We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were In”—Verily quick takes on the happenings of this week.
New Hope in New York: Coronavirus Hospitalization Rate, Other Numbers Show Improvement
In a welcome sign that the community may be gaining control over COVID-19, New York officials announced this week that key growth trends like hospital and ICU admissions are on the decline.
New York is the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, accounting for about half of all American deaths from the virus. By Tuesday this week, hospital admission rates were only growing at 4 percent, a huge improvement from the 20 percent daily increases hospitals were previously seeing. It was the fourth day in a row the numbers had grown less than 7 percent.
Tuesday’s numbers also showed 89 patients had been admitted to ICUs since Monday, compared to 395 patients admitted on Friday. “To the extent that we see a flattening or a possible plateau, that’s because of what we are doing, and we have to keep doing it,” media quoted Governor Cuomo as saying, as he urged New Yorkers to continue social distancing practices.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, told the press that the number of patients needing ventilators in his city had recently been better than expected, “and thank God for that,” he said. By Thursday, Cuomo announced that New York had officially “flattened the curve” of the infection’s spread.
These glimmers of hope are much needed good news, serving as a reminder that we are stronger than the virus, and that these hard times won’t last. —Margaret Brady
If you’d like to get a daily email curating only the essential news on COVID-19 directly in your inbox, along with some levity along the way, sign up here for “Keeping Calm During COVID-19.”
Rock and Roll Legend Bill Withers (“Lean On Me”) Dies
Rock and Roll legend Bill Withers, known for such hits as “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Use Me,” and “Lean On Me,” died from heart complications in his Los Angeles home on March 30. The youngest of six children from Slab Fork, West Virginia, Withers discovered his passion for music in the Navy. He enrolled at age 17 and served for nine years before working as an assembler for Douglas Aircraft Corporation in Los Angeles. He paid for the production and distribution of his demo tapes and performed in clubs at night. Believing music was a fickle business, he kept his job even after debuting “Ain’t No Sunshine.” —Melanie Wilcox
Bernie Sanders Drops Out of the Democratic Race
Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, 77, announced on Wednesday via livestream that he is suspending his campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential race. As he told viewers, “I think you know the truth, and that is that we are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden, and the path toward victory is virtually impossible.”
Sanders had initially started strong in the primaries, tying in Iowa and winning in New Hampshire and Nevada. For a while, he was even the projected front-runner, until his opponent Joe Biden won big in South Carolina, mobilizing moderates and winning numerous other primaries. His decision to drop out essentially makes establishment favorite Biden the Democratic nominee. Indeed, following Sanders’ announcement, Biden made an appeal to his former opponent’s voting base, telling them, “I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country.” —Mariel Lindsay
Actress Rose McGowen Calls Out Alyssa Milano for ‘Believe All Women’ Double Standard
Actress and political activist Alyssa Milano is under fire for her endorsement of Joe Biden after allegations of sexual misconduct emerged weeks ago. As one of the leading voices in the #MeToo movement, she has brandished the phrase “Believe All Women.” And in a show of solidarity with victims of sexual assault, she sat in court during Supreme-Court-nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee as Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, gave her testimony. But now, those shocked by the apparent hypocrisy of her principles are calling her out for believing whatever is politically convenient.
Milano defended her controversial support of Biden on a talk-show this week, announcing that while she wants women to be believed when they make allegations, “that does not mean at the expense of giving men their due process and investigating situations, and it’s got to be fair in both directions.” She also referenced her personal relationship to Biden, saying “ I don’t feel comfortable throwing away a decent man that I’ve known for 15 years in this time of complete chaos without there being a thorough investigation.”
This statement by Milano has confused many, as it represents a reversal from her former mantra and her dogged campaign against Justice Kavanaugh when he was likewise accused of sexual misconduct.
Fellow actress and former Charmed co-star Rose McGowan, another leading voice in Hollywood’s #MeToo movement, did not mince words when she commented on Milano’s flip-flopping principles. She addressed her directly in a tweet: “You are a fraud . . . You go after Trump & Kavanaugh saying Believe Victims, you are a lie.” —ML
The Kennedys Go Missing in Maryland
Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy and grandniece of former president John F. Kennedy, and her 8-year-old son, Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean, went missing last Thursday while canoeing in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said in a press conference.
McKean’s husband, David McKean, said his wife and son attended a family gathering at his mother-in-law’s waterfront house in Shady Side, Maryland. McKean and Gideon had used a canoe to retrieve a ball that one of the children had kicked into the water and subsequently lost control of the boat. Her body was recovered on Monday of this week, and her son Gideon's body was recovered yesterday.
McKean was the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative in Washington D.C. —MW
Good News of the Week
While public places of worship and performance spaces around the world are empty these days, some people are using the opportunity to bring striking events livestreamed to peoples’ homes. This week opera singer Andrea Boccelli announced he will broadcast a musical performance in the Duomo in Milan, Italy on Easter Sunday. He joins many others broadcasting Easter festivities online, including Kanye West, Mariah Carey, and Tyler Perry.
Watch of the Week
Miss our “Articles of Note” section? Subscribe to Verily Daily emails and check out our new suggested reading at the bottom, in our “May We Recommend” section.