It’s time once again for news and views that you can peruse. It’s time once again for your Weekly Reader! Got some hot links, blog posts, or articles from a local paper you’d like to share? Head over to the comments and let us know. The more news, the better, because misinformation can be hazardous to your health right now.
Compassion During A Time of Uncertainty (from According to Matthew via Patheos): “So as the catastrophe looms, I just hope that maybe this will force us to rethink how our society and economy is structured. Maybe we will finally improve our healthcare system. And maybe we will implement stronger social safety nets by having the wealthy pay more in taxes.
It’s really terrible that a global crisis was needed to (maybe) make the necessary changes to improve the well-being of our society. The only glimmer of hope is that maybe we can learn from our mistakes so future generations do not suffer as we have.”
Voyager’s Macrocosm is a Covid-19 Cautionary Tale (from Star Trek.com): “Like the disease of ‘Macrocosm,” part of what makes COVID-19 scary is that we can’t see it, we don’t know anything about it, and the only sign we really have that it’s near is when someone is symptomatic. Microscopic organisms don’t always lend themselves well to decisive action either, but moving this virus into the macroscopic world gives Janeway, and the crew, something physical to fight against.”
AP FACT CHECK: Trump Hype on Auto Industry and Ventilators (from US News and World Report): “Neither GM or Ford is building ventilators at present, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Friday that his company was “working on ventilators” but he didn’t specify how long it might take. His tweets also questioned the need and said it couldn’t be done immediately.
Unless automakers can move with unprecedented speed, redirecting plants to make completely different products will take a long time — possibly too long to help with medical gear shortages.”
U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic (from The Washington Post): “The intelligence reports didn’t predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take, issues outside the purview of the intelligence agencies. But they did track the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries, and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak.
Taken together, the reports and warnings painted an early picture of a virus that showed the characteristics of a globe-encircling pandemic that could require governments to take swift actions to contain it. But despite that constant flow of reporting, Trump continued publicly and privately to play down the threat the virus posed to Americans. Lawmakers, too, did not grapple with the virus in earnest until this month, as officials scrambled to keep citizens in their homes and hospitals braced for a surge in patients suffering from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.”
What It’s Like to Try to Get Treatment for the Coronavirus in China (from The New Yorker): “Thus, according to Phoenix Weekly, began an ordeal, during which Li was bounced from one medical institution to another without being given a diagnosis or a bed. One night, when his fever had climbed and he had trouble breathing, Li’s daughter called the equivalent of 911—in China, the number is 120—for an ambulance. The dispatcher told her that, without confirmation of a diagnosis from a receiving hospital, he could not help her. Finally, an ambulance was sent, but Li was turned away from a couple of hospitals, which were already full. One told him that he should go back to Wuhan Central and insist on being admitted there, or get a transfer notice from it. Finally, at the fourth hospital the family tried, Li’s daughter and her husband, despondent and frustrated, started shouting in the E.R. waiting room. “If you don’t take my father,” she said, “he will die.” The family camped out in the waiting room, along with a crowd of other people.
Li’s story is not unique. Phoenix Weekly also reported on a thirty-six-year-old Wuhan resident who said that he had been refused by six hospitals in two weeks while battling symptoms of the coronavirus. Discussions of the virus have been censored on the Internet, but in recent days many people have posted similar accounts.”
Trump has scoreboard obsession. It hasn’t worked with coronavirus (from Politico): “Public health specialists say Trump’s use of misleading numbers to downplay the coronavirus outbreak — a challenge that could make-or-break his presidency — has had dangerous consequences, leading Americans to ignore official warnings about modifying behaviors to slow the disease’s spread.”
1,200 Airport Workers in N.Y.C. Area Abruptly Laid Off With No Severance (from The New York Times): “Maria Campos had worked as a waitress at La Guardia Airport for more than 30 years until Tuesday, when her career came to an abrupt halt that left her scared and empty-handed. She was ordered to turn in her airport access badge and told she would receive no severance pay and would soon run out of health insurance.
With air travel in free fall as the coronavirus pandemic worsens across the country, thousands of workers like Ms. Campos have been laid off from their jobs at the major airports that serve New York City.
More than 1,200 of these laid-off workers were employed in restaurants and stores operated by OTG at La Guardia, Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports, according to the union that represents them, Unite Here Local 100.”
No, a Hair Dryer Won’t Stop Coronavirus (from Snopes): “We asked Google, which owns YouTube, what measures are being taken to prevent the spread of misinformation during the ongoing pandemic. We received no response in time for publication, but the link to the video we sent was removed.”
Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day (from Medium): “This sounds extreme because it is. We are trying to create distance between family units and between individuals. It may be particularly uncomfortable for families with small children, kids with differential abilities or challenges, and for kids who simply love to play with their friends. But even if you choose only one friend to have over, you are creating new links and possibilities for the type of transmission that all of our school/work/public event closures are trying to prevent. The symptoms of coronavirus take four to five days to manifest themselves. Someone who comes over looking well can transmit the virus. Sharing food is particularly risky — I definitely do not recommend that people do so outside of their family.”
These states have implemented stay-at-home orders. Here’s what that means for you (from CNN): “Despite the White House advising all Americans to practice social distancing, the number of coronavirus cases in the US continues to rise. So governors across the nation are taking stronger action by issuing stay-at-home orders in their states.
By the end of this week, when all 21 current state orders take effect, more than 50% of the US population will be officially urged to stay home.”
The Trump Administration Drove Him Back to China, Where He Invented a Fast Coronavirus Test from ProPublica): “As the Florida lab sat vacant, a different scene unfolded half a world away in China, where a team of 300 scientists and researchers worked furiously to develop a fast, easy test for COVID-19. The leader of that timely project? Tan, the former Florida researcher.
The 59-year-old Tan is a stark example of the intellectual firepower fleeing the U.S. as a result of a Trump administration crackdown on university researchers with ties to China. Tan abruptly left Florida in 2019 during an investigation into his alleged failure to fully disclose Chinese academic appointments and funding. He moved to Hunan University in south-central China, where he now conducts his vital research.”
Congress Wanted Answers From Trump on Coronavirus. He Blew Them Off. (from The Daily Beast): “At the time, the refusal to provide public testimony looked like a classic case of an administration brushing off congressional oversight—an act that was so prevalent that it formed the basis of one the articles of impeachment against the president. More than a month later, it appears far more damaging than that: one of many costly missteps the White House made in failing to prepare the country for a forthcoming pandemic.”
Texas Anti-Vaxxers Fear Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines More Than the Virus Itself (from Texas Monthly): “The anti-vaccine community, at large, believes that vaccines are a tool of government control that make big pharmaceutical companies rich and have side effects that can cause lasting damage. Sarah, a Benbrook mom who asked that her last name be omitted over fears her family will be targeted by people who support vaccines, said she’s more scared that she’ll be forced to vaccinate her two-year-old daughter than she is of the virus itself.
“For a vast majority of the population, this is a few days of a high fever and a week of a lingering cough,” she said. “Once you give up rights to your body, the government owns you.””
Remember the Last Global Pandemic? Probably Not (from Bloomberg): “For example: Why was H1N1 allowed to spread around the world more or less unchecked, while countries are going to far greater lengths to try to halt Covid-19? Why did the WHO call H1N1 a pandemic but not Covid-19? Isn’t 12,469 deaths a lot worse than the 26 that have been attributed to Covid-19 in the U.S. so far?
That last one is the simplest to answer: Covid-19 is near the beginning of its spread in the U.S., and thus cannot be compared with H1N1’s effect over a full year. If the U.S. death toll from Covid-19 is only 12,469 a year from now, that will likely be counted as a great success. The legitimate worry is that it could be many, many times higher, because Covid-19 is so much deadlier for those who get it than the 2009 H1N1 influenza was.”
The most predictable disaster in the history of the human race (from Vox–article is from 2015 but well worth the read): “Pandemic disease is something our culture thinks about, knows about, fears. It’s so topmost on our minds and in our nightmares that we’ve created an elaborate metaphorical architecture so we can talk about it even with people who are too scared to talk about it. We think about it so much, it seems almost ridiculous that we aren’t ready. But we’re not. Not even close.
Just look what happened with Ebola.”
On that somber note, we’ll draw this to a close. Stay safe out there and stay healthy. If our great-grandparents could be called to war, we can spend some time at home, sitting on the couch. Best of luck to you and yours. ❤