Like everyone I’m riding out this Covid-19 lockdown with a mix of
depression, anxiety, anger, boredom. And obsessively reading every
detailed quality article I can find about both the disease and the
politics around the disease. And it’s just all too much. Ordinarily
my goal is to research something and get at some truth people don’t
know about, then report it. I did this a couple
of weeks ago about an unfounded theory that SARS-CoV-2 was in
California last fall.
But right now there’s so many awful things going on. And I go
deep on some topic and it doesn’t matter because it’s just all too
much. People don’t care about the details of some particular nuance
of antibody test specificity and Bayesian statistics. They just want
to know "is the medical science going to make us safe?"
"Are our politicians doing a good job helping us be
The top level answer on medical science is "science will make
us safe, but it takes time". The top level on the politics is
is doing a terrible job". The Trump administration is full of
vandals and science deniers. Trump himself seems worried only in
trying to save his re-election chances and lurches day to day to new
outrages. Some of the states, including California, are doing better
but it’s all going way too slow. My particular anger is focussed on
the lack of testing capacity. We are way
below what we need to safely reopen the country.
Anyway, it’s all too much. So rather than meticulously run down a
bunch of complicated stories I’m just going to list a bunch of the
big outrages with minimal references, just so I don’t lose track or
forget that they have happened.
- 50,000 Americans confirmed dead of Covid-19 today.
- 2500+ American dying every day of the disease.
- Trump’s denying the disease was important, wasting six weeks.
- Armchair epidemiologists arguing about what the "true" death rate of Covid-19 is.
- An enormous lack of testing capacity.
- Federal government refusing to provide medical supplies to states that need them, telling them to buy their own.
- Federal government stealing medical supplies from states.
- Federal government distributing medical supplies with political favoritism.
- Potential fraudulent diversion of Federally-seized medical supplies.
- Trump’s fixation on Chloroquine, an unproven medical treatment. causing a shortage for proven uses of the medicine. It turns out to not work.
- Trump suggesting we inject "disinfectant" into Covid-19 patients.
- Trump firing the US leader on vaccine development because he was skeptical of unproven medical treatments.
- Trump simultaneously saying it’s up to the states to choose when to re-open and then undermining those states’ decisions.
- Trump and his campaign’s apparent cooperation with far right wing groups astroturfing "reopen America" protests.
- Trump shutting down some immigration including green card applications.
- Enormous economic cost to the country and the world.
- Whole industries decimated; hospitality foremost.
- The stomach-churning gyrations of the crude oil market.
- Failed government stimulus for small businesses.
- Republicans doing everything they could to suppress a fair election in Wisconsin, including forcing people to risk their lives to vote.
- Trump declaring war against voting by mail, our best hope for having a fair and safe election in November.
- A $2T aid package where the oversight committee was sabotaged before it started.
- Mendacious one-time personal payout delayed so Trump could put his name on the checks.
- Fascists threatening the life of Anthony Fauci, the one trusted medical leader in this crisis.
- CDC’s failure of leadership.
- CDC’s failure to produce a working test, including weeks of screwing around with a contaminated test and an overcomplicated design.
- Republican sabotage of the CDC, the pandemic response team, and the WHO.
- Appointing a crude and vicious racist to be spokesman of Health and Human Services.
It’s not a comprehensive list, it’s just the outrages of the
last two months I could remember offhand. It’s too much.
If you made it all the way to the bottom of this bummer post, let
me give you one silver lining in the Covid-19 cloud. J. Kenji
López-Alt, my favorite food nerd, has been doing an excellent
series of home cooking videos. They are a delight.