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FRESNO — In her first public appearance in California as the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris is meeting Tuesday morning with Gov. Gavin Newsom and fire officials near one of dozens of record wildfires scorching the Golden State.

The visit comes a day after President Trump met Newsom in Sacramento for a wildfire briefing, drawing a sharp divide with his Democratic opponent Joe Biden over what’s responsible for the calamitous fires.

While Trump continued to blame California and Western states’ over a failure of aggressively clearing forests of “matchsticks” of fallen trees, Biden attacked the president as a “climate arsonist” in denial of a warming planet that is intensifying the blazes.

For Harris, Tuesday’s return offered a brief chance to come home and show voters in a Republican section of deeply Democratic California how she could impact the race for the White House in this anything-but-typical socially-distanced campaign down the stretch.

“It would have looked really bad if the president had come to California, but our own state senator had not,” said Melissa Michelson, at Menlo College. “Even though he may have said Trumpy things like I don’t believe the science, even more so, the Biden campaign needs to send someone.”

What the Biden campaign needs from Harris has taken on new meaning in an election year completely upended by the coronavirus pandemic. But her star power among Democrats was on display Monday during a Zoom campaign fundraiser with Hillary Clinton and the two comedians who impersonate Harris and Clinton on Saturday Night Live, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph.

The event raised more than $6 million dollars from more than 100,000 donors.

“They were joking around. Amy Poehler couldn’t get the mute button to turn on. It was the same as going to a real event, (supporters engaging) with candidates and some unscripted moments,” Michelson said. Harris “came across as very authentic and funny. Watching these four women have a fun conversation, it felt intimate.”

Besides, she added, “life has moved to Zoom. Their campaign has shifted to Zoom. In a way that makes them more accessible.”

On Tuesday, Harris will take on a new tone in a dire setting with Newsom, a familiar ally who has been buffeted by a list of crises throughout 2020. In California’s Central Valley, Harris’ motorcade passed cattle ranches, orchards and a campaign sign for Rep. Devin Nunes, Trump’s biggest backer in California, before heading to foothills cloaked in thick smoke.

Harris’s appearance in Fresno “ can only work to the Democrats benefit,” said Jack Pitney, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. “Establishing a contrast with Trump’s appearance, the message is the Democrats take the fires seriously and Trump does not.”

Since she was picked as Biden’s running mate on Aug. 11, Harris has campaigned mostly online, courting black voters and fundraising. But last week, she made her first in-person campaign stop when she visited an electrical workers union in Milwaukee, where Wisconsin is a key battleground state in the upcoming election. She also met with the parents of Jacob Blake, the Black man who was paralyzed when police officers shot him seven times in the back. She also joined Black business leaders for an economic round table in Miami last week.

Although political pundits often say people vote for presidents — not vice presidents —  Harris may be under more scrutiny than most nominees considering that Biden, 77, would be the oldest president ever to serve (Trump would be, too). Biden has suggested he may be a one-term president and has called himself a “transitional candidate” to build a bridge to younger leaders.

Trump has seized on that in his own way with his base. Before arriving in California on Monday, Trump turned his Twitter rhetoric on Harris, calling her “a super liberal wack job that NOBODY wants.”

And indeed, a Trump supporter wearing a red, white and blue bandana mask and driving a black Kawasaki motorcycle showed up Tuesday morning at the parking lot in Fresno across from the landing strip to try to get a glimpse of Harris.

“I just want her to know I think she’s got the wrong mindset for this country,” said Ron Evans, 67, a retired carpenter for the Fresno Union School District. He has family in law enforcement, he said, and blames Democrats being “complacent”  about the violence that has accompanied protests across the country and abhors the idea of “defunding the police.”Related Articles

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He doesn’t agree with Trump on everything, including the human causes of climate change and was disappointed with Trump’s comment in California on Monday about the climate “cooling”. Trump would be better off, he said,  if he stuck to his policies and “wouldn’t open his mouth.”

Check back more on this developing story.

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Coronavirus vaccine won't bring about 'fairytale' ending to pandemic, expert warns

Pictured in this video screen grab is a volunteer receiving a Russian-made polyvalent vector vaccine for COVID-19 as part of clinical trials at Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University.Sechenov Medical University Press Office | TASS | Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage around the world, a lot of hope is being placed on finding an effective and safe vaccine against Covid-19.

That might be a mistake, according to Dale Fisher, professor of infectious diseases at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. He told CNBC Tuesday that we should manage our expectations when it comes to finding a vaccine.

"I would see the vaccine as only helping (the situation)," Fisher told CNBC's Capital Connection. "It's not going to be the fairytale (ending) everyone wants it to be where we'll have an 100% effective vaccine and 100% of people will take it, and they'll all receive it over the course of a month and we can go back to our way of life."

VIDEO2:5702:57Vaccine won't bring the 'fairy tale' ending people are expecting: ProfessorCapital Connection

He argued that there was a "pretty low benchmark" when it came to the efficacy of a vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for instance, said at the end of June that it expected "a Covid-19 vaccine would prevent disease or decrease its severity in at least 50% of people who are vaccinated."

"This means that for half the people that get the vaccine it wouldn't work," Fisher said. "Most people aren't expecting this to be 100% effective. So I think you need to have the non-pharmacological interventions, such as the mask wearing and the limiting of gatherings and things like that for a long time to come."

There are currently just under 200 vaccine candidates in development, with 38 of these in the clinical evaluation stage, and only a handful undergoing late-stage clinical trials, according to WHO data. Most attention is being paid to candidates developed by pharma giants Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

Fisher noted that it was unlikely that the first coronavirus vaccine to be approved in the West (Russia has already approved its own vaccine) would prove to be the best, however.

"It's statistically very unlikely that the first one will be the best and what would concern me is that everyone would say: 'Oh, it's 50% effective, or 60%, let's do it,' and a few months later you might find one that's 80% effective, or you find that the first one wears off after six months and you need to do boosters again," he said.

In addition, Fisher noted that even if one of these late-stage candidates is deemed effective and granted approval, there is the issue of mass manufacturing and distribution. Air transport industry body IATA has already warned of the logistical challenges of vaccine distribution given the special care needed when handling them.

"The WHO is hoping to be able to vaccinate 20% of the world by the end of 2021, and that's already quite ambitious, it's a huge exercise to vaccinate the world," he added. 

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