Rise and Shine, March 2, 2020

Good Monday morning, CivMixers, and welcome to March!

They say March comes in like a lion, but today’s weather forecast is certainly not in keeping with that adage. We’re looking at partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-50s – a nice break from the chilly, but dry, weekend we just saw.

Today is Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day. This is an annual observance inaugurated by the National Education Association, held on a school day that is nearest to March 2 – the birthday of artist, poet and author Theodor Seuss Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss.

Giesel authored some 60 children’s books, which are classics and also favorites with may kids around the world.

But questions about Seuss’ portrayal of people of color, not to mention some of his own personal behavior, led the NEA to recently rebrand Read Across America to “with a new logo to appeal to students of all ages and backgrounds and a continued mission of ‘Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers.'”

The moment we all knew was coming is finally here: New York has its first confirmed case of coronavirus – a Manhattan woman in her late 30s who recently traveled to Iran.

The woman is isolated in her home, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. As of late yesterday, there were 76 confirmed cases of coronavirus, known as COVID-19, across the US.

“There is no reason for undue anxiety – the general risk remains low in New York,” the governor said. “We are diligently managing this situation and will continue to provide information as it becomes available.”

“From the beginning, we have said it was a matter of when, not if there would be a positive case of coronavirus in New York,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Our health authorities have been in a state of high alert for weeks, and are fully prepared to respond.”

Through this weekend, restaurants had been full, and tourists still headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and lined up for Broadway shows. But that resiliency may soon be tested as the first case of coronavirus in New York was confirmed.

With new cases emerging every day across the country, the virus may soon outpace the efforts of medical detective work as it becomes harder to track and contain.

The United States recorded its first two deaths attributed to the coronavirus over the weekend, as states from coast to coast reported new infections leading to a drastic jump in the total number of cases.

With testing now ramping up, the Seattle suburb of Kirkland has become an epicenter of both illness and fear, much of it focused on a nursing facility where six coronavirus cases have been confirmed and many more residents and employees have complained of illness.

The current coronavirus could survive up to nine days outside the human body if it proves as resilient as previous strains, according to researchers studying past outbreaks.

Presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg said President Trump’s recent comments on the coronavirus were “ignorant and irresponsible,” prompting a fierce response from Trump.

Bloomberg bought three minutes of primetime TV last night, which he used to address the coronavirus outbreak and Trump’s response.

Restaurant owners, the people who work for them and NYC lawmakers say business at Chinese-owned establishments has plummeted by as much as 60 percent as the global pandemic spreads.

Two cases of the deadly coronavirus were identified in Florida late yesterday, prompting Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a public health emergency.

Two Rhode Islanders have tested positive for coronavirus, both of whom recently returned from a field trip to Europe, and a third person is being tested for the virus that is causing worldwide concern. More here.

As a novel coronavirus continues to spread globally, Amazon is clamping down on merchants looking to take advantage of people’s fears about the virus.

News organizations trying to responsibly report on the growing health crisis are confronted with the task of conveying its seriousness without provoking panic, keeping up with a torrent of information while much remains a mystery and continually advising readers and viewers how to stay safe.

In non-virus news…

Former VP Joe Biden got the win he needed Saturday night – resurrecting a Democratic White House bid that likely would have collapsed if the former vice president hadn’t won South Carolina’s first-in-the-South presidential primary.

Pete Buttigieg, the former small-city Indiana mayor and first openly gay major presidential candidate, has quit the race, following a crushing loss in the South Carolina primary where his poor performance with black Democrats signaled an inability to build a broad coalition of voters.

A group of congregants in Selma, Ala., stood up and turned their backs on Mike Bloomberg as the Democratic presidential candidate addressed their church, while others applauded him.

A longtime JCOPE member said the state inspector general’s investigation last year into the alleged unlawful disclosure of confidential information to Cuomo was a “sham” that led him to refuse to sign a sworn statement affirming he was not responsible for the leak.

On the first official day of New York state’s ban on single-use plastic bags yesterday, shoppers had to adjust to a new reality: bring your own bags, or be handed your purchase in a paper bag.

Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, who is temporarily leading the scandal-plagued Buffalo Diocese, is facing calls to step down from his post in western New York after he held a private service last week attended by some priests who the diocese has found to be credibly abused of sexual abuse.

A judicial challenge of the constitutionality of the state’s new bail-reform rules ended abruptly last month when a 35-year-old Cohoes man pleaded guilty to a traffic violation.

A Selkirk woman is facing multiple charges after allegedly drunk driving into a cemetery early yesterday morning.

An 11-year-old who was ice climbing with a group of people in Catskill State Park Saturday afternoon fell to his death, according to the Greene County sheriff.

Miss Staten Island showed up for the borough’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday in her sash and tiara — but was forced to watch from the sidelines instead of marching after coming out as bisexual to The NY Post.

A botched job of terror-proofing the new Kosciuszko Bridge has left its cables vulnerable to attack — and bumbling contractors even posted information online that all but provides a blueprint for would-be bombers, a blockbuster lawsuit alleges.

This winter, NYC tied its second-smallest snow total on record. There was only a trace of snow in Central Park last month, only the sixth time the park had no measurable snow in February since records began in 1868.

Councilman Fernando Cabrera — a top Democratic primary challenger to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s re-election bid — is dropping out of the race and instead running for borough president in a bid to save “the heart and soul” of the Bronx.

Kobe Bryant’s widow was “absolutely devastated” by reports that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies had shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash scene where her husband, their 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed, her lawyer said.

Judge Judy Sheindlin is ending her blockbuster first-run syndicated series “Judge Judy” after 25 seasons, Variety has confirmed. Sheindlin is set to make the announcement on “Ellen” today, and will also reveal she plans to launch a new show: “Judy Justice.”

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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