Tag Archive for: COVID-19

President and First Lady test positive for coronavirus


Last night, shortly before midnight eastern time, President Donald Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19.

As is his regular practice, the president made the announcement on his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. The message, posted at 11:54 p.m. eastern time, concluded, “We will get through this together.”

Reporters who last saw Trump when he returned to the White House Thursday night said he “did not appear visibly ill.”

The White House physician said the President and First Lady have no symptoms, a statement which seemed to initially reassure financial markets. S&P 500 and Dow Jones futures were down significantly immediately after the announcement as were Asian stock markets, but futures recovered some in the early hours of Friday.

Trading when the east coast stock exchanges open at 9: 30 a.m. today will be an important early indicator of how the country reacts to the news.

The fact that Trump has played down the COVID-19 threat during the last eight months makes him the inevitable target of derision from those critical of his handling of the pandemic. Social media immediately exploded with glee from many sources.

World leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, himself a COVID-19 survivor, sent good wishes for Trump’s health.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden had made no comment as of the time of this writing at 6 a.m. Friday.

On Thursday, it was announced that top White House aide Hope Hicks had not been feeling well while traveling on Air Force One with the president after the debate in Cleveland Tuesday night with former Vice-President Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic challenger in the presidential election. Hicks tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Washington.

There was already speculation about whether or not Vice President Mike Pence might become acting president if Trump becomes sick. The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides mechanisms for that to happen if a president becomes unable to serve. That speculation is pre-mature. Trump, as president, has available the best of electronic communications and a large professional staff that would allow him to carry out his duties if he is merely puny.

There is no way of knowing at this early time whether Trump will get sick at all. He is 74 years old and is considered vulnerable because of his age. However, he has no known major health problems and has never been a smoker of cigarettes or consumer of alcohol. He is overweight, but his total cholesterol is just 167.

Not everyone infected with the coronavirus develops symptoms. The severity of symptoms varies widely and unpredictably among those who do become ill.

Without doubt, the fact that the President is infected with COVID-19 throws an additional element of uncertainty into a presidential election campaign that is already the most chaotic in more than a century.

Trump’s diagnosis could be a serious blow to his re-election campaign, but it will not dampen the enthusiasm of his most devoted supporters. More likely, it will have little impact on the Nov. 3 vote.

Many commented that Joe Biden appeared frail during the Tuesday night throw down in Cleveland.

If Trump does not get terribly sick, he can be counted on to brag about how vigorous he is. One cannot rule out his getting a “sympathy bounce” if he is able to project an image of being fully in charge during the next four weeks.






Republicans seek legal action against Bloomberg for helping Florida felons to vote. Democrats prepare bill for Supreme Court term limits. An ugly incident between North and South Korea leads to rare good news… That and more in National & International news.


Republicans take (misguided) aim at Bloomberg for helping Florida felons to vote

In 2018, a referendum in Florida paved the way to restore voting rights to some 1.5 million convicts who had served their time. However, the very next year, Florida’s legislature, with the backing of Gov. Ron DeSantis, passed a law barring ex-felons from voting until they had paid all legal court fees and fines. As a result, about 775,000 Floridian felons remain disenfranchised owing to financial burdens connected to their convictions.

Desmond Meade, an ex-con himself, and his organization, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition took up the daunting task of raising  money to help felons pay those costs. Some estimates show that the total fines outstanding for all of Florida’s convicts amount to over $1 billion. Billionaire and former Democratic presidential candidate, Michael Bloomberg, signed on to the project this week, raising $16 million dollars to restore the voting rights of about 32,000 ex-cons.

In response, Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, an outspoken Trump ally, stated that it was a “third degree felony for someone to either directly or indirectly provide something of value to impact whether or not someone votes”. Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody has now called on the FBI to investigate Bloomberg’s actions. This is despite Moody’s team having recently argued before a federal appeals court in defense of the law demanding payment of fines, that others could pay the fines for the felons if they were unable to themselves. That defense, in part, won the judge’s approval for the law to remain in place.

The political equation

President Trump even went so far as to say Bloomberg committed a “criminal act” in paying the fines. Although Republicans seem determined to keep felons from voting, they may be politically shooting themselves in the foot by doing so. University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith suggests there’s no reason to believe that these felons, if allowed to vote, would support Democrats more than Republicans. Although black Floridians, who tend to vote Democrat, have disproportionate representation among the group, the majority of Florida felons with unpaid fines are white.

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Democrats prepare bill to create Supreme Court term limits

California Democratic Congressman Ro Khana is preparing to introduce a bill that would set an 18-year term limit for Supreme Court Justices. The bill attempts to reduce partisan rancor surrounding Supreme Court appointments and preserve the court’s legitimacy. “It would save the country a lot of agony and help lower the temperature over fights for the court that go to the fault lines of cultural issues and is one of the primary things tearing at our social fabric,” Khana said.

As life expectancy has risen, Supreme Court Justices are now serving average terms of more than 25 years. Lengthier terms have increased partisan wrangling and horsetrading and raised concerns about the court’s social legitimacy. Scholars and politicians on both ends of the political spectrum have long supported such an idea. Public opinion polls also show a majority of Americans support term limits for the court.

Ultimately, the bill would allow each president to appoint two justices per 4-year term. While some legal observers believe terms limits for justices requires a constitutional amendment. To avoid constitutional conflict, this bill exempts current justices from the 18-year rule. Justices appointed after the institution of term limits would rotate to lower courts. Khanna argues this is “perfectly consistent with their judicial independence and having a lifetime salary and a lifetime appointment”.



North Korean leader offers rare apology for killing, burning South Korean official

Yesterday, South Korea reported that North Korean soldiers had seized a South Korean official from a patrol boat, shot him and burned his body. Seoul believes that this brutal act was part of the North’s coronavirus defense protocol. South Korea believes North Korea has a “shoot-to-kill” order in place to prevent the virus from entering the country.

The official, a father of two, is believed to have been defecting to the North, which is rare but not unprecedented. A North Korean patrol boat found the man floating at sea in a life jacket. They questioned him at a distance before receiving orders to shoot him dead in the water. They then poured oil over his corpse and set it alight.

The apology and some rare good news

Today, South Korean President Moon Jae-in received a letter of apology over the incident. The letter said that North Korean leader Kim Jong “was greatly sorry that an unexpected unsavory incident occurred in our waters which hugely disappointed President Moon Jae-in and compatriots in the South,” according to Moon’s adviser Suh Hoon. Suh said that Moon and Kim had recently been exchanging letters in hopes of fostering reconciliation efforts and easing recent tensions. According to Suh, Kim’s latest letter expressed hope that the incident would not hinder these efforts. In a previous letter on Sept. 12, Kim had written that “good things” would happen after the two countries had defeated the coronavirus.

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Wuhan journalist missing since February ‘under state supervision’

A friend of Chinese citizen journalist Chen Qiushi has found Chen, who has been missing for seven months. The friend uploaded a video saying Chen was in good health but ‘under state supervision’. He said that “Qiushi is still under the supervision of a certain agency and hasn’t come home yet”.

Chinese authorities “forcibly quarantined” Chen as he was reporting from Wuhan at the height of the coronavirus outbreak there. This was around the same time of the disappearances of Wuhan businessman Fang Bin and journalist Li Zehua, who were also reporting on the outbreak. Li reappeared in April, but Fang has yet to resurface. In February, Chinese authorities were determined to show that the Wuhan outbreak was under control, a claim with the journalists’ reported contradicted.

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Twenty-seven people got tested for the COVID-19 illness at the Union County Fairgrounds Thursday, Union County Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton said.

He said that 35 actually showed up but some information did not match so not all were able to use the in-vehicle testing. He did not have more details concerning exactly what the problem was.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center and Mississippi Department of Health came to New Albany to perform the tests and have been setting up one-day, drive-through collection sites around the state.

Those who wanted to be tested had to first go through a free screening from a UMMC clinician, either through the C Spire Health telehealth smartphone app or by phone.

Officials say hundreds of people in Mississippi communities have taken advantage of the UMMC-MSDH drive-through collection sites. Those numbers include, as of the end of the day May 8, a total 1,715 people at 49 one-day testing states statewide, plus 4,005 more at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds, for a total of 5,744 tested.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi National Guard are partnering with UMMC and MSDH to coordinate mobile testing sites. UMMC and C Spire have partnered to make the screening free to all Mississippians.


Northeast MS news Tax deadline extended

Washington DC – In case you missed it amongst all the other news flying around these days:

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced on March 21st that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

On March 13, 2020, in a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Wolf, Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin,  Health & Human Services Secretary Azar, and FEMA Administrator Gaynor, the President announced that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he declares a national emergency situation, pursuant to the Stafford Act of 1988. The Stafford act aims to bring federal assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to their citizens.

Who and what are affected by the tax deadline changes?

Along with filing tax returns, taxpayers may also defer federal income tax payments to July 15, 2020.

No additional forms need to be filed in order to qualify for the filing and payment extensions. All taxpayers are covered by the extension. This includes individuals, corporations and other non-corporate business filers, trusts, estates, those who pay self-employment tax, etc.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig urged those expecting refunds to file as early as possible, and to file electronically.  “Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds,” he said. “Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical operations to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds.”

What about state deadlines?

Some states have  extended their filing deadlines, though not all are currently in line with the federal government.  The Mississippi deadline currently stands at May 15, 2020. Check here for current state deadlines and possible further updates by state governments.

To see the official IRS Notice.

Updated information from the IRS will be posted on a special coronavirus page on IRS.gov.

New Albany MS MS dept of health First flu

About the case count: The MS Department of Health currently updates its map and statistics each morning with test results from the previous day. Outside laboratories also report positive test results, which are included the totals.

As of 6:00 PM Monday March 23, 2020, there were 71 new positive cases reported throughout the state of Mississippi. This brings the state’s total positive cases to 320. The death toll remains at one.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updates reports nationwide cases of COVID-19 at noon Mondays through Fridays. Numbers close out at 4 p.m. the day before reporting. On 3-24-2020 CDC reported:

  • Total cases: 44,183
  • Total deaths: 544


Totals cases reported in Northeast MS area by county:

Chickasaw      6

Itawamba       3

Lafayette        8

Lee                12

Marshall          3

Monroe           3

Pontotoc         2

Tippah           11

Union               1


Please practice social distancing and frequent, proper hand washing:

Washing hands the proper way:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/world/how-to-wash-your-hands-coronavirus.html

The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Union County.

They released the following:

“With more testing taking place across the state by MSDH and private labs, we’re seeing a jump in new cases. This morning we’re reporting 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, in 28 counties. Among the counties with their first #coronavirus cases are Attala, Clay, Union and Clay. The state total now stands at 140, with one death.”

The MSDH now recommends that all restaurant and bars suspend dine-in service in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19, effective immediately. New Albany city officials took this step  Friday through an emergency order.

This decision is consistent with the social distancing principles from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in line with actions taken by other states.

This recommendation by the MSDH is for the foreseeable future.

Restaurants may still offer carryout or delivery orders to their customers.

“This will in no way affect gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores or food marts” said MSDH State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH.

Additionally, the MSDH is recommending that Mississippi residents not attend funerals, weddings, church services or other community or social events with expected attendance of more than 10 people.

Dobbs said that as this virus continues to spread rapidly, prevention has never been more important. Preventive measures Mississippians can take include the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after coughing or sneezing, blowing your nose, and using the bathroom. Effective handwashing takes about 20 seconds, and includes cleaning under fingernails, between fingers, and washing the back of hands as well as the front.
  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with anyone who is ill.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. When possible, cough, sneeze or blow your nose into a tissue, and throw the tissue away.
  • If you are sick, especially with shortness of breath, severe cough, fever or severe chest pain, call a doctor or healthcare provider for instructions on being safely examined.
  • Avoid social gatherings where 10 people or more would come into close contact.
  • Practice social distancing: keep at least six feet away from other people in a group.

Full details of all Mississippi cases along with preventive steps to take against COVID-19 are online at http://HealthyMS.com/covid-19


The CREATE Foundation and United Way of Northeast Mississippi have established the COVID-19 Support Fund, a resource to relieve the burden on working families and individuals affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

With public events, schools and workplaces shuttering as the pandemic unfolds, many workers will experience unprecedented financial hardship. The problem is especially acute for individuals in the hospitality, food service and retail industries and other hourly workers who often live paycheck-to-paycheck with no clear options for recouping lost wages.

CREATE and United Way will mobilize their broad networks of nonprofit agencies throughout Northeast Mississippi to provide a flexible source of assistance to help families and individuals weather the COVID-19 crisis. These agencies have a proven track record of assisting families and individuals with their needs.

“Grants from the COVID-19 Support Fund will be made to nonprofit organizations, who will in turn provide the direct assistance to the families and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 crisis on a case-by-case basis,” said Melinda Tidwell, president of United Way of Northeast Mississippi. “These organizations already have the procedures in place to provide assistance, but they will quickly run out of funds as more people are without work. That’s why this fund is so important, to provide that extra support during an unusual time for many people.”

CREATE Foundation is making a challenge grant of $50,000 to match contributions made to the fund. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a new situation for all of us, but we do have some experience in helping our community through crisis situations,” said Mike Clayborne, president of CREATE. “We have lived through weather events in recent years that have left people without homes, jobs or the things they need on a daily basis, and the community has stepped in to help. CREATE is proud to invest the first $50,000, and we know we can count on the community to pitch in to assist those who will suffer without our help.”

Individuals interested in donating to the COVID-19 Support Fund can do so at www.unitedwaynems.org/covid19fund. They can also call 662-841-9133 to make a donation over the phone or mail a check to United Way at PO Box 334, Tupelo, MS 38802 or CREATE Foundation at PO Box 1053, Tupelo, MS 38802. Donors can also choose to designate their gift to the benefit of a specific county.

For general questions about the COVID-19 Support Fund, please contact United Way of Northeast Mississippi at 662-841-9133 or the CREATE Foundation at 662-844-8989.

Northeast MS news Stokes

New Albany MS – Stokes Supermarket, the longest continually operating grocery retailer in Union County issued the following statement Wednesday, March 18, 2020:




We know that many of you are frustrated and worried about the current situation regarding Coronavirus. The panic buying by consumers here and across the country is placing a tremendous strain upon our supply chain. I have been informed by our wholesaler that their daily orders are 3 times normal volume. This kind of sudden increase can only result in product shortages and out of stocks.

Please know for sure that everyone in our industry is doing all they can to get product for you and your family.  In moving forward, we ask for your patience and that you stay calm in this very difficult time for us all. We do not know for sure how long this will go on or what challenges lie ahead. We will do our best every day to meet your needs.

We would like to say “Thank you very much” to our vendors, who get out on a daily basis to get product to us and our wholesaler for the supply of products and the service they provide to make it possible for us to serve our customers.

Thanks most of all to our customers who shop with us. We have no business without you. The Stokes family has been in the grocery business for almost 100 years. It is only because of you that we are here.

Thank you also to our employees. Without their unending commitment we could not start, and without their consistency we could not finish the task before us. They are truly dedicated.

Our prayer and hope is that everyone will be safe and remain healthy till the challenge is met.


Thanks Again,

Stokes Supermarket.




Northeast MS news Dr. H.F. Ma

Northeast MS – New Albany physician H. F. Mason will appear on WTVA, Channel 9, Tupelo. at 6:30 p.m. this evening, Wednesday, March 18.

Dr. Mason, who is Chief Medical Officer at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County, will be talking about the coronavirus and sensible measures to mitigate the spread of the disease. He will discuss how and when one should be tested, when to seek medical attention, etc.

As of today, the Mississippi Department of Health reports that there are 34 positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state. The first Mississippi case, one man from Hattiesburg who had been to Florida, was reported just a week ago.

As of today 513 people have been tested for COVID-19 by the MSDH Public Health Laboratory.

Dr. Mason Video: https://www.wtva.com/content/news/WTVA-9-News-Town-Hall-Doctor-answers-your-questions-about-coronavirus-568895201.html


NEMiss.news Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union Countyl 2019 Leapfrog award

New Albany, MS Baptist Memorial Hospital has updated visitor guidelines in response to coronavirus disease 2019.

Effective immediately:

To protect patients and employees and help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County has updated its visitor guidelines.

These new guidelines will start immediately and will limit:
• Visitors with respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. They will be asked to visit when they are well or to contact the patient by phone or video chat.
• Visitors to two per patient.
• Children under 17 years old. Visitors are asked not to bring children unless they are receiving treatment or the child has an appointment.
• Entrances to the facility. All visitors will be asked to use designated entrances and will be screened for a temperature and flu-like symptoms. Anyone who has a temperature of 100.4 or higher or who exhibits these symptoms will be asked to visit when they are well or to make contact by phone or video chat.
• Vendors.

Exceptions may be made to these guidelines depending on the situation and at the approval of the entity administrator.

As the situation involving COVID-19 develops, these guidelines may be adjusted.

“We are doing everything we can to help contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said James Grantham, administrator and CEO. “As the situation evolves, we will update our guidelines and policies to protect the health of our community. We encourage everyone to visit our website at baptistonline.org/ for resources and regular updates on how we’re protecting patients and employees.”

Baptist has not treated any patients in Mississippi at this time.

Guidelines for and availability of testing are evolving, and Baptist will continue to request or conduct testing as needed. Any new cases in the community will be announced by the health department.

For more information about Baptist’s response to coronavirus, please visit baptistonline.org/coronavirus. Anyone with concerns about visiting Baptist Memorial Hospital can call 866-941-4785.

One of the country’s largest not-for-profit health care systems, Baptist Memorial Health Care offers a full continuum of care to communities throughout the Mid-South. The Baptist system, which consistently ranks among the top integrated health care networks in the nation, comprises 22 affiliate hospitals in West Tennessee, Mississippi and East Arkansas; more than 4,500 affiliated physicians; Baptist Medical Group, a multispecialty physician group with more than 750 providers; home, hospice and psychiatric care; minor medical centers and clinics; a network of surgery, rehabilitation and other outpatient centers; and an education system highlighted by the Baptist College of Health Sciences. The Baptist system employs more than 19,100 people, and in fiscal year 2018 contributed more than $349 million in community benefit and uncompensated care to the communities it serves.

NorthMS news First MS positive coronavirus patientus

Union County Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton announced that, effective immediately, all county offices will lock their doors, closing public access to help prevent possible spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Employees will be in the office but we ask that anyone who has business with any of the offices call and handle it by phone,” Clayton said.

This will be in effect until further notice.

Northeast MS news COVID-19 threat is real

Since mid February, NEMiss.news has been urging readers to prepare for the COVID-19 threat, and to make a plan to prepare to isolate themselves from the general public. This is the only way to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and slowing the speed of spread (mitigation) is the only way to keep local medical resources from being overwhelmed when it hits here full tilt–as it eventually will, barring a miracle.

For example: If a community of one million people has an infection rate similar to the one in Italy,  0.05%*. That would be 500 cases of COVID-19.  If all those people get sick close to the same time, its unlikely that there will be enough hospital beds or ventilators to go around to treat the sickest people. Resources will be used for those most likely to survive. However, if those cases are are spread over a few weeks, more people can receive intensive treatment, simply because there will be available resources for them. More people will survive, and some of them may be important in your life.

Below is a link to a heart-rending article from Reuters about doctors in Italy having to lie to hopelessly ill patients they are unable to treat.  Some health officials believe that the US is on a similar trajectory, with only a short window of opportunity to mitigate the spread of the virus. Read the link, think about it, stay home.

COVID-19 in Italy: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-italy-ethics-speci/special-report-all-is-well-in-italy-triage-and-lies-for-virus-patients-idUSKBN2133KG

*Italy has a population of 60.5 million, with 27,980 cases and 2,158 deaths as of 3-16-2020 (per John Hopkins University).

Getting real about COVID-19: Preparing for the Dragon