Rise and Shine: March 13, 2020

We made it to Friday, CivMixers.

This coming weekend will be the Ides of March (on Sunday, the 15th), which is considered a terribly unlucky day. (Read more about that here). Now, I am not a superstitious person, as a rule, but right now that makes me a little concerned.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) news is not good. No other way to say it.

The stock market suffered its worst one-day slide in over three decades yesterday as fears over the worsening coronavirus pandemic wiped out nearly all of Wall Street’s gains since President Trump’s inauguration.

Congress is nearing a deal with the White House on a sweeping economic rescue package to respond to the colossal effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NYT editorial board is calling for the declaration of a national emergency.

The coronavirus has upended the 2020 presidential campaign at a crucial moment. Just as former VP Joe Biden is beginning to pull away with the delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination, in-person campaign activities are virtually ground to a halt.

Both Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are criticizing the Trump administration’s virus response effort thus far.

The Democratic National Committee is moving Sunday’s presidential debate from Arizona to Washington because of concerns about the coronavirus.

With the rise in coronavirus cases, Walt Disney World Resort including theme parks has announced it will temporarily ban guests beginning this Sunday and lasting through the end of the month, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

…Disneyland Resort in California says it is closing for the rest of March as coronavirus concerns grow around the globe.

In Italy, the health care system is completely overwhelmed – a cautionary tale for countries now racing to get their own virus problems under control.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, 44, has tested positive for the virus.

Trudeau said he will isolate himself and run his government from home for 14 days as a result. He has shown no symptoms of the virus, and so won’t yet be tested.

A bright spot: China has recorded its official lowest tally yet from the coronavirus since the country went into a virtual state of emergency in January that brought a lockdown of nearly 60 million people and strict travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.

Trump’s suggestion to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for a year because of the spreading coronavirus was immediately shot down by Japan’s Olympic minister.

Across the U.S. with the bow wave of coronavirus infections still to come, hospitals across the country are trying to prepare for a flood of critically ill patients who will strain their capacities like nothing they have seen in at least a generation. Administrators fear they won’t be ready.

Laboratories around the country are now facing potential shortages of key materials and chemicals needed to run tests for the novel coronavirus, as cases spread to more than two-thirds of the states and the global pandemic strains testing resources even further.

Here in New York, a Long Island man who flew from New York to Florida tested positive for coronavirus, prompting a thorough cleaning at JetBlue’s Kennedy Airport terminal and leading to the man’s ban from the airline, officials said.

NYC and state officials banned most gatherings of more than 500 people, and required smaller venues to cut their capacity by half; they also limited nursing home visits.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency, empowering him to take measures like implementing a curfew or limiting traffic should conditions worsen.

There were long lines at food stores around NYC as de Blasio sought to push back against false reports that all of NYC is being shut down or quarantined.

Ridership on the NYC subway was down 18.5 percent Wednesday, said agency spokesman Tim Minton. That amounts to a daily drop of about 1 million riders compared to March 2019, when the subways handled about 5.39 million rides per day.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered Broadway theaters closed as of last night and all venues, gathering spots and workplaces with a capacity of 500 or more to be shuttered starting Friday evening.

Also yesterday, the $10-billion-a-year concert giant Live Nation suspended all of its U.S. and international tours.

The coronavirus outbreak, which has wreaked havoc all over the country’s sports landscape, claimed RPI’s hockey team and the ECAC playoffs.

The NCAA announced it is canceling its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments because of the coronavirus pandemic.

New York is set to get $750 million a month in coronavirus economic stimulus legislation that’s currently being finalized, according to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Cuomo is calling on former doctors and nurses to dust off their scrubs and rejoin the health care system, even offering to expedite their re-certification as the state scrambles to beef up its hospital capabilities amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Flights from Europe’s “open travel zone” will be funneled through JFK, Newark and nine other international airports around the country.

Coronavirus tests are being done at New York’s public and private hospitals, as well as some doctors’ offices and urgent cares — but the state is only authorizing them for those considered to be high-risk due to extremely limited capacity.

Instagram accounts in and about New Rochelle, a city in the county, have been posting a mix of photos, videos and screen shots from in and around the containment zone that was put in place on Tuesday in response to a cluster of more than 50 cases in the area.

…more from inside the containment area here.

Colleges across the U.S. have begun canceling and curtailing graduation amid fears that the coronavirus pandemic will stretch into spring. Some are exploring “virtual” alternatives, while others are considering inviting seniors back for commencement at a later date or just mailing out diplomas.

The federal court district that covers Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester County and several other New York counties will suspend jury trials that are scheduled to begin next week in an effort to stanch the spread of coronavirus, court officials said.

Jing Fong, NYC’s largest Chinese restaurant, which seats 800 people, has closed. After 48 years in business, the iconic restaurant known for its classic dim sum carts, is shuttering due to a slowdown triggered by the coronavirus outbreak.

Generally speaking, local real estate agents are going forward with showings, open houses and other in-person, related activities.

Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, are “taking it one-day-at-a-time” in isolation in Australia after their coronavirus diagnosis, the actor announced on Twitter.

The virus is a deadly serious concern that’s causing the cancellation of events worth untold millions of dollars, and is disrupting people’s lives in many ways. For those who routinely bet on sports, it has taken most of the action off the board.

Individual schools are closing across New York.

…but thus schools will remain open indefinitely despite mounting coronavirus fears, NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza told a parent group.

A bill backed by Manhattan state Sen. Brad Hoylman would allow public bodies like community boards and community education councils to conduct their meetings through teleconference and not through in-person meetings during declared emergencies.

Despite growing coronavirus concerns, the state Capitol is so far staying open to the public, and the Legislature is continuing to meet, though Cuomo says he’s considering banning visitors to the building at some point in the near future.

Bronx Sen. Alessandra Biaggi this week introduced a bill that would allow eligible voters to request an absentee ballot if they’re worried that voting in person could expose them and those around them to a public health risk.

After filming without an audience this week, “The Wendy Williams Show” is taking its coronavirus precautions further — by shutting down production indefinitely.

This is happening in Italy.

If you’ve made it this far, you might be looking for the weather. We’re going to have some today. Expect occasional rain and wind, with temperatures reaching up into the high 50s and maybe even hitting 60, according to The Weather Channel.

The wind could be very strong in some areas, so be on the alert.

In non-virus news…

Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff wants to make a “dying, personal plea” by telephone to a judge to request early release from his 150-year prison sentence, his lawyer said.

A day after her suicide attempt, Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who in 2010 leaked archives of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, and who was jailed last year for refusing to testify before a grand jury that is investigating the organization and its founder, Julian Assange, was ordered released by a federal judge.

Carlos Cordeiro resigned as U.S. Soccer Federation president last night, three days after the organization sparked a backlash when its legal papers in a gender discrimination lawsuit claimed the women’s national team players had less physical ability and responsibility than their male counterparts.

A state Supreme Court judge in Niagara County struck down recommendations made by the state’s Public Finance Commission and ruled it didn’t have the authority to create laws.

Harvey Weinstein, the once powerful film producer, was in good condition after being hospitalized with chest pains the night before, only hours after a New York judge sentenced him to 23 years in state prison for sexual attacks on two women, his lawyer said.

Millions of NYC residents may soon need to separate scraps of fruit, vegetables and meat into separate garbage receptacles every time they cook and do dishes — learning another new habit just as they did with plastics recycling in the 1980s and are now doing under a recent ban on plastic shopping bags.

Montgomery County officials reported that the county planning board has approved a site plan application referral from the town of Florida for Amazon to locate a “last mile” distribution center along Route 5S.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



1 Comment

  1. Anne

    Thank you for the clear and precise update about all things corona. We just need to stay calm and stay informed.


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