COVID-19 Cases In South Dakota Increase 456% Since Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

South Dakota has seen a sharp increase in daily COVID-19 cases following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Meade County this month. Hundreds of thousands of bikers descended upon the area August 6-15, despite the Delta variant wreaking havoc on the U.S. 

On August 4, the date closest to the start of the rally for which data was available, the state reported 657 active cases. On August 25, the state reported 3,655 active cases. That’s a 456% increase of active cases from before the start of the rally to two weeks after, according to the state’s department of health.

As of August 24, about two weeks from the start of the event, South Dakota saw a weekly positivity rate of 38.8%. The week leading up to the rally — July 30 to August 6 — the state’s weekly positivity rate was much lower, at 10.38%, the department of health data shows. The week before that, July 23-30, the positivity rate was just 6.10%.

The rate of daily cases increased 486% from August 6, when 80 new cases were reported, to August 23, when 469 cases were reported. 

Meade County, where Sturgis is located, saw a 34.2% weekly positivity rate last week, according to the state department of health. 

About 61% of the state’s population over age 12 have been administered at least one dose of vaccine, and 55% are fully vaccinated, the department’s data shows. In Meade County, 7,984 people have been vaccinated. With a population of 28,332, that’s about 28% of the county vaccinated.

Vaccines are proven safe and effective. Despite this, the Delta variant is still rapidly spreading, and hospitals report the majority of their COVID-19 cases are in unvaccinated patients. 

Still, the national vaccination effort is once again showing signs of slowing. Just over half of the American population is fully vaccinated, far short of the elusive “herd immunity” some hoped the country would reach by the end of the summer.

At the Sturgis rally, vaccines were not required, Mola Lenghi reported for “CBS This Morning: Saturday.” “We’re not going to start checking papers. I mean, that’s not really an American way,” said Daniel Ainslie, city manager of Sturgis, which has a population of 7,000.

Last year, the motorcycle rally received scrutiny for welcoming half a million bikers from across the country to what was considered a “superspreader” event. About three weeks after the 2020 rally kicked off, more than 100 cases of COVID-19 connected to the rally were reported in at least eight states, The Associated Press reported, and the number of related cases kept growing in the weeks that followed.

At the time, COVID-19 vaccines were not yet available. Some safety measures, like sanitizing sidewalks, were put in place, but masks were not required, City of Sturgis Public Information Officer Christina Steele told CBS News via email ahead of the event. 

In an email to CBS News, Daniel Bucheli, spokesman for the South Dakota Department of Health, said, “COVID-19 case spikes are following a national trend being experienced in every state, not just South Dakota.”

“Regarding cases surrounding the Sturgis rally, our department has only been able to link 39 cases directly to this event,” Bucheli said. “It is important to mention that Meade County currently has a lower vaccination rate than other counties in the state. Fully vaccinated residents in this county is 45.1%, versus 55.94% for the state as a whole.”

CBS News has reached out to representatives of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and is awaiting response. 

Source: CBS News

‘Take Your F*cking China Flu, And Shove It Up Your A**!’ Beningo Fronsaglia And Other Florida Men Hurl Racist Abuse After Ramen Lab Eatery Tells Them To Eat Their Pizza Elsewhere

The Florida Men are at it again.

Ramen Lab Eatery, a ramen restaurant in Delray Beach, Florida, was the site of several instances of anti-Asian vitriol, perpetrated by three White men who intruded upon the outdoor tables of the restaurant while it was closing.

The men, who showed up and started unstacking chairs to sit and eat slices of pizza, began spewing profanity at a female employee after she asked them to leave so the restaurant could close.

You can see footage here:

The men grew increasingly irate after being approached by owner Louis Grayson, calling the female employee a “little bitch” and unprompted, saying to Grayson:

“Take your f*cking China flu, and shove it up your a**! A**hole, you f*cking Taiwanese ch*nk motherf**ker.”

Shortly after, Grayson called the police, which caused the men to run away.

Shortly after the incident, Grayson took the footage online.

“We have zero tolerance for violence,” Grayson wrote on the Ramen Lab Eatery’s Instagram page. “We are a honest hard working business. We stand against any type of racism, harassments and discrimination. We pride ourselves in having a multicultural environment.”

“Unfortunately, this situation was very heart breaking and will not break our spirits. We will not accept this type of behavior and attack on anyone and especially to our staff.”

It didn’t take Twitter sleuths long to identify at least one of the men.

One of the men was identified as Beningo Fronsaglia.

Twitter went digging for all the dirt.

Delray Beach police declined to investigate or press charges.

Source: Comic Sands

Airlines And Flight Attendants Want Stiffer Penalties For Unruly Passengers: “It’s Out Of Control”

JetBlue Airways flight bound for New York returned to the Dominican Republic in early February after a passenger allegedly refused to wear a facemask, threw an empty alcohol bottle and food, struck the arm of one flight attendant, and grabbed the arm of another.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which detailed the incident in a report, slapped the passenger with a $32,750 fine.

Reports of verbal abuse, a failure to comply with the federal mask mandate and assault by airline passengers are on the rise. Airline industry groups, flight attendants and lawmakers want the government to do more to stop it.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday said it has received approximately 3,100 reports of unruly passenger behavior since the start of the year.

The agency said it has so far proposed fines totaling $563,800, though recent agency releases describe incidents that allegedly occurred in February, meaning there are likely more cases, and fines, yet to be disclosed.

The agency implemented a “zero tolerance” policy and threatened fines of up to $35,000 earlier this year, after a series of politically motivated incidents around the time of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Passengers have 30 days to contest the fines.

Unruly passenger behavior or interfering with flight attendant duties is against federal law.

Flight attendant unions say their members have been insulted, shouted and demeaned by passengers, some of them intoxicated, and in some rare cases, violence.

A passenger allegedly punched a Southwest Airlines flight attendant last month. The flight attendant lost two teeth after she was struck, according to her labor union.

“It’s out of control,” said Paul Hartshorn, spokesman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American Airlines’ more than 20,000 cabin crew members. “It’s really coming to the point where we have to defend ourselves.”

Airline executives note that the cases are rare considering the number passengers they are carrying. Transportation Security Administration airport screenings recently topped 2 million a day, the highest since before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in mid-March 2020.

But the issue adds to flight attendants’ stress after a year of job insecurity and health concerns from working in a pandemic, said Sara Nelson, a prominent labor leader and international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the largest flight attendant union with some 50,000 members across more than a dozen airlines.

“Even if it doesn’t rise to the level of a physical altercation, just the constant bickering and name-calling and disrespect, that wears away at people,” she said.

Most of the cases are related to passengers’ refusal to wear masks on board, which the Biden administration mandated earlier this year, though airlines have required it since early in the pandemic. The administration extended it through mid-September.

A passenger on a Jan. 7 Alaska Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., to Seattle allegedly pushed a flight attendant when cabin crew walked down the aisle to check whether travelers were wearing face masks, said the FAA, which fined the traveler $15,000.

There isn’t one single reason behind the incidents, according to Ryan Martin, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who has studied anger for about two decades. He said a sense of entitlement is a common thread in displays of anger, however.

“What we know is that entitlement is correlated with anger, meaning the more entitled you are the angrier you get,” said Martin, the author of “Why We Get Mad: How to Use Your Anger for Positive Change.”

Another factor behind disruptive behavior could be readily available examples, such as videos online, of others acting out.

“We’ve seen lots and lots of example of people losing their cool and having what I would call tantrums in the last year, very publicly,” Martin said. “Some of that may have modeled a way of dealing with problems for people that isn’t really a healthy, reasonable way to deal with problems.”

Increased anxiety returning to travel might also have heightened tensions, he added, though he noted that one of the better indicators for whether someone will turn violent is that they believe in violence to solve problems in the first place.

Source: CNBC

Six Homeless People Were Paid To Fill Disposable Cameras During UK Lockdowns, With Images Now Going On Display In London Exhibition

An exhibition showcasing photographs from homeless people during the UK’s coronavirus lockdowns has given them an income boost and provided an “utterly unique” perspective on the pandemic.

Out Of Home was devised by photography hobbyist Dan Barker and his wife Lucy Wood, whose photographs have featured in the Royal Academy.

The couple paid six people £20 for each camera they filled with photographs.

The pictures, taken from largely empty streets across usually bustling London, are now on display in an outdoor exhibition at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

The images are also being sold as individual prints and have even been compiled into a 65-page book.

The profits from all these uses will go to the photographers, with a portion also going to the church near Trafalgar Square, to aid its work in helping the homeless.

“The work they’ve produced is utterly unique… people like you and me showing what life has been like, without a home, at a time we were all told to ‘stay at home’,” Mr Barker told the PA news agency.

Joe Pengelly, a homeless man based in Covent Garden, would usually sell The Big Issue but was unable to due to coronavirus restrictions.

Instead he has been reliant on a combination of the £300 he receives each month in benefits and begging on predominantly empty streets.

“Obviously, the income’s a good thing, but it’s not the main thing… now I’ll get known for something other than just begging or being homeless,” the 32-year-old told PA.

“There’s another side to me, and hopefully people will see that… there’s another side to everyone on the streets.”

Mr Pengelly has been staying in a hostel for £120 per month during the pandemic, but he said the temporary accommodation is “the sort of place that can kick you out without an excuse”.

“When the lockdown started it was a nightmare… it was like a nuclear bomb had wiped out all but a tenth of London’s population,” Mr Pengelly added.

“(The hostel) might sort a roof over your head, but it still doesn’t sort out where, where you’re going to get any finance from.”

Mr Pengelly said he was most proud of a photograph he took of three police officers in high-visibility jackets as they asked him to move along.

He also picked out a perspective shot taken while he was reading a book on the street in his sleeping bag.

Government statistics show the average age of death for a homeless woman in the UK is 43, and Mr Barker said Kelly’s death highlights the difficulties of living on the streets, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Another man who took part, Darren Fairbrass, said the public’s perceptions of homeless people changed during the pandemic.

“People have changed… they seemed to think because I’m homeless and sleeping on the streets that I must have this Covid virus,” the 37-year-old said.

“People seemed to get scared if I was to approach them. Thankfully there were still a few that treated me as if I was a human still, and stopped, even just for a chat.”

Mr Fairbrass said life “completely disappeared” from central London during the lockdown, but the cameras made life easier and provided for him and his dog, Indie.

“I’ve lost count how many cameras I have actually filled, I just know it’s a lot and have had fun doing them and made life out here a bit easier,” he added.

Those who took part in the project were told to take pictures of things they find interesting, and not to spend more than one hour and 45 minutes on it each day – to ensure the work was paid at the London Living Wage.

They were given one camera per day, but this was flexible where pay could help, and altogether thousands of photographs were taken.

The exhibition Out Of Home is free and open from Thursday to Sunday and on bank holidays.

Source: Shropshire Star

Are DoorDash, UberEats, Postmates, Grubhub, Good For Restaurants?

While indoor dining has dropped way down during the pandemic, food delivery has grown considerably. DoorDash and Uber Eats, the two largest delivery apps by market share both saw their sales double from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020.

But while it might be an easy decision for customers to use these third-party delivery apps, the decision for restaurants is not so easy. There is a lot to consider, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

To find out more, watch CNBC’s deep-dive into the pros and cons of third-party delivery apps for restaurants.

NBA Veteran Jeremy Lin On Being Called ‘Coronavirus’ On The Court; Talks How Everyone Is So Quick Compare Struggles Between Different Minority Groups

In the wake of the mass shootings in Atlanta that killed eight people – including six Asian women – basketball pro Jeremy Lin tweeted “to my Asian American family” about his heartbreak and deep concern. While the shooting suspect’s motive has not been made public, Lin is no stranger to the anti-Asian sentiment that has been on the rise since the pandemic began. Lin is best known for generating “Linsanity” when he led a winning turnaround with the New York Knicks in 2012. Just before the deadly attack in Atlanta, he spoke with Michel Martin about racism in sports as part of Exploring Hate – our ongoing series on antisemitism, racism, and extremism.

Eddie Huang Opens Up On Racism Towards Asian Community, Pop Smoke, And Leaving ‘Fresh Off The Boat’

Producer, director & personality Eddie Huang sat down with Ebro in the Morning for an honest conversation about racism against the Asian community following the shooting at massage parlors in Atlanta. He also discussed some of the experiences he has had himself, and its effects in the community.

He also spoke about the passing of Pop Smoke, solidarity among different races in Los Angeles, his decision to leave the show ‘Fresh off the Boat,’ and more.

He directs the film, ‘Boogie’ which is in theaters now.

Georgia Sheriff’s Captain Jay Baker No Longer Spokesman On Atlanta’s Spa Shooting Case; Facebook Posts Surface Of Racist COVID-19 Shirts

A Cherokee County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office spokesperson came under fire Wednesday afternoon for pinning the deadly Tuesday shooting rampage that left eight dead—including six Asian women—on a 21-year-old white man’s “really bad day.”

“Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Jay Baker said during the joint news conference with the Atlanta Police Department about 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long.

But it seems the same spokesperson shared racist content online, including pointing the finger at China for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—the same vitriol advocates say has fueled a horrific surge in violence against Asian Americans.

In a Facebook page associated with Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, several photos show the law enforcer was promoting T-shirts with the slogan “COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA.”

“Place your order while they last,” Baker wrote with a smiley face on a March 30 photo that included the racist T-shirts.

“Love my shirt,” Baker wrote in another post in April 2020. “Get yours while they last.’”

The shirts appear to be printed by Deadline Appeal, owned by a former deputy sheriff from Cherokee County, and sold for $22. The store, which promotes fully customizable gear, also appears to print shirts for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, a “ceremonial unit, all volunteers, who represent not only the Sheriff’s Office but also the county when participating in a variety of events,” according to a March 10 Instagram post.

The photos on Baker’s account were first spotted by a Twitter user.

Multiple photos on the Facebook page show Baker in his uniform and attending sheriff’s department functions, including one with his name tag clearly visible. Baker did not immediately respond to requests for comment on his personal cell phone and to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office.

When contacted by The Daily Beast, Sheriff Frank Reynolds, who appears to be friends with Baker on Facebook, said he was not familiar with the racist photos.

“I am not aware of that. I will have to contact him, but thank you for bringing that to my attention,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds’ official sheriff’s department page lists as part of his prior experience a 2005 to 2008 stint at the Department of State described entirely in abbreviations: WPPS HTP, IC BWUSA. This would appear to stand for Worldwide Personal Protective Services, a contract the federal government granted the independent contractor Blackwater USA. His campaign page alludes to work in Iraq without naming his employer. But an apparent Reynolds supporter and fellow member of the department shared an image on Facebook of then-candidate’s security clearance so as to dispel rumors that he had a criminal record in 2016. The image, naming Reynolds, showed a contract number corresponding to an indefinite arrangement the State Department inked with Blackwater to provide security guards and control services in 2005.

Blackwater became infamous after its private guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. There is at present no evidence linking Reynolds to that incident, and he did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

The massacre at three Asian massage parlors comes amid a shocking wave of anti-Asian violence in the United States. Authorities say Long, the suspect in the grisly crimes, insisted he was not intentionally targeting people of Asian descent. Still, police—including Baker—said the investigation was ongoing and the murders could still be categorized as a hate crime.

The fact that Long allegedly targeted Asian massage parlors and killed a half-dozen Asian women has spurred uproar online and among community leaders. Nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate were reported between March 2020 and last month, according to Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition documenting discrimination during the pandemic.

During a Wednesday news conference, Baker seemed to downplay Long’s alleged actions, telling reporters the 21-year-old attributed the crimes to his “sexual addiction” issues. Baker said Long targeted the spas to “take out that temptation.”

Baker’s adopted brother, Anthony Baker, is a Georgia Superior Court judge—and, according to a profile published in January, was born in Vietnam to a woman there who had married an American soldier.

Source: The Daily Beast, VladTV