1. Into the breach
- Americans are bracing for what the nation’s top doctor warns could be “the hardest and saddest” next few weeks of their lives, as cases and deaths from the new coronavirus are expected to peak.
- U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams offered a stark warning about the expected wave of virus deaths.
- “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”
- But President Donald Trump later suggested the hard weeks ahead could foretell the turning of a corner. “We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” Trump said at an evening White House briefing.
- The number of people infected in the U.S. has exceeded 337,000, with the death toll climbing past 9,600.
- In Alabama, total COVID-19 cases stood at 1,842 this morning, with 45 reported deaths from the illness and 31 of those confirmed by the Alabama Department of Public Health.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he hoped the pace of new infections would plateau soon, but that the virus is unlikely to be eradicated this year.
- Fauci said the prospect of a resurgence is why the U.S. is working so hard to develop a vaccine and conducting clinical trials on treatments.
- He said the toll in the coming week is “going to be shocking to some, but that’s what is going to happen before it turns around, so just buckle down.”
- Scientists are still learning about the virus that was first detected in late December in Wuhan, China.
- Across the pond, Britain assumed the unwelcome mantle of deadliest coronavirus hot spot in Europe after a record 24-hour jump in deaths that surpassed even hard-hit Italy’s.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, and Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare televised address appealing to Britons to rise to the occasion.
- Read more and see the latest charts HERE.
2. Renewed talk of Medicaid expansion
- The spread of the new coronavirus, the resulting strain on hospitals and the possible infusion of federal relief money is rekindling talks of expanding the state’s Medicaid program.
- For ten years, Alabama has resisted expanding its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, mostly on fiscal grounds. Some estimates show expanding the program to include 360,000 more residents would cost the state about $170 million in the first year alone with increasing costs going forward.
- However, now the state could be in receipt of funds to lighten that bill. The coronavirus economic relief package known as the CARES Act contained $150 billion to help states and local governments recover from the financial impact of the outbreak and specifically included provisions to help states shore up their Medicaid programs. Some reports show Alabama coffers could receive as much as $1.7 billion, though much of that is likely to be earmarked toward specific programs.
- U.S. Sen. Doug Jones has a bill that would turn back the clock on the federal match and allow any new expanding states to enjoy the same incentives that were offered back in the early 2010s. He’s trying to get that bill language included in a potential “Phase 4” bill being discussed on Capitol Hill.
- In the State House, Republican leaders remain skeptical that funding for Medicaid expansion could have the votes any time soon.
- But the prospect of new federal money could change that, some lawmakers said.
- Read my full story on it HERE.
A message from
3. Not online: Coronavirus puts some workforce training on hold
- How do you teach welding from a video screen?
- How do you train a worker on an intricate, proprietary robot via distance learning?
- Before the coronavirus outbreak shut down many of the state’s large employers last month, Alabama Industrial Development and Training agency, the Department of Commerce’s worker recruitment arm, was searching for and training about 30,000 workers for 133 manufacturers in about three dozen counties.
- “Most are hunkering down,” AIDT Executive Director Ed Castile told Alabama Daily News. With the exception of a handful of companies, training at AIDT facilities has stopped, at least the hands-on, in person work.
- “We’re trying to figure out all the ways we can do things, virtual classes rather than working on a piece of equipment,” Castile said.
- Similarly, the cancelation of in-person classes at Alabama’s about two dozen community colleges has moved course work online. System leaders say students whose hands-on classes can’t be done virtually will get to make them up later, at no cost to them.
- “Some of the courses, like welding, it’s hard to do those online,” Northeast Alabama Community College President David Campbell told Alabama Daily News.
- Rachel Adams, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Community College System, said the system’s intent is that any student not able to complete their labs as part of their course assignments for the spring semester due to COVID-19 restrictions will be able to do so when facilities open again.
- Likewise, Castile said when given the all clear from state leaders, AIDT will again start training the workers it had recruited.
- “Wherever we stopped the process, that’s where they’ll start again,” Castile said. “It’s like we hit the pause button.”
- Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
4. Prison powder keg
- Alabama prisons could see a dangerous outbreak of the new coronavirus that could kill hundreds and endanger many more, according to Department of Corrections analysis.
- AL.com’s Connor Sheets got a hold of an internal document that detailed how the state’s prison infrastructure, the severe crowding and understaffing make it difficult to keep prisoners and guards at the kind of proper social distance we are all being asked to observe.
- Commissioner Jeff Dunn told Sheets the department is doing all it can to keep the virus out of Alabama prisons and mitigate its impact if it comes.
- It is yet another situation that highlights the problem the state faces with its prison system.
- Last week, state budget leaders said planned increases for the prison budget aren’t likely now, nor are reforms being sought to demonstrate progress to the Department of Justice and the federal courts.
- Read Conner Sheets’ full story HERE.
5. ICYMI – Q&A w/ Dr. Scott Harris
- how the state got turned down in its request for more ventilators;
- what the expected mortality rate for Alabama will be;
- the pressure on state leaders to balance the economy with public health;
- what Alabama’s biggest needs are.
A message from
The Alabama State Port Authority
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Americans brace for ‘hardest, saddest’ weeks of their lives
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In Alabama, renewed talk of expanding Medicaid
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Not online: Coronavirus puts some workforce training on hold
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama universities and colleges offer resources during crisis
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State health officer talks coronavirus prep, potential surge. ‘We really need for people to stay home’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump, Dems clash on boosting mail-in voting during pandemic
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Amid coronavirus pandemic, black mistrust of medicine looms
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey orders residents to stay home; Marshall says state will enforce
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest, April 5, 2020
AL.COM – Alabama prison system’s COVID-19 plan anticipates widespread infection, deaths, National Guard intervention
AL.COM – Coronavirus stalls Birmingham’s rebound, cripples small businesses
AL.COM – Coronavirus shrunk his Alabama congregation to 10. Then six got sick.
AL.COM – UA analysts say Alabama economy could be back on its feet by year’s end
AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: Ivey’s stay-at-home order is better late than never, or so we pray
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: ‘#%& it. Why not dance?’
AL.COM – Contributor Rachel Bryars: Woes and blessings in the age of coronavirus
Montgomery Advertiser – Hillview Terrace resident tests positive for COVID-19, facility says
Montgomery Advertiser – Geneva County remains as the only place in Alabama without a confirmed coronavirus case
Montgomery Advertiser – Wetumpka woman accused of drunken driving after Oregon man killed in single-vehicle wreck
YellowHammer News – How long does the novel coronavirus live on different surfaces?
YellowHammer News – State Health Officer Scott Harris: ‘We think the next two to three weeks are really going to be a tipping point for us’
YellowHammer News – State Finance Director Kelly Butler: ‘We’re still not anticipating having to prorate either budget’
Tuscaloosa News – Council to halt public hearings, certain votes in coronavirus response
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Council action from March 31, 2020
Tuscaloosa News – ‘Noise’ for ‘Heroes’ planned for Monday
Decatur Daily – Athens City Schools drive-thru meals schedule announced
Decatur Daily – COVID-19 cases continue to rise locally, statewide
Decatur Daily – Alabama tax revenue up in first six months of year, coronavirus ‘drop’ coming
Times Daily – United Way COVID-19 fund underway; annual campaign suffering
Times Daily – Employees in the Shoals give tips on working from home
Times Daily – UNA launches web page designed as a community resource
Anniston Star – Coronavirus changing pregnancy, delivery for Alabama women
Anniston Star – Ivey orders Alabamians to stay at home as COVID-19 cases, deaths rise; ‘essential activities’ allowed
Anniston Star – Alabama tax revenues rise first six months of year, coronavirus “drop” coming
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – State health officer talks coronavirus prep, potential surge. ‘We really need for people to stay home’
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – B’ham woman with coronavirus recovers: ‘I really didn’t take it that seriously. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone.’
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Ivey orders residents to stay home; Marshall says state will enforce
WAFF Huntsville – Madison County Sheriff Closes Offices to Walk-Ins Until Further Notice
WAFF Huntsville – Popular Tuscumbia tourist attraction closed during COVID-19 pandemic
WAFF Huntsville – State health officer talks coronavirus prep, potential surge. ‘We really need for people to stay home’
Dothan Eagle – COVID-19 – The Latest: Southeast Health records fifth coronavirus-related death Sunday morning
Dothan Eagle – Paying Your Respects: Area funeral services change during COVID-19 pandemic
Dothan Eagle – Sensory loss can lead to isolation and depression
Gadsden Times – Gadsden man arrested in Texas on child sex charges
Gadsden Times – ADPH says 31 deaths from COVID-19; 231 hospitalized
Gadsden Times – Local superintendents discuss plans for at-home education
Troy Messenger – Local healthcare providers preparing for COVID-19
Troy Messenger – COVID-19 cases still climbing in state, county
Troy Messenger – Ten cases confirmed in Pike County
Andalusia Star News – Governor issues stay at home order
Andalusia Star News – Students prepare for online classes
Andalusia Star News – Local banks await final rules, guidance for paycheck protection
Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 latest: Opelika City Schools to continue to hand out lunches; Chambers County hits 90 confirmed cases, cases rise in east Alabama counties, state; Chambers County reporting sixth death; Opelika stores limit customers inside
Opelika-Auburn News – Gray, Whatley worry about COVID-19 hit to state schools, budgets
Opelika-Auburn News – SPECIAL REPORT: Answering tough questions surrounding nursing homes and coronavirus
Daily Mountain Eagle – Alabama issues statewide stay-home order starting Saturday
Daily Mountain Eagle – Sheriff’s department still at work but gradually feeling impacts from COVID-19
Daily Mountain Eagle – Blended instructional model unveiled for county students
Trussville Tribune – Trussville Police post public notice concerning harassing and vulgar messages
Trussville Tribune – Trussville Walmart parking lot littered with gloves, masks
Trussville Tribune – Alabama confirmed coronavirus cases sit at 1,666, official deaths jump to 31 with 45 reported
Athens News Courier – LUNCH MENUS: Limestone students can pick up school lunches Mondays and Thursdays at Athens Elementary School
Athens News Courier – ROAD WORK: Paving to begin Monday on Judy Drive, Somerest, Southside and Scotland Heights subdivision in Athens
Athens News Courier – Alabama infections pass 1,500 as stay-home order takes hold
Sand Mountain Reporter – Walmart makes changes to promote social distancing
Sand Mountain Reporter – Stay-at-home order issued for Alabama | Ivey: April stands to be tough, potentially deadly
Sand Mountain Reporter – Local company creates equipment to protect doctors from coronavirus
WSFA Montgomery – Coronavirus leaves church pews empty on Palm Sunday
WSFA Montgomery – 31 dead, Alabama surpasses 1,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases
WSFA Montgomery – No injuries after Montgomery mobile home fire
WKRG Mobile – Mobile County Health Department prepares for hurricane season with COVID-19
WKRG Mobile – Light it Up event continues to support medical community
WKRG Mobile – President Trump addresses a nation in for “the hardest and saddest week”
WTVY Dothan – Americans brace for ‘hardest, saddest’ week of their lives; Europe hopes crisis peaking
WTVY Dothan – Coronavirus closings and cancellations
WTVY Dothan – COVID-19 vaccine expected in over a year
WASHINGTON POST – Americans hit by economic shocks as confusion, stumbles undermine Trump’s stimulus effort
WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post: The jobless statistics should guide Congress and the president on the next phase of recovery
WASHINGTON POST – Inspector general who handled Ukraine whistleblower complaint says ‘it is hard not to think’ he was fired by Trump for doing his job
NEW YORK TIMES – Governors Plead for Food Stamp Flexibility Amid Pandemic
NEW YORK TIMES – He Led a Top Navy Ship. Now He Sits in Quarantine, Fired and Infected.
NEW YORK TIMES – Virus tears across the US and states are scrambling
NEW YORK TIMES – How Will We Know When It’s Time to Reopen the Nation?