Good Monday morning, CivMixers.
We had a pretty good weekend, from a weather standpoint, though the warmth does make one itchy to escape the house and get outside. That’s fine, as long as you maintain social distancing standards of six feet between you and everyone else.
Today is going to be glorious, it looks like, with temperatures just over 60 degrees (!) and sun, lots of sun, according to The Weather Channel.
There was also hopeful news over the weekend on the coronavirus front, as New York saw its first drop in daily coronavirus deaths Sunday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York also experienced a slight drop in intensive care admissions and the number of patients who need breathing tubes inserted. The hospital discharge rate is “way up” he said, calling this “great news.”
“You could argue that you are seeing a plateauing,” Cuomo told reporters yesterday, as he revealed that the state had reported 594 new coronavirus deaths, which was down from the 630 reported on Saturday and the 562 on Friday. At least 4,159 people have died in the state so far, with approximately 122,000 total positive cases.
There were 8,327 more people confirmed to have COVID-19 statewide by yesterday morning. The state’s total confirmed count since testing began last month is 122,031 people. New York state does not, however, provide what number of those have since recovered.
But he also cautioned: “The statisticians will not give you a straight answer on anything. At first, it was straight up and straight down, or a total V. Or maybe it’s up with a plateau and we’re somewhere on the plateau. They don’t know.”
“We’re running short on supplies all across the board,” Cuomo said. “Hospitals that are accustomed to dealing with 60-day supply, 90-day supply. We’re talking about two or three or four days supply, which makes the entire hospital system uncomfortable.”
Cuomo said he’s going to take up running again to combat the cabin fever he’s experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic, and his dog, Captain, who is experiencing “anxiety,” will join in.
Cuomo’s daily briefing on the virus outbreak took a personal turn Saturday when he noted the presumed deaths of his ex-wife’s niece and her son in a boating accident on Chesapeake Bay. The governor described Friday’s tragedy involving Maeve Kennedy McKean, 40, and her son, Gideon, 8, as “emotionally taxing.”
President Donald Trump described the dip in New York as a “good sign”, but warned of more deaths as the pandemic neared its “peak” in the US. “In the days ahead, America will endure the peak of this pandemic,” Trump said at his daily coronavirus briefing.
For the second straight day, the president pushed the use of hydroxychloroquine, which has not been proven effective in treating the coronavirus.
As many as 4,000 seriously ill coronavirus patients in New York are being treated with the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, state health officials say.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said the main hot spots in the U.S. continue to be New York, Louisiana and Detroit. However, she noted that new hot spots are emerging across the country in places such as Colorado, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
The White House coronavirus task force is now warning against even going out to buy groceries or medication as the pandemic is expected to hit a deadly apex in the coming two weeks.
As the surgeon general told the nation to brace for “our Pearl Harbor moment” of cascading coronavirus deaths, several governors said their states were in urgent need of federal help and complained they were left to compete for critical equipment in the absence of a consistent strategy and coordination from the Trump administration.
Leading U.S. manufacturers of medical safety gear told the White House that China prohibited them from exporting their products from the country as the coronavirus pandemic mounted — even as Beijing was trying to “corner the world market” in personal protective equipment. The administration is weighing legal action.
The U.S. Northern Command said it would deploy a combined total of 1,000 Air Force and Navy medical providers to the New York City area to support relief efforts in the next three days.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is also a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has tested negative for the illness.
Fauci said it is likely the coronavirus will become a seasonal occurrence.
According to Robert Redfield, the director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of people infected with the new coronavirus don’t present any symptoms or fall ill but can still transmit the illness to others.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital yesterday for tests, his office said, because he is still suffering symptoms, 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Scotland’s chief medical officer resigned after two consecutive weekend trips to her summer home — violating her own advice to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Asian shares and U.S. futures rebounded today as investors grasped at threads of hope that the battle against the coronavirus pandemic may be making some progress in some hard-hit areas.
For days, Capt. Brett E. Crozier fended off fears that the contagion would spread unchecked through his crew. Then last week, the captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who had appealed to his superiors for help, was fired. By yesterday, friends said, he had come down with the coronavirus himself.
The news is not so good on Long Island, where Suffolk County reported 51 new deaths — the most since the pandemic started — bringing its total to 175. Nassau County yesterday afternoon reported 13 new deaths, bringing the total of virus-related deaths to 162.
As they became inundated with patients suffering severe respiratory distress from the coronavirus last month, a group of nurses at a Long Island hospital snapped into action and created a “turning team.”
Dr. Mohammud Alam, an infectious disease specialist affiliated with Plainview Hospital, said 81 percent of infected COVID-19 patients he treated at three Long Island nursing homes recovered from the contagion.
Over the weekend, New York released its first accounting of the age of people who died after contracting COVID-19 – 64 percent of victims were over 70 years old. But there were two children ages 10 to 19 who died and another 24 people who were in their 20s.
NYT media columnist Ben Smith writes: CNN once prevented Chris Cuomo from interviewing his brother on the air. But that all changed with the arrival of the coronavirus, and now it’s changing television, too.
The TU’s Chris Churchill celebrates the “unsung heroes” of this moment: Grocery store workers.
Some grocery workers fear falling sick or bringing the virus home to vulnerable loved ones, and frustration is mounting as some demand better workplace protections, including shorter hours to allow them to rest, and “hazard” pay for working closely with the public.
The coronavirus pandemic led the state’s top court to postpone bar exams, which had been scheduled for July 28 and July 29, until a date in early September shortly before or after the Sept. 7 Labor Day weekend.
The state Senate intends to continue legislating this year, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told reporters at the Capitol last week, though the timeline is uncertain. Cuomo, meanwhile, said the session is “effectively over” due to the coronavirus.
A group of veteran home-schoolers in the Capital Region have created an “Emergency homeschooling in NY” Facebook page to share resources and provide support to overwhelmed parents with kids out of traditional school due to the outbreak.
If this isn’t enough to keep you safely at home, I don’t know what is.
A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S. or a tiger anywhere, federal officials and the zoo said.
…The 4-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia — and six other tigers and lions that have also fallen ill — are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee who wasn’t yet showing symptoms.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which confirmed Nadia’s test result at its veterinary lab, said there are no known cases of the virus in U.S. pets or livestock.
Hasidic Jews flouted social distancing rules and held at least two packed funerals on the streets of Brooklyn yesterday, including one for a faith-leader who died of coronavirus — as NYPD officers feebly tried to disperse the crowds by blasting warnings from their squad cars.
An inmate at Rikers Island who tested positive for the coronavirus died yesterday, marking the first confirmed death of a prisoner with the disease in the Big Apple, a Department of Correction spokesperson confirmed.
Bronx Democratic Councilman Mark Gjonaj plans to introduce legislation to temporarily eliminate the city’s new 5-cent paper-bag fee — because he believes reusable bags are a breeding grounds for germs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Yonkers Raceway may have been Ground Zero for the spread of the deadly coronavirus in New Jersey. COVID-19 cases linked to the Westchester County harness-racing track led to a cluster of infections in the Garden State, where a veteran fixture at the track became the first New Jersey death from the global pandemic.
Republican North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik expressed concern about the governor’s move to allocate upstate resources downstate, citing the vulnerabilities of her district’s older population and the limitations already faced by rural healthcare facilities.
Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said that six additional residents of the Pine Haven Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.
The University at Albany campus will be home to the first upstate mobile testing site for coronavirus. It opens today, but testing will only be conducted by appointment.
A new poll shows a slim majority of New Yorkers believe life will never the be same after coronavirus.
RV dealers across the nation are getting calls from governments, utilities and even individuals who need the mobile housing units to sequester people like doctors, nurses and utility workers who need to stay on the job no matter what.
The desertion of downtown Saratoga Springs is leaving many in the city fearful that the region’s tourism cash cow — estimated by Saratoga County’s economic development organization to result in $979 million worth of impact each year — will dwindle away.
James Seward, a veteran state senator from the Oneonta area, emerged from a medically induced coma Saturday night and was able to be taken off a ventilator for COVID-19 treatment.
The state DEC announced that the popular Kaaterskill Falls viewing platform and its connecting trails will close starting today because too many people were congregating there.
It’s Holy Week, and churches and parishioners are celebrating remotely in advance of the Easter holiday coming up this weekend.
NBC News correspondent Kate Snow revealed yesterday that she would not be anchoring Nightly News this week after she said her husband, Chris Bro, came down with coronavirus symptoms.
The English singer-songwriter Marianne Faithfull, 73, is being treated for coronavirus in a London hospital. Her manager Francois Ravard said yeterday that Faithfull is stable, however, and responding to treatment.
Elton John is stepping up once again in the battle against coronavirus. The “Rocket Man” singer announced that his foundation has launched a $1 million COVID-19 emergency fund to protect individuals with HIV.
Wild conspiracy theories linking 5G networks to the coronavirus pandemic are being blamed for a spate of attacks on UK cellphone towers — and are even being spread by celebrities such as Woody Harrelson.
In non-virus news…
The Trump administration is expected to announce today that it is designating an ultranationalist group based in Russia as a terrorist organization, according to officials. It is the first time the government will apply the label to a white supremacist group.
Michael Atkinson, the outgoing intelligence community inspector general fired by Trump on Friday, says he believes the president dismissed him because of his commitment to his duty as an impartial watchdog.
A bill pending in Albany named for a Washington County boy, Carter Powell, 13, would mandate health insurance coverage for congenital abnormalities, specifically ensuring private insurers cover the medical and dental treatments as well as rehabilitative therapies that may be necessary over the years for a child born with a congenital anomaly.
Photo credit: George Fazio.