Monday News: One thousand three hundred twenty two


NC'S CORONAVIRUS TESTING PERSISTS AT 10% POSITIVE RATE: At least 62,142 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 1,322 have died, according to state and county health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported an additional 1,605 cases of the virus, down from 1,719 on Saturday. Four deaths were reported. At least 890 North Carolinians were hospitalized with COVID-19 Sunday, up slightly from 888 on Saturday. On Sunday, 78% of hospitals reported data to the state, compared to 90% Saturday. Health officials on Sunday reported completing an additional 16,774 coronavirus tests, for a total of 871,905. The percentage of positive tests Sunday was 10%. It was the third consecutive day in which the percentage of positive tests was 10%, according to state data.

311 SPEEDWAY OWNER LOSES SPONSORS AFTER "BUBBA ROPE" INCIDENT: The owner of a North Carolina racetrack said he has faced death threats, lost employees and seen “all but two” of his sponsors evaporate amid the backlash over his social media post invoking the noose found in the garage stall of Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. Mike Fulp, who owns the half-mile, dirt track 311 Speedway in Stokes County, told the News & Record he knew his troubles from what he described as a joke were self-inflicted. Fulp's post advertised “Bubba Rope” for sale on Facebook Marketplace the day after an FBI investigation determined the noose found at the Talladega Superspeedway garage had been there since at least October and was a coincidence, not a hate crime. “I’ve lost all but two of my sponsors,” Fulp told the newspaper. “I’m responsible. I’m responsible for trying to make some jokes.” Fulp said he’s been getting death threats and received messages threatening his family.

DRUGMAKER PLANS TO CHARGE OVER $3,000 FOR COVID 19 DRUG REGIMEN: The maker of a drug shown to shorten recovery time for severely ill COVID-19 patients says it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries. Gilead Sciences announced the price Monday for remdesivir, and said the price would be $3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors. “We’re in uncharted territory with pricing a new medicine, a novel medicine, in a pandemic,” Gilead’s chief executive, Dan O’Day, told The Associated Press. “We believe that we had to really deviate from the normal circumstances” and price the drug to ensure wide access rather than based solely on value to patients, he said.

TRUMP DENIES BEING BRIEFED ABOUT RUSSIAN BOUNTIES FOR DEAD AMERICANS IN AFGHANISTAN: Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months. Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed or targeted under the program. The intelligence was passed up from the U.S. Special Operations forces based in Afghanistan and led to a restricted high-level White House meeting in late March, the people said. “Nobody briefed or told me, [Vice President] Pence or Chief of Staff [Mark Meadows] about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News . . . Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us,” Trump said on Twitter, insisting that “nobody’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump administration.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday joined other lawmakers — including leading Republicans — in expressing concern and calling for the administration to provide Congress with an explanation. “This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed,” Pelosi said on ABC News’s “This Week.” “But he wants to ignore,” she said, “he wants to bring them back to the G-8 despite the annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, despite what they yielded to [Putin] in Syria, despite [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] intervention into our election, which is well documented by our intelligence community, and despite now possibly this allegation, which we should have been briefed on.”

MISSISSIPPI IS GETTING RID OF ITS CONFEDERATE STATE FLAG, FINALLY: The flag, the only state banner left in the country with the overt Confederate symbol, served for many as an inescapable sign of Mississippi’s racial scars and of the consequences of that history in defining perceptions of the state. Still embraced by many white Mississippians as a proud display of Old South heritage, the flag increasingly has come to evoke segregation, racial violence and a war that had a central aim of preserving slavery. In Mississippi, the state with the nation’s highest percentage of African-Americans, that has long been the understanding of black residents. It’s now the view of many white Mississippians as well. For others, the drag on the state’s perception by outsiders and the continuing friction within were battles too costly to keep waging. The vote in the Mississippi House was 91 in favor of removal and 23 opposed. The vote in the Senate was 37-14. The measure now goes to Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, who has said he will sign it. “This was a long time coming,” Nsombi Lambright-Haines said after applause broke out in the Capitol and a crowd huddled inside tossed aside coronavirus precautions for a brief second and embraced one other. “I’m glad to see this happen in my lifetime, in my son’s lifetime — in my grandmother’s lifetime,” added Ms. Lambright-Haines, an N.A.A.C.P. volunteer who has been involved in efforts to take down the flag for two decades. (Her grandmother is 96.)



Be wary of maintenance folks

I get out probably a couple times a week for one reason or another, and one thing I've noticed is that most of the skilled trades guys I see refuse to wear masks. Plumbers, HVAC, electricians, landscape crews, etc., swarm into the quickie mart to get sodas and such, not a mask on any of them. While the landscapers will generally stay outside the whole time, many of the other trades require entry into the home to fix whatever is wrong.

Not saying you shouldn't call them if you need them, just be aware.

We had an HVAC tech in this week...

and he was wearing a mask, booties, the whole nine yards of protective gear. So not all of them are being macho idiots, thank goodness.

Yeah, it's not across the board

I know a few who are taking all the precautions, and are deeply concerned about their crews being exposed when they go to each house (without knowing if the customers are infected).

My younger son delivers furniture, wears a mask and gloves, and a lot of these customers insist on close-talking without a mask, touching him several times, etc. Some people are fricking idiots.

That drug pricing statement from Gilead...

just goes to show what's wrong with the way we allow the pharmaceutical industry to operate. Think about how he termed their approach to normal drug pricing:

price the drug to ensure wide access rather than based solely on value to patients
[emphasis mine]

What he's talking about is the idea that they normally price drugs based on whether they have competition and how desperate the patient will be to get that drug. The price isn't based on cost of production or development or even supply. It's how we had insulin prices going through the roof, even though the actual production of insulin has become cheaper by leaps and bounds over the last couple of decades. This might be a tolerable approach from a business that dealt in luxury goods that people could take or leave as they chose, but these are medications. Many of these drugs represent the difference between health and sickness for patients (if not the difference between life and death) and taking them has little to do with choice. Yet we allow these companies to treat them like any other consumer product, and one on which they can exercise a normal patent at that, despite the fact that many (if not most) are developed based on research funded by the government (i.e., our tax dollars.) That leads to the ridiculous prices that many drugs have and greatly inflated costs to our healthcare system. It's time we simply treated these people like a public utility and regulated what they can charge, rather than treating them like they're producing the next consumer gadget that people can take or leave as they choose.