While we transition from one talented newsletter editor to the next, regular readers will be subjected to yet another guest writer, me, Rachel Bluth, a KHN reporter in Sacramento, California. Don’t worry though, we’re maintaining a sense of continuity. The writer is different, but the news is the same: bad. Here are the stories you might have missed this week if you were binge-watching Netflix to escape reality.
Surge, Baby Surge
Does it feel like spring? Looking only at the coronavirus infection rates, one might think it was still April. States keep insisting on reopening, and the virus has reached its highest U.S. case count in two months.
Texas, Florida, Arizona and California have all seen record-breaking spikes in new cases this week. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott “paused” reopening Thursday, and then went further on Friday by closing bars and reducing restaurant occupancy. Which sounds significant until you realize people can still gather in groups of 100.
As far as contact tracers can tell, most of these new cases aren’t coming from protests against police brutality, according to NPR. Instead, cases are mostly coming from family parties in private homes. States are finding that their coronavirus patients skew younger and younger.
“In June, we’re seeing that now 2 out of 3 people that have contracted this disease are under 29,” Erika Lautenbach, director of the Whatcom County Health Department in Washington state, told NPR. Now more than ever, it’s time to tell your cousin to put down the White Claw and pick up a mask.
More states now require mask-wearing in public: California and Washington are the latest to join the ranks.
The good news is that while businesses open around the country, masks seem to be saving lives. Two sick hairstylists in Springfield, Missouri, prevented further infections by wearing masks, according to reporting from The Washington Post.
The bad news is that people don’t like being told what to do — although maybe that isn’t news. A sheriff in Washington told people in his jurisdiction to flout mask rules, saying, “Don’t be a sheep.” For the record, there have been no studies yet about COVID-19 risk in livestock, so it might behoove us to all to be a little more like sheep, anyway. (Did you catch the pun there?)
Ditching the Dirt
Next, let’s talk about your bits. Groin, underarms, feet … the dirty bits. You should be washing them! Your hands, too. But that might be enough, according to scientists quoted in The Atlantic this month. Over-washing the rest of…