And you’re going to need one for each of the 99 days remaining before the presidential election on November 3rd. Now that we’re in a double-digit daily countdown, let’s assess the state of play. In Florida, the Quinnipiac poll has Joe Biden with a 13-point lead over Donald Trump, up from a 4-point lead about two months ago. Biden’s commanding lead has moved Florida from a toss-up to leaning Democrat.Trump’s flagging numbers are tied to his Covid-19 response, and last week he began again his coronavirus briefings to emphasize his administration’s response to the crisis. Nationally, Biden is holding steady with an 8-point lead, and he has moved ahead in six key battleground states. But, if you’re a Trump supporter, here’s an interesting article in the Washington Post that allows pundits to speculate on what could put Trump in the lead including the left engaging in violent retaliation during social protests.
Florida's Covid-19 cases are ballooning, but room for optimism.
Although Florida has passed New York and claimed the runner-up spot in the number of official recorded cases of Covid-19, the news isn’t all bad. We’re one of 12 states with a declining rate of transmission; we’re slowing the spread of the virus. Florida’s Rt, or effective reproduction number, is 0.99, and when the rate of transmission drops below 1.0, the virus will eventually stop spreading. That’s not the only good news. The first Phase 3 clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine in the US began today. The vaccine, developed by the biotechnology company Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will be conducted on 30,000 healthy adult volunteers at 89 sites around the country, in hopes of determining whether the vaccine can prevent the virus. The vaccine is one of 25 clinical trials around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
Countdown to stimulus.
With only days until the federal government’s $600/week unemployment insurance supplement expires, the White House and GOP legislators are preparing to release their latest economic stimulus proposal later tonight. The $1 trillion plan is noticeably trimmer than House Democrats’ $3 trillion proposal which has been languishing in Congress since mid-May, but both parties will be under immense pressure to reach bipartisan agreement on a final package by the end of this week. Among the major points of debate in the likely GOP proposal will be a scaling back of federal unemployment insurance benefits to $200/week, with states then individually increasing that base amount until it’s equal to 70% of the recipient’s prior compensation. The Republican plan is not expected to include additional funding for state and local governments, but it will provide them additional flexibility to use existing federal relief dollars to help fill budget gaps. Another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to individuals is expected to be part of the plan, as is dedicated funding for K-20 education institutions though at a substantially lower amount than the Democrats’ proposal. It also appears Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will see his high-priority liability protections for organizations included in the GOP’s first draft, though it remains to be seen whether Democrats will ultimately accept the provisions as part of a final bill.