If We Had an Effective Federal Response to COVID-19…

…then what Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did would be grounds for resignation (boldface mine):

Gilmore said they told her that a resident in the home had recently gone to the hospital, where she tested positive for COVID-19. The resident was set to return to Diamond Hill, making her the first confirmed COVID-19 case at the 120-bed facility north of Albany.

The risks to the home’s staff and other residents were obvious: The virus was ravaging nursing homes across the country.

But the week before, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his health commissioner, Howard Zucker, had all but made such discharges mandatory. If a hospital determined a patient who needed nursing home care was medically stable, the home had to accept them, even if they had been treated for COVID-19. Moreover, the nursing home could not test any such prospective residents — those treated for COVID-19 or those hospitalized for other reasons — to see if they were newly infected or perhaps still contagious despite their treatment. It was all laid out in a formal order, effective March 25. New York was the only state in the nation that barred testing of those being placed or returning to nursing homes.

In the weeks that followed the March 25 order, COVID-19 tore through New York state’s nursing facilities, killing more than 6,000 people — about 6% of its more than 100,000 nursing home residents. In all, as many as 4,500 COVID-19 infected patients were sent to nursing homes across the state, according to a count conducted by The Associated Press….

States that issued orders similar to Cuomo’s recorded comparably grim outcomes. Michigan lost 5% of roughly 38,000 nursing home residents to COVID-19 since the outbreak began. New Jersey lost 12% of its more than 43,000 residents.

In Florida, where such transfers were barred, just 1.6% of 73,000 nursing home residents died of the virus. California, after initially moving toward a policy like New York’s, quickly revised it. So far, it has lost 2% of its 103,000 nursing home residents.

While they were attempting to free up ICU beds, it was pretty obvious that the state’s solution was worse:

“The New York state advisory looks like it was intended as a ‘reverse triage’ strategy to clear acute and critical care hospital beds, regardless of whether those beds had people with COVID-19 or not,” Branas said. “Possibly, the positive trade-off they had in mind with the policy was that more lives would be saved with additional open critical care beds than would be lost in transfer to nursing homes.”

But Branas said he believes the policy could well have increased New York’s COVID-19 death toll by a magnitude that will be determined by future researchers. “If you introduce 4,500 people sick with a potentially lethal disease into a vulnerable and notoriously imperfectly monitored population,” he said, “people are apt to die.”

Yes, in an ideal world, nursing homes would have good infection control. Meanwhile, here on planet Earth, many of them do not–and that is well-known.

At this point, the Trump administration has politicized the COVID-19 response to the point where Cuomo’s willingness to criticize Trump looks like courage and is much needed. But in a sane polity, Cuomo’s horrifying–and predicted–failure would be grounds for resignation: governance has to matter, and Cuomo was very bad at it–along with many other state governors (and we told you long ago Cuomo was an asshole).

That said, the magnitude of Trump and his cabinet’s failure is that resigning their offices is the compromise position, and ritual self-disembowelment on the White House lawn is the appropriate one.

Posted in Conservatives, COVID-19, Democrats, Fucking Morons | Leave a comment

Links 6/28/20

Links for you. Science:

Age-dependent effects in the transmission and control of COVID-19 epidemics
The Black Lives Matter Protests Have Taught Us More About The Coronavirus
No, more testing doesn’t explain the rise of covid-19 cases in the U.S.
Amid threats and political pushback, public health officials are leaving their posts
Yale SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance Initiative


America Sits on Its Hands as Covid-19 Cases Rise (very good)
How the D.C. Police Department, DOJ, and D.C. Attorney General’s Office Shield Cops’ Bad Acts (great reporting)
Pass The Torch
‘I didn’t take this seriously’: Tempe man with COVID-19 says he regrets sharing drinks in bar
Dozens of Secret Service officers and agents told to self-quarantine after Trump’s Tulsa rally
A low-flying ‘show of force’: Two military helicopters roared over demonstrators in Washington protesting after the death of George Floyd, producing winds equivalent to a tropical storm.
‘There are two choices’: Fairfax County Public Schools unveils return to school plan
The True Financial Pulse of America’s Families
Allen Lew, hard-driving D.C. city administrator, dies at 69 of coronavirus
Allen Lew Got It Done: And “it” was a hell of a lot.
After repeated safety incidents, Metro replaces its rail operations control director
The Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker: Supporting the Recovery from COVID-19
Josh Hawley’s Lincoln Speech Makes You Wonder Who Really Wants a Culture War
COVID-19: This is when life will return to normal, according to the experts
World tennis number one Novak Djokovic tests positive for COVID-19
A Reckoning Over Objectivity, Led by Black Journalists
40 Times People Ordered Things Online But Received Something So Awful, They Just Had To Share
Eat, Pay, Leave: How to Be a Better Customer at D.C. Restaurants As They Reopen
Why Are Some Journalists Afraid of “Moral Clarity”?
Are Swedes Shunned for High Covid Rates—or Is It Really ABBA?
The Coronavirus Pandemic in a D.C. Public Housing Complex

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

COVID Running

Observed on Church Street NW, between 14th and 15th, Logan Circle, D.C.:

Running Covid

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Links 6/27/20

Links for you. Science:

Can Coronavirus Contact Tracing Survive Reopening?
Fairness in NIH grant review panels, in two Twitter polls
Not Just An Acute Infection: The Prolonged Onslaught Of Coronavirus
A Deeper Dive: Implications of Identifying More of the Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae Iceberg (original paper here)
Coronavirus testing indicates transmission risk increases along wildlife supply chains for human consumption in Viet Nam, 2013-2014


I didn’t realize my blood and bones were next (excellent)
Fear in the elevators, plexiglass in the mailroom: Coronavirus has spread inside D.C.’s largest apartment building
My Family Saw a Police Car Hit a Kid on Halloween. Then I Learned How NYPD Impunity Works.
How public housing was destined to fail
Going Forward
Florida changes ICU reporting
As D.C. Moves Into Phase Two, Not All Restaurants Are Setting Their Tables For Indoor Seating
Reports That The ‘Only Confederate Statue’ In D.C. Came Down Missed A Whole Lot At The U.S. Capitol
Can the Aspen Institute’s Elite Economists Beat the Coronavirus Depression?
Vehicle Attacks Rise As Extremists Target Protesters
Jane McAlevey’s Vision for the Future of American Labor
DC is closer to becoming a state now than it has ever been (“Without some tweaks to the Senate rules to prevent Republicans from filibustering statehood, however, it is likely that DC statehood is doomed.”)
Let’s Remember That Teddy Roosevelt Was One of the Founders of American Progressivism
College football on the brink: Push to play undercut by virus outbreaks
This Should Inspire Our Leaders to Do Better. Instead We’ll Get Angry Tweets.
Let It All Burn
This is Vandalism, And It’s Taking Place Inside the House of Government
The Coronavirus Quieted City Noise. Listen to What’s Left.
Trump’s sparse rally crowd enraged him. His advisers just revealed why.
Trump White House officially opposes D.C. statehood ahead of historic vote

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In Case You Missed It…

…a week of Mad Biologist links:

On Capital?

D.C. Is Entering Phase 2 Today, and D.C. Should ;Wait

Joshua Chamberlain Just Rolled Over in His Grave

How South Korea’s Response to a Surge Demonstrates American Acquiescence

Sometimes in Politics, Timing Is Everything

School ‘Reopening’ Won’t Solve the Schools-As-Daycare Problem

Posted in Weekly Roundup | Leave a comment

Links 6/26/20

Links for you. Science:

We’re about to enter the era of the coronavirus super-spreader: Preliminary evidence suggests that 20 per cent of people are responsible for 80 per cent of Covid-19 transmission, putting to focus on events where transmission is high
China Reports Progress in Ultra-Secure Satellite Transmission: Researchers enlisted quantum physics to send a “secret key” for encrypting and decrypting messages between two stations 700 miles apart.
Full genome viral sequences inform patterns of SARS-CoV-2 spread into and within Israel (“…between 1-10% of infected individuals resulting in 80% of secondary infections.”)
Coronavirus Attacks the Lungs. A Federal Agency Just Halted Funding for New Lung Treatments.
‘Recovered’ COVID-19 patients suffer major ongoing physical, cognitive problems


The Social Codes of the Crazy Rich: How Kevin Kwan celebrates and skewers the ultrawealthy
Young Asians and Latinos push their parents to acknowledge racism amid protests
The Confederacy Was an Antidemocratic, Centralized State: The actual Confederate States of America was a repressive state devoted to white supremacy.
D.C. Hasn’t Met Its Contact-Tracing Metric For Phase Two. So Why Is The City Pushing Forward Anyway?
The High Cost of Bad Sidewalks
Youth Movement
D.C. Statehood 2021
As NOAA leaders take fall for ‘Sharpiegate,’ Commerce Department officials have so far escaped scrutiny
How Police-Union Power Helped Increase Abuses
Trump’s rallies—a bizarre mishmash of numerology, tweetology, and white supremacy—are the rituals by which he stamps his name on the American dream. As he prepares to resume them for the first time in months, his followers are ready to receive. (“Nonbelievers, in other words, miss the point. They lack gnosis.”)
Why Juneteenth Matters: It was black Americans who delivered on Lincoln’s promise of “a new birth of freedom.”
Modern Monetary Theory: Neither modern, nor monetary, nor (mainly) theoretical ?
What’s behind Joe Biden’s mystique?
Trump’s Niece to Publish Book With ‘Harrowing’ Revelations
Trump has finally lost control of his narrative. Voters are ready to see him canceled.
Inside the Great British TERF War
How a Raise for Workers Can Be a Win for Everybody
The Police Weren’t Created to ‘Protect and Serve.’ They Were Created to ‘Maintain Order.’ A Brief Look at the History of Police in America
Why the District should buy land in a downturn
Cops and Teachers

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School ‘Reopening’ Won’t Solve the Schools-As-Daycare Problem

If Fairfax County and Arlington County in Virginia are any indication, I think many parents are going to be in for a rude awakening when school ‘resumes’ in September.

I put resume in scare quotes because having classes two days per week isn’t going to solve a serious problem for parents: schools are de facto day care for working parents, up and down the income ladder. Not just for little kids, but for younger teenagers too.

This is going to be a problem, and I sure as hell don’t have a solution, except to suggest that if you want school on normal(-ish) schedules, you better be wearing a fucking mask and not doing needless, high-exposure shit. Even in parts of the U.S. that have been relatively competent in their COVID-19 response (which might be damning with faint praise), there are still too many infected people to have large gatherings (especially on a daily basis). Want schools? Then crush the curve.

September is probably going to be awesome–in the biblical sense of the word.

Posted in COVID-19, Education | 1 Comment

Links 6/25/20


Linking Epidemiology and Whole-Genome Sequencing to Investigate Salmonella Outbreak, Massachusetts, USA, 2018
How much leeway is there to relax COVID-19 control measures?
Fifty-four scientists have lost their jobs as a result of NIH probe into foreign ties
Lynika Strozier, Who Researched Early Plant DNA, Dies at 35. She overcame a severe learning disability to become a scientist with “golden hands” and most recently a college instructor. She died of Covid-19.
A Living Library Filled With Killer Bacteria: Britain’s National Collection of Type Cultures, a library of human bacterial pathogens, turned 100 this year.


N.Y.C. Hired 3,000 Workers for Contact Tracing. It’s Not Going Well.
Is the Coronavirus Death Tally Inflated? Here’s Why Experts Say No
Brutal Force
Reforming Unemployment Benefits for After the Pandemic
In Defense of Laziness
The End of the American Century
Debating The Right Versus Collaborating With Them
D.C. punks Bad Moves expand their sound but keep their focus on ‘Untenable’
European Cities See Life Without Crowds Of Tourists — And Want To Keep It That Way
When Americans Don’t Riot, Politicians Feel Unrestrained
Armed Vigilantes Antagonizing Protesters Have Received a Warm Reception From Police
What’s antifa? Journalist Talia Lavin on the reality behind the media’s “pernicious lies”. Confused about antifa? So is everyone. “Anti-fascists have a purpose,” says Talia Lavin. “It’s in the f**king name”
Trump’s mismanagement helped fuel coronavirus crisis. Current and former administration officials blame the president for creating a no-bad-news atmosphere that stifled attempts to combat the outbreak.
Policing America’s caste system
How Violent Police Culture Perpetuates Itself
A State Politician Describes Getting Pepper-Sprayed by the NYPD (read the part about the age divide)
‘How can we all be wrong?’: Former NESN anchor Elle Duncan detailed her experiences of racism in Boston
My list of youthful crimes is long. I survived because I’m white.
New Mueller Report Details: Roger Stone Told Trump In Advance WikiLeaks Would Release Clinton Campaign Emails
Why did it take so long to set Aunt Jemima free?
Protesters in Boston are setting off fireworks all night every night. And it’s working.
Corporate Backers of the Blue: How Corporations Bankroll U.S. Police Foundations

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Sometimes in Politics, Timing Is Everything

In one of my daily roundups, I noted that, in D.C.’s local elections, anti-policing sentiment might have pushed one candidate over the top. Well, here’s the full story–the setup (boldface mine):

Janeese Lewis George didn’t think her views on policing would play much of a role in her campaign for D.C. Council.

When she decided to run against incumbent council member Brandon T. Todd to represent Ward 4, the northernmost corner of Washington where she grew up and has lived most of her life, George planned to focus most heavily on three legislative issues: tenants’ rights, workers’ wages and paid family leave, a topic she couldn’t bring up without crying the first several times she tried to campaign on the issue, because it meant talking in public about quitting her job to care for her dying father.

Policing was low on her list. But then her opponents noticed she had said she believes in taking away military equipment from Washington’s police force and cutting funds from the police budget.

To her surprise, an interest group paid for mailers blasting her for those views. Todd called the subject “one of the biggest differences” between himself and George. “Not once have I heard a Ward 4 resident say they want less police,” Todd said. “I want to put more officers on the street.”

And the shot:

And then came the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and voters in the District went to the polls at the very same time they went to the streets, flocking to the area around the White House night after night to demand police reform.

It turned out her views on policing were shared by other Washingtonians. And George, a 32-year-old self-identified democratic socialist, beat Todd, one of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s closest allies, in the Democratic primary by nearly 12 percentage points.

Among older voters, especially those who are trying to turn their neighborhoods around, underpolicing is still a salient issue. And Todd wasn’t a strong candidate, since, increasingly, he was viewed as only caring about himself. Still, it was a pretty devastating win for George, who took advantage of being the right time and place. Hopefully, she’ll live up to the rest of her platform.

Also, for those outside D.C., when Todd is described as “one of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s closest allies”, in a lot of quarters, that’s not viewed as a good statement about where Bowser stands on a lot of issues. George might end up pushing Bowser to places Bowser doesn’t want to go.

Posted in DC, Progressives | Leave a comment

Links 6/24/20

Screen Shot 2020-06-23 at 10.34.49 PM
Links for you. Science:

Evolution of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium driven by anthropogenic selection and niche adaptation
How — and When — Can the Coronavirus Vaccine Become a Reality?
Washington has yet to see unhealthful pollution levels this year. That’s a record.
With the Federal Health Megaphone Silent, States Struggle With a Shifting Pandemic (Trump and his entire cabinet have failed utterly)
You May Have Antibodies After Coronavirus Infection. But Not for Long. Antibodies to the virus faded quickly in asymptomatic people, scientists reported. That does not mean immunity disappears.


We’re pretending the virus is gone. That’ll make it worse. (excellent)
Here’s an Algorithm for Defunding the Police: Crime-risk scores reveal the problems that society has shunted onto law enforcement.
Trey’s Rage: An African’s Education in Being Black in America
What Kind of Society Values Property Over Black Lives?
What did police do in April during a crime low? It wasn’t solving homicide cases.
Trump loyalty purge roils Pentagon
Tulsa and the Many Sins of Racism: The ugly story didn’t end with the abolition of slavery.
Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.
Protesters Topple, Burn Statue of Confederate General Albert Pike In Judiciary Square
Covid-19 Is Bad. But It May Not Be the ‘Big One’: Health experts want a 9/11 Commission-style report on the US pandemic response. They say we must forecast and prepare for outbreaks as we do for wars or weather.
Trump SEC Pick Jay Clayton Connected to Mysterious Firm: He’s not the only one in this administration, but Trump’s SEC chief pick has some strange family holdings
In countries keeping the coronavirus at bay, experts watch U.S. case numbers with alarm
How police unions got their power: The rise of the PBA and lack of accountability in the NYPD
No One Is Attempting to Silence White Men: But plenty of them are freaking out as old power structures are starting to get ripped apart. (also, their business models are getting dinged)
Brazil ignored the warnings. Now, while other countries fret over a second coronavirus wave, it can’t get past its first.
How the New York City School System Failed the Test of Covid-19. The city’s leaders bungled the closing of the schools when the coronavirus struck. Can they be trusted to reopen them safely?
Scalia’s Ghost Comes Back To Bite Conservatives On The Ass
The US Needs to Be Treated Like the Racist Pariah State It Is (“Some habits stick long after the reason you adopted them pass on. The world is watching how white people here react to the George Floyd protests. I suggest they govern themselves accordingly.”)
Why Reparations Should Be One Of Today’s Top Political Demands
It’s Time for Roger Goodell to Change the Name of the Washington Football Team
Isn’t “Right-Wing Populism” Just Fascism?

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