The second, from last evening, is entitled, “When ‘good’ news might not be so good. This is in response to Philip Bump’s article, and it turns out there are lots of questions about the White House models and projections. he described.
It’s the neoliberal mantra: Workers must be treated as expendable and as infinitely replaceable. They cannot be allowed to matter. They are mere means to rich people’s ends.
We’re seeing that even with medical workers even in a pandemic as hospitals resist workers compensation claims for COVID-19 exposure on their jobs and pretend that they are keeping their workers and patients safe. So it’s little surprise when “essential” workers at the bottom end of the economy are treated this way.
Meanwhile, there is a rather large problem with reliability even with the tests for coronavirus we have now, let alone those yet to be developed, that means a large proportion, probably something like 30 percent, of people are being told they don’t have COVID-19 when, in fact, they do. This is easily a high enough false-negative rate that I would have to say, unless you have symptoms or a very good reason to believe you have been exposed (probably better even than I have as a Lyft and Uber driver in an area with a large number of infections), you should not seek out testing. And even then, you should not trust a negative result. This completely undermines any hope soon of “reopening the U.S.” by dividing the country between those people who have been exposed and cleared the virus and those who have not.
At the same time, as the economic situation deteriorates, I don’t know how this lockdown can be sustained.
I started exploring around the Johns Hopkins map of COVID-19 cases (figure 1) a bit. If you click on “Admin1” at left, it reveals that the confirmed cases in New York City now exceeds those in Hubei, China by a considerable margin.
Fig. 1. Screenshot (so when I say click, don’t click on this image, but rather here, then click where I say) of map from Johns Hopkins University as of 5:38 am, April 1.
In the chaos of New York City, where coronavirus deaths are mounting so quickly that freezer trucks have been set up as makeshift morgues, several hospitals have taken the unprecedented step of allowing doctors not to resuscitate people with covid-19 to avoid exposing health-care workers to the highly contagious virus.
We are also not yet “flattening the curve,” at least globally, by any stretch of the imagination, as can be seen at lower right (figure 1). The only way you see any flattening is by clicking on “logarithmic” on lower right, which means only that the spread of confirmed cases—remember that testing has lagged in many places, including the United States—is no longer growing any more exponentially than it was. At best, this is only the barest beginning of a “flattening of the curve,” and everything we know here is heavily affected by a measurement bias in that we have not tested representative samples of the population, but rather only some people who’ve developed symptoms that weren’t mistaken for something else.
This is where anybody who knows anything about this stuff has to be having, well . . . .
Fig. 2. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, in a facepalm moment, downloaded from an article by Ethan Anderton in Film posted on May 9, 2019. I think he’s using it under fair use; so am I.
It’d help if we even had an idea what proportion of the population is immune:
The theory is that such [serology] testing could be used to divide the world into people who’ve had it and aren’t at risk anymore — and those who are. Health-care workers with immunity could return to the front lines. Large employers could test their workers to find out who could return to work first. Health insurers might use the tests to tell members whether it is risky to go out into the world. People who know they have a level of immunity could help others. In the Ebola outbreak in Congo, survivors played a special role in providing care — and much-needed human contact — to people who were sick.
“This is going to be a very valuable portion of the population,” said Gigi Gronvall, a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security. “They are people who are presumably protected, and can volunteer. They can have important roles if they have jobs that are critical — they can have that job, they can declare they’re not going to suddenly come down with coronavirus.”
But developing such a test is easier said than done. And researchers have to make sure the test actually says something like what it purports to say. Which is all to say we don’t know jack shit about the spread of this contagion.
It’s also worth clicking on “Admin0” at left in that Johns Hopkins map (figure 1). and wishing for per capita numbers nationally. I think, per capita, some European countries might have it worse than the U.S.
I know I said it was going to be bad. I don’t think I came anywhere close to realizing how bad.
Because this is still a worsening picture, there is still a considerable risk that I have not in fact been exposed and might yet be or might have been exposed and still in the incubation period. But the longer this goes on—I have lots of public exposure in a place with a fair number of cases—the more I think, especially given my history of generally not coming down with this shit, I may indeed be immune. Which should matter. But nobody wants me anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter.
The Empire State Building light display is lit in the red and white colors of the Red Cross, honoring emergency workers fighting coronavirus, on March 31, 2020, in NYC. The skyscraper display began Monday & will continue t/ the course of the pandemic. Photos by @johnnyfoto@UPI.
It seems the Mashpee Wampanoag people planned a casino that would compete with casinos in Rhode Island that have “strong Trump links.” So now the Trump administration is withdrawing tribal recognition and taking away their reservation.
The headline attached to a New York article by Sarah Jones is woefully inadequate—look at the URL and you’ll see a better (probably earlier, maybe even chosen by Jones herself) one. It isn’t just that rich people are hoarding things, but that they’re hoarding badly needed medical equipment and supplies and expect to jump to the head of the queue for a vaccine when and if one is ever developed. And it isn’t just that they’re hoarding, but that their mistreatment of workers extends to failure to provide protective equipment and to being chintzy about sick leave. And it isn’t just all that but that they’re fleeing to places that lack the medical infrastructure to deal with the virus they’re bringing with them and that the rich folks in Congress are doing such an inadequate job of responding to the economic pain of the shutdown.
I have to say this article is causing me pause—and not on the merits of the article itself. Though I didn’t actually use any New York articles for discourse historical analysis in my dissertation, I classified New York as a functionalist conservative publication in my dissertation work. Functionalist conservatism is all about preserving the privileges of the rich and powerful against everyone else. So no, I’m not expecting a screed against the rich and powerful such as Jones’ to appear there unless some richly deserved self-criticism is a means to preservation.
Then there’s the, oh, so special case of Liberty University. Some Christians handle snakes as a demonstration of their faith; when they get bitten it isn’t because they were playing with snakes but because they didn’t have enough faith! Jerry Falwell, Jr., on the other hand, decided to invite students back to Liberty University in defiance of the governor’s “stay at home” order. Eleven students now exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, one has it. Which of course means a bunch of them likely do. But we’ll just say they lacked faith!
Yesterday (Sunday), the wind was blowing fiercely, but as I was driving around, the temperature was up to 79° F, which is awfully warm, even after a ridiculously mild winter.
I noticed that traffic seemed a bit heavier and that more people were out on the streets socializing despite Tom Wolf’s order. It led me to doubt how long that order can really hold, especially with uncertainty about how long, really, all this is going to last.
So today, Bill Peduto’s office announced new measures affecting recreation in Pittsburgh. And sadly but unsurprisingly, Wolf today extended the “stay at home” order, now covering 26 counties including Allegheny and all the counties surrounding it, through at least April 30.
It’s all certainly terrifying. I stopped in to Giant Eagle today to buy some frozen entrees and as I went to pay, I had to wait behind a line while the cashier finished with the previous customer and until she motioned me forward. There was a plastic barrier set up to try to limit transmission and the little credit card machine had been moved to the left of that barrier to extend the distance between customers and the cashier. They don’t let you use reusable bags anymore and there remains one point of vulnerability as the cashier hands you your bags and the receipt with her gloved hand.
And indeed, there is certainly another side to the story as work stoppages by workers concerned about their health at Amazon, Instacart, and Whole Foods show. This is the fearful side of the balance.
On one side, you have a question: If I didn’t do the crime, why am I doing the time, especially on an indefinite sentence? On the other, this is a truly terrifying virus that could kill millions.
So I’ve been seeing tweets about this and finally chased down a story:
A former aide [Tara Reade] to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said this week that he sexually assaulted her in 1993, her most detailed account to date of his alleged inappropriate behavior.
It should say something about power over others that it so often expresses itself in the form of rape and sexual assault, that is, the very way that vegetarian ecofeminism predicts. At the same time, we should note that the entire presumption of an authoritarian system of social organization is that a centralized authority is necessary to protect us from each other, as if that centralized authority would be more moral than any of us. Methinks we’ve been conned.
I have previously characterized Joe Biden as a touchy feely misogynist racist. This background should make clear that rape would not be out of character for Biden any more than it was for Bill Clinton. And the lack of attention paid to these allegations, which I shall presume to be true, is yet another example of the morality of polarization. And oh yeah, tell me how I’m supposed to choose between rapists in November.
The situation with the coronavirus pandemic has become surreal. The United States is number one in the world for COVID-19 cases.
Rudderless, blindsided, lethargic, and uncoordinated, America has mishandled the COVID-19 crisis to a substantially worse degree than what every health expert I’ve spoken with had feared. “Much worse,” said Ron Klain, who coordinated the U.S. response to the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014. “Beyond any expectations we had,” said Lauren Sauer, who works on disaster preparedness at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “As an American, I’m horrified,” said Seth Berkley, who heads Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “The U.S. may end up with the worst outbreak in the industrialized world.”
Thanks, Republicans, for your self-serving response. Thanks, Democrats, for your even slower one. It’s so fitting that malpractice does not exist for politicians. But thanks also to a few other folks . . .
So my older sister is a head nurse at Elmhurst Hospital and it’s really as bad as they say. Bodies piling up. Refrigerator trucks for corpses.
It isn’t clear which Elmhurst hospital Ilana Esther refers to, but I presume it is one in or near New York City. Meanwhile:
This picture is a classic illustration of what I and many other public health experts have been saying for many weeks now. Public education isn’t effective in changing behaviour unless it is backed up by strong government policies, interventions and regulations. pic.twitter.com/wSsvJffZWN
Laura Kalmes argues that neoliberal education has taught young people to distrust government—the same government that has eviscerated the social safety net and refused to react to gun violence or the climate crisis. So it now doesn’t work for government to tell young people to stay home rather than party. It is certainly true that if government wants to be trusted, it needs to stop behaving in reprehensible ways. The trouble is that this problem is inherent to an authoritarian system of social organization, inherent to the very idea that some people can be trusted with power over others.
It continues to get worse in Pennsylvania. Butler, Westmoreland, and seven other Pennsylvania counties have been added to the list affected by Tom Wolf’s “stay at home” order. Butler is directly to the north of Pittsburgh, which is in Allegheny County, already covered by the initial version of Tom Wolf’s “stay at home” order. Westmoreland is roughly to the east. I live in Allegheny County, not far from Washington County. The latter county, to Pittsburgh’s southwest, and Beaver County, to the northwest, are apparently still unaffected but the obvious question will be, for how long?
And what would a crisis be without Human Resources department assholes?
My local hospital sent out HR packets to their staff members asking them to stop posting on social media about the severity of the pandemic. Right before telling them they were almost out of disinfectant with no ETA on the next shipment. Some nurses gave notice.