Weekend Digest – May 31, 2020

Weekend Digest – May 31, 2020
Welcome to Sunday, you deserve a pat on the back if you’ve made it through this week.
Here’s your Weekend Digest for May 31.

1. ‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters US

A demonstrator raises their fist as others gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Saturday, May 30, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Americans awoke Sunday to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another night of unrest fueled by rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police, who responded to the violence with tear gas and rubber bullets.
  • Tens of thousands marched peacefully to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. But many demonstrations sank into chaos as night fell: Cars and businesses were torched. The words “I can’t breathe” were spray-painted all over buildings. The damaged buildings include many near the White House.
  • The scale of the protests, extending to nearly every part of the country and unfolding on a single night, seemed to rival the historic demonstrations of the civil rights and Vietnam eras. And by Sunday morning, the outrage had spread to Europe, where thousands gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square. Despite government rules barring crowds because of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrators clapped and waved placards as they offered support to U.S. demonstrators.
  • “We’re sick of it. The cops are out of control,” protester Olga Hall said in Washington, D.C. “They’re wild. There’s just been too many dead boys.”
  • You can read more about the nation wide protests HERE.
  • In Alabama, there has been no reports of any violent protests that happened across the state yesterday but some arrests were made.
  • You can read about the Birmingham protests HERE and about the Montgomery protests HERE and HERE.

 

2. Harris: Community transmission still happening/ Montgomery contemplates mask requirement

  • Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the increase of Alabama’s positive COVID-19 cases are not just the result of an increase in testing, but that community transmission is still happening.
  • “We’re extraordinarily concerned about the numbers that we have been seeing,” Harris said during an online news conference. “We know that ADPH and partners we work with have managed to increase the number of tests we’re doing throughout the state, but that doesn’t account for the case numbers that we’re seeing, or certainly doesn’t completely account for it.”
  • As of Sunday morning, there have been 17,494 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama, with 2,700 of those being confirmed in the last two weeks, according to the ADPH dashboard. There have been 628 COVID-19 related deaths.
  • Harris also stressed the importance of Alabamians using a face mask when out in public and maintaining social distancing especially now that more of the state is opening up.
  • “Even if you’re not concerned yourself about getting sick, we need you to do that for your family, your community, your loved ones, those people you’re going to be around who are affected by your own decision of whether to wear a mask or not,” Harris said.
  • Montgomery might become the latest Alabama city to require the wearing of face masks in public as the city deals with rising COVID-19 cases.
  • Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said Friday that the proposal may be brought to the city council as soon as Tuesday. Birmingham currently has an ordinance requiring face masks in public. The Birmingham City Council on Friday voted to extend the face mask ordinance through June 12.
  • “I don’t go from encouragement to enforcement very easily,” Reed said. “However, right now we have not seen the behavior that we need to see, nor have we seen the data showing us that the encouragement approach is working.”
  • Read more about Harris’ statements HERE and more about the mask requirement HERE.

 

3. Coronavirus alters hurricane shelter plans

  • Shelters that open during dangerous hurricanes may look and operate differently this storm season, state emergency officials said, as the new coronavirus complicate response plans.
  • Across the coastal United States, concerns over COVID-19 has added a new complication to response planning as emergency officials prepare for the hurricane season that officially starts Monday. Forecasters are predicting that it could be a busier than average hurricane season.
  • Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings said coronavirus is altering response planning. He said the state will look at opening more shelters, to allow social distancing, or the use of non-congregant sheltering where possible.
  • “The primary sheltering will now be non-congregant sheltering. That is what we’d like to do in a hurricane but it’s challenging because that may not be an option in all rural areas of Alabama,” Hastings said.
  • He said the state may need to open more shelters in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.
  • “Under a COVID environment you are probably going to have to reduce your occupancy,” he said.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

 

4. Lawsuit seeks early, easier voting during pandemic

  • A lawsuit is seeking to ease Alabama’s restrictions on absentee ballots and in-person voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, including to allow early voting as a way of mitigating transmission risk at the polls.
  • The League of Women Voters of Alabama and eight voters over age 60 filed the lawsuit Thursday in Montgomery against Secretary of State John Merrill and others. Instead of seeking permanent changes, the plaintiffs are asking that public officials use their emergency powers to ease restrictions during the pandemic.
  • The lawsuit asks to allow “no excuse” absentee voting in the fall election, waive photo identification and witness requirements for absentee ballots, to allow early voting and adopt other safeguards for in-person voting.
  • “The unexpected risks posed by (COVID-19) challenge our election system to the utmost. Today, we ask that Alabama’s courts use Alabama’s laws to make it safe and possible for all citizens to vote,” Barbara Caddell, president of the League of Women Voters of Alabama, said in a statement.
  • The lawsuit described plaintiffs’ health concerns about potentially crowded polling places and their difficulty of voting absentee under current rules.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

 

5. A glimmer of hope: NASA makes historic launch

  • NASA sent two astronauts to the International Space Station on Sunday, following up a historic liftoff with an equally smooth docking in yet another first for Elon Musk’s Space X company.
  • With test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken poised to take over manual control if necessary, the Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically, no assistance needed. The linkup occurred 262 miles above the China-Mongolia border.
  • “Congratulations on a phenomenal accomplishment and welcome to the International Space Station,” Mission Control radioed from Hawthorne, California.
  • It was the first time a privately built and owned spacecraft carried astronauts to the orbiting lab in its nearly 20 years. NASA considers this the opening volley in a business revolution encircling Earth and eventually stretching to the moon and Mars.
  • Read more about the launch and rewatch the footage HERE.

 

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters US
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Montgomery may consider face mask requirement
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama health officer: More testing doesn’t account for rise in cases
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – SpaceX’s historic encore: Astronauts arrive at space station
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawsuit seeks early, easier voting during COVID-19 pandemic
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Coronavirus alters hurricane shelter plans
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds with Dr. Eric Mackey
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – May 29, 2020
AL.COM – Peaceful protests for George Floyd spread across Alabama.
AL.COM – US food prices see historic jump and are likely to stay high.
AL.COM – 17,031 coronavirus cases in Alabama, 610 deaths; Latest county-by-county numbers.
AL.COM – Tuscaloosa sees surge as coronavirus outbreaks hit nursing home, jail, psych ward.
AL.COM – Alabama college enrollment will be impacted by coronavirus, official says.
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Congrats, Twitter, you’ve been Jeff Session-ized!
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: This is on us, White America.
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: We’re all responsible for what’s happening in and to this nation.
AL.COM – Contributor Christian Crawford: A meeting with death in Alabama: Confronting the inevitable with COVID-19.
AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson on George Floyd killing: This is what happens when your knee has been on my neck.
GADSDEN TIMES – Local black officers react to Floyd murder, riots.
GADSDEN TIMES – Gathering for peace and prayer Sunday.
ANNISTON STAR – Columnist Phillip Tutor: An Anniston man’s quest to feed the needy.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – ‘I can’t breathe’: Montgomery protesters decry George Floyd’s murder.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Mayor Reed: Mask wearing mandate may be presented to City Council as early as Tuesday.
DOTHAN EAGLE – DHS assistant coach’s social media posts about nation’s civil unrest grab attention.
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: Resurgence.
WASHINGTON POST – Demonstrators, police clash across nation in another night of protest.
WASHINGTON POST – Biden leads Trump in Post-ABC poll as president’s coronavirus rating slips.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s exit from WHO met with dismay from global health experts.
NEW YORK TIMES – Thousands of Complaints Do Little to Change Police Ways
NEW YORK TIMES – Contributor Will Hurd: Leaving the W.H.O. Shows Poor Leadership