The Coronavirus’s Unique Threat to the South

Kaiser’s at-risk group includes all people over 60 years old and all adults younger than 60 who also have heart disease, cancer, lung disease, or diabetes. In each state, older people are the majority of the people considered to be at risk of complications. But the Deep South and mid-South form a solid bloc of states where younger adults are much more at risk. In Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi, relatively young people make up more than a quarter of the vulnerable population. Compare that with the coronavirus’s beachhead in Washington State, where younger adults make up only about 19 percent of the risk group.

…Southerners are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases than other Americans—even as Americans are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases than citizens of other countries with comparable wealth. According to Neuman, these estimates don’t include people with cancer or who are immunocompromised—groups that are also at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19. And cancer mortality rates are highest in southern states.

…These differences are not innate to southerners; they are the result of policy. Health disparities tend to track both race and poverty, and the states in the old domain of Jim Crow have pursued policies that ensure those disparities endure. The South is the poorest region in the country. The poor, black, Latino, or rural residents who make up large shares of southern populations tend to lack access to high-quality doctors and care. According to the State Health Access Data Assistance Center, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana all spend less than $25 per person on public health a year, compared with $84 per person in New York. Nine of the 14 states that have refused to expand Medicaid to poor residents under the Affordable Care Act are in the South.

…Advocates have drawn attention to the extreme vulnerability of people in prison to the coronavirus—and the South incarcerates a larger proportion of its population than anywhere else in the United States.  …Southern states have some of the lowest ratios of active physicians to patients in the country.

The Coronavirus’s Unique Threat to the South – The Atlantic


A second pastor has been charged with violating public orders against large gatherings

“Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion,” said Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran Tuesday in a statement.

“Mr. Spell will have his day in court where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community,” Corcoran added.

A second pastor has been charged with violating public orders against large gatherings – CNN

In a rare turn of events, the Peanut Gallery is decidedly with the Police Chief on this one.

Alabama Execution of Death Row Inmate Nathaniel Woods For Cop Killings Will Be a ‘Modern Day Lynching,’ Family Say

Spencer confessed to gunning the three officers down in the deadliest day in the Birmingham Police Department’s history. But he maintained that it had been an act of self-defense—a ‘”knee-jerk reaction”—when he saw Chisholm pointing a gun at him.

…Woods’ defenders say he is innocent—he never fired a weapon and there was no plot to kill the officers that day.

His attorneys say the surviving officer had testified that Woods surrendered to police before Spencer started shooting —but also changed his testimony from earlier statements to [belatedly] include a claim that Woods had threatened the officers before they were killed [one would imagine after the charges were chosen.]

…”The way that they convicted him on the theory of complicity, saying there was a plan to kill that day, it is completely not supported by the evidence,” she told Newsweek.

…”The evidence shows that Kerry Spencer acted alone, acted impulsively and confessed the day that he was arrested. He has maintained that story, that narrative, for the entire time that he has been sitting on death row.”

…Faraino added that the execution shouldn’t only be stopped because Woods is innocent, but also because there is evidence of witness and evidence tampering and use of improper tactics in the case.

…She and other attorneys representing Woods’ have collected evidence that they claim shows key witnesses in the case either testified falsely or didn’t testify after making deals with the police.

“There were many issues with his trial and the way that the prosecutors conducted themselves, there is evidence of witness tampering, there is evidence of moving the physical forensic evidence that was collected at the scene and overall, there were just improper tactics used to confuse the jury and lead to a guilty verdict,” she said.

The Appeal reported that two of the officers, Owen and Chisholm, “had a reputation for corruption and violence” and collected money from drug dealers in the neighborhood in return for protecting their operations, according to documents.

…”The prosecution constructed and managed a narrative of guilt. There is no denying that Nate was not always a law-abiding citizen. He had a record, admitted to selling drugs, and disrespected the four white police officers. But he did not commit capital murder.”

…”We know and the world knows that he’s an innocent man. We all know that he’s innocent. So for [Governor Ivey], and her staff, or whoever, the Attorney General, to want to execute him knowing this information, it’s just plain murder.”

Alabama Execution of Death Row Inmate Nathaniel Woods For Cop Killings Will Be a ‘Modern Day Lynching,’ Family Say