An entire update, without one mention of Donald Trump!
* Washington state now has 8,384 confirmed cases, with 372 deaths. Local counties: King, 3,295 cases/220 deaths; Pierce, 590/12; Snohomish,1,522/55. Kitsap County recorded its first death today.
* Gov. Inslee announced today that in-person classes will be cancelled for Washington schools through the end of the school year. where possible, online learning will continue.
* Sixteen Seattle Fire Department employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
* An inmate at Monroe Correctional Complex is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the state prison system. Several Department of Corrections employees and an inmate being treated off-site for an unrelated condition have previously tested positive.
* Sound Transit has halted almost all construction, including on the North Seattle light rail extension scheduled to open next year.
* Woodland Park Zoo has cancelled its outdoor summer concert series. The zoo itself has been closed since early March.
* The Showgirls adult club across from the main entrance to Pike Place Market announced it was closing until April 30. Something about being a non-essential business, I presume.
* A tax on big business to help fund the local pandemic response, proposed by Seattle City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales, was unanimously referred by the full council today to the Budget Committee for further consideration. CM Teresa Mosqueda chairs that committee.
* Boeing announced, finally, that it was closing its plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, the last of its North American facilities to remain open. Until today, South Carolina had been one of a handful of Republican-controlled states that had yet to issue a stay at home order – even though a major outbreak has been brewing in Columbia, the state’s capitol and largest city. Today, South Carolina’s governor issued a stay at home order effective tomorrow tonight – sort of. His “Work or Home” order still permits working, visiting family, and outdoor recreation. Is hunting viruses with a long rifle in season?
* Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whose belated stay at home order last week drew national ridicule when he claimed he was taking action because he’d JUST FOUND OUT that asymptomatic people could spread the disease, reopened Georgia’s beaches that had been closed by local jurisdiction. Because, you know, Florida’s beaches are closed, and tourists have gotta go somewhere, amiright? Besides which, the state’s biggest tourist draw of the year, the Masters golf tournament, has already been cancelled. So let’s heads to the beaches! Spring Break worked so well for Florida.
* But let’s not just pick on the South. Idaho’s recent stay at home order, prompted by an alarming spike in statewide cases and the county (around Sun Valley) with the highest per capita infection rate in the country, has is facing as backlash from so-called “patriots,” especially in the state’s northern panhandle east of Spokane. A county sheriff and several state lawmakers are calling for resistance to social distancing measures on constitutional grounds. Memo to Dimwits: THE VIRUS DOES NOT GIVE A FK ABOUT YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL OBJECTIONS. Duh.
* Wisconsin is proceeding with tomorrow’s primary and local election, overruling the governor. And the Republican-friendly US Supreme Court, majority ruled, 5-4, to overturn a court-ordered extension of absentee voting. Wisconsin’s Republican leaders have been explicit in their desire to suppress tomorrow’s turnout, particularly to support the re-election of a Republican state supreme court justice. One person, one vote, except when it’s not.
* The number of new cases in New York state slowed today, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded a note of cautious optimism that his state’s outbreak may be peaking. New Jersey became the second state to pass 1,000 deaths; New York already has nearly 5,000.
* Echoing Washington’s announcement yesterday, California announced today it would return hundreds of ventilators to the national stockpile, to hopefully be distributed to states with a more acute need.
* For the first time since the very start of the US pandemic, Washington state will likely drop out of the top ten states for confirmed cases tomorrow, overtaken by Texas with a fast-growing outbreak in the Dallas area. Washington still ranks sixth in deaths, behind New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Louisiana, and California. Washington and California were among the first states to issue stay at home orders, and have seen hopeful signs in recent days that their outbreaks may be subsiding.
* Top ten states (Sunday’s totals in parentheses)
New York 131,815 (123,177)
New Jersey 41,090 (37,505)
Michigan 17,221 (15,718)
California 16,310 (14,055)
Louisiana 14,867 (13,010)
Massachusetts 13,837 (11,736)
Florida 13,629 (12,151)
Pennsylvania 13,127 (11,589)
Illinois 12,262 (10,360)
Washington 8,384 (7,986)
* UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment yesterday “out of an abundance of caution.” You think they weren’t telling us something? Today Johnson was transferred to an intensive care unit as his condition worsens. According to the UK government, the ICU admission was a “precautionary” admission – that sounds familiar – in case Johnson needs to be put on a ventilator – that sounds, uh, ominous. Johnson remains conscious, but has named his Foreign Secretary to serve in his stead if/when he is incapacitated. This is a moment when politics don’t matter, and “thoughts and prayers” are actually appropriate.
* After an early outbreak, Japan had survived the COVID-19 pandemic relatively unscathed – until now. A new wave of cases in Tokyo, the world’s largest metropolis, has sparked a declaration of a state of emergency in Japan. The declaration covers seven prefectures, primarily in the Tokyo and Osaka regions, and covers nearly half of the country’s population.
* In another huge metropolis, Manila’s lockdown has been extended by two weeks.
* The global total of confirmed cases is 1,348,184, with 74,816 deaths in 184 countries. The United States passed 10,000 deaths today. While France approached 100,000 cases, it and much of Western Europe saw their confirmed new daily rates start to decline, with the notable exception of the UK.
* Countries with over 5,000 cases (Sunday’s total in parentheses):
USA 368,376 (337,620)
Spain 136,675 (131,646)
Italy 132,547 (126,948)
Germany 103,375 (100,123)
France 98,984 (93,780)
China 82,697 (82,602)
Iran 60,500 (58,226)
UK 52,279 (48,440)
Turkey 30,217 (27,069)
Switzerland 21,657 (21,100)
Belgium 20,814 (19,691)
Netherlands 18,926 (17,953)
Canada 16,667 (15,764)
Austria 12,297 (12,051)
Brazil 12,232 (11,254)
Portugal 11,730 (11,276)
South Korea 10,331 (10,237)
Israel 8,904 (8,430)
Sweden 7,206 (6,830)
Russia 6,343 (5,389)
Norway 5,865 (5,687)
Australia 5,846 (5,687)
Ireland 5,364 (<5,000) Six days until Easter. Bunny says staying home works, and WASH YOUR HANDS!