Manic Mondays: Your Weekly Guide For Living In The COVID Economy
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We’ll take good news where we can get it these days, and a little has seeped in. Coronavirus cases are falling in the United States, slowly but surely.
Governments Clash Over Potential Second Wave Of Lockdowns
New York and Texas officials are threatening renewed lockdowns as coronavirus cases have continued ticking upward and many people and businesses aren’t following reopening plans.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday that the state received 25,000 complaints about businesses violating the reopening plan. Specifically, bar patrons in Manhattan and the Hamptons on Long Island had been flouting the rules, Cuomo said.
Cuomo threatened “state action” if laws continued to be dismissed.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he would consider closing his state again if citizens behave like New Yorkers and go to businesses with no masks and don’t follow social distancing guidelines.
New Jersey shores, boardwalks and retail shops reopened Monday, along with outdoor dining. Barbershops and salons are scheduled to reopen next week.
In Houston, officials warned that a lockdown might be reimposed as cases continue increasing. The region is in a “Code Orange,” which means there’s a significant and uncontrolled level of virus spread in the community.
The virus is expected to spread a lot more, health experts say.
Without a vaccine, experts have estimated that about 70% of the population will need to be infected and develop immunity for the virus to stop spreading, according to the New York Times. The number of confirmed cases in the United States is over 2 million, less than 1% of the U.S. population, the Times reported.
Recent data show the rate of infection has been level in eight states, increasing in 22 states and decreasing in the rest. The increase is partly due to more widely available testing, but also the fact that Covid-19 hospitalizations are rising in several states.
New Outbreak In China
A section of the capital of China was locked down on Monday after a new outbreak of coronavirus infections.
City officials in Beijing tracked down 79 infections over the previous four days, including 36 confirmed on Sunday. All of the cases appeared traceable to the Xinfadi food market in the south of Beijing.
Until those cases emerged Thursday, Beijing had gone 56 days without new, locally borne cases. It’s main problem appeared to be Chinese people returning from abroad with the virus.
The number of new cases seems slight compared to the hundreds or thousands of infections reported daily by other countries, but the new outbreak has jolted China after it largely stifled the virus after it emerged late last year from the Wuhan in the center of the country.
Two local officials and the general manager of the Xinfadi market market were dismissed on Sunday for not moving fast enough against the infections.
“The market is densely packed with many moving around, and the risks are high that the outbreak will spread,” said Sun Chunlan, a vice premier overseeing health policy, on Sunday, according to Xinhua, an official news agency. “Take firm decisive measures to thoroughly prevent its spread.”
Gas Prices Rising
Gas prices usually rise when summer driving season arrives, but shelter-in-place orders have led to people driving less and lower prices at the pump. That reprieve looks to be over in California, where the California State Automobile Association reports that gas prices are rising again as more people return to work or drive anywhere but home as shelter-in-place orders are easing.
The average price of a gallon of gas in California is $2.99, a big jump from the average price of $2.10 a gallon a month ago, the CSAA says.
Gas prices in California normally rise as the summer months approach. A year ago, a gallon of regular gas in San Francisco in the first week of June was $3.96.
Nationwide, the average price of a gallon of regular gas has risen 11 cents during the past two weeks to $2.16.
PPE Could Cause Drainage Issues
Illegal and improper disposal of gloves, masks, cleaning wipes and other personal protective equipment, or PPE, could threaten drainage system in Texas, TV station WHNT reported.
More of these items used to protect people from infection during the pandemic have been discarded illegally and could cause excessive flooding as the hurricane season looms, said Raul Sesin, general manager for Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 in Texas.
“You gather all that trash together, it accumulates downstream and starts creating issues for us,” Sesin said. Drain clearing can take weeks, he said, urging people to put their used PPE items in the trash.
24 Hour Fitness Files For Bankruptcy
The gym chain 24 Hour Fitness filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday and permanently closed more than 100 locations, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The company was forced to shut down its gyms during coronavirus restrictions. It plans to reopen some gyms again as states gradually life restrictions.
“If it were not for Covid-19 and its devastating effects, we would not be filing for Chapter 11,” Tony Ueber, the 24 Hour Fitness chief executive, said in a statement. “With that said, we intend to use the process to strengthen the future of 24 Hour Fitness for our team and club members, as well as our stakeholders.”
It plans to secure $250 million in financing through the bankruptcy and to reopen the majority of its roughly 300 remaining gyms by the end of the month.
The gyms will have a workout reservation system and the company says it has implemented “stringent cleaning and social distancing protocols.”