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Yesterday groups of governors on the East Coast and the West Coast announced regional working groups to help manage the spread of COVID-19 as well as to coordinate a strategy to reopen their states. To this, President Trump tweeted that the power to reopen states lies with him. His tweet came as the White House announced that President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner will serve as members of a second coronavirus task force focused on reopening the economy
Many governors made their stances clear yesterday: they would not reopen their states until data suggests that it’s safe enough to do so.
Why This Matters: There will be ongoing tension for the entirety of 2020 between governors and the White House to get our systems operating again. From our postal system, food system, and in large part, our election process that must transition to allow widespread voting by mail. The President’s job is to direct the power of the federal government to help states respond to, and subsequently recover from the impacts of the virus. Yesterday at his daily press conference President Trump stated that “the governors need us one way or another” and that his “authority is total.” Not exactly a commitment to be part of the solution.
Trump’s Many Promises: On March 13th President Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency and promised to mobilize the public and private sectors to respond to the crisis. NPR followed up on each promise to see where it stands:
THREAD: A month ago, Trump declared a Coronvairus national emergency in a Rose Garden address.
NPR's investigations team went through every promise he made at that critical time and contacted all the groups.
Plummeting Pollution: NASA data shows a 30% decrease in air pollution across the Northeast United States. This trend has been seen all over the world and while for some communities it may not be a significant statistic, for communities of color as well as low-income ones, air pollution makes COVID-19 all the more lethal. Additionally, some cities are allowing the air pollution plunge to guide their climate change plans.
Beware the Silent Spreaders: Asymptomatic: people who carry the active virus in their body but never develop any symptoms are a still a bit of a mystery to medicine, how responsible might they be for the spread of coronavirus?
Hard Knock Life of Rats: America’s rats are having a hard time with coronavirus. As restaurants and grocery stores close or limit their services, rats are losing their source of food. And their options for survival are grim, they include cannibalism, rat battles and infanticide.
There are about 1.7 million viruses that afflict mammals and birds, and about half of them could potentially infect humans, just like COVID-19, SARS, HIV, and Ebola. But a team of researchers at UC Davis are attempting to help prevent another pandemic from disrupting the world, by creating an app called SpillOver.
Why this Matters: The scientists creating the app believe that by creating a prioritized watchlist of viruses, we can better have improved detection and thus reduce the risk of disease transmission and maybe even preemptively develop vaccines, therapeutics, and public education campaigns for the viruses that pose the greatest risk.
Why This Matters: We’ve been relying on old data about farmworkers’ exposure to pesticides for the past 30 years, and thus the full picture of the harmful impact of these products on people has been underappreciated.
A coalition of 63 health, wildlife, and environmental organizations has written a letter urging the Biden administration to adopt policies to combat the increased threat of zoonotic disease spillover into human populations. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say that human population expansion and increased interactions with wildlife, present increased chances for future pandemics as well.
Why This Matters: According to the World Health Organization, there are over 200 known zoonoses, diseases that have jumped from non-human animals to humans.
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