The COVID-19 crisis is unique and nondiscriminatory. To say that we – as in the world- are all in this together is the mastery of understatement. The new coronavirus visited all continents save Antarctica. It is responsible for a pandemic health crisis and an imminent recession like no other in decades. It has brought the world to a standstill and a race for a cure. COVID-19 info dominates the news cycle, 24/7. President Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo schedule daily press conferences with virus progress updates. They both say that they had a 3/17 productive telephone call. And that was great news. Who could have imagined “Gotham” in near lockdown, schools, businesses closed with employees working from home. Restaurants/bars open for pick-up and takeout until 8 pm. Essential businesses such as supermarkets and pharmacies can maintain normal hours. There is news saturation and we cannot consume enough. Some NYS coronavirus stats on the morning of Tuesday, March 17 follow. There were 1374 confirmed cases and 12 deaths. The breakdown by city – New York City, 644; Westchester County, 380; Nassau County, 131; Suffolk County 84; Rockland County, 23; and Albany County, 22. Approximately 20% of the NY cases required hospitalization.
NYC Councilman Ritchie J. Torres, a 2020 candidate for US Congress, NYS Assembly members Helene Weinstein and Charles Barron have tested positive for COVID-19.
To avoid info duplication and more gloom, I submit some info about medical research and technology employed to check the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. To date, there is no vaccine to combat the virus. However, the first dose of an experimental coronavirus vaccine was administered to three volunteers in Seattle on March 16. The vaccine mRNA-1273 was developed by the National Institute of Health and Moderna Inc., a biotech company. Overseas, China has purchased large quantities of a Cuba-manufactured drug, antiviral recombinant interferon alpha 2B, to treat its coronavirus patients. Same Cuban antiviral has been purchased by Latin American, African and European nations. China, which employs traditional medicine and western pharmaceuticals in treating the virus, also purchased Japan’s antiviral Fapilavir, which has been successful in the reduction of recovery. A Chinese hospital pressed robots into service to treat virus-afflicted patients, to minimize virus transmission to doctors and nurses. Media sources about Cuba antiviral include oncubanews.com, wwwradiorebelde.cu; and www.workers.org.
On a lighter note, I submit a self-check for COVID-19, which many friends shared with me. “Every morning, take a deep breath, hold it for more than 10 seconds. If done without coughing, discomfort, stiffness or tightness, there is no Fibrosis in the lungs…….that is no infection.”
Haitian American Yamichi Alcindor, PBS Newshour White House correspondent and MSNBC contributor, recently asked Trump at a press conference if he accepted any responsibility for the arrival of COVID-19 since his administration closed the Pandemic Office, an Obama White House initiative. He responded. “No, it’s a nasty question,” which is untrue and he was ill informed. Alcindor emerged as journalist of the week distinguished because she was the only journalist bold enough to ask the question that her colleagues would not broach.
It is not yet a done deal. African American media mogul Byron Allen is one of three suitors who want to acquire TEGNA, (the renamed Gannett broadcast and digital business, when it was spun off from the publishing business/assets.) Allen of Byron Allen Media Group, is only suitor who made an all cash $8.5 billion bid to the media giant.
WOMEN IN THE NEWS
This week’s column references 2020 political primaries and the African American New York women politicians. Democrats, Assemblywoman Inez Dickens, and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke Central Harlem, are running for re-election. The NYS Democratic primary date for congressional and state races will be held on June 23.
That primary has been obscured by the Democratic Presidential Primaries and recently by the COVID-19 crisis. A veteran politico, Inez Dickens, was a member of the New York City Council, from 2006 to 2016, before her successful run for the NYS Assembly, where she represents Harlem, Morningside Heights, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and parts of El Barrio. Political life is a part of her DNA. Her dad, Lloyd Dickens, a Harlem real estate entrepreneur, and her uncle, Thomas Dickens, occupied the selfsame NYS Assembly seat in the 50s and 60s. Being primaried, the Assemblywoman is polling strong. She hosted the Charlie Rangel Awards Dinner last month at Mist Harlem, honoring Carl McCall and New York State’s most prominent union leaders, Kyle Bragg, President of SEIU 32BT; Shaun Francoise, President of AFSCME; and Greg Floyd, President Of Teamster Local 237, men who routinely make the NYS 100 Most Important People List. While looks like she is sailing towards a primary victory, the rumor mill suggests that she could return to the NYC Council next year. ……Yvette Clarke was first elected to Congress in 2006 representing the 9th Congressional District in Central Brooklyn. The daughter of former NYC firebrand Councilwoman Una Clarke, Yvette is running for re-election and has about six challengers, including newbies and New York City Council members who will be term limited next year.
Spring begins March 20.…….Birthday greetings to Aries: Tony Abulu, filmmaker; Ambassador Shirley Barnes; James Brooks, entrepreneur, Mariah Carey, Brenda Clark, retired educator, Rodrigo Duterte, Phillipines President; Melanie Edwards, historian; Ronald Guy Harlem community leader; Karen Horsford; Rocky Horsford Jr; Ernest Hopkins, health executive; Bob Johnson, BET co-founder; Bob Law, radio legend; Chaka Khan; Peter Wayne Lewis, fine artist/academic; Wangari Maathai, first African woman Nobel peace laureate; Eddie Murphy; Rob Owens, events coordinator; Nancy Pelosi; Ivo Philbert, Jackie Robinson Foundation and Cove Caribbean Thursday Coordinator; Dedra Tate, Unlimited Contacts; Ruby Ryles Martin; Patricia McConnell; Leon Merrick, DDS; Kim Jack Riley; Diana Ross; Maxine Sidberry; Maxwell Sidberry; David Walker, philanthropist; and Willie Walker.
Lights are out at NYC performing arts venues, including places favored by African Americans like the Schomburg Center, Apollo Theater, National Black Theatre, New Federal Theatre, and Brooklyn’s Billie Holiday Theatre.
Six decades after the phenomenal Banana Boat Song, Belafonte announced at his 93rd birthday tribute at the Apollo that his archives will sail home to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. His culture trove includes his songs, movies, letters, memorabilia about his life as a musician, actor and activist. Many happy returns, Mr. B.
The Harlem Commonwealth for Community Improvement (HCCI) hosts its annual LET’S BREAK BREAD TOGETHER Benefit Dinner at Marina Del Rey, Bronx, on
Thursday, April 23. The Gala Dinner honorees are: Dr. Thelma Adair, Educator and Human Rights Advocate; Calvin Martin, Convent Avenue Baptist Church; John C. Murnane, Erin Construction and Development Co.; Patricia Stevenson, Harlem News Group; and Debra Washington, First Republic Bank.