Wednesday, November 11, 2020
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Nov. 11 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 120,011 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,142) and 2,482 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 10)
► From the Seattle Times — 1 patient dead, 8 more infected after outbreak of coronavirus at Auburn Medical Center — One patient has died, eight additional patients have become infected and at least five staffers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, after an outbreak on a fourth floor unit at Auburn Medical Center, the MultiCare hospital system said in a news release Tuesday.
► From the News Tribune — More COVID-19 cases reported among workers at Tacoma hospital after widespread testing — An update from St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma shows COVID-19 cases among staff have continued to rise. A total of 23 workers have tested positive in the rounds of testing conducted in recent weeks… The surveillance testing allowed staff with no known exposure to continue working while awaiting results, a strategy that’s been criticized by unions representing workers at the site over concerns of asymptomatic spread. The unions also have sought paid administrative leave for workers following a COVID test until receiving results and during any quarantine.
► From the Kitsap Sun — St. Michael Medical Center hit by another COVID-19 outbreak — Another COVID-19 outbreak has hit St. Michael Medical Center, where at least six people at the Bremerton hospital have been infected since early November. CHI Franciscan, the hospital system that owns St. Michael, announced Tuesday that four patients and two employees on the third floor have been infected to date.
► From the Columbian — Clark County reports highest-ever single-day COVID-19 case count, death toll
► From the Tri-City Herald — Tri-Cities COVID cases already 3 times higher daily than a few weeks ago
► From the Spokesman-Review — State health officials ask residents to stop socializing and alter holiday plans as COVID-19 cases soar — Plan on a small Thanksgiving this year and consider not socializing until then, state and local health officials warned on Tuesday as they sounded the alarm about skyrocketing COVID-19 cases in Washington state. Cases are surging statewide and in all age groups.
► From HuffPost — U.S. hits all-time high for COVID-19 hospitalizations — Medical facilities reported that 61,964 patients were hospitalized with serious cases of the coronavirus on Nov. 10, breaking a record set in April.
► From the Washington Post — With coronavirus cases spiking nationwide, all signs point to a harrowing autumn — This is the dismal reality America faces as the coronavirus continues its unchecked surge around the country: In North Dakota, health-care workers with asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus will be allowed to keep working as the number of infected patients outstrips the staff members needed to care for them, the governor said this week. As a worrisome summer gives way to a harrowing fall, the nation’s surge of coronavirus cases shows no signs of easing. With little help and scant guidance from a Washington stuck in political limbo, some states and localities rushed to put in place new restrictions aimed at slowing the virus’s spread. Still, almost every metric appeared headed in an ominous direction.
► From the NY Times — The surging coronavirus finds a federal leadership vacuum — The pandemic caught the nation flat-footed in March, but epidemiologists have been warning for months of a fall and winter wave as people are driven indoors, schools resume in-person classes and Americans grow tired of months of precautions. Yet shortages of personal protective equipment are back, especially among rural hospitals, nursing homes and private medical practices that lack access to the supply networks that serve larger hospital chains.
► From The Hill — Biden seeks to use the bully pulpit he has on COVID-19 — “It’s time to end the politicization of basic, responsible public health steps like mask wearing and social distancing,” Biden said. “A mask is not a political statement, but it is a good way to start pulling the country together.”
► From the Columbian — Investigators: No evidence Kevin Peterson Jr. fired gun at Clark County deputies — Investigators reported Tuesday there is no evidence, at this time, that Kevin Peterson Jr. fired his handgun at pursuing Clark County sheriff’s deputies during the deadly Oct. 29 confrontation in Hazel Dell. Deputies shot and killed the young Black man from Camas following a planned drug sale of 50 Xanax pills between Peterson and a confidential informant outside a Quality Inn motel, according to court records filed Friday… Court records cited evidence that suggested Peterson, 21, not only had a Glock 23 .40-caliber handgun but that he fired two rounds at deputies. Sheriff Chuck Atkins had also previously said there was an exchange of gunfire.
► From the News Tribune — Nobles declares victory in WA senate race, becomes first Black member in a decade — T’wina Nobles (D) has declared victory in the race to represent the 28th Legislative District in the Washington state Senate. Nobles held a lead over incumbent Steve O’Ban (R) of more than 1,000 votes as of the latest batch of Pierce County election results dropped Monday evening.
► From the Seattle Times — Appeals court upholds $18 million fine against grocery industry group for violating Washington campaign law — An appeals court has upheld a record-setting $18 million penalty imposed on a national grocery-industry group for violating Washington campaign-finance laws during a 2013 fight against a food-labeling initiative.
► From Crosscut — How Republican Kim Wyman keeps winning in blue Washington state — The secretary of state’s latest victory will make her the only statewide GOP official on the West Coast, outside of Alaska.
► From the Seattle Times — Make Secretary of State nonpartisan to end political games (editorial)
► From the Bellingham Herald — Sen. Erickson seeks end to Washington’s all-mail voting — State Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) is preparing legislation to return Washington state to in-person voting, require voter ID at the polls and invalidate most absentee ballots that arrive by mail after Election Day.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ericksen made $500,000 consulting for Hun Sen’s Cambodian government, which Human Rights Watch says is “an abusive and authoritarian political regime.” Who’s consulting whom? Double-dippin’ Doug would also like to remind all lobbyists that, for the coming virtual legislative session, he is accepting meals from Postmates and DoorDash.
► From The Hill — Biden shrugs off Trump, GOP on election — President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday he is moving forward with his transition plans, despite Trump and GOP allies refusing to acknowledge the election results. His remarks came on a day punctuated with congratulatory calls from heads of state and trading on Wall Street that has already factored in a Biden presidency and a divided Congress.
► From the NY Times — The Times called officials in every state: No evidence of voter fraud — Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump’s portrait of a fraudulent election.
► From the Washington Post — As states press forward with vote counts, Trump advisers privately express pessimism about heading off Biden’s win — Six states where President Trump has threatened to challenge his defeat continued their march toward declaring certified election results in the coming weeks, as his advisers privately acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden’s official victory is less a question of “if” than “when.”
► From the Washington Post — ‘What’s the downside for humoring him?’: A GOP official’s unintentionally revealing quote about the Trump era (by Aaron Blake) — Speaking about Trump’s and his legal team’s myriad and baseless claims of massive voter fraud, an anonymous senior Republican official offered a rhetorical shrug:
“What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change. He went golfing this weekend. It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave.”
Indeed, what’s a little undermining of democracy between friends?
► From HuffPost — Public pressure, lawsuits kept USPS from handing Trump the election. Here’s how. — What made the difference, experts say, was enormous public pressure, multiple lawsuits, scrutiny from the courts, urgent efforts to urge voters to mail their ballots as early as possible, and extraordinary measures taken by the agency itself and its legions of dedicated postal workers.
► From the Washington Post — Supreme Court appears ready to uphold Affordable Care Act over latest challenge from Trump, GOP — A majority of the Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s essential components in the face of the latest challenge to the health care law brought by Republican-led states and the Trump administration. Two key members of the court — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh — said plainly during two hours of teleconferenced arguments that Congress’s decision in 2017 to zero-out the penalty for not buying health insurance did not indicate a desire to kill the entire law.
► From Politico — Biden pledges Americans won’t lose health coverage during pandemic — President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that his advisers are making contingencies so Americans don’t have to worry about losing health coverage or protections for preexisting conditions during the pandemic, but did not specify what his administration would do if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare.
► From the Seattle Times — Gov. Inslee emerges as contender for Energy in Biden’s cabinet — Environmental activists are promoting his name for Energy Secretary, pointing to his plan to close U.S. coal plants by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2045. (Inslee has also been promoted for appointment as secretary of the interior or head of the Environmental Protection Agency.) Also named as contenders for Education Secretary: AFT President Randi Weingarten and former NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.
► From In These Times — Bernie Sanders is actively running for Labor Secretary — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I‑Vt.) is actively reaching out to allies in a bid to build support for being picked as Secretary of Labor in the Biden administration, according to a Washington source who spoke to Sanders directly… Last week, Axios reported that Biden’s team was “considering an informal ban on naming Democratic U.S. senators to the Cabinet if he wins,” which would preclude Sanders from being selected. If that is the case, Sanders himself is not letting it slow him down. This week, he has already begun making calls to allies in politics and the labor world, saying that he wants to make a run at the position of Labor Secretary.
► From the Washington Post — Virtual schooling has largely forced moms, not dads, to quit work. It will hurt the economy for years. — The pandemic recession has been dubbed a “she-session” because it has hurt women far worse than men. The share of women working or looking for work has fallen to the lowest level since 1988, wiping out decades of hard-fought gains in the workplace. Women have recovered only about 39 percent of the big drop in the labor force they suffered in the spring, while men have recovered 58 percent of their jobs. Much of the difference in these diverging fortunes for men and women boils down to moms having to stop working to take care of kids… The challenge for the next president is how to deal with this “she-session” crisis. For years, policymakers and political leaders have debated how to help blue-collar men who were losing jobs. Now the problem is women. There are rising calls for the government to prioritize reopening in-person schooling as many other nations around the world, including Canada, have done.
► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO honors veterans today and every day — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “This Veterans Day, we honor those who served by not just displaying important symbols, but by being active participants in the American democracy that so many have sacrificed to protect. Patriotism is more than waving the Stars and Stripes; it’s about casting a vote, helping our communities, exercising our rights and protecting the Constitution. As we prepare to write the next chapter in America’s history, let us never forget our veterans, and the more than 1 million active union members, who have protected and served our country. The labor movement honors all those who wore the uniform of the United States, and we thank you for your service.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.