2020 Headlines

2020 HEADLINES

#2020HeadlinesEG

by Elena Greco

Typical reading time: 34 minutes

2020 is an unprecedented, historical year.
Due to the incredible volume of events, I chose to omit most of the headlines pertaining to the decimation of our government and the damage being done by the Administration to the environment, some of which is irreparable. Those certainly deserve to be noted, but this list would be too long for anyone to read (and for me to make) if I included them in this post.
Note: These headlines are by no means comprehensive or non-biased.
Emphasis is on national, rather than international, news.

Week of:

Jan 6
Jan 13
Jan 20
Jan 27
Feb 3
Feb 10
Feb 17
Feb 24
Mar 2
Mar 9
Mar 16
Mar 23
Mar 30
Apr 6
Apr 13
Apr 20
Apr 27
May 4
May 11
May 18
May 25
Jun 1
Jun 8
Jun 15
Jun 22
Jun 29
Jul 6
Jul 13
Jul 20
Jul 27
Aug 3
Aug 10
Aug 17
Aug 24
Aug 31
Sep 7
Sep 14
Sep 21
Sep 28
Oct 5
Oct 12
Oct 19
Oct 26
Nov 2
Nov 9
Nov 16
Nov 23
Nov 30
Dec 7
Dec 14
Dec 21
Dec 28


Weeks of January 1 and 6

– Australia is burning; massive parts of country are on fire; one billion animals have been killed, along with billions in property damage or loss
– Extreme weather: Indonesia is flooding
– Trump starts World War III with assassination of Iran leader, informs Congress after the fact on Twitter; rationale was Senators who will vote on his impeachment wanted him to
– Iran strikes our military bases in Iraq
– Puerto Rico hit by multiple major earthquakes, leaving thousands without electricity, possibly for months
– Extreme weather: Record high temperatures in the US—80s in January?
– Erupting volcanoes cause evacuations in Philippines and Mexico

Week of January 13

– Articles of Impeachment are formally transmitted to Senate in preparation for trial for conviction and removal of US President Donald Trump
– Puerto Rico experiences more major earthquakes
– Lev Parnas implicates Trump, Pence, Giuliani, Nunes (our President, Vice President, the President’s personal attorney and a US Congressman) in the illegal scheme to force Ukraine to obtain Biden dirt in exchange for releasing Ukrainian funds and other support, and his claims are supported by evidence
– Michael Bloomberg says he plans to spend a billion dollars of his own money unseating Trump, whether or not he is the Democratic candidate
– Extreme weather: More crazy weather in the US, from record highs to huge snowfalls
– Announcement of impeachment trial House managers/lawyers

Week of January 20

– Impeachment Trial rules set
– Opening Arguments in the Impeachment Trial begin
– Ground rules adopted for Impeachment Trial (except for rules about witnesses)
– McConnell imposes severe restrictions on journalists covering Impeachment Trial; the public sees and hears very little
– Chinese coronavirus appears in the US for the first time
– NYC Transit Chief Andy Byford resigns after Cuomo took away his role in overseeing the important improvement projects he planned and initiated—such as implementation of the extremely important signaling overhaul—leaving him in charge of day-to-day service only, essentially a low-level management position; the man in charge of the signaling project resigns with him, leaving completion of the signaling project—and the future of NYC’s subways—uncertain
– House lays out their case over 3 days in Impeachment Trial; Senate 3-day rebuttal begins
– Senate Republicans refuse to follow the law and be present at the trial while House managers speak, instead playing with toys, doing crosswords, reading books and leaving the room to do television interviews while the House makes its case in the Impeachment Trial
– Major earthquake in Turkey
– Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash

Week of January 27

– Another earthquake strikes Puerto Rico
– U.S. Embassy in Iraq hit by mortar fire/rockets
– Portions of John Bolton’s memoir were leaked; they contain assertions by Bolton that Trump withheld Ukrainian aid solely to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation of Biden, thereby tanking DT’s defense
– Trial of Michael Avenatti begins. He repeatedly attacked Trump when he served as Stormy Daniels’ lawyer in her case against Trump. He’s now accused of attempting to extort Nike and defraud another client. He has been kept in solitary confinement for weeks in a freezing environment without the ability to shave or communicate properly with his attorneys to build his defense.
– Paula White, US President’s “spiritual advisor,” calls for “satanic pregnancies to miscarry”
– More recordings of Trump threatening our Ukrainian Ambassador surface
– Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a church service where religious leaders condemned homosexuality and claimed that it is caused by “the devil.” *The White House streamed the service live, and it’s still available on the official White House YouTube page.*
– It’s learned that 64+ military personnel suffered TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) in Trump’s unauthorized attack on Soleimani; DT originally claimed no one was hurt, then that a few had “headaches.”
– Continued pressure by House and some Senators to allow Bolton to testify
– Trump then declares Bolton’s memoir contains classified information and therefore cannot be published. He had had a copy of the memoir for weeks and had no comment previously. (Bolton, an attorney and former diplomat, was also our national security advisor and is not someone likely to publish classified information.)
– Major earthquake strikes Jamaica near Cuba; some Miami evacuations
– Major earthquake strikes Turkey
– China’s highly contagious coronavirus continues to be in the news; US declares public health emergency.
– Great Britain exits the EU
– Huge protest over intense militarization of NYC’s subway platforms
– Impeachment Trial opening arguments end
– Senate votes not to hear John Bolton or other witnesses
– DNC changes rules for debate qualification; Bloomberg will qualify now
– Massive locust infestation in East Africa threatens food supply; could spread throughout the world

Week of February 3

– Iowa Democratic caucus results in chaos due to faulty app which leaves the totals in question
– Trump delivers State of the Union address
– In Impeachment Trial, Mitt Romney is the sole Republic to vote to remove Trump, says his conscience requires that he do so
– Senate votes to acquit Trump
– Trump calls Mitt Romney, a life-long Republican who has voted with Trump 80% of the time, the “Democrats’ secret asset” because he voted against him in one count of the Impeachment Trial
– Trump withholds military aid to Ukraine, the country involved in the call that ignited the Impeachment
– Deep South hit with major flooding, damaging high winds and tornadoes
– Trump retaliates against the state of New York by stopping issuance of Global Entry permits to its travelers (something crucial to those with disabilities and those who travel frequently for business), supposedly because New York is one of 14 safe-haven, or sanctuary, states (he has done nothing similar to the other states), but likely as revenge for 1) the impeachment, 2) Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler’s case against him, and 3) New York’s continued prosecution of him for the many serious crimes he has committed there
– Trump removes Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a career diplomat who testified in the Impeachment Trial, from his job in the White House by force, and relegates him and his twin brother (who was not involved) to a reduced job outside the White House; Vindman had already indicated that he was stepping down, so Trump’s pre-emptive move is purely symbolic and punitive
– Seven candidates debate in the eighth Democratic Debate before the NH primary
– Extreme weather: Antarctica experiences hottest temperature ever recorded

Week of February 10

This what we call a quiet week now.
– At National Prayer Breakfast Trump promises revenge against those who testified against him in Impeachment Trial
– Trump fired witnesses who testified against him (as they were required by law to do)
– All 4 Department of Justice prosecuting attorneys in Stone case step down/resign their jobs in protest when Attorney General Barr contaminates separation of Justice and Administration by colluding with President (which is against fundamental principle of separation of three branches of government, as is political interference in DOJ) in changing sentencing recommendations for Roger Stone. Stone was convicted of seven felonies, including obstruction, lying, tampering with witnesses in connection with campaign crimes. In essence, the AG is working for the President instead of for the people, as our constitution lays out (Stone was facing possible 50 years, sentencing recs were 7-9 years).
– Michael Avenatti convicted of extortion, could face 42 years in prison in that case; there are still charges pending against him in New York and California, which could result in more prison time if he’s found guilty
– Coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world
– There are now 395 bills passed by the House that the Senate refuses to take up for a vote, essentially bringing the governing of our country to a halt
– Extreme weather: Storm Ciara produces brings extremely high winds and severe flooding to the UK and Europe, followed by Storm Dennis, which brought extreme flooding to the UK
– Extreme weather: After extremely large out-of-control fires prompted by extreme temperatures and drought all across Australia killed more than a billion animals and destroyed thousands of homes, the heaviest rainfall in 30+ years came, destroying dams but putting out the blazes
– Extreme weather: Antarctica recorded record temps above 60 degrees F twice this week and a huge iceberg broke off; such events are becoming progressively more common

Week of February 17

– Extreme weather: Historic flooding in Mississippi
– Russia has begun to hack our 2020 election with the goal of causing division in our country;Trump and the Senate refuse to make any effort to curb this
– Trump continues to purge our government of anyone who testified against him (even if required by law to do so) or who is not “loyal” to him. There is almost no one left in our government who is qualified to do their job.
– In addition to purging the government of all experts or experienced personnel, Trump has dismissed or chased away anyone on the National Security Counsel who is knowledgeable of or specializes in pandemics or global health issues.
– Coronavirus now threatens to be a global pandemic.
– The Administration does not have a plan for managing the disease.

Week of February 24

– Harvey Weinstein convicted two counts of rape, will serve time, a victory for the women he harmed; more charges in LA to be tried
– As COVID-19 (coronavirus) spreads throughout the world, Trump appoints VP Mike Pence as head of US commission on controlling the epidemic. Pence doesn’t believe in science or that cigarettes cause cancer; he was responsible for a huge increase in HIV in Indiana partly because he would not approve a needle project, stating that he needed to pray about it.
– Stock market falls dramatically as fears about COVID-19 increase
– Snow falls in Australian summer following massive wildfires and floods
– Democratic debate on CBS was a disaster due to incompetent moderation and unusual audience; tickets for the event cost $1700+
– Extreme weather: Rising UK river overwhelms barriers during massive floods; Shropshire, England, is evacuated
– US Agreement with Taliban to “end” war. Although a positive step long in the making, it heavily favors the Taliban, includes Afghani *release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners* in exchange for 1,000 Afghan prisoners, and offers no protections for women, who have just begun to make progress in being released from Taliban oppression and abuse (it is likely that these restrictions for women will be put back in place now). The drawdown of the remaining 8,600 soldiers has been planned for some time. The agreement stipulates that US sanctions will end this fall and that the Taliban will not threaten Afghanistan or the US on Afghan soil, but there is no mention of ceasefire. This is the agreement that was almost signed last fall, but was tabled after the Taliban murder of a US soldier.
– Winners of South Carolina Democratic Primary are 1) Biden (49%), 2), Sanders (20%), 3) Steyer (who dropped out) (11%), 4) Buttigieg (who dropped out) (8%), 5) Warren (7%)

Week of March 2

COVID-19 dominated the headlines!
– COVID-19 worldwide: cases 107K; deaths 3.6K; recovered 60K
– Louvre closes indefinitely in response to COVID-19
– Extreme weather: Fatal tornados rip through Tennessee
– Super Tuesday Democratic Primary leaves Biden and Sanders as top contenders; Bloomberg and Warren drop out
– Saudia Arabia continues major “security” crackdown in effort to consolidate power; many royals arrested
– US Emergency COVID-19 Preparedness bill passed, provides additional funding/resources
– Many flights are grounded, schools close and major events are cancelled as people attempt to avoid spreading COVID-19 in the US
– Because US was extremely slow to begin testing for COVID-19, it will likely have a major epidemic; businesses begin to plan for it
– Still not enough COVID-19 tests available in US, allowing disease to spread unchecked
– As COVID-19 spreads, stock markets fluctuate wildly and businesses suffer major short-term losses
– First COVID-19 case appears in New York City
– Getting supplies becomes harder as commerce and transportation slow; many retailers run out of products as citizens stockpile in preparation for possible pandemic
– Daylight Saving Time begins in much of the US

Week of March 9

– Stock market plummets 2000 points, rebounds, plunges again after Trump’s speech about US response to COVID-19 fails to reassure and alarms investors; NYSE automatically closes twice on March 12 due to volatile trading
– COVID-19 test still not universally available in the US and most people, even with symptoms, refused testing; without testing, it is impossible to isolate those exposed, and the virus continues to spread; Trump refused to use WHO test at the beginning of the epidemic, when it would have been the most valuable, and CDC test proves faulty
– Congress attempts to hold accountable those who murdered journalist Khashoggi, requests documents from Trump administration; administration refuses to give them
– Universities and colleges in affected areas suspend classes due to COVID-19, will hold classes online until further notice
– NBA and NHL suspend seasons
– Most public and private schools in affected areas suspend live classes indefinitely, many with plans to teach via internet, leaving some homeless children without meals
– Mayor de Blasio requests residents of New York City to avoid crowded spaces and work from home if possible in order to avoid spread of COVID-19
– Italy quarantines THE ENTIRE COUNTRY to prevent spread of virus
– Harvey Weinstein receives 23-year sentence in New York for rapes; more charges pending in L.A
– Social distancing, i.e., keeping at least six feet apart from one another and avoiding large gatherings, is highly recommended by government officials to staunch the spread of the disease
– St. Patrick’s Day parades around the country cancelled due to virus
– Italy closes and quarantines the entire country, as spread of COVID-19 is out of control; requires citizens to stay in their homes, all stores to close except pharmacies and food stores
– US courts begin to close
– US talk shows recorded in New York and L.A. cancel live audience; some will record and broadcast without audience. many stop shooting, until further notice
– Staff in US Congress, state and local governments, and national news networks affected by the virus
– Sick people in US still being denied testing due to test shortage, leaving the number of cases unknown and the ensuring the virus continues to spread
– Judge releases Chelsea Manning from prison after she attempts suicide
– After Bloomberg threatens to expose the corruption of the Trump children, Republicans drop the investigation into Hunter Biden
– Biden and Sanders cancel rallies amid calls by government officials to avoid crowds to slow spread of the disease; Trump continues to hold rallies
– Trump announces all flights into the US *except those from the UK* are suspended for a month (leaving many puzzled as to why the UK was excepted from the ban); at that time he announced trade was also affected, sending the stock market reeling, but later tweeted that it was not
– Trump’s Taliban deal falls through, as US troops withdraw and Taliban attacks increase
– NYC tourism begins to drop as a result of pandemic
– New Rochelle, NY, a COVID-19 hot spot, is quarantined inside a containment area protected by National Guard
– NYC Mayor de Blasio says city quarantine a possibility, asks residents to work from home whenever possible and avoid crowds; says no meetings of 500+
– The Metropolitan Opera, Broadway shows, most concerts, all major art galleries, other events and places where large groups gather in NYC go dark indefinitely
– A state of emergency is declared in New York City and New York State, as well as numerous other states
– Trump declares federal State of Emergency due to COVID-19
– Originally felt most in China, COVID-19 is now raging in Italy, Iran, Poland, France, Spain and many other countries, including the US
– Congress on both sides of the aisle agree on aid package to help country through COVID-19 crisis, but McConnell ensures that benefits to citizens are delayed by several days by sending Senate home for the weekend before they can vote on it
– Cultural workers and gig workers hit hardest by quarantines, as their work for the foreseeable future dries up
– Voting in US primaries and the national election becomes an issue due to COVID-19
– Trump tries to kick 700,000 people off food assistance; judge blocks
– Huge burial pits in Iran used for CV19 victims can be seen from space
– France closes all businesses to slow spread of CV19
– COVID-19 testing, provided by US states and municipalities instead of the CDC, finally becomes available
– Chipotle, McDonald’s, Starbucks offer employees paid sick leave
– Many NYC restaurants close temporarily as business grinds to halt, customers stay away due to CV19 fears
– New Yorkers begin to bicycle to work, as people avoid mass transit
– Pollution over China and Italy, seen from the air, is greatly reduced as people stay home and businesses close
– Trump announces he has created National Day of Prayer on March 15, encourages people to pray
– Julius Caesar was stabbed in the Senate in 44 BC on March 15
– Trump and his children ordered by federal district court judge to produce documents for discovery in lawsuit accusing his and them of promoting a pyramid scheme
– Democratic national debate on Sunday, March 15, on CNN between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders
– Bill Gates provides at-home CV19 testing kits in Seattle
– New York provides own CV19 test
– Iran/Taliban bombs US troops’ housing in Iraq
– Trump changes travel ban to include UK
– Travelers at major US airports waited as long as 6 hours for luggage, 3 hours to get through testing, when they returned home; this was caused by lack of planning by anyone in our government
———
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 167K; deaths 6.5K; recoveries 77K
US: 3300 (62 deaths)
NY: 524 (4 deaths); NYC: 269; CA: 400

Week of March 16

– NY, NJ and CT governors forge alliance to manage COVID-19 (and later create Coalition of Northeastern Governors, including NY, NJ, CT, ME, MA, NH, RH)
– All restaurants and bars (except for take-out and deliveries), gyms, theaters, schools, churches, sports teams, other businesses ordered closed by governors in many states
– Many schools, yoga studios, churches, teachers, coaches and others begin to offer classes and other services online as businesses around the country close
– Cuomo requests Army Corps of Engineers be sent to region to increase hospital capacity in New York, the hardest hit state
– San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City citizens ordered to shelter in place at home
– Earthquake of 5.7 magnitude hits Salt Lake City, Utah
– New York State under official quarantine
– NY Gov. Cuomo joins with US Army Corp of Engineers to begin construction of four major facilities to serve as hospitals for COVID-19 patients in New York City, the hardest-hit city in the country
– NYC increases testing as more tests become available; the number of tests is still woefully short in NYC and around the country
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 338K; deaths 14K; recovered 97K
US: 38K (396 deaths)
NY: 22K (114 deaths); NYC: 9.7K;
CA: 1.5K; WA: 1.7K

Week of March 23

It is difficult to find headlines that are *not* related to COVID-19.
– New York City restricts testing to those who are hospitalized; there are not enough tests to test others, and testing wastes PPE for medical personnel
– Cuomo suggests thinking about economic recovery beyond the virus and how best and most safely to ensure the workforce gets back to work eventually
– NY Gov. Cuomo comes up with plan for rotating ventilators to the hardest-hit states when they need them the most
– Trump says the “cure” can’t be worse than the disease, suggests re-opening the entire country in just a few weeks on Easter, despite health officials stating that this is much too early to do so without greatly increasing spread and mortality
– Congress passes $2T deal to deal with COVID-19 and the country’s financial recovery; the deal specifically bars the Trump family and Congress from benefiting from the deal (Trump then created a signing statement which nullifies that clause), and gives much (but not all) of our population much-needed assistance; it leaves out more than token assistance to states such as New York which were hit particularly hard financially by the virus
– Dow Jones/stock market recovers slightly after the deal is passed in Congress, but still in flux
– New Orleans, Los Angeles, Detroit see an increasing number of cases
– Certain religious organizations still hold mega-church gatherings of hundreds, defying governmental requests to minimize contact with others and maintain distance in order to slow the spread of the virus
– NYC hospitals, completely overwhelmed by CV19 and major shortage of PPE, beg for ventilators; 30K vents are needed, far more than the few thousand on hand
– US Army Corp of Engineers quickly converts Javits Center in New York to COVID-19 hospital; they will convert more existing structures to hospitals in NYC and elsewhere
– Trump says publicly that he will only help those governors who are nice to him, others may not get supplies they desperately need to save lives in their states
– Reverend Joseph Lowry, civil rights leader and friend of Martin Luther King, dies at age 98
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: 707K cases; 33.5K deaths
US: 133K (2.4K deaths)
#1 NY: 59.5K (965 deaths); NYC: 32K (517 deaths);
#2 NJ: 11K; #3CA: 5.7K

Week of March 30

– 6.5 earthquake strikes Idaho
– COVID-19 continues to sweep the country, with new hotspots in New Orleans and Detroit
– States continue to beg federal government for help obtaining necessary equipment to deal with the mushrooming crisis; they do not receive it
– NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to lead by example in his daily COVID-19 briefings, generating ideas for managing the disease and highlighting his talks with clear presentations that offer precise, concise and accurate data
– Trump administration continues to roll back environmental safeguards, purge intelligence resources, and decimate other governmental departments, leaving our country largely unable to function or to meet emergencies, such as a pandemic, attack or natural disaster (hurricane season will soon be here)
– Several Senators appear to have profited from insider trading, selling off stock after private briefing about the severity of the pandemic prior to the escalation of the disease
– New York City, to date the hardest hit spot in the COVID-19 epidemic, approaches the apex of hospitalizations due to the outbreak, and continues to search for ventilators and PPE in order to minimize deaths
– ICU COVID-19 patients who can’t get a ventilator will die
– Still no federal directive to institute national stay-at-home order
– Churches in the South still hold services, allowing hundreds of people to gather in enclosed spaces; governors do not direct the crowds not to gather
– Gov. Andrew Cuomo emerges as a leader in this disaster
– Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive for CV19, it and other tigers show mild symptoms; it got the virus from a handler who tested positive
– Capt. Brett Crozier was removed as commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is staffed by almost 5K officers and sailors, because a letter he wrote to his superiors begging for help after 155 crew members tested positive for COVID-19 was leaked to the press by unknown sources. He was given no options for removing the infected personnel and feared for the health and survival his crew. He was fired without a Naval investigation, some say at the suggestion of Trump; Trump did speak out about it immediately after the firing, saying Crozier “shouldn’t have written” the memo. However, he was fired, supposedly, not because he wrote the memo, but because it leaked. Former military leaders say this will have a negative effect on those in command, making them fearful of attempting to get support for their crew.
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: 1.2M cases; 68K deaths
US: 324K (9K deaths)
#1 NY: 130.7K (4.8K deaths); NYC: 67.5K (4K deaths)
#2 NJ: 37K; #3MI: 16K; #4CA: 15K; #5LA: 13K

Week of April 6

– Forest fire at Chernobyl once again releases radiation into the atmosphere
– Bernie Sanders drops out of the Presidential race, leaves Biden sole Dem candidate
– Prince Charles, who previously tested positive for CV19, no longer positive
– UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, previously in ICU as a result of CV19, leaves the hospital to convalesce
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 1.8M; deaths 114K
US: 560K (22K deaths)
#1 NY: 189K (9K deaths); NYC: 99K (6K deaths*)
* Does not count many who died at home, many who were taken to the morgue by EMTs, and case numbers do not include many who were sick but never tested. Tests are still not available for most people.
#2 NJ: 62K; #3 MA: 26; #4 MI: 25K; #5 PA: 23K

Week of April 13

– New Zealand’s prime minister and other government officials take 20% pay cut to show “leadership and solidarity” with other citizens in the COVID-19 outbreak
– The International Monetary Fund warns of slump in production greater than that of the Great Depression
– Trump announces plan for re-opening which gives control of re-opening to each individual governor; he then incites riots by posting “LIBERATE!” on Twitter, encouraging protests against individual governors to demand re-opening of states—even while in the midst of increasing numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, long before it is safe to do so without overwhelming hospitals and ensuring that more people die (a federal crime and, in some states, a state crime)
– Right-wing extremists, backed by conservative groups such as those funded by the DeVos family, then stage protests against governors in several states; their numbers were low, but they gained major media attention
– Some states in the South and Midwest begin to re-open, while still in the ascendancy phase of their outbreaks, increasing the likelihood of unnecessary deaths and hospital overwhelm
– Trump withdraws funding to WHO, claiming they (not he) bungled the response to COVID-19, and also claims, without proof, there is a more sinister explanation for the spread of COVID-19 throughout the world
– The key to re-opening, as indicated in every governor’s plan and that of Trump, is testing; there is a massive shortage of both COVID-19 and antibody tests in the US, which hampers efforts at re-opening
– Right-wing protests and conspiracy theories give the impression that our country is divided and unstable; some say Trump is promoting them to shore up his re-election campaign
– Trump continues to use his daily COVID-19 briefings as mini campaign rallies, promoting himself instead of addressing CV19 issues
– New hot spots this past week in Oklahoma (up 53%), Arkansas (up 60%), Nebraska (up 74%), Iowa (up 82%) and South Dakota (up 205%), all states which do not have a shelter-in-place order
– New York, the nation’s hot spot of CV19, continues to see decline in number of cases and deaths a month after a shelter-in-place order went into effect and Gov. Cuomo asked citizens to stay at home or social distance when out for food or essentials
– Florida re-opens beaches the same day that it records its highest number of cases, with reports that many on the beaches are not social distancing; many tests are still pending, so the number of cases is uncertain and is likely greatly undercounted since the state reports only results from state labs, not the private labs which process 90% of the state’s tests
– Extreme weather: Two-mile-wide tornado that struck Mississippi on Easter Sunday was state’s largest on record; other states, including Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, were hit by major storms, floods and tornadoes
– Gov. Cuomo announced antibody testing will begin in New York in the coming week; such testing will indicate how many have been exposed to CV19
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 2.4M; deaths 162K
US: 741K (39K deaths)
#1 NY: 241K (17.6K deaths); NYC: 126K (12K deaths)
#2 NJ: 81K; #3 MA: 36K; #4 PA: 32K; #5 CA: 31K

Week of April 20

– There are now 3 million COVID-19 cases and 205K deaths worldwide
– Extreme weather: Tornadoes hit TX, OK and LA, leaving many dead or injured
– Extreme weather: Tornadoes hit FL; tornadoes, storms, hail and flooding hit MS, GA, AL and SC
– Pres. Trump suggests bleach and disinfectant used internally to cleanse the lungs as a possible means of combatting the COVID-19 virus; he also suggests using light on the body
– Manufacturers of disinfectants rush to post warnings that their products cause damage and death if ingested
– GA, FL and SC re-open for business, although many businesses choose to follow the experts’ and the President’s requirement that testing and tracing be in place before businesses open
– COVID-19 cases and deaths in GA, FL and SC continue to rise
– New York State and New York City cases and deaths continue to plateau as stay-at-home order remains in place
– Javits Center and USS Hope in New York City will close their ancillary operations in the next week
– Food lines around the country continue to grow exponentially
– Unemployment grows to more than 20%; Florida’s unemployed are largely unable to file claims to receive benefits due to malfunction of antiquated system
– Pres. Trump appoints former labradoodle breeder to COVID-19 task force
– The US now has almost a million cases of COVID-19 and 50K deaths
– There have been more than 200,000 deaths worldwide from COVID 19
– Saudi Arabia abolishes flogging as criminal sentence
– New York expands criteria for testing, as more tests become available, allowing more New Yorkers to be tested for COVID-19; previously only those hospitalized or certain healthcare workers could receive the test. Now first responders, medical workers and essential employees will be eligible to receive tests, with 5,000 independent pharmacies serving as test sites.
– New York begins antibody testing for those with documentation (positive test or medical diagnosis) of having had COVID-19, as well as for transit workers, law enforcement and hospital workers (hospitals and blood donation centers are the best choice for those tests; commercial labs can be less reliable)
– New York City is now “down” to around 1100 new hospital admissions and around 400 deaths per day
– “Drawing comparisons to the flu pandemic of 1918 and World War II, Cuomo urged New Yorkers to continue abiding by social distancing restrictions, noting its hardships. ‘One hundred thousand fewer serious infections, that’s what 56 days of our relative living through hell has accomplished. And that is a heck of an accomplishment,’ Cuomo said.”
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 2.97M; deaths 206K
US: 976K (55K deaths)
#1 NY: 293K (22K deaths); NYC: 153K (16K deaths)
#2 NJ 109K; #3 MA 53K; #4 CA 43K; #5 IL 41.7K

Week of April 27

– Germany continues to outshine other countries in having by far the lowest mortality rate
– Hasidim hold mass funeral in Brooklyn, with thousands shoulder to shoulder, many with no face mask; when de Blasio issues stern warning to the community, urging them to observe social distancing and not to hold such mass gatherings during the pandemic, Senator Ted Cruz urges AG Bill Barr to investigate religious discrimination by de Blasio
– Navy still split about re-instating Commander Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt
– Trump fires Dr. Rick Bright, the man in charge of the government’s effort to create a viable COVID-19 vaccine in part because Bright said that hydroxychloroquine lacked scientific merit (it does)
– CA Gov. Newsom institutes program for state to pay restaurants to delivery meals to seniors
– GA re-opens gyms, bowling alleys, hair salons and tattoo parlors against the advice of experts and the requirements set forth by Trump; Atlanta mayor urges citizens to continue to stay home
– MS and TN loosen restrictions on lockdown, although their numbers have not yet peaked
– Las Vegas mayor wants to re-open city, including gambling casinos
– US sees its worst day in rise of COVID-19 cases and deaths according to WHO; the US now has over 1.5 million cases and over 67 thousand deaths
– Democratic Party cancels New York Dem primary since only Biden is running; the number of people required to conduct a primary, even by mail, and the cost would be enormous, at a time when personnel and funds are unavailable
– Sudan outlaws female genital mutilation
– Gallup, NM, becomes COVID-19 hotspot
– Extreme weather: A record 351 tornados occurred in the US during the month of April
– 5.5 earthquake hits southern Puerto Rico
– Hunger emergency spreads throughout the world as a result of the COVID-19 economic effect
– It has been 50 years since the mass shooting by police of college students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University
– US has 29K new cases of COVID-19 on May 2, the most worldwide
– Moncef Slaoui, Trump’s New “Chief Scientist” in the US COVID-19 development efforts, holds $10 million in stock options in Moderna, one of the primary companies working on a vaccine. Moderna has received $483 million in federal funding for vaccine development, prompting a rise in their stock.
– France extends COVID-19 emergency lockdown until July 24
– May 2 is World Press Freedom Day; last year 250+ journalists were imprisoned for reporting the truth
– Despite rising numbers of CV19 cases in meat packing plants, Trump declares the plants “essential” and orders plants to stay open
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 3.5M; deaths 245K; recoveries 1.1M
US: 1.55M (68K deaths)
#1 NY: 319K (24K deaths); NYC: 167K (18K deaths)
#2 NJ 125K; #3 MA 66K; #4 IL 58K; #5 CA 53K

Week of May 4

– US Justice Department suddenly drops case again Michael Flynn altogether (a shocking blow to the American justice system)
– 6.0 earthquake shakes Greece
– COVID-10 cases and deaths fall in New York, while the numbers for much of the rest of the country continue to rise
– LG Corp. chemical plant gas leak in southern India leaves 11 people dead and 340+ hospitalized
– Russia has 210K+ COVID-19 cases, 11K new cases per day and climbing
– Efforts to suppress the vote in America increase as the next election draws near
– US unemployment is at 14%+, continuing to grow
– Children are experiencing a devastating Kawasaki-like illness related to COVID-19
– FDA issues emergency authorization for COVID-19 antigen and antibody tests
– Extreme weather: Unusual polar vortex weather sees May snowfall in New York City’s Central Park and sub-freezing temps with snow and ice in the entire Northeast; some places get up to a foot of snow
– Germany infection rate rises after partial re-opening; Germany still has far fewer deaths than other countries
– Native Americans currently experiencing more deaths and more loss of revenue from COVID-19 proportionately than any other group in the US
– US removes military assets from Saudi Arabia at a time when foreign oil is no longer as important to our country and tensions with Iran have lessened
– California Congressional Representative Maxine Waters loses sister to COVID-19
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 4.1M; deaths 283K
US: 1.4M (80K deaths)
#1 NY: 345K (27K deaths); NYC: 179K (20K deaths)
#2 NJ 139K; #3 MA 77K; #4 IL 76K; #5 CA 67K

Week of May 11

– Wisconsin Supreme Court judge overrules Governor’s stay-at-home order; people then flock to crowded bars, restaurants not wearing masks
– Court asks retired judge to oppose Barr’s Justice Dept. effort to drop Michael Flynn case
– Almost 2000 former DOJ officials call for Barr’s resignation as result of attempt to drop Michael Flynn case
– FBI serves a search warrant on Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) pursuant to insider trading allegations. Burr is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is soon due to release its findings on the Mueller investigation. If Burr is removed as chair of that Committee, Mitch McConnell will be allowed to choose his replacement, thus making it certain that the results of the Mueller investigation will be represented “differently”
– As CV19 infection rates continue to climb at Nebraska meatpacking plants, health officials refuse to report case numbers now
– Russia continues to have 10K+ deaths per day from COVID-19
– Dangerous four-foot-long lizards multiply in Georgia, causing emergency situation
– 6.5 earthquake in Nevada felt for hundreds of miles
– A Kawasaki-like, potentially fatal inflammatory disease that seems to be closely related to COVID-19 exposure is being seen in children in increasing numbers
– New York State extends state stay-at-home order until June 13 while careful phased re-opening of state begins, starting with Central NY, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier regions in the north and west; see plan for re-opening here https://forward.ny.gov/industries-reopening-phase and required metrics for re-opening here https://forward.ny.gov/regional-monitoring-dashboard
– A fight brews over proposed new stimulus bill; Trump says will veto because it allows voting by mail—which would allow disenfranchised to vote more easily, potentially gaining votes for Democrats
– Small but vocal protest groups—with a lot of press coverage—fight against stay-at-home orders in some states, saying their “rights” are being violated; armed groups continue to storm capital in Michigan and others taunt, denigrate and curse reporters trying to cover their protests
– Biden says if elected will not pardon Trump
– Trump says more testing will reveal more infections and therefore increase the numbers; “by doing all this testing we make ourselves look bad”
– Whistleblower Rick Bright, recently removed from his post by Trump, testifies that COVID-19 response was botched
– McConnell admits he falsely accused Obama of not leaving a pandemic plan behind; Obama left a detailed plan, staff and supplies, which were later decimated by Trump
– Major wildfire in Naples, FL (Collier County) consumes at least 5K acres
– As case numbers in first wave continue to rise, Texas re-opens state
– New York City, the first hotspot of COVID-19 in the country, continues to see lower case numbers and deaths, as new hotspots are being seen around the country
– Ahmaud Arbery, young black man jogging in his neighborhood, was shot dead without cause by two white men who were not arrested or charged at the time thanks to a local prosecutor renowned for wrongfully convicting, threatening and imprisoning black women; the case was this week taken over by the Georgia Attorney General as the case made the news, two months after the murder, and the two suspects were finally arrested
– Puerto Rico will hold referendum re statehood; after two hurricanes, an earthquake and COVID-19, the territory is suffering from lack of federal funding and support, making the potential of statehood more appealing
– NY Gov. Cuomo reveals in daily briefing that between January and March, 3+ million people flew into New York’s JFK Airport from Italy, that the CV19 cases in New York are of European origin, not Chinese, and the enormous number of cases in New York City was due to that direct transmission from Italy; Trump did not close the border to Europe until March, and even then still allowed those flying from the UK to enter
– Some flaunt order to wear masks saying it violates their “freedom,” ignoring the danger they pose to others who might die from their expression of “freedom”; studies show that wearing masks prevents or greatly reduces spread of disease
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: 4.8M cases; 314K deaths
Cases: US 1.5M (90K deaths)
#1 NY 358K (28K deaths); NYC 189K (20K deaths)
#2 NJ 146K; #3 IL 92K; #4 MA 85K; #5 CA 79K

Week of May 18

– An analysis by Columbia University indicates that if the US had started social distancing a week earlier—on March 8 instead of March 15—about 36,000 fewer people would have died and there would have been 700,000 fewer cases, and if the country had locked down two weeks earlier than it did—on March 1—54,000 fewer people would have died and 82% of cases could have been prevented.
– Extreme weather: 10K+ people had to be evacuated in Michigan when two dams breached after heavy rains
– Extreme weather: Cyclone Amphan blasted India and Bangladesh coasts on Wednesday with 115+ mph winds and 16-foot-high ocean surges, leaving at least 14 dead
– Pakistan International Airlines plane crashes near Karachi airport with all but two of the 99 passengers and 8 crewmembers aboard dead
– A shooting at a Corpus Christi Naval base Thursday was terrorist-related, says the FBI; gunman is believed to have been radicalized by a terror group prior to three years of training in Florida; a shooter at an attack on a Naval base in Pensacola, FL, in December 2019, also attended a three-year aviation course subsequent to being radicalized, and was possibly related to an offshoot of Al-Quaeda
– Right-wing extremists continue to demonstrate against the lockdown and the wearing of masks saying they are an infringement of their “freedom,” mocking and bullying those who wear masks and threatening governmental authorities and others with armed protests; these protests are happening most in areas that still see a rise in numbers of COVID-19 cases
– Car rental company Hertz, established in 1918, filed for bankruptcy Friday due to the dire economic effects delivered by the virus
– A study of 16 pregnant women who had COVID-19 found that the placenta was damaged and suffered insufficient blood flow; the placenta is the organ that acts as the important organs and lungs for a fetus
– Facebook, Twitter and other companies say staff may continue working from home indefinitely post-COVID-19
– Just one intensive care bed is left in Montgomery, Alabama; the nearest alternative hospital is more than an hour away in Birmingham, as hospitals across the state near capacity due to COVID-19
– Many states in the South and Midwest are just now feeling the effects of the virus, but some of them are re-opening in the middle of still-rising case numbers—the opposite of what scientists say is prudent in containing the virus without overloading hospitals or spreading the disease uncontrollably
– Only 7.3% of people in Stockholm, Sweden, had developed antibodies against the disease by late April, which is well below the 70-90% needed to create “herd immunity” in a population. This indicates that their unusual strategy of not shutting down at all in order to let everyone be exposed and so gain herd immunity has backfired, since their death count is extraordinarily high, but their country still does not have herd immunity; they deliberately let people die for nothing.
– Researchers have found that 82% of the top 50 influential retweeters and 62% of the top 1,000 retweeters are bots. The researchers say that bots are being used by countries and interest groups to promote political agendas, and that they use conspiracy theories to increase polarization and division in groups.
– Dr. Rick Bright, vaccine expert and director of a federal health agency, was fired by Trump, then filed whistleblower complaint alleging impropriety; he was investigating why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered officials to find a way to justify use of an emergency declaration to sell more than $8 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates without congressional approval
– Shooting at Westgate, AZ; suspect was an incel who targeted couples out of jealousy and anger
– Millions of cicadas are expected to emerge after 17 years underground in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee; harmless to humans but incredibly noisy, they pose a danger to orchids, vines and trees
– Norma McCorvey aka Jane Roe was originally the plaintiff in Roe v Wade, in which the court in 1973 ruled that states did not have the right to ban abortion; McCorvey later claimed in the 1990s that she had reversed her position and no longer supported choice. According to a new FX documentary premiering this week, she asserted just before her death in 2017 that she was paid almost a half million dollars by anti-abortion activists to switch her position, that she was acting, and that she still very much supported a woman’s choice
– Communist Party rulers say Beijing plans to impose national security laws on Hong Kong; currently the former British colony has an independent legal system the right to protest and other freedoms not allowed on mainland China
– New York City daily deaths from COVID-19 are down to 100 per day and case numbers continue to decline; the actions by citizens (at the Governor’s request) to stay at home, stay six feet apart from each other and wear masks has worked
– Extreme weather: It was 82 degrees F in Siberia this week.
– Extreme weather: A record-breaking 18 tornados blasted Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arizona
– Mitt Romney denounces multiple IG firings as threat to democracy
– Fisherman’s Wharf, famous tourist attraction in San Francisco, burned in a major fire; the Wharf is gone, but the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, a liberty ship that stormed Normandy on D-Day in 1944, was saved
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: 5.5M cases; 346K deaths
Cases: US 1.7M (99K deaths)
#1 NY 371K (29K deaths); NYC 194K cases (21K deaths)
#2 NJ 155K; #3 IL 108K; #4 CA 93K; #5 MA 92K

Week of May 25

– Extreme weather: Record heat in the West this week
– A quarter of Americans have filed for unemployment; many still cannot file because they cannot connect on the state unemployment websites
– Trump attempts to police social media personally by signing an executive order because Twitter put a fact-checking blurb after two of his erroneous posts (they did not remove the posts)—after he’s used Twitter as his free, personal campaign medium for three years, tweeting sometimes 100+ times per day
– Extreme weather: India is suffering—scorching 118+ degree F temperatures (necessary masks are unbearably hot, and people without air conditioning cannot open their windows because they have no screens to prevent mosquitoes with carry malaria and dengue), thousands of new COVID-19 infections every day, water shortages, lack of running water and air conditioning, 25% unemployment
– India suffers a terrible locust invasion which devastates crops/food
– In India a band of monkeys attack a medical official walking across a medical college campus and steal blood samples of patients who presumably had for COVID-19; the samples have not been found
– George Floyd, a man of color, was pulled out of his car by four police on suspicion of passing a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill; although he did not resist, they pushed him to the ground, face down. Two of the police officers knelt on Floyd’s back while Derek Chauvin knelt next to Floyd’s head, putting his entire body weight into his knee as he pushed it into the side of Floyd’s neck and left it there for almost nine minutes, and almost three minutes after Floyd stopped breathing. The scene was caught on several video recordings, including the actual murder of Floyd. The officers showed no remorse or concern at being filmed while killing the black man.
– Derek Chauvin, killer of George Floyd, charged with third-degree murder, which means the killer knew he was harming the person but maybe didn’t intend to kill, and second-degree manslaughter, which means the killing was simply a result of recklessness on the part of the killer; Chauvin and Floyd previously worked as security guards at the same nightclub
– Massive days-long protests begin in the US in response to the killing; protests turn violent as outside groups plan and execute mayhem, leaving the communities smoldering, with homes and businesses destroyed
– CNN reporting team arrested in Minneapolis by police who gave no reason for the arrest, later released without charge; police shot rubber bullets and teargas at MSNBC reporting team in Minneapolis; freelance photographer Linda Tirado is severely injured and is now blind in her left eye after being shot in the eye and face with rubber bullets by police; LA Times reporter Molly Hennessey-Fiske and about a dozen other press identified themselves as media and asked where they should go, but the Minnesota State Patrol officers instead fired tear gun cannisters on them at point blank range; in all of the Minneapolis incidents, the police told the reporters they didn’t care that they were reporters.
– Journalist injuries by police were reported in cities like New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, Detroit and Denver, totaling 60+ incidents across the country in which reporters were injured by police; all of these reporters had cameras with logos, identified themselves to police as media and showed their badges; the police attacked the journalists anyway. Per WFMJ: “In Chicago, Vice reporter Michael Adams had a similar interaction to Velshi and Hennessey-Fiske when police raided the gas station he and his crew were sheltering at and said they “didn’t care” that they were press. “After shouting press multiple times and raising my press card in the air, I was thrown to the ground,” Adams wrote on Twitter. “Then another cop came up and peppered sprayed me in the face while I was being held down.”
– Journalists and a free press are a hallmark of democracy; the arrest and harassment of journalists is a hallmark of fascism
– SpaceX Crew Dragon launches from US with two astronauts, the first launch in nine years; it later docks successfully to International Space Station
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: 6.3M cases; 374K deaths
Cases: US 1.8M (106K deaths)
#1 NY 379K (30K deaths); NYC: 200K (21K deaths)
#2 NJ 162K; #3 IL 120K; #4 CA 113K; #5 MA 97K

Week of June 1

– Protests stemming from May 25 murder of George Floyd by police continue around the country
– Trump calls for US military to be used against peaceful protestors; threatens to implement martial law
– New York Gov. Cuomo and various Republican military and other leaders condemn Trump’s use of military to suppress and attack peaceful Washington, DC protests; many Republican leaders vow to vote for Biden, some endorsing him, due to what they see as Trump’s failure to lead responsibly and effectively and his diminishing of the office
– Trump has peaceful protestors teargassed, shot with rubber bullets and removed so that he can do a photo op in front of a church holding a bible
– Signs of impending authoritarianism and fascism increase: assault, injury and arrest of journalists by police; destruction of medic stations (a crime in war), medicine and water, injuring medics and emergency personnel; threat to use military against civilians
– Looters use the protests as cover for stealing; other groups come from many separate extremists groups, including white supremacists and those promoting civil war, as well as groups of organized crime gangs who carry out premeditated plans to loot high-value stores
– Trump refers to all looters as “ANTIFA”, although there is no evidence that the groups looting and committing violence are associated with ANTIFA (which is an anti-fascist ideology, not a group); rather, the groups consist of organized crime gangs and various white supremacist and survivalist groups, such as the Boogaloo Bois
– White supremacist group Identity Evropa aka American Identitarian Movement created fake “@ANTIFA_US” account and posted provocative messages; other right-wing extremists are creating fake “ANTIFA” accounts and promoting violence, while Trump’s Administration continues to refer to looters as ANTIFA without any evidence
– Fake hashtags continue to appear that obfuscate the current situation; Twitter removed some fake accounts and de-trended some fake hashtags; bots, bad actors and foreign agents continue to create these accounts and hashtags
– COVID-19 cases rapidly increasing in Mexico and Brazil
– 11 earthquakes (~5.5 magnitude) hit Yellowstone Park in Wyoming
– Hundreds gather in Hong Kong commemorating Tiananmen Square Massacre, Beijing does not acknowledge
– NYC has no COVID-19 deaths in a single day for first time since March (3 months) and prepares to begin Phase 1 of re-opening the City
– Organized crime groups loot NYC freely during protests, stealing high-value items in well-known and luxury stores in mid-town Manhattan with no NY police in sight; the NYPD has 30K police, and had no problem when New York held its Times Square celebration with a million people in the heart of Manhattan just three months after 9/11
– India has increasing number of COVID-19 cases; health system in Mumbai is on the verge of collapse while hospitals in Delhi are reportedly running out of space. In spite of this, shopping centers, temples, restaurants and offices are reopening.
– Brazil has surpassed Italy in COVID-19 fatalities, making it one of the highest in the world
– COVID-19 cases decline in New York and New Jersey, but increase steeply in the South, Midwest and West, including Florida, Arizona and Texas
– “I still think we have a lot of cases to come,” said Julie Swann, a former CDC adviser and professor of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, who said the continued spread was not inevitable and could have been stopped with sufficient testing and tracing.”
– Sweden now has among the highest per capita death rates from Covid-19 in the world. Sweden did not enforce the wearing of masks or social distancing. Experts say they should have started testing earlier, done more to protect older adults, and enforced mask-wearing in order to avoid the extremely high death toll. Sweden expected to see less financial hardship as a result of their approach. Unfortunately, their financial loss is on par with their neighbors, so they gained absolutely nothing by allowing so many of their citizens to die.
– Melting permafrost caused a fuel tank to collapse in Russia’s Arctic Circle, resulting in a 135-square mile oil spill of 21,000 tons of diesel oil on both land and in the water.
– “Arizona’s Department of Health reported a new single-day high number of coronavirus cases and emergency room visits on Friday.”
– “South Carolina adds 512 new COVID-19 cases, breaking Friday’s mark for largest single-day increase.”
—–
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 7M; deaths 405K
#1 US: 2M cases (112K deaths); #2 Brazil 690K; #3 Russia 468K
#1 NY: 399K (30K deaths); NYC: 204K (22K deaths);
#2 NJ 166K; #3 CA 132K; #4 IL 128K; #5 MA 103K

Week of June 8

– Work begins to remove scaffolding on Notre Dame subsequent to a massive fire in April 2019 which melted the scaffolding into the building
– North Korea cut every line of communication with South Korea
– Police in Buffalo, NY sharply push a non-threatening 75-year-old man backwards; he falls, cracking his skull and sustaining a traumatic brain injury; police walk on by, leaving him lying on the ground bleeding out of his head
– COVID-19 cases continue to drop in the Northeast, while cases continue to rise in the South, Midwest and West
– US and Canada extend border closure till the end of July
– Lindsey Graham wins South Carolina primary for Senate seat
– Georgia’s primary election was a disaster, with extremely long lines, absentee ballots that never arrived, technical issues caused by lack of trained staff and a new, highly hackable, poorly designed and non-user-friendly touchscreen voting system
– Urgent COVID-19 situation continues in Arizona and Alabama
– Trump schedules Tulsa rally on Juneteenth
– Protesters in Seattle set up autonomous zone. Protesters occupied several blocks outside the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct and dubbed the area the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.” Police are forbidden, food is free and documentaries are screened at night. Their stand is to bring attention to their appeals to defund the police and end racial injustice. Their demands include abolishing Seattle’s police department, banning the use of armed force, removing officers from schools, eradicating juvenile jails and prisons, and distributing reparations to victims of police brutality.
– “The Pentagon’s top general [Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] publicly apologized for appearing alongside the president in a church photo opportunity minutes after federal authorities forcibly removed peaceful protesters from the area. ‘As many of you saw the results of the photograph of me in Lafayette Square last week, that sparked a national debate about the role of the military in civil society,’ Milley said. ‘I should not have been there. My presence in that moment, and in that environment, created the perception of the military involved in domestic politics.’”
– NY Governor Cuomo signs police accountability bill banning chokeholds, setting up a special prosecutor’s office to investigate the deaths of people at the hands of police, and makes complaints against officers public
– In North Korea Saturday, Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, who is emerging as a powerful force in her brother’s circle, threatened South Korea with military action, supposedly due to South Korean human rights activists dropping pamphlets criticizing the North Korean government from balloons into North Korea
– Protests continue around the country
– Timeline of COVID-19: https://www.vox.com/2020/6/8/21242003/trump-failed-coronavirus-response

Week of June 15

– Hong Kong citizens prepare for reign of terror from Chinese Communist government, many flee or prepare to flee
– India and China engage in military showdown over border dispute
– Possible second wave of COVID-19 begins in Beijing
– Huge wildfire continues to grow near Phoenix, AZ
– Singer Vera Lynn dies
– John Bolton’s new book exposes what went on in the Trump White House
– New York City continues Phase 1 of its re-opening as cases continue to decline
– FBI warns about extremists who ‘advocate a belief in the superiority of the white race’ and intend to start a second civil war or race war (referred to as ‘Boogaloo’) by instigating violence at lawful and peaceful protests. They call themselves Boogaloo Bois (or Boys), are usually armed, and often wear Hawaiian shirts or camouflage
– Attack on press: Trump has decimated Voice of America independent broadcasting, firing or replacing all of its staff, ending its quality journalism and replacing the head with an alt-right filmmaker in another authoritarian takeover
– President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr removed the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, who is involved in several investigations of Trump allies
– Protests continue around the country demanding changes related to racism, inequality, police violence
– Due to lack of compliance with distancing and mask-wearing by citizens, and lack of real leadership on both federal and state fronts, states in Southwest and South see dramatic and dangerous increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations
—–
COVID-19 – Worldwide: 9M cases; 473K deaths
Cases: #1 US 2.4M (123K deaths); #2 Brazil 1.1M; #3 Russia 592K
#1 NY: 412K; NYC: 209K (22K deaths);
#2 CA 183K; #3 NJ 172K; #4 IL 137K; #5 TX 119K; #6 MA 107K; #7 FL 87K

Week of June 22

– Extreme weather: The temperature in Siberia registered 100 degrees F.
– In the continued effort to suppress journalism, Trump said journalists should be jailed so they have to divulge their sources. ‘These people should be executed. They are scumbags,’ Trump said.
– Study says US COVID-19 cases in March which were undiagnosed could have been 80 times greater than reported, or 8.7 million cases, rather than the 100,000 that were reported. The number was obtained by analyzing each state’s flu-like cases to estimate the number that were clearly not influenza and were more than the usual number of cases. Penn State researchers used CDC data for the study.
– This year’s cicadas are likely to be high on naturally-occurring bath salts and magic mushrooms, turning them into extra-loud, sex-crazed zombies
– Godzilla, a 3,500-mile-wide gigantic dust cloud from the Sahara, blankets much of the US this week—including Houston, which was already on Code Red alert pursuant to alarming rise of COVID-19 threatening to overwhelm ICUs there
– Swarms of desert locusts in India result in government calling advisory; millions of the vegetation-eating locusts have overwhelmed parts of India
– Puerto Rico shuts off water every other day to conserve water, as they experience a severe drought; reservoirs have experienced a build-up of sediment
– Due to lack of compliance with distancing and mask-wearing by citizens, too-soon and chaotic, non-science-based re-opening in some states, and lack of real leadership on both federal and state fronts, states in Southwest and South see dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, greatly overwhelming major hospitals in Houston and southern Arizona, among others; Houston hospitals, whose ICU wards are full, are now being forced to triage, deciding who deserves a chance to be treated and live and who doesn’t based on a list of criteria.
—–
COVID-19 – Worldwide: 10M cases; 503K deaths
Cases: #1 US: 2.6M (128K deaths); #2 Brazil 1.3M; #3 Russia 634K; #4 India 550K; #5 UK 311K
#1 NY: 417K (31K deaths); NYC: 212K (22K deaths)
#2 CA 213K; #3 NJ 176K; #4 TX 151K; #5 IL 143K; #6 FL 141K; #7 MA 109K; #8 PA 89K; #9 GA 77K; #10 AZ 74K

Week of June 29

– Extreme weather: Earth’s CO2 levels 417 ppm (parts per million) in May, the highest ever recorded in human history
– Extreme weather: “Zombie fires,” which burrow into organic material beneath the surface and smolder under the snow until warmer weather arrives, are springing up in Alaska and Siberia; they are becoming an increasing problem in Siberia especially, as temperatures rise exponentially in the Artic, causing the snow to melt and the peat underneath to dry out and become flammable
– Supreme Court struck down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law
– Locust swarm threatens corn, sugar, wheat and oat crops in South America
– Extreme weather: 5,000-acre brushfire burns in Nevada, turns Las Vegas sky red
– Chinese leader Xi Jinping annexed new draconian laws to Hong Kong without first publishing them publicly; they call for life imprisonment for those found guilty of “separatism,” “subversion,” “terrorism” and “collusion with foreign forces,” with lesser punishments for those who report on their fellow citizens. Hong Kong is quickly becoming an extension of China, and residents have lost most of their freedom, essentially being under Communist rule now.
– Ghislaine Maxwell, former partner to Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested and charged in NH for recruitment and sexual abuse of teenage girls in the 1990s, then moved to NY jail awaiting arraignment; she was previously covered in a plea agreement Epstein reached with federal prosecutors in 2008, but the new charges cover a period prior to that likely covered in the plea agreement; prosecutors want her held without bail; her sisters have offered to put up $5 billion in bail plus electronic monitoring
– COVID-19 cases double worldwide in only six weeks
– US has shortage of COVID-19 testing; the true number of cases is likely greatly
– The lawmakers in the Mississippi state legislature took no COVID-19 precautions—no masks, no social distancing at all—and now 26 of them have tested positive
– As deaths from COVID-19 in Texas surpass 3,000 and hospitalizations continue to climb sharply, more body bags and refrigerated morgue trailers have been ordered
– Mitt Romney says Trump commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence is “unprecedented, historic corruption.” (USA Today)
– Crime throughout the US continues to climb as the lockdown continues and COVID-19 cases continue to ascend rapidly

—–
COVID-19 cases – Worldwide: cases 11M; deaths 538K
#1 US: 3M (132K deaths); #2 Brazil 1.6M; #3 India 700K; #4 Russia 687K; #5 Peru 300K
#1 NY: 422K (32K deaths); NYC: 214K (23K deaths)
#2 CA 265K; #3 FL 206K; #4 TX 200K; #5 NJ 177K; #6 IL 148K; #7 MA 110K; #8 AZ 101K; #9 GA 95K; #10 PA 94K;

Week of July 6

– Extreme weather: 40+ dead in southern Japan pursuant to extreme flooding
– Possible case of bubonic plague reported in China
– Deadly brain-eating amoeba confirmed in fresh water in Florida, as at least one person dies from it; residents advised not to swim in fresh water and to avoid nasal irrigation with tap water
– US District Court for DC orders Dakota Pipeline shut down and emptied of oil until further studies can be done, stating that the US Army Corp of Engineers failed to follow the law in allowing the Pipeline to be built and that there was potential for harm
– Supreme Court rules Trump is entitled to no special treatment and that subpoenas can be issued for him
– COVID-19 cases rise sharply in India to 800,000; Africa is also being hit hard by the virus
– Miami Mayor Francis Suarez closes restaurants (except for takeout/delivery), gyms and large venues as COVID-19 cases rise alarmingly
– Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms rolls back reopening as COVID-19 cases rise; Republican Governor Brian Kemp says Bottoms cannot go against his state order to keep businesses open, even as cases soar and Atlanta hospitals are almost at capacity
– Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer requested extension of National Guard use for humanitarian missions
– After Florida counted over 11,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day, Disney World re-opened
– The US reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases in one day for the second time this week
– Extreme weather: Major heatwave covers much of the US, will continue for the next two to four WEEKS, with temps over 100 in many places and record-breaking heat for many consecutive days; Phoenix will reach 116 degrees on Sunday; Lake Havasu may reach 120; Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas will be 110-115 degrees; many records will be set. Miami experienced its hottest week on record last week. “A recent analysis by Climate Central found that the number of days each year with overlapping high heat and humidity has doubled across much of the United States since 1980.” (Washington Post)
– Judge OKs publisher to publish Mary Trump’s book about Trump’s upbringing
– Arizona, Texas, Florida are now major COVID-19 hotspots, all have overwhelmed hospitals that are almost to or beyond ICU capacity; Arizona has more than 100K cases, Florida has 200K
– Arizona and Nevada reported highest numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations, while seven-day averages in 12 states hit new highs, with largest increases in West Virginia, Tennessee and Montana
– Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms tested positive for COVID-19, is asymptomatic so far
– Brazil President Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19, continues to make a show of not wearing a mask
– Cuomo adds more states to New York’s quarantine rule, for a current total of 16; anyone from those states who travels to New York must quarantine for 14 days and report where they’ll be staying
– Extreme weather: Temperatures reached 100.4 degrees in Siberia; it was Siberia’s hottest June on record, as the Artic continues to melt
– Florida hospitals run out of ICU beds
– Texas hospitals in several cities out or almost out of ICU beds; triage continues in some, where decisions must be made as to who gets to live (gets treatment) and who dies
– Trump “withdrew” the US from WHO
– Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon was found dead, presumably from suicide
– The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced Thursday that the U.S. has sanctioned four Chinese Communist Party officials and the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau for human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang
– Florida hits new high on COVID-19 daily death toll
– WHO acknowledges that COVID-19 can be transmitted through aerosol vapor in the air, especially in poorly ventilated buildings
– Michael Cohen is back in prison after refusing to sign a statement that he would not speak to the press; there was also a provision that possibility related to the book he is writing about Trump; his attorney stated that he had never seen such a provision in a release agreement
– Geoffrey Berman, former U.S. Attorney for the SDNY, testified before the House Judiciary Committee about the unusual circumstances surrounding his firing
– Republicans begin to distance themselves from Trump for the first time since he was elected, possibly in order to protect their hold on the Senate come November
– Extreme weather: COVID-19 pandemic forcing firefighters to make changes heading into wildfire season
– California wildfire season, which runs through October, is already double the size it was this time last year in numbers of fires. Fire crews have the added challenge of COVID-19 and the necessity of social distancing to add to their burden. Officials said the crews are put into groups who will firefight together and stay at camps as a group, and they will wear face coverings at the camps and while on the fire line in record heat
– Supreme Court rules part of Oklahoma is tribal land, therefore under federal, not state, jurisdiction
– Catholic Church receives $1.4 billion in COVID-19 taxpayer-funded PPP “aid”
– Tropical Storm Fay causes major flooding, wind damage in the Northeast
– New York’s COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates hit the lowest number since early March
– Texas Governor warns of potential lock-down if citizens don’t wear mask (long past the time when that would have been helpful)
– Arizona has more COVID-19 cases than anywhere in the world
– Anthony Fauci, our infectious disease expert—one with decades of high-level experience and awards to his credit—has been muzzled by the Trump Administration. The White House must approve all television appearances related to the virus. Fauci had spots on three networks planned for this week, but after joining a Facebook Live event, he said that Trump’s assertion that a lower death rate showed progress was a false narrative and then admonished against false complacency. The White House then cancelled his other scheduled appearances, essentially muzzling our infectious disease specialist from communicating what is happening.
———-
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 13M; deaths 569K; recoveries 7M
#1 US: 3.3M (137K deaths); #2 Brazil 1.8M; #3 India 867K; #4 Russia 727K; #5 Peru 322K
#1 NY: 427K (32K deaths); NYC: 216K (23K deaths)
#2 CA 320K; #3 FL 270K; #4 TX 259K; #5 NJ 181K; #6 IL 154K; #7 AZ 120K; #8 GA 114K; #9 MA 112K; #10 PA 99K;

Week of July 13

– Far-right Andrjez Duda wins another term the presidential election in Poland
– Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein friend, partner and “manager,” pleads not guilty to six counts relative to child trafficking and abuse and is denied bail. Victims were allowed to read statements at the bail hearing. Trial, which is sure to be gruesome for all involved, is set for July 2021, so she will spend a year in what many say is the most horrible prison in our country, Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where it is not uncommon for guards to beat and rape female prisoners; at present she is in solitary confinement, not allowed to wear clothing (other than paper) or shower regularly, and lights in her cell are on 24 hours a day. Many VIPs around the country and the world are concerned that she will agree to a plea deal, which could mean that their extremely dirty secrets are revealed; many are also concerned that Ms. Maxwell will either commit suicide, as Jeffrey Epstein, her former partner, likely did, or be killed by those who have much to lose if she chooses to reveal her secrets. Given that she has friends in extremely high places and with unusual skills, it will be interesting to see what her fate might be and whether she actually spends the year in prison.
– Trump administration attempts to discredit Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and no longer includes him in briefings. Fauci has served every President, both Republican and Democrat, since Ronald Reagan, is highly respected in his field, has made many contributions to research on the infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola, and won the Presidential Medal of Honor, among many others. Fauci continues to warn that we must do more to combat COVID-19 or we will end up, or continue to be, in a very serious situation, while Trump continues to say we should ignore it and get back to business as usual (which would leave millions of US citizens dead and the economy destroyed).
– Miami, Houston and Phoenix continue to be COVID-19 hotspots, with many hospitals reaching 100% capacity, and with testing and tracing at a virtual standstill due to laboratory backlogs
– Trump institutes a new protocol: hospitals must give their COVID-19 data to the National Guard or to the Department of HHS rather than to the CDC. Until that change, CDC staff analyzed the data and provided reports to the states twice a week and daily to federal agencies; that data is used by local health officials to see COVID-19 spread in their area and is crucial in their planning. Given that the National Guard is ill-suited to this sort of data acquisition and analysis, this could hamstring attempts to conquer the virus on the local level. Trump suggested that the National Guard be stationed at the hospitals to require the data, which seems threatening in its militaristic stance at best—and fascist at its worst. Hospitals were left in the dark about this change until just before the time it took effect. There has been no problem to date with hospitals reporting data; the only problem has been the receiving and distribution of the data by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). After this change, HHS stopped sharing accurate hospital information with Congress and the American public, making this appear to be an attempt to make the virus seem less ominous by distorting or withholding accurate data. In short, the data is being disappeared.
– The FBI is investigating major hack of public figures on Twitter to promote a cryptocurrency scam.
– The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to block Florida rules that prevent some convicted felons—potentially hundreds of thousands of Florida voters—enough to affect an election.
– Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg announces she has been receiving treatment since February for liver cancer, but says she is feeling fine and intends to continue on the bench.
– Arson is suspected in a major fire at the 15th century Gothic cathedral of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul in Nantes, France.
– New York City enters Phase 4 of re-opening with exceptions: no indoor dining at restaurants, no opening of gyms, bars, theaters or other indoor establishments where close proximity is the norm and/or social distancing cannot be practiced.  Cases and deaths continue to be extremely low in New York City and New York State.
– John Lewis, civil rights leader and American politician, is dead at 80 (get bio).
– C.T. Vivian, civil rights hero and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, is dead at 95.
– US attorney requests DHS investigation after federal authorities, apparently DHS personnel sent by Trump, in masks, camouflage and no identification grab US citizens off the streets in Portland, Oregon, throw them into unmarked vans without identifying themselves or telling the citizens what they’re charged with, essentially kidnapping them without probably cause. Virtually all public officials in Oregon have requested that these federal “brown shirts” be removed, but they remain. Many have posited that this is a trial to see how much militarization Americans will tolerate. The ACLU and the Oregon Attorney General have now sued DHS for what they deem as unlawful and unconstitutional arrests similar to kidnapping. The ACLU also wants DHS’s unconstitutional attacks on journalists to end. Local US Justice Department officials are also highly concerned. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s complaint says the actions of the DHS “could lead a person to reasonably believe they are being kidnapped:” “Ordinarily, a person exercising his right to walk through the streets of Portland who is confronted by anonymous men in military-type fatigues and ordered into an unmarked van can reasonably assume that he is being kidnapped and is the victim of a crime.”
– Strong evidence has emerged that both Russia and China are already engaged in US election interference.
– Russia tries to steal COVID-19 vaccine research from US, UK and Canada.
—–
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 14.6M; deaths 607K
#1 US: 3.9M (143K deaths); #2 Brazil 2M; #3 India 1.1M; #4 Russia 772K; #5 South Africa 364K
#1 NY: 434K (33K deaths); #2 CA 386K; #3 FL 350K; #4 TX 332K; #5 NJ 183K (15K deaths); #6 IL 163K; #7 AZ 144K; #8 GA 143K; #9 MA 113K; #10 PA 105K;
NYC: 218K (23K deaths)

Week of July 20

– To come
—–
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 16.5M; deaths 654K
#1 US: 4.4M (150K deaths); #2 Brazil 2.4M (87K deaths); #3 India 1.4M; #4 Russia 818K; #5 South Africa 445K
#1 CA 463K (8K deaths); #2 NY: 440K (33K deaths); #3 FL 433K; #4 TX 399K; #5 NJ 185K (16K deaths); #6 IL 174K; #7 GA 170K; #7 AZ 164K; #9 MA 116K; #10 NC 114K

Week of July 27

– To come
—–
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 18M; deaths 694K
#1 US: 4.8M (158K deaths); #2 Brazil 2.7M (94K deaths); #3 India 1.8M; #4 Russia 856K; #5 South Africa 512K
#1 CA 516K; #2 FL 492K; #3 TX 454K; #4 NY: 445K; #5 GA 193K; #6 NJ 188K; #7 IL 183K; #8 AZ 179K; #9 NC 125K; #10 LA 119K

Week of Aug 3

To come
—–
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 19M; deaths 731K
#1 US: 5.2M (165K deaths); #2 Brazil 3M (101K deaths); #3 India 2.2M; #4 Russia 888K; #5 South Africa 553K
#1 CA 556K; #2 FL 533K; #3 TX 504K; #4 NY: 450K; #5 GA 213K; #6 IL 194K; #7 NJ 190K; #8 AZ 187K; #9 NC 136K; #10 LA 129K

 

Week of Aug 10

To come
—–
COVID-19 – Worldwide: cases 21.7M; deaths 771K
#1 US: 5.5M (173K deaths); #2 Brazil 3.3M (107K deaths); #3 India 2.6M; #4 Russia 923K; #5 South Africa 584K
#1 CA 622K; #2 FL 573K; #3 TX 557K; #4 NY: 455K; #5 GA 235K; #6 IL 206K; #7 AZ 194K; #8 NJ 193K; #9 NC 145K; #10 LA 137K
 

Week of Aug 17

To come

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