Sunday, March 15th, 2020


Beware the Divides of March

The ides of March are come. And so have the divides of March; with some Americans sheltering in place and others going on with life interrupted. Since that quote is from Julius Caesar, let's seek guidance from his own demise, the current obituary-filling tragedy unfolding in Italy, and his quote, "Experience is the teacher of all things," to make sure we take the not so subtle hint the world, and every single expert, is giving us, and socially distance like our lives depended on it (and, perhaps more importantly, the lives of our friends, Romans and countrymen). Listen to the NYT's Charlie Warzel when he says, Please, Don't Go Out to Brunch Today (the article was originally titled, Please Don't Go Out to Bars Tonight, but not enough people listened). "While the federal government has issued some guidance for older and high-risk Americans, the administration has offered little definitive advice for how stringently low-risk people should isolate. And so it seems that for many it's business as usual."

+ St. Patrick's Day partiers hit the town over officials' pleas amid coronavirus outbreak.

+ New Orleans Police cleared out Bourbon Street to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

+ New York City teachers threaten mass ‘sickout' as schools stay open.

+ "Social distancing now is one of the greatest calls for altruism." UCSF: Why Experts Are Urging Social Distancing to Combat Coronavirus Outbreak.

+ It's not about you, it's about us. CNN: Infected people without symptoms might be driving the spread of coronavirus more than we realized. It's also worth noting that the experts are getting increasing data that this can harm and even kill younger people. So the more careful you can be, the better.

+ Some great visual guides from WaPo: Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to flatten the curve.

+ Think your local leaders are making the wrong moves? Wish your boss was taking this more seriously? Shocked by young people still gathering at bars and cafes? Don't blame them. None of this should be handled locally. Guidance needs to come from the top. And the top is broken. WaPo: Without guidance from the top, Americans have been left to figure out their own coronavirus solutions.

+ "If you're healthy, you and your family, it's a great time to go out and go to a local restaurant, likely you can get in easy." That was Devin Nunes, not last week, but this very morning on Fox News. That message is sinking in. Sixty percent of Americans "think that the worst is yet to come, while 31 percent say the coronavirus is not likely to be a major problem. But a glaring partisan divide exists within these numbers." That leads us to our final Caesar quote: "Men in general are quick to believe that which they wish to be true."


The Tortoise and O’Hare

We acted too late in the US. Now that we're acting and announcing policies, via Twitter or Rose Garden events, it would be good to have an actual plan in place to support those policies. When we don't, we end up with the surreal scenes shared from some US airports yesterday, where people spent hours packed into spaces that represent the exact opposite of social distancing. US Airports Saw Massive Lines After Coronavirus Travel Restrictions.

+ Travelers Greeted With Hours-Long Airport Lines As Coronavirus Screenings Begin.

+ How crazy was it at O'Hare? Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker took to Twitter to practically beg the administration to "get its s@#t together." What did the Governor get in response? "I got a call at about 11 o'clock last night after that tweet from a White House staffer who yelled at me about the tweet. That is what I got."

+ Meanwhile, in Europe, the lockdowns are much more extreme, and more local US leaders are following that lead. Here's the latest from NYT, BBC, and CNN. And here's a global dashboard for tracking the crisis.


It’s a Hoard Knock Life

Should you panic about food? No. But to the extent you can get a week or two worth of supplies just in case, it's worth doing so. And thank the people working at the grocery store, making deliveries, etc. NYT: There Is Plenty of Food in the Country. "The food supply chain, they say, remains intact and has been ramping up to meet the unprecedented stockpiling brought on by the coronavirus pandemic." (A lesson-learned sidenote from my family to yours: It's not advisable to stress eat your two-week supply of food in the first forty-five minutes quarantine...)

+ And take what you need. Not everything on the shelves. Grocery Stores Start To Cut Hours As Coronavirus Prompts Surge In Panic-Buying.


Luck Out

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. What we have in executive branch is the opposite. A lack of preparation meeting a disaster. "The federal government is only now playing catch-up, as thousands of new cases of coronavirus are confirmed and the death toll steadily increases every day." Vox: The Trump administration's botched coronavirus response, explained.

+ "Chu was not threatened by the government, like Li had been in Wuhan. But she was just as effectively silenced by a rule-bound bureaucracy that was insufficiently worried about the pandemic—and by officials at the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who may even have felt political pressure not to take this disease as seriously as they should." A must-read from Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic: The Coronavirus Called America's Bluff. And Derek Thompson from yesterday. America Is Acting Like a Failed State.

+ "The administration's struggle to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak has been marked by infighting and blame-shifting, misinformation and missteps, and a slow recognition of the danger. Warring factions have wrestled for control internally and for approval from a president who has been preoccupied with the beating his image is taking." Infighting, missteps and a son-in-law hungry for results: Inside the Trump administration's troubled coronavirus response.


What the UK Were They Thinking

"The United Kingdom is previewing a new self-isolation plan for all people over 70 to address the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country, following backlash over a proposal to promote immunity by allowing up to 60 percent of its population to become infected." The UK backs away from "herd immunity" coronavirus proposal amid blowback. (I'm not a religious man, but thank god..)


Working Nine to Lives

"Health care workers are at the greatest risk — they can encounter diseases and infections daily and typically work in close proximity to one another and their patients. Many are already under quarantine because of exposure to the virus." NYT with a great visualization, and a great reminder, of The Workers Who Face the Greatest Coronavirus Risk.

+ If you can find ways to support local businesses, do so. Coronavirus Cost to Businesses and Workers: "It Has All Gone to Hell."

+ And if you are an employer, by all means, do not encourage your employees to participate in a plot that could endanger thousands. I know, you thought no one needed to make that point. Well .... Norwegian Cruise Line managers urged salespeople to spread falsehoods about coronavirus.


Voting Wrongs Act

"Three days from now, millions of voters in Arizona, Illinois, Florida, and Ohio will grasp the same door handles, drag their fingers across the same touch-screen voting machines, and wait in long lines with dozens of other people." There's a Pandemic. Four States Are Holding Elections Tuesday Anyway. (Want my vote? Postpone these elections.) We're seeing a similar problem across local institutions. Courts are staying open in SF and elsewhere. Jury duty rooms will be packed. None of this makes sense. The people who should be leading by example must lead by example.


When the Rubber Glove Meets the Road

"But while having a stockpile is better than not having it, experts say, there's a limit to what a stockpile can do in this crisis." NPR: Why Even A Huge Medical Stockpile Will Be Of Limited Use Against COVID-19.

+ And health care workers are already running out of key protective supplies.


Trust the Bloggers!

"From her home in Winter Haven, Fla., Sanders began compiling reports of public comments by health officials in China's Hubei province. The officials, Sanders reported on her blog, FluTrackers, had announced an outbreak of an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases, caused by a mysterious virus." How a blogger in Florida put out an early warning about the coronavirus crisis.


Feel Good Sunday

"As the U.S. braces for the pandemic — and as local track coaches lap national leaders in making responsible decisions about public safety — social media has pivoted hard to gallows humor." And that's a good thing. Stress relief and laughter strengthen the immune system.

+ Italy Sings Together During Coronavirus Lockdown.

+ How to wash your paws, in ten easy steps.

+ A Google Chrome plugin that lets you watch Netflix movies with others, remotely.

+ Distilleries throughout the country are offering bootleg free hand sanitizer to fight coronavirus pandemic.

+ LVMH to make hand sanitizer for French hospitals.

+ U.S. providers offer free Wi-Fi for 60 days.

+ Reddit Cofounder Alexis Ohanian Bought A Billboard In Times Square To Inform People About COVID-19.

+ How to fare-jump the subway, in a safe manner.

+ Sisyphus works from home.