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NYS Investigates Chainsmokers Concert in Hamptons

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A charity concert in the Hamptons this weekend is under investigation after video footage shows concert attendees ignoring public health precautions such as social distancing.

What We Know:

  • The concert, which was called Safe & Sound, featured American music duo The Chainsmokers as the feature performance. There was an array of other performances including one from the CEO of Goldman Sachs David M. Solomon who is also known as D.J. D-Sol and another from Jay Schneiderman, the supervisor of the Town of Southampton, where the concert was located.
  • According to Billboard, tickets for the charity concert ranged from $1250 up to $25,000, with all profits going to local charities including No Kid Hungry, Children’s Medical Fund of NY, and Southampton Fresh Air Home.
  • Organizers described the event as a “drive-in music experience in the famous summer hot spot, the Hamptons”. The approved plan was that guests would be able to sit outside by their parked cars in spaced-out areas, following social distancing guidelines, to watch the performances. Unfortunately, video footage and pictures from the event show that some guidelines may have been ignored, with attendees crowding together close to the stage.

Both images are from the Safe & Sound Charity Concert in Southampton Saturday.

  • Prior to the event, organizers said, “Safe & Sound will set the bar for a new era of immersive experiences. This will be a safe and controlled environment, setting the bar for all events to come.” But by the following Monday, the concert had sparked conversation and outrage over social media and caught the attention of state officials like New York’s Health Commissioner Howard A. Zucker and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
  • Zucker wrote a letter to Schneiderman to address the concert event, saying he was greatly disturbed by the thousands of people who failed to adhere to social distancing guidelines. “I am at a loss as to how the Town of Southampton could have issued a permit for such an event, how they believed it was legal and not an obvious public health threat.”
  • Cuomo announced that he was launching an investigation with the Department of Health into the concert which he described as an “illegal & reckless endangerment of public health”. Cuomo later told reporters he was taking it very seriously because all the rules set in place were ignored, so “that has civil fines and the potential for criminal liability”. Cuomo also called the event a “gross violation” of public health rules and “common sense” and “grossly disrespectful” to New Yorkers.

  • At a news conference in Southhampton on Tuesday, Schneiderman told reporters that while no spectators gathered at the stage while he was performing with his band, they were later allowed to crowd in front of the stage, directly violating the permit for the event. Schneiderman also shared that the town is completing an investigation of its own.
  • In an emailed statement, the organizers said that they followed all safety protocols at the event, sharing that guests were repeatedly told they could not leave their designated areas which were spaced at least 6 feet apart. They also shared that guests’ temperatures were taken prior to entry and security guards monitored the area, encouraging attendees to wear masks and social distance. The organizers did not address any questions regarding their knowledge of attendees breaking the rules.
  • Criticism of the event engulfed social media, with many saying it was a representation of the attitude and disregard wealthy New Yorkers, the main demographic of vacationers in the Hamptons, have towards the dangers of the coronavirus, which has disproportionately hurt low-income populations.

The Department of Health has not yet released an update on the investigation.

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Coronavirus

Connecticut Issues First $1,000 Fines to Travel Violators

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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont speaks to reporters before surveying storm damage, Friday, Aug. 7, in Westport, Conn. (John Minchillo/AP)

The Department of Public Health of Connecticut has distributed its first $1,000 fine on Monday to two individuals who Gov. Ned Lamont said failed to follow the travel advisory for citizens who return home from states with high COVID-19 infection rates.

What We Know:

  • Lamont stated that the two anonymous people came back to Connecticut from being in Louisiana and Florida. Neither completed the health form needed from anyone coming from any state.
  • Aside from not filling out a form, one of the people did not want to quarantine for the necessary 14 days and was given an additional fine of $1,000. Lamont said a coworker had told state officials that the person was not obeying Lamont’s executive order. Additionally, officials received a hint about the other person.
  • Lamont’s chief operating officer, Josh Geballe, said the incidents happened a couple of weeks ago. One of the individuals is from Windham County, and the other is from Hartford County. For the moment, he stated, there are further investigations currently happening regarding possibly other offenders.
  • Geballe said in a statement that this is real and people need to obey these rules and comply since this is one of the riskiest areas for the state of Connecticut right now as people are traveling into this state, bringing the virus with them. People need to fill out the form and need to quarantine, and are expected to do that. He continued to say, “If not, there will be consequences.”
  • Geballe stated that the information on the forms is critical in case someone tests positive and officials need to trace who they may have come in contact with. So far, more than 20,000 of the health forms had been handed in so far, with approximately 1,000 filed every day. Geballe said its significant amount of data that can be used if needed.

Lamont told reporters during his coronavirus briefing that he “hates” to do it, but they are serious and want to show people how serious they are. He continued to say that people are incredibly doing the right thing, and those who are not, please be on notice.

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Southeast L.A. County Becomes Epicenter of Coronavirus Resurgence, Officials Blame Young Adults

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Assistant manager Luis Garcia sanitizes outdoor tables at Gloria's Restaurant in Huntington Park. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)
Assistant manager Luis Garcia sanitizes outdoor tables at Gloria's Restaurant in Huntington Park. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

A recent analysis suggests Southeast Los Angeles County has become the epicenter for the resurgence of the coronavirus, according to the LA Times. County health data all point towards a trend of working-class Latino communities being affected the most.

What We Know:

  • Memorial Day marked the first major holiday of the summer and with plans to reopen states soon following, COVID-19 spread like wildfire virus throughout the workforce since then. Many communities with higher rates of poverty, crowding and many essential workers who keep the economy afloat are the hardest hit by the wave of unemployment caused by the pandemic.
  • As of Sunday, Los Angeles County reported nearly 1,800 new cases of COVID-19 and a dozen more deaths, pushing the county’s totals over 208,500 cases and nearing 5,000 deaths. Younger residents are, unfortunately, a majority of all the new cases reported as of late. About 69% of positive cases are under the age of 50 at this point.
  • These statistics alone erased the regions once-promising reduction in cases, to now one of the highest rates in the country, and just under other areas of Los Angeles.
  • Data collected by the Times reported a county record of over 27,000 new COVID-19 cases in the region the past two months. The area now accounts for “19% of new infections, although it comprises just 12% of the countywide population.”
  • The upward trend of spikes in infections target the younger demographic of work-classing residents, such as Latinos, regardless of rural or urban settings. It is yet another weight Southern California faces after a historic issue of pollution, healthcare accessibility, gang violence, and more.
  • The dispersity of the Eastside, compared to the Westside, is the east has a greater percentage of low-income, essential workers and are more subject to overcrowding. According to experts, these are all perfect ingredients for COVID-19 to thrive.

On the other hand, the Westside isn’t experiencing the same troubles. Given that the Westside has always been predominantly white and more well off, the increase has not been as significant. Much of this can be credited to better access to testing and healthcare.

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New Zealand Faces New COVID-19 Cases

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement at a press conference late Tuesday night.

What We Know:

  • This comes just after New Zealand celebrated 100 days without transmission of new COVID-19 cases. New Zealand now has four new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and twenty-three cases are in managed isolation. All of the previous twenty-three cases are travelers who have returned home to the country.
  • The first new case has been identified as someone in their 50’s who had not traveled out of the country. All four of the new cases are within the same family, and more than one place of business is involved. Contract tracing is currently in progress. Close contacts of those who tested positive will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Starting at noon local time on Wednesday, August 12th, the city of Auckland went on level 3 lockdown until midnight on Friday, August 14th. Under level 3 restrictions, Auckland will require non-essential workers to work from home, while travel into the city is restricted to those who live in the area. The rest of New Zealand went on level 2 lockdown, which still allows people to attend work and school.
  • Prime Minister Ardern described the need for the restrictions.

“These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have widespread contact tracing so we can find out more about how this case arose and make decisions on how to respond to it.”

  • Director-General of Health for New Zealand, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, noted the need for vigilance to defeat the virus, “This case is a wake-up call against any complacency that may have set in. We cannot afford to let this virus spread.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, New Zealand has recorded a total of 1220 cases and 22 deaths due to the virus.

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