New top story from Time: A New York Doctor Who Died After Fever and Cough Was Never Tested for Coronavirus, Highlighting the Limits of the Official Toll

(NEW YORK) — As the coronavirus bore down on New York, Dr. Doug Bass’ family begged him to work from home. He refused, pointing to his patients at Phoenix House, a drug and alcohol treatment center where he served as medical director.

“He said he was on the front lines and they needed him,” his brother, Jonathan Bass, told The Associated Press. “Too many people relied on him.”

Bass, 64, died suddenly last month after suffering symptoms commonly caused by coronavirus, including coughing, a fever and severe stomach cramping. That made him possibly the first physician still treating patients in New York City to die from the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Except he wasn’t counted.

It happened so quickly he was never tested for COVID-19, but his brother believes he was among the hundreds of undiagnosed cases that, for weeks, have been excluded from the official coronavirus death toll.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday the city would begin counting victims like Bass who weren’t tested, including those dying at home whose symptoms fit certain parameters.

“It’s just horrendous. The numbers speak for themselves. This used to be a very, very rare thing in New York City and suddenly it’s jumped up. The only thing that’s changed is COVID- 19,” de Blasio told reporters.

A year ago, the New York City Fire Department was receiving an average of 64 calls for cardiac arrest per day, generally with no more than half of those patients dying, FDNY spokesman James Long said. “Now, in this pandemic, we are seeing more than 300 cardiac arrest calls each day, with well over 200 people dying each day,” Long wrote in an email.

Casualties have been undercounted worldwide, experts say, due not only to limits in testing but the different ways nations count the dead — not to mention deliberate underreporting by some governments.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued new guidance saying it is acceptable to count undiagnosed COVID-19 cases as “probable” or “presumed” coronavirus deaths under circumstances that are “compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said he was also interested in trying to find a way to account for people who die at home without being tested.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause pneumonia.

Bass, the New York City doctor, believed he had been getting better in the days before his death and continued working for Phoenix House, which provides residential and outpatient treatment at multiple locations in New York City and Long Island.

He had a weakened immune system, his brother said, but “nothing life-threatening and nothing terminal.” He collapsed in the elevator of his building in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood after calling for an ambulance because he could not breathe. Officials at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, the hospital where Bass was taken, declined to comment on his death.

Ann-Marie Foster, the president and chief executive officer of Phoenix House, said her organization had at least two patients who had tested positive for coronavirus, but added it was not clear whether Bass had dealings with them. She said she received an email from Bass at 6:27 p.m. on March 27, the evening before his death.

“We’ve lost a gem,” she said.

There have been similar uncounted fatalities among health care workers.

An emergency room physician at East Orange General Hospital outside Newark, Frank Gabrin, died March 31 from what his loved ones and colleagues described as coronavirus complications. A cancer survivor who also was never tested for COVID-19, Gabrin died in his husband’s arms, at home in New York City, days after developing symptoms that included a dry cough, aches and fever.

The actual coronavirus death toll will be better understood when the pandemic is finally over, based on an a review of fatalities in out-of-hospital settings, said Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest municipal health system in the country.

“If an older person was found dead in their home, it would not be easy to know whether they succumbed to COVID without ever having been brought to diagnosis, or whether they succumbed to cardiac arrest,” Katz told reporters recently.

“I think there will be ways, when all of this horror that we’re living through is done, to try to study these things,” he added. “But I think, right now, everybody is in the moment trying to save as many lives as they can.”

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Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak in New York and David Porter in Newark, New Jersey, contributed to this report

EPA settles two cases with Coleman Oil Company, LLC, stemming from 2017 Columbia River oil spill

EPA settles two cases with Coleman Oil Company, LLC, stemming from 2017 Columbia River oil spill
Region 10
Seattle, WA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled two federal Clean Water Act cases with Coleman Oil Company, LLC, located in Lewiston, Idaho, owner and operator of a former oil bulk terminal in Wenatchee, Washington, adjacent to the Columbia River.

Published April 08, 2020
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New top story from Time: Presidential Betting in West Virginia Gets Shut Down After Only a Few Hours

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For just a moment, West Virginia was the only state in the country to allow betting on the presidential election.

The short-lived play by bookmaker giant FanDuel, which was approved by the state lottery board, was announced and then quickly nixed Tuesday night in a bizarre sequence that appeared to baffle top government officials.

“I thought, you know, are you kidding me? The first thing that came to my mind was, you know, what next?” Republican Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday. “It’s humorous but it’s ridiculous.”

FanDuel, which had President Donald Trump as a slight favorite over Democrat Joe Biden, said it took just one bet in the roughly hourlong window where wagers were accepted, though it wouldn’t say who it was for or how much was involved.

The company said it would have been fielding bets online and, eventually, allowed wagering at The Greenbrier resort, a lavish hotel owned by Justice where FanDuel operates. The governor said he was not aware of the deal until after it was announced.

The company issued a second statement about two hours after its initial announcement, saying “while the markets were approved, the West Virginia Lottery has asked FanDuel to refrain from offering the markets until they have time to fully work through the implications of this new market offering.”

The state’s top election official moved to shut things down quickly.

“Gambling on elections has been illegal in West Virginia since 1868,” Secretary of State Mac Warner said in a statement. “Gambling on the outcome of an election has no place in our American democracy. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. This is a terrible idea. Let’s shut this down right now and be very clear about it.”

FanDuel was also offering bets on who would get the Democratic presidential and vice presidential nominations, which political party would win and on which party would win each state.

West Virginia Lottery Director John Myers issued a statement Wednesday evening saying his office “screwed up.”

“I thought it would be okay, but after review, it was clearly a mistake,” he said. “We just screwed up. I didn’t have the authority to do it, it should have never happened and I apologize to everyone.”

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Associated Press writer Wayne Parry in Atlantic City, N.J., contributed to this report.

New top story from Time: Presidential Betting in West Virginia Gets Shut Down After Only a Few Hours

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For just a moment, West Virginia was the only state in the country to allow betting on the presidential election.

The short-lived play by bookmaker giant FanDuel, which was approved by the state lottery board, was announced and then quickly nixed Tuesday night in a bizarre sequence that appeared to baffle top government officials.

“I thought, you know, are you kidding me? The first thing that came to my mind was, you know, what next?” Republican Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday. “It’s humorous but it’s ridiculous.”

FanDuel, which had President Donald Trump as a slight favorite over Democrat Joe Biden, said it took just one bet in the roughly hourlong window where wagers were accepted, though it wouldn’t say who it was for or how much was involved.

The company said it would have been fielding bets online and, eventually, allowed wagering at The Greenbrier resort, a lavish hotel owned by Justice where FanDuel operates. The governor said he was not aware of the deal until after it was announced.

The company issued a second statement about two hours after its initial announcement, saying “while the markets were approved, the West Virginia Lottery has asked FanDuel to refrain from offering the markets until they have time to fully work through the implications of this new market offering.”

The state’s top election official moved to shut things down quickly.

“Gambling on elections has been illegal in West Virginia since 1868,” Secretary of State Mac Warner said in a statement. “Gambling on the outcome of an election has no place in our American democracy. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. This is a terrible idea. Let’s shut this down right now and be very clear about it.”

FanDuel was also offering bets on who would get the Democratic presidential and vice presidential nominations, which political party would win and on which party would win each state.

West Virginia Lottery Director John Myers issued a statement Wednesday evening saying his office “screwed up.”

“I thought it would be okay, but after review, it was clearly a mistake,” he said. “We just screwed up. I didn’t have the authority to do it, it should have never happened and I apologize to everyone.”

___

Associated Press writer Wayne Parry in Atlantic City, N.J., contributed to this report.