Coronavirus Weekly Update: November 5, 2020



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A weekly summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day  

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics: Coronavirus Weekly Updates

The Coronavirus Weekly Update summarizes major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics and government. Today, you will find updates on the following topics, with comparisons to our previous edition released on October 29:

  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies
  • Travel restrictions
  • 1918 story
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials
  • State legislation

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Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,213 lawsuits in 50 states dealing in some way with the Covid-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 380 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since Oct. 29, we have added 19 lawsuits to our database. We have tracked no additional court orders and/or settlements. 

Travel restrictions

    Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Governors or state agencies in 25 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 14 of those orders have been rescinded.
  • Since Oct. 29, one state and the District of Columbia have announced changes to their travel restrictions. 

Details:

  • New York – On Saturday, Oct. 31, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced a new testing requirement for incoming travelers. The policy replaces the joint quarantine list previously maintained alongside Connecticut and New Jersey. It requires visitors and returning residents to take a COVID-19 within three days of arriving in New York. Visitors will need to quarantine for three days and take another test on the fourth day. If both tests come back negative, the quarantine can end. The policy took effect on Nov. 4 and does not apply to travelers from states that border New York.
  • Washington D.C. – On Nov. 4, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced a new advisory requiring visitors to the city to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival. Visitors who are in the city for longer than three days are also asked to take a test within 3-5 days of arrival. The advisory asks those who test positive or come into contact with someone who tested positive to refrain from entering the city.

1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On Jan. 21, 1919, the Los Angeles Evening Herald reported on the arrest of several people for improper mask usage.

Failure to wear “flu masks,” or, in two cases, to wear them properly, resulted in 13 people being arrested and taken into court in Pasadena today.

One of the first to be arrested was E. Piercy, 75 years old, and for 67 years a resident of California.

Mr. Piercy was endeavoring to camouflage a mask with the “turtleneck” collar of his sweater, which he had turned up round his chin and mouth. He was smoking at the time of his arrest.

Being taken before Judge Frank C. Dunham, the aged man proceeded to explain to the court that he was well within his rights, as smoke is an antiseptic, and he was smoking all the time. He vehemently declared that smoke would kill any germ in the world.

When the court tried to impose a sentence, Mr. Piercy blandly continued to talk, as he was deaf and did not hear the court. He took from his pockets a box of moth balls and began scattering them right and left in the court.

“These are antiseptic, too,” he told the court.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

School closures and reopenings

    Read more: School reopenings in the 2020-2021 academic year after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The current status of school reopenings is as follows:

  • Washington, D.C., had a district-ordered school closure
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 85,850 students (0.17% of students nationwide)
  • Eight states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, N.C., N.M., N.Y., Ore., W.V.) had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 12,095,855 students (23.91% of students nationwide)
  • Four states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, Texas) had state-ordered in-person instruction
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 9,180,918 students (18.15% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-eight states had reopenings that varied by school or district
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 29,225,236 students (57.77% of students nationwide)

Details:

  • New York – Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced public and private schools in the state’s red and orange mitigation zones will be able to reopen after all of a school’s students and teachers get tested. Cuomo did not give a timeline for the reopening but said the state will provide the tests. 
  • Oregon – The Oregon Department of Education released updated public school district reopening guidance. Under the new rules, schools in counties with less than 50 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days can resume full-time, in-person learning. Previously, the state only allowed full-time, in-person schedules in counties with 10 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents each week over a three-week rolling average.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

As of Nov. 5, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state supreme court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Seven states never issued stay-at-home orders.

California and New Mexico, both of which have a Democratic governor, are the only remaining states with active stay-at-home orders.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

    Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Sixteen states have current moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
    • Since Oct. 29, one state has ended a moratorium on evictions.
  • Twenty-seven states have ended moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • California has current local moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Seven states did not issue a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on the state or local level.

Details:

  • Arizona – Gov. Doug Ducey (R) allowed his moratorium on residential evictions to expire on Oct. 31.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • One federal official has died of COVID-19.
    • Twenty-six members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-three federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • One-hundred and eleven state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Eighty-two state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least two local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 24 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19

Since Oct. 29, one congressman, one state legislative candidate, and one attorney general-elect announced positive test results. One governor announced a self-quarantine.

Details:

  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced on Oct. 30 he and his wife had self-quarantined after coming into contact with a person who later tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) announced on Oct. 30 he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Manuel Guzman (D), a candidate for Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 127, announced on Oct. 29 he had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  •  Indiana Attorney General-elect Todd Rokita (R) announced on Nov. 3 he had tested positive for COVID-19.

State legislation

    Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • To date, 3,518 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
    • We have tracked 11 additional bills since Oct. 29.
  • Of these, 517 significant bills have been enacted into law, about 15 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business. 
    • We have tracked nine additional significant bills since Oct. 29 (also omitting ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.)
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