Weekly Reader: Vol 3 Issue 1

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.

Without A Vaccine, Herd Immunity Won’t Save Us (from Five Thirty Eight): “Most people understand immunity to mean that once a person has been exposed to a disease, they can’t get it again. It’s an easy concept to grasp, and some people have hoped that widespread immunity could be the way out of this pandemic: If enough of the population becomes immune to the disease, the spread would be stopped, since the virus would run out of new, susceptible targets. The “herd” of immune people would protect everyone.

But getting to herd immunity without a vaccine isn’t as simple as the idea itself. A number of variables can affect when herd immunity is reached — and what it costs to get there — and they vary depending on the disease. How infectious is the disease? How deadly is it? And how long do people stay immune once they’ve gotten it? Adjusting any of these variables can drastically change the outcome of this equation. You can probably sense where this is heading …”

The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying (from The Atlantic): “But the pandemic has introduced a new clause to the racial contract. The lives of disproportionately black and brown workers are being sacrificed to fuel the engine of a faltering economy, by a president who disdains them. This is the COVID contract.”

5 common arguments for reopening the economy — and why experts say they are flawed (from CNN): “The Iowa teen said he might have contracted the virus while working at a grocery store. His condition deteriorated so badly, he needed to be hospitalized. His mother said she worried he might “fall asleep and never wake up.””

The Four Men Responsible For America’s COVID-19 Test Disaster (from Rolling Stone): “In that moment, America was flying blind into a pandemic; the virus was on the loose, and nobody quite knew where. The lives of tens of thousands hinged on the advice about to be delivered by the president and his top public-health advisers. Trump began: “Well, I hope they don’t change their routine,” before he trailed off, and, quite uncharacteristically, called on an expert to finish the response. “Bob?” he said. “Do you want to answer that?”

A tall man, with a tan, freckled head, and a snow-white chinstrap beard, Redfield stepped to the podium. “The risk at this time is low,” Redfield told the country. “The American public needs to go on with their normal lives.””

Judy Mikovits in Plandemic: An antivax conspiracy theorist becomes a COVID-19 grifter (from Respectful Insolence): “Right from the very beginning, Mikovits is introduced as a great scientist (“one of the most accomplished scientists of her generation”) who was demonized and exiled from the world of science by big pharma and the dogmatic gatekeepers of science after having reported something that “they” didn’t want you to know about. (A “blockbuster article in the journal Science” that supposedly found that the “common use of animal and fetal tissue were unleashing devastating plagues of chronic diseases.” I’ll get into the details a bit in a moment.) It’s a nauseatingly familiar exaggerated narrative, complete with ominous music and an oh-so-serious voiceover, as Mikovits is shown walking and talking with Willis. The voiceover intones, “For exposing their deadly secrets, the minions of big pharma waged war on Dr. Mikovits, destroying her name, career, and personal life.” (Seriously, that was so over-the-top that I actually laughed when I heard it, and I was only less than a minute into the video.)”

Trump is blaming Obama for leaving him with “broken tests” for a virus that didn’t exist. Yes, really. (from Vox): “Observers of American politics sometimes wonder why White House reporters don’t do a better job asking President Donald Trump questions that expose his obviously false claims for what they are. An exchange on Thursday showed why it isn’t so simple.”

What happens if a coronavirus vaccine is never developed? It has happened before (from CNN): “But even if a vaccine is developed, bringing it to fruition in any of those timeframes would be a feat never achieved before.

“We’ve never accelerated a vaccine in a year to 18 months,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, tells CNN. “It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it will be quite a heroic achievement.

“We need plan A, and a plan B,” he says.”

Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi: Promoting dangerously bogus pseudo-epidemiology about COVID-19 (from Respectful Insolence): “Based on their “study” Drs. Erickson and Massihi have found themselves falsely elevated to the status of “experts” in the right wing COVID-19 denying crankosphere. They are in fact pseudoexperts. For one thing, from what I’ve been able to tell, although Dr. Massihi is a board-certified in emergency medicine, Dr. Erickson, who does all the talking in the first video, can’t even be viewed as an expert in emergency medicine, as he appears not to be board-certified in it based on my searches. For purposes of discussing epidemiology, it doesn’t really matter if Drs. Erickson or Massihi are boarded in emergency medicine anyway. In fact, Erickson and Massihi’s video, it turns out, is a slick mix of statements, made by doctors in that are mostly true mixed with misinformation and bad science thrown together to give a message that is probably true (COVID-19 likely has a case fatality rate considerably lower than estimates made early in the pandemic) but exaggerated (it’s as low as influenza), all in service of a political message (“we should reopen America because COVID-19 is not that dangerous”).”

Whose Freedom Counts? (from Slate): “The words freedom and liberty have been invoked breathlessly in recent weeks to bolster the case for “reopening.” Protesters of state public safety measures readily locate in the Bill of Rights the varied and assorted freedom to not be masked, the freedom to have your toenails soaked and buffed, the freedom to open-carry weapons into the state capitol, the freedom to take your children to the polar bear cage, the freedom to worship even if it imperils public safety, and above all, the freedom to shoot the people who attempt to stop you from exercising such unenumerated but essential rights. Beyond a profound misunderstanding of the relationship between broad state police powers and federal constitutional rights in the midst of a deadly pandemic, this definition of freedom is perplexing, chiefly because it seems to assume not simply that other people should die for your individual liberties, but also that you have an affirmative right to harm, threaten, and even kill anyone who stands in the way of your exercising of the freedoms you demand. We tend to forget that even our most prized freedoms have limits, with regard to speech, assembly, or weaponry. Those constraints are not generally something one shoots one’s way out of, even in a pandemic, and simply insisting that your own rights are paramount because you super-duper want them doesn’t usually make it so.”

She Said Anthony Fauci Sexually Assaulted Her. Now She Says Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman Paid Her to Lie. (from Reason.com): “Being on the receiving end of an allegation of sexual misconduct is now a rite of political passage—a perverse sign you’ve made it. Fauci’s star rose in March as he appeared at COVID-19 briefings day after day, outshining President Donald Trump and occasionally knocking the president’s pronouncements out of the headlines. Here, then, was an opportunity for Wohl and Burkman to take down the newest of Trump’s perceived enemies, to maybe become favorites in Trump’s actual orbit. On the chance it would cause their own star to rise, they would move Fauci toward irrelevancy, if not infamy.”

On this note, we’ll stop for now. Drop by next week for more information that you need in your life right now. Until then, happy reading and stay safe!

About Silverwynde

I'm a Transformers fan, Pokémon player, Brewers fan and all-out general nerd. I rescue abandoned Golett, collect as many Bumblebee decoys and figures as I can find and I've attended every BotCon--official and non--since 1999. I'm also happily married to a fellow Transfan named Prime and we were both owned by a very intelligent half-Siamese cat, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on June 16, 2018. We still miss him. But we're now the acting staff of a Maine Coon kitty named Lulu, who pretty much rules the house. Not that we're complaining about that.
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