40,000 new Covid cases were reported yesterday in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins data tracker, the worst yet in a pandemic that refused to go away and is once again surging.
There are 2.42m cases reported in total and 124,415 people are dead. Cases are climbing sharply in California, Texas and Florida. Alabama, Texas and Nevada report hospitals close to capacity.
The Washington Post reports more grim facts :
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• The number of Americans who have been infected with the novel coronavirus is likely 10 times higher than the number of cases reported, according to the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a call with reporters Thursday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said, “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that’s reported, there actually are 10 other infections.”
• A rush to reopen the nation’s economy without proper safety measures in place is behind this week’s spike in cases, Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said Thursday on the “Today” show.
• President Trump continued to push the discredited notion that coronavirus cases are increasing in the United States because of “GREAT TESTING” and complained that the news media was not spreading the word. While testing has increased, health experts say that in several states with rising caseloads, new cases are outpacing the spread of testing.
A chart of newly-confirmed cases of Covid paints a grim picture of a suddenly-resurgent pandemic in the United States. Published by the Financial Times and based on data from the Covid Tracking Project and other sources, the chart suggests that Brazil and India are similarly unable to contain the disease while Europe has limited its spread; the U.K. formally ended many lockdown measures today.
The U.S. surge is reportedly centered in red states, where conservatives have been successful in lifting lockdown measures early and have sought to politicize wearing masks and social distancing. The new cases also skew younger, making them less likely to be serious. Read the rest
It's a beautiful spring morning in America and footage of an angry, unmasked woman coughing on people is going viral. It's hard to know where she lies on the spectra of politics, narcissism or partiality to facts. But internet sleuths have apparently identified her and she works in healthcare. This fact, if it's true, is as stark a warning you're going to get about what the second half of this year will be like in America. Read the rest
Memo: Wash your hands, and your sex toys.
The New York Health department has issued a “harm reduction strategy” document encouraging city residents to eschew in-person hookups and opt instead for “video dates, sexting, subscription-based fan platforms, sexy Zoom parties or chat rooms.”
But if you absolutely must, the memo offers covid-19 safety tips for sex workers (“take a break” the memo states, but don’t expect an EIDL loan), directives for group sex parties (“limit your guest list”), and guidance for those who dig the “mature” (Remember, those over 65 are high risk!).
“Make it a little kinky,” the memo states. “Be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.” The times they are a changin’. Could the city’s infamous glory hole culture make a comeback?
Ultimately, the memo urges, “You are your safest sex partner,” and as the infamous New York pervert Woody Allen once said, “Don’t knock masturbation, it’s sex with someone I love.”
But the best harm reduction strategy might be the memo itself. Read the whole thing and you’ll never want to have sex again. Read the rest
The LA Times has observed that COVID-19 infection rates are falling in wealthier enclaves while gaining traction in poorer communities.
Denser living conditions, higher populations of 'essential' workers, and historic difficulty accessing health care force folks in a position to be infected.
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The Times compared neighborhoods in which more than 25% of the population was living below the poverty line — defined by the Census Bureau as a family of four making less than $26,000 a year — to those in which the poverty rate was lower than 5%.
The shift shows the surge feared by public health officials did come to pass, but was largely concentrated in the poorest, most crowded neighborhoods — areas with a lot of essential workers, more crowded housing and higher rates of underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
Early in the outbreak, health officials and experts warned that numbers showing higher infection rates on the Westside in predominately white, affluent neighborhoods such as Bel-Air, Beverly Crest and Brentwood were skewed by uneven testing that masked the true spread of COVID-19. Those areas have seen their fortunes improve after months of social distancing and economic disruption.
I have friends. They are all in my head. 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
Wouldn't it be amazing if the United States did this?
Britain’s finance minister Rishi Sunak said Thursday all self-employed citizens will receive a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly profits as part of the government’s coronavirus response plan. Read the rest