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'!)
• The updated totals: Health officials reported 63 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday morning, bringing the state total to 3,470. There were no new coronavirus-related deaths, leaving the total at 137.
• Thirty-one Oregon counties officially entered Phase One today, and retail businesses across the state were given permission to reopen as well, provided they're not part of a shopping center or mall, and are adhering to distancing and safety guidelines.
• Oregon's reopening thankfully doesn't look anything like Wisconsin's (i.e. a gross mess that led to 410 new cases reported), but is instead closer to a state of subdued caution. Our Blair Stenvick has more.
• While some things are opening back up, others are calling it a day: Both Feast and Pickathon officially canceled their upcoming festivals (our Bob Ham has more on both stories), and Mayor Ted Wheeler's latest budget includes a proposal to defund the Portland Film Office in the face of COVID-caused shortfalls.
• Goodwill is part of the statewide retail-reopening today, with five locations open for quarantined thrifters looking to resume bargain hunting. None of the five are in the Portland area, but two of them are in Salem, whose parent county was one of only two to have their reopen application denied.
• Portland: Please, for real, leave the Oregon Coast alone, okay? Just... stop.
So I just read about a bunch of stupid assholes from Portland are gonna come storm seasides beaches cuz they’re closed till fucking Monday. Like how sad do you have to be to plan a protest when it’s literally gonna open two days later? Like what exactly is the point of that?
— dev (@hierophantess) May 15, 2020
• It's been 25 years since Oregon's last state-sponsored execution, and criminal justice advocates are increasingly hopeful the state's capital punishment days will stay far behind us after death row inmates were abruptly transferred off the row and reassigned to other housing in the system this week.
IN NATIONAL NEWS
• The CDC's tracking of national COVID-19 forecasts is pointing towards a cumulative death total crossing the 100,000 threshhold by June 1.
• Republicans have said House Democrats' proposed $3 trillion HEROES Act bill is a non-starter, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded by saying the legislation is the starting point for any new negotiations.
• As retail locations open nationwide, store employees are shouldering most of the responsibility to enforce mask rules. It's increasingly leading to altercations with right-wing customers who can't wait to escalate their disagreement into physical confrontation.
So to be clear... If you hate wearing a mask in public, you’re really not going to like the ventilator in the ICU.
— Mohamad Safa (@mhdksafa) May 15, 2020
• Do you think our idiot president just likes the sound "warp speed" makes in his head when he says it? He unveiled more details on his "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine development program this afternoon, and by details, we mean he provided a completely unrealistic timeline (end of 2020) and again bragged that "we have the military totally involved" without explaining what that means, or why that's good.
• In semi-related news, our idiot president also unveiled the Space Force flag at an Oval Office ceremony today, where he revealed the existence of what he calls "The Super Duper Missile," a weapon that he swears goes like, 17-times faster than some other random missile he didn't actually name. ICYMI: Space Force became the official sixth branch of the US Armed Services last December. It is currently the only branch of the armed services to have a flag that nakedly infringes on the copyright of a popular 1960s TV show.
• Want to support the Mercury and make your walls snazzier? Buy a Mercury Cover Poster! They're gorgeous, a real conversation starter, and will keep your favorite media source humming. But after tonight, they're gone forever, so snap 'em up now!
• And finally, with respect to The Daily Show, here's your moment of Zen: