- Corey Hannon, a New York man, went viral after he posted on social media that he went to Fire Island beach despite believing he had recently contracted COVID-19.
- While Hannon apologized, Fire Island and other beaches around the country were still packed with many tourists and locals over the Fourth of July weekend.
- Many fear that could now lead to a spike in cases and most states have already been seeing their daily number of cases climb over the last few weeks.
Fire Island: Corey Hannon Viral Video
Spring Breakers and Memorial Day beachgoers sparked frustration earlier this year for flocking to the shores in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, celebrations over the Fourth of July weekend have prompted similar outrage.
One of the weekend’s most audacious beachgoers facing a slew of backlash online is Corey Hannon: a 27-year-old man who traveled to Fire Island Pines, New York less than two weeks after suspecting he had COVID-19.
Hannon went viral on social media Saturday after he posted a photo to his Instagram story that read: “I wanna Kiki but my body says, nope not yet… thought the COVID was gone.”
Hannon’s photo then began to circulate on social media, where he soon caught criticism for potentially exposing others to COVID-19 in the name of going to the beach.
“They really need to charge people like this with something. Knowingly going out like that is ridiculous,” one person tweeted.
The online eventually picked up so much traction that Hannon seemingly posted a response on Instagram later in the day.
“You know, I did have COVID,” he said. “Everyone knows I had COVID, and you know what I did? I sat in my fucking bedroom and quarantined myself for eight fucking days and suffered through COVID. And now I’m out celebrating, so go fuck yourself. I hope all of you get fucking COVID. You nasty, nasty trolls.”
While that video was only up for about 10 minutes according to Hannon, it was screen-recorded and shared by multiple people.
“8 WHOLE DAYS?!” one Twitter user sarcastically said. “Why, no one in the world has ever stayed home that long! What a hero! What a tower of strength! People will share the story of the man who stayed home for 8 days during a pandemic for generations to come.”
8 WHOLE DAYS?! Why, no one in the world has ever stayed home that long! What a hero! What a tower of strength! People will share the story of the man who stayed home for 8 days during a pandemic for generations to come. pic.twitter.com/bojVzwFlMO— Lovethisjourneyforus (@southerngalsgde) July 5, 2020
In a Facebook video on Sunday, Hannon apologized for his actions, saying that he would “never maliciously go out and infect people.”
“I am not a murderer. I’m not a bad person,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and I think I’ve paid the price for them. I apologize if you think I’m a bad person because of this.”
In that post, Hannon explained his timeline with the virus, saying he started feeling ill on June 22. On June 30, he got tested for COVID-19. He then stayed in his apartment until July 3rd. The next day, the Fourth of July, he went to Fire Island—12 days after he became symptomatic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control: “You can be with others after: 3 days with no fever and Respiratory symptoms have improved and 10 days since symptoms first appeared.”
The CDC also has lengthy considerations for when and how to visit beaches.
In his Facebook video, Hannon apologized for even going to Fire Island in the first place and potentially infecting people.
He said he deleted his original video about 10 minutes after it was posted because he meant to send it to a friend instead of his story. He also said that his test result still hasn’t come back yet, so he hasn’t actually tested positive for COVID-19.
Nonetheless, Hannon said he believes it was COVID-19 and that he should have stayed in.
Fire Island Fourth of July Party
While Hannon attracted most of the attention over the weekend, it wasn’t just him. In fact, on Saturday, Fire Island was packed.
“Fuck Your mask,” Fire Island beachgoer Giancarlo Kristian Albanese said on Instagram. “Fuck your social distancing. Fuck your vaccine.”
Police were also called to the beach twice on Saturday over reports of people not social distancing and not wearing masks, however, police said they did not issue any citations. Monday morning the Island Pines Property Owners Association told local news outlets that police have agreed to shut down any beach party going forward.
“Please y’all, as things continue to open up / spiral out of control 😅 be responsible with yourself,” Queer Eye hair stylist Jonathan Van Ness said on Instagram Sunday. “If you’re partying, you are risking every single last one of our health.”
“Since black and brown people are dying at much higher rates your refusal to wear masks in crowded spaces is literally racist,” he added. “Have a good Sunday.”
As many have pointed out, the Fire Island incident took place in New York, a state that at one point, had one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world. Because of that, many worry Fourth of July parties will lead to another spike in a couple of weeks.
That’s on top of county officials planning to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 on Wednesday. That move will open up colleges and non-essential businesses such as aquariums, though, it will still keep things like malls, gyms and movie theaters closed.
Other Beaches Packed
In fact, while this weekend was a very different Fourth of July for many, that didn’t stop others from traveling to beaches.
In Virginia Beach, people still showed up in droves, even after the city cancelled its fireworks show to “help keep Virginia Beach safe in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.”
At Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, similar crowds of people not wearing masks were reported. That’s despite the city amending its mask policy ahead of the weekend to include boardwalks and the sand.
On the west coast in California, people took to the beach in San Diego, even though many other beaches in Southern California were closed over the weekend as COVID cases in California continue to climb. On Sunday alone, the state recorded almost 11,800 cases.
Florida clocked in just behind that with 11,500 cases. Across the whole of the United States, Sunday yielded more than 49,000 new cases. Though that didn’t break Thursday’s single-day record of 54,000 total U.S. cases. According to The New York Times, the number of COVID cases being recorded each day has been and still is climbing in most states.
See what others are saying: (PIX 11) (Fox 5 New York) (Long Island News 12)
Lincoln College to Close for Good After COVID and Ransomware Attack Ruin Finances
Last year, 1,043 schools in the U.S. were the victim of ransomware attacks, including 26 colleges or universities, according to an analysis by Emsisoft.
One of the Only Historically Black Colleges in the Midwest Goes Down
After 157 years of educating mostly Black students in Illinois, Lincoln College will close its doors for good on Friday.
The college made the announcement last month, citing financial troubles caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a ransomware attack in December.
Enrollment dropped during the pandemic and the administration had to make costly investments in technology and campus safety measures, according to a statement from the school.
A shrinking endowment put additional pressure on the college’s budget.
The ransomware attack, which the college has said originated from Iran, thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data. Systems for recruitment, retention, and fundraising were completely inoperable at a time when the administration needed them most.
In March, the college paid the ransom, which it has said amounted to less than $100,000. But according to Lincoln’s statement, subsequent projections showed enrollment shortfalls so significant the college would need a transformational donation or partnership to make it beyond the present semester.
The college put out a request for $50 million in a last-ditch effort to save itself, but no one came forward to provide it.
A GoFundMe aiming to raise $20 million for the college only collected $2,452 as of Tuesday.
Students and Employees Give a Bittersweet Goodbye
“The loss of history, careers, and a community of students and alumni is immense,” David Gerlach, the college’s president, said in a statement.
Lincoln counts nearly 1,000 enrolled students, and those who did not graduate this spring will leave the institution without degrees.
Gerlach has said that 22 colleges have worked with Lincoln to accept the remaining students, including their credits, tuition prices, and residency requirements.
“I was shocked and saddened by that news because of me being a freshman, so now I have to find someplace for me to go,” one student told WMBD News after the closure was announced.
When a group of students confronted Gerlach at his office about the closure, he responded with an emotional speech.
“I have been fighting hard to save this place,” he said. “But resources are resources. We’ve done everything we possibly could.”
On April 30, alumni were invited back to the campus to revisit the highlights of their college years before the institution closed.
On Saturday, the college held its final graduation ceremony, where over 200 students accepted their diplomas and Quentin Brackenridge performed the Lincoln Alma Mater.
Last year, 1,043 schools in the U.S. were the victim of ransomware attacks, including 26 colleges or universities, according to an analysis by Emsisoft.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Herald Review) (CNN)
U.S. Tops One Million Coronavirus Deaths, WHO Estimates 15 Million Worldwide
India’s real COVID death toll stands at about 4.7 million, ten times higher than official data, the WHO estimated.
One Million Dead
The United States officially surpassed one million coronavirus deaths Wednesday, 26 months after the first death was reported in late February of 2020.
Experts believe that figure is likely an undercount, since there are around 200,000 excess deaths, though some of those may not be COVID-related.
The figure is the equivalent of the population of San Jose, the tenth-largest city in the U.S., vanishing in just over two years. To put the magnitude in visual perspective, NECN published a graphic illustrating what one million deaths looks like.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the White House predicted between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans would die from the coronavirus in a best-case scenario.
By February 2021, over half a million Americans had died of COVID.
The coronavirus has become the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer.
The pandemic’s effects go beyond its death toll. Around a quarter of a million children have lost a caregiver to the virus, including about 200,000 who lost one or both parents. Every COVID-related death leaves an estimated nine people grieving.
The virus has hit certain industries harder than others, with food and agriculture, warehouse operations and manufacturing, and transportation and construction seeing especially high death rates.
People’s mental health has also been affected, with a study in January of five Western countries including the U.S. finding that 13% of people reported symptoms of PTSD attributable to actual or potential contact with the virus.
Fifteen Million Dead
On Thursday, the World Health Organization estimated that nearly 15 million people have died from the pandemic worldwide, a dramatic revision from the 5.4 million previously reported in official statistics.
Between January 2020 and the end of last year, the WHO estimated that between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people died either due to the coronavirus directly or because of factors somehow attributed to the pandemic’s impact on health systems, such as cancer patients who were unable to seek treatment when hospitals were full of COVID patients.
Based on that range, scientists arrived at an approximate total of 14.9 million.
The new estimate shows a 13% increase in deaths than is usually expected for a two-year period.
“This may seem like just a bean-counting exercise, but having these WHO numbers is so critical to understanding how we should combat future pandemics and continue to respond to this one,” Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious diseases specialist at the Yale School of Public Health who was not linked to the WHO research, told the Associated Press.
Most of the deaths occurred in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
According to the WHO, India counts the most deaths by far with 4.7 million, ten times its official number.
See what others are saying: (NBC) (U.S. News and World Report) (Scientific American)
Official Says Missing Alabama Convict and Corrections Officer Had a “Special Relationship”
Authorities have also said they now believe the officer willfully helped the inmate escape.
New Information on Missing Inmate & Officer
Authorities in Alabama revealed Tuesday that Assistant Director of Corrections for Lauderdale County Vicky White, who is accused of helping a murder suspect Casey Cole White escape from jail, had a “special relationship” with the inmate.
“Investigators received information from inmates at the Lauderdale County Detention Center over the weekend that there was a special relationship between Director White and inmate Casey White,” Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said in a statement. “That relationship has now been confirmed through our investigation by independent sources and means.”
Officials have previously said that the two are not related, despite their shared surname.
Singleton elaborated on the nature of the relationship while speaking to CNN later on Tuesday. He said it took place “outside of her normal work hours” and added that although it did not include “physical contact,” he still characterized it as “a relationship of a different nature.”
“We were told Casey White got special privileges and was treated differently while in the facility than the other inmates,” Singleton said.
Also on Tuesday, the Marshals Service issued a statement confirming that authorities believe Officer White had helped Mr. White escape. The authorities described her as a “wanted fugitive” and offered a $5,000 reward for any information on her whereabouts. Earlier this week, the Marshals Service also offered a $10,000 reward for any information that could lead to Mr. White’s capture.
Singleton echoed the belief that Officer White’s actions were intentional while speaking to Good Morning America Wednesday.
“I think all of our employees and myself included were really hoping that she did not participate in this willingly. But all indications are that she absolutely did,” he said. “We’re very disappointed in that because we had the utmost trust in her as an employee and as an assistant director of corrections.”
Vicky White and Casey White were last seen leaving the Lauderdale County jail just after 9:30 a.m. Friday. The officer told other employees that she was taking the inmate to a mental health evaluation at a courthouse just down the road, and that she would be going to a medical appointment after because she was not feeling well.
Officials later said her actions violated an official policy that required two sworn deputies to transport people with murder charges. In 2020, Mr. White was charged with two counts of capital murder in connection to a fatal stabbing he confessed to and was awaiting his trial in Lauderdale County.
Mr. White was also serving time for what officials said was a “crime spree” in 2015 which included home invasion, carjacking, and a police chase. He had also previously tried to escape from jail, police said.
It wasn’t until 3:30 p.m. on Friday that a jail employee reported to higher-ups that he was not able to reach Officer White on her phone and that Mr. White had never been returned to his cell.
During a press conference that same night, Singleton told reporters that there had never even been a scheduled mental health evaluation. At another briefing Monday, he announced that an arrest warrant had been issued for Vicky on a charge of “permitting or facilitating an escape in the first degree.”
At the time, Singleton said it was unclear “whether she did that willingly or was coerced or threatened” but added, “we know for sure she did participate.”