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January 1, Middle America – the Next COVID-19 Hot Spot



This Day in History | 1929

President Herbert Hoover has a telephone installed at his desk in the Oval Office. 

Good morning Middle Americans, 

Today’s message comes from the heart as we all brace for the ‘onslaught’ of the novel coronavirus that we expect this week. People in middle America are some of the strongest on the planet. While much of the big corporate media exists in the places like New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., – middle America is where things actually get made. It’s where a lot of our food comes from. It’s where you live and this week – it’s middle Americas turn to deal with this virus.  Hang in there folks.  It easy to get distracted by all the noise coming from the traditional centers of power. But you have the common sense to get through this. And we’ll keep you informed. 

That said – you may have seen some ads for supposed cures, misleading claims, snake-oil sales pitches and conspiracy theories about the outbreak.  Social media is a cess pool for this crap. We have a story below to help you navigate through all the b.s. that’s showng up on your social media sites. 

Finally you’re going to want to see this new Fox News poll. It has Joe Biden beating Trump, and it’s not very close. This despite the fact that Biden can’t get through an interview with forgetting something.  

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon

Middle America Braces for Onslaught as Virus Moves Beyond Coasts

(New York Times) – A second wave of coronavirus cases is charting a path far from coastal Washington state, California, New York and New Jersey and threatening population centers in America’s middle. Emerging hot spots include smaller communities like Greenville, Mississippi, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and large cities like New Orleans, Milwaukee, Detroit and Chicago.

Local and state leaders find themselves struggling to deal with the deadly onslaught, urgently issuing guidance to residents and sounding the alarm over a dearth of equipment in local clinics and hospitals.

As the threat expands, the orders from state and local officials have sometimes been a chaotic, confusing patchwork. With mixed signals from the federal authorities in Washington, D.C., local leaders have wrestled with complicated medical and economic choices. Mayors and governors in Oklahoma, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Texas have clashed over which restrictions to impose on residents, dispensing contradictory instructions, even as their communities are being ravaged by the virus.

Read more here

‘Off the charts’: Virus Hot Spots Grow in Middle America

(AP) — The coronavirus continued its unrelenting spread across the United States with fatalities doubling in two days and authorities saying Saturday that an infant who tested positive had died. It pummeled big cities like New York, Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago, and made its way, too, into rural America as hotspots erupted in small Midwestern towns and Rocky Mountain ski havens.

Elsewhere, Russia announced a full border closure while in parts of Africa, pandemic prevention measures took a violent turn, with Kenyan police firing tear gas and officers elsewhere seen on video hitting people with batons.

Find out more here

Why COVID-19 Became a Social Media Nightmare

(AFP) – The biggest reputational risk Facebook and other social media companies had expected in 2020 was fake news surrounding the US presidential election. Be it foreign or domestic in origin, the misinformation threat seemed familiar, perhaps even manageable.

The novel coronavirus, however, has opened up an entirely different problem: the life-endangering consequences of supposed cures, misleading claims, snake-oil sales pitches and conspiracy theories about the outbreak.

So far, AFP has debunked almost 200 rumors and myths about the virus, but experts say stronger action from tech companies is needed to stop misinformation and the scale at which it can be spread online.

“There’s still a disconnect between what people think is true and what people are willing to share,” Professor David Rand, a specialist in brain and cognitive sciences at the MIT Sloan School of Management, told AFP, explaining how a user’s bias toward content he or she thinks will be liked or shared typically dominates decision-making when online.

Part of the reason is that social media algorithms are geared to appeal to someone’s habits and interests: the emphasis is on likability, not accuracy. Changing that would require Facebook, Twitter and other such companies to alter what people see on screen.

Get informed here

Fox News Poll: Biden leads Trump

(Fox News) -Former Vice President Joe Biden bests President Donald Trump by nine points in a 2020 ballot test, in the first Fox News Poll since Biden became the de facto Democratic nominee.

In a head-to-head presidential matchup, Biden is up by 49-40 percent over Trump, a lead that is outside the poll’s margin of sampling error. Another 11 percent would vote for someone else or are undecided.  Last month, Biden was ahead by 49-41 percent.

Meanwhile, by a three-to-one margin, voters like Biden’s commitment to choose a woman as his running mate.  

See the results here.

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