COVID cases are spiking across the country: Over a dozen states—including California, Nevada, Texas, and Florida—saw their highest number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday as the country continued to send increasingly large numbers of people back to work in unsafe conditions, according to the Washington Post. Embattled public health directors have been left to conclude that people are "just over it, or they’ve come to believe it’s a phony pandemic because their own personal grandmother hasn’t been affected yet." National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins told the Post, "I understand how people must be very tired of this at this point. But the virus doesn’t care that we’re tired. The virus is still out there." Our only hope against this insanity is drugs, contact tracing, and masks. In the latest polls, 76% of the country say they wear one all the time or some of the time when they're out.
Prisons are a problem: The largest outbreak clusters in the nation can be found in prisons, according to the New York Times. Infection rates have doubled in a month, and COVID deaths in prisons have risen "by 73 percent since mid-May."
Nevertheless, Pence tells governors to repeat a lie about the virus: Yesterday the Vice President told a bunch of governors to blame COVID-19 spikes on an increase in testing, but the New York Times found that "the positive case rate is increasing faster than the increase in the average number of tests" in the states they've analyzed.
This might have something to do with this particular disconnect between the White House and reality:
Dr. Fauci says on NPR that he hasn't talked to Trump in 2 weeks.
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) June 16, 2020
Cases are rising here, too, btw: ICYMI, last week the Institute for Disease Modeling looked at the data up until Memorial Day and found transmission rates rising above R1 on both sides of the mountains in Washington. It's particularly bad in "Yakima, Spokane, Benton, and Franklin counties." Researchers warn of these rates leading to "explosive growth in cases and deaths if not contained, and local prevalence will likely soon exceed the peak reached in King county in late March."
Nevertheless, King County is applying to enter Phase 2: "King County meets nearly all the requirements for moving into Phase 2, with the exception of what is called the reproductive number of the virus," according to the Seattle Times. Seattle & King County public health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin told the Times that "this is a time to double down on, not relax, COVID-19 prevention measures.”
Cheap and widely available steroid reduces COVID-19 deaths: Dexamethasone can reduce deaths "by a third in patients receiving ventilation, and by a fifth in patients receiving only oxygen treatment," University of Oxford scientists say in a discovery heralded as a "major breakthrough."
Trump's niece writes a tell-all: Remember when the New York Times wrote a massive, Pulitzer Prize winning story about Trump and his family committing tax fraud and evasion? Me neither. But Trump's niece, Mary Trump, who gave the Times the goods, will help jog your memory in her upcoming tell-all, Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man. It drops two weeks before the Republican National Convention, according to the BBC.
A dangerous pattern is continuing to emerge in the CHOP: Republican state media, the President, and bloggers working for hyperventilating Drudge knockoffs keep running inflammatory content about the CHOP, which dinguses then distort and amplify on social media, which then rings a little bell somewhere in the cavernous heads of right-wing extremists, who then roll up to Capitol Hill to incite violence with their weapons and their bad hair.
Sometimes they get disappointed, like Patriot Prayer's Joey Gibson:
Joey Gibson with the far-right Patriot Prayer group went through Seattle’s protest zone today. He said it was way different than some had portrayed it, noting that people can come and go as they please.
“I’m probably one of the most hated people here, and I’m walking around.” pic.twitter.com/8SOaACtBLv
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) June 15, 2020
Sometimes they end up brawling: Citizen journalist Omari Salisbury reported Proud Boys and some other dorks in the CHOP Monday evening:
Later on, those Proud Boys can be seen on video a couple blocks away from CHOP apparently jumping a guy for his phone:
After spending the day harassing and trolling people at CHOP, this group of armed Proud Boys beat the shit out of this guy and broke his phone. Five on one. One of them has a handgun, one gets an expandable metal baton out of the car. Let there be no doubt why they are here. pic.twitter.com/Ok6MVNtwO0
— Spek (@spekulation) June 16, 2020
The most recent bit of misinformation: Right-wing outlets have fueled a narrative of violence and chaos in the relatively peaceful and, yeah, occasionally mobby CHOP partly by claiming that police calls in the area have tripled. "Those reports seem to have been based on a single June 11 clip of [Seattle Police Chief Carmen] Best, broadcast by KOMO 4 News, in which the police chief said, 'Our calls for service have more than tripled.' The clip was retweeted by conservative blogger Andy Ngo, then picked up by other outlets," the Seattle Times notes, before debunking the claim with new data showing that calls have been down by over 30% since the beginning of the month. The thing that has tripled is response times on Capitol Hill, which have risen from an average of 5 minutes to 18 minutes.
The Capitol Hill Organized Protest was born under the rumors of white supremacists threatening to sabotage the goals of the movement, and now those rumors are becoming reality. But all of this only serves to distract from those goals, which bear repeating: abolish the police department and invest in the Black community, free all protesters, and stop the sweeps. These distractions also deflect attention from the victories these movements have helped win, however small they may be compared to the size of the unmet demand. Capitol Hill Seattle Blog published a good list of those victories yesterday.
Speaking of which: The city announced its intentions to hand over Fire Station 6 to the Black community, but they "still don’t have the deed, the keys or even a timeline," according to the Seattle Times. Once they get all that, Africatown Community Land Trust plans to transform the building into the William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation, which would help spur the growth of Black businesses.
Protester shot in Albuquerque: Shit went south after a heavily armed gang called the New Mexico Civil Guard appeared to start roughing up protesters trying to topple “La Jornada," a statue of the conquistador Juan de Oñate, according to the Albuquerque Journal. During a tussle, a man in a blue shirt fired five rounds and hit a protester, who is in "critical but stable condition" at the University of New Mexico Hospital. According to the Santa Fe Reporter, an Oñate statue in Alcalde was removed without incident the day before. Oñate "murdered 800 members of Acoma Pueblo, cut off the foot of at least two dozen captives and was eventually exiled from the state for his violence," the Reporter notes.
The clearest video yet of the shooter (blue shirt) violently throwing a young woman to the ground prior to the shooting.
This is Simple Battery *at least*. Witnesses were within their rights to detain him. pic.twitter.com/WPtn6qxrly
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) June 16, 2020
Ballard man guides duck family to safety: "For the seventh time in four years," My Ballard reports, Nathaniel Peters found some ducks on his apartment balcony and then personally ensured their safe passage to Salmon Bay.
Cars and guns: Maybe one of the worst combinations known to man. In this case, reported by the local Sinclair station, two drivers pull off to the side of the road. One shoots the other in the belly. The suspect was arrested, and the victim is at Harborview in "stable condition."