This also happened

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world continues to turn. What have you missed?

An+asteroid+passing+by+Earth+and+the+a+former+Hollywood+producer%27s+prison+sentence+are+just+two+of+the+many+events+that+some+might+have+missed.

Photo by Charitha Lakkireddy

An asteroid passing by Earth and the a former Hollywood producer’s prison sentence are just two of the many events that some might have missed.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the news has been saturated with updates about it. Some may wonder, what would be on the news otherwise? From the presidential race to the passing of an asteroid to the beginning of the end for a Hollywood producer, the world continues to spin on the axis it always has, so here’s a quick rundown of events that happened in the past few weeks that some people might have missed.

Presidential Race
On April 8, 2020, Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign during an all-staff conference call, according to CNN. In a live stream Sanders hosted to break the news to his supporters, he said he recognized that “the path toward victory is virtually impossible.” Although he’s no longer running, Sanders plans to stay on the ballot in an attempt to gain delegates and party influence, even if he isn’t the Democratic nominee. The end of his campaign was much different from the start considering what a turnaround it was from the first few weeks after he announced his run for the 2020 election. A month and half ago, it was predicted that Sanders could have been the Democratic nominee as he was leading the polls against all of his Democratic candidates and even polled higher than President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election this fall. His campaign’s end came a day after the Wisconsin Primaries, whose results were expected to be bad for Sanders, and after the loss of multiple states to Biden, including Michigan, which has significant influence in the general-election.

By stopping his bid for the White House, Sanders left Joe Biden to the Democratic Party’s presumed nominee. He later endorsed Biden, like the rest of Democratic candidates who dropped out of the race earlier, on Biden’s Instagram live. Biden has also received endorsement from former President Barack Obama, for whom he was vice president from 2009-2017. As for passing on his former vice-presidential title to someone new, during a CNN debate in March, Biden pledged to select a woman as his vice president candidate. On the topic of progressive politics, Biden adopted many of Sanders’ platforms and hopes to use those to persuade Sanders’ supporters. President Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate with a bid for the White House, which will earn him his party’s nomination.

The current crisis has changed what campaigning looks like, with the cancellation of rallies and events in favor of virtual town halls and debates. According to ABC News, the changes are expected to continue through to the election, in an attempt to keep voters from opting out due to health and safety concerns. In the wake of COVID-19, Democrats are pushing for a mail-in ballot for all voters, according to the New York Times, to ensure voter turnout, which can’t be promised at polling stations if that the crisis doesn’t improve. This is an effort that Biden showed support for in a video he shared on his Twitter, saying all citizens should have the option to vote in person and by mail. Trump and other Republicans are against it because they’re worried of how the increased voter turnout could hurt them, according to the New York Times.

Locusts
In February, eight countries in East Africa were affected by the swarms of hundreds of billions of Locus, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN). Many living in East Africa rely on their crops for food for themselves, food for their livestock or as a source of income. Locusts swarm and feed on farmland and destroy crops. With those crops destroyed, the people can starve to death if their only food source is the crops they grow. Additionally, their livestock can die which can affect their food and financial security. With the instability of the crops comes the hit to the market, which costs farmers, PBS says.

Keith Cressman, the senior locust forecasting officer from the FAO of the UN, said, “In one day, that swarm can eat the same amount of food as everybody in New York and California combined.”

PBS explained that the swarms developed in the Arabian Peninsula due to the heavy rains that the region saw in 2018 and 2019, which made it an ideal breeding ground for the locust swarms. Climate change is only worsening the situation, leaving the affected countries in more danger, explained Cressman. According to him, over 33 million people in the area are victims of food insecurity and need federal assistance. The UN wants to spray the affected areas with biopesticides, which Cressman said would make it possible for the locusts to be killed. They’re asking for 76 million dollars to fund the pesticide usage.

Asteroid Passing
On April 29, an asteroid is expected to pass by Earth, according to CNN. The asteroid, named 1998 OR2 by NASA, is 1.1 to 2.5 miles in size. Scientists first noticed the asteroid on April 11 and have been monitoring it since then, sharing their findings from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and their Asteroid Watch Twitter account. Although the asteroid holds no threat to actually hitting Earth, as it’s 3.9 million miles away, NASA still characterized it as potentially hazardous because its orbit interrupts Earth’s at a distance less than 4.6 million miles. The asteroid has an orbit between the sun and Mars, and it’s likely that it won’t pass by Earth for a while, coming to orbit in its path every few years at a distance greater than the one before. Predictions by NASA said the next time the asteroid will pass by Earth will be May 18, 2021, at a distance of 12 million miles from Earth, and the following two times will be even farther away in 2048 and 2062.

Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein, producer of films such as Paddington and The Lord of the Rings, was sentenced to 23 years in prison on March 4, according to CNN. He was sentenced by Judge James M. Burke, in New York, with 20 years for a criminal sexual act and three years for rape in the third degree, according to NPR. Both his sentences will run consecutively and will be followed by five years of supervision. Additionally, Weinstein will be registered as a sex offender. He was found guilty on Feb, 24, and what followed was a seven week trial period. Before he was sentenced, it was understood that he could face anywhere from five to 29 years in prison. His defense attorneys, CNN said, tried to fight for a lesser sentence on both charges, asking for five years in prison. Their claim was that because of his age, 67, and declining health, a 23-year sentence could end up being a life sentence. In New York, he faced five charges and was sentenced based on three of them, which were rape in the third degree and criminal sexual assault in the first degree, as explained by thecut.com. According to a tweet by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, they are working to get him extradited to get to California and face the four counts in court. As of March 18, Weinstein is in Wende Correctional Facility, which is a maximum-security state prison in Buffalo, New York. A few days after his arrival here, he tested positive for COVID-19 and is being kept in isolation.