A new analysis by the Brookings Institution reports that new coronavirus hotspots are surging in rural and non-metropolitan counties across the country, as the federal government pushes states to reopen their economies after weeks of stay-at-home orders.
The analysis illustrates the spread of the virus from early epicenters in New York, Seattle, New Orleans and Albany, Ga., into neighboring and more sparsely populated areas, both inside state boundaries and across state lines. Two-thirds of Americans live in counties with a high prevalence of coronavirus spread. The pandemic’s spread into rural areas in states like Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota, has been a concern of epidemiologists because unlike big cities’ ability to bolster their health systems, rural systems don’t have this capability.
“There is no doubt that Covid-19 has made its impact felt in ‘red states,’ especially over the past three weeks,” Frey wrote. The fastest spreads through Midwestern and Southern states have come in largely smaller counties.
Officials at the World Health Organization are warning the public that the recovery process for COVID-19 isn’t instant and can take some time. “Many are experiencing longer-term issues with energy… some have had impacts on their respiratory system, their cardiovascular system, their liver, their kidney function and others,” Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s executive director of health emergencies program, said during a media briefing in Geneva.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union announced that at least 30 meatpacking plant workers have died, and more than 10,000 workers have been infected or exposed to Covid-19. Due to Trump’s executive order mandating plants to remain open, the union also continued its call for the White House to make the current US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for safe meat plant operations mandatory.
After several challenging weeks of fighting against the pandemic, New York will begin to reopen its economy on May 15. Three regions in New York state, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley, have met the metrics required to reopen Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in his daily press conference on Monday. He emphasized that the reopening of businesses would be done in phases, starting with construction, manufacturing, retail (for curbside pickup), agriculture, forestry and fishing.
An alarming coronavirus outbreak at a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas resulted in 423 new cases on Sunday and the highest single-day record in the North Texas county. The outbreak at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Fort Worth, a facility comprised of male inmates with specific medical and mental health needs, makes it the third highest among over 11,000 facilities in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system.
Photos of armed anti-lockdown demonstrators have gone viral as the group entered a downtown Raleigh, North Carolina Subway sandwich shop this past Saturday with weapons slung over their shoulders.
One photo shows a protester carrying what appears to be a rocket launcher. Another shows a protester holding a large weapon over his shoulder as he appears to take a selfie. Two of the demonstrators in the photos are wearing masks.
Saturday’s demonstration was organized by a group called Blue Igloo.
“We are a peaceful group and wish to keep it that way at all costs,” the statement said. “We aren’t looking for a fight. We in fact, want the opposite. We want to put on a smile, shake some hands, and be friendly. An armed society is a polite society,” the group said in an email response to a local newspaper.
BUSINESS & POLITICS
Trump administration officials are working to contain an outbreak in the White House. Over the weekend, staff spent the weekend attempting to do contact tracing for Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, who tested positive for coronavirus last week.
Worried aides expressed concern at how work would proceed and are seeking guidance on who needs to self-quarantine and who does not. Aides were also trying to determine who came into contact with the military valet who tested positive last week.
A doctor exposed the lack of social distancing measures by United Airlines as he tweeted about his May 9 trip from New York to San Francisco. The photo taken by Dr. Ethan Weiss shows a “full” six-hour flight that included a group of 25 nurses and doctors who had been working in New York hospitals for the past 2-4 weeks. Weiss, who said United flew them for free, added that many of the passengers on the flight were “scared and shocked.”
Last week, United, which flew the group for free, announced that it would make some middle seats unavailable for customers.
Starting yesterday, Amtrak passengers are required to wear face masks or coverings on board. The national railroad service said in a news release that face masks can be removed while eating in designated areas or if a passenger is sitting alone or with a companion in a pair of seats. Extra precautions are also being put into place to keep trains sanitized.
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