Posts tagged with "Lockdown"

Dr. Fauci re-emerges from media blackout; says we’ll be ‘seeing more’ of him

May 25, 2020

He’s back! After a deafening silence that persisted for more than two weeks, top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci re-emerged on the national stage on Thursday, May 21—appearing on CNN’s coronavirus town hall to mark his first major television interview since May 4.

While Fauci has recently been on a “modified quarantine” due to possible exposure to the White House staffers who have tested positive for COVID-19, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) chief has continued to participate in the White House coronavirus task force and testified before the Senate last week via remote, The Daily Beast reported.

Fauci, who has been targeted by pro-Trump figures after appearing to contradict some of the president’s comments on the virus, has been conspicuously absent from TV as the White House pushes for a robust reopening of the economy, as CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported earlier this week. Other public health experts on the task force, such as Dr. Deborah Birx, also have been been noticeably absent.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper immediately greeted Dr. Fauci on Thursday night by asking why the American public has heard so little from the task force and medical experts in recent weeks.

“And if they aren’t going to have daily briefings about facts and science, can you or the NIH or can the CDC have their own daily briefings with top scientists? There are a lot of Americans out there who still want to hear from scientists every day,” Cooper added.

“That’s a good point,” Fauci reacted. “I think you’re probably going to be seeing a little bit more of me and my colleagues. There was a period of time, there was a little bit of a lull of our being out there with the press.”

“I believe that’s going to change. We’ve been talking with the communications people and they realize we need to get some of this information out, particularly some of the scientific issues for which I’m predominantly responsible for. So hopefully we’ll be seeing more of us,” he continued.

The Daily Beast noted, Fauci would go on to say that the task force has “changed a bit” and that he’s in a subgroup with other public health leaders “talking about some of the scientific issues.” He further noted that the task force as a whole is more focused on reopening the economy and the economic impact of the pandemic.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Pedal to the metal: Elon Musk dares California to arrest him as Tesla plant reopens

May 13, 2020

He has challenged the laws of mobility and gravity with his companies, Tesla and SpaceX, so why should Elon Musk bend to the laws of Alameda County, California?

This week, Musk has escalated his war with Alameda officials—tweeting that he is reopening Tesla’s manufacturing plant there despite a local ban by authorities who believe it’s not safe to do so.

If county officials don’t like it, Musk said, they can arrest him, according to a report by Fast Company. Indeed, he tweeted on May 11, “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

Indeed, he says, county officials are illegally flaunting California law. Also on Twitter, Musk noted, “Yes, California approved, but an unelected county official illegally overrode. Also, all other auto companies in US are approved to resume. Only Tesla has been singled out. This is super messed up!”

The tweet and decision to reopen Tesla’s only U.S. plant come after a dramatic weekend, during which Musk threatened to move the company’s headquarters from California to Nevada or Texas, Bloomberg reports.

The threat came after California Governor Gavin Newsom gave the okay last week for manufacturers in the state to start operations again, but Alameda County officials overruled that decision. It should be noted, however, that Governor Newsom granted local authorities the power to remain more restrictive with their stay-at-home orders than the state’s as a whole, essentially allowing them to decide when certain types of businesses can reopen in their areas.

That did not sit well with Musk, and Tesla then sued Alameda County over the weekend.. In response, Alameda County health officials issued a statement saying they were aware Tesla’s plant was reopening and hoped the company would choose to comply with local stay-at-home rules “without further enforcement measures.”

According to Fast Company, after Musk announced the Tesla plant would reopen, employees at the plant were emailed a memo announcing their furlough ended on Sunday and that they will be contacted within 24 hours with their return-to-work start date. Tesla said those who aren’t comfortable returning to work can stay at home—but they will be on unpaid leave and lose any jobless benefits.

The news outlet says that, since lockdown orders began, Musk has been the most vocal billionaire demanding people get back to work—going so far as to channel Trump in random outbursts on Twitter ranting against stay-at-home orders.

Research contact: @FastCompany

Martha Stewart launches a Wayfair shop and digital how-to series as more consumers order from home

May 6, 2020

Domestic diva Martha Stewart—who is stuck at home, like the rest of us—has decided to offer her lifestyle wisdom, as well as a home furnishing collection, online online during the lockdown.

Stewart has launched a digital how-to series called “Homeschool with Martha” offering how-to tips on recipes, decorating, and crafts for the kids; as well as  a collection with wildly popular DIY online furniture company Wayfair to help fans make their living spaces feel more like home while in quarantine, Fox Business reports.

The collection features furniture, accents, appliances,and linen for every room in the house—including bedding, wall art, kitchenware, and chairs, end tables and bedding accessories with prices ranging between $29.99 for a striped sheer single curtain panel to $579 for a loveseat.

Shares of Wayfair opened higher Tuesday after the Boston-based company reported a loss of $285.9 million in its first quarter, Fox Business reported. Its losses, adjusted for stock option expense and non-recurring costs, were $2.30 per share, which beat Wall Street expectations.

Each collection is inspired by one of Stewart’s four homes—among them:

  • Perry St, a modern take on her glassy condos in Manhattan’s West Village;
  • Skylands, named for her Maine cabin which is a more timeless aesthetic;
  • Lily Pond in East Hampton,with a more coastal vibe; and
  • Bedford, a rustic, farmhouse-chic homage to her upstate New York property.

The launch comes at a time when some Americans are filling their idle time with DIY home improvement projects like remodeling rooms, planting their own gardens or repainting. And while a slew of retailers have filed for bankruptcy due to COVID-19-related store closures, the home furniture market is seeing continued growth.

Wayfair’s CEO Niraj Shah said in an earnings call Tuesday that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought first-time customers to Wayfair’s online store as people stay at home during the public-health crisis.

“Millions of new shoppers have discovered Wayfair while they shelter in place at home,” Shah said, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness

‘Eel’ be seeing you: A Japanese aquarium under lockdown asks for video calls to its lonely eels

May 4, 2020

It turns out that eels have feelings, too: While animals all around the world have relished the chance to reclaim their natural habitats as humans recede into their homes during the pandemic, the keepers at one Japanese aquarium under lockdown believe that the months-long lack of human attention actually is posing a problem for the animals in their exhibits—specifically, for the eels.

In fact, the aquarists at The Sumida Aquarium, which is housed in the Tokyo Skytree Tower, have noticed that the hundreds of tiny spotted garden eels in their tanks have started behaving oddly—burrowing into the sand when aquarium workers pass by.

According to a report by Quartz, the keepers say that the eels are hiding because they have become unfamiliar with humans since the aquatic museum closed to visitors on March 1.

Garden eels are by nature highly vigilant and sensitive, and do submerge themselves in the sand when triggered—but the aquarium said that the eels had learned to accept the presence of humans because there were so many visitors.

As they acclimate themselves to a human-less environment, a newfound shyness is emerging that makes the work of aquarium staff difficult; as they cannot check on the health of the creatures.

According to the California Academy of Sciences, spotted garden eels often are mistaken for plants because of their slim size and the way in which they burrow partially into the seafloor in order to sweep up passing

Now, Quartz reports, the aquarium is launching a three-day “emergency event” starting on May 3, known as the “face-showing festival,” with the goal of “not forgetting the existence of humans.”

Sumida Aquarium is inviting people everywhere to call the aquarium’s dedicated account through an iPad or iPhone, and once connected, people are asked to wave or call out to the eels (but not too loudly) for five minutes at a time, during two time slots a day.

The aquarium said that the event is also something for people to do during the Golden Week holiday, which began April 29 and lasts until May 6.

Research contact: @qz

New York City to hire 1,000 health workers in May to track coronavirus cases

April 27, 2020

New York City—currently, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic—plans to hire 1,000 workers, who will be charged with creating a database of people who come in contact with those who have tested positive for the virus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his briefing on Monday, April 27, according to a report by CNBC.

“We are hiring. We are looking for talented, experienced health workers,” de Blasio said. “If you have experience in the health care field, if you’re ready to lend your talents to this fight, we need you and we need you right away. We are hiring immediately and we’ll be hiring throughout the month of May.”

Specifically, the city’s contact tracers—whom de Blasio described as “disease detectives”—will interview and identify people who came into contact with those who tested positive for COVID-19, de Blasio explained. The tracers also will provide support to New Yorkers who need to be isolated, de Blasio said.

Capacity to test broadly throughout the population and to trace contacts with those who test positive for COVID-19 are crucial elements in the state and city’s plans to lift restrictions and reopen after the lockdown, de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have previously said.

De Blasio said the city is building “A contact tracing network in this city like it’s never been seen before on a vast scale. Every time someone tests positive, immediately we can swing into action, figure out who were their close contacts, and get those people tested to isolate anyone who needs isolation.”

The city is looking for people with a background in health care, de Blasio said, urging people to apply through the Fund for Public Health. De blasio said the new tracers will partner with the city’s health care personnel, as well as with staff from various city agencies who are being trained for the job.

“This is really the key,” de Blasio said. “Finally getting testing on a large scale, tracing people, isolating everyone who needs it. Doing that is the path forward.”

Research contact: @CNBC

‘Porchtraits’ by Minnesota photographer capture life under coronavirus lockdown

April 21, 2020

As millions of American families gather on their porches daily during the nearly nationwide lockdown just to get some fresh air and sunshine, as well as to sing and dance, to wave to neighbors, and to thank healthcare workers, one photographer is capturing the Coronavirus Culture for posterity.

Since launching what he calls his “Porchtrait Project” on March 18, Dave Puente has photographed over 200 homes for the project. Although he’s based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, the photographer and filmmaker has driven over 2,000 miles in search of the perfect shot, mostly taking photos in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

“ I wanted to give somebody something that they can hang on the all and in a few years look back on it and in such a frantic and scary time see there was some silver lining to it,” Puente explains on his website.

He promoted the campaign by posting his hashtage, #porchtraits, on Facebook and Instagram, along with photos of his friends and clients. Word spread quickly and Puente has been contacted by interested subjects ever since.

“Business had come to a halt for me and for so many. I just felt I had to do something,” Puente told Fox News of his initial inspiration. “‘So I decided to give from what I did have: plenty of time, and my craft.

“About 175 of the families [photographed so far] are people I’ve never met before! Currently, there are about 350 people on queue in our email database and hundreds more reaching out on social media,” he told told the network news outlet.

For now, Puente is taking the “porchtraits” for free and intends to continue the project for “at least” the duration of the pandemic. He told Fox, “It’s not just a passion project; it’s a compassion project …. It’s a big metaphorical hug and a keepsake for people during this difficult time.”

Research contact: @FoxNews

Alone at last! Giant pandas feel the love during zoo lockdown

April 8, 2020

No “pandering” was needed to get Ying Ying and Le Le—giant pandas at the Ocean Park Zoo in Hong Kong—to finally consummate their relationship this week after a seemingly endless ten-year tease.

Maybe they just needed privacy? Or were they just bored during the coronavirus lockdown?

After nearly a decade of trying, The Huffington Post reports, Ying Ying and Le Le “did the dirty” in their enclosure on April 6.

No visitors witnessed the intimate moment between the two 14-year-old pandas in person, however, because the attraction has been closed since late January due to the pandemic.

The zoo announced the news with a sweet picture of the pair on Instagram—and fingers crossed for a new panda baby sometime late this year.

Research contact: @HuffPost