Covid Covid Covid Covid Covid

I don’t know how many times I saw this clip on the teevee news yesterday.

Headline at CNN: US reports second-highest day of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. The highest day was Friday.

I’ve seen an extended version of this clip; from here Trump goes on to complain that there are only so many cases because we test too much. His comments about immunity reveal he has no grasp whatsoever about the issue and hasn’t been paying attention to the scienctists, who have said all along that people appear to have only short-term immunity, if any, after an infection. After all this time, after everything that’s happened, he still doesn’t understand the pandemic and clearly doesn’t care enough to try to understand it.

See David Atkins, A Trump Win Would Condemn Hundreds of Thousands to Die Needlessly from COVID.

Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell is pushing the Senate to confirm nutjob Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court tomorrow. The local news here is full of interviews of small business owners who aren’t sure how they’re going to go on much longer with the virus restrictions. A lot of virus restrictions were lifted for a time but are being put back because the cases and posivity rates are going up. There is absolutely no excuse for the government not providing some kind of support to keep people afloat for a few more months, but Mitch can’t be bothered. The priority is to get a sixth hard-right reactionary on the Supreme Court to foul up government policy for the next forty years. Maybe they’ll find some creative way to restrict voting to white men only, 15th and 19th amendments be damned.

It says something that even former Dem Senate leader Harry Reid is calling for the end of the filibuster. See also E.J. Dionne, Enlarging the Supreme Court is the only answer to the right’s judicial radicalism.

Speaking of local news: St. Louis has nearly broken down into civil war over high school sports. For a time the county executive had restricted contact sports, like football. What, no football? The parents of seniors were all over the teevee practically weeping because their darlings will be robbed of their last year of high school football, along with their chances to get scholarships to some major conference school. That’s sad, but I can remember my senior year, when the guys in my class all faced the draft and potentially being sent to Vietnam. That was sadder. Anyway, the St. Louis high schools are playing a shortened football season now. We’ll see what happens to basketball.

Also, too: Several in Mike Pence’s inner circle have tested positive.  Pence, chair of the White House pandemic task force, has been exposed to several of these people but will not quarantine. Meanwhile, WH Chief of Staff Mark Meadows admits “We are not going to control the pandemic.”

See Nicholas Kristof, America and the Virus: ‘A Colossal Failure of Leadership’:
In its destruction of American lives, treasure and well-being, this pandemic marks the greatest failure of U.S. governance since Vietnam.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, involving Democrats as well as Republicans, but Trump in particular “recklessly squandered lives,” in the words of an unusual editorial this month in the New England Journal of Medicine. Death certificates may record the coronavirus as the cause of death, but in a larger sense vast numbers of Americans died because their government was incompetent.

As many Americans are dying every 10 days of Covid-19 as U.S. troops died during 19 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the economists David Cutler and Lawrence Summers estimate that the economic cost of the pandemic in the United States will be $16 trillion, or about $125,000 per American household — far more than the median family’s net worth. Then there’s an immeasurable cost in soft power as the United States is humbled before the world.

It says something that even the notriously right-wing New Hampshire Union Leader is endorsing Joe Biden.

The great Alexandra Petri has a column up about the candidates’ closing message. Biden talks vaguely about plans and scientists. Trump shrieks hysterically about giant bird-killing windmills. It’s satire, but it’s not that far from the truth.

Right-wing websites are ignoring the pandemic and instead are flogging a new Hunter Biden story. This story claims there Hunter Biden sex videos have been uploaded on a Steve Bannon-connected Chinese website. I’m not going to link to any of this, but you can read about it at Steve M’s place.

And I don’t give a hoohaw whether the videos are authentic or not. Hunter Biden isn’t running for office. Serial rapist Donald Trump is running for office. Hello? Wingnuts? Do you not see how sex scandals might be of limited use to you in this election?

The FiveThirtyEight polling average has been pretty much frozen in place for several days. I think people have made up their minds on this election. I’m going to be uneasy about the Electoral College until we get states called, but I am hopeful, and I’m hopeful about the Senate also. Tonight is the last big potentially game-changing television event, which is the 60 Minute interviews in which, by all accounts, Trump comes across as a whiny, petulant child. I may watch.

The New York Times editorial board has an editorial up headlined R.I.P., G.O.P.

Of all the things President Trump has destroyed, the Republican Party is among the most dismaying.

“Destroyed” is perhaps too simplistic, though. It would be more precise to say that Mr. Trump accelerated his party’s demise, exposing the rot that has been eating at its core for decades and leaving it a hollowed-out shell devoid of ideas, values or integrity, committed solely to preserving its own power even at the expense of democratic norms, institutions and ideals.

Do read the whole thing. And it says something that the cautious New York Times published this.

If we and the nation survive this year, we may look back and decide that it took the combination of Trump and covid to wake people up to the debilitated state of our politics and government. It’s been screwed for a long time before Trump became POTUS, but with the help of complicit news media it managed a charade of normal. But Trump plus covid blew that fiction out of the water. And maybe a fire has been lit under the Democrats so that they will stop being nothing but the party that’s not as bad as the other party.

Elsewhere: Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Trump, TV pundits don’t have a fracking clue about Pennsylvania and fossil fuels.

9 thoughts on “Covid Covid Covid Covid Covid

  1. It's pretty amazing that Trump thinks he's helping himself by posting his own version of the 60 minutes interview.

    I read something by Mary Trump, who says her uncle has to be disruptive, because if any debate or interview were to focus on policies, he has none to speak of. And so it's a diversion from the serious business of government, because clowns are running the govt.

    Someone else wrote that it's scary that Trump behaved normally for the first part of the last debate. It says that his schtick is an act, a calculated performance. He doesn't have to behave like the crazy uncle if he chooses not to.

    Jennifer Rubin (and others) have come out for Biden’s bi-partisan commission on court reform. I have to admit, she makes a good case.

  2. tRUMP is staring into the abyss.  Blankly staring.

    His presiDUNCEY is nearing the finish-line, and it appears that he'll finish in "NOT 1ST Place!"

    He'll finally lose.

    He loses everything.

    He faces law suits and trials.

    Prison…  While very unlikely, is still a… a-hum… Still a possibility.

    I hope there's someone who can stop him from launching our nukes.

    • I disagree.  He does not need first place, he just needs a teeny bit of wiggle room. We will never be free of Trump and the neo-confederates.  The more I read and the more I see as I drive around my city convinces me that, no matter what happens on a week from Tuesday, we are in for a slow grind into the abyss. And yes, the GOP is directly responsible for destroying the Republic and wrecking the country. But, because they have such a good propaganda machine, they will not share any responsibility because of "reasonable doubt".

  3. Re: immunity, it's a bit more complicated than that.

    A lot of people assumed lifetime immunity, early on, but the scientists who studied this stuff knew that was a *perfect* example of ASS-U-ME assumption. (Just in case anyone doesn't recognize the visual, there's an old joke that "assume" makes an ass of (yo)u and me both.)

    It's not common to have eternal immunity to a coronavirus. I'm enough of a scientist that won't say I'm sure why, but it might be mutation (if the virus mutates enough, your body doesn't recognize it as readily), or it might be that the body forgets some of what it needs to know to recognize the invader.

    (It also strikes me that the best scientists might not know – the difference between "it mutated a bit" and "your body didn't recognize it perfectly this time, and wouldn't have, even if it hadn't mutated at all" could be hard to pinpoint.)

    Right now, the CDC is pretty sure immunity lasts at least 3 months, and they might also have said they've revised it to 4 months (or Trump could be wrong, of course!), and that's probably the best they can do, because, face it: we have *no* evidence immunity might last a year… because the virus hasn't *existed* for a year!

    So: yes, in the beginning, a lot of people were talking excitedly about immunity, with an unspoken assumption that *of course* it would last forever. They were horribly stupid for making that assumption. 

    And, as we learn more, we'll have more information about how long immunity lasts. However, it's likely that, for one reason or another, Covid-19 or a related strain may stay out in the wild for a long time, and may be able to reinfect previous victims, after a certain period of time.

    That completes the trio of reasons talking about herd immunity via infection is so evil and stupid.

    Anyone can catch it (for all intents and purposes – 70 million infections would still only be one tenth of one percent of people)

    Anyone can die from it, young or old, healthy, or not; though younger, healthier at at *lower* risk, the risk is always there, and real.

    And we don't know how long immunity might last, even from a vaccine. For all we know, the 220,000 deaths have only bought us a year's worth of immunity from the tiny percentage of people who got it.

    That Trump even gets to speak, and be listened to, on this topic shows things are *really* bad in this country.

  4. I guess we'll see a new batch of polls this week.  The mainstream media always says the race is tightening in the last week but the polls from reliable pollsters are straight data. Read the numbers, not the spin. 

    I think the Hunter Biden thing was Trump's big surprise to distract from Covid. We're seeing a spike in numbers, worst in red states. Will that dent Trump's dominance there? Probably not but the outcome is in the swing states and if Trump wins ALL the swing states he's still 22 EC votes short of 270 according to Cook Political Report. 

    What's that mean? I bought a bottle of wine to celebrate, but I'm not popping the cork until the results are in. 


  5. That NYT editorial is something. I violated my policy of not giving them any clicks to read it, and I agree it's a reflection of something seismic that they would end with this prescription for the Republican Party: “Burn it to the ground, and start over.” 

    On a totally off-topic note, I've been reading Circle of the Way and when I got to the part about how Zen came to America, something occurred to me that had never come into focus from reading everything Alan Watts published in his life, nor from the Monica Furlong biography: he really screwed up a sweet situation when he let his marriage to Eleanor go down the tubes. A trivial observation, I know, but it's been a welcome distraction in the last couple of days.

  6. Of all the things President Trump has destroyed, the Republican Party is among the most dismaying.

    That's like mourning the death of a tumor.

    I would like to live in a country with at least two sane political parties to choose from. That requires as a precondition the destruction of the Republican Party, so bring it on.

  7. I do not believe this virus is going away.  Ever since I studied viruses in nursing school their weirdness has impressed me.  I am definitely not an expert on virology.  However, there are a few things I know.  Viruses are not considered live "things".  They are DNA material wrapped in a protein coat.  They cannot reproduce on their own.  We humans are familiar with their behavior.  Consider herpes zoster.  This is the virus that causes chickenpox and usually affects only children.  It starts with upper respiratory symptoms and then there is the skin rash.  Once the child recovers, the virus does not "go away".  It does not leave the body but is dormant in the nerve cells.  Later on in life, it can reappear  again in the form of shingles.  Still, it never leaves the body and one can get shingles more than once. 

    Scientists are still studying covid so there are many things about it we don't know.  Most likely it has been on earth for thousands if not millions of years probably hanging out in bats.  My question is once a person has covid and recovers where does the virus go?  Does it hide out in the body like herpes zoster or does it somehow leave the body and go ?????  If the scientists don't know, I certainly don't know.  I suspect it can't leave a body unless it has another body to move to.  And if there is a vaccine how long is it effective?  Consider smallpox.  Most people get vaccinated as children and it was once considered permanent but there are some thoughts that people should get re-vaccinated as adults.  Viruses cannot be "killed"  since they are not living things.  They do mutate and perhaps that is a good thing but maybe not.  There is just so much we do not know.  In the meantime, I am staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask in public, avoiding getting close to  people and washing my hands a lot.  The rest I leave up to God.

    • Because Covid-19 is a respiratory virus, the body should learn its behaviors, and wipe it out, entirely. The herpes style viruses can hide because of the types of cells they can infect.

      There are two big pieces to an immune response: antibodies, which neutralize a traveling virus, and killer T-cells, which can recognize an infected cell, and kill it. Both of those seem to work in Covid-19, so, we can be reasonably certain that it will completely be cleared from your body. Any wandering viruses will be neutralized by antibodies, any infected cells will be eaten (essentially).

      Of course, we won't know much for sure until we have more data. But we have every reason to expect that the body can entirely destroy the virus, and it would be a big, horrible, surprise if it couldn't.

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