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5 things to know for September 29: Covid-19, debate, stimulus, Breonna Taylor, wildfires

CNN logo CNN 9/29/2020 By AJ Willingham, CNN
a person standing in front of a building © Leonard Ortiz/Orange County Register via ZUMA Wire

Good morning. Relax your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. There, that's better. Doctors are seeing more cracked teeth, and they say it's due to pandemic stress. Let's keep those chompers healthy, shall we?

Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

(You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Coronavirus 

More than 1 million people have now died of the coronavirus worldwide, less than nine months after the first death was confirmed in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The US, Brazil, India and Mexico account for more than 50% of the total death toll. What's worse: Cases in these stricken countries are still skyrocketing. India recently surpassed 6 million cases, and 95,000 people have died in the country -- although Indian officials warn these numbers may be woefully underreported. More than 141,000 people have died of the coronavirus in Brazil, the second highest total in the world, and the US tops the grim list with more than 200,000 deaths. While the world holds out hope for a vaccine to curb the devastation (35 are now in human trials around the world), health experts worry that the death toll may double before any widespread relief is available. 

a person lying on a bed: HOUSTON, TX - JULY 28: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) A member of the medical staff holds a patient's hand in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 28, 2020 in Houston, Texas. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care units to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images) © Go Nakamura/Getty Images North America/Getty Images HOUSTON, TX - JULY 28: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) A member of the medical staff holds a patient's hand in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 28, 2020 in Houston, Texas. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care units to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

2. Debate

Tonight is the first of three scheduled presidential debates, and it's shaping up to be a historic political donnybrook. President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will take the stage at 9 p.m. at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic. Fox News' Chris Wallace will moderate, and he's released a list of six general topics: the candidates' records, the Supreme Court, Covid-19, the economy, race and violence, and election integrity. Of course, things may change as the debate goes along. For instance, Trump may need to answer to the recent bombshell news about his tax returns, as well as focus on earlier revelations about his handling of the pandemic.

3. Stimulus

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are trying once more to get a stimulus deal across the finish line before Election Day. To possibly sweeten the bitter negotiations on the Hill, Pelosi and other top Democrats have unveiled a new $2.2 trillion plan. That's down from the $3.4 trillion measure that passed the House in May and has since been ignored by the GOP-led Senate. It would include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to households under a certain income threshold, plus major funding for the Postal Service, coronavirus testing and small business aid. Still, it may be too pricey for Senate Republicans, who favored a now-defunct plan in the $500 billion range. But the sides have shared interests: Pelosi is under pressure from fellow Dems to cut a deal, and Trump and his allies could use a legislative win going into the final election stretch. 

4. Breonna Taylor

The former Louisville, Kentucky, officer charged in connection with Breonna Taylor's killing has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. And there are more developments on the horizon. New body camera footage obtained by Vice News purportedly shows what happened in the moments after police raided Taylor's home and opened fire. Meantime, an unidentified grand juror has asked state Attorney General Daniel Cameron to release grand jury transcripts in the case, adding to calls from Louisville's mayor, Kentucky's governor and Taylor's family's attorneys to do so. Cameron initially refused but has agreed to comply with a judge's ruling ordering a recording of the grand jury presentation be added to the court's case file. These legal revelations come amid unrest and dissatisfaction with the charges. So far, no officer who took part in the March raid has been charged in Taylor's actual killing.

5. Wildfires

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency as a new round of wildfires tears through the state. The Zogg and Glass wildfires have torched nearly 70,000 acres combined, killing three and laying waste to hundreds of structures as they spread over areas of Napa, Sonoma and Shasta counties. Nearby, the August Complex Fire, already the largest in California's history, continues to threaten. There have been more than 8,100 wildfires in California this year, and firefighters continue to fight at least 25 major blazes. At least 26 people have died since fire activity in the state started to pick up in the middle of August.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Here's how astronauts vote from space 

Sadly, it doesn't involve a ballot and the world's most powerful T-shirt cannon

Amazon wants you to pay with a wave of your hand

Please, don't make it any easier to spend money we don't have on things we don't need! 

Romanian village reelects mayor who died of Covid-19, saying he deserved to win

A true sign of respect. 

Mariah Carey reveals she once recorded an alternative album

This is the genre crossover we never knew we needed

A man covered his face with tattoos and turned his eyes black. He says it cost him his kindergarten teaching job

You don't say! 

TODAY'S NUMBER

9,000

That's about how many refugees had been admitted to the US as of August 31, according to the Refugee Processing Center. That's half the refugee limit -- 18,000 -- set late last year. The Trump administration still hasn't announced how many refugees it intends to admit in the upcoming fiscal year. 

TODAY'S QUOTE

"It is ludicrous to think we can complete 100% of the nation's data collection earlier than 10/31 and any thinking person who would believe we can deliver apportionment by 12/31 has either a mental deficiency or a political motivation."

Tim Olson, associate director of field operations for the US Census Bureau, expressing concern over the timely and accurate completion of the 2020 census. After several deadline shifts, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced he intends to conclude the census on October 5, more than three weeks earlier than expected when a federal judge reinstated an October 31 end date.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

It's not paper cutting, it's wizardry

This is probably the most intricate, delicate laser paper cutting job we've ever seen. (Click here to view.) 

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