COVID-19 Update 03 June, 2020

COVID-19 Update 03 June, 2020

Federal 

Can a coronavirus vaccine be developed at ‘warp speed?’ Army says yes

  • Army officials taking part in the federal government’s efforts to accelerate a potential vaccine development day that while the prospect of developing a vaccine for COVID-19 and releasing it before the year is over is ambitious, it is not impossible. 
  • COVID-19 vaccine efforts are being headed by the team who developed a vaccine for the Zika virus back in 2016 and did so in just nine months.
  • Army research officials say that they’ve learned from the Zika experience and that they’re preparing to develop vaccines for a “family of viruses” near to COVID-19.

Vague testing guidance hinders business reopenings

  • As businesses prepare to reopen across the country, gaps in federal guidelines are making it difficult for businesses to understand the measures needed to avoid contaminated workplaces.
  • The Trump Administration has said that businesses are free to require employees to take a diagnostic test/temperature check every morning, but have not been able to recommend how often to test or whether there should be a “blanket testing policy for job seekers”.
  • Employers worry that a “do-it-yourself” attitude will run into legal issues and questioning how they will absorb the cost of testing. 

Federal prisons under national lockdown amid George Floyd protests, most severe restrictions in 25 years 

  • Already struggling to contain deadly outbreaks of coronavirus, federal authorities have already implemented restrictions on movement within prisons since March. 
  • Monday, the federal Bureau of Prisons said that “out of an abundance of caution” they are implementing additional security measures to protect staff and inmates. 
  • The agency stressed that the lockdown is not prompted by any inmate actions. 

State

Today there were 511 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the total number of cases since March 6th to 73,405, with 5,742 deaths.

Pennsylvania says in-class teaching can resume July 1, but schools still have issues to resolve

  • The PA Dept of Education said that teachers and students can return to schools next month but Districts have their own decisions on whether to reopen. This only applies to counties that have been moved to the yellow or green phase of Gov. Wolf’s reopening plan.
  • Districts, colleges, and K-12 schools will have to submit their reopening plans to the education department, but the state won’t be formally approving them, leaving that authority to local districts. Some of the guidance suggests that ways to maintain social distancing would include holding classes in gyms and auditoriums.
  • You can find the full guidance here.

Pa. to partner with WalMart, Quest Diagnostics on COVID-19 testing efforts

  • Pennsylvania is partnering with Walmart and Quest Diagnostics to help with its coronavirus testing efforts in parts of the states with fewer testing sites. Nineteen free drive-through testing sites will open at Walmart locations in north-central and northwestern counties.
  • Secretary Levine said during a press conference today that “The Department of Health and the Wolf administration are dedicated to health equity and non-discrimination, so we are removing barriers to testing – including the cost – to ensure the accessibility and availability of testing for all Pennsylvania residents.”
  • In addition, Levin announced a state partnership with the Jewish Healthcare to establish the Southwest PA COVID-19 Contact Tracing Consortium.

Voting rights’ advocates warn of bumpy fall unless Pa. addresses primary day glitches

  • Advocates have warned that the Nov. general election could be disastrous if the state does not take measures to reform the model that was used in the primary election.
  • Issues such as long lines, closed polling places, and being turned away from the polls were some of the complaints.
  • The coalition is advocating for the implementation of voting centers, which would be well-resourced voting locations with a large staff in a facility central to the community, so people can clearly understand where they need to go to vote

Police reforms proposed after Antwon Rose’s killing have languished in Pa. Will now be any different?

  • On Tuesday, a group of state House Democrats and local Philadelphia lawmakers proposed dozens of reforms regarding police training, discipline, and oversight. The plan includes legislation to ban police chokeholds and provide access to body camera footage. 
  • The lawmakers are always talking to Gov. Wolf to require the State Police to create and maintain a database of disciplinary actions and complaints lodged against officers. A spokesperson for the governor said he “is supportive of the concepts outlined by the elected leaders.”

Philadelphia 

Today there were 126 new cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia, for a total of 23,160 cases in Philadelphia and 1,324 deaths. 

As Pa. stay-at-home order ends, Kenney casts uncertainty that Philly will enter ‘yellow’ reopening phase

  • Today, Mayor Kenney cast doubt that Philadelphia can move to the yellow phase on Friday. The numbers are “trending in that direction,” he said, but added that “We’ll have to see what happens today, tonight, tomorrow, Friday…” with regard to crowds.

 Early Philly ballot questions: Dept. of Labor and relaxed campaign laws likely

  • Although official results have not been released, there is a good chance that the city will establish a permanent Department of Labor, and allow some city employees to volunteer on statewide political campaigns.
  • At the moment, workers’ rights are only protected by the Mayor’s Office of Labor.

Good News of the Day

Man Who Grew Up Without a Dad Supports Youth With ‘Dad How Do I?’ YouTube Channel

Via The Good News Network –

A Bellevue, Washington man who knows what it’s like to grow up without a father has been doing his part to make a difference in the lives of kids today who are in the same boat—and from the surging popularity of his YouTube channel, it’s clear he will be among the dads most showered with love this Father’s Day.

Rob Kenney wanted to step in to fill the void whenever a kid needed to learn how to do something—like change a car’s oil, put up a shelf, use a stud-finder, and even iron a shirt or shave your face.

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