COVID-19 Updates September 2nd, 2020

COVID-19 Updates September 2nd, 2020

Federal

Leak Reveals Warnings Inside Census That Shortened Schedule Risks ‘Serious Errors

  • A Census Bureau analysis has concluded that its curtailed schedule for the 2020 census increases the risk of “serious errors” in the results for the national head count, according to an internal bureau document obtained by the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
  • The revelation marks the first substantial disclosure of concern from within the bureau about the potential impact of its shortened timetable for completing the national head count.

CDC Keeps New Testing Guidelines Despite State Backlash

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week narrowed its guidelines for COVID-19 testing. The new recommendations say that people who aren’t showing symptoms don’t necessarily need to be tested, even if they have been within 6 feet of someone known to have COVID-19.
  • Many states rejected the new recommendations. Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reportedly called the CDC guidance “reckless” and “inexplicable,” vowing that “in Kentucky we’re going to continue to do the right thing,” according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

CDC Issues Sweeping Temporary Halt On Evictions Nationwide Amid Pandemic

  • The CDC issued a temporary halt on evictions through December for people who have lost work during the pandemic and don’t have other good housing options.
  • The new ban does not offer any way for landlords to recoup unpaid rent. 
  • Under the rules of the order, renters have to sign a declaration saying they don’t make more than $99,000 a year — or twice that if filing a joint tax return — and that they have no other option if evicted other than homelessness or living with more people in close proximity.

State

Gov. Wolf extends Pennsylvania’s Disaster Emergency Declaration, cites COVID-19 numbers

  • Governor Tom Wolf extended Pennsylvania’s disaster emergency declaration that was originally put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The renewal of the disaster goes into effect immediately and will stay in place for another 90 days or until it is rescinded by the governor or by law.
  • In July, Gov. Wolf officially vetoed House Resolution 836, which would have ended Pennsylvania’s disaster declaration in response to the coronavirus. A legal dispute surrounding the resolution made its way to Pennsylvania’s highest court where a divided court ruled that the resolution was a “legal nullity” because it was not sent to Wolf to sign or veto.

Pennsylvania women and people of color are bearing the brunt of the recession, report shows 

  • Bars, restaurants, and retail stores that were forced to close their doors disproportionately employ women and people of color, the Keystone Research Center said in a report released Wednesday.
  • As of June in Pennsylvania, the unemployment rates for Black and Hispanic people were 22% and 19.7%, respectively, compared to 12.2% for whites, the report said. About 55.4% of Pennsylvania workers receiving unemployment assistance were women as of Aug. 22, compared with 44.6% for men, state data shows.

Amid partisan debate, Pa. House passes voting reform bill

  • Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted largely along party lines Wednesday to send the state Senate an election reform bill. 
  • The bill would suppress the vote by effectively banning remote drop-boxes, and because it moves the deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot from the current seven days before an election to 15 days before the election.
  • In a statement released to the investigative news site Spotlight PA, the Wolf administration said it opposed the bill, as it was amended, “for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that the bill makes it harder, not easier, for citizens to vote.
  • According to the Associated Press, county election boards expect to handle 3 million mail-in ballots this campaign season, or more than 10 times the amount cast in 2016.

City

Philly students head back to class, virtually; education leaders demand more funding

  • City officials, including Mayor Jim Kenney and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten took aim at President Donald Trump and Senate leaders who have failed to pass the Heroes Act, a COVID-19 relief package that would send billions to cities and school systems like Philadelphia’s, which opened, fully virtual, Wednesday.
  • The school system’s server encountered technical difficulties early on, creating barriers to learning for some; district officials said students who lack equipment or internet access — Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. estimated this week that 18,000 students remained unconnected — would be marked as having an excused absence.
  • The school district said it plans to spend at least $60 million on COVID-19 related purchases.
  • The district has tied any raise for teachers to the PFT’s agreeing to a reopening plan, which Jordan said created “a false dichotomy that defies logic and devalues educators.”

SEPTA’s ‘social-distancing coaches’ are sticking around to boost mask wearing 

  • The transportation authority extended the initiative that has managers and administrative employees handing out face coverings and promoting social distancing at stations to protect against the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Ridership nosedived as the pandemic hit but is trickling back. SEPTA now sees about 35% of its normal bus, trolley, and subway ridership. Mask wearing will be critical as more people board public transportation and social distancing becomes more difficult.

Good News of the Day

Animal Owners Can Now Wear Face Masks Adorned With Their Pets’ Faces – and The Results Are Impawsibly Fun

Via The Good News Network – Dogs And Dorks, an Etsy shop, will print a mask with the snout of your beloved dog or cat and has already sold 100s of the personalized items in just three weeks.

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