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'!)
• According to the Oregon Health Authority, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide now stands at 3,726. The number of deaths went up by two since yesterday, to 140 total. Nationally, the death toll has passed 91,500.
• Yesterday morning, a Baker County Judge ruled that Gov. Kate Brown's executive stay-at-home orders were "null and void," thanks to a lawsuit waged by church leaders upset they aren't allowed to hold in-person services. But last evening, the Oregon Supreme Court reversed that judge's decision, meaning the orders can stay in place for now. However, the Court's decision isn't final—just a stopgap measure. TL;DR Version: Fake Christians ruin everything.
• A related headline that might be of interest to fake Christians: "Some churches that tried to reopen are closing again as the virus spreads."
• In other frivolous lawsuit news: A federal judge has slapped down a lawsuit brought by nine Oregon businesses against Gov. Brown which was also attempting to reverse the Governor's emergency order THAT HAS BEEN CLEARLY PROVEN TO SAVE LIVES. Jesus, these people.
• Thinking about refusing to wear a face mask in a Portland business? Heed these words from the cops: "According to Portland Police, it is well within the rights of a business to ask people to leave who refuse to follow their policies. 'If the person refuses to leave, that may constitute a trespassing offense,' said police spokesperson Officer Melissa Newhard."
• We knew the employment numbers in Oregon were bad, but the state data released today was both sharp and bleak: Oregon's unemployment rate went from an almost all-time low 3.5 percent in March, to an all-time high of 14.2 percent by the end of April, with 266,600 jobs lost in that one month alone.
• Oregon is ready to begin distributing just over $8 million to help needy tenants make rent payments during the pandemic, with the federal stimulus funds being divided among 18 local agencies.
• Calls to domestic violence crisis lines doubled shortly after Brown instituted the statewide order in mid-March. Two months later, that call load is just as high—and calls stem from deadlier situations. Our Alex Zielinski has more.
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• Welp, the White House has confirmed that Trump is indeed taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine in a bid to avoid getting COVID-19, even though it is unproven, and in some patients, extremely dangerous. Good luck with that, dummy!
• In what will be another failed attempt at distracting the American public from the way he completely botched the country's pandemic response, which directly led to the deaths of untold thousands, President Trump is now trying to point fingers at the World Health Organization. NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE.
Trump says the U.S. having the most COVID-19 cases in the world is "a badge of honor":— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) May 19, 2020
"I don't look at that as a bad thing. I look at that, in a certain respect, as being a good thing. Because it means our testing is much better." pic.twitter.com/1Q7vKt0ybx
• The latest state to report a big surge in new coronavirus cases after a tentative re-opening? Maryland, whose largest rise yet in new cases (1,784 in one day) was reported four days after the state relaxed stay-at-home restrictions.
• Over 100 workers at an Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania have tested positive for COVID-19. And (surprise surprise) Amazon is being less than forthcoming with information about the outbreak.
Black and Latinx workers are disproportionately likely to be categorized as essential workers and at higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Employee protections like paid family and sick leave must be a racial justice priority. https://t.co/CktyxXUdrn— ACLU (@ACLU) May 19, 2020
• Shakespeare's death couldn't close the Globe. The Globe burning down couldn't close the Globe. But COVID-19 might just shut the historic theater's doors forever.
• Meanwhile in America: A papasan chair is like, half a globe! One you can sit in! And the country's foremost seller of vaguely conical wicker furniture, Pier 1, has announced it intends to close for good due to the pandemic.
• Get your tickets NOW for the hilarious (and sometimes poignant) Confinement Online Film Fest (CoFF) debuting this Friday. Grab those tickets and watch the trailer here!
• And finally, do you want a quarantine husband like this or do you NOT want a quarantine husband like this?
Quarantine day 81 pic.twitter.com/De26G3ZvJG— Growing Up Italian (@GrowingUpItalia) May 18, 2020