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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Many Cities Announce Reforms As BLM Protests Continue

Many Cities Announce Reforms As BLM Protests Continue

 

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As historic protests continue to sweep the country two weeks after the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council announced it would move to disband the city’s police department. Nine members of the council — a veto-proof majority — made the vow during a community rally. The vow to disband the police came just days after the Minneapolis City Council voted to ban chokeholds and neck restraints. Congress is slated to introduce reforms that include a chokehold ban, a limit on qualified immunity for officers and a restriction on military weapons. While news reporting may be bias, social media videos of police brutality toward peaceful protestors has sparked many local governments to take action as the protests continue. Although many of these reforms will be subjected to a long debate among local officials, some activists say it is a good start.
In Louisville, KY, the City Council unanimously passed “Breonna’s Law” Thursday night that banned the use of “no-knock” warrants. The legislation was named after Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, who was killed in her home while in bed in March by Louisville police officers while executing a no-knock warrant. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who suspended the use of no-knock warrants last month, said he will sign the bill. “This is one of many critical steps on police reform that we’ve taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate and equitable community.” The officers involved in Taylor’s death are under investigation and have been placed on administrative leave.
New York’s state legislature voted to repeal parts of a provision that shielded police disciplinary records from the public. The repeal of 50-A means that police officers across the state must disclose personnel records used to evaluate performance. Criminal justice advocates have been pushing for the repeal for years. The legislation also bans officers from using chokeholds, prohibits false race-based 911 calls and appoints the state attorney general to be an independent prosecutor in any case where an officer shoots an unarmed person. The state Senate approved the bill and the state Assembly approved it with later in the day. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced a sweeping set of reforms that would shift funding from the NYPD to other sectors of the city’s budget. De Blasio said he will work with the city council to hammer out the details over the next three weeks, but told reporters Monday that the amount would be “something substantial.”
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced she will sign the emergency legislation passed by the City Council that bans the police from using neck restraints on suspects. The bill also bans the use of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse protesters. The Council also passed a bill that requires the mayor to release police body camera video from any police-involved death or serious use of force within three days of the incident. The family members of the person involved in the incident will be the first to see the video, according to the bill’s language.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced short- and long-term changes to the city’s police force to address the concerns about police from residents. She said she will review the Seattle Police Department’s budget with a “special focus on listening community voices throughout the process.” Durkan has also called for an independent prosecutor at the state level to investigate and prosecute any police officers as well as updating the department’s procedures for mass protests.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that the state will ban police departments from using chokeholds, carotid artery neck restraints or similar tactics. Grewal said their use has led to several incidents where a suspect suffered asphyxiation. The order provides an exemption “in the very limited situations when deadly force is necessary to address an imminent threat to life.”

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Covid 19 Cases Continue Rising Since Memorial Day

Covid 19 Cases Continue Rising Since Memorial Day

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There are almost 8,000,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, with over 420,000 deaths. As many countries open up again, the World Health Organization warned the situation is getting worse globally. Nearly 75% of recent cases came from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia, said the WHO. The WHO also said that the spread of COVID-19 by asymptomatic people appears to be rare.
Latin America remains the epicenter of the pandemic now with the highest tolls reported in Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru — which together account for over 1 million confirmed cases. The WHO said Central and South America have likely not reached peak transmission yet. Cuba remains announced they are closing in on the tail end of the pandemic, where infections have been on the decline for two months.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise in U.S. states that were among the first and most aggressive to reopen, leading some local officials to reconsider reopening plans. In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown announced a 7-day statewide pause on further reopening as health officials study the data and try to contain budding outbreaks. In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey tried to reassure people that the rise in confirmed cases was expected and that the state’s hospitals have the capacity to handle a further surge.
Recent data shows 21 states have seen an increase in their average daily new Covid 19 cases this week than in the previous week. Alabama, Oregon and South Carolina are among the states with the biggest increases. Alabama saw a 92 percent change in its seven-day average, while Oregon’s seven-day average was up 83.8 percent and South Carolina’s was up 60.3 percent. Hospitalizations have risen as well. For example, Arkansas has seen a 120.7 percent increase in hospitalizations, from 92 cases to 203, since Memorial Day.
Health officials warn that mass gatherings of any type could worsen the spread of the virus, as the 2020 election heats up and nationwide protests against racism and police brutality stretch into their third week across the globe. CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.
In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Top Editors Resign Amid Backlash Over Bias Reporting of Protests

Top Editors Resign Amid Backlash Over Bias Reporting of Protests

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The New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet has resigned following outrage from staff and readers over the publication of an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton about the protests called “Send in the Troops.” In a statement, The Times said that James Bennet had resigned and that Katie Kingsbury would serve as the acting editorial page editor through the November election. The deputy editorial page editor, Jim Dao, is being reassigned to the newsroom and is stepping off the masthead.

In the opinion piece, Sen. Tom Cotton, advocated for deploying the military for riots. The senator described looting in New York City as “carnivals for the thrill-seeking rich as well as other criminal elements,” and wrote that leftist ntifa movement had infiltrated protest marches despite an earlier Times article that reported Antifa involvement in the protests as misinformation.  The column immediately drew backlash, with dozens of Times journalists voicing their opposition, tweeting the headline, caption and a form of the phrase “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.”

Both Sulzberger and Bennet first defended the decision to run the column but the Times reversed itself and said the column had not met editorial standards. The Times reported that Bennet said in a meeting with staff members that he had not read the essay before it was published. And the paper added an editor’s note to the top of the original column.  “We’ve examined the piece and the process leading up to its publication,” said Eileen Murphy, a Times spokeswoman. “This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an op-ed that did not meet our standards. As a result, we’re planning to examine both short-term and long-term changes, to include expanding our fact-checking operation and reducing the number of op-eds we publish.”

Meanwhile, Stan Wischnowski,  the top editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, has also resigned days after the paper published a piece titled “Buildings Matter, Too.”  The newsroom vet resigned after backlash from staff over that headline on a story that said “there could be a gaping hole in the heart of Philadelphia” amid protests over the killing of George Floyd.

Dozens of journalists signed an open letter to their editors explaining their decision to call out “sick and tired,” CNN reported. “They said they have spent ‘months and years’ trying to gain the public’s trust only to have it “eroded in an instant by careless, unempathetic decisions.”  The paper issued an apology the next day.  But it wasn’t just the article that played a role in Wischnowski’s resignation.  Wischnowski and other editors had scheduled a staffwide Zoom meeting to discuss race at The Inquirer and the pressures in particular faced by journalists of color before the article was published.

The Zoom session started off with Wischnowski telling staffers about the strides made in diversifying its 213-member newsroom but the session turned intense and emotional.  Some journalists could be seen in tears in their Zoom frames. Critics, black and white, denounced the pace of change at the paper, sharply criticizing both coverage and the racial and gender mix of the staff. Several journalists pointed out that the newspaper could muster only one male African American reporter to cover the protests and police response convulsing a city that is majority minority.  Hours after the wrenching Zoom session, about 50 journalists of color signed an open letter calling for faster changes at the paper. The following day, most of the minority staff took the day off from work in protest.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on George Floyd Protests

George Floyd Protests

 

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Protests erupted in Minneapolis, Minnesota after video footage of the death of George Floyd, 46, went viral. Floyd died after being arrested by police outside a shop on May 25th on a report he used a fake $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes from Cup Foods, a grocery store. The video shows now fired police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck while he was laying on his stomach in the street with his hands cuffed behind his back. Floyd can be heard repeatedly saying “Please, I can’t breathe, please, please officer don’t kill me” for the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that Officer Chauvin held him pinned to the ground with his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck.
In the video of the incident, a bystander tells the police: “You got him down. Let him breathe.” After Floyd says, “I’m about to die,” Chauvin tells Floyd to relax. The police ask Floyd: “What do you want?” Floyd repeats: “I can’t breathe.” Floyd continues: “Please, the knee in my neck, I can’t breathe.” The policemen taunt Floyd to “get up and get in the car,” to which Floyd replies: “I will… I can’t move.” Floyd also cries out: “Mama!” He then says “My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts,” and requests water. The police do not audibly respond to Floyd. Floyd begs: “Don’t kill me.” A bystander points out that Floyd is bleeding from the nose. Another bystander tells the police that Floyd is “not even resisting arrest right now.”
The day after Mr. Floyd’s death, the Police Department fired all four of the officers involved and the Hennepin County attorney, Mike Freeman, announced murder and manslaughter charges against Derek Chauvin, the officer who can be seen most clearly in witness videos pinning Mr. Floyd to the ground. Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, according to the criminal complaint against him. Video show that Chauvin did not remove his knee even after Mr. Floyd lost consciousness and for a full minute after paramedics arrived at the scene. Floyd’s last words have been compared to those of Eric Garner who uttered the words “I can’t breathe” eight times before he died while being placed in a chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo in July 2014.
Derek Chauvin had 18 complaints over his 19 year career as a police officer with 2 resulting in disciplinary actions. Chauvin has been the subject of several internal complaints as well. George Floyd and fired police officer Derek Chauvin knew each other before the fatal encounter. Chauvin worked outside security at a bar for 17 years while Floyd worked security inside the bar. Floyd grew up in Houston Texas and 13 years ago in 2007 he was charged with armed robbery in a home invasion in Houston In 2009 he was sentenced to five years in prison as part of a plea deal, according to court documents. In 2014 he moved to Minneapolis looking for work and a new start. Videos he posted on social media while under stay at home orders show him denouncing violence and encouraging his community to find another way.
While the protests started in Minnesota, they quickly spread across the globe. Demonstrators gathered in London, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Syria, Brazil, Ireland, Poland, Mexico, Canada and New Zealand, among other places, to protest against police brutality in solidarity with the US crowds. Demonstrators have gathered in the thousands in many major cities worldwide. Many protestors remain peaceful but their message has been marred by the violence, looting and vandalism taking place in cities across the US.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on 422 Asymptomatic Covid Cases Confirmed At Missouri Meat Packing Plant

422 Asymptomatic Covid Cases Confirmed At Missouri Meat Packing Plant

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In St. Joseph Missouri, 422 workers at a Triumph Foods pork plant have tested positive for the coronavirus and all of them were asymptomatic, according to state health officials.    After nearly three dozen workers at the plant became infected last month, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services tested all asymptomatic workers at the plant from April 27 to May 1. The testing found that 422 of 2,367 workers tested positive despite showing no symptoms.

Those workers have been advised to self-isolate for 10 days before returning to work, according to federal health guidelines.  The plant remains open, along with a mobile testing site operated by Northwest Health Services.  The company just confirmed that one employee, a man in his 40s with underlying health issues has died of Covid 19.  The company said he was one of the first workers to be tested and had not returned to work since April 21.

“While individuals tested during this initiative did not show COVID-19 symptoms, lab results received thus far indicate that around 17% tested positive for the virus. Of all the positive test results received thus far, over 90% have been collected from asymptomatic people,” explained Mark Campbell, CEO of Triumph Foods.  Employees with positive results were notified and asked to self-isolate.  The state health department began tracing measures and have confirmed that nearly 200 people were infected with Covid 19 by some of the asymptomatic Triumph workers.  Meanwhile, the state continues to work to contact trace the affected employees and now those they have infected as well.

Missouri Governor Parsons issued a state wide stay at home order on April 6th yet the asymptomatic employees still infected almost 200 people in the counties they live in.  Kansas City and Wyandotte County, where the new cases were confirmed, have been under stay at home orders issued by Mayor Lucas since March 24.  Despite those orders being issued first and ending later than the state wide order, they still had a spike in cases due to the outbreak at Triumph Foods.

Outbreaks have become common at other meat plants across the U.S., infecting thousands of workers, leading to the closure of some plants and prompting meat shortages. Several big grocery chains this week were restricting customer purchases of meat, and Wendy’s was unable to serve hamburgers at some locations due to shortages.  Other packing plants are beginning to test all employees like Triumph Foods, which industry leaders say is critical to assure employees that it’s safe to go back to work and to grow data sets to show how the virus works.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up after two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.  Because the virus is still circulating through the community, it’s important to maintain social distancing, mask wearing and hand-washing, even after stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Dr. Aamina Akhtar, Mercy Hospital South chief medical officer and an infectious disease specialist said “The next two to three weeks will be telling, and will really give us an idea whether human actions will lead to an increased number of cases.  Our actions today will affect the community around us. It’s a big social responsibility and I hope we are ready.”

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on FDA Issues EUA of Remdesivir To Treat Severe Covid 19 Cases

FDA Issues EUA of Remdesivir To Treat Severe Covid 19 Cases

 

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the emergency use authorization for the antiviral drug remdesivir, after preliminary results from a federal trial showed the drug could speed recovery in patients infected with the coronavirus. The finding, which has not yet been peer reviewed, came after another study found no benefit for the drug in severely ill patients in China. The new results suggest a moderate improvement in the death rate of patients taking remdesivir, whose hospital stays were shortened, on average, from 15 days to 11.

The issuance of an EUA is different than FDA approval. In determining whether to issue an EUA, the FDA evaluates the available evidence and carefully balances any known or potential risks of any unproven products with any known or potential benefits of making them available during the emergency.  Based on evaluation of the emergency use authorization criteria and the scientific evidence available, it was determined that it is reasonable to believe that remdesivir may be effective in treating COVID-19, and that, given there are no adequate, approved, or available alternative treatments, the known and potential benefits to treat this serious or life-threatening virus currently outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug’s use.

The emergency use authorization (EUA) allows for remdesivir to be distributed in the U.S. and administered intravenously by health care providers, as appropriate, to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. Severe disease is defined as patients with low blood oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support such as a mechanical ventilator.

The EUA requires that fact sheets that provide important information about using remdesivir in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including dosing instructions, potential side effects and drug interactions.  The EUA is temporary and will be effective until the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of drugs and biologics for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 is terminated.  It may be revised or revoked if it is determined the EUA no longer meets the statutory criteria for issuance.

Possible side effects of remdesivir include increased levels of liver enzymes, which may be a sign of inflammation or damage to cells in the liver; and infusion-related reactions, which may include low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and shivering.

The top coronavirus task force scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci welcomed news of the first potential treatment for COVID-19.  The U.S. government will coordinate the donation and distribution of remdesivir to hospitals in cities most heavily impacted by COVID-19. Given the severity of illness of patients appropriate for remdesivir treatment and the limited availability of drug supply, hospitals with intensive care units and other hospitals that the government deems most in need will receive priority in the distribution of remdesivir.

 

 

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on CA Preliminary Antibody Testing Results Suggest Higher Number of Infected

CA Preliminary Antibody Testing Results Suggest Higher Number of Infected

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Two research teams in California started the first large scale community testing for Covid 19 antibodies The testing of 3,300 people in Santa Clara County found that 2.5 to 4.2% of those tested were positive for antibodies — a number suggesting a far higher past infection rate than the official count. Based on the initial data, researchers estimate that the range of people who may have had the virus to be between 48,000 and 81,000 in the county of 2 million — as opposed to the approximately 1,000 in the county’s official tally at the time the samples were taken.
While the initial findings suggest that the number of those infected is much higher, it also means the fatality rate is lower than originally thought. As more tests are done, we’ll have a better idea of how many were infected and what the fatality rate is. The results also suggest more research and analysis is needed to know how many people who tested positive for antibodies never knew they had the virus because they had no symptoms.
Antibody testing has been touted by public health experts and governors in many states that have extended stay at home orders, as a tool to help determine when Americans can get back to normal life. The tests can determine not just whether someone has recovered but whether a person has been exposed to the virus in the past.
While there is no guarantee of total, long-term immunity even if a person has antibodies, doctors hope that those who do have them may have some degree of immunity protection. Experts hope that could be a tool to help determine who could potentially more safely re-enter the workforce — and just as importantly — when. Public health experts are calling for more antibody tests and, until the U.S. has more widespread testing and contact tracing, say they still believe social distancing is a cornerstone to controlling the pandemic.
States across the US have extended stay at home orders and many have said they can safely reopen once they have the capability to do widespread antibody testing. Scientists say the tests will be critical in the weeks and months ahead, when they may be used for disease surveillance, therapeutics, return-to-work screenings, and more. But the tests must be deployed appropriately, they added, and with an acknowledgment of unanswered questions.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on New York Hospitalizations Declining

New York Hospitalizations Declining

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While the US has become the global epicenter for the Covid-19 pandemic, New York State is the US’s epicenter, far leading in confirmed cases and deaths.  Over 200,000 of the confirmed cases in the US are in New York and over 10,000 people in the state have died.  Almost 110,000 of those cases are concentrated in New York City.  About 25% of New York State’s COVID19 deaths are residents of nursing homes and adult care facilities. There are about 96,000 residents at 613 licensed nursing homes in New York State. More than 5,500 residents at 338 nursing homes have tested positive for the coronavirus.

For the first time since the coronavirus crisis struck New York, there were fewer admissions to the intensive care unit on Thursday, April 9th than the day before. It’s one of a number of encouraging signs that the worst may have passed.  The governor said that he is “cautiously optimistic” that we are slowing the infection rate. He cited a dramatic decline in hospitalizations and even a negative statistic for the first time in the ICU.

Governor Cuomo said that social distancing policies and compliance by the public greatly flattened the curve after the death toll stabilized but he warned the situation is still dire and New Yorkers would need to maintain strict measures to continue the trend.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level, and there’s tremendous stress on the healthcare system. And to say to this healthcare system — which is at maximum capacity today, right? This is a hospital system where we have our foot to the floor and the engine is at red line and you can’t go any faster. And by the way, you can’t stay at red line for any period of time, because the system will blow.”

Cuomo said schools and nonessential businesses will now remain closed and he announced fines for violating social distancing rules would increase from a maximum of $500 to $1,000. As of today, New York State has nearly 5,000 recorded deaths from COVID-19, with over 131,000 confirmed cases and over 16,000 hospitalizations.  While the total number of statewide cases of Covid 19 hospitalizations is plateauing, confirmed cases are rising in some areas as they fall in others.

Cuomo announced that the state would issue a number of additional guidelines, including requiring that cloth masks be provided, cost-free to essential workers, by businesses, and the expansion of who is eligible to receive an antibody test.  Cuomo again said testing would be the key to restarting the economy.  It’s been almost a month since stores around the state have been shut, its employees home and out of work, and trying to apply for unemployment benefits. This week 347,000 New Yorkers filed for unemployment, bringing the number of jobless claims since March 14 to over 800,000.

When asked when he thought things would return to normal for the hard hit state, Cuomo said “As far as when things could go back to normal, well, when will we return to normal? I don’t think we return to normal. I don’t think we return to yesterday, where we were. I think if we are smart, we achieve a new normal.”

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Stay At Home Orders in the US

Stay At Home Orders in the US

 

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Millions of U.S. residents are now under some sort of stay-at-home order in response to the Covid 19 pandemic.  There are now over 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. — more than one-quarter of the reported total cases worldwide, though the actual numbers both in the U.S. and around the world are likely much higher due to limited testing.  Governors that were originally against stay-at-home orders finally succumbed last week after COVID-19 cases in their states increased rapidly.

There are still a few states that have not issued stay at home orders.  Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming have yet to issue any state-wide orders but they have a number of local directives suggesting residents stay indoors or have stay at home orders in place only in their harder hit counties.

For the other 95% of Americans, the states they call home slowly joined the majority to issue stay at home orders for all non-essential activities.  Just as governors issued stay-at-home orders on a rolling, piecemeal basis, they have done the same on the backend, with each governor setting his or her own time frame for lifting the order. Consequently, we have end dates spanning two months, from April 15 to June 10.  More than half of the states have already extended the end date of their original order and the new end date could be pushed back again as the pandemic unfolds.

Three Pacific coast states — California, Oregon and Washington — have formed an alliance called the “Western States Pact” that will reopen at the same time. They announced that they “have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business.”  California was the first to issue its order but within 3 days, Oregon and Washington followed suit.  All three states orders were issued with no set end date so their orders stay in place until further notice.

On the east coast, seven states — Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — have formed the “Multi-State Council” that will also reopen at the same time. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the council “will come up with a framework based on science and data to gradually ease the stay at home restrictions and get our economy back up and running.”  Many of these states with an end date on their original order issued extensions with new dates in May.

Two states have stay-at-home orders that are set to expire soon; Idaho (April 15) and Kansas (April 19). Both Idaho Governor Brad Little and Kansas Governor Laura Kelly have indicated that they will extend the orders.  Eight states’ orders are due to expire between April 20 and April 26. Indiana, Mississippi, Alaska, District of Columbia, Missouri, Montana, Wisconsin and Colorado are fast approaching their end dates.  Four governors — half of this group — have already issued one extension and several have stated they are planning another.

For the last week of April, 19 states are due to lift their stay-at-home mandates.  South Carolina, New York, North Carolina, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas have end dates at the end of April but again, more than half of the governors in this group have already extended the end dates for their orders once.

Nine states have stay-at-home orders that end May 4 or later. Notably, seven of them have already bumped back their end dates once, from April to May. If the trend continues, we can expect more states to be extending their mandates into May.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Covid-19 Spread Causes More Travel Restrictions

Covid-19 Spread Causes More Travel Restrictions

 

 

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union”, offered his prognosis as the federal government weighs rolling back guidelines on social distancing in areas that have not been as hard-hit by the outbreak at the conclusion of the nationwide 15-day effort to slow the spread of the virus.  The U.S. government’s foremost infection disease expert says the United States could experience more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections from the coronavirus pandemic.

The US has become the epicenter with about 125,000 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and over 2,100 dead as of March 29, 2020.  Most people who contract COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems. Hospitals in the most afflicted areas are straining to handle patients and some are short of critical supplies.

The US president has suggested that a target date for reopening the U.S economy, which has been battered by the coronavirus outbreak, is April 12, Easter. But public health officials warn that lifting restrictions too soon could lead to more deaths and further damage the economy.  To limit the spread of the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued social distancing guidelines and called for gatherings of more than 10 people to be canceled, while governors have ordered residents in their states to remain in their homes and ordered nonessential businesses to close.

The CDC has issued a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  “Due to extensive community transmission of COVID -19 in the area, CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately,” the CDC said in a statement. “This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.”  The CDC also noted that the governors of the three states would “have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.”

With more than 124,000 cases and 2,046 deaths nationwide, the three states make up more than half of the cases and nearly half of the deaths.  New York State has over 55,000 confirmed cases and over 2,000 deaths.  New Jersey has over 11,000 confirmed cases and 140 deaths.  Connecticut has over 1,200 confirmed cases and 33 deaths.  Most of the Connecticut cases are in Fairfield County where many residents commute into New York City for work.

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