Re-entry after a holiday weekend is HARD work. I’ve been behind the eight ball all day long. And it will be several hours – at least – before I get myself right again. Now I understand why people don’t take vacations.
Yes, yes, I know it’s better or productivity in the long run. But really…how can so much work pile up over such a short period of time? It’s unreal.
Anyway…onto the headlines.
1) As the coronavirus surge continues, South Florida is slowly reverting to lockdown mode, shutting down restaurants and gyms starting Wednesday under an emergency order from Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Also closing: Ballrooms, banquet facilities, party venues and short-term rentals. Restaurants can open for takeout and delivery only.
Is this the dreaded second wave, then?
Not so much, said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who warned today that the country is still “knee-deep in the first wave” of the pandemic, and the more than 50,000 new cases a day recorded several times in the past week are “a serious situation that we have to address immediately.”
The United States will know by the end of the year or the beginning of 2021 whether a coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective, Fauci said.
For now, he’s pleading with Americans to “avoid crowds,” adding: “If you’re going to have a social function, maybe a single couple or two — do it outside if you’re going to do it. Those are fundamental, and everybody can do that right now.”
2) Amy Cooper, a 41-year-old white women who touched off a firestorm when she called the cops on a black Central Park birdwatcher, Christian Cooper, (no relation, clearly), who asked her to keep her dog on a leash, was arrested today on a charge that could send her to jail for up to one year.
Cooper surrendered to the Manhattan DA’s office and has been charged with one count of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree. She was issued a desk appearance ticket and ordered to return to court Oct. 14 for her arraignment.
And there might be more where this came from.
Said Manhattan DA Cy Vance: “I would like to encourage anyone who has been the target of false reporting to contact our Office. We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable.”
Christian Cooper declined to comment on today’s developments. However, in an interview last month with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King, he said, “She basically…pulled the pin on the race grenade and tried to lob it at me.”
He has also said he was “uncomfortable” with the amount of backlash Amy Cooper received as a result of the incident – including losing her job.
3) A state Department of Health report released today sought to absolve the agency of blame for more than 6,000 COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes across New York.
DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker said a controversial memo issued by the agency on March 25 that disallowed nursing homes from denying admission or readmission to residents based solely on a positive or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis was not to blame for what stands as the nation’s highest nursing home death toll.
So who – or what – was to blame for spreading these infections around, you ask? According to this report, nursing home employees. The report showed 29 percent of nursing home workers in New York had antibodies, meaning they contracted coronavirus or were exposed to it.
“An analysis of the timing of admissions versus fatalities shows that it could not be the driver of nursing home infections or fatalities,” the report concluded.
The date on which the highest number of COVID-positive residents entered nursing homes was April 14 – nearly a full week after the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the facilities occurred on April 8.
4) It’s official, the Great New York State Fair is not going to happen this year due to the pandemic – the first time since the 1940s that this marvelous end-of-summer ritual will not take place as planned.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo broke the unwelcome news earlier today, saying the decision made him “personally unhappy” and was a “really tough one.”
The fair was on hiatus from 1942 to 1947 because it was converted into a military base following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
This time around, New York is in good company, as numerous other state fairs – including big events in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin – have already been canceled. The Big E, a major fair in Massachusetts that brings together all six New England states, was canceled just last week.
5) Country music has lost an icon. Charlie Daniels, who went from being an in-demand session musician to a staple of Southern rock with his hit “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” has died at 83.
According to a statement released by his publicist, Daniels, a Country Music Hall of Famer, died at a hospital in Hermitage, Tennessee, after doctors said he had a stroke. He had suffered what was described as a mild stroke in January 2010 and had a heart pacemaker implanted in 2013 but continued to perform.
Photo credit: George Fazio.