Wednesday, March 4, 2020
► From the Seattle Times — LIVE coronavirus updates for March 4
► From KING 5 — These Washington schools are closed due to coronavirus
► From KUOW — USCIS Seattle office closes amid fears of coronavirus
► In today’s Olympian — State House unanimously OKs using $100 million in rainy day money to fight coronavirus — The funding also will enable the state DSHS to increase payments to nursing facilities, freeing up more beds for coronavirus patients in acute care centers.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Faulty tests, red tape let coronavirus spread quietly for weeks in Washington, experts say — A problem with the federally approved testing kits initially supplied to state public health laboratories across the nation last month didn’t work well and stymied testing for — and recognition of — the virus’ spread in Washington.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — ‘Way behind the 8-ball’: Sen. Patty Murray decries COVID-19 testing lag time, shortage as virus spreads — With the backup on testing production, members of Congress, including Sen. Patty Murray, decry the vague and slow response to COVID-19… The CDC has implemented strict guidelines on who can get tested, and health care providers cannot test just anyone who has symptoms. “I have people telling me they have symptoms but don’t meet the requirements to be tested,” Murray said.
► In today’s NY Times — Waive fees for coronavirus tests and treatment, health experts urge — As the number of U.S. cases mounts, officials and advocates want to ensure that medical bills, especially for the poor or uninsured, are not an obstacle to seeking care.
► From Politico — Coronavirus emergency bill stalled over vaccine cost concerns — The biggest issue involves a Democratic attempt to control the costs of vaccines and other treatments that are developed in response to the outbreak.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump coronavirus effort undermined by mixed messages and falsehoods — The White House effort has been undermined by mixed messages, contradictions and falsehoods — many of them emanating from the president himself, including this week when he repeatedly spread false information about just how soon a coronavirus vaccine would be available.
► From NBC News — Amid outbreak, Trump admin’s proposed rollback of nursing home regulations faces criticism — The Trump administration last year moved to roll back regulations aimed at preventing infections from spreading in nursing homes, a decision that is facing renewed criticism for endangering the elderly amid the coronavirus outbreak.
► In today’s NY Times — Best treatment for the coronavirus? Paid sick leave (editorial) — Trump and Congress are ignoring one of the most obvious steps to preserve public health and economic growth.
The Stand (Jan. 2, 2018) — Washington state gets raise, paid sick leave — Under the paid sick leave law, employees will earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. The law also requires employers to carry over up to 40 hours of an employee’s unused sick leave from one year to the next… Employees can file a complaint with L&I if they believe their employer is not complying with the new law. Businesses can face fines and have to provide back pay.
► From Crosscut — As coronavirus spreads, some can’t afford a sick day — Washington’s paid sick leave policy does not reach workers in the “gig economy” who are technically independent contractors. For the more than 30,000 registered drivers in King County — and the many more who work for Uber, Lyft, and other various app-based companies — each day home is a day without income.
And then there’s this…
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ummm… that headline is a bit alarmist. But it did remind the Entire Staff of The Stand of this great song: “Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town? We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown.”
► From Crosscut — WA considers requiring new construction projects to improve the environment — In a move promoted by environmentalists but opposed by the building industry, the House budget proposal calls for planners to begin preparing to replace the state’s requirement that construction cause “no net loss” to habitat with a higher standard backed by environmental advocates — “net ecological gain.” It appears Washington would be the first state in the nation to do so.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Apparently, there is a Democratic presidential campaign going on. But if you want more coverage of it (!), you’ll have to look elsewhere. At this point, different unions have endorsed different candidates, but until the national AFL-CIO makes its endorsement, The Entire Staff of The Stand will not be posting presidential campaign news.
► From HuffPost — Farmers convicted of fraud still got Trump bailout funds — Some farmers who received payments from Trump’s farm bailout program had previously been convicted or accused of fraudulently obtaining federal agriculture subsidies… Farmers are supposed to lose all eligibility for U.S. Department of Agriculture programs if they’re convicted of felony fraud. The fraud cases are a small but dramatic illustration of how the Trump administration has created generous new benefits for farmers while cracking down on food assistance for the poor, ostensibly because people abuse the benefits when they should be working instead.
► From The Guardian — The 50-year fight by radical evangelicals that could end U.S. abortion rights — More than half a century of mobilization by social conservatives against abortion has changed the Republican Party, driven American politics and shaped the U.S. Supreme Court as it hears on Wednesday what could prove to be a decisive case in the continuing war of attrition in state legislatures against access to terminations.
EDITOR’S NOTE — With the 2019 passage of Resolution #31, “the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, affirms that reproductive rights are workers’ rights and will defend and support efforts to obtain and maintain health care for working people covering all reproductive rights choices.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.