A few days off for a nasty mouth infection, and I am back CivMixers!! I hope you all had a great weekend, and welcome to your Tuesday evening. It was a gorgeous day, which was a nice change from yesterday. 

The munchkin got to play outside and even had a picnic to celebrate the sun and warmth. I hope everyone got a chance to get out there and do something they enjoy.

I feel like I missed writing about more of the same when I was down and out. More COVID, more fighting about what to do, more press briefings that seemed to drag on and on. Now we are going to get to even more of it, so hold on as we dive into today’s major headlines.

1) The United States has officially crossed the threshold of 1 million cases of COVID-19. This is according to the information provided by Johns Hopkins University.

The deaths from this respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus have surpassed 57,000 as of today. All this information is grim, but Atlanta’s headquarters for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions that the numbers are going increase as testing becomes more prevalent.

The U.S. total of infected far exceeds both Spain at 232,128 and Italy, which has 201,505 cases. The beginning of the outbreak was in Wuhan, China, which is currently reporting less than 84,000 cases. Close to 300,000 of those cases and 22,000 deaths are in the epicenter here in New York, and New Jersey is second in numbers.

Luckily, the public health protocols and social distancing initiatives in those hard-hit states seem to be taking effect and flattening the curve of infections.

The latest trend in rising curves of infection rates is in less populated and more rural states. In Iowa, there was an outbreak in a pork-packing plant that is one of the nation’s most prominent suppliers in the food supply chain (of meat, anyway). Even with cases quickly rising, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has begun to lift the economic restrictions in specific areas of her state.

Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas are also slowly beginning to lift their restrictions even as the number of infections in their respective states is also on the rise.

2) The plans for members of the House to return to work on Monday, May 4 have been delayed, since the coronavirus risk within the District of Columbia is still prevalent. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-D) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-D) discussed the matter with the House’s official physician and rank-and-file members, and subsequently abandoned the return-to-work plans they announced just yesterday.

In the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY-R) relayed through a spokesman that his chamber is still planning to return to D.C. next week. It will be the first regular session since last month, as lawmakers passed recent coronavirus relief bills via voice votes and other special rules that allowed members not to be present.

Though there is no set a date for the House’s return, Rep. Hoyer confirmed that members will come back to help complete any bills that include stimulus funding for local and state governments. Hoyer and Pelosi both insisted they’re working remotely to help people both in their districts and across the country.

3) Douglas Kellner, a co-chair of the state Board of Elections, says that when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT-D) formally ended his run for the Democratic presidential nomination a few weeks ago, the need for New York to hold primary became unnecessary.

As a result, New York is the first state to formally scrap its primary altogether.

Kellner stated that holding a primary at this point was more honorary and symbolic than necessary, and given the state’s risk of COVID infection, the responsible thing to do was cancel the unnecessary exposure risk to poll workers and voters.

Jeff Weaver, Sanders’s campaign adviser, decried the move, claiming that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) should overturn New York’s decision to avoid setting a precedent that President Trump and his supporters might seize on to push for cancellation of the November general election.

4) Albany County Executive Dan McCoy announced that the county hit 962 confirmed cases of COVID-19 overnight, and is closing in on 1,000 cases. That included an increase on Monday of 25 cases. There are still 917 people in mandatory quarantine, and there are 23 in precautionary quarantine.

Thus far, 487 people are confirmed to have recovered from the vrius. When Albany County does cross that 1,000 case line, they will be closing in on the top upstate county numbers in places like Monroe at 1,371 cases and Ulster with 1,230 cases.

McCoy also announced that there is a recent trend of people, especially young adults, ignoring the guidelines of mandatory quarantine. Albany County is one of the counties that has seen higher-than-average infections among its young adult population, with the 20-29 age group coming in second only to the 50-59 age group. The 20-29 age group accounts for about 16 percent (158) of the total cases of confirmed COVID cases.

5) The New York State Fair is an annual tradition that many look forward to as a hallmark of summer. But it may not happen this year as a result of the pandemic, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“People will get in the car and drive several hours to go somewhere,” Gov Cuomo said. “Look if you opened the State Fair this year, you’ll have the highest attendance you ever had, I can guarantee you, but it wouldn’t be good. Everything is about reducing density.”

Well, that’s it for tonight, folks. Have a great night, and we will be here again tomorrow – same bat time, same bat channel.

Photo credit: George Fazio.