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Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
April 16, 2020

Rush to Vote-by-Mail Could Cost Dems the Election and Puts Millions of Minority Ballots at Risk


I get it: We all must vote by mail—or we die. There is really no other safe choice. But there is much to fear, especially for minority and young voters, with a switch to all-mail voting–unless our broken absentee ballot system is fixed. Here’s what the “Go Postal” crowd doesn’t tell you: In 2016, 512,696 mail-in ballots —over half a million– were simply rejected, not counted. That’s official, from the federal Elections Assistance Commission (EAC). But that’s just the tip of the ballot-berg of uncounted mail-in votes. A study by MIT, Losing Votes by Mail, puts the total loss of mail-in votes at a breathtaking 22%. Move to 80% mail-in voting and 25 million will lose their vote. And not just anyone’s mail-in ballots are dumped in the electoral trashcan. Overwhelming, those junked are ballots mailed by poorer, younger, non-white Americans.

Senator Amy Klobuchar’s proposed bill takes baby steps to expanding vote-by-mail protection but will barely bite into the 22% loss of votes especially among minorities. Columbia Law professor Barbara Arnwine, founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition, says that a move to mail-in voting is, “really, really dangerous to the Black vote.” Millions of low-income voters who rarely vote absentee will now have fill out multi-step forms for the first time, which, “will lead to disaster,” says Arnwine. Vote by mail is not as simple as “pick and lick”–picking candidates and licking the envelope. Eight states, including the swing states of Wisconsin, North Carolina and Klobuchar’s Minnesota, require a mail-in voters to have the ballot signed by a witness. The required double-verification is a nightmare—it requires breaking the lock-down–and an invitation to challenges.

Three states, including swing state Missouri, require the ballot to be notarized. (Alabama requires a notary or two witnesses.) All but six states “verify” your signature against your registration signature. Partisan officials decide if there is a “match.” No less than 141,000 ballots were rejected as “unmatched” in 2016. Why? To prevent vote fraud, someone stealing your ballot and voting in your name. President Trump warns, “Mail ballots are very dangerous for this country because of cheaters.” Except, Mr. President, let’s not mix fruit-cake theorizing with the facts. Rutgers Professor Lorraine Minnite found just six verified cases of voter impersonation over 12 years of voting nationwide. The Election Law Journal reported that, “the proportion of the population reporting voter impersonation is indistinguishable from that reporting abduction by extraterrestrials.”

The CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project report, Whose Absentee Votes are Counted?, shows rejection rates higher for Democrats than Republicans, higher for younger than older voters, and higher for non-English ballots. Surprised? Plus, some states require all or first-time voters to mail in a copy of their ID; another hurdle for the poor, those without driver’s licenses or those who may have the wrong ID and not know it. Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Ann Jacobs told me that 182,000 state university students have photo IDs—which cannot be used to vote. Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by less than 23,000 votes. Nationally, over 100,000 absentee ballots were deep-sixed because they are missing a signature—in many cases, the second voter signature required in some states. In California, Asian-American voting rights activist Hyepin Im was horrified to find that Korean-American absentee ballots were tossed because the Korean language ballots ask for the voters signature in Korean. Not surprisingly, the voters signed with Korean characters, disqualifying their mail-in ballot. And another 100,000 ballots are lost in presidential elections because of postage due.

Going Postal............


61 Forms of Voter Suppression

By Barbara R. Arnwine

President & Founder
Transformative Justice Coalition


1. Strict voter photo ID laws
2. Closing of DMV’s in strict voter ID law states
3. Failure to accept government-issued state university and college student ID’s
4. No early voting
5. Early voting cuts
6. No Sunday Souls to the Polls Early Voting
7. Harsh requirements/punishments for voter registration groups
8. Tough Deputy Registrar Requirements
9. Harsh voter registration Compliance Deadlines
10.Failure to timely process voter registrations
11.Cuts to Election Day (Same Day) registration
12.Polling place reductions or consolidations
13.Polling place relocations
14.Inadequate or poorly trained staffing at polls
15.Inadequate number of functioning machines, optical scanners or electronic
polling books
16.Running out of ballots at polling sites
17.No paper ballots
18.Failure to accept Native American tribal IDs.
19.Barring Native American voters through residential address requirements for
Native American lands which have PO Boxes
20.Failure to place polling sites on Native American lands
21.Refusal to place polling sites on college campuses
22.Lack of available public transportation to polling sites
23.Excessive Voter purging
24.Disparate racial treatment at polling sites
25.Student voting restrictions
• Residency
26.Ex-felon disenfranchisement laws
27.Requiring Payment of Fines or Fees As Condition of Vote Restoration
28.Failure to Inform Formerly Incarcerated Persons of Their Voting Rights or
Eligibility to Vote
29.Excessive Use of Inactive voter lists
30.No Public Outreach or Notification to Voters Placed on Inactive Lists
31.Language discrimination
• Failure to accommodate
32.Lack of language-accessible materials
33.Failure to accommodate voters with disabilities
34.No disability accessibility
35.No curbside Voting
36.Not enough disability accessible voting equipment
37.Barriers to assistance by family members or others for voters
38.Deceptive practices
• Flyers
• Robocalls
39. Voter intimidation
• Impersonating law enforcement personnel or immigration officers
40.Police at polling places
41.Racial gerrymandering
42.Creating polling place confusion by splitting Black precincts
43.Partisan gerrymandering
44.Barriers for homeless voters to voter registration
45.Voter caging
• Use of One-Time Post cards/Mailers
46.Voter challengers at polls
47.Voter challenges to voter registration lists
48.Use of Suspense lists
49.Absentee Ballot Short Return Deadlines
50.Exact match requirements for signatures or other information
51.Complicated Absentee Ballot Requirements
52.Proof of Citizenship Laws
53.Out-of-precinct = no vote counted requirements
54.Failure to pre-register 17 year olds
55.Restrictions on straight-party voting
56.Interstate voter registration Crosscheck system
57.Jailed persons’ preconviction: denied right to register and/or vote
58.DOJ demanding voter records
59.Employers not providing time off or enough time
60.Failure to assist or accommodate voters displaced by natural disasters
61.Long lines


April 16, 2020

Stacey Abrams On Voting Rights, COVID-19, And Being Vice President


Experienced politicians know there is a right way to answer questions about pursuing higher office. Be demure. Redirect. Convey vague interest while insisting never to have given it serious consideration. But Stacey Abrams does not give the expected answer when I ask if she would accept an offer from former vice president Joe Biden to serve as his 2020 running mate. “Yes. I would be honored,” Abrams says. “I would be an excellent running mate. I have the capacity to attract voters by motivating typically ignored communities. I have a strong history of executive and management experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. I’ve spent 25 years in independent study of foreign policy. I am ready to help advance an agenda of restoring America’s place in the world. If I am selected, I am prepared and excited to serve.”

Abrams’s direct response betrays ambition, makes verifiable claims, and establishes outcomes to which she could later be held accountable. By normal political rules, it is the wrong answer. But as Abrams and I talk in March in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, it is clear that normal political rules no longer apply. I’m asking her about an unknown political future even as the future itself is frighteningly unknowable: schools closing, businesses shuttering, and Americans sheltering against a raging virus we can barely fathom. Amid this chaotic unpredictability, Abrams’s candor is disarming and comforting.

Into the Unknown

In the March 15 televised debate, Biden committed to choosing a woman as his running mate. Less than a week later, the progressive strategy network Way to Win released survey data indicating Stacey Abrams was Biden’s strongest potential lieutenant. A graduate of Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin, and Yale Law School, Abrams made history as the first woman to lead a political party in Georgia’s General Assembly and the first African American to lead the Georgia House of Representatives. In 2018, she pursued history again, mounting an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to become America’s first black woman governor. Her defeat came amid election irregularities and allegations of voter suppression. Abrams refused to concede the close race to her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp. “I’m supposed to say nice things and accept my fate,” Abrams writes in the preface to her New York Times best-seller, Lead From the Outside. “I refused to be gaslighted into throwing away my power, diminishing my voice.”

The loss was not her end. The political star that is Stacey Abrams has continued to rise. On the heels of her defeat, she founded Fair Fight, a national organizing effort to ensure fair elections. This was followed by Fair Count, which works to achieve a fully accurate and representative census. Then, late last year, Abrams launched the Southern Economic Advancement Project to promote equitable economic and social policy for all races, classes, and genders across the region. She did all this while crisscrossing the country, giving lectures, supporting local Democratic candidates, and even becoming the first black woman to deliver the official Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union in 2019.
“I’ve learned that failure is not permanent,” Abrams tells me. “My responsibility is to not let failure dissuade me from my core obligations. Sometimes we pursue a challenge thinking it is about our victory, but we don’t know the true purpose until later. Not becoming governor of one state gave me the opportunity to launch a national network in 20 states [to fight for fair elections]. We are helping reform democracy in places where it was broken and battered. We are fixing access to a census that the president of the United States tried to destroy.” She continues, “I may not have won the office, but what I was able to earn for the causes I serve has been extraordinary, and beyond anything I could have imagined. Apparently, I’m a really good loser.”

April 16, 2020

Stop Blaming Black People for Dying of the Coronavirus

New data from 29 states confirm the extent of the racial disparities.


I grew up in the Christian Church, the second son of two ministers. I’m not one for making biblical references about my life, but I can’t say the same about my father. Two weeks ago, Dad likened me to John the Baptist, a voice crying out in the wilderness for racial data on the pandemic. I had to remind him that, unlike John, I was not crying out alone. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representative Ayanna Pressley, and a quintet of black doctors at the University of Virginia had also raised the alarm. But we were indeed in the wilderness. On April 1, hardly any states, counties, hospitals, or private labs had released the racial demographics of the people who had been tested for, infected with, hospitalized with, or killed by COVID-19. Five days later, citing racial disparities in infection or death rates from five states or counties and the racial demographics of the worst coronavirus hot spots, I speculated that America was facing a racial pandemic within the viral pandemic. But we needed more racial data to know for sure.

Now—after so many Americans joined our chorus, after so many states and counties released their first sets of racial demographic data, after so many data sets showed appalling racial disparities—we know for sure. At least 29 states have released the racial demographics of confirmed coronavirus cases, death rates, or both, according to the COVID Racial Data Tracker. The tracker, a collaboration between The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project and my colleagues at the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, is being developed to track, analyze, and regularly update racial data on the pandemic within the United States. These initial data provide a still-incomplete picture of the national outbreak's disparities. In 38 percent of the 194,000 cases that these 29 states had reported as of April 12, no racial data were attached. And some states mix racial and ethnic categories in reporting their numbers. But the federal government’s failure to assemble these data has left it to us to produce this resource, however incomplete, for researchers, advocates, and the public.

And the picture keeps looking worse by the day. In New York City’s ground zero, Latinos make up 34 percent of the known deaths from the coronavirus, higher than their 29.1 percent share of the city’s population. Two small Native American pueblos in New Mexico had higher infection rates than any U.S. county as of Friday. But at this point in the pandemic, the disparities between the size of the black population and the percentage of black people infected with, hospitalized with, or dead from COVID-19 appear to be the most severe. A Washington Post analysis found that majority-black counties had infection rates three times the rate of majority-white counties. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of nearly 1,500 hospitalizations across 14 states found that black people made up a third of the hospitalizations, despite accounting for 18 percent of the population in the areas studied.

An Associated Press analysis of available death data found that black people constituted 42 percent of the victims, doubling their share of the populations of the states the analysis included. In Louisiana, more than 70 percent of the people who have died so far from COVID-19 were black, more than twice their 32 percent share of the state’s population, and well above the 60 percent share of the population of New Orleans, where the outbreak is worst. In New York, African Americans comprise 9 percent of the state population and 17 percent of the deaths. Amid all these data drops last week, a few antiracist voices came out of the wilderness, stood a brief moment at the clearing, then were moved back again into the wilderness. Today, the racial disparities are undeniable. But Americans don’t know for sure that there is racism behind those racial disparities. The racism itself remains deniable. So yet again, our voices are crying out in the wilderness for a miracle to save America from its original sin—the sin Americans can’t ever seem to confess.


the blaming us black folk part part starts next in the article, for those who wonder, but I cannot post the entire article here, obviously, I so encourage all to read it, The Atlantic is producing wonderful work these days, probably the best COVID-19 journalism in the US atm, IMHO, and I urge all who can afford it to subscribe, if possible, money well spent as they provide a superb amount of other content-rich output that goes beyond COVID-19...........
April 15, 2020

How the Coronavirus Could Create a New Working Class

Experts predict the outbreak will lead to a rise in populism. But will workers turn their rage toward corporate CEOs, or middle-class “elites”?


Late last month, a photo circulated of delivery drivers crowding around Carbone, a Michelin-starred Greenwich Village restaurant, waiting to pick up $32 rigatoni and bring it to people who were safely ensconced in their apartment. A police officer, attempting to spread out the crowd, reportedly said, “I know you guys are just out here trying to make money. I personally don’t give a shit!” The poor got socially close, it seems, so that the rich could socially distance. The past few weeks have exposed just how much a person’s risk of infection hinges on class. Though people of all incomes are at risk of being laid off, those who can work from home are at least less likely to get sick. The low-income workers who do still have jobs, meanwhile, are likely to be stuck in close quarters with other humans. For example, grocery-store clerks face some of the greatest exposure to the coronavirus, aside from health-care workers. “Essential” businesses—grocery stores, pharmacies—are about the only places Americans are still permitted to go, and their cashiers stand less than an arm’s length from hundreds of people a day.

My inboxes have filled up with outcries from workers at big-box retailers, grocery stores, and shipping giants who say their companies are not protecting them. They say people are being sent into work despite having been in contact with people infected with the virus. They say the company promised to pay for their quarantine leave, but the payment has been delayed for weeks and they are running out of money. Or the company denied their medical leave because they don’t have proof of a nearly impossible-to-get COVID-19 test. Or the company doesn’t offer paid medical leave at all, and they’re wondering how they’ll pay for gas once they recover from the disease. Masks are in short supply nationwide, and some managers have resisted allowing workers to wear them, fearing it will disrupt the appearance of normalcy. Some companies have rolled out “hazard pay” for employees, but in many cases it amounts to about $2 more an hour. The Amazon employees I’ve spoken with largely work fewer than 30 hours a week, and the company does not provide them with health insurance. One Walmart employee used up all his attendance “points” while sick with the virus, and was fired upon his return to work. (Walmart did not comment on his situation for my story.) At least 41 grocery-store workers have already died from the virus. “I make $14.60 an hour and don’t qualify for health care yet,” one grocery-store employee in New Mexico wrote to me. “I am freaked out.”

Meanwhile, many white-collar workers have no “points” system. Many such jobs offer as much paid time off as an employee and her manager agree to—a concept far beyond even the most generous policies at grocery stores. Many PR specialists, programmers, and other white-collar workers are doing their exact same job, except from the comfort of their home. Some are at risk of being laid off. But for the most part, they are not putting their lives in danger, except by choice. Wealthier people also have fewer underlying health conditions that exacerbate COVID-19. And they are more likely to be practicing social distancing effectively, according to Gallup. Perhaps this is because they don’t need to leave the house as much for their livelihood: Gallup also found that 71 percent of people making more than $180,000 can work from home during the pandemic, compared with just 41 percent of those making less than $24,000. According to a recent analysis by The New York Times, the well-off are staying home the most, especially during the workweek, and they also began practicing social distancing earlier than low-income workers did.

“Self-isolation is an economic luxury,” says Justin Gest, a public-policy professor at George Mason University and the author of The New Minority. For those working-class people who do still have jobs, “it probably requires a physical presence somewhere that exposes them to the virus.” At the same time, it isn’t as if grocery workers can simply stop coming to work. More self-checkouts could be used and more contact-free deliveries could be made, but someone has to get the Cheerios off the truck and onto the shelves. We are, through this virus, seeing who the truly “essential” workers are. It’s not the people who get paid to write tweets all day, but the people who keep the tweeters in chickpeas and Halo Top. Epidemics and other natural disasters tend to both illuminate and reinforce existing schisms. “The division in our society between those of us who can keep our jobs and work from home and others who are losing their jobs or confronting the dangers of the virus … I think there’s a real chance that it could become more intense,” says Peter Hall, a government professor at Harvard.

April 15, 2020

Michael Pack (who Trump was whinging about just now) is a RW shitehawk with a very dodgy history

Trump’s nominee to lead federal media agency funded a private company with donations from his nonprofit


President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead a federal media organization has been funding his own private film company with donations from a nonprofit that he runs. Michael Pack, a conservative filmmaker, saw at least $1.6 million in donations from his nonprofit sent into the coffers of his independent production company, Manifold Productions, according to disclosure forms reviewed by CNBC.

Since 2011, Pack’s nonprofit, the Public Media Lab, has listed only Manifold as the benefactor of these donations and consistently describes the purpose of the grant as “for the production of educational films.” That includes the latest filing from 2017, when the group wrote a $300,000 check to Manifold.

That year, Public Media Lab received $900,000 in contributions.The nonprofit’s mission statement focuses on receiving and awarding grants that will develop and support educational documentary films and filmmakers. Pack is listed as the principal officer and director of the nonprofit.

The phone number listed on the disclosure is identical to the one listed on Manifold Productions’ website. It’s unclear what happened after Manifold’s company received the money. The firm did not return multiple requests for comment. The details about Pack’s business dealings were revealed as senators review his nomination and Democrats begin to scrutinize him. Pack, who was once the CEO of conservative think tank the Claremont Institute, has ties to former White House chief strategist and Trump campaign boss Steve Bannon.


Film company founded by Trump nominee Michael Pack profited off fund-raising deal with think tank he ran


A film company founded by President Donald Trump’s nominee to run a federal media agency signed a commercial fundraising contract with the Claremont Institute, a nonprofit conservative think tank.

The catch is that Trump’s choice to be CEO of the agency was Claremont’s president when the five figure deal was signed.

The unreported contract was signed in 2016 by Pack’s wife, Gina, who is listed as the vice president of their production company, Manifold Productions, along with Claremont’s then chief operating officer Ryan Williams. The contract shows that Pack not only led Claremont at the time. He was also listed as a director at Manifold.

Pack’s business dealings could raise concerns among Senate Democrats charged with considering his confirmation. The deal to lead the fund-raising efforts for Claremont was worth $75,000 to Pack’s private film company Manifold, which was paid in $6,250 installments each month.


Trump's Choice for Broadcasting Chief Remains in Limbo

April 15, 2020

Covid-19 Is Peeling The Veneer Off Of American Exceptionalism

Some Americans are surviving Coronavirus just fine. But many are perishing in an economy that was already making their lives miserable.


It’s been a while since I’ve written an article about privilege but as the national suffering from Covid-19 continues to mount, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the topic. Unlike a very significant percent of the country, my family happens to have avoided the worst social and economic effects of the pandemic (so far). Part of this was through preparation (as I mentioned last week, we started stocking up three weeks before the national meltdown) but a lot of it was simply luck.

For instance, both my wife Debra and our next door neighbor Claudia have government jobs that allow them to work from home. That means we still have money coming in to pay the bills. It also means they’re not being exposed to infection outside the home nearly as much as essential workers. At the same time, since we’ve been acting as an extended family unit for the last three and a half years and our apartments are literally next to each other (by design), we have a lot more room. We’re not confined to a single apartment for the duration of this pandemic. This is especially important for the kids because being able to move freely from one apartment to the other removes the feeling of being trapped.

We’re not “lucky” in the sense that we needed good fortune to be in this particular arrangement. Both Debbie and Claudia worked very hard to get where they are. And we all put in a lot of effort to build our extended family unit to be the close-knit group we are today. We are, however, lucky in the sense that all of this just happens to make it relatively easy for us to weather this particular global catastrophe.

Not Everyone Is So Lucky

Ironically, even as Bernie Sanders drops out of the running, the nation is experiencing first-hand the kind of problems he based his campaign on fixing. Unemployment, poverty, food insecurity, etc. These are all significantly worse than they were just two months ago and they’re spreading. The Washington Post reports:

April 15, 2020

Trump Is the Obstacle to Defeating the Coronavirus

We need a president who can lead us out of this crisis.


Every American over 18 can do one thing to squash the coronavirus: Vote against Donald Trump in November. The president did not cause this virus. But he is the reason things are as bad as they are. His well-documented failures at every possible turn—driven by ego, ignorance, and incompetence—have added up to a historic catastrophe. In 2018, Trump’s national security adviser disbanded the National Security Council’s pandemic-response team. Trump overlooked a literal playbook that the previous administration had left him on the subject. He sidelined experts, trusting, instead, his own unreliable instincts. He ignored early warnings about the threat posed by the virus to the United States. By the time he paid attention, it was too late. The belated response was made worse by the fact that Trump has no idea how the levers of government work and has no interest in using them to contain a national threat.

Perhaps the best proof that we now live in a kakistocracy of dunces is that Jared Kushner, who has made a kind of art of failing up, is deciding which states get lifesaving medical equipment. Evidence also includes the fact that Trump removed the person assigned to oversee disbursement of federal aid before a single dollar was sent out the door. What future grift does he wish to hide? After his unhinged press conference yesterday night, it may be hard to imagine that Trump could get any worse or that his disastrous presidency could cause any more damage. Many governors have taken matters into their own capable hands. America’s social-distancing efforts seem to be somewhat flattening that notorious curve. But we are in only the first phase of what could be a years-long effort to eradicate this disease. The most challenging days lie ahead, not just in the U.S., but all over the world. Experts predict that even if the summer sees a waning of new COVID-19 cases, the virus will resurge in late fall or early winter, opening up a scenario in which Trump is reelected just as the country is plunged into a fresh outbreak that he is wholly unprepared to manage.

Trump has already proved that he is incapable of carrying out even the most rudimentary obligations to American citizens affected by a disaster. Indeed, he and his team don’t seem to believe that a federal response is even warranted. As Ron Klain, who led the Ebola response under President Barack Obama, has said, the Trump administration is taking an Articles of Confederation approach. Between the 2016 campaign and now, Trump has gone from “I alone can fix it” to “I don’t take any responsibility at all.” Both those statements reveal Trump’s profound misapprehension of what the presidency is all about. It is not a dictatorship—however benevolent—that can single-handedly solve people’s problems in exchange for fealty. Nor is it a figurehead atop a loose coalition of competing states. It is a position that wields hard and soft power on behalf of the American people—and it must be held by someone who understands that in a global crisis, everyone, including markets and states and ordinary citizens, relies on the federal government to guide a response. If the conductor doesn’t raise her baton, the orchestra slides into chaos.

Laying out a strategy, using federal authority to align the private sector’s capability with the public’s needs, guiding state responses, publishing reliable data and information, setting a tone both measured and optimistic—that is the president’s job. Despite the purported breakdown of the liberal international order, the world still sheepishly glances in our direction, hoping that a steady hand might convene the alliances that exist precisely to grapple with, say, a global pandemic. From the Berlin airlift to the Paris climate accords, American leadership has, in the past, galvanized the world to take on global challenges—not with brute force, but with a collaborative spirit that we are, indeed, all in this together. China is attempting to fill that vacuum, but its dictatorial impulse to hide Wuhan’s initial outbreak has left it with little credibility. Amid the chaos, nationalist governments, including our own, are flouting the cooperation that scientists and public-health experts say is crucial to manufacturing essential equipment and medicine, researching vaccines and treatment, and managing the outbreak across borders. The result will be a virus that is never quite eradicated, circulating around the globe in an endless game of whack-a-mole.

April 15, 2020

Our Pandemic Summer

The fight against the coronavirus won’t be over when the U.S. reopens. Here’s how the nation must prepare itself.


What a difference a few months can make.

In January, the United States watched as the new coronavirus blazed through China and reached American shores. In February, hindered by an unexpected failure to roll out diagnostic tests and an administration that had denuded itself of scientific expertise, the nation sat largely idle while the pandemic spread within its borders. In March, as the virus launched several simultaneous assaults on a perilously stretched-thin health-care system, America finally sputtered into action, frantically closing offices, schools, and public spaces in a bid to cut off chains of transmission. Now, in April, as viral fevers surge through American hospitals and cabin fever grows in American homes, the U.S. has cemented itself as the new center of the pandemic—the country that should have been more prepared than any other, but that now has the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world.

What will May bring? Or June? What happens as this seemingly interminable spring rolls into a precarious summer? When will things go back to normal? The options are limited. Early inaction left the U.S. with too many new cases, and just one recourse: Press a societal pause button to buy enough time for beleaguered hospitals to steel themselves for a sharp influx in patients. This physical-distancing strategy is working, but at such an economic cost that it can’t be sustained indefinitely. When restrictions relax, as they are set to do on April 30, the coronavirus will likely surge back, as it is now doing in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other Asian states that had briefly restrained it.

As I wrote last month, the only viable endgame is to play whack-a-mole with the coronavirus, suppressing it until a vaccine can be produced. With luck, that will take 18 to 24 months. During that time, new outbreaks will probably arise. Much about that period is unclear, but the dozens of experts whom I have interviewed agree that life as most people knew it cannot fully return. “I think people haven’t understood that this isn’t about the next couple of weeks,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. “This is about the next two years.” The pandemic is not a hurricane or a wildfire. It is not comparable to Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Such disasters are confined in time and space. The SARS-CoV-2 virus will linger through the year and across the world. “Everyone wants to know when this will end,” said Devi Sridhar, a public-health expert at the University of Edinburgh. “That’s not the right question. The right question is: How do we continue?”

I. Reopening

A lockdown is a measure of last resort, to be used only when a virus is spreading so rapidly that it cannot be controlled through other means. Having deployed that measure, albeit unevenly, the U.S. has now bought itself some time. It can use that time to address its lack of tests and medical supplies, and find less economically devastating ways of controlling COVID-19. When sufficiently braced, states could begin lifting their sweeping restrictions and focus on finding and helping people who are actually infected. But the conditions for making that switch are not clear. “We’ve never faced a pandemic like this before in modern times, so we’re going to have to be flexible,” said Caitlin Rivers of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “There’s no real playbook.”

April 15, 2020

Tricky - Black Steel [1995 - Maxinquaye]

4th & Broadway ‎– 12 BRW 320, Island Records ‎– 854 271-1
Vinyl, 12", 33 ⅓ RPM
Alternative Rock, Trip Hop

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Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
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