“Now we’ve got too many patients, and too few (staff) to help," says the CEO of a hospital on the edge of the Navajo Nation near Gallup, New Mexico. An outbreak has overwhelmed the local health care system. "Of about 500 medical and support staff, at least 32 hospital workers have become infected, and doctors and nurses say that they all live with the fear of spreading the virus to their colleagues and relatives," writes AP.
It's closing time for Pier 1: 🎵Closing time 🎵One last call for wicker chairs so grab your papasans or accent planters 🎵
Pier 1 Imports — one of America's most prominent home-decor chains — is closing down. The company was already looking to halve its store count, but the coronavirus pandemic compounded their financial problems, leaving them without a buyer. https://t.co/p2k8QL9oWM
— NPR (@NPR) May 19, 2020
Trump doesn't want to extend additional unemployment benefits, reports the Washington Post. No surprise here, but he's not a fan of extending the additional $600 a week boost in unemployment benefits for laid-off workers impacted by the coronavirus. The boost expires this summer, but Democrats want to extend it until January 2021. Intelligencer muses that Trump’s "motives on this issue" might be mostly shaped "by his desire to declare the coronavirus pandemic over, and the economy in full recovery."
Someone 3D printed downtown Seattle: Do me next!
Would you work from home forever? Last week Twitter announced they would allow their employees to WFH forever if they'd like. Now more companies are eyeing the option. Today, New York Times' Margaret O’Mara wrote of the move: "Twitter could end the office as we know it. This is the company’s most disruptive move yet." For even more on this move, you should read this great short post from Axios breaking down the cost benefits of WFH:
Companies can save thousands per employee. And workers might save some money, too.
Firms will have to spend some money to make the transition work. For example, Twitter is giving each employee $1,000 for remote work supplies. But in the long run—when considering cutting the costs of renting, heating and furnishing an office—telework could save firms up to $11,000 per worker per year, according to a new report from the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work. Workers stand to save up to $7,000 per year in commuting, child care and wardrobe costs, the report notes.
Snip snip: Trump has signed an executive order that he says gives federal agencies "tremendous power" to cut their own regulations. "Republicans seized on the idea that deregulation would be necessary to boost the economy," notes The Hill. "Such action would be cross cutting, and could range from financial regulations, environmental protections, agricultural guidelines that affect the supply chain, or virtually any regulation from the numerous government agencies that promulgate rules."
U.S. and Canada will keep their border partly closed for another 30 days: You can still cross if it falls under essential traffic.
A Brazil travel ban might be coming: Trump announced he's considering a ban on Brazilians entering and exiting the country, reports Bloomberg. Brazil is now the third hardest-hit country in the world, with only Russia and the United States tallying up more coronavirus cases.
He'd really like us to thank him:
I am pleased to announce that the Seattle area’s @SoundTransit will receive over $166M in federal funds from @USDOT to help keep the transit system open & operational, helping get people to work or make necessary trips. These funds help replace lost fare revenue, very important!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2020
And we did!
Our thanks to the Washington delegation and Congressional leaders for the CARES Act and to you, Mr. President, @SecElaineChao, and the outstanding team at @FTA_DOT for processing our grant so quickly. These funds will be used right away to reduce impacts to critical services. https://t.co/GYwFea23np
— Sound Transit #StayHomeStaySafe - 🚆 🚈 🚍 (@SoundTransit) May 19, 2020
Man shot and killed by police in Lower Queen Anne this afternoon: Seattle Police Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette told the Seattle Times that the officers “were forced to use deadly force." This story is still developing.
Officers investigating a shooting at W Mercer Pl/ Elliot Ave W. This is a developing incident and additional details will be released when they become available.
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) May 19, 2020
Updates on the two most distracting stories of the week:
1. Trump responded to Nancy Pelosi's "morbidly obese" comment by not responding: "I don't respond to her. I think she's a waste of time."
2. Trump framed a scientific study that found that hydroxychloroquine was not an effective COVID-19 treatment as a “Trump enemy statement."
"It was a Trump enemy statement" — Trump dismisses doctors who have warned about possible bad consequences of hydroxychloroquine and insists he knows better pic.twitter.com/CiyTtOBJlu
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 19, 2020
Pence says he isn't taking hydroxychloroquine: FYI!
10 Washington counties can apply to enter Phase 2 early: Nathalie's got the details here.
Wondering which Washington state political races to watch in 2020? Rich did his homework has got you covered here.
The Met Gala is canceled: Officially! The gala’s corresponding exhibit, “About Time: Fashion and Duration," inspired by the excellent Orlando (1992), is expected to open in October. I assume the corresponding book will be published, too. The book is always my favorite part.
Washington's most recent update from its Department of Health lists 1,031 deaths and 18,811 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington state. That's an increase of 29 deaths and 200 cases from the day before.
SAVE THE WHALE: Oh, damn, nevermind... In the comments: "Air 4 did find the gray whale after it had, unfortunately, passed away. We hope to talk to a wildlife expert on KOMO News this evening to explain what may have caused its death."
A question for the evening: Is now the time to switch to a yearlong school calendar?
Oh, and this! Happy birthday, Grace!
Because it's Grace Jones' birthday and you haven't lived until you've seen the commercial she appeared in for the Citroën CX in 1985 (some of it reused in her "Slave to the Rhythm" video): pic.twitter.com/P5iwPHWvRG
— David (@xmagic_dustx) May 19, 2020