3 days ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on East Idaho News Secret Santa Giving Away $500,000 In Gifts This Year
Every year, a Secret Santa brings joy to people in need in East Idaho through an anonymous donation and with the help of East Idaho News. The anonymous “secret Santa” has been giving out gifts to people in the East Idaho community for the last five years. This year, more than $500,000 will be given to area families. The news station created a program to nominate people that are in need. They are still seeking nominations for this year and they still have about $150,000 along with several cars left to give away.
It all started in 2015 when Nate Eaton, news director of East Idaho News, received a call from a person wanting to give away $100,000 in gifts to local people in need and the Secret Santa just needed the news site to find the people first. The idea was an immediate hit and their email server almost crashed from the number of nominations they received the first year. The program has grown rapidly since then and people love watching the gifting every year. They now have more than 33,000 followers on their YouTube channel.
Eaton wanted to be sure people know it’s not an organization or business giving the money away but a very generous individual. “Secret Santa looks for people that just need a break,” Eaton said. “They’ve run out of luck, they’ve run out of money, they don’t ask for a handout, they’re working hard, they have specific needs, [and] they just need something to get ahead in life.”
Families across the Eastern Idaho region have been fortunate to be the recipients of gifts from the mysterious and generous “Secret Santa,” who for the past six years has worked in secrecy. Since the “Secret Santa” is anonymous, Eaton has become the face of the entire operation. He’s the one showing up on doorsteps handing out the presents. “It is a local person here. I think if you were to meet him on the street, he might deny it,” said Eaton, who is the only one on his team who knows Santa’s true identity.
This year some gifts will be bigger than ever and will include money towards a prosthetic leg, a pickup truck and a 15-seat passenger van. “The key is you don’t want to have somebody receive a large gift and then [they] have to pay the taxes on it or any fees or things like that,” he explained of how it works. “So Secret Santa covers all of that. If somebody gets a car, the taxes have been paid for. The only thing the person has to pay is the registration and he gives them a check to take care of that.”
Film and production crews will go out to sometimes several places each day during November and December to hand out gifts. Sometimes those situations can be so heartbreaking or personal that East Idaho News elects to not air the footage from giving the gift away.
“The people that maybe you haven’t read about in the news, but have quietly suffered for years and years that don’t think they’ll ever get a break—this might be their year when they can know someone is thinking about them and they can get a gift that will actually change their life,” the news director explained. To nominate someone (you can’t nominate yourself) for the Secret Santa program, you just need to fill out an application on their website.
3 weeks ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Iconic Strand Bookstore Sounds Call For Help
Like many independent businesses across the country, the beloved NYC book store the Strand is in trouble. A Greenwich Village fixture since 1927, known worldwide for its “18 miles of books,” the Strand is the single remaining establishment out of 48 bookstores that once ran the length of 4th Avenue’s famous Book Row. Unfortunately, with the Covid-19 pandemic reducing crucial foot-traffic, store proprietor Nancy Bass Wyden, granddaughter of the store’s original owner, posted a cry for help on Twitter.
In a last-ditch effort to save her beloved family business, Bass Wyden reached out to her customer base with a plea for help. “I’m going to pull out all the stops,” she tweeted, “to keep sharing our mutual love of the printed word. But for the first time in the Strand’s 93-year history, we need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there’s a vaccine.”
The response from the Strand’s loyal clientele came in the form of an avalanche of 25,000 orders over the course of a single weekend that crashed the store’s website and brought in approximately $200,000 in sales. One patron ordered 197 books. That was followed up by round-the-block lines at the store’s flagship location on Broadway and East 12th Street in lower Manhattan when the store opened.
Having suffered heavy financial losses earlier in the year, even with the amazing outpouring of love and a much-needed boost in revenue, the Strand isn’t out of the woods just yet, but Bass Wyden is determined not to give up. Revenue was down 70% since this time last year, the business’ cash reserves had depleted, and the $1 million to $2 million loan the Strand received in government emergency relief in April is running dry.
Bass Wyden started working at the Strand in the mid-’70s, when she was 16, and inherited full ownership of the business, including the building at 828 Broadway, from her father, Fred Bass, after his death in 2017. The bookstore has withstood the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the 9/11 terror attacks, but the pandemic could be its downfall. “As the 3rd generation owner,” she said, “I have tried to imagine what my dad and grandfather would do right now after they spent their entire lives—6 days a week—working at the store. I don’t believe they would want me to give up without a fight.” Bass Wyden said.
“Never did I imagine that the store’s financial situation would become so dire that I would have to write friends and devoted customers for help,” owner Nancy Bass Wyden said in an open letter. “It hurts to write this, but that is the predicament that we are in now.” For the first time since her grandfather founded the store 93 years ago, Bass Wyden said, the time had come to ask customers for help. She’s asking all loyal lovers of the written word to start the holidays early and Shop the Strand to save the Strand.
1 month ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on MI Teacher Saves Student’s Grandmother During Virtual Lesson
Michigan elementary school teacher Julia Koch is being praised for her quick thinking after she helped save the life of a student’s grandmother while giving a virtual lesson. Koch was teaching her first graders remotely at Edgewood Elementary School in Muskegon Heights late last month when one student began experiencing technical difficulties. Koch called Cynthia Phillips, the student’s grandmother, to solve the problem — and that’s when she realized something was not right.
When Koch spoke to Cynthia Phillips, who was having trouble charging her granddaughter’s school tablet, the teacher noticed something was off in the grandmother’s voice. “It was clear there was something very wrong. Her words were so jumbled, and I couldn’t understand what she was trying to say,” Koch told CNN. “She didn’t sound like herself.” Koch quickly alerted the school principal Charlie Lovelady who had a staff member call 911.
Lovelady said “I noticed her speech was impaired and I asked her if she was alright. She was stumbling over her words and it was getting worse by the minute. I knew the symptoms of a stroke because I lost my father from a stroke so I told her hold on and immediately got her help.” With an ambulance on its way to Phillips, Lovelady asked two of his employees to drive to her house to check up on her and the young children under her care.
Phillips remains hospitalized and is slowly recovering. “I would have died if it weren’t for the teacher being so quick and fast about getting me help,” Phillips said from her hospital bed. “It made me so close to the staff and the principal, even the secretary who hurried to get me on the phone with the principal. They showed up at my house to make sure I’m OK,” she said through tears. “I thank God I didn’t die in front of my kids.”
Koch’s quick thinking helped a life and while Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System Superintendent Rané Garcia said he is immensely proud of both Ms. Koch and Mr. Lovelady, Koch feels she did what anyone would have done. “I don’t think one can truly be a good teacher and not care about the students and their families. In the environment we’re in especially, it’s too hard to do this without actually truly caring. Out of all this, what I’ve learned being part of a community that cares is so important. Paying attention to people and listening to them, always thinking of how to help. It’s great to know I’m part of a team like that.” Koch said.
Principal Lovelady said he is “blown away” by how quickly his staff worked together to save Phillips’ life. “I’m so proud of my team, it just shows that we have wonderful people here who didn’t think twice about calling for help and jumping in the car to check on them,” he said. “I’m a very, very proud principal.”
1 month ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Mazda To Gift Fifty 100th Anniversary Edition Miatas to Hometown Heroes
Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is giving away the 100th Anniversary Special Edition Mazda MX-5 Miata cars to 50 hometown heroes who have made a lasting impact on their respective communities. MNAO’s “Mazda Heroes-Honoring the Human Spirit spotlights first responders and others across the country who have selflessly uplifted those around them throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Mazda is taking submissions now through October 25.
To nominate someone you know, visit the Mazda Heroes website, where you’ll be asked to make a short 1 minute video explaining how your nominee has selflessly uplifted the community. Upload the video to YouTube and set it to public or unlisted. Complete the entry form and provide a link to the video to enter. Mazda will choose the 50 most outstanding examples and the honorees will be announced starting Dec. 2. All nominees must be 18 years or older.
“From teachers going the extra mile to enhance distance learning, to community activists sourcing PPE for others, there are countless examples of people across the country going above and beyond to support others without expecting anything in return. Mazda wants to honor these important acts of kindness, resilience and empathy,” Mazda’s announcement said.
In April, the car maker launched their Essential Car Care Program to give free oil changes and car cleaning to healthcare workers across the U.S. The program ran from April through June 2020. Throughout the initiative their dealers and employees were grateful to be a part of giving back to those selflessly giving back every day. The feedback that received inspired them to develop the Mazda Heroes program, which will honor individuals supporting communities and share their stories in a moment when people desire inspiration in their lives. Mazda North America President Jeff Guyton said he hopes the Miata giveaway will lift spirits during a time when good news seems scarce.
“We had hoped this time would be filled with moments of celebration and appreciation for our fans, employees and partners for the 100th Year Anniversary. But given the many tragic events of 2020, we decided to express, in another way, our brand’s unique heritage of trying to make things better” he said. “Mazda is looking for people who have demonstrated “selfless acts, creative approaches, and contributions to community.”
The Miata 100th Anniversary Special Edition features many cosmetic upgrades including a white paint job paired with red accents, including a red interior. Special badging can be found on the front fenders, key fob, floor mats, and headrests. Normally, starting prices for this special edition are a good deal higher than the top Grand Touring trim. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, as well as the soft top and RF variants.
4 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Sexual Assault Advocate Daisy Coleman Commits Suicide
Daisy Coleman, a high school sexual assault survivor who was featured in the documentary “Audrie & Daisy,” has died at the age of 23 by suicide. After announcing her death, Daisy’s mother Melinda wrote, “She never recovered from what those boys did to her and it’s just not fair. My baby girl is gone.” Daisy’s sexual assault prompted her to become an advocate for sexual assault victims and she co-founded the non-profit organization SafeBAE, which was aimed at preventing sexual assault in schools.
The Coleman family have suffered tremendous loss over the years far beyond Daisy’s sexual assault at a party in 2012. Melinda’s husband and father to her four children, Dr. Michael Coleman, was killed in a car crash in 2009, then Daisy’s younger brother Tristan died in a car accident at the age of 19 in June 2018 and now the loss of Daisy. The family had originally moved to the small town of Maryville from Albany, Missouri in 2009 after Michael Coleman’s death in hopes of making new and better memories than those the town of Albany held. Instead, they found themselves at the center of a sexual assault case that shocked the nation. Daisy and her friend were invited to a party in January 2012 where they became heavily intoxicated and both were sexually assaulted.
After the assault, Daisy was left intoxicated on her porch in 22-degree weather with no shoes or socks; when her mother found her she had frostbite. Sheriff’s deputies arrested two teens within hours and charged them with felonies. Matthew Barnett, a 17 year old high school senior and the grandson of former state representative Rex Barnett, was arrested for the rape and sexual assault of Coleman, who was 14 at the time. A 15-year-old boy was accused of doing the same to the girl’s 13-year-old friend Paige, and a third boy admitted to recording Barnett’s alleged assault on a cellphone. The video which was never retrieved by law enforcement, was deleted after reportedly being passed around the school.
The identities of alleged sex assault victims are generally not published, but Coleman’s family decided to go public with her identity and accusations. According to the Coleman’s, the torrents of hatred came only days after the case went public and the case divided the community. All four children experienced intense bullying and threats. Melinda Coleman, a veterinarian, lost her job because the case had become too contentious for the local veterinary clinic that was also the subject of threats. Mrs. Coleman says her three sons – Daisy’s brothers – were threatened at school and booed on the field – often by boys they had counted as friends’ just weeks earlier. Daisy became the target of daily bullying in school and was suspended from the cheerleading squad. She was hounded on social media, called a skank and a liar, and urged to kill herself, which she tried to do multiple times.
The relentless bullying prompted the family to move from Maryville back to Albany, Missouri. Shortly after moving, the family’s house in Maryville that they were trying to sell mysteriously burned to the ground 8 months after the moved. The case caught national media attention in October 2013 when the Kansas City Star reported that prosecutor, Robert Rice, dropped the rape charges – citing insufficient evidence. The state at the time appointed a special prosecutor to re-investigate the case, which ended in Barnett pleading guilty to the misdemeanor of charge child endangerment on Jan. 9, 2014. Barnett and his attorney maintain that the sexual encounter was consensual and the fact that two independent investigations have cleared him proves that he didn’t do anything wrong that night except for leaving Coleman outside in the cold. Daisy’s friend Paige’s rapist confessed and was convicted in juvenile court, after Barnett was convicted in adult court on the lesser charge of child endangerment during the 2nd investigation.
4 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Protests Over Eviction Proceedings Spread Across US
Housing activists across the country are demanding local protections against evictions during the pandemic. Many states have faced criticism for resuming evictions as millions of people are still out of work, many who still have children at home until the school year starts. Many companies have closed their doors indefinitely, taking jobs with them across the US. While some states and counties issued eviction moratoriums, they have expired and thousands face homelessness.
In New Orleans, members of the Renters Rights Assembly surrounded a courthouse that handles evictions, chaining themselves together under a banner reading “Evictions = Death,” and blocking several landlords from entering the building. In Maryland, more than 100 protesters marched through Mayor Tom Barrett’s neighborhood demanding a moratorium on evictions and other forms of housing protections. Beyond standard legal protections, tenants in Maryland have an extra layer of protection against eviction during the pandemic: an executive order from Governor Larry Hogan prohibits eviction so long as the state remains under the state of emergency — and so long as the tenants can prove that their income has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. A second layer of protection, a pause on eviction-related hearings in Maryland courts, expired on July 25.
In Missouri, protests brought proceedings to a halt at a Kansas City eviction court. All spring KC Tenants demanded relief for Kansas City renters left vulnerable by the coronavirus pandemic. They organized — virtually and in person — to shut down the state eviction court proceedings at the Jackson County Courthouse. KC Tenants leaders pledged to keep shutting down the eviction docket until they see action to protect vulnerable residents. “If our so-called leaders continue to lead our tenants into death digitally, online, via phone or even in person, we are going to continue to shut it down until we get what we want,” Mason Andrew Kilpatrick said in front of the courthouse. In St. Louis, protestors gather outside city hall for an “anti-eviction rally” heavily criticizing the court’s decision to restart evictions. “People aren’t working. People don’t have money,” said Sarah Watkins, a rally organizer with Action STL. “People haven’t paid rent since the pandemic began in April. People will be on the street.”
In Milwaukee, a march was organized by the Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union to demand help for the many families still out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide ban on evictions expired two months ago and now, between 150 and 170 people are being evicted from their homes in Milwaukee every week. The state ($25 million), Milwaukee County ($10 million) and City of Milwaukee ($15 million) have poured millions into rental assistance programs, but advocates say vulnerable tenants need added protections. “The rental assistance is good, but it’s not enough,” said protest organizer Robert Penner. “It’s very slow, the systems are backlogged, and they’re over-saturated with cases. A lot of people lose their home before they can even get in contact” with such programs, he said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a second round of $15 million in rental assistance for people financially struggling during the COVID-19 recession Friday, one day after he declined to support a city-mandated eviction grace period for tenants to catch up on past-due payments. More than 3 million Texans have applied for unemployment benefits since the pandemic began. They have also relied on federal benefits from a congressional pandemic relief package, eviction moratoriums and rent assistance programs to remain housed.
4 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Covid 19 Cases Surge As Research On Lasting Effects Continues
Coronavirus cases continue to surge in much of the United States, where the number of confirmed infections has topped 4.6 million, with nearly 155,000 reported deaths. Florida has surpassed New York to become the state with the second-highest number of infections after California. Almost 66,000 new COVID-19 cases and more than 1,400 deaths from the virus were reported in the U.S. on July 29th, 2020. The toll marks the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 in a single day since May 15. A total of 773 of those deaths were reported by coronavirus hot-spot states Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. Florida reported a state record of 216 coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours.
In California, healthcare providers say they are again dealing with shortages in testing, which is hitting low-income and immigrant communities the hardest. In Texas, doctors at a rural hospital in Starr County have received critical care guidelines to help them decide which COVID-19 patients the hospital can treat and those whom they send home because they are more likely to die. With the virus continuing to spread out of control, researchers at Johns Hopkins University are calling for a “reset” in the U.S. coronavirus response with universal mask mandates, federal support for expanded testing and a new round of stay-at-home orders in hot spots. And in an open letter published Wednesday, the Association of American Medical Colleges writes, “If the nation does not change its course — and soon — deaths in the United States could be well into the multiple hundreds of thousands.”
Globally, coronavirus cases have now topped 16.2 million and over 650,000 have died since the first cluster of cases were reported in late December 2019 in Wuhan China. Last week, the worldwide caseload jumped by 1 million in just four days. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak the most severe global health emergency the WHO has ever faced.
As European nations scramble to prevent a second wave of infections, Britain has reinstated a 14-day quarantine for travelers coming from Spain. Globally, 11 million people have recovered. For those who survive COVID-19, there’s increasing evidence of long-term organ damage with more studies underway. A new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that of 100 middle-aged patients who recovered from COVID-19, 78 had structural damage to their hearts.
One study group in Italy found that 87% of patients hospitalized for acute COVID-19 were still struggling 2 months later. Data from the COVID Symptom Study, which uses an app into which millions of people in the United States, United Kingdom, and Sweden have entered their symptoms, suggest 10% to 15% of people—including some “mild” cases—don’t quickly recover. But with the crisis just months old, no one knows how far into the future symptoms will endure, and whether COVID-19 will prompt the onset of chronic diseases.
Distinct features of the virus, including its propensity to cause widespread inflammation and blood clotting, could play a role in the assortment of concerns now surfacing. Survivor studies are just starting to probe them. Researchers across the United Kingdom have launched a study that will follow 10,000 survivors for 1 year to start, and up to 25 years. Ultimately, researchers hope to understand the disease’s long shadow and hopefully be able to predict who’s at highest risk of lingering symptoms and learn whether treatments in the acute phase of illness can head them off.
4 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Tensions Rise Over Schools Reopening in US
In the US, Covid 19 has killed nearly 141,000 people and infected 3.8 million — both by far the highest numbers in the world. The US has more than a quarter of the deaths and infections in the entire world, yet only a little more than 4% of the population. As cases continue to spike, tensions spike over schools reopening. As schools across the country prepare to reopen for in-classroom learning, teachers are trying to figure out the safest way to resume in-person education. While some schools have given the option for online courses, others are still working on plans to return to the classroom. Lawmakers in Washington are pushing to include a provision in a new coronavirus relief package tying school funding to the reopening of classrooms. Many public health officials fear the reopening of schools could lead to a new surge in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations.
Three teachers in Arizona were sharing a classroom for two hours a day teaching online summer school classes during the pandemic. Despite following protocols — social distancing, wearing masks and gloves, and using hand sanitizer — they were all sickened by the coronavirus. Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, 61, died June 26, less than two weeks after she was hospitalized. The two surviving teachers, Jena Martinez and Angela Skillings, said that it is not yet safe for kids, or teachers, to return to the classroom. Martinez said that when they began to do their online schooling from campus, they followed plans in place meant to keep them safe from the virus.
In Arizona, teachers want Governor Doug Ducey to push the start of in-person school to at least early October after the beloved educator died of COVID-19 teaching summer school and statewide hospitalizations and deaths spiral. At stake, Arizona teachers say, is the safety of the state’s 1.1 million public school students and 20,000 teachers. Arizona has been hit hard by the virus this summer as its 7-day average of new cases has gone from 500 at the end of May to more than 3,000 in July, while hospitals’ intensive care capacity, according to most recent data from Arizona Department of Public Health, stood at a nearly 90% percent last week.
Florida has reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases for the sixth day in a row. On Monday, Florida’s largest teachers’ union sued Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to block his order requiring all schools to reopen next month despite the growing pandemic, which has killed nearly 5,200 Floridians.
Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Mike Parson is insisting students go to school despite the risk of the virus. He received backlash after giving an interview where he said “These kids have got to get back to school. They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going to have to sit in doctor’s offices. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it. We gotta move on,” he continued. “We can’t just let this thing stop us in our tracks.” Many criticized his statement calling it “stunning ignorance” saying the virus “doesn’t stop with our children. The teachers, bus drivers, janitors, food service workers, parents, grandparents and neighbors who our children see every day are susceptible to this virus, too. We need a plan that keeps all Missouri families safe.” Missouri has 47,519 confirmed cases and 1,268 deaths.
It is still unclear how frequently children transmit the virus to others. Some data suggests children are less susceptible to contracting the virus and spreading it to adults. According to the CDC, 175,374 cases have been confirmed in kids ages 17 and under, accounting for approximately 6% of all confirmed cases. A large study recently shared out of South Korea found children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus as much as adults do, while children younger than the age of 10 transmit the virus to others less often than adults.
4 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Two Indiana Men Arrested in Viral July 4th Attack
Two Indiana men were charged in an alleged assault against a Black man who was seen in a viral video being held against his will in the woods near an Indiana lake on the Fourth of July. Sean Purdy and Jerry Cox are charged with various crimes, including confinement and battery against 36-year-old Vauhxx Booker. Purdy and Cox were part of a group of five men who pinned Booker to a tree, beat him and threatened to lynch him. Booker was able to escape them after passersby intervened. A portion of the assault was captured on video by the strangers who intervened.
Monroe County Prosecutor Erika Oliphant has filed two active warrants for the two men and says Booker will face no charges. Purdy is charged with criminal confinement, battery resulting in injury and intimidation, all felonies. Cox is charged with aiding or causing criminal confinement, felony battery resulting in injury, intimidation and two misdemeanor counts of battery.
Booker, a member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, posted his account of the July 4 incident along with video to his Facebook account, writing, “I don’t want to recount this, but I was almost the victim of an attempted lynching.” He went on: “On July 4th evening others and me were victims of what I would describe as a hate crime. I was attacked by five white men with Confederate flags who literally threatened to lynch me in front of numerous witnesses.”
Booker said he and his friends were visiting a public beach on Lake Monroe outside Bloomington to join a gathering when a group of white men said they were on private property and began following them. Some of the men became belligerent, he said. When he approached “sober seeming group members” to “see if we could smooth things over a bit,” the confrontation escalated. Video posted to social media shows a group of white men holding Booker to a tree as his friends plead with them to release him. In the video, one man shouts at the camera, “You happy about this, you nappy-headed bitch? You and your five white friends?” As Booker’s friends leave, one of the men follows, shouting, “Those Black boys want to start it all.”
Booker says during the attack there were shouts of “get a noose” and “white power,” although those are not heard on the video. Booker believes he’s alive because strangers stopped to help and film the altercation. “The reason why I’m here today is simply because these folks, they didn’t just stop and watch and film my execution,” Booker said in an interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly. “They became involved. They became active participants. They put themselves in danger when they stepped forward for me.”
Last week, the FBI confirmed it was investigating the incident as a potential hate crime, and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb called it “beyond disturbing.” “The brief video clip that I viewed with my own two eyes was beyond disturbing and that’s why it’s very important that the DNR … complete their investigation sooner rather than later.” Bloomington
Mayor Greg Hamilton, who said he has known Booker personally for at least five years, said his city had work to do. “I don’t know what would have happened in the woods around Lake Monroe if there hadn’t been other individuals there and if there hadn’t been a video taken,” Hamilton told Yahoo News. “It’s incredibly important that we as a country, and then me and my community, that we make clear that has no place in our community, and we want to root it out.”
5 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Covid 19 Surges in 36 States
The World Health Organization is warning “the worst is yet to come” as countries across the globe are experiencing new spikes, with some putting the brakes on reopening. The pandemic is the worst in the Americas, where the number of COVID-19 deaths are projected to nearly triple to 627,000 by October 1. Coronavirus cases have now surpassed 11 million worldwide, with over a half-million deaths. Cases continue to surge across much of the United States, where confirmed cases have now topped 2.8 million, with over 128,000 reported deaths — that’s one-quarter of the world’s cases and deaths, though the U.S. has just over 4% of the global population.
Spikes are being reported in 36 states. Only two states — Connecticut and Rhode Island — saw a decline in new cases compared to the previous week. The United States has set another grim coronavirus record, confirming nearly 52,000 cases of COVID-19 in just 24 hours. Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas all reported single-day record levels of the disease with hospitals in some regions already overwhelmed with patients.
At least a dozen states have “paused” their reopening. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles, to close. The governors of Florida and Texas have ordered bars to close, among other restrictions, in an attempt to curb the surge in cases. A major hospital system in Houston reportedly stopped disclosing COVID-19 data after its ICU capacity hit 100%, and following conversations with Governor Greg Abbott in which he expressed concern over negative headlines. Both governors are refusing to impose statewide stay-at-home orders and mandate the wearing of face masks.
More states around the country are imposing new measures and rolling back their reopening as coronavirus cases continue to surge. The governors of Oregon and Kansas are mandating face masks for residents. Jacksonville, Florida, also said it will make face coverings mandatory. Seven cities in Texas say they will impose orders mandating face masks. Meanwhile, hospitals in Texas report a dire situation as cases surge.
Meanwhile, beaches in Los Angeles, as well as several Florida counties, were closed for Fourth of July weekend. Despite skyrocketing cases, crowds still packed many of the open beaches in coastal cities for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, sparking further fears of new spikes.
Officials in Texas, Florida and Arizona say the states’ early reopenings helped fuel the explosion in cases. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom reimposed coronavirus restrictions, shutting down bars and indoor dining in 19 counties that are home to more than 70% of California’s population. In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey ordered bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks closed for at least 30 days amid an exponential rise in new infections. New York City has also halted plans to reopen indoor dining at restaurants. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have ordered travelers from 16 states with high infection rates to self-quarantine upon their arrival.