Thursday, April 30th, 2020


Air 404

You're stressed. The quarantine, the economy, health concerns, and general uncertainty have combined to turn you into a sleepless, twitchy, anxious, doom-scrolling, Xanax poster child, whose normally calm demeanor has been replaced by sudden-onset bouts of agitation that quickly accelerate into episodes of wanton rage so extreme you were entirely unsurprised to find the search query can elephant tranquilizer guns be used on humans? in your family computer's browser history. OK, maybe this is getting a little too personal. But you're stressed. So go outside. Take a walk. Enjoy a breath of fresh air. There's nothing to worry about when it comes to doing that. Probably. Well, maybe. At least that's what we think. Or they think. I can't remember if I read that in The New England Journal of Medicine or on an anti-vaxxer's Facebook page (or maybe I'm just extrapolating from the Police song, Every Step You Take). Whatever the case, it's one more thing we're pretty sure of when we want to be really sure. WaPo: Studies leave question of ‘airborne' coronavirus transmission unanswered. (Maybe I'll follow the lead of Bill Clinton, and go outside—but not inhale.)


Of, By, and Against The People?

"Their stories depict a struggle between a state government and ordinary people. Georgia's brash reopening puts much of the state's working class in an impossible bind: risk death at work, or risk ruining yourself financially at home. In the grips of a pandemic, the approach is a morbid experiment in just how far states can push their people. Georgians are now the largely unwilling canaries in an invisible coal mine." The Atlantic: Georgia's Experiment in Human Sacrifice.

+ If you missed it yesterday, I had a few thoughts, and about a hundred puns, related to the order to re-open meat plants.


Feed Me See More

Perhaps there's no better example of the disconnect in American society than the mile-long food lines across the country and the endless lines of callers trying to get through to unemployment offices; contrasted with the trend lines across much of the stock market. NYT: The Bad News Won't Stop, but Markets Keep Rising.

+ The market is being fed by the Fed. "Even as real-world economies freeze and implode in the short-term, financial markets are buoyed by a tsunami of liquidity." Time: Stocks Are Recovering While the Economy Collapses. That Makes More Sense Than You'd Think.


REM Dash

"The government-funded study found that patients who took remdesivir recovered faster than patients who did not. It's not a home run, but federal officials are keen to provide any hope they can." FDA will reportedly authorize use of remdesivir after trial shows 'positive effect' on recovery time.

+ Vice: What We Know About Remdesivir, the Antiviral Drug Dr. Fauci Says 'Can Block This Virus.'

+ SF Chronicle: New UCSF study finds potential drugs for treating COVID-19.


Dead Plan Walking

"I saw officers that did not have masks. I saw officers that were confused on what was disinfectant and what was hand sanitizer. There's no system set in place." ProPublica: Inside the Jail With One of the Country's Largest Coronavirus Outbreaks.

+ That one jail is hardly unique. 8 of The Top 10 Biggest U.S. Coronavirus Hotspots Are Prisons and Jails, and over 70 percent of tested inmates in federal prisons have COVID-19. (Every inmate is getting a sentence of 19 to life.)


Forensic Labs

WaPo: "As some states move to reopen after weeks of shutdowns, infectious disease experts say the prevention of future coronavirus outbreaks will require scaling up testing and identifying asymptomatic carriers. Eight Labrador retrievers — and their powerful noses — have been enlisted to help." (My beagles have been volunteering to help with our neighborhood howling to support health workers.)


What Elon Strange Trip It’s Been

"The extension of the shelter in place or frankly I would call it ‘forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights' — that's my opinion — and breaking people's freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why people came to America or built this country ... What the f-ck? Excuse me. Outrage. It's an outrage ... to say they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist ... This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom." Elon Musk Calls Coronavirus Shelter-In-Place Orders Fascist. This crazy talk comes after Tesla's stock has soared during the shelter-in-place period. Imagine what he'd be saying if it were flat or down. For a guy trying to kill off oil, Musk can sure be unctuous. I love the look and spirit of Teslas. Musk's oversized persona is the only reason I would never buy one. I'm not the only one who feels this way. It's not only the ill-informed bombast. It's the supercharged flow of uninvited takes. I just don't want to wake up in the morning, get in my car, and think about Elon Musk. I don't want to think about anyone but myself (and obviously Howard, Robin, and Babbooey).


Is It Safe?

"'How are you feeling this morning?' I ask. 'I'm not falling apart,' he says. 'I've run 8,400 miles in 2019, and I would really like to get to 10,000 by the end of September.' I do some quick mental math—that would require about 40 miles a day." Outside: The Man Who Runs 365 Marathons a Year.


Feel Good Thursday

Wired co-founder and tech philosopher extraordinaire Kevin Kelly turned 68 and shared 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice. "Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love keep asking them 'Is there more?', until there is no more." (I tried this in 1998. There's still more.)

+ LA becomes the first major city in the us to offer free testing to every resident, even those with no symptoms. Newsom, Breed, Garcetti. California leadership is leading the way.

+ South Korea records no new domestic cases of Covid-19 for first time since February.

+ A talented girl plays The Who's My Generation on guitar and bass at the same time. (She had me at just knowing the song in the first place...)

+ A City Official Has Resigned After He Threw His Cat During A Zoom Meeting. (Note to self: Do not become a city official...)


Something Something Something Murder

The most excellent Damon Lindelof (Creator of Lost, Watchmen, and The Leftovers) has kindly offered to share a serialized story with NextDraft readers to help us, and him, through the quarantine. The first 15 chapters are here.

+ While you're waiting for the next installment, there's this bonus content: "President Donald Trump posted on Twitter to urge Ford and General Motors to "START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!" One of the thousands of replies that the tweet attracted struck an equally urgent tone: 'We can supply ICU Ventilators, invasive and noninvasive. Have someone call me URGENT.'" Buzzfeed: After One Tweet To President Trump, This Man Got $69 Million From New York For Ventilators. The guy had no background in medical supplies and never delivered the ventilators. (It almost makes you wish for a time travelling president with an eyepatch...)