Friday News: Lead by example

SOME REPUBLICANS IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY STILL NOT WEARING MASKS: State health leaders have been urging people for weeks to exercise social distancing and wear masks in public, but many state lawmakers don't seem to be following that advice. Lawmakers and staff are almost on top of each other in some committee rooms, and in the House and Senate chambers, lawmakers sit only about 3 feet apart. "There’s no way to avoid being close to somebody eventually, but I think most people are being as cautious as they can and being as respectful as they can to someone else," said Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow. Brown said that's more about the individual’s comfort level than about party. "I’ve got one in my pocket as well. If I’m in a big crowd, where I feel like, I’ll wear mine," he said. "So, I think it’s been left up to the individual." While kitchen and housekeeping staff wear masks, most legislative staffers and General Assembly Police officers don't.
https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/nc-lawmakers-crowding-together-often-not-wearing-masks-while-doing-...

Day 64

Dandy Forest is all a-twitter about reopening NC, even as data point to the possibility of a second C19 spike. A good Washington Post article on this today. The lag between the reopening frenzy and people dying will be a couple of months. “We’re looking at potentially a month or two later that we’re going to see the impact” of the reopening, said Leana Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner. “You have not seen the impact of reopening yet. I think there’s going to be a very significant lag.”

The Trust deficit that is plaguing America

I recently posted in a Facebook group dedicated to politics about the judge's decision to open up the churches, and one of the commenters asked where all the attacks on Governor Cooper's pandemic restrictions were coming from. I explained about the upcoming election, including Dan Forest's dismal poll numbers, and that has definitely played a role in the visible pushback. Forest is connected to both the ReopenNC people and the Return America group that filed the lawsuit.

But in order to really understand why these (and many other) people are primed to defy common-sense government actions, we need to delve into the trust deficit that has been building for decades. Follow me below the fold if you can trust me to not mislead you:

Will reopening of NC’s universities in the fall be safe?

As North Carolina into a Phase 2 reopening plan, even as the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing in the state, universities are trying to decide what they’ll be doing this Fall. Will students return? Only some students? Will all classes be online? Only larger classes? How will they keep faculty, staff, and students safe?

In an online Board of Governors meeting, the UNC System’s president, Bill Roper, said he expects a return to campus by students in the fall and they’ll be finalizing guidance to the system’s 17 institutions by the end of the month. According to an email newsletter from IndyWeek, UNC-Chapel Hill may announce their fall plans as early as tomorrow. In a university-wide Zoom call yesterday, the administration announced a mix of instruction, with students wearing masks and in-person class sizes reduced.

Colleges and universities are unique institutions, bringing together a large population from around the country and even internationally in common spaces such as dorms, eating areas, research labs, and libraries. Some have working hospitals and medical clinics attached to them. The impacts of a contagious virus breakout wouldn’t be isolated to the campus - a university is part of the city or town surrounding it, where faculty, staff, and students live and mingle with the larger population. Think about the Tyson chicken processing plant outbreak in Wilkesboro and how that has spread COVID-19 to the surrounding community and across county lines.

It’s a complex issue to sort out. We have a large number of colleges and universities in all parts of the state, many part of the larger UNC system and others that are private secular and religious colleges.

If you aren’t paying attention to this debate and what universities are planning for the fall, you should be.

Thursday News: Chicken fever

bluenccup-1[1]_0.jpg

570 WORKERS AT WILKESBORO TYSON PLANT TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID 19: Of the 570, most did not show any symptoms and “would not have been identified” if it weren’t for the facility-wide test, Tyson said. More than 2,000 were tested between May 6 and 9, according to the company. Earlier this month, Tyson temporarily closed the poultry plant for cleaning and sanitizing in response to an outbreak, The News & Observer reported. The company wouldn’t say at the time how many employees were infected with coronavirus. Wilkes County officials said that the majority of COVID-19 cases in the county were linked to the Tyson facility, the outlet reported. Production has since continued and is expected to “ramp up,” the Wednesday statement said, and new safety measures have been put in place -- including temperature screenings, face masks, and physical barriers at workstations and break rooms.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article242884456.html

Living and dying for poverty wages during a pandemic

I hope you enjoy that Quarter Pounder with Cheese:

Bergeron-Lawrence described how her poverty wages and lack of access to paid sick leave had recently compelled her to go to work — despite battling a nagging and undiagnosed respiratory illness, where she was assigned to the drive-thru window — interacting with 50 to 80 people per hour. But what seemed to evoke the most anger and emotion in Bergeron-Lawrence was when she described how the McDonald’s corporate offices had brought in and distributed a shipment of “lovely little pins” to the restaurant employees that read “I am essential.”

As Barber observed, the pins constituted a pathetic and maddening token from a multi-national corporation that pays its front-line workers $10 an hour.

That $10 is about $4.70 per hour short of what she needs to pay rent and other bills, and that's not including food. She's probably getting $160 or so in food stamps per month, unless her second job (to finish paying rent) pushed her over the limit ($1,354 gross per month). And before you try to scribble some numbers, there is no way to make that work. You just can't. $15 per hour is not a "dream" wage, it's a survival wage.

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed