From TPM Reader SK …
I find ME’s take on California a little narrow and politically self-serving.
The die was really cast in CA back on Memorial Day weekend. Every couple of weekends after the shutdown the girlfriend and I would go driving up the 101 thru Malibu towards Ventura, really just to see the ocean on a drive to get out of her Valley apartment. Not stopping outside of a gas pump, and not interacting with anyone. The first time we drove, late March I think, the whole area was deserted, with hardly any cars in either direction. But, ultimately, even before Memorial Day, we started seeing more and more cars stopped on the side of the road on that drive, people out, half-masked at best, trying to escape outdoors.
From TPM Reader ME reports in on California moving back to lockdown …
This 2nd California shutdown really pisses me off.
I live in Los Angeles and work for one of the big movie studios. I was one of the last employees to stop working on the lot in March, but since then I’ve been super locked-down working at home.
I’ve noted repeatedly in recent weeks that for all the calamities of our national COVID response, we are actually doing a lot of testing.
As you can see, we’re doing a lot of tests and the growth over time has been steady and sustained.
Over the last seven days the average number of daily tests was 681,374, with the highest daily number 845,777. That’s a lot of tests. And we stack up fairly well against other large countries in Europe in terms of per capita testing.
Here is a very concerning article just published by a practicing physician in Vox. He reports, admittedly on very limited clinical evidence and anecdotal reports from colleagues, that people appear able to get reinfected with COVID after fully clearing an initial infection. He also suggests that such reinfections may be more severe. He compares it to diseases like dengue fever where you get a worse case each time you get it.
We’ve seen a handful of reports like this over the last four or five months. I have generally dismissed them because in every case I had seen (mostly out of East Asia), more thorough analysis showed the reports to be mistaken.
I had been working last night on a lengthy post, covering a range of topics, but with emphasis on the fact that we may be going back to a second shutdown because of how catastrophically we bungled the epidemic in this country. If this happens it will mean all the struggle and sacrifice of the Spring, along with at least a trillion dollars of crisis spending, will have been wasted.
Along those lines I’m looking now at a press release for a Meet the Press interview this morning with Admiral Brett Giroir, a key Trump administration pandemic official. Asked about calls for another shutdown Giroir says: “I don’t think we need to shut down, at least in most places around the country.”
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.
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.”