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Good morning, Portland. We've made it to the beginning of another uncertain week with COVID-19 as our trail guide. For those of you lucky enough to still be employed, time to make the top half of your body presentable enough for a video conference call. For everyone else, do whatever the hell you want, but please, please try to stay home. We're thinking of you. A lot's going on: Let us get you up to speed on the news that broke over the weekend so you're ready for what will undoubtedly be another bonkers week.
- The US is now home to more than 32,000 known cases of COVID-19. Half of those cases are in the state of New York, which now accounts for 5 percent of all coronavirus cases worldwide. To combat the virus' quick spread, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to be closed at 8 pm Sunday, and directed residents to stay inside except for essential errands and brief workouts.
- Donald Trump has deployed the National Guard to help three states hit especially hard by COVID-19: New York, California, and Washington. The reserve soldiers will follow orders from each state's governor on how to best support that state's COVID-19 response.
- Congress failed to pass a massive coronavirus aid package Sunday, after Democrats refused to support a plan offering hefty bailouts to large companies and little support for workers. The estimated $1 trillion aid measure will continue to be hashed out this week.
- This is a great interview:
Remarkable interview with Anthony Fauci. In response to a question about Trump’s lies, Fauci responds, “What do you want me to do? I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down.” https://t.co/b5vaHSbyhu
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) March 23, 2020
- Researchers have identified 69 different drugs that may be effective in treating the coronavirus. These drugs could temporarily treat COVID-19 symptoms while scientists work to create a new antiviral drug from scratch.
- More famous people have contracted COVID-19, including Harvey Weinstein and US Senator Rand Paul—the only senator to vote against a $8 billion deal to provide emergency coronavirus funding earlier this month. What's more, he probably gave the virus to Mitt Romney.
- Canada has announced that it's not sending any athletes to the Olympics or Paralympics this year due to COVID-19.
- Oregon's relatively smooth response to COVID-19 hit a road bump Friday evening when officials' attempt to clarify the state's "stay home" order only made it more opaque. While Gov. Kate Brown did not order Oregonians to shelter in place, Portland Ted Wheeler signaled that they definitely should. Meanwhile, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said the rule wouldn't be enforced anyway.
- Because of this clunky non-announcement, Oregon saw thousands of people flocking to beaches, parks, and towns this weekend, flouting social distancing rules in exchange for... fun?
My buddy took this time lapse video driving from the #OregonCoast to Portland today.
In the middle of a pandemic, this doesn’t look like social distancing to me. pic.twitter.com/8VZJv1PvR6
— Morgan Romero TV (@MorganRomeroTV) March 21, 2020
- In response, the mayors and business leaders of costal Oregon towns—most of which thrive on tourist dollars—urged visitors to stay away. “The COVID-19 pandemic is not just an opportunity for a traveling vacation,” said Tillamook Mayor Suzanne Weber in a video message. “It’s a threat to our very lives.”
- Today, we're expecting the city or state to make a stricter announcement ordering people to stay home and closing non-essential businesses. Hopefully it'll contain a dash of Italian Mayor Energy:
My new favourite thing is Italian mayors and regional presidents LOSING IT at people violating quarantine. Here's an eng subtitled compilation. "I hear you wanna throw graduation parties. I'm gonna send the police over. With flamethrowers." #Covid19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/NbYuWePIVt
— 🌈 (@protectheflames) March 21, 2020
- Gov. Brown did take some action Sunday, by approving a 90-day statewide eviction moratorium that goes further than Portland and Multnomah County's joint moratorium.
- Portland sign of the apocalypse:
Portland Pride Parade & Festival has been postponed due to COVID-19.@PDXPrideNW says it'll "reassess in May to see what will be possible later this year." ☹️
— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) March 23, 2020
- On Friday, the Mercury spoke with a Portland oncology nurse about how she's seeing COVID-19 impact her vulnerable patients—and what she's afraid could happen if people don't start taking the disease seriously. "I hope everything I’m telling you isn’t true," the nurse told us. "This is just my understanding, from my specific perspective at my job. I am eager to be proven incorrect."