This is my weekly news roundup for the week of 7/12/20/
World Covid Cases: 12,925,331
World Covid Deaths: 569,097
(34084 newly dead – 4,869/day – from 4639 last week) :
US. Covid Cases: 3,380,429
US Covid Deaths: 137576
(5189 newly dead – 741 deaths per day from 597 last week)
This felt like the longest week since the early days of the pandemic. I’m sure that I missed plenty of stories, please share them in the comments.
Lots of people died this week. Now remember, this is the season we are supposed to have it easy as the virus gets weaker during the summer – so brace yourselves for autumn and winter. More and more accounts of healthy people who put themselves in precarious social situations (a party, a day at the lake, a family gathering) and then caught the virus, were hospitalized, posted on social media about their mistake and then died. Also 40 Bay Area principles meeting to discuss school opening strategies with other principles ALL BECAME COVID POSITIVE. 3 teachers working in the same classroom ALL CAUGHT COVID and one died. Even Trump is wearing a mask in public now. Many states are quickly reaching ICU capacity and death is marching across the most populous states in the USA. If you aren’t alarmed and you think all of this is some sort of hoax – good luck with your burial. Hawaii is considering pushing back the August 1 ‘reopening of tourism’ which would end the mandatory 14 day quarantine for out of state visitors but seems to be rolling ahead with the August 4th school re-opening. Disney World re-opened despite 15,000 new cases a day in Florida.
In politics – it was the Trump show as usual. Trump’s niece was allowed to publish her tell all book which among other things told how he paid someone else to take his SATs and college entrance exams. Trump gets to keep his financial info secret from congress but not from the New York prosecutor. Trump says he aced a cognitive test. Trump commuted his buddy Roger Stone’s sentence – Stone was convicted of, among many other things, lying to congress. Trump’s son’s girlfriend caught Covid-19. Trump’s admirer (president of Brazil) caught Covid. The US left the World Health Organization this week. Trump is trying to bully states into re-opening schools by withholding federal funding for education. Trump cancelled his New Hampshire rally – the Tulsa rally resulted in a large number of Covid cases to attendees – but his campaign says it is because of rainfall, not COVID – insiders say it is because of lower than expected attendance.
In economics – Chapter 11 bankruptcies are up by 26% but the stock market continues to climb based on the barest whisper of a possible vaccine or cure ignoring the fact that unemployment is still higher than anytime in generations, people are still not going out, and that the home saving $600 UI stipend will be ending at the end of the month. Renters are already skipping paying rent and the biggest foreclosure and eviction pandemic in US history is on our doorstep.
COVID has put more than 100 U.S. companies on court-assisted life support and hundreds more are destined for a similar path. All told, Chapter 11 business filings increased 26% in the first half of the year and the pace does not seem to be slowing. In the past few days, Brooks Brothers, Muji, and Sur La Table joined the somber list, which already includes Chesapeake Energy, Cirque du Soleil, Hertz, and J.C. Penney.
In social justice/protests/BLM – the marches and protests have largely stopped. The tearing down of statues has largely stopped. There has not been a huge amount of systemic change but it does feel like this has been a giant leap forward – if not in political action at least in awareness.
In international news – President Erdogan of Turkey continued to roll back the progressive moves of the country’s founder – this time by turning the Aya Sophia (Hagia Sofia) from a museum back into a mosque. Kamal Mustapha Ataturk turned Turkey from the ‘sick man of Europe’ into an economic and political powerhouse by making the country secularly governed while still Islamic in nature – Erdogan has largely ruined Turkey, selling national assets to his cronies, destroying the political structure, and in many cases blatantly trying to erase Ataturk from history. Trump has largely been following Ergogan’s game plan in shoring up power in the USA. Erdogan has been the most frequently telephoned world leader from the White House since Trump took office – think about that. Eventually, I believe we will see that the two of them are financially intertwined on multiple levels.
Serbia is facing huge anti-government protests over the country’s handling of coronavirus.
Most bizarre story of the week: Apparently after Hurricane Maria – Trump considered the possibility of selling Puerto Rico.
Most ominous herald: A new comet called NEOWISE is now visible in the night sky.