UK, Sweden top daily Covid death rate

Sweden didn't lock down much at all, whereas the UK seems consumed with lockdown theater. This chart, from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, paints a bleak picture either way. Read the rest

Man explains why no-one should have to wear face masks

All points of the controversy thoroughly and thoughtfully addressed. Read the rest

FDA relaxes food labeling regulations for pandemic

Food manufacturers will be permitted to substitute ingredients in products without changing the labels. The FDA posted a "temporary flexibility policy" permitting inaccurate labels, claiming it is necessary to "support the food chain" during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The FDA is providing flexibility for manufacturers to make minor formulation changes in certain circumstances without making conforming label changes, such as making a change to product ingredients, without updating the ingredient list on the packaged food when such a minor change is made.

Other temporary flexibilities that FDA has issued address nutrition labeling on food packagesmenu labeling, packaging and labeling of shell eggs and the distribution of eggs to retail locations.

An interesting thing about me not saying what was in the food is you not proving what was in the food. Read the rest

Jason Voorhees pandemic mask available

Want a Jason Voorhees mask from its legendary creator? Complete with a fabric backing to reduce the likelihood of viral transmission? Tom Savini is taking orders. Via iHorror:

Savini has worked on two of the Friday the 13th films, the 1980 original as well as Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter in 1984. Baker was responsible for the visual effects on The Dark Knight Rises. If anyone can create a fashionable and functional mask for the health and safety of others, it’s this duo! Now horror fans can don the infamous hockey mask as they protect themselves, and others, from COVID-19. The masks are being sold for $60. However, if you want your mask autographed by the father of horror make up effects himself, Savini’s signature will grace your Voorhees mask for an additional $40.

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New York's Covid-19 death toll passes France's

If the state of New York were a country, as of today it would have the world's fourth highest official Covid-19 death toll.

Chinese officials are censoring or falsifying its reporting of deaths and cases, the BBC reports. The same is also true in Florida. Other countries, such as Russia, are simply failing to track and tally the pandemic.

The Andrew Cuomo love in the media is drop-dead bonkers. Read the rest

And now, a coronavirus message from Soviet Unterzoegersdorf

What do we have here? Why, it's the 73rd Communique of the CPSUZOeD (May 2020), a rare video release from Soviet Unterzoegersdorf, with an important message about the coronavirus pandemic. Read the rest

Crowds head to beaches

Embedded above is a news segment from 12 News Now in Beaumont, Texas; Jordan James reports from the beach. Parody is dead and death itself.

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UK unemployment soars during pandemic

Unemployment claims in the UK stand at 2.1m after rising 856k in April and 637k in the first quarter before that. The official total is not as proportionally bad as the US's 36m claimants, but a further 4.2m are receiving significant benefits under the Universal Credit scheme and the government is paying up to 80% of workers' wages to prevent furloughs and layoffs. The BBC reports the total as "bleak" news.

But the labour market is set to worsen, according to politicians and analysts, with Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, telling the BBC on Tuesday that the unemployment rate was likely "to increase significantly".

According to separate research by the Resolution Foundation, young people are most likely to have lost work or seen their income drop because of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than one in three 18 to 24-year-olds is earning less than before the outbreak, the research indicated.

The UK's benefits system is complicated. As a result, its welfare statistics tend to have a vague, misdirecting quality to them. But quantity has a quality of its own. Read the rest

Official: You can kick their balls, but don't touch them

Laura Curren, county executive of Nassau County, N.Y., offers some wise tips for playing tennis safely as the pandemic continues. The two key takehomes are "kick but don't touch other people's balls" and "bring your own balls." Read the rest

Complete genome of SARS-CoV-2

Here is the complete genome of SARS-CoV-2, specifically the Wuhan-Hi-1 isolate (there are many to pick from). So little information, so much trouble!

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Covid misinformation videos overwhelm YouTube

The BBC reports that conspiracy videos about Covid-19 account for "more than a quarter of the most-watched videos" about the pandemic.

The study, published online by BMJ Global Health, looked at the most widely viewed coronavirus-related videos in English, as of 21 March. After excluding duplicate videos, videos longer than an hour and videos that did not include relevant audio or visual material, they were left with 69 to analyse. The videos were scored on whether they presented exclusively factual information about viral spread, coronavirus symptoms, prevention and potential treatments. Videos from government agencies scored significantly better than other sources, but were less widely viewed.

Of the 19 videos found to include misinformation:

about a third came from entertainment news sources national news outlets accounted for about a quarter internet news sources also account for about a quarter 13% had been uploaded by independent video-makers

Social media companies made a half-hearted show of clamping down on Covid-19 conspiracy material, but Rona nuts are a fully-fledged audience blasting onto the platforms with obsessive, unremitting levels of interest and engagement. YouTube's CEO has boasted about providing a home for far-right material and admitted a "corporate obsession with maximizing usage statistics". What do you think she's gonna do about the most-watched content on YouTube? Read the rest

Make your own British government Covid slogan sign

A couple of days ago, I posted a Covid slogan maker that spat out bizarre warnings in the distinctive hazard-sign style favored by the British government. Now you can write your own text in with a more feature-packed UK Covid Slogan Generator, created by Ron MacDonald.

There are also “Boris” and “Conspiracy Nut” modes on it. ... No advertising / rubbish / cookies etc and it’s also on GitHub (, pull requests welcome.

Read the rest

Unmasked shoppers break Target employee's arm after being told to leave store

A group of unmasked shoppers attacked a Target employee escorting them from the store, reports the Mercury News, breaking his arm and earning themselves battery charges. It's the fourth such incident at the Van Nuys store, and the first to result in serious injury.

The incident occurred on the morning of May 1 in a Target in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Van Nuys, the Los Angeles Police Department said. The police released surveillance video of the incident on Monday. Two customers had been ordered to leave the store because they didn’t have masks, and security guards were escorting them toward the exit. One of the customers then turned and attacked the guards.

I occasionally blog about the "exonerative tense", a style of news-writing that poses as impartial (or necessary to avoid legal liability) but echoes the weird, implicitly victim-blaming language of police reports. Here's a beauty from CNN today:

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Blackpool tourist office begs tourists not to visit Blackpool

The tourist office of English resort town Blackpool tweets at "@visitBlackpool" but has changed its name to "DoNotVisitBlackpool" following confusing government advice concerning the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Visit Blackpool has rebranded as Do Not Visit Blackpool to discourage visitors as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The tourism body changed its name on social media after the prime minister outlined new guidance on Sunday.

Council leader Simon Blackburn said Boris Johnson's message meant there was "nothing we can do" to stop visitors, but he urged people to stay away.

The Cabinet Office said people "can travel to open space, irrespective of distance".

It's very Scarfolkian, isn't it? Looking forward to Clacton-On-Sea rebranding itself as "Fuck right off." Read the rest

Woman doesn't want to leave Red Lobster

In the video above (via), an unmasked woman is pushed out of a Red Lobster somewhere in Pennsylvania by masked staff and/or patrons. Restrained from reentering the establishment, she attempts to negotiate a refund. She is unsuccessful. Ultimately, she strikes one of the people impeding her progress, who retaliates. An affray commences but dissipates without injury. As everyone goes their separate ways, an unseen party yells "I'm a paying customer, been waiting three hours for food!" Read the rest

Poll: only 36% of Americans trust Donald Trump on coronavirus

According to a new CNN poll, only 36% of Americans trust what President Donald Trump says about the coronavirus pandemic. But his approval rating is the highest it's ever been in this particular poll, 45%.

Also: 24% of Republicans don't think enough is being done to prevent a second wave of coronavirus, but only 15% are afraid of a second wave and 14% of the death toll that would result.

The virus has had a disproportionate impact on the African American community, and the poll finds a majority of black adults say they know someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, 54% say so compared with 38% of white adults and 36% among Latino adults. African Americans are also far more apt to give the government negative marks for its efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, with 79% saying the federal government is doing a poor job stemming the spread, compared with 55% of Latinos and 50% of whites.

It frustrates me to see journos, three years in and months from the next election, still surprised and confused that Trump's supporters know that he's lying and love him all the more for it. It seems incomprehensible to most media folks why they like this. The term 'media bubble' is inadequate, because bubbles can be easily burst. Ours is a floating world, remote and impervious.

Consider the journalistic "despite", a term you'll see in headlines and ledes informing you that the writer's understanding of reality is the exact opposite to what reality is. Read the rest

UK government Covid-19 slogan generator

Olaf Falafel made a Covid-19 slogan generator in the distinctive hazard-sign style used by the British Government. It's embedded in the tweet as a clever video, just click to start and stop.

via brahaminda Read the rest

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