Anything I try to write will be inadequate. I see some hopeful signs in the police chiefs and even police unions who are issuing statements condemning the killing of George Floyd. It does seem like progress since the events in Ferguson... and yet George Floyd is still dead. This is not a situation where we can congratulate ourselves for partial progress.
To have this all happening in the middle of a pandemic that is far from controlled is even more heartbreaking. I am glad to see so many of the protesters wearing masks. I hope that will help limit the spread of COVID-19 at these protests, but I know it will not stop it. I understand people making the decision to take the risk because the cause they are protesting for is so important, but that just amplifies the heartbreak, because this disease was already disproportionately affecting Black people.
And then I woke up this morning to Minnesota officials announcing that there are outside groups, perhaps white supremacists, coming in to add to the chaos in Minneapolis. I guess it is not surprising that white supremacists would co-opt protests about police killing a Black man but it is still disgusting.
Instead of leadership from our President, we get unhinged tweets that just make things worse. The Senator from Hawaii says it well:
Cities are burning, and Trump makes it worse by providing enthusiastic legal and rhetorical cover for white supremacy. He works to ruin everything good about America and make all our worst sins metastasize. I’ve never been so motivated to win an election in my life.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 30, 2020
So here we are, in a terrible, heart-breaking place. It is going to be confusing for awhile, until we can sort out what is going on. I will try to be careful about what information I amplify on Twitter and be patient while we wait for clarity. And I will hope that everyone remembers that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is still circulating and continues to take precautions to avoid catching it or spreading it.
Here are the links I have:
If you read only one thing, make it this essay from Anika Pasilis, on the death from COVID-19 of her grandmother, the Freedom Rider Sally Rowley.
Or maybe it should be this amazing Rebecca Traister profile of Marga Greisbach.
This essay about the unjustified arrest of the CNN reporter in Minneapolis is really good.
Aymann Ismail's essay about why people like Amy Cooper made him leave NYC is also really good.
It is too soon to have any solid analysis on the allegations of outside forces coming to cities to stir up trouble under the cover of the protests, but this thread summarizing the Minnesota press conference is worth your time:
Please read this important thread. As someone with a history in direct action organizing, the tactics of infiltration old. They're intended to vilify and undermine activists, justify punitive action, and sow distrust among the people rising up so as to fracture collective power. https://t.co/ANXh4Td3Xb— ilyseh (@ilyseh) May 30, 2020
On the coronavirus, I have two pieces that I strongly recommend:
First, I agree so much with Matt Yglesias on the mistake we're making by not focusing on being able to reopen schools that I want to scream about it. We are sacrificing our kids for "the economy" and it is such a short-sighted decision, made worse by the fact that we have set up a false choice. It didn't have to be this way.
Once you've read the Yglesias piece, read Julia Marcus on why we need to give Americans advice on how to safely reopen their own lives. Again, we are focusing so much on the economy that we are ignoring what Americans really need.
I am worried about Alabama, where people are flocking to the beaches and the coronavirus case count is escalating.
This thread from a Pennsylvania state representative was truly shocking:
On the science front:RESIGN: Today we learned that House Speaker @MikeTurzai has known that Republican Members have either tested positive, or been quarantined, and withheld this information from Democrats including those of us who serve on the committees with those members!— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) May 27, 2020
Derek Lowe wrote up a recent preprint about famotidine (Pepcid) and its potential protective effect against COVID-19. We'd seen some data suggesting this before, but in that case people hypothesized it was an off target effect. This study hypothesizes that it is an on target effect, due to famotidine's impact on histidine signalling. As Derek notes, that is a plausible - and testable! - hypothesis. I have noted before that it seems like asthmatics are not over-represented in hospitalizations, which is surprising for a respiratory disease, and I have seen some data that indicates allergies may correlate with lower COVID-19 rates. Reading this write up made me wonder if the reason is the drugs so many of us asthmatics and allergy suffers take. For instance, I take montelukast (Singulair), which is a leukotriene receptor antagonist, which the preprint hypothesizes might have a similar effect as famotidine. It is far too early to make any conclusions and I certainly wouldn't change my medications based on this speculation... but it is an interesting hypothesis.
Here's an article about another antiviral that is showing promise against SARS-CoV-2 and is now in safety trials.
A new study indicates that community transmission in Washington probably didn't start from that first confirmed case back in January, but instead started from an unknown index case in mid-February. This is further evidence that the US had a chance to stop or at least delay the outbreak and missed it.
Don't buy masks with vents. They won't help us stop the spread of coronavirus.
Some good news:I have become a target for ads from sellers of these evil valved masks. The valve provides “breathability” when you exhale by releasing your breath and its contagion-carrying respiratory droplets. The masks protects no one. They need to be banned. pic.twitter.com/e0WPUeXcJN— Atul Gawande (@Atul_Gawande) May 24, 2020
David Roberts has a long but excellent piece about how there is now a pretty broad consensus among people on the left of center about climate policy. If we can win the presidency and the Senate this year, we could actually take some very, very positive steps on climate. Yet another reason to fight like hell for this election.
John Roberts joined with the more liberal judges last night to keep the Supreme Court from overturning California's rules on assembly in churches right now. It is depressing that this outcome was in doubt, but here we are. So I'll just be happy that Roberts did the right thing here.
Some happy things:
This story about two Utah AirBnB hosts and the Chinese couple stuck in their home is really nice.
What a beautiful bird;So my Dad made good use of his time in lockdown and built a huge laughing Kookaburra. pic.twitter.com/UGVC4dZsCL— Rafaan (@RafaanDaliri) May 26, 2020
Eastern bluebird.— Today's Bird (@todaysbird) May 28, 2020
(Photo courtesy of Sandra Rust)#wildlifephotography #nature #bloodpressurebreak pic.twitter.com/h71pAllGzX
This is fun:
Here's your weekly bunnies:HELENA BONHAM CARTER stars in this groundbreaking Cinema Quarantino Production DAS FONE HELL. At vast expense, filmed on two continents over what (seemed like) five years , this profound and heartbreakingly candid insight into Modern Life will shake you to the core (Pilates 101) pic.twitter.com/aVXCfvAyfd— Sam Neill (@TwoPaddocks) May 23, 2020
Hello yes my buns would like to participate pic.twitter.com/qdKoijKoRK— probably napping (@lucifinucan) May 28, 2020
Stay safe, everyone.