Coronavirus Went Away! Like Miracle! Oh, Stand By For Late-Breaking News.
The coronavirus pandemic in the USA continues to be the worst it has been since the outbreak began. The Daily Beast decided today to pack all the terrible numbers into a single headline, which we'll leave here in subhead format:
In short, we're hitting record after record. Yesterday's 144,000+ new cases were a new record high in the US, but the previous record had been set the day before, with 136,000 new cases. Yesterday marked the ninth straight day of more than 100,000 new cases — and in all likelihood, today will be the 10th, and so on, going forward for some time. We're well over a thousand deaths per day, and that number keeps increasing. On just Tuesday and Wednesday, we had yet another 9/11 and then some: more than 3,200 deaths in those two days alone.
That's what happens when national "leaders" throw up their hands and admit they're not trying to contain the virus anymore.
CDC: Wear A Mask, It Protects You Too
The New York Times reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its recommendation on face masks, advising that face masks can protect the wearer from the coronavirus. While previously the CDC had called for masks primarily as a way to prevent people spreading the virus when they're infectious but have no symptoms, growing scientific evidence suggests masks protect the wearer as well. However, the agency notes that "The main protection individuals gain from masking occurs when others in their communities also wear face coverings[.]"
Florida Governor Hires Virus Denying Sports Blogger To Crunch Numbers
The Miami Herald reports Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has hired a sports blogger and part-time Uber driver with no experience in medical data as a data analyst in the state's Office of Policy and Budget. Kyle Lamb may be from Columbus, Ohio, but he's definitely got what it takes to be a Florida Man, and to be paid $40K a year for his services:
"Fact is, I'm not an 'expert.' I'm not a doctor, epidemiologist, virologist or scientist," Lamb wrote on a website for a subscribers-only podcast he hosts about the coronavirus. "I also don't need to be. Experts don't have all the answers, and we've learned that the hard way."
Lamb is a big fan of whatever bullshit COVID-19 conspiracy is hot on any given day: suggesting it's a Chinese bioweapon, denying it's worse than the flu, insisting masks are useless, and the like. Happily a spokesperson for DeSantis reassured the Herald that Lamb is "not a coronavirus hire," and that he won't focus "exclusively" on pandemic stats, and besides, others in the data department will be there to check Lamb's work. But there seems to be no good explanation of why Lamb even got the job in the first place.
First Caribbean Cruise Cut Short When Passenger Gets COVID-19
You saw this one coming, because we all saw it coming. The first post-lockdown cruise in the Caribbean had to be cut short when a passenger on the small ship, the SeaDream 1, developed symptoms and tested positive. The ship is heading back to port in Barbados, and the 53 passengers and nonessential members of the crew of 66 are confined to quarters. The ship had already made several stops before the passenger fell ill, but only visited empty beaches; no one from the ship had contact with locals.
Here's a photo of the ship's captain, Torbjorn Lund, reassuring passengers that all is well.
Black Market Negative COVID-19 Tests! Get Your Black Market Negative COVID-19 Tests!
Business Insider reports that in several places around the world, people have been caught selling fake negative COVID-19 test results to people trying to get around travel restrictions. Seven people in France were arrested for selling bogus digital certificates after a traveler tried to fly to Ethiopia with their wares, which sold for $180 to $360 a shot. Other similar cases have turned up in Brazil and the UK.
We're now waiting for the inevitable editorial in The Federalist arguing that such incidents simply prove what a wonderful thing the free market can be.
Ohio: Mike DeWine Toughens Mask Order, Will Probably Be Kidnapped By Militia Idiots
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican even, issued a revised mask order for the state yesterday, with tighter requirements for businesses. Under the new guidelines, all retail establishments will have to post a sign requiring face masks, and will be responsible for ensuring staff and customers wear masks. Further, a new "Retail Compliance Unit" will inspect businesses to enforce the restrictions, with agents drawn from the state's Worker's Compensation bureau.
DeWine tweeted that he means business, businesses, and that those ignoring the order will face consequences:
We are reissuing Ohio’s mask order w/ three new provisions. ⬇ The first violation of this order will bring about a… https://t.co/aSMecCmPs5— Governor Mike DeWine (@Governor Mike DeWine)1605134666.0
Ohio has seen exponential growth of the virus recently, with 50,000 new cases in just 13 days. In the early days of the pandemic, it took over three months for the state to see its first 50,000 cases. DeWine also warned he may have to order shutdowns of bars, restaurants, and gyms. As of yet, Donald Trump has yet to encourage rightwing extremists to kidnap and murder his fellow Republican.
Idaho Prefers Overwhelmed Hospitals To Mask Mandate, Because Liberty
The Associated Press reports that healthcare providers in southern Idaho are unable to keep up with the surge in cases. The CEO of Primary Health Group, Dr. David Peterman, says the 20 clinics his company operates are barely able to keep up with the volume of incoming phone calls, let alone care for all the sick people who need help:
"We are at the point where I can't tell you for sure we can answer your phone calls," Peterman said. "Regardless of what political party you're in, you need to be able to see your doctor. I'm telling you, our clinics are being overwhelmed — if we cannot answer our phones, we cannot take care of our patients."
On Tuesday, St. Luke's Magic Valley hospital in Twin Falls had to divert intensive care patients to Boise, about two hours away, and also turned down transfer requests from the overwhelmed hospital in nearby Elko, Nevada. The Elko hospital normally sends its overflow patients to hospitals in Utah, but they're all overwhelmed, too.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little has recommended residents wear masks, but continues to resist calls to mandate masks statewide. In Twin Falls, even though the hospital is unable to treat all the new COVID-19 cases, the City Council nonetheless voted Monday to not issue a mask mandate. City Hall was surrounded by hundreds of pro-infection advocates, many of whom then streamed into the meeting without masks to yammer about unalienable rights and individual choice. Doctors, nurses, and staff from the hospital pleaded for the public's help in controlling the outbreak. Several pointed out that healthcare workers in the area are exhausted and falling ill themselves, which just goes to show how little those out-of-touch elites understand America.
Scientific American Just Happy To Have A Coronavirus Policy To Critique
At Scientific American, Steven W. Thrasher takes a look at the Biden-Harris pandemic strategy and finds a lot to like, particularly its recognition that the public health response needs to be a "dial," not a "light switch," and needs to be scaled to meet the severity and particular needs of communities affected by the virus. He sees room for improvement, particularly in the area of funding: The goals are good, but probably still too little, and he has concerns about the shortcomings of Biden's preference for a public healthcare option instead of universal health insurance. He's especially glad to see the Biden-Harris plan calls for
the establishment of a COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force that "will transition to a permanent Infectious Disease Racial Disparities Task Force." To reckon with racialized health disparities is amazing and radically political. While I was concerned to see nothing explicit about incarceration in the plan given that it is a major driver of infectious disease in the U.S., I was thrilled to learn that Marcella Nunez-Smith of the Yale School of Medicine, who has co-authored research on the health disparities caused by imprisonment, will co-chair the overall Biden-Harris COVID task force. She will be excellent.
It's a very good read, and Thrasher's critiques, particularly his concerns about how ableism is still leading to policy shortcomings that will harm people with disabilities, are worth pressing the incoming administration to address.
Stay safe, kids. We're not through the worst of this yet, but at least the grownups are on the way.
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by your donations. A recurring donation of $5 a month, if you can afford it, will ensure that we can keep you up to date with all the news and '90s pop culture references you need.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.