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 3,228 positive/presumptive coronavirus cases, and a death count of 127—which is up three from last Friday.
• Yes, this Mother's Day weekend was legitimately gorgeous, and temperatures were in the 80s. That was not a call for you to make a beeline to the coast, and unfortunately, Cannon Beach police had to ask almost 1,000 of you to clear the beach.
• We're not the only state in the West Coast Pact having problems on that front: The Los Angeles Times posted a report on "stir-crazy" Californians swarming Lake Havasu this weekend, to the point where it's causing gas shortages in the community and lines going 70-vehicles deep for boat ramp access. Lake Havasu has a single hospital with only 16 ICU beds.
• The Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center was the setting of a recent outbreak, with 17 people testing positive for COVID-19, 14 of them being staffers.
• Last week, Gov. Kate Brown laid out the ground rules for counties hoping to reopen in the wake of COVID-19. By Sunday, at least 20 Oregon counties had already submitted their requests to Brown's office to do so. (Multnomah is definitely not one of them).
Oregon, Washington among western states requesting $1 trillion in COVID-19 relief funding https://t.co/P4iujVpbgW— KGW News (@KGWNews) May 11, 2020
• New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his state's tentative plans to begin a phased re-opening, also starting on May 15, and also very similar to our own Gov. Brown's guidelines, with a strong dependence on steady declines in hospitalizations, new infections, and increases in testing and hospital bed availability.
• So how are those declines coming along, then? Barely, if at all: This New York Times interactive graph shows positive test results are still rising in most states, and the closest to an observable decline in most regions is best described as a plateau effect.
Scientist searching for a coronavirus cure exposes right-wing “disinformation campaign” that led to Trump cutting his funding https://t.co/TO6CgRRof1— Media Matters (@mmfa) May 11, 2020
• Wuhan (which relaxed their lockdown restrictions in late March and had previously gone 35 days without reporting a new case of COVID-19) recently reported at least six new cases in the past week, all of them asymptomatic.
• Coronavirus in the West Wing: The news of two White House staffers testing positive for COVID-19 has Trump administration officials concerned that they're still expected to work in the West Wing—which they believe is now a coronavirus hot spot. In the words of one of Trump's economic advisors: "It’s a small, crowded place. It’s, you know, it’s a little bit risky. But you have to do it because you have to serve your country.” Counter point: You don't have to do it.
• Speaking of which: A Senate committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday May 12, titled "COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School" has been moved to a socially distanced video-conference after White House Pandemic Response Team members Dr. Robert Redfield, Dr. Stephen Hahn, and Anthony Fauci, and committee Chair Lamar Alexander, have all gone under self-quarantine after coming into contact with COVID-infected staff members.
• Also speaking of which... cowardly man scared of Trump continues to be scared of Trump: "Vice President Mike Pence is not planning to enter self-quarantine after his press secretary tested positive for coronavirus." Meanwhile, while the White House is trying to enforce a new face mask policy, it won't (of course) apply to our idiot president.
Most White House officials will be asked to wear masks, but directive will not apply to Trump https://t.co/NnzUSNl6eF— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 11, 2020
• Decades of research has shown that Black patients receive inferior medical care to white patients, due to racial bias. Unsurprisingly, this trend appears to be continuing during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a higher death rate for African American patients whose symptoms might have been ignored by medical professionals.
• 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! BUT HURRY! The deadline for submissions is THIS FRIDAY, MAY 15!
• And finally, this is going to be my new drinking game of choice:
Quarantine day 99: pic.twitter.com/vi5EehgBAS— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) May 11, 2020