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News Brief: Week of Oct. 18-24


Final presidential debate

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden met on Thursday, Oct. 22, for the final presidential debate before election day on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The two candidates met face-to-face at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, to discuss their response to the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, foreign policy, healthcare and racial tension in the United States.

The debate notably differed from the first presidential debate, which featured constant interruption and tangents. For this debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates determined each candidate would be allowed to speak for two minutes before their microphone would be muted to prevent interruptions.

While the debate was more civil than past matches, the two candidates still sharply disagreed, especially in response to the pandemic.

“We’re learning to live with it,” Trump said.

“Learning to live with it?” Biden said. “Come on. We’re dying with it.”

The debate also featured personal accusations from each candidate, with Trump accusing Biden and his son Hunter of corruption, citing foreign support, and Biden criticizing Trump’s tax returns and Chinese business dealings.

Five of Pence’s aides test positive for COVID-19

Vice President Mike Pence plans to continue his travel plans after five of his senior aides tested positive for COVID-19.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and “a couple of key staff surrounding the vice president” tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, Oct. 25. 

However, Pence and his wife tested negative on Sunday. While he is considered a “close contact” and should quarantine according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, he will continue to travel.

Pence will attend a rally on Sunday afternoon in Kinston, North Carolina. He has additional travel plans to Minnesota on Monday, Oct. 26, and North Carolina again on Tuesday, Oct. 27.


Oklahoma coronavirus cases reach one-day record increase

The number of new one-day coronavirus cases has reached record heights, with 1,829 newly confirmed positive cases on Saturday, Oct. 24.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have increased, with a high of 956 hospitalizations on Friday, Oct. 23. 

In addition, 11 more individuals have died due to complications from COVID-19, increasing the death toll to 1,245.

This follows Gov. Kevin Stitt’s pandemic emergency order extension on Friday. The order originally started on March 15 and has been extended many times.

“This health crisis still exists, and still needs to be addressed in various ways by executive order,” Stitt said.

The Oklahoma State Health Department reports 15,740 active cases and 98,700 recovered individuals. 

Bodies found in Tulsa race massacre victim search

The remains of at least 12 individuals have been found in Tulsa after the city began excavation to investigate an unmarked mass grave from the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.

The bodies have not been confirmed as victims of the massacre. However, they are adjacent to two gravestones of known victims and located records show both identified and unidentified victims were buried.

The excavation began on Monday, Oct. 19, after a search in July did not lead to any findings. According to Oklahoma State Archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck, more bodies could be discovered and they hope to identify them.

As cold and inclement weather approaches, the search has temporarily stopped but will resume next year, with the remains currently reburied.

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