Now You Know: Weeks of 9.26.21 to 10.02.21


Wamia Chowdhury

1) Haitian Asylum Seekers

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A humanitarian crisis at the United States – Mexico border.

Through the week, thousands of Haitians have embarked on a perilous and expensive trek from Chile to the southern U.S. border to seek asylum only to be deported back to a homeland they haven’t lived in for decades.

After a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, many Haitians sought refuge in Chile, enticed by personal economic outlooks far superior to Haiti.

But as the number of Haitian migrants grew, so did Chile’s resistance to them. Over the last few years, Sebastian Piñera’s government has changed migration policy. Coupled with an economy devastated from the Coronavirus pandemic, Haitians along with other migrants have been pushed out of the country.

Now they seek asylum in the United States. But as over 20,000 migrants approach the border to set up camp, they’re met with harsh treatment from U.S Border Patrols. Photos on the internet depict Border agents on horseback using whip-like cords on migrants, but agents deny this as they shock both the Biden Administration and the internet.

Some migrants from the now cleared-out camps were taken to Mexico and placed in shelters there, unwelcomed into the United States. Many more Haitians continue their way north, taking the risk for the possibility of a better life.

2.) U.S. Debt Ceiling


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At 28.5 trillion dollars, the US government is reaching its current borrowing limit.

The debt ceiling is the total amount the US government is authorized to borrow to satisfy its existing legal obligations. Only allowed to be raised by Congress, the amount has been increased several times throughout the years regardless of which party is in control. As the U.S. runs large budget deficits – it spends more than it takes in – it must continually borrow large sums of money.

Failing to increase this limit would cause the government to default on its legal finances leading to major economic catastrophes. This includes a possible government shutdown.

So why hasn’t Congress fixed it?

Republicans have provided no support in Congress, even blocking the spending bill this Monday.

This pushes Democrats to pass one unilaterally. Doing so is called reconciliation. But this process is complex and laborious. Especially under a looming deadline, set for October 18th  before the U.S. runs out of cash.

On Thursday, a stopgap bill was issued  providing short-term funding, averting a government shutdown but there is still much work to be done.

3.)    A New Pill to Treat COVID-19

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Is there another turning point in the global Coronavirus pandemic?

After the government invests $3 billion dollars on funding, pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. announces its pill, Molnupiravir, to treat COVID-19 is effective in cutting the risk of death and hospitalization from the virus in half when administered in the early stages of the infection.

Merck’s antiviral pill will be the first of its kind to treat COVID-19. Though supply will be limited at first, Merck expects pills to be made for 10 million people by the end of the year.

Merck will soon seek emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and once approved, the pill could potentially save thousands of lives.

4.)    Coronavirus Pandemic

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The United States eclipses 700,000 Coronavirus related deaths.

As the Delta variant continues to rage, the United States officially surpasses 700,000 deaths late this Friday. The last 100,000 deaths took place while vaccines that effectively prevent death and hospitalization, were widely available.

The overwhelming majority of those dead were unvaccinated.

Confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the U.S. totals to 43.6 million since the start of the pandemic. A CDC study confirms the highly contagious Delta variant has become the most prominent in the states.

Mourning these deaths this Saturday, Biden said in a statement “the astonishing death toll is yet another reminder of just how important it is to get vaccinated.”

5.)    The Disappearance of Gabby Petito

Photo credit: Gabby Petito’s instagram

22-year-old travel blogger, Gabby Petito, goes on a cross-country trip with her fiancé and doesn’t come back.

On September 21st the FBI confirmed Gabrielle Petito’s remains had been found in a Grand Teton National Park after her parents reported her missing. The death was ruled a homicide.

On September 23rd, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Brian Laundrie, Petito’s fiancé and a person of interest in the case. The warrant charges him with debit card fraud. When authorities began their search for Petito, Laundrie refused to cooperate and shortly after vanished once the case drew public attention.

As the case continues to galvanize the internet, so does the search for Brian Laundrie.

Read all of the sources used in this article!