South Dakota governor tries to crush Native American efforts to contain the coronavirus

In hopes of minimizing the spread of coronavirus in their community, the Cheyenne River Sioux have established a series of checkpoints on state highways that run through tribal reservations in South Dakota. As Truthout explains:

Commercial drivers and South Dakota residents are being allowed to travel on tribal lands, but non-state residents are only allowed entry onto the reservations if they can provide proof of tribal membership or proof that they live there. Non-state residents are also being banned from hunting or fishing on tribal lands.

These, of course, are far more active measures than anything that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has done so far in this pandemic. And this clearly made her upset, or possibly embarrassed, because she wrote a letter to tribal leaders stating:

I request the Tribe immediately cease interfering or regulating traffic on U.S. and State Highways and remove all travel checkpoints. If the checkpoints are not removed within the next 48 hours, the State will take necessary legal action.

Under normal circumstances, there may be a valid argument about what some would consider the vigilantism on display here. However, when it comes to Native American land rights and legal jurisdictions, things get complicated. But they've been putting up with this shit for a while now, and many of them have a keen understanding of how things with the US government — namely, that it won't do shit to help them, except when it wants something, which usually ends up hurting the members of the tribe. Read the rest

The most comprehensive timeline to date of coronavirus and US government’s response

From Just Security:

What follows is a comprehensive timeline of major U.S. policy events related to the novel coronavirus pandemic. We’ve focused on the U.S. government’s preparation for a pandemic, tracking warning signals of COVID-19, and public and internal responses when the outbreak hit inside the United States.

In our view, the timeline is clear: Like previous administrations, the Trump administration knew for years that a pandemic of this gravity was possible and imminently plausible. Several Trump administration officials raised strong concerns prior to the emergence of COVID-19 and raised alarms once the virus appeared within the United States. While some measures were put in place to prepare the United States for pandemic readiness, many more were dismantled since 2017.

In response to COVID-19, the United States was slow to act at a time when each day of inaction mattered most–in terms of both the eventual public health harms as well as the severe economic costs. The President and some of his closest senior officials also disseminated misinformation that left the public less safe and more vulnerable to discounting the severity of the pandemic. When it came time to minimize the loss of life and economic damage, the United States was unnecessarily underprepared, had sacrificed valuable time, and confronted the pandemic with a more mild response than public health experts recommended. These lapses meant that the United States was ultimately forced to make more drastic economic sacrifices to catch up to the severity of the pandemic than would have otherwise been necessary.

Read the rest

Maker Update's COVID-19 response edition

Since its launch three years ago, Donald Bell's Maker Update has been one of my favorite weekly YouTube...well, maker updates. I always find inspiring projects, tool reviews, and tips of interest.

As you can imagine, more COVID-19 maker response content has been showing up on the show. This week, almost all of the episode is dedicated to maker responses to the pandemic.

There's a project for building a Raspberry Pi-powered soap dispenser that plays 20 seconds of Spotify to time proper hand washing, the MIT's $100 open source ventilator, face shield design improvements, and a ventilator mask made from snorkeling gear. There is also news of a virus pom pom tutorial (to make COVID-19 more warm and fuzzy for the kids?), a timely video on safe tools for kids, and two virtual event calendars (one from MIT, one from Hackaday).

Image: YouTube Read the rest

NIH 3D Print Exchange's COVID-19 supply chain response effort

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

Good news, everyone: 3M is cranking out N95 masks, half a million on their way to Seattle and New York

3M has announced that they are now producing 35 million N95 masks per month in the US and have 500,000 masks on the way to the critically impacted cities of New York and Seattle.

The term respirator in the press release is throwing some readers on Twitter off, thinking they mean "ventilators." But it's good to know that they are cranking the N95s out and "have accelerated investments to expand our global capacity even more. We anticipate being able to nearly double our capacity again, to almost 2 billion respirators globally, within the next 12 months. We are working with the U.S. and other governments, investigating alternate manufacturing scenarios, and exploring coalitions with other companies to increase capacity further."

Read the full PR here.

[H/t Alberto Gaitán] Read the rest