The Wørd: Truthiness In Action
March 21, 2020 9:31 AM   Subscribe

At the beginning of 2020, reports of a 'pneumonia outbreak' spurred the CDC to action. When asked, Trump implied everything was under control and downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus threat while US intelligence reports warned of a likely pandemic. Those reports and other warnings spurred some to action (Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC; Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-GA). Trump downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus, and implied that the Trump administration had things well in hand.

As COVID-19 escalated into a world wide pandemic in March 2020, Trump claimed his administration always took COVID-19 seriously, while stonewalling those who actually took it seriously. Fox News is reinforcing Trump with stories doubling down on bigotry and racism (for free), while the Trump administration is deflecting attention from how Fox News endangered the public with misinformation. The gaslighting is becoming so blatant that it's getting called out more and more explicitly (Chuck Todd, Don Lemon, Rachel Maddow).

Some countries took it very seriously when it first appeared (e.g. South Korea), and are doing relatively well. In the US local leaders and states are acting on their own as the economy deteriorates into recession due to severe but needed public health measures. Meanwhile, Trump is positioning himself for reelection with increasingly less effective actions, finding the usual enemies to blame while continuing the GOP's long war on government. He's trying to rewrite the history of his response to Coronavirus, but reality shows a laser-like focus on getting reelected amid a galling display of inaction.

And, with all due respect to Stephen Colbert, that's the Wørd.
posted by ZeusHumms (2217 comments total) 128 users marked this as a favorite
 


Spain has nationalized all private hospitals and healthcare providers

Germany will decide this weekend if the government will enforce a total lockdown, based on citizens' behavior today

[Thanks, ZeusHumms, for the collection of news links. I hope Mefites keep the high signal-to-noise ratio going in the comments. There are plenty of other coronavirus threads for venting, commiserating, opinions and the rest; it would be great if we could grab this one for just links to ongoing news stories about the pandemic.]
posted by mediareport at 9:47 AM on March 21 [17 favorites]




The next President should call in an emergency broadcast, and force Fox to show the archive footage of how they changed their tune.
posted by ocschwar at 10:07 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Vietnam is 100 cases. Still.
posted by ocschwar at 10:08 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Case curves for the last five days. US hospitals are going to be hit very hard very soon, probably within the week.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:17 AM on March 21 [14 favorites]


This is the speech we've needed to hear from somebody at the highest levels of the federal government in the US. [YouTube link] Dr. Emily Landon, professor of infectious disease at the University of Chicago, appeared yesterday with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a COVID-19 press conference. Here is a transcript.

She spoke with urgency and concision about the actions we all need to be taking right now, not just by those living in hot zones like Seattle and NYC.

She explained clearly why these actions are necessary and how they will benefit society as a whole.

And she expressed empathy for those who are afraid and those who don't understand how staying home can be of any use.
"In short, without taking drastic measures, the healthy and optimistic among us will doom the vulnerable. We have to fight this fire before it grows too high. These extreme restrictions may seem, in the end, a little anticlimactic. Because it's really hard to feel like you're saving the world when you're watching Netflix from your couch.

But if we do this right, nothing happens. Yeah. A successful shelter in place means that you're going to feel like it was all for nothing. And you'd be right. Because nothing means that nothing happened to your family. And that's what we're going for here.

Even starting now, we can't stop the cases from coming fast and furious, at least for the next couple of weeks and in the short term. But with a real commitment to sheltering in place and a whole lot of patients, we can help protect our critical workers who need to use public transportation in order to safely get from where they need to go.

We can give our factories time to ramp up production of all that PPE, so that we have enough masks to last. And we can make more medications and learn more about how we could use them to help save more lives. Even a little time makes a huge difference."
posted by theory at 10:21 AM on March 21 [118 favorites]


Smash and grab, baby!

My brother runs a health department and my friend is CEO of a hospital and they... are not optimistic. Stay indoors when you can, practice excellent hygiene, etc etc this is not going away. I watched the news last night and let out a mournful and caustic howl of rage when they showed Florida beaches. When this is over, I bet no one will admit they went on spring break in 2020... fucking assholes doesn’t even cover it.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:22 AM on March 21 [35 favorites]


The news here (Berlin, Germany) is dire as hell - yet we just went out for a bike ride and the streets were as packed as ever. Grocery markets are still open and from talking to people here and there, people are taking it seriously but ... many seem to have a 'can't happen here.' attitude which is going to lead to the country being shut-down a la Italy.

It's a real slow-motion car wreck feeling.

from the Frankfurter Allegemeine a (German) report about how not optimistic doctors are.

I honestly wish there was an effective way to hang this on Trump's neck. I know it's not really realistic but still...
posted by From Bklyn at 10:29 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]


This is the speech we've needed to hear from somebody

just posted a link to that on my Facebook about three minutes ago. I really like this less dramatic part:

“It’s really hard to feel like you’re saving the world when you’re watching Netflix from your couch. But if we do this right, nothing happens. A successful shelter-in-place means you’re going to feel like it was all for nothing, and you’d be right: Because nothing means that nothing happened to your family. And that’s what we’re going for here.”
posted by philip-random at 10:31 AM on March 21 [46 favorites]


MIT Technology Review looks at the paper from Imperial College model of 18 months of two months on isolation, one month off : we are not going back to normal, and a mass centralized surrevilence state is much more likely.
posted by The Whelk at 10:31 AM on March 21 [22 favorites]


I watched the news last night and let out a mournful and caustic howl of rage when they showed Florida beaches.

Our Trumpy local sheriff is pissed the beaches are closed. He thinks it's too hard to determine what's private property and what's public. He's also mad at CNN for daring to show footage of all the dumbass spring breakers who were crammed into Clearwater beach this week. No mention of Fox reporting live from Clearwater on Thursday. SAD!
posted by photoslob at 10:31 AM on March 21 [11 favorites]


You might not be able to hang the virus itself on him, but encouraging people to go to work when sick is a pretty easy thing to criticize.
posted by Scattercat at 10:32 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]


This was posted yesterday by the New England Journal of Medicine*

Covid-19 and the Stiff Upper Lip — The Pandemic Response in the United Kingdom:

Throughout the past few weeks, the U.K. mantra has been “we will act at the appropriate time according to the science.” Many clinicians and scientists have been pushing the panic button, but the alarm, if heard, was not acted on publicly until the third week of March. Everyone is hoping that their gut instincts, the experience of other countries, and now the models are wrong. What is not in doubt is that barring a miracle, a treatment, and ultimately a vaccine, the NHS in the United Kingdom is about to experience a challenge unlike any other in its 70 years of existence.

* "All Journal content related to the Covid-19 pandemic is freely available."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:36 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]


Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s Proposal for relief : This includes the Treasury using its legal authority to create a new mint program to fund:

✅Direct payments via preloaded $2,000 cash cards to everyone.
✅Recharging with $1,000/month until a year after the economy recovers.

This includes depends to, citizens and non citizens, read it all here
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 AM on March 21 [82 favorites]


But with a real commitment to sheltering in place and a whole lot of patients

I'm pretty sure that's supposed to read "patience".
posted by hippybear at 10:42 AM on March 21 [19 favorites]


For folks who can handle truly horrifying details, ProPublica talked to a respiratory therapist who's been running ventilators for patients ("Many are relatively young, in their 40s and 50s, and have minimal, if any, preexisting conditions in their charts") in hard-hit New Orleans (which "held Mardi Gras celebrations just two weeks before its first patient, with more than a million revelers on its streets.")

A Medical Worker Describes Terrifying Lung Failure From COVID-19 — Even in His Young Patients

ProPublica isn't exactly known for its wild-headedness, so while this is clearly anecdata, it's pretty shocking anecdata, especially if you haven't been reading hospital workers' reports. Skip the rest of this comment if you're feeling fragile today:

I have patients in their early 40s and, yeah, I was kind of shocked. I’m seeing people who look relatively healthy with a minimal health history, and they are completely wiped out, like they’ve been hit by a truck. This is knocking out what should be perfectly fit, healthy people. Patients will be on minimal support, on a little bit of oxygen, and then all of a sudden, they go into complete respiratory arrest, shut down and can’t breathe at all...That seems to be what happens to a lot of these patients: They suddenly become unresponsive or go into respiratory failure...

Normally, [Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome] is something that happens over time as the lungs get more and more inflamed. But with this virus, it seems like it happens overnight...In my experience, this severity of ARDS is usually more typical of someone who has a near drowning experience — they have a bunch of dirty water in their lungs — or people who inhale caustic gas. Especially for it to have such an acute onset like that. I’ve never seen a microorganism or an infectious process cause such acute damage to the lungs so rapidly. That was what really shocked me.


I keep wanting to quote; the whole thing is horrifying. By the time I got to "Your risk of mortality increases every day that you spend on a ventilator" I was already solidifying my resolve to take precautions. (Then the mailperson came, handed me the mail and I scratched my itchy, spring allergy-ridden eye before running to wash my hands, and you know, laughter *is* the best medicine, they say.)
posted by mediareport at 10:48 AM on March 21 [35 favorites]


(Thr Tlaib proposal also includes language for postal banking and national banking/credit/debt system with no fees that ive been screaming about for ...five? Six? Years?)
posted by The Whelk at 10:48 AM on March 21 [52 favorites]


The news here (Berlin, Germany) is dire as hell - yet we just went out for a bike ride and the streets were as packed as ever. Grocery markets are still open and from talking to people here and there, people are taking it seriously but ... many seem to have a 'can't happen here.' attitude which is going to lead to the country being shut-down a la Italy.

It's a real slow-motion car wreck feeling.

from the Frankfurter Allegemeine a (German) report about how not optimistic doctors are.

I honestly wish there was an effective way to hang this on Trump's neck. I know it's not really realistic but still...


What happens in Germany is hardly Trump's fault? But otherwise, I agree.
The Danish police have warned yesterday that if people gather in crowds over ten people they will start handing out fines of 1500 kr. pr person - about 300 dollars. Which is enough that you can feel it if you are a student. The first fines have been given, and a few businesses have been shut down. People are reporting offenses all over the country. Normally I wouldn't like that, but in this case I think it is civic-mindedness. Where does this end? I don't know. These laws can obviously be abused as I see they are in some places.
The news tell me that the police are sending text messages to all cell phone owners, alerting them to the rules. I haven't received one yet, maybe because my number is not listed.
posted by mumimor at 10:50 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


mefi mods: at last, an end to the megathreads, we can rest now
global pandemic: bonjour bitches
posted by poffin boffin at 10:53 AM on March 21 [218 favorites]


Downtown toronto streets are less than 10% as packed as they usually are. Maybe even less. Mid-day Saturday (we walked down Yonge for take-out) sidewalks are usually crush packed; today it was easy to maintain 2 metre separation even from the clueless. I think most Canadians Get It.

Interestingly, the blithest people were the old white ones. I wonder why that might be.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:54 AM on March 21 [10 favorites]


A successful shelter-in-place means you’re going to feel like it was all for nothing,

Probably not. The first 5k worldwide deaths was about a week ago (aprox 5/13) took less than a week (aprox thurs hit 10k) to double and looks like there will be another doubling in about a week. If that's the rate, all caveats about increased testing aside it'll start looking like that old math problem about the chessboard with on grain of sand on each square then two, then four, and before the end the king owes all the grain in the kingdom.

On a grosser note, read some warnings about not flushing TP alternatives in some areas as it will break sanitation systems, Imagine not being able to flush for a few weeks...
posted by sammyo at 10:56 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]


A Burmese boy (7 y/o?) was slashed across the face with a knife in CA a few days ago. This is where Trump's deflections are going.
posted by ocschwar at 10:59 AM on March 21 [17 favorites]


everybody: look through your cellar/garage to see if you have n95s. find out if someone in your area needs them.

I found 2 still in the box, and now an X-ray tech has them.
posted by ocschwar at 11:01 AM on March 21 [30 favorites]


Russia is spreading disinformation about the virus.
Because of course they are?

I’m pretty sure I saw this “in the wild” on Facebook, though I’m not sure. It was a whole site dedicated to downplaying the seriousness of the virus and the website just felt exactly like the kind of fake sites that were popping up prior to the 2016 election.

I can’t swear that it was, but it prompted me to google “Russian disinformation coronavirus” and sure enough.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:02 AM on March 21 [12 favorites]


Trump's lies have gone from rage-inducing to out and out deadly. And no matter how serious the consequences he just can't stop lying.
posted by tommasz at 11:09 AM on March 21 [10 favorites]


A Burmese boy (7 y/o?) was slashed across the face with a knife in CA a few days ago. This is where Trump's deflections are going.

U.S. Racism and Coronavirus, previously
posted by filthy light thief at 11:22 AM on March 21 [12 favorites]


As the Chernobyl series asked, What is the cost of lies?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:23 AM on March 21 [11 favorites]


When the lock down lifts, it will take a major pushback by all of us to force an end to the gas lighting. I'm going to call this measured incivility.

I groused in an earlier comment that when it's time to eat out again, I will prefer to eat in a restaurant that pledges not to serve republicans. Well, I'm serious. We need public shaming. And as hard as it is for restaurant owners, it needs to be harder for republicans. They should face shame everywhere. I will immediately buy a gift certificate from the first restaurant owner in my area that pledges to put a sign on the door "No republicans served."

And that should just be a start.
posted by ocschwar at 11:31 AM on March 21 [37 favorites]


I live in a pretty liberal bubble, and almost everyone I know is taking this extremely seriously (some friends going to much greater lengths than me). But it occurred to me that for conservatives, this is a fundamental challenge to their "got mine, fuck you" worldview. They must be experiencing serious cognitive dissonance. The idea that their fate relies on collective action—that they're not OK unless approximately everyone is OK—must be like poison.
posted by adamrice at 11:45 AM on March 21 [133 favorites]


The Kroger grocery chain announced this morning that it was dropping its previous requirement for a positive test for the COVID-19 virus or a formal order to self-quarantine before offering paid sick leave, after a week of bad publicity about its terrible sick leave policy sparked by the sharp indie journalist Judd Legum (and his report of the $25 gift cards Kroger management offered to workers instead of paid sick leave). Legum also notes that 3 employees of Kroger/Fred Meyer stores have now tested positive for the virus.
posted by mediareport at 11:45 AM on March 21 [30 favorites]


This is the speech we've needed to hear from somebody

There are very few roles in global society where someone can make a big, immediate difference with what they say. The Presidency of the United States is one such role. And when given an easy question, one which seemed to obviously call for reassurance in the face of overwhelming odds, Trump disappoints.

Trump’s eruption at an NBC reporter says it all about his alternate reality on coronavirus (Aaron Blake, Washington Post)
[NBC’s Peter Alexander:] “What do you say to Americans who are scared, though? Nearly 200 dead. Fourteen thousand are sick. Millions, as you witness, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”

Trump erupted.

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter; that’s what I say,” Trump said. “I think it’s a very nasty question. And I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers, and they’re looking for hope. And you’re doing sensationalism."

He added: “Let me just say something: That’s really bad reporting. And you want to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism. Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows? I’ve been right a lot."

But here’s the thing: Alexander rightly noted that Trump was saying something that medical experts like Fauci have strained to avoid — that this drug could be a kind of “game-changer.” Trump actually volunteered that he disagreed with that and said it might be. There is a real difference in what they are saying, and it’s completely fair for a reporter to ask Trump to account for that.

There’s also the backstory here. Trump has, in fact, repeatedly made statements about things that lay ahead in the fight against the coronavirus, and they often haven’t panned out. To wit:

- He said of the malaria drug, “We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. That’s where the FDA has been so great. They’ve gone through the approval process. It’s been approved. … So we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription or states.” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn later clarified that the drug was only approved for malaria.
- He has said health industry leaders agreed to waive all costs of coronavirus treatments, when in fact they only agree to waive co-payments.
- He has said Google was developing a website for the coronavirus and had 1,700 people working on it, but that was apparently news to Google.
- He has oversold the ability to deliver masks and ventilators to health-care professionals, relative to other officials.
- He said two hospital ships were being dispatched to help, but we later learned they were weeks away and wouldn’t be helping with the coronavirus, but rather other illnesses.

While Trump may not be downplaying the coronavirus as much as he used to, he sure is overplaying some of the measures that can be used to combat it. Alexander was right to press him on that point, and Trump’s eruption at him for pointing out the mixed messages between Trump and Fauci really says it all.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:49 AM on March 21 [35 favorites]


Yuval Noah Harari has a new article in FT (Mirror here) The world after coronavirus.

Humankind is now facing a global crisis. Perhaps the biggest crisis of our generation. The decisions people and governments take in the next few weeks will probably shape the world for years to come. They will shape not just our healthcare systems but also our economy, politics and culture. We must act quickly and decisively. We should also take into account the long-term consequences of our actions. When choosing between alternatives, we should ask ourselves not only how to overcome the immediate threat, but also what kind of world we will inhabit once the storm passes. Yes, the storm will pass, humankind will survive, most of us will still be alive — but we will inhabit a different world.

Many short-term emergency measures will become a fixture of life. That is the nature of emergencies. They fast-forward historical processes. Decisions that in normal times could take years of deliberation are passed in a matter of hours. Immature and even dangerous technologies are pressed into service, because the risks of doing nothing are bigger. Entire countries serve as guinea-pigs in large-scale social experiments. What happens when everybody works from home and communicates only at a distance? What happens when entire schools and universities go online? In normal times, governments, businesses and educational boards would never agree to conduct such experiments. But these aren’t normal times.

In this time of crisis, we face two particularly important choices. The first is between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.

posted by growabrain at 11:56 AM on March 21 [51 favorites]


everybody: look through your cellar/garage to see if you have n95s. find out if someone in your area needs them.

On that note, a chapter of Habitat for Humanity did this: Twin Cities Habitat Donates 7,500 Respirator Masks in Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:56 AM on March 21 [17 favorites]


I groused in an earlier comment that when it's time to eat out again, I will prefer to eat in a restaurant that pledges not to serve republicans. Well, I'm serious. We need public shaming. And as hard as it is for restaurant owners, it needs to be harder for republicans. They should face shame everywhere. I will immediately buy a gift certificate from the first restaurant owner in my area that pledges to put a sign on the door "No republicans served."

The ruling class has no party allegiance, only class solidarity.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:03 PM on March 21 [35 favorites]


Forbes opinion piece about location tracking measures in Italy, which until now have used anonymized data to report news that "40% of residents in Milan still moved every day beyond a 300 to 500 meters range from their home," but are now poised to move towards more invasive and targeted monitoring of individuals similar to the South Korean model:

The model is South Korea, which was able to successfully limit the spreading of the contagion (and above all, the deaths) by extensive testing of citizens and by publicly sharing detailed information on the movements of those infected. [emphasis added]

...The president of the Italian Data Protection Authority, Antonello Soro, in an interview with Tiscali News, also stressed that Italian authorities should resist the temptation to simply replicating Chinese or South Korean solutions to the Coronavirus emergency. Rather, they should adapt them to a Western democracy, where the attention to and the need for privacy is very different from Chinese authoritarianism. The South Korean legal and cultural environment is also significantly different from that of Italy.

Essentially, this means putting in place safeguards that ensure that more invasive measures will be put in place gradually, for well-identified and specific needs and a limited period only. Authorities should also make sure that the data collected is not unnecessarily transferred to third parties and that the Italian Constitution remains the benchmark and the main inspiration for any new regulation.

posted by mediareport at 12:03 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Trump's eruption at the NBC reporter was one of those moments where I remembered, "Oh, right, he's a fucking psycho." It reminded me of the Joe Pesci scene from "Goodfellas" - everything's normal, if tense, but normal and then precipitously, it is very much not.

Guy is a fucking criminal, a mid-level boss, a psycho the real bosses use as a cudgel to keep the rank and file in line. And, to the mis-fortune of all of us, the leader of the largest economy in the world.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:13 PM on March 21 [81 favorites]


Trump's eruption at the NBC reporter was one of those moments where I remembered, "Oh, right, he's a fucking psycho."

I'm honestly waiting for the moment a reporter just gets so-effing-fed-up with Trump's constant, psychotic, abuse and just ups and tells him to go fuck himself, live on national tv. Maybe shout "Fake President" as the SS manhandles them away, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:20 PM on March 21 [51 favorites]


Wow, mumimor, if this article is accurate, that Danish law goes much further than other Western countries have been willing to go (so far):

Trine Maria Ilsøe, DR's court correspondent, said that Danish citizens could face prosecution under the new law if they refused to comply with health authorities' demands. "It means that you could be sentenced to a punishment if you, for example, refuse to allow yourself to be tested for coronavirus," she said...

As well as enforcing quarantine measures, the law also allows the authorities to force people to be vaccinated, even though there is currently no vaccination for the virus. It also empowers them to prohibit access to public institutions, supermarkets and shops, public and private nursing homes and hospitals, and also to impose restrictions on access to public transport.

Initially, the government wanted to the law to give the police the right to enter private homes without a court order if there is a suspicion of coronavirus infection. But this was dropped after opposition from parties in the parliament.

posted by mediareport at 12:29 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Scattercat: You might not be able to hang the virus itself on him, but encouraging people to go to work when sick is a pretty easy thing to criticize.

I was just visited by door-to-door Kirby salesmen, who said he had to come in to demo their carpet washing vacuum to get paid for the day.

This is not how you do social distancing.

Back to Trump: As COVID-19 escalated into a world wide pandemic in March 2020, Trump claimed his administration always took COVID-19 seriously, while stonewalling those who actually took it seriously.

March 2020 was too late to be taking the disease seriously, especially when the outbreak was recognized in December 2019 (World Health Organization timeline of events). 2018 was too late to be taking a future pandemic seriously. Larry Brilliant, who participated, as a medical officer, in the World Health Organization (WHO) smallpox eradication program, spoke to Wired recently:
The whole epidemiological community has been warning everybody for the past 10 or 15 years that it wasn't a question of whether we were going to have a pandemic like this. It was simply when. It's really hard to get people to listen. I mean, Trump pushed out the admiral (Washington Post, May 2018) on the National Security Council, who was the only person at that level who's responsible for pandemic defense. With him went his entire downline of employees and staff and relationships. And then Trump removed the [early warning] funding for countries around the world.
You don't start preparing for the worst when it starts happening, especially as a country. People can delay and prioritize personal concerns, but at the national level, there are people who should be planning for every serious "What If" scenario.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:33 PM on March 21 [22 favorites]


The speculation I saw that hat seemed truthy to me was that what set Trump off was the reporter citing large numbers of cases and deaths in his softball question. Trump doesn’t like the numbers.
posted by thelonius at 12:36 PM on March 21 [16 favorites]


Downtown toronto streets are less than 10% as packed as they usually are. Maybe even less. Mid-day Saturday (we walked down Yonge for take-out) sidewalks are usually crush packed; today it was easy to maintain 2 metre separation even from the clueless. I think most Canadians Get It.

I was very heartened by the news that our former federal Minister of Health is again practicing medicine and is doing Covid-19 screening at Markham-Stouffville Hospital.

All hands on deck.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:37 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Many hospitals are short on face masks, and some have started using cloth masks, which need to be cleaned between uses but were standard before disposable paper masks were common. Instructions, made in partnership with one hospital (which now has plenty of donations) -- if you can sew, you can contact your local health-care orgs and ask if they could use cloth masks.

(The recipe's simple: 2 pieces of 6" x 9" tightly-woven cotton fabric + 2 7" strips of elastic per adult mask, slightly smaller for child masks.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:40 PM on March 21 [14 favorites]


mefi mods: at last, an end to the megathreads, we can rest now
global pandemic: bonjour bitches


Don’t make cortex limit participation in threads to 10 members or less with at least 6 lines between comments....
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:40 PM on March 21 [81 favorites]


And then Trump removed the [early warning] funding for countries around the world.

is this not murder?
posted by Mrs Potato at 12:41 PM on March 21 [19 favorites]


Wow, mumimor, if this article is accurate, that Danish law goes much further than other Western countries have been willing to go
Yup, and I'm a bit surprised that they were voted in with no opposition. What those who normally would vote against are saying is that there is a sundown clause (I don't remember if it's for September or October), and that it is absolutely necessary to protect the public health. I've mentioned a few times that we are close to South Korean measures and I am not exaggerating.
Is has to be said that the vast majority of the population supports this. You have to remember that the law is backed by extensive and very generous relief packages for every part of society, from big business to gig workers and students. And a lot of people see the few who don't respect the restrictions as antisocial and dangerous. We've seen that curve-flattening diagram like a billion times on tv, and there are signs everywhere and warnings on the radio every 30 minutes. Also, about half of the Danish workforce are in welfare-related jobs: healthcare, childcare, social work etc. That means everyone has a family member on the front line.
posted by mumimor at 12:43 PM on March 21 [25 favorites]


I honestly wish there was an effective way to hang this on Trump's neck. I know it's not really realistic but still...

No, but my fear is Trump will find a way to hang the virus on the neck of China -- and Asian Americans will suffer.
posted by Borborygmus at 12:47 PM on March 21 [14 favorites]


There is now a 3D printer open source file available for creating reusable N95 masks that I hope is not too good to be true (or practical, though if we’re resorting to cloth masks at this point, just a half dozen reusable N95s per hospital might have significant impact):

https://techthelead.com/enhanced-open-source-n95-mask-design-released-for-3d-printing/
posted by blue suede stockings at 12:51 PM on March 21 [9 favorites]


@matthewstoller

1. Here's a list of what's been floated, either publicly or privately, for the #CoronavirusCoup. I am told that Pelosi will take whatever McConnell negotiates in the Senate on the corporate side. $50 billion for airlines. $150 billion for anyone Mnuchin wants, likely Boeing. 2. Speeding up of payments to defense contractors. Lifting of Other Transaction Authority caps for the Pentagon to shovel money to defense contractors without restrictions. 3. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos want "$5 billion in grants or loans to keep commercial space company employees on the job and launch facilities open." They also want the IRS to give them cash for R&D tax credits. 4. "The hotel industry wants $150 billion. The restaurant industry wants $145 billion. The National Association of Manufacturers wants $1.4 trillion. The International Council of Shopping Centers wants a guarantee of up to $1 trillion."
[...etc...]
12. We have to support industry in a moment of crisis. But the key here is the conditions, and what is likely to happen by allowing Mnuchin to set the terms of all aid is a consolidation of power in the hands of a few. No more small business. America will be unrecognizable.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:56 PM on March 21 [27 favorites]


my fear is Trump will find a way to hang the virus on the neck of China

Y'all, filthy light thief mentioned above there's a whole thread about Trump's racist approach to the virus from a couple of days ago.
posted by mediareport at 12:57 PM on March 21 [9 favorites]


The 3d printed mask is a good thing if it works as advertised, but its usefulness will be pretty limited to adding a small number of masks in areas with serious supply chain issues. Remember that for mass production, 3d printing is pretty much the slowest, most expensive option. Every little bit helps, but 3d printing masks won't tip the scales; ramped up standard manufacturing which has longer lead times but much, much higher volume will still be needed.
posted by biogeo at 12:59 PM on March 21 [11 favorites]


Wow, mumimor, if this article is accurate, that Danish law goes much further than other Western countries have been willing to go (so far):

French measures are also fairly strict: (but expire March 31 pending developments)

All people leaving their homes must carry a signed form, or attestation, explaining where they are headed and why. A different form is needed for each outing. Failure to produce one will result in a fine.
posted by dmh at 1:00 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


In Boston, a city councilor who owns a sewing store has organized a virtual sewing circle for tomorrow for people with sewing machines to make masks. And a local hospital has put up a YouTube video on how other hospitals can make respirator masks out of things they might already have lying around. It's both cool and tremendously frustrating at the same time.
posted by adamg at 1:03 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Re: 3D printing: this NPR article on what it takes to make an N-95 mask suggests there are specialized manufacturing processes needed for the critical filter material.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:05 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


French measures are also fairly strict:

All people leaving their homes must carry a signed form, or attestation, explaining where they are headed and why. A different form is needed for each outing. Failure to produce one will result in a fine.


I watched a news piece about the French lockdown and laughed out loud when I realized that flowershops are considered essential. And then when I came down to the village today, it turned out it is the same here. Isn't that nice? 🌷
posted by mumimor at 1:10 PM on March 21 [18 favorites]


@mumimor, that's fascinating, and has me wondering how many other vestiges of Plagues past are still kicking around...
posted by runehog at 1:19 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Here is the pdf tutorial for DIY fabric face masks that adamg linked to.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:19 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


WaPo: Hospitals warn of shortages, closures without emergency aid

U.S. hospitals are warning that they are so strapped for cash that without some financial relief, they will be unable to meet their payrolls in a matter of weeks and some could be forced to close just as coronavirus cases are surging.

The American Hospital Association and three hospital chief executives spanning the country said in a conference call Saturday that a federal directive this week to cancel elective procedures — to conserve scarce resources for patients with covid19 — is halting the type of services that produce the most revenue.

And their ability to buy critically needed supplies — from protective gear to more hospital beds — is being stymied by the fact that private vendors are requiring hospitals to pay cash upon delivery, which they say they lack the money to do...

[One hospital system] is racing to set up tents for testing and screening, has hired additional staff as others are isolated or home caring for children, and needs somehow to fulfill a new order by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) to increase hospital bed capacity by 50 percent.

“We literally need to buy the beds,” Brown said. But with vendors insisting on being paid at the time they are delivered, she said, “we can’t buy the equipment...if we don’t have the immediate cash.”

posted by mediareport at 1:30 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]


Well, here's what happens to the pundits when the bar gets set really, really low: Strangely competent Mike Pence finds his 9/11 moment in coronavirus crisis
No need to quote from it. It's an article that quotes a bunch of people who claim to be critical of Trump who now believe Pence is just fine. Just as much as there should be a reckoning for the entire Republican Party, there should be one for the commentariat and the editors and owners of the press. But there won't be either. It's depressing.
posted by mumimor at 1:32 PM on March 21 [23 favorites]


Nothing like a young earth creationist evolution denier at the top of the Pandemic response. It’s real handy to have a Religious zealot who doesn’t believe in the foundational principals of modern medicine and biology in charge. Super comforting. The anti-vaccine President also gives me great confidence.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 1:42 PM on March 21 [31 favorites]




The US response is a fucking joke, it really is. this is the Irish Taoiseach addressing the country on St. Patricks Day*. They set up a volunteer effort and 50,000 people signed up in two days, they'll be onboarding about 6K of those a week starting with medical staff, lab staff, production staff, childcare and working outwards. They have redirected 1,000 civil servants to the contact tracking and database efforts, many volunteers signed up for that too. They have drive thru testing set up all over. The police set up an emergency number to bring food and medicine to seniors, the disabled and anyone else who needs it and the army have been mobilized to distribute fresh food. The country is food secure and the supply chain for other goods is a priority. They have set up an emergency unemployment benefits that benefit people who lost jobs or hours (not corporations) that pays people weekly. They plan to DOUBLE the number of hospital beds in a month and companies are making respirators and PPE. One group has setup an international effort to design low cost respirators that can be made by anyone, patent free. And the Irish govt is generally regarded as not-that-great-at-stuff and the HSE (health service) is regarded as the worst in Europe. I'm genuinely shocked and gladdened at how seriously they've taken this. At the same time the US is telling their nurses to hand sew their own masks- is this a fucking joke?

This has been a massive wake up call to the expat community in the US.

*Keep in mind his party lost an election last month and he's essentially a lame duck here, although everyone is slowly agreeing to keep him in place till the epidemic passes as he's a doctor by training and no one else thinks they could do better. Also they aren't doing great with social distancing at all, but that's cultural. It'll be much harder there. They're serious though.
posted by fshgrl at 1:48 PM on March 21 [36 favorites]


Strangely competent Mike Pence

nothing strange about it. everybody looks competent compared to Trump.
posted by philip-random at 1:49 PM on March 21 [38 favorites]


Pence praying with the coronavirus task force

285 Americans have died of coronavirus since this picture was taken
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:49 PM on March 21 [20 favorites]


When the history of this time is written, there will be plenty of blame to go around.

Even though the US spends more on health care than any other country, it seems like the system was unprepared for anything like this. It's a huge failure, maybe not as huge as the ongoing lack of universal coverage, or the inability to contain costs, but huge nevertheless.

If health care here were not-for-profit, instead of paying millions of dollars to the CEOs of for-profit hospitals, insurance companies, etc, the system could have been stockpiling supplies, building excess capacity, etc.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 1:57 PM on March 21 [11 favorites]


everybody: look through your cellar/garage to see if you have n95s. find out if someone in your area needs them.

Burning Man pays off in unexpected ways . . . a bit of digging yesterday unearthed a slightly dusty but otherwise good N95 in my bin. I'm going to keep looking this weekend because I think I might have more, plus some other non-N95 type masks. Healthcare workers are going to need ALL the kinds of masks we can get, not just N95s. Where I work we have now enacted a policy of masking ourselves during ALL patient encounters (not COVID cases/ suspected COVID cases) due to community spread. Although we've swiftly canceled, postponed, and made remote nearly every patient encounter possible, there are still certain patients with non-COVID medical issues who need to be seen for procedures and other things. And due to community spread (and to prevent spread among our skeleton crew) we're going to all now be masking, at a minimum with patients, but if we can tolerate it for the entire day just around each other as well.

There just are not going to be enough N95s for the providers working directly with COVID patients. So any and all masks that can get into the healthcare system are going to be important. For providers caring for COVID patients that don't have enough N95s. For those of us who aren't caring for COVID patients yet but due to our jobs are still having to get close to our patients and still need to do what we can given that community spread is happening. And the plan for everyone involves re-using masks as long as possible, so every last one counts. I've even seen pleas on Twitter for sewing-inclined people to help with sewing masks.

Sorry if I'm repeating things mentioned above, this thread is growing faster than I can type and preview. Hang in there everyone.
posted by robotdevil at 2:02 PM on March 21 [14 favorites]


is this a fucking joke?

No, but they are sure acting like it is. The US has vast resources, but instead of mobilizing those resources the incompetents in the administration are shrugging and leaving it to the locals to handle as best as they can (including, like you say, having to sew their own masks). Every time I think about it I get angrier.

When the history of this time is written, there will be plenty of blame to go around.

The blame for why we have a system that is underfunded, based on profits, and so on, yes, that can be spread far and wide. But the specific blame for not taking this particular outbreak seriously starting with the first case belongs directly to the Trump administration and their cronies. They had plenty of warning, but used it only for a bit of insider trading. And they continue to dither and lie, rather than stepping up and doing what a government is meant to do.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:03 PM on March 21 [24 favorites]


Some good advice from Dr. John Campbell about drugs to avoid if you get COVID 19
Allowing a fever to run helps your body to fight the infection, OTC medications that reduce the fever also increase the chance of complications.
posted by Lanark at 2:03 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


When the history of this time is written, there will be plenty of blame to go around.

People need to just stand up to Trump. He has no real power anymore, no one in his government respects him. We need Governors, members of Congress and other people n power to just go on TV and say that Trump and McConnell are wrong, that we should be carrying out Actions A, Band C and just get on with it. If enough of them do it, it'll become the truth, god knows we've learned that the past few years.

Hospitals and production lines need to forget about working with the feds and work with the Association of Governors and the National Guards instead. Set up a shadow federation that gets shit done and bypass the Trump and Pence clownshow. They've shaken hands with enough infected people I expect them both to be out of play in a week as it is.
posted by fshgrl at 2:04 PM on March 21 [46 favorites]


This is an unsurprising response from a hospital near me (and at which myself and other family members have received excellent care) that was slammed by SARS in 2003:

“We envisioned the whole thing as a conveyor belt”: How St. Mike’s doctors created a Covid-19 assessment centre from scratch

But we’re not just a testing facility. We also provide information to everyone we’re assessing; that’s probably our most important function. If people don’t meet the criteria to be tested but still have symptoms, we educate them on how to self-isolate and for how long. In general, people should only leave their homes for important reasons, like getting food or picking up prescriptions, and that’s only if they can’t make other arrangements with family or friends.

But by all means, right-wing relatives, talk to me some more about how our public health care system is "inefficient."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:15 PM on March 21 [36 favorites]


This is an unsurprising response from a hospital near me (and at which myself and other family members have received excellent care) that was slammed by SARS in 2003:

That's brilliant and a good example of what people can do if you give them the resources and let them do their thing they are trained to do.
posted by fshgrl at 2:20 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


If health care here were not-for-profit, instead of paying millions of dollars to the CEOs of for-profit hospitals, insurance companies, etc, the system could have been stockpiling supplies, building excess capacity, etc.

It's worse than that, the CEO is not just a money/resource vampire; the CEO's job in many cases is to get rid of any excess capacity since it is wasted money. Why would you stockpile anything if you are focused on quarterly results?
posted by benzenedream at 2:24 PM on March 21 [57 favorites]


Alberta health official inspires others to donate to good causes and to cope with CORVID-19, all while providing accurate, useful medical information and a certain type of fashion influence.
posted by sardonyx at 2:24 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]




I freaked out about H1N1 back in 2009 and bought a pile of N95 masks. They fortunately ended up in the garage of my relative who is an ER nurse. Win!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:04 PM on March 21 [20 favorites]


I started reading the Money Stuff column, but bailed shortly after reading, "Like I generally assume that corporate executives are generally upstanding people trying to do right by shareholders, and that they have better longer-term ways to get rich than insider trading". I'm sure the author knows a lot about the mechanics of business and finance that I don't, but I know that this assumption is, at best, extremely naïve. I also feel he didn't really hit on the real issue at the heart of this, which is that one or more U.S. Senators appear to have used knowledge that they gained from secret briefing to enrich themselves. It's not that they took money out of my pocket, for example, but that they engaged in ethically problematic behavior in the first place.
posted by wintermind at 3:12 PM on March 21 [9 favorites]


Just wanted to clarify that my saying there will be plenty of blame to go around was not meant to exonerate Trump.

He deserves plenty of blame, I was just trying to make the point that the way the US health care system is set up also is a contributing factor in the poor response to the crisis.

(Also, many thanks to any MeFi-ites who work in health care & are on the front lines of this thing. I know you're doing the best you can in a flawed system, even if some of your bosses suck.)
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 3:27 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Smartphones could help us track the coronavirus – but at what cost?
posted by adamvasco at 3:29 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


i'm in a country where they've been using time-based lockdowns, such as only being allowed to go out from 6am-1pm. we had to switch to this because asking people to not congregate wasn't working. this time based thing isn't working either.

i don't know how we get the population at large to take it seriously. we're very close to Italy and many here are either italian or have italian friends/colleagues. it's not like we don't know what's going on.

if we tried the france system of needing a paper/phone document, i think there would be actual riots.

after today's venture to get the week's groceries, i'm switching to delivery only. i will only leave for the pharmacy across the street if needed. people and staff at stores and on the street for the most part do not take care to maintain any distance. i came into in close contact with so many people today despite my best efforts to stay away including actually asking people to move away. multiple store staff insisted on crowding me to bag my groceries despite me being the only customer in the store at the time and no line outside. (i've written to the company to thank them for being open but please please advise their staff on this.) i asked them to move away and they just stood there confused, like i was insane for asking. i had to ask a woman in a line at a different store to please stop standing so close to me and she actually argued with me that it was ok. i left and did not get what i wanted bc i was too fearful for my safety.

i'm terrified that i will have caught this thing today with these irresponsible people. i feel absolutely insane for saying it but i don't plan on leaving my flat (except for the pharmacy or to receive a delivery) until things are much different.
posted by affectionateborg at 3:35 PM on March 21 [22 favorites]


No healthcare system in the world is set up to handle a situation like now. Italy and Spain have systems that provide healthcare to all of their citizens, and those two countries are being devastated by COVID-19. Germany might soon find itself similarly overwhelmed.

The problem there (and here in the US) is that governments did not act quickly enough to implement social distancing to prevent stealth transmission of the virus by people who showed no symptoms or very mild ones. Those that did (e.g. South Korea) have fared better. The uneven access to healthcare in the US is a moral crime, but neither it nor private hospitals are the reason for the catastrophe evolving around us.

In the US the situation is compounded by not mobilizing to produce the tests and the protective equipment needed by healthcare professionals and by ordinary citizens. The responsibility for wasted time and continuing disorganized federal response falls squarely on the Trump Administration. The Administration could not have prevented the pandemic, but its incompetence is making it much worse.

While in the long run I am optimistic about a more equitable healthcare system and a wider safety net emerging as the COVID-19 pandemic shows their need for the health of our people and of our economy, the nation is going to see many thousands of lives lost and suffer enormous economic losses. We are in for a very rough ride in the coming months.
posted by haiku warrior at 3:49 PM on March 21 [18 favorites]


to cope with CORVID-19

I think I would be comforted by the arrival of an enormous cybernetic crow, tbh
posted by schadenfrau at 4:12 PM on March 21 [85 favorites]


Also, it remains to be seen how bad different countries have it. If it turns out that France and Germany have far fewer deaths and quicker economic recoveries while the US becomes mired in Great Depression 2 with an order of magnitude more deaths per capita...well that’s not exactly par, is it? The only countries that seem to have quelled it so far are countries with experience with SARS — and with socialized healthcare.

There will be needless suffering here, for a very long time, because of the way our society is structured.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:18 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]




I think I would be comforted by the arrival of an enormous cybernetic crow, tbh

At least you'd know it would be for a good caws.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:30 PM on March 21 [57 favorites]


I think I would be comforted by the arrival of an enormous cybernetic crow, tbh

Feel comforted.
posted by hippybear at 4:35 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


to cope with CORVID-19

I think I would be comforted by the arrival of an enormous cybernetic crow, tbh
posted by schadenfrau at 4:12 PM on March 21


Grrrrr!!!! I was just bitching elsewhere that it would have made life so much easier if they had settled on a different name for this virus specifically because of the problem demonstrated above.

Corvid is a word to me. COVID isn't. It's natural for me to type or say corvid without thought (in large part I blame MetaFilter and its fascination with this bird family, but that's another issue). I know I'm prone to making this error, and I try to catch myself and prevent myself from doing so, but I'm significantly less than 100 per cent successful, which I know is going to cause problems at some point down the line. Phooey!
posted by sardonyx at 4:43 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Fwiw, no healthcare system on Earth can deal with 33% daily increases in cases.- in one month that equates to around a 5000x increase. That's why ring quarantine and surveillance testing are the only ways to keep it out of an area. Which means we need to do 700 million tests or so in the next few months (for the US).
posted by benzenedream at 4:47 PM on March 21 [11 favorites]


We must clear our jails and end bail as the prison system becomes hotspots of CV infections - Cynthia Nixon
posted by The Whelk at 4:54 PM on March 21 [18 favorites]


Decarceral Guidelines from the Justice Collaborative: These guidelines are intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 both within jails and prisons and the communities where they are located by providing mechanisms for release and stopping the flow of new admissions to either facility.
posted by spamandkimchi at 5:00 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]




Yes, it will be interesting to see how well countries with different health systems and social safety nets recover from the pandemic. It would make sense that that those with better ones would recover faster, but several of those showed slower or negative growth recently before the pandemic. (Of course their citizens were better insulated from the negative effects that US citizens are.) So who knows?

Italy (pop. ~60 million with ~54,000 cases ~4800 deaths so far, ~8.3% fatality rate) and Spain (pop. ~47 million with ~25,000 cases and ~1300 deaths so far, ~5.2% fatality rate) are two of those countries. Germany (pop. ~84 million ~14,000 cases and only 31 deaths so far ~0.22%(!) fatality rate) also had slow growth but is a better economic analog to the US. However, Germany is handling the outbreak much better thanks to aggressive testing, even though there is a lot of economic disruption. Unfortunately, medically the US is likely to be more like Italy and Spain in terms of cases and fatalities due at least to the dearth of testing.
posted by haiku warrior at 5:13 PM on March 21


Yeah but the constituency that A) buy into this propaganda and B) wouldn’t vote for Trump even if he personally murdered their family right before their eyes has to be pretty small.
posted by sideshow at 5:13 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Corvid is a word to me. COVID isn't.

I have taken to referring to suddenly-virtual interactions with coworkers as “covideo conferences.”

I’m having my own frustrations with being at home like everyone else. My wife, though, has it tough. She’s a primary care doc. She is certain she’s going to get the virus and give it to me and the kids.
posted by nickmark at 5:20 PM on March 21 [14 favorites]


Grrrrr!!!! I was just bitching elsewhere that it would have made life so much easier if they had settled on a different name for this virus specifically because of the problem demonstrated above.

Corvid is a word to me.


"CORVID-19" wasn't used because it's too narratively perfect for a work of apocalyptic fiction, and none of us really want to own up to being in one.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:29 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


"CORVID-19" wasn't used because it's too narratively perfect for a work of apocalyptic fiction, and none of us really want to own up to being in one.

Here's a book about a domesticated crow navigating reality after an apocalyptic plague. Hollow Kingdom. I read it -- it's gigantically entertaining.
posted by hippybear at 5:32 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]


accusing Beijing of orchestrating a “cover-up”

Because further alienating the one and only country with huge manufacturing and medical research capacity and that is returning to normal activity is a truly genius move. Clearly, I am tired of so much winning.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:36 PM on March 21 [31 favorites]


[No future predicting, please.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:05 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]


285 Americans have died of coronavirus since this picture was taken
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:49 PM


Now 307. Current rate of about one murder every ten minutes.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:05 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


technically, they're negligent homicides.
posted by philip-random at 6:09 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


[Guys, I use gallows humor to cope too, but it needs to not happen on mefi because it's super-triggering for a lot of people.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:17 PM on March 21 [34 favorites]


I wish there could be some agreement on the wearing of masks. The WHO is still saying not to wear them unless you’re caring for a sick person or symptomatic yourself.

Whereas in this article from the CBC, it seems that Taiwan has kept infection rates very low (despite having a high population density) by having as many people wearing them as possible:

The Taiwanese government took over production of surgical masks early on, banning exportation and eventually bringing in soldiers to help with increased production. It allocated certain amounts to retailers and lowered prices to the equivalent of about 24 cents Cdn.

"Right now, we still need to go to the pharmacy to buy masks," said Chang. "We take a kind of ticket, a numbered ticket, and they tell you what time you pick up the masks."

In early February, the government announced a mask rationing system where everyone gets a certain number of masks per week. That number per person was bumped up in early March to three per adult per week, and five per child under 13 per week. People can pick up their masks on designated days of the week, depending on their health card number.

posted by bonobothegreat at 6:20 PM on March 21 [15 favorites]


According to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 map, the US has now surpassed all countries other than Italy and China in number of cases. (Screencap from ~1.5 hours ago: 25,493 cases.)

Italy started serious lockdowns when they had fewer than 6,000 cases. The US is so far behind, it's frightening.

In Florida, Spring Break festivals are going on, although most (all, maybe?) of the beaches are now closed. (Bars are closed; restaurants are allowed to operate at half capacity.) Texas finally shut down restaurants and bars two days ago. Some cities in Oklahoma have done the same.

Basically: West and east coast states have started taking strong measures to limit exposure and spread, but the entire south and middle of the country has politicians who "don't want to scare people" and seem to think that a "foreign" virus can't possibly hurt American people.

US is going to quickly surpass China in number of cases and number of deaths, because we're not nationally activating the medical infrastructure to do otherwise, and the places where people are being most careless are the ones with the worst medical coverage and the most high-risk populations.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 6:23 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


A friend of mine in emergency prep said they didn’t call it Corvid because they didn’t want people shooting birds. IDK.
posted by kerf at 6:29 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


CORVID-19.
posted by adamg at 6:33 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


People are continuing on their routines and it's going to get millions killed.

Example: Trump keeps promoting an unproven coronavirus treatment — despite his experts’ advice (Riley Beggin, Vox)
President Donald Trump continued to play up an unproven treatment as a promising remedy for the coronavirus, contradicting the advice of his top public health officials at a press conference Saturday — one in which he also rebutted reports that he knew about the dangers of the pandemic well before taking action.

In recent days, Trump has been promoting the potential of a drug called hydroxychloroquine — a common anti-malaria drug — as a treatment for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The off-the-shelf drug is easy to produce and has been anecdotally effective in China and South Korea.
Its effectiveness has yet to be conclusively proven.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:38 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Strangely competent Mike Pence

nothing strange about it. everybody looks competent compared to Trump.


It's like judging people based on the size of their hand.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:40 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Ordinary face masks help prevent infected people from making others sick by reducing the number of contaminated ejected droplets into the air and onto surfaces. They don’t provide much protection against getting sick from droplets already in the air, since air leaks and droplets around the masks on inhalation.

Having everyone wear masks could reduce transmission rates by making sure who infected without knowing it are wearing masks.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:41 PM on March 21 [9 favorites]


Trending hashtag: #DKE19

You can stop its spread!
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:41 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Basically: West and east coast states have started taking strong measures to limit exposure and spread, but the entire south and middle of the country has politicians who "don't want to scare people" and seem to think that a "foreign" virus can't possibly hurt American people.

illinois has been told to shelter in place - only slightly less stringent rules have been put down in michigan and ohio

please do not misinform people with gross generalizations - much of the midwest is taking this very seriously
posted by pyramid termite at 6:42 PM on March 21 [54 favorites]


"Basically: West and east coast states have started taking strong measures to limit exposure and spread, but the entire south and middle of the country has politicians who "don't want to scare people" and seem to think that a "foreign" virus can't possibly hurt American people."

This is not correct. Illinois shut schools before New York, and Illinois is sheltering in place while many northern coastal states are not; our shelter-in-place order was issued one day after California's, despite a much lower rate of infection. Illinois shut schools and ordered shelter-in-place with the LOWEST per capita infection rate in the US at the time a closure order was issued. Many other midwestern states closed schools before NYC. In general, Great Lakes states such as Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Minnesota are seeing similar restrictions to Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington, and Michigan in particular closed schools VERY early. Michigan, with very few infections at the time, closed schools three days before Washington, one of the epicenters of US infection -- whose governor is still assuring everyone they will not have to shelter-in-place.

There are some states fucking shit up, no question. But the "entire" south and middle of the country is categorically NOT doing this, and please don't suggest that we are. Many "flyover" states have taken faster and more stringent measures than many coastal blue states. We are not your enemy, and many of us have strong, functioning public health departments and governors acting decisively and in conversation with scientists and experts in public health. Please don't discount the very hard work that many "flyover" politicians and health professionals are doing because it doesn't fit a false narrative that the flyover states are backwards and ignorant.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:43 PM on March 21 [125 favorites]


DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic (Politico)
The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the coronavirus spreads through the United States. Documents reviewed by POLITICO detail the department’s requests to lawmakers on a host of topics, including the statute of limitations, asylum and the way court hearings are conducted.

[...] The move has tapped into a broader fear among civil liberties advocates and Donald Trump’s critics — that the president will use a moment of crisis to push for controversial policy changes. [...] And even without policy changes, Trump has vast emergency powers that he could legally deploy right now to try and slow the coronavirus outbreak.

[...] In one of the documents, the department proposed that Congress grant the attorney general power to ask the chief judge of any district court to pause court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.” The proposal would also grant those top judges broad authority to pause court proceedings during emergencies. It would apply to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings,” according to draft legislative language the department shared with Congress. In making the case for the change, the DOJ document wrote that individual judges can currently pause proceedings during emergencies, but that their proposal would make sure all judges in any particular district could handle emergencies “in a consistent manner.”

The request raised eyebrows because of its potential implications for habeas corpus –– the constitutional right to appear before a judge after arrest and seek release. “Not only would it be a violation of that, but it says ‘affecting pre-arrest,’” said Norman L. Reimer, the executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “So that means you could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over. I find it absolutely terrifying. Especially in a time of emergency, we should be very careful about granting new powers to the government.” Reimer said the possibility of chief judges suspending all court rules during an emergency without a clear end in sight was deeply disturbing. “That is something that should not happen in a democracy,” he said.
posted by katra at 6:49 PM on March 21 [15 favorites]


presumably the moron-in-chief is promoting that drug bc he plans to personally profit from it somehow
posted by poffin boffin at 6:52 PM on March 21 [13 favorites]


Partial list of states in “lockdown” here and here. Here are all the ones I could find.

California
Connecticut
Illinois
Louisiana
Minnesota
Nevada
New York
New Jersey
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Texas
Washington
posted by haiku warrior at 7:04 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


We must clear our jails and end bail as the prison system becomes hotspots of CV infections - Cynthia Nixon

Uh no. Maybe for minor crimes but let's not let all the violent felons, domestic abusers and con artists out at once at a time when people are vulnerable
posted by fshgrl at 7:05 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Short twitter thread about what's happening in Iran:

2. Iranian authorities have begged Iranians to stay home except for work but the truth is still far too many Iranians have ignored this advice, maybe at least half of Tehran residents according to some estimates and Tehran is leading the way with deaths and new cases.

3. Regarding a quarantine Tehran mayor said recently they are not in an economic position to force a quarantine. They cannot provide basic services to 9 million residents under lockdown. They may change their mind but they need people to work or face a collapse far worse....

5. Sanctions are killing Iranians. Everyone knows this. They prevent Iran from selling their oil and accessing international banks. And medical goods are technically exempt but Iran has no way to purchase them without access to banks. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.

posted by mediareport at 7:07 PM on March 21 [21 favorites]


There's a lot to criticize about the ways in which governments all over the world have and are handling this crisis. China appears to have quelled the spread, but only after first covering it up and "disappearing" several whistleblowers. Germany never even made an effort to contain the virus, and to my knowledge hasn't enacted any measures on a federal level beyond closing the borders, but so far reports few fatalities. The Netherlands took a wait-and-see approach not dissimilar to the US and the UK, until public pressure forced the government to close schools, bars and restaurants about a week ago. France dithered for a while, then enacted a strict country-wide lockdown and mobilized the army. South Korea managed to get the infection rate down around the beginning of March, but only after 1 million people signed a petition calling for the resignation of President Moon and at the cost of far-reaching infringements of privacy and the freedom movement, while the number of daily new cases has risen since then.

I don't think there are any easy answers here. We're all in this together. Look out for one another.
posted by dmh at 7:10 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Basically: West and east coast states have started taking strong measures to limit exposure and spread, but the entire south and middle of the country has politicians who "don't want to scare people" and seem to think that a "foreign" virus can't possibly hurt American people.

Hi, I live in Ohio and this is bullshit. Schools are closed here for three weeks. Restaurants and bars are closed to patrons, only delivery and carryout service (and we expect more winnowing down of that availability soon). Hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body piercing locations, tanning facilities, massage therapy locations, movie theaters, indoor family entertainment centers, dance studios, adult day services for developmentally disabled people... all closed. More closures expected in tomorrow's update from the governor and state health director, possibly even a full lockdown.
posted by palomar at 7:12 PM on March 21 [19 favorites]


Lock down in Ohio is a very real possibility. We're already fairly locked down, more so than several other states, as palomar says. Ohio universities were among the first to close and send their students home.

Please stop with the flyover country bullshit. I've begged and begged in the past and now it's just really insulting. Do some research before you unilaterally tell us how we're doing things wrong.
posted by cooker girl at 7:15 PM on March 21 [29 favorites]


And while I'm not thrilled with the way DeWine handled postponing the primary election this past Tuesday, I've got to give him credit, he's taking serious action right now in the face of a lot of whining and grousing from his deeply red supporters. But I'm not hearing any anti-Asian racist dogwhistling out of him. He's handling this shitstorm VERY well.
posted by palomar at 7:16 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


p.s. My circle of friends are calling Dr. Amy Acton (Ohio's Health Director) DR. AMY ACTION.

Because she ROCKS. Seriously, she's incredibly soothing to watch and I feel better with her in charge.
posted by cooker girl at 7:18 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


... the entire south and middle of the country has politicians who "don't want to scare people" and seem to think that a "foreign" virus can't possibly hurt American people
Dude. They closed the bars in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin! They didn't even do that during Prohibition!
posted by Floydd at 7:19 PM on March 21 [45 favorites]


Oh, and re: the schools being closed here -- I don't know that official word has come down but the rumblings among the parents I know here is that schools likely won't reopen until September.

And hell yes, Dr. Acton is incredible. TONS of respect for her.
posted by palomar at 7:19 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


the entire south and middle of the country has politicians who "don't want to scare people" and seem to think that a "foreign" virus can't possibly hurt American people."

Yeah, joining others here in giving the lie to this. Kentucky very rarely gives me pride in its handling of... well, anything, really, but Governor Beshear's honestly doing a good job of establishing clear leadership and sensible restrictions.
posted by jackbishop at 7:20 PM on March 21 [11 favorites]


*ahem* DR. ACTION
posted by cooker girl at 7:21 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Here's a relatively detailed look at the numbers coming out of Russia. The country has a surprisingly low ratio of cases per tests performed, and showed an unusual spike in pneumonia cases in January that the government has since said was incorrect. Russia also is using a test that is significantly less sensitive than tests used in other countries:

Why is Russia reporting so few COVID-19 cases? Some say it's a cover-up

According to the count released by its health ministry, Russia currently has only 253 confirmed cases of the virus. That is vastly lower than in other major countries in Western Europe, where there are already thousands of cases. What really makes Russia an outlier, however, is the number of tests it is carrying out compared to its number of positive cases. Russia has done 133,101 tests, putting it behind only China, Italy and South Korea.

But with just 306 cases of the virus, Russia’s ratio of positive cases to the number of tests is the second lowest in the world, at 0.21%. That number is puzzling, not least for a country of Russia’s vast size, with a population of 144 million and a long border with China. For example, the U.K. has done 64,600 tests and has over 3,000 cases. In Norway, 44,000 tests have turned up 1,700 cases...


And

There are indications that Russia's test is far less sensitive than those in other countries...the Russian test, PCR News wrote, only detects the virus when there are over 100,000 copies of it per milliliter in a sample. That is far more than in other countries’ tests. A test in use in the U.S., for example, will pick up the virus with just 6,250 copies.

“That would mean it’s about 10-16 times less sensitive than what’s available in the U.S.,” Carmen Wiley, president of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry, told ABC News by a phone. At such a level, she said there was a risk the Russians were missing cases, in particular where people were asymptomatic.

The Russian government is aware of the issue and is preparing to launch a second test to act as a control for the first, Kurinny, the lawmaker, told ABC News. He said he was also worried Russia is only testing a "very narrow" group, confined largely to those arriving from countries deemed as hotspots for the virus and who show symptoms.

posted by mediareport at 7:25 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


Excellent summary palomar. Apologies for leaving out Ohio.

So far the German approach seems to be the most effective. The number of confirmed German cases is may be close to the true number of infections there, thanks to widespread testing. Whereas in Italy, Spain, and US, largely only those with symptoms or known exposure have been tested—the true number of infections is likely much higher in those countries than the number of confirmed cases.

My hypothesis is the testing in Germany has allowed for isolating those who test positive (reducing transmission) and monitoring )leading to early treatment if the person’s condition deteriorates). A worry is that the low fatality rate has led Germans to become complacent about social distancing, and they still could be inundated. Time will tell.
posted by haiku warrior at 7:42 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Missouri's governor is a tool. Not as bad as Greitens who he replaced, but he's a tool.

But St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and for the most part, neighboring counties are way ahead of him. In fact, the current St. Louis County Executive and his wife are both medical doctors.

We're going on lockdown starting Monday morning at 12:01 AM. Other social distancing measures have been in place about on pace with Illinois (sometimes a little later, sometimes a little earlier). A week ago a drive-through testing center was opened.
posted by Foosnark at 8:00 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Israel is using cellphone location tracking data to send text message to folks who've been near those known to be infected, telling them to self-quarantine; the Supreme Court has ordered a halt to the process unless the now-shut-down Parliament forms "relevant oversight committees" by next Tuesday.

Context: Forming a government in Israel requires the support of 61 of the 100 MKs (Members of Knesset). Israel has had three national elections so far without being able to form a government. The present medical crisis has compounded the difficulty because of the need for social distancing. To make it worse, four MKs are presently quarantined. The caretaker Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been indicted for a bunch of corrupt-looking stuff, but Israel's Supreme Court has put off hearings for at least two months because of COVID 19.

The anti-Netanyahu forces have a majority but it's extremely fragile: it includes the mostly-Arab Joint List as well as the secular-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu. I don't know if they can form a government, but it's a moot point unless the Knesset sits. And the Knesset apparently can't sit because of the crisis. This works pretty damn well for Netanyahu, because he remains Prime Minister until the Knesset says otherwise.

So this plan to track cellphones (which I understand has worked well in other countries) might be the thing that gets the Knesset out of its Catch-22. Or not. Things will not actually be better if Netanyahu backs down on the cellphone tracking proposal: the Knesset (or at least its subcommittees) should be meeting. It's a real constitutional crisis and unless Reuven Rivlin (Israel's president, its Head of State) has some reserve powers to resolve it, it may start to look like a coup.

I would be very surprised if other legislatures don't fall into similar crises. We are in uncharted waters here. I don't think any democracy has a plan for circumstances in which the legislature could meet, but shouldn't, and would be missing some random percentage of legislators if it did.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:11 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


At the same time the US is telling their nurses to hand sew their own masks- is this a fucking joke?

It gets worse.

"I have to tell you, the throwing away of the masks, being in private business, the throwing away of the mask right away, they're throwing it away," Trump said during Saturday's White House coronavirus briefing. ""We have very good liquids for doing this, sanitizing the masks."

As a businessman, Trump is disturbed that healthcare workers are disposing of their disposable masks. He wants them to reuse their contaminated paper masks.
posted by JackFlash at 8:20 PM on March 21 [17 favorites]


Uh no. Maybe for minor crimes but let's not let all the violent felons, domestic abusers and con artists out at once at a time when people are vulnerable

JAIL is where people who have been accused but not tried are held. Bail is just a way to make sure that only the poor people sit in cages waiting for their trials away from their homes and families. The fact that all of the sudden, everyone thinks it's common sense to send these people home, just shows how bullshit the bail system is.
posted by bradbane at 8:26 PM on March 21 [76 favorites]


being in private business

Which is, you orange asshole, exactly the opposite of the business you're in now.
posted by Rykey at 8:29 PM on March 21 [17 favorites]


Rhode Island has a team of women leaders who are moving swiftly to try to slow the epidemic here.

The governor's press conferences start after the president's each day but now local news just cuts away to her. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:56 PM on March 21 [13 favorites]


"At the same time the US is telling their nurses to hand sew their own masks- is this a fucking joke?"

A hospital in Indiana having very bad shortages released a pattern that meets the CDC requirements for fabric masks (allowable in a crisis), and it's been spreading through church groups and sewing circles in the Midwest and basically every woman I know with a sewing machine and a fabric stash is mass-producing and organizing within their towns to do touchless pickups and drop them at whatever local medical center has the most need. (Someone calls around and finds out which facilities want them, which is the ones with capacity for laundry that are also short on masks. They're not dumping them on random hospitals that don't want/can't use them.)

The feds can't figure out how to put us on a wartime production footing, but -- as always -- women's community connections rapidly organize to produce and provide necessary emergency supplies when they can't otherwise be gotten.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:08 PM on March 21 [105 favorites]


everybody: look through your cellar/garage to see if you have n95s.

i found one. still in package. leftover from abortive years-ago effort to abate basement cinderblock mold.

how do i find out how to direct it to where it is most needed?
have asked family with contacts in local medical community, but don't expect prompt response.
should i just carry it into the nearest hospital?
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:44 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


5. Sanctions are killing Iranians. Everyone knows this. They prevent Iran from selling their oil and accessing international banks. And medical goods are technically exempt but Iran has no way to purchase them without access to banks. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.

There is a group of private US citizens associated with the GOP threatening medical supply companies that sell to Iran. The US, in many ways, is murdering people each and every day across the globe.
posted by fshgrl at 9:55 PM on March 21 [22 favorites]


You do this in the US and people are going to get shot.
That literally applies to anything anyone could ever do in the US.

just shows how bullshit the bail system is.
And almost every other system.

I can think of no more searing indictment of the predominant neoliberal system, than that almost everyone seems to take it for granted that making all the humans stay home for a month could make it all collapse.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:14 PM on March 21 [13 favorites]


The media must stop live-broadcasting Trump’s dangerous, destructive coronavirus briefings (Margaret Sullivan, WaPo Perspective)
Trump is doing harm and spreading misinformation while working for his own partisan political benefit — a naked attempt to portray himself as a wartime president bravely leading the nation through a tumultuous time, the FDR of the 21st century. [...]

Business as usual simply doesn’t cut it. Minor accommodations, like fact-checking the president’s statements afterward, don’t go nearly far enough to counter the serious damage this man is doing to the public’s well-being. Radical change is necessary: The cable networks and other news organizations that are taking the president’s briefings as live feeds should stop doing so.

Should they cover the news that’s produced in them? Of course. Thoroughly and relentlessly — with context and fact-checking built in to every step and at every stage. “There is a very real possibility that in broadcasting these press conferences live or in quickly publishing and blasting out his words in mobile alerts, we are actively misinforming our audience,” Alex Koppelman, managing editor of CNN Business, wrote in an email for the network’s Reliable Sources newsletter.

Koppelman stopped short of overtly calling for the radical solution. That’s not so for Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University who wrote on his PressThink blog that the media needs to switch into “emergency mode”for covering Trump and clearly communicate that change to its readers and viewers.

“We are not obliged to assist him in misinforming the American public about the spread of the virus, and what is actually being done by his government,” Rosen wrote. Rather than covering Trump live, he recommended, among other things, that the media should “attend carefully to what he says” and subject it to verification before blasting it out to the public.
posted by katra at 10:16 PM on March 21 [46 favorites]


The media must stop live-broadcasting Trump’s dangerous, destructive coronavirus briefings

they used to say (optimistically) They Started A War And Nobody Came.

I was thinking the other day, we need an upgrade. They Called A Press Conference And Nobody Came.

It's easy if you try.
posted by philip-random at 10:25 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


I have to tell you, the throwing away of the masks, being in private business, the throwing away of the mask right away, they're throwing it away

Disposable masks: disposed of
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:30 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


^^^everybody: look through your cellar/garage to see if you have n95s.
i found one. still in package. leftover from abortive years-ago effort to abate basement cinderblock mold.

how do i find out how to direct it to where it is most needed?
20 year lurk, this Health Magazine article includes links to volunteer-compiled lists of groups and institutions that are accepting donated gear.

Doctors Are Pleading for People to Donate PPE Gear -- Here's How You Can Help
posted by virago at 10:38 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


crossposting covidactnow.org modeling tool from "modeling" thread, where i requested mefites' insights, and got a more measured read than my own from Homeboy Trouble. (thanks!)

also thanks, virago, for above pointer.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:48 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Russia is spreading disinformation about the virus. Because of course they are?

Two of my friends have forwarded messages that contained such advice as "hot fluids neutralize the virus, so avoid drinking ice water" and "drinking water every 15 to 20 minutes will flush the virus to your stomach where it will be killed by acid" which have already been debunked. (Worth noting that one of said friends almost immediately afterward forwarded a CNN item about said messages being fake as an "er, nevermind").

Don't know if these messages are originating from Russia, trolls, or whatnot, but yeah disinformation is out there and spreading.
posted by gtrwolf at 10:54 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


findthemasks.com, from the health magazine article virago provided above, seems to be pretty organized. see also social media hashtag #GetMePPE, and PPE Link.

will give local contacts a chance to respond and state/county institutions a chance to register on donation sites list, and then go with the closest listed site.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:12 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Don't know if these messages are originating from Russia, trolls, or whatnot, but yeah disinformation is out there and spreading.

US authorities battle surge in coronavirus scams, from phishing to fake treatments (Guardian, Mar. 19, 2020)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general across the US are increasing efforts to crack down on an explosion of scams related to the coronavirus outbreak. The agencies have reported a rise in fraudulent activity exploiting confusion around Covid-19, which has infected more than 190,000 people worldwide and has prompted numerous cities to be placed on lockdown indefinitely. The rise in scams has come in the form of email phishing campaigns, fraudulent goods, and disinformation campaigns, according to a report released this week from Digital Shadows, a San Francisco cybersecurity company.

[...] There has been an upswing in the registration of domains related to coronavirus in the past few weeks, a report released on Thursday from security firm Check Point said. The report also found that sites on the darknet, the part of the internet that is not indexed by Google or other search engines, are advertising hacking tools capitalizing on coronavirus fears.

[...] Alex Jones, a noted rightwing conspiracy theorist, was issued a cease-and-desist order by the New York state attorney general over false claims that diet supplements and toothpaste sold on his website could be used to fight the coronavirus.

[...] The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent the virus and all products advertised as such will be targeted.
posted by katra at 11:13 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


US authorities battle surge in coronavirus scams, from phishing to fake treatments

Let's not forget our ol' pal Jim Bakker.

Yep, grifters gonna grift....
posted by gtrwolf at 11:45 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]




The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent the virus and all products advertised as such will be targeted.

And what are they going to do about Trump pushing chloroquine as a cure, or whatever factoid next enters his brain?
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:49 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Corvid 19- Gang of crows that hang out in the McDonald's parking lot selling stale french fries to pigeons and seagulls.
posted by calamari kid at 11:55 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]


Here in Japan, pretty much every store that had masks at one point just has signs on windows saying they don’t have them, and aren’t getting them anytime soon.

Meanwhile, it’s cherry blossom viewing season, and parks are full of people. Trains are still pretty full, people are out shopping as if nothing is happening. Schools are set to open for the beginning of the school year in April, and a lot of businesses are already opening again. And the official stats say that Japan has just broken the 1000 infected barrier, but tests are almost impossible to get. The guideline seems to be that first, you have to go to your local doctor with a fever, and then the same doctor has to see that you have a fever over four consecutive days (so, yes, if you think you’re sick, you have to go to your local clinic and sit in the crowded waiting room on four consecutive days) before they can prescribe a test.

There hasn’t been any sort of lockdown here, other than the schools closing with very little planning in place. Sports are all on hold, most concerts and conventions have been cancelled, but from what I’m seeing posted on Facebook and twitter, most bars are still busy. I’m very, very nervous about what’s coming next. Given that most schools will reopen around the second weekend of April, I wouldn’t be shocked if we’re told to shut everything down again by the middle of the month.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:14 AM on March 22 [22 favorites]


Germany never even made an effort to contain the virus, and to my knowledge hasn't enacted any measures on a federal level beyond closing the borders, but so far reports few fatalities.

In the initial phase, there was a strong focus on contact tracing, testing of the contacts and precautionary home quarantines. This has ramped up now to social distancing and partial lock downs, which seems to be adhered to better and better. The constitutional structure of Germany makes the individual states responsible for public health emergencies, policing etc. These are structural safeguards against too much power being concentrated in a single point, born from the experiences of the Nazi time. But the states talk to each other and while this can result in some friction, it looks like they mostly figured out ways to coordinate. As probably everywhere in Europe and the US, the initial response was too slow, but the news from Italy from around 2 weeks ago definitely woke up a lot of people and politicians.

Meanwhile, the federal government is looking at the economic side as well. One important part of the social safety net is "Kurzarbeitergeld", which is designed to allow companies to avoid layoffs when there are seasonal or recession-related slumps in demand for a company's services, e.g., the construction industry in winter. There, people get 60% of their normal salary, paid by the government. This has been ramped up and there are additional measures for free-lance/self-employed workers in the works, etc. Other measures include a prohibition of terminations for tenants who cannot pay their rent in the next few months.
posted by ltl at 12:15 AM on March 22 [14 favorites]


The number of confirmed German cases is may be close to the true number of infections there, thanks to widespread testing.

I’m not sure where people are getting the impression that Germany is doing widespread testing. At least here in Hessen, they’re not. The national guidelines (in German) still say that you need to have symptoms and one of the following:
- contact with a confirmed case
- been in one of the areas classified as high risk in the last 14 days
- have serious symptoms
- work or volunteer somewhere like a hospital where you are in contact with people at risk

This was also confirmed by our company doctor, who said he could arrange a test, but only if we fell under category 1 or 2. I’ve even seen reports that some Kreisen (counties) in Hessen are considering stopping testing (possibly already stopped) as it is “wasting" medical staff.
posted by scorbet at 12:24 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]


Yes, indeed. The actual number of infections in Germany is likely much higher. It looks like wider testing probably started earlier and caught a lot of the asymptomatic contact persons you don't see if you only test when people arrive at the hospital or doctor with symptoms.
posted by ltl at 12:47 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


That bit about seeing your doctor in person in Japan is wild. Here in New Zealand, as of Monday, the default for people with respiratory symptoms will be phone consults or waiting outside the clinic. Not just to protect the staff, but all the other people in the waiting room.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:48 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]


Again, I recommend this tracker, where you can toggle the categories, allowing you to realize daily trends before they become obvious.

For example, just from right now, you can see that:

- There are now only FIVE countries/territories in the world that are virus-free, so it's truly worldwide now.

- The US is now the the country with the THIRD highest number of cases, 26,892, having passed Spain, Germany, Iran & France yesterday. US will probably pass Italy within 3-4 days to be # 2, and within a week will have the highest number in the world (That is one wrong "We're No. 1" claim...)

- Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, and especially UK are going to be hit hard next

- The US has the highest number of NEW cases (2,685) today. Australia, Thailand & The Philippines are growing the fastest next

- Right now the US has only 348 dead, but it will surely bypass France in a couple of days, and Spain / Iran within a week

- The US is also No. 1 in New Deaths (46) today

- This whole list is probably severely under-reported: Surely there are many, many cases that we don't know about yet, for a variety of reasons.
posted by growabrain at 3:58 AM on March 22 [15 favorites]


Got my info about testing in Germany from this iNews article discussing why German fatality rate has been so low. Perhaps this info is no longer accurate, as Germany is on a steep ascending curve, now over 18,000 confirmed cases. One reason for low fatality rate might be many early cases were among young people returning from ski vacations in Italy.
posted by haiku warrior at 5:39 AM on March 22


Interesting article from the UK about how covid-19 has lit a fire under so many political orthodoxies championed by the Conservative Party. Boris Johnson, who has always been proponent of minimal and laissez faire government, is finding himself in charge of a government that is being compelled to lay down strong laws, offer widespread welfare support and intervene to try to save businesses and jobs. I guess this could apply for many other right wing governments around the world.
posted by rongorongo at 5:47 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


"hot fluids neutralize the virus, so avoid drinking ice water" and "drinking water every 15 to 20 minutes will flush the virus to your stomach where it will be killed by acid"

At least both of those are actually safe if kept within reason - hell, the second one is probably an excellent idea, however ineffective it may be against the actual virus.

There's much worse misinformation out there, is all I'm saying. I'm always so profoundly disturbed when I see people buying more than like a gallon of bleach at a time. You know you're supposed to dilute it, right!?
posted by aspersioncast at 6:03 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


Dr John Campbell summarises some studies about how long the Covid 19 virus can survive on surfaces as well as in aerosols. TLDR: In aerosols it can linger for at least 3 hours, on plastic or stainless steel it is viable for up to 72 hours, cardboard 24 hours, copper just 4 hours.
posted by rongorongo at 6:05 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


In aerosols it can linger for at least 3 hours

Only rarely or under limited laboratory conditions, according to this detailed article from March 16th examining the current scientific understanding of the possible aerosolization of the coronavirus (haven't watched rongorongo's 15-minute video link so don't know how much it matches the article). I found the article thoughtful, measured and interesting, acknowledging the possibility of aerosol spread but calling it unlikely in real-world settings.

Excerpts:

In droplet form, the coronavirus is airborne for a few seconds after someone sneezes or coughs. It’s able to travel only a short distance before gravitational forces pull it down. Someone close enough for the virus particles to reach in that brief period can therefore be infected....An aerosol is a wholly different physical state...The suspended particles remain for hours or more, depending on factors such as heat and humidity. If virus particles, probably on droplets of mucus or saliva, can be suspended in air for more than a few seconds, as the measles virus can, then anyone passing through that pathogenic cloud could become infected.

There are strong reasons to doubt that the new coronavirus has anything close to that capability.
[emphasis added]

“If it could easily exist as an aerosol, we would be seeing much greater levels of transmission,” said epidemiologist Michael LeVasseur of Drexel University. “And we would be seeing a different pattern in who’s getting infected."

...Even if the virus infects only a small fraction of those who come into contact with it, the extremely low rate among close contacts and the absence of infections in some household members of patients suggests that it rarely exists as an aerosol in most real-world situations.

posted by mediareport at 6:34 AM on March 22 [19 favorites]


And then you get the bill:
Total Cost of Her COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43
("We still need to make money, right?")
posted by growabrain at 6:42 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]


And the official stats say that Japan has just broken the 1000 infected barrier, but tests are almost impossible to get...I’m very, very nervous about what’s coming next.

Yeah, if I was in Japan I would be too. This WaPo article from Feb 28 leaves the impression Abe's response has been very similar to Trump's. Gotta keep those summer Olympics from being cancelled, I guess.

Given that most schools will reopen around the second weekend of April, I wouldn’t be shocked if we’re told to shut everything down again by the middle of the month.

I've been telling my parent friends that a re-opening of schools and subsequent re-closing if cases rise again is a definite possibility they should keep in mind.
posted by mediareport at 6:43 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


- The US is also No. 1 in New Deaths (46) today

Just to be clear, the data from today ("Now") are incomplete. Yesterday Italy had 6557 new cases and 793 deaths, and will certainly have many more new deaths that the US does today, as will other countries.

Right now that "Now" information has a blank for Italy, and many other countries -- that does not necessarily mean zero, it just means they haven't added today's data to the table for that country (yet, presumably). In fact, at the moment, Iran and Spain are now showing data in the "Now" table with many more new deaths that the US, and the US count has been increased to 47, meaning the data has been updated already since growabrain posted 46.
posted by judgement day at 7:10 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]


The US is also now the #2 country in “Active Cases,” just ahead of Germany and Spain but still well behind Italy. If testing in the US continues to accelerate and Italy’s quarantine measures begin taking effect soon, then it won’t be long before the US has the highest number of known active cases.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:20 AM on March 22


Got my info about testing in Germany from this iNews article discussing why German fatality rate has been so low.

Thanks, that article might explain why I keep getting seeing the “Germany is doing lots of tests” factoid everywhere. It’s true that they were pretty quick at getting testing organized, and it’s still easier to get tested here than in the UK or the US, from what I can see. (Which up to now, at least, has seemed like a very low bar.) But, it keeps being spun into what sounds more like South Korean style testing, which is definitely not the case. This line "people can be tested if they show mild symptoms or have had contact with an infected person, which has been the case for over a month" from the article doesn’t match my experience either - you need to have both mild symptoms and contact from what I’ve understood.

The other part is that as ltl mentioned above, Germany is federalised, and some of these types of decisions are being made at a much more local level. It’s possible that in some areas it is easier to get tested, particularly those areas with a very high rate of community transmission. But not in most of the country as far as I can tell.
posted by scorbet at 7:26 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


It's inevitable that the US will become no. 1 on all counts very soon (if Russia doesn't suddenly sprint ahead). It's a much bigger country than Italy or Iran or Spain, and the measures taken are even less efficient than when the virus arrived in those countries. Wether it happens today or tomorrow or on Wednesday is not really important.
Please stay safe everyone, and I hope you can convince your families to do so as well. (For the record, I have family in the US, and I am mortified).
posted by mumimor at 7:27 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


about how covid-19 has lit a fire under so many political orthodoxies championed by the Conservative Party

Same with Republicans/conservatives in the US. I think they’re in so much denial about the severity of the oncoming catastrophe because it is a catastrophe that demonstrates, irrefutably, that their approach to society, government, and the rest of humanity is fundamentally fucking wrong.

You need a government. You need experts. You need to consider the public good.

Admitting all that would mean admitting that they’re wrong and that they’ve been wrong all along, and apparently many of them would rather risk their lives and the lives of everyone around them rather than suffer the indignity.

I can’t be the only one on the left who is just fucking done.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:55 AM on March 22 [94 favorites]


growabrain - This whole list is probably severely under-reported: Surely there are many, many cases that we don't know about yet, for a variety of reasons.

I can guarantee you the number of cases in the US are under-reported. The hospital I work at actually has the ability to test (rather than to send to a lab) and we are beyond capacity of our testing abilities. With that in mind, our deaths to reported cases ratio is way over represented, as only people with severe symptoms are being tested.

Rust MoranisThe restaurant industry wants $145 billion.

Amongst all the other big industries that are proposed to being bailed out, this one really upsets me. I think most MeFis know that in the US, minimum wage for food service workers who receive tips is $2.13/hr.

How much of that $145 billion is going to "trickle down" to those making 2.13? When I was in food service and the government promised direct relief for us during multiple hurricanes, I have seen exactly zero relief. If the gov is going to give it to "the industry", I don't imagine the money going downhill at all.

*sigh* I just know too many people in service industries in general that depend on their tips, and I have been there. As I am typing, a thunderstorm just came through. In years past, that may have meant "I'll have to work lunch and dinner shift, since I won't make tips today to pay the bills." (sometimes past due bills). Now, that thunderstorm doesn't matter, because our state has closed all restaurants for the next three weeks. That's like a thunderstorm every day for 21 days.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 8:02 AM on March 22 [24 favorites]


There are now reports that they are starting to transfer ICU patients from France across the border to Germany. At last, we might see some solidarity after the initial nationalist, everyone-on-their-own reflexes...
posted by ltl at 8:09 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]


Admitting all that would mean admitting that they’re wrong and that they’ve been wrong all along, and apparently many of them would rather risk their lives and the lives of everyone around them rather than suffer the indignity.

I think this actually explains some of the "blame it on China" talk happening; it's a lot less cognitive dissonance if you can recast this as a more-traditional national security issue.
posted by Slothrup at 8:21 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]




Before you get too critical BC managed to infect a load of dentists by having a 15,000 person dental convention in March 5-7. Nothing but emergency dental work all over for a while.

And they won't test or even take information until you have a known close contact or need a hospital at the moment because they too are overwhelmed.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:53 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


Same with Republicans/conservatives in the US. I think they’re in so much denial about the severity of the oncoming catastrophe because it is a catastrophe that demonstrates, irrefutably, that their approach to society, government, and the rest of humanity is fundamentally fucking wrong.

The denial or misapprehension of the severity of Covid-19 isn't limited to the US and/or Republicans/conservatives.
posted by dmh at 8:54 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]


Before you get too critical BC managed to infect a load of dentists by having a 15,000 person dental convention in March 5-7.

Oh god yes, I saw an article that said 90% of the dentists in British Columbia attended the event, and now almost all the dentists in the province are self-quarantined. This isn't the exact piece but same idea:

"Traditionally, attendance there is probably about, oh, just about 90 per cent of the dentists in the province," Ciriani said from his home, where he is now in self-isolation. Ciriani and many of his colleagues are shutting down their offices, suspending elective procedures and trying to find alternatives — namely any dental staff who didn't attend the conference — for patients who are dealing with severe pain or infection.

"The degree of dental services available across the province is going to be really curtailed," he said. "This is uncharted territory for all of us."


That said, I think the LGBTQ Task Force's responsibility to the many, many attendees it knew would be immunocompromised takes this to another level. I mean, all my queer life I've had something of a mistrust of the major LGBTQ orgs, but this moment seems particularly worth criticizing.
posted by mediareport at 9:01 AM on March 22 [11 favorites]


There are now only FIVE countries/territories in the world that are virus-free, so it's truly worldwide now.

Omilord, it's reached Madagascar.

I'm in San Diego, which is in shelter-in-place mode. I'm happy to report that panic buying appears to have slowed, possibly because the panic-buyers are sated, but more likely, I think, because people are now approaching the problem calmly and rationally. I have seen no altercations at the market, but instead a certain in-the-underground-during-the-Blitz cheeriness pervades. I'm pretty pleased with my fellow Californians today.
posted by SPrintF at 9:10 AM on March 22 [10 favorites]


denial or misapprehension of the severity of Covid-19 isn't limited to the US and/or Republicans/conservatives

yes. anecdotally, i noticed a striking amount of evasion/resistance among the older guys, say 55+, in my milieu around the time schools were closing. kinda small sample set skewed liberal or at least apolitically cynical. understand that a long habit of antiauthoritarian attitude and a diet of mainstream pablum is hard to puncture. for the most part they've now stopped sending me ill-considered, dismissive jokes.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:22 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]



You need a government. You need experts. You need to consider the public good.

Admitting all that would mean admitting that they’re wrong and that they’ve been wrong all along, and apparently many of them would rather risk their lives and the lives of everyone around them rather than suffer the indignity.



Measured incivility. We need it.
posted by ocschwar at 9:46 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


Amongst all the other big industries that are proposed to being bailed out, this one really upsets me. I think most MeFis know that in the US, minimum wage for food service workers who receive tips is $2.13/hr.

With a couple of notable exceptions, all of the restaurateurs that I've worked for have been selfish psychopaths that will definitely keep every penny for themselves because in their twisted minds, they deserve it. With very few exceptions, this isn't going to trickle down to the people who really need it which is typical all US bailouts. Shovel more money to the rich who don't need it so that they can stash it offshore and not pay taxes on it. Great. Thanks.
posted by ensign_ricky at 9:50 AM on March 22 [15 favorites]


In pro-Trump West Virginia, a fight to convince residents a pandemic is coming (WaPo)
A story about healthcare professionals who stick to science, regardless of policy

And in the comments to that story, there was this link to CNN:
How one woman fought to get her husband tested while her state was applauded for having no coronavirus
Which is kind of the opposite, though there is the heroic wife
posted by mumimor at 9:51 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


I have seen no altercations at the market

There haven't been prolonged shortages yet, either.....I mean, I have seen some empty shelves, but the trucks are still coming. I hope it stays that way. I have been stocking up on supplies for about two weeks now, and even on the second dedicated trip I made to buy some supplies ,right at the opening of the grocery store, which was several days before the majority of people decided to do the same, there was this kind of unpleasant raw energy in the place. A feeling of pre-panic. I never, never want to see a food riot, it must be horrible. I really don't think this will come to that.
posted by thelonius at 9:55 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the little grocery store near my house had empty paper products shelves and empty bread shelves for a couple of days but they've been restocked in the meantime. The supplies are still rolling in. It's not a supply problem, it's a hoarding problem. I've been buying a bit extra every trip to the store, but not doing a giant stock-up because we already have food here. Just trying to flesh out the pantry a tad more, not stock up for end times.
posted by hippybear at 9:59 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


They're not N95s, but surgical masks and homemade masks are better than nothing. Homemade masks seem like a decent strategy at the moment for people when they have to go out in public, eg the grocery store, and is arguably better than wearing no mask at all. While allowing N95s and surgical masks to be saved for healthcare workers.
posted by robotdevil at 10:00 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


Desperate and angry state leaders push back on Trump admin claims of mass mask shipments (Politico)
Governors, mayors and front-line health care workers confronting rising numbers of critically ill coronavirus patients said Sunday they have not received meaningful amounts of federal aid, including the shipments of desperately needed masks and other emergency equipment that administration officials say they have already dispatched.

As the crisis spreads, Congress was planning a rare Sunday procedural vote as it moved toward a deal on a third coronavirus aid package. Containing both broad economic stimulus measures and direct help for American families, it could pass the Senate as early as Monday.

[...] The shortages have forced hospitals to adopt risky practices like reusing masks and having staff wear bandanas when no mask is available. [...] “We’ve got to have those masks,” Whitmer said. “Had the federal government really started focusing when it became clear that the whole world was going to be confronting this, we would be in a stronger position right now ... Lives will be lost because we weren’t prepared.” [...] Governors, congressional lawmakers and mayors continued to plead with the White House over the weekend to use the powers of the Defense Production Act to speed up manufacture of masks, ventilators and other scarce supplies as many hospitals say they’re set to run out within days.

[...] “We've gotten no indication of any factory on 24/7 shifts. We've gotten no shipments,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on NBC. “I can’t be blunt enough: If the president does not act, people will die who could have lived otherwise.”
posted by katra at 10:20 AM on March 22 [10 favorites]


“We are desperate”: Trump’s inaction has created a crisis in protective medical gear (Caroline Hopkins, Vox)
A long foreseen shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) — including masks, N95 respirators, and gowns — is crippling health workers’ ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. And as doctors and nurses are forced to reuse gear in ways that put themselves and patients at risk of infection, they’re begging the Trump administration to use readily available legal tools to solve the crisis.

In a joint March 21 letter to President Trump, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the American Nurses Association called on the administration to “immediately use the Defense Production Act to increase the domestic production of medical supplies and equipment that hospitals, health, health systems, physicians, nurses and all front line providers so desperately need.” [...]

Although Trump tweeted March 18 that he had signed the DPA, he said he would only be using it in a “worst case scenario in the future.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:46 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


FEMA chief says Trump still hasn't used Defense Production Act to get critical supplies for coronavirus fight (Ryan Pickrell, Business Insider)
- President Donald Trump has not yet made use of the Defense Production Act to get critical supplies to the front lines of the coronavirus fight, FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

- Trump said Friday that he was using the act and had directed "a lot" of companies to produce key supplies like masks and ventilators.

- On Saturday, the president suggested that he had not done that because private companies were stepping up on their own.

- Gaynor told CNN that donations and voluntary offers of assistance were presently sufficient. "If it comes to a point we have to pull the lever, we will," he said.

- "We cannot wait until people start really dying in large numbers to start production," New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday, warning that medical facilities in her hard-hit state do not have enough of the supplies they need.
This probably needs active coordination to make sure that the right items are produced in the right amounts by the designated companies.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:51 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


Where are the tests??? This should be the first question to Trump at every press conference, before he has a chance to climb back into his clown car and escape. Strategic deployment of tests could play a major role in flattening the curve. We should be on wartime production for tests (and reagents, etc.), along with ventilators. Only testing people who show symptoms and meet strict criteria will not curb transmission by asymptomatic or mild carriers. We need regular testing of the people on the front lines: medical workers and essential service industry personnel, especially those who come into contact with many others, e.g., supermarket cashiers. I’m not an epidemiologist, but I did my PhD dissertation on epidemic protocols (a computer science appropriation of epidemiology to describe epidemic-like propagation mechanisms of information through networks), and I’m flabbergasted that the discussion of testing I’m seeing in the media is so focused on testing those that already have symptoms. We’re at or near the saturation point where we should assume anyone with symptoms is contagious with Covid-19, and you don’t need a test to tell you someone is having difficulty breathing and needs emergency medical treatment.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:00 AM on March 22 [13 favorites]


Rand Paul, who delayed a coronavirus relief bill in the Senate, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Angela Merkel is in quarantine after a doctor who treated her tested positive.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:03 AM on March 22 [15 favorites]


Last week: Senate coronavirus bill delayed after Rand Paul pushes doomed amendment (NBC); Rand Paul votes against emergency stimulus package amid coronavirus outbreak (Louisville Courier-Journal)
posted by box at 11:06 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]


My partner in crime for life works at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. (She is working from home since Friday 13 March.) The new rules instituted Friday or yesterday are that ALL personnel, not just those seeing patients, must wear masks at ALL times. The assumption is that anyone could be infected. It would be impossible to test everyone in a timely way.
posted by haiku warrior at 11:08 AM on March 22 [10 favorites]


Yeah, the media push of “masks don’t help the healthy” has been a massive, massive misstep. The fact that we weren’t prepared to have the entire population mask up doesn’t mean it wasn’t one of the best courses of action, and now we have millions that have absorbed the message that widespread mask usage would be counterproductive.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:14 AM on March 22 [12 favorites]


I have seen it suggested and I think it's plausible that a lot of the supermarket problems aren't hoarding so much as just in time supply chains meeting people buying a little bit extra.

We've been hearing the message for several weeks now. If we don't go out for food, we cook more at home. It's not unlikely that lots of people getting one or two extra things can empty shelves. They're full the next day, and they'll be full every day. Doesn't mean there's mass hoarding, just that daily deliveries are tuned for a certain level and 5% more is enough for them to be all wrong. Modern supermarkets don't have a huge buffer to store more than what their normal delivery schedule delivers. Maybe.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:18 AM on March 22 [18 favorites]


I fully expect Paul's stance against helping others to harden now that he's contracted the virus. He'll be able to say it's just a little flu, and that there's nothing to fear -- meaning nothing for him to fear. If the elderly want more government help, they should have used their daddy's name to become a Senator like he did.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:20 AM on March 22 [14 favorites]


> I have seen it suggested and I think it's plausible that a lot of the supermarket problems aren't hoarding so much as just in time supply chains meeting people buying a little bit extra.

I think that's definitely the case initially, but as more workers stay at home the supply chains are gonna be increasingly tighter also.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:20 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


As coronavirus leads to lockdowns across the world, capitalism will be forced to face its Achilles heel: the vast mountain of global debt. The Coming Debt Deluge

Beauty 2 Streets, a service that provides personal hygiene , grooming, and makeup to the homeless in LA is practicing social distancing

At 3pm today a group of libertarian (read: Anarchist) socialists will be hosting a Zoom call for instructions and group sewing of face masks.

In tourism-heavy cities (I used Nashville, Honolulu, New Orleans, and Savannah) the rental market is exploding, as AirBnB owners are suddenly forced to put their houses on the market. This surge in supply is going to dramatically cut the rates of monthly rentals.
posted by The Whelk at 11:30 AM on March 22 [11 favorites]


Nantucket, an hour by ferry from the mainland, is one of those places where you might expect the rich to flee at a time like this, and you'd be right. But it didn't help. Nantucket Cottage Hospital announced the island's first Covid-19 case today. The island is now under the state's first shelter-in-place order and the hospital itself, with just one ICU bed, is continuing to plead with off-islanders to stay away:
We are also advising anyone traveling to the island, or anyone who has come here to shelter from other cities or towns, that Nantucket has limited medical resources and a surge of cases could quickly overwhelm our hospital. If you have a choice to be on Nantucket or not, we are requesting that you make the decision to stay off the island to avoid a potentially dire scenario for our community and our hospital.
posted by adamg at 11:30 AM on March 22 [12 favorites]


Martha's Vineyard, the other hidey-hole place for the rich and fabulous off Cape Cod, reported its first case a couple days ago. Martha's Vineyard Hospital has three ICU beds.
posted by adamg at 11:35 AM on March 22 [9 favorites]


Yeah, the media push of “masks don’t help the healthy” has been a massive, massive misstep. The fact that we weren’t prepared to have the entire population mask up doesn’t mean it wasn’t one of the best courses of action, and now we have millions that have absorbed the message that widespread mask usage would be counterproductive.

I would be good if they distinguished between N95 respirators and regular surgical masks as shown in this CDC graphic.

The cheap surgical mask should be sufficient for most people going about their daily business. It keeps coughing people from spraying around and surrounding people from too easily inhaling those droplets. Not perfect but much better than nothing. That's the mask that most people are wearing in China and Japan. The N95 respirator, which is in dire shortage, should be reserved for medical workers or others in close contact with infected people.
posted by JackFlash at 11:38 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


[Few comments removed. We. Do. Not. Wish. For. Others. To. Die. ]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:46 AM on March 22 [41 favorites]


I've said this elsewhere and even asked my congresswoman to get this done:

The virus has literally made it to the floors of the House and the Senate. Trump and Pence are both exposed. Pelosi has not engaged in any irresponsible behavior, but she has been exposed to it, and if she comes down with the virus, she is certain to need sedation and intensive care. For the sake of government continuity, the Democratic caucus needs to elect a new speaker, who will appoint Pelosi as acting speaker and leave for seclusion, along with a shadow cabinet. This person should be as young as possible over 35.
posted by ocschwar at 11:48 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


this person should be aoc
posted by entropicamericana at 11:52 AM on March 22 [17 favorites]




this person should be aoc



AOC is 28. Otherwise I'd agree. She could fight off a bout with coronavirus and still be compos mentis.
posted by ocschwar at 11:55 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


This Atul Gawande New Yorker Piece about lessons learned about keeping COVID-19 from infecting health care workers has heartening information about reducing transmission (as seen in places like Singapore). We all could use a little heartening. Although, of course, masks are a huge part of the successful strategy, and workers need more masks.
posted by ldthomps at 12:02 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


> if she comes down with the virus, she is certain to need sedation and intensive care

There are a wide range of outcomes for people of all ages. Some elderly people have mild or no symptoms. Some young people end up in critical condition. It does make sense to take extra precautions for the most vulnerable people, but we shouldn’t pretend these things are anywhere close to certain.
posted by mbrubeck at 12:05 PM on March 22 [19 favorites]


There is a wide range of outcomes. But continuity of government, or better yet, a distinct discontinuity of government, requires that we look at the prevalent odds.
posted by ocschwar at 12:16 PM on March 22


What's the point of a tabletop exercise like this when you have absolutely zero sway?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:20 PM on March 22 [9 favorites]


What’s the point of any political conversation among non-elites then?

With the nys PAUSE act about to go into effect at 8, I’m going to take a long walk (away from people) outside while I still can.
posted by The Whelk at 12:25 PM on March 22 [8 favorites]


The cheap surgical mask should be sufficient for most people going about their daily business. It keeps coughing people from spraying around and surrounding people from too easily inhaling those droplets. Not perfect but much better than nothing.

Yeah, if folks haven't read Zeynep Tufecki's NYT column from March 17, Why Telling People They Don't Need Masks Backfired, she makes seven good arguments for citizens wearing masks. My take on the mask bottom line: all of the countries that have managed to slow the spread of the virus have many citizens who mask their faces with *something* when they go outside. Even a partial blockage of virus particles among mouths and noses helps. I'm looking for a bandana in my closet (I know there's one somewhere) before the next grocery store trip.
posted by mediareport at 12:27 PM on March 22 [7 favorites]


Gotta keep those summer Olympics from being cancelled, I guess.

The Olympics are defacto cancelled regardless of what the committee decides. Ain't no sane country or sport agency going to allow their athletes to travel internationally at this time.

You need a government. You need experts. You need to consider the public good.

Admitting all that would mean admitting that they’re wrong and that they’ve been wrong all along, and apparently many of them would rather risk their lives and the lives of everyone around them rather than suffer the indignity.


I'm going to be hammering on "Bailouts are Socialism, and that's OK" to all the MAGA-lites in my social circle here in Canada. Also that taxes pay for all the response. Between $30 oil and the virus Alberta is going to be in a bad way and examples will abound for why "we don't need no government"/"all taxes are bad" is poor policy and counter productive. A lot of people are going to be beneficiaries of funding policy they previously (and will in the future, hypocrisy knows no bounds) were against.
posted by Mitheral at 12:34 PM on March 22 [9 favorites]


Rand Paul, who delayed a coronavirus relief bill in the Senate, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Worth noting that Rand can stay home in quarantine while collecting his government paycheck. Just a few days two days ago he voted against the bill that would provide that same benefit to ordinary citizens.
posted by JackFlash at 12:40 PM on March 22 [33 favorites]


[Comment removed. Folks, if you don't want to participate in the discussion, you don't have to.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:46 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Just now: 10 activists with Never Again Action (@NeverAgainSFbay) brought the fight to @GavinNewsom's front door -- protesting outside his house, they are demanding Gov. Newsom release all detained immigrants in CA and avert a deadly catastrophe with the spread of COVID-19.

The “Anne Frank Died Of Typhoid How Many Will Die Of Covid-19.” sign is pretty striking.

Later today at 7pm Senator Sanders will host a Coronavirus response livestream with Reps Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib
posted by The Whelk at 12:46 PM on March 22 [18 favorites]


Amazon is knowingly putting their customers at risk

I just want to take a minute to put this in perspective.

Per the article, a lot of Amazon's employees have been asking for masks / respirators for a long time, but they've been told repeatedly that they're too expensive, and that's what they're being told now. Despite the fact that they're handling shipments from all over the world, working in close proximity in dirty conditions, masks are too expensive.

When I bought a box of N95 respirators a couple of years ago (on Amazon, no less), I got a box of 10 for about $20. So let's figure, when insane price gouging is not in effect, about $2 per mask at retail prices. Certainly less at wholesale, especially in bulk, but let's go with $2.

Google says that Amazon has about 750,000 employees. A lot of those are nowhere near the front lines, handling packages and running around warehouses, but let's just assume every single one of these folks needs a respirator, a fresh one every day. That's $1.5 million in masks per day, or about $550 million every year.

The most recent estimate I can find of Jeff Bezos' income (here) puts him at about $9 million per hour. With just the wealth that he gains in two and a half days, Jeff Bezos could ensure that every single one of his employees, front line or not, has a fresh N95 respirator every day of the year.

But he has not done that, and he will not do that, because it seems keeping that $550 million for himself is more important to the richest man on earth than the health and well being of his employees or his customers.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:46 PM on March 22 [49 favorites]


I work as a consultant (non-emerg doc) in the emergency department at a teaching hospital in Canada. Regarding mask types, our health authority directs us to only wear N95 masks when either an aerosol-generating procedure (intubation, bag-valve-mask use, airway suction, etc.) is being done around the time of encounter, or in rooms where that might happen routinely. Collecting the NP swab does not require an N95 in our protocol. We are fortunate here to have private rooms for most possible cases at this point, but give it a day or two.... When an N95 is not needed, a surgical mask is used. However, and this is crucial, the rest of the PPE is needed, including eye shield, gown, and gloves. Not only that, but there are very specific and tedious details that are required for how equipment is put on and especially how it is taken off. PPE removal is a very high-risk time for exposure. Whatever you do, don't touch your face with contaminated hands/gloves, and never touch the front of your mask once you have been exposed. Patients on precautions (symptomatic or with risk factors) must wear a mask. Currently, we are advised no mask is needed for most other situations. I do suspect widespread mask use could possibly reduce asymptomatic transmission, but supplies are not sufficient for everyone to wear masks everywhere all the time. We are (I hope) nowhere near the point of sewing our own masks for the recommended uses.

If I had to pick a resource-intensive escalation of current practice, I would have every single person in the country swabbed twice 24h apart, and isolate based on that.

Now, regarding the clustercuss demonstrated in the FPP links above, wow. The administrative problems I have seen here are absolutely inconsequential compared to the bonfire of murderous irresponsibility being fed by Trump and associates. I wish the best for my neighbours down south. Are there any recommended organizations accepting monetary donations to help with the response and associated crisis?
posted by sillyman at 12:47 PM on March 22 [13 favorites]


Ohio governor issued a stay at home order today. Orders also included restrictions on dispensing of the medications our "president" is pushing as a miracle cure.
posted by palomar at 12:55 PM on March 22 [7 favorites]


CNN: “GOP senators told CNN [Rand] Paul was in the gym with colleagues Sunday morning, and several pointed out how close Paul had sat to others during Senate lunches in recent days. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas said he saw Paul in the Senate swimming pool Sunday, according to a source in the GOP lunch.”

That’s right, just hours before his positive test result came back from the lab, Rand Paul was swimming, working out, and lunching with his fellow US senators. More than one in four senators is over 70 years old. More than two thirds are over 60.
“To illustrate this on the altruists’ favorite example: the issue of saving a drowning person. If the person to be saved is a stranger, it is morally proper to save him only when the danger to one’s own life is minimal; when the danger is great, it would be immoral to attempt it: only a lack of self-esteem could permit one to value one’s life no higher than that of any random stranger. (And, conversely, if one is drowning, one cannot expect a stranger to risk his life for one’s sake, remembering that one’s life cannot be as valuable to him as his own.)”

—Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness
posted by mbrubeck at 1:28 PM on March 22 [21 favorites]


Every patient, colleague, learner, family member, and other person is a peer of mine. We each have exactly the same inherent worth. I struggle to apply that all (most? some?) of the time. But "any random stranger" is my neighbour, my brother/sister/nonbinary sibling. Even Rand Fucking Paul.
posted by sillyman at 1:55 PM on March 22 [12 favorites]


But "any random stranger" is my neighbour, my brother/sister/nonbinary sibling. Even Rand Fucking Paul.

I mean, even Rand Paul's neighbor beat his ass, so we've got a lot of leeway on this one
posted by Think_Long at 2:19 PM on March 22 [22 favorites]


Reporting from northeastern Massachusetts:

I have self-quarantined in my bedroom upstairs from the three others at my home for the last three days.   Exactly four days (apparent minimum COVID 19 incubation period) following some consulting work in Boston, I came down with a sore throat last Thursday. 

My poor PICU (Partner In Crime Until death do us part--we are not legally married) has been leaving food at the door. She also is taking care of both my mother, who is nearly 90 with quite a bit of short term memory loss and who lives with us, and her mother who is 85 and is visiting after leaving rehab following a knee replacement three weeks ago.  The scenario is a complete reversal of what we had planned, as PICU was supposed to have her own elective surgery last Wednesday, and I was to be the caretaker for the three of them.  PICU's procedure was canceled, fortunately.

I’m hoping I do have the COVID 19 virus, as now I would then immune to it, but I don't infect anyone else. Without a test, we just don’t know, though.  My symptoms are very mild—sore throat is gone, fever is mild to non-existent, minor achiness, and I am just extra tired.  Energy seems to be slowly returning: I collected the trash today with mask on--a job that avoids touching surfaces that other handle. I hope I am not fooling myself.

Feeling pretty useless while PICU has to tend to domestic burdens that I ordinarily handle, especially making Mom's breakfast and dinner, giving meds, laying out clothes, bedtime routines, etc., and to her own mother's needs. Very stressful for PICU especially given the situation in the outside world--I owe her a lot!
posted by haiku warrior at 2:26 PM on March 22 [13 favorites]


Portland, OR going on lockdown soon, according to tweets from Mayor Ted Wheeler.
posted by gucci mane at 2:26 PM on March 22


With just the wealth that he gains in two and a half days, Jeff Bezos could ensure that every single one of his employees, front line or not, has a fresh N95 respirator every day of the year.

Except that we don't live in that world anymore (well... right now).

It doesn't really matter how much money you have, it cannot conjure up masks, hospitals, ventilators, out of thin air. We've been brought up with the idea that in a capitalist society, money can solve all problems, but we need to reexamine that belief.
posted by meowzilla at 2:28 PM on March 22 [10 favorites]


I'm hoping I do have the COVID 19 virus, as now I would then immune to it
I thought it wasn't a given that getting it confers any immunity. Please stay safe.
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:28 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Antibody tests are coming. If you're immune, you'll soon know.
posted by ocschwar at 2:31 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


If I had to pick a resource-intensive escalation of current practice, I would have every single person in the country swabbed twice 24h apart, and isolate based on that.

This is what we should be doing, except with all the positives isolated in facilities and dedicated hospitals so we are not mixing positive and negative in the hospitals and can also keep as many medical staff healthy as long as possible. And repeat testing a week later. It is the ONLY thing that will shut this down. This is what they did in Wuhan , people focus on the quarantine and forget that they tested extensively and completely isolated the positive population both well and sick.
posted by fshgrl at 2:38 PM on March 22 [10 favorites]


There are some isolated instances where people may have been reinfected, but it is likely that recovering from COVID 19 provides some immunity for a time after that, as with other corona viruses. Since I don't even known what I really have, I'm just hoping for the best case. :)

Thanks for your well wishes, everyone.
posted by haiku warrior at 2:46 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]


From yesterday, Univ of Washington biology prof Carl Bergstrom just demolished another hot take (now taken down from Medium, but reposted elsewhere apparently). I'm pasting my favorite parts.
4. *Information gets lost in translation.* The author claims to be an expert in making products go viral. I suppose that field has borrowed some ideas from epidemiology. Now he's trying to back-infer how epi works from what he knows about that area. It doesn't work that way.

9. Disaggregating data is essential to provide context, especially for transmission processes. That the virus can cross national boundaries does nothing to negate the importance of spatial structure and within-country analysis. Aggregating data obscures critical patterns.

25. This single piece of bait-and-switch should be more than enough to discredit the entire article.
@Aginnt claims that only 1% of cases are severe, and then shows a data graphic suggesting that 19% are severe or worse (critical).
How on earth does he draw that conclusion?

28. Lastly on this point, I hate to go all MS-PAINT on you, but....
(image shows a screencap of the article with the subheading "1% of cases will be severe" circled and then another statistic "2.3% of all cases died" circled in red below.)
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:49 PM on March 22 [8 favorites]


Okay, since you all now know that my mother lives with me, may I inject a little levity into this very serious thread with an actual incident from October 2019?

While Mom has a lot of short term memory loss (e.g. can't remember she brushing her teeth a few minutes later), she is still very witty, and is quite good at the NY Times Crossword, on which she and I often collaborate.
TRUE STORY
To get a tax form for my father’s pension that now goes to my mother as his survivor, here is what transpired between the Human Resources representative on the phone, my mother, and me.
Rep: This is your mother’s account, and so I need her permission for us to work on this. Is your mother there?

Me: Sure, here she is. (Hands phone to Mom.)

Rep (to Mom): Can you verify your name?

Mom: (Says name)

Rep: Is it okay if your son speaks to me on your behalf?

Mom: HE'S BEEN NOTHING BUT TROUBLE SINCE THE DAY HE WAS BORN!

Me: MOM! Just say "yes!"

Rep: (Laughter)

Mom: Sorry. Couldn't resist.
My mother, sit-down comedian.
posted by haiku warrior at 3:18 PM on March 22 [70 favorites]


Trump Urges Car Companies To Make Ventilators Without Imposing Defense Production Act (Gabriela Saldivia, NPR)

Why is he so hesitant? Is it because the Defense Production Act requires effort?
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:19 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


Probably because he doesn't know how to invoke it if he can't tweet it and neither does Kushner and no one else is still in there jobs to help him.

How much longer before people remember this isn't a monarchy and we don't ahve to tolerate a mad king?
posted by fshgrl at 3:23 PM on March 22 [17 favorites]




> “To illustrate this on the altruists’ favorite example: the issue of saving a drowning person.

meanwhile:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Albert_Harper
Henry Albert Harper (December 9, 1873 - December 6, 1901) was a Canadian journalist and civil servant. He may be best known as a friend of future Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Harper is commemorated by a statue on Parliament Hill after his death while trying to save someone from drowning.

...

On December 6, 1901, Harper was attending a skating party held on the frozen Ottawa River by the Governor General, the Earl of Minto. Andrew George Blair's daughter Bessie, and Alex Creelman, fell through a patch of weak ice - though Creelman pulled himself to safety, Harper dove into the river to save Blair, and both ultimately drowned. His last words were reportedly "What else can I do?" when their companions tried to dissuade his rescue attempt, another telling says that he quoted Galahad's famous "If I lose myself, I save myself" before jumping into the water.[1] Their bodies were recovered the following day and Harper was buried in Cookstown on December 9.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:29 PM on March 22 [8 favorites]


I am a pessimist. Trump is not invoking the Defense Production Act because it would make the negotiations public and doesn't involve overpaying so you can grift.
posted by benzenedream at 3:36 PM on March 22 [28 favorites]


I will say, as far as not being able to meet the need for homemade masks: remember how many hats we knit for the women's march?
posted by nonasuch at 4:02 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


fshgrl is right -

As federal emergency efforts collapse, Trump tells state governors they're on their own ('Hunter', Daily Kos Staff)
The Trump White House has faced an avalanche of criticism by experts and political figures baffled as to why, even now, the administration is stalling on invoking the powers of the Defense Protection Act to produce urgently-needed medical supplies as hospitals prepare for an inevitable surge of COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker voiced those same concerns this morning on CNN's State of the Union, telling host Jake Tapper that due to the dire shortages, states were now "competing with each other" for equipment. [...]

The speculation as to just why Trump, Mike Pence, Jared Kushner and whoever else has been wedged into the decision-making loop have not, even now, invoked the Defense Protection Act to retool factories to make masks and other medical equipment already being rationed in hospitals, even before the main "wave" of coronavirus cases reaches their emergency rooms, continues to run rampant. My own suspicion is that they do not know how. Literally, they do not know how to begin or organize the effort: Which factories can produce what? What supplies do they need to do it? How should the results be distributed?

They are therefore stalling, waiting for someone, somewhere to bring them a plan that they can sign their names to. It's the legwork that's killing them; after purging the government of experts, ignoring pandemic response drills and plans, and ridding the administration of anyone who would disagree with Trump's invented facts and out-of-nowhere pronouncements, there is no team left that can handle the daunting logistics of "wartime" procurement.

A Politico report from earlier this weekend gives ample evidence for that theory. Anonymous officials say Trump's weird declarations have created an internal "need to make good on half-baked promises," a clear distraction from more urgent tasks. The "national strategy for obtaining and distributing the necessary supplies" still has not happened yet, reports Politico, months after COVID-19 preparations should have begun. And Trump continues to bluff and bluster, relentlessly, about why he and his staff don't take more urgent actions to save lives:

“If California can get a mask sooner than we can get it for them, through all of the things we're able to do, we'll end up with a big over-supply. At some point this is going away.”

So. The hell. What? Is the premise that having too many masks on hand would be worse than the current status of not having enough, endangering the very healthcare workers expected to care for victims the pandemic? That having a warehouse full of government-owned emergency equipment would be worse than Americans dying from a lack of those supplies?

Of course not. He's an idiot, and he's simply stalling to avoid doing something that his team cannot figure out how to competently do, no matter how urgent it may be.
And the administration is too prideful to ask for help.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:03 PM on March 22 [31 favorites]




Like there are ever recreational abortions.
posted by Mitheral at 4:26 PM on March 22 [50 favorites]


have not, even now, invoked the Defense Protection Act to retool factories to make masks and other medical equipment already being rationed in hospitals

Is this sort of thing even possible? Sure in 1940 before robots were a thing and tool & die makers were employed in house we could convert from stamping out cars to stamping out airplanes. But I would have thought that something like disposable masks are made by a disposable mask machine and it's not something a napkin maker or something can retool for short of installing a paper mask machine.
posted by Mitheral at 4:33 PM on March 22


I would have thought that something like disposable masks are made by a disposable mask machine

Yes. And the materials are specialised; you can't just tell paper companies to start making mask material.

On the other hand, cloth masks and gowns are something people can make at home, and garment makers could make them even more easily. But there needs to be some level of coordination even there, to know what's wanted and to deliver it to the right places.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:44 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


Credit where due (to the speechwriter), he did mention Hanes, for whom it would seem like a reasonable shift.
posted by rhizome at 4:47 PM on March 22


Grim report with 5-minute video from inside the hardest hit hospital in Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy. It's "one of the most advanced hospitals in Europe," and it's completely swamped.
posted by mediareport at 5:21 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


How do even rich celebrities in jail get tested when it's still so our if reach for just of the population?

They're seeing up childcare centers in NYC for children of emergency service workers, and as far as I can tell there is zero testing whatsoever planned. This is a high risk environment for spreading where a one kid or adult bringing it in could take many medical professionals out of the field. And I have heard nothing about masks or testing. But Weinstein gets tested?!
posted by Salamandrous at 5:21 PM on March 22 [10 favorites]


Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see any link to Tomas Pueyo's latest analysis and recommendations, so here it is.

In a nutshell, learn from China and South Korea: imposing stronger actions now will save lives and get us through this faster. As with his earlier arguments, I find it compelling.
posted by brambleboy at 5:21 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


And to answer my question I guess for some thing like chemical processes it is possible:
Labatt [large Canadian Brewer] to switch production from beer to hand sanitizer
posted by Mitheral at 5:30 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


We have a few local distilleries in Vermont that are making sanitizer. I went to pick some up a few days ago (on a rare solo trip out of town) and marveled that there was no line. VPR did a story about it, there are a few small places doing it, but Labatt? That's big news.
posted by jessamyn at 5:37 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


Yeah, huh! That was our good college macro brew in MA (vs. Natty's Light, which was the local shitty college macro brew).

In related news a close friend in MA is maybe gonna convert their small-batch distillery over to sanitizer production after a conversation with the governor's office.
posted by cortex at 5:43 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


Producing hand sanitizer in bulk seems like the sort of thing that could be done via a government requisition: there are lots of ways of producing alcohol, and lots of ways of producing the additives (e.g., glycerol) that turn it into good liquid or gel hand sanitizer. I don't know whether we actually need that much of it, but it absolutely could be done.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:04 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Mecklenburg County, NC, which contains Charlotte, released new figures for positive tests today. "About half of reported cases were adults ages 20-39."
posted by mediareport at 6:20 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


Trump Urges Car Companies To Make Ventilators Without Imposing Defense Production Act

Having car companies make ventilators is just dumb. It would take weeks to get them up to speed on quite technical devices. We already have companies that have all the tools and machines and supply chains and processes necessary to build them. Just give them the resources to ramp up production.

You could send some over some laid off car company employees to the ventilator company so they can run three shifts seven days a week. You could use federal coordination to make sure the ventilator companies get first priority on any critical supplies they need to build ventilators. They could take an inventory of every ventilator and its location in the U.S. and transport them to where they are most needed. There are lots of things the feds could do to help ramp up production but this would require someone in the administration with more of a brain than dunce-in-law Jared.

But, no, using car companies is stupid.
posted by JackFlash at 6:29 PM on March 22 [17 favorites]


It's a very calibrated level of stupid though. Like his Middle East plan, it makes enough sense for a Trumpist to think Something Has Been Done while actually being a complete non-starter. I mean, suppose Trump did use emergency powers to compel production of ventilators by car manufacturers. Can you imagine what a complete circus that would be? So that's not going to happen. But if Trump had advocated something more plausible then it might go ahead, which would mean him being responsible for its success or failure. I don't expect any practical plans to emanate from the White House unless they come from someone other than Trump.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:52 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]


One piece of good news: 3M has ramped up its production to 35 million respirators per month, 500,000 of which are on their way to New York and Seattle tonight, with delivery expected tomorrow. There are a few things to note:
  • 3M did this themselves, outside of any federal directives; the production increase started in January in anticipation of the need.
  • The use of "respirators" in this context can be confusing: 3M is making masks, not ventilators.
  • The recent amendments to the US PREP Act shields 3M from legal liability for the masks. I suspect at least some of the respirators, traditionally medical-grade N95 masks, may be re-purposed P100 industrial masks. If quality control suffers or the masks prove insufficient, we could be in a similar situation to the suffering endured by the post-9/11 cleanup crew... except these will be medical staff who are sick and infectious. 3M is a very well-run company, but I worry when regulations and laws are loosened in response to an emergency.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 6:56 PM on March 22 [27 favorites]


> Having car companies make ventilators is just dumb. It would take weeks to get them up to speed on quite technical devices. We already have companies that have all the tools and machines and supply chains and processes necessary to build them. Just give them the resources to ramp up production.

Yeah. Here's a small manufacturer trying to volunteer. Using imgur, out of desperation. Ideally they'd be quickly connecting with the feds in some capacity after a president invoked the Defense Protection Act.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:22 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


New Zealand's PM Jacinda Ardern has given an address announcing the full lockdown of the country in 48 hours. Some really good political communication, leadership there.

Hand sanitiser is super easy: ethanol and glycerol and you're away. Many small booze companies in my country have voluntarily tooled up to make it.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:28 PM on March 22 [8 favorites]


Also, word from my mother in my usual nightly call: New Zealand is going into total lockdown in 48 hours. All schools and places of public congregation will be closed, including pools, museums, libraries, and playgrounds. All indoor and outdoor events are cancelled. There's also a ban on food delivery services. The lockdown is expected to last for four weeks.

In a population of just under five million people, New Zealand has 102 known cases, and no deaths yet, thankfully. Four weeks should hopefully be enough to find, isolate and treat any remaining cases.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 7:38 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]


Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) expressed his concerns following the news that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tested positive for the coronavirus earlier Sunday.

Mitt really only has one gear, doesn't he. Like Chatty Cathy, you just pull the string on the back of his neck.
posted by JackFlash at 7:39 PM on March 22 [8 favorites]


Oh, good lord:
Quarantined Nurse’s Scorching Anti-CDC Rant Goes Viral: ‘I’m Appalled at the Level of Bureaucracy’ on Coronavirus Testing
National Nurses Union President Deborah Burger released a scathing statement from a quarantined nurse criticizing the CDC for its purported refusal to test her for coronavirus even though she had been exposed to the pathogen.
[...]

“The national CDC would not initiate the test,” the statement continued, claiming that the health agency justified its decision by effectively blamed the nurse for exposing herself to the virus. “They said they would not test me because if I were wearing the recommended protective equipment then I wouldn’t have the coronavirus. What kind of science-based answer is that? What a ridiculous and uneducated response from the department that is in charge of the health of this country.”
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:40 PM on March 22 [17 favorites]


I’m still agog that we haven’t worked to ramp testing way, way up. Like, what are we even doing here? Are we just supposed to be on lockdown until everyone is unemployed and the economy has reached depths not seen in almost a hundred years?
posted by Automocar at 7:50 PM on March 22 [13 favorites]


Joe in Australia, that video is nearly three weeks old (not that things have improved).
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:54 PM on March 22


MetaFilter All Of Life: That is nearly three weeks old (not that things have improved).
posted by hippybear at 7:58 PM on March 22 [9 favorites]


Two of my friends have forwarded messages that contained such advice as "hot fluids neutralize the virus, so avoid drinking ice water" and "drinking water every 15 to 20 minutes will flush the virus to your stomach where it will be killed by acid" ... Don't know if these messages are originating from Russia, trolls, or whatnot, but yeah disinformation is out there and spreading.

Got two copies in 12 hours of the same or very similar audio recording from two Facebook friends whose accounts were hacked and hijacked to broadcast it. That's not just wooly-headed hippies, that's a a malign actor. Another statement it made was that sunlight kills the virus, so put items in the sun to sanitize them.

Misinformation that could kill the elderly, injected into the biggest elderly disinformation system ever created.
posted by Andrew Galarneau at 7:58 PM on March 22 [17 favorites]


Reuters March 22, 2020: Exclusive: U.S. axed CDC expert job in China months before virus outbreak:
Several months before the coronavirus pandemic began, the Trump administration eliminated a key American public health position in Beijing intended to help detect disease outbreaks in China, Reuters has learned.
posted by jedicus at 8:33 PM on March 22 [35 favorites]


the Trump administration eliminated a key American public health position in Beijing

The hits just keep on rolling. It's a shame that the majority of Americans will never see this story, believe it, or make a judgement call based upon it.

Thanks to everyone who is staying at home.
posted by valkane at 8:49 PM on March 22 [10 favorites]


Coronavirus Capitalism — and How to Beat It (Naomi Klein & The Intercept on YouTube):
This video is about the ways the still-unfolding Covid-19 crisis is already remaking our sense of the possible. The Trump administration and other governments around the world are busily exploiting the crisis to push for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts and regulatory rollbacks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is moving to repeal financial regulations that were introduced after the last major financial meltdown, as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. China, for its part, is indicating that it will relax environmental standards to stimulate its economy, which would wipe out the one major benefit the crisis has produced so far: a marked drop in that country’s lethal air pollution.

But this is not the whole story. In the United States, we have also seen organizing at the city and state levels win important victories to suspend evictions during the pandemic. Ireland has announced six weeks of emergency unemployment payments for all workers who suddenly find themselves out of work, including self-employed workers. And despite U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden’s claims during the recent debate that the pandemic has nothing to do with Medicare for All, many Americans are suddenly realizing that the absence of a functioning safety net exacerbates vulnerabilities to the virus on many fronts.
posted by Ouverture at 8:55 PM on March 22 [12 favorites]


I’m still agog that we haven’t worked to ramp testing way, way up. Like, what are we even doing here?

Medical lab scientist checking in. We're working our asses off trying to get shit off the ground and have been for weeks. (despite what all the 'Thank you Doctors and Nurses' pictures are portraying, scientists are still the ones handling and analyzing the damn specimens) Labs are ridiculously short staffed in the best times; we retire three for every one new grad.

We worked around the clock to get our testing validated. Then the analyzer company pulled back on the test. Now our sister hospital is going live with their testing tomorrow. They ordered a conservative 300 test kits to start out. They received 3. But the national players, Quest and LabCorp, are getting what they need. Despite not being in the communities they serve, extended turn around times and reputations of poor quality control. But they have purchasing power and the ears of more important people than individual hospitals do.

It's been a terrible week of having providers yelling at us, the public yelling at us, the media calling us at all odd hours hoping to get somebody who is willing to talk to them. Plus, we got shorted on PPE because "people in the front line need then more." So you want me to take a vial of liquid full of the pathogen and designed to keep the virus viable, open it and analyze it without a mask? And that doesn't count as being on the front line? Then the HHS secretary goes on about how lab people don't understand the situation. No. I think we understand the testing situation better than almost anybody else. Grrr....

I'm tired and frustrated and this is probably a case where I should step back and keep my mouth shut for a while but fuck.
posted by MaritaCov at 8:58 PM on March 22 [142 favorites]


Of course not. He's an idiot, and he's simply stalling to avoid doing something that his team cannot figure out how to competently do, no matter how urgent it may be.

Yep. I'm a project manager and I guarantee all of you that the federal response is much worse than it seems. They've done nothing because they don't know how to do anything. Instead they have a room full of white boys trying to solve parts of the problem in a disorganized fashion based on first principles and sulking when anyone tells them it's not going to work. We are SO screwed, it's not even funny and it will not change till management does. The best thing they could do now is set up a situatuon room and stock it with the countries most experienced logistics and project management professionals. Call on the military and industry and give them what they need for support. Let another group deal with the economic issues. If I were a governor I'd have done that the first day.

As it is I would like to quit being part of this project now. It raises all the red flags that make me walk away.
posted by fshgrl at 9:16 PM on March 22 [38 favorites]


The Olympics are defacto cancelled regardless of what the committee decides. Ain't no sane country or sport agency going to allow their athletes to travel internationally at this time.

Canada and Australia have pulled out today - between them and the existing severe limits on Russian participation - it’s over.

I feel desperately sorry for Tokyo and all the athletes who will miss out on competing, but it was always going to be a long drawn out process to postpone/cancel if left to the organizing committee and IOC, and I’m glad a few of the bigger participating countries stood up and made the decision for them.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:31 PM on March 22 [15 favorites]


everybody: look through your cellar/garage to see if you have n95s. find out if someone in your area needs them.

I found 2 still in the box, and now an X-ray tech has them.

Yep, I found two Home Depot N95 masks still in a sealed package, for a house project I never did. A pediatrician and her husband, also a physician, now have them. The woman had been reusing one mask for the last two weeks.
posted by etaoin at 9:41 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]


I would like to quit being part of this project now. It raises all the red flags that make me walk away.

Standard IT industry parlance for an activity that makes everybody but the C suite feel that way is a "death march project".

Difficult to express just how hollow the laughter is right now.
posted by flabdablet at 9:43 PM on March 22 [12 favorites]


that mask this thread prompted me to find in the basement will be en route to an acquaintance-chained emergency room doctor in kissimmee, florida, via usps tomorrow, if all goes well at the post office; hope it helps. serendipitously, i also happened to have a large-enough bubble-mailer and $4 in odd old stamps available. in the interim some institutions from my state have registered with findthemasks.com.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:38 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


How Civic Technology Can Help Stop a Pandemic
One of the most celebrated examples is the Face Mask Map, a collaboration initiated by an entrepreneur working with g0v. To prevent the panicked buying of facemasks, which hindered Taiwan’s response to SARS in 2003, the government instituted a national rationing scheme of two facemasks per week per citizen. Anticipating that this national policy would be insufficient to avoid local runs on pharmacies, the government (via its prestigious digital ministry) released an application programming interface (API) that provided real-time, location-specific data to the public on mask availability.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang then proceeded to work closely with entrepreneurs and g0v hacktivists in a digital chatroom to rapidly produce a range of maps and applications. These tools showed where masks were available, but they did more than that. Citizens were able to reallocate rations through intertemporal trades and donations to those who most needed them, which helped prevent the rise of a black market. As often happens in the world of hacking, the initial deployment crashed after being overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of queries in the first hours of operation, but the effort was not wasted. The broad interest stimulated the government to provide the necessary computational resources and bandwidth to allow a version of this service that could serve the whole population. The result has not just facilitated a more effective distribution of masks but also reduced panic and generated widespread, and justified, pride.

A second example is a platform that helps citizens work together to reduce exposure to the virus. The work on this platform (which again grew out of a collaboration between a group of entrepreneurs, the digital ministry, and the g0v movement) was motivated in part by the arrival of passengers from a cruise ship with a high rate of infection. Individuals used the platform to share reports, voluntarily and in real time, about symptoms using a variety of media (such as a call-in line and smartphones); this information was quickly verified and collated. The result was then combined with more community-created apps that allowed users to download their smartphone location history to determine if they may have been exposed. It was a common-sense design that encouraged proactive behavior. Users who worried about exposure limited their subsequent interactions to protect others.

The guiding principle was not top-down control but mutual respect and cooperation. Privacy was carefully protected, and the movements of an individual were not visible to others. This approach supported an astonishing degree of social coordination, which reduced transmission. And despite being an open, participatory system, the platform did not spur the spread of disinformation or panic. By ensuring reported histories of movement corresponded to plausible patterns, without recording their details, trolls were excluded, thereby avoiding the dysfunctions that degrade commercial social media in times of crisis. The availability of this information dramatically reduced the economic burden of achieving containment by avoiding uniform and extreme social-distancing policies. Instead, citizens were able to avoid or disinfect compromised locations; those who had visited them could self-quarantine.
also btw...
10-minute coronavirus test from nagasaki university and canon? ('team japan')
posted by kliuless at 10:49 PM on March 22 [9 favorites]


When Trump was elected, I commented that I had not expected to see the American hegemony dismantled in my lifetime. I could not see how the disrespect and dismantling that he applied to every institution possessing any critical or global perspective, was going to allow the US a seat at any table.

Trying to remember which saint had a vision of hell as a fabulous feast, with long-handled forks as the only means of eating any of the food, and those seated at the table scuffling to try and eat, while heaven was the same table, with those seated feeding those around them.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 10:49 PM on March 22 [22 favorites]


If anybody wants to read more about the lab perspective in a slightly calmer tone, here is a letter from the ASCLS to congress. PDF warning but it nicely outlines the underlying problems medical labs have been experiencing as well as problems with how the testing situation is being communicated to the public.
posted by MaritaCov at 11:10 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


Trying to remember which saint had a vision...

heilbroner and thurow (1978)* :P
We live in a period in which much of the conventional wisdom of the past has been tried and found wanting. Economics is in a state of self-scrutiny, dissatisfied with its established premises, not yet ready to formulate new ones. Indeed, perhaps the search for a new vision of economics, a vision that will highlight new elements of reality and suggest new modes of analysis, is the most pressing economic task of our time... Perhaps in a different society of the future, another hypothesis about behavior would have us serve as our starting point. People might be driven by the desire to better the condition of others rather than themselves. A story about heaven and hell is to the point. Hell has been described as a place where people sit at tables laden with sumptuous food, unable to eat because they have three-foot long forks and spoons strapped to their hands. Heaven is described as the very same place. There, people feed one another.
Revisiting the Sci-Fi Tragedy of 'V: The Series' - "Johnson based the story on Sinclair Lewis' 1935 anti-fascist novel, It Can't Happen Here, which follows radical authoritarian Berzelius 'Buzz' Windrip, who rises to power in the U.S. by declaring his allegiance to traditional American values and promising a return to American greatness. Buzz defeats Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the presidential election and immediately sets about making himself into a dictator, putting people who disagree with his politics into concentration camps, abolishing Congress and establishing a paramilitary force that cements his control over the populace."*
posted by kliuless at 11:26 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]


Oooomph - guess who bought "It Can't Happen Here" early in 2017.

History is also giving me some interesting echoes - England lost the US due to the problems it had with Mad King George (III?) in charge of a court unwilling to acknowledge its Stockholm Syndrome status.

Yet it still retained its empire.

France never had an acknowledged mad king - but the narcissism and cronyism cultivated by monarchs, meant not only the loss of its territories, but a cultural loss. And if we include the egregious extortion inflicted on the successful slave revolutionaries in Haiti - a moral loss.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 12:08 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Never mind Mad Kings, at risk of doing the Brit-thing and making everything all about WW2, it's worth noting that when the shit hit the fan we had to sell ourselves and all our remaining illegitimate holdings to the coming Empire. Dunno whether that's directly transferable or applicable to this situation.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 1:36 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


I wish I could post Rick Wilson's latest DB's article in full:

Trump and his fans are learning that karmic externalities are a bitch. They're learning that you can get away with a chain of scams, business failures, bankruptcies, and branding disasters and win the presidency but still fail utterly as a president and a person.

It took a global pandemic, the bursting of the Fed-fueled stock market bubble, and an opponent Trump can't face. It doesn't read Twitter, watch Fox, or respond to derisive nicknames. It took a plague to peel back the scales from his eyes finally, and even now, too many Trumpist Republicans insist this is fine. Heckuva job, Trumpie.
..
posted by growabrain at 2:23 AM on March 23 [15 favorites]


It appears Hong Kong relaxed too soon: The number of confirmed cases is rising
posted by tilde at 3:49 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


It appears Hong Kong relaxed too soon: The number of confirmed cases is rising

Anecdata, but I expect to see similar in South Korea soon. The past two weekends I have seen tons of people out and about enjoying themselves. As the weather gets nicer and the quasi-quarantine gets longer it is going to be even harder to keep people inside.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:14 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


The Atlantic has recently switched to a limit of 5 free articles per month if you don't subscribe — but they are providing free access to their COVID-19 articles.
posted by rochrobbb at 5:17 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]


I should have posted this here.
posted by mumimor at 5:22 AM on March 23


OH, the Allegory of the Spoons! I saw an animated short something like that as a child and it had a huge impression on me.

"Attributed to Rabbi Haim of Romshishok as well as other sources."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_long_spoons
posted by allthinky at 5:22 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


A tweet from Trump last night:
"I watch and listen to the Fake News, CNN, MSDNC, ABC, NBC, CBS, some of FOX (desperately & foolishly pleading to be politically correct), the @nytimes, & the @washingtonpost, and all I see is hatred of me at any cost..."
If every journalist you see is an asshole, and all the people who work for you are assholes, and everybody who did your job before you is an asshole, and all your business colleagues are assholes, and your ghost writer is an asshole, and all your ex-wives are assholes, and half the nation are assholes...

...you're the asshole.

Also, if you get on especially well with people who have their enemies and critics assassinated, that's a clue.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:38 AM on March 23 [57 favorites]


It appears Hong Kong relaxed too soon: The number of confirmed cases is rising
Anecdata, but I expect to see similar in South Korea soon.

Here is a Twitter thread by Lukas Hensel - who describes his recent trip back home to China from London last week. He describes how all the arriving passengers went through multiple health checks and screenings, they had their luggage disinfected and then they were put into quarantine for 14 days in their community. He and his partner we allowed to quarantine at home - but they had to sign a document saying they would not go out - and a seal was placed on their door to make sure people could see if that had done so.

Until we have an effective vaccine then that is the level of vigilance that countries will need to show towards arriving travellers - once their own outbreaks have been contained.We are looking to an immediate future where communities will be very wary of outsiders who do not bear with a certificate of quarantine or one saying they have covid-19 antibodies. The world's travel industry should bear that in mind as they contemplate how things will recover.
posted by rongorongo at 6:37 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]




. He and his partner we allowed to quarantine at home - but they had to sign a document saying they would not go out - and a seal was placed on their door to make sure people could see if that had done so.


Part of the HK issues aside from “letting everyone go back to work” were idiots who cut off their quarantine bracelets.

I really wish Florida had shut the eff down.
posted by tilde at 7:23 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Hey so the Covid-19 relief bill put out by the house is *really good* it’s led by Maxine Waters snd includes far ranging help and support including universal payouts and debt moratoria. Call/postcard your reps and get them to vote for it. If it passes the house that sends a huge message.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 AM on March 23 [26 favorites]


Whelk, you know that thing from Maxine Waters is a few days old? Is that still the current House bill?
posted by NotLost at 7:49 AM on March 23




The Prime Minister of Norway held a press conference specifically for children, during which she answered questions submitted by children across the country and told them "It's ok to feel scared."

The thing that is, I think, most upsetting to children is when they can tell that the adults are scared and don't know what is going to happen. I can remember that feeling from the energy crisis/inflation era of the 70's and it was quite unpleasant. So good for her, and I hope this helps those kids feel safer.
posted by thelonius at 7:52 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]




The right wing seems to be latching on to this post from Oxford University's Center for Evidence-Based Medicine which is citing a much lower infection fatality rate (0.20%) than earlier estimates. The methodology seems very crude to my non-expert eyes, which is understandable given the sparse data we have, but isn't putting out an estimate like this without giant disclaimers at the top irresponsible?

Also, the page was updated several times over the weekend with the term "infection fatality rate" replacing "case fatality rate" despite no change to the methodology.

I'm in no position to criticize the expertise of the authors, but the way this data is being used to dismiss concerns about COVID is going to get even more people killed.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:58 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


0.2% fatality rate! Nothing to worry about then. Just 7 million people dying instead of 70 million. Peanuts.
posted by saturday_morning at 8:00 AM on March 23 [9 favorites]


And of course that completely ignores the entire reason for flattening the curve, that allowing all the infections to happen over a short period of time means more people die — not just of COVID, of all causes — because hospitals and healthcare systems are completely overwhelmed, and then that 0.2% is meaningless. Idiots.
posted by saturday_morning at 8:02 AM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Trump signals growing weariness with ‘social distancing’ and other steps advocated by health officials (John Wagner, WaPo)
President Trump is signaling interest in scaling back “social distancing” and other steps promoted by health officials to contain the novel coronavirus as a growing number of conservatives argue that impact on the U.S. economy has become too severe.

“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Trump said in a late-night tweet Sunday written in capital letters. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!” [...]

Trump’s tweet appeared to reflect impatience with the economic toll of such moves, and a series of retweets by the president early Monday added to doubts about whether he is committed to staying the course beyond March if necessary. [...]

A growing number of conservatives are arguing [...] that the current course is not economically sustainable, as more business close, workers are laid off and financial markets sink.

A Wall Street Journal editorial last week, for example, said the country “urgently needs a pandemic strategy that is more economically and socially sustainable than the current national lockdown.”

The White House has already been showing some signs of loosening its response to the pandemic. On Sunday, Vice President Pence, who leads the coronavirus task force, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon issue guidance allowing people exposed to the coronavirus to return to work sooner by wearing a mask for a period of time.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:03 AM on March 23 [11 favorites]


A Wall Street Journal editorial last week, for example, said the country “urgently needs a pandemic strategy that is more economically and socially sustainable than the current national lockdown.”

They're going to kill four million Americans to keep the stock market up.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:15 AM on March 23 [39 favorites]


Back when Trump was elected I started telling people that I was taking a page from the Sedevacantist Catholics when it came to the Oval Office - that as far as I was concerned, the Oval Office simply had no occupant, and we were for all intents and purposes on our own.

At the time I was joking. Now I think that it's the only thing that can save us - for each of our governors and mayors to step up and fill the gap that our Federal government is leaving behind.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:20 AM on March 23 [22 favorites]


For the US: Does anyone know if anyone in Congress is working on a vote by mail at scale program? I have no idea how that would work within the federal system, but it seems...important.

I mean if we’re doomed to be run into another depression for the next 10 months, but with an extra couple of million dead or disabled, it seems vital that we vote these catastrophically incompetent vampiric ghouls out before we can start a meaningful recovery.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:38 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Trump's main focus is to grift using his hotels... which have no occupants due to social distancing. He would be fine with 4 million dying if his hotels don't go bankrupt.
posted by benzenedream at 8:40 AM on March 23 [8 favorites]


I know Ron Wyden (one of my senators from Oregon) has been pushing on the idea of federal vote by mail for a long time, and very hard lately, but I don't know what uptake it's gotten at the level of either legislative viability or actual implementational preparation. Oregon's been vote-by-mail for years now and it works well; he's a good voice to advocate for it, if anybody ends up listening.
posted by cortex at 8:41 AM on March 23 [7 favorites]


for each of our governors and mayors to step up and fill the gap that our Federal government is leaving behind.

Thr NY AG is calling for universal voting by mail ASAP
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 AM on March 23 [7 favorites]


Now I think that it's the only thing that can save us - for each of our governors and mayors to step up and fill the gap

Maybe not all local officials.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:50 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


In the anecdotal font, my sister is an ICU nurse and they've been reusing N95 masks for the past week or so.

She emphasized how quickly symptoms can escalate. They had a patient not thought to have COVID come in, the patient had a chest x ray showing no pneumonia, and 24 hours later the patient had severe double pneumonia and needed ventilating. No test results for the patient yet, but the hospital is assuming they are COVID positive.

Three are about 200,000 ventilators in the USA. There is the expectation that we will probably need around 900,000 if tends continue as they are.

My mother is over 70, my partner is over 60 and has a history of respiratory problems. I've been living in a state of low grade terror for the past week or two.
posted by sotonohito at 8:51 AM on March 23 [15 favorites]


Good thing for us that it's not actually Trump that gets to decide what public health measures are taken in terms of shutting down businesses, schools, etc. That power resides with the states.

One benefit of the federal system is that when the national government refuses to govern, states still have the power to do so. (and vice versa, as has been more relevant in recent times) Trump may be willing to watch several hundred thousand or more die, but will state governors? Most won't countenance the obvious carnage. No matter how he tries to massage the numbers, a week or two from now we will have a clear message about what inaction gets us. There is a wave coming, I just hope it isn't too big.
posted by wierdo at 8:55 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]


About these greedy conservatives: I'm surprised it doesn't have any effect that the disease till now hits well-off middle-aged to older men disproportionately. I'd have thunk that would help them focus. On the other hand, from when I did hospital design I know that they are a demographic who literally can't imagine they will ever get sick until they do.
posted by mumimor at 8:59 AM on March 23 [10 favorites]


These are the same people who look at our fractally inequal wealth distribution and support policies that benefit the wealthy on the assumption that they'll reach the top 0.1% some day. By that same "logic", they and the ones they care about will be healthy while others perish.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:01 AM on March 23 [5 favorites]


They're going to kill four million Americans to keep the stock market up.

And shoot themselves in the foot electorally. You would think the Republicans would be doing everything in their power to stop a pandemic that primarily kills men and the elderly, groups that skew heavily Republican.
posted by jedicus at 9:01 AM on March 23 [8 favorites]


Fundamentally childish mentality. We DID THE THING. For a WHOLE WEEK. It is not FAIR that we are not being REWARDED!
posted by thelonius at 9:06 AM on March 23 [41 favorites]




It appears Hong Kong relaxed too soon: The number of confirmed cases is rising.

Increased case counts in South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore ect. are somewhat expected because of infected citizens returning from other countries. That being said, case counts in east Asia, particularly China and South Korea, will be extremely interesting to watch over the coming weeks as an indicator of the effect of relaxing social distancing measures after an initial flattening of the case curve.

It may very well come to pass that we will need to go through successive stages of tightening and relaxation of social distancing measures over the next 18 to 24 months to keep caseloads below health system capacities while preventing catastrophic economic damage.
posted by eagles123 at 9:20 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Sure, but it's kind of weird that they aren't seeing the overlap between the most at risk population and the political base that allows them to remain in power.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:27 AM on March 23


Sure, but it's kind of weird that they aren't seeing the overlap between the most at risk population and the political base that allows them to remain in power.

They've learned from the last several decades that they will remain in power no matter which political party controls the government.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:28 AM on March 23 [5 favorites]


They believe power comes from $$$$$
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:29 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


They believe power comes from $$$$$

They would be largely correct in that belief.
posted by eagles123 at 9:32 AM on March 23 [11 favorites]


[Folks, very seriously, in order to keep this thread viable and available for the most people, it needs to not turn into a doomsaying thread. Reload it and readjust please. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:32 AM on March 23 [21 favorites]


Sure, but it's kind of weird that they aren't seeing the overlap between the most at risk population and the political base that allows them to remain in power.

A couple people have said as much, but it seems to me that urban areas are going to more severely affected. My coworkers in NYC can't so much as step a foot outside of their apartments before running into a bunch people. There is no where to go. I'm fortunate enough to have open space nearby . I could probably spend all day outside and never see another soul, if I wanted to.
posted by scottatdrake at 9:33 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Trump's main focus is to grift using his hotels... which have no occupants due to social distancing. He would be fine with 4 million dying if his hotels don't go bankrupt.

I just assume, without any factual basis for this and off the top of my head, that Plan A is massive economic stimulus including to failing hotels, Plan B will be for federal government to lease the Trump US hotels (at commercial rates) as health care quarantine facilities (possibly for Senators etc given the US hotels will have been “vetted and cleared by the secret service” or some such nonsense). Plan C will be they are sold to the Federal Government at inflated cost for some hand-waving reason (Mar-a-Lago as a remote Whitehouse - Doral National as a permanently international crisis meeting location - remember it was the “only” facility that could host the G7 etc.). A rider on Plan C will be Trump gets first right to repurchase them - minus “expected renovation costs to return them to commercial operation” of approx 100% purchase price
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:34 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


Thanks to jessamyn, and if I can hijack: Y'all, there's an open thread from just 4 days ago called "The Politics of the Pandemic" if you need a place to post opinions and one-liners about that. I know it's a long shot, I'm risking being seen as a jerk, and tilting against windmills besides, but dang it sure would be great if we could have at least one coronavirus thread with a very high info:opinion ratio. One info-dense, opinion-light thread about the pandemic isn't too much to ask, is it?
posted by mediareport at 9:36 AM on March 23 [19 favorites]


it should be incumbent on the part of those now saying "the cure mustn't be worse than the disease" to first make reasonable efforts to clearly establish the scope of the threat of the disease at a minimum.

you can't compare [looks worriedly at portfolio] with [disinterested shrug]
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:44 AM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Venezuelan president Maduro suspends rent payments for 6 months, among other measures:

Maduro announced that for six months banks must put the collection of credit payments on hold, telecommunications services would not be cut off, and rent payments for homes and businesses would be suspended, accompanied by compensation for property owners, but without specifying details.

He added that the government would offer a plan to help cover the payroll of small and medium sized businesses, in the local Bolivares currency, for six months. He also banned companies from laying off employees through December 2020, a measure that was decreed in 2015 and has been extended every year since. Maduro did not suspend tax collection, nor did he offer tax incentives to companies, contrary to what some other governments in the region have done.

posted by mediareport at 9:46 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


ProPublica: Lupus Patients Can’t Get Crucial Medication After President Trump Pushes Unproven Coronavirus Treatment

Stat News notes the drug is already approved for off-label use, which is why doctors can freely prescribe it to patients worried about the rona: Why President Trump is at odds with his medical experts over using malaria drugs against Covid-19

I've been pleasantly surprised at how useful Stat has been as a source; the article about aerosolization linked above was very thoughtful popular science, as was the piece yesterday about Gilead Sciences restricting access to remdesivir: Gilead pauses access to experimental Covid-19 drug due to ‘overwhelming demand.’
posted by mediareport at 9:58 AM on March 23 [11 favorites]


As a lupus patient, the run on hydroxychloroquine fills me with terror. Doctors are not only prescribing it for themselves and family members, they are doing so with doses wildly outside the ranges used for covid-19 testing.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:01 AM on March 23 [9 favorites]


That said, 4 states how now passed legislation limiting the amount of and reasons that hydroxychloroquine can be prescribed.
All states need to do this, stat.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:06 AM on March 23 [14 favorites]


Does anyone have a template email/ script for contacting our senators about all the pork and zero accountability in the coronavirus stimulus bill? I don't even know where to start but everything I've read about McConnell’s bill looks terrible. The last thing I want to see is another bailout like in 2008 where banks and financial institutions were saved while working folks got screwed.
posted by photoslob at 10:22 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


On Sunday, Vice President Pence, who leads the coronavirus task force, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon issue guidance allowing people exposed to the coronavirus to return to work sooner by wearing a mask for a period of time.

What masks? The imaginary Trump everything is under control masks?
posted by JackFlash at 10:37 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Producing hand sanitizer in bulk seems like the sort of thing that could be done via a government requisition: there are lots of ways of producing alcohol

There is no lack of alcohol for sanitizer. Alcohol is produced for blending with fuel at such an immense scale that you could take all you need for sanitizer and not even notice that any was missing.

The problem is building plants to mix and bottle the product at scale. The small batch distilleries are able to do that by hand at small scale, and that's great as far as it goes. But you can't just wish a bottling plant into existence.

Maybe you could truck some of that ethanol over to a shampoo bottling plant and rig something up. They might already even have aloe in stock.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:43 AM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Why is there any focus on hand sanitizer at all when regular hand washing is more effective?
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:45 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Because when you are out of the house or have contact with surfaces and need to touch other surfaces and don't have access to running water and/or soap, hand sanitizer is what you need.
posted by jessamyn at 10:46 AM on March 23 [23 favorites]


I can't put my sink in my pocket.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:47 AM on March 23 [8 favorites]


Governor Baker has ordered the closing of non-essential businesses doing business with the public in Massachusetts starting at noon tomorrow 24 March through noon 7 April. Gatherings of more than ten people are also forbidden. Bars and restaurants serving takeout or delivery may remain open.

List of essential businesses here.
posted by haiku warrior at 10:55 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Governor Bill Lee continues to be a shameful and cowardly leader, but Tennessee cities are doing what they can. Nashville and Memphis are shuttering all non-essential businesses for two weeks.
posted by absalom at 11:04 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Michigan shuts down for three weeks starting at midnight.
posted by LionIndex at 11:08 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


I can't put my sink in my pocket.

I have a ziploc bag containing a damp soapy rag around a small cake of hand soap in mine. There is running water available in lots of places; I'm finding that as long as I have my soap I can reliably get my hands clean before they need to go near my face.
posted by flabdablet at 11:12 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


governor hogan has ordered something but the order isn't on the governor's website or the state department of health website. closest i could come was an "interpretive guidance" of the order from his office of legal counsel linked from wbaltv.com. long and short appears to be that he ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses. also the washington post aired the press conference of the governor of new york, but not the press conference of the governor of maryland. i have grumbled at the governor and the newspaper on social media.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:21 AM on March 23


The Jack Ma foundation has just donated a planefull of PPEs to Denmark, after donating to a number of other countries. I don't do twitter, you can see more there, but here is a Bloomberg article.
Denmark hasn't received any donations from another country since the Marshall Aid program.
posted by mumimor at 12:03 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


aha. the press release has been posted. and the order prohibiting gatherings larger than 10 persons, closing non-essential businesses at 5 pm today, and sundry other things, in maryland. ask and ye shall receive.

see also federal "identifying critical infrastructure"
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:05 PM on March 23


Indiana has also finally issued a stay-home order, although it doesn't take effect until midnight Tuesday. I guess even the Midwest's, hm, slower learners are slowly getting with the program at last. (I am from Indiana.)
posted by Not A Thing at 12:19 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


But if hand sanitizer doesn't protect against the virus then what is the point? I don't understand.
posted by tiny frying pan at 12:21 PM on March 23


It does protect, as long as it's more than 60% alcohol. It's just not as effective as hand washing, so if you have the option, you should wash your hands. If you don't, and only have hand sanitizer, use hand sanitizer.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:23 PM on March 23 [11 favorites]


In addition to individuals having the occasional N95 mask, there are businesses which routinely have them-- painters, automotive, and construction.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 12:26 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


I will be staying grumpy at Hogan for some things (lookin' at you, 'rain tax') but he's handling this about as well as I could possibly hope for. As a Maryland small business owner whose storefront has been closed for a week, it's definitely a relief to hear that we'll have grants and loans available to make up for lost sales.
posted by nonasuch at 12:26 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Bandana Gramma on what to do if you have no hand sanitizer or no toilet paper. Good advice.
posted by haiku warrior at 12:30 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


Five more governors announce new restrictions to curb coronavirus (Politico)
The flurry of measures announced Monday follow in the footsteps of eight other state leaders who have issued similar mandatory orders: Ohio, Louisiana and Delaware issued stay at home orders on Sunday, joining California, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut. Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all non-essential workers to stay home.

The new action in recent days comes amid reluctance by President Donald Trump to mandate social distancing measures at the federal level, despite a number of state leaders pleading for the president to order fixes to what they've complained is a patchwork pattern of restrictions across the country.

Trump said Friday he would not be ordering any kind of shelter in place restrictions at the federal level, citing an unevenness in infections in different parts of the country. Rather than push for further social distancing, the president has begun to signal a growing skepticism to en-mass lockdowns the economic devastation they have caused throughout the country.
The Virus Can Be Stopped, but Only With Harsh Steps, Experts Say (NYT)
Americans must be persuaded to stay home, they said, and a system put in place to isolate the infected and care for them outside the home. Travel restrictions should be extended, they said; productions of masks and ventilators must be accelerated, and testing problems must be resolved.

[...] The microphone should not even be at the White House, scientists said, so that briefings of historic importance do not dissolve into angry, politically charged exchanges with the press corps, as happened again on Friday.
posted by katra at 12:42 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


PA Gov. Tom Wolf has ratcheted up restrictions in the hardest hit counties from closing businesses to a full "stay at home" order.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:46 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


nonasuch, I'm not a fan of Hogan's political philosophy, and I'm grateful everyday that the State House majorities needed to keep him in check have been there during his time in office, but I think he's actually been doing a pretty good job with COVID-19. I'm glad that you're going to get some help for your business, too, our small businesses in Maryland are really important!
posted by wintermind at 1:08 PM on March 23


Austinites: my source says Travis county is drafting a shelter in place order, could be as early as today that it comes out, maybe later this week.
posted by emjaybee at 1:10 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


I'm hearing the same. Also, all research at UT will be shut down by tomorrow at 5p.

My boss is not handling this well.
posted by sciatrix at 1:23 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


What masks? The imaginary Trump everything is under control masks?

I just had a vision of 1,000s of MAGA-branded masks made from old hats.
posted by emjaybee at 1:28 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


posted by 8dot3: As a lupus patient, the run on hydroxychloroquine fills me with terror. Doctors are not only prescribing it for themselves and family members, they are doing so with doses wildly outside the ranges used for covid-19 testing.


Yep, I can't get mine refilled. I've called every pharmacy in a 10 mile radius. I don't know who these doctors are that suddenly decided to write prescriptions for a drug with radical side effects at dosages so high that pharmacies have run out, but what the everloving fuck, you assholes?
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 1:48 PM on March 23 [31 favorites]


From The Lancet: Investigation of three clusters of COVID-19 in Singapore: implications for surveillance and response measures
I'm tired now, and haven't read it, but I'm putting it up because maybe som MeFi doctors can tell us what it means.
posted by mumimor at 1:52 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


and that rumor is: correct! Austin will shelter in place starting tomorrow.
posted by sciatrix at 1:55 PM on March 23


Nobel Laureate Predicts a Quicker Coronavirus Recovery (LA Times)

I don't know anything about Michael Levitt except that he's a chemist and not a public health expert. I'm mentally and physically preparing for several months of shelter-in-place, but I sure hope that the Professor is correct in his prediction here.
posted by Fritzle at 2:09 PM on March 23


Academics need to stay in our goddamn fucking lanes, here. Jesus.

Levitt is talking out of his asshole. He's noticing differences in diagnosis rates with COVID-19, in the full knowledge that asymptomatic carriers are extremely common, testing rates are extremely low, and diagnosis is proceeding along a "well maybe! shrug emoji!" direction. His best explanation for this discrepancy is "well there's gotta be something there even if the data is messy!" which makes no sense.

The man is a biophysicist and has zero expertise in infectious disease spread, and giving him a platform is journalistic malpractice.
posted by sciatrix at 2:14 PM on March 23 [47 favorites]


Nobel Laureates opining on things outside their expertise is one of the best arguments against the Nobel prize.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:18 PM on March 23 [37 favorites]


My father is a physicist and along with a lot of other people in his field -- I believe one or two Nobel laureates among them -- he signed onto some document in the 90s saying that global warming is a hoax. That strongly informs how I feel about Levitt's prediction.
posted by Slothrup at 2:20 PM on March 23 [19 favorites]


I put together a post on my blog regarding pharmacology and SARS-CoV-2 infections in part to share with my pharmacology students.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:54 PM on March 23 [8 favorites]


Man dies after self-medicating with chloroquine phosphate to treat coronavirus (WaPo, March 23, 2020 3:11 pm) A man died in Phoenix after self-medicating with chloroquine phosphate to treat covid-19, Banner Health announced in a statement Monday. The man’s wife, who also self-medicated with chloroquine phosphate, is in critical care, according to Banner Health. The man was in his 60s, as is his wife. Banner Health did not identify either of them by name.

This came just two days after President Trump suggested, in a tweet, that a mix of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin could be an effective treatment for covid-19. Neither drug had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization as a treatment for the coronavirus, and has not been in the time since.
--
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:01 PM on March 23 [13 favorites]


The Utah Governor has declared schools closed till May 1st (they were already closed for two weeks and re-evaluation was to occur by this Friday, but he made the call today).

Martha's Vineyard, the other hidey-hole place for the rich and fabulous off Cape Cod, reported its first case a couple days ago.

I live in Park City, UT which is a playground for wealthy skiers coming to Deer Valley or Park City Resort - which are all closed along with all the other ski resorts (and of course its pounding snow outside this evening....). I live in a fairly quiet less densely populated area about 20 minutes from the resorts. Anyway I've noticed *a lot* of New York, Pennsylvania, and other East Coast licence plates sitting in driveways around my neighborhood all of a sudden - often 3 or 4 cars from a state in one driveway (way more then the random one or two I'd see if the resorts were open), presumably because people see being in the mountains at 7000 feet and with some space as safer. Yet we are the second most impacted county in Utah by total cases (behind Salt Lake County), and blow all the other counties away in cases per capita with about 1 in 550 (behind - but not that far off - NYC levels) as opposed to around 1 in 9000 for SLC. So yeah...not sure that isolation plan is working out for them.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 4:04 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


i think president horrorshow just said fda has approved trials for chloroquine in new york: great amounts of them will be delivered there and will start to be distributed tomorrow, he said. the fda shows no press release about that. the orange horror might also have said that it's doing wonders administered with z-pack.
[copied from c-span transcript] i'm pleased to report that clinical trials in new york will begin existing for existing drugs that may prove effective against the virus. at my direction, the federal government is working to help obtain large quantities of the medicine. you can look from any standpoint tomorrow in new york. we think tomorrow pretty early. the hydroxy chloroquine and z-pac. it's a combination probably is looking very good. it's going to be distrib uted. we got 10,000 units going. it will be distributed tomorrow. it will be available and is now, they already have it. they will distribute it tomorrow morning to lot of people in new york citry and new york. we're studying it closely. [anecdote]...he's happy for this particular drug that we got approved in record-setting time. never been anything even close to it. i want to thank the fda, which has been incredible....
washingtonpost (re?)posts story from friday about lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients unable to obtain that medicine as a result of his intemperate statements. without a hint of self-awareness he then announced a plan to prosecute hoarders and gougers, introducing the attorney general. there was no further mention of those medicines.

also he said the cure can't be worse than the disease. and then compared deaths to those from flu and car accidents. we've gotta get the country open again. he said we'll see at the end of the 15 days but also "i'm not looking at months, i'll tell you right now."

wish someone would ask him when he'll start stadium rallies again.
posted by 20 year lurk at 4:05 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]




What masks? The imaginary Trump everything is under control masks?

Yeah, the powers that be at work are already talking about what day we're going to recall all the people self-isolating with orders to work. Critical national security; we will be exempt from shelter-in-place orders. BUT! We're going to have them wear PPE at work! They didn't have an answer to when we will be visited by the PPE Fairy, will that be before or after all the hospitals get what they need?

On the bright side, our accredited lab is making hand sanitizer like crazy.
posted by ctmf at 5:10 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Also being considered: making people stay at work. Like, we'll give you a room in the barracks or a bunk on one of the ship's force living barges. No word yet on how they'll pay people for that, how they would take care of their families, or how to keep the barges from turning into a petri dish, without testing people on the way in.
posted by ctmf at 5:17 PM on March 23


It takes a Senator six days to get test results for coronavirus?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:18 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Would you rush for Rand Paul? Hell, he's probably not even positive, just some lab tech being spiteful. I bet the nasal swab wasn't gentle.
posted by ctmf at 5:20 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


If you needed any more proof that Paul was a sociopath...
posted by Burhanistan at 5:23 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


I have found COVID-19.direct to be a good interface to current US infection and testing rate data, which is easy to break down at federal, state, and county levels.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 5:30 PM on March 23 [11 favorites]


The problem is building plants to mix and bottle the product at scale. The small batch distilleries are able to do that by hand at small scale, and that's great as far as it goes. But you can't just wish a bottling plant into existence.

Labatts in Canada has geared up to produce hand sanitizer and they ain't no craft brewery; anyone bottling beer can make this shift.
posted by Mitheral at 5:47 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


in my small and isolated community, the guy with a still has just announced that he'll be focusing exclusively on making hand sanitizer for the time being. Now the issue is bottles
posted by philip-random at 6:07 PM on March 23 [9 favorites]


OK, this is the wrong part of the article to focus on but the reason Rand Paul bothered to get a COVID-19 test at all is that he was concerned about his lung which had been "damaged in a 2017 assault by a neighbor who attacked him over a long-standing landscaping dispute."
posted by selfmedicating at 6:14 PM on March 23 [16 favorites]


On the bright side, our accredited lab is making hand sanitizer like crazy.

Way more than we can possibly use. Please don't steal it and take it home with you *wink wink*
posted by ctmf at 6:18 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]




Well, that and he was at an event where a couple of people tested positive. He said that's not why, but the timing says otherwise.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:39 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


anyone bottling beer can make this shift

Making sanitizer gel is rather harder. You can't just mix alcohol with an existing gel(e.g., aloe vera): you need a gelling agent and the ability to make it bloom and then mix it without aeration. It's not that hard, but you need to know what you're doing and be able to control temperature and Ph levels.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:43 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


60+ stories abiut NYC dealing with Coronavirus as the new epicenter

Wow, one of those stories: NYC Hospitals Send Homeless Who Have Coronavirus to Shelters

The city-run hospital system is transferring patients who’ve tested positive for the virus into the shelter system if the person has no known address and isn’t deemed to require acute medical care.

It's so unbelievable that anyone is talking about easing social isolation restrictions right now. More, from the NYT:

Nearly 1 in 1,000 people in the region have contracted the virus, an “attack rate” five times that of other areas...Dr. Birx added that 28 percent of tests for coronavirus in the region were coming up positive, while the rate is less than 8 percent in the rest of the country...

New York State is now virtually tied with Italy in the rate of confirmed cases — both stand at around 105 per 100,000 residents — even though New York State is less densely populated than Italy, and Italy’s outbreak has about a two-week head start on New York’s.

posted by mediareport at 6:47 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


thank you, mediareport. I had wondered if the huge number of cases in NY were a sign of increased testing or a sign of a bad outbreak. I'm sadden to learn its the latter.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:26 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]




Aluacha county has a 2 year old with coronavirus. The county leaders are declaring shelter in place. This needs to be done for the whole state but it's not going to happen until more people die.
posted by tilde at 7:40 PM on March 23


Dan Kaminsky @dakami "You need to watch this video. This, in three minutes, is more competence than you’ve heard all day. Maybe any day. Send this video to people."
Security Under Swift Law @SwiftOnSecurity "Holy shit imagine hearing this level of sheer competence every day in briefings and how much better we’d be. This is the only encouraging thing I’ve heard from a podium in months. Let’s do this.

U.S. Army @USArmy · Mar 20
Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, Chief of the @USACEHQ, provides a 'simple' solution to the complicated problem of building temporary medical facilities to assist states with responding to #COVID19. This clip is from a press conference by Army senior leader on March 20, 2020.
posted by katra at 8:04 PM on March 23 [17 favorites]


Gabriel Sherman, Vanity Fair:
Trump’s view that he can ignore Fauci’s opinion may be influenced by advice he’s getting from Jared Kushner, whose outside-the-box efforts have often rankled those in charge of managing the crisis. According to two sources, Kushner has told Trump about experimental treatments he’s heard about from executives in Silicon Valley. “Jared is bringing conspiracy theories to Trump about potential treatments,” a Republican briefed on the conversations told me. Another former West Wing official told me: “Trump is like an 11-year-old boy waiting for the fairy godmother to bring him a magic pill.”

Throughout the crisis, Kushner has counseled Trump that the crisis isn’t as bad as the media is portraying. Two sources said Vice President Mike Pence has complained to Trump about Kushner’s meddling in the work of the coronavirus task force.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:56 PM on March 23 [17 favorites]


My point above is that I don't believe Paul took six days to receive his result. A CNN article from March 4 says results can be ready in 24 hours. I can imagine bureaucracy and a high number of tests delaying that for most, but not a U.S. Senator.
I believe he sat on the information.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:03 PM on March 23 [12 favorites]


Two sources said Vice President Mike Pence has complained to Trump about Kushner’s meddling in the work of the coronavirus task force.
The "task force" that is doing what now? I frankly don't believe that Pence told Trump that he shouldn't be listening to Kushner. That would imply that Trump is wrong. It does sound like the knives are out for Kushner, but that's not going to help anyone hoping for a coherent US policy: the fundamental problem is that Trump is making decisions.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:09 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


We're so starved for competence that "stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night" levels seem like Captain Sully levels.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:17 PM on March 23 [12 favorites]


Breaking news ... literally.

Networks face decision: How long to stick with Trump?

ABC, CBS and NBC all covered Trump at the beginning of Monday’s briefing, which began about 6:10 p.m. Eastern. After 20 minutes, they switched to the network evening newscasts, never to return to Trump. The president spoke until shortly after 8 p.m.

The cable news networks have given Trump blanket coverage for his briefings, but CNN cut away Monday at around 7:20 p.m. MSNBC followed within five minutes.

Of its own decision to stop showing Trump live, CNN said that “if the White House wants to ask for time on the network, they should make an official request. Otherwise we will make our own editorial decisions.”

MSNBC, through a spokesperson, said that “we cut away because the information no longer appeared to be valuable to the important ongoing discussion around public health.”

posted by philip-random at 9:22 PM on March 23 [51 favorites]


The media will keep giving Trump as much free airtime as he wants. People tune into that idiotic asshole. He's good for ad revenue, just as Les Moonves admitted.

What this pandemic has shown time and again is that the media will pretend to inform the public, but only up to the point where it makes them money. They have shareholders to answer to.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:34 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


The networks should just give Cuomo nationwide live coverage.
posted by ocschwar at 9:37 PM on March 23 [13 favorites]



The media will keep giving Trump as much free airtime as he wants

except they're not. Not today anyway.

What this pandemic has shown time and again is that the media will pretend to inform the public, but only up to the point where it makes them money. They have shareholders to answer to.

and now maybe the shareholders are getting sick
posted by philip-random at 9:42 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


The networks should just give Cuomo nationwide live coverage.

Dude is America’s Governor now. I felt better after watching his address this morning.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:06 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


you can look from any standpoint tomorrow in new york. we think tomorrow pretty early. the hydroxy chloroquine and z-pac. it's a combination probably is looking very good. it's going to be distributed. we got 10,000 units going. it will be distributed tomorrow. it will be available and is now, they already have it

digging in comments to another emptywheel.net post from contributor rayne, came across someone else's searches at clinicaltrials.gov. why didn't i think of that?

looking from that standpoint i found

remdesivir (n=6: 4 recruiting - california et al. 3, paris 1, 1 "available", 1 "not yet recruiting");
hydroxychloroquine (n=7: 3 recruiting - seoul, shanghai, minnesota, and 4 "not yet recruiting"), and
chloroquine (n=7: 2 recruiting - huaian, china [comparing antivirals including chloroquine with unspecified traditional chinese medicine], paris, and 5 "not yet recruiting").

one of the not yet recruiting hydroxychloroquine studies was first posted march 23; the "Chemoprophylaxis With Hydroxychloroquine in Healthcare Personnel in Contact With COVID-19 Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial (PHYDRA Trial)," sponsored by sanofi and the mexican national institute of infectious diseases will compare high and low doses with placebo.

no lised trial involves azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine.

sorry that's all so rough; i lack the time -- and maybe the requisite breadth of knowledge -- to usefully dig in there just now. also i'm kicking myself for spinning my wheels trying to consult actual authority in an effort to make sense of or rebut president horrorshow's patent nonsense when i ought to know better. mea culpa. anyway: don't forget clinicaltrials.gov is there.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:24 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


no lised trial involves azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine

Perhaps because this is a known dangerous combination of drugs that can cause heart irregularities -- ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest.

That's the combination that Trump has been pushing. He's an ignorant idiot who is going to get people killed.
posted by JackFlash at 10:44 PM on March 23 [15 favorites]


The French study had 36 people in it (and only 26 actually received hydroxychloroquine).

And yet: Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine: what to know about the potential coronavirus drugs (CNN, March 24, 2020, 12:32 a.m. ET) As the world's heath experts race to find treatments -- and eventually, a cure -- for the novel coronavirus, two drugs have jumped to the front of the conversation: chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.

President Donald Trump has called the drugs, which are used to treat malaria and other conditions, game changers, and a rush to procure the pharmaceuticals spurred several US states to take measures to prevent shortages amid the Covid-19 pandemic.[...]

Perhaps demonstrating why health officials are urging caution -- saying chloroquine requires further clinical study and might not be the panacea it's billed to be -- officials in Nigeria's Lagos state have reported three overdoses in the days since the drug entered the conversation surrounding the pandemic.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:48 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


oh. there are three covid trials in new york. one of those remdesivirs above described as california et al., and a sarilumab v. placebo. also one not yet recruiting to study aviptadil. i think the president referred to this one in some recent rallybriefing. i recalled today that he had referred to some drug starting with an "a" with a louche winking aside about how we know that's a good one and tried to track it down in recent days events, but gave up as the rage overtook me. at the time when it pinged my subtext-o-meter, i assumed it probably treated some venereal disease, but on examination, aviptadil - a vasoactive intestinal peptide - may be an erectile dysfunction drug in new zealand, denmark and the UK. it appears in 2016 the vasoactive intestinal peptide review team of FDA's pharmacy compounding advisory committee (see at 95/144 et seq.) recommended against including it "on the list of bulk drug substances that can be used to compound drug products..."on inadequate data.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:49 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


They're going to kill four million Americans to keep the stock market up

I don't think this can be done.

Anything on the order of a million dead will be both a demand crater that will drive a recession and a giant productivity shock.

That would just be the deaths. Cases that fall ill for weeks at a time would probably be an order of magnitude larger would also be a productivity shock, even assuming full recovery vs some number of chronic or recurring cases.

That's just the deaths and illnesses, the first order effects. The second order effects of people's reactions as grief and fear spread along with peaking infections would be... probably similar to the social distancing being recommended, but half-assed and improvised, so likely not as effective, but with lots of the same economic impacts.

Unless by some chance the asymptomatic spread has already gone farther and wider than we might suspect (and immunity in its wake), I don't think there's any getting around serious economic impacts. We either bear the economic impacts of the distancing tools we have, and keep more people alive, or we bear the economic impacts that would be consequences of an unmanaged epidemic.

Though it is possible the Trump administration might be able to strike a balance where we get the worst of both options.
posted by weston at 10:53 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


‘Like Standing on the Shore and Watching a Tsunami Approach’ (Dr. Sandra Simons, Politico Magazine)
I work nights in a small community emergency department, and as the only physician in the entire hospital, it’s up to me to handle whatever comes through the door. I’m scared. And the reason isn’t just this disease, it’s the equipment we need—and don’t have—to fight this fight.

[...] The dwindling supplies of personal protective equipment in front-line hospitals like mine isn’t scaring just me—it’s scaring my physician friends around the country, with shortages of N95 masks, gowns, goggles and gloves being reported in states from New York to Washington.

[...] This week, we received the same warning that emergency department teams everywhere are hearing: Once this disease arrives in force, our PPE supply will not last. [...] The demoralizing reality I face is that more PPE might not be coming. So last week I went to my local hardware store and bought myself a face shield. I’m posting on social media, along with other doctors and nurses on the front lines, using the hashtag #GetMePPE. It’s crazy to be a physician shopping in a hardware store for medical equipment.

Meanwhile, I’m losing sleep over the predicament of having no good course of action. Do I use masks with every patient to protect myself from asymptomatic spread and risk running out of masks entirely? When the PPE runs out, do I keep going in, like a firefighter charging into a burning building in a Speedo and flip-flops? The deaths of Italian doctors Robert Stella and Marcello Natali, who valiantly kept working without PPE, are a terrifying warning.

[...] Without more serious action to provide the armor we need on your front line—not just now, but for months, maybe years, as long as this virus is sweeping through an unimmunized population—this disease will be picking off health care workers one by one.
posted by katra at 11:20 PM on March 23 [15 favorites]


Austin will shelter in place starting tomorrow.

Introverts have been training for this moment their entire lives.
posted by JackFlash at 11:37 PM on March 23 [11 favorites]


Old news on this thread, but a cousin (very good guy who is part of our Sunday NY Times Crossword five-some, but leans who leans right) sent me a link to that LA Times article with prediction Nobel Chemistry Laureate, Michael Levitt. I spent a lot of time composing a response that I have reproduced here. Apologies for its length. You might skip to the last paragraph, which I think is actually the most important with respect what we will see with this pandemic in the US and possibly through most of the world.

Thanks for sending link. I had heard about this article, and now I have read it.

I get that the editors at the LA Times would like some contrast to the doom and gloom stories, but I think it was a big mistake for the LA Times to print it. Would the LA Times have printed an article on a new chemical reaction or compound by an expert in infectious disease because she/he correctly predicted a chemical structure without consulting with a chemist?

Levitt *might* be right, and I sure hope he is, but I doubt it. While he is clearly a very smart guy with Nobel in Chemistry, but he is way out of his field here. Of course, he's either right ("I'm a genius!") or he's wrong ("Oh well, I'm not an expert in infectious disease").

I do think he is right about two things. (1) Very strong social distancing is essential to keep the rate of new cases manageable, but this is only possible with the shutdowns we have now that he thinks might be too costly. (2) It is not the end of the world--we will get through it, but after a VERY rough ride both in loss of life and economic activity.

(You can skip the rest of the rant below.)



Has Levitt successfully predicted the course of epidemics in the past? From what I can see, he got one prediction right in back in February with respect to the Chinese outbreak, which occurred because of the massive shutdown of the economy that advocates avoiding. The data from Iran are suspect--they have not been honest. Satellites have spotted trenches for mass graves outside of the city of Qom, for example. He's extrapolating from small samples, like the cruise ship, and without accounting for the actions to mitigate spread. He admits the data are messy.

Levitt's comparison to the flu is stupid. Yes, there are tens thousands of deaths due to the flu each year, and so far in this country does not have that magnitude of deaths with COVID-19 (but I expect that is a matter of not a very long time). Were the 9/11 attacks not a big deal because more people die from flu every year or from car accidents every month?

With the flu we have vaccines. Flu is not nearly so easily transmitted nor transmitted by people with few or no symptoms. Until now, hospitals were not running out of ICU units, ventilators, gowns, and masks due to the flu. (Levitt should volunteer at hospital.) Fatality rates are not 1% (up to 8% in Italy and 4% in Spain) for flu. Spain had 15,000 deaths from flu last year. It had 3% of that total in one day yesterday from COVID-19. Cases and fatalities were not doubling every three days with the flu, as they are now in this country, even with the significant amount of social distancing was already undertaken in this country.

Levitt states that the media have sensationalized the pandemic, causing panic. Panic has not been my observation, except with respect to runs on hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, and tissues. If anything the outbreak has been underplayed, because not enough people are taking it seriously by restricting their activities.

Levitt advocates testing, tracing individuals' contacts, and quarantining them. That's what Korea did, but even there, that's not the end of the outbreak. As Korea relents as cases are climbing there again--it is an unending battle. Unfortunately, the testing and horse has already left the barn here--two months of warning wasted by "It's a Democratic hoax" and "Everything is under control." There simply aren't enough tests available (nor masks, gowns, ventilators, hand sanitizer).

How does Levitt propose to go back to more normal activity to avoid the economic consequences of the shutdown and keep fatality rates to *only* 1%? The only way to keep fatality rates down is to avoid overwhelming the medical system by flattening the curve, which means keeping people apart by these severe restrictions. Since up to 20% of those infected have severe cases, a large fraction those people would die without advance medical care. Losing 10% of your populations will do a number on your economy, too. Is he willing to risk being one of those fatalities, since he is about 73 years old?

Unfortunately, until there is sufficient herd immunity due to enough people (millions) becoming infected and recovering (with perhaps 1% dying) or enough people being inoculated with a vaccine that has yet to be developed, we are going to be dealing with managing the rate at which new cases appear by social distancing through shutting large portions of the service portions of our economy, perhaps interrupted by periods of more normal activity, when the virus might not spread as rapidly, like summer. This situation could be what we see over the next couple of years.


posted by haiku warrior at 11:45 PM on March 23 [19 favorites]


Disability activist Ari Ne'eman in the NYT:
‘I Will Not Apologize for My Needs’
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:56 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Dan Kaminsky @dakami "You need to watch this video. This, in three minutes, is more competence than you’ve heard all day. Maybe any day. Send this video to people."

That's..... normal. That's a normal construction or engineering project manager. Thats the level of competence at 90% of the professional meetings and construction projects I have ever worked on. I guarantee this man and many like him have been coming up with plans since January and have been waiting by the phone to be called in.

There ate literally tens of thousands of people in this country that could be running facilities conversions competently. I assume there are just as many in manufacturing. I KNOW there are just as many in logistics becuase I work with them too. Lab managers and hospital administration is a smaller field but I'm sure they have thousands at least. There are military staff that only do field hospitals or only logistics. There are people trained in everything we need, ready to go.

Why. The. Fuck. Are. We. Not. Already. Doing. This.
posted by fshgrl at 12:42 AM on March 24 [59 favorites]


Older people would rather die than let Covid-19 harm US economy – Texas official
Lieutenant governor Dan Patrick tells Fox News: ‘Do we have to shut down the entire country for this? I think we can get back to work’

May I translate this for you: old white man doesn't mind other people dying if he can keep his money. He doesn't think he will die because he is white and privileged. Data doesn't work for him, they are liberal.
posted by mumimor at 2:52 AM on March 24 [16 favorites]


More on the rich as disease vectors: Party Zero: How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a ‘Super Spreader’ About 50 people gathered this month for a party in the upscale suburb of Westport, then scattered across the region and the world, taking the coronavirus with them.
posted by mumimor at 4:05 AM on March 24 [9 favorites]


There ate literally tens of thousands of people in this country that could be running facilities conversions competently. I assume there are just as many in manufacturing. I KNOW there are just as many in logistics becuase I work with them too. Lab managers and hospital administration is a smaller field but I'm sure they have thousands at least. There are military staff that only do field hospitals or only logistics. There are people trained in everything we need, ready to go.

It's a bit of a joke, but there's a meme that's started going around my theater friends that "maybe we should let stage managers work on fixing on this." I joked that we could probably all dump out the contents of our various SM kits and we could hack together an entire field hospital in about three hours.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:09 AM on March 24 [18 favorites]


US Digital Response, organized by many folks involved in the US Digital Service, 18F, and Code For America. If you have experience as a project manager, developer, IT specialist, public health professional, disaster response team member, UX researcher or data scientist, can volunteer full time, and want to help state and local governments with:
Making it easier to collect and collate data from private and public testing facilities

Keeping websites and systems that are under unprecedented strain from going down (i.e. benefit application systems for unemployment insurance, etc.)

Building a digital product for the public to self-assess before driving to a testing center

Building/implementing a system to better collect and track data from hospitals about their bed and ventilator capacity

Re-imaging and distributing laptops to EOCs

From data scientists with modeling and mapping infection data

With project & general operational management, as well as supply chain and procurement expertise
Then you can sign up with them and they will pair you with a government agency that needs your help.
posted by bl1nk at 4:41 AM on March 24 [15 favorites]


the fundamental problem is that Trump is making decisions.

I have seen very little evidence that Trump is even making decisions. Mostly he seems to be focused making indecisions.
posted by srboisvert at 5:30 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


More on the rich as disease vectors: Party Zero: How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a ‘Super Spreader’
As the disease spread, many residents kept mum, worried about being ostracized by their neighbors and that their children would be kicked off coveted sports teams or miss school events.

One local woman compared going public with a Covid-19 diagnosis to “having an S.T.D.”

“I don’t think that’s a crazy comparison,” said Will Haskell, the state senator who represents Westport. He has been fielding frantic phone calls from constituents.

Most residents were exercising recommended vigilance, Mr. Haskell said, but one call that stuck out to him was from a woman awaiting test results whose entire family had been exposed to the virus. “She wanted to know whether or not to tell her friends and social network,” he said, because she was worried about “social stigma.”

Mr. Haskell, who has been delivering his grandparents’ medication to their Westport doorstep and leaving it outside, was incredulous. “This is life or death,” he said in an interview. “Westport really is a cautionary tale of what we’re soon to see.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:51 AM on March 24 [15 favorites]


Eat the rich, but sterilize them first?
posted by tavella at 5:53 AM on March 24 [8 favorites]


The corporate media is still letting Trump set its agenda (Dan Froomkin, Press Watch)
Over the last week, I’ve written about how Trump’s spell on the corporate media finally seemed to be breaking: His weeks of downplaying the crisis and talking about it inaccurately and incoherently had finally led many leading journalists to declare him ill-equipped to lead. They had recognized, at long last, that the power vacuum Trump had created was being filed by more competent people, and that his insistence that he had always taken the coronavirus seriously was the quintessential proof that he was delusional, trying to gaslight America or both.

What I neglected to take into account was that even though they are more willing than ever to point out Trump’s flaws and lack of credibility, elite Washington and New York journalists still can’t take their eyes off him. [...]

Why fall all over themselves making it look like they were covering something real, rather than just more empty promises?

I’ll tell you why. Because, apparently, a president declaring himself a “wartime president” and calling for “sacrifices” is like some sort of deep, irresistible hypnotic suggestion to the elite media that, rather than making them bark like a dog, compels them to stand up straight and pay undivided attention.[...]

When it comes to efforts to stimulate the economy, there’s more than just reporting out little mini-scoops from the White House and the Hill. The coverage should be constantly questioning the decision-making of people who have repeatedly proven themselves too clueless and corrupt to govern fairly. [...]

As I wrote 10 days ago, in the absence of Trump’s leadership, our elite newsrooms need to step up. This is a time for our nation’s best journalists to enable our nation’s smartest people to set the agenda, rather than waiting for the White House to do it.

And let me add: If certain newsroom leaders are incapable of adjusting to the new reality, it’s time for them to get them out of the way.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:07 AM on March 24 [12 favorites]





Arizona Man Dies From Chloroquine Overdose After Listening to Trump Coronavirus Press Conference
posted by Burhanistan at 6:33 AM on March 24 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


From the article:
Asked if she had a message for the American people, the Arizona woman was blunt. “Don’t believe anything the president says,” she warned. “And his people. Because they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Shout that from the roofs
posted by mumimor at 6:56 AM on March 24 [45 favorites]


My hometown (Ft. Worth) just issued a shelter-in-place; Dallas has done so; Austin has done so; San Antonio has done so. Looks like only Houston has not, though there are new rumors every day. And of course it's a patchwork for all the little towns/suburbs in between.

The reason we have to do this city-by-city is of course because our idiot Governor refused to issue a statewide order.
posted by emjaybee at 7:28 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]


Were the 9/11 attacks not a big deal because more people die from flu every year or from car accidents every month?

I'm not sure this is good framing, or you would get the answer you think.

But I'll say that I wish we treated deaths from this and deaths from car accidents and flu deaths equally, which I consider both being good public responses, rather than blaming them for their own death or getting buried in long-standing statistics models.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:36 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


White House officials looking for way to 'open' economy without health catastrophe

The hardest thing so far for me during this time is still, STILL trying to wrap my head around how we have a President who not only is this stupid, but that this article is following aides who are desperate to try to make him choose the least harmful option out of his range of bad choices he wants, and they are telling the press their options before they even speak to him. My mind hurts.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:47 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Pod Save America has been focusing on the epidemic more and more lately. It's still focused on the political aspects, but they have been playing voice mails from listeners about the impact of the virus on their lives. They tend to be health care workers and I found last night's affecting and scary. Two different nurses/PAs were in health care facilities where they have already been told to reuse masks. Like put it in a plastic bag with your name on it and use it 5 times before discarding. Wash hands thoroughly, open bag and put mask on, wash thoroughly again, then later wash hands, take mask off and put in bag, wash hands a 4th time. That and downgrading to surgical masks from N95 masks. Not great.

I'm married to a nurse and while that sequence of hand washing seems time consuming if you are doing it many times a day, it's nothing compared to PPE procedures. Those have their own extended training and in practice are "a whole thing" as they say. Not too bad with one infectious patient, but very hard to scale.
posted by freecellwizard at 7:49 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


It's not just Trump with the chloroquine quackery, it's the entire right-wing media apparatus using it to own the libs by alleging a conspiracy involving Dr. Fauci, the WHO, and I assume Hillary Clinton and George Soros at some point. The gist of it as far as I can understand it (CW for links: wingnutopshere) is that there are drugs hiding in plain sight that will treat COVID-19, but (((globalists))) want to make money with newer drugs. I'm not sure how they're supposed to do all of this buckraking while the world economy craters, but that probably just makes me a collectivist stooge.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:50 AM on March 24 [12 favorites]


> He doesn't think he will die because he is white and privileged.

A lot of Trump supporters voted for him because they wanted other people to die, but that’s the thing about sowing the wind...
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:56 AM on March 24 [8 favorites]


is that there are drugs hiding in plain sight that will treat COVID-19

amazing china didn't figure that out. and italy. and spain. &c
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:07 AM on March 24 [9 favorites]


Two different nurses/PAs were in health care facilities where they have already been told to reuse masks. Like put it in a plastic bag with your name on it and use it 5 times before discarding. Wash hands thoroughly, open bag and put mask on, wash thoroughly again, then later wash hands, take mask off and put in bag, wash hands a 4th time. That and downgrading to surgical masks from N95 masks. Not great.

I can confirm this. At my husbands hospital, nurses only even get an N95 for COVID-19 patients if they are doing procedures with a risk of aerosolization like vents. He only gets surgical masks otherwise. As the worst hasn't hit us yet in Arizona, they have enough of those not to reuse yet, but that situation is changing rapidly. As of next week he will likely only have one disposable surgical mask a day. This is on his hospital's designated Covid ward.

So - today I'm sewing reusable surgical masks.
posted by Lapin at 8:09 AM on March 24 [25 favorites]


amazing china didn't figure that out. and italy. and spain. &c
My first thought too, but then I realized that to these people, there is no world outside of Verona/The USA.
posted by mumimor at 8:48 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how they're supposed to do all of this buckraking while the world economy craters, but that probably just makes me a collectivist stooge.

Eh, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories (and, yes, anything about "globalists" or the like is a repurposed anti-Jewish line) have for upwards of a century simultaneously embraced the notion that Jews are the fat-cat malefactors who are reaping the benefits of capitalism and that Jews are the Bolshevik bomb-throwers who seek no less than the utter destruction of capitalism. This is nothing new.
posted by jackbishop at 8:48 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


From the article:

Asked if she had a message for the American people, the Arizona woman was blunt. “Don’t believe anything the president says,” she warned. “And his people. Because they don’t know what they’re talking about.”


Shout that from the roofs


problem is, the faithful will just shrug it off as more FAKE NEWS. More and more, it seems to me that the way forward is to mute the orange fool. Twitter needs to disable his account. The news networks and the like need to either stop broadcasting his speeches altogether or at least run them on time delay, with an epidemiology expert sitting in the edit room, able to push mute whenever he veers into factually WRONG territory.

TRUMP IS OVER ... if you want it.
posted by philip-random at 9:03 AM on March 24 [9 favorites]


Dr. Fauci Says That Nothing in Current Coronavirus Data Causes Optimism As Trump Pushes to Reopen Country (Tommy Christopher, Mediaite)
White House Coronavirus Task Force infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that nothing in the current data is cause for “optimism” even as President Donald Trump pushes to reopen the economy as early as next week.

In an interview on WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall radio program Tuesday morning, Dr. Fauci did his best not to contradict Trump, and pushed back on the idea that there is tension between the two, but Fauci’s assessment of the pandemic did not seem to be in line with Trump’s push to ease precautions beginning as early as next week.
Biden Torches Trump for Suggesting an End to Lockdown: ‘I Don’t Agree’ That ‘Somehow It’s Okay to Let the People Die’ (Ken Meyer, Mediaite)
Appearing on The View Tuesday [remotely], Biden was asked about how Trump hinted that at the end of the month, he’ll call for a national rollback on the safety guidelines which have been enacted to stop the spread of COVID-19. Biden emphasized that country needs to remain focused on treating the virus, despite economic consequences.

The former vice president went on to say that Americans are losing confidence because of Trump’s untruths, then pivoted to talk about how the president and others have suggested that the country needs to re-open businesses and get the economy moving again — ignoring the warnings of health officials who say that people will be put at risk if the country stops adhering to social distancing policies.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:34 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]




Prisons and jails are going to be charnel houses.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:38 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Republicans, 2010: A national health care system would totally involve the creation of "death panels" that would decide it's too expensive to keep your grandparents alive.

Republicans, 2020: It's too expensive to keep your grandparents alive.
posted by LionIndex at 9:45 AM on March 24 [118 favorites]


Prisons and jails are going to be charnel houses.

...and Republicans will be laughing about it on TV in six weeks or less, leading to a four-point bump in the polls.
posted by aramaic at 9:45 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


well framed LionIndex! bit it for twitter.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:50 AM on March 24


Prisons and jails are going to be charnel houses.

At this point I'm just so amazed how well Stephen King pre-conceived all this in The Stand.
posted by valkane at 9:51 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


Harvard's president just announced he and his wife have tested positive.
We started experiencing symptoms on Sunday—first coughs then fevers, chills, and muscle aches—and contacted our doctors on Monday. We were tested yesterday and just received the results a few minutes ago.
posted by adamg at 10:05 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted; let's not throw open "here are my bona fides as a person with money" because (a) there is only one way that can go, namely people flaming you and (b) sharing details of other people's intimate traumas is always a little dicey and probably better avoided in this context.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:13 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


I don't know who the Harvard president is but I have been following the university's decision to not pay workers who are subcontracted.

Dear Harvard President, I am sorry you and your spouse are sick. Regardless, pay all Harvard workers please.

This shell game regarding subcontracting has been going on for decades, during my years at a not-Harvard university that nonetheless has an absurdly swollen endowment the dining hall workers went on strike because of changes to subcontracting rules that would have made them more vulnerable to this kind of b.s.

Economist @gabriel_zucman Mar 21
What is the point of accumulating a $40 billion endowment if it's to fire your most vulnerable workers as soon as a crisis hit?
@jaredodessky · Mar 20
Harvard is laying off nearly all dining workers. While the univ. has agreed to provide 30 days' pay for the directly hired dining workers who work at the College, they are refusing to provide this pay for the subcontracted dining workers at @Harvard_Law link to petition "Harvard pay all your workers"
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:23 AM on March 24 [30 favorites]


Trump's staff cuts have undermined Covid-19 containment efforts, watchdog finds (Guardian)
The Trump administration badly undermined the effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak by getting rid of most staff tasked with identifying global health problems in China while repeatedly attempting to slash funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to a new report by an environmental watchdog.

Over the past three years, the Trump administration has drastically reduced a team working in China to identify global health threats like Covid-19, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. The initiative’s 11 CDC staffers have been cut to three people, while 39 workers classed as “local employees” have been reduced to 11 people.

The administration disbanded the national security council’s directorate charged with global health and has sought to go further still, requesting budget cuts from the CDC of up to 20% for each of the past three years, only to be rebuffed by Congress. Trump’s effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act would also have reduced the CDC’s funding by around 8% a year.

The CDC has still undergone an “erosion of budget and staff under Trump” but without Congress’s defiance “thousands more Americans would likely die over the next few months because of even more reduced capacity at the CDC”, according to the report, compiled by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI).

“If we cannot draw lessons here for our future, then the risks Americans face both from emerging and chronic diseases will become truly incalculable,” the report warns. The report, which draws upon publicly available federal government records, highlights a lengthy list of actions by the Trump administration that has risked turning the spread of the coronavirus into an even greater disaster.
posted by katra at 10:35 AM on March 24 [16 favorites]




Matt Bruenig on corporate bailouts:
Bailing out corporations in tough circumstances is fine. Bailing out their owners is not. Thus, to understand the proper policy move, you need to actually pierce through the shorthand conflation of “corporations” with the “capitalist class.” The purpose of a proper bailout is to keep a corporation going and producing. It is not to prop up the balance sheets of the capitalist class.

How can you bail out a corporation without also bailing out its owners? It is very easy: have the government provide cash to the corporation in exchange for corporate equity. The issuance of this new equity dilutes out the existing shareholders, ensuring that those shareholders ultimately eat the losses of the pandemic shock.
posted by kingless at 10:53 AM on March 24 [44 favorites]


How TF are all these people getting tested? Illinois currently won't test anyone who isn't hospitalized. Even when they show up at the ER with pneumonia and fever and struggling for breath, and work in a supposedly "essential" state agency office alongside dozens of coworkers.

(Ask me how I know.)
posted by Not A Thing at 10:54 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]


It is important that whatever tests we have are allocated to medical workers and the sick. But I do want to know how sportsball players and convicted rapists get to jump to the front of the line. There will need to be an accounting when this is done.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:05 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


If we're talking about the same convicted rapist, he had just been transferred from Rikers where there are currently more than 20 known covid cases; given the stakes of an outbreak spreading across a state's entire prison system, it seems like a reasonable precaution to take for states like NY that apparently still have the capacity to test nontrivial numbers of people.

How the non-incarcerated president of Harvard still gets to jump to the head of the line, even now when there is clearly a massive testing shortage and people are being sent home with a stack of prescriptions and a "come back and see us when you're cyanotic," is what I'm specifically curious about.

I mean, if prisons had any legitimate role it would be to house the sort of people who would otherwise become president of Harvard -- but unless he's expecting to be incarcerated imminently, I don't understand what entitles him to this scarce resource.
posted by Not A Thing at 11:22 AM on March 24 [8 favorites]


Can't help but think that Trump wants to end the Coronavirus restrictions so he can have live rallies in front of thousands of supporters again, instead of a few dozen reporters.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:21 PM on March 24 [16 favorites]


Trump is saying he wants the country "opened up" by Easter. Lots of people are going to die because the President is a fucking idiot.
posted by zeusianfog at 12:25 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]


The candidate in 2016:
I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.


Possibly this administration in 2020, following a suggestion from Jonathan Ashbach (link is to right wing watch):
Hold my beer.


(Am i doing this right?)
posted by a person of few words at 12:41 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Party Zero: How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a ‘Super Spreader’

That's some fascinating Desperate Housewives level insanity there. They are willing to have wildfire community spread to protect the reputation of affluent party hosts and guests. This pandemic is exposing an awful lot of awful.
posted by srboisvert at 12:46 PM on March 24 [14 favorites]


The issuance of this new equity dilutes out the existing shareholders, ensuring that those shareholders ultimately eat the losses of the pandemic shock.

Yep. And it sure as heck beats the value they'd get from their investments if the government didn't step in at all.
posted by avalonian at 12:48 PM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Boeing Co. Chief Executive David Calhoun suggested he would decline taxpayer aid if lawmakers require the government to take an equity stake in the beleaguered aerospace giant.

CEO: "Just give me the money or I swear I'll pull the trigger on this gun pointed at my own head!"

"I don't have a need for an equity stake" he said. "If they forced it, we would look at all the other options, and we have got plenty."

Sounds like a deal. Go for it -- all those other options are really gonna cost you dearly.
posted by JackFlash at 1:07 PM on March 24 [26 favorites]


Insurance companies and hospitals will be among those seeking relief. If relief is traded for equity we can nationalize US healthcare with this one weird trick.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:11 PM on March 24 [48 favorites]


I almost broke a rib laughing. For the sake of our overburdened health system, please refrain from such jokes.
posted by eagles123 at 1:22 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


From a containment perspective it certainly makes sense to test people with symptoms who likely had contact with many dozens of people, such as students, who in turn could have had contact with hundreds of more students. Most of those students have now have left the University for locations all over the country and the world. I would say that is why they were tested.

With respect to the paying of sub-contractors, I don't know the full story, as in I don't know if it a decision that the President makes or can change. Certainly on its face, it is not a good look for Harvard.

I won't jump to conclusions, because if for no other reason, I happen to know the President of Harvard, Larry Bacow, and his wife, Adele, and they are kind, honest, thoughtful, and humane. In the 2000s Larry Bacow was President of Tufts University, before I was a professor there. As the first couple of Tufts, the Bacows were a very popular.
posted by haiku warrior at 1:32 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


have the government provide cash to the corporation in exchange for corporate equity.

This is an interesting proposal to me because my company had already identified a need to issue about $800 million in new equity. Ours is not an industry in need of nationalization (not that I oppose nationalization in principle, it's just that I think it doesn't make as much sense for rate-regulated utilities) but it would be pretty fun if all of a sudden our largest single shareholder were Uncle Sam.
posted by nickmark at 1:41 PM on March 24


Not surprisingly, the not-so-rich are sources of super spreading events, too. Money quote:
Borrelli did not seek to blame anyone or any single factor.

"From the very start, people were behaving in a way that fuelled the national problem," Borrelli said.

But he did point to a Champions League match between Italy's Atalanta and Spain's Valencia's football clubs in Milan's San Siro stadium on February 19 as a particularly egregious mistake.

It was attended by 40,000 fans who celebrated the local team's win deep into the night.

"We can now say, with hindsight, that it was potentially a detonator," Berrelli said of the match

There's a good chance that Valencia fans returned to Spain with the virus, as well as Italians spreading it among themselves.
posted by haiku warrior at 1:43 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]






Jackson Free Press:
JACKSON, Miss.—Gov. Tate Reeves again rejected calls for a statewide lockdown at a press conference outside the governor’s mansion today in downtown Jackson, saying that “no expert had yet recommended” such an enforced quarantine. But he pledged to sign expanded executive orders he believes will help clamp down on the mass gatherings happening at weddings, funerals, Mississippi’s restaurants and beaches in defiance of previous recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Mississippi State Department of Health late Friday.

Reeves repeatedly refused to clarify if the executive orders would be formal bans on gatherings, carrying penalty of enforcement, instructing the press to wait for him to sign the orders later in the day. MSDH updated the totals of COVID-19 cases with numbers from last evening at 6 p.m., adding 71 new cases across the state—the most in one day, yet—for a total of 320. That is a 300% rise in cases MSDH has reported since 80 on Friday.

context from previous day:
However, Reeves seems to be erring on the side of keeping people going to work rather than sheltering at home to help flatten the spiking curve of the virus in Mississippi. “We don’t want to make any decisions that would ultimately do more harm than good,” Reeves said, however, in his Facebook address. He was referring to fears that a full shutdown of non-essential businesses would damage the Mississippi economy and leave its workforce at the mercy of debt collectors and landlords.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:10 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


An opinion from Greg Sargent/ The Washington Post: A viral plea to let grandparents sacrifice themselves captures a truth about Trump
We don’t have to choose between unbearably high mass death totals and an economic collapse that dooms the American experiment. The government can send people money in sufficient sums and fortify the welfare state to save them from personal economic calamity, while bailing out small and large businesses with tight conditions that sagely protect taxpayers and working people.
I'm realizing more and more that the conservatives, in the US and elsewhere, who are going on about the economy are indulging in the type of catastrophic thinking that is unhealthy if you are struggling with depression and anxiety. They are not using their rational minds and understanding that while this is terrible and will change many things, it is not the end of the world and government can help us all get through it. After a struggle, we will start rebuilding, and there will be new jobs and a new economy. Or maybe they are understanding on a profound level that their world is ending, not the world.
They can't stop it from happening by committing collective suicide and killing a whole lot of the rest of us on the side, but that comes with catastrophic thinking, doesn't it? Part of the mindset of the death cult is that if "we" can't achieve this goal, life isn't worth living.
posted by mumimor at 2:11 PM on March 24 [22 favorites]


Bit of good news from WaPo: The coronavirus isn’t mutating quickly, suggesting a vaccine would offer lasting protection

The coronavirus is not mutating significantly as it circulates through the human population, according to scientists who are closely studying the novel pathogen’s genetic code. That relative stability suggests the virus is less likely to become more or less dangerous as it spreads, and represents encouraging news for researchers hoping to create a long-lasting vaccine...The new coronavirus looks pretty much the same everywhere it has appeared, the scientists say, and there is no evidence that some strains are deadlier than others...

There are only about four to 10 genetic differences between the strains that have infected people in the U.S. and the original virus that spread in Wuhan, he said.

“That’s a relatively small number of mutations for having passed through a large number of people,” Thielen said. “At this point the mutation rate of the virus would suggest that the vaccine developed for SARS-CoV-2 would be a single vaccine, rather than a new vaccine every year like the flu vaccine.”

posted by mediareport at 2:15 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


Republican Senators get marching orders, do no customization whatsoever.

Note that one is Senator Inside Trading On Death herself.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:22 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


From a containment perspective it certainly makes sense to test people with symptoms who likely had contact with many dozens of people, such as students, who in turn could have had contact with hundreds of more students.

As noted above, this is exactly what is not happening now in many states, except apparently for members of our self-designated "elite." But perhaps Massachusetts is an exception and is taking care to make testing available for every grocery-store worker, every worker in an "essential" large office, and all other workers who are still being required to engage with large numbers of people on a daily basis.
posted by Not A Thing at 2:40 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


The distillery-to-hand-sanitizer-maker thing is big here in NC too. Nice to see people getting creative.
posted by freecellwizard at 2:57 PM on March 24


I'm realizing more and more that the conservatives, in the US and elsewhere, who are going on about the economy are indulging in the type of catastrophic thinking

It's entirely irrational catastrophic thinking for the people who have enough money to influence the levers of power. The bankruptcy code can be very kind to the wealthy. The only threat they are under is having to drive a mass-produced Lamborghini instead of a slightly less mass-produced Bugatti and seeing a couple of functionally meaningless zeros disappearing from their balance sheet. And that only if there were literally no government help financially for anyone beyond what already existed in law.

A very few might have to suffer the indignity of accepting a sinecure from a college buddy, but even now almost nobody is out to take all their shit, just some of what they would have lost without government support. A small price to pay to still be in the best position to earn an easy income.

Of course, they never consider it easy. After all, deciding which management company you should use to deal with all the tenants in their office buildings is a difficult decision and all those parties you attend to recruit investors are hard work, right?
posted by wierdo at 2:58 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


The distillery-to-hand-sanitizer-maker thing is big here in NC too. Nice to see people getting creative.

But it's so stupid! As sjswitzer pointed out, ethanol is produced in vast quantities as a fuel additive. It would be SO. VERY. EASY. for a government to requisition the ethanol, emollients (glycerol, aloe vera, etc.) and thickeners to make as much sanitizer as anyone could want. You'd need a bottling plant too, but once again: that is totally a thing that can be done. And then the government could just give it away!

Instead we have all these small producers diverting their own relatively-costly production, trying to source ingredients and containers, and then create new supply chains. This isn't something to applaud; it's horrifying.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:25 PM on March 24 [31 favorites]


But FWIW, they do have bottling technology which gives them a leg up. I would definitely stop short of calling it stupid: they're pitching in and helping and I do think they should be lauded for that.

But yeah, there's plenty of alcohol for this. The trick is to get it together with the other ingredients, bottle it, and get it where it needs to be at scale.
posted by sjswitzer at 3:33 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


A $6 trillion rescue means money doesn't matter anymore.
posted by ryoshu at 3:36 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I suspect that the people best able to do that at scale and in appropriate dispensers are the people that are already making it.

Similarly for N95 masks. It's pretty safe to assume that all those production lines are operating at full capacity (given availability of materials, etc.). We'll probably be set for sanitizer soon. PPE is a different matter entirely because of international just-in-time supply chains.
posted by sjswitzer at 3:36 PM on March 24


This isn't something to applaud; it's horrifying.

It is both horrifying and life-saving. Same as people who are sewing masks in sewing bees for hospitals. It sucks that it has to happen, is happening, but you can hate the system that made it necessary while still appreciating that some people in the world can do the right thing and applauding that.

trying to source ingredients and containers

We're small scale here, but it's just "show up at the distillery, bring your own bottle, 16 oz per person per day" and they've been making special batches and deliveries for shelters and other places with an urgent need.

I really get the Very Online person instinct to be aggravated that any of this is actually happening, but I really suggest staying focused on moving forward doing as much good as possible, while it's possible.
posted by jessamyn at 3:37 PM on March 24 [55 favorites]


the house is on fire -- we'll have an inquest later.
but right now, please, get in line and help with the buckets
posted by philip-random at 3:49 PM on March 24 [14 favorites]


Mask-making projects are popping all over as crafters mobilize against coronavirus - The Boston Globe
...

Within a few hours of posting a request for volunteers on Burlington Patch, a local news site, the trio had more than 700 people signed up. Within 24 hours, more than 3,000 volunteers from around the country and even Canada wanted to help. The incoming volume continued at such a pace that Google shut down the online form. Now they’re organizing via a Facebook group, Masks for Massachusetts.
Surgeon forms Facebook group to sew masks - Odessa American (Texas)
Facing depletion in its stock of surgical masks, a general surgeon with Medical Center Hospital has formed a Facebook group to help increase the supply.

Dr. Faye Armstrong-Papp, who also is chair of the hospital’s department of surgery, said the immediate goal of the group, Masks for Medics Odessa, Texas, is to sew 2,000 masks.

...
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:11 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


So it turns out my local hospital system is in fact testing (reusable) 3D printer N95 mask prototypes, working with various partners in the community with access to printers. A drop in the bucket maybe, but a game changer for those who do end up with access to one if even a handful of these make the grade and be pressed into service.
posted by blue suede stockings at 4:24 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


A $6 trillion rescue means money doesn't matter anymore.

The yearly size of the U.S. economy is around 22 trillion dollars. Any attempt to replace the lost economic activity resulting from Corona related shutdowns is going to involve sums of money that will make your eyes water. It's worth it though.
posted by eagles123 at 4:25 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]


I had a surgery planned for next week in Interventional Radiology to inject some chemo into a tumor. They just called and pushed it back a few weeks because resources are needed elsewhere. This is not good.
posted by johnpowell at 4:37 PM on March 24 [18 favorites]


I really get the Very Online person instinct to be aggravated that [small scale sanitiser production] is actually happening

No, my grievance is that it's necessary, when it's the sort of thing that is easily and efficiently done at scale. Like, the people sewing face masks for hospitals are doing the Lord's work, but the government could offer clothing manufacturers a bounty for producing them, and deliver them to hospitals that need them. Everything is being left to the invisible hand of the free market, but this is clearly a situation in which the normal signalling mechanisms don't work. Manufacturers don't want to interrupt production without a guaranteed market; hospitals don't know whom to contact; and there's no coordination between consumers that would allow them to make a sufficiently large order that a manufacturer could switch production with confidence.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:52 PM on March 24 [13 favorites]


So far I haven't seen much discussion of one of the things Trump babbled about in a press conference yesterday: he said, why spend all this time testing anti-virus medicines in a lab? Why not use sick people as test subjects. Human guinea pigs to test stuff that may be toxic (as chloroquinine is). Of course, he babbles a lot and health professionals are not going to do this. Are they?
posted by CCBC at 4:57 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Amazon workers test positive for covid-19 at six U.S. warehouses (WaPo)
The U.S. coronavirus outbreak has spread to at least six Amazon warehouses, infecting workers racing to deliver massive volumes of packages for consumers leery of leaving their homes to shop. In the last few days, Amazon workers tested positive for covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, in New York City, Shepherdsville, Ky., Jacksonville, Fla., Katy, Texas, Brownstown, Mich., and Oklahoma City, according to Amazon and local media reports. In some cases, Amazon shut down facilities for cleaning, and some co-workers who were in close contact with their infected colleagues have been quarantined.

Just last week, warehouse workers sounded alarms that the company is not doing enough to protect them from the novel coronavirus. That came after workers at Amazon warehouses in Spain and Italy tested positive for the virus. Since then, more than 1,500 workers from around the world have signed a petition that calls on the company to take additional steps to ensure the safety in their workplace.

[...] Last week, four U.S. Senators — Sanders, and three democrats, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, and Robert Menendez — sent Bezos a letter expressing concern that the company isn’t doing enough to protect its warehouse workers from the coronavirus outbreak. “We write today to strongly urge you to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of your employees who are also our constituents, friends, family, and neighbors,” the senators wrote. The senators noted that Amazon could also put “the entire country at risk” if warehouse conditions aren’t sanitary, since the coronavirus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
posted by katra at 5:02 PM on March 24 [16 favorites]


Of course, he babbles a lot and health professionals are not going to do this. Are they?

there are some treatment trials in the works for infected people, but it's being done openly and with their consent, and not using experimental drugs. i assume anything the greasy orange shitstain is talking about would not involve consent or safety in any way.

honestly i'm just waiting for some disgusting repub to remember that captive prison populations are what the US traditionally uses for this kind of thing. i mean i'm sure they remembered it already but presumably haven't yet figured out how to maximize their personal profits from it.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:15 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


So far I haven't seen much discussion of one of the things Trump babbled about in a press conference yesterday: he said, why spend all this time testing anti-virus medicines in a lab? Why not use sick people as test subjects. Human guinea pigs to test stuff that may be toxic (as chloroquinine is). Of course, he babbles a lot and health professionals are not going to do this. Are they?

There have been ongoing clinical trials of various drugs and treatment strategies to address CORONA since January at least. Sometimes medications also are used "off label" by doctors if patients are likely to die regardless of known and approved medical interventions. The reasoning in those cases is that the potential benefits to those patients outweigh the risks.

Here is a link to clearinghouse of ongoing research on COVID 19 treatments.

I provide the above information in the interest of edification and education only.

In all cases, medical decisions should be made under the supervision of doctors. Many prescription medications have serious and potentially fatal side effects if administered in the wrong dosage or in conjunction with other medications with which adverse interactions exist. Qualified medical medical professionals are best equipped with the knowledge to safely administer prescription medication, as well as with the ability to advise regarding applicable risks and benefits.
posted by eagles123 at 5:16 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


i heard that too, CCBC. over in the last check-in thread someone situated to know stated firmly that institutional review boards are still in effect. i think he's just stupid and oblivious to morality or the possibility of professional (or other) ethics. i take for granted that (almost all) doctors will abide their best understanding of their oaths and the precautionary principle. these might be more flexible than a nonprofessional's casual read might suggest.

that said, in his emergency declaration proclamation, president horrorshow delegated to the secretary of HHS authority "to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance programs and of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule throughout the duration of the public health emergency." not sure what the scope of that delegation, in practice, might be, but it made me take notice.

haven't closely attended subsequent proclamations and orders; have spun my wheels quite a bit trying to figure out how the things he says fit into established frameworks of law, ethics and healthcare (as last night with reference to clinicaltrials.gov), although i know better. i think the number of healthcare professionals who would accede to an order from him they adjudged to be immoral must be vanishingly few.
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:20 PM on March 24


I was heartened by seeing Fauci contradict the President.
posted by CCBC at 5:27 PM on March 24 [6 favorites]


...if prisons had any legitimate role it would be to house the sort of people who would otherwise become president of Harvard...

Showing contempt for a person who does not fit a certain socio-economic profile of a moral person—very counterproductive, and since I happen to know the character of the person, completely unjustified.
posted by haiku warrior at 5:50 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


Last week, four U.S. Senators — Sanders, and three democrats, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, and Robert Menendez — sent Bezos a letter

I think it was last week ?Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? was saying regarding a different matter: "Look at these people, sending a letter to business executives, when they could just sit down and write a law."
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:12 PM on March 24 [22 favorites]


Showing contempt for a person who does not fit a certain socio-economic profile of a moral person—very counterproductive

Indeed, it is very important that we all be on equal footing in this crisis, and nobody should be getting special treatment. Glad we're on the same page!
posted by Not A Thing at 6:32 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


there are lots of people who are very nice moral kind people of excellent character, people who don't have access to the vast, near incalculable amounts of privilege and personal resources that someone who is the million-dollar-annual-salaried president of a university with a 40 billion dollar endowment has, and they deserve healthcare and prompt testing and care just as much.

the incredibly privileged and wealthy people of the united states of america do not now, nor have they ever at any time in the history of this country, need anyone here to personally defend or carry water for them and their enormous privilege and wealth. it's baffling to me that this constantly happens.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:05 PM on March 24 [42 favorites]


i think i would defend someone personally known to and valued by me, and known by me to be innocent of specific charges levied for no reason more than their membership in a disfavored class. am doubtful about my capacity to develop certain knowledge of another's moral character, but i think that's beside the point, and the class-based condemnation, with nothing more, is no more epistemologically sound.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:16 PM on March 24 [6 favorites]


How to Spot Bad Science about Covid-19. Skepchick offers a fabulous 14-minute video with 5 tips, using that idiotic, widely shared (and now deleted) Medium post from a Republican marketing guy as her example.
posted by mediareport at 7:22 PM on March 24 [9 favorites]


Regarding that "GOP's long war on government" reference in the post: Trump Administration Is Still Rolling Back Environmental Protections as Nation Wrestles With Coronavirus (Time, March 24, 2020) Asked for comment, EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones said the agency is “open and continuing our regulatory work as usual.” Jones said that the public can still have its say on the proposed rule. “As regulations.gov is fully functioning, there is no barrier to the public providing comment,” Jones said.
--
Here is the regulations.gov "Agriculture, Environment, and Public Lands" section, with 117 regulations open for comment. Some state-specific regulations (Vermont, Ohio, California, etc.); this "Simplifying Meal Service and Monitoring Requirements in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs" had its comment period extended through April 22, 2020 (sample of current comments here).

From the Proposed Rule summary: This rulemaking proposes changes to simplify meal pattern and monitoring requirements in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The proposed changes, including optional flexibilities, are customer-focused and intended to help State and local Program operators overcome operational challenges that limit their ability to manage these Programs efficiently. In the National School Lunch Program, the proposed rule would add flexibility to the existing vegetable subgroups requirement. In the School Breakfast Program, the proposed rule would make it easier for menu planners to offer meats/meat alternates and grains interchangeably (without offering a minimum grains requirement daily), and would allow schools to offer 1/2 cup of fruit in breakfasts served outside the cafeteria to reduce food waste.
=
Less food, fewer foods, removing the limits on trans fats, loosening vegetable requirements (more potatoes and other starchy veg; "Pasta made of vegetable flour(s) may credit as a vegetable, even if the pasta is not served with another recognizable vegetable"), etc., in meals for students, and softening the school-adherence review process -- "USDA is committed to reducing food waste, improving Program efficiency, and ensuring responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars." I prefer a commitment to feeding children well.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:30 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


The poster was implying that anyone who could rise the position of President of Harvard must be someone who should be in prison. I take exception to that characterization.

With respect to should President Bacow and his wife have been tested. (1) They showed symptoms, and (2) they zero or one degree of contact with many people who are now all over world. For goodness sake, of course they should have been tested—they’re potential super spreaders on a global scale. It would irresponsible not to do so.
posted by haiku warrior at 7:32 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


But it's so stupid! As sjswitzer pointed out, ethanol is produced in vast quantities as a fuel additive. It would be SO. VERY. EASY. for a government to requisition the ethanol, emollients (glycerol, aloe vera, etc.) and thickeners to make as much sanitizer as anyone could want. You'd need a bottling plant too, but once again: that is totally a thing that can be done. And then the government could just give it away!

Instead we have all these small producers diverting their own relatively-costly production, trying to source ingredients and containers, and then create new supply chains. This isn't something to applaud; it's horrifying.


It's the bottling plant that is key here (a plant that is set up with seals etc that can tolerate alcohol is a bonus). As I mentioned previously Labatt, a very large beer producer in Canada has switched some capacity to making and bottling sanitizer. They have plants that are served by rail yards to bring in whatever raw material they need to make it, they have experienced chemists on staff and maintenance people to make adjustments if needed, and they have in house and contract delivery drivers to deliver the product afterwards as well as large locking docks for customers that would prefer to get it FOB. Why the heck would a government want to roll their own infrastructure on this when Labatts is perfectly set up to create additional sanitizer capacity (and I doubt any impact on their regular business). I honestly wouldn't be surprised at all if hand sanitizer is more lucrative than beer at this moment if only for the advertising bump them making it has garnered.

Or are you thinking that brewers are making the alcohol for the sanitizers? I really doubt, at least in Labatt's case, that is happening. They've phoned up the local ethanol producer and had a dozen rail cars sent their way.

Labatts and Molson's does this pretty regularly with water too when there is a demand for canned water after disasters (which they straight up give away and even deliver for free, don't know if they are charging for sanitizer).
posted by Mitheral at 7:49 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


Will Texas or Florida be 'the next Italy'? Red states lag blue in stay-at-home orders (LA Times / MSN, Mar. 23, 2020)
Gavin Newsom was the first governor to order his citizens to stay at home, shutting down California’s economy, the world’s eighth-largest, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The next day, Friday, Andrew M. Cuomo, the governor of New York, followed suit.

But not so in Texas and Florida, the nation’s second and third most populous states, where a small-government philosophy — less taxes, fewer regulation and a weaker safety net — has long held sway. About one-fifth of Texas’ 29 million people lacks health insurance, and nearly one-quarter of Florida’s 21 million residents are elderly. But the governors of those states have resisted stay-at-home orders, despite mounting criticism.

[...] Officials in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, the state’s largest cities, disagree. On Monday, San Antonio issued a stay-at-home order and Austin was expected to follow suit Tuesday. “I’m hopeful the governor will reconsider,” Clay Jenkins, the Dallas County judge, or chief executive, said at a Sunday briefing. There, Jenkins displayed a chart showing the projected spread of the coronavirus far exceeded Texas’ available hospital beds. According to the projection, a statewide stay-at-home order could decrease coronavirus deaths from 430,000 to 5,000. He noted that Dallas has 250,000 uninsured residents, the most of any U.S. city. “Those folks aren’t going to the doctor. If we don’t do something it’s going to be very, very bad here,” he said.

On Sunday, Abbott created a “strike force” of public and private sector officials to get Texas more medical supplies and deployed National Guard troops to assist local test sites. He promised that Texas would soon perform up to 20,000 coronavirus tests a week — but in Dallas County, just a couple of hundred of people had been tested, said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “The availability of testing isn’t there,” he said.

Johnson, a former state legislator elected mayor last year, has faced tough decisions since the start of the crisis, when he canceled the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. He and Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, declared emergencies before the governor did, but he said the orders have been difficult to enforce without statewide support. [...] Turner declined to issue a stay-at-home order Monday, citing the need for “economic balance.”

“In some cases, for many people, that can be worse than the virus itself,” he said.
posted by katra at 7:55 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Someone wrote a coronavirus parody of the Bare Naked Ladies' hit 'One Week' and it's perfect. The performance is good and the lyrics are actually full of facts about social distancing and adjusting expectations and such.
posted by hippybear at 7:57 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]


[If we have to delete the same comment from the same person multiple times we're gonna move on to time off. Cut it out.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:59 PM on March 24 [13 favorites]


Shit just got real folks.

Waffle House closing 365 locations over the coronavirus
posted by johnpowell at 8:38 PM on March 24 [19 favorites]






To be honest, the Waffle House closing scale really deals with natural disasters, and we've never had anything like this in our culture for a century. But yes, Waffle Houses being closed is important. And the bars are all closed, and my favorite pizza place isn't even doing take-out like they were last week.

But I don't know what the Waffle House policies are about shutting down during a disaster that isn't a hurricane or other natural disaster. I suspect the calculus is different.
posted by hippybear at 9:17 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


And I guess calling the coronavirus something other than a "natural disaster" is wrong... it's entirely from nature. But it isn't weather related, and that's mostly what our country has dealt with for 100 years.
posted by hippybear at 9:19 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Florida Gov. DeSantis urges New Yorkers to stay away due to coronavirus, derides those ‘bringing the virus’ from hot zone (WaPo)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) spent Tuesday amplifying his order requiring fliers from the New York area to self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival in the Sunshine State, arguing that travelers from coronavirus hot zones would "seed" the illness here. [...] The executive order in Florida, released Monday, specifies travelers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which all are contending with large outbreaks of the potentially deadly disease. DeSantis's order applies to people who enter Florida by airplane, but it does not apply to other modes of transportation — such as those who enter the state driving southbound on Interstate 95.

The restriction comes as DeSantis has been criticized for resisting calls for a stay-at-home order, something he said would wreck economies in parts of the state that haven't had a single confirmed coronavirus case.
Previously: Florida college students test positive for coronavirus after going on spring break (NBC News)
posted by katra at 9:27 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Before Trump called for reevaluating lockdowns, they shuttered six of his top-earning clubs and resorts (David A. Fahrenthold, Joshua Partlow and Jonathan O'Connell; WaPo)
In his unprecedented dual role as president and owner of a sprawling business, Trump is facing dual crises caused by the coronavirus. As he is trying to manage the pandemic from the White House, limiting its casualties as well as the economic fallout, his company is also navigating a major threat to the hospitality industry.

That threatens to pull Trump in opposite directions, because the strategies that many scientists believe will help lessen the public emergency — like strict, long-lasting restrictions on movement — could deepen the short-term problems of Trump’s private business, by keeping doors shut and customers away. […]

So far, the Trump Organization has closed hotels in Las Vegas; Doral, Fla.; Ireland; and Turnberry, Scotland — as well as the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida and a golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Many of the clubs closed because they had to, under local orders. Others closed on their own, following strong guidance or recommendations from local officials.

Those are six of Trump’s top seven revenue-producing clubs and hotels, bringing in about $174 million total per year, according to Trump’s most recent financial disclosures. That works out to $478,000 per day — revenue that is likely to be sharply reduced with the clubs shuttered. The disclosures provide self-reported revenue figures but not profits.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:35 PM on March 24 [12 favorites]


The Fox News whipsaw on coronavirus: In another swerve, hosts push Trump to abandon shutdown (WaPo)
Early this week, the cable network’s most prominent figures began urging the president to ditch the restrictions and get people back to work, even if doing so risks the public’s health. [...] The change of rhetoric on Fox began Sunday night when weekend host Steve Hilton said in his opening monologue that working Americans will be “crushed” by the prolonged closure of businesses and the loss of paychecks. “You know that famous phrase, ‘The cure is worse than the disease?’ ” asked Hilton, an adviser to David Cameron when Cameron was prime minister of Britain. [...] A few hours later, Trump echoed the sentiment almost exactly [...]

On Monday morning, Laura Ingraham tweeted: “Doctors provide medical treatment and cures — they should not be the determinative voices in policymaking now or at the end of 15 days. … In one week we need to be heading back to work, school, stores, restaurants and churches with new protocols in place. The risk if we don’t is that we lose far more in terms of death, pain and suffering than this pandemic will bring.” On the same day, Sean Hannity touted a letter from a New York State doctor, whom he didn’t name, claiming to be treating covid-19 patients with a “regimen” of commonplace drugs, with “zero deaths.”
posted by katra at 10:11 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


This whole abandoning the shutdown shtick is a little too death-cult for me - also do these Dodos not realize that they and their loved ones are going to be in harms’ way? I mean ... there’s an assumption of ‘won’t happen to me!’ That I don’t understand. Not actually wishing anyone ill, but it might be to all of our benefits if one of these folk catch the virus, spread it around and then wind up in worst-case-scenario. Yeah, I’m looking at Rand Paul.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:27 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


Yeah I don’t have much hope save to think that maybe once the death cult actually starts experiencing the death part on a scale they can’t White their way out of, maybe they will choose to opt out? Idk what do cults usually do
posted by lazaruslong at 10:33 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


I think they see the socialism coming, and are more afraid of that then getting something "not even as dangerous as the flu". Now they could just tell everyone to fuck off, pay your bills, deal with it, but given the near total shutdowns we are seeing, that isn't going to fly. So, take your chances with massive deaths, but don't send people cash, or forgive debts, etc.
posted by Windopaene at 10:34 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Scramble for medical equipment descends into chaos as U.S. states and hospitals compete for rare supplies (WaPo)
A mad scramble for masks, gowns and ventilators is pitting states against each other and driving up prices. Some hard-hit parts of the country are receiving fresh supplies of N95 masks, but others are still out of stock. Hospitals are requesting donations of masks and gloves from construction companies, nail salons and tattoo parlors, and considering using ventilators designed for large animals because they cannot find the kind made for people.

The market for medical supplies has descended into chaos, according to state officials and health-care leaders. They are begging the federal government to use a wartime law to bring order and ensure the United States has the gear it needs to battle the coronavirus. So far, the Trump administration has declined.

[...] W. Craig Fugate, the FEMA administrator under President Barack Obama, said in a phone interview Sunday that the response should be led by governors but directed and funded by the federal government. That includes a more coordinated process for buying and distributing supplies so that states and the federal government can stop trying to outbid one another, he said.
posted by katra at 10:35 PM on March 24 [9 favorites]




NBC News: White House, Senate reach deal on massive $2 trillion coronavirus spending bill

"Although the full text of the bill is not yet known, lawmakers indicated on Tuesday that the Republican’s initial proposal for direct cash payments would be included.

Under the plan, people making up to $75,000 a year are expected to receive checks of $1,200. Couples making $150,000 will receive $2,400 with an additional $500 per child. The new agreement removed the phase-in provision that excluded lower-income Americans from receiving the full benefit.

The payments would decrease for those making more than $75,000, with an income cap of $99,000 per individual or $198,000 for couples.

The bill is also expected to include roughly $100 billion in assistance for hospitals, $350 billion in assistance to small businesses to help them meet payroll, $500 billion in aid for corporations, such as airline companies and cruise lines, that have been hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.

Unemployment insurance would also be bolstered to increase payments and extend the benefit to those who typically do not qualify such as gig economy workers, furloughed employees and freelancers."
posted by faineant at 11:33 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]


Do we have a good read on if this is a grant or a loan to taxpayers?
posted by DebetEsse at 11:47 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


also do these Dodos not realize that they and their loved ones are going to be in harms’ way?

Broadly, the modern right is founded on a disregard for reality and a contempt for human suffering, at least until members of their in-groups are actively suffering.

And they have no positive model of government that doesn't involve firearms. Certainly not public health or medical matters. They've aggressively adopted a modern troll's willingness to express contempt while denying objective reality, ignoring briefings, words from across the aisle, petitions from activists, or even the mildest centrist news reporting. Basically if Fox News and right-wing twitter trolls ran the government.

So failing as a state is completely acceptable until it hits kith or kin. The right is ok with flashy outpourings of compassion to the right people, but not pragmatic small-scale compassion when it's structural and outside kith and kin.

e.g. Bush 2's Katrina response, Trump's Puerto Rico response.

Framed another way, government services either can not, do not, or should not alleviate suffering. Because that suffering isn't real, and the reporters, activists, and experts are lying about the suffering, (ranging from hungry elementary schoool students to oncoming climate change) and anyway the sufferer deserves it, so America shouldn't tax the rich to pay for government services.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:00 AM on March 25 [23 favorites]


After that intelligence briefing, Senator Richard Burr didn't move us onto a Pear Harbor era initiative building ventilators and sourcing PPE, while working twitter and the media hard to get the word out that this is a real threat, and not a Democratic hoax to reimpeach Trump or something.

Instead, he called his stockbroker.

So in that case, he was willing to accept information about reality that he didn't really want to hear, but he stayed on-brand when it came to compassion for human suffering.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:30 AM on March 25 [32 favorites]


Idk what do cults usually do

die, generally
posted by poffin boffin at 12:56 AM on March 25 [8 favorites]


Yeah, it's not exactly that they don't acknowledge reality, they acknowledge reality selectively.
As someone who grew up with a deeply conservative (and to be honest, not so bright) step-dad, I can recognize a lot of the rhetoric and thinking that these people most likely grew up with and have internalized.
My stepdad is scared now, though. He and his peers have been used to there being adults in the back room, behind the blustering rhetoric. Now (in the UK), he is looking into a dark abyss and understanding the reality of his ideology. Maybe others like him will eventually follow.
posted by mumimor at 1:02 AM on March 25 [6 favorites]


Burr sold his stock, which is despicable, but the legislators I would really like to see behind bars are the ones who shorted stocks they knew would fall.
posted by jamjam at 1:08 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Hogan, Bowser, Northam blast Trump’s take on virus; four new deaths reported (WaPo)
Health officials in Montgomery County, at a briefing with county lawmakers, also slammed Trump’s remarks. Chief health officer Travis Gayles, who has been praised as a calm voice during the outbreak, described the president’s comments as “recklessly irresponsible, not based upon fact and, quite frankly, disgusting.”

Gayles said that the suburban county of 1 million people would not pull back from strict social distancing measures and that regional health officers are developing their own guidelines on coronavirus. Officials said they are looking to try test kits used in other countries because of a lack of federal support. “We’re not waiting for the feds to step up,” said Gayles. “We’ve known that they’re just not, so we’re not waiting for that to happen.”
posted by katra at 1:43 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]


$500 billion in aid for corporations, including airline companies and cruise lines

No mention of hotels or golf courses.
posted by benzenedream at 1:55 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Coronavirus beginning to appear in Mideast conflict zones
Racked by years of civil war that has crippled its health care system, Libya has confirmed its first coronavirus case, joining the other countries around the Middle East struggling to stem the rising tide of infections.
Libya’s National Center for Disease Control announced the case on Tuesday, but did not provide further details, according to Reuters. Doctors in the western city of Tripoli said the patient was hospitalized there.
In recent days both war-torn Syria and the Gaza Strip have also confirmed coronavirus cases, raising alarm that further humanitarian crises await these impoverished and often densely-populated communities.
This is bad
posted by mumimor at 2:59 AM on March 25 [11 favorites]


What I Learned When My Husband Got Sick With The Coronavirus
TW: everything. Don't read this if you are at risk or just prone to anxiety
Do read it if you need to convince people near you that this is serious
posted by mumimor at 3:36 AM on March 25 [12 favorites]




Brazil, in what may be its darkest hour, is at the mercy of a deranged lunatic. This is no exaggeration.
In a televised speech during the evening of March 24 2020, as the sound of Panelaço protests reverberated around the Brazil’s cities, its disintegrating President Jair Bolsonaro spoke of the Coronavirus pandemic. He accused State Governors, whom have imposed autonomous measures to contain the disease, of spreading “panic and hysteria”.
He criticised the media as accomplices in this: “They spread a feeling of dread, with the large number of victims in Italy” insisted Bolsonaro, who argued that the country’s characteristics were so different to Brazil that the experience of Coronavirus there was not relevant
posted by adamvasco at 4:08 AM on March 25 [19 favorites]


The spread of COVID-19 to densely populated areas with little advanced medical care is potentially a true calamity. The reason that fatality rates are “only” around 0.1-1% of the probable true infection rate so far is that there are things like ventilators in the affected countries.

While some of those areas have more favorable demographics (more young people) and have climates (warmer and more humid) that may reduce transmission rates, severe COVID-19 cases from which victims recover in, say China, will much more frequently be fatal.
posted by haiku warrior at 4:40 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


haven't found text of the newly-negotiated deal yet. stayed up a little later than i meant to last night hoping for it. here's S.3548 (_not_ the just negotiated one!), that bill gop senators have been whining about having been truly bipartisan and blocked by the speaker of the house somehow since the weekend. would welcome the opportunity to dig the new one.

radio playing music of african musicians dead of coronavirus: manu dlbango (obitfilter on the blue) and someone whose name i didn't catch.
posted by 20 year lurk at 4:45 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


(the other musician's name sounded like arliss mbene, but my spelling must be wrong; dj said both mbene(?) and dlbango died in paris)
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:01 AM on March 25


also: abject apologies for typo in dibango's name above. noticed error as edit closed.
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:07 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Trump Suggests States Need to Bribe Him With Praise to Get Federal Assistance for COVID-19 (Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone) -

“But, you know, it’s a two-way street,” the president said of states desperate for equipment. “They have to treat us well, also.”
[...] But on Tuesday [24 March], the president made clear that there’s one thing he isn’t changing about his approach to the outbreak: blaming his administration’s incompetence on others, particularly New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

During a Fox News town-hall event in the White House Rose Garden, Trump ramped up his attacks on the governor, who has been a vocal critic of the federal government’s sluggish response to the outbreak. In doing so, Trump said the quiet part out loud about how he views his relationship with states. “It’s a two-way street,” he said. “They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, ‘Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.'”

In other words, if governors want the federal government to help them combat the coronavirus, they’re going to need to “be nice” to the president first.
1 July 2019: Trump fumes about Cuomo, New York A.G. over state investigations (Allan Smith, NBC News)

"Cuomo uses his Attorney General as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes," Trump tweeted. "They sue on everything, always in search of a crime."
President Donald Trump on Monday accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of using the state's attorney general, Letitia James to target his businesses for political purposes, claiming in an afternoon tweet storm that the state sues "for everything" and is "always in search of a crime."
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:40 AM on March 25 [11 favorites]


There are people setting up GoFundMe's to purchase ventilators.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:41 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Greta Thunberg and her dad are on the mend from a likely bout with Covid-19, in isolation.

And Greta remains Greta. A useful morale boost.
posted by ocschwar at 5:43 AM on March 25 [11 favorites]


Gov. Cuomo Says Trump is Punishing New York for Being Too Liberal (NBC New York)
New York's governor says he believes President Donald Trump is punishing his home state for being too liberal.

In the past few weeks, New York has come out on the losing end on a series of federal acts.

The Army Corps of Engineers slashed funding for a study of a colossal offshore sea wall that could potentially protect New York City from major hurricanes after Trump tweeted it was "costly, foolish," and would also "look terrible." [...]

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security barred New Yorkers from enrolling in federal security programs for trusted travelers, a move taken in retaliation for a new state law that let unauthorized immigrants get driver's licenses and barred certain federal agencies from accessing the state's motor vehicle database.

State transportation officials have also complained that federal highway officials are holding up approval of a plan to reduce traffic congestion in New York City by charging new fees to drive in certain pats of Manhattan.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state Democrats said Wednesday it's all evidence that the Republican president is punishing blue states including New York over their politics.

"I think the presence of their political motivation has been documented over and over again," Cuomo said.

"We are witnessing the weaponization of federal powers to serve a specific political agenda," said state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:49 AM on March 25 [23 favorites]


Gov. Cuomo Says Trump is Punishing New York for Being Too Liberal

On the one hand, good on Cuomo for pushing back against the obvious singling out. On the other, it’s crystal clear that Trump doesn’t care about the ideological underpinnings of the political clash; he’s punishing New York for not voting for him and for resisting his imperial demands.
posted by Etrigan at 5:59 AM on March 25 [10 favorites]


"Cuomo uses his Attorney General as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes," Trump tweeted. "They sue on everything, always in search of a crime."

Trumps mirror is just all encompassing now isn't.
posted by Mitheral at 6:03 AM on March 25 [12 favorites]


They’re going to murder 30k+ New Yorkers for no other reason than they want us to die. I’m saying this so that other “liberals” understand that this is true for them, too. This is where the right wing has been headed for a long time. They don’t see us as Americans, and they don’t see us as people. The abject joy they’ve taken in our suffering the past four years hasn’t been a joke or an aberration, and it’s going to take the deaths of thousands, potentially literally millions of people, to make this crystal clear.

I don’t know how we come back from this, as a nation. I don’t think I’m coming back from it. I’d vote for someone who promised to never send a New York dollar out of state again, and I’d do it enthusiastically. But what I want, right now, in this moment, is much darker. And I’ve about lost patience with the idea that we have to pretend these people — the Republicans — are anything other than they are.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:25 AM on March 25 [56 favorites]


The central message of Buddhism is not every man for himself - Wanda Gerschwitz
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:26 AM on March 25 [8 favorites]


sounded like arliss mbene, but my spelling must be wrong

aurlus mabele "the king of congolese soukous" per echoingwalls.com, found via twitter.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:34 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


The way things are going, if Trump really does cause "Jesusland" to stay open while "Canada" hunkers down, state governors will need to implement motor vehicle travel restrictions, and these will escalate to us having internal borders.

And quite frankly, at this point, I'm okay with it. This is not one country any more.
posted by ocschwar at 6:39 AM on March 25 [15 favorites]




Met via call with an India employee this morning and talked about the lockdown there. It just hit me that they are locking down the whole country for 3 weeks with only 600 known cases, about 1% of US known cases. I think it's a good call to shut that shit down before it starts to spread in a country of 1.3 billion, many of whom are living in close quarters.

Also, since I know MeFi loves maps and you are probably all looking at the Johns Hopkins map, here's a great India-specific one:

https://www.covid19india.org/
posted by freecellwizard at 6:48 AM on March 25 [18 favorites]


Oh - be sure to click on the Clusters tab. It actually has per-person info including transmission lines. Gender/age/district but nothing more personally identifying than that.
posted by freecellwizard at 6:51 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Big national retailers plan to stop paying rent to offset coronavirus closures

Hey, y'all, it's a rent strike! Solidarity, comrades! ✊🏻
posted by tonycpsu at 7:02 AM on March 25 [45 favorites]


Chuck Schumer made sure businesses controlled by Trump, his family, and top US officials couldn't get money from the government's $2 trillion coronavirus bailout fund


Trump still has to sign this, right?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:34 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


My bet is the only senator who won't vote for this is in isolation right now. Not sure if they have enough for 2/3rds in the house though.
posted by cmfletcher at 7:40 AM on March 25


I think it's a good call to shut that shit down before it starts to spread in a country of 1.3 billion, many of whom are living in close quarters.

Epidemiologically, yes. But at a practical level, how well can this work (or, at what cost?) in a country where so many people depend on daily earnings to buy food that day, don't have indoor toilets, and so on?
posted by Dip Flash at 7:42 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's not exactly that they don't acknowledge reality, they acknowledge reality selectively.

well, now it seems like we're talking about humans in general
posted by philip-random at 7:47 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


NBC News: White House, Senate reach deal on massive $2 trillion coronavirus spending bill

Trump still has to sign this, right?

Technically it hasn't actually passed in the Senate yet, in the sense that they haven't formally voted. Then the House must pass the bill, but most of the House members are not in DC right now. It is possible for the House to pass the bill essentially remotely, but it must be by unanimous consent. A single Republican coronavirus denalist, free market extremist, or a Democrat who refuses to bailout the airline industry could scuttle the whole thing until a quorum of ~218 representatives can return to DC to vote. That is the biggest risk to swift enactment, in my opinion.

We can't rule out Trump vetoing the bill in a fit of pique once he realizes that, without bailout funds, his hotels and golf courses are very likely to go bankrupt. If he can be forced to sign the bill anyway, then I could see that being a reason for premature lifting of safety restrictions, at least at the federal level. Or maybe he'll seek a foreign bailout. Very little to stop oligarchs from booking prepaid rooms en masse and then not showing up, for example.

If he does veto the bill, I think an override is almost certain, but it will waste precious time.
posted by jedicus at 7:48 AM on March 25 [8 favorites]


His resorts are in NJ, CA, and FL, right?

Looks like he is screwed at the state level.
posted by ocschwar at 7:53 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


LA Times: Big national retailers plan to stop paying rent to offset coronavirus closures

Mattress Firm, with about 2,400 stores, sent landlords a letter last week saying it would cut rent in exchange for longer leases and offering two options to do so. This week, it sent a more urgent note revoking its earlier offer...

Some landlords have recognized they need to help smaller tenants. Irvine Co. Retail Properties, based in Irvine, is allowing rent to be deferred for 90 days and then paid back with no interest over a year starting in January, according to a document reviewed by Bloomberg. The company confirmed the practice without further comment.


Deferred rent for 90 days with no interest/late fee, to be paid back over a year starting in January, sure sounds great to me right now.

Also, Reporters Without Borders posted a racism-free timeline of the Chinese government's bungled, authoritarian reactions in the early days of the pandemic: If the Chinese press were free, the coronavirus might not be a pandemic.
posted by mediareport at 8:07 AM on March 25 [12 favorites]


Chuck Schumer made sure businesses controlled by Trump, his family, and top US officials couldn't get money from the government's $2 trillion coronavirus bailout fund

How would you know, Chuck? Trump and his family have never disclosed all of their businesses.
posted by JackFlash at 8:56 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


An argument for better words than 'bungle' - Stop saying Trump has ‘bungled’ the coronavirus response. None of this is an accident (Ashton Lattimore, Prism)
As its dictionary definitions suggest, the word “bungle” evokes a sense of accident—a clumsy mistake or stumbling misstep rather than deliberate misconduct. Synonyms drive home the word’s flippant connotation: “mess up,” “bumble,” “flub,” and “goof up.” [...]

Trump is not a helpless and innocent bystander to the coronavirus pandemic, stumbling and bumbling over his own two feet as he tries his level best to help out the American people, and those of us in the news media are not doing our jobs if we portray him that way. He’s the president of the United States, a position that affords him a wealth of material, financial, and political resources to help mitigate both the spread of the virus and the economic toll of preventive measures on vulnerable people. That he has not done so is no accident. [...]

While the use or non-use of a single word like “bungled” may not change the trajectory of the Trump administration’s response to coronavirus, it can and will shape the way Americans understand what’s happening. Words have specific meanings, and it’s from those meanings that words draw their considerable evocative and narrative power. The words we choose can point the way toward justice, or they can absolve wrongdoers of their misconduct. Trump has already expressed his desire not to “take responsibility at all” for the harms wrought by his administration’s failed response to this pandemic. Those of us in the news media must not bungle our way into helping him achieve that goal.
He's not innocent of anything - it would help if the news media chose words carefully to avoid giving that impression.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:58 AM on March 25 [49 favorites]




ZeusHumms, I wish I could favorite your comment a hundred times. I'm so tired of the refrain that Trump is stupid. Yes, of course he is stupid, but he is the president, and he is responsible, just like any other president.
posted by mumimor at 9:39 AM on March 25 [7 favorites]




From The Whelk's link:

“For now we are told even if someone’s heart stops, or if they get crazy and pull out their breathing tube, even with seconds to live - you must put on your protective gear fully,” one intensive care nurse at NYU Langone said. “The line right now in the sand is: protect yourself before helping others.”

...“They’re bullying [people] to sign [do not resuscitate, do not intubate] orders,” she said, of older patients in her ward, “and if you walk into a room and find somebody not breathing, you do not call any response whatsoever, you let them go.”


I've got to take a break from reading these reports from hospitals. They're making me very anxious about catching this thing. Which I guess is good, but doesn't feel good at all.
posted by mediareport at 9:48 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]


Schumer got played by McConnell; this is a terrible bill.
posted by Gadarene at 9:49 AM on March 25


where'd you find the text, Gadarene?
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:51 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]




If you need more of a reason to be glad Seth Moulton's presidential bid went nowhere, he's co-sponsoring a resolution (with an Indiana Republican) to Blame China.

It gets even better, because his mouthpiece is quoted as saying that by blaming China, the resolution would slap Trump. Somehow.
posted by adamg at 10:16 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]




where'd you find the text, Gadarene?

I'm basing it off of what has been reported about the restrictions on payments to Americans and the general structure of the $500 billion slush fund, not to say the bailout of industries like airlines who have taken their profits and used them for stock buybacks. For that last, I'm hopeful but doubtful that the bill includes sufficient provisions with teeth of the kind proposed by Elizabeth Warren, but we'll see.
posted by Gadarene at 10:38 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


Yes, of course he is stupid, but he is the president, and he is responsible, just like any other president.

it's more than that, though - it's that he's both incredibly fucking stupid and incredibly fucking malicious and there is no more dangerous combination, now or ever. a viciously cruel abject fucking moron gets to decide who lives and who dies.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:39 AM on March 25 [27 favorites]


Jeesh! Moulton represents my district. While he is absolutely right that Chinese censorship helped the pandemic to take hold, this is pure political theater and opportunism of a dangerous sort. This guy really has been a disappointment since the last election. He has two people running against him this year’s primary. I hope they don’t split the vote.

Unfortunately, I think something like this might pass the House. Those against it will be beaten over the head with their votes by their opponents in November.

I cannot help but think this stunt is intended in part to hurt Pelosi by putting her in a tight spot. You may remember that he opposed her election as speaker after Democrats gained a majority in 2018, but he had no alternate candidate lined up. His position turned out to be very unpopular back here in Massachusetts where overall Pelosi is well liked.
posted by haiku warrior at 11:09 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


Ignoring/burying stupid resolutions is what committees are for.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:17 AM on March 25


Moulton announced this afternoon he and his wife are both self quarantining because both have symptoms. But unlike certain asymptomatic senators we could name, neither has gotten a test yet because their doctors said their symptoms are minor so far and a positive result would not change their treatment at all.
posted by adamg at 11:50 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


here is the social distancing scoreboard, which is from phone data - the results are somewhat mixed, as you might expect
posted by pyramid termite at 11:53 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


and a positive result would not change their treatment at all.

Such a gallingly stupid and selfish argument. You don't take the test to change your course of treatment; you take the test so that the people you've been in contact with can change *their* course.
posted by mediareport at 12:04 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Apologies if I wrote it wrong, but if you read his statement, he said it was his doctor who told him they don't qualify for the test, not that he's trying to be Mr. Macho Man or something.
posted by adamg at 12:08 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


It's not up to them. Tests are still being rationed, and if Moulton isn't trying to jump the queue, then I'll give him credit at least for that much.
posted by ocschwar at 12:09 PM on March 25 [8 favorites]


Thanks for the link to the graph from the Financial Times, mediareport. No evidence of any flattening of the curve. Tells a story mere words cannot.
posted by haiku warrior at 12:26 PM on March 25


Sorry for the derailing. Of course there's a lack of test kits. I just hate that argument. It should be "You should be tested immediately so we can do contact tracing, but we can't because there aren't enough tests."
posted by mediareport at 12:27 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


So far, the Trump Organization has closed hotels in Las Vegas; Doral, Fla.; Ireland; and Turnberry, Scotland — as well as the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida and a golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Many of the clubs closed because they had to, under local orders. Others closed on their own, following strong guidance or recommendations from local officials.

Trump can throw all the tantrums he wants, but Doral ain't reopening until the mayor of Miami-Dade County says so. Absent the Florida Legislature passing a law there is nobody with the authority to override the county's closure orders.
posted by wierdo at 12:57 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Juice Media nails it with The Shitshow.
posted by haiku warrior at 1:09 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


O’Reilly’s events business
It has been a rough few weeks as we’ve seen the COVID-19 virus take a toll on our livelihoods, our families and the world economy. People are losing their lives, and businesses are suffering in the shadow of revenue losses and a volatile stock market. The virus has had a material impact on O’Reilly’s in-person Events division as well. We previously made the painful decision to cancel our Strata California and Strata London events. Today, we’re sharing the news that we’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel all future O’Reilly in-person conferences and close down this portion of our business. Without understanding when this global health emergency may come to an end, we can’t plan for or execute on a business that will be forever changed as a result of this crisis. With large technology vendors moving their events completely on-line, we believe the stage is set for a new normal moving forward when it comes to in-person events. We also know we are poised to accept that challenge, having already delivered a version of our Strata event on-line to over 4600 participants last week. With over 5000 companies and 2.5 million users on our learning platform, we look forward to innovating and bringing together the technology communities and businesses we serve in new and creative ways.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:17 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


But wait ...

$2 trillion virus rescue bill hits late snags in Senate (Andrew Taylor and Lisa Mascaro, AP News)
But the drive by leaders to speed the bill through the Senate was slowed as four conservative Republican senators demanded changes, saying the legislation as written “incentivizes layoffs” and should be altered to ensure employees don’t earn more money if they’re laid off than if they’re working.

Complicating the standoff, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whose campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination has flagged, said he would block the bill unless the conservatives dropped their objections.

Other objections floated in from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has become a prominent Democrat on the national scene as the country battles the pandemic. Cuomo, whose state has seen more deaths from the pandemic than any other, said: “I’m telling you, these numbers don’t work.”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the package “goes a long way.” He said it will require strong oversight to ensure the wealthy don’t benefit at the expense of workers and proposed forgiving at least $10,000 of student loan debt as part of the federal response.

McConnell and Schumer hoped passage of the legislation in the Republican-led Senate would come by the end of the day. Stocks posted their first back-to-back gains in weeks as the package took shape over the last two days, but much of Wednesday’s early rally faded as the hitch developed in the Senate. The market is down nearly 27% since setting a record high a month ago.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:02 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


The hold up is shitty little Trump humper Lindsey Graham who thinks the unemployment benefits are too generous. But he's okay with half a trillion dollars for big corporations with no promises they will keep people employed.
posted by JackFlash at 2:09 PM on March 25 [15 favorites]


David Dayen, The American Prospect: Unsanitized: Bailouts, A Tradition Unlike Any Other
Twelve years ago, banks asked for a bailout after years of irresponsible, highly leveraged lending. The Treasury Department put out a three-page term sheet seeking money from Congress with no strings attached, even eliminating judicial review. Democrats balked, called it a slush fund and worse, then agreed after a few mostly meaningless bits of oversight and some promises to help ordinary people. That $700 billion bailout was window dressing for trillions that came from the Federal Reserve, but it kept Congress quiet, hooking them into the rescue of the system.

Twelve years later, virtually the same course of events is taking place. After just a couple weeks of extreme social distancing measures, the Treasury Department asked for a large bailout, this time of the entire corporate sector. The bill as written initially would have made all bailout activities secret for six months. Democrats balked, called it a slush fund and worse, and then agreed to a few mostly meaningless bits of oversight and some promises to help ordinary people. In fact they’re the same bits of oversight from the 2008 TARP bailout: a five-member oversight panel and an inspector general for the program. [...]

So it’s not a $2 trillion bill, it’s closer to $6 trillion, and $4.3 trillion of it comes in the form of a bazooka aimed at CEOs and shareholders, with almost no conditions attached. At the moment nobody’s seen language, but there’s apparently only a buyback ban for the term of the loan. The money cannon can therefore go to executive compensation or mergers or wholesale purchases of distressed businesses or whatever other financial engineering the accounting department can muster. And once the company returns to health, it can leak out cash to investors (and during the loan too, in dividends). There’s no requirement to keep workers hired; in fact, the (necessary) provision to boost unemployment insurance for four months to 100 percent of median salary (including furloughed workers, gig workers and freelancers) means that these companies can fire with relative impunity. Members of Trump’s family can’t get bailout funds, so, yay.

This is a robbery in progress. And it’s not a bailout for the coronavirus. It’s a bailout for twelve years of corporate irresponsibility that made these companies so fragile that a few weeks of disruption would destroy them. The short-termism and lack of capital reserves funneled record profits into a bathtub of cash for investors. That’s who’s being made whole, financiers and the small slice of the public that owns more than a trivial amount of stocks. In fact they’ve already been made whole; yesterday Wall Street got the word that they’d be saved and stocks and bonds went wild. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is running these bailout programs for the Fed, and could explicitly profit if the Fed buys its funds, which it probably will.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:13 PM on March 25 [33 favorites]


The hold up is shitty little Trump humper Lindsey Graham who thinks the unemployment benefits are too generous. But he's okay with half a trillion dollars for big corporations with no promises they will keep people employed.

Tim Scott, Rick Scott, and Ben Sasse are in his little group.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:15 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]




There's never enough time for planning and preparation but there's always time to be petty and racist.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:22 PM on March 25 [26 favorites]


G-7 fails to agree on statement after U.S. insists on calling coronavirus outbreak ‘Wuhan virus’

This is... almost unimaginably stupid and petulant. Almost.

I have to imagine the transcript went something like this:

POMPEO:
So about this Wuhan virus.

REST OF THE FUCKING CIVILIZED WORLD:
Can we maybe start by ditching this racist and divisive term you insist on using?

POMPEO:
No. *stomps his foot and goes home*
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:44 PM on March 25 [11 favorites]


3 days ago I mentioned to someone on twitter that "Maybe the initial reports that it mostly just affected the elderly will turn out to have been the anomaly."

That now appears more likely to be true. From Buzzfeed:

The Coronavirus Is Sending Lots Of Younger People To The Hospital - It’s increasingly clear that early data out of China was an anomaly: The coronavirus is severely harming substantial numbers of people under 50, too.

Across the United States, about 38% of coronavirus patients sick enough to be hospitalized were ages 20 to 54, the CDC reported last week. Young people outside the US have also been severely affected. In Spain, about 18% of hospitalized patients are under 50, according to the latest data. And in South Korea, more than half of confirmed cases are under 50, with the ages 20–29 being the largest age group.

The article explores a variety of explanations for why the age breakdown might differ between countries, and also (chillingly) notes that one possible reason for the lower death rate among young people is that old people are being denied ventilators so the young can be saved. Oh, also, the most famous Spring Break dumbass has posted a long, heartfelt apology on Instagram.
posted by mediareport at 2:56 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


For anyone who has people in their social circles parroting Trump's "the cure can't be worse than the disease" nonsense:

How the next recession could save livesDeath rates have dropped during past economic downturns, even as many health trends have worsened. Researchers are scrambling to decipher lessons before the next big recession. (via)

Published a year ago, well before COVID-19 was forcing wingnuts to create pithy slogans to defend their ghoulish policies.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:15 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


An entire New Jersey nursing home has been evacuated after 24 of 94 patients tested positive. The other 70 are presumed to have the virus as well.

Related, from WaPo: More than 140 nursing homes have reported coronavirus cases. Federal officials won’t say which ones.

On Monday, a news release from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that regulates nursing homes, said 147 nursing homes had a resident with coronavirus, and that figure included only nursing homes, not elder care facilities...

The Post on Monday requested a list of nursing homes with outbreaks from both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...A CDC spokesman, Scott Pauley, told The Post he was “not sure [the list] will be released at this time.”

...In issuing recommended procedures to nursing homes on March 13, CMS did not specifically instruct nursing homes to tell residents, their families or the public about a coronavirus outbreak. According to some experts, they should have.

posted by mediareport at 3:36 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


The WA health department’s COVID-19 site includes a breakdown of deaths by age. Of the 123 people who have died of COVID-19 in Washington state,
  • 100% are over 40 years old;
  • 98% are over 50 years old;
  • 93% are over 60 years old;
  • 80% are over 70 years old.
Of course, this is heavily impacted by the fact that our oldest and largest cluster of cases was in a nursing home, and that there have been fatal clusters in several other long-term care facilities. But we’re definitely seeing a pattern of fatalities similar to that in China and elsewhere, and I believe this was true even before our hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID patients.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:09 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


13 Deaths in a Day: An ‘Apocalyptic’ Coronavirus Surge at an N.Y.C. Hospital (NYT)
“It’s apocalyptic,” said Dr. Bray, 27, a general medicine resident at the hospital.

Across the city, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, hospitals are beginning to confront the kind of harrowing surge in cases that has overwhelmed health care systems in China, Italy and other countries. On Wednesday morning, New York City reported 16,788 confirmed cases and 199 deaths.

More than 2,800 coronavirus patients have been hospitalized in the city. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday offered a glimmer of hope that social-distancing measures were starting to slow the growth in hospitalizations. Still, hospitals are preparing for a major influx.

[...] All of the more than 1,800 intensive care units in the city are expected to be full by Friday, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency briefing obtained by The New York Times. Patients could stay for weeks, limiting space for newly sickened people.

[...] The federal government is sending a 1,000-bed hospital ship to New York, although it is not scheduled to arrive until mid-April. Officials have begun erecting four 250-bed hospitals at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Midtown Manhattan, which could be ready in a week.
posted by katra at 4:11 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Ben Sparks explains (and codes) the so-called SIR Model being used to predict the spread of cornavirus (COVID-19): The Coronavirus Curve - Numberphile.
posted by Pendragon at 4:20 PM on March 25


The federal government is sending a 1,000-bed hospital ship to New York, although it is not scheduled to arrive until mid-April

If they are talking about the Navy hospital ship, I read that the idea is for it to provide space for non-covid patients
posted by thelonius at 4:26 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


from that nyt article: "A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead."

it's not just elmhurst. it's all of them. they cut down the fence outside bellvue to park the trucks right in front.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:43 PM on March 25 [10 favorites]


Deaths from COVID-19 apparently greatly skew toward older persons, while hospitalizations are more evenly distributed across ages. Should the equipment and personnel that are saving these younger patients become overwhelmed, the death rates for those demographics will certainly become nonzero.
posted by haiku warrior at 5:02 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Saw something that said that the Senate bill has at most 1 of the 8 safeguards that Elizabeth Warren had proposed as conditions for the massive corporate bailout.

Sad if true; will look for confirmation.
posted by Gadarene at 5:03 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Morgue space in NYC expanded with 45 cooler trucks
The city is sending a “Mass Fatality Management” plan to medical facilities, laying out technical specifications for the trailers, known as Body Collection Points. The trailers must be cooled to a temperature of 37 degrees, documents for their purchase show.
My friend in NYC tells me that they may have finally found a source for the extra ventilators they need. Meanwhile the orange shitstain still expects Cuomo to grovel if he wants more federal help.

At the end of all this there must be an accounting. There has to be.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 5:18 PM on March 25 [13 favorites]


US Christian leaders criticise Trump's Easter coronavirus deadline (Guardian)
“It is the height of hypocrisy for Trump to suggest that Easter is a time to defy public health recommendations and ‘reopen’ America,” said pastor and activist the Rev William J Barber II. “Jesus challenged oppression and cared for the poor, while Trump ignored the pandemic of poverty and tragically dismissed intelligence about the coronavirus. We need a resurrection of Jesus’s concern for the most vulnerable, not a capitulation to corporate greed that could cost millions of lives.”

The Rev Al Sharpton said that if Trump was going to use biblical language, the president “needs to know the whole Easter story”. [...] The Rev Laura Everett, a pastor and executive director of Massachusetts Council of Churches, told of her anger with Trump. “Still fuming about Trump co-opting Easter for capitalism,” she tweeted.

[...] Christianity Today published a critical editorial following Trump’s comments in which it warned that even with good hygiene and physical distancing, congregating during a pandemic “mars our witness”. It said: “Rather than looking courageous and faithful, we come off looking callous and even foolish, not unlike the snake handlers who insisted on playing with poison as a proof of true faith.”

In the Catholic church, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles tweeted on Tuesday night, after the president’s announcement, that all its churches would remain closed until “at least” 19 April – a week after Trump’s suggested deadline. In newly updated guidelines, it encouraged priests to continue celebrating mass without a congregation and live-streaming instead.
posted by katra at 5:21 PM on March 25 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile: Trump’s Spiritual Adviser Paula White Is Using the Coronavirus Crisis to Bankroll Her Church (Mother Jones, March 18, 2020) Though she clarified that donations wouldn’t actually go to help those infected, White used medical imagery to add urgency to her fundraising plea during a pandemic. “Every single day we are a hospital to the sick, not necessarily the physically sick,” she said. “But we are a hospital for those who are soul sick, those who are spiritually sick.” White went on to suggest that contributors offer a $91 donation, citing Psalm 91, or “maybe $9 or whatever God tells you to do.”
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:38 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


The Senate bill in its new House bill vehicle, HR 748. 883 page pdf.
posted by jedicus at 5:39 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


it's not just elmhurst. it's all of them. they cut down the fence outside bellvue to park the trucks right in front

Fucking fuck that's some disaster movie shit right there.

And just slams home what kind of psychological cost will be borne by the medical professionals on the front line.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:44 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


An acquaintance works in health care in NYC. He just texted me a photo of the one new mask he got today. His team had to fight to make sure everyone got a mask.

This is going to traumatize so many doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, just....everyone who has contact with patients. Both the watching patients die and the being utterly unprotected while they try to help.
posted by bilabial at 5:50 PM on March 25 [8 favorites]


Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook (Politico)
The Trump administration, state officials and even individual hospital workers are now racing against each other to get the necessary masks, gloves and other safety equipment to fight coronavirus — a scramble that hospitals and doctors say has come too late and left them at risk. But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government should’ve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago.

[...] The strategies are among hundreds of tactics and key policy decisions laid out in a 69-page National Security Council playbook on fighting pandemics, which POLITICO is detailing for the first time. Other recommendations include that the government move swiftly to fully detect potential outbreaks, secure supplemental funding and consider invoking the Defense Production Act — all steps in which the Trump administration lagged behind the timeline laid out in the playbook.

[...] The playbook also stresses the significant responsibility facing the White House to contain risks of potential pandemics, a stark contrast with the Trump administration’s delays in deploying an all-of-government response and President Donald Trump's recent signals that he might roll back public health recommendations. “The U.S. government will use all powers at its disposal to prevent, slow or mitigate the spread of an emerging infectious disease threat,” according to the playbook’s built-in “assumptions” about fighting future threats. “The American public will look to the U.S. government for action when multi-state or other significant events occur.”

[...] The NSC devised the guide — officially called the Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents, but known colloquially as “the pandemic playbook” — across 2016. The project was driven by career civil servants as well as political appointees, aware that global leaders had initially fumbled their response to the 2014-2015 spread of Ebola and wanting to be sure that the next response to an epidemic was better handled.
posted by katra at 6:12 PM on March 25 [16 favorites]


They Can Help Fight Coronavirus. Trump Wants to Deport Them. (Stephanie Griffith, Washington Monthly)
Roughly 27,000 DACA recipients are health care practitioners. America can’t afford such a loss.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:23 PM on March 25 [16 favorites]


Anybody else get a postcard from the CDC? The entire front side is filled with "PRESIDENT TRUMP'S CORONAVIRUS GUIDELINES FOR AMERICA

The backside has small print stuff listing the usual guidelines about washing your hands, etc.

This is just a blatant piece of Trump campaign material sent at taxpayer expense from the CDC.

You thought I was kidding when I said that you will be getting your $1200 checks in an envelope with a MAGA sticker inside. It's already started.
posted by JackFlash at 7:30 PM on March 25 [19 favorites]


Some mathowie guy posted an image of the postcard.

Trump campaign has sent a C&D to TV stations airing this Priorities USA ad[youtube]. Ad consists of audio clips of Trump gaslighting the nation played over a graph showing number of USA
Covid-19 cases when he made the statement. IE: nothing but direct Trump quotes and an indication of how many confirmed cases there were when he made the statement. Twitter thread discussing the C&D.
posted by Mitheral at 7:34 PM on March 25 [13 favorites]


Ugh.. This timeline...

Stay safe everyone
posted by Windopaene at 7:39 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


It's nice that they have finally admitted that it's "President Trump's Coronavirus"
posted by JackFlash at 7:40 PM on March 25 [15 favorites]


The Senate is (fucking finally) preparing to vote on the stimulus bill. After that it will adjourn until April 20th. McConnell is reserving the possibility of returning for other votes before that, but in general we should expect no further legislative action for a month after this.
posted by jedicus at 7:43 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Everyone should start calling it the Trump Virus.
posted by perhapses at 7:45 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Trump with a $6T blank check and no Congress to constrain him for a month. What could possibly go wrong.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:55 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Just minutes ago the US crashed through the 1000 deaths horizon. By this time tomorrow the US will have moved past Italy and China to have the most confirmed cases on the planet. American exceptionalism at its best.
posted by JackFlash at 7:59 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


What is really interesting, in a totally morbid sense, is trying to make sense of the fatality percentages. Some countries, you are all like, that's bullshit, someone's not telling the truth, and others, you are like, OK, they have no population. But, why are some countries able to keep fatalities down, and others not. Given the US systems, we are looking bad. But some countries, who I'm not thinking have better healthcare than the US, aren't seeing the same death rates. We are living in interesting times...

Stay safe everyone.
posted by Windopaene at 8:05 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


It's all complicated because it depends on the number tested. Case Fatality Rate is based on the number symptomatic vs deceased, but that still requires sufficient testing.

On the other hand, I just read that Australia has ~2,000 ICU ventilators, and over 2,500 cases. If it sticks to 20% symptomatic have severe symptoms, we'll run out at 10,000 (in about 8 days).
posted by Marticus at 8:11 PM on March 25


The Sasse amendment has (predictably) failed, and the Senate is now moving on to the bill proper. The House is expected to pick it up tomorrow evening. Why the hold up? Republican obstruction.
Pelosi had originally hoped to bring the bill up via unanimous consent after Senate passage, a voting method that would not force lawmakers to return to Washington. But she said later Wednesday that House leaders were looking at other options, noting that at least some Republicans were on their way to Capitol Hill to object to the legislation when it moves to the House.
posted by jedicus at 8:14 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Votes are still being tallied (95-0 at this point), but the "phase 3" stimulus bill has passed the Senate.
posted by jedicus at 8:40 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


That bill does not send enough money where it most needs to go. To people.
posted by Gadarene at 8:56 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


So, the Governor of Mississippi has overridden all local directives in regards to C19. Ban if cross-posting your own math from other social media is forbidden ... but, this is what I came up with when the governor of a neighboring state went along with "SHRUG" as a policy :

Just as a note to all the "both parties are the same whateva" people out there:

The Governor of Mississippi just issued an executive order overriding all local stay at home orders in the entire state. Good fucking luck, Mississippi.

Ideology, rhetoric, and bad betting are going to get a lot of people needlessly killed.

The entire state of Mississippi has a population of about 3 million people. It has a total just shy of 10,000 hospital beds. Not ICU beds, TOTAL hospital beds.

Now, let's say that the stuff being blasted out of the moron-o-sphere is correct (It's not), and only 1% of infected require a 14 day hospitalization over the next couple of weeks. That's three times the number of hospital beds available for the entire state. And, even THAT "round cow" accounting assumes the only thing happening for the next month that requires hospitalization is C-19 infections.

The reality of the numbers is that C-19 has maybe a five percent hospitalization rate, which means Mississippi is about to deal with - at best - 150,000 people scrambling to occupy 10,000 beds.

And the even grimmer fact is that that only 50% of US hospitals even have ICU facilities. I don't have the exact breakdown for Mississippi, but the best the "Bar Napkin Department of Research and Numbers and Stuff" could come up with is that (nationally), the number of ICU beds is about 18% of total capacity. That means of those 10,000 beds, about 1,800 are ICU.

Current numbers (as of a week ago, anyway) - from the Dept. of Health and Human Services suggest that of those hospitalized, 40% will require ICU services. That means now Mississippi is dealing with 60,000 people chasing 1,800 ICU beds. (58,000 dead)

All of this assumes the only reason anyone in the entire state goes to the hospital for the next month is C-19. Nevermind the fact that by Trump's "Easter Resurrection," a huge percentage of caregivers will have unknowingly spread the virus (1/3 of carriers show no symptoms) AND/OR else have been removed from the fight by his shameful unwillingness to direct the federal government to use its power to hasten the creation of personal protective equipment (PPE) that will keep the rhetorically vaunted but practically abandoned first responders and health care professionals on the front line bereft of even the most basic health care equipment.

And, yet, they will do it anyway because they swore an oath. As other people, who also swore oaths, dump stocks and encourage you to go back to work to appease a line on a fucking graph.

Please be careful before you board: There is no getting off the ride once in motion.

[coaster-rising.gif]

Math don't give a shit about your rhetoric or your memes, math is coming to kill the people you love. Soon, and with a huge percentage of your neighbors willing to act as willing accomplices... to own the libs, I guess?

Never forget what is about to go down, nor who fiddled while Rome burned. Bad faith trolls and false civility is going to get us killed.

[....]

I mean the Democrats are allowed to suck - and have my entire lifetime - but, let's be clear, there's only one group of people currently in power who are saying that you have to roll the dice with the lives of all of your parents and grandparents to appease a magic number.

posted by absalom at 9:00 PM on March 25 [17 favorites]


That bill does not send enough money where it most needs to go. To people.

I agree, but Pelosi has previously indicated that there will be a fourth and likely fifth bill. With regard to this one in particular:
Pelosi told House Democrats on a series of conference calls that she is already thinking about the substance of the fourth coronavirus relief package that Congress will have to pass to respond to the crisis, according to sources on the calls.
Pelosi made it clear to members who are disappointed that the pending bill did not include enough of their priorities that they will have a chance to add those provisions in the fourth package, the sources said.
The value of social distancing in the US in terms of lives saved has been estimated at $7.9 trillion. That supremely hard-nosed economic calculus suggests that enormous amounts of additional spending are worth it in order to make additional weeks or months of social distancing bearable. I expect additional bills to be passed as it becomes increasingly obvious that this is just the beginning of the large scale government intervention that will be necessary.
posted by jedicus at 9:08 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


By this time tomorrow the US will have moved past Italy and China to have the most confirmed cases on the planet. American exceptionalism at its best.

"From this moment on, it’s going to be America First."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:15 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


This next month.... is going to be *raised Spock eyebrow* interesting.
posted by hippybear at 9:17 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


When can we let up? Health experts craft strategies to safely relax coronavirus lockdowns (Sharon Begley, STAT News)
Scientists including infectious disease epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, one of the most forceful voices against easing up prematurely on containment and mitigation, conclude in a new paper that in a best-case scenario, “summertime social distancing can be less frequent.” After that, they explain in an analysis published as a preprint on Tuesday, their mathematical model of how people interact and how infections spread suggests that, if the epidemic returns, “aggressive contact tracing and quarantine – impractical now in many places but more practical once case numbers have been reduced and testing scaled up – could alleviate the need for stringent social distancing to maintain control of the epidemic.”

[...] The optimism depends on first controlling the current outbreak, however. In many places, that isn’t even in sight, as many hospitals careen toward collapse and U.S. cases and deaths soar. [...] If policymakers needed any more reasons to prepare for extensive testing and the targeted countermeasures that would allow, it’s this: Covid-19 could well return next fall with a vengeance because of today’s social distancing measures. There will be “a high proportion of susceptible individuals in the population,” Harvard’s Lipsitch and his colleagues explained in their analysis. That could lead “to an intense epidemic … in the late autumn and winter.”
posted by katra at 9:19 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


I am not an optimist in most things coronaviral, but by autumn there may be better means of dealing with the respiratory distress syndrome which does not require weeks of ventilators.
posted by benzenedream at 9:25 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Geoff Bennett (NBC News): 'The @nytimes reports that Americans who are eligible for the coronavirus relief cash payments but who *don't already have direct-deposit bank info on file with the IRS "will need to wait up to four months" to get a check, per Democratic aides."
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:54 PM on March 25 [11 favorites]


> So, the Governor of Mississippi has overridden all local directives in regards to C19. Ban if cross-posting your own math from other social media is forbidden ... but, this is what I came up with when the governor of a neighboring state went along with "SHRUG" as a policy :



This is going to go very badly.

https://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2020/mar/24/gov-tate-reeves-orders-limited-gatherings-today-ex/
...

One of the immediate consequences of Reeves’ order is the formal declaration that most of Mississippi’s businesses qualify under it as "essential," and thus are exempt from restrictions on public gatherings. As of press time, the Jackson Free Press has received reports from businesses in the Jackson area that have, as of today’s executive order, scuttled plans for work-from-home and ordered their employees back to work on-site.

Also included among essential services in the executive order were religious facilities, just days after the Mississippi State Department of Health told Mississippians to skip churches, weddings and funerals to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

"Religious entities including religious and faith-based facilities, entities and groups, religious gatherings provided that they adhere to the CDC and the Mississippi Department of Health recommendations and guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19," the order stated.
Skimming, I can't tell if this allows massive church services or if it only allows limited, <10 people church services. I fear it's the former.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:01 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Geoff Bennett (NBC News): 'The @nytimes reports that Americans who are eligible for the coronavirus relief cash payments but who *don't already have direct-deposit bank info on file with the IRS "will need to wait up to four months" to get a check, per Democratic aides."

25% of US households are either unbanked or underbanked (CNBC, Mar. 9, 2019)
Twenty-five percent of U.S. households are unbanked or underbanked, according to a 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Those are people who either don’t have a bank account, or have an account, but still use financial services outside the banking system like payday loans to make ends meet.
In 2017, 6.5 percent of U.S. households were unbanked, meaning that no one in the household had a checking or savings account. (FDIC, 2017)
posted by katra at 10:13 PM on March 25 [12 favorites]


The new bill passed by the senate isn't perfect by a long shot, but it has a lot of really good stuff in it. Pelosi and Schumer played it about as well as they could considering a handful of Republicans in the senate were willing to shoot the hostages.

McConnell was ready to jam his terrible bill through the senate on Sunday until Pelosi put a stop to it by declaring she was going to write her own bill and pass it in the House. Since both houses have to pass the same identical bill to become law, this threat stopped McConnell in his tracks. It would have taken weeks to reconcile two different bills and nobody wanted to take that long. This tactic by Pelosi gave Schumer the leverage he needed to rewrite the senate bill, improving it immensely.

The big win was on unemployment insurance, what Schumer is calling "unemployment insurance on steroids." It provides $600 per week on top of the normal unemployment weekly benefit for up to four months. Weekly benefits vary from $235 a week in Mississippi to a maximum of $823 in Massachusetts. So if you combine that with the new $600 benefit, the unemployed can receive from about $830 to $1400 a week. Note that you don't pay FICA taxes on unemployment benefits so that's an extra 7.5% in your pocket. That's real money that people can survive on.

Democrats also fixed this unemployment benefit so that it also applies to freelancers, contractors and gig workers who don't usually have any unemployment benefits. They will get up to $600 per week.

There's $100 billion to help hospitals treating coronavirus patients. Another $50 billion for medical equipment and supplies. An $1 billion for the Indian Health Service.

There's $150 billion for state governments to support their health departments and $8 billion for Indian governments.

And then the one you've probably heard the most about, one-time $1200 checks for each person and each spouse and $500 for each child. Democrats also fixed this so that low income households and households that do not normally file a tax return will receive the checks. There is a phase out at higher incomes.

There's $370 billion in loans for small business with incentives to keep employees on the payroll.

All in all, it was a major improvement on McConnell's original bill. Especially the unemployment benefit that directs money to people who need it most.

The bad part is the $500 billion for loan to large corporations. There are some fig leaves in there for oversight rather than a blind slush fund. We'll just have to wait to see how that goes. And some limitations on executive pay and payouts to shareholders.

Add this to the previous bill written by the Democrats and passed last week that provides for full paid sick pay and full paid family leave for parents who have to care for children because of closed schools.

So it been a couple of pretty good weeks for Democrats who, as Pelosi promised, are directing a lot of money to those who need it most.

(There may be some modifications to the above once the full text of the bill becomes available.)
posted by JackFlash at 10:23 PM on March 25 [34 favorites]


If You Live With Air Pollution, You're Already More Vulnerable to Covid-19 (Earther.Gizmodo, March 17, 2020) “This crisis isn’t simply a public health issue. It is directly related to social equity and environmental justice,” [former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina] McCarthy wrote. “It is directly related to our fight for clean air, clean water, a healthy environment, and healthy communities. #COVID19 is affecting all of us—our health and our way of life, but low-income communities and communities of color may face added risk.”
[...]
“I expect that there will be much higher rates of infection and death in low-income communities and even more so in low-income communities of color because of all the pre-existing conditions—both medical and social conditions,” Mark Mitchell, an associate professor of climate change, energy, and environmental health equity at George Mason University and chair of the National Medical Association Council on Medical Legislation, told Earther.

These social conditions include higher rates of poverty, inequalities in healthcare, and disparities in access to paid leave. There are also lifestyle practices, such as multi-generational housing where grandparents, their children, and grandchildren may all live under the same roof. This is more common among immigrant families and people of color. So is the regular use of public transit.

--
Coronavirus concerns postpone wildfire season preparations around the country (NY Times, March 25, 2020) Prescribed burns, in which firefighters deliberately set lands ablaze with the goal of reducing brush, grasses and other easily ignitable material that can help fuel large fires, have been postponed in all Forest Service regions because of concerns over the coronavirus.

“This decision to temporarily postpone ignitions will prevent any effects from smoke that might further worsen conditions for those who are at risk in our communities,” Imani Lester, the acting National Press Officer for the United States Forest Service said in an email.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:31 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


In 2009 I had swine flu. Ham lung. Bacon fever. The oinks, trotters, snoutitis, the pork snort, Charlotte's revenge. I have more, I had six weeks to think of them, sitting under a warm shower blasting yellow slime out of my nose into the drain.

Do you know one I didn't think of? American flu. It originated in America but I don't think you could look at it under a microscope and see it waving a flag. It probably killed more Americans than anyone else, which is pretty un-American.

If there's anything that we learn from this, it's that we share a planet. This didn't come from the China planet, it came from our planet. Our planet full of us.
posted by adept256 at 10:51 PM on March 25 [33 favorites]


The 1918 flu epidemic also originated in the US, most likely. It only became associated with Spain because many countries, including the US, censored disease statistics for political advantage.
posted by SakuraK at 11:01 PM on March 25 [10 favorites]


Science writer Ed Yong in The Atlantic:
How the Pandemic Will End
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:47 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]


The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern did a Facebook Live event (unannounced) last night. You can watch it here - although you will probably need a Facebook account. As an example of political leadership in a time of crisis I reckon the video was pitch perfect. As someone commented, it was like being put to bed by Mum and told everything will be OK.
posted by vac2003 at 1:48 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


ArsTechnica asks: Is it too much to ask for an actual plan?
But two things make the torrent of coronavirus misinformation distinct. The first one is simple: much of the misinformation starts at the top, where President Donald Trump seems willing to say whatever crosses his mind when he finds himself in front of a microphone.

But the second is trickier: unlike a national disaster or terrorist attack, we have no models for how long the coronavirus pandemic will last or how we will recover from it. There's no "we'll rebuild" mindset that people can use to make sense out of what's going to happen and guide their expectations.

Here's how we might create one.
posted by wierdo at 1:50 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


i don't really understand how the unemployment benefits increase is supposed to work when so many states have a requirement that you must be actively looking for work while receiving unemployment benefits.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:26 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


a lot of companies have you apply online these days, which counts - you just go to the website, go through the motions, perhaps take an annoying test and it counts - you do 2 a week

if you're less honest, you can just make stuff up - even under normal circumstances few get checked by the government

(we have a summer layoff at my workplace, which is how i know this - at least that's how it works in michigan)
posted by pyramid termite at 2:32 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


It's nice that they have finally admitted that it's "President Trump's Coronavirus"

Covfefe-19.
posted by rochrobbb at 3:48 AM on March 26 [11 favorites]




Actually, I think this deserves a FPP, but since it is a paywalled NYTimes article, I'm not going to do it yet: Even Before Coronavirus, America’s Population Was Growing at Slowest Rate Since 1919
WASHINGTON — The American population is growing at its slowest pace since 1919, new government data shows, as a drop in births and an acceleration in deaths put the country closer than ever to an overall decline.

The figures, released by the Census Bureau on Thursday and analyzed by demographers, were for the 12 months that ended in July 2019, long before the coronavirus began to spread in the United States. Experts said that if one of the more dire projections of coronavirus-related deaths holds true, the country could face its first yearly drop in population, particularly if immigration continues to fall.

“If this epidemic is as significant as some think, we could have deaths exceeding births in the nation as a whole, which has never happened in the history of this country,” said Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire, who analyzed the numbers.

Experts point to what they say is a perfect storm, in which the three forces that make up a country’s population growth — births, deaths and immigration — have all gone off-kilter.
As it says in the article, this is also hitting Europe hard. And not mentioned in the article, China and Japan. The sensible way ahead is migration, since on a global level, we are still heading towards very high population levels. But migration has its own challenges. US and other countries based on migration are very good at dealing with the integration of new citizens, compared to Europe. But we all want the countries people are migrating from to succeed as well. And obviously, the Coronavirus has stopped all travel, for any purposes.

Mt mother's nursing home is completely dependent on immigrants to care for the elderly. It would shut down if it wasn't for them. I wonder how this looks in the UK and US, where the current governments are anti-immigrant? But also: the people who are caring for my mum are in some cases refugees from countries where help is needed. This is complicated.
posted by mumimor at 4:47 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Republicans simply cannot admit that their "free market solutions are the only solutions" philosophy doesn't work in this situation, let alone makes things actively worse. They fear that admitting that a govenrmental solution is best undermines their entire pholosophy -- and to be fair, it does. But like Herbert Hoover (who at least was a well-meaning humanitarian) in the Great Depression, their refusal to abandon their ideology even for the public good is going to cause economic ruin and arguably cost lives.
posted by Gelatin at 4:50 AM on March 26 [21 favorites]


Even Before Coronavirus, America’s Population Was Growing at Slowest Rate Since 1919

More than a few have predicted a baby boom nine months from the start of the quarantine.
posted by Gelatin at 4:50 AM on March 26


As just noted on a podcast I’m listening to, any such boom would be comprised exclusively of first-born children.
posted by Superplin at 5:25 AM on March 26 [28 favorites]


i've been seeing that floating around and i only just now got it. this is the levity we need ;-)
posted by affectionateborg at 5:34 AM on March 26


Mount Sinai to Begin the Transfer of COVID-19 Antibodies into Critically Ill Patients

The Mount Sinai Health System this week plans to initiate a procedure known as plasmapheresis, where the antibodies from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 will be transferred into critically ill patients with the disease, with the expectation that the antibodies will neutralize it.

The process of using antibody-rich plasma from COVID-19 patients to help others was used successfully in China, according to a state-owned organization, which reported that some patients improved within 24 hours, with reduced inflammation and viral loads, and better oxygen levels in the blood...

Dr. Krammer says his preliminary findings also show that humans have no natural immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which would help explain why it spreads so quickly. But once the antibody sets in humans do become protected. He also says that at this early stage in the research, there is no evidence that people can lose their immunity and become re-infected.

posted by mediareport at 5:41 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


i don't really understand how the unemployment benefits increase is supposed to work when so many states have a requirement that you must be actively looking for work while receiving unemployment benefits.

North Carolina's governor waived that requirement along with a few others related to unemployment. The huge backlog of new claims, though, is now a major sticking point.
posted by mediareport at 5:44 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


NYT: F.A.Q. on Stimulus Checks, Unemployment and the Coronavirus Bill

(nothing there about a four-month wait if you don't have direct deposit on file, and the link from the NBC reporter's tweet doesn't have anything about that either, so if anyone has a cite for that it'd be appreciated)
posted by mediareport at 6:06 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


The idea of using plasma from people who have recovered is intriguing. If it it works, it could be a great stop-gap until a vaccine is developed as most infected people recover, provided the procedure is not to resource consuming.

An antibody test for the general population could be would be to identify many potential donors, as likely most infections are going undetected so far, because there are minor or no symptoms. Let’s hope.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:52 AM on March 26


I don't think there is going to be any measureable baby bump from this, if anything a decline. Sure there might be some unplanned births from people home for long periods with their partners. But I'm betting that is easily offset by people who are aggravated by being cooped up with their partners, people who were planning a pregnancy and now are "no fucking way I risking it at this time", people with fertility problems who can't get assistance and pregnancies that don't make it to term because the mother is effected my the virus. Also if this thing goes crazy in the USA and a million people die that is a lot less parents available to procreate in the first place.
posted by Mitheral at 6:54 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Thanks for your many informative comments mediareport.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:55 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


i don't really understand how the unemployment benefits increase is supposed to work when so many states have a requirement that you must be actively looking for work while receiving unemployment benefits.

There is the option for the employer to give a furlough rather than a layoff notice if they have an intent to rehire the person after the lockdown. This means you technically still have a job so can collect unemployment without looking for a new one.

Some states have waived the job seeking requirement entirely temporarily.
posted by JackFlash at 7:04 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


A couple of other things in the new bill.

Student loan payments can be suspended until the end of September without penalty or interest.

Mortgage foreclosures can be delayed for up to six months without penalty for federally backed mortgages.

Rent evictions can be delayed for up to four months without penalty for landlords having federally backed mortgages on their property.

Money can't be diverted to Trump's wall.
posted by JackFlash at 7:37 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


A couple of other things in the new bill.

Republican often complain about "herp derp this bill is too long," but I'd imagine much of that length has to do with clauses preventing past known Republican shenanigans ("No, Trump may not divert money to the wall," "No, you can't write checks to aid groups that discriminate against LGBTQ people," etc.).
posted by Gelatin at 7:52 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


At some point there probably needs to be a separate economics thread. Until then:

The coronavirus fiscal response should be as big as needed—but current forecasts indicate at least $2.1 trillion is needed through 2020 (Josh Bivens, Economic Policy Institute)

'The expected hit to the economy would mean almost 14 million job losses by summer'
- The stimulus package to deal with the coronavirus economic shock should be as big as economic conditions dictate.
- The package to restore the nation’s economic health should spend at least $2.1 trillion through the end of 2020. This amount could increase even this year, and aid should continue past this year if conditions warrant.
- The fiscal response should continue until we reach full employment.
- The stimulus should be well-targeted and not squandered on unconditional giveaways to business that don’t spur the needed growth.
- The risk of going too small on stimulus is large and scary, while the risk of going too big is almost nonexistent.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:59 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


Despite some good provisions, the CARES Act has glaring flaws and falls short of fully protecting workers during the coronavirus crisis (Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute)
Finally, this proposal repeats terrible mistakes of the past by not instituting triggers to enable relief and recovery aid to keep flowing as long as economic conditions warrant. Time-based aid makes no sense, particularly when facing as uncertain an economic shock as the current one. Instead, as long as relief is needed and the economy remains depressed, aid should continue to flow. Optimally, the triggers that would enable this aid to keep flowing would be based on employment and hours of work instead of, or in addition to, unemployment rates. This consideration applies not just to the expanded UI benefits, but also to the direct cash payments to households and the aid to state and local governments. None of this aid should be shut off automatically on an arbitrary date. Instead, it should wind down gradually as economic conditions warrant.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:01 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


Pelosi is already working on a phase four bill.

But first she has to get the current phase three bill from the Senate through the House. The problem is that, although the bill has majority support, most congress members are hunkered down at home instead of in Washington. Pelosi planned to use a maneuver called unanimous consent, but all it takes is one asshole Republican to object. Turns out there is no shortage of asshole Republicans already clamoring for the spotlight saying they will object to unanimous consent.

So she will have to find some other way to pass the bill. She is looking at either a voice vote or proxy vote, but that would also require a rule change.

Trumps says he wants the bill passed so it is time for him to bring down this tweeter hammer on the recalcitrant Repubs. How else is he going to get his re-election checks sent out to the public with his smiling face on the enclosed letter.
posted by JackFlash at 8:09 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


Tragic story from here in Pittsburgh: Woman who died of COVID-19 refused to go to hospital, worried about bills, her son says
“She didn’t have insurance. She thought she might not be able to pay the bills,” her son, Ludmil Velev, said Wednesday from his hospital bed at UPMC Presbyterian, where he has been treated for COVID-19 since Monday. “And being a foreigner, she was worried even more.”
.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:37 AM on March 26 [23 favorites]


The U.S. traditionally leads in times of crisis. Now it’s practicing self-isolation.
BEIRUT — As America's rivals make gestures of support for other nations stricken by the coronavirus, the United States is losing the geopolitical contest prompted by the epidemic while struggling to contain the virus at home, analysts say.
At a time when the world would typically look to the richest and most powerful nation for leadership in a crisis, the United States has instead retreated into its own form of self-isolation, with its president downplaying the severity of the threat and top American officials squabbling among themselves.
Instead, the United States’ rivals, notably China and to a lesser extent Russia, have been stepping up to offer aid to other stricken nations, a role long fulfilled by the United States in crises stretching back to World War II.
Planeloads of Chinese medical equipment, masks and protective gear have been landing in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Iran and Iraq, among others. Jack Ma, China's wealthiest man, donated test kits, masks and protective suits to each of Africa’s 54 countries.
I called one of my sisters today, and I can hear how social media locally are running amok with conspiracy theories and scams. (I've opted out of social media). I know we've discussed this a gazillion times, but real media aren't dealing with this optimally either. There is so much hard work to do when we are through all of this.
posted by mumimor at 10:40 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]


Global confirmed cases passed 500,000 (510,108) in the last couple of hours.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:52 AM on March 26




i don't really understand how the unemployment benefits increase is supposed to work when so many states have a requirement that you must be actively looking for work while receiving unemployment benefits.

That's what the disaster declaration was good for.. temporarily waiving the requirement to be looking for work to receive UI. Florida, among at least a few others that I'm personally aware of, actually waived that requirement on their own before any federal legislation was passed.

Yes, thanks to the block grant model, they had that flexibility in how they administrate their UI already. Of course, that is also why Florida can get away with only paying about $230 a week for only 12 weeks under normal circumstances. The extra $600 a week will be a total game changer for a lot of people in Florida who have been extra fucked because of our tourism-based economy.
posted by wierdo at 11:12 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


It's a long process, but having had to help people through the process in a few different states now, it's not hard (when the websites are working, anyway), just unnecessarily long with many questions that simply aren't applicable under the present circumstances.

I find it quite comforting that, for literally the first time in my life, I can collect UI if my boss and his pet rich people run out of money or keel over dead, even if there is some virtual paperwork I have to get through. (I'm quite legitimately classed as an independent contractor, given that I do things when I want to do them and use my own equipment to do it)
posted by wierdo at 11:27 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


No 10 accused of putting 'Brexit over breathing' in Covid-19 ventilator row
Johnson is right on your heals, Trump. At being the most incompetent leader.
posted by mumimor at 11:46 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


91-Divoc, a visualization of Covid-19 spread by country and by US state (including normalization by population).
posted by kokaku at 12:53 PM on March 26 [13 favorites]


Given when he was warned, I've been thinking of Trump's response (and BoJo's by extension) in terms of crimes against humanity, if not genocide (if "residents" can be defined as a genus). I feel the implications of living in the US right now are really that dire.
posted by rhizome at 1:09 PM on March 26 [9 favorites]


U.S. deaths from coronavirus top 1,000, amid incomplete reporting from authorities and anguish from those left behind (WaPo)
As of Thursday afternoon, Americans had died in 42 states and territories and the District, with punishing increases in Louisiana and Michigan. Experts fear the worst is still to come, pointing to a rapid acceleration of cases in communities across the country.

The Washington Post is tracking every known U.S. death, analyzing data from health agencies and gathering details from family and friends of the victims. In the first 1,000 fatalities, some patterns have begun to emerge in the outbreak’s epidemiology and its painful human impact. About 65 percent of people whose ages are known were older than 70 and nearly 40 percent were over 80, demonstrating that risk rises along with age. About 5 percent whose ages are known were in their 40s or younger, but many more in that age group have been sick enough to be hospitalized. Of those victims whose gender is known, nearly 60 percent were men.

[...] Still more deaths are not being counted at all, such as those misdiagnosed with the flu or another illness and those who died but were never tested, highlighting another key gap in mortality information.

[...] “It might take longer for covid-19 to make it into the rural communities, and they might not get as many cases there,” [Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious-diseases physician and medical director of the special pathogens unit at Boston University School of Medicine] said, “but the worrisome thing is, it might not take as many cases to overwhelm the health-care system in these areas.”
posted by katra at 1:24 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


100 people died in NY in the last 24h and that feels. uh. not great.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:07 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


per JHU tracker the us and italy are running neck and neck and both poised to outpace china in terms of confirmed case count.
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:22 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Given when he was warned
Stockpiling Ventilators for Influenza Pandemics (CDC.gov, Volume 23, Number 6 — June 2017)
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:25 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


CoronaTracker has USA #1.
posted by phoque at 2:34 PM on March 26


Johns Hopkins, 6:10pm EDT:

82,404 US
81,782 China
posted by mikelieman at 3:11 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


MA governor reports he is still being pre-empted on orders of medical supplies.

I am beginning to hope for New England independence.
posted by ocschwar at 3:14 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Because relaxing air pollution regulations is exactly what we need amid a respiratory disease pandemic in which affected people's lungs are already highly vulnerable

EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus

This is exactly what Naomi Klein's disaster capitalism thesis is about
posted by mostly vowels at 3:31 PM on March 26 [19 favorites]


Because relaxing air pollution regulations is exactly what we need amid a respiratory disease pandemic in which affected people's lungs are already highly vulnerable

This is exactly what Naomi Klein's disaster capitalism thesis is about


Two University of Chicago economists are on it with pauseregulations.com:
Is there some government regulation or rule that is keeping you from helping manage the COVID-19 crisis?

Maybe you’re a frontline healthcare worker, an administrator, or work in manufacturing, and believe you could make medical supplies. Whatever your position or industry, perhaps you have ideas that could help.

We want to hear from you. Please fill out the form below.
They got a NY Times opinion column as well. It's possible that some of these kinds of temporary regulatory suspensions are net beneficial, but it will also be a vehicle for broader deregulatory agendas.
posted by jedicus at 3:51 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Gee, of course some University of Chicago economists are on it.
posted by mostly vowels at 4:00 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


It's well known that industry incumbents benefit from regulation because it creates barriers to entry for upstart competitors. Whether that is preventing anyone from standing up a ventilator, PPE, sanitizer, etc. plant, I don't know, but it's at least plausible that streamlined regulatory processes could help.

Too bad we've got no reason to trust that this isn't just another smash-and-grab. I mean, the U of Chicago researchers are explicitly fishing for "evidence" that supports their foregone conclusion.
posted by sjswitzer at 4:21 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


91-Divoc, a visualization of Covid-19 spread by country and by US state (including normalization by population).

This is a really great link. At least it looks like some of the curves are starting to bend. It still sucks, and it's not nearly fast enough, but at least its something.

I'm just trying to find at least one positive right now. It seems like its all bad and depressing news. I hope everyone is safe.
posted by eagles123 at 4:48 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Agree about the 91-DIVOC graphs. The JHU site doesn't seem to be showing the logarithmic scale anymore, so the general bend toward flattening is good to see here. It also shows the US as being middle of the pack when populations is taken into account. Hopefully I'm reading it right ....and hopefully US testing isn't a crazy amount less than the cluster of countries around it.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:08 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


White House officials push back on calls to activate DPA for critical medical supplies (Politico)
During the briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the task force, also said she was reassured after a conversation with New York leaders this week, saying there were an adequate number of ICU beds and ventilators that haven‘t been used. “There is still significant — over a thousand or two thousand ventilators that have not been utilized yet,” she said.
New York governor rails at Congress for lack of aid in Covid-19 crisis: 'Do your job' (Guardian)
These lifesaving machines that patients with the most severe Covid-19 symptoms rely on have been a stressor for New York, and on Thursday, Cuomo explained why. Not only is there a tremendous dearth – New York hospitals only had 4,000 ventilators in the system at the beginning of the outbreak and will need 30,000 – but Covid-19 patients need ventilators for 11 to 21 days on average, so turnarounds are slow.

To try to manage need, one Manhattan hospital has already started sharing ventilators between two patients who require similar ventilator settings, according to the New York Times.
New Jersey officials planning for possibility of rationing ventilators (Politico)
On Wednesday, Dr. Vijayant Singh, chief hospital executive at Bayonne Medical Center, told POLITICO that CarePoint Health, which operates the Bayonne hospital as well as two others in Hudson County, is close to running out of ventilators.
posted by katra at 5:14 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Someone is not grasping the magnitude of the problem:

“There is still significant — over a thousand or two thousand ventilators that have not been utilized yet,” she said."

"Sure, the leopard was right in front of me, growling and drooling, with his mouth open, his upper jaw almost touching my left cheek while his lower jaw brushed against the right, but how could I possibly have known he was getting ready to eat my face?"
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 5:23 PM on March 26 [22 favorites]




If a patient changed needed ventilator settings but was hooked up with a few other people, the end result will be a complete disaster when there's no extra ventilator. So even figuring out how to stretch the supply this way isn't a full solution, it's just a stopgap.

Anyway, helped my partner file for partial unemployment today and wow, a whole $160 a week?! We're saved!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 5:58 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


WaPo:

Nearly 1.5 million N95 respirator masks are sitting in a U.S. government warehouse in Indiana and authorities have not shipped them because they are past their expiration date, despite Centers for Disease Control guidelines that have been issued for their safe use during the coronavirus outbreak, according to five people with knowledge of the stockpile.

Department of Homeland Security officials had a conference call Wednesday to figure out what to do with the masks, which are part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s emergency supplies. DHS officials decided to offer the respirators to the Transportation Security Administration, whose workforce has been clamoring for protective equipment, according to three of the people who described the plans on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.
posted by snofoam at 6:03 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


On NYC’s front lines, health workers worry they will be next (AP)
A nurse died from coronavirus after working nonstop for weeks at a hospital where staffers frustrated with dwindling supplies posed in gowns made of trash bags. An emergency room doctor fears he had the virus long before getting too sick to work. Another nurse worries the lone mask she’s issued each day won’t be enough to protect her from an unending tide of hacking, feverish patients. At New York City-area hospitals on the front lines of the biggest coronavirus outbreak in the nation, workers are increasingly concerned about the ravages of the illness in their own ranks, and that the lack of testing and protective gear is making it not a matter of if they get it, but when.

[...] And perhaps most troubling, changes in official guidance that allow health care workers exposed to coronavirus to continue working, as long as they themselves are not showing symptoms. Some health care workers say they’re being told they can keep working even if they’ve tested positive for the disease, known as COVID-19, as long as they’re asymptomatic.

[...] [Barbara Rosen, a registered nurse in New Jersey for more than four decades and a vice president of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees union,] said her union has also heard from nurses using garbage bags to protect their clothing and receiving expired masks that could have decomposed elastic bands, compromising safety. She called the lack of resources “unheard of in the medical profession. It’s like going into a three-alarm fire with a water pistol.”
posted by katra at 6:10 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


After Considering $1 Billion Price Tag for Ventilators, White House Has Second Thoughts

"WASHINGTON — The White House had been preparing to reveal on Wednesday a joint venture between General Motors and Ventec Life Systems that would allow for the production of as many as 80,000 desperately needed ventilators to respond to an escalating pandemic when word suddenly came down that the announcement was off.

"The decision to cancel the announcement, government officials say, came after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it needed more time to assess whether the estimated cost was prohibitive. That price tag was more than $1 billion ... .

"Government officials said that the deal might still happen but that they are examining at least a dozen other proposals. And they contend that an initial promise that the joint venture could turn out 20,000 ventilators in short order had shrunk to 7,500, with even that number in doubt. Longtime emergency managers at FEMA are working with military officials to sort through the competing offers and federal procurement rules while under pressure to give President Trump something to announce."
posted by NotLost at 6:43 PM on March 26 [11 favorites]


91-Divoc, a visualization of Covid-19 spread by country and by US state (including normalization by population).

That IS a great link. What's with Japan? Are they doing something right?
posted by ctmf at 7:06 PM on March 26


Ventilator Makers Ask U.S. Government To Manage Distribution (NPR, March 25, 2020) Medical device manufacturers are asking the Trump administration to step in and centralize the distribution of ventilators, life-saving devices that are in desperately short supply because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Advanced Medical Technology Association, an industry trade group, said its members would "appreciate the Administration's leadership" in prioritizing which orders from states, local governments and hospitals should be filled first.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:08 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


During the briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the task force, also said she was reassured after a conversation with New York leaders this week, saying there were an adequate number of ICU beds and ventilators that haven‘t been used. “There is still significant — over a thousand or two thousand ventilators that have not been utilized yet,” she said.



"Exponential function? Once we're out of high school are we ever going to use that in the real world? I mean honestly." /s
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:39 PM on March 26 [20 favorites]


Ventilator Makers Ask U.S. Government To Manage Distribution

This is perhaps the clearest descriptor of one of the biggest factors contributing to this clusterfuck. Incompetent leadership.

I mean, I've just got some CIO/IT Director experience in my background, but wouldn't action items #1 and #2 be "National inventory of critical equipment" and "quickly survey stakeholder's needs for critical equipment." and then just cross-reference, then ship equipment from spreadsheet A to users on spreadsheet B.

Anyway, that's strategic planning based on writing a 5 minute comment, so the fact that they don't even have an adult in the room who can do the executive functioning now is really, really scaring.

Counterpoint, Andrew Cuomo has been stepping up for NY, so there are pockets of competence. But that's limited w/o national leadership.
posted by mikelieman at 8:00 PM on March 26 [17 favorites]


Trump says some governors asking for equipment they don’t need (WaPo)
“I think that a lot of things are being said that are more — I don’t think that certain things will materialize and you know a lot of equipment is being asked for that I don’t think they’ll need,” Trump said. Trump said he gets along well with all the governors except Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (whose name he did not seem to know). Both Democrats have publicly called on Trump to get more resources to the states. “We’re really helping the governors,” Trump said. “We had a call today with almost every governor, just about, I’d say, all 50. And it was like a love fest and they were so happy with the job we’re doing.”
Trump pushes to open parts of country as governors in hard-hit states warn more needs to be done to combat pandemic (WaPo)
Behind the scenes, business leaders have lobbied Trump not to invoke the [Defense Production Act] and conservative advisers have warned the president that doing so would draw a backlash and could cut into his argument of running against socialism in the fall, said two administration officials.

[...] Inslee was not the only governor to sound the alarm, according to one person briefed on the call, with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) raising a range of issues as New Orleans and his state brace for turmoil, with the number of cases and deaths there rising.

[...] The personal protective equipment shortage for health-care workers was the biggest concern expressed by governors, who said they believed the country needed a federal response so states are not competing for medical supplies — a running theme of the discussion, according to the people on the call and briefed on it.
posted by katra at 8:02 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Well maybe he'll open literally "parts" of the country. You know, like A/B test, and then it will be undeniable he's an idiot. Not that that's ever stopped him before.
posted by ctmf at 8:07 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Quick visualization uses location data to show cell phones present at a single Fort Lauderdale beach during the month of March and where they went across the country afterwards.
posted by mediareport at 8:22 PM on March 26 [19 favorites]


Creepy and useful both!
posted by mediareport at 8:25 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Exclusive: As coronavirus spreads, U.S. military to withhold some infection data (Reuters)
“What we want to do is give you aggregated numbers. But we’re not going to disaggregate numbers because it could reveal information about where we may be affected at a higher rate than maybe some other places,” [U.S. Defense Secretary Mark] Esper said, without disclosing precisely what information would be withheld or when the plan would be implemented.

[...] There has been a sharp increase in coronavirus cases among troops inside the United States, which officials tell Reuters have overtaken the number of cases among forces overseas in key branches of military. [...] Reuters has reported that thousands of U.S. military personnel are in quarantine or in self-isolation in Europe and the Middle East due to either exposure to someone infected or recent travel to high-risk locations.

[...] A spokesman at the U.S. Africa Command, Air Force Colonel Christopher Karns, said his command would publicly report confirmed cases of infection but was not looking “to advertise” the number of people under quarantine. “If advertised, numbers can be used by adversaries to their advantage,” Karns said in a statement.
posted by katra at 9:15 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


"We are not allowed to reveal that bases in low-quarantine states are suffering from way higher infections than high-quarantine states... you know, by some totally anonymous directive we also cannot discuss."
posted by absalom at 9:31 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


Hot spots are developing in the Midwest (NYT)
Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, warned of new hot spots developing in Wayne County, Mich., home to Detroit, and Cook County, Ill., home to Chicago, during the White House briefing on Thursday.

But Dr. Birx tried to be reassuring. She said that 19 states that represent about 40 percent of the U.S. population still have fewer than 200 cases of coronavirus, and of the people with significant symptoms who are being tested nationwide, 86 percent are testing negative.
A ‘negative’ coronavirus test result doesn’t always mean you aren’t infected (WaPo)
When a new test is rapidly created and deployed, its accuracy is often not fully known. The test is developed under controlled lab conditions, but it is used on samples taken, transported and performed by people in the real world — all of which increase the likelihood of errors. [...] “If it’s positive … you absolutely can make a [clinical] decision. If it’s negative, you may be early on in the infection and the viral load may be so low you don’t get it,” Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, said in a Q&A with JAMA. [...] A critical-care blog, EMCrit, estimated that the genetic tests are about 75 percent sensitive and suggests that a single negative swab doesn’t rule out the disease. [...] “A negative result does not rule out COVID-19 and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions,” according to the [New York state lab] fact sheet for health-care providers.
posted by katra at 9:42 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


"We are not allowed to reveal that bases in low-quarantine states are suffering from way higher infections than high-quarantine states... you know, by some totally anonymous directive we also cannot discuss."

Eh, that's funny in a cynical kind of way, but the policy isn't that surprising to me. I work with ship repair, and I can say we have a lot of work, ships are in poor repair generally, things like that. But it's classified information to say the USS ______ has a broken _______ because it reveals military capabilities and limitations. I also wouldn't be able to say things like "no aircraft carriers can go to sea".
posted by ctmf at 9:46 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


But Dr. Birx tried to be reassuring. She said that 19 states that represent about 40 percent of the U.S. population still have fewer than 200 cases of coronavirus..
That is a maddeningly unsubstantiated claim that should never have been written by a NYT journalist and certainly should never have made it past their editor. Because there is literally no way of currently knowing how many cases of coronavirus exist in those 19 states since only a tiny fraction of those who might be carrying the virus are being tested. At best the article might claim that there are fewer than 200 confirmed cases of the virus.

The difference is critically important and it's bad journalism, not to mention a danger to public health, to elide the distinction between (1) the number of cases, and (2) the number of detected cases, especially since we have good reason to suspect that the discrepancy between those two figures is huge.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:58 PM on March 26 [43 favorites]


Trump skates to where he wanted the puck to be.
posted by ryoshu at 10:47 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Trump teases new coronavirus distancing guidelines based on county risk (Politico)
In a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Thursday evening, Dr. Deborah Birx, the administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, brushed aside concerns that county-by-county criteria would be easily permeable.

Birx said that part of the current 15-day push for social distancing was to message the necessity of social distancing to contain the spread while encouraging “highly responsible behavior between counties.” [...] Asked whether, practically, the guidelines could prevent residents from a high-risk county from traveling to a low-risk county and potentially transmitting Covid-19, Birx punted to local officials. “These are dialogues that the federal government has to have with state and local governments, because state and local governments make those decisions,” she replied. [...] “What we‘re trying to do is to utilize a laser-focused approach rather than a generic horizontal approach. And I think in the 21st century we should be able to get to that,” she said, noting later that public health officials in the U.S. had so far been able to “very well define“ different outbreaks and clusters of coronavirus.

Birx continued: “Why am I confident that we can do that? Because we do that in sub-Saharan Africa right now for HIV. That‘s how we‘re stopping the epidemic there. So we‘ve done it. We‘ve done it in resource-limited settings. So I do believe we can transpose that approach here to the United States and be able to have — we have granular data down to a GPS coordinate of a site of a clinic and hospital. We think that same thing can be done in the United States.”
Trump Administration to Issue Guidelines for Classifying U.S. Counties by Coronavirus Risk (WSJ)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said Thursday that the U.S. “can start thinking about getting back to some degree of normality when the country as a whole turns that corner.”
posted by katra at 11:04 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


But Dr. Birx tried to be reassuring. She said that 19 states that represent about 40 percent of the U.S. population still have fewer than 200 cases of coronavirus

Okay that is some total bullshit right there. Population of the U.S. was estimated at 330 million (give or take) on 1 July last year. So 40% of that is 132 million, so for these magical 19 states the average population would have to be 6.94 million, almost exactly the size of Massachusetts, which has over 2400 cases at this writing. Hmmm.

So I go to the Johns Hopkins global maps dashboard, click once to highlight the list entry for the U.S. on the top of the list of countries on the left side, then click on the "Admin2" tab at the bottom of the list of countries. Now I see the listing of cases by states (which is where I got the case figures for Massachusetts above). I scroll down to the bottom of this list and count the states with less than 200 confirmed cases. So right now there are 17 (not 19) states with less than 200, and the largest of these is Iowa (3.16 million). If I sum up these 17 states I get a total of 24.46 million population (not 132 million). Throw in Puerto Rico (64 cases) bumps the population count to 27.65 million. Still a little short. So maybe we include the next two states with the lowest confirmed case numbers, Kentucky (247) and Oklahoma (248), since Dr. Birx might have been working with last week's figures or something. That still only bumps the population of these 19 states plus Puerto Rico to 36.1 million, about 11% of total U.S. population. Not 40%. Not by a fucking mile.

And I'm neither an epidemiologist (let alone the alleged 'White House’s coronavirus response coordinator') nor an alleged NYT (The Paper of Record) journalist, just some random bozo with a web browser, a calculator and a bit of time on my hands.
posted by hangashore at 11:13 PM on March 26 [46 favorites]


Greetings from Day 1 of South Africa's 21 day lockdown. Our economy may have been in trouble before, and it will definitely be worse afterwards, but thankfully our President values the lives of the elderly and immuno-suppressed.
posted by PenDevil at 11:24 PM on March 26 [10 favorites]


Birx continued: “Why am I confident that we can do that? Because we do that in sub-Saharan Africa right now for HIV. That‘s how we‘re stopping the epidemic there. So we‘ve done it. We‘ve done it in resource-limited settings. So I do believe we can transpose that approach here to the United States and be able to have — we have granular data down to a GPS coordinate of a site of a clinic and hospital. We think that same thing can be done in the United States.”

So, basically, they'll define "low-risk zones" and then find out that Patient 31 was running around 4 days ago infecting everyone at a church service or eat-in restaurant, but that the clinic or hospital hadn't had a chance to pick up on that.

Also, we're still drastically under-testing.

It's like she she owns a lot of refrigerated truck stock or something.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:06 AM on March 27 [15 favorites]


hopefully US testing isn't a crazy amount less than the cluster of countries around it.

I found some "per million" testing - we're way behind.

Interestingly, you can also choose US CDC Samples tested in the chart - 113.6 (March 14 2020)

COVID-19 data as of 20 March: Total tests performed per million people COVID-19 data as of 20 March: Total tests performed per million people

United Arab Emirates 12,738 (Mar 16, 2020)
South Korea 6,148 (Mar 20, 2020)
Australia 4,473.4 (Mar 20, 2020)
Italy 3,498.7 (Mar 20, 2020)
Germany 2,023.3 (Mar 15, 2020)
Austria 1,777.8 (Mar 20, 2020)
United Kingdom 959.7 (Mar 19, 2020)
Iran 957.1 (Mar 14, 2020)
Taiwan 898.9 (Mar 20,2020)
France 559.1 (Mar 15, 2020)
Finland 537.6 (Mar 19, 2020)
United States 313.6 (Mar 19, 2020)
Vietnam 159 (Mar 20, 2020)
Japan 117.8 (Mar 19, 2020)
South Africa 109.6 (Mar 20, 2020)
Colombia 81.7 (Mar 20, 2020)


https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/25/politics/coronavirus-testing-trump-south-korea-fact-check/index.html

Based on the available data and the population of each country, 1 in 142 South Koreans and 1 in every 786 Americans have been tested for the coronavirus.

SK 1 / 142
US 1 / 786

However some states are testing more than others. This has a sortable chart.
https://www.vox.com/2020/3/26/21193848/coronavirus-us-cases-deaths-tests-by-state

Top Tests per million
New York 5319
Washington 4503
New Mexico 3717

Re-sorting the chart to see various correlations between Confirmed Cases, Testing, and Deaths is a bit scary as the highest number of testing is not correlating with places with highest deaths. There's probably an extraordinary amount of confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths that we don't - and will likely never - know about.
posted by affectionateborg at 2:02 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Arizona (which is at around 500 confirmed cases/8 deaths) state authorities are telling medical personnel to avoid testing and to reuse PPE due to shortages.
posted by Superplin at 3:21 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


'I won't survive': Iranian scientist in US detention says Ice will let Covid-19 kill many
Asgari arrived at ASF on 10 March and has been seeking to voluntarily “self deport” to Iran. Ice has refused to let him fly home or be temporarily released with his family in the US. He alleged:

Detainees have no hand sanitizer, and the facility is not regularly cleaning bathrooms or sleeping areas. Asgari and a few other detainees have devised a schedule to try to clean surfaces themselves with the minimal soap available.
Detainees lack access to masks. For two weeks, ASF also refused to let Asgari wear his own protective mask, which he brought with him to the facility, and it has refused to supply one, despite his history of serious respiratory problems.
Detainees struggle to stay clean, and the facility has an awful stench. Because the facility is supposed to be temporary, there is no laundry available and detainees are stuck with the clothes they were wearing upon arrival, sometimes after long journeys.
There are no physical distancing guidelines at the facility. It appears no procedures or practices have changed in response to Covid-19 since Asgari’s arrival, even as Louisiana state and federal officials have urged people to isolate.
Call your congresspeople.
posted by mumimor at 5:55 AM on March 27 [13 favorites]




Doctors and nurses say more people are dying of COVID-19 than we know.

Systemic underreporting. I mean, you can't hide dead bodies forever, but yeah. The only numbers I trust at the moment are NY's, and even then, I'd add a multiplier to it.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:49 AM on March 27 [12 favorites]


We have a crystal clear example of how that under reporting will play out, I'm afraid: Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. There will be the 'official' death count that Trump and cronies will point at and minimize. Then there will be the actual number of dead above the normal death rate for the time and place.

How much of that larger number will be undiagnosed but directly covid-19 caused versus secondary effects from an overwhelmed health care system or beyond - that's the really scary part we can't even guess at so far.

For the first part, there have already been some studies in Italy where it appears the total increased death rate was 4x what was initially attributed to coronavirus.
posted by bcd at 7:23 AM on March 27 [15 favorites]


A nice article on how testing works for this virus. Almost all the testing being done now is via RT-PCR, which detects an active viral infection but is a fairly complicated test and will produce a negative result if you have had the virus and then recovered. We need badly need serological tests which detect circulating antibodies. They won't give a positive result until infection has been well-established but the benefits are noted in this paper describing one of these tests:
First, serological assays allow us to study the immune response(s) to SARS-CoV-2 in dynamic qualitative and quantitative manner. Second, serosurveys are needed to determine the precise rate of infection in an affected area, which is an essential variable to accurately determine the infection fatality rate. Third, serological assays will allow for the identification of individuals who mounted strong antibody responses and who could serve as donors for the generation of convalescent serum therapeutics [explained]. Lastly, serological assays will permit to determine who is immune and who is not. This would be very useful for deploying immune healthcare workers in a strategic manner as to limit the risk of exposure and spread of the virus inadvertently.
Emphasis and link added by me to indicate what I think are the more urgent reasons to deploy serological testing. Back when I worked in a lab I could have set one of these up without much hassle following this guidance from the authors of that paper. Hopefully hospitals have the wherewithal to do this.
posted by exogenous at 7:38 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


Coronavirus modelers factor in new public health risk: Accusations their work is a hoax (William Wan and Aaron Blake, WaPo)
But one factor many modelers failed to predict was how politicized their work would become in the era of Trump, and how that in turn could affect their models. [...]

“Knowing when to release the throttle is hard. There’s is no button that says push me now,” said Howard Markel, a historian and physician at University of Michigan, who co-authored [a seminal 2007 paper exploring lifting restrictions too soon] with a top CDC official, Martin Cetron. “But the trick is to be patient, not to jump the gun. Otherwise, all that happens is you get more cases, more deaths and everything you worked so hard for with those restrictions just goes to waste.”

One of the perpetual frustrations of trying to prevent disease rather than curing it is that it’s often difficult for the public to appreciate the disasters you help them avoid.

“The problem is there’s no metric for prevention. How many cases you avoid. How many lives you save,” Markel said. “That’s why it’s so hard to stay the course but so important, too.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:49 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


There will be the 'official' death count that Trump and cronies will point at and minimize. Then there will be the actual number of dead above the normal death rate for the time and place.

reminds me of Iraq Body Count -- the work still in progress.
posted by philip-random at 8:00 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


> I found some "per million" testing - we're way behind.

Those data are from over a week ago. Fortunately, US testing has surged massively since then. As of yesterday, our total testing rate is at least 1640 per million, and increasing rapidly [source]. The total has nearly doubled in just the past four days. This may also be an undercount because data on negative tests results are incomplete.

More than 80% of these tests were done in the ~week since that March 20th report, so our numbers are over 5× higher today. We now have a higher per-capita testing rate than France, Iran, or the UK.

The big problem, still, is that testing is lagging in many states. On the other hand, New York has now done more tests per capita than South Korea!
posted by mbrubeck at 8:12 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


Emphasis and link added by me to indicate what I think are the more urgent reasons to deploy serological testing.

This exists, and 10,000 of them are apparently being used in the next week or so in Miami-Dade County to gather statistical information about actual incidence in the community, according to a Miami Herald article. Unfortunately their mobile site sucks, so I can't find the article from yesterday outlining the plan and the expected timeline.

I specifically recall it being a 15 minute pinprick blood test and the 10,000 selected volunteers parts, for whatever that's worth.
posted by wierdo at 9:01 AM on March 27


Dominic Cummings spotted running away from Downing Street
It isn't nice to laugh at people catching a deadly disease, but it's fair to laugh at this both evil and ridiculous person running away from it all.
posted by mumimor at 9:17 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


It's funnier if you imagine the virus as the swarm of bees from the 720° arcade game.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:20 AM on March 27 [9 favorites]


With the nascar level of ads on that page, they can afford to license "Yakety Sax" for the video.
posted by cmfletcher at 9:28 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


The number of deaths in New York jumped to 519. (NYT live blog)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday said that 519 people in New York State have died of the coronavirus, a one-day increase of 134 deaths since Thursday morning. And he rebutted comments from President Trump that New York was overstating its need for ventilators and that New York already had thousands in storage.

“We’re gathering them in the stockpile so that when we need them they will be there,” Mr. Cuomo said of the ventilators in storage. “We don’t need them today because we’re not at capacity today.” [...] “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” Mr. Trump said on Fox News. [...]

Mr. Cuomo said on Friday of the estimate that the state will need 30,000 ventilators, “Look I don’t have a crystal ball. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. But I don’t operate here on opinion. I operate on facts, and on data and on numbers and on projections.” [...]

Other highlights from Mr. Cuomo’s morning briefing: [...] Mr. Cuomo said the state needed 20 million N-95 masks, 30 million surgical masks, 45 million exam gloves, 20 million gowns and 30,000 ventilators — all astronomical amounts compared to the state’s current stockpile.
Trump says New York overstates the need for ventilators, and de Blasio bristles. (NYT live blog)
“With all due respect to him, he’s not looking at the facts of the astronomical growth of this crisis,” Mr. de Blasio said on “Good Morning America.” [...] As of Thursday morning, nearly 1,300 Covid-19 patients in New York State were in intensive care units, most of them on ventilators, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. That number had jumped by 45 percent from the day before, and the state has projected that the growth of coronavirus cases will continue to accelerate for several more weeks.

“The only way we can obtain these ventilators is from the federal government,” Mr. Cuomo said earlier in the week. “Period.”
posted by katra at 9:44 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]




Every time Trump comes out with an egregious bullshit lie, I keep wondering when someone will finally manage to pin it to him in a visceral way that really sticks. If ever he deserves to be nailed to the wall with a set of facts, it should be these statements about how NY is exaggerating the crisis to make him look bad and how the whole thing is overblown in general. When nature exposes the truth, he's going to incite a wave of anger with this the likes of which he cannot comprehend. Of course, if we do manage a national/global miracle somehow, he will claim personal credit. Verily, truthiness in action.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:56 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker today pleaded with people not in Massachusetts to stay away and that if they do come in, to self quarantine for 14 days. Electronic signs will flash the message at major crossings and people coming in via train or plane will be handed fliers asking them to self quarantine immediately, he said in his daily briefing.

Oh, and Baker said, sorry, he doesn't think the state will rise from the dead on Easter. Based on the advice he's getting from doctors and other actual experts, "we're not going to be up and running by Easter, no," he said, catching himself before saying something impolite.
posted by adamg at 10:07 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]




Fine print in corporate-friendly coronavirus bill passed by Senate could benefit Trump and Kushner (Igor Derysh, Salon)
And the provision Democrats included to block government officials and their families from getting bailout funds might not apply to Kushner, The Times reported. It only applies to individuals who "directly or indirectly" control 20% or more of a company, and since the president's son-in-law typically shares ownership with his parents and siblings, he rarely owns that much of his family's businesses. [...]

The bill also includes a number of other "fine print" measures that were added to the bill after lobbyists flooded the Senate and White House with requests. One $17 billion provision appears specifically targeted at helping Boeing, the embattled aircraft manufacturer Trump vowed to help after the coronavirus pandemic deepened an existing financial crisis caused by deadly technical malfunctions with its planes. [...]
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:19 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Ochswar suggested upthread that we might soon see internal borders enforced within the US.

That day has come. This is the TN/NC border on the Cherohala Skyway (NC143) in Graham County, NC. Here's the county's (useless, terrible) rationale for the closure.
posted by workerant at 10:27 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]




House passes $2 trillion coronavirus bill as problems for households and businesses continue to mount (Paul Kane, Mike DeBonis and Erica Werner; Washington Post)
The legislation passed in dramatic fashion, approved on an overwhelming voice vote by lawmakers who’d been forced to return to Washington by a GOP colleague who had insisted on a quorum being present. Some lawmakers came from New York and other places where residents are supposed to be sheltering at home.

The procedural move by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) drew bipartisan fury, including from President Trump who derided him over Twitter as a “grandstander” who should be tossed out of the Republican Party.

Massie, who opposes the legislation because it adds to the deficit, insisted over Twitter that he’d “sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution” and was simply upholding that oath. The Constitution specifies that a quorum -- or majority of the House -- should be present for legislative business, but that is rarely enforced.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:11 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


That bill will not be enough. People are going to default on mortgage and rent and credit card payments. People need money and immediate financial relief. People are going to die.
posted by Gadarene at 11:38 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


And why the Democrats don't have someone speaking to television cameras every day with a cadre of doctors behind them to rebut and correct Trump's perilous lies is something I will never understand.

They're ceding the pulpit to him and he now has a 60 percent approval rating of how he has handled coronavirus.
posted by Gadarene at 11:39 AM on March 27 [28 favorites]


We need to move to a "moneyless" society for several months: everybody stay in place for debts incurred, renters, landlords, etc. (Yes, it would be a lot more complicated than that.)

The stock market should be closed. (It was closed at the beginning of World War I for about four months)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:42 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


They're ceding the pulpit to him and he now has a 60 percent approval rating of how he has handled coronavirus.

Only because people don't understand exponential growth. Those numbers will likely plummet down to his ~35% approval floor in 14-21 days when the peaks start hitting state after state for a month.
posted by jedicus at 11:43 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


That day has come. This is the TN/NC border on the Cherohala Skyway (NC143) in Graham County, NC. Here's the county's (useless, terrible) rationale for the closure.


The governor of MA wants all persons coming in to self-quarantine regardless of how they got here.
posted by ocschwar at 11:59 AM on March 27


The governor of MA was polite about it, though. The governor of RI, in contrast, has authorized the National Guard and State Police to look for New Yorkers at the state line and at bus and train stations and force them into quarantine.
posted by adamg at 12:04 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


EPA Announces Enforcement Discretion Policy for COVID-19 Pandemic. It's one of several state and federal agencies that have announced various levels of "enforcement discretion."

In theory the discretion is limited to civil rather than criminal misconduct, will vary according to seriousness, and deviation from compliance must be documented and due to the pandemic. But I don't trust Andrew Wheeler's EPA to do much more than let it be a blanket excuse to pollute for several months followed by a slow-walked return to enforcement.
posted by jedicus at 12:04 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


That bill will not be enough. People are going to default on mortgage and rent and credit card payments. People need money and immediate financial relief. People are going to die.

The CARES Act addresses those issues.

Student loan payments can be suspended until the end of September without penalty or interest.

Mortgage foreclosures can be delayed for up to six months without penalty for federally backed mortgages.

Rent evictions can be delayed for up to four months without penalty for landlords having federally backed mortgages on their property.

Households will be receiving $1200 and an addition $1200 for spouse and $500 for each child.

Unemployment insurance will be boosted by an additional $600 per week, $2400 per month, on top of regular benefits.

Not perfect but the biggest social welfare boost in history.
posted by JackFlash at 12:09 PM on March 27 [10 favorites]


I don't trust Andrew Wheeler's EPA to do much more than let it be a blanket excuse to pollute for several months followed by a slow-walked return to enforcement.

It's the usual shameful opportunism from the Trump camp, but I take it, like McConnell's desperate push to confirm judges, as a tacit admission that they believe Trump won't be around for a second term.
posted by Gelatin at 12:14 PM on March 27


delaying evictions and suspending mortgage payments does fuckall for renters who can't pay rent in 5 days and will certainly not be able to pay rent in 4 months! it does nothing! nothing! aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
posted by poffin boffin at 12:18 PM on March 27 [11 favorites]


Households will be receiving $1200 and an addition $1200 for spouse and $500 for each child.


Which households, exactly? All households? Households of people without direct deposit from the IRS? Households of permanent residents? A one-time taxable (!) payment of $1200 even for those who qualify is nothing in the face of what we're dealing with. It's nothing.

Not remotely close to perfect. And to the extent that it slows the momentum for further bills and further demand-side stimulus...well, I won't say it could potentially do more harm than good, but it will do a whoooooole lot less good than it will line the pockets of millionaires.

I agree with AOC. The bill is shameful.
posted by Gadarene at 12:20 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


It also does nothing for small businesses who have been forced to close as non-essential. We are expected to keep paying rent and bills when we aren't legally allowed to sell product. We get no unemployment, and this $1200 per person is the only help forthcoming. There are a lot of mom-and-pops who will be going hungry if this lasts months as seems likely.

I understand. People's lives are more valuable than my livelihood. I WANT to close. But I don't know what I'm going to do without any income.
posted by rikschell at 12:23 PM on March 27 [9 favorites]


I was under the impression that unemployment has been expanded to cover at least some small business owners - self-employed etc - but there aren't many details yet. I run an LLC with one other person and was having difficulty figuring out how to file in my state. Who knows when relief could arrive given that they are probably beyond swamped...
posted by 250knots at 12:30 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Umm, it helps my family to the tune of $600 a week supposedly starting in the next couple of weeks, thanks. Maybe "a start" isn't enough for some folks, but I'll take something that will keep the wolves at bay for a few months over the usual kick in the teeth anyway.

Or we can do that whole snatch defeat from the jaws of victory thing yet again.
posted by wierdo at 12:32 PM on March 27 [8 favorites]


I don't know how this isn't obvious. Millions now cannot work.

The biggest problem right now is the millions who are becoming unemployed. The new unemployment benefits should be providing close to 100% of previous wages for low and middle income workers. There are also benefits extended to contractors, freelancers and gig workers.
posted by JackFlash at 12:32 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Rent evictions can be delayed for up to four months without penalty for landlords having federally backed mortgages on their property.

Does anyone know what that last bit means? What percentage of landlords have federally backed mortgages on their property? Is it 10%? 50%? 90%? How can I tell if my landlord is among them?
posted by mediareport at 12:33 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


"you can't evict anyone for 4 months" just means that in 4 months, when absolutely no one still has a job, ppl are going to be evicted by the landlords who have not had to pay a single penny towards their mortgages the entire time while still demanding rent
posted by poffin boffin at 12:33 PM on March 27 [9 favorites]


It's not the best bill, but it's not the last one either. There are several more being put together.

Of course with a bunch of murderclowns running things, who knows. But this is not the end of attempts to get more relief.
posted by emjaybee at 12:35 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


[Folks, this isn't an "either everything is great or everything is terrible, fight over that binary" kind of situation. It's okay to talk about what you like and dislike in the bill and why and leave room for everybody's feelings; we're not congress and we're not lobbyists. Be kind to each other.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:38 PM on March 27 [17 favorites]


Mortgage foreclosures can be delayed for up to six months without penalty for federally backed mortgages.

Rent evictions can be delayed for up to four months without penalty for landlords having federally backed mortgages on their property.


I have not read the bill in detail, but ctrl-F on the text yields zero matches for "eviction", and only two incidental matches for "mortgage", and only in the context of recipients of SBA loans being authorized to use loan funds to pay mortgages.

If this is instead a reference to HUD's earlier announcement about "foreclosure and evictions", it should be noted that this used "foreclosure and eviction" only as a term of art for what we would ordinarily call "foreclosure", and had no bearing on rentals.

It would be IMO highly questionable that Congress even has the power to intervene in non-federal rental and mortgage matters, but if they have the power, they don't seem to have exercised it here.
posted by Not A Thing at 12:38 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


oh great so the eviction thing is only protection for landlords again themselves? (and regular homeowners, yes, good for them at least.) but absolutely no kind of protection for people who rent. which is the majority of residents in large metro areas like nyc, los angeles, chicago, houston, phoenix.

i don't have the energy to do the math for each individual city but i wager there is no large metro area in the US where the amount of money being grudgingly allotted to individuals - yes, including the unemployment benefits expansion - will cover rent, food, utilities, and health insurance for the majority of the population. and the first thing people tend to sacrifice is health insurance. IN A PANDEMIC.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:52 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


I have not read the bill in detail, but ctrl-F on the text yields zero matches for "eviction", and only two incidental matches for "mortgage", and only in the context of recipients of SBA loans being authorized to use loan funds to pay mortgages.

You are reading the original McConnell version of the bill before Schumer made substantial modifications to it. The final version is here.

You want to look at Sec. 4024.
posted by JackFlash at 1:01 PM on March 27 [12 favorites]


That IS a great link. What's with Japan? Are they doing something right?

Not really. They have done very very little testing. In a month (2/18-3/19), they tested 37,726 people despite having a capacity of 6,000 a day.

We have suspected for a while that they were deliberately under-testing due to Olympics and that seems borne out by the sudden rash of measures this week _after_ the Olympics were postponed.

While Japan did close schools for a couple weeks, they re-opened them and most parks/aquariums/museums/etc also re-opened last week.

Now they appear to finally be trying actual closures/distancing, but this is well over a month after the virus started there and after a long time of little testing. Most people do not appear to be taking it seriously (my wife's family for example has not been, even as we send them increasing reports of how things have been in the US, not to mention Italy before that and China before that).

Much like the US a few weeks ago, I don't think we have any clear picture of what is happening. Now that the Olympics are off the table, I hope the government will be more aggressive, but just like in the US they wasted a lot of time.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:10 PM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Getting back to links, China has just reversed itself on reopening movie theaters:

Over 600 movie theaters across China were given the green light to reopen their doors over the past week, but Beijing's Film Bureau put out a notice late Friday ordering all theaters to go back into shutdown. No official explanation for the sudden reversal was provided.
posted by mediareport at 1:11 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


oh great so the eviction thing is only protection for landlords again themselves? (and regular homeowners, yes, good for them at least.) but absolutely no kind of protection for people who rent.

No. It prevents evictions for renters whose landlords have federally backed loans. I don't know the percentage but it is a lot. Fanny Mae alone issued 1 million mortgages for rental buildings last year. It also covers Freddy Mac, FHA and VA loans. It also covers any rental participating in housing vouchers from HUD, Violence Against Women Act and rural housing vouchers.

So not everyone, but a lot. Particularly the most vulnerable.
posted by JackFlash at 1:11 PM on March 27 [5 favorites]


Aha! Thanks. Here is the section. Relevant portion:
(b) Moratorium.—During the 120-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the lessor of a covered dwelling may not—

(1) make, or cause to be made, any filing with the court of jurisdiction to initiate a legal action to recover possession of the covered dwelling from the tenant for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges; or

(2) charge fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to such nonpayment of rent.
Not too shabby, although it's unclear how it would be enforced (doesn't look like it creates a private right of action), and I imagine most tenants would have a tough time finding out whether their landlord has a federally-backed mortgage.
posted by Not A Thing at 1:13 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Ochswar suggested upthread that we might soon see internal borders enforced within the US. That day has come. This is the TN/NC border on the Cherohala Skyway (NC143) in Graham County, NC. Here's the county's (useless, terrible) rationale for the closure. posted by workerant at 1:27 PM on March 27 [3 favorites +] [!]

The reality out there is that they have only a couple ambulances and if they don't close this motorcyclists will flock to that stretch of road (wiki) and possibly take up valuable EMS services that the county residents are counting on to be there.

The parks and trails were packed when people first started staying home, this would be too.
posted by achrise at 1:31 PM on March 27


Regarding rental evictions in the US, Million Acres has what seems to be a pretty good roundup of where things stand in terms of state and local measures.
posted by Not A Thing at 1:37 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]




Trump finally invokes the DPA.

Dumb ass. Ventec and GM were already working on doing this voluntarily until Jared stuck his nose in it and blew the whole deal up. So Trump kills the agreement, then turns around and "orders" them to proceed with the previous agreement so he can look "presidential."

And the MAGA hatters are going to eat this shit up.

If it weren't so damn important I'd rather Ventec and GM tell Trump to go fuck himself and go to court for the next six months.
posted by JackFlash at 1:46 PM on March 27 [15 favorites]


New York City Is Not Running Out Of Adoptable Pets, Shelter Says

There's been a spike in adoptions, which is um, how do I say it... good news. Good news!

And if you're lonesome and want a little friend you can still go out and get one. Just consider that you'll be going back to work sometime and you'll still have to care for them.
posted by adept256 at 2:39 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Oh, the idiot-in-chief issued his "order" to GM on twitter to a twitter account that has GM in its name but isn't owned by GM.
posted by JackFlash at 2:46 PM on March 27 [14 favorites]


A one-time taxable (!) payment of $1200 even for those who qualify is nothing in the face of what we're dealing with.

Not sure where you're getting your information, but the stimulus payments are NOT included in taxable income.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 3:19 PM on March 27 [5 favorites]


Short thread from Politico reporter Kyle Cheney on Twitter, with screenshots:

JUST IN: Trump signing statement on coronavirus bill says he’ll override a provision requiring the newly created inspector general to report to Congress any time agencies refuse to give him/her requested info.

Signing statement also says Trump will ignore requirements that congressional committees be consulted before reallocating funds.

And the statement also indicates Trump will treat as optional a provision requiring that Congress be consulted about the staffing of the new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.

posted by mediareport at 3:30 PM on March 27 [8 favorites]


New York City Is Not Running Out Of Adoptable Pets, Shelter Says

There's been a spike in adoptions, which is um, how do I say it... good news. Good news!

And if you're lonesome and want a little friend you can still go out and get one. Just consider that you'll be going back to work sometime and you'll still have to care for them.
posted by adept256 at 6:39 AM on March 28 [2 favorites +] [!]


I fully and completely support pet adoption! I would myself if I wasn't allergic, and I recommend it every time someone talks about wanting a pet. I also highly discourage anyone not capable of raising a pet due to budget or transient status to not due so. Animals are people too.

However. In all the news about how the virus is affecting humans, one story that I personally think is rather important has been chronically ignored: coronavirus infects dogs (South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong paper of mostly repute, ongoing story).

There is no need to panic, for now, because the two dogs infected and quarantined in Hong Kong were asymptomatic and seemed to play no part in spreading the virus to other humans. I don't know if they spread it to dogs, they were quarantined, I would be very happy if our data points on this stay at 2, so that we never know conclusively. At the same time, given how heavily people rely on their pets in times of isolation, I think it's realistic to expect further cases like this.

It's diarrhea icing on a crap cake in a time like this to tell people their dogs may be in danger or become vectors. But it is a thing that has been found and acted upon in Hong Kong, and we already know this virus can jump species.

Please keep that in mind, keep an eye on your dogs, and if your furry friend has to go away for testing and quarantine if you are confirmed positive, trust that it's for the best.

This also may turn out to be not true, and if someone has evidence to the contrary of what I've been reading in SCMP and a few other HK papers, please do share. What's happening right now is bad enough. This thing infecting our companion species is another level of awful entirely.
posted by saysthis at 3:35 PM on March 27


I had to look up Presidential Signing Statements, because I couldn't remember if there was any Supreme Court rulings or guidance.

Nope. The American Bar is highly against them, but Congress hasn't successfully legislated them away, and the Supreme Court has been (officially) mum. Sigh...
posted by Anoplura at 3:37 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Queensland to hold first BYO election for voters

I'm furious about this. This is just local council elections, they can bloody wait. Everything we've been told tells me this is the worst possible idea to go ahead with this. When the super obvious thing happens which we've all been warned about happens, I want the people responsible to go to prison. Idiots!

I love democracy, being part of this community I've learnt how important democracy is. But I'm not voting today. There's a fine here for not voting but I'll just cop it. I'm caring for someone, a senior citizen with underlying conditions. If he gets it he's fucked. I'm the only person he has contact with. If he dies it'll be my fault. I'm not taking the risk.

Furious!
posted by adept256 at 3:41 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]




And why the Democrats don't have someone speaking to television cameras every day with a cadre of doctors behind them to rebut and correct Trump's perilous lies is something I will never understand.

Bernie is hosting a livestream right now with doctors and nurses on the front lines.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:55 PM on March 27 [10 favorites]


Signing statement also says Trump will ignore requirements ...

Trump is just going to ignore all of the congressional oversight provisions in the new law because who's to tell him otherwise?

Gee, it was barely a month ago that Republican "moderate" Susan Collins said that she was okay with all this because she "hoped Trump had learned his lesson."

Hope is not a plan, you idiot.
posted by JackFlash at 4:04 PM on March 27 [12 favorites]


We’re not going back to normal, because normal was the problem.

Some good info in this article, but there's also this:
Countries with intact state institutions that have been able to handle the pandemic – such as China – cannot be easily dismissed as authoritarian; a general understanding has come that these governments and their state institutions are instead efficient.
Really??
posted by Lyme Drop at 4:07 PM on March 27 [8 favorites]


saysthis: coronavirus infects dogs

And cats: Worms & Germs Blog: "A cat in Belgium, owned by a person with COVID-19, has tested positive for the virus. . . . [It's] not clear whether the cat was sick because of the infection with SARS-CoV-2 or whether it had some other co-incidental problem."

My spouse's habit was to come in the front door, sit down to take off his shoes, scritch the cat as cat looped around his ankles, then head straight for the sink to wash his hands. (I scritched too, but not so often.)

When the info came out about the first COVID-19 positive Hong Kong dog, and I read at the Worms & Germs blog that cats were probably susceptible, we very deliberately started developing a new habit of voice-only greetings to the cat. No scritches until our hands are washed.

(This is the cat [Twitter link] who, 2 nights ago in the middle of the night while I was asleep, was sitting by my head grooming himself and a glob of his spit landed on my right eyelid and lash line. I'd been reading about ocular transmission of COVID-19 that day, so in 2 seconds I went from sound asleep to "WTF is this cold viscous wetness in my fucking eyelashesOMG the cat is grooming himself & just spat on my eye," catapulted gibbering into the bathroom and Clorox wiped & wiped & wiped...)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:17 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


One issue our university is running into is how to give exams. It's simple for some programs to avoid them, but with medical students you risk setting them back a year and not being prepared for or not being able to take standardized tests like the boards. Setting students back is very expensive to them.

I suggested a partial solution should be drive-in exams. Students park their cars face to face and access the exam by their laptop or tablets. (They have been doing this now in a classroom setting. There is already a protocol for downloading and locking out any other uses on their devices, and uploading when the exam is done.) The proctors would walk between cars making sure that students are not accessing notes.

The main concept is the car is a self-isolating instrument.

I was wondering if this could be extended to voting. Of course, not for everyone (not for those without cars, for example), but as an additional means of voting, along with mail-in, etc.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:32 PM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Final-year medical students graduate early to fight Covid-19

Final-year medical students across the UK are joining the frontline of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic after being graduated early by their universities.

The scale of the crisis and the pressure it is heaping on the already overstretched NHS has prompted many medical schools to expedite graduation, in some cases cancelling exams.


That's in the UK. NYU is doing it too:

NYU med school letting students graduate early to fight coronavirus

I don't know what kind of legal liability this puts the universities in. I suppose in an emergency like this no one gives a fuck about that.
posted by adept256 at 5:56 PM on March 27 [5 favorites]


As Trump signals readiness to break with experts, his online base assails Fauci (WaPo, Mar. 26, 2020)
“The president was right, and frankly Fauci was wrong,” Lou Dobbs said Monday on his show on the Fox Business Network, referring to the use of experimental medicine. Beyond prime-time television, however, the disregard for expert guidance being pushed by some conservative and libertarian voices goes further — aimed not simply at proving Fauci wrong but at painting him as an agent of the “deep state” that Trump has vowed to dismantle. The smear campaign taking root online, and laying the groundwork for Trump to cast aside the experts on his own coronavirus task force, relies centrally on the idea that there is no expertise that rises above partisanship, and that everyone has an agenda.

[...] The attempt to discredit Fauci draws on a resource for which Trump has professed his “love” — WikiLeaks. Among the emails hacked by Russian agents and released by the anti-secrecy organization in 2016 was a message Fauci sent in 2013 to one of Clinton’s top aides, Cheryl Mills. He praised the secretary of state’s “stamina and capability” during her testimony before the congressional committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. At the end of last week, the right-wing website Gateway Pundit cited the email, saying it came as “no surprise” because the doctor was also encouraging states to adopt restrictive measures that were “crashing their economies” and playing down hopes for possible coronavirus treatments.

[...] Some of the most prominent conservative influencers, including Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch and Bill Mitchell of “YourVoice America,” have been amplifying the conspiracy theories to their hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter. Both figures have been retweeted by the president, Fitton as many as 100 times. Meanwhile, at least two congressional candidates have participated in the smear campaign. Also spreading specious claims about Fauci is a highly active account on Twitter that has been featured by the One America News Network (OANN), a right-wing channel favored by the president that gained a seat in the White House briefing room in 2017.
posted by katra at 5:57 PM on March 27 [9 favorites]


The medical school where I teach is also looking forward to having early graduations. The fourth year students have finished everything by now: the boards and have their matches. Fourth year (and it probably differs in some schools) is dedicated to elective clinical rotations. Speeding up the graduation by a month or two at the most will do little to affect the doctors that they will be. Think of it as medical students with two months fewer clinical experience.
I'm not sure they are all crazy to head to the front lines. (Some are. For some this is the reason they got into medicine: to help where they are most needed.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:06 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Georgia Covid-19 cases rise as Atlanta mayor warns hospitals are at capacity (Guardian)
The coronavirus crisis in Georgia is spiraling as the mayor of Atlanta has warned that intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the city have reached capacity even though the level of the virus in the state is probably still far from its peak. [...] Unlike other US centers of the crisis such as New York, where large convention facilities are being used to place more beds, ventilators and supplies, that has not been the case in Atlanta.

Keishia Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, said the situation could see a collapse of the state’s healthcare system sooner, rather than later. [...] For now, the city’s mayor has mandated a city-wide shutdown – a further step than the state’s Republican governor has suggested.

[...] In 2017, a study found Georgia had one of the worst healthcare systems in the country, ranking it 49th for access.
posted by katra at 6:16 PM on March 27 [8 favorites]


Lyme Drop, I co-sign your really??

All the comparisons between various countries' responses are giving me the hives.

I complained yesterday about how American understandings of Asia reveal so much more about U.S. internal politics and preoccupations than actual events in China, South Korea, etc.

Asian countries are being used as props for pontificating by all sorts of folks, journalists, randos, activists, politicians, all along the political spectrum. I forget which news outlet had labeled the low slope of Japan's covid19 cases with "obedient population" or something like that.

Journalist William Yang and others have been dismayed by the sheer relentlessness of "it must be the Confucian culture" explanations. Um, how about the double-whammy of SARS and MERS as a wake-up call to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, et?
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:34 PM on March 27 [15 favorites]


What got me yesterday was a random Marxist-Maoist type who opined that any criticism of the Chinese government's handling of the coronavirus is clearly Trumpian propaganda intended to deflect criticism of the administration's inept and criminal actions.

YES "Chinese virus" is hella racist and is totally b.s. scapegoating. Yes, don't get distracted by the blame game.

But Chinese people are not some monolithic mass of either the brainwashed or the supremely self-sacrificing. I keep on going back to this scathing January 27th piece by a Wuhan journalist just excoriating the Chinese Communist Party's decisions in late December and most of January.
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:43 PM on March 27 [12 favorites]


China’s claim of coronavirus victory in Wuhan brings hope, but experts worry it is premature (WaPo, Mar. 25, 2020)
[...] Wuhan’s near-zero count is being called into question by independent reporting and received with suspicion from experts. It underscores wider issues across China. The country’s overall coronavirus numbers have been met with some skepticism since the first signs of crisis. Separate reports from Chinese, Japanese and Hong Kong media suggest the dearth of new cases in Wuhan may reflect a dip in testing. Public health experts also note that China does not include confirmed asymptomatic cases in its figures — a potential blind spot.

These gaps are particularly worrying because as of Wednesday, tens of millions of residents of Hubei province will be able to move around for the first time in months. Though Wuhan, the provincial capital, will remain in lockdown, some fear another wave of cases could be possible as people start to travel into and around the Chinese heartland.

[...] A March 23 report from Caixin, a Chinese outlet that has done groundbreaking coverage of the crisis, found that the virus may still be spreading in the city. “There are still a few or a dozen asymptomatic people every day,” an unidentified official at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention was quoted by Caixin as saying. “It can’t be determined whether transmission has been completely cut off.”

[...] A Post account of the early days of the outbreak in Wuhan showed how secrecy and censorship fueled the virus’s spread across China and around the world. In January, local officials stopped recording new cases ahead of a Communist Party conclave in Hubei province. China also failed to share critical data with the World Health Organization.
posted by katra at 6:55 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


can anyone smarter than me verify that a molecular POC test with this timeline is really a thing?

Scott Gottlieb, MD, Twitter:
8:26 PM · Mar 27, 2020
This is GAME CHANGER. Abbott to market, starting next week, a fast point-of-care #coronavirus test, delivering positive results in 5min and negative results in 13min.
ABBOTT PARK, Ill., March 27, 2020
Abbott Launches Molecular Point-of-Care Test to Detect Novel Coronavirus in as Little as Five Minutes
posted by lazaruslong at 8:25 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Oh shit actually Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) has it now, and I trust him. Looks like this is a serious improvement towards a goal of at least 2 million / week.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:57 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


(not an expert. probably not smarter than lazaruslong.)

abbott's realtime sars-cov2 assay product page.
Negative results do not preclude SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for patient management decisions. Negative results must be combined with clinical observations, patient history, and epidemiological information.
so, maybe a no on negative result in 13 minutes, except for values of "negative result" that "do not preclude sars-cov-2 infection."

the "realtime" in that product name indicates that it runs on abbott's M2000 realtime system (also see) the complete system appears to comprise the realtime sp, a "meadium throughput" automated sample preparation system offering "including master mix creation and 96-well PCR tray generation" and the realtime rt, an automated amplification system for "amplification and detection of DNA, RNA, or TNA," plus sundry peripherals.

per the world health organization's 2005 "Sources and Prices of Selected Medicines and Diagnostics for People Living with HIV/AIDS" (the first price i could find), the sp runs for $100,000 and the rt for $50,250 (probably adjust for inflation & gouging, and add peripherals). i cite price as it may bear on how many of these systems are out there and which organizations may have them. (over in the now-closed modeling thread when a cepheid test gained similar approval, i found the GeneXpert systems on which they run selling used somewhere like this; i didn't quickly find such information for the realtime system, nor an indication of how many systems there are in "hospitals and reference labs around the world," per press-release posted above by lazaruslong).

the assay's usage is allowed under FDA emergency use approval. it has not been validated similarly to assays we commonly rely upon (but maybe abbott will be well-positioned to collect a good deal of data free of the usual strictures governing such things, in light of the pandemic. it is hopeful development; likely those labtechs operating it will better understand the reliability and utility of its results than i.

it is much faster than the cepheid assay granted emergency use authorization last year weekend.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:29 PM on March 27 [9 favorites]


Scott Gottlieb forecasts the next coronavirus outbreaks (Politico)
Gottlieb — whose prescient public warnings about coronavirus in January fell largely on deaf ears — told POLITICO on Thursday that the United States may soon have “the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world in absolute terms and on a per capita basis,” given the total number of cases.

[...] “It’s the best health care system, I think, in the country,” Gottieb said. “But we're going to see it, in about a week, be maxed out.” “This is like nothing anybody's ever seen before who's practicing medicine, who's alive today,” he added.

However, Gottlieb said he agrees with President Donald Trump’s goal of trying to “open” the country back up in the coming weeks. “We can gradually take off some of the most onerous [restrictions] in parts of the country where we’ve broken transmission, where the virus isn’t circulating anymore or circulating at a low level,” Gottlieb said. But he subtly broke with Trump’s goal of ending social-distancing restrictions by Easter on April 12, suggesting that the U.S. outbreak would peak “probably more likely late April, but maybe mid-April if you believe the optimistic scenario.”

“We'll be coming down that curve hopefully in May and into June,” Gottlieb added, suggesting that it could be months before disease spread is truly under control.

The former FDA commissioner has maintained a line to the Trump administration throughout the crisis, offering private advice to senior officials. POLITICO last month reported that the White House considered tapping Gottlieb to be the administration’s “coronavirus czar,” before opting for AIDS expert Deborah Birx in a similar role. Birx on Thursday said that some predictions about the outbreak are overblown, warning against worst-case scenarios that she says aren't reflected by current data.
posted by katra at 10:01 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


But Dr. Birx tried to be reassuring. She said that 19 states that represent about 40 percent of the U.S. population still have fewer than 200 cases of coronavirus

This claim sure isn't aging well. It was bullshit when she said it and it is even more bullshit less than two days later.

There are currently only 12 states -- the 12 least populated states -- with less than 200 cases, representing less than 5% of the U.S. population.

Birx is not to be trusted. She sold her soul and her credibility. She is totally in the bag for Trumpy happy talk.
posted by JackFlash at 10:41 PM on March 27 [21 favorites]


For Dr. Deborah Birx, Urging Calm Has Come With Heavy Criticism (Noah Weiland and Maggie Haberman, NYT)
Practically overnight, Dr. Birx has become a partisan Rorschach test. Conservative commentators have praised her as a truth-teller, pushing back on coronavirus hysteria. Critics of Mr. Trump accused her of squandering the credibility she had developed as a health official in Democratic and Republican administrations.

[...] Dr. Howard Bauchner, the editor in chief of The Journal of the American Medical Association, warned Friday of “a potential tsunami coming” on a video call with hundreds of other physicians about rationing ventilators and critical care.

Dr. Ryan A. Stanton, a board member at the American College of Emergency Physicians, said Dr. Birx sounded like “the builders of the Titanic saying the ship can’t sink.”

[...] Dr. Mahshid Abir, an emergency physician at the University of Michigan and an expert on hospital preparedness, said on Friday that shortages are inevitable. Hospital systems not only in New York but Atlanta, Seattle and New Orleans are already warning that they have or will reach capacity in the coming days. [...] The United States currently has 160,000 to 200,000 ventilators, but as many as one million patients might need to use one of the machines during the outbreak, according to the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
posted by katra at 11:32 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Trump seeks to ramp up production of medical equipment after harsh criticism of his slow response (WaPo)
Trump, asked what more he wants from governors in states such as Washington and Michigan who have been publicly critical of the federal response, said he expects appreciation from governors who receive federal help. “Very simple, I want them to be appreciative,” Trump said at a Friday evening news conference. “I don’t want them to say things that aren’t true. I want them to be appreciative. We’ve done a great job.” Trump added that he wanted that appreciation directed at administration officials, like Vice President Pence, as well as federal agencies more than himself.

The president criticized Democratic governors Jay Inslee of Washington and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, whom he called “the woman in Michigan,” and said he had instructed Pence not to call them because they were not sufficiently complimentary of him and his administration. “You know what I say? If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said, allowing that Pence has a different standard of leadership and continues to communicate with Inslee and Whitmer.

Trump sought to avoid blame for the shortage of ventilators, personal protective equipment and other supplies at hospitals. He has repeatedly targeted Inslee and Witmer, as well as New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) in recent days — all three of whom have criticized the federal response. [...] The first GM ventilators would not be finished until the end of April, and it would take until the summer to reach a pace of more than 10,000 a month, with the capability of building 20,000 a month later in the year, according to a person familiar with the plans who was not authorized to discuss the arrangement on the record.
posted by katra at 11:44 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


The Abbott thing.

I was exasperatedly critical of Abbott's real-life results with their TB (tuberculosis) diagnosis machines. The selling point was you put a sample in a proprietary cartridge with lots of extraneous plastic, and it was supposed to magically extract TB DNA - a particulary difficult technical process when working specifically with TB - and analyze it in a proprietary black box.

They are good at getting non-gov and government agencies to accept their claims at face value, but they have a huge "our tech will solve it" mindset like MIT Media Lab's mentality that doesn't consider on-the-ground problems/ differences that need to be solved. Sure it works in a controlled environment, but it's completely inadequate in real world settings.

"5 minute positive, 13 minute negative" - sounds like a huge excuse to not disclose the limits of detection and the specificity and sensitivity of the assay.

There was a recent press article critical of the tests that Russia is using for their numbers - limits of detection thousands, tens of thousands, times worse than the average lod of official tests worldwide.

Like I said before, without a "sample prep" (you lyse the biological sample - break open all cells, including viral capsid - capture as many of the nucleic acids as can be released, wash it, then elute the cleaned up nucleic acids to perform the molecular test on. With a bit of automation, this could be down to 5 minutes a sample - in aggregate - if you're taking about handling hundreds or thousands of samples a day.

Doing an individual sample, this could be a half an hour. Overall turnaround can be a batch of tests every 4 hours or a bit more, when we're talking thousands a day. But there's a lot of delay on top of that because of administrative stuff, like verification and reporting, and taking the time to let everyone know their results.

Without this step, the sensitivity of any test is garbage and will only detect very high viral loads.

But, I guess par for course for 'science by press release.'
posted by porpoise at 12:45 AM on March 28 [31 favorites]


I want to reinvigorate a twitter profile I’ve left by the way-side for a bit too long. If you’re into Kurdish and Arab issues in NE Syria, who are having a hard time procuring the proper materials to deal with the virus due to a lot of geopolitical issues/Turkey took all their kits from Serekaniye, follow my Twitter that’s entirely built for issues from that region @tdk2019. I predominantly retweet
official sources that I’ve sussed out and made sure that they are legitimate. They are potentially going to have a hard time there, due to the refugee crisis. There are a lot of people in tents who need help and don’t have homes to go back to after the Turkish/jihadist invasion back in October. It’s potentially a cinder block of viral activity, but the Kurdish/Arabic Asayish (police forces) in the region seem to be doing a great job of making sure people are okay. At least from what I can tell. Again, I’m having a hard time getting info from the region, but my sources are solid regardless.
posted by gucci mane at 5:06 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


To tag on top of that, I get to post a lot of political stuff that involves their ideas of politics, which is from a social ecological background. I find that a lot of the theories that Murray Bookchin and the Kurds’ ideological leader, Abdullah Öcalan, espouse actually work really well and make a lot of sense when it comes to a pandemic such as this. Our relationships to the environment and our relationships to each other are actually a big deal. Like I said, I don’t have hard evidence about the Kurds and Arabs and other people in N/NE Syria, but I do believe that they may have a good ideological backing for how pandemics work, even though they are especially vulnerable to the pandemic right now.
posted by gucci mane at 5:10 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


Sorry to post again, I just want to add that I hope you all will maybe get a glimpse into the life of a small region of the world that is fighting the disease without proper materials, who are people who have fought ISIS and Al Qaeda nonstop and so many governments for their livelihood. It’s so interesting to witness this predicament. And I say that from a privileged point of view but up until 2 weeks ago I was on my way to Syria to join the Kurds, and the virus ended up canceling all my plans unfortunately. I feel very strongly about this, and I think there is a lot to learn here.
posted by gucci mane at 5:13 AM on March 28 [12 favorites]


Trump takes immediate step to try to curb new inspector general’s autonomy, as battle over stimulus oversight begins (Jeff Stein, WaPo)

Letters from an American - March 27, 2020, (Heather Cox Richardson)
When Trump signed it, he included a “signing statement.” These used to be quite innocuous statements in which a president would thank the people involved in writing the bill, or talk about how important a bill was. President George W. Bush began to use these statements to challenge the content of a bill without being forced to veto the entire thing, saying, for example, that he would not honor certain portions of it. And that’s what happened tonight. Trump issued a signing statement saying he would ignore the law’s provisions for an independent inspector general overseeing the disbursal of funds for corporate bailouts. His argument is that such a provision intrudes on the rights of the executive to block information from Congress. If this holds, it would erase the Democrats’ key victory in the negotiations over the bill.

Trump’s attempt to reject congressional oversight is “not a surprise to anyone,” Pelosi said tonight, and a Democratic aide said they had anticipated such a move and so had put multiple layers of oversight in the bill. But Trump said that federal agencies must be allowed to act without consulting Congress and that he would not treat “spending decisions as dependent on prior consultation with or the approval of” Congress.

It is not the House Democrats, but rather the president, who is playing politics with this massive relief bill that was so painstakingly negotiated. He remains eager to gather power into his own hands.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:16 AM on March 28 [12 favorites]


“Don’t call the woman in Michigan” — Trump’s pettiness was on display during Friday’s coronavirus briefing (Aaron Rupar, Vox)
So even in the case of procuring ventilators, Trump’s thinking is transactional. His decision to force GM to make them is in part about his lingering beefs with the company. And where they ultimately end up could end up being a function of which state governor is in Trump’s good graces rather than a reflection of on-the-ground need.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:20 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Here is a post from Mutlu Civiroglu, who is an analyst and journalist that deals with that region very heavily. This video details the Kurdistan region’s response to the virus, as best that they can. It’s actually very interesting when you get into the ideological background of the Kurds and their struggle and how important a holistic approach to social ecology actually is, and how prescient it is to us now.
posted by gucci mane at 5:41 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Gucci Mane, yesterday I donated to Doctors Without Borders, because I am very worried about the situation in Syria and Turkey. I'm afraid it will be a huge catastrophe very soon. Thanks for your updates. I'd be grateful if you keep posting here as well as on twitter, since I am not on Twitter or any other social media (unless you count MeFi as social media)
posted by mumimor at 5:42 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Hi, I will do my best to update! Thank you for your attention! That region is especially precarious and I feel terrible for anyone over there. They’re really struggling there in a lot of different ways (ethnic cleansing and refugee crises predominantly, at this point), so it’s ripe for a viral infection of the population, unfortunately. Heyva Sor/Kurdish Red Crescent is a reputable organization you can donate to in the future! That’s who all the YPG and international communalist ppl talk about donating to, and I’ve given them money in the past. I think they’re maybe the only legit organization there? I can’t tell with that area anymore, hahaha. So many intelligence agencies operating in that field now!
posted by gucci mane at 5:49 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


A Supercarrier Sidelined By COVID-19 Could Be The Canary In The Coal Mine For The Navy (Updated) — Tight living conditions make U.S. Navy ships ripe for outbreaks of COVID-19, which could have damning consequences for national security, War Zone, Chris Harmer, March 26, 2020:
Two days ago, three U.S. Navy sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) [*] tested positive for COVID-19. Yesterday an additional five sailors tested positive. This is the first time that the Navy has detected the virus aboard a warship at sea. While aircraft carriers have capable and well-equipped medical departments, complete with operating rooms and intensive care units, ships at sea are an extremely difficult environment in which to quarantine individuals who are infected. Accordingly, Roosevelt has suspended its deployment and is now in port in Guam. The entire ship will be placed in quarantine while its crew, literally all of the personnel aboard, will be tested for COVID-19....
Now Both Aircraft Carriers In The Western Pacific Have COVID-19 Cases, Raising Readiness Concerns — Sailors from a carrier forward deployed to Japan had contracted the virus as confirmed cases grow onboard another flattop in Guam. War Zone, Joseph Trevithick, March 27, 2020:
Two sailors onboard the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan [*], which forward-deployed in Japan and presently pier-side there, have tested positive for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This comes just a day after the U.S. Navy announced it had quarantined the entire crew of another aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, on their ship in port in Guam after a number of sailors contracted the virus. The War Zone had already warned that the Roosevelt's predicament could be an ominous sign of what's to come for the Navy. If Reagan is sidelined, as well, the service would have no carriers presently deployed in the Pacific region that can actually operate....
COVID-19 Drives Command Teams Charged With Homeland Defense Into Cheyenne Mountain Bunker — Another US military command and control element is also now isolated in a third, undisclosed location. War Zone, Joseph Trevithick, March 27, 2020
U.S. Northern Command has dispersed essential command and control teams to multiple hardened locations, including the famous Cheyenne Mountain bunker complex in Colorado, as well as another unspecified site, and is keeping them in isolation. The command took these steps to help ensure these personnel can continue to watch around the clock for potential threats to the U.S. homeland as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand across the country and around the world, including within the U.S. military.

U.S. Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, head of Northern Command (NORTHCOM), who also serves as the commanding officer of the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), detailed the changes during a virtual town hall on Facebook on Mar. 24, 2020. Under normal circumstances, the watch teams, which support both NORTHCOM and NORAD missions, would take shifts staffing a central command center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado....
*Together, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (WP) and USS Ronald Reagan (WP) have over 1,100 total crew members and flight wing personnel.
posted by cenoxo at 6:09 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


> ...over 1,100 total crew members and flight wing personnel.

Make that "over 11,000 total crew members and flight wing personnel.", sry.
posted by cenoxo at 6:17 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


James Felton, Mar 28, 2020
After repeatedly warning people about social distancing he packed people in a vulnerable age group into a small space, signed a coronavirus bill then handed out commemorative pens
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:46 AM on March 28 [18 favorites]


Exclusive: U.S. Military Activates Its Never-Before-Used Federal Response to Combat Coronavirus Pandemic, Newsweek, William M. Arkin, 3/27/20:
While being hit with coronavirus at rates equivalent to the civilian population, the U.S. military has activated its "defense support of civil authorities" apparatus, establishing liaisons in all 50 states, activating units and command posts, and moving forces to provide medical, transportation, logistics, and communications support in New York and Washington states.

Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, the command of Army North (ARNORTH), has requested and received approval for the deployment of ground units in response to the now declared national emergency. The moves begin to implement two existing contingency plans—CONPLAN 3400 for "homeland defense" and CONPLAN 3500 for "defense support of civil authorities"—as well as numerous new orders specifically relating to coronavirus. Eighteen states have also moved to appoint "dual-status commanders," specially appointed National Guard officers who serve in both state and federal chains of command. The dual-status commanders will report to Gen. Richardson as well as the governors of each state.

The federal military response, never before activated on a nationwide scale, is a patchwork of complex organizational schemes....
Not a simple plan.
posted by cenoxo at 6:53 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Trump issues order to bring former troops back to active duty to assist in coronavirus response, Washington Post, Dan Lamothe, March 27, 2020
President Trump issued an order Friday night that permits the Pentagon to bring former U.S. troops and members of the National Guard and Reserve back to active duty to augment forces already involved in the U.S. military’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, senior U.S. officials said.

The president said Friday night that the decision will “allow us to mobilize medical, disaster and emergency response personnel to help wage our battle against the virus by activating thousands of experienced service members including retirees.”

The president did not clarify whether anyone will be involuntarily recalled to duty, but said some retirees have “offered to support the nation in this extraordinary time of need.”

“It’s really an incredible thing to see,” Trump said. “It’s beautiful.”...
posted by cenoxo at 7:14 AM on March 28


Trump re-tweeted a portion of Rachel Maddow's show and thanked her for highlighting the military response. Rachel Maddow tweeted back an excellent response.
posted by Glinn at 8:00 AM on March 28 [14 favorites]


Zeynep Tufekci says, "I hope this is true!" after New York physician Matt McCarthy, author of the book "Superbugs," tweeted this morning that "CDC guidance on masks expected to change in next 10 days. Americans will be advised to wear masks in everyday life. Current recommendation is for high-risk groups only." She adds, "People should start today, with homemade or surgical masks."

I posted this in the pandemic politics thread, but here it is again: a February South China Morning Post article with video showing how to make what is claimed to be a highly effective homemade mask from paper towels, tissue, tape and rubber bands.

Here's a quick tutorial using handkerchief and hairbands for a mask that's almost certainly better than no mask at all when you have to go out.
posted by mediareport at 8:56 AM on March 28 [13 favorites]


The FPP Ask for Masks has more about masks, including DIY instructions, so maybe you could post there, too?
posted by katra at 9:03 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]


The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life (Ed Pilkington and Tom McCarthy, Guardian)
Within a week of its first confirmed case, South Korea’s disease control agency had summoned 20 private companies to the medical equivalent of a war-planning summit and told them to develop a test for the virus at lightning speed. A week after that, the first diagnostic test was approved and went into battle, identifying infected individuals who could then be quarantined to halt the advance of the disease. Some 357,896 tests later, the country has more or less won the coronavirus war. On Friday only 91 new cases were reported in a country of more than 50 million.

The US response tells a different story. [...] “The US response will be studied for generations as a textbook example of a disastrous, failed effort,” Ron Klain, who spearheaded the fight against Ebola in 2014, told a Georgetown university panel recently.
posted by katra at 9:17 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]


[One deleted; folks please limit the length of article excerpts you're posting, aim for no more than a couple paragraphs. Thank you.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:38 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


Trump says he's eyeing quarantine of New York, surrounding area (Katy O'Donnell, Politico)
Trump said he plans to speak with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo later Saturday.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:08 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Trump says he's eyeing quarantine of New York, surrounding area

Can't wait until all those Right Wing Militia members break through those highway barricades to defend New York from federal overreach.
posted by PenDevil at 10:58 AM on March 28 [10 favorites]


Trump says he's eyeing quarantine of New York

“They’re having problems down in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers are going down — we don’t want that,” Trump said, adding that he had just spoken with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Here's the beauty of it. Trump hates New York because they never vote for him. But he needs Florida to win the next election. Here he's able to blame Florida's outbreak not on its incompetent governor, but on those diseased New Yorkers. He's once again using division and factionalism to fire up his base.

It's all about the election.
posted by JackFlash at 11:03 AM on March 28 [18 favorites]


Ron DeSantis is having a very difficult time threading the needle between his supporters who all believe Trump's hoax message and the reality of the progression of illness across the state. Not surprising that he would latch on to the idea that the problem is people from New York bringing their disease here. In reality, New Yorkers all went home from Spring Break with the virus they acquired here because nobody could bear to believe they'd have to cancel tourism season until the virus was already well established in the community.
posted by wierdo at 11:21 AM on March 28 [16 favorites]


Of course, Trump is a New Yorker who has officially moved to Florida.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:30 AM on March 28 [10 favorites]


Trump says he's eyeing quarantine of New York

i don't think he can do that without quarantining vermont, mass, new hampshire, maine and rhode island, too - he'd have to have a crapload of troops to seal off the pennsylvania/new york border - and the conneticut border

from lake champlain to the hudson to the delaware is a natural, doable border - but it means most of new england not just 3 states

that he's just saying new york, new jersey, conneticut or new york area just proves to me he hasn't looked on a damn map and really thought it through

there's no point in locking the damn barn door after the horse is gone anyway
posted by pyramid termite at 11:31 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Trump says he's eyeing quarantine of New York

He’s watched Escape from New York too many times and thinks he’s Snake Plissken, doesn’t he. He forgets he’s actually the ineffectual President who needs to be rescued. I mean the President’s first name in that movie is even Donald, in case the writer’s needed to rub it in more.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:31 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Here he's able to blame Florida's outbreak not on its incompetent governor, but on those diseased New Yorkers. He's once again using division and factionalism to fire up his base.
Don't forget the racism, nativism, and anti-semitism.. Because you know who lives in cities? (wink wink, nudge nudge, ear-piercing dogwhistle..) Those people..
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:33 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


A bit of video from Rhode Island:
Per Gov Raimondo’s order, Westerly Police & National Guard are knocking on doors of people’s homes in Westerly who have NY license plates in their driveways to let them know they have to quarantine for 14-days.
posted by adamg at 11:35 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


DeSantis is also trying to blame NOLA, demanding that travelers from Louisiana self-quarantine for two weeks. He's still trying to pretend that we don't have community spread here in the panhandle.
posted by Vigilant at 11:37 AM on March 28


there's no point in locking the damn barn door after the horse is gone anyway

assumes there's a rational point to anything Trump does ... beyond somehow/anyhow getting re-elected, because if he's not president anymore, he's on his way to prison one way or another.
posted by philip-random at 11:57 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Trump says he's eyeing quarantine of New York

Nice work. Anyone who had reasons to leave New York sometime in the next six months is now rapidly departing and dispersing throughout the country instead of isolating.

Same as what happened when Trump announced a quarantine on the EU and thousands of people from infected areas flooded into the New York airports. How do you think New York got where it is now?
posted by JackFlash at 12:09 PM on March 28 [19 favorites]


Major Republican fundraiser Mike Gula has abruptly left that business to start selling N95 masks and other essential COVID-19 protective gear. He claims he'll be shipping millions of masks in the next few days and that his supply is from "personal connections".
He said he decided to trade in fundraising to sell medical supplies “because nobody was doing it. Because the president and the vice president were asking people to help.”
In a sane administration the DoJ would be investigating him already. In this administration I can't help but wonder if "personal connections" means that someone in the Trump administration is giving him the strategic stockpile so he can sell it at a massive markup.
posted by sotonohito at 12:31 PM on March 28 [27 favorites]


Bonus points for a guy with no experience in the logistics of medical supply chains deciding randomly to start selling medical supplies because he thinks no one else is doing it.
posted by sotonohito at 12:38 PM on March 28 [23 favorites]


With regards to Mike Gula's new business, I don't know how he plans on getting N95 masks that are somehow outside already existing supply chains, but in my opinion one possible scenario is N95 mask "laundering" with Mike Gula acting as the front. State, county, and city governments all over the country are setting up PPE distribution programs run by health officials and asking businesses to donate to these programs their existing stores of N95 masks that these businesses can no longer use due to closures. I suspect that some business owned by Mike Gula's "personal connections" might prefer to sell these masks, but being seen as selling them to their local PPE programs instead of donating them might antagonize public officials and cause ill-will in the communities that they will have to deal with after the crisis is over. They can avoid this by not admitting they have them, make some money by selling them to Mike Gula, who will in turn sell them to desperate PPE distribution programs. Acting as an intermediary who disguises the true origin of something seems right up the alley of a now-former Republican fundraiser.
posted by RichardP at 12:56 PM on March 28 [33 favorites]


3M CEO: ‘Disappointing’ to see N95 respirator masks at retail stores instead of hospitals (CNBC, March 23, 2020) “It’s disappointing when you see that because we’re trying to redirect everything to health-care workers,” [3M Chairman and CEO Mike] Roman said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” Roman’s comments came one day after 3M said it is sending to New York and Seattle a half-million N95 respirator masks in response to the ongoing shortage of health-care equipment.

Around 350,000 should arrive in New York alone on Monday, Roman said.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:35 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Exclusive: Inside The Military's Top Secret Plans If Coronavirus Cripples the Government, Newsweek, William M. Arkin, 3/18/20:
Even as President Trump says he tested negative for coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic raises the fear that huge swaths of the executive branch or even Congress and the Supreme Court could also be disabled, forcing the implementation of "continuity of government" plans that include evacuating Washington and "devolving" leadership to second-tier officials in remote and quarantined locations.

But Coronavirus is also new territory, where the military itself is vulnerable and the disaster scenarios being contemplated -- including the possibility of widespread domestic violence as a result of food shortages -- are forcing planners to look at what are called "extraordinary circumstances".
Military plans exist if Constitutional successors are disabled. Standby orders issued +3 weeks ago will protect Washington & enforce martial law. Secret plans Octagon, Freejack & Zodiac ensure government continuity, and "devolution" could nullify Constitutional succession. Military commanders could be in charge around America.
posted by cenoxo at 1:36 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]


^explains why the military was only loosening its grip on 2K ventilators from its 'strategic reserves,' I suppose
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:42 PM on March 28


Even as President Trump says he tested negative for coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic raises the fear that huge swaths of the executive branch or even Congress and the Supreme Court could also be disabled, forcing the implementation of "continuity of government" plans that include evacuating Washington and "devolving" leadership to second-tier officials in remote and quarantined locations.


Elect Ted Lieu speaker of the House, have him appoint Pelosi as interim speaker, and send him to seclusion.

THis. Needs. Doing. FUck continuity. Use the Constitution to force a distinct discontinuity.
posted by ocschwar at 1:53 PM on March 28 [9 favorites]


Army Asks Retired Soldiers in Health Care Fields to Come Back for COVID-19 Fight (Military.com, March 25, 2020) The Army has a message for its retirees: Uncle Sam wants you to help fight the novel coronavirus. A message sent by Defense Finance and Accounting Services, which processes and dispenses retiree pay, asked troops who had previously served in specific health care specialties to consider "re-joining the team" to address the current pandemic crisis. [...]

The call was addressed to retirees from the following health care-specific military occupational specialties: 60F: Critical Care Officer; 60N: Anesthesiologist; 66F: Nurse Anesthetist; 66S: Critical Care Nurse; 66P: Nurse Practitioner; 66T: ER Nurse; 68V: Respiratory Specialist; 68W: Medic

The message came with a caveat: retired personnel now working in a civilian capacity in a hospital or other medical facility should make that known. Army officials said they did not want to pull personnel from service they were "providing to the Nation" in that role. They added that former soldiers from a different specialty who were interested in supporting Army efforts should also reach out to communicate that interest.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:14 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]




PinkNews.co.uk: Medical fetish store donates entire stock of hospital scrubs to the NHS to help fight coronavirus
... Medical fetish store Medfet said it has found itself being “sought out as a last-resort supplier to our National Health Service”, and has therefore donated its entire stock of disposable scrubs to the NHS.

The online store is “100 per cent dedicated to medical fetish, kink and role play”, and stocks more than 250 medical-grade products.

It wrote on Twitter: “Today we donated our entire stock of disposable scrubs to an NHS hospital. It was just a few sets, because we don’t carry large stocks, but they were desperate, so we sent them free of charge.

“When you see someone from the government saying the NHS is getting what it needs, that is a LIE.

“We have been contacted this week by representatives of NHS procurement all over the country, trying to source basic protective equipment and clothing.”
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:21 PM on March 28 [15 favorites]


‘It’s no different from New York’: Urban centers nationwide gird for catastrophic virus outbreak (WaPo)
The urgency is motivated in part by uncertainty about federal resources. The city has placed requests to the Strategic National Stockpile, but the amount of personal protective equipment it has received so far “was not even worth putting in our local spreadsheets,” [Allison Arwady, Chicago’s public health commissioner,] said. She was looking elsewhere for assistance, including to local members of international disaster-relief organizations who might be able to supplement medical staff.

[...] Several days ago, the [Louisiana] ordered 12,000 of the lifesaving breathing devices — 5,000 from the Strategic National Stockpile, 7,000 from private vendors. “Today we have received exactly 192,” [Louisiana’s governor, John Bel Edwards,] said Friday, with another 100 supposed to arrive next week.

[...] While the virus seemed set to buffet population centers in Michigan and Illinois, “we don’t know what’s next because of a lack of data,” said Leana Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner. “We have no idea which communities are going to be the next hot spots and how many there are going to be,” she said. “A few months ago we saw the images coming out of China and a couple weeks coming out of Italy. We had time to prepare for this. We saw what happens to other places. This bought us time, but we didn’t use the time.”
posted by katra at 5:17 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Military plans exist if Constitutional successors are disabled. Standby orders issued +3 weeks ago will protect Washington & enforce martial law.

That's nice and all, but a competent administration would have already moved Pence to an isolated location with entrance only permitted after a test/quarantine/test sequence. We have video conferencing: people don't need to meet face-to-face.

Also, they should have done the same with aircraft carriers and submarines and so forth. Did they not read about the Diamond Princess? It's too late now: the best thing they could do would be to dock their infected carriers, evacuate them and place the entire crew into individually-isolated quarantine and then restart. If they have an existing known-good skeleton crew they could speed the process up, but right now they need to assume that everybody is an asymptomatic carrier.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:51 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


As COVID-19 spreads across fleet, Navy stops identifying ships with positive cases.
Navy Times, J.D. Simkins, 5 days ago:
As the number of positive coronavirus cases mount in the greater San Diego region, the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet announced it would forego naming ships sailors who test positive are assigned to. Two more positive cases surfaced Friday, followed by five more Saturday, but the service would only specify whether the personnel in question belonged to different commands.

For now, the service indicated it will only be providing the number of positive cases and region in which they arise, the San Diego Union Tribune first reported [ships' names will not be released]. Prior to the change, the Navy was providing the precise commands* of positive cases...

On Friday, the Navy ordered commands across the fleet to take every possible measure to avoid large [personnel] formations.
*The first shipboard sailor to test positive for COVID-19 was on the USS Boxer in San Diego.
posted by cenoxo at 5:53 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Desperate for medical equipment, states encounter a beleaguered national stockpile (WaPo)
[...] Massachusetts, which has had a serious outbreak in Boston, has received 17 percent of the protective gear it requested, according to state leaders. Maine requested a half-million N95 specialized protective masks and received 25,558 — about 5 percent of what it sought. The shipment delivered to Colorado — 49,000 N95 masks, 115,000 surgical masks and other supplies — would be “enough for only one full day of statewide operations,” Rep. Scott R. Tipton (R-Colo.) told the White House in a letter several days ago.

[...] Florida has been an exception in its dealings with the stockpile: The state submitted a request on March 11 for 430,000 surgical masks, 180,000 N95 respirators, 82,000 face shields and 238,000 gloves, among other supplies — and received a shipment with everything three days later, according to figures from the state’s Division of Emergency Management. It received an identical shipment on March 23, according to the division, and is awaiting a third.

[...] Leaders in the District, Maryland and Virginia say their requests for aid from the stockpile have come up short. They have been competing with their counterparts to try to buy gear on the open market.

“The federal government has the keys to the front door,” said Nirav Shah, Maine’s state health officer and director of its own Center for Disease Control and Prevention. [...] Hospital industry executives agree. “There is no [protective gear] to be bought on the private market through vendors,” said Kevin Donovan, president of Lakes Regional HealthCare, which has two hospitals in central New Hampshire. “We order but don’t have any money to pay for it,” because companies manufacturing masks and other emergency gear are demanding cash payments on delivery.
posted by katra at 6:39 PM on March 28 [11 favorites]


Cuomo and Trump clash over talk of New York 'quarantine' (Guardian)
“It’s a preposterous idea, frankly,” Cuomo told CNN on Saturday evening, hours after the president floated the idea of locking down parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to try to slow the coronavirus spread. [...] “Why you would want to just create total pandemonium on top of a pandemic I have no idea,” Cuomo said.

“It’s totally opposite with what the president would want to do, work with the states, get the economy running and get some sense of stability. You wouldn’t at this point literally fracture the entire nation because it’s not just New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, it’s Louisiana and New Orleans. The numbers will continue to rise and every few days it’s going to be another hotspot.” He added: “It would be chaos and mayhem. If we start walling off areas all across the country it would just be totally bizarre, counterproductive, anti-American, anti-social.”

[...] At his Albany press conference, Cuomo held a “bag valve mask”, effectively a manual ventilator. “This is the alternative if you don’t have the ventilators,” he said. “We are actually buying these. We bought about 3,000. We’ve ordered an additional 4,000 of these bag valve masks. “We’re even talking about training national guard people to learn how to operate this device, which is relatively simple to operate but you need a lot of people to operate this 24-hours-a day for each patient. “If we have to turn to this device on any large-scale basis that is not an acceptable situation. We’re planning for that worst-case scenario.”
posted by katra at 6:54 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


‘Off the charts’: Virus hot spots grow in middle America (AP)
“At this time, the trajectory of Detroit is unfortunately even more steep than that of New York,” said Dr. Teena Chopra, the medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at the Detroit Medical Center. “This is off the charts,” she said. Chopra said many patients have ailments like asthma, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. [...] “In Detroit, we are seeing a lot of patients that are presenting to us with severe disease, rather than minor disease,” said Chopra, who worried about a “tsunami” of patients.

[...] The governor of Kansas also issued a stay-at-home order to begin Monday, as the virus takes hold in more rural areas where doctors worry about the lack of ICU beds.

A cluster of three counties in rural Indiana have surging rates of confirmed cases. One of them, Decatur, population 26,000, has 30 cases with one confirmed death and another suspected, said Sean Durbin, the county’s public health emergency preparedness coordinator. Several cases were traced to large gatherings earlier in the month, including a religious retreat and a high school basketball tournament. [...] The county health department has already run out of personal protective equipment, Durbin said. The last supply from the federal stockpile arrived more than a week ago and contained just 77 N95 masks and two dozen face shields.

[...] Blaine County, Idaho, a scenic ski haven for wealthy tourists, now has around 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest rate per capita outside the New York area.
posted by katra at 8:12 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


In lighter news, here are some random clips of New Yorkers coping with the new reality (mostly on the subway).
posted by Burhanistan at 9:00 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Trump isn't thinking about the old finance adage, "the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent," essentially saying the market is more random than any person can afford. The virus is going to remain contagious longer than Trump can remain popular. This is something that is literally going to be killing off his base if he doesn't shape up. But sure, blockade the freeways leading into Nebraska, viruses don't drive.

This isn't to say that isolation doesn't work (it definitely does), but it's not going to be a hermetic seal. Trump isn't going to fly in for a photo op? "Typhoid Gary opens new Hill Valley Mall [photo of ribbon cutting]" Trump isn't going to tell some of his people to fly in? Trump is going to take the word on anything from some Cornhusker schmoe? I tell ya, I just don't see it happening.
posted by rhizome at 9:13 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Stipulating that DOPUS45 himself likely had no idea what he actually meant when he said that NYC should be quarantined (and certainly no idea of what the consequences would be), and understanding that the economic shock of a full lockdown could be immense, are we maybe at the point where some more strict restrictions are needed in NYC and the tri-state area?

Obviously having the state and local governments do it is preferable to whatever ham-handed quarantine would be imposed by this administration, but I'm starting to feel like Cuomo might be worried a bit too much about how the financial sector will react and not enough about the unfolding human catastrophe. He gives good speeches and says the right things about wanting more federal support, but there are more steps that he and neighboring governors could take that they seem unwilling to take.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:14 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


Police in several cities test positive for coronavirus, stirring fears of spread among first responders (WaPo)
In New York, hundreds of uniformed officers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Infections have also been confirmed in departments in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Miami Beach, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans and Philadelphia, among others, along with sheriff’s offices across the country.

[...] Officials in New Jersey said Saturday that 700 officers statewide have tested positive for the coronavirus. In New Orleans, a police spokesman said about 5 percent of the force is sick or in quarantine.

[...] More than 550 New York Police Department employees had tested positive for the coronavirus, more than double the number reported just two days earlier, [Dermot F. Shea, the New York police commissioner,] said, and more than 4,100 people from the uniformed part of the department were out sick. Police officials have said many of those testing positive were uniformed officers. [...] Firefighters and paramedics nationwide have also been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The New York City Fire Department said that 235 of its people — including firefighters and civilians — had tested positive as of Saturday.

[...] After the first Tampa officer tested positive this week, Dugan, the police chief, told reporters at a briefing he is worried about the health and safety of his officers and the general public. “My biggest concern is, it’s gotten real,” he said. “And it’s only going to get worse.”
posted by katra at 9:36 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, North Korea fires two missiles as Seoul condemns ‘inappropriate’ timing
They would be the eighth and ninth missiles launched in four rounds of tests this month as North Korean troops conduct ongoing military drills, usually personally overseen by the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

That would be the most missiles ever fired in a single month by North Korea, according to a tally by Shea Cotton, a senior researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
The NK nuclear situation apparently got the same "air-tight containment" treatment COVID-19 did.
posted by XMLicious at 9:43 PM on March 28 [7 favorites]


All Canadian Cannabis companies were asked if they had capacity to help with testing.

This was very naive, and should have been limited to analytical labs (which many aren't valid recipients of the request) but we have a support lab that does molecular biology stuff - but we can make a case that we aren't appropriate.

There seems to be some level of desperation at certain levels.

Our reply was that we'd love to help, but our RT PCR machines (the majority of validated and "good" tests are based on [quantitative] real-time/ reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction machines) aren't validated for the tests that the BC CDC uses.

We also don't have biocontainment capabilities (not only do test samples maybe containing the virus that is being tested for, but it will also be contaminated with all the other viruses that the patient might have, like CMV or HPV or HIV, etc.) and while we have personnel who taught medical laboratory technicians to qualify for their MLT licenses, we only have one person who holds a valid MLT.

What I can see happening, if the people making the decisions are clear headed, is that MLTs at provincial labs handle samples and set up tests and sends 96-well plates of prepared samples to private labs to run and then send the results back.

This could help the backlog, some.

The health authorities had sent out notices to graduate departments begging for donations of (a specific clinically validated but commercially available and common) DNA extraction kits as they've run out/ running low.

We're using a different model of extraction kit, but the new one/ lot we opened up recently (put together this year) and processed (plant) samples with had some really questionable quality control issues.
posted by porpoise at 10:35 PM on March 28 [10 favorites]


The coronavirus isn’t mutating quickly, suggesting a vaccine would offer lasting protection (Washington Post, March 24, 2020)

Science of coronavirus — young people not impervious, how rate of infection compares to other diseases (SF Chronicle, March 28, 2020) The mortality rate of COVID-19 is at least 10 times greater than influenza. Overall, 3.4% of reported COVID-19 patients around the world have died, according to the World Health Organization. That changes, however, depending on a person’s age. The death rate among people under age 40 is less than 1% percent. It is 14.8% for people over age 80 and 8% for people age 70 to 79, according to the latest studies. Serious cases appear to be exceedingly rare in infants and young children, but they can spread the virus to others. One infant in Chicago recently died of the disease, and a medical journal said a 10-month-old died of the disease in Wuhan, the Chinese city that saw the first major outbreak of the virus.

Illinois reports first known U.S. death of an infant with the coronavirus. (NYT, March 28, 2020) An infant who tested positive for the coronavirus has died in Chicago, the authorities said on Saturday. It was the first known death of a child younger than a year old with the virus in the United States, although the authorities in some states do not release details about people who die. Newborns and babies have so far seemed to be largely unaffected by the coronavirus, but three new studies suggest that the virus may reach the fetus in utero.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:06 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


[Britain’s] Nuclear submarine crews to be held in quarantine prior to deployment to reduce coronavirus risk – Each four month patrol is likely to be extended by a two-week isolation period for the crew before deployment, The Telegraph, 3/24/2020:
The next patrol of Britain’s nuclear deterrent submarine will be held in quarantine ahead of the deployment, so as to provide a 'clean crew'. In response to the coronavirus pandemic the crew of the next nuclear-armed submarine to leave on patrol will initially be held in isolation for two weeks, the Telegraph understands.

The Royal Navy has had a nuclear submarine at sea somewhere around the world every day since 1969. It is the highest priority task of the armed forces.
...
A typical patrol for each nuclear powered boat, armed with up to 180 nuclear warheads, is around four months. During this time the crew will have very limited communication with family back home.
More about the Royal Navy Submarine Service (WP) and their official Royal Navy website. During the CV Era, four months is a very long time.
posted by cenoxo at 5:46 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


The U.S. Military's Behind-the-scenes Moves to Protect Nuclear Readiness Amid Coronavirus, Newsweek, William M. Arkin, 3/23/2020:
The Defense Department shifted many of its domestic bases to "health protection condition" Charlie on Sunday, the latest in a series of moves to protect military forces, families and bases from coronavirus. HPCON Charlie – also known as "substantial threat of sustained community transmission" – is the fourth highest of five levels.

Though Pentagon officials continue to insist that the coronavirus pandemic has had no impact on operational readiness of the armed forces [*], behind the scenes military exercises and deployments are being scaled down and canceled, and plans are being put in place to sustain essential operations. That includes the so-called triad of bombers, land-based missiles and submarines that make up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Last week, the head of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), Adm. Charles A. "Chas" Richard, said that nuclear readiness was unaffected by coronavirus. The nuclear forces, he said, "remain ready to execute" their war plans despite coronavirus and that the pandemic has had "no impact to our ability" to carry out missions...
*Not true: see War Zone carrier article.
posted by cenoxo at 6:17 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


The concluding paragraphs of the preceding Newsweek article:
...Though alerts, exercises, and the shuffling around of warheads continues, a senior officer at U.S. Strategic Command (who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to public speak on the matter) says that everyone is anticipating that there will be significant changes are coming. "There isn't a command headquarters, including STRATCOM," the senior officer says, "where there aren't people with coronavirus symptoms or in self-quarantine."

For now, Kristensen says, "probably the healthiest people in America are those who are coming back from the longest submarine patrols," which currently last as long as 78 days.

They've been underwater since almost the beginning of the year.
Like astronauts returning from a time-warping space mission, those submarine crews are coming back to a totally different world.
posted by cenoxo at 6:37 AM on March 29 [11 favorites]


Some facilities in the nation's electric grid have gone into sequestration. Workers are camped on site and required to pretend it's a zombie apocalypse. This is because VPNing to a grid control room is not allowed.
posted by ocschwar at 7:57 AM on March 29 [9 favorites]


This movie poster for the 1959 post-apocalyptic film On The Beach could be a ground level view of the Johns Hopkins Corona Research Center Map.
posted by cenoxo at 8:05 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


ocschwar, do you have any sources for that?
posted by cenoxo at 8:08 AM on March 29


This graphic is pretty good. Can be viewed by state (US only) and predicts when the virus will peak and what equipment will be needed. Of course it doesn't have all the information. Like, in rural areas, will there be enough ICU beds, even though the state itself has enough ICU beds for the population? Still, pretty good.
posted by cooker girl at 8:20 AM on March 29 [16 favorites]


Just chatter on a grid-ops board. No facilities named, just pseudonymous workers talking about the terms of their sequestration, so I'm not going to out them. I tipped a reporter about it and so a proper story will come out.
posted by ocschwar at 8:57 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Grid operators turn control centers into campsites to keep coronavirus at bay (Milan/Frankfurt), Reuters Business News, 3/26/2020. Other industy stories at Utility Dive, including Tracking the impact of coronavirus on the US power sector, updated March 27, 2020, Utility Dive Team.
posted by cenoxo at 9:07 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


Barn Door News: Google Bans Infowars Android App Over Coronavirus Claims (WIRED, March 27, 2020) The takedown comes on the heels of a video, posted in the Infowars app last week and viewed by WIRED, in which Jones disputed the need for social distancing, shelter in place, and quarantine efforts meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Google confirmed to WIRED that it removed the app on Friday. The app had more than 100,000 downloads according to Google Play's published metrics, and was rated "E10+," meaning safe for all users 10 and older. The Infowars app sold products like supplements and protein powder, broadcast The Alex Jones Show live, and posted videos and articles from Jones and others.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:18 AM on March 29 [9 favorites]


Josh Marshall shared an animated graphic showing the increase in cases outside China per country over time, with each country rising on the chart as it surpasses the others. Watch the USA, especially the odd reduction around 2,600 at 50 seconds, and the explosion after 1:05, and then rewatch to keep an eye on South Korea.
posted by mediareport at 9:20 AM on March 29 [10 favorites]


Grid Operators Utilities Begin to Shelter in Place to Maintain Critical Facilities — The PJM Interconnection has stocked its control rooms with food, cots and toiletries in case they need to go into quarantine, T&D World, 3/27/2020:
For utilities in areas hit hard by coronavirus infection, their emergency plans to shelter in place to maintain critical infrastructure facilities is no longer an abstract plan, but is being put into action on a scale not seen before in most countries.

Technician teams at the New York Independent System Operator headquarters in Rensselaer, New York moved into trailers and are prepared for a working self-quarantine that could last for weeks, according to Bloomberg News. The teams will be kept isolated from the outside as well as one another as they work to manage the flow of electricity across the grid.

The grid operators are working 12-hour shifts in trailers that include a small kitchen, bath and propane heat. The NYISO told Bloomberg this was the grid operator’s first ever sheltering in place, adding that it may be the first U.S. grid operator to do so....
posted by cenoxo at 9:26 AM on March 29 [12 favorites]




fauci: "[I]t’s such a moving target, that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.” indeed.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:59 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Each four month patrol is likely to be extended by a two-week isolation period for the crew before deployment

Navy ships already do this, just not to that extent or for the same reason. It's called "fast cruise" and you basically get everyone on board and then pretend to be at sea. During that time you either do or simulate all the routine and non-routine stuff you can. The purpose is to see if you have everything you need; sometimes the missing thing or broken part or unnoticed unworkable station bill doesn't become apparent until the moment you try to use it. Most boats try to do it for at least 24 hours to test the whole daily routine. You at least want to make it long enough for people to have to go to bed and sleep, because that's when you find out all the berthing problems, and all the sailors find out they forgot their toothbrush.

Now I guess you just do the same thing for two weeks. Although I'm not sure that's much of an advantage. If nobody shows symptoms, then I guess you can be confident nobody will. But if someone does, what, are you going to cancel the deployment? You've already trapped the rest of your crew in close quarters with that person.
posted by ctmf at 10:37 AM on March 29 [13 favorites]


Thanks for the graphic, cooker girl. It seems to be one of the more rigorous estimates of what might happen in the coming weeks.

I'm curious about why the the uncertainty of projections for some states is much larger than for others. It seems about half the states have a very wide range (e.g., Virginia), and half the states have a much narrower range (e.g., North Carolina), with little in between. I can't see a reason for this other than they used different measures of uncertainty for some states, but my stats skills are quite rusty, so I'd be interested to hear what any resident stats expert has to say.

Overall, my intuition would be to find the projections with greater uncertainty more plausible.
posted by Tsuga at 10:47 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


As states crack down on gatherings, some religious exemptions could keep pews full (ABC News)
Despite repeated warnings from health experts about the risk of social interaction amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, governors in at least four states have exempted houses of worship from statewide bans on mass gatherings, and this weekend will offer a first test to see if any congregations forge ahead despite the warnings.

[...] Not everyone believes that imposing constraints on religious gatherings would run afoul of constitutional protections. Rachel Laser, the president and CEO of the nonprofit advocacy group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said the governors are misinterpreting restrictions on impeding religious expression. She says the Constitution actually requires religious and secular institutions be treated the same. "The Constitution not only permits it, but demands it," she said in a statement. "Such restrictions do not violate religious freedom; they ensure religious freedom is not misused in ways that risk people’s lives."
Assemblies of God staff, church attendee among first Springfield-area coronavirus cases (Springfield News-Leader, Mar. 21, 2020)

Sacramento teacher who died of coronavirus was member of church with at least 4 other cases (SacBee, Mar. 17, 2020)

South Korea coronavirus cases surge due to church, hospital outbreaks (Reuters, Feb. 21, 2020)
posted by katra at 10:53 AM on March 29 [10 favorites]


Counties without coronavirus are mostly rural, poor (AP)
At the same time, counties with zero positive tests for COVID-19 have a higher median age and higher proportion of people older than 60 — the most vulnerable to severe effects of the virus — and far fewer intensive care beds should they fall sick. [...] “They’ll be later to get the infection, they’ll be later to have their epidemics,” said Christine K. Johnson, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Davis. “But I don’t think they’re going to be protected because there’s nowhere in the U.S. that’s isolated.”

[...] State health officials say it is unclear how many people have been tested for coronavirus in each county. Medical experts say uneven testing patterns across the country make it difficult to gauge whether remote areas are really better off.
posted by katra at 11:02 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


That graphic discussed above is from the University of Washington IHME. Carl Bergstrom (also a professor at the UW) offered a review/critique of the IHME model on Twitter.

Notably, this model is based on curve-fitting (i.e., assuming the epidemic will follow a certain type of curve, it tries to predict the future parts of the curve based on the present data) rather than simulating or modeling the disease transmission process. Curve-fitting famously produced incredibly bad predictions during the AIDs epidemic.

Bergstrom also casts doubts on the data used as input to the IHME model, saying it’s unlikely that death statistics are accurate. (Many deaths of elderly people with undetected COVID-19 may still be attributed to other causes.)

The IHME model forecasts that US hospitalizations will peak just two weeks from now, so I guess we’ll find out soon enough whether it is right.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:02 AM on March 29 [14 favorites]


What the graph doesn't show is when the dashed purple line hits the solid purple line, the whole thing takes a sharp break upward. And when the dashed green hits the solid green, all those above the solid line are immediately converted to red.
posted by ctmf at 11:04 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


The IHME model forecasts that US hospitalizations will peak just two weeks from now

the graph doesn't show is when the dashed purple line hits the solid purple line, the whole thing takes a sharp break upward.


Yes, that model is nifty but I hope it gets tweaked to be more useful. There's the above two things, whatever flaws Bergstrom points out that an innumerate moron such as self cannot understand well enough to re-state, and there's the fact that the way it conceives regions needs adapting. Looking at it state by state seems arbitrary. Why, for instance, is Mississippi going to have low numbers? Mississippi is right slap up against Louisiana. The two states vacation together and intermingle at bars and casinos and on beaches. (Arkansas same deal--current model has it barely affected, but come on, New Orleans is right down the road.) Infection rates in states are surely going to be affected by what was going on nearby states at the time when everybody was passing it freely to everybody else. And, as my dopey state governor appears to have semi-understood, what was and is going on in states far away from each other but with close social ties.

It would probably be a lot more useful if you could look at macro regions and also by county, especially for larger states with distinctly different regions. In Florida, we have Orlando, of course, and the parks. They closed a while back, but did they close in time? Then south Florida, which the dullard governor (but as my mom keeps pointing out at least he's not Rick Scott) is obsessed with because of New York. Then there's my county's weird situation. We have the major university and a bunch of kids came back from spring break instead of "going home" as they were told to because this is home: they live here off campus in the huge terrifying student condo complexes. At the same time, apparently this county has the highest test rate per capita of the entire state, and we've got pretty strict stay-at-home rules and an involved and responsive county government.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:32 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


The New York Review of Books has a running "Pandemic Journal" blog with reports from its writers around the world and across the U.S. The posts are more personal than data-heavy, but there's interesting detail scattered throughout. (NYRB is usually very parsimonious with its freebies, so I'd scroll down or ctrl-F to find a particular item rather than click more links at the site.)
posted by mediareport at 11:37 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


ctmf, what are things like in Tacoma?
posted by cenoxo at 11:42 AM on March 29


Little bit quieter, but not as much as you'd think. We're under a state shelter-in-place order, but I'm between Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Base Kitsap's several sites. Military/DoD are essential, exempt from shelter-in-place. Grocery stores are starting to have stuff again, except for paper goods. We were giving admin leave to high-risk people, meaning they could stay at home with pay, but that's becoming more and more unsustainable and we're going to have to start recalling people to work. I'm teleworking but have to go in sometimes. We decided of me and my 10 colleagues, we're all necessary, but really only two live bodies at work would be sufficient and the rest could telework, so we have a rotation going. I hope that lasts past the crisis, because one of our constant nagging problems is facilities real estate, and teleworking really helps with that.

It's like wartime management - I have THIS much (greatly reduced) work capacity, and I have THIS much critical work that cannot be deferred. Go.
posted by ctmf at 11:54 AM on March 29 [8 favorites]


Oh, I forgot the most important point about the IHME forecasting model: It assumes that suppression measures in every US state, within the next week or so, will be as effective as the suppression measures in Wuhan, China.

That model should really be treated as a best-case scenario, not a probable scenario.
posted by mbrubeck at 12:14 PM on March 29 [14 favorites]


Yeah, I have several questions about the IHME model. If they're counting total hospital beds in the state, it's going to be off, because spare needs in Sacramento don't help LA.

Moreover, they're forecasting an eventual death rate of zero, but that's well before we have herd immunity. Are they assuming we stay on lockdown permanently? Because as soon as people start gathering in offices and stadiums again, it's going to start spreading all over.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:34 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


Thanks for filling out the graphic, I really appreciate it. Keep it coming.
posted by cooker girl at 12:42 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Ok, I found their FAQ.
Our model says that social distancing will likely lead to the end of the first wave of the epidemic by early June. The question of whether there will be a second wave of the epidemic will depend on what we do to avoid reintroducing COVID-19 into the population. By end the of the first wave of the epidemic, an estimated 97% of the population of the United States will still be susceptible to the disease, so avoiding reintroduction of COVID-19 through mass screening, contact tracing, and quarantine will be essential to avoid a second wave.

posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:47 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


total hospital beds in the state
Yes, yes, that's the main thing I wanted to problematize but I distracted myself with the typing noise or something. Yes, it's going to be an absolute cluster in Florida. People think Florida is Miami-Dade and Orlando, but it's actually a rural state, and they've been closing regional hospitals and schools for years. For years they've been dragging people from miles around into the cities for hospital care. So in states like this with a few big well-served cities and mile upon mile of no-services land, the people in the cities are going to be slammed first by the population density and hog up all the beds. By the time it makes it out to BFE and starts taking people out, where will those people go...?
posted by Don Pepino at 12:54 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


Washington Post: Experts converge on plans for easing coronavirus restrictions safely.
The latest proposal, which has not been previously reported, is a 19-page plan with a step-by-step timeline, with clear benchmarks states and regions would need to meet to safely move forward to the next step. The plan was published Sunday by the American Enterprise Institute. Its lead author — Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner in the Trump administration — has been acting as an informal adviser to the White House and has shared the paper with administration officials. His collaborators include Mark McClellan, a former FDA commissioner from the George W. Bush Administration; Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and other leading policy experts and infectious disease specialists.
The proposal itself is worth reading. It’s written in very understandable language and the recommendations are very clear and concrete.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:08 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Bah. As is typical of the American Enterprise Institute, it's very light on detail and includes laughably optimistic numbers. They aren't taking this seriously at all.
posted by Anoplura at 1:17 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


The American Enterprise Institute ("Cherish freedom? The power of enterprise? Opportunity for all? It's these core beliefs that drive the scholars and staff at the American Enterprise Institute") on Twitter:

10 minutes ago: Capitalism is why people in today’s advanced economies make $200 a day rather than $2 a day or less as they did back in 1800. It’s why there are even such things as advanced economies. [Links to AEI blog post, "Yeah, market capitalism really is “the greatest thing that ever happened to mankind”]

3 hours ago, re-tweeting the GOP twitter: "Some D.C. Democrats & members of the media remain all consumed with blind partisan rage against President Trump. Meanwhile, poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans are fully behind President Trump."

3 hours ago, re-tweeting the GOP twitter: "It’s up to Pres. Trump’s most fierce & loyal supporters to volunteer & lead the way to victory! We need YOU to become a Trump Team Leader & be a part of the driving force that gets Republicans to the polls in key states across the country. Sign up! [American Flag] [trumpvictory.co/d47 hyperlink]"
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:17 PM on March 29 [26 favorites]


Guardian Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth on Twitter, with Russian-language cite:

Moscow goes full lockdown. No leaving the house except to the nearest shop or pharmacy, you can take out the trash and walk pets up to 100m from the house. Special pass system to be developed soon. Unemployed to receive 19,500 rubles ($250) per month...

Not clear how this is going to be enforced (police or military on the streets?) but Moscow mayor's statement promises a "smart control system," which probably means cell phone tracking or facial recognition on city cameras (they're installed on most building entrances).

posted by mediareport at 1:27 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


I'd wondered if facial-recognition-software concerns were partly behind the US lag in the 'wear face masks' advice (standard, and adopted, elsewhere).
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:39 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


As Trump invokes presidential powers to fight the coronavirus, he sows confusion along the way (WaPo, March 28, 2020) For several hours after the president floated the idea [of putting states under quarantine] publicly, the White House did not provide any details or guidance about what such a quarantine would look like and what authorities the president would draw from. Some residents of New York opted to flee the city before an order that might trap them in the coronavirus epicenter.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:55 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


From the US-funded Radio Free Asia: Estimates Show Wuhan Death Toll Far Higher Than Official Figure

[Wuhan] residents said they were growing increasingly skeptical that the figure of some 2,500 deaths in the city to date was accurate. Since the start of the week, seven large funeral homes in Wuhan have been handing out the cremated remains of around 500 people to their families every day, suggesting that far more people died than ever made the official statistics...

Social media users have been doing some basic math to figure out [the funeral homes'] daily capacity, while the news website Caixin.com reported that 5,000 urns had been delivered by a supplier to the Hankou Funeral Home in one day alone -- double the official number of deaths. Some social media posts have estimated that all seven funeral homes in Wuhan are handing out 3,500 urns every day in total...Such an estimate would mean that 42,000 urns would be given out during that time...

A resident of Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, said most people there now believe that more than 40,000 people died in the city before and during the lockdown.

posted by mediareport at 3:07 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


Come on. Radio Free Asia is a U.S. propaganda organization. I'm not defending China's transparency or numbers but...

"Social media users have been doing some basic math" ... cripes.

"Some social media posts have estimated" ... more cripes.

"A resident of Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, said most people there now believe" ... One resident speaks for the beliefs of 11 million residents.

This is a joke.
posted by JackFlash at 3:14 PM on March 29 [11 favorites]


I mentioned the source specifically to highlight it, Jack.
posted by mediareport at 4:04 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


It's tough to verify much about China from here in the states; most of the media is controlled by the government and critical social media posts are quickly deleted. But the crematorium evidence is bubbling up in a lot of spots. Here's Bloomberg, citing posts and articles in Chinese media that I, unfortunately, am unable to read and confirm: Stacks of Urns in Wuhan Prompt New Questions of Virus’s Toll:

Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500 urns on both Wednesday and Thursday, according to Chinese media outlet Caixin. Another picture published by Caixin showed 3,500 urns stacked on the ground inside. It’s unclear how many of the urns had been filled.

Does anyone here think the 2,535 official Wuhan death toll from the Chinese government is accurate?
posted by mediareport at 4:24 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


Capitalism is why people in today’s advanced economies make $200 a day rather than $2 a day or less as they did back in 1800.

"Capitalism in its modern form can be traced to the emergence of agrarian capitalism and mercantilism in the early Renaissance."

$2 in 1800 is the equivalent of about $41.06 in 2020.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:36 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


> Notably, this model is based on curve-fitting (i.e., assuming the epidemic will follow a certain type of curve, it tries to predict the future parts of the curve based on the present data) rather than simulating or modeling the disease transmission process. Curve-fitting famously produced incredibly bad predictions during the AIDs epidemic.

some more on model estimation: Simulating an epidemic (history of pandemics)

also btw...
state projections from #CovidActNow above (about, model)
posted by kliuless at 4:56 PM on March 29


Fauci Predicts 200,000 Toll as Paper Sets Out Path to Reopening, Bloomberg, Ros Krasny & Hailey Waller, March 29, 2020:
U.S. coronavirus deaths could reach 200,000, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said, a stark warning as debate rages about how soon to restart parts of the U.S. economy that have been on shutdown.

Separately, the American Enterprise Institute on Sunday released a “road map to reopening” [PDF] the U.S. in distinct phases, from Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who’s a resident fellow at the think tank.

“Looking at what we’re seeing now, we’re looking at 100,000 to 200,000” deaths, Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “But I don’t just to think that we need to make a projection when it’s such a moving target, that you could so easily be wrong,” he said....
What we're seeing now is where the target was. What we need to know is where the target will be then.
posted by cenoxo at 5:06 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Similar to the speculation about unattributed deaths in Wuhan, the mayor of Nembro (Italy) and the CEO of an Italian healthcare provider offer evidence that “the real death toll for Covid-19 is at least 4 times the official numbers.”
We looked at the average of the deaths in the municipality of previous years, in the period January - March. Nembro should have had – under normal conditions – about 35 deaths. 158 people were registered dead this year by the municipal offices. That is 123 more than the average. Not 31 more, as it should have been according to the official numbers of the coronavirus epidemic.
They do the same analysis for the municipality of Bergamo, and find the excess deaths there ten times more than the number of officially confirmed COVID-19 deaths. This will probably be a common pattern in many places.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:14 PM on March 29 [15 favorites]


$2 in 1800 is the equivalent of about $41.06 in 2020.

-Historical wealth: How to compare Croesus and Bezos :P
-What is wealth? "we should use Adam Smith's definition of wealth: '[A person] must be rich or poor according to the quantity of labor which he can command'. This means that the extent of one's wealth ought to be estimated within a historical context: how many thousands hours of labor one can command if he were to use his entire wealth..."
posted by kliuless at 5:14 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Q. What is wealth?
A. If you have to ask, you don't have it.
posted by cenoxo at 5:40 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


What we're seeing now is where the target was. What we need to know is where the target will be then.

Ah yes, "when do you expect your next unexpected breakthrough?"
posted by rhizome at 5:44 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Zeynep Tufekci is part of an interesting back and forth thread sparked by Twitter's decision to temporarily suspend Rudy Giuliani's and Charlie Kirk's accounts for violating their new policy about Covid-19 misinformation, which targets people whose tweets contradict CDC or WHO information. While some folks in that thread praise the new policy, Tufekci strongly disagrees, stating that, in addition to Trump administration misinformation, misinfo from both WHO and CDC is a key part of why things have gotten so bad:

@zeynep
Completely disagree. There is so much misinformation from top authorities. Mark my word, this is Iraq War redux. Authorities we normally trust are spreading a lot of misinformation. (Masks are the biggest but not only example).

@sivavaid
I know you keep saying that but I don’t see it. I see mostly consensus from infectious disease doctors and epidemiologists about most things. Dissension at the margins. Many questions unanswered but scientists are ok with expressing the limits of current knowledge.
zeynep tufekci

@zeynep
I have a running list. Masks are the worst. It's so wrong that it will go down in history. So, WHO misinformed us on human-to-human and asymptomatic transmission. That's how we got a pandemic. WHO misinformed us on travel bans. That was insanely wrong, too.

@zeynep
CDC misinformation has helped turn this into a terrible epidemic in NYC, with masks leading the top. It's not a marginal issue. It's perhaps the number one tool in the arsenal. CDC just issued a bullshit advisory targeting only NYC/NJ after Trump quarrel with Coumo.

@zeynep
(Mask misinformation, by the way, is one key reason why nursing homes have outbreaks).

posted by mediareport at 6:16 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]




Twitter's decision to temporarily suspend Rudy Giuliani's and Charlie Kirk's accounts for violating their new policy about Covid-19 misinformation

@ianbremmer: "Brazil President Bolsonaro posts a photo of him in a crowd in Brasilia...taken down by twitter."
posted by kliuless at 6:54 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Disunited states of America: responses to coronavirus shaped by hyper-partisan politics (Tom McCarthy, Guardian)
But while the virus does not select for party affiliation, contrasting emergency responses at the state and local levels have split dramatically along partisan lines. [...]

The divergence in state responses to coronavirus does not cleanly split along the red-blue line, with Republican governors in states such as Ohio and Maryland among the most proactive in responding to the threat, said University of Southern California professor Manuel Pastor.

“It’s more like the rational states versus the Trump Republican states,” Pastor said. [...]

Citizens judge the viral threat according to their politics, polling indicates. [...]
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:02 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


The Contrarian Coronavirus Theory That Informed the Trump Administration

The New Yorker with a savage takedown (in the form of a thoughtful interview) of Richard Epstein, the NYU law professor whose March 16 article downplaying the virus was reported to be widely influential among Trump administration officials but is full of misinformation masquerading as certainty. Be sure to get to the defensive credentialism and Bill Gates citation at the end for bonus hilarity.
posted by mediareport at 7:10 PM on March 29 [22 favorites]


2020 March 25: Coronavirus: ICE requests 45,000 N95 masks despite dangerous shortage in U.S. hospitals (Tatiana Sanchez, SF Chronicle)
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:13 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]




Not everyone believes that imposing constraints on religious gatherings would run afoul of constitutional protections
a standard used to be that a religiously-neutral law of general applicability does not violate religious freedom. from employment division v. smith 494 U.S. 872 (1990). cannot recall a case that explicitly overrules this, though the religious rights movement (for a certain religion or some subsets of same) has advanced significantly since that time.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:32 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Rhode Island backs down, is no longer hunting New Yorkers after complaints from both the governor of New York and the ACLU.
posted by adamg at 7:42 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Rhode Island backs down, is no longer hunting New Yorkers

Welcome to 2020. This is probably not the strangest sentence you will read in the coming while but....
posted by hippybear at 7:45 PM on March 29 [25 favorites]


Citizens judge the viral threat according to their politics, polling indicates.

I wonder if anyone is counting Republican viral deaths vs. Everyone Else.
posted by valkane at 8:02 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Interview with Amazon worker coordinating Monday's planned walkout.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:05 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


New York City is Opening an Emergency Field Hospital in Central Park (Architectural Digest, Yahoo News)
Early Sunday afternoon, park goers watched as workers set up long white tents in the East Meadow, near 99th Street and 5th Avenue. The emergency field hospital will have a capacity of 68 beds as well as a respiratory unit and and an ICU unit, with doctors and nurses who are trained in infectious diseases deployed on a rotating basis, according to Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, who is in charge of the operation. The field hospital is a joint partnership between New York's Mount Sinai hospital and the North Carolina-based Christian organization, Samaritan's Purse, who also helped build the same field hospital in Northern Italy. This will not be a walk-in facility; instead, Mount Sinai will manage the admission and transfer process. As crews work around the clock, the makeshift hospital is expected to be ready to open on Tuesday.
FDA increases mask decontamination after pushback from Ohio governor (Politico)
"The FDA's decision to severely limit the use of this life-saving technology is nothing short of reckless," Gov. Mike DeWine, whose state is home to the company that makes the technology, said in a statement Sunday morning. DeWine said he appealed directly to President Donald Trump to allow broader adoption of the system, and Ohio's attorney general threatened to sue if FDA didn't act quickly to authorize more extensive use.
Some Megachurches Are Still Packing In Crowds (Bloomberg / MSN)
Congregants of megachurches in Louisiana, Ohio and Florida attended services in defiance of social distancing orders on Sunday morning, even as politicians and doctors took to weekly news shows to warn of coronavirus’s spread in the U.S.
posted by katra at 8:05 PM on March 29 [10 favorites]


The Contrarian Coronavirus Theory That Informed the Trump Administration

The New Yorker with a savage takedown (in the form of a thoughtful interview) of Richard Epstein, the NYU law professor whose March 16 article downplaying the virus was reported to be widely influential among Trump administration officials but is full of misinformation masquerading as certainty. Be sure to get to the defensive credentialism and Bill Gates citation at the end for bonus hilarity.
posted by mediareport 49 minutes ago

Christ, what an asshole.

After seeing this article floating around Twitter and then posted here, I admit I got a touch of the ole smuggies getting ready to read a devastating take down of a fatally stupid arrogant fuckwad.

But as the interview went on, I have to say I just got sad. Epstein comes across very similar to the techbros out there playing epidemiologist after spending 20 minutes on twitter and 20 in VScode, except Epstein's article seems to have managed to actually influence national policy.

If Epstein survives the pandemic, and if he has any shred of self-reflection (frankly I don't know how to balance the odds on those two), then he will have to grapple with being on the list of Spectacularly, Publicly, Arrogantly, Stupidly, and ultimately Murderously Wrong Assholes.

McSweeny's could take that interview, chop and screw it a bit with all caps, and it would read like the script during the final boss fight with Fuckhead McMansplainer. There's like 5 quotes which will be copy pasted with a timestamp over the coming days / weeks as exhibits in the Ageing Like a Fine Milk evidence locker. It's just awful.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:10 PM on March 29 [25 favorites]


So if I'm reading that right, Richard Epstein thinks polio just got weak and now no one has to worry about it.
posted by valkane at 8:25 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


That's nice and all, but a competent administration would have already moved Pence to an isolated location with entrance only permitted after a test/quarantine/test sequence. We have video conferencing: people don't need to meet face-to-face.

A sane administration wouldn't have put their VP in charge of pandemic response. The VP normally has one job, be there to take over for the president. It's a glaring example of how Trump has burned though anyone trustworthy (to him) and competent.

New York City is Opening an Emergency Field Hospital in Central Park

I would have thought that NY would have all sorts of unused sports arena or convention space that could have been used for this. Is there some advantage to tents in a park?
posted by Mitheral at 8:32 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.

super tired of certain americans invoking all the nothing they did about AIDS "back in the early nineteen-eighties" as a qualification for anything more than presiding over a public health catastrophe.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:43 PM on March 29 [9 favorites]


At a first approximation, it is true that pathogens tend to evolve toward lower virulence and the timescale can be as short as the progression of a particular epidemic. This was unquestioned orthodoxy for a long time. Now, it's thought to be more complicated but you can still generalize and say that the most successful pathogens are those which are endemic, and those which are endemic are more often than not less virulent. (And this is why emergent zoonotics are often especially virulent to us while being relatively benign in its usual host.)

In the early stages of an epidemic of a novel pathogen, if anything it's actually pretty adaptive to be more virulent, so he's basically quite wrong in this case.

If there's not an effective vaccine and it's relatively mutable (Bedford Lab says it's been mutating about every fours days, which isn't unusually mutable) and it becomes seasonally recurrent, then it's quite likely that it would evolve toward much lower virulence. For example, the common cold is caused by a family of coronaviruses and is pretty much a model for a pathogen that is very successful because it's both very mutable and very mild.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:46 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


I would have thought that NY would have all sorts of unused sports arena or convention space that could have been used for this.

Well, they are using the Javits Center
posted by thelonius at 8:47 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


And James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks, and one of the worst owners in professional sports, has tested positive. Maybe use MSG as a hospital...? Nah, no one is paying for it...
posted by Windopaene at 8:50 PM on March 29


I would have thought that NY would have all sorts of unused sports arena or convention space that could have been used for this.

The Central Park location is one of many initiatives to increase the amount of hospital beds in New York City. (Buzzfeed)
posted by katra at 8:53 PM on March 29


Space is less of an issue than medical equipment, PPE supplies, and doctors and nurses. NY is short on all of these and some of them have a very very long lead time to replenish.

...not to mention that the problem may soon solve itself if we run out of first-responders to get people to hospitals - makeshift or otherwise.
posted by Anoplura at 8:54 PM on March 29


Texas expands quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers (politico)

"Gov. Greg Abbott directed state troopers to enforce the quarantine order for Louisiana motorists driving into Texas, with authorities slated to collect information from drivers on where they would isolate themselves for 14 days, with the possibility of unannounced visits to verify compliance and levy punishment of a $1,000 fine and six months in jail."

You see, Greg only wants to catch the virus from his neighbors. A good, clean Texas virus. One you can be proud of.
posted by valkane at 8:57 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


I spent a good portion of yesterday pretty freaked out to learn that Massachusetts had a shipment of PPE in the Port of NY, that was intercepted by the Feds and will be going God knows where.

It is pretty fucking surreal to know that the president of your country has taken these supplies, and sacrificed the lives of your citizens in order to save citizens in some other state.

ALl I can say is there will be a memorial to this moment in the Boston Common by year's end, if I have to chisel it myself.
posted by ocschwar at 9:00 PM on March 29 [21 favorites]


Gov. Inslee is "nasty" and that Michigan Govenor woman is well...

Appalling to see this blatant partisanship in the face of a crisis. What an asshole.
posted by Windopaene at 9:03 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


The fact that it seems intent upon wiping out the Fox News demographic, and yet, they haven't realized this yet is the one thing that, well, I guess they really are just short-sighted and stupid.
posted by valkane at 9:09 PM on March 29 [13 favorites]


On the other hand, some conditions can favor virulence—or, rather, under some conditions there's little or no selective pressure against virulence while of course there is still selective pressure to be more infectious.

The classic examples are those cases where there's a third vector highly available to the pathogen, such as mosquitoes with malaria and contaminated water with dysentery.

Of concern is that iatrogenic infections (from health care workers and medical environments) are of this type. Virulence would likely increase in such conditions and, in that case, the course of an epidemic would depend upon the conditions under which the iatrogenic strains would compete with the non-iatrogenic strains. Which is to say, usually there are more (total) susceptible and available hosts outside of hospitals than inside and thus those more virulent iatrogenic strains would be less successful overall.

But, say, if you successfully limit the normal transmission routes through measures such as social distancing but, at the same time, transport and concentrate patients in overburdened hospitals with health care workers rotating through, then a more virulent strain could be quite successful. That is a concern.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:09 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: wouldn't the strong pressure to isolate symptomatic carriers (in the absence of universal testing we mostly don't know about asymptomatic carriers) provide strong pressure towards lower virulence? The virus is reportedly transmissible before symptoms are evident, so it apparently doesn't need to cause virulent symptoms in order to spread.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:15 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Ah, so no sneeze or cough, maybe just a loud laugh?
posted by valkane at 9:20 PM on March 29


"The virus is reportedly transmissible before symptoms are evident, so it apparently doesn't need to cause virulent symptoms in order to spread."

Right, SARS-CoV-2 is pretty successful in this way and it's an example of being less virulent.

Segregating the symptomatic from the uninfected by putting them in hospitals would, as you say, select for lower virulence across the population as a whole (not, however, necessarily so with regard to those strains which might become endemic in hospitals themselves).

But you also have to account for the health care workers and their interactions outside the hospitals, and patients that are in hospitals for other reasons. And, finally, how well hygiene protocols are adhered to make a big difference, as well as the transportation of patients. This is why I specified "overburdened" hospitals and the health care system as a whole.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:29 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


forgive me but in the absence of more context despite knowing usernames, if a member is gonna comment attempting to explain virulence at this moment please cite your expertise and at least one source.

in the context of the article that sparked the discussion, Epstein is working with a very loose (if any) definition of what 'virulence' means (don't think he even uses the word) and just makes claims about variable 'severity' and 'weakness' of the virus with no evidence and expressly against the experts cited during the in-article fact-check who describe his claims as being 100% bullshit.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:29 PM on March 29 [10 favorites]


i might be extra sensitive to trojan horse expertise right now, to be fair, so again please forgive me if that is a rude request. it's just that it can be hard to tell who is armchair qb'ing from the hip and who isn't, and this isn't a time where i can really abide that ambiguity without discomfort.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:32 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


if a member is gonna comment attempting to explain virulence at this moment please cite your expertise and at least one source.

I used to be really good at Pandemic.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:33 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


Can we hear from the Portmaster of Madagascar?
posted by Marticus at 9:35 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Well, I'm the Dockmaster of Fairport, and I can tell you, we're in for some deep shit.
posted by valkane at 9:45 PM on March 29 [12 favorites]


Inside the start of the great virus airlift, Axios, Jonathan Swan & Joann Muller, 3/29/2020:
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A plane from Shanghai arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York Sunday morning carrying an extraordinary load: 12 million gloves, 130,000 N95 masks, 1.7 million surgical masks, 50,000 gowns, 130,000 hand sanitizer units, and 36,000 thermometers.

Why it matters: The flight is the start of what might end up being the largest government-led airlift of emergency medical supplies into the United States.
  • That's according to Rear Adm. John Polowczyk [USN bio], who runs the coronavirus supply chain task force at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He spoke to Axios on Saturday night.
  • The airlift is the most dramatic part of the Trump administration's frantic attempts to catch up with a nationwide medical equipment crisis.
What's next: Polowczyk told Axios that he's already booked 22 similar flights over the next two weeks. [more details in the article]
....
Go deeper: Fixing America's broken coronavirus supply chain
Logistics, logistics, logistics.
posted by cenoxo at 9:48 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


"i might be extra sensitive to trojan horse expertise right now, to be fair, so again please forgive me if that is a rude request."

No, that's okay and absolutely no offense taken.

Evolution of virulency is a big and old topic that's part of even an undergrad education and countless papers and ongoing research. I did a Google Scholar search while writing my comment but there's so many results that it seemed disingenuous to pick one. There's also a number of Wikipedia articles, but I sort of feel that's not and shouldn't be satisfactory for most people.

I'm just an interested layperson who was introduced to this topic by Paul Ewald's (now pretty ancient) Evolution of Infectious Disease.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:55 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


from the end of the axios airlift story:
A senior administration added: "When the president activated FEMA, Adm. Polowczyk was immediately installed as the head of the supply chain, working closely with Jared Kushner at the White House."
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:58 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I'm so sad that history books will have the name Jared Kushner in them.
posted by valkane at 10:02 PM on March 29 [27 favorites]


Trump: “If we have between 100,000 and 200,000 [deaths] we’ve all together done a very good job,”

Perspective: that's 2-4X the number of American lives lost in the Vietnam war.

Sounds like a win to me /hamburger
posted by Mitheral at 10:04 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


Trump: “If we have between 100,000 and 200,000 [deaths] we’ve all together done a very good job,”

Somebody call Richard Epstein, quick!
posted by valkane at 10:06 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Give it a week and trump will be straight up boasting about the rising death toll in the same breath as bragging about big TV ratings
posted by Burhanistan at 10:16 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Is there some advantage to tents in a park?

Mitheral, in this instance, the field hospital in Central Park is across from Mt. Sinai Hospital. (Mt. Sinai is working in partnership with the Samaritan's Purse organization, which set up a similar emergency hospital in Milan.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:25 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Trump: “If we have between 100,000 and 200,000 [deaths] we’ve all together done a very good job,”

George W Bush: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
posted by philip-random at 10:39 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Why it matters: The flight is the start of what might end up being the largest government-led airlift of emergency medical supplies into the United States.

So Trump needs China to do his job for him. Once upon a time, the US was the country airlifting help into other countries. What a fuckhead.
posted by rhizome at 10:52 PM on March 29 [24 favorites]


The Contrarian Coronavirus Theory That Informed the Trump Administration

The New Yorker with a savage takedown (in the form of a thoughtful interview) of Richard Epstein, the NYU law professor whose March 16 article downplaying the virus was reported to be widely influential among Trump administration officials but is full of misinformation masquerading as certainty. Be sure to get to the defensive credentialism and Bill Gates citation at the end for bonus hilarity.
posted by mediareport at 7:10 PM on March 29 [11 favorites +] [!]


That is infuriating, though a good job by Isaac Chotiner, the journalist. I wonder, once we get through all this: the pandemic, the Trump presidency and global warming, if there will finally be an end to men in suits getting away with talking rubbish. It's something that has angered me since I was a teenager, but it's becoming increasingly clear that those men are killing off humanity.
posted by mumimor at 2:20 AM on March 30 [15 favorites]


As Coronavirus Surveillance Escalates, Personal Privacy Plummets – Tracking entire populations to combat the pandemic now could open the doors to more invasive forms of government snooping later., NYT, Natasha Singer & Choe Sang-Hun, 3/24/2020:
PHOTO:In January, South Korea began posting detailed location histories about people who tested positive for the coronavirus, leading to public blaming and shaming. Credit...Woohae Cho for The New York Times

In South Korea, government agencies are harnessing surveillance-camera footage, smartphone location data and credit card purchase records to help trace the recent movements of coronavirus patients and establish virus transmission chains.

In Lombardy, Italy, the authorities are analyzing location data transmitted by citizens’ mobile phones to determine how many people are obeying a government lockdown order and the typical distances they move every day. About 40 percent are moving around “too much,” an official recently said.

In Israel, the country’s internal security agency is poised to start using a cache of mobile phone location data — originally intended for counterterrorism operations — to try to pinpoint citizens who may have been exposed to the virus. ...
Countries...are deploying digital surveillance tools...to exert social control,...turning security agency technologies on their own civilians. How much private data is enough, and should governments retain it after the Coronavirus epidemic is over (or weakens like common flu to be tolerable/controllable)?
posted by cenoxo at 3:43 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


More evidence of the possibility of airborne transmission in some circumstances from asymptomatic carriers, from a choir practice in Washington State. (No hugs or physical contact or shared music, but certainly not 6’ of distance either, and some members helped put away folding chairs or grabbed fruit out of a shared container.)

Some megachurches are still meeting.
posted by blue suede stockings at 3:57 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Countries...are deploying digital surveillance tools...to exert social control,...turning security agency technologies on their own civilians. How much private data is enough, and should governments retain it after the Coronavirus epidemic is over (or weakens like common flu to be tolerable/controllable)?

It's worth remembering that the capability to do this has existed for over a decade. If you're subject to the potential for this kind of surveillance, best that you KNOW that you are.

We'll figure out how to break out of this when the quarantine lifts.
posted by ocschwar at 4:09 AM on March 30


“This one is scarier”: Obama-era officials say current economic crisis is fundamentally different from 2008 (Li Zhou and Ella Nilsen, Vox)
“Everything this time is happening bigger and faster,” said Jason Furman, a former economic adviser to Obama, who played a key role in designing the administration’s response to the financial crisis.[...]

“The problems [between 2008 and now] are fundamentally different,” said Cecilia Rouse, a former member of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and current dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “Right now, we don’t need stimulus. We need the opposite of stimulus. We want the economy to stop, in many ways. Right now, we need liquidity. We need people to be able to pay bills.

Multiple former Obama administration officials told Vox that thinking big is absolutely warranted. ... The biggest challenge, ultimately, might be getting the money out the door and into the hands of workers fast enough.
Emphasis mine.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:03 AM on March 30 [10 favorites]


> Inside the start of the great virus airlift

As the U.S. receives first shipments of Chinese medical equipment, other nations say some is faulty., NYT Live Updates, 3/30/2020:
As the first of 22 shipments of Chinese-made medical equipment arrived in the United States on Sunday, other countries are complaining that China provided faulty protective equipment and inaccurate coronavirus test kits.

Chinese companies have kicked into overdrive to supply masks, respirators, testing kits and other protective gear to tackle the fast-moving global pandemic. With its own outbreak seemingly under control, it has looked to sell or donate gear to improve its image on the global stage.

But some faulty products are showing up in the supply chain, prompting governments in the Netherlands, Turkey and the Philippines to complain.
...
The quality of the gear that was received [in the first planeload landing at Kennedy International Airport], however, is unknown.
posted by cenoxo at 5:08 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


More on serological testing...

wierdo wrote: This exists, and 10,000 of them are apparently being used in the next week or so in Miami-Dade County to gather statistical information about actual incidence in the community, according to a Miami Herald article. Unfortunately their mobile site sucks, so I can't find the article

Thanks, found the article here. A good start anyway.

Also, Germany will issue coronavirus antibody certificates to allow quarantined to re-enter society:
German researchers plan to introduce coronavirus ‘immunity certificates’ to facilitate a proper transition into post-lockdown life.... The antibodies will indicate that the test participants have had the virus, have healed and are thereby ready to re-enter society and the workforce.
And another article on serological testing.

When this testing becomes widespread, it's going to be interesting to see how many folks had the virus but never became very sick from it.
posted by exogenous at 5:38 AM on March 30 [13 favorites]


Newsweek 3/30/2020 > Trump Comments About Hospital Mask Thefts Spark Backlash From Doctors.

Thefts of Coronavirus supplies are occurring, but The Donald (not having an atom of tact in his body) just doesn’t know when to STFU.
posted by cenoxo at 5:52 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Germany will issue coronavirus antibody certificates to allow quarantined to re-enter society

In Coronavirus Fight, China Gives Citizens a Color Code, With Red Flags: A new system uses software to dictate quarantines — and appears to send personal data to police, in a troubling precedent for automated social control, NYT; Paul Mozur, Raymond Zhong, Aaron Krolik; 3/1/2020 [links in Chinese]:
... [China] has begun a bold mass experiment in using data to regulate citizens’ lives — by requiring them to use software on their smartphones that dictates whether they should be quarantined or allowed into subways, malls and other public spaces.

But a New York Times analysis of the software’s code found that the system does more than decide in real time whether someone poses a contagion risk. It also appears to share information with the police, setting a template for new forms of automated social control that could persist long after the epidemic subsides.

The Alipay Health Code, as China’s official news media has called the system, was first introduced in the eastern city of Hangzhou — a project by the local government with the help of Ant Financial, a sister company of the e-commerce giant Alibaba.

People in China sign up through Ant’s popular wallet app, Alipay, and are assigned a color code — green, yellow or red — that indicates their health status. The system is already in use in 200 cities and is being rolled out nationwide, Ant says....
posted by cenoxo at 6:24 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Germany will issue coronavirus antibody certificates to allow quarantined to re-enter society

Look, here is the Spiegel article that this story is based on. (German). It’s about an immunology study of 100 000 people they want to do, to see how many people have been in contact with Covid-19. At the very end, an epidemiologist is quoted as suggesting that maybe immune people could get some sort of vaccination cert like document that would allow them to have more freedom. It seems more of an idle thought then a concrete plan.
posted by scorbet at 7:58 AM on March 30 [11 favorites]


Major Republican fundraiser Mike Gula has abruptly left that business to start selling N95 masks and other essential COVID-19 protective gear. He claims he'll be shipping millions of masks in the next few days and that his supply is from "personal connections".
....
"How do you go from 10-to-20-to-300,000...even though this is different. Something's going on...Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?" Trump said at a White House press conference on Sunday.

Ugh.

Just. UGGGGGGGHHHHHHH.
posted by yeahlikethat at 8:12 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]


Thanks for that, scorbet. I imagine one of the issues to be resolved before such a plan could be implemented is knowing how long the immune response remains following infection.
posted by exogenous at 8:30 AM on March 30


knowing how long the immune response remains following infection.

I think that’s probably one of the things they’re planning to study. There’s a DeutscheWelle article that’s more or less a translation of the Spiegel one, which has some of the details.

I’m just fascinated how this went from a suggestion to apparent future government policy in the Telegraph (particularly the headline) to a policy already in place (according to my Twitter feed this morning. All of the Germans/German residents in the replies were a bit confused by that one and wondering if some other state was doing it.)
posted by scorbet at 8:48 AM on March 30 [6 favorites]


There's a method to Trump's madness
It ought to matter that, in the midst of a crisis, we have a president who's accusing desperate healthcare workers in a viral hot zone of being grifters trying to steal and sell face masks, all because he can't accept numbers predicting exponential growth of demand for health services that are extremely dangerous to provide. It ought to matter that Trump bullies and insults reporters for quoting his own words back to him. It's an election year. When it suits us, we decide that "character" is an important criterion when we're judging who's fit to serve. But the media isn't treating Trump's character as an important story

Trump parcels out just enough news every day that the takeaway, for people who can't read the news in depth, is A serious man is leading us through a serious crisis.

And where there is coverage of Trump's pathology, it's often inadequate in its portrayal. For instance, this is a good video from The Washington Post (although I'm not sure why Trump's suicide remarks were included). It shows Trump at his worst. [...]

But what's with the headline? "Trump’s Combative Back and Forth with Reporters During His Coronavirus Briefing" -- combative? That's not combative -- it's abusive, petty, and slanderous. It's the conduct of a man who's all ego and no empathy. In these clips, we see someone who believes everyone is on the same degraded moral plane on which he's lived his entire life.

That's an important story. But it's never the lead story.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:02 AM on March 30 [42 favorites]


Trump: “If we have between 100,000 and 200,000 [deaths] we’ve all together done a very good job,”

Perspective: that's 2-4X the number of American lives lost in the Vietnam war.


It's also the high end of Fauci's prediction from, what, the day before? So Trump the Salesman is taking the high end of a disastrous death toll and painting it as a success. No doubt the conservative media will take hi cue.
posted by Gelatin at 9:32 AM on March 30 [14 favorites]


He's a sociopath's sociopath: On a day that our coronavirus cases topped 139,000 and at least 2425 people in the United States have died, while our health care workers are on the front lines fighting this deadly disease with inadequate protection and few supplies, Trump tweeted: “Because the “Ratings” of my News Conferences etc. are so high, “Bachelor Finale, Monday Night Football type numbers” according to the [New York Times], the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY. “Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.” said one lunatic. See you at 5:00 P.M.!” (Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, March 29, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:53 AM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Man deported from U.S. to Guatemala tests positive (WaPo live blog, Mar. 29, 2020, 11:10 PM EDT)
The case highlights concerns about the United States’ ability to continue large-scale deportations without [...] contributing to the spread of the pandemic. Detainees and guards in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities have tested positive for the virus.
Detainees in US immigration jails living in fear as coronavirus spreads (Guardian, Mar. 29, 2020)
A number of detainees have expressed concern they are not being properly cared for in packed detention centers. Former senior immigration officials and attorneys have called for the release of nonviolent detainees. Judges in New Jersey, New York and California have ordered the release of small numbers, based on health concerns.

[...] Since Covid-19 started spreading through the US, health and immigration experts have expressed concern that Ice is unequipped to deal with the crisis. The US runs the largest immigration detention system in the world and there is a well-documented record of infections ballooning into outbreaks in such facilities. Now, coronavirus has infected some of the agency’s employees and detainees, which experts said was inevitable.
posted by katra at 10:04 AM on March 30 [7 favorites]


It looks like the IHME model discussed yesterday has been updated. I'm not sure if it's just been rerun with additional data from the past three days or if they tweaked the model itself. The weird dichotomy in uncertainty estimates I noticed yesterday seems not to be as distinct anymore, so they might have fixed that as well. Unless they clarify things I'd assume all of the reasons to be skeptical of it still apply.
posted by Tsuga at 10:10 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Re: the video linked in tonycpsu's comment: Trump's take on "people with mental depression" due to social distancing is unsettling. The tone is very "mental defectives."
posted by Lyme Drop at 10:17 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Andrew Cuomo: "I'm not running for president."

Me: fuuuuuuuuuuuu
posted by schadenfrau at 10:48 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


I have an idea for a Kickstarter project:

a reward for the first reporter in the White House press room to ask Trump the following question:

"Now that at least 100,000 people are about to die as a direct result of your incompetence, are you even the slightest bit ashamed of yourself?"

I bet the pledged money would get quickly amount to the level of fuck-you-money and some reporter will go for it.
posted by ocschwar at 11:49 AM on March 30 [26 favorites]