During this time of uncertainty in our community, it’s good to hear stories of hope and positivity. Here’s a story that does just that. 99-year-old Maude Burke recently recovered from COVID-19 just in time for her 100th birthday. The African American woman in Albany, Georgia received a celebratory sendoff, as nurses and staff from the Phoebe Putney Health System applauded her accomplishment. Ms. Burke was in the hospital for 17 days.

“We continue to celebrate with our #COVID-19 patients when they get well enough to go home from our hospitals,” Phoebe Putney posted on the hospital’s Facebook page along with a video of Burke’s sendoff. “This celebration was extra special. Maude Burke is…is the oldest COVID-19 patient we’ve been able to discharge. Her strength and determination are amazing, and we wish her well as she continues to recover. Thank you for being an inspiration, Ms. Maude!”

THE PANDEMIC

The JBS Beef plant in Cactus, Texas, is seeing an outbreak in coronavirus cases, reporting 114 new infections among its staff. The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is investigating the spread of the illness and making best practice recommendations for the business to remain open. 

As outbreaks in meat processing plants continue to grow across the country, so do concerns about the food supply chain. Currently, at least 10% of pork production in the U.S. has been shut down. Federal officials report that the food supply overall is fine, however the closings of plants could cause interruptions in getting certain foods to market. As the pandemic rages on, workers and unions are sounding the alarm about safety in production lines, made up mostly of minority and immigrant workers. 

 

California Representative Maxine Waters said Thursday that her sister is dying of coronavirus in a hospital in St Louis, Missouri. Yesterday morning, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren shared in a post on Twitter that her brother passed away from the illness. 

POLITICS

In an effort spearheaded by Illinois Representative Bobby Rush, House Democrats are calling on the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to ensure that minority and low-income communities have equal access to clean air protections amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to the EPA, Rush and 83 lawmakers referenced a recent Harvard University study that concluded that those living in areas with high air pollution are at greater risk of dying from coronavirus. Democrats also highlighted the easing of almost 100 environmental regulations that have been rolled back since Trump took office. The EPA rejected the claims, saying the letter depends on “false conclusions drawn by the Harvard study.”

Dr. Rick Bright, who led efforts to find a vaccine to treat coronavirus, has been demoted. The former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), says he was place into a lower position because he disagreed with the administration’s efforts to allocate billions of dollars into a potentially dangerous drug treatment for coronavirus. He added, “I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way.” He also announced he will file a whistleblower complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services. 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is facing backlash after an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. [https://youtu.be/APoSHB9pQk8] Goodman is calling for the city’s businesses, including casinos and hotels, to reopen while refusing to provide any social distancing guidelines. Those guidelines on how to reopen safely, she said, are up to individual businesses and are not the mayor’s job. 

Walmart and Nextdoor neighborhood social network are partnering to keep households stocked with essential items while limiting shopping trips and exposure to the coronavirus. The “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program allows members of the Nextdoor to request or offer help getting groceries and essential items on their network and have them delivered with no contact.  

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