Dire Things

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March 11, 2020 5:25 p.m.
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I mentioned below that it would be a terrible mistake to shut down the Democratic presidential primary process now. Obviously here I don’t literally mean shut it down. The primaries are official elections. But I mean in the broader sense of trying to push things forward to Biden being the presumptive nominee. No more debates. Stuff like that.

But TPM Reader PP just wrote in and says he’s a 70 year old election judge in a state with an upcoming primary and, yeah, he thinks there is a reason to rush.

I am a 70 year old election judge in Illinois. Next week I’m going to be in a room for 15 hours with four other elderly judges, processing the votes of 200-300 voters. Right now I estimate my chance of dying from doing it as (2% chance infected x 8% death) = 0.16%.

Mortality and contagion statistics are very much in flux. So let’s not take those numbers as official. But I think we all get PP’s point. I hope it goes without saying that I am approaching these as two entirely separate questions: what gets done in terms of party unity or refocusing on the general versus dealing with an unfolding public health crisis.

I do not pretend to know what the right thing to do here is. I think the very mild saving grace – though I know that many see the shift in the race as a great heartbreak – is Biden seemingly on the way to winning the nomination at least makes it possible to consider postponing elections or gives some leeway to people who are at risk not to have concerns for their health put at odds with their deeply held political convictions. But yeah, this is a very serious issue. Especially for election workers, many of whom are seniors.

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.

COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).

IHME Projections Site (COVID-19 epidemic model which has become the canonical model for many states and hospitals.)

Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).

Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).

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