Compiled by Mary Lou Masters
Sarah Train started off the show with some breaking news concerning COVID-19. The FDA has finally authorized the first rapid COVID-19 self testing kit for at home diagnosis.
The Lucira COVID-19 All In One Test Kit is a molecular single use test available by prescription, according to the FDA. It uses molecular amplification technology to detect the virus in people with known coronavirus symptoms and can return results within 30 minutes.
The new testing kit includes a sterile swab, a sample vial, a test unit, batteries and a plastic disposal bag. This news comes one day after it was reported that Tuesday was America’s deadliest day in six months with 1,707 deaths from COVID-19. This new test could be one more step that gets the country closer to a new normality.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “Making it possible for Americans to do their own rapid COVID-19 self-test at home by prescription is the latest addition to our constantly expanding arsenal of COVID-19 testing options.”
Laura Lenz reported how Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is in the running for a White House secretary position, according to NPR. Bottoms is among the candidates for the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She would replace the current Housing and Urban Development head Ben Carson.
Having served as mayor since 2017, Bottoms campaigned on a promise to expand affordable housing in Atlanta. And in 2020, she supported President-elect Joe Biden’s bid for president.
Bottoms chairs the housing and community development committee for the national conference of mayors. Some of her supporters think she would be a great choice for the secretary position due to her policy decisions and complex understanding of housing.
This pick comes with criticism, with many pointing to the gentrification of Atlanta that has displaced many residents. Allison Johnson, executive director of the Housing Justice League, responded to the choice by bringing up the neglect of lower income residents. City-sponsored projects like the BeltLine are notorious for displacing residents and gentrifying historically black neighborhoods.
Laura then gave listeners a financial update. With the holidays right around the corner, retailers are preparing for a slower season this year. According to CNN, US retail sales are moving at a slower rate than economists had predicted. This is troubling for retailers who don’t have a strong online presence and rely on events like Black Friday and other seasonal sales that bring a surge of shoppers to the mall.
Despite the bleak outlook, retail sales have experienced growth in the last six months, according to CNN. Experts contributed the growth in sales to the government stimulus that encouraged spending. However, with concerns that lawmakers won’t be able to agree on a new stimulus plan before the end of the year, the outlook has shifted negative.
The decline in spending is also due to the potential for expanded COVID-19 restrictions, increasing hospitalizations and stay-at-home mandates. These changes could hurt consumer confidence heading into the most important season for retailers.
Wood Smith discussed national news where President-Elect Joe Biden has privately told advisors that he doesn’t want his presidency to be consumed by investigations of President Donald Trump, despite pressure from some Democrats who want inquiries into Trup, his policies and members of his administration.
Biden has raised concerns that investigations would further divide a country he is trying to unite and risk making every day of his presidency about Trump, people familiar with the matter told NBC News.
The sources told NBC that Biden has specifically told advisers that he is wary of federal tax investigations of Trump or of challenging any orders Trump may issue granting immunity to members of his staff before he leaves office in January. One advisor said Biden has made it clear that he “just wants to move on.”
One advisor said that when it comes to Trump-related investigations, the expectation is “it’s going to be very situational” and “depending on the merits.” Biden’s priorities will be the economy, the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and race relations, not looking back at the Trump administration. However, Biden has said he wouldn’t pardon Trump should that become a realistic question.
Sarah Train also detailed the latest in entertainment. It was revealed this week that country music icon Dolly Parton had donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s coronavirus research fund back in April, and has now helped fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Parton said, “I’m just happy that anything I do can help somebody else. When I donated the money, I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is! Let’s just hope we can find a cure real soon.”
She also said she felt honored and proud to be included in what could be an essential treatment. According to CNN, early data from Moderna reveals that the company’s vaccine is 94.5% effective against the coronavirus, becoming only the second coronavirus vaccine with a stunningly high success rate this week. Parton’s name appeared on the preliminary report on the vaccine.
The Vanderbilt University Medical Center released their own statement saying, “We are incredibly grateful to Dolly for believing in our doctors and researchers as we work hard to fight COVID-19.”
Sarah then followed with the Sports Power Minute. Monday kicked off one of the busiest weeks of the year for the NBA when the league lifted its transaction moratorium and general managers executed their first trades since February.
Former UGA guard Anthony Edwards, who turned 19 in August, has been considered a likely top-three NBA pick. Before last year’s season ended abruptly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he averaged 19.1 points a game and was 77.2% from the free throw line.
While trade talks are still heavily in play, Edwards is projected to be the number one pick this year to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The league will hold Wednesday’s 2020 NBA draft at (8 p.m. ET on ESPN) before quickly transitioning to NBA free agency on Friday (officially starting at 6 p.m. ET).
Wood closed out the show with the latest concerning the Georgia Senate runoffs. Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler has agreed to debate Democratic Challenger Raphael Warnock in December, her spokesman said Tuesday, setting up a face-off in one of a pair of runoff races that will decide control of the Senate.
Warnock had challenged Loeffler to meet him in three televised debates ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff election. She accepted the debate at the Atlanta Press Club on Dec. 6, her communications director Stephen Lawson said in an email.
The Warnock-Loeffler matchup and the second race between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff will determine whether Republicans or Democrats lead the US Senate when Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.
Warnock and Ossoff’s campaigns are emphasizing healthcare, COVID-19 relief and Republicans’ response to the pandemic. Perdue and Loeffler’s campaigns meanwhile accuse Warnock and Ossoff of pursuing “socialist” policies on climate change and healthcare.