Start your day here: A Republican win in Virginia may mean midterm trouble for Democrats; Atlanta wins the World Series crown; kids 5-11 can now get vaccines

Published November 3, 2021 at 7:19 AM EDT
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin greets supporters at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., on Wednesday after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin greets supporters at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., on Wednesday after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Good morning,

Here's what we're following today:

Elections roundup: Virginia elected a Republican governor, while the governor's race in heavily-Democratic New Jersey is too close to call. Here's what those races could mean for next year's midterms. Plus, a diverse set of mayor-elects are making history across the country.

Braves are World Series champions: In a commanding shutout game, the Atlanta Braves beat the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game 6 on Tuesday, winning the series 4 games to 2.

Finally, vaccines for kids 5-11: The Centers for Disease Control approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for younger kids. Some school districts have already scheduled vaccination drives.

🎧 Also, on Up First, our daily podcast, the Supreme Court hears the first major gun rights case in more than a decade.

— The Morning Edition live blog team

(Rachel Treisman, Nell Clark, Carol Ritchie, Chris Hopkins)


Pelosi says House Democrats are bringing back paid leave

Posted November 3, 2021 at 11:56 AM EDT

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is asking that paid family and medical leave be included into Biden’s Build Back Better legislation.

She says the inclusion is at the urging of members of the House Democratic caucus, but it comes the morning after Republicans performed strongly in Tuesday’s elections, including among suburban voters and women.

She says expects the changes to the BBB to be debated in the Rules committee today, potentially setting up a vote later this week. Among the other changes to the bill to be debated is a plan to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for seniors. Democrats announced a deal on that Tuesday afternoon.

Pelosi had hoped to craft a bill that would pass the Senate unchanged, but centrist Democrat Joe Manchin has opposed inclusion of paid leave in the BBB bill, and it was taken out.

Given his opposition to the measure, it is unclear that it would pass the Senate. Pelosi acknowledged the difficult road ahead for this priority.

“Because I have been informed by a Senator of opposition to a few of the priorities contained in our bill and because we must have legislation agreed to by the House and the Senate in the final version of the Build Back Better Act that we will send to the President’s desk, we must strive to find common ground in the legislation," she said.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin told reporters on Wednesday morning that he’s “all for paid leave. I’m just not for unpaid leave.”

He’s been concerned that revenues raised through the Build Back Better agenda will not fully pay for all the programs in it. Throughout the negotiations on Biden’s domestic agenda, he’s been calling for a fiscally responsible bill that does not add to the nation’s deficit.

He said Congress should be working in a bipartisan way on this issue and that he’s been talking to Republicans “who want to work with us.” Manchin’s stance means the measure will not pass the Senate.

A source familiar the legislation House Democrats are working on tells NPR that the paid leave program would be four weeks, would include all leave types and and not just new parents, start in 2024 and be permanent. The price tag is around $200 billion.

NPR's Kelsey Snell contributed to this report.


How sexism and homophobia sidelined the National Women’s Football League

Posted November 3, 2021 at 11:33 AM EDT
In a black and white photo three women players wear football uniforms and pads.
January 1979, Safety Valve, Published Monthly by Houston Natural Gas Corp., original photo provided by Brenda Cook, Houston Herricanes
Brenda Cook, Brant Hopkins and Baby Murf of the the National Women's Football League team the Houston Herricanes.

You’ve probably heard of the WNBA.

Maybe even the Rockford Peaches mean something to you. That’s a team from the former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, featured in the hugely popular film A League of Their Own. with Geena Davis, Madonna and Tom Hanks.

But there’s another women’s professional league that you should have on your radar: the National Women’s Football League.

No, it’s not soccer. It’s the helmet, shoulder pads and tackeling kind of football. The NWFL lasted from the mid-1970s to 1988, when it shuttered and the teams broke apart.

A new book out this week titled Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League explores the league's origins and what brought it to an end.

The book is co-written by sports writers Lyndsey D'Arcangelo and Britni de la Cretaz.

Morning Edition co-host A Martínez spoke with de la Cretaz about the under-recognized players whoshook the American football world. You might’ve read their sports coverage in Sports Illustrated or book reviews here on NPR.

Listen here and continue below for the interview's highlights:

On how the league started, and its founder, Sid Friedman

"The thing about Sid is that he cared more about publicity than he did about the game. Some of the coaches he recruited were former NFL players, and so they were serious in that regard. But then he also envisioned things like tearaway skirts and jerseys, and he reportedly sent a Hustler photographer out to practices to photograph the women who were appropriately horrified by this.

The thing about this league is that most of the owners were men, and they got into this because they believed in the potential of women's football is an untapped market. But they also thought that they would put money in and they would be financially profitable within a couple of years. And that's just not the reality of any sports league, let alone a Women's Football League that has sexism and other things to deal with. So there was these unrealistic expectations on the part of the owners that these teams would make a lot of money right away, and that just didn't happen. The men were not millionaires or billionaires. They were putting in like $11,000 to start a team, and then they were surviving on ticket sales, ad space in the programs, asking for community sponsorships, selling raffle tickets, things like that.

On the makeup of the players

I was really surprised by the sheer diversity of who came out for these teams, and all kinds of diversity, racial diversity, diversity and sexual orientation. We had hairdressers and truck drivers and teachers and stay-at-home mothers. Some of the players were as young as 17. Others were in their 40s.

On battling against homophobia

These players, a lot of them were gay, right? Many of them weren't, but a lot of them were. Some of the teams, including the Dallas Bluebonnets, formed in a lesbian bar. The teams themselves were actually considered to be a safe place away from homophobia. Even the straight players, for a lot of them it was their first time spending much time with gay women. Not a lot of people were openly gay at the time. And for them, it shaped their social politics to this day.

But for the lesbians on the team, the team and those lesbian bars actually served a very similar purpose. It was a place where they could be who they were, and be it safely, and be in community with other people like them.

The media, however, was very quick to ask players about their presumed male partners and how those male partners might have felt about them playing such a dangerous and masculine sport like football. They often ... [were] written off as nothing but a bunch of lesbians. Some of the women dealt with slurs being yelled while they were practicing or things like that.

On sexism and how the media covered the league

The interesting thing is that there's lots of media coverage at the beginning when the teams are launching, because they are a sideshow. They are a gimmick. They are a curiosity to the people who are writing and reading about them. The coverage is very skewed by the perspective of the people who are writing the stories. Usually, they're men. They're sports writers. So the play-by-play is great, I can tell you what the game scores were.

But in the interviews with the players, it's so clear that the only questions that are being asked are things about how football helps their weight, whether or not they're ‘women's libbers.’ Because remember, this is during second-wave feminism. Some people thought the only reason that women would be playing football was because they must be part of the dreaded women's liberation movement and it was some sort of feminist statement.

The other thing that's really interesting about the media coverage is that when we talk to some of the players, they actually say they were misquoted in the paper or didn't say some of the things that were written and attributed to them. I think it raises really important questions about even how much we can rely on those primary archival sources, because they are so filtered through the lens of the people that were writing them in the time in which they were written."

Listen to more of de la Cretaz’s conversation on Morning Edition here.

Reena Advani edited this story for broadcast.


CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says the evidence behind kids' vaccines is clear

Posted November 3, 2021 at 11:11 AM EDT
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testifies during a Senate hearing in March.
Greg Nash/AP
Pool The Hill
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testifies during a Senate hearing in March.

With yesterday's highly-anticipated, unanimous vote from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday, and quick nod from Director Rochelle Walensky, kids ages 5 through 11 can now get a low-dose COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech.

Today, Walensky told NPR's Morning Edition that the evidence from trials in that age group was clear: "Overwhelmingly, the evidence demonstrated that the benefits of this vaccine certainly outweigh the risks of the disease itself."

“What I really want to say is that we have taken the time to do this right," she told NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Their conversation is below, edited for length. (You can also listen to it here.)

On whether the benefits of the COVID vaccine for children under 12 outweigh the risks:

“Children under 12 have done well compared to our elderly population. That is true. But what we have seen and what the evidence we reviewed yesterday demonstrated is that this is not a benign disease in our young children. And in fact … we've lost children to this disease. Children ending up in the hospital, in the ICU, long COVID, more so than many other vaccine-preventable diseases for which we vaccinate our children. ... So overwhelmingly, the evidence demonstrated that the benefits of this vaccine certainly outweigh the risks of the disease itself.”

On whether there have been any cases of serious side effects during the trials: 

“There was not a single case of a severe side effect from this vaccine.”

On the potential risks for myocarditis, a rare side effect of the mRNA vaccine:

"That was absolutely something that we were looking at and looking for. It is one of the reasons that the dose of this vaccine for our younger children is a lower dose. It's the standard Pfizer vaccine, but the doses are lower for our young children. And again, not a single case of myocarditis in the trials.”

On when and where children 5-11 will be able to get the vaccine:

“So the pediatric vaccines have begun distributing. We began distributing just after the advisory, the authorization from the FDA on Friday. We are scaling up to full capacity. It's available in some places, but we'll be at full capacity next week with more than 20,000 sites across this country. ... We're distributing the vaccine to pediatricians' offices. It'll be in pharmacies. It'll be [at] the federally qualified health centers. And that's where people are getting their children vaccinated.”

On a when a vaccine for children under 5 might be available:

“We are working hard now to make sure that we can bring vaccines to those younger children … and we're anticipating seeing trial data early in 2022.”

On her expectations for the upcoming winter month:

“I'm really encouraged that cases are now about 50, 60 percent of what they were in our peak of our delta surge. But as you know, we are at 70,000-75,000 cases per day. Still, we're still at about 1,000 deaths a day and that's too high. So we are really asking people to do the hard work of getting themselves vaccinated, getting their children vaccinated and continuing to practice those prevention strategies that we know work. The masking, the distancing, the hand-washing, we know those strategies work as we head into these winter months.”


A tech CEO is getting attention for his plan to ease the backlog at Los Angeles ports

Posted November 3, 2021 at 10:50 AM EDT
Cargo containers sit in stacks at the Port of Los Angeles on Oct. 20.
Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP
FR170512 AP
Cargo containers sit in stacks at the Port of Los Angeles on Oct. 20.

You wouldn’t expect a Twitter thread all about shipping logistics and ports to go viral, but that’s what happened recently for
Ryan Petersen, the founder of the freight-forwarding tech company Flexport.

He wrote about what he found when he rented a boat to check out the giant backlog at the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

There are currently massive supply chain problems around the world that began with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a complex problem leading to delays and shortages of products across the U.S. And a big part of it involves these two Southern California ports.

The two adjoining ports account for about 40% of all shipping containers coming into the U.S. Before the pandemic, ships would typically not have to wait in line before getting to the port. But as of Tuesday, there were 77 ships waiting to unload cargo, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.

The backlog at the port first began in October 2020. Things got better earlier this year, but the line has been mostly growing since June.

Part of the problem involves the shipping containers themselves. The port is overflowing with them.

“There are so many containers stacked up in the port that they can't unload a ship,” Petersen told Morning Edition. “And if they can't unload the ship, well, then they can't haul away containers because the containers need to go onto the ship in the slot where they unloaded the last one. And it's the same on the land side where there are so many containers stacked up in the port that it's really limiting their ability to receive returned [empty] containers. And if the truck driver can't take that container off of his trailer, well, then the trailer is not free in order to haul a [full] container away. And so on both sides, land and sea, you have this vicious cycle happening where you can't clear the traffic jam because of the traffic jam.

One possible solution: Let storage areas outside of the port stack up these containers higher. For instance, Petersen says, local zoning rules prevented the owner of truck yards in Long Beach from storing containers more than two high. Because of this, he had to keep empty containers stored on truck chassis. And because the truck chassis were holding empty containers, they couldn’t be used to receive full containers from the ships.

Petersen's tweets reached the mayor of Long Beach, who temporarily allowed containers to be stacked up to four-high in certain areas.

Petersen's thread also proposed calling in spare truck chassis from the National Guard and military, creating a new container yard within 100 miles of the port, forcing railroads to haul containers to this site and bringing in small ships to haul containers to other ports.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom reached out to Petersen to discuss his ideas, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The federal government, meanwhile, is pursuing other angles. Last month, the Biden administration pushed the Port of Los Angeles to expand its operating hours. The LA and Long Beach ports, which are under the authority of local governments, announced a plan to fine ocean carriers for shipping containers bound for trucks or trains that are left in the port beyond a certain number of days.

As with any complex problem, any pitch for a relatively simple solution will be met with some criticism. Trucking industry experts told the Times that being able to stack containers higher will make little difference.

So what would it take to fix the backlog? The overall problem boils down to the fact that when the pandemic began, Americans stopped spending as much on experiences — going out to restaurants or traveling — and instead bought more stuff, particularly stuff sold online.

Suddenly there were more shipping containers coming into the U.S. from abroad.

“And our infrastructure, we haven't invested in it in the last few decades. Our ports are not big enough, not deep enough, not automated enough,” Petersen says. “Our supply chain became a real grind and a real blocker on economic growth and vitality.”

Economists at Goldman Sachs predicted last week that backlogs at U.S. ports would last into at least the middle of 2022.

Petersen thinks that if prices go up, customers will buy alternative products that don’t require going through the ports. He’s hopeful that the government will invest more in expanding port capacity as well.

“It's going to be some temporary pain,” he says. “But in the long run, these things work themselves out.”


Photos: The Atlanta Braves win the World Series

Posted November 3, 2021 at 10:16 AM EDT
The Atlanta Braves celebrate after winning baseball's World Series in Game 6 against the Houston Astros.
Sue Ogrocki/AP
The Atlanta Braves celebrate after winning baseball's World Series in Game 6 against the Houston Astros.

The Atlanta Braves are the World Series champions for the first time since 1995. They beat the Houston Astros 7-0 last night — on the Astros' own turf! — to end the series 4-2.

Emil Moffatt of member station WABE in Atlanta was one of the many Braves fans who watched the game from a jumbotron in the stadium. He spoke to NPR's Steve Inskeep about the win and what it means for the city.

The Braves were really not favored to win, Moffatt says, "because they played mediocre baseball for much of the season." They didn't have a winning record until early August, after which point they won their division to make it to the championships. The key was mid-season trades that helped rebuild their outfield.

And of course, there politics were also at play. The Houston Astros were trying to redeem themselves from a sign-stealing scandal that tainted their 2017 World Series title. Meanwhile, the Braves have been under growing pressure to change their name and eliminate the Tomahawk Chop — the team has done outreach to a local tribal community and scaled back some of its Native American imagery, but has resisted calls to do more.

"You'll remember Major League Baseball took the all-star game away from Atlanta to protest the state's new restrictive voting law, and on top of that, the team's most famous player, slugger Hank Aaron, died back in January at the age of 86," Moffatt added. "So they kind of won this title for him."

Listen to the full conversation here. Plus, read more details of Game 6, and see photos below.

Closer Will Smith and catcher Travis d'Arnaud of the Atlanta Braves celebrate as the Braves clinch the trophy.
Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Closer Will Smith and catcher Travis d'Arnaud of the Atlanta Braves celebrate as the Braves clinch the trophy.
Members of the Houston Astros watch during the ninth inning. The Braves commanded the entire game.
Eric Gay/AP
Members of the Houston Astros watch during the ninth inning. The Braves commanded the entire game.
Longtime Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman embraces a teammate with his son Charlie in his arm.
Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Longtime Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman embraces a teammate with his son Charlie in his arm.
Braves fans celebrate in Atlanta.
Megan Varner/Getty Images
Getty Images North America
Braves fans celebrate in Atlanta.
Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. watches during the ninth inning.
Eric Gay/AP
Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. watches during the ninth inning.


ABBA delays promotion of their new show after 2 people die at a tribute concert

Posted November 3, 2021 at 10:01 AM EDT
Four people wearing glow-in the dark bodysuits are pictured on a screen reading "ABBA Voyage," on a platform in front of a body of water.
Fredrik Persson/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Ima
Members of the Swedish group ABBA are seen on a display during their Voyage event at Grona Lund, Stockholm, on September 2.

Swedish pop sensation ABBA is delaying promotion of their highly-anticipated comeback tour after two people died at a tribute concert on Tuesday.

"In light of the tragic news at the tribute concert in Sweden last night, we have decided to hold off on releasing our concert trailer until tomorrow," the band tweeted on Wednesday.

The tribute show at the Uppsala Konsert & Kongress hall — just north of Stockholm — turned tragic when an elderly man fell down seven floors and landed on two people below.

The man died, as did one of the people he hit. The other was taken to the hospital with injuries, according to police.

France24 reports that around 1,000 people had been in attendance for a show called "Thank You For The Music," honoring the work of male ABBA members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson.

The man fell about 30 minutes before the show was due to start, and landed in the open foyer. None of the victims have been identified, but the BBC cites police as saying the man was in his 80s and the man he fatally hit was in his 60s. The person who survived is reportedly a woman also in her 60s.

"We received a call regarding a person who either jumped or fell from a great height inside the concert hall in central Uppsala," police spokesperson Magnus Jansson Klarin said, according to EuroNews.

Police said on Tuesday night that they had "no reason to believe that a crime has been committed in connection with the man's fall," the network added.

The concert venue said in a statement that it was "shocked by the tragic event" and sending thoughts to the victims and their loved ones, and offered counseling and grief resources for those affected. It said it would repurchase tickets from the canceled concert, with performances to resume on Saturday.

MT Live AB, the event company behind the tribute tour, said in a Wednesday Facebook post (translated from Swedish by the platform) that they still did not know the details behind the accident. They spoke of being shocked and sad, but said they will continue with their tour.

The real ABBA, meanwhile, is set to release their ninth and final studio album on Friday. "Voyage" will be their first new material in 40 years. They are also planning a "hologram" concert in London in May 22. Read more about their comeback here.


Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says bankers have a role to play in combatting climate change

Posted November 3, 2021 at 9:15 AM EDT
Yellen speaks at a podium in front of a background reading "UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE UK 2021"
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Getty Images Europe
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks to COP26 delegates on November 03, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been at COP26 this week, meeting with financial experts and asking them a big question: What are they going to do to fight climate change?

Inan interview with Morning Edition host Noel King, Yellen tells NPR she is confident Congress will approve a global minimum corporate tax of 15% that has been agreed to by 136 countries. Read the highlights below.

On what bankers and asset managers can do to support the fight against climate change:

“... if these financial intermediaries voluntarily commit to align their portfolios with what's required to address climate change to meet the Paris commitment, then they in turn are going to be making sure that the companies that they finance have credible plans to achieve net zero themselves. ... And so we're really beginning to see the private sector make the commitments about their own lending that are necessary to achieve ambitious goals, and in turn, they'll work with operating companies and make sure that they put in place the strategies that are needed.”

On whether she’s confident Congress will approve a minimum global corporate tax rate

“Yes. So there are two pieces to the tax deal set which have been agreed to by 136 countries. A very important piece of it is that these countries have agreed to adopt a minimum tax of 15 percent or more on the foreign earnings of their multinational corporations. And the reconciliation bill that's under consideration right now in Congress would bring the U.S. into compliance with what we need to have the appropriate minimum tax. There is another part of the agreement that pertains to phasing out the array of digital service taxes that have been imposed on, primarily on American companies by many countries around the world and replacing them by a new scheme. ... That portion of the agreement still requires some further work and isn't ready to be implemented.”

On when inflation in the U.S. will cool off:

“...I expect that next year many of the supply bottlenecks we're experiencing now in opening up our economy will recede. And my expectation is that sometime during the second half of the year, we'll see inflation rates moving back toward the 2 percent that we regard as normal.”


The U.N. says all sides in the Tigray conflict have committed possible war crimes

Posted November 3, 2021 at 9:00 AM EDT
A man holds a red, yellow and green Ethiopian flag as he stands towards the top of an arch, with another man standing on the ground below. There are green trees and a hazy blue sky behind them.
Amanuel Sileshi/AFP via Getty Images
A man hangs an Ethiopian national flag at a school in Zarima, Ethiopia, on September 16, 2021 after it was liberated by Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) soldiers battling against Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters.

All sides in the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region have committed atrocities that may amount to war crimes – including summary executions, torture and rape, according to a newly released United Nations report.

“[There] are reasonable grounds to believe that gross violations and abuses of international human rights law, and serious violations of international humanitarian law, and international refugee law [have] been committed in the context of the Tigray conflict,” reads the report by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commissions.

Wednesday’s report comes a year after the start of the conflict and a day after President Biden said that he has decided to shut out Ethiopia from a trade program that gives sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the United States.

The U.N. report, based on a four-month investigation that ended in August, also comes as fighting between government forces and Tigrayan rebels has escalated in recent weeks, with Ethiopian forces bombing targets in rebel-held territory. On Tuesday, Ethiopia declared a nationwide state of emergency over fears that Tigrayan rebels were closing in on the capital, Addis Ababa.

The civil war — which began when Tigrayan rebels clashed with Ethiopian forces — has claimed thousands of lives, including many civilians. But there is no reliable death toll in the conflict, which has also drawn in neighboring Eritrea and Sudan.

The U.N. human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, said Wednesday that her office is receiving ongoing reports of violations of human rights in the region, including indiscriminate shelling and airstrikes on civilians.

“Civilians in Tigray have been subjected to brutal violence and suffering,” she said. "The gravity and seriousness of the violations and abuses we have documented underscore the need to hold perpetrators accountable on all sides.”

Bachelet said despite assurances from Ethiopia that investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for atrocities would be undertaken, there remains “a troubling lack of transparency.”

The report covers the period from the beginning of the conflict on November 3, 2020 through June 2021, when Ethiopia issued a unilateral ceasefire that it was subsequently accused of violating.

It was compiled from 269 confidential interviews (124 women and 145 men) with victims and witnesses. And it concludes that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that the atrocities cataloged “may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, which require further investigations to ensure accountability.”

Investigators said they faced security risks and administrative roadblocks, where challenges included “harassment and intimidation … by Regional security forces, especially in Western and Southern Tigray" and that they were "unable to carry out all planned visits in parts of Tigray."


Police in Australia found a 4-year-old girl safe, 18 days after she was abducted

Posted November 3, 2021 at 8:39 AM EDT

Australian police have rescued Cleo Smith, a 4-year-old girl who went missing from her family's camping tent more than two weeks ago in a disappearance that gripped the nation.

She was found "alive and well" and has since been reunited with her parents, said Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch of the Western Australia Police Force. He credited the work of police with bringing about the much prayed-for outcome.

A police team broke their way into a "locked house" in the coastal town of Carnarvon around 1 a.m. local time, and found Cleo inside, Blanch told reporters.

"One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her 'What’s your name?’" he recounted. "She said, ‘My name is Cleo.’"

Those words left seasoned detectives "openly crying with relief," Blanch said, according to the Associated Press.

Police took a Carnarvon man into custody, he added. The West Australian reports that the unnamed 36-year-old was found nearby, and is not known to the family.

A national nightmare

Smith's family lives in Carnarvon. She disappeared with her sleeping bag on the second day of a family camping trip at Blowholes Campground, some 50 miles away, on Oct. 16.

While she was initially assumed to have wandered away from the campsite, emerging evidence raised fears of a possible abduction, the APreports.

For example, a vehicle was reported speeding away from the area in the dark hours of the morning, and a zipper on the flap of the tent compartment where she slept was too high for her to have reached. Forensic scientists also examined the outside of the family's home to determine whether there had been any stalking or break-in attempts.

Authorities searched hundreds of kilometers of land and sea as Ellie Smith, Cleo's mother, made emotional public appeals for information that were broadcast on televisions across Australia.

The state government had offered a reward of one million Australian dollars ($743,000 USD) for information five days after the girl's disappearance. Blanch said that money was not expected to be claimed, according to the AP.

An emotional rescue and reunion

Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said in a radio interview that law enforcement "followed every particular lead that we had," though declined to elaborate as the suspect was still being questioned.

He described the work of the police as "methodical" and "dogged," and credited Smith's parents and community members with holding onto hope and helping with the effort.

Police followed up on forensic leads that led them to a particular house, he said. Officers broke down the door to get in and found Smith inside.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller conveyed the news to Dawson, and told a Sydney radio host that "when he got the call this morning, he broke down and cried."

Fuller added that such a reaction is rare for a police veteran, "so it just speaks volumes in terms of the amount of effort they put into finding her."

Other members of law enforcement shared the sentiment, the AP reports. It said that Blanch had seen seasoned detectives "openly crying with relief."

“When she said, ‘My name is Cleo,’ I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house,” Blanch added.

The WA Police Force called Smith's rescue "the miracle we all hoped for," while Ellie Smith said on Instagram that "our family is whole again."


The Pfizer vaccine is ready for kids 5-11. These are the side effects to watch for

Posted November 3, 2021 at 8:13 AM EDT
A child's small arm with the sleeve rolled up for a shot. The child wears a face mask.
A 6-year-old boy with his sleeve rolled up ahead of full approval from the CDC for children to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut on November 2, 2021.

Families across the country got some long-awaited good news yesterday: The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for kids is a go.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says all children ages 5 through 11 should get the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech; the agency issued the recommendation yesterday after the CDC's advisors unanimously supported the vaccine's safety and efficacy.

Shots could begin as soon as today, although they may not be widely available for the next few days as vaccination plans ramp up. In the U.S., 28 million children ages 5 through 11 are now eligible for the shots.

NPR's Allison Aubrey joined Morning Edition to discuss the news. Listen here.

How is the kid's vaccine similar and different from the adult dose?

Despite being a kid-sized dose, the vaccine's efficacy is still high. Clinical trial data showed the vaccine was safe and 90.7% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in children 5 through 11.

The Pfizer vaccine is given in two doses spaced three weeks apart, like the adult version. It's formulated in a smaller dose than the adult vaccine, though; the company says that's to minimize side effects while still producing a strong immune response.

What about side effects in kids?

The most common side effect is, unsurprisingly, a sore arm at the injection site. Pfizer's clinical trial data showed very few cases of fever and chills as side effects in kids.

The CDC reportsthatothercommon side effects of the vaccine among kids and teens include tiredness, headaches and nausea.

Serious side effects of the Pfizer vaccine in children are very rare, but one that regulators will continue to monitor is reports of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart. The reported cases of myocarditis after COVID vaccination have mostly been among adolescent boys and young men. Most people recovered quickly and no one has died from it, Aubrey reports. Trial data shows serious side effects from the vaccine in children are extremely rare and the CDC reports "COVID-19 vaccines have undergone — and will continue to undergo — the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history."

What about availability?

In some areas, it'll probably be difficult to find a provider for the next few days — but next week distribution should be much more widespread. The rollout for kids' shots will benefit from the vaccine infrastructure and expertise learned during the past year's vaccine rollout for adults, but vaccinations for kids bring unique needs, like small needles for small arms.

Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said the federal program for distributing the kids' vaccine "will be fully operational" by Monday.

"We're talking about a specialized vaccine for children," Zients told NPR. "We are hard at work, planning the logistics and making sure that vaccines will be available at tens of thousands of sites that parents and kids know and trust."

Some schools are planning to hold vaccination drives and shots will be available at many pharmacies, tribal health centers and pediatricians offices.


Election roundup: Where big races stand and why they matter

Posted November 3, 2021 at 7:37 AM EDT
A Black man wearing a white shirt stands at a podium with his hands pressed together, looking into the distance as people and an American flag stand behind him.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Getty Images North America
New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams took the stage during his election night party at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge in Tuesday on New York City.

Good post-Election-Day morning. Let's catch up on some of the country's biggest races and results — both where they stand and what we can make of them at this point.

Voters were tasked with choosing their next governor in two states: Virginia and New Jersey

In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe. His victory ends a more than decade-long losing streak for Virginia Republicans seeking statewide office — but could be a template for other Republican candidates, and perhaps a sign of what's to come next year when 36 states hold gubernatorial elections. Here's more on how he did it and what challenges he'll face in office.

The New Jersey race is still too close to call, which is surprising in the heavily-Democratic state. Republican Jack Ciattarelli maintained a slight lead over incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy throughout the night, but mail-in ballots from heavily Democratic areas were slow to be counted. Follow the results here.

"Both results are sending shockwaves through a Democratic political establishment that has had little good news over the last few months," as NPR political correspondent Domenico Montanaro put it. Here are his five big takeaways from Tuesday night's results.

A diverse set of candidates made history in mayoral races

New York City voters chose Democrat Eric Adams as their next mayor in a landslide election. Adams is a former New York City Police Department captain, former state senator and Brooklyn borough president — and now becomes the city's second Black mayor. He campaigned as a blue-collar mayor, running on a platform that emphasized combating gun violence and improving public safety. More on the race here.

Michelle Wu is the first woman and person of color to be elected Boston's mayor. The city councilor and daughter of Taiwanese immigrants broke Boston's 199-year streak of white, male city leaders. She defeated fellow Democratic City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, a self-described first-generation Arab-Polish American. As NPR's Vanessa Romo reports, "For many, the race came down to competing visions of the future with Essaibi George's version cast as more of the old guard and Wu's perceived as new-school Boston." These are some of Wu's priorities.

Cincinnati elected Aftab Pureval, its first Asian American mayor. The 39-year-old Democrat started his political career six years ago as an outsider, member station WVXU reports, and last night defeated his 82-year-old opponent David Mann, "a longtime pillar of Cincinnati City Hall." The Tibetan-Indian son of immigrants, Pureval earned his law degree and worked for Procter & Gamble before running successfully for Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in 2016. He is the fourth person to be elected under the direct election of the mayor system, in a race that saw remarkably low turnout at 24%. WVXU has more on Pureval here.

Plus, Minneapolis voters rejected a measure to replace the police department

Approximately 56% of voters rejected a ballot question that would have removed the Minneapolis Police Department from the city charter and replaced it with a "public-health oriented" Department of Public Safety.

The proposal had been closely watched even outside of the city, which has seen massive protests for racial justice and police reform after the May 2020 police killing of George Floyd. The vote was seen nationally as a test of the political movement to "defund" traditional policing in the face of concerns about rising crime, as NPR's Martin Kaste explains. Read or listen to his reporting here.