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5 things to know for October 11: Virginia election, Afghanistan, coronavirus, Capitol riot, infrastructure


By AJ Willingham, CNN

It’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day (or Columbus Day, depending on where you are), so we’ll have a short edition today. Remember, some businesses may be closed today, too, since it’s a federal holiday.

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. Virginia election

The Virginia gubernatorial race is tightening ahead of the state’s election on November 2. Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe recently said President Joe Biden’s political challenges are dragging down his election chances, but downplayed the comments this weekend, urging Congress instead to pass the looming $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. If McAuliffe loses to Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin, it will send shockwaves through the Democratic Party. Remember, Biden won Virginia by 10 percentage points in 2020.

2. Afghanistan

A US delegation met with representatives of the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, this weekend. It was the first such meeting since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of August. The parties discussed the continued safe passage of Americans and American allies from Afghanistan, and the facilitation of humanitarian aid, among other topics. The US State Department called the talks “candid and professional,” but said the Taliban will be judged on actions, not just words.

3. Coronavirus

The average rate of daily new Covid-19 cases in the US dropped below 100,000, to 93,814 as of Sunday. While it’s a step in the right direction, Dr. Anthony Fauci said cases should fall to about 10,000 per day for the US to feel like it’s out of the pandemic woods. Some experts are calling for vaccine requirements on airlines ahead of holiday travel to lessen the threat of another winter spike. But many agree that some fall fun, like outdoor trick-or-treating, can be comfortably enjoyed with minimal virus risk.

4. Capitol riot

A whistleblower identifying as a former high-ranking US Capitol Police official with more than 30 years of service has written a letter to Congress excoriating the actions of police leadership around the time of the January 6 insurrection. A lot of the criticism mirrors that of Senate Judiciary reports — that some Capitol Police officials did not share vital intelligence before the riot and didn’t help officers during it. However, the whistleblower focuses on department leadership, and accuses some congressional leaders of having “purposefully failed” to tell the truth about the department’s failures.

5. Infrastructure

About 25% of all critical infrastructure in the US is at risk of failure due to flooding, according to a new report from a nonprofit research and technology group. This critical infrastructure includes locations like police and fire stations, hospitals, airports and wastewater treatment facilities. The report also found nearly 2 million miles of road — 23% of US roadways — are already at risk of becoming impassable due to flooding. The threat of flooding is growing rapidly in the US as a consequence of the climate crisis. Areas along the Gulf Coast and in Appalachia are especially vulnerable to flood damage.


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