Paul Tafelski - June 2020

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June 2020

A Time Capsule From May 5, 2020 COVID-19 in Michigan and Beyond

The world around us is changing rapidly. Seeing as we prepare our newsletter several weeks in advance, we thought the most helpful way to use our newsletter was to create a time capsule and display recent Michigan and American history for our future selves to compare. This time capsule series is an effort to record, remember, and understand what’s happening during our national crisis. Today (May 5), I’ve been thinking about how difficult these changes have been for everyone, and my perspective from my legal practice is only a small piece of it. Things have come as close to a standstill as I’ve ever seen in my 20 years of practice. Yet, while people still respect the fact that the pandemic could get worse, people are also a little less afraid; that’s been greatly encouraging. Let’s keep our heads high and keep our nation recovering.

nature. Protestors often open carry and present ideas from President Trump’s campaign. There is a reasonable fear that these protests could get more serious in the future if the pandemic and its lockdown continue.


With the lack of travel in the country and factories shutting down, the demand for oil has dried up. Only a fewmonths ago, it would’ve been impossible to imagine that oil in America could drop to as low as -$40.32 a barrel. This means that oil companies are paying people to keep and hold on to their excess oil. This is partially because halting the production of oil is more complicated than many realize and can lead to reserves drying up. Nevertheless, more wells are in the process of pausing.

Tonsor, a professor at Kansas State University of agricultural economics, told TIME. “You can’t just overnight replace worker A with worker B.”




After the cast of popular TV show“Parks & Recreation” released a special quarantine episode, they raised nearly $3 million for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. According to NBC, the donations are still coming in. The first $500,000 was also matched by the show’s producers, network, and cast members. Our locals are making a difference, too. At an Exxon gas station near the Detroit Medical Center, one Michigander, Allen Marshall, filled the tanks of 50–80 vehicles that belonged to medical workers on the front lines. He held up a sign that read “Free gas for nurses,” until he ran out of money, then he held up a new sign that said, “Thank you for all you do!” That’s all for this time capsule. I’ll see you next month, where I hope the world will be a little brighter and healthier for everyone.

On March 10, Michigan confirmed its first two cases in the state, and on March 19, it had its first death. The state statistics were last updated on May 4 and tell us there are now 43,950 confirmed cases, 4,135 COVID-19 deaths, 196 daily confirmed cases, and 86 daily COVID-19 deaths. Lastly, while the black community comprises only 14% of the population in Michigan, they comprise about 34% of the state’s COVID-19 cases, which has exposed terrible truths about the health care disparities rooted in our society.

By the time you read this, it’s possible that you’ll have noticed meat variety shrinking and prices rising. The meat industry was supposed to be booming in 2020. Even in late February, a Department of Agriculture livestock analyst predicted that economic growth and low unemployment rates would boost demand for animal protein and help set red meat and poultry production records. However, meat plants put people in close quarters (often shoulder to shoulder), making it difficult to observe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations and endangering the safety of workers and consumers. While President Trump ordered meat factories to remain open, whether the order will prevent the meat shortage fromworsening will depend on the workers, some say. Workers who fall ill or are afraid for their safety and choose not to come to work will make a meat plant’s open doors irrelevant. “These are skilled jobs,”Glynn


At first, the opinions for dealing with the pandemic were hardly attached to party lines. However, in our news lately, we’ve been seeing more partisan divide over how and when businesses should reopen. While there are bipartisan business owners, protests over the lockdown haven’t been completely bipartisan in

-Paul J. Tafel ski • | 1

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