COVID-19 Update 10 July, 2020

COVID-19 Update 10 July, 2020

Federal 

Pediatricians split with Trump on school reopening threats

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics is joining teacher’s unions and school superintendents in blasting the Trump administration as they threaten to withhold federal funds from schools that do not fully reopen in the fall.
  • The support of the children’s doctors with unions and superintendents is significant, following a week in which the Trump administration touted an earlier report from pediatricians that “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”
  • Teacher’s unions, parents, and other education leaders have said they need more funding to reopen safely and that Trump’s political priorities will put children and educators in harm’s way.

After lobbying, the Catholic Church won $1.4B in virus aid

  • The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to receive $1.4 billion from the Paycheck Protection Program. 
  • Houses of worship and faith-based organizations that promote religious beliefs aren’t usually eligible for money from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Republicans Signal They’re Willing To Pay Up To Avoid An Election Day Disaster

  • Republicans are showing a new willingness to provide funds to states in the upcoming November election.
  • Experts expect as many as 70% of all ballots cast in November’s presidential election will be cast through the mail. 
  • The Brennan Center estimated the total cost of such adjustments to be $4 billion, which is how much was allocated in a proposal that passed the Democratic-controlled House in May.

State 

1,000+ new COVID-19 cases reported in Pa. for the first time since leaders said the outbreak had peaked

  • For the first time since May 10, more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Pennsylvania.
  • In the newest cases, ages range from 2 to 91 years old with the median age being 38. Positive results are from tests that span June 24 through July 9.

Dem senators pen letter asking Wolf, GOP leaders to consider legalizing cannabis amid revenue losses

  • 15 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Wolf and GOP leaders are calling on Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican leaders to consider legalizing adult-use recreational cannabis as the state grapples with expected revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • But in addition to serving as a potential money source that could stop some budgetary bleeding, the Democrats argued that legalization could also create jobs “at a time when millions of people could use them” and increase fairness within the criminal justice system.
  • Though last year, upon Lt. Gov. John Fetterman releasing a report that suggested between 65 and 70 percent of Pennsylvanians support legalizing recreational cannabis, the House Republican Caucus threw cold water on the idea of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. 

City 

Coronavirus cases continue to plateau in Philly

  • Philadelphia reported 113 new coronavirus cases Friday, keeping consistent with numbers that have essentially plateaued since the beginning of June.
  • The rate of positive tests has averaged about 4.7% over the past seven days, though the city warns that some data may be delayed due to the way positive tests are reported.

Philly’s new $1.7 million fund helps cash economy workers left out of COVID stimulus

  • The coronavirus has dealt a crushing blow to the tens of thousands of people who work in the region’s cash economy and were consequently unable to qualify for state and federal stimulus programs.
  • This week, the city begins accepting applications for the Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund. It’s a $1.7 million pot of money that will provide $800 one-time cash payments to thousands of families left behind by other government aid programs.
  • The most significant donation was  $750,000 from liberal financier George Soros, whose Open Society Foundations has directed hundreds of millions to similar relief funds in other cities. Other funds came from a $500,000 gift from the Albert and Mary Douty Foundation and $200,000 from the William Penn Foundation. Another $10,000 from the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, one of the city’s most prominent Black churches.

No-visitor coronavirus policies separate kids in residential treatment from families

  • Many children living in residential treatment centers have been unable to see their parents since the pandemic started.
  • The state’s guidelines have left it up to each facility to decide whether and when to allow family visitors. 

Good News of the Day

NASA names D.C. headquarters for ‘Hidden Figure’ Mary W. Jackson, first Black woman engineer at agency

NASA has named its Washington, D.C. headquarters for Mary W. Jackson, the first Black woman engineer at the space agency, a key figure whose work helped America win the space race. Her role and contributions were celebrated in the Oscar-nominated movie, “Hidden Figures”.

Last year, the street in front of NASA’s headquarters was renamed “Hidden Figures Way”.

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