Rise and Shine: March 24, 2020

Good Tuesday morning, CivMixers. It’s National Ag Day, a moment to recognize where our fuel, fiber and food comes from.

And at this particular moment – when essentials have taken on a heightened importance as we’re all hunkered down and trying to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus – this day is perhaps more significant than usual.

This day actually falls on National Ag Week, which usually is marked by a series of events, forums, panels, etc. But since no one is gathering at the moment, and Washington is – understandably – a little preoccupied. (GET IT TOGETHER DOWN THERE, FOLKS)…well, let’s just say it’s not your typical year.

To further complicate matters, we’ve had one of those infamous upstate late-Spring snowstorms. Honestly, it could have been a lot worse, and today looks pretty nice – partly cloudy and in the high 40s, according to The Weather Channel. That snow will be gone before you know it.

In terms of whether additional help is on the way from D.C. in the face of the economic dive as a result of the pandemic, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin say they briefed President Trump late last night on a forthcoming massive stimulus agreement and predicted they would finalize the deal today.

The Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus relief package will have more than $120 billion “fully locked in” for the nation’s health care system with a focus on New York City, according to a source close to the negotiations.

The US yesterday reported more than 100 coronavirus deaths — marking the first time fatalities hit triple digits in a single day.

As cases of coronavirus continue to rise, Trump said that he wants to reopen the country for business in weeks, not months, as he claimed, without evidence, that continued closures could result in more deaths than the pandemic itself.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has grown bolder in correcting the president’s falsehoods and overly rosy statements about the spread of the coronavirus, and Trump is reportedly starting to lose patience with this.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who confirmed Sunday that he had tested positive for coronavirus, spent a week interacting with other lawmakers and aides and using Capitol Hill facilities while awaiting his results, fellow lawmakers griped.

Citing the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration moved to postpone all court hearings for the thousands of asylum-seekers it has returned to Mexico.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a former Democratic presidential candidate, announced that her husband has been hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said that the German leader has tested negative for the coronavirus, but more tests are being conducted.

Veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA TODAY Sports that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are going to be postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

…The IOC responded to Pound’s comments, saying in a statement: “It’s the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC (executive board) which was announced yesterday.”

An Arizona man died and his wife was hospitalized after officials said they treated themselves on Sunday with a deadly home remedy for the new coronavirus — a popular fish tank additive that has the same active ingredient as an anti-malaria drug.

A swanky Westport soirée — Party Zero in southwestern Connecticut and beyond — is a story of how, in the Gilded Age of money, social connectedness and air travel, a pandemic has spread at lightning speed.

Communities living in warmer places appear to have a comparative advantage to slow the transmission of coronavirus infections, according to an early analysis by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Even as local infections across China appeared to approach zero, the Wuhan government today said a doctor who was working in a local hospital tested positive, adding to evidence that Hubei Province, of which Wuhan is the capital, has not beaten the virus.

…China’s Hubei province said it will allow transportation to resume for the city of Wuhan on April 8, effectively lifting a mass quarantine over the city where the coronavirus first emerged last December

With masks, ventilators and political goodwill in desperately short supply, more than one-fifth of the world’s population was ordered or urged to stay in their homes yesterday at the start of what could be a pivotal week in the battle to contain the coronavirus in the U.S. and Europe.

Facing a growing storm of criticism about his laissez-faire response to the fast-spreading coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he would place Britain under a virtual lockdown.

New York City is more crowded than any large city in the country. That helps explain why it is the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak.

The number of positive coronavirus cases in New York state surged yesterday to more than 20,000, with more than half the cases in New York City, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo said he would sign an emergency order directing the hospitals to double their bed capacity.

While the common misperception has been that only the old and frail can contract the coronavirus, early testing data in the city has shown that young New Yorkers have also been vulnerable. People ranging in ages from 18 to 44 have accounted for 46 percent of positive tests.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says he plans to issue an executive order mandating that anyone arriving on a flight from New York City and the surrounding area submit to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Italy has recorded a smaller day-to-day increase in new coronavirus cases for the second straight day, officials said Monday while cautioning it was too soon to know if the worst is behind the country with the world’s second-biggest caseload.

The U.S. Department of the Interior suspended all national park entrance fees last weekend, as Americans tried to keep a safe distance from each other to avoid the spread of coronavirus. But now those same parks are trying to get people to stay away.

Texas and Ohio have struck a dramatic blow against reproductive rights by declaring a ban on abortions during the coronavirus pandemic, as the spread of COVID-19 forces health care providers to cancel and avoid procedures that are not “immediately medically necessary.”

We need to practice social distancing, even in the hospital, where people should be wearing masks at all times. There has been considerable improvement at my hospital this week even over the past couple days, but more still needs to be done.”

A Brooklyn principal has died of complications from the coronavirus, the principals union announced.

RIP Walter L. Robb, an engineer who rose to become the director of General Electric Co.’s research and development center and in retirement nurtured local inventors and sports teams, who died at age 92 after contracting COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

…It appears that Robb, who fell ill late last week, was the first confirmed fatality of the pandemic in the Capital Region.

The state has issued guidelines for those who have to go through the unfortunate process of burying a loved one during the coronavirus pandemic.

New Yorkers are stuck all over the world and unable to get back to the U.S. due to travel restrictions and flight cancellations connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says he’s confident the state will conquer the coronavirus and COVID-19, adding: “I actually think we as a society will be better for it.”

Two ex-secretaries to the governor, William Mulrow and Steven Cohen, are back and helping with the “NYS Forward Plan” to rebuild the economy in the post-virus era. A third former secretary to the governor, Larry Schwartz, is helping acquire healthcare equipment and supplies and to increase New York’s hospital bed capacity

The FDA has given fast-track approval to a clinical trial involving a rheumatoid arthritis drug thought to help patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, Genentech announced.

The Javits Convention Center’s stunning transformation into a 2,000-bed hospital complex to treat coronavirus patients was in full swing yesterday, as Cuomo got a sneak peek at the facility.

State Attorney General Letitia James’ office launched a hotline for New Yorkers to reported hate crimes and bias-based incidents related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Anyone experiencing these incidences can report them by emailing civil.rights@ag.ny.gov, or calling 1-800-771-7755.

The New York State Academy of Family Physicians is urging Cuomo to issue an executive order banning the sale of all tobacco products, citing a study that found smokers are at an increased risk of being impacted by COVID-19.

New York is relying on local law enforcement to ensure compliance with the latest restrictions on workforce capacity and gatherings enacted by the state to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The head of the state Democratic Party, Jay Jacobs, has floated scrapping New York’s April 28 presidential primary altogether given the coronavirus epidemic ravaging the Empire State.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that all city agencies will be seeing funding cuts on anything unrelated to battling the coronavirus pandemic as the city struggles with mounting bills and falling tax revenues.

Nearly 50 FDNY members have tested positive for coronavirus, the department said — a sharp increase from last week’s numbers that comes amid an uptick in citywide 911 medical calls.

More than 2,400 police employees have called in sick as the coronavirus spreads through the ranks of the NYPD, police brass announced.

Teachers and students struggled with New York City’s new remote learning system on its launch day, with some schools barely able to locate kids and others unable to get students and teachers logged in.

Albany has postponed its annual Tulip Festival, which was scheduled for May 8-10. A new date has not yet been announced.

For decades, American nonprofits have relied on a cadre of volunteers who — quite suddenly — aren’t able to show up. With millions staying home during the pandemic, charities that help the country’s neediest are finding themselves in need.

A group of elected Saratoga County supervisors are angry over an incentive that ensures county employees, including the sheriff and county administrator, are being paid time-and-a-half for every hour they work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CVS announced that it is bolstering its efforts to meet the surge in demand for health care, prescriptions, and other supplies during the coronavirus pandemic by hiring 50,000 workers across the nation.

Watervliet is among a growing group of Capital Region communities that have shut off playground equipment and even whole parks in an effort to slow the spread of novel coronavirus.

The Capitol Region Food Bank is partnering up with local businesses to serve meals to unemployed waiters chefs and bartenders.

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden visited the Hope Lutheran Church to make a blood donation to the American Red Cross, in an effort to encourage donations from healthy residents to meet the needs of local hospitals.

The coronavirus has snarled many spring home-buying plans, as apartment buildings ban open houses, real estate agents shutter brokerages and quarantines make it tough to even step outside. Now, another obstacle: The closure of government recording offices.

As the deadly global pandemic rages around them, an increasing number of New Yorkers are trying the latest at-home de-stressing tactic — getting a dog.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted practically every walk of American life. Baseball, America’s pastime, certainly isn’t immune.

Nepal has shuttered all expeditions on Mount Everest for the rest of this year’s climbing season amid the worsening global pandemic.

After temporarily closing their doors to ward off the coronavirus, some of New York City’s largest hotel chains are already predicting a summer rebound.

A group of New York performers is offering a subscription-based service offering a steady stream of performance videos, with all the proceeds to benefit New York artists in need.

The New York Philharmonic canceled the rest of its season and a 10-concert European tour due to the new coronavirus, estimating it will have $10 million in operating losses to its $87 million annual budget because of the pandemic.

While hospitals nationwide face shortages of essential items during the coronavirus pandemic, Lowe’s is stepping in to help. The company is donating $10 million in essential protective products for medical professionals.

In non-virus news…

In a series of decisions, the Supreme Court ruled that states may abolish a common form of the insanity defense, that an entrepreneur suing Comcast for race discrimination must meet a demanding standard and that states are immune from claims of copyright infringement.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed legislation into law banning the death penalty in the state.

Running back Dion Lewis of Albany has agreed to a one-year contract with the New York Giants, agent JR Rickert of Niskayuna confirmed. Other terms weren’t disclosed.

A Schenectady man charged with murdering four people inside a Lansingburgh home four days before Christmas 2017 testified that he never set foot in the house on the night of the massacre.

The company proposing what would have been a major construction and demolition debris waste facility along the Hudson River in Athens has withdrawn its application to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Times Union Center is accepting design applications for a photo-op mural.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *