Hygiene Theater

Derek Thompson with a winning pan’ concept.

“Six months ago, I wrote that Americans had embraced a backwards view of the coronavirus. Too many people imagined the fight against COVID-19 as a land war to be waged with sudsy hand-to-hand combat against grimy surfaces. Meanwhile, the science suggested we should be focused on an aerial strategy. The virus spreads most efficiently through the air via the spittle spray that we emit when we exhale—especially when we cough, talk loudly, sing, or exercise. I called this conceptual error, and the bonanza of pointless power-scrubbing that it had inspired, ‘hygiene theater.'”

Note to the Briggs Y pool lifeguards. . . you can prob chill with the hygiene theater.

How Many Have Died?

Like everything else in the (dis)United States, the Covid-19 death toll has been politicized. Many conservatives claim the death totals have been exaggerated by liberals intent on weakening Trump, which recent events prove, he’s fully capable of doing himself.

One of the more conservative newspapers in the country has completed a comprehensive study of the worldwide death toll. Their conclusion:

“To better understand the pandemic’s global toll, the Journal compiled the most recent available data on deaths from all causes from countries with available records. These countries together account for roughly one-quarter of the world’s population but about three-quarters of all reported deaths from Covid-19 through late last year.

The tally found more than 821,000 additional deaths that aren’t accounted for in governments’ official Covid-19 death counts.”

Not the recorded death count of 2 million, 2.8 million. Because it’s the Wall Street Journal, I’m sure the death count deniers’ false claims will cease and we’ll see a corresponding rise in empathy for the deceased and their families.

Youyang Gu Is Back

COVID-19 Projections Using Machine Learning. Go to your state for an even deeper, more interesting dive.

One of YG’s endearing quirks is that, despite flying solo, he uses the “we” pronoun when explaining his methodology. Makes sense though since his brain power is at least 10x most peoples.

When asked what prompted his return he said, “I saw too many bad takes on what’s happening.”

Follow him on Twitter at @youyanggu.

How To Get The ‘Rona

Sane people now know the vast majority of cases are the result of people congregating indoors without masks. I’ll continue to be outdoors or inside with a mask on, but if you want to get the ‘rona, some of our Canadian brothers and sisters are here to help.

At least 61 COVID-19 cases tied to ‘very large’ outbreak at Hamilton spin studio, Spinco.

A tutorial.

Step 1. Go to an indoor spin class with LOTS of other people.

Step 2. Conform to what everyone else does—after clipping into your bike, take your mask off.

Step 3. Lean on the pedals hard for an hour.

Step 4. Wait.

Sentence to ponder from the article.

“Hamilton Public Health Services isn’t calling it a ‘super spreader’ event, but Richardson described it as a large outbreak with lots of transmission.”

That’s the funniest thing I’ll read all day.

Paragraph To Ponder

David Remnick, “The Coronavirus and the Threat Within the White House”.

“In terms of scale, the West Wing is less like the Kremlin or the Élysée Palace than like the cramped executive offices of a medium-sized insurance company. The hallways are tight. The chairs in the Cabinet Room sit close to one another. The Oval Office itself, where Presidents routinely hold working sessions with many aides, is smaller than you might expect. And yet numerous reports in the press have described how, owing to the President’s attitude, employees, reporters, and visitors to the West Wing are disdained or mocked if they wear a mask.”

Bruni on Trump

“It is time, at long last, to learn. To be smarter. To be safer. To be more responsible, to others as well as to ourselves. We cannot erase the mistakes made in America’s response to the coronavirus but we can vow not to continue making them. The way to treat President Trump’s diagnosis is as a turning point and a new start. This is when we woke up.”

How Jared Kushner’s Secret Testing Plan “Went Poof Into Thin Air”

Katherine Eban in Vanity Fair.

In early April:

“. . . the prospect of launching a large-scale national plan was losing favor, said one public health expert in frequent contact with the White House’s official coronavirus task force.

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.

That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said.

On April 27, Trump stepped to a podium in the Rose Garden, flanked by members of his coronavirus task force and leaders of America’s big commercial testing laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, and finally announced a testing plan: It bore almost no resemblance to the one that had been forged in late March, and shifted the problem of diagnostic testing almost entirely to individual states.”

When “effective political strategizing” substitutes for human decency.