Wednesday morning news – August 12, 2020

Biden picks Sen. Harris as running mate » Joe Biden has picked his running mate—California Senator Kamala Harris. 

The 55-year-old lawmaker served six years as California’s attorney general before joining the U.S. Senate in 2017. 

During presidential primary debates, Harris, who is Black, attacked Biden for working with segregationist senators while in Congress, and for opposing busing as a way to integrate schools. But after her own presidential bid faltered, she endorsed Biden in March.

HARRIS: One of the things that we need right now is—we need a leader who really does care about the people and who can therefore unify the people. And I believe Joe can do that. 

Harris supports pro-abortion measures such as repealing the Hyde Amendment. In May, pro-life activist David Daleiden sued Harris and Planned Parenthood. The suit alleged that she as California’s attorney general conspired with the abortion giant to prosecute him after he released undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives negotiating prices for the body parts of aborted babies. 

Harris has said she supports the “freedom to worship” but not the free exercise of religion that would allow Christian principles to inform hiring and firing decisions in the workplace.

Russia declares coronavirus vaccine safe and effective » Russia on Tuesday became the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine. 

PUTIN: [Speaking in Russian]

President Vladimir Putin announced the Health Ministry’s approval, adding that one of his adult daughters received the vaccine with only minor side effects. He also said the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and was shown to provide lasting immunity.

But so far, Russian authorities have offered no proof to back up those claims. And experts around the world are skeptical.  

Dr. Amesh Adaljia is an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University. He warned that if something goes wrong with this vaccine—quote—“It’s going to set us all back.”

ADALJA: If something happens in this Russian experience in terms of a new safety signal or maybe it doesn’t show to be as effective as possible, that’s going to color all of the other vaccines and make public health messaging much harder. 

Michael Head is a senior research fellow at the University of Southampton in England. He noted that it appears the vaccine was only tested on a few dozen people. 

HEAD: That is way too early in the process to actually approve a vaccine. It may look promising, but we may be taking that step too far in terms of any regulatory approvals at this stage. 

By comparison, vaccines entering final-stage testing in the United States require studies of 30,000 people each. Two vaccine candidates already have begun those Phase 3 trials, with three more set to get underway by fall.

New Zealand reports first new COVID-19 cases in 102 days » Meantime, at a press conference Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country’s first new cases of COVID-19 in more than a hundred days. 

She said authorities found four cases in one Auckland household. And she announced new restrictions to halt the spread. 

ARDERN: As of 12 noon tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12th, we will be moving Auckland to level three restrictions for a period of three days. 

That means residents are asked to stay at home, while bars and many other businesses will be closed.

She said that will give officials time to perform contact tracing and make further “decisions about how to respond.” 

The rest of the country will be raised to Level 2 through Friday. Gatherings will be limited to 100 attendees and people will need to practice social distancing.

Global coronavirus cases surpass 20 million » Globally, the pandemic is still on the rise. It took six months for the world to reach 10 million confirmed cases. It took just over six weeks for that number to double.

The worldwide count of known COVID-19 infections climbed past 20 million this week according to Johns Hopkins University.

The average number of new cases per day in the United States has declined in recent weeks. But it’s still running high at over 54,000, versus almost 59,000 in India and nearly 44,000 in Brazil.

Georgia school district quarantines more than 900 students and staff » A Georgia school district has quarantined more than 900 students and staff  members because of possible exposure to the coronavirus. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Cherokee County School District is located about 30 miles north of Atlanta. It started the school year on August 3rd, but it’s already temporarily closing one of its hardest-hit high schools. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower announced Etowah High School would close until August 31st.

As of Tuesday, Cherokee has confirmed 59 positive tests within the district. A total of 925 students and staff are now under a two-week quarantine as officials perform contact tracing. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Big Ten and Pac-12 cancel fall football schedule » The Big Ten and Pac-12 will not play football this fall. That takes two of college football’s five power conferences out of a crumbling season amid the pandemic.

Six days before pulling the plug, the Big Ten released a revised conference-only football schedule that it hoped would enable teams to play in the fall. Instead, all fall sports in the Big Ten have been called off. Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 will explore a spring season.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) In this July 31, 2019, file photo, fFormer Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands with Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., before the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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2 comments on Wednesday morning news – August 12, 2020

  1. Robert Franck says:

    About Harris, it is written, “Harris has said she supports the “freedom to worship” but not the free exercise of religion that would allow Christian principles to inform hiring and firing decisions in the workplace.” Has she said such directly or simply implied it by her actions? I would think that she couldn’t take the oath of office to support the constitution if that is the case.

    1. J.C. Derrick says:

      Robert, here is where Harris took that position:

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