First Edition: June 4, 2020

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Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations.


Kaiser Health News:
Newsom Likes To ‘Go Big’ But Doesn’t Always Deliver


Gavin Newsom knew it was a political gamble when, as the newly elected mayor of San Francisco, he promised to eradicate chronic homelessness. “I recognize that I’m setting myself up. I’m not naive to that,” he told his hometown newspaper in 2003 as he embarked on a campaign to sell his controversial plan. It hinged on slashing welfare payments for homeless people and redirecting those funds to acquire single-room occupancy hotels, converting them into long-term housing with health and social services. (Hart, 6/4)


Kaiser Health News:
Judges Try To Balance Legal Rights And Courtroom Health


It’s tough getting people to report for jury duty in normal times. It’s even harder during a pandemic. The kidnapping and rape trial of Kenneth Weathersby Jr. opened Feb. 24 in Vallejo, California, but three weeks later two jurors refused to show up after the state ordered people to stay home. Then the state’s chief justice stopped jury trials for 60 days, later extending the suspension into June. (Krans, 6/4)


Kaiser Health News:
In Hard-Hit Areas, COVID’s Ripple Effects Strain Mental Health Care Systems


In late March, Marcell’s girlfriend took him to the emergency room at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, about 11 miles south of Detroit. “I had [acute] paranoia and depression off the roof,” said Marcell, 46, who asked to be identified only by his first name because he wanted to maintain confidentiality about some aspects of his illness. Marcell’s depression was so profound, he said, he didn’t want to move and was considering suicide. (Platzman and Weinstock, 6/4)


The Associated Press:
Protests Eclipse Pandemic, But White House Fears Resurgence


For weeks, President Donald Trump has been eager to publicly turn the page on the coronavirus pandemic. Now fears are growing within the White House that the very thing that finally shoved the virus from center stage — mass protests over the death of George Floyd — may bring about its resurgence. Trump this week has eagerly pronounced himself the “president of law and order” in response to the racial unrest that has swept across the nation, overshadowing the pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 105,000 Americans and imperiled his reelection prospects. (Lemire and Miller, 6/3)


The Washington Post:
Scores Of Testing Sites Forced To Close Because Of Vandalism In Civil Unrest


At 1:30 a.m., Michael and Joan Kim were jolted awake by an alarm. Lying in bed, they grabbed their iPhones and watched what a security camera had captured moments before: the back of a U-Haul van ramming through the glass side wall of the Grubb’s pharmacy they own in Southeast Washington, cold medicine, allergy pills and bandages flying as wooden shelves splintered and crashed to the floor. The Anacostia drugstore is one of four the Kims own in the District, and each has suffered damage during the past nights of unrest. (Goldstein, 6/3)


The Associated Press:
Democrats Prepare Police Reform Bills After Floyd’s Death


Congressional Democrats, powered by the Congressional Black Caucus, are preparing a sweeping package of police reforms as pressure builds on the federal government to respond to the death of George Floyd and others in law enforcement interactions. With the urgency of mass protests outside their doors, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working furiously to draft what could become one of the most ambitious efforts in years to oversee the way law enforcement works. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, both former presidential candidates, are expected to announce a package in coming days, with a House bill coming soon. (Mascaro, 6/4)


Politico:
‘We Need To Show People’: Democrats Look To Seize The Moment On Police Reform


House Democrats have a chance to position themselves at the center of a political movement that drives societal change for years to come. Or they could miss seizing the moment entirely. The House Democratic Caucus — the most diverse group of lawmakers ever assembled in Congress — is in the midst of a complex and emotional debate over how to confront decades of systemic racism that led to police killings like the death of George Floyd last week. (Ferris, Caygle and Zanona, 6/4)


NPR:
How Police Unionization Has Affected Police Violence


Every year, more than a thousand people are killed by a police officer in the United States. This is many more people than are killed in other countries with similarly advanced economies. And within the U.S., there is also a big disparity in who is likeliest to die from a police killing. A black person, like George Floyd, is three times as likely to be killed as a white person. Economist Rob Gillezeau studies the history of police killings and the protests that often result from them. (Garcia and Smith, 6/3)


The New York Times:
Have A Teenager Joining A Protest? Talk About Safety First.


When Sandy Asirvatham’s 17-year-old son, Miles Donovan, expressed interest in attending a protest this week near their downtown Baltimore home, she appreciated that he wanted to demonstrate solidarity with those who are outraged over the death of George Floyd. But just hours before it started, she began to worry. “I started fearing overzealous policing in the neighborhood and that Miles might get caught up in something even if he’s not a part of a group being violent,” she said. She also was nervous about him contracting the coronavirus and spreading it, having seen coverage of other rallies where “there wasn’t much mask wearing.” (Halpert, 6/4)


The Wall Street Journal:
For African-Americans, A Painful Economic Reversal Of Fortune


In the decade before Covid-19, African-Americans’ economic circumstances, crushed during the 2007-09 recession, had slowly but steadily improved. Then lockdowns crashed the economy, and last week the death of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police touched off a wave of angry and at times violent protests. The events have highlighted painful disparities that continue to weigh on African-Americans, in their health, their incomes and their treatment by the justice system. (Ip, 6/3)


The Washington Post:
Florida’s Largest Majority-Black City Was Doing Well. Then Came The Coronavirus.


Betty Ferguson has spent decades trying to make sure her community doesn’t suffer the same kind of economic and environmental discrimination she’s seen in too many places. Ferguson, 75, has led successful fights against a garbage dump and a detention center. She rallied neighbors to fight for an independent county commission seat and then to vote for incorporation as the city of Miami Gardens, arguing that things would improve if residents had more control over how their tax dollars were spent. (Wootson, 6/3)


The Wall Street Journal:
Health Insurers Offer Premium Discounts


Anthem Inc. is joining the growing number of health insurers offering premium discounts, as the companies see savings from sharp drop-offs in surgeries and other types of care canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Anthem said it would provide $2.5 billion to customers, health-care providers and others in various forms, including premium credits of 10% to 15% in July for some individual policyholders and fully insured employers. The big insurer follows others including Premera Blue Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Priority Health, as well as UnitedHealth Group Inc., that have given discounts to some customers. (Wilde Mathews, 6/4)


The Associated Press:
Pandemic Means A Silent June At The Supreme Court


It’s the time of the year when Supreme Court justices can get testy. They might have to find a new way to show it. The court’s most fought-over decisions in its most consequential cases often come in June, with dueling majority and dissenting opinions. But when a justice is truly steamed to be on a decision’s losing side, the strongest form of protest is reading a summary of the dissent aloud in court. Dissenting justices exercise what a pair of scholars call the “nuclear option” just a handful of times a year, but when they do, they signal that behind the scenes, there’s frustration and even anger. (Gresko, 6/4)


The New York Times:
Trump Narrows Search For Coronavirus Vaccine To Five Firms 


The Trump administration has selected five companies as the most likely candidates to produce a vaccine for the coronavirus, senior officials said, a critical step in the White House’s effort to deliver on its promise of being able to start widespread inoculation of Americans by the end of the year. By winnowing the field in a matter of weeks from a pool of around a dozen companies, the federal government is betting that it can identify the most promising vaccine projects at an early stage, speed along the process of determining which will work and ensure that the winner or winners can be quickly manufactured in huge quantities and distributed across the country. (Weiland and Sanger, 6/3)


The Washington Post:
The Global Race For A Coronavirus Vaccine Could Lead To This Generation’s Sputnik Moment


With testing underway on five experimental vaccines in China and four in the United States, the race to produce a vaccine for covid-19 has taken on political dimensions that echo jockeying for technological dominance during the Cold War, including the space race after the launch of Sputnik in 1957. The same day in mid-March that the United States launched human testing of its first experimental coronavirus vaccine, scientists in China announced their own trial would begin. (Johnson and Dou, 6/3)


Politico:
FDA Struggles To Remain Independent Amid Race For Virus Cure


Peter Marks was a natural fit for a new White House project tasked with developing a coronavirus vaccine. The cancer specialist spent nearly a decade at the Food and Drug Administration, most recently overseeing the office that approves vaccines and gene therapies. But Marks quit last month just days after joining President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, a venture partnering government with private companies in the vaccine race. He returned to his old FDA job full time after a clash with White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx about how the government was prioritizing potential vaccines during a tense meeting of the White House coronavirus task force, according to three people familiar with the event. (Owermohle, 6/3)


Stat:
Moderna Released Scant Covid-19 Data To Prevent A Leak, CEO Says


The biotech company Moderna invited the scrutiny of the world last month when it withheld key data on its in-development vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Stéphane Bancel, the company’s CEO, said Wednesday that Moderna’s decision to be vague was a matter of respecting federal securities laws and the rules of scientific journals. (Garde, 6/3)


The Hill:
Watchdog Group Wants SEC To Investigate Coronavirus Vaccine Company Moderna 


An anti-corruption watchdog group is calling on the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) to investigate top executives at the biotech company Moderna for allegedly manipulating the stock market and possible insider trading. In a letter dated June 1 and released Wednesday, the group Accountable.US said the trades, which centered around an announcement about promising vaccine trial results, are suspicious and urged the SEC to investigate. (Weixel, 6/3)


Stat:
Oxford, AstraZeneca Covid-19 Deal Reinforces ‘Vaccine Sovereignty’ 


Sovereignty, in its most distilled form, is the power to decide who will live and who must die. Both U.S. and U.K. heads of state have increasingly invoked sovereignty as a dominant discourse in their economic and foreign policies. President Trump used the words “sovereign” or “sovereignty” 21 times in his inaugural address to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017. More recently, Prime Minister Boris Johnson characterized Britain’s exit from the European Union as “recaptured sovereignty.” (Ahmed, 6/4)


Reuters:
British PM Johnson Hosts Global Vaccine Summit, Calls For Funding


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host a global vaccine summit on Thursday, urging nations to pledge funding for vaccinations against infectious diseases to help the poorest countries tackle the coronavirus crisis. Representatives of more than 50 countries, including 35 heads of state or government, will come together virtually in London to raise funds for the GAVI vaccine alliance, a public-private global health partnership. (6/3)


Reuters:
EU To Use $2.7 Billion Fund To Buy Promising COVID-19 Vaccines


The European Union is preparing to use an emergency 2.4-billion- euro ($2.7 billion) fund to make advance purchases of promising vaccines against the new coronavirus, EU officials told Reuters. The move was discussed at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, after Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands said they were speeding up negotiations with pharmaceutical companies to secure access to vaccines currently under development. (6/4)


Reuters:
Brazil To Start Testing Oxford Vaccine Against The Coronavirus This Month


Brazil this month will start testing an experimental vaccine against the novel coronavirus being developed by researchers at the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc, Brazil’s health surveillance agency Anvisa and the Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp) said. Anvisa authorized the testing late on Tuesday. Some 2,000 people will participate in the trial, which will be conducted with the support of the Health Ministry, Unifesp said. (Simoes, 6/3)


The New York Times:
Tests For Coronavirus Vaccine Need This Ingredient: Horseshoe Crabs


For decades, drug companies have depended on a component in the blood of the horseshoe crab to test injectable medicines, including vaccines, for dangerous bacterial contaminants called endotoxins. Conservationists and some businesses have pushed for wide acceptance of an alternative test, to protect the horseshoe crabs and birds that feed on their eggs. Earlier this year, these people seemed to be on the brink of success as the nongovernmental group that issues quality standards for such tests moved toward putting the alternative test on the same footing. (Gorman, 6/3)


The New York Times:
New Study Finds Hydroxychloroquine Did Not Prevent Covid-19


The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine did not prevent Covid-19 in a rigorous study of 821 people who had been exposed to patients infected with the virus, researchers from the University of Minnesota and Canada are reporting on Wednesday. The study was the first large controlled clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that President Trump has repeatedly promoted and recently taken himself. Conducted in the United States and Canada, this trial was also the first to test whether the drug could prevent illness in people who have been exposed to the coronavirus. (Grady, 6/3)


The Associated Press:
Malaria Drug Fails To Prevent COVID-19 In A Rigorous Study


“We were disappointed. We would have liked for this to work,” said the study leader, Dr. David Boulware, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota. “But our objective was to answer the question and to conduct a high-quality study,” because the evidence on the drug so far has been inconclusive, he said. (Marchione, 6/3)


The Associated Press:
Doctors Kept Close Eye On Trump’s Use Of Malaria Drug


The White House medical team kept a close eye on President Donald Trump’s heart rhythms, including at least one electrocardiogram, to watch for potential side effects when he took a two-week course of a malaria drug to try to prevent the coronavirus, his doctor reported Wednesday. “The President completed the regimen safely and without side effects,” Dr. Sean Conley wrote in a report on Trump’s latest physical and his treatment with hydroxychloroquine. (Freking, 6/3)


Reuters:
Trump Without Side Effects After Two-Week Course Of Anti-Malaria Drug, White House Doctor Says 


Trump, who turns 74 on June 14, is regularly tested for the virus and has been negative each time, according to a summary of results by his physician, Sean Conley. Trump last month began taking hydroxychloroquine, despite questions about its effectiveness, after two White House aides tested positive for the virus. He told reporters at the time he was taking it just in case it helped fend off the virus. Conley said no changes were noticed in Trump’s electrocardiogram test as a result of the drug. (Holland, 6/3)


Reuters:
Gilead’s Remdesivir Could See $7 Billion In Annual Sales On Stockpiling Boost: Analyst


Gilead Sciences Inc’s (GILD.O) potential COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir, could bring in more than $7 billion in annual sales by 2022, spurred by governments stockpiling the drug to guard against future outbreaks, SVB Leerink said on Wednesday. Remdesivir has shown improvement in COVID-19 patients in clinical trials and has been cleared for emergency use in severely ill patients in the United States, India and South Korea. Some European nations are using it in compassionate use. (Joseph, 6/3)


Reuters:
Convalescent Plasma Not Helpful In China Study; Hydroxychloroquine Doesn’t Prevent Infection


Infusions of antibody-rich blood plasma from people who have recovered from the coronavirus, so-called convalescent plasma, failed to make a difference in a study of hospitalized patients in China, researchers reported on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In a randomized trial involving 103 COVID-19 patients, convalescent plasma made no difference in the time it took to show signs of improvement or in rates of death at 28 days versus a placebo. (Lapid, 6/3)


Reuters:
Roche Test Receives FDA Emergency Use Approval For COVID-19 Patients


Drugmaker Roche has received emergency use authorisation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its Elecsys IL-6 test to help identify severe inflammatory response in patients with confirmed COVID-19, it said on Thursday. The test can be used to help identify coronavirus patients who could be at high risk of intubation with mechanical ventilation, helping doctors decide early on if ventilation could be required, Roche said. (6/4)


The New York Times:
New Yorkers Are Getting Antibody Test Results. And They Are Anxious.


When Catherine Zito, who lives in Chelsea and works in finance, tested positive for having coronavirus antibodies on May 4, she texted at least 15 friends. “I’ve never been so happy for a positive test in my life,” she said. “Usually you want these tests to be negative.” Since March, Ms. Zito, 53, had spent most of the pandemic at home. But she did visit the supermarket and go to physical therapy, using an Uber for transportation. (Krueger, 6/4)


The Associated Press:
Heart Patients Avoided ERs As Coronavirus Hit, US Study Says


ER visits were up for respiratory illnesses and pneumonia, but were down for nearly every other kind of injury or ailment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday. Overall, fewer ER patients showed up: Visits were down 42% in a four-week period that stretched from late March through most of April, compared to the same time last year. (Stobbe, 6/3)


Reuters:
Sharp Decline In Emergency Visits Seen In Early Days Of Coronavirus Pandemic: U.S. Study


But the number of visits for chest pain, heart attacks and other medical issues not related to the virus fell sharply, suggesting people were delaying care for conditions that might be fatal if left untreated, researchers said in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report. Previous reports in May highlighted a rise in deaths here from causes other than COVID-19 in New York City, and a drop in child vaccination rates here as people avoided hospitals for fear exposure to the coronavirus. (6/3)


The New York Times:
Genes May Leave Some People More Vulnerable To Severe Covid-19


Why do some people infected with the coronavirus suffer only mild symptoms, while others become deathly ill? Geneticists have been scouring our DNA for clues. Now, a study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Variations at two spots in the human genome are associated with an increased risk of respiratory failure in patients with Covid-19, the researchers found. One of these spots includes the gene that determines blood types. (Zimmer, 6/3)


Reuters:
Explainer: Are Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients Safe Or Silent Carriers?


China said 300 symptomless carriers of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic, had not been found to be infectious, in a bid to reassure people as countries ease restrictions. But some experts say asymptomatic infections are common, presenting a huge challenge in the control of the disease. (Cadell and Liu, 6/3)


The Associated Press:
Can I Get COVID-19 Through My Eyes Or Ears?


Can I get COVID-19 through my eyes or ears? It’s possible through the eyes, but not likely through the ears. As with the nose and mouth, doctors say the eyes may be a route of infection if someone with the virus coughs or sneezes nearby. Infection is also possible when rubbing your eyes with hands that have been exposed to the virus. (6/4)


The New York Times:
Senate Gives Final Approval To Revisions To Small-Business Program


The Senate gave final approval on Wednesday to a measure that would relax the terms of a federal loan program for small businesses struggling amid the pandemic, sending the bill to President Trump’s desk for his signature. The legislation, approved overwhelmingly by the House last week to enact changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, would extend to 24 weeks from eight weeks the period that small businesses would have to spend the loan money. Without that change, the time for businesses to use the funds would have lapsed in only a few days. (Cochrane, 6/3)


The Wall Street Journal:
Senate Approves Bill Extending Paycheck Protection Program


The legislation extends the duration of PPP loans to 24 weeks from eight weeks, giving small businesses more time to use the money and still have the loans forgiven while helping them better navigate the uncertainties around reopening. It also extends the deadline to rehire workers to Dec. 31 to qualify for loan forgiveness. Moreover, many businesses that sought loans were constricted by Small Business Administration regulations mandating that 75% of the expenses go to payroll. The bill reduces the level of Paycheck Protection Program funds that must be used for payroll to 60% from 75%. (Andrews, 6/3)


The Wall Street Journal:
Coronavirus Stimulus Funds Are Largely Depleted After Nine Weeks


Nine weeks after Congress approved its largest-ever economic relief measure to counter the coronavirus pandemic, most of the direct cash assistance aimed at keeping the economy afloat has been spent or committed. The so-called Cares Act included a projected $1.2 trillion in direct aid, ranging from expanded unemployment benefits and forgivable business loans to cash payments for households, hospitals, cities and states. Congress topped up that sum in April with an additional $400 billion for small businesses and hospitals. (Davidson and Kiernan, 6/3)


The Wall Street Journal:
Unemployment Fraud Spreads Across U.S. As Coronavirus Boosts Claims


States across the country are being hit by unemployment-benefit fraud that could amount to billions of lost dollars, reflecting the vulnerabilities that workers and governments face in the midst of historically high levels of jobless claims related to the coronavirus pandemic. In recent days, states including North Dakota, Maine and Pennsylvania have said they detected cases or attempts of unemployment fraud, largely tied to identity theft. (Chaney, 6/3)


The Wall Street Journal:
Unemployment-Benefits Trend To Signal Pace Of Coronavirus Job Losses


The trend for U.S. workers receiving unemployment benefits in late May will offer insight into how much job losses from the coronavirus and related lockdowns are continuing to ease. The number of people receiving unemployment benefits, or continuing claims, fell to 21.1 million in the week ended May 16. Another drop could suggest people are being rehired, said Michelle Meyer, chief economist at Bank of America. (Chaney, 6/4)


Politico:
Republicans Face Looming Unemployment Dilemma


Forty million Americans are unemployed and extra unemployment benefits expire at the end of next month. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are grappling with deep ideological divisions over what to do with the popular program in the middle of a pandemic and an election year. Most Republicans have roundly rejected the House Democrats’ approach of extending a $600 weekly boost to unemployment checks though January 2021, and some say the enhanced benefits may need to end altogether. (Everett, 6/4)


The Wall Street Journal:
Companies Push For More Access To Mail-In Voting


More than 100 companies have signed an initiative asking congressional leaders to provide additional federal funding so that state and local governments can expand mail-in voting to all eligible voters and extend early, in-person voting by two weeks. Corporations ranging from consumer-goods giant Unilever to eyewear maker Warby Parker are among the signatories. Some of the companies banding together to try to expand voting access were also part of a push earlier this year to give workers time off to vote in the 2020 presidential election. (Cutter, 6/3)


The Wall Street Journal:
D.C. Lets Voters Submit Ballots By Email After Mail Problems


The Washington, D.C., Board of Elections, inundated with complaints from voters who said they didn’t receive absentee ballots in the mail, created an unusual workaround for Tuesday’s primary: allowing voters to submit ballots by email. That conflicts with security recommendations typically given by experts, but one local official said she thought it was worth the risk given the unusual circumstances. “I guess there are Russian hackers that can do anything, but I doubt they’re really concerned with the Ward 2 D.C. election,” said Councilmember Elissa Silverman. (Corse, 6/3)


NPR:
Vote By Mail: Ballot Fraud Risk, State Laws And Trump’s Claims


Casting a ballot by mail isn’t a new way to vote, but it is getting fresh attention as the coronavirus pandemic upends daily life. The voting method is quickly becoming the norm and quickly becoming politically charged, as some Republicans — and specifically President Trump — fight against the mail voting expansion that is happening nationwide. (Parks, 6/4)


The Washington Post Fact Check:
How Specific Were Biden’s Recommendations On The Coronavirus?


In various venues, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has cited a preliminary Columbia University study that estimated that tens of thousands fewer people would have died of covid-19 if social-distancing measures had been put in place earlier than mid-March. Specifically, the study estimated that orders in effect March 8 would have resulted in nearly 36,000 fewer deaths (through May 3), and orders as soon as March 1 would have resulted in nearly 54,000 fewer deaths. (Kessler, 6/4)


ProPublica/The Frontier:
The Only Hospital In Town Was Failing. They Promised To Help But Only Made It Worse. 


It was the sort of miracle cure that the board of a rural Oklahoma hospital on the verge of closure had dreamed about: A newly formed management company promised access to wealthy investors eager to infuse millions of dollars. The company, Alliance Health Southwest Oklahoma, secured an up to $1 million annual contract in July 2017 to manage the Mangum Regional Medical Center after agreeing to provide all necessary financial resources until the 18-bed hospital brought in enough money from patient services to pay its own bills. (Bailey, 6/4)


ProPublica/The Frontier:
These Hospitals Pinned Their Hopes On Private Management Companies. Now They’re Deeper In Debt. 


At least 13 hospitals in Oklahoma have closed or experienced added financial distress under the management of private companies. These companies sold themselves to rural communities in Oklahoma and other states as turnaround specialists. Revenues soared at some rural hospitals after management companies introduced laboratory services programs, but those gains quickly vanished when insurers accused them of gaming reimbursement rates and halted payments. Some companies charged hefty management fees, promising to infuse millions of dollars but never investing. In other cases, companies simply didn’t have the hospital management experience they trumpeted. (Bailey, 6/4)


The Wall Street Journal:
Child-Abuse Reports Are Falling, And That’s Bad News For Children


Sitting inside the San Diego children’s hospital, Shalon Nienow said she was awestruck recently as she watched a parent re-enact the abuse that sent an infant to the emergency room—shaking, punching, slapping and slamming the child against a piece of furniture. “It was the most violent force I’ve watched somebody demonstrate,” said Dr. Nienow, medical clinical director at the Chadwick Center at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. (Paul and Elinson, 6/4)


The Associated Press:
Epidemic Of Wipes And Masks Plague Sewers, Storm Drains


Mayor Jim Kenney kicked off a recent briefing on Philadelphia’s coronavirus response with an unusual request for residents: Be careful what you flush. Between mid-March, when the city’s stay-at-home order was issued, and the end of April, most of the 19 sewer and storm water pumping stations in Philadelphia had experienced clogs from face masks, gloves and wipes residents had pitched into the potty, Kenney said. (Lauer and Flesher, 6/4)


The New York Times:
Pandemic Lockdowns Lead To Less Traffic And Better Air


As we now know, the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown has been a silver lining for another global crisis: climate change. Sharp decreases in traffic and better air quality have been reported around the world, and hundreds of jurisdictions from Berlin to Bogotá are reallocating space to make it easier for walkers and cyclists with permanent and emergency solutions, like “pop-up” bike routes. “We are at a moment of change that we have not seen since World War II when cities needed to reinvent themselves,” said Claudia Adriazola-Steil, global director for the health and road safety program at the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. (Mohn, 6/4)


The New York Times:
When Their Mother Died At A Nursing Home, 2 Detectives Wanted Answers


A little after 1 in the afternoon, Aida Pabey got the call from the nursing home: Her mother was not going to make it. It was April 6, nearly four weeks after the state had barred all visitors to nursing homes, and Aida and her sister, Haydee, had been struggling to get even the most basic information about their mother. Was she eating? Had the coronavirus reached her part of the home? Now this dire call. Just the day before, the sisters had been assured by an aide that their mother was “fine.” They were both detectives in the New York Police Department, 20-year veterans. (Leland, 6/4)


The New York Times:
Airlines Say Everybody Onboard Must Wear A Mask. So Why Aren’t They?


As airlines try to convince Americans to fly again, they have touted their policies for keeping passengers safe, including the requirement that everyone onboard a plane wear a mask. But travelers on recent flights said the rules are not being enforced. And flight attendants said they have been told not to confront passengers who opt to not follow them. Drusilla Lawton flew from South Carolina to Wyoming in May on two American Airlines flights and said the mask rule wasn’t being enforced during boarding or on the plane. (Mzezewa, 6/4)


The New York Times:
The Pandemic Is Stressing Your Body In New Ways


If you are feeling a bit off in ways you are pretty sure are not a result of having Covid-19, you are not alone. That’s because living during a pandemic is doing a number to your body. Toni Goodykoontz, assistant professor and section chief of psychiatry for WVU Medicine, has seen just about everything since the Covid-19 outbreak started. “Adults complain of things like headaches, fatigue, just a general feeling of unwellness,” Dr. Goodykoontz said. (Miller, 6/4)


The New York Times:
Workers Fearful Of The Coronavirus Are Getting Fired And Losing Their Benefits


After scraping by for weeks on unemployment checks and peanut butter sandwiches, Jake Lyon recently received the call that many who temporarily lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic have anticipated: The college-town tea shop where he worked was reopening, and it was time to go back. But Mr. Lyon, 23, and his co-workers in Fort Collins, Colo., who were temporarily laid off, worried about contracting the virus, so they asked the shop’s owners to delay reopening and meet with them to discuss safety measures. (Healy, 6/4)


Reuters:
Amazon Is Sued Over Warehouses After New York Worker Brings Coronavirus Home, Cousin Dies


Amazon.com Inc has been sued for allegedly fostering the spread of the coronavirus by mandating unsafe working conditions, causing at least one employee to contract COVID-19, bring it home, and see her cousin die. The complaint was filed on Wednesday in the federal court in Brooklyn, New York, by three employees of the JFK8 fulfillment center in Staten Island, and by family members. One employee, Barbara Chandler, said she tested positive for COVID-19 in March and later saw several household members become sick, including a cousin who died on April 7. (Stempel, 6/3)


The New York Times:
Don’t Thank The Virus For Saving The Climate Yet


Much has been made about what the coronavirus “means” for climate change: measurable drops in carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution, behavioral changes that climate action might demand. To Daniel C. Esty, a professor of environmental law and policy at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale Law School, taking only those lessons from the coronavirus would be a missed opportunity. (Schlossberg, 6/4)


This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.



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