Nuori kuski ajoi tieltä ja jäi mönkijänsä alle Keminmaassa

Nuori henkilö ajoi mönkijällä ulos tieltä ja jäi ajoneuvonsa alle keskiviikkona aamupäivällä Keminmaassa. Henkilö saatiin sivullisten toimesta pois mönkijän alta ennen pelastuslaitoksen saapumista.
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Farmers and animal rights activists are coming together to fight big factory farms
A farmworker at an egg farm in San Diego, California, on November 6, 2014. California voters passed an animal welfare law in 2008 to require that the state’s egg-laying hens be given room to move around, but did not provide the funds for farmers to convert. | Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren have a new bill, and a new coalition, with far-reaching consequences. About a year before Sen. Cory Booker officially ran for president, he took a trip through the Midwest, meeting voters in the states he knew he’d need to win. One visit, in particular, sticks in his mind. It was in the home of a Republican farmer, a man who told Booker’s team he wasn’t sure he wanted to host the senator because “this is a Christian household.” Booker is Christian, but he knew what that meant: He’s vegan, liberal, an African American Democrat from Newark, New Jersey. Booker wasn’t the kind of politician this farmer saw as his own. Booker tried to loosen the guy up with dad jokes. “I told him his cows were udderly amazing,” Booker recalls. Nothing. The breakthrough came when the farmer began telling Booker about “the hell” he and his neighbors found themselves in. They used to sell their cows to five different companies, which meant if a buyer didn’t give them a good price or demanded practices that compromised their cows or land, they could go to another. But the industry had consolidated. Now there was one buyer, and that buyer controlled everything. The farmers had been reduced from entrepreneurs to serfs. Here, finally, was common ground. The farmer hated what his business had become, and so did Booker. This was a story Booker heard again and again. And it carried the seed of an idea. Booker is a vegan, and so he knows, better than most, how unpopular veganism is — in one survey, only people with drug addiction were viewed more negatively. Asked during a September CNN town hall whether he thought others should become vegan, Booker said “no,” before pivoting to discuss the problems of factory farming. In an MSNBC interview, he laughed off the idea of a “radical vegan agenda,” reassuring voters he doesn’t think “government should be telling Americans what to eat.” Sean Rayford/Getty Images Sen. Cory Booker, who is vegan, has proposed legislation to reform agribusiness and reduce the power of the largest livestock factory farms. But Booker realized there was a place that vegans and farmers could come together: Both of them hate the ways agribusiness had consolidated and mechanized the meat market, forcing farmers into using massive, cruel, and environmentally devastating confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. The agricultural industry has an unusual structure: Virtually every node in the industry is highly concentrated around a few megaproducers. That’s true for seeds, for pesticides, for machines, for production. And concentration has been increasing, and fast. In 1980, 34 percent of pigs were slaughtered by the four largest meatpacking companies. By 2015, that had nearly doubled, to 66 percent. But the food is still grown, and the animals still raised, on family farms. These farms are, in theory, independent, but in practice, they bear the risks of independence without the expected freedoms. The megaproducers they buy from and sell to have all the leverage; farmers are left with little choice save to accept the onerous, binding contracts they’re offered. As the Center for American Progress puts it, “growing corporate power has left relatively small farms and ranches vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of the oligopolies with which they do business.” Center for American Progress The results, for farmers, have been disastrous. In 2018, median farm income was negative $1,840 — meaning most farms lost money. Farmers saw a 50 percent drop in income since 2013. Adjusted for inflation, farm incomes have been stagnant for the past 30 years. As a result, farmers are buried in debt: The sector’s debt-to-income ratio is the highest it’s been since the farm crisis of the mid ’80s. (The National Pork Producers Council declined to comment for this story, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association did not reply to a request for comment.) As farmers have lost control of their livelihoods, they’ve also lost control of their animals, their crops, and their land. They have no choice but to contract with companies that dictate the way they raise their animals, setting farmers in competition with each other for production speeds and efficiency. The way you win that competition is to pack more animals into your sheds, pump them fuller of antibiotics so they don’t die from infections that flourish amid overcrowding, raise breeds that live lives of pain but grow with astonishing speed, create massive manure lagoons that poison streams and turn air acrid. The result is a brutal incentive to mechanize the process of livestock production in ways cruel to the animals, the farmers, and their communities. “Independent family farmers and ranchers are being driven off their land, driven into bankruptcy, being forced into a system of industrialized agriculture that our values don’t support,” says Joe Maxwell, a Missouri farmer, former lieutenant governor, and co-founder of the Family Farm Action Alliance. “It’s either join up with these transnational monopolies or we’re going to bankrupt you. That’s the reality of family agriculture today.” Booker realized that, as unlikely as it sounds, there was a space in the Venn diagram between the people who believe raising and killing animals for food is wrong and the people whose chose, as their livelihoods, to raise and kill animals for food. Both could agree that the way we are doing it now is cruel, both to animals and to people. “This is not how we raised livestock 70 years ago,” Booker says. “We’ve gone from raising animals in a far more humane, pasture-based model to one where we’re producing food in hyper-confined, concentrated, enclosed buildings that produce these massive lagoons of waste that are poisoning our streams and our rivers.” In December of 2019, while campaigning in Iowa, Booker unveiled the Farm System Reform Act. It’s sweeping legislation, but at its core it does four things: Imposes an immediate moratorium on the construction of new CAFOs and phases out the largest existing CAFOs by 2040 Imposes the liabilities and costs of pollutions, accidents, and disasters on the agricultural conglomerates that control the market rather than on the independent farmers who contract with them Creates a $100 billion fund to help farmers who are currently running CAFOs transition to other agricultural operations Strengthens the existing Packers and Stockyards Act to prohibit a range of contract terms and structures that let huge meat buyers put farmers in a race for the bottom while denying them political and legal recourse Booker dropped out of the presidential race in January. But his legislation kept picking up cosponsors. In May of 2020, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) signed on to the bill. That same month, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who co-chaired Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, sponsored a companion bill in the House with six cosponsors, including Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus. “For years and years, giant multinational corporations have been crushing competition in the agricultural sector and seizing key markets while regulators have looked the other way,” Warren says. “The Covid-19 crisis is making it even easier for Big Ag to get even bigger and gobble up small farms — leaving farmers out in the cold and consumers facing higher costs and fewer choices.” “My interest in it came because I was spending time with Bernie Sanders in Iowa,” Khanna says. “I saw these factory farms and I saw miles and miles of land where you couldn’t see farmers. All you could see was machinery and runoff. And when I spoke to actual farmers, they talked about how the people who owned these farms weren’t in Iowa. They had no control over the environmental impact. They felt they didn’t have control over their own economic destiny.” There is a coalition emerging here, one that could lead to overdue reforms in our food system, but one that also has profound things to say about our politics. The politics of animal — and human — suffering David Coman-Hidy is the president of the Humane League, an animal welfare organization. In May, I had a conversation with him I’ve had trouble getting out of my head. My question was innocuous. I wanted to know what he was working on. “Switching from live shackling to the atmospheric killing of chickens,” he replied. Oh. I wasn’t familiar with these terms, and maybe you aren’t, either. And I’m sorry for what I’m going to force you to imagine as I explain them. “The process of how we slaughter broiler chickens is the cruelest thing imaginable,” says Coman-Hidy. These are, functionally, malnourished, young birds. Workers flip them upside down to shackle them by their legs. In many cases, the process dislocates their hips. Chickens aren’t meant to be upside-down. They have no diaphragm. Shackled and inverted, their organs crush into their lungs, making it hard for the birds to breathe. The point of the shackling is to put them on a conveyor that drags them through electrified water, stunning them before the kill. But the birds panic, thrashing in wild terror. Some of them miss the water, or the stun setting is too low. Those birds have their throats cut while they’re still conscious, and then they’re pulled through boiling water to defeather them. If the blade misses the bird, the bird boils alive. Yuan Chen/VCG via Getty Images A worker takes feathers off chickens at a chicken slaughtering and processing plant on November 13, 2019, in Wenchang, Hainan Province of China. Coman-Hidy and his organization are working to convince agricultural producers to slaughter chickens by simply gassing them, en masse. It’s easier on the chickens, and less traumatizing for the workers. And the campaign is seeing some success. McDonald’s has pledged to move to atmospheric killing, for one. Coman-Hidy is a vegan, he’s devoted his life to reducing animal suffering. Didn’t it feel strange, I asked him, to become part of this machine whose very existence he loathes? Even if atmospheric killing was more humane, wouldn’t it unnerve him to become one of the people shaping the architecture of animal slaughter? “The thought experiment that helped me is if I could die, or have a member of my family die, by being euthanized by gas, or have what I just described happen to them, what would I give to get the gas?” He replied. “And the answer is everything.” There are few movements as alienated from the consensus position as the animal suffering movement. They look at the world and see tens of billions of animals being tortured and slaughtered in ways that poison the earth, warm the planet, and — as we are seeing with particular clarity now, as scores die daily from a pandemic virus that began in a meat market — harm human health. The practices of industrial animal agriculture are so cruel that you can’t describe them in polite company, so traumatizing that suicide and abuse are too-common worker hazards, so disturbing that agriculture companies pass laws criminalizing efforts to show the world where their meals are made. It is a structure of suffering with no bottom, no end, and what is most astonishing about it is that almost everyone simply treats it as normal. And so the animal suffering movement has to practice, in the truest and most challenging sense of the word, politics. They have to find common purpose with those they disagree with profoundly. To have any chance of changing a system they loathe, they must become part of it, even complicit in it. They don’t get to realistically hope for success anytime soon, for a world they could be comfortable in, for an end to the horror they see all around them. They get to hope chickens will die from gas rather than shackled upside down with their throats cut. And they are finding that the best way to get to that world is to focus on human suffering, too. Coronavirus has created coalitions that didn’t exist before it by laying bare the close connection between animal and human suffering. Meatpacking plants have been epicenters of outbreaks, with the suffering concentrated among immigrant laborers who then transmit the virus to their communities. The League of United Latin American Citizens called for “meatless May Mondays” to protest conditions in the slaughterhouses. “Until the meat industry, federal and state governments protect the lives of essential workers at all meat processing facilities in a federally mandated and verifiable manner, LULAC will call for boycotts of meat products,” the organization’s president, Domingo Garcia, said in a statement. It’s in the intersection of human and animal suffering that the animal rights community sees opportunity. Farmers and vegan activists may not agree on the world they want to see, but they can agree that the way both farmer and animals were treated in the past is preferable to the way they are treated today. LULAC and the Humane League aren’t pursuing the same long-term goals, but better conditions for workers would also mean better conditions for animals. How much change would the Farm System Reform Act bring? In reporting for this piece, I’ve asked everyone the same question: If the Farm System Reform Act passed, how much would really change? “It doesn’t ban animal agriculture,” says Leah Garcés, the president of Mercy for Animals. “If you look for the part of the bill banning cages and crates, it’s not in there. But it would end animal agriculture as we know it. It wouldn’t let the system go forward as it does.” To Garcés, the key element of the bill is the reversal of liability. She’s spent years working with chicken farmers who’ve been driven by contract terms and debt loads to accept practices that repulse them, and who find themselves paying the bill when disease cuts through their flock, or pollution gushes into the waterways that feed the community. “Currently integrators” — that’s your Tysons and Smithfields — “have created a system where all the bad parts of animal farming are on the back of the farmer or taxpayer,” Garcés says. “The bill flips that: ‘Integrator, you need to pay for all the pollution.’ I think that would bankrupt the current system if they had to pay for it.” Jeff Vanuga/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service via Getty Images Cows in a confined feeding operation in Yuma, Arizona. In her work with farmers, Garcés has found many of them want to escape the industrial animal agriculture business, either because they appalled by how they have to treat their animals, their land, or both. But the integrators load them up with so much debt that they have no way out but through. So the debt forgiveness and transition assistance thrills her. “The biggest hurdle to getting farmers to transition is the debt,” she says. “I think hundreds of farmers would sign up for this. They just need a bridge.” Maxwell, of the Family Farm Action Alliance, agrees. “Most of these farmers are just cogs in a big machine,” he says. “Once they borrow money from one of these big companies, they get stuck on a treadmill of poverty and debt that they can’t get off of. That’s why 70 percent of us live at or below the federal poverty level. So many farmers are looking for ways off that treadmill, and that’s what this bill offers.” There are two wild cards here. One is the rapid rise of plant and lab-based meats. By 2040, when the Farm System Reform Act is fully implemented, how rapidly have those technologies advanced? How cheap is an Impossible Burger? How tasty is lab-grown pork, or 3D-printed steak? Animal meat is so cheap in part because the true costs are hidden — they are absorbed by the suffering of the animals, the unpriced pollution flowing into communities, the quiet traumas and injuries carried by workers. If a bill like this made animal-based meat more expensive, it might accelerate the transition to other forms of meat. That’s certainly a quiet hope in the animal rights crowd. Animal meat is so cheap in part because the true costs are hidden — they are absorbed by the suffering of the animals, the unpriced pollution flowing into communities, the quiet traumas and injuries carried by workers The danger, though, is that the bill could drive production overseas or Latin America, where standards are lower and even crueler, more dangerous practices prevail. The bill establishes country-of-origin labeling, but there’s little reason to believe that would be much of a hurdle — Americans already buy strawberries from Mexico and steak from Brazil. The question is what Americans really want, and how easy it will be for them to get it. There is a deep ambivalence in our relationship to the food that ends up on our plates: We want food from small farms, where workers and animals are treated well, where the land is respected, and we want it all to be incredibly cheap and absurdly plentiful. The average American consumed 222 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018, according to the USDA. Right now, big agribusiness producers try to ease consumer consciences through misdirection: Their packaging and advertising emphasize small farms, their ag-gag laws and contract provisions choke off the flow of actual information, the massive scale and mechanization of their processes hold down prices, and their political contributions repel real oversight. “The tilt in America in the last 30 years of policy has been towards consumerism,” Khanna says. “We will do everything possible to lower prices. We won’t care about jobs, real wages, or the environment. My argument is that we ought to care enough about farmers have a decent livelihood, about environmental consequences, about consequences to communities, so even if this means there’s a slight increase in the price of meat, that’s worth it.” The Farm System Reform Act won’t end all the abuses of factory farming, all the environmental degradation it causes, all the economic exploitation faced by farmers. But it’s a start. And if the odd-bedfellows coalition Booker is trying to build materializes, and finds real political footing, profound change is possible. “We can’t vilify each other,” Booker says. “If we can’t have compassion for people in these broken systems, then we’re not going to have the compassion or coalitions to end these systems themselves.” Roge Karma contributed reporting. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
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Why Arizona is suffering the worst Covid-19 outbreak in the US
A sign warns against the Covid-19 coronavirus near the Navajo town of Tuba City, Arizona, on May 24, 2020. | Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images Arizona’s governor claimed “it’s safe out there.” Then coronavirus cases skyrocketed. The US is struggling with a resurgence of the coronavirus in the South and West. But the severity of Arizona’s Covid-19 outbreak is in a league of its own. Over the week of June 30, Arizona reported 55 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people per day. That’s 34 percent more than the second-worst state, Florida. It’s more than double Texas, another hard-hit state. It’s more than triple the US average. Arizona also maintains the highest rate of positive tests of any state at more than 25 percent — meaning more than a quarter of people who are tested for coronavirus ultimately have it. That’s more than five times the recommended maximum of 5 percent. Such a high positive rate indicates that Arizona doesn’t have enough testing to match its big Covid-19 outbreak. To put it another way: As bad as Arizona’s coronavirus outbreak seems right now, the state is very likely still undercounting a lot of cases, since it doesn’t have enough testing to pick up all the new infections. The state also leads the country in coronavirus-related hospitalizations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in five inpatient beds in Arizona are occupied by Covid-19 patients — about 42 percent more than Texas and 65 percent more than Florida, the states with the next-highest share of Covid-19 patient-occupied beds. With hospitalizations rapidly climbing, Arizona became the first in the country to trigger “crisis care” standards to help doctors and nurses decide who gets treatment as the system deals with a surge of patients. Around 90 percent of the state’s intensive care unit beds are occupied, based on Arizona Department of Health Services data. While reported deaths typically lag new coronavirus cases, the state has also seen its Covid-19 death toll increase over the past several weeks. This is the result, experts say, of Arizona’s missteps at three crucial points in the pandemic. The state reacted too slowly to the coronavirus pandemic in March. As cases began to level off nationwide, officials moved too quickly to reopen in early and mid-May. As cases rose in the state in late May and then June, its leaders once again moved too slowly. “What you’re seeing is not only a premature opening, but one done so rapidly there was no way to ensure the health care and public health systems didn’t get stressed in this process,” Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease epidemiologist based in Arizona, told me. At the same time, recommended precautions against the coronavirus weren’t always taken seriously by the general public — with experts saying that, anecdotally, mask use in the state can be spotty. That could be partly a result of Republican Gov. Doug Ducey downplaying the threat of the virus: While he eventually told people to wear masks in mid-June, as of late May he claimed that “it’s safe out there,” adding, “I want to encourage people to get out and about, to take a loved one to dinner, to go retail shopping.” Ducey’s actions and comments “gave the impression we were past Covid-19 and it was no longer an issue,” Popescu said, “which I believe encouraged people to become lax in their masking [and] social distancing.” After weeks of increases in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Ducey pulled back Arizona’s reopening on June 29, closing downs bars, theaters, and gyms. Experts say the move is a positive step forward, but also one that came too late: With coronavirus symptoms taking up to two weeks to develop, there are already infections out there that aren’t yet showing up in the data. The state can expect cases, hospitalizations, and, probably, deaths to continue to climb over the next few weeks. Ducey acknowledged the sad reality: “It will take several weeks for the mitigations that we have put in place and are putting in place to take effect,” he said. “But they will take effect.” The governor’s office didn’t return a request for comment. Arizona now offers a warning to the rest of the world. The state’s caseload was for months far below the totals in New York, Michigan, and Louisiana, among the states that suffered the brunt of the virus in the US in the early months. But by letting its guard down, Arizona became a global hot spot for Covid-19 — a testament to the need for continued vigilance against the coronavirus until a vaccine or similarly effective treatment is developed. Arizona was slow to close and quick to reopen Arizona was initially close to close down. While neighboring California instituted a stay-at-home order on March 19, Ducey didn’t issue a similar order for Arizona until March 31 — 12 days later. That might not seem like too much time, but experts say it really is: When the number of Covid-19 cases statewide can double within just 24 to 72 hours, days and weeks truly matter. Arizona was also quick to reopen its economy. After states started to close down, experts and the White House recommended that states see a decline in coronavirus cases for two weeks before they reopen. Arizona never saw such a decline. In fact, it arguably never even saw a real plateau. The number of daily new cases rose slowly and steadily through April and into May, and then the exponential spike took off. German Lopez/Vox So it’s not quite right to say that Arizona is experiencing a “second wave” of the coronavirus. It arguably never controlled the first wave, and the current rise of cases is a result of continued inaction as the initial wave of the virus continued spreading across the state. (The Navajo Nation, which is partly in Arizona, was an initial coronavirus hot spot. But its case count has declined since May, in part because it took strong measures against the virus.) Arizona and other states experiencing a surge in Covid-19 now “never got to flat,” Pia MacDonald, an epidemiologist at the research institute RTI International, told me. “That means the states didn’t get to very good compliance with the public health interventions that we all need to take to make sure the outbreak doesn’t continue to grow.” Despite the lack of a sustained decline in Covid-19 cases, Arizona moved forward with reopening anyway. It moved very quickly, too: Within weeks, the state not only let hospitals do elective surgeries but started to allow dine-in at restaurants and bars, gyms, and salons, among other high-risk indoor spaces, to reopen. The short time frame prevented the state from seeing the full impact of each step of its reopening, even as it moved forward with additional steps. Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, argued it was this rate of reopening that really caused problems for the state. “It was a free-for-all by May 15,” Humble told me. Referencing federal guidelines for reopening in phases, he added, Arizona effectively “went from phase 0 to phase 3.” It’s not just that Ducey aggressively reopened the state, but that he also prevented local governments from imposing their own stricter measures. That included requirements for masks, which Ducey didn’t allow municipalities to impose until mid-June — weeks after Covid-19 cases started to rapidly rise. Some of that is likely political. As recommendations and requirements for masks have expanded, some conservatives have suggested wearing a mask is emblematic of an overreaction to the coronavirus pandemic that has eroded civil liberties. President Donald Trump has by and large refused to wear a mask in public, even saying that people wear masks to spite him and suggesting, contrary to the evidence, that masks do more harm than good. While some Republicans are breaking from Trump on this issue, his comments and actions have helped politicize mask-wearing and other measures. For example, there was an anti-mask rally in Scottsdale, Arizona, on June 24. There, a local council member, Republican Guy Phillips, shouted George Floyd’s dying words — “I can’t breathe!” — before ripping his own mask off, according to the Washington Post. (Phillips later apologized “to anyone who became offended.”) Evidence supports the use of masks: Several recent studies found masks reduce transmission. Some experts hypothesize — and early research suggests — that masks played a significant role in containing outbreaks in several Asian countries where their use is widespread, like South Korea and Japan. But for a Republican governor like Ducey, the politicization of the issue means a large chunk of his political base is resistant to the kind of measures needed to get the coronavirus under control. And those same constituents are likelier to reject taking precautions against the coronavirus, even if they’re recommended by government officials or experts. Ducey himself seemed to play into the politics: One day before Trump visited a plant in the state, and as the president urged states to reopen, Ducey announced an acceleration of the state’s reopening plans. Other factors, beyond policy, likely played a role as well in the rise in cases. While summer in other parts of the country lets people go outside more often — where the coronavirus is less likely to spread — triple-digit temperatures in Arizona can actually push people inside, where poor ventilation and close contact is more likely to lead to transmission. Some officials have argued Black Lives Matter protests played a role in the new outbreak. But the research and data so far suggest the demonstrations didn’t lead to a significant increase in Covid-19 cases, thanks to protests mostly taking place outside and participants embracing steps, such as wearing masks, that mitigate the risk of transmission. In Arizona, the surge in coronavirus cases also began before the protests took off in the state. Arizona is now stuck playing catch-up Arizona saw its coronavirus cases start to increase by Memorial Day on May 25. The increase came hard — with the test positivity rate rising too, indicating early on that the increase was not merely the result of more testing in Arizona. Hospitalizations and deaths soon followed. Yet Ducey didn’t begin to scale back the state’s reopening until more than a month later — on June 29. This left weeks for the coronavirus to spread throughout the community. The sad reality is Arizona will suffer the consequences of the governor’s slow action for weeks. Because people can spread the virus without showing symptoms, can take up to weeks to show symptoms or get seriously ill, and there’s a delay in when new cases and deaths are reported, Arizona is bound to see weeks of new infections and deaths even after Ducey’s renewed restrictions. “Even if I put in 100 percent face mask use and everybody complied with it in Arizona right now, there would still be weeks of pain,” Cyrus Shahpar, a director at the global health advocacy group Resolve to Save Lives, told me. “There are people out there spreading disease, and it takes time [to pick them up as cases], from exposure to symptom onset to testing to getting the testing results.” Experts argue the state still needs to go even further. Humble advocated for more hospital staffing, a statewide mask requirement, more rigorous rules and better enforcement of the rules for reopening businesses, and improved testing capacity and contact tracing. He also pointed to lack of timely testing in prisons as one area that hasn’t gotten enough attention and could lead to a blind spot for future Covid-19 outbreaks. One potentially mitigating factor is the state’s infected have trended younger than they did in initial bouts of the US’s coronavirus outbreak. That could keep the death toll down a bit — though Covid-19 deaths in Arizona have already risen, and experts warn of the risks of long-term complications from coronavirus, including severe lung scarring, among young people as well. Above all, experts say that the rise in cases was preventable and predictable. The research suggests the lockdowns worked. One study in Health Affairs concluded: Adoption of government-imposed social distancing measures reduced the daily growth rate by 5.4 percentage points after 1–5 days, 6.8 after 6–10 days, 8.2 after 11–15 days, and 9.1 after 16–20 days. Holding the amount of voluntary social distancing constant, these results imply 10 times greater spread by April 27 without SIPOs (10 million cases) and more than 35 times greater spread without any of the four measures (35 million). The flipside, then, is likely true: Easing lockdowns likely led to more virus transmission. This is what researchers saw in previous disease outbreaks. Several studies of the 1918 flu pandemic found that quicker and more aggressive steps to enforce social distancing saved lives in those areas. But this research also shows the consequences of pulling back restrictions too early: A 2007 study in JAMA found that when St. Louis — widely praised for its response to the 1918 pandemic — eased its school closures, bans on public gatherings, and other restrictions, it saw a rise in deaths. Here’s how that looks in chart form, with the dotted line representing excess flu deaths and the black and gray bars showing when social distancing measures were in place. The peak came after those measures were lifted, and the death rate fell only after they were reinstated. Courtesy ofJAMA This did not just happen in St. Louis. Analyzing data from 43 cities, the JAMA study found this pattern repeatedly across the country. Howard Markel, a co-author of the study and the director of the University of Michigan’s Center for the History of Medicine, described the results as a bunch of “double-humped epi curves” — officials instituted social distancing measures, saw flu cases fall, then pulled back the measures and saw flu cases rise again. Arizona is now seeing that in real time: Social distancing worked at first. But as the state relaxed social distancing, it saw cases quickly rise. This is why experts consistently cautioned not just Arizona but other states against reopening too quickly. It’s why they asked for some time — two weeks of falling cases — before states could start to reopen. It’s why they asked for states to take the reopening process slowly, ensuring that each relaxation didn’t lead to a surge in new Covid-19 cases. Because Arizona and its leaders didn’t heed such warnings, it’s now suffering a predictable, preventable crisis — making it the state with the worst coronavirus epidemic in the country that’s suffered the most widespread coronavirus outbreak in the world. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
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