Rise and Shine: July 6, 2020

Monday, Monday. Somehow it always manages to come back around, CivMixers. Welcome to it.

I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday weekend. It was pretty subdued on my end. Puppy does not like fireworks; so we usually skip that part of the Glorious Fourth celebrations. We were up to the lake for the day, and NO ONE, but NO ONE was doing much in the way of mask wearing or social distancing during this event.

Very worrisome.

Today is International Kissing Day, but no one I know is doing a lot of that these days. Yesterday was National Bikini Day, and there were a LOT of folks sporting those where I was this weekend. Because the weather has been very warm.

And that’s going to continue today, with temperatures again flirting with 90 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. It will be partly cloudy with the chance of a stray thunderstorm in the afternoon.

In the before time – back before the coronavirus turned everything upside down – we would be smack in the middle of Wimbledon Championships week. But that iconic tennis tournament has been cancelled for the first time since World War II in 1945. (It’s also the first time since the tournament began in 1877 that the event will not be played during peacetime).

Wimbledon had been scheduled to run from June 29 to July 12. Next year, if all goes according to plan, it will be held June 28 to July 11.

Speaking of sports…baseball’s “spring” training, delayed as a result of the virus, is underway, even though some players have said they’ll be sitting the season out.

And we got some breaking news over the weekend that the Washington Redskins, long under pressure to change their racially insensitive name, are finally contemplating doing so. Ditto, the Cleveland Indians.

The NLF might cancel its preseason, or perhaps curtail it.

In other news…

Officials in states with surging coronavirus cases issued dire warnings and blamed outbreaks on early reopenings yesterday as the seven-day average for daily new cases in the United States reached a record high for the 27th straight day.

The World Health Organization believes that coronavirus is mainly transmitted by large respiratory droplets that fall quickly to the floor, but a group of nearly 250 scientists from over 30 countries is asking them to acknowledge evidence of a different form of transmission: smaller particles that linger in the air indoors.

Vaccine researchers are trying new tacks in an unprecedented effort to recruit the tens of thousands of healthy volunteers needed to finish testing coronavirus shots in late stages of development. Quickly lining up all the subjects for so many studies at the same time is creating competition among companies.

New federal data — made available after The New York Times sued the CDC — reveals that Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.

Despite the increasing toll the virus is taking on the world, scientists still do not have a definitive answer to one of the most fundamental questions about the virus: How deadly is it?

While some people have used the time to hone their exercise regime and cooking skills, others have spent endless hours binging on streaming channels and junk food. Months of working and attending school from home have wreaked havoc on sleep schedules. Health experts worry about the long-term impact of it all.

China has laid the groundwork to dominate the market for protective and medical supplies for years to come.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2020, economic predictions range from cloudy to downright dire.

As the coronavirus prevents people from going back to work and paying their rent, evictions have begun, often targeting vulnerable people such as unauthorized immigrants.

Migrant workers – from Polish farmhands working the fields of southern France to Filipino cruise-ship workers in the Caribbean – who lost their jobs because of the pandemic’s economic impact are running out of cash to send home, dealing a blow to the fragile economic health of the developing world.

Fear hung over the Fourth of July holiday this year as the worsening coronavirus pandemic caused many Americans to pull back from their usual celebrations.

President Donald Trump used his stage at a Fourth of July celebration on the White House’s South Lawn Saturday to put forward a mystifying – and dangerously misleading claim – that 99 percent of coronavirus cases in America are “totally harmless.”

Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, declined to confirm Trump’s claim that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are “harmless,” but said the spiking number of cases was a “serious problem that we have.”

Remdesivir, the drug which early studies suggest could help people who are severely ill with coronavirus recover faster, is being surged to areas that meet it most, Hahn said.

From near the base of Mount Rushmore on Friday night and from the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday night, Trump tried to write himself into the history of America as an implacable wartime president.

Trump used an elaborate fireworks display and Air Force One flyover at Mt. Rushmore on Friday night to rally his base, ushering in Fourth of July celebrations a day early with accusations that a “new far-left fascism” is part of “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history.”

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., tested positive for coronavirus before the Fourth of July event at Mount Rushmore.

Striking a combative tone, Trump said on the 4th that he would “fight…to preserve American way of life”, while railing at “mobs” targeting historical monuments.

“We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing,” Trump said, with first lady Melania Trump seated nearby.

The president’s effort to exploit cultural divides is a familiar tactic, recalling the “American carnage” he described in his inaugural address.

An Ohio town has proclaimed itself a “Statuary Sanctuary City,” offering to take on sculptures of famous figures in American history now being dismantled across the country.

Descendants of the family of Maj. Gen. Philip J. Schuyler, who had faced the prospect of execution if the American Revolution failed, are urging Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan to reconsider her executive order to remove a statute of him from in front of City Hall, or to at least allow the decision to be made by the community.

Protesters across Long Island joined in several actions calling for social justice – including a group seeking the removal of the Shirley statue of William Floyd who was a Declaration of Independence signer and slave owner.

A statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass was ripped from its base in Rochester on the anniversary of one of his most famous speeches, delivered in that city in 1852.

The police in Martinez, Calif., said that they were seeking two white people who were seen vandalizing a Black Lives Matter mural less than an hour after it was painted in front of a local courthouse on Saturday.

Trump said Saturday that his administration had “made a lot of progress” on controlling the novel coronavirus pandemic, even as the seven-day average of cases in the United States set a record for the 26th straight day.

Florida surpassed 200,000 cases of Covid-19 yesterday, following the Fourth of July holiday during which the state recorded its most cases reported in a single day. At least 40,000 cases have been reported by the Florida Department of Health in the last four days.

Florida and Texas reported 11,445 and 8,258 new cases respectively Saturday, the highest single day totals for both states since the pandemic began, according to their state health departments.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said there should be a “national requirement” that everyone wear face masks amid the coronavirus.

Iran instituted mandatory mask-wearing as fears mount over newly spiking reported deaths from the coronavirus, even as its public increasingly shrugs off the danger of the COVID-19 illness it causes.

It was a violent holiday weekend, with multiple shootings in NYC.

Trump, in a tweet, said the federal government was “ready, willing and able” to intervene over the surge of shootings in New York City and Chicago.

Nine children under the age of 18 have been shot dead in Chicago since June 20.

NYPD leadership called out Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance yesterday as gun violence spiked in the Big Apple, saying he didn’t show up at any shooting scenes.

Two bodies were recovered from the Hudson River near Jersey City on the Fourth of July, officials said.

As some cities in the Capital Region see a spike in violence – similar to what many urban areas across the country are seeing – some fear the loss of in-person interactions for many supportive and social services could be playing a role in the increase.

Trump will hold an outdoor campaign rally in New Hampshire next weekend, his campaign announced.

Kanye West announced, not for the first time, that he plans on running for president in 2020.

A 24-year-old woman was killed and another person was hospitalized in serious condition after a vehicle barreled past a police barrier and into protesters on a freeway in Seattle over the weekend.

The victim, Summer Taylor, 24, spent the last six weeks “tirelessly standing up for others while working full time and supporting everyone around them,” wrote Urban Animal on Instagram, the veterinarian clinic where Taylor worked in Portland, Oregon.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo took some time over the holiday weekend to clean his midnight blue Pontiac GTO. (He’s a big muscle car fan).

The coronavirus put a damper on this year’s Fourth of July celebrations in New York, but some things stayed the same. Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo repeated as men’s and women’s champions at Saturday’s Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest.

New York City will enter Phase III of the reopening process today, with spas and nail salons among the businesses allowed to resume operations, but that will not include indoor dining, Cuomo announced.

“As we end this holiday weekend, I urge everyone to be New York Tough: wear a mask, socially distance, use hand sanitizer and continue the smart practices that have made out state a national leader in combatting this virus,” Cuomo said.

Albany County saw five more restaurant employees test positive for coronavirus over the weekend from two establishments that were already forced to close.

The Albany, Schenectady and Troy locations of Wolff’s Biergarten, along with their sibling in Syracuse, are closed temporarily because of concerns about COVID-19.

Many restaurants that were just starting to recover some sales are bracing for another, potentially existential round of restrictions as a resurgence in coronavirus cases in the U.S. prompts a pullback in reopening plans.

A number of NYC’s most popular restaurants have opened or are running establishments this season in the Hamptons’ East End. Others are doing regular deliveries all the way from Manhattan or finding different ways to bring their food to the well-heeled shorefront communities.

The State Liquor Authority suspended the liquor license of Liberty Ridge Farm a day before its scheduled July 4th celebration, which led to the farm canceling the event. The board also ordered the closure of events at the Lebanon Valley Speedway.

Late last week, New York reported 918 new coronavirus infections and nine deaths from COVID-19 – the first time more than 900 new infections have been reported since June 12, when 916 people tested positive for the virus statewide.

The iconic 9/11 Memorial opened to family members of victims, first responders and frontline workers Saturday after being closed for nearly three months because of COVID-19.

Airbnb says that they want to curb “unauthorized house parties” that could aid in the transmission of coronavirus, and to do this, they’re introducing a new policy that will put limits on renters under the age of 25.

The number of high school seniors applying for U.S. federal college aid plunged in the weeks following the sudden closure of school buildings this spring — a time when students were cut off from school counselors, and families hit with financial setbacks were reconsidering plans for higher education.

CUNY’s staff union is suing the university in Manhattan federal court — arguing its decision to lay off 2,800 adjunct staff violates an obligation to use funds from federal CARES Act to try to keep employees on the payroll amid the pandemic.

RIP Broadway star Nick Cordero, who has died from coronavirus complications at the age of 41. He leaves behind a wife and a one-year-old son.

Cordero’s death sparked an outpouring of tributes from fellow Broadway stars.

Denim retailer Lucky Brand Dungarees has filed for bankruptcy protection, blaming its troubles in part on the coronavirus pandemic, and said it has a deal lined up to sell the company.

It’s been a year since Cuomo said New York would enact new regulations to restrict and change the use of solitary confinement in state prisons — but those new rules have yet to be finalized by the state, despite being formally proposed last August.

Albany workers spent yesterday clearing debris from the impromptu, hours-long July 4 fireworks that exploded around the city Saturday night.

Beginning today, the Albany Public Library will allow people to take out books, but how they do it won’t look the same.

Officials in New York City will begin opening more than 389,000 absentee ballots this week, an unprecedented number of mailed votes that were cast as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In many close races, there are more unopened absentee ballots than votes that were cast on June 23 or the nine days of early voting that preceded it.

A woman who claims Ghislaine Maxwell raped her dozens of times – beginning when she was just 14 years old – says she is willing to take the stand and testify against Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend.

Maxwell is expected to be transferred early this week to the Southern District of New York for her upcoming court appearance, according to a new letter filed by federal prosecutors last night.

Amid protests from environmentalists, mounting costly delays and an uncertainty surrounding its legal status, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy decided to cancel their plans to build a 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are urging Cuomo to waive a state-imposed fee on fiber optic internet cables as the fee surprises corporations and halts broadband expansion projects in Northern New York.

Congressional candidate Liz Joy, a Republican challenging Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko, says she is once again being harassed, this time due to contributions that were made in her name to left-leaning causes.

Town supervisor Yasmine Syed has ordered that a $33,000 payment made to recently retired comptroller Paul Sebesta, who left amid a controversy over his previous wearing of blackface, be frozen pending a legal opinion from the state Comptroller’s Office.

A 19-year-old from Vernon, N.J. died yesterday after being found unresponsive off Shepard’s Park Beach in the village of Lake George on July 4th.

A recent increase in bear activity has led to a temporary shutdown of campsites and lean-tos around Lake Colden and the Adirondacks.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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