Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:41:15 AM by Jeff
I’m a restaurant critic. It’s my job to dine out. Yet even though the restaurant shutdown ended nearly a month ago on Long Island, where I’ve been living since March, I still haven’t ordered anything except takeout. In fact I haven’t sat down for dine-in service in over 122 days, with no plans to change course. Resurgent COVID-19 infections prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to announce today that he’s pushing back the onset of indoor dining in the city. That’s a good start, but if you care about the safety of your fellow humans amid a pandemic that has killed over half a million globally and sickened many more — myself included — you should consider a stronger measure. You might consider not drinking or dining out at all, not even outdoors.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:40:42 AM by Jeff
It has been a summer of compromises, a season of bending the rules. If I wear a mask and I keep my distance, I can go for a walk with a friend. Hand sanitizer is a bulwark that allows my kids to play on an otherwise empty jungle gym. I believe the backyard has magical properties that will, probably, make it just safe enough to see people and talk to them. In the sun and fresh breeze, we give each other air hugs from six-ish feet away.
Meanwhile, my hair grows, untrimmed, past my clavicle. When my friend, in some ways far more stringent on her social distancing and mask wearing than I am, told me about going in for her first cut since March, I winced involuntarily. I assume it’s roughly the same face that she made when I confessed my masked trip to a clothing store to buy some summer dresses. Both of us know the safest thing — the thing most likely to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — would be to stay at home, alone. But we know we won’t do that now. Can’t do it. The idea of sticking with the safest thing has become almost as unthinkable as indulging in the danger of a movie in a theater or a drink at the bar. But in between those extremes, life has become a sticky bog in which we wade through evidence and convenience, hoping we’re stepping on solid ground.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:40:10 AM by Jeff
This spring, a team working under the president’s son-in-law produced a plan for an aggressive, coordinated national COVID-19 response that could have brought the pandemic under control. So why did the White House spike it in favor of a shambolic 50-state response?
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:38:30 AM by Jeff
Miles Davis, who was born on May 26, 1926, was one of the most important and influential musicians of the 20th century, and changed the course of jazz music more times in his life than some people change their sheets. He was also pretty handy in the kitchen.
In his autobiography, Miles, Davis wrote that in the early 1960s, “I had gotten into cooking. I just loved food and hated going out to restaurants all the time, so I taught myself how to cook by reading books and practicing, just like you do on an instrument. I could cook most of the great French dishes—because I really liked French cooking—and all the black American dishes. But my favorite was a chili dish I called Miles’s South Side Chicago Chili Mack. I served it with spaghetti, grated cheese, and oyster crackers.”
Davis didn’t divulge what was in the dish or how to make it, but in 2007, Best Life magazine got the recipe from his first wife, Frances, who Davis said made it better than he did.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:37:58 AM by Jeff
One elector trying to get rapper Kanye West on the presidential ballot in Wisconsin is married to a former chairwoman of a Republican county committee and was photographed with President Trump at his inaugural.
In Arkansas, a Republican operative who signed West’s ballot petition was at one point interviewed to be Trump’s campaign manager for his 2016 bid.
And West’s ballot petition in Ohio was signed by a lawyer who has previously represented state Republican campaign committees.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:37:14 AM by Jeff
Nearly every country has struggled to contain the coronavirus and made mistakes along the way.
China committed the first major failure, silencing doctors who tried to raise alarms about the virus and allowing it to escape from Wuhan. Much of Europe went next, failing to avoid enormous outbreaks. Today, many countries — Japan, Canada, France, Australia and more — are coping with new increases in cases after reopening parts of society.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:36:46 AM by Jeff
How did it come to this? A virus a thousand times smaller than a dust mote has humbled and humiliated the planet’s most powerful nation. America has failed to protect its people, leaving them with illness and financial ruin. It has lost its status as a global leader. It has careened between inaction and ineptitude. The breadth and magnitude of its errors are difficult, in the moment, to truly fathom.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:35:30 AM by Jeff
Near the end of March, when friends offered me their home on Long Island—they had gone to stay with relatives in Vermont—I thought that I’d go for a week. I had been quarantining at my partner’s house, in Brooklyn. He lives in a one-room studio, which doubles as his work studio, on the second floor of an old, four-story communal house, which he was sharing with four other people. We formed a pod. No outside contacts. No one left the house after mid-March, except for a rare grocery run, or a bike ride, or to walk the house dog. I promised that, while away, I would continue to social-distance. I’d be joining the experiment in solitude under way across the world.
When I arrived at my friends’ empty house, a wake of vultures was perched in a dead tree in the back yard. Not exactly auspicious. But the salty fresh air felt miraculous, the yard was covered in soft, lime-green moss, and the house was peaceful, full of light. It had an out-of-tune old piano, raised beds ready for planting, and a single room on the second floor that looked out over a marina. The only sounds were the birds and boats’ clanging masts. My friends had left the kitchen fully stocked, so I didn’t worry about bringing my city germs to the local grocery store. The days passed quickly. I stayed longer than I thought I would. Then, on Tuesday, April 14th, right when I planned to head back to Brooklyn, I woke up symptomatic.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:34:21 AM by Jeff
Never in our lives have we experienced such a global phenomenon. For the first time in the history of the world, all of humanity, informed by the unprecedented reach of digital technology, has come together, focused on the same existential threat, consumed by the same fears and uncertainties, eagerly anticipating the same, as yet unrealized, promises of medical science.
In a single season, civilization has been brought low by a microscopic parasite 10,000 times smaller than a grain of salt. COVID-19 attacks our physical bodies, but also the cultural foundations of our lives, the toolbox of community and connectivity that is for the human what claws and teeth represent to the tiger.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:33:54 AM by Jeff
June 2021. The world has been in pandemic mode for a year and a half. The virus continues to spread at a slow burn; intermittent lockdowns are the new normal. An approved vaccine offers six months of protection, but international deal-making has slowed its distribution. An estimated 250 million people have been infected worldwide, and 1.75 million are dead.
Scenarios such as this one imagine how the COVID-19 pandemic might play out1. Around the world, epidemiologists are constructing short- and long-term projections as a way to prepare for, and potentially mitigate, the spread and impact of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Although their forecasts and timelines vary, modellers agree on two things: COVID-19 is here to stay, and the future depends on a lot of unknowns, including whether people develop lasting immunity to the virus, whether seasonality affects its spread, and — perhaps most importantly — the choices made by governments and individuals. “A lot of places are unlocking, and a lot of places aren’t. We don’t really yet know what’s going to happen,” says Rosalind Eggo, an infectious-disease modeller at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:33:18 AM by Jeff
Data is beginning to emerge from contact tracing in states where indoor dining and drinking has resumed that proves that restaurants and bars can become vectors for spreading COVID-19, spelling bad news for the hospitality industry as a whole.
Dining inside a restaurant — at a table, with a server, a bottle of wine, and leisurely after-dinner drinks — isn’t something that anyone in San Francisco has done since early March. And even in the first two weeks of March, it was something many of us did skittishly and with a considerable amount of anxiety, as the pandemic threat loomed just beyond the city limits.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:33:06 AM by Jeff
The masks were called muzzles, germ shields and dirt traps. They gave people a “pig-like snout.” Some people snipped holes in their masks to smoke cigars. Others fastened them to dogs in mockery. Bandits used them to rob banks.
More than a century ago, as the 1918 influenza pandemic raged in the United States, masks of gauze and cheesecloth became the facial front lines in the battle against the virus. But as they have now, the masks also stoked political division. Then, as now, medical authorities urged the wearing of masks to help slow the spread of disease. And then, as now, some people resisted.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:30:49 AM by Jeff
On the long timeline of racial justice protests in Portland, July 1 was a lifetime ago.
Protesters had settled into a nightly routine at the Multnomah County Justice Center. The fencing around the building had just come down. The iconic elk statue still stood watch above Lownsdale and Chapman Squares, offering a comfortable late-night perch for many protesters.
Then federal law enforcement officers began appearing at the daily protests.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:30:39 AM by Jeff
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s top public health agency, is being kicked around by the White House. And it doesn’t have much power to kick back.
As President Trump spars with nearly all of the federal agencies that have a hand in his administration’s much-maligned response to the coronavirus pandemic, he’s been particularly successful at sidelining the CDC.
There’s good reason. The CDC, far more than other agencies, struggles with a slew of structural and cultural issues that have left the agency ill-equipped to fend off political attacks, or even to build up the political capital that could have helped it navigate the stark spotlight it finds itself in now.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:28:18 AM by Jeff
LARRY BRILLIANT SAYS he doesn’t have a crystal ball. But 14 years ago, Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox, spoke to a TED audience and described what the next pandemic would look like. At the time, it sounded almost too horrible to take seriously. “A billion people would get sick,” he said. “As many as 165 million people would die. There would be a global recession and depression, and the cost to our economy of $1 to $3 trillion would be far worse for everyone than merely 100 million people dying, because so many more people would lose their jobs and their health care benefits, that the consequences are almost unthinkable.”
Now the unthinkable is here, and Brilliant, the Chairman of the board of Ending Pandemics, is sharing expertise with those on the front lines. We are a long way from 100 million deaths due to the novel coronavirus, but it has turned our world upside down. Brilliant is trying not to say “I told you so” too often. But he did tell us so, not only in talks and writings, but as the senior technical advisor for the pandemic horror film Contagion, now a top streaming selection for the homebound. Besides working with the World Health Organization in the effort to end smallpox, Brilliant, who is now 75, has fought flu, polio, and blindness; once led Google’s nonprofit wing, Google.org; co-founded the conferencing system the Well; and has traveled with the Grateful Dead.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:27:13 AM by Jeff
“That whole thing about the bad apple? I hate when people say that,” Rizer tells me. “The bad apple rots the barrel. And until we do something about the rotten barrel, it doesn’t matter how many good fucking apples you put in.”
To illustrate the problem, Rizer tells a story about a time he observed a patrol by some officers in Montgomery, Alabama. They were called in to deal with a woman they knew had mental illness; she was flailing around and had cut someone with a broken plant pick. To subdue her, one of the officers body-slammed her against a door. Hard.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:26:09 AM by Jeff
Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned.
Neurologists are on Wednesday publishing details of more than 40 UK Covid-19 patients whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. In some cases, the neurological problem was the patient’s first and main symptom.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:22:48 AM by Jeff
In mid-May, Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke had a lot to say about California’s stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of coronavirus, none of it good.
He posted a defiant message to Facebook saying he refused to enforce the state’s orders because they meant “economic slaughter” and he believed government had no right to tell him or anyone else it was too risky to get a haircut or dental checkup.
“I truly believe that Governor Newsom’s motivation is to have the majority of the citizens (and illegal residents) dependant [sic] on governments assistance so he could maintain this control once this ‘pandemic’ is declared over,” Warnke wrote.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:21:51 AM by Jeff
It shocks and horrifies the world. America has 120,000 dead and counting of Coronavirus. That number’s going to rise to 200,000 in the blink of an eye. Where will it end? 500,000, a million — these figures are no longer the stuff of nightmares. Just of the grim and dystopian reality called American life.
But what truly startles the world is this: Donald Trump doesn’t appear to care. Not one bit. Mostly, he’s — still — golfing. When he wasn’t golfing, first, he minimized, then he pretended it would all go away, then he told people to drink bleach, then he…reopened the economy before the first wave had even crested. Which means that, of course, this.
While much of the rest of the world is already carefully preparing and planning for how to fight a second wave — America still has no strategy or plan for the first. It never did have anything resembling a national strategy for a lethal pandemic. Hence, in America, there’s just a rising tide of death, still surging ever higher. What the?
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:21:21 AM by Jeff
During the past two months, I have had lengthy conversations with some 30 scientists, health experts, and past and current government officials—all of them people with firsthand knowledge of what our response to the coronavirus pandemic should have been, could have been, and actually was. The government officials had served or are still serving in the uniformed military, on the White House staff, or in other executive departments, and in various intelligence agencies. Some spoke on condition of anonymity, given their official roles. As I continued these conversations, the people I talked with had noticeably different moods. First, in March and April, they were astonished and puzzled about what had happened. Eventually, in May and June, they were enraged. “The president kept a cruise ship from landing in California, because he didn’t want ‘his numbers’ to go up,” a former senior government official told me. He was referring to Donald Trump’s comment, in early March, that he didn’t want infected passengers on the cruise ship Grand Princess to come ashore, because “I like the numbers being where they are.” Trump didn’t try to write this comment off as a “joke,” his go-to defense when his remarks cause outrage, including his June 20 comment in Tulsa that he’d told medical officials to “slow the testing down, please” in order to keep the reported case level low. But the evidence shows that he has been deadly earnest about denying the threat of COVID-19, and delaying action against it.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:20:54 AM by Jeff
As California began to rapidly reopen the economy, officials in Santa Cruz County decided the safe thing to do was keep its landmark beaches largely closed in the afternoons to prevent crowds that could spread the coronavirus.
But the public increasingly ignored the rules and demanded their summer on the sand, swimming, sunbathing and just hanging out. Unable to stop the crowds, county officials simply gave up.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:20:39 AM by Jeff
For many Americans, the coronavirus pandemic has become white noise—old news that has faded into the background of their lives. But the crisis is far from over. Arizona is one of the pandemic’s new hot spots, with 24,000 confirmed cases over the past week and rising hospitalizations and deaths. Popescu saw the surge coming, “but to actually see it play out is heartbreaking,” she said. “It didn’t have to be this way.”
Popescu is one of many public-health experts who have been preparing for and battling the pandemic since the start of the year. They’re not treating sick people, as doctors or nurses might be, but are instead advising policy makers, monitoring the pandemic’s movements, modeling its likely trajectory, and ensuring that hospitals are ready.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:19:54 AM by Jeff
What, to my people, is the Fourth of July? My people, who are failed every day by every country, sleepless in the long night, terrorized by fireworks, we who have cried salt baths for our kin.
Look at all we have borne for you: arms, armistice, the sweetest fruits, flesh of children hidden away from the ugly summer of their own blood — we are on the front lines. Help me, tell me, what do we tell the children of your Fourth of July? What is death to a daughter? What is river to a sea? Where is the country where my people are safe?
Ancestors set the table send dream mares in high supply. Too heavy, too spent, too hot to cook, no promise beyond the sparkly simple bombs. Keep your holiday, your hunger, the blood in your teeth. Police parade down streets, proud descendants of the slave patrol. Theater of denial, a propaganda pageant, and we are on the front lines all summer. My uncle can’t sleep and he was born free. And he ain’t never been.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:17:52 AM by Jeff
In the summer of 2016, a 73-year-old Deaf woman suffering from dementia allegedly tried to pull another resident at her skilled nursing facility out of a chair.
After San Francisco police officers arrived at the scene, the officers were told they needed to communicate with the Deaf woman by writing down their orders, but they declined. The woman tried to hit another resident with a pillow, and then she allegedly “lunged” at the officers when they attempted to remove the pillow from her hands.
Officers then handcuffed the 73-year-old woman, leaving marks or her wrists, and she ended up at San Francisco General Hospital for a multi-hour psychiatric hold. There, doctors concluded, the woman’s behavioral outburst was not due to a psychiatric emergency, but rather “difficulty with communication due to deafness as well as progressing dementia.”
A Department of Police Accountability investigation completed a year later found that instead of soothing the woman, the officers escalated the encounter.
Posted Saturday 22nd of August, 2020 at 9:17:27 AM by Jeff
For now, the only options we have for reducing the spread of Covid-19 are social distancing and masks. According to a report released Thursday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, by October, cumulative Covid-19 deaths could reach 179,106 people. Their projections show that number dropping to 146,047 people if at least 95 percent of Americans wear masks in public. With “quarantine fatigue” setting in, it seems like masks are our best chance at living a life that resembles pre-pandemic days while protecting others.