A full moon American fever dream
June 22, 2020 1:18 PM   Subscribe

CNN reports the coronavirus pandemic does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon in the United States, according Michael Osterholm, head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and 23 states are reporting a rise in new cases compared to the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. NBC News reports more than 120,000 people have now died from coronavirus in the US, and over 2.2 million people have been infected across the country, while CNBC reports hospitalizations due to Covid-19 were growing in 14 states as of Sunday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Trump, who hosted a racist campaign-style rally in Oklahoma over the weekend, refuses to wear a mask in public, regularly contradicts health officials, and mischaracterizes the scientific landscape.

Previously: The coronavirus invades Trump country, Strange defeat, The Wørd: Truthiness In Action

Want to chat? The politics room of MeFi Chat and the Unofficial PoliticsFilter Slack are available. • Thanks to Tom Petty for helping create this post.
posted by katra (630 comments total) 87 users marked this as a favorite
 
We tried nothing, and it hasn't worked!
posted by tobascodagama at 1:23 PM on June 22 [167 favorites]


My mother retired from 30 years in a state public health department a couple of years ago. When I realized a few days ago that she was consistently expressing more anger on phone calls than I was for possibly the first time in my life, I was very glad I didn't follow her professional path.

My employer is sending people back to office desk jobs this week, for no reason anyone can articulate. Supposedly I'm going to be back by August, but my lead is sure signaling he thinks that's as ludicrous as I do.

It's going to be a dark winter.
posted by PMdixon at 1:28 PM on June 22 [30 favorites]


Amid threats and political pushback, public health officials are leaving their posts (WaPo / MSN reprint)
Public health workers, already underfunded and understaffed, are confronting waves of protest at their homes and offices in addition to pressure from politicians who favor a faster reopening. [...] Although shutdown measures are broadly popular, a vocal minority opposes them vociferously. There have been attacks on officials’ race, gender, sexual orientation and appearance. [...] Georgia’s public health director said last month that she receives threats daily and now has an armed escort. [...] Theresa Anselmo, executive director of the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials, said 80 percent of members had reported being threatened and more than that were at risk of termination or lost funding.

“It’s exhausting to be contradicted and argued with and devalued and demoralized all the time, and I think that’s what you’re seeing around the country,” Anselmo said. “We’ve seen from the top down the federal government is pitting public health against freedom, and to set up that false dichotomy is really a disservice to the men and women who have dedicated their lives . . . to helping people.”
posted by katra at 1:31 PM on June 22 [47 favorites]


Will this ever get to a point where other countries start banning incoming travel from US citizens? I'm sure there are many holes in this idea that makes it a bad one, but would knee-jerk love to see something, anything, jolt the rest of our country into realizing we have become a failed state and to wake the fuck up here.
posted by windbox at 1:34 PM on June 22 [35 favorites]


I for one hope Canada keeps our border with the U.S. closed, like, forever.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:37 PM on June 22 [50 favorites]


This shit makes me so angry. It's just so stupid and wrong. I'm more scared than ever. I've had to cut off my closest friend because they've gone down such a weird mental path of being so scared of what's happening that their brain put all their resources into trusting everything the government says at any cost to their sanity, throwing away any kind of humanity or care for others that they have ever had. Culminating in a post about how they think it's OK to drive cars into protestors. The fear being instilled in us by our government will ruin your mind.
posted by bleep at 1:40 PM on June 22 [78 favorites]


Will this ever get to a point where other countries start banning incoming travel from US citizens?

They already have.

This is a shocking governmental failure. I knew this was coming. We all knew this was coming. But it's just, like... really? This is America? This is what we're doing now?

There was a video of a old white guy physically assaulting a store employee because he wasn't wearing a mask and the employee was trying to block him from entering the store. We are a nation of entitled children and in my darkest moments I think that this is probably what we deserve as a nation. Then I think about how this is disproportionally impacting marginalized communities and think, no, this is going just as intended.

Just sickening.
posted by Automocar at 1:50 PM on June 22 [101 favorites]


A lot of people readied for the end of the world; and to a lot of them; "Flu" has entered the vernacular when anything about COVID is discussed.

Dead bodies in the streets; covered with flies and being picked at by birds might bring back an awareness. But probably not.
posted by Afghan Stan at 1:56 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Just wait until the fall, when primary and secondary schools across the nation are forced to return at "full capacity" to help "support the economy." This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
posted by gnutron at 1:57 PM on June 22 [18 favorites]


Then I think about how this is disproportionally impacting marginalized communities and think, no, this is going just as intended.

I'm fully convinced that the administration's response to the pandemic is, like so many other atrocious things it's done, premeditated sadism disguised as incompetence.
posted by treepour at 2:03 PM on June 22 [40 favorites]


If you want to know why Trump and his supporters are so adamant about reopening the country, look at who the epidemic affects the most.

From the Trumpist PoV the more people that die the better, because mostly it's "Those People"
posted by happyroach at 2:03 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


The Trumpists are racist pieces of shit, but to ascribe this to anything but their monumental incompetence is to give them way too much credit. They're certainly not looking at statistics about how COVID is disproportionately affecting marginalized communities. If they're looking at any numbers, it's numbers that purport to show "this is just like the flu!". Marginalized communities are completely invisible to them.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:08 PM on June 22 [51 favorites]


For a while there we had two 'main' Covid threads going. The one this replaced that had a US Politics bent, and a more technical/international one. I'm happy katra made this one, because much of the Covid problem in the US is political, but I miss the other one as well. Is there a consensus about a replacement for it?
posted by bcd at 2:09 PM on June 22 [10 favorites]


Will this ever get to a point where other countries start banning incoming travel from US citizens?

My in-laws went back to Romania three weeks ago. They were required to self-quarantine for two weeks and got daily visits from the police to verify they were complying.
posted by Slothrup at 2:10 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


there is no single approach to dealing with the pandemic that will work for everyone. the best thing to do now, for anyone looking for guidelines, is to follow the guidelines of california and other blue states that are lifting the lockdowns. masks at all times, but businesses can reopen. if i were in charge, i would have the feds inject massive bailouts to states so they can extend unemployment until a vaccine is developed for any worker who reasonably believes they cant safely work. and people in institutional settings like nursing homes need extra help and resources.

this whole thing was so epically bungled from the beginning. the callous evil from trump left blue states hanging and encouraged red states to ignore the virus. blue states imposed untenable lockdowns with inherently arbitrary end dates, since policymakers knew or shouldve known that full stay-home (no seeing family, no retail business, no nothing) could not possibly be enforced or demanded of everyone thru 2022 or whenever we get a vaccine. and now that lockdowns are being lifted, it leaves people wondering "why can i now do this but not that?" "why can i do things in june but couldnt in april?" "why could nevadans do things californians could not?" and so, trust in government, and the political feasibility of future lockdowns, is shot.

thankfully it appears masks really do help a lot, and at least people got supplemental unemployment thru july. but the next step must be to force the senate to extend aid to states.
posted by wibari at 2:13 PM on June 22 [9 favorites]


For a while there we had two 'main' Covid threads going. The one this replaced that had a US Politics bent, and a more technical/international one. I'm happy katra made this one, because much of the Covid problem in the US is political, but I miss the other one as well. Is there a consensus about a replacement for it?

I had wondered if We have saved millions of lives would develop into the new non-Trump covid-19 updates thread and it looks like it is?
posted by katra at 2:16 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


the best thing to do now, for anyone looking for guidelines, is to follow the guidelines of california and other blue states that are lifting the lockdowns. masks at all times, but businesses can reopen.

Spike in coronavirus comes with economic reopening in California
California recorded two straight days of record-high new infections last weekend, and recently it sailed past the milestone of 5,000 people killed by the virus. The state has recorded 167,000 total infections, and it is now reporting the highest weekly average of new cases - about 2,785 - since the virus began.

County by county, the numbers are more startling, especially in the Bay Area, where strict early March isolation policies kept infection rates relatively low for months.

Alameda, San Francisco and San Mateo counties are seeing infection rates bounce up and down. Doctors say increased testing only partially explains the jumps. Hospitals and ICUs have been filling up with new cases in many parts of the state. Infection rates in the Central Valley and along the southern border are also on the rise.

In Southern California, Los Angeles and Orange counties are in the process of opening their economies entirely, perhaps by the end of the month, despite recording some of their highest numbers of new cases in months. Los Angeles County reported 2,056 new cases and 48 deaths Saturday.
posted by Lexica at 2:22 PM on June 22 [14 favorites]


Not sure what people were expecting. Even in Northeast states where new case declines were most pronounced, new still cases are still happening at a rate of over 200-600 per day. The entire country of Italy, one of the hardest hit countries initially, has about the same case rate at present. Now cases are spiking across states that weren't hit as hard initially. Florida might be where New York was in March/April by the end of July, and I doubt they'll go through another lockdown to flatten their curve. Either way, we clearly haven't achieved containment to the extent of pretty much every other country we consider "developed", and we are quite a way behind several countries we consider "undeveloped" as well. That means we aren't ready to "reopen" to the extent of those other countries, where in some cases schools have resumed and soccer teams are planning to begin to allow fans in July.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The idea that we were going to reorient our entire healthcare system and somehow recruit entire and train an army of public health employees sufficient to do the job in the space of 2-3 months always was ludicrous. Considering even the most reformist elements of our political mainstream take it as a given that a nonzero number of Americans will die because of lack of access to adequate healthcare, I really shouldn't be surprised. Further considering that a large part of the discourse, effort, and resources aimed at creating channels to distribute aid to people affected by disaster and economic dislocation in this country has been concerned with separating "deserving" from "undeserving" recipients of that aid rather than ensuring the efficacy and scalability of those channels in times of crisis, I really, really, shouldn't be surprised.

I guess we'll just have to hope that mask-wearing, voluntary social distancing on behalf of white-collar companies that can telework, and strategic protections of vulnerable communities will have a large effect on new cases and deaths.
posted by eagles123 at 2:22 PM on June 22 [17 favorites]


there is no single approach to dealing with the pandemic that will work for everyone. the best thing to do now, for anyone looking for guidelines, is to follow the guidelines of california and other blue states that are lifting the lockdowns.

I live in California and want to emphasize how we too are screwing up our state re-opening.

By emphasizing masks and sending clear message that Covid is a problem, we are obviously not as screwed up as some other states. But at this point our reopening scheduling seems to be driven by impatience levels rather than best behavior. Apparently we've made headway on test and trace in raw capability but I feel it's being insufficiently integrated into public activities.

I'm exceedingly frustrated because I feel with our early action we *could* be on a clear downward curve, instead, well look at the county trend lines. Ones in blue are not great. But we're still reopening.
posted by mark k at 2:22 PM on June 22 [35 favorites]


Our state epidemiologist Dr. Dunn has been steadily ratcheting up the noise about our numbers going the wrong way. Today she sent out a memo using the harshest language yet. Hardly anyone here seems to be doing anything about it, as even a mask is too much of a burden for them. I'm pulling my hair out (without touching my face) feeling like I'm going insane wearing a mask to work and staying home otherwise. I wish Dunn was running the show in our state, but as usual, the Trump cultists are aghast at anything smelling of a restriction and so I'm sure the political will to move the state back is spent. Just like school shootings, climate change, poverty, and so many other issues, America can't be bothered to try. Thoughts and prayers for all.
posted by msbutah at 2:23 PM on June 22 [24 favorites]


Two Trump campaign staffers who attended Tulsa rally test positive for coronavirus (CNBC)
The number of people connected to the event who test positive is expected to rise, NBC News reported, citing campaign and and law enforcement officials.
posted by katra at 2:23 PM on June 22 [13 favorites]


I don't see how we'll beat this unless there's a working vaccine soon. No matter how many people in the US talk about contact tracing and how important it is, I just don't see it happening effectively. The number of facebook posts I've seen about being outraged that the government / Verizon / Google-Facebook-Amazon are using Covid as an excuse to start tracking people, and how they're planning to opt out of whatever gets put on their phones to trace them... We've created such a distrust of government here (largely earned, especially now) - that it's going to kill us.

And I hate how many times I catch myself thinking about imminent deadly coronarevenge on people who are being willfully wrong about this - I don't want to be someone who (even mentally) dances on people's graves. But they're endangering people I love and they don't care. It's just maddening.
posted by Mchelly at 2:38 PM on June 22 [71 favorites]


Spike in coronavirus comes with economic reopening in California

Yes, no doubt the blue state reopenings have led to increased infection. no question that allowing people out again will cause more disease than when we were all locked indoors for 3 months straight. that's not my point. i'm just saying that staying at april levels of lockdown was untenable to continue indefinitely. my point is that within the feasible parameters of what we can expect to ask of people, mask wearing and employee protections and state bailouts and investing in healthcare capacity are best practices. an open-ended lockdown is not.
posted by wibari at 2:39 PM on June 22 [6 favorites]


Why do people keep framing an ongoing stay-at-home policy as an indefinite stay-at-home policy? It's not indefinite at all, except that we don't know the literal calendar date when it could be lifted. But we definitely could have set parameters like "% of new positive test results has been below n for x days," as other countries did, and have a lockdown that was both effective and not in any way indefinite.

We didn't do that, of course. I think because this disease was turned into a political issue from day 1 and battle lines were drawn before we had time to establish simple rules. Then people got impatient while the political fight was playing out, so now the science has no way to get a foothold.
posted by penduluum at 2:49 PM on June 22 [82 favorites]


No one's in charge of Missouri. We have an unelected governor, two dark money funded R senators, The Lake (which is what the locals call it, national media), Branson, and 44 running directly to Tulsa. We threw the doors fully open on the 16th. I see us spiking soon. Great job, everyone!
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:50 PM on June 22 [14 favorites]


I don't see how we'll beat this unless there's a working vaccine soon.

There is absolutely no guarantee that there will ever be a vaccine. There are tests, though, and there are workable quarantine protocols. We need to implement widespread testing and tracing. We cannot afford to act as if a vaccine is eventually going to come along and save us.

We had two months to put a full-press effort into deploying testing and tracing, and we wasted them. Testing and tracing efforts will eventually be deployed (probably on an ad-hoc state-by-state, city-by-city, or even employer-by-employer basis), but tens of thousands of people will have died because of the time we lost.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:58 PM on June 22 [60 favorites]


my point is that within the feasible parameters of what we can expect to ask of people, mask wearing and employee protections and state bailouts and investing in healthcare capacity are best practices. an open-ended lockdown is not.

Right. The ongoing argument among my social group has shifted over the last two weeks; first, it was conscientious folks trying to argue less-careful ones into appreciating the severity of the situation and observing better shelter-in-place practices, masks, etc.

Now everyone's been mostly at home and masking it up/hand sanitizing/best practicing for a couple months, and we're trying to persuade those first conscientious folks that actually, no, they are going to need to get comfortable with the idea of, say, going to a doctor at some point. Or leaving their apartments ever. Because we're worried about them, they're not doing well--they're neglecting severe health problems, etc.

We have to start working on the framework for living with this, because we blew our window for shutting it down. Like AIDS, it's just with us now. Safer, never safe.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:00 PM on June 22 [36 favorites]


Asked whether he meant to say the US should reduce testing Trump doubles down on his statement and then says "We’ve done too good of a job."
posted by Mitheral at 3:11 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


The number of facebook posts I've seen about being outraged that the government / Verizon / Google-Facebook-Amazon are using Covid as an excuse to start tracking people, and how they're planning to opt out of whatever gets put on their phones to trace them... We've created such a distrust of government here (largely earned, especially now) - that it's going to kill us.

Good (? Ymmv) news - Bluetooth contact tracing was never going to be sufficient, we were always going to need an army of contact tracers.
posted by PMdixon at 3:15 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Re: closing borders to Americans
American Tourists Fined
The notion is, if you have to get to Alaska, or have some pressing business in Canada, okay. But if you're just sight-seeing, you're busted!
Also perhaps of note: Cars with Alberta plates have been vandalized in BC. The provincial government has asked people to be kind.
posted by CCBC at 3:19 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Bluetooth contact tracing was never going to be sufficient, we were always going to need an army of contact tracers.

I've been reading and thinking about this over recent days and I cannot figure out the answer to this question: why not use a hybrid approach? Certainly phone-based tracing could appreciably supplement human tracers. Is it just a matter of resource allocation? Can't the phone companies build the tech infrastructure for bluetooth/tower tracing? They certainly seem willing to.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:23 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


We tried nothing, and it hasn't worked!

Don't be surprised by the results you didn't get from the work you didn't do.
posted by zardoz at 3:28 PM on June 22 [17 favorites]


The basic protocol of how to handle this hasn't changed in generations but we seem unable to do those basic steps:

- Test
- Quarantine those who test positive
- Trace their contacts and quarantine them
- Rinse and repeat.
posted by octothorpe at 3:32 PM on June 22 [36 favorites]


I went out this weekend and felt just completely disgusted by everyone. Refusing to wear a mask isn't a political statement. It is a statement that you 100% do not care about EVERYONE. That's it. It's not subtle racism, or classism, or sexism, or whatever the fuck you vote with, it's straight up saying "I don't care about ANYONE." Imagine having the mind that would wear that as a badge.

A friend of mine in his late 30s was distraught because he, quote, has "wasted his life playing music and making stuff that has amounted to nothing." He works, he pays taxes, he wears his mask, and he votes progressively. He doesn't own a home or anything fancy, and he believes that he's a loser because of that. I told him to look at this miserable country where people literally refuse to put on a piece of cloth to limit the spread of potential death or lifelong chronic illness to another person and decide who the real losers are.

Hint: It ain't someone who creates and attempts to harm no one.
posted by Young Kullervo at 3:36 PM on June 22 [103 favorites]


What's more, given the state of the average American, what the fuck is this bizarre vanity? Ya'll, we're ugly as fuck, no one cares if they can't see your face.
posted by Young Kullervo at 3:37 PM on June 22 [11 favorites]


The person I know who's lost their ever-loving mind has been saying things like we shouldn't do things like masks & quarantining because they are old methods. I'm absolutely speechless.
posted by bleep at 3:41 PM on June 22 [12 favorites]


That’s even worse than "those who forget history must repeat it".

Vaccines are pretty old too.
posted by clew at 3:46 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]




What's more, given the state of the average American, what the fuck is this bizarre vanity? Ya'll, we're ugly as fuck, no one cares if they can't see your face.

Arguments I have seen against masks:
-bullshit about FREEDOM
-claustrophobia/PTSD
-disbelief that they help/misguided belief that they harm

I have yet to see a single argument against masks that has any bearing in vanity; this seems like a really randomly cruel and shitty thing to say about strangers' faces when there are plenty of accurate things you can say about their souls.

I dunno. Just seems like there are enough assholes being cruel in the world, we don't have to pile it right the fuck on.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:52 PM on June 22 [18 favorites]


Ever since Trump got elected I've been joking "he's going to get us all killed". (Grim joke, I know.) I was thinking about North Korea policy, maybe, or stumbling into a war with China. I never realized that it wouldn't be War that was the horseman Trump would unleash, but instead Pestilence.

It's going to keep getting worse.

Here in rural California, I live in Grass Valley, CA. Our tiny little half of the county has about 70,000 people, 12 cases, and no new cases for two months. That changed June 13, and now we've jumped from 12 cases to 21. These are tiny numbers compared to bigger parts of the US, and I should find that reassuring. My hope is they're a small enough number we can properly contact trace, quarantine, and contain our mini-outbreak. Hard to say. And of course we're not that isolated, lots of folks commute for work, we have tourists.

Our neighboring town's mayor came out as a mask doubter yesterday. California has mandated everyone wear masks in public, an order I doubt many folks around here would follow. Now they've got their mayor telling them that's OK. It's madness.

Choosing whether to wear a mask or not is a kind of freedom, sure. But you know what's real freedom? Being able to walk around in a town and go shopping feeling somewhat safer because everyone is wearing masks.
posted by Nelson at 3:52 PM on June 22 [26 favorites]


I started formal training as a Case Investigator/Contact Tracer this week. This NYT article is dispiriting: "N.Y.C. Hired 3,000 Workers for Contact Tracing. It’s Off to a Slow Start." I'm concerned that the work will be even harder than necessary because of the crazy attitudes that are already part of the American psyche and are now being supercharged by certain political leaders and media outlets.
posted by PhineasGage at 3:53 PM on June 22 [26 favorites]


since policymakers knew or shouldve known that full stay-home ... could not possibly be enforced or demanded of everyone thru 2022 or whenever we get a vaccine

Yeah, see, if it were actually enforced policy, it would be just the same two to three months that it has taken other countries around the world that have taken this seriously to get a handle on things, eliminate or at least significantly flatten their local epidemics, set up testing and contact tracing, and set up supports to assist people who have tested positive in adhering to the necessary quarantines. And that was working in a number of states in the US, in fact, with widespread support. From what I read, polls indicate that such policies still have majority support? Then for some(*) reason, those states that were instituting effective and popular policies let a quite small group of heavily armed people intimidate them into making far more ground-shifting policy changes that the weeks of massively supported and largely peaceful (on the part of demonstrators, at least) protests in the wake of George Floyd's murder have yet been able to accomplish.

(* We know the reason. It is the toxic combination of white supremacy and capitalism. Or, as bell hooks calls it, imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.)
posted by eviemath at 3:53 PM on June 22 [39 favorites]


I have yet to see a single argument against masks that has any bearing in vanity; this seems like a really randomly cruel and shitty thing to say about strangers' faces when there are plenty of accurate things you can say about their souls.

I mean, you do realize these are the same people who were screaming they deserve haircuts and manicures, right? It's not difficult to connect the dots.
posted by Young Kullervo at 3:54 PM on June 22 [10 favorites]


It's not vanity in the classic sense but Pence's maskless visit to the virus ward was because he felt the patients should be able to see his face.
posted by Mitheral at 3:55 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


I mean I guess I'm not going to get into a whole thing about the importance of faces to a species that are essentially monkeys in shoes? But I don't tend to think of that as vanity. I guess we can disagree and you are quite free to call me, a person you cannot see and have never met, ugly as fuck, whatever.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:58 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I started formal training as a Case Investigator/Contact Tracer this week.

Bless you and thank you! Contact tracing is the solution out of this mess, or at least it will be if we ever get the number of new cases down that tracing every single one is feasible. If you have time I'd love to read more about what the process of learning to be a case investigator is like, what the job is like.

I fear you're right that American attitudes are going to make this job harder. All the normal shame and discomfort with talking to authorities and stuff. And then top of it the way this particular disease has been politicized. Are they teaching you explicit strategies to work around that?

(HIV/AIDS has been tackled, in part, with a lot of effort put into contact tracing. You can imagine how hard that is, particularly for closeted men, "tell me all the men you've had sex with so we can call them." My understanding is that they lean heavily on affinity and doing "the right thing" to get people to be honest.)
posted by Nelson at 4:00 PM on June 22 [11 favorites]


I have yet to see a single argument against masks that has any bearing in vanity

Trump. Trump's arguments about wearing a mask are based on appearance.

I mean, you do realize these are the same people who were screaming they deserved haircuts, right?

I actually think there's a little bit more to it than this. Of the things that covidiots complained about not being able to do, there was a common thread of things that involved other people waiting on and serving them. I suspect that haircuts becoming the most popular such thing in that category to appear on signs or get mentioned by anti-public health protesters was somewhat random (that is, it became a little bit of a thing through random chance, then there was a positive feedback loop that turned it into one of the main complaints, as generally happens with memes that gain popularity). I think that's very much tied in to the timing relating to data coming out that communities of color were hardest hit by covid-19.
posted by eviemath at 4:01 PM on June 22 [15 favorites]


For anyone who is interested in a deep dive into contact tracing, Coursera is offering the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Contact Tracing course for free.
posted by PhineasGage at 4:04 PM on June 22 [36 favorites]


Will this ever get to a point where other countries start banning incoming travel from US citizens?
As everyone else has said, most are and will continue to. The US has become a dark joke and grim warning to the rest of the world. Here in NZ I was listening to the radio yesterday and US incompetence was the gag in an ad.

We are here on a tourist visa. If we can't extend we'll need to come back to the US because, unless things radically change by September, no one else will have us. NZ is safe but most of these decisions are passport-based from what I understand.

With regards to "everyone has given up and is running around without masks!" there is a LOT of confirmation bias at work there. Trump only got 6000 people to go to his rally in Tulsa, which is in the middle of Trump country. If most people believed the virus wasn't dangerous and masks weren't needed, he would have filled that venue. The reason it seems like everyone is giving up and running around without masks may be because, in your area, people who would be wearing masks see the unmasked and decide that staying home is safer. Also because TV news seems to be focusing on unmasked people.
posted by rednikki at 4:09 PM on June 22 [32 favorites]


I mean of course we're vain, humans broadly are vain, we're a species that mates, even if currently mating is not, you know, the done thing.

Sorry. It was a silly hill to die on. As I said in my fine print, it's possible I've just had my fill of random cruelty. I had been on a Metafilter hiatus and should probably resume it, as I always leave here feeling a thousand times worse than I started.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 4:10 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


[One deleted; let's please do this without the wholly unnecessary re-upping on "they're ugly"; we can talk about masks and virus news without making it about that.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:15 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


Erin Bromage on SARS-CoV-2 risk management and masks.
posted by j_curiouser at 4:17 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


I have yet to see a single argument against masks that has any bearing in vanity;

I got a good lesson in this yesterday. I'm kicking myself for not doing something sooner, but there was a woman at the grocery store yesterday who was pushing her cart around with a mask pulled down below her nose and mouth, FACETIMING IN PUBLIC which is already a peeve of mine. I gave her a dirty look as I walked by, but generally figured she was talking about what groceries to get.

Then, she is off the phone and shopping all around the store with no mask on. At all. My brain was burning with "I thought you were just a jackass, but it turns out you're a @!#$@&!." Up and down the aisle she went. No mask. She also had one of those RBF Tyne Daly faces that always looks mean.

I go to check out and I was going to say something to the checker people in order to catch them in the act, but the people in front of me had some trouble buying a gift card or something stupid like that, which took literally 15 minutes. I got up to check out and the woman was, hey, next in line behind me. I pay for my groceries and that's the moment I snitch. "She did all her shopping without a mask on." I leave and hang out in my car in the parking lot to see what happens, because the sign when you go in says they have to refuse service to people not wearing masks. She comes out with groceries, so I guess it's only if you don't have anything to service yet? They didn't see it? They could have checked a camera.

So, lesson learned: find someone to tell as soon as possible.

Whoops, forgot the vanity part: her mask, such as it was, was a paper one with the ear loops all stretched out and just hanging from her ears below her nose. This is where the vanity disconnect happens for me: you don't wear it because it's uncomfortable or inconvenient, but it really seems to be because you don't give a crap.
posted by rhizome at 4:17 PM on June 22 [6 favorites]


But we need haircuts and to buy lots of useless things!
posted by terrapin at 4:23 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


"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 jim in austin at 4:29 PM on June 22 [58 favorites]


Meanwhile Disney World is already completely booked for their reopening day in a couple of weeks, and so many people are trying to get tickets that it's jamming their reservation system.
posted by Mchelly at 4:33 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


At the other Disney park, via SF Chronicle, "Disneyland workers push back on July reopening: The Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, which represents roughly 17,000 Disneyland workers, wrote a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom last week saying they believe it is too soon for Disneyland to reopen safely. The Southern California park plans to reopen July 17, pending state and local approval. 'Unfortunately, despite intensive talks with the company, we are not yet convinced that it is safe to reopen the parks on Disney’s rapid timetable,' the letter reads. The workers said testing and other safety protocols are not yet in place."
posted by PhineasGage at 4:35 PM on June 22 [15 favorites]


If most people believed the virus wasn't dangerous and masks weren't needed, he would have filled that venue.

It is said that kpop fans and Tiktok teens worked hard to ensure the venue could never be filled.

As part of a coordinated effort, K-pop fans and teenage TikTok users scooped up tickets to President Trump’s Saturday rally in Tulsa, potentially leaving at least hundreds of empty seats, The New York Times reported.
posted by Mrs Potato at 4:36 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


But SIP "can't" go on "forever." I honestly do not understand these people, people who seem to feel this boredom is intolerable, and for that reason the virus will stay away. They "have to" be able to "eat." I swear it's like that dog-talking-to-owner essay some time ago, "YOU NEVER FEED ME."
posted by rhizome at 4:36 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


In NYC, a reason people don't wear masks, I think, is because Mayor Di Blasio said you have to wear a mask outside ONLY if you can't maintain a 6-foot distance. So people walk without masks, or masks pulled down, because they figure, I'm walking here by myself, and if YOU (some YOU or other; for example, ME) want to stay safe then YOU have go AROUND me so that you stay six feet away from ME (ME ME ME ME ME).

I have posted somewhere else what it feels and looks like when I try to go for a walk in Manhattan: it's a video of the Alan Arkin character in the movie The Inlaws trying to dance around the bullets that are being shot at him, with the Peter Falk character yelling, 'SERPENTINE!!! SERPENTINE!!!"

And so many of my 65+ friends are so THRILLED right now because they've made appointments with their hairdressers! Ugh ugh ugh.

Here's what I sadly say to myself so often these days: "Even the smart people turned out to be stupid."
posted by DMelanogaster at 4:36 PM on June 22 [24 favorites]


As part of a coordinated effort, K-pop fans and teenage TikTok users scooped up tickets to President Trump’s Saturday rally in Tulsa, potentially leaving at least hundreds of empty seats, The New York Times reported.

I love that story, but frankly I'm liking the alternate explanation that people just didn't show up. There weren't any protesters, there weren't any lines, there weren't any clogged security gates, there weren't a million reserved tickets, there was just not very many people. Everything besides the crowd count was a lie to hide the fact that nobody wanted to go.
posted by rhizome at 4:39 PM on June 22 [43 favorites]




Will this ever get to a point where other countries start banning incoming travel from US citizens?


Several Caribbean states already are. Grenada and the Dutch Antilles are both doing it.
posted by ocschwar at 4:41 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


from twitter "looks like we're going to have to retire the phrase "avoid it like the plague" because it turns out people don't do that."
posted by sexyrobot at 4:41 PM on June 22 [54 favorites]


But we need haircuts and to buy lots of useless things! This.

I really really think a lot of the reopen shit and what has resulted and what we are seeing now comes from consumerism. I think it's people who couldn't figure out how to be home taking care of their kids. Maybe a lot of this is informed by the QAnon Anonymous podcast I've been listening to (not that I need that, but it's really informative about what is going on in super crazy world), but really when those Qidiots start talking about sheep and waking up, I think it's denial or repression of what they really are. I think these people aren't real enough to be able to entertain themselves for months on end. They don't want to read books, they don't want to take on new hobbies, and they certainly don't want to figure out how to educate their children. They just want to fill the proletarian dream of wake up, send the kids to school, go to work, everyone comes home, and we watch some lowest common denominator reality TV until it's time to go to bed and repeat.

I don't think this is about being served/waited on, and I don't think this is about discomfort. They can buy everything they fucking want on Amazon and gap.com and food delivery apps. They want to browse, they want to be seen as consumers. There might be some paranoia involved in that being seen, as in being a part of the masses at the malls, but also being able to show off what they've purchased: their newest big TV or car or clothes. They want to be able to demonstrate that they have money to buy things.

And this goes into the classism and such of how this pandemic is affecting different groups of people, and the privilege (mentioned in the last thread) of who you are. I don't have to wear a mask, I don't have to stay home, and I don't have to entertain myself. I can buy all of that: the healthcare, the food and clothes, and the mindless entertainment that comes with capitalism and consumerism. These people can't even take on teaching their kids civic values or reading comprehension. That is for someone else, who is paid less, and shit on all the time, and has been defunded already.
posted by Snowishberlin at 4:44 PM on June 22 [19 favorites]


But we need haircuts and to buy lots of useless things!

I really have been surprised by how many people in my life seem basically, spoiled. It’s an alienating feeling. Different from the covid rage of “you’re endangering people I love!” These are people I love who would rather endanger others than make some changes in their lives.
posted by sallybrown at 4:52 PM on June 22 [40 favorites]


Called my family for Father’s Day. Mom was so excited to tell me how they went to this fish fry place that just reopened and “It was booming! They were absolutely packed! They were very efficient and got us seated quickly, though.” They also went shopping around town for Father’s Day presents all day, and stopped by a wine/ice cream/coffee shop. Also, they had my grandfather over for dinner.

All I can think about is those poor workers. My grandpa going back to his senior living home. My brother going to work retail. Maybe you don’t care about getting COVID, but you’re exposing so many other fucking people and FOR WHAT.
posted by brook horse at 4:52 PM on June 22 [57 favorites]


It's not realistic to expect that retail store employees are going to confront angry people about wearing a mask, or have police stationed at every sidewalk making sure people stay six feet apart. It's similar to how some people wanted to arm teachers to thwart school shootings. By the time you need someone to enforce it, it's too late.

This pandemic, and the actions of the current administration, have convinced me of something that I've suspected all my life: we actually live on the honor system, not the rule of law. Our society functions because people collectively want it to function, not because of law enforcement.

And right now, there are a lot of people in this nation who think in terms of 'us' versus 'them'. Even people who want to see it completely burn down under the misguided notion that they'll be the 'winners'. This does not bode well.
posted by meowzilla at 4:59 PM on June 22 [55 favorites]


Three types of non-mask wearers I know:
1. Bad things happen to other people.
2. The government said it's fine and why would they lie about this?
3. I work at a job where I'm exposed to people all day anyway.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:02 PM on June 22 [12 favorites]


I really really think a lot of the reopen shit and what has resulted and what we are seeing now comes from consumerism. I think it's people who couldn't figure out how to be home taking care of their kids.

These two things are really, really, really not the same thing.

The vast majority of folks who have young kids at home who would normally be in school or daycare are on of:
- Essential workers who have had to get some kind of childcare situation cobbled together, and are deathly afraid of passing on COVID
- People who are out of work, and are deathly afraid of what will happen to their families because they're going to run out of money
- The lucky people who can work from home -- which means they have jobs. And are somehow supposed to take care of kids simultaneously?
posted by feckless at 5:03 PM on June 22 [40 favorites]


Our state epidemiologist Dr. Dunn has been steadily ratcheting up the noise about our numbers going the wrong way.

After seeing the recent progression in Utah’s messaging - noticeably when they took the ridiculous “It’s working, Utah!” banner off the taskforce website main page, I watched the update livestream last week - where Dr Dunn got relegated to the final few minutes after a bunch of randoms and the Governor whacked on about road funding and anything other than Covid, gave shoutouts to almost everyone in the State Building, and generally tried to plant an undeserved victory flag.

Dr Dunn is really good - direct to the point, blunt in her assessment - yet engaged and approachable, and knows when to stop and take questions and how to answer them. Also doesn’t hurt that Dr Dunn appeared to be noticeably taller than anyone else who spoke - both literally and figuratively the adult in the room. I’m guessing she’s getting media training - but either way she is schooling Utah’s politicians.

But I really do wish she was given more opportunity to speak freely - I get the sense she really wants to tell some pretty hard home truths to the State but is being held back.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:03 PM on June 22 [10 favorites]


I've been saying for months that anybody who makes under like $20 (or some number) per hour and has clocked any hours since, oh, March 1, should receive a fat bonus, like $20,000+ (if not more), or something equivalent but monthly. These are the essential workers and they should be rewarded for the risks they're taking. For some reason there just was no debate about whether McDonald's would be open, you know?

I really really think a lot of the reopen shit and what has resulted and what we are seeing now comes from consumerism. I think it's people who couldn't figure out how to be home taking care of their kids.

I have been thinking a variation on this. I blame:

- Extroverts who can't be alone with themselves
- People with thin internal lives who can't be alone with themselves
- People who can't cook and are sick of frozen stuff and GrubHub
- People who, y'know, don't really like their families

And so on. Some people are subject more to cabin fever than others, but that's not a reason to open up! [sunglasses slide down] DEAL WITH IT

And there are a lot of people who have had to shape their lives around a world shaped by the needs of the people listed above (which is also a list of traits common to executives and salespeople, to varying degrees), and who are largely doing fine within the constraints (raw money and resource needs aside).
posted by rhizome at 5:04 PM on June 22 [19 favorites]


I am not American, but living in Canada, I am America-adjacent. This weekend I saw a response to a Toronto Star article about the ethics of mandating masks from an American who declared he cannot wear a mask because in his state it is a felony to wear a mask while armed.

I briefly considered a response about This One Weird Trick before deciding it was best not to get into it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:04 PM on June 22 [41 favorites]


I really have been surprised by how many people in my life seem basically, spoiled. It’s an alienating feeling

Similar, maybe related. I'm a USian who lived in Germany from 2004 -2010. When I came back to the US I somehow thought that all of the cars with Obama stickers would be good drivers and all of the McCain stickers would be assholes. Nope. Totally alienated by the assholes and regulars on both sides, on the road. I'm glad that my friends and family are in masks, not at restaurants or malls, and being safe. But we still protest, at the fringes of the groups super distanced. Is that cheating?
posted by Snowishberlin at 5:04 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Thank you, feckless. Just how should I figure out how to be home taking care of my kids while I am desperately trying to hold down a full-time job? I'm not defending selfish people not wearing masks, and I'm definitely not advocating "re-opening" the economy so that the rentiers can extract their portion before I die. But please acknowledge the real, often material difficulties of not being able to socialize any of the costs of sheltering in place.
posted by Il etait une fois at 5:07 PM on June 22 [25 favorites]


These two things are really, really, really not the same thing.

No, totally agree! I really meant the people who are refusing to: wear masks, stay away from the mall, stay away from restaurants as diners, and say that teachers did a good job.

In no way was I referring to workers, essential or not, who can't work from home. There is a lot of double edged sword in the US with people who can't get unemployment, who have to work in a dangerous environment, or who are essential. And there are the people who are trying to support LOCAL businesses and doing what we can and staying as safe a possible while we do. I really only meant the people endangering so many vulnerable and mistreated people.
posted by Snowishberlin at 5:11 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Where I live in North Carolina, people are whining on social media about being unable to wear masks because of "medical conditions." Those medical conditions that are physiological (COPD, for example) seem to be good reasons to take extra care to protect oneself from Covid, in fact maybe if one has COPD they ought to avoid entering a sit-down restaurant after attending church right now? Just avoid it altogether?? But they seem to have latched on to "medical conditions" as an ironclad reason why they can't wear a mask.

The other medical condition I get, because I literally have it (and meds to cope, when it comes to that), but I have very little sympathy for people who won't wear masks because it gives them "anxiety." Grow up. You think nobody working twelve-hour shifts in the ER ever has anxiety?? Yet somehow they manage to keep their masks on.
posted by witchen at 5:11 PM on June 22 [19 favorites]


The whole point of sheltering-in-place for this was to give government, hospitals, and industry time to spin up production and prepare resources. All of that time we bought has been squandered and so many more are going to die needlessly as a result.

I remember saying to a coworker as this started in the US, "We could be South Korea or we could be Italy, it's our choice." At this point I expect US tourists will be barred from most countries in the not-too-distant future.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:13 PM on June 22 [21 favorites]


College towns (at least) are going to be a shitshow this fall.

My 19 year-old nephew working in his Iowa university town this summer went to a party with his roommates a week ago. A group came in late who all tested positive a few days later ; everyone still there after the group came in were then tested = all positive (including my nephew and all his roommates) ; no one who left before the late group came in tested positive. Masks?? Hahahaha!!
posted by ClingClang at 5:13 PM on June 22 [28 favorites]


Testing and tracing efforts will eventually be deployed (probably on an ad-hoc state-by-state, city-by-city, or even employer-by-employer basis

Already did it. The hard way, no fancy app. Since we started jumping on "potential exposure" incidents, we haven't had a case since mid-April in 14,000 people.
posted by ctmf at 5:19 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Interesting side observation on retail and mask wearing. By far and way the highest percentage of mask compliance I’ve seen in Utah is at the State Liquor Store (probably second would be Wholefoods and ignoring my local pharmacy where they do the whole temperature check, hand sanitizer, and compulsory mask before they even let you in). Not sure if it’s because its a State owned business so people feel more pressure to comply, or if booze drinkers as a population tend to believe in the science on this more, or just don’t want any chance of not getting booze in the odd hours the place has been opened. But it was really noticeable. Like 100% compliance the few times I’ve been in - and that’s with no one at the door enforcing it.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:21 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


Also, masks on our property are mandatory, hand washing and cleaning several times a shift have become the culture. Work sites have been rearranged to support distancing whenever possible, barriers as a second choice. We're spending money on this. I should say all those things together seem to be working.

And it's all for nothing if the yahoos outside the gates infect us all.
posted by ctmf at 5:22 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


I get your point witchen and that you’re directing your anger at people who don’t wear masks AND refuse to socially distance, but I want to point out that some people really can’t wear masks because of autism or anxiety or other sensory or mental health reasons. I have a friend who lost their job because they discovered quite abruptly that they have claustrophobia and were having panic attacks every 30 minutes at work from wearing a mask. This friend does not go out of the house at all because they’re unable to wear a mask. People who can’t/won’t wear masks and go out when they don’t absolutely need to? Assholes. But some people legitimately can’t wear masks because of mental health reasons and many of them respond to that by just not going out at all, which is another toll on their mental health. Just, I dunno, a little sympathy and some good thoughts for those folks.
posted by brook horse at 5:22 PM on June 22 [22 favorites]


Choosing whether to wear a mask or not is a kind of freedom, sure.

I also have the freedom not to wear safety glasses when I use a power saw. Guess what, I do.
posted by ctmf at 5:28 PM on June 22 [9 favorites]


Yeah, people with COPD should not be leaving the house. Insane.

i'm just saying that staying at april levels of lockdown was untenable to continue indefinitely. my point is that within the feasible parameters of what we can expect to ask of people, mask wearing and employee protections and state bailouts and investing in healthcare capacity are best practices. an open-ended lockdown is not.

This is the thing: "untenable?" According to what, "common sense?" I'm not attacking you, just commenting on what I've seen elsewhere that overlaps with your words (that's supposed to sound friendly). "Feasable?" "Expect?" I don't have a problem with the ideas per se, but where are the standards coming from?

I'd really encourage reading about polio. Did you know that before the polio vaccine, swimming pools and movie theaters closed or restricted attendance during "polio season," and that polio season was during the summer? My understanding was that this was the state of affairs for 40 years. So yeah, it kind of can be open-ended.
posted by rhizome at 5:28 PM on June 22 [44 favorites]


I have very little sympathy for people who won't wear masks because it gives them "anxiety."

The combination of having anxiety, autism, and claustrophobia makes wearing a mask a panic-inducing thing for me. Fortunately, my job allows me to isolate myself from people. I just don't go anywhere other than work, and I don't allow visitors. I have what I need delivered by people who just leave it at my door.
posted by LindsayIrene at 5:30 PM on June 22 [9 favorites]


Just, I dunno, a little sympathy and some good thoughts for those folks.

That's reasonable, and I should not have cast such a broad net over the entire category of anxiety--I apologize if my comment caused harm. Where my ire is more specifically directed is towards people whose anxiety is less of a clinically defined thing or a part of a bigger cluster of conditions, and more like, "I am uncomfortable" equals "panic attack." In situations like that, I wish people would just acknowledge that masks can be uncomfortable, it sucks, but this is what we're doing now. And to make a little effort towards getting used to wearing a mask by having it on while doing chores at home, etc., so it's not so bad when you need to go to the store.
posted by witchen at 5:34 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


i'm finding wearing a mask somewhat nice from a feminist perspective. no one has yelled at me to smile.
posted by Clowder of bats at 6:05 PM on June 22 [96 favorites]


Yeah, the frustrating thing is people deciding to simply “opt-out” of suffering. This all sucks. We’re all suffering. If you (that’s a general ‘you’, not directed at anyone in this thread) decide that you’re the special snowflake that just isn’t willing to suffer along with the rest of us, I get the urge but you’re still being a dick.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 6:06 PM on June 22 [11 favorites]


I enjoy the masks, as an unattractive person with a not so great personality. It’s honestly therapeutic.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:10 PM on June 22 [37 favorites]


I think the 'spoiled' argument has some merit and not just for the young. The United States, because it has been a major economic and military power for so long, hasn't really been threatened in any serious way or even had national crises in many generations. We've had recessions but as a nation we all didn't collectively take pay cuts. People have short memories and bad history knowledge.

Remember that we call them 'boomers' because they grew up in the unprecedented post-WW2 economic boom that followed the Great Depression and the war. Many countries have massive physical and mental scars from this time period. Others did not even exist. It's not surprising that in the US, many people yearn for a return to these days without understanding why it happened.

They also don't remember that we sent huge numbers of people to die overseas, and introduced rationing in the US. We haven't collectively known sacrifice or hardship in a very, very long time. It's not that surprising that people who have never been asked to give up or do anything are rebelling against it.
posted by meowzilla at 6:18 PM on June 22 [44 favorites]


I don't think haircuts need to be a problem if they and their customers wear masks.

We also need to be careful about just replying on case numbers because testing is increasing, too. If you compare CA and AZ, both have steadily rising case numbers, but in AZ the death rate is also rising, and in CA it's flat or slightly down.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:19 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Then I think about how this is disproportionally impacting marginalized communities and think, no, this is going just as intended.

I don't doubt that this is a big part of their thinking. But here's the real kicker. They are wrong. The virus isn't racist. It's indiscriminate (though perhaps ageist I suppose). They think they are at lower risk because it hasn't affected them yet. The thing is this virus has fooled everyone who thought this way every step of the way. At first it was just a China problem, then just China-Italy problem. Then Europe got added. Then Washington State. Then the big American cities. Then the Midwest. And now the Southern and Western US where they thought they had it under control are getting hit hard. Meanwhile it is slowly making its way into rural America. The numbers are not scary though...but only because the population numbers in rural America are not big. They will get hammered hard and it will be even worse than the cities because they can't isolate as effectively as at least part of an urban population can. They also can't treat any number of serious covid-19 cases at all.

Covid-19 infiltrated the White House. Covid-19 infiltrated the Tulsa rally even though they had every incentive to try their hardest keep in clean.

The only thing that works are the major behavioral public health measures we were doing - without the reopening. The numbers show it was effective everywhere it was done and that we were very close to being able to get down to containment levels. Then the bullies, idiots and bosses won and now here we are getting back on the upswing everywhere.

So those jerks who think it will stick to just marginalized groups? It's coming for them the moment they drop their guard. And they have dropped their guard.
posted by srboisvert at 6:20 PM on June 22 [15 favorites]


Clowder of bats, I'd always suspected even before the pandemic that was a sizeable fraction of the people wearing them in Japan. Once it's normalized, it's kind of nice sometimes. Some days you're just tired of being looked at all the time.
posted by ctmf at 6:21 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


It's not vanity in the classic sense but Pence's maskless visit to the virus ward was because he felt the patients should be able to see his face.

You misremembered. It was actually much, much dumber than that. Pence said he didn't want to wear a mask because he wanted to "look health workers in the eye and say 'thank you.'"

But we all know it really had nothing to do with either of those. It was simply the fact that his master Lord Trump had said he shouldn't appear in public with a mask in defiance of Trump. And the milksop sycophant Pence said "yes, sir!"
posted by JackFlash at 6:36 PM on June 22 [20 favorites]


Surging US virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping (AP)
Alarming surges in coronavirus cases across the U.S. South and West raised fears Monday that the outbreak is spiraling out of control and that hard-won progress against the scourge is slipping away because of resistance among many Americans to wearing masks and keeping their distance from others. Confirming predictions that the easing of state lockdowns over the past month and a half would lead to a comeback by the virus, cases surpassed 100,000 in Florida, hospitalizations are rising dramatically in Houston and Georgia, and a startling 1 in 5 of those tested in Arizona are proving to be infected.

[...] At Maryland’s Fort Washington Medical Center on the outskirts of the nation’s capital, workers described a scramble to find new beds, heartbreaking encounters with family members of critically ill patients and frustration with Americans who do not believe the coronavirus threat is real. “Everybody is out lounging on the beaches. Just thinking that it’s over. And it’s not,” respiratory therapist Kevin Cole said. “It’s far from being over. And unfortunately, it’s those people that will keep this pandemic going.”
Top Democrats say Trump is sitting on $14B for coronavirus testing, contact tracing (NBC News)
The Trump administration has been sitting on nearly $14 billion in funding that Congress passed for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, according to Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Patty Murray of Washington. The top Democrats said in a letter Sunday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar that the Trump administration has "still failed" to distribute more than $8 billion out of $25 billion appropriated by Congress to expand testing and contact tracing. The letter indicated that Congress passed these funds as part of a coronavirus relief bill in April. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also hasn’t awarded nearly $4 billion for surveillance and contact tracing at the state and local levels and tribal territories, they said, and little of $2 billion set aside for free testing for uninsured people has been disbursed.
posted by katra at 6:43 PM on June 22 [18 favorites]


Indefinite lockdowns are catastrophic for public health, for preventative health, for mental health, for persons at risk of abuse. It is increasingly clear that the virus is fairly difficult to spread if a few simple critical steps are taken (masking) and certain settings are avoided (extended indoor contact without masks). Medical clinics have zero difficulty controlling infections by simply mandating some basic behavioral changes. That said, without proper leadership we will never get a movement toward widespread adoption. It may happen if there is a concerted focus on public health. But locking down society is just another way of saying that our livelihoods are hostage to a cadre of selfish toddlers. Costco has proven easily that you can train people to wear a mask if it's what stands between them and their vape refills and smoker pellets.
posted by docpops at 6:44 PM on June 22 [16 favorites]


It's weird how many people think the only reason for precautions is to protect themselves.

Our school district sent out a survey to parents about fall reopening, and whether we thought safety procedures, technology, etc were adequate. There was no option to say "my family will be ok but I'm worried about the community." Literally every question could only be answered in one of two ways: "This is inconvenient for my family, and therefore bad" or "This is ok for my family, and therefore good."
posted by selfmedicating at 6:47 PM on June 22 [49 favorites]


I've been getting more accustomed to being in public lately. I always wear a mask unless I'm in a car or running and not around anyone else. Walks to get food have gone from being panic-inducing marches of horror to just regular walks around the neighborhood. We've had distanced hang-outs with friends that were terrific and fulfilling. Normalcy, with some caveats! I can dig it.

Then today I had to run to the corner store to pick up a bunch of stuff. It is a tiny place. I managed to get everything I needed without getting close to anyone and then had to wait in line. I couldn't take it - every second I was in that little virus incubator of a store ratcheted up my anxiety by like 25%. So eventually I just put everything I was planning to buy back where I found it and literally ran out of the store and up the street. Right as I was getting to my house there was a smiling, maskless couple on their way towards me. I yelled at them to wear a @&^%@# mask and went inside, where I proceeded to curse very loudly for about a minute.

I guess I'm glad I still have a very healthy fear of the virus? But man. I can not wait for this nightmare to be the fuck over.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:51 PM on June 22 [26 favorites]


but I have very little sympathy for people who won't wear masks because it gives them "anxiety." Grow up. You think nobody working twelve-hour shifts in the ER ever has anxiety?? Yet somehow they manage to keep their masks on.
posted by witchen a


Wanting to say that while a lot of people may abusing this, there are some people who probably feel intense anxiety while wearing a mask. A blanket "grow up" statement is pretty harsh.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:55 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


But locking down society is just another way of saying that our livelihoods are hostage to a cadre of selfish toddlers

They are tho. What would be possible if we had basic competency at the white house is beside the point in terms of what the response should be given that we don't. I don't like the federal chaos any more than you do and I'm extremely angry these people have been allowed to cause such harm but my plans have to take that chaos as a given to the extent it's beyond my power to change.
posted by PMdixon at 7:13 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


blue states imposed untenable lockdowns with inherently arbitrary end dates, since policymakers knew or shouldve known that full stay-home (no seeing family, no retail business, no nothing) could not possibly be enforced or demanded of everyone thru 2022 or whenever we get a vaccine

C'mon, this was never the idea. The whole point was that very strict lockdowns for ~ 6 weeks if followed will starve a virus with a replication cycle of 1-2 weeks. Unfortunately, Trump et al. are incapable even of stealing good ideas and claiming them as their own -- we should have had community food runners doing no-contact deliveries to neighborhoods like they did in China to prevent any smoldering embers from flying around to CostCo for grocery runs. Because we left the infections smoldering along here and there, no surprise that the lockdowns were extended again and again. A lockdown is not some binary state; how you do the lockdown is really fucking important. These are all OCD details best left in the hands of scientists and experts, not politicians and their idiot son-in-laws. Then after the initial "fire" has died down you stamp out the embers with increased testing, contact tracing, and mandatory quarantine enforced via public healh laws. Increased testing has happened, but it's not mandatory or proactive (go get tested once you've got a fever and have been spreading it for 5 days!). Contact tracing is just now being ramped up. Quarantine still seems to be voluntary (at least in CA).

Countries that had been exposed to SARS before mostly "got it" because they had seen how contagious coronavirus droplets could be and did not underestimate the transmissibility.
posted by benzenedream at 7:19 PM on June 22 [74 favorites]


Arizona church hosting Trump rally claims air system kills ’99.9 percent of covid within 10 minutes' (WaPo live blog)
President Trump will hold a rally Tuesday at an Arizona megachurch that claims its air purification system kills “99.9 percent of covid within 10 minutes" — despite no scientific evidence that is the case. In a video posted by Dream City Church, senior pastor Luke Barnett and chief operations officer Brendon Zastrow touted an ionization system by CleanAir EXP that, Zastrow said, “takes particles out and covid cannot live in that environment.”

Barnett said, “You can know when you come here you will be safe and protected. Thank God for great technology and thank God for being proactive.” Air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants but, on their own, cannot kill the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency said.
posted by katra at 7:31 PM on June 22 [13 favorites]


I have been doing all the Costco shopping my family, my parents and my in-laws. N95 mask and gloves. I do know someone who thinks they got sick shopping at another Costco, they were just wearing a bandana over their face. I'Ve seen the costco door person yell at people to pull up their face covering
.
I've made a few trips to home depot for esstential electrical and semi estential garden stuff. There were people who were browsing curtians and things, but the only person who i saw without a mask was a sterotypical Karen who was in the face of an employee demanding to know when they would have a certian type of rose in stock.
posted by CostcoCultist at 8:00 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


New York Allows Offices to Open; White House Eases on Temperature Checks (WSJ)
[Texas Gov. Greg] Abbott emphasized that he doesn’t want to backtrack on his opening of Texas and said residents need to take it upon themselves to wear masks and practice social distancing. Public-health experts say wearing masks in public places is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus. [...]

[California Gov. Gavin] Newsom maintained the state had the hospital capacity to manage increased cases and hospitalizations. He said the surge in cases could force the state to implement stricter measures on businesses and social gatherings once again. “We don’t intend to do that or want to do that, but we are prepared to do that if we must,” Mr. Newsom said at a news conference Monday. He urged Californians to follow social-distancing measures and report any violations of public health measures as counties across the state continue reopening plans. Last week, Mr. Newsom required all residents to wear face-coverings in high-risk settings.

[...] The White House said Monday that officials would no longer conduct temperature checks for every person entering the White House grounds. Staffers or visitors who come into contact with the president will still be tested for the coronavirus and receive a temperature check, and regular deep cleaning of workspaces will continue. Wearing masks is voluntary.
posted by katra at 8:04 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Lalalalala, I can't hear you. You can't make me hear you.
posted by theora55 at 8:16 PM on June 22 [6 favorites]


" Disneyland workers, wrote a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom last week saying they believe it is too soon for Disneyland to reopen safely. "

I remember early in the pandemic Seanan McGuire (huge Disney fan) saying that she'd go back when Disney reopened because she'd trust them to be safe. Sadly, she was wrong.

we're trying to persuade those first conscientious folks that actually, no, they are going to need to get comfortable with the idea of, say, going to a doctor at some point. Or leaving their apartments ever. Because we're worried about them, they're not doing well--they're neglecting severe health problems, etc.

As one of those people, I'd be more comfortable leaving ever if other people were bothering to follow safety protocols. I only leave every two weeks and yesterday I saw four masks on (again, I'm in California, where YOU SHOULD HAVE THEM ON), which is three more than I've seen any other time I was out in the last two months. I probably saw about eight people close enough to check total, half of them were masked. When I went to my HMO, I saw six people not masking up at all or properly. Now from what I hear, hospitals are still better at wearing masks/protective gear better than everyone else is doing, and there was an Ask Metafilter thread about that as I recall. So if you absolutely must, you can probably do your medical stuff if you can't avoid it. But the way things are going, I still don't think people should be leaving if they don't have to. It's gotten even worse, you know? I got the heebie-jeebies reading grumpybear's tiny store panic.

I know I'm mentally ill and all that because I don't want to have ANY contact at all with anyone, and I'm starting to piss people off now for saying no, but there's nothing going on now that's making me think I'm going to be okay if go out.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:22 PM on June 22 [22 favorites]


Here in New Mexico, I am glad mask wearing is the norm. When I go to the store, I usually see one or two people whose face are not covered. We even can get free masks from the government.

I am lucky that we are one of about half a dozen states rated green in this map for How We Reopen Safely. We actually had zero new deaths reported today.

But I work at a university that is planning to reopen in the fall, although with some "hybrid" model.
posted by NotLost at 8:36 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


Just this afternoon, the City of Miami enacted a requirement for people to wear a mask when in public. Not just in businesses, but on the street. I'm fine with that, of course, but what I find gobsmacking is the stubborn refusal to close restaurant dining rooms again.

It's pretty clear that a large fraction of new cases are associated with dine-in, but there seems to be no chance of us going back to takeout only.

That said, there has been some progress at cracking down on illegal party houses that the kids are going to since the clubs are all still closed, so maybe that will help.
posted by wierdo at 8:48 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


It's weird how many people think the only reason for precautions is to protect themselves.

Our school district sent out a survey to parents about fall reopening, and whether we thought safety procedures, technology, etc were adequate. There was no option to say "my family will be ok but I'm worried about the community." Literally every question could only be answered in one of two ways: "This is inconvenient for my family, and therefore bad" or "This is ok for my family, and therefore good."


Yes, this! My workplace had a similarly deficient survey. :(
posted by eviemath at 8:55 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


“99.9 percent of covid within 10 minutes"

A minimum of six complete air changes per hour and realistically at least twice that.

Going to be breezy..
posted by Mitheral at 9:00 PM on June 22 [18 favorites]


At this point I expect US tourists will be barred from most countries in the not-too-distant future.

It's sadly far down on the list of things I'm angry/scared/resentful about regarding Trump, the pandemic, and x% of Americans being fucking morons. But I do expect some pretty severe damage to the formerly-broad acceptance of the US passport, and travel is pretty much the only luxury I afford myself.

It's probably been remarked, but the most fitting end to the Trump administration really would be for this horrid man to succumb to the virus his incompetence has allowed to thrive.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:04 PM on June 22 [13 favorites]


I wonder if the partisan nature of the lockdowns/mask-wearing is more damaging to mental health than the actions themselves.

If we had police locking everyone inside and throwing unauthorized people in jail, you could blame the government for all these problems. Or trust that they're doing the right thing.

If everyone actually abided by the lockdown, you may feel some comfort in knowing that everyone else is in the same situation as you, and collectively it sucks, but we're all doing our best.

But right now I can look outside and I see people who just don't care at all, unmasked and talking to other people in close proximity. I can see people playing football in the park and having picnics. I get invited to birthday celebrations with kids and the elderly. I can limit my time outside my house and only go to the store for essential items, but there's going to be someone there who intentionally isn't wearing their mask and ignoring any physical distancing.

I can turn on the news and they'll tell me, at the same time, that the infection rate is going up, scientists are doubtful about immunity, and even more people died today; but also we're opening all the stores and there will be sales so please come out. I can go online and see in a single discussion about how the pandemic killed someone's relative and completely real and serious but also that the virus is a hoax and that people who wear masks are sheep. That we'll have vaccines soon, but also vaccines are going to give you autism and part of some global conspiracy.

I can see my government leaders say that everything is going great and the scientists saying the exact opposite.
posted by meowzilla at 9:06 PM on June 22 [31 favorites]


I remember saying to a coworker as this started in the US, "We could be South Korea or we could be Italy, it's our choice." At this point I expect US tourists will be barred from most countries in the not-too-distant future.

We'd be lucky to be Italy at this point. They started reopening on May 4th at around 1700 cases averaged over 7 days. By all accounts social distancing is pretty relaxed at this point, and they are down to 262 cases averaged over 7 days as of yesterday. That is for the entire country.

Link to Italy Cases

This chart shows the US coronavirus rate compared to the entire EU. The divergence is clear. Despite opening of schools in some countries and resumption of events like professional sports leagues (without crowds, although the French football league is letting a limited number of fans in starting in July), EU countries are keeping their case rates under control.

EU versus US corona cases

To me, that indicates they did a better job of contract tracing and quarantining. Adherence to protocols such as wearing masks also may play a role, as well as stronger social distancing measures across countries. However, against that last point, US coronavirus cases were above the EU even before cases started spiking in Texas/Florida/Arizona.

I'm honestly not sure where we go from here at this point. Given the level of aide the federal government appears willing to provide, as well as the ability of our dilapidated safety net to disperse said aid, we simply are unable to withstand another lockdown. Moreover, we have substantial populations of students in this country for whom distance learning does not work. We simply can't tolerate losing what amounts to a year's worth of instruction.

From where I sit, we have to hope that (a) people start to wear masks and that wearing masks actually works in preventing spread and (b) we can protect vulnerable populations so that the outbreak burns itself out to manageable levels before reaching them. Basically, we are Sweden at this point, for better or worse. Given prolonged austerity at the state level for much of the 00s and the way our healthcare system is set up, I don't think we were ever truly capable of anything else.
posted by eagles123 at 9:13 PM on June 22 [6 favorites]


One of my friends (whom I admittedly haven't seen in person for a few decades) reposted a claim that someone's daughter had gotten sick from wearing a mask 8 hours a day due to breathing in her own bacteria and carbon dioxide. (Which doesn't explain why surgeons and other folks who wear masks for extended periods of time weren't keeling over long before now). When someone remarked how it didn't pass the smell test and that not everything posted on Twitter/FB is necessarily 100% truth, she replied (a little ramblingly) about how, after studying the relevant topics for years and curing herself of many infections via herbs, it seemed legit to her (she threw in a bunch of bible notations and invoked the Holy Spirit as well). Another of her friends remarked how this "rang true in (her) heart" so she shared it as well.

I sincerely mean no snark whatsoever when I ask if there is any way of getting through to someone like this. (Also worth noting that, while not a Trumpster, she's definitely into the Bundy folks and other "Liberty"/End Times movements)
posted by gtrwolf at 9:14 PM on June 22 [9 favorites]


katra: [Texas Gov. Greg] Abbott emphasized that he doesn’t want to backtrack on his opening of Texas and said residents need to take it upon themselves to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Yeah, because every other state or city that opened up is full of dummies, where Texas is not. See: Las Vegas (photos of the strip re-opened, few masks seen, compared to the publicity photos seen on USA Today; and even there, you'll see a number of unmasked faces, less than 6 feet apart).


Echoing NotLost, I'm so happy with New Mexico's response to COVID-19. Our governor was holding updates weekly, if not more frequently, televised updates with Departments of Health and Human Services up until recently when she let New Mexico Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase provide a COVID-19 modeling and reopening webinar update on his own. We're still requiring anyone flies into New Mexico self-quarantine for 14 days before traveling on. And all testing and treatment is free, and has been since March 13.

And I'm happy to hear that Balloon Fiesta is off for 2020, meaning a big hit for tourism in the fall, but also we won't have throngs of people mingling for over a week.

From Dr. Scrace's most recent update, I learned that in some locations, the ICU beds are full, but not due to COVID patients. There are also at-risk individuals who had put off getting seen for fear of getting COVID, only to have their medical issues get so advanced that they went into ICU.

Be safe, be well, and take care of yourself and others as best you can.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:17 PM on June 22 [12 favorites]


“99.9 percent of covid within 10 minutes"

A minimum of six complete air changes per hour and realistically at least twice that.

Going to be breezy..


The way this device is claimed to work is not by filtering the air but by dispersing negative ions into the air that are supposed to deactivate viruses. So their claim is that all of the air in the building is already full of ions ready to attack coronavirus. Sort of like an aerosol disinfectant but using ions. Let's just say that this is not scientifically evaluated. Negative ion generators have been a voodoo thing going back at least to the 1970s.

One of the side effects of negative ion generators is the production of ozone which is very irritating to the lungs and an EPA designated pollutant. They claim they filter out the ozone from their generator but that claim is dubious. It's all snake oil. It may do more harm than good.
posted by JackFlash at 9:19 PM on June 22 [15 favorites]


If you've ever worked food service before, you are probably terrified of the idea of a back of the house right now. Distancing is simply not possible. Masks are going to constantly be taken off accidentally or "just for a second". There isn't enough hand san or gloves in the world to make handling dinnerware acceptable.

Forcing people to choose between losing unemployment and going to work in a manifestly dangerous environment is unspeakably evil. Especially since the government could pay for it if they wanted. All that aside, even with the new bohemian street cafe style of dining (how quickly that sparkly little bauble got the attention of American liberals), you couldn't pay me to eat at a restaurant right now. Both for my own safety, and for knowing that my food would be served on the back of human misery at a collosal scale. And now my lovely little liberal state is moving to "Phase 2". Jesus Christ... people barely follow the rules sober in a grocery store, just wait till you give bar owners an incentive to pack 50 of them into a rowhouse sized pub.
posted by codacorolla at 9:36 PM on June 22 [54 favorites]


It's probably been remarked, but the most fitting end to the Trump administration really would be for this horrid man to succumb to the virus his incompetence has allowed to thrive.

Karma Houdini. Trump will literally outlive the rest of us. Last Man On Earth.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:01 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


To complain about my own state again, California had more deaths--and more per capita deaths--in the last seven days than New York. This is scandalous. New York was hit earlier and bungled the early response. But they felt the pain and horror and took the necessary action. There is no way someone *higher* on the curve should end up with lower absolute numbers later on (short of approaching herd immunity.) This is of course the US writ large as well, if you overlay our curves with all these other countries that are having real declines.

But California basically decided slowing down Covid was worth so much effort, but not more, and when we found that was only enough to establish a plateau rather than rapidly reduce, we decided to give up and do less.

For people saying we couldn't handle this, South Korea has a larger population than California, got hit earlier, and is currently worried about a spike of 67 cases. We had around 6000 yesterday here.

The basic protocol of how to handle this hasn't changed in generations but we seem unable to do those basic steps:

- Test
- Quarantine those who test positive
- Trace their contacts and quarantine them
- Rinse and repeat.


This deserved more favorites. People can't focus if it's not about bluetooth anonymized blockchain peer-to-peer tracking or a novel RNA platform technology for a vaccine. Just put in the effort and get it done, even if you need index cards and rotary phones. We don't lack the workforce. We've got millions and millions of newly unemployed!
posted by mark k at 10:12 PM on June 22 [37 favorites]


What a Negative COVID-19 Test Really Means (Sarah Zhang, Atlantic, Jun. 21, 2020)
Understanding false negatives from COVID-19 tests is especially important because people who do not yet know that they’re sick play a major role in the spread of COVID-19. A study based on data in and around China suggests that 44 percent of transmission comes from presymptomatic cases. The United States has not isolated people who say they feel sick as aggressively as China has, so it likely has a higher proportion of symptomatic transmission, Benjamin Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong, who co-authored the study, says. But China’s experience makes clear that simply isolating people once they are sick is not enough. “We can’t ignore presymptomatic transmission,” Cowling says. “Even if you manage to stop some of the transmission from going on by doing isolation cases, you still will have this presymptomatic transmission, which keeps the epidemic going.”

[...] For individuals, however, the FDA cautions that negative results do not rule out infection. It asks that asymptomatic tests include this statement: “Negative results must be considered in the context of an individual’s recent exposures, history, presence of clinical signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.” And this, in the face of imperfect COVID-19 tests, is key to interpreting a negative result. It depends on your probability of having COVID-19 in the first place. [...] So even with widespread testing, social distancing and masks will continue to be important for controlling the spread of COVID-19.
posted by katra at 10:25 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


But we definitely could have set parameters like "% of new positive test results has been below n for x days," as other countries did —penduluum
penduluum, here are the Key Public Health Indicators on Containing COVID-19 in San Francisco. They "are not an on/off switch for the reopening. Instead, public health experts will use indicators to consider various policy changes and make recommendations during each stage of the City’s reopening plan." ORANGE and RED seem to indicate a high chance of increasing restrictions. They lack a dashboard view that shows the state of all indicators in one screen, so I'll summarize. Most of these are 7-day rolling averages; click through for more details.
Status  Target  Actual    
GREEN    <10%     ‒5    Change in COVID+ Hospitalizations
GREEN    ≥15%     26    Acute Care Beds Available
GREEN    ≥20%     37    ICU Beds Available
YELLOW    <1.8     2.5  New Cases per Day per 100,000 Residents
GREEN  ≥1800    2468    Tests Collected per Day
YELLOW    ≥90%    87    Cases Reached for Contact Tracing
YELLOW    ≥90%    85    Named Contacts Reached for Contact Tracing
YELLOW    n/a     89    Essential PPE Categories with at least a 30-day Supply
These seem to be a bit fluid: last time I checked I remember seeing a PPE metric about how many health care centers thought they had 30-day supply, including reliable but pending orders. And growth in hospitalization of up to 9% per week equals green? Really?

It seems like the most important indicator would be Rₑ < 1, and I have seen some Rₑ graphs out there, but perhaps the error range is too broad to directly inform public policy?

On the bright side, last week they didn't even have the indicators compared to the benchmarks, so you had to comb the text and then compare the numbers in your head, and this week they color-code all of the charts red/yellow/green, so maybe next week I won't have to manually build a summary table. Let us also hope that the data itself will improve.
posted by PresidentOfDinosaurs at 10:37 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]



I mean I guess I'm not going to get into a whole thing about the importance of faces to a species that are essentially monkeys in shoes?


(CW: tap dancing around something that may be obvious to you.)

It's funny. Since this whole thing started, I've taken the liberty to stop completely with eye contact. And nobody minds. I've not had to worry about how my facial expressions look, because they're literally masked. All the social niceties that we rely on, it turns out I can express them with a slight bow of the head, so no worries about proper intonation. Ursula the Sea Witch was right to remind Ariel about the significance of body language.

I started this because on web sites for kindred spirits of mine, many say these issues are a source of fatigue for them, so I gave this change a go. It's been utterly surreal. And I think it's helped, which is good because I can use all the morale boosts I can get.

On the other hand, one of those kindred spirits is my four year old son, and his access to professional help to prepare him for life so he can survive me, well, that's been interrupted along with hair cuts and manicures. And will continue to be interrupted precisely because of the vile assholes who insist on haircuts and manicures instead of doing the right thing and supporting UBI for hair dressers and manicurists. These are the times that condemn men's souls.
posted by ocschwar at 10:47 PM on June 22 [25 favorites]


Sources: U-M to withdraw from hosting October presidential debate (Detroit Free Press)
The University of Michigan is withdrawing from hosting a presidential debate between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, sources told the Detroit Free Press. The official announcement is expected to come Tuesday. U-M is making the move because of concerns of bringing the campaigns, media and supporters of both candidates to Ann Arbor and campus during a pandemic, two sources with direct knowledge of the move told the Free Press.
Fauci to testify at a fraught time for US pandemic response (AP)
With coronavirus cases rising in about half the states and political polarization competing for attention with public health recommendations, Dr. Anthony Fauci returns to Capitol Hill on Tuesday at a fraught moment in the nation’s pandemic response. The government’s top infectious disease expert will testify before a House committee, along with the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services. [...] Fauci has recently warned that the U.S. is still in the first wave of the pandemic and has continued to urge the American public to practice social distancing.
No, more testing doesn’t explain the rise of covid-19 cases in the U.S. (WaPo live blog)
In seeking to reassure the public about rising covid-19 case numbers in several states, President Trump continues to attribute the new cases to the result of improved testing in the United States. [...] But a closer look at the state of testing in the United States shows that this theory is dangerously wrong. To understand why, we have to look not just at the number of tests each state is doing, but at the positivity rate of those tests. In combination, those two metrics give a sense of whether infections are rising, declining or holding steady. And in too many states, the dispiriting answer is that the virus is racing ahead of public health measures to contain it. Read more here.
posted by katra at 11:57 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


There isn't enough hand san or gloves in the world to make handling dinnerware acceptable.
Muliti-quat, the sanitizer used across the board in most restaurants, doesn’t kill viruses. SO THATS COOL.
I work in a restaurant, in a state very excited to return to normal. We have bleach buckets next to the sani buckets, but at the end of the day our business depends upon tourist dollars in a low population density state. We went from from “phase one” (50% dine in capacity) to phase two (75% capacity) while watching cases in our county rise due to phase one.

Do I quit my job or what?
posted by Grandysaur at 12:35 AM on June 23 [6 favorites]


Muliti-quat, the sanitizer used across the board in most restaurants, doesn’t kill viruses. SO THATS COOL.

It does inactivate enveloped viruses like SARS-CoV-2, I don't think quaternary ammonia compounds inactivate non-enveloped viruses which may be why they are not labeled that way. This is because they work by disrupting cell membranes which bacteria and enveloped viruses have but non-enveloped viruses do not.

Anyway, soapy water does so as well so the first step in a three-sink system will do the trick.

The risk in a restaurant is going to come from all the people packed into a small space, not the dishes.
posted by atrazine at 1:50 AM on June 23 [31 favorites]


A neighbor lady with two kids in two, one coughing viciously, scolded the kid in my household for wearing a mask en route to the apartment office. It's a placebo*, she said.

The kid, who is not sick, said anyway, "The mask is to protect you, not me."

The lady went bug-eyed and scurried away.


*what the actual fuck
posted by angrycat at 4:47 AM on June 23 [81 favorites]


Virginia seems to be on slight downward trend, at least (depending on where you look, I guess) but I know my employer still wants to keep its offices closed through Labor Day at the earliest, and I've heard that it might extend through the end of the year. My wife has already had to go back to her office a few times, mostly to pick up supplies, but also for a recent team meeting that they didn't want to hold remotely for some reason.

I had to take my dad to urgent care on Father's Day for some stitches, which gave him an excuse to use one of the masks I got him, made by a local shirtmaker.
posted by emelenjr at 5:06 AM on June 23 [3 favorites]


I'm in Canada and differences between our cultures, even here in Ontario under a Conservative populist Premier, are so stark right now. Our new case count nation-wide is 300 for yesterday.

We will be paying, literally, for Canada's response for a long time in our taxes and I anticipate our economy will be in deep shit for a long time. But the Feds handed over cash and the provinces shut things down. We're going into Stage 2 in Toronto tomorrow, with 37 new cases yesterday for a city of 2.5 million. It's nerve wracking and the rules have been wonky, but I do believe in general our governments have been following the best public health advice available. I don't demand perfection or consistency of rules during this level of crisis, but what I have looked for is for politicians to try to care for the citizens of our country.

I can't be smug because we've done a middling job, and also it's not over, and also this situation has dramatically shown large cracks in our social safety net. But oh my god, USA, what the hell? My sister and almost all the rest of my bio-family is there as well as my girlfriend and her family.

That said, in Toronto people are equally being idiots about masks and gatherings. We may get away with it in the summer but I fear greatly for the fall and winter.

It's been interesting; my local very working-class grocery store (across from public housing and next to the beer store) has a manager who should lead all social distancing efforts in the country, like this store is brilliantly marked and the staff walk around reminding you - it's in the chain that created this wild social distancing ad (SLYT) - and for a while it was like 80-90% people in masks there, but yesterday it was more like 65-75% and there were people clearly shopping recreationally (it was also really hot and sticky.)

If I could change one thing right now it would be the messaging on masking. I do blame the US for politicizing it (which gets picked up on here) but it was also a slow response. I think partly that was rooted in anti-Asian and even anti-Muslim sentiment. The idea that "monkeys show their faces" is - I dunno. Here in Canada we wear scarves in the winter and it's okay.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:15 AM on June 23 [30 favorites]


I yelled at them to wear a @&^%@# mask and went inside, where I proceeded to curse very loudly for about a minute.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:51 PM on June 22 [13 favorites +] [!]


Eponysterical!
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:23 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


angrycat, what the actual fuck indeed. Your mask-wearing companion had the perfect response. Yay!
posted by Bella Donna at 5:49 AM on June 23 [7 favorites]


At this point I expect US tourists will be barred from most countries in the not-too-distant future.

I have three 2020 graduates living upstairs as sort-of refugees.

My oldest has lived apart from her French husband for two years so they could both graduate without debt. Now it's iffy whether she can go to him at all now because they are scared of Americans bringing in disease.

Another grad is here on a student visa that will run out soon. Even if he could afford a ticket home, they don't want to accept travel from America. He applied for a work permit, but Trump said something about ending the student-work-visa program, so his two-week wait has turned into three months so far. I don't know what will happen to him.

My youngest will be able to go on with her life. She is going to grad school ...in Alabama.

The pandemic is ruining lives in a lot of ways.
posted by Miss Cellania at 5:51 AM on June 23 [12 favorites]


It seems like the most important indicator would be Rₑ < 1, and I have seen some Rₑ graphs out there, but perhaps the error range is too broad to directly inform public policy?

I think it's more that if we used that as a metric the politicians would have to openly admit they're not willing to risk pissing enough people off to effectively suppress spread. I don't believe it's actually ever dropped below 1 in IL, for example, and we're nonetheless going ahead with Phase fucking 4.
posted by PMdixon at 6:10 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


The kid, who is not sick, said anyway, "The mask is to protect you, not me."

I used this line on a neighbour who trundled over to chat while I was out for a walk, and he just explained that aliens abducted him in the 80s and they really liked his blood, so he has nothing to worry about because they're protecting him. Which is still a better justification than most of the other people out there insisting that mask-wearing is a Communist plot or whatever.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:30 AM on June 23 [52 favorites]


The problem with Re as a metric is that a flat line of it on a graph can indicate an ongoing disaster, or an ongoing success. Just look at the political fodder made of comparing death counts in populations of different sizes, rather than per-capita numbers.

Only 16% of Americans have ever been exposed to derivatives.
posted by joeyh at 7:14 AM on June 23 [6 favorites]


I can see my government leaders say that everything is going great and the scientists saying the exact opposite.

I could say the same about my government's response to health care, to racism, to economic inequality, to political corruption, to guns, to climate change, to the quality of our food and water, and to dozens of other things in my lifetime.

America is, at its core, not the best place to be.

The kid, who is not sick, said anyway, "The mask is to protect you, not me."

If I am ever asked why I am wearing a mask, I have a fun variety of responses stored up. "Oh, it's not just for COVID; it's so that I don't pass on my airborne hepatitis" is next in line, followed by "tuberculosis," "scabies" and "communicable herpes" as needed.
posted by delfin at 7:17 AM on June 23 [8 favorites]


I don't think haircuts need to be a problem if they and their customers wear masks.

My salon is insisting on this, and on a whole list of other requirements they are imposing on their customers as a condition of them re-opening:

1. The staff will be in masks and PPE.
2. The customers must also be masked.
3. Customers must also take their own temperature the morning of their appointment. If they are running a fever, they must cancel their appointment, no questions asked.
4. The salon will still also take customer's temperatures when they arrive for an appointment, and if they are running a fever they will be sent home immediately.
5. If you're there for a cut, your hair must be cut dry; they will not shampoo or style it. You need to turn up with clean, dry hair, having washed your hair within the 12-hour window before your appointment.
6. Each hairdresser has a 20 minute window between customers during which they will clean and sanitize their workstation and all their tools.
7. No cash payments. Pay with a credit card, and tip your hairdresser via Venmo. Period.

NYC reopened salons yesterday, but they chose to wait an extra week. They also reached out to all of us regulars a few weeks ago to see about pre-booking appointments on a "based on when we re-open" basis - they didn't have an exact date for when they would open, and asked us each if we wanted to book something, would we want something during the first, second, or third week they were back to work.

I did sign up for something - I was already due for a cut, and actually had an appointment scheduled right when the city went into lockdown, plus they're a smaller salon that I want to help out and make sure they stay afloat. But I signed up for something three weeks after they reopened on the assumption that we'd know how well their system was working by then, and I am going to very cheerfully comply with those conditions because seriously, it's for their safety as well as mine.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:19 AM on June 23 [5 favorites]


and then there's the risk from dodgy hand sanitizer...
posted by Clowder of bats at 7:26 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]


I don't see how we'll beat this unless there's a working vaccine soon.

My growing fear is that while most sensible people say they want a vaccine *stat*, there will be serious and divisive pushback on its deployment. A person who refuses a mask does not seem like a person who will line up for their dose of something that goes *inside their body*.
posted by Caxton1476 at 7:42 AM on June 23 [12 favorites]


Negative ion generators have been a voodoo thing going back at least to the 1970s.

A quick note -- Vodú/ Vudú/ Vodou/ Voodoo are religions (Wikipedia), and probably shouldn't be used to imply nonsense or unfounded hype. We dropped the disparaging "sky person" talk from MetaFilter in years (decades?) past.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:56 AM on June 23 [22 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Folks, It's important to acknowledge there are people who genuinely have a hard time with masks and also, that people who say masks are important during this time aren’t doing that to hassle you personally.]
posted by travelingthyme (staff) at 8:08 AM on June 23 [13 favorites]


A person who refuses a mask does not seem like a person who will line up for their dose of something that goes *inside their body*.

And too, this person who is wearing a mask despite false assurance from the government that it is not necessary is not a person who is going to be quick to line up for a dose of something going inside my body where the only real assurance I have of the safety and efficacy of that something is the same government that's fucked everything else up so far. I love me some efficacious vaccines. I also know that the immune system is mysterious and contains multitudes and there's only so much you can safely rush negotiations with it, and that the reasons I would normally trust the judgment of the people doing that negotiation are not as in effect right now as they normally are.
posted by PMdixon at 8:22 AM on June 23 [14 favorites]


Boston has been letting restaurants in the North End, which is the most restaurant-heavy neighborhood in the city, add patio seating in parking spaces out front - and is giving out permits for this right away, rather than going through the normal process, which can take several months. But tomorrow, the city licensing board is holding an emergency hearing to discuss "numerous complaints" it's gotten about violations of state and city Covid-19 regulations for facial covering, social distancing and sanitizing (as well as complaints about letting patrons smoke and bring their dogs). Managers of every single restaurant in the neighborhood are required to attend, or have their patio permits revoked immediately or worse (like having a hearing to consider canceling their food-serving and liquor licenses altogether).
posted by adamg at 8:22 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


I discovered that wetting my *cloth* mask on hot day makes wearing it actually comfortable. For me it is so cooling that wearing it is preferable not having it on. Hope this is helpful.
posted by haiku warrior at 8:55 AM on June 23 [9 favorites]


I'm single and have been sheltering in place with my two teenagers. Touch is really important to me and my mental health. Prior to lockdown, I would meet this need in good consensual ways: hug my friends, go partner dancing, get regular massages, stuff like that.

My kids are not huggy people. I respect their boundaries. I get the occasional side hug, maybe a few times a week and am happy to share that.

Mostly, I'm fine. It is what it is. Very many of the other big pieces of my life are doing just fine and I am grateful for that. I have it good.

Last Friday night one of my girl squad hosted a socially distanced backyard barbecue. My besties and their husbands sat paired up, I sat by myself, we all were ringed at a reasonable distance from the fire pit. It was unbelievably nice to socialize with them in person, instead of over Zoom or by group chat.

In other times I would have hugged everyone when we all arrived, and again on the way out. Everyone was being responsible and waving and air hugging as we parted. I said how much I missed hugging them and blurted out that I felt like crying like a big ol baby.

One of my friends said, that's it, I'm hugging her, and came over and put her arms around me.

I ugly-cried for about ten minutes. Ragged breathing, snot everywhere, the whole scene, clinging to her like a baby opossum to its mom. I could. not. stop. crying. She was steady like a rock and just held me. Real friends, believe me.

I am mostly fine, but wow, did my body let me know what's really going on.

Of course I mindfucked it all the way home. A consent violation against her husband. Should I tell my kids.

She and her husband were so worried about me that they drove way out of their way to my house to make sure I got home safely. I apologized to him and he was gracious. I didn't tell my kids.

Today I watched a talk by a respected scientific leader who pointed out that the way we are living and working today is the way we're going to be living and working in June 2021, because there is no real way that a vaccine or a drug is going to be discovered/tested/approved/manufactured/distributed widely within the next year.

I have no idea what the hell I'm going to do, but gutting out another couple of years like this... Not OK.
posted by Sublimity at 8:58 AM on June 23 [42 favorites]


There’s a Reason Trump Is Fighting Hard for Arizona (NYT)
Joe Biden’s path to the White House could be through fed-up suburbanites and young Latinos.
Democratic officials believe that frustrations over Mr. Trump’s immigration policies and his handling of the pandemic, as well as polling trends, indicate that Joseph R. Biden Jr. has the best shot of any Democratic presidential candidate to win Arizona since Bill Clinton carried the state in 1996.
‘So much worse than I ever thought it would be’: Virus cases skyrocketing among Latinos (Politico, Jun. 18, 2020)
Latinos make up a disproportionate share of the cases in nearly every state, and are more than four times higher than their share of the population in some states. That’s raising alarms for doctors and public health officials as they see hospitalizations on the rise. [...] “How do we understand that a uniform order will not play out uniformly by class and race?” said John Kim, executive director of Advancement Project California. “We need to have much better testing and contact tracing framework in communities of color.”
posted by katra at 9:30 AM on June 23 [8 favorites]


One of my company's Texas offices and our OKC office each announced a positive case yesterday. Three weeks out from Memorial Day, makes sense. Some of leadership definitely been twitchy about work from home, even though it works perfectly well for 80% of employees. All our offices are in the states that are opening up soonest, I fully expect there to be more. I'll be damned if I pressure anyone to go in.
posted by emjaybee at 10:09 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Sublimity, that sounds really challenging. I feel for you. When I move in a few months I will be moving away from my quarantine buddy/friendly hugs partner and that is going to suck soooo much. The loss of non-sexual body contact is really hard and I get very little of that as it is. Hang in there!
posted by Bella Donna at 10:37 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Today I watched a talk by a respected scientific leader who pointed out that the way we are living and working today is the way we're going to be living and working in June 2021, because there is no real way that a vaccine or a drug is going to be discovered/tested/approved/manufactured/distributed widely within the next year.
This isn't really true though. Once the spread of the virus is contained enough there will be restrictions on our interactions with strangers in public but it will be pretty safe to have a bubble of close friends who live normal lives together. The risk is shared and going outside your bubble will become the violation of consent. If you trust each other it will be safe enough.
posted by fullerine at 10:42 AM on June 23 [6 favorites]


I work at a facility that has a family medicine clinic on the first floor. Our CEO is a doctor, and has told us we must wear masks in common areas. We STILL have some people who don't always wear their masks. Clinic staff! I think they ought to get written up and fired on the 3rd occasion, but apparently I'm a hardass.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: I HATE this timeline.
posted by corvikate at 10:53 AM on June 23 [20 favorites]


I sincerely mean no snark whatsoever when I ask if there is any way of getting through to someone like this. (Also worth noting that, while not a Trumpster, she's definitely into the Bundy folks and other "Liberty"/End Times movements)
posted by gtrwolf at 9:14 PM on June 22


gtrwolf, I know I posted something about this upthread, but I would point you towards the folks at the QAnon Anonymous podcast. I know your person isn't talking about this specifically, but they talk a lot about "doing research on your own" and "ringing true" and stuff like that. They are there to debunk the conspiracies that pop up, and might give you some arguments and points, and of course your person, too.
posted by Snowishberlin at 10:54 AM on June 23 [3 favorites]


Finally had to go back to work this week. My employer (large Federal agency) has generally been supportive of work from home and seemed to have a very sensible, cautious plan to reopen. Unfortunately, that seems to have gone out the window as of two weeks ago - in its place is a rush by leadership to move through re-opening phases as fast as possible and get people back (not stated as such, but that's definitely the vibe I'm getting). Fortunately I'm in an area that has not seen a recent increase (Northern Virginia) but it just feels forced and a bit premature. Doubly so considering there is literally no reason for me to be in the building other than to be a warm body - I've been more productive in the last three months than I ever was in the office. I would keep working from home indefinitely if I could find a way to do so.

On the upside, most of my coworkers have been pretty diligent about wearing masks. I guess that's something?
posted by photo guy at 11:04 AM on June 23


haiku warrior, a wet mask is not an effective virus barrier. it reduces airflow through the fabric, meaning more air will flow through edge gaps.
posted by Clowder of bats at 11:11 AM on June 23 [11 favorites]


Yeah, the more comfortable and breathable your mask the worse it is working.
posted by Justinian at 11:16 AM on June 23 [7 favorites]


"Dr. Soe-Lin said she had used cloth masks for three weeks and washed and dried them regularly. Someone with only one mask can hand wash at night and let it air dry. If a mask gets wet or damp while you are wearing it, it’s less effective, she said." (NYT)

My mothers' nursing training said cloth was only proof against infection while dry -- dampness makes a continuous bridge between the outside and inside that infectious particles travel in.
posted by clew at 11:19 AM on June 23 [3 favorites]


I can be seen as a hard-assed, farm raised, strong immune system braggart. I'm also not stupid.

About 10 years ago I was visiting the farm drinking some Fiji water. My sister laid into me saying,
"Why aren't you drinking American water?"

Quickly recovering from the shock of what she said and the realization that my family had taken this turn. I replied back, "Viruses and chemical warfare doesn't stop at borders"

Grandysaur, I left my job at a high-end butcher shop two weeks ago. The customer service protocols the shop utilized was wreaking havoc on my body and mental health. It was hell to leave the men and women I work with. It's also a non-union shop, the work has doubled in intensity and most of the employees are now facing burnout and injury. I don't care to be a hero in this environment where there is minimal thought of my friends physical condition, financial needs and morale. While I will be getting disability or UI, I am hoping that my UI will fall under COVID related guidelines.
posted by goalyeehah at 11:58 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Revealed: millions of Americans can’t afford water as bills rise 80% in a decade (Guardian)
America’s growing water affordability crisis comes as the Covid-19 pandemic underlines the importance of access to clean water. The research shows that rising bills are not just hurting the poorest but also, increasingly, working Americans. “More people are in trouble, and the poorest of the poor are in big trouble,” said Roger Colton, a leading utilities analyst, who was commissioned by the Guardian to analyse water poverty. “The data shows that we’ve got an affordability problem in an overwhelming number of cities nationwide that didn’t exist a decade ago, or even two or three years ago in some cities.” [...] Colton’s 88-page report is published today at the launch of a major project on America’s water emergency by the Guardian, Consumer Reports and other partners.

[...] The US is the only country in the industrialized world without a regulatory system – like Ofwat in the UK – responsible for monitoring rates and performance, according to Stephen Gasteyer, professor of sociology at Michigan State University. He said: “Water rates have gone up dramatically – mostly in places where people are also struggling with food, housing and other basic services. It’s a symptom of the inequalities and segregation problems we have in the US, where poor people are agglomerated in particular places and local governments are shouldered with the responsibility for raising revenue for services.” [...] There’s no national watchdog and most census questions about water access and poverty have been eliminated since the 1980s. [...] Nationwide, nobody knows how many Americans were without water at the start of the pandemic – nor how many were disconnected during. What is known is that financial aid to help families and utilities keep taps running was excluded from federal rescue packages.
posted by katra at 12:51 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]


Thanks for the warning about wet or damp masks being less effective, Clowder of bats and clew. Likely still better than nothing, but now I know it’s riskier.
posted by haiku warrior at 12:52 PM on June 23


this person who is wearing a mask despite false assurance from the government that it is not necessary is not a person who is going to be quick to line up for a dose of something going inside my body where the only real assurance I have of the safety and efficacy of that something is the same government that's fucked everything else up so far.

I've been bleakly joking that I refuse to consider any vaccine that's available before November 6 or is made in America but it's definitely kidding on the square.

At our department staff meeting earlier today my boss said that while nothing's been announced, we should expect to be on WFH status through the end of the calendar year. I think I'm still wrapping my brain around that and what it means.
posted by Lexica at 1:13 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Guardian: EU considering blocking Americans from entering - report
The European Union is looking to soon reopen its borders, and it is reportedly considering denying entry to Americans because of how the US has handled the coronavirus pandemic.

The New York Times reports:

That prospect, which would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome, is a stinging blow to American prestige in the world and a repudiation of President Trump’s handling of the virus in the United States, which has more than 2.3 million cases and upward of 120,000 deaths, more than any other country. [...] Travelers from the United States and the rest of the world have been excluded from visiting the European Union — with few exceptions mostly for repatriations or ‘essential travel’ —- since mid-March. But a final decision on reopening the borders is expected early next week, before the bloc reopens on July 1.
posted by katra at 1:18 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


Fauci said today that he is cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine ready by end of year or early 2021. I can’t understand how to square that with....everything else we have been told about how hard it is to discover / manufacture / distribute vaccines.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:33 PM on June 23 [10 favorites]


I can't see it either, lazaruslong. The medical teaching university near me put out a press release this week that said they're in the human trial testing phase and are recruiting people, and that the study would go for two years. Which is standard.
posted by cooker girl at 1:45 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


I'm another person feeling this tension between "I love vaccines! Vaccines are great!" and "I 100% do not trust the American healthcare and governmental system to deliver a safe, effective vaccine for this thing." So. Yeah. That's a thing.

Whichever drug company gets something to market first is going to make so. much. money. Which doesn't inspire any additional confidence.

I can't even tell what parts of this are crazy any more.
posted by athenasbanquet at 1:47 PM on June 23 [12 favorites]


I can't even tell what parts of this are crazy any more.

I think the parts where the future is said to be reliably predictable are easy calls tho. I am reassessing from the ground up how I conceive of authority and expertise.
posted by PMdixon at 1:54 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


my brother the ID doc (who has worked on this crisis, and also has worked in vaccine development) says don't expect anything safe for at least a year. Not early 2121, but at best a year from now.

And even then I'm waiting until he gives me the go-ahead...

... jesus. A YEAR. I need a hobby.
posted by suelac at 2:06 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Fauci says US will increase Covid-19 testing despite Trump's claims of slowing down (Guardian)
His press secretary had later said the remarks were “in jest” but the president stood by them on Tuesday, telling reporters that the comments weren’t a joke. [...] After administration figures including White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany suggested the comments weren’t serious or were a joke, Trump on Tuesday said: “I never kid.”

[...] Since Fauci last testified, hospital physicians have become more skilled in treating coronavirus patients with the techniques and medications at their disposal. The US continues to ramp up testing, with some 27.5 million Americans, or more than 8% of the population, tested thus far. But most communities still lack enough health workers trained in doing contact tracing, the work of identifying people who have had interactions with an infected person. That could make it more difficult to tamp down emerging outbreaks. Fauci remains optimistic that a vaccine will be found, noting that patients develop antibodies to the virus – a sign that the human immune system is able to battle back. However, he shies away from promising results by the end of the year, as Trump has done.
posted by katra at 2:23 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Whichever drug company gets something to market first is going to make so. much. money.

And it won't be as efficacious as they say. And they'll be criminally and civilly indemnified against deaths and side effects.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:55 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


lazaruslong: Fauci said today that he is cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine ready by end of year or early 2021. I can’t understand how to square that with....everything else we have been told about how hard it is to discover / manufacture / distribute vaccines.

Fauci says more widespread lockdowns probably won't be needed in virus fight (CBS News, June 19, 2020)
The United States doesn't need more widespread lockdowns to bring its COVID-19 outbreak under control, despite the fact that the national daily infection rate has stayed flat, leading government expert Anthony Fauci said Thursday.

Speaking to AFP, the physician-scientist added he was optimistic the world would soon have a vaccine that would end the pandemic, calling early trial results "encouraging."

"I don't think we're going to be talking about going back to lockdown," he said when asked whether places like California and Texas that are seeing a surge in their caseload should reissue stay-at-home orders.
Meanwhile, Fauci says Americans are ignoring science amid coronavirus pandemic. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), told CBS News Radio he’s frustrated Americans aren’t following public health recommendations to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (The Hill, June 19, 2020)

But doesn't science show that significantly reduce exposure is the best thing to stop a pandemic? It kind of sounds like he's trying to play two sides at once. At least he supports increased testing.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:56 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Quote from Fauci on Washington Post liveblog:

"“Although you can never guarantee at all the safety and efficacy of a vaccine until you test in the field, we feel cautiously optimistic based on the concerted effort and the fact that we are taking financial risks to be able to be ahead of the game so that when … we get favorable candidates with good results, we will be able to make them available to the American public” within a year of when officials began researching a vaccine in mid-January, Fauci said."

So, basically, he feels optimistic because of the money being thrown at the problem. Or as a friend of mine said, if it affects rich white men, we WILL get a vaccine.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:57 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, Fauci says Americans are ignoring science amid coronavirus pandemic.

I've just come back from the next universe over, and Fauci-2 is being dismissed by Fox News as a puppet of President Clinton-2, despite nearly 18,000 American deaths from COVID-19.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:08 PM on June 23 [26 favorites]


So, basically, he feels optimistic because of the money being thrown at the problem.

I would love to hear someone in the industry talk about this. How much of the delay is because of the time you have to spend begging and scraping for funding?
posted by brook horse at 3:09 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


The funding thing is probably more because of the massive parallelization that is happening in both development and manufacturing capabilities and the knowledge that we might have to throw out several factories that are being built because the vaccine they were built to produce doesn't pan out. IE people are preparing to produce millions of doses of vaccines before they are tested so they have the doses on hand as soon as possible. Even though we know some of the doses will never get used.
posted by Mitheral at 3:22 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


So, basically, he feels optimistic because of the money being thrown at the problem. Or as a friend of mine said, if it affects rich white men, we WILL get a vaccine.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:57 PM on June 23 [+] [!]


That's a rather odd interpretation of a fairly anodyne statement. I mean the pandemic is literally wiping out people's lives, welfare and livelihoods the world over. If there was ever a reason to galvanize the scientific infrastructure for a vaccine creation this may be a good candidate.

ALS is pretty male centric but there is not much progress in that realm so maybe for once it isn't all about the wealthy white patriarchy?
posted by docpops at 3:23 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


I would love to hear someone in the industry talk about this. How much of the delay is because of the time you have to spend begging and scraping for funding?

Once you have a clear path to profit (e.g. inhibiting process X will cure this type of cancer and make us $1B/year), funding is not the problem. The research that led to Gardasil (the HPV multi-strain vaccine) was started in 1991. The vaccine came out in 2006. It had Merck's money behind it (unsure how many years it was fully supported by Merck rather than a skunkworks project though).

Money can solve engineering problems fairly quickly. It cannot solve knowledge problems quickly because it may take years of intensive training to become an expert at all the techniques you need to investigate a particular virus strain productively. So you can throw money at the research but it usually ends up with a bunch of bad research because inexperienced researchers grab the cash and end up doing badly informed experiments. You have to ramp up expertise years beforehand if you want to have a hope of doing things quickly, especially when there are fundamental questions to be solved (which cells are the key virus particle producers, what type of immune response is responsible for clearance, etc.).

ALS is more of a phenotype (motor neurons dying) than a single cause, which has complicated development of cures. Many of the things we think of as "a disease" are actually phenotypes with multiple molecular causes. Type II diabetes is similar in that there are probably 6 (+?) subtypes at the molecular level with the shared phenotype of "high blood sugar".
posted by benzenedream at 3:34 PM on June 23 [14 favorites]


So my dad, an epidemiologist who received a lifetime achievement award from his professional organization, said an interesting thing once.

At my middle school's career day, he was a guest speaker, to my enormous embarrassment. When asked (we were prepped with questions by the teachers) what skills or knowledge were most important for people in his field, he said...not microbiology, not virology, not statistics, not organic chemistry, not anything you'd think of right away...he said: POLITICS.

See, he was a hospital epidemiologist. He had to get everyone from the candy-striper to the CNA to the RN to the residents to the chief of neurosurgery to the in-house paint crew to comply with gold-standard practices. Or, to use his favorite example, not wiping off one's debrider on the linens. From a third party, I heard that a doc once challenged him on whether stethoscopes need regular cleaning. His reply: Then go ahead and put it in your mouth.

On walks about the neighborhood, we sometimes ventured through cemeteries, where he'd explain things like the clusters of deaths around 1918. And how entrenched medical professionals used to campaign against instrument sterilization. And how maps and data point to vectors like community-adjacent wells, and the impact of socioeconomic class on prevention. In eighth grade, my Model UN application project was about Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.

Honestly, I don't know how I wound up studying Medieval & Renaissance literature in grad school. But it seems oddly fitting, lately...

What I am trying to say is that a pandemic has uncountable moving parts, and its resolution has factors well beyond any discipline's purview. We are not remotely ready for how this gets fixed, if it can be. Maybe we get lucky. A vaccine is not luck, it's hard work. Its use across a country as wildly complex as ours is not luck. It's no exaggeration to say that the science behind developing a vaccine is no more difficult than the social science of how it's used, at this point.

Whatever the next pandemic is frightens me so much I push it away with effort.
posted by Caxton1476 at 5:36 PM on June 23 [52 favorites]


Yeah, the more comfortable and breathable your mask the worse it is working.

And the more you actually want it to work the more it will fog your glasses into obtuseness. Hi from the humid south.

No, don't tell me that wiping soap and polishing will help. Yes, I still wear it and realize this is small potatoes. It's still shitty.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:50 PM on June 23 [10 favorites]


Yeah my glasses fog up like nobody's business. All of the tips about soap etc might as well be spitting into a hurricane for all the good they do.
posted by Justinian at 7:56 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


The best solution I've found for fogged glasses is putting a piece of tape over the bridge of your nose and the top edge of the mask. I've been using washi tape, but I probably should get something intended for human skin.

Wearing a mask with a nose wire helps, too, and counterintuitively if you wear it as high up on your face as you can it fogs your glasses less.

also, I find that masks with ties rather than earloops, and side channels to thread the ties through, make for a much better fit.
posted by nonasuch at 8:02 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


I hate that my mask makes my glasses fog up, as it makes it hard to shop or pretty much do anything. I still wear it because I'm not an asshole. Because of this, I'm not sympathetic to people that don't wear a mask if they don't have a legitimate health reason for not wearing one.
posted by mollweide at 8:02 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


I don't find that the nosewire helps, tried it. Ok, stepping back a tiny bit. It may help very, very slightly. Ditto positioning. It's just still a pain 85% of the time. I haven't tried the tape but maybe that's something...

And I'm with y'all: anyone A) not having a good medical reason as people above have pointed out (and I appreicate that context) and doubly so B) without glasses who doesn't wear one and dares to complain about comfort issues can get well and truly fucked. Our 6 year old manages one 99+% of the time and 3 year old wears one pretty damn well for what it's worth. They have whiskers printed on them, it's cute. Thanks for letting me vent.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:26 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


I've been wearing a mask for at least 8 hours a day for a few months now. I also have to wear a 95 when dealing with respiratory samples. The same 95 over and over. The staff on our covid floor wear full respirators all shift. It's hard to have sympathy for people who won't wear them for the 20 minutes they're in a store. Especially when I hear the codes being called to our covid floor.
posted by MaritaCov at 9:13 PM on June 23 [50 favorites]


Venting here too; I've reached the point where we're socializing with our grown son on our stoop -- 8 feet apart from left bottom to top right of stoop, both wearing masks, obviously outside. But my husband and I don't feel comfortable with our son coming in to use the bathroom and I feel terrible about this. There is just no ventilation in either of our two bathrooms. And our son (late twenties) is much more "in the world" than we (ages 69 and 74) are. I keep doing research trying to find out the actual risk of any tiny aerosols sticking around for more than a few hours, but solid numbers are elusive. Also our son has been going to protests with thousands of people. I'd tell him to take a test before coming over but I hear they can yield up to 40% or more false negatives. This has given me much much anxiety over the past weeks. I can tell him that, if he needs to use the bathroom he can go to a nearby restaurant, but then that feels like putting him in danger. He is very cautious (the protests were a necessary exception, and I support his activity in them), but still. Even the 45-minute trip to our place from the next borough involves a taxi or public transportation. I hate all this. Gee, how unique, but really. We are lucky enough to have a small backyard and I am seriously considering buying a little "privacy tent" and then a small portable toilet that "empties" into a bag to put inside the tent in the backyard. Am I crazy? I don't know. Everyone seems crazy to me now. Most people I know (and they're all OLD) are pretty careful but still standing in line at Trader Joe's every week, having haircuts, taking buses to go to necessary doctors' appointments. I've arranged things so that I barely leave the house (I can work by Skype etc.). But really it's the damned BATHROOM that's the hole in my COVID PREVENTION MASTER PLAN and I am determined to FILL THAT HOLE, hell or swamp water. So yeah, people now are so thrilled that they are going to outside restaurants -- and i want to ask them -- WHERE THE HELL DID YOU PEE? Some TINY unventilated bathroom that dozens of other people peed in within the hour that you were there? Nothing makes sense. Any comments about safe eiliminatory practices more welcome than you know.
posted by DMelanogaster at 9:26 PM on June 23 [14 favorites]


Long overdue update from Dukes County MA and a restaurant, and restaurant guy, that have been going flat out curbside since March 16th. I'll start with the stories I'm on the verge of forgetting.

Some friends of ours (one of them the actual guy from this story) closed on their first house in mid April and inherited an a sweet 80's stero system with a cd player but no tuner, and put out an urgent call for cd's so they could blast music while they made the fixxer-upper livable. We brought them a box of 30 or more cd's, everything from musicals to punk to rock to regge to John Zorn.

My curbside catchphrase STAY FROSTY has caught on, I get kids in the backseat who want to shout it to me. I feel like spider-man swingign away from some webbed up muggers every time it happens.

We fired up the outdoor shower in....early May. Always a plus. And my work life is such that I jump in there to get ready for work the sun is directly overhead, so I get more tan every day and the sunlight through the falling water creates a rainbow that follows my eyes ans shoulders around.

All of this is going to change in the next few weeks. As we move into phase 2 here in MA my place is setting up some outdoor dining. 58 seats. All mine, I'll be leaving my role as Capt Curbside and taking charge of the new area (part of our gravel parking lot) so my days are going to get longer and the pressure is going to ramp up. I love what I'm doing now. A curbside customer who works at the hospital brought me a gift today, a mask with filter pocket that looks like the shark mouth from Jaws. I started bringing food to cars humming the jaws music and hitting the DUN DUN DAH note just as I put the food through the car window. I'm gonna miss the unique street culture we've developed and I fear for the quality of that operation as I move to take control of this new to us outside seating area.

We have no plans to open the inside bistro and bar, not for months.

Summer is here, the island is getting busier, and some people are not taking masks and distance seriously. Most are.I intend to very publicly and visibly do just a little more than is mandated or encouraged as I essentially open a new straunt under the strangest of conditions.

I agonize over this work shit and then realize how lucky I am and get sad. Then I pull my shit together and try to help someone else, even if that means just putting food in cars.

I won't stop.
posted by vrakatar at 9:31 PM on June 23 [28 favorites]


WHERE THE HELL DID YOU PEE?

Men can use a jar. Sounds like you are in a city, but if you have a back yard, well here we call that using the "large" bathroom.
posted by vrakatar at 9:35 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]


My town I’m Massachusetts has used Jersey barriers to create areas for outdoor seating that extend into parking lots and streats for outdoor dining. Mask use use not what it should be outside, but people are good about social distancing. For supermarkets and drug stores, mask use compliance seems to be 100%, but some feel that popping into a coffee shop for a few minutes without a mask is okay. Unfortunately, staff are often young people who are reluctant to insist on “no mask, no service.”

There number of confirmed cases COVID-19 so far is just over 1% of the population of the town, of which about 13% died. About two-thirds of the fatalities occurred in a single nursing home where over seventy of the nearly ninety residents tested positive and fifteen died.

My mother’s friend of about 85(!) years was one of those infected nursing home residents and survived. However the lack of visits by family and reduced social interaction as ordinary activities For mental stimulation have ceased led to a marked deterioration in her cognitive condition. That is very sad.
posted by haiku warrior at 10:19 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


US nurses at for-profit hospital chain to strike over cuts and PPE shortages (Guardian)
Nurses and support staff at HCA Healthcare, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the US, are planning to strike this Friday in protest over cuts and concessions the corporation is pushing on frontline healthcare workers as coronavirus continues to spread. [...] Erin McIntosh, a nurse in the code blue/rapid response department at the HCA-owned Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, California, for six years, is one of around 1,000 nurses represented by SEIU Local 121RN who are going on strike starting 26 June in protest of hospital understaffing during the pandemic, which they say violates California’s nurse-to-patient ratio laws. [...] Hospital staff reusing masks and gowns has been common throughout the pandemic, McIntosh explained, creating another layer of stress for healthcare workers. [...] Around the US, nurses and hospital workers at HCA have reported understaffing and a lack of resources through the coronavirus pandemic.
In Arizona, Trump has a redo of his Oklahoma rally (Politico)
Images from the event showed a large crowd tightly packed together, with almost no one wearing protective masks. There were no temperature checks for the estimated 3,000 cheering attendees who, like many of Trump’s staunchest fans, ignored a new local ordinance requiring them to wear a mask, despite a public-health plea from the Democratic mayor on Monday. [...] Trump declared the students in the audience as the cultural defenders of not only his movement but also of American values as a whole, portraying Democrats as intolerant and “totalitarian.” [...] When he mentioned what he called “the plague,” the president dismissed it: “It’s going away,” he said. [...] Later in the speech he made fun of the disease and its various names to rousing applause, including referring to it with his new xenophobic moniker [...] The ebullient scene in the church obscures what many see as an uphill battle for the president to hold on to a state that is seen as critical to his reelection.
posted by katra at 10:34 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


‘You should care’: Fauci rebuts Trump (indirectly) on young coronavirus patients (WaPo Analysis)
While asking the question, [GOP Rep. Pete Olson (Tex.)] noted that his area of the country — the Houston area — is dealing with a particularly pronounced outbreak. Olson had strong words for young adults who have flouted social distancing guidelines while reemerging in society. “This is because of their attitude,” Olson said of rising numbers among young adults. “My former boss, [former senator] Phil Gramm [R-Tex.] said it best about these people — how they view this crisis. Bending the covid vaccine curve and ending the pandemic ‘is like going to heaven. Everyone wants to go there, but fewer and fewer want to do the hard work to make it happen.’ I call this the ‘Bad Attitude Curve.’” Olson then asked Fauci how, if he were “king for a day,” he would change that Bad Attitude Curve “and make these people address this issue for the threat it truly is.” Fauci’s comments in response bore almost no resemblance to what Trump had said a day earlier. [...] ["] You should care not only for yourself, but for the impact you might have on the dynamics of the outbreak.["]
EXCLUSIVE: Feds About To Bail On Supporting COVID Testing Sites In Texas And Other States (TPM)
The Trump administration is ending funding and support for local COVID-19 testing sites around the country this month, as cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing in many states. The federal government will stop providing money and support for 13 sites across five states which were originally set up in the first months of the pandemic to speed up testing at the local level. Local officials and public health experts expressed a mixture of frustration, resignation, and horror at the decision to let federal support lapse. Texas will be particularly hard hit by the decision.
posted by katra at 11:17 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


America out, China in as EU looks to reopen external borders (Politico, reported amply in the thread)

On the subject of border closures, as someone who, in the beforetimes, existed on a tourist visa between 4-5 different countries, I have a few things to say.

First, Trump's travel ban decisions have been monstrous and executed with a heretofore unseen level of incompetence, except for one thing - US travel bans have NOT been passport-based. Chinese people, for example, can still come to the US on any visa if they haven't been in China (or another country on the "ban" list") for the past 14 days. They ban people who have BEEN TO banned places in the past 14 days. It's a slight but important distinction, in that it doesn't de jure ban entrants by nationality. It would be stupid to ban a Brazilian coming from Taiwan, for example. That person is not an infection risk. I strongly hope Europe makes a similar decision.

Second, I'm in Indonesia at the moment, and while Indonesia isn't granting tourism visas or other short-term visas at the moment, they are granting visas to most nationalities, assuming you can provide a negative test result and will quarantine for 14 days. They have also granted automatic "Emergency Stay Permits" to anyone who entered before a certain date, valid for the duration of the declared national emergency. Despite Indonesia's sluggish and bungled response to the virus, they did right by those of us stuck here. I came in late January, and haven't left since, because #staythefuckhome. This is the longest I've been in one country in years. I can't describe how grateful I am for the fact that they aren't making me worry about this.

Third, Indonesia hasn't shut down citizen services for Indonesians abroad...while the US has done exactly that. My passport expires next May, which, in the beforetimes, was about time to get it renewed, given all the countries that demand 6 months validity. If the world decides to resume business around September-October, I'll have no choice but to fly back to the US and take my chances with a raging epidemic. The US recalled its "non-essential" diplomatic staff to avoid the virus...and then...????? wtf ????? at home.

I don't know that I agree with "lasting damage to the prestige of the US passport". I assume that's already done, but diplomatic and foreign affairs people aren't usually insane or terribly dogmatic. If you look around the world, most countries abandoned the idea of passport-determined entry bans quickly after the epidemic spread beyond China, and simply sealed their borders to all comers.

And that brings us to four, China. Their answer to a sealed border puts the US and Europe in perspective: on March 28, they declared all existing visas invalid. ALL. Overnight. Got a work visa? No. Got a spouse visa? No. Any travel document but a mainland Chinese passport ain't getting in without approval from the top. A 14-day quarantine, a negative test result, no tourist & short-term visas, OK, I can see that, that makes sense. I don't think you could find me a diplomat to argue with that right now. But...foreigners? All of them? Just...all of them?

Five - China has been re-establishing so-called "fast-track procedures" with countries that have the virus under control. And, true, given China's near total lack of long-term visas, I understand that suspending every short-term visa may have been the most expedient way to do this, but they were ALREADY enforcing a nearly airtight 14-day quarantine in government facilities, and they certainly haven't locked out their own citizens. To date, they have not opened the border to non-Chinese with previously valid visas, and they have not announced entry procedures or even plans to create them. They have also not granted people trapped in China indefinite stays for the duration of the crisis. On the contrary, there was the whole evicting and harassing black people in Guangzhou, carte blanche (nay, encouragement) for local governments to ban foreigners from public establishments, and charging people full visa application fees every 30 days for stay permit renewals.

Contrast China's response with the US's, and then compare with Indonesia's. In this contest, no one shines, but I guarantee you, only one of them stinks of blatant, brutal, ruthless, and systemic bigotry. By comparison, the US comes out seeming like it actually is - we have a psychopath in charge. The rest of the world knows that and gives us some leverage. I look at Brazil and don't see a nation of brutes, I see one brute and a system mounting an epic fight against him. In a decade or two, that's how the rest of the planet will describe the US.

Take some solace in that. Trump is crazy, we're not, and that's what everyone on the sidelines sees too.
posted by saysthis at 11:28 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


EXCLUSIVE: Feds About To Bail On Supporting COVID Testing Sites In Texas And Other States

"I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please."
posted by amarynth at 3:33 AM on June 24 [6 favorites]


The privacy tent in the backyard, much as I hate to say it, is an excellent idea. Get a portable/compost toilet.

As for where people pee, I saw an article on Vice(?) that said people either pee in public or straight up pee their pants. Another reason not to leave anywhere...
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:53 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


A short bathroom trip while wearing a mask inside should be pretty safe. Sterilizing all touch surfaces afterwards will probably make it even safer. Remember, covid requires LENGTH of exposure too. I am hoping it's not insane to let a masked person use our bathroom quickly because we already let one friend do it after he stayed too long chatting in our yard. But I hesitate to let my parents in their 70s do the same so I don't know. It's so hard to know if we're being cautious, too cautious, or downright nuts in our cautiousness. Or if we're not taking the right precautions at all.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:44 AM on June 24 [6 favorites]


If I had a PAC and an advertising budget, I would shoot a 30-second spot that was just fifteen diverse people saying "Hey, Trump, why don't you do something?" And end it with the tagline #stopcovid. And play it on Fox News exclusively.
posted by valkane at 5:52 AM on June 24 [3 favorites]


So yeah, people now are so thrilled that they are going to outside restaurants -- and i want to ask them -- WHERE THE HELL DID YOU PEE? Some TINY unventilated bathroom that dozens of other people peed in within the hour that you were there?

Here in Europe where people are sane, you are required to wear a mask any time you are not at your dining table (also no more just walking in and finding a table, you have to be sat by staff, and no more sharing tables with strangers). If you think about it, the bathroom should be the safest inside place if everyone follows proper hygiene: you're wearing a mask, you're not yelling or singing, you don't touch much and as soon as you're done you wash your hands.

The dining itself is probably more dangerous: no mask on anyone, if you're with people you're probably talking (possibly loudly) and laughing, lots of face touching during eating.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:16 AM on June 24 [4 favorites]


On another note, where masks are required over there in the US, are they also required outside? Based on the results of European mask rules, it doesn't seem like it should be necessary to wear one outside. In theory, it makes sense to wear a mask even outside when you're with a group of strangers, but most people don't. Though compliance is 100% in shops and on public transport. So based on that and the fact that Europe really did flatten it's curves, I don't think a mask outside is necessary, but I'm not a doctor anyways.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:19 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


So those jerks who think it will stick to just marginalized groups? It's coming for them the moment they drop their guard. And they have dropped their guard

The moral void in a fright wig currently calling itself our Prime Minister literally put himself in ICU by flagrantly disregarding the rules we were being told to follow. It's changed nothing.
There's no way to make them believe it, but just like climate change, engineered economic meltdown and the rest, it will kill us first, but it will kill them next.
It'll be too late by the time they realise that, though.
posted by BlueNorther at 7:05 AM on June 24 [3 favorites]


On another note, where masks are required over there in the US, are they also required outside?

Whether masks are required at all in the US is highly variable. CNN article on the topic.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:15 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Here in Denmark, almost no one wears a mask except health care workers. All the other rules common everywhere during reopening apply.
The thing is, I can't see it makes much of a difference. The infection rate is very low and now the health care system has learnt to mange the disease without putting the staff in danger. A lot of people are being tested every day, and every time someone with the virus is found, the authorities help them track down everyone they may have infected. If that isn't possible, like after the BLM demonstrations, a general warning is sent out.
posted by mumimor at 7:25 AM on June 24


The moral void in a fright wig currently calling itself our Prime Minister literally put himself in ICU by flagrantly disregarding the rules we were being told to follow. It's changed nothing.

Didn't it? He got much more cautious after his ICU stay. See how the backbench of the party and the rightwing tabloids eventually dragged him to re-open things, if they'd had their way things would have opened both earlier and more aggressively. I think
posted by atrazine at 7:44 AM on June 24


It probably doesn't make much of a difference where you are, mumimor, because it sounds like your government is taking better care of you than the US's does. Here, we need to wear masks.
posted by cooker girl at 7:47 AM on June 24 [12 favorites]


Pretty much any time someone mentions {here in not-USA}, the assumptions are that there is a functional health-care system, widespread testing, contact tracing, a somewhat sane populace, and a leadership that is interested in minimizing illness and death. None of those things are true in this country.
posted by kokaku at 7:56 AM on June 24 [22 favorites]


because it sounds like your government is taking better care of you than the US's does. Here, we need to wear masks.
I totally agree, and I thought of including it in the comment: here, no one is forced to go to work with a light fever or a cough because there is an economic safety net for all, and it is not socially acceptable to go out if you are ill. And while things look almost normal, there is a lot of control going on everywhere, in all workplaces, at the stores and at restaurants and bars.
Finally, we obviously have universal healthcare, so it is in the government's own interest to keep us well.
posted by mumimor at 7:59 AM on June 24 [9 favorites]


We (and yeah, I guess I do mean everyone, not just those of us in the U.S.) need to also keep in mind that the U.S. population in general has a VERY pronounced individualistic bent. It's kind of baked into our societal DNA (whether or not that's good is a subject for another day; I happen to think it's not great). So yeah, there tends to be a LOT of pushback against being told what to do. Clearly, in cases of a pandemic, that shit doesn't fly. The U.S. needs to work out when it's good to be individualistic and when it's not, and we don't do a good job of that right now.
posted by cooker girl at 9:30 AM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Mumimor, case in point: I'm in Texas. My best friend has a unionized job unloading planes at an international airport. She's allowed 3 paid sick days per year, after working that job for 30-ish years now. Because she's used up all 3 paid sick days this year, and started running a fever on Saturday, her supervisor told her to come in and work today, regardless, or she'd be written up.

3 write ups, and she gets fired (meaning, no unemployment benefits or health insurance afterwards). So, she elected to go to work unloading planes overnight, running a fever, and hasn't had time or money to get a Covid test. Why? Because the test is $150 and she'd need to take a day off to go get tested.

This is the reality of most USians right now: Go to work in essential jobs while ill and not even knowing whether you have Covid, or lose your job and have nothing at all because our safety nets are non-existent.

By the way, her husband lost his job in the entertainment industry back in March so she is the sole provider for their family. If she loses her job too, they have nothing.

Lastly, you should know this unionized global shipping company does NOT require workers to wear masks while unloading planes at this international airport. They have had multiple outbreaks at the airport and amongst their coworkers for this reason. They only have to wear masks if they go inside to use the restrooms or take meal breaks. Some workers do wear the masks regardless, but it gets above 100F (38C) regularly inside the planes during summertime, so.... *screams internally*
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:39 AM on June 24 [48 favorites]


the U.S. population in general has a VERY pronounced individualistic bent. It's kind of baked into our societal DNA

Maybe a derail, but I want to push back on this a bit, because I do see this narrative a lot, and I think that it leads to people giving up on trying to change this situation too often. The US has a pronounced individualistic bent relative to other countries, it's true. But there has been a noticeable change in this over my 40-ish year lifetime.

When I was younger, some states (eg. Maine) still had caucuses instead of primaries. Now, there are issues with caucuses and there were some good reasons for switching to primaries, but this was part of the New England town meeting tradition that was still at least somewhat active earlier in my lifetime. A fair number of people saw themselves as part of a polity, and came together to make local group decisions. Again, there were significant issues with how this happened and which sub-groups of people got left out of the decision-making. But there was a balance between valuing self-sufficiency and valuing community care.

I also lived in the upper Midwest for part of my youth. In the small city that we lived in, every neighborhood had a neighborhood park, and there was a large parks and rec department that hired young adults to organize activities for the neighborhood kids, including putting together a float representing their park for an annual late summer parade. There were all sorts of volunteer community groups. I have fond memories of peeling vegetables in a kitchen full of people (mostly women - again, a lot about the situation was imperfect) preparing communal meals (for just secular community events, so my memories don't even include the church dinners or events that also happened frequently!), stuffing envelopes for mailing out newsletters for community groups that my parents were involved in, or standing around a rural intersection with my parents because the local ham radio club did communications for the local triathlon. The running club was large, and put on monthly fun runs. And there were many other volunteer clubs and organizations for stuff that my parents weren't interested in, so I didn't participate in directly.

My parents have more recently moved back and forth between the two places, and much of that community activity seems to have tailed off in both areas. In my observations, the culprit seems to be capitalism.

On the one hand, capitalism incentivizes self-interest. Adam Smith's original idea was that common good would emerge out of the individual self-interested actions of individuals, with culture keeping some of the worst excesses in check. But the incentive systems that we live under change our culture. The '80s were known as the "Me Decade", but from what I can see, the '80s don't hold a candle to the sort of extreme self-interested behavior from people at the top of the economic ladder that is accepted or even lauded nowadays.

Related but different is the phenomenon of alienation. Very briefly, the constant competition with each other that we're required to engage in under capitalism eats away at any natural sense of community or solidarity we may feel with others. (Narrated by Gillian Anderson!)

Both of these affect people in the US more strongly than in other countries because the US is the center or "pinnacle" of modern capitalism. Other countries have social safety nets that help moderate the capitalist pressures that contribute to these two phenomena. Many words have been written by others on why the US doesn't have effective social safety nets anymore. Racism seems to be a significant contributing factor. But it's important to remember that the US used to have safety net programs and policies that, well, were effective for white working class people, at least. And the US used to have a citizenry with a (racist, but still) sense of community to temper the individualism. Yes, there are perhaps more stories of the (white, male) individual making their own way in the world that come out of (white) American culture than out of other cultures; but in many cases the protagonists in those stories don't eschew community entirely - they build a different, chosen community rather than rely on heritage and tradition for their community, but often the community element is still there. Ayn Rand and her acolytes form an important counter thread to this, and likely bear some responsibility for the current culture of hyper individualism in the US, but they have historically been more of a cultural minority (albeit one that gained sufficient economic and political power to influence the culture).

McCarthyism and its long term effects on unionism and more communalist philosophies in the US shares a piece of the blame, as well, from what I read.

Even today, however, I find that I can draw on this history in talking to people in the US about the importance of being more communally oriented, in a way that I can't when talking to people where I currently live in Atlantic Canada. People in my current province are more communally oriented in a broad, general sense; but it feels harder to get people involved in small, local volunteer efforts here. And many of my current neighbours, even ones older than me, don't have the same experiences of secular community (church breakfasts are still a thing, at least - again, some inclusion issues there) that I have from growing up in different parts of the US.

So it's not baked in to the "societal DNA" of the US or inevitable. And I encourage all of you to also push back on that idea when you do hear it.
posted by eviemath at 10:51 AM on June 24 [22 favorites]


In my observations of US life in various states, those kind of things mostly happen in insular groups for the benefit of their own and in place of things a more community-oriented government would provide. See also Mormon relief societies. I stand by this country being pathologically individualistic.
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:02 AM on June 24 [7 favorites]


Maybe a derail, but I want to push back on this a bit, because I do see this narrative a lot, and I think that it leads to people giving up on trying to change this situation too often. The US has a pronounced individualistic bent relative to other countries, it's true. But there has been a noticeable change in this over my 40-ish year lifetime.

1. Never said to give up trying to change it. It should change.
2. You've seen a noticeable change, I have not. I'll be 50 this year, so we're contemporaries. What I have seen is the US going deeper and deeper into an "all for me and me for all" mentality, especially on the Right. The examples you gave all speak to neighborhood and sub-group interests. I'm not talking about the community garden or local charity runs. I'm talking about globalization vs. nationalism and it's my fault for not specifying that. The US population is great when it comes to organizing for communities. But "we" don't really see beyond our neighborhoods or our cities or our states, let alone our nation. That's all I was saying, and again, sorry for not being more clear.

And also, I'm speaking very generally here. Of course #notallamericans. But for the most part, generally, we're terrible at looking past our borders. This pandemic affects the entire world. And we can't even get our own people to care about people down the street, let alone people across the world.
posted by cooker girl at 11:04 AM on June 24 [6 favorites]


Oh, and yeah: capitalism does not help. At all.
posted by cooker girl at 11:17 AM on June 24 [4 favorites]


I'm talking about globalization vs. nationalism

That's usually described as "tribalism" rather than individualism?
posted by eviemath at 11:22 AM on June 24 [2 favorites]


Good point! This is why I shouldn't try to follow along on a MeFi thread while also trying to edit spreadsheets.

Carry on!

:)
posted by cooker girl at 11:33 AM on June 24 [2 favorites]




New York City Marathon Canceled Because of Pandemic (NYT)
City officials and New York Road Runners, which owns and organizes the event, decided holding the race would be too risky. Public health experts have said mass events, especially those that bring people together from across the globe, will remain a danger until a treatment or a vaccine for Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, is widely available.
Washington state to require face masks after county runs out of hospital beds (CBS News)
A county in Washington state has run out of hospital beds because of a recent spike in coronavirus cases — and now, Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the entire state is going to take a more aggressive approach to handling the pandemic. Everyone in the state, minus a few exceptions, will now have to wear a face mask, and will be charged with a misdemeanor crime if they fail to do so.
NY, NJ, and CT order quarantine for visitors from states with high infection numbers (Fox5NY)
Cuomo says police will be stopping cars with out of state plates in New York. He says violators may face a judicial order and mandatory quarantine along with fines. He also said hotel employees should be questioning guests about their quarantine.
posted by katra at 12:04 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


A mask requirement is good. Making it a misdemeanor crime rather than a violation like a traffic ticket and possibly a fine for the most stubborn, I'm much less comfortable with.
posted by wierdo at 1:52 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


So it's not baked in to the "societal DNA" of the US or inevitable. And I encourage all of you to also push back on that idea when you do hear it.

de Tocqueville wrote about how American society was highly individualistic but also that Americans loved a club, committee, or society.

Anyone living in the United States learns from birth that he must rely on himself to combat the ills and obstacles of life; he looks across at the authority of society with mistrust and anxiety, calling upon such authority only when he cannot do without it. This begins to become apparent when school starts and children, even in their games, submit to the rules they have established and punish offenses following their own definitions. The same spirit prevails in all the affairs of social life. Should an obstacle appear on the public highway and the passage of traffic is halted, neighbors at once form a group to consider the matter; from this improvised assembly an executive authority appears to remedy the inconvenience before anyone has though of the possibility of some other authority already in existence before the one they have just formed.... [In America] there is nothing the human will despairs of attaining through the free action of the combined powers of individuals.

That tradition, such as it was, (and always stronger in New England and parts of the upper Midwest than in other parts of the country) of simultaneously distrusting external authority while trusting to and spontaneously forming local groups is still alive in things like the caucus.

It is a simplification to think of that as purely "individualistic" and I suspect that the relationship between the state, neighbours, local groups, and individuals is very different in rural New Hampshire than it is in Kentucky despite both of those places being known for suspicion of state power.
posted by atrazine at 2:00 PM on June 24 [5 favorites]


A mask requirement is good. Making it a misdemeanor crime rather than a violation like a traffic ticket and possibly a fine for the most stubborn, I'm much less comfortable with.

I would also prefer it to be an infraction than a crime. I would also be more okay with it if the enforcers of this requirement (probably the cops, unfortunately) were given a supply of nondescript, clean masks and given the following instructions:

1. If you see a person in public without a mask, say "You seem to have forgotten your mask. Here, take this one for free."
2. Verify that they put the mask on (or provide one of the limited excuses).
3. If they insist on remaining in public but also refuse to wear a mask, then point out that the alternative is a fine and offer the mask again.
4. If they still refuse, then write them up.

And have explicit safeguards written in to the law and policy:

1. A mask will always be offered, every time, even for willful repeat offenders.
2. The same modest fine is the only penalty, even for willful repeat offenders.
3. By itself, not wearing a mask or refusing one is never grounds for an arrest, search, further questioning, etc.
4. If a family is in public together without masks then they are all to be offered masks but only one fine should be issued regardless of the size of the group.
posted by jedicus at 2:17 PM on June 24 [20 favorites]


So I'm really, really curious how this is going to be enforced

Honour system. Plus a certain amount of social shaming. And at least some companies will prevent their employees from returning to work if they know it applies which will impact how many people travel for business in the first place.
posted by Mitheral at 2:39 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Dan Magan, CNBC: Trump will not follow New Jersey coronavirus quarantine order, ‘he’s not a civilian,’ White House says
“The president of the United States is not a civilian,” said a White House spokesman when asked about Trump’s compliance with the quarantine order given his travel Tuesday to Arizona
That is both objectively false and an extremely dangerous idea.
posted by jedicus at 3:07 PM on June 24 [41 favorites]


Oh he's not a civilian okay okay okay okay okay this is where we are now cool cool cool cool cool but tomorrow it'll turn out that was just a joke and we'll forget about it this is not at all rage inducing or terrifying or anything like that
posted by bleep at 3:17 PM on June 24 [15 favorites]


Virus cases surge among the young, endangering older adults (AP)
Elected officials such as Florida’s governor have argued against reimposing restrictions, saying many of the newly infected are young and otherwise healthy. But younger people, too, face the possibility of severe infection and death. In the past week, two 17-year-olds in Florida died of the virus. And authorities worry that older, more vulnerable people are next. “People between the ages 18 and 50 don’t live in some sort of a bubble,” Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said. “They are the children and grandchildren of vulnerable people. They may be standing next to you at a wedding. They might be serving you a meal in a restaurant.”
‘Coming back and biting us’: US sees virus resurgence (AP)
A coronavirus resurgence is wiping out two months of progress in the U.S. and sending infections to dire new levels across the South and West, with administrators and health experts warning Wednesday that politicians and a tired-of-being-cooped-up public are letting a disaster unfold. [...] “People got complacent,” said Dr. Marc Boom, CEO of the Houston Methodist hospital system. “And it’s coming back and biting us, quite frankly.” Stocks slid on Wall Street as the news dampened hopes for a quick economic turnaround.
From China To Germany, the World Learns to Live With the Coronavirus (NYT)
While the details differ, the strategies call for giving governments flexibility to tighten or ease as needed. They require some mix of intensive testing and monitoring, lightning-fast response times by the authorities, tight border management and constant reminders to their citizens of the dangers of frequent human contact. [...] The shifting strategies are an acknowledgment that even the most successful countries cannot declare victory until a vaccine is found. They also show the challenge presented by countries like the United States, Brazil and India, where the authorities never fully contained initial outbreaks and from where the coronavirus will continue to threaten to spread.
posted by katra at 4:20 PM on June 24 [6 favorites]


Today's top 10 states for new cases

1) Texas >5000
2) Florida >5000
3) California >4000
4) North Carolina >2000
5) Arizona > 1700
6) Georgia > 1700
7) South Carolina > 1000
8) Alabama approx 900
9) Tennessee approx 900
10) Louisiana approx 900

See any pattern here?
posted by Windopaene at 4:30 PM on June 24


Thank heavens that Covid can’t survive the summer heat...
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:40 PM on June 24 [12 favorites]


See any pattern here?

North Carolina has a Democratic governor?
posted by Snowishberlin at 5:01 PM on June 24


Or, North Carolina reopened too early? I do think that is the case.
posted by Snowishberlin at 5:04 PM on June 24


An interacting mix of total state population, public policy, citizen compliance (or lack thereof) with public policy, and the overall dynamics of spread of SARS-CoV2 across regions of the country?

They are all states in the southern half of the US. Not sure that's a causal relationship, however.
posted by eviemath at 5:31 PM on June 24


7 or 8 of these states opened up too early.

And 7 or 8 have Republican Govenors, and a couple others have GOP dominated state legislatures.

Probably just a coincedence though, right?
posted by Windopaene at 5:32 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


California is really 3 states: Northern, Southern, and Inland. The stats are quite different in each.
posted by PhineasGage at 5:58 PM on June 24 [7 favorites]


So I'm really, really curious how [quarantine for inter-state visitors] is going to be enforced

Hawaii, the state most dependent on tourism, has been enforcing this rather strictly, and also flying people back to the mainland. There have been cases of residents being arrested for breaking quarantine after returning.
posted by meowzilla at 6:46 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Of course Trump is a civilian, that's the whole premise of "Commander in Chief," civilian control of the military.
posted by rhizome at 7:07 PM on June 24 [9 favorites]


DMelanogaster: I keep doing research trying to find out the actual risk of any tiny aerosols sticking around for more than a few hours, but solid numbers are elusive. Also our son has been going to protests with thousands of people. I'd tell him to take a test before coming over but I hear they can yield up to 40% or more false negatives.

On both topics, from the recent AskMe request for best recent overview of COVID, mcgsa shared this Fresh Air interview: Amid Confusion About Reopening, An Expert Explains How To Assess COVID-19 Risk, where epidemiologist Michael Osterholm discusses a range of related items, including:
  • "I think the one factor that we must keep in mind at all times is that, to date, we have about 5 to 7% of the U.S. population has been infected with this virus. That's it. All the pain, suffering, death and economic disruption have occurred with 5 to 7%. But this virus is not going to slow down transmission overall. It may come and go, but it will keep transmitting until we get at least 60 or 70% of the population infected and hopefully develop immunity — or if we get a vaccine, that can get us there too."
  • "Now, when we looked at [the risk of transmission from the outdoor Black Lives Matter protests], we realized that it was outdoors largely, which in that case, the virus dissipates quite quickly into the air. If there's any air movements around, it literally blows the cloud away and, in a sense, disintegrates it. And so that would mean a lot less exposure to someone breathing the air near someone else who might be infected. On the other hand, there were risk factors that we were concerned about, such as people who were exposed to tear gas and smoke that were coughing substantially. People yelling, shouting, whether they had a mask on or not, which we know can aerosolize the virus, getting it in terms of the air coming out of that voice. And then on top of that, we had individuals who were arrested, put in holding vehicles, sometimes for several hours before they were transported to the local jails, and they are then processed and put in a jail cell overnight. All of that would have likely increased cases. But as I said, we just haven't seen it yet. I think we're probably one to two weeks away from having more definitive answers, whether there was really an increase or not. And I think right now we are hopeful that we won't see a big increase in many of the cities that experienced these large crowds coming together."
  • "One of the projects that we're working on right now with a group of international experts is really attempting to measure the exposure that someone likely will have in a public setting, meaning exposure in terms of time and dose. I think people often think of transmission with this virus almost like tag: I get close to somebody who's infected — "Tag! You're now it." It's not at all. It is time related. We're working on this, and it may be that you need many minutes to be in an environment where this virus is in the air and you need to inhale it in, and the amount of breathing that you do at a certain level before you get infected, it's not just a yes or no. It's a threshold. So one of the things we're trying to do over the course of the next month is put out a series of documents that will actually give people just that kind of quantification you're asking for: If I open a car window, do I reduce my risk by fivefold? Tenfold? What is my risk at that point? What's my risk if I'm with 50 people versus 10 people? What are the chances of me actually coming in contact with the virus? We need this information badly."
  • "What we have largely is the Wild, Wild West of testing. The FDA has, I think, done a miserable job of overseeing the regulation and the authorization of antibody tests. Today, there's over 100 [tests] in the United States where somebody has just filed with the FDA that they are going to offer this, and that's all they had to do to be able to do it. We have seen a number of these tests that provide very, very poor results. ... If I were to test a large segment of the population today, half of all the test results that came back positive would actually be false positive — meaning they didn't really have the antibody. ... I would not use it at this point as a way of telling an individual patient that they did or didn't have COVID. The final piece is, of course, we don't know what antibody really means in terms of your own protection. We're worried that we're gonna start seeing people take different approaches to how they protect themselves if they think they're antibody positive."

amarynth: "I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please."

Seen on Facebook: "You know why summer's so hot? Too many thermometers. If we didn't check the temperature so often, we wouldn't have many days over 80 degrees [Fahrenheit]" (or something like that).


wierdo: A mask requirement is good. Making it a misdemeanor crime rather than a violation like a traffic ticket and possibly a fine for the most stubborn, I'm much less comfortable with.

Then we're back in racist policing territory, with the excessive burden falling on already disadvantaged populations.

Police should be handing out masks, not fines.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:39 PM on June 24 [25 favorites]


Seems like some scientist/medical folks should get an asymtomatic person, put them in a room, either just sitting for a couple of hours, with some collection sensors around, or walking around said collectors, and actually see what viral load the infected person puts out. Would seem like a good baseline for public health information. All I ever see is number of droplets ejected by coughs/sneezes.
posted by Windopaene at 8:06 PM on June 24


California reported an additional 7,149 Covid-19 cases since Tuesday, a 69% increase in two days, bringing the state’s total to 190,222 cases, according to the state’s health department. The previous highest day jump was reported on Tuesday when the state recorded 5,019 additional new cases. (CNBC, June 24, 2020) The state’s seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases increased nearly 46% compared with a week ago, according to Hopkins data.

Fauci [...] told CBS News Radio he’s frustrated Americans aren’t following public health recommendations to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
I'm all ears, Doc.

Fauci to California: Good work so far, but state needs public buy-in for safe reopening (CalMatters.org, June 24, 2020) Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading public health voice in the coronavirus pandemic, gave California a pat on the back Wednesday, complimenting the state’s handling of its reopening — even amidst some public pushback. [...] “Plan A is don’t congregate. Plan B is that if you do congregate wear a mask and keep the mask on all the time,” he said. And to those who view masks as a political statement, Fauci said: “Forget the politics. Look at the data.”

An Illustrated History of Government Agencies Twisting the Truth to Align With White House Misinformation (Pro Publica, June 22, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:14 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Further to Filthy_Light_Thief's great summary of the epidemiologist's comments on Fresh Air: as part of the current training protocol for contact tracers, the key factor in determining whether somebody is at risk of having been infected (and therefore should self-quarantine) is whether they have been within 6 feet of a known infected person for at least 10 or 15 minutes.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:32 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


For anyone who is interested in a deep dive into contact tracing, Coursera is offering the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Contact Tracing course for free.

Hey, I took this! I got a certificate and everything.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:03 PM on June 24 [5 favorites]


Dozens of Secret Service officers and agents told to self-quarantine after Trump’s Tulsa rally (WaPo / reprint)
The Secret Service instructed employees who worked the Tulsa event to stay at home for 14 days when they returned from the weekend trip, according to two people familiar with the agency’s decision. [...] The move by the Secret Service to try to limit the spread of the infection shows how Trump’s decision to go forward with the rally increased the health risks and burden on the people who protect the president, former agents said. [...] White House spokesman Judd Deere did not directly answer questions about whether the president regretted the trip or if it increased the exposure risks for the agency, White House staff or himself. [...] The Trump campaign hoped the Tulsa trip would rally supporters in the heavily red state of Oklahoma amid polls showing an increasing number of voters concerned about the president’s handling of the pandemic, a stall in the economy and racial unrest over police violence against black Americans.
Trump is headlining fireworks at Mount Rushmore. Experts worry two things could spread: virus and wildfire. (WaPo)
Neither federal nor state officials have imposed social distancing requirements as part of the gathering. The state tourism department, which is distributing 7,500 tickets for the event, has estimated that it has had requests for at least 125,000. One senior Interior official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the department is following state health guidelines and is taking steps to reflect recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes signs throughout the park urging visitors to wear a cloth face covering when it is impossible to keep six feet away from others, and providing face coverings for all of its employees.

[...] Agency analyses, including a December 2017 presentation obtained by The Post, suggest that resuming fireworks could pollute local drinking water supplies, pose possible safety risks and potentially damage the monument itself. The 2017 presentation noted that the memorial is accessed by a single two-lane road, constraining entrance and access to the grounds. [Cheryl Schreier, who served as the superintendent at Mount Rushmore National Park between September 2010 and May 2019] said she was particularly concerned whether visitors would be able to leave quickly enough in an emergency, especially because so many people without entrance passes might end up parking on the side of the road to watch the display. “These are winding roadways, and if people are not familiar with Black Hills of South Dakota, it can be very challenging,” she said.
posted by katra at 10:10 PM on June 24 [9 favorites]


There is right now a new fire in that state park working its way up Rushmore way. I worked and lived in that park at a theatre for a few summers and it is my favorite place on the planet. Mount Rushmore itself is already a desecration and a nasty thing, and I say this as a native South Dakotan. 45 should not go there on a normal day, because it is true that the roads are treacherous and not built for crowds. He should absolutely not go there when a pandemic is trying to kill my friends and a fire is doing the same and to imagine doing a fireworks display invokes the most visceral protective fight-y feelings in me. Sodak has a really shit governor right now who already has selfish malevolent people feeling free to roam. The whole state is having to operate town by town and mayor by mayor, and a few of the mayors seem happy to watch people die. The governor's spending her time fighting Tribal governments, who are trying to restrict callous open travel through their space. My home state is burning and also now literally burning to meet the place that 45 wants to make a racist show. Aristocrats!

(I'm far away from there now. But if you have access to a tiny stick-shift car, drive that Needles Highway sometime. It's one of the greatest things in life. Windows open. Song loud or music off. It's such a beautiful place. Not even to mention Jewel Cave, which will take a zillion more years to explore.)

My friends and family are all still being careful, being apart, taking care. If you happen to be from a place where callousness is suddenly patriotic, I have found that writing messages on other social sites about holding the line and about taking care of other people and thanking people who are doing that is useful-ish. A lot of people who are surrounded by shitheadery can get a bit of comfort out of confirmation that they are right and they haven't understood the science wrong. Social pressure is powerful and if you can back them to calmly push back, it gives courage to people they know.

Anyway, this all sucks. Hang in there, everyone.
posted by lauranesson at 10:42 PM on June 24 [30 favorites]


Rapid City Journal link about that fire. Info seems thin at the moment and I'm sorry that the whole park is named after a loser hopeful genocidaire, but it's a holy place for a reason.
posted by lauranesson at 10:53 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


With regards to the pandemic, I believe that the U.S. has not yet achieved Peak Stupid. With the Spanish Flu, the second wave of the disease caused the worst behavior, but we're not even past the first wave with COVID-19.

Right now, stupid sounds like this:

"Good work, folks! We stopped the fire from spreading in two or three places. Time to pack up our hoses and get this fire truck back to the station."

I don't think we have any idea of how stupid people are going to be when COVID-19 resurges in the fall and winter and even tougher restrictions need to be implemented than any we've seen so far. People are going to lose their damn minds with frustration and impatience and worry.

STAY STRONG.

STAY HOME.

WEAR A MASK.

WASH YOUR HANDS.

IGNORE SOCIAL PRESSURE TO DO THE WRONG THING.

SUPPORT EACH OTHER.

The worst is yet to come, but we can beat this. It will be slow. Pace yourself for a long fight. Ask for help when you need it, and offer help when you don't. We're all on the buddy system now.
posted by springo at 6:16 AM on June 25 [21 favorites]


I agree the worst is yet to come. But we can't beat this in America, and we won't. Either we'll get to the 60%+ infection rate that means we have herd immunity. Or we get absolutely lucky and a vaccine not only is developed, but is then distributed in enough quantity to matter. Outside chance that some therapy will be developed for sick people too so that the disease continues to spread but isn't so terrible.

The federal government is completely AWOL and has decided to just ignore the problem. State governments are trying but even the states that mean well and are mostly competently run (say, California) are failing. And then you have the American individualistic mindset, with its "fuck you I got mine" attitude stopping people from wearing masks and its contempt for healthcare as a social good.

We are witnessing a significant failure of the American system. No one is coming to save us and we sure as hell aren't capable of saving ourselves.
posted by Nelson at 6:57 AM on June 25 [7 favorites]


With regards to the pandemic, I believe that the U.S. has not yet achieved Peak Stupid... Right now, stupid sounds like this:

"Good work, folks! We stopped the fire from spreading in two or three places. Time to pack up our hoses and get this fire truck back to the station."


I think you're actually being too generous. I realize that point-and-grar isn't the best use of discourse here, so mods feel free to delete, but I just watched this clip of people fighting the mask ordinance in Palm Beach and I don't think some fire trucks have any intention of leaving the station in the first place.
posted by Mchelly at 8:30 AM on June 25 [5 favorites]


Some of these dumb people think fire trucks set the fires because they saw it on the Internet.
posted by Nelson at 8:37 AM on June 25 [8 favorites]


I'm not convinced herd immunity is even an option for anyone at this point. Recent studies show that antibodies rapidly fall to undetectable levels in formerly Covid-positive patients -- anywhere from a few weeks to 2-3 months, at most.

There's a Dallas woman who was very ill with Covid in February, then cleared it and donated plasma with antibodies twice to help others hospitalized with the virus.

Then about 10 days ago, she was admitted to Southwestern and tested positive for Covid again, now four months after her initial infection. And I feel like I've read that she's not the only one? Maybe there was a case in the UK, or similar?

The 1918 flu pandemic killed my great-grandfather in 1920, just a few months after my grandfather was born. It's awful to see we didn't learn anything then and the parallel arguments people are making now about masking, distancing, etc. And yet, here I am, turning down offers for road trips with friends visiting from out of state for 4th of July... 🤦‍♀️
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:38 AM on June 25 [5 favorites]


A CS professor at my University who is a respected smart person:

Everything you’ve read about contact tracing apps is wrong

The simple math in here seems to check out. Kind of confirms what I suspected, that we need people more than apps when it comes to contact tracing, and we need public buy-in for either to really work.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:55 AM on June 25 [7 favorites]


I live in Palm Beach County and those wackos are not representative of the population as a whole, thank goodness. From what I've seen when I go to the grocery store or Target, people here are pretty good about wearing masks in those places. I have a musician friend who's played some outdoor gigs in the past few weeks and he says that mask compliance tends to go down as alcohol consumption goes up, which I suppose is only to be expected, but is why I'm staying well away from bars for now.
posted by Daily Alice at 9:01 AM on June 25 [7 favorites]


...aaaand just got the email from Penn, my University for work and school. They are doing hybrid until Thanksgiving, all online after that. Huge mistake. I hope they change their minds as the virus continues to trend upwards.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:12 AM on June 25 [5 favorites]


COVID-19 Broke the Economy. What If We Don't Fix It?
"Whenever there's a crisis, everybody says we have to work more. Actually no, at the moment you want to save the world, work less," said David Graeber, an American anthropologist and the author of Bullshit Jobs, a book that argues that many jobs that we currently work are meaningless.

As a society, we place moral value on working. "We really do believe that if you're not out working hard you don't deserve anything. You're a bad person," Graeber said. "But that morality is perversely destroying the planet."
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:18 AM on June 25 [23 favorites]


I'm not convinced herd immunity is even an option for anyone at this point. Recent studies show that antibodies rapidly fall to undetectable levels in formerly Covid-positive patients -- anywhere from a few weeks to 2-3 months, at most.

I posted this in the other thread, but I think it bears repeating because its important:

On Antibody persistence and immunity

So my advice is not to panic, but not to be complacent, either. The complexities of the immune system mean that we have a whole range of possible situations in how this pandemic is unfolding. At the most optimistic end, it is possible that a larger percentage of the population than we realize might already be protected (to some degree) from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, it’s also possible that almost everyone is, in fact, still vulnerable and that we just haven’t seen the virus run through most of the population yet. Everyone will have seen the various population surveys with antibody testing that have suggested, in most cases, that a rather small percentage of people have been exposed. Think of the various ways you could get such a result: (1) it’s just what it looks like, and most people are unprotected because they have so far been unexposed. (2) the antibody results are what they look like – low exposure – but people’s T-cell responses mean that there are actually more people protected than we realize. (3) the antibody results are deceiving, because (as this latest paper seems to show) the antibody response fades over time, meaning that more people have been exposed than it looks like. And that means you can split that into (3a) the antibody response fades, but the T-cell response is still protective and (3b) the antibody response fades and so does the T-cell response. That last one is not a happy possibility.

About the woman in Dallas:

There's a Dallas woman who was very ill with Covid in February, then cleared it and donated plasma with antibodies twice to help others hospitalized with the virus.

Reading the linked article, it seems as though her doctors believe it more likely she never cleared the virus in the first place. As the article explains, early reports of re-infections in South Korea turned out to be non-infectious viral RNA or issues with test sensitivity.
posted by eagles123 at 9:25 AM on June 25 [12 favorites]


Trump elicits backlash over racist language, rallying cry for supporters (SFGate / WaPo)
Trump's appearance before a crowd of several thousand enthusiastic young people at the Dream City Church in Phoenix on Tuesday showed how his casual use of a demeaning phrase - one that even some White House aides rejected three months ago - has swiftly morphed into a staple of his reelection message amid tumbling poll numbers. [...] "The fact that he got the crowd so riled up was just chilling," said Chris Lu, a Chinese American who served as cabinet secretary in the Obama administration. "In that really primal desire to get a rise out of the crowd and get that affirmation he wants, he went to this place that has such bad consequences for Asian Americans broadly and for Asian American kids in particular. It's a joke to him but not to us."

[...] In the 2016 election, Democrat Hillary Clinton won 65% of the Asian American vote to Trump's 27%, according to exit polls, but Trump's rhetoric and policies could be further eroding his standing with the small but fast-growing voting bloc. In the 2018 midterms, 77% of Asian Americans backed Democratic candidates in the House elections, up from 49% in the 2014 midterms. This week, Trump signed an executive order to extend restrictions on foreign workers and some family members of U.S. citizens during the coronavirus, a policy that restricts a popular program used by many Asian immigrants. John Yang, president of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, said his organization has registered a spike in reports of violence against Asian Americans since the outbreak began, having tracked 2,300 incidents since late March. He said Trump was seeking to distract the public "from his own abysmal record" in overseeing the federal response to the virus.
posted by katra at 10:13 AM on June 25 [4 favorites]


Tesla gave workers permission to stay home rather than risk getting covid-19. Then it sent termination notices.[Washington Post]
When he defiantly reopened the company’s plant in Fremont, Calif., against county orders last month, Elon Musk promised Tesla employees they could stay home if they felt uneasy. They would not be penalized.

[...]

Nonetheless, two Tesla workers say they received termination notices alleging a “failure to return to work” after they opted to take unpaid leave to protect themselves and their family members when the factory restarted production the second week of May.
posted by Mitheral at 10:44 AM on June 25 [5 favorites]


... infection and mortality rates are higher in places where one pundit who initially downplayed the severity of the pandemic — Fox News’ Sean Hannity — reaches the largest audiences. [Washington Post]
a 10 percent increase in Fox News viewership within a Zip code reduced its residents’ propensity to stay home, in compliance with public health guidelines, by about 1.3 percentage points.
posted by Mitheral at 10:51 AM on June 25 [7 favorites]


Jeff Sharlet in Vanity Fair
Inside the Cult of Trump
A bizarre mishmash of numerology, tweetology, and white supremacy—are the rituals by which he stamps his name on the American dream.
posted by adamvasco at 1:49 PM on June 25 [15 favorites]


Reopenings and full hospitals: America’s dissonant response to the pandemic (WaPo)
Americans are living through a split-screen pandemic: Their leaders are relaxing restrictions while their states set records for new coronavirus infections. Churches, beaches and bars are filling up, and so are hospital beds. [...] Experts note a troubling lack of consistent, unified messaging from Trump and Vice President Pence, who have downplayed the danger and denigrated effective disease defenses such as mask-wearing, testing and social distancing — even as the administration’s own health officials contradict them. [...] The push to reopen quickly even as cases climb sends a dangerous and inaccurate message, said Andrew T. Pavia, the chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at University of Utah Health. “On the one hand, you get messages from politicians and the business community that we have to go, go, go and open up,” he said. “On the other hand, you’re seeing epidemiological indicators that we still have to be very careful.” “It’s cognitive dissonance,” he added.

[...] Some governors have followed the administration’s lead, blaming rising case loads on more testing. In many states, positive test rates have been rising all month, according to an analysis by Covid Act Now, a consortium of doctors and researchers. If the spikes were solely due to increased testing, and not the actual spread of disease, positive rates would plateau or decline. [...] “The reality is: Words matter,” [Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (D), the jurisdiction’s top elected official] said. “And when you tell people, ‘You can wear a mask, but it’s up to you. Do whatever you want to do, you’re Texans,’ when that’s your message, it leads to less compliance and it leads to this damage to public health and the economy.” [...] “The message of opening up has been that it’s low risk,” [Pavia] said, “and that message has backfired on us.”
posted by katra at 2:27 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


The Indian Health Service Wants to Return 1 Million KN95 Masks It Bought From a Former White House Official (Pro Publica, June 25, 2020) The former official, Zach Fuentes, is refusing to take back the masks even though IHS said they did not meet FDA standards. His company’s lawyer says the IHS is trying to cancel the order for “political reasons.” [...] ProPublica reported last month that [former WH deputy chief of staff] Fuentes received a contract to provide 1 million KN95 respirator masks just 11 days after he created his company, Zach Fuentes LLC. The IHS later told ProPublica that the masks it bought from Fuentes do not meet Food and Drug Administration standards for use in health care settings.
--
State Coronavirus Data Doesn’t Support Trump’s Misleading Testing Claims (Pro Publica, June 25, 2020) The Trump administration has doubled down on its claims that coronavirus case counts are up because the U.S. has increased testing. However, a closer look at graphs of testing numbers and positive cases shows that this isn’t the case for many states.
--
April 27 (NPR) - CDC adds six new symptoms to its list of known COVID-19 symptoms; the original list had fever, cough, and shortness of breath. New additions: Chills; Repeated shaking with chills; Muscle pain; Headache; Sore throat; New loss of smell or taste. June 25 (CDC.gov) - CDC adds three new symptoms to COVID-19 list: Congestion or runny nose; Nausea or vomiting; Diarrhea. However, the CDC's current list is 11 symptoms long, with chills, repeated shaking with chills collapsed into 'fever and chills' (& like everything SARS-CoV-2 related, 'fatigue' crept in at some point): Fever or chills; Cough; Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; Fatigue; Muscle or body aches; Headache; New loss of taste or smell; Sore throat; Congestion or runny nose; Nausea or vomiting; Diarrhea. (The WHO lists conjunctivitis and chillblain-like "COVID toe" as less common symptoms.) The US has 4% of the world population, and a quarter of the confirmed cases; symptom lists are sometimes briefer, elsewhere.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:45 PM on June 25 [5 favorites]


I posted this in the other thread, but I think it bears repeating because its important:

There was a paper reviewed in This Week in Virology (which is now running at 3-4 shows a week) showing T cell but not antibody responses in a substantial number of close contacts of mild cases in Italy. n was small since T cell assays are hard but still very promising news that people who are seronegative may still have substantial adaptive immune responses.

Here it is.

So the fraction of the population who has been exposed may be >> seropositive population.
posted by atrazine at 3:04 PM on June 25


atrazine, your "Here it is" links to "Intrafamilial Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 Induces Cellular Immune Response without Seroconversion" at medrxiv.org, with "This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review [...] It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice"
&
Here we investigated the humoral and cellular immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 in seven families, including nine index patients and eight contacts, who had evidence of serological discordances within the households. Ten unexposed healthy donors were enrolled as controls.

Is that the paper you intended to link?
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:27 PM on June 25


I'm a viral immunologist. Here's what antibody tests for Covid-19 tell us (Zania Stamataki, Guardian Opinion)
The duration of any potentially protective immunity remains to be determined. As with so much related to this pandemic, we will know more as the months pass, and people who have recovered either remain well, or succumb to the virus again. Perhaps of more practical importance right now is a study that followed up 37 asymptomatic people who had positive PCR tests. This showed they had detectable levels of the virus for longer that those who had symptoms. Asymptomatic people are therefore likely to be more contagious. We also know that pre-symptomatic people, those in the early days following infection with Sars-CoV-2, are also highly contagious. Because we are often not aware that we are infected, measures to ensure social distancing and face covering are crucial when it comes to protecting others.

There is some good news on the horizon, though. The first data emerging from vaccine studies show that animals can be protected from Sars-CoV-2 infection, and people do develop hallmarks of protective immunity. This hints that immunological memory is possible. The only way to know for sure, though, is to measure what happens when vaccination volunteers become infected.
posted by katra at 6:29 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]




So, winning re-election by killing off the populace, eh? So they can't vote against you, I guess?
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:27 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


Is that the paper you intended to link?

It is indeed.

Obviously nine index patients and eight contacts is a tiny sample size but it does fit into the picture we have already of at least some cases where people are confirmed PCR +ve but then don't go on to develop measurable antibody titres.

Results
All index patients recovered from mild Covid-19. All developed anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and a significant T cell response detectable up to 69 days after symptom onset.

Six of the eight contacts reported COVID-19 symptoms within 1 to 7 days after the index patients but all were SARS-CoV-2 seronegative. Six out of eight contacts developed a SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell response against structural and/or accessory proteins that lasts up to 80 days post symptom onset suggesting a past SARS-CoV-2 infection.

I would have liked to see PCRs (or even, because I have to dream, plaque assays) from the contacts but it's still interesting to see what looks like people developing cellular immunity but not antibodies.

Earlier papers have shown that most but not all clinically diagnosed infections to go on to develop antibodies so I wonder if there is a link between very mild illness and antibody production.

Doing these T cell assays against epitope pools is hard work so there's no way of doing population level serosurveys but I would like to see this work repeated on a medium sized group of 100 or so. That would let us extrapolate from serosurvey data we do have.
posted by atrazine at 12:55 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Another four years of the Trump administration isn't affordable.
The Trump administration doesn't care.
The Trump administration doesn't act.

The ad writes itself.
posted by emelenjr at 6:15 AM on June 26 [10 favorites]


A reminder to watch out for various Republicans claiming to the media -- unchallenged, of course -- that they "care about" people with pre-existing conditions, as they did in 2018.

Caring is irrelevant when they support a policy that takes away their health care.

That line didn't seem to work very well for them in 2018, so hopefully it'll fall flat again. But it's a good opportunity to remind voters that caring or not, Republicans support taking your insurance away, and Democrats want to see that everyone has it. It's simple as that.
posted by Gelatin at 6:30 AM on June 26 [6 favorites]


A reminder to watch out for various Republicans claiming to the media -- unchallenged, of course -- that they "care about" people with pre-existing conditions, as they did in 2018.

Trump team looks to prevent a Tulsa-style debacle in Jacksonville (Politico, Jun. 25, 2020)
The sudden spike in confirmed cases has heightened the concerns among residents of Florida’s most populous city about hosting convention activities that could draw in thousands of people from outside the state. Seventy-one percent of voters in Duval County said they are very or somewhat worried about Covid-19 transmissions occurring at the GOP convention, according to a University of North Florida-Public Opinion Research Lab poll released Wednesday. [...] Before the president rallied in Tulsa last weekend, local health officials warned residents who are more vulnerable to health complications if they contract the novel coronavirus to stay home. [...] One Trump campaign official expressed relief that the Republican National Committee — as well as a nonpartisan host committee in Jacksonville — is handling most logistics for the convention so that the president’s reelection team will be “spared” if the event does not go as planned, or if it fails to quench Trump’s craving for a gigantic crowd of adoring supporters.
Trump Ignores Virus Spike as U.S. Cases Surge to Record Level (Bloomberg / MSN)
President Donald Trump has paid little heed to a resurgence in U.S. coronavirus cases -- which on Thursday hit a record level -- announcing no new steps to curb the outbreak and continuing with a normal schedule of meetings and travel as hospitals fill with sick patients. [...] “I don’t even like to talk about that, because it’s fading away,” Trump said of the virus last week in a Fox News interview. “It’s going to fade away, but having a vaccine would be really nice and that’s going to happen.”
posted by katra at 9:22 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Dan Mangan & Kevin Breuninger, CNBC: Trump cancels [golfing] trip to [his golf club in Bedminster,] New Jersey, but White House says it’s not related to coronavirus quarantine rule
[Democratic] Gov. Phil Murphy told CNBC his quarantine order would not have applied to Trump, because “by any definition the president of the United States is an essential worker.”
posted by jedicus at 10:44 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Florida reports nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases, blowing past previous single-day record (WaPo live blog)
Coronavirus cases continued to skyrocket in Florida, where health officials Friday reported 8,942 new infections, eclipsing a previous single-day record of 5,511 set just two days ago. Fatalities in the state also appeared to be trending upward, with 39 new deaths announced Friday. The state has ramped up diagnostic testing recently, but the rate of positive cases has climbed significantly over the past two weeks — a clear sign that the spread of the virus is accelerating. More than 13 percent of the most recent tests came back positive, according to Florida health officials, up from about 5 to 7 percent earlier in the month. Hospitalizations have also increased. [...] Faced with the alarming numbers, state officials Friday abruptly suspended alcohol consumption at bars statewide.
Pence: It’s ‘a good thing’ new cases are among younger Americans (WaPo live blog)
Critics immediately noted that most countries are seeing total positive cases going down regardless of age. Others pointed out that while people under 35 may not be as vulnerable, the people they come in contact with could be — something Pence later acknowledged as well.
Pence says all 50 states ‘opening up safely and responsibly’ (WaPo live blog)
Pence acknowledged that cases have been rising “precipitously” in some states, largely in the South, and announced that he and other task force officials would travel to Texas, Arizona and Florida in the coming days for on-the-ground reports. But in his opening remarks, the vice president praised the work of the administration more broadly, crediting President Trump’s leadership in addressing the virus.
posted by katra at 10:48 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Almost one-third of black Americans know someone who died of covid-19, survey shows (WaPo / Inquirer reprint)
Nearly 1 in 3 black Americans know someone personally who has died of covid-19, far exceeding their white counterparts, according to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll that underscores the coronavirus pandemic’s profoundly disparate impact. The nationwide survey finds that 31 percent of black adults say they know someone firsthand who has been killed by the virus, compared with 17 percent of adults who are Hispanic and 9 percent who are white.

[...] The differing close-up exposure to the virus’s ravaging effects is accompanied by divergent attitudes about the best way for the country to recover. Asked whether it is more important to try to control the spread of the coronavirus or to try to restart the economy, even if one hurts the other, 83 percent of black Americans say trying to control the virus is a higher priority. By contrast, when the same question was asked in a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month, just about half of white Americans said trying to control the virus is more important. [...] It is the proximity to death that is stark. Among black Americans, the percentage knowing someone who died increases steadily with age. Nearly 1 in 4 adults younger than 35 say they know someone, compared with more than 4 in 10 people 65 and older.
posted by katra at 11:40 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


> Critics immediately noted that most countries are seeing total positive cases going down regardless of age. Others pointed out that while people under 35 may not be as vulnerable, the people they come in contact with could be — something Pence later acknowledged as well.

Also, just because they're not immediately dying doesn't mean it won't have serious long-term consequences, which we're starting to see evidence of already.

But good luck with that "GOP to Millennials: Drop Dead" approach to young voter turnout in an election year.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:26 PM on June 26 [9 favorites]


Guardian: "As the White House coronavirus task force holds its first briefing in nearly two months, the president is busy tweeting about protecting statues."
posted by katra at 1:29 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


If you know someone who is refusing to wear a mask but is open to rational persuasion (perhaps a small intersection in the current Venn diagram of civic life in the United States), "Here’s the Science Behind How Face Masks Prevent Coronavirus," from experts at UC San Francisco Medical Center.
posted by PhineasGage at 3:12 PM on June 26 [7 favorites]


Will this ever get to a point where other countries start banning incoming travel from US citizens?

E.U. Plans to Bar Most U.S. Travelers When Bloc Reopens
The European Union is ready to bar most travelers from the United States, Russia, and dozens of other countries considered too risky because they have not controlled the coronavirus outbreak, E.U. officials said Friday. [...] Countries that made the safe list, which include Canada and Australia, were judged on a mix of scientific criteria that included their infection rates and the credibility of their public health reporting data.

The full list finalized on Friday includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican. China will be included if it also opens its borders to European Union travelers, as reciprocal reopening is one of the criteria used to make the final selection for the safe list.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:21 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Who knew Pence so despised American youth? “As we know so far, younger Americans are less susceptible to serious outcomes of the coronavirus,” he said. “The fact that we’re finding more younger Americans who have contracted the coronavirus, is a good thing.” Coronavirus linked to stroke in otherwise healthy young people (ScienceDaily, June 4, 2020)

- The emerging long-term complications of Covid-19, explained (Vox.com, June 12, 2020) Exciting subheads: Lung scarring; Stroke, embolisms, and blood clotting; Heart damage; Neurocognitive and mental health impacts. Also Childhood inflammation, male infertility, and other possible lasting effects: An April 20 paper published in Nature went so far as to suggest, “After recovery from COVID-19, young men who are interested in having children should receive a consultation regarding their fertility.” [The paper: The need for urogenital tract monitoring in COVID-19.]
-- Tens of thousands of people will need to be recalled to hospital after a serious Covid-19 infection to check if they have been left with permanent lung damage (BBC, June 23, 2020) Experts are concerned a significant proportion could be left with lung scarring, known as pulmonary fibrosis. [...] NHS England said it was opening specialist rehabilitation centres.
--- How Covid-19 can damage the brain (BBC Future, June 22, 2020) [CW: mentions of suicide, depression, post-1918 pandemic encephalitis lethargica] “We are facing a secondary pandemic of neurological disease. [...] “If you had asked me a month ago if there was any published evidence that Sars-CoV-2 could cross the blood-brain barrier, I would have said no – but there are now many reports showing that it absolutely can,” says Dr. Robert Stevens, associate professor of anaesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins.
Oh, and: Mounting clues suggest the coronavirus might trigger diabetes (Nature, June 24, 2020) Evidence from tissue studies and some people with COVID-19 shows that the virus damages insulin-producing cells.

TL;DR Pence envies broken clocks.

A Company Run by a White House “Volunteer” With No Experience in Medical Supplies Got $2.4 Million From the Feds for Medical Supplies (Pro Publica, June 26, 2020) The contract supplies the Bureau of Prisons with surgical gowns for its facilities. Mathew J. Konkler worked in the DoD under George W. Bush; in the current administration, he was a volunteer travel coordinator for Pence. From the article: Government ethics experts said that conflict of interest rules do apply to volunteers but depend on the kind of work being done. “I’m worried about conflicts of interest but also about someone who isn’t a government employee knowing the [vice president’s] travel plans,” said Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:23 PM on June 26 [13 favorites]


A Devastating New Stage of the Pandemic (Robinson Meyer, Alexis C. Madrigal, Atlantic [free access], Jun. 25, 2020)
The U.S. has seen more cases in the past week than in any week since the pandemic began.
The South and West meet all of Fauci’s criteria: Cases, hospitalizations, and the test-positivity rate are spiking in both regions. A month ago, health-care workers in Arizona had to test about 11 people to find a new COVID-19 case; today, one in five people they test has the virus. In Florida, the number of tests per day has actually fallen in the past week while the number of new cases has spiked. The Sun Belt surge, in other words, is not a by-product of increased testing. In the South and West, finding people sick with COVID-19 is simply getting easier.

[...] The virus remains the virus. It can take up to 14 days for someone to show symptoms; it can take another two weeks for that person to appear in the data as a confirmed case. This means that, as the Northeast learned in the spring, virus statistics tell you what was happening in a community two to three weeks ago. The South, in other words, may have tens of thousands of COVID-19 infections that it cannot yet see.

[...] The spring surge resulted from a widespread failure of American governance. Yet a first coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. may have been unavoidable, and Americans eased its agony by choosing to act together: Our collective decision to stay at home averted an estimated 4.8 million additional COVID-19 cases.
posted by katra at 4:09 PM on June 26 [8 favorites]


Supreme Court denies request from Texas Democrats to expand mail-in voting • CNN; Ariane de Vogue; June 26, 2020 •
State regulations allow vote by mail to those who are 65 and older, voters who have a sickness or physical condition from appearing at the polls, and others who are absent from the county.

Texas Democrats and Democratic voters under age 65 brought the case and argued that the law discriminates against younger voters afraid of going to the polling place because of the pandemic.

[...] The court rejected the petition with no noted dissents.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote separately to say she agreed with the court's decision at this stage in the case, but that she thought the challengers' "weighty but seemingly novel" questions in the case touching upon the 26th Amendment should be considered in the lower courts "well in advance" of the November election.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:40 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


[Democratic] Gov. Phil Murphy told CNBC his quarantine order would not have applied to Trump, because “by any definition the president of the United States is an essential worker.”

That's sound reasoning, when the president of the United States is doing his essential work. Golfing, not so much.
posted by ctmf at 7:16 PM on June 26 [9 favorites]


Oh, and: Mounting clues suggest the coronavirus might trigger diabetes (Nature, June 24, 2020) Evidence from tissue studies and some people with COVID-19 shows that the virus damages insulin-producing cells.

This connection is interesting—we know diabetes seems to be a risk factor for developing more severe effects of the virus, but preliminary findings also suggest that a common diabetes drug (Metformin) shows some ability to protect women who are sick with a severe case of the virus against death. (And Metformin is a much safer drug than hydroxycloroquine.)
posted by sallybrown at 7:33 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


It is interesting seeing science doing its thing, and finding treatments that are helping, and showing those that are not helping.
posted by Windopaene at 8:23 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Trump cancels [golfing] trip to [his golf club in Bedminster,] New Jersey, but White House says it’s not related to coronavirus quarantine rule

[Democratic] Gov. Phil Murphy told CNBC his quarantine order would not have applied to Trump, because “by any definition the president of the United States is an essential worker.”


You know the real reason Trump cancelled his trip to his golf club. The only reason Trump goes to his properties is so that his toady semi-rich admirers can fondle his ego. While Trump might be classified "essential", his admirers are not and don't want to be stuck in a quarantine. So Trump decided that if he can't get his ego stroked, why bother going.
posted by JackFlash at 9:08 PM on June 26 [8 favorites]


Co-founder of ReOpen Maryland says he has tested positive for coronavirus (WaPo / Chron reprint)
A Maryland man who organized rallies to pressure Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to lift the state’s stay-home order says he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and does not plan to provide names of people with whom he had contact to public health officials for contact tracing. Tim Walters, a co-founder of ReOpen Maryland, said on social media this week that he has had a dry cough for months but it recently worsened. He then began to experience an excruciating headache, a fever and the inability to focus with one of his eyes, which led to vertigo. Walters, 53, a diabetic who has had mini-strokes, said he went to a hospital emergency room Monday and was diagnosed with the virus.

“Here I am months after not wearing a mask at rallies, churches and so on, and so it’s funny how capricious this thing is,” he said in a Facebook video. [...] Walters said he had long suspected he might have the virus but was surprised by the toll it was taking on him this week. “It was nothing like what I thought,” he said. “The challenge with this is all the symptoms for everybody are completely different.”
Some states revert to restrictions as virus cases surge (AP)
Texas and Florida reversed course and clamped down on bars again Friday in the nation’s biggest retreat yet as the daily number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the U.S. surged to an all-time high of 40,000. [...] Health experts have said a disturbingly large number of cases are being seen among young people who are going out again, often without wearing masks or observing other social-distancing rules. [...] Stocks fell sharply on Wall Street again over the surging case numbers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 730 points, or nearly 3%.

[...] At the task force briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, urged people to mind their responsibility to others: “A risk for you is not just isolated to you.”
posted by katra at 9:19 PM on June 26 [12 favorites]


“Here I am months after not wearing a mask at rallies, churches and so on, and so it’s funny how capricious this thing is,”

That I do not have the power to smite is a thing which I regret.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:28 PM on June 26 [22 favorites]


Texas and Florida reversed course and clamped down on bars again Friday in the nation’s biggest retreat yet as the daily number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the U.S. surged to an all-time high of 40,000

This framing from the AP highlights a particular way of thinking about disease in general ("battle with cancer") and this pandemic in particular that sucks. "Retreat" here implies that there exists something from which one is retreating. In a sane world, it isn't COVID. Re-implementing safety protocols due to a flair up, regardless of shitty precedent a la Florida, is an attack on COVID transmission rates.

The retreat referred to here is a political one.

Officials in Texas and Florida joined Trump and the GOP in staking out a public health position that is both anti-science and criminally anti-everyone-who-doesn't-agree-with-them, and as a result are murdering citizens in the name of (ironically) party solidarity and individual liberty. Political leaders in Texas and Florida are (reluctantly) retreating from the political position they had taken, which in their minds is a battlefront against liberals, and which (because the GOP are cartoonishly evil) is the opposite of the sensible thing to do against the virus.

So we are told in a single sentence: two states are taking baby steps in the right direction to attacking the spread of the a deadly virus, and that this is the nation's biggest retreat.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:45 PM on June 26 [22 favorites]




Virus Fatality Picture Is Obscured by Ultimate Lagging Indicator (Bloomberg Law, Jun. 26, 2020)
[...] there can be a weeks-long lag in many states between when someone dies and when that’s included in the daily reports. [...] It’s not just the fatality statistics that can’t be relied on completely: Basic information such as daily new Covid-19 related hospitalizations isn’t reported by many states, among other key data points that could help scientists predict which direction the death tolls are heading. [...] “This particular part of the epidemic is just taking off, and we’re still on the runway,” said Thomas Giordano, chief of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “The last thing to happen is the death. We just aren’t that far along with this one yet.”

Deaths are the ultimate lagging indicator, especially with Covid-19. It takes several weeks after a diagnosis for a patient to die. Then it takes more time, sometimes weeks, for doctors to fill out death certificates and health officials to adjudicate the deaths. Only then are they finally added to the official state tally. “You can’t look at deaths as an indicator of where the outbreak is at this particular period of time,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
'We opened too quickly': Texas becomes a model for inadequate Covid-19 response (Guardian)
When Donald Trump welcomed Texas governor Greg Abbott to the White House in May, the US president hailed his fellow Republican as “one of the great governors” and lauded the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and predicted boom times ahead. “When you look at the job he’s done in Texas, I rely on his judgment,” Trump said. Seven weeks later, as the state once again closes businesses with virus cases skyrocketing and hospitals running out of intensive-care beds, Texas indeed appears to be a model: for how to squander a hopeful position through premature reopening, ignoring inconvenient data and fighting party-political turf wars.

[...] Harris County, which includes Houston, moved to its highest Covid-19 threat level, signalling a “severe and uncontrolled” outbreak. “The harsh truth is that our current infection rate is on pace to overwhelm our hospitals in the very near future,” Lina Hidalgo, the county judge, said at a press conference on Friday. “We opened too quickly.” [...] Greg Casar, an Austin city council member, said that Abbott placed appeasing his core voters ahead of the health of urban communities of color.
posted by katra at 10:51 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


Trump sidesteps grim coronavirus surge to sell a happier message (Politico, Jun. 25, 2020)
Aides insisted there would be no change in White House strategy to fight the pandemic, and no additional money or new resources given to states dealing with spikes in cases. [...] the influence of top health officials around the president has waned inside the West Wing, with Dr. Anthony Fauci seen as an object of much derision among some aides who frame the latest concerns as fearmongering. Trump aides are clear that the president does not want to bring the coronavirus response under greater federal control, preferring to leave key decisions — and the political fallout — to state and local leaders as he travels across the country campaigning for reelection for the next four months. [...] When [Trump] did speak about Covid-19, he touted what he viewed as his administration’s stellar response and for the second time in a week invoked a racist nickname for the virus [...]
California governor grants clemency to 21 prisoners as thousands infected with Covid-19 (Guardian)
The pardons have also been inadequate given how many people are vulnerable to deportation, but have not been protected by Newsom, said Sarah Lee, an advocate with the Asian Law Caucus (ALC). Although California is a sanctuary state meant to limit collaboration with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), the state has continued to transfer dozens of people from the prisons to Ice custody, where there are also major Covid-19 outbreaks. [...] “The power of clemency is one of the governor’s most important responsibilities,” said Lee. “If he really cares about Black Lives Matter, he needs to free people.”
posted by katra at 12:03 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]


WaPo live blog: "Facing a surge of new coronavirus cases, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expressed regret for allowing bars to reopen so early, saying Friday that he did not realize how fast the virus would spread."

Workers removed thousands of social distancing stickers before Trump’s Tulsa rally, according to video and a person familiar with the set-up (WaPo)
In the hours before his rally in Tulsa, President Trump’s campaign directed the removal of thousands of “Do Not Sit Here, Please!” stickers from seats in the arena that were intended to establish social distance between rallygoers, according to video and photos obtained by The Washington Post and a person familiar with the event. The removal contradicted instructions from the management of the BOK Center, the 19,000-seat arena in downtown Tulsa where Trump held his rally on June 20. [...] As part of its safety plan, arena management had purchased 12,000 do-not-sit stickers for Trump’s rally, intended to keep people apart by leaving open seats between attendees. On the day of the rally, event staff had already affixed them on nearly every other seat in the arena when Trump’s campaign told event management to stop and then began removing the stickers, hours before the president’s arrival, according to a person familiar with the event who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. [...] The actions by Trump’s campaign were first reported Friday by Billboard Magazine.
US 'likely' to see shortage of pharmaceutical drugs if coronavirus outbreak continues, intelligence report finds (ABC News)
Dr. Jay Bhatt, former medical chief at the American Hospital Association, called the report "extremely concerning" -- especially in the middle of a pandemic. "Accessing affordable generic medications for vulnerable populations can mean the difference between a good outcome and a bad outcome," said Bhatt, an ABC News contributor. "As infections and hospitalizations rise, our patients can't endure shortages from lifesaving medications. We have to apply our lessons from several months ago so we don't end up in dire straits."
posted by katra at 12:37 PM on June 27 [6 favorites]


removal of thousands of “Do Not Sit Here, Please!” stickers

<Nelson> Ha-Ha! </Nelson> Leaving the stickers would allowed them to truthfully say they sold out the arena.
posted by Mitheral at 12:49 PM on June 27 [16 favorites]


The reason Trump didn't go to New Jersey was the possibility of rain, and that would keep him off the links.

Meanwhile the first wave still hasn't stopped, July looks bad, millions are unemployed, and it looks like Congress is content to do nothing as people need help with incoming rent, bills, and groceries.

This is an amazing amount of winning we're doing.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:20 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Guardian: Pence calls off Florida tour as cases surge in state
As reopening plans went into a dramatic reverse or stalled across the US in the face of a resurgent virus, Mike Pence called off a planned campaign bus tour in Florida amid a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases. The vice-president had been set to appear in Lake Wales at an event next week organized by pro-Trump group America First Policies billed as the “Great American Comeback tour.”The group announced: “Out of an abundance of caution at this time, we are postponing the Great American Comeback tour stop in Florida. We look forward to rescheduling soon.” Pence was still traveling to the state, the White House confirmed, saying he would meet with Governor Ron DeSantis and his healthcare teams.
Measures to protect Trump from coronavirus scale up even as he seeks to move on (CNN, Jun. 26, 2020)
And CNN has learned a third White House staffer who was recently in Trump's vicinity also tested positive. According to two sources familiar with the matter, the staffer is a senior economic official who was in the Rose Garden with Trump during an event this month. Because of privacy concerns, CNN is not naming the individual.
As cases surge in US, rural areas seeing increases as well (AP)
Many rural counties in states including California, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Texas and Florida have seen their confirmed cases more than double in a week, from June 19 to Friday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. [...] Missouri itself is seeing a worrying trend, and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas ordered employees and patrons of businesses to wear masks, when 6 feet (about 2 meters) of separation isn’t possible.

“Case numbers in Kansas City continue to rise, and we are taking all steps we can to ensure public health and safety,” the Democrat said Friday. Across the state line, Kansas City, Kansas, and the county it’s in also decided to order masks be worn in public starting Tuesday. But many politicians, even those in place with spiking cases, have been hesitant to issue such orders, as subject has become a political lightning rod, with Democrats more likely than Republicans to use them.
posted by katra at 2:36 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


It is remarkable that the corona virus has not infected Trump. While the staff are taking precautions, these rallies are would seem to be very risky for him. How long can his luck last?
posted by haiku warrior at 3:01 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


How long can his luck last?

...as a data point, Henry Kissinger is still alive.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:12 PM on June 27 [25 favorites]


It is remarkable that the corona virus has not infected Trump.

My assumption is that he will never disclose whether he tests positive, and that even if he's hospitalized, the message will be that it was for a "routine procedure." Even if it were to end his life, there will be other explanations (and/or conspiracy theories and opportunities to blame antifa, immigrants, whoever).
posted by witchen at 3:13 PM on June 27 [8 favorites]


... it looks like Congress is content to do nothing as people need help with incoming rent, bills, and groceries.

You should not say "Congress" when you mean "Republicans." Democrats in the House already passed the HEROES Act over a month ago, which provides an even bigger boost than the previous CARES Act. It is still sitting dead on Mitch McConnell's desk.
posted by JackFlash at 3:27 PM on June 27 [46 favorites]


Trump will certainly not disclose a positive test unless forced to, but a Boris Johnson level of severity will force them to do so. He can't vanish into a hospital for days and say it's a routine procedure. The control over information isn't that solid, especially as the rats will be questioning the seaworthiness of the ship at that point. If he dies the cause will be known. Similarly conspiracy theories won't allow alternate causes of death if it's Covid.

OTOH I would 100% expect claims that he was "deliberately infected" if he gets ill--he's already muttered about reporters trying to get him sick.
posted by mark k at 3:49 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


as a data point, Henry Kissinger is still alive.

I believe the proper term is "undead".
posted by notsnot at 4:20 PM on June 27 [35 favorites]


How long can his luck last?

74 years, so far.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:08 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


It is remarkable that the corona virus has not infected Trump. While the staff are taking precautions, these rallies are would seem to be very risky for him.

It's not like he's out there shaking hands. He's up on stage dozens of get from the plebes.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:19 PM on June 27


Don't forget too, he's the healthiest person to ever assume the office of the presidency. As a 6'8 extremely fit man with gigantic hands and no previous or current health problems, he's probably fine if he catches it. In fact, if there's some concern, he'll probably just go to Walter Reed unannounced in the middle of the night, so as not to worry anyone.

Hamburger.
posted by mrgoat at 6:43 PM on June 27 [7 favorites]


U.S. sets single-day record for new coronavirus cases for fifth straight day (WaPo live blog)
Across the United States, health departments reported 44,782 new coronavirus infections on Saturday — surpassing the previous single-day record of 43,715, which was set on Friday. It is the fifth straight day the country has hit a new single-day record. Florida, Georgia, Nevada and South Carolina all hit new highs in daily cases reported, with 41 states logging a higher seven-day new case average than a week ago, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. [...] Saturday’s U.S. record of new single-day cases did not include numbers from Louisiana and Rhode Island, which did not report their daily cases.
With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections (WaPo / MSN reprint)
While public health experts urge caution and preventive measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing, Trump, Pence and other top aides repeatedly flout their advice, leaving confused Americans struggling to determine who to believe. “They’re creating a cognitive dissonance in the country,” one former senior administration official said. “It’s more than them being asleep at the wheel. They’re confusing people at this point when we need to be united.”

This portrait of a nation in crisis — and its failure to contain an epic pandemic — is based on interviews with 47 administration officials, lawmakers at the national and state level, congressional staff, federal and local health officials, public health experts and other current and former officials involved in the bungled and confused response. [...] Trump’s actions, and his position in the Oval Office, make him a central figure in any assessment of the country’s handling of the outbreak.
posted by katra at 6:45 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


Florida's numbers are crazy. Texas, right behind. Look at the Worldometers graphs, and we were doing pretty good a few weeks ago. Now the graphs are all back to exponential growth. Fucking republican assholes.

The curves are not flattening. So another 3 months of this shit. Well done, Republican Govenors and right-wing shitheads claiming we need to re-open. Ugh.
posted by Windopaene at 9:49 PM on June 27 [6 favorites]


The whole New York is now making Florida people quarantine seems silly to me and an obvious "you did it first, so now how do you like it?" posturing. But I can't say I blame them. DeSantis is an idiot blowhard and non-idiot blowhard Cuomo can't help himself.
posted by valkane at 9:58 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Domestic travel restrictions could be a really good public health tool during a pandemic. Other countries have used them with some success. But I can’t see it working out great in the US, if the federal government isn’t interested in helping implement and enforce any policy.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:14 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Trump admits it: He's losing (Politico)
The president has privately come to that grim realization in recent days, multiple people close to him told POLITICO, amid a mountain of bad polling and warnings from some of his staunchest allies that he's on course to be a one-term president. Trump has endured what aides describe as the worst stretch of his presidency, marred by widespread criticism over his response to the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide racial unrest. His rally in Oklahoma last weekend, his first since March, turned out to be an embarrassment when he failed to fill the arena.

What should have been an easy interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday horrified advisers when Trump offered a rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question about his goals for a second term. In the same appearance, the normally self-assured president offered a tacit acknowledgment that he might lose when he said that Joe Biden is “gonna be your president because some people don't love me, maybe." [...] “Under the current trajectory, President Trump is on the precipice of one the of the worst electoral defeats in modern presidential elections and the worst historically for an incumbent president,” said former Trump political adviser Sam Nunberg, who remains a supporter.
TTTCS
posted by katra at 11:06 PM on June 27 [18 favorites]


Global Coronavirus Death Toll Nears 500,000 (NPR, June 27, 2020) As of Saturday afternoon, global deaths totaled 496,075, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. That includes more than 125,000 deaths in the United States, which has lost more people to COVID-19 than any other country, and has seen more than twice the deaths as Brazil, the next most-stricken country with about 56,000 dead.

The planet will also soon see another significant mark: 10 million cases of the virus. As of Saturday evening, there were more than 9.89 million confirmed infections. And experts say there are likely far more cases out there that haven't been confirmed. This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that for every reported case, there were 10 other infections. That could mean more than 20 million infections in the U.S. alone.

Justice Department Issues Warning About Fake Mask Exempt Cards (NPR, June 27, 2020) A recently issued alert by the department is urging the public not to heed information printed on the fraudulent cards, which purport to carry the authority of the "Freedom to Breathe Agency," which is neither a federal nor a state agency. The fake card states that wearing a mask will incur mental or physical risk for the holder. The card also posits that the Americans with Disabilities Act forbids raising questions about the health condition aggravated by mask usage. Penalties are threatened if a business owner does not act accordingly.

"If found in violation of the ADA you could face steep penalties. Organizations and businesses can be fined up to $75,000 for your first violation and $150,000 for any subsequent violations. Denying access to your business/organization will be also reported to FTBA for further actions," the card reads, according to images that have been posted online.

Why Changing COVID-19 Demographics in the US Make Death Trends Harder to Understand (June 26, 2020) COVID-19 death data lags behind testing data in ways we mostly understand. What we only partly understand is how an infection rate that seems to be skewing younger will affect the death toll in surging regional outbreaks.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:40 AM on June 28 [6 favorites]


Justice Department Issues Warning About Fake Mask Exempt Cards

The fact that the most popular one says "posses"in the first sentence and people still think it's real, may be the dumbest thing about these.

It goes back to the joke a few weeks ago - The spread of coronavirus is based on two factors – 1) How dense the population is, and 2) How dense the population is
posted by Mchelly at 5:10 AM on June 28 [15 favorites]


\begin[level=high]{obtuse}
Posses are still real things, though. AFAIK nowadays they're sort of an unholy hybrid of the Shriners, except on horses, and a police benevolent association.
\end{obtuse}
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:19 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Claiming that *not* admitting the mask-less card carrier is a violation of the ADA, with the possibility of substantial penalties, is claiming the backing of federal authority.

Isn't a fraudulent claim to federal authority a crime? Not saying that it is (I don't know), but it seems that is should be. It seems akin to 'stolen valor' — a false pretense (although if I recall correctly, a law needed to be passed to prosecute those cases).
posted by rochrobbb at 7:27 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


As stories of Americans refusing to wear masks -- not even on an airplane in at least one case -- and not practicing social distancing surface, Friesen's skepticism may be justifiable. CNN puts it realistically. One factor unfavourable to American travel and/or bubble creation with Europe is the infection rates. the other is the fear that Americans are disinclined to follow public health guidelines in public of the sort that helped keep infection rates down. The article tries hard to put a positive spin on it but it doesn't look good. Pompey's pushing hard for it, but reversing the challenge to put the exceptional spin on it by saying the US wants to open travel to Europeans as soon as possible
posted by Mrs Potato at 8:09 AM on June 28 [3 favorites]



It goes back to the joke a few weeks ago - The spread of coronavirus is based on two factors – 1) How dense the population is, and 2) How dense the population is


I know this is a joke but individual characteristics of the population aren’t the biggest problem here. There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as a natural disaster. These are political problems with political solutions—calling people dense is useless when they are simply doing what their political leaders are encouraging them to do.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:24 AM on June 28 [11 favorites]


In other words, if the response to 125,000 deaths is, “wow those people sure are dumb” and not “wow the US is a failed state”, then you’re missing the point.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:26 AM on June 28 [14 favorites]


See also:

"looks like we're going to have to retire the phrase "avoid it like the plague" because it turns out people don't do that."

"People" in fact do do that: most countries are doing it, most people are doing it, and even most Americans are doing it. The problem isn't people, it's specifically conservative Americans. I wouldn't even say it's all Republicans or all Republican leaders, but once again that insane 25% of Americans and their insane leader who are persuading the rest of Republicans to be more insane and drag us all down into their hellhole.
posted by chortly at 9:50 AM on June 28 [13 favorites]


Reluctance to wear masks is not solely a U.S. phenomenon. The chart here shows that the U.S. isn't even the most reluctant country: "Masks Could Help Stop Coronavirus. So Why Are They Still Controversial?" (WSJ - no paywall)
posted by PhineasGage at 10:34 AM on June 28 [4 favorites]


‘A travesty’: North Carolina faces calls to continue reopening even as Covid-19 cases surge (Guardian)
On Wednesday, a day after the state hit a new high in Covid-19 hospitalizations, the Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, announced North Carolina would remain in the second phase of its three-phase reopening plan, a decision that was swiftly condemned as anti-business by many in the state’s Republican-dominated legislature. Phase two was scheduled to end Friday, but Cooper, who also announced a mandate requiring individuals wear masks in public despite fierce opposition in some quarters, said he was “concerned” about the direction the state is trending. [...]

The announcement was met with furor from industry groups. “The governor’s decision is effectively signing a death warrant for 1,063 bars across North Carolina while offering zero relief to the small-business owners or their employees,” Zack Medford, president of the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association (NCBATA), said in a release. [...] for the past several weeks, the state has failed to hit its self-imposed benchmarks for reopening. In addition to a steady increase in hospitalizations – culminating in the record high 915 on Tuesday – North Carolina saw 1,721 new cases Wednesday, its second-highest daily total since the pandemic began. [...] The Republican-controlled state general assembly has generally fought Cooper’s reluctance to reopen, passing a handful of bills that would relax restrictions on bars, gyms, bowling alleys and amusement parks. Cooper vetoed at least two of these bills.

Many of North Carolina’s first hotspots were focused near its population centers, such as Charlotte, Raleigh and Durham. But in recent weeks the spread has moved into less populated areas and heavily impacted Hispanic, Black and indigenous communities, particularly those working in food processing facilities and on farms.
posted by katra at 10:47 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I know this is a joke but individual characteristics of the population aren’t the biggest problem here.

1) People listening to science
2) People listening to Trump/DeSantis/their "leader" who's conveniently repeating what they want to hear anyway
3) You can't tell me what to do! people.

Wouldn't it be awesome if 1 and 2 were the same thing? And the third group CAN be influenced by role modeling and people they respect doing the right thing.

Even worse than giving wrong information is the downplaying, making it seem like it doesn't matter what you do. That's why the third group can stick to whatever crazy theory they have, the second group can feel like tribal signalling is worth doing, the confused don't research more, and the depressed just throw up their hands and do nothing. Doesn't matter anyway.

It does matter. Wear your mask. That's all everyone should be hearing, through every communication channel and method. Peer pressure is a channel. Shame those Karens (and whatever the shorthand is for dudes). Normally I'm not crazy about public shaming as a method, but this message is too important to water down.
posted by ctmf at 10:47 AM on June 28 [9 favorites]


A new dilemma for Trump’s team: Preventing super-spreader churches (Politico)
An outbreak at a Pentecostal church in Oregon, where hundreds of worshipers resumed gathering over Memorial Day weekend, forced an entire county to return to phase one of its reopening after local officials traced 258 cases of Covid-19 back to the facility. In West Virginia, six health departments across the state have reported coronavirus outbreaks linked to churches. One of them, a Baptist church in Greenbrier County, had 34 congregants test positive for the virus. And in Texas, which hit an all-time high of new cases last week, health officials have received numerous reports of church-related exposures.

[...] Polls conducted since the coronavirus pandemic began have shown a steady decline in [Trump's] favorability rating among white Catholics and white evangelicals, demographics that helped carry him to victory in 2016 and whose backing he will need to defeat Joe Biden, his expected Democratic challenger, this fall.
posted by katra at 11:19 AM on June 28 [5 favorites]


U.S. testing sites in the West and South see long lines and sometimes unruly crowds. (NYT live blog)
Coronavirus testing sites in Arizona, Florida and Texas have become a source of tension and risk, with numerous residents waiting in long lines, and others being turned away as sites reached capacity. Crowding is raising the risk of infection as people rush to the front of the line at some centers. [...] Nationwide, coronavirus cases have risen 65 percent over the past two weeks.
Outbreaks from restaurants grow as more U.S. states permit indoor dining. (NYT live blog)
As more restaurants and bars open for indoor dining, hard-to-trace outbreaks are prompting warnings from public health officials in several states. [...] Many times, restaurant outbreaks are contained to a handful of known cases. But in recent weeks, they have also been the sites of more widespread infections.
Texas Medical Center quietly removes ICU data from website after reporting beds were full (WaPo live blog)
The abrupt removal, which happened without public explanation, came days after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered Houston hospitals to stop performing lucrative elective surgeries as the state faced record numbers of hospitalizations, raising questions about whether the information had been scrubbed for political reasons. [...] Officials sparred over the information after it was reported by news outlets and shared by public health experts on social media. “We’re at the edge of a cliff,” tweeted state Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston). Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) responded by noting that 27 percent of people in the ICU beds were coronavirus patients. “Quit trying to scare people,” he wrote.
Health secretary: ‘Window is closing’ to stop coronavirus as US cases pass 2.5m (Guardian)
“This is a very serious situation,” Azar said, adding that “the window is closing” to stop virus spread. “We have to act, and people as individuals have to act responsibly. We need to social distance, we need to wear our face coverings.”
posted by katra at 11:45 AM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) responded by noting that 27 percent of people in the ICU beds were coronavirus patients. “Quit trying to scare people,” he wrote.

It doesn't matter if NONE of the ICU beds were coronavirus patients, John. The point is, there are no beds left for the *next* coronavirus patient. Every additional person who needs one now is just going to die instead. Quit trying to make people think everything is ok.
posted by ctmf at 12:08 PM on June 28 [26 favorites]


The Latest: US official defends Trump going without mask (AP)
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says President Donald Trump’s “unique” circumstances are why he doesn’t wear a mask even as the government is urging people to do so. [...] Azar declined to say whether he’s ever asked Trump to wear a mask. He told CNN and NBC that his own message to the people is to take precautions for “public health.”

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee says Trump should spend more time tweeting about wearing masks instead of monuments. Inslee tells CBS: “We need a president who will care more about living Americans and less about dead Confederates.”
The White House is right about one thing on covid-19: We need young people’s help (Leana S. Wen, WaPo Opinion, Jun. 27, 2020)
Please enjoy life — just do it safely. Let’s talk about seeing friends: Whenever possible, do it outdoors. Numerous outbreaks have been linked to what some health officials dub the “serious seven”: bars, gyms, weddings, funerals, faith-based activities, house gatherings, and other small events. There’s a case in Florida of 16 friends who went to a bar; within days, all 16 tested positive. One study, not yet peer-reviewed, suggests indoor gatherings may carry a transmission risk nearly 19 times greater than those outdoors.

[...] What if your friends don’t want to go along? Remind them that the more precautions we take now, the sooner we can resume the things we really want to do. [...] And for those who are passionate about fighting racial injustice, point out that everything we do helps to reduce rampant disparities, as it is black Americans and people of color who are bearing the brunt of covid-19.
posted by katra at 12:16 PM on June 28 [7 favorites]


I saw a scene yesterday. I went to the Petco. They're (in this one store at least) doing a great job with the precautions. I mean, ideally they would be closed, but I get the economy thing too. It's not either/or at this point, it's been going on long enough and isn't going to be over soon, so we need to start figuring out how to have both safety and reasonable operation if possible.

Petco has a big highbay like a Home Depot, wide aisles, distancing markers everywhere, barriers for the cashiers, and people actively out there cleaning *everything*. I mean taking things off the shelves and wiping things down before putting them back. Continuously the whole time I was there. Everyone was wearing a mask. People were politely waiting their turn when they had to see something someone else was near as a matter of course, not an annoyance. Staff was friendly and in good spirits.

Then, a 20-something guy and girl come in with no masks. Instant ice-cold. Dagger glares. All eyes on them. Nobody said a word or caused a big scene, but those two were actively shunned, brutally. They said hi to a staff member - no response, cold shoulder. And I could see in their body language they were feeling it. They left without buying anything. Without creating the big confrontation, I bet they wear a mask next time.
posted by ctmf at 12:28 PM on June 28 [29 favorites]


In fact probably more effective against Trader Joe's woman would have been to just loudly follow her around asking every other customer in the store to clear a path for her. "Special person here! She doesn't want to wear a mask! Please stand aside! 25 feet please!" Then of course have no cashier willing to get close enough to her to check out. Don't kick her out, treat her like the contagious idiot she is.

Hey, I'm not stopping you, I'm just taking safety precautions. If the other customers are pissed at you, shrug, not in my control.
posted by ctmf at 12:59 PM on June 28 [5 favorites]


Mask shaming on the rise as public adjusts to new normal (CBS46, May 27, 2020)
A video out of Staten Island, New York from the Memorial Day weekend is getting a lot of attention online.

In it a crowd of angry shoppers can be seen ganging up on a woman who did not wear a mask inside a grocery store. They were yelling profanities at the woman and screaming at her to get out.
‘Mask Shaming' Becomes New Topic of Discussion During Fight Against COVID-19 (NBC Bay Area, May 7, 2020)
On the other extreme, in Flint, Michigan, a store security guard was allegedly killed by a family apparently irate that the guard told one of them to put a mask on. Psychologist Jonathan Horowitz, PhD, says mask shaming may be well intentioned in some cases, but it’s generally ineffective.
posted by katra at 1:29 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Jamie Ehrlich, CNN: Choir of more than 100 people perform without masks at Pence event at a church in Dallas today.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:46 PM on June 28 [5 favorites]


my household just recently podded up with the house where a bunch of our closest friends live, and although both households are relentlessly diligent about avoiding risky behavior — aside from the potentially risky behavior of going to protests, but we hard-quarantine for two weeks after each time we go — we’re still scared about how we now present a somewhat larger surface for the virus to attack. i think we podded up at the last moment where pod formation seems sane, given that infection rates are skyrocketing again.

having a group is going to be wonderful for our sanity, though, since the actions of the fools are going to ensure maybe a year or more of soft quarantine punctuated by periods of hard quarantine. the people i really feel for are single people who live alone, most of whom are going some level of bonkers right now.

that’s why, although in most cases i urge everyone to be so cautious as to seem unreasonable — as we’ve all known since the start, the way to stop or slow the spread is to take measures before it seems reasonable — i urge all y’all singles out there to find another live-alone best friend (with or without benefits) or other covid comrade to pair up with. being able to visit and in-person talk with and hug another person makes all the difference. but wait until after the current wave crests to do it. feel free to spend your alone time until then extravagantly cursing the idiots, buffoons, and selfish monsters who are going out of their way to make your life harder as a means of political signaling.

(and, if you have the means and can find one that’s in-stock online, consider buying a vr headset. even if you haven’t classically thought of yourself as a games person — i haven’t for a long time — being able to step out of your apartment and into the matrix for a little while is a very, very nice escape from the hard reality of quarantine.)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:48 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


GOP committee chair: 'It would help' if Trump would wear a mask occasionally (The Hill)
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Sunday that “it would help” if President Trump would wear a mask occasionally during the coronavirus pandemic. "If wearing masks is important and all the health experts tell us that it is in containing the disease in 2020, it would help if from time to time the president would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask, if you're against Trump, you do," Alexander, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, told CNN’s “Inside Politics.”
posted by katra at 1:50 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


[Friendly mod update, carried over from another thread and relevant here also: tossing the word "insane" around has ableist implications that, while maybe not implied, can easily be inferred. Please be a little more creative/compassionate with word choice moving forward. Thanks.]]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:56 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


A friend named Karen just posted on FB a cute meme suggesting we instead refer to those clueless, entitled, dangerous types as Ivankas...
posted by PhineasGage at 2:15 PM on June 28 [15 favorites]


I think it's bullshit to say shaming is ineffective. None of the positive types of persuasion mean anything if the non mask wearers imagine that they're part of some club, and that sense is reinforced for hours a day online. If they go out in public and get yelled at enough times and realize that just about EVERYBODY is against their choice, I would bet that 90% of them buckle.

I really feels like there's some heavy psyops underway and yelling is the only clear defence.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:18 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


How do you deal with people who refuse to wear a mask? (Barbara Krasnoff, The Verge, Jun. 25, 2020)
Julia Marcus, an epidemiologist and professor at Harvard Medical School, says in her article in The Atlantic that shaming people for not wearing masks is counterproductive. [...] In the SF Chronicle, writer Tony Bravo talks to etiquette experts about how — or rather, whether — to confront people who are not wearing masks in stores and other public spaces. It is generally agreed upon among these courtesy mavens that confrontation (besides being possibly dangerous) doesn’t work.

[...] And don’t assume you know why they’re not wearing masks, points out Aziza Ahmed, a professor who specializes in health law at Northeastern University. There are people with legitimate health reasons for not wearing a mask. Sometimes it’s best to simply ask them to step back if they get too close for comfort.
posted by katra at 2:28 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


There are people with legitimate health reasons for not wearing a mask.

Please explain these health reasons that prevent people from wearing a mask, and also prevent them from making alternate arrangements that don't risk everyone else's safety.

At work, I will negotiate a reasonable accomodation for people who can't wear a mask. They just need to bring me a note from a physician or other professional. It doesn't have to tell me what condition they have, just a positive statement that they cannot wear a mask.

I have had zero people take me up on that.
posted by ctmf at 2:37 PM on June 28 [13 favorites]


The pricey grocery store near me will open an hour early or stay open an hour late and give one or a few people the whole store to themselves to accommodate that. If arranged in advance for resource planning purposes, and with a letter from a professional, like I ask for. They're willing to spend that much in labor/overhead, if that's what it takes, at no additional cost to the customer. Nobody takes them up on that, either. It's just people who want to be allowed to pretend nobody else matters.

I bet they'd even be sympathetic if someone claimed not to be able to afford the doctor's visit to get the letter.
posted by ctmf at 2:58 PM on June 28 [7 favorites]


Thinking of the people I know, their reasons involve pulmonary health conditions like asthma, COPD, and a history of lung cancer. However, they've all been able to make "alternate arrangements" because they have flexible employers and/or supportive social networks.

Mainly, they aren't poor.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:01 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


CDC: "Cloth face coverings should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance."

But I think the ultimate point is about what works from the perspective of public health experts, and whether encouraging hostile, intimidating displays of "shaming" is actually a) effective in increasing compliance, b) safe for the people doing the 'shaming,' and c) not risking unfair discrimination and unlawful harassment against people with disabilities and other limitations, including but not limited to poverty.
posted by katra at 3:07 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I think it's bullshit to say shaming is ineffective.

I understand your strong emotional response to this topic. Believe me, I do. However, just as there is empirical evidence that allows public health specialists to make recommendations like "wear masks to prevent virus transmission" based on data rather than feelings, there is also empirical evidence that allows public health specialists to make recommendations like, "actually, shaming tends to be more counterproductive than helpful, on the whole; please use alternate methods" based on data rather than feelings.
posted by eviemath at 3:14 PM on June 28 [9 favorites]


Let's say I'm Trader Joe's. I could imagine having a conversation with someone that could result in allowing them to shop without a mask. Ultimately, this is about getting the risk as low as reasonably achievable, there's no such thing as completely safe. I think it would be ok if one person, who has no reason to believe they're infected, goes without a mask among the many others who are. The point though, is, individuals don't get to just show up and force their "solution" to their problem on me. I'll work with them, but I get a vote too, and wandering around without a mask during prime hours is... not my first choice of solutions.

It would be a problem though, if I was somehow convinced, and then all the other customers behaved badly to them. Some kind of "management authorized exception" badge or something? So then everyone could direct their displeasure to me.
posted by ctmf at 3:18 PM on June 28


It's just really disheartening to think that yelling at strangers is really the only tool in our toolbox for every situation, especially a situation that got managed in other countries by supporting each other and communicating. I very much would prefer to live in that society to the one I'm in.
posted by bleep at 3:24 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


via TIME Magazine, Apr. 13, 2020:
Studies on disaster preparedness have found that one of the best ways to get other people to adopt new habits is to model them. “The literature shows that people will change their behavior if there are three conditions in place: they know what to do, why to do it and they see other people like themselves also doing it,” says Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. A crucial part of this, she says, is that authority figures, from political leaders to pastors, are all repeating the same message, to the point that people are “swimming in a sea” of it.

Those waters are murky in the United States, where the response to the pandemic has been politically polarized and messages have been mixed. [...] President Donald Trump has said he won’t be wearing a mask because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended it, not ordered it, and “I just don’t want to.”
States scramble to contain Covid spikes without enough workers to track outbreaks (Politico)
Critics say the failing stems from a lack of direction from the Trump administration, which has left reopening decisions to states and released guidance on contact tracing weeks after state efforts were launched. That’s left sizable state-to-state disparities in readiness. “President Trump’s refusal to focus on testing and contact tracing and the general absence of any leadership led to disastrous failures in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement to POLITICO.

Democratic lawmakers are pushing the Trump administration to quickly distribute $8 billion Congress approved weeks ago to fortify contact tracing programs. While the administration has already released $11 billion for state testing and tracing, Democrats say further delay on the remaining funds has left states inadequately prepared to deal with new spikes in infections.
posted by katra at 3:47 PM on June 28 [8 favorites]


The Dudes Who Won't Wear Masks talks about how shaming may not be effective. By analogy to the AIDS crisis, where trying to shame gay men into wearing condoms for anal sex didn't really work. Instead safe sex educators had to build bridges to condom usage in other ways.

It's worth a read but I'm not sure I really agree with this article, nor its conclusion we should coddle folks. In particular not wearing a mask is, by definition, a public behavior. Public shaming works in a way that pressure on sexual behavior does not. Also there's just simply having the law. No one in France was wearing masks in public until they started enforcing a serious fine. AFAIK nowhere in the US is actively enforcing mask requirements. (And doing so is problematic given the danger the police here pose to the citizens.)
posted by Nelson at 3:51 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Yes, we are social creatures. For months I have been adamant about wearing a mask whenever I step outside, even just walking alone through my neighborhood and much more than 6 feet away from anyone else the entire time. It's always worthwhile to be sending the right signals via our own behavior.
posted by PhineasGage at 3:52 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Maybe I missed it, but haven't seen any discussion of the NBA re-opening using Oura rings to diagnose Covid. The whole thing sounds like more fraud, but what do I know?
posted by CCBC at 3:55 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


^What the NBA’S $300 COVID-Detecting Rings Can Actually Accomplish (Slate, June 22, 2020) However, there’s no substantial proof that wearables like the Oura Ring are useful for early detection and plenty of reason to be skeptical. [...] Simply put, wearable devices are not by themselves an adequate coronavirus-prevention measure as of now.

[Also, there are privacy concerns, though "The league has said that it will delete the data within four weeks after the end of the season."]
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:50 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I mean, I totally agree that someone who promotes or attempts to use a method that has been empirically verified to not work in order to promote evidence-based public policy should probably feel a little bit ashamed or at least foolish! But my attempts at inducing such a feeling among people engaging in such behavior in this thread don't seem to have been very effective so far. As predicted by evidence-based studies on the matter. So, shrug, there's that.
posted by eviemath at 5:07 PM on June 28


AFAIK nowhere in the US is actively enforcing mask requirements.

'Incomprehensible': Confrontations over masks erupt amid COVID-19 crisis (ABC News, May 7, 2020)
On April 21, a 20-year-old woman in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania, was arrested for creating what police described as an “extreme disturbance” by allegedly attacking a store manager who barred her from entering for not wearing the mask she had dangling around her neck. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of obstructing justice, disorderly conduct, providing false identification, and violating health department orders to wear a mask, Wilkes-Barre Township police said in a statement.
Law enforcement to encourage voluntary compliance, not citations for face mask mandate (WFMY2 News, Jun. 25, 2020)
Starting Friday night Governor Roy Cooper's face mask mandate takes effect throughout the state of North Carolina. [...] While law enforcement cannot arrest individuals for not wearing a mask, they can issue citations to businesses that fail to enforce the wearing of masks.

[...] The Rockingham County Sheriff's office added that deputies will respond to trespassing calls if a person not wearing a mask refuses to leave a business. "The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office will not be citing/arresting any individuals for violation of the facemask mandate. If businesses call we will respond and assess the situation. Any business can ask a patron to leave and if they refuse that could be a violation. That's for any reason. As for individual enforcement for not wearing masks, no we will not be doing that," said Sgt Kevin Suthard of the Rockingham County Sheriff's office in an email to WFMY News 2. Not everyone is in favor of the order. The group Re-Open NC has planned a protest in Raleigh on Friday.
posted by katra at 5:18 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


The idea that shaming doesn't work flies in the face of vast amounts of evidence all of us have experienced throughout our lives, as well as a huge amount of social science. It will take a lot more than a few one-off studies to conclude that in this of all human domains somehow social shaming and stigma doesn't work. Heck, I was (gently) shamed just a few hours ago in this very forum and will not soon repeat the infraction. That doesn't mean shaming is the ethical thing to do, but is sure as heck works.

And regarding other countries that have high mask compliance, they often engage in quite aggressive public shaming. For instance, here's a good interview on NPR, The Coronavirus Guilt Trip. And for the flip side, how do we think the right comes to be so uniformly against masks? It's not just following Trump, a lot of it is peer-to-peer shaming against masks:
“In the West, I think we need to overcome—I wouldn’t call it a fear of the mask, but [the] stigma with a mask,” Christos Lynteris, a medical anthropologist at the University of St Andrews, in Scotland, told me. “I’ve heard people say, ‘I was carrying a mask in the airplane but I was too ashamed to wear it.’"
posted by chortly at 5:24 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


I just don't see how fighting fear, shame, confusion, and not knowing who to trust with more more fear, shame, and not knowing who to trust is actually solving anyone's problem.
posted by bleep at 5:39 PM on June 28


Police seek a California woman they say coughed on a baby in a social distancing dispute (CNN, June 27, 2020) Police are investigating video of an alleged assault that occurred at a Yogurtland in California where a woman is seen coughing in the face of a baby, allegedly because the mother was not maintaining proper social distance. The incident took place June 12 when a White woman described as being in her 60s was standing in line for frozen yogurt in front of another woman and her child in a stroller, the San Jose Police Department said.

"The preliminary investigation revealed the suspect was upset the female was not maintaining proper social distancing so the suspect removed her face mask, got close to the baby's face, and coughed two to three times," said police Sgt. Enrique Garcia. [...] After video of the coughing incident went viral online, Oak Grove School District in San Jose confirmed the suspect who coughed on the baby may be one of their employees.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:47 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


As for individual enforcement for not wearing masks, no we will not be doing that

So that's the kind of shit that's not helping cut down on the peer-to-peer shaming. If nobody in authority has the spine to enforce it, people have to take matters into their own hands.

the suspect removed her face mask, got close to the baby's face, and coughed two to three times

Now there's a person for whom living with themselves is probably punishment enough. I don't know how you look in the mirror after you've let yourself get so carried away you act that shamefully.
posted by ctmf at 6:02 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


I just don't see how fighting fear, shame, confusion, and not knowing who to trust with more more fear, shame, and not knowing who to trust is actually solving anyone's problem.

I guess the idea is that we've spent years, decades, or centuries trying to solve the problem of right-wing aggression and misinformation. That's not likely to be solved in the next few months, and in the short term we need to slow a disease that, unslowed, will soon cause literally hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Antagonizing the right a bit more via shaming and arrests seems like a worthwhile price to pay for the short-term benefits, even at the cost of pushing them farther into their ideological holes. It worked for the n-word and many other acts of overt racism -- they never changed their minds, they got angry at the PC police, but they stopped using the words. And it can work here, as one of the tools in a toolkit of exclusively terrible options, when the lives of all of our parents and grandparents are on the line.

Like any other social policy, that doesn't mean that anything goes though -- the Petco story above was a good example, the San Jose story is a very bad example. But it's a powerful, unpleasant tool that our real-life trolley problem requires considering. I don't see any other realistic mechanism apart from legal enforcement that is going to stop these people in the next few months. Cajoling and persuading by example, though, is pure wishful thinking, and I say that as someone who deeply believes in the power of persuasion. But it just doesn't work in the time that we have, absent all the leaders getting together to present a unified message. And that's not going to happen any time soon.
posted by chortly at 6:03 PM on June 28 [7 favorites]


I mean, seriously. I'm imagining telling the story to my friends now. And then SHE said... and then I said... and then I took my mask off and coughed on the baby!

My friends would not laugh.
posted by ctmf at 6:04 PM on June 28


That's true, I guess there's a lot of degrees of variance in what we're talking about, off the top of my head I can think of: getting aggressive with strangers who aren't wearing a mask (not going to help, I think), being clear with friends and family what the stakes are and what we need to do and employing shaming if necessary (yes, completely), expressing nonverbal disapproval towards strangers with body language etc. (perfectly fine), being aggressive with someone who's harassing or bothering an innocent stranger (extremely necessary).

But none of this should even be on our shoulders to us as individuals; if we weren't completely failed by almost all levels of government none of this would be happening. It should be easy to get a mask and there should be no reason to feel weird about wearing it.
posted by bleep at 6:13 PM on June 28 [5 favorites]


You know the old saw, "You can't reason a man out of a position that he didn't reason himself into"? The refusal to wear a mask is not a rational act. It is an emotional act - whether that emotion is "own the libs" spite, "masks are for plebs" ego-stroking, or "you're not my mommy!" childishness.

No amount of logic is going to change their minds, and the powers that be are either too beholden to the white-hot-ball-of-misplaced-rage or too cowardly to even mandate mask wearing, much less enforce it.

So, what are are regular people supposed to do, to protect themselves? Our arsenal is rather sparse. Public shaming is one of the few tools left at our disposal. It also happens to work.
posted by notsnot at 6:36 PM on June 28 [8 favorites]


Is ‘social shaming’ a good way to encourage wearing face masks? (Providence Journal, May 6, 2020)
Cranston Police Chief Michael Winquist advised against confrontation. [...] “It is not recommended that any citizen take matters in his or her own hands to include engaging in ‘public shaming.’ The reaction of the target of your comments cannot be predicted and could be detrimental to your safety and the safety of those in your company,” Winquist said.
Who’s enforcing mask rules? Often retail workers, and they’re getting hurt. (NYT reprint, May 19, 2020)
As more parts of the country reopen businesses, many retail workers have reluctantly turned into de facto enforcers of public health guidelines, confronting customers who refuse to wear masks or to maintain a wide distance from others. The risk of a violent reaction now hangs over jobs already fraught with health perils.
posted by katra at 6:43 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


I'll need to see data that public shaming works. The science I remember reading is that the more you argue with people, the more they entrench their positions.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:45 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I think some of us, when picturing ‘shaming’ in our minds, are picturing something closer to “the majority of people in your vicinity are giving you a wearisome dirty look that makes clear that they believe you really are a bit of an asshole, and a childish one at that” than what some of you are imagining.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 6:54 PM on June 28 [14 favorites]


Public shaming is not arguing. It's not debating a set of facts, it's saying "this type of behavior is unacceptable here" with an implicit monkey brain threat of violence (not implying violence follows, but I'm guessing that's what our primate brain is attempting to prevent).
posted by benzenedream at 6:54 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


The San Jose story isn't the worst example of matters going wrong; for that, see the site katra linked upthread: People Keep Shooting Each Other Over Coronavirus Restrictions (TheTrace.org, May 20, 2020) Tracking gun violence tied to face masks, store closures, and social distancing rules.

Man Refused Service for Not Wearing Mask Assaults Store Clerk (NBC, May 14, 2020)
Toronto store owners say they were assaulted after forcibly removing customer for not wearing mask (CBC, May 29, 2020)
Man shoots at MetroBus after he was refused for not wearing a face mask (KDSK St. Louis, May 31, 2020)
Customer violently shoves employee over mask policy in Dallas-area business, police say (Star Telegram, June 15, 2020)
Man attacks Asian employee, shouts racist remarks when asked to wear mask in Albany store (WRGB, June 15, 2020)
Restaurant Employees Become the Unexpected Enforcers of Mask Policies; Some employees report having to confront “super-aggravated customers” several times a week (Eater Detroit, June 18, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:59 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


As U.S. soars past 2.5 million coronavirus cases, Pence urges Americans to wear masks, social distance (WaPo)
At an event in Dallas, Pence commended Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for his “decisive action” in reopening the state’s economy in early May. [...] “It’s a good time to steer clear of senior citizens and to practice the kind of measures that will keep our most vulnerable safe,” Pence said at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he was joined by Abbott, White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

All four were wearing face masks as they entered and left the briefing room, a striking contrast with the image Trump administration officials have presented in recent months. Members of the White House coronavirus task force have typically not worn masks and have stood in proximity to each other at media briefings, and President Trump has frequently ridiculed reporters and others who have worn face coverings during the pandemic.
Choir at Pence event in Texas did not wear masks while singing (WaPo live blog)
Dozens of members of a choir performed without masks Sunday at an event where Vice President Pence spoke, despite warnings from public-health officials that singing in groups can spread the novel coronavirus. Although the choir members wore masks during the speeches, they removed them to sing, according to a pool report from the event in Dallas. An NBC News reporter in attendance said there was space between the choir members, but probably not six feet.
posted by katra at 7:02 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the definition of shaming here is too broad as to be meaningless. And we will not be able to see data about this either.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:04 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Iris Gambol's links are full of people who aren't getting the shaming hint.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:05 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


North Carolina does NOT prohibit mask wearing and ‘concealed carry’ (AP Fact Check, June 24, 2020) The posts online warn that those who decide to concealed carry and wear a mask can be charged with a felony.

“Once you have a felony you can no longer carry,” stated one post with more than 5,000 shares on Facebook. The posts online referenced “NC Gen. Statute 14-12” as the reason state residents with “concealed carry” permits could not carry their gun and wear a mask at the same time. The state statute 14-12.8 says: “No person or persons shall in this State, while wearing any mask, hood or device whereby the person face or voice is disguised so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter, or appear upon or within the public property of any municipality or county of the State, or of the State of North Carolina.”

In May, as part of its Covid-19 Recovery Act, the North Carolina state legislature made a temporary exception to the state’s mask law due to public health concerns. The bill also stipulates that a person wearing a mask shall remove the mask upon request of a law enforcement officer.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:07 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Time for the return of Frown Power
posted by bq at 7:54 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


... so, uh, are all of katra's links about public health experts talking about what does and does not work in the area of public health promotion based on actual data studied by actual public health professionals only visible to me or something?
posted by eviemath at 9:20 PM on June 28 [5 favorites]


Here's Richard "I'm not a lawyer, I'm a law professor" Epstein three weeks ago:

"Anyone who takes a close look at the death tolls from coronavirus cannot fail to be struck by the following anomaly. The states that have the highest death rates, concentrated in the northeast, have adopted the most interventionist policies. Those that have had the lowest death rates, usually by local decision, opened up their economies at a more rapid rate."

Recall that Epstein is the guy who back in March projected no more than 500 deaths, which he then said he really meant 5,000 deaths, and then lied and said he meant 50,000 all along, and then ....

You would think that a guy who fancies himself such a public intellectual would get a clue and just hang it up. But he just keeps plugging along, wrong as ever.
posted by JackFlash at 10:07 PM on June 28 [9 favorites]


I can see those great links by the OP, too, eviemath; I think we're in a bit of a parallel thread situation.

As U.S. soars past 2.5 million coronavirus cases, Pence urges Americans to wear masks, social distance (Washington Post, June 28, 2020). “It’s a good time to steer clear of senior citizens and to practice the kind of measures that will keep our most vulnerable safe,” Pence said at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he was joined by Abbott, White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. All four were wearing face masks as they entered and left the briefing room, a striking contrast with the image Trump administration officials have presented in recent months. [...]

But earlier Sunday, a “Celebrate Freedom” rally Pence attended at First Baptist Church in Dallas featured a large choir that did not wear masks while singing, despite evidence that some choir practices have served as “superspreader” events. Members of the choir put on their masks after they finished singing, and about two-thirds of attendees were wearing masks during the event, although many were sitting side by side in the pews. Face coverings and social distancing were strongly recommended but not required.
--
Well, baby steps, I guess. Pence has only led the White House Coronavirus Task Force since it formed in February.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:16 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


... so, uh, are all of katra's links about public health experts talking about what does and does not work in the area of public health promotion based on actual data studied by actual public health professionals only visible to me or something?

Can you provide one a data heavy one? I'm having trouble finding one. There are many links so I could have missed one.

The ones I saw by public health experts were not based on data or studies as to whether shaming is actually effective. Julia Marcus in the Atlantic, for example, is basically arguing to "be kind" and her supporting link is an earlier article she wrote.

I kind of feel, like all other aspects of this plague, this is going to be hard to find data on because this is new. The large scale behavior change we're trying to achieve rapidly seems outside the scope of most public health experts and probably goes into sociology. I'm thinking of wartime behavior with rationing, for example, and how you wouldn't want to be seen hoarding. (Though my father has some stories that make me think that may be overblown.)

And wearing a mask is an inherently public and visible act, so outcomes might be quite different than shaming over other behaviors. I mean, if you mock me eating Twinkies I might still do it, just not when anyone's looking. OTOH if I only wear a mask when someone is looking the problem is solved, you don't care about my secret private behavior in that respect.

So I'm very curious as to what is known. Shame is AFAIK a strong control mechanism, though shaming is a somewhat different thing and could certainly be counterproductive (probably depending on the larger environment.)
posted by mark k at 10:44 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


U.S. Officials Press President Trump to Wear Mask in Coronavirus Fight (WSJ)
President Trump is coming under growing pressure from Republicans and Democrats to set an example for the country by wearing a face mask as the number of U.S. coronavirus cases hits new highs. [...] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said Sunday a federal mandate to wear masks in public was “long overdue” and faulted Mr. Trump for not setting an example by wearing one in public himself. [...] Polls have shown that Democrats are more likely to regularly wear masks in public than Republicans are.

[...] Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, also said it would help if Mr. Trump would encourage Americans to wear a mask, even if he doesn’t do so himself. “A consistent national message supporting the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing is very important to making sure everybody understands the importance of it,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Nothing beats leadership.”
posted by katra at 10:46 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Can you provide one a data heavy one?

Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security made recommendations based on studies on disaster preparedness about the importance of authority figures, "from political leaders to pastors," all repeating the same message. There's also data in the Atlantic article, The Dudes Who Won't Wear Masks, including in this paragraph:
When the president mocks mask wearers for appearing weak and sees face coverings as a political statement against him, it’s no surprise that some Americans are loudly declining to wear them. Mask refusers are more likely to be politically conservative, an ominous trend when new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are increasing steeply in some red states—the very states where mask mandates are least likely to be adopted. As one research team noted, men are especially likely to opt out of wearing masks, believing them to be “shameful,” “a sign of weakness,” and “not cool”—even though men are at higher risk than women of dying from coronavirus infection.
Why more men aren't wearing masks — and how to change that (Adam Tschorn, LAT, Jun. 22, 2020) reports on the same study about gender differences in attitudes towards masks, “The Effect of Messaging and Gender on Intentions to Wear a Face Covering to Slow Down COVID-19 Transmission," and the finding that "the biggest motivator of all is a mandatory mask order."

Aziza Ahmed, a professor who specializes in health law at Northeastern University, made a point that I think is important and implicitly data-heavy, about how important it can be to avoid assuming that you know why someone is not wearing masks, due to the legitimate health reasons that can exist. I don't have exact data to offer about how many people may fit within CDC or local exemptions, but it seems important to keep this data point in mind.

There is also the data being collected in this thread about the possible dangers related to confrontation. Like I said above, I think the question is not just about whether a particular tactic is effective, but also whether it is safe to engage in and whether it will result in unfair discrimination or unlawful harassment.
posted by katra at 11:13 PM on June 28 [9 favorites]


Trump will never wear a mask because he'll get his clown makeup all over it.

If thousands of people have to die because of his vanity, he's just fine with that.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:16 PM on June 28 [9 favorites]


President Trump is coming under growing pressure from Republicans

Yeah because he needs to stop being obviously on the wrong side of this. He's getting slaughtered in the polls, and they're having to choose between being next, and going against him.
posted by ctmf at 11:29 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


What units are data about public shaming measured in, anyway?
posted by thelonius at 12:06 AM on June 29


millichides
posted by rifflesby at 12:08 AM on June 29 [40 favorites]


Illustrating what we're up against, a friend of my SO's relayed an unfortunate story about some of his 20-30 year old friends. A bit less than two weeks ago, one of them decided to have nine others over to his house for a party. Being both young and swimming in red pill-adjacent bullshit, of course there was no attempt whatsoever to account for the pandemic. Of the ten, nine have now tested positive for COVID. The sole remaining person is not showing symptoms and has so far refused to be tested despite the public testing sites being available to anyone regardless of symptoms or potential contact.

Adding to the terribleness of the situation is the realization I had just now that any kind of even marginally useful contact tracing/public health system, which Miami-Dade county ought to have if anyone in the US does given that they've supposedly hired a bunch of their own contact tracers to supplement those the state has hired, it wouldn't be up to his friends to convince the lone holdout to get tested. By now, he should have been given a choice between getting a test and a forced quarantine, as state law has provided for since at least the 1930s.
posted by wierdo at 2:00 AM on June 29 [12 favorites]


Hello from the land of the immunocompromised. I am a thirty something and in the prime of my career. I am not old and besides my immuno condition am really fucking healthy including metabolically otherwise. I cannot just “fucking stay home”.

However, I have barely left my house since March because even though I live in a very blue state, masks still are nothing worn. This sucks. Because I cannot just “fucking stay home”, I have to make further sacrifices because healthy people can’t be bothered to think of who else might be at risk besides grandma.

This is what my looks like: Get up at 3AM
Mask up, glove up, get fresh air on a walk
Be home by 4:30am when all the maskless mouthspreaders take to the streets for another day of entitlement
7am - start work two hours early because I’m up.
4pm - stop work
Rinse, repeat.

Because precovid I was never home due to extracurriculars and volunteering, all of that is gone.

Also, my employer thinks I need to be back in the office but that is a different rant about different ego anxieties of powerful men as applied to the same situation.

This all boils down to this terrible feeling that despite being a really fucking good person and being really involved in my community the world thinks I need to drop dead.

Thanks for the message.
posted by floweredfish at 2:27 AM on June 29 [21 favorites]


Reluctance to wear masks is not solely a U.S. phenomenon. The chart here shows that the U.S. isn't even the most reluctant country: "Masks Could Help Stop Coronavirus. So Why Are They Still Controversial?" (WSJ - no paywall)

Sorry, I have to call bullshit on whoever did this survey. They seriously want to tell me that a smaller proportion of Germans wear masks than USians? No way. I have been out and about as well as traveling around the country-side here in Germany and it's 100% full compliance. Some random people have their nose out, sometimes there's a couple teenagers that aren't wearing one, but literally everyone else has a mask on in every indoor public space and on public transportation. There is no mask requirement to wear one outside, and it's still not common to wear one outside, even on a busy street.
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:31 AM on June 29 [6 favorites]


‘Exhausted’ by customers’ rage over wearing masks, California taco chain shuts down (SacBee)
Diners at two Los Angeles taco stands have screamed, cursed and thrown drinks on employees trying to enforce a “no mask, no service” policy, the Los Angeles Times reports. It’s become so exhausting that Hugo’s Tacos has closed down both shops to give workers a break, owners wrote in a post on Twitter. “All because of a simple question: Can we ask you to put on a mask? Can we offer you a mask?” said part-owner Bill Kohne, according to the Los Angeles Times. [...] Incidents, often captured on video, of people refusing to wear masks or trying to force their way into businesses without masks have been reported in recent weeks across the United States. California is one of several states that have implemented mandatory mask orders in public to try to contain a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

[...] Workers, who are mostly Latino, also have been called racial epithets by customers who have demanded refunds and thrown drinks through drive-up windows, the Los Angeles Times says. “It’s just gotten more difficult to open every day in an environment where you’re treated with hostility and venom,” Kohne said, KTTV reported.
Trump retweets video of white St Louis couple pointing guns at protesters (Guardian)
The president’s action came a day after he retweeted footage of protesters clashing in Florida in which a Trump supporter could be heard to say “White power! White power!” That retweet was deleted from the president’s account after a few hours, a White House spokesman saying Trump had not heard the inflammatory words before sending the footage on to his supporters. [...] On Monday, White House press secretary told Fox News Trump’s “point in tweeting out that video was to stand with his supporters, who are oftentimes demonized” [explaining why Trump tweeted out a video of a supporter at The Villages yelling "white power."]
posted by katra at 8:35 AM on June 29 [6 favorites]


So, what are are regular people supposed to do, to protect themselves? Our arsenal is rather sparse. Public shaming is one of the few tools left at our disposal. It also happens to work.

Here's the rub, we just need things that work at this point. This is the challenge, I think:
  • it's clearly safer and more prudent not to publicly shame strangers, because people will react in all kinds of unpredictable ways to shame;
  • any public health or safety expert will only give responsible, prudent advice, like 'public shaming is dangerous and has unpredictable, often negative, results';
  • rationally, it's best to persuade one another and build positive consensus about our collective health problem(s).
However, the reality on the ground is that:
  • calm, rational arguments and modeling take some time to gradually change people's behavior collectively, and we have no more time to spare;
  • people not wearing a mask are dangerous to me (and thus my family) in my immediate space, right now;
  • since rational argument and modeling has proven dangerously ineffective to a large portion of our population, their dangerous behavior must be curtailed be some means, to protect the rest of us.
So, as an earnest and serious question, what do we do when rationality, persuasion and modeling fail to change enough people's behavior, and large numbers of people continue to willfully and purposefully behave in ways that are concretely dangerous to the rest of us? Would we worry so much about public shaming if people were waving loaded guns around in Target, instead of talking and coughing invisible viral loads everywhere? I'm in a county in California with quite a few Trump tribalists, and this childish, needlessly defiant behavior is a clear and present danger to me in my community, right now (a county that's among the highest increases in infection rates in CA last week, woo-hoo).

I guess I'm just feeling exasperated because the U.S. is now at the point where we must, to meet the needs of basic public safety and survival, require and compel people to behave in ways that many have so far resisted and outright fought to avoid. How is public health and safety compliance enforced, when it actually must be enforced? At some point, when the mouth sounds don't work and clearly will not work, some other kind of effective action is needed. I don't want to publicly shame anybody, and I certainly do not want to be in any fights, but I am reaching my limit for having my health put at risk by some Trump-worshipping asshole who can't bother to put a piece of fabric over their face for 45 minutes at Target.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:16 AM on June 29 [7 favorites]


Anecdotally: I started wearing a mask several weeks after someone gave one to me, but a couple of weeks before my county required it. By late March, I noticed other people starting to wear them (at the time, CDC still was recommending against masks) and followed suit. It felt very silly for the first week. By the second week, I'd figured out the glasses fog issue and didn't mind so much. By the third week...our county finally started requiring masks, and it felt long overdue! I was never explicitly pressured to wear a mask, but seeing other people wear them convinced me it was a good idea. I don't know how you convince a bunch of people to wear masks where no one is wearing them, and when official medical advice recently spoke against it.

(and I can't begin to explain what is wrong with greater LA, where coronavirus is really spiking right now, and plenty of people are surely wearing masks already)
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:35 AM on June 29


The standard way to encourage compliance with laws that cannot reasonably be enforced society-wide is to pick a few noncompliers and make high profile examples of them, with large fines. Have reporters at the ready and scare the shit out of people. Even the Trumpiest QAnon idiot fears a $7000 fine. It's not like we haven't done this already for drunk driving and cigarette smoking FFS. This is not rocket science.

(Having masks at the ready to give out for people who "forgot theirs" would be a good move as well, then you only fine the real assholes.)
posted by benzenedream at 10:14 AM on June 29 [6 favorites]


Yes, peer pressure from seeing everyone else do something is different from more direct peer pressure of the "you should do this" variety is different from general or campaigns not targetted at specific individuals but giving the message that not doing the thing is uncool is different from dirty looks is different from direct, active shaming. A lot of what is recommended by public health professionals, from the bits I've read, does indeed rely on peer pressure/public pressure. Also it's not that negative consequences for failing to do the thing can't or shouldn't be part of a more comprehensive campaign (eg. fines for businesses that don't enforce mask requirements). It's that direct confrontation trying to directly shame specific individual people (strangers or acquaintances) doesn't tend to be as effective, and actually backfires an unhelpfully significant proportion of the time.
posted by eviemath at 10:18 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Allegheny County to halt on-premises alcohol consumption, enforce mask wearing in businesses, restaurants

Only three weeks after re-opening them, the county shuts down all bars after huge spike in cases among young people.
[Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen] said there has been community-spread of the virus among people who have congregated at bars in Pittsburgh’s South Side and Oakland neighborhoods and have traveled to out-of-state hotspots like Florida, Texas and the beaches along the Carolina coast.
posted by octothorpe at 10:32 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]


Jacksonville, host of August RNC, orders mask-wearing (WaPo live blog)
City spokeswoman Nikki Kimbleton told The Washington Post that whether the mandate applies to the convention will be addressed “as we get closer to the event,” noting that it “is still two months away.” The mask order, which goes into effect Monday evening, is a turn for Mayor Lenny Curry. The former Republican Party of Florida chairman has been “ideologically resistant to passing government mandates,” Politico reported. He said a week ago that he did not plan to issue a mask requirement, according to News4Jax, although he encouraged mask-wearing as “the responsible thing.”
Schumer, Pelosi to McConnell: Move on coronavirus relief (Politico)
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the GOP “missing in action,” noting that the House passed its own massive relief package 45 days ago. [...] House Democrats passed their sprawling coronavirus aid package in mid-May, which included over $3 trillion in aid for states and local governments, hospitals and frontline workers. That package, however, has languished on the other side of the Capitol. [...] Now, Democrats argue that Republicans in the Senate need to move forward immediately on coronavirus aid, warning that state and local governments don’t have enough money for essential services. Most states are set to begin new fiscal years on July 1 with dire projections amid steep declines in revenue.

Adding to the pressure, Democrats said, is the expiration of boosted unemployment benefits and provisions providing eviction relief at the end of July. The unemployment benefits, alone, have pumped hundreds of billions of dollars in the U.S. economy to keep it on life support amid the worst financial crisis in decades. “It is unacceptable that the Senate would recess without addressing this urgent issue,” Schumer and Pelosi wrote. “On behalf of the millions of American families who desperately need Congressional action, we demand you change your mind and decide to work with us for the good of the country.”
posted by katra at 10:36 AM on June 29 [8 favorites]


The standard way to encourage compliance with laws that cannot reasonably be enforced society-wide is to pick a few noncompliers and make high profile examples of them, with large fines.

I worry the few noncompliers chosen for this would be POC.
posted by one for the books at 11:08 AM on June 29 [6 favorites]


I worry the few noncompliers chosen for this would be POC.

Which would do little by way of serving as a cautionary example for many white people, in addition to the more immediate racism-in-policing issue. :/
posted by eviemath at 11:30 AM on June 29


I do as well, in general. On the other hand, if they're truly egregious non-compliers, as in throw-a-tantrum-when-politely-reminded drama seekers and not "Haha, you lifted your mask for 5 seconds to spit out your gum, I saw you" bullshit cases, then I don't think I care what color they are.

Racially-motivated uneven policing is a problem, but it's a separate problem from "should this be enforced at all"
posted by ctmf at 11:34 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


if they're truly egregious non-compliers

Turns out I don't see nearly as many POC doing that.
posted by ctmf at 11:35 AM on June 29 [8 favorites]


We tried the "selective public enforcement" thing with businesses, including imposing fines. Businesses still opened up because the profits outweighed the fine, and if their customers were predominantly Republican, the enforcement counted as free advertising.

Turns out I don't see nearly as many POC doing that.
If cops start enforcing this, they will be looking for offenders in neighborhoods where primarily POC live, because that's where cops patrol. They don't patrol white suburbia nearly as much. So yes, enforcement will be racist and unequal.
posted by tofu_crouton at 12:33 PM on June 29 [12 favorites]


Oregon County Reverses Mask Exemption for People of Color After Backlash (Newsweek, Jun. 25, 2020)
After Lincoln County saw a spike in coronavirus cases, health officials declared face coverings would be required in public settings. The directive came with several exemptions including "people of color who have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public." However, county officials issued a statement Wednesday revising the policy a week after it was passed to address public concerns from both sides. "We are shocked and appalled at the volume of horrifically racist commentary we have received regarding this policy exception," they said.

"We included the last protection for those within our communities of color who historically, and often personally, found themselves the victims of harassment and violence. After last month's protests, the national attention given to issue of racism, police tactics and inequity, we felt this last exception would be embraced and understood as a small effort to start addressing the realities some of our neighbors deal with on a daily basis." Officials said threats and racist commentary against the exception, which was originally meant to protect communities of color in the county, has made these individuals "a target for further discrimination and harassment."
posted by katra at 12:41 PM on June 29 [2 favorites]


So yes, enforcement will be racist and unequal.

I don't dispute that one bit. The problem is, ok now what? Does that mean we can't have any enforceable rules if there's a chance (or certainty) they will be enforced selectively? That's pretty much everything.
posted by ctmf at 12:43 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


Neurological and neuropsychiatric complications of COVID-19 in 153 patients: a UK-wide surveillance study (The Lancet, June 25, 2020)
"G" mutation in virus may be making it more contagious (WaPo, June 29, 2020)
The novel coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2 – may have been in Europe for longer than previously thought. (Science Alert, June 29, 2020) Recent studies have suggested that it was circulating in Italy as early as December 2019. More surprisingly, researchers at the University of Barcelona found traces of the virus when testing untreated wastewater samples dated 12 March 2019. [Not peer-reviewed, & see other caveats in SA article]

Jacksonville, the new site for Donald Trump’s convention speech, will require masks in public, indoors (USA Today, June 29, 2020) [YES! Wait --] City officials said they haven’t decided whether to mandate masks during the convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 24 to Aug. 27. [...] The state announced 8,530 new coronavirus cases Sunday, marking the third straight day of more than 8,000 cases in the state. Donald Trump may drop out of the 2020 presidential race if he believes he has no chance of winning, a Republican Party operative reportedly told Fox News. (The Independent, June 29, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:56 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


We tried the "selective public enforcement" thing with businesses, including imposing fines. Businesses still opened up because the profits outweighed the fine, and if their customers were predominantly Republican, the enforcement counted as free advertising.

Individuals are not businesses and not many people think $1000 fines are pocket money. I dissuaded a lot of dumb relatives (who couldn't care less about transmission) from crossing county lines "just to pick up something from Uncle Fred" by sending the $7k fine story to them.
posted by benzenedream at 1:21 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Donald Trump may drop out of the 2020 presidential race if he believes he has no chance of winning, a Republican Party operative reportedly told Fox News.

One sign of this might be Pence increasingly putting daylight between himself and Trump policies -- like wearing a mask.
posted by JackFlash at 1:35 PM on June 29 [2 favorites]


Donald Trump may drop out of the 2020 presidential race if he believes he has no chance of winning, a Republican Party operative reportedly told Fox News.

No chance. If Trump sees the writing on the wall, he'll claim he won and voter fraud stole it away from him. He was all but telegraphing doing this in 2016 when it was predicted he would lose.
posted by PenDevil at 2:24 PM on June 29 [14 favorites]


‘Recipe for disaster’: Fauci urges Americans to buckle down on coronavirus preventative measures (Politico)
Asked Monday about the administration’s advice to states seeing spikes in cases, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany appeared to press governors to plow ahead with their plans for reopening, telling “Fox & Friends” that “this country can’t afford to stay closed.” McEnany also argued the U.S. has “entered a different phase of this disease” and is now “catching people in the community, not in the hospitals at late stages” of sickness. “We’re at a place where we can handle the cases that we’re seeing,” she said.
Tracking coronavirus cases proves difficult amid new surge (AP)
Contact tracing — tracking people who test positive and anyone they’ve come in contact with — was challenging even when stay-at-home orders were in place. Tracers say it’s exponentially more difficult now that many restaurants, bars and gyms are full, and people are gathering with family and friends. [...] Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Friday that contact tracing simply isn’t working in the U.S. Some who test positive don’t cooperate because they don’t feel sick. Others refuse testing even after being exposed. Some never call back contact tracers. And still others simply object to sharing any information.
Guardian: California governor continues rollback of reopening plans
Particularly hard hit is Southern California’s Imperial County, where an outbreak is taxing the region’s hospital system. In recent weeks, health officials have had to move roughly 500 patients into neighboring regions, taxing their hospital systems, too.
WaPo live blog: "Arizona, among the latest epicenters of the novel coronavirus in the United States, saw another record high in hospitalizations as the World Health Organization warned that the outbreak is far from over."
posted by katra at 2:28 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


No chance. If Trump sees the writing on the wall, he'll claim he won and voter fraud stole it away from him. He was all but telegraphing doing this in 2016 when it was predicted he would lose.

And the evidence that the Republicans didn't know whether the Russian interference was going to actually work is that Trump was making noise about a corrupted election up to November 2nd, if not on the day of the election itself.
posted by rhizome at 2:31 PM on June 29


Trump ignores Covid-19 risk in renewed attack on 'corrupt' mail-in voting (Guardian)
Donald Trump has continued to suggest that fear of contracting Covid-19 is not a good enough excuse not to appear at the polls, and that Americans should only be able to vote by mail under limited circumstances. [...] The president’s statement comes amid a roiling debate across the country about how easy it should be to vote by mail amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which the president has repeatedly downplayed. Sixteen states require an excuse to vote by mail, and there is a push to make concern over contracting Covid-19 an acceptable excuse.
McConnell urges Americans to continue to wear masks (Politico)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated Monday that Americans should continue to wear masks, emphasizing that there is “no stigma” associated with them. [...] “We must have no stigma — none — about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people,” McConnell said. “Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves. It is about protecting everyone we encounter.” [...] McConnell added that it’s the responsibility of individuals, small businesses, employers and “all levels of government” to take the necessary public health precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. [...] In their efforts to address the virus, some Republican senators, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, have also urged Trump to wear a mask.
posted by katra at 2:57 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


Please explain these health reasons that prevent people from wearing a mask

My husband uses an oxygen tank. The mask pinches the feed lines and also just makes it harder to breathe. He wears a mask anyway. But he's also not going to pass out if his breathing is a bit restricted for an hour or two running necessary errands. Some people will. (Husband's O2 levels run at about 85% without the tank.)

My father, who recently passed away (non-COVID-related), had Parkinson's. He couldn't put the mask on by himself, and wouldn't have been able to take it off in case of an emergency - which, in my area, is a legal exception from the mask laws.

As mentioned, there are people with claustrophobia or PTSD who are traumatized by having their faces covered. There are conditions that can be exacerbated by masks: Asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, EDS... the list is long. There is no shortage of conditions that cause breathing problems, where "add a filter over your mouth and nose" is a serious health risk.

Of course, the majority of people with conditions like those, are frantically trying to figure out how to use masks or get the same protection level from other actions, because they don't want to get worse. They're not saying "I'm exempt from wearing a mask and I don't need any extra distancing and I have a right to stand here in this crowd waiting to get into this store/ office/ restaurant/ whatever."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:46 PM on June 29 [23 favorites]


I would wager that nearly 100% of those with a legitimate medical reason to not wear a mask would not be aggressively shouting about it and would indeed be quite happy if everyone who can wears masks.

When everyone else wears masks, it significantly reduces the number and density of virus-carrying droplets hanging in the air. Probably enough that the people who can't wear masks can safely be in public, with strict adherence to the 6 foot rule and other basic precautions. It's analogous to herd immunity in that way.
posted by wierdo at 4:12 PM on June 29 [19 favorites]


Republicans told to wear masks in House panel or be barred from speaking (Guardian)
After every single Republican on the coronavirus subcommittee turned up to a Friday meeting without wearing a mask, the Democratic chair has threatened to stop them from speaking at future meetings if they fail to do so again. Not wearing a mask in a confined space such as a committee hearing room violates rules written by Congress’s attending physician, if attendees intend to be in the space for more than 15 minutes. Representative Jim Clyburn who chairs the coronavirus subcommittee meetings released a letter on Monday morning, expressing his “profound disappointment” at this rule being flouted at a time when the “United States reached the highest number of new coronavirus cases on record, and after the disease has already killed more people in the United States than in any other nation on Earth”.

Clyburn said he reminded attendees in person of that requirement and that posters outside the committee room also flagged the issue. The refusal to wear face coverings has raged across America. The president himself refuses to wear a mask. Meanwhile, a small number of Americans have objected to official guidance on wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces, arguing that it impinges on their constitutional freedoms. According to the Poynter institute, there is no constitutional right that allows people not to wear a mask. “My Republican colleagues’ refusal to wear masks is perplexing because you have asked repeatedly to hold in-person hearings, and you assured me that this could be done safely,” Clyburn wrote in a letter addressed to Steve Scalise, the ranking Republican on the committee. [...] Clyburn said that members who do not want to wear masks to meetings could also participate virtually in future meetings, in which case, he would be willing to let them speak.
posted by katra at 4:46 PM on June 29 [13 favorites]


NHL: League says 26 players test positive for COVID-19 (Reuters, June 29, 2020) The National Hockey League (NHL) said on Monday that 26 players have tested positive for COVID-19, including 15 who reported to team facilities for “Phase 2 activities.” [...] The NHL said that more than 250 players reported to club facilities as of Monday and had been tested more than 1,450 times for COVID-19. The league said 11 other players “outside of the Phase 2 protocol” also tested positive.

Diamondbacks’ Leake becomes first player to opt out in 2020 (AP, June 29, 2020) Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake has become the first known player to opt out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the coronavirus.

FEMA Ordered $10.2 Million in COVID-19 Testing Kits It’s Now Warning States Not to Use (Pro Publica, June 26, 2020) The faulty lab equipment sold by a company whose owner has faced fraud allegations is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general. [Pro Publica broke the story on Fillakit, in "The Trump Administration Paid Millions for Test Tubes — and Got Unusable Mini Soda Bottles," on June 18] FEMA signed its first deal with Fillakit on May 7, just six days after the company was formed by an ex-telemarketer repeatedly accused of fraudulent practices over the past two decades. Fillakit has supplied a total of more than 3 million tubes, which FEMA then approved and sent to all 50 states.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:02 PM on June 29 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, a small number of Americans have objected to official guidance on wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces

On my college campus, 90% of employees are refusing to mask. I've been round and round with HR and the college president and the emergency response person and our union rep but after more than a month of that, I feel like my job (as well as my life) is at risk and there's still 9 out of 10 employees just going about their day as if nothing is happening. They have apparently complained to the union that being required to mask violates their rights. And the only way the college will even consider doing anything about noncompliance is if you fill out a form saying exactly who is not masking, when and where. When you're the only one masked.... it's kind of obvious who complained. So there's also increasing harassment from the unmasked. It's horrifying and I can't even imagine what it's going to be like when the students come back in a few weeks.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:57 PM on June 29 [29 favorites]


When the students come back in a few weeks... that is going to be an unmitigated shitshow across the whole country. I don't see how you can possibly run a school with a fixed number of square feet, and reduce density. They could run smaller sections around the clock to maximize real estate usage? But that's just lectures, I don't know what you do about housing and dining.
posted by ctmf at 7:29 PM on June 29


This Is Trump’s Plague Now (David Frum, Atlantic)
The disease is spiking in places precisely where state governments hastened to reopen bars, casinos, restaurants, shopping malls, and other indoor places of entertainment. Phoenix, Houston, and other southern cities are suddenly reporting caseloads that look like New York City at its worst. Florida reported nearly 9,000 new infections on June 26, nearly equaling some of New York’s worst days. Texas recorded almost 6,000 new cases that day. Arizona reported nearly 3,400 new cases on June 26 and now suffers more cases per capita than Brazil or any country in Europe.

[...] what has happened in the U.S. in June, and what will happen in July, is entirely Trump’s fault. The president’s approach to the virus has been guided by his lifelong beliefs: It’s just as real to say you have done a good job as to do a good job. Denying you failed is just as real as actually succeeding. This time, though, reality will not be blustered away. Tens of thousands are dead, and millions are out of work, all because Trump could not and would not do the job of disease control—a job that includes setting a positive example to those Americans who trust and follow his leadership.
Arizona orders bars and gyms to close, joining other states in reversing reopening (Guardian)
The governor of Arizona has ordered bars, movie theaters, gyms and water parks to shut down, in a dramatic move that echoed similar efforts by states around the country to roll back plans for reopening. The order from the Republican governor, Doug Ducey, came on Monday and went into effect immediately, and will last for at least 30 days. Ducey also also ordered public schools to delay the start of the classes at least until 17 August.

[...] The state is not alone in its reversal. Places such as Texas, Florida and California are backtracking, closing beaches and bars in some cases amid a resurgence of the virus. Oregon and Kansas, meanwhile, announced Monday that everyone would be required to wear masks in public. [...] While Ducey has urged Arizonans to keep their distance from one another in public, he refused to issue a statewide order to wear masks and until recently resisted calls by some cities to allow them to require masks.
posted by katra at 8:44 PM on June 29 [9 favorites]


This Is Trump’s Plague Now

He had help. The Republicans are going to turn on Trump in hopes cutting off the foot will save the body. But the rot IS the whole body. They're all accomplices, not people who are going to get the party back on track.

I mean I know you all know this, but be careful not to play into the one-man shitshow theory for the people starting to be broken away from voting R. He's not capable enough to do all this without plenty of intentional aiding and abetting.
posted by ctmf at 9:01 PM on June 29 [23 favorites]


Behind the Trump team’s U-turn, mounting fears about a mission-accomplished message (Politico)
Top White House officials remain divided over the best course of action as the rate of new infections spikes in states across the U.S. Some officials, including health aides, believe the government needs to offer Americans more information on a regular basis about the best practices to keep Americans safe in the age of Covid-19 as well as continuing updates on new infections. Other aides firmly believe the White House should charge ahead with its economic message, regardless of the virus. That faction inside the White House does not want regular briefings on the state of Covid-19 or too many public appearances from officials like Fauci that could sour the nation’s mood in the coming months.

[...] During Pence’s call with governors on Monday, Abbott cited festivities over Memorial Day weekend, as well as his decision to permit bars to reopen, as two reasons Texas has witnessed skyrocketing cases and hospitalizations in the past three weeks. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey similarly said coronavirus cases in his state had slowed to a crawl before the latest surge, which began after restaurants, gyms and non-essential industries were given the greenlight to resume business in May and early June. The surges in the south are leading other states, such as New Jersey, to halt their plans to open indoor dining at restaurants — a sign of mounting worries hitting state leaders across the nation just as they hoped to be putting the crisis behind them. [...] Task force members were also noncommittal about taking a stronger stand on mask-wearing, in response to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s request on the call for Trump to join his vice president in publicly urging Americans to wear face masks.
posted by katra at 9:38 PM on June 29 [4 favorites]


So, once again, Pence headed the response to a public health crisis (HIV, coronavirus), and ignored the most effective solution (needle exchanges, lockdown) because it was politically problematic for him, until the the crisis had turned into a full blown disaster.
posted by Reverend John at 11:22 AM on June 30 [13 favorites]


Fauci warns U.S. could see 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day (Axios)
Anthony Fauci testified to a Senate committee Tuesday that he would "not be surprised" if the U.S. begins reporting as many as 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, adding, "I'm very concerned and not satisfied with what's going on because we're going in the wrong direction." [...] The country is currently seeing about 40,000 new cases daily, but that number will rise rapidly "if this does not turn around," Fauci said. He added that the outbreaks in various parts of the country put "the entire country at risk" and "clearly we don't have this under control."

[...] "I can't make an accurate prediction, but it is going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that, because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country even though in other parts of the country they're doing well, they are vulnerable. I made that point very clearly last week at a press conference. We can't just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk."
posted by katra at 11:24 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


If more Americans wore masks the pandemic would slow, experts say (Guardian)
A cultural shift among Americans to adopt mass mask wearing would be one of the simplest and most effective ways to curb further devastation from the coronavirus pandemic, according to public health experts. [...] The true figure of infection is probably much higher, at around 20 million, with Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warning on Monday that “we have way too much virus across the country for that right now” and that it was “wishful thinking” to expect the pandemic to peter out over the summer.

[...] More than 30,000 deaths could be avoided by October if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research by the University of Washington. [...] A third of Americans say they only sometimes or never wear a mask when in stores or other businesses, with strong partisan and racial divides: white people and Republicans are far less likely to wear masks than Democrats and black, Latino and Asian people. [...] Mass adoption of mask wearing has been undermined, however, by Donald Trump’s insistence on not wearing one in public, even removing a mask during a factory tour so the media wouldn’t picture him in it. On Tuesday, the Fox & Friends host Steve Doocey sought to convince the Republican National Committee chair, Ronna McDaniel, and House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, that Trump should cover up, and thereby show supporters “Masks are Great Again”. Neither seemed convinced.
Guardian: Fauci warns against "jumping over" health guidelines
He warned states that if they continued “jumping over the guidelines we have carefully put out, you are going to be in trouble.” Senator Elizabeth Warren said: “If we don’t get our act together, more and more communities are going to see these dangerous surges” in cases.
Guardian: Fauci: 'We need to do whatever we can to get our children back to school'
So when Senator Rand Paul, the first member of that chamber to test positive for coronavirus earlier this year, raises his voice, shakes his curls and waves his arms around and says: “We should not assume that a group of experts knows what’s best for everyone”, Fauci just smiles.

Paul said that Fauci is always very busy being negative. “Every day we hear from you what we cannot do,” Paul said... “you cannot do this, you cannot do that, you need to not be so presumptive that you know everything.”

This brings to mind Fauci’s do’s. Do wear a mask, do keep six feet from others in public, etc, etc, as he tries to save lives and get the government to take seriously the fact that coronavirus is out of control in the US.
posted by katra at 11:41 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Republicans are practically begging Trump to tell people to wear a mask. He still won’t listen. (Aaron Blake, WaPo Analysis)
One of the long-standing quirks of Donald Trump’s presidency is how often his allies feel the need to broadcast their pleas to him publicly. Rather than consult with the president or the White House, they’ll often try to guide policy or the president by taking to Fox News or tweeting things that, in any other administration, would be handled privately and quietly. Which is what appears to be happening now with masks and the coronavirus.

[...] Fox News host Sean Hannity offered just such a message Monday night. [...] House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.): “I do not want to shut the economy back down. … Wearing the mask is the best opportunity for us to keep this economy open, keep us working, keep us safe and help us as we build toward that vaccine where we’re in a much stronger position than any country before.” [...]

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked at Monday’s news briefing about Trump’s stance and made it clear there was no change.
@ezraklein Jun. 29, 2020: This is a governance failure, not an inevitability of the disease. [image: New confirmed cases per million residents, previous seven days, US / Europe / Canada / Japan, Source: Johns Hopkins University / New York Times]
posted by katra at 1:21 PM on June 30 [7 favorites]


I mean I know you all know this, but be careful not to play into the one-man shitshow theory for the people starting to be broken away from voting R. He's not capable enough to do all this without plenty of intentional aiding and abetting.

The GOP is an illegitimate party working toward one-party rule and corruption of the judiciary, not to mention possibly having put a traitor in charge of the country.

And you can't get the stink off you by claiming Never Trumper status. I have to tread lightly here, mentally, because it's a slippery slope to reactionary counterfascism, but this should affect the future of the Republican Party way more than the weak-Dem Carter stereotype did for decades after 1980. I'll say it again: illegitimate.
posted by rhizome at 1:28 PM on June 30 [19 favorites]


Las Vegas Workers Sue Casinos Over Covid-19 Safety (WSJ)
Las Vegas Strip hospitality workers filed a lawsuit against casino operators on Monday, accusing the companies of failing to protect employees from Covid-19, one of the first efforts to hold employers legally responsible for infections as cases in the U.S. surge. [...] Sixto Zermeno, a bellman at the Signature at MGM Grand for 10 years who is part of the lawsuit, said that when he was called back to work, the hotel was short-staffed, and guests weren’t social-distancing or wearing masks. On June 10, he was tested for Covid-19 after getting a fever and headache, and the next day learned that he was positive. He said management was difficult to reach to report his case, and after alerting the MGM Resorts corporate office, the company didn’t immediately close down the bell desk and valet booth where he worked. Bellmen and valets who worked shifts with him continued to interact with guests, according to the lawsuit. “We’re not just numbers,” Mr. Zermeno said at a news conference Monday. “We’re families also. We’re human. I just want them to care, honestly.”
Housekeepers and custodians, fearful as campuses reopen, demand more protection from their schools (WaPo)
Officials at U-Md., like other campuses, say they will find ways to keep people physically distant and encourage students to wear masks. But union leaders worry that the new rules governing campus life — especially social distancing and mask usage — will be difficult to enforce. Health experts agree. Jean E. Chin, an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of Georgia, chairs a covid-19 task force for the American College Health Association. She said she expects students to lapse into old habits. “That really, truly, is the wild card because students are going to be good for a while. And then slowly, gradually, they will just get tired of physically distancing or wearing a mask out in public,” Chin said. “Faculty and staff are anxious about it. They believe that students aren’t going to be able to keep up good public health practices.”

Housekeepers have called on the university to provide coronavirus tests to employees as they return to work. Their union wants the university to implement temperature checks and screening protocols used in Maryland state buildings, including a list of questions about symptoms and interactions with others. Staff also want more supplies: N95 or KN95 masks, goggles, face shields, gowns, booties and extra cleaning agents. In a letter to the campus community, U-Md. President Wallace D. Loh, who is retiring at the end of the month, said extensive procedures are being put in place to protect housekeeping and residential facilities staff. Faculty, staff and students will be asked to report their temperatures daily, and officials say they want to make testing available to employees who want it. Staff who want more equipment, such as N95 masks or disposable gowns, will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, Perillo said. “For housekeepers, that’s not necessary,” she said. “But for some of them, there might be a legitimate reason because of fear or uncertainty.”

[...] For Shernette Lyons, who makes $12.50 an hour as a housekeeper, it may just not be worth it.
posted by katra at 3:06 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Bars in Virginia, Delaware cannot reopen as planned; Colorado bars shut down again (WaPo live blog)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced Wednesday that bar seating inside restaurants and taverns will not be included in the state’s next phase of reopening, which begins Wednesday. [...] Northam’s office said people will not be allowed to congregate in bar areas in restaurants unless they are eating at high-top tables that are at least six feet apart. Officials have cited bars as sources of coronavirus outbreaks in other states.

[...] In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis (D) closed bars and nightclubs again as cases in the state spike, the Denver Post reported. Bars that serve food may stay open and function as restaurants, the governor said, as long as they keep groups of patrons at least six feet apart.
Texas sets new daily records (WaPo live blog)
Still surging as one of the nation’s top hot spots, Texas hit statewide records for new single-day cases as well as current hospitalizations related to covid-19. [...] Overall, the Lone Star State’s average of covid-19 patients over the past seven days (5,128) has increased 54 percent from the average from a week ago, and the average number of inpatient hospitalizations has risen 61.5 percent from June 23.

Demonstrators from Texas Bars Fight Back rallied in front of the state capitol as well as the governor’s mansion. [...] According to Fox 7 in Austin, several bar owners pledged to reopen Wednesday.
Most People With Coronavirus Won’t Spread It. Why Do a Few Infect Many? (NYT)
Dr. [Kristin Nelson, an assistant professor at Emory University,] suspects the biological differences between people are less significant. “I think the circumstances are a lot more important,” she said. Dr. [James Lloyd-Smith, a U.C.L.A. disease ecologist,] agreed. “I think it’s more centered on the events.” A lot of transmission seems to happen in a narrow window of time starting a couple days after infection, even before symptoms emerge. If people aren’t around a lot of people during that window, they can’t pass it along. And certain places seem to lend themselves to superspreading. A busy bar, for example, is full of people talking loudly. Any one of them could spew out viruses without ever coughing. And without good ventilation, the viruses can linger in the air for hours. A study from Japan this month found clusters of coronavirus cases in health care facilities, nursing homes, day care centers, restaurants, bars, workplaces, and musical events such as live concerts and karaoke parties.
posted by katra at 4:38 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]


I’m Not Ready to Go Back to Restaurants. Is Anyone?

On Sunday, Hugo’s Tacos announced that it was closing both of its Los Angeles locations. Too many customers, refusing to wear masks, had threatened and harassed employees, throwing things at them, getting close to their faces, yelling.

“A mask isn’t symbolic of anything, other than our desire to keep our staff healthy,” the restaurant’s statement read. But wearing a mask has been widely positioned as a political move rather than a basic health precaution, making every shift more dangerous for workers, who continue to put themselves at risk to make us dinner.


This is America. This is who we are.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 6:09 PM on June 30 [15 favorites]


Congress should pass a law making it a Federal crime to threaten, harass, or assault an employee that insists that patrons wear a mask. At this point, I think such a bill would pass both the House and Senate with veto proof majorities. In the interim, states could do the same.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:26 PM on June 30 [9 favorites]


California bill would shield health officer addresses as death threats rise (Politico)
California would shield public health officers' home addresses under new legislation that emerged Tuesday after the long-unknown officials faced death threats this year for imposing coronavirus requirements. [...] Health officials struggling to contain the coronavirus have at times faced an intense backlash in California, including death threats and protests outside their homes for imposing or keeping restrictions. Most recently, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer went public last week with a series of physical threats she has received for maintaining a stay-at-home order for 10 million residents.

Others have resigned in the face of public pressure, as Orange County's Nichole Quick did this month after facing personal threats for imposing a face covering order. County officials subsequently withdrew the mask requirement but Gov. Gavin Newsom later imposed the same rule statewide in most public settings.
‘It would just set a good example’: Trump’s allies push him to embrace masks (Politico)
The abrupt shift in conservative thought, which coincides with a surge of Covid-19 cases nationwide, reflects both overwhelming popular opinion and the undisputed counsel of health experts on the subject of masks. [...] Even Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, appeared to come around Tuesday [...] “I think we’re going to make sure that everything is done in a safe and appropriate manner,” Trump Jr. told Fox Business. “You know, I don’t think that it’s too complicated to wear a mask or wash your hands and follow basic hygiene protocols.”
posted by katra at 6:43 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Considered at the county level, the pandemic’s resurgence is even more concerning (WaPo)
President Trump retweeted a tweet Tuesday suggesting that the rate of positive coronavirus tests was actually decreasing — a claim that’s not true. His administration has repeatedly pointed to the relatively small geographic representation of emerging coronavirus hot spots, identifying no more than 4 percent of U.S. counties as places experiencing new outbreaks. On Monday, the Associated Press made an important point about that claim: The 4 percent of counties identified by the administration contain more than a fifth of the country’s population.
NYT live blog:
The increase in infections came as the leaders of the most populous counties in Texas pleaded with Gov. Greg Abbott to allow them to issue stay-at-home orders. “We are having an experiment, a gamble, in the hopes that we can be the first community that suddenly flattens the curve without a stay-at-home order,” said Lina Hidalgo, the executive in Harris County, which includes Houston, the hardest-hit area of the state.
In parts of the Midwest, the numbers are rising again. (NYT live blog)
Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said the Ohio increases were not the result of more testing, contradicting the messaging from the White House and some other Republican governors. “If the spread of this virus remained at a low level, more testing should show a lower positivity — there simply wouldn’t be as many cases to pick up with testing,” said Mr. DeWine, who asked for federal help responding to upticks in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas. “Instead, the creeping up of our positivity rate even as we are doing more testing means that we are likely picking up signs of broader community spread.”
Coronavirus’ spread in GOP territory, explained in 6 charts (AP)
States that President Donald Trump won in the 2016 election account for about 75% of the new cases, a trend that has accelerated since the end of May. [...] New cases in states with Republican governors, regardless of how those states voted in 2016, now considerably outpace those in states run by Democrats. [...] GOP governors generally have leaned more heavily in favor of lighter government restrictions on social gatherings and business operations. Democratic governors, on average, have embraced stricter restrictions and more forcefully advocated for caution.
posted by katra at 9:40 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


US buys up world stock of key Covid-19 drug (Guardian)
Remdesivir, the first drug approved by licensing authorities in the US to treat Covid-19, is made by Gilead and has been shown to help people recover faster from the disease. The first 140,000 doses, supplied to drug trials around the world, have been used up. The Trump administration has now bought more than 500,000 doses, which is all of Gilead’s production for July and 90% of August and September.

“President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19,” said the US health and human services secretary, Alex Azar. “To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it. The Trump administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for Covid-19 and secure access to these options for the American people.”
posted by Cheerwell Maker at 2:16 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


i hope some intrepid journalist is tracking where those doses end up... did we ever find out what happened to all the PPE confiscated by the federal government?
posted by kokaku at 2:49 AM on July 1 [17 favorites]


People are still waiting to find out exactly where the $500 billion small business relief money went. The administration about-faced on transparency.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:39 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


The administration about-faced on transparency.

Does it count as an about-face when the face on the side of transparency was a cutout cardboard mask and we could hear the Small Business Administrator laughing out of her actual mouth the entire time?
posted by Etrigan at 7:17 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


A note about that NYTimes opinion piece, title quoted above:

I’m Not Ready to Go Back to Restaurants. Is Anyone?

I think that the very great many protests nationwide from people who want to "open up the economy" and such show that there is a not-insignificant number of people who do indeed feel ready to go back to restaurants, and have been chomping at the bit for some time now to do exactly that.

And these people probably fall into at least two camps - the people who lack the knowledge, the energy, or the support to cook for themselves and have been living on grocery store ramen all this time, and the people who treat going to restaurants as a sort of Lifestyle, and have been bored out of their minds.

I kind of get what the author means by phrasing the headline that way ("I think we've all kind of lost some kind of sense of normal life and need to spend some more time figuring out how this is going to work"), but it sort of comes across as blinkered and self-centered ("Goodness, I know it's not safe and I wouldn't dare go back to a restaurant right now, why would anyone in their right mind want to even do that").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:17 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


There have been large protests about opening back up? I haven't really heard about that beyond a few small groups.
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:32 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


US buys up world stock of key Covid-19 drug

$3,100 per treatment for a drug whose research was largely paid for by taxpayers -- but Gilead owns it all. And U.S. patent laws enforced around the world prevent anyone else from making it.
posted by JackFlash at 8:37 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


the people who lack the knowledge, the energy, or the support to cook for themselves and have been living on grocery store ramen all this time

Is there any reason those people haven't been able to access takeout or delivery options?
posted by Etrigan at 8:40 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


De Blasio calls off New York indoor dining plans amid national surge in coronavirus (Politico)
Indoor dining was set to be allowed starting Monday, when the city was planning to enter the third phase of its reopening. But Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the city will postpone the reopening of indoor restaurants. “It is not the time to forge ahead with indoor dining,” de Blasio told reporters. “Indoors is the problem. More and more, the science is showing it.” [...] Experts believe that indoor, enclosed spaces with many people are the riskiest settings for the spread of the coronavirus, with chances of transmission heightened if people are not wearing masks, talking loudly, and staying put for an extended period of time. All those conditions are present at restaurants, raising concerns that indoor dining would be impossible to pull off safely even if tables are kept six feet apart — itself a difficult task in many of the city’s cramped restaurants.
Health experts slam US hoarding of only licensed virus drug (AP)
Health experts on Wednesday slammed the U.S. decision to hog nearly the entire global supply of remdesivir, the only drug licensed so far to treat COVID-19, warning that type of selfish behavior sets a dangerous precedent for attempts to share scarce treatments amid the pandemic.
posted by katra at 8:48 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


U.S. patent laws enforced around the world prevent anyone else from making it.

Patent laws are national in scope. A US patent has no effect on a company or government that wants to make and sell remdisivir outside the US.

What is true is that there are patents on remdisivir and related compounds in other countries.
posted by jedicus at 8:49 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Delivery and take out are less Instagramable? I imagine.
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:51 AM on July 1


What is true is that there are patents on remdisivir and related compounds in other countries.

Those foreign patents laws were largely written and negotiated by the U.S. in trade laws. For example, we will give you a break on protections for labor unions if in exchange you give us 20 years on patent protection.
posted by JackFlash at 8:52 AM on July 1


I don't understand anyone who thinks there are more than these two options:

1. Keep the economy largely closed

or

2. Have everyone wear a mask

Oh, wait, there's one more:

3. Let a pandemic rage out of control and let a lot of people die

During the 3 month shutdown we did not develop & distribute a vaccine nor persuade everyone to wear a mask. The current reality was entirely predictable and predicted.
posted by PhineasGage at 9:06 AM on July 1 [11 favorites]


A Dire Warning From COVID-19 Test Providers (Alexis C. Madrigal and Robinson Meyer, Atlantic [free access], Jun. 30, 2020)
The United States is once again at risk of outstripping its COVID-19 testing capacity, an ominous development that would deny the country a crucial tool to understand its pandemic in real time. The American testing supply chain is stretched to the limit, and the ongoing outbreak in the South and West could overwhelm it, according to epidemiologists and testing-company executives. While the country’s laboratories have added tremendous capacity in the past few months—the U.S. now tests about 550,000 people each day, a fivefold increase from early April—demand for viral tests is again outpacing supply. [...] The delays have already started. Yesterday, Quest Diagnostics, one of the country’s largest medical-testing companies, said that its systems were overwhelmed and that it would now be able to deliver COVID-19 test results in one day only for hospitalized patients, patients facing emergency surgery, and symptomatic health-care workers. Everyone else now must wait three to five days for a test result.

[...] “This is very bad,” Michael Mina, an epidemiology professor at Harvard, told us. Rapid test-turnaround times are the only way to control the coronavirus without forcing every potentially contagious person—everyone who’s had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19—into quarantine, he said: “Our modeling efforts more or less show that if you don’t get results back in a day or so, outbreaks really can’t be stopped without isolating and quarantining all contacts preemptively.” [...] Only in the past two weeks has the U.S. succeeded in testing more than 500,000 people a day, which the Harvard Global Health Institute once said would be a good goal for mid-May. The institute said today that the U.S. must test at least 1.2 million people a day to control the outbreak and at least 4.3 million people a day to eliminate it.
posted by katra at 9:23 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


Texas Lt. Gov. blasts Fauci as state coronavirus cases rise: ‘I don’t need his advice’ (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
Speaking as a guest on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” Patrick said Anthony Fauci “has been wrong every time on every issue.” “Fauci said today that he’s concerned about states like Texas that skipped over certain things,” Patrick told Laura Ingraham, a frequent critic of Fauci, on her June 30 show. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. We haven’t skipped over anything. The only thing I’m skipping over is listening to him.”
Galveston, Tex., beaches expected to draw big crowds, even as cases skyrocket (WaPo live blog)
Authorities in Galveston, Tex., say they are bracing for big Fourth of July crowds at local beaches, even as coronavirus infections in the area soar and officials in other hard-hit states close public attractions for the holiday weekend. “We’re going to see several hundred thousand people come down here regardless of the recommendations that have come out,” Galveston Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis told KHOU this week.

[...] Myrtle Beach, S.C., is also expected to see a crush of vacationers this weekend. A rapid push to reopen the local economy has turned the area into a coronavirus petri dish, with cases spiking in recent weeks. But beaches and boardwalks are welcoming business, and the city is planning to hold its annual fireworks display. [...] The American Medical Association urged people to limit their Independence Day gatherings to their close contacts. “A typical Fourth of July celebration could further spread the virus, endanger lives, overwhelm our health system and undo the progress made toward reopening sectors of our economy,” the AMA said. “It is incumbent upon us to learn from the past in dealing with this virus."
More than 800,000 infections were reported in the U.S. in June (WaPo live blog)
States that took an aggressive approach to reopening, such as Florida, Arizona and Texas, led the country in infection spikes — along with California, the nation’s most populous state, where leaders have been more cautious. Florida averaged more than 6,000 new infections per day in June — the highest in the country — followed by Texas and California, which averaged nearly 4,400 and more than 3,000 new cases per day, respectively.
posted by katra at 9:47 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Anecdotally, Covid-19 testing seems to be taking a long time in the US. I know three people in California who recently got tests; all waited 6+ days for results. Reports of similar waits in New York. As a public health measure this is nearly useless, the point of testing is to figure out if folks are positive quickly so as to trace and quarantine them. A week is too late.

America has failed. We've given up containing this virus. Nothing is stopping us on the path of just getting everyone exposed to the disease and hoping for the best. Maybe there's still some value in trying to slow it down so the hospitals are less overwhelmed. Our outcome will likely be as bad as Brazil or India. Way worse than even Sweden, because we don't have healthcare.

2020 may well be the end of the American century.
posted by Nelson at 10:08 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Test Iowa has been a complete $26 million disaster. And it's so shady.

That probably doesn't even cover the recent stuff on how almost all the tests seem to end up "unusable".
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:15 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should (Julie Beck, Atlantic, Jun. 30, 2020)
It would feel so good to give up. To hug our friends, to visit our grandparents. To eat one meal, just one, at a restaurant table instead of on the couch, maybe even without the kids in tow. Even a mundane day of running errands—shopping, getting a haircut, going to the gym—would be glorious. There’s no reward for abstaining from these things—just, hopefully, the absence of consequences. And lately, fewer rules are left to stop anyone, even as coronavirus case numbers in the United States surge. That means it’s on each of us to stop ourselves from doing unnecessary things that we know will put others at risk, even if those things are technically allowed. The fight to contain the coronavirus is far from over; it’s just entering a new phase in which individual choice matters more than ever. [...] Although what we can do has changed rapidly, what we should do hasn’t changed much. Public-health experts had warned that states were likely reopening too soon for safety. When my colleague Joe Pinsker asked experts in May what they deemed safe to do as economies reopen, they stressed the risks of indoor gatherings of any kind; meanwhile, some states had already allowed retail stores and restaurants to reopen at limited capacity.

[...] Saying no to the ones you love is hard. No, let’s not hang out inside your house. No, I won’t see you at church this week. No, I won’t come to your wedding. No, we’re not having the family reunion this year. It’s harder when there isn’t a policy to blame, when there’s nothing legally stopping you. When other people are doing it, and look how happy they seem! It hurts to see smiling faces inside a restaurant as you walk by alone, breathing in your own hot breath under your mask. [...] These are difficult times to live in. It isn’t fair that so many Americans have to navigate this crisis without clear leadership, with no end in sight. Knowing that life and death hang in the balance of seemingly mundane choices is a heavy weight to bear. It would be easy to give up. It would feel so good to give up. There is no reward for not giving up.

Don’t give up.
posted by katra at 10:47 AM on July 1 [22 favorites]


U.S. patent laws enforced around the world prevent anyone else from making it.

Gilead licensed it to five manufacturers in Egypt, India, and Pakistan for sale into 127 low and middle income countries sometime in May. I imagine they will swiftly be preparing licensing agreements for manufacture in other countries because if they don't they'll face compulsory licensing which they will prefer to avoid.
posted by atrazine at 11:06 AM on July 1


Gilead licensed it to five manufacturers in Egypt, India, and Pakistan for sale into 127 low and middle income countries sometime in May.

With what terms? What is the license fee? If I buy remdesivir in India and bring it to the U.S., will I go to jail?
posted by JackFlash at 11:15 AM on July 1


A couple of good-news tidbits over at Intelligencer today:

Oklahoma finally passes Medicaid expansion

An interview where the head of the NIH expresses optimism about upcoming vaccines and treatments.
posted by witchen at 11:46 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


With what terms? What is the license fee?

There is no license fee, and the price will be set by the generic manufacturers, not Gilead:
The licensees also set their own prices for the generic product they produce. The licenses are royalty-free until the World Health Organization declares the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding COVID-19, or until a pharmaceutical product other than remdesivir or a vaccine is approved to treat or prevent COVID-19, whichever is earlier.
(source)

If I buy remdesivir in India and bring it to the U.S., will I go to jail?

I assume you mean commercial or bulk importation, not bringing in a personal supply, since it would be extremely unusual (by nature of the drug and current travel restrictions) for someone to be traveling with a personal supply of a drug that is most useful when given to early-stage Covid patients, who are generally still contagious.

Criminal liability would be between you and the FDA for bringing in a drug not manufactured under FDA approval.
posted by jedicus at 12:04 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Criminal liability would be between you and the FDA for bringing in a drug not manufactured under FDA approval.

Well, that is exactly the point. I could be put in jail for bringing it in from Canada as well. Why wouldn't the FDA approve? It is approved for sale in the U.S. Billions of dollars of drugs are manufactured in India and exported to the U.S every year. Why not remdesivir? Why does remdesivir get a $3,100 price tag in the U.S, a large portion of which is likely to be paid by taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid?
posted by JackFlash at 1:23 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Galveston and Myrtle Beach may be "bracing" themselves for the Fourth, but the counties in South Florida have done what the state refuses to do: Closed the beaches and cancelled most of the public fireworks displays. The latter are not banned, so individual cities can still do their own fireworks, but there is a rule requiring that any fireworks displays that do take place be viewed only from inside a vehicle or from one's home.

So yeah, visitors can come here, but it ain't gonna be business as usual. In public, you must wear a mask, hotel pools are open only to current guests and with limited capacity, no open beaches, etc.
posted by wierdo at 1:56 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Billions of dollars of drugs are manufactured in India and exported to the U.S every year. Why not remdesivir?

Because the facilities and manufacturing process for that specific drug have to be approved in order to ensure GMP. Why would the companies that licensed remdisivir for sale in countries other than the US bother getting FDA approval, which would take time and resources away from producing the drug for use in those other countries?

Let me put it another way: if it were legal for people and companies in the US to import remdesivir made in non-FDA-approved facilities, do you think that would result in better health outcomes in the US? Or do you think it might lead to a lot of impure or outright fraudulent drugs in the US, similar to what's happened with low quality and fraudulent test supplies and PPE?

Do you think it would lead to a more equitable distribution of the drug? Or do you think it might result in the US buying up the world's supply in a poorly managed way, similar to the way the US government has badly managed testing supplies and PPE?

I think it's more likely that the licensing split will help ensure that non-US countries are able to access the drug.

Why does remdesivir get a $3,100 price tag in the U.S, a large portion of which is likely to be paid by taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid?

Because the US healthcare system sucks.
posted by jedicus at 2:11 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Let me put it another way: if it were legal for people and companies in the US to import remdesivir made in non-FDA-approved facilities, do you think that would result in better health outcomes in the US?

Why wouldn't the FDA approve? They already do so for billions of dollars of drugs made in the same foreign facilities. It's not FDA approval that is the stumbling block. It is the patents that guarantee Gilead to have a government enforced monopoly in the U.S.

Why does remdesivir get a $3,100 price tag in the U.S, a large portion of which is likely to be paid by taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid?
Because the US healthcare system sucks.


No because the U.S. patent system provides a government enforced monopoly so that Gilead can charge whatever price they like.

Aspirin is non-patent. It's pretty darn cheap. Recall that Gilead charged $84,000 for its hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, manufactured for $100. Sovaldi wasn't even developed by Gilead. Gilead simply bought the patent from another company and then charged monopoly prices.
posted by JackFlash at 2:26 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


The hamlet of North Brookfield, MA was planing to go ahead with its annual July Fourth celebrations and to host an evening outdoor laser show despite the state ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. The (elected) board of health told the (elected) board of selectmen this was a bad idea and the selectmen told them to butt out and stop spreading "COVID hysteria." Then a regional news site wrote about it and news reached all the way to Boston and things went downhill from there, but bottom line: No July Fourth festivities.
posted by adamg at 3:37 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


Why wouldn't the FDA approve? They already do so for billions of dollars of drugs made in the same foreign facilities.

Do you know for a fact that remdesivir will be made in those facilities? But moreover, FDA approval isn't a facility-wide approval. It applies to the specific manufacturing line. The only way your logic would even apply is if the same manufacturing line was making remdesivir for US use and for non-US use. And even then you seem to be arguing for the US to be able to buy up the entire supply of a drug during a global pandemic.

Remdesivir is a very complex and expensive substance to make. The free market will not magically create a globally sufficient supply of the drug, especially during a global pandemic. But that's what you seem to be relying on in order to avoid the US buying up the entire supply.

I understand neither your faith in the unregulated free market (free importation of unapproved and untested drugs!), for-profit companies (surely Gilead or some other manufacturer will sell the drug equitably rather than to the highest bidder!), or the US government's ability to manage the supply of this drug (it fucked up testing, PPE, and hydroxychloroquine, but this will be different!). If the US government ties up the US supply and doles it out to Trump-friendly states then at least it won't be screwing the rest of the world along with it.

No because the U.S. patent system provides a government enforced monopoly so that Gilead can charge whatever price they like.

The patent system is not what prevents the government from negotiating cheaper drug prices for Medicare. Or for a single payer system doing the same for all Americans.

Aspirin is non-patent. It's pretty darn cheap

Patents aren't the only reason a drug can be expensive. Biologics are expensive pretty much no matter what. Small molecules can also be expensive to make. The best estimate I've seen is that remdesivir costs somewhere in the hundreds of dollars per course of treatment to manufacture. It is not an easy substance to make in bulk.
posted by jedicus at 3:57 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


But we need haircuts and to buy lots of useless things!

"The Economy" "needs" the velocity of money. And rather than take the time to figure out if there needs to be a change to the systems of production and consumption and then change them to become more resiliant we are just going to point to the past and say "That's where we want to be again" VS deciding the system needs changing due to the changes in actual resource avaibility.

$5 a barrel of oil drives a different type of world than $50 or $100 as an example.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:00 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


> I am not American, but living in Canada, I am America-adjacent. This weekend I saw a response to a Toronto Star article about the ethics of mandating masks from an American who declared he cannot wear a mask because in his state it is a felony to wear a mask while armed.

Well, if the mask messes with your peripheral vision or just lulls you into a false sense of security the virus could sneak up and get you before you have a chance to shoot it, so I can see where this guy is coming from.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:23 PM on July 1 [9 favorites]


Galveston and Myrtle Beach may be "bracing" themselves for the Fourth, but the counties in South Florida have done what the state refuses to do: Closed the beaches

This is breaking news (and it's really fucking amazing news, as well as fantastic news), so weirdo had the information correct when they posted.

Galveston city, Galveston island, Galveston county are closing all of the beaches this weekend. (Houston Chronicle, KFDM.

While there is definitely overlap, Galveston city/county/island are generally autonomous from each other. All three shutting down is huge and is awesome. City/island really depend on tourism and this is one of the biggest weekends for them. Especially with the 4th falling on the weekend. City of Galveston went 100% mask on in public last week, as well.

I am a little surprised, but this is exactly the right thing for the area right now.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 5:11 PM on July 1 [15 favorites]


Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
posted by JackFlash at 5:39 PM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Hollowed out public health system faces more cuts amid virus (AP)
KHN, also known as Kaiser Health News, and AP interviewed more than 150 public health workers, policymakers and experts, analyzed spending records from hundreds of state and local health departments, and surveyed statehouses. On every level, the investigation found, the system is underfunded and under threat, unable to protect the nation’s health. [...] So when this outbreak arrived — and when, according to public health experts, the federal government bungled its response — hollowed-out state and local health departments were ill-equipped to step into the breach. Over time, their work had received so little support that they found themselves without direction, disrespected, ignored, even vilified. The desperate struggle against COVID-19 became increasingly politicized and grew more difficult. States, cities and counties in dire straits have begun laying off and furloughing their limited staff, and even more devastation looms, as states reopen and cases surge.
posted by katra at 5:46 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


Maybe rescind a few tax breaks for the wealthy to fund our beleaguered public health systems?
posted by haiku warrior at 6:11 PM on July 1 [14 favorites]


Meanwhile over in Longview, WA the organizer of an unpermitted unofficial 4th of July celebration at which Lee Greenwood is scheduled to play is “ready to die” for his right to put it on.
posted by skycrashesdown at 7:04 PM on July 1


‘Cries for help’: Drug overdoses are soaring during the coronavirus pandemic (WaPo / Chron reprint)
Even before the pandemic, experts note, the nation’s infrastructure for helping people with substance use disorders was underfunded and inadequate. Without government intervention, local officials and drug policy experts warn, overdoses and deaths will continue to climb during the pandemic and the existing system will be inundated. [...] President Trump and conservatives have repeatedly cited the possible rise of overdoses and suicides when calling for states and businesses to hurry their economic reopening. Yet, of the nearly $2.5 trillion approved for emergency relief, Congress and the Trump administration have designated only $425 million — barely more than a hundredth of 1 percent — for mental health and substance use treatment. [...] Hollingsworth and other economists, including Case, who spearheaded much of the research on “deaths of despair,” point out that their findings are based on previous recessions that were wildly different from this one. One big difference is how suddenly this downturn occurred — causing tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs almost overnight. [...]

But the biggest objection to such arguments — that tie the declining economy to an inevitable increase in overdoses — is the implied assumption that nothing can be done to avert it. The focus, many economists and health experts agree, should be on finding safe and sustainable ways to reopen the economy, while increasing access and funding for mental health and substance use care. “We need to multitask as a society,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal research agency. The problem is a lack of political will, said Alex H. Kral, an epidemiologist at the nonprofit research institute RTI International.
Internal Messages Reveal Crisis at Houston Hospitals as Coronavirus Cases Surge (ProPublica)
What’s happening in Houston draws eerie parallels to New York City in late March, when every day brought steep increases in the number of patients seeking care at overburdened hospitals — though, so far, with far fewer deaths. But as coronavirus cases surge in Texas, state officials here have not reimplemented the same lockdown measures that experts say helped bring New York’s outbreak under control, raising concern among public health officials that Houston won’t be able to flatten the curve.

“The time to act and time to be alarmed is not when you’ve hit capacity, but it’s much earlier when you start to see hospitalizations increase at a very fast rate,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor of integrative biology who leads the University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. “It is definitely time to take some kind of action. It is time to be alarmed.”
posted by katra at 7:06 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


The hamlet of North Brookfield, MA

Key lines from the article you linked:
While Kiley said those who felt uncomfortable shouldn’t attend, Melad asked about individuals who will have to work the event or work with the people who attended the event.

“Getting the virus is not a death sentence,” Kiley said.
127,000 more Americans today than yesterday would disagree. If they could, but they can't because you know, they're dead now. From the virus.
posted by ctmf at 7:34 PM on July 1 [9 favorites]


I remain baffled at people's belief that if you don't die from COVID-19 that everything is hunky dory. Around 10% of those who get it are having health issues continue for (at least) several weeks after the virus is cleared from their body.
posted by wierdo at 7:44 PM on July 1 [14 favorites]


Young Americans Are Partying Hard and Spreading Covid-19 Quickly (Bloomberg)
In Houston, where hospitals have been strained by the influx of patients, many young people are in intensive care, David Persse, the city’s director of emergency medical services, said during a media briefing Monday. “They are extremely ill,” Persse said. “If they’re thinking, ‘I’ll get sick and then I’ll get over it,’ recognize that 15% of the people in ICUs now are in their 20s and 30s.”
Alabama students throwing 'COVID parties' to see who gets infected: Officials (ABC News)
Arrol Sheehan, spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Public Health, said the state's "Safer at Home Order" explicitly states that people who test positive "shall be quarantined to their place of residence for a period of 14 days." Sheehan stressed that violation of the heath order is a misdemeanor and fines for each violation can be up to $500. "Suspected violations of the home quarantine order should be reported to law enforcement and the local health department," she said in a statement to ABC News.
Trump says Covid-19 will 'disappear' after US reports record one-day increase (Guardian)
“We’re headed back in a very strong fashion ... And I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus,” he added. “I think that at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear. I hope.” Trump has faced fierce criticism for downplaying the risks of the virus, and for his refusal to promote simple safety measures such as wearing a mask. Asked about this on Wednesday, he said he “thinks masks are good” but said he does not believe making masks mandatory across the country was necessary.

Officials in Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas announced single-day-high case numbers for Tuesday. The Covid Tracking Project said that the US’s seven-day average for new daily cases has doubled since 13 June, and that hospitalizations jumped by the highest number since 21 April.
posted by katra at 7:58 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Europeans' trust in US as world leader collapses during pandemic
Many citizens appalled by Donald Trump’s handling of coronavirus crisis, study finds
Katherine Butler / The Guardian
“Europeans have digested the fact that the US is no longer necessarily a friend for Europe in times of need,” Dennison said.

The ECFR’s analysis suggests the shift in European attitudes transcends hostility to Donald Trump or his administration’s poor handling of the virus outbreak in the US.

Its authors believe there is now a more profound uncertainty about America as a force for good, America’s commitment to multilateralism and the US’s ability to lead the world.
posted by mumimor at 5:55 AM on July 2 [6 favorites]


Trump has 'gone awol' as president amid coronavirus pandemic, says ex-CIA director (Guardian)
Donald Trump has “essentially gone awol from the job of leadership that he should be providing a country in trouble” during the coronavirus pandemic, a former defence secretary and CIA director said on Wednesday. Leon Panetta, who served in various capacities under nine US presidents, became the latest prominent public figure to accuse Trump of effectively surrendering to the virus and abandoning Americans to their fate, using the military jargon awol, meaning absent without leave. “This is a major crisis,” Panetta told Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, noting that top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci has warned that America may hit 100,000 new cases a day, twice the current rate.

“But the president, rather than bringing together some kind of national strategy to confront this crisis, simply resorts to tweeting about vandalism and other things to kind of divert attention from the crisis that’s there.” He added: “We have a president that is not willing to stand up and do what is necessary in order to lead this country during time of major crisis. I have never experienced a president who has avoided that responsibility.”
Asian and Black Americans report heightened discrimination amid coronavirus outbreak, poll finds (Politico, Jul. 1, 2020)
In the study, conducted by the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of Black and Asian American adults said they have been treated differently or subjected to slurs or jokes as a result of the pandemic. A plurality of both groups also expressed anxiety about wearing a mask in public out of fears that they would be viewed as a threat or physically attacked. Pew’s findings come as the White House has increasingly used anti-Asian talking points about the outbreak of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. [...] People of Asian descent have reported incidents of racism in larger numbers since the outbreak began. The Asian hate crime watchdog Stop AAPI Hate has reported a steep rise in reported incidents since March, with nearly 1,000 cases over the past 12 weeks.
posted by katra at 7:44 AM on July 2 [4 favorites]


Its authors believe there is now a more profound uncertainty about America as a force for good, America’s commitment to multilateralism and the US’s ability to lead the world.

Yes. As a Canadian I am most immediately worried for my two nephews. If the Democrats get left to deal with another fucking mess and look forward-not-back so nobody actually goes to jail... I think of the Nixon, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, Trump continuum and try not to imagine the exact shape of whatever horror the GOP is festering under it's crinoline.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:48 AM on July 2 [4 favorites]


WBUR: Why COVID-19 Contact Tracers In Mass. Will Send You Milk
It’s a familiar moment. The kids want their cereal and the coffee’s brewing, but you’re out of milk. No problem, you think - the corner store is just a couple of minutes away. But if you have COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, you’re supposed to stay put. Even that quick errand could continue the chain of transmission.

Luisa Schaeffer’s first call of the day is to a woman poised at the door to her apartment in Brockton, debating whether to take that quick walk. Schaeffer’s job is to help the woman make the best choice for the public’s health.
posted by adamg at 8:25 AM on July 2 [4 favorites]


Politico, July 1, 2020:
“We need to prioritize — schools, child care, economic development,” said Natalie Dean, a biostatistician and public health expert at the University of Florida — a state that’s having one of the biggest surges right now. “But bars?”
Closing bars to stop coronavirus spread is backed by science (AP)
Crowded indoor spaces filled with people yelling, leaning close to hear one another and touching the same sticky surfaces are “the opposite of social distancing,” said Dr. David Hamer of the Boston University School of Medicine. [...] The rapid spread of a bar outbreak can swamp public health workers. In East Lansing, Michigan, an outbreak tied to a large brewpub near Michigan State University has spread to nearly 140 people in 12 counties, causing authorities to recruit nursing students and retirees to help with contact tracing. “In 12 days, we went from two identified cases to 128, and, honestly, I don’t have today’s numbers yet,” Ingham County health officer Linda Vail said Wednesday before cases shot up again. She described her outlook as “shocked and overwhelmed.”
The Fourth of July can be a virus reset. Here’s exactly what we need to do. (Leana Wen, WaPo Opinion, Jul. 1, 2020)
But just closing bars will drive people to congregate in other locations. Officials need to restrict all indoor gatherings, including at restaurants, theaters and private parties. But this time they should impose a different type of population-wide order — not a lockdown, but rather a mandate not to get together indoors. In high-virus areas, even relatives who don’t live together should avoid visiting inside each other’s homes, and choose instead to see one another in a backyard or a park. I don’t think people will comply with another shelter-in-place order, but they might be willing to modify how they socialize.

Similarly, I’m concerned that re-closing such lower-risk outdoor recreational sites as parks and beaches would backfire and simply drive people indoors. Instead of prohibitions, policymakers should consider creative approaches to make shared spaces safer. For example, an alternative to closing beaches altogether is to allow beaches for walking and swimming only. Ask people to stay for a maximum of, say, an hour or two, so that others can also enjoy the shared public space. Issue explicit instructions for people to stay six feet away from anyone not part of their home group, and use “social distancing circles” when possible.

[...] For states that are holding steady in infection rates: Be warned that it may not last. The New York City area is one place where covid-19 appears to be under control, but the virus that ravaged the region three months ago could well take hold there again. As we are seeing, even states, such as California and Oregon, that reopened cautiously are now experiencing rapid spread.
posted by katra at 8:43 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


Fauci says more lenient lockdown measures in U.S. ‘allowed perpetuation of the outbreak’ (WaPo live blog)
“If you look at the different curves between the European Union, the U.K. and others, how they’ve handled the outbreak, they’ve had big spikes and then they’ve brought it down almost or even to baseline in some countries,” Fauci said in an interview the BBC released Thursday. “The situation in the United States has been more problematic.”

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said while some countries in Europe locked down around 97 percent of activity to control the virus, even the strictest U.S. lockdowns only shut down about 50 percent. “That allowed the perpetuation of the outbreak that we never did get under very good control,” he said.
Fauci: Avoid gatherings like Trump's Rushmore fireworks show (Politico, Jul. 1, 2020)
After being asked Wednesday by @jessicayellin on Instagram for his message regarding the July 3 event, the nation’s top infectious disease expert said: "You should avoid whenever possible gathering in crowds where people cannot maintain physical distance."

"Avoid crowds, wear a mask, keep physical distance," Fauci continued. "It doesn't matter what the reason for the congregation, whether it's a celebration here, the demonstration there. It doesn't make any difference — wear a mask."
Guardian: "Arizona congressman Andy Biggs wants to see the White House’s coronavirus task force disbanded.
Melanie Zanona (@MZanona) JUST IN: GOP @RepAndyBiggsAZ calls on the White House coronavirus task force to be disbanded “so that President Trump’s message is not mitigated or distorted” and says Dr. Fauci & Dr. Birx “continue to contradict” Trump’s goal of reopening the economy.
July 2, 2020
posted by katra at 9:30 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Alabama students throwing 'COVID parties' to see who gets infected: Officials (ABC News)

Yeah I'm gonna have to be skeptical about this one. Are they butt-chugging bath salts too?
posted by rhizome at 9:37 AM on July 2 [8 favorites]




Yeah I'm gonna have to be skeptical about this one.
> Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith told the City Council on Tuesday that he has confirmed the students' careless behavior. In a briefing to the City Council, Smith expressed concern that in recent weeks there have been parties held throughout the city and surrounding Tuscaloosa County, "where students, or kids, would come in with known positive," according to a video recording of the meeting obtained by ABC affiliate station WBMA in Birmingham.

"We thought that was kind of a rumor at first," Smith told the council members. "We did some research. Not only do the doctors' offices confirm it but the state confirmed they also had the same information."
posted by katra at 9:59 AM on July 2


"We thought that was kind of a rumor at first," Smith told the council members. "We did some research. Not only do the doctors' offices confirm it but the state confirmed they also had the same information."

That sounds more like they didn't care than that they held an ersatz contest. The first story has a city councilmember telling the "contest" story as received wisdom with zero support, and the follow-up from the fire department says simply that people who have tested positive are going to parties. Note that the FD cites doctors, not anybody who received party announcements or flyers mentioning a contest.

I think we're still in vodka-eyeballing territory.
posted by rhizome at 10:22 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


> "It's nonsense," [Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya] McKinstry added. "But I think when you're dealing with the mind frame of people who are intentionally doing stuff like that and they're spreading it intentionally, how can you truly fight something that people are constantly trying to promote?"
posted by katra at 10:26 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


‘You can easily kill someone you love’: Cooper speaks out against those attending Triad ‘COVID-19 parties’ (WXII12, May 18, 2020, via NY Post)
"Over the last few days, we have heard from a lot of patients and the community that they’re unafraid of getting the virus," said Yolanda Enrich, a Novant nurse practitioner. "People are actually out and about trying to get the virus, so attending gatherings, parties trying to maximize their chances of exposure." Enrich said patients say they are trying to develop an immunity to the virus, speeding up their ability to go about their day-to-day lives without having to take precautions against COVID-19. [But health experts have not yet determined whether coronavirus antibodies actually deliver immunity.] [...] [North Carolina Gov. Roy] Cooper said the gatherings are "completely irresponsible and absolutely unacceptable" during a media briefing from the Joint Force Headquarters. "You can easily kill someone you love," he said.
Previously: Somebody Was Infected With The Coronavirus After Attending A "Coronavirus Party" In Kentucky (Buzzfeed, Mar. 24, 2020), Twitter Blocks The Federalist for Promoting Coronavirus Parties (NYT, Mar. 25, 2020), People Are Throwing Coronavirus Parties, Prompting Arrests And Citations (HuffPost, Mar. 29, 2020), Coronavirus parties: NY bar owner arrested as some ignore social distancing rules (MSN, Mar. 30, 2020)
posted by katra at 11:10 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


I think I can simultaneously believe two things:

1) If you name a stupid thing, there is probably someone who has done it, because fucking people, man.

2) Just because there was a case of a stupid thing being done, doesn't make that A Thing that is "being done" generally, that we need to spend much effort Doing Something About.

"COVID parties" seems like this.
posted by ctmf at 11:26 AM on July 2 [10 favorites]




The Covid lottery parties thing is complete bullshit. Walla Walla already retracted the story. Note how there are no primary sources at all of this happening. No primary details like # in attendance, neighbourhood (all over the city and county), ticket price, report of anyone who won, etc. A story like this of supposedly wide spread behavior and ABC (the originator) couldn't find one student to go on the record claiming they participated or were even invited?

Link to twitter thread (threadreader) that lays it out much better than me about how this is a moral panic like rainbow parties.

Note this is much different than childhood deasese parties pre-vaccine. There was some perceived value in getting things like chicken pox because the symptoms are so much worse in adults. Rubella being the most obvious where contracting while pregnant causes horrible, horrible birth defects.
posted by Mitheral at 11:48 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


The last from me on this point. From two months ago: Are People Really Having 'Coronavirus Parties'?
posted by rhizome at 11:56 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Coronavirus cases are rising in 40 of 50 US states (AP)
The surge has been blamed in part on Americans not wearing masks or following other social distancing rules as states lifted their lockdowns over the past few weeks. The U.S. recorded 50,700 new cases, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. That represents a doubling of the daily total over the past month and is higher even than what the country witnessed during the deadliest phase of the crisis in April and May.
'We don't live in a communist country!': battle over masks rages in Texas (Guardian)
The science of wearing masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus seems to be largely settled, but the politics around it is still raging, especially in conservative strongholds like Texas. Stores, churches, small businesses, government offices and other institutions across the state are grappling with how to enforce public health rules without alienating those who disagree. [...] [Texas Governor] Greg Abbott has refused to order a statewide requirement to wear masks to protect individuals’ liberty and avoid alienating his core base, but has pleaded with citizens to do so anyway.
'It's very troubling': alarm grows over Covid-19 spike among young Americans (Guardian)
Until recently, the majority of coronavirus cases that Dr Quinn Snyder, an emergency doctor at one of Arizona’s largest emergency departments, saw were older people. But since mid-May, when the state’s stay-at-home order was lifted, and particularly after the Memorial Day holiday, the demographic has shifted. Snyder says he has seen an “explosion” in cases among 20-44-year-olds. Some of those, he said, are coming in severely ill – requiring oxygen, intubation and ventilators. “We even had people in that age group die, unfortunately. So it’s very troubling and it’s very difficult to watch young people die from this disease. It’s horrible.” [...] Factors thought to have contributed to the surge in cases among younger people include graduation parties, mixed public messaging, higher risk tolerance and bars.

[...] On Tuesday there were 152,434 total cases in Florida – a rise of 6,012 on the previous day – and 3,505 deaths. [Mary Jo Trepka, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology at Florida International University] said the true number of cases was likely to be even higher because data undercounts younger people who are more likely to be asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms. “The message early on, probably so people didn’t completely panic, was that ‘OK, this is a lot like the flu, the very elderly are most at risk, but the young people are much less risk’. And while that’s still true, of course, once you start getting a lot of young people that are infected, some of those people will be hospitalized and some may die.” [...] After stay-at-home orders were lifted, [Dr Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease doctor and a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security] said many people wrongly took it as a “green light that things were safe”.
posted by katra at 11:56 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Just because there was a case of a stupid thing being done, doesn't make that A Thing that is "being done" generally, that we need to spend much effort Doing Something About.

I've been thinking that the key point is about the potential impact of misinformation, including on people who are younger, perceive themselves to be at lower risk, think they can obtain immunity, etc. There appear to be multiple reports of these events happening, but medical privacy also exists, so it doesn't seem that surprising that some details are missing. I thought it was worth posting because public officials are saying it appears to be more than a rumor, and there is a connection made between the recent reports of the parties and misinformation about coronavirus risks and immunity.
posted by katra at 12:07 PM on July 2 [5 favorites]


Former Republican Presidential Candidate, Trump Tulsa Rally attendee and mask denier Herman Cain seems to have contracted C19. (Twitter)
posted by HyperBlue at 1:10 PM on July 2 [7 favorites]


Breaking: Governor Greg Abbott (tweet links to image of executive order) now requires wearing face masks in any Texas county with more than 20 confirmed Covid cases. This order goes into effect after noon on July 4, 2020.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:28 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


Even the horrible Republican Govenors will turn communist it appears, when the shit hits the fan...

Too bad they couldn't have paid attention when the people smarter than them brought this up 6 weeks ago. When will DeSantis go communist? 10,000+ new cases today.
posted by Windopaene at 3:36 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


The order is effective as of 12:01 p.m. Friday, local time.(CNBC)

So, that would actually be the 3rd which is so much better. I can totally see people going on vac and when the deadline passes, "Sorry, not out town. We couldn't find them anywhere. I guess you will just have to deal with our unmasked faces."

I'm shocked, and very pleasantly surprised this is occurring. There are grocery stores here where, even through last weekend, maybe 25% of the people were masked. This is going to do wonders for my anxiety.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 3:43 PM on July 2 [4 favorites]


No mask, no service: Washington businesses must turn away customers without face masks starting next week
Gov. Inslee says starting Tuesday businesses in Washington will not be allowed to serve customers who are not wearing a mask.
So I guess this might kind of help with the "selective enforcement" problem and alleviate the need for individual vigilante shaming. On the other hand, it puts the burden on low-paid service workers to take the abuse for enforcing it. At least Inslee is providing top cover - they can say "hey, it's not my decision, we just don't want to lose our license or get fined."
posted by ctmf at 4:19 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


As a Washington resident, Seattle, haven't seen a maskless person in the grocery for months. Sometimes at Fred Meyer. But, Seattle is not Yakima or the Tri-Cities, where COVID is exploding. Good for Gov. Inslee. They should send in the police to arrest the fuckers planning a Lee Greenwood concert/gathering in Longview this weekend. Much as I hate the police, these right-wing evangelical fuckers are just ruining any chance of stopping the virus. Start enforcing the state health orders. Wear a mask or go to jail. Selfish fuckers are killing people. Ugh.
posted by Windopaene at 4:30 PM on July 2 [7 favorites]


[Tulsa Health Department Director says] Too Early to Tie Trump Rally to Tulsa Virus Cases (USNews & World Report, July 2, 2020) The county has reported more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the virus in the 11 days since the rally drew about 6,200 people to the BOK Center in Tulsa, including a record 259 cases on June 23. [I know, what's too early, tell that to 74-year-old, Stage IV colon cancer survivor, Black Voices for Trump co-chair Herman Cain, or Oklahoma Watch journalist Paul Monies, or the 8 administration staffers who tested positive, or the dozens of Secret Service agents currently in quarantine, or... ]

Trump Campaign Cancels Rally in Alabama as Coronavirus Cases Rise (USNews & World Report, June 30, 2020) A campaign staffer said the rally was canceled over concerns of a mass gathering as coronavirus cases in the U.S. increase.

No social distancing planned for Trump's Mt. Rushmore fireworks event, governor says (CNN, June 30, 2020) [Masks optional; un-American fraidy-cats can stay the hell home] "We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we'll be giving out free face masks if they choose to wear one," [South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem] said. "But we won't be social distancing, we're asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country."

US Democrat Joe Biden has said he will not hold presidential campaign rallies during the coronavirus pandemic. (BBC, July 1, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:35 PM on July 2 [8 favorites]


Instead of prohibitions, policymakers should consider creative approaches to make shared spaces safer. For example, an alternative to closing beaches altogether is to allow beaches for walking and swimming only. Ask people to stay for a maximum of, say, an hour or two, so that others can also enjoy the shared public space. Issue explicit instructions for people to stay six feet away from anyone not part of their home group, and use “social distancing circles” when possible.

We tried that. It went about as well as a pessimistic person might expect. That is why the Republican mayor of Miami-Dade County ordered beaches in the county closed this weekend.
posted by wierdo at 4:53 PM on July 2 [7 favorites]


we'll be giving out free face masks

Where is the betting site on what the masks are going to say?

bunch of public officials claiming infection parties

Now, perhaps these officials are correct and 'did some research' is not "I googled and got some forwarded emails".

But if this twitter thread is right about what's going on public officials bullshitting the public is how conspiracy theories gain traction. I do so hope the locals keep tabs on the people listed and if it turns out they made 'false and misleading' statements the locals work to remove those people from office.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:07 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Breaking: Governor Greg Abbott (tweet links to image of executive order) now requires wearing face masks in any Texas county with more than 20 confirmed Covid cases.

Recall that just a few weeks ago Abbott signed an executive order forbidding any city or county governments from requiring face masks.
posted by JackFlash at 6:31 PM on July 2 [14 favorites]


That’s quite an about face for Abbott. I do really do wonder if the voters will hold him to account. The intelligence of Texas voters as a whole has not impressed me in the last 30 years.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:56 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


They will forget, because they will still be alive and the TV won't be shouting MASK MASK at them all the time. I figure we have 4-6 weeks until some Trumper gets violent at someone for not wearing a mask.
posted by rhizome at 7:20 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Despite warnings, the US wasn’t prepared with masks for coronavirus. Now it’s too late (USA Today, Jul 1, 2020, updated Jul. 2, 2020)
Things have improved since the severe shortages in March. Major mask manufacturers increased production. Federal officials eased some rules for masks and other personal protective equipment, commonly known as PPE, allowing reuse and cleaning. But those efforts haven’t matched, much less gotten ahead of, the demand. The USA TODAY Network analyzed dozens of government reports and interviewed more than 50 experts – including health care administrators, traders and lawmakers – about the PPE shortages, especially the disposable masks that cost a few pennies to a dollar.
Testing czar says coronavirus surge is straining testing capacity (Politico)
“It is absolutely correct that some labs across the country are reaching or near capacity,” [Brett Giroir, the coronavirus testing czar,] said. “Recent data from several states indicate rising infections and now an uptick in hospitalizations and death, even as other states and the great majority of counties are maintaining a low infection burden." The percentage of people testing positive has spiked in recent days in several states — including Arizona, Florida and Texas. That's a sign that the virus is spreading rapidly. [...] “A blitz of testing over a few days could help to identify a lot of the under 35-year-old asymptomatics that may be spreading the virus,” Giroir said. “When you have a lot of younger people who are asymptomatic, particularly in an outbreak situation, it is much harder, not impossible, but much harder to contact trace.”
Secret Service agents preparing for Pence Arizona trip contracted coronavirus (WaPo / reprint)
Pence was scheduled to go to Phoenix on Tuesday but went on Wednesday instead so that healthy agents could be deployed for his visit, according to two senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private details of the trip. [...] The official said the Secret Service estimated that a total of eight to 10 agents and other officers from sister agencies — all of whom were helping prepare for Pence’s visit to Arizona — had fallen ill.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Secret Service agents preparing for a White House or Trump campaign event outside Washington have contracted the virus. At least three Secret Service personnel working on the advance team for President Trump’s Tulsa rally on June 20 tested positive for the coronavirus. [...] Pence has faced criticism over his recent travels as he has sought to get out of Washington and visit areas hit hard by the coronavirus that are also key swing states in the upcoming election, such as Arizona and Florida. [...] Many of the activities that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn can increase the chance of infection are similar to what advance agents are required to do to plan the major events the White House and campaign have chosen to host. The agents must travel significant distances away from home, meet with strangers, and spend many hours indoors with other teams to coordinate security planning. [...] Despite the illnesses that were found among advance team members at the president’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Pence’s office soldiered forward to try to hold events in Arizona.
posted by katra at 8:17 PM on July 2 [5 favorites]


I do really do wonder if the voters will hold him to account.

They will forget, because they will still be alive and the TV won't be shouting MASK MASK at them all the time.


fwiw...
Democratic ad makers think they've discovered Trump's soft spot - "While Trump may not be vulnerable on issues of character alone, as he demonstrated in 2016, he is vulnerable when character is tied to his policy record on the economy and health care... For the negative ad industry, the coronavirus has been a bonanza because it inextricably linked both the economy and health care."
posted by kliuless at 10:30 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Blaming infection parties is just a way for GOP boomers in red states to shift blame onto kids to deflect from the fact that they were protesting for the right to go maskless into packed restaurants two months ago and their governors opened things up with few restrictions.
posted by PenDevil at 12:22 AM on July 3 [26 favorites]


Fourth of July celebrations increase risk of 'superspreader' events, experts warn (Guardian)
“It’s set up a perfect storm,” Joshua Barocas, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center, said during a briefing by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “The combination of travel, the combination of reopening – perhaps in some cases too early – and the combination of people not necessarily following some of these preventive guidelines.”

[...] “Asymptomatic spread of Covid-19 is a major risk factor. These ‘superspreaders’ do not know they are carrying the disease,” the [Alabama] health department said. “It is estimated one in four infected people are ‘superspreaders’. For this reason, we strongly recommend wearing masks in public gatherings.”
Virus concerns grow — as do crowds flocking to Jersey Shore (AP)
Large crowds are expected at the shore for the holiday weekend: New Jersey’s casinos have reopened, along with amusement rides and water parks. Beaches are open, though at reduced occupancy levels. Restaurants can offer limited outdoor dining, and stores and shopping malls have reopened.

But not everyone is following rules designed to prevent the spread of the virus, including wearing masks and keeping 6 feet (2 meters) apart. In late June, large crowds swarmed D’Jais, a popular oceanfront nightclub in Belmar in scenes reminiscent of pre-pandemic days. Few patrons wore face coverings, and fewer still kept their distance from others on a packed dance floor.
posted by katra at 6:32 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


What we're learning about coronavirus as cases surge after US states reopen (Guardian)
[David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania]: What’s really concerning is that this week, after all the hard work that the north-east and the midwest did – they waited the longest to reopen – their risk of transmission is going up. That includes New York.

People are talking about Florida, Texas and Arizona, but we’re also seeing elevated activity across the I-90 corridor in upstate New York. The Chicago area is also heating up again. These areas we had touted as successes might get engulfed and consumed by surrounding risk and travel from high-risk areas. What this shows is that we needed a national response to meet this challenge.
Northeast governors were ready to reopen. The coronavirus had other plans. (Politico)
“Storm clouds on the horizon,” [New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo told reporters from his 38th floor office in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday, as thunder and lighting crashed outside. He, along with [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy and Connecticut’s Gov. Ned Lamont, instituted mandatory quarantines for travelers coming from 16 states experiencing major spikes in new cases. “Chances are, whatever we do, people from those 16 states are going to make their way here and that’s how we got infected the first time.”

[...] Another alarming data point was a JPMorgan analysis of credit card data that found in-restaurant transactions were “particularly predictive” of future outbreaks when charted against Johns Hopkins University’s case tracker.
posted by katra at 7:49 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


The Week America Lost Control of the Pandemic (Robinson Meyer, Atlantic, Jul. 2, 2020)
What should concern all Americans is that, as more and more states see their outbreaks intensify, the country will lose its ability to understand what is happening. [...] But now the country is divided: The South is burning with infection at the same time other regions are trying to reopen. This feat—opening one region while suppressing the pandemic in another—has never been done before, and there is no guarantee that it can be done. Many public-health leaders signaled this week that they do not think it is possible.
Tracking The Pandemic: Are Coronavirus Cases Rising Or Falling In Your State? (NPR, "This page is updated regularly")
In the graphics below, explore the trend in new cases in your state to see whether cases are rising, falling or staying level. You can view the data via a heat map (immediately below), a curve chart and a table with details on each state's case trends over the last three weeks. Or to see states' total cases and deaths on a map, click here.
posted by katra at 8:14 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Massachusetts outside of Boston, movie theaters, outdoor performance venues, museums and health clubs got the OK yesterday to re-open, with limits, on Monday (Boston is delayed a week). Restaurants were already allowed to serve some meals indoors. But bars and nightclubs, which were closed in March, will remain shut until the release of either an effective vaccine or treatments.

The governor is officially puzzled why Maine is letting people from four of the other New England states, NY and NJ in without a quarantine requirement (or proof of a negative test) but not from MA.
posted by adamg at 8:19 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Coronavirus detectives couldn’t get partygoers to answer the phone. So they issued subpoenas. (WaPo / SFGate reprint)
After a woman in Rockland County, N.Y., admitted to throwing her daughter a party while showing coronavirus symptoms, contact tracers sprung into action. They phoned dozens of guests, hoping to get the partygoers tested and isolated and stop an emerging coronavirus cluster in its tracks. But many of the attendees hung up, handed the calls to their parents or flat-out lied, saying they never made it to the event on June 17. Others never picked up at all. So this week, county health officials tried a much more drastic approach. They issued subpoenas to eight of the partygoers, ordering them to speak up to the disease detectives or face a fine of up to $2,000 a day — and it worked.

[...] After people across the country rose up against lockdown measures, ignored social distancing requirements and declared war on face masks, Rockland County’s unapologetic legal strategy shows just how difficult it may be to get the country to comply with another crucial piece of the government’s response to a pandemic that has surged in recent weeks. [...] But this kind of detective work comes with a heavy logistical burden. State and local governments have to hire and train tens of thousands of tracers, act fast to keep up with the highly contagious virus, overcome government mistrust and privacy concerns and find money in their already cash-strapped budgets to fund it all.
posted by katra at 9:30 AM on July 3 [7 favorites]


The Altantic article closes with the thing that's been troubling me
For months this spring, Americans clawed back ground from the coronavirus. ... We are now losing that work, watching weeks of pandemic suppression vanish in days. It took the country acting in concert to subdue the virus in the spring. We may need to do the same, again, to avoid the worst now.
First of all.. "we may need to do the same again?" Lol, we needed to switch back to a stricter lockdown than we had in early April, and we needed to start doing it two weeks ago. But there's no way that happens.

We've fully lost the battle. All that time we've spent in lockdown was wasted; the disease is now fully out of control and our government (both federal and state) will not do the things necessary to control it. So what's the point of even trying to socially isolate? The virus is going to infect the whole country anyway, why be one of the few reeds trying to stop the flood?
posted by Nelson at 9:54 AM on July 3 [4 favorites]


Because I do not want to get sick and face lifelong consequences. I will continue to be as safe as possible, for me, and my family. Why give up?
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:09 AM on July 3 [30 favorites]


If bars and restaurants are one of the major avenues of disease spread, then I hope we can shift the conversation from yelling at young people who flock to them to the economic circumstances that is compelling many of these bars and restaurants to re-open in the first place - and the reasons behind why state governments are tacitly encouraging this (because they can't print their own money and the federal government sure isn't coming to the rescue with supporting state budgets).

Much like those studies that show how Medicare For All would actually decrease healthcare costs in the long run, I keep thinking about how if we had universal basic income and expansion of relief for small businesses, it would have been much easier to keep these venues shut down because there would have not been the threat of bartenders losing any income, and it would have enabled them to refuse to show up for being called back to work by bar and restaurant owners.

Instead we keep going through this open and maybe-close-maybe-not bullshit. From talking with a friend who is a bartender in one of my city's hot spots, she's basically hoping for bars to be closed down again so she can claim unemployment again. I really feel for service workers right now.

Pre-pandemic I had been a skeptic of UBI but I don't know how we get out of this economic mess without it.
posted by mostly vowels at 10:09 AM on July 3 [18 favorites]


Alongside the paralysing fear of Covid-19, something else is bubbling up: hope (Maeve Higgins, Guardian Opinion, Jul. 3, 2020)
Fear can make us paralysed or it can make us reckless. This fear is legitimate, of course; any one of us could sicken and die from coronavirus, or give it to others who are even more likely to sicken and die than we are. [...] The world is in chaos, divisions are multiplying daily, and I’m seriously considering … hope? Here’s how I’ve got there: we are living in fear of this virus, but we are also seeing how much we need each other. We fight coronavirus collectively or we lose. That’s where hope comes in, because when you think something is impossible, you can’t hope for it, and if you think something is certain, then you expect it.

[...] Hope is more than a shallow optimism. It’s not a saccharine wish or a political slogan. Hope can come only from deep within because it’s impossible to take hopeful actions without courage. [...] Hope is not simply positive thinking. It’s not the naive instinct of the privileged that says things will surely just get better. [...] Like fear, hope is not something that you can make yourself feel. Unbidden, it finds you. But unlike fear, which rises easily, hope is quieter, and far too easy to talk yourself out of. Don’t do that – instead welcome that small breeze you’re feeling and push the window up a little more. Eventually it just might pick up into a mighty wind.
posted by katra at 10:11 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]


Pre-pandemic I had been a skeptic of UBI but I don't know how we get out of this economic mess without it.

Support Grows for Guaranteed Income Among America's Mayors - "More city leaders are committing to explore universal basic income experiments that are grounded in civil rights ideals."
posted by kliuless at 10:26 AM on July 3 [7 favorites]


Because I do not want to get sick and face lifelong consequences. I will continue to be as safe as possible, for me, and my family. Why give up?

I wish you health. My fear is as the disease spreads and intensifies in our communities the only way to not get sick is full extreme isolation. I don't know about you, but I've been trying really hard to stay safe and not get sick. But I'm still taking risks of theoretical exposure. I go to the grocery store once a week. Once or twice I've picked up takeout, although last time I left the restaurant the moment I walked in and saw 9 folks without masks, including the clerk. But I still breathed that air briefly, touched that door handle.

Right now that's not too risky because, what, only 0.1% of Americans are infected at the moment? But when that gets to 1%, or 10% in your local community, anything short of total isolation may not keep you safe.
posted by Nelson at 10:56 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Well, yes, we know we're not safe, thanks. Aware every minute of every day. But again, that is not a reason to give up, as your comments were suggesting. I find that notion more disheartening than anything and shockingly unhelpful.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:10 AM on July 3 [10 favorites]


Risk mitigation still mitigates risk, is I think the thing to keep in mind. Like, I feel you Nelson on the sense of how to deal with it seeming to be prone to just get worse, but at the same time it's getting worse from people failing to take precautions. We can still take precautions for ourselves, and still avoid dangerous situations, and make it possible to manage with a good amount of success despite bad overall trends.

It's a weird balancing act. I feel you on the looming sense of worry. I also am reminding myself to not despair and to not generalize bad trends and poor choices generally to a revocation of my personal agency and ability to manage and reduce harm locally without totally going into hiding.
posted by cortex at 11:11 AM on July 3 [8 favorites]


I also think about the importance of viral load--low viral load is a lot better than high!

Say you go to a place to pick up your food, see a crowd of people inside without masks, you can assess that situation and GTFO before you inhale a significant amount of droplets. That's a lot better than hanging around for fifteen minutes waiting for your order, checking your phone, putting your phone up to your face, etc. A lot of mitigation that can be done re: viral load still seems within an individual's control, provided they're not being compelled to work in a dangerous environment. Even then, every bit of precaution helps.
posted by witchen at 11:17 AM on July 3 [4 favorites]


My despair and fatalism comes from watching events of the last two weeks, watching the disease get out of control in America and no one in power doing the things necessary to stop it. It's horrifying.

I no longer believe my personal actions will make a big difference in keeping me safe in America. I don't believe they will help stop the spreading epidemic in my community either. The country has defaulted to a path where we are all going to be exposed in the next few months. I'm sorry if it's "shockingly unhelpful" to say that. It is shocking; it's taken me 3 days to get used to the idea.

My personal reason for continuing to isolate is purely moral. I don't want to be responsible for getting others sick. I feel a moral obligation to avoid that, so I'm continuing to hide at home, and wear a mask when I go out, and avoid social activity and travel and enjoying civic life. But that's a difficult choice, one of deprivation.

And more than half the country apparently doesn't feel that obligation themselves. They're refusing to wear masks and going out to the bar at the beach and watching Trump's Fourth of July show in South Dakota where the Governor says "we won't be social distancing". And then they're coming back to where I live and infecting my community. It's incredibly de-moral-izing.

And all the while, so many other countries have a totally different experience now. They've got 0-10 new cases a day, we have 50,000. There wearing a mask and getting tested really does make a difference. Here we have failed.
posted by Nelson at 11:31 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]


I no longer believe my personal actions will make a big difference in keeping me safe in America.

Well, that's simply not true. Risk mitigation is PROVEN to help. This isn't fantasy. We have data.

All the people who got us here, gave up on trying to mitigate risk. Don't join them.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:34 AM on July 3 [17 favorites]


Being demoralized is exactly what the bastards want. Don't let them get you down, and certainly don't let them take you down with them.

Even if everyone else is being as stupid as a bag of rocks, you can still significantly reduce your own risk and, by extension, the risk to those you come in contact with. You needn't hole up at home, even, unless leaving your home involves long periods of time indoors surrounded by people who refuse to wear a mask.

Mask compliance in public indoor spaces where I am was already fairly decent, and has improved slightly since our mask order was extended to cover outdoor spaces as well. Test results still look dire, but the numbers reported today are the result of what people were doing two weeks ago and the spike in hospitalizations reflects behavior even farther in the past.

We may have frittered away most (but not all! The PPE situation is much less dire now!) of the benefit that we got from the initial stay-at-home orders, but that doesn't mean that all hope is lost.
posted by wierdo at 11:49 AM on July 3 [7 favorites]


Make a stop at your local Walgreens or whatever you have, and get some nitrile gloves. Fear the door handles and keypads no more.
posted by Windopaene at 12:35 PM on July 3


Honest question, not a criticism in disguise: Is there anything stopping individual cities from trying UBI on the municipal scale? Assuming some malevolent governor doesn't pass some kind of spiteful pre-emption rule (cough, Texas and the mask-wearing), would it even work? I guess what I'm asking is, is this one of those "everyone has to do it, or nobody can" things?
posted by ctmf at 12:38 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Right now that's not too risky because, what, only 0.1% of Americans are infected at the moment? But when that gets to 1%, or 10% in your local community, anything short of total isolation may not keep you safe.

Most estimates I've seen put it more like 0.5%, which doesn't seem like a big difference, but that's of course 5 times 0.1%, and a lot closer to 1%. It also varies a lot by state right now: it's 0.5% in MA which has things more under control, but is 1% in CA and nearly 3% in AZ right now. Masks, outdoors, and distancing, will still keep you pretty safe, but it's basically a disaster right now.

And that's just baseline rates. The changes are bad even in places like MA. That Are New Cases Still Growing In Your State? chart on the NPR page is really misleading, particularly due to an egregious use of log scale for changes over time. It makes it look like every state is doing great apart from a few like AZ, but if you look at the raw numbers at the bottom of that page, you can see that almost every state is doing worse this week than last week. Even the derivative of the disaster is a disaster.
posted by chortly at 12:39 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


Honest question, not a criticism in disguise: Is there anything stopping individual cities from trying UBI on the municipal scale?

They don't have the money. My city's total budget is $1.3 billion for this year, which is a lot of money, but is less than $2000 per person total for the year. The county also has its own budget, but they spend it on schools and county things.

Cities are also limited in their revenue sources, as they typically come from things like sales taxes and property taxes, with limited opportunities (very state-dependent) for income taxes or other sources.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:31 PM on July 3 [4 favorites]


Ontairo's pilot program was launched by the province but was done only in Hamilton (a city of 500K)

Ontario Basic Income Pilot Project
It was unfortunately completely alien to our current Premier who killed it fairly immediately. From everything I've read it could have been an amazing success. "People kept working, became healthier while on basic income: report"
posted by cirhosis at 1:36 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


On lack of preview Huffy Puffy's point is correct... UBI likely works at the city level but cities themselves rarely have the funds to finance such a project.
posted by cirhosis at 1:38 PM on July 3


At coronavirus crossroads, U.S. weighs ‘one more chance’ to quell escalating outbreak (WaPo)
Leaders who once ordered residents indoors reached instead for ultimatums, signaling that more painful measures were on the horizon. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) cautioned students and parents this week that their “actions will determine, frankly, whether we can open schools in the fall.” She joined governors of both parties, many of them reluctant to take more sweeping actions, in “urging” and “asking” residents to stay home and to practice social distancing.
105 University of Washington students in frat houses test positive for coronavirus (CBS News)
More than 100 students living in fraternity houses near the University of Washington campus have reported testing positive for COVID-19, with hundreds of results pending. [...] Experts say the outbreak, along with cases among student athletes, is a troubling sign of what may be in store if colleges reopen in the fall. University of Washington leadership said this week they hope to reopen in-person, with larger classes held virtually, but that plans could change based on the virus's spread.
Unable to afford coronavirus testing, some colleges are canceling football season (WaPo / reprint)
Rising caseloads in some parts of the country are straining the supply of coronavirus testing materials, raising the possibility that even some schools that can afford weekly testing won’t be able to acquire enough tests. [...] At UT-Chattanooga, [Athletic Director Mark] Wharton said, all returning athletes were tested for the coronavirus when they returned to campus, then told to self-quarantine for up to two days, until results came back. About a dozen football players ignored the quarantine request and held an informal practice together, running routes and some offensive plays. When the results came back, one of the players tested positive. All of them are now in mandatory quarantine, awaiting the results of another round of tests.
posted by katra at 1:40 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


At coronavirus crossroads, U.S. weighs ‘one more chance’ to quell escalating outbreak (WaPo)

Ah yes, the Lloyd Dobler strategy. Such a classic.

Grand gestures are a hallmark of narcissism, so of course Trump pulls one out of his back pocket, perhaps thinking it will stack like a coupon code with his Mt. Rushmore fireworks party.
posted by rhizome at 2:00 PM on July 3 [4 favorites]


Georgia coronavirus cases continue steep climb (AP)
The state has seen a sharp increase in confirmed cases as well as people hospitalized in recent weeks after a short period of decline that followed a since-lifted stay-at-home order from Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. [...] Georgia isn’t alone in seeing rising numbers. The pandemic is resurgent around the country, and health authorities warn that the holiday weekend could make it worse if Americans don’t take precautions. Some states, such as Florida, Arizona, Texas and California, have paused reopening plans or implemented additional restrictions. But Kemp has so far declined to do so, saying the restrictions already in place are enough.
Coronavirus: US reports world's biggest daily increase in cases with 55,000 (Guardian)
Patients with serious cases of Covid-19 are flooding into hospitals across the southern and western states. Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Nevada and Arizona set records for hospitalizations on Thursday. [...] The US’s neighbor to the north, Canada, has so far flattened its coronavirus curve with early and widespread testing, extensive mask-wearing and social distancing and slow reopening. The US is currently reporting more than 10 times more positive cases per capita than Canada, CNN reported. [...] Jonathan Reiner, an adviser to the White House medical team under President George W Bush, said the president was “clearly flirting with disaster” by holding election rallies without social distancing or mask-wearing among the crowds and attending events mask-free. “Just because he’s tested frequently, [that] isn’t a Superman cape,” he told CNN. “He can get the virus. The more he flirts with this, the higher the likelihood that he’ll get it.”
posted by katra at 3:44 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


COVID-19 deaths aren't nearly an adequate metric of this crisis, says a patient:
"Hey, so, I got #Covid19 in March. I’ve been sick for over 3 months w/ severe respiratory, cardiovascular & neurological symptoms. I still have a fever. I’ve been incapacitated for nearly a season of my life. It's not enough to not die. You don’t want to live thru this, either. 1/" [full thread]
posted by PhineasGage at 3:53 PM on July 3 [11 favorites]


There are a lot of experiences, including news reports, collected here: Blogs or journals from people who have COVID-19? (AskMe), e.g.

COVID-19 Can Last for Several Months (Ed Yong, Atlantic [free access], Jun. 4, 2020)
The disease’s “long-haulers” have endured relentless waves of debilitating symptoms—and disbelief from doctors and friends.
posted by katra at 4:12 PM on July 3 [7 favorites]


Carol E. Lee, Kristen Welker and Monica Alba, NBC: 'We need to live with it': White House readies new message for the nation on coronavirus
After several months of mixed messages on the coronavirus pandemic, the White House is settling on a new one: Learn to live with it. ... At the crux of the message, officials said, is a recognition by the White House that the virus is not going away any time soon — and will be around through the November election.
Capitulation and abdication of responsibility. One can only hope that it ends in Trump declaring victory and going home. And then to prison.
posted by jedicus at 5:40 PM on July 3 [10 favorites]


I wanted to LOL when the chancellor of my alma mater was trying to be all, "please behave this weekend, or else we won't be able to come back in person in the fall. Y'all want to come back in person, right? No backsliding?" GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:54 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Next week administration officials plan to promote a new study they say shows promising results on therapeutics, the officials said. They wouldn't describe the study in any further detail because, they said, its disclosure would be "market-moving."
Translation: Releasing this information today would reduce the amount of insider trading we can do.
posted by Mitheral at 6:20 PM on July 3 [12 favorites]


They wouldn't describe the study in any further detail because, they said, its disclosure would be "market-moving."

And guess who has cornered the market on hydroxychloroquine.
posted by JackFlash at 6:56 PM on July 3


White House 'free marketeers' raised concerns over coronavirus price-gouging crackdown (Politico)
The resistance from White House staffers materialized shortly after the rollout of the task force, according to the people familiar with the situation. It came from staffers whom one source described as “free-marketeers,” who felt the massive influx of people wheeling and dealing for PPE was a sign that the free market was working efficiently to move materials where they needed to go. One free market tenet is that market forces act as an invisible hand, moving goods and services when and where they need to be in the most efficient way possible and unlocking supplies that may previously have gone untapped. If prices of, say, N95 masks seem exorbitantly high—well, that’s what market conditions dictate. Government intervention, in this view, only gums things up—at best.
A coronavirus vaccine rooted in a government partnership is fueling financial rewards for company executives (WaPo / reprint, Jul. 2, 2020)
As shares of biotech firm Moderna soared in May to record highs on news that its novel coronavirus vaccine showed promise in a clinical trial, the nation’s senior securities regulator was asked on CNBC about news reports that top executives had been selling their stock in the company. Jay Clayton, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, responded that companies should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. “Why would you want to even raise the question that you were doing something that was inappropriate?” he said. Notwithstanding Clayton’s statement, there is little public evidence that company leaders slowed their stock selling.
Trump ambassadors sold stocks as president downplayed pandemic and virus was spreading (CNBC, Jul. 2, 2020)
Democrats are already pouncing on the actions by the Trump diplomats, including Democratic super PAC American Bridge, which initially flagged some of the stock sales and purchases to CNBC. “Any official who dumped millions in stocks while the administration downplayed the threat has no business in a position of public trust and their actions warrant thorough investigation in order to prevent further abuses of power,” Max Steele, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement.
posted by katra at 7:06 PM on July 3 [5 favorites]


Little Donny Junior has been ridiculing people wearing masks. Today his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle tested positive. Why was she tested? Because she is participating in Trump's rally at Mt. Rushmore and anyone who gets within 20 feet of Trump has to be tested. The same guy who doesn't want anyone else in the country to be tested.

Guilfoyle was also at Trump's events in Tulsa and Phoenix last week.
posted by JackFlash at 9:41 PM on July 3 [5 favorites]


Politico: "Last weekend, Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. were spotted without a mask at a crowded party in the Hamptons, the New York Post reported."

Trump Delivers Divisive Culture War Message at Mount Rushmore (NYT)
With the coronavirus pandemic raging and his campaign faltering in the polls, his appearance amounted to a fiery reboot of his re-election effort, using the holiday and an official presidential address to mount a full-on culture war against a straw-man version of the left that he portrayed as inciting mayhem and moving the country toward totalitarianism. [...] Mr. Trump barely mentioned the pandemic, even as the country surpassed 53,000 new cases of the coronavirus [today] and health officials across the country urged Americans to scale back their Fourth of July plans as the pandemic made a frightening resurgence. [...] On Thursday, [Trump] lauded his administration’s response, referred to the surge in new cases as “temporary hot spots” and focused instead on what he said was evidence of the economy bouncing back.
posted by katra at 9:48 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Do Americans Understand How Badly They’re Doing? by Thomas Chatterton Williams (The link is to Medium, but it is an Atlantic article)
We didn’t stay long in the city. Although the chance of contagion in Paris is minimal, the thought of unnecessary risk unnerved me, and so we left again for another round of self-imposed confinement. But this was a choice. I think of my mother and father trapped in New Jersey, in their 70s and 80s, respectively, and at the mercy of a society that is failing extravagantly to protect them. And it is failing to protect them not from some omnipotent enemy — as we believed in March and perhaps even as late as April — but from a tough and dangerous foe that many other societies have wrestled into submission.
posted by mumimor at 1:55 AM on July 4 [6 favorites]


at this point, i have to figure everything is part of a plan by the administration to capitialize on crises, create chaos, keep people destabilized and isolated, run their grift, and undermine the election (Biden isn't holding rallies, mail-in voting is being rejected, polling places are being closed 'because of the virus')

this isn't incompetence
this is intentional
posted by kokaku at 5:52 AM on July 4 [14 favorites]


Guardian: "Michael McFaul, who served as US ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration, has called Donald Trump’s speech on Friday night un-American.
[...] “Trump obviously has no idea what words like facism and totalitarianism mean,” wrote McFaul on Twitter. “To those who wrote that speech, shame on you. To those that cleared on this speech, shame on you. Perhaps the most un- American speech ever delivered by an American president, on the eve of July 4th.”

The former Republican speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, meanwhile said the speech was definitely American.
Guardian: Trump speech sparks media storm
The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan said the president “peddled his fiction” on Friday night as he appealed to his base. [...] Givhan also noted that few of those in attendance wore masks as Covid-19 cases rise across the US. “And just to add to the upside-down, inside-out madness of the mass gathering, Ivanka Trump, presidential adviser and daughter, tweeted a reminder to be safe over the holiday weekend by social distancing and wearing a mask. Her nearest and dearest did not listen to the plea,” she wrote. [...] The Associated Press noted the speech appeared made to stoke divisions [...] There was praise elsewhere for Trump. [...] Sean Davis, co-founder of the Federalist, said: “Trump’s Independence Day defense of America was far and away the greatest speech of his presidency.”
Guardian: "While the number of Covid-19 cases surge across the United States, CNN reports that key public health figures such as Dr Anthony Fauci have not been given permission by the White House administration to appear on American television."
One source told CNN that high-profile officials, including Fauci, have been unable to gain permission to appear on television. “Now is the time to be sending a strong public health message,” the official told CNN, noting that the cases of the virus are rising across large part of the country. The source added that Fauci is thought to be too blunt about the dangers of Covid-19 during his appearances, or too “doom and gloom.” [...] Fauci, meanwhile, has been getting his message across on other platforms. He has appeared on media that may not be used by the White House administration, such as podcasts and foreign broadcasts.
posted by katra at 9:46 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


Via Memeorandum I buckled in and read some of the right-wing media's praise for Trump's speech and their derision for the mainstream media's negative reaction (as summarized in the Guardian article Katra linked above). It was terrifying to see how those right-wing sites take small kernels of accuracy (some non-Confederate statues were torn down, some Twitter frenzies have been intemperate), and construct a world that isn't even adjacent to reality.
posted by PhineasGage at 9:55 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


Surge in state COVID-19 cases driven by eastern Washington (AP)
It’s no coincidence that Gov. Jay Inslee has visited Yakima, Spokane and the Tri-Cities of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco in the past two weeks to urge citizens to take greater precautions. The numbers are stark. In the past week, more than 40% of the state’s 2,957 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus occurred within those three metro areas, which make up less than 15% of the state’s population, according to the state Department of Health. [...] “Spokane is on the verge of a very dire situation because of this pandemic,″ Inslee said. The Democratic governor has emphasized wearing masks during his visits to the three communities. [...] Health experts contend that 80% of the population must wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in public spaces. But many communities don’t appear to be reaching that level. In Yakima County, which Inslee has called the new epicenter of the disease, surveys have found mask wearing has climbed from about 35% of people in public to about 65% in recent weeks, [Dr. Kathy Lofy, the state health officer] said.

[...] Inslee recently ordered that all residents of the state must wear masks when out in public, or face penalties. It was not well received by everyone. “I can’t wear a mask because I’m a patriot,”″ said Janice Tollett of suburban Airway Heights, who showed up at Inslee’s Spokane meeting to protest the mask order. “The First Amendment right is why I don’t wear a mask,″ Tollett said. “I just want our country back.″ In the Tri-Cities, Inslee was heckled off the podium Tuesday by protesters who yelled “you can’t face the truth″ and “Lies, lies.″ [...] The protesters were apparently unswayed by local public service announcements filmed by former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who grew up in the Tri-Cities. [...] The state Department of Health noted that Hispanic residents have been particularly hard-hit by the virus. While Hispanics are 13% of the state population, they make up 58% of COVID-19 cases since May in which race and ethnicity is known, the agency said. Hispanics make up a large portion of the population in Yakima and the Tri-Cities.
Trump’s push to amplify racism unnerves Republicans who have long enabled him (WaPo / Chron reprint)
On Capitol Hill, some Republicans fret — mostly privately, to avoid his wrath — that Trump’s fixation on racial and other cultural issues leaves their party running against the currents of change. Coupled with the coronavirus pandemic and related economic crisis, these Republicans fear he is not only seriously impairing his reelection chances but also jeopardizing the GOP Senate majority and its strength in the House. [...] The difference now, four years later, [Patrick Gaspard, a former Obama White House political director who is now president of the Open Society Foundations] argued, is that the sentiments of many Americans about justice and disparity appear to have evolved.
posted by katra at 10:40 AM on July 4 [5 favorites]


'We don't want things to get out of hand again': as New York reopens, dangers lie ahead (Ed Pilkington, Guardian)
According to a group of epidemiologists and public health experts, Covid Act Now, all but four states are failing to get ahead of the disease, while 30 states are at risk or already facing alarming surges of infection. [...] Much as it likes to see itself as its own sovereign entity, detached from the rest of America, New York, as a major travel destination, is profoundly exposed to the rest of the US. [...] “We can’t assume we are unconnected to what we are seeing in the south and west. It would be naive of us to think we are insulated from the increases and spread of the virus,” said Mark Levine, chair of New York City council’s health committee.

As a warning sign, Covid Act Now changed its designation of New York state on Thursday from being on track to contain the virus to the more at-risk category, “controlled disease growth”. The slip in status could be a portent of further trouble to come. [...] For an expert like [Wan Yang, an epidemiologist at Columbia University who has been preparing projections on the virus for the city’s health department since March,] at the heart of the storm, there is no room for complacency. “There’s still a lot of work to be done. You can never be too careful to reduce transmission, especially after what happened to this city.”
Guardian: "Covid-19 continues to affect the sports world. In Major League Baseball, 38 of the 3,185 samples collected from players and staff were positive for the virus. [...] Elsewhere, Major League Soccer has had to postpone [...] games in its upcoming tournament after 10 members of FC Dallas tested positive. [...] seven-time Nascar champion Jimmie Johnson has tested positive for Covid-19, and will miss this weekend’s event at Indianapolis Speedway."

31 MLB players, 7 staff test positive for COVID-19, or 1.2% (AP, Jul. 2, 2020) "The positive tests occurred among 19 of the 30 teams, according to results of the samples sent to the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in South Jordan, Utah."

Trump claims 'victory' as US sees 50,000 new Covid-19 cases for third straight day (Guardian)
On the Fourth of July national holiday, a day after the US reported a third straight day with a more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases and as Florida reported another record rise in cases there, Donald Trump claimed “a tremendous victory” was at hand.
posted by katra at 12:07 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]


he does seems to be the only one who is winning right now
posted by kokaku at 12:28 PM on July 4 [5 favorites]


Guardian: "News from Montana, where the Republican Greg Gianforte is ceasing in-person campaign activities in his run for governor after his wife spent time with Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend who has tested positive for the coronavirus. [...] Gianforte, you’ll remember, is the politician who physically assaulted then-Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs at a campaign event in 2017."

Hard-hit industries clamor for regulations during pandemic (Paul Kane, WaPo Analysis)
As Congress begins to negotiate another rescue package this month, these interest groups have some familiar business-friendly requests that their lobbyists will push. First and foremost are liability protections against coronavirus-related lawsuits as companies try to reopen. Democrats have opposed such protections, complaining that workers and customers could be put at great risk by companies made reckless by the legal shield. House Democrats included stronger worker protections in their legislation. [...] [Michelle Russo, chief communications officer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,] said industry is also pushing for federal help in two areas that don’t regularly appear on U.S. Chamber of Commerce wish lists: child care and mass transit. They’re two of the biggest obstacles to workers being able to return to their places of employment.

Even with these measures, the economic comeback cannot really begin until enough consumers are satisfied that nearly all other consumers are playing by the same rules. “We really do think the only way to restart the economy is restart travel,” [Tori Barnes, executive vice president for public affairs and policy at the U.S. Travel Association,] said. “The only way we’re going to do that is through health and safety.”
posted by katra at 12:55 PM on July 4 [3 favorites]


Trump was right about one thing, I'm definitely tired of all his winning.
posted by chaz at 2:12 PM on July 4 [6 favorites]


31 MLB players, 7 staff test positive for COVID-19, or 1.2% (AP, Jul. 2, 2020) "The positive tests occurred among 19 of the 30 teams, according to results of the samples sent to the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in South Jordan, Utah."

If any of the American major league sports actually starts and finishes a season without a major Covid related catastrophe, I'll be really surprised.
posted by octothorpe at 5:26 PM on July 4 [3 favorites]


I will be surprised if any league actually holds ONE GAME. Literally people are coming down with it just for showing up for practice as far as I can tell.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:32 PM on July 4 [9 favorites]


It’s weird, because that baseball entry test rate is actually way lower than expected. But on the other hand, Freddie Freeman and Charlie Blackmon and a bunch of nameless Phillies.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:43 PM on July 4


And I am amazed and skeptical about colleges and universities saying they will be able to welcome students back on campus this Fall. Between professors who are afraid to go back to campus and colleges' legal responsibility to keep students safe, even keeping dorms and lecture halls at half capacity seems inadequate.
posted by PhineasGage at 5:44 PM on July 4 [5 favorites]


Trump targets 'Marxists' in July 4th speech, boasts of coronavirus response despite record case numbers (USA Today)
As for the virus, Trump claimed progress is being made – "we've learned how to put out the flame" – even though new U.S. cases are on a record pace, including more than 50,000 in the last three days. [...] Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University, said a vaccine is unlikely by the end of the year, "at least not one released for widespread use."

[...] Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, who canceled the traditional Fourth of July parade in the nation's capital, said her office had informed Trump's Interior Department that the event it is planning violates the health guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We are giving D.C. residents the same message about any of their outings for the holiday weekend," Bowser told reporters. "Ask yourself, 'Do you need to be there?'"
"Most unnecessary situation": Surging coronavirus cases frustrate health experts (CBS News)
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist, said the U.S. is "heading a million miles an hour in the wrong direction." Record numbers for new U.S. cases in a single day were set on Wednesday, Thursday and again Friday, when more than 57,000 new cases were reported — showing that the pandemic is so far winning in the country's battle against it. "It's absolutely the saddest thing, the most unnecessary situation that we're finding ourselves in and it's behaviorally driven," Marty said.
‘People aren’t stupid’: Pence’s virus spin tests credibility (AP, Jul. 3, 2020)
“Make no mistake about it, what you see today is that America is going back to work and the American people are finding a way every day to put this coronavirus farther in the past,” [Pence] told CNBC the same day the country reported more than 55,000 new virus cases, a daily record.

For public health experts, the optimism has been unmoored from reality. “It’s almost laughable because it doesn’t pass any test of credibility when we’re seeing spikes in cases, spikes in hospitalizations,” said Larry Gostin, who specializes in public health at Georgetown University Law School. “The American people aren’t stupid. They can see spin when there is spin.” The most important thing Pence can do, Gostin said, “is to be honest with the American public. ... They need to be told the truth and then they need to be told what America is going to do to turn this around.”
posted by katra at 5:59 PM on July 4 [3 favorites]


I don't understand how the players of professional sports would be up for competing - it's a pandemic, they might not be able to isolate with their family, the disease is not only acute but can also cause ongoing health/ performance impairment.

I guess its similar to a team getting hit by seasonal flu at an inopportune time of the season, but teams with more ill players will definitely be at a larger disadvantage. Doesn't feel very sporting to me, and pandemic time statistics are going to get a big fat asterisk tagged on them.

Not to mention, in the NHL, there will be 4 months of downtime after the tail end of the season to let players rest/ heal up before the physical attrition of the playoffs.

At least in the NHL, players don't get paid in the playoffs (outside of milestones that trigger bonus payments).
posted by porpoise at 6:06 PM on July 4 [2 favorites]


'How the hell are we going to do this?' The panic over reopening schools (Politico)
The CDC issued additional guidance this week on safely reopening schools, with infections spiking in the South and West. Some education leaders fear the guidelines are being disregarded, casting doubt anew on how the new school year will even be able to launch. [...] From social distancing to health checks, the list of concerns is seemingly endless as school districts draft their plans, many of which are still in the development stages. Those concerns are only intensifying as Covid-19 cases begin to skyrocket.

"There are no plans for most of these places,” said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union. “People are panicked and parents should be panicked.” Teachers increasingly are on edge and leaning on unions for help. “I'm being bombarded with, ‘How the hell are we going to do this?’” said Eskelsen García. “We're worried that school districts will give in to a politician or some business that wants their workers freed up to come back and work in a factory somewhere, and that then they will be forced to open unsafe schools.”
Trump claims 99% of US Covid-19 cases are 'totally harmless' as infections surge (Guardian)
It was unclear how the president arrived at the “99%” harmless figure.
At Mt. Rushmore and the White House, Trump Updates ‘American Carnage’ Message for 2020 (NYT)
The president repeated his false claim that an abundance of testing made the country’s cases look worse than they were because they “show cases, 99 percent of which are totally harmless.” And he raised expectations for a vaccine “long before the end of the year.” It was his latest attempt to dismiss widespread criticism of his administration’s slow and ineffective response to the virus.
posted by katra at 7:16 PM on July 4 [3 favorites]


Coronavirus update: Trump says U.S. has ‘made a lot of progress’ controlling the pandemic as the country logs 26th straight day of record average case totals (WaPo live blog)
Some California cities defied requests to clamp down on public gatherings that could spread the virus. Lancaster ignored a ban on fireworks from Los Angeles County health officials and signed a last-minute contract for a show Saturday evening, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. In the San Diego area, several municipalities kept their beach parking lots open, despite the state urging them to close, according to KPBS. [...] Beaches were closed in Los Angeles, South Florida and in other states, but Myrtle Beach, S.C., remained open to the public, even as cases in the city and state continued to rise sharply. The tourist hot spot passed a last-minute mask ordinance as thousands of vacationers arrived for the holiday.
Trump's July Fourth 'Salute to America' in D.C. promises fireworks, flyovers — and coronavirus risk (NBC News / Yahoo)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that mass gatherings like the one scheduled for Washington present a high risk for spread of the virus.
Scientists say WHO ignores the risk that coronavirus floats in air as aerosol (LA Times / Yahoo)
They say multiple studies demonstrate that particles known as aerosolsmicroscopic versions of standard respiratory droplets — can hang in the air for long periods and float dozens of feet, making poorly ventilated rooms, buses and other confined spaces dangerous, even when people stay six feet from one another. [...] A total of 239 researchers from 32 countries signed the letter, which is set to be published next week in a scientific journal. In interviews, experts said that aerosol transmission appears to be the only way to explain several “super-spreading” events, including the infection of diners at a restaurant in China who sat at separate tables and of choir members in Washington state who took precautions during a rehearsal. [...] The proponents of aerosol transmission said masks worn correctly would help prevent the escape of exhaled aerosols as well as inhalation of the microscopic particles. But they said the spread could also be reduced by improving ventilation and zapping indoor air with ultraviolet light in ceiling units. Jose Jimenez, a University of Colorado chemist who signed the letter, said the idea of aerosol transmission should not frighten people. [...] "We think the virus has been transmitted this way all along, and knowing about it helps protect us."
posted by katra at 8:52 PM on July 4 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately, the anti-mask fools are using the possibility of the aerosol vector as an excuse for not wearing masks. Never mind that the known aerosol events are far outnumbered by those where droplets are the likely transmission vector and that masks still reduce the amount of virus in the air.

Of course, they latch on to literally any bullshit excuse they can find, hence the crap about carbon dioxide buildup, oxygen depletion and on and on.

Scientists need to investigate this stuff, but it would be a great help if the media would stop reporting breathlessly on every unconfirmed result.
posted by wierdo at 12:28 AM on July 5 [7 favorites]


I'd love to see a whole MeFi post about this shift in science, where suddenly everyone's rushing to publish and discuss preprints.

Some scientists are just as guilty of hyping unbaked results as the press they talk to; thinking of that bullshit Stanford / Santa Clara antibody study. Although ironically it's the peer reviewed journals responsible for publishing one of the highest profile mistakes so far with Covid, the fake Surgisphere data about hydroxychloroquine.

But the real concern I have is that the ordinary public is not well equipped to understand and evaluate raw early science. Also the messaging gets super confused when there's conflicting advice or understandings. About, say, persistent immunity or fatality rates or, well, even whether people should wear masks. The whole apparatus works a lot better when science can speak with authority, but moving this fast no one knows what's true yet.
posted by Nelson at 6:24 AM on July 5 [6 favorites]


Unfortunately, the anti-mask fools are using the possibility of the aerosol vector as an excuse for not wearing masks.

Wha... how?? Do they not understand that those videos showing mask use reducing aerosols are showing mask use reducing aerosols, not just droplets? Or are they outright ignoring this? Or is it the whole thing with the perfect being the opposite of the good / black and white thinking, where because masks only reduce aerosols (by whatever significantly over 50% amount) and don't stop 100% of them entirely? Are they just not thinking, at all, period?
posted by eviemath at 6:53 AM on July 5


Wha... how?? Do they not understand that those videos showing mask use reducing aerosols are showing mask use reducing aerosols, not just droplets? Or are they outright ignoring this? Or is it the whole thing with the perfect being the opposite of the good / black and white thinking, where because masks only reduce aerosols (by whatever significantly over 50% amount) and don't stop 100% of them entirely? Are they just not thinking, at all, period?

It's not that they don't understand mask use reducing aerosols, or that they're ignoring it. The questions about "perfect being the opposite of the good" and "Are they just not thinking" are predicated on people acting honestly and in good-faith.

Make no mistake. Asshole Trump fans are neither honest, nor acting in good-faith.

Masks are yet another item in the long list of things asshole Trump fans use to "hate-signal" to other asshole Trump fans that (1) They are asshole Trump fans, and (2) They hate the approved thing to hate to "own the libs".

And that's why, from a rational POV it doesn't make sense. Their actions appear irrational, until you realize an asshole Trump fan's goal is "own the libs at any cost".
posted by mikelieman at 7:34 AM on July 5 [13 favorites]


Are they just not thinking, at all, period?

eviemath, where I live, the masks are a grievance. Bars hold mask-burning parties. Businesses proudly announce themselves as mask-free zones. Local politicians refuse to enforce emergency orders and make appearances at public health-defying locations. Calculations about anger are being made.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:36 AM on July 5 [2 favorites]


"The Coming Fall Crisis" (blog post by John Kroger of Inside Higher Ed)
Most college and university presidents are declaring that their institutions will be open for on-campus education this fall because they face financial disaster if they do not. [...] Perhaps seventy-five institutions have sufficient cash reserves and endowments to weather a year with substantially reduced revenue, and some commuter and public schools can probably stay online without catastrophic financial impacts, but all the other institutions do not have that option. Very few boards of trustees will authorize a president to shut down if it means the school may never reopen.

Unfortunately, this is likely to lead to a public health disaster.

posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:57 AM on July 5 [6 favorites]


The possibility of airborne transmission isn't a new issue, e.g.

> We cannot keep ignoring the possibility of airborne transmission. Here’s how to address it. (Joseph Allen, WaPo Opinion, May 26, 2020)

> Experts tell White House coronavirus can spread through talking or even just breathing (CNN, Apr. 2, 2020)

and based on the recent LA Times report, it sounds like the concern is increasingly supported by scientists and scientific evidence, and it is being reported as support for both mask-wearing and the resdesign of buildings to make them safer. While science moves slowly by design, it can give us additional information about possible risks, and in this instance, it appears to suggest a focus on "poorly ventilated rooms, buses and other confined spaces" as places with a need for additional attention from policymakers and the general public.
posted by katra at 8:06 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Debates turn emotional as schools decide how and if to open (AP)
School districts across America are in the midst of making wrenching decisions over how to resume classes in settings radically altered by the coronavirus pandemic, with school buses running below capacity, virtual learning, outdoor classrooms and quarantine protocols for infected children the new norm. The plans for the upcoming school year are taking shape by the day, and vary district to district, state to state. The debates have been highly emotional, with tempers flaring among parents and administrators, and have been made all the more vexing by record numbers of COVID-19 cases being reported each day.
How to Re-Design the world for coronavirus and beyond (Politico Magazine, Jul. 3, 2020)
POLITICO Magazine surveyed designers, architects, doctors, psychologists, logisticians and more, asking them what they would do to redesign the world for the Covid-19 era and beyond. Some imagined ways to make physical spaces—apartments, offices, airports, parks—more spacious and less risky to our health. Some envisioned new, more efficient models for delivering health care, medical supplies, social services or ballots. And some came up with ideas to ensure that human interactions still feel meaningful across physical and social distances—a modern challenge that Covid is exacerbating but didn’t create.
posted by katra at 9:03 AM on July 5


'Trump is in a dreamland': what the US should do now on Covid-19 (Ed Pilkington and Oliver Milman, Guardian)
The Guardian invited six of America’s top public health experts to address the crisis. How bad is the current threat? And were the White House committed to science and data, as opposed to disappearing tricks, what would it do right now to fend off the disaster?

[...] Uché Blackstock, urgent care physician and CEO of Advancing Health Equity

In a matter of just a few months, one in 1,500 black Americans have died from coronavirus. Every single American should be horrified. This pandemic has laid bare the appalling racial inequities that have left black Americans more likely to be infected, hospitalized and to die from Covid-19. What we see in the magnitude of deaths in black communities is the legacy of slavery, Black Codes, the Jim Crow era combined with the current status quo in this country that has devalued black lives and black bodies. If it wasn’t clear before, now it is. Black communities were already sick from racism before coronavirus arrived here, and now they have become even sicker. [...] Ultimately, the United States must reckon with the destructive force of racism embedded in its history and within every aspect of society. At this inflection point, the country has a chance to make a long overdue statement – that black lives really do matter.

Irwin Redlener, professor of clinical public health and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University

Messaging in particular from the president and vice-president has been inaccurate, dishonest and flawed. We could see from that so-called Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that you don’t need someone wearing a Maga hat to know where they stand politically; all you need to do is see if they are wearing a mask and following public health advice. [...] The White House is living in a dreamland that everything is under control but you don’t have to follow that lead.
posted by katra at 9:37 AM on July 5 [2 favorites]


How to Re-Design the world for coronavirus and beyond (Politico Magazine, Jul. 3, 2020)


Yes, we need to redesign the world around the inevitability of coronavirus, despite almost every other nation on Earth managing to contain the virus. Every bus in North Dakota's winter needs to be open air!

The problem in the US is Trump and politicization of basic public health measures, not the existence of enclosed public spaces.
posted by benzenedream at 10:53 AM on July 5 [7 favorites]


The problem in the US is Trump and politicization of basic public health measures, not the existence of enclosed public spaces.

Instead of mischaracterizing the scientific research so it is something to be dismissed and laughed at (Every bus in North Dakota's winter needs to be open air!), we could embrace the idea that we must stop treating vulnerable and disproportionately impacted people as disposable, and recognize that there is increasing scientific support for correcting inequity and injustice that has existed long before the coronavirus, and it would benefit everyone by saving lives and supporting the economy, e.g. Indoor spread of COVID-19 can be lessened, experts say (CIDRAP News, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, May 28, 2020)
The spread of aerosolized SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, inside public buildings could be suppressed using engineering controls such as effective ventilation, possibly with air filtration and disinfection and avoidance of air recirculation and overcrowding, according to a research letter published yesterday in Environment International. The international group of researchers said the evidence is sufficiently strong for aerosols as an important mode of coronavirus transmission, most of which occurs indoors, and that indoor measures to slow the spread are often easily implemented at relatively low cost.

[...] Engineering controls should ensure adequate air supply and exhaust vents and, in the case of partitions or curtains, secondary measures to maximize ventilation effectiveness, such as opening windows and doors. This is particularly important in congregate care settings such as converted exhibition centers, which may not have adequate ventilation for infection control, the authors said. And while most hospitals likely have good ventilation, this may not be the case in other public buildings, such as retail shops, offices, schools, restaurants, cruise ships, and public transport.
posted by katra at 11:12 AM on July 5 [6 favorites]


I like to say at work, when someone is fighting you on something and it seems to make no sense, it's usually one of three things: they know something you don't know, you know something they don't know, of they have different goals.

The insistence on reopening at all costs isn't the second thing, and we keep acting like it is, trying to convince them of the danger. We're assuming it's the third thing - they just want to get reelected and so are making it an ignorance pride thing to rally around.

But what if it's the first thing? Maybe the US is in such shit financial precariousness that we're about to go under, Soviet style? While every other country can afford to do the right thing for the virus, for some reason we just can't.

It also explains the "loot like there's no tomorrow" behavior. Or it's the third thing, and that's the goal.
posted by ctmf at 11:14 AM on July 5 [12 favorites]


Maybe the US is in such shit financial precariousness that we're about to go under, Soviet style?

The Neoliberal Looting of America (Mehrsa Baradaran, NYT Opinion, Jul. 2, 2020)
Ms. Baradaran is the author of “The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap.”
Amid the outbreak of street protests in June, a satirical headline in The Onion put it best: “Protesters Criticized For Looting Businesses Without Forming Private Equity Firm First.” Yet the private equity takeover is not technically looting because it has been made perfectly legal, and even encouraged, by policymakers. [...] Faith in market magic was so entrenched that even the 2008 financial crisis did not fully expose the myth: We witnessed the federal government pick up all the risks that markets could not manage and Congress and the Federal Reserve save the banking sector ostensibly on behalf of the people. Neoliberal deregulation was premised on the theory that the invisible hand of the market would discipline risky banks without the need for government oversight. Even a former Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, the most committed free market fundamentalist of the era, admitted in the understatement of the century, that “I made a mistake.”

We can start fixing the big flaws propagated over the last half century by taxing the largest fortunes, breaking up large banks and imposing market rules that prohibit the predatory behaviors of private equity firms. Public markets can take over the places that private markets have failed to adequately serve. Federal or state agencies can provide essential services like banking, health care, internet access, transportation and housing at cost through a public option. Historically, road maintenance, mail delivery, police and other services are not left to the market, but provided directly by the government. Private markets can still compete, but basic services are guaranteed to everyone. And we can move beyond the myths of neoliberalism that have led us here. We can have competitive and prosperous markets, but our focus should be on ensuring human dignity, thriving families and healthy communities. When those are in conflict, we should choose flourishing communities over profits.
posted by katra at 11:42 AM on July 5 [14 favorites]


At least we're not in end stages as long as the rich are letting each other loot. Ironically, when you start seeing prosecutions, that won't be a good sign. It will mean some are using the power of the state against others to fight over the last piece of pizza.
posted by ctmf at 11:47 AM on July 5 [5 favorites]


> Bars hold mask-burning parties. Businesses proudly announce themselves as mask-free zones.

It’s like a bunch of boat owners getting together to burn their life preservers and dinghies. On their boats, at sea.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:03 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


Instead of mischaracterizing the scientific research so it is something to be dismissed and laughed at

I was dismissing the premise of the original Politico article. We can't do basic public health measures like test and trace, but will be able to do reengineer closed spaces?

Much of our society has been built around the premise of packing as many (poor) people as possible into small spaces; we are not going to be able to undo that within decades. The CIDRAP studies are good mitigation strategies but still would require a universal overhaul of these spaces. This would cost more than the most aggressive test and trace program imaginable. There is also no guarantee that the next pandemic will spread in exactly the same way (e.g. mutant measles would require different mitigation strategies).

Of that Politico list, only two items seem really useful:
- Replace prisons
- Let the military handle the supply chain (which restates that the problem is a political one)
posted by benzenedream at 12:04 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


Why the U.S. still hasn't solved its testing crisis (Politico)
The nation has conducted more than 4 million tests in the past week, more than ever before. But [...] [t]he supply chain problems that hampered testing early on never entirely went away and still threaten the ability of labs to conduct testing for everyone asking. [...] even as the U.S. scales up testing to record levels, the country is woefully behind on contact tracing. [...]

More than 20 million people in the United States live in coronavirus “testing deserts” — and people of color are disproportionately represented in those counties without testing sites, the Surgo Foundation reported this week. “If you’re a Black person living in rural America, you’re nearly three times as likely to be living in a testing desert where deaths are rising, compared to any average rural American,” said Dr. Sema Sgaier, the group’s executive director. [...] “The administration failed to plan in a comprehensive way for nationwide challenges like scaling up testing and contact tracing, and ignored — and exacerbated — existing health disparities that left Black, Latino, and Tribal communities to face the worst of this crisis,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
Contact tracing is a race. But few U.S. states say how fast they’re running. (WaPo / MSN reprint)
“Just the nature of this virus means you have a really small window to catch that next round of infection events before they, in turn, go on to infect other people,” said Adam Kucharski, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who wrote “The Rules of Contagion,” a book scheduled for release this week. In a modeling study recently published in the journal Lancet, Kucharski and his co-authors concluded that contact tracing alone is not likely to contain the virus. “We found that, even with quite rapid detection of cases, even with quite extensive tracing, it’s likely that you’d need some additional measures alongside that,” Kucharski said, including social distancing and restrictions on gatherings.
Coronavirus updates: Texas, Florida and Arizona officials say early reopenings fueled explosion of cases (WaPo live blog)
Public health experts have stressed that the recent surge in cases is not the result of expanded testing capacity alone. “When the virus is under control, testing doesn’t uncover more cases. It’s a tool for keeping the epidemic at bay,” said former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who served under Trump. Gottlieb voiced doubts about the country’s ability to slow the pandemic, saying waves of infection would probably persist through the rest of the year. [...] “We’re not going to really be able to crush this virus at this point because there’s just so much infection around,” he told CBS News’s “Face the Nation.” “We really don’t seem to have the political will to do it.”
posted by katra at 12:08 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


I started today as a part-time, volunteer case investigator/contact tracer. On average, a full investigation and tracing effort takes one person a full shift. In this one county alone, today there were four times as many new cases as there were investigators available. We're training and adding new investigators at a linear pace, while cases are growing exponentially.
posted by PhineasGage at 2:53 PM on July 5 [16 favorites]


Virus, Floyd death merge in brutal blow to Black well-being (AP)
In a matter of months and nearly 8 minutes, it became clear that institutions designed to ensure the two most important things in life — health and safety — had converged to turn against one segment of the population in stark, horrific ways. [...] “We are exhausted and we are not OK,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, a psychiatrist who just ended her yearlong term as president of the American Medical Association. She was speaking not so much for herself as for her community.

Police violence is always an injustice, “but its harm is elevated amid the remarkable stress people are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Harris and AMA Trustee Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld said in a recent online opinion article. [...] Terrence Nichols has recovered physically from a relatively mild case of COVID-19, diagnosed in March. But as a Black man in Chicago, knowing its impact in his community has left Nichols feeling fearful, vulnerable and angry over the president’s push to reopen. [...] “He’s ready to reopen because of the economy and rich people are losing money,” Nichols said of Trump. If the virus was disproportionately killing rich white people, ’’he would think twice,” said Nichols, 44.
posted by katra at 3:40 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


As anti-Asian hate incidents explode, climbing past 800, activists push for aid (LA Times / Yahoo)
Hate incidents directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are exploding this year, according to advocates pushing for California Gov. Gavin Newsom to boost funding for programs fighting bias and add a cultural representative to his new COVID-19 task force. Supporters and organizers of Stop AAPI Hate have documented 832 incidents across the Golden State in the last three months, with assaults and verbal tirades "becoming the norm" since the pandemic started, instigated by people following the inflammatory rhetoric of the nation's highest-profile leader, they say. [...] "We seem to have a president that has given the green light to the racists to come out of the woodwork and start attacking Asians," said state Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Rolling Hills Estates), who represents Torrance, the scene of some the most widely viewed hate episodes recorded on video. [...] Counted in the 800-plus incidents taking place at retail stores, work, school and online are 81 incidents of assault and 64 potential civil rights violations, according to Stop AAPI Hate.
The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus (NYT / ChiTrib reprint)
“Systemic racism doesn’t just evidence itself in the criminal justice system,” said Quinton Lucas, who is the third Black mayor of Kansas City, Mo., which is in a state where 40 percent of those infected are Black or Latino even though those groups make up just 16 percent of the state’s population. [...] The risks are borne out by demographic data. Across the country, 43 percent of Black and Latino workers are employed in service or production jobs that for the most part cannot be done remotely, census data from 2018 shows. Only about one in four white workers held such jobs. [...]

The focus on comorbidities “makes me angry, because this really is about who still has to leave their home to work, who has to leave a crowded apartment, get on crowded transport, and go to a crowded workplace, and we just haven’t acknowledged that those of us who have the privilege of continuing to work from our homes aren’t facing those risks,” said Dr. Mary Bassett, the Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. Dr. Bassett, a former New York City health commissioner, said there is no question that underlying health problems — often caused by factors that people cannot control, such as lack of access to healthy food options and health care — play a major role in Covid-19 deaths. But she also said a big determinant of who dies is who gets sick in the first place, and that infections have been far more prevalent among people who can’t work from home. “Many of us also have problems with obesity and diabetes, but we’re not getting exposed, so we’re not getting sick,” she said. The differences in infection case rates are striking, said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Some people have kind of waved away the disparities by saying, ‘Oh, that’s just underlying health conditions,’” Dr. Nuzzo said. “That’s much harder to do with the case data.”
posted by katra at 7:09 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


No wonder the Trump administration doesn’t want Anthony Fauci on TV (James Downie, WaPo Opinion)
[...] this Sunday, the administration dispatched Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to represent the White House. It was a telling choice: Hahn can point to decades of experience as an oncologist and cancer researcher — and many donations to GOP causes — but unlike other recent FDA heads, Hahn has no background in health policy. Yet the politically savvy Hahn no doubt understood that his job Sunday was to deal with the president’s claim on Saturday that “99 percent” of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless.” Not surprisingly, Hahn dealt with such a gobsmacking claim by dodging it entirely. [...] When CNN’s Dana Bash pointed out that the CDC estimates that “only about a third of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic” and the World Health Organization estimates that 20 percent need hospital care or oxygen, Hahn said, “I totally support the CDC and the information that they’re putting out with respect to this pandemic.” And when Bash directly asked whether the president was wrong, Hahn said, “I’m not going to get into who is right and who is wrong.”
Health experts push back on Trump’s false claim that 99 percent of U.S. infections are ‘totally harmless.’ (NYT live blog)
“It’s always tricky to do this in the midst of a pandemic,” Dr. [Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute,] said. “There are a lot of factors that go into it. But let’s say you took 1,000 Americans at random who were all infected. Our best guess is that between six and 10 would likely die of the virus.” And the death rate does not capture all of the harm caused by the disease. As many as 15 to 20 percent of known Covid-19 patients may require hospitalization, and of the group admitted, 15 to 20 percent are transferred into intensive care, according to some estimates. And many who have recovered are still struggling to regain their pre-disease lives, and may face long-term health issues.
Facebook groups pivot to attacks on Black Lives Matter (AP)
A loose network of Facebook groups that took root across the country in April to organize protests over coronavirus stay-at-home orders [...], which now boast a collective audience of more than 1 million members, are still thriving [...]. An Associated Press review of the most recent posts in 40 of these Facebook groups — most of which were launched by conservative groups or pro-gun activists — found the conversations largely shifted last month to attacking the nationwide protests over the killing of Black men and women after Floyd’s death. [...] Shortly after the groups were formed, they were rife with coronavirus misinformation and conspiracy theories, including assertions that masks are “useless,” the U.S. government intends to forcibly vaccinate people and that COVID-19 is a hoax intended to hurt President Donald Trump’s re-election chances this fall.
posted by katra at 9:25 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


Quoting Dr. Ashish Jha:
“There are a lot of factors that go into it. But let’s say you took 1,000 Americans at random who were all infected. Our best guess is that between six and 10 would likely die of the virus.”

Currently in the U.S. we have recorded 2,982,928 cases - people who are or were infected.
At 10 deaths per thousand that would be would be 2,982 deaths.
Currently we have recorded 132,569 deaths which is closer to 44 deaths per thousand.
Perhaps somebody more math literate could check my calculations?

www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries
posted by speug at 1:38 AM on July 6


Currently in the U.S. we have recorded 2,982,928 cases - people who are or were infected.
At 10 deaths per thousand that would be would be 2,982 deaths.
Currently we have recorded 132,569 deaths which is closer to 44 deaths per thousand.


I wondered about that too, but I think the idea is that there are a lot of people without symptoms who haven't been tested. In countries where more people are tested (so more of the symptom-less people are recorded) I think the death rate is lower. It certainly is here.
posted by mumimor at 1:51 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


They don't have to be without symptoms. Lots of people are or were sick as dogs without ever getting tested. In the early days (and presumably again now that cases are outstripping testing capacity), lots were told to just assume it was covid and not to get a test.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:17 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


There are a few possible explanations:

1) The majority of deaths are being recorded (although some will not be caught and will only show up later in the excess deaths figure) but many people with mild symptoms are sitting it out at home and never get a test and formal diagnosis. This % varies between places and over time.

2) A significant difference in demographic composition / co-morbidities which drives a genuinely different underlying death rate.

3) Differences in medical care

Epidemiologists in many places are using death rates from places like South Korea which have had very good testing throughout or even from places like the UK where the early testing was poor but there is now a very comprehensive set of national level serosurveys. This lets them calculate the number of real infections from the death rates and demographic data. The death rates which are quoted as being typical for the disease are usually the South Korean data as it is the most reliable.

This is also how we know that something... odd... is going on in a few countries such as Russia which have really high infection numbers but very few deaths. Considering the advanced age and poor average health of the Russian population and the quality of medical care outside major cities, we basically know for sure that for some reason deaths are being vastly under-counted there.

Note that you do have to compensate for demography though. Countries like India with young populations will have much lower death rates overall.
posted by atrazine at 6:44 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


> Currently in the U.S. we have recorded 2,982,928 cases - people who are or were infected. At 10 deaths per thousand that would be would be 2,982 deaths.

Math correction: It would be 29,829 deaths.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:18 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


White House chief of staff says ‘vast majority of people’ safe from coronavirus (WaPo live blog)
During an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” [White House Chief of Staff Mark] Meadows was asked where Trump got that statistic [(the unsubstantiated assertion over the weekend that 99 percent of coronavirus cases in the United States are “totally harmless”)] — cited during a speech at the White House marking Independence Day celebrations on Saturday — and whether it was a “generalization.”

“I don’t even know that it’s a generalization,” Meadows said. “When you start to look at the stats and look at all the numbers that we have, all the testing that we have, the vast majority of people are safe from this. When you look at the deaths that we have, if you’re over 80 years of age or if you have what they call co-morbidities — diabetes, hypertension, heart issues — then you need to be very, very careful. Outside of that, the risks are extremely low, the president’s right with that, and the facts and the statistics back us up there.”
Think a 'mild' case of Covid-19 doesn’t sound so bad? Think again (Adrienne Matei, Guardian Opinion)
As virologists race to understand the biomechanics of Sars-CoV-2, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: even “mild” cases can be more complicated, dangerous and harder to shake than many first thought. Throughout the pandemic, a notion has persevered that people who have “mild” cases of Covid-19 and do not require an ICU stay or the use of a ventilator are spared from serious health repercussions. Just last week, Mike Pence, the US vice-president, claimed it’s “a good thing” that nearly half of the new Covid-19 cases surging in 16 states are young Americans, who are at less risk of becoming severely ill than their older counterparts. This kind of rhetoric would lead you to believe that the ordeal of “mildly infected” patients ends within two weeks of becoming ill, at which point they recover and everything goes back to normal.

[...] According to Dr Christopher Kellner, a professor of neurosurgery at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, “mild” cases of Covid-19 in which the patient was not hospitalized for the virus have been linked to blood clotting and severe strokes in people as young as 30. [...] Doctors now know that Covid-19 not only affects the lungs and blood, but kidneys, liver and brain – the last potentially resulting in chronic fatigue and depression, among other symptoms. Although the virus is not yet old enough for long-term effects on those organs to be well understood, they may manifest regardless of whether a patient ever required hospitalization, hindering their recovery process. Another troubling phenomenon now coming into focus is that of “long-haul” Covid-19 sufferers – people whose experience of the illness has lasted months. For a Dutch report published earlier this month (an excerpt is translated here) researchers surveyed 1,622 Covid-19 patients with an average age of 53, who reported a number of enduring symptoms, including intense fatigue (88%) persistent shortness of breath (75%) and chest pressure (45%). Ninety-one per cent of the patients weren’t hospitalized, suggesting they suffered these side-effects despite their cases of Covid-19 qualifying as “mild”. While 85% of the surveyed patients considered themselves generally healthy before having Covid-19, only 6% still did so one month or more after getting the virus.
posted by katra at 7:56 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


As I understand it the definition of a severe case of covid runs something like...

One was a study from the UK , which collected information from the general public in relation to COVID-19 via a symptom tracker app, called COVID RADAR, while the other study included participants from a community facility designated for isolation of patients. Mild or moderate cases were generally defined based on less severe clinical symptoms (low grade fever, cough, discomfort) with no evidence of pneumonia and not requiring admission to ICU. However, some studies included people with pneumonia or respiratory tract infections as mild cases as long as they did not develop ARDS, organ failure or have an ICU admission.

So no admission to the ICU or maybe no organ failure and you'll be classified as having a mild or moderate case of covid. Mark Meadows is of course lying but there's a chance he'll quote some statistics and dismiss all the severe or extreme cases implying that mild or moderate cases are inconsequential.
posted by rdr at 8:39 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Trump-connected lobbyists reap windfall in federal virus aid (AP)
The lobbyists identified Monday by the watchdog group Public Citizen either worked in the Trump executive branch, served on his campaign, were part of the committee that raised money for inaugural festivities or were part of his presidential transition. [...] Trump pledged to clamp down on Washington’s influence peddling with a “drain the swamp” campaign mantra. But during his administration, the lobbying industry has flourished, a trend that intensified once Congress passed more than $3.6 trillion in coronavirus stimulus.

[...] Shortly after Trump took office, he issued an executive order prohibiting former administration officials from lobbying the agency or office where they were formerly employed, for a period of five years. Another section of the order forbids lobbying the administration by former political appointees for the remainder of Trump’s time in office. [...] Public Citizen’s Craig Holman, who himself is a registered lobbyist, said the group intends to file ethics complaints with the White House. But he’s not optimistic that they will lead to anything. Last year, he filed more than 30 complaints, all of which were either ignored or rejected. “There does not appear to be anyone who is enforcing the executive order,” Holman said.
White House defiant as Covid-19 deaths approach 130,000 (Politico)
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday also highlighted lower mortality rates as a sign of success in the administration's coronavirus response. "This president takes Covid seriously, but we should note the mortality rate and how well we're doing vis-à-vis to the rest of the world," McEnany told Fox News. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Monday said there were no plans to shut the economy down again.
Medical groups urge Americans to ‘resist confusing reopening with returning to normalcy.’ (NYT live blog)
Three leading health organizations urged Americans to wear masks when they leave their homes in an open letter published Monday. “Covid-19 is not behind us and we must resist confusing reopening with returning to normalcy,” officials from the American Health, Medical and Nurses associations warned. “Doing so will escalate this crisis and result in more suffering and death.”
posted by katra at 8:41 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


'We'll be living with masks for years': COVID-19 through the eyes of a pandemic expert (CNET)
Eric Toner has been planning for a pandemic for years. He's briefed world leaders on outbreaks and how to best prepare entire nations for mass casualties. He's simulated epidemics in real time and studied the world's response to major global health emergencies like SARS and the 1918 influenza pandemic. [...] Toner is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and a world leader in pandemic preparedness.

[...] "The US response has been extraordinarily disappointing and wrongheaded," he told me via Zoom, at the end of June. "Whenever there's been an opportunity to do the right thing, we seem to have done the wrong thing. The US has to recognize that it is competing for first or second position of the worst affected country in the world." [...] For many of us, this long timeline can lead to a feeling of hopelessness. But Toner says there's a way to control our future, and it's not all that different from the advice he's given in simulations, advice that dates back more than a century. "It's actually pretty straightforward. If we cover our faces, and both you and anyone you're interacting with are wearing a mask, the risk of transmission goes way down. Being outside, having distance between you and other people reduces the risk of transmission dramatically.
As the virus surges in Florida, the parties roll on. (NYT live blog)
The state’s contact tracers, already overwhelmed, have found that some infected people refused to divulge who they went out with or had over to their homes. “We are starting to encounter a fair amount of pushback from younger folks when you call them up and say, ‘We want to know everyone who was at your party,’” said Dr. J. Glenn Morris Jr., director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida in Gainesville, a college town where local officials have begged students to stop partying. “There’s very much a sense of, ‘That’s none of your business.’” [...] “We have hundreds of people coming onto [Belle Meade Island],” said Jeri Klemme-Zaiac, a nurse practitioner who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years. “This is how this is spreading: People have no regard for anyone else.”
Trump’s Support Is Withering in Areas Where Virus Cases Are Rising (Bloomberg)
The slide in support for Trump occurred as the president stopped talking about the virus and masks to focus instead almost entirely on reopening, a risky gamble that so far appears to be backfiring. Pew Research Center polls show Trump’s approval is slipping fastest in the 500 counties where the number of cases have been more than 28 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 people.
posted by katra at 9:14 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


..and Miami-Dade county is returning many of the previous restrictions now that ICUs are becoming stressed. Probably too late to avoid having to leave at least some people to die, though.
posted by wierdo at 9:52 AM on July 6


Nationals cancel Monday morning workout due to testing concerns (WaPo)
“Per MLB’s protocol, all players and staff were tested for Covid-19 on Friday, July 3rd. Seventy-two hours later, we have yet to receive the results of those tests,” [General Manager Mike Rizzo] said in his statement. “We cannot have our players and staff work at risk. Therefore, we have canceled our team workout scheduled for this morning. We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff and their families. “Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 season are at risk.”

[...] Summer training only began last Friday, once the first wave of players passed intake screening for the novel coronavirus. But ever since, there have been widespread doubts about baseball’s testing model, which were raised by Nationals closer Sean Doolittle in Washington on Sunday. [...] The return plan hinges on frequent results to mitigate possible spread of coronavirus. But there is skepticism about whether a decentralized lab, and one lab to process so many samples, can work. Washington’s canceled workout is one example of the model’s fragility. The Nationals had two players test positive for coronavirus during intake screening last week. They were never at the team facility, according to Manager Dave Martinez, but others who came into contact with them have been unable to join workouts, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Trump's Job Approval Rating Steady at Lower Level (Gallup)
President Donald Trump's approval rating is holding steady at a lower level after a sharp drop in late May and early June, with 38% of Americans currently approving of the job he is doing. [...] The latest results are based on a June 8-30 Gallup poll. While Trump's overall job approval rating is essentially unchanged from the prior May 28-June 4 poll, it does show some improvement among Republicans, from 85% to 91%. However, the current poll also indicates the president's approval rating has dropped among independents, from 39% to 33%, as well as among Democrats, from 5% to 2%. The current 89-point difference between Republicans' and Democrats' ratings of Trump is the largest partisan gap Gallup has ever measured for a presidential approval rating in a single survey.
posted by katra at 10:14 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


"Under Kennedy we went to the moon. Under Trump we can't even go to Europe."
posted by JackFlash at 10:34 AM on July 6 [39 favorites]


it does show some improvement among Republicans, from 85% to 91%.

The only way this could make sense to me is if people who formerly identified as Republican are now identifying as Independent and saying that they disapprove of Trump. Ie the GOP is shrinking but the remainder have doubled down on Trump. How would it be possible to look at Trump now as opposed to May and think he's doing a better job?

I mean other than the obvious caveats... but that would make me depressed rather than angry.

Does anyone know how to find the raw numbers of the Gallop poll to check this out?
posted by cirhosis at 10:59 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


It makes sense to me even if the denominator isn't shrinking. People tend to dig in deeper on their beliefs when they are challenged. And there's been a whole lot of challenge to the belief that Trump is doing a good job lately that even the FoxNews sealed voters can't ignore vis a vi COVID and protests.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:20 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Guardian: US coronavirus death toll surpasses 130,000
The overall rate of increase in US deaths has continued to trend downward despite case numbers surging to record levels in recent days, but health experts warn that fatalities are a lagging indicator, showing up weeks or even months after cases rise. At least five states have already bucked the downward trend in the death rate, according to a Reuters analysis. Arizona had 449 deaths in the last two weeks of June, up from 259 deaths in the first two weeks of the month. The state posted a 300% rise in cases over the full month, the most in the country. [...] Sixteen states have posted record daily increases in new cases since the start of July including Florida, which confirmed more than 11,000 in a single day. As well as the state’s largest one-day rise so far, that was more than any European country reported in a single day at the height of the crisis there.
Guardian: "The Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has turned down a White House invitation to celebrate the new regional free trade agreement in Washington with US president Donald Trump and Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador."

Guardian: McEnany claims US is 'a leader' in coronavirus fight despite rise in many states
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany shockingly claimed that foreign leaders consider America to be a leader in the fight against coronavirus. “I think the world is looking at us as a leader in Covid-19,” McEnany said during the White House briefing.
Mississippi governor was in contact with infected lawmaker and is awaiting test results (WaPo live blog)
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced Monday that he is awaiting the results of a covid-19 test after having brief interaction with a person who tested positive. “It appears numerous members of the Mississippi House are confirmed to have contracted the virus last week — only one of whom I was briefly in contact with,” he said. A Mississippi State Department of Health spokesperson confirmed over the weekend that there were several positive cases in the state’s House of Representatives, the Clarion Ledger reported.
posted by katra at 12:06 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


lazaruslong while I do agree that people do have a tenancy to dig in when challenged and I can use that to explain the fact that Trump (against all reason) has this hard floor to his overall approval rating I just can't really wrap my head around an increase.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

The overall party affiliation does seem to be down for the GOP. There could be a pile of reasons and I definitely wasn't an ace at Stats in University so I'm not drawing any real conclusions and I'm not going to worry at this any more.
posted by cirhosis at 12:19 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


“I think the world is looking at us as a leader in Covid-19,”
Perhaps she was referring to number of cases.
We're number one!
posted by MtDewd at 12:25 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


Well it is interesting that 91% of Republicans is only 38% total. Easily beatable if everyone else votes. And they know it, which is why voter suppression is strategy #1.
posted by ctmf at 12:27 PM on July 6 [20 favorites]


“I think the world is looking at us as a leader in Covid-19,” McEnany said during the White House briefing.

See this is where it would be handy if all the world leaders were as keen on Twitter as Trump. There would be an immediate avalanche of "no we're not".
posted by ctmf at 12:30 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Engineering controls should ensure adequate air supply and exhaust vents and, in the case of partitions or curtains, secondary measures to maximize ventilation effectiveness, such as opening windows and doors. This is particularly important in congregate care settings such as converted exhibition centers, which may not have adequate ventilation for infection control, the authors said. And while most hospitals likely have good ventilation, this may not be the case in other public buildings, such as retail shops, offices, schools, restaurants, cruise ships, and public transport.

It seems like a great idea until you learn a bit about U.S. infrastructure spending. Last year Chicago still had many public schools without A/C. Some schools only just recently switched from heating using shovel loaded coal burning furnaces. And those are just the really obvious problems.

Expecting local governments to update public schools in the face of the pandemic ignores that those same governments have resisted obviously necessary upgrades for several decades. Chicago schools were estimated to have more than $3 billion in deferred maintenance even pre-covid.
posted by srboisvert at 1:55 PM on July 6 [11 favorites]


CNN: At least 1,335 people have tested positive from child care facilities in Texas, the state's Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday, citing figures from Friday.

So much for the notion that we can just send all the kids back to school.
posted by JackFlash at 2:10 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Fauci says U.S. is ‘knee-deep in first wave’ of outbreak (WaPo live blog)
Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday that the United States is “still knee deep in the first wave” of the pandemic, calling it a “serious situation” that needs to be addressed immediately. Fauci’s comments came in a wide-ranging interview conducted on Twitter and Facebook by his boss, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins. Fauci noted that while Europe managed to drive infections down — and now is dealing with little blips as it reopens — “we never came down to baseline and now are surging back up.” Both scientists, while imploring Americans to take steps like wearing masks and practicing social distancing, also said they understand the importance of getting the economy back on its feet and insisted public health measures would accelerate that.
A ‘wave’? A ‘surge’? Whichever it is, just keep distancing, Fauci urges. (NYT live blog)
Dr. Fauci’s comments came in a conversation with Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, that was streamed on N.I.H.’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
Guardian: Atlanta mayor tests postive for COVID-19
Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) Keisha Lance Bottoms on testing positive for COVID: "It leaves me for a loss of words, because I think it really speaks to how contagious this virus is. And we've taken all of the precautions that you can possibly take ... I have no idea where and when we were exposed." @MSNBC July 6, 2020
Changing course, the Trump campaign will ‘strongly’ encourage rally-goers to wear masks. (NYT live blog)
The campaign is not making the masks mandatory for the new rally, but Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, told Fox News on Monday that they would be distributed as “a factor of precaution.”
posted by katra at 3:33 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Our Minds Aren’t Equipped for This Kind of Reopening (Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, Atlantic / MSN reprint)
Individuals are being asked to decide for themselves what chances they should take, but a century of research on human cognition shows that people are bad at assessing risk in complex situations. During a disease outbreak, vague guidance and ambivalent behavioral norms will lead to thoroughly flawed thinking. If a business is open but you would be foolish to visit it, that is a failure of leadership. [...]

Even when shamers have the risk calculus right, social-distancing shaming is still useless or even harmful to society. Each judgment is a chance not just to get the math wrong, but to let indignation outstrip empathy. [...] Even within academic psychology, scholars are prone to focusing on individuals who make suboptimal choices—workers who do not save, or employees who choose bad retirement investments. In the pandemic, this urge is a red herring; it is too easy to focus on people making bad choices rather than on people having bad choices. [...] For social-distancing shaming to be a valuable public-health tool, average citizens should reserve it for overt defiance of clear official directives—failure to wear a mask when one is required—rather than mere cases of flawed judgment. [...] The bad judgments that really deserve shaming include the failure to facilitate testing, failure to protect essential workers, failure to release larger numbers of prisoners from facilities that have become COVID-19 hot spots, and failure to create the material conditions that permit strict isolation. America’s half-hearted reopening is a psychological morass, a setup for defeat that will be easy to blame on irresponsible individuals while culpable institutions evade scrutiny.
posted by katra at 7:30 PM on July 6 [12 favorites]


More bad news from Florida: Trump tweets that schools must be open in the fall, and hours later DeSantis' administration issues an order requiring all districts statewide to go back to in-person school full time. This after earlier arguing that they don't have the authority to dictate to individual districts whether or not they closed schools in the first place.
posted by wierdo at 9:23 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


How America Lost the War on Covid-19
Krugman/NYTimes
Those anti-lockdown demonstrations weren’t spontaneous, grass-roots affairs. Many were organized and coordinated by conservative political activists, some with close ties to the Trump campaign, and financed in part by right-wing billionaires.

And the rush to reopen in Sunbelt states was less a response to popular demand than a case of Republican governors following Trump’s lead.

The main driving force behind reopening, as far as I can tell, was the administration’s desire to have big job gains leading into November, so that it could do what it knew how to do — boast about economic success. Actually dealing with the pandemic just wasn’t Trump’s kind of thing.

In that case, however, why has Trump refused to wear a face mask or encourage others to do so? After all, wider use of masks would be one way to limit infections without shutting down the economy.

Well, Trump’s vanity — his belief that wearing a mask would make him look silly, or mess up his makeup, or something — has surely played a role. But it’s also true that masks remind people that we haven’t controlled the coronavirus — and Trump wants people to forget that awkward fact.
posted by mumimor at 4:31 AM on July 7 [10 favorites]


I am seeing so many teachers just screamingly upset about schools being forced open. Maybe the kids don't get severe cases usually, but what about all the adults in the schools who have to teach them?! Ordering teachers and admins to dig their own graves and just stand next to them and hope they don't fall in. One could think it was a coy plan to make sure the next generation of Americans is even less well educated.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:50 AM on July 7 [11 favorites]


A high-risk Florida teen who died from covid-19 attended a huge church party, then was given hydroxychloroquine by her parents, report says (WaPo)

WTF??????
The headline basically says it all, but the details are so extremely stupid and sad, it's hard to read.
posted by mumimor at 5:27 AM on July 7 [11 favorites]


How the White House can build public trust and end the coronavirus crisis (Politico)
“National leaders, including the vice president and president and governors, should not only be talking about and encouraging people to follow public health guidance — they should be modeling it themselves wherever they can,” said Tom Inglesby, director of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security. “No more of this kind of strange commentary about ‘personal choice.’ The point is to protect your neighbor, so the idea of it being a personal choice is illogical.” [...] Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says the first step the Trump administration should take is unmuzzling its scientists. [...] “The CDC and the other public health experts within the government need to be on the front lines talking to the country every day,” Lipsitch said. “People without scientific qualifications … do not need to be stealing the show in terms of public communication.” [...] “The president has a unique ability to derail good policy,” Lipsitch said.

[...] Going forward, the government needs to do a better job of managing expectations, said Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease researcher at the Columbia University School of Public Health. [...] White House messengers need to express more humility and explain how much we still don’t know, said Lori Freeman, CEO for the National Association of County and City Health Officials. “That part of the messaging has been missing,” she said. “If you don’t say those words, each time the advice changes, as we have seen happen, it is a moment of a potential loss of trust.” Giving the CDC a more prominent voice and promoting administration scientists as respected sources of information would also enhance public trust, Freeman said. “If that were visible to the public, we’d be in a different place — but we don’t have that,” she said.
Hundreds of health groups petition against Trump (Politico)
The nearly 350 public health organizations, advocacy groups and local health departments are urging Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar — who has fallen in lockstep with the White House on key markers of the coronavirus response — to play a more prominent role in shielding the CDC from political interference. “CDC continues to be the world’s premiere public health institution and should be treated as such during this pandemic,” the groups wrote in a letter on Tuesday. “We must amplify the unfettered voice of CDC, not stifle it.”

The missive comes amid growing alarm within the public health community over the damage done by Trump’s dismissals of the pandemic threat, including his refusal to endorse basic measures like mask-wearing and his insistence that the coronavirus will vanish even as cases continue to surge. At the same time, the administration has largely relegated the CDC to the background, clamped down on health officials’ public appearances and overruled key guidance for safely reopening parts of the economy. [...] “We are deeply concerned about increasing reports of resistance to evidence-based public health messages and threats to public health leaders and agencies,” the groups wrote, warning that such sentiments “undermine the health and wellbeing of America’s residents at a critical juncture when cases of COVID-19 are rising.”
posted by katra at 7:08 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Protective gear for medical workers begins to run low again (AP)
“We’re five months into this and there are still shortages of gowns, hair covers, shoe covers, masks, N95 masks,” said Deborah Burger, president of National Nurses United, who cited results from a survey of the union’s members. “They’re being doled out, and we’re still being told to reuse them.” [...] Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, released a memo last week ahead of a congressional committee hearing that raised concerns about looming problems in the supply chain. [...] Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, who is in charge of coronavirus-related supplies for the White House, told Congress last week that more than than one-fourth of the states have less than a 30-day supply. “It would seem like in less than 30 days, we’re going to have a real crisis,” said Rep. Bill Foster, an Illinois Democrat.
Hawaii sees clusters of new cases among those ignoring health advice (WaPo live blog)
Seven people caught the virus after visiting a gym that failed to enforce a statewide mask mandate, had poor ventilation and was not large enough to keep customers properly separated, health department officials said in a statement. “All of the recent clusters have been associated with people not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing,” Health Director Bruce Anderson said Monday at a news briefing. “They have occurred in workplaces, gyms and during social gatherings both inside and outdoors.”
The Pandemic Experts Are Not Okay (Ed Yong, Atlantic)
America isn’t just facing a shortfall of testing kits, masks, or health-care workers. It is also looking at a drought of expertise, as the very people whose skills are sorely needed to handle the pandemic are on the verge of burning out.
posted by katra at 8:32 AM on July 7 [4 favorites]


Brazilian President Bolsanaro has coronavirus. Since I have nothing nice to say, I won't say anything more.
posted by wierdo at 8:44 AM on July 7 [23 favorites]


From NYT: Two trending hashtags on Twitter Tuesday morning were #ForçaBolsonaro and #ForçaCorona, the first sending the president strength and the other effectively expressing hope that the president falls ill.
posted by theodolite at 8:52 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


but what about all the adults in the schools who have to teach them?!

How about all the class-action lawsuits soon to appear, suing states and county districts for forcing employees into unsafe, potentially life-threatening work situations? Or are we going to have thousands of teachers soon on strike, refusing to show up to a personally dangerous work environment? (I know that if my school or state were trying to force me to show up to teach in-person in a few weeks, especially with no safety protocols at all, I would be seeking legal action right now, today. My heart is with my fellow teachers in Florida.)

If Harvard University, with some of the best available public health experts on its own faculty, has already decided that all of the 2020-21 academic year will be online only, then the best information available says that this pandemic is far from over, and that any new normal won't start happening until maybe summer/fall 2021. DeSantis is (especially) insane with his order to open schools in a few weeks, and I expect that it will not move forward without very serious resistance.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:53 AM on July 7 [8 favorites]


Andy Slavitt has a thread on the possible shape of the pandemic over the next 3 years.

Threader
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:37 AM on July 7 [10 favorites]


ICE has announced new rules regarding student visa holders.

Basically, as I understand it, you can't stay in the US as a student if your classes go online full-time. Which is going to influence a lot of universities and colleges to bring back in-person classes or lose their international students.
posted by MrVisible at 11:35 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


That thread is a really good summary of the current consensus. I especially like this:
This felt like a realistic glimpse into the future: continuously better. Not one dramatic moment.

No “life before vaccine” or “life after vaccine.” But gradual changes. 21/
"Life after vaccine" has become a bit of a pet peeve over the past few weeks and months, in addition to talk of "first wave" and "second wave." It's becoming increasingly clear that we will be riding one giant continuous wave with this virus. Vaccine(s) will help; treatments will help; but people are acting like God will snap her fingers one day and bring everything back to the way it was in November 2019. It's a fantasy.
posted by witchen at 11:37 AM on July 7 [6 favorites]


It's not like the vaccine is approved and suddenly everyone is better. It needs to be manufactured on a vast scale and as far as I know we don't have that kind of capability right now. And then some large percentage of the 300+ million americans need to be inoculated and that's going to a nightmare of people screaming about Bill Gates implanting microchips and refusing to take it.

It's going to be years before there's anything like normal life again.
posted by octothorpe at 12:16 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


It's going to be years before there's anything like normal life again.

Not to pick on you in particular, but we really need to stop trying to get "back" to a "normal" life, we need to go forward to a sustainable and humane and maybe even relatively safe one. Putting "normal" anywhere near the table is how we get university administrators deciding to roll the dice they're rolling. We need to step back and ask what do we want to guarantee to who, and we're going to get different answers if we prioritize normal than if we prioritize safe.
posted by PMdixon at 12:33 PM on July 7 [28 favorites]


Azar, nation’s top health official, falsely says health-care workers don’t get covid-19 (WaPo live blog)
Health-care workers “don’t get infected because they take appropriate precautions. They engage in social distancing, they wear facial covering, they use good personal hygiene,” Azar said during a White House event about safely reopening schools. “This can work. You can do all of this. There’s no reason schools have to be in any way any different from the rest of what we need to do in opening ourselves up.”

About 85,000 health-care workers have been infected with the coronavirus, and 500 have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC numbers are considered a dramatic undercount because health-care profession status was available only for about 25 percent of people in the agency’s sample.
‘Nobody should hide behind CDC’s guidance’ to avoid reopening schools, Azar says (WaPo live blog)
“Our CDC guidance is guidance,” Azar said at a White House event on “Safely Reopening America’s Schools,” referring to the federal social distancing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “When it comes to reopening our schools, nobody should hide behind CDC’s guidance as a way to not reopen schools. Our guidance is to enable and empower the reopening of schools and physical attendance by our kids.”
posted by katra at 3:02 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


Alex Azar, if you don't know, is a loyal Trump toady. He is not a health scientist. He is a lawyer. He worked for Ken Starr in the Whitewater investigation against the Clintons. He served as a law clerk for Antonin Scalia. He worked as a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry. He became president of Eli Lilly. Under his leadership, Lilly was sued for collusion in price fixing for insulin.

He's not a health scientist. He should not be giving medical advice. He is a political operative working for Trump's re-election. Any advice he gives should be considered politically motivated.
posted by JackFlash at 3:15 PM on July 7 [30 favorites]


Trump says he will pressure states to reopen schools in fall (AP)
Trump did not immediately explain how he would pressure governors, but he repeated an earlier claim that Democrats want to keep schools closed for political reasons and not health reasons. He made the same claim Monday on Twitter, saying, “They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!” [...]

But some are calling for greater caution as schools plan for the fall. Arne Duncan, who served as Education Secretary under former President Barack Obama, has said the focus should be on making sure students can return safely. “We all want children to go back to school,” Duncan said on Twitter. “The question is whether we care enough about our children to ALLOW them to go to school safely. Our behavior, our commitment to shared sacrifice — or our selfishness — will determine what happens this fall for kids.”
Prominent model predicts more than 200,000 virus deaths in U.S. by November without strict mask-wearing (WaPo live blog)
The projection from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is based on a number of assumptions, including that most schools will reopen in the fall and that state leaders will resume social distancing mandates once their local death tolls reach a certain threshold. The model expects that many states will see “significant increases in cases and deaths in September and October,” said its creator Christopher Murray, director of the IHME.

[...] But the model also projected what an alternate future could look like, one in which at least 95 percent of people wear masks in public. The results underscore what health experts have been repeating relentlessly about the importance of wearing masks: If nearly everyone sports face coverings, it could reduce the death toll by more than 45,000 by Nov. 1. “Those who refuse masks are putting their lives, their families, their friends and their communities at risk,” Murray said.
posted by katra at 3:18 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


Trump did not immediately explain how he would pressure governors, but he repeated an earlier claim that Democrats want to keep schools closed for political reasons and not health reasons. He made the same claim Monday on Twitter, saying, “They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!”

He doesn't have to explain how he would pressure them, this is the pressure. He only suggests what he's going to do, and if people fall into line then he gets louder about it, or doubles down and asks for even more ("and the teachers shall use stilts!"). But if people ignore him or attention trickles away, he never presses it. He is a stupid and resentful man whose rage interferes with any long game he might employ. He says he's going to do something, then cowers away if there's any pushback. He'd MUCH rather fade away into his tacit shame than wage a battle that could result in a public and decisive victory for not-him, the ultimate humiliation. And this is the ethic of the criminal: just fade into the shadows, but if you can get a leg up, keep taking.
posted by rhizome at 4:44 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


Birx says U.S. underestimated levels of community spread spurred by young people (WaPo live blog)
On a video conference hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank, Deborah Birx, the physician who oversees the White House pandemic response, said leaders in states that were not hard-hit early on “thought they would be forever spared through this,” and when they reopened their economies, they didn’t expect a surge in cases spurred by a cohort of mostly millennials. “None of us really anticipated the amount of community spread that began in, really, our 18-to-35-year-old age group,” Birx said. [...]

Earlier Tuesday, Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said the country’s declining mortality rate is due in part to rising infections in young people, who aren’t as likely to die from the virus as the elderly. But, Fauci warned, that doesn’t mean the consequences aren’t serious. Indeed, younger patients have accounted for a widening share of all coronavirus hospitalizations. Those aged 18 to 49 made up about 27 percent of hospitalizations in early March, but that number grew to 35 percent by late June, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures show. “It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” Fauci said [during a news conference].
DeVos blasts school districts that hesitate at reopening (Politico)
But the result was intensifying tensions with teachers unions and leading school groups, including the PTA, who charged that the Trump administration in a "vacuum of leadership" has "zero credibility in the minds of educators and parents when it comes to this major decision." [...] "Throughout this pandemic, the administration has failed to address the needs of students, especially those students who need the most support. They have failed to listen to families and public school educators who have been on the frontlines serving their communities," [a statement Tuesday night from teachers unions, the PTA, special education administrators and secondary school principals] said. "Public school educators, students and parents must have a voice in critical conversations and decisions on reopening schools. The president should not be brazenly making these decisions."

[...] Lily Eskelsen García, National Education Association president, said that "the reality is no one should listen to Donald Trump or Betsy DeVos when it comes to what is best for students." After Trump tweeted, “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!,” García fired back on Monday, “You forgot to add the word ‘SAFELY.’”
posted by katra at 5:18 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


Florida invited the nation to its reopening — then it became a new coronavirus epicenter (WaPo)
Nearly 1 out of every 100 residents is infected with the virus, hospital intensive care units are full or filling up, and big-name visitors who chose Florida for their first post-isolation events are now mired in questions and controversies about safety. Amid escalating infections, Florida, once held up by President Trump as a model for how to manage the novel coronavirus, is faring poorly. [...] Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran late Monday ordered that the state’s schools open for in-person instruction next month, igniting fears that a new round of classroom interactions would lead to a new round of infections. “We want to proceed with caution, but unfortunately the governor continues to deny the science,” said Fedrick Ingram, president of the Florida Education Association. “The trend over the last 30 days has been astronomical. We’re in regression, we’re going backward. In terms of the amount of cases, we are literally going backward as a state.” [...]

“You certainly can’t wave Mickey’s magic wand and say that Florida isn’t a central hot spot right now,” said Kate Shindle, the [The Actors’ Equity Association] union’s president. “Personally, as the president of the organization that is fighting for the safety of these performers, I’m mystified by the fact that Disney is attempting to open the park right now.” [...] Testing sites across the state are seeing shortages, and the wait time for results is now as long as 10 days, said U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat representing a swath of the coast stretching from Broward County to Palm Beach County. [...] There were also acute shortages of the antiviral drug remdesivir in parts of the state, causing Democratic members of Florida’s congressional delegation to send a letter Tuesday to [HHS] Secretary Alex Azar asking him to speed the shipment of emergency supplies.
posted by katra at 7:10 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


Katra, I love you and I hate you for all these comprehensive posts, but I am mostly worried about you. What can we do to support your mental health amid this flood of horrifying news you are wading through?
posted by PhineasGage at 7:17 PM on July 7 [21 favorites]


Testing sites across the state are seeing shortages, and the wait time for results is now as long as 10 days

This is just outrageous. We are six months into this and the Trump administration still cannot manage to get testing down to a one-day turnaround. Ten days does absolutely nothing for contact tracing. All of your hundreds of contacts are ancient history by the time you get your test results. Ten days is two full generations of infections later.
posted by JackFlash at 7:28 PM on July 7 [7 favorites]


The county where I volunteer as a contact tracer is seeing a jump in new cases, so our case investigation instructions on July 4th were just to give up on calls to anyone whose positive test results were reported more than even a day earlier. The public health official leading the morning's all-hands meeting ended it quickly and said "We have to try to reach all of these new cases before noon, and hope we can prevent them from going out to any holiday celebrations. Let's go!"

Wear a mask, wear a mask, wear a mask. Maintain social distancing. And please answer your phone if it's a call from the local health department.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:29 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


Katra, I love you and I hate you for all these comprehensive posts, but I am mostly worried about you. What can we do to support your mental health amid this flood of horrifying news you are wading through?

I would ask that you keep an open mind about the broad range of ways that people participate here, and the various perspectives and backgrounds that people bring to the discussion. This thread is a solace for me in many ways, and I am happy to read people talking about the news clips I post, and to find news that riffs on what people are talking about. For example, rhizome recently talked about what happens when Trump gets pushback, so I tailored my recent clips with a focus on the pushback, which also happens to be an ongoing theme in this thread.

But reading the news is what I have always done, since I was a kid. I'm a former legal aid lawyer and a former college instructor, but now recovering from a frontal lobe injury, so reading and editing the news is a habit but also a rehabilitation exercise. I have visual tracking issues, and I've had to relearn how to read and type and process information, so some of what you see is my adaptation of occupational therapy. I often don't include commentary because it can be more difficult for me to draft, including because I also experience fatigue and take some fairly heavy blood pressure and anti-seizure medications. My hope is that when I am reading something anyway, and post a clip here, it saves people time and helps them stay informed without having to wade through all of the static and noise that might make it harder to find information from public health experts and data, as well as the opposition to the Trump administration and their allies.

I do appreciate your concern, which is much kinder than some of the feedback I've received elsewhere on Metafilter, because at least here I can try to reassure you that I experience a positive feedback loop from my work here, and it is a thread I created to track the news about Trump and the coronavirus. This is a time without precedent in our history, and I think there is so much potential for real and transformative change that casts out the systemic racism embodied by Trump that has directly influenced how badly the pandemic has impacted the US and the world. Keeping track of the news and how people are collectively working together to fight the systemic injustices that have manifested in a runaway pandemic is something that stokes my sense of hope, and I will try to do better about keeping focused on news that highlights the ongoing work that is being done to fight for a future that is equitable and just.
posted by katra at 10:06 PM on July 7 [69 favorites]


Hey, katra! Your posts absolutely do save me time and help me stay informed, and I get to pass on a great number of them that are specific to the needs of my friends in the lands still relatively unhit by covid. It seems lately like a great number of them need posts that are encouraging about holding the line and wearing masks and keeping distance. I'm spreading stuff you've found around and it's helping people. They're spreading that forward. Thank you so much.

(And as someone with a super dodgy brain, I am genuinely impressed with your recovery that I hadn't even thought to guess was happening. You're amazing and I hope things keep getting better for you, too.)
posted by lauranesson at 10:20 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


We all appreciate your comprehensive posts katra. Good to hear it is therapy for you. Let us all hope this historic event leads to a better world...
posted by Windopaene at 10:20 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


Yes, katra what you do is amazing. Thank you so much.
posted by mumimor at 12:24 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I don't comment much in these threads because I'm not American, but I also wanted to thank katra for her news roundups. Thank you for keeping us informed.
posted by sukeban at 12:30 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]




What are the substantive effects of our withdrawal from the WHO? It's obviously an enormous hit to our international prestige (part and parcel of the self-inflicted damage to our international standing caused by our stepping back from multiple international institutions we originally led), but what specific changes to the way we do science and medicine are going to result? It's my understanding that we can and will continue to engage in international research collaboration, but are there now resources we don't have access to?
posted by jackbishop at 3:22 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


The withdrawal isn't effective until next July so if Biden wins, he could reverse that in January.
posted by octothorpe at 4:41 AM on July 8 [5 favorites]


US officially notifies World Health Organization of its withdrawal

If and when Joe Biden takes office in January 2021 (TTTCS), he will need to already have a stack of executive orders taller than a person to undo as much of Trump's damage as possible. They can't afford to start drafting those orders on Day One; they need to be ready to go. (Biden could campaign on the myriad gleeful harms Trump imposed that he plans to undo, so the message that Trump's defeat (TTTCS) is truly a repudiation is loud and clear, and the election is always framed s a referendum on Trump, which is not favorable to him.)

Telling the WHO "We take it back; it was just Trump being a dick, you understand, right?" needs to be in that stack.

katra, my hat is off to you, sir. Your posts are always concise and informative.
posted by Gelatin at 4:46 AM on July 8 [9 favorites]


MIT, Harvard sue over new ICE regulation that would require foreign students to choose between trying to find a new school that will teach them in person or getting kicked out of the country.
By all appearances, ICE's decision reflects an effort by the federal government to force universities to reopen in-person classes, which would require housing students in densely packed residential halls, notwithstanding the universities' judgment that it is neither safe nor educationally advisable to do so, and to force such a reopening when neither the students nor the universities have sufficient time to react to or address the additional risks to the health and safety of their communities. The effect—and perhaps even the goal—is to create as much chaos for universities and international students as possible.
Also see MIT president's letter to students and staff.
posted by adamg at 7:20 AM on July 8 [12 favorites]


Three cheers for Katra!

Thanks from me as well.
posted by haiku warrior at 7:54 AM on July 8 [8 favorites]


chiming in to appreciate katra.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:04 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Thank you all for your kindness and encouragement, and I very much appreciate all of you. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Fauci: US is ‘still knee-deep in first wave’ of pandemic as it passes 130,000 deaths (Guardian)
The public health expert, a leading physician on Trump’s coronavirus taskforce, cautioned that the surge was linked to certain cities and states that had reopened too quickly. “A series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up in the sense of getting back to some form of normality has led to a situation where we now have record-breaking cases,” Fauci said.
Months into crisis, Americans face frustrating test delays (AP)
In an especially alarming indicator, the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus is on the rise across nearly the entire country, hitting almost 27% in Arizona, 19% in Florida and 17% in South Carolina. As more people are tested, an increase in the raw number of positive tests is to be expected. But if the virus is being brought under control, then the percentage of positive results relative to the total number of tests should be coming down. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week said it will open free testing sites in three cities that are seeing significant increases in cases and hospitalizations — Jacksonville, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Edinburg, Texas.
Stop saying Trump is ‘in denial.’ The truth is much worse. (Greg Sargent, WaPo Opinion)
Trump is lost in “magical thinking,” proclaims one health expert. Trump is “basically in denial,” insists one Democratic governor. Trump is “incapable of grasping that people are dying,” frets one advocate for educators. [...]

Trump has been widely and repeatedly informed by his own and other experts for many months that his failure to take coronavirus more seriously could have utterly catastrophic consequences, that it could result in widespread suffering and needless deaths. It isn’t enough to point out that Trump repeatedly ignored that advice. What’s more important is that Trump has repeatedly seen the predicted consequences of those failures come to pass, and is seeing that right now. [...] The press critic Jay Rosen has repeatedly suggested that the effort to obscure Trump’s role in this ongoing fiasco is producing one of the biggest propaganda and disinformation campaigns in modern history. Central to getting this right is dispensing with the idea that Trump is a hapless, clueless actor rather than a deliberate and malevolent one.
posted by katra at 8:42 AM on July 8 [14 favorites]


"Central to getting this right is dispensing with the idea that Trump is a hapless, clueless actor rather than a deliberate and malevolent one."

This is a false dilemma, really, as Trump's narcissism is so profound that it transcends the notion of truth.

One of the notable things I've read about Mary Trump's book is that Trump has never had to survive in the real-world and has, in her words, always been "institutionalized". I take this to mean that the particulars of Trump's familial wealth and relationships have placed him in a very artificial world, far removed from the cause-and-effect that governs most people's lives — he is a malignant narcissist because of this environment and he maintains this environment because he is a malignant narcissist.

Josh Marshall uses the metaphor of being trapped in a family with an abuser, and how this now describes the whole of American society. Speaking as someone who survived a childhood with an abusive narcissistic father, I can indeed assert that there is a "post-truth" aspect to this. One of the reasons why such people are often so successful at gaslighting is the intensity with which they opportunistically believe and assert any available self-serving "truth" — they are able to maintain this indefinitely yet able to pivot to something more advantageous without any cognitive dissonance or shame: "The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia."

Donald Trump is not Moriarty, he is not a malign mastermind playing 11-dimensional chess. He is an overgrown child with a toddler's ephemeral relationship to truth. What is true is whatever is convenient to him in the moment — he can accurately be said to believe these things because there is little to no distinction in his mind between his desires and his beliefs.

Trump's presidency, particularly his administration's response to COVID-19, truly reveals a profound structural flaw in American democracy — it should not be possible for a US president to maintain this narcissistic bubble and subsequently subsume US governance within it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:53 AM on July 8 [30 favorites]


the mit/harvard lawsuit against the ice attempt to expel international students is a start, as are the guerrilla attempts by students and faculty at many schools to set up in-person outdoor socially distant one-credit in-person classes for international students.

but to this i want to add that on top of all the attempts to use the legal system against nativist attacks, and on top of all attempts to skirt the spirit of the new nativist laws while nominally following the letter of those laws, we must also consider nakedly illegal acts against these new illegitimate nativist laws — helping international students, especially but not exclusively international students who would face threats in their countries of orgin, to get and stay undercover until the end of trump and/or the end of ice.

there are a lot of academics here on metafilter. we need to protect our students. this means direct action.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:07 AM on July 8 [17 favorites]


it should not be possible for a US president to maintain this narcissistic bubble and subsequently subsume US governance within it

I don't think it is possible for the president to do that on his own. Certainly in this case it has involved active support from a Senate majority to enable it.
posted by bcd at 11:46 AM on July 8 [10 favorites]


Trump disavows his own administration’s guidance for reopening schools (Politico)
“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” The president’s discordant messaging came minutes after he threatened in a tweet Wednesday morning to slash federal funding to schools that do not physically reopen. [...] Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued the same warning Tuesday night, telling Fox News’ Tucker Carlson she was “very seriously” considering withholding taxpayer dollars from schools that refuse to open their doors this fall.
Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases. (NYT / Yahoo reprint)
The virus has infiltrated Sunday sermons, meetings of ministers and Christian youth camps in Colorado and Missouri. It has struck churches that reopened cautiously with face masks and social distancing in the pews, as well as some that defied lockdowns and refused to heed new limits on numbers of worshipers. [...] More than 650 coronavirus cases have been linked to nearly 40 churches and religious events across the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, with many of them erupting over the last month as Americans resumed their pre-pandemic activities, according to a New York Times database. [...] “It’s an ideal setting for transmission,” said Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease expert at Emory University, referring to church gatherings. “You have a lot of people in a closed space. And they’re speaking loudly, they’re singing. All those things are exactly what you don’t want.”
Guardian: "The National Governors Association is calling on the White House to renew the public health emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic, which is currently set to expire on July 25. [...] The group, which represents the governors of all 55 states and territories, said the PHE declaration was needed to ensure states continue to have access to critical resources and funding for testing. “Without these options, governors’ ability to protect the health and safety of their residents will be reduced at a critical time,” the NGA statement said."
posted by katra at 12:39 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


The C.D.C. announces it will issue new guidelines for reopening schools, hours after Trump assailed its recommendations
Hours after President Trump assailed guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for reopening schools, Vice President Mike Pence, appearing with the White House coronavirus task force, announced the agency would issue new recommendations next week, saying administration officials don’t want the guidance to be a reason schools don’t open.

“Well, the president said today, we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” Mr. Pence said. “That’s the reason why next week, the C.D.C. is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.”...

Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the C.D.C. director, said Wednesday that the agency’s guidance should not be used to justify keeping schools closed. It was the most clarifying statement the director has made in months as schools try to make sense of conflicting messaging on how they can safely welcome students back to class.

Dr. Redfield said that the guidelines were not meant to be used “as a rationale to keep schools closed.”
What are we going to do when our workplaces, school districts, and other institutions justify reopening unsafely by pointing to increasingly politicized CDC guidelines?
posted by chortly at 1:47 PM on July 8 [10 favorites]


New York City schools will have in-person classes only two to three days a week, mayor says (WaPo live blog)
The mayor said the hybrid approach is the best that can be implemented in the city under current circumstances and hopes the scientific community will be able to offer more options in the future. “What we WON’T do is ignore the science and recklessly charge ahead like our president,” de Blasio tweeted. “We will do it the right way. We will keep everyone safe.”
N.Y.C. Schools, Nation’s Largest District, Will Not Fully Reopen in Fall (NYT)
The governor did not contradict Mr. de Blasio’s plan on Wednesday. Instead, he reiterated that he has the ultimate decision about whether to reopen schools at all, and that his office will make those decisions in the first week of August. [...] Many of the city’s school buildings are over a century old, with poor air ventilation and cramped classrooms and hallways. Drastic budget cuts have left many schools with less money to hire teachers and staff — all while the city estimates that about one in five current teachers will receive medical exemptions to work remotely.
posted by katra at 1:58 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Individuals are being asked to decide for themselves what chances they should take, but a century of research on human cognition shows that people are bad at assessing risk in complex situations. During a disease outbreak, vague guidance and ambivalent behavioral norms will lead to thoroughly flawed thinking. If a business is open but you would be foolish to visit it, that is a failure of leadership.

As someone with a social and cognitive psychology grad school background I find it amazing how poorly the messaging is playing out on this and yet at the same time somewhat encouraged by how resistant some people are to the lousy messaging.

I've been lockdown since March 10 or 11. I've been out to get groceries and for running or evening walks in the park off the path and on the grass well away from people and have seen no friends in person and that is not changing anytime soon. My mask only comes off if there is nobody within about a hundred feet of me.

Other people that I see are not following the same rules as me and it seems so discouraging. But here is the thing: The people you see outside are a very biased sample. Google and Apple mobility data is showing that something like 25% of people are not even leaving their homes at all! Then there are some cautious people like me who are only leaving the house for carefully considered limited reasons and frankly not for very long. By far the majority of people you will see when you are out are the most reckless. Probably something like 10-15% who are acting as if nothing at all is happening. They are always going to be out and about and you are always going to see them. They will be way more represented in your experiential sampling. Now why does this matter in this discussion? Because in your mind you will be building an implicit social consensus model of reality whether you want to or not. When your experience is biased heavily to a sample of reckless behavior you'll start thinking that behavior is normal and reasonable. I feel it and I know what and why it is happening. Knowing why it is happening doesn't reverse the visceral tug of that social gravity. Thinking it through helps a bit. But it still leaves you wondering and doubting yourself.
posted by srboisvert at 2:05 PM on July 8 [16 favorites]


I've been lockdown since March 10 or 11. I've been out to get groceries and for running or evening walks in the park off the path and on the grass well away from people and have seen no friends in person and that is not changing anytime soon. My mask only comes off if there is nobody within about a hundred feet of me.

makes me feel like i'm not insane to read this. same situation.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:09 PM on July 8 [10 favorites]


From what I've seen in a Toronto, officially calling for mandatory mask wearing indoors has made a difference. Shop staff enforcing it because “it's the law” means the shopper doesn’t really have any reason to take offence with that particular store. It also creates a level playing field, so that one business owner is less concerned about driving business to a competitor who's more relaxed about mask wearing.

Since it went into effect I've been out twice: I saw a couple people in my local variety store apologizing when reminded (though not refused service), promising to bring one next time. The big shock was walking into my usual grocery store and seeing 100% compliance (when it seemed to be about 75% previously).
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:27 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


Prominent model predicts more than 200,000 virus deaths in U.S. by November without strict mask-wearing (WaPo live blog)
The projection from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is based on a number of assumptions, including that most schools will reopen in the fall and that state leaders will resume social distancing mandates once their local death tolls reach a certain threshold. The model expects that many states will see “significant increases in cases and deaths in September and October,” said its creator Christopher Murray, director of the IHME.


I long since stopped following the IHME model but weren't they notorious for continuous underestimates for at least the first few months of the American pandemic? I remember the cases and deaths blowing past their estimates so fast that their models were obviously wrong before they could update on their one week cycle.
posted by srboisvert at 2:28 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]




Trump Friends and Family Cleared for Millions in Small Business Bailout (ProPublica, July 6, 2020) Beneficiaries of the PPP included a lettuce farming venture backed by Trump’s son, Kushner companies, and a dentist who golfs with the president. The figures were released after a lawsuit by several news organizations, including ProPublica.
The Airline Bailout Loophole: Companies Laid Off Workers, Then Got Money Meant to Prevent Layoffs (ProPublica, July 7, 2020) Three airline industry companies slated to receive $338 million in public money designed to preserve jobs in the hard-hit industry have laid off thousands of workers anyway, according to Treasury disclosure filings and public layoff data. ProPublica's tracking project; FPP
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:43 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


I watch the models at 538's Where The Latest COVID-19 Models Think We're Headed — And Why They Disagree. They only show 4 or 5 weeks out though. It's been interesting to watch the shapes of the projections over time i.e. the derivatives of more and more of them going from negative to positive in the last month.
posted by achrise at 2:50 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


A Spike in People Dying at Home Suggests Coronavirus Deaths in Houston May Be Higher Than Reported (ProPublica, July 8, 2020) In Houston, one of the nation’s fastest-growing coronavirus hot spots, more residents are dying before they can make it to a hospital. Medical examiner data shows that an increasing number of these deaths are the result of COVID-19 Déjà vu: Staggering Surge Of NYers Dying In Their Homes Suggests City Is Undercounting Coronavirus Fatalities (Gothamist, April 7, 2020) (The next day: Death Count Expected To Soar As NYC Says It Will Begin Reporting Probable COVID Deaths In Addition To Confirmed Ones.) Collection and Submission of Postmortem Specimens from Deceased Persons with Known or Suspected COVID-19 (CDC. gov): "Criteria for fixed autopsy tissue specimen submission to CDC’s Infectious Diseases Pathology Branch (IDPB) for COVID-19 testing" updated June 15, 2020; all COVID-19 testing in the US has been hampered by nasopharyngeal swab shortages.

Provisional death counts, at CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, COVID-19 Death Data and Resources: Note: Provisional death counts are based on death certificate data received and coded by the National Center for Health Statistics as of July 8, 2020. Death counts are delayed and may differ from other published sources (see Technical Notes)
- Death certificates take time to be completed. There are many steps to filling out and submitting a death certificate. Waiting for test results can create additional delays.
- States report at different rates. Currently, 63% of all U.S. deaths are reported within 10 days of the date of death, but there is significant variation between states.
- It takes extra time to code COVID-19 deaths. While 80% of deaths are electronically processed and coded by NCHS within minutes, most deaths from COVID-19 must be coded by a person, which takes an average of 7 days.
- Other reporting systems use different definitions or methods for counting deaths.

As of July 8, NCHS provisional figure, all US deaths involving COVID-19: 114,741
Worldometer US coronavirus death figure: 134,686
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:54 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Can I please jump in and say that I love Iris Gambol's posts, too? Between you and katra I pretty much never have to go to a news site to keep up with what is going on because your posts are so up-to-date and helpful. Thank you, both of you!

Carry on :)
posted by Snowishberlin at 3:36 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


>> I've been lockdown since March 10 or 11. I've been out to get groceries and for running or evening walks in the park off the path and on the grass well away from people and have seen no friends in person and that is not changing anytime soon. My mask only comes off if there is nobody within about a hundred feet of me.

> makes me feel like i'm not insane to read this. same situation.


we're following the same protocol as srboisvert and lazaruslong over here. if people need further verification that being safe is not insane.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:56 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


What are we going to do when our workplaces, school districts, and other institutions justify reopening unsafely by pointing to increasingly politicized CDC guidelines?

Both Birx and Redfield are lifelong evangelicals and Trump loyalists. That's how they got the jobs.
posted by JackFlash at 4:01 PM on July 8


Top pediatrician says states with high case numbers must be cautious about opening schools (WaPo live blog)
The American Academy of Pediatrics has said it strongly recommends that students return to classrooms in the fall, but the organization’s president added Wednesday that states should not force schools to reopen in areas where the novel coronavirus is spreading rapidly. Sally Goza told NPR that officials deciding how and when to let students back into schools need to consider the virus’s prevalence in their communities. She said she was concerned by the numbers in Florida, where the state’s education commissioner ordered schools to reopen in the fall. “The level of the virus is really high,” she told NPR. “And so a statewide mandate to reopen [schools] without consideration of community spread really goes against our recommendations.”
U.S. reports record single-day spike of 60,000 new coronavirus cases (CNBC)
The record spike comes after daily new cases fell below 50,000 over the past few days, though some public health officials warned there could be a backlog of reporting due to the July Fourth holiday weekend. The U.S. has reported about 51,383 new cases on average over the past seven days, a record high seven-day average, up nearly 24.5% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins.
In new guidance, CDC recommends alternatives in addition to in-person voting to avoid spreading coronavirus (WaPo, Jul. 7, 2020)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that voters consider alternatives to casting their ballots in person during upcoming elections, as states expand absentee and early voting options for November amid fears of spreading the coronavirus. The guidance was issued with little fanfare on June 22 and suggested that state and local election officials take steps to minimize crowds at voting locations, including offering “alternative voting methods.” [...] The guidance is now being circulated by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), an independent federal agency, and congressional leaders. Senate Democrats on Tuesday drew attention to the guidelines, noting that they had been requesting such a resource since May. [...] “In the midst of this pandemic, voters should not need to choose between their health and casting their ballots,” [Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.)] said. “This guidance from the CDC makes it clear that the government must take steps to protect voters.”
posted by katra at 4:16 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


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