Pandemic Articles and Photo O’ Day 116

https://howmanydaystill.com/its/presidential-election-2021

1860 – A half century after Congress banned importation of enslaved people, the ship Clotilda lands in Mobile, Alabama, as last recorded ship carrying enslaved people to dock in U.S.; Africans aboard later establish Africatown.

July 8th

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There are three journalists in the sources that I read daily who are doing exemplary reporting on the state of the coronavirus as it continues to ravage the United States. As of Tuesday, here’s how the nation is doing:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?ref=oembed NOTE: Any data on the toll of COVID-19, especially regarding deaths from it, are far more likely to be less than the actual total than vice versa.

The first journalist is Don G. McNeil Jr. with the NY Times. On Monday, I featured the important podcast conversation he recently had with the host of The Daily Podcast.

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The second is with The Atlantic – Ed Yong. His most recent article (published on Tuesday the 7th) is “The Pandemic Experts Are Not Okay”

Yong observes:

America isn’t just facing a shortfall of testing kits, masks, or health-care workers.

It is also looking at a drought of expertise, as the very people whose skills are sorely needed to handle the pandemic are on the verge of burning out.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/07/pandemic-experts-are-not-okay/613879/

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The third journalist, publishes with an interesting and growing “grassroots” site called Medium.

He’s Andy Slavitt and he oversaw Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA in the Obama Admin.

Slavitt published two articles on Tuesday. The first is “There is a Light at the End of the Tunnel [of COVID-19]

In this piece, after talking at length with three scientists who are deeply focused on ending the pandemic he notes:

The reason I mention these things is that the principal thing I learned is that the future will be defined by all of these things in combination: vaccines, therapies, masks, and other human interventions…

This felt like a realistic glimpse into the future: continuously better. Not one dramatic moment. No “life before vaccine” or “life after vaccine.” But gradual changes.

The major takeaway. There absolutely is a light at the end of the tunnel even if it’s hard to see sometimes. Even if our leaders have made this harder. Even if it’s very dispiriting.

https://coronavirus.medium.com/there-is-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-cbfd5fe4ab72

His second piece is: “Trump Has Quit on the Coronavirus” The most significant quote from that piece:

When tens of thousands of people die, they mourn, they show empathy, they lift us up, they inspire, they cry, they sing “Amazing Grace” or they talk into the radio in calming voices. And. They. Put. In. The. Work.

They share the information the public needs. They tell the hard truths. They don’t distract with false patriotism. And. They. Put. In. The. Work

They don’t divide. They don’t unify. They make the case to put aside petty differences. They don’t create them. And. They. Put. In. The. Work.

https://coronavirus.medium.com/trump-has-quit-on-the-coronavirus-1674968e8b7d

Taken together, these two articles make me think of a metaphor I heard another journalist say on a podcast recently:

“Regarding COVID, the U.S. has a talented “team” of hard working dedicated scientists, committed medical personnel and everyday citizens who want to defeat this virus. The problem is that we have an absolutely horrible “coach” at the top who can’t and won’t lead the “team.”

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This simple, but hard to answer, question – “How important is it? – is one that each of us should ask everytime we leave our home – especially as COVID continues to rage in many parts of the U.S.

I don’t mean to be over-dramatic, but since COVID sometimes kills and often causes long-term suffering, before we go anywhere, we need to ask:

“Is going out to XYZ worth taking the risk of getting COVID and possibly giving it to everyone in my home and/or also friends and strangers too?”

There’s two parts to reasonably and rationally answering this question for ourselves and/or minor-aged children:

“How urgent/important is the need to go out?”

“How risky is the place I am going?”

I cannot answer the first question for you. But I do share this info-graphic/chart put out by the Texas Medical Association which tiers the risks of just about every out-of-the-house activity you could consider doing this Pandemic Summer:

https://www.texmed.org/uploadedFiles/Current/2016_Public_Health/Infectious_Diseases/309193%20Risk%20Assessment%20Chart%20V2_FINAL.pdf

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