Friday, March 20, 2020

Virus cases in every state

Coronavirus cases have now been reported in every state, the District of Columbia and most U.S. territories, and the number of global cases passed 200,000 on Wednesday. The figures come as the Trump administration considers direct cash payments to Americans as part of a $1 trillion emergency stimulus. The proposed program, bigger than the crisis-era bank bailout, includes $50 billion to rescue airlines. (Washington Post)


Former Vice President and Democratic candidate Joe Biden is receiving protection from the U.S. Secret Service

Joe Biden made the request late last week, less than ten days after several protesters ran onto the stage toward Biden during his Super Tuesday speech on March 3rd. The protesters were ultimately restrained by staff members, a security officer, and the candidate’s wife, Jill. The Department of Homeland Security reportedly approved the request several days after it was made. Sen. Bernie Sanders has not yet made a similar request from the Secret Service. (WBAY)


Former Mayor To Seek Help

The former mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, and a candidate for the state’s governorship during the 2018 election, says he will enter rehab days after being found intoxicated in a hotel room with two other men and “baggies of suspected meth” in Miami Beach. In a statement, he claims to have fallen into a depression and began abusing alcohol since losing the election. Neither he nor the other men in the hotel room were arrested in connection to the incident. “After conversation with my family and deep reflection, I have made the decision to seek help, guidance and enter a rehabilitation facility at this time,” he said. “This has been a wake-up call for me.” (Tallahassee Democrat)


China is revoking the press credentials and expelling journalists who work for the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal

The move is the latest in escalating media tensions between the U.S. and China. The State Department last month identified five Chinese news outlets as de facto arms of the government, after which China ordered several WSJ journalists to leave the country. Expelled journalists from the three major American newspapers will not be allowed to work in China, Hong Kong, or Macau. China further requested that all three publications, along with Voice of America and Time, give information about their Chinese operations to the Chinese government. (Axios)


“Coronavirus” might be the biggest Google Trend in history

Washington Post data reporter Christopher Ingraham noted on Twitter, while attaching a screenshot. Other sources report more people are performing searches and asking questions about the pandemic than they did around the 2016 election of President Trump. (@c_ingraham/Twitter)


The U.S. government is talking with Facebook, Google and other companies and health experts about how to use mobile phone location data to map the spread of the virus

Public-health experts are interested in the possibility that private-sector companies could compile the data in anonymous, aggregated form. Analyzing trends in smartphone owners’ whereabouts could prove to be a powerful tool for health authorities looking to track coronavirus, which has infected more than 180,000 people globally. But it’s also an approach that could leave some Americans uncomfortable, depending on how it’s implemented, given the sensitivity when it comes to details of their daily whereabouts. Multiple sources stressed that they are not building a government database. (Washington Post)



With home isolation increasing, social distancing in place, restaurants and venues partially or temporarily closing, events being canceled, some cities in total lockdown, and people sadly dying from the virus, people in every corner of the world are being impacted by COVID-19. The need for a light at the end of the tunnel is especially significant, which is why a call to get the Christmas lights back out is taking the internet by storm and it seems like the nation is embracing a return to festive decor. Social Media users are displaying their Christmas decorations online, mostly in hopes that if everyone put their lights up, driving around to look at Christmas lights as a safe activity to enjoy while social distancing. Plus, it’s a great distraction for kids who are not at school. For others, the lights serve as a sign of hope in a particularly dark time. Some admitted to turn on their Christmas lights because of all the darkness in the world right now. When people display their decorations in social media, they end their post with #CoronaKindness, a reminder for all of us to show a little extra love in these trying times. (KOCO)


President Trump invokes Defense Act

President Trump invoked wartime authority under the Defense Production Act, allowing him to order faster production of medical supplies and prohibit certain people from entering the U.S. The move, as coronavirus cases are reported in every state, followed measures aimed at combatting the economic impact of the pandemic. Trump said all foreclosures and evictions would be suspended through April, and his administration pushed for Congressional approval of two direct payments to Americans in April and May totaling $500 billion —part of a $1 trillion emergency stimulus package. (Bloomberg)


Global recession may have begun

The global economy has entered a recession as business activity grinds toward a halt in the coronavirus pandemic, said economists at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, as well as four former chief economists of the IMF. While the definition of a global recession varies — from the IMF’s description of global growth falling below 2.5% to others viewing it as major economies entering recessions concurrently — several of the economists said the conditions have been met regardless. Economists threw out their previous forecasts as data now show the hit to China was worse than expected and the impact on the U.S., the largest economy, continues. (Financial Times)


Google’s News Initiative is teaming up with various journalism schools and associations to launch Project Oasis to help local start-up newspapers

The initiative aims to tackle the decline in local newspapers in the U.S. by helping put together a database of all news publications in the U.S. and Canada, as well as by creating a “starter pack” of information and tools for entrepreneurs who want to launch a local publication. According to the Executive Director of local news association LION Publishers, who is working with Google on the project, the “ultimate goal” is to create “a guide to help entrepreneurs start local news businesses, and existing local news startup founders learn from the successes of their peers.” (Tech Crunch)


Waters turn clear as Italy coronavirus lockdown cuts boat traffic

With Italy in lockdown in response to the coronavirus, Venice canals are now virtually clear of boats, leaving the water transparent enough that fish could be seen. Since the traffic of ferry-boats, motor boats and big ships has been strongly reduced both in the Venice lagoon and in the city canals, Venetians had the pleasant surprise to see the waters of their canals turning from muddy to crystal clean, with the fish and the bottom clearly visible. Swans have also returned to the canals. Several decades have passed since Venetians were used to swimming in the lagoon water, mainly because of the intensified boat traffic in the canals and the increasing volume of giant ships, both commercial and touristic, stopping at the Terminal Venice Passengers dock. Italy has been the hardest-hit country outside of China. Johns Hopkins University says there have been 31,506 cases of the virus in Italy as of Wednesday morning with 2,503 deaths. Nearly 3,000 people there have recovered. (WFAA)


Hospitals advised to postpone elective surgeries because of coronavirus

The new guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommends that hospitals suspend elective surgeries for now, in preparation for an expected surge in patients suffering from covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The instruction from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is not mandatory. But the head of that agency made clear that masks, gowns, gloves and other equipment used in surgery or other invasive procedures are needed in the fight against the coronavirus. Tens of millions of elective surgeries are performed annually in the United States, in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. (Washington Post)


Person caught selling cases of toilet paper for $60 in Michigan

Canton, Michigan police say a person was attempting to sell toilet tissue at $60 a case in a parking lot. The incident happened Wednesday (3/18) morning, and it comes after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an order for tougher restrictions on businesses trying to price gouge shoppers during the coronavirus outbreak. It’s unclear at this time what repercussions, if any, the person faced. (WXYZ)



Friday Comes With A Bucket List Of Reasons To Party:

  • Alien Abduction Day
  • Bed-in For Peace Day
  • Great American Meat Out Day
  • International Day of Happiness
  • French Language Day
  • National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence
  • National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • Noruz
  • Naw-Ruz
  • Proposal Day
  • Rita’s Free Italian Ice Day
  • Snowman Burning Day
  • Ta’Anit Esther
  • World Flour Day
  • World Frog Day
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day
  • World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People
  • World Sparrow Day

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