5 things to know for August 3: Coronavirus, schools, election 2020, stimulus, TikTok

It may be a tropical storm now, but Isaias is still poised to threaten the Carolinas later today with potentially deadly storm surges and heavy rain. Stay safe, coastal friends.

Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus

The coronavirus is causing new waves of pain and panic across the globe. The Australian state of Victoria declared a “state of disaster” as coronavirus cases rise once again. That means millions of people are on lockdown, including nightly curfews and limits on trips outside. In Manchester, England, a “major incident” has been declared because of new outbreaks. Mexico now has the third-highest number of coronavirus deaths with 47,000 known fatalities, second only to the US and Brazil. Speaking of Brazil, at least six top government officials have tested positive there. Experts agree August will be a pivotal month to see if Latin America can stave off skyrocketing numbers of infections. Meanwhile, in Berlin, a large crowd of far-right groups gathered to protest the German government’s coronavirus restrictions. At the end of last week, Germany recorded 955 new infections in a 24-hour time span, the highest number since the beginning of May.

2. Schools

Students are already heading back to school in the US, and plans to keep the coronavirus out of the classroom are already showing some cracks. An Indiana junior high school student tested positive on the first day back, after attending class for part of the day. Another student in Mississippi tested positive after the first week of classes. And Georgia’s largest school district confirmed that at least 260 employees have either tested positive for Covid-19 or have been exposed. In areas where school hasn’t started yet, leaders are still considering plans. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’ll make a decision later this week about whether schools in his state should plan to reopen.

3. Election 2020

Will the Republican National Convention be closed to the press? The Republican National Committee says no decision has been made yet, even though a convention spokesperson said it would be, citing local coronavirus restrictions. Both the Democratic and Republican national conventions have made numerous changes to their convention plans this summer, with the DNC planning on only a few hours of programming a day. Meanwhile, the next few days will bring several pivotal political decisions: Joe Biden is supposed to announce his running mate this week, and Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota will face primary election challengers looking to break up the influence of the so-called Congressional “Squad.”

4. Stimulus

Another week, another round of contentious stimulus negotiations on the Hill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows are supposed to meet today to try and get closer to a bipartisan stimulus agreement. The major sticking point now is that $600 unemployment benefit that lapsed at the end of last week, as well as how much more funding state and local governments should get. Both sides have failed to find common ground, but with jobless numbers up for the second week in a row, the pressure to get something done is only going to increase.

5. TikTok

Microsoft says it may buy TikTok from its Chinese owner after President Trump announced plans to ban the popular video-sharing app because of national security concerns. The President’s claim sent users into a frenzy, and some tech experts worry that banning the app would only make other tech giants, like Facebook, more powerful. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Trump will take action on TikTok in the coming days. If he wants to ban it, he could try to do it through emergency economic powers or an executive order, although it’s not clear what legal challenges that would face.


Actor and Quaker Oats spokesperson Wilford Brimley has died 

The mustachioed icon was 85.

For the first time, an NHL player knelt for the national anthem

It may be a weird time for sports, pandemic-wise, but it’s as socially active as ever.

Trader Joe’s has decided its product names aren’t racist 

The company says names like Trader Giotto’s, Trader José’s and Trader Ming’s are “fun and show appreciation for other cultures.”

Astronomers captured a picture of a ‘space butterfly’ nebula

Cool space image alert! Cool space image alert!

Your newest quarantine hobby is … tie die! 

Who knew summer camp crafts were really just a time to hone our pandemic coping methods?


Former President Ronald Reagan designated the rose as the national flower of the United States in 1986. The iconic White House Rose Garden is home to several political-themed varietals of the flower, including the “White House Rose,” the “JFK Rose”  and the “Peace Rose.”


“Following an incident over a year ago with a previous video of Speaker Pelosi, we took a number of key steps, making it very clear to people on Facebook when a third-party fact-checker determines content to be false and updating our policy to make explicit the kind of manipulated media we will remove.”

A Facebook spokesperson, responding to a recent viral video on its platform that features footage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, digitally manipulated to make her seem drunk or drugged. Facebook has labeled the video “partly false” because of its editing, but has not removed it.


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Everything is cake and nothing is real

You may have seen hyperrealistic cake-cutting videos like this going around lately. Do they make you hungry or freak you out? It’s hard to decide… (Click here to view)