Daily Archives: May 3, 2020

COVID-19: Why Does the Disease’s Name Matter? | Time

Posted: May 3, 2020 at 5:06 am

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an official name for the new coronavirus disease: COVID-19 making sure not to reference Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus originated. COVID-19 stands for Corona Virus Disease 19.

Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing, said Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks. The WHO referenced guidelines set in 2015 that ensure the name does not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, while still being pronounceable and related to the disease.

Public health experts agree with the choice not to name the disease after a geographic region in China.

If the new name had included a reference to Wuhan it would put a tremendous stigmatization on the people of Wuhan who are the victims of the disease, Wendy Parmet, a law professor at Northeastern University and public health expert, tells TIME.

People tend to think of the disease as belonging to, as being a characteristic of some group of people associated with the place name, which can be really stigmatizing, Parmet says. To be thought of as a hole of disease is not going to be productive. It encourages the next city not to come forward, not to report a disease if your city is labeled as the disease.

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Following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, there have been reports of xenophobic incidents and attitudes, particularly towards people of Asian descent.

Experts note though that there is a long history of diseases being named in ways that include particular groups of people or places or animals.

Around the 1500s in France, Syphilis was called the Italian disease and in Italy it was called it the French disease. The 1918 influenza pandemic was widely called the Spanish Flu in the U.S., even though it did not originate in Spain. In 2009, the WHO stopped using the term swine flu and replaced it with Influenza A (H1N1), following a drop in the pork market. Ebola was named after a river near where the outbreak first originated.

The WHO now notes the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the Spanish Flu, Swine Flu and the Chagas disease as examples of names that are should be avoided when looking to name new diseases.

Arnold Monto, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigans School of Public Health, says its important to be sensitive to different cultures when naming a disease. If you have a name which is regional and it spreads globally, its confusing, Monto says.

In the case of the new coronavirus, the WHO has specified a name for the disease but not the virus. The virus has been named the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by the Coronavirus Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, which is responsible for the official classification of viruses. The committee recognized the new coronavirus similarities to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic that occurred between 2002-2003.

For the disease, its ideal to have a name thats easy to pronounce like COVID-19, Parmet says: its short, easy to say and two syllables. You want something thats easy and that people are going to keep using otherwise theyre going to substitute it with more problematic slang, she says.

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Write to Sanya Mansoor at sanya.mansoor@time.com.

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COVID-19: Why Does the Disease's Name Matter? | Time

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Illinois Seeing More and More COVID-19 Cases as Testing Continues to Increase – WTTW News

Posted: at 5:06 am

The number of novel coronavirus cases in Illinois continues to rise by another 2,450 from Friday to Saturday, with 105 people dying after testing positive despite residents statewide being subjected to a stay-at-home order for six weeks.

The steady rise really is a function of doing more tests, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during his daily briefing Saturday. And, in fact, what youll find is a lower infection rate. If you do the math, of how many tests done as a denominator and how many positives as a numerator, youll see that weve come down on average, from what was around (a) 21% or 22% infection rate to something in the high teens.

In the past 24 hours, labs have processed 15,208 specimens more than double the tests that were being processed on a daily basis a month ago.

In total, Illinois has seen 58,505 COVID-19 cases with 2,559 resulting in death.

Backlash against Pritzker, and the clampdowns he has issued in order to prevent spread of the virus, are also increasing.

Friday saw protests outside the state capitol and the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago, where the governor gives his daily coronavirus briefings, with some people carrying signs with Nazi propaganda and swastikas.

The meaning of that swastika is apparently unknown to the people who are carrying it or if it is known, it is a demonstration of the hate that is among us, Pritzker said. Having said all that, these were a few hundred demonstrators. And there are millions of people in the state of Illinois, really good people who are doing the right thing protecting each other during this extraordinary crisis.

The protesters are upset with Pritzker's latest executive order, which spans through May but loosens some restrictions: Retailers have the green light to open for curbside pickup or delivery, golfers can once again hit the greens, some state parks have reopened and religious organizations can hold worship services with ten or fewer people.

Chicago, however, is not allowing golf courses or paths like the Lakefront to open just yet.

Nothing in our data justifies it, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

But the latest statewide executive order also imposes new requirements, including that everyone over the age of two who can medically tolerate it must wear a face covering or mask in public.

The order calls for coverings to be worn wherever and whenever social distancing is not feasible.

But Pritzker on Saturday stressed that masks should be worn in public, period including when people are walking around their neighborhoods.

Face coverings are vital for people to wear. In fact, it may be the most important thing that you can do to save other peoples lives, to keep other people from getting infected and to protect people in your own home, he said.

The governor said hes noticed that people seem to think that if theyre on the sidewalk, they dont need to wear a mask if theres nobody six feet directly in front of or behind them.

People feel like why do I need to wear a mask? Well you know why: Its because someone may be coming from the (other) direction toward you, Pritkzer said. You are going to be within six feet of that person for at least a few moments, as you pass that person and the next person, and the next person.

Five of Illinois 102 counties Edgar, Edwards, Pope, Putnam and Scott continue to see no cases. Brown County saw its first case on Thursday.

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Coronavirus Prevention Tips and Resources

Officials advise taking preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus, including:

Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and waterUsing hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcoholSneezing or coughing into a tissue and then disposing of the tissueLimiting contact with people regardless of how you feelStaying home when you are sick

Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:

New onset of fever, cough, shortness of breathCongestion in the nasal sinuses or lungsSore throat, body aches or unusual fatigue

If you think you have COVID-19:

Call you doctor before showing up at their office. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, tell the operator that you think you have COVID-19. If possible, wear a mask before medical help arrives or presenting at a doctors office. More advice for those who think they have COVID-19.

Additional resources:

Centers for Disease Control and PreventionIllinois COVID-19 websiteIllinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) websiteIDPH COVID-19 hotline: 800-889-3931IPDH COVID-19 email linkCity of Chicago COVID-19 websiteCity of Chicago COVID-19 hotline: 312-746-4835City of Chicago COVID-19 email link

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Illinois Seeing More and More COVID-19 Cases as Testing Continues to Increase - WTTW News

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50th COVID-19 death reported in WV – WSAZ-TV

Posted: at 5:06 am

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, the state has reported two more COVID-19-related deaths bringing the statewide total to 50 deaths.

The DHHR is reporting a 69-year old woman from Kanawha County, and a 100-year old woman from Monongalia County have passed away due to the virus.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, there have been 51,115 laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 1,184 positive, 49,931 negative and 50 deaths.

Delays may be experienced with the reporting of cases and deaths from the local health department to the state health department.

CONFIRMED CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (5), Berkeley (156), Boone (6), Braxton (2), Brooke (3), Cabell (44), Fayette (14), Gilmer (2), Grant (1), Greenbrier (5), Hampshire (7), Hancock (11), Hardy (7), Harrison (30), Jackson (130), Jefferson (79), Kanawha (168), Lewis (4), Lincoln (2), Logan (13), Marion (46), Marshall (15), Mason (12), McDowell (6), Mercer (10), Mineral (18), Mingo (2), Monongalia (105), Monroe (5), Morgan (13), Nicholas (6), Ohio (33), Pendleton (3), Pleasants (2), Pocahontas (2), Preston (13), Putnam (27), Raleigh (10), Randolph (4), Roane (7), Summers (1), Taylor (7), Tucker (4), Tyler (3), Upshur (4), Wayne (89), Wetzel (3), Wirt (3), Wood (41), Wyoming (1).

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The Health Department confirms 22 new cases of COVID-19 – ConchoValleyHomepage.com

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Posted: May 2, 2020 / 02:36 PM CDT / Updated: May 2, 2020 / 02:59 PM CDT

SAN ANGELO, Texas The Health Department is continuing to provide updated information regarding COVID-19 tests in San Angelo and Tom Green county.

As of 2:00 p.m. May 2, 2020, there are 22 new cases of COVID-19 that were confirmed by the Health Department. Please note that 19 of the 22 came from one large employer who chose to have their entire workforce tested. The Health Department does not have demographic information on most of the 19 cases, as of now, but will report more information if and when they receive it. Because of this, the demographic information throughout the first page will not add up to the total number of cases.

Below we have listed 3 of the known cases:

Results that came back from the employer who tested their workforce:

As of May 2, the number of total patients released and being monitored is at 58.

We will update the public on the current COVID-19 crisis as we receive more information.

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While the west fixates on Covid-19, vulnerable countries pay the price – The Guardian

Posted: at 5:06 am

People in low-income and conflict-affected countries have so far largely escaped the high levels of Covid-19 infection seen in western Europe and the US, although this may be changing.

The pandemic is killing them in different ways: lost jobs, ruined businesses, increased poverty, rising malnutrition and risk of famine, and a prospective increase in untreated, non-Covid preventable illnesses.

For many of the most vulnerable, the developed worlds cures are proving worse than the disease. At the extreme, families must choose between going hungry and getting ill.

And their plight is exacerbated by Covid-style underlying conditions chronic, pre-existing political, security, economic, and climate problems that grow ever more unsustainable.

A Covid tidal wave may be about to hit sub-Saharan Africa and other less resilient regions, the International Rescue Committee warned last week. Without urgent international action, the virus could cause 1bn infections and 3.2m deaths in 34 fragile states, including Afghanistan and Syria, it said.

The World Health Organization has issued similar alerts. Yet even if these worst-case outcomes are somehow avoided, poorer countries already face enormous collateral damage.

For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security, and no future

According to UN estimates, half a billion people, or 8% of the worlds population, could be pushed into destitution by the years end, largely due to the pandemic. The fight against poverty would be set back 30 years.

The crisis could produce famines of biblical proportions, with the number of people facing hunger almost doubling to more than 250 million, the World Food Programme (WFP) said. Shortfalls in donor funding and food aid meant 30 million people could die within a matter of months, it added.

Vanishing demand, collapsed distribution chains, and disrupted export markets are pushing people to the brink, affecting groups as diverse as Ethiopian and Kenyan flower producers, Sri Lankan tea-growers, and Bangladeshi garment workers whose contracts have reportedly been cancelled by UK supermarkets.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Venezuela and Haiti are among the countries most at risk, the WFP said: Millions can only eat if they earn a wage.

War-torn Yemen is worse off than most. About 12 million Yemenis rely on food aid that is threatened by renewed fighting. A repeat cholera outbreak is under way. The detection last week of a Covid-19 cluster in Aden may be the least of its worries.

South Sudan is another conflict-scarred country with little or no capacity to handle a Covid-19 emergency. In 2019, 61% of the population faced food insecurity. Drought and locust infestations were contributory factors.

Yet with only 34 confirmed Covid cases so far, and no deaths, South Sudans main worry at present is the pandemics indirect impact on humanitarian aid, food supply and livelihoods.

This perspective is shared by many in South Africa, the continents second largest economy. The official death toll is just over 100, yet the governments lockdown is said to be costing 570m a day. Some restrictions were eased last Friday amid fears that 1.7 million people could lose the means to make a living.

Looked at globally, the pandemics impact on jobs is devastating. The International Labour Organization reported last week that 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy nearly half the worlds total workforce of 3.3 billion stand in immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed.

The first month of the crisis is estimated to have resulted in a drop of 60% in the income of informal workers globally. This translates into a drop of 81% in Africa and the Americas, it said.

If lockdowns continue or expand, this situation will only get worse. More than 436 million enterprises were at risk, the ILOs Guy Ryder said. For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security, and no future.

The wests self-absorption threatens to obscure the viruss harmful impact on treatment of non-Covid, preventable diseases. Just as UK cancer deaths are forecast to rise due to a diversion of resources, so measles and other immunisation programmes in poorer nations are being undercut.

The WHO announced last week that polio vaccinations for up to 12 million children in Africa will be delayed as resources are switched to fighting Covid-19. It admitted the move would inevitably lead to more child polio cases.

Disrupted vaccination programmes have frequently led to explosive outbreaks of life-threatening diseases previously held in abeyance, warned vaccine specialist Edward Parker. Without systematic efforts to maintain immunisation programmes, the viruss legacy could include a disastrous surge in childhood deaths.

The pandemic is providing cover for malign governments to pursue or accelerate policies that place lives at risk, regardless of Covid-19. A striking example is Myanmar, where the army has renewed its repression of minorities in Rakhine and Chin states.

Yanghee Lee, the UNs human rights rapporteur, said last week she feared a repeat of the alleged genocide in 2017 when 700,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee. The resulting densely populated refugee camps created in next-door Bangladesh are potentially lethal Covid-19 hotspots.

And Kashmir reveals more Covid collateral damage. The continuation of last years illegal Indian government lockdown is now justified by the need to contain the disease. Spiralling mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, suicide, and domestic violence, are among the results.

Not to be left out, the Trump administration is ignoring a UN call to lift sanctions on struggling, virus-hit countries such as Iran, Cuba and Venezuela while also blocking a global ceasefire.

World Bank and IMF billions offered in assistance and debt relief to poorer countries and fragile states cannot begin to repair all this hurt. Right now, western responses to the virus are imperilling more people worldwide than the virus itself.

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Anger as Italy slowly emerges from long Covid-19 lockdown – The Guardian

Posted: at 5:06 am

It has endured Europes longest lockdown, but when Italy enters its much-anticipated phase two tomorrow, few will find reason to celebrate.

Last week, after Italys prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, outlined plans to slowly ease the countrys quarantine, millions of people were overcome with feelings of anger and disappointment as their hopes were dashed by what many described as a false reopening.

Italians will now be able to travel within regions to visit relatives, provided they wear masks, but schools, hairdressers, gyms and many other commercial activities will stay closed; cafes and restaurants will offer takeaways only; and all travel between regions will be banned except for work, health or emergency situations. Restrictions on funerals have been relaxed, with a maximum of 15 mourners allowed to attend, but masses and weddings will have to wait.

For this reason, last Friday, Pietro Demita, a stylist in Lecce whose company is a leading wedding dress designer, set fire to his entire collection in protest against the lockdown, which has brought the wedding industry to near-collapse.

I set my creations alight, the fruits of my talent and my artistry, to send a strong message, Demita told the Observer. Because, even if I hadnt, the economic and political decisions imposed during the coronavirus crisis would have sent them up in smoke anyway.

Expectations had been high for a quick return to normality, especially in the south, where there have been fewer Covid-19 cases than in the north. The mood is sombre, not only because the virus, despite its slackening, continues to claim lives, but also because people are on edge after having been forced to stay at home for more than 50 days.

It seems theyre having a good laugh at our expense, says Costantino Montalbano, 31, a hair stylist in Palermo. Its as if theyre telling us to go out, but to stay at home. All this time locked up has affected our mental health, but its also hit us hard in the wallet. If we dont return to normality soon, coronavirus will have killed not only thousands of people, but the entire economy as well.

Like bars and restaurants, hairdressers should fully reopen on 1 June; museums and retailers from 18 May. Factories already geared towards exports and public construction projects resumed activity last Monday, while the majority of Italys industry will restart tomorrow. However, as the country plunges into recession, many businessmen and shopkeepers are complaining about the lack of financial support.

With summer around the corner, experts predict that the impact of Covid-19 on tourism, one of the countrys most important sectors, will be devastating. According to Italys National Confederation for Artisans and Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses (CNA), there will be 25 million fewer foreign tourists between July and September. The risk is that thousands of hotels, resorts and B&Bs will be forced to close their doors for the foreseeable future.

Bars and restaurants are the lifeblood of the economy of so many Italian cities and towns, but thousands have come together in protest against reopening, feeling that the restrictions of post-lockdown social distancing could spell the end for many.

As part of a series of symbolic gestures organised by a movement called Movimento Imprese Ospitalit (MIO), the owners of 75,000 bars and restaurants switched on the lights of their premises to mark the last day of business last Tuesday night before handing over the keys to their respective mayors the following morning. On Friday night, they switched off the lights in their homes for an hour.

Paolo Bianchini, a restaurant owner in Viterbo, Lazio, and spokesperson for MIO, said the peaceful protest was to show how much the hospitality sector was struggling. We only want to open when we know well be able to work efficiently, he said. For example, my restaurant has 100 covers with social distancing this will be reduced to 30. If I do so little business, my restaurant will close, as I wont be able to cover my costs. Paradoxically, we will fail if we open. We need liquidity how is it that serious countries like England are managing to help business owners, but Italy isnt lending a hand?

During the debate in the Senate on Thursday, the opposition parties grilled Conte. Ex-prime minister Matteo Renzi, who has called for less restraint in the reopening, remarked, The people in Bergamo and Brescia who are gone, those who died of the virus, if they could speak, theyd tell us to relaunch the country for them, in their honour.

Renzis controversial statement was harshly criticised by doctors who warned that the spread of the disease, which, as of Thursday, had killed almost 30,000 people in the country and infected more than 205,000, was not over and that a misstep could take the entire country back to mid-March coronavirus levels.

We risk a new wave of infections and outbreaks if were not careful, said Tullio Prestileo, an infectious diseases specialist at Palermos Benefratelli Hospital. If we dont realise this, we could easily find ourselves back where we started. In that case, we may not have the strength to get back up again.

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Covid-19 in prisons and meatpacking plants shed a light on Americas moral failures – Vox.com

Posted: at 5:06 am

In 2010, the moral philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah made a list of practices that he believed people in the distant future will condemn our generation of humanity for, much as people in the 21st century almost universally condemn slavery or the denial of womens suffrage.

His four candidates were the American prison system, which cages about 2.3 million Americans at any given time; the exploitation of animals in factory farms; the abandonment of Americas elderly (and the elderly of many rich countries) in nursing homes; and environmental degradation.

My friend Avi Zenilman, a journalist turned nurse, sent me Appiahs piece a few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, when Appiahs list started to read like a premonition. Excluding the environment climate change specifically, which has gotten a temporary respite as we do much less carbon emitting under quarantine Appiahs list doubles as a rundown of the most prominent and brutal vectors of Covid-19 in the US.

Coronavirus outbreaks have been reported at carceral facilities across the country, including pretrial detention centers like Rikers Island where most inmates have not yet been convicted of the offense with which theyre charged; one prison in Ohio reported that 78 percent of inmates tested positive. More humane states are releasing prisoners simply to avoid a medical catastrophe that feels inevitable if they stay caged.

The Tyson, Smithfield, and JBS meat production companies have shut down pork plants that collectively produce 15 percent of Americas pork due to coronavirus spread. Tysons CEO took out a full-page newspaper ad warning that the nations food supply is breaking down. Thats a ludicrous exaggeration (experts say the US isnt about to run out of food), but it is true that the factory farming industry is particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and poses a pandemic risk generally.

Nursing homes for both older people and those with disabilities are likewise seeing widespread coronavirus outbreaks. The Washington Post analyzed news reports and state data releases and found that almost 1 in 10 nursing homes in the US have reported coronavirus cases. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that in the 23 states for which data exists, 27 percent of deaths from Covid-19 have occurred in nursing homes. In several states, like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, most deaths have occurred in nursing homes.

Its not a coincidence that Covid-19 is foregrounding these institutions. This crisis has cast a spotlight on inequalities that have plagued American life for decades, and it is forcing us to look seriously at how we relate to one another. Social distancing has a way of clarifying social reality, and Americas social reality is one of haves and have-nots.

If I were more religious, I would say this feels like a biblical plague, a force beyond our control identifying our worst societal sins to get us to finally pay attention. But that would be incorrect, because in many ways the spread of this virus is within our control. That the coronavirus has ripped through the US via these vectors only underscores how complicit Americans have been in making ourselves more vulnerable to this disease.

What factory farms, prisons, and nursing homes have in common is that theyre warehousing efforts. They all involve placing people or animals into confined facilities where most of society doesnt have to think too hard about them anymore. They are institutions optimized for neglect.

Few people would likely be able to eat a Chicken McNugget if each order came with a photo of the tortured chickens who were killed to fulfill that order; but because that torture takes place behind closed doors, confined to a few big facilities in rural areas and staffed by invisible low-wage workers, people are free to forget about the actual chickens and the working conditions there and eat their nuggets in peace. Its no fluke that ag gag laws banning the dissemination of information about factory farms are one of the industrys main lobbying priorities. Big corporations know perfectly well what would happen if people actually paid attention.

Prisons enable governments to take people that civilian society doesnt want to deal with anymore and stash them out of sight so that average citizens can forget about them. That enables truly horrendous conditions. Groups of prisoners in Washington, DC, and Texas are so desperate that theyve sued for access to soap, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper amid the pandemic. On at least one unit, a closet full of cleaning supplies and clean rags is present, but residents are told they will be punished if they attempt to access or use those supplies to clean the unit, their own cells, or their hands and bodies, the DC lawsuit alleges.

These conditions are hardly new a one-ply-per day rationing of toilet paper and a ban on showering more than once a week were among the policies at Attica state prison in New York that sparked the 1971 prisoner takeover there. But this neglect is increasingly deadly in a pandemic.

Nursing homes are not necessarily an injustice, and there are plenty of valid reasons for families to place relatives there, or for residents to ask to be placed in homes. My family is no exception. But the same mechanisms through which nursing homes ease pressure on family caregivers make them places where widespread neglect is possible. Richard Mollot, an advocate for long-term care patients, notes that about one-third of Medicare beneficiaries admitted to nursing homes reported suffering some kind of harm within two weeks of entering the home.

These are the short-term residents for whom homes are paid the most and who are typically most able to articulate their concerns if something is wrong, Mollot writes. Where does that leave a majority of residents who are there long-term, most of whom are older, frail and cognitively impaired?

Warehousing leaves its victims vulnerable to Covid-19 through at least two mechanisms. First, it forces affected individuals into close proximity with one other including those maintaining the warehouse, like factory farm staff or prison guards or nursing home attendants. Its difficult to socially distance under those conditions.

But the second mechanism is subtler and arguably just as important. Warehousing fosters social inequality, and we know that social inequality kills.

Pandemics are times of scarcity. Tests are scarce, doctors and nurses are scarce, masks and gloves are scarce. And scarce goods tend to be distributed according to existing social inequalities, because those inequalities reflect varying levels of respect paid to various groups by governments, businesses, and other social decision-makers.

So it is with coronavirus. Its fairly well-known at this point that Covid-19 has disproportionately affected black Americans. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that out of Covid-19 patients for whom race is known, 30 percent are African American, more than double African Americans share of the overall population.

Unauthorized immigrants in detention, or working close-proximity jobs at farms and as delivery staff, or just existing in the US without access to most of the social safety net, are uniquely vulnerable too, and not just in the US but in many rich countries. Many report fear of seeking out health care because of the risk that their status will be uncovered.

We see the same inequalities with factory farms, nursing homes, and prisons. Incarcerated people, especially ones locked up for violent offenses, have long suffered from politicians, and the publics, conviction that their past deeds make them undeserving of help. Thats especially true now, with grave consequences for both them and their guards.

Nursing home patients are victims not just of density but of a broader societal disregard toward older people and those with disabilities. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick famously suggested that Americans 70-plus should be willing to die to get the economy back running again.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 outbreaks at factory farms arent among their animals but among their staffers and the staffers at meatpacking facilities, who are disproportionately black, Latino, and/or immigrants. Warehousing hurts the people enlisted to do the warehousing, too. (And, it should be noted, even though the coronavirus didnt originate in a factory farm, factory farms are a pretty big pandemic risk if not this pandemic, it may well be the next one.)

None of this is an accident. Social inequality, as the political theorist Judith Shklar taught us, fosters cruelty. In unequal societies, where one group of individuals is privileged in power above others, that power differential creates the social estrangement necessary for the powerful to treat the less powerful with cruelty.

But social equality can remedy social cruelty. If such social distances create the climate for cruelty, then a greater equality might be a remedy, she wrote. Even Machiavelli had known that one cannot rule ones equals with cruelty, but only ones inferior subjects.

Covid-19 is not simply a natural disaster. It is a brutal reminder of the consequences of inequality Shklar identified. And it is a reminder that things can be different. The US can shrink its prisons. It can create housing laws, social supports, and other structures that enable older people to live with their families whenever possible. It can abolish factory farming, for both the animals and the workers sakes.

Pandemics are social phenomena, and addressing pandemics requires attacking social inequalities head-on.

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Majority of Alexandria COVID-19 deaths were in long-term care sites, as city seeks better pay, benefits for workers – WTOP

Posted: at 5:06 am

By Saturday, there had been 26 deaths in Alexandria, Virginia, due to COVID-19. Fifteen of them were residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted-living communities.

By Saturday, there had been 26 deaths in Alexandria, Virginia, due to COVID-19. And 15 of them (58%) were residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted-living communities.

The death rate is reflected across Virginia, where 54% of deaths due to the coronavirus outbreak have come in similar facilities.

There are nine long-term care facilities in Alexandria, and the city is pushing those businesses to change their models to minimize the further spread of the coronavirus and prevent similar outbreaks in the future.

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In a news release Saturday, the city explained that it is encouraging these nine facilities to offer its employees a series of enhancements that might prevent further infections: a living wage; full-time hours so they do not need to work at more than one facility; paid sick leave along with other health benefits; and enhanced training on how to handle the outbreak of an infectious disease.

The majority of the workers in these jobs are women of color who earn $30,000 annually or less, and cannot afford to miss work when they are sick. Because they work so closely with vulnerable residents, they can in turn bring the virus back to their families.

Since the virus continues to spread in communities throughout the United States, Alexandria said it wants to be sure its long-term care facilities make certain they are doing their best to make sure their vulnerable residents do not get sick.

The city said it is constantly monitoring these facilities to make sure they have adequate training and personal protective equipment. In addition, it is working with the nursing homes to make sure its staff members are well trained in preventing and controlling infections.

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Majority of Alexandria COVID-19 deaths were in long-term care sites, as city seeks better pay, benefits for workers - WTOP

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Drive Thru Covid-19 Testing Hosted in Cleveland – WDEF News 12

Posted: at 5:06 am

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF)- Bradley County hosted a drive thru Covid-19 testing event Saturday at Cleveland middle school.

One man tells News 12 hes trying to stay on the safe side and reassure himself that hes not carrying the virus.

Ive got year sinuses and its getting a little extra bad this year. So Im here to reassure myself to make sure its nothing else.

Participants simply provide contact information so they can receive their results on time. Its the first weekend surge event hosted in Cleveland but the county has already offers drive through testing.

The number of positive cases are expected to change.

Yeah we expect to see the numbers go up but thats because were testing more people and were going to get a better picture of where it is in our community said Goodhard.

The Tennessee Health Department will handle positive cases accordingly.

Weve got contact tracers that will be working with the individuals that do test positive to see where theyve been and who they have been in contact with so we can mitigate the situation.

293 people were tested at the Cleveland Middle School site.

Those who were tested are expected to get their results back within 72 hours.

We encourage everybody to stay at home as much as possible. We know thats been difficult for a lot of people but keep your distance and monitor your symptoms.

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Drive Thru Covid-19 Testing Hosted in Cleveland - WDEF News 12

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After Covid-19: How will a socially distanced high street actually work? – The Guardian

Posted: at 5:06 am

Britains once bustling high streets are now eerily quiet, with all non-essential shops closed and thousands of staff furloughed. Many may never reopen as the lockdown accelerates shifts to online shopping, while others will have to find ways to adapt to a radically different retail world of long-term social distancing rules and nervous customers afraid of catching the virus.

The British Independent Retailers Association warned last week that one fifth of their members might close for good if footfall is low. Yet some of the big non-food retailers such as Homebase and B&Q are starting to reopen stores, and the British Retail Consortium has issued guidance on how non-essential shops could trade while keeping customers and staff safe.

The Observer spoke to five shop owners on one British high street to find out how they are faring and what the future holds for their businesses.

Hairdresser Anne Murray misses her regulars and the small intimacies that are shared during haircuts at her usually busy salon on Wares High Street. People really open up to you, she says from her home in the Hertfordshire commuter-belt town. Were like secondary counsellors.

Her salon, Mint, has been closed since the lockdown was announced at the end of March. She has been able to furlough the other hairdresser she employs and is planning to use a 10,000 cash grant to pay her bills. But she worries she might be one of the last shops to reopen as hairdressers will struggle to comply with social distancing rules, which are likely to stay in place until at least the end of the year. When you cut someones hair, you are rarely face to face, she says. But the physical proximity makes it hard. It is impossible to stay two metres away.

Murray, 37, would consider wearing PPE if it was made available to shop workers. I would definitely do that in order to protect other people and myself, she adds. But hairdressing is quite a personal service and so it would be very odd.

However, an extended closure could potentially put the salon at risk. I cant think of many businesses that could survive for that long unless they are online, she says. It makes me feel sad and anxious. In my household, it is a major source of income. My salon brings in more than my husbands business.

She sometimes walks down the High Street during her exercise and wonders how it will look after the coronavirus crisis is over: Its eerie and so quiet. I go past the other shops and cant help thinking which ones will and wont survive.

Al Bramley is getting ready for the phone to start ringing with takeaway orders in the Mexican restaurant he launched with his business partner, Brett Cahill-Moreno, in September.

People tend to do their own stuff at the start of the week and then treat themselves at weekend. Theres a lot of Zoom parties and quizzes and they tend to buy takeaways for those occasions, he says taking a quick break, while two chefs prep food in the kitchen.

Before the lockdown, the restaurant was packed with diners. Now the tables and chairs are stacked up against the walls. Bramley, 50, and Cahill-Moreno, 47, closed completely for two weeks, with all 10 staff furloughed. But last month they brought back two chefs and two front-of-house staff to provide takeaway meals. Weve had to adapt and change the way we do things, says Bramley.

Last weekend, they had 140 orders and they are hoping to expand beyond Ware. They have even launched an app to speed up ordering: It went live last week and weve had 650 downloads already.

However, their turnover has halved and they will only be able to keep going if they can secure a long-term rent reduction. We are going to have to renegotiate our rent with our landlord, Bramley says. I havent had that conversation yet, but its coming.

Bramley has been thinking hard about how he could lay out the tables in the restaurant to keep diners and staff two metres apart. We could do about 25 covers inside. And if the sun is shining, we could do another 30 covers outside, he says. With the takeaway market and a rent reduction, we could just about survive.

The tiny Book Nook on Wares High Street had not even been open a year before it was forced to shut. The owner Julia Chesterman, 49, had to mark the anniversary with a cup of tea and slice of cake in an empty shop. I sat down with the bookshop cat and I had a tear in my eye, she says. In a year we have become a little community hub and achieved so much.

Chesterman initially tried delivering books but it wasnt practical. I was taking telephone orders and leaving books on peoples doorsteps but to be honest I wasnt getting enough orders, she says. In the end she closed completely and furloughed herself.

Even though the shop is quite narrow, Chesterman is confident she could reopen safely. She would probably only need to limit the number of customers on a Saturday morning, when lots of people come in for tea and cake. We never really get overwhelmed, she adds.

Chesterman, who used to work for the library service, is not especially worried about reduced footfall. Bookselling can be quite challenging, she says. Im not in this business to make a massive profit. I just want to do something that I love and be part of the community.

The last time estate agent Jake Shropshire, 49, was in Wares branch of Jonathan Hunt was in March. I was able to rescue my telephone and computer, he says.

Since then the usual buying and selling of property has almost ground to a halt. Theres been no property viewings, he says. It has all stopped.

Shropshire is trying to keep existing house sales on track. We are nursing along sales as best we can, but 60% of the lawyers we deal with have been furloughed so there are challenges.

There are buyers stuck in property chains containing vulnerable individuals. We have one where a person is shielding so everyone else in that chain will have to wait, says Shropshire.

A few are moving, however. He is giving the keys to the buyers of a derelict Grade II-listed house this weekend. There is no crossover of people. There is no danger of contamination, he says. Im just going to leave the keys on their doorstep, ring the bell and run off.

While he can ride out rest of the lockdown, Shropshire has some concerns about reopening. Staff will need to be paid but it will take a while for new houses to be marketed and sold. Our income is not instantaneous. Its going to be three months at best before any money comes in, he says. Thats going to be the tough part.

Cathy Emmerson, 53, decided to close her card shop the day before Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown. We closed at the end of Mothers Day, she says. Ive got four members of staff and I didnt feel comfortable asking them to come to work.

It might be difficult to maintain social distancing when the shop eventually reopens as it is not much bigger than a living room. We deal with people directly. The elderly like us to read cards to them. Staff need to move around the shop too, she says.

Nonetheless, she is confident she will find a way to comply. If we have to put up a sign saying two customers only we will, she says. Its a card and greetings shop. It only gets busy on Saturday and around occasions.

She worries more about the market for party products. Im hoping people will want balloons to party but how much socialising will we be allowed to do? Some of our business came from people going out for meals and having drinks at parties. But the greetings card side will definitely remain because people like to send a card.

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After Covid-19: How will a socially distanced high street actually work? - The Guardian

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