On March 21, Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove, 50, posted this video on Facebook. He was frustrated that a woman had openly coughed on his bus without thinking about others. "I ain't blaming nobody, nobody but the woman who did this shit," he said. "For us to get through this and over this, y'all need to take this shit seriously...there's folks dying from this, listen, there's folks dying out here 'cause of this shit."
Sadly, four days later Hargrove came down with the coronavirus, and then died from it yesterday.
From The Washington Post:
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In between shifts last month, Hargrove, a city bus driver with the Detroit Department of Transportation, recounted in an obscenity-laden Facebook video how a woman onboard had just coughed in front of him and other passengers, even as the novel coronavirus continued to spread across the United States.
“We out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families,” he said on March 21, “but for you to get on the bus and stand on the bus and cough several times without covering up your mouth, and you know we’re in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don’t care.”
On Thursday, the head of the Detroit bus drivers’ union announced that Hargrove had died of covid-19 on Wednesday. Glenn Tolbert, the head of the union, told the Detroit News that Hargrove started to feel ill on March 25, four days after the incident with the coughing passenger.
Prisons in America are already overcrowded, under-supported, and maddeningly profitable for the people who made them that way. And when people die in incarceration under more normal circumstances, it still tends to get ignored or covered up. As a result, some of them have been struggling with how to deal with social distancing, quarantine, and general medical safety during this pandemic. (Case-in-point: Joe Exotic may have been exposed to coronavirus.)
Even in that context, the Massachusetts Department of Corrections offered a particularly absurd excuse for their less-than-bare-minimum effort in treating incarcerated people with basic humanity. According to CourtWatch MA, a volunteer community group that acts as a watchdog for the state prison system, the state's latest prison capacity report claims that the DOC is prepared for a capacity of 7,492 people. But there are 7,916 people currently incarcerated by the state — nearly 500 more than that design/rated capacity. (The state also claims that its operational capacity is 10,157, which is not consistent with the data available records requests.
This week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court asked the sheriffs of 14 counties to provide information about their handling of this overcrowding during the coronavirus outbreak, to ensure that they're all adhering to proper CDC guidelines. Here's the first question they asked:
Approximately what percentage of inmates or detainees sleeps within six feet of another inmate or detainee? Individuals in disciplinary isolation should be excluded from this estimate.
That seems fairly straight-forward. But the sheriff Hampden County responded that "0% sleeps within six feet of one another" at the main institution, the women's facility, the regional recovery and wellness center, and the pre-release center in that county. Read the rest
Watching these videos got me thinking about the hazmat suits and heavy-duty disinfections you see in footage of victim transports. It makes me suspect that the 6ft/2m social distancing benchmark and "masks do nothing" policies are forms of epidemiology theater that we will soon come to regret. A single cough generates thousands of microdroplets that remain suspended in air for hours, reports Esquire. It "doesn't meant we're doomed," writes Sharon Begley. Read the rest
My pal Tracy shared this Adele parody song by YouTuber Chris Mann on Tuesday, with the following setup:
IT. DOES. NOT. GET. BETTER. THAN. THIS.
I’ve been seeing a lot of great things via the internet, but I thought this one was particularly well done, and funny.
Seriously. Just put down whatever you are doing. Or not doing. Sit back. Watch the whole thing.
How's that for a recommendation?
screengrab via Chris Mann/YouTube Read the rest
As The New York Times reports:
Invoking the Defense Production Act is hardly a rare occurrence. As recently as last summer, the Department of Defense used it to obtain rare earth metals needed to build lasers, jet engines and armored vehicles.
The Defense Department estimates that it has used the law’s powers 300,000 times a year. The Department of Homeland Security — including its subsidiary, FEMA — placed more than 1,000 so-called rated orders in 2018, often for hurricane and other disaster response and recovery efforts, according to a report submitted to Congress in 2019 by a committee of federal agencies formed to plan for the effective use of the law.
The Defense Production Act essentially empowers the government to enact a kind of centralized economic planning. While they can't take over private companies, they can direct those companies to prioritize certain manufacturing needs, or oversee distribution of products. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, with the country facing a shortage of personal protective equipment, it could be used to speed up production for things like N95 masks and ventilators. The government could essentially commandeer manufacturing lines to make sure that all the necessary individual parts are being produced and then moved in a timely manner to a place where they could then be assembled and distributed.
As Reuters described it in March:
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A White House official confirmed that the administration was exploring the use of the law to spur manufacturing of protective gear. Both the DHS official and the White House requested anonymity to discuss the issue.
After a tipoff, police raided a house in Brooklyn and carted off boxes said to contain close to a million N95 masks. CBS News:
"Authorities remove close to one million N95 respirator masks, gloves, gowns and other medical supplies after a Brooklyn man was caught allegedly hoarding the equipment."
I've seen a few articles saying he was arrested for the hoarding, but the report says he was arrested for lying to the FBI and coughing on them. Read the rest
NIH 3D Print Exchange was developed to allow for the distributed design, testing, approval, and sharing of scientifically-accurate models related to the biomedical sciences.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have created a COVID-19 supply chain response section on their website. Here, designers of PPE (personal protection equipment) and other necessary equipment related to the pandemic can upload their designs for testing, and if approved, for clinical use.
You can scan and download the approved 3D print designs and you can do the same with the prototype designs under review. A section called "Designs Optimized for Community Use" is for things that anyone can make use of, like contactless door openers. There is also a section with designs with serious safety implications. As you might imagine, most of these are for ventilator components.
Image: Prototype N95 respirator design Read the rest
Autodesk's former CEO Carl Bass is a deeply talented artist and maker with his own fab lab in Berkeley. Now, Carl along with his pal Chris Taggart and their families have been cranking out a unique kind of plastic face shield to help protect nurses and doctors on the front lines of COVID-19. In some cases, they've had to be discreet in their donations due to health regulations.
“There are a huge number of people around the country who make stuff and are trying to figure out how to help out,” says Bass who is also a member of BLK SHP, a conspiracy of radically creative folks working to make the world a better place.
The shields which cost around $1.50/each to manufacture are free for healthcare providers and financial donations are welcome. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go Carl and Chris!
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Over the weekend, working on a design put together by Taggart, the men manufactured 500 pieces of personal protective gear. The design involves snapping a long piece of plastic into a baseball cap....
By Sunday, the 500 shields were gone, handed out for free in plastic-covered packs of 25 to people who had heard through word of mouth about the project. Now the men are gearing up to make tens of thousands more...
The Alameda Health System issued an internal memo on Monday expanding where staff can wear masks and pledging to provide respiratory masks to workers in the ER, labor and delivery, urgent care and psychiatry emergency services.
There's a lot of back-and-forth about the effectiveness of facemasks to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and I can't vouch for this one, called the ragmask. But the design is tastefully understated and elegant, as are the PDF instructions for making your own.
Image: ragmask Read the rest
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp admitted yesterday he was unaware that coronavirus could be spread by infected people who don't show any symptoms —– a common fact he knew nothing about "until the last 24 hours." Where has this so-called leader been for the last two months since this basic information was first made public? My guess is in front of Fox News, but it's just a hunch.
According to Gizmodo:
On January 31, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters, “there’s no doubt [...] that asymptomatic transmission is occurring.”
As February continued, and the number of cases started to rise in the U.S., we learned more and more about asymptomatic transmission. There were still questions, but the CDC director confirmed by mid-February that people without symptoms were spreading the disease.
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After weeks of workers' complaints they are at risk because of lack of coronavirus protections, Amazon says it will deploy face masks and temperature checks for workers by next week.
The company says it will provide protective gear to staff at all its U.S. and European warehouses, in addition to all Whole Foods stores, by early next week. Read the rest
“You should have pushed harder. Stop complaining.” — Trump
2nd domestic cat infected in Hong Kong
As anyone that's been kicking around here for the past few years knows, I love the Nintendo Switch—not so much for its new games, although I do dig a number of those too. For me, the Switch is the ultimate port machine. As I do the majority of my work on a slowly dying early 2015 13" MacBook Pro Retina laptop, it's reasonable to say that I haven't been set up to play the majority of PC, PS4 and Xbox titles that have come down the pike, these past five years. Happily, My Switch is allowing me to catch up. I'm in the middle of The Witcher III right now. I've been playing a bit of the Metro series (which is great in handheld mode) on and off and, Good lord: Mario Kart. Yes, it's a Nintendo original, but I never had a pal who owned a Nintendo U to play it with. Now's my chance.
Over the past week, I've heard some fabulous news about a number of ports that I'll be thrilled to play when I'm not busy with work check this out:
The Outer Worlds, which is essentially Fallout: New Vegas in space, will be released for the Switch in June
XCOM 2, one of the best strategy games I've ever had the chance to play and not finish, will be released for the Switch on May 29th
The Borderlands Legendary Collection, which includes Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Seque, comes out on the same day
BioShock Remastered, BioShock 2 Remastered, and BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition are all dropping at the end of May as well
There's no good time to be quarantined or sheltering in place (although we're currently doing so for a very good reason). Read the rest
America has no fire drill for economic uncertainty. What is going to happen today, April 1st, in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, when everyone's rent, mortgages, and bills are due? Read the rest
President Donald Trump and administration officials recently said they were considering relaunching HealthCare.gov, the federal enrollment site, and insurers said they privately received assurances from health officials overseeing the law's marketplace. However, a White House official on Tuesday evening told POLITICO the administration will not reopen the site for a special enrollment period, and that the administration is "exploring other options."
The annual enrollment period for HealthCare.gov closed months ago, and a special enrollment period for the coronavirus could have extended the opportunity for millions of uninsured Americans to newly seek out coverage. Still, the law already allows a special enrollment for people who have lost their workplace health plans, so the health care law may still serve as a safety net after a record surge in unemployment stemming from the pandemic.
Trump confirmed last week he was seriously considering a special enrollment period, but he also doubled down on his support of a lawsuit by Republican states that could destroy the entire Affordable Care Act, along with coverage for the 20 million people insured through the law.
Healthcare.gov is of course a product of the Affordable Care Act, which is also commonly referred to as Obamacare, a branding that has inspired a decade's worth of spite from Republican politicians determined to destroy the legacy of the first black president at all costs.
There are honestly few things in this world that baffle me as much as the vitriol that some conservatives feel about Obama's "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" quote. Read the rest
Joanna Charlton shared this video of her daughter crying over closed restaurants and delivery food. This 4-year-old girl speaks for all of us. Read the rest