Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Trump refuses to lead as pandemic gets worse and allies desert him on masks

Stephen Collinson writes: Most Presidents would try to stop the United States from barreling toward disaster. But Donald Trump has nothing to say and no answers to mitigate a calamity unfolding on his watch that he seems resolved to ignore. On the day when the government’s top infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci said he would not be surprised to see the US record 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, Trump

High levels of mask wearing could reduce forecasted deaths by over 30,000 in the U.S. over the next three months

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington: In its first projections comparing different actions to control COVID-19 transmission, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington is forecasting nearly 180,000 in the United States will die by October 1. The forecast shows 179,106 deaths (with a range of 159,497 to 213,715). Those numbers drop to 146,047 (with a range of

U.S. buys up world stock of key Covid-19 drug remdesivir

The Guardian reports: The US has bought up virtually all the stocks for the next three months of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19, leaving none for the UK, Europe or most of the rest of the world. Experts and campaigners are alarmed both by the US unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available. The

Trump on Twitter inflames an already burning culture war

Josh Dawsey writes: President Trump returned from his Virginia golf course Saturday afternoon and turned his Twitter feed into a crime blotter. In less than five minutes, the president posted 15 fliers from the United States Park Police to his 82.6 million followers, complete with grainy photos of Americans suspected of vandalism at Lafayette Square. The images hearkened to the kinds of posters one would see on the wall of

Russia did pay extremists to attack U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, Taliban sources confirm

Business Insider reports: Taliban commanders have confirmed that Russia has offered financial and material support to its members in exchange for attacking US forces in Afghanistan. The practice was first reported on Friday by The New York Times, which cited US intelligence officials. President Donald Trump has since strongly denied that he was told of this intelligence and attacked its credibility, characterizing the existence of Russian bounty payments as fake.

Hong Kong’s security laws usher in new era of Chinese control

The Guardian reports: Beijing has imposed a raft of national security rules on Hong Kong, ushering in a new chapter of Chinese control over the semi-autonomous territory once known as a haven of political freedom and civil liberty. Chinese and Hong Kong officials have said the law would target only a “narrow set” of behaviours, but the full text of the legislation – released only after it was enacted late

More Americans want to see immigration increased than those who want it diminished

Gallup reports: Thirty-four percent of Americans, up from 27% a year ago, would prefer to see immigration to the U.S. increased. This is the highest support for expanding immigration Gallup has found in its trend since 1965. Meanwhile, the percentage favoring decreased immigration has fallen to a new low of 28%, while 36% think it should stay at the present level. This marks the first time in Gallup’s trend that

Music: Aaron Parks — ‘Here’

 

Fauci warns Congress that new coronavirus cases could rise to 100,000 a day

CNN reports: Coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci issued a stark warning on Tuesday to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, telling them he wouldn’t be surprised if the US sees new cases of coronavirus rising to a level of 100,000 a day. “We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn

National mask mandate could save 5 percent of GDP, economists say

The Washington Post reports: After a late-spring lull, daily coronavirus cases in the United States have again hit record highs, driven by resurgent outbreaks in states such as Florida, Arizona and California. Hospitals in Houston are on the brink of being overwhelmed, and public health experts worry the pandemic’s death count will soon be climbing in tandem with the daily case load. The dire situation has raised the specter of

California’s case count explodes; Los Angeles County surpassed 100,000 total cases on Monday

The New York Times reports: Only a few weeks ago, thousands of Southern Californians were flocking to beaches, Disneyland was announcing it would soon reopen and Whoopi Goldberg was lauding Gov. Gavin Newsom on “The View” for the state’s progress in combating the coronavirus. The worst, many in California thought, was behind them. In fact, an alarming surge in cases up and down the state was only just beginning. Over

Covid-19 messes with Texas: What went wrong, and what other states can learn as younger people get sick

On June 26, Texas’ governor ordered bars to close as COVID-19 case numbers spiked, particularly among younger adults. This Houston bar, photographed in late May, voluntarily shut down shortly before the order after two staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images By Murray J. Côté, Texas A&M University and Tiffany A. Radcliff, Texas A&M University The July 4 holiday weekend usually means cookouts and big gatherings in

Most people with coronavirus won’t spread it. Why do a few infect many?

Carl Zimmer reports: At a May 30 birthday party in Texas, one man reportedly infected 18 friends and family with the coronavirus. Reading reports like these, you might think of the virus as a wildfire, instantly setting off epidemics wherever it goes. But other reports tell another story altogether. In Italy, for example, scientists looked at stored samples of wastewater for the earliest trace of the virus. Last week they

Suspicions of Russian bounties were bolstered by data on financial transfers to a Taliban-linked account

The New York Times reports: American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, which was among the evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to three officials familiar with the intelligence. Though the United States has accused Russia of providing general support to

The best way to respond to our history of racism? A Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò writes: The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks are the latest in a continuing pattern of violence inflicted by state agents and citizens, mostly white, against Americans of African descent. Their deaths have stoked strong denunciations and calls for justice and change, to do something, anything, to put an end to such incidents. But to date, there has been very little interest in

Music: Bill Laurance — ‘Neverending City’