Mask protection chart

The extinction rebellion circa Apr 2019 by Jonathan Pie

The Extinction Rebellion

Pie joins the Extinction Rebellion protest that is helping save the planet whilst annoying commuters. For tickets to see Jonathan Pie: The Fake News Tour go to JonathanPie.com

Posted by Jonathan Pie on Thursday, April 18, 2019

Pro Message about transmission

This is a statement from an epidemiologist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Please share widely

 

.* * *Hey everybody, as an infectious disease epidemiologist, at this point, feel morally obligated to provide some information on what we are seeing from a transmission dynamic perspective and how they apply to the social distancing measures.

 

Like any good scientist, I have noticed two things that are either not articulated or not present in the “literature” of social media. Specifically, I want to make two aspects of these measures very clear and unambiguous. First, we are in the very infancy of this epidemic’s trajectory. That means even with these measures we will see cases and deaths continue to rise globally, nationally, and in our own communities in the coming weeks. Our hospitals will be overwhelmed, and people will die that didn’t have to.

 

This may lead some people to think that the social distancing measures are not working. They are. They may feel futile. They aren’t. You will feel discouraged. You should. This is normal in chaos. But this is also normal epidemic trajectory. Stay calm. This enemy that we are facing is very good at what it does; we are not failing. We need everyone to hold the line as the epidemic inevitably gets worse. This is not my opinion; this is the unforgiving math of epidemics for which I and my colleagues have dedicated our lives to an understanding with great nuance, and this disease is no exception. We know what will happen; I want to help the community brace for this impact. Stay strong and with solidarity knowing with absolute certainty that what you are doing is saving lives, even as people begin getting sick and dying. You may feel like giving in. Don’t.

 

Second, although social distancing measures have been (at least temporarily) well-received, there is an obvious-but-overlooked phenomenon when considering groups (i.e. families) in transmission dynamics. While social distancing decreases contact with members of society, it of course increases your contacts with group (i.e. family) members. This small and obvious fact has surprisingly profound implications on disease transmission dynamics.

 

Study after study demonstrates that even if there is only a little bit of connection between groups (i.e. social dinners, playdates/playgrounds, etc.), the epidemic trajectory isn’t much different than if there was no measure in place. The same underlying fundamentals of disease transmission apply, and the result is that the community is left with all of the social and economic disruption but very little public health benefit.

 

You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit; if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk. Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed. If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor, your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with. This sounds silly, it’s not. This is not a joke or a hypothetical.

 

We as epidemiologists see it borne out in the data time and time again and no one listens. Conversely, any break in that chain breaks disease transmission along that chain. In contrast to hand-washing and other personal measures, social distancing measures are not about individuals, they are about societies working in unison. These measures also take a long time to see the results. It is hard(even for me) to conceptualize how ‘one quick little get together’ undermine the entire framework of a public health intervention, but it does. I promise you it does. I promise. I promise. I promise.

 

You can cheat it. People are already itching to cheat on the social distancing precautions just a “little”- a playdate, a haircut, or picking up a needless item at the store, etc. From a transmission dynamics standpoint, this very quickly recreates a highly connected social network that undermines all of the work the community has done so far. Until we get a viable vaccine this unprecedented outbreak will not be overcome in grand, sweeping gesture, rather only by the collection of individual choices our community makes in the coming months.

 

This virus is unforgiving to unwise choices. My goal in writing this is to prevent communities from getting’sucker-punched’ by what the epidemiological community knows will happen in the coming weeks. It will be easy to be drawn to the idea that what we are doing isn’t working and become paralyzed by fear, or to ‘cheat’ a little bit in the coming weeks. By knowing what to expect, and knowing the importance of maintaining these measures, my hope is to encourage continued community spirit, strategizing, and action to persevere in this time of uncertainty

 

More on this creature

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the daily coronavirus task force briefing in the Brady Briefing room at the White House on March 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. The top government scientists battling the coronavirus estimated on Tuesday that the virus could kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. Trump warned that there will be a “Very, very painful two weeks” ahead as the nation continues to grapple with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

There will lots of deaths every day, for the next several months, courtesy of Trump.

Donald Trump is an absolute disaster of a president. Anyone who makes George W. Bush look good in comparison is beyond redemption. Everything we thought he was—a narcissistic incompetent asshole who surrounds himself with a motley crew of felonious characters—hasn’t just come true, it’s been even worse.

And now, we are seeing in real time what happens when someone who doesn’t give two shits about any other human not-named Ivanka (and only then because he thinks she’s hot) is faced with a mass-death event. Not only did he dismantle the very institutions that could’ve helped prevent or, at the very least, mitigate this disaster, but he’s consistently exacerbated the situation. That is, until someone mentioned to him that hundreds of thousands of dead people won’t think he made America great.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mark Sumner went through the too-large, and still-growing list of ways that Trump has f’d this thing up. The central theme, from start to finish, was an obsession with protecting the stock market gains made during his tenure in the White House.

Trump failed to act, much less overreact. Instead, he continued to downplay the threat of the virus, to declare that closing the “borders” with China solved the issue, and to tell his rally crowds that the virus was a Democratic “hoax.” After Messonnier’s warning on Feb. 25 that Americans should expect that “disruption to everyday life may be severe” and that hundreds of thousands could die, she was sidelined from further appearances.

Trump was reported to be furious … because Messonnier’s claims “spooked the stock market.” In fact, Messonnier’s dire warnings came just a day after Trump had tweeted that “the coronavirus is very much under control in the USA” and said “Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

And underpinning that obsession with the stock market is one very simple thing, the one thing that Trump cares about: money. And the people who kiss his ass at Mar-a-Lago only care about money (it’s not as if he’s hanging out with any deplorables). So he was going to do everything in his considerable power to protect that money.

If there’s one thing the impeached president can do it’s manipulate a media cycle. He’s downright masterful. Everything is a show, everything is a ratings gambit. What happened before and what will happen in the future are utterly irrelevant to the moment. He says what needs to be said to win the moment. That’s why he can say the coronavirus is a hoax one day, and then the next claim, with all the sincerity in the world, that he always knew the pandemic was serious. It’s why we joke “there’s always a tweet.”

Continue reading More on this creature

Real Life

Real Life – monbiot.com


This coronavirus is the wake-up call for a complacent civilization.

Posted: 29 Mar 2020 12:02 AM PDT – By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 25th March 2020

******************

We have been living in a bubble: a bubble of false comfort and denial. In the rich nations, we have begun to believe we have transcended the material world. The wealth we’ve accumulated – often at the expense of others – has shielded us from reality. Living behind screens, passing between capsules – our houses, cars, offices and shopping malls – we persuaded ourselves that contingency had retreated, that we had reached the point all civilizations seek: insulation from natural hazard.

Now the membrane has ruptured, and we find ourselves naked and outraged, as the biology, we appeared to have banished storms through our lives. The temptation, when this pandemic has passed, will be to find another bubble. We cannot afford to succumb to it. From now on, we should expose our minds to the painful realities we have denied for too long.

The planet has multiple morbidities, some of which will make this coronavirus look, by comparison, easy to treat. One above all others has come to obsess me in recent years: how will we feed ourselves? Fights over toilet paper are ugly enough: I hope we never have to witness fights over food. But it’s becoming difficult to see how we will avoid them.

Continue reading Real Life

Numbers

Some More Wide-Ranging US Numbers
…March 28th, 2020….

****************************************
a) approximately 20M – 28M tests will be required to identify all those who are and will become seriously infected in the US
b) possible range of total US infections from 40M – 70M in the 2020 Spring cycle
c) overall percentage who will have only mild or moderate cases in the US is 80%
d) estimated range for overall positive tested who will require hospitalization is 20% – 30% with the elderly at an approximately 50% rate declining with younger cohorts.
e) approximately 30% of those hospitalized will need ventilators
f) about 50% of those placed on ventilators will die
g) the overall rate of fatalities is approximately 2.5% of infected individuals
h) extrapolations from March 2020 data shows the rate of confirmed cases doubles every three days
i) the US March 27 data shows 104,661 cases and 1,706 deaths for a 1.6% death rate
j) the current estimated number of patients hospitalized is about 18 – 19,000
k) population density by itself is not directly related to the number of confirmed infections
l) temperate zone locations have a 2- 12 times greater per capita infection rate than either the polar or tropical zones.

How the Pandemic Will End

The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out.

Joan Wong
Editor’s Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here.

Three months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, almost everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation’s psyche.

A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”

Let’s stop being stupid !

CDC is recommending hospital staff use bandanas when masks run out. Hospitals are asking the public to sew masks. As a doctor, this is disconcerting!

“Please don’t tell me that in the richest country in the world in the 21st century, I’m supposed to work in a fictionalized Soviet-era disaster zone and fashion my own face mask out of cloth because other Americans hoard supplies for personal use and so-called leaders sit around in meetings hearing themselves talk. I ran to a bedside the other day to intubate a crashing, likely COVID, patient. Two respiratory therapists and two nurses were already at the bedside. That’s 5 N95s masks, 5 gowns, 5 face shields and 10 gloves for one patient at one time. I saw probably 15-20 patients that shift, if we are going to start rationing supplies, what percentage should I wear precautions for?

Make no mistake, the CDC is loosening these guidelines because our country is not prepared. Loosening guidelines increases healthcare workers’ risk but the decision is done to allow us to keep working, not to keep us safe. It is done for the public benefit – so I can continue to work no matter the personal cost to me or my family (and my healthcare family). Sending healthcare workers to the front line asking them to cover their face with a bandana is akin to sending a soldier to the front line in a t-shirt and flip flops.

I don’t want talk. I don’t want assurances. I want action. I want boxes of N95s piling up, donated from the people who hoarded them. I want non-clinical administrators in the hospital lining up in the ER asking if they can stock shelves to make sure that when I need to rush into a room, the drawer of PPE equipment I open isn’t empty. I want them showing up in the ER asking “how can I help” instead of offering shallow “plans” conceived by someone who has spent far too long in an ivory tower and not long enough in the trenches. Maybe they should actually step foot in the trenches.

I want billion-dollar companies like 3M halting all production of any product that isn’t PPE to focus on PPE manufacturing. I want a company like Amazon, with its logistics mastery (it can drop a package to your door less than 24 hours after ordering it), halting its 2-day delivery of 12 reams of toilet paper to whoever is willing to pay the most in order to help get the available PPE supply distributed fast and efficiently in a manner that gets the necessary materials to my brothers and sisters in arms who need them.

I want Proctor and Gamble, and the makers of other soaps and detergents, stepping up too. We need detergent to clean scrubs, hospital linens and gowns. We need disinfecting wipes to clean desk and computer surfaces. What about plastics manufacturers? Plastic gowns aren’t some high-tech device, they are long shirts/smocks…made out of plastic. Get on it. Face shields are just clear plastic. Nitrile gloves? Yeah, they are pretty much just gloves…made from something that isn’t apparently Latex. Let’s go. Money talks in this country. Executive millionaires, why don’t you spend a few bucks to buy back some of these masks from the hoarders, and drop them off at the nearest hospital.

I love biotechnology and research but we need to divert viral culture media for COVID testing and research. We need biotechnology manufacturing ready and able to ramp up if and when treatments or vaccines are developed. Our Botox supply isn’t critical, but our antibiotic supply is. We need to be able to make more plastic ET tubes, not more silicon breast implants.

Let’s see all that. Then we can all talk about how we played our part in this fight. Netflix and chill is not enough while my family, friends and colleagues are out there fighting. Our country won two world wars because the entire country mobilized. We out-produced and we out-manufactured while our soldiers out-fought the enemy. We need to do that again because make no mistake, we are at war, healthcare workers are your soldiers, and the war has just begun”

Diagnostics Report

Prescription for Disaster

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 18th March 2020

**********************

In the UK, the US and Australia, governments built on dirty money cannot be trusted to protect us from the coronavirus.

The worst possible people are in charge at the worst possible time. In the UK, the US and Australia, the politics of the governing parties have been built on the dismissal and denial of risk. Just as these politics have delayed the necessary responses to climate breakdown, ecological collapse, air and water pollution, obesity and consumer debt, so they appear to have delayed the effective containment of Covid-19.

I believe it is no coincidence that these three governments have responded later than comparable nations, and with measures that seemed woefully unmatched to the scale of the crisis. The UK’s remarkable slowness to mobilise, followed by its potentially catastrophic strategy – fiercely criticised by independent experts and now abandoned – to create herd immunity, its continued failure to test and track effectively, or to provide protective equipment for health workers could help to cause large numbers of unnecessary deaths. But to have responded promptly and sufficiently would have meant jettisoning an entire structure of political thought, developed in these countries over the past half century.

Politics is best understood as public relations for particular interests. The interests come first; politics are the means by which they are justified and promoted. On the left, the dominant interest groups can be very large – everyone who uses public services, for example. On the right they tend to be much smaller. In the US, UK and Australia, they are very small indeed: mostly multi-millionaires and a very particular group of companies: those whose profits depend on the cavalier treatment of people and planet.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve researched the remarkably powerful but mostly hidden role of tobacco and oil companies in shaping public policy in these three nations. I’ve seen how the tobacco companies covertly funded an infrastructure of persuasion, to deny the impacts of smoking. This infrastructure was then used, often by the same professional lobbyists, to pour doubt on climate science and attack researchers and environmental campaigners.

I showed how these companies funded right-wing thinktanks and university professors to launch attacks on public health policy in general, and create a new narrative of risk, tested on focus groups and honed in the media. They reframed responsible government as the “nanny state”, the “health police” and “elf ‘n’ safety zealots”. They dismissed scientific findings and predictions as “unfounded fears”, “risk aversion” and “scaremongering”. Public protections were recast as “red tape”, “interference” and “state control”. Government itself was presented as a mortal threat to our freedom. Their purpose was to render governments less willing and able to respond to public health and environmental crises.

The groups these corporations helped to fund – thinktanks and policy units, lobbyists and political action committees – were then used by other interests: private health companies hoping to break up the NHS, pesticide manufacturers seeking to strike down regulatory controls, junk food manufacturers resisting advertising restrictions, billionaires seeking to avoid tax. Between them, these groups honed the justifying ideology for fragmenting and privatising public services, shrinking the state and crippling its ability to govern. Continue reading Diagnostics Report

Trend lines look scary

 This is the daily reported rate of COVID-19 infections nationwide

Calls going out for karma…

A scientifically literate parent’s perspective on the corona virus

Your life and the lives of others depend on you.

Jason Warner

*********************************************

This is a long post addressing two underlying issues with the current response to the pandemic that leave me concerned. It’s the longest post I’ve ever written.

For those of you not taking action, or believing the pandemic to be “over hyped”, you can make fun of me as much as you want now or when this is over. You can make me the subject of memes and post it everywhere. I will pose for the picture. I am not trying to convince you, but I do feel compelled to share information that I deem critical to all of us, which is why I am posting this at all.

WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE 5 MINUTES TO READ AND CONSIDER THE INFORMATION I AM SHARING:

As of 3/15/20 at 9 am PST this post has been shared over 50k times since it was posted 2 days ago. Exponential math let’s us predict that it will be shared over 400k times by this time tomorrow. So a lot of people find value in the post and although it’s a long read, I believe you will find this information valuable too.

For those of you who don’t know me well, I am analytical and metered. I don’t freak out nor do I respond emotionally. I also don’t post a bunch of bullshit or political or controversial stuff on Facebook. I founded and am CEO of a successful software company that provides SaaS based data, analytics, and dashboards to recruiting departments at companies we all know. As you would expect, I am data driven and fact based. Before founding my company I held executive roles leading very large recruiting teams at some of the world’s fastest growing companies such as Starbucks and Google. At Google I was fortunate enough to report to Sheryl Sandberg before she took the Facebook COO role. I was a Chemical Engineering major in college and have a business degree from a top undergraduate business school. I am not one for hyperbole or histrionics. My bullshit factor is close to zero.

I share all this personal information only to help solidify that this post may be worth reading and sharing with others. I would encourage you to forward or share this post at your discretion. Many people do not understand what is happening with the pandemic to the degree required which is why I took the time to write this and share this on Facebook.

Now that I’ve gotten the introduction out of the way, here are two issues I want to bring to everyone’s attention.

ISSUE ONE: SOCIAL NORMS ARE POWERFUL MOTIVATORS AND GETTING IN THE WAY OF PEOPLE TAKING THE RIGHT STEPS IN RESPONSE TO THE PANDEMIC:

One of the current problems with addressing the pandemic is the social pressures of taking action today. It’s awkward, and feels like an over-reaction. The reason it feels like an overreaction is that most people OVERWEIGHT the currently reported cases and inherently UNDERWEIGHT the mathematics of how the virus is spreading and what will happen in about 30 days time. This is because our brains tend to think linearly as opposed to logarithmically. It’s the same reason many people don’t save for retirement or understand compound interest. Continue reading A scientifically literate parent’s perspective on the corona virus

Daily Update on Corona Virus: Mar 13th, 2020

The Latest on the Coronavirus

(SAMUEL CORUM / STRINGER / GETTY / THE ATLANTIC)

Last night, Mar 11th, 2020, President Donald Trump addressed the nation. It didn’t go well. As he spoke, financial futures began crashing, perhaps reflecting a lack of confidence in the executive branch’s response plan.

David Frum, a staff writer and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, wrote a scathing review of the president’s address, calling it “the worst action yet in a string of bad actions.”

“This crisis is not of Trump’s making,” he writes. “What he is responsible for is his failure to respond promptly.”

Some additional reading on the Trump administration’s handling of this outbreak:

  • Americans are looking to the president for answers. They aren’t getting them, Juliette Kayyem, a former Department of Homeland Security official, argues.
  • The misinformation coming from the White House is being amplified by a propaganda machine. And it’s dangerously effective.
  • Some conservative figures are intentionally misnaming the virus—to make a point. There’s a reason why Trump calls it a “foreign virus,” the contributing writer Ben Zimmer argues.
  • The European travel ban just doesn’t make sense. The U.K. is presently exempted. But what happens, our London-based staff writer Tom McTague asks, when things there get as bad as in Italy or France?

Tip of the day: Here’s what you should—and shouldn’t—do during a period of “social distancing.”

One question, answered: A few Atlantic readers are wondering, Can you get the coronavirus twice?

Here’s what Jim Hamblin, our health writer whose coverage of the virus you’ve probably read, had to say:

The working understanding based on what we’ve seen so far—remember that this virus has existed in humans for only a few months—is that it acts like others, insofar as it causes an immune response in people that gives us a temporary immunity. Antibodies are detectable in people who’ve had the disease, and those should stop a person from getting it again for a while. Whether that period is years or decades is not known.

Reported cases of “re-infection” are more likely to be waxing and waning of symptoms, or compounded infections with different organisms. The tests aren’t perfect, and people could test negative in between two positive tests. But re-infection within days or weeks would be very rare for a virus like this, and it is not believed to be happening.

We are continuing our coverage of the coronavirus. View all of our stories related to the outbreak here. Let us know if you have specific questions about the virus—or if you have a personal experience you’d like to share with us.

Article in the New Yorker: Mar 12th, 2020

Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
Donald Trump’s default setting during the coronavirus outbreak has been to deny, delay, deflect, and diminish.Photograph by Doug Mills / Getty

Crises clarify. The bigger the crisis, the more the clarity, which is why the incompetence, dishonesty, and sheer callousness of the Trump Presidency have been clearer in recent days than ever before. As the coronavirus, as of Wednesday an official pandemic, spreads, the lives of Americans depend on the decisions made—or not made, as the case may be—by a President uniquely ill-suited to command in this type of public-health catastrophe. In that sense, the last few weeks may well have been the most clarifying of Donald Trump’s Presidency.

In a prime-time address to the nation on Wednesday night, Trump declared war on the “foreign virus,” blaming first China and then the European Union for spreading it, and insisting that it carried “very, very low risk” for Americans. The starkly militaristic and nationalistic tone of the address sounded scary and ignorant and utterly inadequate at a time when the country is being radically upended, with travel halting, workplaces and schools shuttering, and hospitals bracing for impact. The “foreign virus” will not be contained or shut out by a European travel ban, which the President announced, any more than it was by a China travel ban, which he had previously decreed.

It is already here in states across the nation, and experts warn that it could infect millions and kill hundreds of thousands in a worst-case scenario. Trump spoke little about that, beyond a vague nudge to Congress to pass a payroll tax cut and a warning to “elderly Americans” to be “very, very careful” and avoid “nonessential travel.” He failed to explain or even address the shocking lack of testing of Americans—a stark contrast to the response by other countries—and did not warn the public about or advise them on how to handle the difficult days ahead. Even the major measure that he announced, the European travel ban, required immediate clarification and correction from Administration officials who said it did not apply to trade, as Trump indicated in his remarks, or permanent residents. His former homeland-security adviser, Thomas Bossert, immediately panned the ban as a “poor use of time & energy.”

Continue reading Article in the New Yorker: Mar 12th, 2020

Perhaps the biggest problem domestically with an effective response to COVID-19 is trump himself

The biggest challenge to America’s coronavirus response? Trump.

How Trump is hurting his administration’s coronavirus response, explained by an expert.

President Donald Trump leads a meeting with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and pharmaceutical executives at the White House on March 2, 2020.
 Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States has so far been a disaster.

He initially downplayed the severity of the outbreak at home, directly contradicting his top health officials. He’s displayed a stunning lack of knowledge about basic things like how vaccines work and how quickly a coronavirus vaccine could realistically be developed and distributed to Americans. And he’s publicly spread misinformation about how deadly the disease, officially known as Covid-19, is.

All of that is extremely counterproductive to effective crisis response, especially for dealing with something so complicated as the novel coronavirus. As of March 5, there are nearly 100,000 confirmed cases around the world, with more than 3,300 dead, mostly in China. In the US, there are more than 200 total cases — including at least 10 deaths in Washington state and one death in California.

Yet Trump insists the problem is under control and that he’s doing a fantastic job.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I called up Jeremy Konyndyk, an expert in outbreak preparedness at the Center for Global Development, to get a better sense of exactly how Trump’s actions have impacted the US response and how he could do better going forward. Continue reading Perhaps the biggest problem domestically with an effective response to COVID-19 is trump himself

Official CDC Carekit – Mar 2020

Download original:    COVID-19_CAREKit_ENG

The X Factor

by Richard @ Flexible Reality – Mar 12th, 2020

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We are heading toward an “X” factor regarding COVID-19…where the number of cases is increasing logarithmically and the prevalence of cold-weather virus infections decreasing logarithmically due to the warming weather.

We can see the effect in the cancellation of large group meetings recently announced which are scheduled to last for only a few weeks. So while the trajectory of the two elements is fairly certain we do not know where the center line will be. Will the log reach a plateau state early in April when the traditional flu season ends, or hang around until mid-May?

We could get “lucky” and begin to experience a slowing of infections over time, or otherwise have our systems become overwhelmed by existing cases that cannot be ameliorated by changes in the weather.

What has become increasingly clear is the responses thus far from the political elements in this Administration have been woefully inadequate, and dangerous. Other countries like South Korea, Japan, China, and Singapore have tested several orders of magnitude more of their citizens than the US so it’s obvious they detected more cases per capita than we have; but it’s also a warning that our trajectory of prevalence could balloon due to lack of testing, preparedness, tracking, and triage.

This is not a time for burying our heads in the sand and hoping for the best. Equally worrisome is the juvenile and craven statements and actions taken by the POTUS, who on Mar 11th gave an Oval Office address in which he directly contradicted almost everything he has said for the past few weeks about COVID-19. On Mar 12th the MSM reported trump was considering implementing a version of martial law nationally. Given his autocratic operational mode this is beyond troubling.

In raw numbers, as of Wed Mar 11th, the global death rate/infection rate was 4,630 / 126,135 or 3.7%, while the U.S. number was 38 / 1,311  or 2.9%

…can’t handle the truth…

trump can’t handle the truth…

by Paul Krugman – March 9, 2020

Over the weekend Donald Trump once again declared that the coronavirus is perfectly under control, that any impressions to the contrary are due to the “Fake News Media” out to get him. Question: Does anyone have a count of how many times he’s done this, comparable to the running tallies fact-checkers are keeping of his lies?

In any case, we’ve pretty clearly reached the point where Trump’s assurances that everything is fine actually worsen the panic because they demonstrate the depths of his delusions. Even as he was tweeting out praise for himself, global markets were in free-fall.

Never mind cratering stock prices. The best indicator of collapsing confidence is what is happening to interest rates, which have plunged almost as far and as fast as they did during the 2008 financial crisis. Markets are implicitly predicting not just a recession, but multiple years of economic weakness.

And at first I was tempted to say that our current situation is even worse than it was in 2008, because at least then we had leadership that recognized the seriousness of the crisis rather than dismissing it all as a liberal conspiracy.

When you look back at the record, however, you discover that as the financial crisis developed right-wingers were also deeply in denial, inclined to dismiss bad news or attribute it to liberal and/or media conspiracies. It was only in the final stages of the financial collapse that top officials got real, and right-wing pundits never did.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Continue reading …can’t handle the truth…

Federal judge orders review AG Barr’s handling of the Mueller Report

The judge said the attorney general lacked credibility on the matter and said he would review the report to decide whether to make its redacted portions public.

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Thursday sharply criticized Attorney General William P. Barr’s handling of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, saying that Mr. Barr put forward a “distorted” and “misleading” account of its findings and lacked credibility on the topic.

Mr. Barr could not be trusted, Judge Reggie B. Walton said, citing “inconsistencies” between the attorney general’s statements about the report when it was secret and its actual contents that turned out to be more damaging to President Trump. Mr. Barr’s “lack of candor” called into question his “credibility and, in turn, the department’s” assurances to the court, Judge Walton said.

The judge ordered the Justice Department to privately show him the portions of the report that were censored in the publicly released version so he could independently verify the justifications for those redactions. The ruling came in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking a full-text version of the report.

The differences between the report and Mr. Barr’s description of it “cause the court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller report to the contrary,” wrote Judge Walton, an appointee of President George W. Bush.

Mr. Barr’s public rollout of the Mueller report has been widely criticized. Still, it was striking to see a Republican-appointed federal judge scathingly dissect Mr. Barr’s conduct in a formal judicial ruling and declare that the sitting attorney general had so deceived the American people that he could not trust assertions made by a Justice Department under Mr. Barr’s control. A department spokeswoman had no immediate comment. The lawsuit centers on Freedom of Information requests by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and by Jason Leopold, a BuzzFeed News reporter. Continue reading Federal judge orders review AG Barr’s handling of the Mueller Report

does the evidence suggests that too much religion is bad for a country?

It has become conventional wisdom on the right that religion is under assault from secular liberals — and that the waning of faith is bad for America.

Attorney General William P. Barr, a conservative Catholic, summed up this alarmist outlook last fall during an incendiary speech at Notre Dame. He bemoaned “the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system” and the “growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism. By any honest assessment,” he thundered, “the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim.” He went on to cite statistics on rising out-of-wedlock births (“illegitimacy”), along with “record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic.”

This tendentious reading of U.S. history ignores reality. By most metrics, the country is far better off than when Barr was a boy. He was born in 1950, when segregation was legal and homosexuality was not.

Consider some of the improvements since 1960. Real per capita gross domestic product has increased 216 percent, from $18,268 in the first quarter of 1960 to $57,719 in the first quarter of 2019, driven in part by a 230 percent increase in output per hour for non-farm workers as of 2015. The share of 25- to 34-year-olds who have graduated from college has tripled as of 2016. Infant mortality has fallen nearly 80 percent as of 2018. The homicide rate was unchanged as of 2018 — five murders per 100,000 people — but that disguises a vast improvement since the homicide rate peaked at 10.4 per 100,000 in 1980. While the number of out-of-wedlock births was more than seven times higher in 2018, the share of single mothers has declined since 1997 because more unmarried parents live together. The abortion rate soared after Roe v. Wade in 1973 but has fallen more than 50 percent since 1980. How does Barr account for these improvements if the United States is on the road to ruin? Continue reading does the evidence suggests that too much religion is bad for a country?