Posts

Statue of Liberty

Governor Cuomo Announces New Travel Restriction Enforcement’s For New York

Governor Cuomo announced this week that he would be implementing even more travel enforcement operations at all airports in the state in order to ensure that all travelers coming into New York follow quarantine guidelines and restrictions. After New York became one of the country’s initial epicenters for Covid-19 at the beginning of this pandemic, the administration has made it a goal to protect itself from that happening again.

Part of the operation includes having enforcement teams stationed at every airport in New York State. These teams will meet arriving planes at the gates to greet all passengers as they exit into the airport. The enforcement teams will request proof of completion from every passenger in regards to their State Department of Health traveler forms. These forms are given to all airline passengers before, during, and after all flights to New York. 

Embed from Getty Images

The state has now made these forms electronic as well to make it easier for passengers to complete before coming in and out of the state. The Department of Health in New York is also issuing an emergency health order that requires all out-of-state travelers coming into New York to complete the DOH traveler form before coming into the state. Travelers who fail to complete the forms before leaving the airport will be subject to a fine of $2,000 and may be brought in for a court hearing that will order a mandatory state-issued quarantine. 

A multitude of airlines have pledged to help make passengers more hyper-aware of these forms and the importance of filling them out. Many airlines have opted to use pre-flight emails/announcements, as well as in-flight announcements throughout the course of the entire trip. 

If you’re an out-of-state traveler that’s from one of the state’s on New York’s designated travel list you must fill out one of the DOH traveler forms online beforehand, this also holds true if you’re planning on entering the state via train or car. Currently New York has 19 states listed as meeting the criteria for a required quarantine. Cuomo states that it’s up to every out-of-state traveler to comply with the rules if the nation has any chance at recovering. 

Embed from Getty Images

“New York’s success in fighting the COVID-19 virus is under two threats: lack of compliance and the virus coming to New York from other states with increasing infection rates.” 

Larger more commercial airlines will be hiring peace officers and various employees from state agencies to work on the enforcement teams for arriving flights everyday. More regional airports throughout the state will have the teams on site based on the number of daily arrivals. As you could imagine, smaller more regional airports are seeing a lot less traffic especially when compared to larger ones that are located in more populated areas such as NYC. 

Regional airport enforcement teams will also be made up of State DOH employees as well as local police depending on the area. Each airport is being required by the state to set up a large physical space at each gate that stands out and is clear to passengers. These areas will have proper social distancing markers set up and will hopefully work to run smoothly and quickly so that passengers can exit the airport as quickly and safely as possible.

Woman Wearing Face Mask

CDC Director Offers Covid-19 Update, Urges Citizens To Wear Their Masks

Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America has recently delivered a Covid-19 update in which he claimed that the outbreak could be controlled across the nation within 4-6 weeks if people were more strict about wearing their masks. According to Redfield over half of the states in America are currently spiking at a faster rate than they had been in the spring. 

Johns Hopkins University has been collecting national data on Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. As of this week, they reported that the US has surpassed 3.4 million positive cases of the coronavirus with over 136,000 deaths. Globally there have been about 13.3 million cases and almost 580,000 deaths; meaning the US accounts for around 24% of all covid-related deaths. 

Embed from Getty Images

Redfield consistently was emphasizing that disciplined use of facial coverings, social distancing, and hand washing can dramatically decrease the rate in which this virus spreads, however, this isn’t new information. The biggest issue now is enforcing these policies that so many Americans are actively ignoring because their state governments are telling them it’s okay to be out in public again through the reopenings. 

“If all of us would put on a face covering now for the next four weeks to six weeks, we could drive this epidemic to the ground in this country.”

Redfield went on to discuss other aspects of the pandemic as well, specifically how the Trump administration is now implementing a new directive that requires all hospitals to bypass the CDC when it comes to sending Covid-19 related data to the government. Instead, the data is to be sent directly to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

For reference, the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network has been the number one source of information in terms of all things coronavirus related. This includes data on things like hospital bed numbers, ventilator use/availability, and personal protective equipment (PPEs). Now, the administration claims the new system will streamline the collection of these important stats and the CDC will still be able to have access to the information, they just won’t get it first. 

Embed from Getty Images

Finally, the CDC announced that pharmaceutical company Moderna Inc. is currently in the early stages of a trial for a Covid-19 vaccine that’s showing successful results. The vaccine has proven to trigger an immune response within the body, however, it’s still too early to tell if that immune response is strong enough to actually protect someone from contracting the Covid-19 virus. 

Moderna’s chief medical officer Dr. Tal Zaks recently spoke with the media about the vaccine that’s technical name is mRNA-1273. Zaks claims that while we don’t have all the data yet, so far all indications prove the vaccine to be safe and effective. 

“The levels of protective antibodies produced by the trial participants were similar to those found in patients who had recovered from COVID-19, suggesting that the candidate vaccine provides the same protection as an infection.”

In the meantime, it’s recommended that we all continue to listen to the CDC and all of our country’s healthcare providers when they tell us the most effective ways to curve the spread of this virus. If we want a chance at returning to a life of normalcy, it’s imperative that we wear our masks in public, continue to social distance, and wash our hands as often as possible.

Basketball Hoop

NBA Players Have Mixed Reactions To Being In Disney World Bubble

NBA players have been in the Walt Disney World “bubble” for almost a week now and many of them are less than enthused to be living in an isolated hotel in preparation for the 2020 season. Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell, for example, made an Instagram post after being in the bubble for less than 24 hours that showed a picture of what looked like uncooked chicken. He captioned the post “This ain’t it, I’m about to starve out here in Orlando,” setting the tone for many other players’ reactions to being locked away and isolated from the world. 

The league is set to fully relaunch on July 30th, but many players are arriving early for pre-season/ to remain isolated for two weeks ahead of the season to make sure they’re healthy enough to play. The first game is set to be between the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans. All players must receive two negative Covid-19 results that are 24 hours apart before they’ll be able to leave their hotel rooms. 

Embed from Getty Images

NBA spokesperson Michael Bass recently spoke to the media about the specifics of the living conditions within the bubble as time progresses:

“After clearing quarantine, players will also have access to various restaurants on campus and delivery options to choose from … There is never a shortage of food options – players can always request additional food by speaking with their team nutritionists.”

Many players besides Harrell have also been documenting their Disney Hotel journeys upon arrival. Some have shared more positive sentiments, showing off their stellar views and elaborate room setups, but for the most part, the posts have seemed relatively negative. Many players have been adamant about the lack of quality food and Wi-Fi making it difficult to contact their loved ones back home. 

One of the most viral posts came from Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyrus Jones who posted a photo of a dead cockroach in his room, along with a plate of food many have been describing as “airplane quality.” 

Embed from Getty Images

These posts emulate a massive conflict that all major sports league players are facing in the coming months. Is the sacrifice to provide professional sports entertainment to the public in the middle of a global health crisis really worth it? Many have made the comparison to television and movie studios in Hollywood shutting down all production indefinitely to the major leagues, claiming that professional sports require the same level of person-to-person interaction as recording a scene for a TV show, so why are they continuing to play? Disney World is also located in Florida, which has become one of the world’s new epicenters for the virus. 

Major League Soccer kicked off their season this past week, but has also had two teams pull out of the season after players tested positive for Covid-19. The separation of players and the world within these bubbles is also taking a psychological toll on players already, as many will likely not be able to see their loved ones again for at least 50 days depending on how the season progresses and if there’s any new case numbers within the bubble. 

In the bubble, players are required to remain isolated, will be tested daily for the coronavirus, and policies such as wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing are still required.

World Health Organization

WHO Director Calls For Global Unity As Pandemic Begins To ‘Speed Up’

The Director and Chief of the World Health Organization is reprimanding the world’s leaders for spreading mixed messages regarding Covid-19.

Coronavirus Fight

Dr. Fauci Continues To Battle Administration On Covid-19 Handling

Dr. Anthony Fauci has acted at the US’s figurehead in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic and ways we as a country can curve the spread. President Donald Trump and his administration, however, are continuing to sideline Fauci as a Covid-19 expert and contradict his advice by expressing their skepticism about the severity of the virus/treatments for the virus. 

More recently, Trump claimed that he “disagreed” with Fauci’s claim that the US was in a bad place in its coronavirus response, despite the fact that the US is one of the only countries in the world that’s still seeing an increase in case numbers and deaths. Trump went on to claim that Fauci was the one who’s been “making a lot of mistakes” in terms of Covid response. 

Embed from Getty Images

The public has generally stayed on Fauci’s side as he, along with the rest of the countries healthcare professionals, have been basing their claims off the national/international data that’s been collected regarding the virus and how it works, however, that hasn’t stopped the administration from trying to take Fauci down. 

Trump retweeted a call for Fauci to be fired back in April after he continuously has had to correct the president specifically on his false claims regarding the virus; for example, when Trump was telling individuals that taking hydroxychloroquine could kill the virus, despite the FDA’s warning against doing exactly that. 

Trump can’t actually fire Fauci, and if he did the public would likely be very outraged; Fauci currently has a 67% approval rating for how he’s handled the pandemic, which is about three times the approval rating for Trump’s response. White House officials instead have taken to the media and internet to damage Fauci’s reputation, one recent example being an official telling CNN that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr Fauci has been wrong on things.” 

Embed from Getty Images

Fauci himself has had enough of standing on the podium after Trump to disprove the false claims he’s spread about the pandemic, so much so that according to insiders Fauci hasn’t briefed Trump on the coronavirus since the first week in June. 

For those who may not be aware, Fauci has had a long career in public health. His name first entered the public eye during the AIDS epidemic where he also, at the time, contradicted the president’s handling of the virus. In a recent podcast interview, Fauci delivered an assertive assessment of the US’s handling of the pandemic in comparison to the rest of the world.  

“You have to be having blind-folders on and covering your ears to think that we don’t live in a very politically divisive society now, from a political standpoint. So I think you’d have to make the assumption that if there wasn’t such divisiveness, that we would have a more coordinated approach.”

The pushback from the president and his administration has been continuously detrimental to the way in which the US has fallen victim to this virus. More American citizens have been killed by Covid-19 than in World War 1. America alone makes up about 28% of all Covid-19 cases in the world as well. 

Regardless of your opinions on Fauci, we can’t deny that America is currently enduring one of the biggest crises it’s ever seen. Listening to your own healthcare professionals/providers is of the utmost importance right now and regardless of political beliefs, make sure you do your research and see for yourself what the facts are.

California Positive COVID

California’s Poorest County Is The State’s New Epicenter For Covid-19

Adolphe Edward is the CEO for El Centro regional medical center, which is one of the only two hospitals in the entire county; which houses 181,000 California residents.

Popcorn and Remote by TV

Get The Best Seat In The House With These Online Theater Productions

With Broadway, movies, concerts, and other cultural establishments remaining indefinitely closed amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many are turning to digital forms of entertainment to get their fix. Thanks to the power of live-stream technology and a multitude of archived collections, fans have been able to watch all their favorite productions from home. Here’s some of the most popular things people are watching around the world right now. 

Hamilton: If you’re on social media of any kind you’re definitely already aware that Hamilton has been uploaded to Disney+. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s highly praised Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical about the country’s founding fathers was filmed over the course of three nights in New York back in 2016 with the original cast. Director Thomas Kail claims that they filmed and edited the show to give audiences at home the “best seat in the house.” 

Embed from Getty Images

The National Theater At Home: The National Theater at Home Initiative has become widely popular all around the world. Popular theater productions are streamed for free online every Thursday at 7 pm and then remain uploaded on the site for seven days until the next show. Currently The Deep Blue Sea, written by Terence Rattingan, is set to be performed and uploaded to the site from July 9th-16th followed by Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. 

549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War: The 2019 archived production of the play has recently been uploaded to YouTube where it will remain until July 31st. Jack Nurse and Robbie Gordon’s play follows four miners from East Lothian who volunteer for the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The play has been widely well received for its polished choreography during battle scenes, and raw singing talent of the actors. 

WeRNotVirus: In this special directed by Jennifer Tang and Anthony Lau, 10 short dramas unfold for the viewer, each depicting a different part of the current racism pandemic the world is battling simultaneously alongside Covid-19. The entire production is two hours in length and incorporates multiple mediums such as animation, poetry, music, and of course, singing and dancing. The special is currently available on YouTube.

Embed from Getty Images

Tiny Dancers: The National Youth Theatre created this production using a multitude of young dancers. Created throughout the course of the pandemic, this production is described as a “funny and heartfelt look at how it feels to be together and apart.” The production will be available for free on YouTube from July 23rd-31st. The group will also be uploading a Q&A style video on July 23rd that will take viewers behind the scenes of the production. 

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men: This all-male theater company is known in the UK for touring and performing open-air Shakespeare productions. They were performing Macbeth when the pandemic began and have since postponed the rest of the tour indefinitely. However, they recently shared two past archived productions online. The Tempest, filmed in 2018, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream, performed last year, are currently streaming to celebrate the companies 15 year anniversary. 

Scenes For Survival: The National Theatre of Scotland was one of the first cultural institutions in the world to announce a lockdown program for viewers at home. The company is continuously streaming and uploading their collection of short films which are meant to “offer audiences a sense of hope and joy” during such uncertain times. 

The Show Must Go Online: Finally, actor Robert Myles has set up a live-stream reading group that he’s advertising for professional and amateur actors to join. The group of actors perform Shakespeare’s complete plays in the order that they agreed they were likely written. The goal is to give actors old and new an opportunity to continue to practice their craft and have a sense of normalcy for a few hours while they do what they love. 

COVID

WHO Director Claims Lack Of Unity Among World Leaders Is Bigger Threat Than Covid-19

It’s been over six months since the coronavirus initially appeared in Wuhan, China. Now, half a year later, the virus is continuing to rapidly spread in what experts are calling the “once-in-a-century pandemic.” 

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently held a mission briefing in Geneva where he told members that the virus can be brought under control, however, in most of the world it’s doing the opposite and getting worse. As of this week the Covid-19 virus has infected more than 12 million people worldwide and has killed at least 550,000; although lack of testing facility data has experts believing that number to be much higher, especially in the US.

More than half of the world’s cases have been found in North and South America according to WHO’s latest report.  

Embed from Getty Images

“The pandemic is still accelerating. The total number of cases has doubled in the last six weeks.”

Although the world is seeing massive spikes in cases, there are also many countries that have the pandemic relatively under control and contained. These countries used fundamental public health measures such as widespread testing of all citizens, contact tracing, and isolating all exposed individuals. 

Ghebreyesus went on to explain how this virus may have “upended health systems in some of the world’s wealthiest nations,” but other countries, such as New Zealand, were able to rise to the occasion and implement a successful response to the outbreak by putting its countries healthcare experts at the forefront of policy-making decisions. This briefing also came days after president of the United States Donald Trump and his administration submitted their notice to the United Nations that the country would be withdrawing from the WHO.

Embed from Getty Images

This news has many Americans worried, however, the submission of the notice to the UN is just step 1 in a major yearlong process to actually withdraw from the WHO. There are many outside factors that will make the US’s withdrawal difficult in the long run; such as the election coming up this November and Trump’s need to convince Congress that withdrawing would be the best decision during a pandemic. 

While the Trump administration has consistently criticized WHO’s response to the virus, Ghebreyesus continued to defend it, stating that the UN health agency warned countries early on about the threat of this virus to coordinate global research responses. 

“For years, many of us warned that a catastrophic respiratory pandemic was inevitable. But despite all the warnings, the world was not ready. Our communities were not ready. Our supply chains collapsed. It is time for a very honest reflection.”

The WHO has now created The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response which will be led by the former prime minister of New Zealand Helen Clark and the former president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Both Clark and Sirleaf will have full control over who else is added to the panel based on how well their countries have coped with Covid-19. 

Ghebreyesus also called on the world’s leaders to unite in collaboration against this virus, as they should’ve been this whole time. Now that we’ve seen how this virus works within different systems and policies for half of a year, we can better understand how to contain it and stop the spread; it’s more so now about actually implementing those changes.

Covid Research

Researchers Want To Use ‘Sports Bubbles’ For Covid-19 Research

Sports are slowly beginning to make their way back to our TV screens, and as they do, many professional leagues are making policies that will allow researchers and scientists to use large sports venues as research facilities for Covid-19. 

Part of these policies will also allow for players and other sizable groups that will be working in sports to be regularly monitored by doctors. This will not only ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in the resurgence of professional sports, but the information collected by the doctors can be used for finding a treatment for the coronavirus. 

Embed from Getty Images

The argument about whether or not sports should be coming back is vast and still heavily debatable, especially considering the US is one of the only countries in the world still seeing massive spikes in cases. However, researchers believe that once sports leagues enter a pandemic isolation zone to play – such as the NBA’s plans to play at Disney World the whole season – doctors and researchers will more easily be able to understand the virus. 

Priya Sampathkumar is an epidemiologist who’s also working on a NBA specific antibody study. Back in April, MLB also participated in the first nationwide coronavirus antibody study. 

“The authors of the study realized they had a ready-made national network of medical providers — sports medicine physicians and orthopedists — who were scattered in a really broad number of markets and would be able to help conduct these tests. It was really, really clever.” 

Embed from Getty Images

Closed off NBA facilities throughout the country are now being used as makeshift Covid-19 research laboratories or testing sights as well. NBA players specifically will also be tested everyday for Covid. Parts of these tests will implement new forms of finding out if an individual has the coronavirus or its antibodies, and the player results will give doctors a better understanding as to what type of test is easiest and most accurate. 

The goal, however, is obviously to keep the coronavirus out of all of these sports “bubbles” throughout the US where major league teams will be isolated while playing their seasons. It will be especially difficult in the beginning, as many athletes will need to be coming from out-of-state, making the risk of spreading much higher. 

If the virus does begin to spread within these isolation zones, doctors will be more equipped to trace the source and therefore what state/county/town that the initial infected individual was from so that the individuals in that area can also be aware. 

This is one of the biggest reasons that medical experts aren’t fully turning away from the idea of restarting sports. The safety of the individuals within these bubbles is of the utmost importance, but the data that will be collected and used will be just as substantial. 

This data is important for league members as well because they’ll be able to better manage the health and safety for all of its staff. Learning more about the virus will be beneficial for the rest of the world.

Amtrack Train

Amtrak Offers Buy One Get One Free Deal On Roomette Tickets

Amtrak is offering a new opportunity this summer to encourage individuals to get back to travelling in a safe way this summer. The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount for its “roomette” accommodations. Basically, every time a person books a roomette for themselves they will receive a second ticket for free.

A roomette on Amtrak includes two lounge seats that can be converted into beds, a large window, fresh towels/linens, and access to a private bathroom and shower within the train car. A car attendant is also available to provide turndown service and assist you with meal options, luggage, and can even provide information about the areas you’re passing through if you’re feeling more of a tourist vibe on your journey. According to Amtrak spokesperson Olivia Irwin, the car attendants have “great stories of life on the rails” any traveler would be interested in hearing.

Embed from Getty Images

“All customers in private rooms receive complimentary lounge access at major stations, priority boarding and complimentary meals on board.”

The offer currently only lasts between July 7th – 17th and will only be valid for trips that will take place between July 13th to September 30th. The tickets and deals are also based on availability and won’t be used for travelers on Amtrak’s Auto Train; the train that allows customers to bring their vehicle on the ride.

Riders must book their trip at least three days in advance and no other discounts will be able to be applied to the purchase if they’re taking advantage of the buy-one-get-one deal. Cancellation fees apply depending on how close the cancellation is to the actual date of departure/booking.

The website lists a few example prices for trips that the deal can be applied to. Some of these trips include a $193 journey from Chicago to Minneapolis (or vice versa), a $319 trip from Washington D.C. to Chicago, and a $243 trip from Atlanta to New Orleans. All pricing listed is good for two individual round-trip tickets.

Embed from Getty Images

Other Amtrak lines that are applying the roomette deal in the US include California Sephyr, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, the entire City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Silver Service, Texas Eagle, and Empire Builder to name a few.

Guests will be able to access the discount by entering the code “V306” when booking their tickets on the Amtrak app or on the companies website; which lays out instructions on when to enter the code as well.

Amtrak in general has already implemented a multitude of health and safety measures for its daily commuters amid the Covid-19 pandemic as well. Ticket change and cancellation fees for regular tickets have been waived for any trip reservation made by August 31st; if you use the discount code cancellation fees will still apply.

Regular ticket sales have also remained limited to maintain social distancing between all passengers at all times. Cleaning and disinfecting methods have been increased especially for high-touch surfaces among the train and station. Clear protective barriers have been implemented into most Amtrak stations, and passengers are required to wear face coverings on trains and in stations at all times unless they book a private room.

To prevent crowing, they’re strongly encouraging all their customers to arrive at least 30 minutes before their departure time to avoid overcrowding the station and its employees. Food services have been made for carry-out only and physical distancing markers and signs have been added. So if you and a loved one decide to book a ticket using this deal, make sure you act fast and stay safe just like Amtrak is trying to.