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Trump-loving county finds 27-percent jump in COVID-19 after reopening — traced to social gatherings

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A Trump-backing Oregon county that helped lead the charge to reopen has seen a spike in coronavirus cases — which could offer a snapshot of what’s to come in other areas that relaxed social distance guidelines.

Deschutes County gained approval from state officials to reopen last week, but contact tracers have investigated 26 new positive test results since May 15, and that’s a pattern that seems to be playing out in other counties that backed President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

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“This suggests that rhetoric from some of the president’s supporters against maintaining public health measures may become more muted, as the nation continues to grapple with the many unknowns about COVID-19’s continued spread,” wrote William Frey, the author of a new analysis from the Brookings Institute.

The new cases in Deschutes County, which backed Trump 44-40 over Hillary Clinton, could roll back the state’s approval for Phase 1 reopening, which can be reviewed after a 5 percent increase — which the county far exceeded, with a 27-percent jump for the week ending May 20.

“Our largest age group is 20 to 29 years,” said Morgan Emerson, the county’s public health preparedness coordinator.

The county’s previous cases tended to be older, and often travel-related or likely contracted from a family member, at least 18 of the new cases have been traced to social gatherings attended by multiple families.

“All it takes is one COVID-19 positive person to attend a barbecue, or a block party, or a picnic, and then we’ll have another situation where we are investigating multiple cases,” Emerson said.

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Deschutes County has not yet met the criteria for high prevalence — that is, at least 100 cases per 100,000 people — but the largely rural county is trending in the same direction as similar counties in the South and Midwest over the past four weeks.

Of the 176 newly identified high-prevalence counties, the president won 151 compared to 25 that backed Clinton, but polling shows Republicans are still more likely to reject social distancing measures.

Republicans are more willing than Democrats or independents to take part in activities involving other people, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll, and two-thirds of them believe the “worst is behind us” in the pandemic.

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That’s compared to 70 percent of Democrats and half of independents who believe “the worst is yet to come.”


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57 Buffalo cops resign to support suspended officers who pushed down elderly man

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The entire Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team -- a total of 57 officers -- has resigned from the team in support of the two officers who pushed 75-year-old Martin Gugino to the ground, seriously injuring him.

They are still employed, but no longer on ERT.

According to Buffalo Police Benevolent Association president John Evans, the cops who pushed Gugino down were just following orders.

“Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” Evans, said in a statement.

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GOP official defends post blaming George Soros for ‘staged’ killing of George Floyd: I wanted to ‘get people to think for themselves’

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The chairman of the Harrison County Republican Party in Texas is under fire after he shared a conspiracy theory on his party's Facebook page claiming that the death of George Floyd "staged" by George Soros, CBS19 reports.

The post shared by Lee Lester was also previously shared by Bexar County GOP Chairwoman Cynthia Brehm -- which prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to call for her resignation.

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On the minds of Black Lives Matter protesters: A racist health system

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, when he decided to protest, William Smith, 27, used a red marker to write a message on the back of a flattened cardboard box: “Kill Racism, Not Me.”

As he stood alone, somber, he thought about George Floyd, a fellow black man whom he’d watched die on video as a Minneapolis cop kneeled on his neck eight days earlier. “Seeing the life leave his body was finally the last straw that broke the camel’s back for me,” he said.

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