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Police, Protest , and Racial Justice

Police, federal agents, protests, and racial justice

 

After a short section on clashes between police, federal agents, and protesters in Portland and other cities, you will find more general links about police, protests, and racial justice.


Trump's Portland crackdown is controversial. The man spearheading it might be doing so illegally. (Aaron Blake, Washington Post, 7-22-2020) Experts say acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf can't legally serve in that role, compounding issues raised by the crackdown.
Trump’s Effort to Provoke Violence Is Working (David A. Graham, The Atlantic, 7-28-2020) The president sent federal agents into Portland with the apparent aim of inciting a confrontation.
Federal Officers Deployed in Portland Didn’t Have Proper Training, D.H.S. Memo Said (New York Times, 7-18-2020) The tactical agents deployed by homeland security include officials from a group known as BORTAC, the Border Patrol’s equivalent of a SWAT team, a highly trained group that normally is tasked with investigating drug smuggling organizations, as opposed to protesters in cities. The agents lacked sufficient training in riot control or mass demonstrations. Rather than tamping down persistent protests in Portland, Ore., a militarized presence from federal officers seems to have re-energized them.
What to Know About Portland's Crackdown on Protesters and How You Can Help (Chelsea Sanchez, Harpers Bazaar, 7-21-2020) The Trump administration is trying to make an example out of Portland. But protesters and supporters are refusing to let him. 'Trump has since defended his decision to deploy armed units to confront Portland protesters, tweeting on Sunday, "We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!" '
Federal Officers Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab People In Portland, DHS Confirms (Jonathan Levinson, Conrad Wilson, James Doubek, and Suzanne Nuyen, NPR, 7-17-2020) NPR reported that the federal officers deployed come from the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Border Patrol Tactical Unit, and are intended to protect federal property. They have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least Tuesday. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation about why they are being arrested, and driving off. The New York Times additionally found that the units deployed are not specialized in nor have they been trained in riot control or mass demonstrations.
Cities in Bind as Turmoil Spreads Far Beyond Portland (Mike Baker, Thomas Fuller and Shane Goldmacher, NY Times, 7-26-2020) Galvanized in part by the deployment of federal agents in Portland, Ore., protesters have returned to the streets in Oakland, Seattle and elsewhere.
Police and protesters clash in violent weekend across the US (Jeff Martin, AP, 6-27-2020) Protests took a violent turn in several U.S. cities over the weekend with demonstrators squaring off against federal agents outside a courthouse in Portland, Oregon, forcing police in Seattle to retreat into a station house and setting fire to vehicles in California and Virginia.
N.Y.P.D. Says It Used Restraint During Protests. Here’s What the Videos Show. (video, NY Times, 7-14-2020) The New York Times found more than 60 videos that show the police using force on protesters during the first 10 days of demonstrations in the city after the death of George Floyd. A review of the videos, shot by protesters and journalists, suggests that many of the police attacks, often led by high-ranking officers, were not warranted
Trump Has Brought America's Dirty Wars Home (Stuart Schrader, New Republic, 7-21-1010) The authoritarian tactics we've exported around the world in the name of national security are now being deployed in Portland.
'Wall of Moms' joins Portland's anti-racism protests (BBC, 7-22-2020) Anti-racism protests have been taking place in Portland, Oregon, for almost two months - but in recent days they have been joined by a growing number of "moms." The "Wall of Moms" - as they have been dubbed - have been acting as a human shield between the protesters and the federal officers sent in to disperse them.
Conservative media helps Trump perform 'law and order' in Portland, with risks for November (Isaac Stanley-Becker, Washington Post, 7-22-2020) The strategy, resembling the focus on the migrant caravans in 2018, left some Republicans in bellwether counties uneasy.
Elected leaders need to take action to stop the rioting (Jeff Barker, Opinion, Oregon Live, 7-8-2020) "Oregon supports free speech. Go through the normal channels, obtain a permit and then follow the rules in the permit. You can march, you can gather to listen to speeches, you can hold up any sign you'd like even if it makes the rest of the world uncomfortable. But what you can't do is break the law." Barker was a law enforcement officer for 31 years and has represented House District 28 in the Oregon Legislature since 2003.

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Problems with policing generally


What should be done about America's policing problem? (The Stream, Al Jazeera, 6-15-2020) Driven by nationwide protests, calls are growing to boost accountability and oversight of US law enforcement.
Terror Lynching in America (Equal Justice Initiative, video, 10-11-16)
Trump Sidesteps Mentions of Systemic Racism as He Signs Police-Friendly Executive Order (KHN Morning Briefing, 6-17-2020) Advocates and Democrats say President Donald Trump's executive order on police violence falls far short of what's needed to make actual changes to the system. The White House focused on police-backed ideas, such as a national misconduct database, and continued to insist the problems lie with a few officers rather than deeper issues. Congress is also taking steps to address reform, but the parties are on a collision course with their bills.
In wake of protests, New York lawmakers repeal law used to keep police misconduct records secret (Anjali Berdia, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 6-10-2020) In the wake of widespread protests against police violence and racial injustice, New York lawmakers voted on Tuesday to repeal Section 50-a of the state’s Civil Rights Law, a provision used to keep police disciplinary records secret.
Why Policing Is Broken (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 6-17-2020) Years of research on brutality cases shows that bad incentives in politics and city bureaucracies are major drivers of police violence. In wake of protests, New York lawmakers repeal law used to keep police misconduct records secret.
How Police Unions Fight Reform (William Finnegan, New Yorker, 8-3-2020) Police unions enjoy a political paradox. Conservatives traditionally abhor labor unions but support the police. The left is critical of aggressive policing, yet has often muted its criticism of police unions—which are, after all, public-sector unions, an endangered and mostly progressive species. Police unions have spent decades amassing influence. They have often used it to combat what Patrick Lynch, the head of New York City's P.B.A., calls "pro-criminal advocates."
The '3.5% rule': How a small minority can change the world (David Robson, BBC, 5-13-19) Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change.
The Defunding Debate ((Jack Herrera, Columbia Journalism Review, Summer 2020) Suddenly, defunding the police had exploded as a central campaign plot point. Look at the issue in historical context.
'Defund the police' calls grow amid protests. Reallocations could fund minority entrepreneurship instead (Steve Strauss, USA Today, 6-10-2020) Defunding the police certainly does not mean not having any police. But it does mean that some of the money used to fund police forces can likely be better spent if the goal is long-term safety, and to begin to eradicate the poverty gap and racial disparity between white and black America that fosters crime.
Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence (Teaching Tolerance)
Leo Tolstoy vs. the Police (Jennifer Wilson, NY Times, 6-25-2020) Why the great Russian novelist's critique of state-sponsored violence bears thinking about now. Tolstoy's views, particularly his strong invective against state-sponsored violence, riled authorities who consequently placed the writer under near-constant police surveillance.
Screening police officers before they kill (Jack El-Hai, Medium, 1-4-16) Psychiatrist Douglas M. Kelley found that one-third to one-half of America's police officers during the 1950s were psychologically unqualified to protect citizens or enforce laws. Kelley was uniquely qualified to investigate the psychological traits of people in positions of authority. During the months immediately after World War II, Kelley, then a U.S. Army captain, was sent to the jail in Nuremberg, Germany, to evaluate the sanity of the top 22 captured Nazi leaders awaiting trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The History of Policing in the United States, Part 1 of 6 parts. (Gary Potter, Eastern Kentucky University Police Studies Online) The development of policing in the United States closely followed the development of policing in England. In the early colonies policing took two forms. It was both informal and communal, which is referred to as the "Watch," or private-for-profit policing, which is called "The Big Stick" (Spitzer, 1979).
Violence Interrupter The Interrupters is a 2011 documentary film, produced by Kartemquin Films, that tells the story of three violence interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. ... The film features the work of CeaseFire, an initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention.
He used to sell drugs on D.C. streets. Now he's paid to make them safer. (Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 12-13-18) Duane Cunningham is a member of the District's Violence Interrupters, a group that works in troubled neighborhoods to try to stop violence before it happens.
Defund police? Some cities have already started by investing in mental health instead (Lindsay Schnell, MSN, USA Today, 6-20-2020) As calls to "defund the police" echo around the country at Black Lives Matter protests, a handful of communities already know what that looks like as they invest millions of dollars into mental health resources and response teams instead of just traditional policing. These crisis intervention teams typically do not include an armed, uniformed officer but do feature counselors, social workers and paramedics. And Eugene's 30-year-old program CAHOOTS, or Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets, is the model other cities are looking to as they form their own programs. SEE In Cahoots: How the unlikely pairing of cops and hippies became a national model (Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick, Oregon Register/Guard, 10-20-19)
These Cities Are Stopping Police From Responding to Homelessness, Drug Use, and Mental Health Issues (Emma Ockerman, Vice, 6-17-2020) Los Angeles proposed the change Tuesday. San Francisco and Albuquerque have already made it.
What does 'defund the police' mean and why some say 'reform' is not enough (Ryan W. Miller, USA Today, 6-8-2020)
Most Americans do not want to “defund” the police (The Economist, 6-18-2020) But they support other reforms.
Defunding Everything But the Police Short, effective video with a message
How ‘Defund the Police’ went from moonshot to mainstream (Maya King, Politico, 6-17-2020) To many watching the historic protests against racism and police brutality unfold across the country, it was a call that came out of nowhere: Defund the Police. Yet hours after the first videos of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer went viral online, those three words became the rallying cry of a movement that had suddenly won America’s undivided attention. See more stories on the topic here: The Deep Roots Behind Seemingly Sudden Rise of 'Defund the Police' (KHN Morning Briefing, 6-17-2020)
Protests focus on over-policing. But under-policing is also deadly. (Rod K. Brunson, WaPo, 6-12-2020) People in high-crime neighborhoods already don’t trust law enforcement to protect them.

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85+ things to do (listen, watch, read, share, do) during the pandemic

Updated and expanded 7-14-2020. The list keeps growing!

Originally 55+ things to do during the pandemic    (April 2020)

 

• Watch the amazing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Chroma, Grace, Takademe, Revelations (Lincoln Center at Home -- and at the Movies, 2015)
Cool science sites for kids (Do safe experiments at home!)
Parent Resources: Maryland Public Schools (a nifty list of links to activities and learning aids for kids to do while homebound. Sorted by grade level.)
All About Birds (the Cornell Lab's bird guide)
---Bird Song Opera (ShakeUp, a sound forge for original music and sound design for film, advertisement, events and interactive applications, based in Berlin)
---Merlin Bird ID Cornell Lab's bird identification app (available only on the App Store for iPhone)
Smart Bird ID (with this bird ID app you can identify bird by camera or microphone--that is, by sound)
---Scroll to bottom for links about building bird houses for various types of birds.
Kids vs. Plastic (National Geographic) Save the Earth from plastic with this DIY crafting series of easy-to make, eco-friendly party favors and school gadgets. Watch and learn how to make jeans pencil cases, paper jewelry beads, reusable sandwich bags, and more!
Clean and disinfect your home (video, CNN how-to lesson)
Start gathering and telling your family history. See Good interview questions for the family and The art and craft of interviewing (Pat McNees's site) and Great interview questions and guides (Telling Your Story). Do some of it on Zoom!
• Talk "face to face" with your friends and family on Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. See Using Zoom for a family or office teleconference call (or class)
Tree Identification Guide (Tree Musketeers, an informative site) As you walk see how many types of trees you can identify. This site has great explanations, identifications and many pictographic charts all about trees. Learn about the differences between various conifer and broadleaf trees.
Learn where journalists get their medical news and updates(Writers and Editors)
• Participate in Virtual fitness classes (Senior Planet)
• Explore100 years of veterans stories from World War I to the Iraq War (The History Channel)
• Watch events from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (archived--watch free)
Standing Pilates for Seniors (The girl with the Pilates mat) 30 minutes of exercise.
• Watch the free webcast of the Paris Review Lit Fête: A Virtual Celebration of Writers and Writing(June 9, 8 pm). Indeed, many literary conferences will probably be going virtual this year! See Writers conferences, workshops, book fairs, and other learning places
I spend my day working in the hospital. Then I come home and bake. (Tamal Ray, Opinion, WaPo, 4-13-2020) The only thing I can do in the face of a global disaster is focus on the patients in front of me and keep myself and my colleagues safe.But in my kitchen, my quiet corner of the world, I still have control.
• Check out Pourhouse Trivia, which hosts online trivia games every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the pandemic.

TED’s summer culture list: 114 podcasts, books, TV shows, movies and more to nourish you (Ideas.TED.com) This list is divided into three buckets: “Things to listen to (primarily podcasts)”;“Things to read (basically books)”; and “Things to watch (mainly TV shows and movies)”<.
• ****Listen to Dozens of really good radio talk shows and podcasts (a curated list of excellent programs, with links)
• Listen to Sidedoor (podcasts from the Smithsonian)
• ***Stream all of the Library of Congress author webcasts from the National Book Festival (two decades' worth) H/T Holly Pollinger.
• Watch Carnegie Science programs on YouTube--on various topics, including the MESSENGER space probe; Life at the Extremes: Microbes, Salt and Pressure; and other topics.
Dancing ballet at home (les danseurs de l'Opéra de Paris dancing alone together, by videoconference). Play this where children can watch and see if they don't join in.
• Learn the difference between memoir and autobiography and start writing your life story, or your family (hi)story.

• Read memoirs and personal accounts of vocation, avocation, occupation, profession -- "calling"
• Read memoirs about friendship, family, and other relationships
Choose the music you want played at your (or someone else's) funeral or memorial service.
Missing Sounds of New York (NY Public Library)
Coronavirus: A Book for Children (with artwork by The Gruffalo’s Axel Scheffler) Read free online.
Facing the Rising Tide (The New Group) A free digital festival of play readings and conversations about environmental racism, the climate crisis and hope.
Stories from Audible For as long as schools are closed, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. All stories (including Harry Potter) are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.
A digital directory of remote learning resources (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators)
Remember Books? Researcher Shows How Reading Is Superior to Screen Time (Nick Zagorski, Psychiatric News, 3-20-2020)
Small free libraries offering solace amid virus shutdowns (Michelle A. Monroe and Russell Contreras, AP/Tuscon.com, 5-17-2020) More people have been selecting and donating books since the pandemic.
Running list of Kids and YA Lit available free online during the crisis (Publishers Weekly links)
Free Online Book Access for Students and Kids (Publishers Lunch links)
Learn at Home Materials (Scholastic projects to keep kids reading, thinking, growing)
Listen online to 'The Moth'
• Read about story structure and the art of storytelling
• Read Will Storr on the Science of Storytelling (8 Longreads)
• Listen to old episodes of This American Life and all the other really good (intelligent) radio talk shows and podcasts. Do this while cleaning the house, working on your car, or organizing the garage!
• Stream Films and video from the Library of Congress (all free), as described in Film Treasures, Streaming Courtesy of the Library of Congress (New York Times story plus links, 4-3-2020)
What to Stream: Eighty-Three of the Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now (Richard Brody, The Front Row, New Yorker, 4-10-2020)
The Best Movies on Amazon Prime Video Right Now (Jason Bailey, NY Times, 4-16-2020)
The 50 Best Movies to Watch With Your Parents During Quarantine (Nate Jones, Vulture, 3-31-2020)
The 50 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (Jason Bailey, NY Times, 4-14-2020)
The 100 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 4-10-2020)
The Best Documentaries on Netflix Will Change How You See the World (Hilary Weaver and Esquire Editors, 4-10-2020)
The 50 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now (Noel Murray, NY Times, 4-17-2020)
Stream 80 Indigenous Films from Latin America & the Caribbean for Free on YouTube (Repeating Islands)
Selections from the National Film Registry (YouTube playlist) Check out "The House I Live In" with a young Frank Sinatra, made in 1945.
Read "Why's This So Good?" (a"collaboration on the magic of long-form stories" (Nieman Storyboard pieces that explore what makes classic narrative nonfiction stories worth reading). And then
Read outstanding examples of narrative nonfiction online
New Netflix documentary tells the bittersweet story of a lesbian couple forced to keep their love secret for 60 years (Lily Wakefield, Pink News, 4-23-2020)
• Watch the wonderful Sondheim tribute: Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration a fundraiser for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), an organization that connects performing and visual artists with youth from underserved communities in the U.S., encouraging them to break the cycle of poverty. You can Donate here.
Television (wonderful YouTube video, a historic celebration of TV on its 10-year anniversary. "It is much like a radio in appearance.")
• ****Discover addictive and wonderful TV and cable shows (Writers and Editors)
• Do a virtual tour of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. From close-up examinations of some the collection’s best-known works to 360-degree virtual strolls though the museum, the website is the ticket to a perfect (and socially distanced) excursion for art lovers.
We're All Homebound -- The Coronavirus Song Claire and Mel Vatz (of Pittsburgh) sing an ode to our pandemic, to the tune of the Simon & Garfunkel classic “Homeward Bound.”
For the Longest Time Phoenix Chamber Choir (Vancouver's super a capella choir) sings Quarantine version of Billy Joel song.
• Follow the lead of the talented LeBaron family singing 'One Day More' from Les Misérables to Karaoke.
Senior Gold Dance Workout (exercise class at home) Or try this one: 20 minute exercise workout for Beginners and Seniors
COVID safety precautions (sung to The Sound of Music, Do Re Me)
Quarantine Music Video "Dance Song (for the End of the World)" - Lizzy & The Triggermen a 5-minute dance video pick-me-up for those getting Cabin Fever
Watch one of the National Zoo's webcams Watch the cheetah, the naked mole, the giant panda, the lion, or the elephant!
• Read Becoming by Michele Obama, and/or watch the documentary (on Netflix).v
Authors: Plan your literary estate (blog post, Writers and Editors)
Check out blogs and podcasts about book publishing
12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch (video, Travel & Leisure links to the tours)
View museum art online (Google, Arts and Culture)
• (Adults:) Read F--k the Bread. The Bread Is Over. by Sabrina Orah Mark (Paris Review (5-2-2020), whose column Happily focuses on fairy tales and motherhood. (H/T Abby Rasminsky
• Listen to earlier presidents' talks: "Obama out:" President Barack Obama's hilarious final White House correspondents' dinner speech (4-30-16) George W. Bush's powerful message of hope during the coronavirus pandemic (YouTube)
Recreate classical art with things you can find at home (Sad and Useless)
See New York City nearly empty (Stephen J. Reynolds video)
Download and color in beautiful coloring books (Biodiversity Heritage Library, a worldwide consortium of natural history, botanical, research, and national libraries working together to digitize the natural history literature in their collections and make it available for open access) Download individual images or annual collections, color them, and share them on social media using the event hashtag #ColorOurCollections.
Virtual First Amendment Classroom (National Coalition Against Censorship)
• Watch trailer for The Plot Against America and decide if you want to watch the HBO series.
How to paint good (YouTube video) Bob Ross - Mountain Ridge Lake
The Classical Station (The ClassicalStation.org, WCPE-FM, Central North Carolina) Can be heard online anywhere 24/7) Including free operas being streamed by the Met and the Vienna State Opera during the pandemic.
La traviata in full from The Royal Opera (YouTube, as part of the #OurHouseToYourHouse series)
Anastasia in full from The Royal Ballet, a YouTube Premiere of Kenneth MacMillan's Anastasia, a piece inspired by the true story of Anna Anderson, a woman who believed herself to be Anastasia, youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and the only survivor from the assassination of the Romanovs in 1918. <
Light Shall Lift Us: Opera Singers Unite in Song More than 100 opera singers unite (from afar) in a song of hope and solidarity for a virtual performance of LIGHT SHALL LIFT US.
Toronto Symphony Plays Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring From Their Homes (Listen to 'Appalachian Spring')
• Listen to Hour-Long Stories from This American Life.
Read up on pandemics (links to great fiction and nonfiction about pandemics through history)
• Organize all those plastic lids and containers, or have the kids do so.
Join millions of people reducing their plastic waste.


Best birdhouses (aka bird boxes, nest boxes)
---Best Bird Houses for Different Types of Birds (Perky Pet)
---How to Build a Bird Box in Your Garden (My Job Quote, UK)
---House Wren: Nest box Plan and Information (All About Birdhouses, NestWatch, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
---Nest Shelf: American Robin, Barn Swallow, Eastern and Say’s Phoebes (NestWatch and State of Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources)
---How to Build a Birdhouse for Martins (Will Shelton, Mother Earth News, Feb/March 1998) Martins not only eat copious amounts of insects but also scare away hawks and crows.
---Building Bird Houses for Cavity Nesters (Wild Bird Watching) Very informative, with dimensions for birdhouses for various types of birds. One size does not fit all when it comes to building bird houses. Bluebirds and House Wrens have different entrance hole sizes and floor to opening height requirements. You also must provide easy access for clean out. You can do this simply by hinging the front panel or one of the side panels or by having a removable floor or roof. And more such practical tips.
---Finally! A Bluebird House You Don't Have to Replace (Wild Bird Watching) Going Green Bluebird House by Woodlink


Largest human mattress dominoes (YouTube, Guinness World Records) Watch. Then discuss why people would go to this much trouble for this kind of honor.

H/T to Susan Pourian, Parkside Green; Jane Friedman, The Hot Sheet; Marcy Davis (Readers, Streamers, and Watchers);  Abby Rasminsky,  Lynne Lamberg, Holly Pollinger, and others!

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Practical links for Parkside Village (Bethesda, Montgomery County, MD)

(Bethesda, MD)

Crisis hotlines
Safety info, preparing for disaster, emergencies
Election info
Coronavirus-related links
Transportation
Buying groceries or takeout and dining out
Food assistance programs in MontCo MD
Things to do while sheltering in place
Outdoor Maryland
Where to donate used computers
Village organizations in MontCo MD
Composting info from Mom's
 Parkside Village website and resources

 

Let me know in Comments section if you have further suggestions. Leave your email address in case I have questions

 

CRISIS HOTLINES IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY

• Montgomery County Crisis Center (24-hour): 240-777-4000
DHHS Building 1301 Piccard Dr., Rockville, MD 20850
1-855-634-HOPE (4673)
Suicide and crisis hotlines, Maryland
• EveryMind Hotline: 301-424-0656

 

ELECTION INFO IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Voter search (where to find out if you are registered to vote, or vote by mail, in Maryland--if you aren't sure, this is where to find out.) You can use this site to
    Review your voter registration record.
    Request a duplicate voter registration card.
    Find out where to vote.
    Find out your voting districts.
    Find out your local board of elections.
    See the status of your mail-in or provisional ballot.
    View your sample ballot.

Voting Center Lookup Find your polling place.
Rules and Information for Voters (and Rumor Control)

 

SAFETY INFO; PREPARING FOR DISASTER, EMERGENCIES

File of Life (MontCo Fire Department) Fill this out and post it on your fridge. It enables Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel to obtain a quick and accurate medical history when a patient or family member is unable to do so.
Maryland Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) (PDF) Advance directives are legal forms, but they are NOT medical orders. Give your doctor a copy of your advance directive, but be aware of situations in which your advance directive may be ignored.

       Before you undergo a procedure or surgery, or if you have an advanced illness, it may be even more important to be sure your medical team has a copy of your Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), as it in called in Maryland (in other states it may be called a MOST, POLST, POST, COLST, TPOPP, LaPOST, etc. The POLST form (aka MOLST, POST, MOST, ETC.) is a medical order--that's the one emergency and medical personnel are supposed to obey in a medical emergency or a life-threatening situation.

         State forms allow you to create these documents which specify the type of care you would like in an emergency medical situation; because these are medical orders signed by doctors, they are the forms emergency medical personnel are most likely to follow. Figure out what your own wishes (and possible options) are or may be in future, share your choices, and talk with your family about what you prefer. If you wish to have no life-sustaining measures taken, the family member who lives near you and sees you all the time may know that and honor your wishes; the family member who rarely sees you and feels guilty about it may want to save your life no matter what (or may want to spare you suffering, despite your wishes to make every effort to extend your life). If the family cannot agree on what care to provide, and if there is no MOLST or POLST, the emergency care medical team is likely to try to save your life, no matter what. Talk with everyone but also express your wishes in writing in a place where your wishes can be found. File one copy with your doctor(s).
Check for safety: A home fall prevention checklist for older adults (CDC and MetLife)
Preventing falls, or learning how to do them right (elsewhere on this website)
Preventing or dealing with frailty
ElderSAFE Community Resource Guide Education, advocacy, and shelter. The first program of its kind in the Washington, DC metropolitan area to provide safe temporary shelter to older adults experiencing elder abuse. (SmithLife Communities)
Preventing fraud, elder abuse, guardianship problems and romance scams (general, housing and financial fraud; home improvement scams; telemarketing and phone fraud, including IRS scams; ATM and tax fraud and identity theft; elder abuse; fraud, abuse, neglect in elder guardianship system; where to monitor credit reports, check a charity's status.
The Costs of Aging Handbook (National Aging in Place Council) Tools to make plans for late in life.
Resources for Seniors in Montgomery County (Jewish Council on Aging)
Seniors: Prepare for Emergencies (Maryland Emergency Management Agency, or MEMA) see also MEMA publications and News.

 

CORONAVIRUS-RELATED LINKS


Maryland Cases of Coronavirus
COVID-19 Information Portal (Montgomery County)
Montgomery County Volunteer Center
FAQs about coronavirus in Maryland
COVID-19 Testing sites Available for Maryland residents with a valid ID (driver’s license, U.S. passport, Social Security card).
What to do if you are sick (CDC information)
Grandiff Medical Supplies (11631 Nebel Rd. in Rockville, 301-816-9100). One place to buy a pulse oximeter. One way to identify "more patients who have Covid pneumonia sooner and treat them more effectively," without waiting for a test, "requires detecting silent hypoxia early through a common medical device that can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies: a pulse oximeter." ~ NY Times piece about hypoxia, The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients. "Covid pneumonia initially causes a form of oxygen deprivation we call "silent hypoxia" — "silent" because of its insidious, hard-to-detect nature." Even patients without respiratory complaints had Covid pneumonia.
Coronavirus: Nearly everything you need to know (links and brief summaries)
Reopening Montgomery (which phase of reopening is going on in which segments of the economy)
AARP Coronavirus Information Tele-Town Halls Thursdays | 1:00 pm | 855-274-9507. Experts share information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself.
Montgomery County Volunteer Center Find a volunteer opportunity.

 

 

TRANSPORTATION

COVID-19 Essential Delivery Services - Call-N-Ride
Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities: Explore Your Transportation Options in Montgomery
Senior Transportation, Montgomery County, MD
Transportation Network Directory for People with Disabilities & Adults 50+ (PDF, February 2017) Don't know how to get where you want to go? Call CONNECT-A-RIDE for answers and assistance: 301-738-3252 (V)  703-323-6494 (V)  Basically, few rides will be given during pandemic.

https://accessjca.org/connect-a-ride

E-mail: ConnectARide@AccessJCA.org

 

BUYING GROCERIES OR TAKEOUT FOOD and DINING OUT

Teens Helping Seniors for contact-less grocery delivery
Guide to reopened restaurants (Bethesda Magazine, 6-10-2020)
Bethesda Streetery Beginning June 10, sections of Norfolk, Cordell, and Woodmont Avenues, as well as Veterans Park. These streets will be shut down to vehicular traffic, set up with socially-distanced tables and seats that will be cleaned after each use, and we'll be able to buy food from local restaurants and enjoy it right outside their doors.
Local restaurants that are providing carryout and delivery (Bethesda Magazine, March 2020)
Groceries/Transportation in Montgomery County
Grocery delivery (the ultimate pandemic lifeline) is falling short. Consumers are reporting weeks-long waits on Instacart, Shipt and other leading platforms as demand far outpaces the supply. Check with your local village to see if they have volunteers to help elderly shoppers, in particular.

 

 

FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS IN THE COUNTY

For food assistance, please call the Food Access Call Center at 311.
Food Resources / Recursos Alimenticios
Multilingual info about food assistance programs
Food Assistance Resource Directory (FARD) (Montgomery County)
Capital Area Food Bank
Adventist Community Services food pantries
Food Assistance Resource Map (Montgomery County Food Council)

 

 

THINGS TO DO WHILE SHELTERING IN PLACE


85+ things to do while sheltering in place
Find a Little Free Library near you (wherever you are) This by no means links to all of them--just those that bothered to register.
Montgomery County MD Library Databases Much material for looking things up or just reading online.
Rec Room (Montgomery County Recreation) A virtual recreation hub for residents to enjoy from home. DIY arts & crafts, fitness videos, virtual classes, trips, tours and enjoyable recreational ideas for any age.
Oasis Lifelong Learning Online Progamming
Engage@HOME You Tube Channel (for caregivers) from Montgomery County Caregiver Support Program
Suburban Hospital online programming
Bringing Out the Best in Us During the Pandemic (Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director's Blog, 5-19-2020) The term “good neighbor” definitely applies to Pablo Vidal-Ribas Belil, a postdoctoral fellow at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Though Vidal-Ribas has his hands full caring for his 4-year-old son in their condo, which is located near NIH’s main campus in Bethesda, MD, he wasn’t too busy to notice that some of his neighbors were in need of help.
Montgomery County Volunteer Center Find a volunteer opportunity.

 

THINGS TO DO OUTDOORS


Maryland Dept of Natural Resources Links to lots of interesting outdoor stuff: Angler's log, boat registration, COMPASS Portal, Find a licensed tree expert, interactive maps, licensing and registration, Maryland fishing report, Maryland Natural Resources Police, Mobile App, online store, outdoor adventures, park and camping reservations, state tree nursery, tide finder, water access guide.
AccessDNR Official mobile app for MD Dept of Natural Resources
Parkside GREEN Nature and Wildlife at Parkside  (Susan Pourian's brainchild. Lots of birds and deer. Pablo Vidal-Rivas Belil's photos in particular are stunning. Do these as a slide show and see the photos enlarged.)

 

 

WHERE TO DONATE USED COMPUTERS


Where to donate used computers in Montgomery County, MD (MontCo Libraries excellent list and links)
Where to Donate or Recycle Electronics (EPA)
Certified Electronics Recyclers
Electronics Donation and Recycling (EPA)
How to Find a Certified Recycler (EPA)

 

VILLAGE ORGANIZATIONS


Parkside Village website and resources (lots of useful links to resources!)
Villages in Montgomery County, Maryland (a map from HHS)
Washington Area Village Exchange (WAVE) Villages in the DC metropolitan area
Village to Village Network (a national network)

 

 

COMPOSTING INFO FROM MOM'S

 

If you don't have a compost service at home*, you can bring your compostable items, food scraps, etc. to MOM's all year round.

MOM's explains the compost cycle:

"1. Eat tasty food.

2. Throw food scraps in the compost bin at MOM's.

3. Microorganisms and critters like earthworms break down the food scraps.

4. Food scraps decompose into a nutrient-rich soil amendment which helps plants grow."

Composting helps reduce your trash output and reduces landfills, trash burns, methane gasses and more. Put food waste back to work for the earth! *Compost Crew has weekly service at Parkside and a special rate for Parksiders of $20/month -- use the code PARKSIDECOMPOSTS at checkout and learn more about composting https://compostcrew.com

Learn about other ways to get involved from home to help protect and restore the environment via many of MOM's partnerships with groups including the Rock Creek Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and more! Check it out! https://momsorganicmarket.com/get-involved-from-home/

Toilet paper sustainability scorecard Plenty of competitively priced varieties of tissue with minimal impact on forests. The Issue With Tissue report’s scorecard assigns grades to all the major brands of toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues, as well as popular house brands at leading supermarkets and brands that have adopted more sustainable practices. (National Resources Defense Council)

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You Are Here: A story about people who don't know where they are

Listen to You Are Here (RadioLab, WNYC Studios, January 25, 2011)

A fascinating story about a phenomenon that I'll bet you haven't heard of.

 

"When Sharon Roseman was five years old, something strange happened. She was playing a game with her friends, and when she took off her blindfold--she didn't know where she was. She was lost on her own block, in her own backyard. For most of her life, Sharon feared it was all in her head, and kept her troubles a secret.

     Until she saw something on TV that led her to get in touch with Dr. Guiseppe Iaria, who helped her find a diagnosis...and a friend with the same condition. And Sharon's story begs the question--how do we know where we are? What does it take to be able to walk down the hall, or down the block, and back?

      Jonah Lehrer explains the very recent science that's helping unlock how our brains make maps from moment to moment. Along the way, Karen Jacobsen, who calls herself "the GPS Girl" (her voice can be heard in GPS units in millions of cars around the world), helps Jad and Robert navigate the episode's twists and turns."

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Index of blog posts

 
Covid-19 (Coronavirus pandemic, 2020)
You, your body, and your health
Health care, medicine, and the health care system
How we die (managing and honoring the end of life)
Life, home, and estate management
Justice and injustice
Telling our life stories
Wisdom and entertainment

Covid-19 (Coronavirus pandemic, 2020)


COVID-19: politics and the stock market vs. science and survival (the good, the bad, and the ugly)
Coronavirus: How to minimize your risks (the practical stuff)
Recommended reading about pandemics (novels and nonfiction books and articles)
Lost to the coronavirus pandemic
On keeping a diary or journal of the pandemic
Poems for the Pandemic
55+ things to do (listen, watch, read, share, do) during the pandemic
How prepared are you for disaster?

You, your body, and your health


Top sites for health news and advice
Medical links for patients, families, and caregivers
Where journalists get their medical news and information (Writers and Editors site)
Do you trust your doctor? How can you protect yourself?
Ratings for hospitals, doctors, surgeons, home health agencies, nursing homes
You, drug-resistant superbugs, and what's for dinner?
The flu: what you need to know
Overcoming flu vaccine hesitancy: The caregiver's resource sheet
We are what we eat? Read this, get healthy, feel better! (Part 1 of 2). See also Part 2 (with links to more good articles).
Healthy food that isn't yucky
Home remedies for relieving sciatica pain
The truth (and controversy) about chronic (late-stage) Lyme disease
Resources for finding service dogs, therapy dogs, and other types of assistance dogs

[Back to Top]



Health care, medicine, and the health care system


Why U.S. medical costs are so high -- and where the system needs fixing
Taking the mystery out of health care prices
Drugs, Big Pharma, conflicts of interest, and why U.S. patients pay too much for medication
Ratings for hospitals, doctors, surgeons, home health agencies, nursing homes
Doctors rebel against a re-certification test that costs $23,600 per doctor
The anatomy of medical error Human factor scientists call skill-based errors slips and rule-based and knowledge-based errors mistakes. See also an Update on medical errors
Exposing abuse and neglect in a chain of brain injury rehab centers
Lead wars and the health of children
Organizations serious about improving U.S. health care
Talking points about the Affordable Care Act
The NIH Clinical Center: A national healthcare treasure
Nine great TED talks on improving health care

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How we die (managing and honoring the end of life)


Preventing fraud, elder abuse, and guardianship problems
Three cases for better management of dying
Autopsies: when and why and how
Farewell to T.L Hawkins, part 1 (October 2014)

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On keeping a diary or journal of the pandemic

What better time to keep a diary or journal than these strange times trying to duck a weird and dangerous coronavirus. Write about how life sheltering in place (and losing money fast) is with you. These historic times will be best recalled not by famous decisions or the tweet history of our demented president but by accounts of our daily lives trying to survive this sneaky killer.
Why We Should All Be Keeping Coronavirus Journals (Katherine Sharp Landdeck, Time, 4-27-2020)
What We Can Learn From 1918 Influenza Diaries (Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, 4-13-2020) Though much has changed since 1918, the sentiments shared in writings from this earlier pandemic are likely to resonate with modern readers. These letters and journals offer insights on how to record one's thoughts amid a pandemic.
What Historians Will See When They Look Back on the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020 (The New York Times) Universities and institutions are inviting the public to share their experiences during the coronavirus 2020 pandemic and its aftermath.
The race to save the first draft of coronavirus history from internet oblivion (Abby Ohlheiser and Tanya Basu, MIT Technology Review, 4-21-2020) How researchers, archivists, and citizens are racing to preserve a record of how we lived and changed during this strange period of history.
12 Ideas for Writing Through the Pandemic with The New York Times (New York Times)
Students' Journals Could Be 'Primary Sources' (Lauren S. Brown, MiddleWeb, 4-10-2020)
Share Your Story: Remembering COVID-19 Front-Line Workers (Meghan Collins Sullivan, The Coronavirus Crisis, NPR, 4-29-2020)
New York State Library Covid-19 Personal History Initiative The state is asking New York residents to share journal entries about living during the COVID pandemic.
Why You Should Start a Coronavirus Diary (Jen A. Miller, NY Times, 4-13-2020) It’ll help you organize your thoughts during these difficult times, and may help educate future generations.
How Can I Keep a Personal, Private Journal Online? (Alan Henry, LifeHacker, 1-14-13) How can I set up my journal so I can edit and update it online on my phone or laptop without the world seeing it? I want a diary, not a blog!
Guide to keeping an audio journal (Journaling Habit) Evernote and Onenote both have audio recording features that can be used on desktop or mobile.
The Art of Audio Journaling: How to Think and Write Out Loud on Your Way to Work
A Coronavirus Chronicle: April 15, 2020 (Local correspondents, New Yorker, 4-27-2020) Twenty-four hours at the epicenter of the pandemic.
The ER diaries: a coronavirus case that nearly broke me A California nurse’s journals from the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. A patient’s anguish is enough to crack even a medical worker’s professional resolve.  A nurse's coronavirus journal: 'The new normal of this pandemic sinks in' (The Guardian, 3-24-2020) "For the first time in the decade I’ve been working as a healthcare worker, the warning to stay home has been heard and obeyed by the masses."
My Students Are Finally Keeping a Journal (Jeanne Bonner, Brevity, 4-27-2020) "Yet on a whim, I wondered if using the forum tool to create a weekly diary might make sense so I inserted one during the first week of our confinement that was simply called 'Coronavirus Journal.' I told them they should not see it as a mandatory assignment but rather as a refuge.... Judging by the voluminous entries some have posted, they are galvanized in this hot-house atmosphere of illness and fear. Forced suddenly to live in new ways – or in some cases, return to living in old ways, specifically with their parents! – they've received a jolt of inspiration paired with a desperate need to vent their frustrations."
The Quarantine Diaries (New York Times) Around the world, the history of our present moment is taking shape in journal entries and drawings.
Quarantine diary from author Rick Bragg in Alabama (Celebs, Hello News, 4-18-2020)
'Write It Down': Historian Suggests Keeping a Record of Life During Pandemic (Anne E. Bromley, Virginia News, 3-17-2020)
Dear Diary, the World Is Burning (Katy Waldman, New Yorker, 4-10-2020) On the value of private thoughts during a public crisis.
Women Writing History: A Coronavirus Journaling Project (National Women's History Museum) "We invite individuals from all ages, backgrounds, cultures, and socio-economic circumstances to be a part of living history by keeping a journal in 30, 60, 90, 120-day, or any longer OR shorter increments, and contributing their journalistic efforts to the National Women’s History Museum. If life gets in the way of a daily, month-long journal, that’s okay! Simply commit to what you can or what you already have. You do not have to journal daily.
"The kicker, alas: By agreeing to donate your journal, it is understood that the purpose and intent of the gift is to transfer and assign all rights, title, and interest in the journal that you may possess to the National Women's History Museum. A Deed of Gift will be issued to you from the Museum. The NWHM and/or the Museum's collaborative project partner, The New York Times Company, may make discretionary use of the donated materials to include, but not limited to, exhibition, display, publication, digitization for preservation and access purposes, and making materials available for research and future scholarship. The NWHM reserves the right to decline any submission deemed inappropriate for the project." (Make sure you have the right to use your own story, especially as they reserve the right to decline to use it.)

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RECOMMENDED READING ABOUT PANDEMICS

Here are links to a few recommended books (both fiction and nonfiction) and articles (and one serial documentary) about pandemics. Let me know in comments if I've overlooked anything.

 

A Documentary:
 Pandemic: How to Prevent an Attack (Netflix)

 

NOVELS ABOUT DISEASES AND PANDEMICS
Blindness by José Saramago (1995). A city is hit by a sudden and strange epidemic of "white blindness", which spares no one.A powerful and haunting novel about humanity's will to survive against all odds during an epidemic.
The End of October by Lawrence Wright (“An eerily prescient novel about a devastating virus that begins in Asia before going global"~New York Post). See This Is 'Creepy': Lawrence Wright Wishes His Pandemic Novel Had Gotten It Wrong (Mary Louise Kelly, All Things Considered, NPR, 4-28-2020)
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. A flight from Russia lands in middle America, its passengers carrying a virus that explodes "like a neutron bomb over the surface of the earth.... "No more trains running under the surface of cities ... No more cities ... No more Internet " Survivors become scavengers, roaming the ravaged landscape or clustering in pocket settlements, some of them welcoming, some dangerous. What's touching is the novel's ode to what survived, in particular the music and plays performed for wasteland communities by a roving Shakespeare troupe, the Traveling Symphony, whose members form a wounded family of sorts. The story shifts deftly between the fraught post-apocalyptic world and, twenty years earlier, just before the apocalypse, the death of a famous actor, which has a rippling effect across the decades.
The Plague (novel by Albert Camus) About which, see Camus and the Political Tests of a Pandemic (Steve Coll, The New Yorker, 5-19-2020) Coll mentions this W.H. Auden poem: September 1, 1939. It can be uncanny to encounter a leader "whose advisers cannot bear initially to acknowledge the catastrophe, or even to speak aloud the name of the disease that is its cause."
Zone One Colson Whitehead's wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel. A pandemic has devastated the planet, sorting humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. After the worst of the plague is over, armed forces stationed in Chinatown's Fort Wonton reclaim the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One and our hero is helping clear lower Manhattan of its remaining feral zombies.
A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (published in 1722). Also available as a free PDF. "Bring out your dead!" calls the bell-ringing collector in this classic fictional account of the epidemic of bubonic plague — known as the Black Death — that ravaged England in 1664–1665.
Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks. An unforgettable tale, set in 17th century England, of a village that quarantines itself to arrest the spread of the plague.
Dooms Day Book (Oxford Time Travel) by Connie Willis (Oxford Time Travel). The story of a history student in 2048 who is transported to an English village in the 14th century. She arrives mistakenly on the eve of the onset of the Black Plague. Her dealings with a family of "contemps" in 1348 and with her historian cohorts lead to complications as the book unfolds into a surprisingly dark, deep conclusion. Winner of both Hugo and Nebula awards.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (a post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son wandering through the ruins of civilization, reason for which unspecified)
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. A novella (published in 1912) in which Venetian authorities and businesses try to hide or underplay the seriousness of a cholera epidemic. See Charles Mudede's article Death in Venice and the History of Underreporting a Pandemic.
World War Z a horror-comic novel by Max Brooks, posing as an "oral history" of a virus that originated in China and spread across the world, transforming millions of people into zombies. Message: "The threat is not the virus or the zombies, but our response, especially denial and panic."
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. Against a backdrop of recurring civil war and recurring cholera epidemics, Márquez explores death, decay and the idea of lovesickness as disease—in this turn-of-the-century chronicle of a unique love triangle.
The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi) by Alessandro Manzoni. A sweeping novel set in northern Italy during the years of Spanish occupation, well-known for its remarkable account of the Italian plague of 1629-1631, and the devastating impact the epidemic had on Milan. The archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Borromeo, is shown going into the pest houses, willing to lay down his life to look after the poorest and most unwell people in his flock.

 

NONFICTION BOOKS ABOUT PANDEMICS
The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (1995) by Laurie Garrett. (She Predicted the Coronavirus. What Does She Foresee Next? (Frank Bruni, NY Times, 5-2-2020) Years of debt and collective rage.
Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World's Most Dangerous Disease by Wendy Orent
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman. "Many of the disruptive forces at work in the 14th century — war, religious schisms, the plague — played out again during the 20th century (hence the book's title)."~ New York Times
1491 by Charles Mann, on how the arrival of disease in North America changed history
The Miraculous Fever-Tree by Fiammetta Rocco, a rich and wonderful history of quinine – the cure for malaria.
Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army during World War I by Carol R. Byerly. The startling impact of the 1918 influenza epidemic on the American army, its medical officers, and their profession.
The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry. "A sobering account of the 1918 flu epidemic, compelling and timely." ~ Boston Globe
World Epidemics: A Cultural Chronology of Disease from Prehistory to the Era of Zika by Mary Ellen Snodgrass
The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson. Johnson's narrative of the 1854 cholera epidemic in London is humanized by his portrayal of the people who suffered through it, including the intrepid doctor, John Snow, who ultimately traced the outbreak to contaminated water. 
Scurvy:How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sailby Stephen Bown (read excerpt here
Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs by epidemiologist Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker
World Epidemics: A Cultural Chronology of Disease from Prehistory to the Era of Zika by Mary Ellen Snodgrass
The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus, the 2012 nonfiction bestseller by Richard Preston, as well as The Demon in the Freezer (about first major bioterror event in the United States—the anthrax attacks in October 2001)
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, by Randy Shilts. “The story of these first five years of AIDS in America is a drama of national failure, played out against a backdrop of needless death....It is a tale that bears telling, so that it will never happen again, to any people, anywhere.”~Randy Shilts
Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 by Elizabeth A. Fenn. The history lesson you probably didn't get in high school.
Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present by Frank M. Snowden

 

ARTICLES, STORIES, and ARCHIVES:
Bingeing on Doom: Expert on the ‘Black Death’ Attracts Cult Following (JoNel Aleccia, KHN, Los Angeles Times, 7-22-2020) Fascinating article by the woman who narrates The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague, "a video series that became must-see TV this spring when it aired on Amazon Prime, just as stuck-at-home 21st-century humans were reeling from the coronavirus crisis. In 24 surprisingly compelling episodes, Armstrong introduced the devastation of the mid-14th century to doom-obsessed modern viewers. The flea-driven plague, also known as the “Great Mortality,” overran Eurasia and North Africa from 1347 to 1353, killing tens of millions of people and wiping out half of Europe’s population....“The Black Death” has spurred a broad cult following for Armstrong — even as it underscores the dismaying parallels between the great plague and the deadly disease now circling the globe."
'The impossible has already happened': what coronavirus can teach us about hope (Rebecca Solnit, a 'long read,' The Guardian, 4-7-2020) In the midst of fear and isolation, we are learning that profound, positive change is possible. Having lived through and written extensively about past disasters, Rebecca Solnit senses as well as anyone what comes next. We're still in the middle of a global battle, but slowly talk of "after" will come, and we will need guidance from those who have endured similarly treacherous stretches. "It is too soon to know what will emerge from this emergency," Solnit writes, "but not too soon to start looking for chances to help decide it."
The Masque of the Red Death (originally published as "The Mask of the Red Death: A Fantasy") is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1842. The story follows Prince Prospero's attempts to avoid a dangerous plague, known as the Red Death, by hiding in his abbey.
A Historian's View of the Coronavirus Pandemic and the Influenza of 1918 (David Remnick, New Yorker, 3-25-2020) Remnick interviews historian John M. Barry about what that historic pandemic can tell us about our current situation and the future.
How the 1918 Pandemic Frayed Social Bonds (Noah Y. Kim, The Atlantic, 3-31-2020) The influenza pandemic did long-lasting damage to relationships in some American communities. Could the mistrust have been prevented?
How Pandemics Change History (Isaac Chotiner, New Yorker, 3-3-2020) In his new book, "Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present," Frank M. Snowden, a professor emeritus of history and the history of medicine at Yale, examines the ways in which disease outbreaks have shaped politics, crushed revolutions, and entrenched racial and economic discrimination.
The Deadly Virus: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 (National Archives) Selected records reveal details about daily life at the time.
Journalist finds lessons in the history of pandemics (Bara Vaida, Covering Health, AHCJ, 4-16-2020) Q&A with Beth Skwarecki, author of the book Outbreak: 50 Tales of Epidemics that Terrorized the World (writing only 1,000 words about each is not easy!).
What Shakespeare Actually Wrote About the Plague (Stephen Greenblatt, The New Yorker, 5-7-2020)

 

SEE ALSO
On keeping a diary or journal of the COVID-19 pandemic (blog post)
Coronavirus: the good, the bad, and the practical
Covering the coronavirus as a journalist
Pandemic: The Big Picture
What to do or not do (disinfecting, among other things) and how or how not to do it
(
Social distancing, sheltering in place, and lockdown
Testing: what you need to know
Expanding contact tracing
Reliable sources of information and updates about COVID-19
Coronavirus maps and numbers
The search for anti-viral treatments
COVID-19's economic impact
Problems with personal protective equipment (PPE)
Combatting the misinformation epidemic/campaign (and persuading skeptics there's a crisis)
Trump’s handling of the pandemic
Covering the COVID-19 pandemic: Resources for journalists
Who is harmed most by Covid19?
Politics, government, and the coronavirus
Where things went wrong in the U.S.
Where in the world things went right
Coronavirus: A Primer

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Poems for the Pandemic

Poem by Kitty O'Meara

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.  And listened more deeply.  Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.  Some met their shadows.  And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.  And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

 

Poem  by Laura Kelly Fanucci

"When this is over, may we never again take for granted:

A handshake with a stranger, full shelves at the store, conversations with neighbors, a crowded theatre...

Friday night out, the taste of communion, a routine checkup, the school rush each morning...

Coffee with a friend, the stadium roaring, each deep breath...

A boring Tuesday, Life itself.

When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be...

we were called to be....

we hoped to be and may we stay that way....

better for each other because of the worst."

LKM

 

See also

Lockdown A poem by Brother Richard (Irish Central, 3-23-2020)

Pandemic by Lynn Ungar

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Using Zoom for a family or office teleconference call (or class)

Posted by Pat McNees. Updated 4-10-2020.
Best Practices for Hosting a Digital Event (Zoom)
Getting Started on Windows and Mac (Zoom Help Center)
Every Type of Zoom Call Participant, Illustrated by Cats (Jack Shepherd, Tenderly/Medium, 5-18-2020) Which one are you? The one who's too close to the camera? The one who refuses to use video but has the most glamorous headshot? The one with the wacky background? The one who's busy with something else? The one who can't get the camera placement right?
A virtual funeral changes perspective (Jack ElHai, Medium, 4-13-2020) "I recently attended a virtual funeral broadcast with Zoom, and the result was that I felt distant from the deceased but close to my fellow mourners."
Using Zoom? Take these steps to protect your privacy.(Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac, 3-31-2020)
How we organized one of the largest virtual U.S. journalism events to date (Stefanie Murray and Joe Amditis, Center for Cooperative Media, Medium, 5-20-2020) We wanted to make sure we kept some of the Collaborative Journalism Summit’s personal hallmarks without turning it into a one-way broadcast. We alerted our sponsors, speakers and participants as soon as we could — then we made registration free. And once we announced we would host in place instead of in person, registrations shot through the roof; we ended up with just under 750 registrations by the time the conference began. (Typically, the Summit attracts 150–175 people.) Zoom was the leading early contender for a platform choice, because it was the program most people were using for video conferencing and because it was the one the Center used. But we also explored other options, including Twitch, Google Hangouts, and YouTube Live. We didn’t look too closely at Blue Jeans, GoToMeeting, Livestream, or Microsoft Teams, which are a few of the more popular options out there.
How to Keep Your Zoom Chats Private and Secure (David Nield, Wired, 4-5-2020) Trolls. Prying bosses. Zoom's a great video chat platform, but a few simple steps also make it a safe one. Nield also explains pros and cons of alternative video chat platforms Google Duo, Facetime (for Apple devices only), Webex (Cisco), GoToMeeting, plus software without full end-to-end encryption. Skype, Slack, and Facebook Messenger. These instructions may help us relax about Zoom's insecurities. (H/T Jeanne Bohlen)
Zoom Help Center
An Introduction to Zoom for Teachers (Nicole Rose Whitaker and Susan Shapiro, New Yorker, 4-10-2020)
Zoom Support How-to instructions during the coronavirus: video tutorials, on-demand training sessions, live daily demos, etc.)
Claude Kerno's instructions for using Zoom: Installing it, Using it Hosting it, and so on.
A free Zoom webinar
We live in Zoom now. Zoom is where we go to school, party, and socialize (Taylor Lorenz, Erin Griffith and Mike Isaac, NY Times, 3-17-2020)
The Great Zoom-School Experiment (Lizzie Widdicombe, New Yorker, 4-2-2020) With schools closed, some students are transitioning to remote learning, and some parents to home-school instruction and technical assistance. “The teachers were afraid that the kids were not going to coöperate, and they wouldn’t be able to manage a virtual classroom.” But Micaela Bracamonte, the founder and head of the Lang School, insisted that they try it. All across the world, students and parents are involved in a vast cyber-education experiment.
Now that everyone's using Zoom, here are some privacy risks you need to watch out for (Rae Hodge, CNet, 1-1-2020)
Why Zoom became so popular (Ashley Carman, The Verge, 4-3-2020) Its selling points also introduce privacy and security risks
Forget Facebook: Zoom is the tech industry’s newest problem child (Ainsley Harris, Fast Company, 3-31-20) " But there is a dark underside to this company. It has a child abuse problem. And a porn problem. And a privacy problem. Does anyone care? Federal prosecutor Austin Berry referred to Zoom as “the Netflix of child pornography” in his closing remarks, according to The New York Times....“Zoom really has no serious value if it doesn’t protect personal privacy,” Doc Searls, an author and research director at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, wrote in a blog post. “That’s why they need to fix this.”
New York Attorney General Looks Into Zoom’s Privacy Practices (Danny Hakim and Natasha Singer, NY Times, 3-30-2020) As the videoconferencing platform’s popularity has surged, Zoom has scrambled to address a series of data privacy and security problems.
‘Zoom is malware’: why experts worry about the video conferencing platform (Kari Paul, The Guardian, 4-2-2020) The company has seen a 535% rise in daily traffic in the past month, but security researchers say the app is a ‘privacy disaster’
Social Distancing Is Helping This Billionaire Ride Out the Market Rout (Devon Pendleton, Bloomberg, 3-16-2020) Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom Video Communications Inc., added $20 million to his net worth Monday while the S&P 500 plunged 12% -- worst day for stocks since 1987. See also Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! The Exclusive Inside Story Of The New Billionaire Behind Tech’s Hottest IPO (Alex Konrad, Forbes, 4-19-19)
Google Puts Zoom in Its Crosshairs (Michael Figueroa, Marker/Medium, 4-30-2020) As security issues plague Zoom, Google’s rapid response threatens to topple Zoom’s position as the king of videoconferencing apps. Zoom’s popularity exploded as people around the world were forced to shelter in place and sought solutions to virtually engage with co-workers, classrooms, families, and friends. By offering a free plan that anyone can sign up for and a group-friendly, high-definition interface that has proven resilient despite its sudden growth in usage, daily active users on Zoom leaped from 10 million to over 300 million in just five months. But Google is now hot on its heels. See Zoom’s Fatal Flaw (Sameer Singh, Marker/Medium, 4-20-2020) In exchange for viral growth, the video conferencing startup left itself open to copycat competitors. Zoom’s business model is often conflated with Slack even though they are distinct products.


---Blue Jeans Host and manage live interactive events, town halls and webcasts for large audiences around the world.
---Cisco Webex Meetings
---Crowdcast Sign up and watch a demo
---Duo (Google's consumer version of video calling)
---Facebook Live
---GlobalMeet Collaboration (1-866-755-4878)
---GoToMeeting (LogMeIn) 7-day free trial, various pricing packages after
---Hangouts Meet (aka Google Meet, geared toward business use)
---Houseparty (a face to face social network: “Where being together is as easy as showing up” — a cross-platform video chat app)
---LifeSize (high definition videoconferencing)
---Livestream Deliver unforgettable virtual events and conferences. Securely engage your workforce remotely. Monetize your global audience.
---Microsoft Teams
---Skype (Microsoft) Host a video meeting in one click. Video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices, the Xbox One console, and smartwatches over the Internet.
---Twitch Not just for gamers.
---WhatsApp (Facebook, the default messaging service in Europe for small groups--four people max)
---YouTube Live (Google owns YouTube)
---Zoho Meeting
---Youtube Live vs Facebook Live Compared to Online Video Platforms How do the various systems compare?
Not sold on Zoom? Here are the 8 best Zoom alternatives to consider.. (Mitja Rutnik @MRutnik, The Best, Android Authority, 3-26-2020)
5 Zoom alternatives to keep you connected during COVID-19 crisis (Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac, 4-2-2020)
Video Conferencing Software Showdown: Zoom vs. GoToMeeting.(Heather Mandel, Zapier, 2-01-19) "If you're just starting out or are a small-to-medium-sized business that only needs to accommodate up to 100 participants, Zoom can provide you with a fully-featured video conferencing solution for a lower price—or even no price depending on your needs. But if you're a larger organization that regularly needs to accommodate 150 to 250 attendees and can benefit from unlimited cloud storage and a no-minimum-host requirement, GoToMeeting may end up being a better value for you."
Microsoft Teams vs Zoom: Which Platform is Better for Your Organization.(Unify Square)
Zoom vs. Microsoft Teams vs. Google Meet: Which Top Videoconferencing App Is Best? (Gadjo Sevilla, PC Mag, 4-15-2020) How three of the top contenders stack up.

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COVID-19: politics and the stock market vs. science and survival

Posted by Pat McNees. This blog post has become a full website page, with categories, so it's easy to find what you're looking for. Go here:

Coronavirus: The good, the bad, and the practical

 

Or click on one of the categories on that page, here:

Pandemic: The big picture
Social distancing and sheltering in place
Testing, testing, testing--and contact tracing
What patients with Covid19 experience
The race for effective vaccines and anti-viral treatments
Where things went wrong in the U.S.
Where in the world things went right
Politics and the coronavirus
Trump's handling of the pandemic
Why Covid-19 is so dangerous
Who is harmed most by the coronavirus?
Reliable sources of information (and against misinformation)
Death and the coronavirus
Remembering victims of the coronavirus
A salute to medical workers and others who help
Coronavirus humor and inspiration
Facts and tips that don't fit elsewhere

 

 

This was updated daily until 5-8-2020, when the entries were re-arranged in a more organized format and then updated further with more entries.  For the time being I will leave the following copy below, but at some point I'll delete it as redundant.

 

A roundup of articles not so much about the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) but about how we're managing or mismanaging or stretching the truth about or fighting about how to manage the coronavirus. Let me know of any upbeat stories, as I'm mostly finding stories on the negative side. For basic info about surviving COVID-19 see What you need to know about coronavirus.


The Intolerable Fragility of American Hospitals (Libby Watson, New Republic, 4-30-2020) The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the frail and unequal nature of our public health system. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Why the Trump Ploy Stopped Working (David Brooks, NY Times, 4-20-2020) "As the nation unifies, divisiveness falls flat. The polarization industry is loath to admit this, but, once you set aside the Trump circus, we are now more united than at any time since 9/11. The pandemic has reminded us of our interdependence and the need for a strong and effective government....The pandemic has been a massive humanizing force — allowing us to see each other on a level much deeper than politics — see the fragility, the fear and the courage."
The Quiet Hand of Conservative Groups in the Anti-Lockdown Protests (Kenneth P. Vogel, Jim Rutenberg and Lisa Lerer, NY Times, 4-21-2020) Groups in a loose coalition have tapped their networks to drive up turnout at recent rallies in state capitals and financed lawsuits, polling and research to combat the stay-at-home orders. Some key Republican leaders have embraced the types of restrictions being targeted, while powerful grass-roots mobilizing groups, including those spearheaded by the billionaire activist Charles Koch, have so far not embraced the protests.
Lost On The Frontline A collaboration between The Guardian and KHN that aims to document the lives of health care workers in the U.S. who die from COVID-19. Many cases are shrouded in secrecy. The project hopes to become a collective memorial to honor those lost while serving on the front line.
Those We’ve Lost (New York Times) The coronavirus pandemic has taken an incalculable death toll. This series is designed to put names and faces to the numbers.
A virtual funeral changes perspective (Jack ElHai, Medium, 4-13-2020) "I recently attended a virtual funeral broadcast with Zoom, and the result was that I felt distant from the deceased but close to my fellow mourners."
Trump’s Claim That U.S. Tested More Than All Countries Combined Is ‘Pants On Fire’ Wrong (Shefali Luthra, KHN, 5-1-2020) Among other things, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and Canada have all tested a much larger percentage of the population than the United States has. By any meaningful metric of diagnosing and tracking, the United States is still well behind countries like Germany and Canada.
It's shameful how many health-care workers are dying from Covid-19 (Kent Sepkowitz, CNN, 4-15-2020) See also CDC data for Feb 12-April 9 "Of 9,282 U.S. COVID-19 cases reported among HCP [health care personnel], median age was 42 years, and 73% were female, reflecting these distributions among the HCP workforce. HCP patients reported contact with COVID-19 patients in health care, household, and community settings. Most HCP patients were not hospitalized; however, severe outcomes, including death, were reported among all age groups."
What the Coronavirus Crisis Reveals About American Medicine (Siddhartha Mukherjee, New Yorker, 4-27-2020) "...it was known that SARS and MERS were deadly coronaviruses with animal reservoirs that could hop to humans. ...Why wasn’t our research investment remotely commensurate with our threat assessments?...No set of reforms will deal with every problem, such as a President who, bickering with scientists, equivocated and delayed what could have been a lifesaving, economy-protecting, coördinated response. Given the resolve and the resources, however, much is within our grasp: a supply chain with adequate, accordioning capacity; a C.D.C. that can launch pandemic surveillance within days, not months; research priorities that don’t erase recent history; an F.D.A. that serves as a checkpoint but not as a roadblock; a digital system of medical records that provides an aperture to real-time, practice-guiding information....

     "Some of medicine’s frailties are new; some are of long standing. But what the pandemic has exposed—call the experience a stress test, a biopsy, or a full-body CT scan—is painfully clear. Medicine needs to do more than recover; it needs to get better."

      "Competitive-bidding programs drove margins down so low that more than forty per cent of such companies—responsible for the supply of portable oxygen tanks and concentrators—went out of business." Not to mention the problem of health-care coverage that leaves millions of Americans uninsured.
‘My Boyfriend Died of COVID-19’ (Video by Olmo Parenti, The Atlantic, 4-20-2020) From the diary of a Chinese girl living in Wuhan during the coronavirus epidemic. As 2019 drew to a close, a young woman, Niuniu, and her fiancé, Tongsheng, looked forward to a bright future. Like many victims of this pandemic, Tongsheng had difficulty accessing medical care. In( mid-January, he died alone in a hospital waiting room.
‘We Ran Out Of Space’: Bodies Pile Up As N.Y. Struggles To Bury Its Dead (Alan Feuer and William K. Rashbaum, NY Times, 4-20-2020) 'The 40-foot trailer has been there for weeks, parked outside the Leo F. Kearns Funeral Home in Queens. Its refrigerator hums in an alley next to a check-cashing establishment. Thirty-six bodies, one atop the other, are stacked on shelves inside. The funeral director, Patrick Kearns, has barely slept since the day he took charge of them. As he lies awake in the middle of the night, he knows there will be more. “It weighs on you, having so many cases in your care,” he said. “The death rate is just so high, there’s no way we can bury or cremate them fast enough.”'
12 Fraught Hours With E.M.T.s in a City Under Siege. (Jan Hoffman, NY Times, 4-1-2020) "Special units of emergency medical workers in Paterson, N.J., respond to 911 calls for suspected coronavirus.... The crisis has turned an already difficult job upside down. A few weeks ago, a 911 call for “respiratory distress” would have sent emergency medical technicians — E.M.T.s — rushing into the building to examine the man and take his vitals. Now with coronavirus infections sweeping through the region, the emergency medical workers of Paterson, a poor, industrial city in the penumbra of pandemic-stricken New York, are working in a new, upside-down reality: Don’t go in a home, don’t touch the patient, and don’t take anyone to the hospital, unless absolutely necessary."
The success of Gov. Abbott’s plan to reopen the Texas economy rests with what we do in our cities and counties (Editorial, Dallas Morning News, 4-23-2020) "The decision to shut down the Texas economy was a tough call. Getting back to business safely is becoming an equally difficult decision. On Tuesday, Colleyville Mayor Richard Newton announced plans to relax stay-at-home orders and Dallas County Commissioners voted to extend Dallas County’s stay-at-home order until May 15, both acting before the expiration of the governor’s statewide shelter in place order at the end of April. It is essential that state and local officials work together and that timetables for reopening the Texas economy not devolve into a clash over local and state control. By law, Abbott has the legal last word over cities and counties, and he plans soon to issue a new executive order to reopen the economy and replace his statewide order to shelter in place with a phased-in process.
Veterans Affairs orders $300,000 worth of body bags (Betsy Woodruff Swan, Politico, 4-30-2020) More than 8,500 VA patients have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and nearly 500 have died.
Seattle’s Leaders Let Scientists Take the Lead. New York’s Did Not (Charles Duhigg, New Yorker, 4-26-2020) The initial coronavirus outbreaks on the East and West Coasts emerged at roughly the same time. But the danger was communicated very differently. More than fifteen thousand people in New York are believed to have died from COVID-19. Last week in Washington State, the estimate was fewer than seven hundred people....Said Sonja Rasmussen, a former CDC official, “It seems silly, but all these rules and SOHCOs and telling people again and again to wash their hands—they make a huge difference. That’s why we study it and teach it.” She continued, “It’s really easy, with the best of intentions, to say the wrong thing or send the wrong message. And then more people die.”
$8,000 rentals. Private jets. How the super-rich escape the coronavirus (Kurtis Lee, Richard Read and Jaweed Kaleem, Los Angeles Times, 4-26-2020)
NYC morgues near capacity, DHS briefing warns (Politico, 3-25-2020)
On keeping a diary or journal of the pandemic
The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients (Dr. Richard Levitan, NY Times, 4-20-2020) During 10 days of treating Covid pneumonia at Bellevue Hospital, this ER doctor found that elderly patients who had passed out for unknown reasons and a number of diabetic patients were found to have Covid pneumonia, even though they did not report any sensation of breathing problems, even though their chest X-rays showed diffuse pneumonia and their oxygen was below normal. "As the inflammation from Covid pneumonia starts, it causes the air sacs to collapse, and oxygen levels fall. Yet the lungs initially remain “compliant,” not yet stiff or heavy with fluid. This means patients can still expel carbon dioxide — and without a buildup of carbon dioxide, patients do not feel short of breath. Patients compensate for the low oxygen in their blood by breathing faster and deeper... injuring their own lungs by breathing harder and harder. This silent hypoxia (the body being deprived of oxygen) can be detected early through a common medical device that can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies: a pulse oximeter. [By the end of the day this article came out, many leading suppliers of these were sold out.]
Injections of Bleach? Beams of Light? Trump Is Self-Destructing Before Our Eyes (Frank Bruni, Opinion, NY Times,4-24-2020) The notion that he is bound for four more years is pure superstition. "The unbesotted see and hear the president for what he is: a tone-deaf showman who regards everything, even a mountain of corpses, as a stage." See Trump's disinfectant injections idea comes straight from internet conspiracy theories (Next Web).

Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes (Ariana Eunjung Cha, WashPost, 4-24-2020) Doctors sound alarm about patients in their 30s and 40s left debilitated or dead. Some didn’t even know they were infected. Once thought to be a pathogen that primarily attacks the lungs, it has turned out to be a much more formidable foe — impacting nearly every major organ system in the body.
Two coronavirus podcasts (are there more?):
---Six Feet Apart (COVID podcast with Alex Wagner)
---American Dissected: Coronavirus The Coronavirus is now a global pandemic. How did we get here? What went wrong? What do we do about it now? New episodes every Tuesday & Friday.
Not again: China imposes NEW coronavirus lockdown - fears grow for devastating second wave despite the ruling Chinese Communist Party's attempts to claim the country is winning the battle against the disease. (Ciaran McGrath, Express, 4-19-2020) See also Trump owed tens of millions to Bank of China (Marc Caputo, Meridith McGraw, and Anita Kumar, Politico, 4-24-2020) Donald Trump is warning “China will own the United States” if Joe Biden is elected president. But in 2012, the Bank of China, a commercial bank owned by the Chinese state, provided more than two hundred million dollars in loans to a New York office building (1290 Avenue of the Americas) that Trump co-owns, Politico reported on Friday. The loans will come due in 2022, “in the middle of what could be Trump’s second term,” the timely article noted. The deal was reported previously by several news outlets in stories about the “maze” of Trump’s finances and a history of how he came to partly own the building.
Who Should Get Bailed Out in the Coronavirus Economy? (John Cassidy, New Yorker, 4-23-2020) The pandemic has left small businesses and unemployed workers struggling. Yet there is no shortage of taxpayer money to help large corporations. Although the CARES Act provided for a system of oversight by an independent inspector general and two new committees, to be appointed by Congress, this system isn’t up and running.
Before ‘Tidal Wave’ Of Illness, Nursing Home Thought It Had COVID-19 Contained (Blake Farmer, Nashville Public Radio/KHN, 4-20-2020) An investigation finds that the facility downplayed the outbreak to first responders on 911 calls in late March.Nursing homes are quickly becoming the deadliest battleground in this pandemic, with more than 3,600 deaths...
Fully Armed Rally-Goers Enter Kentucky’s Capitol Building With Zero Resistance (Peter Wade, Rolling Stone, 2-1-2020) Follow-up story: Kentucky Reports Highest Coronavirus Infection Increase After a Week of Protests to Reopen State (Christina Zhao, Newsweek, 4-19-2020)
The Secret to Germany’s COVID-19 Success: Angela Merkel Is a Scientist (Saskia Miller, The Atlantic, 4-20-2020) The chancellor’s rigor in collating information, her honesty in stating what is not yet known, and her composure are paying off.
'Prayer Is Not Enough.' The Dalai Lama on Why We Need to Fight Coronavirus With Compassion (Dalai Lama, Time, 4-14-2020) "This crisis shows that we must all take responsibility where we can. We must combine the courage doctors and nurses are showing with empirical science to begin to turn this situation around and protect our future from more such threats."
We Are Living in a Failed State (George Packer, The Atlantic, June 2020) The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken.
‘It’s Not Over Until It’s Over’: 5 Things to Know About Hitting the COVID-19 Peak (Phil Galewitz, KHN, 4-17-2020) It's hard to see the peak. The peak does not mean the pandemic is nearly over. What comes next depends on readiness. You're going to need masks a long time. Without a vaccine, people's risk doesn't change. See also Despite Trump's Optimism, There's Still A Long Road To Reopening (NPR, 4-17-2020) "Despite Trump's boasts, testing is still not widespread in the U.S. Not everyone who wants a test can get one. Only people with symptoms are getting them — and not all of them are — and asymptomatic people are able to spread the disease. That means no one really knows just how widespread the virus is. And without a vaccine or known treatment, there's the risk of more outbreaks." The main reason for stay-at-home orders is to prevent overwhelming hospitals, and people in rural areas would be particularly endangered.
Coronavirus Advice From Abroad: 7 Lessons America’s Governors Should Not Ignore as They Reopen Their Economies (Stephen Engelberg, Caroline Chen and Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica, 4-18-2020). Advice on restarting the economy. They spoke to frontline experts from around the globe and have compiled a list of recommendations for reopening U.S. states. Their consensus? It’s tough to find policies that simultaneously save lives and livelihoods. Essential reading.
Coronavirus: How CDC Lab Contamination, And a Failure to Cooperate Globally, Led to Catastrophe (Anita Bartholomew, Forbes, 4-19-2020) "Failures happen. Contamination happens. But if one thing has stood in the way of saving the [U.S.] from the worst of the pandemic more than others, it might be the country’s own go-it-alone attitude.... If the world doesn’t come together on its response to the coronavirus, not only will global—and US—pain continue longer than it needs to, the world could miss the chance to eradicate this virus." [America had better stop seeing the rest of the world as markets, competitors, or obstacles and start being part of a global team.]

     Quoting WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “…the most effective way to prevent infections and save lives is breaking the chains of transmission. And to do that, you must test and isolate.

      “You cannot fight a fire blindfolded. And we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected.

       “We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test.”  (3-16-2020)
What If We Have to Decide Who Gets a Ventilator? (Daniela J. Lamas, Opinion, NY Times, 4-2-2020) Thinking about the choices we could have to make as we treat patients with the coronavirus breaks my heart. (Dr. Lamas is a critical care doctor.) See also this story about Italy's first Covid-19 patient: I Can’t Stop Thinking About Patient One (Rachel Donadio,The Atlantic, 4-16-2020) Italy shows us that controlling the pandemic will require reshaping family life in much of the world. "In Germany, some health experts have suggested that children not see their grandparents until well into the fall, or even after Christmas. In Britain, where the government has told citizens to save lives by staying home, a cabinet minister was criticized for visiting his own parents."
'In The End, The Voters Responded': Surprising Takeaways From Wisconsin's Election (Miles Parks, Coronavirus Crisis series), 4-15-2020) "Unlike more than a dozen other states, Wisconsin plowed ahead with the April 7 election in the face of the coronavirus pandemic after the intervention of the state Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.... former Vice President Joe Biden won the state's Democratic presidential primary, and a judge backed by Democrats was elected to a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. That high-stakes judicial race was at the heart of the conflict around the election. Many liberals and election experts accused Republicans of trying to suppress turnout by holding the election during a public health crisis."
In Idaho, Far-Right Republicans Defy Coronavirus Health Restrictions (Kirk Siegler, NPR, 4-13-2020) "Quite frankly, I don't know why Idaho is falling in line with some of the most liberal governors across the nation," said Rep. Heather Scott, a state lawmaker from Blanchard, in northern Idaho. On her YouTube channel and in her regular newsletter to constituents, Scott called COVID-19 the virus that threatened to kill the Constitution. She also routinely casts doubt on the severity of the pandemic. "The lying, Trump-hating media who continues to push global and socialist agendas has told us that there is an emergency," Scott said in her YouTube video.
What We Can Learn From 1918 Influenza Diaries (Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 4-13-2020) These letters and journals offer insights on how to record one’s thoughts amid a pandemic. Though much has changed since 1918, the sentiments shared in writings from this earlier pandemic are likely to resonate with modern readers.
Why Fox News and Republicans are promoting a social distancing backlash (Paul Waldman, WaPo, 4-16-2020) Key excerpt: "Many of his voters have chosen to ignore his actual agenda, so intoxicated are they with the idea of giving a giant middle finger to the forces they thought were holding them down." (H/T Sam Greengard)
In unprecedented move, Treasury orders Trump’s name printed on stimulus checks (Lisa Rein, WaPo, 4-14-2020) The 'looter in chief' is shameless: Trump and Kushner could reap a pandemic windfall (Dana Milbank, WaPo, 4-14-2020) "[O]ne of its largest provisions, a $170 billion tax giveaway, appears to be tailor-made for the benefit of wealthy real estate investors such as President Trump and his son-in-law...The giveaway, primarily to real estate investors and hedge funds, is larger than the total amount in the legislation for hospitals ($100 billion) and for relief for all state and local governments ($150 billion). Worse, the bonanza for these millionaires and billionaires has little to do with the coronavirus: It lets them offset losses not just from 2020 but from 2018 and 2019, before the pandemic."
Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center (NewsGuard)
A plan to defeat coronavirus finally emerges, but it’s not from the White House (Lena H. Sun, William Wan and Yasmeen Abutaleb, Washington Post, 4-10-2020) Instead, a collection of governors, former government officials, disease specialists and nonprofits are pursuing a strategy that relies on the three pillars of disease control: Ramp up testing to identify people who are infected. Find everyone they interact with by deploying contact tracing on a scale America has never attempted before. And focus restrictions more narrowly on the infected and their contacts so the rest of society doesn’t have to stay in permanent lockdown.Administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations, say the White House has made a deliberate political calculation that it will better serve Trump’s interest to put the onus on governors — rather than the federal government — to figure out how to move ahead.
He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus (Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger, Maggie Haberman, Michael D. Shear, Mark Mazzetti and Julian E. Barnes, NY Times, 4-11-2020) “Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion,” President Trump said last month. He has repeatedly said that no one could have seen the effects of the coronavirus coming. An examination of the evidence reveals the president was warned about the potential for a pandemic but that internal divisions, lack of planning and his faith in his own instincts led to a halting response. A timeline of failures to act.
Dear Colleague: We Must Insist and Act on the Truth in the Coronavirus Crisis (House Speaker Nancy takes Trump to the woodshed, in a letter to her Democratic colleagues.) See also transcript of her interview with Jake Tapper on CNN's The Lead (4-15-22)
The Pandemic Will Cleave America in Two (Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 4-10-2020) Some will emerge from this crisis disrupted and shaken, but ultimately stable. Others will come out of it with much more lasting scars. The answers to each of these two questions—whether someone still has a job, and whether they can do it safely—strongly predict how any given American household is faring right now. (Plus, whether they have any savings.)
In the Bubble with Andy Slavitz Informative, intelligent interviews about COVID-19. "From his own bubble, health care leader, turnaround expert and #stayhome architect Andy Slavitt is making it his mission to give Americans critical information in real-time but also hope for a path forward."
'The impossible has already happened': what coronavirus can teach us about hope (Rebecca Solnit, a 'long read,' The Guardian, 4-7-2020) In the midst of fear and isolation, we are learning that profound, positive change is possible. Having lived through and written extensively about past disasters, Rebecca Solnit senses as well as anyone what comes next. We’re still in the middle of a global battle, but slowly talk of “after” will come, and we will need guidance from those who have endured similarly treacherous stretches. “It is too soon to know what will emerge from this emergency,” Solnit writes, “but not too soon to start looking for chances to help decide it.”
Those We’ve Lost to the Coronavirus (New York Times obits of people who have died in the pandemic)
Married for 50 years, a couple are separated by the coronavirus (Joshua Schneyer, Reuters, 4-10-2020)
Millions of Americans Might Not Get Stimulus Checks. Some Might Be Tricked Into Paying TurboTax to Get Theirs. (Justin Elliott and Paul Kiel, ProPublica, 4-5-2020) Congress gave the IRS the job of sending out coronavirus rescue checks. But the underfunded agency is struggling, while for-profit companies like Intuit have started circling, hoping to convert Americans in need into paying customers.
Our Pandemic Summer (Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 4-14-2020) Three takeaways: 1. This virus isn’t going away anytime soon. 2. Even when the U.S. reopens, the fight won’t be over. 3. Steel yourself psychologically. Here’s how the nation must prepare itself.
GOP Congressman: Lawmakers Must “Put On Our Big Boy and Big Girl Pants” and Let Americans Die (Bess Levin, Vanity Fair, 4-14-2020) Indiana congressman Trey Hollingsworth told a radio-show host that it’s Congress’s job to sit Americans down and explain to them that dying in a pandemic isn’t as bad as the havoc said pandemic is wreaking on the economy. "And while we would absolutely hate to draw some sort of distinction between the approach of the two political parties, it would appear that whereas Democrats are urging vigilance, science, and an emphasis on preserving human life, the general take of Republicans might be summed up as: Screw it, some people are going to have to take one for the team."
Bill Gates Warned Us About Pandemics Multiple Times (YouTube) "If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it's most likely to be a highly infectious virus, rather than a war....all of the supply chains would break down. There would be a lot of panic. Many of our systems would be overloaded." Why didn't we listen?
100 Days That Changed the World (Michael Safi, The Guardian, 4-8-2020)
Inside America’s 2-Decade Failure to Prepare for Coronavirus (Dan Diamond, Politico, 4-11-2020) Top officials from three administrations describe how crucial lessons were learned and lost, programs launched and canceled, and budgets funded and defunded.
Why Trump's new CDC director is an abysmal choice (Laurie Garrett, CNN, 5-13-2020) Giving Dr. Robert Redfield the top job at CDC has ignited controversy because of his dubious qualifications for the job, his hardcore, right-wing credentials, and the over-the-top salary offer. Such a prominent job at such ridiculous pay -- even a lowered sum -- is another example of the Trump administration's willingness to place politics over sensible public policy. On the other hand, as Darius Tahir points out in Politico (How the CDC director became the MAGA whisperer on coronavirus), "Robert Redfield is becoming Trump's point man with a fervent crowd that has been deeply skeptical of the pandemic....Redfield may be filling the role of 'trusted communicator' for the conservative audience skeptical of mainstream media and the public health establishment, said MIT political scientist Adam Berinsky, who studies the sticking power of misinformation and tactics to counter it.... He’s becoming the point man for President Donald Trump with a fervent crowd that has been deeply skeptical of the coronavirus outbreak, believing it a hoax, a Chinese weapon or a Deep State plot to tank the economy and destroy the Trump presidency."
The Callousness of India’s COVID-19 Response (Vidya Krishnan, The Atlantic,3-27-2020) The government is showing how not to handle a pandemic. The government is offering little in the way of a safety net. The lockdown may help “flatten the curve” and buy the authorities some time, but that means little if they do not take advantage by aggressively testing, isolating confirmed cases, and performing contact tracing. Absent these measures, the lockdown will merely create concentrated pockets of outbreaks that will then expand rapidly once the restrictions are eventually lifted.
A Nurse Bought Protective Supplies for Her Colleagues Using GoFundMe. The Hospital Suspended Her. (Marshall Allen, ProPublica, 4-7-2020) Olga Matievskaya and her fellow intensive care nurses raised more than $12,000 to buy (on eBay) and distribute protective gear for their colleagues, who say they felt inadequately protected against COVID-19. But rather than thanking the staff, hospital administrators on Saturday suspended Matievskaya for distributing "unauthorized" protective gear.
We're All Home Bound -- The Coronavirus Song (YouTube) Claire and Mel Vatz of Pittsburgh sing a delightful ode to our worldwide crisis, to the tune of the Simon & Garfunkel classic “Homeward Bound.” They did it for friends but it went viral.
The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What's Coming (Steven Levy, Wired, 3-19-2020) Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, who warned of pandemic in 2006, says we can beat the novel coronavirus—but first, we need lots more testing. Brilliant is chairman of the board of Ending Pandemics.
'A Tragedy Is Unfolding': Inside New York's Virus Epicenter (Annie Correal and Andrew Jacobs, NY Times, 4-9-2020) In a city ravaged by an epidemic, few places have been as hard hit as central Queens.
A new battle zone for the coronavirus looms: the developing world (Paul Salopek, National Geographic, 4-6-2020)  People in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city, are coming together in the face of a possible catastrophe.
The Digital Burnout Was Coming. The Pandemic Is Expediting It. (Mary Alice Miller, Vanity Fair, 4-10-2020) 'A new book about our relationship with digital devices has come at the precise moment in which we’ve never been more dependent on them for working, socializing, and staying informed. Equal parts memoir and reported nonfiction, Attention: A Love Story, out now, chronicles author Casey Schwartz’s lifelong obsession with humanity’s ability—or lack thereof—to focus, with an emphasis on how the shift to an “attention economy” exacerbates the ancient conundrum of living in the here and now.'

     “This is a rich inquiry into what it means to pay (and maintain) attention in a world increasingly permeated with distraction and interference.”—Publisher’s Weekly
Medical Professionals Tap AI to Combat COVID-19 (Samuel Greengard, CACM, 4-9-2020) Healthcare experts and hospitals are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to aid in the battle against coronavirus.
This Is Trump’s Fault (David Frum, The Atlantic, 4-7-2020) "That the pandemic occurred is not Trump’s fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump’s fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump’s fault. That states are bidding against other states for equipment, paying many multiples of the pre-crisis price for ventilators, is Trump’s fault. Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump’s fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump’s fault again." And so on.
Dance Song (for the End of the World) 5-minute Quarantine music video (music by Lizzy Shapiro & The Triggermen, dancing by a delightful variety of people)
What it feels like to survive COVID-19’s dreaded “cytokine storm” (Keith A. Spencer, Salon, 4-5-2020) "The primary symptoms I had are quite typical for those who find themselves truly afflicted with the illness: high fever, a dry cough and pain in my throat. Not a classic pharyngitis, rather a sort of aching pain which was intermittent. Subsequently, the fevers really took off and averaged 102.5 over the following days. Headaches, nausea, severe muscle and bone pain, change of bowel habits and a loss of taste and smell all evolved." A doctor and coronavirus patient in recovery describes his experience surviving COVID-19's worst side effects.
Trump Has Emergency Powers We Aren’t Allowed to Know About (Elizabeth Goitein and Andrew Boyle, Brennan Center for Justice, Opinion piece, NY Times, 4-10-2020) Given that they could make their first appearance in the coronavirus crisis, Congress should insist on having full access to them. Read follow-up warning/piece in Heather Cox Richardson's excellent newsletter Letters from an American (4-12-2020) -- by the author of To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party.
92 Years Old, Scared and Pleading to Come Home (Dan Barry, NY Times, 3-19-2020) A family grapples with a wrenching coronavirus question: Do we leave our father in the nursing home? See also Coronavirus-19 in Geriatrics and Long-Term Care by Joseph G. Ouslander (Wiley)
Reliable sources for updates on COVID-19 (roundup links)
Jared Kushner Is Going to Get Us All Killed (Michelle Goldberg, Opinion, NY Times, 4-2-2020) Trump's son-in-law has no business running the coronavirus response. He has a long track record of overconfidence in the face of repeated failure.
Unmute (Amy Cowan, MD, Pulse, 4-15-2020) 'He's already three sentences into his monologue, not pausing for breath as he mansplains the state of the world--telling me, his physician daughter, about COVID-19 and how we should wear masks "like the Orientals do." ...When we last talked, three weeks ago, he told me that COVID-19 was all a hoax.'
Executive Orders, by State (COVID-19 Resources for State Leaders, The Council of State Governments) You can view executive orders by state or by classification.
Trump Challenges Authority, Independence of Agency Watchdogs Eric Tucker, Matthew Daly, and Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press, 4-8-2020) "In four days, Trump has fired one inspector general tied to his impeachment, castigated another he felt was overly critical of the coronavirus response and sidelined a third meant to safeguard against wasteful spending of the coronavirus funds. The actions have sent shock waves across the close-knit network of watchdog officials in government, creating open conflict between a president reflexively resistant to outside criticism and an oversight community tasked with rooting out fraud, misconduct and abuse."

     Ellen Nakashima reported (WaPo): “We wanted inspectors general because of an out-of-control president named Richard Nixon, and this president is trying to destroy them,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight. “What’s happened this week has been a total full-on assault on the IG system.”
Why did Matt Drudge turn on Donald Trump? (Bob Norman, CJR, 1-29-2020)
The Federalist as “Medical Journal” in the Time of the Coronavirus (Charles Bethea, New Yorker, 4-12-2020) The Federalist, a conservative online magazine not known for its medical coverage, has published pseudoscientific takes on COVID-19 by writers not known for their epidemiological expertise.
Communities of Color at Higher Risk for Health and Economic Challenges due to COVID-19 (Samantha Artiga, Rachel Garfield, and Kendal Orgera, KFF, 4-7-2020) People of color have higher rates of certain underlying health conditions than whites, are less likely to have access to adequate healthcare, and are more likely to live in circumstances that put them at increased risk of infection from coronavirus.
Chaos rocks Trump White House on virus' most tragic day (Stephen Collinson, CNN, 4-8-2020) The chaos and confusion rocking President Donald Trump's administration on the most tragic day yet of the coronavirus pandemic was exceptional even by his own standards. Trump set out Tuesday to cement his image of a wartime leader facing down an "invisible enemy" at a dark moment as the country waits for the virus to peak and with the economy languishing in suspended animation... But instead of putting minds at rest, Trump's wild performance instead put on a display many of the personal and political habits that have defined his tumultuous presidency. See also Trump says he's considering ending funding to World Health Organization (CBS News, 4-7-2020) The man does not read or remember the daily briefings he gets.
What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage (Will Oremus, Marker/Medium, 4-2-2020). The home-toilet-paper market is pretty steady, but suddenly demand is up 40%. Demand in the commercial-establishment-toilet-paper market, also typically steady, is way down. "Not only is it not the same product, but it often doesn’t come from the same mills." (And home t.p. is better quality.)
A rare investment mechanism is helping to fund some health tech companies’ coronavirus projects (Kate Sheridan, STAT, 4-8-2020)
The 9/11 Era Is Over (Ben Rhodes, The Atlantic, 4-6-2020) "We need to change our attitude about government itself. The multidecade assault on the role of government in American life led to a Trump administration that disregards expertise and disdains career civil servants. The COVID-19 crisis has revealed that government is essential; that public service is valuable; that facts and science should guide decisions; and that competence matters more than Washington’s endless gamesmanship."
A German Exception? Why the Country’s Coronavirus Death Rate Is Low (Katrin Bennhold, NY Times, 4-4-2020) "The pandemic has hit Germany hard, with more than 92,000 people infected. But the percentage of fatal cases has been remarkably low compared to those in many neighboring countries...significant medical factors that have kept the number of deaths in Germany relatively low, epidemiologists and virologists say, chief among them early and widespread testing and treatment, plenty of intensive care beds and a trusted government whose social distancing guidelines are widely observed."
In Desperation, New York State Pays Up to 15 Times the Normal Prices for Medical Equipment (Lydia DePillis and Lisa Song, ProPublica, 4-2-2020) State data shows that New York is paying enormous markups for vital supplies, including almost $250,000 for an X-ray machine. Laws against price gouging usually apply to consumers, but not to government purchases. See also Taxpayers Paid Millions to Design a Low-Cost Ventilator for a Pandemic. Instead, the Company Is Selling Versions of It Overseas. ( Patricia Callahan, Sebastian Rotella and Tim Golden, ProPubloica, 3-30-2020) As coronavirus sweeps the globe, there is not a single Trilogy Evo Universal ventilator — developed with government funds — in the U.S. stockpile. Meanwhile, Royal Philips N.V. has sold higher-priced versions to clients around the world.
Coronavirus and Kids: Comforting Your Child by Fern Reiss (read it on your Kindle)
Covering the coronavirus story as a journalist
Trump to New York: Drop Dead (Jennifer Senior, Opinion, NY Times, 3-24-2020) 'So it’s essentially come to this: President Trump is treating each of our 50 states as individual contestants on “The Apprentice” — pitting them against one another for scarce resources, daring them to duke it out — rather than mobilizing a unified national response to a pandemic.'
Trump Administration Uses Wartime Powers to Be First in Line on Medical Supplies (Christina Jewett and Lauren Weber, KHN, 4-3-2020) The Trump administration quietly invoked the Defense Production Act to force medical suppliers in Texas and Colorado to sell to it first — ahead of states, hospitals or foreign countries. It took this action more than a week before it announced Thursday that it would use the little-known aspect of the law to force 3M to fill its contract to the U.S. first. Firms face fines or jail time if they don’t comply.The Cold War-era law gives federal officials the power to edge out the competition and force contractors to provide supplies to them before filling orders for other customers....But if the government is going to take more control — which many health and government leaders have urged it to do — it should be transparent about its actions, said Dr. Atul Grover, executive vice president of the Association of American Medical Colleges. He said medical leaders have been whiplashed by their orders for protective gear falling through and speculated that they lost out to federal agencies."
When science loses its voice (Cinnamon Janzer, CJR, 4-23-2020) "Concerns that CDC officials are being muzzled seem especially notable under an administration characterized by a brazen disregard for facts, science, and truth itself. (Throughout the pandemic, variations on the phrase “the CDC did not respond to a request for comment” have abounded.)...Scientists, the report argued, “need to have the freedom to speak candidly with journalists—and hence the public—about their work. For example, if scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have apprehensions about a new strain of influenza or a tuberculosis outbreak, the public needs to have confidence that these scientists are communicating openly with the press and that the CDC’s response is based on science.”
Hospitals Have Left Many COVID-19 Patients Who Don’t Speak English Alone, Confused and Without Proper Care (Joshua Kaplan, ProPublica, 3-31-2020) One medical worker told us: “It takes 10 minutes of sitting on the phone to get an interpreter, and that’s valuable time when you’re inundated. So this utilitarian calculus kicks in. And the patients that are most mainstream get the best care.”
New Zealand isn’t just flattening the curve. It’s squashing it. (Anna Fifield, MSN, 4-7-2020) Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is adamant that New Zealand will complete four weeks of lockdown — two full 14-day incubation cycles — before letting up. It has been less than two weeks since New Zealand imposed a coronavirus lockdown so strict that swimming at the beach and hunting in bushland were banned. See also New Zealand’s Prime Minister May Be the Most Effective Leader on the Planet (Uri Friedman, The Atlantic, 4-19-2020) Her leadership style, focused on empathy, isn’t just resonating with her people; it’s putting the country on track for success against the coronavirus. “She doesn’t peddle in misinformation; she doesn’t blame-shift; she tries to manage everyone’s expectations at the same time [as] she offers reassuring notes.”
Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear (Olivia Carville, Emma Court, and Kristen V Brown. Bloomberg, 3-31-2020)
How the Pandemic Will End (Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 3-18-2020) The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out. See also his article The Next Plague Is Coming. Is America Ready? (Atlantic, July 2018) The epidemics of the early 21st century revealed a world unprepared, even as the risks continue to multiply. Much worse is coming.
The U.S. was beset by denial and dysfunction as the coronavirus raged (Yasmeen Abutaleb, Josh Dawsey, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, Washington Post, 4-4-2020) From the Oval Office to the CDC, political and institutional failures cascaded through the system and opportunities to mitigate the pandemic were lost.
Why Housing the Homeless in the Age of Covid-19 Is Essential (Anita Bartholomew, Forbes, 4-3-2020) The country can’t afford to allow large swathes of the population to go unhoused and exposed. It endangers everyone.
Are people of color hit harder by COVID-19 in your state or city? (Matthew Kauffman, Positive Deviance Data Project, Solutions Journalism Network, The Whole Story) The database is dynamic: Where it reports the data it simply links to each state or city's reporting page.
Mysterious Heart Damage, Not Just Lung Troubles, Befalling COVID-19 Patients (Markian Hawryluk, KHN, 4-6-2020) Most of the attention in the COVID-19 pandemic has been on how the virus affects the lungs. But evidence shows that up to 1 in 5 infected patients have signs of heart damage and many are dying due to heart problems.
Early Data Shows African Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate (Akilah Johnson and Talia Buford, ProPublica, 4-3-2020) No, the coronavirus is not an “equalizer.” Black people are being infected and dying at higher rates. Here’s what Milwaukee is doing about it — and why governments need to start releasing data on the race of COVID-19 patients. See also The Coronavirus’s Unique Threat to the South (Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic, 4-2-2020) More young people in the South seem to be dying from COVID-19. Why? And see Virus Is Twice as Deadly for Black and Latino People Than Whites in N.Y.C. (Jeffery C. Mays and Andy Newman, NY Times, 4-8-2020) "The preliminary death rate for Hispanic people in the city is about 22 people per 100,000; the rate for black people is 20 per 100,000; the rate for white people is 10 per 100,000; and the rate for Asian people is 8 per 100,000. The rates are adjusted for the size and age of the population." And 100 to 200 people a day "are presumed to be virus victims but who are not tested and are left out of the virus death toll."
Medical Expert Who Corrects Trump Is Now a Target of the Far Right (Davey Alba and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 3-28-2020) Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency virus measures, faces a torrent of false claims that he is mobilizing to undermine the president. See also How Anthony Fauci Became America’s Doctor (Michael Specter, New Yorker, 4-10-2020) Fauci once explained 'that he has developed a method for dealing with political leaders in times of crisis: “I go to my favorite book of philosophy, ‘The Godfather,’ and say, ‘It’s nothing personal, it’s strictly business.’ ” He continued, “You just have a job to do. Even when somebody’s acting ridiculous, you can’t chide them for it. You’ve got to deal with them. Because if you don’t deal with them, then you’re out of the picture.” '
In a pandemic, what is essential journalism? (Alexandria Neason, CJR, 4-2-2020) "Journalists routinely enter dangerous or risky situations in the interest of informing the public, but most such decisions—to travel to a conflict zone, for instance, or to report from the eye of a dangerous storm—harbor risk for a limited number of people. Here and now, on the other hand, what we consider basic journalistic practice is in some ways diametrically opposed to the communal good."
How the COVID Tracking Project fills the public health data gap (Emily Sohn, CJR, 3-24-2020)
What Trump’s Twitter Feed Tells Him About the Coronavirus (Politico, 3-14-2020) The president follows 47 accounts on Twitter. Here are the five main things they’re saying about the pandemic. #1 This is China's fault. #2 Joe Biden would be worse. #3 Trump is doing a great job. #4 The media is fueling the panic. #5 But there's no reason to panic.
Journalism Professors Call for an End to Fox News Coronavirus 'Misinformation' in Open Letter to Rupert Murdoch (James Walker, Newsweek, 4-2-2020)
Alarm, Denial, Blame: The Pro-Trump Media’s Coronavirus Distortion (Jeremy W. Peters, NY Times, 4-1-2020) Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing commentators turned a pandemic into a battle of us vs. them — the kind of battle President Trump has waged for much of his life. "For years, Mr. Limbaugh has encouraged his audience to be suspicious of science as one of his so-called Four Corners of Deceit, which also include government, academia and media."
After Threats, Anthony Fauci to Receive Enhanced Personal Security (Katie Benner and Michael D. Shear, NY Times, 4-1-2020) Dr. Fauci has become a target of online conspiracy theorists after advocating social distancing rules.
Trump Congratulates Businesses for Helping Fight Coronavirus. But His Own Company Has Been Absent. (Peter Elkind, ProPublica, 1-2-2020) 'ProPublica examined the seven hotel properties and dozen U.S. country clubs owned by the Trump Organization and could find no sign that any are taking the sorts of civic-minded steps the president has urged....In Florida, Trump’s Mar-A-Lago club, where the membership initiation fee is $200,000, remained open and seemingly disdainful of social distancing until March 21, after reports of coronavirus infections spread at crowded Trump fundraisers, a reception for Brazil’s president and a glittery party for Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, where guests danced in a conga line on March 7. This prompted Politico to describe the 20-acre resort as “a gilded petri dish.” '
The U.S. Was On Track to Build Cheap, Easy-To-Use Ventilators Years Ago. Then a Big Device-Maker Got in the Way. (KHN Morning Briefing, 3-30-2020) Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations (with links to stories).Public health experts have long known that a ventilator shortage is a vulnerability in the system. The government tried to rectify the problem, but efforts stalled. The New York Times takes a deep-dive into what went wrong. Meanwhile, manufacturers across the country say they lack federal guidance on where to ship new products.
Help Researchers Track COVID-19 (Bob Hirshon, Scientific American, 3-26-2020) By entering your health status, even if you’re feeling fine, at the Web site COVID Near You, you can help researchers develop a nationwide look at where hotspots of coronavirus are occurring...
Exponential growth and epidemics: How is COVID-19 currently growing? (video, 3blue1brown.com) A good primer on exponential and logistic growth.
Trump: “Every Country” Spreads Lies About the Coronavirus, What’s the Big Deal? (Bess Levin, Vanity Fair, 3-30-2020) You want to know the real threat to America? Windmills.
Grim Reapers: How Trump and Xi set the stage for the coronavirus pandemic (Laurie Garrett, New Republic, 4-2-2020) The "2020 pandemic is, at its root, the story of two deeply flawed leaders, Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, who for too long minimized the coronavirus threat—and who, because of the enormous, largely unaccountable power they wield, must share responsibility for its global scale. At key moments when their mutual transparency and collaboration might have spared the world a catastrophic pandemic, the world’s two most powerful men fought a war of words over trade policies, and charged each other with responsibility for the spread of the disease." Analysis of what they both did wrong.
The Coronavirus Spurs a Movement of People Reclaiming Vacant Homes (Dana Goodyear, New Yorker, 3-28-2020)
'All of This Panic Could Have Been Prevented': Author Max Brooks On COVID-19 (Terry Gross, Fresh Air, NPR, 3-24-2020) Apocalyptic novelist Max Brooks is something of an expert on planning for pandemics and other disasters. His books include World War Z, Germ Warfare and the forthcoming Devolution. “President Trump was slow to acknowledge the virus as a real threat. And thus far, the president has resisted using the Defense Production Act to force private companies to manufacture masks, gloves and other essential supplies in the fight against the coronavirus. Many government task forces that plan for disasters have yet to be activated in this crisis."

The Official Coronavirus Numbers Are Wrong, and Everyone Knows It (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 3-4-2020) Because the U.S. data on coronavirus infections are so deeply flawed, the quantification of the outbreak obscures more than it illuminates. Preparing for a sizable outbreak seemed absurd when there were fewer than 20 cases on American soil. Now we know that the disease was already spreading and that it was the U.S. response that was stalled. The reality gap between American numbers and American cases is wide.
The next outbreak? We're not ready (Bill Gates TED Talk, 2015) In 2014, the world avoided a global outbreak of Ebola, thanks to thousands of selfless health workers -- plus, frankly, some very good luck. In hindsight, we know what we should have done better.
How the Virus Transformed the Way Americans Spend Their Money (Lauren Leatherby and David Gelles, NY Times, 4-11-1010) Fascinating graphics! "Right now, more people are spending money on streaming services and gaming—and even ebooks have seen an uplift."
Why Estonia Was Poised to Handle How a Pandemic Would Change Everything (Masha Gessen, New Yorker, 3-24-2020) The little start-up country that did better than the U.S.
Desperate for Covid-19 answers, U.S. doctors turn to colleagues in China (Sharon Begley, STAT, 3-24-2020) Fed 'up with what they see as inadequate and confusing directives from public health authorities, many physicians are trying to get on-the-ground advice directly from colleagues in countries that were the first to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention originally told physicians, nurses, and others caring for Covid-19 patients to use N95 masks, for instance, but earlier this month changed that to ordinary surgical masks for most needs....

      Severe and critical cases in China get hospitalized, but at a dedicated facility, to reduce spread from Covid-19 patient to hospital worker to non-Covid-19 patient....The Hopkins teams was impressed with China’s scrupulous measures to minimize viral transmission, “especially among health care workers,” Auwaerter said. “Such measures have successfully slowed the epidemic in China.” In contrast, failing to do so has fueled the disastrous spread of Covid-19 in Italy, physicians at a hospital in the country’s hard-hit north warned over the weekend.'
How to Talk to Coronavirus Skeptics (Isaac Chotiner, New Yorker, 3-23-2020) A science historian discusses the Trump Administration's response to the pandemic and strategies for convincing doubters that the threat of the coronavirus is real. All of the major areas where we see resistance to scientific findings in contemporary life fall into the category of implicatory denial--that is, "we reject scientific findings because we don’t like their implications." See also Chotiner's piece Jeffrey Sachs on the Catastrophic American Response to the Coronavirus (New Yorker, 4-21-2020) The economist Jeffrey Sachs says that President Trump is the “worst political leader” he has seen in his forty years of working with governments around the world. Trump's disastrous response to Covid-19 demands investigation.
“There’s No Boogeyman He Can Attack”: Angry at Kushner, Trump Awakens to the COVID-19 Danger (Gabriel Sherman, Vanity Fair, 3-16-2020) For weeks, Trump and his son-in-law saw the novel coronavirus mostly as a media and political problem. But the spiraling cases, plunging markets, and a Mar-a-Lago cluster finally opened eyes.
How South Korea Flattened the Curve (Max Fisher and Choe Sang-Hun, NY Times, 3-23-2020) The country showed that it is possible to contain the coronavirus without shutting down the economy, but experts are unsure whether its lessons can work abroad.

Lesson 1: Intervene Fast, Before It’s a Crisis.

Lesson 2: Test Early, Often and Safely. Read More 

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