Tuesday came and went, intermittently windy and sunny and a little chilly, but thankfully without the torrential downpours that we had yesterday. Hopefully, everyone was able to get out and enjoy some portion of the day.

Today I felt kind of like I backslid again, health-wise. A lot of tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, dizziness, and exhaustion. I am hoping that most people who are recovering are feeling slightly better than this, but we are all in it together. Continuing to social distance and follow guidelines is imperative people, because I do not want anyone who has managed to avoid this so far to feel like this.

So, let us get to what happened today, shall we?

1) Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s head expert of infectious diseases, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and member of the White House’s task force on COVID-19, has declared that aiming to reopen the country next month is “a bit overly optimistic” for many communities, and acting on a rolling – rather than immediate – timetable is likely the best way to proceed.

This occurred at a briefing that seemed to directly contradict much of what President Trump has said about quickly and aggressively reopening things sooner rather than later. May 1 is when the current federal social distancing guidelines are set to expire.

Fauci expressed concern that moving too fast will result in new outbreaks of the coronavirus – and this time in places where testing and tracing the contacts of infected individuals is not so easy. He said it’s necessary to have a full and stable plan in place to trace cases and perform adequate testing, and we are simply are not there yet.

In addition, Fauci said he agrees with multiple state governors and other local officials that there is a need to have tracing and quarantining guidelines planned out before mass openings occur.

Given the fact that Fauci yet again contradicted the president – and quite publicly – many people are openly wondering how he has managed to stick around at the White House, since those who are outspoken against this administration generally do not last. Over the weekend, Trump shared a tweet that called for the doctor’s firing, but the administration has since denied any questions or suspicions that Fauci will be terminated.

2) In Pensacola, Florida, U.S. District Federal Court Judge Roger Vinson has denied a motion filed by the former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, and his fellow beach-front owners that they be exempt from the order closing the beaches – both private and public – throughout the county due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both sides presented their arguments over the phone. Huckabee and over a dozen other property owners who live in Walton County on the Gulf of Mexico argued that they should have a right to use their own backyards but are being prevented from doing so by the Walton County Sheriff’s Department, as well as other county officials who are patrolling the beaches, handing out those who violate the order fines of up to $500 and threatening up to 60 days in jail.

Not only did the plaintiffs demand exemption from the order, but they also wanted the decision to be declared unconstitutional and demanded to be compensated for their loss. They also insisted they’ve been following all social distancing guidelines and avoiding big crowds. They further insisted that the order is forcing them and their families into small spaces and making them go into public spaces in search of entertainment.

3) In an attempt to stretch the still rapidly dwindling personal protective equipment (PPE), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has begun asking for ponchos from the corporations in the private sector. According to the Deputy Press Secretary Jane Meyer, they have received approximately 140,000 out of the 142,000 ponchos that have been pledged.

Thus far, 21 companies, most well-known, have contributed ponchos. These companies include the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Columbia University, Home Depot, Macy’s, the NY Giants, New York University and many other mainly New York-based companies and other businesses. The New York Yankees have donated ponchos to a hospital, and, according to Meyer, the city is talking with Disney and the Mets in hopes of securing even more.

Many companies in the private sector throughout the country have been working on repurposing parts of their manufacturing processes to create enough PPE for medical staff who are on the frontlines of the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Both New Balance and Nike have announced that they are using their factories and parts to make protective gear for faces. Nike has been working on full shields as well as air-purifying respirator lenses, and New Balance is trying to make a face mask for general uses. Members of the fashion industry and many sportswear producers have begun producing general use masks.

Health care professionals were displeased when they were handed ponchos instead of regulation PPE, feeling abandoned by the government and cast to fend for themselves in the face of a seriously contagious virus.

4) A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for all information that will lead to the arrest of Jamaad Murphy. In 2019, Murphy was indicted for murder in the second degree by an Orange County grand jury for shooting and killing Matthew Napoleoni on Nov. 3, 2019, in Wallkill, NY.

The shooting occurred outside of the Made in Puerto Rico Latin Cuisine and Sports Bar. The reward is being offered by a joint resolution by the FBI Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force and the State Police. According to law enforcement officials, Murphy is 5’10, weighs 180 pounds, and has a tattoo that says “Rachel” on his left arm.

They also say he has ties to North Carolina and should be considered armed and dangerous. If you have any information regarding Murphy or his whereabouts, please contact either the New York branch of the FBI or the State Police at (845) 344-5300.

5) An employee at the East Greenbush Walmart has tested positive for COVID-19. The Rensselaer County Health Department would like anyone who was at that Walmart, located on Route 4, between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 5 and might be experiencing virus symptoms to call them at (518) 270-2655.

The employee was a cashier, and, according to the county, has not been back to work since that date.  According to the county, the employee started to show COVID symptoms on Tuesday, April 7, got tested at UAlbany on Wednesday, April 8 and received their positive results on Tuesday, April 14.

So more COVID-19 news that is dominating the news. It’s a bit easier knowing that the curve does seem to be flattening, though the death rate is still scary high. I know we have all been through a long road, and it is not ending soon enough for most of us, but hold on guys, because the end truly is coming – we are one more day closer.

“May I never be complete. May I never be content. May I never be perfect.”
-Chuck Palahniuk

Photo credit: George Fazio.