Tuesday, May 12th, 2020


That’s What Fauci Said

On one hand, you have the spiraling economy that has left millions jobless, Main Street in shambles, and record levels of anxiety about the future. On the other hand, you have reopening states that are clearly unready to reopen, and early numbers indicating that "the people who are getting sick right now are generally people who are working." But maybe these two issues are both the same hand (one that needs to be washed several times a day). Pitting the economy vs health is a false choice. As Anthony Fauci testified today, if states open too early or without following proper guidelines, "There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control. [That would] paradoxically set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery." In other words, premature acceleration will leave everyone unsatisfied. Recklessly reopening will be harmful to your health—and your bank account. When someone asks, Your Money or Your Life, answer both. When it comes to this pandemic, the two go hand in hand.

+ The NYT's excellent Donald G. McNeil Jr: As States Rush to Reopen, Scientists Fear a Coronavirus Comeback. "Having 50 states and more territories do competing and uncoordinated experiments in reopening is 'daring Mother Nature to kill you or someone you love,' Dr. Frieden said. 'Mother Nature bats last, and she bats a thousand.'" (True, but did we really need to mention bats...)


Chest Pounding, Test Rounding, Silly Sounding

On Monday, the President of the United States lied repeatedly about the most pressing crisis in the world, made a sick comment to a reporter, had a tantrum, and stormed out of the Rose Garden. And it's barely making a blip in the news. The lie, complete with large signage, was that America leads the world in testing. In testing patience, maybe. America has results from about 9.3 million tests so far.

+ Related: Wuhan draws up plans to test all 11 million residents over a couple weeks.

+ Tim Dickinson: The Four Men Responsible For America's COVID-19 Test Disaster. (All the cronyism and institution bashing was going along swimmingly, until we needed those institutions to save our lives.)


Doctors Within Borders

"Doctors Without Borders is best known for sending medical professionals into international conflict zones in the midst of medical crises. The organization has teams in Afghanistan, Iran, Sierra Leone, Venezuela and 66 other countries. It did not, however, have a medical presence in the U.S. — until now." Doctors Without Borders dispatches team to the Navajo Nation.

+ Unreleased White House report shows coronavirus rates spiking in heartland communities.


In The Error Tonight

"I guess United is relaxing their social distancing policy these days? Every seat full on this 737." SF Chronicle: UCSF doctor expresses alarm about his packed United flight to SFO.

+ "Paranoid travelers roamed the empty terminals in masks, eyeing one another warily as they misted themselves with disinfectant. Dystopian public-service announcements echoed through the airport—This is a message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ... Even the smallest, most routine tasks—such as dealing with the touch-screen ticketing kiosk—felt infused with danger." The Atlantic: I Just Flew. It Was Worse Than I Thought It Would Be.


Quibi Best

"The service, which offers entertainment and news programs in five- to 10-minute chunks, was designed to be watched on the go by people who are too busy to sit down and stream TV shows or movies. It came out when millions of people were not going anywhere because of stay-at-home orders across the country." NYT: Jeffrey Katzenberg on Quibi's Rough Start. "I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus. Everything." (Maybe it wasn't the pandemic. Maybe it was that, suddenly, people could watch any streaming content on their handheld device, from seasons-long series to billions of short clips from YouTube to TikTok. At least some experts predicted a pandemic. No one saw that coming.)


Auto Mobile

Traffic is remarkably light these days, but when it comes back, it could be worse than ever. The Car Is Staging a Comeback, Spurring Oil's Recovery. "As lockdowns ease and parts of the world reopen for business, driving has emerged as the socially distant transportation mode of choice and is offering some near-term relief to an oil market fresh off its worst crash in history and reeling from an unprecedented collapse in energy demand. 'People are using more their cars because they are afraid to use public transportation.'"


To Everything (Return, Return, Return)

Today, the Supreme Court is holding oral arguments in one of the more contentious cases of the year (and then some). Here's the latest from CNN: Supreme Court hears arguments on Trump's tax returns, personal financial records. Again, the arguments are being made via conference call. (Trump's lawyers called collect.)

+ Timothy L. O'Brien: I've Seen Trump's Tax Returns and You Should, Too.


Forrest Pump

"One demonstrator put an American flag in his mouth and dropped down to the sidewalk to do push-ups. Others balanced protest signs as they squatted for the television camera above. Within minutes, video of the stunt spread quickly across social media." Probably not the best way to argue gyms must reopen...


Feel Good Tuesday

Yesterday, in my all song title edition, I mused that The Foo Fighter's Times Like These would make a decent anthem for the moment. It turns out that it already is. Check out this excellent collaboration including Dave Grohl, Chris Martin, Dua Lipa, Royal Blood, and more.

+ It also reminded me of the one time something I shared went viral (I nail it every three decades or so). Dave Grohl and his Daughter Violet: When We Were Young, by Adele. (I shot the video at a fundraiser in 2018, and it's pushing 2m views. I wonder if Violet and Dave would guest write NextDraft.)

+ Winners of the 2020 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition. (Amazing shots.)

+ Marin priests offer drive-up confession amid pandemic. (My temple is offering drive-thru Xanax.)

+ Our weird behavior during the pandemic is messing with AI models.


Dressed to Kill

I got my order of new NextDraft T-shirts yesterday, and they are sweet. The sticker shirt with the white outline couldn't be more iconic. And Real News Saves Lives is epic. Plus, sticker packs for a buck! Get yours now to rock your house, dominate grocery store runs, and absolutely kill during Zooms.