MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said yesterday that he was “100%” sure there will be a baseball season of some kind in 2020, which reminded me of ESPN’s vow six weeks ago that “There will be MLB in 2020. It’s just a matter of when, where and how.” At the time ESPN declared the league’s best option to be gathering all 30 teams together in a virus-free bubble in Arizona, which how would that be working out about now?
Experts around the country and in Arizona are raising alarms about the state’s COVID-19 situation because cases and hospitalizations have increased for the past two weeks…
Dr. Kacey Ernst, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Arizona, said all signs seem to point to the increasing transmission of the disease. Increased testing could explain increased cases, but not increased hospitalizations, she said. Arizona does appear to be increasing more than other states, she said.
The situation is “very concerning,” she said.
“If we continue on this trajectory and it is not just due to one or two localized outbreaks, then we may need to gear up for increasing action,” Ernst said in an email. “The director of ADHS has declared all hospitals should activate their emergency plans. That should tell us all something.”
Okay, then! Whoever had Arizona in the “Which state will be first to go on second-wave re-lockdown?” pool, your odds are looking pretty good right now.
(And no, it’s not just the Navajo Nation communities in the northeast of the state that are responsible, which was the first thing I wondered. Check out these charts.)
Arizona is not the only state, of course, seeing an uptick in reported cases (and hospitalizations, which as Ernst notes can’t be a mere artifact of increased testing). Twenty-one states are seeing rising caseloads, and many are seeing rising hospitalization rates as well: North Carolina hit a record number of hospitalizations on Tuesday (though the state’s Johns Hopkins numbers as reported at 91-DIVOC appear to be broken, so there’s no way to tell if it was a record number of new hospitalizations or just lots of folks still lingering in Covid units) and there are concerns about Florida as well, where according to 91-DIVOC figures new hospitalizations are running steady at best, and that’s before we see any impact of the state allowing bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and concert venues to reopen at 50% capacity starting last Friday.
And Florida’s microbial future is particularly interesting because it’s apparently set to get one major mass attendance event this summer, and likely not at no 50% capacity, either:
President Donald Trump is poised to announce the city where he will accept his nomination for a second term as early as Thursday, with Jacksonville, Florida, emerging as one of the leading final contenders, two GOP officials close to the matter tell CNN…
The scramble to find a new home for the convention comes after tense negotiations between Republican officials and officials from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s office broke down last week. Trump, over the last two weeks, started to target Cooper because he refused to lift social distancing guidelines and allow massive crowds inside the host arena, a strategy that Republicans have said looks to turn the Democratic governor into a scapegoat should the convention not be able to go off as planned due to coronavirus.
Trump is ditching North Carolina because he doesn’t want to subject conventioneers to social distancing, according to the New York Times; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said that social distancing is key to allowing reopening to work, so this is gonna be interesting to see how it plays out. Oh, and also mask-wearing — DeSantis this week blamed an uptick in new cases on people not wearing masks right, something he’s admittedly an expert on, and which Trump famously has lots of feels on himself.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that Trump is less trying to shop around for a social-distancing-free venue like a latter-day Jerry Reinsdorf than just trying to punish North Carolina’s governor for being a Democrat, in which case, mission accomplished, I guess? Unless Florida is in the midst of a second-wave outbreak by August, which could make holding a convention in a packed arena in Jacksonville kind of awkward. Maybe Trump can give his acceptance speech to a hall full of stuffed animals instead.