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News Brief: Week of Oct. 4-10


Trump, coronavirus and the campaign trail

President Trump was cleared to return to the campaign trail on Saturday, Oct. 10, after he underwent treatment for COVID-19.

White House physician Sean Conely released a letter stating the president “is no longer considered a transmission risk to others” since he has been fever-free for 24 hours, all of his symptoms have improved and 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms. While Conely did not specify if Trump had tested negative, he said Trump has met CDC criteria for release from isolation.

Trump discussed his clearance in a phone call with Fox News on Sunday, Oct. 11. 

“It looks like I’m immune for, I don’t know, maybe a long time, maybe a short time,” the president said. “It could be a lifetime. Nobody really knows, but I’m immune.”

Trump hosted a White House event on Saturday, Oct. 10, and will attend a rally in Sanford, Florida, on Monday, Oct. 12, as his campaign travels resume.

The second presidential debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, set to take place on Oct. 15, was canceled. It was originally slated to become a virtual event after Trump contracted COVID-19. However, Trump opted not to participate in a virtual debate.

Vice presidential debate

The 2020 vice presidential debate occurred on Wednesday, Oct. 7, between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris.

The two candidates were separated by plexiglass, an addition intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between the candidates.

The debate centered around the coronavirus and the United States’ response as well as issues like the economy, taxes, abortion, race and justice reform. Each candidate gave their views as well as explained and endorsed the views of their running mates.

Twitter and other social media platforms drew significant attention to a fly which landed on Pence’s head and lingered for several minutes.


Oklahoma universities postpone spring semester, eliminate breaks

Oklahoma’s largest universities announced their plans for the spring semester on Tuesday, Oct. 6, as COVID-19 remains a threat.

Oklahoma State University will begin the spring semester on Jan. 19 and the University of Oklahoma will begin classes on Jan. 25. For both universities, this is one week later than the standard start date.

In addition, both universities eliminated spring break in hopes of preventing further spread. 

OSU stated most classes will blend in-person and online instruction and students with health concerns are allowed to choose online-only instruction.

OU announced all classes during the fall semester will be held online after Thanksgiving.

“This is especially important as the seasons change, and the combined impact of influenza and COVID-19 spread could be incredibly detrimental to our campus and the surrounding community,” Dale Bratzler, the university’s COVID-19 officer, said.

Oklahoma Christian University will also begin its spring semester later than in past years. Classes will begin on Jan. 25 and spring break has also been eliminated.

Ex-jail employees charged for playing “Baby Shark” 

Two former employees of the Oklahoma County Detention Center and their supervisor are facing misdemeanor cruelty charges after being accused of playing the children’s song “Baby Shark” repeatedly to torture inmates.

At least four inmates said they were forced to stand handcuffed to a wall for hours as the employees repeatedly played the song at a high volume. 

Charges were filed on Monday, Oct. 5, against Gregory Butler Jr. and Christian Miles, both 21, and their supervisor, Christopher Hendershott, 50.
“Public trust is earned and criminal behavior cannot be tolerated by those who are sworn to protect inmates who are in their custody,” the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

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