Most of us know that with COVID and many other diseases there is seldom a clear binary division between ‘died’ and ‘went back to life as though nothing had ever happened’ post-recovery. One of the things that has increasingly driven my news interest and personal concern are the many studies showing how many people who survive critical or severe cases of COVID face permanent disability or organ damage or other lifelong diminutions of health and quality of life. There are also many people who have mild or moderate cases of COVID, now dubbed “long-haulers”, who get the disease but don’t clearly get better. Weeks or months later they’re still experiencing old symptoms or new symptoms or a changing parade of new and old. Doctors don’t seem clear whether these are attenuated recoveries or permanent damage. A limited but still non-trivial number of patients suffer various neurological symptoms or what could well be permanent brain damage.
One of my all-time fave reader emails just landed in the inbox. Indulging a little fanciful (but not completely implausible!) speculation on a summertime Friday afternoon, here is TPM Reader ST:
Dr. Anthony Fauci has played a vital role and has been a consistent, therapeutic presence in the U.S.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since the earliest days of the White House task force.
Matt Shuham has a good run-down here of the comical toadying behind the scenes in “Sharpie-Gate” which was unearthed by the newly-released Inspector General’s report. Read it.
It is worth remembering that while Sharpie-gate was from the start comical and absurd it was never “funny.” Taxpayers pay hundreds of millions of dollars to collect, distribute and publicize data about the weather to protect lives, property, economic vitality and more. When the President falsifies that data for trivial and self-serving reasons that’s a big problem. But this episode is best seen as an almost novelistic foreshadowing of the falsification of data and corruption of the country’s public health apparatus which only months later would lead directly to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and immiseration of millions more.
An Alabama Republican political leader (Senate President pro-tem) is back to pushing the “herd immunity” strategy as cases mount in his state.
There are a number of problems with this approach, not least of which is that having everyone get the disease as a way of combating the disease is a rather logically and conceptually confused approach. But more particularly we have the case of New York City.
We’ve been inundated with news today. I don’t mean just “us,” as in TPM, I mean the collective us. Everything from Supreme Court decisions, to mounting COVID destruction, various Trump-driven or inspired legal developments and the unfolding story of the 2020 election. I’ve been trying to absorb and make sense of it. Across the whole terrain we can see President Trump’s power ebbing and fracturing.
It’s the 20th most important thing in the Geoff Berman testimony. Or maybe the 100th. But I was struck by this line from Barr after Berman refused to resign from his job as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. According to Berman, Bill Barr told him “that getting fired from my job would not be good for my resume or future job prospects. I told him that while I did not want to get fired, I would not resign.”
I’m publishing this letter from TPM Reader LS not because she and her family have encountered any great tragedies but because it illustrates the level of life disruption even for people who’ve been pretty lucky: reasonably comfortable financially, no job loss, no one seems to have gotten badly sick or died of COVID.
From LS (lightly edited for anonymity) …
So, I’m a teacher near Austin, TX. We had an over 800% increase in cases a few weeks ago. Now, we’re celebrating that we had an actual drop in case #s? I call BS. The free testing we had in our town a week or two ago is gone, and, here’s a note on my ARC website as I go to make an appointment for my annual visit:
When I decided this month’s reading list would be centered around the idea of beach reads I could not have foreseen the number of cooking memoirs my coworkers would suggest. In retrospect, I shouldn’t be too surprised given the number of recipe swaps that take place among TPM staff and the fact that we have a Slack channel simply entitled “food.”
Now I’m hungry.