It turned into a nice – albeit breezy – Memorial Day. I hope it has been a good one thus far for all of you, CivMixers.
It started like this for me, though I used a 10 lb weight vest instead of 20. A good way to remember what this day is really all about.
While you might have been otherwise engaged – grilling or chilling or whatever it is that the holiday generally brings – you might have missed the following headlines…
1) Gov. Andrew Cuomo, conducting his daily coronavirus news briefing outside New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, announced that state and local governments will be providing death benefits to public workers who died from COVID-19.
These benefits will apply to New York’s frontline workers, including government employees at the city, county and state level.
On an encouraging note, New York lost another 96 lives to the virus, bringing the state death toll to 23,487. It’s the second time in three days the daily number dropped below 100.
2) Tomorrow, the Mid-Hudson Region will start Phase I of the reopening process, and Long Island is expected to follow suit as early as Wednesday.
The Mid-Hudson Region includes Westchester and Rockland counties, the latter being where the first significant viral outbreak took place (in New Rochelle, as you’ll no doubt recall). Also included: Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster, Orange and Sullivan counties.
The Hudson Valley had already met the state’s criteria for the decline in the number of deaths but needed to train additional contact tracers in order to begin Phase 1 of the New York Forward Reopening plan, Cuomo said.
New York City, which was the epicenter of the nation’s Covid-19 crisis, is on track to reopen sometime in mid-June.
3) Here’s something else to be happy about: The Capital Region has had a five-day stretch with zero – yes, ZERO – coronavirus deaths. It’s one of the longest stretches of time without a virus-related death since the outbreak started back in March.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy expressed satisfaction that local residents took all the warnings about social distancing heading into the Memorial Day weekend seriously. He noted that his own family’s plans have been significantly impacted by the pandemic, as his daughter was scheduled to get married yesterday but the ceremony has been pushed back until August. He said the family carried out a virtual celebration to try to keep her spirits up.
4) Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, made his first in-person appearance in more than two months today as he marked Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a veterans park near his Delaware home.
Biden and his wife, Jill, laid a wreath of white flowers tied with a white bow, and bowed their heads in silence at the park. He saluted, and said: “Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made. Never, ever, forget.”
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, presided over back-to-back events at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
The city’s mayor did not join Trump as he had asked the president not to come, due to the fact that a local stay-at-home order remains in effect as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Maryland’s governor, Larry Hogan, also chose to stay away from the president’s visit, due to the fact that today is his birthday, which he decided to spend with his family.
5) Speaking of politics – and a return to some semblance of the usual bickering and finger pointing – the president is threatening to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina because the state’s governor, who happens to be a Democrat, cannot at this point guarantee that the arena in Charlotte that is supposed to host the event will be able to be filled to capacity.
“Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the Arena,” the president tweeted. “In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space.”
There may well be more news as the day proceeds, but in the interest of letting you get on with your festivities and/or observances, I thought I would get things over with on the early side. We’ll be back bright and early tomorrow, as per usual, to catch you up on anything that occurs between now and say, 4 a.m.
Stay safe until then.
Photo credit: George Fazio.