Thoughts & Essays

Pandemic Notes: 5/19/20

An impressive swath of Michigan is underwater this morning – much of it in the area where I used to live and where my friends and family mostly still live. I hopped on Facebook late last night to check in and found a slew of wild photos and dire warnings about flooding and dam failures. Yikes. That’ll wake you up in a hurry.

Not just Michigan, either. A bunch of the Midwest is dealing with flooding. Because you know what you need in the middle of a deadly pandemic? Flooding that causes evacuations and whatnot. Man. I have had enough of 2020.

Late-breaking addition to the flooding news – apparently the Edenville Dam failed about an hour ago, which is really super not good news for the area. You can read some more about that here.

⚠️ Rebekah Jones is a scientist who built Florida’s COVID-19 data portal. She was fired Monday morning (5/18) for refusing to manipulate Florida’s data to make the state look better, she says.

💉 Moderna released some initial analysis of its data from their Phase 1 trials on their COVID-19 vaccine. It looks promising. Phase 1 studies check for side effects, not efficacy, but so far it looks like there are mild side effects when there are any at all (in line with what you’d expect from any vaccine), and the vaccine appears to have caused the kind of immune response that you’d expect to see in a vaccine that provides at least some protection. Here’s a quick primer on what the results mean.

🤯 Here’s something that has absolutely nothing to do with COVID-19, but will still blow your mind. Jane Roe, of Roe v. Wade, came out against abortion in 1995, which was hailed as a huge victory for anti-choice crusaders. In a documentary made just before her death, Roe revealed that she was paid by anti-choice groups, including Operation Rescue, to change her position and come out as being against abortion. Holy shit.

🤡 Back to COVID-19: The Trump administration is planning to abruptly end National Guard deployments to states for COVID-19 assistance just before the Guards would become eligible for benefits and retirement and whatnot. Several states rely on National Guard assistance to conduct contact tracing and testing, among other things.

😷 Wear your damn masks, people. We’ve already heard from one study that shows that if 80% of a population wears masks, transmission of COVID-19 is cut to 1/12th of its rate. Well, here’s a second study that shows that COVID-19 transmission dropped by about 75% when subjects were wearing surgical masks. Wear a mask, wear a mask, wear a mask.

🍊 Trump is apparently threatening to pull the US out of WHO unless they make “improvements.” He didn’t specify what improvements, and it doesn’t matter what they are, because the point of this pronouncement is to pass blame for the US’s COVID-19 debacle on to anyone besides himself.

⚖️ Hey, who’s ready for Impeachment Part 2? The House Judiciary Committee is.

Well, that’s about all of today I can stand. Stay safe – and dry! – out there!