⚡️ It's electric

·6 min read

President Joe Biden signed a bill targeting zero emissions to make up half of U.S. car sales by 2030. The number of children testing positive for COVID-19 dramatically increased. And a three-week-old wildfire destroyed a California mountain town.

👋 Hey, hey! Laura here with some electrifying news for you.

But first, these pics have got me over the moon. 🌙 Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 15 mission, a treasure trove of amazing remastered photos of astronauts exploring the surface of the moon during that mission was released. Check them out here.

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Biden hits the gas on electric

Vroom, vroom! President Biden said "there's no turning back" on the future of an electric auto industry Thursday as he signed an executive order setting a target for zero-emissions vehicles to account for half of all automobiles sold in the U.S. by 2030. It's an ambitious goal that hinges on major investments by the federal government on charging stations and other infrastructure – part of a series of actions Biden announced aimed at jump-starting a dramatic shift toward electric vehicles as part of the administration's broader agenda to tackle climate change and compete with China. The White House estimated the new Environmental Protection Agency rules would save around 200 billion gallons of gasoline and reduce 2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution, resulting in $900 in savings for consumers over a vehicle lifespan. Officials said the fuel efficiency and emissions standards would result in about $140 billion in net benefits over the life of the program.

President Joe Biden gets out of a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xE on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, during an event on clean cars and trucks. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ORG XMIT: DCEV102
President Joe Biden gets out of a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xE on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, during an event on clean cars and trucks. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ORG XMIT: DCEV102

More kids are getting COVID-19

As the school year approaches in most of the country, there's increasing evidence — both numerical and anecdotal — of children's vulnerability to the coronavirus and its highly transmissible delta variant. The American Academy of Pediatrics said as of July 29, almost 4.2 million children have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began, nearly 72,000 of them in the last week – almost twice as many as the previous week. For perspective, about 79,000 Americans of all ages tested positive in a week of late June.

📈Today's numbers: The U.S. has had more than 35.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 614,800 deaths. More than 165.8 million Americans — 49.8% of the population — have been fully vaccinated.

👉 Catch up on the latest COVID-19 news: Moderna reports vaccine 93% effective after six months; 'Delta plus' variant is 'not a problem,' experts say.

What everyone's talking about

Hot mess at the airport

Spirit Airlines bedlam, day five: Spirit Airlines apologized to passengers Wednesday after days of staggering flight cancellations and said cancellations should ease in the days to come as it reboots its operation. Help didn't arrive on Thursday. Blaming its operational meltdown on a series of issues, including weather, technology outages and staffing shortages, Spirit canceled 402 Thursday flights – 51% of its scheduled flights – as of 11:30 a.m. EDT. It is the fifth consecutive day of frustration for passengers on the budget airline, with cancellations this week now topping 1,700. Earlier in the week, American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights as it struggled to recover from summer storms, but its operations have since stabilized.

Spirit Airlines has been canceling flights around the country due to summer storms, technology outages and staffing shortages.
Spirit Airlines has been canceling flights around the country due to summer storms, technology outages and staffing shortages.

'We lost Greenville tonight'

A 3-week-old wildfire engulfed a Northern California mountain town, leaving much of the downtown in ashes, while a new wind-whipped blaze also destroyed homes as crews braced for another explosive run of flames Thursday in the midst of dangerous weather. The Dixie Fire, swollen by bone-dry vegetation and 40 mph gusts, raged through the town of Greenville on Wednesday evening. A gas station, hotel and bar were among many fixtures gutted in the town, which dates to California’s Gold Rush era and has some structures more than a century old. It wasn’t immediately known how many buildings were demolished, but photos and video from the scene indicate the destruction was widespread. "We lost Greenville tonight," U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who represents the area, said in an emotional Facebook video. "There’s just no words."

Battalion Chief Sergio Mora watches as the Dixie Fire tears through the Greenville community of Plumas County, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021.
Battalion Chief Sergio Mora watches as the Dixie Fire tears through the Greenville community of Plumas County, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021.

Real quick

At least 10 dead after van crashes in Texas

Authorities on Thursday are still investigating a van crash that killed at least 10 people and injured 20 others in South Texas. The crash occurred Wednesday at a highway intersection in Encino, Texas, when the top-heavy van tipped over after the driver lost control on a curve, authorities said. The van was designed to hold 15 passengers, but a suspected 29 migrants who entered the country illegally were inside. The crash comes less than six months since two other deadly crashes killed multiple migrants in cramped vehicles on highways near the border.

At least 10 people are dead after a van carrying nearly 30 migrants crashed into a utility pole in South Texas.
At least 10 people are dead after a van carrying nearly 30 migrants crashed into a utility pole in South Texas.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Electric vehicles, COVID-19 in kids, Spirit Airlines, Greenville wildfire. Thursday's news.

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