Here's your daily roundup of all the local and national news about COVID-19. (Like our coverage? Please consider donating to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)
• As of today, the Oregon Health Authority reported a total of 3,068 positive/presumptive coronavirus cases (an increase of 79 since yesterday), and a death count of 124—which is up three from Thursday.
• Trying to figure out what "re-opening" really means after Gov. Brown's conference yesterday? The best, most straightforward breakdown of what you need to know is here, courtesy our own Blair Stenvick!
• With the release of April's total unemployment numbers, (over 20.5 million across the country) people have finally stopped calling this a recession, and have started referring to America's financial situation as a depression—specifically, the Trump Depression.
Hoover worsened the Great Depression by cutting spending and raising tariffs. Trump worsened the Trump Depression by bungling the tests and allowing a mass outbreak and then continually bungling the response. https://t.co/pNl8GKkGXZ
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) May 8, 2020
• Why do these organizations still enjoy tax-exempt status, pt. I: Ten Oregon churches are suing Gov. Brown for the right to potentially expose their congregations to COVID-19 every Sunday morning from now until a vaccine is produced, whenever that may be.
• Why do these organizations still enjoy tax-exempt status, pt. II: More than 12,000 Catholic churches applied for PPP loans, and 9,000 churches secured them across both rounds of funding. What an amazing strip of grift flypaper that program is!
• Starting Monday, TriMet is requiring all bus and train drivers, as well as fare enforcement and maintenance employees, to wear face masks on the job—and is encouraging passengers to do the same.
• In another tentatively cautious sign of optimism for a semi-normal (-ish, maybe) future, both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Portland Timbers have resumed voluntary workouts, starting today.
• One of Trump's personal valets who was often in close contact with the president has tested positive for COVID-19—though thus far both Trump and Veep Mike Pence have tested negative, according to people who may or may not be telling the truth.
• And this just in... Katie Miller, a press secretary for Veep Mike Pence, who just also happens to be married to white nationalist-sympathizer and immigration ogre Stephen Miller, has been confirmed to have coronavirus.
Trump confirms White House staffer who tested positive is a “press person” for Pence named Katie. @VPPressSec Katie Miller is married to Stephen Miller, another White House staffer. pic.twitter.com/cj8kaT0dJC— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) May 8, 2020
• A new study out of Hong Kong indicates that COVID-19 is far more efficient than SARS in its transmission, and your eyes are particularly vulnerable. SO STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE!
• Seems wild that the WHO needs to clarify this point, but here you go: Smoking cigarettes will increase your chances of catching COVID-19, not decrease them.
Using tobacco products can increase your chance of getting #COVID19
❗️Bringing your👐to your👄can transfer the virus into your body
❗️Sharing tobacco products can transmit the virus between people
❗️Tobacco weakens your respiratory system making you more vulnerable to the virus pic.twitter.com/nFOCwAoFyK
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 22, 2020
• The FDA has allowed emergency authorization to a Rutgers University lab to begin selling COVID-19 tests for home use. For $100, you can spit in a tube, send it back to Rutgers, and they'll tell you if you've got the 'rona within 48 hours.
• Hero status has an expiration date, apparently: National grocery chain Kroger announced they're ending their $2 per hour "hero pay" bonus for employees on May 17.
• Disney executives announced earlier this week their plans for a "phased reopening" of Shanghai Disneyland (Shanghai hasn't reported a COVID-19 case since early March) starting May 11. With restrictions including physical distancing guidelines, sharply-reduced capacity, temperature screening, and background checks, ticket sales ($56 per visitor for a day pass) went live this morning, and sold out minutes later.
• If you need some laughs, may we suggest the I, ANONYMOUS SHOW livestreaming into your home TONIGHT Friday May 8 at 8 pm! Mindblowing rants and confessions, paired with a panel of hilarious comics! *chef's kiss*
• Look, you're stuck inside, creative, going nuts, and need money, right? Then enter your short confinement-themed film in the Confinement (online) Film Festival, better known as CoFF!
• And finally, Japan does not fuck around when they allow kids to go back to school.
The majority of countries: If a dirt, a dirt💀💀💀— AstroDK 🇭🇺🇯🇲✨🔮 (@DKAstrology) May 8, 2020
Meanwhile in Japan: pic.twitter.com/aEq0zcXH2Y