From the Denver Post:
Colorado recorded a 40% decrease in suicides in March and April as social-distancing policies aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus kept residents home, according to provisional death-certificate data from the state health department.
The data helps paint a complex picture of the mental and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. While suicides are down from 2019 levels, Colorado Crisis Services saw an almost 48% increase calls in March and April compared to last year, with most callers seeking help for anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.
Donald Trump (and all of his parrot pundits, by extension) have shamelessly exploited the threat of increased suicides as a reason to "re-open the economy" sooner. This rang hollow before, as it was an excuse often given by people who had never seemed overly concerned about suicide, addiction, or mental health beyond the generic self-serving platitudes that virtue-signal their bare-minimum humanity. Now, it seems like an even more disgusting excuse to profit on the back of human lives.
The Denver Post article does quote from a few experts, who share their possible theories on why this might be happening. Anxieties are, of course, running high, as evidenced by the jump in calls to crisis hotlines. But some people think that this unprecedented crisis may actually be helping to create a sense of community; seeing so many other people so visibly struggling might put things into perspective for some people. Another theory is that people at risk for suicide might be too overwhelmed by the adrenaline of day-to-day survival — figuring out the logistics of simply things like groceries — that it might be temporarily suppressing their emotional pain. Read the rest
Condom manufacturer Durex say sales are down because the Coronavirus lockdown is “having a toll on the number of intimate occasions," reports The Guardian.
The demand for rubbers will probably bounce back after the pandemic subsides, but manufacturers are concerned that current latex shortages could mean supplies won't meet the pent-up demands for condoms in the near future.
[Durex manufacturer] Reckitt Benckiser said it expected demand for condoms to recover when the lockdown ends, and said its condom factories would not scale back production. [Laxman Narasimhan, the chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser] added that in China, the slowdown in sex during its lockdown had recovered and condom demand was back at the same levels as before the crisis.
There have been concerns of a global condom shortage because strict lockdown rules in Malaysia, one of world’s top rubber producers and a major source of condoms, had made it difficult for condom factories to operate.
Karex, the world’s largest condom producer which makes one in five of all condoms, has warned of a global condom shortage after closing three of its factories. The firm said it expects to produce 200m fewer condoms than usual from mid-March to mid-April.
Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash Read the rest
People who launched mini-empires of Airbnb rental properties are experiencing extreme financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Wall Street Journal. These are people who bought or leased residential property with the sole intention to list them on Airbnb. In March alone Airbnb lost $1.5 billion in canceled bookings.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Smaller players have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars each buying homes for short-term rentals. Jennifer Kelleher-Hazlett of Clawson, Mich., spent about $380,000 to buy two Michigan properties in 2018. She said she and her husband cashed out their financial investments and borrowed $100,000 from employers to furnish them.
The 47-year-old expected to net up to $7,000 a month from Airbnb after mortgage payments, supplementing her income as a part-time pharmacist and her husband’s as a schoolteacher. Before the virus struck, the couple was considering buying more homes. Now, they can’t make mortgage payments because no one is booking, she said. “We’re either borrowing more or defaulting.”
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash Read the rest
From the Washington Times:
Two Texas women were charged last week after an undercover police sting found they were allegedly offering salon services at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Laredo police said they launched investigations into both cases this month after receiving anonymous tips that the women were violating stay-at-home orders.
“Both of the violators independently solicited customers via social media,” police said in a statement, the Laredo Morning Times reported. “On both cases, an undercover officer working on the COVID-19 task force enforcement detail made contact with each solicitor to set up an appointment for a cosmetic, beauty service that is prohibited under the emergency ordinance.”
While this situation could easily be used as anecdotal evidence for the dangers of government overreach in an economic crisis, I think the real problem here is the bored police officers who decided to play Hero Cop by … uhhhh … stopping people from getting their eyelashes curled?
To be clear, we don't know what kind of sanitation protocols (if any) these criminal beauticians were following. It's probably still not the wisest thing to do during a pandemic, but I suppose there are some desperate people out there.
Thing is … when people do dumb things because they're desperate, throwing them in jail for 6 months doesn't do anything to improve their circumstances.
It's probably also worth noting that the perpetrators were both Latina women.
Texas women busted in undercover sting for allegedly offering salon services at home [Jessica Chasmar / The Washington Times]
Image: Zitona / Flickr (CC 2.0) Read the rest
Folks from countries most impacted by COVID-19 filmed themselves in isolation for this touching three-minute short. Ivan Cash and Jacob Jonas directed A Social Distance:
Spanning more than 30 countries, the film includes a breadth of perspectives, from a 93-year old Malayan grandmother to a 19-year old Slovenian man, and includes an original score that was remotely performed by musicians from around the world.
Thanks, Julian! Read the rest
Some people in Michigan are angry that their governor has issued a statewide stay at home order. A few North Carolinians are protesting as well. Their solution is to go into the streets with MAGA hats, Confederate flags, and assault weapons and yell about their desire to "lock her up."
They are also waving "live free or die" banners. Do they realize that "or" is not XOR?
These fine folks protesting the lockdown in Michigan from r/cringepics
Image: YouTube Read the rest
This week, we learned that the notorious Israeli cyber-arms-dealer NSO Group had figured out how hijack your Iphone or Android phone by placing a simple Whatsapp call, an attack that would work even if you don't answer the call.
Read the rest
After failing to install Linux on a recent Lenovo laptop, a Reddit user claims to have received a short reply from Lenovo's support team: "This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft." Read the rest