Daily Archives: Jun 18, 2020

(Reuters) – New coronavirus infections hit record highs in six U.S. states on Tuesday, marking a rising tide of cases for a second consecutive week as most states moved forward with reopening their economies

Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas all reported record increases in new cases on Tuesday after recording all-time highs last week. Nevada also reported its highest single-day tally of new cases on Tuesday, up from a previous high on May 23. Hospitalizations are also rising or at record highs.

At Arizona’s Tucson Medical Center on Monday, just a single intensive care unit (ICU) bed designated for COVID-19 patients was available, with the other 19 beds filled, a hospital representative said.

“ICU to be expanded, hopefully, in coming days,” Dr. Steven Oscherwitz, an infectious disease expert at the hospital, said in a tweet on Monday night. “Not sure where people needing ICU care will be able to go, since most AZ (Arizona) hospitals are pretty full now.”

Health officials in many states attribute the spike to businesses reopening and Memorial Day weekend gatherings in late May. Many states are also bracing for a possible increase in cases stemming from tens of thousands of people protesting to end racial injustice and police brutality for the past three weeks.


In Oregon, health officials are trying to contain an outbreak of over 200 new cases in Union County linked to the Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church.

The Oregonian newspaper reported that a video on the church’s Facebook page on May 24 showed hundreds of people standing close together singing. Large gatherings were not permitting under the state’s reopening plan at that time. The video has since been deleted, it said.

Reuters was not able to reach the church for comment.

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said the record number of new cases is due to more testing. Hospitalizations – a metric not linked to increased testing – also hit a record high. But the state has nearly 15,000 hospital beds available, Abbott said.

For the week ended June 14, testing increased over 30% but the positive rate held steady at 7%, a Reuters analysis showed.

Texas tested 674 out of every 100,000 residents last week, while about half of the 50 states tested at least 1,000 out of every 100,000 residents. New York led the nation, testing 2,245 out of every 100,000 residents, according to the analysis.

The top Texas health official, John Hellerstedt, said the increase was manageable but the situation could change.

“The possibility that things could flare up again and produce a resurgence of COVID-19,” which would stress the state’s healthcare system “is still very real,” Hellerstedt said.


Across the United States, 17 states saw new cases rise last week, according to a Reuters analysis.

In Oklahoma, where President Donald Trump plans to hold an indoor campaign rally on Saturday, new cases rose 68%.

Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday said officials were considering other, possibly outdoor, venues for the Tulsa event. The virus spreads far more efficiently in enclosed spaces.

On Tuesday, Oklahoma health officials here urged anyone attending the rally to get tested for the coronavirus before arriving and then to self-isolate following the event and get tested again. The health commissioner urged those over 65 or at higher risk of coronavirus-related complications to stay home.

Pence pushed back against talk of a second wave of infections, citing increased testing.

“In recent days, the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells over a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus infections. Such panic is overblown,” Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. here “We are winning the fight against the invisible enemy.”

More than 2.1 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in the United States and over 116,000 have died from COVID-19, by far the most in the world.

(Open tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser for a Reuters interactive)

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington and Brad Brooks in Austin, Texas; Writing by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Bill Berkrot


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday dealt President Donald Trump a major setback on his hardline immigration policies, blocking his bid to end a program that protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants – often called “Dreamers” – who entered the United States illegally as children

    The justices on a 5-4 vote upheld lower court rulings that found that Trump’s 2017 move to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, was unlawful.

    Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in finding that the administration’s actions were “arbitrary and capricious” under a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act.

    The ruling means that the roughly 649,000 immigrants, mostly young Hispanic adults born in Mexico and other Latin American countries, currently enrolled in DACA will remain protected from deportation and eligible to obtain renewable two-year work permits.

    The ruling does not prevent Trump from trying again to end the program. But his administration is unlikely to be able to end DACA before the Nov. 3 election in which Trump is seeking a second four-year term in office.

    “We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action,” Roberts wrote.

    The ruling marks the second time this week that Roberts has ruled against Trump in a major case following Monday’s decision finding that gay and transgender workers are protected under federal employment law. [L1N2DS0VW]

    “These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives,” Trump wrote on Twitter after the DACA ruling.

    The court’s four other conservatives including two Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, dissented.

    “Today’s decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in dissent.

    Thomas, whose dissent was joined by Gorsuch and Justice Samuel Alito, said DACA itself was “substantively unlawful.”

    Trump’s administration has argued that Obama exceeded his constitutional powers when he created DACA by executive action, bypassing Congress.

    A collection of states including California and New York, people currently enrolled in DACA and civil rights groups all filed suit to block Trump’s plan to end the program. Lower courts in California, New York and the District of Columbia ruled against Trump and left DACA in place, finding that his move to revoke the program violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

    Only one justice, liberal Sonia Sotamayor, embraced arguments made by plaintiffs that the policy may have been motivated by discriminatory bias against immigrants. Sotamayor is the court’s first Hispanic justice.

    Trump has made his crackdown on legal and illegal immigration, including pursuing construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, a central part of his presidency and his 2020 re-election campaign.


    DACA recipients and their supporters in Congress including House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and in the business community welcomed the ruling and called for permanent protections to be enacted.

    “I feel content. I think the decision was what we deserved, but at the same time I am also thinking we still have to defend the program,” said Melody Klingenfuss, a 26-year-old DACA recipient and organizer with the California Dream Network.

    Roberts a year ago also cast the decisive vote in a Supreme Court loss for the Republican president when the justices blocked Trump’s administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census that critics said was an effort to dissuade immigrants from taking part in the decennial population count. That case raised similar questions about whether Trump’s administration followed lawful procedures in a reaching policy decision.

    Immigrants had to meet certain conditions to qualify for DACA enrollment such as not being convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor and being enrolled in high school or having a high school diploma or equivalent.

    Government figures show that upwards of 95 percent of current enrollees were born in Latin America, including 80 percent from Mexico, followed by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Nearly half live in California and Texas. The average age of DACA enrollees is 26.

    Obama created the DACA program after Congress failed to pass bipartisan legislation that would have overhauled U.S. immigration policy and offered protections for the immigrants known as “Dreamers,” a moniker derived from the name of an immigration bill.

    The young immigrants for whom the program was devised, Obama said, were raised and educated in the United States, grew up as Americans and often know little about their countries of origin. After Thursday’s ruling, Obama wrote on Twitter, “We may look different and come from everywhere, but what makes us American are our shared ideals.”

    Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Ted Hesson, Kristina Cooke Andrew Chung and Jan Wolfe; Editing by Will Dunham



    Hiker giving his hand helping partner climb up to the top of mountain.
    Buffalo, N.Y. – The Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund  a collaborative philanthropic effort launched in mid-March to address the COVID-19 crisis in our community, released a Request for Ideas (RFI) today to seek out visionary concepts from nonprofit leaders to address challenges our community is facing due to COVID-19, coupled with the persistent challenges of racial inequities. The ideas should have the potential to improve the quality of life for people living in Western New York and strengthen services that have been stretched beyond capacity.
    The RFI is designed to be a first step to surface collaborative solutions as the Fund enters a Build Back Better phase to focus on COVID-19 recovery efforts in our region. The deadline to submit ideas is July 31, 2020 at 3 p.m.
    RFI submissions are encouraged to consider at least one of the following: geographic coordination, collaborative issue-area coordination, cross-issue or cross-sector coordination. Issue areas may include, but are not limited to: food security, housing and homelessness, childcare, arts and culture, out of school time, behavioral health, community-based health, and eldercare support and services.
    Idea submissions should take into account the following guiding principles:
    • Racial Equity
    • Equity for Vulnerable Populations
    • Regional Approach (Where Applicable)
    • Alignment with Social Determinants of Health (Where Applicable)
    • Trauma-Informed Care Principles
    • Inclusion of Human-Centered Design
    • Nonprofit-Led Cross-Sector Collaboration (e.g., Public, Private, Nonprofit)
    • Leading to Systems Change
    • Public Policy Component (Where Applicable)
    There will be two virtual information sessions held in late June. For details on those sessions, and to read the full RFI and submit ideas, please visit this website: https://www.cfgb.org/nonprofits/grants/wny-covid-19-community-response-fund-build-back-better-request-for-ideas
    “During the COVID-19 pandemic, profound inequities and challenges have been compounded and systems have been stretched beyond capacity in providing services to vulnerable populations in Western New York. We are looking for innovative, collaborative ideas from and for the nonprofit sector on how we can work together in new ways to meet the needs of this region moving forward, ” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President/CEO, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
    “People often want to look to funders for the answers during a crisis, but we are seldom the ones on the ground working in the community. The best ideas and solutions for how this region can begin to retool and rebound need to come directly from the nonprofits and organizations that are seeing firsthand the greatest needs and opportunity to make an impact,” said David O. Egner, President & CEO, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, a contributor to the Fund. “The Build Back Better RFI is a simple process to just get these ideas down in writing, so we can respond and apply the resources needed to explore their potential.”
    “Using critical funds for new recovery ideas while there is still great immediate need in our community may be difficult to accept, but we believe it is the only way to set the stage for real and lasting change,” said Paul T. Hogan, Executive Vice President of the Oishei Foundation. “Putting things back together better can only happen properly while they are still apart, and this is a rare opportunity to innovate and create change.”
    The WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund was launched on March 24, 2020, and to date has raised nearly $8 Million dollars from 60 local foundations and private sector companies, more than 40 community leaders and approximately 1,900 individuals. To see a full list of contributors, or to join the effort, please visit www.WNYResponds.org
    The Fund has now awarded over $6.9 Million to more than 300 nonprofits through three rounds of grant funding and a microgrants program. Additional dollars raised will support the Build Back Better effort, including moving some of the ideas submitted in this process forward. The Fund has been coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, The John R. Oishei Foundation and the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.


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