Alabama principal does a great parody of Can't Touch This to promote Covid safety

"Hammer Time" becomes "Sanitize"  when Dr. Quentin J. Lee an Alabama principal, "sings a rap song about Covid to MC Hammer's classic hit of 'Can't Touch This.'" Read the rest

Small town newspaper obituary for COVID-19 victim blames Trump, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and covidiots everywhere

On July 22, Marion County, Texas resident David W. Nagy, 79 died of COVID-19. His wife Stacey Nagy wrote an obituary for her husband that ran in the Jefferson Jimplecute newspaper. The newspaper has no Web site but someone snapped the photo above and it went viral. While some have questioned its authenticity, Snopes confirms that it's all too real. From Snopes:

[Stacey] Nagy said she has seen a lot people around her town failing to wear face masks, from drugstore employees to deputies at the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, even though Marion County is now under Abbott’s mask mandate.

“It gets me so angry that people are aren’t taking this seriously,” Nagy told us by phone. “The people who are dying are the older people especially — a lot of younger people are dying too — but it’s almost like they’re saying, ‘Who cares about the older people?’ I’ve been with my husband for 20 years and all of a sudden he’s gone. People should know how this makes others feel.”

She also expressed anger that the pandemic has been politicized. “It’s not political,” she said. “It’s life and death.[...]”

“I miss my husband dearly,” Nagy told us. “I’m taking one day at a time to just try to keep going. When I wrote that thing it was because of him. I don’t want his death just to disappear. I wrote that and partially, it keeps him alive for me.”

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NYTimes shows video of Trump's Covid lies to people around the world

What do people around the world think of Trump's response to the coronavirus in the United States? The New York Times showed a video of the things Trump has said about how the United States is handling the pandemic to people in other countries and asked them for their opinion. Most of the viewers were aghast, bemused, sad, or angry at Trump's boastful lies about how well he was dealing with the disease. Read the rest

Batman nemesis Bane urges mask use in newly-released outtakes

The always delightful Auralnauts have redubbed The Dark Knight Rises for 2020, with Bane urging all those he encounters to join him in wearing a mask. Read the rest

The most comprehensive and accessible explanation of how COVID-19 works (so far)

One of the greatest struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the fact that the entire world has to watch the normal scientific process happen in realtime. Scientists don't have the space to hypothesize, experiment, and discover new things before it all goes public. Everyone wants certainty; they want immediate answers. But that's not how science works.

This new feature from the UCSF Magazine offers the most comprehensive, detailed, and surprisingly accessible breakdown of the virus so far, including that whole process of discovery — what we knew when, why that led to certain conclusions that were correct, and so on.

In late January, when hospitals in the United States confirmed the presence of the novel coronavirus, health workers knew to watch for precisely three symptoms: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. But as the number of infections climbed, the symptom list began to grow. Some patients lost their sense of smell and taste. Some had nausea or diarrhea. Some had arrhythmias or even heart attacks. Some had damaged kidneys or livers. Some had headaches, blood clots, rashes, swelling, or strokes. Many had no symptoms at all.

By June, clinicians were swapping journal papers, news stories, and tweets describing more than three dozen ways that COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes, appears to manifest itself.

This includes a succinct explanation of how it works as a vascular (as opposed to respiratory) virus, and why that was such a jarring realization:

The novel coronavirus, an RNA virus named SARS-CoV-2, has become notorious for its skill at breaking and entering human cells.

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Here are the places you can travel with a US passport

America's colossal mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic means US Passport holders have limited options when it comes to international travel. According to this CNN infographic, countries that remain open without restrictions include:

Albania Dominican Republic Kosovo Maldives Mexico North Macedonia Serbia Tunisia Turkey

Twenty-three other countries are open with restrictions, such as having a negative COVID-19 test result, going into quarantine once you arrive, or paying a cash deposit.

Image: CNN Read the rest

A frustrating look inside the White House's utter failure at coronavirus testing, led by Jared Kushner

Over at Vanity Fair, Katherine Eban goes behind the scenes of the Trump administration's abject failure at coordinating mass testing for coronavirus — and perhaps unsurprisingly, in all connects back to Jared Kushner empowering all his trustfund baby friends, and Donald Trump's precious ego crushing every opportunity just to make some political gains:

The plan called for the federal government to coordinate distribution of test kits, so they could be surged to heavily affected areas, and oversee a national contact-tracing infrastructure. It also proposed lifting contract restrictions on where doctors and hospitals send tests, allowing any laboratory with capacity to test any sample. It proposed a massive scale-up of antibody testing to facilitate a return to work. It called for mandating that all COVID-19 test results from any kind of testing, taken anywhere, be reported to a national repository as well as to state and local health departments.

And it proposed establishing “a national Sentinel Surveillance System” with “real-time intelligence capabilities to understand leading indicators where hot spots are arising and where the risks are high vs. where people can get back to work.”


But the effort ran headlong into shifting sentiment at the White House.


Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.

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Children are major carriers of Coronavirus, say researchers

Kids under the age of 5 who show symptoms of COVID-19 have higher concentrations of the virus than any other age group, according to a study published today in the JAMA Pediatrics journal.

From Fortune:

"One of the things that’s come up in the whole school reopening discussion, is: since kids are less sick, is it because they have less of the virus?," said Taylor Heald-Sargent, the lead author and a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, and assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

"And our data does not support that,” she told Fortune. As a result, "we can't assume that kids aren't able to spread the virus."

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Watch the Herman Cain 2012 Smoking Ad — in memoriam

“I am America.”

9. 9. 9.

Herman Cain died of COVID-19 today.

Killed by a hoax. Sad.

Herman Cain dies of Covid

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The UK's "pilot program" for socially distanced indoor concerts sounds terrible

The last thing I did before the coronavirus lockdown really take off was a single one of my scheduled St. Patrick's Day music gigs. My rock band just released the first single off our upcoming album, and we know that we won't be able to play any shows to promote it for at least another year. Meanwhile, my wife has spent the last twenty years working exclusively in live theatre.

Performing arts are a central part of our lives, but we both know that they won't be coming back for a while — at least, not in the way we're used to.

So I do commend the UK for at least trying to come up with safety guidelines for indoor performances. But, like with restaurants re-opening here in the US, I, personally, do not plan on indulging in these activities for a long time. This is both for my personal safety, and because I am ethically incapable of sitting there passively while heavily-armored hazmat suits serve me.

Still, I watched with morbid fascination as Frank Turner, one of my favorite songwriters, prepped for one the UK's pilot programs at the Clapham Grand musical hall in London in order to test out the country's socially distanced concert guidelines. Asking Turner to participate in this test drive was a particular curious choice — his charismatic performances are built on communal experience, on crowd participation and singalongs and forcing you to interact with strangers (with courtesy and consent). But all of that had to be stripped away in order to adhere to the coronavirus rules. Read the rest

"Hygiene Theater" doesn't reduce the risk of COVID-19

My family stopped wiping down all our groceries to "disinfect" them a couple months ago, mostly because of hygiene exhaustion. Then in May, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention clarified its own Web page about how COVID-19 spreads to state that "based on data from lab studies on COVID-19 and what we know about similar respiratory diseases, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

Even so, there is no shortage of "hygiene theater," activities that might make people feel better but, according to microbiologist Emanuel Goldman's article in medical journal The Lancet, don't have much to do with how COVID-19 is actually transmitted. (Wear a fucking mask.) Derek Thompson writes in The Atlantic:

All those studies that made COVID-19 seem likely to live for days on metal and paper bags were based on unrealistically strong concentrations of the virus. As he explained to me, as many as 100 people would need to sneeze on the same area of a table to mimic some of their experimental conditions. The studies “stacked the deck to get a result that bears no resemblance to the real world," Goldman said[...]

A good case study of how the coronavirus spreads, and does not spread, is the famous March outbreak in a mixed-use skyscraper in Seoul, South Korea.

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Republican official's spicy Holocaust meme about wearing masks doesn't go over well

Minnesota continues to be in the news for all the wrong reasons, this time thanks to a meme posted by the Wabasha County Republican Party comparing wearing a face mask to Jews forced to wear Stars of David under Hitler. Said official is no longer officially with the organization. Read the rest

78 of 100 recovered coronavirus patients have "lasting cardiovascular damage"

Even mild cases of Coronavirus can result in lasting cardiovascular damage, according to a study published this week in JAMA Cardiology.

From The Week:

But a recent study of 100 recovered coronavirus patients reveals 78 of them now have lasting cardiovascular damage even though a vast majority of them had mild cases of COVID-19 in the first place.

The study published Monday in JAMA Cardiology details the results of cardiac MRI exams of 100 recovered coronavirus patients. Twenty-eight of them required oxygen supplementation while fighting the virus, while just two were on ventilators.

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Russia is using 3 English-language websites to spread coronavirus disinformation: US government officials

US government officials told the Associated Press today that three different English-language websites are spreading disinformation about the novel coronavirus directly from Russia. Read the rest

Video compares droplet sprays when wearing different masks -- and no mask at all

Researchers compared the sprays of droplets we spew out of our mouths when wearing a one-layered cloth mask, two-layered cloth mask, surgical mask, and no mask at all -- while talking, coughing, and sneezing.

Mashable sums up the findings succinctly:

The study's big takeaways are:

• When talking, wearing even a single-layer mask significantly limits the exhalation of droplets.

• For coughing and sneezing, a double-layer mask is much more effective than a single-layer mask.

• Generally, the more layers a mask has the better. The researchers suggest "at least three layers" and found surgical masks performed best in this study — though not everyone has access to these masks.

For more details read the published results in Thorax. Read the rest

Google announces it will keep its workers at home until at least next summer

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that his employees will work from home until at least next July, reports The Wall Street Journal. According to Reuters, "Google had earlier said it would begin reopening more offices globally as early as June this year, but most Google employees would likely work from home until the end of this year." Read the rest

Sinclair Broadcasting aired a follow-up to the debunked "Plandemic" conspiracy theory

Sinclair Broadcasting, the massively influential right-wing media conglomerate that cleverly buys up TV stations in local markets in order to push conservative propaganda, plans to push a national news segment featuring a video with Judy Mikovits, the woman behind the quickly-popularized but swiftly-debunked Plandemic YouTube conspiracy theory. Media Matters was first to report:

Baseless conspiracy theories about the novel coronavirus and Dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force, found a platform on the new episode of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s America This Week. The episode is available for streaming on Sinclair-owned or -operated television station websites and is set to air on dozens of Sinclair stations over the weekend.

Toward the end of his show, host Eric Bolling interviewed Judy Mikovits of the conspiracy theory video Plandemic and her attorney Larry Klayman about their plans to sue Fauci. He introduced the prerecorded interview by referring to her as “an expert in virology” who previously “worked with Dr. Anthony Fauci.”


Bolling immediately followed this interview with an interview of Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier to respond to these claims -- despite her own record of misleading audiences about the coronavirus. Saphier labeled those who believe Fauci created the coronavirus as “conspiracy theorists,” saying “it’s highly unlikely” and that she thought “Dr. Fauci in no way, shape, or form has been involved in the manufacturing of this virus.” But in the same breath, she also suggested it’s likely that the virus was “man-made within a laboratory.”

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