FDA to vote on J&J vaccine booster shots
A day after approving the Moderna booster shots, the Food and Drug Administration will be voting on Johnson & Johnson boosters Friday. While booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine were first authorized for some Americans in August, those who received Moderna and J&J as their first shots have been told to wait before receiving another round. With J&J boosters, though, it’s unclear whether the federal committee will have sufficient data to approve another shot. About 8,000 people were studied after receiving a second dose of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine two months after their first, and only 17 were tracked after getting a second shot at six months. The panel will also hear information Friday about getting a different vaccine as a follow-up.
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FDA panel debates lower-dose Moderna COVID booster
U.S. health advisers are debating if those who received Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations should get a booster at half the original dosage. But they stress the priority is still to get shots to the 66 million unvaccinated Americans who are eligible. (Oct. 14)
Giant asteroid expected to pass by Earth
Several asteroids bigger than the Great Pyramid of Giza will closely pass by Earth in the upcoming weeks, with the asteroid 2021 SM3 passing by Friday. The diameter of the asteroid is up to 525 feet, just bigger than the 482-foot long pyramid. An object of that size would be enough to “cause local damage to the impact area” if it were to hit Earth, NASA says. Discovered last month, 2021 SM3 is classified as a near-Earth object, which NASA says “are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighborhood.” At its closest point, the asteroid will be about 3.6 million miles from Earth. Though that sounds like a safe distance, it’s much closer than our neighbor Venus, which can be 74.8 million miles away depending on each planet’s orbit.
NASA’s Spacecraft gives details of asteroid Bennu
NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft is headed back to Earth after collecting samples from asteroid Bennu. Scientists say the asteroid has slightly greater chance of clobbering Earth than previously thought. (Aug. 11)
Jill Biden heads to Virginia to support Terry McAuliffe in crucial governor’s race
First lady Jill Biden will head to Richmond, Virginia on Friday to stump for Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor who holds a slim polling lead over Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin in a commonwealth where Republicans haven’t won statewide in a decade. Biden’s trip to Virginia comes as an unexpectedly tight race for the governor’s mansion has set off alarm bells over Democrats’ political standing and President Joe Biden’s agenda before next year’s midterm elections. The bellwether race may have wider implications for the Democratic Party, reinforcing its brand despite Biden’s sagging polls and giving a critical boost to stalled efforts in Congress to pass the president’s pair of domestic spending bills. The outcome could also determine whether McAuliffe’s campaign is a blueprint for vulnerable Democrats in other closely divided states or a warning sign about the mood of the electorate.
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Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin: How the two candidates compare
The outcome of Virginia’s gubernatorial race could determine whether McAuliffe’s campaign is a blueprint for vulnerable Democrats in other divided states or a warning sign for what’s to come.
Staff Video, USA TODAY
Apple Watch Series 7 in stores with larger, more durable display
Apple’s newest smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 7, hits stores Friday with a larger display. The iPhone maker and tech giant unveiled the latest watch last month and has been shipping units to customers who could place preorders as of Oct. 8. The Series 7 starts at $399 for the 41mm-sized model and $429 for the 45mm model. The displays on Apple’s newest watches have 20% more screen area and are 40% thinner than the previous model, the Series 6. But do you need the new Series 7 Watch? If you own an Apple Watch released in the last three years – and are happy with it – there’s no pressure to upgrade now, writes USA TODAY’s Mike Snider. But if a new, larger display piques your interest, by all means consider it.
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‘Halloween’ sequel opens, with Curtis back in iconic role
The latest sequel to vintage horror flick “Halloween” opens in theaters and streams on Peacock Friday. “Halloween Kills” stars Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her iconic role as Julie Strode from the 1978 original and its sequels, picking up where the latest, 2018’s “Halloween,” left off. Of course the masked psycho character, Michael Myers, is back. Curtis will film “Halloween Ends” next (expected next year), though who knows if it’ll be Laurie’s end.