Jennifer Aniston endorses Joe Biden, says 'it's not funny to vote for Kanye'

Jennifer Aniston just voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — and urged her 35 million followers to do the same. 

The Friends star, 51, shared a photo of herself dropping her ballot off in Los Angeles, and she wasn’t afraid to get political on Instagram. Aniston said she voted for the Democratic nominees as “this country is more divided than ever.” 

“Right now, a few men in power are deciding what women can and can’t do with their own bodies. Our current President has decided that racism is a non-issue. He has repeatedly and publicly ignored science... too many people have died,” Aniston wrote on Friday.

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“I urge you to really consider who is going to be most affected by this election if we stay on the track we’re on right now... your daughters, the LGBQT+ community, our Black brothers and sisters, the elderly with health conditions, and your future kids and grandkids (who will be tasked with saving a planet that our leadership refuses to believe is hurting),” the actress continued. “This whole thing isn’t about one candidate or one single issue, it’s about the future of this country and of the world. Vote for equal human rights, for love, and for decency.”

Aniston concluded with a message to anyone considering voting for Kanye West.

“PS — It’s not funny to vote for Kanye,” she added. “I don’t know how else to say it. Please be responsible.”

Although West isn’t on the ballot in most states, the rapper asked people to write in his name for president. Kim Kardashian’s husband previously indicated his spoiler campaign was designed to hurt Biden, as he’s been vocal supporter of President Donald Trump.

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Infectious Disease Expert: The ‘Darkest Of The Entire Pandemic’ Has Yet To Come

Michael OsterholmMichael Osterholm, an expert at the University of Minnesota, stressed that a lack of public confidence is largely to blame.

Michael Osterholm, a renowned infectious disease expert, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that “the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic” and expressed concern that the U.S. lacks a leading voice to guide the public.

“Vaccines will not become available in any meaningful way until early to [the] third quarter of next year. And even then, about half of the U.S. population at this point is skeptical of even taking the vaccine,” said Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Osterholm pointed to the daily tally of 70,000 new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Friday, the highest level since July. Between now and the holidays, the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. will likely “blow right through that,” he said.

He stressed that one reason for concern is that there are a number of voices guiding the public instead of just one, “which is part of the problem.”

“This is more than just science. This is bringing people together to understand why we are doing this. This is FDR fireside chat approach, and we’re just not doing that,” he said, referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s evening radio addresses during the Great Depression that boosted public confidence.

Osterholm said the goal is to achieve herd immunity, not by allowing people to contract the virus, but by inoculating them through a vaccination program. That requires strengthening public confidence.

“We need somebody to start to articulate, ‘What is our long-term plan? How are we going to get there? Why are we asking people to sacrifice distancing? Why are we telling people if you really love your family, you won’t go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas and end up infecting mom or dad or grandpa and grandma.’ We don’t have that storytelling going on right now, and that’s every bit as important as the science itself,” he said.

Osterholm expected COVID-19 cases to rise in coming weeks, but he vehemently dismissed the idea that herd immunity can be a solution to the pandemic or that it can be achieved with just 20% of the population infected. That low percentage was reportedly proposed by Trump medical adviser Scott Atlas.

“First of all, that 20% number is the most amazing combination of pixie dust and pseudoscience I’ve ever seen,” Osterholm said. “It’s 50% to 70% at minimum.” 

Dr. Anthony Fauci has also dismissed the idea that herd immunity can be achieved with such a low percentage.

Attempts to achieve herd immunity by infection, and not by vaccination, will have negative results, Osterholm added. “There will be lots of deaths, a lot of serious illnesses,” he said.

Even if 50% to 70% of the population becomes infected, virus transmission is merely slowed down, not stopped, he said.

“So this virus is going to keep looking for wood to burn for as long as it can. ... So our goal is to get as many people protected with vaccines,” he said.

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Millions of Americans are entering poverty amid pandemic as stimulus runs out

Millions of Americans have been thrown into poverty as government aid dried up in the last five months, according to a pair of studies, and those ranks will likely swell without more relief on the way.

“Poverty is rising in the United States,” Zach Parolin, a researcher at the Columbia University's Center on Poverty and Social Policy told Yahoo Finance (video above). “More families, once again, are struggling to put food on the table, struggling to provide for their families at a time when we have the means to be able to help them out.”

Read more: How to file for unemployment insurance

Eight million more Americans fell below the poverty threshold since May, a study by Columbia University found. A similar study from the University of Chicago and Notre Dame estimated 6 million Americans entered poverty for the same period. 

Without further government intervention, more Americans could follow, facing food insecurity, utility shutoffs, and even homelessness.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: People stand in line to receive food donations at a Food Bank for New York City pop up food pantry outside Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 24, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

‘Unless we see a miraculous employment recovery’

Poverty in the U.S. actually declined at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, thanks largely to two provisions in the CARES Act: stimulus checks and the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits.

Since then, there has been no second round of checks, and the extra unemployment benefits expired at the end of July. The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program — enacted by the president to make up some of the difference in unemployment — mostly expired in September, leaving unemployed workers with only their regular state benefits that replace much less of their wages.

At least 38 states have paid out all their funds available under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

“That's just a lot of money that they're going to have to do without,” Bruce Meyer, a University of Chicago economist, told Yahoo Money. “It means people are going to be cutting back on what they can.”

While the funding provided under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act was the largest economic stimulus package in history, its effects won’t last long enough to support those in financial hardship, especially when the job market and the economy haven’t recovered.

Read more: Here’s what you need to know about unemployment benefits eligibility

“Unless we see a miraculous employment recovery,” Parolin said, “it's certain that families are going to need some extra income support to be able to pay the bills and put food on the table.”

It's not sustainable

The unemployment rate remains elevated at 7.9% — the highest since 2012 — while 25 million Americans receive some type of unemployment insurance, according to the Labor Department. 

Any benefits that out-of-work Americans were able to sock away earlier are evaporating. Jobless workers more than doubled their liquid savings between March and July, according to a new study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute, but they spent two-thirds of those accumulated savings in August alone. 

Jobless workers more than doubled their liquid savings between March and July, according to a new study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute, but they spent two-thirds of those accumulated savings in August alone. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

“The trajectory of the August data shows that this is a trend in motion, it hasn't yet stabilized,” Fiona Greig, director of consumer research at the JPMorgan Chase Institute, told Yahoo Money. “And certainly since people were using their savings buffer, it also implies that it's not sustainable.”

Read more: Coronavirus: How to apply for food stamps

Unemployed workers also pulled back on spending, recording a 14% drop in August after a 22% increase when they got the extra $600 in benefits, the JPMorgan Chase Institute study found. This will likely hurt aggregate spending, according to Greig.

‘We can probably expect to see an increase in homelessness’

The fading effect of the stimulus comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue talks for a bipartisan stimulus deal. But disagreements on price tag and key provisions, lack of GOP support, and the proximity of the election all lower the prospects of a deal before the election.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: People stand in line to receive food donations at a Food Bank for New York City pop up food pantry outside Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 24, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

With no additional support, experts warned that the economy will slow and fewer jobs will be created. Protections for renters and borrowers also are set to expire, likely leading to another increase in poverty.

“Poverty is going to continue to rise,” Meyer said. “You're going to have people having had more and more weeks out of work, and only a fraction of those lost earnings replaced. That's going to accumulate over time.”

The financial hardships caused by this will likely mean a rise in people who can’t pay rent and utility bills, who will struggle to buy food, and who could even lose their homes.

“It’s sad to say,” Parolin said, “we can probably expect to see an increase in homelessness in the United States.”

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