Weekend summary – August 8, 2021


1. ICU beds in Alabama near full as hospitalizations for COVID continue to rise rapidly

  • Intensive care units at Alabama hospitals are nearing capacity due to the growing number of COVID-19 patients, but recent deaths from the virus remain relatively low.
  • State health officer Dr Scott Harris said on Friday that about 93% of Alabama’s intensive care beds are occupied as the more transmissible COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread throughout the country. Status and vaccination rates remain low.
  • As of Saturday, 1,968 Alabamians were hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. A month ago, only 235 people were hospitalized. Most of these patients are not vaccinated, Harris said.
  • Alabama Hospital Association president and CEO Don Williamson told Alabama Daily News the lack of intensive care beds was a concern.
  • “As COVID patients increasingly fill intensive care beds in Alabama hospitals, the shortage of critical care beds is impacting all of our citizens,” said Williamson. “An intensive care bed that a COVID patient needs is a bed that is not available for a stroke, heart attack, or car accident. The rapid escalation of COVID threatens our entire healthcare system. “
  • Read more about me HERE.

2. Mask warrants in schools attract support and anger from parents

  • Alabama students are returning to classrooms this month, with local school systems divided over whether masks will be needed.
  • Mask mandates in local K-12 schools have sparked a mix of support from parents who see it as the best way to protect unvaccinated children from COVID-19 and the wrath of those who are there. see personal decisions being compromised, media reports.
  • The Alabama Department of Public Health, adopting guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, recommends that schools require masks as the state sees a slight increase in COVID-19 cases. Alabama leaves the decision to local school systems, instead of imposing – or banning – mask warrants like some states have done.
  • Schools in the city of Hoover voted on Friday to require masks for the first 30 days of the school year.
  • “I want my child and all the other children in the community to come home safe – that includes high risk children, children with disabilities, and we can’t do that without a mask warrant,” said Misty Mathews, a parent, at WBRC.
  • But some students carried signs saying “No more masks” at the meeting and a group of parents opposed to the warrant gathered to pray in the parking lot.
  • Read more HERE.

3.ADOC says he built a method for running nitrogen gas

  • Alabama this week told a federal judge it had completed construction of a “system” for using nitrogen gas to carry out death sentences, a method of execution permitted by law from the United States. State but never implemented.
  • The Alabama Department of Corrections said in an Aug. 2 court file that it was waiting to make sure the nitrogen hypoxia system is ready, before writing procedures on how it will be used. The prison system did not describe how the system would work or give an estimate on when the state might try to use the new method of execution.
  • “ADOC has completed the initial physical construction of the nitrogen hypoxia system. A security expert made a site visit to assess the system. As a result of this visit, ADOC is considering additional health and safety measures, ”a lawyer from the state attorney general’s office wrote in the court file.
  • Alabama in 2018 became the third state – along with Oklahoma and Mississippi – to allow the untested use of nitrogen gas to execute prisoners.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

4. Senate work to pass the infrastructure bill continues over the weekend

  • Senators will resume a weekend session to pass a $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package after clashing with opposition from some Republicans who want to drag final votes on the bill. one of President Joe Biden’s top priorities.
  • The measure would provide what Biden called a “historic investment” in public works programs, from roads and bridges to high-speed Internet access, clean water and more. In a rare bipartisan coup, Republicans joined Democrats on Saturday to push the measure forward and more votes are expected on Sunday. If approved, the bill will go to the House.
  • Despite the overwhelming support, momentum has dragged on as a few Republican senators refused to cede the required 30 hours of debate before the next round of procedural votes, which could delay the package’s swift passage and result in a drudgery of days.
  • Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., A negotiator on the bill, said about 17 to 18 Republicans have indicated they support the bill, which would ensure its final passage, although this may not not arrive before Tuesday.
  • “It could go faster, but it’s okay,” Cassidy said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, adding, “And that’s the right thing, it’s okay.”
  • Read more HERE.

5. Census experts puzzled by the high rate of unanswered questions

  • Census Bureau statisticians and outside experts are trying to unravel a mystery: Why did so many questions about households in the 2020 census go unanswered?
  • Residents did not answer a plethora of questions about gender, race, Hispanic background, family relationships and age, even counting the number of people living in the home, according to documents released by the agency. Statisticians had to fill in the gaps.
  • Reflecting an early stage in calculating the numbers, the documents show that 10-20% of questions were left unanswered in the 2020 census, depending on the question and the state. According to the Census Bureau, later stages of processing show that the actual rates were lower.
  • Rates have averaged 1% to 3% over the past 170 years of U.S. censuses, according to University of Minnesota demographer Steven Ruggles.
  • The information is important because data with demographic details will be used to draw congressional and legislative districts. The data, which the Census Bureau will release Thursday, is also used to distribute $ 1.5 trillion in federal spending each year.
  • Read more HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Intensive care beds in Alabama near full as hospitalizations for COVID continue to rise rapidly
AL.COM – One in three schools in Alabama now requires students to wear masks.
AL.COM – Alabama says it has built a “system” for nitrogen gas executions.
AL.COM – Alabama hospitals face steepest COVID wave yet: weekly review.
AL.COM – Hurricane forecasters are tracking three tropical waves in the Atlantic.
AL.COM – Optional masks in Jefferson County schools to start the year: Superintendent.
AL.COM – Columnist Amanda Walker: What if our kids were watching?
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: Shame on those who downplay the January 6 reality.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – State Senator Elliott: Joe Biden, Birmingham-Southern College “the lack of respect for the rule of law” is “quite shameful”.
AP NEWS – The United States now has an average of 100,000 new COVID-19 infections per day.
THE HILL – Trump slams McConnell, infrastructure package: “A shame.”
POLITICO – The Memo: The Strong Jobs report offers a rationale for Biden.
POLITICO – Contributor Charles Sykes: Who Trump Says Is Really to Blame for the Covid Wave
DECATUR DAILY – Sorrell is proposing anti-mask warrant legislation.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – With the increase in COVID-19 cases, DCH’s healthcare system faces internal challenges in staff immunization.
ADVERTISER MONTGOMERY – Alabama’s COVID cases are straining intensive care bed capacity amid a delta surge and poor vaccination.
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: Schools should require masks.
WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post: Private fortunes should not be abolished. But neither should our society be so unequal.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Garrett Graff: Only private companies can end the pandemic now. They might just do it.
WASHINGTON POST – The Senate lifts a key procedural hurdle on a $ 1 trillion infrastructure deal as new disputes erupt.
WASHINGTON POST – Marjorie Taylor Greene fans applauded the low vaccination rate in Alabama, which launched 65,000 doses.
NEW YORK TIMES – As Democrats seething, White House struggled to contain fallout from eviction
NEW YORK TIMES – After Trumka’s death, AFL-CIO at a crossroads
NEW YORK TIMES – Biden, in effort to phase out gasoline-powered cars, tightens pollution rules

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