April 16th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

An open and shut case, the nursing home front, and when (and when not) to tread on me.

“Singapore officials have been screening and quarantining all travelers from outside the country since the beginning of the pandemic. Their contact tracing is second to none. Every time they identify an infection, they commit to determining its origin in two hours. They post online where identified infected people work, live and have spent time so that potential contacts can be identified. They enforce quarantines and isolation of such contacts, with criminal charges for those who violate orders.” If America is to re-open, we’re going to have to perform a lot like Singapore, but at a much larger scale. While this all sounds like a significant challenge, there’s another troubling factor to consider: Singapore is in lockdown now. From NYT Upshot: Why We May Need to Think Bigger. (This is not the kind of open and shut case we had in mind.)

+ Be Test: Opening requires testing. And as you may have heard, America has a testing problem. I put together this little guide for how the media might want to question the administration about this.

+ “Cisco Systems, the networking company, and McDonald’s were among the major employers that learned of their involvement in consulting with the president only when he mentioned their names on Tuesday evening.” NYT: Trump’s ‘Opening Our Country Council’ Runs Into Its Own Opening Problems.


Nursing Home Front

“When the police arrived, the corpse had been removed from the shed, but they discovered 17 bodies piled inside the nursing home in a small morgue intended to hold no more than four people … The 17 were among 68 recent deaths linked to the long-term care facility.” This is one of the more disturbing and weird nursing home tragedies. But the broader story is that they’ve become a distributed epicenter for the crisis. NBC: Coronavirus deaths in U.S. nursing homes soar to more than 5,500.


Job Corps(e)

“In the past four weeks, a total of 22 million have filed jobless claims — nearly wiping out all the job gains since the Great Recession.” NPR: 10 Years Of Spectacular U.S. Job Growth Nearly Wiped Out In 4 Weeks. And many of those on unemployment aren’t getting their checks.

+ The government’s small business loan money is gone.

+ Americans getting their stimulus payments this week might want to use them or move them, quickly. There’s no provision that prevents debt collectors from grabbing them before you do.

+ Being out of work is brutal. For some, being in work is even worse. Reveal: Dozens of grocery store workers have died. Here’s what workers say their employers did wrong.


Better Off Tread

“Cars jammed the streets around the Capitol building, filling the air with a cacophony of honking. People draped in American and ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags blared ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and ‘God Bless The USA’ out of car stereos. The protest — called ‘Operation Gridlock’ — was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and drew out militias, conservatives, small-business owners and ardent supporters of President Trump, who characterize the governor’s stay-at-home order as an unjust power grab.” There were also chants of Lock Her Up. It was like a Kid Rock concert, but with better music.

+ As you can see from the photos, there wasn’t a lot enthusiasm for social distancing.


Mask Me Anything

In a preview of an order we’ll be seeing across the country, New Yorkers have been ordered to wear masks in public when social distancing is not possible. (And social distancing in New York is only possible in Connecticut.)

+ “The urgent appeal to Taiwan on March 14 highlights a stark conflict between the Trump administration’s stance then on the use of masks and the race behind the scenes to obtain them for key White House personnel.” WaPo: As U.S. discouraged mask use for public, a White House team raced to secure face coverings from Taiwan for senior staff.

+ Nudists Still Have to Wear Face Masks, Say Czech Authorities.


Black Wrack

“The old African-American aphorism ‘When white America catches a cold, black America gets pneumonia’ has a new, morbid twist: when white America catches the novel coronavirus, black Americans die. Thousands of white Americans have also died from the virus, but the pace at which African-Americans are dying has transformed this public-health crisis into an object lesson in racial and class inequality.” The New Yorker: The Black Plague.


Be Bet

“As fun as it sounds to bet on the next person evicted from Big Brother Brazil, there is no equivalent in the sports betting world for good old actual sports. So, in the absence of the NBA, MLB, and Champions League soccer, gamblers are tossing money into leagues that are so obscure they previously weren’t even on offer. In addition to Ukrainian ping-pong, bettable sports include Russian hockey, and tiny soccer leagues in places like Belarus, Aruba, and Nicaragua, all of which are still running, along with simulated games of Madden and NBA2K.” GQ: You Can Bet on Anything Now. (I put all my money on the probability that you wouldn’t be able to bet on anything now…)


Come On Out For The Rising

“While some supply chains have begun to catch up with demand surges for certain products, yeast has been one area where they’re struggling to keep up.” Slate: The Yeast Supply Chain Can’t Just Activate Itself. (Well, this is one case where they can’t blame the Jews. We haven’t consumed anything with yeast for a week.)


Feel Good Thursday

“We were lucky enough to recover, but thousands of others haven’t been. This sparked the idea for this important initiative and enabled a World Without COVID for my family and billions of others.” My friend Raj Kapoor got the coronavirus. Then he got better. And now, along with some others, he’s doing something about it. Inspiring stuff. San Francisco company links people online with coronavirus clinical studies. Here’s more from Raj.

+ 33 Moments Where Friends, Family, And Total Strangers Had Each Other’s Backs In This Pandemic.

+ How One Chef Is Feeding LA’s Hospital Workers, 100 Enchiladas at a Time. (That’s basically how I feed myself these days…)

+ Maryland police remind residents to wear pants to mailbox: ‘This is your final warning.’ (Now this is an appropriate time to drape yourself in a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.)

+ The Atlantic: The Quiet Revolution of Animal Crossing.

+ Winners of the Sony World Photography Awards.


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 13 chapters are here.

+ Meanwhile, here’s everything you wanted to know about sweatpants. (You know, for when we have to start getting dressed again…)

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