This Week In Words, July 18–24, 2020

Stories about advances in the fight against Covid-19 and the ongoing controversy of using federal forces in U.S. cities contributed words to this week's list of vocabulary from the week's news.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. autoclave
    a heating device used to sterilize tools and instruments
    Called the iMASC, which stands for Injection Molded Autoclavable, Scalable, Conformable, this design could help solve shortage issues.
    Engineers at MIT have developed a silicone mask that uses small discs of N95 filter material that they say could help with the shortage of protective equipment. Because the masks are washable, they can be reused indefinitely. And the small N95 filters are disposable, but they require much less of the material than a full mask. An autoclave is like a pressure cooker for medical equipment, heating it with steam to temperatures near 250˚F, killing any germs.
  2. enroll
    register formally as a participant or member
    Another trial is slated to start in the U.S. soon, aiming to enroll about 30,000 people.
    An experimental vaccine from Oxford University is showing promising results, and a larger group in several countries are scheduled to receive doses in the next phase of testing. People who got the shot showed significant immune responses. Increases in both antibodies, which block infection, and T-cells, which attack infected cells, make researchers hopeful that this could be an effective part of the fight against Covid-19.
  3. litany
    any long and tedious address or recital
    The filing includes a litany of allegations.
    The Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd has also been charged, along with his wife, with a number of financial crimes. The couple is alleged to have underreported their income and underpaid their taxes. Derek Chauvin is in jail, already facing murder and manslaughter charges. His wife, who filed for divorce shortly after he was charged, is not in custody. Officials say the financial investigation was underway before Chauvin killed Floyd.
  4. preemptive
    designed to prevent an anticipated situation or occurrence
    In one of those cities, the city prosecutor has already preemptively warned Trump’s police forces what he will do if they bring the same tactics to Philadelphia.
    The Philadelphia District Attorney said that he will prosecute any federal law enforcement officers who illegally detain or assault people in the city as part of the President's plan to expand the Portland tactics to other cities. Legal scholars say that the use of secret police is an abuse of power, and that the unaccountable federal officers aren't doing anything that local law enforcement can't do themselves.
  5. rampage
    violently angry and destructive behavior
    Mr Trump - whose opinion poll numbers have been slumping amid a coronavirus-crippled US economy - said: "This rampage of violence shocks the conscience of our nation."
    The President threatened to deploy more federal forces to American cities to suppress protests, focusing on those run by Democrats. Critics, who include the mayors of the cities in question, say that the agents, who wear unmarked camouflage uniforms, are making tense situations worse and that their deployment is illegal and unconstitutional. Rampage is of uncertain origin, but it likely relates to rampant, the position of an animal when it rears up on its hind legs.
  6. sophisticated
    complex or intricate
    He says people go searching for bats for food and sell them in markets in what is a sophisticated trade that can end up in big cities like Wuhan.
    The origin of Covid-19 may be outside China, possibly in Vietnam or Laos. The virus may have first been transmitted to humans from bats, which carry many similar pathogens and live all over Southeast Asia. As scientists trace the disease's origins, they have another clue in the remarkably low infection rates in Vietnam, which suggest that the population may have already been exposed to a similar virus, giving them some immunity.
  7. teeter
    move unsteadily, with a rocking motion
    And new infections are increasing in most states, forcing many school systems to announce their fall schedules will be online and threatening efforts to boost the teetering economy.
    President Obama and Vice President Biden released a video conversation they had recently as part of Biden's Presidential campaign. In the video, which shows them talking from a safe distance from each other, they call out President Trump for his response to the pandemic, especially his statement that he takes no responsibility. You may have heard a seesaw called a teeter-totter; something that teeters wobbles unsteadily as if it's about to fall over.
  8. untenable
    incapable of being defended or justified
    The US army has retreated from Twitch after a series of guerrilla actions by critics rendered its military recruitment drive untenable, and potentially unlawful.
    The U.S. Army has cancelled a program wherein members of an official e-sports team used Twitch as a recruiting tool. The program met with resistance on the platform, with some users using comment and chat features to criticize the military, and when the Army got those users banned that raised issues of legality, since the government can't censor free speech. Additionally, some of the channels ran fake giveaways to lure users to recruitment pages, which violated Twitch's terms of use.
  9. verdict
    findings of a jury on issues submitted to it for decision
    A German court convicted a 93-year-old man on Thursday for helping the Nazis murder thousands of people while he served as a concentration camp guard more than 75 years ago, in what might be one of the last verdicts to be handed down to a living participant in the Holocaust.
    93-year-old Bruno Dey was convicted in Germany for having worked at a concentration camp in the 1940s where 60,000 people were killed. He was found guilty of 5,230 counts of being an accessory to murder: one count for each of the camp's victims while he worked there. Because he was 17 when he worked at the camp, he was tried in juvenile court. He received a two-year suspended sentence, which survivors and their lawyers said was too lenient.
  10. whisk
    move somewhere quickly
    He was whisked away by his security team to the city’s municipal services building.
    The Mayor of Portland, Oregon was tear-gassed by federal agents as part of their crackdown on protests against police brutality. Mayor Ted Wheeler addressed the crowd of protestors, hoping to calm the situation, and said that the city government wanted the officers to leave. After being gassed, he said he was seriously considering whether tear gas was an appropriate tool for law enforcement to use.
Created on July 22, 2020 (updated July 24, 2020)

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