Down under in Melbourne: Nearly five million people have been ordered back into their homes for a six-week lockdown due to the city reporting 191 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours. That's the largest spike Melbourne has experienced since the pandemic started. King County's been averaging around 150 new daily infections and has less than half the population of Melbourne.
Today, Washington state confirmed an additional 435 coronavirus cases and 14 deaths. That means the state's totals are 37,420 cases and 1,384 deaths. Most of the deaths have occurred in King County.
What benefits do countries and counties get by avoiding lockdowns? If we use Sweden as an example, the answer is nothing! Nothing but more death!
Trump formally withdrew the US from WHO: The official withdrawal process is believed to take ~a year.
Trump just formally withdrew the United States from the World Health Organization. What a shameful moment.
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) July 7, 2020
"How well Trump’s scapegoating of the WHO will play in the US election is impossible to predict," writes Julian Borger for the Guardian, "but on the world stage it will undoubtedly be seen as yet another step in an accelerating US abdication of global leadership."
"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" says Trump. He hosted White House events on the topic today, where he suggested some schools will stay closed "for political reasons." (Clearly he's allergic to the word "health.") Without evidence, he then suggested that some governors and states "think it's going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way."
Can public school systems possibly open part-time as a way to combat COVID-19? No way, says Betsy DeVos!!! “It’s clear that our nation's schools must fully reopen and fully operate this school year. Anything short of that robs students, not to mention taxpayers, of their future,” said the undereducated Education Secretary.
Here's a big idea: Schools need more space so they can limit class sizes and promote social distancing in the fall. And cities are crammed with empty space! Malls. Movie theaters. Performance halls. "Expand the school system’s footprint into every available corner of unused urban space," proposes Justin Davidson for NY Mag.
UW's Greek Row COVID-19 outbreak is nasty: Here's today's update from UW News:
As of July 7, at least 130 fraternity house residents have tested positive for COVID-19. In total, at least 139 UW students are confirmed to have tested positive in the Greek Row outbreak. The nine additional students who tested positive were close contacts of the residents, but do not live in the houses.
The Interfraternity Council, a student-led governing board for UW fraternities, updated its own count July 7 indicating that at least 151 residents living in 15 fraternity houses have self-reported that they tested positive. The University continues to conduct its own testing and verification of cases, which may account for a discrepancy in reported cases.
FYI there's no such thing as a "face mask exempt" card: Businesses around the country are being warned not to accept official-looking face mask exemption cards that proclaim a person doesn't need to wear a face mask. They're fake!
Jay condemns his cousin: Remember Mike Brown? From yesterday's Slogs? He's the King County deputy who posted things like "All Lives Splatter" after the killing of Summer Taylor over the weekend. He's also Gov. Inslee's cousin. Inslee isn't supporting him. He's been placed on administrative leave by the King County Sheriff’s Office.
I'm deeply disappointed and totally reject the language of my cousin Mike Brown who made inflammatory comments about recent protests. The language is unacceptable and just flat wrong, particularly from a law enforcement officer, as we try to heal the divisions of our community.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) July 7, 2020
Meanwhile, in Miami: "Researchers say invasive pythons carry dangerous parasites." Invasive Burmese pythons host a species of lung parasites from Southeast Asia that are harming non-invasive Florida snakes. The Burmese python is thought to have been introduced into Florida in the 1980s when freaks released them into the wild. Apparently Florida's government has 50 python hunters on staff to help deal with the problem.
We're in the middle of a national coin shortage: Real news! Here's the explanation from the Federal Reserve chairman: "What’s happened is that, with the partial closure of the economy, the flow of coins through the economy has gotten all—it’s kind of stopped." Dick's wants you to pay in exact change or round up for charity.
The beginning of a trend? Two of the highest-ranking Republican leaders will not attend the party's GOP convention in Jacksonville, Florida because of COVID-19. “I’m not going to go, and I’m not going to go because of the virus situation,” said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa on Monday. Grassley is 86. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, 80, will also not be attending. The convention is currently scheduled for August 24. I'm sure the young GOPers will still attend and make out with each other to own the libs.