This week, much of our attention has been focused on the debate over absentee voting. But the broader story of this pandemic is about absentee governing. Susan B. Glasser in The New Yorker with the question of the moment: How Did the U.S. End Up with Nurses Wearing Garbage Bags? “What they did not foresee was that the federal government might never come to the rescue. They did not realize this was a government failure by design—not a problem to be fixed but a policy choice by President Trump that either would not or could not be undone. ‘No one can believe it. That’s the No. 1 problem with the whole situation: the facts are known, but they are inconceivable,’ Eric Ries told me. ‘So we are just in denial.’ Independent reporting has corroborated what Ries and other volunteers saw for themselves: ‘a fragmented procurement system now descending into chaos,’ as the Associated Press put it. The news agency found that not a single shipment of medical-grade N95 masks arrived at U.S. ports during the month of March. The federal government was not only disorganized; it was absent.”

+ “Trump and other White House officials, including his close advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, have insisted that the federal government is using a data-driven approach to procure supplies and direct them where they are most needed … But the agency has refused to provide any details about how these determinations are made or why it is choosing to seize some supply orders and not others. Administration officials also will not say what supplies are going to what states.” LA Times: Hospitals say feds are seizing masks and other coronavirus supplies without a word. (The union has been jacked.)