Thursday ReadsPosted: May 12, 2022
We have passed another horrific milestone in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One million Americans have now died from the virus. ABC News: ‘Unthinkable tragedy’: U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpasses 1 million.
One million Americans have now died from the coronavirus, according to an announcement made Thursday by President Joe Biden, marking a long-dreaded milestone for an incomprehensible tragedy.
“Today, we mark a tragic milestone: one million American lives lost to COVID-19. One million empty chairs around the dinner table. Each an irreplaceable loss. Each leaving behind a family, a community, and a nation forever changed because of this pandemic. Jill and I pray for each of them,” Biden said in a statement. “As a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow. To heal, we must remember.” [….]
Over the last two years, the deadly virus has kept the nation tightly in its clutch, with wave after wave of the virus washing over with only relatively brief respites in between.
“This unthinkable tragedy will forever appear in the history books,” said John Brownstein, Ph.D. an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News contributor.
The loss of 1 million lives is a reality that is still difficult for many to comprehend, and to accept. In some respects, the death toll remains hidden from view.
Experts said the statistic, however massive, does not fully capture the magnitude of the human tragedy.
“It’s one thing to talk about numbers, but then to realize that each one of those numbers represents a grandparent or a spouse or someone with their own unique story that we’ve lost. Already over a million of those stories in you know, in this country alone — it really is a tragedy and a tragedy, in many ways, of unprecedented proportions,” Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told ABC News.
While other official tallies have placed the figure a bit short of that mark, Biden marked the moment during the White House’s latest virtual Global Covid-19 Summit, reflecting on the pandemic’s devastation on the nation after more than two years.
“This pandemic isn’t over. Today, we mark a tragic milestone here in the United States — 1 million Covid deaths. One million empty chairs around the family dinner table. Each irreplaceable, irreplaceable losses. Each leaving behind a family, a community, forever changed because of this pandemic. Our hearts go out to all those who are struggling,” Biden said during his opening remarks at the summit, later acknowledging that “around the world, many more millions have died” as a result of the pandemic.
“That’s why I continue to call on Congress here at home to take the urgent action to provide emergency Covid-19 funding that is vital to protect Americans to make sure we’re that we maintain our supplies of Covid-19 test treatments and vaccines, including next generation vaccines that are being developed,” he said, later highlighting the request’s $5 billion proposal “to keep up our global partnership in the fight against Covid-19.”
In a proclamation issued Thursday ordering flags to be flown at half-staff to mark the milestone, Biden wrote that the nation “must not grow numb to such sorrow.”
Thursday’s summit is aimed at “redoubling” efforts to control Covid-19 and preparing the world for future variants of the coronavirus or the next deadly pandemic, two senior administration officials said.
The event, which is also co-hosted by Germany, Indonesia, Senegal and Belize, is calling for countries to invest in the new Global Pandemic Preparedness and Health Security fund at the World Bank, and the US announced that its pledge will increase to $450 million, up from the initially promised amount of $250 million. The summit will also highlight an additional $3.1 billion in new funding commitments from countries around the world to combat Covid-19.
Have you heard about what happened to a women’s lacrose team from Delaware State University, an HBCU? It’s pretty shocking. FYI, I had to register to read this story: A Bus Carrying an HBCU’s Lacrosse Team Was Pulled Over. Deputies Searched It for Drugs.
The president of a historically Black university says he is “incensed” that the institution’s women’s lacrosse team was subjected to a “trying and humiliating” traffic stop in Georgia, where law enforcement used a minor traffic violation as an opportunity to search the students’ belongings for narcotics.
Nothing illegal was found, and coaches and members of the Delaware State University team — the majority of whom are Black — have spoken out about the experience in the days since, describing the stop-and-search as racial profiling and a frightening ordeal.
“We do not intend to let this or any other incident like it pass idly by. We are prepared to go wherever the evidence leads us,” President Tony Allen of Delaware State University wrote in a letter to the campus community. “We have video. We have allies. Perhaps more significantly, we have the courage of our convictions.” Allen also noted that he’s reached out to Georgia law enforcement and that he’s exploring “options for recourse — legal and otherwise.” [….]
The April 20 Delaware State incident was first reported last week by Sydney Anderson, a sophomore who was on the bus when deputies from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office stopped the vehicle as it traveled north on I-95, taking the team back to campus after several games in Florida.
In The Hornet Newspaper, Anderson wrote thatthe incident was traumatic, especially for those who’d never had an encounter with the police before, and called it one of the “constant reminders of being Black in America.”
During a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff William Bowman of Liberty County, who is Black, told reporters that the deputies didn’t know that the bus was carrying students from a historically Black university before they entered the vehicle, nor did the sherriff’s office realize the incident had been perceived as racial profiling.
Obviously, that is not true.
The Delaware State lacrosse players’ bus was pulled over about two and a half hours after the team left its hotel on the morning of April 20, Head Coach Pamella Jenkins said in an interview with The Chronicle. A police officer came to the door and asked the driver for his license and registration, saying commercial vehicles aren’t supposed to drive in the left lane.
Nobody on board thought much about it until one of the students noticed the officers pulling their luggage out from underneath the bus to search it, with the help of a drug-sniffing dog, Jenkins said.
Video footage taken by one of the players shows two white officers standing at the front of the bus as players and coaches look on. One of the officers can be heard saying, “If there is anything in y’all’s luggage, we’re probably gonna find it. … I’m not looking for a little bit of marijuana, but I’m pretty sure you guys chaperones probably gonna be disappointed if we find any.”
“I was definitely scared,” Jenkins said. “As a coach, especially traveling away from campus, I’m responsible for them and their safety, and in the moment, I felt helpless.” She credited the students for their level heads in face of an uncertain situation. “My hope was to just stay calm, stay quiet, so that they could do what they needed to do so that we could hurry up and get back to campus.”
Shortly after informing the students and coaches of their search, one of the deputies returned with a wrapped gift addressed to one of the players and asked what was inside. Jenkins said the student told the deputy that she didn’t know because it was a gift from a relative that she’d been told not to open until she got home. To this, the deputy said he would open the package off the bus but she would need to step off if it was anything that warranted discussion. The deputy returned a few minutes later and said they were free to go.
More reads on this incident:
Yesterday, Republicans and one “Democrat” in the Senate defeated a bill to protect abortion rights. Could Democrats be getting angry enough to really fight back against GOP misogyny and lies? Here’s what women from the House of Representatives did before what they knew would be a losing vote:
And check out this rant from Rep. Hakeem Jeffries:
“Let me ask this question of brother Thomas,” Jeffries said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing this week. “Why are you such a hater? Hate on civil rights. Hate on women’s rights. Hate on reproductive rights. Hate on voting rights. Hate on marital rights. Hate on equal protection under the law. Hate on liberty and justice for all. Hate on free and fair elections. Why are you such a hater?”
Jeffries added the senior conservative justice “thinks he can get away with” his stances on those key issues and “escape public scrutiny.” [….]
Thomas is one of several conservatives on the court who has indicated, according to a leaked draft opinion published earlier this month, that they would rule in favor of a Mississippi state law on abortion that would directly overturn Roe v. Wade, which made abortion a federally protected right.
“We are becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don’t like,” Thomas said last week in response to public outcry over the court’s reported stance. “We use stare decisis as a mantra when we don’t want to think.”
Jeffries referenced Thomas’s comments, telling the justice to “start in your own home.”
“Have a conversation with Ginni Thomas. She refused to accept the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. Why?” the congressman said. “Because she didn’t like the outcome. Because the former twice-impeached so-called president of the United States lost legitimately to Joe Biden. How did she respond? Instead, she said the Bidens should face a military tribunal in Guantánamo Bay on trumped-up charges of sedition. You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Joe Biden sounds fired up too.
This is from Politico: ‘The great MAGA king’: Biden sharpens midterm attacks.
The president traveled the country on Wednesday, sharpening his lines of attack against the Republican Party as primary season kicks into full gear. Throughout the day, he laid into the GOP and baited former President Donald Trump, even testing a new nickname for his predecessor: the great MAGA king.
“Look at my predecessor, the great MAGA king — the deficit increased every single year he was president,” Biden said in Chicago at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International convention, contrasting the deficit reductions during his tenure with Trump’s term.
With a little over six months to go until the November midterms — what is often a referendum on the president’s performance — Biden is moving into full-fledged campaign mode. The noticeable change in tone comes as economic concerns hover over Democrats’ prospects and the White House tests out a new strategy — painting a clear picture of the differences between Democrats and Trump and his followers.
With his MAGA king nickname, Biden was just getting started. At a DNC fundraiser later Wednesday, the president called his 2020 victory against Trump a “low bar,” and dug into his favorite phrase of late, “MAGA Republicans,” twice calling these politicians “petty,” “mean-spirited” and “extreme.”
“They are cowered by Trump,” Biden said, telling the audience that Democrats have to make their case in 2022. “The fact of the matter is, they run the show — the MAGA Republicans. … It really is beyond the pale.”
The president, speaking to roughly 40 guests, said the GOP has a “radical agenda” and said it isn’t “your father’s Republican Party.”
What’s on your mind today? What stories are you following?