Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Coronavirus News (278)

MUSK: TESLA IS ROLLING OUT A BETA OF “FULL SELF-DRIVING” NEXT WEEK  “I drive the bleeding edge alpha build in my car personally,” he added at the time. “Almost at zero interventions between home and work.” ....... According to Musk, the update will take the feature from 2D to “4D,” meaning that the vehicle will be able to not only sense the three-dimensional world around it, but also predict changes in factors like location, direction, and speed.  

Why The Amy Coney Barrett Hearings Are Verging On The Absurd Modern Supreme Court confirmation hearings are empty theater, and Barrett’s is no exception. ........... She would likely vote to further dismantle Obamacare, uphold abortion limits that would make it impossible to get an abortion in some states, invalidate most regulations on guns and back corporations over individuals in most legal matters. She does not seem inclined to recuse herself from a case involving Trump’s election, even as the president has implied that he wants Barrett confirmed, in part, to rule in his favor if election-related issues reach the Supreme Court. ............. Barrett, if confirmed, would be to the ideological right of both Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh .....  polls show that a clear majority of Americans believe that the winner of the election should choose Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement ...... She didn’t say anything to annoy Republicans or win over Democrats. And, of course, that was the point. 

Trump’s Chances Are Dwindling. That Could Make Him Dangerous.  Every scientific poll we’ve seen had Trump losing the debate, some by narrow margins and some by wide ones.  ........ John McCain, for instance, briefly pulled ahead of Barack Obama following the 2008 Republican convention, and Obama didn’t really solidify his lead until early October. .......... Hillary Clinton led by only 1.4 points in our national polling average heading into the first debate that year. ......... It’s been an exceptionally stable race. ...... In 2016, the polls did show Clinton ahead, but between tight margins in tipping-point states and the large number of undecided voters, there was a fairly high probability — around 30 percent, according to our forecast — that Trump was going to win anyway. ............  nothing intrinsically rules out a larger polling error. We had one in 1948 — when Dewey didn’t defeat Truman, after all — and in 1980, when Ronald Reagan won in an epic landslide instead of the narrow margin that polls predicted. ............. a 7-point Biden lead on Election Day could, indeed, turn into a 2-point Biden popular vote win where Trump narrowly wins the Electoral College. ....... But it’s about equally likely that a 7-point Biden lead could translate into a 12-point Biden win, in which he’d not only carry states like Georgia and Texas, but would also have a shot in South Carolina, Alaska and Montana. ..........  Even a small probability that the U.S. could become a failed or manifestly undemocratic state is worth taking seriously. ........ Consider that Trump’s convention produced, at best, a very meager bounce in his favor. His attempt to pivot the campaign to a “law and order” theme fell completely flat in polls of the upper Midwest. He’s thrown the kitchen sink at Biden and not really been able to pull down Biden’s favorables. His hopes that we’d turn the corner on COVID-19 before the election are diminishing after cases have begun to rise again in many states. His campaign, somehow, is struggling to hold on to enough cash to run ads in the places it most needs to run them. The New York Times and other news organizations are likely to continue publishing damaging stories on his taxes and personal finances from now until the election. And now he’s seemingly lost the first debate. ......... If Trump intuits that he’s unlikely to win legitimately — it’s not hard to imagine him escalating his anti-democratic rhetoric and behavior. It’s also not hard to imagine this rhetoric further eroding his position in polls. ...... So we could be headed for a vicious cycle where Trump increasingly gives up on trying to persuade or turn out voters and voters increasingly give up on him.

How Trump Could Spark A Full-Blown Election Crisis  

An Open Letter to Judge Amy Coney Barrett From Your Notre Dame Colleagues from what we read your confirmation is all but assured. 

White House Embraces Covid-19 ‘Herd Immunity’ Declaration  

White House embraces a declaration from scientists that opposes lockdowns and relies on ‘herd immunity.’   The White House has embraced a declaration by a group of scientists arguing that authorities should allow the coronavirus to spread among young healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable — an approach that would rely on arriving at “herd immunity” through infections rather than a vaccine. ..........  about 85 to 90 percent of the American population is still susceptible to the coronavirus. ....... The Great Barrington Declaration, which argues against lockdowns and calls for a reopening of businesses and schools. .......... “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.” ............ The document grew out of a meeting hosted by the American Institute for Economic Research, a libertarian-leaning research organization. ..........   Sunetra Gupta and Gabriela Gomes, two scientists who have proposed that societies may achieve herd immunity when 10 to 20 percent of their populations have been infected with the virus, a position most epidemiologists disagree with. .......... What they found runs strongly counter to the theory being promoted in influential circles that the United States has either already achieved herd immunity or is close to doing so, and that the pandemic is all but over. That conclusion would imply that businesses, schools and restaurants could safely reopen, and that masks and other distancing measures could be abandoned.  

New virus cases are trending upward in a majority of the states.   Uncontrolled coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S. Midwest and Mountain West have strained hospitals, pushed the country’s case curve to its highest level since August and heightened fears about what the winter might bring. ............ the country’s trajectory is worrisome — and worsening. Many experts fear what could happen as cold weather encroaches on more of the country and drives people indoors, where the virus can spread more easily. ............  New cases are trending upward in 36 states, including much of the Northeast ........ Testing remains insufficient in much of the country. 

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