Thursday, April 30, 2020

Coronavirus News (68)

U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Is Far Higher Than Reported, C.D.C. Data Suggests Total deaths in seven states that have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic are nearly 50 percent higher than normal for the five weeks from March 8 through April 11 ....... probably killing more people than the reported statistics capture. ....... In New York City, the home of the biggest outbreak, the number of deaths over this period is more than three times the normal number. (Recent data suggests it could have reached six times higher than normal.) ........ hospital admissions for a major type of heart attack fell by 38 percent in nine major U.S. hospitals in March. ......... Coronavirus is clearly killing more U.S. residents directly than any hurricane has, but it is also changing lives in ways that may also contribute indirectly to increased deaths — by overloading the health care system and discouraging people from seeking care. ........

What if immunity to covid-19 doesn’t last? Researchers say people can catch mild, cold-causing coronaviruses twice in the same year.
Here's who's still waiting for stimulus money
Georgia reports more than 25,600 coronavirus cases, 1,095 deaths. Here’s a breakdown by county
More than 80 percent of hospitalized covid-19 patients in Georgia were African American, study finds
AstraZeneca teams up with Oxford University to develop coronavirus vaccine — first results from human trials expected in June or July
US weekly jobless claims hit 3.84 million, topping 30 million over the last 6 weeks
Up to 60 bodies found in four trucks outside Brooklyn funeral home
Donald Trump's not-so-secret plan for his life after leaving the White House "It seems much more likely -- maybe inevitable -- that once he leaves office, Trump will continue to tweet and call in to cable news shows. Perhaps he will even attend political rallies, which is the part of the job he seems to enjoy most..... "There is no reason to think -- none at all -- that he will discontinue his penchant for weighing in on American politics on an hourly basis. There is every reason to think that he will vigorously attack any Republican who was disloyal to him during his administration. Or retroactively criticizes his tenure. Or runs in opposition to one of his preferred candidates. Or jeopardizes any of his many and varied interests." .......... "OAN, based in San Diego, made its first splash in the opening weeks of the Trump campaign, when the channel became the first to carry Trump's campaign speeches live and in full -- a decision followed quickly by the owner's directive that other candidates' rallies not be given the same treatment, according to internal emails." ...... It's not much of a leap to imagine ex-President Trump becoming a co-owner in OANN after vacating the White House. And using his profile and legion of dedicated fans to boost its profile as a true Trumpian alternative to Fox News. Right? ..... One thing is for sure: Donald Trump isn't going to be gone from your TV screens anytime soon.

No Testing, No Treatment, No Herd Immunity, No Easy Way Out We need to start preparing for a darker reality. ............. The world economy entered free fall. And even for those who do not have a sick relative or a mortgage that can’t be paid, the isolation imposed by social distancing has begun to take a heavy psychological toll. ........ because some people who have COVID-19 don’t seem to show any symptoms, I wondered whether the disease might be far more widespread than the initial data suggested, raising the prospect of the United States’ reaching herd immunity without mass casualties. ............ About one in seven New Yorkers who were administered the test were found to have antibodies to the virus. .........

the true fatality rate could be a little less than 1 percent.

........... there’s no easy way out of social distancing. .........

Even if the virus has a fatality rate of a little less than 1 percent, this means that letting it spread through the population of the United States would cause about 2 million deaths.

........ so long as we can’t rule out that millions would die in the United States alone, plans to brave the virus by going back to normal remain in the realm of the stupid or the sociopathic. .............

patients who took hydroxychloroquine were actually more likely to die than those who did not.

........ the study concludes that remdesivir “was not associated with clinical or virological benefits.” .......... We won’t get to herd immunity in the near future. A miracle drug is not in sight. The only way to restart the economy, then, is to put a highly effective system in place to test millions of people, trace their movements, and quickly quarantine those who might have been infected. ..........

It now seems less likely than ever that the United States will do what is necessary to reopen the economy without causing a second wave of deadly infections.

........ America is also behind on test and trace. ...... But implementing such a system requires two things the United States sorely lacks: widespread trust in the government and a coordinated response from the White House. ........... Viruses don’t respect state lines. ........

the president has doubled down on culture wars and quack cures.

............... Early last week, Trump fanned the flames of the irresponsible protests against stay-at-home orders that are now being staged in cities across the country. A few days later, he vowed to “suspend immigration” to the United States. Then he suggested that scientists look into the possibility of injecting patients with bleach............

And for all the ingenuity shown by individual governors, the absence of a coordinated federal strategy may prove impossible to overcome.


COVID-19 is too deadly to let it rip through the population. An effective cure is not in sight. And the federal government is incapable of formulating a coherent pandemic response.

Coronavirus News (67)

Coronavirus may lurk deep in lungs after patients recover, study suggests Postmortem of woman finds she had undetected traces in lungs after testing negative three times and being discharged from hospital ...... As WHO investigates why some recovered patients test positive again, the medical community works to assess any lasting effect on the body

Shift in mindset needed so US can work with China to tackle coronavirus pandemic and other global issues Instead of containment and conflict, the US and China need to engage constructively, accept intractable differences, and move towards co-leadership on global issues from climate and hunger to nuclear proliferation ...... most countries – including the United States – were simply unprepared, even as the viral threat became well known. ........ Imagine how the world would celebrate if the US and China were to announce a coordinated and continuing leadership through a fully funded and staffed World Health Organisation. The WHO could then disseminate its research on the make-up and spread of the virus, profile of the most vulnerable, most effective mitigation techniques, medical supplies, hospital facilities and staff required, and work necessary to rapidly develop and distribute a vaccine. ......... Stockpiles could quickly be built up and accessed via global supply chains.

If that model were in place when Covid-19 hit, the human and economic losses are likely to have been a fraction of what they will be.

........... Instead of working with China, we find ourselves doing the opposite ........ China’s economy, though slowed by the trade war, continues to grow significantly faster than America’s, fuelled by urbanisation, a rapidly growing middle class and a rising services industry. .......... The Belt and Road Initiative is generating substantial goodwill and economic opportunities, with China’s trade with Africa now nearly four times larger than the US’. China is positioned to succeed, given its advances in renewable energy, high-speed rail, 5G, advanced computing and artificial intelligence. ......... Every year, it adds a population of graduating scientists, technology specialists, engineers and mathematicians several times larger than the comparable US graduate pool. In nearly every way, containment has failed. ........ What we need is a return to constructive engagement that would lead to collective global leadership. For this, the US needs another fundamental mindset shift. There needs to be acceptance on both sides – particularly the US – that each country’s model is rooted in its unique history and culture. ............ .....Unlike the US, where citizens expect some sense of control while selecting leaders through elections, China selects its leaders through merit, ongoing performance reviews and examinations.

China has no popular election above local-government level but popular support for the government is among the highest globally

............. China still has among the most peaceful records of any major country in terms of involvement in foreign wars. ..... China has proven it has no interest in exporting its governance model. ........ Such is the unchangeable nature at the core of the US and Chinese models. If the two powers can accept what cannot be changed – and cannot be expected to change – the doors would begin to open for cooperation, which we need desperately. ......... Dealing with the pandemic jointly would be a great start. Many other global issues stand to benefit enormously, such as climate change, clean air and water, hunger, refugee crises and nuclear proliferation.

Fact check: Hilton CEO shatters Trump's testing conspiracy theory while sitting beside him
Coronavirus was 'not manmade or genetically modified': U.S. spy agency contradicted conspiracy theories floated ........ all available evidence suggests the coronavirus originated in animals in China late last year and was not manipulated or made in a laboratory. .......

“The Intelligence Community (IC) also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified”

......... Trump, who has heaped blame on China for the global pandemic, on Thursday said he believes China’s handling of the disease is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November. ....... More than 3.21 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus globally, and 227,864 have died ........ Trump talked tough on China and said he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for Beijing over the virus. “I can do a lot,” he said, without providing details.

Michigan's Whitmer proposes GI bill-style free college for coronavirus essential workers
'Survival': Tenants, landlords brace for largest rent strike in decades "If banks are getting bailed out and corporations are getting bailed out, why aren't poor people getting bailed out?" one activist asked. ....... "Rent is the last thing I want to think about during this crisis, and being evicted is the last thing I want to worry about." ........ "The reason why our campaign is called 'Food Not Rent' is because we're actually telling folks to choose your survival, choose your life, over paying your rent at this point." ........ "We're in a moment where politically impossible things are possible, and a rent strike is not just about canceling rent for the crisis" ..........

"It's about, like, opening up a whole new world of social housing."

........ "We don't go back to go back to a world with 92,000 homeless New Yorkers and half our state can't afford to pay their rent." ...... More than 43 million households are renters ....... Housing advocates fear mass evictions without government intervention. More than 30 states have moratoriums on evictions during the outbreak, but some will expire in the next month. Other states, like Colorado, have no such mandate, which has left evictions to courts and local governments .........

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is also a Democrat, has signaled no willingness to cancel or freeze rents.

.......... In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, barred evictions through the end of May. Tenants must notify landlords within seven days of failing to pay and provide documentation proving that they were affected by the pandemic. ......... She said some of the members of her organization didn't get stimulus checks from the CARES Act because of their immigration status or have been unable to access unemployment benefits — and others are having to choose to potentially expose themselves to the virus by continuing to work. ......... The legislation calls for 90 days of rent forgiveness for residential and commercial tenants if they lost their work or businesses because of the pandemic, as well as a 90-day suspension of some mortgage payments.

Why the government makes it hard for Americans to get unemployment benefits The system is dysfunctional. It was designed that way. .......... In Florida, for example, the previous Republican governor, Rick Scott, created a congested unemployment system that was nearly impossible to use so that the unemployment numbers would remain artificially low. ...........

the “gap between the promise of public programs and the reality of their design” has been uniquely exposed by this pandemic.

......... we need to completely rethink “how we administer the safety net in the United States.” ......... The guiding principle in most states is that people don’t need to be on unemployment and that there are plenty of jobs available. So they’ve built in processes to try to get people off it quickly. And most states designed their systems with something like 3 or 4 percent unemployment in mind, so they don’t have the capacity to deal with much more than that. ......... “For too long, administrative processes have been designed to prevent claimants from incorrectly receiving benefits, rather than ensuring that those in need get help.” That’s an assumption, or a value judgment, built into our model of social welfare that all but guarantees it won’t work well for the people who need it. .......... We’re fixated on fraud and abuse, which is extremely low in social welfare programs — something like 1 to 2 percent of cases. And even then, it’s not what people mean when they think of “fraud and abuse.” It’s mostly people making mistakes because they didn’t understand eligibility rules .......... 20 to 30 percent of people are unable to access these programs even when they’re clearly eligible for them .............. this is about trumping up these accusations in order to undermine programs they fundamentally don’t believe in,

just as a lot of Republicans disingenuously complain about voting fraud as a cover for depressing voting numbers

. ............... We’re in a moment where a lot of people, all at once, are trying to seek help from the government and are actually seeing what it’s actually like when you try to do that. People paid into unemployment, they qualify for unemployment, and it’s completely not their fault that they lost their jobs. But we’ve built this system that makes it almost impossible to get help. ......... they should also be required to report how many people they’re failing to reach. ....... we need some quick, easy things the government can do, like increasing SNAP benefits. No one needs to do anything. It just gets loaded on your card and it’s super effective in terms of the return on investment and economic activity.

One $1,200 stimulus check won’t cut it. Give Americans $2,000 a month tax-free to fire up the economy Emergency Money for the People Act covers what the CARES Act missed ........ Every American age 16 and older who earns less $130,000 per year will receive this money. ........ will provide almost every American $2,000 per month until employment levels reach pre-coronavirus levels. ........ These payments will be guaranteed for a minimum of six months, continuing until the U.S. employment rate reaches pre-coronavirus levels. .........

Consumer spending makes up roughly 70% of U.S. gross domestic product, so how will our small businesses survive if their customers don’t have money in their pockets? The old strategies have failed us. This is an unprecedented crisis, and it is time for government to respond in an unprecedented way.

........ realizing that not everyone has a bank account or a permanent home address, the money will be made available in more ways, with payments coming through direct deposit, check, pre-paid debit card, or mobile money platforms such as Venmo, Zelle, and PayPal. ......... these payments will not count as income for any families that are eligible for income-based state or federal government assistance programs such as Medicaid or SNAP, and people who have no earnings, were or currently unemployed would also be eligible for assistance. .......... Members on both sides of the aisle in Congress and President Donald Trump must come together in the fourth COVID-19 relief package to expand direct support for our people. The Emergency Money for the People Act will provide more money for more Americans and should be signed into law immediately. ............ U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Hong Kong's protesters are being used to further their own ruin

Coronavirus News (66)

Oil Price Shock: What It Means for Producers and Consumers For producers, the negative prices had them worrying briefly about paying buyers to buy their oil, but now they face longer term concerns, such as having to curtail output; shut down producing wells and defer new well openings; put off exploration; and file for bankruptcies or get acquired in a wave of consolidation ............ “Investors and traders were so desperate not to receive oil that they were willing to pay others to take the barrels instead” ........

“COVID is simply outside what even the most far-reaching energy market scenarios had considered.”

...... wrong calls by automated trading may be the culprit behind last week’s dramatic price fall. ........ “a new normal” is being defined by the pandemic ...... Many in the oil industry worry that the pandemic will continue in the summer months that usually see peak demand. ......... “And, just because crude oil is free or even better priced, it still costs money to refine it and distribute it. Gas prices at the pump won’t go to zero even at negative crude prices.” .......... “It’s expensive to cap the wells, so a lot of the wells were kept open and continued to produce” ........ “Capping a well is not like putting the cap back on the ketchup bottle,” said Smetters. “Capping some wells can be cheap. But high-pressure, high-temperature wells are harder to cap and plugging them is more permanent and expensive.” ........... The break-even rate of producing shale oil in the Permian Basin in Texas ranges between $40 and $55 a barrel ..........

“If prices settle at $10 for an extended period, it will mean the industry is in deep trouble”

............ “The 2022 futures trade around $40 per barrel, suggesting that the market expects oil demand to recover significantly post-COVID.” ............. “The market is desperately trying to find storage opportunities for the excess oil that’s still being pumped up, now that there’s no demand for oil with our empty freeways and grounded planes.” ......... Insofar as Russia’s predictability is concerned, it suffered a humiliating defeat and now knows that backing off on promises could bring swift retaliation from the Saudis. .......... Russia especially could be hit hard by the price crash, since it exports 70% of its oil production ........ The drop in oil prices in 2014 “wreaked havoc” on Russia’s economy, but last Monday’s price drop is much larger .......... as of April 17, the strategic oil reserve held 635 million barrels out of a total capacity of 797 million barrels. “Even ignoring shipping costs, that open reserve equals about two days of total world oil production ........ “To put it bluntly, given a limited amount of funds, would you rather keep and grow jobs in solar energy, or subsidize shale oil producers?

EXPERTS: PEOPLE PROBABLY AREN’T ACTUALLY CATCHING COVID AGAIN early experiments with animals, which showed that COVID-19 immunity would last for a year after infection. ........ “If you’re testing a lot of people like they did in China, you’re likely to get a lot of false positives and a lot of false negatives” .......... the coronavirus can mutate relatively quickly, which could end up giving people an immunity for only a short period of time after being infected. .......... Early signs point towards the coronavirus only mutating in smaller, insignificant ways. ....... “We hope this is going to be more akin to a measles vaccine.”

Here’s Why Elon Musk Keeps Complaining About Quarantine the mercurial entrepreneur doesn’t seem motivated by civil liberties. Instead, he’s angry that his factory is shut down — and he’s willing to put lives at risk to open it back up again. ......... We only have two car factories right now: one in Shanghai and one in the Bay Area, and the Bay Area produces the vast majority of our cars.” .......... “But to say they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist,” he said on Wednesday’s call. “This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom.” .........

That’s a sharp reversal for Musk, who tweeted in 2017 that if “my words are against science, choose science.”

........... “It will cause great harm, not just to Tesla, but to many companies,” he said. “And while Tesla will weather the storm, there are many small companies that will not.”

Report: COVID May Have Killed Way More Americans Than We Think According to experts, the pandemic's death toll could be vastly higher than we thought. ........... an estimated 15,4000 excess deaths — twice as many as those attributed to the deadly coronavirus at the time.

THIS DISINFECTANT CAN KEEP SURFACES CORONAVIRUS-FREE FOR MONTHS After successful clinical tests, MAP-1 will be commercially available in Hong Kong starting in May, Reuters reports. It’s already been used to coat low-income housing in the city in an attempt to stave off future coronavirus infections.

THIS COVID-19 VACCINE COULD BE READY BY SEPTEMBER "IT IS A VERY, VERY FAST CLINICAL PROGRAM." ........ As various teams race to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, one group at Oxford University says that — if everything goes perfectly — theirs could be available as soon as September.

SCIENTISTS FIND AIRBORNE CORONAVIRUS FLOATING IN WUHAN HOSPITAL "IT STRONGLY SUGGESTS THAT THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR AIRBORNE TRANSMISSION." ........ Chinese scientists have found new evidence that the coronavirus could spread through the air in airborne droplets ....... levels of concentration of the virus’ RNA in aerosols was very low in isolation wards and ventilated patient rooms — but elevated in “patients’ toilet areas” ....... “Our results indicate that room ventilation, open space, sanitization of protective apparel, and proper use and disinfection of toilet areas can effectively limit the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in aerosols” ......... The World Health Organization so far has claimed that the virus mainly spreads through larger droplets that fall to the ground relatively quickly and through contaminated surfaces. ......... But others have argued that the virus can spread through aerosol particles that can go airborne as well. ....“Those are going to stay in the air floating around for at least two hours” ........ while the scientists couldn’t find substantial traces of the virus in well-ventilated and open spaces, confined spaces such as bathrooms could be where the virus spreads. ......“I think it adds good evidence to avoid crowding”

Coronavirus News (65)

Combating COVID-19: Lessons from Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan How have Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea leveraged their IT infrastructure and capabilities to deal with the crisis? What could other governments learn from their experience? ..........

Newspapers, television, and social media have been awash with reports about COVID-19 developments.

.......... the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the country’s communication regulator, gave temporary access to the 5.9GHz spectrum for rural wireless broadband. Temporary access was granted to 33 fixed-wireless internet service providers (WISPs) ...... The agency’s stated aim behind this move was to bring access to telehealth, distance learning and telework to rural communities in several states. ....... in a bold legislative move, Congress relaxed several restrictions on the use of telemedicine to treat people covered under the Medicare program. .......

unlike in the world of business, there are no unambiguously measurable financial targets — such as profits, market share, unit costs and market capitalization – in the public administration of health

......... how

Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea

overcame daunting challenges and deployed technology to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. .......... There is perhaps no better example than that of Singapore when it comes to using ICT for rapid, large-scale social orchestration. ......... Singapore, which has a population density as well as a population comparable to that of New York City, reported its first case of COVID-19 on January 23, while New York confirmed its first case on March 1. Singapore had 9,125 cases on April 21, compared to New York’s 251,720 (and 11 deaths to NYC’s 14,828 on April 21). ............. At the heart of Singapore’s response to the pandemic is contact tracing, a process by which every newly discovered infected case (person) is mapped on to all the people that might have been potentially infected by that person. Within 24 hours of each new infection being discovered, more than 100 contact tracers working around the clock put together the contact map for that person. ...................... “Singapore invested heavily in developing capacity and an infrastructure to deal with these types of outbreaks over the past 10 to 15 years, including increasing capacity for intensive care and patient isolation facilities, building expertise in infectious disease.” ................... Singapore’s digital technological capabilities paid off. They enabled the state to take

extraordinarily thorough and swift measures at scale in the face of the pandemic

. ................ The capabilities that South Korea developed to fight disaster stemming from geopolitical conflicts were amplified by its use of digital technologies to orchestrate a swift and cohesive response at scale to the pandemic. ............ Ever since the SARS epidemic of 2003, Taiwan has been in a state of constant readiness to combat epidemics arising from China, given the deep and extensive contact between the two countries. As many as 2.71 million visitors from China entered Taiwan in 2019. ............. After the SARS outbreak in 2002, Taiwan had created a disaster management and recovery center — National Health Command Center (NHCC) – which focused on large disease outbreaks and served as the operational command for a coordinated response across multiple agencies and regions. In the face of the rapidly escalating pandemic, Taiwan was able to calm its citizens and convince them that the government was in control of several critical tasks. These ranged from border control, quarantine monitoring and resource mobilization to the effective management of logistics and operations. Careful and accurate communication helped Taiwan keep its citizenry well informed and fight misinformation.

The vice president of Taiwan, an epidemiologist by training, led the public information campaign from the office of the president.

................ Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s use of Facebook to reach out to the citizens. The PM posted “…Once a case is confirmed, within two hours [contact tracers] create a detailed activity log of the patient’s movements and interactions in the 14 days before admission….” ............ The ministry of health also provided regular and consistent WhatsApp group updates of what was happening in the country and the extent to which the virus had spread. The government opted for transparency and people were told in stark terms what could happen next. Not only did the delivery of information on social media channels help control panic, it also strengthened the credibility of the public administration in the eyes of its citizens. ..................

the investment in administrative capabilities in public health was strengthened by its digital technology capabilities and vice versa.

............. when a new COVID-19 case was found in a neighborhood, people within that geography were alerted by information sent to their mobile phones. The alert provided information about the patient’s demographic details as well the patient’s travel history. .......... Sharing of aggregate population trends and tracking of events in real-time are possible even in regimes that have stringent privacy laws. South Korea’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) provides for comprehensive safeguards for the protection of citizens’ privacy. Taiwan, too, has very strict data protection and privacy legislation including the Personal Data Protection Act, which regulates collection, processing and use of personal data. These laws have not restricted these countries from using information effectively when a swift response was called for in an emergency. .............. a contact-tracing smartphone app – TraceTogether – developed by GovTech that identifies people that have been within two meters of a patient for at least 30 minutes for follow up action by contact tracers. ............. Taiwan tracks quarantined peoples’ cell phone signals for possible violation of quarantine requirements. Texts to those found outside the quarantine zone as well alerts to enforcement authorities are sent by the automated system. Taiwan imposes a fine on people who leave quarantine without a phone. ............ Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan all made a distinction between the use of data to advance commercial objectives and the use of data to protect the well-being of citizens in an emergency. In all three cases, the use of data was restricted to narrowly defined and specific usage contexts that were only related to responding to the contagion. ..................

The authority that moves large numbers of people to cohesive action is not the coercive power of the state as much as the authority of specialists and the credibility that they command.

............. Singapore’s citizens have always been led by a technocratic government often praised for its efficiency. Within a week of China’s lock down of Wuhan, the government of Singapore closed its borders, set up a virus fighting task force and imposed stringent home quarantine measures. The initial response was led by Vernon Lee, director of the communicable diseases division at Singapore’s Ministry of Health, who said

his goal was to get ahead of the pandemic rather than to chase it and fall behind

. ............ Taiwan’s big data efforts coopted the public as collaborative partners. Rather than treat patients as careless offenders, the CECC took the view that the population faced a looming peril which was best combatted using collective measures. ..............

Taiwan’s approach was not only ‘big data’ but also ‘big tent’ – which means Taiwan did not seek to assign blame or take punitive measures against those infected and/or quarantined.

........... the approval ratings of the president and premier were about 70% and the minister of health and welfare was over 80% ..............

Taiwan .. has 420 cases and 6 deaths with a mortality rate of 0.25 per million people (the U.S. has a mortality rate of about 85 per million people).

........... a month after the surge in new cases, New York City reported about 7,500 new cases a day. ........... In each case, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan learned from the past and put in place a set of competencies and response capabilities. These capabilities required effective communication techniques, rapid dissemination of information, the ability to recognize emerging patterns and act on them, and finally, the ability to reach the individual citizen and orchestrate cohesive group action. ............. Any large-scale deployment of an information network will of course carry with it the hazards of cyber-attacks. Such hazards are no different from those faced by financial systems, public transportation systems, and indeed the power grid. ....... robust protections are needed both for the physical security of the information processing network as well as the privacy of individuals from overreach by commercial entities and bureaucrats ........ Indeed, the internet itself was first designed with the objective being able to withstand just about any catastrophe.

We are now officially living an era that many scientists call Anthropozoic or Anthropocene. An era where a class of man...

Posted by Partha Banerjee on Thursday, April 30, 2020

Not Like the Flu, Not Like Car Crashes, Not Like... It’s about the spike.
Donald Trump reveals plans to bring back his '25,000 people rallies' as he says he will travel to Arizona and Ohio, saying 'I'd like to get out' - and says of the virus 'it's going to leave'
NYC subway to end 24-hour service for first time for coronavirus disinfection
Japanese island suffering second wave of coronavirus after lifting lockdown too early
Singapore's coronavirus spike sends world a wake-up call Migrant worker infections turn success story into cautionary lesson ...... Surging coronavirus infections in Singapore's migrant worker communities have underscored the difficulty of stomping out the disease -- and may offer lessons for other countries.

Coronavirus News (64)

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Could End Recent epidemics provide clues to ways the current crisis could stop .......... We know how the COVID-19 pandemic began: Bats near Wuhan, China, hold a mix of coronavirus strains, and sometime last fall one of the strains, opportunistic enough to cross species lines, left its host or hosts and ended up in a person. Then it was on the loose. ............ This coronavirus is unprecedented in the combination of its easy transmissibility, a range of symptoms going from none at all to deadly, and the extent that it has disrupted the world. A highly susceptible population led to near exponential growth in cases.

“This is a distinct and very new situation”

........... what happens next depends on both the evolution of the pathogen and of the human response to it, both biological and social.......... the H1N1 influenza outbreak of 1918–1919. Doctors and public health officials had far fewer weapons than they do today, and the effectiveness of control measures such as school closures depended on how early and decisively they were implemented.

Over two years and three waves, the pandemic infected 500 million and killed between 50 million and 100 million.

It ended only as natural infections conferred immunity on those who recovered. .................. The H1N1 strain became endemic, an infectious disease that was constantly with us at less severe levels, circulating for another 40 years as a seasonal virus. It took another pandemic—H2N2 in 1957—to extinguish most of the 1918 strain. One flu virus kicked out another one, essentially, and scientists don’t really know how. ...........

Of the seven known human coronaviruses, four circulate widely, causing up to a third of common colds.

........... Influenza viruses are slippery, mutating rapidly to escape immunity. As a result, the vaccines must be updated every year and given regularly. ............ Projections about how COVID-19 will play out are speculative, but the end game will most likely involve a mix of everything that checked past pandemics:

Continued social-control measures to buy time, new antiviral medications to ease symptoms, and a vaccine.

.......... “The question of how the pandemic plays out is at least 50 percent social and political” .......... Researchers have banded together like never before ........... Compared with flu viruses, coronaviruses don’t have as many ways to interact with host cells. “If that interaction goes away, [the virus] can’t replicate anymore” ......... It is not clear whether a vaccine will confer long-term immunity as with measles or short-term immunity as with flu shots. But “any vaccine at all would be helpful at this point” ............ Unless a vaccine is administered to all of the world’s eight billion inhabitants who are not currently sick or recovered, COVID-19 is likely to become endemic. It will circulate and make people sick seasonally—sometimes very sick. ......... The combination of vaccination and natural immunity will protect many of us. The coronavirus, like most viruses, will live on—but not as a planetary plague. 

Galileo's Lessons for Living and Working Through a Plague An outbreak in Italy in the 1630s forced him to find new ways of doing his research and connecting with family ..............

Isaac Newton has repeatedly been held up as a model of epidemic-induced productivity, since he spent his 1666 “year of miracles” avoiding the plague in the English countryside and developing his ideas on gravity, optics and calculus.

.......... But isolation and quiet contemplation is only one model of science during plague times, and one to which few of us can really relate. ........... several of the most public and turbulent years of Galileo’s life took place during the great plague outbreak of 1630–33. .......... Galileo, who was born in 1564, had been a child in Florence during the previous major Italian outbreak of plague in 1575–77, which ravaged Northern Italy and killed 50,000 people in Venice—one third of the total population. .......... “Let me say first that when I decided to come here I did so out of desire to save my life, not for recreation or a change of air.” ........... “I want to live well… but he wants me to die healthy…. As long as I don’t die of plague, he’s happy to have me die of hunger.” .................. As we confront our own separation from loved ones, we should remember the ways in which Galileo’s devoted family supported him at a distance during this tumultuous period. ............ The challenges of articulating novel scientific discoveries that conflict with political and religious doctrine. The challenges of continuing an international scientific program over the course of nearly a decade of isolation and imprisonment. And, of course, the challenges of living in a time devastated by epidemic. ............ hold up

Galileo as our exemplary plague scientist

. Bolstered by his relationships with his family and friends and strengthened by electuaries of dried fruit and honey, Galileo’s life teaches us that pursuing science has never been straightforward during an epidemic, and that it is nonetheless essential to persevere.

Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across 14 countries analysed by the FT ....... Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across these locations, considerably higher than the 77,000 official Covid-19 deaths reported for the same places and time periods............ If the same level of under-reporting observed in these countries was happening worldwide, the global Covid-19 death toll would rise from the current official total of 201,000 to as high as 318,000.......... the daily counts in the UK, for instance, were “far too low” because they only accounted for hospital deaths. ........ This is especially worrying for many emerging economies, where total excess mortality is orders of magnitude higher than official coronavirus fatalities. .......... In Ecuador’s Guayas province, just 245 official Covid-related deaths were reported between March 1 and April 15, but data on total deaths show that about 10,200 more people died during this period than in a typical year — an increase of 350 per cent. ............ In the northern Italian region of Lombardy, the heart of Europe’s worst outbreak, there are more than 13,000 excess deaths in the official statistics for the nearly 1,700 municipalities for which data is available. This is an uptick of 155 per cent on the historical average and far higher than the 4,348 reported Covid deaths in the region. .........

In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, data on burials shows an increase of 1,400 relative to the historical average during the same period — 15 times the official figure of 90 Covid deaths for the same period.

...... Even the much higher numbers of deaths in the pandemic suggested by excess mortality statistics are likely to be conservative, as lockdowns mean that “mortality from numerous conditions such as traffic accidents and occupational injuries possibly went down” .........

What if immunity to covid-19 doesn’t last? Researchers say people can catch mild, cold-causing coronaviruses twice in the same year. .......... four coronaviruses, HKU1, NL63, OC42, and C229E, which circulate widely every year but don’t get much attention because they only cause common colds. ........ a new coronavirus in the same broad family, SARS-CoV-2, has the world on lockdown .......... people frequently got reinfected with the same coronavirus, even in the same year, and sometimes more than once. Over a year and a half, a dozen of the volunteers tested positive two or three times for the same virus, in one case with just four weeks between positive results. .........

For the coronaviruses “immunity seems to wane quickly”

........ even though most people have previously developed antibodies to them, they get the viruses again ......... We’re currently in the pandemic phase. That’s when a new virus, which humans are entirely susceptible to, rockets around the planet. And humanity is still a greenfield for covid-19—as of April 26, there were about three million confirmed cases, or one in 2,500 people on the planet. (Even though the true number of infections is undoubtedly higher .........

until a vaccine is available, the world should get ready for a “new way of living.”

...... “There are a lot of people who were infected and survived, and they are walking around, and they don’t seem to be getting reinfected or infecting other people” ..........

if immunity is short, as it is for the common coronaviruses, covid-19 could set itself up as a seasonal superflu with a high fatality rate—one that emerges in a nasty wave winter after winter.

....... “Even though the common cold costs the US $20 billion a year, these viruses don’t kill, and anything that does not kill, we don’t have surveillance for.” ........... Is there a chance the disease will turn into a killer version of the common cold, constantly out there, infecting 10% or 20% of the population each year, but also continuing to kill one in a hundred? If so, it would amount to a plague capable of shaving the current rate of world population growth by a tenth. ............. “I don’t know when this goes away, and if anyone says they know, they don’t know what they are talking about”

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Coronavirus News (63)

They were together for 73 years and died 6 hours apart -- both from coronavirus
'Heads we win, tails you lose': how America's rich have turned pandemic into profit As 26 million Americans lose their jobs, the billionaire class has added $308bn to its wealth ....... Never let a good crisis go to waste: as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the world, America’s 1% have taken profitable advantage of the old saying. ......

Some of the richest people in the US have been at the front of the queue as the government has handed out trillions of dollars to prop up an economy it shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, the billionaire class has added $308bn to its wealth in four weeks - even as a record 26 million people lost their jobs.

Dad of NY doctor Lorna Breen says she ‘was in the trenches’ before suicide

Covid-19 has blown apart the myth of Silicon Valley innovation The pandemic shows that the US is no longer much good at coming up with technologies relevant to our most basic needs. ........ the coronavirus pandemic has revealed much of what is broken and decayed in politics and society in America. ...... Big tech doesn’t build anything. It’s not likely to give us vaccines or diagnostic tests. We don’t even seem to know how to make a cotton swab. ........ The pandemic has made clear this festering problem: the US is no longer very good at coming up with new ideas and technologies relevant to our most basic needs. We’re great at devising shiny, mainly software-driven bling that makes our lives more convenient in many ways. But we’re far less accomplished at reinventing health care, rethinking education, making food production and distribution more efficient, and, in general, turning our technical know-how loose on the largest sectors of the economy. ...........

innovation is the only way for an advanced country like the US to grow over the long run ...... a lack of business- and government-funded R&D is a big factor

....... Even before the pandemic, Van Reenen proposed “a massive pool of R&D resources that are invested in areas where market failures are the most substantial, such as climate change.” ....... one of the most important failures revealed by covid-19: our diminished ability to innovate in areas that truly count, like health care and climate change.

Elon Musk Tweets 'FREE AMERICA NOW' As His Coronavirus Predictions Prove Very Wrong
Google Meet, Google’s Zoom competitor, is now free for everyone Google did video before Zoom, but a lack of focus means it wasn't ready for COVID-19.
India should be placed on religious freedom blacklist, US panel says Commission says religious minorities face ‘increasing assault’ under Narendra Modi but state department unlikely to take action
Trump still seems to not understand how bad the coronavirus crisis is
Trump set to travel to Arizona next week amid push to lift coronavirus restrictions
State bankruptcy furor shakes up McConnell reelection bid
FDA reportedly will approve Covid-19 treatment remdesivir, which US-funded trial shows has 'positive effect' on recovery
Half of Americans won’t trust contact-tracing apps, new poll finds Respondents trust public health agencies, but not tech firms, with their data.
U.S. coronavirus outbreak soon to be deadlier than any flu since 1967 as deaths top 60,000

Coronavirus News (62)

pandemic hair don’t care
Posted by Exec Chef Ricky Kirk on Monday, April 27, 2020

Flattening The Curve Of Economic Benefits: The Real Reasons For Re-Opening The Economy Georgia governor Brian Kemp explained that the decision was based on data and guidance from leading Georgia scientists. ......... However, the state’s 23, 773 confirmed cases have been steadily rising. With 942 deaths so far, Georgia ranks #10 out of 50 states.
कति घातक छ ‘बहुराष्ट्र राज्य’को धारणा ?
Get Ready for a Postcoronavirus World. The Economy Will Never Be the Same.
Arizona businesses say they will re-open Friday regardless of Governor Ducey's decision
अस्पतालका बिरामीको सेवा गर्दा परिवारै संक्रमित : ‘सपरिवारै बिरामी हुँदा यसरी जित्यौं कोरोना’

Suicides in Queens rise since mid-March compared to 2019 as concerns about mental health grow during coronavirus pandemic
In four U.S. state prisons, nearly 3,300 inmates test positive for coronavirus -- 96% without symptoms
San Francisco had the 1918 flu under control. And then it lifted the restrictions. A cautionary tale about the dangers of reopening too soon.
Germany ready to tighten lockdown as coronavirus infection rate climbs again
स्वास्थ्यकर्मीको अथक् प्रयासले कोरोना संक्रमितलाई निको बनाएर पठाइरहेका छौं : डा. पोखरेल
De Blasio blasts Jewish community for massive Brooklyn funeral
I’ve worked the coronavirus front line — and I say it’s time to start opening up
Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story
Hong Kong facing threat of worst recession ever, finance chief Paul Chan warns, as he predicts coronavirus will have ‘long-lasting’ impact Paul Chan says economy could shrink by between 4 and 7 per cent, with recession worse than during global economic tsunami or Asian financial crisis ..... Financial secretary urges lawmakers to pass his budget and calls on people to resolve their differences
Singapore expects spike in job losses as coronavirus pandemic hits demand and economists predict ‘darkest year’ ahead Government policies to safeguard jobs could see retrenchments affecting foreigners more, leading to knock-on effects on the rental market ..... Singapore is bracing for a deeper-than-expected recession with people saving instead of spending even after circuit-breaker measures are lifted
China’s economy is recovering from the coronavirus, but don’t expect it to ‘save’ the global economy The latest data gives confidence that China’s economy should slowly return to normal by the end of the year. But developed economies’ recovery won’t mirror China’s ....... Beijing’s priority is to steady the economy. It’s likely to favour measured support over any large-scale stimulus that could risk its financial stability
Indian actor Irrfan Khan, who starred in movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi, dies at 53 Khan starred in a number of Bollywood films and made his mark in Hollywood films ...... He died after a prolonged battle with cancer, a spokesman confirmed

NHS (National Health Service) rejects Apple-Google coronavirus app plan

We Will All Be Wearing Hijab Now

This pandemic will go on for at least two years. This is the new normal. Until there is a vaccine, there is no vaccine. And this virus is new and unlike any virus before it. If this virus is like the flu virus then even that vaccine will not take us back to where we were. And that would mean hijab for life. We will all be wearing hijabs now.

Wear masks like you wear pants. Hijabs are the new normal. We all wear hijabs now.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Coronavirus News (61)

"Immunity passports" in the context of COVID-19
Coronavirus at meatpacking plants worse than first thought, USA TODAY investigation finds Coronavirus closed Smithfield and JBS meatpacking plants. Many more are at risk. Operators may have to choose between worker health or meat in stores.
Blue Angels and Thunderbirds will fly over New York and other cities to salute first responders
How New Zealand 'eliminated' Covid-19 after weeks of lockdown Monday was the final day of almost five weeks of strict level four lockdown measures, which New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as "the strictest constraints placed on New Zealanders in modern history." ........ On Tuesday, the country eased into a less restrictive lockdown, with 400,000 more New Zealanders heading back to work and 75% of the country's economy operating, according to Ardern. The new level three restrictions also mean that New Zealanders will be able to hold small funerals and buy takeaways....... "We are not out of the woods," she said at a press conference Tuesday. "(Level three) is a recovery room of sorts to assess if the incredible work that New Zealanders have done ... has worked." ........

an approach that could be applied anywhere -- moving swiftly, testing widely, and relying heavily on good science.

Brazil emerges as next potential coronavirus hotspot
Small business loans above $2 million will get full audit to make sure they’re valid, Mnuchin says
YouTube to stream Tribeca, Cannes, Sundance films for free starting May 29 The 10-day We Are One festival will feature movies from 20 of the world's most famous film festivals.
Making sense of the viral multiverse
Cautious return to normality needed With civil servants due to get back to work and some restrictions eased, there are hopes school classes will resume when time is right after virus shutdown
Full transcript: ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ biographer Walter Isaacson on Recode Decode “If you can stand at that intersection between the arts and sciences or between beauty and engineering, that’s where you’ll be the most creative.”
Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Israel Upgrades Empty Roads and Rails Roadwork is booming in Israel as construction crews take advantage of empty roads and railways in the time of coronavirus to upgrade the developed world’s most congested highways.

Pulitzer winner Chris Hedges: These "are the good times — compared to what's coming next" Author of "America: The Farewell Tour": We're heading for a steep decline; Biden and the Democrats have no answers ........ Empires fall a little bit at a time and then all at once. Over the last two decades, America has proven itself to be well along on that journey. The coronavirus pandemic has simply pushed our nation further along that downward spiral. .....Ultimately, the pandemic has further exposed and exacerbated — for those still somehow in denial about the decades-long reality of America as a decaying empire — deep political, social, economic, cultural and other societal problems. .......... The country's infrastructure is rotting. Trump presides over a plutocratic, corrupt, cruel, authoritarian, pathological kakistocracy. The commons is being reduced to rubble while the ultra-rich extract ever more wealth and other resources from the American people. Excessive military spending has left the United States incapable of attending to the basic needs of its people. A culture of distraction and spectacle has rendered many Americans incapable of being responsible engaged citizens. Our public educational system does not teach critical thinking skills. Radical right-wing Christians, white terrorist organizations and other neofascist paramilitaries and extremists are engaging in a campaign of thuggery, intimidation and violence against multiracial American democracy.......... A society can change so quickly because the underlying structures are rotten. There is the patina or the veneer of a functioning system, but the foundations of it are so decayed that they can't take the stress. That was true in the Weimar Republic in Germany, before the Nazis took full control. That was true in Yugoslavia before the civil war and ethnic violence. It is true here in the United States too. This country cannot withstand the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond the obviousness of what the Republicans are doing, the Democratic Party's response to this crisis exemplifies the problems America is facing as a whole. .......... Twelve hundred dollars to individuals suffering during this crisis is not sufficient. The Democrats were only really trying to block the equivalent of a $500 billion slush fund that is going into Mnuchin's hands, a man who acts like a criminal. That $1,200 is going to get vacuumed right up by the credit card companies and the banks who hold the mortgages...........

This is like a repeat of 2008, where Congress is dumping staggering sums of money into the hands of Wall Street thieves.

......... I remember speaking to Fritz Stern, the great scholar of fascism, who himself fled Nazi Germany as a teenager. He said that in Germany there was a yearning for fascism before the word "fascism" was invented. We already see that yearning in America. The coronavirus crisis will make that yearning even more pronounced......... The pandemic was predictable. And yet, of course, especially under the Trump administration, we dismantled the mechanisms through which the United States could prepare. The needed infrastructure, such as hospital beds and ventilators and other needed equipment, was not there because,

like with all decaying empires, the resources go to the defense industry and the military.

........ The fact that Fox News is even considered a news organization is staggering — although I don't think CNN is much better............. I am unsure if we have any mechanisms left in the United States by which we can effectively push back against the elites, the oligarchs and other anti-democratic forces. We don't have any ability to pit power against power. ......... the country is a naked plutocracy. The elites do not even try to hide it anymore. ........ The oligarchs do not care about job losses because, as Marx said, unemployment creates greater pools of desperate surplus labor. The oligarchs do not care about the climate. It's all about the primacy of profit and corporate power — and those values and systems are extinguishing our democracy. ........ Mass mobilization and civil disobedience is what is needed to defeat the oligarchs and take those first steps necessary to win back an American democracy. ........ A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for more of the same. The ruling elites would prefer Joe Biden, just like they preferred Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is vulgar and an embarrassment. But the ruling elites also made it abundantly clear about their interests: Many of these people were quoted by name saying that if Bernie Sanders was the nominee — or even Elizabeth Warren — they would vote for Donald Trump. ........... James Baldwin explained why black people don't have midlife crises. Why? Because they do not buy into the myths of America. Black people know that the system in America is rigged. Black people know this when they are children. By comparison, white people buy into these illusions of meritocracy and individualism and American exceptionalism and similar beliefs. That is why the highest rates of suicide right now are among middle-aged white men, because they are finally starting to realize that the system does not care about them.

Stacey Abrams: Easily The Top Choice

There’s Nothing Wrong With Stacey Abrams’s Campaign to Be Vice-President Biden’s own decision to narrow the field to women

Democratic lawmaker knocks Stacey Abrams: 'Inappropriate' to lobby for Biden's VP Abrams has taken the rare step of touting her strengths as a potential VP in an interview with The Atlantic last week, and has made other public comments in support of such a political partnership. ........ I ran the most successful campaign to engage the communities we need to build the broadest coalition necessary in 2020 ........ "She values honesty and encourages all women and girls - particularly women and girls of color - to speak up when asked if they are qualified to lead. ...... the progressive strategy network Way to Win released survey data indicating Stacey Abrams was Biden’s strongest potential lieutenant. .........

Stacey Abrams On Voting Rights, COVID-19, And Being Vice President

"I would be an excellent running mate."

...... “Yes. I would be honored,” Abrams says. “I would be an excellent running mate. I have the capacity to attract voters by motivating typically ignored communities. I have a strong history of executive and management experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. I’ve spent 25 years in independent study of foreign policy. I am ready to help advance an agenda of restoring America’s place in the world. If I am selected, I am prepared and excited to serve.” ............

Abrams’s direct response betrays ambition, makes verifiable claims, and establishes outcomes to which she could later be held accountable. By normal political rules, it is the wrong answer.

.......... Amid this chaotic unpredictability, Abrams’s candor is disarming and comforting. ....... A graduate of Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin, and Yale Law School ......... On the heels of her defeat, she founded Fair Fight, a national organizing effort to ensure fair elections. This was followed by Fair Count, which works to achieve a fully accurate and representative census. Then, late last year, Abrams launched the Southern Economic Advancement Project to promote equitable economic and social policy for all races, classes, and genders across the region. .......... the first black woman to deliver the official Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union in 2019. ............... Not becoming governor of one state gave me the opportunity to launch a national network in 20 states [to fight for fair elections]. We are helping reform democracy in places where it was broken and battered. We are fixing access to a census that the president of the United States tried to destroy.” .............. Abrams is kind and empathetic toward her colleague, saying, “Andrew and his family deserve the privacy to address the challenges they face.” ........... “I cannot know every challenge I will meet. My job is to nurture the intellectual curiosity and the stamina necessary to respond to the unknown.” ........ Introversion may be her most comfortable default, but the public-facing Abrams exudes striking eloquence, sincere warmth, and uncompromising rootedness in identity politics—a contrast to Biden’s verbal stumbles and misconduct allegations. Although she has been called a pragmatic progressive, it is her courage and straight-no-chaser public discourse that has earned Abrams the respect of voters, organizers, and elected officials alike. The vice presidency seems an odd fit for a politician who proudly writes of her own leadership, “I refused to play my scripted part.” ....... That campaign was not a whim. It was the outcome of decades of deliberate work building my capacity to serve as many people as I could, in the most effective way possible. My responsibility is to be ready to do the job—to have the core capacities that are embedded in the role. I am able to stand effectively as a partner, to execute a vision, and to serve the vision of the president.” ......... The bottom, not the top, is where Abrams has focused her work. She and I had planned to talk in Atlanta, sitting together, sharing a meal, and discussing her vision for the country. Instead we strain to hear each other over a spotty phone line, hunkered down in our homes, doing our part to flatten the curve. ........ We are all observing social distancing, but my dad is a bit surprised: ‘You’re not gonna give me a hug?’ he said. And I said, ‘Of course not. We’re gonna operate from six feet away.’ ....... “Many Americans are now experiencing what poor communities live with daily. We have communities perennially facing lower wages, higher poverty, lack of access to health care, and lack of access to child care. Shift workers, low-wage workers, agrarian workers, and service workers are now being pushed over the edge,” she says. “We must be intentional about identifying these challenges and concrete about naming and pursuing the solutions. These issues aren’t ancillary. They are central to who we are. The poor deserve expanded and deepened support. The poorest among us are often the people working the hardest. And they deserve to be protected. It is not socialism to have a social safety net.” ....... Even from quarantine, Abrams is leading Fair Fight to help ensure the congressional stimulus package includes hundreds of millions of dollars to support vote-by-mail systems for the 2020 election. ......... We are used to seeing black women this way—trained to rely on their seemingly unlimited reservoirs of strength and believing them magically invulnerable to hurt or harm. ......... I’m a sturdy black woman with natural hair. It took me a while to recognize that I am an attractive woman. I don’t look like everyone else. But I do me really well.” ........... “I feel beautiful when young black girls come up to me. They are not just excited to see me, but to see themselves in me. When little girls point to the gaps between their teeth because they haven’t had braces. They may come from families that will never be able to afford them, like mine couldn’t.

I keep my gap. I could do Invisalign, but my gap is my mother’s gap. It’s my grandmother’s gap. This doesn’t make me less, because my parents didn’t have the money to have my teeth fixed with braces.

And it doesn’t make me less when I stand before a nation and deliver the State of the Union response.” ............ Abrams has a Sankofa sensibility. Sankofa is a West African assertion that our collective future must be rooted in a critical examination of our past. Abrams’s impulse to reach for the lessons of history while staying fixed on the necessity of service to the future suggests she may be the singularly remarkable leader America needs in this time of unprecedented economic and social change.

In a world of social distancing, Abrams is a woman worth watching closely.

Why Stacey Abrams is making her case for VP -- everywhere Stacey Abrams is everywhere, and she's not coy about her ambitions: She wants to be Joe Biden's running mate. ....... The former top Democrat in the Georgia House has been everywhere this month, giving interviews and speeches, appearing at digital forums and writing op-eds. She has described herself in interviews as an "excellent" pick for Biden, publicly gamed out how she would debate Vice President Mike Pence and argued why it would be a mistake not to pick a black woman like herself. These comments come as Biden, whose primary campaign benefited immensely from widespread support from black voters, faces public pressure to pick a woman of color as his running mate. ...... The directness belies years of precedent by prospective running mates, who often publicly play coy about the vice-presidential ambitions while simultaneously privately running campaigns to get themselves picked. ............ straightforwardness reflects who Abrams has been for her entire adult life: A black woman raised in Mississippi and Georgia who feels if she is not upfront about her ambitions, she will get passed over. ........... as a student, she created a spreadsheet with career goals that she still uses today. .......... "As a woman of color, as a black woman, as a person of color, I cannot be shy about my response, because any hint that I don't think I'm qualified, that I don't think we can is used as a justification for saying that we can't." ........

The Democratic politician, appearing from her suburban Atlanta home, has been omnipresent over the last two weeks, just as Biden and his top advisers begin looking for a running mate.

.............. "I try to be straightforward because while we hope the work speaks for itself, sometimes the work needs a hype man," Abrams said on The View this month. "And I learned early on that if I didn't speak for myself, I couldn't tell the story." ......... "She has such a strong sense of self and confidence to be who she is despite the fact that she was raised in an America where black women have not been given all the benefits and have had a lot of barriers," said Leighton. "She was so clearly herself and so true to herself and not willing to waiver." .......... "I also know the way that black women leaders can be used by white politicians and white men," Byrd said. "And I think that Stacey has found herself in a position where it was very important to name drop her in the 2020 primary, and nearly every single candidate did. And then when she's pointedly asked the question about her ambition, she started to be criticized for that." ........... it is an "important signal to have someone of color on the ticket" because for "communities of color, particularly for the black community, there has got to be a recognition that their needs are met." .......... "It would excite people beyond anything that could be done.

It would carry Georgia

" ....... "If you want to create the magic of the Obama-Biden team, you would do that best with a Biden-Abrams ticket."