Good morning. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown spring wedding plans across the country into chaos. One Michigan couple refused to let their suddenly empty guest list stop them from fully enjoying their big day, so they held a ceremony on Saturday in the presence of more than one hundred human-shaped cardboard cutouts. Love conquers all.
“Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.”
With the coronavirus outbreak dominating recent news coverage, it can be difficult to parse through and identify sources of misinformation. So, we’re back with Part Four of “Fact or Fiction,” where we compile a list of frequently asked questions – or inaccurately made statements – and set the record straight (here’s One, Two, and Three):
Wearing A Face Mask Will Protect Me Against COVID-19 IT DEPENDS – Medical-grade N95 masks can be effective at preventing the wearer from infection, but the general public has been urged not to use them as they are fiercely needed by health care workers across the U.S. On Friday, the CDC recommended the use of cloth masks by the general public across the country to slow down the spread of the virus (here’s the reason why).
The Number Of Actual Cases Is Much Higher Than Reported Numbers True – The current numbers only reflect the cases that have been confirmed by a test. A high number of patients infected with coronavirus experience mild or no symptoms and do not seek out medical treatment, and thus cannot be added to the number of positive tests.
My Pet Can Give Me The Virus (Or Vice Versa) LIKELY FALSE – The CDC, WHO, and the World Organisation for Animal Health currently say there is no evidence that a companion animal has transmitted coronavirus to a person. There have been a handful of reports of cats and dogs contracting the virus through their owners, though none have originated from the U.S.
Antibiotics Can Prevent And Treat COVID-19 FALSE – Antibiotics only work against bacteria – COVID-19 is a virus. However, bacterial co-infection may be possible in more serious cases, leading to a hospitalized patient receiving antibiotics.
Can You Contract COVID-19 From Handling A Package? Very Low Risk – The CDC currently says there is little risk of contracting the virus via food products or packaging since coronaviruses do not live very long on inanimate surfaces. Several delivery agencies have said they are taking extra precautions and encouraging sick employees to stay at home (FedEx, Amazon, USPS, UPS).
Can You Be Infected With COVID-19 Twice? UNCLEAR – According to the SCMP, a study showed about 3 to 10 percent of patients who recovered from the virus ended up testing positive again. However, scientists have displayed a healthy skepticism towards the small amount of second positives, as past coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS never infected the same person twice. The issue is currently under further study.
That’s A Wrap… But before you go further down the newsletter, here are a few positive coronavirus-related stories to give you a brief respite from the doom and gloom:
20 NYC Hotels to be Converted Into Additional Hospital Space
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Global cases rose above 1.27 million over the weekend with more than 69,000 deaths. The number of confirmed U.S. cases rose to more than 336,000 with 9,610 confirmed deaths.
President Trump on Friday announced plans for a stimulus package to pay hospitals to treat uninsured patients for coronavirus symptoms.
Italy on Sunday reported its lowest death toll in over two weeks, while Spain on Friday reported a day-to-day decrease in deaths for the first time in more than a week.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday ordered the National Guard to seize unused ventilators and medical supplies to redistribute to hospitals in need.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to the hospital for “precautionary” tests Sunday afternoon, ten days after he tested positive for the virus.
A four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia tested positive for coronavirus Sunday at the Bronx zoo.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Sunday said the coming week or two will be America’s “Pearl Harbor” or “9/11” moment.
Inspector General Fired
President Trump on Friday fired Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community. Last year, Atkinson informed Congress of the whistleblower complaint that eventually led to Trump’s House impeachment and subsequent Senate acquittal.
Sir Keir Starmer won a decisive victory in the UK Labour Party’s three-month leadership elections, which concluded on Saturday. Starmer is replacing former Labour head Jeremy Corbyn, who served as the party’s leader for five years before stepping down earlier this year and triggering the election.
U.S. stock indexes fell 1.5% on Friday, while global oil prices early Monday morning traded down nearly $3 per barrel (7-8%).
The U.S. Labor Department disclosed a loss of 701,000 payroll jobs in its March jobs report.
The federal government’s $350 billion small business stimulus program kicked off on Friday, though just $3.2 billion in loans were approved amid widespread issues.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday announced the NBA is collaborating with the NY Knicks and Brooklyn Nets to donate one million masks to the state’s hospitals.
Walmart on Saturday placed a limit on the number of individuals allowed in each store, allowing no more than five customers per 1,000 square feet.
The attorneys general of three states have announced a probe into the privacy practices of Zoom, after numerous reports of security breaches caused the NYC school system to ban the video app.
Starships Were Meant To Fly
SpaceX’s Starship prototype – SN3 – was crushed in a cryogenic pressure test late Thursday night (video). Testing failures are common during spaceship development, with earlier prototypes having seen a mixed bag of results.
More: CEO Elon Musk had hoped to eventually use the SN3 for a short test flight, but will now turn his attention to the SN4 iteration.
General Motors and Honda on Friday reached an agreement to co-develop two new electric vehicles. Under the terms of the plan, the vehicles will be produced at GM’s North American plants and incorporate GM’s OnStar and Super Cruise technologies, but will be branded and sold under the Honda name beginning in 2024.
With millions of Americans suddenly unemployed or underemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many tenants have found themselves unable to afford the money for rent, especially in hard-hit New York City.
Mario Salerno, a Brooklyn born-and-bred landlord who owns 18 apartment buildings around the borough, recently posted notices telling all tenants that April’s payment was no longer needed – forgiving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of rent.
Though the recent pandemic has forced the population indoors, it has also provided an opportunity to highlight the creativity of those looking to stay occupied during the extended quarantine.
An example of such creativity can be found in a South Bend, IN neighborhood, where dozens of residents are engaged in an interactive game of “I Spy” that can be played while taking a walk through the community.
Canaan Bower is a prime example of being at the right place at the right time. The Las Cruces, NM high school wrestling champ was out and about one day, when he heard sounds of distress at a nearby bus stop and rushed to the scene.
When he arrived, Canaan saw a woman struggling to rescue her daughter from a would-be kidnapper. Canaan instinctively leapt into the fray and pinned the assailant to the ground, holding the man in place until police arrived to take him into custody.
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“Hooverball” – a variation on volleyball that uses a medicine ball instead – was invented by President Hoover’s personal physician to help keep him fit (video). The Hoover Presidential Library Association hosts a national championship in West Branch, Iowa each year.