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October 9, 2020

News Roundup: Measuring COVID response as it spreads through White House

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Have students record what they found most significant in the summaries and ask them what they’d like to learn more about. For a transcript of the video, click here

Summary of the top news: Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to climb in many parts of the country — including in Washington, D.C., where President Donald Trump’s infection and those of numerous White House insiders have been a source of serious concern recently. As the debate continues over the risks of the disease and the measures necessary to limit its spread, Dr. Anthony Fauci explains how things could have gone better.

Also in the news:

  • Trump returned to the White House after a weekend of treatment in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. There is confusion and uncertainty remaining about the timing of his infection, his course of treatment and when he would return to campaigning. Though Trump claims to be better already and safe to return to political events, debates and crowds, many doctors and others remain skeptical that he’s completely recovered and doesn’t risk relapse or infecting others.
  • Federal and state law enforcement officials announced the disruption of an extremist plot to kidnap or assassinate Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. More than a dozen men have been charged. Based on intercepted communications the men were primarily motivated by anti-government sentiment over COVID-19 restrictions. Federal and local authorities report that they are keeping a close eye on extremist violence, with special focus and concern on the upcoming elections.
  • The White House has sent a confusing mix of messages about agreeing to a possible COVID economic relief bill, though many are still eager to negotiate. Still, Senate leaders have suggested that a relief bill would be unlikely to pass before the election next month.
  • On October 7, Vice President Mike Pence debated Senator Kamala Harris in the first and only vice presidential debate of the election cycle. Meanwhile, the timing and format of future presidential debates remained uncertain as President Trump continued to recover from COVID-19.

Warm up questions: 

  1. Who is Dr. Fauci and what is his role in government?
  2. What are some of the simple suggestions Dr. Fauci makes about preventing the spread of COVID-19?
  3. Where and when could spread of COVID-19 been better contained, according to Dr. Fauci?
  4. Why are most doctors recommending the president remain isolated for 10 days?
  5. How could the national response to COVID-19 have been better?

Focus questions:

  1. Do you think people in your community should ease safety measures around COVID-19, keep them about the same or take more precautions? What about in the country as a whole?
  2. Do you think it’s important for politicians and public figures to model careful behavior to help limit the spread of COVID-19? Why or why not?

Media literacy: What news do you think was most important from this summary? What important news are you aware of that was left out?

Dig Deeper: After the vice presidential debate this week, students might be wondering what role a vice president plays, both in an election cycle and in an administration. Why are their perspectives important?

Use this resource from iCivics to learn more about the role of vice presidents.

Note: You’ll need to register for a free iCivics account in order to access the lesson plan. In this lesson, students will:

  • Identify why there is a presidential line of succession.
  • Explain the current role of vice presidents and what the job entails.
  • Explain how and why the office of the vice president was created.
  • Describe the impact of a running mate on a presidential campaign.

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