Generally
General
547
unread news
unread news
Tom Brady reliving Patriots glory in coronavirus quarantine
Tom Brady may no longer be a Patriot, but that doesn’t mean the four-time Super Bowl MVP isn’t reminiscing about his 20 years in New England. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new starting quarterback spent his Sunday, likely self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic, watching the Patriots’ legendary comeback from a 25-point deficit against the Atlanta Falcons...
1m
nypost.com
Elizabeth Hurley shares coronavirus quarantine update: 'Keeping everyone as safe as possible'
Elizabeth Hurley has been a busy bee while stuck in coronavirus quarantine.
1m
foxnews.com
900 NYPD members will be positive for coronavirus by Monday, commissioner says
The number of confirmed NYPD coronavirus cases is expected to spike Monday morning to around 900, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Sunday — as he revealed that more and more cops continue to call out sick. That’s a jump of 300 cases since Saturday. “We know that those numbers are going to continually grow,” Shea...
1m
nypost.com
Trump is bragging on Twitter about his coronavirus briefings getting lots of viewers
President Donald Trump speaks at a daily coronavirus press conference on March 27, 2020. | The Washington Post via Getty Im Increasingly, members of the media are concerned this large audience is being given dangerous, incorrect information. President Donald Trump boasted about the ratings of his daily live news conferences on the coronavirus Sunday, and suggested that the large viewer numbers — rather than the misleading remarks he has made during them — are fueling discussions in the media about ending the practice of broadcasting them live and unfiltered. “Because the ‘Ratings’ of my News Conferences etc. are so high, ‘Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers’ according to the [New York Times], the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY,” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon. Because the “Ratings” of my News Conferences etc. are so high, “Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers” according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY. “Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.” said one lunatic. See you at 5:00 P.M.!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020 Trump followed that tweet with four others that quoted a New York Times story that referred to the president’s daily briefings as “a ratings hit.” But while Trump is framing the debate about whether his briefings should be broadcast live as stemming from envy or political ambition in the liberal press, in reality the arguments from columnists and staffers at CNN and MSNBC have centered on Trump showering the public with dangerous misinformation and spreading false narratives about the state of the coronavirus pandemic. As the Times reports, Trump’s daily press briefings on coronavirus are attracting huge numbers: 8.5 million on cable news, which is, in fact, “roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.’” (Not including viewers on broadcast television or online streaming, which likely increases that figure by millions more, if not tens of millions more, people.) Trump sees this as an opportunity to brag — a sign of his popularity and, theoretically, public trust in his leadership in a time of crisis. The problem with that line of thinking is the fact that many people are not tuning into briefings because of Trump, but because they want to keep up-to-date on coronavirus and the US’s policies on it. During these briefings it’s not just Trump who speaks, but his coronavirus task force, which includes top public health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the widely respected director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Deborah Birx, a physician noted for her work combating HIV/AIDS and the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator. The coronavirus pandemic has caused an economic crisis, policy chaos at home and abroad, and widespread physical and mental suffering around the globe — it would make sense that millions are tuning in to hear the nation’s top officials provide clear, accurate information on the latest. It’s precisely the critical importance of conveying accurate information in a time of crisis that has spurred many political analysts and members of the press to argue that it’s dangerous to present Trump’s words to the public through live broadcasts. Trump has made dozens of false claims during the briefings, including overstating the potential of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19, and falsely saying that anyone who wants to be tested for coronavirus infections can get one. Vox’s Matt Yglesias has argued against live broadcasts of Trump’s briefings on the basis that they’re “ersatz rallies held for political purposes rather than bona fide attempts to inform the public:” It’s never good when politicians lie. But in a public health crisis, you have a lot of people seeking accurate information and some of those people turn toward the news media. It’s important for those of us working in the media to try to provide that information. When a person turns on the television and sees the president of the United States giving inaccurately optimistic assessments of the progress of testing, vaccine research, and treatment it encourages people to be less careful with their hand-washing and social distancing than they otherwise might be. That costs lives. And while offering a post-briefing “fact check” is better than nothing, it doesn’t really undo the harm of showing it in the first place. What’s called for is news coverage that incorporates the fact that the president is saying things, but that focuses on providing people with accurate information — there are not currently Covid-19 treatments that scale very well, leaving hospitals at risk of becoming overwhelmed and unable to offer ventilators to everyone who needs them, making it morally urgent to do everything possible to slow the spread of the virus until a more comprehensive testing regime can be put in place. When prominent members of the media and news anchors like MSNBC host Rachel Maddow have argued against television networks broadcasting Trump’s briefings, it’s not been because they’re upset that someone they oppose politically is getting a lot of attention. It’s that the politician involved is exploiting that attention for political gain and hurting the public with falsehoods.
1m
vox.com
Custody battle between Meghan King Edmonds and Jim Edmonds rages on despite coronavirus
Not even coronavirus can stop a custody battle.
1m
nypost.com
Colorado nurse contracts coronavirus: 'A lot of my friends are nurses at the hospital and they're very worried'
A Colorado nurse, who contracted COVID-19, told Fox News on Sunday that a lot of her friends are nurses “and they’re very worried” about running out of personal protective equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak. 
1m
foxnews.com
Country singer Joe Diffie dies of coronavirus complications
NEW YORK — Country singer Joe Diffie, who had a string of hits in the 1990s with chart-topping ballads and honky-tonk singles like “Home” and “Pickup Man,” has died after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 61. Diffie on Friday announced he had contracted the coronavirus, becoming the first country star to go public with...
1m
nypost.com
David Schramm, best known as Roy Biggins on 'Wings,' dies at 73
David Schramm, the actor who played rival airlines owner Roy Biggins in "Wings," has died. He was 73.        
1m
usatoday.com
Fans and Musicians Remember Country Singer Joe Diffie, Who Died From Coronavirus Complications
Diffie was a Grammy award-winning artist and 25-year member of the Grand Ole Opry who was known for his hits in the 1990s like Pickup Man, John Deere Green and Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox.
1m
newsweek.com
New Yorkers not practicing social distancing will face fine, de Blasio says
New Yorkers could now face an up-to $500 fine for refusing to practice social distancing as the city fights the surging coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. “It’s as simple as this,” Hizzoner said. “If someone is told by an officer ‘Disperse, keep moving,’ … and they don’t follow the direct instruction from the...
1m
nypost.com
Jeanine Pirro Pushes Back Against Social Media Speculation She Was Drunk on Fox News Show
Some said Pirro had an uncanny similarity to Cecily Strong’s impression of her on Saturday Night Live.
1m
slate.com
Popular NYPD officer shares #ClapBecauseWeCare video dedicated to coronavirus first responders
Michael Counihan, one of New York City's most famous police officers, took the time Sunday to share a video from the movement #ClapBecauseWeCare, a public display of gratitude to first responders of the coronavirus pandemic.
1m
foxnews.com
A top Republican wants to hold off on additional coronavirus aid
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. | Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto/Getty Images Rep. Kevin McCarthy implied further packages might serve to advance Democratic priorities like a Green New Deal and sanctuary city designations. Days after President Donald Trump signed into law a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has begun to argue additional congressional aid may not be necessary — even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is eyeing “phase four” of coronavirus relief. “I’m not sure you need a fourth package,” McCarthy said on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. Congress has passed three relief bills in the last several weeks. “What concerns me is when I listen to Nancy Pelosi talk about a fourth package now, it’s because she did not get out of things that she really wanted,” he said, noting certain elements Democrats asked for had held up the CARES Act, which was signed into law on Friday. Those elements included support for “sanctuary cities” and the “Green New Deal,” McCarthy said. He was likely referring to certain stipulations that Democrats had attempted to insert into the bill, such as tying relief for airline companies to increased environmental standards, increasing relief for solar and wind energy, and setting aside $350 million in aid for refugees, something which remained in the final bill. Earlier in the week, McCarthy also expressed concern that the CARES (or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act would be followed up too soon with additional federal dollars, before lawmakers were able to fully understand the effects of its latest aid package. “We have now just passed what would be the third bill,” he said on Fox News Thursday morning. “Let’s let this work ... We have now given the resources to make and solve this problem. We don’t need to be crafting another bill right now.” Despite McCarthy’s concerns, another aid package is on the way The CARES Act, the biggest federal bailout in history, provides direct cash payments to most American adults, expands unemployment insurance, and creates loan funds for small businesses and large industries. It passed the House by a voice vote and the Senate 96-0, before being approved by Trump. Despite the strong bipartisan showing at the final vote, the days leading up to the bill’s package were marked by turmoil, as Democrats and Republicans sparred over certain provisions, including oversight measures for a $500 billion loan program for large businesses. And since its passage, some critics, especially on the left, have said that it does not go far enough, excluding some workers from cash payments, for example, and leaving accountability measures easily overstepped. That may be part of why, at a press conference on Thursday, before that bill had officially passed, Pelosi said an additional package that goes beyond “mitigation” of the crisis was in order. “There’s so many things we didn’t get in any of these bills yet in the way that we need to,” she said. Democrats have pushed for long-term expansions of emergency food assistance, paid leave programs — one such program, passed in mid-March, exists only through the state of emergency — and worker protections. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also signaled he would consider an additional aid package. “We should be willing, able to come back in a bipartisan way and do more if we need it, and I believe we’ll probably have to do that, one way or another,” he told Politico on Thursday. McCarthy disagreed Thursday, saying, “I wouldn’t be so quick to say you have to write something else ... Whatever decision we have to make going forward, let’s do it with knowledge, let’s do with experience of what’s on the ground at that moment in time.” But many of his fellow Republicans disagree. Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, for example said, Friday, “The minute we’re done with phase three, we’ll start talking about phase four because all of us know that phase three can’t have included everything that needs to be included.” When senators will return to negotiate a fourth package, is not clear: the Senate is out of session until at least April 20, and the House is also on a recess. However, McConnell has said he’s instructed senators to be ready to return earlier if needed: “If circumstances require the Senate to return for a vote sooner than April 20, we will provide at least 24 hours notice,” the majority leader said. Lawmakers of both parties agree the economy — and workers — are in need of help In spite of the three relief packages that have already passed, the American economy — and the individual workers, investors, and businesses that comprise it — are still deeply hurt by the spread of Covid-19. Amid a spiraling stock market, one of the starkest illustrations of the economic freefall sparked by this virus’s spread — a freefall that could lead to a recession, if not an outright depression, economists say — is the most recent jobless numbers: 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, shattering a 1982 record of about 700,000 filings in one week. This has wide-reaching effects, as Vox’s Matthew Yglesias and Christina Animashaun report: it means small businesses, temporarily shut down to encourage social distancing, may permanently shutter; in the meantime, workers are losing jobs and curtailing spending. “The surge is so unprecedented in historical terms that it essentially defies efforts to forecast where the economy may go in the future,” Yglesias writes. And while some disagreements remain between Republicans and Democrats over Congress’ role in providing economic assistance — such as whether the latest bill should be the first part of an ongoing disaster relief effort or phase one of an ongoing stimulus program. There is bipartisan support for congressional economic aid. GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, for example, was a strong supporter of sending checks to individual Americans and House Democrats proposed giving the airline industry a $40 billion bailout. While the scale of the economic disaster is still unknown and hard to foretell — early predictions of unemployment filings were off by about a million, for example — quelling one wave at this stage won’t necessarily prevent more from rippling out, as Vox’s Ezra Klein has written, citing Moody’s Analytics chief economist, Mark Zandi. Following the sudden stop of public life in the last few weeks, as people stop eating out, seeking child care, traveling, buying homes and cars, and engaging in the thousand activities that spark a healthy economy, more waves follow, Klein writes: When the economy stops, and GDP plummets, workers lose their jobs. That, Zandi said, is wave two, and “it’s coming very quickly.” It may already be here. Initial data suggests we’re seeing a spike in unemployment claims so massive it makes the worst week of the Great Recession essentially disappear on a chart. .... The third wave, according to Zandi, will be “all these folks who’ve seen their nest egg wiped out. They thought they were set for retirement and they’re not. They’ll go into panic mode.” The shattered stock market will be a disaster for those in or near retirement. They’re watching wealth they worked their whole lives to build crumble in the space of weeks. They won’t purchase that new car, buy that new house, plan that vacation — and unlike some of the direct economic stoppages, which will lift when the virus eases, their reticence to spend will slow economic growth long after the direct crisis ends. Wave four, Zandi continues, will see businesses cut investment. Corporations that intended to open a new factory won’t; media organizations thinking of launching new publications will hold back; businesses that meant to upgrade their office space in 2021 will decide they’re fine where they are. Another engine of economic growth dead. As a result, relief money that does not take into account long-term ramifications — the money people will need in their pockets to keep stocking up on food, for example, during ever-increasing stay-at-home orders — will not be enough to mitigate even the worst effects of this disaster, much less spark ongoing energy back into the economy. The crafting of any additional relief legislation will shed some light on which direction lawmakers intend to go — whether they seek to stanch economic bleeding, or proactively try to prevent more wounds from opening.
1m
vox.com
New York leaders look at harrowing week ahead
The region has the largest concentration of coronavirus cases in the nation, with nearly 1,000 deaths in New York state alone.
1m
politico.com
'This is not a reality TV show': Trump criticized for tweets on TV ratings as coronavirus death toll rises
Trump said the news media was "going CRAZY" because the TV ratings for his recent news briefings were so high.        
1m
usatoday.com
Coronavirus deaths fall again in Italy but lockdown extension looms
ROME — The number of deaths from coronavirus in Italy fell for the second consecutive day on Sunday but the country still looked almost certain to see an extension of stringent containment measures. The Civil Protection department said 756 people had died in the last day, bringing the total to 10,779 — more than a...
1m
nypost.com
A whiplash world waits to see if coronavirus stimulus can help markets
We are about to find out if the stimulus efforts are enough to calm nervous markets, experts say,
1m
latimes.com
Start your Monday smart: Pandemic, stay home, equal pay, US census, culture online
Pandemic ... stay at home ... equal pay ... US census ... April Fools ... autism awareness ... James Corden ... Coachella ... Here's what the next six days will bring.
1m
edition.cnn.com
6-year-old girl gets birthday parade after her party was canceled
1m
edition.cnn.com
Local farmers open virtual farmers market
1m
edition.cnn.com
Man walks 50 miles, raises money for health workers
1m
edition.cnn.com
Friends say goodbye to foreign exchange student
1m
edition.cnn.com
Elsa visits kids stuck at home, delivers song
1m
edition.cnn.com
Meet power company's only female field employee
1m
edition.cnn.com
Joe Diffie, award-winning country music singer, dies at 61 of COVID-19 complications
Joe Diffie, a country music star who enjoyed a career high in the 1990s, died Sunday of complications from COVID-19.
1m
latimes.com
New York Coronavirus Update: Cuomo Extends Stay-at-Home Order Through April 15: 'We Have Made It Through Far Greater Things'
The governor announced an extension for New York State's "PAUSE" policy, now in effect for at least two more weeks.
1m
newsweek.com
Coronavirus quarantines, stay-at-home orders lead to pollution drop, studies find
While the coronavirus has negatively impacted international productivity and economic activity, scientists have discovered a strange side-effect to quarantines.
1m
foxnews.com
Coronavirus having less of an impact on lower-income, rural areas, report finds
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged in recent weeks but remain comparatively low in poor and rural areas, according to a new analysis.  
1m
foxnews.com
MTA’s 24-hour coronavirus hotline keeps crashing as workers are ravaged by crisis
The MTA’s 24-hour hot line for workers with coronavirus symptoms is constantly crashing because it’s being flooded with calls — and higher-ups are bracing for a mass sickout, transit insiders told The Post. Bus and subway employees already called out sick at three times the normal rate last week, prompting the MTA to dramatically reduce...
1m
nypost.com
Yankees star Aroldis Chapman’s muscles look ridiculous in new photo
This might help explain Aroldis Chapman’s signature fastball. The Yankees’ star closer looked swole as ever in a picture he shared to Instagram on Saturday, showing himself and a few friends playing dominoes. Chapman has spent some of baseball’s coronavirus-induced break bulking up, as shown by another social-media photo of the 32-year-old power lifting two...
1m
nypost.com
I was an AmeriCorps Member in West Virginia. The Benefits and Limitations of National Service.
In a cavernous ballroom at the Hilton Hotel Philadelphia in 2009 when I was twenty-one years old, I sat at a round table with the others whose name tags had also been stamped with the double green dots meaning we were headed for central Appalachia—West Virginia, western Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina. There were…
1m
time.com
Washington nursing home residents lift spirits during coronavirus lockdown with personal notes to families
Residents at a Washington state nursing home are spreading positive energy and smiles with photos of their personal notes to loved ones who are unable to physically visit them at the center as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
1m
foxnews.com
Mike Francesa eyes sports utopia when coronavirus abates
Mike Francesa sees the light at the end of this sports-less tunnel. During his return to Sunday mornings for WFAN as part of the station’s coronavirus-related weekend revamp, Francesa spoke of the potential sports utopia that awaits when sporting events can resume. The notoriously opinionated radio host is under the impression that all postponed sports...
1m
nypost.com
Sen. Kennedy: Congress tried to hide 'spending porn on pet projects' in stimulus bill, but Americans noticed
In an effort to reach a compromise on the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package which President Trump signed last week, Republican lawmakers had to "swallow" the "spending porn on pet projects" in the bill, Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said.
1m
foxnews.com
'90s country music star Joe Diffie dies of complications from coronavirus
Joe Diffie, a country music singer known for his lighthearted odes to country life that reached mainstream success in the 1990s, died Sunday from complications of coronavirus, his publicist said in a news release.
1m
edition.cnn.com
Remnick: Cost of Trump's delays will be 'paid in human lives'
David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, says Trump's "lies," narcissism, and "lack of empathy" has "led to disaster. Has led to delay. And this will be -- and I think history will prove this -- this will be something that's paid in human lives. And that's an enormous tragedy."
1m
edition.cnn.com
Instacart adds safety measures, enhanced tipping tool ahead of workforce strike
The grocery delivery company said it would distribute health and safety supplies to its workers who gather food and supplies at supermarkets.       
1m
usatoday.com
Coronavirus Live Updates: State and City Leaders Clamor for Medical Supplies as U.S. Cases Top 135,000
The global count has passed 670,000, an official warns Britain that some kind of lockdown may last for months and Biden urges mail-in elections.
2 m
nytimes.com
Priests offer drive-thru confessions
As the Covid-19 pandemic forces churches and places of worship to close across the country, Chelmsford Catholic Collaborative found a way around the problem.
5 m
edition.cnn.com
Louisiana governor's staffer dies of virus complications
A 33-year-old member of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards' staff, April Dunn, died due to complications from coronavirus.
6 m
edition.cnn.com
Armed vigilantes chop down tree, block driveway to force neighbor into quarantine
A group of armed vigilantes cut down a tree and dragged it across a man’s driveway in Maine to force him to quarantine in his home amid fears he could be infected with the coronavirus, officials said. A man residing on Cripple Creek Road in Vinalhaven, an island off the coast of Maine, called authorities...
8 m
nypost.com
Hasan Minhaj on 'combating boredom' during shutdown
Netflix host Hasan Minhaj says entertainers are "combating boredom" by creating videos and other new content for homebound fans. "It's just in us as performers, we gotta do something. I think we're just all taking it back to our open mic and improv roots, where we would do anything, anywhere," he says.
edition.cnn.com
Scrutinizing why Fox parted ways with Trish Regan
Fox Business dropped Trish Regan's talk show after she referred to the coronavirus as an "impeachment scam." While that was "irresponsible journalism," S.E. Cupp says she is "outraged" on Regan's behalf because other Fox hosts who made similar comments are still on the airwaves.
edition.cnn.com
4 lessons the US should learn from Italy’s coronavirus mistakes
The disastrous Covid-19 outbreak in Italy offers warnings — and lessons — for the US. | Antonio Masiello/Getty Images Italy’s coronavirus response was horrible. The US needs to learn from it to avoid a repeat. The Covid-19 outbreak in Italy offers plenty of lessons for the United States and the rest of the world — if only we would heed them. A trio of academics — Gary Pisano, Raffaella Sadun and Michele Zanini — broke down some of the key takeaways from the Italian experience in a new Harvard Business Review article. Italy reached nearly 100,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 10,000 deaths by March 29, becoming the deadliest epicenter in a worldwide pandemic. The authors called Covid-19 the country’s “biggest crisis since World War II.” Beyond the scale of the coronavirus spread there, the Italy outbreak has been marked by a halting and inconsistent response from government officials. They were slow to implement strict social distancing measures and, even once officials began to institute social distancing as Covid-19 cases began to spike, the public did not seem to respond to government directives with urgency. At this point, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US is greater than the number in Italy both in terms of raw total and with respect to confirmed case counts at the same point in our respective outbreaks. Rani Molla/Vox The Harvard researchers warn Italy suffered from “a systematic failure to absorb and act upon existing information rapidly and effectively rather than a complete lack of knowledge of what ought to be done.” The unavoidable implication is the US is already on the road to the same fate — unless it acts quickly, and pays attention to other countries’ mistakes. Here’s what the US can learn from where Italy went wrong. We have to get over our pre-existing biases First and foremost, the US has to recognize the seriousness of the situation. A couple of weeks ago, it was common to see private citizens and government officials skeptical of the Covid-19 threat pointing to low fatality numbers and asking why there was panic, given how many people die of the seasonal flu every year. But they were already dealing in the past. The coronavirus spreads stealthily, with those who contract it not showing symptoms for days, and the full gravity of their illness not becoming clear until a week or two after infection. This means that back when skeptical perspectives were still common, the seeds had been planted for the explosion in US cases and deaths seen in the last few days. Italy’s political leaders did not act preemptively despite evidence suggesting such delayed increases in cases were possible. State-of-emergency declarations were shrugged off by the public and political leaders. In one ominous episode, a group of politicians engaged in deliberate handshakes even after the Covid-19 risks were known — and one of them was diagnosed with the infection a week later. Those lax attitudes reflect the same confirmation bias seen in the United States and elsewhere, the Harvard authors state: Threats such as pandemics that evolve in a nonlinear fashion (i.e., they start small but exponentially intensify) are especially tricky to confront because of the challenges of rapidly interpreting what is happening in real time. The most effective time to take strong action is extremely early, when the threat appears to be small — or even before there are any cases. But if the intervention actually works, it will appear in retrospect as if the strong actions were an overreaction. This is a game many politicians don’t want to play. So the first step to a better pandemic response is acknowledging the current situation. In the US, President Donald Trump downplayed the coronavirus threat. He’s sent mixed messages, at times seeming to suggest people could go to work even if they weren’t feeling well. And then after finally being forced to take more drastic measures as the virus spread, he has already started pivoting to a new irresponsible stance, floating an end to social distancing (and the economic toll it is taking) as soon as Easter in mid-April. But the coronavirus doesn’t care what the US and its leaders want to be true. The country’s response shouldn’t be constrained based on unrealistic expectations for how the outbreak will play out. Which leads to the researchers’ next point. We can’t take half measures to combat the coronavirus Italy started small with its coronavirus containment and only expanded it as the scale of the problem revealed itself. The country started with a targeted strategy: certain areas with a lot of infections were designated as “red zones.” Within the red zones, there were progressive lockdowns depending on the severity of the outbreak in the area. The restrictions were only broadened to the whole country when these measures did not stop the virus’s spread. In fact, these limited lockdowns might have made it worse. Because the coronavirus transmits so silently, the “facts on the ground” (number of cases, deaths, etc.) didn’t actually capture the full scale of the problem. Once partial lockdowns went into effect, people fled to less restricted parts of the country — and they may have unwittingly taken the virus with them, according to the Harvard researchers: The selective approach might have inadvertently facilitated the spread of the virus. Consider the decision to initially lock down some regions but not others. When the decree announcing the closing of northern Italy became public, it touched off a massive exodus to southern Italy, undoubtedly spreading the virus to regions where it had not been present. The US is already deep into a similarly piecemeal response. Trump did issue his recommendation that people stay home for 15 days to stop the Covid-19 spread, but he does not look ready to renew that call. States have taken very different approaches: some, like New York, California, and Washington, have almost locked down completely. Others, like Florida, have been reluctant to take the same step. Some states are already attempting to prevent people from states most affected by the outbreak, like New York and New Jersey, from entering their borders. Italy’s experience indicates that truncated social distancing periods and a mishmash of social distancing policies across different interlocked areas will ultimately only prolong and deepen the problem. Luckily, the country’s provinces that took a more proactive approach may have something to teach their neighbors — and the US. We have to learn from successful containment strategies You might wonder why the Harvard experts looked at Italy instead of South Korea or Taiwan, places that successfully managed the coronavirus threat from the start. One reason was that the US and many European countries had already lost the opportunity for those containment strategies by the time they began more aggressive measures, given the slow response to the outbreak at first. This makes Italy a much closer comparison to what the US is living through than those Asian countries — or even China — where the growth in reported cases has slowed to a crawl. But there are strategies that have worked for the Italians, and the US can borrow them. The experiences of Lombardy and Veneto, two neighboring Italian provinces that took two different strategies for their coronavirus response and saw two different results, are instructive. Lombardy has 10 million people, and it’s endured 35,000 Covid-19 cases and about 5,000 deaths; Veneto is home to 5 million people, but it’s seen just 7,000 cases and less than 300 deaths, its outbreak a fraction the size of its neighbor’s. This is what Veneto did to successfully control the outbreak within its borders: Extensive testing: both people with symptoms and people who were asymptomatic were tested whenever possible Proactive tracing: if somebody tested positive, everybody they live with was tested or, if tests weren’t available, they were required to self-quarantine Emphasis on home diagnosis and care: Health care providers would actually go to the homes of people with suspected Covid-19 cases to collect samples so they could be tested, keeping them from being exposed or exposing other people by visiting a hospital or doctor’s office Monitoring of medical personnel and other vulnerable workers: doctors, nurses, caregivers at nursing homes, even grocery store cashiers and pharmacists, were monitored closely for possible infection and given ample protective gear to limit exposure Lombardy, on the other hand, was much less aggressive on all of those fronts: testing, proactive tracing, home care, and monitoring workers. Hospitals there were overwhelmed, while Veneto’s have been comparatively spared. And yet it took weeks upon weeks for Lombardy to adopt the same strategies that were already working next door in Veneto: The fact that different policies resulted in different outcomes across otherwise similar regions should have been recognized as a powerful learning opportunity from the start. The findings emerging from Veneto could have been used to revisit regional and central policies early on. Yet, it is only in recent days, a full month after the outbreak in Italy, that Lombardy and other regions are taking steps to emulate some of the aspects of the “Veneto approach,” which include pressuring the central government to help them boost their diagnostic capacity. America’s health system, like Italy’s, is highly decentralized. Americans are likely to see different strategies across states and cities, and surely different results. In an ideal world, our government would take what works (as soon as it becomes clear) and apply it to the rest of the country. We have to be ready for the long haul The Harvard researchers also single out the importance of good data — the raw numbers themselves — which were lacking in the early days of Italy’s outbreak. These figures should focus on the important metrics like tests conducted and hospitalizations. Some questions have already been raised about whether the US is undercounting its fatality numbers, per this BuzzFeed report, and vigilance is warranted about the official numbers coming from an administration known for its obfuscation of the truth. What those numbers say, and what policies they suggest might be most effective at mitigating the outbreak, is largely a concern for policymakers, journalists, and medical professionals. But it is important everyone sees those numbers to help underscore the authors’ concluding point, which seems essential for the public to understand: An effective approach towards Covid-19 will require a war-like mobilization — both in terms of the entity of human and economic resources that will need to be deployed as well as the extreme coordination that will be required across different parts of the health care system (testing facilities, hospitals, primary care physicians, etc.), between different entities in both the public and the private sector, and society at large. Together, the need for immediate action and for massive mobilization imply that an effective response to this crisis will require a decision-making approach that is far from business as usual. “A war-like mobilization.” Even today, a couple weeks into this national emergency, it’s not clear everyone understands the depth of commitment and sacrifice beating the coronavirus might require. If that — and the massive number of lives at risk — was widely understood, the country would not have a president prematurely entertaining an end to social distancing or other politicians talking about letting our older generations die off for the sake of the economy. A new projection of the US Covid-19 pandemic came out Thursday from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. It anticipates 81,000 deaths in America over the next four months, and the rate of fatalities starting to ebb only in the first week of June, when the daily death toll is projected to fall below 10. They foresee a major risk that the number of serious cases exceeds the US health system’s capacity in hospital beds, ICUs, and ventilators. Those projections may already be optimistic, as this Twitter thread on their methodology from UW epidemiologist Carl Bergstrom suggests. But even that optimistic scenario depends on rigorous social distancing and a herculean effort to shore up the health system to prevent it from being overrun. Of the 81,000 deaths, already an alarming figure, the researchers warn: “This number could be substantially higher if excess demand for health system resources is not addressed and if social distancing policies are not vigorously implemented and enforced across all states.” The response in the US so far on both of those points has been, at best, mixed. There are already supply shortages at hospitals and permissive attitudes from some politicians and media figures, which could portend an even deadlier outbreak. The lessons needed to achieve a better outcome are already out there to learn from, as the Harvard review of Italy’s mistakes and successes makes clear. But America has to be ready to listen. Even now, two weeks into a national emergency the likes of which few people alive have ever seen, it’s not clear that it is.
vox.com
Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood to perform live concert special on CBS
Brooks says he will take requests for the show and will announce details about how viewers can submit them on Monday.
nypost.com
Stephen King's sharp critique of Trump's mixed messaging
"The fact that nobody really seemed prepared still mystifies me," author Stephen King tells Brian Stelter. King says President Trump's handling of the pandemic is "almost impossible to comprehend."
edition.cnn.com
Hundreds at Louisiana Church Flout COVID-19 Gatherings Ban
An estimated 500 people of all ages filed inside the Life Tabernacle church
time.com