed respiratory failures as well. They were just 21 and 23 years old.

That’s when doctors decided to study their genomes, thinking that a genetic cause might explain their predisposition to developing coronavirus complications following an infection. What the researchers found was that mutations carried on the X chromosome led to an interferon imbalance, which may have made them more susceptible to COVID-19 complications. Of note, the mutation is more likely to impact men than women.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus can block interferon and delay the immune response. But if the host already has an interferon deficiency problem caused by a previously unknown genetic issue, then the risk of complications is even greater.

The mutation observed in the Netherlands impacts 1 in 10,000 people, explains Bloomberg. It therefore cannot explain all severe COVID-19 cases that occur. But interferon deficiency could make it harder for some groups of people to fight the illness, even if they’re in otherwise perfect health.

A second study published last week in Science comes from a global team of researchers and details another interferon issue that can lead to severe cases of COVID-19.

Some people make interferon antibodies on their own, which would impact the immune response against any pathogen, not just the novel coronavirus. Researchers looked for interferon antibodies in 987 patients who developed severe COVID-19 and found that 101 of them developed the antibodies that blocked the protein. Ninety-five of them were men. The scientists also looked at 663 people who developed asymptomatic or mild cases of COVID-19, and none of them had interferon-targeting antibodies. The scientists also found that patients over the age of 65 were more likely to develop interferon antibodies.

This is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks itself. The condition causes no symptoms and only comes to light following an infection with a virus like the novel coronavirus.

“These findings provide a first explanation for the excess of men among patients with life-threatening Covid-19 and the increase in risk with age,” lead researchers Jean-Laurent Casanova told Bloomberg. “They also provide a means of identifying individuals at risk of developing life-threatening Covid-19.”

Whether it’s an autoimmune problem that leads to interferon imbalance or a rare genetic mutation, these are factors that can impact the course of COVID-19 and favor complications. Treatment with interferon might mitigate these silent medical conditions that might be unknown to affected people.

The Dutch researchers think that timing “may be essential” for interferon treatment. “It’s only in the very early phase one can battle the virus particles and defend against infection,” Alexander Hoischen told Bloomberg, adding that interferon might be more effective early in the illness than in the later stages. As Bloomberg points out, dozens of interferon treatment therapies are recruiting COVID-19 patients, and we’ll have more answers in the future.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.


Democrats on Trump tax story: "This is a national security question"

Democrats on Trump tax story: "This is a national security question"

The big picture: Democrats have already leapt on the Times' bombshell, which Trump has dismissed as "total fake news," to attack the president for allegedly paying less in federal income taxes than the average middle-class household.

  • Pelosi and several former law enforcement officials, including former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, have suggested that loans personally guaranteed by Trump could leave him vulnerable to foreign influence.
  • "This president is commander-in-chief," Pelosi said on MSNBC. "He has exposure to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. To whom? The public has a right to know."

Driving the news: On the eve of the first presidential debate, the Times revealed Trump's paltry federal income tax payments — $750 each in 2016 and 2017, and $0 in 10 of the previous 15 years, because of losses — as well as this jaw-dropping surprise:

  • "[W]ithin the next four years, more than $300 million in loans — obligations for which he is personally responsible — will come due."
  • "Should he win re-election, his lenders could be placed in the unprecedented position of weighing whether to foreclose on a sitting president."

Between the lines: The revelations give Joe Biden a political gift for the debate. Biden has been attacking Trump’s inheritance-fueled privilege, trying to chip away at the president's bond with white, working-class voters.

  • Now there's evidence that the president has been paying far less in income tax than many of the blue-collar workers who voted for him.
  • Scott Jennings, a Republican consultant, said on CNN when asked how Trump will handle the leak during the debate: "He thinks this makes him look smart."

Jeff Timmer on the NYT report on Trump’s taxes: ‘Well, I am a Republican and I like lower taxes. What I don’t like is evading taxes.’

Jeff Timmer on the NYT report on Trump’s taxes: ‘Well, I am a Republican and I like lower taxes. What I don’t like is evading taxes.’

A New York Times report released over the weekend uncovered new details in President Trump’s tax returns. According to the report, President Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency and again his first official year in the White House. Jeff Timmer, a senior advisor for the Lincoln Project and co-founder of Republicans and Independents for Biden, joins MSNBC’s Craig Melvin to react to the New York Times’ latest reporting and how it may influence the 2020 race.


Trump's Tax Returns Show Massive Failure Who Survived in Age of Plutocracy

Trump's Tax Returns Show Massive Failure Who Survived in Age of Plutocracy

"Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags."

—Mary Elizabeth Lease, Actual American Populist.

By happy accident, the latest bombshell from The New York Times dropped one day after some nice folks in New York sent along a copy of Without Compromise, a collection of pieces written for the late, lamented Village Voice by the late (and equally lamented) Wayne Barrett, who wrote that newspaper's "Runnin' Scared" column for almost 40 years. There is absolutely no point in trying to understand the current president*, the sleazoid New York milieu that birthed him as a public figure, and our immediate peril without having read Barrett's dogged pursuit of Manhattan's landshark demimonde and how it put the screws to everyone else. From the Go-Go Gordon Gecko 1980s all the way through Rudy Giuliani's fealty to developers (and criminal cops) as the city's mayor, without fear or favor, as the old muckrakers used to say, and using the country's signature city as his index patient, Wayne Barrett traced the steady corruption that came along with nearly a half-century of shoving the nation's wealth upwards, a process that, hitched to retrograde politics, made someone like El Caudillo Del Mar-a-Lago not only possible, but inevitable. That Barrett died the day before this president*'s thoroughly corrupt inauguration is one of those episodes in which history and Providence get together to rob us blind.

Barrett was onto the president* early on. In 1979, Barrett published an insanely detailed two-part epic in the Voice describing not only the president*'s initial rise to New York power broker, but also his own battle with the president*, who already was ham-handedly trying to manage his own press. "In this two-part history," Barrett concludes, "we've been looking into a world where only the greed is magnified. The actors are pretty small and venal. Their ideas are small, never transcending profit. In it, however, are the men elected to lead us and those who buy them. And in it, unhappily, are the processes and decisions that shape our cities and our lives."

And, in 2016, those two groups merged into one vulgar talking yam, someone whose innate contempt for democratic government was reinforced, as Barrett explains, by how easy it was to buy his way into it, or around it, if needs be.

He had prided himself on never having met a public official, a banker, a lawyer, a reporter, or a prosecutor he couldn’t seduce. Some he owned, and others he merely manipulated. As he saw it, it was not just that everyone had a price, it was that he knew what the price was. He believed he could look across a table and compute the price, then move on to another table and borrow the money to pay it. "Everybody tries to get some money" was his assessment in one unpublished interview of what motivates the people he dealt with. It was his one-sentence summary of human nature.

So, as stunning as the Times series is, and the fact that he may have run for president in the first place because the revenue stream from The Apprentice was drying up is my personal favorite, it functions best as the final verdict on five decades in which the institutions of democratic government surrendered themselves to the implacable forces of plutocracy. The tax code—and therefore, the tax burden—has been rigged against most Americans. (As bad as the fact that the president* once paid $750 in federal income tax is, we should remember, that $750 is $750 more than Amazon paid in 2018.) There were giants who profited from this transformation of American society and politics, and there also were some bottom-feeders. Our current president* is one of the latter.

new york, united states   1989  real estate tycoon donald trump poised in trump tower atrium  photo by ted thaithe life picture collection via getty imagesThe president* is an avatar for the age of plutocracy.


Ted Thai

The Times report is the final and conclusive evidence that everything the president* has sold about himself to his business partners, his lackeys in the press, his bankers, the Republican Party and, ultimately, the country, is the purest moonshine. He stands exposed now as a massive failure. As a businessman, he's a debt-ridden mess, deeply in hock to God alone knows who. As a president*, he has set new standards for incompetence that may well stand for centuries, assuming the country does, of course.

But he stands also exposed as a failure who was allowed to thrive because he failed at a time in which politics and government were rearranged to keep his particular genre of failure ever from being fatal. In fact, if he hadn't run for president*—and, especially, had he not been elected president*—he likely would have floated gracefully into eternity, leaving a complex disaster for his heirs to straighten out, and remembered in history as a crude, wealthy wastrel with some interesting eccentricities. And measured only against his fellow plutocrats, posterity might have gotten away with remembering him that way. But measured against the presidency, he was what Wayne Barrett said he was in 1979: small and venal, with no ideas big enough to transcend profit, a fitting epitaph for the republic in the age of the money power.

Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976.

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AOC points out the hypocrisy of Trump’s $70,000 hairstyling spend

AOC points out the hypocrisy of Trump’s $70,000 hairstyling spend

Last night The New York Times published an explosive article revealing information about Donald Trump’s taxes. 

The Times obtained the President’s tax returns covering the past two decades which revealed information including that Trump paid just $750 in income taxes in 2016, the year he won the election, and 2017, his first year in the White House. He paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years.

One of the many other findings revealed in the discovery is that the President has been taking tax deductions on personal expenses including residences, aircraft, and hair. Written off as a business expense was over $70,000 to style his hair during The Apprentice. As was almost $100,000 paid to a favourite hair and make-up artist of Ivanka Trump.

In response to the news, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called out the Republican party for being “spineless, misogynistic hypocrites.” Last year, AOC was heavily criticised after it was reported she paid $260 (out of her own pocket) for a haircut and colour ($80 for the cut, $180 for the lowlights). The Washington Times, for instance, ran the headline “Self-declared socialist AOC splurges on high-dollar hairdo.” A year later, she wants to know where the outrage is for the President.


Commerce secretary: 2020 census to end Oct. 5 despite court order

Commerce secretary: 2020 census to end Oct. 5 despite court order

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross says the 2020 census will end Oct. 5, despite a federal judge’s ruling last week that the head count of every U.S. resident should continue through the end of October, according to a tweet posted on the Census Bureau’s website Monday.

The tweet said the ability for people to self-respond to the census questionnaire and the door-knocking phase when census takers go to homes that haven’t yet responded is ending Oct. 5.

The announcement came as a virtual hearing was being held in San Jose, California, as a follow-up to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s preliminary injunction. The injunction ordered last week suspended the Census Bureau’s deadline for ending the head count on Sept. 30, which automatically reverted the deadline back to an older Census Bureau plan in which the deadline for ending field operations was Oct. 31.

The new Oct. 5 deadline doesn’t necessarily violate the judge’s order because the injunction just suspended the Sept. 30 deadline for field operations and a Dec. 31 deadline the Census Bureau has for turning in figures used for determining how many congressional seats each state gets in a process known as apportionment.

Koh asked federal government attorneys during Monday’s hearing to provide documents on how the new decision to end the head count on Oct. 5 was made. When a federal government lawyer suggested that the decision making was a moving target without any records, the judge asked, “A one sentence tweet? Are you saying that is enough reason to establish decision-making? A one sentence tweet?”

Koh said in her ruling last Thursday that the shortened schedule ordered by President Donald Trump’s administration likely would produce inaccurate results that would last a decade. She sided with civil rights groups and local governments that had sued the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the statistical agency, arguing that minorities and others in hard-to-count communities would be missed if the counting ends this month.

Attorneys for the federal government said they were appealing the decision. During hearings, federal government attorneys argued that the head count needed to end Sept. 30 in order to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for handing in figures used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets in a process known as apportionment.


Joe Biden says he will not do a drug test before presidential debate against Trump; Trump responds

Joe Biden says he will not do a drug test before presidential debate against Trump; Trump responds

US presidential candidate, Joe Biden has laughed off Donald Trump’s demand that he take a drug test before the first presidential debate in Ohio on Tuesday September 29.

Trump suggested during the weekend that Biden should engage in a drug test beause he feels Biden will need drugs to perform well during the debate, but Biden laughed off Trump's suggestions.

When asked at a news conference on Sunday, Biden said: “He’s almost – no. I have no comment.”

But the Biden campaign on Monday blasted Trump, saying the president apparently believed the best case for his re-election could be “made in urine”.

“Vice-President Biden intends to deliver his debate answers in words,” a Biden spokesperson told Politico. “If the president thinks his best case is made in urine he can have at it."

“We’d expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200,000 Americans when he didn’t make a plan to stop Covid-19.”

Trump has now responded to Biden's refusal to do drug test before the debate.

Taking to Twitter on Monday, September 28, Trump wrote;
'Joe Biden just announced that he will not agree to a Drug Test. Gee, I wonder why?'

Joe Biden says he will not do a drug test before presidential debate against Trump; Trump responds