Happy Tuesday, everyone. Let’s get right to it:
• The city of Palm Springs announced today that an employee has tested positive for the coronavirus, and that all employees who had direct contact with the employee are being tested and quarantined at home. My two cents: Don’t be concerned by announcements like this; take them as a good sign: We know the virus is out there, and diligent actions like this will help stop the spread.
• The deadline to apply for $33 million in rental assistance—up to $3,500 per household—is just two days away. Get details and the application here.
• Meanwhile, some more shady counting is going down in Florida, as the Department of Health has told hospitals to decrease the numbers of COVID-19 patients they’re reporting in their ICUs. Here’s an explanation why.
• Younger people are driving the increases in COVID-19 cases in some places seeing spikes, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci. “The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges that we’re seeing in Florida, Texas and Arizona,” Fauci said.
• On a happier note, Fauci said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that there will be a vaccine available around the first of the year, which, if you’re keeping track, is about six months from now.
• Oh, and Fauci made it clear that, despite what the president says, nobody has asked him to slow down testing—and, in fact, he said the federal government is working on doing more testing.
• Public-health experts yesterday explained to a House committee that systemic racism is to blame for a disproportionately high number of COVID-19 cases in America’s Black communities.
• A doctor with UCSF answers five questions you may have about asymptomatic carriers of SARS-CoV-2. Key quote: “Public health experts don’t know exactly how much spread is caused by asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients. But there are some telling hints that it is a major driver of this pandemic.”
• Because the United States is not exactly doing a bang-up job in flattening the curve, the European Union is considering barring Americans from visiting.
• Washington state has become the latest place to require that people wear face coverings in public places. Lives. Saved.
• Remdesivir can currently only be administered intravenously, meaning someone pretty much has to be hospitalized to receive it. However, Gilead Sciences is working on an inhalable version—which means it could be given to people suffering from COVID-19 when they’re at home, before the disease can further progress. One doctor told the San Francisco Chronicle that’s a potential game-changer.
• Square, used by a lot of small businesses to collect payments, is holding up to 30 percent of businesses’ payments all of a sudden. Square claims it’s to protect against possible refunds or risky transactions—but The New York Times found that to often be a lame excuse.
• Well, folks, it’s come to this: A new Apple Watch feature senses when a wearer is washing his or her hands—and is offering prompts to encourage said wearer to keep going for the recommended 20 seconds.
• A Los Angeles doctor invented a machine seven years ago that could quickly disinfect an airplane using ultraviolet light. Nobody was very interested in the idea until, well, along came the pandemic.
• Recycling efforts have taken a serious beating due to the coronavirus. Two researchers, writing for The Conversation, say they “are concerned about challenges facing the recycling sector and growing distrust of communal and secondhand goods. The trends we see in the making and consuming of single-use goods, particularly plastic, could have lasting negative effects on the circular economy.”
• Finally, a researcher on alternative media, also writing for The Conversation, looks at how important alternative newspaper coverage of the Stonewall Riots was at documenting what actually happened—while The New York Times was running headlines like “4 Policemen Hurt in ‘Village’ Raid.”
We’ll be back with more tomorrow. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Speak out against injustice. Please support independent alternative news sources, like the Independent, if you’re able. Thank you, and be safe.