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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Short Takes: Charlestown unemployment climbs to 13.2%

National toll passes 200,000

Reopening colleges and schools yields predictable results

By Will Collette 

Our Cretin-in-Chief said this YESTERDAY
As the nation passes the 200,000 mark for coronavirus deaths, Rhode Island is back on the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut list of states too sick for its residents to be allowed to visit without quarantine. We remain banned in Boston and the rest of Massachusetts. 

So in a nutshell, if you want to visit NY, NJ, CT or MA for more than 24 hours, you must quarantine for two weeks. You can still go to jobs, medical appointments, shop, etc. but you have to get out of town by sundown. 

We seem to be backsliding as case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 climb again as the predictable result of reopenings. We have ourselves to blame. Or Gina Raimondo for her obsession with reopening schools for in person learning. 

I get it that parents want to send their kids back to school or colleges if only to get them out of the house for a little while. I get it that people feel cooped up not being able to go to restaurants, bars, public events, the beach, etc. I get it that the hospitality industry is dying. 

What I don’t get is why people won't do the most basic and simple things – like wearing an effective face covering, washing your hands and social distancing. These simple acts are fundamental to doing these things we miss doing, with relative safety. 

About the only way Trump will get his election
day vaccine is if it comes from Putin
Governor Gina Raimondo had gotten high marks for leadership during the pandemic until she got on her high horse to demand a return to in-person learning at the state’s schools. 

And re-open they did on September 14. In the first two days alone, 19 new COVID cases were detected and Gina said “By in large we’re having a great week.” WTF??? 

Rhode Island is almost at 24,000 total cases and we have had 1,099 deaths. Charlestown has had 37 confirmed cases. 

Colleges and universities are doing far worse with clusters of new cases cropping up everywhere. The recent hard spike in RI cases has been blamed on the surge in cases at Providence College. As of Tuesday, they tallied 176 coronavirus cases. 

Though deaths and hospitalizations are less common among young people (7% of RI COVID deaths were people under 60), when they bring COVID-19 home and give it to their older family members and that's when we see more people needing hospitalization or an undertaker. 

Still, it could be worse – just look at the Dakotas, Iowa, Texas and those other red states where mask-wearing is a social/political taboo and too many people still believe Donald Trump’s bullshit. 

Included in that bullshit is his blathering about a vaccine. Yes, the chances are we will have a safe and effective vaccine, but the only way we will have one before Election Day is if it comes from Russia. Last month, Putin announced the approval of "Sputnik V" and it is being injected into Russians despite warnings from international health experts that the data supporting Sputnik's safety and effectiveness is shaky.

We remain the worst in the world by just about every metric: highest case rates, deaths, death toll and hospitalizations. And we can’t stop the virus until EVERYONE starts to consistently behave like you care about your own health and those of others. 

Charlestown unemployment climbs to 13.2% 

Screen shot from the RI Department of Labor and Training table for Charlestown

While the nationwide unemployment rate dropped a bit, Rhode Island increased to an official rate of 12.8% giving RI the second-worst rate in the country, behind Nevada. 

In addition, we had more than 13,000 “gig workers” (self-employed, contractors, part-timers, etc.) file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in a single week, making the state total 277,406. 

Since the beginning of the Pandemic Recession, Rhode Island has paid out more than $1 billion for jobless claims, most coming from federal relief dollars. But there is only a trickle of that funding left in the pipeline. 

Charlestown’s unemployment rate in August climbed to 13.2% - worse than the state average of 12.8%. This reverses several months of drops in joblessness from our all-time record of 18.9% in April. Remember: these numbers don’t include gig workers receiving special pandemic relief or those whose benefits have expired. 

I have repeatedly called upon the town of Charlestown, controlled by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance, to focus on practical ways the town can act to help the one out of five Charlestown households hurt by the pandemic recession. Their answer: buy more open space at inflated prices from their cronies. 

Vote early, though not often, and by mail 

After Rhode Island defeated a challenge from the RI Republican legal team that included state Rep. Blake “Flip” Filippi and Charlestown special counsel for Indian Affairs Joe Larisa, every registered voter in RI will receive an application for a mail-in ballot. 

That’s an application for a ballot, not an actual ballot. You’ll have to wait for all those forged ballots to arrive from all those alien sources that are so worrying our Dear Leader into believing the 2020 election is doomed to fraud failure. 

Concern about COVID-19 is a valid excuse (check box #4). 

You should get your application any day now and should return it without delay, given the uncertainty of mail service after Trump administration monkey-wrenching. 

Even though Dear Leader has been giving voters illegal advice to vote twice – once by mail and then again in person – DON’T DO THAT. Rhode Island gives you an easy way to check not only your voter status but to track your mail-in ballot. CLICK HERE. 

Screen shot from the RI Secretary of State 
voter tracking tool showing the dates for my
mail-in ballot for the Sept. 8 primary

I used it to determine how my mail-in ballot for the state primary was handled. It showed my application for a primary ballot was received on August 7 and the ballot was sent a week later. My completed ballot was received on August 27. It was accepted and counted. 👉

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea has been staying on top of this process. Her staff have created some very user-friendly tools to make the whole process easy. 

So you do NOT need to follow Trump's idiotic advice to vote twice so you can "confirm" whether your mail-in ballot was received and counted. 

Rhode Island's got that covered.

Yet another horrible blow 

Just Born Quality Confections, the makers of everyone’s favorite Peeps®, has again suspended production, saying they will not be producing their annual Halloween, Christmas or Valentine specialties at their Bethlehem, PA plant. 

They had suspended production just before Easter but started up again on a limited basis in mid-May, but now they are cutting back again. 

Said the company:

“This situation resulted in us having to make the difficult decision to forego production of our seasonal candies for Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day in order to focus on meeting the expected overwhelming demand for Peeps for next Easter season, as well as our everyday candies.”