There has been no shortage of News You Should Know recently.
Donald Trump’s case of COVID-19, subsequent hospitalization and release from Walter Reed Medical Center dominated news this week.
Trump tweeted at 12:54 a.m. on Oct. 2 that he had tested positive. He was hospitalized the following day.
Multiple doctors have theorized that the event that gave Trump the virus and spread it among his staff was a ceremony held at the White House on Sept. 26, where Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Upon his hospitalization, doctors were seemingly concerned about Trump’s lungs and blood oxygen levels, which showed signs of the disease seriously affecting him, according to the New York Times.
Additionally, upon his release on Oct. 5, Trump was caught on video seemingly gasping for air in front of the White House.
COVID has spread throughout the administration after Bloomberg journalist Jennifer Jacobs reported that senior aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for COVID on Oct. 1. According to Al Jazeera, campaign manager Bill Stepien, Republican National Convention Chair Ronna McDaniel, senior advisor Stephen Miller, assistant to the president for press relations Kayleigh McEnany, former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and first lady Melania Trump are among the highest-profile names to have recently contracted the virus.
Three senators, Mike Lee (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), have also tested positive for COVID. Despite testing positive, Johnson went to a fundraising event in his home-state Wisconsin on Oct. 3, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden currently has a solid lead on Trump in the polls. According to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average, Biden leads Trump by 8.8 percentage points as of Oct. 6. A Washington Post poll released on Oct. 3 shows Biden ahead by 7 points in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania, which Trump won by less than a percentage point in 2016.
Election Day is Nov. 3, but early voting in Rhode Island begins on Oct. 14, and on Oct. 17 in Massachusetts. Connecticut does not have an early voting period, but voters can still vote by mail if they do not feel safe voting in person, according to FiveThirtyEight.
In world news, conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Azeri-controlled Artsakh have drastically increased in recent days.
Artsakh, otherwise known as Nagorno-Karabakh, is a separatist region of Azerbaijan with a population that is mostly ethnically Armenian. While the United Nations recognized the region as part of Azerbaijan, it officially declared its independence in an attempt to join Armenia upon both countries gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, according to CBS News.
While the official start of the new conflict is disputed, the New York Times reports that Azerbaijan said that they responded to rocket fire from Armenia on Sept. 27, while Armenia said that Azerbaijan’s attack was unprovoked.
According to the New York Times, Turkey has offered direct support to Azerbaijan, and Russia and Iran have both offered to host peace talks; something not seen in any smaller flare-ups in the region recently. Additionally, Armenia has offered talks for a cease-fire, but Azeri president Ilham Aliyev said that they would continue until Armenia withdrew support for the region.
This was the first installment of an infrequent column that I did involving national and international news, and was published in the Oct. 8, 2020 edition of the Good Five Cent Cigar.