SINGING A DIFFERENT TUNE: Coronavirus changes, choices and concerns

A small ray of hope – Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Sunday the Trump administration is “trying to correct” its guidance from earlier in the coronavirus epidemic that wearing face coverings was not necessary.

A change of heart

With virus cases surging and many states and cities now issuing orders to wear masks in public, Adams said he and other administration officials were wrong back in March. But he insists they were going with the scientific knowledge at the time, which suggested that people with COVID-19 who showed no symptoms were not likely to spread the virus.

Adams said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “once upon a time, we prescribed cigarettes for asthmatics and leeches and cocaine and heroin for people as medical treatments. When we learned better, we do better.” That was long long ago and is frankly a ridiculous analogy.

Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, told “Fox News Sunday” that he would have liked to have seen administration officials wear masks sooner. He says it should not be viewed as a “personal choice” but a public health imperative.

Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary at the Health and Human Services Department and a member of the White House coronavirus task force was also singing from the same hymn book saying Sunday that despite a surge in cases across the country, the situation “is not out of control,” but that “we have to have people wearing a mask in public. It’s absolutely essential.”

Giroir told ABC’s “This Week” that officials would like to see something like 90 percent of people wearing a mask in public in areas that are hot spots.

He said that “if we don’t have that, we will not get control of the virus.” Giroir says there’s no downside to wearing a mask.

When Giroir was asked about whether states that are seeing a spike in cases should consider more stringent lockdowns, he said, “Everything should be on the table.”

And looking ahead, Giroir said it’s possible that the situation “could be worse in the fall” and he thinks that in the fall “we’re going to need tens of millions of more tests a month.” He also said there’s some data that people can get both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time and “that’s not really good.”

Who is that masked man?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that Donald Trump has “crossed a bridge” by wearing a face mask during a visit to a military hospital. Pelosi told CNN’s “State of the Union” that she hopes it means the president “will change his attitude, which will be helpful in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.”

Trump wore a mask during a visit Saturday to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Maryland, where he met wounded servicemembers and health care providers.

It was the first time the president was seen in public with the type of facial covering recommended by health officials as a precaution against spreading or becoming infected by the virus.

Pelosi said she’s “so glad that he obeyed the rules of the Walter Reed. You can’t go see our veterans who are there without wearing a mask.”

The only time Trump has been known to wear a mask was during a private part of a tour of a Ford plant in Michigan.

Not a sunshine state of affairs

Florida on Sunday reported the largest single-day increase in positive coronavirus cases in any one state since the beginning of the pandemic. According to state Department of Health statistics, 15,299 people tested positive, for a total of 269,811 cases.

California had the previous record of daily positive cases – 11,694, four days ago. New York had 11,571 on April 15. The numbers come at the end of a grim, record-breaking week in Florida, with 514 fatalities. On Sunday, 45 more deaths were reported.

Throughout May and into June, the state reopened much of its economy with some restrictions. Florida Governor on DeSantis declared last week, “I’m confident if you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools.” As more than one wag has noted, one tends not to spend 7 hours a day, 5 days a week at Walmart or Home Depot.

Testing has increased, but the percentage of people testing positive has risen even more dramatically. A month ago, fewer than 5% of tests came up positive on a daily average. Over the past week, the daily average exceeded 19%.

Meanwhile DeSantis has continued to resist requiring face coverings. “I just don’t think that that’s a reasonable thing, certainly under penalty of law, to do,” he said last week. “I would definitely encourage people when you’re in, whether it’s a business situation, like in a restaurant. In terms of forcing that under penalty of criminal law, you know, we’re not going to be doing that. I think it would be applied unevenly and I just don’t think it would end up working at the end of the day. We should be trusting people to make good decisions.”

What “applied unevenly” means, only DeSantis knows – and as for trusting people to “make good decisions” … we can only hope enough good Floridians swill be around in November 2022 to vote in the next Gubernatorial elections.

Fortunately, some major Florida cities have decided to take action locally. A mandatory non-negotiable order is now in place for residents in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Orange County. Every person in a public place must wear a face mask.

It just gets worse

The World Health Organization has reported another record in the increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases over a 24-hour period, at over 230,000. The UN health agency said Sunday the United States again topped the list among countries, with more than 66,000 cases recorded. The figures don’t necessarily account for delays in reporting of cases, and are believed to far underestimate actual case totals.

Still, the trend line of confirmed cases continues to increase – with three largest counts coming in over the last three days.

The previous record was Friday, with more than 228,000 newly recorded cases worldwide in a 24-hour span.

Overall, the WHO has counted more than 12.5 million confirmed cases and more than 561,000 deaths from COVID-19.

Quebec travel regulations

Quebecers travelling to the Iles-de-la-Madeleine by car through New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island this summer now need to register online with those provinces. The Quebec government says residents must as of today complete online registration forms to be able to travel through Atlantic Canada to reach the Quebec islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Quebec says the request came at the behest of New Brunswick and P.E.I. and that the registration procedures apply to all travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some Quebec politicians were angered last month when New Brunswick said Quebecers could not stay overnight on their way to the Iles-de-la-Madeleine. Quebecers travelling to the islands by car need to go through New Brunswick to catch a ferry from Souris, P.E.I., a drive of at least 500 kilometres from the Quebec border.

Canada’s Atlantic provinces have restricted travel from outside the region in an effort to stem the potential spread of COVID-19.

Dance like nobody’s watching

After images of thousands of people dancing provoked renewed debate in France over social distancing, the mayor of the Mediterranean resort of Nice announced Sunday that face masks will be obligatory at all of the city’s events from now on.

Video of dense crowds dancing at a DJ’s outdoor set on Saturday night drew hundreds of thousands of views and criticism that many partygoers didn’t wear masks or stay apart. The crowd’s behaviour fuelled concerns of growing indifference among the French for social distancing, even as the country’s COVID-related death toll has surpassed 30,000.

Health workers have expressed fears of a second wave of infections as the French revel in post-lockdown freedoms and embark on summer vacations.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi on Sunday defended the decision to allow the concert, saying efforts were made to limit the crowd-size to 5,000 people and messages were broadcast to urge them to distance. But Estrosi also added that “we regret that these instructions were not sufficiently respected.”

He asked the government to make the wearing of masks obligatory at crowded events, including those outdoors. He said masks would now be required “for all our events” in Nice.

Match up

For the first time since the coronavirus shut down sports and chased away spectators, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were starring in Sunday’s return of fans to elite European soccer.

“Now it’s for real … we’re back,” Mbappe tweeted before the kick-off of Paris Saint-Germain against Le Havre, an exhibition match that was the first encounter in front of fans to feature one of Europe’s elite clubs since the outbreak erupted.

Only 5,000 people were allowed inside Le Havre’s 25,000-seat Stade Oceane to see the French League 2 club take on PSG’s star-studded squad. Upper tiers of seating were empty.

Spectators had to wear face masks to get into the arena, although many then took them off once settled in their seats. Families and friends sat together in groups but groups stayed separated. Ball carriers wore masks and gloves. Loudspeakers broadcast appeals for social distancing. Pitch-side photographers were made to step with their shoes into trays of disinfectant.

Source: Travel Industry Today
SINGING A DIFFERENT TUNE: Coronavirus changes, choices and concerns

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