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On Sunday, the Houston Chronicle’s obituary section was 43 pages.

BIOREGIONAL

* Washington state now has 43,046 confirmed cases, with 1,421 deaths. Local counties: King County 12,325 cases/630 deaths. Pierce County 3,395/108; Snohomish County 4,122/179. Snohomish County has passed 4,000 confirmed cases, and Pierce County has passed 3,000. The state Department of Health adjusted how it tallies COVID-19 deaths over the weekend, so both statewide and individual county numbers have dropped.

* Oregon state now has 13,509 confirmed cases, with 249 deaths. Local counties: Multnomah 3,199/73 deaths. Washington 2070/21 deaths. Clackamas 1079 / 29 deaths. Since July 1, Oregon has recorded a record 3,800 new cases of the virus, more infections than in the entire month of May.  Daily cases in the state have reached 437 daily cases, the third consecutive week that state officials reported a record-breaking daily total.

* Idaho state has 13,261 confirmed cases with 114 deaths. Local counties: Ada County 5,132 cases / 30 Deaths. Canyon 2,730 cases / 16 deaths. Kootenai County 904 cases / 1 death. Twin Falls County 894 cases / 26 deaths. The state has broken single day records four times out of the past seven days, recording 585 cases on Wednesday, adding 2200 cases since Sunday.

* British Columbia province has 3170 confirmed cases with 189 deaths. Recently, there were 23 newly diagnosed cases, with 209 actively ill, 15 people currently hospitalized and 3 people in intensive care units. British Columbia, with Cascadia’s second most populous, and densest city Vancouver, took a strong approach led by a science based policy decisions, leading to the lowest COVID-19 rates in Canada. They are undergoing a small spike as they begin to ease restrictions and re-open businesses.

* Gov. Jay Inslee held a press conference yesterday in which he announced that he is extending the pause on considering counties moving to new phases of reopening until at least July 28. Inslee cited data that shows transmission rates of COVID-19 are increasing throughout most of the state instead of falling, and there’s a growing percentage of new cases are among Washingtonians in their 20s. Yakima County is the exception as its mask-wearing efforts appear to be successful so far and transmission is declining; according to Inslee, mask-wearing in public has increased there from 35 percent in May to 95 percent now/. Inslee also referenced this week’s decisions by California and Oregon to restore some of their pandemic restrictions; he said our state’s health officials are watching COVID-19 activity there (and here) closely to determine if similar steps will be necessary here.

* The University of Washington’s COVID-19 modeling – once cited as “the gold standard” in White House COVID-19 briefings – revised its estimate today of US deaths from the pandemic. Upward. The new prediction: Just under 250,000 by November 1. They know better than I do, but I said 300,000 a month ago. I’m sticking with that. I hope they’re closer to the actual number than I am.

UNITED STATES

* US deaths are once again rising, after having declined for much of June. The seven-day average for deaths per day has now jumped by more than 200 since July 6.

* A new study estimates that 5.4 million Americans have lost their health insurance between March and May – and a separate study estimates that the number may rise to 10 million by the end of 2020.

* Oklahoma and Nevada today joined the list of states posting record numbers of new COVID-19 cases.

* California and Oregon have rolled back the opening of most businesses.

* Forty hospitals across the state of Florida are known to have reached ICU capacity; the actual number is likely higher, because Florida doesn’t collect hospitalization data. Florida set a new single-day record today for deaths, which Trump Mini-Me Gov. Ron DeSantis dismissed as a “blip.” Florida’s increase in cases, if it were a separate country, would be the fourth most new cases in world behind Brazil, India, and, of course, the US. Three states – Florida, Texas, and California – now have one in five new cases worldwide. And Florida’s test positivity rate – with grossly inadequate testing – is now up to 28 percent.

* Alabama today became the latest Republican-led state to implement a statewide public mask order. Alabama set a new record for deaths today as well, and at least 30 hospitals across the state are out of ICU beds.

* Twenty-five states still don’t have statewide mask requirements. But major retailers do, nationwide – and big companies are what passes for nationwide public policy these days. Wal-Mart, Kroger, and any number of other retailers are now requiring customers to wear masks, regardless of how much the governor of a store’s location thinks wearing one impinges on your freedom to shop while killing other people.

* Mayors of five large Arizona cities also wrote a letter yesterday, essentially begging their Republican governor, Doug Ducey, to allow them to enact local stay at home requirements. Ducey relented to similar demands last month, allowing 12 cities to enact mask requirements, but it was too little, too late.

* Texas, Georgia, and Arizona are among the states whose Republican governors have barred local jurisdictions from enacting any pandemic restrictions more stringent than statewide requirements. It’s been one of the more effective ways to ensure the further spread of the virus. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner & Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo (that county’s top elected official) sent Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott a letter this week pleading with him to allow them to enact a 15-day stay at home order. Houston, home of the world’s largest medical center, is at 102 percent of its ICU bed capacity, and hospitals say they’re running out of ventilators, drugs, testing kits, PPE *and* staff. Half of all of Houston’s hospitalizations and ICU admissions are of Latinx people. On Sunday, the Houston Chronicle’s obituary section was 43 pages.

* Oh, and that big statewide Republican convention that was supposed to happen this week in Houston? Republicans sued claiming the city didn’t have the authority to shut it down. On Monday, a conservative judge sided with the city. It’s not happening.

* Meanwhile, the Republicans’ national convention, which they moved to the fire to avoid the frying pan, is also in trouble. RNC officials are now suggesting it might be a better idea to hold the convention outdoors. In Jacksonville. In August.

* Quite aside from the brutal heat and humidity, the stench of so many sweaty humans in close proximity – well, it wouldn’t be pleasant, but it wouldn’t affect TV viewers. The swarms of flying insects would, though. Have these folks ever BEEN outdoors in a Florida summer? I have.

**The Ostrich Files**

* The New York Times was the first to report last night that the Trump Administration has quietly ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all COVID-19 patient information to a central database in Washington controlled by the political appointees of the Department of Health and Human Services – beginning today.

* A lot of experts are rightly concerned that this is a Trump Administration attempt to suppress unfavorable pandemic data – which is to say, ALL pandemic data. But hospitals don’t just report data to the CDC, and now HHS; they also report to their counties, and the counties report to the states, who in turn report to the feds. There are already plenty of media and academic sources who compile data across the US, bypassing the feds and surveying all 50 states and even all 3,143 counties. While it’s possible that some county-level conservatives will try to suppress data, few such counties are large enough for that kind of effort to have much impact. More of a risk is HHS changing definitions – counting only cases confirmed by testing while there’s an ongoing shortage of tests, for example, or not counting the deaths of COVID-19 patients with co-morbid conditions.

* What is most likely isn’t a suppression of the “real” numbers, which most experts, including the CDC, think are already a gross underestimate. Instead, you’ll get the “official” HHS numbers, which nobody who has paid any attention to this pandemic should believe, and you’ll have a second, higher set of numbers, compiled state-by-state by various media and independent researchers. *Those* numbers will be dismissed as “Fake News” by the White House, and THAT is the real point of this whole Orwellian exercise – not to suppress the data, but to muddy the waters.

* This, after all, has been a foundational principal of the Nero Administration: “Who are you gonna believe, me, or your lying eyes?” About a third of all Americans choose him. That’s the intent with this as well.

People Being Idiots

* One of Oklahoma’s record number of new cases is that of its Republican governor, Kevin Stitt – who not only spoke, maskless, at Nero’s poorly attended Nuremberg rally in Tulsa on June 20, but even after his own diagnosis is refusing to consider a mask mandate for his state, because freedom. He was not wearing a mask, of course, when he made his diagnosis announcement today. Meanwhile, the city council of Tulsa, Oklahoma, reeling from the record number of infections generated by Nero’s mask-free visit, voted tonight to enact a local mask ordinance.

* Louisiana’s Republican Attorney General had to cancel a planned visit by Vice President Pence after he – the AG, not Pence – tested positive.

* Polling suggests that at least 70 percent of Americans think reopening schools into the teeth of a pandemic is a bad idea. So Nero, of course, doubled down yesterday, seeming to imply in his word salad that kids whose parents were concerned should…find new parents? Yeah, that’s gonna go over well.

* Not to be outdone, Trump daughter (and fantasy mistress) Ivanka, who has never needed to work a day in her life, had her Marie Antoinette moment yesterday, suggesting unemployed Americans look on the bright side and “find something new.” There are currently something like five million available jobs in the US, and at least four times that number of people who need a job. Simple math suggests she’s full of shit. And yes, she really did say that on Bastille Day.

Vulnerable Populations

* On Tuesday, protesting parents blocked a summer school program that had reopened in Detroit, Like Washington, Michigan appeared to get its pandemic suppressed but has recently seek a new spike in cases. Meanwhile, the school district covering Southern California’s Orange County – and its over three million residents – voted Tuesday to reopen in-person fall classes, in complete defiance of CDC guidelines. The L.A. area is the epicenter of California’s current outbreak.

Today’s top ten COVID-19 states.

Pennsylvania becomes the tenth state to reach 100,000 cases – a threshold only reached by 22 countries worldwide. State populations are listed first, followed by total cases/deaths, followed by Saturday’s total cases/deaths in parentheses:

  1. 19.5 million New York 429,278/32,462 (426,402/32,403)
  2. 39.5 million California 346,598/7,235 (326,989/7,051)
  3. 21.5 million Florida 291,629/4,409 (269,811/4,242)
  4. 29.0 million Texas 285,772/3,471 (264,965/3,251)
  5. 8.8 million New Jersey 181,773/15,662 (180,915/15,609)
  6. 12.7 million Illinois 156,638/7,419 (155,048/7,388)
  7. 7.3 million Arizona 128,097/2,337 (122,467/2,237)
  8. 0.0 million Georgia 123,963/3,054 (116,966/3,001)
  9. 6.9 million Massachusetts 112,130/8,340 (111,597/8,325)
  10. 12.8 million Pennsylvania 101,360/6,981(99,794/6,958)

Next: North Carolina, Louisiana, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia

GLOBAL

* The head of the World Health Organization said Tuesday that “lack of leadership” was the biggest global threat posed by the pandemic. He didn’t name any names. He didn’t need to.

* The Japanese island of Okinawa had no cases between April 4 and July. Now it has over 100. How? The island hosts scores of US military bases, large and small, and the virus was spread by American soldiers at Independence Day parties.

* Mexico has extended the closure of its border with the US indefinitely.

* The Australian airline Qantas has suspended its international flights until July. Of 2021.

* The official worldwide total of confirmed cases is now 13,323,530, with 578,628 deaths.

* Countries over 70,000 cases. Saturday’s total cases/deaths are in parentheses.

  1. 327 million USA 3,431,574/136,466 (3,301,820/135,171)
  2. 209 million Brazil 1,926,835/74,133 (1,864,681/72,100)
  3. 1.328 billion India 936,181/24,309 (849,553/22,674)
  4. 146 million Russia 738,787/11,597 (726,036/11,318)
  5. 32 million Peru 333,867/12,229/(326,326/11,870)
  6. 13 million Chile 319,493/7,069 (315,041/6,979)
  7. 129 million Mexico 311,486/36,327 (295,268/34,730)
  8. 57 million South Africa 298,292/4,346 (276,242/4,079)
  9. 67 million UK 292,931/45,053 (291,154/44,904)
  10. 82 million Iran 262,173/13,211 (257,303/12,829)
  11. 47 million Spain 256,619/27,409 (253,908/28,403)
  12. 212 million Pakistan 255,769/5,386 (248,872/5,197)
  13. 61 million Italy 244,344/34,984 (243,061/34,954)
  14. 34 million Saudi Arabia 237,803/2,283 (232,259/2,223)
  15. 82 million Turkey 214,993/5,402 (212,993/5,363)
  16. 65 million France 209,640/30,032 (208,015/30,007)
  17. 83 million Germany 200,456/9,078 (199,919/9,071)
  18. 161 million Bangladesh 190,057/2,424 (183,795/2,352)
  19. 50 million Colombia 154,277/5,787 (145,362/5,426)
  20. 37 million Canada 110,350/8,845 (109,348/8,829)
  21. 45 million Argentina 106,910/1,968 (100,166/1,845)
  22. 3 million Qatar 104,533/150 (103,598/147)
  23. 1.428 billion China 85,236/4,642 (85,109/4,641)
  24. 100 million Egypt 83,930/4,008 (82,070/3,858)
  25. 38 million Iraq 81,757/3,345 (72,506/3,150)
  26. 268 million Indonesia 78,572/3,710 (75,699/3,606)
  27. 10 million Sweden 76,001/5,545 (74,898/5,526)

Next: Ecuador, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Oman


Many thanks to today’s tipsters: Paul BigmanKellie N Michael BischoffPaul CienfuegosTheo DzielakEllen JablowPat NaumannPetra SiemionTheresa Stewart, and the amazing Revel Smith!

About the Author

Geov Parrish is the founder of Eat the State, former editor of the Seattle Weekly and the Seattle Stranger, and hosts the weekly KEXP segment Mind Over Matters. A contributor for many different articles you can view his full website at http://geov.org/.

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If you find these updates valuable, please consider donating to support his work. We have a PayPal button at the bottom of the right-hand column of https://geov.org – scroll all the way down. You can donate directly, or become a monthly subscriber. And thank you so much for your tips, your kind words, and the financial support that makes these updates possible. This truly is a community effort!

You can contribute via paypal or contact the author at: geovparrish@gmail.com


Featured Image Credit: Prachatai. Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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