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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Covid 19 Prediction Warns It Hasn’t Gone Away

Covid 19 Prediction Warns It Hasn’t Gone Away

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With more than 2.06 million cases, America has the world’s largest COVID-19 confirmed cases to date. It’s also first when it comes to the total number of deaths, with more than 117,000 people having died of COVID-19 complications. Nearly 7.5 million people have had confirmed infections worldwide and over 420,000 people died.  As US states are opening up their economies, Harvard Global Health Institute director Dr. Ashish Jha predicts that the US will cross 200,000 deaths sometime in September.  Jha explained his estimates only take into account the next few months, but COVID-19 will obviously not disappear after that.

“The pandemic won’t be over in September so I’m really worried about where we’re going to be in the weeks and months ahead.  We’re really the only major country in the world that opened back up without really getting our cases as down low as we really needed to,” Jha noted, adding that the US is the only advanced country in the world not to have a proper contact tracing system setup. People should continue to maintain social distancing and wear masks, Jha advised. They should also “put pressure” on the government to advance testing and contact tracing programs.

“But even if we assume that it’s going to be flat all summer, that nothing is going to get worse, we’re going to stay flat all summer — even if we pick that low number, 800 a day — that’s 25,000 a month,” Jha pointed out. “In three and a half months, we’re going to add another 87- 88,000 people, and we will hit 200,000 sometime in September.”  Jha said anyone who still thinks the summer will bring a dramatic decrease in cases is “engaging in wishful thinking.” Coronavirus cases and associated hospitalizations may be falling in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, he said, but cases are surging in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas. The Harvard professor of public health said he is not trying to scare people into staying home by raising concerns about the number of deaths he’s predicting.

In Brazil, the coronavirus death toll has topped 43,000 with the total number of confirmed cases at over 850,000. It now has the second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths and cases in the world behind the United States.  According to the health ministry, the COVID-19 mortality rate in Brazil is five% and nearly 388,500 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Brazil.

China reported its highest number of daily infections in months, raising concern over a second wave of the outbreak. In Beijing, authorities have reimposed lockdown measures after a new cluster of cases emerged last week.  The cluster, the capital’s first locally transmitted cases in nearly two months, raised mainland China’s total number to 83,132. Almost 4,700 people have died in China, where the pandemic originated in December.

The World Health Organization says the pandemic is accelerating in Africa, with the most affected countries being South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan.  In Yemen, medical authorities warn deaths linked to the pandemic could exceed war-related fatalities in the port city of Aden.  The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Learn how COVID-19 spreads and practice these actions to help prevent the spread of this illness.

Covid 19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so the recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the world’s economy reopens are:  Keep 6 feet of social distance between yourself and others; wear a mask or cloth covering when around others-especially when in situations where you can’t maintain the 6 feet of social distancing; clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; avoid close contact with people who are sick; disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly and stay home if you are feeling any symptoms.

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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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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Third Arrest In Ahmaud Arbery Shooting

Third Arrest In Ahmaud Arbery Shooting

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Authorities in Georgia have arrested a third man in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old man who was chased down and shot to death by two men in February. The man, William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, was arrested on charges of felony murder and attempted false imprisonment. He filmed the video showing Arbery jogging down a narrow road in Brunswick, Georgia, in broad daylight, before being ambushed. Retired police officer Gregory McMichael and his son Travis were both arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault earlier this month.
The video Bryan recorded on his cellphone shows Arbery trying to run around the McMichaels’ truck before turning sharply toward Travis McMichael and tussling over his shotgun. Arbery was shot three times and collapsed in the street. The 36-second video was not released until more than 10 weeks after the killing and spurred calls for the McMichaels’ arrests. It does not show what led up to the final moments of Arbery’s life.
Gregory McMichael — a former prosecutorial investigator, ex-Glynn County police officer and Travis’ father — told police that he and his son chased Arbery after seeing him at a neighbor’s under-construction home. They said he fit the description of a suspect in a rash of break-ins, according to an incident report. Surveillance footage from inside the under construction home show Arbery entered the home and was inside for approximately 3 minutes looking around but he did not take anything before leaving to continue his jog.
Bryan is accused of using his vehicle on multiple occasions between about 1 p.m. and 1:20 p.m. that day to “attempt to confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority,” the warrant states. Investigators believe this “underlying felony helped cause the death of Ahmaud Arbery,” Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds said, referring to the charge of attempted false imprisonment. Bryan’s lawyer Kevin Gough, had said his client committed no crime, was no vigilante and would be the state’s “star witness.” He said his client has no relationship with the McMichaels. Bryan’s name appears in the police report filed the day of the shooting. Gregory McMichael told police that after he and his son Travis attempted and failed to stop Arbery, “Roddy” tried to intercept him, according to the report.
Gough told new outlets last week that Bryan was working in his yard when he saw a person he did not know being chased by a vehicle he recognized from the neighborhood. During an interview, Bryan said he prays for the Arbery family every night and said of the video, “I hope that it, in the end, brings justice to the family and peace to the family.”
The attorneys representing members of the Arbery family said they were relieved. “We called for his arrest from the very beginning of this process,” the family’s attorneys S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump, and L. Chris Stewart, said. “His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation, it was clear to the GBI as well. I can say Wanda Cooper and Marcus Arbery were very, very relieved to see this arrest finally take place. Not only have we been waiting since the McMichaels were arrested, they have been waiting for three months for all three of these men to be brought into custody,” Merritt said.
Bryan was booked into the Glynn County Jail, where the McMichaels are being held on charges of murder and aggravated assault. The father and son’s legal teams have said the full details of the case haven’t made it into the public arena, and they’ve promised the truth will exonerate their clients.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Experts Warn of Spikes In Covid 19 Cases 2 to 3 Weeks From Reopening

Experts Warn of Spikes In Covid 19 Cases 2 to 3 Weeks From Reopening

 

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In just a few months, Covid 19 has spread across the globe and left in its wake a trail of social paralysis, economic ruin and even death.  While states across the US issued stay at home orders to slow their healthcare systems from being overrun, other states like New York, weren’t so lucky.  As some U.S. states start to lift pandemic-related restrictions on businesses and public spaces, there is a fear that infections will resurge in those places — and that if that happens, the virus won’t stay put.

Crystal Watson of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said “I do believe we are going to see additional surges of cases from this epidemic that will not be contained within a state.  Neighboring states and perhaps states across the country and countries across the world are going to have cases imported from those outbreaks.”  Experts say the problem is that diagnostic testing remains so limited that a second surge of cases could silently build. The nationwide goal of conducting 2 million tests a week is below what most experts say is needed to adequately track the virus and that plan won’t be in place until at least the end of May.

No one knows how quickly and how expansively the spread of the virus will pick up as states roll back restrictions, and governors are generally outlining gradual changes.  The incubation period of 2 to 14 days coupled with the turn-around time of test results in some areas taking a few days, means we just have to wait and see if reopened states will experience a surge in cases.  More than half the states have relaxed restrictions but experts say it will be at least two to three weeks before we see an increase in the number of infections because it takes time for individuals to infect others and for them to display symptoms.

Public health experts warned of the possibility of spikes before states made the decision to reopen. Even as their predictions prove true in some states, others are still moving forward with plans to reopen. Proponents of relaxing social distancing restrictions also point out that spikes in positive cases are to be expected with expanded testing.

In Georgia, gyms, salons, and restaurants are operating with limits. In Colorado, retail stores can have curbside pickup and elective surgeries are back on. And starting tomorrow, malls, theaters, and restaurants in Texas can open with 25% occupancy. These and other states have plans for further easing of distancing policies as long as case counts don’t spike.  If these states do see spikes they may have to roll back the restrictions as needed.

 

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Protests Erupt Again As Michigan Governor Extends Orders to May 28

Protests Erupt Again As Michigan Governor Extends Orders to May 28

 

 

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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended a state of emergency declaration until May 28, over the objections of some state lawmakers.  Whitmer signed a series of executive orders hours before the state of emergency was set to expire on April 30 and extended it to May 28, citing the growing number of cases and deaths in the state from the disease. The governor said that in some counties in western and northern Michigan, cases are doubling every six days or faster.

When the order was extended, the state had 41,379 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,789 deaths, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Wayne County, Michigan, is the fourth-highest county of deaths in the nation with 1,782 coronavirus-related fatalities, according to the data.

Whitmer has faced fierce backlash for her strict stay-at-home mandate.  She extended the order earlier this month until May 15 but eased some restrictions on public activities as the state’s coronavirus cases stabilize.  Whitmer said that while she understands that people are anxious to get back to work and are restless, Thursday’s protests were “disturbing. … Swastikas and the confederate flag, nooses and automatic rifles do not represent who we are as Michiganders.  There is nothing that I want more than to just flip the switch and return to normal, but that’s not how it’s going to work, unfortunately. The only way we can get through this and take the next steps forward is if we all continue to do our part.”

Hundreds of people protested outside the Michigan Capitol building in Lansing-defying social distancing rules, many of them armed with assault rifles and wearing tactical gear.  The crowd packed into the Capitol rotunda and tried to storm onto the floor of the legislative chamber.  Protesters held signs, waved American flags and even carried firearms, while some chanted “Let us in!” and “This is the people’s house, you cannot lock us out.” Others tried to get onto the House floor but were blocked by state police and sergeants-at-arms.

The House and Senate had voted to approve legislation that would allow them to sue Whitmer over her emergency declarations as armed protesters stormed the state capitol.  They also voted on another bill that would extend some of her emergency measures, but crucially not the stay-at-home order. Their bill would also allow restaurants, bars and gyms to reopen. Whitmer vowed to veto the bill.  Amid the chaos Democrat Senator Sylvia Santana was pictured wearing a bulletproof vest and surgical mask while at her desk, as a colleague tweeted an image of rifle-wielding men on a balcony above her.

The governor is claiming authority to rule by executive order under two pieces of legislation – the 1976 Emergency Management Act and a similar 1945 law that allows a governor to declare a state of emergency and assume emergency powers.  Arguments center around the fact that the 1976 law says governors must go to the Legislature if they want to extend the state of emergency past 28 days. The 1945 act says governors decide when the emergency is over.

Whitmer’s extended order bans gyms, theaters, bars and casinos from opening, and limits restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders only.  Restaurants can allow up to five people inside at a time to pick up orders, but only if they follow social distancing guidelines by staying six feet apart.  The restrictions do not apply to office buildings, grocery stores, markets, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores, medical equipment/supplies providers, health care facilities, residential care facilities, juvenile justice facilities, warehouse and distribution centers, or industrial and manufacturing sites.

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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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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Michigan Protest of Stay At Home Orders

Michigan Protest of Stay At Home Orders

 

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Several thousand cars flooded the streets around the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. to protest the governor’s extended stay-at-home order.  Operation Gridlock, as the protest was named, was conceived as a drive-in protest that would block Lansing streets. Organizers said they support some coronavirus restrictions around social distancing, but believed Whitmer has gone too far. As such, they say they planned a protest that would still maintain social distancing guidelines — without contributing to the spread of infection.

At least 200 people broke from the instructions of organizers, getting out of their vehicles to congregate around the steps of the Capitol building, flouting social-distancing guidelines to remain 6 feet apart, and not wearing masks.  Many mask-less protesters, some of whom flew Confederate flags and open-carried AR-15 and AK-47 variants, gathered to demand an end to outbreak-reduction efforts and a premature return to normalcy.

The state of Michigan has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases, 32,000 and over 2,400 deaths.  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has faced a steady drumbeat of criticism for issuing one of the most stringent stay-at-home orders.  Among other things, it bars landscapers from working and shutters many greenhouses and nurseries.  She extended her original order last week to now end April 30th.  The new version of the order banned travel between homes.   As of Monday, more than a quarter of the state’s workforce had filed for unemployment benefits.  Southeast Michigan and Detroit remain a hot spot — claiming the lion’s share of COVID-19 cases and deaths.  Detroit has more than 7,700 positive cases.

Over the past 10 days, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped 6.7%, to 3,374. During the same period, the number of patients on a ventilator decreased from 1,441 to 1,102, a 24% decline, according to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical officer, attributed the progress to the governor’s March 24 stay-at-home order that was previously extended to April 13.

Whitmer is expected to extend her stay-at-home order, which expires at the end of the month, until there is a larger testing capacity and a significant decline in the number of new cases and deaths.  Although the numbers are declining, dozens of people are still dying each day.  Some counties that have been hard hit are seeing a decline in new cases but the number of deaths continue to rise.

 

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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on Kenny Rogers Passes Away

Kenny Rogers Passes Away

 

 

 

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Kenny Rogers, whose legendary music career spanned six decades, has died at the age of 81.  The artist’s family announced his passing, saying he died from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by family.  “Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world,” read a statement posted by his publicist Keith Hagan.  Rogers’ family planned a small, private service out of concern for the coronavirus pandemic, “but look forward to celebrating the life of Kenny Rogers publicly with his friends and fans at a later date,” his publicist’s statement said.  Tributes to the country singer poured in from fans and musical artists.

 

Rogers was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013, for what organization officials called a “distinctive, husky voice.”  He had 24 No. 1 hits and through his career more than 50 million albums sold in the US alone. He wasalso a six-time Country Music Awards winner and three-time Grammy Award winner.

Some of his hits included “Lady,” “Lucille,” “We’ve Got Tonight” and “Through the Years.”  His 1978 song “The Gambler” inspired multiple TV movies, with Rogers as the main character.  In 1985, he participated in the original recording of “We Are the World” along with more than three dozen artists. A year later, according to his website, he co-chaired “Hands Across America,” a campaign which sought to raise awareness about the homeless and hungry in the US.

He announced his retirement in 2015.  “I’ve been so lucky to have enjoyed such a long career and to have such amazing support from my fans and all who have helped me along the way, but there comes a time when I need to focus on spending time with my family,” he had said.  “My life is about my wife and my 11-year-old twin boys right now. There are a lot of things I want to do together with them to create some special memories. I don’t have a bucket list of my own … I have a bucket list of things I want to do with them.”

 

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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on Chelsea Manning Released

Chelsea Manning Released

 

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A US judge ordered Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning released from jail after one year behind bars on contempt charges for refusing to cooperate in a federal grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. The order for her immediate release came one day after Manning was hospitalized in Virginia after she reportedly attempted suicide at a federal prison in Alexandria. 

Judge Anthony J. Trenga wrote, “The court finds Ms. Manning’s appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.” Judge Trenga, however, rejected a request to cancel the fines imposed against Manning for refusing to testify. Manning will now have to pay $256,000. 

Manning and her legal team showed that her imprisonment was nothing but punitive, and thus unjustifiable under the legal statutes governing federal grand juries. Yet for nearly a year, Manning has been caged and fined $1,000 per day. Ever since she was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, which is investigating WikiLeaks, Manning has also insisted that there was never any justifiable purpose to asking her to testify.

In 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking documents and video to WikiLeaks showing evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama granted her clemency in 2017.  WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia for violating the Espionage Act, and is accused of helping Manning try to access the Department of Defense computers. Assange is fighting extradition from London.

 

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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on COVID-19 Continues to Spread

COVID-19 Continues to Spread

 

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As concerns about the coronavirus rippled across the globe, the US president declared the Covid-19 outbreak a national emergency as public life in America continues to grind to a halt.   Schools have closed to millions of students, creating anxiety for working parents across the country. Travel bans have been widened and some cities across America have issued curfews or “shelter in place” orders to slow the spread of the virus.  More “shelter in place” orders are expected as the number of confirmed cases continues to rise and has now been found in all 50 states.  

 

Shelter in place orders will come from local government rather than federal.  A growing number of countries have also imposed lockdowns that effectively shut down public life, but the details of such lockdowns vary dramatically.  Italy banned all public gatherings and set a 6 p.m. curfew but allowed travel for work or health reasons, while in China, millions of residents are restricted from even going to shop for groceries.  

 

The “shelter-in-place” order that San Francisco adopted has fairly large exemptions for health, work, food and even exercise.  City officials ordered residents to remain in place at their homes except for essential activities, essential business, and essential government functions, including tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor or getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food and supplies necessary for staying at home.

 

The order also includes:

  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running provided that they maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing.
  • Caring for a family member in another household.
  • Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.

 

 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin outlined a variety of potential proposals to Senate Republicans as part of a legislative package to help Americans and industries that are reeling from the coronavirus.  The administration proposed an initial $250 billion could be sent to Americans as early as the end of April if it can muster congressional approval.  

Sen. John Thune noted that getting cash assistance to Americans is something that has historically taken some time, but “I think there are ways now electronically that you can process things more quickly.” The proposal has fairly widespread support from Senate Republicans, who say it will offer immediate assistance to Americans impacted by the virus. Some lawmakers have varying ideas about how the proposal should work, including who should receive the payments and how much each American should get. 

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