‘We’re in Disaster Mode’: Courage Inside a Brooklyn Hospital Confronting Coronavirus – By Sheri Fink – The New York Times

“It was not even 9 in the morning and Dr. Sylvie de Souza’s green N95 mask, which was supposed to form a seal against her face, was already askew.

In freezing rain on Monday, she trudged in clogs between the emergency department she chairs at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and a tent outside, keeping a sharp eye on the trainee doctors, nurses and other staff members who would screen nearly 100 walk-in patients for the coronavirus that day.

Inside her E.R., more than a dozen people showing signs of infection waited for evaluation in an area used just a few weeks ago for stitches and casts. Another dozen lay on gurneys arranged one in front of the next, like a New York City car park. One man on a ventilator was waiting for space in the intensive care unit.

Minutes before paramedics wheeled in a heart attack patient, Dr. de Souza pointed to beds reserved for serious emergencies, separated by a newly constructed wall from the suspected virus cases. “This is our safe area,” she told a reporter. Then she corrected herself: “This is thought to be safe.” There was really no way to know.”

Opinion | When Will Coronavirus Stop? – By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Victor J. Blue/Getty Images

““The higher the peak, the longer it lasts,” Tom Frieden, a former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told me yesterday.

Frieden’s point was that a local surge in coronavirus cases isn’t only a short-term emergency that can overwhelm the health care system and cause otherwise preventable deaths. A short-term surge also leads to more cases over the long term, by producing more people who transmit the virus to others.

For these reasons, the fact that the virus’s spread appears to be slowing in New York State, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo said yesterday, is very good news. It also seems to have slowed recently in California and Washington State.”

Opinion | We Must Vote in November. Voting by mail etc is How to Ensure That We Can. – The New York Times

By Bob BauerBen Ginsberg and 

Mr. Bauer, Mr. Ginsberg and Mr. Persily were members of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.

Credit…Cj Gunther/EPA, via Shutterstock

“Voters should not have to choose between casting a ballot and risking their health. They should not have to endure confusion over the location of polling places or the availability of vote-by-mail. Yet voters might face exactly those problems in November if we do not act now to protect the election from Covid-19.

To safeguard the inclusivity and legitimacy of our elections, the federal government should provide resources that states should use in a credible, bipartisan fashion.

We must act now. Elections — American democracy itself — should not be among the pandemic’s victims.

We’ve done something like this before. Roughly seven years ago, we led a bipartisan commission set up by President Barack Obama. There had been significant problems with the operation of the electoral process in 2012, and our task was to suggest possible solutions. Two of us (Mr. Bauer and Mr. Ginsberg) were co-chairs and the other (Mr. Persily) was the senior research director. As part of our broad charge, and in light of Hurricane Sandy, we looked at the challenges posed by natural disasters. Our recommendations on these and other election administrative issues were well received by election administrators across the country, of both parties. We also noted where more progress was urgently needed.”

Opinion | Trump Wants to ‘Reopen America.’ Here’s What Happens if We Do. – The New York Times

“President Trump says he wants the United States “raring to go” in two and a half weeks, on Easter, with “packed churches all over our country.” He and many other political conservatives suggest that we are responding to something like the flu with remedies that may be more devastating than the disease.

We created this interactive model with epidemiologists to show why quickly returning to normal could be a historic mistake that would lead to an explosion of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Instead, health experts advise giving current business closures and social distancing a month to slow the pandemic, buying time to roll out mass testing and equip doctors with protective equipment. Then, depending on where we are, we can think about easing up — while prepared for a new burst of infections that will then require a new clampdown.

Play with this model below by moving the slider to change the length of time that controls are in effect, and you’ll see the impact on lives lost.”

Your Phone’s Accessibility Options Are More Useful Than You Think – By Eric Ravenscraft – The New York Times

By 

“Buried deep in your phone’s arcane settings are a collection of features under the mundane banner “Accessibility.” These features seem as if they’re just for people who have special needs — like being colorblind or having poor eyesight — but many of the tools you can find there are useful to everyone.

There are slight differences in how some of these features are handled on iPhones versus Android phones (and even further differences from one Android phone to another), but the features we’ve rounded up below are generally available on most devices. They may be in a different place depending on your device, but if you explore your phone, you’re likely to find versions of these features somewhere in there.

One of the most universally useful accessibility features is changing the font size on your phone. As phones get bigger, they have more and more space for text. To the point that you could potentially fit whole pages of a book on your screen. Some phones default to having really small text so you can read as much as possible without scrolling, but this can also make text harder to read.

On iOS devices like Apple’s iPhone and iPad, you can find this setting under Accessibility, then Display & Text Size. From here, you have a lot of options, but the most relevant is labeled “Larger Text.” Despite its name, you can use this to make text smaller as well. At the top of the screen, you’ll also see a toggle labeled “Larger Accessibility Sizes” that give you even more text size increments. Adjust the text until it’s comfortable for you to read and go about your day.”

Opinion | Trump to New York: Drop Dead –  -By Jennifer Senior The New York Times

By 

Opinion columnist

“So it’s essentially come to this: President Trump is treating each of our 50 states as individual contestants on “The Apprentice” — pitting them against one another for scarce resources, daring them to duke it out — rather than mobilizing a unified national response to a pandemic.

If that’s the case, this is the episode where New York loses. The coronavirus is whipping through the state, especially New York City, at a terrifying rate. We need personnel, ventilators and personal protective equipment, stat.

But Trump’s response has been the same as President Gerald Ford’s in 1975, when our city, faltering on the brink of insolvency, begged Washington for help and was brutally rebuffed, a moment forever enshrined in The Daily News’s headline “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.””

Opinion | How the World’s Richest Country Ran Out of a 75-Cent Face Mask – By Farhad Manjoo – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist


Credit…Jovelle Tamayo for The New York Times

“Why is the United States running out of face masks for medical workers? How does the world’s wealthiest country find itself in such a tragic and avoidable mess? And how long will it take to get enough protective gear, if that’s even possible now?

I’ve spent the last few days digging into these questions, because the shortages of protective gear, particularly face masks, has struck me as one of the more disturbing absurdities in America’s response to this pandemic.

Yes, it would have been nice to have had early, widespread testing for the coronavirus, the strategy South Korea used to contain its outbreak. It would be amazing if we can avoid running out of ventilators and hospital space, the catastrophe that has befallen parts of Italy. But neither matters much — in fact, no significant intervention is possible — if health care workers cannot even come into contact with coronavirus patients without getting sick themselves.

That’s where cheap, disposable face masks, eye protection, gloves and gowns come in. That we failed to procure enough safety gear for medical workers — not to mention for sick people and for the public, as some health experts might have recommended if masks were not in such low supply — seems astoundingly negligent.”

Trump Bets Business Will Answer Call to Fight Virus, but Strategy Bewilders Firms – The New York Times

“. . . .  There is plenty of volunteer cooperation, they say, and there is always the implicit threat of ordering mandatory measures if they do not. Mr. Trump, at the news briefing, suggested an ideological concern as well. “We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business,” he said.

At the briefing, Mr. Navarro said, “We’re getting what we need without putting the heavy hand of government down.”

In an interview, Mr. Navarro said the administration would not hesitate to use its powers in certain situations. For example, he said, some brokers had been hoarding supplies of masks in warehouses and trying to sell them at exorbitant prices.

“That’s a Defense Production Act action waiting to happen,” he said. “If anybody thinks they’re going to sit on urgently needed supplies and profiteer from this crisis, they’re going to answer to the full force of the Trump administration.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the heads of major corporations have lobbied the administration against using the act. They say the move could prove counterproductive, imposing red tape on companies precisely when they need flexibility to deal with closed borders and shuttered factories.

Mr. Trump and the director of his national economic council, Larry Kudlow, as well as Mr. Kushner, were persuaded by those arguments, administration officials said.”

Opinion | Fourteen Days. That’s the Most Time We Have to Defeat Coronavirus. – By Ezekiel J. Emanuel – The New York Times

By 

Dr. Emanuel is vice provost of global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.

Credit…Carlo Allegri/Reuters

“America is losing the war against Covid-19, but we can win it with decisive and extraordinary actions now.

Health experts have not been overreacting. Models from Imperial College London and others suggest that up to 2.2 million Americans could die within a year without sufficient efforts to “flatten the curve.”

At the same time, it is right to worry about how Covid-19 will wreck the economy. Projections already suggest that the American economy could contract by more than 15 percent in the second quarter and that the unemployment rate could surpass 20 percent.

But the economy cannot be fixed without solving the pandemic. Only after the virus is contained can we reopen restaurants, bars, gyms and stores; allow people to travel, attend conferences and visit museums; and persuade them to buy cars and houses.”

The lack of masks, gowns and ventilators endangers both patients and health care workers, and stymies the nation’s ability to respond to the crisis.

We need a national manufacturing director to assess and allocate national supplies and ramp up production and distribution of what is needed. After ordering all hospitals to conduct an inventory of their needs, the director could prioritize the shipment of supplies to the ones that need them most.”

How an Upscale Connecticut Party Became a Coronavirus ‘Super Spreader’ – The New York Times

“About 50 guests gathered on March 5 at a home in the stately suburb of Westport, Conn., to toast the hostess on her 40th birthday and greet old friends, including one visiting from South Africa. They shared reminiscences, a lavish buffet and, unknown to anyone, the coronavirus.

Then they scattered.

The Westport soirée — Party Zero in southwestern Connecticut and beyond — is a story of how, in the Gilded Age of money, social connectedness and air travel, a pandemic has spread at lightning speed. The partygoers — more than half of whom are now infected — left that evening for Johannesburg, New York City and other parts of Connecticut and the United States, all seeding infections on the way.

Westport, a town of 28,000 on the Long Island Sound, did not have a single known case of the coronavirus on the day of the party. It had 85 on Monday, up more than 40-fold in 11 days.”