On this day in 1513, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León first caught sight of land in what is now Florida; nobody was around to tell his cruise ship to go somewhere else. Now, let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.
*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website
*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
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► As The Associated Press reports, jobless claims in the United States are skyrocketing to literally unprecedented levels:
More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — doubling a record high set just one week earlier — a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.
Combined with last week’s report that 3.3 million people sought unemployment aid two weeks ago, the U.S. economy has now suffered nearly 10 million layoffs in just the past few weeks — far exceeding the figure for any corresponding period on record.
► It is not hyperbole to say that states with Democratic Governors have generally responded better to the coronavirus outbreak than states with Republicans in charge. There are two stark examples of this in the southeastern United States, where Republican Governors in Florida and Georgia are reacting at the speed of molasses.
As The Washington Post reports, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finally issued a statewide stay-at-home order on Wednesday…much too late:
DeSantis took heavy criticism from state lawmakers for refusing to enact such an order until this week, even as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases have nearly surpassed 7,000 in the state, including at least 85 deaths as of Tuesday.
The daily reports from the Florida Department of Health drive the fact home: The number of people testing positive for covid-19 has accelerated rapidly, nearly doubling in the past four days, with 3,274 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 6,741 as of Tuesday evening.
The state reported 857 people hospitalized and 85 deaths as of Tuesday, with the heaviest concentration of infection in Broward and Miami-Dade counties along the southeast coast and pockets in other areas like Tampa and Orange County, home of Walt Disney World. On Tuesday alone, 14 deaths were reported in the state, according to the Miami Herald.
But DeSantis looks like a damn rocket surgeon compared to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Again, from The Washington Post:
After resisting a statewide stay-at-home order for days, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) succumbed to the pressure and issued one on Wednesday. Part of the reason, he said, was that he had just learned some new information.
Kemp said he was “finding out that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.”
“Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” he said. He added that the state’s top doctor told him that “this is a game-changer.”
It may have been a game-changer, but it was a game-changer weeks or even months ago. [Pols emphasis] That’s when health officials started emphasizing that asymptomatic people are transmitting the coronavirus. The idea that Kemp didn’t know this is striking. But he’s merely the latest top politician to indicate that he’s unfamiliar with the science even as he’s making life-or-death decisions for his constituents.
Really? Really? Kemp just learned that asymptomatic people are transmitting COVID-19??? Chris Cillizza of CNN has more on the bumbling coronavirus responses of DeSantis and Kemp.
States with Democrats in charge, like California and Washington, are seeing a flattening curve of coronavirus infections thanks to their swift actions.
► Governor Jared Polis — who has notably not had the same trouble as DeSantis and Kemp — is asking the federal government for more assistance in procuring personal protective equipment (PPE). From a press release:
On March 28, Governor Polis sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence requesting additional PPE and ventilators to address the severe shortage Colorado is facing.
“We are facing a crisis-level shortage of these essential supplies to protect our health care workers and first responders. Colorado’s COVID-19 death rate is rising faster than any other state right now; the pandemic is spreading so fast that lags in testing are masking the true conditions experienced by Coloradans across the state,” Governor Polis wrote.
As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is working quickly to secure its own medical supplies because the federal government has not been able to answer the call quickly enough. The Department of Homeland Security says national stockpiles of PPE are essentially depleted.
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Polis announced that Colorado schools would remain closed for in-person learning through at least April 30.
► Kudos for CNN for its daily fact-checking of President Trump’s coronavirus “news briefings.”
► The State Supreme Court has ruled that the Colorado legislature can pick up where it left off when work was suspended last month because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Lawmakers had asked the court to rule on whether the 120-day session language in the state constitution refers to consecutive days or if it can be split up by a recess (in this case because of coronavirus).
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
SERIOUSLY, THERE WILL BE NON-CORONAVIRUS NEWS MOMENTARILY…
► Tri-County Health, which advises Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties on public health issues, has started its own daily tracking of information related to the spread of COVID-19 in the area. Somewhere, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville is trying to keep his head from exploding.
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is spending a lot of time touting the work of others in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
► Colorado’s three Republican House Members — Reps. Scott Tipton, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn — have co-sponsored a resolution shaking their fists at China over the coronavirus outbreak and demanding that the country take responsibility for the origins of the virus. We’ll let you know when we figure out the point of this.
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, state experts are working on formulating a plan for how to make impossible decisions on coronavirus care should Colorado get overrun with new cases:
What if four patients in respiratory distress need a ventilator to keep them alive, but a hospital has just one available? Who makes that call? And how?
Public health and community leaders are contemplating excruciating dilemmas just like that before demand for medical help in the coronavirus crisis peaks in coming weeks.
They’re updating protocols, called “crisis standards of care,” for the most urgent medical decision-making possible, guidelines to determine, as resources get scarce, who gets care and at what level and who does not.
“You have to have thought this through in advance. You can’t just make that decision at the last second on an ad hoc basis,” said Dr. Matthew Wynia, the Director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado. “So that’s what we’re planning for right now, hoping we don’t ever need to use it. But that’s why we’re planning.”
► Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser tells Hobby Lobby to close its doors because it is NOT an “essential business.”
► The Pueblo Chieftain offers an FAQ on unemployment options and furloughs.
► As The Denver Post reports, social media is not always a reliable source of information:
False posts have claimed hunting and fishing seasons are canceled, that valid licenses are no longer required to hunt and fish, and that park fees have been rescinded due to the coronavirus. Those claims are untrue. Last week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife did close all of its playgrounds, campgrounds and camping facilities in order to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, but “non-campground outdoor areas of parks, including trails, boat ramps, marinas and shorelines remain open,” the organization said on March 26.
► Traffic at Denver International Airport has dropped by 90% amid the coronavirus outbreak.
► The populations of Colorado’s largest jails are seeing a big decrease as law enforcement officials make the decision to stop incarcerating people for relatively-minor offenses.
HERE IT IS: POLITICAL NEWS THAT IS (MOSTLY) NOT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS…
► The El Paso County Republican Party is getting hammered for an idiotic social media post that was NOT meant to be an April Fool’s Day joke.
As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
The Facebook post remained online only briefly, until state GOP officials asked Vickie Tonkins, the El Paso County party’s chairman, to take it down, but within minutes of its appearance local party officials were demanding to know why it had been posted and expressing dismay at the sentiment…
…Tonkins insisted in an interview that she was simply posing a question meant to provoke discussion and said she was disappointed people were offended.
“I posted a question. I’m sorry people couldn’t answer it,” she said. “Don’t get all offended.” [Pols emphasis]
In that case, we have a question of our own: Is Vickie Tonkins the offspring of a squirrel and a rock? It’s just a question, after all.
► This would be a great time to have a big conflict with Iran. As The Washington Post explains:
President Trump tweeted shortly after receiving an intelligence briefing yesterday that “Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on U.S. troops and/or assets in Iraq.” He warned that “Iran will pay a very heavy price” if that happens.
Washington’s confrontation with Tehran – the storming of the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad by Iranian-backed militiamen, the strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and the retaliatory missile launches – was only three months ago.
Now, every day feels like a year when our neighbors are dying in droves from the novel coronavirus and our economy stands on the precipice of a possible depression.
► The Democratic National Convention has been pushed back to August 17 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
► Politico looks at how the coronavirus is re-shaping the 2024 Presidential race.
► Republicans may have lost their top recruit for an Arapahoe County-area legislative race because their candidate didn’t fill out his voter registration form correctly.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on the coronavirus outbreak, is being guarded by law enforcement officials 24-7 because of threats to his personal safety.
► For the love of God, please stop talking, Devin Nunes.
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