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More cases, more deaths ● American-made orphans ● ACA repeal: It’s ba-aack

Thursday, October 29, 2020




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Oct. 29 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 104,743 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 660) and 2,353 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 9)

► From the Seattle Times — High COVID-19 rates persist in South King County as public health officials urge more testing — Countywide, 3.2% of all tests have come back positive. At the Auburn site, the positivity rate for all tests is 12.8% and the overall number for the city along the Pierce County line is 8.4%.

► From the Olympian — Most residents at Olympia memory care facility have tested positive for COVID-19 — Garden Courte’s outbreak is one of six ongoing outbreaks in congregate care settings as of this week in Thurston County. The ongoing outbreaks accounted for 123 cases and four deaths as of Sunday, according to the county.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Snohomish County records its highest COVID case count since March — Cases keep rising as people push indoors and don’t wear masks around friends or family, data show.

► From the News Tribune — Pierce County sees more than 100 new COVID-19 cases — The county follows statewide trend of more community spread, with 60 percent of cases not linked to any other cases.

► From the Washington Post — A Maryland family battled COVID-19 at the same time as Trump. It devastated them. — “Don’t let it dominate you,” Trump said into a camera on Oct. 5. “…We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines. All developed recently. And you’re going to beat it.” Thirty miles away, Carlton Coates Jr. sat in an Annapolis funeral home, staring at the casket that contained the body of his older sister. Carol Coates had battled COVID-19 at the same time as the president. But instead of a suite at Walter Reed, the 46-year-old Black teacher self-isolated in the basement of her family’s home. And instead of the experimental cocktail of antibodies that Trump was given, she received get-well cards from her fifth-grade students. Carol had taught nine miles from the White House. But her illness unfolded in what seemed like a different universe than the one the president described.

► BREAKING from the Seattle Times — FBI warns ransomware assault threatens U.S. healthcare system — Federal agencies warned that cybercriminals are unleashing a wave of data-scrambling extortion attempts against the U.S. healthcare system designed to lock up hospital information systems, which could hurt patient care just as nationwide cases of COVID-19 are spiking. The offensive by a Russian-speaking criminal gang coincides with the U.S. presidential election.




► From The Seattle Times — Six voting centers to be open in King County this weekend — The new centers will be in Seattle, Bellevue, Kenmore, Kent and Federal Way — in addition to the in-person service offered at the county election headquarters in Renton. The elections office is encouraging voters to come in Saturday or Monday to avoid long lines on Tuesday, the final day to vote. Voters who need to register to vote or get a replacement ballot can do so at any of the new sites, the county said.

► From the Washington Post — Millions of mail ballots have not been returned as window closes for Postal Service delivery — Amid a record surge in early voting, millions of mail ballots remained unreturned Wednesday, prompting a flurry of warnings from election officials that ballots sent via the U.S. Postal Service at this point may not arrive in time to be counted. With Election Day less than a week away, more than 42 million out of the 92 million mail ballots requested by voters nationally had not yet been returned as of Wednesday afternoon, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project, a nonpartisan site tracking early voting. In the 20 states where party affiliation data was available, more than 11 million of the outstanding ballots had been requested by Democrats, nearly 8 million by Republicans and about 10 million by unaffiliated voters, according to the Elections Project.

The Stand (Oct. 15) — Got your ballot? Don’t wait. VOTE NOW!

► From the LA Times — Judge orders U.S. Postal Service to boost service amid concerns that late mail ballots won’t be counted — The nationwide order from Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia comes as new data show that on-time mail delivery in some parts of the country has dropped to levels lower than in July, when millions of Americans went days, even weeks, without mail. Ballots arriving late could disenfranchise thousands of voters in this election cycle in states with strict ballot deadlines, data show.

► From CNN — Biden draws contrast with Trump on coronavirus as pandemic worsens in campaign’s final days — Joe Biden sought Wednesday to make the differences in how he and Trump have approached the coronavirus pandemic a part of his closing message, sitting for a briefing with health experts and addressing the crisis as Trump campaigned out West as if it was over. Wednesday’s event was the latest in Biden’s series of demonstrations of how he would handle the pandemic. “We discussed importance of wearing masks, protecting yourself, protecting your neighbor and to save around 100,000 lives in the months ahead,” Biden said in a speech after the briefing. “This is not political. It’s patriotic. Wearing a mask. Wear one, period.”

► From The Guardian — ‘I regret voting for him’: Ohioans hit by GM plant closure reflect on Trump — Trump’s message of bringing back jobs resonated with workers – but after GM announced it was shuttering the plant, some questioned why they voted for him.

The Stand (Oct. 28) — IAM details Trump’s broken promises on U.S. manufacturing — Ferndale’s Intalco Works plant is one of dozens that closed after Trump promised American workers “won’t lose one plant.”

► From the Seattle Times — Hold federal officials accountable for separating migrant families (editorial) — The needless trauma inflicted on children in Trump’s immigration crackdown remains alive. Court-appointed advocates cannot find the parents — still — for 545 children taken away from their families in 2017 and 2018. That includes about 60 who were under age 5 when forcibly separated. That’s years of growing, learning and loving missed out on, forever. That’s a tragedy that must remain in this nation’s consciousness. Those responsible must be held accountable.

► From the AP — Biden pledges task force to reunite 545 children separated from families at border

► From the NY Times — Supreme Court allows longer deadlines for absentee ballots in Pennsylvania and North Carolina — Republicans in both states opposed the extensions. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the court on Tuesday, did not participate in either case, saying she had not had time to fully review the briefs.

► From the NY Times — Facing gap in Pennsylvania, Trump camp tries to make voting harder — Trailing in the polls, Trump and his campaign are pursuing a three-pronged strategy that would effectively suppress the mail-in vote in the critical state of Pennsylvania.

► From HuffPost — Conservative Supreme Court justices seem to be itching to steal the election for Trump — Republican appointees Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas are open to a legal challenge brought by Trump after Election Day that would invalidate votes cast legally in Pennsylvania after the votes are cast ― when Trump and the justices would know how many votes he needs to have invalidated to win reelection.




► From KNKX — Washington state developing safety rules to protect outdoor workers from wildfire smoke — The state Department of Labor and Industries has begun a rule-making process to protect outdoor workers from wildfire smoke. It will make Washington the second state after California to do so. This summer, smoke from wildfires made Washington’s air quality among the worst in the world. Authorities told people to stay indoors to protect their health. But many still had to work outside. Chief among them? Farmworkers, who are considered essential. “You know, they’re told to go to work for a full day — 8, 10, 12 hours a day, being exposed to the smoke and the wildfires,” said Edgar Franks of the farmworkers union Familias Unidas Por La Justicia. He says this summer, many had only disposable or cloth masks, which don’t filter out the dangerous particulate matter in smoke that N-95 masks do. “We need to have available the best materials for protecting workers. Otherwise, you’re just jeopardizing peoples’ health,” Franks said.




► From the Seattle Times — West Seattle motorists can’t catch a break. Now First Avenue South bridge needs urgent repairs. — Drivers who lose time in West Seattle Bridge detours will face more frustration in January when two southbound lanes of the First Avenue South bridge close for urgent repairs. The job will worsen traffic bottlenecks along the main alternative to the cracked West Seattle highrise, which was closed March 23 because of runaway shear cracks.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane County reduces its 2021 budget deficit by around $3 million — Spokane County has reduced the 2021 budget deficit it was facing from $11.6 million to around $8.4 million by trimming the number of deputies and other employees who will be hired next year.




► From the (Everett) Herald — Boeing says it has no plans for 787 or 747 factory space — A large portion of the Boeing Co.’s assembly plant at Paine Field will be “lined off for quite a while” after two major lines close over the next two years, the company said Wednesday. Boeing CEO David Calhoun also brushed aside speculation that assembly of the Renton-built 737 Max could be moved to Everett.

► From the PSBJ — Boeing tees up plans to shed 30% of its real estate as it looks to get leaner — In a cost-cutting move, Boeing is studying every commercial and industrial property it owns or rents with the intent to reduce its real estate footprint by 30%, the Chicago-based jet maker revealed Wednesday.




► From Politico — Attacks on Obamacare threaten coverage gains among minorities — Threats to Obamacare could deal a new blow to communities of color that have been disproportionately ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic as the nation is reckoning with generations of inequity. The Affordable Care Act’s insurance subsidies, its expansions of Medicaid eligibility and its protections for preexisting conditions have especially helped Americans of color, narrowing historic disparities in access to health insurance and affordable care. The coverage gains are among the most significant since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid and the desegregation of American hospitals more than 50 years ago. Now, Trump is again threatening to replace the law if he’s reelected. And exactly one week after the election, the Supreme Court, with its new 6-3 conservative majority, will hear oral arguments in a case brought by conservative states seeking to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act. If the law is dismantled, the communities it aided the most stand to lose the most.

► From the Washington Post — How Trump waged war on his own government — Trump has waged an unwavering four-year war on the civil servants who have operated as the backbone of the federal government for more than a century. Career employees from diplomats to budget analysts have come under siege as they carry out the laws of Congress, attacked by a president with no government experience and portrayed as a “deep state” trying to undermine him… Government service has been undermined in the process, employees and observers say, endangering not just the government’s routine functions, such as ensuring clean water and fighting wildfires, but also its response to rare events like pandemics.




► From the Washington Post — Another disturbing shooting of a Black man shows how desperately police need reform (editorial) — Why was a 911 call for a mental health crisis answered with officers and drawn guns? Shouldn’t there have been attempts to de-escalate the situation? Couldn’t the officers have backed away rather than opening fire on a person in such obvious mental distress? The questions go to the heart of the debate over police use of lethal force.

► From the Chicago Tribune — NLRB invites public to weigh in on whether to ban Scabby, the giant inflatable protest rat — Threatened with extermination by the National Labor Relations Board, the fate of Scabby, the Chicago-born giant inflatable protest rat, may be decided in the court of public opinion. The agency issued an order Tuesday inviting public comment in a case to determine if the use of Scabby to protest the hiring of nonunion labor was a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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