COVID-19 Update 6/9/20

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Tue, 06/09/2020 - 2:15pm to 3:15pm

This is the Tuesday afternoon KBOO news update for June ninth, 2020.

In Minneapolis yesterday, ex-police officers Derek Chauvin, J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao faced a judge for a bail hearing.  Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder, was assessed one million dollars bail, and is reportedly on suicide watch at the prison where he is kept.  The other three officers present at George Floyd's death were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and must pay three quarters of a million dollars each for bail.  Attorneys for the trio said they will argue that they were unable to act other than verbally since Chauvin was their superior officer. In Minnesota, the accused typically must secure the bond with some type of collateral and pay a non-refundable fee equal to about 10 percent of the bail amount.  The right-wing GOP team of lobbyist Jack Burkman and internet troll Jacob Wohl are attempting to raise funds to free Chauvin, and have already seeded their fund with twenty-five thousand dollars; by the bail rules, they must raise another seventy-five thousand to free Chauvin.

The other three officers — J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They remain in the Hennepin County jail on $750,000 bail. If convicted, they potentially face the same maximum penalty as Chauvin: up to 40 years in prison.

Portland CopWatch director Dan Handelman revealed in a fact sheet today that the proposed Arbitration Bill will not actually keep fired officers off the force.  After stating he does not oppose the currently proposed bill in the Oregon legislature, he writes that the key problem with it is that "The bill specifically says it only applies in
cases where the arbitrator agrees misconduct occurred." However,  The reason most firings are overturned in serious cases is because arbitrators do not
agree with the findings. For example, The city fired Officer Ron Frashour for violating training when he shot and killed the unarmed Aaron Campbell in the back in 2010.
The Lieutenant from the Training division clearly stated Frashour did not act appropriately. However, Sergeants under his command contradicted
his testimony and the arbitrator ruled there was no misconduct, overturning the discipline and ordering Frashour reinstated with back pay. Handelman calls for a second, stronger bill that would prevent such reinstatements.

The top epidemiologist at the World Health Organization, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, now says that the earlier statement that asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 is 'very rare' was merely a stated speculation at a news conference, and does not represent the opinion of the World Health Organization.  Van Kerkhove, who made the original comment at a W.H.O. briefing on Monday, said that it was based on just two or three studies, and that it was a “misunderstanding” to say asymptomatic transmission is rare globally.  Worldwide deaths from the pandemic are rising from a total of 408,000 worldwide, and in the United States, over 110,000 deaths are officially attributed to coronavirus.  On Monday, the World Health Organization warned that the outbreak is worsening around the globe. In Texas, where the State government is opening up recreational facilities and other businesses, a new record of new hospitalizations was set Monday, as 1,935 people were taken in.  In Utah, 287 people have tested positive at a meatpacking plant, but are being forced to report to work by a Trump executive order.

According to the Oregon Health Authority,  the death toll from COVID-19 is unchanged from yesterday and remains at 164 Oregon reported 114 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 4,922. The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases for today are in the following counties: Clackamas (13), Hood River (3), Jefferson (1), Klamath (1), Lane (1), Lincoln (61), Marion (8), Multnomah (16), Umatilla (8), and Washington (2). The high number in Lincoln County is related to an outbreak at Pacific Seafood. An outbreak of seven cases of COVID-19 has been reported at the berry freeze-drying facility at Chaucer Foods in Forest Grove.  

Despite public pressure from Senator Bernie Sanders, the Trump Administration will not commit to the free distribution of any viable coronavirus vaccination.  According to Reuters, "A team of British scientists developing a coronavirus vaccine has set up a special company to distribute it if they are successful, rather than partnering with a big pharmaceutical company, to ensure access for the world’s poorest. The scientists from London’s Imperial College hope to bring a low-cost vaccine to the world early next year via a social enterprise — a company that seeks to do good as well as making a profit." The article quotes Simon Hepworth, director of business at the college, saying “Right now we think the focus should be on how to solve the problem rather than how to make money out of it...Social enterprise fits with our mission - applying scientific discoveries for the benefit of society.”

The Arab League has issued a statement reported on Radio Havana reaffirming its opposition to the Israeli regime’s looming controversial plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, saying the “reprehensible and illegal” move amounts to a war crime against Palestinians.

The statement was issued on he 53rd anniversary of Nakba (Setback) Day, which is commemorated every year on June 5 and marks the displacement of the Palestinian people after Israel prevailed in the 1967 Six-Day War. The establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital is the primary goal of the entire Arab world, they said, and the region would never enjoy stability otherwise.

The Arab League also lambasted the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump for providing unprecedented support to the Tel Aviv regime, and allowing it to press ahead with its settlement expansion policies and acts of aggression in the occupied Palestinian land.

The Arab League warned that Israel’s annexation plan poses a threat to international peace and security, stressing the need for effective measures to force the Tel Aviv regime to abide by the international law.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was sworn into office for another term on May 17, has set July 1 for the start of cabinet discussions on extending Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

In response to Israel’s decision, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the end of all agreements signed with Israel and the United States on May 19.


You've been listening to the KBOO afternoon news update, I'm Theresa Mitchell.

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