Saturday, April 11th, 2020


Trace Elements

"If a match is found with another user that has told the system that they have tested positive, you are notified and can take steps to be tested and to self-quarantine." For a couple weeks, Google and Apple have been working to launch a joint COVID-19 tracing tool for iOS and Android. TechCrunch has an excellent overview on how the program will work. Google and Apple are partnering for contact tracing. Amazon is supplying everything as stores shut down, many for good. Bill Gates, one of the most listened-to thought leaders on pandemic preparedness, is funding factories to develop a vaccines. Jack Ma is supplying medical equipment around the world. Softbank's CEO is supplying hundreds of millions of masks a month to Japan. Other tech billionaires are funding Covid19 operations. The tech giants are the new nation states.

+ Who's not acting like a nation state? Our nation state. WaPo: A plan to defeat coronavirus finally emerges, but it's not from the White House. "A collection of governors, former government officials, disease specialists and nonprofits are pursuing a strategy that relies on the three pillars of disease control."


Some News on Newsom

Gavin Newsom hints that Californians will soon have a roadmap out of home confinement, but warns that we need to be vigilant in the meantime. "We are not just along for the ride as it relates to experiencing the future. The future happens inside of us ... Let's continue to hold the line." Because of the scope of the problem, the coverage of NY's covid struggle is warranted. But it's remarkable how little coverage there is of leaders who have had far more success against the spread. We need to stop covering good press conferences and start covering good leadership.

+ Speaking of good leadership, many world leaders who are absolutely crushing it all have one thing in common. They are what a failing leader often refers to as, That Woman.


A Tale of Two Countries

"There were a few folks who showed up that didn't qualify…but then there were those who showed up and said, 'I heard this was happening. I didn't know I had to register, but I need food. I am a hotel worker and I was laid off.' Those are the stories we heard from a lot of people who showed up." The San Antonio Express-News with the shocking numbers and photos that represent the surge in demand hitting food banks. "We just can't feed this many."

+ "Now, as he so rightly points out, we are great with death—we are mighty with it. There is a fear, when all of this is said and done, that America will lead the world in it. And yet, perversely, the supposed democratic nature of plague—the way in which it can strike all registered voters equally—turns out to be somewhat overstated. A plague it is, but American hierarchies, hundreds of years in the making, are not so easily overturned. Amid the great swath of indiscriminate death, some old American distinctions persist." Zadie Smith in The New Yorker: The American Exception.

+ "With every day that goes by, it becomes more clear that the virus isn't an equalizer at all. Instead, it is exacerbating the inequalities in American society, taking a disproportionate toll on low-income Americans, people of color, and others who were already marginalized before the crisis hit." Vox: Every aspect of the coronavirus pandemic exposes America's devastating inequalities.

+ It's not just America. The New Yorker's Isaac Chotiner talks to David Miliband, the president and C.E.O of The International Rescue Committee. "No country will be able to ease its restrictions, to return to any kind of normality, if it is a walled fortress. And so, when I say there are thirteen ventilators in the whole of Sierra Leone for 7.5 million people, when I say that there are four ventilators in the whole of South Sudan, when I say that there are three ventilators in the whole of the Central African Republic, I'm making the point that we can't rely on the health system to keep this disease at bay."


No Count(ry) For Old Men

"Nursing home residents are among those most likely to die from the coronavirus, given their advanced age and the prevalence of other health conditions. But the federal government does not keep a formal tally of the number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes or the number of facilities with infections." NBC News: There have been more than 2,200 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes, but the federal government isn't tracking them. (And this is almost certainly an undercount.) For more on this pressing topic, here's Rachel Maddow's interview with Andy Slavitt.

+ SF Chronicle: 70 people test positive for the coronavirus at SF's biggest homeless shelter.

+ Fear among immigrant detainees spreads as coronavirus outbreaks hit ICE detention centers.


Swedish Fish in a Barrel?

"When you walk around, there is a total and utter absence of panic. The streets are just as busy as they would have been last spring." Sweden is playing things differently than the rest of Europe (and most of the world). Much differently. Time: Sweden's Relaxed Approach to the Coronavirus Could Already Be Backfiring.


Stay on Your Easter Keister

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly ordered that the state limit church gatherings because, OF COURSE (and four of the state's clusters have already been tied to church gatherings). But the state legislature is challenging Kelly, and now the state supreme court is deciding whether people will be free to take a ridiculous risk.

+ 'My President Is Not My God': Some Churches Are Planning To Host Hundreds For Easter Sunday. (Jesus may have been resurrected. Your congregants won't be.)


Getting the Picture

Like so many of our most indescribable stories, this one is often best told in pictures. Buzzfeed: 27 Of The Most Powerful Photos Of This Week.


Do Not Disturb

"The White House's official Twitter account has ... praised hotels for housing medical workers during the pandemic. 'Thank you to hotels around the country for providing healthcare workers and first responders a place to stay while they're on the front lines of the pandemic.'" So it makes sense, and provides a welcome message, to see the president opening his own hotels for such uses, to support communities and even save lives. Just kidding.


Feel Good Saturday

UCSF will be sending a team of 20 health care workers to assist efforts in NYC. More than a 150 volunteered for the opportunity.

+ An anonymous donor gave every household in an Iowa town $150 in gift cards for food.

+ We don't know what it will be like or even if there will be a host. But SNL is coming back tonight.

+ The Highcycle, a bike built for social distancing.

+ San Francisco man serves free coffee to essential workers from home window.

+ Australians are dressing up to take out the garbage. Like, really dressing up.

+ I love sesame noodles. I finally made them using this recipe. They are awesome. And this recipe even tastes great with Shitty Passover Noodles!


Something, Something, Something Murder

The most excellent Damon Lindelof has kindly offered to share a serialized story with NextDraft readers to help us, and him, through the quarantine. The first 12 chapters are here.

+ Want to attempt to get your cultural reference into Damon's story? Submit your ideas here. (Two of my ideas is made it into yesterday's chapter. So it can't be that hard!)

+ Need some weekend content? Yesterday's Weekend Whats were solid.