The coronavirus invades Trump country
May 22, 2020 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Axios reports that according to a recent poll, Republicans are less worried about the coronavirus than Democrats or independents, even as it spreads out from primarily urban areas into suburban and rural Republican-leaning areas.

Meanwhile, Politico reports that "a sudden shift in support for Donald Trump among religious conservatives is triggering alarm bells inside his reelection campaign, where top aides have long banked on expanding the president’s evangelical base as a key part of their strategy for victory this November," which appears related to his recent declaration that churches, mosques and synagogues are “essential services” and to his threat to override governors who refuse to reopen them this weekend – a power that The Guardian notes he does not possess.

In addition, The New York Times reports that Trump, "eager to reopen the economy, has begun questioning the official coronavirus death toll, suggesting the numbers, which have hobbled his approval ratings and harmed his re-election prospects, are inflated," while "[m]ost statisticians and public health experts say he is wrong; the death toll is probably far higher than what is publicly known."

In related news, WaPo columnist Monica Heese reviews ways that women on TikTok have cracked the code on how to satirize Trump, including Sarah Cooper, who has filmed a series of videos, including “How to Medical” — using Trump’s comments about injecting disinfectant to kill the virus — and “How to Obamagate.”
posted by katra (419 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
 
Republicans are less worried about the coronavirus than Democrats or independents

Why are liberals more afraid of the coronavirus than conservatives?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:27 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Here's the trick to surviving a pandemic without learning anything:

1. If somebody you don't know dies it's just part of the "media".

2. If someone you know dies it's a tragedy and you can pray for them. Also they clearly made a mistake somewhere.

3. If you die there's no need for you to rationalize anything.
posted by selfnoise at 4:38 PM on May 22 [81 favorites]


There are plenty of conservatives who are afraid of the coronavirus, it's the Trumpians who are following their leader over the cliff.
posted by storybored at 4:44 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Baker has decided to toe the line here in MA and he’s letting churches reopen. We’re down half from our infection rate peak but that’s still 1000 infections a day and the decline has been arrested. I’m hoping beyond hope that it’s not an inflection point.

So many people are going to die unnecessarily. Watching the supposed followers of Jesus calling for blood for Mammon. It’s just utterly depressing.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:52 PM on May 22 [21 favorites]


...which appears related to his recent declaration that churches, mosques and synagogues are “essential services” and to his threat to override governors who refuse to reopen them this weekend – a power that The Guardian notes he does not possess.

Insert that one Catch-22 quote about "they can do anything that we can't stop them from doing" here.

Legally, there is no grounds for that override to be honored; you would have to ignore the 10th Amendment completely and put an extraordinary spin on the 1st (emphasis on "prohibiting the free exercise thereof (religion)" and "the right of the people peaceably to assemble," despite that (a) there is no such thing as a peaceable assembly that physically endangers hordes of innocent people, (b) it is not CONGRESS passing laws restricting these religious gatherings but individual state governors, and (c) prohibiting services temporarily in the name of public health is a FAR CRY from prohibiting a religion itself.)

Plus Matthew 6:6 with that whole "when thou prayest, pray in secret" bit indicating that The Boss remains just fine with religious worship that isn't open and ostentatious. Or Jesus's reflections upon "rendering under Caesar what is Caesar's." And that's just Christianity; we can bring in other religions that make it clear that maintaining one's health and safety outweighs adhering to ceremony, but that's heathen talk out there in the hinterlands.

In realpolitik, he can absolutely order it, because there are plenty of local authorities that will choose not to enforce stay-at-home orders against such places and will seize upon his "order" as sufficient justification to stand aside. And any place that does enforce the law will be front-page headlines as God-Hating Ivory Tower Elitists.

Or are we not already at a point where Trump's press secretary responds to reporters' questions about COVID safety with "Boy, it's interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to seem to see these houses of worship & churches stay closed"?

As for the growth in rural areas, there are many factors. Fewer medical facilities. Less wealth to pay for medical services, and hence more reluctance to seek them out. Fewer dissenting voices, less pushback from others to comply. And a clear reluctance to admit under any circumstances that Trump could be wrong -- even if that means avoiding behaviors like distancing and masks that could benefit them.
posted by delfin at 4:58 PM on May 22 [15 favorites]


New Fox News poll finds Biden with healthy lead, sends Trump into tailspinVox; Aaron Rupar; May 22, 2020 • 'The president is mad that Fox News isn’t rigging polls for him.'
But it’s notable that instead of reflecting on why his poll numbers are sliding ... the president attacks the messenger.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:59 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


The big orange idiot still polls at more than 40% approval. If nothing else, these past four years have really opened my eyes as to how terrible a significant amount of the american voting public really is.
posted by octothorpe at 5:04 PM on May 22 [130 favorites]


Wedding Planner, Caterer, “Brand Builder”: Trump’s Food Aid Program Is Paying $100+ Million to Unlicensed [and inexperienced] DealersProPublica; Isaac Arnsdorf; May 19, 2020 • 'Contractors with no experience in food distribution are looking for suppliers on Facebook while some food banks scramble to find desperately needed deliveries.'

Credit for the initiative has been claimed by President Trump and Ivanka Trump.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:06 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


> a power that The Guardian notes he does not possess.

Other powers Trump does not possess based on the way The Guardian is choosing to interpret "power" here:

* the power to obstruct an investigation into his own conduct
* the power to accept personal benefits from foreign governments
* the power to retain ownership in family business while holding office
* the power to withhold aid from other countries in order to advance political objectives
* the power to interfere with the freedom of the press

Thankfully, the framers built in safeguards to keep any of these things from happening.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:10 PM on May 22 [50 favorites]







There are plenty of conservatives who are afraid of the coronavirus, it's the Trumpians who are following their leader over the cliff


I'm assuming these are the same conservatives who huff and puff their "deep concerns" and "frustrations" about whatever nonsense the President is up to, provided they don't have to speak on the record or be identified.

In other words, while they might exist, for all practical purposes, they don't.
posted by nubs at 5:17 PM on May 22 [22 favorites]


Attorney: 1,200 California Pastors Agree To Reopen May 31 In Defiance Of Stay-At-Home Order (CBS SF / AP, May 21, 2020)
Newsom has gradually allowed some businesses to reopen as the state’s number of virus-related hospitalizations has flattened. But churches are still banned, along with hair salons and sporting events. Newsom said Monday churches could reopen in weeks, not months. But many churches are tired of waiting. Wednesday, a lawyer representing a church in Lodi that has sued Newsom said more than 1,200 pastors have signed a “declaration of essentiality” that announces their plan to reopen on May 31 while observing physical distancing and other precautions.

Attorney Robert Tyler said [...] [he] expects as many as 3,000 churches across California could have in-person services on May 31. “This letter was not sent for the purposes of asking for permission,” he said. The letter comes one day after the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division told Newsom in a letter that his stay-at-home order discriminates against churches and places an “unfair burden” on them. [...] A federal judge earlier this month sided with Newsom, saying he had the right to ban church services in the interest of public health. Tyler said the church has appealed the ruling.
Previously: 180 Exposed To Coronavirus During Mother’s Day Service At Defiant NorCal Church (CBS SF / CNN, May 18, 2020)
posted by katra at 5:19 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


It's not possible to understate how neatly the increased clamor from conservatives to end restrictions coincided with the growing awareness that the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 in the US have disproportionately been people of color.
posted by theory at 5:19 PM on May 22 [105 favorites]


Conservatives like germophobia. Liberals like city nightlife and the sage pronouncements of Ezekiel "No One Needs to Live Past 75" Emanuel.

I would have predicted this to line up politically exactly the opposite of how it did.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 5:21 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Neel Kashkari: "Genuinely curious, Lloyd [Blankfein]: are you going back out to movie theaters, restaurants and commercial planes? Or are you sequestering until there's a vax since you are in high risk age group? The people will determine the lockdown based on their own sense of safety."
I hated reading the replies to that. The arc of the universe may bend toward justice but at the quantum level it is cold and indifferent. If there were some sort of universal justice it would be those who are the most callous and cruel having to roll their lives against the slimmest odds. Instead, the poorest and vulnerable must bear the brunt of the arrogance and hubris of those same uncaring ghouls.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:23 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


The demand for reopening is only half the fun. The other half will be, once caseloads shoot upwards, the outcry when governors shift areas BACK from yellow-exercise-major-caution to red-stay-at-home.

And _then_ you're going to see talk of "sanctuary counties" and how anecdata "proves" that lockdowns are overblown.
posted by delfin at 5:24 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


It's not possible to understate how neatly the increased clamor from conservatives to end restrictions coincided with the growing awareness that the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 in the US have disproportionately been people of color.
Remember that Atwater quote?
You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
History sure as hell loves to rhyme.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:26 PM on May 22 [27 favorites]




>> I would have predicted this to line up politically exactly the opposite of how it did.

This is addressed in the Vox article linked by the man of twists and turns:
"But once a politician captures a party, other dynamics take over. For one thing, partisans trust their leaders and allied institutions. Very few of us have personally run experiments on the coronavirus, or gone around the world gathering surface temperature readings over the course of decades. We have to choose whom to believe, and once we do, we’re inclined to take their word when describing contested or faraway events."
Also any threat to the economy (or the stock market) is perceived as a threat to Trump's reelection and Republican control of the Senate. Everything going forward is going to be viewed through that lens.
posted by theory at 6:16 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Study estimates 24 states still have uncontrolled coronavirus spread (WaPo / MSN reprint)
The model, which has not been peer reviewed, shows that in the majority of states, a second wave looms if people abandon efforts to mitigate the viral spread. “There’s evidence that the U.S. is not under control, as an entire country,” said Samir Bhatt, a senior lecturer in geostatistics at Imperial College. The model shows potentially ominous scenarios if people move around as they did previously and do so without taking precautions. In California and Florida, the death rate could spike to roughly 1,000 a day by July without efforts to mitigate the spread, according to the report. Other models released in recent days captured a similarly mixed picture. The PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia used county-level forecasts that found much of the country was in decent shape for reopening, but worrisome areas remain, including Houston, Dallas, South Florida and Alabama.

[...] In Texas, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he consults with doctors and experts from area hospitals, “and what they tell us is that we’re reopening too fast, and we’re reopening in the wrong order.” Local jurisdictions in Texas do not have the authority to issue more stringent restrictions than the state, which began aggressively reopening this month. So Dallas has focused on messaging. The county has a daily “covid-19 risk level” that is currently red, for “stay home, stay safe.”
Parents Really Need a Break. But Is Summer Camp Too Risky? (NYT)
“Every medical professional we consulted said that for a camp that opens in this environment, it’s not a matter of if — it will be there,” said Bradley Solmsen, the executive director of the camp in Cold Spring, N.Y., about 55 miles north of New York City. “Even with testing, the likelihood of us having it if we opened was very, very high.” [...] Lauren Rutkowski, the owner and director of Camp IHC in Wayne, Pa., said that after speaking with distributors of tests for the virus, the camp decided it could not rely on their accuracy. Tests can produce up to 30 percent false negatives and research on the testing of children is limited. [...] Dr. David Cennimo, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said keeping the virus out of camps would be challenging no matter what measures operators take.
posted by katra at 6:17 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


I don't fear COVID-19 but I do respect it. And I will continue to give it a wide berth until there is a solid scientific reason not to. Others may do as they will and I wish them well...
posted by jim in austin at 6:24 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


President Trump declined to wear a protective face mask in public Thursday during a visit to a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan that is turning out ventilators and masks for use in the coronavirus pandemic, despite a request from the carmaker that he wear one and an executive order from the state’s Democratic governor requiring them. (Washington Post, May 21, 2020) Trump said he had worn a mask in another area of the plant, “where they preferred it,” but declined to wear one in view of the cameras. “I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” Trump said. [...]

Trump had been noncommittal on wearing a mask as he spoke with reporters before leaving the White House. “Well, I don’t know. We’re gonna look at it,” he said. “A lot of people have asked me that question.” As reporters shouted to be heard above the roar of Marine One, parked on the lawn behind Trump, Trump asked one questioner to remove a mask so as to be heard. “I can’t hear you. You have your mask on, I can’t hear a word,” Trump said.
--
Before the visit, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote this open letter, reminding Trump of Executive Orders 2020-91 (requiring manufacturing facilities "suspend all non-essential in-person visits, including tours") & 2020-92 ("any individual able to medically tolerate a facial covering wear one when in any enclosed space"); she summed up with "While my Department will not act to prevent you from touring Ford's plant, I ask that while you are on tour you respect the great efforts of the men and women at Ford — and across this State — by wearing a facial covering" as it's not just a Ford policy due to an executive order but "currently the law of this State."

After the visit, Nessel was interviewed on CNN: "Today's events were extremely disappointing and yet totally predictable. [...] He is a petulant child who refuses to follow the rules. This is not a joke.”
--
Of course, a picture of a masked Trump touring Ford is circulating anyway. The tour occurred shortly after this decision was announced: "Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer had the right to extend the state's stay-at-home order and extend the state of emergency, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled Thursday, rejecting a lawsuit filed by Republicans in the state legislature who challenged her emergency powers in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The court ruled that the Democratic governor had operated under the "broad" powers within her executive authority to extend the state of emergency under the Emergency Powers of Governors Act (EPGA) from 1945. It also said that she had exceeded her power under the Emergency Management Act (EMA) of 1976, the other act that Whitmer cited in extending the state of emergency in April. That act requires the legislature to approve an extension to a state of emergency after 28 days. However, it appears that Whitmer would be able to extend a state of emergency under the 1945 act." (CBS, May 22, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:27 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


The whole church thing is such bullshit! WORSHIP can take place perfectly well via videoconferencing. We're doing it! It works fine! We have links for tithing, and music and prayer and all the rest! It's remarkably easy to broadcast a sermon, easier than it's ever been. There is no restriction on religion by keeping churches closed. God does not need you to be at a certain address.
posted by emjaybee at 6:52 PM on May 22 [37 favorites]


Others may do as they will and I wish them well...

gliberarian bullshit

"others may do as they wish with regard to dropping lit matches in a dry forest, and I wish them well"
posted by lalochezia at 6:52 PM on May 22 [20 favorites]


WORSHIP can take place perfectly well via videoconferencing.

Yes, but putting money in the offering plate is harder to do that way.
posted by Slothrup at 6:57 PM on May 22 [18 favorites]


PayPal says hello. :)

There are few obstacles in this modern world except for those that some insist on maintaining.
posted by delfin at 6:59 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Real news report from my local station

The despondence of the deputy in that news segment!
posted by eviemath at 7:00 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


The despondence of the deputy in that news segment!

Yeah, I got the impression he probably wishes dozens of times per day that he could literally arrest all of those idiots.
posted by axiom at 7:27 PM on May 22


gliberarian bullshit

Not really. I wish we had a responsible federal government but we don't and, outside of voting in November, there is literally nothing of substance I can do about it. I wish people made informed and sensible decisions based on evidence about this infection but, again, I am powerless since I seem to have mislaid my magic wand again. All I can do is keep myself and my family as safe as I can and wish the rest of humanity God's speed and hopefully a bit of insight...
posted by jim in austin at 7:31 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


There are plenty of conservatives who are afraid of the coronavirus, it's the Trumpians who are following their leader over the cliff

The list of conservatives who are not Trumpians is very, very short.
posted by JackFlash at 7:39 PM on May 22 [15 favorites]


"[m]ost statisticians (New York Times) and public health experts say he is wrong; the death toll is probably far higher than what is publicly known."
... one standard approach to measure the impact of a pandemic like this is to look at “excess deaths,” meaning mortality greater than the average for a particular time period.

For example, for the seven weeks ending April 25 in the United States, about 70,000 more Americans died than is normal for those weeks (death is seasonal and normally declines over the course of spring and summer). That 70,000 figure for excess deaths does not include Connecticut, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, which were excluded because of missing or dubious data.

The official number of Covid-19 deaths in that period for the rest of the country was 49,100. That suggests an undercount of more than 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths as of April 25.

Add those 20,000 missed deaths to today’s total of 83,000, and you already get more than 100,000 pandemic-related deaths. But the undercount probably continued after April 25, albeit at a lower rate.
I heard of this method for considering "unrecognized" COVID-19 related deaths, but the graphs of "excess deaths" per state is interesting, and provides a level of detail I hadn't seen before.

How We Reopen Safely: COVID Exit Strategy (dot org)
May 21, 2020 - Note on CDC Guidance

Our team is processing the latest guidance from the CDC on how to calculate if a state meets each of the gating criteria and how they shift between phases. It is thoughtful and will take some time to incorporate. For the time being, our red, yellow, green scale will indicate how a state is trending on the key measures that are a part of the White House criteria.


May 20, 2020 - Alert-Level System & New Mexico

Using publicly available data we adapted the alert system from Resolve to Save Lives into a live dashboard. We shared a preview of this on May 20th. Thank you for the feedback. We'll be sharing an updated version next week.

Today, Michigan shifts to red because of an increase in cases (+8%).

New Mexico has met the criteria for 3 days in a row.

Iris Gambol: Trump said he had worn a mask in another area of the [Ford] plant, “where they preferred it,” but declined to wear one in view of the cameras. “I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” Trump said.

For being touted as a strong man, he seems pretty damned fragile.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:05 PM on May 22 [22 favorites]


https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/05/21/1002105/covid-bot-twitter-accounts-push-to-reopen-america

More than half of the Tweets promoting the opening of America are from bots. I can't tell the Russians from the Corporate interests at this point. Why aren't there progressive bot armies?
posted by mecran01 at 8:16 PM on May 22 [18 favorites]


The Federal-State dynamic is also playing out right now in Brazil. The city of Manaus is one geography weenies know about because it cannot be reached by car from the rest of South America. You must either fly or get a ferry on the Amazon River. The city is in the heart of indigenous country ( indigenous people who've been "contacted" to a pulp for some time, but indigenous nonetheless), and it's been overwhelmed by the virus. The mayor has lost his composure on live television more than once, and publicly asked Greta Thunberg to use her megaphone on behalf of his constituents.

She obliged.

2020, man.
posted by ocschwar at 8:19 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


I heard of this method for considering "unrecognized" COVID-19 related deaths, but the graphs of "excess deaths" per state is interesting, and provides a level of detail I hadn't seen before.
I think it's potentially the only reliable source of data. There's too much gray in the numbers. When boffins are looking back through the data and weighing details, that delta on overall deaths will be hard to miss.

To imagine an example— If you badly break your arm, but due to fear of exposure when heading to A&E, you Youtube a couple of wilderness survival videos and end up dying from sepsis. To me, that's a Covid related death‐ something that wouldn't have occurred (assuming a country with reliable free health care) if it wasn't around.

There are more direct examples, people dying of pneumonia at nursing homes but never tested, etc. However you slice the cake, it's harder to hide 'X people died this month' — and that increase in deaths over the period is the number that needs to be addressed. If Covid '23 comes a'running, you better hope we've learned the lessons, so we can address the primary and secondary effects.

The rapidly reducing rum and coke by my side could be considered an indication of how many lessons I believe certain leaders will learn.
posted by Static Vagabond at 9:08 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Also note that during shelter in place the number of automobile fatalities should have gone way down. The delta is probably a minima in most places.
posted by benzenedream at 9:44 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


Minnesota graduation ceremony may have spread the coronavirus, officials say (WaPo live blog)
Minnesota health officials say that a graduation ceremony may have facilitated the spread of new coronavirus cases in the state after participants and organizers failed to adhere to recently published guidelines, according to local media. Kris Ehresmann, director of the Minnesota Department of Health’s infectious-disease division, told KARE-TV that someone who help set up the stage before the ceremony began experiencing covid-19 symptoms and tested positive for the novel coronavirus afterward.

[...] Separately, in North Carolina, school officials say a Thomasville High School student went to a graduation event involving small groups of 10 and found out afterward he had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to WFMY-TV.
Hairstylist with COVID-19 served 84 clients while symptomatic, Missouri officials say (Kansas City Star)
Missouri state leaders allowed these businesses to reopen May 4. “I’m very frustrated to be up here,” Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard said. “And maybe more so, I’m disappointed.” [...] The health department director said the incident does not affect the community’s “recovery plan” but warned of similar scenarios as the reopening phases turn from mandates to personal responsibility.

“I’m going to be honest with you. We can’t have many more of these. We can’t make this a regular habit or our capability as a community will be strained and we will have to re-evaluate what things look like going forward,” Goddard said. “Each of us owns just how this will go forward in our community.”
Memorial Day tempts Americans outdoors, raising virus fears (AP)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people stay home, avoid crowds and connect with family and friends by phone or video chat. [...] Data and consulting firm Tourism Economics projects travelers will spend $4.2 billion on Memorial Day weekend, compared with $12.3 billion last year.
posted by katra at 9:48 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


So 66% of us are curtailing our activities? Not terrible.
posted by Windopaene at 9:55 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


We’re retreating to a new strategy on covid-19. Let’s call it what it is. (Leana S. Wen, WaPo Opinion, May 13, 2020)
A switch to harm reduction doesn’t mean the Trump administration is off the hook on testing and tracing. Regular, rapid testing will make it much safer for employees and students to return to work and school. Of course, there is also a fundamental difference between this new iteration of societal harm reduction and what I know as the standard public health practice of individual harm reduction — this disease risk is being forced upon the many Americans who would not have chosen it for themselves and their loved ones. That’s a real tragedy.
posted by katra at 10:14 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


I want to choke everyone time someone says "reopen safely." That's just bullshit. Leaving the house at all isn't safe. If you're trying to be safer, sure, but this is a terrible time to reopen and I just lose it every time in my head. Also it just seems way too easy to just fall back into old habits of sitting next to people, attending church, what have you if you try to do anything semi-normal, if you try to "relax," what have you.

Harm reduction, indeed.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:16 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Plus Matthew 6:6 with that whole "when thou prayest, pray in secret" bit indicating that The Boss remains just fine with religious worship that isn't open and ostentatious.

Watching the supposed followers of Jesus calling for blood for Mammon. It’s just utterly depressing.

Revelations 18, Christians. Do you speak it:
"2 Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit

3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
OK but what even is Babylon tho':
"10... that great city Babylon, that mighty city!

11 ... the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,

13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men."

So Babylon is a great society, lots of trade in all kinds of material goods, especially luxury goods, but you know, good smelling stuff, good tasting stuff. Also bodies and souls.

Standard market economy, really.

And this chapter, there's an honest-to-God angel telling God's people to come out of this situation so they aren't partakers in the coming plagues. And merchants freaking out because the economy isn't open.

I really don't think market economies themselves are *necessarily* Babylon. They're good tools for solving certain problems and creating prosperity. But when you have no other institutions for coordinating activity between members of society and taking care of each other, to the point where civil authorities can't break off the tryst -- when you can't bear to shut down -- and *especially* when bodies and souls are just other commodities to buy and sell, then... yeah. You're living in Babylon.

And I can't think of one Christian voice I've seen invoke this passage or talk about it, in spite of how chillingly it matches up with the matters of the moment.

Maybe nobody has time to read the Bible? OK. Americans love movies and conservatives love Charlton Heston. Maybe we can invoke that scene in The Ten Commandments where the taskmaster is gonna keep the wheels of industry MOVING even if it gets an old woman get crushed because she's probably just going to die soon anyway.
posted by weston at 11:19 PM on May 22 [26 favorites]


[One deleted. Churches of most or all denominations and ethnic compositions have been opening / are re-opening, so a comment focusing on a single African-American church to make a lot of snide comments about weight, age, makes of car, bad decision-making, etc., just sounds racist. ]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:08 AM on May 23 [16 favorites]


I don't fear COVID-19 but I do respect it.

This. I am really, really tired of taking precautions being framed as "fear," and I think the more we accept that language the more we acquiesce to harmful and distracting rhetoric. "Fear" is not the issue. What emotions someone may or may not experience is irrelevant to the basic question of "what is the right course of action for the public health?" If you let it become commonly accepted that people who stay home or wear masks are "afraid," then the whole discourse becomes cowards versus warriors--exactly where Trump wants it to be. The actual situation, though, is "people who assess the evidence and take appropriate precautions out of concern for others" vs "impatient people who don't care if their actions spread a serious contagion." That take a lot longer to say, so maybe "wise" versus "foolhardy" will do.

I've been home except for essential shopping and outdoor hikes far from anyone else for a month and a half now. It's not easy. But in all that time, I've never experienced a feeling of fear. But I do know how to read data and choose appropriate courses of action.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:35 AM on May 23 [65 favorites]


im North Carolina, school officials say a Thomasville High School student went to a graduation event involving small groups of 10 and found out afterward he had tested positive for the coronavirus

I'm on the school board here and we voted this week to go with a virtual graduation plus drive-up get your diploma (with the plan to hold an in person... something at a later point tbd).

We were presented with a plan for a socially distanced in person graduation that we decided would be unworkable with 300+ seniors and got a lottttt of push back for "not trying hard enough to make it work for the kids" (this was after a week of meetings with students, the lawyers, the town police, you name it).

I am super glad we made the decision we did now.
posted by damayanti at 5:50 AM on May 23 [21 favorites]


But in all that time, I've never experienced a feeling of fear. But I do know how to read data and choose appropriate courses of action.

At the front end of the crisis where health systems were in serious danger of being overloaded while the virus spread freely I was terrified that if my wife did get sick and the health system had to ration care, a'la Italy, that she would get triaged out of the system.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:56 AM on May 23 [16 favorites]


The list of conservatives who are not Trumpians is very, very short.

Let's see--Justin Amash isn't running for president, Bill Weld and Joe Walsh also dropped out. John McCain's dead, and Mitt Romney seems to be taking the Susan Collins strategy of only voting against Trump when it doesn't matter. You'd think Rand Paul might have some libertarian principles now and again, but he has to get reelected in Kentucky, and he might need Russian money to do it. George Conway and his crowd have a little money and even less power, and people like Rick Wilson and Max Boot don't even have that.

Conservatism, at this point, is not an internally consistent ideology. Strong defense? Not as strong as it was before we sold Saudi Arabia $8 billion worth of weapons. Limited government, personal autonomy? Not if you want to bake a gay wedding cake for an abortion clinic. Fiscal austerity? Tell it to a $1200 Trumpvirus check.

From where I'm standing, the list of conservatives who are not Trumpians is effectively zero.
posted by box at 6:55 AM on May 23 [16 favorites]


I am really, really tired of taking precautions being framed as "fear," and I think the more we accept that language the more we acquiesce to harmful and distracting rhetoric. "Fear" is not the issue. What emotions someone may or may not experience is irrelevant to the basic question of "what is the right course of action for the public health?"

This more or less sums up the psychological divide for me, which is not a simple dichotomy between reckless liberals and risk-averse conservatives. An open mindset is no less averse to risk, it's just more likely to process new information about those risks, weigh them up, and take action based on the knowledge available. Whereas an authoritarian mindset is more concerned with upholding the norms and traditions of the community. Fears are directed towards established taboos, hazards are faced by banding together, and misfortune is blamed on sinners and outsiders.

Hence, the playing field is exactly as I expected it, and no surprises there.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 7:42 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


George Conway and his crowd have a little money and even less power, and people like Rick Wilson and Max Boot don't even have that.

There's a gulf of difference between the grifters and the actually skilled, though. They managed to piss Trump off by running a certain ad during Hannity. A single ad buy created on a shoestring budget managed to needle Trump so badly he couldn't stop ranting about them for a week.

It's one of those "I'm glad they're on our side this time" moments.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:51 AM on May 23 [15 favorites]


Oh dear Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was up late rage tweeting at his ex.

@jeffsessions
.
@realdonaldtrump
Look, I know your anger, but recusal was required by law. I did my duty & you're damn fortunate I did. It protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration. Your personal feelings don't dictate who Alabama picks as their senator, the people of Alabama do. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1263970567838932993
posted by bluesky43 at 7:55 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


I am really, really tired of taking precautions being framed as "fear," and I think the more we accept that language the more we acquiesce to harmful and distracting rhetoric. "Fear" is not the issue.

Well said.

I was diagnosed with COVID-19 two weeks ago. My wife caught it from me during the time I was asymptomatic but still shedding, before I quarantined in a room. We've both been sick as dogs, but in the long run we'll be fine--we're both reasonably healthy adults, and it's basically like having the flu. However, as a precautionary measure, we've both stopped leaving the house for any reason, even with masks on and keeping our distance from everyone. Why? Because I don't want to be responsible for infecting someone who WON'T be fine in the long run. If Fox News wants to label that reaction as "fear," then fuck them and anyone who listens to their bullshit. It's part of the social contract. Let's drop the "fearmongering" rhetoric, and call people who want to reopen everything exactly what they are: sociopaths who are happy killing your grandma if it means they can make a few extra bucks.
posted by Mayor West at 9:14 AM on May 23 [70 favorites]


Oh dear Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was up late rage tweeting at his ex.


It's fun to watch Lawful Evil and Chaotic Evil duke it out.

From a safe distance.
posted by delfin at 9:44 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


It protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration

hey jeff, i'm not sure those words mean what you think they mean
posted by kokaku at 9:48 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Fox News wants to label that reaction as "fear," then fuck them and anyone who listens to their bullshit.

In Trumpland, firefighters let smoldering buildings catch fire and then charge in while fully ablaze "for the optics".
posted by benzenedream at 10:17 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I’m not “afraid” of the coronavirus when I wear a mask, any more than I’m “afraid” of a miter saw when I wear safety goggles. I’m just an adult with enough common sense not to do dumb shit.
posted by snowmentality at 10:23 AM on May 23 [25 favorites]


Out-of-towners encouraged to stay away from a handful of coastal regions (WaPo live blog, May 22, 2020)
The governors of Oregon and New Hampshire have discouraged out-of-towners from visiting their picturesque regions, telling them to stay home as a way to avoid large gatherings. [...] While beaches are open in New Jersey, Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra told CNN that social distancing must be practiced. [...] On the other side of the country, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) released a letter signed by 26 mayors urging Oregonians to “keep it local” during the holiday weekend.

“If you love the coast, stay home for now and plan your trip this summer. If you love the Columbia Gorge, keep it local this weekend and visit later on. If you love Central Oregon, it’ll still be there in a few weeks. Please keep it local for now,” the letter read in part.
GOP governor offers emotional plea to the anti-mask crowd: Stop this senseless culture war (Aaron Blake, WaPo Analysis)
As states across the country have gradually pushed forward with reopening in recent weeks, protesters representing a small but apparently growing movement — especially within the Republican Party — have continued to push for it to go faster. And one very visible thing has somehow turned into a perceived political statement: wearing a mask. A reporter at a Minnesota news station — one who happens to be an old college friend of mine — was even harassed this week for wearing a mask while covering these protests. Across the border in North Dakota, though, GOP Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday offered a plea to stop the madness. [...]

In a tearful speech, Gov. @DougBurgum (R-ND) asks residents to skip the “ideological and political” debate on face masks. pic.twitter.com/BkTEDWxuYg — The Recount (@therecount) May 22, 2020
AP FACT CHECK: Trump trashing virus science he doesn’t like (AP)
When President Donald Trump doesn’t like the message, he shoots the messenger. So it was this past week when he took very personally a scientific study that should give pause to anyone thinking of following Trump’s lead and ingesting a potentially risky drug for the coronavirus. He branded the study’s researchers, financed in part by his own administration, his “enemy.”
posted by katra at 10:29 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


PayPal says hello. :)

Yea, but what's the point if nobody sees me drop a hundo into the collection plate? How will my lessers know who they are?
posted by pwnguin at 10:33 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


I'm not afraid of the virus, I'm not afraid of death.
No - I have a fucking heart and don't want people who aren't afraid of death to not deal with it.

I am also aware that it isn't just death, that there appear to be long term health consequences far beyond death. Cellular damage in ways that go beyond mere pneumonia. People are suffering even if they don't die. This shit is brutal, and we're finding new horrific ways this thing is affecting people every week, we find new things.

But these covidiots running around demanding to open are so bound up in this bourgeois "Freedom" that their social obligations (and even conception that there IS such an obligation) are completely abandoned.

It's gotten to the point I've been unfriending even long term friends from school when I see them refusing to call out commenters who push BS on their wall. I no longer can stomach even debating or trying to "prove" because I really feel this is a clear cut case of 1) bad faith actors 2) people digging into their beliefs harder than ever when confronted with evidence.

The religious side of things especially. I get so angry about this because it's clear the Bible even says that praying in public and making a big deal about it is an "act" (be not like the hypocrites... but when you pray, go into your closet...) So the so called Christians who make a big stink about this are not worth even debating, they can't even follow their own religion, but rather stroke their egos.

Which let's admit, is all this is. It's narcissism and ego write large, as if the laws of physics don't apply to them, as if they have divine protection.

The worst part of this is, precisely because it's socially communicable and not just affecting those who make the choice, we can't just say "fine then, go get the 'Rona".

And that's the bind socially responsible people who understand the nature of this are in.
posted by symbioid at 10:47 AM on May 23 [16 favorites]


Also - re: tourism - I grew up in Door County WI, which is basically a tourist location for rich Chicagoans (we have another acronym for them ;)), and some in state people. A guy who lived behind our family friend (one country block over) died of COVID. It's weird to think about this tiny place who really has no resources (any real hospital stuff beyond broken bones and birthing seem to require a drive 45 mins away to Green Bay)... To think of the selfishness of tourists who think they deserve to come into this community and potentially infect people. Seeing it other places too. (The Hamptons had their issues, for example) and it seems like the county leadership (business and political) are trying to do the right thing, thankfully, in terms of not just 'opening up' (unlike some water park town in this state (cough Wisconsin Dells cough).

It's sad because I was planning to go up with my lady friend to show her where I grew up, but I'd rather respect the local's needs and not open myself up to such exposure as well...
(Shutting up now, promise).
posted by symbioid at 10:56 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


America isn't being reopened, it's being ripped apart by propaganda using the 2016 Russian playbookDaily Kos; Mark Sumner; 05/23/2020
[...] A new study shows that when it comes to forcing workers to go back into offices, stores, and factories, almost half the online voices shouting for the “reopening of America” were, and are, bot accounts. Of the accounts that have tweeted most on this topic, more than half are bots. Of the most influential, almost all are bots. And behind the bots … is someone still unknown.

The report comes out of Carnegie Mellon University. Digging through over 200 million tweets discussing COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus, researchers focused in on the most influential accounts—those most active, most retweeted, and most liked. Out of the top 1,000 accounts, 62% are bots. Perhaps even more amazing: of the 50 most influential accounts on this topic, 82% are bots.

The bots may be numerous, but their message isn’t varied. [...] In addition to pushing false cures [...] and spreading general false information about the dangers of COVID-19, there’s one point where bots are driving the whole of social media. According to the report, they are “dominating conversations about ending stay-at-home orders and ‘reopening America.’”
The bots may be even more numerous than usual. Also, I wonder how often Trump has retweeted a bot instead of a real person.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:04 AM on May 23 [33 favorites]


Of course I don't want to unknowingly spread the virus if (when?) I do catch it. But I'm not offended by being labeled 'afraid' by Fox news. I am afraid. Very. Of the virus. Of death. Of MAGA people making a big show of venturing out, guns blazing, getting freedom haircuts, shedding virus everywhere--of the fourth of July, of the future in general ...
posted by marimeko at 11:06 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Groups of 10 people can now gather anywhere in New York for any reason. (NYT live blog)
In an unexpected executive order issued Friday night, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York slightly loosened coronavirus restrictions, saying that gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed “for any lawful purpose or reason” anywhere in the state — including New York City — provided that social-distance protocols were followed. Cuomo issued the order after the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a suit that objected to Mr. Cuomo’s order on Thursday allowing groups of 10 people or less to gather for religious services or for Memorial Day celebrations. Mr. Cuomo’s order on Friday night modified the previous order.

The revision was swiftly condemned by Councilman Mark D. Levine, who represents Upper Manhattan and is chairman of the City Council’s health committee. He stressed that the order had not been made by health professionals. “This shocking order, forced by a lawsuit, changes nothing about the risks associated with group gatherings — especially those held indoors,” he said in tweets posted about 8:45 p.m. “No one should interpret this as advice to change their behavior,” he added. [...] At his daily briefing on Saturday, Mr. Cuomo said he had not been aware of the civil liberties union’s lawsuit.
posted by katra at 11:21 AM on May 23


But these covidiots running around demanding to open are so bound up in this bourgeois "Freedom" that their social obligations (and even conception that there IS such an obligation) are completely abandoned.

To paraphrase Tom Nichols, it's a toddler level understanding of freedom that focuses on rights and none of the responsibilities.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:38 AM on May 23 [24 favorites]


Holiday amid pandemic: Americans divided on how to respond (AP)
In California, where many businesses and recreational activities are reopening, officials in Los Angeles County said they would maintain tight restrictions until July 4. Some religious leaders took issue with Trump’s declaration that houses of worship are “essential” and should resume in-person services this weekend. “Being at the epicenter of this pandemic and in order to protect our flock, we advise that congregations remain closed until more accurate and uniform information is provided,” said Bishop Paul Egensteiner, who oversees the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s congregations in the hard-hit New York City region.

[...] However, Trump visited one of his private golf clubs for the first time during the pandemic — the Trump National Golf Club in northern Virginia. He has been pushing for state and local leaders to fully reopen after months after closures and tight restrictions. [...] Mindful of evangelical Christians who are key to his base of support ahead of November’s election, Trump on Friday labeled houses of worship as “essential” and urged governors to let them reopen this weekend. However, leaders of many denominations have said they plan to move gradually and cautiously.
posted by katra at 11:47 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Why Are the States Reopening? (David A. Graham, Atlantic)
Politicians seldom take major, risky steps without knowing that public opinion is behind them, and that makes the decisions by governors to reopen all the stranger. As I have written, public opinion is astonishingly united behind social-distancing measures. Across party lines and geographic regions, Americans think that caution is prudent and restrictions are smart. They believe wearing a face mask is more about public health than personal choice. And they hold these views even, or especially, when it means personal sacrifice.

It is true that the partisan divide on anti-coronavirus measures has been growing in recent days. Yet what this polling suggests is not the typical Democrats-versus-Republicans split, but instead a difference of opinion within the Republican Party. And even then, governors of both parties are, in many specific instances, embracing a minority opinion within their party. The haste to reopen, in defiance of medical expertise, economic data, and public opinion, is thus peculiar. The most obvious possibility is that it is a testament to the power of the presidential bully pulpit and intense media coverage. [...] On Thursday, during a visit to Michigan, Trump was asked about the prospect of a second wave, and he allowed that it might happen but said mass closures wouldn’t be necessary. “We’re not going to close the country; we’re going to put out the fires,” he said. “Whether it’s an ember or a flame, we’re going to put it out. But we’re not closing our country.” One of the lessons of the past few years, in firefighting and politics alike, is that once the conflagration has been set, it doesn’t always behave the way people want or expect.
posted by katra at 12:11 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]


I think the most heartbreaking thing is that if they suspended the grift for just a little bit, they could have had their cake, eaten it too, and looked like fucking heroes during the entire process. But no, that requires work, competency, integrity, and various other qualities this administration lacks completely.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:29 PM on May 23 [25 favorites]


I've found it odd how much Trump held onto his one model for winning reelection, no matter what. And telling how inflexible and unopen to any kind of change he is.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:35 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


filthy light thief > For being touted as a strong man, he seems pretty damned fragile.

6 months on, Trump hasn't completed his physical. The White House won't say why. Six months after saying he started the process, Trump hasn’t completed his annual 2020 physical., NBC News, Geoff Bennett & Monica Alba; 5/22/2020:
WASHINGTON — It’s been more than six months since President Donald Trump claimed to have started his annual physical at Walter Reed hospital [on November 16, 2019] but the White House is declining to explain why he has yet to complete the yearly doctor’s examination.

Senior administration officials did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment about the delay — despite Trump announcing this week he was taking an unproven and potentially dangerous drug [hydroxychloroquine] after being exposed to an aide who tested positive for coronavirus. Asked in early March about when he would complete his physical, the president told reporters, “I’m going probably over the next 90 days. I’m so busy, I can’t do it.”...
The Poor Donald, 73 (74 on June 14 14th) and newly released from the White House, is apparently still too busy:
Trump visits one of his private golf courses for first time in 75 days — The president's visit to Trump National Golf Club in Virginia comes as the White House is pushing states to lift stay-at-home orders and for the economy to reopen, NBC News, Monica Alba & Lauren Egan, 5/23/2020:

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump kicked off his Memorial Day weekend by visiting his club in Virginia, marking the president's first time back at one of his private golf courses in 75 days, the longest stretch of his administration without spending time at one. He was seen leaving the White House on Saturday morning wearing a white hat, white shirt and no mask as his motorcade made its way to the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.

Trump last visited his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida the weekend of March 6 where he hosted several Brazilian officials, one of whom tested positive for the coronavirus shortly after the trip. The president spent most of the rest of March locked down at the White House...
Meanwhile, in Brazil, the Imperial Donald's BFF in happier days isn't mincing any words: 'Horror show': critics hope Bolsonaro's foul tirade could end rule, The Guardian; Tom Phillips, Rio de Janeiro; 5/23/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 12:45 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


I've found it odd how much Trump held onto his one model for winning reelection, no matter what. And telling how inflexible and unopen to any kind of change he is.

There's only six months of campaign performance time left, and he's not going to break character now. Trump's lies, hyperbole, exaggerations, fake facts, baseless personal attacks, and promises of anything to anyone worked before: he's only going to get worse.
posted by cenoxo at 12:57 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


One final viral infusion: Trump’s move to block travel from Europe triggered chaos and a surge of passengers from the outbreak’s center (alt MSN link) • Washington Post; Greg Miller, Josh Dawsey, Aaron Davis; May 23 2020
The images [of crowded flights and airports] showed how a policy intended to block the pathogen’s entry into the United States instead delivered one final viral infusion. As those exposed travelers fanned out into U.S. cities and suburbs, they became part of an influx from Europe that went unchecked for weeks and helped to seal the country’s coronavirus fate.

Epidemiologists contend the U.S. outbreak was driven overwhelmingly by viral strains from Europe rather than China. More than 1.8 million travelers entered the United States from Europe in February alone as that continent became the center of the pandemic. Infections reached critical mass in New York and other cities well before the White House took action, according to studies mapping the virus’s spread. The crush of travelers triggered by Trump’s announcement only added to that viral load.
Typical Trump - all bluster, no detail.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:57 PM on May 23 [14 favorites]



I am really, really tired of taking precautions being framed as "fear," and I think the more we accept that language the more we acquiesce to harmful and distracting rhetoric. "Fear" is not the issue. What emotions someone may or may not experience is irrelevant to the basic question of "what is the right course of action for the public health?"

“No, I can live with it. Everybody has to live with it and I'm no exception. I do the most aggression against the virus by hunkering down. Which sounds like a paradox, because hunkering down is defensive. But we have to starve the fucker.”

-Werner Herzog
posted by the duck by the oboe at 2:57 PM on May 23 [38 favorites]


[One deleted - the Ed Yong article on the patchwork pandemic has its own post, so better to keep discussion of that article over in that thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:58 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Trump Needs to Win Michigan. So Why Is He Dumping on the State?Washington Monthly; Martin Longman; May 22, 2020 • 'Pushing unpopular responses to COVID-19 and threatening federal aid isn’t exactly a winning strategy.'
It’s probably safe to say that Trump didn’t help his chances of winning Michigan on Thursday [when he toured the Ford plant maskless], but that’s not the only self-injurious thing he did this week. He also chose the day that two dams broke and inundated whole communities to threaten to withhold all federal aid from the state.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:10 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


I just don't understand how Trump isn't being beaten up by his - and his entire family's - history of voting by mail. I've seen it brought up multiple times, but it seems to just fizzle. I would expect every report of his latest tweet on the subject to include a mention, but I haven't seen it once. Hopefully, I'm just not consuming the right media, and the story is getting out there...
posted by Anoplura at 4:53 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


any more than I’m “afraid” of a miter saw when I wear safety goggles

Exactly. And now that you mention it, this fragile ego posturing bullshit is also why it's takes so much effort constantly watching and threats to get (usually younger male) workers to wear their goddamn ppe in our industrial area at work. See, I'm not "afraid" of that rotating machinery. I'm not "afraid" of immense crane loads. I'm not "afraid" of people working overhead.

Not being "afraid" doesn't make a dropped tool or fastener split your skull open any less, and a hard hat works just as well whether you're "afraid" or not.
posted by ctmf at 4:58 PM on May 23 [11 favorites]


Well, I fear covid19. Scared of it, flat out. Scared of getting it, scared of giving it to someone else. I say that with no reservations and don't care if it makes me look like a weakling or lesser person or something. Because to me, fear of something like that is standard, in the same way I fear great white sharks or falling off the edge of a cliff. Not fearing it doesn't make any sense to me, so when I hear someone saying or implying they don't fear covid19, I think they are either lying or a damn fool.
posted by zardoz at 5:13 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]




NYT front page, Sunday May 24, 2020

Very sobering. Thanks.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:51 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Pete Souza, who was Obama's photographer, tweeted out that front page, and it's...a gut punch, I think.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:51 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


“I refuse to live in fear” — people who use unseasoned tomato sauce in their lasagna and who take their stupid guns with them everywhere they go
posted by armeowda at 5:54 PM on May 23 [12 favorites]


For a visual, Texas Memorial Stadium seats just over 100,000 people.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:24 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


NYT front page, Sunday May 24, 2020

Made an FPP around this. "They Were Not Simply Names on a List. They Were Us."
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:30 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Memorial Day weekend draws big crowds to some outdoor destinations (WaPo live blog)
Memorial Day weekend festivities played out very differently around the country Saturday as Americans looked to open the summer season outside. [...] New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) urged people to spend the weekend at home and avoid gatherings, while others warned against large groups but seemed to accept that many would head outside and called for social distancing. [...] Some embraced public events. Florida state Rep. Dane Eagle (R), for example, took part in celebrations and touted a boat parade in southwest Florida where flags supporting President Trump flew from watercraft.

And some venues drew crowds. Video posted by a CBS Baltimore reporter captured an Ocean City, Md., boardwalk thick with visitors in close proximity, most not wearing masks. [...] A beach on the reopened Jersey Shore was packed with people sunbathing and frolicking in the water in video showed by MSNBC, with varying levels of social distancing. [...] And traffic was backed up for miles in Corpus Christi, Tex., as people traveled to Padre Island’s beaches. [...] Big Rivers Waterpark in New Caney, Tex., opened Saturday with long lines despite orders that water parks remain closed, according to local news reports. Social distancing appeared minimal in the lines shown in a Facebook post by ABC13 Houston.
Reopening reality check: Georgia's jobs aren’t flooding back (Politico, May 21, 2020)
Georgia, which began pushing to resume economic activity on April 24, presents an early reality check as the White House amps up pressure on governors to lift shutdown orders and President Donald Trump’s economic advisers predict jobless claims will nosedive after the reopening. The state’s persistent unemployment numbers suggest that government restrictions aren’t the only cause of skyrocketing layoffs and furloughs — and that the economy might not fully recover until consumers feel safe. [...] Nearly two-thirds of Georgia residents in a recent Washington Post-Ipsos poll said they felt their state was lifting restrictions too quickly, and only 39 percent said they approved of Kemp’s handling of the outbreak.
posted by katra at 8:24 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Trump was never going to have a yearly physical after last fall's emergency visit to the hospital. The fact that he may be taking hydro, well.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 9:08 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Exclusive: State Department makes bid for US global pandemic response powersDevEx; Michael Igoe; 22 May 2020
The U.S. Department of State has circulated a document proposing a major new global health security initiative called the President’s Response to Outbreaks [PRO], which would consolidate international pandemic preparedness under a new State Department coordinator and establish a new central fund to fight pandemics.
Ultimately, congressional approval would be needed for the programs under this initiative.

Trump administration might consolidate pandemic response at State DepartmentPolitico; Gabby Orr and Nahal Toosi; 05/22/2020
The proposal, discussed during a National Security Council deputies committee meeting on Thursday, already has set off a turf battle between the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. USAID officials were surprised and perplexed by the idea, which could lead them to lose control of significant funds and authorities.

People familiar with the issue say Dr. Deborah Birx, a top official handling the administration’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, is likely to wind up in charge of the new unit if it becomes a reality. The proposal also could, to some degree, establish an alternative mechanism to some of the work done by the World Health Organization, whose U.S. funding Trump has threatened to permanently end.
Trump planning to strip pandemic response from health officials, and give it to State DepartmentDaily Kos; Mark Sumner; 05/23/2020
[...] With Trump threatening to pull the United States out of the World Health Organization “permanently,” this new operation would form a sort of home-grown alternative. Only this version would be completely under the thumb of Pompeo and Trump. It would be this new faux WHO that determined the distribution of vaccines, and managed the response to any outbreak.
And it could be staffed with anyone.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:22 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Reopening reality check: Georgia's jobs aren’t flooding back (Politico, May 21, 2020)

This is why I'm so annoyed by people who glibly ask how many livelihoods a life is worth. Asshole, even if shit is reopening most of the people aren't coming back. It's not a case of build it and they will come. If 80% of your customers are polling "I'm not fucking going out there" then reopening is just going to cause the pain to go on longer. It's not a case of "Republicans are in power, therefore the populace has to go back out again if they say it's safe". No. It doesn't work like that. Not only will the recovery not happen, the disease will take longer to clear, and people will distrust the next opening since everyone in power fucking lied about the first reopening in order to get economic activity going again.

This isn't going to be something we can bluster our way through. We need to take a good hard look at the society we've created and use this time to rebuild it into something more fairer and resilient. Whether that actually happens is up to us I guess.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:30 PM on May 23 [34 favorites]


Why do I feel like the main mission of this agency will be a way to 'prove' the virus is a Chinese creation?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:32 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


The government has spent decades studying what a life is worth. It hasn’t made a difference in the covid-19 crisis. (WaPo / Seattle Times reprint)
When President Trump said in late March he didn’t think the economic devastation from stay-at-home orders was a good trade off for avoiding covid-19 deaths, tweeting, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” economists across the country already were busy working on the exact kind of cost-benefit analysis implied by the president. They reached a very different conclusion from Trump. Economists at the University of Wyoming estimated the economic benefits from lives saved by efforts to “flatten the curve” outweighed the projected massive hit to the nation’s economy by a staggering $5.2 trillion. Another study by two University of Chicago economists estimated the savings from social distancing could be so huge, “it is difficult to think of any intervention with such large potential benefits to American citizens.” In other words, the economists are saying, “the cure” doesn’t come at a cost at all when factoring in the economic value of the lives saved.

What these academics are doing — and what Trump’s tweet is getting at — is measuring how the extreme efforts to avoid covid-19 deaths compare to the devastating economic fallout. They do this by putting a price tag on the deaths avoided. It’s something the federal government does all the time when deciding whether to require carmakers to install new safety features or drugmakers to add new warning labels. And it’s required by law for big-ticket new regulations, such as road safety laws and pollution controls. But this kind of approach has been missing from the debate about how to respond to the covid-19 pandemic, which has killed almost 100,000 Americans and fueled historic unemployment rates. The calculation — known as Value of a Statistical Life or VSL — is the amount people are willing to spend to cut risk enough to save one life. The VSL at most federal agencies, developed over several decades, is about $10 million. If a new regulation is estimated to avoid one death a year, it can cost up to $10 million and still make economic sense. The debate over letting the economy reopen or protecting more lives has become one of the many political fights dividing the nation. But a cost-benefit analysis using VSL, while far from perfect, would force policymakers to confront the reality of their decisions in a much more precise way. Without it, they are left to gut feelings, educated guesses or political arguments.
posted by katra at 9:48 PM on May 23 [23 favorites]


Trump was never going to have a yearly physical after last fall's emergency visit to the hospital. The fact that he may be taking hydro, well.

He is taking it, perhaps for six months or longer (since he began but hasn't completed his annual physical).

Side effects of hydroxychloroquine include (per the following FDA PDF download): Fact Sheet for Patients and Parent/Caregivers: EUA of Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate for Treatment of COVID-19 in Certain Hospitalized Patients:
...WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE SULFATE?

The most common side effects reported are stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and headache. These side effects can often be lessened by taking hydroxychloroquine sulfate with food. Hydroxychloroquine sulfate may also cause itching in some people.

All medicines may have some side effects. Minor side effects, such as nausea, occasional vomiting, or diarrhea, usually do not require stopping the drug. If you cannot tolerate hydroxychloroquine sulfate, or experience irregular heartbeats, fainting or low blood sugar, convulsions or seizures, yellowing of the eyes, seeing light flashes or streaks, blurred vision, difficulty hearing, ringing in ears, muscle weakness, bleeding or bruising of the skin, mood or mental changes, or hives, talk with your health care provider immediately....
Note also the multiple warnings throughout the Fact Sheet:
  • There is no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved product available to treat COVID-19...
  • Hydroxychloroquine sulfate has not been approved for the treatment of COVID-19. It has been used experimentally to treat certain people with COVID-19, including hospitalized patients.
  • There is limited information known about the safety and effectiveness (whether this will make you better) of using hydroxychloroquine sulfate for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
  • The best dose of hydroxychloroquine sulfate to treat COVID-19 is not known.
  • Chloroquine phosphate is not approved by FDA to treat COVID-19.
  • The benefit of hydroxychloroquine sulfate in treatment of COVID-19 has not been proven. Even if you take hydroxychloroquine sulfate exactly as directed to treat COVID-19, there is still a chance you may get sicker or die.
In addition to not completing his physical and not choosing to wear a mask, The Imperial Donald's deliberate disregard of hydroxychloroquine risks show how little he truly values the office of the Presidency.
posted by cenoxo at 10:34 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


Dr. Trump and assistants at the operating table — Barry Blitt’s Natural Ability” cover (larger image) for the May 25, 2020 issue of the The New Yorker, Françoise Mouly, 5/18/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 10:58 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


It's not possible to understate how neatly the increased clamor from conservatives to end restrictions coincided with the growing awareness that the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 in the US have disproportionately been people of color.

The insane part of this is the very reason for disproportionate hit on people of color is the lockdown which predominantly benefits well-off white people who can more effectively isolate.

They are attacking the very cause of their own better outcomes. All for their bosses.

Late June and July are going to be a hell of temper tantrum when these adult-infants have to be told NO while their bosses start really trying to crack the whip by stepping up the firing and threats.
posted by srboisvert at 1:37 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]




Seth Meyers: "President Trump says he's taking an unproven anti-malarial drug [hydroxychloroquine] as an 'additional level of safety.' … Side effects can potentially include agitation, insomnia, confusion, mania, hallucinations, paranoia, as well as lasting psychiatric and neurological symptoms. So either Trump’s lying about taking it, or he’s been taking it for 73 years.”
posted by JackFlash at 7:56 AM on May 24 [22 favorites]


irregular heartbeats, fainting or low blood sugar, convulsions or seizures, yellowing of the eyes, seeing light flashes or streaks, blurred vision, difficulty hearing, ringing in ears, muscle weakness, bleeding or bruising of the skin, mood or mental changes

Seth Meyers has a point. How would anyone know the difference? This is just a description of a normal day for trump.
posted by mrgoat at 8:49 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


A deadly ‘checkerboard’: Covid-19′s new surge across rural America (WaPo / SFGate reprint)
The pandemic that first struck in major metropolises is now increasingly finding its front line in the country’s rural areas; counties with acres of farmland, cramped meatpacking plants, out-of-the-way prisons and few hospital beds. [...] In these areas, where 60 million Americans live, populations are poorer, older and more prone to health problems such as diabetes and obesity than those of urban areas. They include immigrants and the undocumented — the “essential” workers who have kept the country’s sprawling food industry running, but who rarely have the luxury of taking time off for illness.

Many of these communities are isolated and hard to reach. They were largely spared from the disease shutting down their states — until, suddenly, they weren’t. Rural counties now have some of the highest rates of covid-19 cases and deaths in the country, topping even the hardest-hit New York City boroughs and signaling a new phase of the pandemic — one of halting, scattered outbreaks that could devastate still more of America’s most vulnerable towns as states lift stay-at-home orders. [...] In many of those places, where the health-care system is already stretched thin, even a minor surge in patients is enough to overwhelm. [...] A University of Texas study found last month that in counties with no reported cases, there’s about a 10 percent chance the virus is spreading undetected. Elsewhere, it may only be a matter of time. [...] Infection has raced through immigrant worker communities, where poverty or immigration status prevent some of the sick from seeking care and language barriers hinder access to information. It has taken hold in counties where residents flout social distancing guidelines or believe the pandemic to be exaggerated, the virus’s lethality a myth spread by President Trump’s political foes and a liberal media.
posted by katra at 10:37 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


High school pool party spurs cluster of positive cases amid ‘second peak,’ Arkansas governor says (WaPo live blog)
A cluster of people who attended a high school pool party tested positive for the novel coronavirus as Arkansas faces a “second peak” of cases, the state’s governor said Saturday. “A high school swim party that I’m sure everybody thought was harmless,” Asa Hutchinson (R) said during a briefing. [...] He also didn’t say how residents in his state should ensure they don’t spread the virus, but in a morning interview on Fox News Sunday, Hutchinson didn’t stress staying home. “We have to manage the risk,” he said.” “We take the virus very seriously, it’s a risk, it causes death, but you can’t cloister yourself at home, that is just contrary to the American spirit.” Hutchinson never issued a statewide stay-home directive, and at a White House meeting with President Trump on Wednesday, the governor emphasized Arkansas is “at work” and businesses are open.
A second stylist at a Missouri hair salon worked while symptomatic, potentially exposing 56 more clients (WaPo live blog, May 23, 2020)
On Saturday, the Springfield-Greene Health Department announced a second confirmed case from the salon. The stylist performed work while displaying “mild” but “infectious” symptoms, according to the department, over a span of five days during which they saw 56 clients. [...] On May 4, all Missouri businesses — including hair salons, barber shops and gyms — were allowed to reopen under the introductory phase of the state’s “Show Me Strong Recovery Plan.”
posted by katra at 10:55 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


As the U.S. death toll from COVID nears 100,000, this is how people spent Saturday at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Some knucklehead chided me that my fears about this are unfounded "because they're standing in chlorinated water."

And breathing it in and out, too?
posted by delfin at 11:35 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Relying too much on inadequate masks without social distancing is dangerous. From How U.S. Cities Tried to Halt the Spread of the 1918 Spanish Flu, History.com, Dave Roos, 3/27/2020:
...In San Francisco, health officials put their full faith behind gauze masks. California governor William Stephens declared [*] that it was the “patriotic duty of every American citizen” to wear a mask and San Francisco eventually made it the law. Citizens caught in public without a mask or wearing it improperly were arrested, charged with “disturbing the peace” and fined $5.

In his book, Jacobs says that the gauze masks city officials claimed were “99 percent proof against influenza” were in reality hardly effective at all. San Francisco’s relatively low infection rates in October [1918] were probably due to well-organized campaigns to quarantine all naval installations before the flu arrived, plus early efforts to close schools, ban social gatherings and close all places of “public amusement.”
...
But San Francisco’s luck ran out when the third wave of the Spanish flu struck in January 1919. Believing masks were what saved them the first time, businesses and theater owners fought back against public gathering orders. As a result, San Francisco ended up suffering some of the highest death rates from Spanish flu nationwide. The 2007 analysis [link] found that if San Francisco had kept all of its anti-flu protections in place through the spring of 1919, it could have reduced deaths by 90 percent....
Note also the related 'Read More' articles listed below this article.

[*] For additional historical information, see the University of Michigan's Influenza Encyclopedia — The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919. Among other resources, they have an index of essays, timelines, and images for 50 U.S. Cities and Their Stories.
posted by cenoxo at 12:14 PM on May 24 [8 favorites]


How White Backlash Controls American Progress (Lawrence Glickman, Atlantic, May 21, 2020)
The backlashers have been out in force at recent anti-social-distancing protests, which have been dominated by white people proclaiming that public-health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are robbing them of their birthright of liberty. Making the connection to prior backlashes explicit, some protesters have waved Confederate flags and held signs that read GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH. While in some ways laughable, given their complaints about being unable to get a haircut or having to “get two iced teas in the drive thru,” some of the protesters also incite fear, with their ostentatious weapon-wielding and threats of violence, to say nothing of their willingness to potentially infect others with the coronavirus. Drawing upon the template of the backlashes of earlier historic moments, these protesters, too, combine the paranoia and insecurity that have long warped our political culture with acclamations of freedom for some at the expense of freedom for all. As during Reconstruction and the civil-rights era, we face once again the danger that a politics of freedom and equality may be eclipsed by the psychology of white resentment.
posted by katra at 12:20 PM on May 24 [11 favorites]


"President Trump says he's taking an unproven anti-malarial drug [hydroxychloroquine] as an 'additional level of safety.' … Side effects can potentially include agitation, insomnia, confusion, mania, hallucinations, paranoia, as well as lasting psychiatric and neurological symptoms. So either Trump’s lying about taking it, or he’s been taking it for 73 years.”

If Trump is Cheeto Hitler, this would make hydroxychloroquine Cheeto Pervitin.
posted by acb at 1:55 PM on May 24




Holy shit I agree with Ann Coulter on something.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:11 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Spike in D.C. numbers, crowds at Maryland, Virginia beaches and boardwalks renew coronavirus concerns (WaPo)
A church in Anne Arundel County defied a ban on indoor worship services with more than 10 attendees. Chesapeake Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Davidsonville, hosted three 45-minute services and said it would allow up to 120 attendees at each service. The church announced rules: No children under 11 were allowed; worshipers had to sit six feet apart from each other and were required to wear masks; and every person’s temperature was checked at the door. No one could use church-owned Bibles or drink from the water fountains, and only two people at a time could use the restroom. Staff and volunteers were to let people in and then dismiss them again at a distance from each other. Pews were to be cleaned between each service.

Still, all the protocols did not meet county rules. Rev. James “Pat” Packett spoke in his sermon at the 11 a.m. service of Trump’s “executive order” and made it clear he believed that it carried the force of law. “Sadly, our county executive has refused to recognize those orders of the president,” Packett said. Trump issued no such executive order. “We who are Christians, I believe, have been unfairly discriminated against by governmental mandates that have abrogated or tried to abrogate our First Amendment rights,” Packett said, though the orders in Maryland and in all states apply equally to houses of worship of any faith. County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) said the health department had been trying to reach the church’s leaders to discuss the risks. “We’re not going to arrest people for going to church,” Pittman said, but he wanted to make sure the pastor knew that the church risked lawsuits from its members or others if new cases of the virus can be traced to the services. “When they willfully neglect to follow the health rules and the consequences are illness and death, they’re going to have some issues with people who decide to file lawsuits against them,” he said. [...] “This is an unusual case where the pastor has decided that the president’s statement authorizes him to hold services,” Pittman said about Packett. “The president does not have that authority in our state.”
posted by katra at 4:55 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Some knucklehead chided me that my fears about this are unfounded "because they're standing in chlorinated water."

Huh, that's a new one on me..chlorinating an entire lake. Maybe the water where I used to live in northwest Arkansas would taste better if they did that instead of waiting to add the chlorine until after they pumped it out of the lake.

It would be totally possible to have reasonably safe lake recreation. Lake of the Ozarks (like all the substantial man-made lakes in the region) is big, with lots of remote arms giving it hundreds of miles of shoreline. Everybody all crowding into one small swimming area where people are almost certainly shouting is not that.

Ironically, people in that part of the country are normally quite protective of their personal space, especially regarding people they don't live with. It wouldn't do to be mistaken for some soft hippie type. Yet all of a sudden they feel the need to be all up in each other's business rather than maintaining a respectable distance. If there is one thing Trump has done well at, it has been to get the bible humpers to take off the mask of hospitality that normally hides their pathology from certain people.

I very much mean respectable, not respectful. One is about how you appear to others in the community. The other is about kindness to people you don't know.
posted by wierdo at 5:37 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]


The people weren't in the lake. They were in party pools at facilities on the lake shore. Water park bars, from the looks of it.
posted by Windopaene at 5:58 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Ok. That makes them (and whoever allowed the facility to open) no less idiotic nor does it make the behavior any less bizarre in the normal social context of the region and how the lakes are typically used.
posted by wierdo at 6:25 PM on May 24


Trump suspends travel from Brazil as coronavirus pandemic worsens in South America, CNBC, Spencer Kimball, 5/24/2020:
  • The president’s order, published Sunday, denies entry to “all aliens” who were in Brazil two weeks prior to their attempted entry into the United States.
  • The order takes effect May 28 at 11:59 pm ET.
  • Brazil has rapidly become one of the hardest hit countries in the world as the World Health Organization warns that the epicenter of the pandemic has shifted from Europe and the U.S. to South America.
Brazil has more than 347,000 confirmed cases of the virus and at least 22,013 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (see currrent JHU COVID-19 Map). At this point only the United States is harder hit in terms of total positive cases.

Waiting for Bolsonaro's denial and subsequent criticism of his former friend Donald.
posted by cenoxo at 7:03 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Russia is at #3 now, in terms of cases. Are they prohibited under the Europe ban?
posted by Windopaene at 7:36 PM on May 24


Some googling suggests no. Wonder what's up with that?
posted by Windopaene at 8:56 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Holy shit I agree with Ann Coulter on something.


When the rats leave a sinking ship, one can celebrate and one should not be suspected of inviting them over to one's own vessel.
posted by ocschwar at 9:21 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Trump says he's finished hydroxychloroquine regimen to ward off COVID-19, USA Today, Courtney Subramanian, 5/24/2020:
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said he's finished taking his regimen of hydroxychloroquine, a controversial drug he's promoted as a treatment for the coronavirus despite warnings from his own U.S. Food and Drug Administration and medical professionals about its effectiveness and potentially dangerous side effects. "Finished, just finished," Trump said in an interview with Sinclair Broadcast's program Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson [video interview with transcript, *] that aired on Sunday. "And by the way, I'm still here. To the best of my knowledge, here I am."

The president has promoted hydroxychloroquine, an FDA-approved drug used to treat malaria as well as autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, as a "game-changer." There is little evidence that hydroxychloroquine has been effective to treat or prevent the coronavirus. The FDA has cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a related drug, for COVID-19 treatment outside of hospitals or clinical trials due to the risk of life-threatening heart problems....
In the Full Measure interview, Trump states he was on a two-week regimen:
"I believe in it enough that I took a program because I had two people in the White House that tested positive. I figured maybe it's a good thing to take a program. You know, we take a little bit of a period of time, I think it was two weeks."
WRT the FDA's warnings about hydroxychloroquine risks, see my previous comment.

*More at WP about the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group and their Full Measure program.
posted by cenoxo at 10:12 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Some knucklehead chided me that my fears about this are unfounded "because they're standing in chlorinated water."

Even if that was effective I bet the free chlorine drops to near zero when there are that many drunk idiots packed into those pools.
posted by Mitheral at 12:31 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, some Trumpers are now not merely refusing to wear masks themselves, but if they own a business prohibiting masks in their business. This may or may not be legal depending on your city/state/county/whatever, but it is a definite expression of the sort of belligerent anti-safety attitude that Trump has been encouraging his followers to adopt.

A photo of one sign banning masks via reddit.

Given that national numbers are only trending downward because NYC is finally getting a handle on things, and that numbers are now increasing in Trump country, this does not bode well for the future.
posted by sotonohito at 6:39 AM on May 25 [8 favorites]


The CEO of the company I work for has actively expressed distaste and distrust for work from home situations like we are in now, and said in a company-wide meeting he looks forwards to us all being on-site again by July. Meanwhile my department, customer support, which has easily identifiable and quantifiable metrics, is kicking ass and taking names and not slowing down.

The department head reached out to all of us to ask if we had a good reason to not come back yet, at the CEO’s request. He wants 90% compliance in all departments at least, and has verbally told people that really, 100% is the only acceptable option.

I showed her my kit and revealed - before this, it would have been almost unthinkable to do so - that I'm a diabetic, and my wife is too, and she’s also a severe asthmatic. My manager’s reply was “I guess he’s going to be disappointed.”

Meanwhile we see pictures of people not wearing masks this weekend, and not social distancing, and I’m marking June 8 on my calendar for the next big NYC upswing and wondering about my pay cut.

(They put us on four day work weeks, but we’re getting paid for all the days... but we need to burn PTO days for it... and that can’t last forever. I’m thinking about what I can do as a side gig to make up for it.)
posted by mephron at 6:51 AM on May 25 [12 favorites]


The pandemic that first struck in major metropolises is now increasingly finding its front line in the country’s rural areas; counties with acres of farmland, cramped meatpacking plants, out-of-the-way prisons and few hospital beds. [...]

If you want to use a war metaphor use the correct one. What we are currently seeing is not the virus finding a new front line. It is a completely overrunning the front-line, what is commonly known as a rout. I'd also say it is a case of desertion by the leadership.
posted by srboisvert at 9:19 AM on May 25 [14 favorites]


> I've found it odd how much Trump held onto his one model for winning reelection, no matter what. And telling how inflexible and unopen to any kind of change he is.

It does seem telling when the alternative could be a massive shift towards policies that create sustainable fortifications by addressing structural inequalities, e.g. "Imagine if the energy that went into debating the merits of hydroxychloroquine went into ensuring hazard pay, or if the president, instead of wondering out loud if disinfectant could be injected into the body, advocated for health care for all?"

We could be focused on policies that protect people and vulnerable institutions, and how to better prepare for a long haul, because e.g., "“We have decades of social-science research that tells us these things work,” says Courtney Boen, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania." Instead, the "data-driven" (Dr. Birx quote, Guardian, May 24, 2020) 'reopening' seems to be about reopening 'safely' enough to keep rates of infection manageable for hospitals, without additional stimulus payments, expanded UI, and robust workplace safety protections (Mitch McConnell quotes, CNBC, May 21, 2020) that could help save lives.

And as noted today in the Guardian:
According to the Penn Wharton Budget Model, even if US states reopen with social distancing rules in place, an additional 233,000 deaths could result from the outbreak. [...] Majority black counties already account for more than half of all coronavirus cases in the US and nearly 60% of deaths. African Americans are also disproportionately on the frontlines of life during the pandemic.

[...] For many, it’s no coincidence, then, that a shift in tone from keeping all Americans safe to reopening businesses at all costs occurred after data confirmed blacks and Latinos are primarily contracting the virus. “The lives of disproportionately black and brown workers are being sacrificed to fuel the engine of a faltering economy, by a president who disdains them,” the Atlantic’s Adam Sewer wrote.
posted by katra at 11:20 AM on May 25 [24 favorites]


The Feds Gave a Former White House Official $3 Million to Supply Masks to Navajo Hospitals. Some May Not Work (ProPublica, May 22, 2020) Zach Fuentes, President Donald Trump’s former deputy chief of staff, secured the deal with the Indian Health Service with limited competitive bidding and no prior federal contracting experience. The IHS told ProPublica it has found that 247,000 of the masks delivered by Fuentes’ company — at a cost of roughly $800,000 — may be unsuitable for medical use. An additional 130,400, worth about $422,000, are not the type specified in the procurement data, the agency said.

Trump threatens to pull Republican convention out of North Carolina (CNN, May 25, 2020) President Donald Trump began a solemn Memorial Day railing against North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, ahead of the 2020 Republican National Convention, threatening to pull it out of Charlotte, where the convention is expected to be held August 24 to 27. Trump contended that Cooper is "unable to guarantee" that the arena can be filled to capacity. [...]The President's calls for a "guarantee" from North Carolina officials overlooks the uncertainty surrounding the summertime levels of the coronavirus and the challenges of hosting a political convention -- or any large event -- in the middle of an ongoing public health crisis.[...]

In an interview last week, Cooper said that data and science will guide his decisions on whether the state can hold large gatherings like the convention. He said the Republican convention, which he supported bringing to Charlotte, will be treated like any other event. "This is not political. This is not emotional. This is based on health experts, data and science and that's it for everybody to see," Cooper told CNN. "No one is being favored or disfavored over the other."
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:01 PM on May 25 [4 favorites]


Trump contended that Cooper is "unable to guarantee" that the arena can be filled to capacity

Trump's setting the Governor up. Regardless of whether Cooper relents Trump we'll lead with 'We wanted to fill this place up but weren't allowed' And his base will cheer.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:31 PM on May 25 [5 favorites]


In which a wild Joe Biden appears: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday laid a wreath at a veterans park near his Delaware home, the first time in more than two months he has left his neighborhood. (WaPo, May 25, 2020) Dr. Biden accompanied him; both wore black face masks; Biden kept the mask on during a brief Q&A with reporters; today's appearance was "Biden’s first in public since he started receiving Secret Service protection in mid-March." Article continues:
Some Democrats have privately grown anxious about his physical absence from the campaign trail, even as many public opinion polls show him leading Trump nationally and in several swing states. Trump has resumed some official travel under narrow circumstances and has indicated he wants to resume holding giant rallies, but none has been scheduled. Federal health officials have asked Americans not to take part in mass gatherings.

It is also unclear whether Democrats will gather in person for their national convention in Milwaukee in August. They pushed back initial plans to hold it in July, but uncertainty about the future of the pandemic has led them to consider contingency plans.
Article links to this Friday piece on the Democratic National Convention, already changed from mid-July to Aug. 17, & those contingency plans: Democrats consider satellite events as local concerns grow about big party conventions amid coronavirus outbreak. "Democrats have begun to discuss expanding the footprint of their August nominating convention with multiple satellite events held across the presidential battleground map, an option reflecting stepped-up local warnings about holding traditional mass gatherings amid an ongoing pandemic.

"One alternative under consideration, according to two Democrats familiar with the talks, envisions several smaller regional events for delegates and party leaders that would accompany a minimized main event in Milwaukee, which the presumptive nominee Joe Biden would probably attend. Spreading the events across several locations would dilute the traditional pageantry of the convention — and limit the masses of delegates and onlookers who flock to the events. But it would allow the party to target specific areas where it hopes to turn voters its way in November, according to the two Democrats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private planning."
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:37 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]


WHO Halts Trial Of Trump’s Anti-Malaria Drug After Study Finds Higher Mortality Rate In COVID Cases, TPM, Cristina Cabrera, 5/25/2020:
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu announced on Monday that the organization is temporarily suspending its drug trial of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug President Donald Trump has persistently claimed to treat COVID-19 despite having no scientific evidence.

Ghebreyesu said during a press briefing that researchers heading the WHO’s Solidarity Trial will stop the trial to hold a review after the Lancet’s sweeping study on hydroxychloroquine found that not only did the drug fail to yield any benefits in the 96,000 COVID-19 cases in the study, it actually caused an increased mortality rate among hospitalized patients.

“The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and in particular robust randomised available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug,” the WHO leader said. “The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the safety data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board,” he continued....
Looks like the Donald chose a good time to quit taking it.
posted by cenoxo at 3:40 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]


1st deadlines for laid-off workers to get health insurance (AP)
Many laid-off workers who lost health insurance in the coronavirus shutdown soon face the first deadlines to qualify for fallback coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Taxpayer-subsidized health insurance is available for a modest cost — sometimes even free — across the country, but industry officials and independent researchers say few people seem to know how to find it. For those who lost their health insurance as layoffs mounted in late March, a 60-day “special enrollment” period for individual coverage under the ACA closes at the end of May in most states.

[...] There are several options, not easy to sort through. Some have application deadlines; others do not. And the Trump administration, which still plans to ask the Supreme Court later this summer to declare “Obamacare” unconstitutional, is doing little to promote the health law’s coverage. [...] [Joan Alker, director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University,] said insurance protection has been neglected in the pandemic. “Having health insurance has never been more important,” she said. “We need a national commitment to make these newly uninsured people aware of their options.”
The AP article includes an overview of subsidized private health insurance, Medicaid for adults, children's health insurance, and COBRA.
posted by katra at 3:53 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]


ocschwar > When the rats leave a sinking ship...

Or when they have nowhere else to go: CDC warns of aggressive cannibal rats facing shortage of garbage to eat — Officials say rats have resorted to open warfare and eating their young as closures reduce edible waste, The Guardian, Edward Helmore, 5/25/2020.

Remember the starving macaque monkeys in Thailand?
posted by cenoxo at 4:16 PM on May 25


‘This Is Not the Hunger Games’: National Testing Strategy Draws Concerns (NYT / MSN reprint)
The Trump administration’s new testing strategy, released Sunday to Congress, holds individual states responsible for planning and carrying out all coronavirus testing, while planning to provide some supplies needed for the tests. The proposal also says existing testing capacity, if properly targeted, is sufficient to contain the outbreak. But epidemiologists say that amount of testing is orders of magnitude lower than many of them believe the country needs.

[...] “On the face of it, the idea that 300,000 tests a day is enough for America is absurd,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. He offered a quick rundown of the numbers to illustrate the estimate’s inadequacy. Most hospitals nationwide now test everyone who is admitted for any reason, roughly 100,000 tests each day, fearing that they may be asymptomatic and yet still spreading the virus. Testing the 1.6 million residents of nursing homes — known to be at high risk of coronavirus infection — and workers every two weeks would require 150,000 more tests each day. Add high-risk places like meatpacking plants that need regular testing, and the numbers rapidly build. [...] And 300,000 daily tests would be insufficient even for mitigation, Dr. Jha said, estimating that would require at least 900,000 tests per day.
posted by katra at 4:18 PM on May 25 [3 favorites]


So the United States — the self-proclaimed 'greatest country in the world' with the best medical care — faces its deadliest health threat in over 100 years with ineffective federal leadership telling each state to test however they think best. Is this providing operational flexibility for the states, or is the Trump Administration trying to shift blame onto the states if/when things fall apart?

May I be wrong, but inaction like this makes me wonder if the COVID-19 pandemic will be much worse than we think. The administration realizes this, they know they can't stop it, and are giving token resistance until COVID-19 can run its course.
posted by cenoxo at 5:00 PM on May 25 [7 favorites]


May I be wrong, but inaction like this makes me wonder if the COVID-19 pandemic will be much worse than we think. The administration realizes this, they know they can't stop it, and are giving token resistance until COVID-19 can run its course.

Trump doesn't care. He has declared himself not responsible for anything. He has declared the states are responsible for everything. No matter how it turns out, Trump is not to blame.
posted by JackFlash at 5:14 PM on May 25 [3 favorites]


[...] However, Trump visited one of his private golf clubs for the first time during the pandemic — the Trump National Golf Club in northern Virginia. He has been pushing for state and local leaders to fully reopen after months after closures and tight restrictions. [...] Mindful of evangelical Christians who are key to his base of support ahead of November’s election, Trump on Friday labeled houses of worship as “essential” and urged governors to let them reopen this weekend. However, leaders of many denominations have said they plan to move gradually and cautiously.

So after demanding that churches reopen, he spent Sunday playing golf.
posted by adept256 at 5:28 PM on May 25 [8 favorites]


Trump threatens to pull Republican convention out of North Carolina

Well, here's a thought: there are plenty of cruise ships waiting at sea, ready to be occupied because passengers are staying away in droves. Why not host the RNC convention on a cruise ship? The attendees will love it! Best of all, the rest of us can keep the RNC attendees in quarantine for a few weeks until we're sure it's safe for the survivors to return!
posted by SPrintF at 6:39 PM on May 25 [25 favorites]


Trump Economic Advisor Reduces Workers to ‘Human Capital Stock’ (Rolling Stone, May 25, 2020) Senior White House Economic Adviser Kevin Hassett made the wildly insensitive remark, first flagged by Aaron Rupar on Twitter, on Sunday after CNN’s Dana Bash asked whether unemployment numbers would remain in double digits come November. “Our capital stock hasn’t been destroyed, our human capital stock is ready to get back to work, and so there are lots of reasons to believe that we can get going way faster than we have in previous crises,” Hassett said. [...]

Trump has moved ahead with attempts to cut food stamps during the crisis while Republicans in Congress have balked at passing a second stimulus package and are looking to phase out coronavirus-related unemployment benefits. Hassett was also asked about increasing funding for food stamps and said he hadn’t raised the topic with Trump, saying, “I have not discussed with the president.” Hassert also called the requests for additional funding coming from states “absurd” and “radical.”
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:45 PM on May 25 [8 favorites]


May I be wrong, but inaction like this makes me wonder if the COVID-19 pandemic will be much worse than we think. The administration realizes this, they know they can't stop it, and are giving token resistance until COVID-19 can run its course.

We're 1.6 million official infections in with 100,000 deaths. If we assume the undercount is 10:1 (i.e. 16 million people have had it and have been either mild enough to not show up in official figures or just asymptomatic) that means we're only 1/20th of the way through. Assuming the virus starts to die out at 60%ish herd immunity that's probably still over a million dead. Even if the undercount is 20:1 we've still got half a million deaths left to go.

That's fairly conservative back of the napkin math. The numbers are absolutely staggering. "Greatest country in the world" right here, people.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:46 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]


The Brutal Clarity of the Trump-McConnell Plan to Protect Businesses (Will Wilkinson, NYT Opinion)
Unsurprisingly, the president agrees with Mr. McConnell that any federal cash to states must be conditioned on “lawsuit indemnification,” as he indicated in a tweet. Democrats adamantly oppose removing a critical incentive for businesses to prevent workplace contagion and keep employees and communities safe. [...] The ruling Republican approach to the economic crisis of mass social distancing seems to be to simply to cut it short, force a hasty reboot of the economy and recklessly gamble on penniless states and municipalities muddling through without creating too much politically inconvenient carnage. [...] Steadfast federal inaction will suffice to starve workers back into the yoke and compel governors and mayors fearing fiscal ruin and popular uprising to reopen.

[...] You’ll notice that the Republican call for liability protection amounts to a frank admission that in hurrying back to shops and offices, factories and showrooms, Americans might die. The wariness of business owners to expose themselves to the legal peril of reopening during an uncontained epidemic isn’t a problem. It’s a market signal telling us that for now, the risks of rushing to reopen might outweigh the rewards. If it were generally safe to reopen, Republicans wouldn’t need to shut this signal down.
posted by katra at 6:53 PM on May 25 [11 favorites]


Steadfast federal inaction will suffice to starve workers back into the yoke and compel governors and mayors fearing fiscal ruin and popular uprising to reopen.
White House adviser Kevin Hassett: "Our human capital stock is ready to go back to work."

They don't even pretend anymore. They don't even have to say the quiet part quietly.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:56 PM on May 25 [10 favorites]


That's fairly conservative back of the napkin math. The numbers are absolutely staggering. "Greatest country in the world" right here, people.

Everyone who can do basic math and isn't willfully blind can see that reopenings, without a massive increase in proactive testing that the federal government seems completely disinterested in, will result in 500K-1M deaths this year, and will destroy what's left of the economy since multiple waves will mean everyone with a brain will stay away from mass gatherings no matter what the Trumpists say. All this because the admin was too stupid to ramp up testing early on because it might spook the stock market, and is incapable of admitting error because the Federal government has been bent around one manchild's ego.
posted by benzenedream at 12:06 AM on May 26 [6 favorites]


You’ll notice that the Republican call for liability protection amounts to a frank admission that in hurrying back to shops and offices, factories and showrooms, Americans might die.

It's also something they've been calling for for quite a while. They're not above doing using a public emergency to call for things they've always wanted that also harm the American public.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:24 AM on May 26 [3 favorites]


Ex-FDA commissioner cites reopening as likely cause of uptick in hospitalizations (WaPo live blog)
“We now see a trend in an uptick in hospitalizations. It’s a small uptick, but it is an uptick, and it is unmistakable, and it is probably a result of reopening,” [former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb] said Tuesday morning in an interview on CNBC. “We expected cases to go up and hospitalizations to bump up when we reopened.”
The Coronavirus Is Deadliest Where Democrats Live (NYT, May 25, 2020)
Beyond perception and ideology, there are starkly different realities for red and blue America right now.
In the country as a whole, outbreaks in conservative rural counties are rising, but not on a scale that would close the gap in the virus’s impact on red and blue counties. Over all, the infection rate is 1.7 times as high in the most urban areas of the country compared with nearby suburbs, and 2.3 times as high in the suburbs as in exurban and rural areas. [...] Over all, African-Americans and Latinos have had higher infection and death rates from the virus, and are far more likely to identify as Democrats than as Republicans.

Several companies have studied social distancing metrics based on anonymized cellphone location data, including the mobility research firms Unacast and Descartes Labs. While the companies do not break down findings by political party, the underlying data they collect shows less social distancing in counties that supported Mr. Trump than in those that supported Hillary Clinton. Rural and exurban county residents, who tend to favor Republicans, do have to travel more for essential services and are less likely to have jobs that allow for working from home. Yet even in more densely populated suburban areas, there was less evidence of social distancing in counties that voted for Mr. Trump. [...] Interviews with dozens of Republicans in southeast Texas and other parts of the country over the past month found a pervasive it’s-not-coming-for-my-neighborhood attitude, with many seeing themselves as a world apart from the regions that have been overwhelmed by the virus. They are enthusiastic backers of rolling back restrictions not just as a way to spur the economy, but also based on the belief that individuals should make their own decisions about risk.
posted by katra at 7:52 AM on May 26 [2 favorites]


If you're into tabletop gaming at all, this is a big deal: GenCon is cancelled this year.

As with many game conventions, there will be some kind of virtual gaming sessions happening, but here in Indianapolis, there will be an economic impact in the tens of millions of dollars.

I'm glad they cancelled, though, so I didn't have to decide not to attend. I can't think of any way of making that event safe to attend.
posted by Gelatin at 8:14 AM on May 26 [5 favorites]


About a dozen states are reporting upticks in new cases, even as the national picture improves. (NYT live blog)
About a dozen states are seeing an uptick in new coronavirus cases, even as all 50 states move to reopen in some way. States that reopened earlier — or never fully shut down — are among those showing signs of further spread. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee are among the states that have had recent growth in newly reported new cases, several weeks after moving to reopen. Arkansas and North Dakota, two states that shut down businesses but did not issue formal stay-at-home orders, are also reporting an increase in cases.

The Washington D.C., region, which has been locked down for weeks, also saw a jump in new cases as the city approaches a planned reopening on Friday. The new numbers could reflect increased testing capacity in some places, though it is also an indication that the virus’s grip on the country is far from over. Experts have warned that opening too early could lead to a second wave.
Why Native Americans took Covid-19 seriously: 'It's our reality' (Guardian)
The infection rate among the Navajo Nation has now surpassed the state of New York, the centre of the pandemic in the US, and on Monday stood at 2,680 cases per 100,000 people compared with 1,890 in New York. The data emerging from some smaller tribes is even worse. By mid-May, the known infection rate in the Pueblo of Zia, which has a population of 934 people, was 3,319 per 100,000 – ten times the rate of New Mexico where the tribe is situated, and almost double the rate of New Jersey – the second worst hit US state. The nearby Pueblo of San Felipe, population 3,544, is also badly affected with 3,301 known cases per 100,000. Reporting lags mean the actual infection rate for both tribes could be significantly higher.

[...] “More than any other population in the country, the shared experience of surviving a pandemic is in our blood, it’s not historic, it’s current for American Indians, it’s our reality. We took it seriously because we had to,” said Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, a social demographer at the University of Arizona and citizen of the Northern Cheyenne tribe in Montana. [...] The disproportionately high Covid-19 infection rates in Indian Country are attributed to chronic structural and economic inequalities such as overcrowded housing, understaffed hospitals, lack of running water and limited internet access – resulting from the US government’s failure to comply with treaty obligations which agreed adequate funding for basic services in exchange for vast amounts of tribal land. [...] in Arizona, the death rate for indigenous people is 42.8 per 100,000 – almost six times higher than for white people. In Mississippi, they are dying from Covid-19 at 10 times the rate of whites, according to analysis published last week by APM Research Lab. [...] In fact, the situation is likely worse as the data currently available is extremely patchy.
posted by katra at 8:16 AM on May 26 [8 favorites]


In the country as a whole, outbreaks in conservative rural counties are rising, but not on a scale that would close the gap in the virus’s impact on red and blue counties. Over all, the infection rate is 1.7 times as high in the most urban areas of the country compared with nearby suburbs, and 2.3 times as high in the suburbs as in exurban and rural areas.

I wish people we could ban people who do not understand exponential growth from talking about pandemic statistics.

On an exponential scale, a factor of two is not very much at all. It is a single doubling time. For urban places that had no measures in place, it was less than three days. Even if there's enough less person to person contact that the virus grows more slowly in rural areas, much slower probably means a doubling time of a few days to maybe two weeks on the high end. I'm sure epidemiologists with better data could give a range, but regardless of the specific growth rate It still means you have an imminent problem with maybe a couple more weeks to respond.

And if that growth rate is on the faster end and a community is conducting business as usual, well it takes some time to present symptoms and go in to get tested. It takes a day at least to gather the statistics, a day to look at them and publish your article. That's plenty enough time for the outbreak to double in size.

The per-capita death count here in Yakima county her in Washington is already about matched with that of King County due to outbreaks in meat packing and agriculture. And that's with the state government being fairly firm on distancing measures. If that's what it's like in a state that got hit a couple weeks earlier than many others and responded reasonably well, what is it going to be like in two weeks in those other states who are just going to let this thing spread as freely as their most irresponsible citizens want?

If a report about this pandemic is giving you death and infection numbers at one point in time without talking about trends and the actual shape of the curve, it is telling you almost nothing about the future danger, or possibly even the present situation as it is on the ground.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:49 AM on May 26 [11 favorites]


Interviews with dozens of Republicans in southeast Texas and other parts of the country over the past month found a pervasive it’s-not-coming-for-my-neighborhood attitude, with many seeing themselves as a world apart from the regions that have been overwhelmed by the virus. They are enthusiastic backers of rolling back restrictions not just as a way to spur the economy, but also based on the belief that individuals should make their own decisions about risk.

Holiday revelers flouted social distancing. Now, Missouri officials are urging them to quarantine. (Politico)
St. Louis County’s public health department issued a travel advisory: “Any person who has traveled and engaged in this behavior should self-quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result for COVID-19.” County Executive Sam Page called the behavior “reckless” and dangerous for others. The mayor of St. Louis (which is distinct from St. Louis County) issued a similar quarantine advisory. And Kansas City’s health director deployed the hashtag #COVIDIDIOTS, tweeting, “Anyone who didn’t practice CDC, DHSS, and KCMO Health Department social distancing guidance should self quarantine for 14 days if they have any compassion for others.”
posted by katra at 9:52 AM on May 26 [7 favorites]


This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a 'should'
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:34 AM on May 26 [6 favorites]


'If they have any compassion for others'?

That's... kind of the problem.
posted by box at 11:57 AM on May 26 [22 favorites]


I would be interested to know what machination of law would allow a county sheriff to enforce a curfew or "residents-only" restrictions commonly imposed (and enforced) by emergency order after natural disasters and other declared emergencies but not allow them to enforce social distancing rules imposed with the same kind of emergency order.
posted by wierdo at 12:08 PM on May 26


Is it possible that we won't see major outbreaks in the countryside, and that there will be loss of life but nothing approaching what we saw in Italy or NYC?
posted by chaz at 12:09 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]


Trump Team Killed Rule Designed To Protect Health Workers From Pandemic Like COVID-19 • National Public Radio; Brian Mann; May 26, 2020
When President Trump took office in 2017, his team stopped work on new federal regulations that would have forced the healthcare industry to prepare for an airborne infectious disease pandemic like COVID-19. That decision is documented in federal records reviewed by NPR. [...]

[...] making a new infectious disease regulation, affecting much of the American healthcare system, is time-consuming and contentious. It requires lengthy consultation with scientists, doctors, other state and federal regulatory agencies, as well as the nursing and hospital industries that would be forced to implement the standard.

Federal records reviewed by NPR show OSHA went step-by-step through that process for six years and by early 2016 the new infectious disease rule was ready. The Obama White House formally added it to a list of regulations scheduled to be implemented in 2017.
The Trump administration simply looked at it as a regulation to be cut.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:18 PM on May 26 [16 favorites]


Trump’s Food Aid Program Gives Little Funding to the Northeast, Where Coronavirus Hit Hardest New York and New England have the most COVID-19 cases but received the second-lowest funding of any region. Maine can’t get any shipments because none of the selected contractors serve the state. (ProPublica, May 22, 2020) Out of $1.2 billion in the program’s first round, just $46 million is going to the Northeast. The region, which encompasses New York and New England, has the most coronavirus cases but received the least money of any region except the Mountain Plains, which has almost half as many people. By contrast, the Southwest (including Texas) is getting more than five times as much money even though it has only about 50% more people and a quarter as many coronavirus cases.

Put another way, the Northeast has 10% of the country’s population and 33% of COVID-19 cases but is receiving only 4% of food relief dollars, according to ProPublica’s analysis of data from the USDA, the Census Bureau and Johns Hopkins University.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:50 PM on May 26 [8 favorites]


GenCon is cancelled this year.

All of the DC-area cons I was planning to attend or exhibit at so far this year have been canceled or postponed.
Awesomecon postponed to December, Blerdcon and con.txt to next summer, Balticon canceled outright. Most of the September/October cons are still planning to go ahead but have made memberships refundable, and I wouldn't be surprised if SPX announces a cancellation any day now.

Dragoncon in Atlanta is supposedly still on for Labor Day weekend, but if it happens at all I can't imagine it'll have even a fraction of the normal (80,000+) attendance.

This might be the first year since.... 2008? I think? that I don't go to a single con. And who knows when people will feel safe enough to start going again.
posted by nonasuch at 1:23 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


Is it possible that we won't see major outbreaks in the countryside, and that there will be loss of life but nothing approaching what we saw in Italy or NYC?

> “The major message that I wish to convey … is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely,” Fauci told the paper on Monday night. “If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.” (Guardian, May 12, 2020)

Coronavirus outbreak spreading farther into rural America (The Hill / MSN, May 1, 2020)
Epidemiologists worry that significant spread into rural areas will bring with it challenges that only the hardest-hit metropolitan areas faced. Those rural areas have older populations with higher instances of underlying conditions that lead to worse health outcomes for those who contract the coronavirus, and their health systems have less capacity to deal with a substantial surge. Rural residents are also likely to suffer higher rates of poverty, and they are less likely to have health insurance or guaranteed access to quality care.
Small towns and rural hospitals brace for their coronavirus peak, which could be weeks away (CNBC, May 3, 2020)
Dr. Andrew Pavia, pediatric infectious diseases chief at the University of Utah Health, said [...] health disparities between rural and urban communities could cause a longer, more sustained outbreak in less-densely populated areas rather than a sudden peak, or the increase in the daily rate of new infections as seen in big cities. “That means that we’re going to be fighting this for weeks and months to come,” Pavia said. “It’s also going to make reopening much more challenging in these areas.”
'I'm looking for the truth': States face criticism for COVID-19 data cover-ups (NBC News, May 25, 2020)
As states ramp up their reopenings, some are coming under criticism for making public misleading statistics or concealing information related to the coronavirus outbreak. [...] Such data has been the basis for how quickly states are beginning to open up and return to a sense of normalcy. But government officials in a number of states are facing questions about how open and honest they're being about how the virus is impacting their state.
posted by katra at 1:28 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


Put another way, the Northeast has 10% of the country’s population and 33% of COVID-19 cases but is receiving only 4% of food relief dollars,

This is one of those indicators that makes me feel like America is no longer a country in anything but name and habit, especially if he is re-elected and the GOP continues to own the Senate. The politicization of this crisis is absolutely shameful (like whatever did happen to all those PPE the federal government confiscated after telling states they're on their own?).
posted by kokaku at 2:53 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]


WaPo: Twitter labels Trump’s tweets with a fact-check for the first time

Mango Unchained's online excretions are going to be 🔥 tonight.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:16 PM on May 26 [16 favorites]


Timothy Klausutis requested that the "horrifying" lies Trump was spreading about his wife's 2001 death be deleted, not fact-checked. From his letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey: “The president’s tweet that suggests that Lori was murdered – without any evidence (and contrary to the official autopsy) – is a violation of Twitter’s community rules and terms of service. An ordinary user like me would be banished from the platform for such a tweet, but I am only asking that these tweets be removed." (The Guardian, May 26, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:25 PM on May 26 [13 favorites]


Yes, but that would require Twitter to take a side, which they only do in defense of Nazis.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:30 PM on May 26 [10 favorites]


[...] Klausutis’ letter was not enough to move Twitter or Trump. Twitter will not be removing the posts at this time, according to a company spokesperson. “We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We’ve been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.” (Politico, May 26, 2020)
--
Trump kept up the tweets after the Times published the letter (in which Mr. Klausutis "also wrote of the enduring pain his wife’s loved ones feel over her early death, and how the conspiracy theories have made it harder for them to move on") and there was public backlash in several places, including Twitter; in the WH briefing room today, spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany brushed off reporters' questions, said the onus was on Joe Scarborough (to address these supposedly unresolved issues surrounding Lori Klausutis' death), couldn't confirm that Trump had seen the letter, wouldn't speculate as to his motives for these tweets, but was sure to add, "Our hearts are with Lori's family."
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:57 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]


Facing death threats and no pay, mayors are the front-line commanders of the coronavirus pandemic (USA Today)
Mayors didn’t come up with the "locally executed, state managed and federally supported” approach that President Donald Trump has adopted for combating the coronavirus. But they’re the front-line commanders. [...] Some have faced death threats and racist attacks for their stay-at-home orders, making life and death decisions that might go against actions taken by their governors or state supreme courts.

[...] "You're a counselor. You're a helper. You're a healer. ... You're a visionary," said Bryan Barnett, mayor of Rochester Hills, Michigan, and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “There's so much emotion and uncertainty in our communities right now. And the one tremendous advantage that mayors have is that they have the public's trust more so than any level of government.” A recent poll backs him up. Seventy-two percent of voters surveyed this month by the Harris Poll say they trust statements from their mayors about the spread of coronavirus. That’s slightly higher than the 68% who trust statements from their governor and far higher than the 44% who trust what Trump says.
Republicans Still Skeptical of COVID-19 Lethality (Gallup)
The surveys were fielded March 17-29 and April 14-20, 2020, as part of Knight Foundation's Trust, Media and Democracy initiative. [...] Two possible explanations exist for this enduring misperception. First, Republican respondents may know the correct answer but provide the incorrect answer to demonstrate their support for the Trump administration or because they just tend to view national conditions more positively when a Republican is president. In survey research, this is called expressive responding or partisan cheerleading. The other explanation is that debunking misinformation is difficult once believed. The results captured in these Gallup/Knight surveys cannot distinguish between the two possibilities, but the implication of either explanation underscores the power of partisanship and politics even as the public health emergency has unfolded.
posted by katra at 4:26 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]


There's only one way out of this mess

When will reporters ask the administration and senators nothing but 'why doesn't this country have more thorough testing and higher quality tests?' ?
posted by kokaku at 6:59 PM on May 26 [10 favorites]


All this because the admin was too stupid to ramp up testing early on because it might spook the stock market, and is incapable of admitting error because the Federal government has been bent around one manchild's ego.

At this point, we can't rule out the possibility that this isn't just about Trump's ego, we are actually seeing something like the political moves the kind of garbage that make up the Republican party would actually prefer.

The likes of McConnell aren't talking about no liability for employers just because Trump would force them to. And they do not see Trump's chaos and pandemic suffering as problems to be addressed but tools that are actually useful to the cause of drowning public institutions of all sorts in the bathtubs of oligarchy.
posted by wildblueyonder at 5:50 AM on May 27 [4 favorites]


Twitter has finally started fact-checking Trump • Vox; Shirin Ghaffary; May 26, 2020 • 'After the president tweeted misleading information about mail-in ballots, Twitter applied a warning label to Trump’s tweets for the first time.'

Twitter should probably apply the fact-checking label ("Get the facts ...") to Trump's tweets protesting the fact-checking label.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:07 AM on May 27 [3 favorites]


(While I'm not volunteering to do it, I think that the Twitter fact-checking Trump thing might be worthy of its own post.)
posted by box at 6:15 AM on May 27 [2 favorites]


More than half of the Tweets promoting the opening of America are from bots. I can't tell the Russians from the Corporate interests at this point.

It's just Skynet trying to get us to reopen so there's less work for the computer overlords to do.

Regarding the excess deaths, the excess deaths should absolutely be treated as a minimum. The social distancing and other stay-at-home orders have reduced not only the spread of Covid, but also the seasonal flu and other infectious diseases (primarily risky for older folks), reduced car accidents (as mentioned above, and is the major cause of ), also reduced murders, probably some drug overdoses, and some drownings too. 1/6 of the year had lower deaths from many of the top causes of death. So yeah, these excess deaths are a good gauge to see if we are undercounting Covid deaths (which we are), but should definitely be taken as a minimum. I am very interested to see when the cause of death studies come out for 2020.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:40 AM on May 27 [4 favorites]


Waiting for Bolsonaro's denial and subsequent criticism of his former friend Donald.

Brazil Coronavirus Cases Quadruple in May as Jair Bolsonaro Plays Down U.S. Travel Restrictions, Newsweek, Chantal Da Silva, 5/25/2020:
...Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro appeared to play down concerns around the U.S.'s new travel restrictions on Brazil on Sunday, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the South American country soared past 360,000 [+391,222 on current JHU Covid-19 Map]. COVID-19 cases in Brazil have risen exponentially in the wake of the country's initial outbreak, with the South American nation now having the second highest number of cases globally. ...Bolsonaro...appeared to play down the severity of the new restrictions, retweeting a Twitter thread from his international advisor Filipe G. Martins saying the ban was similar to measures being taken by countries "worldwide."

...Martins appeared to dismiss the fact that the restrictions were aimed specifically at Brazil, saying the U.S. measures were similar to the country's own prior restrictions barring entry to all foreigners, except residents and immediate family members of Brazilian citizens. Further...countries around the world have taken similar action to shut down their borders to foreign nationals. ...The president's advisor appeared also determined to shut down any concerns that the new travel restrictions could suggest friction between the U.S. and Brazil. The U.S.'s decision, Martins said, was in no way discriminatory against Brazil....
Deny, deny, deny (but no public criticism of the Imperial Donald).
posted by cenoxo at 7:35 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


Trump to sign executive order on social media amid Twitter furor

Kayleigh McEnany told reporters aboard Air Force One that the order is “pertaining to social media” but shared no additional details on what it will do.
That Politico link mentions that last year the Trump admin was working on an executive order aimed at social media companies — CNN managed to learn some details in August:
... according to the summary, the White House draft order asks the FCC to restrict the government's view of the good-faith provision [of the CDA]. Under the draft proposal, the FCC will be asked to find that social media sites do not qualify for the good-faith immunity if they remove or suppress content without notifying the user who posted the material, or if the decision is proven to be evidence of anticompetitive, unfair or deceptive practices.
Tomorrow's supposed executive order may be something other than this proposal from last year, although a two-day interval for writing a new executive order since Twitter's note seems unlikely.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:27 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]


If "removal or suppression" are the criteria, then what Twitter did to Trump's tweets arguably wouldn't qualify. Twitter didn't remove stuff; they met speech with more speech.

The fact that Trump is butthurt about it shows that what he desires isn't freedom of speech; it's freedom from challenge, or from having to account for his speech.

And really, no one should be surprised, because that kind of privilege-for-us and the power to abuse everyone else is the idol at the center of the GOP.
posted by wildblueyonder at 5:59 PM on May 27 [12 favorites]


It's going to be kinda weird if the Twitter President gets Twitter shut down.
posted by Mitheral at 6:02 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]


Can I wish that they destroy each other in this fight?
posted by nubs at 6:39 PM on May 27 [12 favorites]


Might as well wish that Facebook gets immolated too.
posted by benzenedream at 6:41 PM on May 27 [3 favorites]


Must it be said that the Imperial Donald doesn’t care a fractional Planck length for anyone else’s “FREE SPEECH”, except his own "right” to say anything about anyone without correction or criticism?

Trump never spoke truer words when he said (shortly before his 2016 election): "In this journey, I will never lie to you. I will never tell you something I do not believe." We should take him at his word.
posted by cenoxo at 6:48 PM on May 27


Lawfare‘s take on this issue: COVID-19 and Social Media Content Moderation, Evelyn Douek, 3/5/2020:
... Content moderation during this pandemic is an exaggerated version of content moderation all the time: Platforms are balancing various interests when they write their rules, and they are making consequential choices about error preference when they enforce them. Platforms’ uncharacteristic (if still too limited) transparency around these choices in the context of the pandemic should be welcomed—but needs to be expanded on in the future. These kinds of choices should not be made in the shadows. Most importantly, platforms should be forced to earn the kudos they are getting for their handling of the pandemic by preserving data about what they are doing and opening it up for research instead of selective disclosure.

One thing is certain: With enormous numbers of people locked inside, spending more time online and hungry for information, the actions taken by platforms will have significant consequences. They may well emerge from this more powerful than ever. Right now the public is asking tech platforms to step up, but we also need to keep thinking about how to rein them in.
Trump’s blustering won’t resolve this with an executive order.
posted by cenoxo at 7:11 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]


Zuckerberg Says Twitter Is Wrong to Fact-Check Trump (Newsweek, May 27, 2020) "We have a different policy, I think, than Twitter on this," Zuckerberg told Dana Perino, host of the Fox News show The Daily Briefing, in an interview clip. The full interview is expected to air on Thursday. "I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn't be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. In general, private companies probably shouldn't be, especially these platform companies, shouldn't be in the position of doing that," Zuckerberg added.

Pelosi blasts Trump's insistence that Republican convention occur (NBC, May 27, 2020) "I don't think there's anyone who would say at this point that tens of thousands of people should come together for a political convention, no matter how great an ego trip it is for somebody,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a news conference with other Democratic House leaders.

The GOP convention is currently scheduled for Aug. 24-27 in a state that recently reported its highest number of new cases in a single day. North Carolina entered the second phase of its reopening last week, but gatherings of groups over 10 people indoors, and 25 people outdoors, are still prohibited. After Trump threatened to move the RNC, several other states, including Georgia and Florida, offered themselves as alternatives.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:23 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]


The U.S. death toll has reached 100,000. (WaPo)
“We’re living in a moment when national sentimentality and displays of compassion are muted because the government doesn’t conceive itself as a first responder,” said Lauren Berlant, a University of Chicago professor whose work focuses on compassion. “There is empathy, but it’s been localized — it’s in the states and cities and neighborhoods.” Despite a death toll that has overwhelmed hospitals and funeral homes, it remains early in the course of the epidemic. There has been as yet no national requiem, no moment that captured the collective sense of loss, no president standing atop the ruins, rallying the nation through a bullhorn.
US death toll from coronavirus surges past 100,000 people (AP)
The true death toll from the virus, which emerged in China late last year and was first reported in the U.S. in January, is widely believed to be significantly higher, with experts saying many victims died of COVID-19 without ever being tested for it.

Early on, President Donald Trump downplayed the severity of the coronavirus, likening it to the flu, and predicted the U.S. wouldn’t reach 100,000 deaths. [...] “The experience of other countries shows that death at that scale was preventable,” said [Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington]. [...] Countries with low death rates suppressed the virus “through lots of testing, contact tracing and policies to support isolation and quarantine of people at risk,” Michaud said. Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP, a global health center at Columbia University, called the U.S. death rate shocking. “It reflects the fact that we have neglected basic fundamentals for health,” El-Sadr said. “So, now we are in this shameful situation. It is the most vulnerable people in our midst — the elderly, the poor, members of racial/ethnic minority groups — who are the ones disproportionately getting sick and dying.”
For a numbers-obsessed Trump, there’s one he has tried to ignore: 100,000 dead (WaPo)
Trump last week ordered flags flown at half-staff through Memorial Day weekend to commemorate the Americans who have died of the coronavirus. [...] Internally, there are no substantive plans for any additional event to mark the 100,000 milestone, said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share candid details of private conversations. White House officials are hesitant to plan anything that could be perceived as Trump declaring “mission accomplished,” this official said. [...] The president has focused much of his time in recent days on matters other than the coronavirus. He spent the Memorial Day weekend golfing Saturday and Sunday — the first time he has done so since early in the pandemic — and attacking rivals in deeply personal and at times sexist terms.
posted by katra at 9:31 PM on May 27 [4 favorites]


Zuckerberg Says Twitter Is Wrong to Fact-Check Trump (Newsweek, May 27, 2020)

There are people who are passively bad -- they don't mean badly, they just don't care enough, or know enough, to do the right thing. Zuckerberg is actively bad -- he has figured out the ways he and Facebook benefit from bad actors and is doing what he can to enable them. I don't like to wish ill on people, but he might be an exception.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:39 PM on May 27 [21 favorites]


After Trump threatened to move the RNC, several other states, including Georgia and Florida, offered themselves as alternatives.

The reason (aside from him having his mouth sewn onto. Trump's anus) Ron DeSantis is happy to offer up Florida is that he is confident he can evade the visible consequences since any resultant infections will either not show up until the event is over and gone or won't be counted in the statistics reported by the media since Florida explicitly excludes people who can't be shown to be full time residents of the state from the topline COVID-19 numbers reported by the media and shown on various tracking websites. Diagnoses of nonresidents and part time residents are recorded, but are less widely reported and not included in the total.

If someone comes here to work for a month, gets sick, and dies won't be reflected on "his" scorecard so he gives no fucks. The only place it might show up is in a number that continues to be hidden at the state level: the number of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and that only temporarily.

And for him (or more correctly, his donors), there's a huge upside: It projects confidence to those who are unaware of the scam that it is safe for tourists to descend upon the state once again. That's pretty much job one for him now that Disney and Universal have decided to reopen their theme parks. They seem confident enough in their plans that it's obvious they think that either current state law is enough to protect them or that the Republican-controlled Legislature will pass a liability limitation bill in their next session, before anyone can get a judgement against them in court for their reckless acts toward employees and guests.

It fits together quite neatly with the strategy he has pursued so far with COVID-19, the mind boggling number of sick and dead in ALFs across the state, the almost non-functional unemployment system, and everything else that has been exposed as a result of the crisis. Minimize, claim something is being done, and then call anyone who says the problem isn't solved a liar.
posted by wierdo at 10:28 PM on May 27 [8 favorites]


Can someone tell me what the current status of Trump's tweets are? I mean, official documents or not in legal/Congressional committee/Presidential library terms. I recall this question being raised long ago but never answered.
posted by CCBC at 3:27 AM on May 28


Given twitter's nature I think the best physical medium to preserve them in the library would be a kind of scroll. Preferably two-ply quilted.
posted by adept256 at 4:18 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]


The Philadelphia Inquirer: Pa. House Democrats say they were in the dark for a week about Republican’s positive coronavirus test (via)
HARRISBURG — A Republican state lawmaker from Central Pennsylvania confirmed Wednesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month, leading at least one of his House colleagues to self-quarantine.

The admission immediately ignited outrage among Democrats in the chamber, who said they were recklessly left in the dark for nearly a week about the lawmaker’s condition.
@BrianSimsPA (thread):
RESIGN: Today we learned that House Speaker @MikeTurzai has known that Republican Members have either tested positive, or been quarantined, and withheld this information from Democrats including those of us who serve on the committees with those members! Members in this room have small children, elderly family members that they care for, spouses with autoimmune diseases, and lives that constantly put us at risk of inter acting with others. For me, my story wasn’t supposed to be told, but here goes...

In late January I secretly donated a kidney to a person who lives about 10 blocks from me in the City. He was dying of renal failure and I turned out to be a near perfect match. I spent several days in the hospital and several days with fifth a friend before returning home. My recipient began to improve almost immediately and his long term prognosis is strong, and none of this was ever supposed to be public. People are cynical, especially about politics. And so I decided to share the donation with only my friends, staff, and family. Now, months later, in the middle of a global pandemic, I’ve discovered that my Republican colleagues exposed me, and my Democratic colleagues to Covid-19! They covered that information up because they were simultaneously arguing that the risk was low, or non-existent. They lied.
If the name Turzai sounds familiar to you, it might be due to his "saying the quiet parts loud" moment in 2012 when he admitted that Voter ID was designed to elect Mitt Romney. He's been one of the more prominent members of the PA Covidiot caucus, spreading COVID-19 disinformation since the pandemic came to Pennsylvania. But several PA media outlets just can't bring themselves to tell the story outside of a "both sides" frame. (via)
posted by tonycpsu at 7:03 AM on May 28 [23 favorites]


Can someone tell me what the current status of Trump's tweets are? I mean, official documents or not in legal/Congressional committee/Presidential library terms. I recall this question being raised long ago but never answered.

As President Trump Tweets And Deletes, The Historical Record Takes Shape (NPR, Oct. 25, 2019)
Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., introduced the COVFEFE Act — an acronym drawn from one of Trump's most well-known, ultimately-deleted tweets — in 2017, which would explicitly include the term "social media" in the Records Act.
And more recently: Trump retweets video declaring 'the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat' (The Week)
The Cowboys for Trump tweet comes in response to a Daily Beast article covering Griffin's rally at a New Mexico church, which he held to defy the state's COVID-19 social distancing orders.
And in related Twitter news: Trump continues to claim broad powers he doesn’t have (AP)
While Congress could pass legislation further regulating social media platforms, Trump “has no such authority,” said former federal judge Michael McConnell, who now directs Stanford Law School’s Constitutional Law Center. “He is just venting.”

“There is absolutely no First Amendment issue with Twitter adding a label to the president’s tweets,” added Jameel Jaffer, executive director at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, who won the case that prevents Trump from banning his critics from his Twitter feed. “The only First Amendment issue here arises from the president’s threat to punish Twitter in some way for fact-checking his statements.”
posted by katra at 12:18 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


> There are people who are passively bad -- they don't mean badly, they just don't care enough, or know enough, to do the right thing. Zuckerberg is actively bad -- he has figured out the ways he and Facebook benefit from bad actors and is doing what he can to enable them. I don't like to wish ill on people, but he might be an exception.

Mark Zuckerberg is a hypocrite and a TrumpistThe Facebook CEO knew what he was doing wading into the president’s latest tantrum
Zuckerberg is not being duped by the right-wing; he’s part of it.

It’s telling that Zuckerberg’s first instinct was to side with Trump in his latest Twitter tirade and run to Fox News to defend the decision. It’s not surprising, but it’s telling all the same.

Fox News is where Trump will be sure to see him, and Zuckerberg is pandering to his audience of one.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:38 PM on May 28 [11 favorites]


Trump signs social media executive order (The Guardian, May 28, 2020) The president, appearing alongside attorney general William Barr, said the executive order would look to modify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grants liability protections to social media companies. Trump said Barr would also work with states to establish their own regulations and the administration would develop policies to prevent companies that “suppress free speech” from receiving taxpayer dollars.

“We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers,” Trump said, slamming social media companies as a “monopoly.” When asked why he had not deleted his Twitter account if he thinks the platform is biased, Trump blamed the media. “If we had fair press in this country I would do that in a heartbeat,” Trump said. [...] Even as Trump signed his social media executive order, he acknowledged it could be vulnerable to legal challenges. “I guess it’s going to be challenged in court, but what isn’t?”
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:47 PM on May 28


Anyone want to fund my kickstarter/GoFundMe to buy ad space that makes Trump look bad on Fox News? It costs about 10 grand per 30 seconds of prime time; off prime way cheaper. I figure we can either prevent Fox from receiving government subsidies and sue them for damages when they don't air the ads or the The Cheeto's head explodes when they do and either way it's a win.
posted by Mitheral at 2:25 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


the executive order would look to modify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grants liability protections to social media companies.

I literally do not understand what he thinks he's doing. If he's saying Twitter should be MORE subject to lawsuits over what they allow to be posted, then if you're Twitter doesn't that make you MORE aggressive in flagging and removing fraudulent and libelous content? Y'know, like promoting false medical cures, accusing TV journalists of murder... Or is he trying to dare Twitter to do exactly that so he can claim they're oppressing him?
posted by dnash at 2:44 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


Trump Tweets Video Declaring That ‘The Only Good Democrat Is A Dead Democrat’

“I’ve come to a place where I’ve come to a conclusion where the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” Griffin said as the crowd cheered.

The Trump supporter insisted he wasn’t talking “in a physical sense.”


They need to kill his account, in a political sense.
posted by adept256 at 2:52 PM on May 28 [6 favorites]


Keep in mind that there are two sections of interest in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Trump is only interested in changing one of them.

Section 230(c)(1) prevents a service provider from liability for posting content from other content providers. A service provider can't be sued if someone else posts something libelous or offensive on their platform.

Section 230(c)(2) prevents a service provider from liability for refusing to post content from other content providers. A service provider can't be sued if it refuses to post something they deem libelous or offensive on their platform.

Trump is challenging the second.
posted by JackFlash at 3:33 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


This afternoon Trump said, "I just got back from India, right? I just beat COVID."

Trump returned from his trip to India on February 25th. At that time there were 2 cases of COVID in India. Two weeks later there would be 39 cases and still zero deaths, in a country of 1.2 billion.

He came back to the U.S. which on February 25th had 15 cases. In two weeks it would be 497 cases and 21 deaths.

Trump always thinks the problem is somewhere else.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:43 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


Trump is challenging the second.

AH. Thank you. I get it now.
posted by dnash at 4:46 PM on May 28


“I’ve come to a place where I’ve come to a conclusion where the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” Griffin said as the crowd cheered.

Let's be aware that however this sentiment is justly suppressed, it is already too common, and it is spreading (and in some cases, infects the ranks of law enforcement and other authorities). I hate to say this, but I think we're years past the point where it may be important for *most* progressives to become familiar with firearms and organized in local ways that could function as self-defense leagues in a pinch. The brownshirts have already claimed some lives and I don't trust myself to recognize the moment within a month or so when what Trump and the GOP are pouring into the water supersaturates into an effective militia/SS on their behalf. *Especially* when they have the authority to tell the military to stand aside and do nothing.
posted by wildblueyonder at 4:54 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


Full text of Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship at whitehouse.gov. It's a legal document, and it's an embarrassment. Excerpted at the Guardian:

"Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias. As has been reported, Twitter seems never to have placed such a label on another politician’s tweet. As recently as last week, Representative Adam Schiff was continuing to mislead his followers by peddling the long-disproved Russian Collusion Hoax, and Twitter did not flag those tweets. Unsurprisingly, its officer in charge of so-called ‘Site Integrity’ has flaunted his political bias in his own tweets."
--
Bolding mine. Then there's some China ax-grinding. Also:

Sec. 7. Definition. For purposes of this order, the term “online platform” means any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.
--
In response to the president’s executive order, the US Chamber of Commerce issued a rather pointed statement: "We believe that free speech and the right to engage in commerce are foundational to the American free enterprise system. Regardless of the circumstances that led up to this, this is not how public policy is made in the United States. An executive order cannot be properly used to change federal law.” (The Guardian, May 28, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:09 PM on May 28 [8 favorites]


Huh. If Trump's team sued Twitter for (accurately) not labeling something about Russian election interference as a hoax, how much of the redacted details from the Mueller Report or similar investigations could end up more public than before?
posted by eviemath at 7:57 PM on May 28 [6 favorites]


We just hit 100000 and we're talking about a twitter feud. This has always been his strategy, just throw a smoke bomb to distract from the big thing.

100000 and he's playing golf.
100000 and he's accusing someone of murder.
100000 and he's retweeting violent threats.
100000 and he's cracking down on social media.
100000 and he's done everything but acknowledge that number.

Those are all things worthy of discussion. By design, designed to distract us from the fact his fuck ups have killed 100000 Americans. He still hasn't made any remark about that. Not one word.
posted by adept256 at 8:41 PM on May 28 [9 favorites]


There was a tweet about it early this morning: "We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000. To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!"

[It's 100K confirmed as of today, thanks to under-testing, misdiagnoses, false reporting, etc.]
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:55 PM on May 28


"God be with you!"

White House and CDC remove coronavirus warnings about choirs in faith guidance (WaPo)
Last Friday, the administration released pandemic guidance for faith communities after weeks of debate flared between the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those guidelines posted on the CDC website included recommendations that religious communities “consider suspending or at least decreasing use of choir/musical ensembles and congregant singing, chanting, or reciting during services or other programming, if appropriate within the faith tradition.” [...] By Saturday, that version was replaced by updated guidance that no longer includes any reference to choirs or congregant singing and the risk for spreading virus. The altered guidance also deleted a reference to “shared cups” among items, including hymnals and worship rugs, that should not be shared. The updated guidelines also added language that said the guidance “is not intended to infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment.”

Two White House officials said the first version posted by the CDC was not approved by the White House. Once West Wing officials saw it, they asked the CDC to post a different cleared document without the choir references and other parts. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk about policy discussions, said there have long been concerns within the White House that there were too many restrictions on choirs. [...] Earlier this month, the CDC issued a report warning about “superspreader” events where the coronavirus might be “highly transmissible in certain settings, including group singing events.” That report described a choir practice in Washington state in March at which one person ended up infecting 52 other people, including two who died. [...] Some restrictions imposed by state governments have become a point of contention for conservative religious leaders, an important constituency in President Trump’s political base. [...] An outbreak at an Arkansas church killed three and infected dozens, according to a CDC report. The outbreak began after a pastor at the church and his wife attended church events during six days in early March and spread the virus.
posted by katra at 9:34 PM on May 28 [9 favorites]


How coronavirus spread from one member to 87% of the singers at a Washington choir practice (CNN, May 13, 2020) Authorities interviewed all 122 members of the Skagit Valley Chorale, which met every Tuesday for 2.5 hours before the outbreak. They focused on two rehearsals held March 3 and March 10 in Mount Vernon, Washington. [...] Attendees developed symptoms between one day to 12 days after the March 10 practice, the report said. Most of the singers were women (84%) and their median age was 69.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:45 PM on May 28 [9 favorites]


Coronavirus still has a foothold in the South (Axios)
Ten states have not seen a single week of significant improvement — their caseloads have either gotten worse or have held steady all month. Most of them are in the South: Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. But a handful of other, more populous states —California, Minnesota and Wisconsin — also stand out for their consistently lagging progress. Maine and Utah also have not reported a single week of significant improvement. Neither has Puerto Rico.
As Hot Spots Shift, Pandemic Enters a New Phase (NYT live blog)
[...] infections and deaths are rising in more than a dozen states, as they are in countries around the world, an ominous sign that the pandemic may be entering a new phase. Wisconsin saw its highest single-day increase in confirmed cases and deaths this week, two weeks after the state’s highest court overturned a stay-at-home order. Cases are also on the rise in Alabama, Arkansas, California and North Carolina, which on Thursday reported some of the state’s highest numbers of hospitalizations and reported deaths since the crisis began. In metropolitan areas like Fayetteville, Ark.; Yuma, Ariz.; and Roanoke and Charlottesville, Va., data show new highs may be only days or weeks away.
White House punts economic update as election draws near (AP)
The White House has taken the unusual step of deciding not to release an updated economic forecast as planned this year, a fresh sign of the administration’s anxiety about how the coronavirus has ravaged the nation just months before the election.
posted by katra at 10:07 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


The White House is monitoring and approving every word from the CDC, and with 100,000 dead they are worried about choirs.

Number of dead in Mongolia: 0
Number of dead in Taiwan: 7
Number of dead in Vietnam: 0
Number of dead in USA: 103,330

The only reason Trump has even a fig leaf of coverage for his massacre is that Sweden, Brazil, and the UK are also led by reality denying idiots.
posted by benzenedream at 10:15 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


The only reason Trump has even a fig leaf of coverage

Relief programs are set to run out, severing an economic lifeline. (NYT live blog)
The lending program that helped millions of small businesses keep workers on the payroll will wind down if Congress does not extend it. Eviction moratoriums that kept people in their homes are expiring in many cities. And the $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits that have allowed tens of millions of laid-off workers to pay rent and buy groceries will expire at the end of July. [...] The multitrillion-dollar patchwork of federal and state programs has not kept bills from piling up or prevented long lines at food banks, but it has mitigated the damage. Now the expiration of those programs represents a cliff that individuals — and the broader economy — are hurtling toward. “The CARES Act was massive, but it was a very short-term offset to what is likely to be a long-term problem,” said Aneta Markowska, the chief financial economist for the investment bank Jefferies, referring to the legislative centerpiece of the federal rescue. “This economy is clearly going to need more support.” Even the possibility that the programs will be allowed to expire could have economic consequences, Ms. Markowska said, as consumers and businesses brace for the loss of federal assistance.

President Trump and other Republicans have played down the need for more spending, saying the solution is for states to reopen businesses and allow companies to bring people back to work. So despite pleas from economists across the political spectrum — including Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman — any federal action is likely to be limited.
posted by katra at 10:33 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


Twitter labels Trump tweet as ‘glorifying violence’ (Politico)
The battle between Donald Trump and Twitter reignited Friday after the social media giant ran a warning label on a tweet by the president. The social media giant said that the president's tweet — which addressed protests in Minneapolis and said that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" — violated the company's policies on "glorifying violence."

The company also barred individuals from retweeting Trump's post but only after it had been shared more than 23,000 times. “We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the tweets on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance,” the company said in a post.
posted by katra at 8:55 AM on May 29 [5 favorites]


There is no restriction on religion by keeping churches closed. God does not need you to be at a certain address.

There are several aspects to this:

1 - The community-building and -supporting aspects of church are missing a lot of parts when you switch them online. Elderly people who aren't used to the internet, people with disabilities that make internet meetings difficult or impossible, families with small children - none of these are getting a good church experience right now. This is the part they're going to focus on, and it's real and deserves more attention.

2 - Because of Point 1, it's substantially harder to convince, coerce, and gaslight people online. The most vulnerable populations have been told for decades that any information received from a screen is suspect.

3 - It's harder to gather money, both because of technical barriers and because the impulse of "reach into your pocket and drop a twenty in the basket" does not translate well to "reach to your mouse, click on donate button, open [payment service] in another tab (and hope you have a large enough screen to keep the preacher visible while you do that), log in, check various confirmation boxes, and click the 'confirm' button." The people susceptible to "just set up an automatic payment every month!" have already been suckered in by that. They're now trying to extract money from people whose approach is, "if I like the sermon, I'll donate."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:54 AM on May 29 [6 favorites]


house select subcommittee on coronavirus hearing featuring several notable mayors was interesting if overshadowed by police brutality related events. some of your usual partisan stuff. a couple interesting exchanges:
a representative alluded to polling showing a high percentage of some population as unwilling to take a vaccine and asked witness mayor, in the event a vaccine is created, how they would address that population's concerns.
another representative walked through the cdc guidance issued about vocal groups at, say, churches, in light of the transmission risk of group singing, and its retraction and reissuance with such concerns cut.
interesting juxtaposition in that traditional antivaxer concerns used to be easily rebuttable by reference to public health scientists working at places like cdc. but, over the past 5 months or so, cdc has demonstrated itself as susceptible to permitting political concerns to diminish expression (and, who knows, pursuit?) of their best science-based public health concerns. you too, fda.
i'm no antivaxer, but to whom should i look for information concerning any "vaccine" that may be developed and promoted by public health authorities, now that i can no longer accept what cdc says as probably the best information available (or sure to contain citations to same)?
anyway, most notable was rep. clyburn closing the hearing with a reading of langston hughes' "a dream deferred" (at 2:11:02): potent.
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:28 PM on May 29 [2 favorites]


May I suggest the Canadian health authorities? Or any other stable nation's health agencies where the language barrier is not insurmountable.
posted by Harald74 at 1:25 PM on May 29 [5 favorites]


Supreme Court considers churches’ demands that states lift pandemic restrictions (WaPo / Stars & Stripes reprint)
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, by a 2-to-1 vote, denied the church’s petition. “We’re dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there presently is no known cure,” the court said. “In the words of Justice Robert Jackson, if a ‘court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.’ ”
posted by katra at 1:49 PM on May 29 [13 favorites]


VA says it’ll stop almost all use of unproven drug on vets for coronavirus, Military Times, Hope Yen (Associated Press), 5/28/2020:
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said Thursday that his department has all but stopped use of an unproven malaria drug on veterans with COVID-19.

At a House hearing, he defended initial use of hydroxychloroquine on coronavirus patients as justified “to give them hope,” given few treatment options at the time. But Wilkie said that government-run VA hospitals have “ratcheted it down” — to just three prescriptions in the last week — as studies pointed to possible dangers and other possible treatments were brought online. “I expect that trend to continue in the future,” he added.

President Donald Trump has heavily pitched the drug — even saying in recent days he had been taking it to prevent coronavirus infection — without scientific evidence of its effectiveness. “We are all learning as we go in this crisis,” Wilkie told a House appropriations subcommittee. “Our mission is to preserve and protect life.”
The department, which is the nation’s largest hospital system, has recently been turning to remdesivir. Preliminary results from a major study found reduced recovery time, as well as convalescent plasma.
posted by cenoxo at 2:32 PM on May 29 [2 favorites]


Speaking of remdesivir: Administration initially dispensed scarce covid-19 drug to some hospitals that didn’t need it (WaPo, May 28, 2020) The first tranche of 607,000 vials of the antiviral medication remdesivir, donated to the government by drugmaker Gilead Sciences, was distributed in early May — in some cases to the wrong hospitals, to hospitals with no intensive care units and therefore no eligible patients, and to facilities without the needed refrigeration to store it, meaning some had to be returned to the government, said the officials familiar with the distribution effort.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:44 PM on May 29 [3 favorites]


US President Donald Trump has announced that he is terminating the country's relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO). (BBC, May 29, 2020) "China has total control over the World Health Organization," the president said while announcing measures aimed at punishing Beijing. Washington will redirect funds to other bodies, he said.

The US is the global health agency's largest single contributor, providing more than $400m (£324m; €360m) in 2019.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:00 PM on May 29 [1 favorite]


Inside an Extraordinary G.O.P. Event: ‘Pressing Flesh and Kissing Babies’ Again (NYT)
At the South Carolina event, attended by Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, there were few masks and no social distancing — and that was the point.
The outdoor gathering here on Thursday was a send-off event for Cleo Steele, a longtime Republican Party operative [...] Speakers shared the same microphone. Local and state political candidates greeted voters with handshakes and squeezed tight for pictures. Of all the people gathered outside the county Republican office — many of them senior citizens — fewer than a dozen wore masks. “Social distancing guidelines are recommended,” the invitation had said. “Hand sanitizer and face masks will be available.” In reality, according to interviews with more than a dozen attendees, the event was an active rejection of behavior that the hyper-conservative crowd has come to associate with liberal enemies in recent months — wearing masks and gloves, staying six feet away from other people, avoiding physical touch. To treat the coronavirus as something to be feared, they said, was a political act incongruous with their values.

Dwayne “Duke” Buckner, who is challenging Mr. Graham in the Republican Senate primary next month and came to the event to meet voters, said he had recently stopped adhering to public health guidelines, which he described as overly burdensome. “You can quote me on this,” Mr. Buckner said. “When the good Lord calls you home, a mask ain’t going to stop it.”
The pandemic isn’t over. But America sure seems over it. (WaPo)
“I think everybody is kind of over it, you know what I mean?” says a realtor named Toni Mock, on the phone from Jacksonville, Fla. She wants that roaring Trump economy back. One thing that helped her get over it was the “boaters for Trump” flotilla May 16. She hopped in a friend’s 40-foot sportfishing boat with some chicken wings and Corona beers (lol) and joined a fleet of vessels in the Intracoastal Waterway. The sun, the breeze, the “Trump 2020” and “Stop the Bulls---” flags, the kayaks and Jet Skis, the boats dubbed with carefree puns like “Knot to Worry” — it was “almost biblical,” according to Mock. [...] “I have God in my heart, so God could take me out any day,” Mock says. “He can take me out in any way he wants to. And if it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go. I don’t think anyone I know is personally concerned. None of us are afraid, because we have God in our souls and God in our hearts. And we don’t watch CNN.”

[...] If you render a pandemic in hyperlocal statistics, it can look like nothing. It can look like it’s time to get over it. If you meet a pandemic head-on in a hospital, it can look like everything. [...] A few weeks ago, at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., a nurse named Marlena Pellegrino donned her protective gear to check on a 100-year-old covid-19 patient, who had been alone in a room for too long because of a staffing shortage. [...] “People out in these states at water parks and beaches and boardwalks without masks on, gathering 200 people in a pool — to nurses, that’s like, ‘What do these people not understand?’ ” says Pellegrino, walking in a park Thursday in Worcester, Mass., before her 3-to-midnight shift at St. Vincent. “This is about protecting community, protecting society. People are just discarding what is still a major health-care crisis. A pandemic means we need to be safeguarding one another. We’re going to be needing to protect ourselves for months — if not years — to come.”
posted by katra at 5:42 PM on May 29 [8 favorites]


The potential loss of life from the sheer blatant arrogance of their blessed belief of privilege...it honestly makes me feel faint.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:47 PM on May 29 [7 favorites]


Evangelism has become a death cult. Apparently it now offends God to try to keep yourself and your community healthy.
posted by wierdo at 6:16 PM on May 29 [6 favorites]


The outdoor gathering here on Thursday was a send-off event for Cleo Steele, a longtime Republican Party operative in Horry County, who is retiring to Ohio. Speakers shared the same microphone. Local and state political candidates greeted voters with handshakes and squeezed tight for pictures.

South Carolina confirmed cases: 11,131; confirmed deaths: 483
Ohio confirmed cases: 34,566; confirmed deaths: 2,131

Another digusting thing is all this "God is my shield" bleating means they believe the dead had it coming somehow.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:29 PM on May 29 [5 favorites]


This virus seems expressly adapted to use overconfident evangelicals as replication sources. Unfortunately they'll take a lot of innocent people with them. Trump will restart rallies in 3... 2... 1...
posted by benzenedream at 6:36 PM on May 29 [1 favorite]


Trump Schedules in-Person Fundraisers in June, Defying Pandemic (Bloomberg)
On June 11, Trump will attend an event in Dallas in a private home with approximately 25 attendees. The price for admission is $580,600 per couple, according to an official with the Republican National Committee. On June 13, he’ll attend an event at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. That event has a price tag of $250,000 price per person, and will have roughly the same number of guests as the event in Dallas.
Trump schedules in-person fundraisers as shackles come off (Politico)
Trump is also dead set on holding the GOP’s August national convention in Charlotte, even as North Carolina officials are raising concerns about safety. The Charlotte area has seen an uptick in coronavirus cases in recent days. Trump has also been itching to resume his trademark rallies, his primary method of connecting with supporters and broadcasting his message. [...] The president has left the confines of the White House over the past few weeks to hold ostensibly official events in swing states like Arizona and Michigan, where polls have shown him trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The events have sometimes had the feel of a rally, complete with walk-out music.
posted by katra at 7:02 PM on May 29 [6 favorites]


Of course he has to push "Coronavirus is no big deal", otherwise no one would attend his rallies, and Donnie would have a sad.
posted by Windopaene at 8:11 PM on May 29 [2 favorites]


The White House sets conditions on testifying before Congress as the virus’s partisan divide widens. (NYT live blog)
Administration officials will only testify before Congress if committee leaders agree to conduct the hearings in person, the White House informed Congress on Friday. The decision amounted to a direct challenge to new House rules that allow committees and lawmakers to conduct their work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, but it was also symbolic of a growing partisan divide about how to conduct political business in an era of concerns about public health. [...] “The Administration is willing to make accommodations, but only when Congress is similarly willing to make accommodations, including agreeing to appear in person,” the White House said, according to a notice sent to congressional staff members. The notice acknowledged exceptions could be made in instances in which a witness needed to quarantine.
Merkel rebuffs Trump invitation to G-7 summit (Politico)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rebuffed Donald Trump’s invitation to attend a G-7 summit, which the president is keen to portray as a symbol of a return to normality from the upheaval of the coronavirus crisis. "The federal chancellor thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G-7 summit at the end of June in Washington. As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, to a journey to Washington," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told POLITICO on Friday.

[...] Merkel, who is a research scientist by professional training, has said she believes June is still too soon to hold large gatherings given that the virus is still circulating and experts are urging continued vigilance and social distancing, even as economies begin to open up again. Officials aware of the transatlantic discussions said Trump was furious over Merkel's reluctance to attend the summit, and on Thursday he phoned French President Emmanuel Macron in a pique. [...] Officials aware of recent transatlantic discussions said Merkel had voiced similar opposition to European Union leaders gathering in person for a summit in Brussels on June 19, and said face-to-face talks should not resume until July. [...] one official familiar with the situation said that other EU leaders would support Merkel and would not attend Trump's summit if Merkel thought it was a bad idea.
posted by katra at 8:33 PM on May 29 [8 favorites]


Leader of the Free World right there.
posted by Windopaene at 8:57 PM on May 29 [3 favorites]


He'll probably try and have an alternative G-7 inviting random leaders he can lean on to come. Or with the mypillow guy.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:15 PM on May 29 [5 favorites]


Someone who was partying at the Lake of the Ozarks both Saturday and Sunday the 23rd and 24th has tested positive for COVID-19. How will Missouri notify hundreds, if not thousands, of people who were there when this person was?
posted by droplet at 10:13 PM on May 29 [3 favorites]


Well, they posted the persons whereabouts. As posted in the non-trump thread, looks like an epic day/night of drinking. Breakfast at Buffalo Wild Wings at 1pm the next day.
posted by Windopaene at 10:16 PM on May 29


To treat the coronavirus as something to be feared, they said, was a political act incongruous with their values.

Dwayne “Duke” Buckner, who is challenging Mr. Graham in the Republican Senate primary next month and came to the event to meet voters, said he had recently stopped adhering to public health guidelines, which he described as overly burdensome. “You can quote me on this,” Mr. Buckner said. “When the good Lord calls you home, a mask ain’t going to stop it.”


If the Duke cannot fear (or even respect) something that has killed over 100,000 people worldwide irregardless of their birthplace, color, age, class, education, intelligence, religion, or politics, why should anyone want his poor decision-making abilities in the Senate?

Perhaps Duke has forgotten what Jesus replied when Satan asked him to jump off the Temple (and be caught by angels): "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.", Matthew 4:7 (in context).
posted by cenoxo at 10:19 PM on May 29 [8 favorites]


Make that over 100,000 killed in the United States and over 365,000 dead worldwide: all the more reasons to conclude that no one person (or country) is exceptional.
posted by cenoxo at 5:49 AM on May 30


Supreme Court, in 5-4 Decision, Rejects Church’s Challenge to Shutdown Order (NYT)
The Supreme Court on Friday turned away a request from a church in California to block enforcement of state restrictions on attendance at religious services. [...] “Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the free exercise clause of the First Amendment,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in an opinion concurring in the unsigned ruling.

“Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports and theatrical performances, where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time,” the chief justice wrote. “And the order exempts or treats more leniently only dissimilar activities, such as operating grocery stores, banks and laundromats, in which people neither congregate in large groups nor remain in close proximity for extended periods.”
Roberts joins court's liberals to deny California church's lockdown challenge (Politico)
In a three-page opinion issued just before the stroke of midnight Washington time, Roberts said it would be unwise for the court to intervene on an emergency basis as state officials try to grapple with the ebb and flow of a pandemic caused by a highly infectious and sometimes deadly virus. "The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement," Roberts wrote. [...] "Where those broad limits are not exceeded, they should not be subject to second-guessing by an 'unelected federal judiciary,' which lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people," Roberts wrote.
Supreme Court, in rare late-night ruling, says California may enforce certain restrictions on religious gatherings (WaPo)
The state contends that there are good reasons, though, for extending restrictions. Its expert testified that there “have been multiple reports of sizable to large gatherings such as religious services, choir practices, funerals, and parties resulting in significant spread of COVID-19.” Included: “a worship service in Sacramento tied to 71 COVID-19 cases; a choir practice in Seattle linked to 32 cases; a Kentucky church revival tied to 28 cases; and a religious service in South Korea where over 5,000 cases were traced back to a single infected individual in attendance.”
posted by katra at 9:04 AM on May 30 [15 favorites]


The church agitating for large gatherings is in Chula Vista, which has over a thousand confirmed cases; the county of San Diego overall has nearly 7K confirmed cases. Meanwhile, Lassen County, in Northern California, is halting its re-opening plans -- in a community of 30K there were no confirmed cases when lockdown first started, but this past month, as the county slowly eased strictures, five people tested positive.

No, that's changed again? Now Lassen's back to its original plan, Phase 2.5: "The first California county to backpedal on its reopening plan has reversed itself again and decided to allow dining in restaurants and shopping in stores after determining it successfully mitigated its first small outbreak of coronavirus cases. Lassen County issued the new order late Thursday, allowing cafes and stores that previously won approval to reopen again and allowing churches, salons and barbershops to submit plans to resume their services."

That's lunacy. One person traveled outside the county, and swiftly infected four other people; that was discovered on Friday, May 22. Other residents were tested (after initial disinterest), a total of 910, and 308 of those results are still pending. The brakes were applied on Tuesday afternoon; Thursday night, TPTB decided brakes were superfluous to the capitalist machine. Susanville is the county seat -- two hours to Chico, Redding, or Reno. Trump Enjoys Strong Support in Lassen County, California (VOA News, Dec. 20, 2017) because of course he does; the article is like peering into an alternate dimension where people believe he's kept his campaign promises and are gratified he hasn't just quit over all the mean-spirited criticism. Also:

"Humboldt County on California’s North Coast was one of the first to get approval to open restaurants and is now taking a more cautious approach after a spike in cases and its first deaths. Sonoma County said on Wednesday it would slow its reopening after a recent surge in cases."

Sonoma County, yesterday: “I’m not following this f--king health order, and my original statement that we’re done on June 1 stands until [County Health Officer] Dr. Mase is able to provide me with enough information that we’re on the right path,” [Sonoma County Sheriff Mark] Essick said. (Press Democrat; reaffirmed at Sonoma News)
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:42 PM on May 30 [2 favorites]


"How will Missouri notify hundreds, if not thousands, of people who were there when this person was?"

I'm in Missouri. I viewed the reports last weekend from Lake of the Ozarks with worry. But, so far, globally there's not been even one reported outdoors supercluster—and there have been numerous opportunities. Time will tell; but as of now there's a lot of evidence pointing toward it being not quite that easily spread. The numerous indoor superclusters make clear, though, the potential for trouble.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:48 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


There have been. San Siro Stadium in Milan, the Cheltenham horse races in England...
posted by Windopaene at 6:19 PM on May 30 [4 favorites]


But, so far, globally there's not been even one reported outdoors supercluster—and there have been numerous opportunities. Time will tell

Guardian: "Concern has been raised by many people that the demonstrations seen around the US could help spread Covid-19. Many protesters have been seen without masks in packed crowds. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio agreed such scenes were worrying, particularly in a city with tens of thousands of deaths from the virus." Previously: US anti-lockdown rallies could cause surge in Covid-19 cases, experts warn (Guardian, Apr. 20, 2020)

George Floyd: as protests rage across US, Trump comments inflame tensions (Guardian)
[Washington, DC Mayor Muriel] Bowser, a Democrat, said that she stood with peaceful protesters while Trump “hides behind his fence”. “To make a reference to vicious dogs is no subtle reminder to African Americans of segregationists who let dogs out on women, children and innocent people in the south,” Bowser said. She added: “There are no vicious dogs & ominous weapons. There is just a scared man. Afraid/alone.”
Trump threatens to unleash gunfire on Minnesota protesters (Politico, May 29, 2020)
Trump’s warning Friday that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” echoed a more infamous historical predicate: Miami Police Chief Walter Headley reportedly uttered the same phrase at a December 1967 news conference. A federal task force later concluded Headley’s words had contributed to the escalated local tensions that resulted in a deadly, three-day riot the following summer, which coincided with the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach — where former Vice President Richard Nixon was nominated as the party’s candidate for president.
posted by katra at 6:32 PM on May 30 [2 favorites]


"There have been. San Siro Stadium in Milan, the Cheltenham horse races in England..."

Yeah, I was just double-checking that. Probably also Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

There still does seem to be a big difference between inside crowding and outside crowding. I just read that during the Spanish Flu, outdoor hospitals helped limit contagion. (Also easier to increase distance outside, too, though.)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:36 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


Much of the spread in Milan may have occurred outside the stadium as fans partied in bars after the game. Similarly, the Mardi Gras super spreader event may have been more due to people in bars and restaurants, and the streets during are much more jammed than what was seen in the Lake of the Ozarks event. (Not familiar enough with Cheltham Horse races to opine.)

Still, even a few new infections from Lake of the Ozarks could lead to many more among the households of those who have the misfortune contracting the virus.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:51 PM on May 30 [2 favorites]


Attention business owners: be advised if I get covid-19 I will be naming all the businesses I was in for the last couple of weeks who did not require people to follow the state-ordered limitations. I think that would at least be willful negligence. Knew and intentionally disregarded.

Rogue sheriff and non-enforcement promise or no, I'm holding you responsible.
posted by ctmf at 9:48 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


So why don't you just leave? Of course, but the damage may have already been done.
posted by ctmf at 9:50 PM on May 30


Social distancing strictures fall away as crowds gather to party and protest (WaPo)
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) reminded demonstrators in a news conference where he announced the full mobilization of the state National Guard to control the violent unrest. Warning that hospitals were “on the verge of being overrun,” Walz said “demonstrators should wear masks and try to practice social distancing.”

Far from the demonstrations, highways were gridlocked and beaches and roadsides were crowded around Cape Canaveral, Fla., as thousands gathered to view the launch of the SpaceX capsule carrying NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. In some spots, the waterfront was crammed with no social distancing, even as beachside restaurants took temperatures and spaced tables far apart. President Trump, Vice President Pence and their official parties who gathered with other VIPs to watch the launch at the Kennedy Space Center were not seen wearing face masks.
Trump exults in rocket launch as chaos unfolds around the country (Politico)
But once the capsule launched and Trump found himself back in front of a large crowd, he returned to campaign mode: singling out his GOP allies at the NASA event, making blustery comments about China and the origins of the novel coronavirus and using a nonpartisan moment to advance his reelection message.
Guardian: "Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has appeared on ABC News’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and opened by urging unity [...]
Pelosi also described the death of George Floyd as an execution after she was asked if all four officers present at his death should be held responsible (so far only one officer has been charged with a crime). “I said right from the start that it was murder. We saw an execution of a person on TV. We saw it happened, a knee to the neck,” she said. There are others there who witnessed it who were – would be considered in other circumstance accomplices to it.” [...] “The president of the United States should bring dignity to the office that he serves. He should be a unifying force in our country. We have seen that with Democratic and Republican presidents all along. They have seen their responsibility to be the president of the United States, to unify our country, and not to fuel the flame, not to fuel the flame. Not to fuel the flame,” she said. “And I think to take his bait time and time again is just a gift to him because he always wants to divert attention from what the cause of the response was rather than to describe it in his own terms, sadly.”

Pelosi ended by saying that injustices faced by black people in American are not limited to police brutality. “This is happening at a time of other injustices. The fact is that the coronavirus has taken undue [toll] among people of color. This again is an injustice,” she said. “...Why should there have been more disproportionate deaths among people of color? Because we’re not really testing in those communities to treat and save lives.”
posted by katra at 9:47 AM on May 31 [9 favorites]


Trump fled to bunker as protests over George Floyd raged outside White House (Guardian)
As protesters converged on the White House on Friday, the New York Times reports, “Secret Service agents abruptly rushed the president to the underground bunker used in the past during terrorist attacks.” [...] The president has spoken to George Floyd’s grieving family, but according to Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, the conversation was brief. “He didn’t give me an opportunity to even speak,” Floyd told MSNBC.
As Protests and Violence Spill Over, Trump Shrinks Back (NYT)
Mr. Trump remained cloistered inside, periodically sending out Twitter messages like “LAW & ORDER.” While some aides urged him to keep off Twitter, Mr. Trump could not resist blasting out a string of messages through the day berating Democrats for not being tough enough and attributing the turmoil to radical leftists. [...] Some in the president’s circle see the escalations as a political boon, much in the way Richard M. Nixon won the presidency on a law-and-order platform after the 1968 riots.

One adviser to Mr. Trump, who insisted on anonymity to describe private conversations, said images of widespread destruction across the country could be helpful to the law-and-order message that Mr. Trump has tried to project since his 2016 campaign. The adviser said that it could particularly appeal to older women at a time when Mr. Trump’s support among seniors has eroded amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected them. The risk, this adviser added, is that people are worn out by the president’s behavior.
'Policing and Racism Are Public Health Problems.' How Minneapolis Protesters Contend With COVID-19 (TIME, May 30, 2020)
Also at Tuesday’s protest was Marjaan Sirdar, a longtime community organizer and activist for racial equity. “I’m deeply concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in this community,” Sirdar tells TIME. “I’m deeply concerned that we will not have warriors to continue this struggle a month from now because we will lose them to the disease.”
posted by katra at 7:13 PM on May 31 [5 favorites]


He didn’t give me an opportunity to even speak That's so on-brand for Trump it hurts.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:23 PM on May 31 [9 favorites]


“Secret Service agents abruptly rushed the president to the underground bunker used in the past during terrorist attacks.”

If we keep showing him the footage from different cities, can we get him to stay inside the bunker for the next several months?

"I'm sorry, Mr. President, but it's not safe to leave yet. There's still angry protesters surrounding the White House. No, you can't fly to Mar a Lago; there's protesters there, too. No, sorry, no Twitter in the bunker; it has to be sealed against electronic attacks. We have some DVDs, though. Would you like to watch Finding Dory again?"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:21 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]


As an observer of US politics (lived in Canada 1972-80 when Watergate was AMAZING) and a participant in local politics wherever I lived - I was not that familiar with some of the more"granular" incidents in US history.

I knew the Tammany Hall motto - "Vote early; vote often"; I studied the muckraker movement of journalism against the Gilded Age - so had some awareness. But the "Red Summer of 1919" - that has been my introduction to the intersectionality of what seems to be happening now.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 1:55 AM on June 1 [2 favorites]


I just got my daily email from the USPS showing me what mail to expect today. There is a letter from the IRS. Slightly concerned I saw on the picture of the envelope Notice 1444 written there. So I looked it up on internet. It appears that Notice 1444 is a signed letter from the Orange Slime saying I got my stimulus check. And everybody will be getting these. As it’s from the IRS so we paid for this letter. Given its contents, it’s campaign material. Welcome to America 2020.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:50 AM on June 1 [5 favorites]


...and (for me at least) Drumpf's announcement letter came in the mail a full month after the actual check arrived.
posted by HyperBlue at 9:22 AM on June 1 [4 favorites]


ripping that letter to shreds did give me a modest amount of pleasure that I am assuming is roughly commensurate with what it cost me to produce, fwiw.
posted by One Thousand and One at 10:15 AM on June 1 [7 favorites]


Despite widespread economic toll, most Americans still favor controlling outbreak over restarting economy, Post-ABC poll finds (WaPo)
Nearly 6 in 10 Americans say the coronavirus outbreak has exacted a severe economic toll on their communities, but a majority of a divided country still says controlling the virus’s spread is more important than trying to restart the economy, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. [...] In the starkest split, 57 percent of Americans overall and 81 percent of Democrats say trying to control the spread of the coronavirus is most important right now, even if it hurts the economy. A far smaller 27 percent of Republicans agree, while 66 percent of them say restarting the economy is more important, even if it hurts efforts to control the virus. Nearly 6 in 10 independents say their priority is trying to control the virus’s spread. There are sizable gender and racial gaps on this issue, too. Women, by more than 2 to 1, say controlling the spread of the virus should be the higher priority, while men are evenly split. Additionally, black Americans, who have suffered disproportionately from the virus, overwhelmingly favor controlling its spread, with about 3 in 4 citing this as their priority.

[...] The Post-ABC poll was conducted May 25 to 28 by phone among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, with 75 percent of interviews conducted by cellphone and the rest on landline. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
posted by katra at 10:51 AM on June 1 [2 favorites]


Congress Should Investigate the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response (Charlie Martel, Lawfare)
Congressional investigations can make a world of difference in humanitarian crises. In 2008-2009, I led the staff of a bipartisan Senate investigation of the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, probing the government’s failure to provide for the needs of those displaced. Our nearly 300-page report described in detail what had gone wrong and why, and concluded with extensive recommendations on reform of law, policy, practice and personnel to fix what was broken. [...] Many lessons the congressional staff learned during our work on Katrina echo hauntingly today. Carefully developed crisis planning was ignored, replaced by ad hoc decisions. Federal responses were poorly coordinated, inadequate and confused. The crisis and response hurt black and low-income citizens the most. There was no federal strategy, a stark failure our committee conducted a hearing about and corrected with oversight.

Today, there are worrying signs that all of this may be happening again. Having apparently discarded the careful pandemic planning it inherited, the Trump administration has no evident strategy guiding its response to the complex crises created by the coronavirus. Administration statements and decisions have been impulsive, contradictory and in some instances dangerous. Congressional oversight is necessary to review the federal response and correct it where necessary. [...] Lawmakers may worry that such an investigation will inevitably be attacked by the administration as politicized and partisan. This should not block Congress from doing its job. For one, congressional oversight is constitutionally mandated—the president cannot exercise unchecked power, even in emergencies. There is abundant evidence that the president’s response is flawed and that this is deepening the crisis. Congress can and should exercise its authority.
posted by katra at 11:39 AM on June 1 [7 favorites]


The American Nightmare (Ibram X. Kendi, Atlantic)
To be black and conscious of anti-black racism is to stare into the mirror of your own extinction. Ask the souls of the 10,000 black victims of COVID-19 who might still be living if they had been white. Ask the souls of those who were told the pandemic was the “great equalizer.” Ask the souls of those forced to choose between their low-wage jobs and their treasured life. Ask the souls of those blamed for their own death. Ask the souls of those who disproportionately lost their jobs and then their life as others disproportionately raged about losing their freedom to infect us all. Ask the souls of those ignored by the governors reopening their states. [...]

History ignored you. Hoffman ignored you. Racist America ignored you. The state did not want you to breathe. But your loved ones did not ignore you. They did not ignore your nightmare. They share the same nightmare. Enraged, they took to the streets and nonviolently rallied. Some violently rebelled, burning and snatching property that the state protected instead of your life. And then they heard over America’s loudspeaker, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Your loved ones are protesting your murder, and the president calls for their murder, calls them “THUGS,” calls them “OUT OF STATE” agitators. [...] Mayors issue curfews. Governors rattle their sabers. The National Guard arrives to protect property and police. Where was the National Guard when you faced violent police officers, violent white terrorists, the violence of racial health disparities, the violence of COVID-19—all the racist power and policy and ideas that kept the black experience in the American nightmare for 400 years?
posted by katra at 12:47 PM on June 1 [13 favorites]


[A few comments deleted; folks this is a coronavirus thread not a general all-trump-news thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:25 AM on June 2 [3 favorites]


Where the Virus Is Growing Most: Countries With ‘Illiberal Populist’ Leaders (David Leonhardt and Lauren Leatherby, NYT)
The four large countries where coronavirus cases have recently been increasing fastest are Brazil, the United States, Russia and Britain. And they have something in common. They are all run by populist male leaders who cast themselves as anti-elite and anti-establishment. The four leaders — Jair Bolsonaro, Donald J. Trump, Vladimir V. Putin and Boris Johnson — also have a lot of differences, of course, as do their countries. Yet all four subscribe to versions of what Daniel Ziblatt, a government professor at Harvard and co-author of the book “How Democracies Die,” calls “radical right illiberal populism.”

This pattern isn’t a coincidence, many political scientists believe. Illiberal populists tend to reject the opinions of scientists and promote conspiracy theories. “Very often they rail against intellectuals and experts of nearly all types,” Steven Levitsky, Mr. Ziblatt’s co-author, said. The leaders, he said, “claim to have a kind of common-sense wisdom that the experts lack. This doesn’t work very well versus Covid-19.” [...] An academic effort to track countries’ responses to the virus has shown that a delay in government reaction allows the virus to spread much faster, said Thomas Hale of the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, who is leading the effort. Many of the countries seeing bad outbreaks now share a “late recognition of the urgency of the crisis,” Mr. Hale said. [...] “There’s this false tension that exists between public health and economic health,” said Wafaa El-Sadr, an epidemiologist at Columbia University.
posted by katra at 11:01 AM on June 2 [12 favorites]


Contractors for Trump’s Controversial $3 Billion Food Aid Program Have Hired a Longtime Lobbyist to Tout Their WorkProPublica; Isaac Arnsdorf; June 2 2020
Lawmakers are asking why some federal contractors in Trump’s food aid program apparently lack qualifications to deliver the goods. Companies hired a consultant to tell positive stories.

“We’re working to take the stories of the impact this is having on farmers, processors, distributors and end users and making sure some positive aspects of the program, from both the economic and social standpoints, are out there too,” said the lobbyist and industry consultant, Dale Apley, who reached out to ProPublica on behalf of the contractors. “It’s not all just certain stories about certain companies that maybe shouldn’t have been awarded contracts.”
I'm speechless.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:16 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


It's grifters all the way down...
posted by Windopaene at 1:06 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


It appears that Notice 1444 is a signed letter from the Orange Slime saying I got my stimulus check. everybody will be getting these.

If it makes you feel any better, I don't think I'm getting either a check or the Notice. But if I can capitalize on local rent drops somehow, I think I'll get by just fine =)
posted by pwnguin at 2:17 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Anyone want to fund my kickstarter/GoFundMe to buy ad space that makes Trump look bad on Fox News?

Republican Voters Against Trump Step up: @BillKristol
NEW: "This November, End Trump's American Carnage."

The ad, from Republican Voters Against Trump, is airing on Fox News and is being promoted digitally in key states.
posted by Mitheral at 8:05 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


CIA veterans who monitored crackdowns abroad see troubling parallels in Trump’s handling of protests (WaPo, Greg Miller / MSN reprint)
The scenes have been disturbingly familiar to CIA analysts accustomed to monitoring scenes of societal unraveling abroad — the massing of protesters, the ensuing crackdowns and the awkwardly staged displays of strength by a leader determined to project authority. In interviews and posts on social media in recent days, current and former U.S. intelligence officials have expressed dismay at the similarity between events at home and the signs of decline or democratic regression they were trained to detect in other nations. “I’ve seen this kind of violence,” said Gail Helt, a former CIA analyst responsible for tracking developments in China and Southeast Asia. “This is what autocrats do. This is what happens in countries before a collapse. It really does unnerve me.”

[...] Former intelligence officials said the unrest and the administration’s militaristic response are among many measures of decay they would flag if writing assessments about the United States for another country’s intelligence service. They cited the country’s struggle to contain the novel coronavirus, the president’s attempt to pressure Ukraine for political favors, his attacks on the news media and the increasingly polarized political climate as other signs of dysfunction.
posted by katra at 8:43 PM on June 2 [17 favorites]


Again, this is not the trump hate thread. This is the trump fails at the coronavirus thread...
posted by Windopaene at 11:44 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


This is the trump fails at the Coronavirus thread.

True, but the Donald is nothing if not consistent in all of his dealings. It’s not hate to point out that each of his failures follows another because of who he is: "I will never lie to you. I will never tell you something I do not believe." As the Imperial Donald has spoken and his actions have demonstrated time after time, his core beliefs are antithetical to the U.S. Constitution, our government, and the office of the President. The only thing he believes in is himself.
posted by cenoxo at 5:24 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


[But seriously, this is a thread about the administration's coronavirus response.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:38 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Related to ZeusHumms's ProPublica link above: Coronavirus Contracts, Tracking Federal Purchases to Fight the Coronavirus (a ProPublica project with a treasure-trove searchable database; sort contracts by state, federal agency, size, vendor, etc.; $20.7 million to Alchem Labs for a hydroxychloroquine study) last updated June 3, 2020.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:19 PM on June 3 [4 favorites]


I've been going through the daily reports from each state, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and have assembled a database of the chronology of number of infections, tests and deaths.

It was a lot of work and I've learned a lot along the way.

This is one matter that concerns me. About a dozen states report antibody (serology) tests along with the molecular tests (PCR, confirming active infection). Doing both and reporting is good as long as they keep the information clear and separate (which several states don't).

Antibody positivity rates are low, much lower than the PCR positivity rates. In fact, several states combine the antibody tests to lower their overall positivity rate. Arizona is a convenient state as an example. Not only do they present antibody tests, positive and negative on the front page, but they present both molecular and antibody positivity rates. (Most states that provide antibody test information make you search for the pieces of the data and then do the math.) So, as of June 4th for Arizona, antibody (serology) positive testing rate 3.0% out of 101,147 tests. For the PCR (molecular), the rate is 6.9% out of 249,755 tests. This is the cumulative data, but is also true for the daily data.

I can't make sense of this. Haven't several studies suggested that there are a lot more people who have had the virus and built up antibodies? Wasn't this suppose to mean that many people had the virus and the death rate was not so high? Weren't the antibody positive people supposed to help stem the spread? If this were only true for Arizona, I'd think it was some sort of selection quirk. Are there really only 3% out there with antibodies?

As another example, Missouri reports their serology and PCR results on two separate pages (same link, tabs at the top).
Serology positivity (June 4) 3.9%. PCR positivity (June 4) 6.3%.

Now, I understand PCR positivity is more closely linked to disease presentation and epidemiological exposure in its selection: still that doesn't explain the low serologies.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:55 PM on June 4


Some states are massaging reports, and there are inherent reliability problems with current antibody tests?
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:17 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


If there is, let's say 20% antibody positivity out there (as some studies have suggested), a 3% rate is more than a little massaging. And since this happens state after state (and some states report bad enough stuff), I don't think that's the explanation. If the antibody tests are reporting 5 out of 6 false negatives, they are useless.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:00 PM on June 4


I saw a study with a 20% rate of positive serology tests in New York City, but it seems to be in single digits in most other places. For instance, in many New York counties, rates were around 2%, and a big Spanish study found a rate of 5%.

At least in New York and Spain, the rate of positive serology tests is around 10 times the rate of confirmed cases, which matches the Arizona data pretty closely (.31% rate of confirmed cases), but it's a little off from the Missouri data (.22% confirmed cases).
posted by ectabo at 2:59 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Remember that the bulk data dumps from states are from non-random populations. Since the serology test is not terribly useful for quarantine/public health, healthcare workers and rich people may be the only ones getting the tests. Just spitballing but always beware something that is not a deliberately random prospective sampling.
posted by benzenedream at 3:52 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]


Here in Miami-Dade County, there has been an ongoing program doing random sampling serology tests among the general public. Last I saw, about 7% of those tested had antibodies. In the most afflicted county in Florida. There remain far more who have not been exposed at a high enough level to trigger am immune response than have.

(The results are reported as a range that takes into account deficiencies in the test, but I don't recall what the most recent range actually is)
posted by wierdo at 8:20 PM on June 4 [4 favorites]


In the starkest split, 57 percent of Americans overall and 81 percent of Democrats say trying to control the spread of the coronavirus is most important right now, even if it hurts the economy.

This still seems like obviously a false narrative to me. Controlling the spread of infection is the way to open fastest and for the longest amount of time, which is best for the economy, obviously. It bothers me that this issue is painted as us versus them when saving lives and saving the economy require the same plan and methods. This could have been a moment that truly united the country.
posted by xammerboy at 8:30 AM on June 5 [12 favorites]


President Donald Trump said Friday that the U.S. has already produced 2 million coronavirus vaccine doses that are “ready to go” once scientists figure out whether it is safe and effective. (CNBC, June 5, 2020) “Tremendous progress is being made on vaccines,” Trump said during a Friday morning news conference from the White House. “In fact, we’re ready to go in terms of transportation and logistics. We have over 2 million ready to go if it checks out for safety.”

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is involved in U.S. effort to produce a vaccine, declined to comment on Trump’s comments later Friday, saying, “I didn’t hear him say that.”
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:23 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Am I an antivaxxer for declining whatever crazy vaccine Trump thinks he has up his sleeve?
posted by pwnguin at 3:19 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


No.
I wouldn't borrow a pen from the guy.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:50 PM on June 5 [9 favorites]


I'm a pro-vaccine as can be, and I sure as hell won't be rushing to get a COVID-19 vaccine before it's been tested to hell and back. Any COVID-19 vaccine available before November 3rd will mostly likely either kill you or make you vote Republican, and won't protect you from COVID-19.
posted by mollweide at 5:39 PM on June 5 [9 favorites]


Trump toured the swab manufacturing floor of Puritan Medical Supplies on Friday. Because he refuses to wear PPE all swabs manufactured during his visit will be destroyed. He's actively on the side of the virus.
posted by Mitheral at 2:15 PM on June 6 [28 favorites]


Also from the Puritan swab article:
NEWS CENTER Maine's partners at the Portland Press Herald reported in May that many nursing homes in Maine say they lack the basic testing supplies like nasal swabs. "Seventeen of 28 nursing homes – or nearly 61 percent – that responded to a survey by the Maine Medical Directors Association last week reported that they had seven or fewer nasal swabs, which are needed to collect specimens to test for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Nine of them – 32 percent – had no swabs at all," the Press Herald writes.

A recent $75.5 million partnership will nearly double the company’s production—and create 150 jobs. “Made in the USA. I’ve been saying it for a long time,” Trump said during his remarks at Puritan.
...a jobs increase the Donald will probably exaggerate (i.e., 'hundreds of new jobs') and take credit for during his 2020 campaign.
posted by cenoxo at 11:59 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Last week I finally relented and bought some cloth masks from both Amazon and Etsy, but I'm still pissed the hell off: WHERE THE F ARE THE FACE MASKS DONNY? It is the height of Soviet irony that after four months: jack shit. Jerry Kush is still playing "hide the salami," so to speak.
posted by rhizome at 12:17 PM on June 8


Greatest Nation on Earth can't provide N95 masks to all citizens, let alone doctors, due to federal incompetence. We sure have a lot of kevlar vests and flashbangs for everyone though.
posted by benzenedream at 12:50 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


Much Of The Stimulus Aid Sent To States Hasn't Gone Where It's Needed MostNational Public Radio; Laura Sullivan; 08 June 2020

Allocation rules have distributed money unevenly between states; implementation rules heavy on bureaucracy make the money challenging to access by communities large and small. And much of that is very narrowly targeted.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:45 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Trump to restart MAGA rallies this month despite coronavirus (Politico)
The move comes at a precarious moment for Trump. National and swing state polls show him taking a major hit amid his handling of the pandemic and the social unrest that followed the killing of [George Floyd] at the hands of Minnesota police. He is trailing Joe Biden substantially in many polls.
A US recession began in February in the face of coronavirus (AP)
The unemployment rate is officially 13.3%, down from 14.7% in April. Both figures are higher than in any other downturn since World War II. A broader measure of underemployment that includes those who have given up looking and those who have been reduced to part-time status is 21.2%.
US has officially entered first recession since 2009 (Guardian)
The labor department also warned that difficulties with collecting data during the pandemic meant May’s figure should have been 3% higher – 17.7% – and that April’s figure should have been 5% higher at 19.7%.
Trump campaign rallies to start up again in next two weeks (Reuters)
The Republican party’s nominating convention has also been impacted by the pandemic, with current public health rules preventing Trump from delivering his acceptance speech before a full house of delegates and supporters in Charlotte, North Carolina as initially planned. [...] Trump is under pressure to reverse his tumbling prospects for re-election and is counting on a rebound in the U.S. economy, which was rocked by the global pandemic. [...] A number of public opinion polls show Biden with a lead over Trump nationally and in some of the battleground states where the election will be decided.
posted by katra at 6:24 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


Well, bless their hearts...

Just another reason to refuse to allow your Trump-loving relatives anywhere near your families.
posted by Windopaene at 9:42 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Coronavirus hospitalizations rise sharply in several states following Memorial Day (WaPo / SFGate reprint)
As the number of new coronavirus cases continues to increase worldwide, and more than a dozen states and Puerto Rico are recording their highest averages of new cases since the pandemic began, hospitalizations in at least nine states have been on the rise since Memorial Day.

In Texas, North and South Carolina, California, Oregon, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Arizona, there are an increasing number of patients under supervised care since the holiday weekend because of coronavirus infections. The spikes generally began in the past couple weeks and in most states are trending higher. Data from states that are now reporting some of their highest seven-day averages of new cases is disproving the notion that the country is seeing such a spike in cases solely because of the continued increase in testing, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.

Many of these states that have experienced an increase in cases have also had an increase in hospitalizations, with a handful of states also nearing bed capacity. Hospitalizations nationwide are difficult to track, with states reporting hospitalization numbers in varying ways, or not at all. Even states that do report hospitalization numbers may not have always received complete data from every hospital in the state at the time of their reports.
Coronavirus: more than a dozen US states see record high of new cases (Guardian)
The states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. The surge in cases, which public health experts have described as worrying, and had warned about repeatedly, shows that while Covid-19 is now in retreat in New York City and other major urban centres, it is sweeping across rural areas, infecting smaller towns.

[...] Donald Trump has mostly left pandemic response to individual states and has not addressed the crisis in a major way even as the death rate passed 100,000 Americans.
posted by katra at 9:12 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


Are they gone for good? The Trump supporters who regret their vote (Guardian)
New polls show Trump’s support is slipping among key groups, some showing him at a double-digit disadvantage to Democratic rival Joe Biden. [...] It’s helpful to remember, first, what the president has asked of Republicans. He has treated the party like Theseus’s ancient ship, replacing one plank at a time until it becomes unrecognizable as itself. [...] Under Trump’s leadership, Republicans have gone to war against their traditional allies, the FBI. They have cozied up to their old opponents, in Russia. [...] Trump adherents have had to boycott the reddest of American sports, professional football.

[...] “If I were a Republican operative, I’d be concerned about some of these numbers,” said Natalie Jackson, director of research at the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). [...] Much of the drop may be because those non-degreed white voters – Trump’s hard core – have suffered mightily during the coronavirus outbreak. “They are more likely to work in the service industry, and are losing jobs at a higher rate, or going to work at a significant risk to their health,” Jackson said.
How the Black Lives Matter movement went mainstream (WaPo)
Activists sense a once-in-a-generation opportunity to demand policy changes that once seemed far-fetched, including sharp cuts to police budgets in favor of social programs, and greater accountability for officers who kill residents. [...] Last week, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said that “we were wrong for not listening” to players who peacefully protested police brutality “and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”

[...] the current protests appear to have bipartisan support — 87 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of independents and 53 percent of Republicans say they support the demonstrations today, according to the Post-Schar School poll. [...] at a time of already heightened tensions because of the coronavirus pandemic, Floyd’s death unleashed a flood of energy and frustration over the direction of the country.
posted by katra at 9:55 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


States are wrestling on their own with how to expand testing, with little guidance from the Trump administration (WaPo)
The wide range of approaches across the country comes as the federal government has offered little guidance on the best way to test a broad swath of the population, leaving state public health officials to wrestle on their own with difficult questions about how to measure the spread of the virus and make decisions about reopening their economies. [...] The lack of a unified national strategy has left Americans uncertain about whether and how to be tested and is hampering reopening plans, experts warn. [...] “The case numbers we’re seeing are probably massively undercounted,” said Divya Siddarth, a researcher who helped devise a testing strategy for Harvard University’s Safra Center that emphasizes finding and suppressing the disease in areas with fewer cases. “These [lower prevalence] regions are likely to reopen, and they’ve barely done any tests.”

[...] Under a law passed earlier this year, the Trump administration is required to develop a national testing strategy. But an 81-page document submitted to Congress by the Department of Health and Human Services late last month was not released publicly and offered few detailed recommendations. [...] The question of asymptomatic testing is particularly tricky given that the CDC late last month said that its researchers now believe as many as 35 percent of people infected with the coronavirus never show symptoms of disease. [...] [a World Health Organization] official said Tuesday that scientists continue to believe that people without symptoms do in fact spread the virus — but more research is needed to understand by how much. She noted that some modeling shows as much as 41 percent of transmission may be due to asymptomatic people.
GOP expects to move its convention to Jacksonville after dispute with North Carolina over pandemic safeguards (WaPo)
The highly unusual decision to seek an alternative location for the convention’s marquee events — including speeches by President Trump and others — stems from Trump’s desire to accept his party’s nomination before an enormous crowd. [...] “I don’t want to be sitting in a place that’s 50 percent empty,” Trump told Gov. Roy Cooper (D) late last month in a phone conversation about the convention, according to two people familiar with the call, who, like others for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personal conversations and planning. [...] Republican officials have also been considering several other locations for the convention, including Orlando, Nashville, Dallas and Savannah, Ga. Jacksonville remains under an emergency order that restricts some businesses from opening. Bars, restaurants and movie theaters can operate at 50 percent capacity, according to the city’s website.
posted by katra at 11:38 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


If the RNC is held in Florida and attendees are allowed to ignore the public health orders that are in effect regarding face masks and physical distancing (they will not be enforced, just as they aren't anywhere else in the state) it's going to spark a new, even larger than the one currently in progress, wave of infections all across the country. It's inevitable.
posted by wierdo at 12:48 PM on June 10 [6 favorites]


Trump Campaign Demands CNN Apologize for Poll that Shows Biden Leading (SLCNN)
"It's a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the President, and present a false view generally of the actual support across America for the President," read the letter, signed by the Trump campaign's senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis and chief operating officer Michael Glassner.
CNN's response ends with this:
"Your letter is factually and legally baseless. It is yet another bad faith attempt by the campaign to threaten litigation to muzzle speech it does not want voters to read or hear. Your allegations and demands are rejected in their entirety."
posted by box at 1:06 PM on June 10 [12 favorites]


it's going to spark a new, even larger than the one currently in progress, wave of infections all across the country. It's inevitable.

How convenient that there is so little federal guidance, allowing states to compete for the privilege responsibility (Politico, Mar. 13, 2020).

White House goes quiet on coronavirus as outbreak spikes again across the U.S. (Politico)
It’s been more than a month since the White House halted its daily coronavirus task force briefings. Top officials like infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci have largely disappeared from national television — with Fauci making just four cable TV appearances in May after being a near fixture on Sunday shows across March and April — and are frequently restricted from testifying before Congress. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is preparing to resume his campaign rallies after a three-month hiatus, an attempted signal to voters that normalcy is returning ahead of November’s election, and that he’s all but put the pandemic behind him.
The Daily 202: Many Americans are moving on, but the coronavirus isn’t (WaPo)
“The demand for gowns outpaces current U.S. manufacturing capabilities.” That’s a direct quote from an internal FEMA slide deck, which shows the supply of surgical gowns has not meaningfully increased since photos emerged in March of nurses wearing trash bags for protection. “After months of pressure on federal officials to use wartime powers to mobilize U.S. plants, the document's slides show that domestic manufacturing of gowns and surgical masks has ticked up by a few thousand per month since the pandemic hit, falling far short of need. The United States still does not manufacture any nitrile rubber gloves,” Roll Call reports. “The slides show FEMA’s plan to ramp up supply into June and July hinges on the reusing of N95 masks and surgical gowns, increasing the risk of contamination. Those are supposed to be disposed of after one use.”
posted by katra at 1:41 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


GOP expects to move its convention to Jacksonville after dispute with North Carolina over pandemic safeguards

Never-Trump Twitter - as in people who have been to plenty of Republican conventions - are being pretty adamant that Jacksonville doesn't have nearly the infrastructure (hotels, restaurants and bars, venues to hold events and meetings besides the main convention in the stadium) to support this.

As in, if it goes to Jacksonville it's going to be a shitshow even before one takes COVID-19 into account.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:09 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]


As in, if it goes to Jacksonville it's going to be a shitshow even before one takes COVID-19 into account.


Another thing I have to wonder about is what Jacksonville will be like when the heat really kicks in. Right now, the sprint warmth and the sun are really helping in Boston. Infections and deaths are both declining sharply, and we're approaching the point where contact tracing's becoming viable.

No doubt the fall will be a dystopian nightmare, but right now things are going in the right direction. But Jacksonville, meanwhile, is starting to roast, and this convention will be at a time when everyone there is forced indoors into the air conditioning.
posted by ocschwar at 10:06 PM on June 10


Maybe Karma and the virus are starting to get their shit together.
posted by Windopaene at 11:03 PM on June 10


Trump Campaign Demands CNN Apologize for Poll that Shows Biden Leading

Even Trump's campaign is narcissist.
posted by wierdo at 4:01 AM on June 11




I think that headline is kind of misleading. This sounds like the same plan from the Washington Post article that katra linked to yesterday -- having smaller meetings in Charlotte and a bigger event at another location, so Trump still gets his big party.
posted by amarynth at 2:01 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Trump’s Tulsa campaign rally sign-up page includes coronavirus liability disclaimer (WaPo / Houston Chron reprint)
The sign-up page for tickets to President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa next week includes something that hasn’t appeared ahead of previous rallies: a disclaimer noting that attendees “voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19” and agree not to hold the campaign or venue liable should they get sick. [...] At the bottom of the registration page for tickets to the upcoming Trump campaign rally is a disclaimer notifying attendees that “by clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.” [...] Trump has long credited his raucous campaign rallies with helping to power his rise to the White House, and in an interview with ABC News last month, he suggested that a socially-distanced crowd would be less than satisfactory. “I can’t have a rally with, you know, seven seats in between everybody. And I hope we can do that soon,” he said.
'An American fiasco': US hits grim milestone of 2m Covid-19 cases (Guardian)
The anguish of life lost, of a severely wounded economy and wrenching political turmoil have taken a harrowing toll upon a fatigued American public. But further, perhaps far greater pain is yet to come, pandemic experts have warned, even as authorities wave people back into reopened shops and offices and the US president’s political rhetoric on an epochal crisis dwindles away to near silence. [...] The true figure of infection in the US is almost certainly “multiples more” than the 2m confirmed cases, said Irwin Redlener, the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, but is obscured by the lack of testing.

Problems in developing and rolling out an effective test dogged the initial US response to the pandemic and although testing has now ramped up, only about 6% of the population has received one. People with Covid-19 most likely experience either no noticeable symptoms or only minor symptoms such as a dry cough and mild fever. “We are very much seeing only the proverbial tip of the iceberg,” said Redlener. “We are hampered by the lack of sufficient testing, especially as businesses are reopening across all 50 states.”
posted by katra at 4:32 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Dow slides more than 1,800 points on fears of coronavirus resurgence, more economic pain (WaPo)
President Trump and his top economic aides fanned out quickly to try to beat back the growing concern. They assailed the Federal Reserve for its recent projection that the unemployment rate will remain elevated well into next year. The Trump administration also pushed back on the idea that it would allow the economy to shut down again in the face of rising cases. [...] Trump follows the stock market closely and views it as a measure of his presidency’s success, and he had recently dubbed Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell, whom he had derided, as the “most improved player.” Trump turned on the Fed on Thursday, though, after the stock market’s slide picked up in velocity. He tried to dispute Powell’s assertion Wednesday that the economy could take a long time to heal and need substantial government help.

[...] Trying to push back on fears that the White House might have to urge some businesses to close again, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday said there was very little chance that would ever happen. “It’s my expectation we will make medical progress between now and the end of the year,” Mnuchin told reporters. “I don’t expect we will need to shut down the economy again. Could there be some rare extreme scenario that occurs that based upon medical advice the president does [shut down the economy]? I think that’s extremely unlikely.”
Stocks suffer their worst day since March, with the Dow plunging more than 1,800 points (CNBC, Jun. 10, 2020)
Friendly monetary policy from the Federal Reserve cannot “offset a severe COVID second wave,” said Dennis DeBusschere, macro research analyst with Evercore ISI, in a note. [...] Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that states such as Arizona and Texas “never really got rid of the first wave.” He added: “It’s not a second wave.”
posted by katra at 5:33 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Republicans announce Trump convention events will move to Jacksonville (WaPo)
The Republican National Committee announced Thursday that President Trump’s renomination speech and other convention festivities will move to Jacksonville, Fla., from Charlotte, after the original site refused to go along with Trump’s demands for a crowded large-scale event amid the coronavirus pandemic. [...] Some lower-profile events will remain in Charlotte because of signed contracts requiring some activities there. The RNC voted Wednesday night to radically pare down the official business of the convention, clearing the way to move the parties and ceremonial aspects of the convention to another place.

[...] The Democrats also disrupted their convention due to the threat of the coronavirus — moving their event from July to August to provide more time for the outbreak to fade. The party expects to hold, at most, a pared back convention in Milwaukee that is at last partially virtual. Other options include satellite events in key states. Republicans went in the opposite direction, casting about for a city that would disregard current health guidance and permit thousands of people from all over the country to gather in one place. GOP officials considered Dallas, Savannah, Ga., Nashville and Phoenix — but was drawn to Jacksonville largely because the city’s political leadership aligns with Trump.
posted by katra at 6:00 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Sure, Jacksonville's mayor, Lenny Curry, used to chair the Republican Party in Florida, but it's probably more significant that the city is an hour by air from Mar-a-Lago.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:36 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


The sign-up page for tickets to President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa next week includes something that hasn’t appeared ahead of previous rallies: a disclaimer noting that attendees “voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19” and agree not to hold the campaign or venue liable should they get sick.

Wow, this seems significant? It seems like evidence that a high-priced lawyer somewhere has found a litigatable point on which social practices around COVID-19 can incur liability. I've been wondering if anything like that would be showing up on the horizon since the reopening push had begun, and you gotta hand it to President Gets Away With Stuff for opening the door.
posted by rhizome at 6:44 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


As in, if it goes to Jacksonville it's going to be a shitshow even before one takes COVID-19 into account.

That's for Republican losers who don't, won't, or can't parachute in for an hour before popping back home. Nothing in Trump's worldview prevents him from demanding a party that leaves his supporters miserable, possibly sick, and even more possibly homeless for the night as the city runs out of hotel rooms.
posted by rhizome at 6:47 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


That's for Republican losers who don't, won't, or can't parachute in for an hour before popping back home.

More like, a huge part of conventions (and why they need lots of hotel rooms and other amenities) is corporate schmoozing and behind-the-scenes political log-rolling and favor-trading. Trump is such a narcissist that he doesn't care about this aspect, all he cares about is yuge cheering crowds. But you can bet your ass the RNC cares about this A LOT, and I suspect that's the stuff that's staying in Charlotte.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:08 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Wow, this seems significant?

U.S. – COVID-19 – Liability Waivers Related to COVID-19 (JD Supra, May 19, 2020)
Liability waivers can generally be a very effective tool for avoiding personal injury lawsuits and potential liability in connection with COVID-19 damages. However, liability waivers for pandemics, and specifically for COVID-19 exposure, contraction, and/or spread, are new and have not been interpreted by the courts. Therefore, it is unknown the extent to which state courts will enforce waivers under the unprecedented circumstances presented by the pandemic. It is possible that COVID-19 waivers in some jurisdictions will be held to be against public policy.

[...] COVID-19 waivers should be clear and unambiguous. They should specifically reference “negligence.” They should not attempt to disclaim liability for recklessness or intentional acts. [...] They should also be accompanied by good company conduct to the extent possible, including, among other things, establishing and following good standards of care specific to COVID-19, following CDC guidelines, following state and county health department guidelines and orders, providing remote options for customers if possible, and offering an opportunity for questions or information by the customer. [...] Most states will not enforce waivers of liability for intentional, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct. Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 195 (1981) (“A term exempting a party from tort liability for harm caused intentionally or recklessly is unenforceable on grounds of public policy.”) [...] This means a party is not protected by a liability waiver to the extent it engaged intentionally or recklessly in conduct that caused the harm. [...] Similarly, conduct that is deemed to be grossly negligent—i.e. an extreme deviation from the ordinary standard of care or a conscious disregard for the rights and safety of others—generally will not be protected by a liability waiver. See Mero, 962 F. Supp. 2d at 100.
posted by katra at 7:18 PM on June 11 [12 favorites]


CDC urges organizers of large gatherings to “strongly encourage” use of face masks (WaPo / Stars & Stripes reprint)
The guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [...] coincides with President Trump’s plans to hit the campaign trail next week and to accept his party’s nomination in Jacksonville, Fla. later this summer. The Republican National Committee has indicated it does not want to require participants to wear masks for the speech. Jay Butler, CDC’s deputy director of infectious diseases [...] said ["]they are recommendations or even suggestions … how you can have a gathering that will keep people as safe as possible.” [...] Asked whether social distancing measures would be in place for the Republican convention, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said in a television interview that his city is “on the full road to reopening.”

[...] Officials said the guidance released Friday is intended to help people stay as safe as possible as the country heads into the summer months and Americans seek to reconnect with family and friends. Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult to stay six feet apart and where attendees travel from outside the local area pose the highest risk for infection, the guidance says. [...] On large gatherings, the guidance says event planners should consider several strategies, from broadcasting regular announcements about steps attendees could take to reduce the virus’ spread, to limiting attendance or seating capacity to allow for social distancing, to reconfiguring parking lots to limit congregation points. It also suggests limiting attendance to people who live in the area and working with local officials to identify how to separate people with covid-like symptoms, or those who have tested positive for the virus but do not have symptoms.
posted by katra at 12:53 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Downplaying virus risk, Trump gets back to business as usual (AP)
[...] Trump has taken to talking about the pandemic in the past tense — an “invisible enemy” conquered — rather than one still ravaging a nation [...] Campaign officials chose the location knowing Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt would raise no objections. Stitt’s most recent reopening phase places no limits on the size of group gatherings. The campaign hopes the location will all but guarantee a large crowd, since Oklahoma is one of the most Republican states in the nation and Trump has never held a rally there as president. [...] Trump is also planning events in Arizona and Florida — states where cases are on the upswing. In Arizona, hospitals have been told to prepare for the worst as hospitalizations have surged.
Days before Trump rally in Tulsa, city’s Whirlpool plant closes for COVID-19 outbreak (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Tulsa County now has its highest seven-day average of coronavirus cases since the outbreak began in March, according to the health department.
The Trump administration has all but given up fighting the pandemic (Paul Waldman, WaPo Opinion)
Like a vampire deprived of blood, his hunger for the adulation of the crowd has become too overwhelming to resist, so next week he’ll be holding his first rally since the pandemic began. The assembled faithful will prove their devotion to the president by not wearing masks, just as they do at the White House and at his campaign headquarters. [...] Facing hesitation from North Carolina (Charlotte was the original site) over the idea of stuffing 20,000 people into an arena where they can breathe in each other’s droplets, Republicans found willing officials in Jacksonville, Fla., so Trump will go there to accept his nomination. “We’re going to have a packed arena,” said Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel.
posted by katra at 1:35 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


Well, about 1 in 1000 healthy-seeming people are currently infected (about 0.5% of the population is infected at any given time, and maybe a quarter of that is asymptomatic). So that's around 20 infected people in such an arena. Seems not unreasonable that maybe 100 new infections would be created (R0 is high in those environments), and therefore at least one new death.* I'm sure that's far, far less than the price Trump would be willing to pay to have those events.

[* Actually more when you project out to secondary and tertiary infections, but in any case Trump would probably be ok with 99% death rates if it means his accolades continue.]
posted by chortly at 6:19 PM on June 12


chortly, it's unclear to me where you found such precise data when "the true figure of infection in the US is almost certainly “multiples more” than the 2m confirmed cases, [according to] Irwin Redlener, the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, but is obscured by the lack of testing", and as noted recently in STAT News, "“With a respiratory virus that’s often asymptomatic, you know that whatever number of cases you think you have is not the number you really have; it’s only the tip of the iceberg,” [Amesh Adalja of Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, an expert on emerging infectious disease and pandemic preparedness] said." If you have sources, please share them.
posted by katra at 6:40 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


It certainly is an interesting life choice to do activities that will most likely kill off at least some of your potential voters.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:48 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


If you have sources, please share them.

Sure. Fivethirtyeight collects a lot of models in one place, and of those, one of my favorites is covid19-projections.com, which although a smaller project than many of the university models catalogued at 538, has done a pretty good job over the last month getting per-state predictions right. Their current model-estimated infection rate is around 0.5%, which matches what I've seen elsewhere, though I can't recall where else I've seen that number recently -- either other models such as those at 538, or papers I've seen. These sorts of predictive models I think are fairly good for estimating things like true, unobserved total and current infection rates, since getting those parameters right is what allows them to correctly predict observables like measured infections and death rates forward in time.

The 25% asymptomatic number has been cited in a number of papers recently, though of course it could be anywhere between 10% and 50%. The R0 estimate for two hours in a stadium, however, was totally made up by me. Trevor Bedford in this thread predicted maybe 1 new infection per infected per day during the protests, and I assumed that a stadium would be worse than that, though 5x may be too much. And now that I look at it, I see that Bedford also cites a prevalence of 0.5% based on covid19-projections.com, so I've made a classic error of vaguely assuming at least two independent sources for 0.5% when it may actually have been one! Though Bedford is mistaken to just use the 0.5% for his predictions, since presumably most of those who are actually symptomatic are staying at home, and thus it would be closer to a quarter of that wandering around.
posted by chortly at 7:50 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


The plan to hold Republican National Convention in a Florida in August is very worrisome. While I certainly want Trump defeated, some delegates are almost certainly going to get sick and some could die. While I dislike that people support Trump, I don’t wish harm on them.

It also will put residents of Florida, particularly Jacksonville, and the families of delegates at risk. Considering that the rate of new cases in Florida is noticeably increasing right now, the situation at the end of August could be very serious indeed.
posted by haiku warrior at 8:04 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Trevor Bedford @trvrb "(Keep in mind that my numbers above represent a best guess in the absence of real data. They could be easily be off.)"

Fired Florida scientist goes rogue, publishes her own COVID-19 data with grimmer outlook than the state's (The Week)
Rebekah Jones claims that she was removed from her post over her refusal to "manipulate" data, and her new website shares "far more COVID-19 information than she said the state allowed her to report as an employee, including statistics contradicting Florida's official coronavirus numbers and the push to reopen the state," The Palm Beach Post reports. "We weren't allowed to really draw attention to deaths, which is why I added hospitalizations and deaths, which use something we buried in a PDF but never showed on our dashboard," Jones told the Post. "So people can bring the humanity aspect of this to the forefront." [...] "On Friday, Jones' website counted 75,897 people with coronavirus infections in Florida," reports The Washington Post, "while the state site tallied 70,971." Additionally, Jones' website claims the Health Department has tested about 30 percent fewer people than the 1.3 million it claims to have screened. "If Florida is indeed misreporting how many people have been tested, it makes the health situation in Florida look better than it is," The Palm Beach Post notes.
Republicans and Trump want a Jacksonville convention party. Some locals are worried about the area’s health. (WaPo)
Public safety experts, business leaders and local officials expressed anxiety Friday that the decision to move most of the Republican presidential convention to Jacksonville, Fla., will needlessly endanger the health of participants and state residents already grappling with a record high number of new coronavirus cases. [...] The RNC will not insist on social distancing inside the arena in Jacksonville, according to a Republican official with knowledge of the convention planning who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss deliberations. Masks will be offered but not required, the official said, and it will be “up to the person if they want to wear them.” Temperature checks will be done before guests enter the arena, hand sanitizer will be available, and the space will be regularly “fogged” with a solution to kill viruses, the official said. There are no current plans for attendees to be tested for the coronavirus, which RNC officials had said they would do in North Carolina. The RNC plans conflict with current Trump administration guidelines, including a directive issued by federal health officials Friday urging organizers of large gatherings that involve shouting, chanting or singing to “strongly encourage” attendees use cloth face coverings to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
posted by katra at 8:22 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


and chortly, thank you for sharing your sources. When I think about risk assessment, I tend to focus on behaviors and actions, including those identified by Dr. Bedford, e.g. shouting, tear gas, pepper spray and closely packed jails, and I would add 'kettling' to that list as well. Protests that take place outside, with a lot of people in masks and encouragement to engage in social distancing seem very different in terms of risk when compared to indoor events where people may not be in masks and not encouraged to engage in social distancing, such as jails, a kettled protest, or a convention event in the midst of a Florida summer. I am sometimes concerned about the potential for models to provide a false sense of security, because according to 538, they are only "trying to tell us [...] the range of possibilities given the facts on the ground," and in this instance, the facts that are developing for the Jacksonville convention and the Tulsa rally seem quite concerning because they appear to be contrary to what we know about risks of transmission and CDC guidelines.
posted by katra at 9:21 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Late breaking news: Trump reschedules Tulsa rally 'out of respect' for Juneteenth (Karl de Vries; CNN;13 June 2020)
"We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th -- a big deal," Trump tweeted. "Unfortunately, however, this would fall on the Juneteenth Holiday. Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this Holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents. I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th, in order to honor their requests."
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:28 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Who wants to bet that Trump will lead the whole stadium In a chant of LOCK HER UP, LOCK HER UP for at least 5 minutes? Are any of the media going to be crazy enough to get in his press cage and have people yelling and spitting on them?

If a superpreading event does not happen at the convention I will be very surprised. Trump seems to be doing everything humanly possible to guarantee transmission except for a kissing booth.
posted by benzenedream at 9:30 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


On the other hand: Oklahoma sees largest single-day increase of coronavirus cases a week ahead of Trump rally • Joseph Guzman; The Hill; 12 June 2020 •
The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced Friday 222 new positive cases were confirmed over 24 hours, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 7,848.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:32 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I think 100 new cases at the rally part of the Republican National Convention is a rosy estimate. Chanting is more like singing than talking, and that one pre-symptomatic chorus member in Washington managed to pass the virus along to way more than five other people in less crowded circumstances (they were trying to keep distance between chorus members) for certainly no longer a duration of event than the convention will be. Other conference spread cases from earlier in the pandemic would maybe be a better comparison for determining the transmission rate than an outdoor demonstration with relatively high mask usage.
posted by eviemath at 10:07 PM on June 12 [6 favorites]


The problem is selection bias -- for every famous super-spreader case there are probably dozens of cases where people were in similar circumstances but there was much less infection. It's very hard to calculate risks for specific circumstances with so little data on the non-events, so epidemiologists tend to fall back on the averages. And in addition to the parameter uncertainties, it's also high variance as well: if 20 people were infected in a group of 20,000 shouting people in a stadium, I wouldn't be surprised at anywhere from 0 to 500 infections afterwards. On the one hand, shouting is bad; on the other hand, fewer than 1 in 20 may have the characteristics necessary to be a super-spreader, plus stadiums have a pretty a high volume of air per person, which makes it more like outdoors even when it's indoors. It's really hard to guess at this point.
posted by chortly at 10:48 PM on June 12


Trump seems to be doing everything humanly possible to guarantee transmission except for a kissing booth.

There will be a lot of sex work at the convention so while not officially sanctioned The Cheeto has that covered too.
posted by Mitheral at 10:54 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


> It certainly is an interesting life choice to do activities that will most likely kill off at least some of your potential voters.

It makes more sense if you view it from the standpoint of a addict who will go to any length to get their fix, up to and including hurting other people.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:43 AM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Summer setback: Cities put brakes on reopening as virus spikes again (Politico, Jun. 12, 2020)
Trying to project a return to normalcy, Trump this week announced plans to hold his first campaign rally in months at a large indoor arena in Tulsa, Okla., next Friday. Public health experts, including the CDC on Friday, have warned large gatherings in confined places pose a high risk for infection. [...] Most of Texas is moving forward with reopening amid record-breaking levels of hospitalizations, but Houston-area officials this week announced possible plans for reimposing stay-at-home orders. [...] “It feels like we’re going back to where we were several months ago,” said Umair Shah, a top public health official in Harris County, an area that includes Houston. [...] On Wednesday, Alabama saw the largest spike in Covid-19 cases, and hospitalizations have also reached a new high. “With ongoing community transmission, it is safer to be at home,” the state’s public health department said in a news release, adding that the state has seen large outbreaks in workplaces and cases linked to large gatherings during Memorial Day.

[...] Michael Mina, a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health, said debates over reopening are difficult because many states still don’t have the capacity to trace the virus. “Most places continue to fly blind,” he said. “And that handcuffs people and forces them into a position where one of their only solutions is to close down again.”
posted by katra at 9:54 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Trump’s solution for the coronavirus? Don’t talk about it (LAT, Jun. 12, 2020)
President Trump drew a few laughs and hollers of approval Thursday when he railed against “the plague coming in from China” to supporters packed into a Dallas church. But he didn’t dwell on public health concerns. The coronavirus, “or whatever you want to call it,” as he told the crowd, is now just another throw-away line in Trump’s political patter, meant to jab a foreign adversary and energize his base. Nearly six weeks after Trump stopped daily televised briefings at the White House that drew sharp criticism for his false claims and dangerous advice -- such as injecting household disinfectant to kill the virus -- he has a new tactic: ignoring the threat.
Dr Amy Acton resigns amid backlash against Ohio’s lockdown after leading coronavirus fight (Guardian, Jun. 12, 2020)
While Acton won widespread praise for her steady and detailed assessments of the pandemic, she also faced harsh and sometimes ugly pushback for her orders that contributed to the closing of businesses and kept people home for weeks. That backlash included lawsuits, a legislative effort to strip her of authority, and protests outside her suburban Columbus home that included some people carrying guns.

Some demonstrations at the statehouse featured signs bearing antisemitic messages. Acton is Jewish, and one lawmaker referenced her with an antisemitic slur. More recently, organizers of music festivals and restaurant owners sued her as the slow reopening unfolded. The tactics used against Acton were not confined to Ohio, but the universal commendations from her peers contrasted perhaps more sharply than anywhere with the vitriol. [...] “I will always believe and know that many lives were saved because of her wise advice,” [Governor Mike] DeWine said on Thursday. Democrats rushed to her defense, too, saying Republicans bullied her and turned their backs on her expert advice, and calling her departure “Ohio’s loss”.
posted by katra at 10:17 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Reprehensible behavior by some Ohioans. The lawmaker should be censured. The others should be ashamed, but I doubt they are capable of that.
posted by haiku warrior at 11:38 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Acton is Jewish, and one lawmaker referenced her with an antisemitic slur.

From an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, said 'lawmaker' racist shitbag is one Rep. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana. So why the hell didn't the Guardian name and shame, didn't want to 'take sides'?
posted by hangashore at 12:30 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


The Cincinnati Enquirer seems a little more averse to 'taking sides' in their reporting:
Rep. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana, called her "Doctor of Doom," a tyrant and a globalist, which the Anti-Defamation League of Cleveland condemned as an anti-Semitic slur.
The Guardian, by contrast, reports the antisemitic nature of the slur as a fact, so it doesn't look like the omission was necessarily related to not wanting to take sides on whether or not Acton was subject to an antisemitic slur from an Ohio lawmaker.
posted by katra at 12:59 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Not repeating the slurs but calling them for what they are is commendable. Not naming the racist anti-Semite (Rep. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana) is weak on the Guardian's part.
posted by hangashore at 1:26 PM on June 13


(And not to abuse the edit window, but HUGE thanks to katra and many others for providing such a wide range of media updates to the thread.)
posted by hangashore at 1:29 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


This Nino Vitale is a real charmer.
posted by MrBadExample at 2:53 PM on June 13


Last week, Orange County, California's chief health officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, issuer of an unpopular mask requirement order in May, abruptly resigned; Dr. Clayton Chau, initially a supporter of the order, is now the interim health officer. O.C. Sheriff Don Barnes had said he wouldn't direct his deputies to enforce the mask order, much in the same way he declined to carry out the social distancing orders around the beach closures last month. Press coverage mostly depicts Dr. Quick's resignation as a response to criticism; to be clear: there was a publicly-issued death threat, ongoing harassment, protests at her home and workplace, and:

"Some protesters unfurled a banner with a picture of Quick, who is Jewish, with a Hitler mustache and a swastika on it."

Dr. Quick briefly had a security detail, provided by the sheriff's office.

Orange County Expected To Modify Mask Order Following Resignation Of Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick (CBS, June 10, 2020)
Face masks no longer required in Orange County as more businesses like gyms get OK to reopen (ABC, June 12, 2020) Dr. Clayton Chau, the interim health officer and recently appointed Health Care Agency director, announced Thursday that while facial coverings are no longer required to be worn by the public, their use is still strongly recommended to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus as more sectors of the economy begin to resume operations. He added that the decision was not prompted by pushback from the public, but rather in an effort to be consistent with state language on masks.
--
Quick is the seventh senior health official to resign in California since the pandemic began, and health officials have been facing unprecedented pressure, criticism and threats, said Kat DeBurgh, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California. (KTLA, June 9, 2020)
--
Critics worry about access to health care, especially in a pandemic: Transgender Health Protections Reversed By Trump Administration (NPR, June 12, 2020) The Trump administration on Friday finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance. [...] The Trump rule makes changes to gender-based discrimination protections beyond Section 1557 of the ACA; it affects regulations pertaining to access to health insurance, for example, including cost-sharing, health plan marketing and benefits. The rule could also mean that those seeking an abortion could be denied care if performing the procedure violates the provider's moral or religious beliefs.
--
The rule signed yesterday goes into effect mid-August. Yesterday was also Pulse Remembrance Day, honoring the lives lost four years ago in the Orlando nightclub massacre.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:05 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


> why the hell didn't the Guardian name and shame, didn't want to 'take sides'?

The Guardian is a British paper, and I believe the libel standards there are higher. Not saying it's the only factor, but I'm not entirely sure the 'globalist' == jewish anti-Semetic slur would hold up in UK courts.
posted by pwnguin at 3:05 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


I feel like at the Federal level the pandemic messaging has been remarkably similar to Trump's 2016 campaign. Just throw all kinds of confusing and contradictory stuff out there and then let people pick and choose from a buffet of garbage what suits their purpose for justifying doing the worst possible thing.
posted by srboisvert at 3:26 PM on June 13 [13 favorites]


Federal Agencies Have Spent Millions on KN95 Masks, Often Without Knowing Who Made Them (ProPublica, June 11, 2020) Some agencies cannot say who made their masks at a time when thousands of foreign-made respirators appeared on the market, some falsely claiming approval or certification by the Food and Drug Administration. Some agencies bought the masks, known as KN95s, from companies that share a U.S. representative with another firm recently accused of fraud by the Justice Department.[...]

Tests of some imported respirator masks are finding that they often do not provide the level of protection they advertise. Evan Floyd, a professor at the University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center, has been testing the filtration capability of KN95 masks purchased by the state of Oklahoma and private businesses. Around one-third of the approximately 70 brands he has tested thus far do not meet the 95% filtration standard, Floyd said.
--
Excerpted from "Examining the Federal Government’s Actions to Protect Workers from COVID-19," Testimony before the Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, US House of Representatives, May 28, 2020, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health director's statement:

CDC recognizes that more needs to be done during this COVID-19 pandemic to ensure health and safety products entering the United States from other countries provide the protection our workers have come to expect from NIOSH-approved equipment. To ensure this level of confidence, NIOSH has developed an assessment to evaluate the filter efficiency of respirators approved under standards used in other countries that are similar to NIOSH-approved N95 respirators. [...] The international assessments have resulted in the evaluation of over 130 international respirator models in the past two months. More than 50 percent of the models tested were substandard, providing data needed to support the FDA’s EUA decisions and other Federal agency decisions to remove substandard and counterfeit products from the market, and data to support state and hospital purchasing decisions. - John Howard, M.D., J.D., Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [bolding is mine]
--
“I Can’t Speak Negatively About the President,” Says Official Charged With Stimulus Oversight (ProPublica, June 10, 2020) President Donald Trump’s purge of watchdogs is on the mind of one of the newly hired officials charged with overseeing the more than $2 trillion CARES Act.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:21 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


The chair of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee and other Democrats complained at a subcommittee hearing today that [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)] has issued only one enforcement action (a citation for a rule making violation), after receiving 5,000 Covid-19 complaints. (Forbes, June 2, 2020) “It has failed to develop the necessary tools it needs to combat this pandemic and it has failed to fully use the tools it has; instead focusing principally on issuing press releases and voluntary guidance,” asserted Workforce Chair Alma Adams of North Carolina.

OSHA Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt told the Subcommittee she is proud of the agency’s response to Covid-19. [...] She noted OSHA’s parent, the Department of Labor, is under a Trump Administration requirement to eliminate one existing rule for every new rule created.
--
If Sweatt was referring to Executive Order 13771 (as listed in the DOL's Rulemaking and Regulatory Reform section), that order requires the elimination of two existing rules: ...it is important that for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process. ("Executive Order 13771 of January 30, 2017," Federal Register, February 3, 2017)
--
Accounting for regulatory reform under Executive Order 13771 (Brookings Institution, Nov. 7, 2019); Neat interactive tool at Tracking deregulation in the Trump era (Brookings, June 11, 2020)

Trump’s corporate-first agenda has weakened worker protections needed to combat the coronavirus (Economic Policy Institute blog, April 22, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:57 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


The Alabama Department of Public Health says that the 888 new covid-19 cases reported today (June 18) is a new single-day record, topping yesterday's 859 cases, which was itself a record breaker, beating Thursday's count of 848 new cases, which was in turn also a new record at the time. In other words, each the last three days have been worse than all the days before -- both in terms of numbers of new cases and in 7-day rolling averages. Incredibly, new cases in the last two weeks account for nearly 30 percent of the state's total cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and deaths in the last two weeks account for 20 percent of total deaths (source).

Govenor Kay Ivey (R) began reopening the state near the end of May with a "Safer-At-Home" order which pretty much boils down to "do what you like, so long as you stay 6 feet away from other people."
posted by TwoToneRow at 8:24 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Watching the protests in Atlanta, there were way too many unmasked people, way too close together. And that was a week ago. The next week should continue the same trend. Too many folks seem to be believing "it's under control". Day by day, seems like, nope.
posted by Windopaene at 9:07 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Accuracy still unknown for many coronavirus tests rushed out (AP)
[...] the Food and Drug Administration used its emergency powers to OK scores of quickly devised tests, based mainly on a small number of lab studies showing they could successfully detect the virus. That’s very different from the large patient studies that can take weeks or months, which experts say are needed to provide a true sense of testing accuracy. [...] In recent weeks, preliminary findings have flagged potential problems with some COVID-19 tests, including one used daily at the White House. Faulty tests could leave many thousands of Americans with the incorrect assumption that they are virus-free, contributing to new flare-ups of the disease as communities reopen. [...] For now, most COVID-19 tests in the U.S. don’t give data on real-world performance, including how often the tests falsely clear patients of infection or falsely detect the virus. That information is lacking for all but a few of the roughly 80 commercial screening tests available, according to an Associated Press review.

The government’s emergency authorization process “requires a lower level of evidence,” the agency said. Makers need only show that a test “may be effective” instead of the usual requirement to demonstrate “safety and effectiveness.” They would have to meet that higher threshold once the U.S. government declares the emergency over. [...] Lab testing bears little resemblance to actual — sometimes imperfect — conditions at hospitals, clinics and testing sites noted Dr. Robert Kaplan of Stanford University. [...] Kaplan and others say those differences could explain why some tests are not performing as expected. [...] Requiring bigger studies of all coronavirus tests could provide valuable information, but it could also strain the FDA’s already stretched staff and resources, said Dr. Daniel Schultz, former director of the FDA’s medical device center.
posted by katra at 8:39 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Trump rally called ‘dangerous move’ in age of coronavirus (AP)
Trump’s rally will be held indoors, at a 19,000-seat arena that has canceled all other events through the end of July. Scientists believe the virus spreads far more easily in crowded enclosed spaces than it does outdoors, where circulating air has a better chance of dispersing virus particles. [...] In Tulsa, there were 71 new cases Friday and the number continued to grow over the weekend. The Tulsa Health Department already was investigating an outbreak linked to an indoor gathering of a large group of people. Citing the spike in cases, Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, said he wished the rally would postponed to a later date “when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.”

[...] Oklahoma health authorities said that anyone who attends a large public event should get tested for COVID-19 shortly afterward. Shelley Payne, director of the LaMontagne Center for Infectious Disease at the University of Texas at Austin, said the Trump rally meets every criteria for the riskiest type of event. [...] Campaign and White House officials say the protests — and the limited public health outcry they generated — gave them cover. If it was OK for tens of thousands of people to march through the streets, demanding racial justice, why can’t Trump rally his supporters, too? Of course, the protests were held outside, with many participants wearing masks. “Any large gathering, whether of protesters or ralliers, is dangerous,” [Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute] said. But infection is less likely at an outdoors moving march than at a crowded event in an enclosed space, he said, citing the air flow.
posted by katra at 11:36 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


The last few days have seen a fresh new instance of the "what is Trump's illness?" topic, which to me always seems to precede a big, shitty move on his part. Which is the chicken and which is the egg is a matter for cannabis-hazed arguments, but I'm thinking that there's a lot of hours at the White House being burned right now to come up with a face-saving reason to cancel the Tulsa convention, one that doesn't mention the massacre nor coronavirus. If he doesn't, I can't see any way that it (and he by extension) gets any positive press outside of Fox.
posted by rhizome at 2:59 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Watching the protests in Atlanta, there were way too many unmasked people, way too close together. And that was a week ago. The next week should continue the same trend. Too many folks seem to be believing "it's under control". Day by day, seems like, nope.

My friends are helping host a street medic station at our church in downtown Atlanta. They have masks to give out, but they report that most protesters are wearing masks.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:32 PM on June 14


Well that's good. Was speaking of the first few nights, when CNN got trashed, etc.

Texas is looking as terrible as you would expect, given their lax lockdown. Alabama, mentioned above, Florida, Georgia, NC, all looking bad. Least all those folks can go get a haircut, go to the gym, and attend Trump rallies...
posted by Windopaene at 5:31 PM on June 14


Alarming rise in virus cases as states roll back lockdowns (AP, June 11, 2020) Cases are rising in nearly half the states, according to an Associated Press analysis, a worrying trend that could intensify as people return to work and venture out during the summer.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:53 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


there's a lot of hours at the White House being burned right now to come up with a face-saving reason to cancel the Tulsa convention, one that doesn't mention the massacre nor coronavirus.

I look forward to that particular special moment. Or else we all play Coronavirus Chicken, I guess.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:03 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Many states are falling short on efforts to trace virus contacts (WaPo)
[...] as coronavirus cases are surging in hot spots across the country, the proven strategy’s efficacy is in doubt: Contact tracing failed to stanch the first wave of coronavirus infections, and today’s far more extensive undertaking will require 100,000 or more trained tracers to delve into strangers’ personal lives and persuade even some without symptoms to stay home. Health departments in many of the worst-affected communities are way behind in hiring and training those people. [...] Right now, though, the virus is showing signs of taking the lead again. As states have lifted restrictions on retail and large gatherings, more than a dozen are facing new heights in cases or hospitalizations, according to Washington Post data.
Pandemic, what pandemic? Trump sees mass rallies as path to re-election (Guardian)
Tara Setmayer, a former Republican communications director on Capitol Hill, said: “That’s been his strategy from the beginning. That’s how we got into this cluster fuck in the first place. He’s been wishing it away since his intelligence community has been telling him this would be a problem months ago, which is why the country wasn’t prepared, mixed messages were sent and it’s now a red or blue issue to wear a mask and do things that are just socially responsible for your health and the people around you. “That’s Donald Trump’s fault because he did not lead on this issue and was too busy running around calling it a hoax and blaming everything under the sun instead of taking responsibility for leading us through this challenge.” Setmayer, host of the Honestly Speaking with Tara Setmayer podcast, added: “It’s terribly irresponsible for the president of the United States to start having rallies where people wear it as a badge of valor not to wear a mask.”
posted by katra at 8:50 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Trump campaign manager says 300,000 tickets registered for upcoming rally (The Hill, June 12, 2020) [Campaign manager Brad Parscale, @parscale, had initially tweeted "Trump #MAGA Rally in Tulsa is hottest ticket ever! Over 200K tickets already & it’s not even political season. Looking at a 2nd event in town to get more people to be w/@realDonaldTrump" on June 12, and later 'corrected' that figure to 300K.]

Brad Parscale, @parscale, June 14, 2020. 8:37 a.m.: Just passed 800,000 tickets. Biggest data haul and rally signup of all time by 10x. Saturday is going to be amazing!

Trump Campaign Manager Says 800,000 Registered For Tickets To Tulsa Rally–But The Venue Only Seats 19,200 (Forbes, June 14, 2020) The Trump campaign has put out conflicting figures on how many tickets have been registered for their June 20 rally in Tulsa, with campaign manager Brad Parscale now claiming 800,000 people registered for tickets despite the venue seating just over 19,000. Forbes has reached out to the Trump campaign for clarification on whether Parscale is referencing ticket requests and whether they plan to distribute more than 19,000 tickets.

[FWIW, the BOK Center hasn't updated its website. Its event page lists "The Make America Great Again! Rally" on June 19, and notes June 20's "Smoke & Guns" - Cancelled.]
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Tulsa, Oklahoma Population 2020: 396,543.

Tulsa's hotel growth is twice the national average (Tulsa World, Aug 20, 2018) Four hotels are scheduled to open downtown in the coming months. [Proceeds to list these hotels with 93, 96, 115, and 117 guest rooms.] With a population of about 643,000, Oklahoma City is about 60 percent larger than Tulsa. And as of June 2018, according to [data analytics firm] STR, it had 26,514 hotel rooms to Tulsa’s 16,414.
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When PlagueFest has a smaller turnout than, say, three-quarters of a million people, current Trump frenemy social media will be credited:

Despite the BOK Center’s advertised capacity of more than 19,000, the campaign was still accepting registrations as of Friday evening. Some people are encouraging others on social media to register for tickets and then not attend so that large parts of the arena would not be full. But the tickets are not for reserved seats, and the BOK Center’s doors will open four hours before the event is to start at 8 p.m. Those in line will get seats until the arena is full. (Tulsa World, June 12, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:02 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Cool, he's going to get his own supporters rioting to see him.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:21 AM on June 15


Over-registering is also a cynical tactic to collect contact information for marketing.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:29 AM on June 15 [7 favorites]


Yeah, this is just virtue signalling by trumpies who have no intent (or even ability) to attend, and the remark about "data haul" is *obviously* about future targeted marketing. Parscale is pretty open about it.
posted by aramaic at 8:21 AM on June 15 [5 favorites]


I don't disagree but I'm still gonna hope supporters will be fighting each other to get in to see their king.
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:27 AM on June 15


This event is going to result in a lot of illness, I’m afraid. I can understand the antipathy toward Trump supporters, but remember that once these people are infected, they will be a danger to their families, friends, co-workers, and others they encounter day to day. I dread the consequences.
posted by haiku warrior at 8:34 AM on June 15 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it would be pretty amusing if they swarmed the place and the cops ran amok on their racist asses.
posted by aramaic at 8:35 AM on June 15


So the gagillion people are going to arrive early and line up to get a seat? The ones who get in will be sitting around for over FOUR hours breathing all over each other before it starts? Who designed this event? Satan?
posted by njohnson23 at 8:48 AM on June 15 [4 favorites]


I hadn't forgotten that it's a coronavirus risk, thanks. We are all aware.
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:59 AM on June 15


I see this rally as a mass extinction event. I'm not talking about coronavirus, I'm talking about a signature moment in the extinction of the Republican party.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:37 AM on June 15 [6 favorites]


Oklahoma COVID cases for the seven day period ending May 30: 458 (new, not total)
Oklahoma COVID cases for the seven day period ending June 6: 641 (new, not total)
Oklahoma COVID cases for the seven day period ending June 13: 1014 (new, not total)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:41 AM on June 15


From the Washington Post: FDA revokes emergency authorization for antimalarial drugs touted by Trump as covid-19 treatment

The FDA said it had concluded that it “is no longer reasonable to believe” that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are effective in treating the disease. “Nor is it reasonable to believe,” the agency said, "that the known and potential benefits of these products outweigh their known and potential risks.”
posted by amarynth at 10:52 AM on June 15 [5 favorites]


West Virginia sees coronavirus outbreaks in churches (Yahoo News)
Less than a month after President Trump urged churches to reopen, West Virginia has reported a significant number of coronavirus outbreaks linked to houses of worship. According to the state’s public health office, a total of five churches have seen outbreaks. [...] State health officials told Yahoo News that the infected churchgoers had themselves infected an additional 26 people, so that the total number of people who had contracted the coronavirus either directly or indirectly because of the worship services was now 79. [...] Describing the coronavirus as a “cannonball killer,” [West Virginia Gov. Jim] Justice suggested that officials at the church did not take sufficient measures to protect parishioners. “Maybe we didn’t use the level of caution there,” Justice said. “Maybe we didn’t social distance properly, or properly wear masks.” He later clarified that this was only “hearsay.”

Graystone Baptist posted a statement on Facebook on Saturday afternoon, around the same time that state health officials sent out the notice about the outbreaks in the state. “We greatly encouraged anyone who was feeling ill to remain home. Attending church was on a voluntary basis. We exemplified social distancing within the church walls,” the statement said. “We made aware and made use of hand sanitizing stations and Antibacterial sprays,” the statement continued. “We do not understand the source of the outbreak. To the best of our ability we followed the guidelines that were given to us.” [...] In his remarks on Monday, Justice said that “all of our churches should take heed.” He added that “losing lives” by neglecting to institute proper precautionary measures was “not worth it.”
Republicans insist Trump Tulsa rally won't spread coronavirus – despite local concern (Guardian, Jun. 14, 2020)
James Lankford, a Republican senator from Oklahoma, said on Sunday the rally did not need to be postponed because the increase in coronavirus cases is “a little bit of a bump”. In fact it is too early to say if the increase is small and temporary. “Our deaths continue to decline and we encourage people that are high risk not to get involved in any location, whether that be a rally or other higher-risk locations,” Lankford told ABC’s This Week. “So, high-risk folks need to be able to step back and everybody needs to be able to take responsibility for their own health.” [...] There was a new high in daily increases for Oklahoma and Tulsa county on Saturday, while the rolling average of daily increases continues to rise. [...] On Friday the Tulsa health department said the outbreak was linked to indoor gatherings.

[...] Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas and Utah all had a record number of patients enter hospital on Saturday. In South Carolina, 69% to 77% of hospital beds are occupied, depending on the region. “When you start to see increases in hospitalization,” Fauci said on Friday, “that’s a surefire situation that you’ve got to pay close attention to.”
posted by katra at 5:18 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


“losing lives” by neglecting to institute proper precautionary measures was “not worth it.”

NOOOOOOOOOOOO SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT? Jesus fucking christ (no pun intended), where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, EVERYONE, a few weeks ago.
posted by ctmf at 5:21 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


Coronavirus recommendations ignored as case numbers rise (WaPo / MSN reprint)
Two associations of local health officials released a statement warning that “public health department officials and staff have been physically threatened and politically scapegoated,” and “the vital work of public health departments is also being challenged.”

“Public health departments are facing lawsuits over their authority to close businesses, schools, and places of worship in order to protect the community at large — the very action that is credited with saving hundreds of thousands of American lives from this virus,” the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Big Cities Health Coalition said. [...] Some political leaders, from President Trump on down, are refusing to issue a consistent public health message about wearing masks and maintaining social distance, said Vin Gupta, an assistant professor at the same University of Washington institute. Gupta called Trump’s planned rally this month in Tulsa “medical malpractice. “It’s as though they’re actively trying to oppose their public health professionals,” he said.
Rise in infections shows need for vigilance as world reopens (AP)
White House officials have played down the severity of the virus surge in places like Arizona and Texas. On Monday, the nation’s second-most-populated state set a one-day high in hospitalizations of coronavirus patients for the seventh time in eight days. Arizona’s hospitals were at about 82% capacity.
posted by katra at 5:45 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


Republicans insist Trump Tulsa rally won't spread coronavirus – despite local concern (Guardian, Jun. 14, 2020)

See, what we needed the whole time is for someone to convince us that we shouldn't worry about the virus in a confident enough tone. That's how you get it to stay away: "That's my [lung]! I don't know you!"
posted by rhizome at 7:22 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


Don't worry folks, there's a simple solution to this virus thing: stop testing.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:53 PM on June 15


Graystone Baptist posted a statement on Facebook on Saturday afternoon.... “We made aware and made use of... Antibacterial sprays” ...
Siiiiiigh. This is gonna get worse before it gets better, isn't it?
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 8:54 AM on June 16 [8 favorites]


Well, Lysol and Clorox sprays are still flying off the shelves here, despite them being not much better than any soap-containing cleaning spray for neutralizing SARS-CoV-2.
posted by benzenedream at 9:58 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Apologies for the length, but this looks bad:

This weekend, we learned that the Centers for Disease Control had told its staff not to talk to reporters from the Voice of America, the government-funded news agency, because the independent news coverage there of the coronavirus was not positive enough to the president, who complained that VOA was run by “communists.”

Two years ago, Trump appointed to the head of the agency Michael Pack, an ally of his former chief strategist Steve Bannon. That position requires Senate approval, though, which was held up for two years because Pack’s film agency is under investigation by the D.C. attorney general’s office for financial improprieties. Under pressure from Trump, the Senate confirmed Pack earlier this month, despite his legal troubles. Today the two top editors at VOA, Director Amanda Bennett and Deputy Director Sandy Sugawara resigned.
- Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, June 15, 2020

CDC Media Guidance Blacklists VOA Interview Requests (VOA News, June 14, 2020) A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention email released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) tells communications staff to ignore media requests from Voice of America, according to documents published by the Knight First Amendment Institute. [...] It then links to a story published in the White House daily newsletter that accused the U.S.-funded broadcaster of promoting foreign propaganda.

[That story: Amid a Pandemic, Voice of America Spends Your Money to Promote Foreign Propaganda, WhiteHouse.gov, April 10, 2020, filed under Foreign Policy; "This story first appeared in 1600 Daily, the White House’s evening newsletter."]

Top Voice of America editors resign amid strife with White House, arrival of new Trump-appointed director (Washington Post, June 15, 2020)

VOA Director Steps Aside Amid White House Criticism (VOA News, June 15, 2020) Voice of America’s leader for four years, Amanda Bennett, resigned Monday after defending the U.S. taxpayer-funded news organization’s journalistic independence against attacks from the White House that VOA spread Chinese propaganda.

The CDC's Employee Speech Policies (Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University) This reading room contains all of the documents produced to date in Knight Institute v. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit the Knight Institute filed on April 2, 2020, seeking records relating to restrictions on the ability of CDC employees to speak with members of the press and the public.

Our FOIA lawsuit was prompted by widespread reporting that the CDC has been sidelined in the government’s public response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the Office of the Vice President has been controlling CDC communications and limiting the ability of CDC scientists to speak to the public or to the press. On June 9, 2020, the CDC released its first set of documents in response to our request.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:45 AM on June 16 [15 favorites]


Nice to see that formally documented. Supposedly the WHO and other agencies were all aghast at the lack of any leadership/communication from CDC in the early stages of the pandemic. Trump/Pence no doubt said America First and screw everybody else.
posted by benzenedream at 11:29 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


the president, who complained that VOA was run by “communists.”

Wow, that is ... not the usual political bias charge levied against VOA.
posted by eviemath at 11:34 AM on June 16 [18 favorites]


We greatly encouraged anyone who was feeling ill to remain home.

Yeah, those asymptomatic carriers are going to get you every time.
posted by mikelieman at 1:24 PM on June 16 [6 favorites]


Lawsuit to enforce safety measures at Trump rally denied (KJRH) (complaint, via KOCO5)
Attorneys Clark Brewster and Paul DeMuro filed the lawsuit claiming the rally will endanger the public's health. They argued that coronavirus cases in the city of Tulsa and state of Oklahoma increased since June 1. Despite the increase, the Trump rally is bringing thousand of people into an indoor arena. "All credible, qualified medical experts agree that this type of mass-gathering indoor event creates the greatest possible risk of community-wide viral transmission," said the law firm. The lawsuit was to enforce the use of face masks and practice social distancing for all guests and employees, abiding by the restrictions that the State of Oklahoma has put in place.
WaPo: "[...] Trump’s supporters eagerly awaited Saturday night’s gathering, already lining up four days ahead of time.
Tulsa’s Republican mayor, G.T. Bynum, sought to navigate a middle path. He said in a statement on Tuesday that he does not plan to use his emergency powers to block Trump’s visit, despite his apprehensions about the indoor event. His spokesperson added that as a “non-partisan mayor,” Bynum would not be attending Trump’s rally. [...] But Bynum said that Tulsa’s hospital capacity remained robust. He added that the Trump campaign had agreed to Oklahoma’s guidelines for businesses reopening after May 1, including providing masks and hand sanitizer to everyone who attends, as well as checking everyone’s temperature.
DeSantis defies critics as coronavirus spreads in Florida (Politico)
Notably for public health advocates, DeSantis didn’t wear a face mask before, during or after his news conference Friday. He didn’t stress the need for social distancing and personal protective equipment. [...] DeSantis is “shooting himself in the foot,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, a Florida International University pandemic expert who is advising the Republican mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez. DeSantis is “so eager to open up the economy because we’re in a recession now. It is a horrible situation. But he thinks in downplaying the threat of the virus that’s going to help the economy,” she said. “It’s going to backfire because if people fail to understand how dangerous this particular virus is, they’re going to act in irresponsible ways.” That, in turn, could increase infection and lead to devastating effects on public health as well as the economy, she said.
posted by katra at 6:59 PM on June 16 [4 favorites]


Funny that they got negative quotes about DeSantis from the person advising Gimenez, Miami-Dade County's term-limited Republican mayor. Gimenez is spinning bullshit no less furiously than DeSantis, to the point of literally saying that there is nothing to be concerned about, the increase is entirely an artifact of increased testing.

Until a couple of days ago, he was hanging his hat on the steady hospitalization statistic, and when that became impossible recently he shifted to claiming that the modest rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations are fine because the bump is so small. Never mind that hospitalization is a lagging indicator, not the leading indicator he claims it to be.

Despite clearly not meeting the criteria he himself set for the stages of reopening that have been allowed so far, the reopening has continued apace. Only in the last day or two has he seen any pushback whatsoever from city officials who have the power to set their own, more restrictive, rules.

I'd find it less odd if Dr. Marty hadn't been introduced as advising Mayor Gimenez. It seems almost misleading since it gives the impression that the advice being given is having any bearing on Gimenez's response to the crisis.
posted by wierdo at 1:00 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Over-registering is also a cynical tactic to collect contact information for marketing.

Which is hilarious because they are being brigaded by Korean boy band fans. Of course this will ripple through the entire republican party's campaign scam machine and the grifters will have little incentive to properly clean up their dataset because they can brag about their numbers when they sell access. So a lot of Republicans will be spending money this fall to persuade people from all over the world to donate or vote for them.
posted by srboisvert at 6:35 AM on June 17 [6 favorites]


260 out of 500 Miami airport employees test positive for Corona.
posted by Mitheral at 8:37 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


260 out of 500 Miami airport employees test positive for Corona.

Now they're saying that DeSantis misspoke, and it's 260 cases traced to Miami airport employees.
posted by Etrigan at 8:44 AM on June 17


Orlando airport, not Miami.
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Phil Brown in the statement said the Florida Department of Health did conduct 500 tests at Orlando International Airport over three days last week. Just two of the tests in that batch came back positive, he said — 0.4%.

Where did the 260 figure come from?

According to Brown, from mid-March through June 6, a total of 132 airport workers — including airline and rental car company employees, TSA workers and airport authority staff — tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus. In addition to that, 128 people tested positive who don’t work at the airport, but who were linked through contact tracing to the 132 airport workers with confirmed COVID-19 infections.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:52 AM on June 17 [4 favorites]


Trump administration releases new PPP loan forgiveness forms (The Hill, June 17, 2020) The SBA also released a new version of the full loan-forgiveness application that takes into account legislation President Trump signed earlier this month to ease certain requirements for borrowers. The five-page full form posted on Treasury's website contains similar material to the initial 11-page version, but does not include the instruction pages in the initial version.

Under the PPP, small businesses can receive loans that are forgiven if they use the proceeds for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utility costs and they maintain employee and compensation levels. The program was created under the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief law that Trump signed in late March. Trump subsequently signed legislation in April to increase funding for the program, and signed legislation in early June that gives businesses more flexibility under the program.

Members of Congress took small-business loans — and the full extent is unknown (Politico, June 16, 2020) Some GOP lawmakers who benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program also opposed legislation requiring lending transparency.

How — and When — Can the Coronavirus Vaccine Become a Reality? (ProPublica, June 17, 2020) To give you a sense of what a blistering pace we are attempting to move at, consider that under normal circumstances, it typically takes 10 to 15 years to develop a vaccine. Creating the HPV vaccine was a 15-year journey from key research findings in 1991 until the vaccine was approved, initially for the prevention of cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers, in 2006. Merck’s Ebola vaccine, one of the fastest ever to be approved, still took about four years from start to finish [...]

The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed has said it “aims to have substantial quantities of a safe and effective vaccine available for Americans by January 2021.”

Trump pushing officials to speed up already-ambitious coronavirus vaccine timeline (Washington Post, June 17, 2020) Scientists fear regulators could come under pressure to approve a vaccine before it is fully vetted for safety and effectiveness [...] Some go so far as to raise concerns about an “October surprise” in which the administration issues an emergency authorization for a vaccine right before the Nov. 3 election, regardless of whether the research justifies it.

Critics also cite the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency-use authorization of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as a covid-19 treatment in March as the president heavily promoted it — and despite lack of evidence. That authorization was revoked Monday after studies showed no clear benefit from the antimalarial drugs. In a memo explaining the reversal, the FDA said it had received almost 400 reports of adverse events about the drugs, including 109 serious cardiac episodes.

Coronavirus has come to Trump country (analysis, Washington Post, June 17, 2020) Texas, Florida and Arizona all saw highs in the number of new daily cases this week. Since June 1, the seven-day average of new cases in Texas is up more than 50 percent. In Arizona and Florida, it is more than double at around 150 percent. North Carolina’s rate of new cases has increased, too, but at the same rate testing in the state has expanded. In Oklahoma, where Trump is holding a rally Saturday, the number of new cases each day has climbed 150 percent since June 1, while the number of tests being conducted has dropped.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:00 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


538 has a nice page that provides a comparison of several different coronavirus models, including summaries of their methodologies.

The models that try to take into account the effects of reopening, either through empirical data or assumptions, are showing a return to exponential growth in the near to medium future. For example, the IHME model, which is now based on cell phone mobility data rather than simple curve-fitting, predicts a return to exponential growth in the August-September timeframe.
posted by jedicus at 1:26 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


I think the South is going to beat IHME's model. A half dozen states' 7 day average case rate graphs are starting to look like stunt ramps.
posted by srboisvert at 6:32 PM on June 17


Yeah, the models really start diverging in September. My go-to has been covid19-projections.com (Youyang Gu) because if you set the 538 models to the May 4 predictions (eg) it looks to my eye like it was the least wrong over the last month or so. That model projects things mostly steady or declining in the fall, but others like IHME have a central projection or at least a large tail of projected scenarios where we see a second wave starting in September. Somebody is going to be wrong. Though it may mean the truth will be somewhere in the middle: a surge that could be large, but because at least some states that are reopening are sensitive to death, it may end up better than IHME projects because some states will start getting more restrictive again as the wave grows.
posted by chortly at 8:17 PM on June 17


Fauci says US 'still in the first wave' as six states see record Covid-19 cases (Guardian)
Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus taskforce, expressed worry about new hotspots for infections in major US states, while also advising that “personally, I would not” attend Donald Trump’s first political rally in months, due on Saturday, in Oklahoma, where vast crowds are expected despite rising Covid-19 cases. Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas reported record increases in coronavirus cases on Tuesday, while Nevada recorded its highest ever number of single-day cases. [...] “We are seeing infections to a greater degree than they had previously seen in certain states, including states in the south-west and in the south,” Fauci told the Daily Beast. “I don’t like to talk about a second wave right now, because we haven’t gotten out of our first wave.”

[...] Vice-President Mike Pence has claimed the US has “slowed the spread”, and both Pence and the president have claimed the worrying increase in coronavirus cases is due to more testing. Fauci said this was not true. “When you look at the number of hospitalizations, and you see some of the states say, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m having more hospitalizations than I had before,’ that cannot be due to increase in testing. That has to be due to increase in real cases,” he told the Globe. Hospitalizations are continuing to rise in the states reporting infection increases.
Why Trump’s favorite excuse for shrugging at the coronavirus pandemic falls short (WaPo Analysis, Jun. 16, 2020)
Of the 33 states for which there is hospitalization data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, 13 have seen increases in the number of new hospitalizations per day since May 25. That includes five of the seven states where testing has dropped as new cases have increased.
posted by katra at 8:52 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, 30% of Americans surveyed missed rent/mortgage payments for June. States are allowing evictions to begin.

Nearly 40% !! of lower-income Americans lost work as the coronavirus pandemic began its assault on the U.S. economy, according to the Federal Reserve. The extra unemployment benefits expire in July.

The Fed is shoveling money into the stock market to prop it up. They amount of money the Fed has put in corporate coffers since the start of the pandemic (almost 3 TRILLION dollars) would be enough to give every single person alive in this country, babies to great-grandmothers, about $60,000 each. Which, I dunno about you, but sure seems like it would do more to keep the economy rolling than giving Boeing executives raises while they lay off workers.

The Republicans are refusing to do anything to help what is going to be a tidal wave of dispossessed people. Now either it's because they really don't care what happens outside the secured gates of their burbclaves, or because if you suddenly have a vast amount of people homeless, with no fixed address, then you can sure stop a whole lot of people from voting.

People are treating this financial tsunami the same way they're treating covid. If you don't talk about it, don't look at it, don't think about it, it doesn't exist. Except it does, and they're both deadly.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:06 PM on June 17 [25 favorites]


They amount of money the Fed has put in corporate coffers since the start of the pandemic (almost 3 TRILLION dollars) would be enough to give every single person alive in this country, babies to great-grandmothers, about $60,000 each.

More like $9,000. Which is still a lot, especially for those with lower incomes.
posted by jedicus at 5:35 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


They amount of money the Fed has put in corporate coffers since the start of the pandemic (almost 3 TRILLION dollars) would be enough to give every single person alive in this country, babies to great-grandmothers, about $60,000 each.

The money the Fed is spending is for temporary loans which are expected to be paid back. It is not just free money, although it is at below market interest rates.

Spending for individuals has to come from Congress, not the Fed. The CARES Act was a good start, the most generous emergency welfare package in history with a lot of money directed at the unemployed or furloughed. But that money is going to run out soon and unemployment is still high. Another round of money is needed for unemployment and also for grants to state governments. States are running billion dollar deficits and thousands of government employees are being laid off.
posted by JackFlash at 7:27 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Supreme Court blocks Trump’s bid to end DACA, a win for undocumented ‘Dreamers’ (WaPo / MSN reprint)
Immigration advocates were euphoric over the court’s actions. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), who led a coalition of 20 states and the District of Columbia in bringing the fight, said ending DACA “would have been cruel to the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who call America home, and it would have been bad for our nation’s health.” [...] More than 90 percent of DACA recipients are employed and 45 percent are in school, according to one government study. Advocates recently told the Supreme Court that nearly 30,000 work in the health care industry, and their work was necessary to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
posted by katra at 10:32 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Spending for individuals has to come from Congress, not the Fed.

Fed Seems to Skirt the Law to Buy Corporate Bonds - "After all, the central bank already had criteria in place for buying individual corporate bonds, separate and distinct from exchange-traded funds. And yet, the Fed this week unveiled an entirely new class of eligible assets, called 'Eligible Broad Market Index Bonds'. Why? Within an hour, I speculated that this was little more than a workaround for issuers being forced to certify that they're in compliance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. It turns out that's more or less the extent of it."

The CARES Act was a good start, the most generous emergency welfare package in history with a lot of money directed at the unemployed or furloughed.

Did elite David Boies law firm get a pandemic bailout? It's a secret - "Critics say the government is violating public records laws and handing out billions of dollars in taxpayer money with no public accountability."

re: evictions...
-Homeowners and renters catch a break: Evictions and foreclosures are on pause for another two months
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will extend the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions on single-family homes until August 31. The protections were originally set to expire on June 30. In addition, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development will extend Federal Housing Administration loan forgiveness for homeowners with FHA-insured single-family mortgages until the end of August. The program was put in place in March with a 60-day moratorium and was later extended until the end of June.
-Landlords Are Suing To Overturn State Eviction Moratoriums. State Legislators Want To Extend and Expand Them.
posted by kliuless at 11:56 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


The Trump Administration Paid Millions for Test Tubes — and Got Unusable Mini Soda Bottles (Pro Publica, June 18, 2020) Since May, the Trump administration has paid a fledgling Texas company $7.3 million for test tubes needed in tracking the spread of the coronavirus nationwide. But, instead of the standard vials, Fillakit LLC has supplied plastic tubes made for bottling soda, which state health officials say are unusable.[...] Even if the bottles were the right size, experts say, the company’s process likely contaminated the tubes and could yield false test results. Fillakit employees, some not wearing masks, gathered the miniature soda bottles with snow shovels and dumped them into plastic bins before squirting saline into them, all in the open air, according to former employees and ProPublica’s observation of the company’s operations.[...]

Fillakit has supplied a total of more than 3 million tubes, which FEMA then approved and sent to all 50 states. If the company fulfills its contractual obligation to provide 4 million tubes, it will receive a total of $10.16 million. Officials in New York, New Jersey, Texas and New Mexico confirmed they can’t use the Fillakit tubes.
--
Lots of detail on the first-time Federal contractor, super-sketch company owner at the link.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:22 PM on June 18 [14 favorites]


It's all but official: Trump is trying to make a COVID-19 vaccine his October surprise • Joan McCarter; Daily Kos; June 17, 2020
Impeached President Donald Trump is pushing health officials to speed up the timeline for a coronavirus vaccine (WaPo) in order to have it ready this fall. Administration sources [say] that his "goal is to instill confidence among voters that the virus can be tamed and the economy fully reopened under Trump’s stewardship." In other words, he wants to look like a president solving a crisis ahead of the election.

[...] another big issue here: The majority of people who have seen Trump's response to the crisis thus far would not trust a rushed vaccine (Daily Kos). Which means that even if a vaccine is rushed out, it will probably do little to help Trump's prospects in November.
Classic Trump - screw everyone to advance himself.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:53 PM on June 18 [5 favorites]


Senior Trump official warns people at 'high risk' for coronavirus not to attend rally (Guardian)
The Trump campaign’s public event invitation offers no guidance on those at greater risk [...] On Tuesday, about 70 Trump supporters were already camped outside the arena, some arriving as early as six days before the event. Many, including 81 year-old Larry Applegate, were over the age of 65. Applegate argued without evidence that coronavirus death statistics, currently at 116,862 in the US, had been inflated and that he was not worried about entering the arena, even without a face mask. “I’m not worried today, whatsoever,” he said.

Lotter said the rally was a “great example of democracy” and that attendees, who will be supplied with face masks and have their temperatures checked, would be given the “information … the resources to be able to protect themselves”. “I trust the American people to be smart enough to not have to have the government tell them what to do with every step of their lives,” Lotter said.
Town shuts off gym’s water, power for defying coronavirus rules in Massachusetts (Charlotte Observer)
A Massachusetts gym that reopened in defiance of state coronavirus regulations had its water and power cut Wednesday night under a court order, The Boston Globe reports. David Blondin, owner of Prime Fitness & Nutrition in Oxford, already faces $7,000 in unpaid fines for refusing to close under a statewide stay-home order, WBZ reported. Blondin, who says the gym has been operating at 50% of capacity since mid-May, argues that his constitutional rights are being violated, WCVB reported. “People have the freedom to work out,” Blondin said, WBZ reported. “People can do as they please. They can exercise. They can do as they want.” [...] On Tuesday, Worcester Superior Court Judge Susan Sullivan ruled that Oxford can change locks, board up doors and windows, cut off utilities and take any other steps needed to close the gym, WBZ reported.
posted by katra at 9:40 PM on June 18 [10 favorites]


> In the country as a whole, outbreaks in conservative rural counties are rising, but not on a scale that would close the gap in the virus’s impact on red and blue counties.

> what is it going to be like in two weeks in those other states who are just going to let this thing spread as freely as their most irresponsible citizens want?

Coronavirus has come to Trump country: "For the past few weeks, most of the new coronavirus cases have been recorded in red states, not blue ones. In part, that's thanks to record cases in Texas, Arizona and Florida."
posted by kliuless at 5:05 AM on June 19 [6 favorites]


Texas has reported record-high hospitalizations for six days in a row: "A friend at a major Texas health system shared last night that 5 of their 7 hospitals are above 90% ICU capacity, two of those are 100% full"
posted by kliuless at 5:11 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]


> It's all but official: Trump is trying to make a COVID-19 vaccine his October surprise

Fauci will oppose any rush to announce COVID-19 vaccine before 'scientifically sound': "Fauci says he is prepared to oppose any effort by the Trump administration to announce a vaccine breakthrough by November if the science isn't there. 'Take that to the bank.'"
posted by kliuless at 5:23 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Impeached President Donald Trump is pushing health officials to speed up the timeline for a coronavirus vaccine (WaPo) in order to have it ready this fall. Administration sources [say] that his "goal is to instill confidence among voters that the virus can be tamed and the economy fully reopened under Trump’s stewardship." In other words, he wants to look like a president solving a crisis ahead of the election.

He thinks that he can just yell at scientists to cut corners and go faster as if they were building contractors on one of his shitty hotels.
posted by octothorpe at 7:55 AM on June 19 [12 favorites]


Coronavirus has widened America's vast racial wealth gap, study finds (Guardian)
The report is called: White Supremacy as Pre-existing Condition: Eight Solutions to Ensure Economic Recovery Reduces the Racial Wealth Divide [by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)]. [...] Darrick Hamilton, one of the report’s authors and the executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, said: “Today’s racial wealth divide is an economic archeological marker, the result of the multigenerational history of white supremacy running from the African slave trade, Jim Crow, separate and unequal, predatory lending, and other forms of systematic discrimination in wealth-building opportunities.” [...] Hamilton said the racial wealth gap had been worsened by government efforts to address the 2008 financial crisis – bailing out banks and propping up the stock market – and that the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic needed to address systemic issues with racial inequality.

“Surging billionaire wealth contrasting with a worsening racial wealth divide undercuts the solidarity and unity required to overcome the health and economic challenges of this pandemic,” he wrote. The report sets out a number of short- and long-term solutions to address the wealth gap, starting with better collection of data on the economic health and racial consequences of the pandemic, and a “racial wealth audit” of each stimulus bill and economic recovery proposal. Longer term, the report says the gap must be addressed by expanding healthcare access for all Americans. In New York City, the center of the pandemic, Covid-19 is killing black and Latino people at twice the rate of white patients. One factor is the higher proportion of uninsured people in communities of color.
How coronavirus has created a new split in American life (Guardian)
“People are seeing this as a personal decision, and it’s based on our own personal risk tolerance,” said Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and a professor of public health and pediatrics at Columbia University. “That’s not public health, because in public health, your risk should not be my risk.” [...] Although a definitive cause-and-effect can’t be scientifically proven just yet, the timing of states reopening, then experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases suggests the two are intertwined, said Eve Wittenberg, a senior research scientist for the Center for Health Decision Science at the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health. [...] “I think there’s a big component of politics, and the public health response has become politicized, which means anything from wearing a mask to any of these restrictions now have this political layer on it,” said Wittenberg. [...] “The reality is that Covid-19 is now in big cities, suburbs, small cities,” said Marcia Ory, a professor at the Texas A&M School of Public Health.
posted by katra at 8:32 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Fauci says he is prepared to oppose any effort by the Trump administration to announce

He'd be the first one able to resist the dignity-destroying field that surrounds Trump. Good luck with that.
posted by ctmf at 9:45 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Tulsa's expecting crowds of 100K+, and has declared a civil emergency and restricted access to downtown, with an extended curfew which began last night. (Mayor Bynum's Executive Order, with map, June 18, 2020). Police posted information about the curfew about 45 minutes before it took effect. (Tulsa World, June 19, 2020).

Tulsa Health Department director 'wishes' Trump rally would be postponed as local COVID cases surge (Tulsa World, June 13, 2020).

Oklahoma coronavirus cases surge, hospitalizations rise ahead of Trump's Tulsa rally (USA Today, June 19, 2020) Oklahoma cases of COVID-19 rose by 450 on Thursday, blowing past the record 259 daily cases reported on Wednesday, as the surge of infections continued ahead of a massive rally for President Donald Trump and demonstrations set for this weekend in Tulsa. The figures were released not long after Gov. Kevin Stitt participated at a roundtable at the White House and told Trump that Oklahoma was “one of the first states that has safely and measurably reopened.”

“Oklahoma is ready for your visit,” the governor said. “It’s going to be safe and everyone’s really really excited.”

Record rise in COVID-19 cases prompts postponement of Black Lives Matter event in Oklahoma City (Tulsa World, June 19, 2020). As previously reported, the inaugural event — one of at least a half-dozen events around Oklahoma planned to celebrate Black culture this weekend, since today is Juneteenth — was to showcase Black artists, vendors, filmmakers and performers. Although the festivities would be primarily outdoors, Plaza District Executive Director Selena Skorman said as many as 10,000 people were expected to attend due to the high level of interest in the new event. Such a crowd would make social distancing virtually impossible in the Plaza District.
--
["There are 97.65 miles from Tulsa to Oklahoma City in southwest direction and 106 miles (170.59 kilometers) by car, following the I-44 W route. Tulsa and Oklahoma City are 1 hour 34 mins far apart, if you drive non-stop."]
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:13 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


In countries keeping the coronavirus at bay, experts watch U.S. case numbers with alarm (WaPo / MSN reprint)
“It really does feel like the U.S. has given up,” said Siouxsie Wiles, an infectious-diseases specialist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand [...] “I can’t imagine what it must be like having to go to work knowing it’s unsafe,” Wiles said of the U.S.-wide economic reopening. “It’s hard to see how this ends. There are just going to be more and more people infected, and more and more deaths. It’s heartbreaking.” [...] Meanwhile, President Trump maintains that the United States will not shut down a second time, although a surge in cases has convinced governors in some states, including Arizona, to walk back their opposition to mandatory face coverings in public.

[...] Some European health experts fear that the rising U.S. caseloads are rooted in a White House response that has at times deviated from the conclusions of leading scientists. “Many scientists appeared to have reached an adequate assessment of the situation early on [in the United States], but this didn’t translate into a political action plan,” said Thomas Gerlinger, a professor of health sciences at the University of Bielefeld in Germany. [...] Whereas the U.S. response to the crisis has at times appeared disconnected from American scientists’ publicly available findings, U.S. researchers’ conclusions informed the actions of foreign governments. [...] [Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard University] said he presented some of his research to a White House group in the early stages of the U.S. outbreak but said the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic did not reflect his conclusions. “I think they have cherry-picked models that at each point looked the most rosy, and fundamentally not engaged with the magnitude of the problem,” he said.
Oklahoma officials ask Trump for plan to keep rally safe amid pandemic (Guardian)
The BOK Center said in a statement it had asked the Trump campaign for “a written plan detailing the steps the event will institute for health and safety, including those related to social distancing”. The center said it made the request in light of “recent reports of increases in coronavirus cases” from the Tulsa health department, and “the state of Oklahoma’s encouragement for event organizers to follow CDC guidelines”. [...] The center’s statement came after local attorneys filed a lawsuit seeking to require all attendees to wear masks, a case they lost in local courts. Masks have become a subject of partisan rancor across the US, with Trump and his supporters publicly eschewing them and Republican governors undermining health officials’ calls for “universal” masking. In just one recent instance, in Nebraska, Republican governor Pete Ricketts told local courthouses they could not require attendees to wear masks. If they did, towns could be cut out of $100m in federal Covid-19 response aid.
posted by katra at 10:26 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Top members of coronavirus task force advised against Trump's Tulsa rally (NBC News)
But President Donald Trump and his campaign advisers are proceeding with the event, which is expected to draw tens of thousands inside and outside the venue who will neither be socially distant nor required to wear face coverings. They claim attendees “assume a personal risk” and “that is part of life.” [...] This week, Pence penned an editorial saying “we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy.” To drive home that message, the vice president spent time outside of Washington this week mingling with scores of people at events that were tailored to look and feel as much like pre-pandemic life as the places he visited allow. Pence walked through a crowded restaurant where patrons weren’t wearing masks, including an elderly veteran whom the vice president posed side-by-side with for a photograph. Any signs of an ongoing pandemic were minimized. [...] Almost no one in the audience wore a mask. Pence did interviews with local reporters who weren’t wearing masks. His staff and security detail didn’t wear masks. And the guides on his tour of a manufacturing plant weren’t socially distanced or wearing masks. “Every single day, we’re one day closer to putting the coronavirus in the past,” Pence said in his speech. [...] Next week, the president is headlining another large-scale event with thousands of students in a Phoenix megachurch. The state has seen a steady uptick in cases this week, with back-to-back records for single-day increases Thursday and Friday, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Trump turns virus conversation into ‘US vs. THEM’ debate (AP)
Trump went so far as to complain in a Wall Street Journal interview this week that some Americans wore facial coverings not as a preventive measure but as a way to signal disapproval of him.
posted by katra at 1:44 PM on June 19 [5 favorites]


So it's not just "I won't myself, but you go ahead," now he's told his followers if they do he'll take it as a personal affront. That's what he's saying. I'll know you're signaling disapproval of me.

Why he wants everyone in the world to get COVID-19, nobody knows, but clearly he does and every action he's taken since January is consistent with that.
posted by ctmf at 2:36 PM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Oklahoma Supreme Court rejects legal bid to stop Trump's Tulsa rally over coronavirus concerns (WaPo / MSN reprint)
The court said that the state's June 1 reopening plan allowed business owners to use discretion over social distancing measures, and they were not mandatory as the plaintiffs had asserted. The ruling came as thousands of Trump fans and protesters poured into this city in advance of President Trump's first campaign rally in months. Authorities had imposed a curfew Thursday night over fears of potential violence that was to last through the rally, but on Friday afternoon, Trump tweeted that the curfew would not be in place. [...] A spokesperson for the mayor's office confirmed Friday afternoon that the curfew was rescinded.

[...] About four blocks from the BOK arena, dozens of people clustered in soggy lawn chairs and huddled under umbrellas and tents in the morning rain after being moved from their spots in front of the arena Thursday night. Rick Frazier, 64, said he arrived in Tulsa from Ohio Tuesday around noon with a friend who had been to 36 Trump rallies. Frazier said he was fifth in line for what he said will be his 21st Trump rally. [...] Frazier said he got to know people from Massachusetts, Indiana and Michigan who were in line with him.

[...] White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Friday no one in the administration has any reservations about going forward with the rally during the pandemic. [...] McEnany said she will be at the rally and will not wear a mask, which she said is a personal choice.
Is the Coronavirus Death Tally Inflated? Here’s Why Experts Say No (NYT)
“Everything is so politically charged, people are looking for excuses to question the data,” said Robert Anderson, who runs the mortality statistics branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. [...] The president and conservative news media have accused states of inflating their counts, even as public health experts have said that undercounting is more likely. Limited awareness and testing during the initial months of the pandemic mean an unknown number of early Covid-19 deaths will never be counted.
posted by katra at 2:39 PM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Won’t Trump himself be at great risk at this rally, even if he is on a stage relatively far away from the crowd? After forcing his staff to wear masks and he tested, thiis seems like self-destructive behavior. Has his need for adulation overcome his germophobia and sense of self-preservation?

Will his Secret Service detail be allowed to wear masks?

This truly looks a catastrophe in the making.
posted by haiku warrior at 2:50 PM on June 19 [6 favorites]


Does Trump Want to Fight for a Second Term? His Self-Sabotage Worries Aides (Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, NYT, Jun. 17, 2020)
Rather than focus on plans and goals for another four years in office, Mr. Trump has been wallowing in self-pity about news coverage of him since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, people who have spoken with him said. He has told advisers that no matter what he does, he cannot get “good” stories from the press, which has often been his primary interest. [...] And while he has shown enthusiasm for resuming his trademark rallies, he has not seemed excited about the possibility of governing for four more years, people close to him said. He has set up villains to blame if he loses — China’s mishandling of the coronavirus, the shutdown of the economy, and Democrats who he has told advisers will “steal” the election from him.

Aides acknowledged that he has always had difficulty controlling his behavior, which goes far beyond the bounds of traditional presidential conduct. His penchant for using racist language — such as the tweet about shooting looters — is something that has long defined and undercut his presidency. But his recent behavior and remarks, and his inability to move beyond them, strike advisers as different from his usual aberrations.
posted by katra at 4:43 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]


This seems like a variation on the "increasingly isolated" theme. I would love to hope Trump is going to hang himself with anxious narcissism, and I think Donald Trump would probably lose if the election were held today, but I'm not sure, and 4 1/2 months is a long time in Trump years and even longer in 2020 Trump years, and I'm not super clear on why I should have faith that NYT reporters are no really for sure this time actually right.
posted by wildblueyonder at 5:19 PM on June 19 [15 favorites]


nor has he seemed excited about "governing" at any previous time. breaking stuff, bullying people and issuing edicts, yes. but never governing.
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:37 PM on June 19 [12 favorites]


I was riffing on haiku warrior's comment, because they are not the only one who has noticed "self-destructive" behavior, except this time, we're also talking about public health in the context of a pandemic. Maybe that's why it seems different.
posted by katra at 5:50 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


It'll be interesting come July 4, because by then we should see the effects of this first rally, which will be followed up by more rallies in the states that are seeing a rapid increase in cases. The campaign, of course, will brag a few days after each rally how no one got sick, so by the time people are being hospitalized and dying, they can claim it was not their fault.

I doubt many people will choose to wear masks at the first rally, and the feeling that all is well will probably snowball into the Arizona, Texas, Florida rallies because no ill effects will be seen by then. I only hope that journalists and public health workers will explicitly tie the inevitable increase in deaths and hospitalizations directly to the Trump campaign.
posted by perhapses at 8:14 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]


I hope there are lots of hydroxychloroquine dealers at the rally. Dear Leader says the virus is a myth but also says take my magic potion to repel it.
posted by benzenedream at 8:29 PM on June 19


The potential for it to snowball via the rallies is a point made quite convincingly in "How superspreading is fueling the pandemic — and how we can stop it". [vox.com]

In particular the idea that ~10 to 20% of people are responsible for 80% of infections, and that superspreading events can create new superspreaders as pretty much by definition the newly infected will be people acting in an unsafe manner in an unsafe environment and likely to do so again.

Although the first real WTF moment of that article is
Each person who registered has signed a waiver to say they will not sue Trump if they get sick with Covid-19.
posted by Buntix at 11:38 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]


I've put something together on my blog regarding the problem with antibody testing as reported by six US states.

Summary: These six states, since the beginning of the pandemic, have performed a total of 323,756 antibody tests with a positivity rate of 4.48 to 4.52%. These states have performed a total of 1,668,297 PCR tests with a positivity rate of 7.88%. They have a combined population of 28.3 million.

I go into discussing possible explanations for this.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:01 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


via Caroline Orr { @RVAwonk }:
#BREAKING: Per @CNN, six members of the Trump campaign advance team staff who were working on preparing for the Tulsa rally have tested positive for COVID-19. The campaign says those staffers won't be present at the rally, but the campaign is still not enforcing mask rules.
posted by Buntix at 11:29 AM on June 20 [9 favorites]


Expanding on my previous note:

Oklahoma COVID cases for the seven day period ending May 30: 458 (new, not total)
Oklahoma COVID cases for the seven day period ending June 6: 641 (new, not total)
Oklahoma COVID cases for the seven day period ending June 13: 1014 (new, not total)
Oklahoma COVID cases for the seven day period ending June 20: 1964 (new, not total)

Today, Oklahoma passed the 10,000 case mark.

A one-week rise can be a blip. What's going on in Oklahoma is seriously bad news.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:25 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Well, looks like it's starting.

Yakima County hospitals exceed capacity; report critical staffing shortages (Yakima Herald)*
Virginia Mason Memorial and other Yakima County hospitals have exceeded staffing capacity, prompting Yakima Health District officials to urge residents to forgo gatherings during the Father’s Day weekend to minimize spread of COVID-19.

Virginia Mason Memorial had no intensive care or non-intensive care beds available Thursday night, despite transferring more than 17 patients out of the county, the Yakima Health District said in a news release Friday. As a result, multiple patients were forced to wait for hospital bed space overnight, and several were still waiting for a bed Friday afternoon.
* Strange anti-ad-block or paywall that tells me I've already read my 5 articles, even though I'm quite sure I've never read the Yakima Herald in my life
posted by ctmf at 12:32 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


I was so sure that the city of Tulsa or the venue or someone would shut this rally down, and Trump could throw his tantrum about it, and we'd just move on, but no. It's really happening. It's like the president is Jim Jones, but with worse politics.
posted by theodolite at 12:32 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


The city government of Tulsa OK is made of MAGA cultists. The county government is also made of MAGA cultists. The US Rep from that district, Jim Inhofe, is infamous as a radical right wing MAGA cultist.

The entire reason Trump (or rather his handlers) picked Tulsa is because there was never any chance that the rally would be shut down for any reason at all, and that the local police could be relied on to beat the shit out of any protesters.

This is the home of Oral Roberts University. This is a place where Trump got 65% of the vote in 2016.

Nothing was ever going to stop the rally.
posted by sotonohito at 1:03 PM on June 20 [11 favorites]


Why he wants everyone in the world to get COVID-19, nobody knows

I realise this is something Michael Moore is saying, but... if he can induce a big enough emergency, he may be thinking he can postpone the election. And then never get round to calling the next one. It's insane, totally contemptuous of his followers and their safety, callous and cruel. Therefore I find the idea completely plausible
posted by Grangousier at 1:44 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


The city government of Tulsa OK is made of MAGA cultists. The county government is also made of MAGA cultists. The US Rep from that district, Jim Inhofe, is infamous as a radical right wing MAGA cultist.

I don't have firsthand knowledge of the current city/county governments. The governor, who lived in Tulsa before he got elected, appears to be dumb as a rock. The US representative is a guy named Kevin Hern, who no doubt is a Trumpist goober; he replaced Jim Bridenstine, the NASA guy. District 1 includes Tulsa County plus suburbs and other areas to the north and east. In 2018, Hern won 60-40.

Jim Inhofe has been in the Senate for 25 years now.

The entire reason Trump (or rather his handlers) picked Tulsa is because there was never any chance that the rally would be shut down for any reason at all, and that the local police could be relied on to beat the shit out of any protesters.


We'll see, I guess.

This is the home of Oral Roberts University.

The second-biggest college in Tulsa (third if you count TCC). Enrollment 4000 in a city of 400,000 and a county of 600,000. Nobody in Oklahoma cares about anything but OU and OSU, which dwarf any of the Tulsa schools in enrollment. I am required here to mock Oral Roberts by saying "have a blessed day" though.

This is a place where Trump got 65% of the vote in 2016.

Statewide, yes. 58% in Tulsa County, third-lowest proportion in the state.

Nothing was ever going to stop the rally.

Yep. Even if not in Tulsa, they'd have had it in OKC or in Texas or Florida or somewhere.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:51 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Florida’s Covid-19 surge shows the state's reopening plan is not working (Guardian)
This week, however, it became clear that the Republican governor’s garden of roses is wilting fast in the face of a resurgent virus. A period that began with Florida’s daily record of new cases below 1,700 saw eight consecutive days above that figure, five of them topping 2,000 and both Thursday and Friday seeing the highest numbers of all: 3,207 and 3,822 cases, respectively, eclipsing the previous recorded high by more than 35%. The staggering figures have caused experts at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania to conclude that Florida has “all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission”.

[...] “Governor DeSantis has lost control of Florida’s Covid-19 response,” said Nikki Fried, the agricultural commissioner and only Democrat elected to statewide office, who has previously complained at being shut out of DeSantis’s recovery taskforce. “His policies are simply not working and he’s recklessly reopening Florida despite the data screaming for caution. Refusing to acknowledge the alarming patterns in cases, hospitalizations and positivity is not only arrogant but will cost lives, public health and our economy,” Fried added. [...] DeSantis, meanwhile, contends that Florida is on the right track, arguing that the rising figures can be attributed to increased testing, particularly among younger residents, and concentrated pockets of outbreaks among agricultural workers, prison inmates and even a 52% positivity rate among airport workers – an unsubstantiated claim debunked by the Orlando Sentinel. He refuses to consider calls to slow or reverse the pace of Florida’s reopening. “We’re not shutting down. We’re going to go forward. We’re not rolling back. You have to have society function,” DeSantis said on Tuesday.
posted by katra at 2:35 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Tulsa braces for Trump's 'wild evening' amid unrest and coronavirus fears (Guardian)
On Saturday, armed militia members and bikers gathered outside the venue. William Dunbar, 33 and from Tulsa, carried an assault rifle and a handgun. He told the Guardian he was there to “prevent any agitators looking to do property damage and cause bodily harm in our city” and was co-ordinating with around 50 other “armed patriots”. He also said he was there to protect “protesters and rally-goers alike”.

[...] At the BOK Center on Saturday, Trump lawyer Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general, told the Guardian: “We hope that people are going to stay socially distanced, are going to wear a mask, [use] hand sanitiser and be respectful of each other. “It’s not a legal requirement, it’s people’s own free choice. But we hope everyone will be peaceful and happy and have a great rally and social distance”
With no massive overflow audience, campaign blames protesters (WaPo live blog)
The area outside the arena had emptied out by early evening, and plans for Trump to address the audience outside were quickly scrapped. The campaign blamed protesters; there were only scattered efforts to block entrances, which were quickly resolved by police.

[...] The campaign was so intent on involving those who could not make it into the 19,000-seat arena that preparations were made for the president to address attendees outside as well. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told reporters earlier Saturday that the outdoor remarks would be a chance for supporters fearful about an indoor gathering to take part nonetheless. But an overflow audience failed to materialize, as the area outside the arena emptied out and plans for an outdoor address were scrapped. Inside the stadium, the program began with a swath of seats still unfilled. The upper bowl of the stadium was almost entirely empty with less than an hour before Trump was set to appear. The lower bowl was mostly full but with sections of empty seats. The floor of the arena was about two-thirds full.
posted by katra at 4:31 PM on June 20 [11 favorites]


CNN has pictures. It looks like a late-season crowd for a tanking NBA team.

On the plus side, less risk of catching the ‘Rona.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:28 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


The campaign blamed protesters;

The word on Twitter is that a whole bunch of teens (Gen Z) and k-pop fans bought A LOT of tickets without of course ever having the slightest intentions of going. Word spread via Tiktok, Twitter, and other social media.

thread from Steve Schmidt.

Trump's genius digital media campaign manager got played by a bunch of kids.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:37 PM on June 20 [7 favorites]


Less protesters than the time Elton John came to town and fewer seats filled than a mid-season Shock game. What a huge win.

Tulsa is not nearly the MAGAhat theme park some think it is, but I'm still surprised that they couldn't fill the arena with people from the suburbs, OKC, and Benton County, Arkansas. It would be interesting to know whether the poor attendance is because people are fucking tired of Trump or because the past week has gotten people to take the pandemic more seriously.
posted by wierdo at 6:25 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


That is hilarious!
posted by haiku warrior at 6:28 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


It would be interesting if this event caused the media to decide there's more money in pandering to BLM than to MAGA and completely flip on him.
posted by ctmf at 6:35 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


President Trump called Covid-19 testing a "double-edged sword" and said he told officials in his administration to “slow the testing down” because an increase in testing leads to an increase in coronavirus cases.

Trump admits he actively obstructed coronavirus testing because the numbers made him look bad. Moderate Republican Susan Collins are you listening? The President conspired to put the country at risk for political purposes. People died. Are you ready for impeachment yet?
posted by JackFlash at 7:05 PM on June 20 [12 favorites]


Isn't this (say 5-15 thousand) a pretty typical attendance for a Trump campaign rally? I mean the Cheeto always goes on and on lying about impossibly large crowds while often not filling venues with 10-20K capacities.
posted by Mitheral at 7:59 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Live updates: Trump says he wanted coronavirus testing slowed in grievance-filled speech to unfilled arena (WaPo live blog)
Trump also downplayed the severity of the virus, fixating on the number of names used for it — and offering [...] a racially offensive term.
Guardian: Outrage as Trump says he asked for coronavirus testing to be slowed down
The White House has claimed Trump was joking. But his remarks are in line with a series of previous remarks he’s made expressing doubts about testing and its uncanny ability to increase the number of recorded cases. [...]

Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) Who among us doesn’t tell jokes about denying testing to people who might be infected with a lethal virus? https://t.co/vqOPAmI2fP June 21, 2020
posted by katra at 8:40 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


I really think a good portion of Trumps base is more rabid then ever, and maybe in normal circumstances could fill that stadium without too much trouble, especially after a long pause. My hope is that taking the pandemic seriously has become more in vogue. However, I think it was straight up suppression. There were an enormous amount of fake tickets issued (defined here as issued to people who had no intention of attending, possibly with far more tickets per person then could attend in any case). I'm not sure the organizers recognized the *scale* of the the ticket fraud, but I think they saw it as a win anyway, a way to brag up the numbers, if those idiot libtards want to give us bigger numbers, lets have em! However .... if you are a normie MAGA, and you are seeing 1 mil tickets, plus you might get the 'rona (it is inconvenient at minimum, even if you are a 'it's just the flu' person) plus god knows what security situation is happening because antifa will be there raising hell, you just stay the fuck home. And so they did. In that light, talking up the 1 million was incredibly dumb. It is like talking up your polling advantage just prior to the polls.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:14 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Moderate Republican Susan Collins are you listening?

Why even ask, its long past the time to do something about it for republicans of conscience. There have been many occasions, all they've been is "very concerned".

No you were not, if you were really concerned you'd have done something.

edit: in retrospect, I think you were trying to make the same point, sorry I posted too quickly.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 9:15 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


DeSantis pivots on Covid-19 surge, says testing doesn't account for spike (politico)
Even with more evidence of community spread, DeSantis refrained from requiring that people to wear masks in public. The state has endorsed the mask-use guidelines set by the CDC in May but DeSantis argues a broad mandate would be impossible to enforce.

“If you say you're going to be prosecuted you know or wear a mask, they’ll say 'geez, they were telling me not to wear one in March now they're saying to do it,'” DeSantis said. "We're going to trust people to make good decisions.”
No, it wouldn't be impossible to enforce, Ron. That's the "past practice" fallacy most new managers fall for. Here's what you do: you say, ok, that was the rules, but conditions have changed. This is the new rules. Communications strategy to get the word out through all your channels saying the same thing, consistently, without contradicting each other or being wishy-washy. You say you will enforce it. Then, you do that. People adjust to the new normal. (Some bitch, but do it anyway.)

It's only "impossible to enforce" when the leader won't lead.
posted by ctmf at 9:39 PM on June 20 [12 favorites]


Florida and South Carolina break new-cases records for the third straight day. (NYT live blog)
And on Friday, the United States reported more than 30,000 new infections, its highest total since May 1, with cases rising in 19 states across the South, West and Midwest. Florida reported 4,049 new cases on Saturday, breaking Friday’s record (3,822) and Thursday’s record (3,207). [...] South Carolina broke its record with 1,155 new cases; Nevada had 452 and Missouri had 375. [...] At least 100 cases were linked on Friday to employees and customers of bars in the Tigerland nightlife district near the Louisiana State University campus.

In South Carolina, cases among people who are 21 to 30 have grown 413 percent since April 4. And in Mississippi, state officials said several cases had been tied to fraternity rush parties in Oxford, home to the University of Mississippi. More than 80 percent of new cases in Oxford involved people 18 to 24. “Early information suggests that they’re violating the law in the number of people who are at these parties,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s state health officer, who noted that indoor gatherings without social distancing were supposed to be limited to 20 people. In South Carolina, officials warned that some young people had become seriously ill from the virus and that those without serious symptoms could still infect family members and friends.
Several U.S. states and cities will begin allowing indoor dining at restaurants. (NYT live blog)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers restaurants that allow indoor dining to be one of the riskier environments among those establishments that have opened so far. As scientists’ understanding of the virus has evolved, crowded indoor spaces with poor airflow have been identified as one of the likeliest situations in which the virus can spread, particularly as people laugh, talk and take off their masks to eat.
posted by katra at 9:54 PM on June 20


Ticket jamming could possibly explain the size of the stadium crowd but it doesn't explain why the planned outdoor speech was so sparsely attended that it was cancelled.
posted by rdr at 11:29 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


The ticket jamming was more "prank" than anything - it made the campaign look foolish because of all their boasting about numbers - but actual attendance was first come first served. Tens of thousands of people could have shown up if they'd wanted to. . .
posted by soundguy99 at 5:52 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


But if you actually believed there were hundreds of thousands of people coming, you wouldn't bother showing up, as you had no hope of getting in. Made worse, of course, by a pandemic and predictions of antifa showing up, further discouraging you.
posted by Bovine Love at 6:26 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Ticket jamming and data corruption are perfectly cromulent responses to a "flood the zone with shit" campaign.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:57 AM on June 21 [17 favorites]


If the ticket jamming did indeed have an effect, think of how many possible covid-19 victims they saved.
posted by valkane at 7:29 AM on June 21 [13 favorites]


They also had an outdoor stage set up, until it became clear they weren't going to get anywhere close to filling the arena, several hours before it actually started. There were also hardly any protesters, contrary to the excuses made by Trump's toadies. There were literally more people on the street complaining about Elton John spreading the gay lifestyle when he did a show at the BOk Center than were there to protest Trump.

Tulsa itself may not be as MAGAhat as is often assumed, but there should have been more than enough within a 1-2 hour drive that it would have been entirely possible for them to make it there in plenty of time after it became clear the crowds they presumed were going to be there weren't showing up.

It only takes an hour and a half or less to get there from most of OKC, all of northeast Oklahoma east of Stillwater, and even as far as Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, and Fayetteville in Arkansas. Fort Smith, Arkansas, which is as MAGAhat as it gets is only two hours away.

The point being that people could have shown up if they cared to and we're willing to take the COVID risk (which I would expect the under 40s to be OK with given the way they talk about it only being dangerous to old and/or already sick people), they just didn't.

The ticket shenanigans set the stage for sure, but they didn't stop anybody who really cared from showing up. Turns out, not many people actually care to see Trump. Bill Maher has drawn bigger crowds in Tulsa. (So has basically every comedian or musical act you've heard of and a few you haven't)

By the way, if you're thinking a two hour drive sounds far, it isn't. Not to people living in that part of the country, anyway. That isn't a trip you have to plan or worry about getting a hotel room for if you live around there.
posted by wierdo at 9:00 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Yah, I'll give you that 2 hours is totally day-trip material. Did people know attendance crashed? Trump was still tweeting out it'll be jammed on the way in. I'd imagine it was known locally though, for sure local radio etc would be talking about the logistics and how many were there, etc.

So, if it is discouragement of the base, lets hope they stay that discouraged come election day. Most of them sure as hell aren't going to vote Biden, but staying home will do.

I think I'm too beaten down to believe in that the base is too disinterested to show up; there seemed to be nothing he could that would achieve that in the last few years. I sure hope you're right.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:29 AM on June 21


I agree that it remains to be seen if this is the early stages of the repudiation of Bush ala 2007 or whether there is some other factor. It could very well be the drastic rise in COVID-19 cases in the region over the past week, or mild embarrassment at publicly supporting Trump, neither of which will have a large effect come November.

That said, it took less than a year for Bush to go from saint to disaster. It took a while longer for the reality on the ground to be reflected online even in those days when the brigading was not as organized as it is now. It gives me some hope, at least. Not confidence, just hope.
posted by wierdo at 10:41 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


It's only "impossible to enforce" when the leader won't lead.

Now I've slept on it and this is still pissing me off. DeSantis is right that in the long run, you can't make people do something they don't want to do. (In the short term, you absolutely can.) But here's the thing. Good leadership doesn't make people do things they don't want to do. Good leadership makes them want to do the thing, or at least begrudgingly accept the thing. So don't cry "impossible" to us, Ron. The problem is you don't want to do the right thing, because it might make Trump mad.
posted by ctmf at 12:12 PM on June 21 [13 favorites]


Good leadership makes them want to do the thing

It's not just doing the right thing. It's actively, positively promoting the wrong thing -- implying that people wearing masks are cowards and literally saying that mask wearing is a sign of disapproval of Trump.
posted by JackFlash at 12:30 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Did the tickets cost money? It’s hard to believe ticket jammers would spend actually buy tickets.
posted by haiku warrior at 1:23 PM on June 21


I read an article a while back that attempted to make a connection between lack of mask wearing and a sense of entitlement.

Here's the original study about entitlement and following rules from a few years back that was referenced.
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:23 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]


I read an article a while back that attempted to make a connection between lack of mask wearing and a sense of entitlement.

White Supremacy as Pre-existing Condition: Eight Solutions to Ensure Economic Recovery Reduces the Racial Wealth Divide
White Supremacy is the pre-existing condition that consistently brings disproportionate harm to communities of color, particularly Blacks. White Supremacy, a political-economy based on the disenfranchisement of people of color and concentrating wealth among the white population, is the foundation and on-going pre-existing condition that brings disproportionate harm to communities of color in crisis after crisis from Katrina to COVID. The existing inequalities of income, wealth, and opportunity continue to shape the impact and response to our national health crisis.
posted by katra at 2:27 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Brad Parscale faces Trump 'fury' after Tulsa comeback rally flops (Guardian)
The Tulsa fire department said 6,200 people attended. The Trump campaign claimed 12,000. The arena holds 19,000. [...] In a statement, Parscale blamed the low attendance on “a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of Covid and protesters”, which he said “coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally”.
Did TikTok teens, K-Pop fans punk Trump’s comeback rally? (AP)
For more than a week before Donald Trump’s first campaign rally in three months on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, these tech-savvy groups opposing the president mobilized to reserve tickets for an event they had no intention of attending. While it’s unlikely they were responsible for the low turnout, their antics may have inflated the campaign’s expectations for attendance numbers that led to Saturday’s disappointing show.
The Trailer: What empty seats in Tulsa tell us about Trump 2020 (Dave Weigel, WaPo Analysis)
Is a good idea for candidates to hold large political events and rallies right now? (Fox News, 1,343 registered voters)

Good idea: 23%
Bad idea: 59%
Depends on social distancing: 16%

Before the president and a Republican entourage arrived in Tulsa, Fox's pollsters found deep skepticism toward the idea of pandemic-era rallies, especially ones that wouldn't require the same sort of rules now observed by most partly-open venues. Just two subgroups of voters favor the idea, and only with a plurality: 45 percent of voters who approve of the president and 42 percent of Republicans.
posted by katra at 4:29 PM on June 21 [5 favorites]


"Kellyanne (Conway), (Paul) Manafort and Corey (Lewandowski) never had rally size issues," the adviser said of Trump's former campaign managers.
posted by perhapses at 6:20 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

New FPP: A full moon American fever dream

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
posted by katra at 1:21 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


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