Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Coronavirus modelers factor in new public health risk: Accusations their work is a hoax

The Washington Post reports: In the one month since the first U.S. coronavirus death, America has become a country of uncertainty. New cases of infection and casualties continue multiplying. New York and Louisiana hospitals are grappling with a flood of patients that threatens to overwhelm their health-care systems. Meanwhile, the president and political conservatives are increasingly agitating to end drastic restrictions meant to buy time and save lives. Running beneath

The road to coronavirus hell was paved by evangelicals

Katherine Stewart writes: Donald Trump rose to power with the determined assistance of a movement that denies science, bashes government and prioritized loyalty over professional expertise. In the current crisis, we are all reaping what that movement has sown. At least since the 19th century, when the proslavery theologian Robert Lewis Dabney attacked the physical sciences as “theories of unbelief,” hostility to science has characterized the more extreme forms of

DJT is no FDR

Jamelle Bouie writes: The coronavirus pandemic may plunge the United States into its worst social and economic crisis since the Great Depression. But our response — from the president’s blame-shifting rhetoric to the Senate’s inadequate relief package — has yet to rise to the scale and scope of the challenge. I’ve written before about why Congress needs to do far more than it has if it wants to save the

Death rate soars in New Orleans coronavirus ‘disaster’ that could define city for generations

USA Today reports: Throngs of revelers may have brought the coronavirus to New Orleans during Mardi Gras celebrations here. But the city’s poverty rate, lack of healthcare and affordable housing, and high rates of residents with preexisting medical conditions may be driving its explosive growth and could make it the next U.S. epicenter of the outbreak. The number of known coronavirus cases in Louisiana jumped to 2,305 on Thursday, an

Poll finds universal lifestyle changes, rising stress and growing fears about catching coronavirus

The Washington Post reports: The spreading coronavirus pandemic has brought massive and sudden disruption to the daily lives of most Americans amid rapidly rising fears that they could become ill with the covid-19 disease, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Almost overnight, the threat from the virus has changed habits and lifestyles. Roughly 9 in 10 say they are staying home “as much as possible” and are practicing social

Sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden ignites a firestorm of controversy

Vox reports: Last year, several women came forward publicly to say Joe Biden had kissed or touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable. One of them was Tara Reade, who said Biden used to “put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck” when she worked in his Senate office in 1993. Reade now says there was more to her experience with Biden. In an

Billion-year-old algae and newer genes hint at origin of land plants

Dana Najjar writes: Around 500 million years ago — when the Earth was already a ripe 4 billion years old — the first green plants appeared on dry land. Precisely how this occurred is still one of the big mysteries of evolution. Before then, terrestrial land was home only to microbial life. The first green plants to find their way out of the water were not the soaring trees or

Music: Stuart McCallum — ‘T-Onics’

 

As U.S. struggles to stem coronavirus, China asserts itself as global leader

NBC News reports: With Italy in dire need of medical equipment, an economic superpower stepped in to help. No, not the United States. It was China. Beijing last week promised Rome a thousand ventilators and 2 million masks, part of a global outreach effort that includes massive donations across Africa and a $20 million gift to the World Health Organization earmarked to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration, meanwhile,

America first: U.S. now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases

The New York Times reports: Scientists warned that the United States someday would become the country hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. That moment arrived on Thursday. In the United States, at least 81,321 people are known to have been infected with the coronavirus, including more than 1,000 deaths — more cases than China, Italy or any other country has seen, according to data gathered by The New York Times.

Trump wants to ‘reopen America.’ Here’s what happens if we do

Nicholas Kristof and Stuart A. Thompson write: President Trump says he wants the United States “raring to go” in two and a half weeks, on Easter, with “packed churches all over our country.” He and many other political conservatives suggest that we are responding to something like the flu with remedies that may be more devastating than the disease. We created this interactive model with epidemiologists to show why quickly

New Orleans faces a coronavirus nightmare, and Mardi Gras may be why

The New York Times reports: Yanti Turang, an emergency room nurse at a New Orleans hospital, walked out into the parking lot in full protective gear early this month to meet a woman with flulike symptoms who had just returned home after a layover in South Korea. The woman was immediately taken to an isolation room. Around the same time, a man who had never left the country and had

Bonanza for rich real estate investors, tucked into stimulus package

The New York Times reports: The federal government’s planned $2 trillion economic rescue package includes financial aid for individuals and industries that are struggling to survive the coronavirus pandemic. It also includes a potential bonanza for America’s richest real estate investors. Senate Republicans inserted an easy-to-overlook provision on page 203 of the 880-page bill that would permit wealthy investors to use losses generated by real estate to minimize their taxes

Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook

Politico reports: The Trump administration, state officials and even individual hospital workers are now racing against each other to get the necessary masks, gloves and other safety equipment to fight coronavirus — a scramble that hospitals and doctors say has come too late and left them at risk. But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government should’ve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment

Job vacancies and inexperience mar federal response to coronavirus

The New York Times reports: Of the 75 senior positions at the Department of Homeland Security, 20 are either vacant or filled by acting officials, including Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary who recently was unable to tell a Senate committee how many respirators and protective face masks were available in the United States. The National Park Service, which like many federal agencies is full of vacancies in key posts,

The four possible timelines for life returning to normal

Joe Pinsker writes: The new coronavirus has brought American life to a near standstill, closing businesses, canceling large gatherings, and keeping people at home. All of those people must surely be wondering: When will things return to normal? The answer is simple, if not exactly satisfying: when enough of the population—possibly 60 or 80 percent of people—is resistant to COVID-19 to stifle the disease’s spread from person to person. That