Hey all, Happy Thursday evening.

As I write this, I am officially in 14-day quarantine and am showing symptoms of COVID-19. Luckily, I am not a confirmed case as I am not sick enough to qualify for the test. However the tight chest, deep, dry cough, headaches, etc. are present and we are moving onto Day 2 of mandatory quarantine, which, quite frankly, isn’t all that much different from social distancing and isolation, except a lot more tired.

Let’s see what happened today.

1) Dr. Anthony Fauci,  director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reported that there will undoubtedly be another coronavirus outbreak, but it will not be as impactful since we’ll have invaluable experience about how to avoid spreading the disease. Also: Herd immunity.

In an interview on Instagram with Stephen Curry, Fauci did say that it’s highly unlikely that COVID-19 will simply go away.

What will happen, though, is that we’ll figure out how to identify the disease at its earliest stages and how to trace it more efficiently. Fauci said that even as were are still in the grip of the current COVID-19 crisis, officials are studying patterns of the disease to establish guidelines for people who are going to be recovering from the virus soon.

The guidelines will let people know when it is safe for them and society to return to regular life.

2) President Donald Trump told the governors of all 50 states that he will be setting new social distance guidelines in a letter today. This comes as the country’s pandemic continues to worsen, yet Trump still insists the country could be on the road to normal by Easter.

In the letter, Trump discussed new testing abilities that the White House administration can use to begin identifying the risk levels of different counties. By doing this testing they are hoping to be able to watch how the virus is spreading throughout the country and maybe get ahead of it.

Along with that, Trump said he and his top officials are going to be working on social distancing guidelines that will deal with both increasing and decreasing social distancing and other public health policies that will be used to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Top health officials have stated for weeks that the restrictions can not be lifted too early or cases could spread even faster and stress already struggling hospitals to their breaking points, leading to increased deaths or further monetary damage.

3) The death toll in New York today rose to almost 400, with 100 occurring in just one day. The hospital admission rate also went up sharply, rising 40 percent in the same period and is now above 5,300. Up from yesterday as well were those in intensive care units, rising from 888 to 1,290 – a 45 percent hike in just one day.

As of this morning, the cases in New York rose by over 6,400 to a total of 37,258 – with more than 21,000 of those cases being located within New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to downplay the numbers, saying that the snapshot of a single day is not necessarily telling. But there was a noticeable lack of hope and encouragement in the governor’s tone, though that had been a staple of his press conferences. He pointed out that many of the deaths were patients who were older and had been on ventilators for at least 20 days. In short: The longer a person has to be hooked to a ventilator the worse the outcome usually is.

Cuomo discussed the state’s plan to build facilities in each borough with at least 1,000 beds apiece. More disturbing news out of the city: A nurse in a Manhattan facility has died from COVID-19, likely due to a lack of vital medical equipment. As more comes out in that story, we will try to keep you updated.

4) In a bold move, upstate counties are declaring that anyone coming in from New York City needs to undergo a 14-day quarantine – or preferably not come at all.

As the virus marches its way across the state – and the country – people are doing what they can to stop the spread, especially local government and officials. Though these are simply requests from counties at this point, many have urged Cuomo formally issue an executive order.

Saratoga and Rensselaer county officials have been very vocal in the push for the governor to enact a mandatory quarantine period for anyone coming from the NYC area. SUNY Albany has announced they are postponing graduation, so there will be no visitors in the area for that. County officials are following suggestions from the White House Coronavirus Response coordinator Deborah Birx, who recommended this quarantine for anyone who has come from the NYC or Westchester area.

5) The American Farm Bureau Federation has recognized The New York Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Ranchers (YF & R) program for donating the second-largest amount of food to regional food banks in the US, coming in only behind Florida. Millions of pounds of food were provided to 10 regional food banks in 2019 after being collected through their “Harvest for All” campaign.

Not only do they provide food, but they also clocked 223 hours of volunteer work at food banks throughout the area and raised $14,421 of financial donations for them as well. All this while reporting a tough 2019 due to the heavy rains at the beginning of last spring that delayed many plantings.

As the unemployment rates soar due to the COVID-19 crisis in the hardest-hit state, their donation efforts are continuing and they are working hard with area farmers to ensure that people throughout the region will be able to eat.

Take care of each other CivMixers. Stay happy and hopeful, continue disinfecting and washing your hands. If you are bored washing them with “Happy Birthday” or the Lord’s Prayer, I leave you with a timing method that some of my friend’s have appreciated:

I am not throwing away my shot!
I am not throwing away my shot!

Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry

And I’m not throwing away my shot!
I’ma get a scholarship to King’s College
I prob’ly shouldn’t brag, but dag, I amaze and astonish
The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish
I gotta holler just to be heard
With every word, I drop

I’m a diamond in the rough, a shiny piece of coal
Tryin’ to reach my goal. My power of speech: unimpeachable
Only nineteen but my mind is older
These New York City streets get colder, I shoulder
Ev’ry burden, ev’ry disadvantage

I have learned to manage, I don’t have a gun to brandish
I walk these streets famished
The plan is to fan this spark into a flame
But damn, it’s getting dark, so let me spell out the name
I am the— A-L-E-X-A-N-D

-“My Shot” Lin-Manuel Miranda

Photo credit: George Fazio.