Good morning, CivMixers. Happy Tuesday.
Today is World Nature Conservation Day, not to be confused with World Environment Day, which already passed (June 5).
Anyway, the purpose of this day is to recognize that a healthy environment is the foundation of a stable and productive society, and also to highlight the need to preserve the Earth for future generations.
Also, interestingly, it’s World Hepatitis Day, which coincides with the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925–2011), who discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 and then developed the first hepatitis B vaccine two years later. He went on to win the Nobel Prize.
Viral hepatitis — a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E — affects millions of people worldwide, according to the CDC, causing both acute and chronic liver disease.
Viral hepatitis causes more than one million deaths annually, and that number has been increasing even as deaths from tuberculosis and HIV have been declining.
World Hepatitis Day is one of eight official disease-specific world health days designated by the World Health Organization, with which, by the way the U.S. has terminated its relationship as a result of the president’s upset with the group’s management of the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual observance focuses attention on the huge impact of viral hepatitis infection globally – with as many as one in 12 people worldwide living with either chronic Hepatitis B or C. The WHO plans to publish new recommendations today on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus.
The WHO is concerned that prevention services for Hepatitis, which as infant immunizations, are falling by the wayside as a result of the pandemic. This has been an issue for other health-related issues, too, as many individuals forgo standard preventative care due to worries over contracting COVID-19 or a lack of available services because facilities have either shuttered or become overwhelmed with caring for pandemic patients.
On that upbeat note…
We’ll have thunderstorms this morning, giving way to mostly cloudy skies in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the high 80s, according to The Weather Channel.
In the headlines…
Republicans unveiled their proposals for the next coronavirus relief on the U.S. Senate floor, which includes cuts to the unemployment insurance bonus by about $400 and does not send more money to financially struggling state and local governments.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the HEALS Act – which stands for health, economic assistance, liability and schools – is expected to cost about $1 trillion and gives a liability shield to businesses. It caps at 70 percent of pre-pandemic pay a federal unemployment insurance supplement that lapsed last week.
““We have one foot in the pandemic, and one foot in the recovery,” McConnell said. “The American people need more help. They need it to be comprehensive, and they need it to be carefully tailored to this crossroads. That is what this Senate majority has assembled.”
The $1 trillion proposal was quickly deemed a non-starter by Democrats, who favor a sweeping, $3 trillion stimulus measure that was approved by the House in May but hasn’t been picked up by the GOP-controlled Senate over complaints that it goes too far.
With a small but vital bloc of conservative senators opposed to providing any more federal coronavirus aid, the Republican Party has struggled to agree on how to stabilize the battered economy, leaving Democrats with crucial leverage for an intense set of negotiations over the relief package.
The commission that holds the quadrennial presidential debates says that the first of the three scheduled showdowns this fall between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is being moved from Indiana to Ohio after Notre Dame withdrew as a host due to constraints the pandemic has put on the event.
The debate, scheduled for Sept. 29, will now take place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Notre Dame is the second school to withdraw from hosting a presidential debate this year. Late last month, the University of Michigan withdrew from hosting the second presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 15.
Rapper Kanye West submitted paperwork to appear on the Missouri ballot in November — and he’s also making a last ditch effort to run for president in voter-rich New York.
President Trump announced more federal funding for the development of a coronavirus vaccine as his administration scrambles to find a cure for the spiraling pandemic.
Two of the most advanced experimental coronavirus vaccines entered the pivotal phase of their studies yesterday, with the first subjects receiving doses of vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer.
Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has tested positive for the coronavirus — making him the highest-ranking official to test positive so far.
The return of Major League Baseball took a troubling turn yesterday when a looming threat became reality: an outbreak of positive coronavirus tests within a team (the Miami Marlins).
The Remington Arms Company, one of America’s oldest and largest gun manufacturers that was founded in upstate, filed for bankruptcy protection after years of litigation and a loss of investors took a heavy toll on its finances.
U.S. militarized officers will remain in Portland until attacks on a federal courthouse cease, a top official said yesterday after another night of violence. And more officers may soon be on the way.
The raucous escalation in recent days, brought about by the deployment of federal law enforcement officers and the harsh tactics they have used against protesters, has prompted new debates among the protesters over their own tactics and goals.
Attorney General William Barr defended the federal response to the protests and unrest around the nation in recent weeks, declaring that the rule of law must be upheld as “violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction” in places like Portland, Ore.
The mayors of Portland, Oregon, and five other major U.S. cities appealed to Congress to make it illegal for the federal government to deploy militarized agents to cities that don’t want them.
First Lady Melania Trump announced details of a plan already under way to spruce up the White House Rose Garden, an iconic outdoor space famous for its proximity to the Oval Office.
Citing a need to limit crowds due to the threat of coronavirus, the retail giant Target will not be opening on Thanksgiving Day. For the last decade, the store has opened its doors as a way to jump-start Black Friday, but this year, the company says it has rethought its strategy for the day.
Google will keep its employees home until at least next July, making the search-engine giant the first major U.S. corporation to formalize such an extended timetable in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that health authorities would investigate a charity concert, which included performances by Goldman Sachs Group boss David Solomon and the Chainsmokers, over social distancing violations.
Online videos from the Southampton concert held on Saturday show “egregious social distancing violations. I am appalled,” Cuomo said in a tweet, along with a now-viral clip showing massive crowds jamming out.
The crowd was estimated at 2,000 for the concert in Water Mill. Ticket packages ranged from $850 to an uber-VIP option for $25,000 that accommodated RVs. All profits were earmarked for charity.
In a blistering letter addressed to the supervisor of the town of Southampton, where the concert was held, New York’s health commissioner, Howard Zucker, wrote that he was “greatly disturbed” by reports that showed thousands of people standing close together and “generally not adhering to social-distancing guidance.”
State officials handed out summonses to 27 establishments Sunday night for failing to follow orders aimed at slowing the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly in New York City.
Now-viral video and images show Cuomo hugging the Savannah, Georgia mayor — without wearing a face mask — during his recent trip to the Peach State to help with the city’s coronavirus response.
New York City’s Public Advocate is proposing a radical new plan for reopening schools this fall, in which students would stay home until at least October and classroom instruction would be phased in by age group.
Officials in New York City are scrambling to improve wait times for coronavirus tests—crucial to keeping the pandemic at bay, as the city reopens and New Yorkers flock back to restaurants, stores and public spaces like zoos.
City Councilman Mark Levine, a Democrat who covers upper Manhattan, is set to introduce a bill today that would create a task force to plan a Covid-19 memorial for Hart Island.
“It’s the kind of thing a commission should look at carefully and decide if it still makes sense for the 21st century,” de Blasio said said the seal, which dates back to 1914.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea warned city residents to get used to increased shootings as de Blasio again blamed the courts for the deadly uptick and called on citizens to fight crime.
World Trade Center first responders who inhaled toxic dust while working at Ground Zero are at increasing risk of developing dementia and other forms of memory loss, according to a pair of first-of-its kind studies by Stony Brook University researchers.
Manhattan Rep. Adriano Espaillat is urging the state to pull Revel scooters off the streets after reading reports of a near-fatal collision involving one of the rental mopeds in his district over the weekend.
While touring the Unity House of Troy yesterday morning, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul called on federal officials to provide additional support for daytime child-care facilities.
The New York State Association of Counties released an updated economic impact report that shows counties and New York City facing a catastrophic $13.5 billion loss in revenue over two fiscal years, which could lead to significant cuts to services and permanent layoffs.
An internal investigation into Saratoga County’s pandemic pay debacle, when hundreds of employees including elected officials were paid time-and-a-half during the early days of COVID-19’s sweep across the state, blames communication failure.
Health experts are warning of a potential second wave of coronavirus in the fall and that has prompted Empire State Development to work with companies across New York to ramp up manufacturing of personal protective equipment to ensure medical facilities have adequate supplies.
More than a dozen colleges and universities in New York state are among those most likely to “perish” amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new analysis.
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference pulled the plug on its fall sports season and began to take steps toward adjusting its men’s and women’s basketball schedules because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Parents got a letter from the College Suites in Hudson Valley last week, one month before classes are slated to start on Aug. 31, telling them they couldn’t offer them a lease agreement due to COVID-19.
Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) was unaware College Suites told students they had to move abruptly before their leases were up, said HVCC Vice President for Student Affairs Louis Coplin.
Hundreds of parents are demanding that officials at Shenendehowa Central School District find a way to provide fully remote learning opportunities to students in the fall.
Despite a coronavirus delay, the controversial City Center parking garage in Saratoga Springs is now back on schedule with plans to open by late October.
Out of an abundance of caution, horses in the Mounted Patrol Unit in Saratoga Springs have been outfitted with face shields
The City of Schenectady has had preliminary conversations with some homeowners along Ingersoll Avenue about possibly relocating their properties – but a highly-anticipated project to alleviate flooding in the historic Stockade neighborhood remains in a holding pattern.
Albany Medical Center is suspending its day care program through Aug. 7 after a teacher and seven children tested positive for COVID-19, the hospital announced.
Local officials reported three shark sightings yesterday in Hempstead-area waters on Long Island’s South Shore, and they say it’s the same one — likely a bull shark.
New York in recent weeks finalized the acquisition of 5,789 additional acres in the Taconic Mountains that will protect open space as well as protect the hiking, hunting and other outdoor activities that exist along the popular area near the Vermont and Massachusetts borders.
A Topps trading card of the longtime National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci throwing out the first pitch during the July 23 Yankees-Washington Nationals game set a record with a print run of 51,512 cards.
At 11:30 a.m., the Television Academy will announce the nominees for the 72nd Emmy Awards. The envelopes are scheduled to be unsealed on Sept. 20 during a ceremony broadcast by ABC and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
WarnerMedia has started an investigation into the workplace environment of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the syndicated program that has been a staple of daytime television since 2003, following allegations from current and former employees of discrimination and mistreatment.
The Marylou Whitney Collection Auction is live.
Photo credit: George Fazio.