* Gov. Jay Inslee said today that he is likely to extend our state’s stay at home order through the month of April.
* Due to data overload, the Washington Department of Health still has not updated its COVID-19 case counts since last Saturday, when it reported 4,896 confirmed cases.
* DSHS has purchased a closed Judkins Park nursing home, with the intent of converting it into use by non-COVID-19 hospital patients by early May – freeing up area hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
* A construction worker at Sound Transit’s new University District light rail station tested positive for COVID-19.
* The stock market was down 4.4 percent today, one day after finishing the worst quarter since 2008.
* You mean Trump was lying? Department of Homeland Security officials said today the national reserve of critical PPE supplies is “nearly depleted” – leaving FEMA, states and other countries to bid against each other in the private marketplace, frequently bidding up the price. Only a “tiny slice” of the national stockpile of PPEs remains, equipment that is being saved for federal first responders.
* Trump has consistently bragged about how there was plenty of PPEs in reserve, plenty being manufactured, etc. Governors have been complaining about being outbid by the feds for needed equipment for weeks, even though Trump pledged a week ago to end federal outbidding and up the price against the states.
* One governor complained yesterday that a $25,000 ventilator cost their state $50,000. During World War Two, price gouging of necessary commodities was prosecuted fiercely. Today, not so much. #DisasterCapitalism.
* The federal government is reporting a surge of online and phone scams related to the stimulus checks – along the lines of “In order to receive your stimulus deposit, we need to confirm your banking information…” DON’T DO IT.
* The Navy reversed itself today and announced that some 3,000 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt would be evacuated from the ship by Friday. About 100 sailors have tested positive for COVID-19. The ship is docked in Guam, and the Navy is working with Guam’s government to try to identify enough motel rooms to accommodate crew members.
* The Coast Guard has ordered all cruise ships to remain at sea “indefinitely,” an order impacting “dozens” of ships mostly at or near South Florida. Most of the ships only have crew aboard, but Carnival has three ships with about 6,600 passengers off the Florida coast now. The ships include the troubled Zaandam, which has had two passengers die from COVID-19, nine test positive, and another 190 with symptoms consistent with the virus.
* Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, as well as the governors of Mississippi and Nevada, finally got around today to issuing long-overdue statewide stay at home orders for their hard-hit states. President Trump went out of his way yesterday to praise DeSantis’ “early” response, and criticize New York Gov, Andrew Cuomo, who was far more proactive in addressing the pandemic.
* Trump, today, reiterated that he did not want a national stay at home order, or, apparently, any kind of coordinated federal response. Public health experts continue to warn that the pandemic could last six or more months; so far, at least publicly, the administration appears to have no plan for a prolonged public health crisis. Only a handful of states, including Texas, do not yet have stay at home orders.
* Today West Virginia became the 15th state to postpone its presidential primary, from May 12 to June 9. Likely nominee Joe Biden said it was “hard to envision” the Democratic Party holding their July convention in Milwaukee as scheduled. As of yet, the DNC has not announced any fallback plan if the pandemic is still afoot in three months.
* Twenty-eight University of Texas students who helped charter a plane to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to party during Spring Break have now tested positive for COVID-19.
* The New York City metro area’s death toll surged again today, to 2,381.
* CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, brother of New York’s governor, has tested positive.
* The US blew past 200,000 cases today, and now has nearly double the number of confirmed cases of any other country. The top ten states:
New York 83,712
New Jersey 22,255
Washington 5,498 (the state has not reported updated numbers in four days)
* This year’s United Nations climate change summit, scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland, has been postponed due to the pandemic.
* As bad as Donald Trump’s crisis response has been, it looks positively prescient compared to far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. He remains the last major world leader to be denying the severity of the pandemic. As cases have grown the last week in Brazil, Bolsonaro claimed his country’s people were somehow uniquely immune to the virus, saying that they could be dunked in raw sewage and “don’t catch a thing.” He has accused state governors of inflating their case numbers to make him look bad. This week, as the number of cases accelerated, he demanded Brazilians go back to work. Politicians across Brazil’s political spectrum are begging the public to ignore their president. In major cities, the nightly banging of pots and pans from windows is not to support health care workers, but to support Bolsonaro’s impeachment.
* So it can be worse.
* Another hero of the far right, the Philippines’ president Rodrigo Duterte, today threatened to shoot protesters who have been locked down in the sprawling Manila metro area. The protesters are primarily poor people saying they are running out of food and other essentials.
* Russian president Vladimir Putin sent a planeload of masks and medical supplies to the US to assist in dealing with its outbreak.
* The global total of confirmed cases is now 932,605, in 180 countries, with 46,809 deaths. The world almost certainly will exceed a million cases and 50,000 deaths tomorrow. Spain became the third country to reach 100,000 cases.
* Countries with over 5,000 cases (Tuesday evening’s total in parentheses):
USA 206,049 (189,624)
Italy 110,574 (105,792)
Spain 104,118 (95,723)
China 82,361 (82,294)
Germany 77,981 (71,808)
France 57,756 (52,836)
Iran 47,593 (44,481)
UK 29,865 (25,481)
Switzerland 17,768 (16,605)
Turkey 15,679 (13,531)
Belgium 13,964 (12,775)
Netherlands 13,696 (12,667)
Austria 10,711 (10,180)
South Korea 9,887 (9,887)
Canada 9,560 (8,551)
Portugal 8,251 (7,443)
Brazil 6,836 (5,812)
Israel 6,092 (5,258)
April is here in all its glory. Keep 6 ft between you and others and WASH YOUR HANDS!