Your Tuesday Update: FDLE Probes Inmate Death At Lake Correctional, 2nd Presidential Debate Moves to Florida, Knight’s Pub Loses Alcohol License
FDLE investigates inmate’s death at officers’ hands at Lake Correctional
Joe Byrnes, WMFE
An inmate has died after being injured by corrections officers at Lake Correctional Institution in Clermont.
The Florida Department of Corrections says the use of force was “an isolated incident.” The inmate was injured on Thursday and died the next day.
The department has not identified the officers who took part but says they are on administrative leave.
The Miami Herald has identified the inmate as 51-year-old Christopher Howell.
The state has not named him, but prison records indicate Howell was serving four years for armed robbery — and that he died Friday.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident.
We still don’t fully understand the label ‘asymptomatic’
Pien Huang, NPR
Even if someone is infected by the novel coronavirus and remains asymptomatic — free of coughing, fever, fatigue and other common signs of infection, that doesn’t mean the coronavirus isn’t taking a toll. The virus can still be causing mild — although, likely reversible — harm to their lungs.
A new paper in Nature Medicine, published June 18, documents the clinical patterns of asymptomatic infections. It finds that many of the people studied developed signs of minor lung inflammation — akin to walking pneumonia — while exhibiting no other symptoms of coronavirus.
The study shows that being asymptomatic doesn’t always mean that no damage has occurred in someone’s body; follow-up studies will help researchers assess for potential long-term impacts. It also demonstrates that the intense scrutiny applied to novel coronavirus infections could shed light on how other respiratory diseases operate: asymptomatic carriers of flu or common cold viruses are not studied much, so it’s currently unclear whether the documented inflammation is a typical immune response or specific to the novel coronavirus.
The percentage of people with asymptomatic infections is unclear. “Estimates suggest that anywhere between 6% and 41% of the population may be infected but not have symptoms,” Maria Van Kerkhove, a top World Health Organization official, said June 9.
Read the full article here.
Budget puts limits on social distancing options for schools
The Associated Press
As schools consider how and when to reopen their buildings during the pandemic, many are finding themselves overwhelmed by the potential expenses that would come with operating under social distancing guidelines: protective equipment, staff for smaller classrooms, and additional transportation to keep students spread out on bus rides.
The burdens loom large in particular for urban, under-resourced districts that often have neither the space nor the budgets to accommodate new health protocols.
In Hartford, Connecticut, Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez shudders at the thought of how to afford a scenario where each teacher has dramatically fewer students.
Why reopening isn’t enough to save the economy
Planet Money, NPR
Brooklyn Heights sits across the East River from Lower Manhattan.
It’s filled with multimillion-dollar brownstones and — usually — Range Rovers, Teslas and BMWs. These days it’s easy to find parking.
The brownstones are mostly dark at night. The place is a ghost town.
And the neighborhood’s sushi restaurants, Pilates studios, bistros and wine bars are either closed or mostly empty. It’s a microcosm for what has been the driver of the pandemic recession: Rich people have stopped going out, destroying millions of jobs.
That’s one of the key insights of a blockbuster study that was dropped late last week by a gang of economists led by Harvard University’s Raj Chetty.
If you don’t know who Chetty is, he’s sort of like the Michael Jordan of policy wonks. He’s a star economist. He and his colleagues assemble and crunch massive data sets and deliver insights that regularly shift core economic debates about inequality and opportunity.
This new study focuses on the economic impact of COVID-19 and the government response. To us nerds, this is like Game 7 of the NBA Finals, and Chetty just swooped in at a crucial moment to drop some threes.
On the day the study came out, Chetty participated in a Zoom webinar sponsored by Princeton University’s Bendheim Center for Finance. Dressed in a white-collared shirt with bookshelves as his background, Chetty took us all through the study.
The data? Good lord.
They’ve assembled several gigantic new data sets from private companies, including credit and debit card processors and national payroll companies. The data are all freely available online, updated in real time and presented in an easily digestible form.
Chetty and his team have crunched it all to give some precise insights about consumer spending, jobs and the geographic impact of the crisis. The study represents an advance for economics as a science, and it has got some bombshells.
Read the full article here.
2nd presidential debate moves from Michigan to Florida
WASHINGTON (AP) — The nonpartisan commission that sponsors presidential debates says a debate that had been scheduled to be held in Michigan will now take place in Florida.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Tuesday that the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami will host the debate originally set for the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
The commission says the university concluded it is no longer “feasible” to host the debate.
The university suggested in a statement that its decision is related to the work needed to prepare the campus for fall during the coronavirus pandemic.
Short season, no summer ball make staying sharp a challenge
College baseball players who had their seasons end abruptly in March are finding it challenging to stay sharp.
That’s largely because the coronavirus pandemic has forced most summer leagues to shut down. That leaves the players to their own devices to get in workouts and do baseball drills.
Even if they do play summer ball, the season will be short.
Clemson coach Monte Lee says he’s worried about players being overzealous when they return to campus for fall practices. Lee said he plans to have his players ramp up slowly because their routines have been disrupted.
Knight’s Pub loses its alcohol license after thirteen employees test positive for coronavirus
Danielle Prieur, WMFE
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation suspended the popular off-campus sports bar’s alcohol license on Monday.
Knight’s Pub | The state has issued an emergency suspension of the alcohol license for the UCF-area bar after @HealthyFla says 28 patrons and 13 employees tested positive for #COVID19, per @FloridaDBPR. pic.twitter.com/IomdeqfYNx
— UCF Knight News (@UCFKnightNews) June 23, 2020
Thirteen employees at Knight’s Pub tested positive for coronavirus.
The Florida Department of Health used contact tracing to confirm 28 patrons had gotten sick after visiting the establishment.
On Monday, the state reported more than 100,000 Floridians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March.
Raptors arrive in Florida, set to start prepping for restart
MIAMI (AP) — The Toronto Raptors arrived in southwest Florida on Monday, set to begin their preparations for next month’s restart of the NBA season.
If the Raptors return to the NBA Finals, they could be in Florida for nearly four full months.
The reigning NBA champions will start training for the season restart later this week at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, making that school their home base until they head north to the Disney complex near Orlando, Florida, around July 7.
They landed in Fort Myers on Monday afternoon, then boarded buses for the team hotel.
Florida passes 100,000 cases; more young people are testing positive
Coronavirus Daily, NPR
Florida passed a grim milestone: 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The latest numbers include a lot of people in their 20s and 30s. Some officials are putting a pause on reopening.
The Trump administration has started shipping out supplies needed to ensure sufficient testing. But those supplies haven’t always been very helpful and in some cases they’ve been hazardous. NPR’s Rob Stein has the details.
Iowa is home to some 10,000 refugees from Myanmar. The coronavirus has been especially hard on them, with estimates saying as many as 70% have contracted the virus. As Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Payne reports, many in the Burmese community work at local meatpacking plants, where social distancing is a constant challenge.
Preparing to visit family in long-term care facilities? NPR’s Allison Aubrey has some tips to keep everyone safe.
Some New York news shows back, but many hosts work remotely
NEW YORK (AP) — Anchors at “CBS This Morning” and “Fox & Friends” return to their Manhattan studios as New York City restrictions ease.
But it’s not a full return: the “Fox & Friends” couch is still in storage, and one of the three CBS anchors is staying at home.
New York-based news shows are trying a variety of approaches, with one-person “flash” studios and extended time working at home.
At most news organizations, the bulk of the behind-the-scenes staff continues to work remotely, and likely will for some time.
But CBS’ Gayle King, not a fan of working from home, is thrilled to be back.
Trial for confessed Parkland shooter delayed by pandemic
Caitie Switalski, WLRN
The trial for the confessed Parkland shooter has been delayed indefinitely due to the ongoing pandemic.
After past delays, Broward Judge Elizabeth Scherer had been aiming to start the trial sometime this summer. Then the coronavirus closed the courthouse to the public.
At a Zoom hearing Monday, Scherer told attorneys that it is unclear when it will be safe to bring prospective jurors to the courthouse for jury selection.
“Whether or not we’re gonna have to figure out some other way to select a jury in this case, I don’t think anyone knows at this point. We have to take it one day at a time, quite frankly,” Scherer said.
Nikolas Cruz faces 17 charges of first degree murder and 17 charges of attempted murder for the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School more than two years ago.
He was not present in the Zoom hearing today. The next status hearing to see where the case stands is set for the end of August.
Our Daily Breather: Music for staying sane during the pandemic
Resistance and loss in the age of COVID-19 with Edwidge Danticat
Latino USA, NPR
According to Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat, stories are a way of finding inspiration and comfort during the times we’re living through.
Leon County health officials urging parents to not procrastinate in getting back-to-school vaccines
Robbie Gaffney, WFSU
The Leon County Health Department is urging parents to call and set up appointments to get their students required vaccines before the start of the next school year.
Health officials hope to avoid large numbers of families from coming in at the last minute.
In the past, the Leon County Health Department reported seeing 100 plus people come in the day before school started to get their child vaccinated.
But now, the department is trying to avoid that surge due to COVID-19. But they’ve run into some problems—when reaching out to families, some of the numbers on file are either wrong or not working.
Officials are asking parents to see if their doctor can see their child for vaccines. If not, they’re urging parents to call 850-404-6356 to set up an appointment.
Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez among those calling for apology from DeSantis after the governor linked farmworkers to COVID-19 spread
Ryan Dailey, WFSU
A group of Democratic state senators are among those calling for an apology from Governor Ron DeSantis, after he said farmworkers’ lifestyle is facilitating COVID-19 spread.
During a press conference a week ago, DeSantis made several comments linking a spike in coronavirus cases to farmworkers in Florida. The governor described one recent round of testing on roughly 100 workers at a watermelon farm, which yielded a 90 percent positivity rate.
“Part of the reason is, when you have workers like that, they’re living in really close confines, sometimes multi-generational, but the real close extended contact in those living conditions is really conducive for having this spread,” DeSantis said.
The state has now surpassed 100,000 coronavirus cases, and DeSantis has also pointed to the state’s prison population and residents of long-term care facilities as the reason for some case surges. But the governor’s characterization of farm workers, and who does those jobs, has rubbed many the wrong way.
“They’re also looking at construction workers and other types of day laborers – they’re finding these are overwhelmingly Hispanic day laborers,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis also said farmworkers often travel to work in buses, “packed there like sardines.” Reacting to the governor’s comments, Democratic Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez said Monday that the governor has singled out “some of the most vulnerable” Floridians in his comments.
“Blaming farm workers, other Hispanics who are in the service sector who have been essential workers who have gone to work, answered the call to duty in service of their communities, is absolutely embarrassing, appalling, and frankly, we look forward to his apology,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez joined seven other senators in writing a letter addressed to DeSantis, asking for an apology. But, he says, the governor can take action to help farmworkers – which Rodriguez says would involve the legislature returning to Tallahassee.
“We’re tired of apologies – what we need is for the governor to take action. We need for the governor to call a special session to help protect these vulnerable communities from the spread of the virus, due to their lack of access to quality healthcare, by expanding Medicaid and other programs,” Rodriguez said.
DeSantis has previously said he doesn’t think a special session will be necessary.
The governor’s communications director, Helen Ferre, responded to the senators’ letter on Twitter Monday, calling their assertions that DeSantis is scapegoating Hispanic people “politics at its worst.” She says DeSantis “ensured these farm workers received medical testing and treatment for COVID-19, which clearly they needed. If these Democrats are so concerned, why didn’t they step up?”
The governor did not hold a press conference to discuss COVID-19 Monday.
Buy, borrow, steal: how debt became the ‘sugar-rush’ solution to our economic woes
Hidden Brain, NPR
Policymakers have a tried-and-true game plan for jump-starting the economy in times of severe recession: Push stimulus packages and lower interest rates so Americans will borrow and spend.
But economist Amir Sufi says the way we traditionally address a recession is deeply flawed.
He argues that by encouraging “sugar-rush” solutions, the nation is putting poor and middle-class Americans and the entire economy at even greater risk.
This week we look at the role of debt as a hidden driver of recessions, and how we might create a more stable system.
Delta to resume flights between the U.S. and China
Austin Horn, NPR
Delta Air Lines said on Monday that it would resume passenger flights between the U.S. and China this week. The company said it’s the first U.S. airline to do so since February after flights were suspended as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The twice-weekly flights from Seattle will travel through Seoul, South Korea, before reaching Shanghai, with the first one departing Thursday, according to a statement from Delta. The company said its service to China will expand in July to include Detroit as well.
A major sign of the easing of travel restrictions between the two countries came last week when the U.S. Department of Transportation said that China and the U.S. would allow American and Chinese carriers, respectively, to schedule four weekly flights between the two countries.
Later in the week, the department rejected China’s proposal for additional flights.
In its statement, Delta highlighted the strict safety measures it will be taking to prevent spread of the coronavirus, including “electrostatic spraying” before departure, capping main cabin seating at 60% and the use of “state-of-the-art” air circulation systems.
Delta has been hit hard financially by the coronavirus.
In May, Delta’s CEO said the company was burning through $50 million per day.
The Fortune 500 company also decided to retire its Boeing 777 model from its fleet in response to financial pressure. Delta’s stock price is above $29 as of Monday afternoon, a rebound from a low of $19 in May but still about half of its price from the beginning of 2020.
How widespread coronavirus testing helped meatpacking plants halt outbreaks
Daniel Charles, NPR
Back in April, the Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, was a poster child for corporate failure to protect workers from the coronavirus.
Dozens of plant employees every day were showing up in clinics with symptoms of COVID-19. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye, the public health director for Black Hawk County, Iowa, where the plant is located, recalls telling plant managers: “There is a huge volume [of cases]. There is an outbreak!”
At the time, no one knew the scale of the outbreak. Cisse Egbuonye told Tyson’s managers that they needed to test every single one of their employees: “You have to get a sense of what’s going on in the plant.”
So in late April, Tyson shut down the Waterloo plant temporarily and asked plant employees — all 2800 of them — to come to the plant’s parking lot and allow someone to stick a swab up their nose.
“Yeah, we had to take dramatic measures,” says Scott Brooks, a senior vice president at Tyson.
When it was all finished, about a thousand workers at the plant had tested positive for the virus. Hundreds of them had no COVID-19 symptoms. Without testing, they would have continued going to work together in close quarters, potentially spreading the virus.
Read the full article here.
Saudi Arabia announces this year’s hajj will be ‘very limited’
Rachel Treisman, NPR
Countries around the world have placed restrictions on public gatherings, and Saudi Arabia said on Monday that this year’s hajj is no exception.
Officials announced in a statement that the pilgrimage, which is set to begin at the end of July, will be “very limited” in size and restricted to Saudi residents only.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah cited the lack of an available vaccine and the risks of crowded gatherings.
“This decision is taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings,” the statement said.
Millions of Muslims typically make the pilgrimage to Mecca every year, with nearly 2.5 million doing so in 2019. The hajj is one of Islam’s most important religious requirements as well as a major source of revenue for Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia and other nations had already taken steps to limit the number of pilgrims traveling to Mecca this year.
In March, Hajj Minister Mohammed Banten asked Muslims to delay finalizing their plans “until the situation is clear.” The country also suspended all visits to Mecca and Medina for the umrah pilgrimage, which can be performed year-round.
Indonesia and Malaysia, which send a combined total of about a quarter-million Muslims to the hajj annually, both announced earlier in June that they would be canceling this year’s pilgrimage out of health concerns for travelers.
“The government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is honored to serve millions of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims annually and it confirms that this decision stems from the top priority it accords maintaining the safety of pilgrims on its land until they depart to their home countries,” according to the statement.
Saudi Arabia maintains a 24-hour curfew in Mecca, although it ended curfews imposed in March in most towns and cities.
Black Medicare patients with COVID-19 nearly 4 times as likely to end up in the hospital
Maria Godoy, NPR
New federal data reinforces the stark racial disparities that have appeared with COVID-19: According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Black Americans enrolled in Medicare were hospitalized with the disease at rates nearly four times higher than their white counterparts.
Disparities were also striking among Hispanics and Asian Americans. Hispanics were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized as whites, while Asian Americans were about 50% more likely. Black and Hispanic beneficiaries were more likely to test positive for the coronavirus as well, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.
The data “confirms long understood and stubbornly persistent disparities in health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority groups,” Verma said in a press briefing Monday.
“Low socioeconomic status itself, all too often wrapped up with the racial disparities I just mentioned, represents a powerful predictor of complications from COVID-19,” she added.
Previous data has already shown that older Americans in general are more likely to develop severe cases of COVID-19; but the new CMS data highlights that, even among this group, racial and health disparities are dramatic.
Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center at Yale School of Medicine, calls the data on racial and ethnic health disparities “irrefutable.”
Read the full article here.
Barcelona opera reopens with an audience of plants
Rachel Treisman, NPR
When Barcelona’s Liceu opera opened on Monday for its first concert since mid-March, it did so to a full house — of plants.
The Gran Teatre del Liceu filled its 2,292 seats with plants for a performance by the UceLi Quartet, which it called a prelude to its 2020-2021 season. The string quartet serenaded its leafy audience with Giacomo Puccini’s “Crisantemi,” in a performance that was also made available to human listeners via livestream.
“After a strange, painful period, the creator, the Liceu’s artistic director and the curator Blanca de la Torre offer us a different perspective for our return to activity, a perspective that brings us closer to something as essential as our relationship with nature,” according to a release on the Liceu’s website.
The plants came from local nurseries and will be donated along with a certificate from the artist to 2,292 health care professionals, specifically at the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona.
Organizers wrote that they wanted to recognize the work of health care providers, who have served “on the toughest front in a battle unprecedented for our generations.”
Read the full article here.
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