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The Big Story

U.S. Tops 100,000 Coronavirus Cases, Testing Kits, Equipment Still In Short Supply

The United States on Friday surpassed more than 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, doubling the number of known infections counted just three days ago. Data from Johns Hopkins University , which has been tracking the global spread of the disease, shows 101,657 people have been diagnosed in the U.S. as of Friday evening. More than 1,560 people have died. The troubling milestone comes a day after the U.S. infection toll rose above that of Italy and China, where the virus was first detected. It...

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Featured Story

What's In The $2 Trillion Bill For Health Care?

Most of the gargantuan sum of money in the coronavirus bill Congress just passed is dealing with the economic crisis, not the public health one. "Most of the bill is on emergency relief to people and unemployment insurance," says Loren Adler , associate director of USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy. "The health care provisions are, in some sense, secondary." For health, the biggest ticket item is $100 billion for hospitals and health care providers. Professor Lindsay Wiley ...

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New Mexico COVID-19 Cases Rise 40% To 191

16 hours ago

  SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Friday announced 55 additional positive tests for COVID-19.  This increases the number of positive cases by 40 percent to 191.

The Department of Health on Thursday reported no additional deaths in the state related to COVID-19. The number of deaths in the state related to COVID-19 remains at one.

Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham addressed New Mexicans via social media Friday evening, saying additional measures were necessary as the state looks to keep the virus from spreading.

She said the increase in cases is not unexpected but it means there's more social distancing that must be done.

A stay-at-home order is already in effect across New Mexico, and the governor has ordered all air travelers arriving in the state to self-isolate for 14 days.



This week, a conversation with Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, including a wide range of your questions.

Today, the city council unanimously approved a resoultion granting the Mayor and the Council the power to declare a state of emergency in the city.  

While this action has not yet been taken, it may be of use during the continuing pubilc health emergency.


New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham orders self-isolation for air travelers to N.M.

20 hours ago
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday issued an executive order requiring air travelers to New Mexico to self-isolate for at least 14 days to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Air travelers who fail to voluntarily self-isolate will be subject to forced isolation or quarantine by the New Mexico Health Department, Lujan Grisham says in the order.

The majority of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico have resulted from interstate and international travel into the state.

 

   Following the State of New Mexico Public Education Department’s announcement Friday that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the year, Las Cruces Public School administrators are working to finalize plans to have teachers and students finish the spring semester remotely starting April 6. 

“We are navigating our LCPS family through an unprecedented time of innovation,” said Dr. Karen Trujillo, Superintendent for Las Cruces Public Schools. “But that opportunity doesn’t come without the disappointment of knowing teachers and students will not return to their physical classrooms this school year.” 

 

At a special meeting this morning, March 27, 2020,  the Las Cruces City Council unanimously approved an emergency declaration ordinance that allows the mayor and City Council to take immediate action in the event of a declared emergency. The action stated in the ordinance is for the protection of life and property, and for the preservation of public peace, safety, health, welfare, and for the continuity of efficient government operations.

The ordinance allows the council to exercise its emergency powers through a proclamation. The term of a proclamation is three days, but the council can extend the term for up to 14 days, at which time an extension or renewal would be required. The ordinance will expire at the end of the current mayor’s term.

Police Shooting Involving the Silver City Police Department

23 hours ago

The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was contacted to investigate a police shooting involving the Silver City Police Department (SCPD). 

On Wednesday, at approximately 9:38 p.m., a SCPD Officer attempted to locate a male subject involved in a shooting in Silver City, NM.  SCPD officers located the male subject identified as Alex Altamirano (53) driving a passenger vehicle.  The vehicle turned into the parking lot of the First Savings Bank located on North Hudson Street and Altamirano, who was armed with a firearm, opened fired at two SCPD officers.

Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Las Cruces Sun-News) — Authorities say a 16-year-old wrestling champion helped stop an kidnapping and assault near Las Cruces, New Mexico, by pinning a man to the ground until deputies arrived.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Thursday that Mayfield High School student Canaan Bower is being lauded as a hero after body-slamming and putting 22-year-old suspect Daniel Arroyo Beltran of Phoenix in a chokehold.

Deputies arrested Beltran Wednesday on suspicion of battery, assault and kidnapping.

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E-mail Viewpoints to: feedback@nmsu.edu

 

Commentary: In response to a critical shortage of ventilators needed to keep severe COVID-19 patients breathing, President Donald Trump ordered General Motors to produce the life-saving machines under the Defense Production Act. The Department of Health and Human Services will be responsible for implementation of and follow through on that order. 

In response, Matthew Wellington, Public Health Campaigns Director for U.S. PIRG, issued the following statement:

“It's about time we got serious about ramping up ventilator supply, and we need to do more. Health experts say we don’t have enough ventilators -- machines used to help people struggling to breathe -- to treat the projected number of COVID-19 patients. From Seattle to Detroit to New York, hospitals are preparing for the worst-case scenarios. 

Laura Paskus, New Mexico In Depth

  Commentary: James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement regarding upcoming lease sales for oil and gas extraction on federal lands in New Mexico:

 

“While New Mexico families are focused on making sure their loved ones are safe and healthy during this fast-moving crisis, other problems are brewing at the state level that may cause pain for years to come. Plummeting oil and gas prices are draining the state budget of funds needed for public safety, health care, education, and more. Actions by the Trump Administration will make this long-term revenue crisis worse.

 

  Commentary: In this time of fear, chaos and uncertainty, a choice must be made in the heart of every individual — to abandon one’s principles to fear, or to hold firm to them. The Libertarian Party seeks always to lead by example, and we choose to hold firm to ours.

One of the core principles of libertarianism is that governments should not pick winners and losers. Instead, the free market should make that determination. All efforts by the government to redistribute wealth inevitably result in favoritism towards the politically well-connected.

Commentary: While the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid in our state has brought many successes, COVID-19 has exposed major holes in our health care system and social safety net. Bold action is needed to ensure that New Mexicans have the resources they need. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was a critical first step in this effort.

However, additional steps will be necessary. The State of New Mexico, local clinics, and the New Mexicans who are weathering this crisis need more resources to ensure an adequate response. To that end, Health Action New Mexico has developed a series of health-related recommendations to help individuals and families access care and feel more financially secure, bolster the state’s capacity to respond, and assist clinics who help vulnerable populations. While this is by no means a comprehensive list of the steps necessary to address this crisis, it represents a critically-needed response to health coverage and access issues facing New Mexico and the United States.

Commentary: If you have not read Max Boot’s column “The coronavirus shows how backward the United States has become” (Washington Post, 18 March), you need to.  It details the many ways in which the United States, instead of being the world’s leader as the world’s richest country, is middling among the world’s wealthiest countries (OECD).

One damning paragraph reads:

Our health-care failures are particularly important now. We spend more on health care than any other country in the world, but we are the only OECD country without universal medical coverage (27.9 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2018). Child mortality in the United States is the highest in the OECD, and life expectancy is below average. We have far fewer hospital beds per capita than other advanced democracies (2.4 compared to 12.2 in South Korea), which makes us particularly vulnerable to a pandemic.

More Viewpoints
Join Fred Martino for the region's in-depth television news Thursday at 7pm, Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 11am on KRWG-TV. E-mail story ideas to feedback@nmsu.edu
The people and issues in our growing border communities.  Watch Fronteras Thursday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 5:30pm, and Sunday at 11:30am on KRWG-TV.
Living Here appears on KRWG-TV's Newsmakers and is also featured during occasional special programs.  
Community Connection features local nonprofits and government programs that are making a difference in our region.  Do you have suggestion?  E-mail feedback@nmsu.edu

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FACT CHECK: Trump Compares Coronavirus To The Flu, But It Could Be 10 Times Deadlier

In arguing for returning the country to some kind of normal sooner rather than later, President Trump noted that 36,000 people, on average, die from the flu each year. "But we've never closed down the country for the flu," the president said during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday. "So you say to yourself, 'What is this all about?' " But the two really can't be compared. They are very different and present different kinds of dangers. Here's how they are different, per a story done four...

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