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 3,358 positive/presumptive coronavirus cases, and a death count of 130—which is up three since yesterday. The US death toll has passed 81,000.
• As of this morning, all but four of Oregon's 36 total counties have applied to enter the Phase One stage of re-opening by May 15. The four counties that have not yet applied? Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Lincoln.
• While the state's county-by-county applications to enter Phase One of re-opening are still pending, Oregon Parks and Recreation are allowing limited day-use access to at least 45 state parks as of today, with more expected to join those ranks in the following weeks. In Portland, public pools and community centers will be closed throughout the summer.
• Headlines that make you go "hmmmm...": "Portland Timbers and Thorns owner Merritt Paulson optimistic about MLS season resuming this summer."
• Pickathon has announced they're officially canceling their 2020 festival, and do not intend to issue full refunds, although organizers will "do what we can" for those in extreme hardship. Those who had already purchased tickets for the summer festival have until June 10 to either roll their tickets over to the 2021 festival, or donate the value of the tickets back to Pickathon.
• The Pendleton Round-Up, however, still plans to yee-haw as scheduled September 16-19, in celebration of its 110th anniversary. Organizers are meeting with Umatilla County health officials every two weeks for further guidance in response to Gov. Brown's recent statement that "all large gatherings should be cancelled or significantly modified through at least September."
• Anthony Fauci and other medical experts testified remotely before the Senate this morning, warning that reopening too early could result in "needless suffering." Check out their full remarks here.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says a second wave of the virus is "entirely conceivable and possible": "I hope that if we do have the threat of a second wave, we will be able to deal with it very effectively to prevent it from becoming an outbreak not only worse than now but much, much less" pic.twitter.com/58y0K0w6hB
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 12, 2020
• House Democrats proposed a new $3 trillion "coronavirus rescue bill" that would include a second round of stimulus checks, a $200 billion "heroes fund" for essential workers, $175 billion in housing assistance, extending the $600 unemployment insurance benefit to January 2021, and $75 billion for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. House Republicans have already rejected the proposed legislation before even looking at the bill, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it "exactly the wrong approach."
Mitch McConnell is forcing a Senate vote on an amendment that would give William Barr free rein to look through the browsing history of every single American. If that doesn't give you chills I don't know what will. I'm fighting it every step of the way. https://t.co/QkYKKnJtCU
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) May 12, 2020
• COVID-19 is having an outsized impact on communities of color—which means that could result in them being even more undercounted in the US Census than usual. That's important because federal funding for cultural-specific services is distributed according to Census results.
• Wuhan is not playing around after six new and asymptomatic cases were reported this week, announcing plans to test all 11 million residents in the next 10 days. How they're planning on testing that many people that quickly has yet to be made clear.
• The UK's worker furlough program—which pays up to $3,000 per month to workers laid off due to the effects of COVID-19—has been extended to the end of October, doubling the length of its original timeline.
• 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 be sure to get your tickets to the CoFF festival debuting on May 22!
• And finally, so I guess we're allowing babies to make our pizzas now? OH HOW FAR WE'VE FALLEN!