Here's the latest local and national news you need to know about the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as stuff you may have missed over the weekend!
• After much hand-wringing from the governor's office and following intense pressure from medical professionals, Oregon mayors, and county officials, Gov. Kate Brown has finally dropped her executive order that's intended to legally enforce social distancing rules in Oregon. In a nutshell, the "stay at home" order forbids non-essential gatherings of ANY size (though individual jogging/walks outside the home are okay), and allows certain businesses to remain open if they are able to provide distancing measures such as curbside service (hair stylists, yoga studios, theaters, malls, and more are poop out of luck—restaurants and bars that provide takeout, grocery stores, pharmacies are okay for now). Our Alex Zielinski has all the details and what this will mean for you.
• Among those businesses that are still allowed to operate for now—cannabis dispensaries that offer curbside service. The Merc's Wm. Steven Humphrey has more on this.
• As of today, the count of positive coronavirus cases (that we know of) in Oregon is 191. Five deaths have been reported.
• Over the weekend, Governor Brown went a couple steps farther than Multnomah County officials in placing a 90-day moratorium on evictions statewide, and not making that moratorium conditioned on proving that their loss of income was due to COVID-19. Our Alex Zielinski has the story.
• People are still getting evicted in Oregon—specifically, Oregonians visiting coastal towns. Those coastal towns have started issuing 24-hour GTFO orders, because would-be-vacationers are putting their communities in danger.
• Police arrested a man accused of stealing 20-plus cases of N95 respirators from North Portland's ReBuilding Center. How was he caught? The victim of the theft saw him trying to re-sell the masks on Craigslist.
• That $1.5 trillion stimulus package became a $2 trillion stimulus package over the weekend but the one thing it never became was PASSED. Why? Senate Democrats said the GOP was mostly looking out for corporations, and not really helping households. As of this morning, Democrats have blocked it again, citing that the GOP is still trying to serve corporations over their constituents.
• New York state has overtaken Washington to become the center of coronavirus outbreak, as it accounts for roughly 6 percent of cases worldwide.
• The New York Times put together a panel of bonafide pandemic experts and asked them how to stop the virus. Their responses detailed the steps, and how harsh they need to be in order to be successful. A particularly urgent excerpt from the article:
• As usual, Trump is getting in the fucking way and making matters exponentially worse by giving conflicting advice.
things are so bad in New York that Trump could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and not find anyone to shoot
— Matt Oswalt (@MattOswaltVA) March 23, 2020
•The Portland Pride Festival is the latest annual tradition to put itself on pause in response to COVID-19. The Portland Retro Gaming Expo, one of the largest such gatherings in the world, is skipping 2020 entirely.
• Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to avoid saying it out loud, but finally relented, admitting it's possible the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would be postponed.
• We know that soap is one of the best weapons for killing coronavirus, but is "killing" the right word? The Washington Post explains the science of why it's spreading, and apparently "The coronavirus isn't alive, that's why it's so hard to kill."
• Amazon Prime deliveries are now taking up to a month to get to your home if you're ordering items considered "nonessential."
• Hollywood is getting severely disrupted, and productions are getting postponed, but Netflix says they're good for the next few months thanks to operating in binge mode. Related: Netflix's top 10 today featured the original docuseries Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak, and the "John Cusack outruns an earthquake in a Limo" disaster "classic" 2012.
“Young people can get it and they can transmit it to old people and the next thing you know – I’m out of there.”— ABC News (@ABC) March 23, 2020
Danny DeVito encourages people to self-isolate to prevent spread of coronavirus. https://t.co/TkyieGq9TE pic.twitter.com/L9ipmHaMYr
• You're quarantined at home with nothing to do? NOT ANYMORE! Check out the Mercury's "The Best Things To Do (While Staying Safely Socially Distanced) in Portland This Week: March 23-26." IT'S GRRRRRR-EAT!
• Reminder: The Mercury is depending on you to continue bringing you top-notch reporting as well as things to do while quarantined. If you want us around, please consider a one-time (or even better) recurring donation. Thank you so much!
Quarantine day 11:— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) March 22, 2020