Thoughts & Essays

Pandemic Notes: 7/27/20

It is Monday, July 27, 2020. There are 4,238,500 active cases of COVID-19 in the United States, that we know of. About 147,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus so far. (Johns Hopkins Dashboard)

The United States is running concentration camps for brown people and their kids. Still. That never stopped. Trump is rolling out his own personal Gestapo. The state-affiliated media channels, Fox News and OANN, are wall-to-wall conspiracy theories and rhetoric about “left-wing violence,” a thing which does not actually exist in any meaningful way.

This is fascism. The United States is currently a fascist police state. This is not even as bad as things can get.

For the love of whatever you believe in, vote Trump and the GOP out in November, and never, ever vote Republican again.

A couple of other quick things I want to call out, too, before we get to the saved stuff.

First up, we’re about 100 days out from the 2020 elections. You can check your voter registration status and register to vote if you need to here:

Second, be sure to call your electeds today to support the United States Postal Service. Trump and the GOP are actively working to destroy the USPS. Call your electeds and ask them to support the Heroes Act. Let them know you want the Trump administration to leave the damn post office alone.

Here’s a great big pile of links I’ve been saving up. Good reading, here.

Reading List

AP: AP Exclusive: Migrant kids held in US hotels, then expelled – “The Trump administration is detaining immigrant children as young as 1 in hotels, sometimes for weeks, before deporting them to their home countries under policies that have effectively shut down the nation’s asylum system during the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.”

Bellingcat: What You Need To Know About The Battle of Portland – “Depending on who you ask, Portland’s fifty-plus nights of protests either started on May 27th, when a group organized by several indigenous activists and other activists of color occupied the steps of the Justice Center, or on May 29th, Portland’s first night of large scale protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.”

Wired: Covid-19 Vaccines With ‘Minor Side Effects’ Could Still Be Pretty Bad – “The risk of nasty side effects in the Moderna and Oxford trials should be made clear now, before it ends up as fodder for the skeptics.”

The Atlantic: Trump Is Determined to Split the Country in Two – “He’s trying to rally red America by portraying blue cities as a threat, and then positioning himself as the human wall against them.”

NPR: Trump Expands Deployment Of Federal Agents To End ‘Explosion Of Shootings’ – “President Trump on Wednesday said his administration would ‘surge’ federal law enforcement officials to help fight crime in Chicago and Albuquerque, N.M., as part of the Justice Department’s controversial Operation Legend.”

New York Times: Can You Get Covid-19 Again? It’s Very Unlikely, Experts Say – “Reports of reinfection instead may be cases of drawn-out illness. A decline in antibodies is normal after a few weeks, and people are protected from the coronavirus in other ways.”

Buzzfeed News: “Hurting People At Scale”: Facebook’s Employees Reckon with the Social Network They’ve Built – “As the US heads towards a crucial and contentious presidential election, the world’s largest social network is facing an unprecedented cultural crisis.”

Seattle Times: Judge rules Seattle media companies must hand over unpublished protest images to police – “Five news outlets, including The Seattle Times, will have to comply with a subpoena and give the Seattle Police Department unpublished video and photos from a May 30 racial justice protest that turned violent, a judge ruled Thursday.”

Wired: It’s Time to Defund Social Media – “The algorithmically-warped information crisis can’t be fixed with half-measures.”

Foreign Policy: In Portland, the Baby Fascists Have Shown Their Face – “Fascism can happen in America. Some of it has already happened, and more will happen as Trump fights to stay in power.”

New York Magazine: A Doctor Who Specializes in Long-Term COVID-19 Effects Is Alarmed by What He Sees – “For thousands of Americans, a coronavirus diagnosis was only the beginning. For months now, people who recovered from the initial illness have been experiencing a wide range of persistent symptoms: shortness of breath, weakness, brain fog, fatigue, depression.”

Bloomberg: Dogs Can Sniff Out Coronavirus Infections, German Study Shows – “Dogs with a few days of training are capable of identifying people infected with the coronavirus, according to a study by a German veterinary university.”

TPM: Major COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Gets Underway With 30,000 Volunteers – “The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine study got underway Monday with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the U.S. government — one of several candidates in the final stretch of the global vaccine race.”

The Atlantic: You Can Stop Cleaning Your Mail Now – “In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines to clarify that while COVID-19 spreads easily among speakers and sneezers in close encounters, touching a surface ‘isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.’ Other scientists have reached a more forceful conclusion. ‘Surface transmission of COVID-19 is not justified at all by the science,’ Emanuel Goldman, a microbiology professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told me. He also emphasized the primacy of airborne person-to-person transmission.”