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REFILE-2020 U.S. ELECTION: What you need to know right now

(Fixes typo in ‘ad’ (second item), removes extraneous ‘the’ (item 5), and ‘vigilant’ (item 9))

Oct 13 (Reuters) - -President Donald Trump heads to Pennsylvania for his second campaign rally since his COVID-19 diagnosis, while Democratic challenger Joe Biden travels to Florida as the fight for the White House focuses on two key battleground states. Trump returned to the campaign trail at a rally in Florida on Monday, saying he felt “powerful”. -While Trump’s rally was taking place, top U.S. infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci reinforced his message of universal mask wearing and avoiding mass gatherings to tackle the coronavirus. Fauci took aim at a pro-Trump ad that he said had taken his words out of context by suggesting he was praising the president’s pandemic strategy. He said the ad should be pulled.

-More than 10 million Americans have already cast their votes in the Nov. 3 presidential election, compared to 1.4 million who had voted by Oct. 16 in 2016. The surge in mail-in and early voting, driven by Democrats, comes amid coronavirus pandemic worries. -Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday will face the first of two days of direct questioning from senators, as Democrats try to make the case that her confirmation would threaten healthcare for millions of Americans.

-California officials are demanding that state Republican officials remove unofficial and unauthorized ballot drop boxes placed by the party in at least three counties. The California Republican Party vowed to defy orders to remove them even as their party makes unfounded assertions that absentee and mail-in voting are rife with fraud. -Shuttered for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, State Farm Arena in Atlanta, home of the Hawks NBA team, opened its doors for Georgia’s early voters. The arena is among dozens across the U.S. doubling as early voting sites.

-After March’s shutdowns to curb the spread of the virus, unemployment in the United States shot to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Many jobs returned as parts of the economy reopened, and consumer spending rebounded, thanks in part to the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill. Now that cash has dried up and long-term unemployment is climbing as the entertainment and travel industries start to lay off furloughed workers permanently. -Rapper Kanye West released his first official campaign video, focusing on religion and family, in his unlikely bid to be elected U.S. president. West used to be one of Trump’s biggest celebrity supporters, some speculate that this is an attempt to chip away at Biden’s Black support.

GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE China’s top diplomat urged Asian countries to be “vigilant” for a rise in tension in the South China Sea and other parts of the region as a result of U.S. seeking influence there.

The warning comes as the White House moves forward with three arms sales to Taiwan, viewed by China as a renegade province. INVESTOR VIEW The dollar bounced back from a three-week low as the yuan slipped, while risk sentiment rose on the growing expectation that Biden will take the White House on Nov. 3 and push forward with a heftier stimulus to shore up the U.S economy.

BY THE NUMBERS Biden widened his lead over Trump in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, two states that could decide the winner in the Nov. 3 election. Reuters/Ipsos polling shows Biden leading Trump by 7 percentage points in both states. A week earlier he was up by 6 points in Wisconsin and 5 in Pennsylvania.

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL Expected events and Reuters coverage on Oct 13: -Trump campaigns in Johnstown, Pennsylvania

-Biden campaigns in Broward County, Florida

-Pence campaigns in Milwaukee, Wisconsin -Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll from six battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina (5 p.m. ET/2100 GMT)

Refinitiv customers can find more 2020 U.S. Election content on the Election App ( here ) on Eikon or Workspace.

Media customers can find complete multimedia coverage on the Reuters Connect planning calendar here here (Reporting by Gayle Issa; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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