In the News: Week of April 5th

What happened in the world from April 5th - 11th

Happy Sunday morning everyone! I hope you all had an enjoyable week and are doing well.

In the news this week

Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign for president Wednesday, clearing the way for Joe Biden to become the Democratic nominee for president. Sanders was initially leading the presidential race after the Nevada caucus, but the race turned in Biden’s direction after he won big in South Carolina and moderate candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out to endorse him. It is likely that voting in November will be influenced by coronavirus to some degree, and Democrats are already racing to ensure voters can send in their ballots by mail. Republicans don’t seem to like the idea of voting by mail as much as Democrats, and President Trump said if the U.S. switched to voting entirely by mail, “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

Jobless claims over the last three weeks surpassed 16 million, as many sectors of the economy remain shut down. Locking down the country has unfortunately created a significant amount of job loss, despite efforts by the federal government to provide forgivable loans to many small businesses. When the country does reopen, it’s unclear how fast the recently unemployed will be able to get back to work. Many small businesses might not have the money to stay in business and will never reopen. As the country does get back to work in the coming months, it’s clear that another government stimulus will be necessary to speed up the process.

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York is sick with coronavirus, and several other lions and tigers at the zoo are showing symptoms. It’s assumed that the tiger got it from one of the zookeepers. A study from China that has yet to be peer reviewed found that coronavirus reproduces efficiently in cats and could be transmitted by respiratory droplets, although the WHO says there is no evidence that cats or dogs can spread the disease to humans. If you do have coronavirus, though, it may be best to limit your contact with pets.

Wisconsin held a primary in the middle of a pandemic this week. The Democratic governor tried to delay the primary until June but was overruled by the state Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court also reversed a ruling that gave voters six extra days to mail back their ballots. Wisconsin is the only state to proceed with in-person voting this month. Hardly any poll workers showed up; in Milwaukee, only five of its 180 polling places were open for voting. The National Guard was sent in to staff several voting locations. Votes won’t be counted until Monday at the earliest.

Headline of the Week: Republican Wisconsin assembly speaker wears protective gear while telling voters they are ‘incredibly safe to go out’

Nothing instills more confidence in your personal safety than seeing a man dressed like he’s preparing to treat victims from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster assuring you that everything is fine. I’m glad he took the proper precautions, but people should not have been out voting Tuesday.

Recommended Reading: Reality Has Endorsed Bernie Sanders

A few months ago, it was easy for many to dismiss Bernie Sanders’ ideas as too radical. Those radical ideas now seem more like necessities for a functional society and less like pipe dreams. Everyone in this country needs access to healthcare, whether they can afford it or not. The lowest-paid workers among us - the grocery store clerks, truck drivers, and those that deliver food and packages - are essential to our society. If we don’t take care of them, how will we eat? How will we get what we need delivered to us at a time when everyone is staying indoors?

They are among the most essential workers to our economy and they should be paid like it. Everyone deserves to make a living wage in this country, and it’s never been easier to see why. Renters deserve stronger protections when they can’t pay rent, and homeowners shouldn’t lose their homes at the same time they lose their jobs. 

Wealthier Americans can afford to stay inside. I am extremely lucky that I am able to work from home and continue to get paid. I don’t have to risk my life or the lives of any family members. There are multi-generational households where younger people who work as nurses and in grocery stores worry about bringing coronavirus home to their parents or grandparents.

I have worked in a grocery store before and I can tell you from experience that they deserve every dime they make. My co-workers at the grocery store are the hardest-working group of people I know. Many of them can’t afford health insurance. Many of them live with parents, grandparents, or roommates. What happens when they get sick? Are they risking their life to make sure you don’t starve just to be rewarded by thousands of dollars in medical bills? Or even worse, the guilt of unknowingly infecting a family member?

Saying thank you is not enough. Bernie Sanders is absolutely right when he says we need a revolution. We must fight for those with less to get what they deserve. It is no longer possible to ignore the struggles of the poor and working class. We are only as strong and secure as our most vulnerable citizens.

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