Links 1/22/21

Links for you. Science:

5 Reasons to Wear a Mask Even After You’re Vaccinated
Millipede Swarms Once Stopped Japanese Trains in Their Tracks
When lightning strikes, it’s best not to be a giraffe
World’s oldest known cave painting found in Indonesia
Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 Lineage — United States, December 29, 2020–January 12, 2021

Other:

81 million Biden voters are seething with anger–the burden of ‘healing’ is on Republicans (absolute must-read)
Finally the world agrees that Trump is exactly the man his fiercest critics said he was. But has the reckoning come too late? (excellent)
The Capitol Rioters Are Being Rounded Up. But Will They Face Real Charges?
Arrest warrant issued for ex-Florida data analyst Rebekah Jones. The former manager of Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard said she will turn herself in to the authorities. The state would not say what charges she faces. (this is actual censorship)
The Terrible Bind America’s Elites Are In
Every Deleted Parler Post, Many With Users’ Location Data, Has Been Archived
Biden dresses down his Covid team over plans to speed vaccinations
PA state Sen. Doug Mastriano called effort to overturn election a “death match with the Democrat Party” shortly before heading to insurrection attempt
Get It Right
Top Lawmakers Not Told of Police Request for Backup Before Riot, Aide and Others Say
100 days of warning: inside the Boogaloo killings of US security personnel
Consequences for Thee, Not for Me
The Ethical Commitment to Be a Punk. How 1980s punk music birthed its own kind of radical politics.
America Abandoned Its Economic Prophet. The World Embraced Him. (don’t agree with some of this, especially regarding Facebook, but interesting)
There Can Be No ‘Unity’ With Seditious Republicans
Joe Biden’s Looming War on White Supremacy: The insurrection could spur a federal-government crackdown on white-nationalist groups, as well as strengthen the case for systemic police reform.
Who Voted for Hitler? Just as there are myths about Trump voters, there are damaging misconceptions about who brought the Nazis to power.
Why DHS Failed To Warn The Country About Jan. 6
A QAnon ‘Digital Soldier’ Marches On, Undeterred by Theory’s Unraveling
Trump Is on the Verge of Losing Everything
Conservatives want everyone to know that they’re the real victims of the January 6 insurrection

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Give People Nice Things and Let Them See You Do It

Because, as we often say on this blog, people have to like this crap. Ryan Cooper (boldface mine):

Frightened of waking the anti-welfare, anti-government beast, Democratic politicians have built convoluted means tests into their programs to make sure only the “deserving” receive benefits, or hidden them in the tax code out of sight, or both.

But it turns out that, when given the option straight up, the American people overwhelmingly support getting free money from the government. Joe Biden’s presidency could be one in which the toxic ideological bias against a proper welfare state and active government dies an extremely deserved death. Free money is both good and fun!

The side effects of the anti-welfare prejudice can be seen in the trap that center-left politicos often back themselves into trying to appease it. It goes something like this: We’re designing a new program to help the poor. In keeping with laissez-faire notions of the self-regulating market, which views government programs as an imposition on the preexisting economy, we assume that welfare payments are an immoral, unnatural drag on production, and hence only the very needy should get them. Thus we need to cut the middle class and the rich out, because we don’t want to waste public dollars on people who aren’t truly desperate. But on the other hand, we need to require recipients to earn at least some money from working to qualify, because otherwise we’d be undermining the incentive to work, thus possibly undermining the economic base on which the program depends. (The right primes everyone to believe this with a lot of racist stereotypes about single mothers and insinuations that people are only poor because they choose to be.) Hey presto, we just created an inefficient, annoying program that leaves out the people who need it most (the very poor who do not work at all), stokes resentment among the non-poor, and stigmatizes its recipients

Claiming the trapezoid benefit requires a lot of obnoxious paperwork, so even a big chunk of eligible people don’t actually get it. Then many middle-class people perceive their tax money as mostly benefiting others, so they get annoyed or use it as fuel for racist agitprop about how minorities are all living off the government dole… Similarly means-tested programs like food stamps or Medicaid inspire resentment among people who don’t receive them.

And then arrived the stimulus checks:

It turns out Americans love getting free money from the government. A poll from May 2020 found that 82 percent were not only happy with the checks, but wanted them to be sent out on a monthly basis so long as the pandemic lasts. Another poll in December found 78 percent supported the idea of $2,000 checks, as was being discussed at the time. In both cases, even a large majority of Republicans supported the idea.

The checks were only a modest portion of the various pandemic relief packages, but they seized public attention to an extent that made economics journalists despair. The grant program for small businesses was huge, as was the Federal Reserve lending program, but few noticed them compared to the checks. This has to be because they were so obvious. For the vast majority of people, the checks were surely the most blatant, direct, and easy form of government assistance they had ever seen in their lives. No application process, no paperwork, no filing your rotten taxes, just $1,200 in hand courtesy of Uncle Sam. A whole nation blearily came to the realization that the government can just send you money, for free, and moreover, nothing bad happens when they do. There was no instant spike of inflation, no destruction of jobs, no plague of locusts, and the sky did not fall. A whole vast edifice of libertarian agitprop about how “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” was vaporized at a stroke because, yes, there is.

People like having nice things, or just things at all! And when the government shows up and directly helps people, no muss, no fuss, it’s popular.

One caveat is that, during the pandemic, people realized many workers needed help through no perceived fault of their own. The question is will people revert to thinking that, if you can’t get by, that’s your fault, not a problem with the larger economy. If the former, then this might be a temporary phenomenon. If the latter, we might be in the headspace Cooper is describing. I’m leaning towards the latter because a significant swath of GenXers and a lot of millenials have experienced a shitty economy through ‘no fault of their own’, sometimes multiple times, while seeing well-off people do well by breaking the rules. In addition, if programs are made universal (or nearly so), then they will be perceived as ‘earned benefits’, not charity for the poor, who might be ‘undeserving.’

We just might get a 20th century welfare state. Because people have to like this crap.

(and 20th isn’t a typo either)

Posted in Democrats, Economics | 1 Comment

Links 1/21/21

Links for you. Science:

Evaluation of Cloth Masks and Modified Procedure Masks as Personal Protective Equipment for the Public During the COVID-19 Pandemic
22 Orphans Gave Up Everything to Distribute the World’s First Vaccine
Turn off that camera during virtual meetings, environmental study says
Post-COVID lungs worse than the worst smokers’ lungs, surgeon says
Yes, the Pandemic Is Ruining Your Body

Other:

Crank Radio Will Give Go-Go a National Platform
Councilmembers Butt Heads with DC Health Director Over Racial Equity in Vaccine Distribution
Learning from the Failure of Reconstruction
One of QAnon’s Biggest Influencers Is a Failed Hollywood Screenwriter
GOP aide resigns while lashing ‘congressional enablers of this mob’
How White Evangelical Christians Fused With Trump Extremism
Yes, It Was a Coup. Here’s Why.
HOW TO DEFEAT THE HARD RIGHT
GitHub is facing employee backlash after the firing of a Jewish employee who suggested ‘Nazis are about’ on the day of the US Capitol siege
Vikings, Crusaders, Confederates
Government Interventions Can Control COVID-19. This is not a contentious fact
After The Sacred Landslide
‘Let Them Get Their Shots:’ Some D.C. Teachers Push To Get Vaccinated Before In-Person Schooling Restarts
The Link Between the Capitol Insurrectionists and Abusers
A $6 Million Home To Appreciate Living In D.C. And Not Threaten Democracy (the first part is very good, also nice housing porn)
Still going to the grocery store? With new virus variants spreading, it’s probably time to stop. Health experts say you should avoid optional trips whenever you can. You probably need a better mask, too. (““But the best protection still remains avoiding contact with other people indoors, especially for a sustained period of time,” Goldstein added. “Masks are not 100 percent effective. Staying away from people is 100 percent effective.””)
Misinformation dropped dramatically the week after Twitter banned Trump
Biden to deploy FEMA, National Guard to set up Covid vaccine clinics across the U.S.
Off-duty police were part of the Capitol mob. Now police are turning in their own.
How to Break the Demagogue Cycle. The Senate must convict Trump in order to disqualify him from ever holding public office again.
An Impeachment Trial Will Be Good Practice for Actual Oversight
A small town seethes after learning one of its own joined the Capitol’s mob

Posted in Lotsa Links | 2 Comments

Life After a Narcissist

When you’ve been blogging daily, as I have, for a very long time, it becomes obvious that many of your posts, even if they’re not disproven by the passage of time, just don’t really mean that much. But one post I wrote over four years ago, before Il Trumpe even took office, about my experiences with a narcissistic boss and what those experiences meant for events to come held up rather well.

I’m neither a fan of theories that purport to explain everything (since they usually explain nothing), nor of ‘overpsychologizing’ politicians. Usually, explicitly-stated ideology and watching what they do are sufficient. But with Trump, his stereotypical narcissism has had such explanatory power, one could not ignore it (his bigotries too, of course). They led to his rise and his downfall.

But enough about that asshole. Let’s talk about us.

Once the narcissist is out of your life, it’s not entirely over for a while. One feature of the narcissist is that they constantly suck all of the oxygen out of the room. As long as they’re in your life, they end up occupying a lot of headspace. It’s a challenge to revert, if not back to normal (whatever that is), to a different way of living. You don’t have to think about them anymore. You don’t have to rate things on a scale of Trump versus not as shitty as Trump.

This is not a call to ‘look forward, not back’: those around Trump, as well as the asshole himself, need to face consequences for their actions. And if they do get their comeuppance, after four years of, well, American Carnage, enjoy it. But we don’t have to react to Trump et alia anymore. We get to be the starring players, not that asshole.

And that’s a good thing.

Posted in Resistance Rebellion And Death | Leave a comment

Links 1/20/21

Trump_30
Links for you. Science:

After ~10 months of relative quiescence we’ve started to see some striking evolution of SARS-CoV-2 with a repeated evolutionary pattern in the SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern emerging from the UK, South Africa and Brazil.
Biden announces Science and Technology Policy director, elevates position to Cabinet-level
Pipetting in TV and Movies is bad and I feel very passionately about it.
Electric Eels Hunt in Packs, Shocking Prey and Scientists
Intranasal ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/AZD1222 vaccination reduces shedding of SARS-CoV-2 D614G in rhesus macaques

Other:

The Good, the Bad, and the Odd in Biden’s Stimulus Plan
The best way to secure the Capitol is to make D.C. a state
‘We’re The Ones Who Saved Congress’: Meet Three D.C. Police Officers Who Fought For The U.S. Capitol
Lawmakers Calling for “Unity” Should Support Policies Voters Actually Want
Why Didn’t The Alibi Face Harsher Consequences for Having Customers Inside on Jan. 6?
Some Democrats in Congress are worried their colleagues might kill them
Players Rip a ‘Fucking Corrupt’ College Football Season
The Capitol riots prove we need to strengthen our democracy. That begins with voting rights.
The fantasy-industrial complex gave us the Capitol Hill insurrection
This is what it looks like when the mob turns on you
Your Metrorail trips in 2021 might get quicker – five seconds at a time
Democrats pressure Pelosi to expel Madison Cawthorn
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner flush their reputations down the toilet
Capitol Mob Has Roots in Anti-Lockdown Protests: Reopen and anti-mask groups were a crucial recruiting ground for the Stop the Steal effort that culminated in last week’s deadly siege.
How Biden will try to reverse one of Trump’s most destructive failures
Vigilante militias organizing to invade state Capitols this weekend operate outside the law
Joe Scarborough: ‘We made the same mistake that people made during Hitler’s rise’
Outlets that are just now deciding to cover extremism are about to make this mistake.
You don’t need to interview far right extremists. You don’t need to quote them or put them on TV and set up cute little debates with them.
Trump administration staffers are getting snubbed while hunting for jobs. One recruiter tried to place 6 of them and couldn’t land any interviews. (“They’re all very all about themselves with narcissistic attitudes, thinking any company in the country will want to hire me. I listened to one for about 20 minutes, and it was so much baloney, what he was spewing out to me.”)
Make. Them. Testify. Call the Trump officials who resigned in protest to testify at the impeachment trial.
Vaccine reserve was already exhausted when Trump administration vowed to release it, dashing hopes of expanded access (criminal negligence)
Among the Insurrectionists: The Capitol was breached by Trump supporters who had been declaring, at rally after rally, that they would go to violent lengths to keep the President in power. A chronicle of an attack foretold.

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There’s a Path to D.C. Statehood

On this good day, let’s talk about something good. Like D.C. statehood!

One of the problems with passing statehood for D.C. is that it is widely believed to require ending the filibuster (the Senate rule that, even though only 51 votes are required to pass a bill, 60 senators are needed to bring the bill to the floor in the first place). Since Republicans have 50 votes in the Senate, they would be able to filibuster any legislation that permits D.C. statehood.

Or maybe not (boldface mine):

Constitutionally, the admission of a new state is not actually a legislative matter, so the legislative filibuster shouldn’t apply. In recent years both Democrats and Republicans, by ending the filibuster for confirming presidential appointments (a power outlined in Article II, Section 2), have in effect agreed the filibuster shouldn’t apply to certain constitutional matters that aren’t covered by Article I of the Constitution, which lays out the design of Congress and its legislative powers. The admission of a new state is also not included in Article I. The drafters set it apart as something distinct, not a change to law but a change to the structure of government.

Admission of states is dealt with separately in Article VI, Section 3…

It is no accident that the framers set the admission of new states as a matter separate from legislation. It is also clear they purposely choose not to have a supermajority requirement for it, as had existed under the Articles of Confederation. Our early leaders understood the existential need to add new states, but the Articles made the process nearly impossible

Having a clear system to admit new states with a simple majority, as long as the new state wasn’t part of another state without that state’s permission, was considered an important improvement of the new Constitution…

The two main arguments for keeping the legislative filibuster are that allowing endless debate forces compromise and protects the rights of the legislative minority…

Neither of these arguments make sense when applied to the unique issue of statehood. Legally, new states must be admitted under the equal footing doctrine. You can’t admit a state with less powers or rights than the others. So statehood is effectively a binary question with no possibility of compromise. It can’t be made “better,” it either happens or it doesn’t.

Keep in mind that rules changes can’t be filibustered, and Vice President Harris can, at any time, chose to be the presiding officer of the Senate, so if Democrats want to admit D.C. as a state, they can.

And they should.

Posted in DC, Resistance Rebellion And Death | Leave a comment

Links 1/19/21

Trump_kickaround
Links for you. Science:

To What Extent Does In-Person Schooling Contribute to the Spread of COVID-19?
Vaccine registration technology is failing. Here’s how the Biden administration could fix it
Three reasons a negative coronavirus test doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not infected
Combination of two drugs can help treat methamphetamine addiction for some, new clinical trial data shows
The Black Hole in America’s COVID-19 Data

Other:

For millions of charismatic Christians, the Capitol riot doesn’t change the truth: Trump’s win has been prophesied (you can’t understand Trump and the right without understanding the role self-described Christian evangelicals play)
They Used to Post Selfies. Now They’re Trying to Reverse the Election.
Ex-Friends: Anne Applebaum and the crisis of centrist politics.
Trump’s America: The inevitable conclusion to a sickening presidency.
A foreseeable fire: A steady diet of red meat turned the Tea Party into Trumpism
The Washington, D.C., siege has Western roots and consequences
QAnon Believer Charged for Threats Against Mayor Bowser, Illegal Firearm Possession: “DoubleODipshit” also allegedly head butted a random pedestrian on Jan. 7, according to a local warrant.
“No One Took Us Seriously”: Black Cops Warned About Racist Capitol Police Officers for Years
Trump’s New Criminal Problem: The president could face charges for inciting the Capitol riot—and maybe even for inciting the murder of a Capitol Police Officer.
QAnon was at the center of the Capitol assault, and could get worse after Trump is gone
Cancel the Inauguration: Biden will be safe. But we can’t have the typical Capitol-based celebration of the peaceful transfer of power. It hasn’t been peaceful and there’s a better way. Here’s how.
The $3,000-a-month toilet for the Ivanka Trump/Jared Kushner Secret Service detail
Democratic Lawmakers Want to Fine Politicians Who Refuse to Wear Masks
Upset by veterans who stormed the Capitol, these vets decided to clean up trash the mob left on the streets of D.C.
Why Aren’t We Wearing Better Masks?
The Pandemic Necessitates a New Approach to Health Care
D.C. leaders spar over coronavirus vaccine access for poorer residents (Nesbitt’s responses are very interesting)
Who Knew What in the Moments Before Pro-Trump Radicals Breached the Capitol?
Stunning Brick and Mortar Meltdown, Manhattan Style: The Collapse of Retail Rents Before and Now During the Pandemic
Dems eye punishing Republicans who challenged Biden’s win
What’s Wrong with the Way We Work
QAnon reshaped Trump’s party and radicalized believers. The Capitol siege may just be the start.
Bury Me Furious

Posted in Lotsa Links | 2 Comments

Anti-Semitism and the Radical Right

If we wish to defeat a problem we must understand it. I don’t think we’re able to understand the threat the radical right poses–and how it gained significant entry into the Republican Party–without understanding two related phenomena. The first is the overrepresentation of self-described Christian evangelicals in both the general electorate and the Republican Party (which can rise to a majority of Republicans in certain areas). A minority that perceives itself as embattled and locked in a zero-sum battle leads to a subculture where democracy is a means, not an end. If that same minority also believes that “a right-minded elite of religiously pure individuals should aim to capture the levers of government, then use that power to rescue society from eternal darkness and reshape it in accord with a divinely-approved view of righteousness” should rule, then things get very bad.

This has collided with a second phenomenon, where the radical right has embraced not only the pervasive anti-Black racism that still permeates American society, but also subscribes to specific ideologies (note the plural) that have, as a central element, anti-Semitism. As some asshole with a blog noted:

There’s no doubting that ‘traditional’ racism is a key component of Trump’s support. And to consider U.S. history without realizing how racism is the warp and woof of our national experience is absurd. Politically, racism has driven and still drives much of our politics. But when we consider the Tiki Torch Brigade and many of the follow-on protestors on Saturday, what is central to their bigotry is anti-Semitism, not racism. For them, anti-Semitism is the lodestone, the organizing principle.

In Charlottesville, the evening rally focused on Jews: “Jews will not replace us.”

They issued specific threats towards and intimidated a Jewish congregation.

The rally posters barely mentioned–or failed to mention at all–the Confederate statues.

This is not to say these assholes wouldn’t (and don’t) hurt or kill Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and other minorities (not to mention LGBT). These bigoted bastards would do so with glee. But this small, noticeable–and much more directly violent–part of the far-right is more akin to the militias of the 1990s, which were obsessed with Jewish-led global conspiracies, along the lines of The Turner Diaries. It played a role in motivating the Oklahoma City bombings, and it winds it way through the ‘sovereign citizens’ movement.

In this ideology, Jews are controlling other minorities and use them as their shock troops and servants (as laughable as that is to everyone supposedly involved in the conspiracy). Admittedly, the typical bigotry towards minorities and immigrants is a critical part of it–they use this as a ‘gateway drug’ for recruiting (and they are quite willing to have more ‘traditional’ racists as allies). But, at the core, is a Jewish conspiracy: break the Jews, and it all falls apart.

In this they are much more akin to the European far-right, than traditional U.S. racists and segregationists. They are a related, but different problem, separate from the foundational scourge of racism, even as they use it as a ‘gateway drug’ to build their strength and find allies. If we wish to defeat them, we must understand them.

Which brings me to a point historian Jonathan Sarna makes (boldface mine):

These and related images, captured on television and retweeted on social media, demonstrate that some of those who traveled to Washington to support President Donald Trump were engaged in much more than just a doomed effort to maintain their hero in power.

As their writings make clear to me as a scholar of American anti-Semitism, some among them also hoped to trigger what is known as the “Great Revolution,” based on a fictionalized account of a government takeover and race war, that, in its most extreme form, would exterminate Jews.

Calls to exterminate Jews are common in far-right and white nationalist circles. For example, the conspiracy theorists of QAnon, who hold “that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are plotting against Mr. Trump,” traffic in it regularly.

The anonymous “Q” – the group’s purported head who communicates in riddles and leaves clues on message boards – once approvingly retweeted the anti-Semitic image of a knife-wielding Jew wearing a Star of David necklace who stands knee-deep in the blood of Russians, Poles, Hungarians and Ukrainians and asks with feigned innocence, “Why do they persecute me so?”

…More commonly, including in recent days, QAnon has targeted Jewish billionaire philanthropist and investor George Soros, whom it portrays as the primary figure shaping and controlling world events. A century ago, the Rothschilds, a family of Jewish bankers, was depicted in much the same way.

QAnon members also mark Jews with triple parentheses, a covert means of outing those whom they consider usurpers and outsiders, not true members of the white race…

As opinion writer Seyward Darby pointed out in The New York Times, the gallows erected in front of the Capitol recalls the novel’s [The Turner Diaries] depiction of “the day of the rope,” when so-called betrayers of their race were lynched. Unmentioned in The New York Times article is that the novel subsequently depicts “a war to the death with the Jew.”

Again, the point is these are very specific ideologies which feature anti-Semitism as much as anti-Black racism. This is not just some crazy stuff like believing aliens are going to whisk you away to utopia, but it is also adjacent to and, often, steeped in anti-Semitism. In many ways, Q and other similar conspiracies are The Turner Diaries, but with less snuff porn, and less overt anti-Semitism (usually. Sometimes they slip up, as Sarna documents). They should be viewed as abhorrent.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Links 1/18/21

Trump_kidding
Links for you. Science:

Women and minorities in weather and climate fields confront harassment, lack of inclusion
Initial Israeli data: First Pfizer shot curbs infections by 50% after 14 days
There is a new ‘variant’ clearly identified today, P.1. And it is worth saying a little about what we have learned about it, and from the variants we have identified so far (manuscript here)
Baby Megalodons Were 6-Foot-Long Womb Cannibals, Study Suggests
Coronavirus cases among lawmakers who sheltered in lockdown show one vaccine dose may not immediately protect against infection

Other:

Voices Of Wards 7 And 8: Frustration, But Not Surprise, After The Capitol Insurrection
Republicans Have Decided It’s Democrats’ Job to Wrestle Their Monster Back Into the Lab
This Isn’t the Revolution They Think It Is Some on the far right want another 1776. But it’s a different, darker history that’s repeating itself.
I can never forgive the American education system for universalizing the Holocaust.
Get Those Republican Congressional Staffers
Holding Trump Enablers Accountable
Kill the Senate Filibuster or Watch Biden’s Agenda Die
How to Ensure This Never Happens Again
A day before Capitol attack, pro-Trump crowd stormed meeting, threatened officials in rural California
Once Again Trump’s Self-Victimhood Distracts from His Negligence
We Worked Together on the Internet. Last Week, He Stormed the Capitol.
Most House Republicans Did What the Rioters Wanted
U.S. plan to expand access to Covid-19 vaccine likely sets up new debacles
Capitol Police Officers Said They Wouldn’t Be Surprised If Members Of Congress Helped Plan The Attack
How the press — like the police — missed the looming Capitol coup
The Art of the Lie? The Bigger the Better
Die Laughing at the Capitol. The storm on Congress was extremely goofy and deadly serious. Making sense of it will require some dexterity.
Here’s The Way Joe Biden And The Democrats Can Pass Their Agenda — Maybe
Trump’s ban from a privately-owned company is only ‘Orwellian’ to people who’ve never actually read Orwell
The American Abyss: A historian of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob and what comes next.
How Trumpism May Endure
Hospitals say syringes supplied by feds waste vaccine doses

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The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: How Do We Make It Better?

It’s not noticeably worse this week, but it’s not getting any better either–and right now, things are awful. The entire city and all wards, including the ‘low prevalence bastions’ of Ward 2 and 3, are now well above the German rollback threshold of 50 new cases per 100,000 per week (0.05% in the second column below):


Ward one-week prevalence one-week % pos. two-week prevalence two-week % pos.
1 0.261% 4.0% 0.502% 4.3%
2 0.186% 1.6% 0.350% 2.2%
3 0.161% 3.4% 0.299% 3.4%
4 0.354% 6.3% 0.710% 7.0%
5 0.324% 5.3% 0.681% 6.1%
6 0.290% 3.6% 0.645% 4.4%
7 0.310% 6.9% 0.598% 7.1%
8 0.345% 6.3% 0.662% 6.7%
D.C. total 0.287% 3.9% 0.570% 4.5%

The ‘good place’, which is one new case per 100,000 people per day, would be 0.007% in column two and 0.014% in column four–we’re not even close to that. Most wards stayed roughly the same, though the hardest hit wards had the highest percent positive rates–and they are too high–so who knows how they’re actually doing. There were 33 COVID-19 related deaths this week, which is more deaths than all of the traffic fatalities in 2019 (27). Meanwhile, R(t), using recent data, is around 1.0, meaning we won’t be seeing any significant drops anytime soon.

Looking at the last week, D.C. has had 2,060 cases. If D.C. were at the upper boundary of the next phase, which is too high anyway, D.C. would have around 740 cases per week. At the lower boundary, D.C. would have around 270 cases per week. The good place of one daily new case per 100,000 people would be around fifty cases per week. While this seems insurmountable, we did this before, once we factor in the massive underreporting during the April/May peak.

If we could lower R(t) to 0.8, meaning that the number of daily new cases would drop by twenty percent every five days (1 – 0.8), we could chop the daily new cases by two-thirds to three-quarters in a month. Add on two additional weeks, we lower the prevalence by about 5/6ths, bringing D.C. down to around 340 new cases per week. Not great, but surely far better than where we are now.

We desperately need to get R(t) below 1.0, but it’s not clear what policies the city can adopt. Actually, that’s incorrect. It’s unclear what additional policies the city is willing to adopt. We need more restrictions, and that, for now, includes closing in-person learning, as well as everything that isn’t essential. Hopefully, the lack of an inauguration and the closing off of part of the city to prevent further insurrection will help, but that’s obviously not a long-term solution.

The good news, such as it is, is that we still could be only around six weeks away from returning to near normal-ish (and eight weeks to normal-ish), even though we intentionally remain six or eight weeks away from safely returning to normal-ish because we’re unwilling to do what it takes to make that happen.

Anger isn’t the appropriate emotion, rage is.

Posted in COVID-19, DC | Leave a comment