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Wednesday, July 15, 2020




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, July 15 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 42,304 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 678) and 1,404 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 6)

► From the Seattle Times — State is adjusting how it counts COVID-19 deaths

► From KUOW — Official COVID-19 fatalities may undercount death toll by many hundreds in NW — The carefully followed death toll from Covid-19 may not fully capture the loss of life during the pandemic. Analysis of Washington state and federal statistics for deaths from all causes shows hundreds of additional deaths above normal levels this spring in the Pacific Northwest. Some or many of those may actually be missed COVID deaths.

► From the Columbian — Clark County grocery stores grapple with mask rules — There’s little evidence the Department of Labor & Industries is enforcing masking rules for grocery stores and other businesses. UFCW Local 555 President Daniel Clay said he’s observed and received reports that people are still walking around in almost all grocery stores without masks. “We are really, really concerned that people aren’t taking this as seriously as we’d hoped,” he said.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Inslee extends pause on counties advancing phases to July 28 — Locally, leaders worry a spike in cases could cause hospitalizations and deaths to rise soon.

► From the Washington Post — Global surge in coronavirus cases is being fed by the developing world — and the U.S. — Nearly all the countries struggling with a surge share something in common: After weeks or months of trying to suppress the virus, they reopened their economies, only to find that the virus came roaring back. Now they are using a more limited arsenal to contain the spread, with little success.

► From NBC News — Federal stockpile is thin amid coronavirus surge, internal documents show — States, hospitals and nursing homes may not be able to rely on Washington to supply personal protective equipment for medical professionals. After months of Trump playing down the public health risk of the disease, and proclaiming the federal response a shining success, the administration’s internal data suggest the federal government’s ability to help meet any major surge in demand is limited.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Don’t worry. Jared’s got this.

► From Politico — A dangerous new chapter of the outbreak: Every state for itself — Cash-strapped cities and states trying to create testing, tracing and public awareness campaigns from scratch are desperate for federal support.

► From The Hill — Meatpacking plant workers take new approach in COVID-19 safety push — Meatpacking plant workers, many of whom are Black or Latino, are accusing their employers of civil rights violations.

► From HuffPost — The COVID-19 crisis is exploding inside ICE detention centers — Thousands of guards and detainees are testing positive in facilities where safety and social distancing are impossible.

The Stand (July 14) — WSLC backs shutdown of Northwest Detention Center

► From the NY Times — ‘Hero’ pay raises disappear for many essential workers — Several retailers have ended the pay raises and bonuses they gave to employees as an appreciation for their courage and commitment in showing up to work during the pandemic.




► MUST-READ from the NY Times — Please don’t call them heroes (by Farhad Manjoo) — In America, you should always get a little suspicious when politicians suddenly start calling you a hero. It’s a well-worn trick; they’re buttering you up before sacrificing you to the gods of unconstrained capitalism and governmental neglect. A few months ago, it was nurses, doctors and other essential workers who were hailed as heroes — a perfectly accurate and heartwarming sentiment, but also one meant to obscure the sorry reality that the world’s richest country was asking health care workers to treat coronavirus patients without providing adequate protective gear. “Please don’t call me a hero,” a nurse in Brooklyn wrote on a protest sign at the time. “I am being martyred against my will.” Now, it’s America’s parents and teachers who are being valorized for doing a job that really should not require putting their lives on the line… The needs of children and working parents have long been ignored by American lawmakers, but I’ve never felt the government’s neglect as viscerally as in its inability to make school safe again during a pandemic. DeVos’s plan, like Trump’s, appears to be little more than wishful thinking: Go to school. Don’t worry about it. Things will be fine. You’re a hero!

► From the Seattle Times — As cities nationwide reconsider back-to-school plans, Seattle teachers union pushes back — This week, the Seattle Education Association issued a statement opposing in-person teaching in the fall, calling it “reckless” under current conditions and advocating 100% remote learning. The union is currently bargaining with the school district over work conditions for this fall.

► From KNKX — SEA says it’s unsafe to resume in-person school

► From Newsweek — GOP senator says they ‘can kiss my a**’ as teachers, unions oppose school reopenings over COVID concerns — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said in an interview with Fox News, that those who oppose schools’ reopening “can kiss my a**,” despite many educators and teacher’s unions raising serious concerns about returning to the classroom during the coronavirus pandemic.

► From the Washington Post — With Trump’s heedless approach to the pandemic, children will pay an even higher price — The Trump administration’s heedless approach to the pandemic, elevating politics over public health expertise, has led to an epidemic so out of control in many states that any thought of reopening schools has become irresponsible.

The Stand (July 8) — Safety, not politics, must guide reopening of schools — Trump’s political push could put children, teachers and their families in danger.

► From Politico — Voters reject Trump’s insistence that schools reopen — Poll finds 65 percent of voters oppose Trump’s threat to cut federal funding for schools that don’t reopen.



► From the Seattle Times — Confluence of crises leaves Boeing ‘a very stricken company,’ says major airline’s president — The COVID-19 pandemic threatens some major airlines across the globe with bankruptcy, and both Boeing and its archrival Airbus will have to adapt and shrink until some degree of normality returns, according to one of the world’s top airline executives.

► From the Seattle Times — Boeing has lost more than 800 orders for the 737 MAX this year — Though Boeing now anticipates U.S. federal approval to unground its 737 MAX in September, company data released Tuesday shows that in the first half of this year the manufacturer lost just over 800 orders for the troubled airplane.

► From the AP — Boeing sold 1 plane last month amid pandemic, MAX grounding




► From the Seattle Times — Tax Washington’s wealthy, don’t slash social services, for lasting economic recovery (by Ruth Kagi) — I understand the first instinct for many in times like this is to slash budgets. I was in the Legislature during the Great Recession when we decided to repeal bills, delay new legislation and deeply cut spending to balance the budget. That approach proved to be wrong. Data shows that years of budget cuts actually prolonged the recession and delayed Washington’s recovery… This time around, I urge legislators to make a better choice: tax the wealthiest people and corporations who can most afford it and have been largely untouched by this crisis, and invest in Washington’s recovery and its future. It’s the right thing to do for Washington, and the smart thing to do for our economy.

► From the Skagit Valley Herald — Cuts to touch every aspect of Skagit Valley College — “We’re immediately forced into layoff situations,” said SVC President Tom Keegan.

The Stand (June 15) — Petition: Protect Washington’s community college students




► From the Kitsap Sun — Shipyard completes sexual harassment investigations: ‘We can’t let up’ — A 10-month inquiry into a “culture of toxic behavior” and sexual harassment allegations made by a former employee of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard led to 13 people disciplined and two firings, along with changes in how discrimination is reported and investigated.

► From the Tri-City Herald — Court overturns $8M jury award to Hanford employee for discrimination, retaliation — The jury verdict that awarded a former Hanford manager $8.1 million for discrimination, retaliation and wrongful firing has been overturned in a split decision on appeal.




► From U.S. News & World Report — Machinists president asks Congress to pressure shipbuilder — The international president of the Machinists union is calling on Congress to pressure Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair agreement with striking workers. “The Machinists Union is ready and willing to work with all partners in our effort to save these vitally important jobs and ensure that the necessary skilled workforce is available to continue to build the world’s greatest ships for the U.S. Navy,” said union  President Robert Martinez Jr.

► From the Washington Post — Trump administration backs off plan requiring international students to take face-to-face classes — The Trump administration on Tuesday dropped its much-criticized plan to require international college students to leave the United States unless they are enrolled in the fall term in at least one face-to-face class. The abrupt reversal, disclosed in a federal court in Boston, came a little more than a week after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued an edict that stunned U.S. higher education leaders and students worldwide.

TODAY at The Stand‘A huge victory’ for international students — Organized academic workers help overturn Trump directive targeting international students.

► From The Hill — McConnell proposal would abandon sick workers (by David Super) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has insisted that he will block any further COVID-19 relief legislation without a provision that immunizes employers from liability for any sickness or death their workers suffer when they become infected on the job… Congress should be trying to reduce the virus’s spread, not giving irresponsible employers a blank check to sacrifice the health of their workers and their workers’ families for short-term profits. Unsafe workplaces prolong the pandemic and further postpone our economic recovery.

► From the NY Times — Give states billions, and you help the entire country (by Ben Bernanke) — Congress must act decisively to avoid repeating mistakes of the recovery from the Great Recession.

► From the Washington Post — White House tells 18 million unemployed workers to ‘Find Something New’ in ad campaign — The initiative, complete with a virtual roundtable featuring Apple CEO Tim Cook, was swiftly derided as ‘tone-deaf’ on social media.

► From The Hill — 2 in 3 want to see Trump tax returns: poll

EDITOR’S NOTE — Remember way back, right after Trump took office, when Rep. Dan Newhouse promised a testy town hall crowd in Sunnyside that he would work to make Trump’s tax returns public? And then he ended up voting to keep them secret? Good times. Good times.

► From the Washington Post — Trump’s window is closing (editorial) — All signs suggest it’s closing on his presidency because of his world-class incompetence with the coronavirus pandemic, the protracted economic collapse that resulted, and the increasingly overt racism Trump has embraced. But it also appears the window is closing on his connection to reality, if it hasn’t already.




► From the Washington Post — Breonna Taylor protesters sat on the Kentucky attorney general’s lawn. Police charged 87 with felonies. — The 87 peaceful protesters now face  felony charges of “Intimidating a Participant in a Legal Process,” which applies to people who use “physical force or a threat” to influence “the testimony, vote, decision, or opinion” of a participant in the legal process, like a victim, a witness or a judge.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile, it has been 116+ days since Breonna Taylor has been murdered by the Louisville Police Department and no one has been held accountable. Learn more here.

► From the Seattle Times — Asked about police brutality against black Americans, Trump says ‘more white people’ are being killed

► From The Hill — Shipt workers to strike over shift to opaque pay structure — Workers for the Target-owned grocery delivery service Shipt are striking Wednesday in protest of the company rolling out a less transparent payment structure nationwide.


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