Thoughts & Essays

Quarantine Notes: 4/21/20

It’s a gray and dreary day where I’m at, which is not making me feel particularly motivated. 😴

Quarantine notes below; updates through the day.

πŸ“° The New York Times has a look at what we can expect for the rest of the year. It’s not what we used to call “normal,” but there’s some hope.

πŸ’Š The latest study on hydroxychloroquine, the drug Trump’s been hyping, shows no benefit and it resulted in more patient deaths. This wasn’t a controlled, proper study, just a retrospective, so the result here isn’t carved in stone. But still, not great news.

πŸ‘‰ is a page full of resources and recommendations for stepping back out of pandemic mode. Lots of good information there. It’s put together by a group of public health and crisis experts with lots of government experience.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ According to Andy Slavitt, a former Obama appointee who seems to have made it his pandemic mission to coordinate literally everything, the Senate has reached a deal on re-funding the Payroll Protection Program and will vote on it today. Seriously, Slavitt’s a good follow on Twitter. He also has a Medium blog, but he’s not as fast at keeping that updated.

🍊 Late last night, Trump tweeted, “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” Which is like, what the fuck. Okay, “invisible enemy” capitalized? It’s a virus, not a goddamn ghost. Also, WTF does immigration have to do with anything that’ll help curtail the coronavirus? I’ll answer that for you: Nothing. He just hates brown people and is seizing an opportunity to toss red meat to his base.

πŸ˜’ Ordinarily I’m a big fan of NPR, but they published this today: “Bitter Taste For Coffee Shop Owner, As New $600 Jobless Benefit Closed Her Business.” This article is strictly a coffee shop owner in Kentucky bitching that her staff didn’t want to come back to work due, according to her, to the extra unemployment insurance people are getting right now. A few things here: the reporter didn’t interview any of the employees, Kentucky’s got about 3,000 CV19 cases right now (not great, not terrible), and Kentucky’s minimum wage is $7.25/hour (assuming they’re not tipped employees; if they are they’re only making $2.13/hour). So here’s this lady, mad she had to close her business because her employees didn’t want to risk dying for $7.25/hour and they didn’t have to since they’re getting decent benefits for a change. And NPR tells the story entirely from her point of view and makes this all sound like “the evils of the welfare state in action!!1!” Jesus Christ, NPR, what are you thinking.

🦠 STAT News has an excellent rundown on everything we know about COVID-19 immunity right now. Great read.

πŸ˜’ Oh, look, here’s another article about restaurant owners who are mad because restaurants don’t pay their workers enough to risk their lives. As a former restaurant worker of some 15 years, let me just ask why in the hell would I go back to making $2.30-ish an hour plus tips that aren’t coming in right now because everything’s take-out for the chance to risk my life, when I could stay safe at home and actually have enough money to pay my bills, which I couldn’t always do on tips in the first place? Is it for the abuse you have to take from customers and restaurant managers? Is that why I should risk my life for waaaay less money? Look man, I loved my time in the restaurant industry, but it has some fucking serious problems it needs to address, and if it does nothing else, the pandemic is sure the hell pointing that out.

πŸ›’οΈ Here’s an article from yesterday talking about Monday’s massive oil crash. The oil crash isn’t entirely the pandemic’s fault, not exactly. OPEC and Russia were already fighting over oil prices, which caused OPEC to ramp up production to drive pricing down in a price war. Then Trump got involved, and you know everything he touches turns to shit. And then we had a pandemic and everyone was staying home and not driving anywhere, and the bottom fell right out of the market.

😷 A husband-and-wife, doctor-and-engineer combo in Columbus, Ohio may have just figured out how to make N95 masks reusable.

You know what, for starting out such a gray and dreary day, it’s turned into quite a decent afternoon. I think I’m headed out for a nice socially-distanced walk, folks.