COVID-19 - social and political fallout (6)

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COVID-19 - social and political fallout (6)

Editat: des. 10, 2020, 7:37am

Trump, the life-long con man, has performed one great
deed for the country. He has inadvertently exposed the
putrid hearts, minds and souls of GOPers. Their Covid
and post-election actions and statements have been
recorded on video, audio and in tweets for the whole
world to see for generations to come. To GOPers,
Americans are merely interchangeable cogs in the
country's economic engine ~ our deaths don't matter
and our votes are disposable.

Editat: des. 10, 2020, 7:44am

We seem to have two threads with the same title - "COVID-19 - social and political fallout (6)". I assume this thread should be (7), not (6).

Editat: des. 17, 2020, 3:45am

Aren't these the meat packers that Trump declared 'essential' and shielded from liability? Betting pool was least of their misdeeds. McConnell wants to shield more from liability. Which isn't to say nuisance suits shouldn't be discouraged, but bad actors should be fully liable for harm to their employees.

Tyson fires 7 at Iowa pork plant after COVID betting inquiry
RYAN J. FOLEY | Dec 17, 2020

..The lawsuits allege plant managers pressured employees to keep working, even through sickness, and that the company waited too long to shut down the plant to stem the outbreak.

Managers told workers they had a responsibility to stay on the job to ensure that Americans didn’t go hungry, even while they started avoiding the plant floor themselves because they were afraid of contracting the virus...

des. 17, 2020, 5:45am

#3--the corporate liability shield is a pretty vicious thing to want. They are basically condemning some people to die while allowing those that cause it to walk away scot free.

des. 17, 2020, 6:13am

>3 margd: And a part of the story that was largely passed over is that these plants were shipping much of the product to China; not really an essential service for this country.

des. 17, 2020, 8:40am

These prominent conservatives who are telling people to go through the holidays like normal---teasing people into indulging in bad behavior in a time of pandemic. This is as much a part of the mixed messaging we've been getting all along---not just from Trump himself but a lot of christian figures and pundits who support him and they are asking you to be soft and not make the harder but right decision. Most all of us get that this is asking people to sacrifice something that's very important to them but in the long run those who don't sacrifice are gambling with the health and well being of those very close to them and if you're one of those you should ask yourself if it's worth it to put at risk family members or close friends.

This is my public service announcement for today.

des. 18, 2020, 10:42am

COVID squelches Newfoundland Christmas tradition of mummers... :)

Mummers,* nice mummers, get lost: A parody from Sean Panting (2:22)
CBC NL - Newfoundland and Labrador•Dec 17, 2020

Here's Sean Panting with a topical tune for a Christmas in the time of COVID-19 ... apologies to Simani. Video made by the CBC's Katie Rowe and Mark Cumby. Read more about Sean's inspiration here:


des. 18, 2020, 12:32pm

Not Amazon: Canadian website takes on the online giant
Leyland Cecco | Fri 18 Dec 2020

Ali Haberstroh’s directory lists nearly 4,000 independent businesses in Toronto, Halifax, Calgary and Vancouver

With shops in Toronto deemed ‘non-essential’ and closed to the public, many have feared that companies like Amazon will prove devastating for struggling small businesses...

des. 18, 2020, 11:07pm

Keep on talking: gay imam engages Africans in pandemic (Reuters)

When the pandemic hit, pioneering South African imam Muhsin Hendricks refashioned his gender and Islam workshops with virtual training and socially-distanced meet-ups...

One of the first imams to come out as gay, Hendricks is a pioneer, known continent-wide for pursuing dialogue with fellow Muslim leaders about a topic many don't want to discuss...

Editat: des. 19, 2020, 12:47pm
As Presidency Comes to a Close, Laura Ingraham Tells Trump ‘Thank You’: ‘We Were Fortunate’ to Have a President Like Him

As usual, Laura is dead wrong. The Trump era has not
been good for America because of the Covid-19 year
which is ending his era. And, the Trump era crap is not
going to be a plus for the GOP going forward because it
is most likely going to increase the political interest/
activities of people who are members of the rising
demographic wave which is moving up the voting-age

des. 19, 2020, 7:18pm

MN Republican State Senator Dead -- Covid-19

Jerry Relph, of St. Cloud died a month after testing positive for COVID-19 following a Republican caucus meeting Nov. 5 at the statehouse. He was a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, an attorney, small businessman, and senator in the Minnesota Senate. He was elected to the Minnesota State Senate in 2016, serving St. Cloud, Waite Park, and communities in Benton, Sherburne, and Stearns counties.

Democratic Farmer-Labor Party members called for the resignation of Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka after the Nisswa Republican, Relph and state Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester) all tested positive for the virus but did not notify Capitol staff or DFL members of the outbreak.

"(Republican caucus members) engaged in high-risk behaviors," said DFL Senate Leader Susan Kent. "(Gazelka) misled Minnesotans about their actions and they have made excuses instead of being accountable."

Republicans held a large dinner party Nov. 5 with more than 100 attendees at an arena event center.

Relph had voted along with all 35 Republicans and one Democratic state senator in July to suspend the peacetime emergency declared by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz to handle the pandemic.
Sadly, Relph was a victim of his political beliefs whose death could have been prevented by adhering to factual scientific guidelines.

des. 21, 2020, 11:26am

So many of the same republicans who called it a hoax or denied or played down how dangerous Covid was are the first ones lining up for the vaccine--even getting it before many health care workers:

I liked seeing Rubio in the Coast Guard hat. I was in the Coast Guard. Marco Rubio wasn't--still he's the one wearing the fucking hat. That's pretty fucking lame IMO. Then we have pro-hydroxychloroquine Lindsey Graham and Michael 'coronavirus czar' Pence. All these three turds have been to superspreader event after superspreader event and never ever challenging Trump at all on masks or social distancing or any of his stupid lies about the virus and here they all are cutting in front of the line.

What that though should tell those who have believed their lies until now--that this virus and pandemic are real and when you get the chance you should get the vaccine too. They were only just playing you all this time to further their political ambitions is all. No big deal right?

Editat: des. 21, 2020, 3:58pm

'Subpoenas are necessary': House watchdog details extensive meddling with CDC Covid-19 reports
DAN DIAMOND | 12/21/2020

...Trump appointees attempted to “alter or block” at least 13 scientific reports on the coronavirus as outbreaks surged across the spring and summer, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the chair of the House select subcommittee on coronavirus, wrote on Monday in a letter* (to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield) that was shared with POLITICO.

...Clyburn issued subpoenas to Azar and Redfield, ordering them by Dec. 30 to produce "full and unredacted" documents that Clyburn said his panel has sought for months.

The panel’s probe into administration’s coronavirus response began in mid-September, shortly after a POLITICO story revealed how appointees meddled with the famed Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, which are authored by career scientists and are typically free of political interference.

...then-science adviser Paul Alexander, the department's top spokesperson Michael Caputo and other health department officials — worked to subvert the CDC's MMWR reports...reports on the use of masks, the spread of Covid-19 in children, the virus' transmission during an April 7 primary election in Milwaukee and other reports that were seen as politically sensitive.

...The MMWR on hydroxychloroquine (the malaria drug favored by President Donald Trump as a coronavirus treatment despite little evidence of its effectiveness), which reviewed how doctors prescribed the drug, was originally scheduled to be published on June 30 but was not published until Sept. 4.

...Trump appointees in the meantime further strategized on how to minimize the CDC’s findings – including Alexander’s plans to publicly dismiss the agency’s hydroxychloroquine report. ...

..Bill Hall, the top career civil servant in the HHS press shop, on June 5 warned Alexander, Caputo and other officials that they should not interfere with the MMWRs, comparing the CDC's flagship reports to a "peer-reviewed journal" akin to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

...But the subcommittee's documents reveal that political appointees instead kept trying to edit a series of internal and external reports.arranged an interview between a senior official and NPR about the health department's data changes without his permission.

...After POLITICO obtained emails of Alexander pressuring infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci to not speak publicly about the risks of Covid-19 to children, Alexander protested to colleagues that he wanted to go public with his complaints about Fauci.

"They have no clue what they are saying and I welcome the chance to inform them," Alexander wrote on Sept. 9. HHS announced that Alexander, who is a part-time professor at a Canadian university**, would exit the department a week later.

* Clyburn letter--

** margd-- McMaster U is a solid institution. I'll be curious to see where Alexander ends up.

des. 23, 2020, 9:54am

The Vatican Says It's 'Acceptable' for Catholics to Get Virus Vaccines That Are Based on Research Into Abortion Cell Lines (TIME)

The Vatican on Monday declared that it is “morally acceptable” for Roman Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccines based on research that used cells derived from aborted fetuses, guidance that came after some churchmen in the United States argued that such products were immoral...

des. 23, 2020, 2:13pm

>14 John5918:

I found that declaration very interesting. What kind of theological knots were tied and untied do you suppose? And how many cardinals squirmed on their thrones?

One of those internal Vatican scenes I imagine would one day make a fascinating two act play. "The Agony and the Ecstasy II."

Editat: des. 23, 2020, 2:31pm

Just Think

Only 55,000 cases of human Coronavirus genomes have been performed of the 18 million known. Consider that a virus mutates ever so slightly each time it invades a different person, but those ever so slight mutations are additive. So, when the UK identifies a new strain (to known science, anyway) it means that that strain has already infected thousands and has spread around the globe by the time it's detected -- if it's ever detected and identified as a new strain.

There's no way to prevent the initial infection by a new strain because there's no way to preemptively prevent mutation. Our only tool is to reduce the chances of its spread by reducing the interactions among the host population -- us. If the latest strain is, as it's been characterized, distinguished by its greater infectiousness, then the models projecting cases, hospitalizations, and deaths will probably undergo an even more somber and morbid situation for mid-January and after than they do now.

Consider, also, that our current vaccines just beginning to be used, are all developed from the spike protein of the original Wuhan and "early" variants of Coronavirus. We must face the possibility that the mutation that may have produced increased infectiousness could have significantly altered spike protein that renders it less susceptible to the current drugs we're depending on to protect us.

We may be walking around in a world where we're putting on armor to protect us from slings and arrows to wander a battlefield alive now with bullets and missiles. Not a happy scenario for our futures.

I'll take the brighter view, that the scientists are far smarter than I could imagine and that their mRNA vaccines are more robust than that bleak characterization above, and are built to defend against some very basic spike proteins less likely to undergo major mutation that are common to ALL known forms of Coronavirus associated with humans. Or nearly so.

A Covid is a Covid is a Covid is our best hope and bet.

des. 23, 2020, 2:41pm

>15 Limelite: Not unprecedented. There's some kidney med long ago approved that was developed on a cell line from a long-ago abortion. Also, other vaccines have been approved if there was no alternative untarnished by association with abortion.

Though you're right I suspect that there are cardinals especially today who are unacquainted with process of discerning perfect from good...

I think if I'd been aborted, I would choose over incineration, living on in a cell line--especially stem cells saving someone's life or health--and having people call me "blessed". A thought exercise. I give blood and have offered stem cells and organs. I'm certainly grateful to Henrietta Lacks, though she, like fetuses, enslaved gyn patients, and prisoners of war, was tapped without permission. Did you know that we still rely on info from Nazi MDs, i.e., hypothermia from subjecting Russian POWs to ice baths--to death?

Editat: des. 23, 2020, 3:07pm

>16 Limelite: Looking good that UK strain is susceptible to convalescent serum (#101 in SARS-CoV-2 thread). We may not always be so lucky--smart does matter! :)

My understanding is that we evolved with pathogens like leprosy that take a long time to spread and to kill--important in a small hunter-gatherer group, where a fast-moving, lethal pathogen quickly goes extinct once it has obliterated its small host population.

The agriculture etc. that allowed our numbers to grow also brought us into contact with others species and their pathogens. Usually they become less lethal and more infectious over time. Any defenses we throw up merely favors certain mutations over others. Knock on wood, COVID's spike protein is broad and essential enough target that the virus should not be able to escape our current vaccines.

Biggest threat, sounds like, is that UK strain could infect so many of us that we will crash hospital capacities before we attain herd immunity?

des. 23, 2020, 3:29pm

>17 margd: I wasn't entirely serious, but appreciate and admire your comment. Still interested to have been the proverbial fly, though. and >18 margd: Agreed. There should be federal combat pay for the frontline healthcare workers who are fighting the war on Covid-19 that Trump is the C-in-C of, no?

Editat: des. 23, 2020, 11:05pm

>15 Limelite:, >17 margd:

As margd says, it's not unprecedented. While it may look like arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, I think it's a case of cooler heads thinking through Catholic theology in a way that values life (ie the life of those who will benefit from vaccines) rather than bolstering the "culture wars" in the USA. It appears to have been some US bishops who argued that these vaccines couldn't be used, and the Vatican has now corrected them. No doubt right wing Catholic media in the USA will now have a field day criticising the pope.

des. 23, 2020, 11:56pm

'Sex for sanitary pads': how Kenya's lockdown led to a rise in teenage pregnancy (Guardian)

Girls who got free sanitary products at school were pushed to desperate measures in what is being called a shadow pandemic...

“It is a shadow pandemic... Out of school, the girls had much free, unsupervised hours where the allure of sex for pads was irresistible. The government used to give sanitary pads to girls while in school but failed to extend the services to their homes when schools closed, leaving the girls at the mercy of ‘friends with benefits’. Sometimes sex was in exchange for as little as the 15 Kenyan shillings (10p) required to pay for a daily shower in a public bathroom. Many would go for days without taking a bath and could do anything to appease someone who promised them such small luxuries... A few girls were lured into child pornography"...

des. 27, 2020, 3:19pm

Question for the World in Remainder of Post-Trump Decade

Has the legacy of Trump's time in the WH been assured? If so, it isn't positive. We read today's headlines that only confirm the many headlines of the past four years that Trump was never a president, only a megalomaniac whose address was 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Now we learn that the man wants an airport named after him. For what? His contributions to air passenger safety? His investment in American infrastructure that modernized such facilities as Kennedy Int'l.? His promotion of public transportation fuel conversion from petro-based to alternative sources? As it turns out (and everyone could guess), none of the above. Just the same old, same old -- you must pander to my malignantly narcissistic ego.

If we're going to name an airport for Trump, we can only do so after we honor Idi Amin, Rafael Trujillo, and Pol Pot first. Once the precedent is set for immortalizing cruel tyrants, then it's his turn. I don't know the actual statistics, but I believe Trump is responsible for more deaths of his own citizens out of cruel policy and in the shortest time than any of the above named. As for openly asking his own citizens to murder their fellow Americans, rather than depending on secret cadres, trained troops, and rebel armies, he has to be the first in any recorded democracy to do just that.

He has done more than any criminal politician to affect the psyche of the world's leaders toward acceptable brutality against one's own people than any democratically elected leader ever. He has vaunted violent hate as a desirable action when performed on his behalf. He has made cruelty normal and murderous gangs patriotic. Worse he has made vileness a rewarded aspiration, as long as its devoted to his promotion.

So, I ask, will the world, once Trump has been given the hook off its stage, continue to operate like cruel disregard and petulant vengeance are acceptable political tools of governance? Or will those aspects of human behavior be returned to the sewer of human nastiness whence they came and where they should be forever exiled, since they obviously can't be eradicated?

And about that airport honorific. . .let him be satisfied with a viral disease agent being named after him. Let novel Coronavirus forever more be immortalized as the Trump virus.

des. 27, 2020, 6:11pm

>22 Limelite: Can you imagine a Trump Library? His "legacy" immortalized?

des. 29, 2020, 11:19am

Michigan mayor draws criticism with Facebook posts suggesting rebellion: report
Justine Coleman | 12/28/20

... (Bedroom community of ~2,000 outside state capital Lansing) Potterville Mayor Bruce Kring’s controversial posts obtained by Lansing-based station WLNS include one that says, “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.” The station reported that a viewer flagged the posts.

Another, posted alongside an angry emoji, said, “Either we TAKE power back or we will never be free again. No more asking nicely. Our founding fathers warned us. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

A third post captioned “Whitmers next lockdown!!!” showed a picture of a stockade. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who was the target of a kidnapping plot earlier this year, has been repeatedly criticized by Republicans over her coronavirus prevention measures...

des. 29, 2020, 11:09pm

Coronavirus: 'No liquor in teapots', South Africa's restaurants warned (BBC)

South Africa's police minister has warned restaurants not to hide alcohol in teapots to try and get around a fresh ban on the sale of liquor...

Reminds me of living in Sudan during the period when alcohol was banned under a version of Islamic shari'a. There was a particular restaurant in the Khartoum 2 area where beer could be obtained in a teapot.

des. 29, 2020, 11:25pm

>25 John5918: Rumor has it the same tactic once flourished in various North American Chinatowns after-hours. Rumor has it it still does in some.

Editat: des. 30, 2020, 12:58am

Congressman-elect Luke Letlow who was to represent the La-5 congressional district dies of Covid 11 days after testing positive. For all the hoaxers like that stupid Q-anon happy congresswoman-elect Marjorie Greene from Georgia that it isn't for real here is their answer. Letlow a republican was 41 years old--married and with two young sons which should also tell the freedumb loving mask haters something too---though I doubt that very many will pay the slightest attention to anything that doesn't fit into the narrow parameters of their blockheaded thought patterns. It would be some joke if a democrat won that open seat now though wouldn't it? Letlow now because just one of some 330,000 Americans who have tragically lost their lives to this virus that so many fools choose to ignore.

des. 31, 2020, 7:54am

An Ontario friend (following Ont lockdown rules, of course, inviting only a single relative to join them for Christmas) quipped:

Who would have thought that one day we’d be smoking weed at a family gathering and
that the illegal part of this would be the family gathering...
only in Canada 🇨🇦

(margd: And hopefully, only for a short while longer! Happy New Year!)

des. 31, 2020, 11:00am

#28--the one person that came to our house for thanksgiving and christmas is my daughter who lives about an hour away. We're willing to take a chance with her but she's also very careful. About three weeks ago she had a positive contact when her (positive and idiotic) landlord came banging on the door for her rent (instead of letting her drop it off in his box) and she took a covid test right away and was negative. When she comes down she's also wearing a mask all the time and she keeps space from the rest of us.

des. 31, 2020, 5:51pm

GOP Congresswoman-Elect Rushed To the Hospital Due To COVID-19

Miami Congresswoman-elect María Elvira Salazar will be unable to attend a Sunday ceremony in Washington to swear in members of the new Congress after learning she has COVID-19. The Miami representative was admitted to Doctors Hospital with a heart arrhythmia, and tested positive for Covid-19. Following treatment and stabilization, she was released to 14 days quarantine in her home.

No further medical information was released. No information if the congresswoman knew she was positive before her hospital admission.

gen. 5, 1:49am

US pharmacist who tried to ruin Covid vaccine doses is a conspiracy theorist, police say (Guardian)

Officers say Steven Brandenburg told investigators he intentionally tried to spoil the doses because he believed the vaccine could change DNA...

Doctors are our frontline against Covid. Now they lead the fight against its deniers, too (Guardian)

With misinformation rife, it is exhausted NHS staff giving the public first-hand facts – and many are paying a personal price...

gen. 5, 2:18pm

In the face of overwhelming Covid-19 cases inundating county hospitals, a few days ago LA ambulance crews were told not to resuscitate arrests in order to get them to hospital. Today those same frontline responders have been told to perform field triage on patients and not transport those deemed likely to have a low chance of survival.

Heart attacks, brain aneurysms, severe strokes, pulmonary embolisms, burns, poisonings, GSWs, MVAs, other trauma, and of course respiratory failures will be screened, to name but a few presenting conditions on scene.

For the selfish pleasure of a few, many more must die.

Editat: gen. 6, 3:58am

Tyson tries to hide behind Trump executive order in wrongful death case. The death occurred two days before the EO.

gen. 6, 11:21pm

British army recruits rise as Covid seems to act as 'rallying cry' (Guardian)

The British army says it is on track to meet its annual recruitment target for only the second time in eight years amid tentative signs that the pandemic crisis has acted as a “rallying cry to serve”...

Applications often rise during periods of economic weakness, and the army offers a secure career at a time when many other employment opportunities have been curtailed. Another reason cited was the obvious need to help out around the UK in establishing Covid testing and vaccination sites... Five thousand troops and other members of the armed forces are currently deployed in locations around the UK in what the MoD described earlier this week as “the biggest homeland operation in peacetime”...

gen. 8, 11:55pm

The 432-year-old manual on social distancing (BBC)

In this spookily prescient booklet, people are advised to keep six feet apart, avoid shaking hands and only send one person per household out to do the shopping...

Initially, the measures were extremely unpopular, and the public wanted to lynch him...

Editat: gen. 14, 10:02am

WASHINGTON (AP) — US jobless (weekly, initial) claims jump to 965,000 as layoffs remain high with economy in grip of virus.

- Zeke Miller (AP) @ZekeJMiller8:50 AM · Jan 14, 2021

gen. 14, 11:07pm

Imams across UK to reassure worshippers about Covid vaccines (Guardian)

Sermons at Friday prayers will focus on issue in order to ease concerns of Muslim Britons about Covid jabs...

gen. 18, 11:26pm

Former South Sudan Refugee Acclaimed for Saving COVID-19 Patients in South Africa (Voice of America)

A former refugee from Sudan’s civil war who survived torture and homelessness to become a doctor is winning acclaim for saving the lives of COVID-19 patients in South Africa. Dr. Emmanuel Malish Taban was recently named one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2020 by London-based New African magazine. The U.S. embassy in Juba, South Sudan, congratulated Taban on its Facebook page for the continental recognition and his work treating COVID-19 patients at his South African clinic...

Editat: gen. 18, 11:26pm

Duplicate post

Editat: gen. 30, 9:54pm

You heard about the scramble to administer 6 last vaccine doses in a snowstorm in Oregon. Seattle had 1,650 doses Thursday that needed arms when a freezer broke.

The mobilization went on through the night and out onto the sidewalk. Medical staff were heartened to be doing this beyond caring for Covid patients.

Editat: gen. 30, 11:14pm

India v England: Moeen Ali 'wouldn't wish Covid-19 on anyone' (BBC)

England all-rounder Moeen Ali says he "wouldn't wish on anyone" his positive coronavirus diagnosis and two weeks of isolation...

Moeen, a devout Muslim, says he will have the coronavirus vaccine when it is available to him. There have been concerns that a spread of disinformation might discourage some members of the UK's south Asian community from being vaccinated. "I'd take it and urge others to do it," Moeen said. "Having spoken to people who know quite a bit about it, I'd take it and get my family and others to take it. It's like any vaccine - there's a lot of conspiracy theories out there but it's just medicine evolving. In our community, people are sometimes not sure whether to take something - a bit cautious. But for things to get back to normal it's important that we do it"...

Cricket, incidentally, for those unlucky souls who've never heard of Moeen Ali.

feb. 1, 11:16pm

Rhino poaching in South Africa falls during Covid-19 lockdown (BBC)

South Africa has reported a decline in the number of rhinos killed by poachers, which officials say is partly the result of Covid-19 lockdowns. Last year, 394 rhinos were killed for their horns in the country, a fall of 33% from the 594 recorded in 2019, the environment ministry said. Lockdowns had restricted the movements of would-be poachers and rhino horn smugglers, it added...

feb. 2, 1:37pm

>42 John5918: This could be seen as progress, however, I find it hard to believe if a person could commit the crime of poaching he would obey a law to stay in his home. I would hopefully rather consider that efforts to protect these animals are working and the timing with the pandemic is coincidental.

feb. 2, 1:39pm

>43 mamzel: Gather it's not that the poachers are staying home so much as that everyone else is, which makes the poachers stick out like a sore thumb.

Editat: feb. 4, 5:49am

The Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic in South (Sudd Institute)


This policy brief studies the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Sudan. The findings are educative. First, the health effects of the pandemic in the country have been surprisingly less pronounced than expected, marked by very low morbidity and fatality rates. Second, despite this positive health news, the pandemic has had negative effects on the economy, starting with dramatic declines in domestic production and revenue collection, followed by a very volatile rising cost of living. These economic consequences are far-reaching, severely weakening, for example, human capital formation, especially in education, as the lockdown has deprived some 2 million schoolage children of learning opportunities. Finally, economic recovery from COVID-19 will require a coordinated strategy that fosters broadened synergies in response to sectorspecific COVID-19 ramifications1. Interventions that prioritize smaller firms and women enterprises should be in order.

feb. 5, 4:11am

Kamran Abbasi. 2021. Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant. BMJ 2021;372:n314 (Published 04 February 2021) doi:

What went wrong in the global governance of covid-19?
After two million deaths, we must have redress for mishandling the pandemic

...At the very least, covid-19 might be classified as “social murder,” as recently explained by two professors of criminology. The philosopher Friedrich Engels coined the phrase when describing the political and social power held by the ruling elite over the working classes in 19th century England. His argument was that the conditions created by privileged classes inevitably led to premature and “unnatural” death among the poorest classes. In The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell echoed these themes in describing the life and living conditions of working class people in England’s industrial north. Today, “social murder” may describe the lack of political attention to social determinants and inequities that exacerbate the pandemic. Michael Marmot argues that as we emerge from covid-19 we must build back fairer...

International accountability
...From the United States to India, from the United Kingdom to Brazil, people feel vulnerable and betrayed by the failure of their leaders...

Hollow excuses...

Getting redress
...The law remains one form of redress, and indeed some legal avenues, including criminal negligence and misconduct in public office, are being explored,1819 although proving any such claims will be difficult and drawn out...

That leaves three options. The first is to push for a public inquiry, as The BMJ and others argued for in the summer of 2020—a rapid, forward looking review rather than an exercise in apportioning blame that will identify lessons and save lives. The second is to vote out elected leaders and governments that avoid accountability and remain unrepentant. The US showed that a political reckoning is possible, and perhaps a legal one can follow, although research suggests that mishandling a pandemic may not lose votes. The third is for mechanisms of global governance, such as the International Criminal Court, to be broadened to cover state failings in pandemics...

...avenues for redress seem blocked. What’s left in these circumstances is for citizens to lobby their political representatives for a rapid public inquiry; for professionals in law, science, medicine, and the media, as well as holders of public office, to put their duty to the public above their loyalty to politicians and to speak out, to dissent lawfully, to be active in their calls for justice, especially for disadvantaged groups.

...The “social murder” of populations is more than a relic of a bygone age. It is very real today, exposed and magnified by covid-19. It cannot be ignored or spun away. Politicians must be held to account by legal and electoral means, indeed by any national and international constitutional means necessary. State failures that led us to two million deaths are “actions” and “inactions” that should shame us all.

Editat: feb. 5, 9:38am

Sitting on billions, Catholic dioceses amassed taxpayer aid

...As the pandemic began to unfold, scores of Catholic dioceses across the U.S. received aid through the Paycheck Protection Program while sitting on well over $10 billion in cash, short-term investments or other available funds, an Associated Press investigation has found. And despite the broad economic downturn, these assets have grown in many dioceses.

Yet even with that financial safety net, the 112 dioceses that shared their financial statements, along with the churches and schools they oversee, collected at least $1.5 billion in taxpayer-backed aid. A majority of these dioceses reported enough money on hand to cover at least six months of operating expenses, even without any new income.

The financial resources of several dioceses rivaled or exceeded those available to publicly traded companies like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, whose early participation in the program triggered outrage. Federal officials responded by emphasizing the money was intended for those who lacked the cushion that cash and other liquidity provide. Many corporations returned the funds.

Overall, the nation’s nearly 200 dioceses, where bishops and cardinals govern, and other Catholic institutions received at least $3 billion. That makes the Roman Catholic Church perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the paycheck program, according to AP’s analysis of data the U.S. Small Business Administration released following a public-records lawsuit by news organizations...

...By using a special exemption that the church lobbied to include in the paycheck program, Catholic entities amassed at least $3 billion — roughly the same as the combined total of recipients from the other faiths that rounded out the top five, AP found. Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Jewish faith-based recipients also totaled at least $3 billion. Catholics account for about a fifth of the U.S. religious population while members of Protestant and Jewish denominations are nearly half, according to the Pew Research Center...


In other federal small business loan programs, government help is treated as a last resort.

Applicants must show they couldn’t get credit elsewhere. And those with enough available funds must pay more of their own way to reduce taxpayer subsidies.

Congress didn’t include these tests in the Paycheck Protection Program. To speed approvals, lenders weren’t required to do their usual screening and instead relied on applicants’ self-certifications of need.

The looser standards helped create a run on the first $349 billion in paycheck funding. Small business owners complained that they were shut out, yet dozens of companies healthy enough to be traded on stock exchanges scored quick approval.

...Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's...Treasury Department said it would audit loans exceeding $2 million, although federal officials have not said whether they would hold religious organizations and other nonprofits to the same standard of need as businesses.

...According to the (Boston) archdiocese’s website, its central ministries office received about $3 million, while its parishes and schools collected about $32 million more.

The archdiocese — along with its parishes, schools and cemeteries — had roughly $200 million in available funds in June 2019, according to its audited financial report. When that fiscal year ended several months into the pandemic, available funds had increased to roughly $233 million.

Nevertheless, spokesman Terrence Donilon cited “ongoing economic pressure” in saying the archdiocese will seek forgiveness for last year’s loans and will apply for additional, new funds during the current round.

Beyond its growing available funds, the archdiocese and its affiliates benefit from other sources of funding. The archdiocese’s “Inspiring Hope” campaign, announced in January, has raised at least $150 million.

And one of its supporting charities — the Catholic Schools Foundation, where Cardinal Sean O’Malley is board chairman — counted more than $33 million in cash and other funds that could be “used for general operations” as of the beginning of the 2020 fiscal year, according to its financial statement.

Despite these resources, the archdiocese closed a half-dozen schools in May and June, often citing revenue losses due to the pandemic. Paycheck protection data show four of those schools collectively were approved for more than $700,000...

feb. 5, 4:40pm

>47 margd:
Not an especially good look for an organization that states in it's Compendium of Social Doctrine"

"The action of the State and of other public authorities must be consistent with the principle of subsidiarity and create situations favourable to the free exercise of economic activity. It must also be inspired by the principle of solidarity and establish limits for the autonomy of the parties in order to defend those who are weaker.733 Solidarity without subsidiarity, in fact, can easily degenerate into a “Welfare State”, while subsidiarity without solidarity runs the risk of encouraging forms of self-centred localism. In order to respect both of these fundamental principles, the State's intervention in the economic environment must be neither invasive nor absent, but commensurate with society's real needs. "

By "free exercise of economic activity" they must mean "snatch and grab". Not sure how taking money out of my pocket to add to the Church's wealth is "commensurate with society's real needs" but ours is not to reason why ours is but to shut up and work.

Editat: feb. 5, 7:56pm

>48 mikevail: Hopefully those writing THIS law will write in the tests for small business that establish need. (McConnell's Senate wrote last PPP?) NOT squeezing little guy other than stating an income ceiling. I can see helping a bitty church that has to close for a while, but not large entities with large cash cushions.

feb. 7, 12:10am

How to heal the 'mass trauma' of Covid-19 (BBC)

You are living amid the first global mass trauma event for several decades. It's arguably the first of its kind since World War Two, and likely the first of such severity in your lifetime... Trauma is a far subtler concept than many of us realise... What trauma is about is events and their effect on the mind. But what separates it from something merely stressful is how we relate to these events on a deep level of belief. After the pandemic ends, the effects of the mass trauma it has inflicted will linger across societies for years. How might we understand this mental fallout? And what does the science of trauma suggest that we should – and shouldn't – do in order to heal?...

feb. 8, 9:01am

So moving... Amanda Gorman performing her art at the #SuperBowl. Thank you.

1:33 ( )
From NFL

- Eric Feigl-Ding @DrEricDing | 8:35 AM · Feb 8, 2021

feb. 8, 2:03pm

Ron Wright--Republican House member representing the Texas-6 Congressional district becomes the first standing member of congress to die from Covid.

Editat: feb. 8, 2:48pm

SD Wants 'Freedom to Infect' USA

Conservative news site, Daily Wire has the story.
Legislation introduced in the South Dakota House of Representatives seeks to give the state’s attorney general the authority to review executive orders from President Joe Biden and potentially nullify any order deemed unconstitutional.
Could set up intense Constitutional battle between US government (Pres. Biden) and SD over power of EOs in determining national policy in handling public health issues and far more.
The bill specifies that Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg could exempt South Dakota from any law or order “that restricts a person’s rights or that is determined … to be unconstitutional” if the law or order relates to the following:

A pandemic or other public health emergency
The regulation of natural resources
The regulation of the agricultural industry
The regulation of land use
The regulation of the financial sector through the imposition of environmental, social, or governance standards, or
The regulation of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms
Why be a state in the USA if there's no desire to act in a united fashion on six major fronts of public interest that extend beyond SD's state lines?

feb. 8, 3:11pm

Facebook to Axe Vaccine Lies Posts

Disinformation and anti-vaxxer propaganda, in general, posts by individual users will no longer be allowed to sully Facebook, which already prevents paid ad false advertising about vaccines.
Today, following consultations with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), we are expanding the list of false claims we will remove to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines. This includes claims such as:

COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured
Vaccines are not effective at preventing the disease they are meant to protect against
It’s safer to get the disease than to get the vaccine
Vaccines are toxic, dangerous or cause autism

The full list of claims is available here.

We will begin enforcing this policy immediately, with a particular focus on Pages, groups and accounts that violate these rules, and we’ll continue to expand our enforcement over the coming weeks. Groups, Pages and accounts on Facebook and Instagram that repeatedly share these debunked claims may be removed altogether.

feb. 16, 1:12pm

How Our Brutal Science System Almost Cost Us A Pioneer Of mRNA Vaccines
Dr. David Scales | February 12, 2021

...I witnessed some of the early scientific heartbreaks that came before the historic vaccine victories. And I found myself simply awestruck by the scientists I knew who persevered in spite of our system of scientific research.

The system helped lead to progress, but it also demoralized a junior researcher to the point that anyone of less grit and determination would have just given up long before the groundwork for today’s vaccines was laid.

...The coronavirus vaccine has demonstrated that we need good science - and good scientists - now more than ever. And we need to make sure that they stay in science, one way or another.

Academic science failed (Katalin) Karikó. But when she contacted me in 2015, I saw she had moved to the private sector, a common path for researchers when a university stops offering support. I was glad to see she had landed on her feet. And now, I watch in awe, like the rest of the world, as the technology she helped developed leads to one of the most spectacular victories in the history of science - a vaccine for a deadly pandemic developed in less than one year...

feb. 16, 3:17pm


That being said, the January and February parades have been officially canceled. Bourbon St. doomed to remain clean.

feb. 16, 3:40pm

#53---the same Ravnsborg who did a hit and run on a man in September---left him along the side of the road to die--saying later the next day he thought he'd hit a deer? That's the guy who gets to decide the constitutionality of national policy?

feb. 16, 6:25pm

>57 lriley:

Mais oui!

Editat: feb. 17, 11:35am

MAGA lives on in FL. SO glad new Administration is working on national vaccine plan!

Ted Bridis (U FL) @tbridis | 9:54 AM · Feb 17, 2021
Unforced error? Famously combative with media, @GovRonDeSantis today says
public criticisms about vaccine distribution in parts of Florida could divert vaccines
to areas where there are no political criticisms of his efforts

00:26 ( )


More COVID vaccine coming to Manatee. Only residents of these two zip codes can get it
Ryan Callihan and Jessica De Leon | February 16, 2021

...Not all county residents will be eligible for the shots. Instead, they are reserved solely for residents of the 34202 and 34211 zip codes, which cover most of the Manatee County portion of Lakewood Ranch and other wealthier neighborhoods in East Manatee not as hard hit by coronavirus infections as other parts of the county... (Residents in 34202 and 34211 who have contracted the coronavirus make up about 8 percent of the county’s 30,557 confirmed coronavirus infections.)

...The two zip codes make up part of (Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh's) District 5...According to Baugh, the process began late last week when DeSantis called Rex Jensen, president and CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, the developer of the master-planned Lakewood Ranch community. Baugh said DeSantis sought to establish a vaccine site in the area and she began working with Jensen to finalize the details.

...News of the site came as a shock to Baugh’s fellow commissioners. At least three said they were unaware of the process and shocked to hear that the site will cater exclusively to those living in parts of Baugh’s district...

feb. 17, 12:12pm

#59--it helps to have money and it helps if the governor is your buddy.

feb. 17, 1:12pm

Dominic Raab calls for ceasefires to enable Covid vaccinations (Guardian)

UK foreign secretary tells UN there is a moral duty to protect people in conflict zones...

feb. 18, 7:33am

For Muslims wary of the Covid vaccine: there's every religious reason not to be (Guardian)

Suspicion of authority and worries about what is halal must be balanced by the fact that protecting others is an obligation...

feb. 18, 10:46am


Covid-19 cuts U.S. life expectancy by a year in first half of 2020, biggest drop since WWII
Adela Suliman and The Associated Press | Feb. 18, 2021

Life expectancy in the United States fell by an entire year in the first half of 2020 as Covid-19 swept through the country, health data published Thursday found, a decline not seen since World War II.

Racial minorities suffered the biggest impact from January through June 2020, with Black Americans losing nearly three years and Hispanics losing nearly two years, according to preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a huge decline," said Robert Anderson, who oversees the data for the CDC. "You have to go back to World War II, the 1940s, to find a decline like this."...

feb. 18, 11:22am

Paul Stallard et al. 2021. Post-traumatic growth during the COVID-19 pandemic in carers of children in Portugal and the UK: cross-sectional online survey. Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2021.


Although the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health have attracted interest, little attention has focused on its positive effects and possible post-traumatic growth.

To assess anxiety, well-being and post-traumatic growth in carers of children aged 6–16 years in Portugal and the UK.

A cross-sectional online survey of volunteers conducted at the peak of the first wave of COVID-19 during lockdown (1 May to 27 June 2020).

A total of 385 caregivers (Portuguese, n = 185; UK, n = 200), predominantly mothers (n = 341, 88.6%), completed the survey. The majority were working exclusively from home (n = 271, 70.4%), almost half reported a reduction in income (n = 174, 45.2%), most children were home taught (n = 358, 93%), and 75 (19.5%) identified a family member with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection. In total, 341 caregivers (88.6%) identified positives arising from COVID-19, most commonly related to the post-traumatic growth domains of improved relationships, a greater appreciation of life, discovering and embracing new possibilities, and positive spiritual change. A comparison of those who did (n = 341) and did not (n = 34) report any positives found a significant difference in well-being scores (t373 = 2.24, P = 0.025) but not in anxiety scores (t373 = 0.75, P = 0.45).

Despite experiencing considerable adversity, examples of post-traumatic growth during the lockdown were common. Although the voluntary online nature of our survey is a limitation, our findings suggest that further research exploring post-traumatic growth following pandemics is warranted.

feb. 19, 11:26pm

Vaccine diplomacy: west falling behind in race for influence (Guardian)

While the UK and US strive for herd immunity, Russia and China are leveraging their Covid jabs...

feb. 22, 6:48am

Trump Is Guilty of Pandemicide
History will show the former U.S. president was staggeringly negligent during the pandemic’s deadly third wave.
Laurie Garrett | February 18, 2021

...I level the charge of pandemicide against Trump for his failure to say or do anything to halt the soaring burden of infection and death across the United States from Election Day to his departure from office. his absence from pandemic duty—his duty to protect the American people—172,000 Americans died, nearly doubling the mortality toll since Election Day.

Republicans have, of course, decided that Trump cannot be impeached now that he is a private citizen. As a matter of formality, then, my call is moot. But let history record that no sitting U.S. president—since April 30, 1789, when George Washington took the first oath on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City—has willfully allowed such preventable carnage to unfold on the American people.

Let history record that Donald Trump is guilty of the crime of pandemicide.

feb. 22, 7:04am

#66---the only time the pandemic mattered to Donald Trump was when he got sick himself and anyone who read about it knows that he was absolutely panicked when that happened. They went to measures beyond what they would for anyone else then to save his sorry ass and after that and out of the hospital how cocky he was about it. Like it was nothing for the rest of us to worry about.

Maybe he gives a shit about direct family members but other than that he doesn't care about people at all. Sure he wants people to vote for him---he wants to bathe in applause feeding his crowds on their resentments but he gave up giving a shit about covid or how many people were dying from it pretty much from day 1---he stokes a crowd to invade the Capitol building and afterwards it's fine to him and other republicans to prosecute these same people---his people who believed in him---to the fullest extent of the law but he's to be untouchable. It really is despicable.

This shit is his life story. He betrays everyone including his own and always gets away with it.

Editat: feb. 22, 9:50am

With our US license plates, we had a taste of this Oct 2020 when we were permitted into Canada for "essential business". Two weeks quarantine (with support of family), after which we did our business, winterized the home, visited the dump. Cdn friends, after expressing surprise at us being in Canada, warned us to park so car wouldn't be keyed. In ferry line, driver behind us disembarked several times to closely scrutinize our license plates (reporting us? passive aggression?). We may have been surveilled by a local's private plane when working outside on our 3 acres. DH golfed with friend in his "league"--careful to stay at a distance, using golf cart solo, asking owner's permission, golfed with friend in his "league". Still he didn't join them afterwards for beers in cart barn. I understand fear, but sure hope xenophobic attitudes don't persist beyond pandemic.

Have to admit, though, that the area we visited is now categorized as a green zone...

Positive Coronavirus Test? Canadians Worry Their Neighbors Will Find Out
Catherine Porter | Feb. 21, 2021Updated Feb. 22, 2021, 12:16 a.m. ET

The fear of public shaming is becoming so prevalent in some Canadian provinces that doctors worry it is driving virus cases underground.

...Canadians might be known internationally as nice, apologetic and fair-minded. But, a year after the pandemic arrived, some Canadians worry it has exposed a very different national persona: judgmental, suspicious and vengeful. Covid-shaming has become fervent in parts of the country, with locals calling for the heads of not just politicians and doctors breaking the rules but their own family members and neighbors.

“It’s not getting Covid — it’s breaking the rules that worries us,” said Randy Boyagoda, a novelist and English professor at the University of Toronto, noting that a Canadian foundational motto is “peace, order and good government.”

“What’s the key point? It’s order,” he said. “For order to be sustained, we have to follow the rules. Canadians are a distinctly rule-focused and rule-following people.”

Complaint lines — or so-called “snitch lines” — set up across Canada have been flooded with tips about people suspected of breaking quarantine rules, businesses flouting public health restrictions and outsiders, arriving with unfamiliar license plates, potentially bringing the disease with them...