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Smoke from Western wildfires seen on East Coast, Hurricane Sally churns toward Gulf Coast and is there life on Venus?

A majority of American adults don't trust President Trump's comments on a Covid-19 vaccine, according to new poll.
Image: Recovery Efforts Continue In Butte County, California After Bear Fire Scorches 250,000 Acres
Cars destroyed by the Bear Fire sit in front of a burned home in Berry Creek, Calif., on Monday. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

With smoke from the West Coast fires reaching across the country and Hurricane Sally swirling toward the Gulf Coast, climate change has taken center stage in the presidential campaign.

Here's what else we're watching this Tuesday morning.


Smoke from massive West Coast fires can be seen on the East Coast

Deadly and historic wildfires in the West are sending smoke as far away as the East Coast, officials said.

The smoke was creating a hazy appearance in skies over part of Virginia, the National Weather Service said. It was also affecting New York City's skies.

At least 36 deaths have been linked to the fires in California, Oregon and Washington state.

President Donald Trump visited California on Monday where Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials raised the issue of climate change and the role it's playing in the fires.

Trump interjected at one point and said, "It will start getting cooler." After California Department of Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said he wished the science agreed, Trump replied: "I don't think science knows, actually."

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday tore into what he called Trump's lack of "leadership" in combating climate change, bashing him as a "climate arsonist."

Meantime, the Northern Hemisphere experienced its hottest summer on record, according to data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The period from June through August was 2.11 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average in the Northern Hemisphere, while globally, this August ranked as the second-hottest since record keeping began in 1880.

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With support from other groups lagging, Trump makes push for Latino voters in campaign home stretch

President Trump is spending valuable time in the final weeks of his re-election campaign trying to boost his numbers among Latino voters in hope of offsetting softening support among other key demographics, NBC News White House correspondent Shannon Pettypiece reports.

Trump capped off a three-day Western swing with a "Latinos for Trump" event Monday at a Phoenix resort after having spent two days trying to appeal to Latino voters in Nevada, where he said Joe Biden would be a "disaster for Hispanic Americans."

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is also trying to flip Minnesota.

Once reliably Democratic and home to strong labor unions,

Minnesota's Iron Range was a stronghold for Trump in 2016 when Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated him in the state by just 45,000 votes.

Now he's trying to build on that base to win the state's 10 Electoral College votes.

If Trump can flip Minnesota, he could afford to lose Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and still get re-elected — if he holds the rest of his 2016 victories.


Gulf Coast bracing for flooding as Hurricane Sally churns toward landfall

The northern Gulf Coast was getting hit early Tuesday by slow-moving Hurricane Sally's outer bands, which arrived with the threat of strong winds, life-threatening storm surge and flash flooding.

The storm strengthened earlier Monday to a category 2 hurricane and made its way across the Gulf of Mexico toward Mississippi and Alabama with 100-mph sustained winds.

Sally is expected to make landfall late Tuesday or Wednesday. Track Sally's path toward the Gulf Coast states.

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Covid-19 death rate slows slightly as U.S. nears grim milestone

As the United States stands poised to record the 200,000th coronavirus fatality, there is a slim silver lining: The rate at which people are dying of Covid-19 has slowed in the last two weeks, new NBC News figures revealed Monday.

The 11,015 deaths recorded between Aug. 30 and Sept. 13 were 17 percent less than the previous two weeks' total of 13,244, the figures showed.

"It may be a statistical blip, it may be because the treatment is getting better, or it may be because the patients have been getting younger," said Dr. Sadiya Khan, an epidemiologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Meantime, a majority of American adults don't trust what Trump has said about a coronavirus vaccine, according to new data from the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking poll. The share of people who say they would get a government-approved vaccine has decreased in recent weeks, according to the poll.


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Plus


THINK about it

Trump's "peace" deals for Israel, UAE and Bahrain are shams. They boost oppression, not amity, human rights lawyer Noura Erakat writes in an opinion piece.


Live BETTER

The former Meghan Markle is among millions of Americans estranged from close relatives. A new book examines the pain of family rifts and how to reconcile.


Shopping

Looking for practical items to help make 2020 a little easier? Check out some of the best new hand sanitizers, air purifiers and face masks.


One fun thing

Is there life on Venus? Maybe, scientists say.

The detection of phosphine gas in the clouds of Venus has surprised scientists, who are now wrestling with a big question: Could it be a sign of alien life?

New research published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy detailed the recent discovery of the gas as well as its possible origins.

And while the scientists behind the research aren't making any definitive conclusions just yet, extraterrestrial life is one of the few explanations that makes sense.

"It’s far-fetched, until it's not," said Janusz Petkowski, an astrobiologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who worked on the research.

Scientists were "shocked" by the discovery of mysterious traces of gas on Venus. ESA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra