1/ The U.S. economy is about 3.5% smaller than it was before the pandemic. While the economy grew 7.4% during July, August, and September from the previous quarter, GDP shrank 1.2% in the first three months of the year, and 9% in the second quarter. At an annual rate, GDP grew by 33.1% in the third quarter as businesses reopened and people increased their shopping. (NPR / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC)

2/ The Supreme Court allowed extended deadlines for receiving mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. In the Pennsylvania case, the court left in place a lower court ruling allowing ballots to be counted until 5pm on Nov. 6, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. The court also declined to block lower court rulings that allowed six extra days for accepting ballots sent by mail in North Carolina. Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in either case, saying she did not have time to review the briefs. (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press)

  • Facing Gap in Pennsylvania, Trump Camp Tries to Make Voting Harder. “Trailing in the polls, President Trump and his campaign are pursuing a three-pronged strategy that would effectively suppress the mail-in vote in the critical state of Pennsylvania.” (New York Times)

3/ States lack federal funding needed to prepare sites to receive and distribute a coronavirus vaccine whenever the FDA authorizes one. While a vaccine is unlikely to be approved until later this year, the CDC ordered states to have five sites ready by Nov. 15 that are capable of receiving and administering a vaccine that must be stored at minus-94 Fahrenheit. States have received $200 million from the CDC to do planning, but are asking Congress for at least $8 billion for coronavirus vaccination operations. (Washington Post)

  • Shortly after joining the White House as Trump’s pandemic adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas encouraged officials to limit COVID-19 testing mainly to people experiencing symptoms. The push to de-emphasize tests coincided with a drop in testing across Florida at the end of July and early August. By early September, the seven-day average in daily tests dropped by nearly half. (CNN)

  • 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~44,855,000; deaths: ~1,179,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~8,923,000; deaths: ~229,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

  • 💻 COVID-19 Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / CNBC

4/ The Department of Health and Human Services awarded a $250 million advertising contract to “defeat despair and inspire hope” amid the coronavirus pandemic weeks before the election. Trump political appointees and the contractors hired, however, vetted celebrities for the ad campaign based on whether they had ever criticized Trump, or supported Obama, gay rights or same-sex marriage. Of at least 274 celebrities under consideration, 10 appear were approved. (Washington Post / Politico)

5/ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, his wife, and his son repeatedly emailed State Department officials about personal matters. Emails show that Susan Pompeo routinely gave instructions to State Department officials from her personal email address about travel plans, restaurant reservations, and maintenance requests for the house the Pompeos rent, including repairs to the HVAC system, the porch, and the stairs. Nick Pompeo, meanwhile, emailed State Department officials about including the software company he worked for in an upcoming “data hackathon” event. Both Congress and the State Department’s inspector general have been investigating Pompeo and his wife for potential misuse of government resources. (NBC News)