Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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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

How blood from coronavirus survivors might save lives

Nature reports: Hospitals in New York City are gearing up to use the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19 as a possible antidote for the disease. Researchers hope that the century-old approach of infusing patients with the antibody-laden blood of those who have survived an infection will help the metropolis — now the US epicentre of the outbreak — to avoid the fate of Italy, where intensive-care units

Of America and sacrifice: Is the country ready to step up?

Michael Tackett writes: For most Americans alive today, the idea of shared national sacrifice is a collective abstraction, a memory handed down from a grandparent or passed on through a book or movie. Not since World War II, when people carried ration books with stamps that allowed them to purchase meat, sugar, butter, cooking oil and gasoline, when buying cars, firewood and nylon was restricted, when factories converted from making

I probably have a ‘mild to moderate’ case of covid-19. I don’t think I could survive worse

David Von Drehle (age 59) writes: Seven days into the waves of fever, I was drifting half in and half out of sleep. I was wearing a down jacket with the hood cinched around my head. I was buried under the covers, teeth chattering. A week like that is a very long time. (Nine days, and counting, is still longer.) In my weird dream, I was on the high-winter prairie.

As U.S. becomes epicenter of pandemic, Trump administration undermines G-7 effort to forge international cooperation

The Washington Post reports: Foreign ministers representing seven major industrialized nations failed to agree on a joint statement Wednesday after the Trump administration insisted on referring to the coronavirus outbreak as the “Wuhan virus,” three officials from G-7 countries told The Washington Post. Other nations in the group of world powers rejected the term because they viewed it as needlessly divisive at a time when international cooperation is required to

Scramble for medical equipment descends into chaos as U.S. states and hospitals compete for rare supplies

The Washington Post reports: A mad scramble for masks, gowns and ventilators is pitting states against each other and driving up prices. Some hard-hit parts of the country are receiving fresh supplies of N95 masks, but others are still out of stock. Hospitals are requesting donations of masks and gloves from construction companies, nail salons and tattoo parlors, and considering using ventilators designed for large animals because they cannot find

Amazon workers test positive for covid-19 at ten U.S. warehouses

The Washington Post reports: The U.S. coronavirus outbreak has spread to at least ten Amazon warehouses, infecting workers racing to deliver massive volumes of packages for consumers leery of leaving their homes to shop. In the past few days, workers tested positive for covid-19 at Amazon warehouses and shipping facilities across the country, from New York to California and Michigan to Texas. In some cases, Amazon shut down facilities for

Bottom lines vs. human lives: Billionaires want people back to work

Bloomberg reports: The billionaire Tom Golisano was smoking a Padron cigar on his patio in Florida on Tuesday afternoon. He was worried. “The damages of keeping the economy closed as it is could be worse than losing a few more people,” said Golisano, founder and chairman of the payroll processor Paychex Inc. “I have a very large concern that if businesses keep going along the way they’re going then so

How the COVID-19 pandemic will end

Ed Yong writes: A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In