FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators march across Brooklyn Bridge in protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 4, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

At least nine U.S. states have experienced a rise in hospitalizations due to the coronavirus since Memorial Day, with some reporting their highest-ever hospitalizations throughout the pandemic in recent days.  

In Arizona, officials are urging hospitals in the state to activate their emergency protocols to brace for the surge. Hospitalizations in Texas reached their third straight day of record hospitalizations, although Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) attributes a rise in general cases to “isolated hot spots” in nursing homes, jails, and meatpacking plants. Health officials in California have placed Los Angeles and eight other counties on a watch list, meaning that those counties will face renewed restrictions and lockdown orders if their cases are not contained. 

Some have blamed the premature reopening of state economies for the rise in cases and hospitalizations, pointing to instances such as Pennsylvania, where a new cluster of cases was traced back to beach house gatherings on Jersey Shore over Memorial Day weekend. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned on Wednesday morning that gathering for protests of the killing of George Floyd is also “taking a risk.” Fauci’s comments followed news that some members of the National Guard in Washington D.C., tested positive for COVID-19 following their deployment at those protests.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

White House goes quiet on coronavirus as outbreak spikes again across the U.S. – Politico – 6/10/2020
It’s been more than a month since the White House halted its daily coronavirus task force briefings. Top officials like infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci have largely disappeared from national television — with Fauci making just four cable TV appearances in May after being a near fixture on Sunday shows across March and April — and are frequently restricted from testifying before Congress. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is preparing to resume his campaign rallies after a three-month hiatus, an attempted signal to voters that normalcy is returning ahead of November’s election, and that he’s all but put the pandemic behind him.

I’m Mayor of a Small City in Kentucky. We Can Safely Reopen. – The New York Times – 6/9/2020
And yet, though we have done our part to flatten the curve, we continue to lag in reopening our economy and feel justified in our desire to move faster. The international devastation this virus has caused is real. I pray daily for the cities, states and countries that have been hit harder than my own. But I am deeply concerned that if we do not take aggressive action now — if local leaders in Middle America are not given a voice or trusted to make appropriate decisions for their own communities — we will fail at our economic recovery efforts

Why So Many Doctors Support Protesting In a Pandemic – Time – 6/10/2020
Why, in the middle of a pandemic, after months of telling people to stay indoors to stop the spread of COVID-19, are doctors encouraging thousands of people to gather? The answer, for many in health care, is simple: Racism is a public-health issue that long predates coronavirus. Without action, they say, it will postdate it, too.

Sen. Josh Hawley seeks investigation into different treatment of church services and protests under COVID-19 pandemic – Twitchy – 6/9/2020
Conservatives have been pouncing as scientists and lockdown-happy politicians explain that protests are a different public health issue than the coronavirus, and it’s probably safe to join thousands of others in a crowded park to protest the killing of George Floyd.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

The American Prospect on Twitter, 6/10/2020: A combination of mass protests and general nonchalance over returning to normal activities means that the second wave of the coronavirus will begin before the first wave fully ends. 

Katty Kay on Twitter, 6/10/2020:  Just interviewed @drlucymcbride – she’s already seen her first patient who’d been to protests who now has COVID symptoms. She thinks a spike is inevitable.

Tim Carney on Twitter, 6/10/2020:  If, like me, you think the media and the experts have been too pro-lockdown, it’s good to follow a pro-lockdown voice who just dishes facts, like Jim. These Texas numbers might just be increased testing, but I worry.

Brent Toderian on Twitter, 6/10/2020:  Based on what I’m seeing happening in many cities & countries, & the advice of experts with experience with past pandemics, I’m making plans on the assumption there WILL be a significant #coronavirus 2nd wave, ranging in intensity city-to-city from bad to horrifying. #COVID__19

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