Country singer Daniel Lee Martin found dead amid child sex abuse charges
Fear in salons and barber shops as Japan deems haircuts "essential"
"However scrupulous our sanitation, don't they understand we can't completely guard against infection?" said one nervous barber.cbsnews.com
Eye Opener: Health experts say virus pandemic curve is flattening
Health experts are hopeful that the coronavirus pandemic curve is flattening as less people are being admitted to hospitals in hard-hit areas, though they warn that it's critical to not let up on mitigation efforts. Also, New York has reported a record high number of coronavirus deaths and plans to bury unclaimed victims in a mass grave. All that and all that matters in today's Eye Opener. Your world in 90 seconds.cbsnews.com
U.S. prisons' virus-related release policies prompt confusion
‘It’s crazy how they’re doing this,’ one inmate’s spouse said.politico.com
Notre Dame Cathedral opens briefly for Good Friday ceremony
Amid a strict lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris rose from the ashes — albeit just briefly — Friday by opening to a tiny group of people for Easter. Only seven people were allowed inside the fire-ravaged landmark to attend a Good Friday ceremony. “This message of hope is especially...nypost.com
Trump speaks of images he’s ‘never seen before.’ But they’ve existed — we just refused to look.
One early victim of the coronavirus is our old sense of safety.washingtonpost.com
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly sues GOP lawmakers for revoking her order limiting church gatherings
It's the latest chapter in the escalating conflict between public health and religion, coming to a head just before Easter.washingtonpost.com
Joe Burrow believes he can win wherever he goes: 'I'm not a loser'
All Joe Burrow is focused on is winning.foxnews.com
Aldon Smith details long journey that led him to Cowboys: 'I was in a really dark place'
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith detailed his journey back to the NFL on Thursday.foxnews.com
Fact check: Trump lies about voter fraud while states, CDC encourage voting-by-mail as pandemic-friendly option
President Donald Trump this week opened a new front in his campaign of lies about voter fraud in US elections, this time falsely claiming that voting-by-mail is "corrupt" and "dangerous," even while states embrace it as a safe alternative during the pandemic.edition.cnn.com
Coronavirus live updates: No travel for Good Friday, Easter; when are stimulus checks coming?; Boris Johnson needs to 'rest up'
New York reported record-breaking number of deaths, travelers are being cautioned to stay home for Good Friday, and more news about the coronavirus.usatoday.com
UFC 249 and all other events postponed indefinitely after Dana White told to 'stand down'
The highly-anticipated UFC 249 will not happen on April 18 as previously scheduled after UFC president Dana White said he was told to "stand down."edition.cnn.com
'Fortnite' Now Playing Lobby Streams Free 'Punk'd' Episodes Every Hour
"Fortnite '' has a new Now Playing lobby streaming episodes of "Punk'd." Here's what we know about it.newsweek.com
Cities and states launch emergency rent relief programs
State and city governments have started announcing efforts to funnel millions of dollars into new rental assistance programs aimed at dealing with unpaid rent amid the economic downturn resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.edition.cnn.com
Jameis Winston responds to criticism over workout: 'Reach out to help or mind your own business'
NFL quarterback Jameis Winston struck back at criticism over his training while he attempts to latch onto a team for the 2020 season.foxnews.com
How Colleges Are Grading Students During Coronavirus
As colleges shift to online classes, many schools are beginning to reevaluate how they grade students. One common option: going pass-fail.npr.org
Miss England 2019 is reporting for hospital duty. She’s a respiratory specialist.
Bhasha Mukherjee, 24, packed up her crown and gowns and flew home to Britain, where she is now in quarantine until early next week, when she reports to the hospital for work.washingtonpost.com
In Oaxaca, this scientist is a hometown boy made good. The U.S. says he's a Russian spy
Héctor Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, an acclaimed microbiologist from southern Mexico, is charged in the U.S. with gathering information for Russia on a secret informant.latimes.com
Andrew McCarthy: Coronavirus stimulus watchdog – Trump's call to make, despite media shrieking
Another media non-story shows the double standard of presidential appointments for Republicans vs. Democrats.foxnews.com
We can't shelter in place forever: How the coronavirus lockdown might end
The coronavirus changed our lives. Health experts discuss how we might get back to normal.latimes.com
States do battle for coronavirus protective gear in a market driven by chaos and fear
Left to fend for themselves, states and cities scramble to buy masks, other medical supplies from middlemen and foreign manufacturers they barely know.latimes.com
CBS poll: Americans fear outbreak will leave U.S. in recession
But those most concerned about losing work, including those who already have, are the most likely to say the U.S. is headed for a recession, or even depression.cbsnews.com
The coronavirus may trigger tribal instincts. In times of crisis, people want strong leaders.
The pandemic might lead to increased xenophobia.washingtonpost.com
CBS poll: Views of Trump's handling of outbreak slip again
He has comparably better marks for his handling of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.cbsnews.com
Travel bailouts: Airlines, hotels and travel agents all got them. Shouldn't the public?
The travel industry can't just pick up where it left off when the outbreak started. Customers deserve to be treated with respect, now more than ever.usatoday.com
Biden's Candidacy About Nothing
So much for imagination, it would seem. The Democratic Party electorate has chosen as its presidential nominee Joe Biden, a solid but unremarkable vice president for eight years, a man who has been running for this nomination on and off since 1988. He has defeated opponents calling for a universal basic income, Midwestern common sense, generational transition, plans upon plans upon plans, and, finally, “political revolution.” He has done so, remarkably, without calling for much of anything himself. Victory, it seems, has gone to the candidacy of nothing.That might sound like an insult, but I do not mean it that way. The imagination phase of the 2020 presidential campaign was interesting, but so too might be the ascent of Bidenesque minimalism. It might be just what American politics needs. It might even be good for the imagination of the American left.Shadi Hamid: [The coronavirus killed the revolution]What is a president for? Think about that word, president. When the authors of the Constitution decided on that word for the country’s chief executive, they lived in a world of kings and queens, regents and emperors. These were people who had to be addressed as your majesty. and other such contrivances. Yes, the Framers needed a strong federal government, but not too strong. When they agreed to address America’s chief executive as Mr. President, it was something close to an insult: The person who merely presides—who sits at the head of the table and sets the appropriate tone while others actually get things done. The authors of the Constitution had only recently won an anti-royalist war and did not want another king.Now, look where America finds itself. The presidency hardly presides anymore; instead, it consumes us. The office, and particularly its present occupant, is a black hole that pulls inexorably on the public’s attention. We got here step by step: with Andrew Jackson’s media-savvy populism, with Franklin Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” through people’s living room radios, with the nuclear football putting the option of world annihilation in the hands of a single person—the “leader of the free world,” he was called. Barack Obama modeled the use of executive orders for doing the work that Congress once did, and the embrace of executive power is on the rise in the judiciary. Once it was appalling for a president to travel to a disaster zone, for fear of distracting from the relief work; now, it is appalling if the president is anywhere else. The public’s attention is fixated on him, so if he fails to visit the scene, would we be allowed to notice it?Kim Wehle: [For Trump, power is for self-preservation only]Joe Biden offers a different sort of presidency. He is not a small-government conservative, by any means—although his version of big-government liberalism might seem modest in comparison to Trump’s rampant deficit spending. Biden offers, rather, the possibility of a presidency one can finally turn away from, a presider who will leave enough room for others to set the agenda. If Biden wins, and if his presidency is anything like his candidacy, Americans can expect a future of mild, friendly, adviser-powered competence, with just enough gaffes to remind us that the man at the top is still around.I did not vote for Biden in my state’s primary, nor would I have bet on him to emerge as the Democratic nominee. But I find myself admiring the electorate’s instincts. The usual suspicion is that Democratic primary voters tabled their own progressive hopes to choose the centrist white guy because they judged him more likely to win over some allegedly racist, sexist Trump voters. I have an alternative interpretation: What if the absence of hope-stirring progressivism from Biden and his virtual nonexistence on social media are actually his appeal? What if the American public is once again ready, finally, for a president who keeps himself to presiding? I am willing to have been wrong about Biden if that interpretation is right.Biden’s candidacy of nothing may be especially helpful for confronting a global crisis like COVID-19. The most effective responses to this crisis have been in places with less theatrical leaders—places like South Korea, Taiwan, and Germany. In contexts like that, genuine experts can be more easily heard. Expertise is important in addressing a problem as complex as a pandemic. The same is true with respect to reversing climate change and assembling a decent healthcare system. These are all systemic challenges that require, above all, an appetite for collaboration and patience. An attention vacuum at the top also leaves space for less powerful people to organize, make themselves heard, and build strength.Rebecca L. Spang: [The revolution is under way already]If Democrats are to campaign now for the restoration of a presidency that merely presides, they should be sure that American society is ready for it. A quieter president will require a stronger society, one capable of relying on networked coordination—rather than someone’s iron will—to achieve great things. This means regaining long-lost skills for self-governance and mutual support—translating the old town meeting to the Internet. This also means developing a new relationship with America’s much-maligned cadres of experts—trusting them with what they know, while also putting power in the hands of workers, patients, and others who don’t usually get credit for their expertise.Progressive visionaries and activists have tended to support candidates more aggressive and attention-getting than Biden—candidates offering to back their agendas with the full might of executive overreach. But a Biden presidency could embolden activists even more by clearing space for them to advance their goals through their own power. The candidacy of nothing could lead to a presidency less centered on itself.theatlantic.com
The Two Pandemics
Editor’s Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here. Viruses aren’t picky. They tear through neighborhoods and nations, infecting whomever they can, and the new coronavirus is no exception: The pain of the present pandemic will be felt—is already being felt—by just about everyone in the United States and all over the world, in one way or another. After the pandemic has run its course, no one will be wholly untouched.At the same time, there will be stark disparities in how certain segments of the American population experience this crisis. Some of these disparities will be the result of luck or coincidence—a matter of where someone happened to travel, what line of work they chose, or what city they live in. But in a country that was highly unequal in so many ways well before it had a confirmed case of COVID-19, other disparities will be sadly predictable, falling along racial and class lines, as well as other fateful divides.In the coming months and years, there will really be two pandemics in America. One will be disruptive and frightening to its victims, but thanks to their existing advantages and lucky near misses with the virus, they will likely emerge from it relatively stable—physically, psychologically, and financially. The other pandemic, though, will devastate those who survive it, leaving lasting scars and altering life courses.Which of these two pandemics any given American will experience will be determined by a morbid mix of a sort of demographic predestination—shaped strongly by inequality—and purely random chance.When someone dies, there are three ways to think about what caused it, according to Scott Frank, a professor at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine. The first is the straightforward, “medical” cause of death—diagnosable things like heart disease or cancer. The second is the “actual” cause of death—that is, the habits and behaviors that over time contributed to the medical cause of death, such as smoking cigarettes or being physically inactive. The third is what Frank refers to as the “actual actual” cause of death—the bigger, society-wide forces that shaped those habits and behaviors.In one analysis of deaths in the U.S. resulting from “social factors” (Frank’s “actual actual” causes), the top culprits were poverty, low levels of education, and racial segregation. “Each of these has been demonstrated to have independent effects on chronic-disease mortality and morbidity,” Frank said. (Morbidity refers to whether someone has a certain disease.) He expects that the same patterns will hold for COVID-19.[Read: The four timelines for life returning to normal]To begin with, the physical effects of COVID-19 are far worse for some people than others. There are two traits that seem to matter most.The first is age. Older people are at greater risk of experiencing the more devastating version of the pandemic, in part because the immune system weakens with age. Early data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that, in the U.S., the risk of dying from the disease begins to climb at around age 55, and is especially acute for those 85 and older. “I think the pattern we’re going to see clearly is an age-related pattern” of mortality, Andrew Noymer, a public-health professor at UC Irvine, said. (Younger people aren’t invulnerable to the disease, though; the CDC found in mid-March that 20-to-54-year-olds had accounted for almost 40 percent of hospitalizations known to have been caused by the disease.)The second trait that puts someone at increased risk is having a serious health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease. These conditions seem to make cases of COVID-19 more likely to be severe or fatal, and the risks rise considerably for older adults who have any of these conditions, Frank told me.But while everyone ages, rich and poor alike, these health conditions are not evenly distributed throughout the population. They’re more common among people with less education, less money, and less access to health care. “We know these social and economic conditions have a profound effect on chronic disease,” Frank said, “and then chronic disease has a profound effect on the mortality related to COVID.”When we someday tally up all the casualties of the coronavirus, the high number of older Americans among the dead will reflect the sad, universal fact of physical decline. But for many of those who had underlying health conditions, inequality will be the actual actual cause of death.Since some minority groups have a higher prevalence of certain health conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, COVID-19 will likely affect them more intensely. “We may not see it now, but when we look back at who was the sickest, who had the most complications, where there were excess deaths, it’s likely that we might see those coming down along racial lines,” Hedwig Lee, a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis, told me in mid-March.This pattern is already starting to emerge in early data from places that include information about race in their reports on the local impact of the virus. In Chicago, where less than one-third of the population is black, more than two-thirds of the 86 people killed by COVID-19 as of last weekend were black—and four in five of those black patients had high blood pressure and/or diabetes. The state of Michigan and the Wisconsin county that contains Milwaukee have also had a disproportionate number of black residents die from the disease. A similar pattern was borne out in a recent CDC cross-country snapshot of hospitalizations in parts of 14 states during the month of March; black people accounted for 33 percent of hospitalizations for which racial data was available, despite making up only 18 percent of the population in the areas surveyed.[Read: What the racial data show]Lower-income people, in addition to any other risk factors they may have, are also at increased risk because their finances might change the way they seek treatment for the disease if they come down with it. When lower-income people get sick, “they oftentimes delay going to the doctor, not because they don’t want to get well, but because they simply don’t have the money,” Rashawn Ray, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said. “They wait until the last minute to go get help, like when they are literally about to die or when something catastrophic is happening.” And forgoing a doctor’s guidance until the late stages of an illness—COVID-19 or not—could be especially dangerous during a pandemic.Americans’ health varies along racial and economic lines in the best of times. That will probably make the outcomes just as uneven, if not more, in the worst of times.Two important predictors of an American’s well-being right now, other than whether that person has COVID-19, are the answers they and others in their household would give to two questions: Are you still able to work? And if so, can you work without risking exposure to the virus?For a rapidly growing portion of the country, the answer to the first question is no. Three weeks ago, some 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in a single week, a record-breaking total that was nearly five times as large as the previous recorded high. The following week, the number of new claims was twice as high—6.9 million. Still another 6.6 million claims were filed last week, bringing the recent three-week total to nearly 17 million—an enormous figure that likely still understates how many Americans are actually out of work right now.While few sectors of the economy have been spared by the pandemic, the businesses that have so far been hit particularly hard are the ones premised on physical presence and face-to-face interactions, such as retail stores, restaurants and bars, and hotels. “If we think about those industries, they have a lot of low-wage and part-time workers,” many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, said Susan Houseman, the director of research for the nonprofit Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. “We worry about them in every single recession, and here they’re just being slammed.”[Read: America’s restaurants will need a miracle]In this realm, too, racial minorities tend to be more vulnerable. Houseman noted that African American and Hispanic workers are usually disproportionately likely to lose their job during downturns. That was true during the Great Recession, and so far appears to be true of this economic crisis: According to the Pew Research Center, as of late March, 29 percent of white Americans said someone in their household was out of work or had received a pay cut because of the pandemic, while 36 percent of black Americans and 49 percent of Hispanic Americans said the same. (Separately, a recent study also suggested that women may be more likely to lose their job than men.)Of course, still having a job is not an unalloyed good; for much of America’s current workforce, earning a paycheck means exposing oneself to the virus. There is a portion of the population, though, who are able to safely work without going outside and risking infection. For them, this period is generally more bearable. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that less than 30 percent of American workers are able to do their jobs from home, and finds that this is much more likely to be the case for people who have at least a bachelor’s degree. Remote workers’ relative safety may persist even once life starts returning to normal, if people who are able to work from home choose to continue to do so, out of caution.But because of the nature of the pandemic, the danger of a job doesn’t map entirely neatly onto income and education levels. Yes, it’s the case that many truck drivers, grocery-store workers, and delivery people are still out in the world and risking exposure to the virus, but so are doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. The industry in which one happens to work is another point at which class and chance intersect.During milder economic downturns, people who lose their job may be able to find work in another industry. But because such a wide range of businesses have scaled back or shut down operations, job hopping is harder to pull off now, Houseman said. It's also riskier: Grocery stores and delivery companies are hiring ambitiously, but for jobs that will put workers in greater danger of viral exposure.[Read: Denmark’s idea could help the world avoid a Great Depression]The answers to each of these two questions—whether someone still has a job, and whether they can do it safely—strongly predict how any given American household is faring right now. To illustrate this, Rashawn Ray, the Brookings fellow, talked me through the probable realities of people who can do their job from home and people who are currently out of work.The former group is likely to be salaried, and can limit their trips outside the house. They may have children to look after and stress over, but, barring any health concerns, they’re doing fine. “Their job is safe, their salary and wages are safe, their mortgage and house is safe … and they’re able to go to the grocery store and load up on a whole bunch of groceries,” Ray said. Maybe they even choose to have the groceries delivered.The latter group “is living a completely different life right now,” Ray told me. Perhaps they were already living paycheck to paycheck, but now that they’ve been laid off or furloughed, they’re not sure how they’ll be able to pay their usual expenses, let alone stock up on food and supplies. “A lot of people who don’t have money coming into the household are worried about losing their apartment or house, they’re worried about the fact that they can’t get access easily to the food they need, and now they’re sitting at home with families, with children, trying to figure out what’s happening,” Ray said.Andrew Noymer, the public-health professor, put it more concisely: “Someone is at home wondering how he’s going to make rent and feed his family,” he said. “And someone else is wondering if they can binge-watch the first season of The Sopranos or whatever.”The uncertain duration of this period makes getting through it even more difficult. “I think that even a month of this could have devastating effects for many of our most vulnerable” people, said Beth Mattingly, an assistant vice president in regional and community outreach at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. “The longer it goes, the more concerned I am, and probably my concern grows exponentially, not linearly.”Whenever it does end, Ray’s first group will likely have a relatively smooth transition back into the office: They’ll throw their laptops into their bags, drop their kids off at school or daycare, and resume whatever projects they were working on the previous day from home.But the second group probably won’t be able to get back to work so quickly. Houseman likened the post-pandemic bout of rehiring to “a game of musical chairs,” because many businesses could go under between now and then. “Some will start hiring again, but there will be more workers for the jobs they have than they can hire,” she said. “The longer [closures] persist, the more businesses are likely to go bankrupt, and the slower the recovery will be.”One thing that can provide a buffer from labor-market turbulence is having savings to draw on. No amount of cash can grant someone immunity from the virus itself, but wealth can prevent the pandemic from leaving deep financial scars. “If you think about the possibility that people have to declare bankruptcy or foreclose on their house or lose their car, that takes a long time to recover from,” said Vida Maralani, a sociologist at Cornell University who studies inequality. “If you have to use up all your wealth, that’s really different than ‘Gee, I lost the money [I put down] on a summer Airbnb and now I can’t vacation.’”Life in America is always hard without cash reserves, but it’s especially hard now. One 33-year-old woman in a small town in Texas told a New York Times reporter, “I’m not going to let my kids go hungry. If I have to just eat once a day, that’s what I have to do.” She’s disabled and doesn’t work, and her husband, a carpenter, has had fewer jobs lately.[Read: When middle-class values determine what’s essential]According to the Federal Reserve, just under 40 percent of American adults wouldn’t have enough cash on hand to cover an unexpected $400 expense, and that was before the pandemic cut off so many workers’ earnings. Having even a few thousand dollars saved up can make this time less stressful, Maralani said. It can be the difference between being able to cover a couple months’ expenses, like rent or car payments, and wondering where the money for them will possibly come from.The federal government is attempting to address household-budget shortfalls. Late last month, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed a $2.2 trillion economic relief package that included $300 billion to go directly to American households. Most adults will get $1,200 each, plus $500 per child (though they may not receive it until weeks or months from now). Beth Mattingly, of the Boston Fed, told me she thinks the relief package will “provide significant help,” though “those who become unemployed or see their work hours reduced may still need more assistance.”Even if Americans receive help from the government, Rashawn Ray foresees lasting financial consequences for people who aren’t able to pay their bills now. “If they are in a position where they have taken on a sizable amount of debt, [maybe] through payday loans, now they have added economic stressors that they’ll have to deal with,” he said. Additionally, even if landlords or lenders allow people to delay their rent or mortgage payments, that doesn’t mean those people won’t have to make those payments eventually. “If this lasts 90 days, that’s three months of rent they have to make up,” Ray said.[Read: We need to start tossing money out of helicopters]And in households across the country, regardless of wealth and income, COVID-19 will kill now-unknown numbers of people who support their families financially, Houseman noted. Their deaths will be painful personal losses for their families, who will also suffer economic consequences.But in keeping with the often dystopian nature of American inequality, some households may, amid the tragedy, come out ahead. “I think there are also going to be some people who are saving money in this,” Mattingly said. “Their income hasn’t changed, but they aren’t going out to eat, they’re not driving, they’re not going to work in the office.” They may not emerge from the pandemic completely unscathed, but they will have a much easier time transitioning back to normal once the crisis wanes.As health-care workers confront the coronavirus on the front lines of hospitals, the home front of this pandemic is literally the home. That’s where many Americans are dutifully spending their days, and the conditions and location of one’s housing have significant bearing on how one weathers a pandemic. Living in a cramped apartment with lots of relatives is risky on top of being uncomfortable; sharing a spacious, well-appointed house with few other people makes it safer and easier to ride out a lockdown.In fact, some people may be thinking to themselves, as they hunker down with their work laptops, Netflix queues, and lack of social commitments, that pandemics aren’t so bad. Those people likely don’t have serious health conditions or jobs that require them to leave home. They probably also don’t have small children. For parents with kids at home, “you suddenly have a very different act to juggle than you had before,” Vida Maralani, the Cornell sociologist, said. Many parents who are able to work from home, especially mothers, are stretched as they try to do their jobs while looking after their children all day. Meanwhile, many parents who are struggling to make ends meet have those same child-care responsibilities on top of the stress of continuing to work outside of the house, out of necessity.[Read: The coronavirus is a disaster for feminism]Kids themselves will experience the pains of the pandemic unevenly, as keeping children out of school for several weeks or months may widen existing educational disparities. Many students from lower-income households simply aren’t logging on for their school’s online classes to begin with, sometimes because they don’t have a good internet connection at home. Maralani speculates that children whose parents have more time and resources may receive more and better home instruction than their peers, which may produce short-term or possibly even long-term learning gaps. Those are likely the same children who, even in the absence of their school’s usual art or music programs, are still attending their violin lessons or karate classes over videochat.The stress of managing a home can increase when older relatives are present. According to the latest data from the Pew Research Center, 20 percent of Americans live in households with two or more adult generations or with grandparents and grandchildren; Asian, Hispanic, and black Americans are more likely to live in multigenerational households than white ones.This household arrangement is especially fraught in a pandemic, when every present body is another potential distributor, or recipient, of the virus. In February, a research team led by the World Health Organization estimated that transmission between people living in the same household was responsible for 78 to 85 percent of some 350 clusters of infections in two provinces in China. This is concerning for larger households around the world, and additionally so when they include older relatives, who tend to be at higher risk.American families, whether big or small, are riding out this pandemic with varying degrees of comfort. As my colleague Megan Garber recently noted, the unpleasantness of staying indoors is related to “how much room you have, how many rooms you have, whether you have a dishwasher or a washing machine or internet, whether you have an area in which to exercise or be alone or be together or cook or get fresh air.” The distinguishing features of a living space, Garber argued, take on magnified importance when its occupants are there more or less around the clock.[Read: Homes actually need to be practical now]The physical spaces where people are enduring lockdown capture the full range of American inequality. Some affluent urbanites, finding their primary residences dissatisfactory, have retreated to their vacation homes; at least one billionaire has been sheltering in place in the Caribbean on his yacht. Meanwhile, some people without a place to live recently gathered in a makeshift shelter in a parking lot in Las Vegas without walls or a roof; across the country, groups that provide support to people without a home are scaling back or shutting down their operations, for fear of spreading the disease. “I do worry about them,” Andrew Noymer said of homeless people, noting that the virus could spread quickly among those who live in close proximity to one another. Prisons and jails, too, seem to be tragically conducive to the spread of disease.Beyond the four walls (or no walls) of any particular living space, some neighborhoods will probably be more vulnerable to the virus than others. “Communities of color, areas that are highly segregated in terms of race or income, are going to be the places where we would see, in all likelihood, clusters of illness,” Scott Frank, the Case Western professor, said. In neighborhoods like these, people may have larger households and smaller living spaces, and may not be able to afford to stay home, putting themselves at risk each day while continuing to work.Frank’s grim prediction, made when I spoke with him in mid-March, is already coming true. According to recent data from health officials in New York City, several neighborhoods with the lowest median household incomes were among those with the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is terrible for the residents of those neighborhoods, but it may also be bad for everyone: One study in Delhi, India, found that outbreaks of influenza in the poorest parts of the city propelled the spread of the disease more widely.Moreover, the long-standing, intractable problems in many lower-income areas, whether urban or rural, won’t be put on hold during a pandemic. “A lot of communities are already dealing with things like being over-policed, police violence, excess pollution exposure, and unemployment,” Hedwig Lee, the sociologist, said. “There are other [things] that have been impacting communities in a large-scale, wholesale way—some currently and some for many generations—and that makes this even scarier in terms of what it will look like once we get through this storm.”[Read: The coronavirus’s unique threat to the South]Among these large-scale problems is the unevenness of internet access in some areas. As of 2017, something like 30 percent of American households didn’t have a broadband internet connection, and millions of people only connect to the internet through their phones, frequently with meager data plans. “With this particular pandemic, the guidelines are changing so quickly that immediate access to good information is absolutely required and absolutely at risk with access issues and not being online permanently,” Mark Cameron, a medical professor at Case Western, said.The fates of different places are not predetermined, though—city- or statewide public-health orders matter a lot. One telling example comes from autumn 1918, when American cities responded to the flu pandemic with many of the same social-distancing measures that are now in place across the U.S. Infamously, Philadelphia hosted a patriotic wartime parade with some 200,000 attendees (more than a tenth of the city’s population) a week and a half after confirming its first case of influenza, and didn’t close down schools or forbid public gatherings until another five days after the event. St. Louis, meanwhile, canceled most public gatherings and had flu patients isolate themselves just two days after detecting its first case. During the four-month stretch of the pandemic at the end of the year, Philadelphians were, by one study’s accounting, roughly twice as likely as St. Louisans to die from it. A separate 2007 study looking at 43 cities’ pandemic-fighting strategies 100 years ago found that “early, sustained, and layered application” of measures such as social distancing and public-event bans was associated with reducing the impact of the outbreak.As Ronald Brownstein has written in The Atlantic, many state governments’ responses to the present crisis have differed along political lines, with liberal leaders generally taking swifter action than conservative ones. At least partly as a result of local leaders’ directives, there was a pronounced difference in how many Americans in different states stayed home in the month of March. And that may go on to play a role in the toll the pandemic takes in different areas.The many divides in American society that will shape people’s experience of the pandemic don’t exist in isolation. Instead, they compound and overlap, increasing the risk that certain people will endure the more devastating of the two pandemics.Some of that interplay may be a matter of bad luck. Perhaps you’re more vulnerable to COVID-19 because you have asthma, and your partner happens to work at a hospital and might bring the virus back home. But some of these patterns are not a product of chance. People with less money are likelier to have chronic health conditions, and also to live near one another, making residents of many lower-income neighborhoods doubly vulnerable. In this way, American inequality produces clusters of disadvantage, not unlike a disease.The coronavirus will be indiscriminate, harming some Americans unpredictably, regardless of race or class or any other category. But at the same time, much of the harm it brings—far too much—will be predictable.theatlantic.com
Cherry blossoms are a symbol of hope in a surreal spring
We can’t all go to the Tidal Basin this year, but we can take pride in our shared commitment to helping others.washingtonpost.com
The ‘Reverend’ of Benning Ridge died, but his fight should live on
Ben Thomas fought to make his community better, and he earned a lot of respect for it.washingtonpost.com
Stay-at-home orders need to address families of divorce
Crucial state policy should be based on the lives people actually lead.washingtonpost.com
Long-distance couples are used to being apart — but not like this
Virtual may be their normal, but global travel restrictions are taking a toll on long-distance relationships.washingtonpost.com
Uber drivers have fewer passengers — and face greater risks — than ever
Uber drivers are still on the road, but passengers are few and far between. | Getty Images/iStockphoto One West Virginia Uber driver describes the effect of the coronavirus on his business. In the past month, a huge number of typical Uber destinations have closed their doors for the foreseeable future. Bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters are all shuttered, offices and commercial districts are in stasis, and citizens have canceled the housewarmings and birthday parties on their calendars. The whole country has lurched into inaction to try to flatten the curve, and that leaves a ride-share driver like Johnathan, 36, with a rapidly deteriorating customer base. He’s not sure where to turn next. Johnathan lives in West Virginia, the last state in the US that confirmed a coronavirus case, but his usual beat in Morgantown has slowed to a trickle. College towns are full of kids who rely on Uber to get around — there have been Fridays and Saturdays where Johnathan has netted four figures — but now, he’s lucky to crack $100 after a shift. The whole dynamic of the industry has changed; Johnathan hardly ever speaks to his riders now because he wants to limit their interaction as much as possible. It only takes one unlucky trip to get him sick. Johnathan expects that in the near future, he probably won’t be driving for Uber anymore. (Already, he’s started to explore other app-based contract work, like Instacart.) The economics were never great for him anyway, and he’s been unimpressed with the contingency plans offered by Uber corporate. This is a reality of so many gig contractors, who have an employment experience that flies under the radar of the emergency stimulus packages parachuted in by Congress. The CARES Act that passed on March 27 contained language allowing gig employees access to unemployment benefits, but states have reported that it may take “weeks” to set up that infrastructure for the country’s Uber drivers. Read our conversation below. When did you start noticing coronavirus having an effect on your job? It really became apparent two weeks ago, when the stock market started crashing, and as the sports leagues started closing. That’s when it became apparent and became a conversation with all the riders. Initially, we still had plenty of riders. I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, which is a college town, so it was very similar to that scene in Florida. There was this humongous party happening right before spring break. So have you noticed a slowdown with your clientele? “I expected to make at least $1,000 on St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, I only did $150.” I have noticed it, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. There was nobody going out at all. Normally, St. Patrick’s Day is one of my busiest days. My first year doing it I made $1,200 over a weekend. I expected to make at least $1,000 this year. Instead, I only did $150. Are people going to the same places when they call you up? Or has that changed? There are still people going to bars and restaurants, there were still a few that were open, though they’re now all closed on orders from the health department [on March 18]. It’s one of those things that people can’t quite believe. It’s incredible that it’s happening. I used to get a lot of people who are going to work, and there’s a lot less of that. It’s just a huge reduction. Are you worried about getting sick? Yes. It put a chill on the interactions with the customers. I talk a lot less. Just because I know it can be spread by opening your mouth, or through your mouth. I had a rider coughing the other day, and that made me freeze up a bit. I wipe down my car a lot more, I use a portable vacuum. It’s just this chilling effect. So the whole dynamic of being a ride-share driver has changed, you don’t even feel comfortable talking to your customers now? Yeah, that brings to mind one thing. I’m Asian, and one guy did have a negative thing to say. He was drunk, he asked me where I’m from, and my family is from Taiwan. He said, like, “Are any of your family coming over here?” I said no. He said, “If any of them come over I’m going to shoot them and send you the pictures.” I didn’t take it seriously. I gave him a two-star rating. It’s not a big deal, but it’s something that you remember. Do you expect the ride-share demand to continue to go down? I think that when summer comes around, people aren’t going to be able to tolerate this lockdown. I think eventually people are going to ignore these lockdowns. You have to function. You can’t live like this for a year. I can’t imagine living like this for half a year. I’m trying to tolerate a month or two, and it’s horrible. Are you considering any other jobs outside of ride-sharing to keep yourself sustainable during the lockdown? “This pandemic is forcing a reassessment of life” The fact is, the economics of ride-sharing are bad anyway. And I think this is an excuse or a reason to enact a change in my life. I’ve been doing it since 2016, and this is a time to sit back and reflect on the kind of projects I’d rather be doing. This pandemic is forcing a reassessment of life. Have you heard anything from Uber or Lyft about how they’re going to help you get through this period? They’re offering 14-day assessments, but the hoops are pretty onerous. You have to have a positive coronavirus test result and be in a city under legal quarantine. When that happens, they’ll suspend you from the app and pay you your daily average for the last six months for two weeks. They’re also not accepting new drivers from the harder-hit areas. So they don’t have a plan for people who don’t want to drive for fear of getting sick. They’re only intervening if you get sick. They have some guidelines on the website, but not much beyond that. Do you think people need to take this pandemic more seriously? I think the drivers are taking it seriously. I don’t know many drivers personally, but everything I’ve seen in the Facebook groups looks like we’re taking it seriously. I’m not as sure about the riders. The guy who was coughing was on the way to work at a restaurant. He probably should’ve stayed home. Sign up for The Goods’ newsletter. Twice a week, we’ll send you the best Goods stories exploring what we buy, why we buy it, and why it matters.vox.com
How the Richest Country on Earth Started Running Out of Masks
Editor’s Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here. Of all the coronavirus-induced problems facing America, the mask shortage might be the most baffling. Masks are now so hard to find that health-care workers are reusing theirs multiple days in a row. Grocery-store workers, who are at high risk of contracting the virus, have been denied masks for months. Everyday people are making their own out of fabric scraps.One reason the U.S. ran short of masks is that many of them are manufactured in China; the country slowed mask manufacturing and stopped shipping them to the U.S. during its own coronavirus outbreak. But America was supposed to have its own supply of masks in the Strategic National Stockpile, a secretive stash of emergency supplies held in an undisclosed number of warehouses around the country. As of April 1, it was almost out.The stockpile has been a consistent target of criticism throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and there’s an obvious logic to that criticism: How did the richest country on Earth fail to hoard enough masks for a pandemic flu? One reason is that the Strategic National Stockpile distributed 85 million N95 respirators during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, along with millions of other protective masks. That distribution effort contributed to what is largely seen as a successful federal response to that outbreak. But those masks were never replenished.[Read: Everyone thinks they’re right about masks]At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the stockpile contained only about 12 million of the 3.5 billion N95 masks that federal officials estimated the health-care system would need to fight this pandemic back in March. “I’m not aware of a major effort to restock the stockpile with N95 respirators after the 2009 drawdown,” Charles Johnson, the president of the International Safety Equipment Association, told me.But the stockpile was never intended to be the nation’s great savior. It wasn’t supposed to provide all of the nation’s medical-supply needs for a multi-month pandemic. Congress never doled out enough money for it to do so. Instead, the officials who monitored the national stockpile were hopeful that hospitals were making their own stockpiles. But to save money, they largely weren’t. In that context, the skimpy mask supply in the Strategic National Stockpile is not the thing that derailed the American response to COVID-19. Rather, it’s one of a series of planning failures that created the crisis we’re in today.Just like everything else in the government, the Strategic National Stockpile is funded through congressional appropriations. That means there’s a limited amount of money to be spent, and the people in charge of the stockpile have to decide how to spend it. Officials bought millions of N95 masks and other flu-type preparations with supplemental congressional funding that trickled in from 2005 to 2007, says Greg Burel, who was the director of the stockpile from 2007 until January 2020. But then that supplemental money dried up.With the remaining money, the officials in charge of the stockpile had to decide whether they wanted to plan for a hurricane, flood, tornado, pandemic, or terrorist threat. All of those disasters require the stockpile to be stocked with different stuff. “It isn’t like comparing apples and oranges,” says Tara O’Toole, a former homeland-security official who chaired an advisory committee on the stockpile and who is now executive vice president at In-Q-Tel. “It’s like comparing apples and Volkswagens and bird food.”[Wajahat Ali: Where are the masks?]After 9/11, the people in charge of the stockpile were concerned about bioterrorism—threats like anthrax—and sudden, mass-casualty events like, say, a bombing at the Super Bowl. This made some sense, but in the process officials took their foot off the pandemic-preparedness gas pedal. The response to the 2009 swine-flu pandemic was seen as a success, and the stockpile-minders moved on to the next item on their disaster checklist. “I think as human beings, we sometimes, not that we get complacent, but it’s like, Oh, we’ve got this. And we did. We had it,” says Deborah Levy, who oversaw the stockpile as acting division director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013 and 2014, while Burel was in another role.Because officials weren’t as worried about pandemic flu, they stocked fewer basic medical supplies, like masks, that would come in handy during an infectious-disease outbreak. Officials thought the stockpile should have bioweapon antidotes and other drugs that aren’t easily available on store shelves, rather than common items you can buy at CVS. “The Strategic National Stockpile was built to respond primarily to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear events, whether by a terrorist, or a state actor, or something that might happen along those same lines that was accidental,” Burel told me.Since then, other changes to the stockpile might have made it less capable to handle crises like the one we’re living through. In 2018, the stockpile was moved out of the jurisdiction of the CDC and into a different domain of the Health and Human Services Department—the assistant secretary for preparedness and response. While some of the experts I spoke with saw this as a harmless change, most worried that institutional memory was lost in the process. The CDC, they say, was better at doing operational things like mobilizing a stockpile. Having it at the CDC “puts everybody who’s working on different aspects of being prepared and able to respond together,” Levy said. (HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and I will update this story if I hear back.)Still, the fundamental mission of the stockpile remained the same: A stopgap, not a safety net. Jared Kushner drew opprobrium last week for appearing to say that the states were on their own when it comes to medical supplies. “The notion of the federal stockpile was, it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use,” he said.[Conor Friedersdorf: The government is failing by doing too little, and too much]Although Kushner’s wording was undeniably inartful, the former stockpile directors said he sort of has a point. “Kushner doesn’t know exactly how to phrase it, but the stockpile was never designed to be for everybody all at once, anything that you might need for as long as you need,” Levy said.The stockpile, Burel and Levy told me, was never meant to provide masks for the entire nation for months at a time. The idea was instead that hospitals and states would create their own stockpiles, and under extenuating circumstances—when they ran out of supplies, or if they were incapacitated for some reason—they could fall back on the national stockpile.One could argue that we are living through just such an extenuating circumstance—states are running out of supplies, after all. But the former stockpile directors I talked to said that if anything, governors and hospitals should have been warned sooner about how few masks were in the national stockpile and told to make their own arrangements. “It was never viewed as something that would supply the whole nation with medical supplies for a long period of time,” said Richard Besser, who led the CDC office that oversaw the stockpile during Hurricane Katrina. “If you just look at the number of masks and gowns the nation is churning through, it would be impossible and cost-prohibitive to store that in perpetuity for a global pandemic.”Hospitals, too, could have been keeping their own stockpiles. But Burel and others told me that rather than keep stockpiles, hospitals have what’s called “just in time” stock, in which supplies are delivered right as they’re needed. So do the distributors. And so do the manufacturers. It’s cheaper that way, because you don’t need space to store extra supplies or to test the masks to be sure they’re not expired. Hospitals stay open and pay their staff by staying profitable, and they do that by not spending money on a big room full of unused masks. One could say that hospitals should focus less on amenities and big salaries than pandemic preparedness, but this has not, historically, been a compelling argument to most businesses. To save lives, hospitals ultimately have to stay afloat. “We’ve made health care into a business where cost and profit matters more than the capacity to surge,” O’Toole told me.[Read: What’s actually wrong with the U.S. health system]When reached for comment, a spokesman for the American Hospital Association said, “In addition to our just-in-time inventory to cover day-to-day operational needs and consumption, hospitals and health systems also have surge inventories, which typically contain one to four months of supplies that would likely be needed during localized man-made or natural disasters. However, just-in-time inventory and surge inventory are unable to provide long-term support during a global pandemic such as COVID-19.”The mask shortage is just another example of America’s failure to invest in pandemic preparedness, former stockpile officials say. Everything in our health-care system runs with just enough resources, and we have reached a point where “just enough” isn’t enough. “Public health is not well funded at the state level, the locality level, or at the federal level in the United States,” Burel told me. “It is a chronic problem.”There are, of course, lessons we could take from this debacle. The federal government could move the manufacturing of crucial medical supplies like masks back to the U.S. Congress could fund all types of public-health efforts, including the stockpile, more generously. Johnson suggested the government could pay manufacturers to maintain stockpiles of various items, including masks. Rather than sending them to sit in a government warehouse, mask-makers could keep thousands of masks on hand, allow them to gradually get used up, and replenish them as they expire.But any of these steps would require taking the threat of pandemic flu seriously, and spending money on it accordingly. And that isn’t something the U.S. has been doing, with the stockpile or otherwise.theatlantic.com
Booker, Ayton, Beverley and Harrell advance to semifinals in NBA 2K players tournament
The NBA 2K players tournament saw Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton, Patrick Beverly and Montrezl Harrell all advance to Saturday's semifinals.usatoday.com
Disney dad dons ‘Frozen’ dress to dance with his daughter
Families isolating together are creating adorable daddy-daughter moments, from regular Joes to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Aaron Matthews, a dad in Aledo, Texas, might take the crown, however, after putting on Anna’s iconic green dress from Disney’s “Frozen” — and singing and dancing with his 3-year-old, Cana. Their rendition of the optimistic tune “For The...nypost.com
Chris Wallace: Trump has no chance at re-election if voters believe he handled coronavirus poorly
"Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace joined the "Fox News Rundown" podcast Friday to discuss the state of the 2020 presidential race after Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., suspended his campaign.foxnews.com
Michigan Coronavirus Lockdown: New Details As Stay-At-Home Order Extended to April 30 By Gov. Whitmer
The executive order imposes more stringent limitations on stores to reduce foot traffic. More than 21,500 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state of Michigan as of Thursday.newsweek.com
Tiger Woods, better than his peers for so long, won the 2019 Masters by being smarter
Once his body held up at Augusta National, the mind of a champion took over.washingtonpost.com
Hong Kong Protesters Spread Democracy Messages on Animal Crossing. Now It’s Gone From a Huge Chinese E-Commerce Site
Nintendo's 'Animal Crossing' has been taken down from Taobao, some suspect due to Hong Kong protestors spreading pro-democracy messages on the gametime.com
Boom or bust: Jordan Love, Justin Herbert 15 riskiest prospects in 2020 NFL draft
From top quarterbacks to first-round wide receivers, the NFL draft class features several players who have a volatile outlook in the pros.usatoday.com
Hospitals Must Let Doctors and Nurses Speak Out
Editor’s Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here. Throughout the United States, doctors and nurses at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus want to share what they are seeing and hearing with the public. But some fear that doing so could get them punished or fired by hospital administrators or medical-staffing agencies. Recent press reports document that many institutions have formally warned employees against speaking out, while some have already terminated various medical professionals.NYU’s Langone Medical Center is among the institutions that sent a written warning to its health-care workers. It later asserted in a public statement that limiting the speech of its doctors and nurses is a long-standing policy intended to protect patient and staff confidentiality. “Because information related to coronavirus is constantly evolving, it is in the best interest of our staff and the institution that only those with the most updated information are permitted to address these issues with the media,” the statement said. “We have a responsibility to the public at large to ensure that the information they receive from our institution is accurate.”Does that rationale stand up to scrutiny? To think that through, I called Nicholas Christakis, who directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale. For 15 years, he has studied different contagions, including the H1NI flu. One study probed what happens when a biological contagion such as H1N1 unfolds alongside a behavioral shift, or a so-called social contagion, such as wearing masks. How quickly must a social contagion spread through human networks to arrest a biological contagion?[Read: How the pandemic will end]“When the pandemic began, I never imagined that two topics I have an intellectual or philosophical interest in—processes of contagion and issues of free expression—would overlap in the United States,” he told me. “I realize there’s a world of a difference between speech suppression by the Chinese Communist Party or a government entity. But it’s just not a good look for hospitals—and especially for academic medical centers, for which many of the doctors and nurses are on the faculty, and which have a commitment to free expression—to be disciplining their doctors and nurses in the middle of a pandemic.”What follows is a condensed and edited version of our conversation.Conor Friedersdorf: What specifically is wrong about policing the speech of doctors and nurses?Nicholas Christakis: It is bad for morale. It is inefficient in the sense that we’re taking health-care workers out of commission at the time we need them the most. It is absurd that administrators are spending time surveilling the social-media posts of their personnel rather than trying to actually fix the problem by addressing inefficiencies in their hospital or sourcing [personal protective equipment]. And finally, we are not going to kill this germ with censorship! The idea that we can hide from inconvenient truths or close our eyes and pretend that the situation is not the way it is by clamping down on people who are speaking is a kind of idiocy of the highest order. I find the whole thing absurd. The sharing of information is extremely useful and important to optimize efficiency. And don’t these administrators have anything better to do? Hospitals are scrambling. Why try to run around and shut up your staff when you could be fixing supply chains or sourcing ovens to heat PPE or preparing to divide wards to separate the sick from the not so sick? There are so many urgent things to do right now.Friedersdorf: You’ve studied a lot of pandemics and epidemics. Is there any compelling public-health reason for restricting information flows?Christakis: I cannot see any legitimate reason for such practices. I can imagine that people will say they’re trying to tamp down on panic or to provide a consistent message to a confused public. But if anything, in my view, the ham-fisted way this is being done is going to contribute to public disbelief in experts.Friedersdorf: One can imagine an irresponsible doctor or nurse somewhere who says something that’s false or needlessly inflammatory.[Andy Carvin and Graham Brookie: Here’s how to fight coronavirus misinformation]Christakis: The way we gain credibility and show our expertise is by forthrightly addressing false information or taking ownership when uncomfortable true information is released. I get the idea that there could be rumors, there could be false information, there could be inconsistent information. In fact, our own government has been inconsistent in a number of its recommendations.Now imagine for the sake of argument that back in February, when the government was reassuring everyone that everything was okay, if people like me and other epidemiologists trying to sound the alarm had been muzzled, or told that we were giving inconsistent information when we were telling the truth. I don’t accept that we are better off silencing people saying things that we don’t agree with. I totally, fundamentally reject that, not just from a principle of free expression, but also wanting to optimally meet grave challenges. So let me tell you what I would put in its place.If a hospital is concerned that wrong information is spreading, the way to gain credibility is to stand up in a meeting or release a public statement once a day saying, “We have heard the following things: Our nurses are reporting a shortage of PPE in our hospital. This is true! And here is the challenge we’re facing as a nation. This is what we’re trying to do about it. Or, “This is false, and here’s why we reject it. Here is the evidentiary basis.” This increases credibility when we need it. It provides the public with confidence that the people leading them or who are responsible for their lives are telling the truth. Whereas if you try to suppress it, I'm thinking, What else is the hospital hiding that they don’t want me to know? Why should I trust anything they say? [Fred Milgrim: A New York doctor’s warning]Friedersdorf: What useful things might we learn if doctors and nurses are able to speak freely?Christakis: We might learn, for instance, that doctors and nurses need housing because they don’t want to go home to their loved ones, that they’re willing to work but would welcome it if a local hotel owner gave them a place to stay. We might learn that they need child care, and be motivated to figure out how to provide it. We might learn that they need meals or want food delivered so that they can be more efficient at work and work harder. We all know now about the shortage of PPE. The more we hear about it, or the more anecdotes or stories that people in different communities get, the more people might be motivated to share the PPE that they’ve previously been hoarding.We might learn about hot spots that we didn’t know about, or that even though the governor of state X says nothing is wrong, actually workers in a hospital there say we have an outbreak. There are so many ways in which the frank exchange of information and the forthright confrontation of falsehoods that may circulate, perhaps as rumors, enhance our ability to fight this epidemic. A hospital that corrects a false rumor has an opportunity to enhance their credibility.Friedersdorf: But surely some false rumors do harm.Christakis: We have all these hucksters in our nation—including some TV celebrities, some religious figures—who are circulating falsehoods about the efficacy of certain treatments. And they’re just making a buck. These people should be despised. They are in the worst tradition of snake-oil salesmen. So much so that they were caricatured in the movie Contagion by the man who was selling forsythia.These people are awful. They have no basis for their claims. They are lying. And they are exploiting the fear of the public. But I would not stop them from saying these awful and wrong things. Instead, I would get up and say that they are lying, as I am to you now, and why they are lying, that there is no evidentiary basis for their claims.So what I am saying is that I am not familiar with a case where the flow of information has been shut down in ways that have been beneficial even when we are sorely tempted to shut some people up.[Liz Neeley: How to talk about the coronavirus]Friedersdorf: Because the free flow of information also bolsters public trust in experts who deserve to be heeded?Christakis: Yes. Look what’s happening in China right now. The populace doesn’t know what to believe. There are all these indicators and rumors that deaths in Wuhan were four times as large as official figures, judging by the number of funerary urns being delivered. And when officials say yes or no, nobody believes them, because they don’t have any credibility. It is so important to not be seen as squashing the flow of information and to acknowledge your mistakes so that when you get up and say something, people believe you. That kind of credibility is incredibly important when you’re trying to organize large groups of people. Look at the send-off Captain [Francis] Crozier just got when he disembarked from the Theodore Roosevelt. His sailors knew what was going on. His credibility was enormous.Friedersdorf: Institutions often censor their employees reflexively. Still, I’m a bit confused about the institutional incentives that are causing hospitals to crack down on employee speech, even in this anomalous emergency. If a nurse at a hospital were to tell a local newspaper, “I'm not getting the protective equipment that I need,” or to post on Facebook, “God, we’re overwhelmed. This is really tough,” that doesn't seem like it would hurt the hospital’s consumer brand in the long run or affect who goes there two years from now for a knee surgery. Would I have found this same approach from hospitals before this pandemic?Christakis: Yes, this managerial posture is long-standing––this effort to clamp down on information. So I don’t think it’s a new thing. I think the coronavirus heightened it. I also think it reflects a shift in the last 20 or 30 years from doctors being perceived as professionals to doctors being treated as corporate employees. The idea that some administrator is authorized to tell doctors what they can and cannot say and do comes from a shift in vision of the function of doctors in our society. Nurses too. Instead of being treated as independent professionals who swore a Hippocratic oath and are carrying out a moral calling—I mean, these health-care workers are literally risking their lives. It’s hard to imagine a more important calling than one that requires this of you. And they’re doing it for us. The idea that they can simultaneously be shut up is just offensive to me.theatlantic.com
Two people killed in crash in Prince George’s County
The incident happened near Brandywine and North Keys roads.washingtonpost.com